Thru Terry's Eyes
“I swear to God,”
Dean spit between his teeth. “If one more person
says Merry Christmas to me I’m going to punch
‘em into the New Year.” He stomped along
next to Sam as they kicked their way through the ankle
deep snow covering the sidewalks, being jostled and
shoved by the happy but frantic shoppers hurrying to
finish their last minute shopping and get home to celebrate
Christmas Eve with their families.
“Dean, c’mon, where’s
your holiday spirit?” Sam kidded, giving Dean
a tiny shove. Snow frosted his hair and drifted down
the front of his jacket. Despite the people around them,
there was a softness to the sounds, as though the gently
falling snow sought to muffle the sharpness by wrapping
everything in a fluffy blanket.
Sam was in a mellow mood, the drifting
snow and ice-covered roads had caused Dean to declare
it unsafe to take his baby out on them so they had agreed
to spend their meager Christmas in Batusse, Michigan,
which Dean insisted on calling Bug Tussle. Stopping
for a few days had suited him just fine. Last Christmas
they had nearly died in a tumble down cabin, injured,
with no food or heat. The prospect of spending Christmas
in a nice little town in a warm motel room, even a crappy
one, sounded great.
For some reason Dean had been short
tempered and more hard to get along with than usual
the last two days and Sam had finally stopped trying
to figure out what the hell his problem was. Christmas
always made Dean tense and it was pointless to try to
beat a dead horse into giving out information.
Sam stuffed his hands further into
his pockets and lifted his face into the delicately
blowing flakes, enjoying the soft brush against his
skin. A little girl, her hand gripped tightly by an
older woman with an armload of packages walked by and
gave him a shy smile which he happily returned.
Not paying attention, Sam walked into
Dean who had stopped at an intersection for the light.
“Watch it!” Dean snapped,
shoving back. His eyes caught sight of the bell ringer
with his Salvation Army kettle standing beside him.
The thin, scroungy-looking young man wore a Santa hat
with a big white puff ball bouncing on the top of a
coiled spring, a week's growth of messy beard and a
gap-toothed smile as people dropped coins into the red
Dean pointed a finger at him as he
raised his bell. “You even think about ringing
that thing while I’m standing here and I’ll
make sure you ring for the next twelve months, you follow
“Dean!” Sam yelped, pushing
him away, writhing under the startled gazes of the people
standing around them waiting to cross. “I’m
sorry, he missed his medication this morning. Merry
Christmas,” he told the startled young man, throwing
the few coins he’d found in his pocket into the
Sam hustled Dean across the street
as Dean protested the donation on the grounds they weren’t
exactly rolling in money themselves. Sam noticed he
didn’t hear the bell ringing again until they
were across the street and half a block down and even
then it was muffled.
“Dean, for God’s sake,
can you hear yourself?” Sam exclaimed. “Just
because you’re determined to be miserable doesn’t
mean you have to ruin it for other people! It’s
Christmas, Dean, not the end of the world. Why can’t
you just relax and enjoy it?”
Dean stopped dead, causing the people
crowding around them to part like water around an immovable
boulder that had suddenly risen in their midst.
“Why?” he said sharply,
punctuating his words by punching Sam in the chest with
a finger that poked through the hole in his glove because
they had had to buy ammo rather than new gloves. “Enjoy
what? That this year we’re not freezing to death
in a shack? That we have exactly enough money for a
couple of days at the local roach motel and maybe if
we’re lucky we can have Christmas dinner at the
soup kitchen? That I couldn’t even scrape enough
together to get you a stupid present 'cause I had to
put gas in the car?”
mouth tightened and he nodded. “Yeah, Dean, enjoy
that if that’s all we have. It’s
been a hard year, but we’re together. Enjoy the
fact that we’re both alive to see Christmas, that
we had enough money to put gas in the car.”
He grabbed Dean’s hand in its torn glove even
though he tried to pull it back. “Maybe we can’t
get new gloves but at least have gloves. And
we may be sleeping in a crap hole, but there’s
heat and running water. ‘Cause no matter how crappy
it may seem it’s a lot more than we’ve had
some years and more than a lot of people have every
Dean jerked his hand away. “It’s
not enough,” he said softly, staring at the sidewalk.
His eyes flicked over Sam’s. “I need a drink.”
He turned away. “I’ll meet you back at the
motel later.” It was not an invitation.
Dean waved him away. “I’ve
got my phone. Go get warm.” He trudged away in
search of a suitable spot to drown in some self-pity.
“What are you gonna use for money?”
Sam protested, afraid of the answer. Dean ignored him
and Sam watched him go with a sigh, then turned and
headed back toward the motel.
* * * *
Dean blinked blearily and sipped his beer. He knew Sam
was mad at him but, dammit! Just this once Dean had
wanted to try for a regular Christmas not bought at
someone else's expense. He knew that while Sam went
along with the credit card stuff 'cause he didn’t
have a choice, it bothered him. Dean had been hoarding
what little money he could and had saved up enough for
a decent motel, and a nice dinner somewhere. It was
to have been his present to Sam. A Christmas he had
gotten for them paid for all on his own.
The last hunt had taken care of that.
Funds depleted and now the snow to stop them from getting
to one of their P.O. boxes to replenish their credit
card supply so that Dean couldn’t even steal a
Christmas for them. No pool action because everyone
was money conscious for gift giving.
He was more than pissed, he was deeply
Knocking back the rest of the beer,
he set the empty bottle on the bar. To his surprise
the bartender set a three quarter full beer mug in front
of him and fiveshot glasses.
“What’s this?” Dean
“Christmas Evil,” the barkeep
replied, smirking. “Guy in the booth sent it.”
Dean turned in the direction indicated,
but he couldn't see into that particular booth. "What
is it?” Dean repeated, eyeing the five glasses
Tapping each glass in turn the barman
recited, “Beer, tequila, whiskey, vodka, Everclear."
Dean’s eyes widened as each shot glass was lifted
and poured it into the beer mug, raising the level of
the liquid to the top.
“Why’d he send it?”
The barman shrugged. “He’s
been buying them for people all evening. Guess it’s
your turn. House rules, though, you gotta drink it in
one go. Second one’s on the house if you're still
“Are you kidding?”
“Never about liquor.” He
pushed the glass at Dean, smiling. “You’ll
never spend a better Christmas Eve.”
Dean eyed the mug, torn between lust
and his better judgment. What the hell, he finally decided,
he’d shot his wad on the one beer and wasn’t
even close to where he wanted to be.
He cocked his eyebrows at the barman
and lifted the glass to his lips.
It was like drinking a volcano. He
wasn’t aware he was being watched by a large number
of patrons at the bar until the empty glass hit the
bar and he was trying to cough and gasp for air at the
same time, eyes watering. Cheers and sporadic applause
broke out. Several people clapped him on the back.
“Holy crap!” he wheezed
as the drink hit something flammable in his stomach
and exploded, sending fireballs back up to burn behind
his eyes. The room suddenly became very warm.
Dean could hold his liquor with the
best of them but somehow, on an empty stomach, the combination
he had just imbibed left him with the fastest buzz he
had ever gotten. Hands on the bar to steady himself
he was amazed to see another Christmas Evil set up before
“On the house, dude,” the
bartender said with a grin, pouring in the shots.
More amazing was the fact that Dean
actually picked it up and took another sip. It really
wasn’t half bad…
By the time that one was gone he was
stumbling drunk but with any luck a couple more beers
and he might make it all the way to falling down. It
was always good to set goals. Sam had told him that.
Or Dad. Some male person anyway. He hiccupped and decided
a visit to the men’s room might be in order while
he could still control his feet, more or less.
That taken care of, he got another
beer and took a sip. He’d had so much to drink
already he was a little surprised when it didn’t
just run back out from the corners of his mouth, but
no, success, it went down. He stifled the belch that
followed behind his hand and decided to find a booth,
balancing on the stool having become a trifle dicey.
He was disappointed to discover all
the booths were taken until a gruff voice spoke up.
“Plant your ass here, kid, if
Dean stared. The speaker had a billowing
white beard, long white hair and was dressed in a red
and white suit. A pair of white gloves lay on the table
along with a peaked red and white hat with a fluffy
white ball on top.
“Huh?” Dean replied.
“You’ve really got a grip
on the flashy repartee, there don’t you? I said
park your butt on the seat before it lands on the floor.”
The growling voice didn’t even try to go along
with the jolly look.
“Hey, you sent that…uh…that
drink to me,” Dean said, but did as requested
and slid into the booth, resting his sweating beer on
the table. “Thanks, but what for?”
"Santa" was doing shots from
the look of it. He pushed one at Dean.
“Help yourself,” he said,
downing the one in his hand.
Too far gone now to give a damn, Dean
tossed the drink back, chasing it with a hit off the
beer. He coughed. “Things a little slow at the
Pole?” Dean drawled, wiping his mouth on the back
of his hand.
“Ho friggin’ ho,”
his host replied, unsmiling. “Like that’s
the first time I’ve heard that tonight.”
“Tough night? Well, yeah, I guesh…”
Dean shook his head, “guess…that goes without
saying.” Dean grinned.
The whiskers around the mouth of his
new friend twitched upward. He held out his hand to
Dean leaned forward and shook. “Dean.
Shouldn’t you be at the mall…or somethin’…kid
sittin' on your knee?”
Chris groaned and rolled his eyes.
“Don’t remind me. It took me an hour to
get the last sucker out of my beard. If I have to listen
to one more of those little freaks ask me for a PS3
I’m gonna lose it totally. Do you know how much
those things cost? And the waiting list…my God.”
He reached up and rubbed his eyes, then had another
Dean laughed, started to take another
drink then changed his mind, swallowing. Maybe he’d
had enough for a little while. The room was shifting
slowly, and for once he decided to heed the warnings
his stomach was starting to send him.
“I guess that’s their parents'
problem,” he replied, sliding the bottle slightly
Chris snorted, “I wish.”
Dean laughed again, but a little hesitantly.
Chris ignored him. “What do you
want for Christmas?” he said suddenly.
Dean’s mind skidded slightly
in an attempt to catch up with the conversation. “Huh?”
Chris snorted. “You know, I’ve
never spent Christmas Eve with my wife? Not once. I’m
always out working, every freakin’ Christmas Eve.
She never complains, never says a word.” Chris
gestured Dean closer, leaning forward as much as his
belly would allow.
“I know she’s thinking
it though…” Chris confided, eyes darting
back and forth.
Dean stared at him. “Think…thinking
“I put my job ahead of my relationship
“That bitch,” Dean said
Chris shook his head, sitting back.
“I understand where she’s coming from. Just
once I’d like to spend some of Christmas Eve with
her. It just never works out.” He threw back his
“Yeah,” Dean replied, massaging
his eyes. "I wanted to spend Christmas in a nice
motel this year, nice dinner, kind of a-" Dean
hiccupped, “ –a surprise for my brother.”
He dropped his head down on his arms and rolled his
forehead along his forearm.
“What the hell are you doing
here then?” Chris growled, watching him.
“Had to use up the money for—other
stuff. Can’t afford it now. Staying in this rat
hole, just like always.” Dean’s voice got
“Does your brother mind?”
“Hell,” Dean spat. “You
heard that joke about a kid, happy as hell, digging
through a huge pile of horse manure saying there’s
gotta be a pony in here somewhere?" He looked up
at Chris who nodded. “That’s my brother,
sometimes. Makes you just wanta kick his ass.”
Dean shook his head.
Chris laughed. A genuine laugh that
turned most of the heads in the bar.
“That doesn’t explain why
you’re here instead of with him.”
Dean rubbed the back of his neck and
made a face. “Aw, I was bein’ an ass.”
He admitted with a sigh. “I really wanted to try
and do something kinda—normal, for a change. He
didn’t care one way or the other, said I should
be happy we’re alive. I just couldn’t take
any more of his Little Mary Sunshine routine and…”
Dean pinched the bridge of his nose. “Anyway…”
he finished lamely. He shifted uncomfortably, one hand
drifting across his stomach, mouth tightening.
“You okay?” Chris asked,
“Yeah,” Dean swallowed
and took a few deep breaths. “Too much to drink,
not enough to eat.” He blinked to try and clear
his vision. “So why don’t you go home to
your wife? I mean, it’s late, whose gonna care?”
Chris shook his head. “Can’t
do it. Night’s just starting for me. Too much
left to do, too many people depending on me. You know
how it is. Sometimes when you have a big responsibility,
other stuff has to go by the wayside. I’ve committed
to this job, gotta make it work with everything else
as well as I can. Make the best of it. If I’m
lucky I’ll make it home by dawn. She’ll
be waiting and it’ll have been worth it.”
He picked up the hat that had been sitting to one side
and put it on, carefully adjusting it slightly to one
side. “Sometimes you just gotta blow off a little
steam.” He pushed his bulk out of the booth and
stood.“You never answered me,” he added,
pulling on the gloves and watching Dean.
“Answered what?” Dean said,
trying to remember the question.
“What do you want for Christmas?”
Dean stared at him for a long moment.
“I can’t have want I want.” He replied
softly, after a hesitation, looking down again, moving
his finger through a puddle on the table forming an
smiled. “So what do you want that you can
looked up, his thoughts staggering through the numbing
haze soaking into his brain. “Who are
you?” he said. This had to be the craziest conversation
he had ever had.
Chris grinned and shook his head. “Who
the hell do you think I am, kid? I’m Santa Claus.”
Dean laughed. “Right, and I’m
Chris’s guffaw rang out loudly
this time. “Not even close, kid,” he replied,
still laughing. “You got a way home?”
Dean shook his head. “I can walk,
it’s only a mile or so. Lights all the way…”
His voice drifted off a little as he held his head in
“C’mon, I’ll give
you a ride. You’ll freeze your ass off walking
home in your condition. Finding you buried in a snow
drift’d kinda take the gloss off your brother’s
Christmas.” Chris pulled Dean’s arm to get
him back on his feet, which Dean allowed, albeit reluctantly.
The sudden shift in altitude caused him to sway heavily
and he reached out to catch himself by gripping the
red velvet arm of Chris’s suit. Chris supported
him easily and they made their way to the door.
“See ya, Chris!” the bartender
called, echoed by several other people scattered about
the dim bar.
Chris waved. “Next year, Daniel!”
Dean’s reaction to the sudden
change of temperature was to throw up spectacularly
in the snow at the side of the bar, supported by Santa
Claus, who kept him from falling to the icy ground.
The ridiculousness of the scene was lost on Dean as
he stumbled beside Chris to the back of the building.
“Where’s your car?”
Dean croaked, almost unable to stand at this point.
Everything was sliding in and out of focus. He as grateful
for the ride, realizing he wouldn’t have made
it a hundred feet in the freezing air, as drunk as he
“Oh, I don’t have a car,”
Chris replied breezily.
Dean heard bells ringing softly and
snorts of air being huffed. Before he realized it, he
was being assisted into the seat of some sort of vehicle
that shifted as Chris climbed in. “If it’s
okay, I’d like to make a couple of stops along
the way. Running behind. Won’t take long.”
Dean lifted his head, opening his eyes
fully as there was a slap of leather, Chris clicked
his tongue and said, “Here we go!”
In one glaring moment of horrible clarity,
mouth falling open, eyes bulging out of his head and
his hands catching the sides of the contrivance in an
unbreakable death grip, Dean felt himself rising into
the air, heart climbing his throat as he was swept away
in a rush of wind, bells and jolly laughter.
* * * *
Sam fingered his cell phone as he sat on the motel bed.
The dingy room was dark except for the uneven light
from the TV, showing It’s A Wonderful Life
for the ten millionth time in the last two months. It
had been three hours since Dean had stalked off in search
of liquid relief and Sam was starting to get worried.
If Dean got too drunk he’d never make it back
to the motel and Sam was sorry he hadn’t offered
to keep him company.
Sam had meant what he said. Where they
spent Christmas mattered not a whit to him. There had
been many Christmases where there had been nothing as
a remembrance of the season but each other’s presence.
While that might have mattered once, it did no longer.
They had a warm room and thanks to some money Sam had
managed to keep hidden, a small but edible meal sitting
in the dirty fridge, ready to heat up in the equally
dirty microwave sitting on top of it.
Alive and together was all he cared
He jerked as a heavy knocking sounded
at the door. Startled and relieved, he stomped to the
door, pausing long enough to grab a gun, just in case,
checking to make sure the salt line was unbroken, then
jerked the door open. The words he had on his lips died
away at the sight of Santa Claus standing in the doorway
holding up his extremely unsteady brother.
“Hi, I’m Chris!”
Santa said brightly, with a big smile. “You must
be Sam. I think this belongs to you.” He passed
Dean’s swaying form over the threshold into Sam’s
“Hey, Sammy! Merry Chrishmush,
man!” Dean giggled, blowing liquor laden breath
into Sam’s face. “You ain’t gonna
believe where I’ve been!” Dean’s hands
grabbed at Sam for support.
“What…who?” Sam looked
over Dean’s slumping shoulders at the fat man
in the red suit.
“Sorry, he’s so late. We
had a few drinks and I had some errands to run before
I could drop him off. Time just got away. He may have
had a smidge too much.” Teeth glittered in the
full white beard as Sam gaped at Chris, struggling and
failing to keep Dean upright as he slowly slid to the
floor, laughing softly to himself.
“Merry Christmas!” Chris
started to turn then snapped his fingers, “Oh,
wait! You guys are a bitch to keep up with! These are
for you!” He held out two small wrapped boxes
which Sam took mechanically. “Merry Christmas!”
Chris said again, turning and walking back the way he’d
Sam closed the door and leaned against
it. He looked down as Dean grabbed his jeans leg and
tugged, over balancing himself and falling on his side,
grinning up at Sam. “Sam! Sam, guess what?”
Dean hiccupped loudly, finishing with a belch he tried
to stifle behind his hands.
Sam reached down and managed to pull
Dean to his feet and drag him in the general direction
of the bed. “Dean, who in the hell was that? Where’ve
you been? How the hell did you get back here?”
He tried to remove Dean’s jacket which would have
been easier if Dean hadn’t been helping him.
flowed..flewed…FLEW, man! Through the
air! For really!! Like in a plane...but not!”
Dean mimed jerking reins. “Jingle bells, jingle
“Well, you’re sure as hell
flying,” Sam agreed, slapping Dean’s hands
down. “Stop that and let me get your jacket off!”
Blessedly, Dean’s motions slowed
and his eyes rolled toward Sam. “I know what I
want for chrissmush, Sam…Sammy...” he murmured,
eyes fluttering. “You know what I…what I
Looking at Dean, Sam didn’t know
what Dean might want but he knew what he was gonna get
tomorrow. Dean’s words became more slurred as
his body shut down, giving in to the alcohol flooding
his system. “What do you want, Dean?” Sam
pulled Dean’s sleeve free.
Dean’s hand clamped on Sam’s
arm, his eyes fixed unsteadily on Sam’s. “Alive
and together, man. You were right…” his
fingers tightened convulsively and then slipped away
as his eyes closed. “You were right…”
he murmured again, head falling to the side.
Sam watched him for a moment, sighing
softly and shaking his head. “Merry Christmas,
you idiot,” he responded, one hand drawing through
Dean’s hair in a gesture that would never have
been allowed if Dean were conscious.
Sam shook his head again and got up,
feeling something crunch in the pocket of Deans jacket
as he did so. He reached into the right hand pocket
and felt inside, making a face.
“Dean? Why the hell are your
pockets full of cookies?”
the story here!