The night went by quietly, the snow still coming down. Christmas morning dawned quietly. Dean slept through it all, cushioned in the love of his family, and Sam woke first.
Castiel roused afterwards, heading to put something together for breakfast.
Bobby stirred and looked around. He noticed that Dean was the last one up and smiled. He saw Sam building up the fire. He could hear Cas in the kitchen. Bobby decided that today was going to be a day of enforced rest for Dean. With Sam's help, he managed to get up without waking the older Winchester. He motioned to Sam about fires and pointed to the door and mouthed Seamus and Trudy. Sam grabbed a jacket and went to take care of them. Bobby went into the kitchen to see if Cas needed advice.
The angel read the box for pancakes and began making those for breakfast.
Bobby's brows raised. “ Does it explain about how long to cook before turning them?”
"It does," he answered, mixing the batter.
Bobby nodded. Sam came in behind them. He put on the coffee and the tea kettle. "Maybe I get to put a cup of coffee under Dean's nose today." He grinned.
"Were Trudy and Seamus all right?"
"They were fine. Exchanging gifts. They'd planned to spend Christmas here. They had wanted warmer weather." Sam smiled.
Bobby laughed softly. "Imagine so; I was expecting it too."
Sam smiled. They heard a groan from the living room. "You think his being so tired and eating so little could have really allowed that alcohol to get to him? He passed out, and Dean seldom does that. Me? Yeah, but not Dean. He may have a bad hangover if it did."
Cas turned some pancakes. "I've never seen Dean with a hangover, Sam. Will he be vomiting like you do?"
The older man hid the laughter when he saw Sam's reaction.
Sam poured a cup of coffee and headed to check on Dean.
"Find some Tylenol, Sam," Bobby called out, keeping an eye on Castiel.
Dean groaned again, holding his head. Sam laid the coffee on the table and went to find the aspirin. Dean moved into a fetal position, feeling slightly nauseous. Sam knelt down with the aspirin and coffee. 'You okay, Dean?"
Dean groaned about noises. "What the hell hit me?"
Sam's voice shook as he said, "Eggnog."
Bobby came out with a cup of steaming tea. "Cas suggested trying this before the coffee."
Dean looked in horror. "Tea?"
"Herbal. It'll settle your stomach."
Cas walked out with a half empty bottle of brandy. He set it on the coffee table and left. Dean looked at the brandy, his mouth open. Bobby's eyes opened wider and he bit his bottom lip and looked at Sam.
"Sammy, that bottle had four shots taken out of it. That was a huge bottle. Was my glass about two-thirds full of brandy? That wasn't a small glass, Sammy. You plastered me!"
Oops?" Dean tried to get up to grab his brother. He turned green. "Oh my god," he moaned. Bobby yelled at Sam, "Get him in there now, boy! He's not use to alcohol making him sick!"
Sam picked him up, taking him into the bathroom.
Dean was violently ill, cursing the whole time. Sam knew he was in for it. Maybe he had given his brother a little too much, but Dean really needed it.
He stroked his brother's back, trying to help him calm down.
"Damn it, Sammy." He kept feeling spasms in his gut. "It's Christmas morning and I'm upchucking what little bit I did eat yesterday!”
"I'm sorry, man."
"I swear I smell pancakes. I don't think I can."
"Cas is cooking. Try the tea, he knows his stuff."
Dean nodded. He stumbled into the living room and fell to his knees next to the coffee table. Even his coffee smelled bad to him. He shuddered. Sam handed him the tea. Dean wrinkled his nose and took a sip. It tasted like ginger and honey. It was soothing. He slowly sipped it.
Sausage was put onto the stove as well.
Dean started to turn green again. Sam handed him the tea. "Drink more, Dean."
Bobby nodded, coming back in. "It'll help."
"I don't think I'll ever be able to drink eggnog or coffee, or eat pancakes and sausage again," Dean whined.
"You will in a bit," he answered. "Finish the tea. It'll help. Sam, give him the aspirin."
Dean grabbed the bottle and began to shake out a dozen aspirin. Sam grabbed his hand and left three inthis palm. Dean was shaking , but he downed the aspirin with the tea. Cas brought another cup.
Dean reached for it without complaining.
The hunter sipped the second cup of tea. He laid his head on the table.
Bobby looked at the brandy bottle. "Damn, Sam."
"Yeah, I know. I'll be more careful next time."
"I think you could have killed him. I've never seen him this bad. Now I know he was bad when Cas brought him back. That was expected,but even then he wasn't like this. Yeah, be careful. Cas, fix him some oatmeal. I want him in feeling better for the tree. He likes butter, brown sugar and syrup, right?"
Castiel heard and began to fix the oatmeal for Dean.
No, just honey on it, please."
"All right," he called back.
Dean tried to sit up. He looked very pale. His eyes were watering. He handed his cup to Sam. "Could I have some more please?"
He nodded, heading to get him some more tea.
Bobby rolled over to Dean and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Once you get some food into you, you'll feel better, Son. I promise."
Castiel came back with a bowl of oatmeal and tea. "Here Dean, this will help you feel better."
Dean waited til the food and tea were set down. He didn't trust his hands to hold them. As he slowly ate the cereal and drank the third cup of tea, he began to get some color back into his face.
The rest of the meal was brought in for the family.
Dean paled a little when he smelled the food but it wasn't as bad as it had been earlier. He began to crawl to his chair. Sam helped him up and got him settled. He closed his eyes and listened to the chatter.
Castiel did bring him another cup of tea to help fortify him further.
Dean whispered, "Thank you." His voice hoarse from being sick. As everyone chatted quietly, Dean's voice was finally heard again. "Merry Christmas, Guys."
"Merry Christmas, Dean." Sam looked unhappy at having messed up.
"Bobby's right. You can be an idjit. But you're still the smartest idjit I know. It was a major screw up, but I am going to survive. Don't worry, I'll get even. When you least expect it." There was a hint of the old Dean in there somewhere. Sam's heart lightened.
"I still love you, Sammy." Sam felt better then.
"Let's get this cleaned up. The tree and stockings are waiting." Bobby was impatient.
Castiel began moving the empty plates into the kitchen to be washed. It was good to know that the two were back to normal again.
Dean started to get up.
Sam pushed him to sit down gently. "We'll take care of it."
Dean looked into his brother's brown eyes, sterner then he'd ever seen them. He didn't think he could fight and win at this moment so he sat back and laid his head back. It was down to a dull throb now.
The two got things cleaned up quickly, coming back in to share the morning with Dean and Bobby.
Sam moved the coffee table over near Dean. He and Cas sat on the floor. Cas near Dean and Sam handling the packages. Bobby thought he would use the couch to put his things. Cas had the trash bags for paper.
Dean's voice perked up a little. "Yeah, Sammy. Let's go for it. One at a time. I want to watch everyone open."
"Who goes first?"
"Stockings or presents?"
"Let's save the stockings for the afternoon," Bobby suggested.
"Then just grab whatever is out front and work around. Doesn't matter if someone gets two in a row. Don't forget the big stuff on the hearth. Cas and I both set one there."
Sam exchanged batteries in the player, put some music on and chose the first gift, which was Dean's.
Dean looked at the package. "It's from Bobby." Dean started opening the package.
Bobby smiled, watching as Dean opened his gift.
Dean finished opening the package, handing the paper to Cas
A book on card games was in the package. Dean grinned. "Thanks, Bobby. Cas, I’ll find one you can't win."
Sam snickered at that, handing Castiel a present that was from him.
Cas opened and found the backpack. His eyes misted a little. "For putting my things in?"
"Yup. It's military which means it'll last forever and take a lot of damage. Figured it'd be easier for you."
"Thank you, Sam."
He grinned. "You're most welcome."
Dean pointed to the bulky wrapped one next to the base of the tree in front. "That's yours, Sammy."
Like a little kid, he pounced on it, unwrapping it quickly to see what it could be. Dean watched him take out the WWII military jacket.
"Oh my god, it's fantastic!" Sam quickly tried it on, finding that it fit perfectly.
Dean was as excited as Sam over the his reaction to the gift.
"Very thoughtful gift, Dean. He's been using denim jackets for far too long." Bobby had been worrying about that.
Dean nodded. Contented that he'd given Sammy something that would keep him warm and that he really loved.
Sam grinned at him, hands smoothing over the material. "Thank you so much."
"You're welcome, Sammy. Is there something from us for Bobby under there?"
He nodded, handing it to Castiel to give to Bobby.
Bobby looked at the large package from all three boys. He looked at them curiously. Unwrapping the package, he saw a large walnut frame with gold trimmed, dark green matting. The picture was a large photo of the three. The were all three smiling. Cas, smiling? Bobby did not notice the tears flowing.
Castiel tilted his head. "Is the present not a good one?"
"I'd say it was a very good one, Cas."
"Ahh..then why the tears?"
"Because he loves it, Cas."
That didn't make a lot of sense to the angel but if Dean was sure, then he'd be pleased.
"You okay, Bobby?" Dean whispered, softly.
"Yeah, Dean. This...this is just incredible. Thank you, boys."
They were all three grinning, ear to ear. They all told him you're welcome. The picture already said how much they loved him. He never knew how Sam had taken the picture and put it on a flash drive. He had braved WalMart and its photo center to have the picture made. He and Dean had bought the frame and matting when they had to go out once or twice during the week.
Sam laughed, pulling another present out for Dean. This one was from Castiel.
Dean opened the package and found a cd of Pachabel's Canon in D. He looked at Cas questionly. Dean did not know what the song was. He felt a little embarrassed and did not want to hurt his new brother. Sam caught the dilemma.
"That is a cd by Pachabel. From the looks of it, it's a Galway cd. Flute music, Dean, you'll love it."
"It's not Christmas music? So it's by the same guy, though? Something I can listen to all year round. Thanks, Cas. He's really good."
You are most welcome, Dean."
Dean saw the small box under the tree for Cas. He knew it was the cell. "Hey, Sam, can you get the small rectangular box down there for Cas?"
"Yeah, I can." he went and grabbed it.
Dean watched Sam hand the box to Cas. It was a simple phone compared to some but it was something Cas would be able to handle and with it was membership on their account. Castiel opened it, then stared at the two brothers.
Dean smiled. "You're part of the family,Cas. No more minutes running out. A good charger and one for the car. It will hold up better then whatcha got."
"This will definitely come in handy. Thank you, both of you." He was touched by their thoughtfulness.
Dean got up and walked into the kitchen. They could hear pots banging. "What the hell's he doing?" Bobby asked. "We decided today was his do nothing day. If you gotta pick him up, Sam, get him in here. Cas, would you see what he was doing and do it, please?"
Castiel rose and went into the kitchen. "What are you doing, Dean?"
"Making hot chocolate. I got cocoa, sugar, cream and milk. Won't take very long, and it will give everyone a restroom break or whatever."
"This is supposed to be your do nothing day, according to Bobby."
"Cas, this is nothing. I'm not working. I'm in one place. I'm not running. I'm putting a few things in a pot and I'm stirring . You can get the cups and saucers and you can even pour it and serve it. How's that?"
He retrieved the items in question, making sure to stick close so he could learn how to make this. Dean brought the milk just below boiling. He added the cocoa and sugar. He stirred as it simmered, allowing the cocoa and sugar to dissolve. When this had been done, he added the cream. He stirred 'til it was hot. Turning off the burner, he said, "All yours, Cas."
Dean returned to the living room and could see two very upset men. He stared at them. "I'm surprised he didn't send you after me, Sam." Before Sam could respond, Bobby huffed, "I did."
Dean sat down in his chair, and started laughing at the looks on their faces.
"I wasn't going to try to get him in this mood,' Sam said with a grin.
"So you sent Cas in to beard the lion in his den?", Dean asked.
"Pretty much," the grin grew wider.
Dean smirked. "I still reign," he joked.
Sam snickered, then sipped his drink. "Good."
They finished their hot cocoa before Sam found a gift for Bobby. Bobby opened a gift from Sam and Dean. It was a thick, woolen bathrobe in a black watch plaid.
"Nice, mine was getting a bit old. Thanks boys."
They grinned. "Hey, Sam, that flat one right over there is for you."
Once again, he pounced, dragging it over to himself. Dean watched him open a leather bound edition of Chaucer.
"Oh awesome, Dean. This is great."
"You really like it? There's a gold plate to have your name engraved and then have it glued inside. I wanted to make sure it was the one you liked before I had that done."
"It's perfect, thank you."
Sam retrieved another package, this one for Dean from Sam.
Dean opened the package and started to removed the item inside. It was one of the books that Dean had mentioned he had liked.
"Steinbeck! Thanks, Sammy. I mean that." The gift was a surprise for the others. Bobby knew Dean had read some but not anything like Steinbeck.
Sam chuckled. "I'm glad you like it, Dean. Hopefully this will be something you'll enjoy later."
"Yeah, it will. Thanks again, Sammy."
Once again, he disappeared under the tree to pull another gift out. The gift was given to Cas and was from Bobby. The morning was passing quickly. There were still some gifts under the tree. Dean knew there were three from him. Cas had two for Bobby. Whatever Sam still had under there. There was one for Cas from Sam.
Castiel opened it to find the leather trench coat the two had gotten him. Castiel looked at the trench coat. and then at the boys. It looked a lot liked the one he wore and liked so much. The leather would prevent rain from bleeding through. It looked so good, he was almost mesmerized by it.
"Hey, Cas, try it on."
The angel stood, trying the item on, which fit perfectly.
"You look great, Cas."
"Thank you very much, both of you."
Dean was pleased. "Sammy that squat looking package on the side is for you."
Sam retrieved it, opening it eagerly. The six DVD set collectors BluRay edition of the entire Star Wars series...all six movies was in the box.
Dean grinned. He thought, "Yes!"
It was obvious Sam was very excited about this. Another present was given to Bobby.
It was the gift of oils from Cas
"Nice to relax with, Castiel, thank you."
"You are welcome, Bobby."
A present was given to Dean, this one from Sam again.
Dean opened the gift and started to open the box that was inside. This one was the collector's edition of Sherlock Holmes novels.
"Wow! Thanks, Sammy. We talked about these. Did you mean it?"
"Of course. It'd be a great way to unwind, don't you think?"
"Yeah, it would." Dean was so excited that Bobby wondered what Sam was supposed to mean.
A package was handed to Castiel. This one was from Dean and Sam...some books that would hopefully catch the angel's interest.
Cas looked at some sci-fi and fantasy, a few histories, and a western. He looked at the back of each one and thought they might be worth reading. The boys had good taste.
Dean asked Sam to hand Bobby the box under the tree. Sam knew it was the books Dean had gone through and picked from both of them. They had both actually done this as he had added to it. Sam handed him the box. Bobby opened the heavy box. Inside were a number of leather bound books, including Zane Grey, a biography of Benjamin Franklin, some military histories of the WWII and the Civil War, and Isaac Asimov's I Robot series.
"Damn boys, these are great. I don't think I have any of these at home."
Dean sighed and did a high five towards Sam.
Sam handed Dean another box.
Dean opened the box and looked inside.
This time was collector's edition of Shakespeare's comedies.
"Wow! These are gonna be hard. They're the comedies? I'm told they're pretty dirty. Are they?"
Sam laughed. "Yup, they tended to be."
Dean smirked. He asked Sam to give Bobby the gift they had gotten at the liquor store. He told Bobby to be careful when opening it. Both boys watched Bobby's face as he opened the box and saw the Glenfyddich. Bobby, knowing the cost of the Scotch, stared at the boys in awe and said thank you.
Dean pointed to the large box for Cas. Sam handed the box to Castiel, who opened it. Castiel looked at the new clothes. None of it suits. He touched denim, flannel, wool, and the stretchiness of t-shirts. When he wasn't working, these would be nice.
He looked at the boys, "Thank you."
"Figured those would help you a lot," Sam said with a smile.
"They will be nice when I am not working."
He laughed softly. "We thought so too." He pulled another present out, handing it to Bobby. This one was a large one from Castiel.
Bobby was surprised by the weight of the package. He opened it and saw the whirlpool.
Castiel's voice was soft. "The chair causes some muscle tension. I thought that this would make things more relaxing for you."
Bobby's hands trembled. His voice was choked a little as he said, "Thank you, Cas."
Dean was looking. "Sam, is there just the thing for Bobby and that big one?"
"There's one last gift from me to everyone."
"Well, how do we want to do this?"
"I'd like mine to be last, if that's okay."
"All right. Give Bobby his, please."
Sam did just that.
Bobby looked at the printout. He put on his glasses and read it. "What did you boys do?"
He gave him an innocent look. "Do? Us?"
"It's from Santa, Bobby."
Sam nodded, wide eyed.
"Like hell it is. Do you know what these things cost?"
"Not more then a father's worth, Bobby."
Bobby blushed at that. "But still."
"Uh Uh, Dad, your sons got the right and the responsibility to take care of you. Blush. Be happy. The dang thing is gonna come while we're stuck down here. We contact them tomorrow and hold off on the shipping, Sammy."
"I'll do that after we finish the tree, Dean."
"They'll be open on Christmas? Huh. Well, the big one is yours. Enjoy, Sammy"
Sam grabbed the huge box, trying to figure out what it was before opening it. He only knew it was heavy.
"You gonna open, Sam?"
"I'm savoring the moment," he said with a grin. Bobby rolled his eyes, laughing softly.
"Sammy, open it," Dean said, laughing.
He ripped it open, reminding Bobby of an excited kid. The box had nothing written on the outside to even hint at what was inside.
"Okay." He opened the box carefully.
Bobby noticed how tense Dean was. What in the world had the boy bought his brother?
"No way!" His eyes were wide as he looked at what was inside.
Dean grew tenser. He was biting his bottom lip at this point. Sam pounced his brother, hugging him tightly. The older Winchester held on for dear life. "Thought you might be in need of something better then whatcha had, Sammy."
"Thank you so much, Dean."
"You're welcome, Sammy."
Bobby at this point interrupted, "Can we know what it is?"
"Brand new laptop with all the peripherals I need." He was beaming proudly now.
Bobby looked surprised. Dean bought that?
Castiel was smiling as well. It seemed that Sam had really enjoyed the gift.
"The guy said there wasn't anything it could need, Sammy. It's got all the memory, everything that any computer could hold at this time. I got the gaming one cause he said it would do everything a working machine can do plus have great graphics.
Sam continued to hug his brother. "It's absolutely perfect, Dean. There's nothing more I could wish for in a computer."
Dean was incredibly happy with that response.
"Okay, idjits, Sam's got the last gift to give."
"Aw, let us savor the moment, Bobby."
He laughed and handed out a small box to each of them.
Dean looked at the small box, suddenly nervous.
Bobby seemed surprised by the size and shape.
Castiel could sense a certain tenseness, not quite understanding.
"Open them, you guys."
Bobby held up the chain with the pendant on it. "This is beautiful, Sam. Thank you."
"It's called a Celtic Four knot," he told them as Castiel examined the silver pendent. "It represents friendship and love between people who are separate yet together. Like a family."
Dean held it in his hand, eyes closed. He stood up abruptly and walked over to Sam. He grabbed him and held on. Sam hugged him back, a bit taken aback by Dean's reaction to this. The older brother’s voice was rough when he thanked his brother.
Dean put the chain over his neck. He still held onto the pendant as if afraid it would disappear. "Hey, Cas, wanna help me haul this trash out?"
Castiel put the pendent on himself as well, a look of awe on his face as he pulled on his new coat to help Dean. Dean donned his jacket, and started grabbing bags of trash. With both hands full, he headed outside into the snow. The angel followed him, putting the bags into the appropriate bins.
Dean stood in the snow, his face looking up into the sky. Cas noticed the tears.
"What's wrong, Dean?"
It's not bad, Cas. You see, that pendant you needed from me? One Christmas, Dad didn't show. I tried to make a Christmas for Sam and I lied to him. While I was out stealing presents for him, I got the wrong stuff. I ended up giving him girls’ gifts. He found out about monsters and stuff. He'd gotten that pendant from Bobby for Dad. He gave it to me, Cas. It was the only real thing anyone had given me since Mom died and it was from Sam. Giving that to you was the hardest thing I ever did, and I felt naked without it. It meant Sam loved me. This told me he still does. It replaced that one for me. I just got all emotional is all."
Castiel's voice was awed. "It showed he loved all of us. If there was anything given to me today that proved that you three believed I was truly a part of your family, it was this." His hand pressed to the pendent.
"Exactly, Cas. I couldn't handle it."
He nodded, not saying anything to that. Sam had truly given the most important gift of Christmas this year.
"I was afraid it I stayed in there, Sam and Bobby might get the wrong idea. I had to get out a minute. Get these emotions under control."
"I would explain it to them though so that Sam does not worry as you know he will."
"Yeah, I know. I will when I go in."
Cas nodded, hand still over his pendent as if to verify that it was real.
Dean was still clasping his.
"All these millennia with my brothers and sisters..and I have never felt the closeness as I have with your little family, Dean."
Dean grabbed hold of Cas and held onto him. "I'm glad you're a part of it, Cas."
"I am glad I am a part of it too, Dean. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Let's go back in. I got explaining to do."
He nodded, walking beside his younger brother.
They headed into the house, Dean's eyes a little red and puffy. He walked back over to his brother and hugged him and whispered, "I love you, Sammy. Thank you so much."
Sam hugged him back tightly. "I love you too, Dean. Very much. And you're welcome. I'm glad you liked it."
"I want to apologize. It overwhelmed me. I couldn't get control. I had to walk away a minute."
"It's ok." His smile was soft, understanding.
There was a knock on the door.
It reminded me of when you gave me my pendant. That pendant was always proof to me that you loved me."
Dean turned as Cas went to the door, looking at Sam.
He nodded. "I know. You kept reaching for it."
Castiel gave a muffled 'umph' as he was pounced by two babbling three year old twins who were going on and on about Santa visiting them even in bad snow and had to tell Mr. Cas-man all about it.
Dean hugged Sam one more time and turned towards the twins, watching them with Cas, a grin on his face.
Bobby was hiding his face, snickering at the adorable sight. Marie was apologizing and trying to get the girls off of the downed angel, who was listening intently to the babble. By this time Dean was laughing softly, and he noticed Marie was wearing the earrings. They looked good on her.
Sam caught a picture of that with his cell phone, knowing that one would have to be printed and given to Bobby to put into an album.
"I'm so sorry," Marie apologized to the men. "They were so excited and had hit it off with Castiel last night. When they saw what Santa had brought, they insisted on telling their new friend about it."
"We'd like to hear about it," Dean said. "Come on in."
The girls giggled as Castiel stood, picking the two tiny ones up and moving to a chair near the fire place to sit down. They perched on his lap, telling the others all about what Santa had brought them.
Dean sat back, enjoying the picture before him, remembering all the work of the day before. Six of them had made this happen. He was so grateful for the work that went into those toys. He was grateful for Ben and Jacob and the tree.
Bobby was laughing as well. He hadn't expected Castiel to be so gentle or that good with children, even with his abrupt manner, but the twins had taken a strong liking to him. Before the twins left, each of them were treated to sticky kisses on each cheek before skipping out with their mother to play with their new dollies.