AN: The other night, I decided to take a hiatus from my hiatus. Originally, I sat down to write this whole other fic that Kathey and I had been talking about involving a certain wayward father. But then this happened. I'm still not back from my hiatus, but here's something to hold you guys (and me - mostly me) over until I return on Valentine's Day.

WARNINGS: Again, refresher: From here on out, this story deals with loss of pregnancy (late miscarriage) and if that triggers you, I advise you to please, please, please step away. At the very least, proceed with extreme caution. There are also heavy suicidal themes, major, major substance abuse and there will eventually be some heavily implied non-con.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.


i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Written by Becks Rylynn


Part Seven

.

.

.

/XVI/

no one can find the rewind button

.

.

.

The grass outside is green - still damp from the sprinkler -, the house has a fresh coat of paint on the outside thanks to the weekend's project, and Dean thinks he will build a picket fence soon and paint it white. This is what he has become. Five years ago, he would've hated this. Would've hated the predictability of staying in one place, would've hated having a steady job and a normal house, complete with the ''how was your day, honey'' at the end of the day. Would've loathed the sticky summer heat and the broken air conditioner. Would've scoffed at the monogamy of it all. But now...

Life is extraordinarily fragile and short. It's precious. He's learned that. The little girl sleeping upstairs makes it precious. Makes it worth it. He still can't quite figure out if he's truly happy, because he is still without Sam (and honestly, he is not sure if he knows who he is without Sam) and he is still without Cas, but... He's got his girls. He's not going to sit here and say that his life is perfect. But it's enough. It's enough for now.

One night in June, with the air conditioner on the fritz and the summer heat soaking into every part of his body, he's in the living room picking up the toys scattered all over the room, and Ruby's on the couch, folding laundry. Except folding laundry is an extremely loose term here. In actuality, she abandoned the laundry about five minutes ago and is currently browsing Netflix and grinning like a five year old. The woman has an addiction.

''I love Netflix,'' she gushes excitedly. ''It's great. If I could marry Netflix, I probably wouldn't be so against marriage.''

He raises his eyebrows and throws a look over his shoulder. ''Well, that's very flattering.''

She rolls her eyes and pushes away the laundry basket, curling her legs under her. ''What do you want to watch tonight?'' She asks, flipping through the vast selection of television and movies. Honestly, he's surprised she still leaves the house. ''Oooh, we could watch Sons of Anarchy again. I didn't think that was so bad.''

He snorts. ''Veto.''

''But it had motorcycles,'' she tries. ''You like motorcycles.''

''Bare assed men, Ruby. Bare. Assed. Men.''

''One bare assed man,'' she grumbles, but gives up and continues searching. ''Okay, how about Smallville? The show lasted a decade, it had to have been - ''

''No,'' he answers shortly.

''Why not?''

''Just no.'' He deposits the last of the toys into the toy chest against the wall and flops onto the couch next to her, slumped down into the cushions. ''Get to the movies. I don't wanna watch TV. If I wanted to watch TV, I'd watch the TV.''

''Okay, what about All About Eve? It's a classic.''

''Is Marilyn Monroe in that one?''

''Briefly, yes. It was her - ''

''Then no.''

She sighs heavily and presses into his side. ''You're so picky.''

''I'm not picky,'' he argues, draping an arm around her almost without thinking. ''I just have taste.''

''Funny.'' And then, just to annoy him, she plays All About Eve.

The appeal of Netflix - for Ruby, at least - is apparently just the browsing process. He learns this when they wind up forgetting about the movie halfway through and making out instead. It's how most of their movie nights go, if he's being honest. Hey. They have a small child. Their love life basically consists of ''hey, the kid's asleep, let's fuck.'' Romance is not usually in the cards. While Bette Davis is doing her thing on screen, he's got Ruby's back pressed into the couch and her fingers are fumbling to open his shirt, practically clawing at it. As his lips move to her neck, her fingers fall away and she announces, quite abruptly, ''I think I want another baby.''

His movements still and he draws away from her slowly, staring down at her, jaw open in shock. She blinks up at him with an unwavering expression on her face as if she has just asked him to go get her a bowl of frosted flakes. He is stunned by the declaration - rightfully so, if he does say so himself - so the squeak that winds up tumbling out of his lips is an extremely unhelpful, ''...With me?''

She doesn't miss a beat. ''No, with my secret lover, Ernesto. He has a moustache and an accent. You can't compete.''

He sits up; fingers absently buttoning his shirt back up as his brain works to process this sudden and unexpected information. ''Oh. I love that guy,'' he remarks. ''He takes so much pressure off of me.''

''Dean.'' She sits up, patting down her mussed hair. ''It's serious time, okay? I want another baby and I want to know how you feel about that.''

''Well...'' He clears his throat and looks back at the screen. He tries to fathom the idea of another baby. It's strange. He has never been shy about wanting more kids. He's always been very open about his desire to give Bray a little brother or sister. But Ruby...

Ruby has always been the exact opposite. During her pregnancy (and for a few months afterwards) she had been adamant that one was all they were going to have. As time went on, she didn't seem to be vehemently opposed to the idea, but she always waved it off with a vague, ''Someday, maybe. Way, way in the future. Why are we talking about this now?''

When the hell did they switch places?

''I... Are you sure?'' He finally gets out. ''I thought you said - ''

''I said someday,'' she butts in. ''And I just feel like...now could be someday.''

''Okay,'' he says slowly. ''But why? I mean, why now?''

She shrugs. ''I think it would be nice to give Bray a playmate, you know? Someone to grow up with. Be close with. Someone who would understand our lives. Someone close to her in age. I want our kids to be friends.''

He does have to admit that he likes the sound of 'our kids'. He clears his throat and reaches out to move hair away from her neck, brushing a thumb over her cheek. ''Ruby,'' he says carefully. ''I want to have more kids with you. ...Okay? I do. You know I want that. But...'' He winces a little and swallows. ''Are you sure this isn't about - I don't know - wanting to feel normal? Is this - Is it boredom?''

''No,'' she sighs, shaking her head. ''That's not it. Dean,'' she licks her lips and places a hand on his knee. ''I hate being pregnant. You know that. But I love being a mom. I didn't think I would love it as much as I do,'' she admits. ''But I do. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but it is so worth it. I have fun. I feel good. I feel human. I feel happy. I like to think I'm a pretty good mom - ''

''You're an amazing mom.''

'' - And you're an amazing Dad. I just... What's wrong with wanting another one? I know you want more kids. I think we're ready. And there's nothing stopping us now.''

He sucks in a breath. He feels a little winded. ''Wow,'' he croaks with a quiet chuckle. ''You've really thought this through, haven't you?''

She rests her chin on his shoulder, catching his eyes with a smile. ''I'm not saying we have to get crazy and start scheduling sex, but we could just...not not try for awhile.''

He thinks that he should be feeling a little more apprehensive right now. Maybe a little worried, but... Another baby. He doesn't think it's an incredibly bad idea. ''Another baby,'' he says out loud, just to see how it sounds. It sounds pretty good.

She is beaming at him. ''Another baby,'' she whispers. ''Maybe it'll be a boy this time.''

''I don't know,'' he meets her eyes. ''Another little girl would be nice. I like my girls.'' He leans in to kiss her, catching her mid-laugh, and she winds her arms around his neck happily.

.

.

.

/XVII/

and the devil still comes visiting

.

.

.

Sam is only vaguely aware that it is morning. He does not know the exact time or how long he's been sitting in the couch staring at the phone on the coffee table. It's still dark out. Bray is still sleeping. Bobby is puttering around in the kitchen quietly, making coffee and checking in on Bray every few minutes. Sam is still on the couch.

Lucifer is sitting right next to him.

''Hmm,'' Lucifer muses, head tilted to the side, lips puckered curiously. ''Do you know Sylvia Plath?''

Sam twitches and does his best to remain on steady ground.

''I have had my chances. I have tried and tried. I have stitched life into me like a rare organ, and walked carefully, precariously, like something rare,'' Lucifer recites.

Sam twitches. ''Shut up,'' he hisses out of the side of his mouth.

''I did not look. But still the face was there, the face of the unborn one that loved its perfections, the face of the dead one that could only be perfect - ''

''Stop it.''

''I lose life after life. The dark earth drinks them all.''

When Bobby ducks out of the room again, Sam turns to Lucifer, blinking.

''Three Women,'' Lucifer says. ''1962. I think - '' he rests his chin in the palm of his hand '' - Sylvia Plath could have benefited from a hug.''

''You're cruel,'' Sam tells him.

The devil smirks. ''I am a garden of black and red agonies.''

Sam scoffs and shakes his head, turning back to the cell phone to wait. He does not have time for this.

''Maybe,'' Lucifer hums thoughtfully, ''this is their punishment.''

Sam breaks, just a little. Not enough to be noticed. ''Punishment,'' he repeats hoarsely. ''For what? They haven't done anything wrong.''

''You have no idea what they've done.''

Sam closes his eyes and presses on his hand as hard as he can, until it hurts like hell and he can breathe again.

The phone on the table rings.

He jumps. He is alone when he opens his eyes. He snatches the phone off the table and clears his throat. Is it too late to pray? ''Dean,'' he stands up, just for something to do. ''What's going on? How is she?''

There's a long silence (too long of a silence for it to be good news), a crackling sound, and then Dean clears his throat. ''She, uh, she lost...'' He trails off. Clears his throat again.

Sam swallows and shuts his eyes briefly, letting out a long breath. ''Dean...''

''When we got here, she was in a lot of pain and there was a lot of blood and the baby was...it was in distress and the doctors tried, but they couldn't...'' His voice breaks and he clears his throat yet again, like he always does when he doesn't know what to say or when he's trying not to crack. ''They're not sure exactly what caused it...Whether it was a placental abruption or if there was something wrong with the baby...like a defect... Look, I should go. They're... She's going to have to deliver, Sam.''

There's an unpleasant twisting in Sam's gut, and a knot forms in his chest. ''Okay, listen. I'm coming to you, Dean, all right? I'll be right there.''

''No! No, Sam. No.'' Dean releases a heavy sigh and sounds like that ever present weight on his shoulders has moved to his chest and his lungs and his throat, brutally crushing his windpipe. ''Just...Just stay there. I need you to stay with Lila Bray.''

Sam ignores him; is already searching around desperately for his jacket. ''Dean - ''

''Sam.''

Sam stops and snaps to attention.

''Ruby doesn't want anyone else here for this.''

Sam deflates and has to sink onto the couch when it feels like his legs won't support him anymore. He combs a hand through his mess of unruly hair. He doesn't think he has it in him to argue. ''Okay.''

''Just take care of my girl for me, will you? I don't want her to worry.'' That is when Dean's voice breaks. There is a noticeable hitch, a catch in his throat, like some sort of combination of a sob, a sigh, and a bitter laugh.

''I've got her,'' Sam promises, because it's all he can do. He lets Dean go and drops the useless cell back onto the scratched coffee table. His eyes are tired, burning and blurry, and his heart is heavy. He feels strangely discombobulated. Like he's not really here. Like he's floating along in some kind of dream. In some kind of nightmare from the other side of the wall. The cynical part of his brain is telling him that he should not be surprised. Ruby had been so sick and so stressed...and since when did life treat them fairly? He feels like he should be doing something other than sitting here and stewing in his own grief. God, does he even have any right to feel this way? He wasn't his baby. He wasn't the one carrying it. He wasn't the father.

Helplessly, he lets his head fall into his hands and when he looks back up again, Lucifer is lounging next to him with his feet on the coffee table. ''The heart,'' says the devil, ''is a minefield. ...Isn't it, Sammy?''

Sam says, ''Fuck off.''

.

.

.

/XVIII/

oh dear, you look so lost

.

.

.

The sun rises in Whitefish, Montana and the inside of the blindingly white hospital room glows as sunshine peeks through the flimsy curtains.

And Dean Winchester is left sitting stoically at a bedside with metaphorical blood on his hands. It is still nothing new. What it is, is a never ending cycle. Their lives are still stuck on repeat. Things ebb, they flow. Hearts beat, blood pumps, their shoes wear holes in the floor from all of the pacing. Everything they touch shrivels and dies and disintegrates into ashes. He can't make it stop. He'd give anything to make it stop.

Dean focuses all of his attention on the woman in the bed, on her dull eyes and her stringy hair. She actually physically looks empty. It's horrifying. Feeling much older than his thirty three years, he leans forwards, elbows on his knees, hands clasped as he murmurs soundlessly into his hands. It takes him a second to realize that, without thinking, he has begun to pray for Cas. (That's really quite unfortunate.)

She moves in the hospital bed, and it startles him. She hasn't so much as moved a muscle since the sedatives they gave her kicked in. She is grimacing lightly, squirming uncomfortably. ''Ruby,'' it comes out breathlessly. He jumps to his feet and rushes towards her, instinctively taking her hand. ''What do you need?'' She shakes her head and slips her hand out of his, winding both arms around her middle. He tries not to wince; smoothes hair out of her face tenderly like she delicate and made from porcelain. ''Are you in any pain?'' He flinches at his own choice of words and kicks himself when she sends him a bitter look. ''Physical pain,'' he corrects. ''Are you in any physical pain?''

She shakes her head again and turns away from him, rolling onto her side with her back to him.

He goes still and his brain works sluggishly to figure out what to do next. He doesn't move over to the other side of the bed to face her, and he doesn't say anything because he doesn't know what to say. Words, he knows, won't fix this. Words, he knows, mean nothing. The silence oozes between them, coats the space between the two of them, traps them apart on opposite sides of the spectrum. Bit by bit, life is beginning to chip away at them. He can see it. Everything they have and everything they've built is slowly crumbling into bits and pieces. As bits and pieces go, this was a fairly substantial chunk that has just been blown to smithereens.

The sunlight illuminates the dust in the air and turns everything golden. ''It was a girl,'' she whispers. Her voice is scratchy and hoarse from disuse.

There is a tightening in his chest and a churning in his stomach. Nothing has ever hurt quite like this. ''I know,'' he rasps.

''She was so small,'' she slurs. She's crying. He can hear it in her voice.

The air around him thins and he can't catch his breath. He is still standing in a patch of sunlight. She is still lying in the dark with her back to him. He doesn't need to see her to know that her face is contorted in pain and there are tears running down her cheeks. ''But she was beautiful,'' he says, voice tight.

She makes a small, quiet noise of pain, sniffling and letting her shoulders shake with sobs. ''It was,'' she starts. ''It was Mary, right?''

He blanches. His face pales, and his mouth dries up. ''What?'' He croaks out.

She rolls over to face him, tears glistening on her cheeks. ''If we hadn't settled on Lila Bray, we were going to name her Mary. Do you remember that? And then...then we always said that if we ever had another little girl, we would name her Mary. ...Because it was what you wanted, remember? This baby...This little girl... She would've been our Mary. She was our Mary.''

He has to sit down. ''I...I guess she was,'' he finally forces out. ''Our Mary.'' There is a suddenly prickling behind his eyes and a fucking boulder in his throat. ''Ruby,'' he stands. ''I have to go. ...Um, I'm just going to go call and check on... I'll be right back.'' He ducks out of the stifling, suffocating hospital room before she can say a word, staggering out into the hallway and trying to breathe.

He's not sure if he's going to vomit or pass out, but something unpleasant is happening here. Mary, he echoes in his head, bracing himself heavily against the wall. Mary. That's excruciating. His breathing is quickening, his pulse is racing, and he feels like he's on fire, trembling and quaking. It's like a convulsion. Mary. And then he laughs. It is an extremely painful laugh, full of venom and hatred and grief - there's always so much of that.

The sobs come next, and then he's on the ground, laughing and crying and wondering what the hell is supposed to come next.

And it's Mary, that little voice in the back of his head, soft and slow and mocking, whispers. It's always Mary. You Winchesters... You just can't hang onto a Mary to save your goddamned lives, can you?

Can you?

end part seven


AN: Yeah, that was depressing. And unfortunately, it's going to have to get a hell of a lot worse for the family before it can get better.

Up Next:

Dean and Ruby continue to drift apart in the wake of the miscarriage.