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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Supernatural Christmas Carol Chapter 5

Title: A Supernatural Christmas Carol
Authors: Lady Laran and Tisha Wyman
Warnings: Bad language and violence
Spoilers: Season Five - so if you’ve not seen it, be warned a few things are a bit weird.
Disclaimer - We do not own Supernatural nor A Christmas Carol. The show is owned by Eric Kripke and the book is by Charles Dickens. Neither of us has rights to this nor have we earned anything by doing this. We’re just doing this for fun. Oh..we also don’t own Christmas at Ground Zero or any other carols that might be mentioned. This is a story of healing, family, humor, and horror. Sounds like a typical Thursday night on the CW. (Of course, the CW has gone bonkers and moved them to Fridays, now. We shall see.)

Decorating Fun

When they arrived, Dean informed Sam that the items in the back seat were not touchable by him.

They went through the packages, the older Winchester handing Cas and Sam their bags. He looked at Sam.

"Is any of Bobby's stuff to big to handle? Also, I think our host said their was firewood out behind the garages. Thought I'd bring some in when we get everything in. The temperature's been getting colder. Oh, how big a tree did he get?"

Castiel was the one that answered, remembering the tree shopping expedition he and Bobby had undertaken earlier.

"It's what he called a medium sized as he did not wish to dominate the sitting room with it. There are a few packages that are on the large size that I helped to bring out to the truck."

Dean nodded, knowing he and Sam would have to help with that too.

"Okay. We don't do anything to make him feel he can't do but since we are going back and forth anyway, we can just grab as if it's just in a day's job. We let him haul what he thinks he can. Bobby's not an invalid. He just can't walk. We remember that and he'll be okay."

Sam had piled a heap of packages into Bobby's lap earlier to take in. "I know. He's a strong cuss who doesn't take no for an answer. He's the strongest person I know."

Dean remembered the talk of suicide and how he told Bobby how much he was needed by his "sons." He just nodded and carried a large amount of packages from the Impala and placed them on his bed in the suite. He ran back out to grab the tree and some other large items, making one fast run after another. The tree he set in the sitting room. He had no idea what was in Bobby's bags. Cas and Sam had grabbed some and sorted theirs from Bobby's. Bobby would know what had to be wrapped and what would be used now. It didn't take long before the vehicles were unloaded and the four of them were in a now disorganized sitting room.

"Okay, time to get this organized before you three trip over something."

Dean grinned. "I was going to get some firewood so I wouldn't have to go out again later. Is that okay, Bobby? Won't take me long."

Dean still had his jacket on and was standing by the door.

"Sounds good, Dean. I'll get these two knuckleheads in gear while you do that. Good thinking. A fire will be good for reading later tonight." He smiled at his "oldest son." He was proud of his boys, especially Dean, who was facing a lot right now.

"Okay, Sam and Castiel...first off, your presents for me and Dean, put in your room." He was picking up bags as well.

Dean bolted out the door, eager to get back and help with the organizing. Experiencing a real Christmas was a long lost memory to him. Once in a while, a glimpse of something would spring to the wreath. He found some steel storage bins used for the rooms and filled one with firewood and kindling. He picked up the heavy container and slowly hauled it back to the building. When he reached the door, Dean knew he had a problem. He set the bin on the step and opened the door and leaned against it, trying to lean back down and pick up the bin. The hunter swore under his breath, went down a step. Using a leg to hold the door open, he reached down and tried to pick up the bin of firewood another time. Frustration was showing on his face. He had no intention of asking for help. Everyone was busy, and this was his job. He let the door go and picked up the bin and tried to get the bin on his arm so his hand would be free to open the damn door. Dean thought he might make it that way.

The group was quickly getting the presents out of the way so the recipients wouldn't see their gifts. Bobby was waiting to do the rest so Dean could be a part of it. This was important. He did have Castiel check to see if Dean needed the doors opened.

Dean was struggling to reach the door handle with the hand he had freed when the door opened. He tried to jump back out of the way and slipped. He managed to catch himself but dropped the bin. A few choice Winchesterisms greeted the angel's ears as he swung the door open. Castiel could see Dean on the drive, picking up firewood and kindling. Dean looked up when he heard the angel approach, frustration on his face. He sighed, shook it off, and picked up the bin.

Castiel nudged Dean as he helped him. "There is no shame in asking for assistance, Dean."

The young man looked at the angel and shrugged. "I know, Cas, but it was a stupid chore. Should've been able to do it." Dean laughed harshly for a second, then looked at the angel standing next to him.

"You're right, Cas. Being stupid. Thanks."

The angel did something he'd seen Bobby do before. He bopped Dean on the back of the head. "Stop that."

Dean froze. The bin was incapacitating his ability to use his arms. He finally moved inside the building, chuckling softly. Cas never failed to surprise him.

Castiel helped him with the doors. Dean had a habit of wallowing in self doubt and loathing, and he was determined to knock him out of that habit.

Dean was grateful for the help. Grateful even more that he had the bin in his arms when Cas hit him on the back of his head. Bobby did it when aggravated with him. He had not expected Cas to hit him. Being struck from behind released his defense mechanisms. He would have turned and swung if the bin had not been in his arms. Remembering Cas in action, he was pretty sure he would have lost.

The angel announced their return, and the duo was greeted by two impatient people. "We've got a lot to do. Dean, did you guys pick up some music for us? And don't you dare put on that obnoxious mix of yours."

His boy looked at Bobby, a blank on his face. "Yeah, at the grocery store, I got some. They were oldies but three for ten so there's nine of them in that sack right over there."

He grinned. "Throw one in and let's get this place all Christmassy."

Dean grabbed the bag, and looked at the cds. "I don't know who the hell most of these are. Who's Johnny Mathis?"

Sam wrinkled his nose, leaning in and grinning. "Try this one." He had pointed out a cartoon based one that might be fun. He vaguely remembered this one as a kid.

"It's Disney. Thought it might be fun." Dean put it in the player and the voices of Disney characters started singing.

Bobby nodded with a chuckle. The boys had rather liked Disney when they'd visited. "First up, let's get the tree up. Dean, you've got an eye for space. Where do you think we should put it?"

He looked around. "How about the corner over there. The far end by the fireplace? It's near the that long window. Would look nice there. It's far enough from the fireplace, but the rock would still be behind it."

"That's a good idea. They put it in a stand already so we don't have to worry about that. Sam, you found those lights yet?"

"Yeah Bobby, checking them now."

Dean grinned in excitement. He so loved the bubble lights. The five strands would be more than enough for the tree.

There were also a mix of colored lights to go with it. The bulbs were tested, and Sam looked at his brother. "Ready?"

Dean stared. "Not sure I know exactly what to do. Do they have hooks or something?"

Bobby explained the details behind it, and Castiel moved to hold the lights so that Dean and Sam could place them in the tree.

It didn’t take long before the older brother was covered in strands of lights, his eyes ablaze with excitement.

Bobby laughed to himself, snapping pictures with the camera he'd brought with him.

Dean watched the colored lights starting to blink off and on, mesmerized by the colors and finally shook his head and starting moving around the tree with his little brother. The blinking lights went in and out of the branches. When the last one was on the tree, Sam went and got the strands of bubble lights.

The tree was slowly coming to life with light. The bubble lights were a great touch, Bobby mused. The boys had done well in their choices. The brothers stepped back and looked at the tree.

"Nice job, you guys. Time for ornaments now." Sam gave a look at Dean. Should they reveal the ones they'd gotten especially for the group.

The shorter Winchester walked to his and Bobby's room and grabbed the Hallmark bag.

"What are you up to, Dean?"

"We got something for everyone, Bobby. Thought we might start a tradition for the tree." Dean handed the bag to Sam and dug into the bags of ornaments that Sam and Bobby had bought, looking for hooks.

As each ornament was unveiled, it made the 'owner' widen his eyes. The angel one chosen for Castiel was perfect, even Bobby agreed to that. Dean handed everyone a hook and told them they had to hang their special ornament. Dean was showing the Impala to Bobby as he gave him his hook.

The older man had to laugh at that. "I'm surprised you found one."

Dean was excited about the Impala. "They had a whole collection of older car ornaments, Bobby. I found a red one but didn't want it. Sam went and asked one of the clerks. They had some black ones in the back. I think it's fantastic."

Another bout of laughter. "Very much so. Give me the hooks, and I'll get the ornaments ready for you boys to hang. Just remember that the inside of the tree is good too."

The boy nodded and gave Bobby the bags of ornaments and the hooks. Looking inside the bags, Dean began to grin. The ornaments weren't balls or the ordinary Christmas decorations. There were animated characters, stars, and candy canes. Everything was unique. The CD ended, and Dean grabbed another CD and placed it in the player. The Chipmunks singing Christmas, Christmas time is near...came out of the speakers. Dean was singing along.

Sam shook his head, grabbing ornaments from Bobby and began decorating the tree. He was able to reach the higher limbs with ease. Occasionally, he'd tease Dean or Castiel by hanging an ornament on one of them.

Dean grabbed the Scooby Do ornaments from Bobby. "Hey, Sammy, here you are....Shaggy."

"Oh good grief. Why? Are you Scooby?"

"Nah, I'm Freddy. I get Daphne." His brother grinned, moving brows up and down, and began to put ornaments on the tree. A soft chuckle was heard as he passed Sam.

Castiel shook his head, not quite following the conversation at all but was pleased his brothers were having fun.

Dean liked the ornaments that looked like snowballs. "Shame they're not real, Sammy. Snowball fight would be fun."

"No kidding...they're pretty though."

"Yeah they are. Hey, Cas, what do you think about the tree? Bobby, does it need anything anywhere?"

Castiel answered by taking a strand of garland from Bobby and throwing it at Dean, who grabbed the thick garland. It was massively thick and a bright red with small bits of gold in it. He took the garland off its holder.

“This the only one we got? Do I need to go sparingly with it?"

"I bought a few strands, not only for the tree but to decorate the room with. Some lights as well."

"Awesome!" Dean handed an end to Sam. "Ought to start at the bottom so the top rows fall over it. Doncha think, Sammy?"

"It's a good idea, Dean."

The older hunter got down on his knees and started working his way around the tree. As they worked their way around the tree, Cas would hand them another strand. Soon, they traded out, letting taller Sam layer the garland and Dean hold the extra.

Once the tree was finished, Bobby pulled out a small box. "There's one thing left to put on this. Dean, you and I had the same idea on something. You three realize what's missing on the tree yet?"

Dean looked at the top of the tree. "Well, most trees I've seen in stores have had either and a star or an angel on it." He looked at Cas and smiled.

Bobby handed Castiel a box. "You'll see why I said we had the same idea." Bobby watched as Castiel opened it to reveal an angel similar to the one his new brothers had bought to represent their angelic family member.

Dean grinned. "Sammy picked out the angel ornament. It was my idea to get him one. That's great, Bobby. Hey, Cas, you okay?"

"It's beautiful," the angel murmured, obviously touched with how the trio saw him.

Cas, can you reach the top? You ought to be the one to put it on the tree," Dean said quietly, reflecting the angel's mood.

Bobby smiled, watching them. His boys were something else. When he heard Dean’s request, he spoke up with more directions for them.

"Before he does, someone, angle some of the lights up top so they shine upwards."

"Sam, can you reach them? You're taller then me."

He nodded, doing just that. Castiel had to reach a bit but the angel was soon settled carefully on top.

The lights Sam had adjusted caught the glass, and it seemed as if the tree topper was shining with it's own inner light. Dean gasped then held his breath in awe. He slowly walked over to the entrance and turned off the overhead lights.

Bobby took some pictures, then smiled. "Let's get the rest of this place decorated so we can relax. Did I see a train in those bags?"

Dean grinned for the millionth time. "That's Sammy's."

He chuckled. "I figured. Tell you what, let's get the rest of the decorating done and then you three boys can figure out how to set it up." Bobby sorted the movies and DVDs, putting them where they could be reached to watch. Dean brought a bag of Christmas movies to Bobby. He sorted through that as well, giving instructions on how to decorate and hang the stockings. He'd bought four and had their names put on them.

Dean went to the DVD player and took the CD of the Chipmunks out of it. "I talked to an older couple and asked about some of the cds. They recommended an orchestra called Montovani and some flute player named Galway. I thought the flute music might be nice with this.”

Castiel listened for a moment, and there was noticeable relaxation. "This is beautiful."

Dean's voice was barely a whisper as he walked up next to Cas and murmured, "Yeah, it is."

Sam watched as his brother slipped out of the room and was gone for a few minutes. When he reentered the room, there were tears going down his face as he handed the wreath to Bobby.

"Thought we could use one."

Bobby gave him a gentle smile. "Why don't you hang it up for us, Dean?" He could see the emotional upset and knew something about the wreath was familiar to him. No one there could fault him for being so emotional.

Dean went to the fireplace and hung the wreath over a large beam that ran the length of the wall above the stone, as he remembered his father doing when he was three. He lay his head against the stone, and his shoulders shook. Sam hugged him from behind, simply letting him cry. Of the two of them, Dean had been the most affected by what the demon had done that ill fated night. He'd lost so much, and Sam understood the best he could.

Dean was sobbing softly, trembling. He mumbled so only Sam could hear him. “I'm sorry, Sammy. I thought I could handle the wreath. Mom had one just like it 'cept for a red bow. Dad used to hang it every Christmas. Maybe I shouldn't have bought it."

His arms tightened. "You need this, Dean. Think of it as her being with us this Christmas, approving of and loving us."

Sam held on as his brother tried to get his emotions back under control. Dean looked up at the wreath and swallowed hard. He nodded and turned, hugging his brother hard. "I'm so glad you're here, Sammy."

"I'm pretty hard to get rid of," he grinned. "Bad penny and all."

"Nope, not a bad penny, Sammy. Pennies are good luck. Nothing bad about em." Dean walked over to Bobby. He knelt down, and looked at Bobby's face. "I ain't very good at this chick flick stuff, Bobby. This day has tugged me every which way and I can't remember being like this before, ever. Just wanted you to know that I'm glad you've been here for us. You've been the Dad we never really had. I love you, man." Dean looked at Cas. "You, too, Cas."

Bobby hugged him back. "You three are my boys. May have the Winchester name but damn if you're not Singers through and through. You've made me damned proud of all of you."

Castiel gave a soft look to them. "I am grateful that we have met, Dean. I never dreamed a family could be this way." He was so used to the common bickering in heaven.

Dean reached out to Cas and pulled him into the hug. He looked across the room, inviting his brother to join them. "Sammy?"

Sammy joined him. All four men held on tight to each other. It was a great moment...just the feeling of love. Bobby laughed softly. "Get that train together. I can feel Sammy itching to get it going."

Dean got the box out and placed it on the floor. “This is the train you should've had years ago, Sammy. Have fun. Anyone want eggnog. I bought a gallon of it. Got some brandy to put in it and nutmeg for the top. I looked it up on Sam's computer today.”

Bobby snickered. "And I have a surprise for Sam. He asked and I found it." He pulled a box of gingerbread out, and Sam nearly bounced in place.

Dean stared. "What's that?"

Bobby cut up some, placing them on plates. "Come and try it."

The older brother took a bite. “This isn't too bad. Needs something, though. I can see why you like it, Sammy."

Sam munched on his snack, trying to get the train together. "Usually we put whipped cream on it."

"That's it!." Dean laughed. He took another bite. "This definitely needs eggnog with brandy and nutmeg. He set out four glasses and made the drinks. He handed one to Bobby and Cas, and walked over to Sam. Kneeling down, he handed his brother the drink and sat down next to him.

The group chatted and enjoyed their snacks while Sam and Dean put the train together. Bobby took the occasional picture, enjoying the family moment. Castiel seemed lost in meditation while he nibbled on the food. Dean had the DVD remote and hit replay on the CD. It was definitely a perfect setting.

Once the train was set up under the tree, Dean plugged it in. Sam laughed in delight, watching it chug around the tree. He loved it. Trains had been his fascination as a child. His brother came out of the bedroom and put a engineer's hat on Sam's head. "Figured you'd need one." He grinned. and sat down on the hearth. Laughter burst out in the room as he preened with his new hat on, acting silly.

"Shall we read, watch a movie, or tackle the wrapping?"

“Well, why don't I start a fire and we can all get a bath or shower, and get comfy, and then do what we feel like doing. Maybe a little of all three. Cas and I got us a all something for nighttime." Dean left the room and came back with a big bag. A stupid grin was plastered on his face.

Sam recognized that grin. "Dean, what did you do?"

His brother dug in the bag and pulled out the slippers and sorted items for each person. He put the slippers on top and laid the Rudolph pajama bottoms, red t-shirt and Cas' reindeer slippers in each person's lap. “The slippers were Cas' idea.”

Bobby and Sam stared at the items before staring at each other. "You're not serious?"

Dean grinned, "Well, not about the slippers. Those were Cas's, but the pajamas, yeah."

Bobby shook his head. "Goofs." he headed towards the bathroom to get cleaned up, while Dean asked Sam about wrapping supplies

"I divided them up. Half in your room and half in ours," Sam answered.

"This ought to fun. Only thing I ever wrapped was the stuff we bought couple years ago and wrapped in newspaper. Not sure if it will look professional, but I'm gonna give it a go."

Dean whistled as he headed toward the bedroom with his pajamas and gosh awful slippers.

Sam chuckled, settling in to wait to use the bathroom. It felt good having his brother in such a wonderful mood again.

Dean checked the big box, he'd put the computer in. He placed the carrier for it, the mouse, disks, and the wireless printer, he'd asked for when he'd thought about it, inside the box. He taped the box shut real good after he'd stuffed it with paper. He liked the peppermint candy gift wrap. The red and white stripes made him feel good.

Dean finally figured out how to lay the box on the paper and cutting. He didn't do too bad a job, he thought. He looked at the bows and found a large red and white one. He put it on the box and attached a name tag to it. He wrote 'Sammy, open last, Dean,' on the tag.

Thankfully, the older Winchester bought some large gift boxes at the grocery store. He placed Sam's leather jacket in one and wrapped it in a sparkly blue gift wrap. He put silver ribbon on it and some bows. A silver gift tag matched the ribbon perfectly. He finished wrapping everyone's gifts. He took the stocking stuffers out first. He put nuts, an orange, an apple, and a large candy cane in each one, including his own.

Sam went to wrap his own gifts, realizing Bobby would be a while. He hummed along with the CD, occasionally helping Castiel wrap his own gifts to Bobby and Dean.

Dean put the movies in Bobby's stocking He placed the pick-up sticks and mp3 player in Cas's. The GI Joe and the Starbucks gift certificates went into Sam's. Dean headed to get the computer package. It was large. He wanted nothing in front of the railroad track. Most of the gifts could fit behind it but the big box would not fit. He placed it on the wall length hearth next to the tree.

"Hey, Sammy, let me know if you need help with our gifts to Bobby. And Cas's too"

"I've got some of them. Were we doing Cas's together or just Bobby's"

"We can do both. I'm trying to get yours done at the moment. I've gotten a couple of Bobby's done if you want to get them for the stocking and tree?"

Dean grabbed the packages and placed them where they belonged.

“I have the ones I grabbed for Cas. I'll sign both of us and get them out.”

Sam smiled as Castiel put the presents he'd wrapped under the tree and went into the living room so he could later wrap Sam's gifts.

"Ah, Cas, that big gift for Bobby, you want me to put it next to the big gift I put out there on the hearth?"

"I think that's a good idea, Dean." He rose to help him carry it.

They placed the large gift on the hearth next to Dean's gift for Sam. Dean was bouncing on his toes.

"It's gonna be a long week, Cas. I can hardly wait to see everyone open their gifts."

"I share in your excitement. I can see why humans enjoy this holiday so much."

Dean never considered getting any gifts himself. Never getting any over the years, except the one that meant so much to him, it never crossed his mind. Giving from the heart to those you love was something he did know about. The majority of the time it had been emotionally and physically costly, and he hadn't cared. This was a beautiful experience for him. To give and to have happy giving was wonderful.

For Castiel, this family had accepted him despite him being so different from them. His brothers and sisters had been fighting so long and the war weary Castiel had had enough. As much as he loved them, he was beginning to think there would never be an end to it. It was tiring, and he wanted it to stop.

Dean noticed the look of exhaustion on Cas's face and the slump of his shoulders. He placed an arm around Cas.

“It's Christmas, Cas. We may have past memories and they may hurt, but it's time for the past to heal. This Christmas is for us to become a family... a real family. It's time to put past hurts and angers away and forget them. Hey, you haven't tried your eggnog. Come on, Cas, give it a try. I know you drink."

He took a sip of the beverage, giving a small pleased smile. "A part of me wishes that my brothers and sisters could understand the value of family. Oh, they say they do but it's more a power play all the time."

"Well, with God not running things according to them, then they are trying to follow their own ways, Cas. Me, it was my Dad's ways. It caused me a lot of problems and I'm still dealing with them. Sammy has them to. But this Christmas gave me Bobby as the Dad I wish I'd had. Don't know about Sammy or if he feels that way. We never had hurt from Bobby. I got Sammy back too. I got him in a real family way. Not the way we were raised. Damn it, Cas, I've been doing chick flick moments off and on all day but some of the pain's gone. That's healing. If Sam and I don't do this...don't walk away from the way were raised, it'll destroy us. That same thing can go for you, Cas. Yeah, you're an angel. But you are a fallen one. An outcast like we are. But, like us, Cas, you gotta home here with Bobby. If you can let go of the thousands of years of being an angel and just be Cas Winchester, I think you can find it with us."

Cas Winchester. The name wasn't appalling and the sense of welcome helped ease the ancient hurt in his heart. Anna had fallen for similar reasons. Simple exhaustion over the situation going on up there.

"I would like that."

Dean smiled and hugged his new brother. "Come on, let's sit and listen to the music and watch the lights on the tree. We've got our stuff under the tree, on the hearth, and in the stockings. Peace should be taken when it's given."

He nodded, sitting beside the young man after returning the hug. They watched the lights in silence before Sam came in with his own packages. The taller brother sat with the two, simply enjoying the moment.

"Reckon Bobby's alright?" Dean asked. “He's been in there a long time.”

"He was complaining of shoulder pain so I think he's soaking it out. He gets out, Dean, you may want to offer to help with that. You've got good hands."

Dean flushed. Compliments had always been rare. "Sure, Sammy I'd be glad to do that. We got rub of any kind that could help ease it?"

Sam got up, coming back a short time later with some deep heating rub. With all the accidents and injuries they had, this stuff had come in handy.

Dean got up. "If it's hurting bad, he may have problems getting out. Gonna offer and then work that shoulder for him." He left the room and knocked on the bathroom door.

"Yeah," came the gruff answer.

"Hey, Bobby, need some help? Sammy says you got a shoulder acting up. Let me take care of it for you? It might make it hard to get out of the tub. Thought I'd see if you could use help getting out and letting me work the shoulder?

"You've got perfect timing, Dean."

Dean opened the door and entered the large bathroom. He loved the claw foot tub. It was huge and had a perfect slanting back for a soak. He grabbed a large towel, and walked towards the tub. He carefully placed his his arms under Bobby's.

“Okay, Bobby, I'm gonna lift ya and set you on the side of the tub. I'll hold you up there and let you dry yourself down. Whatcha can't reach sitting there, I'll get when I get you the rest of the way out and into your chair. We'll get your boxers and pajama bottoms on. I'll the work the shoulder with some rub. Might take a little while to work all the kinks out, but we'll fix it up.”

It was thanks to Sam, Dean, and oddly enough Castiel that Bobby was able to accept help now.
They'd made him realize he wasn't less of a man because of the injury. "Thanks Dean." He worked with him in trying to get out and dry off.

The two men got Bobby into some bottoms and situated comfortably into his chair. Dean got the rub and began to feel Bobby's back, arm, and shoulder for knots. He even found some in the man's neck. He slowly felt for each one, using the rub, he began to work the tight muscle, forcing it to relax.

"I know it hurts, Bobby, but once their unkinked, they will be a lot better. You'll see."

It took about 20 minutes for Dean to work each muscle that was knotted. When he was done, he got the t-shirt and gave it Bobby. He grinned. "You gonna wear Cas' slippers?"

"Might as well. Fluffy wings picked them out, and I don't want to hurt his feelings any."

"I think he was playing us on this one, Bobby? The look he gave me just dared me to say anything. I told him once we were in the car that I wasn't taking the heat for them. They are so ugly. But they are reindeer. Least, I think they are. He wanted them to go with my gift." Dean laughed as he thought about the combination of matching pajamas and the slippers.

"To be honest, if he was playing us, he wouldn't have gotten a pair for himself. I think he's trying to fit in." He bent over, pulling the slippers on.

"Yeah, well playing people around here means doing it to, Bobby." Dean laughed. "They're beginning to grow on me anyway. Never had big fuzzy reindeer slippers before, and they will keep our feet warm. I think I will go start a fire and let one of the others get cleaned up."

"Sounds good," he chuckled. "I have to get my stuff wrapped up too."

"If anything is too heavy maneuver, holler at me. Otherwise, I'll leave ya alone." Dean headed out the door, leaving it open.

"Will do."

He walked into the sitting room. "I'm gonna build a fire. Who's next?"

Castiel rose. "I will go." He retrieved his things and headed to go get washed up.

The older brother took the screen off the fire place. He laid kindling down and lit if off with his lighter, placing smaller pieces of wood on it and waiting for them to ignite.

Sam gave a stretch. "This is nice."

"Yeah, it is. Had a talk with Cas a while ago. I think he' ready to let go of stuff and be part of us. Sammy, I told him, and I'm gonna tell you. You were right a while back. We were raised wrong. We need to get to normal. It's been crazy today. Lot of crying, and I'm not used to letting go. It's hard. I hope you can do it too. Some of the pain is easing, Sammy. I know we got hell to deal with yet, but if we're whole, we can."

He was quiet for a moment. "You're right...Bobby was right. We needed this. We've lost too much from day one without any type of happiness to recharge."

"Yeah. I think I am on this one, Sammy. I want peace. But, before I can find it outside, I gotta find it inside. I am finding that it hurts like hell doing that. I never got to run away like you did. Find some normalcy. But you were right, our relationship was not normal. I read something once. I think it's called codependency. That's a mouthful. Anyway. I like us today. It was how we should have always been, Sam. I actually let you hold me and comfort me. It's always been the other way and that's not normal, is it?"

"No, it isn't normal. Dad put too much on your shoulders to keep me safe when he should've done the right thing and left us at Bobby's. But I'll be honest, Dean. Running away like I did wasn't the right thing either. There was no closure, no peace. Just frantic action to prove Dad wrong." He sighed.

Dean watched him. "I wish I'd gone with you. I wanted to, but I was afraid to, Sammy. You didn't ask me. I was afraid you'd say no if I asked. So...I made up this story that Dad needed me. Hell, he kicked me out on my own less then a year after you were gone. He didn't need me, Sammy. Don't think he wanted me either."

He stared at the fire. "I was going to. I was right at the door and you went off on me for pissing him off."

"I didn't know that. I only knew you were leaving me. Dad was blaming me for it somehow. I was caught in the middle, Sammy. I did the only thing I could do. I got upset at ya, I hugged you, I gave you all the money I had saved up, and took you to the bus stop."

"I heard him blame you and was going to insist you come with me. Then that fight you and I had because you told me I was wrong for fighting him occurred. For a moment, I thought I had lost you." He was silent. John had been an awkward addition for them. It had been Sam and Dean even when they were small. Part of him was jealous at his dad for taking his brother's attention when he was home.

Dean was quiet looking at the fire. His voice was soft, barely a whisper. "I was panicking, Sammy. I was gonna be left with Dad. He wanted you, not me. He was blaming me and I knew he'd leave me too. My whole life was you, Sammy. I never had a life of my own. It was you and hunting. Damn, when you left, and then Dad left, I honestly didn't care any more. I looked for ways to be taken out. It just never happened."

"Looking back on it, I should've just grabbed you and made you come. You're smart enough to get into Stanford. I should've..I'm sorry. I was so hurt by everything..I wanted you to come so bad."

His brother reached across and grabbed his hand. "I guess it wasn't meant to be, Sammy. Things are the way they are because of choices we made. We have to live with them, but we can live above them. Become what we should've been if Dad had just left us with Bobby instead of making us what we are. As I said before, you are a like him in a lot of ways, Sammy. It's why you butted heads so much. He liked that in you. Me, I was too much the good son, I guess. Do whatever Dad says. Dad is always right. Hell, I'm nothing like him. I'm like Mom. Yeah, the hunter comes from her, but other things too. I wanted family. So did she. It's okay now. I like who I really am. Just got to work at getting rid of the old stuff. So do you.”

Sam nodded. "We'll work on it together. I know I asked this but you know, I think we should tell Bobby our idea. It'd make a hell of a Christmas gift."

“Want to do it tonight? Might be a good way to start this holiday off."

He grinned. "I think it's a great idea, Dean!"

Dean grinned back, slowly released Sam's hand. "I think I'd like to hear some of Bobby's stories tonight and maybe a game or a movie. The strand thing is at night, right?

"We might look for something to do or just hang here"

He nodded. "Sounds good to me."

Castiel came out, dressed in his new pajamas and slippers. Sam had to hide his laughter. The angel looked kind of cute like that. Dean put larger logs on the smaller ones and added kindling around the big logs to help them catch fire. He looked at Cas and smiled. Turning to Sam, he said "Dibs, or you want it first?"

"Go on, you've been eying that door for a bit. Just don't take too long."

“ I won't.” Dean grabbed the pajamas and slippers and headed to the bath.

Castiel made himself comfortable on the sofa, simply enjoying the ambiance of the room. The flute music filled the room. Dean had left it on repeat. Another surprise. Dean preferring Galway to the Chipmunks.

Bobby called for Sam to help him carry stuff out, and both of them helped the older man put the packages under the tree and in the stockings. A few minutes later, Dean came out, hair still damp, and very happy in his new pajamas and slippers. Sam chuckled and headed to clean up himself. Dean sat down in one of the overstuffed chairs, and actually curled his legs up and laid his head back to listen to the music. A slight smile on his face.

Bobby chuckled. "I think that's the most relaxed I've ever seen you."

Dean, sighed, contented, "I think it is too, Bobby." Dean closed his eyes and his breathing was slow. Bobby, knowing the boy the well, knew he was awake. Just listening... taking it all in. Dean softly spoke, "Bobby, Sam and I want to talk to you about something. Cas, it involves you too. When he gets out, before we start celebrating. It's a neat thing we'd like to talk about."
The older male looked a bit surprised. "All right then."

The boy did not look tense or upset about anything. He was incredibly relaxed, so Bobby knew it could not be something bad.

Sam came out a short time later. "Damn, I like that tub!"

Dean did not move. Again, his voice softly spoke, "Yeah, I could learn to give up showers with a tub like that."

He flopped onto a seat, simply allowing himself to relax. "No kidding."

"Told Bobby we wanted to talk to him before we started celebrating. Told Cas it involved him too. You want to start or do you want me too?"

"Go ahead."

Dean moved slowly and sat up setting his feet back on the floor. He leaned over facing Bobby and Cas.

"Bobby, I'm tired. When this damn apocalypse is over, if we survive it, I don't want to hunt any more. I don't mind giving information to other hunters who will carry on the fight. I figure when this is over, Sam and I have given more then our share to the fight."

He nodded, watching Dean sharply. "So what are you thinking on doing after this damned thing is over with?"

"Well, Sammy and me, we thought maybe I could do car repair and body work. Sammy can do book keeping. Cas could help out wherever he's needed. The thing is we got no money to do it. No home to live in. No place to start up. Only home we know, Bobby, is yours."

Bobby's face lit up. "That sounds like a mighty fine idea, honestly. I'd hoped that you two would find a way to settle down and having you home would be perfect."

Dean relaxed. "Thanks, Bobby. We could really start up a mechanic business. Fix up whatcha got to sell. I'm good with my hands and especially with cars and trucks. Sammy thought he could take a couple of classes and do the book keeping, sales, and stuff. I thought Cas could do errands, maybe learn his own trade if he wants. Just generally help out around the place. Go with you and help when you need to make runs or go to town. Cas, would that be alright with you? Living at Bobby's?"

"I do like the idea, if it works out where I stay. I am unsure as to what trade I could learn though."

"What would you like to do? Knowing the stuff you know, you could be a preacher. You know the stories better then most, Cas. You lived most of ‘em."

He wrinkled his nose. "I think not. That isn't my forte."

"Well, how about teaching. Bobby can fix your credentials real easy. I seem to remember a private school there."

Sam grinned. "He'd be an awesome literature teacher, or history."

Castiel nodded. "That might be appropriate."

"Yeah, I think it would be. You'd know it better then anyone, Cas"

"I think I will. I am not good with children but can try. Thank you for the suggestion, Dean." It felt nice knowing he had something to fall back on should his own Fall be a permanent thing.

"Cas, if you go back, we won't see you again, will we?

"That, I do not know. It is possible I will not be allowed to return." He frowned at that. "To be honest, I have a feeling that my former superiors will keep it arranged that even if I could return, my life would be miserable.”

"Then stay with us. I figure God owes you for being loyal to Him, Cas. Hell, I'll ask."

He tilted his head at that. "You would ask Him for that?"

"Yeah, Cas, I would. We want you with us. You have been a part of this battle way too long. I owe you. I know you like it here. I know you are comfortable with us. I don't want to lose you, Cas."

He gave Dean a small smile. "Thank you."

"We'll fight for you, Cas. Really will."

"As I will for you."

"Alright! Bobby, you said you could tell us about Christmas and the legends and traditions. You want to start tonight? We did get you a book. Let me run get it."

"Get some more eggnog too!"

Dean nodded as he headed to the bedroom and grabbed the two books on traditions and the stories on carols. He came out, handed them to Bobby, and gathered glasses. He mixed the eggnog in each glass, sprinkling with nutmeg. He gave each man a glass and curled back up into the chair he'd commandeered and leaned his head back, but did not close his eyes this time. They were on Bobby.

Bobby took a sip and then opened the book, starting with the first legend. His voice was low as he began with the legend of the candy cane.

Dean watched the man, taking in the story intently. Anything that interested him always drew an intensity. These stories and legends meant something...normalcy. These were stories normal people knew. This was a step. Something special that he wanted to share with his family.

Castiel and Sam listened as well, sipping their drinks and enjoying the company. It felt nice to have family moments like this.

After the first legend, Dean got up and headed to the little kitchenette. Soon, everyone heard the microwave running. Popping could be heard. Dean popped several bags of plain popcorn and seasoned it with a butter season he had bought. He brought everyone a bowl.

"Movie, Dean? Popcorn goes good with a movie," Sam commented while munching on his snack.

"Sure. I bought some Christmas movies. ‘White Christmas‘ and ‘Polar Express.’ That's a big TV.

‘Polar Express’ might look good on it. I'm told they showed it on I Max."

"Go for it," Bobby commented.

Dean got the movie from the shelf where Bobby had put it. He opened the wrapper and the seals. The young man placed the movie in the player and put the CD back into it's holder. The group relaxed, enjoying the movie and the music to it. The film itself was both charming and enthralling.

The roller coaster ride of the runaway train was exciting on the large screen. Dean was enjoying the movie immensely. He would grin at his brother, knowing they both were having fun. Castiel was taken with the story, enjoying it with an intense gaze. Dean glanced at Bobby and saw a grin on his face. He had hoped Bobby would like the movie. It was obvious that the movie was very much enjoyed by all. It was relaxing to simply enjoy something like this together.

Dean yawned. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I'm gonna clean this up and go to bed."

Sam got up to help him. Dean was right; it was getting late and tomorrow would be another day to relax and enjoy themselves. The two brothers worked side by side in the kitchenette, and soon had everything in order. "What time were we told breakfast was?"

"I think he said it started at seven-thirty."

He say how long it lasted? I might actually like to sleep ‘til I wake for a change."

"Until eleven, I think," Sam answered, wiping his hands on a towel.

"Okay, well, if we oversleep, we can go somewhere I guess, or pick something up." Dean wiped the counter and checked the inside of the microwave. He dried his hands and asked Bobby if he needed help with the bed because it was a tall one.

Castiel and Sam soon headed to bed as well. Sam dozed off rather quickly, enjoying the softness of the bed. This place was so comfortable.

Dean had helped Bobby when he needed it and climbed into his bed and leaned over and turned out the light. He lay there for a few minutes.

"Hey, Bobby?"

"Yeah Dean?"

"Thank you."

He smiled in the darkness. "You're welcome. Now get some sleep."

Dean turned over and was soon dead to the world. He hadn't even put his knife under the pillow or salted the place.

The suite was soon silent, save for the ticking of clocks that had been placed in the living area.

The three men slept and the angel in his bed, quietly comtemplated the day.

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