ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2012-11-26 11:24 am

Fake News | Jon/"Stephen", Dan Savage, babies | R | Ten reasons for the sleep loss after Jon...

Title: Ten reasons for the sleep loss after Jon knocked Stephen up (6-10)
Rating: R
Contents: Alpha/Beta/Omega and related consent issues, mpreg
Characters/pairings: Jon/"Stephen", Dan Savage, babies
Disclaimer: #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Characters belong to the Report. Names of real people are used in a fictitious context, and all dialogue, actions, and content are products of the author's imagination only.

Previously, in this Omegaverse continuity: installment 1, installment 2, reasons 1-5 (whole series on the AO3).

And then there was babyfic. Featuring name help and other advice from [personal profile] politicette.




(6) Talking to your doctor.

Stephen's face had gone pale and waxy. "Can you give us a minute?" he said, in what might have been the most reasonable-adult voice Jon had ever heard from him.

"Of course," said the nurse, gathering her papers and nodding politely to both of them. "Come up to the front to schedule your next visit when you're ready."

The instant she was out of the office, Stephen slumped on the bench. Jon was out of his chair in an instant; Stephen leaned weakly against his chest. "I didn't know," he croaked.

"You couldn't have known." Jon splayed his left hand over Stephen's belly, gold ring glinting against the knit of the burgundy sweater. "And now you do, and you're going to fix it. We're going to fix it. That's the important thing."

Since Stephen had made the de facto move into Jon's house, he hadn't bothered to tell the doctors the age of his own. They hadn't even asked how much time he spent at the firing range. (Was it too much to ask that the medical industry give everyone the same damn questionnaire, instead of "saving time" with the stupid sexist assumption that a sweet omega like him, with such pretty curves, couldn't have been donning a vest and polymer earmuffs and shooting targets every other week?) And if he hadn't had any new symptoms as an adult, well, his mood swings and trouble dealing with overly-complex concepts hadn't exactly improved since those childhood playtime sessions with Captain Lead, either.

"And look at the bright side," added Jon, now rubbing between Stephen's shoulder blades with his other hand. "It's nowhere near bad enough to need chelation."

"Great!" cried Stephen. "Because if it were that bad, the baby would already be dead! Instead he's just probably not brain-damaged, and probably will have bones made of calcium instead of lead, and I'm probably not going to have a miscarriage!"

"You're not. You're going to have vitamins, and supplements, and we're going to have a toxicologist go over the whole house before you go back there, and...listen, your future self had a baby Benjamin, right? So right there you know he's going to be fine."

Stephen gulped and nodded against his collarbones. "I...I guess."

"He's going to be fine," repeated Jon, using his calmest voice. The voice of authority. The voice of News, TV-style, where facts didn't matter nearly as much as how confident you sounded. Stephen would be healthiest if he didn't panic, which meant it was in everyone's best interest for Jon not to breathe a word of doubt. (And definitely not a sequence of words of doubt. For example, a phrase like what if this one isn't Benjamin?) "Let's go home and get some rest, okay?"


~*~


Stephen woke up with a strangled cry, his pajamas soaked with sweat. Jon mumbled something that meant he was awake too, although that was probably because Stephen had just kicked him in the leg.

"What if I wasn't just lucky?" babbled Stephen, pulling Jon's arms around his shoulders to hold the beta in place like a heavy, furry cape. "What if it doesn't matter if none of my alphas ever skipped on their drowners because I've been low-fertility since forever? What if I've been pregnant before and lost it and didn't even know? What if I've been accidentally using heavy metal poisoning as birth control and that wasn't in God's plan so now He hates me and —"

"Shhh," murmured Jon. "Nobody hates you. Love you. Love you...."

He nuzzled the back of Stephen's neck, caressing his hips and whispering soothing nonsense into his good ear, until Stephen stopped crying. They lay twined together until the sun shone through the curtains and the gulls started squabbling, when by unspoken agreement they both hauled their bodies out of bed to go make some coffee.


~*~


(7) Betas are from Mars, alphas and omegas are from Venus.

Stephen had never had much use for the phrase "butterflies in your stomach." When he was nervous, it didn't go nearly that delicately. It was more like stabbing yourself in the gut, or swallowing rocks, or tying a plastic bag around your heart and twisting until it strained.

So this feeling, this light fluttery sensation low under his skin, couldn't be nerves.

"Jon!" he hollered down the aisle. "Come feel!"

Jon flew past the display of designer cribs and had his arms around Stephen in four seconds flat. "Is it —?"

"Kicking," giggled Stephen, and Jon gave him a gentle kiss and felt around for the sensation, following Stephen's directions (lower — now to the left!). The fluttering wasn't strong enough to be felt through the skin. Still, Jon didn't seem inclined to let Stephen go.

Stephen was fine with that. "You did this," he breathed into Jon's ear, clinging to his sweatshirt.

Jon let out a reluctant heh. "You've been doing most of the work, babe."

"Mmm." Stephen licked the soft spot under his earlobe. God, it was like being halfway to heat again, this sudden, wanton appreciation for his husband's sexuality. Would this store's restrooms have one of those stalls for emergency sexual cravings, and if so, would it be empty? "Want you inside me again. Now."

He couldn't understand why that made Jon freeze up. "Stephen, c'mon, there are security cameras on us. Do you need a glass of cold water or something?"

And later, when they were back in their own bed and finally both almost naked:

"I'm sorry...this has never happened before."

"I don't understand."

"It's not a big deal, right? Happens to everyone sooner or later, as you get older, things don't always get the same response they used to...."

"Stephen...why are you apologizing? I'm the one who can't get it up."

"Okay, now that's just mean!" cried Stephen. "I already know I'm failing you as an omega. You don't need to rub it in!"


~*~


The first thing the writers wanted to do when they got back to the studio was smell Stephen's stomach. The alphas kept their distance — Stephen was finally giving off a strong fragrance of somebody else's, even if Jon's scent didn't cling to him the way an alpha partner's would have — but the betas, and definitely the omegas, were all over him.

Everyone had an opinion on what it was going to be. "Baby boys always smell like citrus to me, and this has definite notes of grapefruit." "It's an alpha, no question. A scent that sharp? Come on." "I had a dream last night that it would be an omega girl, and smell like peppermint. Now, smell that? Peppermint! That settles it!"

The guests were better at keeping their distance, but usually had to check themselves when Stephen stepped into the green room. Most ended up clasping their hands, or sitting on them. Dan Savage was one of the few, and the only alpha, who came right out and asked permission.

"I'm only allowing this because you're gay," Stephen said haltingly as Dan knelt in front of him to get up-close and personal with Eleanor/Benjamin. Also because Jon barely noticed when he smelled like other alphas, though Stephen didn't need to share that bit of information. Let Dan think he was going to have a tiny-but-ferocious beta to deal with if he crossed the line. "And I apologize for all those times I said people like you were a hazard to the future fertility of the species."

"Mmhmm," said Dan. He had, Stephen couldn't help but notice, extremely well-toned arms. It was a good thing Dan was only into alphas, and that Stephen loved Jon so very much. "You know, some biologists theorize that people who are attracted to nonfertile partners actually serve a key role in human development. In conditions where the infant mortality rate is low, alphas and omegas naturally produce more children than they can take care of. That's where you need homosexual and crossexual couples in your tribe who can step in and pick up the slack."

"Like you and your...husband," said Stephen. It wasn't the word he had been raised to use with a pair of alpha men, but it felt less awkward than it should have. "Hey, Dan, you know a lot about crossexual relationships, right?"

"I've done my research," said Dan pleasantly, patting his stomach before standing back up. "What did you want to know?"

"Just...what's the best way to make them work out?" Stephen hugged himself, uncertain. "I mean, we're not in trouble or anything, but it gets weird sometimes, and I want to be sure I'm doing everything right. With an alpha, I mean a straight one, I would know what to do. With Jon, I have no idea."

Dan nodded. "I'll tell you what I tell any omega with a beta male partner. Fair warning, though: I can generalize, but any generalization is going to be about more than two billion people, right? Two-thirds of six billion are betas, half of them male and half female? So obviously there are going to be exceptions, and the only way to know for sure is to talk to your guy about what he's personally into."

"Uh-huh," said Stephen obediently.

"Okay. Good. Here's the advice: first, don't let him watch the birth."

Stephen balked. "Why not?"

"Or at least, don't have him standing between your legs," amended Dan. "Beta guys are weird about genitals, okay? They treat sex as this whole separate thing from the pure miraculous joy that is creating babies. If your husband has a front-row seat while that hole is spitting out an infant, he's probably going to have some hang-ups about sticking his dick in it later."

"Does he not understand where babies come from?" said Stephen, unsettled. How did Jon think the fetus had gotten there in the first place?

"No, no, his brain gets it. It's more of a gut thing. You're into judgment calls from the gut, right?" (Stephen nodded.) "Or, in this case, from the penis. You like his dick, right?"

"I love his dick," said Stephen earnestly. Beta-sized or not.

Dan grinned. "Attaboy. So don't scare his dick away. In general, try not to talk about baby things and sex things in the same paragraph. And in specific: don't let him watch."


~*~


(7) And baby makes three.

It was half past four in the morning when Stephen shook Jon awake. "Jon. Jon!"

"Don't care," mumbled Jon. "Paint the nursery green if it makes you happy."

"Great!" said Stephen brightly. "But you have to agree to the adorable turtle theme too, or it won't make any sense."

"Fine. Turtles. Whatever."

"Turtles it is! I'm glad you've decided to see reason. Also, the cramps have been regular and getting worse for the past hour and a half. Thought you might want to know."


~*~


Jon was ordered to sit by Stephen's shoulders and stay there. If there was a reason he was forbidden to move, he didn't hear it, but at this point whatever Stephen want, Stephen got. So Jon rubbed his shoulders, fed him ice chips to keep him hydrated, and tried to talk him through the pain his various organs were inflicting on him.

Six hours later, Stephen looked like he had been run over by a steamroller. But he was beaming through the sweat and tears when the red-faced, sticky, fuzzy-headed alpha girl was passed into his arms.

"Eleanor Stewart," he whispered. (Jon, swallowing tears again, could only nod.) Then: "Eleanor Nancy Stewart."

"I like it," said Jon, thinking Pelosi? and probably Grace and it's still a good name, absorbed in the way his fingers all but swallowed his daughter's tiny hand.

Stephen bumped his head affectionately against Jon's. "Knew I could get a Reagan in there somewhere."


~*~


(8) No, seriously, they have an infant now.

Jon was so dead tired he barely stirred when Eleanor started crying, and didn't really wake up until Stephen held her next to his head. "Jon. The baby needs you."

"Needs you," grunted Jon. "You're the one with th' boobs." In spite of the scaremongering tone of the books he'd read about omega males and breastfeeding, Stephen's had swelled to respectable A-cups that were supplying the baby just fine.

"Yes. Yes, I do." Stephen bounced Ellie back and forth, which only added a weird vibrating rhythm to her wails. "And you're the one who decided they were statistically not good enough, and made me go on that stupid pumping schedule, and I am not getting up every night to feed your child when we have a freezer full of perfectly good milk you can use. Now get up and take her, before I pass out and drop her on the way down."


~*~


The latest candidate for nanny, an olive-skinned beta woman who had the nerve to be named Kennedy, gently removed the laces of Ellie's pink knit bobble hat from where they had ended up in Ellie's mouth. (Pink, a softened version of strong and passionate red, was the color for alpha babies, and Stephen was adamant that it coordinated with the pale green of most of the nursery. Calm and supportive pastel blues were suited to beta babies, while omega babies got beautiful, delicate lavender.)

Ellie burped and tried to grab them back. She got Kennedy's finger instead, and stared at the violet nail polish like it was a lost Van Gogh. Kennedy beamed. "Oh, she's darling. Is she always this cooperative?"

"No," huffed Stephen. "Most of the time she bites."

This was a blatant lie, and Jon stepped on his foot for it. "It was great to meet you," he told the woman. "We'll check in with your references and give you a call back within the week, okay?"

Stephen gathered the baby back into his arms and sulked until Kennedy was out the door. The truth was, Ellie was beyond cooperative. As long as she was fed and changed, she barely fussed; she was content to be held by anyone, whether that was Daddy, Baba, a visiting family member, a trusted employee, or a complete stranger. She was always safe in the protection of her parents, to be returned into their loving embraces at some point, and she seemed to know it innately.

"All right, what was wrong that time?" demanded Jon. "She sounded perfect. Her experience looks great, and the agency stands by it. I don't know about you, but she answered all my questions to complete satisfaction. And even if she hadn't, we've been at this for almost a month and I haven't seen anyone better. So why...?" He stopped, peering at Stephen in sudden suspicion. "Don't tell me it was her name."

"Jon, don't be ridiculous," said Stephen, sinking into a leather armchair and bopping Ellie on the nose with a plush turtle. "I'm contemplating leaving my firstborn child in the care of some total stranger for hours on end! This is a big decision, very emotionally trying, and obviously I want to think through every possible angle in order to give our baby the absolute best we can get her, and, okay, yes, it was her name! So what?"

Jon groaned. "I'm going to lie down," he said, rubbing his temples. "If you feel like being reasonable at any point today, come join me."

Left alone in the parlor except for the baby, Stephen stuck her in a bouncy chair, the better to fume unrestrained. He grumbled. He paced. He held a brief session of Formidable Opponent, during which both sides were compelled to pause and bounce Ellie before resuming the argument.

More than half an hour later, he wheeled the bouncy chair into the master bedroom. Jon was already asleep, so Stephen took a quiet seat on the free side of the bed, using his hands to thumb-type Kennedy (maybe he could get away with calling her Kennie? or Kay?) an email of congratulation while his foot hung over the edge to keep Ellie bouncing.


~*~


Around the one-year anniversary of the multi-day threesome that had turned his life upside-down, Jon talked to his doctor and got a short-term prescription for Viagra.

The doctor refused to write him a prescription for drowners. They didn't work so well on betas, she said, and the side effects could be nasty; there wasn't as much of a market for a beta variation, so nobody had perfected it yet. It would be much better if he could get his partner on birth control — why wasn't he doing that? Jon stammered something about Stephen being awful at keeping up a regular schedule, and once he was home, placed a mail order for a box of condoms.

There was no way of knowing exactly when Stephen's body would return to a normal heat-cycle, but the average date for omegas who breastfed was coming up soon. All Jon wanted was to be able to keep up with him this time, without triggering another accidental expansion of the family. Was that too much to ask for?

True, the first accidental expansion was turning out better than he could have hoped for. In spite of all their fears Ellie had been born healthy, small for an alpha but not hazardously so, while Stephen's own blood lead levels had been reduced to normal for an adult in this day and age. She didn't even cry much as long as her basic needs were met; when blocked from eating dirt or grabbing at a particularly expensive shiny thing, she tended to go into a Stephenesque sulk, but those moods passed quickly. One day Stephen had brought her in to the studio, diaper bag in tow, and found out that she was downright chill with the idea of being held in front of an audience...and, just as importantly, happy to be handed off to one of the writers for the duration of the taping.

Eleanor was happy and confident and thriving, and Jon loved her more than he had realized it was possible to love another human being.

Which made him all the more keenly aware how new to all of this he was, and how desperate to be sure he had this parenting thing down cold before he tried to balance another miniature person in his already over-full hands.


~*~


Stephen took a deep breath, straightened Ellie's bib one last time, and spooned a runny puree of strained peaches into her mouth.

The baby made a face and burbled it all right back out.

"No, you're doing it wrong!" cried Stephen, wiping her mouth with the still-clean corner of the bib. "It's peaches. You have Colbert genes, you have to like peaches! And stop taking pictures!" he pleaded in the direction of the camera lens.

Jon obediently put the iPhone down. "You'll thank me later," he said with confidence. "Your faces were priceless."

Stephen was the one to snap a couple of photos as they put Ellie down for (God willing) the night. "She's kind of perfect, isn't she," he whispered to his husband on the way out.

"No arguments here," said Jon, kissing him on the cheek as they strolled down the hall, hand in hand.

It was as good an opening as any. Stephen draped himself over Jon's side and caressed the front of his thigh, giving in to the urges that had been stirring under his skin all day. "Mmmm. Let's make another."


~*~


(9) You can't stop the heat.

The good: the first full day of heat was Friday, which gave Jon more flexible timing to nip away to Stephen's studio for half an hour here and there. The bad: Jon had been scheduled to fly up to Boston for a couple of standup shows on Saturday.

"What do you think we have a nanny for?" groaned Stephen in the car home, trying to grind against Jon's leg without ripping out his seatbelt. "Make her stay with Ellie while I go with you."

"She has the day off," Jon reminded him, giving his ear a reassuring nibble.

"So make it a day of overtime. Pay her double. Triple. Whatever it takes."

Jon had taken a risk and added a couple of jokes about married life to his otherwise barely-changed-since-1989 routine. The audience seemed to enjoy them. He decided not to mention that his husband was at that very moment awaiting him in the airport VIP lounge, preparing to jump him the instant the charter plane's doors closed for another round of the best sex they'd had in months.


~*~


"Nooo," moaned Stephen when Jon tried to pull out after his second orgasm of the day, wrapping his legs around Jon's torso and holding him in place. "Stay in, stay in."

Jon settled back on top of him, tucking sweat-plastered hair out of his face. "Tell me if I start crushing you."

Stephen mumbled something disconsolate and kneaded at the muscles of Jon's shoulders.

"We'll get some toys for next time," Jon promised. Stephen was bearing up well, relatively speaking; he hadn't made any openly disparaging comments or suggested they invite an alpha friend over to finish him off. But he was winding up pouty and frustrated every time they reached a good stopping point, instead of smug and satisfied. It was the first time Jon had really felt that he might not be enough.

"Mmm," said Stephen now. "Toys that knot."

"Toys that knot," agreed Jon. The extra stimulation from something that inflated at the base would help Stephen come far more easily, especially in heat, when he was so much wetter and more pliable to begin with. And Jon wouldn't have to feel guilty about how his own natural equipment, instead of swelling during the final act to hold Stephen in place, went smaller and softer....

Uh-oh.

"Stephen, babe, I need you to let me go," said Jon softly. "I promise I'll fist you in a little bit, okay? Just hold still for now."

"'Kay," said Stephen, and lay flat to watch in mild confusion as Jon slipped out of him.

The condom didn't come with him.

"Maybe we'll get lucky?" suggested Stephen, once Jon had fished the latex out of him with two fingers. It was still intact, and if it didn't look very full, well, it was kind of a miracle Jon's balls had any semen left in them at this point.

"Maybe," said Jon.

Right on cue, the baby monitor crackled to life with Ellie fussing.

"I'll take care of her," said Stephen, rolling out of bed and feeling around for his robe. "And when I get back: fisting!"


~*~


(10) And baby makes four, and five, and....

This time around, they got the sex of the fetus tested early. Better for planning the clothes and the name, Stephen thought.

When the results came in, Jon suggested naming it after the President who had been elected around the time it was conceived. Instead of reacting with horror at the notion of honoring a Democrat, Stephen rolled his eyes and said, "Benjamin Barack the beta boy? Do you want our child to get beat up on the playground every day of his life?"

So it was Benjamin Joseph Stewart who was born in August of 2009, a year and two months after Eleanor.

Benjy had his sire's blue eyes, his daddy's round cheeks, and the exact opposite of his sister's temperament. He was anxious and easily overwhelmed, and refused to be comforted by anyone other than his omega father. He was not okay with being held by strangers, much less being left alone. He was not happy with the nanny. Even Baba was a poor substitute. Only Daddy would do.

A few weeks before the due date, Ellie had gotten the hang of cruising around on her own two feet while clinging to furniture, parents, or whatever else was handy. While her parents were home, both before and after the delivery, most of the supervision fell to Jon as she figured out the transition from "walking with help" to "motoring around the whole house" to "motoring around the whole house without crashing into anything."

When Benjamin was fed and changed, Stephen would lie down for a nap with the baby curled like a frog on his chest: the only place a few solid hours of sleep was guaranteed. Sometimes he was already asleep when a curly-headed blur toddled past, while Jon, bent nearly double to keep her in easy reach, slow-walked behind.


~*~


For Stephen's first heat after Benjy's birth, one of Stephen's alpha sisters came to visit. She and her partner took over the care of the little ones' needs, while Jon took care of Stephen's.

This time, he forewent the Viagra plan and stuck with toys. Also, blowjobs. Turned out Stephen was really into having a vibrator in him for an extended period of time, freeing him up to give Jon some of the oral attention Jon hadn't had otherwise had the stamina to accept. (It was a shame he wasn't as into receiving, given that he was small enough for Jon to deep-throat with ease.)

Between orgasms, Stephen would clean himself up and wander out to reassure Benjy, who had come around to tolerating these strange people but didn't exactly trust them. Ellie, meanwhile, spent the day proudly introducing her aunt and uncle to all the wonderful things in their house ("'Tove!" for the stove, "Boo!" for a blue jacket, "Baby!" for Benjy). When evening fell, Jon told her she was perfect and wonderful, then read Goodnight Moon while she sat in his lap and Stephen and the baby snuggled up beside them.

There was a mistiness around Jon's eyes as Stephen led him back to bed. Going by the advice that had worked out well so far, Stephen tried to remember that "putting the children down for the night" and "filling Stephen up until he comes so hard he can't see straight" required two very different mindsets for a beta, and Jon would need time to switch between them.

Forty-five seconds ought to do it.


~*~


It was late 2010 before Stephen was pregnant again. That fact, at least, was planned. The way it unfolded wasn't.

Stephen had promised he would be fine during the week Jon was off doing shows in DC. Instead he got home tired, achy, and with his moods wracked by hormones. Benjamin picked up on the tension in an instant and started to wail, and of course Stephen got teary while trying to soothe him, and even perpetually content Eleanor was anxious to know what was going on. "Daddy cry?" she asked, following Stephen around with a hand clinging to his pant leg.

"Uh-huh," sniffled Stephen, holding a still-glum Benjy over his shoulder and rubbing the baby's back. "Because Baba went away, and I'm sad. It's okay to cry when you're sad." Papa would never have approved of saying things like that to a toddler alpha, but he had a feeling Jon wouldn't mind.

"Baba, Baba go 'way?" panted Ellie.

"That's right. He's in Washington DC. Can you say Washington DC?"

"Ash-tun ee-see."

"Close enough." Stephen tried to pop a pacifier in Benjy's mouth, with no success. "But in three days we get on a plane so we can go be with Baba too, and then we'll all come home together, okay? In one, two, three days."

Eleanor ignored the numbers to focus on the important part. "Go plane Baba," she said with confidence, then held up her arms. "Daddy carry!"

Stephen had to sit down to cradle both children on his lap. Hauling both around was not something his body felt up to; he wasn't even showing, and he was already starting to feel the aches and soreness that had previously descended in the last month or so before birth. Three more days, he reminded himself. Three days, and he could be with Jon again, who would rub his feet and kiss him and make him feel better.

Benjy was finally convinced to accept a pacifier, while Ellie hopped off the armchair, toddled across the playroom to retrieve a toy Jay Jay the Jet Plane, and ran back to present it to her omega father. "Plane fly!" she announced, bumping him in the face with it.

"Yes, planes fly. No hitting." Stephen pushed the bright blue plastic away. Maybe Ellie was the sire of the house right now, but Stephen was still bigger.


~*~


After the third time Stephen fell asleep at work, Jon held his hand through a doctor visit where every statement was full of heavy qualifications. The baby was healthy, but.... Stephen wasn't advised to start on medication, but....

"Look on the bright side," said Jon that night, rubbing his feet. "Doctor's orders are for you to lie down and get pampered a lot. Next six months, I'm going to be at your beck and call, and I don't even get to complain."

"Yeah," said Stephen, only half listening. The book on childhood allergies he'd forced himself to read through (Benjy had gotten painfully and messily sick after his first taste of Cheerios) lay collapsed across his chest. "Jon...."

"What?"

"You don't want me to do this again, do you."

Jon scooted out from under Stephen's calves to spoon with him. No, he didn't want Stephen to risk an even more difficult pregnancy after this one. And for all Stephen's boasting about his fertility, Jon was getting the idea that Stephen wasn't up for another round either. "I always thought three was a good number to stop at."

Stephen cuddled into him and didn't answer.

A few minutes later, when he was almost asleep, the second baby monitor began to crackle with Benjy's favorite word: "Dada?"

"Stay here," said Jon, rubbing Stephen's shoulders. "I'll get him for you."


~*~


Jon and Stephen looked at the ultrasound, then at each other.

"Or four," said Jon. "Four is a good number too."


~*~


And what came after.

Ellie wanted to walk by herself, but Baba said she would get tired, so she had to ride in the stroller next to Benjy. It was okay, though. She had her favorite turtle and some apple juice.

They went into a big white room with a big white bed next to a little bed. Daddy was in the big bed. Benjy said "Up!" when they saw Daddy, and Daddy picked him up. So Baba picked up Ellie, and held her to see what was in the little bed.

"Babies!" exclaimed Ellie when she saw them. "Baba, babies! Two babies!" She leaned over to sniff. "Purple girl babies."

"That's right," said Baba. "These are your new baby sisters. This one is Franklin Joan Stewart. You can call her Frankie Jo. Daddy swears that's an acceptable omega name in the South."

"Daddy knows what he's talking about," said Daddy. "You understand, right, Benjy? Say 'Daddy's right.'"

"Dada wight," repeated Benjy. Daddy kissed him on the head. He giggled.

"And this one," Baba went on, pointing to the other baby, "is Rachel Stephanie Stewart. Rachel and Frankie Jo."

"You're their big alpha sister," said Daddy. "So your job is to look out for them and protect them, okay? You too, Benjy. Betas can be very good protectors too, you know."

Ellie nodded, understanding. They were saying it to Benjy so he wouldn't feel left out, but he was just a baby himself. She was the big girl here. It was going to be up to her to help Daddy and Baba out.

"I pat the babies," she announced, and Baba moved her closer so she could reach.

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