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21 December 2006 @ 09:28 am
Supernatural Gen Drabbles: Christmas Angels  
Title: Christmas Angels
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Sam, Dean, John, Mary (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: 10x100 drabbles on "Ornaments" for supernatural100. Will be cross-posted to spn_christmas and elsewhere to spread that holiday feeling.
Author's Notes: The title is for the spirit of the piece as a whole. I thought I wasn't going to do this challenge, but apparently I was wrong. I'm writing it into the ground instead! Happy Supernatural Christmas, to one and all.


x-x-x-x-x

I.
Her family's tree had Santas, snowmen, and homemade decorations. There were popcorn strings and old-fashioned toys, but Mary's favorite was always the angel.

It was her mother's, handed down when Mary turned six. It had golden hair and gossamer wings, the face of a cherub and a halo made of wood. Every year Mary unwrapped it carefully, placing it high on the tree to keep it safe.

The year she met John, she held it and wondered what the new year would bring.

Then she hung it with a wish on the last tree that would ever be hers alone.



II.
Their first Christmas together was in an apartment off of Main Street. Mary was a waitress and John fixed cars at Steelbacher's garage. Money was tight, but Mary loved her Christmases. They did the best they could.

The decorations were simple—a wreath on the door, twinkling lights around the windows. Two stockings made of felt hung below a bowl of clove-studded oranges.

They had a table-top tree, strewn with drugstore ornaments and a few of their childhood treasures.

They bought a single special ornament, a ship inside a globe.

"To our journey," Mary said. Together, they hung it high.



III.
Dean was born in January, after a Christmas where Mary was fussed over like a child.

Every relative for miles had come to her parents' to marvel over her stomach. They'd rubbed her like a Bhudda, bringing her food and offering names. "Our first grandchild," her mother sighed. "Hope it looks like you if it's a girl," her father teased.

That Christmas was about waiting for the biggest gift of all.

The next year, the baby who looked like Mary chose his special ornament himself. A teddy bear flying an airplane joined the ship and angel on the Winchester tree.



IV.
Sam arrived before Thanksgiving, and was far too little to appreciate Christmas when it came.

Lying there in his bassinet, he could only watch the activities gathering around him. Colors, sounds and smells wafted past, rising and falling over time. Faces came close and voices spoke, and he was happy without even knowing what any of it meant.

Daddy lifted Dean to put Sam's ornament on the tree. It was a choirboy with a songbook, chosen by Mary for its innocence and sweet expression.

It glowed in the firelight, but Sammy never saw it.

One year later, everything had changed.



V.
No Christmas was ever the same after Mary died.

All their lives were pared down to the bare essentials: some photos, the three of them, and an occasional memento or toy.

Sam and Dean stayed with their aunt and uncle for months while John "took care of some things." At Christmas they decorated the tree, and Kate brought out an angel with golden hair. "Like Mommy's," Dean whispered.

"This can be yours then," Kate said gently.

John arrived that night, and Dean showed him with quiet awe. "See, Daddy?"

There was silence, and then John hugged Dean so very tight.



VI.
When Sam was fourteen, they lived in Tallahassee. Dean had a job and John worked weekends.

Spencer Knight's house became Sam's second home. The whole family loved him, and he'd never been so happy. He couldn't tell Dad that this was paradise—to be accepted and just feel like he belonged.

On Christmas Eve, Sam brought the Knights a present. The spun-glass star for their tree was his thanks for all they'd given.

Mrs. Knight held it carefully, tears in her eyes for its unspoken message. "Your mother would be so proud."

And Sam thought that somewhere… she probably was.



VII.
The year Sam went to college moved at a crawl as soon as he left. Dean waited for phone calls, letters, anything. There was nothing to fill his life up but Hunting and Dad.

As Christmas neared, the silence became overbearing. Silence from Sam, silence from Dad. Dean would pinch himself to make sure he was alive.

A Scooby Doo at a gas station reminded him of Sam-- and that was just so lame.

But he took it. It lived in his duffle bag. And if John ever noticed Dean rubbing his thumb over it, he kept it to himself.



VIII.
Jess liked Christmas more than anyone Sam had known. She made eggnog and cookies, and hung garlands all over the apartment. The kitchen smelled like spice, and the living room smelled like forest.

The tree was hung with tinsel, shiny balls and paper rings. Jess made cookie shapes as decorations, but they disappeared in stages whenever Sam passed through the room.

In a shop in San Francisco, they bought an ornament on a whim. Jess found it romantic-- two swans on a mirror lake.

Its meaning was clear: Jess thought they had a future.

That was Sam's best Christmas ever.



IX.
The Christmas after Jess died, Sam could barely get out of bed.

There was no tree, no anything. Just a candy cane on his pillow, which Dean insisted didn't come from him. "Whatever, dude—" because who was Dean kidding? It wasn't like anyone else was there.

Dean brought out a surprise—summer sausage with cheese and crackers. They had a feast in front of the television, corny movies showing all day long.

Later they played poker for peanut M&Ms, sitting on Sam's bed. Sam fell asleep to the sound of Dean's laugh, Jess' smile drifting softly behind his eyes.



X.
"Christmas is coming…"

"No wreath on the Impala."

"Dude, that's tacky," Sam said. Like he'd even brought it up.

They drove from state to state, watching decorations build along the cities and roadways as the holiday approached. Their mood was somber, more than usual for this time of year. This was the first Christmas they'd been through since losing Dad.

At Walmart, Sam stopped at a Christmas display, struck by a Rottweiler toy in a Santa hat. "Dean, I—"

"Yeah," Dean finished for him.

It sat on the Impala's dashboard, watching over the two of them clear into February…



------ fin ------




 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 21st, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Claire!

It's just nearly impossible not to go bittersweet with the Winchester, but this is much like their lives-- highs and lows, purity and anguish, and underneath it always love. :)
Entendre? Make mine a double.: SN brothers stillnessdeirdre_c on December 21st, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Awww. So lovely, hon! *wibble*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 22nd, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Deirdre!

It's always so bittersweet, isn't it? Just the bare facts of their lives tend to lead us there. But sometimes, there is also love. :)
bluesister on December 21st, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
What a good idea! I'd hoped after the first one that it would be about their amassing ornaments but of course they couldn't do that.

Spencer Knight's house became Sam's second home. The whole family loved him, and he'd never been so happy. He couldn't tell Dad that this was paradise—to be accepted and just feel like he belonged.
Ouch. Nice to see this look into Sam tho', exactly what he felt he was missing and his gratitude.

The Scooby Doo ornament is so sad!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 22nd, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
It's funny, I spent a whole week of "Clearly not going to write this prompt," because I didn't want to write about ornaments. It didn't really inspire me.

But then... the thought of things representing ornaments, and various Christmases over time, THAT started to have a sudden appeal.

I'm glad you liked the one of Sam giving an ornament to someone else. I can't see the Winchesters really celebrating Christmas (or much of anything), and that takes so much joy out of life (heaven knows the Winchesters could use more joy). Having a second family that offers all of that warmth and acceptance that Sam really doesn't get at home-- god, that would be irresistible. I can see him gravitating toward that without a second thought.

The Scooby Doo one IS sad. :( That period in Dean's life just completely breaks my heart, and I can't seem to leave it alone...
mercurybard on December 21st, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
clove-studded oranges
Cloven fruit!

Sorry...SCA joke...

And the ship ornament was such a beautiful, symbolic idea.

The Rottweiler on the dash? Priceless and macho enough for the Metallicar.

These are all over the range of possible Christmas feelings from happiness to hope to mourning to just trying to get by. Thanks and good job.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 22nd, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, I like the double-meaning of "Cloven fruit" all on its own, but especially for the SPN fandom. ;)

The Rottweiler on the dash? Priceless and macho enough for the Metallicar.
And who does it remind them of? I had "bulldog" originally, but then I thought that John really looked more like a Rottweiler, and the stubbornness is really about the same. ;)

These are all over the range of possible Christmas feelings from happiness to hope to mourning to just trying to get by.
Really just like so much of their lives-- good beginnings, heartbreaking endings, and sometimes they're just lucky to survive.

Thanks for ready and commenting, Cody, and Merry Christmas! :)
vanillafluffy: Xmasballsvanillafluffy on December 21st, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Wonderful use of a theme to string together years of memories. And not overly sentimental; really well done! It's joining my bookmarks.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 22nd, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Wonderful use of a theme to string together years of memories.
Thank you! At first, I couldn't see anything meaningful to do with the prompt, but as a larger series it suddenly brought a lot of inspiration.

And not overly sentimental; really well done! It's joining my bookmarks.
Wow. Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it, including the bittersweet aspect that is so much of who the Winchesters just are-- whether they want to be or not. ♥
elanurelelanurel on December 21st, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
These were all just lovely, and there are so many beautiful images to pull out and show as a favorite...that I would end up reposting most of what you have. I've always found your writing so evocative, more like poems. (Yes, I tend to repeat myself when I am emotional.)

These made my day.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 22nd, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. :)

I was a poet before I wrote fanfic, and I guess I can't really get away from that. It's just part of how I think.

These made my day.
Yay! That makes having written them completely worthwhile, right there. :) Merry Christmas to you and yours, and a happy and healthy New Year too. :D
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 22nd, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, then you understood exactly everything I meant! *hugs* ♥
mooyoomooyoo on December 21st, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Love these, especially the last one. There's something great about that - a not quite a perfect, normal Christmas, not like Christmas was with Mary or with Jess, but very Sam and Dean, and very sweet despite the imperfection of it. Or rather, the imperfection for a normal person - for them, it is pretty perfect.

One question about part IV though, wasn't Sam born in May? And Mary was killed in November of that year, so wouldn't Sam's first Christmas have also been the first without Mary?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
i>but very Sam and Dean, and very sweet despite the imperfection of it. Or rather, the imperfection for a normal person - for them, it is pretty perfect.</i>
Oh, I know exactly what you mean by that. It's them, even if it would make sense to no-one else. It fits who they are.

wasn't Sam born in May? And Mary was killed in November of that year, so wouldn't Sam's first Christmas have also been the first without Mary?
I honestly don't know, and I had to go away from canon there. My timing was based on (this'll make you laugh), Sam being about 5 months old when Mary died AND there being no snow whatsoever when they left the house. In Kansas. To me, that spelled timing that could be no earlier than March or April, hence I gave Sam a November birthday.
(no subject) - mooyoo on December 23rd, 2006 02:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kernezelda on December 24th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 1st, 2007 04:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kernezelda on January 4th, 2007 11:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
Pheebs1: Xmas Dean naughtypheebs1 on December 21st, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
Aw this was an excellent move through time to show the changing Christmasses of the Winchesters. How sad the way the Christmasses changed. I liked how it ended:

It sat on the Impala's dashboard, watching over the two of them clear into February…
With them being watched over, and with maybe a ray of hope.

Lovely.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
How sad the way the Christmasses changed.
Just like their lives, bit by bit slipping away from any kind of joy. :( Darn that Winchester lifestyle!

With them being watched over, and with maybe a ray of hope.
And you caught the ending exactly! The spirit of John may or may not be there, but he's definitely in their hearts and memories at the end. ♥
(no subject) - pheebs1 on December 23rd, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
iamstealthyoneiamstealthyone on December 21st, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
Really nicely done, all of them. Just great peeks into their Christmases over the years, at how things changed as they lost so much, but in the end, they still have each other, and … Oh, boys.

My faves were IV and VII. :)

Lying there in his bassinet, he could only watch the activities gathering around him. Colors, sounds and smells wafted past, rising and falling over time. Faces came close and voices spoke, and he was happy without even knowing what any of it meant.

I just love this baby’s POV moment. So sweet.

Daddy lifted Dean to put Sam's ornament on the tree. It was a choirboy with a songbook, chosen by Mary for its innocence and sweet expression.

It glowed in the firelight, but Sammy never saw it.


*sniffles* So sad!

As Christmas neared, the silence became overbearing. Silence from Sam, silence from Dad. Dean would pinch himself to make sure he was alive.

Oh, Dean. Poor, lonely Dean.

A Scooby Doo at a gas station reminded him of Sam-- and that was just so lame.

But he took it. It lived in his duffle bag.


Sweet and bittersweet, that Dean needs an object like this as a tangible reminder of Sam.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 02:40 am (UTC)
Just great peeks into their Christmases over the years, at how things changed as they lost so much, but in the end, they still have each other, and … Oh, boys.
You just summarized the whole tone of the piece brilliantly. :)

just love this baby’s POV moment. So sweet.
It was so interesting to write that too, to narrow everything down to just a few sensory inputs where none of them really make sense. But the mood makes him happy all the same.

Oh, Dean. Poor, lonely Dean.
Can you imagine? Missing Sam, not hearing from Sam, and really... not being allowed to be sad about it because John's still working on that grudge. Ouch!

Sweet and bittersweet, that Dean needs an object like this as a tangible reminder of Sam.
It's more like it somehow makes him feel better-- I hate to say "security blanket" but it's like that, touching something that says "Sam" to him when the real Sam is lost to them both. *makes self more angsty still*

As always, I love reading your comments and all the things you bring out to consider and discuss. :)
(no subject) - iamstealthyone on December 23rd, 2006 02:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
Amethyste: Noelamethyste5 on December 22nd, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Very nice, the one with John reacting to seeing Mary's angel again is heartbreaking and beautiful.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! So much hope turned to sadness, not just here but in the Winchesters' lives as a whole.

In the end, it's still their family that gets them through-- however much of it they still have. :)
tabaqui: s&dlistentabaqui on December 22nd, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
Ah, nice. I love the ship ornament, Scooby Doo, and of course, the Rottweiler. Fitting.
:)
Nice stuff!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
Thank you, tabaqui. :) Scooby Doo was the first thing I thought of as being Sam-like somehow in appearance (and oddly loveable), and the Rottweiler, well... I'd had "bulldog" originally, but John's a handsome devil and Rottweiler has all the power and stubborness and heft that John did.

We actually have the ship ornament at my house. It's quite unusual, and it seemed a wonderful choice for John and Mary. Intricate, delicate, and safe inside its globe. :)
(no subject) - tabaqui on December 23rd, 2006 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
Thank you, Rinne! I'd really wanted to settle into a lengthy holiday mood here, and this is not only the largest drabble set I've written, it's also one of the few that's a progressive story.

So glad you liked these. Happy Holidays! :)
Rory: Christmasrory8 on December 23rd, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
I loved it. It was great seeing Dean and Sam living on like that... after losing Mary, Jess and then John. It was very sad, yet so sweet. It was simply lovely. Thank you. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, Rory!

Their lives just ache with all the things that become more wrong over time, and yet they survive. As long as they have each other, there's still 'family' left. Not a traditional (or particularly reverent) one, but it's enough. :)
Ah yes, quite a bunch of us, isn't it?unhobbityhobbit on December 23rd, 2006 10:06 am (UTC)
I love the change of the ornaments from traditional to a pretty tacky thing but they still mean just as much to the boys. But then, the normal rules never have applied to them, have they?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on December 23rd, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)
But then, the normal rules never have applied to them, have they?
They definitely don't! Ultimately I guess it's about what those things make you feel, regardless of how worthy they might look to someone else.

BTW, I've seen your icon above floating around elsewhere, and it has always killed me. It's the fangs. :)