Beta: That Girl Six
Dean was the last one left in the house. Juliet had already left with a quick kiss and "I'll be home for dinner so don't touch the slow cooker".
The boys were in school—James in pre-K, but he still said it was school—not expecting him for pickup until 3PM because Ben was doing track after school and could not pick up his brothers. This would be the last year he could rely on Ben to pick up the boys before the kid went off to college.
He had just grabbed his keys, tucked his cell phone in his pocket, and was heading out to the shop. His shop was known as the best, but there were only so many cars that needed to be fixed. He had an oil change and a brake job coming in today as far as he remembered.
His cell phone chirped his brother's melody. "Hey, Sam," he answered.
"Dean, I need your help. Please don't say no."
Dean could not recall a time he ever said no to his brother, especially of late with Lidia gone and Sam dealing with Mary on his own. It had been over a year now, and Sam was doing a great job of being a single parent, but his brother was panicking. "Slow down, Sammy, what's up?"
"I have a meeting that I have to go to. I totally forgot about the curriculum change. No one is around to take care of Mary. I called Carolyn, but Josie is sick and she doesn't want Mary to get it, too. She has a point, but it isn't like Mary is not going to get it eventually . . . I thought I had another week. I have a nanny coming but not until school officially starts in three weeks. . ."
There were some days he wished his brother was just blunt with what he wanted. "Do you need me to watch Mary for you?"
"Yes," Sam sighed in relief that could be heard over the phone.
"Okay, not a problem," Dean agreed. It was easy for Sam to forget meetings when he was in Scholar mode. Both Dean and Caleb suggested a personal assistant, but his last personal assistant had been Lidia, and that hadn't worked out to well in the long run.
"Really?" Sam was always a bit tentative in taking from Dean since their whole ordeal with the Demon Slut Who Was Never Mentioned. She had left her marks on his brother which he would carry forever.
"Yes. Sam, I own my own business. I'll tell Sal to keep an eye on things. Riley and Bradley are on a hunt, and Caleb is out with Micah." He caught himself intermingling work with being a Guardian. It was his job to know what was going on at all times. Juliet was amazed that he kept so much in order. It helped that she had a chart stuck on the refrigerator of the boys' activities. "I'll meet you half way."
"I'm already on the road."
"You knew I would say yes." Dean walked over to the Impala. He didn't take it out as much as he wanted to.
"Yeah, I did. You're kind of a pushover when it comes to Mary."
Josie and Mary were the first little girls in their immediate circle. They were still a mystery, a novelty to the men. Caleb admitted he was still getting used to them, but he said they were not little humans yet.
"She's my niece. She's cute, and at the end of the day I get to give her back."
"And deal with your own kids."
"Don't remind me," he joked because he loved his children—all surprises since he never expected to settle down, never expected to have children. "I'll leave now and meet you at the strip mall."
The exchange went well by shifting Mary's car seat with sleeping Mary into the backseat of the Impala. Sam gave her a kiss on her forehead. "She's going to be okay, right?"
Dean thought about his answer. "I'll be honest: she may wake up and cry for a few minutes, but then she'll chill and we'll be fine. Come by for dinner. It gives me enough time to teach her a new word."
Sam narrowed his eyes. "What new word?"
Dean pretended he did not hear his brother and waved as he got into the car. He thought they would make it all the way to New Haven before Mary woke up. He heard the rustling, then he looked through the rearview mirror and saw her. "You're awake," he announced, then started chatting to distract her in the hopes she would not cry. "Just you and Uncle Dean today, Kiddo, and then we'll pick up the boys later. I thought about stopping by the shop and maybe putting a wrench in your hand. . ."
It wasn't enough, and she started to cry and wriggle. He turned the radio on, finding his favorite station and started to sing along. Mary and Dean seemed to share the same taste in music because she was humming along, adding in "Da, da, da, da," when she thought appropriate, then changed to "Ball, ball, ball".
After awhile she was content to play with her doll and listen to her uncle talk. "Undee?"
He cringed at the name Mary had bestowed on him. She said some words so clearly, and others like his name were twisted. He had a feeling that Sam was behind it, especially with Caleb being called 'Caca'. Undee was better than Caca.
He opened the door and Mary immediately started giving him commands. "Up!" Her arms were out. He carried her to the house, then put her down as he opened the door to the house. Mary tried to get by his legs in order to wander off. He saw the gleam in her eyes, so instead he made sure her feet were on his. Holding her arms up, they walked into the house in a sort of dance.
There were chores to do and Mary liked the farm, especially since she'd become mobile. There was a whole world at her level to investigate. She was content in holding some hay in her hands for a while.
He let the dogs out of their pen, and they were immediately enthralled with Mary, corralling her so he could finish the outside chores. Jim would be proud that Juliet followed his pattern of taking in strays, but that left the rest of them to pitch in, too. Mary was not much help with her tendency to wander off from his side; it made the job of feeding and cleaning longer. He was glad his brood was beyond this; a few times he remembered putting a leash around JT and James to keep them nearby.
By the time he was done, he would have to give the dogs treats as he watched Mary poke them, pat them too hard, and pull at their fur. D'Artganan came up to Dean with a whimper.
"Sorry, boy, I'll take her inside." It was lunch time anyway. He swooped Mary up in his arms as she pulled on Aramis's ears. "Undee! Horsy!"
Dean galloped them into the house and pulled open the cabinet to make Mac 'n Cheese. Mary kept repeating "hot" as he stirred the mixture.
Mary was in her independent phase, so she insisted on feeding herself. It wasn't pretty as the coagulated yellow cheese hardened to her face, pink tee, and the table. However, Mary was happy, chewing along with her set of baby teeth. He moved her and sat her on the table in front of him; he was eating grapes. He held a peeled one out to her; she was uninterested but began stuffing them into his mouth. It was hard to keep up.
Unfortunately, Mary was giving off a distinct odor. Once again he appreciated his children being past this stage. Juliet had been general in regards to toilet training, with Dean serving as a support status. Sam had given him a bag with what he would need. Dean toted her up the stairs, holding her side ways, tucked under his arm. Mary thought this was hilarious.
Dean took a deep breath, working fast he changed Mary's diaper. "You stink!"
"Stinky," she repeated easily.
Dean smiled. "Stinky Sammy."
Like sponge she repeated what Dean had said. Dean was amused, though Sam would not be, then he recalled all the times Sam had purchased loud toys for JT and James. Payback was a bitch.
Mary yawned once she was cleaned up. Dean took her downstairs, placed a blanket on the living room floor with a pillow and set Mary down. It was time for her nap and important to keep up her schedule. She did not fuss about it, and Dean walked out of the room to give her a chance to fall asleep.
With Mary sleeping, Dean went into the Tomb to do some Brotherhood work. He let Mary sleep for an hour before he started making noise to wake her up. She woke up confused.
"No, sweetie, Uncle Dean," he accentuated his name in the hopes to steer away from 'Undee'.
"Undee?" She pouted.
He reached for her. "We're going on a trip." They had to pick up the boys from school and hear about their day. James in Pre-K was first; he waited outside the door as directed with Mary in his arms.
James bounded out with his backpack held in his hand. "Hi, Mary!"
"J!" she replied to her cousin.
"How was your day, little man?" Dean asked, although his youngest did not need much prompting. James directed an explanation of his antics to his cousin more than his father as he slid to sit next to her in the backseat.
JT was next. Dean stood outside of the car to wait. JT did not run out. He waited until it was his turn in the line, did not push to get ahead, then made his way over to his dad after saying goodbye to his teacher. It was funny to see that two children of the same parents had different personalities. Dean gave JT a hug before opening the door for him.
"J!" Mary announced. She called James and JT the same name. Juliet had received the distinction of OJ as her name.
He got the brood home, and the boys asked for permission to play video games. He agreed as long as they watched Mary. "By watching I mean don't beat her up. No wrestling; she's too little."
James scrunched his nose. "You don't wrestle with a girl, Daddy."
"We could hurt her," JT explained. "She can color." JT went to the pile of coloring books, which were mostly superheroes, but he dug up something from the church. He handed it to her. "Here, Mary, you can color."
"Make sure she doesn't write on the walls, J's," he told his sons. Dean was not in the mood to repaint the living room again after James had gotten loose with a marker.
He lost track of time in the Tomb. The kids had been playing quietly. He heard the door shut when Ben came home. "Why are the dogs outside?" he called out, but then he noticed Mary because he called out to Dean, "Da-ad, Mary's eating a crayon."
Ben had Mary in his arms and was trying to get her open her mouth. "Boo." Mary gave her older cousin a hug.
Thankfully, crayons were non toxic, and it was expected that children would put them in their mouth. "I'll tell Sam that he may notice blue in her diaper."
Juliet followed behind Ben. She smiled when she saw her whole family congregated in the kitchen. She then saw Mary and put her arms out. "Come here."
Mary leaned over to Juliet. With Mary in her arms she gave Dean a kiss.
"You like her better than us," Ben said, standing with his brothers.
"Yes, you're right." Juliet laughed. "I'm the only girl." She rubbed Mary's belly, causing a fit of laughter. "We even have male dogs."
Dean nuzzled close to her. Her hair still smelled of her shampoo. "We can try again. . ." He bobbed his eyebrows up and down.
"In your dreams. Between you, the boys, Caleb, and Sam, I think I have enough children." Juliet patted Dean on the face. "Set the table, boys, and we’ll have dinner together," she ordered. "I want to hear about your day." She shifted Mary to her hip and shut the slow cooker off.
"Is there enough for Sam?" Dean had not told her about the unexpected company.
"There's always enough, honey." He loved that she never minded that there were extra guests. Being the Guardian meant their home was open. "Ben, can you make a salad?"
They tried to eat a couple of dinners a week as a family. It was difficult around their schedules, but Dean had promised Juliet he would make it a priority. Mary banged the table for attention, which her cousins were only too happy to comply with.
Dean heard Sam pull up as they were just tucking into their plates. He opened the door for his brother. "Perfect timing, Sammy."
Sam's eyes lit up at seeing his daughter, then he frowned and threw a glance at Dean. "Thanks."
"Daddy!" Mary then said, pushed up against the high chair to get herself loose. Juliet released her and handed her over to Sam.
Sam had been adamant about not having children, unsure about passing along his drops of demon blood. Lidia was under the wrong assumption she could not have children, which was fine with her because she wanted to pursue more involvement in The Brotherhood. She got pregnant, and Sam convinced her to have the baby. But, after the birth Lidia decided she would not make a good parent. Sam excelled at it. "I hope she wasn't a problem. I noticed the dogs outside."
"No, not at all."
"She ate a crayon," Ben informed his uncle.
"She learned a new word," James stated.
Dean narrowed his eyes. He knew the boys had been too quiet. He should have checked on them. "What's that?" Dean hoped he sounded happy when inwardly he was cringing and hoping it was not a swear word.
"Uncle," JT prompted.
"Ca-lub," Mary finished, putting her hands up in the air.
"He paid you to do that, didn’t he?" Sam asked, placing his daughter back in the high chair.
"Ca-lub, Ca-lub," Mary repeated.
"He promised us twenty whole dollars!" James said.
"That's a lot of money," JT added with solemnity of a child just learning about money.
"How come when I ask you to pick up after yourself, you forget?" Juliet asked her sons.
They both shrugged. Dean looked at Ben as Sam took the last available seat. "What's your take?"
"I have to confirm that they did their jobs for a cool fifty." Ben smiled. "Which should be enough to take Kayla out to dinner and a movie next week."
Dean shook his head. "He did tell you that he'd get his way." Dean was jealous he had not thought of reprogramming Mary, all he got was 'Stinky Sammy.'
Sam gave an exaggerated sigh. "It was fun while it lasted, and I have it as his ring tone."
Dean would get his kids
to change his name to Uncle Dean next time, no fee involved. He
would also make sure there were no recordings 'Undee' either.