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Kingdom Come

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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.

**

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.”

**

**

Reagan’s playing some kind of mutant-doll-army game with Chester when Sam and Dean come into her room. Sam loiters against the wall as Dean sits on the bed, and Reagan instantly looks up, wide-eyed.

“I didn’t do it!” she protests. “Swear!”

Dean laughs. “You’re not in trouble, munchkin.”

Her face contorts into a confused expression. “What do you want?” she asks, looking between them suspiciously.

Sam starts it off, shifting from foot to foot. “You remember when Jamie from down the street got her little brother?”

Reagan’s eyes light up in recollection. “Ye-e-ah! Her mom got really big and then the baby came out of her tummy. Like that man in Alien!” She pantomimes something exploding from her chest, along with sound effects as Dean snickers.

“I thought we talked about letting her watch that kind of stuff,” Sam says sternly.

“Whatever, she loved it,” says Dean off-handedly. “Anyway, kiddo, looks like Jamie’s not gonna be the only big sister around.”

“What’a you talkin’ about?” Reagan asks.

“In a couple of months you’re going to have to worry about something coming out of me,” Sam clarifies. “Only it’ll look less like an alien and more like a baby sister.”

Reagan’s resulting shriek is loud enough to nearly burst Sam’s eardrum. “Really?” she squeals. “Can I see, can I see, can I see?!”

Dean’s smile is so smug that Sam can’t help but think about how he’s going to get back at him for being a self-satisfied bastard as he guides Reagan’s hand to the curve of his belly.

**
Dean gets the task of telling Mona about the baby, which turns out to go just as well as Sam expected it to.

Which is to say, not well at all.

Sure, after the look of surprise, she starts gushing, asking when it’s due and blabbering on about nurseries and siblinghood and all that jazz, but Sam can tell she’s putting on a front. Hell, Dean can tell, if Sam’s reading his stiff posture correctly. And it’s a surefire sign that Mona’s upset when she excuses herself to bed early.

“Dude, what’s up with her?” Dean asks.

Sam just sighs. “Sometimes you’re so freakin’ clueless,” he says and doesn’t elaborate when Dean pries.

When Sam heads downstairs sometime in the middle of the night, Mona’s sitting in the kitchen with a glass of wine like some cliché. Sam doesn’t know what to say, so he keeps quiet as he goes to the fridge to grab something to eat--cold pizza and peanut butter, which, yeah, gross, but it’s what Sam wants.

He’s about to take the plate into another room so he can finish and sneak back upstairs when Mona says something. Her voice is a little off, maybe indicating that this isn’t her first glass of wine, and Sam stops with his back to her.

“Sorry, what?” he asks, because he’s not sure he heard right.

“Congratulations,” she repeats, and Sam turns around so he can look at her in the dim light of the kitchen. “It’s great news.”

“Thanks,” he responds awkwardly.

“Coulda sworn Dean told me you didn’t want to have any more kids. Guess I was wrong,” Mona says, almost to herself. It seems like the booze has made her more courageous than before.

“It wasn’t that I didn’t want more kids,” Sam says quietly. “I didn’t want to be pregnant with one. There’s a difference.”

“I figured it was something like that,” Mona says.

Sam feels his eyes narrow of their own accord. “Something like what?”

She looks at him boldly and says, “Something selfish like that.”

Shaking his head incredulously, Sam responds, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a man. It’s a little fucked up for me to be pregnant in the first place. And it doesn’t even matter now--because hey, I’m knocked up, and it wasn’t on accident. So I guess that throws a crimp in your theory.”

Mona just laughs, an odd empty sound, as she takes another sip of wine. “I guess I just don’t understand you then, Sam. You’re not like an other fertile I’ve ever met. I mean, Dean’s wanted another kid forever, and Reagan--she’s been so good with Jack-Jack--she would be such a great sister. It’s just you who didn’t want it. I dunno.”

Sam’s face contorts in what he’s sure is a stupid, confused expression. “I’m part of this family too, Mona. It took me a long time to become comfortable with becoming pregnant again.”

“Why did you then?” she says, her voice a little higher-pitched than normal. “Get pregnant on purpose? If you didn’t want it--and if it makes you miserable--I don’t get why you would.”

“Because it felt like the right thing to do,” Sam says lamely. He’s not sure how to put his justifications into words; they just feel like a jumble of words in his head that won’t pull together into something cohesive.

“But you shouldn’t do it out of obligation!” Mona says. “Why would you even do that? You and Dean are already out-of-sorts without you having something else to blame him for.”

“What are you even talking about?” Sam asks.

“You and Dean have never felt right,” she says, her eyes watery. “You just snip at him all the time, you belittle him, you don’t help him when he needs it. What kind of relationship is that? You’re his husband, and he’s such... he’s Dean. He deserves someone who wants to be with him.”

“I do,” Sam says, taken aback. “Jesus, Mona, I do wanna be with Dean. He’s mine.”

“You don’t act like it!” she exclaims. “You’re never happy to see him, you’re always taking him down a peg--”

“I am not,” Sam says. “You just don’t understand--that’s how Dean and I have always been.”

“That’s how Jackson always was too,” Mona says very softly. “He was always a bit too controlling. A little handsy. And I thought that was normal, and it’s not. I didn’t know until I met Dean. And I feel awful, loving him, when he still has you and I couldn’t make it work with Jackson, but I can’t help it.”

“I’m not hurting Dean,” Sam says, ignoring the way she’s finally stated the obvious with her declaration of love. “You just--that’s how we work. Mona, I’m sorry that Jackson was an asshole to you, but I’m not him. Dean and I are happy.”

“You’re happy,” she says. “But have you ever asked him?”

Sam hasn’t, and that sits like a stone in his stomach. “No, but I know,” he snaps.

“Okay,” she says, very quietly, and Sam knows she doesn’t believe him.

“Stay out of it,” Sam says harshly. “You don’t know anything about us. And he’s not leaving me for you, Mona, no matter how much you think he will once he figures out how good you’d be for him.”

“Okay,” she says again. “I’m sorry--I think I’ve overstepped.”

“Yeah, you have,” Sam says. “Maybe you should try not to do that next time.” He storms away before she can say anything else to upset him, his head swimming, but he hears her quiet sniffles all the same as he goes up the stairs.

**

The next couple of days are inarguably tense, enough so that even Dean picks up on it. At first, he just spends his time looking between them, but Dean’s never one to ignore the issue. He brings it up one night when Mona’s already in bed while Sam’s brushing his teeth--an ambush.

“Dude,” Dean starts, “what’s up with you and Mona?”

Sam takes longer than he needs to spitting out the toothpaste gunk before he answers. “What are you talking about?” he asks coolly

“Don’t do that coy shit with me,” Dean complains.

Sam sighs, low and deep in his chest. “What do you want me to say, Dean? She’s not happy I’m pregnant.”

“Jesus, Sam,” Dean groans. “Not this shit again.”

“Except she told me so,” Sam interjects angrily. “I stumbled upon her drinking wine in the kitchen, and she made it pretty obvious that she thinks I treat you like shit.”

“Come on, Sam,” Dean says. “Don’t you think you’re exaggerating a little?”

“Um, no,” Sam retorts. “She doesn’t like me, she’s definitely in love with you, and her friends want to string me up by my dick.”

“Now, that’s bullshit,” Dean interjects. “You got along fine with them during vacation.”

“When you were around,” Sam points out.

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit of a drama bitch here?” Dean asks exasperatedly.

Sam scowls. “No, Dean. I think I’m being rational considering the circumstances.”

“What is it that pisses you off so much?” Dean demands. “What, you think I’m gonna leave you for her? Is that it, Sam?”

Sam doesn’t, not really, but that leads to the question of why the situation annoys him so much, so instead he hedges, “She is exactly your type.”

“What?” Dean scoffs. “Stacked and hot? So are a million other girls I could be boning. But I’m still here.”

“She’s stacked, hot, and your best friend,” Sam says quietly.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Dean says. “Not for this. I didn’t go to hell for her. I didn’t fight the fucking devil for her. I didn’t live through a zombie apocalypse and spray Leviathans for her, and I sure as hell didn’t knock her up and have to live with the fertile-freak-out.”

“I know,” Sam says miserably.

“Then what is it you’re freaking out about?” Dean asks.

“I don’t know,” Sam mumbles.

“Yeah, you do,” Dean prods. “You’re just too chicken shit to admit it.”

Sam’s quiet for a minute, has to be to gather his thoughts. “Sometimes I feel invisible in this house.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Dean comments.

“Well, fuck you, Dean! Maybe if you pretended you give a shit--”

“Dude, what, you think I don’t see you? You think I ignore you? I talk about you so much at work, the other guys tell me to shut the fuck up. I know when you’re pissing around like a little bitch and when you’re angry and when you’re tired.”

“But not when I’m pregnant,” Sam says angrily. “That took you four months.”

“Because you were avoiding the question,” Dean counters. “I must have asked you a million times what the fuck was wrong and you always said you were fine. I’m not a goddamn psychic.”

Sam sighs, but he can’t come up with anything to say. Dean is pacing the room now, looking more and more agitated. “Sam, you’re making drama all by yourself. It’s like the lack of hunting has finally caught up with you and you can’t just let it go.”

“It’s not easy sharing a house with someone who hates you and wants to mack on your brother slash whatever the fuck we’re calling ourselves these days,” Sam says.

“I’m not gonna kick her out, Sam,” says Dean steadily.

“Then you’d better have this talk with her too, because it can’t just go one way here.”

“Fine, whatever,” Dean says. “I’ll do it tomorrow. But you gotta try too, man.”

“I’ll give it a shot,” Sam sighs.

“‘Cause this is stupid. I feel like I’m livin’ in an atomic bomb around you two. And that’s without the kids constantly underfoot.”

“Think how I feel,” Sam grumbles. “I’m the one who’s in danger of bursting here.” He motions to his stomach in a self-deprecating way that makes Dean crack a small smile.

“Well, try not to, Sam. I like this room, and I don’t want to be cleaning up fucking bits of you if you blow up.”

“No promises,” Sam quips, and just like that, the argument is dropped for another day.

**

 

The next evening, Sam hangs out with Reagan while Dean has his heart-to-heart with Mona. He tries to eavesdrop the best he can, but Reagan has this idea in her head that she and Chester have to read a story to the baby, so he has a six-year old kneeling next to him, a book resting on his stomach, loudly reading while Chester snores in his ear. It’s not a great surprise that he doesn’t overhear anything, nor is he blown away by Dean’s reaction when he finally makes Reagan go to bed and heads to his room.

“You turn things into the biggest shitstorms when they don’t need to be, I swear,” Dean says breezily as he comes into the room. He looks relaxed and reassured, and that doesn’t make Sam feel any better.

“Oh?” Sam asks.

Dean raises an eyebrow. “Dude, she’s totally embarrassed. Says she didn’t know how to apologize.”

“Well, I’m shocked,” Sam says in a voice that completely betrays his sarcasm.

“Don’t be a dick,” Dean says flatly. “You know, she’s not exactly had the best summer here. And you being knocked up kinda hits the nail home that she’s been abandoned by her asshole boyfriend. So just be a little nicer, okay?”

“Whatever, Dean,” Sam says shortly. “I’mma go to bed--I’m exhausted.”

“Stop acting like a frosty bitch,” Dean complains. “God, I thought you had this whole thing about how you weren’t the wife in this relationship but you constantly prove yourself wrong.”

“Goodnight, Dean,” Sam says, pointedly turning the light out. He doesn’t have the patience for this conversation.

Predictably, when he runs into Mona the next morning, it’s awkward. He’s angry because he knows she lied point blank to Dean and he’s pissed at Dean for believing it so quickly. At the same time, he doesn’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that she’s fucked things up, so he smiles at her and stays at the kitchen table with his breakfast even though he kind of just wants to disappear and eat it somewhere else.

It doesn’t stop him from complaining to his friend after work though.

“Whoa,” Janice says, leaning back heavily in her chair. “Lord, you got some dumb-shit drama going on.”

Sam likes Janice, has done since he first met her. Janice’s a no-frills, give it to you straight kind of girl, and a regular at the library. She’s an expert in the weirdest of subjects and, best of all, a superb listener.

“Yeah, I know,” Sam says, feeling stupider by the minute. Hearing it all out like that made him feel petty, almost like a child. Like he was saying, Janice, Mona stole my toy again.

Janice doesn’t belittle Sam or drive that feeling further though. Just raises her eyebrow and continues, “First off, congrats on the baby. Never woulda expected that from you.”

And yeah, he and Janice might have had a spirited debate about the media-led feminization of male fertiles and how even if you were capable didn’t mean there should be an expectation for clown cars full of kids. Sam blushes despite himself. “I didn’t think I’d be going through it again, to be honest. It still sucks. I was hoping that I’d hyped it up, but no way. It’s a shit-storm.”

“Better you than me, honey,” Janice comments, raising her mug of weird-ass mountain root tea in a kind of salute. “And now on to the real issue, because damn, boy, what the hell is going on with you that you can’t freak out about your bellyful of life in peace?”

“Dean says I’m making drama,” Sam mutters to his decaf coffee.

“Dean probably isn’t wrong,” Janice says. “That doesn’t mean you are though. I knew Mona in high school. Girl was driven.”

“I can tell,” Sam says darkly.

“She’s probably just latched onto Dean after all that’s gone on,” Janice says sagely. “Stupid though, since it’s pretty obvious Dean’s not gonna leave you for her.”

“Don’t go storybook on me,” Sam complains. “Dean’s just as capable of going off with a nice pair of boobs as any other schmuck.”

“Okay, not storybook,” Janice says. “First off, you don’t believe that Dean’s gonna leave--that’s why you’re annoyed but not scared. Second off, he looks at you like all the time. Like some goddamn stalker. No way he’s getting out of whatever you two got goin’ on that easy.”

“You’re full of shit,” Sam says.

Janice just rolls her eyes and keeps talking. “You’re going about this the wrong way. By acting possessive and angry, you’re making Mona think she’s a threat when she’s not. All you gotta do is pretend you don’t give a crap. Then she’ll start backing off. Eventually.”

“Or she’ll think I’ve given up,” Sam points out.

“Nah,” Janice says, flapping a hand. “Start pretending you don’t care so much. It’ll work, I promise you. I know girls, bitch.”

**

It’s hard to take Janice’s words to heart, especially when Mona doesn’t ever come out and say she was out of line for anything, but Sam tries. It’s hard enough to deal with the fact that he’s beginning to look less fat and more pregnant day after day than it is to spend time thinking about how much she gets on his nerves.

Case in point: he stops fitting into his clothes and has to go on an excursion to find something that actually fits, which is no mean feat, considering he’s about a foot taller than most male fertiles. Eventually he has to give up and buy shit online, pants with the damn elastic, the same t-shirt in five different colors, big enough to stretch. He gets some oversize flannel cheap and starts draping himself in it, looking sloppy but at least nothing like the trendy fertile models he sees in the stupid magazines that turn up from time to time.

And then there’s the whole getting shit out of storage game to actually, y’know, get ready for the screaming, shitting baby that’s on its way. Turns out Sam and Dean aren’t the best at storing things, because half of what they salvage from the attic is either a moth-eaten biohazard or broken. The local resale shop owners become real friendly with them in a real short time. And it’s not like Sam can skimp on the whole nesting thing, because Mona’s prepared to do it more than enough for three people, considering Dean’s not in on it either. She’s moved on from the melancholy of learning about Sam’s baby-belly to acting like she thinks that Sam’s a surrogate for her and Dean.

Fuck yeah is it frustrating, but Sam’s still trying his hardest not to let it get to him.

Dean spends one miserable week in early December sick with the flu, which turns Mona into the most annoying nursemaid that Sam has ever known. She’s constantly flitting around, making sure he doesn’t need anything, changing sheets, and it’s so completely different from how anyone’s acted around them before that it almost makes Sam uncomfortable. He comes home from work one day and is accosted before he can even make it ten steps into the house.

“You need to convince Dean to go to the hospital,” Mona says, looking frazzled.

“What now?” Sam asks, kicking his shoes off so they don’t leave puddles.

“He hasn’t kept anything down all day, and I think he’s dehydrated. We need to get him to the ER before he gets sicker, and he won’t listen to me.”

Sam just barely resists himself from rolling his eyes; unless something’s broken or falling off, there’s no way Dean’s going to ever check himself in voluntarily to the hospital. He would tell Mona as such but the stiff way she’s holding herself suggests she’s not in the mood to listen.

“I’ll go talk to him,” Sam says, changing course so he can head upstairs. Mona follows him doggedly to where Reagan is standing guard with Chester outside Sam’s room.

“Dad’s sick,” she informs Sam gravely.

“So I hear,” Sam says. “Don’t worry. He’s just being a big baby.”

“I heard that,” Dean calls weakly from behind the door, and Sam takes that as his cue to gently step over Reagan and Chester and go inside the room, shutting the door behind him.

“Dude, Mona’s outside having a seizure,” Sam says, skirting the grossly large pile of used Kleenex. “Are you really dying in here or do I have to call off the ambulance?”

Please tell me she didn’t call 911,” Dean groans from somewhere under a pile of blankets.

“She’s gonna if you don’t man up and stop acting like a little bitch with the flu,” Sam informs him.

“You know how to take care of me,” Dean whines. “Don’t let her take me to the goddamn ER.”

“You’re a giant baby,” Sam says. “I’ll be back.”

“If you have paramedics with you, I will shoot you in the foot with my glock,” Dean says. “Don’t think I don’t have it hiding under my pillows.”

“Noted,” Sam says.

“Well?” Mona demands when he gets out, hands on her hips, tapping her foot in a worried manner.

“Yeah, no,” Sam says. “Good luck trying to get him out of bed without a SWAT team. But I have something I can try before he wastes away in there.”

“Dad’s not gonna die, is he?” Reagan asks, her lower lip quivering.

“It’ll take more than the flu to take down dad,” Sam tells her. “Here, come on. I could use your help in the kitchen.”

“He can’t keep anything down, Sam. He won’t even try to eat,” Mona says.

“I have a few tricks up my sleeve,” Sam says, arching with his hands on his lower back to relieve some of the pain that’s settled there from the ball full of baby he has sitting on his bladder. Once he’s back downstairs, Mona’s in their room again, no doubt trying to convince Dean to get up and to the hospital. Sam decides to ignore her in lieu of grabbing the plastic bag he’d set down when he’d walked in the door.

It takes some maneuvering with Reagan underfoot, but he eventually has what he needs to go back upstairs: some tomato rice soup, a handful of no-salt crackers because Dean whines when his chapped lips sting, and a glass of flat ginger ale. Using his belly as a stabilizer, he slowly makes his way back upstairs.

“If you spill this on the bed,” Sam says threateningly, “I’m going to make you sleep outside.”

“Sam,” Mona says impatiently, “that’s too heavy. He won’t keep it down.” Besides her, Dean is making grabby hands, and Sam raises his eyebrow.

“I take back anything bad I ever said to you,” Dean says. “Where’d you get that?”

“Crackers from the grocery store,” Sam supplies, “ginger ale’s been going flat on my desk all day, and I bribed Mrs. Richards at the cafe to make some soup yesterday.”

“You are a godsend, Sam,” Dean says seriously and starts to slowly eat the food. Sam just shrugs and leaves, needs to feed the kid before Chester ends up with a soup-bowl hat when she tries to get some herself, and when he comes back half an hour later, there’s only a couple of crackers left and Dean looks marginally better. Mona, of course, has a resentful look on her face, which makes things that much sweeter.

“You are so easy,” Sam comments.

“Yeah, whatever,” Dean says. “Get in here.” He pats Sam’s side of the bed with a pathetic look on his face.

“Did something short-circuit in your brain?” Sam asks. “Really, Dean? You want to cuddle?”

“It’ll make me feel better,” Dean whines.

“Reagan’s still up,” Sam says. “I need to make sure her homework’s done and get her ready for bed. And Jack-Jack’s still sacked out in front of the TV.”

“Mona can do that,” Dean says, turning pleading eyes her way.

“Of course,” Mona says. “That’s not a problem.”

“C’mon, don’t leave me hanging,” Dean says.

“Jesus Christ,” Sam complains. “Hold on.” He grabs his pajama pants from the floor and steals into the bathroom to change. By the time he’s back, Mona’s disappeared and Dean is half passed out already. Sam could sneak away too, but he’s damn tired, so instead he slips into the bed. Dean immediately curls around him, resting one of his hands on the swell of Sam’s stomach. He’s like a fetishist with the thing.

“Thank God,” Dean moans. “It’s so fucking cold in here and Mona’s electric blanket smells like shit.”

“I see,” Sam says, shoving a hand under the pillow. “You’re just using me as a human furnace.”

“You love it, bitch,” Dean says.

“Jerk,” Sam yawns, and he lets the off-beat cadence of Dean’s breaths soothe him to sleep. When he wakes up the next morning, it’s to Dean asking for a get-well-soon blowjob, which is a big honking sign that Sam still knows how to coax his brother out of being sick.

So, yeah, Sam’s definitely counting this one as a win.

**

Things don’t come to a head until January with Mona. She’s been getting steadily quieter, scarcer around Sam, and one day Sam comes home and her car isn’t in the driveway. It doesn’t strike him as weird until he gets inside and finds Reagan alone in the front hall reading with Dean in the kitchen nursing a glass of whiskey.

“Really, Dean?” Sam asks, eyeing the whiskey and the corresponding half-empty bottle. “It’s barely six.”

“Mona left,” Dean says morosely, still clear-tongued enough to suggest he’s not three sheets to the wind.

This surprises Sam, and he gingerly settles into a chair, careful to not catch his fucking enormous belly on the side of the table. “Left as in gone? As in not coming back here tonight?”

“Left as in has a house across town that she got cheap,” Dean informs him.

“And what, you’re upset? You miss her already? Or do you miss being her knight in armor?” Sam asks shrewdly. He kind of wants to ask if Dean is showing some latent more-than-friends feelings for her but can tell that it won’t go over very well.

“She asked me to come with her,” Dean says dully.

“What?” Sam blurts, flabbergasted.

“Go with her,” Dean elaborates. “Take Reagan and leave you and leave the house and live with her instead.”

“Oh,” Sam says and then, “You’re not. Are you?”

“Don’t be a shithead, Sam,” Dean says tiredly. “Of course not.”

“Just making sure,” Sam says slowly.

“I’m not stupid, Sam,” Dean says, sighing. “I thought she was just gonna get over it. This whatever-it-was crush on me.”

“Seriously?” Sam asks. “All those fights and you knew?”

“She didn’t love me,” Dean spits self-deprecatingly. “She just thought she did. She was--whaddya call it--projecting.”

“Pretty much the same thing,” Sam points out.

“In any case, I don’t think I’ll be seeing much of her,” Dean says, taking another healthy gulp of his drink. “Said she needed time to process. Whatever the fuck that means.”

“I’m sorry about this shitstorm,” Sam says evenly. “But you’re not going to drink yourself into a stupor over it. Eventually she’ll realize that she was being stupid and she’ll come back, so you’re angsting like a little bitch for nothing. Man the fuck up while I hide this.”

“You sound sure,” Dean grumbles.

“I know everything,” Sam says, getting up just as awkwardly as he sat down. The whiskey misses a trip down the sink only because Sam recognizes that as a waste and instead gets thrown under all the dirty laundry--Dean won’t touch that until Sam practically forces him to. When he gets back to the kitchen, Dean’s still looking into his glass like some sort of lost puppy, and Sam can’t help but shake his head.

“What am I gonna do with you?” Sam sighs.

“Screw you, bitch,” Dean bites back, but then his shoulders slump.

“Come on, Dean, you’re acting like it’s the end of the world or something,” Sam cajoles. “And we’ve seen the end of the world.”

Dean laughs, a bitter sound that makes Sam’s stomach knot. He hasn’t heard a laugh like that from Dean in a long time. “You shoulda heard what she said about you.”

“I don’t care,” Sam says instantly. “Why should I care? I told you months ago she had a problem with me. It doesn’t matter unless you make it matter. What, you think I’mma go cry in the bathroom because one of your friends doesn’t like how I treat you? Newsflash, stud, half of your girlfriends hated me when we were growing up. But I didn’t give a shit because in the end, I was the one you were gonna stick with.”

Dean rolls his eyes, but he looks a little calmer, less angry. “You were such a little jerk back then.”

“I’m still one now ‘cause I’m not gonna let you whine around the house all day. Get up and make me dinner. Your kid’s been jumping on my bladder all day and I’m starving.”

“Pushy little girl,” Dean mutters, but he stands up.

“I’m not the one who was crying at the table, Dean,” Sam says smoothly. When Dean answers with a one-fingered salute, Sam can’t help but smile; that’s definitely more like it.

**

Sam goes into labor maybe ninety minutes into his shift at work, though he doesn’t realize it for a couple of hours. There’s no sudden gush of birthing fluid like women have; instead, his back starts aching a little more than usual before progressing into a full-blown pain that radiates up and down his spine. When it starts coming in bursts instead of a steady hurt, Sam finally realizes what it is and, very calmly, calls Dean at work.

It takes ten minutes of being on hold while Dean is paged before he gets a rather rushed, “‘Lo?”

“Dean,” Sam starts but then pauses to grit his teeth as another wave of pain washes over him.

“Dude, can this wait?” Dean asks, sounding in a hurry. “The production manager is riding our ass on this big shipment and we’ve already had too much scrap today as is--”

“Unless you want to come home to find me cutting this baby out of me with a butcher knife, no, it can’t wait,” Sam snaps. “I can’t drive like this; it’s hard enough being fat without having to deal with goddamn contractions. So if you could get your ass down here, I’d really appreciate it.”

“Oh,” Dean says, and then Sam’s greeted with the dial tone. He settles back in the chair, ignores the head librarian’s suggestions about what she can do to help, and counts breaths until he hears Dean’s voice from outside the circulation desk.

Dean is lackadaisical about the whole thing, driving normally, no constant barrage of questions. He cackles when Sam is sequestered to a wheelchair until they can get a room and makes lewd jokes about the lube on the examination counter as the doctors prep for the c-section.

Sam is maybe a little more aware this time around, less scared and more excited. Being pregnant sucks, and this is definitely the last time he’ll have to deal with it. Yeah, two years of diapers and a screaming baby don’t sound that great, but at least he won’t have to deal with it with something growing inside of him.

Dean is the first to see her when they yank her out of Sam’s guts, but Sam sure as hell hears her.

“Normal, dude,” Dean says. “Ten fingers, ten toes, no extra heads. You did good.”

“Thank fuck,” Sam says. “Lemme see her.”

She’s red and squashed, not completely cleaned, with a smushed face and a little tuft of matted hair. She’s still gorgeous.

“You sure you want to name her Fiona?” Dean asks skeptically. “Girl looks nothing like Emmy Rossum.”

“That’s not the point,” Sam says tiredly. They already had this argument after Sam settled on the name after one sleepless night spent catching up on Shameless. Sam just likes it, okay? “You named Reagan, I get this one.”

“Fine, fine,” Dean says. “But remember, no buyer’s remorse. She’s gonna be stuck with this name for the rest of her life.”

“Reagan is named after the Exorcist girl,” Sam points out. “I’m sure this one will be fine.”

“Whatever,” Dean sighs, wrapping his arms tighter around Fiona as he watches the doctor stitch Sam back up.

**

Sam expects Reagan to show some sort of sibling rivalry when they bring Fiona home, or, at the very least, grow bored of her within an hour, but he’s sorely mistaken. Everything Reagan does, she wants to do with her sister. Sam thinks it’s unnatural and tells Dean as such as they supervise Reagan holding Fiona from the other room.

“Dude, don’t rock the boat,” Dean warns. “They’ll be fighting soon enough.”

It’s kind of an adjustment for Sam to be the one who stays home this time around. He has three months off of work, but things don’t get as boring as he expects them to. He’s mostly too tired to notice, even though Dean unceremoniously gets kicked out of bed during the night for half of the feedings.

**

The next time Sam sees Mona, it’s a blustery day in mid-May and it’s more of a surprise than anything else. Reagan had been jumping off the walls at home, and Sam had appeased her with a trip to the park, figuring it was an easier solution than slowly going crazy supervising her mad adventures inside. He’s on a bench with Fi, who’s fussing a little in her stroller, so he’s mostly paying attention to her moreso than to the person who sits next to him. That is, until she speaks and Sam has that sudden realization of who she is.

He has to struggle to keep an impassive face on, but he manages it in the end; he’s not as angry with her anymore as he was, feels sympathy more than anything else. “Mona,” he says evenly.

She smiles a little, shyly, like she doesn’t think it will be accepted and gestures towards the stroller. “She’s adorable,” she comments, a little quietly, but truthfully enough that Sam can’t help but take it at face value. He still feels out of place in a park with a stroller, and being caught like this is, well, almost embarrassing, Dean says it’s all in his head, but Sam feels like a little housewife sometimes, and sitting in the park like this definitely brings that point home.

In any case, Sam shakes off his stupid insecurities and manages a smile of his own, though his is half-fake and strained to say the least. “Thanks,” he says awkwardly. It’s like she’s a stranger again, not the woman who spent six months in his house, and he doesn’t know how to talk to her.

It’s quiet for a couple minutes, and Sam almost thinks that’ll be the end of it when she speaks up again, her words falling out of her mouth in a tumble. “I’m sorry. For everything that happened this year.”

Sam just looks at her, doesn’t have anything to say that won’t come out mean or patronizing, and she blushes a furious red and continues with her apology. “I know I said some awful things. I just... I don’t know what to say. You know Dean. You know how he is. He just treated me--so different than Jackson. Jackson was my first everything, and you know how he got. Dean actually paid attention to me, didn’t go out of his way to hurt me ...”

“Yeah, I know Dean,” Sam says, almost bitterly.

“And you don’t treat each other like, I don’t know, like a couple,” Mona continues desperately. “I don’t know--I tricked myself into thinking you were in the same kind of relationship that I was in with Jackson. But you aren’t; I always knew it in the back of my head even though I ignored it. And I got obsessed or something with getting Dean away from you like he got me away from Jackson, and it was just such complete bullshit.”

“Jesus, Mona,” Sam says, pushing a hand through his hair. “I don’t know what you want me to say to that.”

“Nothing,” she follows quickly. “It was my issue, and after I stepped away, after Dean told me to go, I figured it out. I just needed some space. And I’ve been going crazy--I miss you guys. And I know I fucked up, I know it. I’m so sorry.”

She just looks at him, with a particularly upset look on her face that makes Sam sigh deeply, asking, “What do you want, Mona?”

“Nothing,” she says, but Sam’s not buying that, looking at her with a raised eyebrow until she breaks. “Dean won’t look at me anymore, even if we’re working the same machine. He barely talks to me.”

“Dean is pretty much the king at holding grudges,” Sam tells her, not unkindly.

“I don’t want him to be mad at me anymore,” she says miserably, and Sam sighs again.

“This is stupid,” he says. “This whole thing was completely stupid and shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

“I know,” she says. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”

“I’ll talk to him,” he tells her. “Not promising anything, but I’ll talk to him.”

Her face instantly lights up. “Thank you,” she says. “That’s really great of you. I was kinda scared you were just gonna laugh at me for trying to talk to you.”

“I’m sick of this being an issue,” Sam says. “There are a million more things that I should care about, and this got old real quick. If you think you can be friends with Dean again without giving me shit, that just means I get to stop having him mope around the house without you to talk to. He’s drivin’ me nuts.”

Mona just kind of looks at him, an indicipherable look on her face. “You know, I really did have you wrong, Sam,” she says, ruefully. “You're a good guy.”

“Thanks, I guess,” Sam says, turning away from her to make sure Reagan hasn’t gone rogue on the swings.

“I’ll see you around,” she responds, standing up. “Thanks for listening.”

“Take care of yourself,” Sam says, meaning it, and she smiles a little before walking away towards Jack-Jack, who’s hanging from the monkey bars.

**

It takes a while, even after Sam told Dean in no uncertain terms that he didn’t care, for Dean to get back on speaking terms with Mona. It’s still not fixed, not by a long shot, but she comes over sometimes, is always pleasant to Sam, cooing over the baby and feeding them all the unhealthy food she can get her hands on. It smooths Dean’s temper, having her around, makes him less apt to be a child about stupid things, which is probably the best part for Sam; he has an actual baby to take care of that kind of stuff.

Castiel pops in more than ever, obviously taken with Fi. He never imparts anything about her, no destiny-crap or angelic mumblings, but she loves him, will stop fussing the minute he walks in the door. He’s kind of like a celestial babysitter, one that likes to bake and play with Reagan, still serious-faced all the time as she shows him how to dress a Barbie. Sometimes it’s almost like tongue-in-cheek comedy watching them together.

So, yeah, Sam kind of lives in a sitcom now. It’s no biggie--he’s actually kind of … relieved? He feels like he fits, which is the most important part.

But if Dean knocks him up again, there’s no way in hell he’s not going to try and convince Castiel to transfer it to Dean. After all, all’s fair in love, war, and the Winchester household.

End