deawrites: (as long as you love me (chris/steve))
[personal profile] deawrites
Title: These graces that hold me
Author: [livejournal.com profile] dea_liberty
Pairing: Christian Kane/Steve Carlson, Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles
Rating: PG-13
Feedback: All feedback, including constructive criticism, is loved.
Disclaimer: This is FICTION. None of it's real.
A/N: This is so schmoopy, it'll give you cavities. Part of the baby!verse, set just over 9 months after Apocalypse Please. Thanks for [livejournal.com profile] itinerant_vae for the superfast beta. Title from Vienna Teng.

“Hello there, beautiful,” Steve murmured quietly, his voice rough with emotion, rocking her a little as she shifted in his arms.



They’d been waiting there for hours by the time the nurse came out of the room, carrying a small pink bundle in her arms. Chris was out of his seat and beside her in moments, wide grin on his face; he’d never had much patience, after all.

When the call had come, they’d just been messing about with a new song (about waiting and about hope) and then Chris had almost got them killed before they’d even become parents. If you asked Chris though, Steve was just exaggerating and he was driving only a little bit too fast. Adrenalin and all that.

The moment Chris set eyes on the tiny baby though his entire world turned itself over onto its ass before presenting him with an entirely new world view. And self-view or whatever it was called. He’d been driving way too fast, and he really was the most irresponsible person ever and he was going to drop the baby or break her or something. He edged behind Steve and nudged Steve forwards instead, watching the nurse carefully hand her over to Steve and peering at her over Steve’s shoulder.

“Hello there, beautiful,” Steve murmured quietly, his voice rough with emotion, rocking her a little as she shifted in his arms.

“God, she’s so tiny,” Chris breathed. He didn’t want her to start crying or something if he talked too loudly and scared her by mistake. He reached over Steve’s shoulder and – so, so gently – ran one finger over her cheek, jumping a little when she turned blindly into it. He smiled, looking more than a little awed before adding quietly, “Hey, baby girl.”

“Did you choose a name yet?” The nurse asked after a few moments. Chris didn’t take his eyes off the baby – their daughter - but he could hear the smile in her voice. “Melody,” he finally answered and then got distracted by Melody’s little yawn.

“Melody Anne Carlson-Kane,” Steve finished for him, rocking her a little more. The little hitch in Steve’s breathing made Chris smile even wider, head turning a little to press his lips against Steve’s temple. “Shit, Chris. She’s ours.”

“Our baby girl,” Chris repeated, lips still against Steve’s skin. “This is it, Carlson. There’s no leavin’ me now. You’re stuck with me forever.”

Steve laughed, smothering it at Melody’s tiny protest. “I kinda figured that was signed, sealed and delivered the day you said “I want to have your baby, Steve,” fucker.”

“And you went and got me pregnant without puttin’ a ring on my finger too.” Chris pouted, then just grinned against Steve’s cheek. “Very unconventional.”

“I’m sorry,” Steve said with another soft chuckle. “I’ll be sure to remedy that. Just wanted Melody to be the flower girl and all. We’re good at doing things the wrong way round; wouldn’t be us if we got it right.”

Chris just laughed again and tucked his fingers into the pocket of Steve’s jeans, tugging him closer as he watched Melody happily settled in Steve’s arms. “Oh, we got it right,” Chris assured Steve quietly. “This time, we really got it right.”

~

“Chris, if you drive any slower, we’re going to get arrested for being too far under the speed limit,” Steve said, laughter clear in his voice as he watched another car zoom past them.

“Shut up,” Chris muttered darkly. His hands tightened on the steering wheel.

“No, Christian, really.” Another car whizzed past them. “I’m pretty sure that was someone’s grandmother that just passed you.”

Chris didn’t even turn to look at him; he just kept his full attention on the road, his knuckles going almost white at the restraint it was taking him not to be honking on his horn or overtaking the soccer mom going at about thirty miles an hour maximum.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Kane, drive,” Steve exhaled, exasperated. He prodded Chris’ side a little and then moved to unclench Chris’ hand from the wheel. “I want to get Melody home some time this year, you know.”

“Yes, I know.” Chris swatted Steve’s hand away, looking over a little to glare at him, before turning his attention back to the road. “Which is why I’m driving carefully.” He wasn’t about to kill them before they got their baby girl home, after all. Steve was always complaining about his driving and, well, maybe Steve had been right; it had been reckless and everything else he’d said – and now that Chris was driving more responsibly, he was complaining again.

Steve was totally the wife in this relationship. Nag, nag, nag.

“Chris,” Steve tried again, moving his hand to Chris’ hair, fingers brushing softly through the strands. “Seriously man. Just drive, okay? Stop freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out!” Chris defended. The traffic light blinked red and Chris pulled the car neatly to a stop. He glanced in his rearview mirror before giving up and just turning all the way around to look at Melody, who was sound asleep in her car seat. He felt Steve’s lips on his temple a moment later.

“C’mon, baby,” Steve said. “You’re gonna do a great job. Stop over-thinking everything and just go with it. She’s gonna be just fine.”

“Right,” Chris muttered back.

“Really.” He could hear Steve rolling his eyes. “Chris, look at me, man.” He sighed then finally tore his eyes away from the sleeping baby. Steve’s expression was a mixture of fondness, exasperation and amusement. Mostly amusement, though, which – Chris really didn’t think any of this was funny. Not really anyway.

Okay, maybe it really was kind of funny. Chris let out a soft laugh, making a face before ducking his head slightly, embarrassed. Steve grinned wider and reached up to flick Chris’ ear softly. “Now drive so we can get home before her first birthday.”

Chris just shook his head a little, reaching out one hand to punch Steve’s arm, before he just drove.

~

He rested his head on his arms, curled as they were on the edge of the cot, eyes half-closed as he watched her tiny intakes of breath, the rise and fall of her chest, the way her eyelids fluttered just a little in sleep. Behind him, Steve was fast asleep on their bed, arm thrown over the side of the bed where Chris should have been.

It wasn’t like Chris hadn’t tried to sleep. It was just that every time Melody shifted in her sleep, or made a soft noise – or she went completely quiet, Chris started back awake. What if something was wrong with her? Or she needed something? What if she wasn’t comfortable or woke up and couldn’t find them? And when he started thinking like that, he knew it was hopeless to even try to sleep.

Instead, he slipped out of bed and sat watching their baby girl.

Her breathing changed as she woke up, twisting a little in her cot, fingers clenching as her face screwed up, ready to cry.

Chris was picking her up carefully before the first sound could leave her lips. “Shh,” he soothed, cradling her against him and rocking her gently. “Hush, beautiful. Don’t cry; you’re gonna go wakin’ your daddy up if you do.”

Melody made a soft, pathetic little noise, turning a little into Chris’ warmth. He brushed light fingers over her cheek, leaning down to kiss her forehead softly. “M’right here, baby girl. You hungry? S’that it?”

He made his way through to the kitchen, keeping her settled in the crook of his arm, murmuring quietly to her as he stuck a bottle in the microwave. She was still fussing, making soft little hiccupping sounds, hands waving blindly around until he obligingly offered her a finger.

She put it straight into her mouth, sucking on it a little, making another face when there was no milk. “Patience, little one,” Chris said with a soft grin, letting her mouth at that finger for a while longer as they waited for the milk to heat up. “It’s just comin’. Not long now.”

He took the bottle with him into the bedroom when it was finally ready, settling in the rocking chair they’d put in the corner to make sure that he wasn’t going to drop her or it wasn’t going to be at an angle that would make her choke. It never hurt to be too careful. He rocked them slowly, humming softly to her as she happily attacked the bottle – and then it wasn’t long before she was blindly turning into him again, all sticky little fingers and soft sounds.

“Shh, c’mon, angel,” he murmured quietly, once he’d burped her and was trying to get her settled again. “Go back to sleep now. Ain’t no good stayin’ up all mornin’.” She fussed a little more, twisting in his arms. “Hush, you’re gonna wake Steve.” He finally gave up on that tactic and shifted her in his arms, settling her carefully on his shoulder, one hand supporting her neck.

He went back to rocking her softly, starting up a quiet tune, finding himself singing More Than I Deserve to his little girl. To his surprise, she was settling easily, breathing evening out before he’d even finished the song. His lips tugged into a little smile when he finished and he found her fast asleep again.

“That’s our girl,” he murmured, throat tight, keeping her cradled close for a while longer before he settled her back in the crib.

Arms wrapped around him from behind before Steve kissed his ear softly. “She’s sleepin’,” he mumbled sleepily against Chris’ skin. “Come back to bed, baby.”

“When did you wake up?” Chris asked quietly, covering Steve’s hand with his own. “Thought you were still sleepin’.”

“Don’t sleep as well if you aren’t in bed,” Steve complained, mouthing at Chris’ ear. They were quiet for a few minutes, just watching Melody sleeping, then Steve’s arms tightened around him. “I love watchin’ you with her. You’re real good, Chris.”

Chris shrugged a little, leaning back against Steve more. He could feel Steve’s smile against his cheek. “And to think a week ago, you were scared to even pick her up.”

“Shut up,” Chris complained with a soft laugh. “Don’t be mean.”

“Ain’t being mean, baby.” Steve chuckled quietly before he tugged Chris back in the direction of the bed. “You being out of bed instead of wrapped around me? Now that’s being really mean.”

~

“I can’t believe the Js painted James’ room before he was born,” Chris muttered, carefully drawing another flower onto the wall, balancing precariously on the step-ladder.

“Chris, that’s what normal people do,” Steve pointed out, turning to look at him before his attention went back to the carefully painted lines, absently dipping the brush into the black paint and stirring as he considered the space in front of him.

“It doesn’t mean it makes sense,” Chris pointed out. “It’s A by the way.” He gestured at the notes Steve was working on.

“Yeah, Chris, I’m just trying to figure out how to make it actually all fit on the wall.” A flourish of the brush and three more notes graced the artfully curled lines of manuscript Steve had drawn there earlier. Figured the guy would be just as good at art as he was everything else that involved working with his hands. “But yeah, that’s what normal people do. This? Really isn’t.”

“Yeah,” Chris drawled back, adding a few orange swirls to the petal he was working on. “But it doesn’t mean it makes sense. I mean, how’d you even know the baby’ll like it?”

“They can’t even see further than a few feet in front of them to start with, Kane,” Steve pointed out. “They’re not going to start commenting on the décor.”

Chris rolled his eyes. “Yes, but they’re gonna have to stay there for a long time. Imagine if we’d painted this place violet, green, pink and stripy – and then Melody came along.”

There was a horrified pause from Steve before he looked over, one eyebrow raised. “Chris, we’re not colorblind. I’d never do that to my kid!”

“That’s not even the point!” Chris protested, fighting the urge to flick paint at Steve; it might ruin Melody’s walls. “The point is that it wouldn’t have suited her. We couldn’t have known she’d settle anytime she heard More Than I Deserve or that she’s not a stripes kinda girl.”

“Oh, right,” Steve said after a moment, shrugging. “I guess.” He glanced over and smirked at Chris. “But then again, most people probably don’t spoil their baby as much as we do.”

Chris made a pfft sound, waving the paintbrush around a little before he dipped it back into the paint. “Everyone spoils their baby to fuckin’ pieces.”

“But not as much as we do,” Steve pointed out. “Or, well, you do.”

Chris ignored him, adding another few shades to the flower. It so wasn’t true. Steve was just as guilty of it as he was. He couldn’t help the fact that she was the most perfect thing he’d ever seen in his life – well, one of the most perfect because there was Steve, after all – and he wanted to be close to her all the time. Steve did it too – he was singing to Melody all the time these days; he totally couldn’t pin this one on just Chris.

When he looked over to Steve again, Steve was on the other side of the room and almost done with the song. It wasn’t a surprise; they’d always played it a lot – had always loved it because it was their song – but since that night, they’d practically breathed the song for Melody’s pleasure.

He finished up the flower and stepped down to look around. “What’s it missing, Steve?”

Steve wrapped his arms around him from behind, tugging him back against his chest and brushing his cheek over Chris’ before light fingers turned Chris’ face so Steve could kiss him easier. “Nothing,” he reassured quietly. “Except the baby. But that’s got to wait until the paint dries. And then I know you’re gonna be sticking night lights and god knows what else all over the place, aren’t you?”

“No!” Chris protested, pulling back to look at Steve – who just looked back at him expectantly. He tried the staring contest for a few moments before he gave a soft, suffering sigh. “Okay, yes. But they’re – ”

Steve just laughed and swallowed his protests with practiced ease.

~

“Did Chris drop the baby yet?” came Mike’s obnoxious question about two seconds after the doorbell rang. Chris was pretty sure Steve hadn’t even pulled the door open completely yet.

“Don’t listen to a single thing Uncle Mike says, okay?” Chris told Melody quietly. He bounced her softly on his knee. “He’s bad for your mental hea – .”

Holy shit, did you dress that baby in the dark?!” Steve’s not-so-subtle statement followed before Chris had even finished the sentence. Apparently, today was not a good day for Steve’s filters – or maybe it was just being around this lot that did it to him. Chris blinked and stood, carefully settling Melody as he walked through to see what the fuss was about.

“You shouldn’t pay much attention to your daddy when he’s like this either. That’s not good for any of - oh monkey fucker. What did you do to my godson?”

“You should watch your language,” Jensen said matter-of-factly, breezing through the living room with James in his arms. James, who, if Chris did say so himself, looked sort of like a pumpkin in the orange shirt and green trousers. “You’ve got a daughter now. What would you do if her first words were holy monkey fucker?”

“Laugh,” Chris replied. “But not as hard as people will when your kid goes to school. I can’t believe you and Jared seriously call yourselves gay men. What did you put on James?”

“They’re called clothes, Chris,” Jared said. “Same as Melody’s got there.” At Chris’ look, Jared turned defensive. “What? She’s wearing bright colours too!”

“Firstly,” Steve said, starting to usher Jensen towards Melody’s room. “She’s a girl. Secondly, they’re coordinated bright colours. Which isn’t what James has on.” He sighed a little. “Come on. I’m sure there’s a t-shirt in there that’ll fit him.”

“It’s not that bad,” Jensen could be heard protesting as Steve just shepherded them deeper into the house. “My art teacher used to say opposite colours on the colour-wheel…..”

Chris found himself being studied by Jared, Mike and Tom. Like they’d only just noticed his existence. Well, more like, they’d only just noticed that the baby was, in fact, in his arms.

“You’re holding the baby,” Tom said, pointing.

Chris raised an eyebrow. “No shit, Sherlock.” They stared some more. “Oh fuck you,” he finally said, bouncing her a little as she started to fuss, somehow knowing Chris’ attention wasn’t on her anymore.

“Say that a few more times and the first thing she’s gonna say really will be fuck,” Jared said, moving a little closer. Chris was starting to wonder about his sanity when he realised that he had in fact made that guy his daughter’s godfather. One of them anyway. What could you say? She was a beautiful little baby who deserved to have lots of choices in her life.

“At least they’ll know she’s mine,” Chris pointed out, carefully handing her over to Jared. There couldn’t possibly too much harm that could come from that; James was still a perfectly healthy – albeit really badly dressed – baby, after all. He ran gentle fingers over Melody’s cheek when she realised she wasn’t in familiar arms. “Hush, angel. It’s only Jared.”

Mike and Tom were still staring at him like he’d grown an extra head. And possibly a tail too. Chris ignored them. That would be the advice he’d give to Melody when she could understand what he was talking about as well. And maybe every day before that just in case she was a fast learner.

Steve and Jensen reappeared a couple of minutes later with James more suitably dressed. The orange had been exchanged for a nice neutral brown. Thank God.

“Seriously,” Chris said, walking over to take James’ hand, letting him tug on his ring futilely. “You should have got Sandy to write you a manual.”

There was a pause. “She did,” Jared said.

There was another pause. “We might have lost it.” Chris raised an eyebrow and glanced up at Jensen – who rolled his eyes. “Don’t give me that look, Kane. The only reason your lil’ girl doesn’t look the same is because your boyfriend over there is the only one here with enough fashion sense to actually deserve to call himself gay.”

“If it’d been up to you,” Jared added. “She’d probably be wearing cowboy boots and a hat already.”

“Which, by the way,” Jensen continued with ease. When the hell did those two start functioning as a single unit anyway? Finishing each other’s sentences like that. It was kind of creepy. Or…well, not really, but they hadn’t known each other as long as he and Steve had. “I saw she already has in the closet.”

“But that’s cool,” Chris defended, glaring as Mike and Tom burst out laughing. Melody started sniffling in Jared’s arms, probably scared by the crazy snorting sounds that seemed to be coming from close by.

“Yeah, cowboy, they’re real cute,” Steve said, brushing past them to take Melody from Jared, settling her against the crook of his arm and shushing her softly.

“Steve!” Chris said, nudging Steve lightly on the arm – but only because he was holding Melody. Otherwise Chris would totally have hit him. It wasn’t fair that his own partner was siding with those assholes – especially when Steve hadn’t said anything when Chris had bought them.

“It wasn’t sarcastic,” Steve told him, offering him a half-smile. “I let you buy them, didn’t I?”

“He says that as if he had a choice,” Mike muttered almost under his breath. Almost. He beamed at Steve when Steve shot him a glare, safe in the knowledge that Steve couldn’t hurt him when he was holding a baby.

Jensen laughed, passing James over to Chris. “C’mon. You guys need to look at this baby’s room, man,” he said, gesturing a little in the direction he’d come from a few minutes earlier. “Next time we redecorate? We’re totally getting these asses to do it. It looks really damn good – cutesy night lights and all.”

~

“So, how’s this family life thing treating you?” Jason asked, leaning back in his chair and sipping at his beer. “Do you get as little sleep as they say you do?”

“Do we look like we’re getting a lot of sleep?” Chris slid his sunglasses off his nose, grinning a little before putting them back on again. “Actually, she’s got a lot better. Sleeps more than an hour or two now.”

Jason grimaced. “Really? That’s a lot?”

Chris smirked. “She started sleepin’ around five hours a few weeks back. We almost had a party.”

“Says the guy who spent most of the first few weeks awake and watching the baby sleeping,” Steve said with a grin, coming back with another beer and settling beside him – only for Chris to punch him in the shoulder.

Bastard never did play fair. Steve just beamed back at him. Chris sighed and kick his feet up into Steve’s lap in retaliation. Instead of complaining, Steve just took to massaging his feet. And then it was hard to stay mad at the guy.

Dirty, cheating bastard.

On the floor in the middle of their living room, Riley was showering attention on the new love of his life. Their six month old daughter already had that one wrapped around her little finger – or she would have if she’d known what a little finger was. As it was, she hadn’t figured out much beyond “da-da-da-da-da.”

They were still arguing about who it referred to, and the clever little girl just used it with both of them, always looking at them innocently with those big blue eyes of hers.

Definitely Steve’s daughter.

She was also showing signs of being her daddies’ little girl by being far more interested in the turquoise necklace Riley was wearing than the squishy picture book he was trying to read her. Then again, she was always more interested in anything she wasn’t supposed to stick in her mouth than anything she was allowed to chew on.

Definitely their kid.

Chris laughed when Riley gave up on the book and started to reach around to undo his necklace. If six month old babies could beam, that would be exactly what Melody was doing.

“Riley,” Steve said, laughing as well. “Don’t you dare let her play with that.”

“Why not?” Riley asked, looking over with a sheepish smile.

“Because she’s teething.” Chris was still chuckling. Riley was such a sucker. At this rate, Melody was going to be more spoiled than most princesses in the world. “She’ll just put it in her mouth.”

“I don’t mind,” Riley said, shrugging slightly, making to take off the necklace again.

“And you’re going to completely spoil her,” Steve added, obviously amused. “Then, when she’s fifteen and going ‘Uncle Riley, please let me drive your shiny new sports car’ you’re not going to know how to say no.”

Riley pouted and opened his mouth to argue.

“No,” Steve said, shaking his head. “You need to practice saying no right now. It’s already too late for Chris – and just Chris spoiling the girl is more than enough to summon the Four Horseman to fucking LA itself.”

And oh, that was not fair! He’d actually been trying to be good and stop Riley from giving in to Melody. Chris growled a little – louder when Steve looked back at him innocently, hand running up Chris’ legs. “What? It’s true. You don’t know how to say no….”

Riley started to laugh.

Chris hit Steve in the shoulder again – as best as he could from the position he was still half-lying in. “Bastard. I’m not that bad!”

“Yes, you are,” Steve answered, laughing, trying to wriggle away as Chris changed tact and started tickling Steve with vengeance. “You really, really are.”

“I’m really not,” Chris said, laughing as well, knowing Steve was completely right but not willing to concede the point anyway. Where would be the fun in that?

Jason was doing the smart thing and moving out the way as Steve kicked out a little, still trying to escape.

“Ten bucks says Steve wins,” he piped up, glancing over at Riley.

“I’m not stupid,” Riley said with a laugh, shaking his head. “I’m not gonna take that bet.” Steve let out something that sounded dangerously close to a giggle as Chris tried harder, setting out to prove his friends wrong.

“Chris!” Steve shouted, laughing hard. “God, Chris, stop, you fucker!” Chris just grinned a little wider and pinned Steve down more firmly.

“Say you’re sorry,” he said, mock seriously, but he knew he was grinning like an idiot. His fingers found all Steve’s most ticklish spots with practiced ease. “And I’ll stop.”

“Actually, Jason? You’re on!” Riley was about to say something else when Melody started fussing, soft little demands for attention reaching all their ears.

They all froze. A moment later, Riley had picked her up and was bouncing her slightly – and in her little fingers, she clutched at his necklace, trying her hardest to get it in her mouth from its place on Riley’s neck.

Chris turned and looked at Steve, who just shook his head, lips tugging up into a helpless smile Chris knew matched the one on his features. Then they started laughing.

They were all so whipped and Melody hadn’t even started talking yet.
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