Cross To Bear

By Zafona

Adventure / Drama

13 Years-Old: Hospital Visit

Weeks went by, school was weird as usual, Jet was still over, and Castiel found himself in the same loop of sleeplessness. He counted it out; he was slowly getting less and less sleep every night. He was at an average of five hours a night, which was still okay to function at he figured but he hoped that insomnia wasn't settling in. He'd looked up symptoms but found he had none other than he didn't sleep much and woke far too early. He wasn't tired, in fact he had more energy than usual. Going to bed at the usual time was difficult to do.

At first he said nothing, he didn't ask about it and he just lay in his bed until sleep came to him and when it left he'd do the same. But eventually he grew tired of it, staring at a dark ceiling was getting to him. But it wasn't that he wanted to wake Dean and talk, he had to stay quiet or someone would wake up.

Castiel climbed out of his bed as silently as he could, stepping over Jet's blow-up mattress on their floor and trying to make it out the door. With some luck he succeeded and made it outside the house without waking a soul. He looked up at the moonlit sky, stars barely visible through the uneven cloud cover. Cas stepped barefoot onto the pavement of their front steps; it was cool to the touch and pulled a small smile to his lips. He sat down on the last stop and stared out at his street, so peaceful at night.

And that's how he spent the next few hours, watching the morning break before him and listening to the sounds of the house as his father woke up for work. Cas made no attempt to hide himself, he waited until he heard the inevitable sound of the door behind him. The sun was barely peeking between the houses in their neighbourhood, the sky a wash of colours and clear. John sat down quietly next to him and waited before he even tried to say anything at all.

"What's up?" It was so simple and displayed everything Cas might've needed to hear.

"I can't sleep." He explained just as simply, that's how his dad worked.

"This happening a lot?"

He nodded, "For weeks now I've only gotten a few hours a night. But the weirdest thing is I'm not tired." He ran a hand up through his hair, "Not like I should be."

John looked at him, seriously considering what he was saying instead of just dismissing it like Cas had expected him to. "Maybe we should go see a doctor."

"I'm not hurt though," Cas let his gaze drop to look at himself, "I feel fine dad, don't waste money on it."

"My kid's health isn't a waste of money." John ruffled his hair and stood up, "C'mon inside, I'll get you some food."

"Thanks dad." Cas smiled and followed him inside, the warmth of the house so welcoming.


One conversation exchanged between his parents later, Cas found himself on the way to the clinic. They'd left before Dean or Sam woke up and Mary told John that he should take him; she'd get the other two ready for school. Castiel didn't mind going, he was worried about what was up with him but he didn't want his dad to have to skip work for something as silly as 'I only get a few hours of sleep at night.' Maybe John was using that as an excuse to not go to work in the first place, he couldn't be sure and wasn't about to ask.

They sat in the waiting room, no appointment made but luckily for them there were only a few other people in there. He was sure that not all of them had appointments, but they looked like they needed it more than he did.

As he sat and stared at the room, John read the newspaper he'd picked up in the entrance. It was boring in there and it'd only been ten minutes, according to the clock on the wall he kept glancing to. A woman walked out of the section where the patient rooms were located, a bundle wrapped in her arms that she held tightly. Her face was pale but flushed under her eyes, which were puffy and swollen from crying. She slowly walked down the corridor leading to the exit but she stopped and leaned a shoulder against the wall.

Castiel reached out and felt her there, she was in so much pain and it brought tears to his eyes just from the contact with her mind. Everything inside her was a mess, though he didn't intend to dig any deeper than the surface he slipped past her mental walls. It was too easy; she'd given up on maintaining a healthy mental state. Her baby was dying, he realized seconds after getting through. A few months old with a weak immune system and weaker organs, several doctors had already told her there was nothing they could do past making the child comfortable.

He'd stood up without realizing it and wandered to her side. She'd slipped down to her knees and slowly curled over her infant. "Ma'am?" Cas whispered softly as he knelt next to her, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder and mentally attempting to ease the pain.

She looked up at him; no surprise in her face that he was there, his presence hadn't startled her. "He's dying," she whispered hoarsely and loosened her grip on her child, a baby boy with blond hair and closed eyes. He looked peaceful but he wasn't stirring the way he should've been, he was far too still. Castiel felt his skin prickle and he hesitated before asking her anything more.

"He's beautiful, may I hold him?" His position in her mind was gentle, he cradled her being and soothed the aching pieces as best he could. It was still cracked; there wasn't anything he could do beyond easing her suffering at that moment. When her baby would pass away, whenever that would be, what he did would have no effect on her anymore. But for now he could at least say he helped.

She looked at her infant and nodded after a brief moment, "His name's Steve." She gently handed him over to Cas, a little hesitant to let go but she did.

Castiel carefully adjusted his arms and looked at the swaddled boy carefully, he moved the blanket from around his face and gently stroked the baby's cheek. "He's lovely," he murmured before he saw a familiar spark beneath his fingers. Cas' eyes widened as that glow glimmered where his hand touched baby Steve, bringing colour to his nearly greyed out skin.

"What are you doing?" the boy's mother sounded hysteric as she took her child back from him and pulled away. There was only panic in her mind as she stood up and took several steps down the hall, an angry glance his way before looking down at her baby.

Castiel stood up slowly and looked at his hands, what had he done this time? He remembered the table and his heart stuttered, he prayed silently that he hadn't done any more harm. John looked at him as he re-entered the waiting room, eyes wide and face whiter than normal. "What's up, kiddo?"

He sat down and hunched forward, "I don't know…" What was wrong with him? He couldn't sleep, he destroyed property with the swing of an arm and now he had creepy-glowy-pedo fingers. Where the hell could he start explaining any of this to a doctor? It sounded insane.

"Hang in there," his dad smiled and squeezed his shoulder reassuringly.

There were quick footsteps nearby and getting closer, the sound of a baby crying filled the room and suddenly that same woman was in front of him. She draped an arm around him, the other holding Steve who cried mercilessly until he was in contact with Castiel again. "Thank you," she cried against him, "I don't know what you did but thank you."

Cas reached up and hugged her back, shock the only thing he was certain he could feel. "You're welcome," he pat her back and waited for her to calm down. People in the waiting room watched in confusion, his father included, as a grown woman thanked and cried to a thirteen-year-old boy. He offered a smile to them though he wasn't sure what to say, so he said nothing. He could feel the woman's relief and it lifted his spirit, her trust in him was so high and how grateful she was couldn't be measured. He'd healed her baby. Cas didn't know how he did it or what did it or if it was even him but he didn't want to burst her bubble or tell her she was mistaken. If she thought it was him then who was he to say it was a coincidence? That glow beneath his palm just happened to be there when he touched her son. Nothing important.

But how long could he tell himself that?

"Castiel Winchester?" The nurse stepped into the doorway and he nodded.

"That's me," he looked at the lady and gestured to the door, "If Steve is awake now you should show him things, the world is beautiful. I think he'll love it."

"You're a miracle," she kissed his cheek chastely and let him go. She looked at John who had silently stood up to go with him, "Your son is special, you're blessed to have him."

John smiled at her, "I know."

They walked into the patient room and sat side-by-side staring at the health posters on the walls. Cas twiddled his thumbs; he could sense John wanted to say something about what happened back there. Why didn't he just ask? Why was he only considering it? Cas knew his dad didn't see him as a freak, he knew that his family was with him no matter what so why didn't John question it? He was questioning it big time; Cas couldn't stop thinking about it.

The doctor entered and began the routine check up questions that Cas awkwardly let his dad answer until he had to say something. But nothing could've been figured out by any of that, he knew it. He knew that not being tired wasn't an illness, and though it was different and a bit odd his doctor agreed. All questions finished and a quick examination of his head where he'd injured himself in the past it was the same thing he thought it'd be; he just is that way.

"It's not normal for a kid to only get five hours of sleep and never get tired," John insisted, "You're sure that head injury didn't do something deeper? Maybe there's a brain scan we can do."

The doctor adjusted his position, he'd definitely had to deal with a few anxious parents in the past, and John was no different. "Mr. Winchester we had done numerous scans of his brain to make sure that the head wound wasn't more severe than it appeared – as per your request at the time. Castiel is just well rested with less sleep than is normally required for his age. But that's no reason to panic, it's showed no adverse effects, there's nothing negative as far as I can tell. Other than how you perceive this anomaly, Castiel is fine. He's very healthy, I don't see why he'd have to be put through any more stress for this."

John chewed lightly on the inside of his cheek but nodded, "Alright, Cas is there anything else you want to say? Anything else going on?"

Cas thought about his ability to sense people's inner feelings, his innate ability to calm people down without a thought, crushing a table with no effort, saving Dean and speaking with the Grim Reaper… but he couldn't say any of that. It'd either be dismissed or taken seriously enough to have him in a mental institute. "Nothing more than usual, I suppose." Why lie? He fought the urge to spill the truth and looked down at himself. "I'm okay."

"Okay," John sighed and got up, "Let's go home then."

Cas followed his father out feeling like he'd wasted everyone's time, "Sorry, dad."

"Because there's nothing wrong? That's something to be grateful for, Cas." John ruffled his hair again and they both smiled. "So what'd you do with that lady back there?"

"I don't know," he said again and shrugged, "her baby was dying when I went to talk to her, I touched his face…"

"And?" his dad was surprised but curious, how many people start a story with 'her baby was dying so I touched his face'?

"That's it, that's all I did."

John obviously didn't believe him but he had nothing else he could go on, "Seriously, why did she hug you?"

"I don't know. I mean her baby was crying and it wasn't grey anymore and it was moving and… I guess when I touched his face there was this glow on my hand but I didn't do it on purpose. It was kinda like when I was on my date and I accidentally broke the table and-" he couldn't quite stop himself, Cas realized too late as he rambled. He was nervous again, thinking too much and too fast and he couldn't stop it. Why did that always happen to him?

"Cas," his dad was kneeling in front of him and holding his shoulders, "Calm down, buddy. What's going on with you?"

"I don't know!" He yelled louder than he meant to. "I have no idea what's up with me, dad! I barely sleep, I see things no one else sees, I can sense people's emotions, and I glow and break tables!"

John looked at him seriously, he could feel it and it was a comfort. His dad didn't call him crazy or dismiss any of his ramblings. Cas relaxed a little as John nodded slowly, "Alright. We're going to go and I'll talk to your mom about all this, okay? You'll be fine, pal."

Cas nodded, relief slipping into his system as his dad led the way back to the car. They wouldn't be able to figure it out, he was pretty sure of that. But to tell them everything without feeling weirder than he already did would be a godsend.


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