It was completely unintentional. Looking back on it, Sam could have sworn that he hadn't even spoken aloud. But he had. Unfortunately, he had.
It was Tuesday evening, warm but not uncomfortably so, just enough that a few salt-lined windows had been left open to allow for a gentle breeze to reach the small house's inhabitants. The Winchester family had been staying in this particular dwelling for a few months now, and Dean was getting antsy. His father had been looking into a possible hunt a few towns over, and Dean was begging to go with him, despite it being a one-man job. The two men stood before each other in the small living room, while Sam, choosing to ignore the growing argument, was sitting in front of them on a beat up couch with his feet up on a beat up coffee table and reading a beat up copy of "A Farewell to Arms".
"Come on, dad, you can always use an extra person!" Dean whined.
John sighed in frustration. "This is a simple job, Dean. And the more people on an easy job, the more difficult it gets."
"I wont get in the way, you know that!"
"I'll only be gone for a few days anyway. A week tops."
"Great! That's all I need! Just a little bit of time away from this stupid town."
Shaking his head, John continued, "You need to stay and look after your brother."
Dean rolled his eyes and scoffed, gesturing to the lanky teen that had yet to acknowledge the older men's presence. "Sam? He'll be fine! Like you said, it will only be for a few days. He's fifteen, he can take care of himself for that long!"
In synch, the older Winchesters whipped their heads around to stare at the youngest. Sam hadn't even looked up from his book, having merely muttered the single word under his breath, more to himself than his family. After a few moments of silence, Sam glanced up to find John and Dean still staring at him, both with a dumb expression on their face. His brow furrowed in confusion. "Um, what?"
Dean spoke first. "What did you just say?"
It took Sam a few seconds to figure out what he was talking about since he hadn't intended to be heard. Finally he realized what they meant, "Oh." He blushed slightly and ducked his head back towards his book, hoping to simply brush off the comment. "I'm sixteen, not fifteen."
"What?" Dean exclaimed, his father still staring with a shocked, slightly guilty expression. "Since when?"
Sam sighed. He really hadn't meant to turn this into something. Lowering his book once more, he fixed his family with a bored, exasperated look. "Since May 2nd."
John and Dean quickly looked to the tattered calendar hanging on the opposite wall. It was currently May 17th.
Their attention snapped back when another sigh escaped their youngest. "Look, Dean's right. I can handle myself for a week or whatever, and at the rate Dean's going he's going to tear his own hair out if he stays here. And he'll never get laid if he's bald."
Dean shot his little brother an indignant look, fully ready to comeback with Bitch, I'd look better bald than you do now, but halted when he remembered what they had just discovered. He had just opened his mouth when John finally spoke. "Right, of course. Um…" For the first time that either boy could remember, their father sounded uncomfortable. "…Sorry son." With that, John high-tailed it out of the room, while Sam returned soundlessly to his reading. For a moment, Dean stood shell-shocked. Finally, he turned and ran after his father, tossing over his shoulder, "Hold on a sec, Sammy!" He ignored the grumbled reply of "It's Sam."
Sliding into the meager master bedroom, Dean closed the door carefully behind him before turning to his father, who was wandering aimlessly around the room. "Dad, tell me you're not gonna let this go."
John sighed, sitting heavily on the worn bed. He raised his head, the look on his face telling Dean that he was about to say something patronizing that implied Dean was ten. "Now Dean-"
"No, dad!" The other man looked surprised at being cut off, but his son had managed to get quite worked up in only a few minutes time, pacing and waving his arms as he ranted. "We are NOT going to just let this slide. I mean, it's not like we usually make a huge deal about birthdays but we at least acknowledge them! And this is his sixteenth birthday we're talking about! Sweet sixteen! When I turned sixteen you gave me the Impala, and we completely forgot about Sam! And he didn't even tell us! So there is absolutely no way I am letting you get out of this. We are going to find some way to make it up to him and that's final."
There was a pause as Dean panted to get his breath and his father sat, jaw open from his son's outburst. Finally gathering his wits about him, John tried to placate his eldest. "Dean, I feel awful, but with the hunt and all-"
"Oh please," Dean scoffed, "just have Caleb do it. He's in the area, right? You just talked to him yesterday. It was an easy one anyway, just ask him to take it."
One argument lost, John tried a different angle, "Dean, we can't afford to do anything big right now like with you-"
Dean snorted. "Dad, I highly doubt Sam expects or wants a car or anything as extravagant as that. That's not even what this is about!" Dean paused, taking a deep breath, trying to keep from getting too flustered again. When he spoke again it was calm and collected. "Look, I know you have your reasons, and you know I usually take your side, but you can't deny the kid's been screwed over in a lot of aspects of his life. It's not fair that he gets screwed with this, too. Sam deserves one day to not feel like crap. You gave me that much."
For a moment, the two Winchesters were silent, each taking the other in. Then, slowly, John began to nod. "Okay. You're right. We'll figure something out to make it up to him."
A sigh of relief escaped Dean's lips, glad to not have to fight his father anymore. He would have, if he had to, because damn it he was right. But it was nice to get him on his side without involving any screaming.
Suddenly, Dean's face split into a wide grin, and he threw himself down beside his father, leaning in conspiratorially. "Great! So here's what I had in mind…"
John actually looked scared.
That night, Dean walked into the cramped room he shared with Sam feeling mighty good about himself. He had an easy smile on his face, feeling lighter about the whole situation now that he had a plan of action. However, the smile dropped slightly when he noticed his brother lying down, his now finished book placed carefully on the small side table. Dean closed the door carefully, assuming that Sam was asleep.
"Dad letting you go on the hunt?"
Dean jumped, his head whipping back to his brother. He hadn't moved, or even opened his eyes, and for a moment Dean wondered if he was going crazy. But then Sam cracked open one eye, studying his older brother carefully. "You guys were talking for awhile."
Grinning, Dean strode towards his bed, casually stripping out of his shirt and jeans as he did so. "Nah, looks like this one's going to Caleb. He's in the area and apparently dad thought it'd be easier to just pass it on to him."
A low hum escaped Sam's throat. After a moment, Sam slowly closed his eye again. "Sorry."
Dean frowned. "What for?"
"I know you're getting some wicked cabin fever. I'm sorry you can't get out like you were hoping."
Shrugging, Dean laid back on his bed. "It's alright. There are always other hunts."
Another thoughtful hum was the only response. As the silence stretched out, Dean contemplated just leaving it at that, turning the lights out and rolling over to get some well-deserved sleep. But curiosity got the better of him. "Sam?"
"…Why didn't you tell us we forgot your birthday?" He wanted to know. Because Sam fought about a lot of things, mostly how very not normal their lives were. And birthdays were practically the epitome of normal, and yet Sam hadn't said a word.
He heard a chuckle from the bed across from him. "You still on that?" A sigh. "It just… wasn't a big deal. I almost forgot myself." A pause. "Honestly Dean, I really don't care."
The bed sheets rustled as Sam turned onto his other side, facing away from his brother. "So seriously, don't worry about it."
But his words fell on deaf ears. Somewhere in his gut, it bothered Dean that Sam was so indifferent, though he wasn't sure why. Normally Dean prayed for his little brother to let things go. But now…
So what if Sam didn't care? Dean cared. The older Winchester didn't fight or long for normalcy the way his little brother did, but even he had limit. And damn it, even if just this once he was going to give his brother at least a semi-proper birthday if it was the last thing he did.
Dean drummed his hands against the steering wheel of the impala, driving lazily through the small town. It was now Thursday, two days later, and Dean was out running errands to prepare for his master plan, which would be put into effect the next day. He had already stopped by the only market in the town, picking up what he could for as cheap as he could. After a few minutes, Dean pulled into a small thrift store, his final stop for the day.
Walking in, he made a beeline for the back, where they kept miscellaneous items. He wasn't particularly picky, grabbing the first mixing bowl and whisk that he saw. He glanced around for the final items he needed, frowning when he could not seem to find it.
"May I help you, sir?"
Turning around, Dean came face to face with a short, elderly lady smiling kindly at him.
"Um… sure. You got any cake pans?"
The woman seemed to think for a moment before brightening up. "Why you're in luck! I just saw some the other day. One moment, please." With that, the lady shuffled away enthusiastically. Sure enough, moments later, she returned with two old, but adequate looking round eight-inch cake pans. One was a bit more beat up that the other, but still useable. "Here you are, young man."
Dean smiled as he took them. "Thanks." With that, he made his purchase and exited the store, pleased that everything was going so well...
...27 years ago…
Bethany Cole ran into the back kitchen of her bakery, screaming as her husband chased after her, eyes raging and fists raised. "Please! Please, Jacob, don't-"
"Shut up!" The hulking man grabbed her roughly, causing her to cry out. "I saw the way you were looking at him! Sleeping around behind my back, are you?"
"No! No, Jacob, I swear-!"
"I said SHUT UP!" In his rage, Jacob Cole grabbed the first thing his hand could reach, a shiny metal baking pan, and brought it down hard against his wife's head with a sickening thud. Three more times, he bashed her head in, until Bethany slumped lifelessly to the floor, blood dripping down her temple.
Panting heavily, the rage slowly leeched from Jacob's body. His eyes widened, blinking as if just awakening. "…Beth?" Dropping the bloody pan, it rolled away as he dropped to his knees, gripping his wife's shoulder and shaking her. "Beth? Bethany, wake up. This isn't funny, wake up!"
The situation, the truth of what he had done dawned on him, and Jacob began to cry. "Oh my God…" He didn't know what to do, what could he do? So he did the only thing he could think of. He lit a match and set his and his wife's clothes on fire. Some passersby called 911 when they saw the smoke, but it was too late. The Coles were dead, the back of the building burned to a crisp. No one was ever certain of what happened, most happy to write it off as a gas leak or some other kind of accident. With no family to take responsibility of the estate, the bakery was ultimately torn down, deemed too costly to repair the fire and smoke damage. The equipment and materials not damaged by the fire were given to charity, including a small cake pan, the dried blood having turned brown so most could assume it was simply stains from cooking or rust. It was passed around until it ultimately ended up in the back of a thrift store, peacefully gathering dust.
Now, in the back of a black '67 Chevy Impala, a being awoke, questioning who had disturbed the peace she had finally found…
The next morning, Sam walked out the door to get to school, completely unsuspecting of the events that were to come. Dean waited until a few hours before Sam was due home before hastily unpacked all of the supplies he had bought. Flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, two tins of frosting, a small package of candles and his meager baking equipment.
In the corner of the kitchen, John let out a sigh. "I still don't understand why we couldn't just buy the kid a cake." If it had been anyone other than John Winchester, you would say his tone was whining. Dean swallowed a grin, instead turning to glare at the man. "Ah shut up, Sam loves sentimental crap like this." He gestured to the full counter. "He'll be all touched that we went through the effort or whatever. Either way, we get extra points for the thought."
John walked over to inspect Dean's purchases, picking up one of the tins of frosting and furrowing his brow. "The Hell is 'funfetti'?"
Dean shrugged. "Hell if I know, but it's festive so don't complain!"
Ignoring the sound of muttering coming from his father, Dean turned to the recipe he had printed off the Internet. He glanced over the directions, nodding in approval. "Alright, this shouldn't be too hard." Pointing to the bowl, he moved towards the oven. "You start mixing stuff, I'll try to convince the oven to work." For the first few minutes, it seemed like everything might go fine. John measured out the ingredients, and after a few good kicks the light on the oven signaled that it was preheating. Dean grinned happily, easily getting into the festive spirit. "Great! You keep doing that, and I'll start decorating." John grumbled in reply, and Dean rolled his eyes.
Walking to the kitchen table, he opened the second bag of goods he had acquired. There were a few small rolls of blue and green streamers, a multi-color pack of balloons, and a bag of confetti that Dean had every intention of chucking directly into his baby brother's face as soon as he walked in the door.
The streamers had been enthusiastically tossed around the living room and kitchen, and half the bag of balloons had been blown up, leaving Dean out of breath, when it happened.
It was pure luck that Dean looked over to his father when he did. Eyes widening, he managed to cry out just in time, "Dad, look out!"
Instinct kicking in, John immediately dropped to the floor, narrowly avoiding the plate that had been flying towards his head, the ceramic instead shattering against the wall.
Before either Winchester could question what had just happened, an unearthly wail answered. In the center of their small kitchen, the apparition of a small woman, maybe thirty-five with dark brown hair tied back in a bun, appeared before them. The right side of her head was bruised and disfigured, her eye half shut and blood dripping morbidly down her face. For a moment she just stood there and wailed, before violently grabbing on of the table chairs and throwing it. John ducked again, and Dean ran over to him.
"What the Hell?" Dean exclaimed. "How did it get past the salt lines?"
"I don't know!" John replied, grabbing Dean and running as bags of flour and sugar were hurled at them, coating the kitchen in white. The elder hunter eyed all the supplies that Dean had bought, and whipped his head to question his son, "Did you bring something in?"
"What? No way!" But at that second, the cake pans came flying at them, landing a few feet away. Noticing something curious, Dean quickly reached out and grabbed one, bringing it close to his face for inspection. His eyes widened and he thrust the pan at John. "Dad, look."
Glancing at the pan, John immediately saw what Dean had. A dent in the side of the pan, one that must have been made with a considerable amount of force. Glancing up, he looked at the gruesome wound the spirit carried. The pieces clicked perfectly.
John stared at Dean in complete disbelief.
"You bought haunted cake pans?"
Dean paused, diving under the kitchen table, dodging flying spoons. "How was I supposed to know? They were two bucks! Who would have guessed they had been used by a homicidal baker? I mean what are the odds!"
It didn't take long for the pandemonium to escalate, food and cutlery flying in every direction. Grabbing one of the table chairs as a makeshift shield, Dean tried to make his way out of the chaotic kitchen in the hopes of getting to some salt or one of his guns. Unfortunately, the floor had become slick with broken eggs, flour and sugar. Grunting, his feet slipped out from under him, sending him flying harshly onto his back. Staring up, Dean eyes widened as the angry spirit materialized in front of him. The hysterical woman screeched and lifted a knife over her head. Distantly Dean registered hearing his father call his name, but could do nothing but clench his eyes shut and wait for the blow. But it never came. Instead, a loud gunshot ran through the house, and the ghost disappeared with a strangled cry. Opening his eyes, Dean found his brother standing in the doorway, a rock salt loaded shotgun gripped steadily in his hands.
Eyes wide, Sam lowered his weapon and stared at the destroyed kitchen in dismay, distantly thanking the universe for letting his History class get out early. "What the Hell is going on?"
John quickly snapped into hunting-mode, grabbing the stupid cake pans that had started this whole mess and tossing them to his youngest. "Cursed objects, get to the fire place and burn them!"
Sam stumbled to catch the pans, sparing less than a second to stare at them in confusion, before tossing the gun to Dean and running back into the living room. John and Dean stood side by side waiting for the spirit to reappear.
Meanwhile, Sam tossed the pans into the fireplace. Glancing around and seeing no other option, he grabbed a few handfuls of salt off of the windowsill, throwing them over the pans. Luckily there was a half-full bottle of kerosene left next to the fireplace, and he quickly soaked the logs. However, that was where his luck ran out, because as he checked his pockets he realized he had no matches.
In the kitchen, the two older Winchesters were struggling to hold back the ghost. With each shot it managed to rematerialize faster, and each time it was harder to hit. John and Dean were currently huddled behind the upturned kitchen table, Dean occasionally jumping up to shoot at the spirit. Dropping back down beside his father, Dean checked the gun and cursed. "Shit, I'm almost out of ammo." John cursed as well, trying to think of a solution, when he heard a voice call from the other side of the room.
Both men peeked out from behind the table just in time to see Sam yelp and dive out of the way of a frying pan. "Dean! I need your lighter!"
Reaching into his pocket, Dean pulled out a worn old zippo. Kneeling, he tossed the lighter to Sam, who immediately grabbed it and sprinted out of the room. However, the ghost seemed to know what he was doing, and screeched after him, grabbing his leg and pulling it back, sending him crashing to the floor.
"Sammy!" Dean ran from behind the table, raising the shotgun and shooting. Sam was released, and stood to run once more. The spirit rematerialized, but this time in front of Dean. Raising the gun again, he pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. "Son of a bitch!" Of all the times to run out of ammo! There wasn't much time to dwell on his back luck though, as Dean was thrown back, hitting the counter hard and causing the bowl of half mixed batter to flip onto his head, obscuring his vision. Blinking through the thick mixture, he watched as the spirit approached him. He saw John run out towards him, trying to get to him in time to protect him.
And just when it seemed like it might be too late, the spirit let out an unearthly scream and burst into flames.
Dean sighed in relief. Sam ran back into the room and released his own sigh at the sight of his family still in one piece. The kitchen, however, was a different story. One eyebrow raised, Sam took in the room. The table had been flipped onto its side to serve as a makeshift shelter. The chairs where scattered, one had several knives sticking out of it. The water was running in the sink, the oven was beeping annoyingly, torn streamers lay haphazardly among the mess, and the entire kitchen, floor to ceiling, was covered in flour, sugar, butter and eggs.
Turning his eyes to his family, he found the right side of his father's face dripping with egg, and his clothes were caked with flour. Dean was still sitting on the floor, a mixing bowl on his head and batter covering his face and dripping onto the upper half of his body.
Sam couldn't help it. He burst out laughing.
Dean glared at his baby brother as he placed the bowl back on the counter and wiped the batter rom his eyes. "Glad you find this so amusing."
"I-I'm sorry," Sam stuttered out as he tried and failed to stop laughing, "But you guys- you guys should see yourselves!"
Even the eldest Winchesters had to admit how completely ridiculous the situation was. Suddenly, Dean grinned deviously. Scooping up what was left of the batter in his hands, he strode over to Sam and stuck his hand out, wiping the sticky substance on his baby brother's face. Sam gasped, his laughter halted. Dean stepped back and smiled at his handy work. "You don't look much better, Sammy."
Narrowing his eyes, it only took Sam moments to grab a handful of flour and throw it at his brother, who sputtered indignantly. Suddenly, a low chuckle was heard and both boys snapped their heads to the side. Their eyes landed on John, who had been trying to stifle his laughter up to this point, but was shaking with hilarity. Sam and Dean exchanged a knowing glance and smirked evilly.
Recognizing the look for the trouble it was, John immediately went silent and began backing away. "Now boys, it's been a long day. We should clean up now." Dean picked up a half-full bag of sugar from the ground while Sam grabbed what was left of a carton of milk. They began to approach him. "Seriously, someone probably heard the shots. We should get out of here. Boys? I'm ordering you, don't-!" He was cut off by a wave of milk and sugar hitting him dead in the face. His boys howled with laughter, only to be silenced a moment later by two eggs being cracked over their heads.
Within seconds, the kitchen was in chaos again, Dean even throwing his bag of confetti into the mix, the strips of colorful paper sticking to everything. But this time, it was laced with laughter, and the Winchesters didn't mind a bit.
Hours later, the Winchesters were two towns over. Unable to see a way to salvage the damaged kitchen, and not wanting to risk someone having heard the commotion of the evening, the hunting family had decided it would be best to skip town. Surprisingly, Sam didn't even complain.
All of them had taken a shower before leaving, Dean not wanting to get anything on his precious car. John had collapsed in bed as soon as they had checked into the nearest motel, leaving his two sons to their own devices. While they should probably have gotten some sleep as well, both were too hyped up on the events of the night to sleep.
And so they found themselves outside at close to midnight, sitting on the hood of the Impala and eating spoonfuls of frosting straight from the tin.
"I still can't believe you guys did that. Maybe I should get you an apron for Christmas?"
"Ha ha," Dean laughed sarcastically, "If this is the thanks I get, remind me to never throw you a birthday party again."
Sam laughed heartily. "Man, even birthday parties become hunts with you guys!" For a moment, Dean's smile wavered and a slightly guilty expression appeared on his face. But then Sam nudged his shoulder, catching his eye and smiling sincerely. "Definitely my best birthday yet."
"Really?" Dean asked in surprise.
"Hell yeah! I mean, for one, the fact that you guys even thought of doing that for me was awesome. And it was, well, fun. Getting that spirit and then just goofing off. It was nice, just being with you guys."
Dean smiled, "You edging into chick-flick territory there, Sammy." His little brother rolled his eyes and punched him in the arm. For a few minutes they were silent, enjoying each other's company and eating frosting. But Sam broken the silence soon after.
"I don't… want to sound ungrateful, because it was seriously awesome of you guys to do all that for me, but… I guess I'm just curious why it mattered to you so much?"
Dean took a moment to think about the question. For awhile, he had been unsure himself. But after tonight, he thought he finally got it. "It just felt like you had given up." Sam cocked his head questioningly and Dean elaborated. "I mean, I guess it's sort of hypocritical or whatever, but… I want you to fight for the things you want, cause it means you have hope still. The fact that you didn't care, that you didn't even bother to chew dad and me out for forgetting your birthday… it felt kind of like you had given up on us." When he looked at his brother, he saw that Sam had looked away, a slightly guilty expression on his face. Dean smiled. "Hey," he nudged his brother as had been done to himself earlier. "I'm not trying to make you feel bad, you don't have to be sorry or anything. Just… don't give up on us, okay?"
When Sam finally looked up, they smiled at each other. Had they been anyone else, this was the point they would have hugged. But instead, Dean gave Sam a noogie, and Sam threatened to put frosting in the Impala's hubcaps. And when they finally went to bed, Dean ruffled his baby brother's hair, whispering just enough to hear,
"Happy birthday, Sammy."
So yeah, I've been working on this super long Supernatural story that is rife with angst and depression, but I had a really crummy week and just wanted to write something more light-hearted. And thus, this story was written. :P I know they might have been a little out of character (especially John, he's hard for me to write), so feel free to comment on what I should have done differently. Actually, feel free to comment on anything!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! ~BFMS