"Is Bobby coming over on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?" Sam asked.
"Who says he's coming over at all?"
Sam just looked at him. Dean grinned.
"For someone whose childhood memories scarred him for life, you sure seem awful interested in Christmas, Sammy."
The tips of Sam's ears turned pink and he mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like "presents."
Dean's grin widened. Christmas had pretty much fallen by the wayside for a very long time, but now that they seemed to be settled in one spot, Dean was determined to do it right this year.
Sam looked wistfully out of the kitchen window at the snow-covered backyard.
"Next year we're planting winter vegetables," he said.
Dean came up behind him and wrapped an arm around his waist. "Missing your spinach, you freak?"
Sam didn't shove his elbow back into Dean the way Dean had anticipated, even though he was braced for it. "Yeah, and we could do some Brussels sprouts and some carrots, maybe even some kale."
"Kale?" Dean asked, grimacing.
"Yes, Dean, kale." Sam extricated himself from Dean's grasp and sighed again.
Dean wasn't a big fan of all the sighing. It made him wonder if maybe Sam was itching to get back on the road. He didn't often give any indication that he missed hunting, once he'd decided to stick around, but, yeah, Dean had his issues, and he probably always would.
Sam's general air of contentment didn't stop Dean from worrying.
"So, did you get me an awesome present?" he asked, mostly in an attempt to distract Sam from his longing for green vegetables.
"Ha, you'll just have to wait and see, won't you? Which brings me back to my question – is Bobby coming over on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?"
Dean shrugged. "Call him and ask him."
Turned out Bobby was coming over on Christmas Eve and staying through Christmas Day. That's what happened when Dean let Sam make the plans.
"Better go into town and buy more whiskey," he grumbled. He ignored the flash of concern on Sam's face. Dean was getting too old to drink the way he used to, but that didn't mean he and Sam were going to have a conversation about it.
Sam could just be content with the fact that Dean didn't drink the way he used to. Didn't mean he wasn't going to have it on hand.
Also, there wasn't going to be any gas station eggnog this Christmas. Dean had found a recipe online that was sure to clog Sam's arteries like a motherfucker. He cackled to himself as he beat the whipped cream and then folded in the egg whites.
He heard Sam's uneven gait as he made his way to the front door to let Bobby in. Dean paused, and then renewed his assault on the whipped cream. He refused to feel guilty for being mostly glad about Sam's permanently fucked up knee.
Maybe not glad, more like grateful. It kept him here, out of danger.
"Hey, kid," Bobby said as he and Sam came into the kitchen. "Merry Christmas." He set a casserole dish on the counter, along with a bottle of whiskey. "My famous baked beans," he added modestly.
"Infamous, is more like," Dean said, smiling. "Merry Christmas, Bobby. Can you believe this shit?" he asked, waving a hand around to encompass the three of them, together, alive, and celebrating goddamn Christmas together.
"I sure as hell can't," Bobby smiled back.
"Presents on Christmas Eve, right?" Sam said, looking hopefully at Dean.
"What are you, five?" Dean asked, but the Christmas when Sam actually was five wasn't exactly a Christmas to remember. Dean wondered if Sam did, if he remembered how Dad almost forgot, how he had to make a midnight run to Kmart while Dean stayed back at the motel with Sam, trying to get to him to stop looking out the window for Santa and just go to sleep already.
Dean guessed maybe Sam deserved some presents.
"After dinner, Sammy," Dean promised.
They sat around the living room with their eggnog, laced liberally with whiskey, facing the tree Dean had put up and Sam had decorated with lights and ornaments he'd bought at Kmart.
Dean thought there was poetry in that, or at least some symmetry.
It was awkward at first. None of them had any real idea how to do this, but when Bobby handed over a box and Dean opened it up to find a worn baseball mitt, it got even more awkward, in a having-a-hard-time-hiding-his-emotions kind of way.
He didn't say anything, just shook his head and glared at Bobby, who smiled at him with amusement. "Idjit."
Dean gave Bobby a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label. Bobby took it from him without a word, clenching his jaw and not saying anything for five minutes.
Sam looked worried, but Dean shrugged. He'd given it with love and Bobby knew that.
"Where are my presents?" Sam asked, and Dean shot him a grateful look for the distraction.
"Here, you big baby," Dean said, reaching under the tree and pulling out a wrapped package. He handed it to Sam, smirking at Sam's obvious pleasure at the big, red bow.
Sam's eyes lit up when he tore the paper off to find The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields.
"It was tough to find a gardening book geeky enough for you, but I managed," Dean said.
"Thanks," Sam said, smoothing his hand over the cover and smiling.
Bobby cleared his throat and handed Sam a wrinkled paper bag, from which Sam pulled a framed picture. "Bobby," he whispered.
"Let's see," Dean said, craning his neck to look. It was an old photo of Sam, Dean, and Dad, sitting at a picnic table right outside Bobby's kitchen door. Sam must have been around four, sitting on John's lap with the biggest grin on his face. Dean was sitting next to them, smiling happily at the camera, and John was looking down at Sam with a look of such tenderness on his face that Dean felt his eyes prickle.
"Bobby?" Sam said, not taking his eyes off the picture.
"Found that when I was going through some things," Bobby said gruffly. "He wasn't always so tough, you know."
"Thank you," Sam said. He finally looked up and said, "Oh, hey, here, Bobby." He passed a couple of jars, also with big red bows on them, over to Bobby. "I've been canning some stuff from the garden, and there's some pickled tomatoes and some strawberry jam there." He ducked his head as if he were embarrassed.
"Thank you, Sam." Bobby waved the jar of jam in a salute. "Here's to your newly acquired gardening skills. Pretty soon we'll all be so disgustingly healthy Dean here'll probably keel over from the shock."
"Haha," Dean said.
Bobby broke the seal on the bottle of scotch and twisted the cap off. He raised his eyebrows at Dean, who got up and headed off to the kitchen to find some glasses.
Once Bobby had poured them all a finger or two, they silently raised their glasses and then drank.
There was no need for a toast. They all knew the names of everyone they were drinking to this Christmas.