Here's another in my wee!Chester series, looking at the important lessons life has taught the Winchester brothers. Lesson 5: It's the things we give away that matter the most.
This installment was written as part of a Christmas fic exchange. Swellison asked for "A Wee!chester or Teen!chester story with an end of year holiday—anything from Thanksgiving to New Year's." Since I've pretty much covered Thanksgiving already, LOL, I decided to give Christmas a try. Hope you like it, Sue!
Happy New Year's, everyone! I hope the coming year is filled with blessings for each of you.
Better to Give
"Fank 'oo, De'n," Sammy said reverently, his toddler's eyes wide with unexpected joy as he looked at the small red metal fire truck in his hand.
The fire truck was one of Dean's toys from Before, one of the few they'd salvaged from the house, and it was Dean's prize possession. He'd carried it in his pocket ever since The Fire, as if it were a good luck charm that could ward off future disasters or give him the power to save his family when they came.
Dean had wanted something really cool to give Sammy for Christmas, since it was the first year his little brother would really be able to enjoy opening presents—he'd been too young the year before and they hadn't really been up to celebrating much, anyway. But this year was gonna be different.
Dean had wrapped up everything he could find for his little brother to open on Christmas Day. He hadn't been sure their dad would remember Christmas this year—he was still sleeping after his last long hunt—and he'd been pretty sure Santa wouldn't be able to find them with as much as they moved around. He'd wanted to make sure Sammy had presents to open, even if he didn't.
There was a new pair of socks and a pair of mittens one of the neighbors had dropped off for Sammy, saying her son had outgrown them before he'd ever gotten to wear them; a battered, dog-eared children's book someone had left behind in one of the places they'd stayed; and the pad of notepaper Dean had taken from the last motel room they'd stayed in. Sammy loved to scribble with his crayons, so now he could do it on paper—instead of on the walls wherever they were staying, which always made their dad really mad. Dean had even wrapped up the prize from the box of Lucky Charms he'd talked their dad into buying earlier that month.
Dean loved watching Sammy open presents. No matter what was in the newspaper Dean had swiped from their dad and clumsily wrapped around the small objects, Sammy squealed as if it was the best thing on earth. And then he'd give that wide, dimpled smile, and earnest "Fank 'oo," using the manners they'd been teaching him. All the while, he'd look at Dean with big, adoring eyes, as if he'd just hung the moon.
There wasn't much Dean wouldn't do to see that look in his little brother's eyes, to create the smile and enthusiastic happiness that came with each item he unwrapped. The kid had even been excited about socks, beaming at Dean as if they were just what he'd always wanted. So Dean'd had to give the kid the fire truck, because he knew how much Sammy loved it. He always wanted to play with it when Dean had it out. Dean only let him sometimes, because it was Dean's favorite and it was special.
His mom had always told him it was better to give than to receive, but Dean had never been so sure about that. Why would giving stuff away be better than getting it? That didn't make any sense. Dean had never really understood what she'd meant, until this year. Seeing how excited Sammy got over even the smallest present made Dean feel excited. It felt like he was getting a present, too, just by making Sammy so happy. And it made something in his chest get all soft and warm, like it used to when his mommy hugged him.
So Dean had wrapped his favorite toy carefully in the old newspaper his dad had been about to throw away. He knew about wrapping presents from Before, when mommy had let him help sometimes. He'd saved this gift for last and had watched closely as Sammy'd pulled off the newspaper, ripping it into pieces in his enthusiasm to get to what was inside. When he'd seen the small metal fire truck, he'd squealed in excitement and run over to Dean, showing him the treasure he'd unearthed and babbling happily. Then he'd cocked his little head to the side quizzically, asking, "De'n tuck?"
"Yeah, it's my truck, Sammy. I want you t' have it," Dean had said, smiling down at the toddler, tousling his dark hair.
Sammy had looked dazzled as he'd held the small red fire truck in one hand, fist clenched tightly around it. Dean had pried his grip loose to show Sammy the different parts, the ladder and the people painted inside, feeling a little pang in his chest at the loss of the beloved toy and the thought that his mommy wouldn't be there for Christmas again this year.
Sammy had listened to his big brother with wide, wondering eyes, then had said "Fank 'oo, De'n" in a shy voice that was nonetheless completely sincere. Then he threw his chubby little arms around his big brother's neck and hugged him tight.
Dean felt the softness of Sammy's fine baby curls tickle his cheek and the tightness in his chest from missing his mom eased just a little. As it did, he thought she had been right—it was better to give.
"...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35