A/N: I volunteered a story again for Fic Facers to benefit Random Acts of Kindness and this is a short for VegasGranny who bid on me and won. I hope you enjoy the short about the guys wanting a normal holiday for once. Comments would be great. NC
The wheels of the Impala ate up the road as the driver made his way down the interstate toward Sioux Falls. He glanced over at his younger brother, who was sleeping in the passenger seat, exhausted and beat up from their last hunt. He rolled his own shoulders and winced as his muscles rebelled with the movement. A hunt that should have been a piece of cake turned out to be one from hell. If it could go wrong, it did. They were lucky to finish it with the minor bruising and scrapes they received, thought he did think he might have bruised a rib from the feel of it when he breathed. He would never say anything, since it seemed his brother was trying to take the blame for everything that happened, even when he told him it wasn't his fault. It annoyed him that he was so sensitive and ready to accept blame when there wasn't anything neither of them could have done to stop the events from unfolding like they did.
Dean glanced down at the gas gauge deciding he'd better fill up if they were going to make it to Bobby's without running out. He watched the road signs that passed before seeing one to his liking and moved over a lane. As he pulled off the interstate and slowed, his brother started waking up from the change in the motion of the car.
"Stopping for gas and to hit the head," Dean said. He looked over at his brother's sleep laden face as he tried to wake himself up. He could see the hint of a bruise forming on his jaw and wouldn’t be surprised if he didn't get a black eye.
"O'ay," Sam replied not able to suppress the yawn and deep sigh. He looked around not recognizing anything. “Where are we?”
“About four hours out of Sioux Falls.”
“Want me to drive some?” he asked in a tired voice.
“Are you kidding and have you wreak my Baby?” Dean questioned with surprise that he would even ask such a dumb question. “Naw, once we’re back on the road you can go back to sleep.”
“I can wake up if you give me a few minutes,” Sam offered again.
“No, really Sammy, I got this,” Dean assured him in a softer voice, letting his big brother mode come out. He turned into the parking lot of the gas station and pulled to a pump. “Go on, go use the restroom and grab ya something drink and eat. I’ll fill my Baby up and be on in.”
“Alright,” Sam agreed to tired to argue about it. His mind was muddled right now and it was probably a good thing he didn’t try to drive. Sam fumbled for a moment before he got the door open and eased himself from the car, being sure he was steady before letting go and heading for the front door of the store.
Dean watched his brother walk away and decided once they got to Bobby’s, they would take some down time. It would do both of them good to relax and recharge. They had been working nonstop for a while now without really taking a break and it was beginning to take its toll on both of them. He knew it was his fault because he was trying to deal with the death of their father. All he wanted to do was hunt to keep his mind off the loss and the reason why. John had made a deal for Dean’s life and that included his soul being taken to hell. This ate at him and he was riddled with guilt with his father’s actions.
The pump clicked off pulling Dean from his thoughts and he removed the nozzle before screwing the cap back on and getting in to move her over to the front of the store. He got out and headed inside, giving the place a once over and spotted Sam by the drinks just standing there. He strolled to him and saw a blank look on his face like he forgot what he was there for.
“You okay Sanmy?” Dean asked snapping his fingers in front of his face to get his attention.
“Wh’? Oh, I’m fine, just getting something to drink,” he quickly replied trying to cover up his zoning out. He grabbed a random drink and headed by Dean toward the front checkout.
“Like I’m going to believe that,” Dean mumbled shaking his head and heading for the restrooms in the corner. He went in and did his business and came out to see Sam had already gone back to the car. He went to the coffee pot and poured a large cup and grabbed a pastry before going to the register to pay. He found Sam leaning against the Impala waiting on him. “You ready bro?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” Sam replied waiting for him to unlock the car so he could get in.
Dean dropped into the driver’s seat and got settled before cranking up and heading back to the interstate. He waited until he was on the interstate before tearing the plastic off the pastry and taking a bite. He looked over at Sam to see him sipping on some strange drink and frowning with the taste. He bit his lip not to laugh, figuring Sam must not have looked at what he picked out and it wasn‘t much to his liking.
Sam poured a few nuts into his hand and put them in his mouth, chewing slowly. He was staring randomly out the windshield, already feeling his body shutting down again. He was still exhausted with only getting snatches of sleep when he tried to sleep. He hoped when they got to Bobby’s, they would stay for at least a few days and he could rest. He knew Dean was still reeling over their Dad’s death like he was, and that was why they had been hunting nonstop for way too long. Dean was so full of guilt and grief that he wouldn’t let himself stop so he wouldn’t have to feel the emotions locked inside of him. Sam did his best to be there for him, only Dean kept pushing him away, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to try.
The steady hum of the tires and the familiar roar of the engine had Sam nodding. His head would slowly fall to his chest only to be jerked back up with a start. He kept this up until it didn’t come back up and his breathing evened out.
Dean sensed Sam slipping back to sleep and glanced over at him. He saw the awkward angle of his neck and carefully pushed him to the side as he kept glancing to the road. Sam‘s head lolled against the side window and he huffed out a small breath before settling back down. Dean slipped the drink bottle from between his legs and capped it so Sam wouldn’t spill it when he woke. He flipped on the radio and lowered the volume before finding a station to his liking and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel along with the music. He finished off his coffee and waited for the caffeine to kick in as he cracked the window to get some fresh air and to help keep him awake. It was going to be late by the time they got to Bobby’s; he hoped he was still a night owl or he might be miffed with them waking him up.
The lights of the Impala highlighted the gates of the salvage yard as Dean slowed and pulled up the drive. He was happy to see lights still on inside and stopped at the front of the house.
“Hey, sleeping beauty, wake up,” Dean told Sam as he slapped his leg to get him awake.
“I’m up...” Sam slurred pushing his body up in the seat and looking around. His eyes were still blurry and we wiped them on his shirt sleeve trying to clear his vision. He saw they were at Bobby’s and the car had stopped.
“Let’s get our things and head inside,” Dean said. He got out and went around to the trunk to open it so they could get their things.
Sam joined him and picked up his bags, shouldering them before following Dean to the porch. Before they could knock, Bobby had the door open and the porch light on.
“Boys, good to see you,” Bobby greeted them, stepping back to let them in. He hadn’t seen them since their father had died and they only stayed until Dean got the Impala running again. Both were closed off and kept to themselves as they grieved the loss of their father. Bobby did his best to console them, but knew it would take time for the wounds to heal.
“Hey Bobby,” Dean replied moving into the house that had been the only home he had known except for his Baby.
“Bobby,” Sam greeted, his voice still laced with sleep.
“You boys just finishing up a hunt?” he asked following them into the living room. He got a good look at Sam’s face once he was in the light and frown. “What happened to you son?”
Dean looked to Bobby and then to Sam to see the bruise was spreading and he was definitely going to have a black eye.
“Hunt didn’t go as expected,” Sam mumbled looking away to hide his embarrassment.
“You both look like you could use a couple days of sleep. Why don’t you head on upstairs and go to bed?” he told them. As Sam turned to leave, Bobby caught Dean’s arm to hold him back.
“I’ll be up in a minute Sammy, go on ahead,” Dean told him seeing Bobby wanted to talk to him alone.
“Alright,” Sam nodded too tired to argue with him. He hoped the familiar bed would do the trick and he could sleep tonight.
“What’s going on with you two Dean?” Bobby inquired once Sam was out of hearing range.
“Nothing, just tired from the drive,” Dean offered and grunted when he turned wrong and a sharp pain raced up his side.
“Yeah and I’m Miss America,” he growled. “You can’t con a con man boy. Do you wanna talk about it?”
“No, can we drop it for now? Please?” Dean pleaded knowing Bobby was the only person who could get him to talk about things.
“Alright son, but I’m here when you feel like talking.”
“Is it okay if we hang around for a few days, maybe until after the Fourth? Thought we could have a cookout and check out the fireworks. You know do some normal things for a change.”
“That’s fine with me Dean, you know that. I’m helping Jody with the fireworks in town, so you two are on your own.”
“No problem, invite her over for the cookout. There’ll be plenty of food.”
“I’ll do that. Now go on to bed ‘fore you pass out on me,” he said in a fatherly voice.
“Thanks Bobby,” Dean replied shouldering his bags and heading out after his brother.
Bobby watched him trudge up the stairs and knew there was more going on than Dean wanted to admit. He was sure it had to do with their father’s death and hoped he would talk to him. He didn’t like to see his boys this way and was glad they were going to hang around and rest. Bobby started in the kitchen, turning off lights as he headed to his own bedroom to go to bed. He left a lamp on in the living room in case one of them came down before morning.
Dean finished in the bathroom and headed to the bedroom he shared with his brother when they stayed there. Sam was in bed and snoring softly as he stripped down to briefs and tee shirt. He started to get in bed when he soft mumbling coming from his brother’s bed before he tossed back and forth like he was fighting something.
“Hey, hey dude, it’s okay...” Dean mumbled softly to him as he laid a hand on his forehead. He could feel a slight tremble under his hand as Sam jerked in his sleep. “You’re safe, nothing to be afraid of.” Dean brushed Sam’s hair from his face and cupped his cheek, feeling Sam turn into his hand. He settled back down and hugged a pillow to his chest and sighed softly.
Dean moved to his bed, and slipped under the covers now that Sam had quieted down. They both had bad dreams since their father died, but neither mentioned it to the other. He turned off the lamp between their beds and laid there listening to the even breathing of his brother, letting it lull him to sleep.
Bobby made his way to the kitchen, not hearing anyone else up. He found the kitchen empty and didn’t expect to see the boys until later that morning, if then. He thought they both needed some much needed sleep and was going to let them have it. He started a pot of coffee and went to the cabinet to get a pack of instant oatmeal for his breakfast. Once the water he put on the burner heated, he fix the oatmeal and took a seat the table to eat. Bobby was working in the garage today to complete repairs on a couple of cars that were dropped off. If Dean was going to hang around for a few days, he’d get him to help. It always seemed to calm him and center him when he was elbow deep in an engine bay. After sitting the dishes in the sink, he scribbled a short note for the boys and headed out to the garage.
Bobby was eating a sandwich and working on some paperwork when Dean made an appearance, heading straight for the coffee pot. He watched him pour a cup of coffee and lean back on the counter to sip the brew.
“Where’s yer brother?” Bobby asked when Sam didn’t join them.
“I told him to get some more rest. I’m going to take some water up for him before I head into town,” Dean replied.
“Are you two okay?”
“Yeah, we’ll getting there. I’m going to get what I need for the cookout and get some more food. Anything else I should pick up?”
“Probably another can of coffee, and check the fridge.”
“I’ll make a list,” Dean surmised.
“If ya want something to do while you’re here, I’ve got a car in the garage that needs work done on it.”
“You know I’m game for that. I’ll check it out when I get back.”
“That’s fine. I need to run some parts to a town over this afternoon, so whenever you want to look at it. Since I‘ll be out, you can man the phones for me. Rufus had a hunter emergency he needed to take care of today.”
“No problem, we can handle it.”
Dean found a pad and pen before opening the fridge and checking its contents as he scribbled down supplies they needed. He planned on getting enough food to last a week at least, wanting to give Sam enough time to recuperate. And give him some time to wind down too. Before he left, Dean took a couple of waters upstairs and sat them on the nightstand. Sam was on his side facing away from him and Dean didn’t want to disturb him, so he quietly left him to sleep.
Dean worked his way down the aisles of the store picking items up and putting them in his cart before moving on. He looked at his list to be sure not to forget anything. He paused at the fruit and produce section and took a deep breath before venturing in to get Sammy some food. Sam usually did this part when they shopped and Dean took care of the rest. He grabbed some bananas, apples, grapes and a watermelon. He moved on to the produce to get what he would need for the Fourth and for their stay with Bobby. He continued through the store filling his cart and headed for the checkout.
After loading the bags into the Impala, Dean headed for the diner to pickup some food so they wouldn’t have to cook to make it easier on them. He was going to get everything ready the next morning to grill out that afternoon. It had been a long time since they had done anything like this to celebrate a holiday. He thought they both deserved to make some memories that were happy and good. He waited for the food and headed back to Bobby’s thinking he would make Sam get up and eat something since it had been over twenty-four hours since he had eaten more than snack food from a gas station.
Dean strolled into the kitchen to find Sam sitting at the table sipping on a cup of coffee. His hair was still damp from a shower and he looked a little more alert, but his eye and the side of his face was an array of multi-colors as the bruise progressed through its stages.
"Good, you're up. Got us food and you need to eat," Dean stated sitting the food bag in front of Sam. He sat the other bags on the counter and turned to head back to the car go get more.
"I'll help," Sam offered as he started to get up from his chair.
"Nope," Dean told him pushing him back down. "You need to get some food in you, I got this."
Sam huffed a response and muttered 'jerk' under his breath, always forgetting that Dean had exceptional hearing and cringed when 'bitch' was yelled back at him. He began to pull containers from the bag and set them on the table wondering what Dean had gotten for them to eat. The aromas were making his mouth water and his stomach growl loudly. He looked up when Dean came back in carrying more bags.
"I could have gone with you to the store if you had woke me," Sam said.
"I think I can go to the store by myself Sammy. It's not rocket science," Dean replied.
"Are we expecting company or something? That's a lot of food there."
"We're celebrating tomorrow and Jody's coming over."
"What's tomorrow?" he asked as he bit into a chicken sandwich and sighing when the flavors hit his taste buds.
"July Fourth, I'm cooking out and we're going to go see the fireworks in town."
"Really?" he questioned in surprise. Holidays were just another day for them and they very rarely even acknowledged them. They would splurge and get a bucket of chicken for Christmas maybe, but they were never celebrated like normal people did.
"Yes. We deserve a few days off and it'll give me an excuse to use the grill."
"I knew there was an underlying motive in there somewhere," he laughed.
Dean gave him the finger as he began to put the frozen and cold things away before he sat down to eat too.
He was already planning out the next two days so he could get everything done. First, he would go check out the car for Bobby and get that out of the way. He needed to be sure there was gas for the grill and clean the surface so it would be ready to fire up. He was going to have Sam do their laundry to give him something to do and maybe clean the kitchen up a bit. Bobby wasn’t one for housecleaning when it was only him there.
“Bobby’s got a car he wants me to look at, so I though you could do our laundry and straighten up the house some. We’ve got phone duty until he gets back from a parts run.”
“I can do that. I was going to get the laundry done anyway,” Sam said between bites. Once he started eating, he realized how hungry he was and didn’t want to stop.
“Easy there tiger, you can have more if want,” Dean chuckled when he noticed how quickly Sam was devouring his food. That was more his style than him.
“Sorry, guess I was hungry after all,” Sam mumbled sipping his soda and burping loudly. He reddened slightly and grunted ‘excuse me’ as he slowed down his eating.
“Just means the food’s good Sammy,” Dean told him. “You can put away the rest of the food. I’ll be in the garage if you need me.” He got up stuffing the last of his sandwich in his mouth and threw away the trash. He headed out the back door and toward the garage, leaving Sam alone in the house.
Sam finished his food and tossed his trash seeing the garbage can needed to be emptied and pulled the bag out, tying it at the top. He dug around for a new bag and put it in the trashcan before taking the bag outside and tossing it into a larger bin that Bobby had picked up once a month. Sam went back inside and washed his hands deciding to put up the groceries first to get them out of the way. He began to empty the bags and store things in the cabinets and stopped for a moment when he found a crossword puzzle book in one of the bags. He smiled knowing this was for him since Dean didn’t do them. He did find a couple of car magazines and a bag of peanut M&Ms that he knew were Dean’s and put them in the living room for him.
Once the kitchen was in some semblance of order, Sam headed back upstairs to get their dirty clothes together. He emptied both their duffels and sorted the clothes. If he wasn’t sure, he threw it in to be washed knowing it wouldn’t hurt anything. He found a basket in his closet and loaded the clothes to take downstairs to the laundry room.
After he got a load going, Sam decided to clean the bathroom upstairs since they were to only ones who used it and it could do with a scrubbing. He looked around in the laundry room for cleaning supplies and a bucket before going back upstairs to get started. It felt good to do something normal and it not involve hunting for a change. He kept an ear out for the phones while he cleaned. This was just what he needed to wind down and take a breather. Sam was sure Dean was feeling the same way as he worked on the car for Bobby. That was his domain and he didn’t dare tread on it, which was fine. They both needed outlets from hunting so they wouldn’t go insane.
Once the bathroom was scrubbed down, he headed back down to swap out the clothes and start another load. It was going to be nice to have clean clothes and not have to wonder how long a shirt had been worn or if the stains of monster gore were going to come out of their jeans. He grabbed water from the fridge, sunglasses from a shelf, and stepped onto the deck with his puzzle book to relax while he waited for the clothes to dry. Sam left the door open so he could hear the phones if another hunter needed help to get past law enforcement.
The hunter network had worked out a system where several hunters took turns being head bosses for FBI, US Marshall, CIA, Texas Rangers, or any other organization that was used as cover if someone was questioned about them being at a crime scene. They were given a card to call the agent in charge and would get Bobby, Rufus, or one of several others who would act as the boss. The person calling would be reamed out for questioning their authority and would pretty much let the hunter do as the pleased. The only time that didn’t work for them was when Jody called Bobby and recognized his voice. Sam was sure they were burned but Jody ended up being a valuable ally when she found out the truth. She had started working with them when she could help and kept them out of trouble.
Sam dropped into a lounge chair and stretched out letting the afternoon sun warm his body all the way down to the bone. A gentle breeze blew across the yard keeping the temperatures slightly lower than normal making it comfortable to him. He had taken off his long sleeved shirt when he started cleaning and was tempted to go throw on some cutoffs, but knew Dean was tease him to no end, and decided against it. Sam sipped on his water and opened the book up to the first puzzle, quickly reading the clue and began to fill in the boxes. He never heard Dean come in the front door to check on him and grab a Gatorade before sneaking back out. Sam was lost in the moment, he had no pressures or worries or monsters to contend with and could just be free for a little while.
Dean was coming out of the garage wiping his hands on a rag when Bobby pulled up and park. He got out and walked toward him seeing the streaks of grease up and down his arms and across his cheek. He looked content and happy for a change and that pleased him. Both his adopted sons tried to carry too heavy a burden on their shoulders that would break any one else, but they never did. He had never seen such strong willed, determined, smart, hunters come alone. They were at the top of the list for being the best at what they did and there weren’t any that could dispute it.
“Got your car running,” Dean told him with pride.
“Thanks for that. Knew you wouldn’t have a problem do it. Where’s yer brother?”
“I gave him some things to do inside since mechanics is not his thing. Last I looked in on him; he was on the deck working a crossword puzzle book I got him.”
“Saw Jody while I was in town. She’s going to bring some potato salad and a couple of homemade pies for the meal tomorrow.”
“She just made my day. Too bad she’s taken or I’d ask her to marry me,” Dean teased watching Bobby start to get flustered before turning to head inside. He chuckled as he followed him knowing there was something between them, but neither would really admit it.
“I think yer brother’s taking a nap. Better get him up before he gets sunburned,” Bobby told Dean when he looked out and saw Sam sleeping. The last rays of the sun were tracking across the sky and would be gone before long.
“Yeah, I already swapped out the clothes for him. He can fold and take them upstairs.” Dean headed out the door to find Sam slumped in the chair and snoring softly. He had a pinkish glow to his face from the sun but it didn’t hide the bruise on the side of his face. “Hey Sammy, time to wake up,” Dean called to him as he gave his shoulder a shake. “Clothes are finished drying and I don’t think you need any more sun for today.”
“Didn’t mean to sleep,” Sam replied as he shook himself awake and looked around. He had to think for a moment to remember where they were and what was going on. They weren’t working a case and were at Bobby’s.
“I’m getting a shower before I fix us something light for dinner.”
“Alright, I’ll get the clothes folded and brought up,” Sam said. He pushed himself from the chair and gathered his things before following him back inside.
“You’re looking better than the last time I saw you,” Bobby commented when Sam strolled into the kitchen.
“I feel better too,” Sam nodded. “Phones were quiet, only had one call to the FBI and handled it.”
“Thanks; I need to look up some lore for Mackey if you need me I‘ll be in the office.”
“Alright, I’m going to finish folding the clothes.” Sam stepped into the laundry room to see Dean must have swapped out the clothes and started folding the ones lying on top of the dryer. He filled the basket with clean clothes and headed upstairs to divide them out and wait to get his own shower.
The Fourth of July dawned bright and comfortable as the light drove away the darkness. Bobby was in the kitchen starting coffee when Dean joined him.
“Morning’ son, did you sleep well?” Bobby asked him.
“Getting better. At least Sammy slept through the night,” Dean replied standing at the counter waiting for the coffee to finish perking.
“So, you all set for your cookout this afternoon?”
“You bet. I’m going to make the burgers up and get the corn ready to grill and make the chili for the hotdogs.”
“Sounds like you have it under control. I’m going out to the garage for a while; let me know if you need anything,” he said as he poured coffee into a travel cup. “Jody should be here later, closer to meal time.”
“I’m good Bobby. Sammy can help me when he gets up and comes down. He was stirring when I left him. I told him to sleep in if he wanted; I wasn’t going to start prep until later.”
Dean poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the table with a pad and pen. He started listing the things he needed to get ready so he wouldn’t forget anything. Some of the items he put an S after deciding Sam could handle the chore, plus he wanted to give him something to do. Once the list was made, he got up and headed outside to check the bottled gas for the grill and to clean it. He wanted it ready for him to cook on that afternoon.
Sam wandered into the kitchen to find it empty and back door open. He stuck his head outside and saw Dean doing something with the grill and turned to get a cup of coffee and yogurt for breakfast. It wasn’t long before Dean came back in, heading straight to the sink to wash his dirty hands.
“Want some breakfast?” he asked Sam.
“No, I’m good; I’m having an apple or banana to hold me over until lunch, dinner, whatever you’re calling the meal.”
“Okay, I’m going to get the burgers made up and the chili started. You can see what kind of paper plates Bobby’s got stashed in the laundry room and plastic silverware. No need for us to have a lot of dishes to wash. I’ll wash as I go so it should be an easy clean.”
“I can do that,” Sam nodded heading into the laundry room to see what he could find. He came back out ten minutes later with some heavy duty plates, cups and plastic silverware that he sat on the table.
Dean had turned on an old radio Bobby had sitting on the fridge and was humming along to the music as he pulled out spices, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, apple cider vinegar and a large bowl. “Here, chop the bigger onion up for me in small pieces and slice this one for the hamburgers,” he instructed Sam putting out a cutting board, knife and two onions.
“Okay, you want the chopped one first?”
“Yeah, we’ll need some for the hot dogs and to go in the chili, save a little chopped out for that.” He dumped the ground beef into the bowl and began to add the other ingredients and waited as Sam chopped the onion for him. Once everything was in the bowl, he slipped on a pair of gloves so he could mix it up and pat out patties. He sealed them in a plastic container so they’d be ready to grill. “You can cut the watermelon up if you like,” Dean suggested when he saw Sam was done with the onions.
Sam rummaged around in the cabinets looking for a large bowl with a lid to put the cut up watermelon in. He figured he could cut half of it up and wrap the other half for later. After moving a few things around on the counter at the sink, he sat the watermelon there so hopefully he wouldn’t make a huge mess. He took a long butcher knife and sliced the melon into and moved one half to the side. The aroma of the freshly cut melon wafted up and he cut a small piece to try it.
“Oh my gosh, this is amazing!” he cried out cutting off another piece. “It’s so sweet and juicy and ripe.”
“You know you’re supposed to be cutting it up for the meal, right?” Dean laughed as Sam stuffed another bite into his mouth. He had juice running down the sides of his mouth and couldn’t help but laugh too.
“Just try it,” Sam insisted spearing a piece on the end of the knife and holding it out for Dean.
“Alright, one bite,” Dean sighed seeing Sam wasn’t going to give up until he tasted it. “Did I do good or what?” he beamed letting the flavors explode in his mouth. “It will be even better when it gets cold.”
“Yeah, you did good bro,” Sam praised him as he cut the melon up and put it in the bowl, eating more as he went, until he had half of it cut up. He sealed the bowl and slid it into the fridge and found plastic wrap to cover the other half before slipping it into a bag and shuffling things around to get it in too.
Jody arrived just as Dean was putting the burgers on the grill to cook. She sat two homemade pies on the counter and the cooler bag with the salad beside them.
“Sam! Good to see you...Whatever happened sweetie?” she greeted him and questioned when she saw his bruised face.
“A hunt went sideways, it’s better really, just looks bad,” Sam told her accepting a hug from her. “Dean just got the burgers cooking so it won’t be long. Hope you’re hungry, he’s making enough to feed an army.”
“How’s it going Jody?” Bobby asked as he strolled in from his bedroom. He had changed his clothes and cleaned up a little.
“I’m good, is there anything I can do to help?”
“Naw, the boys have got this covered. Would you like a beer or are you on duty?”
“I can probably have one and it be safe. I don’t need to be to the fireworks site until eight tonight. Are you still coming with me?”
“Of course, I’m happy to help,” Bobby replied.
Sam remained quiet during their conversation picking up a hint that something might be brewing between the two. He smirked to himself and got the evil eye from Bobby and bit his lip to keep from laughing.
“Jody, glad you could make it!” Dean beamed when he came back inside to swap out platters.
“Good to see you too Dean,” she said. He gave her a brief hug and found what he needed before heading back outside. “Wanna start washing up the dirty dishes?” he called back over his shoulder to his brother.
“Yeah I can do that.” Sam turned to the sink and ran water in one side to wash before looking around for any other dishes that needed cleaning. “You two can go visit in the living room if you like, I think we have everything covered in here.”
“Let’s get out of his way,” Bobby told Jody leading her into the other room.
Dean had everything cooked and Sam got the table ready and the rest of the food set out for them. He unpacked the potato salad and sat it on the table as Dean sat the platter of meats in the middle.
“I think we’re ready,” Dean said standing back and looking at the food laden table. “Alright you two, it’s time to eat,” he called into the living room.
“Wow Dean, you’ve outdone yourself,” Jody praised him. She took a seat as the others settled in around her.
“Start passing and dig in,” Dean told them. “What kind of pies did you bring Jody?”
“Pecan and apple,” she replied.
“Man, you do know a way to a man’s heart,” he cooed. “I am definitely going to save room for a slice of both.”
They filled their plates and talked like a normal family that didn’t know the truth of the world and what was luring in the dark. For today they were acting like the rest of the country and enjoy a good meal with family and friends and planned to catch the fireworks show later that night.
Jody and Bobby left after the meal, since she had to go by the office to check on some things before heading over to ground zero for the fireworks show. She wanted to be sure things went smoothly and nothing drastic or dangerous happened during the show. People were already setting up around the fair grounds so they’d have good spots for the show.
Dean drove the Impala down a dirt road that looped around the town. Sam looked around wondering where they were going since the display was going to be at the old fair grounds.
“Aren’t we headed in the wrong direction?” he asked his brother.
“Nope, I know a place we can watch without having to deal with the crowds. It’ll give us a great view of them,” Dean replied as he slowed to a crawl and worked his way deeper up the rutted road. He finally pulled into a clearing and stopped.
Sam got out and saw they were above the town and had a great view. He watched Dean pull a blanket from the back seat, along with a cooler. He spread the blanket across the hood and windshield of the Impala and set the small cooler on top of the car.
“Watch the windshield wipers when you sit down,” Dean cautioned him as he slipped onto the Impala and got comfortable.
Sam moved to sit down beside him and accepted a bottle of beer he handed him. They relaxed as they waited for the show to begin. He was as excited as a kid to see them and thought back to another time so long ago when he was young and Dean had bought fireworks.
“Hey you remember that time when you got those fireworks and we set them off in that field near the motel we were stay at?” he asked Dean.
Dean thought a moment before laughing. “Yeah, I got the good kind that were illegal and almost set the woods on fire.”
“Yeah and when Dad found out he almost....” Sam stopped suddenly when he realized what he had said and choked back the rest of his sentence. He looked away so Dean wouldn’t see the tears in his eyes. They had not really talked about their father’s death since it happened and the locked away feelings surfaced for a moment.
Dean looked at Sam and felt his pain and butted shoulders with him before speaking. “It’s okay Sammy; we’ll get through this together. We still have each other,” he whispered wanting to ease his brother’s pain.
Before Sam could answer the first round of fireworks lit up the night sky. They gazed on in amazement and child like wonder as they exploded in an array of colors, lighting up the night sky. Some popped and sent more smaller sparks outward to spin and fizzle back down to the ground. More were launched upward filling the air with the sound of whistling before bursting into mult-colored arcs and arms reaching outward across the sky. As one died, more were launched, each seeming to have a different pattern and design. They were far enough away that the noise wasn’t near as bad as it would be at the fair grounds. With each one they got bigger and brighter and more complex, mesmerizing both of them.
Sam gazed in wonderment and delight, laughing and pointing at them like a child. Dean couldn’t be more pleased to have given him this moment to remember. It wasn’t about hunting, or monsters, or trying to stay alive. It was about having a normal time and enjoying it. He clinked his beer bottle to Sam’s and took a sip, smiling to himself and happy that he had made this happen. This was what both of them needed right now, to take their minds off the past events and give them a time to just be Sam and Dean, two brothers, watching a fireworks show and having a beer.