Cross To Bear

16 Years-Old: Morning Routine

Castiel sat watching the sunrise from the living room window, his hands were covered in papier-mâché and his nighttime craft propped up in the centre of the room. He heard his father's alarm going and it made him smile; the morning routine was always one of his favourite parts of the day. He got up and cleaned the mess he'd made, leaving the sculpture to dry surrounded by newspaper. As he gathered the materials a sharp pain shot through his back muscle and he had to stop and wait it out, the spasm lasted about a minute before he could continue doing what he'd started.

It'd started happening before summer began, his gym classes had to be cut down and the doctor couldn't tell what was wrong with him. Cas had been dragged to massage therapy and chiropractic care a few times throughout the summer but all they could tell him was that there was a massive knot of muscle. It wasn't caused by anything as far as they knew and he couldn't shake it off. Massages helped the most; it relaxed his back and left him with a spasm every few hours instead of constant pain.

Cas couldn't think of something worse that had ever happened to him, and it had been exam time which stressed him out even more. He'd experienced pain throughout his life, though over the years the pain was brief and healed quickly. Having a constant ache, and one so strong for a period of time really knocked him down and zapped his energy. It had only lasted a few days but for those days he'd remained bedridden with heat packs to relax the muscle. A spasm every now and then was much better; he could handle a being still and in pain for a few minutes a day. Just one of those things he put up with that no one else did. His mom said maybe they were growing pains but his dad didn't seem convinced.

Castiel hurried to the kitchen and readied all the ingredients for breakfast, it was just what he did for his dad in the mornings and today it involved omelettes. He didn't sleep at night anymore; it had happened right after turning fifteen. His sleep had dwindled down to about two hours a night when he was fourteen and then he just didn't feel the slow drag of exhaustion. Since that'd happened he'd taken up cooking in the morning, making breakfast for his parents and brothers.

He didn't want to think about where he'd be in a few hours. That morning was the first day they'd be getting back on the bus and heading to school. Grade 11, almost done he'd tell himself. This would be his first day back after summer, and then he'd only have to do the 'first day back' one more time and he'd be free. Graduation couldn't come soon enough.

The set up was fast so Cas spent some time cleaning the kitchen while his dad finished his morning wake-up. Shower, shave, and all the things Cas didn't care to think about his dad doing. He mixed the ingredients and set them to fry up, fluffy and ready just in time. Shortly later his father wandered downstairs, clean and yawning hard into the back of his hand. "Morning!" Cas greeted him with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"Good morning," John smiled and sat down at the table, "What's for breakfast today?"

"Omelettes, just the way you like them." He beamed and placed the plate on the table.

John kept on smiling and gave Cas' shoulder a squeeze, "We're gonna have to buy you a cook book or something for all this."

"Internet's fine," he shrugged, "And the old recipes in the drawer don't hurt." Cas smiled and watched his father mow through the breakfast he'd made, egg, cheese, a few of John's favourite spices, and a number of different minced vegetables Cas had prepared earlier in the night. "So?" He asked, as he usually did when awaiting approval for his work. John nodded with a mouth full and continued to pick up the pace through his meal. There was a glint in his eye but John didn't act on it or say anything, which was normal as of late.

Castiel went to make his next, quietly and peacefully frying it up. He pretended he didn't notice his father looking his way; there had been something inside his dad for a while now. A thought that Cas didn't want to push for, something about him and it wasn't the normal pride he was used to. Part of him wanted to ask but he left it, his dad would bring it up at some point and they could settle it, get rid of whatever plagued John's mind. But until then Cas didn't want to know.

"How's your back?" John asked after a moment and Cas shook his head.

"It's the same,"

He could tell it bothered his dad; to know his son could be in so much pain at a time like that but there was nothing either of them could do. Massages and stretches were his best course of action, Cas kept up with it because he never wanted to be stuck in bed from back pain again.

That morning was as relaxing as it could be, Castiel saw his dad off to work and listened to the sound of his mom waking up. He smiled and went back to prepare another omelette, this time to her liking.

Distant cheering was the first thing that Cas heard as he stepped off the bus, first day of his junior year and already something strange was happening. He glanced back at Dean who shrugged, his band shirt fit him well, or at least Cas thought so. School was nothing to be excited about but many people enjoyed the first day back. For some they hadn't seen their friends and classmates for two months, many were interested in knowing how the last few growth spurts had treated fellow students.

In some regard it was fun, Cas smiled and waved at some people he hadn't had the chance to visit during the summer months. Charlie ran up and pulled on his arm, "C'mon you guys! Jet's taking requests, let's go."

"Requests?" Dean raised an eyebrow with a smirk pulling on his lips, he glanced at Sam who nodded enthusiastically, he wanted to go. "What kind?"

"Performance requests," Charlie answered as she dragged Castiel along, he made no effort to fight back. "People take their iPods, plug it into his speakers and pick a song, see if he can come up with something for it."

"Anything hilarious happen?" Dean laughed as he followed along, Sam now ahead of them both.

"It's Jet," Charlie looked at him with the 'isn't it obvious? expression, "of course."

Castiel wasn't too surprised to hear what Jet was up to, he and Dean had been doing things like that for almost a year now. Cas had tried but he was too clumsy to really do it right. They'd watch Youtube videos and teach themselves the choreography, Cas loved to watch them do it too. Both were amazing but Dean always caught his attention more, something about a stupid crush having kept it's evil little fingers in his mind somewhere. But despite Dean being his favourite he couldn't help but keep an eye on Jet too, the other boy had so much more confidence doing it, he wasn't afraid to move or do things that could make him look silly. Dean was a little more self conscious about it, getting embarrassed far easier.

So while he wasn't surprised Jet was performing, he was a little shocked it'd be in front of so many people and without planning. He must've been bored, that was the only reason Cas could think that Jet would do it. Either that or he was so certain he could pull off anything it'd impress someone, attention was always something that Jet enjoyed.

The closer they got the more they could hear, Gordon was talking to Jet though Cas could sense it wasn't 'talking' so much as 'trash.'

"Oh yeah? You can't do any requests, quit lyin', Tull."

Jet raised an eyebrow looking down at the shorter male with smug amusement, "Sure I can, what're you too chicken shit to ask me to do?"

Gordon grimaced a little, it was subtle but Cas caught it. "I shoulda said you wouldn't do any requests, your pride's too big."

"Shut up if you don't have anything, Gordy." Jet sneered and started to turn away but Gordon took out his mp3 player.

"Do it like a girl, then." Gordon grinned as some of the crowd around cheered, the sound slowly growing louder. Jet had a reputation in school already; you don't fuck with him and if you're going to challenge him be ready for a fight. Cas never took part in the fights, he didn't like them but Dean was always in the mix. Everyone cleared the area as Gordon chose his song. Dean and Cas exchanged a glance, a smile crossing both of their lips.

Cas recognized the song playing; it was the intro to Hips Don't Lie by Shakira. He looked at Jet who was the centre of attention and owning it. His mouth matched the words and if Cas had ever seen Jet do anything like dirty dancing before he couldn't remember it being that commanding. It was like he'd seen Shakira's performance videos for the song, he could almost match her, Gordon must have picked one of the ones that Jet enjoyed doing. The other students were mesmerized, surprised someone with his lanky bone structure could move that way, Cas was with them despite having seen the makings of these kinds of dances.

The cheering only got louder as the dance came to a strong finish, Jet's chest was heaving from the effort he'd decided to put into it. A challenge from someone he hated? Of course they'd get his best, he'd offer nothing less to show them up.

Castiel clapped and cheered with Dean and the others, "That was awesome!" He called and Jet looked their way.

"Hey guys!" He lit up and went right to them, "Finally decided to get over here, huh?"

"Our bus took a little longer, new kids." Dean replied and caught Jet in their secret handshake before Jet turned to Cas to do the same.

"That was awesome!" Sam cheered excitedly, "I didn't know you could do that."

"Your brother can too," Jet eyed Dean with a smirk but left it at that, "Glad you liked it, Sammy."

Sam smiled wide and then they all heard the bell ring. "Crap," Sam ran past them, "I have to get a locker! See you later!"

"Have a good day, Sam." Castiel shouted after him though he couldn't be sure his little brother even heard him.

Gordon snorted a laugh at them, "Figures you could do it," he sneered at Jet who turned a glare on the other teen. "Being friends with the Weird-chesters there had to be something wrong with you. Turns out you're just queer."

Jet raised an eyebrow at Gordon, "And what's wrong with that? Whether or not I'm gay changes my worth?"

"Yeah," Charlie shouted from next to Cas, startling him a bit. She was the school's LGBTQ* representative, nothing got past her 'equality-radar.' "What is wrong with being queer, Gordon? You have a problem with it?"

Gordon opened his mouth to speak but other students looked at him with more distaste than Cas was ready to see. He felt proud of his community and his peers for that moment, to not let Gordon get away with using that as an insult. Their usual bully had to slink away without much of another word, there was something douchey said but Cas didn't pay much attention to it.

"So I think it's safe to say," Charlie grinned and punched Jet in the arm, "That you are probably one of the coolest guys in our grade."

"I dunno," Jet laughed and slung an arm around Dean, "We're still in the same grade as these guys."

"Don't even," Cas scoffed and Dean made a face at him.

"Shut it, Cas. I'm awesome!"

"Then why didn't you join him in that last one? I'm sure you knew it." Cas smiled at him, knowing Dean's stage fright.

"I didn't want to step on his moment." Dean proclaimed proudly, "Now c'mon, we gotta get lockers."

"We waited too long, probably gonna get shitty ones." Cas sighed as they all wandered into the halls, his prison.

"Nah, I distracted people pretty well," Jet grinned widely, "No one went to get one so you're on even ground."

"Thanks man," Dean grabbed Cas' arm, "Let's go, gotta get there first!"

For the number of times people grabbed his arm and dragged him around Cas was starting to think he was slow.

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