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Title: A New Life
Author: CloudyJenn
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairings: Dean/Castiel
Rating: PG-13 for language
Word Count: 2,000 (exactly!)
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I am making no profit from this fanfiction.
Warnings: kidfic
Summary: When Castiel casts out his Grace to save Dean's life, he accidentally creates a new one in the process.
Author's Notes: I can't for the life of me find the e-mail containing my assignment and therefore your prompt, nicole_sill. But obviously I used the one about Cas making a Grace baby. :D 2,000 words is way less than I realized until I was writing, so this turned out to be rather like snapshots. But it's a fun verse and who knows, I might revisit it! I hope you enjoy!





No matter how many times Dean rubs his eyes, he doesn't stop seeing the infant laying in a pile of leaves at the base of a maple tree.

"It's a baby," he says helplessly.

"I thought...this isn't right. I should have changed," Castiel said, eyes round and terrified as he stared down at the squirming baby.

"Well, don't fucking question it," Dean growled. His panic over Castiel's impromptu decision to hurl his remaining Grace at the demon holding Dean captive still sat in his stomach like a cold hard lump. "I can't believe you did that."

"What choice did I have?" Castiel snaps, the terror in his eyes sparking into fiery anger. "You would have died. My transformation into a child hardly compares-"

"I could have taken him. You would have been gone, you asshole. I swear-"

"Guys!"

They break off and swivel around to see Sam and Gabriel watching them, Sam with exasperation and Gabriel with blatant amusement.

"You!" Dean points at Gabriel. "What is with the baby?" he demands. The child chooses that moment to start screaming its head off. Castiel finally leans down to scoop it off the scratchy leaves. Being held obviously agrees with him because the cries begin to die away. Dean tries not to find the way the baby smashes his face against Castiel's shoulder and begins to slobber all over Cas' trenchcoat really endearing, but fails.

"I thought I would be reborn," Castiel said. "I...can no longer tell if the baby holds my Grace."

Dean doesn't miss the muted note of devastation in Castiel's, but there's no time to respond because Gabriel is talking now.

"Oh that's your Grace alright. Clever plan, little bro, but you forgot about the human thing," Gabriel said, stepping closer to peer at the boy.

"Human thing?"

"You. You were practically a human anyway; I could almost see the soul sprouting. Well and now I can definitely see one. You can't become a new human if you already are one." Gabriel clapped a hand on Castiel's shoulder. "So congratulations, kiddo. Meet your firstborn."

The baby starts crying again and it looks like maybe Cas isn't far behind.

***********

"I don't know anything about human children," Castiel despairs once they get the little guy back to their latest motel room. "Would he be safer if he were adopted?"

The last thing in the world Castiel wants to suggest is giving up his own Grace to strangers. But he also wants what's best for the boy and traveling with two hunters and inept ex-angel can hardly be good for him.

"What? No way!" Dean bellows. "You can't give him up. Look at him."

The baby stares up at them with huge brown eyes and makes a soft gurgling noise that makes Castiel's insides twist in an odd manner.

"He's your kid, Cas. I mean, he's an angel kid. A Grace baby. You can learn about human babies. Some stupid human couple isn't gonna learn about angel babies."

As he's speaking, Dean marches back and forth across the room, preparing some of the food they'd purchased for the child on the way back. It doesn't faze Dean at all to hoist the baby into his arms and coax the child into accepting the bottle.

"We'll just have to...y'know, modify our lifestyle."

Castiel's eyes snap from the baby to Dean's face. "You would do that for us?"

Instead of the pleasant moment Cas had imagined, Dean scowls and turns away.

"It's not like I'm just gonna let you wander off with a baby," he grumbled. "If you managed to keep him alive, he'd end up beaten to a pulp at school every day."

His mumbled dire predictions continue in the background as Dean feeds the child, but Castiel pays them no mind. He can barely hear over the blood thundering in his ears. It takes him a long time to realize he's relieved.

Becoming human and a father at the same time is a challenge Castiel is not prepared to face alone.

*************

"He needs a name."

Sam returns with Castiel's first meal as a real human. From the looks of it, he's enjoying his pizza a little too much. No one needs to moan like a two dollar whore over some Pizza Hut.

"What?"

"A name," Sam repeats. "We can't keep calling him 'the baby.'"

Dean looks at said baby snoring away in a pile of towels. No names really come to mind. The kid is bald and fat like most babies and kinda unremarkable other than the fact that he's cute as hell.

Not that Dean's biased or anything.

"Yeah, I got nothing here," Dean says. "Cas? It's your kid, whaddya want to call him?"

Cas freezes mid-bite, a trace of tomato sauce clinging to the corner of his mouth. Dean licks his own mouth reflexively and tries not to flush when Cas repeats the action.

"I haven't thought about it," he confesses, setting aside the slice and moving to sit alongside the baby. His movements are surprisingly tender. Dean watches Castiel's fingers trace the curve of his child's forehead. His own forehead prickles with an odd desire for a similar touch.

"I've never had a prefernce for a human name before."

"And now?" Sam asks. "Are you feeling...well, anything?"

The baby waves one hand in his sleep and makes a soft mewling noise. An emotion Dean can't quite discern...something fragile and very human...flickers in Castiel's eyes.

"Oh yes, I feel many things."

***********

They end up naming the baby Joseph because Castiel knows it from the Bible and because Sam and Dean shoot down his more exotic choices like Lapidoth and Perazim. ("Seriously, Cas, do you want him to survive first grade?") The baby reacts to his name the same way he reacts to everything, which is to sleep and fill his diaper.

Dean decides that counts as a success.

After buying a boatload of tiny clothes, enough food to last through anosther Apocalpyse and a car-seat, they arrive at Bobby's house three days later. The only reaction Bobby musters is an exasperated sigh and a muttered 'cute kid' before letting them into the house.

Sleeping arrangements are settled easily enough. Sam takes the couch, Dean takes the floor and Castiel gets the spare room along with a new crib for Joseph. They've got a few weeks of trampling on Bobby's good will before they have to decide where to live and how to raise the kid.

Everything's going pretty well, Dean thinks.

Until Cas shakes him awake that night, his eyes filled with panic.

"He won't stop crying," he gasps. "I've done everything and more and I don't understand how you lived for so long with skipping sleep; Dean, I feel like dying."

Time for damage control. Dean steers the exhausted new human back to his bed and picks up Joseph. It's been a long time, but Dean thinks he remembers this cry. This is the 'I want to be fucking held, I'm scared and unsettled' cry.

"Oh." Cas' eyes widen. "He's stopped."

"Yeah, he's just complaining," Dean says. "You can go to sleep."

"What about you?"

Dean sits on the edge of the bed, transferring Joseph to his other shoulder and leaning against the headboard.

"Don't worry about us, Cas. We'll be just fine."

An hour later, he tells himself it's just easier to slip in beside Cas after putting Joseph back in his crib. Not to mention more comfortable than the floor. That's all.

************

"Gabriel's agreed to create false documents for Joseph," Castiel informs them eagerly at breakfast one morning. Dean doesn't seem impressed with Gabriel's generous offer, although that could be due to Gabriel's smug grin.

"Sam could do that," Dean protests.

"Yeah, but mine'll be iron-clad, Dean-o. You really gonna risk the progeny like that?" Gabriel's taunting is hardly necessary. Castiel is tempted to kick him under the table, but he really does want to make sure Joseph is protected within this culture. He wants Joseph to have a normal childhood and be able to attend school, see a doctor and things of that nature.

"Whatever." Castiel knows it stings Dean that there's something he can't provide for this child. Strangely enough, the thought gives Castiel pleasure.

"So what's his name again?" Gabriel produces a clipboard out of nowhere. "Joey?"

"Joseph," Castiel corrects.

There's a short pause.

"Okay, well, I need more than that," Gabriel says with an eyeroll. "Middle name? Last name?"

Another name? Castiel frowns. It was hard enough settling on Joseph and the brothers hadn't liked any of his other choices. He looks at them and then back at Gabriel.

"Dean?"

"Ah. What a surprise." Gabriel makes a mark on the paper. Beside him, Castiel senses Dean puffing up with some kind of emotion. "And I guess Winchester is his last name?"

"Oh. No, I wouldn't want to presume...I can just..."

He trails off when he notices Dean deflating again. Although he's still learning to identify human facial expressions without the help of his Grace, Castiel recognizes that Dean looks rather bereft.

"What's the matter?"

Another silence grips the room, this one thicker than before. To his surprise, Sam is the one to break it.

"Hey, I like Winchester. You can have our name, Cas. Joseph Winchester sounds great."

"I already wrote it down," Gabriel says. "It'll be less confusing for the kid if mommy and daddy have the same name."

"What's that-"

But Gabriel is gone and Dean's face might be scarlet, but he looks pleased.

"Joseph Winchester is a bad-ass name," he declares.

Castiel still isn't sure if bad-ass is a good thing or not, but Dean is happy and that's all that matters.

***********

It doesn't take long for Castiel to realize that Dean only sleeps in his bed if he comes to him with an issue related to Joseph.

The fourth night of calm deep sleep from Joseph, Castiel snaps. He marches into the living room where Dean lays on a sagging sofa, staring sightlessly at the ceiling. Dean startles when Cas approaches, but only briefly. The second he processes what he's seeing, a flash of happiness streaks across his expression and he's hopping off the couch.

"What's up with the little guy now?"

"Nothing. He's sleeping, but I can't." Castiel closes a hand around Dean's wrist and begins tugging him back towards the bedroom.

"Whoa, what are you-"

"You help put Joseph to sleep and now I require the same assistance."

"What, you want me to rock you to sleep?"

Castiel pauses, considering the matter for a short moment.

"I was kidding, Cas."

"Just lay down," Castiel commands, nudging Dean a little in the right direction. The slight hesitation in Dean evaporates when Castiel yawns and gives Dean a desperate look.

"Okay, but this is weird."

"How is it weird?"

Castiel flips off the light and climbs in after Dean, waiting for him to settle before he budges up beside him, face pressed against Dean's shoulder.

"Uh, you know...sleeping together and we basically have a kid... what is this whole...?"

"Does it matter right now?" Castiel slings an arm across Dean's chest. "We can think of a name for it in the morning. I want to sleep."

There's no response for a long time. Long enough for Castiel to drop off to sleep if Dean weren't so stiff and unyielding beside him. Castiel sighs. He is too tired for an emotional discussion.

"Dean?"

"Yeah?"

"Right now, for me, it's good enough that in some way, I am yours and you are mine."

All at once, Dean's muscles relax, a great sweeping motion from head to toe, and his arm creeps around Castiel's shoulders, pulling him a few inches closer.

"Yeah, okay."

Castiel lets silence grow between them until he steps to the very edge of sleep and then he speaks again.

"Good because I didn't want to have to switch to Sam already."

His first human joke does not go over very well at all.
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