Cross To Bear

Perspectives: Sam's Morning

Sam's alarm rang excessively, loud and almost agonizing to the ears. He didn't want to get up, Sam's eyes opened slowly and he reached for the offensive object, slapping the tabletop repeatedly until he found it. He yawned and considered not getting up, just rolling over and going back to sleep but something in him pushed him out from under the covers. He somehow found the strength to swing his legs over the side of his bed and stretch. Climbing up to a standing position Sam found himself meandering to the bathroom.

He'd gotten used to the routine, get up a little earlier than Dean to use the bathroom first and finish before his brother stumbled his way. Dean could be a bit of a cranky bitch in the mornings; Sam wanted nothing to do with it.

Staring at his reflection in the mirror as he brushed his teeth was mindless. Sam blinked silently and yawned again, the paste dripping from his lips and making him jolt forward to ensure it landed in the sink again. Morning routines were a difficult science, he reminded himself.

It'd only taken him a few minutes to brush and use the toilet, he hadn't spent a lot of time climbing out of bed and convincing himself to stay upright. Yeah, he had some time for a shower before Dean was up. Or at least he figured he did, halfway through he heard Dean banging at the door like an angry bear.

"Sammy! Hurry up, quit hoggin' the bathroom."

Sam rolled his eyes and quickly finished up, no need to antagonize the beast. He wrapped himself in a towel and grabbed his clothes from the floor before exiting, making it as fast and efficient as he could. Don't get in the way of a crabby older sibling, especially if they were in the middle of puberty. It was a rule that many younger siblings had to learn. Sam wasn't looking forward to being a teenager, he was a year off from starting the process but nonetheless he didn't want the weird mood swings.

After dressing up he meandered his way down the stairs, "Morning mom," he called and she gave him a quick smile as she set the table for breakfast. That was still weird. Normally Cas had that ready to go but in the last few days Mary set it up for them all, maybe she felt guilty? Or maybe Cas wasn't up to it anymore? Sam's mouth felt dry as it crossed his mind again. His brother hadn't show any signs that it bothered him, that this whole adoption thing was putting him off but that didn't mean he was fine. Sam was certain that Cas had a crack in him somewhere.

And his suspicions weren't put to rest in the slightest when he saw Castiel sitting in the living room. He hadn't packed up his partially put out project, in fact he hadn't made any progress on it at all. Sam questioned the wisdom of 'poking the bear' as it were, but he approached anyway. It was Cas, what could possibly happen?

"You're nervous," Cas looked up at him then, a smile crossing his lips in the way it always did. Sam relaxed a little but he still felt bad. For Cas to say it out loud it had to be a source of pain. It was a different kind of nervous, Sam was nervous for Cas, nervous that he'd upset his brother or that maybe he didn't understand Cas enough to talk about it. Sam was nervous, yes that was true but nervous about Castiel didn't mean afraid. Sam couldn't forgive himself if he were ever afraid of Cas.

"You looked like you were spacing out, I just thought maybe something was up…" Sam bit lightly at the inside of his cheek and went to drop down on the other side of the couch. Castiel didn't flinch or object, but then why would he? Sam watched the way his brother's expression remained unchanging. Castiel didn't seem to take issue with the way he was feeling, the nervousness of his mind or anything else. "Why didn't you work on your sculpture?"

"I didn't feel like it," Cas answered plainly, it was a simple reply and Sam couldn't find any reason to doubt it. But then, why didn't he feel like it?

He couldn't keep it to himself, he knew Cas could tell something was on his mind but he wasn't sure just how much Cas knew. Why not just say it, then? "You said that it didn't matter to you before, is that still true?"

Castiel was quiet for a moment; he knew exactly what Sam was talking about. "Does it matter to you?"

"No, what matters to me is how you're handling it." Sam wasn't sure what to say so unfiltered was the best he could think of. That was usually how Jet handled it, right? He'd assume yes. "I don't know, it just looks like you're too laid back, I think something's up."

"Just because people react strongly in movies doesn't mean everyone has to." Cas' words were calm and collected like he'd practiced it, but Sam wasn't sure if that was because Cas always sounded kinda like that or if Cas' influence on him made him think that way.

But Castiel would never do that to him, alter his mind to make sure he stopped asking questions or stopped thinking a certain way. Cas softened the blow from pain and emotional distress but he didn't mess around like that.

"I love you, Sam." Cas reassured him quietly, "I've been going through some changes I guess, but I'm not concerned about who my family is or isn't. Please don't worry about me, okay?"

Sam looked him over, really looked. Castiel was tired but not unloved, he was stressed out and a little on edge but nothing suggested he felt like he wasn't part of the family. Hell, if Sam had to make a guess he'd say Cas' stance on his 'Winchester-status' was unfazed if not strengthened. "Okay," Sam leaned up and hugged his brother; not quite expecting the pressure Cas put him under in return. A few seconds passed and he could withstand it but after a moment or two passed he had to bring attention to it. "You're crushing me a little," he strained to say and Cas jolted backward.

"Sorry!" his eyes widened and Sam had to laugh.

"It's alright. But hey, why is mom making breakfast and stuff now? You don't want to anymore?"

"Nah, she asked if she could do it for me." Cas smiled and glanced to the dining area, Sam followed his gaze to where Mary was putting plates of food down. "Speaking of looks like it's ready." He ushered Sam off the couch, "Let's go."

"Alright, alright. One more question though!" Sam got up and walked at Cas' side, looking up at the taller (for now) boy, "Are you coming to school today?"

Cas paused briefly and looked down at him. Sam was hopeful, Cas sounded like he was doing much better, like he was able to continue on and get even better than that. Functioning the way you used to meant you were alright, didn't it? Cas had been through a lot recently, and over the course of his life he was always getting hurt and knocked down, physically and mentally. Maybe he'd be okay now. Maybe life would leave him alone. Sam realized that 'Cas going to school' didn't mean life would be nicer to him, but to Sam it meant Cas was ready to get back up and keep going. The whole mess of 'adoption' and what might've happened at Jet's place aside, life could continue as normal.

"Yeah, I think I'll try it." Castiel finally answered and Sam felt a leap of excitement.

"Really? You mean it?"

"Yeah, I'll get ready with you guys today."

"You're going to school?" Mary looked up at them and Cas nodded. "In that case I'll make another lunch." She smiled and went to get it ready.

Sam wondered if Cas' decision would've been different if he hadn't asked but he didn't question it past that. The decision was made, no sense in pushing.

The three stood outside at the end of the driveway, waiting patiently for the bus to come around. Sam found himself continually glancing Cas' way, glad to see his other brother waiting with them again.

Castiel glanced down at him and smiled warmly, Sam immediately returned it.

It felt good to see part of their routine connected again, Sam could relax a little – more or less, anyway. He hadn't finished the afternoon's homework but he had all lunch to do that.

The bus had all the same faces, most of them yawning, some people were excitedly chatting up their friends and so on. Sam went right to his usual seat next to Brady, a friend from his class. They became friends because of their mutual bus trip and having similar classes, but lately as they grew up Brady had gotten to be more of a bad influence. He was a troublemaker, struggling to get through schoolwork so he copied off of Sam, and he always made insensitive comments toward others. Sam felt uncomfortable around him more and more, but he had no idea how he could approach that situation. What was worse, Brady almost seemed like he could sense when Sam might talk about it and flipped back over to the 'good guy' he'd been in previous school years.

"Hey Sam," Brady grinned as he stepped aside and let Sam have the window seat, the guy always preferred the aisle for some reason. "Your brother's back on the bus now, huh?"

"Yeah, he's finally coming back to school." Sam smiled happily, "I'm glad he's here."

"Hey, is it true what people are saying?" Brady furrowed his brow, a mischievous grin still on his lips. "Does your brother have crazy powers and stuff?"

"What? Who's saying that?" Sam knew that Cas accidentally healed someone from school, but he also knew the story was that this Kubrick dude was crazy and making it up.

"People, everyone's talking about it." Sam didn't like his tone; it was right on the edge of accusatory and annoying. "So is it true?"

"No, Cas is just like everyone else."

"Everyone with ESP, anyway." Brady shrugged and Sam felt like decking him, but kept his cool. Being over protective of people to the point of punching wasn't Sam's thing, that was a Dean thing or maybe Jet. "So he doesn't do crazy magic stuff?"

"Not that I've seen." Sam lied again; he didn't really feel bad about it either. "Cas is just really good at reading people, maybe it's ESP but I doubt it. That stuff's bogus anyway."

"Guess so… But I mean if he could that'd be pretty cool, right? I heard that his eyes glow sometimes."

Sam did his best not to react to that. Someone knew about Cas' eyes glowing? That was oddly specific for a story no one was sure was true. Maybe Kubrick had seen it… "Cas' eyes are just really blue, not glowy."

He felt like he'd spent most of the ride fending off statements that cut a little too close to home. It almost felt like Brady was fishing for information, guessing at something that was almost true just to see if Sam would give it away. But that was giving too much credit to him, Sam refused to believe that Brady of all people was smart enough for that sort of trickery.

As the bus pulled into the parking lot Sam glanced out the window to see Jet perched by the school building. He waved without thinking, eyes stuck on their friend's smile as the older teen lifted a hand to wave back. Sam felt a little silly, his stupid crush always made his brain go numb to the point that thinking was impossible. He thought he'd get over it with time but it just kept getting worse. His own brain was against him, getting ready for puberty and all the garbage that went with it; not to mention that Jet only got hotter. But he was 12; 12 year olds don't find people 'hot.' Or at least that's what he'd been told by his dad – maybe John just didn't remember what it was like to be 12.

Regardless, it was still there. That stupid crush that made him feel awkward around an awesome guy that his older brothers were friends with. He hated it, why couldn't he just be cool? Being a younger sibling sucked, and it was even worse when your older siblings had hot friends.

And then he saw Jet arch off the wall into a standing position. Sam stared for a second before Brady smacked his arm, "Time to get off the bus, droolly."

"Not drooling." Sam retorted shortly as he made his way off the yellow tin can. He let Brady get ahead of him and away as he waited for Cas and Dean to catch up, Jet was probably there to see them anyway.

"Look at this, Winchesters all together again."

Sam couldn't help but smile as Cas and Jet hugged; it was exactly the kind of reassurance Cas needed to stay the whole day.

"Welcome back."


Jet paused and looked toward the other two Winchesters, Sam caught the expression on his face and wondered if there was something he missed.

"Oh for god's sake… what now?"

"What do you mean?" Dean was defensive but demanding. His worries transferred quickly from Jet to being focused on Cas. "What does he mean?"

Sam understood where Dean was coming from; Cas had gone to school and was smiling the whole time. He was comfortable, wasn't he? If something was wrong he wouldn't have gone to school, he would've told Sam that he didn't want to go.

"Nothing, I'm sure it's nothing." Cas was so gentle when he spoke, he understood better than Sam did how nervous both Sam and Dean were. He knew they were scared for him, worried he wasn't ready or that something would happen. Cas was always good at easing people's anxieties, within seconds Sam felt better about the whole exchange. Jet was probably just paranoid, whatever he saw in Cas' face was most likely connected to hating school.

And that's exactly what Sam told himself to be able to walk away from them that morning. Everything was much more like it should've been, it was back on a normal path and they'd gotten back to their usual routine. He was a little nervous about Cas but that passed as the day went on.

At least until noon when he heard screaming in the halls.

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