Characters: Dean, Sam
Summary: Response to this prompt on one of hoodie_time 's comment memes:
My friend's grandmother made him a patchwork quilt out of relics from his childhood, like old clothes, maybe old blankets, maybe other things. I don't know, I haven't seen it. But he said that each patch has significance of some sort. I thought that was the sweetest thing EVER.
The Winchesters aren't so much about the quilting, but do they have an equivalent? Is there an equally insanely sweet something-or-other that Sam could give to Dean for Christmas?
Sam has a journal. It's an old journal, with a tattered cloth cover and pages just a bit too fragile. He'd found it at a charity giveaway when he was eight, walking home from school alone one day. At the time, he'd only picked it up because it reminded him of his father's journal. In grade 5, Middle-of-Nowhere, Florida, his teacher told them to keep a memory diary of everything that happened to them that year. Sam was at the school three weeks. His teacher spoke in terms of months, holidays and changes in their town. Sam marked time with locations. And as they left that town, at 2 AM with Dean curled up against the passenger seat door and his dad stormy eyed and silent, Sam pulled out the old journal from the bottom of his pack and very carefully taped the elementary school logo to the first page. He smoothed it with one hand, considering, then he dug out a pencil and neatly printed the town's name and the date they left.
It became a thing, after that. Every town, every city. Every cottage and motel and tent in the middle of nowhere, he'd keep a reminder. To prove that they'd been there. Not the hunts. Their dad kept track of all of those; not like anything else mattered to him. But everything else. Mementos of their life outside the hunt.
There was a ribbon from the circus he and Dean and Dad had gone to when he was twelve (Dad had bought them cotton candy and Dean had thrown up after the roller coaster). A photocopy of Dean's fake driver's license the town he got the Impala. (Because Dean walked on air for a month and Sam liked to remember that smile). For his sixteenth birthday, a sketch of the knife Dean picked out just for him. (And that wasn't about hunting. That was Dean, and their family). For all four years at Stanford, a single ring. (The one that Jess should have had). A brochure for The Church of Roy LeGrange (Sam could never bring himself to regret saving Dean. No matter who had died to make it happen). And a thousand other tokens that proved the Winchesters had been here. Had lived here.
They didn't celebrate Christmas the December before Detroit. Didn't even bring it up. Sam hadn't missed the way Dean ignored Christmas since Hell. And they had other things to worry about, anyway. But the day Sam decided to say yes (the day he accepted that he wasn't going to come out of this war alive), he bought a roll of plain black wrapping paper and kept just enough of it for what he needed. He threw the rest in a dumpster on his way back to the motel. And the night before they packed up to find some demons to drain, he wrapped his journal in black and buried it in Dean's duffel bag. Because Sam would be gone soon, and Dean would be alone, and this was the only thing that Sam could think to give him.
Dean is twenty miles out of Battle Creek, Michigan when he finds the journal. He sits on a bed in a no-name motel (single room) and cries harder than he has since he was four years old.