All Wrapped Up

By Ridley C. James, December 2005

Rating: T, just to be safe, but probably K

Disclaimer: Sorry, I have never been that good in my entire life, so I don’t see Santa stuffing the boys down my chimney any time soon. Nothing Supernatural belongs to me.

Words: 3.423


Eleven year-old Dean Winchesterwas bringing in some fire wood from the old sagging back porch when he heard it.


His breath quickened, sending puffy white clouds of frozen condensation into the air, and he nearly slipped on the icy planks as he rushed to get back inside with his heavy load.

At first, his young mind conjured the obvious Winchester disaster. Something had finally found them.

Just like in his really bad dreams, the monster who had taken his mother was back again to finish what it had started six years before. A little part of him was always expecting it to come back. One day he knew that it would.

But then he heard his father's deep, booming voice more clearly and it wasn't fear he had detected. He'd heard his dad scared before, and this was different. It was another familiar emotion that he'd grown accustomed to, especially since the calendar had once again rolled around to November and beyond.

It was anger he heard wrapped around every harsh word his dad was shouting and Dean wasn't sure if that was better than fear or much worse.

The pre-teen braced himself for whatever had roused the sleeping beast and opened the back door of the old abandoned farm house that they were currently staying in.

John hadn't explained how exactly they knew the family that owned it, but he'd told the boys that it was theirs for as long as they needed it.

Dean really hoped that wasn't going to be too long.

The two-story house was practically falling down around them and even a kid could understand why any normalfamily would up and leave the old place.

Still, he supposed it was better than the truck, especially since the winters in West Virginia were a lot colder than they had been on the West coast, where the Winchester's had spent the last two Holiday seasons.

The only good thing was the snow-Sam was so excited about the snow.

“Do you understand me, young man?” Dean stepped into the kitchen in time to see his father grab his younger brother by the shoulders and give him a hard shake. “Don't ever let me hear you say anything like that again!”

The warmth of the room was almost suffocating in his adrenaline charged state, and Dean felt bile rise in the back of his throat as a rush of feelings washed over him.

“Dad?” He tossed the firewood beside the stone fireplace and took a step towards his brother. “What's going on?”

He had never seen his father look quite so angry, especially when talking to Sam.

Dean was sure he had made a point of telling his kid brother to play quietly because their dad had a headache. Sam had been drawing when he'd gone outside.

Sure, he'd gotten a little sidetracked by the deer he'd seen in the field behind the old barn, but he hadn't been gone long enough for Sammy to get into too much trouble. Sam never got in trouble.

But the terrified look that his kid brother shot him said otherwise.

“It doesn't concern you.” John didn't even glance at Dean as he roughly reached up and took hold of Sam's chin, forcing his son's pale face back to his line of sight. This wasn't a time when he'd give in to Dean's coddling. “Do you understand me, Samuel?”

Dean couldn't quite explain the panic that overcame him, as he watched fat, miserable tears fall from Sam's large, scared eyes. He'd always felt protective of his little brother, but he had never felt at odds with his own father because of it. That was, until now.

John was always right about things, knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was best for their family. He'd saved them all, numerous times. Dean worshipped the man, but something in that moment demand that hequestion that authority.

He mustered all the bravado that any pre-teen could manage. “He understands, Dad. Let him go.”

Dean was almost along side Sam now. He kept his eyes on his father though, the commandment to never ever take your eyes from the enemy ringing hollow in his mind, stirring up that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach again.

“I wasn't talking to you!” A dark, angry gaze fell on Dean and he almost faltered a step, wondering momentarily if his father had been possessed by some evil thing while he slept.

Because even when he was angry, John was gentle. Never vile, never cruel. Of course Christmas was always bad, memories too painful to cover with eggnog and turkey chose to rear their head.

So, John had to resort to something a little stronger to take the edge off.

“I'm sorry,” Sam choked out, his eyes moving from John to Dean. “I didn't mean it.”

John let go of him suddenly, almost causing the little boy to stumble.

Holding up a piece of crumpled paper in his large hand, he shook his head disapprovingly. “You should be sorry, Sam.” With that, he tossed the paper into the angry orange and red flames of the fire behind him.

Sam watched the white and green drawing blister and then dissolve into a pile of black ash, before he turned and ran as fast as his small legs would take him up the rickety wooden staircase.

Dean waited until he heard the bedroom door slam upstairs before facing his father again. “Dad, why were you yelling at Sammy? He's just a baby.” If he could understand that, couldn’t his father. Sam could drive him crazy sometimes, always tagging along, pestering him for something-but he never treated him like John just had.

“Don't raise your voice at me, young man.” John raked a trembling hand through his dark hair and brought his still smoldering gaze to his oldest son.

“I'm sorry, Dad. I just want to know what's wrong.” So I can try and fix it.

Some of the anger faded from John's face and he seemed to deflate before Dean's very eyes. “Do you remember your mother, Dean?” John was still on his knees and the way he whispered the words so desperately reminded Dean very much of a prayer.

Dean’s throat felt constricted and his voice had ran scared, so he only nodded.

“She was the best mom that a boy could have had.” John said the words so fiercely that Dean took a step back, but not before he caught the faint scent of alcohol on his father's breath. “Don't ever forget that, son!” He took hold of the boy and squeezed his slim shoulders. “Never forger her, Dean!”

“I won’t.” The anger still hiding in his father’s eyes kept Dean from mentioning the fact that he could only remember small things about his mother.

He remembered the way that she smelled, her smile, her laugh. But what he remembered most was the way she hugged him each morning. It was as if it had been months since she’d seen him last, even though in realityit’d only been one night, and she wanted to make sure that Dean knew how much she hadmissed him.

Sometimes, when she hugged him like that, Dean imagined that she left just a little bit of herself all wrapped up in him.

John let him go, his big hands falling limply at his sides. He looked defeated, instead of reassured. Dean would have done anything to remove that look from his face. But he didn’t know how.

“Go check on your brother.”

The words were flat, and Dean grasped onto them like a life-line. Taking care of Sammy was something he knew how to do. This other stuff with his dad, he had no idea how to handle. What kid would?

Without saying another word to his father, Dean took off up the stairs. John watched him go, shakily getting to his feet once his oldest son was out of sight.

He made his way to the fire and leaned his head against the cool stones of the mantle. So many times he’d stood watching the fire in this very room, waiting for his own father to come home from his job in the mines-sometimes with anticipation, but most nightswith trepidation.

Tonight, he’d acted like that man he’d spent so many years hating, and so many years longing to love. He’d seen himself as a boy, reflected in the scared eyes of his youngest son

How could one become the thing they feared and despised the most?

Grief. Anger. That’s how.

Those were the very things that drove his father. As far as John knew, they probably still did. They were the emotions that drove the man’s son from his side. And now, he was repeating the pattern, starting down a path he swore he’d never take.

Mary had promised that she’d help him be the father that John wanted so badly to be, and for five years he was. He played ball with Dean, he read him stories, he held him when he was scared or sick, he gave him hugs and kisses-things he, himself, had always been denied- and he never let rage cause him to strike out at his innocent children. But then Mary was gone. He was alone.

And now, John had to be a parent without her.

Maybe that’s why he was so afraid to be a father to Sam. He couldn’t trust himself.

He raised his eyes and looked up the staircase, imagining his two boys in the old room where he’d spent so many years of his own childhood.

John might not have trusted the man his father raised, but he trusted Mary’s son. He trusted Dean.

Dean could hear the quiet sobs even as he opened the door. It never failed to amaze him that when his kid brother was upset he would escape to the very places that he feared the most.

Sometimes he worried that Sam was punishing himself.

The pre-teen sighed heavily and sat down on the dusty floor beside the double bed that the two brothers had been sharing since coming to the farmhouse.

“Sammy? You under there?”

Not only was the crying a dead giveaway, but the white and blue Converses sticking out from one corner pretty much confirmed Sam’s hiding place. Still, Dean played their game.

“No,” came the expected reply.

“Santa knows when you’re lying, little brother.”

One good thing about the Holidays that Dean had discovered was the convenient bargaining chip that Jolly Old St. Nick made. He could get Sam to do almost anything he wanted from Halloween on just by threatening a quick call to the chubby guy. It was amazing, and sad that the Easter Bunny didn’t have the same intimidation factor.

Unfortunately, tonight, his tactic seemed to backfire and the crying increased and grew louder.

“Great,” Dean mumbled. He really should have insisted on the nap earlier that day. “Sam, please come out.”

“No. Daddy hates me.”

The older Winchester leaned down and peered under the bed. “That’s not true. Dad could never hate you, Sam. He loves you too much.” Of that, Dean was sure.

No matter what John Winchester did or said to the contrary, he loved Sam fiercely.

Almost as much as Dean did.

Sam lifted his head from where he’d buried it beneath a blanket he’d pulled under the bed with him. His tear-filled brown eyes met Dean’s and he wiped the back of his hand across his runny nose. “Not anymore. He thinks I’m bad.”

If Sam could have only realized how ridiculous those words were, Dean’s life would have been much easier. Sam had never been bad. Even as a baby, he hardly ever cried, and since getting older his worst crime consisted of writing on a motel roomwall with a marker.

“Do you hate me, too?”

The whispered words startled Dean out of his thoughts and he reached his arm under the bed and wrapped his hand around Sam’s wrist. “I could never hate you Sam, no matter what.” Never.

Sam’s lower lip quivered and he took a quick shuddering breath. “Promise?”

Dean did the only thing he could do. If Sam wouldn’t come out, he’d just have to go in, or under, as it were.

The older boy laid down and wiggled his much larger form under the bed. Once there, he could barely turn on his side to face Sam without his shoulder hitting the metal box springs that were only inches from his face.

“I promise, Sammy.” He looked the little boy in the eyes. “And Dad doesn’t hate you either.”

Sam propped himself onone elbow and pushed the ever-present strands of blond hair out of his eyes. “I didn’t mean to make him mad.”

“What happened, Sammy?”

The six year-old shrugged. He wanted to tell his big brother everything so that Dean could make things better. Dean was good at that, but he didn’t want to risk making him upset like he had their dad.


“I drawed a picture for Santa, and wrote him a letter.”

Dean looked at his brother in the dim light that their hiding space allowed. He could always tell if Sam was lying or leaving out something important. “And?”

Sam sighed. Dean always knew when he wasn’t telling the complete truth. “And I read it to Daddy.” Sam’s eyes filled again. “He pushed me off his lap and took my letter.”

Dean frowned, not understanding what could have upset their father. Dean had explained to Sam that Santa and his elves were short on supplies this year. He’d told the little boy that he could only ask for a few things, so as not to make the big guy feel bad-make that both big guys. “What did you ask for?”

Maybe Sam hadn’t understood.

Sam bit his lip and stared at his brother.

“I won’t get mad. Just tell me.”

“I asked for an Optimist Prime, and a book, and…,” he paused, and then rushed on, as if he just wanted to get the worst over with, “…and a new Mommy.”

At the soft words, Dean’s heart felt as if it had just dropped to his feet, bounced hard, and was now lodged painfully in his throat. “Oh, Sam.”

No wonder their dad had freaked.

“I never had a Mommy, Dean,” Sam rushed to explain as he watched a look he recognized as disappointment settle on his brother’s face. “I want one. I want one for you, too. I know you miss our old mom.”

“Sam, she’s our only mom. We can’t have another one. Just her.”

Tears sprung to the brown eyes once more and Dean fought hard to get control of his own feelings. He lowered his voice. “I know that you don’t understand, but Santa can’t bring you a new mom.” God, what was the kid thinking?

“But Kelly said if you were good that Santa would bring you whatever you asked for. I was good, Dean. I was good mostly all year.” Didn't Dean understand? All Sam wanted was what other kids already had. How much work was it to find a mom when there were tons of them already around.

Dean sighed. Kelly was a little girl in the Kindergarten class that Sam had started the school year with. To hear his kid brother tell it, she knew everything. “I know you were really good, Sam. You didn’t do anything wrong, it just isn’t going to happen.”

Sam frowned. “Then why did Daddy get so mad at me?”

“Because he loved Mom.He can’t forget about her. He doesn’t want us to ever forget about her either.”

Sam shook his head. “But I never remembered her.”

The small confession hit Dean like a punch in the stomach. Just once couldn’t things be easy. He licked his lips, and blinked away the stinging sensation filling his eyes. “I know, but she loved you, Sam. I remember that." How could he make his brother understand?

"She use to hold you all the time, and she sang to you, and when you cried she always looked so sad.”

“Really?” Sam scooted closer to his brother, the way he did when Dean would tell him adventurous stories at night. “What else, Dean? What else do you remember?”

Dean thought for a minute, giving himself time to make sure his voice was steady. “She was real pretty, and she smelled good-like daisies and sunshine.” If Dean could have closed his eyes and concentrated really hard, he was sure he could have caught her soft scent right then. “And she laughed-a lot.”

“Like me?”

Dean nodded. “Yeah, Sam, just like you.”

A frown marred his little brother’s features again, a sure sign that he was thinking, and that more than likely he was going to ask Dean something that wasn’t going to be easy to answer. “Why did our mom die?”

Dean knew it. But hedidn’t know what to say. A sudden urge of anger rose up out of no where and was directed entirely at their father. Damn him.

John never talked to them about their mom, and Dean had just followed his lead, never realizing what it was doing to Sam.

He decided to say the only thing he could. “I don’t know, Sammy.”

Sam’s face fell and Dean reached out and squeezed his arm. “But she’s still your mom, our mom. Her dying didn’t change that. She didn’t leave us, just because she’s gone.”

The words didn’t make much sense even to his much older self, but Sam seemed to understand them. Maybe he wasn’t just listening with his ears.

“Will Daddy forgive me?”

Dean ruffled Sam’s hair, letting out the breath he’d been holding. “I bet he already has.” Another storm had passed.

The six year-old smiled, a real smile- dimples, missing front tooth, and all.

“If you come out from under the bed now, I’ll help you write a new letter to Santa.”


“Sure” Dean thought about their mom. “I could even read you a story. Any one you want.”

“The Grinch?”

Dean rolled his eyes. He’d read that story about a hundred times in the few weeks since Sam’s teacher had given it to the Kindergartener as a going away present. “Okay.”

“Deal.” All thoughts of the argument with their father seemed to disappear and Dean found himself blocking a flurry of knees and elbows as Sam crawled over him in his rush to get out from under the bed.

Sam was already on top of the mattress, book in hand, before his older brother even emerged from beneath the frame. “Dean?”

Dean took a moment to knock the dust bunnies from his hair and his clothes before glancing up at Sam. “Yeah?”

“Did you ever write Santa a letter?”

The older boy sat down on the bed beside of Sam and stretched his legs out. “I did once when I was just a little younger than you. Mom helped me write it.”

Sam’s eyes widened. “What’d you ask for?”

A slow smile touched Dean's lips. He remembered vividly the look that his mother had given him when he‘d told her what to write. “A little brother.”

“And Santa brought you me.” Sam looked amazed. “You must have been really good back then.”

“I had my moments.”

Sam thought for a minute, looking down at the book and then back to his brother. “Could I ask for a little brother?”

Dean’s smile faded. “No. I think he’s probably out of those for our family, Sammy.”

“A sister?”

Dean snorted. “Why would we want one of those?”

Sam nodded seriously. “Right, girls are gross-well, except for Kelley.”

Dean shook his head. “How about you just stick with the Transformer?”

The six year-old sighed heavily. “Okay, but after all this, I can’t promise that I’ll be so good next year.”

Dean laughed and threw his arm around Sam, the sudden scent of sunshine and daisies filling the space between them. An image of his mom holding him so that he could kiss a baby Sam goodnight sprung to his mind, and he pulled his little brother into a tight hug.

The kind of hug that said he might have missed him like he’d been gone for months.

The kind of hug that left just a little bit of himself all wrapped up in Sam.



Uploaded by Majs