So, apparently, his panic had been an overreaction, and his reaction had been premature. But when he tries to call Cas and Dean and tell them that they've got hours, possibly the rest of the night, before they even go to the hospital, he can't reach them.
He's helping Chelsea down the stairs when Cas and Dean crash through the front door.
"It was a contraction." Chelsea sighs when they both stare up at her. "I've been getting them all day. I called my family hours ago to let them know it's going to be tomorrow some time. My gyno said we can't even go to the hospital until the contractions are four minutes apart."
"And how far apart are they now?" Dean demands.
"They're not consistent, they just hurt more," Chelsea says. "We've still got a few hours."
"You yelled out. I panicked. So sue me," Sam huffs. He can see Dean's stance. He's tense and full of adrenaline with nothing to do with it. Sam's having the same problem, but he's already freaked out once tonight. He needs to be normal and together right now. This is going to be brutal enough for Chelsea. He doesn't need to add his shit on top of hers right now. This is step one of being a good Dad, and he's going to rock it.
"So what do we do now?" Dean asks.
"Well, since you're all here, how about this," Chelsea says, as Sam helps her down the last step. "Everyone stops looking at me like I'm going to explode. Dean- you go pick a movie. Cas you go make me some tea. Sam I'm going to need you getting really into a foot rub. My parents and Libby are flying in tonight. Martha and Tanya won't be able to make it out until the weekend. Did you call Bobby and Karen yet?"
"Yeah, we called them on the way here."
"I'll call them back, tell them not to hurry. If they want to come in tonight then they can stay at the hotel."
"I don't understand… the baby isn't coming?" Cas asks.
"I've got some stressful, painful, time to kill," Chelsea says. "So- about that tea, movie, and foot rub?"
They all snap to. Chelsea's got a pillow under her back, a mug of tea in her hand and her feet in Sam's lap by the time the credits roll on Twenty Seven Dresses. Bobby and Karen decide that they aren't going to turn down a night in a nice hotel if Chelsea's offering to put them up.
They aren't really watching the movie. It's just playing in background. Chelsea is tucked under his arm, warm and solid and in some sort of pre-labor Zen except for the occasional spasms of pain. Dean is leaning against Cas in a way that he never does when there are other people around. His eyes are drooping and a little unfocused when he speaks. Sam vaguely remembers Dean saying something about a tough week at school.
Sam is mentally repacking their bag in his head again. Couple changes of clothes. Toothbrushes. Toothpaste. Deodorant. Lotion. Some creature comforts for Chelsea. A small stuffed pink bunny that Cas had surprised everyone by presenting to Chelsea as a present for the baby at Friday night dinner a couple of weeks ago. It had already somehow picked up the slightly suspect name of Captain Hops-Along.
Sam has packed and repacked that bag pretty much every day for the last few weeks. It's starting to become a glaring neon sign in his brain for how much of a paradigm shift is about to happen to him. And Chelsea. And to some extent Cas and Dean. They're all going to normal. He's gonna be a Dad. In a house. With a daughter. And a plush rabbit.
It's not exactly going to be Leave it To Beaver. He's going to be a stay at home dad who works phones to help a group of monster hunters access confidential information. There are hex bags, salt lines and devil's traps all over his normal house, and the daughter's bunny was picked out by his brother's boyfriend- the formal Angel of Thursday.
But it's damn normal for him, and he's been steadily moving toward happy-freaked out and excited-freaked out, and away from just plain freaked out. He's really looking forward to a family and a semi-typical life, and ever since Chelsea told him about Dean's quiet rant about how much he wanted exactly what had dropped onto Sam's lap, it had made Sam more grateful for this, and more dedicated to keeping all of these good things in his life. He'd picked back up on his gym routine. He'd cut down on his already modest beer intake. He'd called Dr. Claybourne a couple of times to just… maintain a little sanity when things got to be a little too much. He's fine, and she agrees that he's fine, but it's a lot of stress and he just wants to make sure.
The one thing the Doctor mentioned, with the clarification that it was more as a mother than a psychiatrist, was to make sure that he didn't fall back into his co-dependent relationship with his brother. He got what she was saying and he was totally aware that his attempt to be a little more separate from Dean had failed miserably, but as long as Chelsea didn't care, he was actually glad for that. He and Dean had grown up so isolated with a couple of "uncles" and a handful of babysitters.
He's thrilled that his daughter is going to have two parents in the house, two uncles in town, two grandparents in the state, two grandparents in the next state over and a couple of aunts not too much further. She's going to have a family and an extended family. She's going to spend entire years in the same school. He's gonna start a college fund for her and not blow it on ammo. She's not going to spend most of junior high sleeping in the backseat of the car.
She's going be happy. She's going be loved. She's going to be taken care of.
It's going to be great.
Chelsea was right. They've had hours. Sam had been starting to wonder if it was actually a false alarm, but she'd kept having contractions. Karen and Bobby had dropped in, and then gone on to the hotel to get some sleep. Dean had fallen asleep on the couch for a couple of hours, first with his head cranked back against the back of the couch, and then with minimal half asleep protesting, with his head in Castiel's lap. Chelsea and Cas had talked about the names they were considering and everything had been, not exactly peaceful, but not exactly tense until- very suddenly- it wasn't peaceful at all anymore.
The shift from Zen-Early Labor Chelsea to time-to-go-to-the-hospital Chelsea is a loud, dramatic change. Sam was never expecting a bad rom-com birth, and while Chelsea isn't exactly berating him for doing this to her, there is some yelling and bone-crushing hand clamping.
Sam tosses Dean his keys, knowing better than to suggest the Impala, and Dean floors it down the highway. Cas makes increasingly awkward phone calls at Chelsea's instruction, starting strong with a simple "Hello, Bobby, we're going to the hospital now" and deteriorating down to "Hello, Tanya. I am Chelsea's friend Castiel. Cas is a shortened version. Sam, his brother, Dean, and I are bringing Chelsea to the hospital to have the baby. We are in the parking lot."
Sam almost feels bad for the guy. They're all out of their element with this, but Cas is already a little out of his element on his best day.
Dean pulls up the door. Sam jumps out and rushes in to get a wheel chair while Cas helps Chelsea out of the car. As he comes back through the doors he sees them both lurch in alarm and when he reaches them they are both standing on wet pavement. Chelsea has the unmistakable expression of someone who has completely given up on not freaking out, and Cas looks like he's regretting all of the life choices that brought him to this moment.
Sam brushes him out of the way, lowers Chelsea down into the wheel chair and leaves Cas on the sidewalk, still gaping at his shoes.
He races Chelsea inside, nearly loses his temper with the reception nurse when she makes him sit down and fill out a form. Dean and Cas run in after a few moments. Cas slides on the tile and tumbles backward. Dean catches him.
Sam hears Cas's growled. "I have amniotic fluid on my shoes," Dean's incredulous, "Amniotic fluid?" and Cas's slightly hysterical, "I read the book too. It is not helpful in a real world context!"
The reception nurse stifles a laugh and Sam decides to hate her. He shoves the form at her and she shows them to their room. He helps Chelsea up into the bed and drops down into the chair next to it before gulping in what feels like his first breath in hours.
"Yeah, baby, what do you need?" He asks, jumping back up instantly.
"Did the Angel of Thursday just pull a banana peel pratfall because my water broke all over him?" She asks distantly.
"Yeah. He's fine."
Chelsea lets out a peal of overwhelmed giggles. Sam grabs her hand.
Chelsea's laughter stops abruptly and she turns to Sam and says, very clearly, as though making sure he doesn't miss a single word, "Go find a nurse and tell them I want the drugs."
When Castiel comes out of the bathroom from washing his shoes in the sink Bobby and Karen are talking to two older people who must be Chelsea's parents. Dean has stolen him some blue socks to wear while his shoes dry.
It's all very strange. Everyone's excited, which doesn't seem appropriate when he can hear Chelsea screaming when the door opens. Castiel understands that everyone's excited to welcome the child, but it seems like that should wait until this part is over. He and Dean still sometimes wake up to the other screaming, and he knows how he feels when he hears it.
He's also concerned that no one else seems nervous about the imminence of the introduction of an infant. Sam has been swinging wildly between joy and terror for months, Dean between joy and depression, and Castiel has quietly not mentioned that he has been nervous for months. He does not know how to be an Uncle. He does not know how to care for an infant. It makes him nervous that Dean is so saddened that he doesn't expect to ever father his own children. He's not afraid of losing Dean for this reason… but Dean might expect him to want to be a father as well. Maybe after Dean finishes his schooling he may even want to try to adopt a child.
Cas already feels like a child too often, and knows that it's about to get worse as he has to be taught about babies. He's not ready to watch over a child. He can't teach a child to be human when he's still learning. Three years is not enough time to become an entirely different species.
When Dean starts yawning again Castiel jumps on the chance to go get him a cup of coffee and have an excuse to get some air.
He wanders down a hallway, asking the occasional nurse where he might be able to find a cup of coffee. There is a small counter open. He purchases a cup of coffee for himself and goes to stand outside. There is a small, welcoming garden outside the door, with a bench. He seats himself on it.
It's a few hours after dawn. The world isn't warming under the sun yet, but it's no longer cool. The sent of the spring lilies is heavy on the air. He takes a deep breath then a sip from his cup.
"Gabriel? I know you can hear me, you bastard."
There's no answer at first. Castiel takes another sip of his coffee.
"For the last freaking time. I got promoted. I'm God. I've got a world to run here."
It's Gabriel's true voice. It insinuates it's way through the garden without actually coming from anywhere. Castiel is surprised that he can withstand it. He's not Jimmy Novak- who was able to hear an Angel's voice- he's just a facsimile of a man he hopes is in Heaven now.
"That's nice," Castiel replies. "But you were the Angel of Childbirth once as well."
"Cut to the chase, little brother."
"Are you watching over her?"
"Not personally. But she is being taken care of. I promise."
"Humanity suits you, Castiel."
Gabriel's presence is suddenly sucked out of the Garden. Castiel shivers, goes back inside and buys another cup for Dean.
It's not much longer before Sam runs out to announce that the baby is crowning. Chelsea's mother's voice is kind as she explains what that means.
It's hardly any time after that before Chelsea's screams turn to a baby's cries.
Cas can't keep himself from grinning at the smile that spreads over Dean's face.
Sam apparently worries the doctors because he has no qualms over cutting the chord and is the only father they've ever had reach out and take the baby before it's washed. He is told this later, when one of the nurses is chiding him gently about it, pointing out that he also didn't count fingers or toes. He just looked at her and handed her to Chelsea, who then asked to have the poor girl scrubbed up.
His memory of those first few moments is fuzzy at best. He mostly remembers the way she practically fit in his hand the way her whole body got a little bigger when she pulled in breath to scream out.
The day in the hospital is a little clearer. Dean getting choked up when she grabbed his finger and punching Sam in the arm with an indignant "Shove it, I'm an uncle," when Sam chuckled at him. Chelsea's father and Bobby winding up having a celebratory cigar out in the hospital garden and getting shooed away by a nurse because they were too close to the door. The shade of purple that Dean had turned when he'd turned around from talking to one of Chelsea's sisters and seen Chelsea breast feeding behind him.
Chelsea's sister Martha is a little indignant about how short Chelsea's hospital stay is, but the doctors all say that she recovered remarkably fast for a first time mother and Chelsea wants to go home.
Sam's inexplicably nervous that night.
Chelsea's entire family, and Karen and Bobby are staying in the hotel, if anything happens there is a whole host of people they can call for advice on babies. He'd given up about a week ago and admitted to Chelsea that despite all the wards, magics and protections, he wasn't going to be able to sleep with the crib all the way down the hall. There was enough iron in it that it had taken him, Dean and Castiel to move it into his and Chelsea's bedroom.
Bu it's still their first night alone with the baby. Their first night as parents. Their first night as a family. Sam, Chelsea, and little Sophie.
Chelsea's leaning back against the headboard, supporting Sophie with the help of a few pillows on her lap while she feels her. Sam's propped up next to her, watching. They only sound in the house is a happy baby-eating noise.
Sam reaches out, brushes his hand over his daughter's silk fine hair, and kisses his girlfriend's cheek.
This is his life now.