Cassidy wasn't expecting to see tears in the corners of her ten-year-old son's blue eyes. She wasn't expecting to hear his voice so quiet and timid and interrupted by hiccups and sniffles. She wasn't expecting to see her little boy's eyes that reminded her of the sky back home on Sari no longer sparkling with joy. But when she turned to face little Trick, her heart sank. "Yes, love?"
"Momma, I think... I think there's something wrong with me."
Cassidy knelt in front of him. "What do you mean by that, love? Does your head hurt? Your tummy?" She reached out, feeling Trick's forehead. She knew of Trick's tendency to use phrases and words a bit above his age grasp, even if he didn't quite understand the full meaning of it. He loved learning new words and phrases; he was like Tech that way.
Trick shook his head, now starting to shake a little. Cassidy pulled him into her arms, stroking the top of his head, her fingers running through his messy hair. "Shhhh, darling, it's okay. Tell me everything."
He sniffled, burying his face in Cassidy's shirt. "I feel scared around people, even some people I know. I feel like I can't breathe, my chest and my head feels weird. I don't like it."
"Does this happen a lot?"
Trick nodded. "Especially at school. Whenever I go to a classroom. There's too many people."
Turning her head, Cassidy hid soft kisses in Trick's hair. "Oh, love. I don't really know what could be bothering you, I don't know a lot about this. Do you want to talk to someone else who might know more? Maybe they could help you."
"Will you come with me?"
Cassidy nodded. "Of course I will, Trick." She kissed his forehead. "I'm glad you told me this, love. But, I want you to know..." She pulled out of their hug, cupping Trick's chubby cheeks with her hands. "There is nothing wrong with you, love. You are not broken or "weird". You are perfect and wonderful and so very brave to tell me how you're feeling."
"But-" Trick sniffled. "But some of the other kids think I'm weird. They said so. But Noah yelled at them."
"I'm glad Noah stood up for you, but try not to let those kids' words bother you, love. They don't know you like we do, like Noah does. Just think about it, Trick. Would you go to Felicity and tell her that there's something wrong with her?"
"No, of course I wouldn't. There's nothing wrong with her."
"Exactly. It's the same for you, Trick." Cassidy kissed the tip of his nose. "There's nothing wrong with you, either. Do you understand?"
Trick nodded, wrapping his short little arms around Cassidy's neck and climbing back into her lap. "I understand. I love you, Momma."
Cassidy smiled, running a hand up and down Trick's back soothingly, kissing the side of his head again. "I love you too, Trick. I love you so much."