Title: Your Days Be Merry and Bright
Characters: John, Dean, Sam
Word Count: 1,000
Summary: The boys serve John breakfast in bed.
Notes: Set in the same 'verse as My Life's Come Off its Tracks. If you haven't read that, all you need to know is that Dean suffers from aphasia (i.e. he's mute).
It's been more than a year and a half since John last woke to the whispers of his sons outside the door. There's only one voice today, and will only be one until, perhaps, the boys grow up and out of these sorts of rituals forever. John doesn't want to think about when that will be; there have been enough changes in the last year and a half to last a life time. John would really appreciate it if the world just hit pause for a moment – in fact, this moment would be an excellent place.
The door to the bedroom cracks open with all the quiet a six-year-old can manage, which is a surprising amount of quiet. John peers through barely-open eyes. He doesn't want to disappoint the boys by being noticeably awake, but with his head beneath the covers and the room still dim in the early morning light he doesn't think he'll get caught. Once the door is fully ajar Sam pauses for a second, squinting in John's direction. He turns, puts his fingers to the side of his mouth and whispers, "The coast is clear," and then steps out the door.
John has to bite the insides of his cheeks to keep from snickering. Then Dean appears and the urge to laugh vanishes, replacing by heart-melting warmth. Dean's balancing a tray in small hands, as carefully as he can. His eyes are on the bowl of what John assumes must be milk, his steps precise, as he slowly makes his way into the room. Sam appears behind him, holding a tall glass of orange juice in both hands. He has a look of severe concentration on his face, deep lines between his eyebrows.
Dean sets the tray down on the nightstand and before John can even think of giving up the ruse and reaching out to prevent an accident, Sam has bumped into his brother. Dean flinches lightly, one hand on his back and a grimace on his face.
"Fuck," Sam says levelly. Dean turns around, takes the glass from him, sets it on the nightstand, and then smacks Sam on the chest. His hands are a flurry of motion.
Sam returns the apparent scolding with a scowl. "It's called anger mannen —mangen—"
"Management," supplies John, popping out from beneath the blanket.
Dean startles so hard he knocks into the nightstand. Sam's eyes grow enormous in his face, mouth open in a soundless gasp.
"Sorry, sorry, sorry." John cringes and reaches for Dean, who's rubbing his elbow and giving John a doleful stare. As he rubs Dean's elbow, Sam's slaps a hand to his chest and screeches, "You scared me half-alive!" He's breathing like a beached whale and fanning himself with his free hand.
John's going to be putting his son into acting classes, soon as he gets the chance.
"Sorry," John repeats. He sits up properly, folding his legs underneath him. He pats the bed for Dean to sit on and gestures Sam forward. Sam clambers up too.
"So what's this?" John asks. Breakfast, Dean signs quickly. He cheeks are reddening rapidly.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Sam shouts, flopping over on the bed. Dean eyes his brother despondently, shakes his head, and then signs, It's not too late to exchange him for a puppy.
"Very funny," John smirks.
Sam sits up immediately. "What's funny?" He narrows his eyes at Dean and Dean shrugs innocently and turns back to the tray.
We made it for you, he signs. John helps him pull it onto the bed. The bowl he thought must have been full of milk for cereal turns out to be full of scrambled eggs instead. John is astonished.
"Where'd you learn to make scrambled eggs?" he asks Dean.
Asked Miss Birdie, Dean replies.
"The library didn't have any books about scrambled eggs for kids," Sam adds. "Can you believe that?"
"You should lodge a complaint," John jokes, patting Sam's head.
He did, Dean signs.
Of course he did.
"Here's the knife and fork," Sam says, pointing. "And the salt and pepper. And toast." Dean gestures to those, and then reaches for the glass of juice and hands it to John.
"We were gonna make coffee but we forgot to find out how," Sam says. Dean is watching John like he's afraid no coffee means John might take the tray and toss it out the window.
"Promise it still tastes good though," Sam says. He leans forward conspiratorially, "I had a bite. Or two."
Dean holds up five fingers. "Tattle-tale," Sam says darkly.
John's heart clenches for a moment, as he takes in the scene, the beautifully-made breakfast and the two boys who made it. John can't imagine how much planning they must have done, how they must have woken up early to do it all, making sure to be quiet. And when he'd heard the whispering, he'd been expecting a regular old wake-up call.
It really does taste okay, Dean signs. Sam looks hesitant too, suddenly, chewing on his lower lip.
"I bet it does," John says immediately, and grabs the fork. He takes a careful bite. Sam and Dean watch him like hawks.
With two sets of round eyes on him, John's sure he would have scarfed down those eggs, even if they'd tasted like shit. But they don't. They taste perfect and John is once again struck by his children, his remarkable boys, and what they're capable of.
"It's delicious," he says. "Delicious." He has another forkful. Sam cheers loudly and Dean looks pleased, in his own quiet way, biting the insides of his cheeks to hide his grin. John can't help reaching out and thumbing at the dimple he's creating. Dean can't contain his smile, then.
You really like it? he asks.
"I love it," John says. "You should give me the recipe."
Dean shakes his head firmly.
"It's gonna be a Christmas thing," Sam says. "Every Christmas."
"Well," says John, meaning it with all his heart and wishing he had a better way to say it, "guess I'll be the happiest man in the world every, single Christmas."