It was a nervous habit, just like when Dean quit smoking at nineteen and started biting his nails to make up for it. Half the time, Sam didn’t even notice he was doing it. He knew he was getting soft, more emotional, more tactile. His omega instincts were raging, but in this life, he couldn’t be hesitant with a gun, couldn’t try to talk things out with the monster trying to claw his throat out. Hesitation got people killed. So he choked down his instinctive pacifism -- not for the first time, but the first in a long time -- and this was what resulted.
Sam surrounded himself in his alphas’ scents, made himself comfortable where he could. It started with wearing their clothes, something that Sam had done in the past and both his alphas secretly loved, so it wasn’t suspicious. But as the hunts dragged on and Sam found it increasingly difficult to suppress his omega instincts, the habit escalated: Sam forgot to give clothes back. Oftentimes, he just took them without even realising he was doing it, surprised to later find an old flannel or henley in his hand. He kept his small collection -- not a hoard, definitely not a hoard -- in a cozy room down a long hallway, close to the storage rooms and a section of the bunker only Sam really explored. Not that he needed to keep his habit a closely-kept secret, but he liked to have someplace secluded to go when he was wound up, where he could feel safe and comfortable, surrounded by his alphas’ scents.
That was when pillows and blankets -- only the softest ones -- started disappearing. Sam needed to make the space more comfortable for himself. And the room was a little chilly, with its cement walls. The quilts and fleece blankets would serve to keep him warm.
Sam realised he might have a problem when Benny admired his mittens one evening while they were taking a stroll. Sam blinked at his hands in confusion. He didn’t own mittens
“Saw you swipe them from the thrift shop earlier,” Benny explained. “I di’n’t want to embarrass you. Sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Sam assured automatically, although his head was still reeling. He didn’t remember taking them, but they were awfully soft. Comfy and warm on his hands. “Habit, I guess. From when Dean and I were kids. I’ll -- I’ll return them in the morning,” he added with some effort. It was stupid. Mittens were impractical. Why did he steal them?
From then on, he tried to be more conscious of himself. His collection of items was just an outlet, and as long as he kept it within the bunker, it was fine. He couldn’t let it get away from him again.
Benny stumbled on it completely by accident. Sam hadn’t touched anything in the bunker’s archives in a while. Sam had seemed increasingly stressed out recently; it was no wonder he didn’t want to create more work for himself, and while Benny wasn’t totally clear on Sam’s method of organisation, the least he could do was pick up the slack.
None of the rooms were locked or marked, so it was blind luck that the first one he opened was empty except for a large pile of clothes, blankets, pillows, and other fabrics piled in a corner. There was an indention in the centre, where a couple blankets were laid out. Benny had never really seen one before, but he never expected a nest to actually look like one.
He knew what the nest meant, of course. Benny’s first course of action was to find Dean and show him in the hopes that Dean would know what to do better than he did.
Dean’s first question was “Does he know?”
“I don’t think so,” Benny answered honestly. There was no way Sam would have knowingly kept this from them.
“Do we tell him?”
He drew a hiss through his teeth. He didn’t have the most experience with omegas, but he knew Sam and Dean.
“No. I mean, if this goes on much longer, absolutely. We can’t let ‘im hunt now that we know. But maybe let him figure it out on his own?”
Dean nodded slowly, looking back at the nest. It seemed he was just as lost as Benny was.
Sam was not dense, quite the contrary, in fact, but he had spent a lifetime of quelling the urges that he could, emoting and clinging to Dean when he couldn’t. Every book and pamphlet he’d ever read said he’d instinctively know when he was pregnant, within a month of conception. Well, he didn’t. It was a diner waitress that finally clued him in.
Sam had stolen Dean’s jacket while he was in the bathroom. He didn’t even realise he had done so, but despite the fact that they were between hunts, he craved his alphas’ scent and their touch. Maybe he had just gone too long without it.
In any case, when Dean got back, he asked for his coat back. Sam handed it over with a sheepish apology, Dean and Benny shared a knowing look that Sam completely missed, and the waitress smiled warmly at them.
Sam silently stood to pay the bill, still embarrassed over the coat and hoping to dodge any questions about it. Instead, the waitress at the register asked him, “So, how far along are you?” Her voice was soft, secretive, but she was grinning broadly, clearly happy for him.
Sam’s brain completely stalled. The question didn’t make sense, almost as if it had been asked in a language he only half understood. How far along are you? He gaped for a moment, hand unconsciously coming up to rest on his stomach, before answering, “I’m not pregnant.”
She looked like she didn’t believe him, but in her defense, he didn’t sound so sure himself. Still, she backtracked quickly. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to assume. It’s just that I stole my alpha’s clothes all the time when I was pregnant with my first. Nested in a corner right next to the wood-burning stove. Couldn’t get me to move for anything about halfway through!” She laughed softly at herself and handed back Sam’s change. “Sorry, didn’t mean to assume,” she repeated before bidding him a good day and stepping away to tend to other customers.
Sam’s head was spinning, thinking over what she had said over and over. It made sense, of course, but surely -- surely he couldn’t be pregnant, right?
Dean’s hand clapped Sam’s shoulder, startling him out of his thoughts. “Ready to go, Sammy?”
Sam bit his lip and, before he could over think it, stuck a ten in the tip jar at the counter. “Yeah. Um. Do you mind if we stop at a drug store first?”
He didn’t miss the look Dean and Benny shared that time.