Birthday Wishes

Summary: A short two chapter piece belonging to my 'Not My Sammy series' as Sam and Dean spend Dean's birthday on the road and Sam struggles to find the perfect gift to give his brother.

Warning: Minor swearing in the 2nd chapter. No violence in this one.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

A/N: While working on Mirror Images, I decided to give Dean a birthday story and while I'm sure I'll probably do a couple versions I hope everyone enjoys this one.


Sam's POV:

'I'm twenty-six, dude,' those words still ring in my head as I remember the night my brother shot them back at me. It was a lifetime ago it seems at times but it's only been six years. Six years of pain, of heartache, of loss, of betrayal, of sacrificing our lives for one another and six years of my brother always being there for me.

Tonight's been a bad night for both of us. It's been about two weeks or so since we left the safe haven that was Bobby's house to go back on the road. It's been two weeks of it just being us again without Bobby acting as a buffer and two weeks of just being…brothers again without all the hassles or walls between us.

We've handled one simple case of a salt and burn two states away from Bobby and it was enough to remind me that I hadn't hunted in over a damn year. Despite the four years, I'd been away from it while at school, the injuries, the pain and the weak muscles were going to make it harder this time to get back into it. Dean promises we'll start training again as soon as I can do a light PT without passing out or throwing up. Until then he's grounded me into mainly research and weapon cleaning.

Tonight we crashed early even though I was doing fine but I knew why. I'd been trying not to sleep the past couple nights because I kept having the same dream and he wanted to sleep in a real motel instead of the car so he'd have a better shot at controlling my nightmares…and because today was his birthday.

Dean turned thirty-two today and unlike the other times that he'd spend it in a bar or with some cheap thrill he'd picked up, he was braving it out with me since he downright refused to leave me alone.

We both knew we had targets on our backs by the rest of the Campbells. Ignoring the fact of what they'd done to us…to me, which was Dean's biggest reason to hate Mom's family, I'd killed our own grandfather and that was bound to draw them to us eventually.

So on top of the increased traumas I faced every day, the nights were the worst and Dean, who was back in manic hyper over protective big brother mode, just wasn't taking the chance of leaving me so he could have a few hours to himself. I'll feel guilty over that in maybe a few years. Right now, I'm still uneasy if I don't know where he's at or I can't see him.

That's mutual though since if I step out of his line of sight for too long or if he doesn't know where I am, Dean goes into fight mode. Hell, he about took out a waitress in a diner when she stared at me too hard. That's when I first realized how much he was burying because Dean only flipped out like that when he was stretched too thin.

I wanted to do something for his birthday. Go to an actual restaurant or something but he'd just shrugged it off and said he'd go out for diner food. I still wasn't eating as well as I had been but for Dean, for tonight, I did eat the full double bacon cheeseburger and fries he brought back and picked at the salad since despite his teasing from before he was trying to push more greens on me. I noticed that while he made sure I ate, he only picked at his.

For Dean, his birthday was just another reminder of the family we'd lost. I knew that was why he spent it usually at a bar or something so he wouldn't have to think of Mom or Dad, the things he'd lost or the things he'd never have.

I knew that Lisa had called him today because he was tense while he talked and wouldn't talk about it after he hung up. She didn't understand my brother. Lisa was a good woman and while I had hoped when I went into the Cage that she could help Dean find that normal life we both always wanted, I know that he'll never settle down like she wants. Hell, he killed a garden gnome. Yeah, Dean's great but he's just not the 9-to-5 type. I wish he was but if I'm honest with myself I have to say that I still dread the day he decides this is a mistake and he'd rather be with her. I have dreams about that and I think that scares me more than even the dreams about that warehouse in Lawrence with the shapeshifter or what I endured at the hands of others.

Dean's in the shower now so I'm debating on the wiseness of my gift idea. Finding something for my big brother has never been easy. Dean's not the tie or cufflinks type and considering that I will never be able to make up for the pain and trauma he's gone through the past six years I can only hope what I did decide to get him shows me how much he means to me. How much I appreciate what he's given up and sacrificed for me and what he's still willing to do for me.

It took a lot of work to find what I wanted and I'll never know exactly how Bobby did it but as I sit the newspaper wrapped box on the bed closest to the motel room door I hope he likes it. My hand shakes as I sign the card, lay it next to the box and manage to roll over to pretend to be asleep as the bathroom door opens and Dean comes out dressed in a pair worn sleep pants.

I know the moment he spots the card and the box because I can hear the way his breath catches and I wait to hear the sarcastic comeback or smart remark I figure will come but after a long moment of silence in which I don't hear Dean move or say anything I begin to worry I'd screwed up again.

Shifting uneasily while pretending to be asleep, I decided to roll towards the other bed to see his face when I suddenly feel the edge of my bed dip under his weight and I struggle not to tense until I feel the familiar touch of Dean's hand on my shoulder and his voice finally spoke.

"Thanks, Sammy," he murmured and I wonder if it's just how tired he was when I heard it shake until I felt his hand move to my neck to squeeze it like he normally did. "I also know you're not sleeping but I'll let half of what you put in the card slide…so long as you never think it again. Got it…bitch?"

Swallowing hard, I shift enough to look at him and see that my brother's green eyes had more emotion in them than I'd seen since waking up at Bobby's after Lawrence. "Yeah…jerk," I tell him then take a leap when I mutter softly. "Happy Birthday, Dean."

This time I feel him tense a second before he sighs and moves back up against the headboard, clearly planning on sitting on my bed for awhile which means he knows the nightmares will be coming. "I…love you too, little brother," Dean tells me in a voice he rarely uses except with me lately. "Now, shut up and never make me say that until your birthday."

I laugh and fall asleep with my brother's voice nearby and the gentle clicking as he opens and shuts the engraved lighter that had once been our Dad's until he'd given it to Dean on his eighteenth birthday. Dean had lost it sometime during that year after he made his deal and I knew how much losing it had hurt him so I'd finally been able to give something back to him.

'Good night, Dean," I mutter, feeling his hand still on my neck as I fall asleep fully with relief that my brother and I are safe for the moment even though I guess I should tell Dean about the other dreams I've been having. "Happy Birthday."