A WINCHESTER FAMILY CHRISTMAS EVE
It was a cold night tonight, Dean thought. He and Sam were moving through the forest as quickly and as quietly as they could.
When they got to the clearing, Sam looked up at the sky. The moon was full and the air was crisp, but at least the snow had stopped falling for the moment. That would make their job here a little easier.
"Ready?" Dean asked, brandishing his weapon. His brother nodded.
Cas and Jack were back at the bunker, anxiously awaiting the brothers' return. They had offered to accompany Sam and Dean on their mission, but the Winchesters had a very important task for the Angel and their nephilim charge back home, Dean had said.
"Can you move the book a little closer, Jack?" Cas said now, squinting.
"Sure, Castiel," the young man said affably. "Do you want me to get the next ingredient?"
"In a moment," Cas said in his gravelly voice. "I want to make sure we're assembling the ingredients properly." He stared down at the bowl. "If we do this incorrectly, the consequences could be dire."
"Do you hear something?" Dean said to his brother.
Sam cocked his head, listening for sounds. "No," he replied.
"Good. Let's get started, then." Dean walked over to the tree he'd selected. He gripped the saw with both hands. "I'll cut this side, and you go around to the other side."
Sam moved slowly around the tree as instructed, but his forehead was wrinkling. "I don't know if we should be doing this, Dean. Maybe we should just buy a Christmas tree, like everybody else."
"At those prices? Yeah, I don't think so," Dean scoffed. "Now, come on. Let's get this done." Sam was still looking doubtful, though. Dean let out a frustrated breath, sending plumes of steam out into the cold night air. "OK, Sammy, I'll tell you what. We'll make a donation to save the whales, or whatever, after Christmas. But, have a look around you. There's hundreds of trees here. We're only taking one. Now let's see that saw move. I'm freezing, here."
Sam sighed. He guessed his brother had a point. The markup on the Christmas trees they sold in town was outrageous. When they had been growing boys moving from place to place, any sign at all of Christmas had been most welcome, even if it had just consisted of a tree branch with one ornament on it, and a gas station gift wrapped in newspaper. Dean had been used to scrimping and scrounging for pretty much his whole life, and old habits were hard to break.
Sam bent down to begin sawing his half of the tree trunk, but now it was Dean who paused.
"Hey! Look!" Dean said to his brother, pointing up at the sky.
Sam smiled. "It's a shooting star. Quick, make a wish."
"I don't need to," Dean said, his voice suddenly thick with emotion. "I've already got everything I need."
Sam blinked back the tears that were forming in the corners of his eyes. Yeah, they sure did. No matter what dangers were out there waiting for them, tonight they had everything they could ever have wished for. Christmas at the bunker, with their family and friends. Love and laughter, good food, and gifts for everybody. "Merry Christmas, Dean."
"Merry Christmas, Sammy." Dean swallowed the lump in his throat, and started sawing.
"One cup of sugar, one cup of butter, two tablespoons of vanilla...." Jack was reading aloud from the recipe book, trailing his finger down the page as he mentally checked off all the ingredients they'd assembled so far. "Oh, and two eggs, lightly beaten," he added hastily. He rushed to the fridge and took a couple of eggs out of the carton. Then he stood there holding one in each hand, looking puzzled. "Now what? We're supposed to beat them up?"
Cas smiled. "You have to crack open the shells, and put them into a smaller bowl. I didn't know what that meant, either. Sam showed me, years ago."
Jack nodded, making an "ohhh" shape with his mouth. He followed Castiel's instructions, and soon, they had the recipe for the sugar cookies assembled.
"Now all we have to do is place the dough on the cookie sheet, put it in the oven, and wait," Cas told the young man. "That will be the easy part. I'm very good at waiting."
"But I'm hungry now," Jack protested. Cas thought about that for a moment. Understandable, really. Jack was half human, after all, and he was also a growing boy.
"I've got just the remedy for that," a gruff voice said from behind them.
"Bobby! Hi!" Jack said excitedly.
"Hey, Son," Bobby replied, hefting the grocery bags he'd been carrying onto the counter. "Merry Christmas."
Jack launched himself into Bobby's arms. The older man was taken by surprise, but his face broke into a grin as he returned the embrace. Jack looked almost grown, but in a lot of ways he was just like a little kid. Then again, considering the fact that Jack was statistically only a couple of years old, Bobby supposed the kid wasn't doing half bad.
"Mary's parking the truck in the garage," Bobby told Jack. "If you go out there and help her with the rest of the groceries, I'm sure there'll be something in there you can eat, in the meantime. I've got a turkey for tomorrow's dinner that's so big it could feed a small country."
"Great!" Jack enthused. He hurried out of the kitchen as Bobby looked at Cas, who was sitting in a chair in front of the oven, staring at it.
"Merry Christmas, Cas," Bobby said to their friend.
"Merry Christmas, Bobby," Cas responded, not taking his eyes off the oven.
"Uh....what are ya doing?" Bobby asked him curiously.
"I'm waiting for the cookies to be done," Cas answered him.
Oh. "You realize you don't have to actually watch them baking, right?"
Now, Cas looked at him. "Then how will I know when they're ready?"
"You're supposed to set the timer," Bobby said, his beard twitching with amusement. "Here. Let me show you." He strode forward and set the timer on the oven as Cas nodded in understanding.
"Come and help me unload the presents, and then we'll have a drink and wait for the boys," Bobby said to their Angel friend, clapping Cas on the shoulder.
Dean parked the Impala in the garage and turned to his brother. "Go get Cas," he said to Sam. "We're gonna need help getting the tree inside."
Sam grinned. Boy, he wasn't kidding about that. It had been a struggle getting the tree to the car and then strapping it to the top. They should probably just have brought Cas, to begin with. Jack, too. Oh, well. Live and learn. This whole tree thing was a new experience for them.
Dean stood, waiting for his brother to arrive with the reinforcements. He'd noticed Bobby's truck was here now too, which would mean that his and Sam's Mom was also here. Good deal. Plenty of people to decorate the tree. He got the pen knife out of his pocket to cut the ropes that had been holding the tree secure for their drive home. "It's OK, Baby, we'll get that heavy thing off you in a minute," Dean said to the car in a soothing voice.
"Why do you talk to your car as if it was a person?" Jack asked him in a puzzled voice.
"Because....because....never mind," Dean stammered. "Come on. You can help us get the tree inside."
The men maneuvered the tree inside the bunker and set it up near the corner of the library area. As Sam and Jack went to the storeroom to get the decorations, Mary brought Dean a glass of eggnog. He gave her a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom." Then he looked at the drink with a dubious expression. "Did you make this?"
She smirked. "What do you think?"
Dean sniffed it. "Has it got booze in it?"
Mary raised an eyebrow. "Why don't you taste it, and find out?"
Dean took an experimental sip, and he smiled slowly. "Yahtzee," he said happily, and the mother and son smiled at each other.
A few minutes later, the boxes of decorations were being opened. Sam let out a groan as he took a couple of tangled strands of lights out of the nearest box. "Man," he groused, shaking his head. "I don't know how they ended up like this. They weren't tangled up like this when I put them away."
"Give 'em here, Boy. I'll fix that," Bobby said, as Mary bent down to open another box. "And I'll start putting some ornaments on those little hooks," she volunteered. "Jack, you can get the tinsel out, and untangle that, too. Sam, see if there are any icicles in that box, there. And Castiel, can you look and see if there's a star for the top of the tree?"
"If not, we can just get Cas to sit up there," Dean wisecracked.
"I was wondering how long it was going to take for someone to make that joke," Cas said good-naturedly.
"Why would they want you to sit on the tree?" Jack asked Cas, confused.
Sam and Dean laughed, and Mary looked at her elder son. "And what will YOU be doing, while we're all working so hard?"
Dean grinned widely, grabbing his eggnog with one hand and a sugar cookie with the other. "This," he told his mother.
Suddenly, there was a stomping noise in the direction of the corridor. They all tensed, but a moment later, they heard her call out.
"Don't worry; it's only me," Jody yelled. "Just trying to get some of the snow off my boots. It's really coming down out there, now. Somebody want to come here and help me with the stuff I brought?"
Mary continued to stare at her son. "He'll be right there," she said, raising her voice.
Dean sighed, but his Mom had that look on her face, the one that every child recognizes, no matter what age they are. He crammed the rest of the cookie into his mouth and stood from his chair, moving swiftly down the hallway.
"Hey, Jodes," Dean said, around a mouthful of cookie. "Merry Christmas." They hugged, and then he grabbed a couple of the shopping bags she had set down by her feet. Jody picked up the others, following Dean back up the hall to the library area.
"Donna and the girls send their love," Jody announced to everyone. "They're snowed in, in Minnesota." She gestured to Cas with one of the bags she was holding. "Claire gave me a present for you last week, before she left. Oh, and she got something for you too, Jack. She said, and I quote, 'Tell that brother of mine to text me, sometime'."
Castiel's mouth dropped open. Now it was his turn to feel tears prickle at the corners of his eyes. It wasn't very long ago that he had been all alone in The Empty, thinking he would never see any of his family again. But now here he was, a part of the Christmas celebrations, receiving a gift from the young girl he thought of as a daughter, and making cookies with the young man he thought of as a son. How wonderful was that?
But Jack was distressed. "I didn't get anything for Claire!" he said to Jody. "I didn't know - "
"That's OK, Jack," she said, smiling. She put her hand on his arm. "I did. You got her a new iPhone. You're welcome."
Jack's face broke into a relieved grin. "Thanks, Jody! Is there anything I can do for you, to thank you?"
"Yeah. You can come and shovel out my driveway, for about the next twenty years. How's that?" she said with a smirk.
"It's a deal," Jack replied, nodding.
Soon, the tree was decorated, and the presents were arranged underneath it. They all stood back to look at the finished product.
"That's the best tree I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of Christmas trees," Bobby remarked, putting his arm around Mary's shoulders.
"I'll bet you Cas has seen more," Sam quipped, grinning at their Angel friend.
"I have, but Bobby is right," Cas agreed, smiling gently. "There has never been a more beautiful tree than this one."
The door at the top of the stairs creaked open. "Did someone mention beauty?" Rowena said, descending the stairs.
"Merry Christmas!" Charlie exclaimed, pulling the door shut against the wind.
"Oh, look. Here are the gingerbread women, now," Dean wisecracked. He and Sam high-fived smartly.
"I'm surprised you were able to get through the storm," Jody commented.
Rowena shrugged. "Please. For an individual like myself, snow is no obstacle."
Charlie hugged Sam, then Dean. "Hey, you guys. Do I smell sugar cookies?"
"Yeah," Dean confirmed, gesturing to the table. "Help yourself. Cas and Jack made them. They're surprisingly good."
Cas smiled as Charlie moved towards him. "Thank you for the compliment, Dean."
"Hey, Buddy!" Charlie said, putting her arms around Cas. "Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas, Charlie," Cas replied, giving her a gentle squeeze. He glanced over at Rowena. "Happy Holidays," the Angel added, nodding his head to the witch.
"Happy Holidays, Castiel," Rowena said, her lips twitching with amusement. Then she looked at Sam and Dean. "Hello, Boys," she said, sounding eerily like her son for a moment. The Winchester brothers exchanged glances. How weird that they would be missing the King of Hell, especially at Christmastime. But they kind of did, sometimes.
They all admired the tree for another minute or so, and then Mary said, "I think it's time that we open one present, each. Then we'll have a drink and watch a Christmas movie, before we go to bed. Does that sound good?"
"That sounds great, Mom," Sam agreed.
"I've got something I wanna say," Bobby announced. He looked around at the assembled group. "It's been a real interesting year, to say the least. A bunch of us came over here from a different world, and we found a home, and a family we never knew we had. I want to thank you boys for making us feel so welcome." He looked down at Mary. "And, I want to thank your mother for giving an old coot like me a chance." He lifted his glass. "Merry Christmas, everybody."
They all raised a glass to their friend, in appreciation of his words. The toast was made.
"Presents!" Dean said excitedly.
- THE END. -
Want to linger with the Winchesters at Christmas just a bit longer? Enjoy Lilah Kane's 5-part fan fiction story from last year, "It's a Supernatural Life".
For a longer Supernatural adventure, Nate Winchester wrote an action-packed fan fiction story, "Supernatural 'H-Day'". The ending of that story brings tears to my eyes every time I read it!
The greatest reward fan fiction writers receive is feedback from their readers, so please share your reactions with Gail (and Lilah and Nate if you link to their stories). We'd also love to see your Supernatural Christmas! Share pictures with your WFBFamily of how fandom has entered your celebrations!
Merry Christmas from all of us at The Winchester Family Business!