The wonders of cooking

Summary: Sam remembers Jess' last birthday-gift to him; a homemade meal, and mourns over the fact he'll probably never have one again. Dean is of another opinion. Set in S1, no pairings.

Pairing/s: None.

Warnings: Not much.

Disclaimers: I don't own Supernatural.

-

"Alright, what have I done this time?"

Sam turned around to watch Dean who quirked an eyebrow.

"What?" Sam asked, confused.

"You're wearing the bitch-face. So what have I done?"

"Nothing," the younger man said.

"Then why do you look like you've eaten a lemon?"

"It's May 1st today." Sam fidgeted on the bed.

"Yeah." Dean put down the bags of food on the crappy thing that someone dared to call table. And the chairs did not look much better. On second thought, he got the bags up and dumped them on the nightstand between their beds, then sat down. "What about it?"

"Tomorrow's my birthday."

"I know that, dude. What? You want a cake?"

"No… I was just thinking… never mind."

"Tell me," Dean said, shrugging off his jacket. "You can, you know."

Sam looked up at Dean. His big brother, his anchor, his safe-haven, his everything… he could tell Dean anything.

"Last year Jess made me a homemade meal on my birthday," Sam said, looking straight ahead and not at Dean. "A real one, not just something quick that we were used to or at some crappy diner. She was lazy about making food, but really outdid it for me… I… I think I just realized it was probably the last time I'll ever have a real homemade meal."

Dean looked at him quietly. Sam stretched out to get the food, and the older one did not stop him.

-

"Dean, this thing you want me to get is like two towns over! It's gonna take me hours to get it!" Sam was irritated. It was his birthday, yet Dean wanted him to drive and get something. What was so goddamn important that Dean had ordered it to the last town they had been to?

"It'll be worth it," Dean said. "Promise."

Had it been any other, he would have argued. He would have made a fuss, throw a temper tantrum if he had to and glare. Might even have considered stomping his foot if that would get him out of it.

But this was Dean. It was Dean's promise. Dean never broke his promises. Sam stared at him, mouth in a near-pout, and then snatched the keys from Dean's hand.

"The big mall, right?" Freaking stupid manipulative big brothers…

"Yep!" Dean said with a grin. "Ask for a package to Dean Johnson at the post office, you're my brother Sam."

"I still don't get why you can't get it," Sam whined as he allowed his brother to push him out of the motel room.

"You'll see! And take care of my baby!"

Sam stuck his tongue out.

-

Dean poked at the table and saw it move with the gentle motion, groaning. There was no fucking way he would put any weight on that thing… he was out the door within seconds, prepared to complain.

Thirty minutes later, he realized he was very good at complaining at a subtle level. Satisfied, he looked at the more-or-less sturdy table and could finally get down to work. He shrugged out of his shirt, leaving him in a normal black T-shirt and threw the shirt down on his bed before putting the bags down on the counter. He was glad they had rented a room with a small kitchen-area; otherwise he would seriously have considered changing into a room that had one.

-

Sam glanced over at the package once in a while, wondering what it was and who it was for. It was wrapped like a gift, therefore hiding where it came from and what it might be. He bit his lip, looking at it again. Not that big, not so heavy either… who could it be for? Not for him, right? Although it was his birthday… but still.

Before, when he was at Stanford, Dean usually just sent a card or called him, just told him 'Happy birthday'. Dean did not have that kind of money, even if he wanted to. When Sam was a kid, Dean would just make his favourite meal, and maybe able to have money enough for ice-cream, or more rarely, books.

The man focused on the road again. It would do him no good if he accidently crashed; he did not fancy getting killed on his birthday whether it was due to the accident or Dean killing him for putting a scratch on the Impala. Sam shook his head free from such thoughts, glanced once more at the package and then drove back to the motel.

-

The smell of food entered his nostrils the moment Sam stepped inside the motel room. Good food. Not take out-food but real food. He looked towards the kitchen-area and gaped.

Dean was standing by the counter, glancing over at the stove where something was heating up while cutting… vegetables?? His big brother was cutting vegetables of his own free will??

The older man turned around and their eyes met. Dean quirked an eyebrow at the younger man.

"Christo," Sam breathed out.

"Dude! I'm not a freaking demon!" Dean sounded offended. Should he be offended? Sam was not quite sure.

"Could've fooled me," Sam said with a shrug before he closed the door. "So if you aren't a demon… then what are you doing?"

"I'm cooking," Dean stated. "You know, I can still do that."

"Really?"

"Man, just because I don't do it often doesn't mean I can't!" Dean said and went back to the vegetables.

"Yeah I know, but dude, vegetables?"

"What? You like it."

"Yeah, I-- what?"

Dean looked back for a brief moment, then turned back.

"Thought you would be gone longer," he said. "Or else I'm getting slower with this stuff."

"Stuff?"

"Cooking. Haven't practised a lot lately, got no money for it."

"And how did you get money this time?" Sam asked as he closed in, the package safely on Dean's bed.

"Poker, some pool hustling the usual stuff. Had some saved. Why don't you set the table?"

"Isn't this a different table then the one that was here before I left?" Sam asked.

"No way would we eat at that crap. Would've given out on us, fucking fire wood was all it was good for. No, I went and asked for a new one."

"How did you do that?"

"You know that, I'm awesome." This time Dean turned and gave his little brother the Dean-patented grin and Sam had to shake his head at him.

"Whatever you say, Dean. So the reason for me to go and get that package is so you would have time to cook me dinner?"

"Kinda."

"What do you mean kinda?" Sam asked as he put the plates down, looking at his brother's back.

"What I mean; kinda," Dean said. "You'll know after dinner."

Sam looked at the pots and pans and felt a lump in his throat. He swallowed past it and closed his eyes for a moment before continuing setting the table. It had been years since he last saw Dean cook. The man was good, considering he had done all the meals in their family and Sam was sad when Dean stopped. Or, he did not really know when Dean stopped. He cooked before Sam went to Stanford, he didn't after picking Sam up at Stanford. Time or money, Sam never got to know. Dean never spoke about it.

But now he was cooking. He was standing at a stove and willingly cooking... for him. For his little brother.

"Dean?"

"Yeah?"

"Thanks."

Dean looked over his shoulder at the man and his eyes softened, the way they used to do. Sam could almost cry right there and then. He had not seen Dean look at him that way for over four years.

-

"That was real great, you know."

Dean grinned at that and leaned back against the chair.

"Well, that was good to know," he said. "No, stay put; I'll clear the dishes."

Sam felt the lump in his throat again. His brother had to stop doing that to him. Dean walked over to the kitchen-area with the plates and rinsed them before coming back for the glasses and cutlery. Sam rose up then, seeing his chance and before Dean could move away he wrapped his arms around his big brother.

Dean stood still for a moment before chuckling softly and hugging him back.

"Alright," he said after a few moments, "enough of chick-flick. Need to clear this away for dessert."

"You made dessert?" Sam asked.

"No, but I bought it," Dean said. "Now go and watch some TV for a bit, will you? I'll come in a minute."

Sam did not have the heart to argue so instead he just smiled before moving over to the couch. He glanced over again at the package sitting on his bed innocently, which really annoyed him. What did Dean mean with that 'Kinda' anyway? What was the man planning?

He was in the middle of a documentary about a building project when Dean came to the couch, a plate in each hand.

"One for you," he said and gave Sam one of the plates before plopping down on the couch, "and one for me."

"Cherry pie? Man, you hate them."

"And you don't, now shut up and watch your program," Dean said. His piece was noticeably smaller than Sam's but he still ate it. Sam really wanted to say 'Christo' again, just in case. "Dude… I'm not a demon."

"How do you do that?" Sam wanted to know, staring at him.

"What can I say? I'm awesome." Dean grinned at him.

"Whatever," Sam muttered and turned back to the TV, eating his slice of pie. "What's up with the package?"

"Christ, you never give up, do you?"

"That's what I'm here for; to be the ever-annoying little brother."

"More like I-can't-shut-up-little brother," Dean growled as he got up and crossed the room to get to the package. He lifted it up and carried it over to the couch where he once more plopped down on. "Here."

"What?"

"It's for you, take it." Bewildered, Sam put down his plate and accepted the package from his brother's hands. Dean retreated and glanced over at him.

"Dean?"

"What?"

"You bought me a gift?"

"So what?"

"Dean… dinner, dessert, gift. There no way in hell you just whipped this up overnight."

"So what if I've been planning it a bit? The gift anyway; food and that just struck me when you mentioned it." Dean looked away but Sam still caught it, and his jaw fell down. There was no way… no, impossible. But it was right there. He had to ask. He had to know:

"Dean… are you blushing?"

"No!"

"Your face tells me a different story."

"Just open it!" Dean said and crossed his arms.

"Alright, alright…" Sam glanced over at his brother again even as he pulled the paper off. So the gift was indeed to him. Dean had really outdone himself for Sam's sake… like always. He knew he had to find something good for his big brother on Dean's birthday; if Dean could do this for him, then Sam should be allowed to treat his brother to the same thing. And even if it was nothing big, Sam wanted to show with his actions that he loved his big brother.

He shouldn't say that aloud though; Dean would die of the chick-flickiness of it all. Can't have his brother dying on him, now could he?

"Well, are you just gonna stare at it or what?"

Sam shook his head to clear his mind and watched the box. Apparently Dean had given instructions to whoever wrapped it as a gift and had made that person make sure Sam could not figure out where it came from.

Nonetheless, he opened it. His hands froze at the sight, his eyes going wider.

"I know it's not very practical and stuff, considering you don't really have a house," Dean said awkwardly as Sam continued to stare, "but… well, whatever."

"Dean… where did you find it?"

"I made some calls couple months back," Dean replied and looked over at his little brother. "To some of your friends. This girl had a couple on you and Jess, and was happy to make a larger copy for me."

Sam took up the frame from the box and looked at Jessica's face. She was smiling, Sam's arms around her and his head on her shoulder. They looked so happy.

He also thought there were no pictures of him and her together left. But Dean had found one. His big brother who would do anything for him had actually hunted a picture down, just for Sam's sake.

Dean gently set aside the box and let Sam take his time. "The frame was your friend's suggestion," he added. "She and I split on the pay, 'cuz she didn't mind paying if it was for you."

"Who was it?"

"Some Gina or whatever."

"Gina." He remembered her. She was a friend of both him and Jess. She would be the type of person who would do this, along with Dean.

Dean looked closer on the younger man. "You're not gonna start crying on me, right? Because that'd be… awkward."

Sam had to smile at that and turned to Dean. Sure, his eyes were a bit misty but if he did end up crying Dean would not hesitate trying to make it stop. "No," he said finally. "No, I'm fine. It's beautiful."

"Yeah."

"How long have you had it?"

"Actually I had her send it to me couple days ago. But then we had already moved on, because you'd get suspicious. And then yesterday when you told me about the dinner… guess my mind worked out a super-plan."

"And it worked," Sam added.

"Course it worked; it's me we're talking about."

The younger man couldn't help but chuckle at that, and even Dean grinned. Sam put the frame on the table, the picture not quite as large as a normal-sized paper and leaned a bit sideways, towards his brother. Dean noticed but didn't move away.

"Hey," Sam said a while later, when they were lazily watching an episode of Mythbusters.

"Hmm?"

"I know I've already said it… but thanks. For the whole day I mean."

Dean looked over at him and then made a small sound of protest as Sam's head landed on his shoulder.

"Hey, you think you can just use me as a pillow? And don't think you can get all mushy on me just because it's your birthday, you creep."

Sam poked Dean in the side and then relaxed. After a while Dean's arm came up and wrapped around his shoulders. Just as the younger man was about to fall asleep, he heard a whisper:

"You're welcome, little brother."

With that in mind, Sam drifted off with a smile.

End


Just an idea I had in mind, hoped you guys enjoyed!

Until another time,

Ja,

Tiro