It’s not like Christmas has ever been a Big Deal.
At least, not since they’ve been living the hunting lifestyle instead of the suburban one.
But Dean thought–
He shakes his head. Dad’s on a hunt, he tells himself. Suck it up. He swallows. There’re more important things than Christmas.
Still, there’s a part of him that remembers the last few years, him and Dad and– and Sam, sitting in a motel like this one with a bucket of chicken and a beer-can wreath, exchanging gifts and drinking shitty eggnog from Solo cups. Yeah, last year it’d just been him and Sam, but– that’d almost been better, you know? Just his brother and him, sprawled on a bed, magic fingers rumbling and shoulders touching as they lay in the quiet. It’d been like the world had melted away, like– like the back of the Impala late at night when they were kids and they’d pretended that the rest of humanity was gone and it was just them.
But now Sam’s at Stanford, he thinks as he starts the shitty little coffeemaker. Probably out with all his new friends. Maybe he’s with some beautiful girl, trying to get up the guts to ask her–
There’s a knock at the door and Dean starts, grabbing his gun from the nightstand and flicking the safety off. He curses the door and its lack of peephole and sidles along the wall until he’s half-sheltered behind the door, then takes a deep breath, counts to three, and yanks it open.
There’s his stupid baby brother, all floppy hair and dimples and ridiculous height and Dean just stares for a minute, drinking in the sight.
Sam’s smile widens. “I must have the wrong house,” he says, voice deeper than Dean remembers. “I thought you were a hunter.” He glances pointedly down at the gun, still clutched in Dean’s hand but dangling down towards the floor and forgotten.
Dean steps back, still speechless, and sets the gun on the nightstand. “What are you–” his voice is thick and he clears his throat, swallowing harshly. “What’re you doing here, Sammy? How’d you get here?”
Sam shrugs. “It’s not that far from California, Dean. You know, there’re these things called buses now, that–”
Dean shoves him. “Yeah, yeah, shut up.”
Sam grins at him, then hesitates a moment. “I, uh, I got you something.” He pulls out a package, wrapped in pages from– is that a skin mag?– and with a big, garish bow stuck haphazardly on the top.
Dean takes it carefully, still staring at his brother, then shakes his head. “Sam– you didn’t have to bring me something.” He pulls the bow off, setting the present on the bed. “Just– seeing you, dude–” he shakes his head again, feelings rising in his throat and pressing on the back of his eyes. “That’s my present this year.”
Sam stares at him a minute and Dean braces himself for a stream of– of ridicule, or something, but Sam just steps closer, wrapping him in ridiculous arms and pressing his nose to Dean’s shoulder. Yeah, thinks Dean, breathing in the scent of bus and wool and sweat and Sam and home, this is a pretty fucking good present.