AN: For Vankoss - Merry Christmas! I hope you like this story although it is neither slash nor the one about Thanksgiving I promised. (Which I am going to write, really! It just may take some time...)


So, Jimmy said as soon as both Winchesters had left the dingy motel room. Christmas it is then... You'll need a present for them.

"Present?"

You know a gift. For Christmas.

"I have not thought of that necessity as I agreed to their invitation. Do you have any recommendations?"

Well, Dean's your BBF. So you should think of something.

"I am unfamiliar with the search for presents."

Use your brain, Castiel. You are far from dumb, just think about something Dean likes.

"Women with exceptional bust measurement."

Something you could give him as a present...

"He does love his car..."

Motor oil is something Sam gets him every year. Come on, think of a different gift.

"He enjoys sustenance."

Yeah, great! We could cook something!

"I do not know how to prepare a proper meal."

But I do. In fact one of my hobbies is cooking. You know, Amelia always enjoyed my pasta creations.

"If I am to prepare a meal for Dean it should be something more healthy than the food he normally chooses."

I see... Well, did you know that when Claire still was a small girl she down right refused to eat vegetables? I know a lot of tricks to get a child to eat healthy stuff.

"You think this knowledge is adaptable on Dean Winchester?"

He's still a small boy in quite a few aspects...

"True words."

~*~

It didn't take them long to agree on a recipe – the easiest one Jimmy could remember. Only three ingredients a knife and a pot were needed. The small kitchenette had a single cooking plate and almost no work surface. Anything more sophisticated than the simple stew Jimmy had suggested would have been doomed to fail.

Obtaining a big enough cooking pot was easy. Castiel ported them to Italy where it was already early in the morning. The restaurant the Angel borrowed the pot – and a wooden spoon - from would not reopen for quite some time. Nobody would miss the cookware.

How they acquired four heads of white cabbage, a package of minced meat and a bottle of ketchup Jimmy wasn't so sure. Although being used to all the things an Angel could accomplish with his Heavenly Grace sometimes it just happened too quick for his mundane senses to notice. One second they were in the italian pizzeria with Castiel gripping pot, spoon and lid, the next moment he smelled something spicy, cold wind blew into his face and before he could take in their new surroundings their whereabouts had changed again - they were back to the dingy motel somewhere in the Midwest.

~*~

"Sam and Dean will be back in about half an hour. We should hasten our endeavours accordingly."

That should be sufficient time. Even for a beginner like you, Cas.

"Tell me hat to do first."

Wash the cabbage.

Castiel did not even squint at the vegetables before he announced: "They are clean now."

Oh, don't use your mojo, Castiel! That's cheating. And only half the fun!

"I fail to see how scrubbing a head of cabbage would be entertaining."

You'll never know if you haven't tried.

"I apologize. You are right. Tell me what to do next. I promise to not use my... mojo again."

Ok, cut the cabbage in tiny peaces.

As the knife the kitchenette came with was far from sharp the Angel decided to borrow one from the Winchesters. He was sure the hunters had more then enough perfectly sharpened knifes in their duffels. The first one he found happened to be Ruby's demon killing knife. Castiel decided that if the weapon was able to slice through hell spawns it would be good enough to cut a few heads of cabbage.

The Angel took the weapon in his right hand and eyed the first head estimatingly.

Castiel, what are you doing?

"I am about to cut the vegetable. You told me to..."

Yeah, but you want to cut it, not kill it!

The Angel tilted his head in confusion.

Look at how you hold the knife! Have you... have you never used a knife to prepare... ok, forget it.

"I am sorry, but a knife is a weapon. I know how to use it to cause maximum damage. "

No, Cas! It's a tool!

"I have never seen it as just a tool before..."

That surely is a proof of the Heavenly Host's shortcomings. Now let me take control over that hand, ok? I'll show you how to wield a cooking knife.

Castiel had to admit that Jimmy was very skilled. His dexterity with the sharp knife spoke of many hours spent chopping vegetables and other food. He watched the human cutting down three of the heads before he was told to take control of his vessel again.

Although being an Angel surely helped Castiel learned that chopping cabbage looked way easier than it was. It was a strange feeling standing in the kitchenette with his sleeves rolled up, a thin layer of sweat glistering on his forehead and doing things with a knife that neither hurt nor injured anybody. He, a warrior of the Lord was preparing a simple meal for two mundane humans. He decided to do that more often in the future.

Jimmy instructed Castiel to braise the meat lightly before adding the chopped cabbage and stir - what wasn't exactly easy. The pot was filled to the rim and every time the Angel moved the spoon bits of cabbage ended up on the stove.

"Am I allowed to use my Grace to remove that annoying smell?"

Please. Otherwise I am afraid somebody'll call the fire department...

Thankfully soon the contents of their pot wilted slowly so Castiel found it easier to stir the ingredients. After adding half of the bottle of ketchup into the stew the Angel frowned slightly. That sight reminded him of something... shredded entrails, torn up bowels... He had seen quite a few humans, vessels, dying in his time. The smell of fresh blood was as familiar as the gurgling sounds the doomed men made in their death throes.

Please stop it. I'm starting to feel queasy with all those images inside my mind!

Although Castiel gave his best to no longer think of lacerated bodies Jimmy was not sure if he would be able to enjoy that specific dish ever again.

Now we need garlic and salt but I don't think we'll find any spices here... Never mind, it'll taste quite good without it.

"I know where to obtain salt. And I do think I spotted some garlic earlier..."

With two strides the Angel was next to the Winchester's duffel bags. Salt was easy, he just took one of the shotgun rounds, opened it and while pouring the contents into the pot he magically purified the powder so only rock salt remained. For the garlic he had to search longer. Castiel knew Sam had a few cloves somewhere that were left over from the ritual he performed a week ago. But he did not know where. The Angel found the spicy cloves between Sam's underwear wondering if that somehow had been Dean's doing.

~*~

The stew was ready only minutes before the hunters returned. They had brought beer, chips and a small artificial tree with colorful lamps already attached. Neither Dean nor Sam noticed the foreign pot on their stove.

The little Christmas tree ended up on top of the TV and after Dean had handed everybody a bottle of beer he pulled two presents out of his pocket. Both wrapped in an old newspaper. He gave one to his brother – and got a similar looking gift in return and one was for the angel.

"This one is from both of us..." Dean said a bit sheepishly.

Castiel unwrapped the newspaper and pulled out a blueish cylinder. He frowned at the strange thing, head slightly tilted.

"That's a chap stick." Sam explained.

A lip balm, Jimmy stated at the same moment.

The Angel shot Dean a questioning glance.

"You know... for your lips..."

Castiel was still confused.

"For your dry lips...?" Dean tried again.

"I have dry lips?"

Yes, you have.

"Yep. Look at mine. They aren't dry. "

"Because you use a lip balm."

"No!" Dean made sure to deny hastily but after Sam jostled him in the rips he added: "But I totally would if they'd look like yours..."

"I'm sure Jimmy used something like that, too." Sam stated helpfully.

He's right.

Castiel had just formed the question why Jimmy had never told him to do something about his cracked lips as his host already answered a bit peeved.

You know, Angel inside? There were other things on my mind than chap stick...

The Angel quickly apologized when Sam handed a small envelope to him.

"That's for Jimmy..."

"Thank you." Castiel answered for the both of them and pulled a Christmas card out of it.

"We thought you should let him spent at least Christmas Eve with his family."

The Angel felt Jimmy's tears sting in his own eyes and tried to blink the moisture away. "You are right." His voice was emotionless and neutral as ever while a few tears escaped and ran down his cheeks.

~*~

While both hunters stared totally taken aback at the seemingly crying Angel Castiel turned his mind towards his vessel.

"They are right. We should leave for the current whereabouts of your family. As soon as I made sure you are save I shall retreat and not surface again until sunrise."

Thank you, Cas. But I think we have still time. You should sit down and have dinner with your friends. Amelia and Claire surely will attend Christmas Mass at midnight. We should meet them there.

"As you wish."

For the first time Castiel and Jimmy smiled at the same mooment. Without any delay or weakening it reached the vessel's face for once and bot Winchester's watched in awe as the Angel seemed to light up from the inside and shone brightly with joy as he presented the still steaming pot to his friends.

"Merry Christmas."

It surely was.