"Simon!" The quietness of the morning is broken by Gary's yell. Simon rushes to his feet, worried that Gary's hurt himself tripping over his own feet again.
"Simon!" Gary yells again, appearing in the kitchen. He's holding a phone in his hand and tears are streaming down his face, but he is grinning from ear to ear. Simon reaches forward and takes hold of Gary.
"She was just born Simon," Gary says. Simon's mouth drops.
"Born already? Holy shite, she was born already? Gary, love, we have a daughter now?" Simon stutters his way through the questions, and Gary laughs at the shocked look on Simon's face.
"Yes, I'm on the phone with the woman from the agency right now. God, Simon, yes! Oh my god, we have a daughter now!" Gary chokes out the last part, and more tears start falling down his cheeks. Simon pulls him against his chest.
"Do we need to go right now?" Simon asks. Gary shakes his head.
"Not right now, they're going to transport her to the city on Tuesday, they said. The doctors have to make sure she's all good to come," Tears start welling up in Simon's eyes, "And the mother already terminated her parental rights, she's ready to come home then." After they finished the phone call with the adoption agency, they stand in the kitchen for a while, just holding each other. Then, Gary called up all their friends to let them know that their daughter had been born, and then used all the tissues in the house by crying a river. Simon helped to use up those tissues.
When Tuesday morning comes around, Simon is glad they're going to a hospital because he's pretty sure Gary is going to break Simon's hand from how hard he's squeezing it. He wouldn't blame Gary if he did, though. When they come around the corner, Simon feels like his heart has stopped. In the center of the room, a nurse is holding a small bundle of blankets. Gary and Simon both stand in the doorway and just stare until one of the nurses prompts them to come hold the baby.
"It's okay, you aren't going to hurt her," the nurse says. Then, a tiny arm wiggles its way out of the blanket, followed by the smallest yawn Simon has ever heard. The nurse holds the bundle out. Gary steps forward and takes their daughter. He's hesitant, afraid that he'll drop her or crush her because she's just so small. She turns her head and looks up at Gary.
"Hey there, sweetie. I'm your dad," Gary says softly, and turns her to face Simon, "and there's your papa Simon." She coos in response.
"Do you have a name yet?" Someone in the room asks them.
"Sophia. Sophia Grace Riley," Simon tries to sound confident, but his voice cracks and his eyes well with tears as he takes Sophia into his arms.
Their living room is filled with people. Gary and Simon watch as little Sophia is passed between the adoring hands of their friends. It's been a while since all of them were together like this, and they're glad it's for a happy reason. Sophia was currently being bounced by MacTavish, after being banished to his knee for pulling a little to hard on the Captain's mohawk.
"When you're older, I'll be sure to tell you all of the stupid bloody things your papa Ghost got up to," he says. Simon rolls his eyes. Sophia babbles and reaches up, trying once again to get a fistful of MacTavish's hair. That gets a rare smile out of Price, who's been standing next to MacTavish and watching the little bugger attempt to make MacTavish bald. Gary's also caught Price making faces at Sophia too, so he knows now that Price isn't as big of a grump as he acts like.
Meat and Royce are there too, and Simon's already warned them that they will absolutely not be teaching his daughter any of their pranks, and that they should probably refrain from speaking around Sophia until she is eighteen. They can't tell if he's joking about the last part. The first part is because Simon plans on teaching Sophia all his pranks, so they can be used against Meat and Royce in the future. Archer brought his daughter Zahra with him, who's only a few months older than Sophia. Toad brings a 12 pack of beer with him, and hands it off to Gary as soon as he arrives.
"Good luck," Toad tells him, "I feel like I need one of these after I just babysit."
The group of friends stays at the Riley household for hours, ordering in dinner, catching up, and watching the two babies wriggle around the playpen and drool on the toys. The night goes by quickly, and at the end, they make plans to get together soon. Simon also somehow manages to rope Price in to babysitting every once and a while.
It's quiet again, once all their friends go home. Gary and Simon put Sophia down for bed, and Simon reads her a book about military tactics. Gary snorts when he sees Simon pull it out. She coos happily when Simon starts talking about reconnaissance and is sound asleep by the time he gets to guerilla warfare.
"Seems like you've lost her interest," Gary chuckles at the sight of Simon holding the thick book in his hands, leaning over the crib of their sleeping baby. Gary stands and wraps his arms around Simon.
"We should follow her lead and go to sleep," he says. Simon makes a noise of protest. Gary rests his head on Simon's shoulder and looks down at Sophia.
"She'll be here when we wake up. Besides, you're going to need all your energy to keep up with her."
"I need all of my energy to keep up with you now, Bug," Simon replies. Gary gives him a playful smack on the shoulder, and they make their way to bed. Both men are asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows.
Simon isn't sure what time it is when he finally wakes up, but it's still dark outside. He rolls over, only to find Gary's side of the bed empty. He feels the panic rising but takes a breath a reminds himself that the war is over. And, he's pretty sure he knows where Gary is. Simon gets out of bed and pads silently down the hallway to Sophia's room. He finds Gary there, rocking her gently in his arms and speaking softly to her. Standing in the doorway watching his husband and daughter, it only takes Simon a second to realize just how damned lucky he was to have this.