Samandriel lifted the small red package and examined it thoroughly. He flipped it onto each side, enjoying the weight of it in his hands. In heaven things didn't really have.. weight per-say. It was more of an... intellectual knowledge. You knew that the little bird resting in a tree in Marley Alaxander's heaven weighed about nine point four grams, but it had no actual weight.
Here all physical sensations were just that... Actual sensations. Samandriel loved it with every ounce of his grace. He cherished it. Revelled in it. Each new sight, sound, taste, touch.
He loved it here.
His eyes refocused on the small red package in his hands. It had his name on it. Not 'Alfie', like his vessel. 'Samandriel'.
It was for him.
This whole, being 'buddy-buddy' thing with the Winchesters and friends was sort of the best thing Samandriel had ever tried. And it was great seeing Castiel again. He had... missed him.
It felt strange to miss an angel. Normally they were all smooshed together like tightly packed fish. Always touching somehow; mind, body, grace.
They were always in contact, so there was never any reason to miss an angel. And then Castiel happened. Castiel himself had sort have been an event for heaven.
Gabriel had held and nurtured the seed of grace that was Castiel for longer then most angels. It was nearly two-thousand years that the essence of Castiel (blue, sharp things, dew drops on a spiders web on an early Thursday morning, and the smallest, barest hint of mint) spent clinging and growing strong of off Gabriel.
When Gabriel had left aeons later it had nearly destroyed Castiel, though he hid it well. Samandriel could tell though. Samandriel knew Castiel's large heart would be an issue then, even though his grace and essence (in between colour around where the ocean and the sky brush, the fire at the end of a comet, a touch of cinnamon and a sprinkle of baby's breath) was just sapling-size at the time.
Samandriel watched Castiel as he himself grew. He watched Castiel and tried to grow like him. Better too much heart than none at all.
But you can't grow a heart bigger than one you were meant to have. Which was fortunate for Samandriel, because there wasn't too small a space like Zachariah but not too large a void that he was always searching to fill.
The red paper was dull and matte. It played with the sunlight filtering in through the windows like a soft caress. Allowed the sweet, soft touch, but no more.
Samandriel felt his lips rising at the corners. Higher and higher they soared.
The other name on the tag said 'Benny'.
'From, your friend: Benny'.
Samandriel liked having a friend.
The hole for his heart was just the right size, he knew, he had checked twice, but whenever he thought of, or was around Benny, either the hole shrank or his heart got bigger.
That was how it felt anyway.
Like his heart was a little off. Sometimes, if Benny shot him a quick grin, he'd feel it jump in his chest like a startled horse, ready to take off in a second.
Sometimes it felt like his heart reached out for Benny and grabbed him tightly, pulling him close with a violent sort of adoration.
Sometimes he thought Benny felt it too.
He wondered if all friendships felt like that.
After all, he didn't feel that way about Sam or Dean, or even Castiel.
For some reason though, Benny was different.
Samandriel thought maybe he should ask Castiel.
He swayed back a little, leaning on a well used armchair. He looked up at the christmas tree in front of him and twirled the small, weighty, package in his hand.
He thought about Christ.
He thought about God.
He thought about humans, about life, about death, about love.
He smiled at it all. There were very few decorations, but it looked good that way. Light up with a string of lights on of the brothers (probably Sam) had picked up at a Home Depot on a whim. A few shells tied to strings that he somehow knew Castiel was responsible for. The where rubbed to a shiny varnish, glistening and changing colour with every shift. Dean had contributed by printing out a picture of Castiel and putting it on the top of the tree. He said normally you would put an angel there, but a picture of one would have to do.
Castiel ('Cas' now, around Dean at any rate. Samandriel didn't like the taste of 'Cas' on his tongue. It felt like the name belonged to the Winchesters, not to the angels) had looked at Dean then, intense and fond and just the slightest bit amused.
Samandriel had smiled a little and Benny had nudged him with his shoulder and dragged him out the door so they could make their contribution to the tree.
Samndriel had been worried at first when they went to the grocery store. Then again, Benny had experienced more Christmases than he had, He would know more. He wouldn't make a mistake.
They had bought popcorn, and Samandriel still wasn't quite sure what was going on.
They popped four bags worth and Benny handed him a sewing needle with string trailing out of the eye like an after thought. Samandriel made no move until he watch Benny slide the popped kernels onto the string through the needle three times. Then he tried it himself.
They sat there and talked by the roaring fire as Sam and Dean argued about Christmas dinner and Castiel perched on the couch behind them, half listening to his Winchesters, half listening to Benny and Samandriel talk.
That had been last night, December twenty-third.
Tonight was christmas eve.
And everyone was out of the safe house.
It was just Samandriel, waiting for everyone to come back. He wasn't lonely really, because he knew they would return, but he missed their company. He missed seeing their faces. And every once in a while, their smiles.
He placed the red package down at the base of the tree on top of a larger package, from Sam to Castiel. Samandriel knew it was a giant bulky thing in bright red with prancing reindeer's on it. He wondered if all human clothing was that ugly, or if it was just what the Winchesters bought.
Benny dressed pretty nicely. He had helped him buy the outfit he was wearing right now. Dean said it was stupid to parade around in the Weenie Hut ensemble.
He heard to door open and he stands, a smile touching his lips.
It was Benny and Dean. They had been out chopping a bit more wood for the fire.
"Do you need help carrying anything?"
"We got it. Thanks Alfie."
He nods with a smile and takes a few from Benny anyway. He doesn't like not being of some use. Benny smiles like he knows, which he probably does.
Sam and Castiel come home half an hour later. They ran out to get a 'good-old-Christmas-with-a-capital-C' dinner. They came back with six bags of McDonalds and sheepish smiles instead.
They ate and smiled and sung a little.
It was Samandriel that got the singing started. He made Castiel sing one of the songs they learned in heaven. It made Samandriel a little sad, but Castiel hugged him for a moment and he felt their graces brush for a moment. Castiel's felt a little sad too, but as soon as he met Dean's awed eyes Samandriel felt the change from nostalgic to pride.
He always knew Castiel's heart was large.
He tried eggnog (without the rum, convincing Dean that he really was fine without it took longer than the actual drinking) and he sat beside Benny and smiled to himself when their legs pressed together knee up to thigh. It was such a warm, solid, grounded feeling.
He liked it.
There was a bit of a squabble over when to open presents and everyone decided to open on each that night. It was really the only peaceful way.
Castiel had no choice but to open Dean's. Everyone knew Dean would have given him hell if he didn't, not because he was jealous, obviously, but because his gift was the best.
And it sort of was. It was a box filled with ID badges with Castiel's face on them.
Samandriel could practically feel the air thrumming with Castiel's happiness and pride and love.
No one was really surprised when he kissed Dean, hard and quick, before pulling back embarrassed and muttering a soft 'thank you'.
Dean was blinking a lot and had a redder tint to his face than usual, and Samandriel hoped the two of them would be happy.
If Dean's growing smile was anything to go by, they would.
Sam got a knife from Benny. A good knife with a leather wrapped handle. It had seen many fights and Samandriel was sure it would see many more in Sam's hands. They shared a quick smile and a nod of thanks. Things were still a little strained between the two.
Benny opened a gift from Castiel and nodded to him, hiding a small smile as he held up the too long plaid PJ bottoms. Cas could be seen beaming between the ugly red and green fleece legs.
It was sweet to see Castiel try so hard. Dean opened his gift from Sam (a bottle of Jack and a Busty Asian Beauties magazine) and asked Samandriel who's gift he wanted to open.
"Uhm... I'm... indecisive."
"You should open mine." Benny said, brushing his elbow with Samandriel's.
So he did. He grinned as he pulled on a lumpy scarf, "Did you make this?"
It was warm and perfect and there was something gnawing in his belly. "Thank you. It's perfect."
He wanted to kiss Benny, like Castiel kissed Dean. He held back though, just enjoying the soft warmth of the scarf around his neck and Benny's arm which had, at some point, wound its way around his shoulders.
Samandriel liked Christmas.