"Stocking up are you, kid?" the elderly cashier remarked cheerfully as Sam plonked down a dozen colourful pine-tree shaped car
deodorants on the counter, together with a litre of car oil, a tetra-pack of egg-nog, and a couple of candy bars.
"Um, yeah," Sam answered distractedly, disappointed that he hadn't found everything he had been looking for.
What did you expect idiot; he chided himself silently, leaving everything to the last minute like this!
He had been so against celebrating Christmas, desolate and wretched because it would be Dean's last, but his brother had been
so eager, and God, Dean was going to Hell because of him, and he couldn't even give him the Christmas he had asked for.
So he had changed his mind, determined now to give Dean all that he deserved and desired.
Just…; he was afraid that he had left it all too late!
He hadn't had much choice but to come here. Dean had taken the Impala, and this gas station store was the only place near-by
still open on Christmas Day. He had hoped that they might have Christmas Trees on sale; even the cheap little plastic ones would
have done, but there was nothing Christmassy at all.
The place was a dismal island in the middle of all the Xmas cheer surrounding it!
The cashier waited patiently as the young man in front of him stood, deep in thought.
He was about the only client that had been in all day; a gas station not being exactly the most popular type of store for
frenzied Christmas shoppers.
The kid was obviously disappointed about something, his face despondent and unhappy.
The store-keeper usually minded his own business, having found that to be the safest thing to do in this line of business, but the
kid certainly didn't have that Christmas buzz about him that ninety–nine percent of the rest of the population had in this period of
the year, and his curiosity was piqued, so he asked.
"You find everything you need, son?"
The kid turned two big luminous eyes on him, hesitating, as if undecided whether to answer truthfully or not.
"Well," he replied after a second's internal debate. "I thought that you might have had Christmas trees on sale, or maybe
coloured lights," he added hopefully. "But I don't see either."
"We don't normally get in seasonal items. Truth to tell, people have got better places to get that sort of stuff than here."
The young face fell again and his eyes clouded over. He just nodded, recognising the logic in the guy's words.
"It's my own fault I left it too late," Sam acknowledged, more to himself than to the man opposite him.
The cashier felt rush of empathy for him. To go out looking for a tree here and now, smelled of desperation.
He wished he could help the kid; it was Christmas after all and he would be celebrating with his own wife and family soon,
around a whopping big tree.
As if out of nowhere a thought came to him; maybe he could do something for the guy after all.
"Can you hang on a minute there, buddy while I go check on something in the store-room? Could be I might have just what you
Sam's face took on a brighter expression. Perhaps for once the Winchester luck would turn good.
Sure enough the cashier came out with an oblong cardboard box, which he then proceeded to dust down with a rag.
" A couple of year ago somebody must have left this behind, and I remember putting it away in case whoever it was came back
looking for it but I took a peek inside, you know, just in case it was something dangerous, and turned out it was a little cheap tree
with some lights. You can have it if you like. I doubt the owner will ever come back for it now."
The store-keeper was taken aback by how the young man's face lit up and he delivered the sweetest dimpled smile that he had
"Thanks, that would be great. How much I owe…?" Sam began, eager to be on his way now that he had had this unexpected kiss
"Well, you can have the tree for nothing seeing as I didn't pay for it myself. You just have to pay me the rest of the stuff."
Sam hastily settled his bill, refusing to take any change, and with the tree and his other purchases under his arm, turned to go.
"Merry Christmas, and thanks for this," he nodded to the tree."It's for someone really special."
"Merry Christmas to you too. I was glad to be able to help," and it was the truth.
The kid had something out of the ordinary about him, and it felt good that he had managed to make him smile
Sam almost ran back to the motel room.
He hoped Dean wouldn't be back too soon, so that he would have time to get everything ready before he arrived.
He had just finished pouring the egg-nog, which he had liberally sprinkled with whisky, into little plastic cups, when the door
opened and his big brother walked in, his face lighting up as he took in what Sam had prepared.
Sam's heart filled with joy at the expression on Dean's face. How could he have ever thought to deny his brother this simple
Their eyes met, big brother to little brother, love to love. Their whole world reduced to the four walls of this room; their own
private little haven for this sad yet joyful Christmas Day.
Whatever tomorrow might bring they would face it together, but this moment was theirs alone.
XXXXThe enD XXXX