Dean's breathing slowly calmed, his color went back to normal. Cas on the couch, and Sam on the floor by the train and the fire, were both normal. Bobby read and all three took in the stories.
Some were cute and funny, others sad and poignant, but they were traditional tales always shared at this time of year. Sam knew some from his time with Jess and her family. He knew that Dean probably had never heard them unless Mom and told him a few. He wasn't sure about Cas at all. Did angels hear stories? Castiel was enchanted with the stories. Humans were incredible with their gift for imagination. Dean drank in each one like a drowning man. One or two brought back memories of his mother. Another from Pastor Jim brought a smile to his face. The rest he'd never heard before.
Bobby loved reading out loud to them; they were so attentive and rarely interrupted. The three boys were enthralled with the way the stories were written and Bobby told them so well. To Dean, it was like school in kindergarten when the teacher read to them. He couldn’t remember staying in the class long but the stories had been wonderful.
After a bit, Sam went and got Bobby something to drink so he could keep his mouth and throat wet with all the reading he was doing. Dean had grabbed an afghan and put it over Bobby's legs. He whispered, "You're not close enough to the fire."
"Thanks, son," he responded, freeing a hand to ruffle his hair affectionately.
Dean smiled at him, "You're welcome, Dad."
Now that felt good. Sam was grinning too, telling the older man that he was in agreement with the title.
Dean grabbed another afghan and huddled under it in his chair. He listened to some more stories, finally, sighing, he got up and built up the fire.
"Do you think we should check on the older ones? Make sure it's warm enough for them?" Castiel asked quietly.
"Yeah, Just a minute, Cas." Dean got up and started doing something in the kitchen. Soon Sam could smell spiced cider. Dean filled a thermos. and started preparing some for everyone else. He came out with a tray and the thermos. "I'll take it, Cas. I want to check their fire for the night" Dean leaned down and started to put on his boots.
Sam rose. "I'll go with you."
"Sure, come on." Dean grabbed his jacked and handed Sam his. They went into the cold hallway.
"Damn! It's cold out here. Got to be the humidity. How do people in New England handle it?"
"They live in it since childhood. I'm sure their bodies adapt to it over the years." He zipped his coat up, shivering.
"Yeah, well, I'll never complain about being cold again. This is bad. I hope the old couple is all right."
"That's what we're going to make sure of." He was worried for them too.
Dean knocked on the door. "Hello?"
A tiny elderly woman answered the door, smiling. "Dean, you're back again?"
"Yes'm. We thought you might like some spiced cider. It's not store bought. I make it myself. I thought we ought to give your fire a once over for the night. You met Sam, my brother?"
"I've seen him around. Spiced cider? Oh goodness, it's rare I find young men your age that know how to make it. Such an old tradition. Come in, boys, come in. I'm Trudy."
Dean and Sam entered. Dean followed Trudy to the living area and handed her the thermos. He went towards the fireplace and started to build a roaring fire that would see them through the night.
"Trudy, I was wondering if you considered moving one of the beds in here? For older people the cold can really bother you. In here, you'd be closer to the fire and stay warmer. Sam and I would do it for you."
"Would you please? The couch would be bad for my back, that's for sure." She had a soft accent, hinting at Irish roots.
Dean went into the bedroom and started taking the bed apart. He wondered where Trudy's husband was. Slowly, he started bringing out bed parts as Sam cleared an area not too close to the fireplace. Soon they had the bed together and remade.
"Thank you boys." As she spoke, an older man walked in, leaning heavily on a cane. He'd poured the cider into cups for himself and his wife. "Ahh, you're the boys that brought the cider. Thank you so much for that." His voice carried a heavier hint of the same accent.
Curiosity got the better of him, so Dean asked, "Are you from Ireland?"
The male nodded, settling into a chair and resting his cane against it. "We are. Came over after the war to raise a family. Wanted to get Trudy out of the mess over there, truthfully."
Dean nodded. "I heard it was bad over there after the war. I hope you've been happy here."
"That we have. Six children and a lot of laughter," he said with a soft smile. "My bride has made us all happy over the years."
Dean smiled wistfully. Sam could see the longing, and felt a twinge of it himself.
"I hope I find that some day. Well, we need to get back. The fire should keep you warm through the night. There's plenty of cider in the thermos and it should stay hot quite a while. It's a good thermos. I'll be by in the morning rebuild the fire."
"Thank you, lads. You sleep well and enjoy your time with your family."
"We will, "Dean said and Sam echoed his response.
Trudy walked them out, thanking them again for their attentiveness and thoughtfulness.
Dean smiled, and then turned and headed down the hall, past their suite and out the back door. He stood on the screened porch.
Sam followed. "You ok?"
"Just wondering how long it will be before we can go outside? How long this storm will last? I was thinking a snow fort, couple of scarves. If we can talk Jacob into playing. The snow would be perfect for capture the flag."
He grinned. "I think we should think on it. Ben would have fun too."
"Yeah, be a great way to spend the day tomorrow. Not all of it because it's Christmas Eve, but part of it."
"Let's see if it dies down any and go from there."
"Yeah, it's not doing it yet. Well, we won't be going anywhere until it clears up, so we got time."
"True. We should head back before Bobby and Cas start to worry about us."
"Yeah. It's cold out here."
The two headed back in, finding Castiel and Bobby talking quietly.
Both men looked up as the brothers entered the room. Dean picked up two cups of cider and handed one to Sam, He walked towards the fire, warming his body as he sipped the spicy beverage.
Sam made a soft humming noise of appreciation after taking a sip of the warm drink.
Dean smiled at the sound. A large yawn escaped his mouth. He shook his head and yawned again.
"We should probably make pallets in here to stay warm. Those bedrooms are frigid."
"Yeah we moved a bed for our neighbors. The floor is hardwood, Bobby. It's going to be really cold. Are there any hot water bottles around here? Sam, you didn't happen to get any by any off chance?"
Castiel answered. "Bobby noticed them and had me retrieve them."
"Fantastic!" Dean went to boil water. "Cas, get some towels to wrap them in. Sam, can you start pulling bedding?”
The group went to work, setting things up with the blankets. Sam made a bed for Bobby on the couch, knowing it would be easier for the older man.
Dean soon had the bottles filled with boiling water. He wrapped them in towels, and laid them under the covers warming the beds. He finally moved them to the feet of the beds. "Feet get the coldest."
"Even with socks and slippers on," Sam agreed.
"Exactly," Dean added.
Castiel helped Bobby get into the bed and covered him well, setting a bottle by his feet.
Dean looked around. "This is crazy! Let's move the covers together. Body heat will help us stay warm."
Bobby smiled. Dean may say he's not the leader. Sam may argue that Dean's not. Cas may usually follow his own course, but when it came down to something like this, the man who thought he was stupid, knew what to do and the others followed without question. Bobby knew he could never say that, but he found it amusing and touching.
Sam made one large pallet, except for what Bobby was using, and made sure it was thick enough to help cushion them.
Using the hot water bottles, Dean warmed the pallet. He then set them at the feet. "Choose where you want to lay, guys." Dean checked the fire one more time and came over to the pallet. "You warm enough, Bobby?:
"Toasty warm. Someone will have to watch the fire during the night to make sure it doesn't go out or leap out."
“ It's banked so it won't and the screen's in front of it. I've got it built up enough. It shouldn't go out, Bobby."
"All right then. 'Night boys."
"Who's sleeping where guys?"
"Doesn't matter to me," Sam commented.
"I am fine with any place."
"Okay. " Dean climbed in where he would be next to Bobby in case the man needed him in the night.
Sam claimed the middle, snickering to himself as he realized he'd be warmer that way. Castiel chose the outer edge and made himself comfortable.
Soon it was quiet except for the steady breathing of the boys and the lights snores of Bobby.
The next morning, Castiel was the first to wake and woke up the fire, helping it to a good steady roar so that the room would heat up faster.
Dean felt the movement and the feeling of cold air under the covers and started waking up. He heard the roar of the fire and it startled him. He eased out of the covers as carefully as he could trying hard not to wake up Sam. He saw the fire roaring and noticed that Cas was not in the room. He started checking the rooms, looking for the angel.
Said angel was padding through the house, checking to see if the older couple was awake or not. He didn't hear anything so came back to the suite.
Dean put on coffee and a tea kettle. He got bacon, eggs, and a couple of tins of biscuits out of the fridge and started to make scrambled eggs and bacon. He put out honey, butter, salt, pepper, and syrup. He came back with cream, sugar, and honey. He found that he really liked cooking when he had food to cook and didn't have to piece something together.
Castiel came into the kitchen. "They are not awake yet so I will check with them in a short while."
Dean nodded. "Do you think it will be warm enough in the dining area or should we get the sleepy heads up and use the coffee table?"
"I would suggest coffee table. The dining area is rather large and would take a long while to heat up."
"Yeah, I agree. Would you wake them up,Cas? Bacon and biscuits are almost done. Coffee's about through, and the teapot is doing it's thing. I'm fixing to start the eggs. Nothing fancy this morning."
He nodded, heading into the living room to wake them up. Bobby was a bit groggy but Sam...that one didn't want to wake. He swatted sleepily at the angel, mumbling something and burrowing back under the covers.
Dean walked into the living room and held a cup of coffee under Sam's nose. "There's breakfast where that came from."
"Coffee," Sam groaned.
"That's right, Sammy. Coffee. Come on, boy. There's more then that. Up you go."
It took a moment before the lanky frame was able to get up, joints popping as he struggled to sit up at the small table.
Dean set coffee and tea on the coffee table and went to finish making breakfast. Bobby was sitting on some cushions with his back against the couch. He looked at Dean and Cas. "Cas, at least your dressed while doing stuff, he's in a those crazy pajamas, barefooted and hair going every which way. Did he even stop to take care of himself?" Bobby was laughing slightly.
"He looks like he woke up in the kitchen."
Castiel sipped at his tea. "He went straight into the kitchen."
"That crazy boy's gonna catch pneumonia."
"At least he's wearing slippers," Sam grumbled.
"No, he's not. He's barefooted. Where are his slippers?"
The angel found them under the sofa. "I do not want to know how they got there."
"He went to bed with them on last night to keep his feet warm. He slept close to couch, worried about me on it."
Castiel gave a small smile at that.
"When was the last time Dean was real sick, Sam? I don't mean from the job either. I mean sick."
"You know, I can't remember."
"Right. You know, when he's hurt, he's almost impossible to keep still. Bad tempered. Illogical. Thinks he can do whatever he needs to do. Just repatch him. Well, what do you think he'll be like if he gets real sick from running around like this?"
Castiel picked up the slippers and went after Dean.
Dean was putting the scrambled eggs into a large bowl and gravy into another, thinking it was pretty good on the biscuits the other morning. He didn't cook sausage to go in it though. He looked up as Cas entered with his slippers. He grinned. "Thanks, Cas. Where'd you find them? I looked everywhere."
"Under the sofa."
Dean nodded and started carrying food out, with Cas behind him, holding the slippers.
"Dean, you idjit, put the slippers on before you catch your death of cold!"
Dean almost dropped the food. Cas dropped the slippers and grabbed the dishes. Dean yelled, "Yes, sir!" He put on the slippers while Cas set the gravy and eggs on the table.
Sam snickered softly, helping Cas with the food.
Dean rushed into the kitchen and grabbed the biscuits and bacon. and brought it into the table.
"Much better," Bobby replied.
Dean nodded and sat down.
"It looks good, Dean."
The group sat down to enjoy their meal.
Dean listened to everyone and ate his meal quietly.
Compliments were handed out at the great tasting food.
Dean smiled and thanked them.
Sam was the one who cleaned up the dishes, giving Dean time to relax.
Dean put up the linens and blankets, got dressed, grabbed a jacket and headed to see the elderly couple.
Castiel went with him, smiling as the older man answered the door this time. "Eh, Dean, good to see you."
"It's good to see you, too, sir. I came to rebuild your fire. I brought a second thermos with coffee in it. I'll take the other back to clean."
"Thank you..so much. And this lad with you?" The old world charm was on full blast, a natural thing.
"This is Castiel., my brother."
"It's nice to meet you both. I've not been in when Castiel was here before. Come in, come in. Trudy just finished getting decent."
Both men entered the room. Dean went to the fireplace and rebuilt the fire. Castiel checked the bins and then headed out to add more wood. Dean got a roaring fire going, and took a bucket full of ashes out to the dumpster. The angel refilled the bin, adding tinder as well. From there, he checked the lamps to ensure they had plenty of oil. Dean brought the empty bucket back and set it on the hearth.
"You are taken care of for a while," the older one said with a small half bow.
Dean smiled and took the empty thermos and shook hands. "We'll check in on you later."
Castiel bade them a good day and followed Dean out. "Nice people."
"Yeah, they are."
They headed back into the room. "Should we add more firewood to the bin?"
"Yeah, I'll grab the bins."
Castiel nodded, waiting for Dean so they could finish the chore.
Dean carried three bins and handed one to Cas as they headed outside.
The duo worked together to fill the bins, wanting to ensure the room would stay warm throughout the day.
Dean started gathering logs and filled the two bins. Cas filled the third bin with kindling and tinder.
They hauled them inside and then moved close to the fire to warm up.
Dean was shivering and leaned closer to get warm. Cas looked over at him. "Your teeth are chattering."
Sam poured more coffee for Dean, handing it to him and stripping the coat off to wrap a blanket around him.
"I'm alright. Honest. Just a little cold. I'll be fine."
Dean took the cup of coffee and let Sam take his coat and give him the blanket. He held the cup in his hands to warm them and look a long drink.
It didn't take long for him to warm up, especially with the hot coffee his brother had given him. Dean sighed and sat down in his chair and kept the blanket over his legs.
"Yeah, thanks, guys."
The group sat, enjoying the building heat of the room.
Dean's brows were furrowed. Bobby watched him closely, knowing the signs of serious concentration.
"What's on your mind," Sam asked, stretching.
"Well....," Dean's voice drew out the word. "It's Christmas Eve. We ought to do something special."
"What are you thinking?"
“Well, why don't we see if Ben would mind us using the dining room. We get everyone to bring something, like a potluck, Is that what they call them? Anyway we all celebrate together. Most of those here are away from family."
"Not a bad idea," Sam commented.
"Great. We need to see if Ben would go for it.”
"Okay, so who wants to go?" Bobby grinned.
"Well, I guess I could. I thought we could make some snow ice cream. You made it for us when we were kids."
Bobby chuckled. "Do we have the ingredients for it?"
“We got vanilla, milk, cream , sugar. “
He grinned. "Someone go talk to Ben and let's set it up."
"Come on, Sam."
Sam gave a playful pout, standing up. Dean grabbed their jackets and headed for the door. They found Ben in his office, drinking coffee and going over paperwork.
"Hi Dean, how is everything going?"
"Going good. Got an idea to pass by you."
He put his cup down, pointing at the antique service tray. "Have some if you like and have a seat.
“What's on your minds?"
"We'd like to have a Christmas Eve get-together. Everyone bring something to eat, music, maybe some dancing if people want to. Bring some games. Bobby will make snow ice-cream."
"You know, that's not a bad idea."
"Fantastic! Let us know what to do and we'll get started. How's Jacob doing by the way? If he's up to it, he'd be welcome to get involved. We can get to know each other."
"He's doing all right; he's just dealt with a lot of bad dreams last night."
"Yeah, that can be hard to handle at first. We can both tell him that. Give him someone who's been through some bad stuff who can maybe listen and help in some way."
Ben nodded. "I will do that. I was thinking about five for the gathering. What do you think?"
Yeah, that way it can end fairly early. Give everyone time to do their own Christmas Eve thing."
"Of course. Can you pass the word while I nudge what staff I have here to start?"
"We'll be glad to. Ahhh...should I make a spiked punch?"
Sam smacked the back of his brother's head while Ben chuckled. "That'd be a crazy thing but no, please. We're running on candles, lanterns, and fire places. I want this home in one piece please."
Dean laughed. "Yeah, you're right. Didn't think about that. Not a good combination at all. I will make some hot cider if you'd like"
"That would be delicious," he said with a smile.
"Let us know what we can do to help get it ready. I got a find plot of clean snow for one thing."
The two brothers went to let the other residents know and to bring what they'd like to bring."
Sam separated to another hallway, letting people know. It seemed to cheer up a lot of them, and he laughed as he entered the suite.
Dean came in and told Bobby he'd found a spot and would collect the snow around four.
Bobby nodded and then looked at Sam. "What's so funny?" The younger Winchester grinned. "Have you guys been in the East Wing upstairs?"
"The most adorable twins on the planet."
"Really? How old?"
He chuckled. "Three years old, biggest green eyes you've ever seen."
"Wow! Wish we could do something for them."
Bobby tilted his head. "Dean, do we have molasses or syrup of some kind?"
"Yeah, for gingerbread, we got some just in case we ran out. You talking about that candy you used to make me when I was little? You used to drop it in the snow."
"Exactly. We can make candy for them for tomorrow..old fashioned but it'll work. Any of you good at whittling?"
Cas looked at the brothers. "One of you is. I've seen stuff lying around when you weren't expecting anyone. I just popped in."
"Dean can, he's great at it. That's an idea. Dean, maybe you could make some toys if you can find wood that'll work? I have an idea for them too. They're with their mom, were attending the festival and than were going to head to their aunt's but got snowed in. I don't think she's prepared for this."
Dean flushed. "I'm not that good, Sammy. Never was any good at it, but I'll try. Ben's got wood for some projects out in his garage. I can ask to look at it and see what I can do, but it means me doing that instead of helping with stuff here today."
"He has some staff here to help get that organized. I'm going to ask him something and then talk to the other residents, maybe they'd be willing to pitch in for the girls and make a present for them."
"Okay. Let me go see if he's got what I need. I'll get an okay from him first. Bobby, I can do the candy later today. We need to have this ready to come from Santa."
Bobby grinned and looked at Castiel. "And you get to learn how to make popcorn balls."
Dean laughed, “There's corn syrup in the kitchen.”
Sam tugged his jacket on. "Let's talk to Ben and then I'm going to spread the word."
Both boys headed back to Ben's office.
Ben looked surprised to see them as he was heading out. "What's up?"
"We are playing Santa for the twins. Gotta couple questions for ya."
"Well, you got some nice wood in your garage. I thought I could make them some toys, if you wouldn't mind me using some of it. I'd be willing to pay for the wood so you could replace it."
"It's for the kids, so don't worry about it. You know, I think I have a tiny spare fake tree in there. We could probably set it all up tonight after they go to bed."
Sam murmured something into Ben's ear, who gave a soft reply. After that, the younger brother took off to retrieve what it was he'd asked for.
Dean thanked Ben and headed towards the garage. He was wracking his brains trying to figure what three year old girls liked. He knew dolls but what kind of doll could he make out of wood. Then a thought crossed his mind. He went looking for Trudy.
The Irish woman was working on a project herself, smiling as her husband let him in. "How can I help you, Dean?"
"Miss Trudy, I have a question to ask you. A special one."
"I know a long time ago parents made their kid's Christmas gifts. I am not trying to say you are that old. Honest. But, I did think, being from Ireland, you might remember how your mama did it. There's a set of three year old twins here. Their mama is not ready for Christmas. They weren't supposed to be trapped here. I noticed out in Ben's garage, a bin of old clothes. Can you make those rag dolls they used make from old clothes?"
"Yes, Dean, I can do that. I always keep a crafting kit with me to keep my hands from being idle. I had thought about doing that, but had no material with me to make such things."
“I can bring the bin in if you'd like me too. I thought I could make cradles for the dolls and then maybe whittle some train whistles for them. That should please their mom." Dean's eyes were twinkling with mischief.
Trudy laughed. "Then take my Seamus with you, Dean. He's a carpenter and can help make the little ones a few toys. And it'll keep him out of trouble."
The older man scoffed playfully at his wife.
"Seamus, you got a good pair of boots and a warm jacket?"
"I do indeed." He put on his outdoor wear and grabbed his cane. "Shall we make some Christmas for the little ones?"
"Yes, sir." Dean held the door for the older man. He turned and winked at Trudy. "We'll fix them up extra special." Both men headed to the garage. "I've got a few hand tools. Most of what Ben's got in there are electric. We'll have to work at it the old fashioned way. I did learn how. I'm pretty good with my hands."
"I learned this way at my father's knee. It's a right good thing you boys are doing for the girls. Your brother seemed awfully excited to be playing Santa."
"Yes, and I have no idea what he's up to. Worries me. In a good way. " Dean smiled as he helped the older man over the rough spots in the yard. "I'm gonna have to clear this again. Snow is still coming down."
"Weather reports Ben gave us said it wouldn't be stopping for a while." He leaned against the younger man gratefully, shutting the shed behind them as they entered. "Why don't you take the material to my Trudy and I'll see what we have to work with here."
"Yes, sir. I won't be gone long." Dean picked up the bin of clothing and headed back to the building.
While he was gone, Seamus looked over the wood, smiling at the quality there.
Trudy had settled herself for the project, making sure she had room to work.
Dean knocked at the door with his elbow. His arms were filled with the large bin of clothing. He waited on Trudy.
The elderly woman answered the door. "My, you've a lot for me to work with. That's fine, set it by the coffee table, and I'll get started."
"Thank you so much, Miss Trudy. And I'll keep eye an on Seamus. I won't let him over do it."
"Thank you. Tell your family if they need help, just ask."
"I will. Thank you, Ma'am." Dean hurried back to the building, slipping and sliding on pieces of ice under the snow. He made a note in his mind to avoid those spots when he brought Seamus back inside."
Seamus had picked out some good pieces and was whittling away on one when Dean returned.
"There you are, take a look and see what you think?"
Dean was surprised by the quality of the wood. "These will make great toys."
He took some pieces of cedar, Got a saw, wood rasp, hammer, nails, chisel, and some other tools and went to work on two small cradles for the rag dolls. "We won't need stain or paint with cedar. That's makes it a better idea for this."
"And it'll help with the dolls in preserving them too," Old fingers worked over the wood, occasionally laying a tool down to pick up another. "How did you learn to work like this, Dean?"
“As a kid, we stayed at a motel for three months while our dad worked. It was summer. Sammy was 6 and I was 10. Sammy liked this free summer program the library had. I could take him there and have some free time."
"There was a man who had a wood shop near the library. I could smell the wood chips and stain. It sort of drew me in. I guess I asked a lot of questions because he started teaching me."
He nodded. "It's a fine art to have. My father was a farmer back in County Claire. He would work in the woodshed at night or during the winter when the work was slow."
"Your dad taught you? That is really awesome. Mine taught me a little about working on cars. Enough to keep me out of trouble. But Bobby taught me most of it."
Seamus chuckled. "Mechanical stuff was something I had no talent with. Now, my daughter is a wonder with it."
"Really? I've never known a girl who's good at that. I'd like to know her."
"My only girl," he chuckled.
"Never had a sister. I've never really been around girls a whole lot. Had a couple of girlfriends but it never lasted long. I'm on the road too much. I sure hope that stops soon."
"I'm sure it will if you want it bad enough." He reached for another tool.
"Yeah, I do. I really think I do. Bobby said we could live with him at his place. Build if we want to. I can help run his automotive business. Sam can run the business part of it. Cas will run his library and maybe offer some classes on stuff he knows. Have to see. It'd be a good life. If I can find the right woman and settle down. Sam still has one, I think."
The older man smiled gently. "It's a good plan. Keep that in mind as you face whatever it is that lies between now and then. I had to do the same to get Trudy here."
He nodded. "Even back then, it took a lot of money to move from one country to another. A son of a farmer doesn't have a lot to start with."
"I guess it would be pretty hard. Right now, I got some money, but what isn't used this holiday will go to support us as we do our job. There's no money to put back. Hell, I'm 30 years old. Ought to have a home, family and kids. I'm still on the road. Sammy never wanted back into this business. He's just as trapped as I am. But I hope it will be over soon and we can finally find normal. I am so glad that you and Trudy managed it. I would hate to never have known you."
He gave a half smile. "Took hard work, determination, and a supportive wife for me. You, lad, you have your family to push you forward. Keep the dream in front of you, use it as a beacon when things look dark and you'll not lose your way."
"Thank you. I will"
The two men worked side by side for several hours. Dean stopping to go inside to get coffee or cider. The two cradles were finished. Dean was whittling two train whistles. He had looked through the costume items stored in the garage and found a awful looking pair of earrings. They were hoops. He took the gaudy beads off the hoops, which looked fine. He started whittling a pair of balls out of some lovely maple and carved an ornate line of scrollwork around the center. He then used a small awl and bore a hole through the center of them and put them on the hoops. "What do you think? The twin's mother had on earrings."
Two sets of wooden animals were set by the cradles. A cat and dog for each child.
"I think that's a lovely gift idea, Dean."
"Those animals are wonderful, Seamus. I think I can get Cas to help bring this stuff in. It's almost four and I promised Bobby fresh snow. Let me help you get inside. It's getting too cold out here. Thank you so much."
"You're most welcome. Most fun I've had in a while."
"To be honest, me too. Like I said, doing this would be a dream. Someday, maybe. But it was really fun having this time to do this and to talk. Thanks."
"Any time, Dean, any time. Let's check on my Trudy and see how her project's come along."
Dean helped Seamus over the rough spots, making sure there was nothing to trip on. They got inside and Dean made sure Seamus made it inside without any problems. When they got into Seamus' rooms, Dean first went and checked the fire.
Trudy had a few items ready to go. She seemed very proud of herself. Dean stopped to look at her handiwork. There were two cute little rag dolls with a blanket each. She'd embroidered initials onto both of the blankets. On top of that, she'd managed a few change of clothes. Very simple but something a three year old would enjoy dressing their dolly with.
Dean's eyes widened. "These are beautiful! You do awesome work, Trudy. They are gonna love this."
She gave a pleased smile. "Sam said you had wrapping paper. I figured addressing them to the little ones from Santa would be great."
"I think the items they are getting fit Santa's elves perfectly." Dean reached into his pocket and pulled out something and looked at the couple. "I have a little something for both of you. I hope you don't mind. I whittled these today while Seamus was working on the animals." Dean handed both of them a shamrock.
Trudy's face lit up. "Dean, this is so sweet. We'll treasure these."
Dean's face lit up. He grinned. "Well, I got to go get a big bowl so Bobby can make that ice cream. I'll see you both at five?"
She smiled. "We'll be there."
Her smile widened further. "All right then, have a good afternoon."
Dean rushed into the suite, ran into the kitchen, and started digging under the cabinets. Bobby and Castiel could hear his heavy breathing.
"Calm down, Dean. You've got time." Bobby wheeled into the kitchen. "What can we help with? We finished the popcorn balls already."
"I'm just trying to find the big bowl I thought I saw in here yesterday. Want to have plenty of the ice cream, Bobby. I want to get to the patch of clean snow before something else does. I have about fifteen gallons of cider in the hall closet. If you guys would empty some of it into a large pot and bring it to a boil, I'll be back in just a bit with the snow."
Dean found the bowl and a large spoon and was gone.
Castiel watched him run out the door. "I now understand why he eats so much."
"Try feeding them both as kids. Bottomless pits, I swear. Cas, remind him we need snow for the candy too and I'll see if I can't find the pot. Sam had better finish with his project soon."
Cas was curious about Sam's project but had not asked. He was beginning to understand that Christmas was all about secrets.
Bobby set the pot on the stove, waiting for one of the boys to show back up.
Dean found the spot behind the out buildings. The area was pristine. Dean scraped off a light level of snow to get to the snow underneath. He filled the bowl two-thirds full. Getting up, he picked up the bowl, still winded. He felt tired, but knew he still had things he wanted to get done. He had promised to wrap everything for the twins. He needed to get it all done before it got dark and that wouldn't be long.
Castiel followed him outside, bearing several pans. "Bobby insisted on bringing in pans of snow...something about candy?"
Dean handed Cas the large bowl of snow. "Tell him this is for the ice cream. He may have you or Sam do it and tell you what to do. I'll get this. I have to wrap a bunch of stuff for the twins. I promised Trudy I'd get what she made. I made something for the mother. A pair of earrings."
"That is a very generous thing to do, Dean. I will assist Bobby as Sam is still..occupied." Castiel had learned a few new curses thanks to the younger brother.
The older brother wondered why Cas had stumbled over the last couple of words but really did not have time to worry about it. Too much to get done, and time was not standing still.
Dean went back to where he had gotten the other snow. He filled the pans. Juggling them, he headed back to the B&B.
Castiel followed him, both coming into the suite in time to hear a round of blistering curses. Bobby rolled back out with a wry headshake and smirk.
Dean came to a sudden stop. "What the hell is going on?"
"Your brother is creating...hasn't let us see what it is, but damn, I've not heard so many profanities in that many languages in years."
"Sammy? Creative? Bobby, Sammy's computer smart. Mr. College Boy. I taught him what I could about my baby before I died. That wasn't easy. He's not that good with his hands. I hope whatever it is he's doing, it turns out for him. Hate to see him disappointed."
"Someone know where the band aids are?" Castiel winced when he heard the question from Sam, not pausing as he poured the cider into the pot to boil.
Dean got the band aids and headed to where Sam was. "You hurt bad?" Dean would not insult Sam by asking if he needed help. He would not want that asked himself.
Sam came out of his corner, fingers pricked a multitude of times and a bit swollen.
"You okay, man?"
He blushed. "Sewing isn't my thing."
"You're sewing? You can stitch up. How much harder is it?"
"A lot harder, Dean." He pointed behind him to the table where two items rested. Sam had crafted teddy bears from flannel sheets that Ben had allowed him to use. One was pink, the other purple and both had cute button noses. It was obvious Sam had spent a great deal of time on them as the stitches were even and tiny, making for two adorable plush toys.
Dean grinned. "Those are wonderful, Sammy! I'm sorry you went through so much, but those are awesome."
"You think so?"
"Yeah, I think so. Listen, I am going to go get the rest of the stuff. You wanna help wrap it?"
"Sure, I can do that. Just..bandaids first, dude. I don't want to bleed all over their stuff."
Dean started opening band aids, adding a little antibiotic cream on the wounds and doctoring the swollen fingers.
He gave a soft sigh of pleasure as the stinging sensation died away.
"Man, that would hurt. I hate shots. Sewing needles have to feel worse."
"I'm lousy with it and had to go slow to make sure the stitching would hold for a long time."
"That looks really good, Sam. I mean that. Grab your coat. We're going back outside. Got stuff to haul in."
He nodded, picking up his jacket. "Ben came by, we're all going to head to their room at ten to give the twins time to fall asleep."
"Sounds good." Dean led Sam to the garage. Sam could see the train whistles, cradles, and kittens and puppies. Dean picked up a pair of earrings and placed them in his jacket pocket. He picked up one cradle filled with animals and whistles. Sam grabbed the other, and they headed towards the other building and their suite.
Once inside, he took the gifts and shooed his brother to the kitchen. "No telling what type of chaos Cas has caused in the kitchen. I'll wrap these."
"You need to go get Trudy's stuff," Dean said as he rushed to the kitchen. "Thanks, you're a better wrapper then I am anyway."
He grinned and headed out to round up Trudy's gifts.
Dean walked into the kitchen, wondering at the quiet. The ice cream was ready to go. Candy was in the snow, and the spices were in the cider. Dean's eyes grew wide. "You guys don't know my recipe for cider."
"It seems Cas is a natural." Bobby held him a small cup to try.
Dean tasted it and closed his eyes. "Yeah, he's got it. Thanks, Cas."
"You are most welcome, Dean. I find I like cooking as well."
"Fantastic. How much time we got left?"
"About half an hour."
“Better see if we can get that ice cream somewhere where it won't melt. How about the screened in porch? Does Ben need any help?"
"Why don't we check and see? Sam can join us after he's done."
"Should we take the stuff? Ben may have things he wants it in."
Sam looked up. "The presents?"
"Bobby, let him know what we're doing. I'll be there as soon as I can. Not leaving Sam to do all these."
The older hunter nodded, taking Castiel with him. Sam was working studiously on the gifts.
Dean waded in with typical Dean enthusiasm. He grabbed paper, scissors and tape.
Sam grinned at Dean. "Let's have some fun."
The brothers had a great time together. Dean finally pulled the earrings out of his pocket. "I need something to put these in, Sammy. We got anything we can use?"
"I think there's some small boxes from the teas and stuff."
Dean went into the kitchen and started looking around until he found a small box. He put some cotton balls in it and laid the hoop earrings with the ornately carved beads in the box. He headed back to decorate it.
"Yeah, this will do. I want to fix it up though. An old tea box just won't cut it for decoration."
Dean showed the box to Sam. Sam looked at the box and saw the earrings for the first time. The beads were an inch in diameter and the ornate carving around the outer center was beautiful.
"Damn Dean, those are incredible. She'll love them."
"You think so?" Dean sounded almost like a kid wanting approval.
"I know so, those are great." They really were.
Dean sighed in relief. "I know so little about what kind of things a woman would like for a gift. Just wanted to make sure she had something nice too."
"You did awesome, man. She'll love those a lot."
Dean really looked relieved. "Thanks, man." He looked at the different gift wraps. He found a brilliant red one and use gold ribbon and bows.
"Remember, everything is from Santa."
"I've labeled them that way."
"Great, let's set them in the living room. That way, we don't miss one when it's dark." They set the gifts on the coffee table. Dean lit a lantern and set it by the fireplace. He banked the fire, set the screen and they headed to the dining hall.
Sam went with him, feeling cheerful.