A Fluff By Any Other Name
Dean was waiting for Sam in the hallway.
"Uh, she hates flowers. Figured I'd ask what she wants for dinner, run get it."
"Maybe I would've appreciated the flowers."
"You know, I'm going to let this go, because you've had a long day, but not as long as hers, so—"
"Dean, did you sneak some morphine, or whatever they've been—"
"Ask me what your niece's name is. Actually, no - ask me what it's not."
His voice hadn't ratcheted down to the deep-deep levels of pissed off - and, to be sure, there were several subtle variations Sam knew well, having been on the receiving end of all of them - but Dean was definitely serious, and had crossed his arms for good measure.
"I legit don't know where you're going with—-"
"The dogs. All your foster dogs. You took the good names."
"Okay, now, that's— I started volunteering way before she ever got pregnant, before you two even got serious, come to think of it. And I just chose a bunch of names that I thought of off the top of my—-"
"I picked up on that, yeah - around the time you used Jessie. And on that real jumpy, kinda twitchy one, which was extra weird. And was a boy."
"Wait, wait - that was such a sweet dog, and besides - you really would've wanted to name your daughter after my dead fiancée?!"
"Oh, everybody's dead, Sam!" Dean whisper-hissed. "And, no, not necessarily, but I do wonder what Jessica'd think about that…. about that…. what damn breed was that thing?"
"A pooset and a corgat."
"Sam. The hell."
"A poodle-basset hound mix and a rat terrier-corgi mix shared a special hug—"
"So it's a poocorgaset."
Sam brought a hand up, slowly rubbed his temples.
"Can I pull from the rest of the real names? I mean, ratbassgipoo is turning my crank."
"But always the poo."
"Of course always the poo, what the hell good does -dle do anybody?"
The nurse cleared her throat - she was leaning into the hallway, a leg and foot still in the room.
"We're done. Everything's looking good. She said for you guys to come on in, but if you're in the middle of….."
"No! No, not at all. Hey, and this is my little brother, Sam. Sammy, this is our nurse, she's been here the whole time, basically delivered Macka… Mmmuh… my kid."
She raised her eyebrows at that, but smiled, extending her hand and shaking the one offered, introducing herself as Dean slipped past them.
"Uncle Sam, huh?"
"Uh-huh…. oh god, I just now realized that!"
"Eh… could be worse."
"You could have a name that your nurse had to re-write on the birth certificate five times - twice for misspells, then again because she ran out of room. Me. I'm that person. We're talking about me, here."
"What was the fourth? Since there was a fifth?"
"Oh, well, that one? Can't take credit for - under 'father's name', the proud papa got a case of the jitters and wrote your father's name."
"Jeez, I'm so… I'm so sorry…"
Sam would've sounded sincere if he hadn't burst out laughing, but she immediately joined in. And though he didn't know it at the time, he would be sincere with her many more times than not, and he'd be getting plenty of it in return. Starting that night, when he'd ask if she'd be interested in getting coffee sometime. She would be tips-to-toes sincere when saying she hoped to hear from him soon.
They'd still keep bursting into laughter, amongst and in between the sincere times, over a million different things through the years. There'd be the breath-stealing kind, prompted by the action of more amusing-than-scary hunts; the gasp-induced kind, stemming out of nervous relief over the hunts that weren't; and her favorite, the bent-over, knotted-into-cramps kind, resulting from drunken Dean tales of hunts long past. And then his favorite, when the Winchester kids were raising hell, and there was nothing to do but laugh.
This time, this first time, after the birth of their niece, in the moment they'd met, would ultimately get ranked as the best, though it was followed closely by the tear-tinged round that erupted after another first, when they heard the justice of the peace say the words "husband and wife".
But that's another story.
For now, Sam closed the door quietly before tip-toeing to the bed, bending and giving you a kiss on the forehead. He glanced over to the bassinet and back.
"Work is right."
Dean was seated in an armchair next to your bed, unlacing his boots, but paused and looked up at this, tacking on a clarification.
"Work is damn right."
You winked in acknowledgment before speaking again.
"So listen, while I've got you both—-"
"We in trouble already?" Dean asked, changing his seat from the chair to the opposite side of the bed, perching near the end.
"—-I wanted to make sure you knew that I haven't totally lost my marbles with the name, and I know that's what you're both thinking."
Sam opened his mouth, ready to protest, but Dean just held up his hands in a sort-of surrender.
"Babe, I know I said I'd be fine with whatever you chose, but we ain't lied to each other yet, and wow - it's horrible."
"I really wish you wouldn't worry. It's an old family name, and, I mean… we could squeak a nickname out of it… probably… you know how some of these Gaelic names are, it's hard to tell how to pronounce them on sight."
"So how's it pronounced?" Sam asked.
"Get ready," Dean muttered.
And Sam's jaw dropped briefly as something largely incomprehensible - possibly worse than the name was on paper - came out of your mouth.
"That's beyond horrible."
"Yeah, it is. It is a vicious eyesore that she won't be able to spell for who-knows-how-long, it makes ears bleed, and I'm a garbage parent for it, though I will point out her father was zero help."
Now Dean's jaw dropped, but clearly in faux offense.
"I resent that - 'cause every name I said I liked…."
"….every name we agreed on, that we loved for her…."
"….was already a dog's name."
You and Dean turned your heads in unison, leveling looks at Sam.
"I can't have taken up all of them—-"
"Which also took out Mary Jane."
"Bobby, which took away 'Bobbie'."
Dean wrinkled his nose, prompting you to roll your eyes.
"Right, right - Sandy, and we even would've been fine with Anne."
"I haven't named any of them Sandra or Anne," Sam pointed out.
"No, but you did name that fire-engine-red cocker spaniel, the one that wouldn't stop crawling into my lap, Anna - which was a real cute move, by the way," Dean shot back.
"We'd already 86′d Anna, on your request, and I still haven't heard that whole story," you said, jabbing a finger into Dean's chest before jabbing it in the air at Sam.
"The one that really pissed me off? And I get to be pissed off because of the disaster that currently ismy—"
"Whoa!" Dean interjected.
You gave him brief but pointed side-eye before getting back to fussing at Sam.
"Millie. You took Millie. And she was an adorable dachshund, an absolute doll, but, I mean, come on."
The tone of your voice had changed, leaving the realm of good-natured teasing and stepping into something akin to disappointment. It wasn't lost on Sam, who looked to his shoes, swallowing. Then he let his gaze drift to the bassinet, keeping it there even as you went on, though now with gentle care.
"But I get it. We get it."
"That menagerie of furry fluff. Thinking they're it. Only kids you'll ever have."
Sam was completely focused, spellbound bythe rise-and-fall of the tiny, striped-blanket-bundle's easy breaths.
Dean's voice now, definitely deep, definitely serious, definitely one of the subtle variations Sam valued above all the rest, the slightly scolding one that hid a bottomless well of love.
"Can't know the future, Sammy. I know sometimes we have, but…. nothing's in stone. I sure as hell didn't picture this for me. Ever."
He nodded - it was true, just didn't feel like it.
"And even if it was? Written in stone? Find another big-ass hammer, grenade launcher, whatever - lay waste, kiddo," you added.
The baby suddenly jolted herself with a sneeze, causing a reciprocal jolt across her audience. She shifted a little, smacked her lips a few times, didn't show the first indication of waking up, that anything in her brand new world was even slightly out-of-sorts. Her uncle briefly thought on the realization of how hard he'd fight to keep her in such a place as he brought his eyes back to her parents.
And was surprised to find them grinning.
"Check out her bracelet," Dean said.
Sam looked to you, received a nod.
"Go ahead. She won't notice."
She didn't, but did get a hell of a grip on a finger of the hand that moved her arm, so he slid the bracelet around with a few fingers of his free hand. Sam fought his own grin as he tucked her arm back under the blanket. Well, mostly - he opted to leave her hand out, let the grip remain for as long as she was willing to hold on to him, then raised an eyebrow at his shoulder-shaking, snickering brother.
Dean kept it up as he edged to the head of the bed, scooting in next to you best he could in the cramped space, quieting only when he let his eyes close, no need to see as he tilted on his side, laced his fingers through yours like he'd done a million times before, the metal of matching angel-blessed bands briefly clinking.
"So your nurse… she was in on this?"
"The father's name - that part was 100% true."
Eyes still closed, Dean briefly gave a thumbs-up, took your hand again, went back to his dozing.
You shook your head at him a little, though a smile was on your face as you went on.
"She's the whole package, my man."
Sam smiled, too.
"Yeah. I noticed that."
"Thought you might."
"Speaking of thoughts, what made you think of it? Not the prank, I mean—"
"Turns out, my great-grandmother had a nice, simple, easily pronounceable, no-brainer spelling, peach of a maiden name."
"And the story on this middle name?"
"She'll prove herself worthy."
"It was the first name on both our lists…"
Even in the dim light, you saw his eyes go shiny.
"…and, we hedged our bets - figured even if you ran out of ideas, you'd never name one of your fluffs after yourself. Thought we'd do it for you."
Feedback is fuel! Let me know if you enjoyed. -Nash
For a follower celebration at Tumblr, I asked the Nashooligans to submit Cringeworthies, a la At Midnight:"Using three words, how much can you make me cringe?"
A dear friend - who knows my loathing of saccharine fluff in general & my eye-rolling at authors assigning family/children of the Winchesters (plainly named John, Mary, Dean, Sam, Henry, Deanna, etc.) ridiculously spelled/made-up/supes millenial names - submitted:
"Dean's daughter MacRyeleighaynnabeau"
To which *I* said:
"Well-played. I will see your Winchester-child-naming-nightmare, and raise you an SPN fanfic triple-cringe trifecta in return: DOMESTIC. BABY. FLUFF. Call my fluff-bluff, have ye? [clears throat] READER. INSERT. MOMMY. Ooh, and - SAM. GETS. DOGS. I'm just sayin', if we're gonna get down, let's get dooown, Mariana Trench this mother."
And whaddya know? People loved it. Now I bring it to you, dear FFnet-ers.
In summation: Nash. Does. Fluff. Y'all enjoy it. Much like that smut that spawned from a lost bet, it ain't likely to happen again.