Cross To Bear

9 Years-Old: Holiday Season

The months that followed were emotionally difficult for all of them but Cas was feeling more stressed than most. He was so happy that Jet was healing and that there was a chance he'd be okay again but it wasn't happening fast enough. Jet's energy was low, it was hard to get him to do much of anything sometimes and when he did do something he was temperamental. Jet never had the best temper to begin with but his fuse was far shorter than it'd ever been. He snapped at people for the smallest things and more often than not he ran off to do his own thing. Cas tried to stick by Jet's side when he could but the other boy didn't always want someone near him. He'd shout at Cas to leave him alone, give him some space and just fuck off for a while.

After a particularly angry outburst by Jet, Cas sat outside with Dean during their lunch recess with his knees tucked up to his chest and head hung between them. "I wish I could do something…"

"Cas, you do more for people than anyone else I know." Dean scoffed lightly at him and Cas frowned at his brother.

"It's not enough, Dean. I can feel he's still in pain and I hate it." Cas threw his arms into the air dramatically and dropped backward into the grass of their schoolyard's field. "What the heck can I do?"

Dean shrugged and started to pluck the grass, tossing it onto Cas' stomach each time. "Mom says it'll take Jet a long time to feel better, just be nice to him and help him out when he needs it."

"I know… but I think I can fix it. I just need to try harder."

"If you get too pushy you'll piss him off, just leave it alone Cas." Dean took a more stern tone and Castiel pouted up at him.

"But what if I can make it better?" He protested and Dean shook his head.

"You're doing enough. Your mojo magic senses are doing plenty for him, he's always happier when he hangs out with us."

"So I should be with him! Why won't he let me?" Cas sighed in frustration and closed his eyes, "This is stupid."

Dean didn't reply and just kept dropping grass piles onto Castiel's tummy.

Cas was quiet for a bit and closed his eyes, "Dean… that 'magical mojo sense' is why I'm trying so hard. I can feel all of you and lately I can sense deeper than I ever could before. Sometimes I do it by accident but it's so strong." He rolled his head to watch Dean's face, his brother's expression calm and curious. But there was always more than that to a person. Dean's mind was as messy as anyone else's. Thoughts of his friend in pain, his brothers, his mom and dad, and even death circled in Dean's head. He was concerned; scared that Cas' obsession with fixing Jet would push the other boy away. Dean had thoughts of how he'd feel if John were the one that died, how would he want to be approached? How would he function around other people? Would he even want to?

But Dean was more than the surface thoughts, Cas slipped his gaze past all that and let himself see Dean's being. That beautiful soul he'd seen the day he hit his head, it wasn't like anyone else's. He'd seen many people's inner beings, Sam's was wonderful and Jet's was bound by the recent events. John and Mary's were beautiful too but nothing compared to Dean's. It was bright and flowing, fluid like water but floating like it was in space, and it seemed to be entirely made of light and energy. Cas smiled and looked back up at the sky.

"What do you mean you can sense 'deeper'?" Dean asked and Cas shook his head.

"I mean I can see more of you than you even know is there. I can feel what you're feeling," he tilted his head again to catch eye contact, "I know you."

Dean was quiet and Cas knew why, he wasn't sure if what Cas was saying was a good thing or if it was even true. "What am I feeling now?"

"Confused, concerned, and a bit excited."

Dean made a face that scrunched up his nose, "No I'm not, quit making stuff up Cas."

Castiel laughed but decidedly kept any replies to himself. He wasn't lying or inventing these things, they were just happening to him – but maybe Dean couldn't understand that. Dean would figure out that Cas was right or he'd ignore his own feelings, either way it didn't matter because Cas knew he was right. It did make him question himself though, was it a good thing?

It had grown colder outside, and school shut down for the holidays. It was the last day of class and everyone was packing up their things and excitedly running for the doors. Dean paused and watched Jet as their friend did the same though far quieter. "So… How're you doing?" Dean asked and Jet lifted his head, a little glimmer in his eyes that told Cas more than his blank expression.

"I don't know," Jet replied with a shrug and closed his locker, "Not exactly the same as the last thousand times someone asked me but not very different either."

Dean cringed a bit at Jet's tone and scratched the back of his head, "Uh… well I was just asking because you looked so down." Dean cringed again at his own response and looked at Cas for help.

"More than usual," Cas added quickly though Jet didn't seem to give much effort in caring to begin with. "What's on your mind?"

"Christmas holidays," the boy sighed and ran his hand through his hair, "It's never easy but now… well…" He trailed off as his voice broke a little, Cas didn't have to imagine how he was feeling but he tried to keep himself from knowing exactly what. It was exhausting and he got the idea the first time.

"Didn't you guys get his life insurance?" Dean stepped closer as he realized Jet was pretty upset. Their friend nodded and rubbed his eyes quickly.

"We did. Sorry, I'm just whining forget it." He turned away but Cas caught his arm.

"Wait, what if you had Christmas with us? Would it be easier?"

Jet pulled away roughly, "I said forget it, Cas. It's nothing."

"It isn't," Castiel insisted and hurried around in front of Jet to stop him, "You're not whining, okay? Just let me ask my mom and you can come over for Christmas."

"Cas-" Jet tried to protest a bit softer but Cas shook his head.

"Enough! I'm asking then you're coming over and that's final."

Jet's expression lightened up a little and he nodded silently.

"Okay." Cas smiled and headed for his bus, "Then we'll call you!"

"'Kay…" Jet replied quietly as he gave them a short wave.

Castiel wandered up to Mary once they were home, she was pseudo-helping Sam get out of his winter clothes. Sam believed he could handle it on his own but 'just in case' he couldn't do it she was there to help him, his orders. "Hey mom," Cas leaned around her side into her view, his smile tugging up on his lips, "Can I ask you something?"

"Of course sweetheart, what did you need?" Mary returned the smile, she always did.

"Can Jet and his mom come over for Christmas this year?"

Mary paused and looked at him thoughtfully, "I'll discuss it with your dad but I don't see why not. What made you think of it?"

"Well…" He glanced over at Dean who was starting to grin; his brother hadn't expected him to ask evidently. "We were talking to Jet and he seemed pretty down about Christmas, so I told him that we'd have him over." Cas lowered his head sheepishly, "Sorry, I didn't ask first…"

Mary's smile spread and she wrapped her arms around him in a hug, "You are too cute, Cas. Of course they can come over; I'll tell your dad later."

"Thanks mom," Cas kissed her cheek and pulled away, "Can we have some ice cream?"

"Not before dinner, it'll be done soon so be patient, okay?" She had her gentle warning tone on and Cas knew to immediately cooperate.

"Okay!" He ran to the stairs, motioning for Dean to follow. The two boys dropped onto their beds and grinned at one another across the room. "I can't believe she said yes."

"I can't believe you asked." Dean laughed and flopped backward, "But I'm glad you did."

"I said I would," Cas shrugged and mimicked his brother's posture, arms spread wide and staring at the ceiling. "He feels a little happier these days, though."

"Yeah?" Dean rolled his head to face Cas, "How so?"

"His energy is lighter, it's still pretty low but it's getting a lot better."

For a moment his brother was quiet but Dean spoke up again a few seconds later, "So… think you could teach me to sense stuff like that?"

Cas blinked in surprise and turned to face him, "I… don't know. It just started happening to me, I didn't control anything or learn anything." His gaze drifted down to look at himself, "I got hurt that one time I ended up in the hospital, and when it happened I saw you."

"I was right there so yeah, you saw me." Dean had that snarky tone, like he knew better for some reason.

"No, not your face, I saw your soul or something. It was all made of light and stuff." Cas lifted his hands above his head and tried to shape the imagery he saw with his hands, following the curve of Dean's head and shoulders. "It didn't look like you but I just knew it was you, I don't know how."

"It's still kinda weird," Dean smirked at him, though this time it was far less demeaning than it had been in the past. Dean was starting to understand him, or accept him at least. Either way Cas was happy to see it. "But you know, maybe it's cooler if you're the only one that can do it."

"You don't think I'm a freak?" Cas wasn't sure where the thought came from, maybe it was because of the kids at school, or maybe it was just because he felt a little self-conscious on his own. Regardless it was there, it surprised him a little. He didn't often consider the state of his self-worth but it had been coming up more and more lately. What did Dean think of him? That was important. What did his parents think of him? Or Sam?

"Sometimes, but that's got nothing to do with your senses. I think you're more like a superhero." Dean smile didn't waver, Cas stared at him but nothing changed and he felt a surge of relief inside.

"Dean…" he trailed off and felt his lips tug up to mimic Dean's expression, "Thank you."

"No problem-" Dean paused and stared at him for a second, Cas wasn't sure why until he felt something warm on his face. "Cas, are you okay? Why are you crying?" Dean's voice had gotten so strained in such a short time; he sat up and went to Castiel's side.

"I'm fine," Cas sighed and closed his eyes, letting himself focus more on the sensation swirling inside him. "I was scared that you thought I was, it feels good knowing you don't."

Dean paused for a second to stare at him, "You're so weird, Cas." He laughed and leaned against the bed.

The door opened and Sammy wandered in, climbing into Castiel's bed with him without a question or request as to whether or not he was allowed to. "Whatcha doin'?" He swung his legs off the edge, nearly hitting Dean but not quite.

"Nothing," Cas reached up and hooked his arms around Sam's middle to pull him down. "What're you doin'?" He grinned and held his little brother down against his will.

"Agh! Cas, leggo!" Sam squirmed to get away but he only managed to get more stuck.

Dean wasn't the type to pass up an opportunity and was swiftly taking over the entire scenario. If Cas had thought for even a second Dean was on his side he was sorely mistaken, Dean overpowered the whole thing and took over for himself. Cas and Sam didn't stand a chance in that wrestling match.

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