Cross To Bear

By Zafona

Adventure / Drama

13 Years-Old: What It's Like to Be Me

Cas watched his parents' faces from the living room, what he could see from that angle anyway. His mom nodded and looked over at him, he smiled a bit and she returned it. That was a good sign at least. "What's going on?" Dean sat down beside him as he faced the wrong way on their couch. Dean had refused to go to school knowing that Cas went to the hospital that morning, if he'd known Dean would do that he wouldn't have gone on a school and work day. Everyone wasted time because of him. Luckily they'd gotten Sammy on the bus with Jet; at least two of them were getting something done that day.

"Dad's probably telling mom not to freak out about anything I say today." Cas slumped down and looked at Dean properly, "you know, stuff about sensing people and whatever."

Dean looked him over and turned away, "Are you… seeing more stuff?"

"I have…" Cas felt the little rush of anger in Dean, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you."

"What else happened?"

Cas shrugged and took a long, careful breath, "A lot happened, I think I might have powers…"

"Like a superhero?"

"Sort of."

John and Mary walked into the living room and sat down, John in his armchair and Mary on the sofa on his other side. She pet the back his head reassuringly, "So, your dad says something's been going on, did you want to talk about it, sweetheart?"

He nodded, "I don't know where to start though…"

"We know about a few things, but start wherever you think you should. No pressure." John glanced at Dean, "Do you mind if your brother's here?"

"I'd prefer if he was, actually." Cas smiled at Dean shyly, and for a few minutes he was quiet, nothing came to mind. "I guess I'll start by saying I can feel you, all of you." He raised his gaze to look at them, "Dad, you're worried about me but you're keeping a strong exterior, it's almost strong to go deeper than your surface thoughts. But overall you aren't too surprised about any of this. Mom, you're scared something's wrong with me in a way that you can't help. And Dean… you're mad at me on the surface, worried about me underneath, and beneath that you…" Cas trailed off, what was that? He could've sworn he saw something in Dean, something personal and very intimate.

"I think we all knew that," Dean spoke up in a hope of covering for whatever Cas was about to say. It wasn't mean, just rushed and maybe a little nervous.

Mary reached across the couch behind Cas and pat Dean's arm, "Let him talk, even if you already knew, okay?"

Dean nodded and looked at Cas sheepishly, "Sorry,"

"It's okay." He felt a little distracted by what he might've seen inside Dean, he'd told himself he wouldn't dig. It was a violation of privacy to look into those things; he couldn't just dig inside people whenever he wanted to. "So… uh… I've noticed that when I get hurt, even really badly, I don't stay that way. My pain doesn't last that long and there aren't any scars, not that I've tried to test it, you've seen the result of some of it." He watched them all nod a little bit, their concern for him made him want to bottle it up. To spare them knowing anything might be wrong he shouldn't have said anything, but how could he hide this? He wasn't sleeping, his wounds healed, he knew things he shouldn't have and now, that morning, he'd somehow healed a dying baby. "I haven't been sleeping much lately and I don't think I need to, I'm never tired because of it. And on my date with Meg…" he felt a small pulse from Dean's direction, something angry and something pained below the surface. The question of why he could feel Dean so intensely compared to everyone else still boggled him but he didn't dwell on it.

"What happened?" Dean asked after he'd paused for too long, getting himself another look from his mom.

"She made me angry once, she'd said something that I reacted strongly to and I hit the table," Cas raised his hands and swung them down the same way, "like that. It broke, there were cracks all around it and they were really deep. There was a bright light and it just shattered the surface, I haven't done that again since but it happened."

"Did Meg see?" John asked after another pause, making sure that Cas wouldn't continue and he'd interrupt.

"She did, but she said it was okay. She can sense things like I do but I don't think she can shatter tabletops." Cas swallowed past a growing lump in his throat, "Those are the things I can do, as far as I know… but I've seen things. Things like Mr. Caplan's face, and grandpa's face," he said the last one with caution, hoping to soothe the swell of pain it brought on in his family. It wasn't as bad as he expected, which was a good sign they were healing. His mom was the one with the deepest scars from the incident, her parents died that night. "That Christmas I saw a man in the yard, he was walking to everyone who was… who wasn't moving. He stopped beside them, each one and then came to my brothers and me. I… I yelled at him. I told him no, and he listened." He looked at them and listened to the profound silence that seemed to fill the room. No one knew what to say to him.

"That's when you were glowing, right?" Dean asked softly and Cas nodded. He knew there was more to that story, he knew it but he didn't want to admit it. This was the moment to tell them, to tell them everything but it was so hard to say.

"Who was that man?" Mary's voice was softer and held an undertone of fear that Cas wished he could erase. She'd gone through so much that night, injured and witness to the deaths of her family, even one of her children.

He had to share, this was the time that lying would no longer be acceptable in any shape. They were there for him, he trusted them, he needed to say what was on his mind. "Death. That man was the Grim Reaper and I've seen him in a dream since that time."

"Cas that's not possible," his dad spoke out of concern and the worry that his son was right, that the horseman of Death had come to Castiel in a dream.

"I don't know what's possible, dad. I healed a dying baby this morning!" He didn't mean to shout but he felt so overwhelmed. "And that wasn't the first time I've ever healed someone, that Christmas when grandpa's face turned into a monster's and everyone died was the first real time. I might've done it in small areas before but I can't remember those, the only one I remember was Dean."

"Me?" Dean's eyes widened a bit, "What do you mean? I was fine… after…" he trailed off, his hand finding the wound that should've – had – killed him. "How bad was it?"

"You were…" Cas choked and he looked down at his lap, his hands clenching into fists, "you…" tears welled up in his eyes as the feeling came back to him. Cold, still and lifeless.

"Oh my god," Mary reached over and pulled Castiel against her, "Cas, it's okay," she whispered, cradling him and kissing the top of his head. "Whatever you had to do, it's okay."

He sobbed and tried to curl in on himself, it hurt to say it, to share that part of his mind. But it had been so heavy and suffocating that the weight that lifted from him left him floundering. Cas felt so relieved, so scared but lighter than he had been for years. He felt Dean's arms around his back and he cried harder, it felt good to do it. Dean's love washed over him and engulfed him; his mother's and his father's love were a support to hold him and he let it out. A poison in his soul until now, it left him feeling stronger but shaky. In another light he would've told himself he was being dramatic and this whole thing was cheesy, but that wasn't the light he was in now.

"I love you," he squeaked between breaths, he felt his dad's hand on his knee and the other squeezing his own clenched fist.

"We love you too," John was the only one able to properly speak, a sturdy baritone that eased them all just a little. Mary was crying and struggling to keep it in, he could feel her attempts slipping until his dad spoke. Dean's face was buried against his back, his mouth pulled tight and eyes squeezed shut. Dean's feelings were a mass of confusion and Cas couldn't even begin to untangle it, all he knew was that Dean was there for him.

It was all so much for him, overwhelming and maddening. He felt a spark in his body, it was subtle and barely noticeable but it was there. Even with his eyes closed he could see there was a light around them, around him. He was glowing again, soft light emitted from his body and getting brighter the more he felt. As his emotional state calmed down so did the light until it faded and his limbs were no longer tense and his body relaxed.

They stayed that way for some time until Cas managed to calm down. No one mentioned the glow but he knew they all noticed it. John remained kneeled on the floor in front of him but Dean and Mary loosened up their grips on him to sit normally again.

"Thank you," Dean looked him in the eye, their faces still very close, it almost felt like they were the only two in the room for a few seconds.

"I would do anything…" Cas whispered and dropped his gaze again but Dean moved his chin up.

"Don't look down, you saved me, that's a good thing right?"

"Of course!" Cas couldn't believe he made Dean even question that.

"Easy, Cas. It's okay, I was just joking." Dean grinned and pat him on the shoulder, Cas felt a light blush in his cheeks.

"Right…"

"So," John sat back on his legs and looked Mary as she rubbed her eyes, "our boy's got some super powers."

"Looks that way," she laughed softly and sniffled once, "what on earth do we do about it?"

Cas looked at them curiously, he knew that they knew they couldn't hide their feelings from him. They were both so calm about it, aside from the sudden fear of having almost lost Dean. They were grateful, they felt blessed to have him, they were so accepting he wanted to cry again.

"Not sure yet, but what I do know is this," John looked at Cas with a smile, "Don't panic, okay? Whatever's going on with you, don't panic. So you don't need to sleep at night, I'd say get a hobby. Find something you like to do quietly and do it, you'll feel better."

"But what if something happens? What if I can't control it?"

"Whatever this is," Mary touched his arm gently and caught his eye, "strong emotions trigger it, if you freak out you'll just end up in a cycle of panic. Next time just take a deep breath, try to ignore whatever's upsetting you."

Cas nodded, he wished it were that easy but it was a start. "Do we tell Sam?"

"I think Sam should know, do you want him to?" his mom asked and he nodded.

"I don't want him to freak out later, it'll be better if he knows now." Cas imagined Sam finding out some other way, Cas glowing or something happening around him. Sam would be more insulted than anything else, and Cas didn't want to cause that kind of animosity just because he wasn't sure if Sam could handle that sort of information.

John looked at Dean carefully, "Keep an eye on your brother, okay?"

"Got it," Dean gave a quick nod and turned to Cas, "It'll be okay, we've got this."

Castiel exhaled steadily, "Alright," he smiled shakily and wiped stray tears from his eyes, "okay, thank you." He covered his face as they slipped down his cheeks faster than he could push them away, "Thank you, so much."

Cas hadn't realized if he was stressed out, he hadn't noticed how much strain he'd put on his mental capacity because he thought he could handle all of it on his own. But the amount of freedom he felt in his spirit was more than enough to tell him otherwise. Castiel thanked whatever important being out there for his family, for the people there for him.


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