Chapter 1: Thirteen weeks.
The morning after Dean's birthday, they both call in sick from work. Cas certainly feels sick, having to ask Bela to cover his sections for him, but there's no way that he could handle trying to teach anybody anything today.
Not when he can hardly make it through breakfast—Dean whips up eggs with cheese and a plate of bacon, guest starring Cas's favorite black tea, all of it made up exactly the way Cas likes it—and even considering that, even with the effort Dean puts into making him comfortable, Cas shudders, shivers, can't stop dropping his hand to his stomach. Brushing his fingers down its curve, trying to sink them into what he thought was pudge, feeling his head spin just from the thought of reality.
Nurse McClellan from Doctor Roberts's office calls while Cas is prodding at his eggs, trying to will himself to get them down. He's not nauseated, he's not sick with anything incurable—well, some people would say he is, but Cas believes he should be safe, with regard to timing—and he's going to damn well eat his breakfast as though everything is fine. As though he doesn't need to worry about this child, as though he never has and never will, as though he's already taken care of the problem. As though he doesn't hang up with an appointment scheduled for an ultrasound.
Dean asks what Cas thinks about this whole pregnancy thing, and completely deadpan, Cas guesses that he should probably switch to decaffeinated tea and coffee. He gets a sick, guilty twisting in the pit of his stomach when Dean's face lights up—and combing his fingers back through his hair, he says, "That was a joke, Dean. Perhaps one that was not in good taste, considering how I actually feel about the matter."
"Which is…?" Dean prompts him, refilling his coffee. He quirks his eyebrows up, expectant, and a grin teases at his lips. Slowly spreads across his face, showing off all of his teeth. Without saying anything, Dean makes his hopes obvious.
Cas sighs. He hates to dash Dean's enthusiasm, but… "Dean, we can't keep this… I can't do this," he says. Watching Dean's face as it falls hurts Cas too damn much—sends a sharp, piercing feeling through Cas's chest—so he turns his eyes down to his plate. "I know this is going to upset you, but… consider the reality of our situation here—"
"The reality of our situation is that holy shit, Cas—you are pregnant. It's like… It's amazing, isn't it? We've got a real chance to have a family, right? You and me and Baby makes three, right?" Dean's grin is audible. It sounds like nails on a chalkboard, and feels like getting stabbed in the back of the neck.
"The reality of the situation is that there is a bigger picture here," Cas tells Dean without looking up from the table. "The reality of our situation is that we likely don't have the financial means to support a child. And that I am almost twenty-eight, and in graduate school, and pregnant instead of transitioning, as I need to be, and I simply do not have the psychological means to continue with this pregnancy—"
"So, let me help you," Dean says, half-begging. "I know I don't get everything on your terms all the time, and there's some things I can't ever get because I'm not trans*—I know that, I do, but… come on, please, Babe? Just tell me what I need to know, or say, or do, or anything else, and I'll help you out through the whole nine months—or whatever's left of it anyway—"
"Whatever's left of this is however long it takes to get an appointment for an abortion, Dean," Cas says. Looks up from the table, because Dean's not the only one who's allowed to beg or toss on the sad puppy eyes. "I feel trapped inside of this body to begin with, but having to worry about a baby in addition to that? Having to share this body with some parasite—one who will change it, perhaps irreparably—and having to care for it when I'm having a hard enough time taking care of myself?"
Cas sighs again. Shakes his head and stabs his eggs. "Dean, I can't do that, and… I know what a family means to you, but please. You can't ask that of me."
Dean doesn't say anything. But he sits next to Cas with his own breakfast, and slides Cas a cup of coffee because the tea's not quite ready yet. They don't have any decaf in the apartment, since neither of them drinks that swill. And when Cas nudges his chair closer to Dean's, he ends up with Dean's arm curled around his shoulder.
Chapter 2: Fourteen weeks, 1.
As he busies himself with putting a salad together, Cas has to wonder why he's even bothering to listen to Anna on this count.
…Well, why he's even bothering to listen to Anna, and Bela, and Meg, and Doctor Hurley. And he also has to wonder why why Dean's making up burgers for everyone instead of snuggling into the couch with Cas, to marathon the Star Trek movies, which sounds like a much better idea than what they're getting themselves into. At any rate, it'd be so, so much easier than any and all of this nonsense.
Because it is nonsense. There's nothing else that inviting any members of his family around for dinner ever could be.
Strictly speaking, Cas understands the point that Anna, Bela, Meg, and Doctor Hurley have made about the matter. The point about him needing a support network, and needing one now more than ever—but how many people in Cas's family have ever proven themselves to be any kind of decent in this regard? Luci, exactly once, and they haven't spoken in months; Cas doesn't even know if she's living in the States anymore or not. Then, aside from here, there's Anna and Rachel, both of whom have dealt with their parents' bullshit—over their sexuality, rather than their gender identities.
The whole business—even just slicing up tomatoes and dropping them on the lettuce and chopped onions—sets Cas's head and stomach reeling. He doesn't notice anybody else's movements—much less what Dean's up to until he's right behind him, until Cas sighs, slumps back into Dean's chest and his embrace. He can't do this.
No, really. Cas can't do this. He can hardly manage (temporarily) staying pregnant; how the Hell is he supposed to manage telling any members of his family that, for once in their lives, he needs them not to let him down? And with all of them here at once?
"You're supposed to manage it by letting some of us help out, Gorgeous," Dean tells him, and squeezes his shoulders. "That's why we're all here, remember?"
"Of course I remember," Cas mutters, folds his arms up so he can hold Dean's wrists. "But knowing something on an intellectual level and knowing it, emotionally, are two entirely different things."
"That's pretty much the story of my life. And yours. And ours…" Dean trails off. Perks up at the sound of someone knocking on the door, and leans down to kiss Cas's temple. "You ready to handle this?" he says.
"Not really." Cas huffs and leans his head back into Dean's shoulder. "But I suppose that I don't have a choice, at the moment."
Chapter 3: Fourteen weeks, 2 (Gabriel).
Gabriel shows up early, and kicks things off by making Cas regret inviting him before he's even through the door. He laughs loudly enough that the neighbors could easily file a noise complaint. He makes some off-color joke about Dean's penis, asks where they're hiding the liquor and announces that he brought the wine—some unpronounceably named French-sounding thing that Luci got him when she and Lila Beth went to Napa Valley back around Christmas. And as he rounds the corner into the kitchen, Gabriel's eyes threaten to bulge out of his skull.
They drop to Cas's stomach, and without any sense of shame, decorum, or not being completely tactless, Gabriel stares at Cas for a long, silent moment. It grates on Cas's nerves as Gabriel sets down his three oversized bottles of wine, as he grabs one of the glasses off the table, as he fills it well past the three-quarters point, even though it's a pint glass and no one needs that much wine in one go and about the last thing Cas wants to deal with tonight is Gabriel getting shit-faced or claiming that wine doesn't really count as alcohol.
At least, when he comes over to the counter and into Cas's personal space, he doesn't stink like anything but the wine, some fairly pungent candy, and his cheap cologne. On the other hand, though, he drops his hand to Cas's stomach, refuses to stop staring at Cas or back off when Cas asks him to do so—as though it weren't bad enough that Cas weighed in at one-eighty this morning. As though Cas weren't already too painfully aware of how tightly this sweater clings to him, how his round little belly strains the fabric, how his yoga still isn't doing anything and how it probably won't until Cas can get in for his procedure.
"Yeah, well, I know it's kind of awkward, bro," Gabriel insists, licking the purplish wine-mustache off his upper lip. "But it really is a gesture of support. Aren't I allowed to be happy you went and recovered so well? Domestic bliss suits you, little brother—you look all… happy, and glowing, and not completely afflicted with a case of inflamed, piercing rectal impalement—"
"Excuse me?" Cas has a fairly good idea what Gabriel means to say by this, but just in case, he needs to ask.
Gabriel snickers preemptively, and smirks like a twelve-year-old who's on the brink of saying sixty-nine. And, really, he might as well be: "Y'know," he says. "You don't look like you've got your usual stick shoved up your ass."
"Even I know that's a bad joke." Cas huffs and tries to focus on slicing his cucumbers. And since Gabriel's going to be obnoxious, Cas sees no reasons to pull any punches with him: "Truly, your wit is impeccable. It must go over very well back in the seventh grade. Why I got my hopes up that you might behave is beyond me entirely."
Gabriel shrugs as though he has no idea what Cas is talking about. And as he slouches on the counter, he maintains the ruse, saying, "I'm behaving myself perfectly fine. You never understood my sense of humor, sure. But it's no reason to get all pissed off at me because I'm happy for you. For you and how your recovery's still going well…"
"I've actually been going back to EDA meetings. They've only helped a minimal amount." Cas sighs. Rolls his eyes, then closes them. Takes a deep breath, and holds it, and counts to ten, then fifteen, then twenty—it's so much harder not to punch Gabriel in the mouth or run him through with this knife when he still won't take his hand off of Cas's stomach. "Could you please stop touching me? It's making me feel… triggered."
Cas has to force that word out. Half because he hates admitting this, and half because—"You mean like… as in, a gun, right?"—right. Gabriel really has no idea what Cas is talking about.
So Cas sighs again. He counts to ten. And he locks his eyes on Gabriel as he explains, "No, I mean it as in, 'your current round of behavior—for all it has picked out exactly why I called you here—is making me want to run down the corridor to the bathroom and stick my finger down my throat, until the nausea that's hung around all day makes good on its threat and I throw up. Intentionally. Unlike all the times I've been sick in the morning.'"
Something seems to click for Gabriel, and he finally takes his hand away. "Cas?" he whispers. "You're… are you… you're really pregnant?"
"Unfortunately, yes." Cas huffs and returns to his cucumber. "My anatomical equipment is still quite in place, and since neither Dean nor I thought about condoms… It's twins."
Gabriel blinks at Cas for a moment, and might as well have a sign above his head that reads buffering… buffering… But before Cas can get used to Gabriel being quiet for once, the presumption and distressing nonchalance return: "So… can I be their godfather? I mean. If you haven't picked anyone out already, that is. Consider this me putting my name in the running. And I swear on your boyfriend's bow-legs that I will love them unconditionally, even if they inherit the freckled, green-eyed douchebag genes."
Cas doesn't look up from his work on the salad. Mostly because the words, We aren't planning to keep them, Gabriel, should not be so hard to say. Cas should not have such a lump in his throat over the thought of admitting to one of his more liberally minded siblings that he's going to have an abortion. He shouldn't… This isn't… Why is even thinking the words making him feel so guilty.
Tonight's going to be even harder than he bargained for. Cas can just tell.
Chapter 4: Fourteen weeks, 3 (Balthazar).
The, "Ed Noss business" that Balthazar refers to is ED-NOS, or, "eating disorder not otherwise specified," Cas's heretofore unmentioned diagnosis.
Cas didn't want to invite Balthazar in the first place; he only bothered because Anna swore that their little brother's been getting better. When the first thing out of Balthazar's mouth isn't some slur or a fat joke, Cas even wants to believe it. Maybe Balthazar's in a good mood. Maybe he's actually making an effort at trying to understand. Maybe it's just that he's finally wrapped his head around having another brother instead of a sister—but whatever the cause, maybe Cas can actually trust him again.
"So, Ken Doll," Balthzar says to Dean some twenty minutes after showing up, while helping himself to a full glass of Gabriel's wine. "Is it just me or is your boy-slash-girlfriend edging into the chubby side? Not that she-he doesn't look pretty good like this—I mean, I wouldn't want to drink champagne out of his-her navel, but I have discerning taste about my men and women and anythings in between and anything's better than the alternative, right? With the hospital, and the treatment, and that doctors, and the diagnosis, that Ed Noss business—but anyway, you really should watch out for what you're feeding him-her or else she'll-he'll get all puffy and you can meet Fat Cassie. And meet her properly, I mean, not just look at her in the old photographs. Well, love fills up the body and the soul, isn't that what they say?"
Balthazar chuckles and waits for Dean to do the same. Slowly peters out into some half-hearted coughing noises when, instead, Dean glares at him as though he wants to knock Balthazar's teeth out. Which Cas wouldn't exactly move to stop—especially not when Balthazar's been behaving himself so far. Which, in retrospect? Might just be a misreading of things brought on by how Cas has, since Balthazar showed up, managed to avoid any pronouns beyond I and you.
Keeping quiet, Cas glances over to the dinner table, where Anna's telling Gabriel about the new show she's curating for her boss's gallery. He waits for her to notice that he's staring at her—then cocks his head over at Balthazar (in the midst of bullshitting an apology) and grimaces. She sighs and says nothing, but gives Cas a look as if to say, No, really, I know how this looks, and I swear, I'm going to take it out of his ass in a minute, but he really has been getting better.
And it's probably a good thing that they aren't actually speaking, because if they were? Cas would have to demand to know how Anna considers any of this better. How any of what Balthazar's pulling constitutes an improvement on his previous conduct. For one thing, his only concession to anything Cas has ever asked of him has manifested itself in the most offensive way that Cas can think of. It's not even acknowledging his gender; it's purporting to do so as a means of being even worse than usual.
And for another thing? It's more than a little entirely unhelpful, assuming that Cas has gained weight for other reasons, making references (oblique though they are) to their adolescence and (probably) to the summer when Cas was thirteen—the summer before his major growth spurt. If Balthazar were anyone else, Cas might assume that he'd finally learned something about Cas's gender identity and jumped to the conclusion that, of course, men can't get pregnant—technically incorrect, but understandable. Not least since Cas assumed so himself.
Unfortunately, he's still Balthazar, and he still suffers from chronically incorrect notions about everything—even when he's meant to have improved somehow.
Exactly what's supposed to have gotten better with him makes itself obvious over dinner, after Valentine and Rachel have shown up. After everyone's settled in and Gabriel's started in on his second pint glass full of wine. After Cas announces his pregnancy for the room, and what he plans to do about it, and that no one is to tell either of their parents, ever, under any circumstances. Gabriel frowns for a moment, though not judgmentally. Both Rachel and Valentine stare at Cas, saying nothing, scrunching up their faces in their family's signature pensive expression.
And Balthazar starts off by saying that he fully supports Cas in getting an abortion—which leaves Cas staring at him. Because just a year ago—just six months ago, even—Balthazar would have thrown up some of their parents' rhetoric about unborn children and the sanctity of pregnancy and a person's a person, no matter how small. Cas's heart flutters up into his throat, and for a long moment, he can't think of what to say. It's a miracle that he manages a, thank you—and then Balthazar has to spoil everything all over again. Namely: by asking why on Earth no one's allowed to breathe a word to Mother and Father.
"I would think that logic fairly obvious?" Cas says. Pursing his lips, he hopes that he doesn't sound too accusatory—but Balthazar has to shrug and suppose he must be missing something. And Cas can't bother with moderating his tone as he says: "Mother and Father have condemned most of their children to Hell over the issues of our gender identity and sexual orientation—completely in opposition to the Scriptures they're meant to revere, mind. They've told you, to your face, that you're a bisexual whore—"
"Which I can take with a grain of salt because I know that I'm not one." Balthazar snickers, preemptively pleased with himself. "Whores get paid. I'm a bisexual slut and I'm quite proud of that fact—"
"And I really appreciate you making the two of them assume I was sleeping with everyone in my class just because I'm bi." Rachel's been fairly quiet until now, but she snaps at Balthazar with an icy tone. It matches her glare. "Your sex life is your own business, but was it necessary to make them think that our conduct is destined to be the same?"
"That isn't the point!" Cas snaps at the both of them. For all he wants to just tell Anna and Bela, I told you this was a bad idea, then run for the bedroom, he keeps on. He has to keep on. "The point here is, Balthazar: you're not going to tell Mother and Father because they will try to stop this. Aside from the way this will prohibit them from ever accepting me as a man? At the mere mention of the word abortion, they will decide that now is the best time to reassert our so-called relationship and, then? They will attempt to force me into keeping these children—"
"You don't know that…" Valentine simpers, shrugging. "Maybe they'd come around, if they knew about the babies—"
"Fetuses, technically," Bela chimes in to correct him. "They're not medically or legally considered children until they've taken a breath outside of the womb—"
"Well, whatever they're called… Maybe Mother and Father would make an effort to get better about everything if they had grandchildren? They've only really gotten worse since Michael and Amanda had their miscarriage, right? So… maybe it wouldn't be so bad with them? And even if it were, I just mean… All I'm saying is that you can't really accurately predict anything other people are going to do…"
Valentine has a point, and that fact just makes Cas want to hurl a steak knife at the wall. Which isn't entirely an improvement on wanting to make himself sick on purpose. Someone else could get hurt—or killed—and Cas does not need to deal with any of those repercussions on top of everything else.
Either way, the truth underlying his desire remains the same. Now is decidedly not the time for his baby brother's tendency toward giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Cas sighs, has to pause and silently remind himself that the wall hasn't done anything to him, so attacking it would be unfair. "Then, in that case?" he says. "No one is telling Mother and Father anything because I'm asking you not to, and because you're my siblings. Because you love and respect me enough not to drag me into anything unnecessary that I don't want to deal with—especially not when it's as much of a powder keg as dealing with our parents."
This might be a tall order for Cas's siblings. And he thinks it might be impossible when Balthazar pipes up again: "But you still haven't exactly told me why not, Cassie," he says through a mouthful of cheeseburger. "Yes, I know, you've told me why you think it's a bad idea for you—but isn't there a bigger picture here that you're ignoring?"
Cas blinks at Balthazar and supposes that he has no idea what the Hell Balthzard thinks he's talking about. Or why it's somehow not a bigger picture to say something like, my current physical state directly contradicts my gender identity, making me feel sick and wrong and incredibly triggered—and the more it carries on, the worse it gets, not least because it's standing in the way of me making progress with my transitioning.
"I meant with regard to our parents' backwards, Puritanical ideas about sex, Cassie." Balthazar downs the rest of his wine, and looks at the whole table as though he has a PhD and got stuck teaching kindergarten. "They should hear about this because they ought to know the failings in how they educated us. I mean, you can't tell me you were okay with any of it, can you?"
He sighs. Snaps his fingers and motions for the bottle of wine sitting by Valentine. And goes on as he refills his glass: "All they ever preached was abstinence and, 'sex is for married people who want to have children, anyone who enjoys it will find him-or-herself roasted forever on the Devil's barbecue'—and now they've got a daughter-son who's knocked up because he-she got it into his-her head that he-she and his-her idiot boyfriend didn't need to use condoms just because they're monogamous and he-she thinks he's-she's really a man. Why wouldn't you want them to get put in their place about this issue?"
Dean and Bela both clench their hands around their utensils, and look like they could murder Balthazar—but it's Anna who actually does something. It's Anna who smacks the table, shuts him up, and hisses, "Little brother? I think you should go now—unless Cas is in a mood to forgive you."
"I don't really think that I am." Cas huffs, speaking without an idea of how the words got there. "Dean, could you please get Balthazar's coat for him?"
Chapter 5: Fourteen weeks, 4 (Cupid).
Balthazar leaves in a silent huff, which hangs around—uninvited and unwelcome—until long after he's gone. It gets to the point, in all of the awkward refusal to say anything, where forks scraping on plates make the worst, loudest sounds. Slice through the air and scrape against Cas's eardrums and just remind him that, ultimately? He was right. This whole thing was the worst idea ever. He can't expect anything from his family, save for Anna. Much less anything like playing his support network.
The quiet drags on as though it might last forever. But, ultimately, Valentine's the one to break everyone out of it: "If you're thinking…" he starts, then sighs. Words have never been his strongest suit—outside of his cliched, overly sentimental love poetry—and it isn't as though anyone out there publishes etiquette guides for handling this kind of situation. "Just… please don't be mad at Anna for inviting him, brother? She only talked to him about serious-type things once, and she only did it because I told her that Balthazar was getting better… I really thought he was?"
"I'm not upset," Cas lies. And immediately, he gets the old, familiar sinking feeling in his chest—the one like his heart's trying to burrow out of him through his stomach, because his younger siblings have gotten lied to more than enough. Sighing, he cards his hand back through his hair. "Well. I am upset with Balthazar and his conduct—for several reasons—but I'm not particularly surprised by anything that's happened. I'd hoped that he might earnestly start improving, and that he might manage supporting me as a brother, but… I fear that he may simply be feigning improvements as a means of attacking our parents."
"It wouldn't be too far outside of his normal conduct," Bela drawls, prodding at her bowl of salad and grimacing as though her only regret is failing to wring Balthazar's neck. "Everything is always somebody else's fault, nothing can ever be his, and any time he says or does something unfortunate, he really does have a sympathetic reason for it—never mind the people and feelings he hurts in the process—"
"Bela?" Cas snaps more than he means to, and when she frowns at him—furrowing her brow and wrinkling her nose in utter confusion—all he can manage to do is slump in his chair and look immensely tired. Probably because that's all he can manage feeling, at the moment. "Please, Bela?" he says. "Not right now? Just… can we not do this right now?"
Everyone goes quiet again—so quiet that they might as well be in church—and they could stay that way, if not for Valentine's refusal to let anybody get too awkward: "Well… at least everything isn't completely awful? There's still some good to come out of this, isn't there, brother? …Like how, in just a few months, you and Dean will be fathers, with two perfect, sweet little angels to love—you know, I knew this was coming, too? I said it, as soon as you let us meet Dean? I said to Rachel, 'This one's going to be the one for Cas. They're just a match made in Heaven.' Do you need help looking at names? Or putting a nursery together? You wouldn't even need to move or anything, you've got that spare room, right?"
Tonight's turning out to be a very, very bad night for Cas's ability to know what to say in… well, every situation. He stares at Valentine (at Valentine's face-straining, painfully earnest smile) for a long moment—one that's long enough to start scraping along the back of his neck, making his skin crawl with the fact that he needs to say something before his brother tries to dominate the conversation all over again. Before Cas loses his chance to just clear everything up and get everyone on the same page.
It's a small miracle that Cas's deep, meditative breath doesn't turn into a groan. "Do you think that… I mean. With all due respect to whatever you're thinking, Val… I wasn't joking when I said that I don't intend to carry these children to term, much less to be a father… It isn't something I'm ruling out in the longterm—fatherhood in general, I mean, not repeating this nonsense over pregnancy—but at the moment? I can't even begin to consider handling any of it."
Valentine just blinks at him, looking like Cas just canceled Christmas, and says, "But… but why not? Why wouldn't you want to have a family? And with Dean—I mean, don't you love Dean—"
"Of course I love Dean. But I'm not seeing this pregnancy through because it might very literally kill me to do so, then, if I do survive, leave me unable to give the children the sort of loving home that they deserve. Do you really think that this has been an easy decision for me to make?" Cas tries to keep his tone matter-of-fact, but it gets harder not to snap as Valentine starts tearing up. He can make himself do so without any provocation—it's been his favorite means of emotional manipulation since Cas can remember—and seeing it now makes Cas wish he could ask why Valentine doesn't find a new tactic.
In principle, it's nothing to be ashamed of, really. Everyone in their family has something they do to emotionally manipulate people. Anna has righteous indignation; Cas has zeroing in on just the right weak spots and heartstrings; Gabriel has doing something morally questionable, then pointing out how he and his target really aren't so different, when you get down to brass tacks. But Valentine's weepy-eyed nonsense is just unseemly. Not to mention nauseating.
"You're not sick with anything, though?" Valentine says, with an equally nauseating upward inflection. One that screams how this purported question is anything but. "And unless your doctor really thinks that carrying the pregnancy to term would kill you—"
"My psychiatrist thinks that carrying it to term would kill me." Cas huffs, rolling his eyes not just at Valentine or his line of questioning, but at this whole situation. "Not because of anything medical, mind you—but because it's bad enough that I can't start transitioning the way that I want until this problem gets taken care of, and to spend every day dealing with agonizing dysphoria in addition to that? To be constantly triggered on at least two counts—one of which, mind you, would also endanger the fetuses? …I can't handle that—can. not. Do not. have. the coping mechanisms. right now. And if this continues, it's very likely that the downward spiral would… bring back certain suicidal urges."
Valentine blinks at Cas for a moment. He furrows his brow and tilts his head. He frowns, and in a flash, replaces it with a smile that glints like the edge of a knife. "Well, I mean, I can stand by all of that in theory?" he says, in the most disgusting sugary voice that he has in him. "But I just don't know where you're going to find a doctor who'll help you out—seven months along is a little late to really think about the A-word, isn't it?"
Someone drops their fork, sends it clattering to the plate. Someone else starts to cough, half-choking. Cas flinches as someone's empty glass sails past his head—then sighs in relief as it thuds against the wall—thank God, it was one of the plastic ones. It takes him a moment to pin all of these actions on Anna, Gabriel, and Dean, in that order. And once he's better grounded, Cas just sighs. Sets his fork down and folds his hands on the table.
"Actually? I'm only fourteen weeks along, Valentine," he tells his brother, peering at him across the table as though he's a particularly curious museum piece. "Which means that, in this state, at least? I can get an abortion until twenty-four weeks. I'm well aware that I look huge, but, as it happens? Being pregnant with twins tends to do that to a person. Make them bloated, and swollen, and enormous, I mean. And if this is any indication of your thoughts on the matter? Then I don't want you in my support group. And I think it's best if you leave now."
Valentine gasps, ever so slightly, continuing to tear up at Cas. Making sad puppy eyes in his direction as though he has no idea what he could have possibly said to piss Cas off. "But I didn't… Oh, did you think I meant… But Cas, I didn't—"
"Leave, Valentine," Cas snaps, snarling and entirely through with pulling punches. "I don't want you here. Not right now, and possibly not for a very long time."
Chapter 6: Fourteen weeks, 5 (Rachel).
Rachel's been quiet this whole time—at least, she's been quiet since Cas broke the news—but once the door slams behind Valentine, it seems like only a matter of time until something goes wrong with here, too. Until Cas fucks something up, or until he can't stand looking at her because she's proven herself to be so much less than her big brother expects. Until something's happened to make him regret trying to have her over here, too.
She stays quiet while Dean and Bela start clearing up the dishes. While Dean insists on not taking Cas's because he knows it's not easy, but Cas isn't even halfway done with his cheeseburger, and he'll probably feel better if he gets something else in him—something more than the bare minimum, Dean means. While Gabriel tries to refill his glass of wine, and Anna follows him into the kitchen, and the two of them descend into bickering about how much Gabriel's had and how on Earth he intends to get home tonight anyway.
Once the table's empty, though—once it's just the two of them—Rachel sighs. Tucks a lock of dirty blonde hair behind her ear and looks over at Cas with a small, sympathetic smile. Asks if she can ask a question, and once Cas says it's fine, all she says is, "Can I give you a hug?"
Cas sighs and says that that's fine, too. Rachel hesitates a moment, once she's on her feet and inside of his personal space, but thankfully, it doesn't last. She crouches down by the chair and wraps her arms around his shoulders. And Cas relaxes in her arms, leans against her shoulder, reaches up to wrap his hand around her wrist as she tells him that she might not understand what she's going through—that she might not be able to really understand at all—but that she's here for him, no matter what happens, no matter what Cas decides to do about his situation.
"And anything that happens, Cas?" she tells him, gently squeezing his shoulders. "Whatever it is, and how bad it is… whatever you want me to do to help you out? If there's anything? Then all you ever have to do is ask."
It could be a lovely moment. Maybe it is—but that goes out the window when Gabriel calls out from the kitchen, "I second that emotion, just for the record!"—when the next sounds are a scuffle and Dean snapping that fuck this, Gabriel's had enough goddamned cabernet.
Still, though… perhaps something good came out of this misadventure after all.