A/N: Just some fluff as a companion piece to "Daddy's Work". It was meant for Father's Day, and of course, is late. It's dedicated to my own father, a man's man who had daughter after daughter and acted as if he'd won the lottery every time.
This one posts in three short parts.
Part I: Son and Father
It wasn't that he hadn't noticed the shadow in the garage doorway, but with Don it was usually better to let him announce himself. Let him feel like he was in control.
"Donnie." Alan finished loading the laundry and glanced up as though just figuring out that he was there, accepted the proffered beer. "Thanks." He took a sip, surreptitiously trying to read his expression before adding, "So how did the ultrasound go? Everything okay?"
Don nodded, taking a swallow of his own beer. "Yeah. Everything looked good. Normal. Right on schedule."
"All right!" He clicked the neck of his beer against Don's, face splitting into a smile. "Great news! Congratulations!" There was something off in Don's expression and he pressed cautiously, "Isn't it?"
"Huh?" Don blinked at him as though he had been thinking of something else. "Oh. Yeah. Great. Great news." He took another slow swallow, face pensive, reached aimlessly for a pool cue.
Alan studied him, a little concerned. "And Robin. Everything is all right with her? Clean bill of health?"
"Hm? Oh, yeah. She's doing great, doctor says. Gained just the right amount of weight. Y'know - perfect."
"That's good." Alan prompted. Silence was the response, and he resisted the urge to use one of the dirty towels to strangle information out of his eldest. Really, it had often seemed to him that the Almighty, or whoever was in charge up there, could have been a little more even handed when splitting verbosity between Donnie and Charlie. "So…?"
"Huh?" Don looked up from the pool cue he was maneuvering.
Alan nearly lost his battle with the towel. "You seem to have something on your mind."
"Oh." Don's expression was so peculiar that Alan didn't know what to think. "No - um - no. I - they, um - um. It's a girl. We're having a girl."
"A girl!" Alan's grin grew. "That's wonderful! Congratulations." He waited, puzzled by Don's face. "It is wonderful, isn't it?"
"Huh? Oh, sure - yeah. Of course. It's great."
"I see. And you look like a condemned man because…?"
Don's flush of embarrassment would have been amusing under other circumstances. "I - no. It's great. I just - I mean, what do I know about raising a girl?"
Ah. "You didn't know anything about raising a boy, either, but you're a great dad to Joshie."
Don shrugged restlessly. "That's different. Josh is a guy. I get him. My whole life I've been around guys - sports teams, school, the minors - even Charlie's a guy." He glanced over to the middle of the garage, where Charlie was absorbedly alternating between his laptop and the chalk boards. "I mean, you know, more or less."
Charlie glanced up at that. "Hey," he protested absently.
Don ignored him. "I don't know anything about what to do with a girl."
Alan raised his brows. "Don Eppes, not knowing what to do with a girl. That's a first."
Don shot him a scowl. "Funny. You know what I mean. I'm really - I'm concerned. I just don't know if I'm up to it." He palmed a ball, watched as it ricocheted off the felt bumpers of the table.
Alan abandoned the laundry and picked up a pool cue himself. "You supervise women all the time on your team. Is it any different from supervising men?"
Don frowned, then shrugged. "Not really."
"Then what makes you think this will be? Just treat her like you do Josh."
"Yeah, but - " he slid the cue through his fingers. "I'm not their dad. They don't bring me their girl problems."
"What makes you think she'll be bringing you her girl problems? What do you think Robin will be doing all this time?"
He sighed. "I guess."
"You know what I think? I think you're worried that you'll have a daughter and you'll have to deal with guys like you coming around."
Don scowled. "Not funny," he objected, setting up a rack of balls.
"There are a lot of nice things about having a daughter, I hear. They're never too old to hug you. They're never too old to call you daddy. And if you think raising a couple of boys was a day at the beach, well, think again."
Both Don and Charlie looked up at that. "Hey," they protested in unison.
Part II tomorrow