a ficlet for runedgirl who prompted: "Dean, Sam, Christmas 1991, homemade gift. G rated schmoopy gen"
Hope you enjoy!
Sam looked on nervously as Dean unwrapped the present.
Would his brother like it?
Most importantly, would it be cool?
Things had to be cool for Dean to like them. Sam wasn't cool. Dean took care of him, and Sammy knew Dean loved him, because big brothers have to love their little brothers, so of course Dean did — but Sam wasn't cool, and he knew better than to think that Dean liked him.
"Do you like it?" Sammy asked, his heart in his throat.
Dean just stared at the present. He looked up at Sam. He swallowed. Finally he spoke, and the look in his eyes was terrible.
Oh, God. He hated it.
"Why... I mean, um... did you make this?"
"Yeah," Sammy choked. "I know it's not as good as dad's, but it buttons, so that makes it private."
"But... why?" Dean asked.
"Well, Dad always writes in his, and I know I'm not supposed to look, and I figured, you're big now, almost twelve, so maybe..."
"I just... wanna... write private things?" Dean guessed. Sam nodded.
The look in Dean's eyes was a little easier to bear now, but not by much. It went from being sad and angry and a little panicky to sad and, Sam didn't know really, kind of, brotherly? like there was a hug in his brother's eyes?
"Is this like, a pocket out of that pair of jeans you split the rear of?"
"Yeah. But I washed them!"
"So you gave me a present you had on your ass!"
Sam turned red. He hung his head. Dean hated it.
"Aw, Sammy, don't look like that. I love it."
Sam couldn't be hearing right. Dean... loved it?
"It's cool. No, it is! Dude, you erased DEAN W onto the cover and it totally fits in there so it won't get torn."
Sam swallowed and dared to look at Dean. Dean still wasn't smiling, and his ears were fiery red, but he was examining the present. At least it was worthy of examination.
"And three colors of bic pen to go with it," Dean remarked.
"Black, blue and red. Dad loves red. I gave the rest to him," Sam explained.
He thought for sure his Dad would like a package of red ink pens for Christmas. He was always writing things in his journal then circling and underlining lots of things in red, private things Sam would never dream of looking at.
"That's an awesome present, Sam, thanks," Dean finally said.
Sam looked into his brother's eyes. He still didn't understand why, if his present was so awesome, it made Dean so sad.
But Dad was always sad too.
He guessed it had to do with growing up.
"You're welcome, Dean," he said. "I'm glad you like it." Then Dean came over and hugged him, and that was the best. Now that Dean was almost twelve, hugs were usually saved back for nightmares.
Maybe he'd have a journal one day and he could write private things too, but Sam made a promise to himself: at least some of the things he'd write down would be happy.