For a long time now, Caitlin's known that there will be no children in her future. First it was because of what they've taken to referring as "The Incident" and the powers it gave her. They don't fully understand the effect the changes that have been wrought on her body; there's absolutely no way of knowing what effect there would be on a child she carried. It's been pointed out to her by friends far more optimistic than she is that they don't actually know if there would be any effects at all, but Caitlin's never been a gambler, not with her own life and certainly not with that of an innocent.
Then there's the fact that for a long time, there was no father figure in the picture. Ronnie was gone and Jay was better forgotten and she'd pretty much given up on ever finding anyone who'd understand her life. She didn't count on falling for someone who'd been there all along, but little by little, she and Joe had begun spending more and more time together and by the time they realised what was happening, it was too late to stop things, even if they'd wanted to. And Joe, of course, had already raised his family, didn't really want to go back to diaper changing and sleepless nights, though Caitlin knew he would if she really wanted to.
But between his feelings on the matter and her body chemistry, it was easy to shut that door.
She's happy for Iris and Barry, really, she is. They're going to make amazing parents and anyone who isn't excited at the prospect of seeing Joe West as a grandpa doesn't know Joe West. These babies are going to be surrounded by love and Caitlin's so happy to share in that, so happy to be part of this found family.
Sometimes she finds herself looking at Iris as she strokes her hand along her swollen belly, wonders what it would be like to feel her baby growing inside her, the little twists and kicks and even hiccups that make Iris smile softly, make Barry laugh in delight. She watches them bicker over names, discuss nursery decor options, fall in love with little outfits and accessories and "Why the hell did you only buy one baseball mitt, Barry, don't you know girls can play too?" and in those moments, she wants, wants with a fierce longing that surprises her.
And sometimes those are the moments that she feels a hand on her shoulder and when she looks around, Joe is there. His eyes are gentle, like he knows what she's thinking, like he wishes things could be different for her. Those are the moments where she leans into him and his hand tightens on her shoulder as he presses a kiss to the top of her head.
In those moments of longing, this is a reminder that, for all she can't have, what she does have is equally precious.