Standard disclaimer: Not mine. As you know. Grace is mine, and so is the malfunctioning elevator. Oh lucky me. :P
Getting Dean on the elevator in the first place had taken almost all of Sam's persuasive powers. Sam wasn't sure if it was the small space, being enclosed and feeling trapped, or the sheer lack of personal experience, but for whatever reasons, Dean hated elevators.
"Dude, we could have been there already if we'd taken the stairs!" Dean groused as the elevator eased to a stop on the 8th floor.
Sam gave a long-suffering sigh and reached out to hold the sliding doors open for the pretty, and heavily pregnant, young woman who was trying to get on. He smiled kindly at the woman before turning to shoot Dean a pissy look over his shoulder. "Unless you can fly, no, we couldn't have. Eleven flights of stairs take time to climb, Dean, even for you."
His brother missed the fleeting grin that crossed the pregnant woman's face.
Dean arched an eyebrow at Sam, opening his mouth to deliver a fabulously (in his mind anyway) witty rejoinder. A sudden lurch of the elevator car, accompanied by a loud, ominous grinding, wiped the smirk right off of Dean's face, and the snark right out of his mind. "What the hell?"
The recessed lights in the ceiling of the car flickered, then went dark completely. One of them blinked back on immediately, casting a golden glow over the three unsettled faces below it.
"Are we stopped? Why are we stopped?" Dean demanded, glaring at the control panel for the elevator, as though it had pulled this stunt just to screw with him.
Recognizing the edge to his brother's voice, Sam trotted out the most soothing, non-combative tone in his arsenal, giving the car's other occupants each a reassuring smile. "It's probably just a power surge. I'm sure we'll be back online in a minute."
The woman's face looked pale in the dim light, but she wasn't visibly panicking. Which was more than could be said for Dean. If the wide-eyed, furtive looks Dean was giving the EMF reader in his white knuckled grip were anything to go on, Sam's brother was already flipping out mentally, and about thirty seconds from losing it audibly. "Dean," he said firmly. "We'll be moving again in no time."
Dean shot his younger sibling a dirty look, not realizing that the tight set of his lips and the rapid pace of his breathing totally shot his intimidation credibility all to hell. "I know that Sam," he practically spat, settling for feigned annoyance to cover his terror.
Sam grit his teeth and held his tongue, knowing better than to push Dean any further at the moment. Turning to the woman, he put on his most trustworthy expression and extended his hand. "I'm Sam Williams. The grumpy one over there is my brother, Dean."
"Grace. Grace Bennett," she replied, shaking the proffered hand. "Do you really think we'll be out soon?" A slight frown creased her brow as she asked.
"They'll fix it as quick as they can." Sam's reassuring words were nearly drowned out by a screech of stressed metal and a disturbing jolt of the elevator.
"Dude! What the hell?" Dean shouted, smacking his fist against the wall.
"Dean, calm down man, it's just a – "
Grace's quiet, strained voice startled both men, yanking their attention to her shocked face. She dropped her gaze to her feet, and the rapidly spreading puddle on the floor. Her arms wrapped around her heavy, round belly, she spared a quick glance at Sam before repeating softly, "Oh God."
In other circumstances Sam would have been amused by the landed fish impersonation Dean did as he took in the situation. But as things stood, he felt his brother summed their luck up pretty well with his matter of fact statement.
"No. This isn't happening," Grace declared, a stubborn look on her face. "This can't be happening. I am NOT going to have my baby on an elevator, with two strange men. I'm not."
"Hate to break it to you sweetheart," Dean drawled, letting sarcasm hide his panic. "But I don't think you have much of a choice."
She glared at him. "I refuse to do this," she insisted. "I won't!" When Dean smirked at her, Grace narrowed her eyes and crossed her legs decisively.
He snorted. "Oh yeah. THAT'S gonna work. Should have tried that 9 months ago sister."
Sam smacked him and had an epic bitchface already in place as his brother howled and hit him back. "Dude. Cut it out. She has enough to deal with right now."
Grace smiled gratefully at Sam, still clutching her belly. "I can't believe this is happening. I mean, I knew it was close, but…well, I didn't think it was this close, obviously." She bit her lip and inhaled sharply, one hand going out to the wall to steady herself as a contraction hit her.
Crossing the narrow space in less than one stride, Sam gently wrapped an arm around her waist, taking her hand off the wall and waiting for the pain to stop. When she nodded at him, he eased her to the floor in the dry corner of the elevator, and pulled off his jacket, stuffing it behind her back in an effort to make her more comfortable.
"I know we're strangers to you, but my brother and I do have some first aid training. Childbirth wasn't on our to do list today, but we'll help you as best we can." He smiled as comfortingly as he knew how and took her hand.
Behind Sam's back, Dean rolled his eyes. There his brother went again, being all sweet and sympathetic and getting on the woman's good side. He sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair and closing his eyes for a moment. Sam was right. The most they could do was try to help Grace.
Grace's eyes flew open when Dean dropped to his knees beside her, startled by his sudden movement.
"Sorry," he mumbled. "Sammy's right. We'll get through this." Without realizing it, Dean pushed his own anxiety over the broken elevator to the back of his mind, letting concern for Grace and her baby take top priority.
Sam shot Dean a relieved look. He'd been waiting for his brother to do that, counting on Dean's protective streak to show itself and overshadow the fear.
Dean stretched over and pried the emergency panel open, pulling out the bright red telephone handset inside and cradling it between his shoulder and cheek. "Hello?...Hel…Yes! Yes, I'm here. We're stuck in the elevator and there's a pregnant…what?" He impatiently scanned the button panel, muttering under his breath. "Car number 8. Yes. No, no one's hurt but…look, will you shut the hell up and listen to me? There's a lady in here and she's in labor…LABOR…l…a…b…" Dean ground his teeth. "I don't really give a rat's ass if you know how to spell labor, I just want you to tell me when we're gonna get out of here." He listened for a moment longer, then hung the phone up with a violent slam. "Shit!"
Grace was working through another contraction, ignoring Dean's outburst. Sam, however, found time to spare his brother yet another pissy look.
"I take it that wasn't good news." Sam remarked mildly, shrugging out of his button down shirt and placing it behind Grace's head.
Dean growled and shook his head. "He said something about a massive equipment failure. They're working on it, but they don't know how soon they can get it resolved."
Sam exhaled explosively, making the longer strands of hair around his face dance. "Well," he said. "Guess we're in for the long haul then."
Sam tried, really he did, but he couldn't contain the yelp of agony that escaped him as Grace squeezed his hand so hard his bones nearly ground together.
"Wimp," she managed, between gasps for air.
Dean checked his watch for what had to be the thousandth time. Three and a half hours? Seriously? What could be taking those lazy bastards from the fire department so long? God, it was like an oven in here. He resumed fanning Grace with a flyer he'd yanked off the wall.
Somewhere along the line, Grace had informed them that this was her second child, and that the doctor had warned her that second babies often come a lot faster than their predecessors. That little tidbit of knowledge, combined with the fact that she'd only been in labor with her first son for a total of 7 hours, was making both of the Winchester men very, very uncomfortable.
"Easy," Sam whispered, freeing his hand from her death grip as the pain faded momentarily and holding a bottle of water to her mouth. "Getting close?"
She nodded, freezing half way through the motion as the next contraction came on. When it had passed, she ground out, "Real close."
Sam turned to his brother, only to find Dean pressed against the doors, his right ear smashed to the metal. "Dean?"
"Shhhh! I hear something. I think they're getting close to fixing it. I can hear them hollering at each other." Dean remained plastered to the front of the elevator, listening intently and ignoring the sparks of pain his position was sending from his bruised and swollen eye. A souvenir of a smart remark at the wrong time. The girl had quite a left hook on her.
Grace screamed, the hand that wasn't actively trying to crush Sam's scrabbling at her belly.
Sam cringed, hating the helplessness of his role. He did what he could to soothe her through the agony, glad that she had finally passed the stage where she was vocally denouncing the male gender and swearing that she'd rip the balls off of each and every man on Earth if any of them so much as LOOKED at her again. She'd seemed quite pleased when Sam told her she was scaring them. If only she'd realized how much it took to accomplish that.
A loud groan sounded from above them, and with a drawn out shudder, they were moving again.
"Hallelujah! What do you know, they do have a brain out there," Dean hollered.
Sam's frantic cry brought his brother around to face him so quick that Dean nearly tripped over his own feet.
The doors to elevator number 8 slid open with a soft, refined chime as soon as the car settled gently on the ground floor. But the sight that greeted the assembled crowd of rescuers and gawkers was anything but refined.
Number 8, and its occupants, were filthy, exhausted, and thrilled. Well, three of them were at least. The fourth was squalling at the top of its lungs, protesting the cold world and the abrupt introduction he had received to it.
Sam and Dean shifted out of the way as the paramedics rushed in, fussing over the new arrival and his mother. They had Grace and her son bundled up and into the waiting ambulance before either man could think to say goodbye to her.
The hoity-toity interior of an office building lobby had never looked so beautiful to Dean. He waved the medics off when they tried to check him out, insisting that he was fine, and hearing Sam do the same behind him as they stumbled out. A decorative upholstered bench sat along the wall, and the brothers were more than happy to collapse on it, neither one sparing a thought for the destruction of the doubtlessly expensive fabric covering.
Impossibly, the buzz and commotion faded within a matter of minutes, and soon the only evidence of the afternoon's drama that remained were the two tired, dirty men in the hallway.
"So," Sam echoed.
"That's the miracle of birth."
"I'll tell you what the miracle is. The miracle is that anyone has siblings. Why would you do that more than once? Hell, why do chicks even have sex if they know that could happen?"
"C'mon Sammy. " Dean stood up and dusted his hands off. "Let's go. We can change clothes before we swing by the store."
Dean gave him a funny look. "Well yeah. We have to be the ones to buy the little dude his first AC/DC shirt!"
Sam got to his feet with a groan that wasn't entirely due to his physical exhaustion. "Dean, Grace may not like AC/DC. And even if she does, she probably doesn't want their logo plastered across her son's chest."
His brother shrugged the comments off. "Eh, I think she'll be cool with it. You can buy him a binkie instead and I'll tell them all about how much you loved yours, and how Dad had to put hot sauce on it in the middle of the night to get you to quit taking it to school. When you were seven." Dean neatly dodged Sam's half-hearted slap and chuckled.
They were almost at the car when Dean spoke up again.
"Remind me to never bitch about pain again."
A/N: Review? Please? puts on her best pleading face