Cross To Bear

5 Years-Old: Playing Around

It had been a few months since they started school and in that time Cas had gotten used to it. He understood that there were some things he had to do in order to continue forward, not everything would be as he wanted it. That was fine by him, mostly because he still had time at home, time for fun and all the things he liked to do. It took some getting used to being away from home without his parents, but as he told himself everyday; Dean was there. They held hands getting on the bus every day. It didn't scare Cas anymore but he could feel that it eased Dean – he had a very protective spirit.

School had been fun after he gave it a try; the arts and crafts had been worth it on their own. Castiel loved their free time, to play with the toys or draw or even enjoy the company of the other kids. Playing 'House' wasn't something he'd ever tried before but he was wrangled into it all the same. Playing 'Doctor' however was far more fun; Cas got to perform a surgery on Dean. He even had a chance to use the heart-listener-thing.

Jet was no good at those games and Cas figured it was because he had no brothers or sisters so he didn't do it a lot. But that's what practice is for and Castiel was determined to get Jet some practice when it came to playing with others. It didn't start well; the boy had a bad temper.

"It's stupid," Jet snapped at him and Cas took a step back, not expecting the recoil from the other kid. "I don't wanna play that dumb shit."

"Jethro!" The teacher was there in a flash, like she'd been watching very intently or just had great hearing. "Watch your language, young man."

Jet blinked at her as if he were confused, "But my dad says it-"

"That's because he's a grown up, only grown ups can say stuff like that." She tried to explain to him and he pouted as he looked away. "Why don't you try playing? You might have fun." She spoke cheerfully, it sounded just like what Mary had said about school. Cas smiled, it must be good advice then.

"I don't know how," Jet looked at Cas sheepishly, his cheeks had a subtle shade of red mixed with his darker skin.

"I can show you," Castiel took his hand and tugged him over to where Dean was putting on the fake doctor coat. "Dean, Jet's playing too!"

Dean lit up with a smile, "Wanna be my victim?"

"Patient," one of the girls corrected him, Charlie she'd said her name was. "If he's your victim that means you're gonna kill him."

Jet's face scrunched up while that thought sunk in, "You wanna-"

"No! No, no, no, no!" Dean waved his hands frantically, "I'm a good doctor!"

Jet lied down on the makeshift table, "I've got lung disease," he explained and looked up at Dean, "Can you fix it?"

Castiel beamed, it wasn't much but it was a start.


With a little help from Dean, Cas managed to convince Mary to take them all to the park one weekend. Though his convincing was more like begging and being slightly annoying, it did the trick. It was still warm and they hadn't gone in a while, Mary was more than happy to take them. She called the Tull residence a day in advance, just to make sure that Jet's mother was fine with Mary taking her kid.

The voice that answered was frail at best, "Hello?"

"Hi, Mrs. Tull?"

"Yes?"

"This is Mary Winchester, my boys are in the same class as yours," she started by saying and heard the soft laughter on the other end.

"Yes, yes my Jet talks an awful lot about a couple of kids from school. My name's Nikki, your boys are Dean and Cas then, I suppose?"

"That's them, I was wondering if it was okay for me to take Jet to the park this weekend with them? They really want him to come with."

"Oh my god, that would be fantastic." Nikki gasped in between words and Mary had to wonder if she'd been running or exercising beforehand. "Jet doesn't get to go to the park very often, I would really appreciate it."

"Great, I'm more than happy to pick him up on the way. Maybe have him ready by noon?"

"That's fine, he'll be ready by then."

After that Mary got the address and moved on with her day. When they stopped outside Jet's place later the next day she hadn't expected anything out of the ordinary. Dean sat in the back with Sammy's booster seat in the middle. Castiel had called shotgun so he sat proudly next to Mary as she got out of the car.

"Okay I'm going to get Jet and then we'll head to the park, you boys sit tight, alright?"

"Yes mom." Cas and Dean said simultaneously, she loved it when they did that.

Mary walked up to the front step and rang the bell. She looked around at the neighbourhood, it was definitely low-middle class at best. The houses were cheap, slightly run-down and the streets were sketchy. She made a note to not let her boys stay over in the area too late at night, assuming their friendship with Jet lasted.

The door creaked open and a brown-eyed boy looked up at her, his hair a little too long and falling into his eyes.

"Hi, are you Jet?" Mary smiled at him and he nodded.

"Yeah, are you Dean and Cas' mom?"

"I sure am." She glanced into the house from the slight crack Jet had opened it. "Can I come in for a moment? I'd just like to say hi to your mom."

"Alright," Jet smiled and hurried down a small hall, "Mom! Mrs. Winchester's here can I go?"

"Of course sweetie, have fun." Mary heard Nikki's voice, just as exhausted as it had sounded over the phone.

"Nikki?" Mary asked as she walked in and had to stop herself when she saw Mrs. Tull. The other woman looked weak and fragile like only a truly ill person could. She was laid back in a recliner with pillows and a coffee table of things she might need immediately. There were small white tubes in her nose and hooked around her ears, leading down to what Mary could only assume was an oxygen tank. This woman looked like she couldn't handle the weight of her 5-year old son in her lap, let alone take him to a park.

"Mary, thank you so much for taking him." Nikki smiled as Jet kissed her cheek goodbye.

"I'm getting my shoes, okay?" He called as he ran to the entrance.

"I had no idea you were so unwell," Mary knew she couldn't have actually known but it was something she felt maybe she should've before arriving. "How long have you been bedridden like this?"

Nikki inhaled heavily and closed her eyes; "It's been over a year now. The doctors say it's lasting damage from a case of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome I had a few years before that."

Mary glanced toward the door where she could see Jet shoving his feet into his Velcro shoes, "I'm so sorry to hear that. If there's ever anything you need me to do, or if you need help with him just let me know." She looked back at Jet's mom and offered a smile. They had just met, barely knew one another and yet Mary couldn't help but try and lend a hand.

"Thank you, you're already doing so much."

"I'll bring him back in a few hours." Mary exchanged a quick goodbye and went to help Jet adjust his footwear. "You almost had it," she laughed and grinned at him. Jet's cheeks reddened a bit and he looked away.

"I can do it myself."

"Sorry, I just like to help." She got up and headed out the door, "Come on, you can sit in the backseat with Dean."

Jet ran to the car and reached for the door handle. He was tall enough to reach it though getting onto the seat right away was a bit of a struggle. "Hey Dean! Hi Cas!" He exclaimed energetically before pausing and staring at Sammy. "You have a baby?"

"His name's Sammy," Dean explained as matter-of-factly as he could, "he's one year old."

"Wow."

"Buckle up boys," Mary turned to look at her car full of little ones, "We'll be at the park in no time."

And true to her word she got them there in ten minutes. As soon as they pulled up Dean, Cas, and Jet all opened their doors and hopped out, their levels of energy through the roof. "Stay here for a second, I have to get Sammy out." Mary yelled after them as they started running toward the play structure. Castiel stopped and looked at her, waiting patiently while the other two kept on running.

Mary unpacked Sam's stroller and got her fussy baby out of the backseat, "There you go, Sammy. It's okay," she kissed him and touched his cheek to calm him from the sudden commotion. She walked the stroller up to Castiel and nodded toward the playground, "Thank you, sweetheart. You can go play."

"Thanks mom!" Cas ran after Dean, not nearly as fast as his brother.

Jet reached out and slapped Dean's shoulder, "You're it!" he shouted as he ran to climb the links of rope leading to the center hub of the play structure.

Dean stopped and looked at Castiel who had frozen in place, no longer approaching and just watching Dean's expression. They stared at one another for only a split second though it felt three times that long. Dean took one step Cas' way and the dark haired boy shrieked before darting up the winding ramp to get away.

Mary watched the game of tag with some intrigue; she noticed some small aspects to the boys as they played. Dean was faster on a straight stretch, Jet was more agile and a bit of a monkey that way, while Cas was entirely clumsy and easily distracted. Mary laughed to herself before taking Sam to the sandbox nearby, angling herself so she was facing the three kindergarteners.


Fun and games continued until the boys were tuckered out and decided to hide from Mary, not that she hadn't seen where they'd gone of course. The three crawled underneath the structure and sat in the cool white rocks the entire thing was built on. They were smooth and chalky, and honestly pretty fun to throw. Jet picked them up and tossed them one by one just to hear the sound they made when hitting other rocks.

"So…" Jet trailed off as he tried to think of something to say, "Are you guys brothers or friends?"

"Brothers," the two said together.

"But you're the same age?"

Cas shrugged, "Sorta, I don't really get it."

"We're kinda like twins," Dean beamed, "But we don't look the same and Cas came out on a different day."

"So he was lazy?" Jet furrowed his brow, "Babies are weird, I don't get it."

Castiel didn't want to say anything to that, he wasn't as sure as Dean was about that kind of stuff. Jet was right, something was weird there but Cas thought that maybe it was just his feelings. Dean was his brother, his family, but more than that he was Cas' best friend. "Why don't you have any siblings, Jet?" He decided to ask, watching as Jet shrugged.

"Dunno. Mom can't do that kind of stuff anymore."

"What stuff?" Dean scrunched up his nose at the concept.

"I-unno! Baby stuff. How d'you get babies?" Jet snapped a little but not as much as he'd done on previous occasions.

"Love," Dean announced, "Dad told me babies happen 'cause of love."

Cas' face paled as he shook his head, "I don't wanna have babies! M'not big enough!"

Jet looked at Cas, "Who do you love?"

"Dean," he felt his cheeks heat up and he shrugged as he fidgeted and added hastily, "an' my mom an' dad, an' Sammy."

"That don't count." Jet scoffed but Dean was smiling at him. Maybe it counted a little.


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