Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. This means that I make no profit from writing this story.
AN: Merry Christmas everyone! The days leading up to this one have been more hectic than I expected, but I hope to get back to writing very soon!
Sam Winchester sighed as he sunk lower in his seat. It was a horribly hard thing that was standard in hotel rooms–at least, the hotel rooms the Winchesters frequented. Why did it always have to be like this? It was Christmas Eve and here they were investigating a rash of murders in a quaint little town in the middle of nowhere. It was always like this; this was how they spent every holiday.
It was like the death of Mary Winchester had taken all the cheer from holidays. John had never bothered to celebrate, never giving it a passing thought and he had passed that negligence on to Dean. Sam managed to escape by the skin of his teeth. He hadn't thought much of it when he was younger. Holidays weren't something he had grown up around but going to school, seeing all those other children get so excited over the stupid things had opened his eyes; it had made him want to celebrate. His ideas had always been turned down, forgotten about when another demon was found.
Things had changed when he went to Stanford. Christmas was a big thing it seemed and Jess had made it even better. There had been lights and a tree almost too big to fit in their dorm. There had also been presents. It had been a real Christmas. And now, a year after Jess's death, his first Christmas without her, it made him want what he had lost all the more.
But he wasn't going to get that. The hotel room was dingy and dirty and certainly not lit with lights or a tree. They weren't here on vacation and there would be no presents exchanged, only Dean's witty words over a bloody corpse.
Sam scrunched his large frame deeper into the chair with a pathetic groan.
The demon was dead, finally. It hadn't been easy; Sam had been thrown into a brick wall while Dean had nearly gotten his head chopped off by way of an axe wielding spirit. Who knew the two could work together? After the night they had, they had decided it was best to spend the night and head out in the morning.
Sam prodded his head wound with a wince as the covers pooled around his seated form. Head wounds were always the worst, and this one was going to sting for a few days. A glance to the second bed showed that Dean was beginning to stir. It must be later than he thought if Dean was rousing. He might as well get started on packing. There were a few dirty clothes and weapons scattered around the room that needed packed away before they could leave. His stomach grumbled unhappily at not being fed the night before. The sooner he cleaned things up, the faster he could get some food.
Tossing the covers back, Sam slid his feet to the floor. He almost missed the quiet thud of something falling to the floor. A frown beaded his brow; bending down he picked up a small, square package that was inelegantly wrapped in festive paper. Where had it come from? A look to the side confirmed the salt lines were still intact before the door and the windows.
'No', Sam thought to himself, 'it couldn't be. Could it?' His gaze slid to the occupied bed beside his own. 'Had Dean put the package here?' He returned his gaze to said package, looking at it in a whole new light. If Dean had set the thing on his bed that would explain the wrapping. The paper was the stuff you could get at any dollar store but the small package was heavy. Sam tugged the bright green bow off, tossing it on the bed before his fingers slid under the taped seam. A tug had the wrapping falling away easily to reveal a plain white box. His curiosity was piqued now and there was no stopping him from lifting the lid to take in the thick, silver bracelet. It was delicate but heavy looking, almost girlish but not quite. Knowing Dean, it probably had enough silver content to deter a werewolf but that wasn't what caught his attention and had him lifting the cuff from the box. The bracelet had an oval that would lay comfortably on his wrist; it was filled with a picture he thought he would never see again.
Looking at the photo, Sam felt his breath catch and had to blink rapidly to rid himself of the tears welling in his eyes. It was taken last Christmas in their tiny dorm room right in front of their huge tree, though it couldn't have been that large since he could see the very top in the picture. The star that he remembered had been replaced with a diamond but that didn't matter. His thumb traced over Jess's face as he remembered how happy he had been then, planning to propose once he got his life in order. He still had the ring tucked away in the bottom of his duffel bag, hidden inside a slit in the seam.
His fingers worked the bracelet onto his wrist, eyes never leaving the picture. A sound from the bed startled him, and he turned to find Dean rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
"Where did you find it?" Sam asked quietly.
Dean didn't even bother to play dumb. "Asked around," he replied shortly before he dropped his eyes, rubbing the back of his head. "I may have borrowed your phone one night. One of your friends, Betty, Betsy," Dean shrugged dismissively, "something like that, managed to get hold of it from someone else."
Sam knew how much that speech had cost Dean. Poor, emotionally stunted Dean couldn't stand 'chick flick' moments. The calls and the actual giving of the gift must have played hell with him and it meant all the more to Sam for that. Still, he knew better than to draw attention to it. "Thanks, Dean."
Dean huffed as he made his way towards their bags. "Princess Samantha strikes again," he threw over his shoulder as he began shoving dirty clothes and weapons into their bags.
Sam half frowned, half smiled as he replied, "Jerk." 'I love you, ya big doofus.'
"Bitch." 'Yeah, whatever.'