Sam nearly dumped the whole thing in the trash at least twice. True, he bought Dean donuts and pie and sugary crap all the time, but this was different. No way this didn’t mean something. Only looking at the bright and shiny pile of confection sitting on the table, he didn’t have a clue what that might be. Besides the obvious ‘hey, you turned a year older’, of course. Which was not something they ever did like this. Hell, a mumbled ‘happy birthday, man’ and a sock to the arm was more their style.
Sam was pretty sure if he could just get Dean to the cake itself, all would be well. The cake, he knew, would be a big hit. It would get licked off every finger Dean had (and maybe a few of Sam’s if he played his cards right). Getting Dean to the cake itself was the thing, though. Because first Sam had to get him through the sprinkle-dotted pink frosting, complete with rainbow, pony and a hastily scribbled ‘Dean’ in blue curlicues. He also had to get him past the dozen or so candles on said pink frosting, pony, rainbow, and curlicued ‘Dean’.
It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Dean was off revisiting a widower whose house backed on to a lake they were pretty sure some kind of underwater rugaroo was infesting. Ex-military, he and Dean had bonded over guns and all the yessirs Dean had managed to snap out. To save time, Sam had been to the library to do deed research on the land, while Dean had gone back to pick the guy’s brains some more – and no doubt kick back on his porch with a beer or two.
Sam had emerged late afternoon to find that directly opposite the library steps was a small bakery.
Dean’s birthday was the following day.
Sam had some imported beer tucked away in the room, and vague thoughts of a rare steak somewhere, depending on how the hunt went, but this...this was timing of the good kind like they never, ever got.
Staring at the purple pony prancing above Dean’s name, he wasn’t quite so sure anymore. He’d gone in thinking small and chocolate, and had somehow been persuaded by a sweet giggler called Amy to take a cancellation off their hands at a third of the price, together with candles and Dean’s name added for free. She’d also added her name for free to the receipt, together with her number. He’d stuffed it in his pocket and beaten a hasty retreat.
Sam nudged a yellow candle that was starting to tilt. It was a joke. Dean would get it, he would. Except...except Sam hadn’t really wanted it to be joke. He’d wanted it to be something small but genuine. Something no one had to get excited or embarrassed about. Something he could give with a smile and a ‘here’, Dean could eat with a smack of his lips and a ‘thank you’, and that would be it. Gesture made and well received.
Only this particular gesture was going to bite him in the ass, Sam knew that now. With that in mind, he decided he wanted the candles already lit when Dean walked through the door. No way he was fumbling with a Zippo while Dean stood there and mocked the crap out of him. Best to get it all over and done with as fast as possible. The rumble of the Impala was his cue, so he took a deep breath and got busy. Hopefully, Dean had found out something useful from the old guy and they could—
“Goddamn fucking rugaroos! God, I hate those fucking things! Just starts hauling itself up onto the jetty, as ugly and calm as you please. Twenty feet, Sammy! I swear, I’m twenty fucking feet away when I explode the sonovabitch, and I still get guts and brains and lake crap all over me. What the hell is that?”
The door was still reverberating and Dean was suddenly very there, chest heaving, eyes glaring, clothes and hair dripping the most godawful slop, and oh yeah, this was starting well.
“Um...” Sam moved his hand vaguely in the direction of the table and glowing cake. Really, it was self-explanatory, wasn’t it? He stepped hastily out of the way when Dean glared at him and took a squelchy stride forward. He blew all the candles out in one angry huff, and stuck a horrible looking finger in Sam’s face.
“Don’t fucking move!”
Sam sighed and sat down as Dean stomped off to the bathroom.
So much for breaking tradition. Next year he was just going to punch him in the arm and be done with it.
Dean emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of steam some ten minutes later. He was wrapped in just a towel and approached Sam and the cake at a much slower pace than before. Once at the table, Dean studied the cake carefully, his face unreadable. He looked at Sam, still seated. “You did this?”
Sam shifted a little in his chair. “Yeah. Well, no. I mean, I didn’t choose the pink frosting. It was a, uh...cancellation.”
Great. He sounded like a cheapskate who wouldn’t have gotten it otherwise.
“Huh,” was all Dean said. Then he turned his back and walked to his duffel.
Shit shit shit
“Dude. I was going to get you something with chocolate, I was! Just. They um, offered candles and your name on it if I took that one.”
Sam wanted to bash his head on the table. Or maybe into the cake. He sounded like a total girl and the mocking for this would go on forever.
Dean was back and holding out his own Zippo to Sam. “Light 'em again.”
Sam blinked. “Um...yeah, Okay.” Sam got each candle burning once more, his hand almost shaking at the silent scrutiny he felt from his brother.
Sam said a quick prayer and stepped away.
The quiet lasted a beat too long and he risked a look at his brother’s face. Which had softened in the glow of all those candles. He turned briefly to Sam, smile lit high and wide.
“Fucking pretty, Sammy. Wow.”
Sam vowed there and then to get candles and cakes and purple fucking ponies for Dean whenever he could. Because his brother should look like that because of something Sam did every day until forever.
Sam cleared his throat, nodded at the cake. “Blow out your candles, man.”
Dean did. Then he straightened, not even looking at Sam when he handed him his lighter again.
“One more time.”
Sam took the Zippo and shook his head. “Pyro.”
“Shut up. I took goo for you.”
“I wasn’t there, Dean! Who knew that thing was going to come out the lake while you were on the man’s porch.” Nevertheless, Sam bent and lit every candle again.
“Whatever. I totally saved your ass from having to deal with it. Step aside. Man’s gotta do this right.”
Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Only Dean in a towel could somehow lend an air of machismo to a purple pony on a pink frosted cake.
Candles were blown out once more. Sam was touched to see Dean close his eyes this time before he straightened.
He leaned sideways, pressing in to Dean’s left shoulder. “Making a wish?”
Dean didn’t say anything, eyes still on the cake. But his hand found the back of Sam’s neck and he squeezed.
Then he used his other hand to stick his finger into the icing. He licked it off thoughtfully.
“Dude, trust me. That cake isn’t missing anything.”
“Must be something else that’s missing, then.” Dean arched his eyebrows expectantly in Sam’s direction.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake. What are you? Six?”
“Hey, you’re the one who got me a pony.”
“By accident! I just meant to—
Dean’s turn to lean. He cut Sam off with a kiss.
Then he let him go.
Damn, but Dean tasted good. Sam swayed back for more, hands reaching for the towel. The cake could really wait...
“Nuh-uh.” Dean danced out of reach, the infuriating bastard. “We are not done yet, bro.”
“Goo, Sammy. Monster goo. For you. On my birthday.”
“Technically, it’s not actually your... Fine. Whatever.” Sam took yet another deep breath and squared his shoulders for the ridiculous things he always seemed to end up doing to make his brother happy.
“‘Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday dear De-ean, happy birthday to yoooou.’” Sam exhaled. “There, happy now?”
Dean grinned. “Kodak moment, bitch. Now slice this baby up.”