[Fic] Thursday's Child (1/?)
Characters/Pairings: Dean Winchester, Castiel, Sam Winchester, Bobby Singer, Dean/Castiel(pre-slash)
Beta: None, though that would've been a damn good idea, don't you think?
Spoilers: Set after 'The Man Who Would Be King'
Disclaimer: I don't own them, obviously.
Warnings: References to past mpreg (I can't believe I'm doing this…), discussion of the smiting of a Nephil baby, some language, chapter is far more angsty than I was planning because apparently I can't do crack without giving it a little substance, first.
Summary: Castiel brings a surprise home to Dean. It's gooey. And has tentacles. Kid!fic
Chapter summary: In which Castiel gives Dean a tentacled surprise, and the beer is getting warm.
A/N: I can't believe I'm doing this. I've never had any desire to ever write anything of an mpreg-ish nature, and yet, here I am. Arguments could be made that this isn't one in the traditional sense, but still… And not only that, I was trying for something cracky and utterly ridiculous, and it came out more angsty and (eventually) schmoopy instead, which resulted in a change of title - originally, it was called the snarkier 'Another Heartwarming Story In Which Dean and Castiel Reproduce'. What is wrong with me?! I blame this on having encountered too many fics in which Cas and Dean have a cute little baby with wings. There's always a little part of me that thinks the product of a union between a flesh-and-blood human and a wavelength of celestial intent the size of the Chrysler Building would be a little bit… messy. And this was born
One - The Thing in the Box
It's the proverbial dark and stormy night, which is pissing Dean off. The power had gone out several hours before, with no real chance of returning before tomorrow, since all of Sioux Falls is experiencing a blackout and Bobby's place is too far off the main grid to be a priority. Sam is hoarding his laptop's battery, so there's no chance of internet porn. And the beer is getting warm.
At least the half-eaten cherry pie is capable of surviving a night on the counter, even if the ice cream probably won't make it.
It's meant to be a weekend with no demons, no ghosts, no worrying about soulless brothers or dealing with stupid angels who betray their friends and work with the king of Hell to open fucking Purgatory. There's supposed to be Chuck Norris movies, pizza, pie, and beer. And porn. Lots of it.
Well, technically, it's supposed to be a weekend spent researching how to open Purgatory so they know how to prevent Cas from doing it, but Dean's been so messed up (and, okay, maybe just a little drunk) because of Cas' betrayal that he can't focus, and Sam had ordered him away for being worse than useless. As though it were his fault that beer goggles made his understanding of obscure languages more hopeless than usual.
And then the power had gone out, making research nearly impossible. Many of the books have cramped writing that is difficult to discern by candlelight, and eventually even Sam had given up before he strained his eyes too badly. He'd gone off to bed, leaving Dean alone in the dark with his thoughts. Crap.
So he'd spent the time drinking himself into oblivion. Someone needs to save the beer from getting warm, after all. He's performing a public service.
He's well on his way to unconsciousness when a flash of lightning illuminates the room, momentarily splashing the shadow of outstretched wings against the far wall. It has to be his imagination, since they'd fixed the angel-proofing on the house since Castiel's last visit. Still, he slides a hand beneath the couch cushions and wraps his fingers around the hilt of the knife concealed there.
"Dean." The voice is low, urgent, and immediately jolts Dean into sobriety. Once, the familiar voice would have made him loosen his grip on the weapon, but their newly antagonistic relationship makes him slide the knife free instead, even though it would be useless against the angel.
"What are you doing here, Cas?" Dean asks coolly. So much for angel-proofing.
"I… I have nowhere else…" His voice sounds absolutely wrecked, and Dean immediately releases the blade and fumbles around for the kerosene lamp he'd left on the table. He lights it and turns towards the angel, his fear for his friend momentarily overwhelming the anger he'd felt at Castiel's deceit.
Cas… looks like crap. He's somehow more rumpled than usual, which Dean hadn't thought possible. His skin is sheened with sweat, his hair damp and sticking to his forehead in curls. The dark rings around his eyes seem deeper, though that could just be a trick of the light, and his wide eyes look slightly glazed. Beneath the trench coat, his blood-splattered shirt is half untucked, and bunched up where Castiel skipped a button, and the hem of the shirt is caught in his pants zipper. His tie is missing entirely.
He's also holding what looks like a soggy box of McDonalds beef patties.
"Cas, what - ?" Dean tries again, only this time, he's worried rather than angry.
"Hold this," Castiel says, shoving the box into Dean's hands before vanishing.
Dean blinks at the spot where Castiel had stood, wondering if he should be waking Sam and breaking out the weapons. But Cas would have warned him if they were in danger, right? Even though he's working with Crowley, he's never hesitated to protect the Winchesters. He stands there for a moment holding the dripping box before it occurs to him there must be a reason Castiel wanted him to have it, so he angles the kerosene lamp over the top of it, pulls open the flaps and peers into the box.
Eyes stare back at him. Lots of them. Huge, bulging eyes in blue and green, amber and scarlet, white, black, brown, purple… with round pupils, square pupils, and slitted, all set in a gelatinous red-black mass with quivering protrusions - tentacles, it has freaking tentacles - and three awkwardly splayed, oversized limbs covered in wet down, like a newborn chick. It also seems to ooze slime, which is why the McDonalds box feels like it's disintegrating in his arms.
Okay… that is definitely not a quarter pounder patty. Except maybe in Hell.
"What the Hell?" Dean yelps, dropping the box and diving to the couch to grope for the hidden knife. Whatever it is, it's Wrong and needs to be destroyed as soon as possible. The thing in the box makes a high-pitched "Eep!" as it hits the floor, and suddenly Dean is flung backward into the wall, knife flying from his hand. As Dean slides to the floor, he sees Castiel leaning over the box and scooping the monstrosity into his arms. After checking it over, he turns to Dean, his face twisted in rage.
"You could have harmed it!" Castiel bellows. Dean had seen Cas in a killing rage before, but always directed towards others. Dean finds he doesn't like having that anger focused on him; he'd forgotten how terrifying an angel of the Lord in full smite-mode can be.
Probably not a good time to mention Dean had been intending to hurt the thing… Dean tries to scramble to his feet, but Castiel flicks his hand, knocking Dean into a table and sending the stacks of books crashing to the floor. "It's fragile! You could have hurt it!" The sheer panic in Castiel's voice keeps Dean from rising, unwilling to do anything that could be misconstrued as an attack on the whatever it was. Castiel had been holding back so far; who knew if he'd exhibit such control a third time?
"Cas?" Sam's voice comes from the direction of the stairs, and Castiel tenses and whirls to face him. "It's all right. Nobody is going to hurt it." His tone is low, steadying, and when he steps into the living room, his hands are outstretched to show he's unarmed. "Dean didn't mean it," he continues, giving his older brother a pointed look.
"It caught me by surprise," Dean says, raising a hand to wipe the blood from his split lip. "Hunter's instincts. You see something you don't recognize, you assume it's a monster. Which," he adds hastily, when Castiel's face darkens, "it obviously isn't."
For a moment, Dean thinks he glimpses the tip of the angle blade slipping into Castiel's palm, but then his hand twitches and it vanishes, and Cas' shoulders slump.
"What are you doing here, Cas?" Sam asks in that reasonable, you-know-you-want-to-trust-me tone that Dean can't duplicate to save his life.
"I know that you're very angry with me, but I didn't know where else to go. Please, hear me out, and if you still want me to leave, I will, and I'll never bother you again." Something has changed in Cas since they'd last seen him, and he's no longer the arrogant dick who wanted to go nuclear. He just looks bedraggled and miserable, and utterly defeated. Something has happened, and it's broken Castiel.
Sam and Dean exchange looks, Sam quirking an eyebrow, and Dean nodding slightly. "All right," Dean says. "Truce, for now. Am I going to need a beer for this?"
Castiel's lips twitch slightly. "You may need several. I believe I may even need one."
Okay. This sounds serious. Dean retrieves the last six pack from the kitchen and distributes the bottles. Castiel collapses onto the couch, the thing in his lap, its tentacles wrapped securely around the angel's left arm, which Dean finally notices is bleeding sluggishly from several cuts. "Jesus, Cas! Is that thing hurting you?"
Following their gazes, Castiel explains, "I had to strengthen the wards. They were inadequate. I'm just healing slowly because my Grace has been weakened."
Dean's eyes narrow. "Should we be expecting company?"
"I don't think so. Not immediately, anyway." Castiel glances around. "Where is Bobby?"
"None of your business," Dean says shortly, just as Sam answers, "Following a lead. He'll be back tomorrow morning." Bobby is actually out of town picking up the copy of the book Castiel had stolen on his last visit, and had ended up stranded due to the storm.
"A lead. You're researching how to stop me." Castiel sounds resigned, rather than hurt or angry. "It's no longer necessary; I won't be opening Purgatory. I will renege my deal with Crowley as soon as I am able."
Dean wants to believe him; oh, God, he wants to. But the angel has been lying to them for so long, Dean would doubt him if he'd said the sky was blue.
"That's great, Cas," Sam says carefully, after another silent communication with Dean via eyebrows and forehead furrowing, "but why should we believe you? You seemed so set on opening Purgatory; what's changed?"
For a long moment, Castiel is silent. He studies the beer in his hand, then places it on the floor, unopened. "This." Castiel raises the thing in his arms. Two of its eyes - the same blue as Castiel's vessel's - roll wildly in their sockets until they focus on Dean. "The war is over for me now. I've lost." He says the last so softly, Dean's not sure he heard him correctly.
"What is it? Aside from one ugly sonovabitch?" Dean demands. He misses Castiel's flinch, and the way the angel's grip tightens protectively around the creature. More of its eyes are on him now, and they haven't once blinked. Dean is starting to get paranoid.
"It's a Nephil," Castiel says tonelessly.
Before Dean can attempt to repeat the word and mangle it, Sam jumps in. "A Nephil? As in the Nephilim?" At Dean's blank look, Sam switches into lecture mode. "They're the children of fallen angels and humans, right? Supposed to be pretty powerful, and enough of a threat that God flooded the world to kill them all. Where did this one come from?"
"I made it," the angel's voice is barely audible. "I was very surprised."
"You made… wait, you mean you're its parent?!" Oh, shit. Dean's pretty certain he's going to get a smiting, and he may even deserve it.
"Cas," Sam's voice is strangled, "are you saying you got some woman pregnant and she gave birth to this? Did you know what would happen?" Did you do this on purpose? is the unspoken question. Castiel's actions lately have been questionable, to say the least; he'd sent them into a parallel world to distract a freaking angel hitman, and he'd prevented the sinking of the Titanic to acquire more souls for his war. And then there's the whole Crowley and Purgatory issue. If the Nephilim are powerful enough that God would kill them with an epic flood that also killed many of His favorite creations, then that would make them a devastating weapon for Heaven's civil war. Sam's right to find anything Castiel does lately to be morally suspect.
"No!" Castiel snaps, eyes flashing. Then his shoulders slump and his head sinks forward until his chin is resting on his chest. "There was no woman," he finally says dully. "I bore the Nephil." There's a moment of dead silence as the Winchesters try to process this. Then…
"So you're its mother?" Sam yowls as Dean just stares, jaw working soundlessly like a landed fish's. Beer is totally inadequate for this situation. "What… but how does that even work?"
"You're a man." Dean finally manages to contribute to the conversation. He's stated the obvious, sure, but he's quite proud of himself for even being able to say something, considering.
"My vessel is male. My true form's gender is… complicated."
Before Dean can say something else, probably equally unhelpful, Sam says, "Why didn't you tell us?"
"Tell you what?"
"That you were…" Sam gestures at the Nephil, his tongue refusing to voice the word that would make the whole impossibility a reality. "You know." Castiel cocks his head, making it clear that no, he doesn't know. "Pregnant," Sam finally manages.
"I didn't know. Not until it ripped its way out of my body. Like that movie you made me watch with the alien. It was very uncomfortable." From the way he winces and rubs at a spot on his abdomen, it's obvious that it had been more than 'uncomfortable'. Dean would guess 'agonizing,' or 'excruciating.'
Especially if the closest comparison to the experience is a scene from Alien.
"Fun," Dean winces.
"Not really," Castiel says, giving Dean an odd look.
Sam just looks sick.
"How could you not know? And how could we not tell? Shouldn't you have been all…" Dean holds his hand out from his stomach, miming a large belly, "…fat?"
Sam just groans, muttering something that sounds like, "How have you not been smited yet?"
"It grew within my Grace; there was no effect on my vessel. And I am the size of the Chrysler building, while the Nephil is very tiny. It would be easy to overlook." His face hardens. "Or hide."
Dean decides there's not enough beer in the world to make the subject of angelic reproduction a comfortable one, so he tries to think of something else to talk about. He focuses on the Nephil, who is still watching him with way too many eyes. Dean hasn't had this much attention on him since he'd last had to give an oral report when he was sixteen. Its appendages have loosened their death grip on Castiel's arm and hang off his lap.
Dean thinks about all the times he's caught Castiel watching him while he slept. If this is what Castiel actually looks like, with that many eyes staring at Dean's sleeping form… Dean doesn't know if he'll ever be able to sleep again. He shudders.
"So…" Dean says weakly. "Tentacles. It has tentacles. That means you do, too, right?"
"The Nephil has inherited several of my characteristics, yes. That is, if my true form were flesh and blood rather than a wavelength of celestial intent." At Dean's blank look, Castiel clarifies, "I'm an energy being, Dean. The Nephil has taken aspects of my appearance, and adapted it to a physical body. A bit unsuccessfully, I admit."
"Yeah, but… in the lore, the Nephilim were described as beautiful, humanoid giants. This looks nothing like the descriptions," Sam muses. "No offense," he adds hastily. "Not that this Nephil isn't beautiful… I mean, it's certainly unique…"
Fortunately, Castiel doesn't seem offended by these slights towards his infant's appearance. "I assume the Nephil's form depends on whichever parent gestates it. Since the previous Nephilim were born from the daughters of men, they looked human. This is the only Nephil borne by an angel. I have no idea how this will affect the nature of the Nephil." Castiel sounds none too thrilled by this.
Dean studies the Nephil, which looks absolutely nothing like any of the pictures he's seen of angels. It studies him in return. "Man, what do you look like? I'm guessing you aren't some chubby naked cherub or Roma Downey with wings."
Castiel considers. "I suppose the creatures I most resemble would be an octopus and an elk, and I've been told my wings and beak resemble a raven's. But I have far more eyes than any of those creatures."
An octopus and an elk? How the Hell had that happened? It sounded like God had randomly selected a handful of animals and squished them together, not caring that they were wildly incompatible, and then sprinkled in some eyeballs for decoration. "So… you're an octoelk? Or elktopus?" Dean says, and Sam rolls his eyes. "Ever consider selling your story to the SyFy Channel?"
"I'm an angel," Castiel says with a long-suffering sigh. "We come in many forms. My breed happens to have land, sea, and air aspects."
"Awesome," is all Dean can manage. He opens a second beer. "So why's it so… juicy? You don't ooze like that. Did it get that from its father? Wait… what is the father?" A horrible suspicion grows in Dean's mind. He can only think of one other man besides themselves that Cas has been spending time with. "Tell me it's not Crowley's," Dean demands. "Tell me you didn't seal your partnership with more than a kiss!"
"It's not Crowley's," Castiel snaps, horrified and more than a little offended. "I would never fornicate with a demon!"
"Nephilim are half human, Dean," Sam reminds him.
"So, what? You try another 'den of iniquity' and order something else off the menu? Let Balthazar talk you into an orgy?" Cas seems to be trying to shrink into his trench coat. "Or did you just get drunk again and do something stupid?"
"Cas," Sam says soothingly, after shooting a glare at Dean, "it's all right if you've been with another man; we're not going to judge you. But if it's something that could cause trouble in the future, we need to know."
Sam's words have no effect; if anything, Castiel looks even more agitated. "I'd prefer not to say," he says desperately. "Please don't make me say."
He's definitely hiding something, and it's obviously something they won't like. Which makes it very important that they find out.
"You wanted us to trust you, Cas. How can we if you still won't tell us everything?" Dean says, aiming to wound and is rewarded when Castiel flinches.
"That's not fair," Castiel snaps. "I'll tell you everything I know about Purgatory and Crowley's plans, but the Nephil's parentage has no bearing on my actions of the past year."
"Cas…" Sam's voice is suddenly soft, delicate, and he seems to ooze empathy. "Did someone force you?"
Dean sucks in a breath. That possibility hadn't even occurred to him, and he's seized by the desire to hunt down and destroy whoever had touched his angel.
"No," Castiel says flatly. Dean doesn't think he's lying, but it doesn't exactly sound like the truth, either. Cas is silent for a long moment, then seems to come to a decision. He takes a deep breath and murmurs, "It's yours, Dean." Cas lowers his head, hiding his face.
"No," Dean says flatly. No fucking way is that thing his. Castiel's just saying that to throw them off, to avoid giving them the real answer.
Sam stares at the Nephil with a mixture of horror and… delight?
Cas fidgets under their combined gazes, unable to meet their eyes. "You have to believe me… I wouldn't have wanted this to happen, especially not this way… but it's ours."
"Why would you even think - "
And then it clicks: Castiel knows Dean's one weakness is family. He could no longer count on his own bond with Dean, and he couldn't use Sam or Bobby, so he'd found some little Hell creature and claimed it was his to win Dean back over.
"Get. Out." Dean's trembling with rage.
Cas looks stricken. "Dean," he begins, his voice small.
"I don't know what you're trying to pull; maybe this is another idiotic scheme of Balthazar's, or maybe you just made a stupid mistake and you want us to cover your ass. If you'd just talked to us, maybe we could have worked through our problems. But trying to get at me by claiming some ugly little Hell creature is family?" Later, Dean will blame his outburst on alcohol. "You went too far, Castiel. I'm tired of you manipulating us! Get out of here! I don't want to see you again!" As soon as the words leave his mouth, he regrets them; Cas might be going down a destructive path, but Dean still cares enough for him to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Castiel makes a noise that sounds suspiciously like a sob, and struggles to his feet. He gives Dean a last, anguished look, then vanishes.
Shit… He'd expected Castiel to fly off, since it's his normal method of coping with a confrontation with Dean, but he usually spares a moment to get all righteous and attempt to justify his actions before storming off.
This time, Cas had simply run.
"Dammit…" He can still see the look in the angel's eyes as he'd pulled the monstrosity protectively to his chest before flying off - hurt, betrayal, shame… and sheer terror. He'd come running when the creature had shown distress at Dean's handling of it, and even though Cas had held it awkwardly, there'd been a tenderness as well in the way he'd caressed its limbs and cradled it close to his chest. It's the greatest emotional range the angel has ever shown in such a short span of time, and Dean can think of only one explanation. He'd been acting on raw parental instinct.
It's not a trick; the creature really is Castiel's baby.
"Dean…" Sam begins.
"Don't start, Sammy," Dean growls. "You and Bobby are the ones who said I trusted him too much!" He lurches to his feet and starts pacing. "And you were right; he's been using us all this time. Why would I think this time would be any different?"
Sam, the big girl, seemed to have lost any enmity he'd felt towards Cas the moment he'd uttered the word 'pregnant,' as if that had absolved Cas of all sin. "Because he did what you asked, Dean… He needed help, and this time, he came to you to ask for it."
Dean hates Sam's ability to show him just what a douche he can be, though not as much as he hates himself for being one. His anger ebbs as quickly as it had flared up. Dean stops pacing and leans against the wall, arms folded, gazing at the squashed box that had held the Nephil. "It's just… it's pretty unbelievable, right? I mean, he's Cas, the bad ass warrior of God. Kinda hard to believe he's a mother."
"Mothers can be bad ass warriors too, you know." Sam quirks an eyebrow. "Remember ours? And 'unbelievable' is pretty normal for us." Sam runs a hand through his hair, which is somehow still smooth and shiny despite having missed a shower. "And don't tell me you didn't believe him… you were taking him seriously right up until he said it was yours."
The Nephil's wide, guileless green eyes had seemed disturbingly familiar. Like the eyes Dean saw whenever he looked into a mirror. The Nephil had made his skin crawl, made him feel queasy just to look at it. His first impulse had been to kill it. If Cas had been telling the truth, Dean had been about to try to kill his own child.
Its unnaturalness had terrified him. He hadn't wanted Cas to be right, so he'd immediately rejected the Nephil without giving Cas a chance to explain, and then lashed out.
"Do you really believe it's a trick to make us more sympathetic?" Sam asks doubtfully.
Dean slumps, face buried in his hand. "No. Cas ain't much of an actor, and the situation's so ridiculous there's no way he could have made it up. Besides… you saw how he was behaving. Don't know why he thinks it's mine, but it's definitely his. Hell, maybe angels reproduce through touch or something. He came to us because he was afraid, he told us he was doing what we wanted and not going through with his insane plan, and I yelled at him." He raises his head and stares out a rain-streaked window into the miserable night. Definitely not a good night to be out there alone with a newborn. He grabs a flashlight sitting on the desk top and heads towards the door. "I have to go after him." He's about to go charging out, but Sam stops him by tossing his jacket at him.
"What makes you think you'll be able to find him? He could be anywhere."
Dean throws open the front door, grimacing as a blast of icy wind drives needles of rain into his exposed skin. "He exhausted himself setting those wards; no way he has the energy to fly somewhere else and create more. He's still on the property somewhere, and I'm going to bring him back."
With that, Dean braces himself and head off into the rainy night.
I'm not sure about this story. When I first began writing snippets of it (which will appear in later chapters), it was straight-up crack. But when went back and started the first chapters and the explanation of the Nephil's origins, what came out was pure angst. I considered doing a rewrite, giving the Nephil a fluffy, ridiculous conception and a warm (if confused) welcome by the Winchesters, thus making this story cracky fluff, but I just couldn't do it. I think it's because I have this vague idea for a more serious Nephilim war story that I could tie into this, so I wanted to give the Nephil a suitable origin story that would fit with the later story's tone.
And my apologies for referring to the Nephil as 'it' throughout the story; that's going to change within a few chapters.
If this story is similar to anything out there, it's purely coincidental. I'm still relatively new to the Supernatural fandom, and I haven't read a whole lot of what's out there. And if there are similar fics… well, point them out, because I may enjoy them!