Link Part One
Sam’s still awake when Dean finally makes his way to their bedroom, watching the TV blankly. He’s taken the lead with getting Reagan ready for bed and said goodnight to Cas without running into Dean or Mona at all, which is probably a good thing--from the look on his face, Dean’s not as annoyed as he was earlier.
“You’re an asshole, you know that?” Dean points out, pulling his shirt off.
“I didn’t mean to,” Sam defends, no real argumentative tone to his voice. “I just don’t like the way she looks at him.”
“Castiel’s a big boy,” Dean says, but he’s smiling a little. “He’ll be okay. And she just doesn’t get him. Not a lot of people would.”
“Guess we’re just special,” says Sam. “She’s okay, right?”
“Gonna take more than a snide comment to get that girl down,” Dean comments.
“Yeah, I know,” Sam says.
“Still doesn’t mean you should try,” responds Dean evenly.
“I’m sorry,” Sam sighs. “Rough day.”
“Whatever,” Dean says. “It’s a stupid thing to fight about. But you’ve been having a lot of rough days lately. Anythin’ you need to get off your chest?”
For a second, Sam wants to open his mouth and blurt everything, but the words stick in his throat. Speaking it aloud will make it realer than it’s been all day, and Sam... Sam’s not ready, he doesn’t think. Not until he has more proof than a plastic piss-stick and an assurance from someone that he’s not gonna kill this fetus off before it has a chance to be born.
“Getting close to a chick-flick moment there, Dean,” Sam says lightly. “I’m fine. Just in, I dunno, a rut or something. It’s nothing.”
“Okay then,” Dean says decisively. “Whatever floats your boat.”
“I’m fuckin’ wiped, man,” Sam yawns. “Goin’ to bed now, if you’ve stopped being a nosy wife.”
“Fuck off,” Dean laughs. “I’m not the girl here, Sammy.”
“Whatever,” Sam says, turning over, but for all his posturing, it takes ages to fall asleep after Dean’s turned the lamp out. He’s too preoccupied.
Sam hates going to the fertility doctor. In the time since he had Reagan, he’s been there maybe twice and both times had been the result of a direct call from the doctor herself, admonishing him on his delinquency and disregard for his own health. It doesn’t help that she has a small practice in a close-knit community; there’s none of the normal distance between her and her patients. Unfortunately, she’s the only doctor Sam’s seen that he’s been able to stomach and as such, the only one he’ll go to for his confirmation.
There are four people in the waiting room, a fresh-faced couple, one harried older woman who keeps stroking her fertile tattoo rhythmically, and a young man with a surly expression to offset his swollen belly. Sam chooses to lean against the wall instead of sit, too much nervous energy, and he keeps getting suspicious looks from the patients and the receptionist alike. It doesn’t help that Sam is an atypical fertile: tall and broad and male.
The doctor is, as always, running behind, and Sam is thoroughly jittery when he’s finally called back, as if he’s just had six coffees and an energy drink. Sitting through ten minutes of routine questions from the nurse barely calms him down, and she asks him three times if he feels he’s in danger at home before she’s convinced by his negative answer.
Sam hates, hates, hates the goddamn gown they make him wear here. He always feels like some sort of lab rat, and it’s inherently stupid besides: his c-section scar attests to the fact that he never has, and never will have, anything resemble a birth canal. And of course, every time he goes down that road of thought, he makes himself feel nauseated, which, on top of morning sickness and the smell of antiseptic? Never a good thing.
Dr. Simmons sweeps into the room after knocking, smiling in a good-natured sort of way. She’s motherly, maybe ten years older than Sam, but the sight of her never fails to ratchet Sam’s nerves up a couple more notches.
“Sam,” she says, “this is a pleasant surprise. Never thought I’d get you in here without pulling some teeth.”
“Me neither,” Sam mutters.
“So what can I do for you today?” she asks, sitting down and clicking on the computer mouse a few times to access Sam’s sparse medical charts. “I assume you have some sort of reason to come in.”
Sam takes a deep breath; the words have been festering in his chest since he failed to let them out to Dean, but they come easier than he thought they would. “I think I’m pregnant,” he mumbles.
Dr. Simmons stops typing and swivels around so she can look him full in the face, one eyebrow raised. “Pardon?”
“I think I’m pregnant,” Sam says, a little louder. “I took one of those drug-store tests, and... yeah, you know.”
Dr. Simmons doesn’t say anything for a while, but Sam can detect the hint of a smile on her face. “Well I’ll be damned,” she says frankly. “I never thought you’d say that to me, Sam Winchester.”
“I’m not exactly happy about it,” Sam says, “but the endgame is worth it. Or at least sometimes it is.” That’s an exaggeration, but in his defense, Reagan had been a little terror that morning. He’s pretty sure she bruised his shin with her army truck.
“Did you forget your pill one night?” she asks.
“Um, no,” Sam admits, somewhat sheepishly. “I kinda... stopped taking it.”
“That’ll do it,” she responds, a bit too brightly for Sam’s taste. “Well, I’ll go ahead and do a quick examination, see if I find anything out of the ordinary, and then we’ll take some blood and send it to the lab.”
“Okay,” Sam says uneasily. She asks him about his symptoms, notes each of them carefully, and then has him lie back on the examination table as she snaps her plastic gloves.
Quick examination though it may be, it’s still horrendously awkward as she palpates his bared belly and makes hmming noises before taking his temperature, listening to his heart, peering in his ears, all that stupid shit.
“You seem healthy to me,” she acknowledges. “And if I had to hazard a guess from the way your stomach feels, I’d err on the side of pregnant rather than not. But let’s just make sure, shall we?”
She sends him on his way with about fifty pamphlets, three vials-worth less of blood, and a red face. And then four days later, she sends two more gifts his way: a positive result and another appointment to determine how far along he is.
It should be easier to tell Dean now that he knows for sure, but it isn’t. Sam keeps putting it off, because is there ever a good way to tell someone you sabotaged birth control on purpose? He and Dean never actually talked about having another kid.
So yeah, Sam’s kind of pussying out on this.
Sam pushes off Dr. Simmons so long that she has to call and lecture him to get him to come in at all, and even after that, even after finding that he’s reached the two-and-a-half month mark without even knowing it, Sam doesn’t tell Dean. The weeks are slipping away and he’s getting more miserable by the second--he’s too hot, his clothes are beginning to fit oddly, he gets nauseated at the stupidest times, and his predilection for sugar-cereal has moved onto sweet onions. Even after nine, ten hours of sleep, he still wakes up exhausted. This whole pregnant schtick sucks, even when there aren’t zombies involved.
It should be easy to tell Dean when he gets that worried look on his face when Sam’s acting weird. But it isn’t.
He’s somehow fumbled away a month without telling Dean, fucking with the lights off so Dean doesn’t notice how weird his stomach’s getting, and August is finally waning, although without the promise of cooler air quite yet.
The day Sam finally decides to man the fuck up isn’t anything extraordinary. Well, perhaps it’s extraordinarily shitty. Dean put off the grocery shopping so long that Sam decided to just do it himself rather than prove a point. The car is hot and sticky, Reagan is whining and won’t stop, he can’t find anything he fucking wants in the store. And then Reagan throws such an almighty fit in the middle of aisle seven that Sam has to abandon his half-full cart, pick Reagan up, and take her outside. When she’s calmed herself to a pout in the (still fucking hot and sticky) car, they go back inside to find out that their cart’s contents have been redistributed to their proper places, so they have to start all over again.
By the time Dean comes home from his overtime shift, Sam is in a spectacularly awful mood and Reagan’s still being bossy and demanding. Dean takes one look at her and then one look at Sam, smirks, and... does absolutely nothing to help.
Chuck help him, Sam is going to castrate his brother with his favorite Bowie knife.
By the time Sam finally gets Reagan to bed, Dean has settled onto the couch with a car/porn/manly man magazine and Sam’s head is throbbing. “I hate you,” Sam says, though without much rancor. He’s too tired to be angry anymore.
“Don’t act like I haven’t done my fair share with screaming kids, Sam,” Dean says amusedly. “I remember when you were six. You were such a little shit.”
“Fuck off,” Sam mutters.
“At least when you were a baby, you couldn’t talk,” Dean muses. “It was easier to deal with you without Dad when you weren’t throwing tantrums.” Dean has some sort of girly-ass wistful look in his eyes, like he actually fondly remembers being Sam’s surrogate mother, and after a month of putting it off, something twists in Sam’s stomach. He needs to tell Dean. It’s stupid to keep hiding something that’s going to become very fucking obvious in a month or two.
He spends the next twenty minutes trying to think of a way to word it without sounding completely dumb, but before he can do anything, the doorbell rings, and Dean and Sam find a badly bruised Mona on the doorstep, Jack-Jack equally bruised hanging on to her hand, and just like that, they have an indefinite house-guest. And there’s no bringing up incest-babies after that.
So, yeah, Sam might have manned-the-fuck-up, but that still doesn’t mean anything got done.
It’s a long night. By the time Mona’s calmed down enough to tell them that Jackson had had a little too much Southern Comfort and whapped Jackson almost hard enough to break his cheekbone, it’s nearing midnight. Dean is, of course, rearing to go, ready to take Jackson and bury him in an unmarked grave, and there’s no way that Sam’s letting him do that alone, so he joins the one-man lynch mob that almost doesn’t get out the door because Mona’s pleading with them not to do it.
Not that it makes much of a difference because the apartment’s empty when they get there, devoid of anything valuable and small enough to be portable.
“Motherfucker,” Dean snarls, practically punching a hole through the drywall.
Sam doesn’t say anything, but he agrees with Dean. He’s not nearly as angry, but Jackson deserves something, and Sam thinks it’s weird that he’s skipped town without so much as a peep. For a while he’s afraid that Jackson’s backtracked to their own house, but it’s still quiet when they get home a good half hour later. Mona’s waiting up with wide eyes, wielding a heavy cast-iron pan for protection, and even though Dean promises up and down that he’s going to yank Jackson back to town by his balls, Mona is level-headed.
“He’s not worth it,” she says. “Let him go. I don’t want him to come back. Ever.”
When Sam gets back from work the next day, bleary-eyed and nauseated, Mona’s curled up on their couch watching something on the television and Dean’s seething in the kitchen.
“Her mother thinks she should apologize and go back to him,” Dean snarls. “She won’t let Mona move in. And dickhole Jackson completely wiped out her bank account.”
“Jesus,” Sam says, pushing a hand through his hair. “What’s she going to do?”
“Stay here,” Dean says like it’s the most obvious answer, a challenging tone to his voice. “As long as she needs.”
Sam could argue, but he doesn’t have the energy, and frankly, it’s not something he’s going to win. He just sighs heavily and offers to clean out their extra room.
Things are definitely different with Mona constantly underfoot, but the dynamic’s weird. Mona’s usually loud--bubbly and outgoing--but she’s subdued somewhat, tired eyes and a drooping smile. It makes Sam feel like a jackass for being annoyed that she’s dominating everyone’s attention, but he can’t help it. She’s never not home, never far from Dean’s sight, and it makes Sam feel superfluous in a way he hasn’t in a long time. Almost invisible, like he’s fifteen again, wholeheartedly against the hunt that Dean and Dad couldn’t stop thinking about.
The way Sam compensates is, perhaps, a bit childish, but there’s something that itches underneath his skin every time Mona and Dean are alone in the house. As upset as she is, Mona still looks at Dean like he’s a freakin’ savior, moon-eyes, the whole nine yards, and the possessive part of Sam is rearing its head more now than ever. It’s not over the top--Dean never calls Sam out on it, but Sam feels stupid nevertheless, clingy in a way he isn’t usually, overly-attentive to Reagan when Mona’s spoiled her in some way. He’ll sit closer than usual to Dean on the couch while he and Mona are watching something stupid, bring up stories that Mona can’t participate in if she and Dean are talking too much about work. It’s definitely immature, but it makes Sam feel a little bit better.
Once Mona starts picking up a little, things get even more challenging. She’s thrown a crimp in the whole let’s-tell-Dean-I’m-pregnant thing Sam has to do, and he’s at the (admittedly catty) point where he wants Dean to notice something’s wrong. Except Dean’s still too preoccupied with making sure Mona’s functioning to even notice that Sam’s eating weird shit and getting a little round. So yeah, maybe Sam’s a little snappier than usual, but he’s pretty convinced that it’s justified.
Mona’s got her friends in on the whole snit she has with Sam, and they’re a whole lot more obvious, which sucks in its own way too. One in particular, Kimberly, is particularly protective of Mona, and and one night, she has the idea that Mona’s mood can be cured through booze. And it isn’t hard to get Dean on board with anything that involves alcohol, so that’s how Sam finds himself as the fourth wheel on a bar-run one Friday night with the kids at home with a babysitter Mona knows.
Sam feels distinctly uncomfortable in his t-shirt, keeps pulling it down as it catches on the barely-perceptible pull of his stomach, but he’d be completely out-of-place wearing something baggy. Mona and Kimberly are done up, sex-hair and high heels, and Dean, as always, looks like a fucking model.
Kimberly, Mona, and Dean already had a head start at home, so Sam offers to get the first round. It’s a good thing that Sam knows the bartender, because it’s easier to get her to disguise a glass of water as a gin and tonic and agree to do it for the rest of the night. He gets Dean a whiskey, straight on the rocks, and two vodka-crans for Mona and Kimberly. Unsurprisingly nobody lifts a hand to help Sam as he brings it back to the table.
The bar is loud, reminiscent of all the shitty-ass college bars he and Dean used to drink in when they were on the road, and Sam nurses his fake drink as long as he can while Mona, Kimberly, and Dean get progressively drunk. Sam’s quiet, somewhat stand-offish, but he doesn’t want to be here, out at a bar when he could be at home, and it’s turned his mood black.
“God,” Dean comments, obviously smashed, “way to be a killjoy there, Sam.” He motions towards Sam’s half empty glass, still water masquerading as alcohol as Sam raises his eyebrow.
“Someone has to drive you home, alcoholic,” he comments back.
“I’m not letting you near my baby,” Dean says, standing up. “I’m a better driver drunk than you are sober.”
“The only thing you’d drive tonight is right into a tree,” Sam says wryly.
“Whatever,” replies Dean. “I’mma go hit the head.”
“You do that,” Sam says and Dean stumbles away, just unsteady enough on his feet that only Sam notices. As soon as he’s out of range, Kimberly turns to him with this expression on her face that doesn’t sit well with Sam, her eyebrow raised.
“Jesus, Sam, what is your issue?” she asks. “Did your momma teach you to be such an asshole or did it just come naturally? You’re pretty damn critical of Dean; I don’t understand why he puts up with your bitching.” Besides her, Mona gasps and hisses something in her ear.
Sam has to take three deep breaths to be able to answer steadily. “My mom died when I was a baby in a house fire,” he says, almost pleasantly. “So, no. She didn’t really teach me anything.”
“And as for the other part,” Sam continues as Kimberly flushes a deep red, “you’re just gonna have to ask Dean yourself.
She’s obviously too tipsy to hold on to her shame of bringing up the taboo subject of Sam’s mom, because her retort is quick and furious. “Maybe he just needs to see how it would be with someone who actually acts like they care. Every time I hang out with you guys, it seems like all you do is nag and insult him.”
That stings. Kimberly’s only visited with Sam and Dean a handful of times, doesn’t know him or how his relationship with Dean works, but her criticism cuts deep. “I’ll ask him for you then. See what he thinks about that. Maybe you’re right and he’ll leave me right here in this bar for Mona.” It’s a harsh statement, especially given the way Mona’s face morphs into blind panic.
“Sam, don’t,” she pleads. “She’s just drunk--she doesn’t mean anything. I don’t want you and Dean to break up--what are you even talking about?”
Sam is too rehearsed in reading through bullshit to not know that she’s lying through her teeth, so he shrugs noncommittally. “I see the way you look at him, Mona. Oh, look, he’s back.” Sure enough, Dean’s ambling through the crowd, another beer in his hand, and when he sits down, Sam has a second of wanting to spill everything, the whole conversation he missed.
But he doesn’t. Mona’s looking like she’s about to vomit and Sam’s not up for causing a scene or a he-said-she-said sort of moment, so he just leans back in the booth, settling a little into Dean’s side.
“Wha’s goin’ on?” Dean asks, a little suspiciously.
“Nothing,” Mona says, too quickly. “We were just chatting.”
“Talking about how your shirt is obscenely tight,” Sam says lightly, trying to ignore how his chest still burns with anger. “Trying for some male prostitution there, Dean?”
Dean leers widely. “You know you love it, Sammy.”
“I dunno,” Sam says, shrugging a little. “Seems like you’re overcompensating a little.”
“I’ll show you overcompensating,” Dean returns, forgetting their audience as he leans a little closer. This should be the point of the night where Sam reminds Dean that he doesn’t like public displays of affection, not in a redneck bar and definitely not with Sam and his lack of boobs and short skirt. But Dean’s seemed to have forgotten completely about Mona and Kimberly, and Sam is feeling vengeful enough to let Dean go through with it, so instead of turning away like he should, Sam moves into the kiss.
Dean’s definitely uncoordinated from all the alcohol, but he makes up for it with enthusiasm. Sam’s immediately coaxed into a wet, dirty kiss, the taste of beer bitter and heavy on Dean’s tongue, and Sam can’t help but respond, arching into Dean’s touch wantonly.
Dean breaks away when Kimberly clears her throat a little too loudly, but he looks more smug than embarrassed as he rubs the back of his neck and offers a less-than-sincere apology. The night doesn’t last much longer than that, and even though Mona’s unhappy expression makes Sam feel a little guilty, he’s still counting that as a win in his column.
Sam half-expects Mona to bring up Sam’s argument with Kimberly, but she dances around the subject surprisingly well considering that she’s currently holed up in Sam’s guest bedroom. Of course, Dean doesn’t want to hear about it when Sam tentatively brings it up, too convinced that Sam’s being dramatic.
It makes for a very snappy couple of weeks.
When Mona suggests a vacation to her friend’s lake house for a week as a last hurrah as September’s weather finally begins to wane into fall, Sam knows she’s expecting him to not be able to come. She’d finagled the time off for herself and Dean well in advance, but the library Sam works for isn’t big and a week is a lot of time to ask for. Still, Sam’s on good terms with the head librarian and she doesn’t even need to consider before she tells him to go. Mona’s disappointment is another small victory, even though Sam feels petty for considering it as such.
Somehow, due to his own idiocy, Sam ends up squashed in the back seat with Jack-Jack and Reagan, his knees practically up to his chin. The drive is almost four hours and Sam can already feel a crick in his back and it’s only the comforting, familiar smell of the Impala that keeps him from vomiting.
“Thanks so much for taking the back, Sam,” Mona says. “You didn’t have to offer--you’re so much taller than me, after all.”
“No problem,” Sam grits out. He’d taken the back seat as a nice gesture, but he’s still annoyed that Mona hadn’t argued more about letting him have the front.
Turns out, the car trip was just the beginning of what turned out to be the most trying vacation Sam could ever remember taking.
Mona’s friend owns apparently the most lavish lake house in all of South Dakota and has taken it upon himself to invite only his douche-baggiest friends to share it with. Sam has to bite his tongue three separate times to keep himself from asking why Mona just doesn’t live with him instead and only by the grace of Chuck does he stop himself from commenting that he feels like they’re about to star in a shitty remake of a Friday the Thirteenth movie considering the relatively remote location of the cabin-cum-mansion.
They are, of course, the last to arrive and Sam and Dean are shunted into the smallest available room with two twin beds and a hideaway for Reagan, who immediately pouts.
“This bed smells funny,” she whines. “I want my own bed.”
“Suck it up,” Sam tells her, not unkindly. “If you were at home, you wouldn’t be able to swim in a lake or go on a boat, would you?”
“I guess not,” she hedges. “Can I put my swimsuit on?”
“It’s too dark now,” Sam says. “You’ll get eaten by mosquitos. But tomorrow--all day. I promise.”
She looks deadly serious for someone whose biggest worry is the amount of water-time she’s going to get. “Deal,” she says. “but can I have cake tonight instead? Mona brought some.”
“If she says it’s okay,” Sam says, and he barely has time to blink before Reagan’s tearing out of the room on the hunt for sugar. Dean’s still upstairs socializing with Mona’s friends, but Sam doesn’t feel like entering enemy territory. He figures there are enough of them upstairs to make sure Reagan doesn’t choke to death on dessert and decides instead to sit on his too-short bed and watch some television on the badly-calibrated twenty-year old set that’s been put in their room.
When Dean comes back downstairs some two hours later with a conked-out Reagan in his arms, Sam is dozing with the light still on. True to form, Dean is hardly quiet as he plops Reagan down on the hideaway, startling Sam awake.
“Way to be an antisocial dickwad,” Dean says evenly, pulling the covers up around Reagan even though she’ll inevitably kick them off in the middle of the night.
“They’re your friends, not mine,” Sam points out tiredly.
“Except for the fact that I hadn’t met half of them till tonight,” Dean says. “Seriously, dude, it’s not like you. What the fuck’s been up with you lately?”
“Can we not argue about Mona and her friends and how I think they hate my fucking guts?” Sam asks, throwing a hand over his eyes. “I am not awake enough for this shit. Plus, I think there’s a million kinks in my spine from the stupid backseat.”
“Shut your mouth,” Dean says, pointing. “Don’t you go insulting my girl, Sammy.”
“I will pay you a million dollars if you shut up,” Sam says.
“You are a killjoy lately,” Dean complains. “Here, turn over.”
“Why?” Sam groans. “Dean, seriously, I’m exhausted.”
“Sam, seriously,” Dean mimics. “I’mma start hiding uppers in your food if you keep sleeping like this all the time. If you roll over I’ll give you a massage so you don’t wake me up tomorrow crying about cramps.”
“You’re the one who sounds girly offering a massage,” Sam mumbles, but he takes the peace offering at face value and laboriously turns onto his stomach.
“A manly massage,” Dean elaborates.
“No such thing,” Sam grumbles into his pillow, but Dean’s hands are on his back in an instant, sure and steady, and once the painful part stops, Sam’s passed out.
So maybe Sam jumped the gun a little as far as first impressions go, because although Kimberly is another guest on this little vacation, she’s on her best behavior after the bar incident, practically civil whenever she catches Sam’s eye. And the others aren’t bad either--a little sheltered and boring but talkative enough and even though he tries not to he gets pulled into the conversation more than he sits out of it.
So maybe Sam’s been being a whole baby about this vacation thing. Not that he’s going to admit it.
The better part of the week is spent with him and Dean trading off lifeguard duty, since Reagan refuses to get out of the water a second before she has to, flopping around in her lifejacket because Sam is paranoid and they weren’t yuppy enough to enroll her in swimming lessons at the local Y. Still, Sam manages do exactly what he wanted to do on his vacation: absolutely nothing besides lying around and reading, which is more than Dean-the-slug accomplishes.
Lucas, who owns the house, uses his grill to great effect, but it’s fairly wasted on Sam, as he spends most of his dinners alternatively trying to figure out how to dump mustard on his watermelon without seeming insane or figuring out the best way to make it look like he’s finished his beer without actually drinking it. It’s probably the most intellectually stimulating part of his day though, so he can’t really complain.
By the time Lucas pulls the tarp off of his boat, the week’s gone by well enough that Sam’s drifted off of his guard. Reagan is practically dancing in excitement, Dean’s two beers in and mellow, and Sam’s just looking forward to the ride. He and Dean manage to wrangle a struggling Reagan back into her lifejacket and get her into the boat, at which point she immediately races to the front, climbing on top of the seat to get a better look.
“Be careful,” Sam calls.
“Don’t be such a worrywart,” Dean chides, clapping Sam on the back as he gets on behind him. “She’ll be fine.”
“One of us has to worry,” Sam grumbles, “because I know you won’t.”
“You’re such a mom, Sam,” Kimberly says, laughing, which irks Sam a lot because hello, he has a fucking penis and is definitely not maternal at all. But it’s not worth it to call her out, not when Lucas is gunning the engine, so he just plops down on one of the empty seats, trying to ignore how Dean goes to sit by Mona and instead watches Reagan as Lucas floors it once they pass the no-wake zone.
True to form, as soon as they slow down a little, Reagan shoots Sam a coy little glance and then as soon as he looks away, shucks her lifejacket. Sam lets her get away with it for a couple of minutes, but Lucas doesn’t like the slow pace he’s undertaken and speeds up again, bouncing against the wake of another boat that’s just passed them.
“Reagan!” Sam calls over the spray. “Put that back on!”
“But dad-d-d-d-y,” she whines, loud enough to be heard over the wind and the purr of the engine. “You aren’t wearing one. And neither is dad!”
“When you get as old as I am, you don’t have to wear one,” Sam says.
“Live a little,” Dean yells. “She’ll be fine, Sam!”
Reagan whoops and instantly climbs a little higher on the rail as Sam gives Dean the stink-eye. There’s no way he’s getting her in one now, not after Dean told her she’d be okay without it.
Sam should have known, though. It was too much of a flirting-with-danger move to not invite some bad juju.
Barely five minutes after the lifejacket argument, Lucas hits a particularly rough wave, the boat bouncing high enough in the air that Sam goes off his seat a little. Everyone else laughs at it, but Sam’s been watching Reagan like a hawk, so he’s the only one who sees her topple. She’d been climbing too high to catch the spray on her face, and hadn’t had enough of a grip, and one minute she’s there and the next she’s not.
“Dean!” Sam yells, the sound wrenched from his throat, and he doesn’t wait for a response as he stands up, unsteady with the rocking of the boat, and flings himself off of it, probably lucky that he didn’t bash his head against the fiberglass on his way down. The water is a shock, cold and all-encompassing, and when he surfaces again, the boat is already gone, several yards in front of him. He sees a flash of yellow--Reagan’s swimsuit, maybe, and flounders after it.
It’s like an eternity of grabbing at seaweed and pawing through floating sediment, and Sam’s getting nowhere. The panic has taken over his chest, choking him until he can’t breathe even when he’s not underwater.
And then suddenly he surfaces to shouts, takes a moment and sees Dean in the water, maybe twenty feet to his left and Mona’s treading water, Reagan in her arms, pale but obviously breathing if her weak, hitched sobs are any indication.
Compared to searching for her (and how long was it? seconds? minutes? longer?) getting back on the boat seems to happen in a millisecond. Sam’s the last one up the ladder, and Reagan’s already clinging like a limpet to Dean, who’s bent awkwardly around her as she sobs.
“It’s okay, baby girl,” he soothes. “It’s okay, it’s okay.”
When Sam touches her with a shaking hand, she turns, looks up at him and then swings into his arms.
“I’m sorry, daddy,” she wails. “I didn’t mean to. I’m so sorry.”
It takes a minute for his throat to unstick, but he’s hugging her back instantly. “It’s not your fault,” he murmurs. “You were so brave.”
It’s a long trip back to the cabin, but Sam doesn’t let go of her the entire ride.
Once the shock wears off, it becomes the main topic of conversation--how lucky Reagan was that she didn’t get hit by the boat, how awesome of a swimmer Mona had been, Sam’s funny leap off into the water. When Reagan decides she wants nothing more than to stick to Mona for the rest of the night, Sam slips outside to sit on the porch. He can’t keep hearing about it; it’s going to make him sick.
It isn’t long before Dean ambles outside and takes the lawn chair next to Sam’s, sliding closer. He looks at Sam for a minute then puts a reassuring hand on Sam’s wrist.
“Dude, calm down,” he says. “She’s fine. It was an accident.”
“She could have died, Dean,” Sam responds hoarsely.
“And you would have ripped heaven apart to get her back,” Dean says sagely. “Plus, I’m pretty sure Castiel would have rescued her in a second.”
“That’s not the point, Dean,” Sam snaps. “She was in the water, and I couldn’t find her.”
“I blame your shitty swimming teacher,” Dean says. It’s a joke because Dean had been the one to teach Sam to swim in a murky hotel pool, but Sam doesn’t see the humor.
“Stop joking,” he says harshly.
“Stop beating yourself up,” Dean says. “Seriously, Sam, what is up with you lately?”
“So I’m not allowed to freak out about this?” Sam asks incredulously. “What the fuck, Dean?”
“No-o,” Dean hedges. “Just, Jesus, you’re having a fucking panic attack out here.”
“I couldn’t save her!” Sam explodes. “It’s like I told you when we first found out about her. I’m not going to be able to keep her from being killed.”
“Sam, come on, deep breaths here,” Dean commands, and it’s only then that Sam realizes he’s on the verge of hyperventilating. “She’s a kid. Stuff like this is gonna happen. If it hadn’t been for you noticing that she’d fallen in, it might’ve taken a couple of minutes before anyone else did. You’re not fucking up here.”
“It sure feels like it,” Sam mutters.
“C’mere,” Dean says, pulling at the arm of Sam’s chair until he moves it so it’s touching Dean’s. “Calm down.” His hand on the back of Sam’s neck is what really gets Sam to remember how to breathe again, but he’s not admitting to that. Instead, he swallows the rest of the self-pity that’s stewing in his belly and concentrates on slowing his heart.
It’s maybe ten minutes before Dean speaks up again. “Seriously, Sam, what is going on with you lately?”
“Nothing,” Sam responds automatically. He feels much less like flying off the handle now, but there’s the itch of his secret in his head, swimming with the constant repetition of Reagan flying off of that boat.
“You’ve been snappy, distant, a big fucking girl,” Dean says. “It’s kinda hard not to notice.”
Sam has a million excuses, each one clambering to get out before the next, but when he finally opens his mouth, none of them come. Instead, he grabs Dean’s hand and guides it under his shirt to where his stomach’s changed the most.
“You knocked me up again, dickhole,” he says.
Dean’s eyes go so wide, it would almost be comical if Sam wasn’t so on edge. “What?” he croaks.
“I’m pregnant,” Sam says. “Don’t act like you’re not happy. I’ve seen the googly eyes you make at the Hendersons’ kid. And you say I’m the girl.”
“Seriously, Sam?” Dean asks, a little weakly. He spreads his fingers wide as though he’s trying to encompass the entirety of Sam’s belly with his hand.
“Uh, yeah,” Sam responds. “I wouldn’t be telling you if I wasn’t sure.”
“When?” Dean splutters. “How--I mean--Christ, Sam, your pill--”
“I stopped taking it,” Sam says. His doubt is beginning to creep back, a slow moving shadow.
“You stopped taking it?” Dean repeats stupidly.
“Yeah,” says Sam. “Like, I dunno, eight months ago.”
“And you didn’t think to let me know?” Dean still sounds more flabbergasted than mad, but Sam still gets the sense that he’s treading on thin ice.
“I didn’t want to get your hopes up,” Sam says, very softly.
“What are you even talking about?” Dean asks.
“I know you wanted another one,” Sam says, stronger. “But I didn’t know if it would be physically able to happen. I’m not really built for this whole child-rearing shit, you know?”
Dean is very quiet for about thirty seconds, but then his next noise is a laugh, a cross between amused and exasperated. “Jesus, Sam, even when we’re not fighting monsters, you still find something to keep a secret about.”
“I didn’t mean to,” Sam defends. “First I wasn’t sure if it would even survive. And then Mona’s... thing happened and everything got complicated.”
Dean’s hand hasn’t moved from Sam’s stomach, and he’s beginning to feel a little awkward when all of a sudden, it slips from Sam’s skin and is instantly encircling his left wrist.
“C’mon,” Dean says, standing up and pulling Sam to his feet.
“What are you doing?” Sam sputters, stumbling a little.
“I was gonna take you to the Impala and suck your dick, you big baby,” Dean says, grinning predatorily. “But if you’re too upset... ”
Sam’s face splits into a grin. “Don’t let me stop you.”
“Pft,” Dean responds.
All in all, best chick-flick-moment ever.
Being back home, away from the drama of keeping things secret from Dean, life seems almost boring. Even Mona’s constant presence is almost bearable, and Sam finds himself less snappish towards her. Things haven’t entirely rounded the corner, but he’s not getting sick as much and Dean’s more attentive, which is something Sam isn’t ever going to admit to wanting.
The next time Sam’s scheduled for a doctor’s visit, Dean insists on going along. Back with Reagan, Sam hadn’t let Dean sit in on anything resembling an examination, so having him sit next to him while the technician prepares the ultrasound is, suffice to say, awkward. Sam’s shirtless, his nipples pebbled from the cool temperature, his stomach perceptibly rounded, and Dean’s acting like an overprotective kid, wide-eyed and full of questions.
The goop is sticky and gross as the technician sweeps the wand over Sam’s skin. It takes a minute, but she finds the fetus easily enough, honing in on it and pointing out a blob on the screen.
“That’s the heartbeat,” she says, her voice flat from routine.
“Dude, that’s so weird,” Dean says. He hits Sam’s arm, laughing a little.
“Try having it inside you,” Sam mutters. The technician starts pointing out features: nose, hands, the curve of its back. Sam doesn’t really want to look, finds it too surreal, but Dean’s practically glued to the screen. When she asks if they want to know the sex, Dean practically comes out of his chair.
“Calm down,” Sam says, a little surprised. “Jesus, Dean, there are only two options here!”
“Whatever, Sam,” Dean says, still smiling widely. “You know you wanna find out too.”
And, yeah, he kinda does. Reagan was a surprise simply because Sam didn’t want to get attached, but it’s already too late for this one. As much as he hates being pregnant, he feels an urgent sense of responsibility to protect the little blob.
“Go ahead, I guess,” Sam says.
“Unless we have a shy one on our hands, it’s a girl,” she says. “Congratulations!”
Later as they’re driving home, Sam points out, “You know, this means that we’ll have to deal with two teenage girls at the same time. I think I’d rather go back to ghost-hunting.”
“Please,” Dean responds. “You were more trouble as a teenager than any girl. I was always chasing your ass.”
“Whatever,” Sam says huffily.
“So when are we gonna tell the kid?” Dean asks. “Hate to break it to you, Sam, but you’re getting pretty big there.”
“Fuck off,” Sam says. “She’s going to freak out. She won’t have your undivided attention anymore.”
“Ye of little faith,” Dean quips. “I was fucking over the moon when I found out Mom was having you.”
“You were four,” Sam says dryly. “There’s no way you can remember that.”
“Except I do,” says Dean, sounding like he’s still four. “She used to let me talk to you and I’d sing for hours and shit.”
“You’re totally making that up,” Sam says.
“Fine, don’t believe me,” Dean replies, shrugging. “But we’re gonna have to tell her soon or she’s gonna go around letting people know that her dad’s gotten fat.”
“Fuck. Off,” Sam says.
“I’m spilling the beans if you won’t,” Dean says.
“Let’s just get it over with tonight,” Sam says, sighing. “It’ll be easier if we get the temper tantrums out of the way early.”
Link Part Three