Slamming the door didn't make him feel any better. The room was still empty, it was still December 23 and he still was alone for the holidays. Dean put his purchases on the small desk and shed his outer layers. It was butt freezing cold up here in Colorado, and it didn't seem to matter how many shirts or gloves, or the fact that he was wearing freaking thermal underwear, he was still cold down to his bones. Lately, he'd been having a harder time getting warm. People kept preaching about this whole global warming thing and how we needed protect the environment or we were all going to cook. He was fairly certain that they got it wrong. He couldn't remember a time when it had been colder.

The motel heater didn't work very well, and he decided that a warm bath would do him good before he settled down to spend the next three days in a drunken stupor. He was just about to take off his jeans when his cell phone rang. Confused, he hurried into the actual room and rooted through his bag until he found the thing, and he starred at the number for a second, realizing he didn't know it, deciding it didn't matter, it would just be nice to hear another human voice, he answered it.

"Hello?"

"Is this Dean Winchester?" A female voice on the other end asked. Dean paused and tried to figure out who he would have given his real name to. Most of his one nigh stands were lucky to get his first name and never received his real last name. Cassie was the only woman who knew his name and this wasn't her.

"Depends. Who is this?"

"This is Jessica Moore." His heart stilled. Sammy's girl. The only reason she would attempt to get a hold of him would be to tell him that Sam was dead, hurt, or something else equally catastrophic.

"This is Dean."

"Good." She let out a deep breath, it sounded like she was smiling now. "I've called everyone in his phone book looking for you."

"What? Why?"

"I have a question for you."

"Just spit it out…is he hurt?"

"Oh, no, no, no! He's fine. I'm sorry. No, he's fine. Safe and sound. He's in the shower right now actually. I need to make this quick."

Relief was almost a tangible thing for him. His shoulders sagged and he pinched the bridge of his nose. He was almost dizzy with relief. He sat down on the bed.

"Okay. What do you need?"

"I wanted you to come here for Christmas."

"You want me to come to California for Christmas?"

"No. I want you to come to Wyoming. My family lives in Falls Creek. And we are having a big dinner tomorrow night, and I wanted you to come for Sam."

"Sam and I don't speak."

"I know…." she hesitated. "But, I want you to come."

"I don't know if that's a good idea Jessica."

"Just…just…"

"Jessica? Jess? Where are you?" Dean heard Sam's voice for the first time in three years. He was okay. Hell, his voice was deeper and stronger than he remembered. His little brother had grown up. He didn't realize that he had closed his eyes to savor the moment until he heard Jessica start to speak again in a hurried whisper.

"It's 222 Ames Street Falls Creek Wyoming. We'll eat around 7. Come earlier if you could." She hung up quickly and Dean was left with silence on the other end of his phone. He clicked it off and starred at it for a moment.

He licked his lips, shook his head, and threw the phone on the dresser and went and took his shower.

The idea of him going to the Moore's house for Christmas was ludicrous wasn't it? What in the world would they have to say to each other? What in the world would he have to say to Sammy? It wasn't like he wanted to talk shop with his baby brother, but other than talking shop, what was there to say? He could ask about school and let his brother ramble on and on, but eventually there would be an end to the conversation, and there would be no need for Sam to ask what he had been doing, because he knew, and it wasn't exactly like he could talk about it in mixed company.

And if he could put the conversational hiccup aside, there was that whole issue of being with normal people for a normal meal. He didn't know how to do that. What did he say to Jessica's mother, father, siblings, friends, relatives? He didn't know what to talk about with normal people. Cassie, well, he'd talked to her about movies, and he'd listened to her about school, and stuff like that. But eventually people, normal people, want to get to know you, learn something about your job, your family, that kinda stuff, and how exactly did you explain the whole killing ghosts goblins and the like for a living. The simple answer was you don't. And if you cared about the people you were with, lying wasn't an option. He didn't want to have to weave a story for Jessica and her family, and he didn't know what Sam had already told them, so, yeah, it was best if he stayed here.

Sam had always craved normal, and he was getting it. He was getting the picture perfect Thomas Kincaid Christmas and he didn't want to be the black blotch on the canvas. He didn't want to be the one part of that special day that Sam remembered as bad. And that was what would happen if he went. No. He wouldn't go. He wouldn't ruin this for Sammy.

***

"Who were you talking to Jess?" Sam asked as he pulled a shirt over his head.

"My cousin. She lost our address and needed it again. She is horrible with directions and she wanted to mapquest it and get it right."

"Ahhh." He said and pulled a sweater over the shirt. "Your dad and brother want me to go out and help them find a tree in the woods." He said and began brushing his hair.

"We do that every year. The Moore men go out and hunt up a tree." Sam just nodded.

"It is very nice of them to include me."

"You're family." She said with a shrug. Sam looked at her for a second and then went back to his morning ritual. "What did you guys do for Christmas?" Sam shrugged.

"Nothing. We didn't have money."

"But there must have been something?"

"Jess. It doesn't matter. Nothing happens anymore. It is just the way it is. You can't change it."

"But, Sam, your brother…"

"Is a big boy and doesn't need me to make his Christmases wonderful."

"But family…"

"I don't have one anymore Jessica. They disowned me, and that's that. I'm not about to go running to them, when they obviously don't want me around, so just drop it Jess. I'm fine without them." Jessica watched as he hurriedly pulled his shoes on and sharply pulled his shoe strings and angrily tied them. Before she could put a hand on his to reassure him or apologize, her older brother, Clint, came in and collected Sam to go with the rest of the men out tree hunting.

She was left starring at his retreating form. Sam wanted his family, that much she knew, and the bravado that he displayed was just to keep his hurting heart from being exposed. She respected that. But, it made her pray all the more for God to guide Dean Winchester to her house, to their table, and back into Sam's world.