Morning Came In The Meantime
Part of the Salvation AU because I can’t leave it alone. Happyfic!
For Mer, who is three days overdue, and for Maygra, who let the plot bunny out.
Summary: Sam and Sarah welcome kid #1 and Dean treats it like Christmas.
It was Dean who was awake first, and if you took into account the fact that he’d had nothing to do with the creation in the first place, it didn’t make any sense.
If you were a Winchester, it made perfect sense.
He didn’t exactly know why he was awake, but it was a good excuse to wander the house and make sure things were fine. He could peek in at Sam and Sarah. Sarah, who was three days overdue and unable to get comfortable anywhere. She was exhausted without being grouchy over it. She was sleeping on one side, her only option for the last two months, one hand dangling over the edge of the bed, covers kicked away. Always too warm. Sam was turned toward her and always touching, giving a little room but keeping contact much like he did while awake.
Dean had been there since the assigned due date. He’d put himself on the unavailable list for work, for all regions, turning off phone and pager and pretending he didn’t know how to use computers. He had to be there in case something went wrong, so he could fix it. Whatever it might be. They were Winchesters and their dark spots were very, very dark.
He guarded and coddled but was careful not to make it seem that way. He picked up wherever Sam left off and made himself scarce whenever Sarah’s father made an appearance from New York. Dean had no trouble with the guy, but Daniel Blake’s first impression of Dean had stuck and the old man rankled at the sight of what he referred to as the other one. Dean saw no reason to either push it or mend the fence; the guy wasn’t around much. He’d taken a shine to Sam finally, earnest-good-bright-lawyer Sam, so to Dean’s mind liking Sam was better than anyone liking him. He’d let it ride. After all, John Winchester was also a regular visitor and did not stand a chance against the woman of the house. It was fun to watch his father bow his head after the first time he knocked it against Sarah’s. Sarah was apparently quite a bit like Mary, according to John.
Coddling Sarah a little didn’t mean there were no fat jokes, though, and goddamn if she didn’t have the aim and arm of a major league pitcher sometimes. She was pretty tired of all the men in her life by the end, and she never said so aloud but Dean and Sam knew she wished for her own mother. Or Sam’s. Or anyone’s mother. She had a lot of friends around who also happened to own ovaries, but it wasn’t the same.
Sam had finally slapped Dean’s hands over the application of salt and herbs and the drawing of every protective sigil known and unknown to humankind.
The only evil here is your fear.
So Dean had decided not to be afraid. He’d done that before, many times. He could totally pull that off, easy.
Sam and Sarah had learned the sex of their first child four months in, and Dean had said what am I supposed to do with a girl? Sam had retorted with a smirking no wonder you’re not married.
Well. He knew how to raise boys, that was all. Spoiled, mouthy, ungrateful, moody boys. But still.
He beamed at his boy, and his boy’s girl, from their doorway.
You’d think we were doing this just for you, Sam had said. Get your own.
No, Dean said. I wanna rile it up every chance I get and then leave. Paybacks are a bitch, Sammy.
Present-moment Sarah took in a long breath and rolled into a sitting position then, staring off into the dark. She pressed a hand to her abdomen and patted.
“C’mon, babe,” Dean said from the door, voice pitched soft enough that it didn’t startle her half-awake mind. “Time to go.”
Sarah sighed. “Feels like it.” She reached over to nudge Sam. “Hey, you. You have the labor, I’m too tired.”
Sam stirred and rose groggily to one elbow. “You okay? You want water? You want -“
Sarah combed her fingers through Sam’s hair. “I feel like a ride in the car.”
Sam sat up. “Okay,” he said. “Where do you want to go?” He would deny it later or just claim that he wasn’t awake when he said it. Once he figured out what was going on, he made a noise best described as mmph! and launched out of bed.
Dean drove and made Sam sit in the back because if Sam jittered any harder he’d have measured on the Richter scale. Sarah sat shotgun and was quiet as if contemplating something besides her present situation. Sam reached over the seat and held one hand and Dean held her other.
“This your first one?”
Dean was distracted enough that he hadn’t realized the other guy was there, in the waiting room with him. He figured he’d drawn the guy’s attention when he’d whipped that copy of Time across the room. CNN was on low in the background, the standard and ubiquitous TV hanging from a corner of the ceiling. He was trying hard to be bored but the waiting was grating on his nerves and magazines tended to make a satisfying noise if you threw them just right. The pages fluttered apart.
“No,” Dean said, and grinned.
When Dean looked up, Sam seemed lit up from head to toe.
Morning had come in the meantime and Dean had been leaning his head against the window that looked down onto the topmost tier of a parking garage. At first Dean thought Sam was just checking in again, but when he saw his brother’s face, he knew.
“It’s a girl,” Sam said with a grin that only came out when he was genuinely delighted past what he could keep to himself.
“Um...you already knew that,” Dean said, because suddenly it was the only thing he could think of to say.
“But she wasn’t out here,”Sam said.
Dean was only inches away by then and they were both on the verge of giddiness and had to settle for staring at each other.
“Sarah - “
“Is great,” Sam said. “Wants to sleep for a week, but...”
Dean grinned and lowered his face, eyes crinkling, because if he looked at Sam any longer he was going to get all emotional or something. “So, um...”
“They’re cleaning her up,” Sam said. “Moved Sarah to a room. You know, hang out for the day, make sure everything is cool.”
“So you’re a dad,” Dean blurted, then felt incredibly stupid. “I mean, I hope she looks like Sarah, because you’re - “
Sam grabbed him into a very brief but nearly violent embrace, full of pent up worry and love and something that maybe only Dean could understand. “We won,” he said, trying to voice that something, then held Dean away and clapped him roughly on the shoulders and steered him toward the door, ignoring the look of startled contemplation on his face. “You come look at her and tell me if she looks like Sarah.”
Dean decided it wasn’t the best time to mention that babies mostly looked alike for a while. Not that he’d seen many up close. But they’d traveled the whole damn country more than once and babies were babies everywhere. Small, fat, loud and smelly mini-people that were often grouchy.
Nice to be walking a hospital hallway and not be scared, pissed off, or both.
They walked shoulder to shoulder as close to a run as they could get without getting chastised. Sam got turned around even though he’d just come from Sarah’s room, and Dean finally made sense of the pattern of room numbers and pushed him left past the elevators. A nurse was just inside the door with the grouchy mini-person that belonged to them in particular, and when Sam froze at the door to stare at her, Dean gently moved him over by hooking one hand in his belt and gripping a handful of shirt.
Sarah was propped up in bed and half asleep but raised an eyebrow at their weird entrance even as she held her arms out for a bundle of what sounded to Dean like an angry cat. Angry cat that mellowed to a series of whimpers and gurgles once Sarah tucked her little girl in against her and brushed fingertips over a faintly downy forehead. The nurse was saying something to Sarah and Sam as Sam leaned over to kiss his wife and daughter, and Dean didn’t catch it as he stared. He was absorbing the moment and keeping it for later, something he could keep in place of things he didn’t want to see.
When the nurse was gone, Sarah spoke to him without looking up. “This the first girl you’ve ever been shy around, uncle Dean?”
Dean snorted and came off the wall. “It’s got nothing to do with shy. It’s that Winchesters are born dangerous and I gotta approach with caution.” He sat on the side of the bed and looked all three of them over. Sam all bright-eyed and sitting with his forearms braced across the back of a chair he was straddling the wrong way. Sarah looking exhausted but so beautiful and equally bright eyed; the baby pink-faced and buttonnosed and scrunching a cupid’s bow of a mouth. Okay. She didn’t look like every other baby. And not just because she was theirs. Really.
Dean looked at Sarah for a moment, falling serious. “Good job, kid,” he said.
She grinned at him. “I worked hard on it.” She tucked a tiny errant fist back into the pastel yellow blanket and hefted the baby toward Dean, who hadn’t realized until right then how much he’d been waiting for it or wanting it. It was muscle memory to tuck her right into the crook of one elbow and make sure her head and neck were supported just so. She fit just right. One more good piece of the puzzle settled into place; one more hollow spot filled in.
When he stood without any caution or hesitation and tucked her in further against him like a football before he took her over by the windows to get a better look at her, Sam’s eyebrows shot halfway up his forehead. Sarah ruffled his hair and suppressed an eyeroll. Yes, Sam, Dean knows how to handle babies. She didn’t have to say it. She did have to cup Sam’s face and try not to choke up when Dean unwrapped their little girl and pressed his face to her middle as if in supplication, breathing her in before kissing tiny hands and using fingertips to memorize her features.
“Did you guys finally pick a name?” Dean said after a moment. They’d had it down to four choices right up until Sarah went into labor. “I mean, don’t make me do it.”
“Allison,” Sam said.
Ah. Sarah’s mom. Good.
“Hello, Allison Winchester,” Dean said. “We’ll call you ‘Allie’, and I’m going to kill the first boy who looks at you before your dad can even catch on.”
“Allison Deanna,” Sarah said.
Dean froze. Then he glanced at them over his shoulder with a scowl.
Sam shrugged. Sarah pointed a finger at her own temple as if to say, well, duh!
Dean looked down at Allie again, grinning because she was the only one who could see him. “I’m so sorry,” he said in a mock-serious tone. “Your parents have cursed you. Try and forgive ‘em. It won’t be the last time they try and screw up your life. It’s their job.”
Allie snuffled. Dean took it as agreement.