It started in Hell. Which, needless to say, isn't all that surprising.

What surprises Dean is that, when Cas was sent down to take back Dean's soul, Heaven never expected him to survive. In fact, Cas was resigned to die saving the Righteous Man. But somehow Dean's soul twisted together with Cas' grace and forced him to come up with an escape plan for them both. And, although there were some close calls, they did make it out in the end. Dean with the brand on his shoulder and Cas with the baby.

Dean tries to process it all and just feels dizzy. "So my soul and your grace braided together like some spiritual friendship bracelet and then we had angel sex?"

"That's not entirely accurate." Cas looks at Dean like he's incredibly dumb. "We are bound together as mates. Blaine is a result of that union."

"You angel-married Cas!" Sam crows, doubling over his chair, shoulders shaking with laughter. Dean growls and bodily throws himself at his brother, who yelps and scrambles away.

"Quiet, you idjits," Bobby hisses. "Do you want to wake the baby?"

They freeze and glance over at the couch. Blaine is fast asleep, wrapped in a blanket and clutching an old stuffed animal of Sam's. Dean remembers saving up all the change he could find for nearly three weeks before he had enough money to buy the thing. It's an old, ratty purple cow with orange spots named Meepsie but Sam loved it to pieces. Dean had no idea Bobby even kept it all this time until he went upstairs to rescue it from the attic and cleaned it up.

They sheepishly return to their seats as Cas runs his fingers through Blaine's hair, the baby's mouth moving like he's suckling milk in his dreams. A warmth swells up in Dean's chest from the sight but he quickly stomps all over the feeling. This is all too weird for him to process. And he hunts demons for a living.

Sam turns to Cas, expression curious. "Does that make Blaine a Nephilim?"

Cas glares at him. "Blaine is nothing like those abominations." The ferocity of his tone surprise the three of them and he takes a deep breath, softening his words. "Nephilim were the offspring of angels who chose to create their own human bodies and Fell because of it. They ended up having sexual relations with human women and sired violent, uncontrollable creatures God had no choice but to destroy in the Flood."

"So what makes Blaine different?" Dean asks. Because he doesn't want to have to hunt down and destroy his own son if he doesn't have to.

…Shit. Son? Really? God damn it.

"Nephilim were physical beings," Cas says. "Blaine is-… Well, Blaine is not."

Bobby crosses his arms over his chest. "Care to elaborate on that?"

Because Cas lacks any and all social skills, he stares at Dean the way he always does, that is to say creepy and intense and very uncomfortable. "Blaine is not limited to the laws that govern the planes of reality."

"But what does that mean?"

"It means Blaine isn't human," Sam says softly, "But he's not an angel either. He's not even a Nephilim." His expression is sad as he gazes at the baby, squeezing Meepsie in his tiny arms. "He's something else entirely."

"Yes." Cas looks away and Dean's heart stops beating as quickly as it was a moment ago. "Blaine can enter Heaven without dying and he doesn't require a vessel to be on earth. Still, he is growing like a human child and has the need for sustenance and rest."

Despite knowing he's going to regret it, Dean can't help asking, "How do you even know how to feed babies or change their diapers? I doubt you learn that stuff in Human Care 101 at angel school."

Blaine murmurs sleepily as Cas frowns in confusion. "Of course not. I asked Mary Winchester to help in caring for Blaine."

There was a long moment of silence and then three voices rose in unison. "What?!"

Dreading the answer but unable to help himself, Dean asks, "Mom knows about Blaine?"

Cas nods. "And your father. They enjoy spending time with him and even offer to look after him when I am sent to earth."

Sam tries to smother a laugh but fails miserably, because he's a little shit like that. Bobby elbows him in the ribs, which makes Dean almost want to kiss him for being on his side, except he's grinning too. Feel betrayed, Dean is suddenly and irrationally angry because -the teasing from his brother aside- shouldn't have Cas told him about Blaine sooner?

As if sensing his mood, Cas tilts his head, assessing him in a way that Dean doesn't like. "Is there something bothering you, Dean?"

"You mean besides the fact you've been hiding Blaine from me this entire time?" It's whiny and accusing and Dean hates himself the moment he says it. Hates the way Cas rocks back in surprise, as if the question has physically hurt him.

A look crosses Cas' face, like he wants to say so much but doesn't know quite where to start. Instead, he glances at Sam and Bobby. "Could we have a moment?" And because they are filthy, filthy traitors, they make their excuses and escape.

Dean wants more than anything to run away too, but Cas is staring at him with that intense sort of devotion -the one he never asked for but secretly always wanted- so he stays where he is. "Look," he says after a moment, heart pounding. "I know I'm a piss poor excuse for an adult and I would be an even worse dad, but-…"

"That's not it at all." Cas looks furious on Dean's behalf, which surprises him. "I didn't keep Blaine's existence from you because I wanted to hurt you, Dean. I only did it because I was forbidden to even mention him, in case that distracted you from your mission."

Assholes, Dean thinks viciously. The next time he sees Zachariah... But wait. "What about Mom and Dad? How do they know about Blaine?"

Dean blinks at the look that suddenly crosses Cas' face. If he didn't know any better, he'd say it was a smirk. "Three nights after Blaine was born, your mother had a dream about him. She and your father demanded to see him until Zachariah finally relented to their threats."

Overwhelmed with emotion, Dean rubs his mouth with the back on his hand, choking back a sound that is both a laugh and a sob. His parents actually blackmailed the Heavenly host for his son.

Cas seems lost, unsure of what to make of Dean's reaction. "Dean-..." he starts, but doesn't get the chance to finish.

Blaine must have woken up while they were talking, because he squirms and wriggles around dangerously close to the edge of the couch. Before Dean even realizes he's moving, he dives to scoop Blaine up in his arms when he falls, Meepsie squished against his face. He's clutching his son so tightly against his chest, he can feel their hearts pounding against each other.

He smooths his shaking hand over Blaine's ridiculous curls and glances at Cas, who smiles at them with a warmth in his eyes that makes Dean's breath catch. "There was never any doubt in my mind that you would make a great father."

I'm sorry this is so late, everyone. But thank you for your kind comments and reviews! Your support means so much to me and I'm so happy that you're enjoying the story!