Sam found himself wedged between the hospital bed and the machine that goes 'ping', trying his best not to get in the way. Men were encouraged to witness the miracle of birth up close and personal now, but he felt he'd be a lot more comfortable going round in circles out in the hallway. It's not like he ever expected to become a father at nineteen anyway. It was just... too soon! He looked at Stephanie. She was a year younger, but she didn't seem to mind giving up her freedom - even now, when she was in full labour. Be supportive, he reminded himself.
'You're doing great, Steph... um... breathe?'
She didn't seem to notice him. In fact, Stephanie had been rather aloof. She hadn't even taken him up on his offer to hold hands, although that suited him fine he'd heard stories about that. God, this kid wasn't even entirely born and already it was getting too much for him! But he had a responsibility; and besides, his mum would kick him out if he didn't-
'What the hell?' the doctor interrupted his train of thought.
It took Sam a moment to prevent the hope of a miscarriage from infiltrating his voice, and asked with what he hoped was enough concern, 'Is there a problem, doctor?'
'I'll say!' the doctor held up the newborn child; Sam saw a tiny, bald, wrinkled, green skinned... he froze. This, he had not seen coming. Fighting back a sudden rise of panic, he quickly turned to the doctor.
'How is this possible?'
The doctor hesitated. 'It's... not. I mean... there's no reasonable explanation for... this!'
As both men stood there dumbfound, the (naturally) more observant nurses exchanged looks. One of them coughed.
'Our new mum doesn't really look surprised...'
All eyes turned toward Stephanie, who blushed.
'Stephanie?' Sam felt his spine go cold.
'Oh, God... I've been meaning to tell you, Sam, I swear... You know how I've been having these dreams? With the flying saucer landing in the backyard? I'm beginning to think... they're not really dreams.'
'No shit!' the doctor stated.
'Well, quite frankly, I know they're not really dreams because... um... you know that weekend you went to Illinois to watch the Chicago Chicklits take on the Philadelphia Platypuses?'
'Platypussies.' Sam automatically corrected.
'Yeah, well, I met this guy... from the saucer. His name is Ph^lnc, and he's from a world called Aotrspay'zh. And he explained how they came here to learn about us, but not in that horrible probe-up-your-rear-kind of way. Actually, he was very sweet and well; you remember how things were going really bad between us, what with you messing around with that floozy Miranda Hawkins...'
'Yeahyeahyeah,' Sam's hand circled in a universal 'move-it-along' gesture while he took a firm interest in the floor.
'... so anyway, things got, um... romantic.'
Sam saw his opening and charged, 'How could you not tell me?!'
'I didn't know how! Besides, it shouldn't matter.'
He blinked. 'It shouldn't?'
'We worked things out, and Ph^lnc said he had to explore some more galaxies and he wouldn't be back for at least a few years, so I see no reason why we couldn't raise this little one as our own.'
'I... we...' Sam looked at the baby alien. 'It's got four arms!'
'Don't say "it".'
'Why not? It's green, for crying out loud!'
'You are so shallow, Sam, I can't believe this!!'
'Now look...' the doctor tried to calm things down.
'You know what?!' Sam yelled, 'I don't need this!! If you want to have a nice little family I suggest you wait for... pffrrrt to return!'
'His name is Ph^lnc!'
'What-ever! This,' he pointed a scornful finger at the little bundle of consternation, 'Is not my problem any more!!' Sam turned on his heels and left, shouting as he pushed through the doors, 'Have fun raising your little freak all alone!'
'He's not a freak!!' Stephanie yelled after him. Next, she wiped a strand of hair out of her face and turned to her baby, who seemed completely unaffected by all the commotion. 'You are beautiful, you. Yes you are. Ohh, look! You've got your father's tentacles!'