Sam watched as Dean fell into an uneasy sleep in front of the TV. He was glad he could give Dean a last Christmas, even if it was painful for him. Sam looked around at the room and knew that he would never be able to do another Christmas again; never want to do another Christmas.
Sam was pulled from his painful thought as Dean started thrashing in his sleep. His face held a deep frown and his mouth was set in a tight line. Dean almost never had nightmares; well none that Sam knew about, so Sam was momentarily frozen in his seat as he wondered what he should do. The decision was ripped from his hands when Dean suddenly sat up straight and breathed heavily, scanning the room before his eyes fell on a startled Sam. Before Sam could say anything, Dean stood quickly and began packing his stuff.
“Come on, Sammy, I have somewhere I need to be.”
Sam frowned and slowly stood, watching his brother packing his bag and avoid his questioning gaze. Despite his consternation at Dean’s sudden desire to leave, Sam submitted and resolved to ask him in the car. Within ten minutes, everything had been cleared up and Sam waited patiently in the Impala for Dean to come back from returning the key.
“Where are we going?” Sam asked conversationally, or what he hoped sounded conversationally. Dean just gave him a sideways glance before turning his attention back to the windshield.
“Cleveland,” he answered shortly. Sam continued to look at him and Dean sighed. “I have something I have to do and this is probably the best time to do it.”
Sam sighed and settled into his seat. It was just after midnight and Sam couldn’t think of what Dean needed to do this late at night. The drive was long and by the time Dean pulled up in front of what looked like a cross between a mansion and a school, Sam was frustrated. He got out of the car and slammed the door behind him, muttering to himself. He began walking toward the building and noticed Dean wasn’t behind him. He was sitting still in the Impala, staring into space. Sam had begun walking cautiously over to his brother when Dean leapt from the Impala and looked toward the front door. He took a deep breath before stepping past a curious Sam and walking to the front door.
He stopped hesitantly before raising a hand and knocking lightly on the door. Sam waited behind his brother and was surprised when a beautiful brunette opened the door and threw her arms around him. Sam watched as Dean closed his eyes and hugged her softly.
“Hey Dawnie,” he said as she pulled back. An exasperated expression crossed her face before she replied.
“It’s Dawn.” She watched as he lowered his eyes and spoke softly. “She’s not here Dean, she’s patrolling. But she should be back really soon.”
Dean nodded and pointed behind him. “That’s my little brother Sammy.”
Dawn noticed the scowl on Sam’s face and grinned. “You too, huh? I understand how you feel completely.”
Dean rolled his eyes and walked past Dawn into a room off from the foyer. It was a large waiting room but it had a homely feel to it. There was a large Christmas tree set up with the twinkling lights draped on it and mistletoe hung up in the doorway.
Dean heard Dawn and Sam enter behind him and he turned around only to be rendered speechless by the woman standing before him.
“Buffy,” he said breathlessly. He was so busy staring at her that he didn’t see Dawn pulling Sam off to the side to give them privacy.
“What are you doing here Dean?” Buffy asked trying to sound as resolved as possible. She knew that he would see straight through it though.
“I have some news and I thought you deserved to hear it from me.”
He saw the panicked expression on her face and closed his eyes before speaking.
“Buffy, Sam died.” Buffy looked confused and she quickly threw a glance behind her, her eyes coming back to rest on him. “I sold my soul to get him back”
“When?” she whispered.
“I have a couple of months left.”
A tear fell down her cheek and Dean moved forward and held her in his arms. His heart broke as she sobbed in his arms and clutched his jacket. He pulled away from her and looked her in the eyes.
“Buffy, I’m really sorry about…everything…but I wanted you to know. I didn’t want you to call one day and get the news that I had died and that I knew that I would. I still love you baby, I always have and I know I always will. I know that we didn’t end things very well…”
Buffy pulled him forward and kissed him, silencing his thoughts. He pulled back and held her at arms length.
“Buffy,” he began, shaking his head.
She put a finger up to his lips. “Dean, we could talk about who was right and who was wrong til we’re blue in the face. Can’t we just put everything behind us and live for a while?”
He looked at her sadly and took a step back. He didn’t want to hurt her, he didn’t want her to watch him die but he had needed to tell her how he felt so that when he died, she didn’t think that he’d stopped loving her.
“Buffy, you say that now…”
Buffy stepped toward him. “I won’t lie to you Dean - I’m not ready for you to die. And at the moment, I don’t want to ever see that day. But I don’t have a choice here. I’m not letting you walk out that door tonight.” She looked sadly toward the Christmas tree. “Dean, it’s Christmas,” she whispered.
Dean knew that Christmas meant a lot to her. Christmas for her was always full of miracles; Angel had been saved at Christmas. But the biggest miracle for her was that she was around to spend it with her family and friends: she was alive.
“Baby, come here,” he said as he pulled her in and hugged her. He didn’t want her to see him die but he wasn’t sure he could walk away from her again. Dawn and Sam walked back in the room and Dawn smiled at him.
“He’s going to be my brother-in-law someday,” she whispered to Sam. Sam looked at her confused; he had told Dawn all about Dean’s deal and thought she had taken it remarkably well – at least better than he had – but he was beginning to wonder if she was in denial now.
As if she had read his thoughts, she looked up at him and smiled. “Buffy loves him too much and he loves her too much. Even hell couldn’t keep them apart, just wait and see.”