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A Little Christmas - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
just_ruth
just_ruth
A Little Christmas
Title: A Little Christmas
Author: just_ruth
Rating: PG
Warnings: Mention of holiday preparations and celebration
Author's Notes: spn_summergen entry written for dolimir_k
Characters: the usual suspects – plus Pastor Jim, Wes Mondale, a red headed stranger from one of my other stories and introducing Woodrow Jefferson and his family
Disclaimers: Supernatural is the property of Eric Kripke and the CW. The red headed stranger belongs to himself and goes where he pleases. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is the property of the Conan Doyle estate. Characters/Situations are being borrowed for entertainment purposes only. You think anyone would pay me for this?
Summary: It’s the first Christmas after the Apocalypse.
Thanks to glorious_spoon
Word Count: 3652


****

Hilton Head, South Carolina, 2009

"Well, son?" Woodrow Jefferson smiled down at him; his dignified face like a fine ebony carving. "You still think there's no such thing as a boo-hag?"

Bobby Singer, his left leg encased in plaster from ankle to above the knee, glowered up from the wheelchair he was back in for the next five to six weeks. He thought of several replies he could make to that, but with Jefferson's oldest great-grand-baby, five-year-old Sugar in his lap he couldn't really say any of them. "Guess I know better, now," he finally answered.

A legend of the South Carolina island people; the boo-hag was a combination of shape-shifter and vampire. Several hags formed a harem for a boo-daddy, the monster that created them. Their normal appearance was that of a skinless, skeletal human body. A hag would put on the skin of a murdered woman and seek out a man. Under their spell, the victim experienced horrible nightmares and shortness of breath as the hag literally drank the air from their lungs. Once sufficiently weakened, the victim would be carried off to the boo-daddy where they would never be seen again. Speculation was that the victim's blood and flesh became food for the pack. No hunter had found out the truth – or if they had; they hadn’t lived to tell about it.

Jefferson had called Bobby for help when young men started missing from Hilton Head nightclubs. Bobby, Jefferson, two of Jefferson's sons-in-law and three grandsons cleaned out the nest. The hags had their skins treated with a mixture of salt and red pepper that burned them from the inside out while the daddy was dealt with like a vampire - staked and beheaded. In the chaos of destruction, Bobby ended up with his leg broken.

"I'm really sorry," mumbled the unhappy young man pushing Bobby's wheelchair. Bobby threw a glare over his shoulder at him; just over six feet of thin bespectacled idiot who had come all the way from Washington state following a sexy voice on a phone. He almost deserved to get hag-ridden.

"Boy," Jefferson dropped his tone and his voice rumbled like thunder. Wes might have bridled had anyone else called him that, but Jefferson's age kept him quiet. "You listen to me and you listen good. I was born the seventh son of the seventh son and everything that you've ever heard about the seventh son is true. I can see you, Wesley Mondale, past and present and I tell you right here and right now -- you have been looking at the stars when you should've been looking right under your nose. That Mick Jagger boy had it right in sixty-nine. You can't always get what you want but if you try you can get what you need."

"I deserve --" Wes started to argue.

"Your life? You got that, boy. Happiness? Sure you do! But you got to work for it son, and it usually starts by making someone else happy first."

"Not fair."

"Life ain't fair," Bobby broke in. "Anyone ever tell you that?" Wes scowled, but kept his mouth shut.

One of Jefferson's grandsons pulled up with a van. "Got the ticket you wanted, Paw-paw," he said cheerfully.

Bobby resisted the urge to slap the younger man’s hands as he was loaded into the van. “I can do this myself,” he grumbled. Sugar giggled in his lap.

“Not today, sir,” said Ronny.

"Thank you, Ronny." Jefferson turned to Wes. “This is for you, son. You are to go to this club tonight and stay for the entire show. There’s going to be an opportunity handed to you -- provided you’ve got enough brains to see what’s under your nose.”

They left Wes standing by his car, frowning at the ticket.

"What's he going to that club for?" Bobby asked.

"Nice gal he went to high school with that he never looked twice at plays sax for the trio in the second set." Jefferson told him. "If he's not a complete loss as a human being he'll open his eyes and see what he's been missing."

Bobby grunted. “You’re an optimist, Jefferson.”

“I’m the seventh son of the seventh son.”

******

There was a piercing shriek that announced the car pulling into the driveway, bringing a stampede of aunts, uncles and assorted cousins to the parking circle. Maureen was going to be awash in loving admiration as soon as she stepped out with the baby. Bobby shoved himself to one side of the wrap-around porch. He felt someone staring at him. He turned to see Sugar watching him intently.

“Aw, now what?” he growled at the child. She was no more afraid of him than she was of Jefferson’s brindle pit bull Honey Chile, who was in a patch of sunlight, snoring on her back with her tongue hanging out.

“Please tell me a story?” asked Sugar.

Bobby looked around for help, but it seemed like everyone else was setting up the long picnic tables for dinner, cooking, chasing the twins and Lil’ Woodrow (named for his Gee Paw-Paw; which wasn't a bad way to say great-grandpa considering he was only two) or hovering over Maureen’s baby that had just come from the hospital. Like Bobby and Honey Chile, Sugar had been left to take care of herself.

“Oh, for – hang on, let me get out of this corner.” As soon as he was turned around, Sugar put her little shoulder against the back of his chair to help push. Honey Chile rolled up to her feet and followed them over to the wisteria side of the huge porch. She flopped down again and yawned.

Bobby couldn't help yawning himself as he settled in the dappled shade. Sugar considered a moment and climbed into his lap. Bobby looked into those big brown eyes and sighed. “Okay, kiddo, what story do you want to hear?”

“’Bout Dean and Sammy,” said Sugar, “and the pretty necklace.”

“How do you know about that?”

“I had a dream. They were all sad and alone in a hotel an’ you gave Sammy the pretty necklace for his Daddy but he gave it to Dean.”

Bobby’s throat closed up. “Oh, Sugar,” he finally rasped. “How can you know that?”

“I don’t know, I just do.”

The powers of the seventh son aren't passed on, where did that dream come from? Bobby scratched the top of his cast. “Okay, well, this story takes place after your dream, Sugar.”

****

Broken Bow, Nebraska -- 1989

The boys didn't find out why John never came back after Christmas until nearly three weeks later. Three days after Christmas the manager stopped Dean after school to ask where his father was - John had to pay more for the room if they were to stay there. Dean told a lie and ran to the room.

"Pack up!" he said to Sammy.

"Why?" Sammy hugged his schoolbook to his chest as Dean emptied out their backpacks.

"We have to meet Dad --"

"Don't lie to me!" Sam cried. Dean turned around and the two boys glared at each other.

Dean took a big breath. "Okay, Sammy. Dad's not back yet and the manager wants more money for the room. If Dad doesn't show up soon, he's going to call the cops and the cops will take us and lock us up." Dean began packing the backpack. "We've got to get out of here and get to Pastor Jim or Uncle Bobby."

"How?" Sammy sounded very small and very scared.

For a moment, Dean looked just as scared. "I-I don't know." His jaw stuck out and he squared his shoulders, "but we'll be okay; we just got to lay low until Uncle Bobby or Pastor Jim get here."

The early winter sunset was starting to lengthen the shadows. Dean and Sammy stuck close together as they walked away from the hotel. The sky was getting cloudy; thick with fluffy gray snow clouds. The boys tried to look like they were just walking home late from school. They shared a Slim Jim and a bottle of water as they walked and walked. The wind became colder as the night closed in. A powder of flakes drifted through air.

"Dean?" Sammy bit his lip. "Dean, we’ve got to find someplace to stay."

"I know that!" Dean was mad because he was getting scared. "Shut up and let me think."

They were walking past a large open area. The wind blew a larger scatter of snow crystals that stung their faces.

"I think this is the golf course," Sammy guessed.

Dean scowled at the low rises and dips of the course. A thread of a driving path between greens still showed in places - curving away to where a too-straight line of trees stood.

"Over there, Sammy, near the trees, there's a shed. We'll be out of the cold and we can figure out how to call somebody."

A coyote howled as they reached the shed.

"Dean?" Sammy pressed tight to his older brother.

"S'okay," Dean grabbed on to Sammy's shirt. His voice was shaking. "S'okay, Sammy." The door wasn't locked and they stumbled inside. The inside was so dark they couldn't see and smelled of grease, oil and cut grass. Dean slammed the door behind them.

"Who's that?" demanded a man's voice. Dean shoved Sammy behind him and they pressed hard against the wall. "Wind doesn't slam the door like that. There's two of you; I can hear your breathing. It's going to snow tonight so I doubt you're going to find anywhere else to sleep this late." There was a fumbling, a muttered curse and a battery lantern flared to yellow life.

In between two riding lawn mowers, a mulch trailer and bags of grass seed sat a grizzled older man, with a black cowboy hat and a red bandanna around his neck. He wore motorcycle boots, dark denim pants and a sheepskin jacket. Long mixed gray and red hair covered his shoulders. He was leaning against a large backpack, a pierce of canvas unrolled under him.

"Well, I'll be the son of a Ki-oat," he said cheerfully. "What brings boys like you out on a night like this?"

"We-we got lost," Dean stammered. "We-we thought we could find a phone in here."

The old man stopped smiling and gave them a sharp look with piercing blue eyes. "Lying is a bad way to start the night, boys. You ain't lost. I'll bet me a dollar you're running away."

Dean swallowed hard but said nothing. Sammy squirmed and shuffled to where he could get a better look at the red-haired stranger.

"What's your Daddy's name?" he demanded.

"John . . ." Dean tried to remember the latest alias, but that strong gaze drove it from his head.

"John Winchester," said Sammy softly.

"Sammy!" Dean hissed. "Let me do the talking."

"Winchester? Winchester," the stranger frowned as if he tried to remember. "Oh, I remember. He's a friend of Jim Murphy's."

"You know our Dad?"

"Sammy, shut up!" Dean elbowed Sammy hard. Sammy punched Dean in the arm.

"Never had the pleasure, but any man Jim speaks highly of has to be a good 'un." He shifted his backpack around to pull out a thermos. "You must be Sam and you've got to be Dean." He poured a steaming cup that filled the air with the mouthwatering smell of chocolate. "Don't suppose you boys mind sharing some cocoa?"

"We're not supposed to take things from strangers." Dean said firmly as his stomach growled.

"Smart boy. Christos," he toasted them with the cup.

"Dean, he said Christos."

"Sammy, shut up."

"Bad things can't say Christos. It was in Dad's journal."

"I said, shut up.” Dean looked into the stranger's calm eyes. "Um, do have another cup?"

He chuckled and fumbled in his pack. He filled the second tin cup with hot chocolate and held it out. Dean took it first and drank before he let Sammy touch it.

"Thank you. It's good," Dean said.

“At least you have some manners, son,” the stranger nodded approval.

******

The boys woke up the next morning wrapped in a blanket that wasn't theirs. Someone was knocking on the door of the shed. The stranger was nowhere to be seen. Dean pushed Sammy behind him as the door was shoved open.

"Dean! Sammy!" It was Pastor Jim. "Come on, boys, you need to get out of here. The authorities are looking for you."

"How'd you get here so fast?" Dean knew it had to be seven to eight hours between where they were and the Pastor's home in Blue Earth Minnesota.

"A friend of mine called me a couple days ago."

"But we came here just last night!" Sammy frowned.

"Did you?" Jim pushed the boys towards the car. "Well, my friend is a strange old son of a coyote. He knows a lot of things that I just can't explain. Anyway, here I am and I can take you to Bobby Singer's place."

Sammy frowned. He looked back towards the shed. A coyote was sitting next to it. The wild animal seemed to smile at him before it loped away over the snow.

******

Bobby finished up the story. Sugar had snuggled down on his shoulder and fallen asleep.

“Aw, hell,” he whispered.

Jefferson came around the corner with a tray in his hands. “Wondered where you went. Leone!” He called. “Sugar’s over here.”

Leone, the beads in her hair clicking as she hurried, gave a relieved sigh. She deftly scooped Sugar off Bobby and carried her away. Jefferson trailed his fingers through the little girl’s hair as she left.

“Thought you could use some refreshment,” Jefferson set down the tray and handed him a glass of what looked like iced sweet tea.

“Woodrow,” Bobby glowered at the glass. “If I drink any more tea I’m going to start talking with a British accent.” He sipped and spluttered in astonishment at the strength of the bourbon.

“That’s why it ain’t tea, son.” Woodrow chuckled.

Bobby coughed and shook his head. “You got me there.” Woodrow was called away. Bobby took a longer slug of bourbon and brought out his cell phone. Honey Chile sat looking at him with disturbingly wise eyes.

"Well? You got something to say?" Bobby grumped as the other end started ringing.

Honey Chile lolled her tongue and grinned before she trotted away.

******

Cicero, Illinois, 2009

Dean paused at the door of the house. He’d just finished nailing a hook into the front door. He could smell the cookies Lisa was baking for her cookie exchange from here. He almost bolted into the winter twilight. What was he doing here with a fir wreath in his hands? What was he doing here at all? He didn’t belong here with merriment and twinkling lights and cookies and what everyone else called Christmas.

He didn’t deserve this.

“What do you deserve then?” the quiet voice behind him sent him three feet straight up into the air.

“Jesus, Cas, don’t do that!” Dean yowled.

Dean’s personal angel tilted his head to one side. “If you do not deserve the happiness Sam wanted for you. What do you deserve?”

“I don’t know.” Dean looked down at the wreath in his hands. “I don’t know.”

When he looked up, Castiel was gone. “Merry Christmas to you, too.” He muttered rebelliously. He settled the wreath on the hook. It looked nice.

His phone rang.

“Hey, Bobby,” he said cheerfully. “Where are you? South Carolina? That’s Jefferson’s territory. . .” He raised his eyebrows. “A boo hag nest? No kidding? So how old is Jefferson?”

“Ninety-eight as of Christmas Day,” said Bobby and Dean couldn’t help but whistle in admiration. “Exactly five years older than Miz Wanda Kay; he’s got ten daughters, thirty-three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren now that Maureen had her baby. The whole bunch have come together for the holiday, the birthday and to celebrate the new baby.”

“Whoa, Bobby.”

“Dean, I’m losing my mind. Get me out of here.”

He couldn’t help it. He started laughing.

“I’m serious, damn it!” Bobby roared.

Dean gurgled and snorted as he got himself under control. “Okay, okay, Bobby; I’ll come to the rescue.”

He put the tools away before he came inside. “Hey, Lisa!” he called as he hung up his jacket.

Lisa came out in flour-smeared t-shirt and jeans with a crispy brown star in her hand. “Taste this!” she ordered. Hampered with his arms in the jacket, Dean took it out of her fingers with his mouth.

“Mm!” He caught the piece that broke off when he bit down. “Mm, good. What are these?”

Lisa looked astounded. “Haven’t you ever had gingerbread?”

“No.” Dean couldn’t look at her. “We didn’t – didn’t really do cookies.”

“Oh.” Lisa looked like she didn’t know what to say. Dean didn’t know what to say either.

“Mom!” Ben came in through the garage. “Mrs. Carlton paid me ten dollars for shoveling.”

“Good for you, Champ!” Dean turned, welcoming the distraction. "Oh, hey, Lisa, while I was outside I took a phone call . . .”

******

Less than a day and a half later, Dean was trying to leave Jefferson’s house. Bobby grumbled in the backseat of the black Impala with his leg across the back. Dean found himself filling the trunk with a massive cooler full of smoked meat that could be warmed up in the oven, a covered dish of beans and rice and a basket with three different pies. The Jefferson women were convinced that there was nothing worth eating “up north.” Miss Wanda Fay insisted on giving them each a bag of molasses cookies “to tide them over on the trip.”

Dean understood why Bobby said he was going nuts. It was just too many people – even if they were warm and cheerful, loving people; it was just too many to cope with.

“Whew!” said Dean as they final drove off. “That’s a family.”

“Woodrow wouldn’t have it any other way.” Bobby grunted. “So what have you been up to?”

“This and that,” Dean said. “Found a job; I’m helping the shop teacher teach high school kids how to fix their cars. Couple of the girls are better at it than the boys.”

“Never figured you to be taking orders from anyone.”

“Gary’s cool. He . . .” Dean paused. “He was a medic in Desert Storm. He’s seen stuff I can’t imagine; I’ve seen stuff he can’t imagine. He looked at me and knew I’d been fighting. He thinks it was Iraq and I can’t tell him different. He’s part of this group that meets at the VA. We – uh – drink beer; shoot the shit. Keep each other from jumping off the deep end.”

“Good for you, son, good for you.”

“Yeah. Guess so.”

******

Lisa and Ben had the tree up when they arrived. It was a small, bushy fake pine with white lights and silver and gold ornaments.

Dean found himself thinking of a shabby branch with fishing floats and air fresheners. He shook it off when Bobby brought out a book.

“Hey! I remember this.” He couldn’t help grin. “You and Pastor Jim read it to us while we waited for Dad. I was twelve.”

“First time I had you kids without John,” Bobby settled himself on the couch. “He found himself hooked up with the Taggert brothers – wasn’t about to let you kids anywhere near those wackos.” He opened the book. “You want to take the parts Jim read?”

“Yeah,” Dean settled within arms length. “This is a really cool book, Ben. It’s better when it’s read.”

Lisa brought in cookies from the cookie exchange and cocoa. She settled down with Ben to listen.

Bobby began, “Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table . . .”

He passed the book over after awhile to give Dean a chance to read the line . . . “standing over Hugo and plucking at his throat there stood a foul thing, a great, black beast, shaped like a hound, yet larger than any hound that mortal eye has rested upon.”

Dean passed it back to shiver even as Ben and Lisa did as Bobby read the last line of the night . . . “Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”

*****

“That was cool!” said Ben as he and Dean dressed to shovel the driveway the next day.

“Yeah,” Dean chuckled. “Sammy and I were Holmes and Watson until February. There was this pile of Buicks that became Baskerville manor; a heap of Fords that became some ruins on the moor and Bobby’s poor dog Nixon became the hound.”

“Why poor dog?” Ben cleared the main area, shoving the snow so Dean could pile it high.

Dean chuckled. “Because Sammy tried to make him glow in the dark like a phantom hound. Fed the poor bastard glow in the dark crayons. Crayons give a dog the runs. Nixon ended up with glow in the dark runs. Bobby almost clobbered the both of us.”

Ben laughed. Dean turned back to shoveling. It felt odd to be laughing – but it felt good. What had Glen said? “Life sneaks back in when you least expect it.”

They came back in, stamping. Lisa yelled for them to stay on the mat until they got their boots off. She was baking the ribs sent from Carolina. Bobby was snoring softly on the couch as the lights of the tree twinkled.

“Can we read some more?” asked Ben.

“Yeah,” said Dean. “Yeah, we can.”

“Ben,” called Lisa. “Come and help with the salad. Dean, can you set the table?”

“Sure thing.”

Maybe he deserved this after all.

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Comments
sharona1x2 From: sharona1x2 Date: September 4th, 2010 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I sort of wish Dean could have this life, at least for a while. He's earned it.

While reading this story I realized how much I really love Bobby. I like the way you wrote him.
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: September 6th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
alesca_munroe From: alesca_munroe Date: January 18th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like this. And Jefferson is an awesome character
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: January 19th, 2012 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm glad you like it.
4 comments or Leave a comment