Sam sat and watched the baby sleep in complete silence. The innocent, sweet face made it hard for him to hold a grudge against her, although part of him was glad for that. Thanks to that baby, he had become a widower so young, a pained angry side of him told him, the same part that blamed his wife's death on everything and everyone, himself included. It fought aggressively to stop him forming a bond with the infant in the hand-painted crib.
The other side of Sam remained calmer, still hurting, but more rational. That baby hadn't asked to make her mother so ill. She hadn't intended on her mother passing away after her birth. But now, with her mother gone, she needed her father more than ever, and Sam couldn't let her down. He couldn't. Sam had promised his wife that he'd look after her and protect her, and he didn't want to break that promise.
Sam couldn't quite believe he was a father, or that the tiny creature in the slightly-too-big baby suit was his daughter. They didn't look too much alike, and Sam was relieved. He'd wanted her to look just like her mother, wanted to pass on as little of himself as possible. Everything had happened so fast that Sam was unaware of what he was doing. He had no clue how he would go about bringing up his daughter, he needed to work in order to support her. He had no family to care for her while he worked. No one except Dean. Or John. But they weren't exactly family to him anymore. Not since he left.
After leaving for college, Dean and John were no longer considered family to Sam. They never bothered to attempt to sort out their differences, or call to see how he was, so it was easy to never bother with them either. They weren't even aware of Jessica's existence. Had no idea they now had a niece or granddaughter. Sam wasn't even sure how they'd react. John wouldn't be interested, probably. Neither would Dean, Sam swiftly concluded before pushing his two relatives to the back of his mind. Perhaps he could call Bobby. Bobby could help him out. Sam was unsure whether Bobby knew how to care for a baby, or whether he'd prefer to go hunting, but he was the only other person who cared enough about Sam. But then maybe he wasn't to be trusted either. Bobby hadn't contacted Sam since he'd left John and Dean. Most likely, he was probably still in contact with Dean and John, and would probably alert them if Sam made contact with him. If they still cared.
Although he didn't know much about what Sam wanted in his future, on one thing he was completely positive. He wanted his daughter as far away from the life of a hunter as she could get. He'd been lucky enough to escape that life, and he aimed to keep it that way. He'd lost too much allowing his father to force him into hunting, and he wasn't prepared to put his tiny little girl through anything he had. Sam felt a duty to give her the life that he never had. She would get a proper childhood, live a normal life. No guns or weapons forced upon her at a young age. The only thing they had already shared was the lack of their mothers, and Sam hated that this was way out of his control. Sam didn't exactly miss having a mother because in honesty, he had never experienced it long enough for him to remember, but he was unhappy that his daughter would have to miss out on the same thing. He wanted to be a better father than his Dad had been.
Jessica died before they decided on a name. Sam felt more lost with this task than almost any other task before him. His wife would have picked the perfect name, he'd counted on it. All he'd expected to do was accept or decline her choice of name, thought most likely say yes. Now she was gone and she had no input, Sam had been stuck for days on a name. The only thing he'd been certain of from that first moment he'd held his daughter was that her middle name would be Jessica.
Sam looked over at the alarm clock sat on his bedside table. It had a large dent in it from when he'd thrown it across the room in frustration the morning after he brought the baby home. The action didn't help, just made everything worse, the commotion waking the baby. There were just a few hours before he had to leave, and yet he was ready to go. Sam had struggled to sleep, just like he had the previous few nights, and so had got up at five in the morning to get dressed. He was unsure what was appropriate for a baby to wear to a funeral. Dressing a baby in black clothing didn't seem right. Sam settled for the opposite, a soft white onesie, the first thing Jessica had bought for their baby, with a rabbit motif on the front. He left the baby clothes on the bed, allowing the baby to sleep a little longer before dressing her and getting her ready. She looked too peaceful to disturb.
Sam loved his daughter, of course. She was part of Jessica. But sometimes, not all the time, he couldn't muster the affection and doting a father should have. He spoke to her like he was an adult, with a slightly softer tone, rather than a cooing, sing song voice to sooth her. He'd been so excited to become a dad from the moment he and Jessica discovered they were having a baby, but now she'd passed away the excitement had left him. If she were alive, they'd be sharing the experience together, helping each other out and learning from each other's mistakes. A proper family, what he'd always dreamed of. Jessica's family never truly approved of him, and he wasn't sure why. Even thought Jessica's parents now had a granddaughter, they didn't want to know. They'd been swallowed up by the loss of their daughter, and Sam, in honesty, didn't blame them for that.
Sam went downstairs to make up some baby formula to feed his daughter. Jessica had never even had the chance to feed her. In fact, she'd not even held her for long. Their daughter was born by emergency C-section, and was given to Sam while Jessica recovered. She was awake, but woozy and disoriented from the anaesthetic. He'd held their baby by her face, and he remembered her smiling at her newborn daughter and mumbling something about how beautiful she was. After she'd recovered, Sam passed their baby girl over to Jessica to hold for the first time. She only got to hold her for a minute before she lost consciousness. It was the last time Sam saw her alive. His last memories were of Jessica cradling their daughter and kissing her tiny, perfect hand, crying with joy. Sam had sat close to her, his arm around her shoulders and allowing their baby to cling to his finger. Happy memories, at least. He repressed the moments that followed as best he could manage.
Upon seeing his new daughter enter the world, Sam had shed a few tears, but he'd never cried as much as he did when he saw Jessica, after many apologies from doctors and nurses who claimed they did all he could to save her. He had nodded silently and politely, thanking them for their efforts, but in his mind they hadn't done enough. He had the baby in his arms, and he gently laid her on her mother's chest before he collapsed into the chair beside her and sobbed controllably into his wife's shoulder. Sam felt so empty, unsure what he'd do without her. He looked up at her face and planted a kiss on her cheek. Her expression was peaceful, to his comfort, and she appeared to be at rest. After about an hour, maybe two, Sam sat up slowly and lifted his daughter.
"I'll take care of her," he whispered, "I promise," before turning away and leaving the room, overcome with emotion.
He walked back upstairs with the bottle, and gently lifted the tiny infant into his arms. She felt as if she could fit into his hand. He hated feeding her what he called the artificial crap, but he had no other choice. His daughter needed nutrition somehow, and it wasn't as if Sam could spontaneously begin producing milk for her. A smile grew on his lips as the little baby fed from the bottle. At least I can do one thing right, Sam thought to himself. Once she'd finished, he kissed her head softly, standing the empty bottle on the side while she stared at him with big blue eyes.
A knock at the door interrupted one of the rare bonding moments Sam and his daughter had shared since her birth. Distracted, Sam averted his gaze in the direction of the door with a frown. Who'd be disturbing him this early in the morning on the day of his wife's funeral? He couldn't narrow down who it could be, as he barely knew anyone on his neighbourhood. The chances of it being someone attending the funeral were slim, seeing as no one attending knew him well enough to come and visit him. Jessica's parents were the only ones he knew, besides a couple relatives present at the wedding. They certainly wouldn't make the effort to visit him.
The wedding had been a reasonably quiet and private event, and Sam had preferred it that way, although he had wished, in a way, that he'd had at least his big brother there to support him on one of the biggest days of his life. Dean would have neutralised the coldness radiating from Jessica's family towards him, and he would have felt more at ease at his own wedding. He had never worked out what he had done to make Jessica's family dislike him so much, but he stayed quiet to prevent any arguments. He would have hated to have put Jessica through a feud between her family and her husband. She'd looked so beautiful at the wedding. Her long, blonde hair had been tied into a loose fishtail plait, accompanied with a strapless, lace covered dress with a short train. Sam focused on nothing but her, in a perfect bubble where it was just them two together.
Sam laid the baby down in her crib, gently stroking her blonde tufts of hair once before going to answer the door.
It was the last person Sam had expected to see.
The last person he wanted to see. Anyone but him. Of all days, especially not this one. He couldn't be dealing with him now.
But there he stood. In old jeans he'd probably owned for years and couldn't afford to throw out, paired with a shirt and jacket. To Sam's slight astonishment, around his neck was the amulet he'd given to him one Christmas. He'd still kept that, through everything?
"Dean," Sam finally choked out his brother's name, his muscled locked in place as his eyes widened.
"Hey, Sam," Dean smirked a little, but Sam interrupted before he could carry on.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded, "How did you find me?"
Dean raised an eyebrow, his eyes gleaming in a way that made Sam's skin crawl with irritation.
"You're really insulting my tracking abilities like that? C'mon, bro," he said playfully, the corners of his mouth twitching as he resisted a grin, "Anyway, I hate to interrupt you," Dean looked Sam up and down, studying his outfit and trying to analyse the situation, "When you have…a meeting? Something lawyer-y?"
Sam rolled his eyes, not prepared to tell him the real situation, "What do you want, Dean?"
"I need you for a hunt," Sam hadn't expected any other answer. He'd known what was wanted of him the moment he saw his brother.
"I don't do that anymore, Dean. You know that," Sam shook his head, about to shut the door on him.
"Dean, even if I wanted to, which I don't, I can't go," Sam's voice rose in frustration. Dean folded his arms, puffing out his chest as if to make himself taller than his rather significantly tall sibling. Sam couldn't take his attempt at "concerned brother" seriously.
"I can't wait to hear your excuses. They better be creative," Dean muttered, a little childishly, "Some meeting, some wonderful date with some wonderful girl. Or maybe-"
As if in answer, the infant upstairs began to cry, the sound amplified by the baby monitor in the living room nearby. Dean's voice reduced to nothing, and his striking hazel eyes looked upstairs while Sam shifted uncomfortably. He was unsure whether he wanted Dean to meet his niece.
"Looks like we need a serious catch up," Dean cleared his throat awkwardly, recovering from his unexpected interruption. He looked up at Sam expectantly, "Well, aren't you going to let me in?"