Cross To Bear

13 Years-Old: Confused and Something Else

The Christmas before Castiel and Dean turned 10 was the last time Cas had seen anything significant in the ways of his abilities. He'd wanted to explain to Dean what had happened back there, that maybe Dean hadn't survived it the way he thought he had. But Cas decided not to. Some things were better kept to you, and maybe resurrection was one of those things. Their celebrations were done around New Years; a little later than normal but Cas still had Jet's family over nonetheless. It had been a quiet celebration.

Regardless of that holiday's passing and how unfortunate the year had been, they all moved on. Into junior high and so forth, Castiel marveled at the world around him. Everyone was changing, he was changing too but it didn't seem to be as quickly as some of the others. Girls in his class, like Charlie, were acting stranger, not by much but enough that he noticed. And in turn, Dean and Jet had started to take notice of the girls in their classes. Castiel wasn't quite sure what they would whisper about, but the long weekend in September of their 8th grade explained it a little bit more to him.

They were invited to their first mixed party, one where boys and girls were in attendance. It was Bela Talbot's birthday and she insisted on a select group of people. It wasn't that select, Cas discovered after hearing how many kids would be there. Apparently everyone was invited, or so Bela's friend Lisa had said.

He stepped out of the Impala with Dean and Jet as Mary waved them off, telling them to have a good time. Cas headed nonchalantly toward the door when Dean caught his arm, "Cas, what're you doing?" he hissed in a way that made Cas wonder if maybe there were a wasp nearby.

"I'm going inside," he explained softly, just in case he shouldn't speak too loud.

"Dude, don't you get it?" Jet's tone was almost exactly like Dean's; Cas felt he'd missed something important. "This is a party with girls, our first guy-girl party ever."

"It's a birthday party for Bela, she's in our class." Cas screwed up his face and shook his head, "I don't get it, why're you two so weird right now?"

The other two exchanged an exasperated look and shrugged, "Forget it, you don't care I guess." Jet straightened his back and walked up to the door, "Just let me do the talking, okay?"

"I can do the talking too," Dean protested a little and stood at their friend's side in the entrance. Cas squinted his eyes and stared at the backs of their heads as they rang the doorbell.

Mrs. Talbot opened the fancy door and looked down at the three boys with a warm smile, "You must be here for the party, come inside and tell me your names."

"I'm Jet, this is Dean and that's Cas."

Dean elbowed Jet's side as they stepped in, "I wanted to do the talking," he growled and Jet shrugged again.

"It's smoother if one person does the introducing, chill out."

Cas watched as Bela's mom quickly made three lines on a sheet of paper. He figured it was a list of kids coming to the birthday bash. "Are we the first ones here?"

"Oh no, you're actually last." She beamed at them and walked into the main entrance where Cas first realized the sheer size of the building. There were two large staircases leading to the second floor, a chandelier hanging from the ceiling like the movies, and everything looked pristine and as clean as you can make it. "Girls, the boys are here!"

There was some chattering upstairs but soon three girlish heads cropped up to look down at them, Bela and her besties Lisa and Meg. Cas squinted again as he realized Lisa lied to him, 'everyone' was not invited to this party.

"Hey guys," Bela smirked down at them like a devilish predator, Lisa's and Meg's expressions flexing to match. Cas didn't know what to say about it, but his eyes were drawn to Meg. Not in the same way that Dean's and Jet's were caught, though. He was wary of her. Something felt off, a bit familiar but not in the friendly sort of way.

"Hey," Jet replied smoothly, his mouth curved up in his usual smirk. Cas had learned to love that smile all the more since Jet's father passed those few years ago. And in the same way, he found himself joyful and happy for every little thing that Dean could and would do. Fear of losing him was ever present at the back of his mind, Cas couldn't quite shake it.

The three of them ascended the staircase on the right side, following Jet's lead up to meet the girls. "So who else is here?" Cas asked knowing the answer already but he saw no harm in trying. Who knew, maybe he was wrong?

"Just us," Lisa responded as if she hadn't told Cas otherwise earlier that week.

He should have known that it was a bad idea to continue forward, he should've but he didn't; hindsight was 20/20 after all. Before any of the boys knew it they sat in a circle in the pattern boy-girl-boy etc. Cas looked at Lisa and Meg on either side of him, then at Dean beyond Lisa just to see if Dean was as confused as he was. Dean's expression was very similar to his; he felt a little more relaxed knowing that.

"So we're gonna play a game," Bela explained as Cas looked around the sitting room. He'd never seen a house with so many rooms, doors that led everywhere and they could just pick one to sit in? No way, he wanted to see the rest of the house. Of course he couldn't do that, he had to sit where he was and listen to the birthday girl. She placed a bottle in the middle of the circle and Cas knew what it was, one of those cliché party games he'd seen on TV and read about in some books.

"Serious?" Dean asked in exasperation at the same time that Jet's comment:

"For real?" escaped him. The difference was Jet was a bit excited for it, Cas could tell that Dean wasn't as into the 'I wanna kiss a girl' phase as Jet was. In the future he'd laugh at himself for calling it a phase but at that time he didn't know wanting a kiss wasn't a thing that would pass.

"For real," Bela's smile was cat-like and a bit scary to Castiel.

She started by spinning the bottle; Cas quietly and secretly hoped it wouldn't land on him. And to his luck and amusement, it landed on Meg. "Oh, maybe I should redo-" she started to say but Meg stopped her.

"Then the boys can redo it if they get each other, there'd be a lot of bottle spinning so just come here." Meg was a bit of a firecracker; Cas remembered that from school. She made him nervous though, something didn't quite look right but he couldn't see it, not even when he squinted.

Regardless, the girls shared a kiss. Cas didn't care but Dean and Jet seemed to warm up to it. Now it was Meg's turn and as she leaned down to grab the bottle her eyes snapped up to meet his. It was brief, it was fast and he barely understood why she grinned like she had. But nonetheless it spun and for a second he thought it'd land on him. A silent moment of fear passed as it slowed down much further away from him and rested on Jet. Cas breathed a quiet sigh of relief. He didn't really like the game.

Jet and Meg kissed easily; she sunk against him like she really knew what she was doing. Not like a teenager who was just playing it for the first time but someone who had done it before. Knowing Bela and her crew, they had probably all kissed older guys before. Cas didn't want to ask though. Jet didn't fumble with her and didn't shy away, maybe that was why Meg let it last so long.

They broke it off and Cas admired that grin of his all over again, at least Jet was having fun. He couldn't complain as long as that was the case. Jet spun the bottle and Cas didn't care where it landed, at least not until it landed on Dean.

And he didn't know he cared until the two awkwardly moved closer, their expressions a little tight as they inched in but their eyes closed as they were supposed to. Not even a snarky comment, nothing saying 'okay let's just get this over with.' No, none of that came out. They just did it, leaned in and touched lips. Cas froze when he saw, Dean's eyebrows lifted slightly and he swore he heard the softest gasp of air. Cas felt his face heat up, his ears burned and he clenched his hands into fists.

Why did this make him so angry? He didn't know but that shouldn't have mattered, right? It bothered him, but it shouldn't have. He frowned and looked away, not wanting to see them separate, not wanting to see who Dean kissed next.

Was it Dean that bothered him? His brother kissing people bugged him? He didn't get it. Maybe it was because he knew eventually Dean would get a girlfriend and move on, his attention would be elsewhere. Cas didn't want Dean to stop giving him attention; he didn't want to lose Dean.

That was probably it; he didn't like the idea of Dean kissing other people because he knew where it'd lead eventually. The decision of why it bugged him was as good as any but it distracted Cas from the reality he was sitting in. A hand caught his chin and turned his head. It was then that he heard the subtle 'oooh' sound from the girls and some giggling, but that drifted from his mind just as easily as he'd caught it.

Dean stared Cas in the eye, a light blush on his freckled cheeks and a somewhat shy look on his face as he leaned in closer. Cas' heart skipped a beat. His eyes widened as Dean's lips brushed his, his heart skipped again. He closed his eyes and let himself fall into it, mind lost in his first kiss. Dean's lips were warm, his breath heated the skin it reached and Cas' body started to feel prickly.

Then it was over, a quick and unexpected moment gone as fast as it had come. It left Cas with more questions than he'd wanted to deal with.

It wasn't right.

His face was flushed and his stomach felt queasy.

Dean was his brother, it was wrong.

His heart raced and he touched his fingertips to his lips, unable to speak.

He shouldn't like it. He should laugh it off as a brother moment. He shouldn't enjoy it and he should definitely not want more.

But he did.

"Cas," Dean nudged him and Cas flinched.


"You're turn, man."

"Uh…" He blinked a few times and looked down at the bottle. "Uhm… right I guess…"

He'd liked it. The realization wouldn't leave him as he reached for the plastic thing. That wasn't right, he should feel sick with himself for this. Cas' lower lip trembled as he spun it, unable to understand what he was doing.

"Cas?" Dean touched his shoulder and Cas flinched a second time.

"Yes?" he swallowed anxiously and looked up, almost unable to look Dean in the face. But he had. If he didn't Dean would know.

"You don't look so good," Dean reached up and put a hand to his forehead, it was only then that he perceived how clammy he felt. "Are you okay?"

"I think I…" Cas pushed the back of his hand against his eyes and rubbed at them, he felt himself choke up. "I wanna go home." He mumbled with a heavy sigh, trying to keep himself from crying.

"Maybe you should lie down for a bit," Lisa spoke softly and showed him to where he could do just that. Cas curled up there and remained very still for some time, he heard their game continue but he was too lost in his own head to really pay attention.

He hadn't realized time passed at all when he felt a light touch on his shoulder. "Hey Cas?" Dean whispered and he stirred a little; he'd fallen asleep.

"Hm?" he blinked wearily at his brother, Dean's expression held more worry than Cas had expected. He felt a little bad for it.

"How're you feeling? Should I call mom?"

Cas sat up and shook his head, "No… I feel better now, sorry I scared you."

Dean leaned down and hugged him, "It's okay, just… just be okay."

Cas hugged back and nodded, his heart raced again and he wished it wouldn't. Being so close to Dean he could feel the energy that he loved, that bright light warmed him and eased his nerves. Cas closed his eyes and rested his head against Dean's shoulder, letting his brother's radiance reach him. Maybe it was wrong, maybe it was because he could see this part of Dean that he felt so oddly attached. But Cas never wanted to give it up; he didn't want to stop seeing Dean's soul or being able to touch it.

He decided to ask his mom later, if he ever got the courage to do so. Until then, there was a party to be had so he rejoined the fun. The spin-the-bottle game had ended and they were on to playing 'Cards Against Humanity.' Cas hadn't ever played it before but the girls insisted it was way too much fun to pass up.

They were right. By the end of the day they were laughing too hard to breathe, Cas' sides hurt and he had to wipe his fair share of tears away from his eyes. Cake had been served, presents opened and then dinner. He'd never had cake before dinner, it was probably the coolest thing that happened that day.

"The girls aren't so bad," he said as they walked to the Impala, Mary was waiting to pick them up.

"You kidding?" Jet smirked at him, "They're awesome! I think I might ask Bela out."

"Why, because you liked that kiss so much?" Dean elbowed Jet's side and Cas realized the other boy's face actually turned a shade of red. He'd wondered if Jet's darker skin could blush, apparently yes.

"Maybe, why?" Jet asked defensively as he replied to Dean's nudge with a shove of his own.

"I dunno, you were pretty into our kiss too- OW!" Dean hopped up and down a bit after Jet kicked his shin. "Dick!"

"Shut it, Winchester." Jet's serious expression cracked as he broke into a laugh, "That's gay."

"So?" Cas responded before he could stop himself, "What's wrong with that?"

"I dunno, it's just a thing people say Cas, doesn't mean anything." Jet grabbed the handle to the backseat and hopped in behind Mary.

Dean got in shotgun and Cas sat beside Jet, contemplating that last bit of 'wisdom.'

"How was the party, boys?" Mary looked at them as if it'd been a whole day.

"It was only a few hours so we played some games, ate some cake. You know, party stuff." Jet was the first to answer; he liked being the first one – it meant his word was the first impression.

"We had dinner after dessert." Cas pointed out excitedly, "So it was pretty cool."

"Oh, did you now?" Mary smirked and glanced back at him, "Don't get used to that, young man."

"No ma'am." Cas grinned back at her. He wasn't sure what telling her would help; he knew already that he shouldn't have liked the kiss. He knew he should probably stop being so close to Dean but he also knew he wouldn't. Mary would tell him not to and he'd be disobeying. Instead he just wouldn't ask, wouldn't bring it up, and it'd be fine. It wasn't the end of the world, it was okay to keep that to himself.

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