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“Hey, Dean.”

“Tess. Hey.” Dean rubs his eyes. “I thought they took you off night shift?”

“Yeah, but we’re short staffed now that Jess has officially started her leave.” Tess hands Dean a pair of freshly washed pale yellow scrubs, sealed in a sterile pack. “I’m glad you could make it in on such short notice; they’re really fussy tonight.”

“No problem, you know I love those little buggers,” Dean yawns. Sleep pulls at him, makes his face feel dry and gritty.

“You sure you’re up for it?” Tess eyes him, a hand resting on his shoulder.

“Yeah, man, I got it. Just let me get changed.”

“Okay. I’ll meet you outside the NICU once you’re washed up.”

Tess softly pats Dean’s shoulder and he heads off to the volunteer locker room. He knows the way by heart now – he’s been doing this for years. A frantic late night call from Jess brought him in one night and he’d never felt so fulfilled after. He’s got Jess and the rest of the staff here sworn to secrecy. These nights, how he feels after snuggling a newborn pup, those are just for him.

Yawning and smacking his lips, Dean pushes the door open and heads to locker eleven; he strips down and heads for his favorite shower stall. The firm pressure has the positive effect of pepping him up, as well as washing the scent of his auto-repair shop from his skin. Dean wears blockers at work, but they defeat the entire purpose of his presence at the NICU.

He’s been an on-call Soother in the maternity ward at Brodstone Memorial Hospital for a few years now. He comes in late, after work, after dinner and desserts; after everyone's asleep and no one can ask probing, annoying, little brother-esque questions about what he’s doing and why he’s given up on finding his own mate, his own pack. He likes it, working here, where’s he’s needed and it’s easy. It soothes something inside of him, just as much as it helps the pups he works with, and right now, that’s all he’s willing to ask for.

Shutting off the water, Dean towels off and slips into his scrubs before heading back down the quiet, dimly lit halls towards the intensive care unit. Tess is there waiting for him, leaning back against the glass, her eyes closed, arms crossed loosely under her chest.

“Tess,” Dean whispers and she flinches violently, before collapsing back against the glass with a sigh and wiping at her eyes. “You good?”

“Yeah. Yes, I’m fine.” Tess smiles tiredly, and Dean squeezes her shoulder. She draws a deep breath tilting her head towards his wrist and sighs. “It’s such a shame you wear blockers all the time, I mean I get it, but…” She breathes in again and her shoulders relax under Dean’s palm. “...anyway, let’s get you in there. The little Cuevas pup is having a hard time without her papa.”

“How is Cesar?” Dean asks as Tess swipes her key card and the door beeps softly. “Well, Cesar went into early labor and began running a high fever. He and his mate Jesse have both been put under observation until the illness is under control,” Tess says, shaking her head. “It means that their pup is going without any scent bond of any kind for now.”

Dean nods. These things happen sometimes. It’s what brought about the Soother program. Pups need the connection, and Alphas and their mates don't react to the scent of another omega on their pups as if it were a threat. Something about pack living, and group child-rearing or... Dean doesn’t really get it, but he doesn’t have to, either. All he has to do is show up and snuggle tiny little pups until their parents can take over again.

“Good news is Cesar is getting better and Jesse should be cleared for contact as soon as his bloodwork comes back. Soon they’ll be able to hold this sweet little girl. I’m so glad you came in; the lack of skin-on-skin is really starting to get to her. Our regular Soother is out on heat leave.”

“Hey, no problem.” Dean shuffles into the dimly lit room. The smell of newborn pups washes over him and settles in his gut like warm, melted chocolate. He misses this when he’s not on duty. The nights are longer and colder in the still, empty halls of his house. Soon, though, he’ll have his own niece or nephew to fawn over, and that will help; he's sure of it. Dean makes a mental note to text Sam about not passing on that Jess has started her leave. Any day now, a new Winchester will find its way into the world.

A soft, discontent whimper comes from one of the front cribs and distracts Dean from his thoughts. Like he always does, he turns on the ambient noise maker before heading towards the source of the faint sound. A soothing woosh , woosh , fills the still air as Dean lifts the little pup into his arms.

“This is Nora,” Tess says, gently adjusting the baby’s swaddling.

“Hey there, kiddo,” Dean whispers. The pup’s face scrunches up, her little nose wrinkles, and Dean shifts her so she’s resting against his chest, close to the scent point on his neck. Nora fidgets a few times, hiccuping in quiet, not-quite-sobs before Dean’s soothing scent takes effect and she lets out a tiny coo.

“Ah,” Tess sighs, her eyes glassy as Dean rocks gently back and forth. “That’s the first time she’s settled in almost twelve hours.” The relief in Tess’ voice makes Dean smile. “I’ll leave you to it.”

“Go take a nap,” Dean jokes, and Tess smiles, shushing him softly before pulling the door closed behind her.  It’s quiet and warm in the nursery. A momentary wave of sadness swamps him; he’s not getting any younger, and the urge to have a family of his own is ever present in the back of his heart. If only he could meet the right person... but no, he’s just not interested in the race anymore. In the games.

The Cuevas pup, Nora, shifts against his shoulder, grunting softly before relaxing again.

“Just you and me now, kiddo,” Dean whispers, dropping a soft kiss onto the knitted beanie wrapped around her small head. “No need for any other thoughts but getting you a good night sleep, okay? Soon your Papa will be able to do this for you, but until then I hope I’ll be an okay stand-in.”

Dean shuffles slowly over to one of the padded rocking chairs and settles down, shifting the now sleeping pup into the cradle of his arm and leaning back until the chair begins to glide slowly.

Something strange and foreign tickles the back of Dean’s throat. Something that makes him sit up in the comfortable, overstuffed chair and look around. Dean opens his mouth and takes a deep, scenting breath, sucking air in over his tongue. Warm milk and the soft, clean scent of sleeping pups fills his senses, but there’s something else, something hot and spicy. Something that energizes him and leaves an undercurrent of electricity tingling his throat. The hairs on his arms rise and his gums itch.

“What…” Dean sniffs again, following the faint wisp of scent, leaning down and gently nosing along the cap atop Nora’s head. There it is. Dean’ breathes again, and he’s certain that a scent is, ever so slightly, clinging to the knitted cap.

Under the scent of pup and hospital grade detergent is the firm and present scent of an Alpha.

Carefully, Dean pulls the little hat from the pup’s head and frowns at it. Anger bubbles in his stomach. His hand curls around the cap and Dean growls low in his chest. It’s absolutely crucial that pups be kept in an Alpha scent-neutral environment until they can bond fully with their Alpha parent, if they have one. The goddamned Alpha Knitting Circle should know better than to drop off improperly laundered donations. He’s going to have to chat with Tess; this is absolutely unacceptable.

Little Nora gurgles in her sleep, and Dean’s growl cuts off abruptly. He tucks the cap under his thigh and makes a mental note to check the donation cabinet for a replacement. He really needs to be careful while in the Nursery, there is very little that will agitate a newborn pup faster than aggravated, distressed omega. Dean closes his eyes and settles back in the rocking chair, the smooth motion and the soft noises Nora makes as she sleeps helps him find his center again. If there’s one thing he’s good at it’s compartmentalizing his issues.

The first hour melts away under his soft humming, the steady woosh of the ambient noise maker and the soothing warmth of the nursery. Dean’s head grows heavy and his thoughts become slow and foggy. Sleep pulls at his senses in a way it never does at home. This safe, pup-fulled environment is one he cherishes.

The small hat under his thigh seems to itch right through his scrubs. Like a barb to his serenity, Dean can smell that Alpha spice even as he tries to smother it with his thigh. He shifts, pressing his leg down on the small lump, and frowns over Nora’s head.

He needs to focus.

Breathing out slowly, Dean rubs his hand over one of Nora’s tiny legs. He can do this, he can ignore a persistent scent. He’s ignored much bigger, more obnoxious, things in the past. If there’s one thing Dean is, it’s stubborn, and he’s not going to let anything ruin this night. Nights like this, in the NICU...these are his secret, his treasure.

It’s not often he gives into his omega side. He saves it all up for when the pups need him most. On shifts like these, when he truly feels useful, Dean soaks it in. Nora’s sleeping soundly in her crib again, her fuzzy little head now capped in a new, totally scentless, bonnet. Dean goes about the early morning feedings with ease, moving from one bottle, one pup, to the next until they’re are sleeping soundly again.

When Tess comes back a few hours later she looks more refreshed, and it puts a damper on all the agitations he’s built up. He’d been gearing for a fight, but now, he can’t seem to bring himself to cause her more stress. Dean spent the last twenty minutes collecting all the Alpha-scented hats and blankets from the donation cabinets, his agitation increasing as the (frustratingly appealing) scent of his mystery Alpha grew with each new piece. Now, he’s clutching four little knitted caps and two small soft cotton blankets, trying not to let his frustration overtake the concern for his friend.

Tess takes in Dean’s obvious agitation and tenses. She looks him up and down like he’s gone crazy, but the moment she steps into his circle her eyes droop and her shoulders relax. Dean sighs, loops his arm around her shoulders and walks them out of the nursery.

“You and pups... the scent, it should be bottled as a stress reliever,” Tess mumbles softly and Dean gives her a little squeeze. There were three births last night, and having her team short staffed is really running Tess dry. Dean lets her take some much-needed comfort from him...for the moment, anyway.

The hospital is just starting to wake up, breakfast is being delivered and the shift change is underway. Dean steers Tess into a quiet corner and frowns at her. He feels bad for bringing it up, but it’s got to be done.

“This is not okay!” Dean says, holding up the bundle of knitted baby clothes, his knuckles white with frustration. He’s been smelling this Alpha all night long and the scent is lodging itself in his brain. The way it seems to override everything else. How it sticks in his nose, and coat his tongue; slightly spicy and warm, with hints of a chocolatey sweetness that Dean finds himself chasing whenever it begins to fade. The scent is almost soothing and that concerns him even more.

“Wha… what’s not okay?” Tess blinks up at him, confused.

“This!” Dean says shoving the bundle under her nose. “This scent!”

“I…. I don’t smell anything…?”

“You don’t smell that?” Dean pulls the clothes back and takes a deep whiff. Immediately he’s swamped in scent and sensation. All the hairs on his arms stand on end and his vision flashes, everything haloed momentarily in gold before reverting. Most frustratingly, warmth spreads along his gut, dipping down into his pelvis and making him very aware of each breath he takes. “It reeks of Alpha pheromones!”

“It does?” Tess snaps to alertness, her nose scrunched in concern. She dips forward, cupping her hands around Dean’s, and face-plants into the bundle. Dean watches her shoulders rise and fall and she huffs at the clothes, pulling in scent. He tries not to do the same, but he can’t... He can’t resist. The tension melts out of his spine as he takes a breath, and that scent wraps him up like a frustratingly wonderful hug.

“Dean, I… I don’t smell anything but you and clean, happy puppies…” Tess looks worried now, her eyes flicking over Dean’s face like she’s trying to figure something out.

“What are you talking about?” Dean frowns at the neatly knitted caps and blankets gripped in his fist. “You can’t…you don’t?”

“Tessa?”

Dean and Tess both jump, breaking the staring match as Alex pops her head around the corner.

“Sorry,” Alex says, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“No. Alex, it’s fine.” Tess looks back at Dean, her eyes narrowed slightly, “We were just finishing up… right?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Dean hands the bundle of clothes to Tess. “Just make sure you wash these properly before putting them back into circulation.”

“Oh, yeah. About that. Mr. Novak from the Alpha Knitting Circle is here with another donation!” Alex says, her voice chipper.

Dean growls grabbing Nora’s little cap back from the pile in Tess’ arms. “The same joker who made this?”

“Uh, I mean… I guess?” Alex looks cautiously between Tess and Dean, and for the briefest moment, Dean feels embarrassed. But it’s gone in an instant when he remembers Nora’s fussy face and how she’d calmed for him so easily after the cap was gone.

“Sonuva…” Dean pushes past both nurses, shrugging off the hand Tess places on his bicep to stop him. “I don’t know who this guy thinks he is…”

Dean grumbles to himself all the way to the front desk, Tess and Alex swept up in his shadow as he plows forward; the soft little sterile booties he’s wearing are not making a nearly satisfying enough noise as he stomps down the hall.

“Hey!” Dean snaps when the check-in desk comes into view. “You! What do you think you’re playing at with these….”

Dean’s words melt in his mouth as the Alpha turns around. He looks adorably confused, his dark, fluffy hair sticking up at all angles. His arms are laden with two reusable shopping bags overfilled with small knitted infant and preemie hats, blankets, and little mittens.

“I… um, excuse me?” he says, head tilting to the side. His clear blue eyes search Dean’s face – but it’s his scent , it’s so powerful in person that just a small hit causes Dean to flush from head to toe. His fingers grip the hat in his hand and he holds it out, not trusting himself to say anything else.

The Alpha––because there is no doubt that this is the man whose scent has been saturating Dean’s senses all night long––juggles his bags, finally setting one down so he can take the small cap from Dean. He’s very careful not to touch Dean’s fingers, a point that Dean both appreciates and loathes intensely.

“Di...did you make this!” Dean snaps, reaching for and failing to find his anger under all the warm swarming butterflies in his stomach.

“I did,” Alpha Novak says, his voice is soft and low. It rumbles in the air, pleasantly calling to Dean, urging him to answer with his own low rumble.

“You… you need to wash them.” Dean stammers as Alpha Novak tilts his head to the side again. Confusion etched into the scrunch of his nose and the narrowing of his eyes.

“I most certainly did wash them,” he protests, bringing the hat to his nose and taking a deep breath. “I…” His voice fades off into a deeply pleased purr, and his eyes droop closed.

Dean stiffens, shocked by the Alpha’s reaction...and how his own body responds so swiftly. He wants to roll around in that subvocal purr, soak it up and make the Alpha do it again and again. He wants to feel it pressed right up against his back as Alpha Novak sinks his teeth into Dean’s neck…

“Well,” Dean snaps, forcing the fantasy away, “you did not do a good job!”

He’s completely lost himself now, there’s no controlling his body anymore; he steps closer and pokes Alpha Novak in the chest. It's a nice chest, surprisingly firm and warm even through all the baggy layers the Alpha is wearing. Dean, maddeningly, wants to feel the rest of him, strip him down and nip at all that heated Alpha skin.

If he’s angered by the action, by Dean’s aggression, Alpha Novak doesn’t show it. He doesn’t even open his eyes. No, instead he almost drunkenly sways towards Dean and draws another deep, scenting breath. His mouth opens ever so slightly to take Dean’s scent in over his tongue.

“You’re a Soother,” he says, his voice even lower than before. Alpha Novak’s eyes flutter open and Dean can’t help but swallow harshly under his penetrating gaze. “You’re the Soother.”

“I… I’m a Soother, yeah. What’s it to you?” Dean pokes him again and this time Alpha Novak curls his large, warm palm around Dean’s offending finger. Dean shivers, his entire body reacting, every molecule reaching out for the Alpha in front of him.

This can’t be happening.

“No, forgive me.” Alpha Novak says, turning their hands so that he’s cupping Dean’s in his palm. “You’re the Soother who worked with my nephew a few years ago. He was premature and they weren’t sure if he was going to make it. My sister, she had complications during labor and… she wasn’t able to…” Alpha Novak’s hand contracts around Dean’s, and the urge to comfort this strange, yet oddly familiar Alpha is almost too much.

“If it wasn’t for your work with little Jack... I don’t know if he’d have made it through his first few hours.”

“Jack Kline is your nephew?” Dean asks, surprise overtaking his anger. “I still get holiday cards from Kelly and Anna. He’s a beautiful pup!”

“He is!” Alpha Novak laughs, joy soaking into his scent. It’s intoxicating, and Dean shuffles towards him. “I started knitting because of what you’ve done for my family.”

Oh, right… the knitting. Dean plucks his hand free, every omega instinct he has rebels at the loss of contact.

“Right!” Dean says, straightening his spine, ready for the fight to come. Alphas don’t enjoy a bossy omega, but Dean’s never lived a day of his life as anything other than what he is. “You need to wash this stuff better,” he snaps, bending down and picking up one of the bags filled with knitting. It reeks of Alpha Novak, in the best, worst possible way.

Heat slides down Dean’s spine, and he groans softly into the pile of knitting. He doesn’t have time for this right now; he needs to stay focused. “Your scent is all over these things.” He clears his throat and fixes Alpha Novak with what he hopes is a stern look. “You have to be more careful. You’re an A–Alpha, and there is nothing more important than keeping a non-familial Alpha’s scent off a newborn pup.”

“I… I do wash them, very carefully, with detergent provided by the hospital,” Alpha Novak counters, his voice strained with concern as he leans towards the bag in Dean’s hands.

“You’re doing something wrong,” Dean insists.

“Dean…” Tess interjects, her tone cautious but warning.

He’s starting to sweat. He can’t breathe. Every time he tries it’s all warm coffee and stupid bittersweet chocolate and something else. Something just like the coffee mud pie his Gran used to make, right at the turn of summer to fall. Dean licks his lips, and he swears can taste the sweet chocolate pudding and bitter notes of coffee beans all mixed up with crumbly, crunchy Oreo cookies. As they got older, Gran added bourbon into the whipped cream that would leave Dean’s head swimming, quite like it is now.

“You… you’re doing…” Dean pants, and Alpha Novak’s head snaps up. His eyes flash red, and Dean whimpers. “You’re my…”

“Alex!” Tess shouts and Dean’s vision swims. The bag he’s holding slips from his fingers and hits the floor with a quiet whump. Alpha Novak steps forward, catching Dean before his legs give out on him.

“Alpha,” Dean manages.

“Cas,” Alpha Novak rumbles, and the sound travels deep into Dean’s chest, lodging behind his breast bone and making him tremble in pleasure.

“Cas,” Dean breathes, and his Alpha cradles Dean’s head against his wide warm shoulder. The soft material of his old trench coat is soothing and familiar in the way it’s saturated with Cas’ scent.

“Prep a heat room.” Tess’ voice is distant and full of humor. “Okay Cas, we’re going to need your help getting Dean safe, alright?”

The hands around Dean’s back constrict; biceps press into his, tightening, secure, and Dean whimpers as the first molten hot trickle of slick leaks from him.

“Mine.”

“Cas…”

“Shhh, my sweet.”

It happens swiftly, before Dean can react, and quite suddenly his slipper-encased feet are no longer on the ground. Strong arms cradle him and he nuzzles deep into the crook of his Alpha’s neck. “I’ve got you now. I’ve been looking for you for so long. You’re safe, my beautiful, caring Omega. My perfect mate.”

Dean squirms, pressing closer; groaning, moaning, nipping at the flesh of his Alpha’s neck. His scrubs give him no relief, no constriction, nothing to press his sudden arousal against.

“You’re going into spontaneous heat, Dean,” Tess is saying, but that’s not right. It shouldn’t be: he’s on suppressants and birth control. “It’s a normal reaction to finding your true mate. Okay? We’re going to give you something to help with the symptoms. Good job, Alpha, that’s it. Keep coming this way.”

“I’ve got you, sweet one…” Cas whispers, his lips brushing the shell of Dean’s ear so softly, he completely misses the sting of Tess’ injecting him with medication.

“Alpha…”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Cas says, and Dean sighs as he’s stretched out on a soft mattress. Cas’ hands don’t leave his body, sliding down Dean’s arm until their fingers link together. “I’ll stay as long as you’ll have me.”

“Now you, Cas,” Tess says but the words are far away from Dean’s ears. The heat in his body is cooling. Sleep is taking him, the medication quieting his hormones into a low ache in his bones. The fingers curled around his keep him tethered to the present, to his Alpha.

“Stay,” Dean slurs, the drugs washing over him completely, “stay….”

“Of course, Dean.” Cas squeezes Dean’s fingers between his own, and the small action makes Dean melt into the mattress – letting out a breath he’s been holding for...he doesn’t know how many years. He’s not alone anymore.

“I’ll come back to check on you in a little while.”

“Thank you, Tessa,” Cas says. “I can’t believe he was here; right under my nose all along…”

“Eh, stranger things have happened…” Tess’ soft laugh is the last thing Dean remembers. The scent and presence of his Alpha, calm, controlled, so beautiful and all his, accompanies him to sleep.

His Alpha.



Somewhere far away, the P.A. system kicks in with a soft tone: “Tessa, please report to L and D. Tessa to L and D, immediately.”



“Alex, prep delivery room C and get the on-call in here.”

“On it!”

“Tess, have you seen my brother? I can’t… He’s not answering his phone!”

“Sam! RRAAHHHHH!”

“I’m here, Jess, baby, I’m here,” Sam pants, jogging alongside the wheelchair as Tess takes over pushing Jess through the lobby and towards Labor and Delivery. Sam sighs in relief as Meg, their midwife and longtime friend, falls in step next to them, running vitals as they go. The door to Room C shuts behind them with a soft woosh just as Jess’ most recent contraction subsides.

“Your brother’s here,” Tess says, helping Jess out of her street clothes and into a hospital gown.

“He’s what?” Sam says looking up at Tess.

“Yeah, it’s a long story, but he’s fine. He went into heat after meeting his mate.”

“He… he what?! Wait… he has a mate?” Sam blinks, completely stalled in his thoughts and actions. Jess reaches out and grabs his shoulder, squeezing as a contraction takes her. Sam hisses and braces her until her contraction passes.

“Yes, he does, but we can focus on that later. I believe we’re about to have a pup.”

Jess’s scream punctuates Tess’s statement and Sam fumbles to help just as Meg sweeps into the room. She wearing a gown over her scrubs and rolls her eyes, motioning for him to take up a spot next to the bed.

Twenty-two hours, later Sam finds himself exhausted and obscenely happy, standing outside the nursery, looking through the large glass windows at his beautiful daughter.

“Congratulations, Papa,” Meg says, stepping up beside him.

“Jess did all the work; she’s amazing.” Sam breathes, unable to look away from their perfect little pup. “How’s she doing?”

“Sleeping comfortably,” Meg says, like it should be obvious. “Now, I’m going to drag you away from your pup for just a moment to see one more miracle we never thought would happen.”

“Huh?” Sam says as Meg grabs his wrist and drags him away from the nursery window. “Wait, no. Hey!”

“Hush,” Meg scolds, pulling Sam out of Labor and Delivery and towards the isolation rooms.

“Hey, wait. I don’t think I should be here…”

“Shut up, you’re fine.” Meg swipes her access card and the doors beep open. Overhead a mist sprays down, cleansing them and helping to neutralize their scents, before the doors in front of them open.

“Hey, Benny,” Meg greets the nurse at the front desk. “Winchester-Novak?”

“No–Novak?”

“Hey, Meg. Room Five. They’re still out.”

“Gotcha,” Meg winks, giving a lazy salute to Benny before dragging Sam down the hall.

“Now, I know tonight’s been pretty damn exciting as it is, but seems we’ve got one more surprise for you.” Meg stops in front of door five and lifts the small window shade.

“Oh, shit….. ” Sam steps forward pressing his face up to the small window just like he did at the nursery. “No way… Is that… Cas?! ” He gasps and Meg snorts.

Yeah.” Meg drawls, “Mind telling me how you’ve worked in the same law firm as our dear Cassie for the past four years and he has not once crossed paths with your darling, brooding brother?”

“Honestly…” Sams says leaning back, “I have no fucking idea… How– how did they meet?”

“Turns out Dean’s been volunteering here as a Soother for years. He was the reason Cas’ nephew, Jack, pulled out of critical status after he was born prematurely. Dean, he probably saved the pup's life. Those first few hours are pretty crucial Cas has sorta been looking for him ever since. Though, he didn’t tell anyone, the idiot.”

“Typical Cas. I thought he was Ace.”

“No, just a hopeless romantic waiting around for his true mate.” Meg sighs fondly, glancing through the observation window to where Cas is fully clothed and wrapped around– much to his relief– an equally clothed Dean. Their fingers are linked together and resting on Dean’s chest, and Cas’ old tattered coat is draped over their legs. The usually deep worry lines around Dean’s mouth and eyes are relaxed, and he appears to be smiling, even in his sleep. Something inside Sam settles at seeing his brother like this.

“Cas has been knitting caps and blankets as donations to the preemie ward ever since. I guess since dean is our on call soother, he just hadn’t come into contact with Cas’ donations yet because he could smell Cas on them even after the hospital rewashed and sterilized them.”

“Well I’ll be damned. His true mate, huh?” Sam says, a joyful laugh bubbling up in his throat. “Dean never did do anything halfway.”

“He’s going to be so mad he missed the birth of his niece,” Meg says fondly, as she pulls the privacy shade closed again. “He was really looking forward to that.”

“Yeah,” Sam agrees. “Good thing he’s got so much practice as a Soother. He’s officially on babysitting duty from here on out.”

“Alpha,” Dean’s soft rumble is barely audible through the closed door, but Sam feels a blush rush up his face nonetheless.

“Well, maybe… not right away,” he amends.

Meg laughs loudly, grabbing him by the arm and guiding him out towards the nursery. “Focus on bonding with your pup and helping your mate. You’ve got plenty of time to worry about who’s babysitting.”



Two Years Later.

 

The double doors to the emergency room burst open and Tess’ head snaps up, an all too familiar voice dragging a smile across her face. “Alex, prep delivery room C.”

“RAAAHH!! Get that chair away from me, I can walk! Damn it!”

“Breathe, Dean, hee... hee, haa. Just like we practiced.”

“Cas, I swear to everything I will destroy yyaaahhh!

“Contractions are two minutes apart,” Cas says, and Dean collapses against him, panting.

“Right this way, Papas,” Meg calls from down the hall, her voice amused, “‘Bout time these pups made their debut.”

“We’ll be in the waiting room!” Sam calls.

“You got this, Dean!” Jess echoes as little Mary tucks her face into the crook of Jess’ neck.

“We got this,” Dean manages weakly, his eyes lifting to Cas’ “We’re fine.”

“Of course we are,” Cas grins, looping his arm around Dean’s hips. He places a gentle kiss to the bite mark adorning Dean’s freckled neck as the door to delivery room C closes behind them.

“Cas,” Dean grunts, his eyes squeezed shut in pain, his stomach rippling with contractions.

“I’m here, Dean. I’ll be here as long as you’ll have me.”

Dean doesn’t get a chance to reply as Meg charges into the room, snapping gloves on.

“Okay! Let’s bring this full circle, shall we?” Meg says, far too chipper for how loudly Dean is growling. “Get those adorable little hats ready, Alpha, I know you’ve been knitting non-stop for weeks now.”

Sixteen hours later, Dean lays on his back, staring at the chair next to his bed where his Alpha holds their pups. One boy, one girl, each wearing a soft knit, pale yellow and black-striped cap. At the window is his brother, his mate, and their pup all waving like the giant, excitable moose-people they are.

Dean chuckles softly as Cas snores, his head tipped back at an awkward angle, a pup tucked into the crook of each arm and Dean’s bite proudly on display. His neck is exposed where the buttons of his shirt are undone and he’s just as adorably rumpled as the first time Dean saw him.

Dean’s pack, his mate, his pups. And it’s all thanks to the stupid Alpha Knitting Circle. Now he’s going to have to work extra hard at pretending like he hates that stupid club. Even if they meet at his and Cas’ house twice a month, and secretly Dean lives for the compliments his cookies get. Not to mention how sweet all the Alphas look learning to knit, purl, knit, purl those tiny baby clothes.

“Dean?” Cas sniffs, blinking and leaning forward. “You okay, should I get the nurse, Tess...?”

“Ugh, no,” Dean rolls his eyes, swiping them with his palms. “Stupid hormones.” He grins at his rumpled Alpha. “I love you.”

Cas visibly puffs up, a smile spreading over his face so rapidly that Dean’s sure his chapped lips crack. “Silly Omega, I love you more than I can ever express.” He leans forward and Dean arches up to meet him halfway. The kiss is soft and sweet – and interrupted when one of their pups fusses.

“Give me my kid, who’s the certified Soother here?” Dean says, and Cas happily obliges, handing over the tiny bundle. “Perfect, they’re perfect.”

“You’re perfect,” Cas says, and Dean hides his smile in the soft knit of his pups homemade, Alpha-scented bonnet.