Dean had seen a lot of different people's ideas of Christmas over the past few days. Saint Nicotine, with his seasonal porno and a bong that put even Andy's to shame. The Walshes with their giant decorative nutcrackers that probably came down every Boxing Day like clockwork, or at least every Boxing Day until this one, since they'd probably be too busy with the funeral arrangements. The Carrigans, who helped people with their New Year's weight loss goals by yanking them up a 1'x1' chimney.

Dean had also seen just about every Christmas movie ever made, except for the chick flicks. His favorite had been It's a Wonderful Life until that thing with the Djinn. Now it was whatever Saint Nicotine had been watching on pay-per-view. Or maybe Miracle on 34th Street. But only because Maureen O'Hara as Doris Walker was kind of a MILF. Not because he liked that part at the end where it turned out Santa was legit and the kid got the real home she'd always wanted.

The point was that even though Dean didn't have a whole lot of practical experience when it came to Christmas, he knew enough to know that he and Sam sucked at it.

It wasn't even the holiday d├ęcor supplied by Little Trees (TM) or the crappy convenience store gifts. It was the way he and his brother, who normally ended up talking over each other because one of them wouldn't shut up and let the other get a word in edgewise (Sam), suddenly didn't know what to say to each other. Sam had sounded almost shy when he suggested they watch the game. Sammy, Dean's little brother, who was always asking questions or giving lectures or saying corny things he probably picked up from all those chick flicks Dean never watched. And if Sam was a talker, then Dean was a Chatty Cathy doll, joking, singing along with the radio, talking about nothing so he wouldn't have to think about anything.

But he and Sam were sitting there, on that fugly green couch, trying to think of something to say like a couple of kids at their first Winter Formal, complete with the spiked eggnog. It was awkward. Dean had been caught breaking and entering, gone to strangers' funeral and slept with girls whose names he didn't know, but somehow watching the game with his brother was one of the most awkward moments of his life.

He almost started talking about the weather. Almost said, "Hey, it's snowing now that we stabbed those pagan gods with a Christmas tree." Which was, admittedly, a lot more interesting than when most people talked about the weather, but still. It was the principle of the thing.

But then Sam laughed at some fumble on TV as he dug his giant hand into a family-sized bag of Holiday M&Ms that Dean hadn't even noticed till now, and Dean realized that it was just him who sucked at Christmas.

He had wanted it. Practically begged for it, and the only other time he could remember begging in his life was at that crossroads. But now that he'd gotten what he wanted he wished he hadn't.

Dean had seen all those different versions of Christmas and he'd figured his and Sam's would fall somewhere between the Walshes' and Saint Nicotine's. Kind of tragic and with questionable hygiene. Maybe it was. He knew that's what it would look like to most people.

But it was Dean's Christmas. It was his last Christmas and Sam had given it to him, even though it hurt him so much that he'd made the eggnog strong enough to make even Dean wince. And that kind of made Dean feel like he was the little kid at the end of Miracle on 34th Street. Not that he liked that part of the movie. It was all about Maureen O'Hara.

Maybe it was the eggnog, but Dean was suddenly filled with a sense of goodwill and cheer and crap like that. He got up and moved to sit next to Sam on the sofa, settled against his little brother, the outer seam of their Levi's touching and their shoulders pressed together. Sam looked sideways at him, and Dean said, "What? You're hogging the M&Ms over here."

Sam smiled that tolerant, knowing smile that normally made Dean want to turn up the Black Sabbath until Sam cried uncle, but this time he didn't mind so much. Especially when Sam passed him a handful of green M&Ms. His favorite. Because the green one was the hot chick in the commercials. As his brother carefully dumped the candy into his open palm, Dean got some kind of weird lumpy feeling in his throat. It was definitely the eggnog.

"We should get some real food too," said Sam.

"Don't blaspheme so close to Christmas, Sammy. M&Ms are real food."

"Pizza or Chinese?"

"Pizza's good."

Sam picked up the phone, but then hesitated. "What kind of pizza is more Christmassy? Meatlover's or Hawaiian?"

"Meatlover's," said Dean, decisively. "The holidays are all about eating as many different kinds of meat in one sitting as possible." He was pretty sure about that one anyway.

Sam seemed to consider this for a moment. He nodded.

The game ended, so while Sam started calling pizza joints, trying to find one that was open, Dean lazily flipped through channels.

"You know what the imagination is?"

"Oh, sure. That's when you see things, but they're not really there."

"Well, that can be caused by other things, too."

Sam hung up. "They said it shouldn't take long. Turns out not many people order pizza on Christmas."

"Their loss."

"Dude. Miracle on 34th Street?"


Sam laughed. "I'm just saying, I thought you'd be more into Christmas movies with titles like Santa's Little Ho Ho Hos or something."

"Not while you're here, I'm not. Anyway, this movie could be worse. I mean, Maureen O'Hara's hot." He paused, then added. "For a dead chick."

"We would know," said Sam.