Like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Summary- A twelve-year-old Sam is disappointed when a hunt pulls John away from a family Thanksgiving celebration. Dean tries to make it all better. Beta'd by sendintheclowns and Princess_schez.
Dean watched the lumpy form on the couch sigh once again. It was the Monday before Thanksgiving, and he had just received a call from Dad telling him that he wouldn't be home until Saturday. A twelve-year-old Sam hadn't taken the news well.
The previous year, Sam had gotten a taste of a traditional Thanksgiving meal with one of his classmates. It had been hard to live with the brat after that so to appease him, John had promised a more traditional Thanksgiving this year. He had told the boys that they were going to the local Cracker Barrel for a traditional meal. Sam had been ecstatic. Dean had to say he too was pleased because a traditional meal meant pie.
It was almost an apple pie existence last week as the three of them looked forward to some family time.
Only being Winchesters, they should have known better.
Friday night, John received a call from Caleb. The other hunter thought he was on a simple black dog hunt but it turned out to be not just one but a pack. John was the closest back up so he reluctantly agreed but promised to make it a quick hunt.
Sam had continued to hope that John would make it back but Dean knew better. His hopes had been dashed too many times as a kid and now he only believed things when they happened. He hadn't been surprised by his father's call but Sam had been devastated.
Dean understood the kid's misery. The idea of having a traditional family holiday had been the Holy Grail for Dean at a young age too. He had felt the same disappointment, only he had let go of those dreams a lot sooner than Sam had, but then he hadn't been shielded from the hunting side of life like Sam had.
Dean sighed and picked up the local paper thumbing through until he came upon the entertainment section. A movie might pick his brother up but unfortunately they didn't have the funds for that, now that the money left was going to have to last a bit longer than originally expected.
He flipped to the next page that had a list of the TV programs to be shown that night, hoping to find something watchable. At seven o'clock they were showing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on CBS. Dean smiled.
Peanuts had been one of the things that his mom loved. He remembered her insisting that the holidays were not the holidays without Snoopy. It was one of the few memories he had of his mom. Knowing how important it had been to his mom, Dean had always insisted they watch each Peanut holiday special whenever it was feasible.
A couple of years ago, Sam had insisted he wasn't a baby and so the tradition of watching Snoopy and the gang on the holidays had stopped. Dean knew what it was like to want to grow up and let go of your childhood so he had let that tradition go without a fight even though it left him a little sad.
It had become a tradition for them though and that was what his brother was craving a traditional family gathering. This might just be the fix. Dean definitely felt a plan coming together.
Life sucked. Or Sam amended, life as a Winchester sucked. All he had wanted was one day where they behaved like a normal family. It really wasn't that much to ask- only he guessed it was. John wouldn't be home for Thanksgiving, again.
Sam was pulled from his pity party by his brother's voice.
"Hey Sam, I'm going to go to the grocery store for some supplies, I'll be back a few."
Sam nodded and then curled back on the couch, trying hard to not let the disappointment he felt overwhelm him.
Sam guessed he had nodded off while Dean was gone because he found himself jerking awake at the sound of the apartment door opening.
"Hey princess, you been asleep?" Dean asked as he headed to the kitchen area of the apartment.
"So what's for dinner Dean?" Sam asked as he wiped the sleep from his eyes.
"Thanksgiving." Dean replied with a smirk.
"You're so funny, jerk." Sam huffed back as he stood to check out what his brother had brought back.
"I do have a great sense of humor. Sam, really, this is gonna be great and a surprise so stay in the living room and let me fix dinner in peace, Bitch."
Sam flipped his brother the bird and slumped back down on the couch. He could hear his brother bustling around the kitchen. The sound of popcorn being popped and the smell of toast filled the air.
Thanksgiving, right. Sam rolled his eyes. At least Dean was trying to cheer him up and cared that Sam was down. That made Sam decide to not take his foul mood out on Dean. It wasn't his brother's fault and in fact Dean was suffering too.
About fifteen minutes later Dean appeared and thrust a plate towards Sam.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Sammy."
Sam looked at the plate and smiled. It contained the perfect Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal- pretzel sticks, popcorn, toast and jelly beans. His big brother was pretty awesome at times.
"Sure kid." Dean handed Sam a root beer and then disappeared into the kitchen before reappearing with his own plate and drink.
Sam moved over on the couch making room for his brother.
"Dean, I'm sorry I've been a pain today. I just wanted us to have a normal Thanksgiving."
Dean smiled. "I get it, Sam, I do. I was looking forward to some pie myself but... I thought that we could do a Winchester tradition. They are showing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on TV in like, ten minutes."
"Cool, it has been awhile." Sam felt bad that he had put an end to that particular tradition, but it had felt childish to cling to it.
Dean took a swig of his root beer and burped. "Yeah, it has been awhile," Dean paused and gave Sam a sad look.
"Dean, is there something you're not telling me about the hunt?"
Dean shook his head. "No, it's just that watching Peanuts at the holidays is a tradition for us and it was for mom too. I probably should have shared this before now, but talking about her is so hard."
Sam's heart skipped a beat. Dean and his dad rarely spoke of Mary and any scrap of knowledge he could get was a treasure.
"I know you miss her Dean." Sam said softly not wanting to lose this moment by pushing Dean, even though every fiber in his being wanted his big brother to share whatever it was he was holding back.
Dean sniffled and wiped moisture from his eyes furtively before speaking. "Mom always said it wasn't the holidays until we got to see the Peanuts holiday special. She loved Snoopy and the gang. Each holiday she would pop popcorn, and we would sit together on the couch and watch Peanuts together as a family. The last Thanksgiving I had with her, she made a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving feast, just like this to eat as we watched the show. I was so amazed that she did that. It was so awesome. I don't remember much from that time, in fact I don't remember the formal dinner, just the Charlie Brown Feast."
Sam swallowed hard fighting the emotions that threatened to erupt. He was so touched that Dean was willing to share that private memory. It made tonight special in so many ways.
Sam took a deep calming breath before trusting himself to speak. "Thanks Dean, this is the best Thanksgiving ever."
"Sure thing squirt, let's turn the TV on so we don't miss a minute of Charlie Brown and the gang." Dean grabbed the remote and soon the familiar Peanuts theme music filled the room.
Sam had hoped for the best Thanksgiving ever, a traditional feast, and thanks to his awesome big brother, he'd gotten just that.
A/N: This was me picking once again at the episode Darkside Of The Moon. In my head, I've decided that Zachariah played with Sam's best memories and while his first real Thanksgiving dinner at age eleven had to have made a big impression on a young Sam- I don't think it was a perfect memory for him. So, I created my own perfect Thanksgiving memory for the boys. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
A big thanks to my two betas, and Floralia for being in my corner. I couldn't do it without you girls. :)