CHARACTERS: Dean, Cas, Sam
SPOILERS: General season 8 (boys location), nothing specific
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Supernatural or any of its characters, nor anything else you might recognize here. This is for entertainment only.
SUMMARY: Dean and Sam have decided to meet at Rufus’s cabin for Christmas. Dean is going to decorate the cabin before Sammy gets there. Cas wants to help.
BETA: tari_roo, who I owe a debt of gratitude for her invaluable advice and assistance
A/N: Written for spn_bigpretzel 's Secret Satan Fic Exchange for weesta, This was not the prompt I originally chose. My muse had a mind of her own and she ran with another. I am thankful that my artist agreed.
Any references to others shows are purely intentional.
“How much for this beauty?” Dean asked causally as he gave it the once over.
“Eighty-five bucks,” came the gruff reply.
Dean peered around the near seven foot tall Douglas fir at the weary old man leaning on a cane.
“Seriously? For something that I won’t keep more than a couple of weeks?” he grumbled. While Dean had the cash at the moment, he really didn’t want to spend that much on a tree. He needed to set some money aside for food and supplies. Plus, if he was going to surprise Sam before he arrived from Texas, he had to come up with something to decorate the thing once he got it back to Rufus’s cabin.
“I’ll tell you what,” the man offered. “The kid that was helping me was trying to impress a girl by doing some sort of pretzel flip up on the Big Mountain. Instead, he pretzel-twisted his leg into traction. Seein’ how we get all kinds of ski bunnies up this way who want to decorate their condos to the hilt and I ain’t got no one to load their trees on top of their suburban assault vehicles, I will give you that there tree if you help me out for a few days.
“Mister,” Dean smiled as he offered up his hand to seal the deal, “you had me at ski bunnies.”
Unfortunately for Dean, Old Man Powell’s definition of ski bunnies and his were vastly different. For the most part, the only people Dean saw were middle aged housewives on ski vacations getting a tree for their holiday, with an occasional know-it-all dad thrown in the mix. The physical labor of hauling and loading the trees in and of itself wasn’t it too bad, if you discounted regularly getting smacked in the face by branches. But the women themselves? They either complained about him hurting their precious tree, or their priceless vehicle or ogled him while he loaded the tree up. Sometimes both. He wasn’t sure which was the more awkward experience: that Mrs. Hawkins and her sixteen year old daughter both flirted with him, or that Grandma Riggs pinched his ass when he was trussing up her tree on top of her station wagon.
As he was trudging through the back of the tree farm to bring up more stock, he heard the all too familiar “whoosh” that had usually come to indicate that he was about to be backhanded by a large branch. As he ducked though, he heard a gravelly voice greet him.
Dean whirled around to see his friend. “Geesh, Cas. You nearly scared the living daily lights out of me.”
“What are you doing here?” Cas asked with a slight tilt of his head.
“I am getting Sam and me a Christmas tree,” he answered as he picked up a tree Mrs. Edwards had set aside earlier and shook off the snow.
“By giving away trees to other people? Would it not be simply easier to just cut down your own tree?”
“That is not how you do it Cas,” Dean huffed as he picked up the tree and began to carry it towards the parking lot. “You either get a real tree at a tree farm or go to Wally World and stand in line behind snot nosed kids to pay for a fake one.”
“On the contrary Dean, humans have often cut down their own Christmas trees over the years,” Cas responded as he followed Dean through the lot, weaving in between the trees and the people that filled the place.
“Yeah, and they strung popcorn and dried cranberries for garland, too,” Dean said as lifted the tree on top of the Edwards’ Excursion. “How is it that you know about life on the banks of Plum Creek, but you don’t get things like television?”
“Things were much more…simpler in earlier times. I find television to be complicated. I do not understand what a Honey Boo Boo is.” Cas peered quizzically off into the distance, as it the mysteries of the boob tube would reveal themselves if he looked earnest enough.
Noting the look, but not in the mood to indulge the guy, Dean huffed, “Yeah, well join the club. Most people can’t figure that shit out either. Look, I’m almost done here and I’m about ready to haul my own tree back to Rufus’s cabin. Care to give me a hand or are you just going to stand there and watch me?”
Cas blinked, stared at Dean for a second and ambled over.
With Cas’ help, Dean managed to get the large tree to the parking lot before he realized something else. Something a heck of a lot more important.
“Damn, this thing must have like a million needles,” Dean griped as he carried his own tree towards the Impala. “No way do I want to tie it to the top of Baby. It might scratch up her roof.”
“One hundred fifty four thousand two hundred eight three.”
“Pardon me, Cas?” he asked with a quizzical look, turning to look at Cas over his shoulder as he struggled with the front end of the tree. Naturally Cas was managing with aplomb the heavier, less prickly end.
“One hundred fifty four thousand two hundred eight three,” the angel answered matter-of-factly. “That is the number of needles on the tree.”
Rolling his eyes, Dean turned back to planning the best way to get the tree home. No way it was going ‘inside’ the Impala either. Beaming, Dean smiled at Cas, “Okay, then. Well, could you take the tree with a hundred and fifty thousand something needles and zap it back to the cabin so it doesn’t tear up my baby, please?”
Within a couple of hours, they were not only back at Rufus’s cabin, but Dean had managed to get the tree up in a corner near the front window with a tree stand that Old Man Powell had also provided since Dean had been kind enough to tolerate flirtatious ski bunnies and ass-pinching grannies. But they still weren’t done.
“Well, I am going to have to go into town on a supply run,” Dean told his friend as he started to grab his coat. “Since I have the tree now, I might as well buy some decorations for it.”
“Could we not use these?” Cas asked as he held up a box that was overflowing with lights and ornaments.
“Where did you get those?”
“They were in the basement.” Cas said, setting the box down on the table.
“The sex dungeon?” Dean said as he peered into it. “That’s odd because I am pretty sure Rufus was down with the dreidel and didn’t really need Christmas ornaments.”
“The box is labeled Loretta Creek.”
“Ah, so Rufus had himself a lady friend,” Dean answered with a knowing smile, and eyebrow bob.
“She was the hunter who trained Rufus after he first came across a werewolf in 1977,” Cas said as he picked up a book out of the book and began to flip through it. “She was killed by a rugaru in 1990 in Wisconsin.”
Grimacing, Dean grumbled, “You know, that is just creepy when you do that. Why can’t you just let us figure stuff out about the normal way, through research, instead of through angel osmosis?”
“I read it in this journal that was also in the box,” Cas replied as he held out the book in his hands. It was tattered and old, yellow pages curling at the ends. Probably worth a read one day.
“Huh, well okay. Let’s see what we’ve got then.” Turning back to the decorations, Dean dug around the box a bit and started pulling some things out. “Looks like we have some classic ornaments to hang on the tree and a string of lights or two.”
“That does not appear to be a string. That is a tightly wound ball of twine.” Captain Obvious Cas remarked.
“But that is part of the adventure of decorating the tree,” Dean replied in a faux sensei voice, pointing the ball at Cas as if to demonstrate its adventurous nature. Cas did not seem convinced. Undaunted by the skepticism surrounding him, Dean started by trying to divide the ball in half in his attempt to untwist the mess in his hands.
“It would appear to be more efficient it you found one end of the string and untangled the lights from that point,” Cas observed - from a distance. He had gravitated towards the tree, perhaps drawn by its awesome christmassy smell.
“Trust me I know what I am doing,” Dean said trying to sound confident. But in reality, he was struggling to pull apart the lights that were knotted together in several sections. Dean would pull apart one section a little bit and then move down then line to pull apart another section only to find that the first section he had pulled apart had twisted back up on him. Cas stood there staring at him the whole time, until he couldn’t take it anymore. It was like friggin feeding time at the zoo.
“Look, why don’t you watch some television. I am sure there is a Christmas special or two on TV. Look Frosty is on.” Dean pointed at the screen in desperation. Cas turned slowly, reluctantly, his dislike of the box oozing off him. Well, as much as any emotion besides wacky oozed off Cas.
“Ah yes, the snowman. A bit of frozen, supernatural ephemera in a stolen hat, designed by an evil wizard to lead the town’s children away from the safety of their homes.” Cas seemed oddly pleased by the notion and had wandered closer to the screen, his eyes boring into the flickering screen, Frosty’s happy little face singing some random song.
Dean looked up from the section of lights he was currently wrestling with. “Frosty was not an evil supernatural creature trying to lure children away from their parents. He was a friggin’ snowman!”
“I did not say he was evil, Dean” Cas explained patiently. “I said he was designed by an evil wizard. And the bunny. The bunny was evil. Bunnies aren’t just cute like everyone supposes. But yes, Frosty was supernatural. Most snowmen to not ‘come to life one day’. And do humans not consider stealing others belongings wrong?”
Not looking up, focus intent on the lights, Dean snorted. “I am not going to gank a fictional snowman or his bunny for stealing a hat,” Dean said in exasperation. Stupid lights!
“But what about the children?” Cas asked.
Throwing the lights back into the box, perhaps a tad more forcefully than would guarantee their working order later, Dean stalked over to the couch. “Okay Cas, that’s enough television for you,” Dean declared as he hit the remote. “And there is no way you are going shopping at the Winter Wonderland Shopping Plaza with me for Sam’s gift either. God only knows what you think about Santa Claus.”
“It’s not Santa, it’s his reind-…” Cas began before Dean held up his hand.
“Don’t even start.”
While Dean continued to struggle with the lights, Cas continued to rummage through the box, eventually pulling something out.
“What is this Dean?”
Glancing up, Dean sighed. This was not a conversation he wanted to have either. “That is an angel. It goes on top of the tree.”
“This is not one of my brothers or sisters,” Cas declared. “It is a doll with wings.”
“It is representation of an angel, Cas,” Dean sighed. He tossed the lights on the floor nearly ready to cry uncle and let them win. Maybe it was time for another approach. He was going to plug them in and see if they all worked first. Continuing his explanation on crappy tree angels, Dean sighed, “Humans put them on top of the tree to remind us of the first Christmas. You know, ‘Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing over the plains’ and all that jazz.”
“Most of us were not singing sweetly, Dean. It was a bloody battle to keep demons away from the Christ child.” Cas’s voice had a tone of nostalgia to it, like it was a fond memory, no matter the blood. Or perhaps because of the blood.
“Would it make you feel better if I dressed the little bugger up in a suit and a trench coat and put a sword in her hand?” Dean asked, plugging in the lights. Damn! They didn’t even come on. He was going to have to find which one or ones did not work. Now that was going to be a bloody battle. He was definitely going to have to untangle the lights first in order to determine which ones did not work. But he had an idea on how to do that. He marched into the bedroom and came out with just to tool to do it.
“Dean, why do you have Ruby’s knife?” Cas asked. “Did you decide that we should kill the reindeer afterall?”
“What? No!” Dean exclaimed as he gathered up the lights in his arms. “I need to untangle the lights. I’m tired of fighting with them, so I’m just going to cut the knots out.”
“May I remind you that I told you it would be much easier to start at the one end of the string and work your way through the lights?” Cas said with a hint of fatigue.
“Yeah, and take forever,” Dean said with a look of determination growing on his face. “This will be much faster.”
“And be left with several small strands of string that do not work,” Cas pointed out like it was a tragedy of note.
“Nah, I’ll just re-wire them together,” Dean said, brushing off the angel’s concerns. “I’ve re-wired things in the Impala before. It will be easy as pie.”
Captain Sceptical raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps,” Cas replied. “But it would be much safer if you unplugged the lights first.”
“Good idea, buddy!”
It looked like a massacre. A Christmas tree light massacre. Little bits of wire and broken glass covered the floor, just waiting for unsuspecting bare feet. Reams of plastic tubing lay in desiccated masses, shorn of their copper innards, a sad testament to the horror that had unfolded.
Smack in the middle, right at the epicenter of destruction, Dean sat - triumphant. The damn Christmas tree lights worked! Beaten, stripped and McGyvered into submission, a short length of barely flickering red and blue lights blinked back at him. Exposed copper wire that added just that ‘slight’ tingle to the Christmas feeling glistened in the baleful light of the television. Fire hazard waiting to happen? Maybe.
But the damn lights worked!
Dean beamed to himself, trying to hold onto that feeling of success, but reality and fortunately reason were knocking on the door. A ball of mangled Christmas lights that were probably a good six feet of wiring, had been reduced to … a foot.
There was no way these lights were going on a tree - not without keeping Cas on hand to put the tree out. Or restart his heart.
Dean sighed. Defeated.
Defeated by Christmas Tree lights. An all time new low.
Cas’s voice came from the far side of the room, like he was standing as far away as the room would allow. Turning around, slowly, and dislodging a pile of wire shavings, Dean blinked. “What?”
Mutely, Cas held out a still sealed, probably in perfect working order, box of Christmas lights. The good ones. The ones that kept on working even if one bugger stopped.
"Where the hell did you find those," Dean sighed as he pulled himself up from the floor.
"At the bottom of the box of decorations, under the garland," Cas offered timidly.
Dean surveyed the wreckage around him before he took the box from his friend and opened it. “Well then I guess we have a tree to decorate for Sammy," he said with a half-smile. "Hey, Cas. Did we ever tell you about the time we met the Anti-Claus? Fun story.”
A few hours later, Dean glanced up from his spot on the couch when Sam came through front door, brushing the snow off his shoulders and shaking it out of his hair.
“Hey there Sam,” he beamed. “Glad to see you finally made it.”
“Merry Christmas Dean, Cas,” Sam nodded as he glanced around. “Wow! This place looks amazing! Especially the tree with all of the sparkling lights! It must have taken you days to get it ready.”
“Naw,” Dean shrugged as he beamed at his brother before taking a sip of warm cocoa. “It was a piece of cake.”