Carlos comes back to the apartment from the lab and sees Cecil curled up on the couch in as tight a ball as he can with the rotund nature of the pregnancy buried under his tentacles. "Cec?"
Cecil unravels himself and turns to him with a tearstreaked and watery eyed face.
"Janice said you reacted badly at lunch.... Is there anything I can try to do?"
Cecil points at the binder on the coffee table then says in a very small voice, "I want to make a nest."
Carlos's heart breaks as he sits down next to Cecil. "Okay. I'm going to make a couple phone calls to delegate things then I'll help you make a nest okay?"
Cecil nods and puts his head in Carlos's lap. Carlos absentmindedly runs his fingers through Cecil's fine hair as he makes phone calls to Vanessa to lock the lab when she's done and to Ray and Dr. Shah about Cecil wanting to initiate his crisis plan.
Dr. Shah agrees but asks for a copy of the triggering incident report. Carlos flips open the binder and snaps a photo of today's chart and sends it to her. And rubs his temples realizing from the chart that Janice hadn't told Cecil or him that Abby was coming with the entourage to check up on Cecil. He's lucky he wasn't at lunch because he's pretty sure that surprise would have thrown him too.
He glances at Cecil. "I'll talk to Janice and Abby later and explain the lunch incident okay?"
Cecil's head wiggles again under his fingers in another nod.
Carlos smiles. "How much information do you want me to give them about this?"
Cecil frowns and one of his hands taps Morse code on Carlos's leg. "A little. Boundaries. Art is nice."
Carlos smiles at the non sequitur Cecil tacked on at the end. "Okay so just the essentials. Cards not visitors. Definitely doable. Let's make that nest okay?"
Cecil nods again and Carlos shifts Cecil back to sitting up, gets up and moves the armchairs closer to the couch. Then goes to the closet and dumps most of the linens and pillows into a hamper to bring out to make a nest which is Night Vale's version of a blanket fort.
He wraps Cecil up in the fuzziest blankets first and throws the rest all over the floor and the couch mostly because Cecil tends to be really young when he regresses and he knows he'll get giggles out of him later when Cecil manages to give him "mad scientist hair". Then begins to make the fort walls and roof by layering blankets and stretching them over the furniture.
Once the nest is complete, he settles next to Cecil. "What now?"
Cecil curls himself up against him and hugs him tight. Carlos frowns a little, stroking Cecil's back, resting his chin on top of Cecil's head. "I have you. You're safe. I love you." On a whim he starts singing the Spanish Christmas lullaby that Cecil fell in love with over the winter holidays.
He's not surprised when Cecil's out like a light when the song is over. Then his phone gives him the incoming message notification from Janice. "Lock senses, please." He whispers to GLaDOS as he accepts the message.
Janice is looking a little embarrassed with Abby, Kamri and Steve over her shoulders.
Carlos rubs his temples. "Steve and Kamri can I ask you both to step out. I need to speak to Janice and Abby alone."
Steve's mouth opens and shuts. Abby frowns at Carlos then nods. "Steve, go on. He's... He's obviously being a good fiance and protecting my brother."
Janice looks over at them. "Go down to the kitchen and ask Elli for ice cream sandwiches. We made some new kinds yesterday."
Carlos lets his shoulders drop as soon as they're off camera and he hears the door shut.
"We would have preferred if you'd said you were bringing the entourage, Abby and Janice. Cecil's getting better but he hasn't been able to handle surprises very well. This kind of threw him over the edge of his limited energy capacity. To keep him safe, several of us will be acting as buffers. He doesn't want visitors right now. If you want to be nice, send cards and letters through the house system. We have a cubby in the library for that purpose."
Abby looks down at her hands turning a rather brilliant shade of blue while Janice turns a bright pink. "I'm sorry. Is he?"
"He's sleeping next to me right now."
Carlos tips the wizpod to catch Cecil's hair and then pans it around. "We made a nest in our apartment. I'm taking however long off that he needs me to stay with him."
Abby smiles. "Would... Food be a relevant gift?"
Carlos looks down at Cecil. "Maybe. Janice has a copy of what I can eat when I'm struggling. Generally it's soft and liquidy stuff for me, and you probably know what Cecil can have. Anything he liked when he was younger is usually a good bet. If you want to send food, talk the kitchen staff into bringing it up."
Abby frowns but nods. "Okay. Thank you for letting me know. Janice and I are sorry. What do you want me to tell Kamri and Steve?"
"No visitors. No phone calls. If they want to do either, they have to go through me, Ray or Dr. Shah first as escorts."
Abby nods. "Okay. I'll make sure Steve knows that this is a hard limit for the next few days. And not Cecil being Cecil."
Carlos breathes. "Thank you. You can still help us though. I'll have Ray and Vanessa send you copies of his data. Maybe you can figure out why he's still sick and make suggestions. Just give him some space to recover, okay?"
Abby nods again. "Okay. I'll talk to you later if I have any questions. Take care of him. You're good for him."
Later he hears a knock on the door and Katie calls, "Carlos, I brought dinner."
He shifts Cecil who whimpers. Carlos sighs, gently wiggling out of Cecil's arms. "I promise I'll be right back, Cec."
He crawls out of the fort and opens the door for Katie who rolls in the food cart with several labeled tupperwares. Carlos smiles a little at the ice bucket with a couple ice cream sandwiches. This is definitely Abby and Janice's doing. And Janice is implying dessert first, obviously. "Thanks Katie."
She smiles. "Anytime. Abby and Janice said you'd both probably like this. Janice labelled everything with your name or Cecil's or both. She said not to share unless it's labeled with both of your names."
Carlos nods. "It's Night Vale home meals then. Tell them thank you."
"Will do." She turns to go.
He takes the food cart and adjusts the blanket fort around it. Cecil blinks at him and Carlos grabs the ice cream sandwiches first. "Honey Chamomile or chocolate lavender Cec?"
Cecil giggles, "Share?"
Carlos chuckles and breaks each sandwich in half.
The house's floral specialties are always good. And Dreamwriter explained to him the properties of these flowers were good calming agents.
He smiles when they're done with their ice cream, "Feeling better Cec?"
Carlos hums. That tends to be a so-so leaning negative with a focal on body issues. "Where are you feeling it?"
He watches Cecil shift trying to pinpoint his body awareness but frowns when Cecil gives him a nervous smile and says, "Charcoal storm" meaning he's not sure.
"Think you can try food? Abby and Janice made us dinner by way of apology."
Cecil nods. Carlos begins sorting the Tupperware out in front of them. Cecil peeks at the contents and holds up one of the dually signed tupperwares. "Janice has a good memory. I don't think you've ever tried this. It's one of the few things I can cook because it's a no-cook meal."
Carlos raises his eyes, "OK then we'll have the shared foods first. Whatever we don't eat can go in the fridge for tomorrow."