A Christmas Journey

Title: A Christmas Journey

Author: supernaturaldh

Characters: Sam and Dean

Rating: PG-13 (Gen)

Word Count: 2273

Disclaimer: Sadly, no ownership here.

A/N: Okay, I wrote this before the holidays, then re-wrote it like four times, and finally just decided to get it over with and go ahead and post. – Yes, it is the Tobias from the Bible. - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. -

Summary: Set in Season 5. It's Christmastime and Sam is trying to deal with the fact he let Lucifer loose to end the world. Dean, he's just glad to be around for another holiday. What should have been a routine stop for gas changes everything.

And he spoke to his wife to make ready a feast, and prepare all kind of provisions that are necessary for such as go a journey.

Sam sighed and stared at his drawn face in the dirty bathroom mirror, he quickly looked away. He didn't like looking at his face these days. He cupped his large hands and pulled some water up to splash against his weary features. He'd done it, he'd not listened to Dean, not listened to Bobby, trusted a demon, and he'd set Lucifer free - him, he did it, no one else. And now, Lucifer was going to bring destruction to the world. He sighed loudly. He'd been having morose thoughts for weeks now, mind slumping into a dark funk after the events at St Mary's Covenant. Go figure.

He sighed and turned off the tap. The water stuttered to a stop as he yanked off some paper towels and mopped the moisture from his face. He'd cry, but it wouldn't help. He'd already cried more tears than he could ever count. It didn't' help. So, he deserved to suffer. He thought so, and so, obviously, did his big brother. Dean wouldn't talk about it; in fact, he avoided it at any cost. That meant one thing to Sam, he was guilty and he should suffer, suffer like everyone in the world would because of what he'd done.

He swallowed down his anguish and shuffled toward the door.

-0-

Dean stood silently by the rear of the Impala pumping gas hastily into his baby – it was freaking cold outside, the icy wind nipping harshly at his skin. His head rose and he stared down the empty street. The town of Judith Gap, Montana was practically deserted, a spot in the middle of nowhere, a spec along the road. Surely there'd be a motel somewhere in this god forsaken town. He stowed the gas pump back on its hinge and turned, moving steadily through the freezing air into the old gas station.

As the door swung open the guy behind the counter looked up. He nodded and smiled at Dean.

"Got a motel and a bar in this town?" The eldest Winchester asked as he grabbed up a bag of chips, a candy bar, and two soft drinks and flung them to the counter. He glanced at the older man's face he was balding with a rugged smile. He had a baseball cap that kind of reminded Dean of his Uncle Bobby. He frowned unconsciously.

"Yep, we got both, just up this here road." The graying man nodded at Dean, eyes looking like tiny dots behind his black horn rim eyeglasses. He slowly rung up the gas and the items Dean had haphazardly dropped against the counter. "But, it's Christmas Eve you know; I was just about to close up shop, doubt the bar is even open or that you'll get a room this late." The old guy sighed and looked curiously at Dean.

The older brother glanced down at his watch. "Man," he sputtered out in disbelief. "It's Christmas eve?" Shit, I was hoping to make some money shooting pool tonight.

The man behind the counter snorted. "Well, dah…you know, holiday, big guy in a red suit, candy canes….yada, yada, yada." He smiled and waved his hand in a dismissive manner as he stuffed Dean's meager items deep inside the paper bag.

Dean's thoughts rambled back to last year - evil Santa's and disgruntled little brothers. The memory was one of joy and grief. Sam giving him car oil and a candy bar for Christmas and sitting with him half the night drinking eggnog.

He shook off the memory and pulled his wallet from his pants pocket. He glanced into it, frowned slightly, and hesitantly handed over his last fifty to pay for the gas and dinner. Man this really, really sucks, it's Christmas…really?

The man behind the counter continued, "That you're traveling buddy in the bathroom there?" he nodded his head toward the restroom as he handed Dean back three dollars and fifty seven cents. He watched the younger man open back up his empty wallet and stuff the money hastily back inside.

Dean cringed. Man, we can't eat and pay for gas too. He looked sadly from his wallet to the bathroom, not even seeing the older man's roving eyes. Crap, can't believe I forgot about Christmas? Can't imagine why…

The older guy looked with sad eyes at the young man in front of him and continued to talk. "Kid seems kind of out of it?"

Dean just nodded in silent agreement. Out of it is an understatement.

Both their heads glanced to the bathroom door as it screeched open and Sam scuffled across the floor.

The man behind the counter turned away and fumbled with a broom.

Dean stared for the first time in several weeks at his approaching little brother. He really hadn't noticed Sam much of late. The kid does look like shit.

Sam had dark rings under his eyes, one hand gripping at the waist of his blue jeans, obviously holding them up as his pants barely hovered over his quickly thinning frame. His shoulders were hunched over, and his hair was way too long, it covered his once vibrant hazel eyes. The worst part though, was that Sam didn't look at Dean, didn't look up at all, but stared blankly at his shoes as he moved across the dirty floor.

Dean heard the old man mutter something about God and forgiveness, but he couldn't quite make out the words. He tilted his head. What'd he just say?

"I'll be in the car," Sam mumbled as moved past his older brother. His eyes never rose up from the floor.

"Yeah, okay," Dean refocused his thoughts and sighed loudly. He hadn't been doing a very good job of taking care of Sam. Some big brother I am. It was just so freaking hard. The events at St Mary's Covenant were still fresh in his mind, an open, gaping wound, that didn't want to heal. They didn't discuss it, and Dean didn't want to. Sam lied …over and over and over. Castiel said Sam was tricked by angels and demons, but all Dean remembered was that Sam had lied, to him...

The cold wind whipped back inside the store as the door banged quickly shut. The icy breeze cut quickly through Dean's leather coat. If I'm this cold, then, Sammy is freezing in that worn out corduroy jacket. He needs a better coat.

The old guy cleared his throat as he stowed the broom away. "You fellas need a place to stay?" He asked gently as he locked up the cash register drawer and tugged down the blind behind the counter. He kept a close eye on the younger man as he went about his tasks. Dean looks pretty beat himself.

"WH…what?" Dean tilted his head, mind all but lost in thought. His fingers fumbled for the bag.

"Well, just thought, well, you know I have brothers, and sometimes, my father tells me to take care of them." The older gentleman nodded his graying head toward the door and Sam. "Kid looks exhausted." Come on Dean, you two need a break, some food, some sleep…some normal.

Dean's chest was suddenly very tight.

The old man smiled again as he continued to ramble, "You know my wife, Anna, she decorates like a crazy women and cooks, man she puts out a big ole spread on Christmas Eve, done called me twice about getting home to eat the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes…mum, mum, mum"

Dean's stomach grumbled as his hesitant fingers floundered with the bag, his wide eyes gaping at the man.

"And those pies she makes, man," the old guy licked his lips, "Makes my mouth water just think in' about 'em."

Saliva coated Dean's tongue and he swallowed thickly. "Pies?" he said in an almost childlike awe.

The older man peered at Dean over his thick black glasses and laughed. Castiel was right, pie always seals the deal. "Oh yeah, my wife can sure make pies, blueberry, cherry, apple…. It's to die for. "He grinned at Dean, "Names Tobias," he extended out his hand, "Offers still open, you know if you want a warm bed and a hot meal on Christmas Eve."

Dean stared at the man for a long moment. His father's words echoed loudly in his weary head. Watch out for Sammy, take care of Sam. He looked back at the guy, he seemed nice enough. He pondered his and Sammy's crappy life. It had been bad lately. He cocked his head and glanced out through the icy window at his little brother in the car. Sam was sitting slouched against the passenger door. Sam doesn't need another night of sleeping in the car, he needs more than chips and coke for dinner. Take care of Sam. Sam needs this.

Dean extended his hand. "Name's Dean Winchester, and," he pointed toward the car, "that's my little brother Sam, and, I think we'll just take you up on that there offer."

As their fingers meshed together in a confident and firm hand shake, the old man smiled, his face taking on an almost unnatural looking glow. Good Dean, good for you.

-0-

Dean's smile was huge as he tossed the bag of snacks he'd bought into the back seat of the Impala, bright green eyes glancing up at Sam.

The older brother shivered from the cold. "Hell Sam," he said a little gruffly, "It's freezing in here, why didn't you start the car back up and turn on the heat?"

Sam turned his head to look curiously at his brother. Because, I need to suffer. He didn't say a word.

Dean turned the car key and the Impala roared to life. He blew warm breath against his curled up fists and stared across at Sam.

Sam sat shuddering in the cold in his all but flimsy jacket.

Dean frowned and immediately turned the heat vents toward his baby brother. "Heat, you know little brother, it like keeps you from freezing to death?" His gruff fingers unconsciously reached for and fumbled with Sam's jacket, quickly zipping it up...like he used to do for Sammy, when he was just a boy.

Sam looked utterly confused with his older brother's motions, his mouth falling abruptly open as he stared wide eyed at Dean.

Dean's lips curled up to a grin. It was right then that he decided it was time to be the big brother again.

Sam's sat perfectly still not too sure of what to do. He looked blankly at Dean. His eyes grew moist as he glanced at his older brother through his too long unkempt bangs.

Silence descended on the car.

Several moments went by with only the humming of the Impala's heater filling up the void between them.

"I'm sorry," Sam whispered so lightly that Dean had to strain his ears to hear.

Dean looked at Sam. Is he crying? I know Sam's sorry for a lot of things…and it's more than just the heat.

"Hey, it' okay, Sammy," the older brother said softly, "It's no big deal, really." He hesitated a minute, not really sure what to do next. Hell, it'd been a while since he was a big brother. H

Then he punched Sam on the arm.

Most people would have missed it. But Sam didn't. His brother had tried to bridge the gap between them, maybe only for a second, but it immediately gave Sam a little hope. Maybe it would be okay? He felt his lips curling upward in a smile.

Dean gave his little brother his best lopsided grin as his fingers resumed their position on the steering wheel of the car. His smile grew slightly bigger when he saw the faint makings of a smile slipping up on Sammy's face. It'll be okay little brother, you'll see.

The sound of a horn honking next to them had them both looking out the driver's window as Tobias pulled up beside them in his old and ragged car.

The elderly man smiled warmly and waved overzealously at them both through his front window.

Sam looked at the large car then back curiously at Dean. "What does he want?"

Dean just nodded, waved at the old man, and grinned satisfactorily to himself. He threw the car in drive.

"Hey Sammy, what'cha say we have a real Christmas Eve?"

-0-

The head lights of the Impala reflected brightly on the old Lincolns bumper as it lumbered down the road.

"You did good Tobias." The man in the light tan raincoat said as he appeared instantly in the front seat of the car.

Both angels smiled smugly at each other.

"I'm counting on you to take care of them tonight." Castiel whispered before he disappeared.

Tobias nodded in agreement.

"Cause the journeys just begun."

The End!

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