Cross To Bear

13 Years-Old: Dating Developments

"What do you want?" Cas asked as he stared at the menu, he'd seen it many times but he just couldn't ever make up his mind.

"I dunno… cheeseburger and fries probably." Meg muttered, apparently just as lost as he was.

"Alright, same." He looked at the prices and crinkled his nose, "Is it okay if we both get burgers and share a large fry and drink?"

"Romantic," she nudged him playfully and he laughed, a little nervously.

Their order was taken and they were seated with a table marker, which was a plastic toy hippo Cas didn't recognize (the receipt said ORDER: GLORIA). He placed it where the server would see it and sipped at their soda. He glanced up at Meg who also looked a bit uncomfortable.

"Sorry," he put the drink in between them again, "I guess I'm not so good at dates…"

"Well I'm the one that asked you out, right?" Meg laughed anxiously; he hadn't ever really seen her like that. Her hand pushed her hair behind her ear for the third time since they'd gotten into the burger joint, this time he noticed how soft it looked, like she'd done something extra with it for him. "I'm the one who's supposed to be interesting."

"I don't think that's how it works." He smiled and mimicked her hand movement over his ear, Meg caught it as she was doing it again and blushed, quickly dropping her hand along with her gaze. "So can I ask why you wanted to go out with me? I mean Dean's more handsome and Jet's charismatic."

She looked as though she didn't really want to answer that question but what else could she really do? "I think there's something special about you," she stared him in the eyes and he thought maybe he was wrong about her not wanting to answer, she seemed ready for it now. "You're not like them, not like anyone else I've ever met."

He wasn't sure if he should be scared or flattered, he felt both but maybe he should only mention one. "I don't think I'm that different, just a little more perceptive with some things."

"I am too," she lit up excitedly in a way that surprised him. "I felt you poking at me."

Cas lost his words, "I… you what? Really?"

Meg nodded, her hair flowing seamlessly with the motion, "I did, see here I can do it too."

He squinted at her for a moment, not sure what to expect until he felt that nudge. Physically she was nowhere near him but he could feel her, like when he approached others. It was weird to be encroached upon like that, to know someone was trying to access you. Cas relaxed to her attempt and let her see his mind's surface.

"It's weird," Meg muttered aloud, "I never felt anyone do that until you tried today, I had no idea it was like that."

"The others can't feel it," Cas lifted his gaze to catch hers, "I've been deep inside a few people, they don't notice."

"Like who?" she smirked and he felt she already knew the answer.

"Dean and Jet, the two of them haven't shown any signs they felt it."

Meg furrowed her brow, "You don't try to block people out, huh?"

"Never had to, why? You do?" His eyes widened and he leaned forward, "Do you know other people who can do this?"

She shrugged, "Sort of. My dad knows but I never see him."

"Oh," he lowered himself back onto his chair properly and looked down at the table, "I'm so sorry, that must be awful."

"Not really, he's a jerk. It's always 'do this, do that, you have to be the perfect daughter blah blah blah.'" She tapped her fingers to her thumb in a mock-speaking gesture, her eyes rolling. "It's no fun."

The server placed their food down, "Here you are, enjoy." He said with a smile, Cas thanked him quietly and watched him go.

Meg picked up her burger and took a large bite out of it, chewing almost obnoxiously – it reminded Cas of how Dean ate burgers a little. "M'm glahd ah nevahr shee 'im." She said around a mouthful.

Cas smiled almost sadly at her, "Even so, I'm sorry to hear it. Can you tell me anything about this?"

"Well," she swallowed and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, "I can tell you've got a lot more in you than anyone else, but maybe that's because you can do this too. My dad's got a lot going on but there's a reason for that."

"Maybe being older means you have more?"

"Something like that," she took another bite and Castiel decided to start eating too, no sense in waiting.

He couldn't understand why he didn't like her; maybe it was because he couldn't read her? He wasn't sure but he didn't plan to continue that way. Being anxious about her, scared, it wasn't right. She was just like him, that's not how he wanted people to feel about him.

Cas smiled as he ate, she was just like him.

He understood that people were different, every single person he met was more or less complicated than the next and as it turned out Meg was just a little bit more, like him. He couldn't sense her emotions past the surface, he couldn't touch anything more than skin deep and somehow he started to enjoy that. It was a test for him, in a way. He got to see what he really was capable of and what part of him relied on the ability to read into another person.

As it turned out he was still pretty good. The only challenge was understanding her, but he didn't mind not knowing. "Hey Meg?" Cas spoke with a smile, not realizing that neither had spoke in quite some time.

"What's up?" She looked at him, she'd gotten so much more relaxed, it was nice to see.

"I was just… I'm glad we're doing this. I'm sorry I was so difficult before, I'm sure you saw how I was feeling."

"Yeah I saw," Meg shrugged and finished off her burger, a quick eater. "It's alright, you're not the first one to feel like that toward me."

He smiled and went for what was left of his cheeseburger.

"I also saw your… Dean situation."

Cas froze, his jaw slowly grinding the meat up until it nearly locked. He tried to swallow it and almost choked, coughing hard as he drank as much as he could to get it down.

"It's okay," Meg said next, watching him struggle regardless. "You're not interested in me that way."

Castiel put the back of his hand to his mouth and slowly dragged it along, hoping words would come to him soon. "I didn't mean to lead you on," he whispered sheepishly, gaze dropping back to the food in front of them.

"You didn't, you're just a nice guy." She sighed and leaned on her hand, elbow on the table in front of her, "But we can still hang out, right?"

"Yeah, of course." He nodded quickly, "Can I just… ask you something?"

"Don't tell anyone?" She smirked and he nodded again.

"Please, I'm already having a hard time with it."

"Sure, but have you looked at Dean that way recently? I mean, you know, tried to figure out what he thinks of you in that way?"

Cas shook his head, not sure he should trust how easily she agreed but there was nothing more he could do about it. "I'm scared to look for it, with Dean I like to leave it alone. If he's acting strangely I want to figure it out on my own, I mean I can sense basic things but for a lot of darker thoughts I'd have to dig." He remembered Dean internally, the beautiful glow and light of him. "I like to keep that as personal as I can."

Meg was quiet for a bit until she uttered one word, "Wow."

"What?" He was a bit defensive, he knew, but she knew his secret.

"Nothing, just… you. You can do things no one else can but you try not to? What are you, some kind of angel?"

Cas shook his head immediately, "I'm no angel. I don't want to be either, I… I've had some bad experiences with that word."

"You mean that whole thing way back in elementary school?"

He looked away, "Yes… I'd rather not talk about it."

"It's alright, some really messed up shit happens around you." She mused and took her first sip of the soda; Cas felt a bit bad for that since he'd drank nearly half of it while choking. "Like you're some kind of magnet, huh?"

"I guess." He grabbed a handful of fries and picked them out of his mitt-full one by one.

She didn't quite get the hint he was attempting to push forward, more like a raging bull than a hint. "Your grandparents died too, didn't they?" Was she this insensitive or did she mean to push his buttons? Was she mad at him for liking his brother? He supposed it was only fair punishment.

He was quiet and he nodded to her question, "It was terrible." He didn't want to elaborate but his mind was more than willing. Cas knew Dean's clammy skin in a way he never wanted to. Etched into his retina were the faces of his family strewn around the yard, bloodied and still.

Dean's body was so cold, unmoving and lifeless. His grandfather's face distorted and Mr. Caplan's face stretched into monsters.

Dean was dead.

Cas' heart thundered in his ears at the memory, the pale man standing over them all with a subtle calmness. How he casually lifted souls away from their homes and sent them off, so cold in how he worked. It was his job. It was Death. He'd come for Dean. Dean was dead.

Dean was-

"Cas?" Meg nudged his leg with her foot, startling him into looking at her. "I saw that," her eyes were wide and he thought she might be afraid. "Did that really happen? Did you really see-"

"Yes." He cut her off, he could feel his limbs tense up and his muscles shake under the pressure. "I don't want to think about it."

Her shock was more consuming than he thought; all he could sense from her was the awe. "How did you bring Dean back?"

"He was never gone!" Castiel bellowed at her and his fists slammed down onto the table. He never anticipated the rush of energy in his arms or the thunderous crack of the surface beneath his hands. There was a large force in his arms, it moved the air around them and echoed through the restaurant as if lightning had struck inside.

There was no question of whether or not Meg was scared this time, it was written all over her face and in her head. And she had every reason to be fearful of him; the table splintered and split beneath the weight of his hands when he'd brought them down. It was loud and terrifying, people all around them turned to look.

Cas had no words for himself; he stared at her with wide eyes and fear rising in his throat. "I'm... I'm so sorry." He stuttered and looked down at himself, "I don't know what that was." He couldn't even think straight, that power surge within him was so sudden and just like when Dean-!

No. It was like when he stared into the face of the Grim Reaper, when he met the horseman and refused his work. He refused Death's attempt to take Dean, Death never got him, and Dean never died.

Castiel couldn't get himself together properly; he was shaken by his own outburst and his thoughts. They were not stable, he knew they weren't but there was nothing he could do about it, he couldn't control it.

Meg sat across from him staring, awestruck and unable to find the words to tell him anything, if she were alright or otherwise. "Meg?" He asked shakily, his voice starting to waver as much as the rest of him. What was she thinking? What was she going to do now? What could he possibly say.

"Cas," she breathed his name like it might choke her if she'd said it wrong, "You're…" Meg's eyes stared into his, he could feel the light poke, the small sign she was searching his head. He thought maybe she was looking for a malicious intent, looking for a signal he'd meant to hurt her with that shock of power. He offered his mind to her, wanting to seem harmless, wanting her to know he never meant to do anything. It looked like it worked, she relaxed but her expression was still so tense. "What was that?" She asked after, her composure had been regained and her eyes almost interrogated him.

"I don't know," he shrunk in his chair and glanced at the people in the restaurant, he could sense that none of them knew what had happened. No one could be sure he'd done anything or if they'd imagined it. It wasn't like the science fiction books or even like history; people didn't jump up and scream 'witchcraft' at you if there was no real reason to do it. He thanked his lucky stars that they stayed in their seats, not much more than a narrowed expression shot his way.

Meg lit up a little, "Do you think I can do that too?" She asked excitedly and Cas couldn't get over the surprise. She was suddenly so happy.

"Wha- aren't you mad at me?"

"Why? I'm the one that pushed you. C'mon, let's get out of here." She took his hand and dragged him out the door.

"Wait, why?" He stumbled behind her again until he caught up to her pace. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears, his blood raced through him and his limbs shook. He was so scared.

"I don't like people staring."

Castiel stopped and pulled back from her, keeping his hand to himself as he watched her slow down and look back at him. "Why aren't you afraid of me?" He asked seriously, "I know you saw what happened, I don't understand it and I'm scared of myself. Why aren't you?"

She stared at him unmoving for several seconds that felt like they went on far too long. Cas felt every breath he took, his chest expanded so slowly and nothing felt like it was moving at the right speed anymore. The world around them moved faster, he was entirely slower and she had just stopped entirely.

"You're Castiel, even with terrifying powers I couldn't be afraid of you." She said evenly, nothing wavered in her tone and it was like he'd asked what her favourite colour was.

It was frustrating.

"Why not?" Not that he wanted her to be.

"Because you're Castiel. You'd never hurt me."

Cas wasn't sure he understood it any better now than before but he could accept it. Her opinion of him, her views of his mind and everything he'd showed her led her to that conclusion. He believed the same of brothers, his friends, and his parents all because he was certain he knew them. She wasn't afraid of him, she knew him to a degree and that was comfort enough to push terror away.

"That's a nice thought," he smiled at her, a quiet expression of calm. "Thank you, but I… I think I need to-"

"Come with me." She insisted and took his hand again. He looked up at her face; her eyes were determined and even concerned for him. "Don't go home yet, let's finish our date okay?"

Castiel wasn't sure what possessed him to agree but his head nodded for her, "If you think that'll help…"

"It will, you'll forget all about it." She grinned and dragged him along again, he really had underestimated her character. She still made him a little nervous but that feeling had dissipated into the back of his mind. Meg was a good person, a little mean sometimes and insensitive as hell but he enjoyed her company.

Cas didn't end up calling off the date early and when his dad showed up to get him he happily asked to give Meg a ride home too.

At her stop he got out of the car with her and gave her a hug, "Thank you," he whispered to her.

Meg was startled, even seemed a little anxious but she hugged him back. "I should be thanking you, Cas."

"No, not at all." He leaned back again and offered her a smile as confident as he could make it. It was no Dean or Jet grin but it wasn't bad. "You really made me feel better, I hope we can be real friends from now on."

She smirked back at him and nodded, "Sure Cas, whatever you need." She gave him a light punch in the shoulder before walking up the front steps to her house.

Cas stood by and watched, his hand found the handle to the passenger door but he waited until she was inside before he opened it and hopped in.

"So, how was your first date?" John couldn't hesitate to ask, his grin was wide and he looked Cas' way. "Have fun?"

"Yeah," he smiled to himself and looked out the window again. He caught a glimpse of his reflection and it looked so different for a moment, just a split second. His skin was almost glowing and he thought he'd seen the faintest hint that he had more than one face. But that couldn't be, he blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes. Movies always got his imagination running, he was imagining it, had to be.

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