Two Months Later
Riley screamed uncontrollably. I paced back and forth, trying to calm her. Nothing worked. She didn't want or need a bottle, didn't need a diaper change, wasn't sleepy, wasn't bored, wasn't sick. I felt like a failure! This kid needed a mother, not some dumbass dad who didn't know up from down. She needed Alex. Alex, however, didn't need her daughter.
I finally began humming some old tune my mom used to hum to me and Sam when I was a little runt. Riley stopped crying, and looked into my eyes. She grinned and stared at me. I laughed, and kissed her little cheek. Those little blue-green eyes would be the death of me one day.
Suddenly my phone rang, and I was forced to balance my baby to get my phone that was currently wedged in my pocket. I flipped the phone open before I could check the name.
My heart stopped beating. I felt like I couldn't breathe for a second. Everything started looking funny, like I was seeing them through a tunnel. Then I took a breath.
"Yeah, who else were you expecting to hear from?"
Oh, no one…just Sam, Jess, Alex, Bobby, Jim….
"I wasn't expectin' to hear from anyone, Dad. So, did you need something?"
"Well, I first was going to call to see how your hunt went. Then I called because I need help on a hunt of my own."
I froze, and looked down at the baby in my arms. I couldn't hunt. Riley needed me. More than that, I needed Riley. And the last hunt…well… I had ended up giving it away to Bobby.
"Uh…the last hunt… right… It went great, Dad. Just a simple salt and burn."
"Good to hear it. Glad to hear you haven't gotten rusty on me."
I laughed nervously. "Right..."
"So, this hunt is in Texas. Can you meet me tomorrow?"
I'm unable to say no to him—he IS my dad! I looked down at Riley. Maybe just one more hunt wouldn't be such a bad thing…Jess and Sam could even watch the baby while I was gone. She wouldn't notice I was gone at all.
Later that night, I was packing my bag when Sam entered my room. Riley was sitting in her little bouncy chair.
"What the hell is this, Dean?" he asked confusion plain in his voice.
"Uh…Dad called. Needs help on a hunt," I said, trying to tell him gently.
Sam furrowed his lips into that oh so perfect Bitch-face. He was angry, I could tell. He kept his volume down and his words somewhat clean for little baby ears that were nearby—aka Riley.
"What?" Sam asked, looking from Riley to me and back to Riley. He almost looked betrayed, in all honesty. I understood. He thought this would be different now. He thought I would tell the truth to Dad. About Riley, about Alex and everything else.
"You and Jess can watch the kid, right?" I asked, looking up from my freshly packed bag. Riley gurgled, kicking her little feet up in the air. I lifted her up, and kissed her with all my might. She was my little angel. She looked just like Sammy, with her cute little dimples.
"You're abandoning your daughter to hunt? I thought…" Sam began to say, betrayal clearly in his tone.
"I'm not abandoning my daughter, Sam. And you thought what? Say it."
"I thought you'd be different. But you're not. You still let Dad control everything, call all the shots."
I looked down at my baby girl, knowing he was right. Riley cooed gently at me, and I smiled at her. She'd already lost her mom. What if she lost me too? What'd happen to her? Would she ever know how much I love her?
"It's one of the last hunts I'll ever go on, Sam. I'll be back Wednesday night at the latest. Or I should be…" I added.
Sam sighed. "Where was the hunt?"
"Texas. Some kind of wendigo. He wasn't really sure."
I nodded, and kissed Riley again.
"Riley Rae, you mind Uncle Sammy and Aunt Jess. I love you, and I'll be back soon. I promise."
I kissed the top of her head, and handed her to Sam and his awaiting arms.
"Take care of my baby. Any questions or problems, call me." I pulled my bag onto my shoulder, and kissed Riley one more time.
Driving away was extremely hard. I looked at the picture I had on my dash. It was a picture of Alex and a one-month-old Riley Rae. I focused on the road as I drove up to the motel Dad said he'd be at. I turned off the ignition and looked around for Dad's old truck. Suddenly a tap at the window made me jump. Dad grinned at me, and I got out of the car. We hugged for a split second, and broke apart.
"So, I figured we'd do some research, grab a bite, then interview some witnesses," he said. I nodded. I was starving.
I looked around, and once I was completely alone, I flipped out my cell phone and called to check up on Riley. It rang a few times, and finally someone answered. A baby's—my baby's—wail could be heard from the background.
"Hello?" Sam answered, voice tired and stressed.
"Hey, just callin' to check in. How's my baby?"
"Dean, she won't stop crying. She hasn't stopped for twenty minutes. Jess and I have tried everything!"
I frowned in sympathy, knowing exactly how powerless you felt when a baby wouldn't stop crying.
"Try singing 'Hey Jude'. She likes that," I offered.
"Hey, Jess…try humming 'Hey Jude'…wow…its working!"
"Yeah, I hum it for her sometimes. Kiss her for me, will ya?"
I hung up, and suddenly missed my baby more than before. I decided to hurry up the hunt.
Dad and I were eating lunch in the local diner when my phone suddenly rang. "Hello?"
"Dean…Riley's sick. We need you." It was Jess.
"What do you mean? What's wrong with her?" I was suddenly distracted, Dad looking curiously at me.
"She's got a really high fever, and can't keep food down. She also keeps grabbing her ear. Sam's with her right now. We really need you here. She really needs you."
I immediately stood up, and walked out of the diner. My dad was hot at my heels, and calling my name.
"Dean? What's going on?"
I turned around, unable to keep my real life a secret anymore. I walked to the Impala, opened the door and grabbed the picture out of the glove compartment where I'd been hiding it. I walked up to Dad, and held up the picture of Alex and Riley.
"This is Alex. I had sex with her. We have a baby girl together. She's five months old, and her name is Riley. She's sick, so I have to go home to take care of her."
Dad stood there for a minute, shocked. He looked from the picture to me and back down. "Let's go then." He suddenly said.
I called Sam when I got to Palo Alto. They were taking Riley to the ER when I pulled into the driveway. Sam and Dad made little to no eye contact. Jess quickly handed a crying Riley to me. She had two red splotches on her cheeks and she was burning up.
"My poor baby…" I murmured, kissing the crown of her head. She nuzzled into me, and coughed a little. Sam had her diaper bag on his shoulder. "Let's go," Jess said as she climbed into Sam's passenger seat.
Dad got into the driver's seat, so Sam could help me with the baby in the back. I got Riley strapped in, and then buckled myself. I softly sang to Riley as Dad drove like a bat outta hell towards the emergency room. He pulled up in the front entrance, allowing me to unbuckle Riley and for Sam and me to jump out of the car with the baby before he sped off. We ran in, with little Riley being jostled every which way.
"Please, somebody help us!" I called, when I made it inside the lobby. A pretty blonde nurse quickly came over.
"What's wrong?" she said.
"It's my daughter. She's had a high fever all night, and can't keep food down."
"How old is she and how high has her fever been?"
I answered the first part of the question, but Sam had to answer the rest. "Five months old, and her fever has been steady at 102 for the past couple of hours."
"What's her name?"
"Riley Winchester." I said, handing over the Birth certificate and all that stuff. She looked down, gave me a slight smile and walked away. Sam led me over to a chair where Dad and Jess were sitting down. I sat next to Dad, and continued my humming from earlier.
"She's beautiful, Dean."
I looked over at Dad, who was too busy smiling at my baby girl. I smiled wide.
"Thanks… she takes after her mother…"
"So… you quit hunting?"
I nodded. "I'll still help out when you need me, but for the most part…yeah. Riley deserves a chance at a normal life. I owe her that much."
"Where's the mother?"
"Gone…" I shrugged, not wanting to talk about Alex anymore.
"Riley Winchester?" the nurse called. I stood up, with Dad close at my heels. Riley jolted awake, and looked around. The three of us walked back into one of the exam rooms. I quietly hummed to Riley, just to keep her calm. But I wouldn't let go of her as the nurse checked her vitals.
When the nurse left, Dad began to laugh.
"What's so funny?" I asked confused as to what would be funny with my daughter in the hospital.
"You remind me so much of your mother."
I was stunned. "What do you mean?" I asked.
"When you were about Riley's age, you got real bad sick. You got pneumonia, and couldn't breathe real well. Your mom and I took you to the hospital, but your mom wouldn't let anyone touch you. Not even me. You wouldn't let anyone touch you either. You'd scream bloody murder if anyone tried."
"You never told me that…"
"I'd forgotten all about it."
The doctor came in then, and tried to take Riley from me to administer her shots. Three seconds after she was taken from me, she looked around frantically and began to wail. She looked absolutely frightened. I quickly grabbed her from Dr. Ass-Butt and consoled her. She grasped my collar tightly, and refused to let go. I kissed the crown of her head, and softly murmured "its okay, angel," over and over.
Two hours and a couple of shots and tests later, Riley was diagnosed with strep. We left the hospital, picked up her meds, and drove home. I laid her down in her crib, and tucked her in. When I came back downstairs, Sam and Dad were hugging.
"So, you're leaving." I said.
Sam and Dad broke apart, and Dad quickly walked over and wrapped his arms around me.
I nodded, hugging him back tightly in response. "Love you, Dad."
A few minutes later, he was gone in some car he probably stole.
My badass dad.