Here, have some unapologetic fluff. I know some of you are probably struggling with your 08x04 feels but since I couldn't find a working stream, I finished this instead. It's the last chapter of this series! Some additional oneshots may be in your future in this 'verse, but they're probably pretty far into the future.

For Mems, who gripped me tight and raised me from Perdition, and for Sophia, Lisi, and Anna, who are all Thelmas to my Louise (and we all grabbed hands and sailed off this Balcifer cliff together).

Take my notions and words to heart.

This is the cry of a man.

I can't bring you fortune or a noble life,

But I'll love you all I can.

It started so stupidly. It had just been the two of them bouncing around in the house for six years now. Luce became dimly aware that something was amiss over the course of a few months, although he couldn't put his finger on what it was. It wasn't until the birthday party that Michael and Rachel threw for their son, two-year-old Inias, that it hit him.

Inias was playing with his cousin Samandriel, who they'd started to call Andy so as not to get him confused with Sam Smith. Andy was a little less than eighteen months old, but he followed Inias around everywhere. The moment Luce and Taz walked in, Inias and Andy charged over to them, grabbing onto Taz's legs. Automatically, the blonde reached down, grabbed one rugrat in each arm, and carried them off toward the backyard. Inias and Andy kicked and giggled happily, and as Taz walked away, Luce groaned.

"Well, that doesn't sound good," an obnoxiously cheerful voice said from the kitchen doorway.

Luce shot Gabe a quick but half-hearted glare. "Go f—screw yourself," he said conversationally. He managed to catch himself before he cursed, well aware that there was at least one more child running around. Anna and Raphael's daughter Layla was three years old and, with Luce's luck, she was hiding behind Sam or something. He peered into the kitchen and while he did see Sam (as well as Raphael perched on the counter), he didn't see Layla.

"What's wrong?" Ray asked.

He wasn't quite sure how to explain it, and he for damn sure wasn't about to talk about it with them before he talked to Taz. Since he probably wasn't going to say anything to his husband about it in the first place, these guys were definitely not going to find out. Well, maybe Gabe, but definitely not Ray or Sam. He just shook his head.

The whole afternoon, he watched Taz chasing Inias and Layla and Andy around the yard with Castiel and Rachel. It was a side of Taz he'd never seen before, a side that involved kids. His chest tightened with something that wasn't unpleasant—in fact, it was the opposite. He felt himself falling in love with Taz all over again.

"I recognize that look," Gabe said from his right. He'd taken advantage of Luce's distraction to sneak up on him. "You want something." He shot Luce an amused look. "Taz know you wanna have his adopted babies?"

"Shut up," Luce growled. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared out the window, but his gaze softened almost immediately. His husband had settled onto the grass with Anna and Castiel continuing to play tag with Inias and Layla, but Andy had made himself comfortable in the blonde's lap. Luce couldn't tear his eyes away.

"It's not like it's not the inevitable next step," Gabe went on, ignoring his best friend's order. "I mean, you've talked about it before, right?" Then he caught sight of Luce's face. "Oh, Jesus. You haven't, have you?"

"It never came up," he murmured. He'd thought about it a grand total of about ten minutes in his life, and seven of those minutes had been before he even met Taz. Back when he was still dating mostly women, he'd always told himself eventually, maybe. But after he fell for Taz, he barely spared it a thought. After all, it was quite impossible for them to have a child on their own, so it didn't matter. Certainly Taz had never brought it up, either. He'd started to think that maybe Taz was under the impression that he'd make a crap dad, but considering how the trio in the backyard had taken to him, that opinion was utterly wrong. "Are you telling me that you and Sam have talked about it?"

Next to him, Gabe shrugged. "Once or twice. We're probably going to adopt like Cas and Dean did. Not anytime soon, but eventually. Couple of years, maybe." He shoved his hands into his pockets. "Hell, this is the perfect time to bring it up to him, though. Whole bunch of kids running around already, eh? Excellent. You should go out there and play with them."

"You're not."

"That's true, but neither is my husband out there." Gabe was smugness personified. "So, the way I see it, you have two options. You can either go out there and play with our friends' babies, or you can stay here and sulk and listen to me verbally harass you until you go for the first option."

"Dick," Luce muttered and headed for the door.

Even with Gabe kicking his ass, it was another week before Luce finally mentioned it to Taz. That whole week, he kept arguing with himself over whether or not to bring it up. He told himself that Taz had surprised him before, after all. Getting married hadn't been his idea—it had been entirely Taz's suggestion. But then he wondered what would happen if his husband said he didn't want kids at all.

Gabe was right. They should have talked about this a long fucking time ago. Even if it was as an abstract concept, a "what happens if one of us decides he wants to be a dad?" idea, they should have discussed it. Even if Luce was so sure he wouldn't have wanted them at the time, it would have been great to know it before they got married. If their opinions differed, it wouldn't have changed his mind, but it would have prepared him at least.

But it wasn't until they were both attempting to sleep a week later that they finally started talking. "What are you thinking, love?" Taz asked softly. He was on his side, facing Luce. He reached out and pushed a few strands of hair away from the strawberry blonde's face. Luce had let it get a bit longer in recent years. "You've been quiet. Something wrong?"

"No. Just thinking, that's all." He turned to face Taz. For a few seconds, he tried to think of how to say what was on his mind.


The words just spilled out. "Do you want kids?"

He couldn't read the look on his husband's face for a few minutes. And then Taz started laughing.

"It's not funny!" he snapped.

"Sorry," Taz giggled. "Is that what this sulk has been about?"

"I don't sulk," Luce said, seething.

"You're sulking right now, love."

He groaned. "That's not the point, Taz. I'm being serious."

With a small smile still on his face, Taz nodded slowly. "I have to say I rather fancy the idea of raising a child with you. And what would your opinion on the matter be?"

Relief flooded through him. He grinned. "I have to agree. I think you'd make a great dad, too." Luce reached up and took the hand that was still cupping his face. He gave Taz's fingers a squeeze.

"That's fortunate," Taz said, laughing softly.

"So. Now that we've established that we agree on this, we still need to talk."

"It's bound to be a lengthy discussion," he murmured. "We can talk about it tomorrow. We both need some sleep."

Luce nodded and pulled Taz close to him. He slept more easily than he had in a week.

The hardest part had been bringing up the topic the first time. It wasn't as bad the next afternoon after Luce got back from work. He'd actually left work a little early so he could be sure he had enough time to talk to Taz before the older man went to work. Roman was usually pretty good about letting Luce duck out early if he was finished for the day. So while they were enjoying the last hour or so before Taz had to go to work, curled up on the sofa, Luce started talking. "We basically decided that we want to have a kid, right?"

"Yeah, I'd say so. And before you ask, I think one is about all I could handle."

Luce chuckled. "Fair enough. So this one theoretical child… when would that happen? Five years? Ten?"

"I bloody hope it won't be ten years. I'm almost forty, Luce." Taz laughed for a moment before becoming serious again. "It would make sense to do it sooner rather than later, right?"


"Alright. So how are we going to do it? The messy way or the… messier way?"

Luce snorted with laughter. "I'm not sure I know what you mean by that."

"We can adopt, which would be the messy way, or we can use a surrogate, which would be the messier way."

"Well, Cas and Dean adopted," Luce pointed out. "And Gabe said he and Sam are probably going to adopt, too."

"Yes, but that doesn't really answer my question. What do you want to do?"

He liked the idea of adopting a child, but he couldn't help but feeling a little selfish. He wanted to look at their kid and see one of them in something about him or her. He'd pretty much already made up his mind. "I want to use a surrogate."

"Alright." Taz nudged him with his foot. "See? That wasn't so bad."

"What about you?"

He shrugged. "I'm fine with whatever you want to do."

"Why couldn't you have said that to begin with?"

"Because if I had, you wouldn't have told me your honest opinion."

"I might have," Luce said lamely.

"So the whole process is going to take at least nine months, plus the time it'll take us to find the mother of our hypothetical child, so let's say about three months for that, and then we have to assume she's not necessarily going to get pregnant the first time, so let's say another six months. Which means that if we started this tomorrow, we might not have a kid for another year and a half."

"Yeah. It's a lot to take in all at once. And it's not just eighteen months, is it? It's the next twenty years."

"Twenty? Love, it's the rest of our lives. And yeah, we both want to have this child, but we need to be sure we're ready first. Are we?"

Luce thought for a few moments. "I feel ready. Don't you?"

After a beat of silence, Taz shook his head. "Not yet. Close, but not yet."

Four months passed before Taz said he finally felt ready, and from there, things started happening really quickly. Almost immediately, they went to a fertility clinic to start the process of finding a mother. Taz ended up being right—between their schedules, it took them close to three months to find the right woman. However, there were only so many blondes to choose from and since they'd decided that Luce was going to be the biological father, they wanted to find a woman who shared as many physical traits as possible with Taz. They finally found that in Eve Morgan, who was twenty-three, pretty, blond, blue-eyed, and tall, at five-foot-ten. She also was extremely athletic, bubbly, a political science major, and didn't smoke, and seldom drank. As Taz put it, "She's so perfect, it's nauseating." Still, she was by far the best option and they both liked her, and she liked them.

After that came the very messy process of actually impregnating Eve. Taz insisted on artificial insemination, which Luce didn't blame him for, since he probably would have done the same if their roles were reversed. Surprisingly, though, it didn't take nearly as long as they'd expected for her to actually get pregnant. In fact, it only took two, which was a bit of a shock to both of them, but a pleasant one. They waited until they were absolutely sure she was actually pregnant before they made an announcement to their friends, who knew nothing about it at all.

Their reactions ranged from mad cackling (Gabriel, of course; he actually fell out of his chair laughing) to stunned but congratulatory (Dean) and everywhere in between. Even Mike expressed his approval; he and Luce, while still not close friends (and they never would be), had definitely grown fond of each other, so it shouldn't have surprised him. Besides, Taz was still one of Castiel's best friends and Castiel was Mikey's younger brother. Either way, everyone was also happy to meet Eve.

Luce and Taz met with her once a week to check on her and make sure she and the baby were doing alright. They went to every ultrasound and Taz wasn't able to resist marking off days on the calendar until July 3, which was the projected due date. That was three days before Castiel's birthday, something that amused Taz to no end—he thought it would be funny if his child and his best friend had the same birthday.

"So are we going to find out if it's a boy or a girl?" he asked Luce a little later.

"I don't think I want to know," he laughed.

"Alright. Which means we're going to have to think of names for both a boy and a girl."

"Yep, I guess so. Any ideas?"

"Maybe," Taz laughed. "I like Sebastian for a boy. Sebastian Mark, maybe."

"Yeah. I like Mark. Not so bad. What about for a girl?"

"Emma. Something with Emma."

"Emma? Not Emily?"

"Nope, Emma. Buggered if I can think of something to do with it, though."

"Hell, I don't know, either. We'll come up with something, though." Luce had nearly dismissed the subject for the time being when he remembered something else. "Shit. What are we going to do about the last-name thing?" They'd both kept their own last names after they got married; they were fairly attached to their names. This left them with the problem of what to do when the little bundle of joy arrived and they had to assign him or her a last name.

"Ooh. Good question. I guess… We should probably hyphenate, right? Lords-Pellegrino or Pellegrino-Lords?"

"Yeah, something like that." Luce smiled. "I like the first one better though."

Taz chuckled. "Well, you won't hear me complaining."

January 8, 2021

Well, this kind of feels silly since you don't have a name yet, and we don't even know if you're a boy or a girl yet. But we got our first picture of you today. Eve has one, too. She's your mom, but I'm not sure how big of a role she's going to have in your life. I mean, I guess if she wants to see you, I'm okay with that and your other dad will probably be okay with it if I am. This is so surreal. We haven't even decided what we're going to have you call us.

For the longest time now, I've been hearing from Cas and Dean and Ray and Anna and Mike and Rachel about how life-changing the experience of having a kid is. There's so much love there that you can't completely understand it. I know it'll be worth it, all the sleepless nights and stuff, even though we're not quite there yet. A few more months. I'm nervous, but excited. I think I'm more worried about how I'm going to handle everything. I didn't have the best father growing up and I hope I don't turn into him. My mom insists that he started off as such a good guy, so that makes it worse, I think. How could such a good guy turn into such a massive dick? (I'm not giving this to you until you're eighteen.) I don't want that to happen with you and me. He didn't screw up my life, but I'm afraid I'm going to screw up yours.

That's the most unnerving part of having a kid, though. It's knowing that one day, this tiny little newborn isn't going to be so little anymore and they're going to be an adult just like you are, walking around and talking to people and you just hope that they don't end up being a serial killer or something. Eventually, you'll be able to see if you did a good job raising a child and what if you don't do a good job? It's nerve-wracking and in the meantime you're trying to tell yourself you're doing okay but secretly you keep thinking, what if this is the one thing I do that turns my kid into a psycho? And you can't just give up, either. You can't just walk away one day because that's a sure-fire way to definitely screw your kid up if you haven't already so you have to stick with it.

Of course, what do I know? You haven't even been born yet. There's still a long way to go. I just hope we're all ready.

I love you.

Very few things in life go as originally planned. If they did, Luce would be on a world tour with a rock band. However, if that had happened, he wouldn't have met Balthazar Lords, the man who changed him for the better. All in all, he was happy with how things had turned out.

So it really shouldn't have surprised him when, on June 29, he got a text from Taz reading EVE'S IN LABOR. HOSPITAL NOW. For a second, he was certain he'd just had a heart attack. It was really happening. They were really about to become parents.

Then the adrenaline kicked in. He jumped out of his seat, grabbed his suit jacket (Azazel, Roman, and Dixon had a stricter dress code than his own independent office), and dashed out of his office. He barely paused for the five seconds it took him to tell Lilith (who'd been able to follow him to the firm) what was going on before he was in the elevator, heading toward the parking garage.

He made it to the hospital in record time, grateful that Taz had been on standby for the past week or so. They exchanged texts whenever they could—Taz kept him posted on Eve's status, which was "still in labor, but not ready for delivery" and Luce gave him updates on his location. He felt himself relaxing a bit the closer he got to the hospital, though. It became clearer through Taz's messages that Eve would be in labor for a few more hours at least, so he had a bit of time.

Still, his heart rate picked up again when he saw Taz standing in the waiting room, nursing a cup of coffee, and looking tired. Even though it was only about ten-thirty, it had been ten when Taz first texted him, meaning he'd been asleep for about five non-consecutive hours before Eve called.

"How's she doing?"

Taz gave him a tight hug and a kiss before sighing, "No change. Still a few more hours, they're saying." He took a swig of coffee and made a face. "This shit's terrible. I think they made it yesterday."

Luce half-smiled. "You didn't get much sleep this morning, did you?"

He shook his head. "Nope. I guess I should get used to it, though. I'm told children fuck with your sleep anyway." As they headed to Eve's room, he added, "So, are we taking bets on if it's a boy or a girl? Eve is convinced it's a boy."

"Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking, too. Why? Were you thinking it's a girl?"

"Yeah. But I guess we'll find out soon enough. One of us is right, after all."

Twelve hours later, they had their answer. Exhausted and sweaty but still looking for all the world like Taz's younger sister, Eve giggled when the doctor put the baby right into Luce's arms.

"Holy crap, she's tiny," Luce said, unable to stop staring at his daughter. He'd never seen a newborn in person before—Inias and Layla had been over two months old before he'd first seen them. It was so surreal to have her actually in his arms like this. Physically, she was very light, but holding her sparked a sudden weight of responsibility. It finally hit home just how precious this was. He blinked back tears as he smiled.

"They generally are, at that age," Taz joked. There was a tender smile on his face, though, and he gently rubbed Luce's back. "I guess we won't be naming her Sebastian, then."

"How about June? I mean, she was so anxious to be born today."

"June Emma?" Taz seemed to roll it around in his head for a minute. "Yeah, I can get behind that."

Still smiling giddily, Luce kissed June's forehead. She blinked at him once, her eyes wide and almost unnaturally blue, before deciding she liked sleeping better and closed her eyes again. "Hi, June. I love you."

Next to him, Taz let out a quiet snort of laughter and gave into his own happy tears.