Adapting to life as hunters with one child had been a challenge. Adapting to life as hunters with one toddler and newborn twins was proving ... more so. But little Bertie was delighted with his little sisters for the most part, which helped a little, and he was easily distracted by snow. In January, there was no shortage of snow for him to play in, either. Jo had left the girls inside with Dean to go and frolic with their boy, claiming her right as overtired mommy for the first time in a couple of months. He could handle his girls, right?
Of course, he could! He was a hunter, after all. He had supposedly been "Michael's sword". He had killed more demons and monsters than he could count. So then, why were two squirming infant girls with poopy diapers so perplexing?
"One at a time, Dean," he told himself, remembering what Jo had taught him. He'd handled little Bertie like a pro, but the twins were double the trouble.
Still, even Ellen had remarked on how he was doing better every day. It just took practice, she'd said. Easy to say for a woman who'd never had any children of her own - at least, in this universe. Finished diapering Hope, he went on to her twin sister, Anna. In their son Sam's future, there had been no Anna. Anna was a bonus. Dean couldn't quite wrap his head around it, but then he'd never really tried. He'd learned a long time ago that there wasn't much point in trying to sort things out logically when their lives didn't follow any rules of logic. He just took things as they came and was grateful for the new life he'd been given.
Thankfully, at just under three months, the twins were not mobile enough to do more than kick and flail, and giggle at their daddy as he made faces over them. From outside came the sound of Jo attacking their son's snow fort with more enthusiasm than success. It was ... normal. And for a family who were anything but, normal was a surprisingly relaxing experience.
Strangely enough, Dean found himself enjoying a little normal for a change, though he'd remarked more than once that it might be nice if the twins had some sort of magic powers that would enable them to always have clean diapers. Still, all of this was part of being a father, and Dean had to admit he was enjoying being a father more than he had expected. Once both twins were in clean diapers, he gave them both kisses and propped one against each shoulder.
"There you go. Good as new. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Taking care of twins is a piece of cake," he told them both.
At which point, his pants started singing. Or rather, his phone started ringing. As accomplished as Dean was when it came to the girls, it was probably just as well Jo wasn't there to tease him about how he was going to get his phone out while holding them both at once.
Dean scowled as he both heard and felt his phone going off in his pocket. It was times like this when he just wanted to throw the damned thing in a snowbank and leave it there until spring. Jo had advised him to just turn it off for a while, which seemed like a far more practical solution, but despite Dean's annoyance, he was too worried he might miss an important call.
"Er ..." he murmured as he looked from shoulder to shoulder at his daughters, before deciding to lay them both down in the playpen so that he could take the call. "Be good girls. Daddy will just be a minute," he promised, tickling both their tummies before tugging the phone from his jeans, muttering, "This had better be important."
With his baby girls cooing at each other and him in the background, the phone display revealed that it was Brian calling. Jo's sort of adoptive father in this timeline, he ran a bar in Chicago as a sanctuary for hunters, and kept in touch long-distance as often as he could. It was rare for him to call at this time of day, however.
"Dean, you got a minute?"
Dean furrowed his brows when he saw it was Brian. Brian never called him, unless it had something to do with the business of hunting. Otherwise, he always called Jo, which was logical, considering he was the closest thing to a father figure she had in this universe. "Lucky you called now. Five minutes ago, I was elbow deep in baby poop. What's up?"
"My timing is always impeccable," the older man chuckled. The sound of his bar was a familiar ruckus in the background behind his voice. "This is a friendly heads up. Seems like there's trouble heading in your direction - I just had a tracker pass through on her way west."
"Her?" Dean echoed, repeating the word he'd deemed most important from the man's warning. "Long as she's not after me or mine, how's she trouble?" he asked, mildly curious.
"Well, knowing what I know about you and yours, I thought you might want to know what she's after," Brian told him. "She's tracking Loki. And this tracker, she's got a reputation - she never loses her target. If she's heading your way, then so is he."
Dean's brows furrowed in thought and just a little confusion. He said nothing for a moment and then chuckled. "For a minute there, I thought you said Loki."
"I did say Loki, Dean." Brian sighed. "Look, I've heard the stories, I know the guy supposedly died with Baldur and Kali and all the rest of them. But Kris is pretty certain. Never known her to be wrong."
"Uh, I thought Gabriel is Loki," Dean said, only knowing what the archangel told him, both before and after he was whisked away to this alternate version of Earth. He was somewhat familiar with the lore, at least as far as Marvel Comics and movies were concerned, but Sam had always been the loremaster, not Dean.
"Wait ... Gabriel is Loki?" Brian sounded confused. "Doesn't that mean that Kris is hunting down the King of Heaven right now?" He let out a low whistle. "That's not going to go well."
Or was Loki Gabriel? "I'm ... not sure," Dean murmured, confused himself. "Back home, Gabriel said he and Loki made a deal." Of course, that didn't mean that what had happened back home applied here, too.
Brian was quiet for a moment. "I've never known her to be wrong, but she could be misinformed," he conceded thoughtfully. "Look, might be an idea to pass the information onto your godly allies. Either she's hunting their new heavenly stooge, or she's hunting someone who has a bone to pick with him. Neither one of those is good."
Dean grumbled incoherently. It looked like he was going to have to have another long talk with Gabriel, and that was never a pleasant prospect. "I'll let them know. Thanks for the warning," he told Brian, wondering whether they should put out the welcome mat or a Do Not Disturb sign.
"Kris'll check in with Bobby and Ellen when she gets to you," Brian added. "Might be an idea to introduce yourself so she doesn't shoot you if you get in her way." His grin was audible as he spoke.
"First name basis, huh?" Dean teased. He was aware that Brian was a widower, but that was no reason he couldn't find someone else to share his life with. "I'm sure Bobby and Ellen will fill her in, but I'll keep that in mind." The question now was which of their immortal allies they should inform. Ares was the logical choice, though Dean wasn't sure whether Ares would care.