There are definitely days where Sam thinks he’s about thirty seconds away from waking up from a djinn’s fantasy, strung to the wall and bled dry with Dean yelling next to him. This -- all this -- is something that he would’ve dreamt about a lifetime ago, back when he was a kid struggling to get out from under his father’s thumb. Married with a kid, living in a house on the outskirts of some town, a real job with no fraudulent credit cards hidden away... Sam used to yearn for a life like the one he has right now. And sure, he never thought that he’d be married (well, fake-married) to his brother, with a daughter who belonged to both of them, but still.
Years ago, he thought he’d be happiest with a life like this. But now it’s just weird.
The June sun beats down heavy on Sam’s back as he pulls himself out of the car into the dry heat. He’s already beginning to sweat, his skin sticky with it, even though he’s spent maybe a grand total of five minutes outside the entire day. The Impala’s in the driveway, so he doesn’t even bother taking out his key, and once he’s inside the house he relaxes a little. It’s been a long day of checking out romance books for old ladies and R-rated movies for giggling thirteen year-olds, and all he really wants is some dinner and an early night. Which, he realizes, is pretty pathetic coming from a guy that used to hunt ghosts until three in the morning.
He’s barely inside the front hallway before their dog trots out of the living room and jumps up on Sam, bracing his front paws on Sam’s leg. Sam absentmindedly pets him behind the ears, smiling a little at the snuffling noises of approval, and then Reagan is running out, a homemade magic wand in her right hand.
“Chester, we weren’t done,” she complains. “Oh! Hi, Daddy! You made Chester run away and we were still playing dress-up!” Sure enough, Chester has a makeshift skirt tied around his waist and an off-kilter Minnie Mouse headband behind his ears.
“Hi, baby girl,” Sam replies as she gives his legs a brief hug, resting his hand on the top of her head. “Looks like you’ve been busy.” Behind her, Chester grunts and paws at the headband.
“Dad said it was a good idea,” she declares. “He said there wasn’t nothing I could do to make Chester more of a girl. But that’s silly, ‘cause Chester is definitely a boy.”
“Your dad’s just being mean,” Sam says.
“Chester’s a good dog,” Reagan says in a pouty voice. “I found him in the street, and he’s my size! Little like me.”
“That’s right,” Sam says absently. “Where is your dad?”
“Watching TV,” Reagan replies dismissively. “It’s boring. He won’t let me watch cartoons.”
“How about some books instead?” Sam asks, shrugging off his backpack. “I brought some home for you.”
“Ooh!” Reagan chirps. “More PeeWee Camp? Or scary books?”
“BFG,” Sam says, “and some other stuff that’s popular for kids your age. I really liked the BFG when I was little. It might be a bit hard for you, though.”
“Nuh-uh, I’m smart,” Reagan says, already digging through Sam’s bookbag. “I like this one!” She holds up a book of fairy tales and scampers off. Chester looks up at Sam, and Sam just laughs, stooping low to free Chester from his costume.
“Good boy,” Sam says, patting Chester’s head. “Let’s go find Dean.”
Dean is, just as Reagan said, camped out in front of the TV, watching some History Channel special on historic artillery. “How unexpected,” Sam says dryly. “You know, our daughter was just traumatizing the dog while you watched this crap.”
“Don’t act like you’re not interested,” says Dean. “This shit is awesome. And unless she ate its leg or something, the dog’s fine.”
“Don’t even joke,” Sam warns. “Just because you think it’s emasculating to have a small dog doesn’t mean you can be a dick about it. Besides, I know you love the thing. Your posturing doesn’t work with me.”
“You’re in a prissy mood,” Dean says. “Relax. Mona’s bringing over some dinner, the kid’s fine, we have a good two hours of primo television on the recorder... stop being such a stick in the mud.”
The mention of Mona makes Sam’s heart stutter-skip in an angry sort of rhythm, but he doesn’t comment, choosing instead to sit down. “Stick in the mud? Seriously, Dean? What are you, eighty?”
“Shaddup,” Dean says. “I’m trying to watch this.”
Sam rolls his eyes and tries to concentrate on the show rather than the fact that Mona is bringing them take-out for the third time this week. She’s a point of contention between him and Dean, and she never fails at putting Sam in a bad mood, even though most of the time Sam’s pretty sure she doesn’t mean to.
Mona works at the factory with Dean, in the same section of production, and she’s become Dean’s best friend through a combination of familiarity and dry wit. Sam could deal with it were it not for the two things going against her: one, she’s gorgeous and two, she’s definitely in love with Dean. Dean agrees with the whole gorgeous schtick but he firmly denies the less-than-platonic feelings.
“She knows you’re my only girl,” Dean will say whenever Sam brings it up, and it’s too much of a hassle to argue his point, because no matter what he says, Dean never listens. Not about Mona. And it drives Sam crazy.
Sure enough, barely an hour later, when Sam’s tied up trying to coax an apathetic Reagan to wash up, Mona bursts through the front door without knocking. She has a full bag of food from her mother’s diner, and Reagan immediately breaks away from Sam to give her an enthusiastic greeting.
“Hi, sugar,” she says, laughing, coming into the kitchen and setting the bag down on the table.
“Did you bring me pie?” Reagan demands.
“Wouldn’t forget it,” Mona responds conspiratorially and Sam sighs a little. It’s going to be hard getting Reagan to bed when she’s hyped up on sugar. Sam makes a mental note to coerce Dean into doing it and heads over to the table to see if Mona’s brought him roast beef or if she’s “forgotten” again and got him chicken salad even though Sam hates it.
“Hi, Mona,” Sam says, managing a tight smile that’s returned in kind.
“Evenin’, Sam,” she says cordially and then, “Dean! Get your butt in here or I’m eatin’ your pie myself!” As if this is her house and Dean’s her husband. Sam bristles a little more even though he knows he’s being irrational.
“Don’t you dare, woman,” Dean says, thumping down the stairs.
“Fork, Ray-girl,” Sam chides, pulling one out from the drawer. She gives him a look, her face stained with mac n’ cheese, and Sam is careful to not let his mouth twitch in amusement.
“Just like your dad,” Mona says, smiling, and Sam resists the urge to interject a story about Dean’s messy eating habits to show that he’s recognized the similarity too. It’s not worth it, and petty besides, this one-up bullshit his lizard brain wants to start. Instead, after he gets Reagan a placemat and some silverware, he gathers his own dinner (roast beef, thank goodness) and settles down to eat, not saying a word as Mona and Dean have their own little conversation while Reagan’s in processed-food heaven.
So Dean won’t come out and say it, but he wants another baby. Sam can tell just by the sheer fact that he knows his brother and can decode the little hints Dean drops. And really, Sam kind of gets it, because growing up, Dean was all Sam had, his best friend, even the times when he made Sam so angry all Sam could do was hit things and mope. And Sam gets why Reagan should have that, he does. She has friends, plays with kids in the neighborhood, but she’s still a little lonely at home. She gets all of the attention, even when she doesn’t want it. So, yeah. Sam understands.
It still takes him a good year and a half to come to the decision that he’ll do it.
Sam doesn’t tell Dean that he’s gone off birth control. The way he sees it, male fertiles are notoriously hard to impregnate, mostly because of their mutated reproductive organs. Sam’s pretty sure Reagan was a fluke, and he doesn’t want to make a big deal about it. Either it happens and Sam’s miserable for nine months until some doctor hacks into him, or it doesn’t and they go on with life as-is. As of right now, everything’s just a slim possibility, so Sam decides to keep it to himself until things get a little more concrete.
“I love it when Mona takes Reagan to have a sleepover with Jack-Jack,” Dean says, nuzzling at Sam’s neck, his stubble rasping against Sam’s skin. “Means we don’t have to be quiet.”
“You are such a horndog,” Sam comments, but he lets Dean push him back onto the bed anyway. “What makes you think you’re getting anything?”
“Because you’re easy,” Dean says. “And you know I’ll be in a shitty mood if you cockblock me now.”
“Such a romantic,” Sam says, watching interestedly as Dean pulls his shirt off. “I thought sex drive was supposed to diminish once men became old-asses.”
“Shut your face,” says Dean, pointing at Sam, letting his shirt to puddle on the floor by the bed. “Too much talking. Not enough fucking.”
“Point proven,” Sam mutters, but he levers himself up onto his elbows so he can kiss Dean fully. Something aches deep in his stomach every time he does this; not unpleasantly, but warm and full, like his first swallow of coffee on a cold day. Dean’s mouth is pliant, his tongue slick and demanding even though there’s none of the urgency in his motions that used to exist. It’s languid, carefully methodical, and it makes Sam tremble every damn time. Loathe as he is to admit it, Dean is good at this, at making Sam react.
Sam lets his fingers skitter lightly along Dean’s ribs, resisting the urge to tickle. He can feel Dean’s resulting shiver, and tilts his head so he can deepen the kiss, take control of it for a second. Dean growls, pushing on Sam’s chest a little, which ignites Sam’s fight-mode. He rolls, bucking up as he does so, but Dean’s not having it, countering by shifting his weight so Sam is pinned more firmly to the bed. Dean breaks the kiss fully, sitting back on his haunches as he carefully keeps Sam in place (though, to be honest, Sam isn’t really fighting back), and smiles a predatory grin. Sam’s gut clenches at the heat of Dean’s gaze, and he squirms a little, his shirt rucking up. Dean takes the opportunity to unbutton his jeans, letting them hang open lewdly.
“Beginning to feel a little overdressed there, Sammy?” he asks coyly.
“Fuck off,” Sam responds, but he knows that he’s begun to flush. He’s fucking horny, and Dean looking at him like that isn’t doing him any favors.
“I want to, but someone’s being a prissy bitch,” Dean comments lightly, no seriousness to his tone. Sam narrows his eyes, half a mind to keep his clothes on, to make Dean fight to take them off, but it’s not worth it, not with the way Sam’s feeling tonight. He pushes himself down a little, making sure the shirt rides up, showing his belly. He knows what Dean likes, and he smirks a little as the open zipper of Dean’s pants gapes a little wider as Dean’s erection grows.
“Fuckin’ asshole,” Dean accuses, before pulling at the hem of Sam’s shirt, yanking it off in such a way that it gets stuck momentarily on Sam’s shoulders before he levers himself off the bed so Dean can get it over his head.
“I thought you were good at this,” Sam says, mock grumpily.
“Baby, I’ll show you how good I can be,” Dean promises.
“Ugh,” Sam says. “Don’t ever say that to me again.” Dean’s not paying attention, though, already swinging off of Sam so he can shuck his jeans and underwear.
“You know you want this, babe,” Dean says, because he’s a dickhole who likes to piss Sam off.
“I have a headache,” Sam says flatly. “Get off.” This makes Dean laugh, a loud booming sound, and he works at Sam’s jeans, pulling them off as gently as he did Sam’s shirt. Sam’s pretty surprised that he didn’t get friction burn from all this rough handling.
Dean’s lips are dry as they catch Sam’s again, and it’s different now that they’re not wearing any clothes, more charged. Sam knows things are going to go all the way tonight, dick-in-ass, in all its disgusting, wet-spot generating glory. They don’t often bother; too much of a hassle when there are things like blowjobs and handjobs (and damn, Dean’s gotten fucking amazing at both), but they have the time tonight, and Sam’s ready for it.
He kisses Dean until his lips are heavy with it, his jaw aching, and when he pulls away, Dean just moves southward, taking his time with all of Sam’s sweet spots as Sam lets his fingernails anchor into the meat of Dean’s arms. Dean spends a long while mapping Sam with little nips of his teeth and brushes of his lips, lingering over Sam’s nipples (“Not a fucking girl, Dean,” Sam will moan, but they both know he fucking loves it), laving at the jut of Sam’s hipbone, teasing the sensitive skin of Sam’s inner thigh, so close to the heavy hang of his balls that it’s practically torture. Just when Sam’s about to give up and beg, Dean puts his lips to their intended use, pursing them expertly around the head of Sam’s cock, sucking in a way that makes Sam groan loudly.
Dean’s taking it slow as he sucks Sam’s dick, teasing the slit and hollowing his cheeks, tracing the vein with his tongue until Sam’s practically incoherent with it. Somehow Sam’s hands have found themselves cradling Dean’s head, and it takes all of his self control to not force Dean up and down. Sam lets his legs fall open as wide as they can, his breathing harsh as he nears his orgasm...
And then Dean pulls off. Asshole.
“I fucking hate you,” Sam groans.
“Gotta save it for the main event,” Dean chides, sliding off to the side of the bed so he can rummage around in the drawer for the lube. They haven’t bothered with condoms since Sam went on the pill, and since Sam never told Dean he went off it, Dean doesn’t pull one out.
Nothing in the world will make the art of lubing up sexy, but Dean is meticulously careful with it, working his fingers until Sam’s loose, paying attention to Sam’s prostate, until Sam almost forgets that someone has their fingers up his ass for the sole purpose of making him ready for dick. Yeah, there’s nothing that’s gonna make this be better for Sam, though Dean’s constant prostate-rubbing almost makes up for it.
Dean doesn’t need a signal from Sam to know that Sam’s ready, just pulls away, wipes his gross-ass fingers on the sheets (and he is so doing the laundry later), and lines himself up. Sam cants his hips to make it a little easier and then Dean is pushing in, a slow slide that makes Sam clench his jaw until he relaxes into it.
Dean is uncharacteristically gentle tonight, disregarding all of Sam’s attempts to speed things up. Fucking face to face always feels more intimate than any other way, and Dean kisses Sam breathless as he rocks in little circles, catching Sam’s dick between their bodies. Sam’s orgasm is almost a surprise, building slow in his belly until he can’t help but jack himself to it, his arm smushed between them at an awkward angle as he comes on his belly. Dean makes a noise, his lips still against Sam’s, and his thrusts get more desperate, less controlled, and Sam knows when he comes, can feel the slide get easier. It makes him shiver, a good feeling as he comes down from his high.
“Use your shirt this time,” Sam commands tiredly, and Dean does, retrieving it from the ground to mop up as much of the mess as he can (and seriously, fucking gross). He lobs it off the bed into the corner somewhere, which means Sam will inevitably be the one to pick it up, and flops onto the bed.
“Get the light,” Sam says, his words slurred. He never was able to stay conscious for very long after sex, something that Dean makes fun of him mercilessly for. The room goes dark, Dean settles himself so his back is against Sam’s side, and Sam falls into a dreamless sleep, the best kind.
No matter how he tries, Sam can’t wrap his head around the fact that he’s become someone who has cookouts in his backyard with something resembling a family. Reagan and Mona’s son, Jack-Jack are swinging on a cheaply made swing-set that Dean had gotten from free somewhere, their feet dirty and grass-stained, and Dean’s charring some meat on his grill with Mona standing just an inch too close. Her boyfriend’s passed out drunk on the back porch, and Mona keeps shooting sidelong glances at him as if she’s afraid he’ll wake up and catch her.
Sam’s perfectly content in his canvas fold-out chair with some crime novel he got from the library. He may have copped out of helping with taking responsibility with what Dean calls the “girly parts” of dinner, but if it means all he has to do is throw some corn into some water and check it every five minutes to make sure the house isn’t burning down while Dean stands over the grill, he’ll take it.
“Push, Dad,” Reagan commands from her swing. She’s fully capable of doing it herself, but she’s still young enough that it’s a novelty to make Sam or Dean help her get higher than she can under her own momentum, so she demands it of them any time they’re in yelling distance.
“Whatcha gonna give me for it?” Sam asks lazily, dog-earing his book. Reagan’s nose scrunches as she thinks.
“I’ll clean my room?” she offers hesitantly. It’s a good trade from Sam’s perspective, because he and Dean are hardly tidy and they do have company once in a while. Still, Reagan’s not that good of a negotiator yet, though she’s learning, so Sam pushes it.
“And go to bed on time without complaining?” Sam prods.
“Promise!” she crows. “Now push!” Sam can tell from the smile on her face that she believes she won’t be held to it... which is probably true. The girl is maybe better at this than Sam gives her credit for.
She’s flung herself off of her swing a good three times before Dean finally brings the meat to the table, which gives Sam the perfect excuse to stop pushing without getting a pouty face so he can go in and rescue the corn and pre-packaged fruit salad. Reagan’s already running full tilt towards the picnic table by the time Sam’s on the porch. She’s a bottomless stomach, just like Dean.
To say dinner is a little awkward is a bit of an understatement. Mona’s boyfriend still hasn’t awoken from his beer-induced stupor, and she’s being snippy with Jack-Jack about it until he’s scowling at his corn. Reagan’s singing some song she heard on the television, and Dean’s slipping Chester bits of hamburger under the table as he engages in conversation with Mona about the dickhole salaried workers at their plant, and Sam spends the meal completely bored. He hates being left out like this; it reminds him of when he was a teenager and how Dad and Dean would go on and on about weapons or ghouls or cars when they were at roadside diners while Sam would pick at congealed chicken pot pie.
By the time Sam’s beat Dean in a game of rock-paper-scissors for the responsibility of cleaning the dishes, Jack-Jack’s been scolded four times for his lack of table manners, Reagan’s eaten sloppily enough that Chester’s enjoyed half of her meal, and Dean and Mona have talked themselves in a circle that Sam couldn’t intricate himself in. Mona gives him a look as he settles down in his chair while she helps Dean clear the table, but Sam ignores it. He has to make sure Jack-Jack and Ray don’t kill themselves in the yard, so it’s not like he’s being completely lazy.
Dusk has come and gone, and Sam’s watching the bats as Reagan and Jack-Jack run around trying to catch fireflies--another example of how things have changed, when Mona’s boyfriend wakes up. Jackson is a shining stereotype: high school jock who went from king of the school to nothing-loser in no time flat. From what Sam has gleaned from off-hand conversations with Dean, he’s been dating Mona for nearly eight years with no inclination of going further, and his layoff from the paper mill has turned him from a guy who enjoyed his liquor to a mean drunk who was too hands-on for anyone’s liking.
Sam doesn’t notice him until Reagan lets out a surprised yell (and, really, Sam’s beating himself up over that--what the fuck happened to his observation skills?). Jackson’s got Reagan’s arm in a death grip, and she’s shrieking in no time.
“That hurts!” she cries, and Sam can tell that it’s real pain in her voice, not just her usual dramatics. “Let go!”
“Stop being so goddamn loud,” Jackson growls. He raises his arm to hit her, but Sam’s too fast, already gotten hold of the arm that Jackson’s got Reagan trapped with, squeezing at a pressure point that makes him let go of Reagan, who immediately scampers off towards the house, her bottle of fireflies upended on the grass. Jack-Jack’s whimpering a little way aways, looking between Sam and Jackson.
“You don’t ever touch my daughter again,” Sam says dangerously, letting Jackson’s arm go and stepping back so they’re face-to-face. Jackson’s short enough that he has to look up to meet Sam’s gaze, but it doesn’t do anything but make him more belligerent.
“Whatcha gonna do about it, faggot?” he sneers, and Sam sees red. He hauls off and socks Jackson in the face without thinking about it. It’s not hard enough to do any damage--Sam did have the forethought to pull his punch, but Jackson still falls over.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Sam says, mock-sincerely. “I thought you were some kind of tough guy. Guess not.”
“What the fuck is going on here?” Dean asks. He sounds fucking furious, with Reagan in tears hanging off of his hand.
“Dean, don’t,” Mona pleads, a step behind him. “I’ll take him home.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” Sam says firmly.
“You fucking asshole,” Jackson says from the ground. “You fucking dick-taking cocksucker.”
“Jackson, let’s go,” Mona says fiercely. “Not here.”
“The fucking dick clocked me one,” Jackson says furiously, getting to his feet.
“I’ll do you one better,” Dean threatens and Sam grabs his shoulder to keep him in place.
“He’s all talk,” Sam says. “Are you sure you’re okay with him?” This is directed to Mona, who’s trying to haul him towards the back gate.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she says, muttering something under her breath that has Jackson reluctantly following her. “C’mon, Jackson, we’re going home.”
“Lemme help,” Dean says, going to gather her bags. Chester’s barking up a storm from behind the screen door, and Sam picks up Reagan, carrying her back to the house as she wipes her snot on his shirt.
“It’s okay, baby girl,” Sam says. “I gotcha.” When they get into the light, Sam can see the beginnings of a bruise, which makes him see red all over again. It’s not distinct enough to look like a handprint, but it might result in some touchy questions come Monday when Reagan’s back in daycare.
“I didn’t mean to,” Reagan sobs. “I j-just wanted to c-catch the fireflies!”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Sam says, putting her down and crouching so he can look her in the eye. “Jackson was being an asshole.” This makes her smile, just a little.
“You said a bad word, Daddy,” she chides. “Mrs. Robinson would yell at you.”
“It’s okay, just this once,” Sam assures her.
“You got him good though,” Reagan says. “Boom!”
“He got off lucky,” Sam says darkly. “Nobody hurts my Ray-girl. Now let’s get you ready for bed.”
The excitement has subdued Reagan to the point where it’s almost comically easy to get her in her pajamas and under the covers. Chester takes his customary spot on her bed, snuggling into her side, and she snuffles into the pillow.
“Love you, daddy,” she says sweetly, kissing his cheek.
“Love you too, munchkin,” he says, turning the light off.
When he gets back downstairs, Dean’s face is stormy and there’s a dent in the wall from where he’s kicked it. “I’ll fuckin’ kill him,” he snarls as soon as Sam’s in sight.
“I’ll help you,” Sam says. “The shovels are still in the back of the garage. We may be out of shape, but it won’t take us more than a couple of hours to dig a grave.” It’s dark humor, but Sam half means it.
Dean deflates a little, but he’s still spitting nails. “She won’t fucking listen to me. She needs to get away from him, but she’s scared she won’t make it on her own.”
“She’ll come around,” Sam assures him. “But I don’t want Ray over there when he’s home.”
“Me neither,” Dean says. “God fucking dammit.”
As Sam cleans up the glass someone smashed earlier, he can’t help but think that this is more like it--this is how his life should be. Things just aren’t the same without a little drama to sweeten the pot.
Sam comes home one Tuesday night to the smell of baked goods permeating the house and Dean passed out in a sugar-coma on the couch. Sam can’t help but laugh, because Dean looks miserable, the top button popped on his jeans.
“When did Cas get here?” he asks. “And how many pies has he made this time?”
“Not pies,” Dean groans. “Cookies. And probably like six dozen by now.”
“Jesus,” Sam says. “Looks like the factory’s gonna love you when you bring them in tomorrow.”
“Don’t talk about them,” Dean warns. “I’m gonna vomit.”
Dean may have overdosed, but they smell delicious to Sam, so he wanders into the kitchen. Sure enough, there are expertly decorated cookies on practically every surface, little cats and dogs and cookie-people. There’s also flour everywhere, on the floor, the ceiling, coating Reagan’s clothes. Castiel, of course, is pristine.
“Daddy!” Reagan yells, obviously on the end of too much sugar herself. When she flings herself onto him in a hug, the cloud of flour produced nearly makes Sam sneeze. “Uncle Cas and I are makin’ cookies!”
“I couldn’t tell,” Sam says dryly.
“Silly!” Reagan gasps. “They’re all over!”
Sam allows himself to laugh a little and extricates himself from Reagan to clap Castiel on the shoulder. “It’s been a while, man,” he says.
“Paris got boring,” Castiel says, straight-faced as always, though his eyes are relaxed and happy. “It’s very different from what I expected though. Less berets.”
“I wouldn’t know,” says Sam, laughing.
“An’ no one would let him draw their picture like in Titanic,” Reagan interjects, and Sam raises his eyebrow. Castiel just shrugs, so Sam helps himself to a cookie.
Castiel reappeared randomly when Reagan was one, looking as put together as he always had, standing there on the front porch. He was different though--something about the whole Purgatory mess had screwed with his little angel brain, and he was, for lack of a better term, a little spacey. He had some kind of weird hard-on for baking, had immediately assumed the role of Reagan’s only uncle, and came by every month or so with news from Heaven and stories about what he’d been doing in other parts of the world to freak out the locals.
Castiel ends up staying the night, vacillating between seriousness and batshit-crazy. He cleans the kitchen with his mojo while Dean wrestles Reagan out of her clothes and then lies to her about who did it before producing a perfect roast out of thin air while her back’s turned again.
“Seriously, why did you come back as a master chef again?” Sam asks him. “You don’t even need to eat.”
“It’s very methodical, cooking,” Cas says. “I enjoy it.”
“Uncle Cas is a good cook,” Reagan interjects. “I like when he visits.” She’s more obedient with Cas, willing to do whatever he asks of her even though Chester’s freakin’ terrified of him. Cas patiently sits through three rounds of her dance routine before putting her to bed himself. Sam always half-expects some sort of disaster-area when he checks in on her afterwards to usher Chester into bed, but she’s always sleeping soundly, tucked under the covers in a way he and Dean can never seem to manage.
Castiel’s put on Cartoon Network when Sam gets back downstairs, idly talking with Dean, and Sam takes a seat in the armchair. “Staying long this time?” Sam asks him.
“No, I think not,” Castiel replies. “I would like to go to Australia next. Perhaps try my hand at interacting with the local wildlife. I saw on a television once about this fascinating man who used to wrangle alligators, and it looked exhilarating.”
“Good luck with that,” Dean mutters.
“So just another random visit here then?” Sam asks.
“Of a sort,” Castiel offers and then, “Came for a check-up. Sam, you can be denser than you realize sometimes.”
“What?” Sam says, sharing a glance with an equally off-put Dean, but Cas doesn’t elaborate. When he leaves, he clasps Sam’s hand a little longer than necessary, smiles an enigmatic smile, and disappears without another word.
“Dude, your angel’s fucking weird,” Sam comments as they go up to bed.
Okay, so maybe Castiel’s not as clueless as he comes off sometimes, because it turns out that Sam can be really dense when he puts his mind to it. Although to be fair, it starts out so slowly and things are so different from the first time that he doesn’t notice.
“Dude, you fuckin’ sleep all the time nowadays,” Dean complains. “It’s not like you’re the one on your feet for twelve hours doin’ the same thing over and over again.”
“Fuck off,” Sam grumbles, and Dean pushes at him until Sam’s half sitting so Dean can claim his spot on the couch. Whereupon Sam immediately lies back down, his head in Dean’s lap.
“Oh my God,” Dean says. “Cuddling? What the fuck kind of twilight zone have I stepped into?”
“I’m tired and you’ve stolen half the couch,” Sam points out sleepily. “Deal with it.”
“I put the kid to bed,” Dean announces. “Not that you care, seeing as you’ve been such a great help today.”
“I’m tired,” Sam says, and it’s definitely not whining, not even if Dean makes a little exasperated snort.
“You didn’t even wake up when she said goodnight,” Dean responds. “Your reflexes are beginning to suck.”
“Would you rather I punch her in the face?” Sam asks. “Stop talking. I’m trying to sleep.”
“Slacker,” Dean sighs, but he turns the volume down low the second the TV flickers to life and his hand finds its way to the back of Sam’s neck, rubbing gently.
“Now who’s the girl?” Sam mumbles, burrowing his head into a more comfortable position. He doesn’t bother paying attention to the response, and the next time he’s fully aware, Dean’s shaking him out of his cramped position to go upstairs to bed.
“Daddy, why are you eating my cereal?” Reagan asks one morning as Sam methodically slurps his way through his third bowl of Trix.
“There’s still some left,” Sam says, shaking the box, but Reagan’s tiny pout doesn’t fully smooth out.
“But Dad has to sneak it home so you don’t yell,” Reagan points out. “Besides, Trix are for kids!”
“I’m not a rabbit,” Sam says. “And I let your Dad think that he’s gotten away with it, so I should be allowed to have some too.”
“Just don’t eat it all,” Reagan warns. “It’s my favorite.”
“Just for that, I’m gonna take the whole box to work,” Sam says. “Eat it for lunch.”
“Don’t you dare!” exclaims Reagan, so serious that Sam can’t help but laugh. He pushes the cereal across the table towards her.
“Hurry up and eat,” he says. “You’ve gotta be in daycare in twenty.”
And yeah, when Sam thinks back about what he’s been eating lately, it’s definitely weird. Instead of digging into his packed lunch--turkey sandwich, apple, Powerbar, the boring shit he never got as a kid, he passed them all up for two Snickers and a bag of Cheetos from the vending machine in the break room.
He doesn’t know why he’s eating like Dean all of a sudden, but he has these weird cravings. Maybe he should start hanging out more with Carl and Suzie, regulars who he’s friendly with at the library, at their vegan cafe in what has been lovingly dubbed the hipster side of town.
In short, it takes Sam a laughingly long time to put all his symptoms together. The weird cravings, headaches, fatigue--all of that seems commonplace until one morning the smell of burnt coffee at work has his stomach flipping so fast that he almost upchucks on his desk. A couple of deep breaths calm the urge to vomit, but he still has to steal away to the men’s room to say hello to his partially digested, multicolor cereal.
Now that’s a red flag if he’s ever fucking seen one.
The first time around with Reagan, Sam spent nearly two months in denial about her existence. It’s tempting to do so again, especially since he’d practically convinced himself that Reagan was a fluke that wasn’t going to happen again (and seriously, he’d been off birth control for six months. It wasn’t that much of a stretch) but the little niggling thoughts in the back of his head kept reminding him that he’d been trying for this. Yeah, the thought of another fucking pregnancy made Sam ready to go and hibernate, but since that wasn’t an option, he stopped by the pharmacy on the way home instead. And, okay, maybe going twenty minutes out of his way to the CVS in the other subdivision wasn’t on his way home, but Sam isn’t taking any chances of discovery tonight.
Sam snatches the first all-purpose pregnancy test he can find off of the shelf, pays for it, and immediately back-tracks into the store’s one-room bathroom so he can dispose of the evidence before going home. He reads the instructions just to be thorough, even though the damn thing’s pretty self explanatory, does the test, and then promptly tries to forget the whole thing’s happening.
It’s probably five minutes before Sam stops staring blankly at the wall and actually reads the results. There’s one word in the little window, not two, and Sam takes a deep breath before chucking the thing in the trashcan and covering it with about twenty paper towels.
Sam is calmer than he thought he’d be as he leaves the store--no panic, no dread--well, okay, maybe a little bit of the latter, but he can deal with this. He slides into the front seat of his car, grips the steering wheel harder than he probably should, but before he can shift into reverse, someone speaks from the backseat.
“I believe congratulations are in order.”
“Jesus,” Sam yelps, ramming his elbow into the door as he whips around. Castiel is sitting there, cool as you please, looking at Sam with a smug little smile on his face.
“Pregnancy,” Castiel says. “From what I’ve gathered on human customs, it’s customary to congratulate an expectant parent.”
“First off,” Sam lectures, “don’t sneak into my car. Second off, if you call me an expectant parent again, I’mma shoot you full of rock salt. Third off, have you learned anything about how humans like stalkers? Because holy shit, not okay.”
Castiel furrows his brow in confusion. “I’m not stalking you, Sam. I’m just perceptive to celestial activity. I could tell weeks ago that you had a new soul residing in your body.”
“Great, thanks for the heads up,” Sam grumbles.
“I thought you wanted this?” Castiel queries.
“I want Reagan to have a sibling,” Sam says. “Dean wants another kid, but I don’t particularly want to be the one stuck pregnant with it.”
“Too late for that,” Castiel points out. “This is the only way you and Dean can have another biological child. Don’t worry--I can tell that it does not have any genetic deformities.”
Sam feels a little nauseous at this. “Thanks for that, Cas,” he says with more than a touch of sarcasm.
“Of course, Sam."
The drive home seems shorter than it should with Castiel in the back being as cryptically odd as he ever is, and Sam coasts into the driveway only an hour later than usual even after his detour. The car ticks as it cools, but Sam doesn’t move to open the door and Castiel follows his lead.
“Don’t tell anyone yet, okay?” Sam asks quietly. “Especially not Dean. I need to do it myself.”
“Of course not, Sam,” Castiel says. “It is not my place. I am fully capable of keeping secrets.”
Sam sighs, relieved, and pushes the door open before levering himself out of the car. Castiel is instantly behind him, and together they trudge up the front walk. Sam can’t help but feel as though the day has settled heavily on his back, and he shifts his shoulders wearily as he walks through the front door. He can hear Reagan clomping around in the kitchen, her steps uneven and loud, so he heads there first while Castiel examines some spot on the wall for a second, cocking his head.
“You’re late,” Dean accuses lightly from the table as soon as Sam steps inside, and Sam has to suppress a groan because Mona’s sitting across from him, pretty as ever, while Sam feels greasy from the heat and exhausted.
“Found someone lurking around,” Sam says, gesturing, and Castiel appears in the doorway as if summoned. Dean instantly barks out a laugh and stands up to hug Cas, but Sam can see the lines on Mona’s face tighten as she winds her arm around Jack-Jack, who’s sitting next to her, coloring.
“Uncle Cas!” Reagan hollers, rounding the corner and skidding in her socks. “I didn’t know you were here.”
“I am an expert in the art of espionage,” Cas intones solemnly, though the corner of his mouth twitches.
Reagan’s forehead crinkles in confusion, but she immediately demands, “Come play!” and yanks Castiel off. He goes good-naturedly, and Sam thinks for a second how things have changed.
Mona makes a sound, barely audible, but it snaps at Sam’s temper anyways. She thinks Castiel is a drifter, definitely doesn’t approve, and Sam’s feeling just protective enough to call her out on it. “I wouldn’t let him play with her if I thought he was gonna murder her,” he snaps.
“Sam,” Dean barks. “What the hell, man?”
Sam deflates, stung by the censure in Dean’s voice and for the first time notices the scratches on Mona’s arm. “Jesus, sorry,” he says, as sincere as he can. “It’s been a long day. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”
“It’s okay,” Mona says, but Sam can tell he isn’t forgiven. Dean’s face is stormy, and Sam sighs again.
“I’m gonna go upstairs and shower,” he says to no one in particular and then makes his escape.
Link Part Two