Cross To Bear

"Are You Okay?" "No."

Earlier…

The car trip to the Singer residence wasn't that bad, everyone was on edge but nothing seemed to be happening for the most part. Jet looked out the window anxiously, watching for something coming, watching for anything. He looked at his phone and checked again for a text. No one had gotten back to him yet, they were probably all out of service at that point. Jet grit his teeth and dropped his head against the window, he felt useless.

His head had hit with a louder thud than he'd expected, John jumped a little and looked at rear view mirror frantically. "What was that?!" Jet was in the seat right behind the driver so all he could see were John's hyper-alert eyes.

"Chill, just me." Jet waved at him half-heartedly, the other hand still clinging to his cell phone. It felt like the only little piece of hope he could hold onto, every now and then he'd get a text from people from his neighbourhood or classmates that had escaped and it lifted his spirits each time. It wasn't a response from his mom, Cas or Dean but it was something; someone telling him they were alive and asking if he was.

He had to pause and wonder about the cafeteria, if Gordon had gotten everyone out before it collapsed like it had. Jet wanted to believe he had but he didn't want to check. If Gordon hadn't been able to do anything then all those people were dead now, Jet didn't want to think about it. Because what if they were dead? He'd left them there, knowing full well something bad was happening and instead of staying he ran out the door. He could've saved them, right?

The little girl he'd rescued came to mind, her big eyes and horror he'd seen in her face. Jess, he'd saved her from being eaten or torn apart or worse. He saved Sam. That was all he needed to ask of himself.

He remembered the wall just ahead of him breaking, his first glimpse at one of those things up close and personal. Where had he gotten the strength to just kick it back like he had? It tried to take off his head and he just booted it away.

His leg still hurt, he rubbed at it gently and as subtly as he could. He'd be limping once he got out of the car, he knew.

John had the radio on but it wasn't loud enough and all it was playing was the news. The sounds Jet heard in the halls of his school still rang in his head, echoing on repeat. His stomach tightened and he fought the urge to throw up. His nerves had gotten the better of him this time, they weren't letting him go. Jet couldn't remember the last time he'd really let his body do this to him, the last time he'd lost his will over it. Maybe it was after the funeral; yeah that was probably the closest moment.

He wished they'd stop screaming and making those sounds Jet originally thought were inhuman. People could definitely sound that way but he'd never wanted to know that, not in real life.

The first time he'd seen a dead body it was his dad's. Wrapped up in a suit and tie, clean and preserved like some kind of morbid doll. The second time he saw dead bodies was when the ceiling caved in at the school. People had tumbled down, broken pieces mangled up with desks and chunks of floor. He was thankful that he didn't stare, that he hadn't gotten a good look.

Jet quietly looked out the window and only realized when he caught a glimpse of his reflection that he was crying. His body was shaking and he couldn't stop it, his hands trembled the worst and he had tuck them under his arms and hide them.

Where had the strength to fight those things come from? A necessity to protect maybe? Jet had rescued Jess; he'd taken a fire extinguisher and bashed in another creature's skull in. He still remembered the swing of his arms, the amount of force he needed to break bone as thick as the demon's. It didn't happen that long ago, maybe an hour or two by that point in time, but it was fresh in his mind. Did he even wash off the blood?

Jet looked down at himself and saw the stains, his shoes were a wreck and the gore had been so kind as to paint them a nice dirty brown now. But of course how could he forget that he'd fallen into it? He'd cleaned up at the Winchester place, wearing spare clothes he'd left there. He looked clean but he didn't feel it. Jet's stomach turned and his head felt dizzy.

"So how long are we going to be at Bobby's?" Sam leaned forward asking his parents. He'd spoken so suddenly for Jet that it made jump a little.

"Don't know," John sighed and glanced over at Mary who shook her head. "It depends on your brothers, and how things turn out with these demons. We might be stuck in there for a while."

Sam frowned and sat back again, "Does he have internet at least?"

"Probably not in the bunker." Mary smiled at the question.

"Lame." Sam looked out the window again and was quiet. Jet was glad Sam hadn't looked his way, he wasn't entirely sure how obvious it was that he didn't feel well.

He tried to focus on the mundane thought of 'not having internet' but he couldn't. The sound of the radio filled the air; the news broadcaster went on about the horrors at the local high school.

"What I'm seeing here today is the most heart breaking thing I've ever witnessed. It's just horrible. The building's infrastructure has been compromised and it has collapsed in several places. And even though it is not safe yet, rescue teams are on the scene. It's just a mess out there. They don't have enough people to deal with all the bodies that are in the yard. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these children."

Just the bodies in the yard? What about the ones inside the school, the ones messed up with all the rubble and the ones he'd seen smeared by that wall? Jet didn't think he'd forget that for the rest of his life.

People nearly made into jam by the force of the flying debris, their remains scattered and mixed together as if they were originally all one and the same person. And Jet managed to desecrate all of them at once by tripping and landing in it. He remembered it - still warm.

Jet's stomach gurgled unhappily and he couldn't stop the violent shake in his limbs. "Stop the car." He demanded suddenly.

John glanced back at him, "Jet, we have to-"

"I said stop the fucking car!" He didn't look up to make eye contact, he just shouted. John thankfully pulled over; the car was barely stopped before Jet had the door open and tumbling out. He couldn't stay on his feet for long but he managed to get around to the side of the road. Jet hit his knees and lurched forward, coughing heavily before vomiting.

"Oh dear," Mary went to his side and rubbed his back soothingly as he retched, his stomach felt like it'd be the next thing coming out. "It's okay, sweetheart."

Jet wheezed a few times and spat the awful taste from his mouth, it didn't leave but he felt a little better. He stayed there on his knees for a minute, just leaning forward with his hands slowly loosening their clutch on his abdomen. Spitting another time to try again, he was thankful when Sam offered him some water.

He knew they'd be looking at one another worriedly, those expressions that let him know they cared but also that he'd probably be asked what was wrong in a few seconds. Jet swished the water around in his mouth before spitting it out, the taste was mostly gone. His tongue felt a little charred; stomach acid wasn't too kind to the mouth. He guzzled down the rest of the bottle and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, gasping for air but saying nothing.

"You alright, son?" John knelt down beside him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"No," Jet admitted out loud, surprising himself more than the other three. "I'm not. But that's okay, I'll figure it out." He tried to get up but John hugged him instead, keeping him kneeling.

"You don't have to be okay, that's what we're here for." John's voice was steady and comforting; Jet sighed and leaned into the hug despite himself. "I know you're the tough guy, but you just went through something and I want you to know it's okay to freak out and to not be alright."

"Thank you," Jet muttered and closed his eyes, he still felt sick but it was better.

"You're welcome. Didn't expect the pit stop but it's probably good we did," John clapped Jet on the shoulder a little rougher and helped him stand.

"Why?" Jet rubbed his eyes as tears welled up, he refused to cry.

"I gotta take a whiz." John walked off a little ways away from the car toward a little bit of cover. Jet laughed a little while Sam and Mary both shook their heads. The three of them hopped back into the car

Jet looked out the window again as soon as he got the chance; he let his eyelids fall another time and rested his head against the pulled seatbelt. Using a seatbelt as your 'cushion' or 'pillow' was an art form and he was pretty good at it.

He dozed off on the rest of the way there, every now and then they'd hit a bump and he'd smack the window a little. When consciousness snapped back to him in those moments he realized they'd changed the radio station to something that'd mostly play music. He appreciated it.

Jet woke up when he heard one of the doors slam shut and muffled "John!" outside the car. He lifted his head and looked up to see John apologetically waving at him, Jet waved back and offered a half smile.

"We're at Bobby and Karen's." Sam told him as he yawned and stretched, slowly lifting himself up and realizing how stiff he was.

"How long was I out?" He muttered drowsily, "And why are they going in alone?"

"They're gonna figure out if this is a safe place or not, and as for how long you were out," Sam smirked at him, "an hour or so."

"Why are we going so far away, anyway?" Jet groaned and slid his hand down his face.

"Well they used to live closer but they moved to South Dakota a couple years ago. Bobby wanted a change of scenery and Karen wanted to live further north." He shrugged and unbelted himself. "Guess you don't need much more reason than that, huh?"

"Guess not." Jet mumbled his reply and just sat with his head angled back, staring up at the ceiling of the Impala.

"Hey Jet?" Sam asked tentatively after a few moments passed.

"Hm." He didn't feel like responding, no words came to his mouth so he grunted instead. It didn't even really come out as a question, like he'd meant to say 'yeah?' without words but it sounded more like 'I recognize you've spoken.'

"Is it my fault?"

Jet sat upright and looked at Sam this time, scared eyes watching him and waiting for an answer. "Is what your fault, man?"

"You said you weren't okay, I know dad said it's okay not to be okay but I just thought maybe it was my fault… you know, for what happened at school." Sam looked down, his mouth was a thin line and his cheeks started to flush. It sounded like he was close to tears but they didn't quite come, "I didn't mean to get caught but you had to save me."

"Sam, no. C'mon, man." Jet ran his hand up through his hair, it was getting a bit too long now, "I don't know how to explain it but I saved you because I wanted to, I had to, it's something I couldn't live with myself over if I didn't do it. You get it? Right now I'm…" he trailed off before he went on about what he'd seen, Sam must have seen it too. How was Sam coping with that? "You saw some shit back there, I don't know what but I'm sure you did. I have no idea if you're handing it really well or if you haven't thought about it yet but thinking about it makes me sick."

Sam looked back at him and nodded, he didn't interrupt but he was paying close attention.

Jet wasn't sure if he should continue but he didn't really want to stop. "I really don't know how to explain it, Sam. I saw people die today, a lot of them and in really gory ways. There were fucking demons running around and I wasn't… I'm not ready." He felt the crack in his voice and he bit the inside of his cheek and strained his eyes to stay dry.

Sam hopped up and crawled across the seat to give Jet a hug. At first Jet wanted to shove him off, but he didn't. He was resistant to the embrace at first, trying angrily to stop himself from crying. Sam didn't budge though, he remained there and eventually Jet let it go. He dropped his head against Sam's shoulder, still small but sturdy enough, and draped his arms around the youngest Winchester. "I'm scared too," Sam admitted quietly. "I was scared when that teacher broke into our house and tried to get Cas, dad shot him with a gun. I was scared when my grandpa went crazy and murdered everyone – I saw the whole thing. He killed Dean, but Cas brought him back."

Jet breathed heavily, tears fell but he kept the sobs to himself. He didn't know what to say.

"I'm scared; I don't know what to do." Sam kept talking but his fears didn't break him down. "But I know that it'll be okay. Cas is coming back, he can help. I used to have nightmares about it; I used to see grandpa's face but Cas fixed it. He got into my head and smoothed it out somehow. Does that make sense? Did he ever do that for you too?"

It made sense, Jet nodded. "He helped me when my dad died." He felt Sam smile, little bastard was happy to get him to say something calmer, probably.

They sat quietly until a tap on the window jostled them; Jet sat up and looked out at Karen who waved sweetly. "Guess that's our cue, huh?" He waved back tentatively and turned back to Sam who was a little more enthusiastic about it.

"Yep, c'mon, let's go sit around and wait some more."

"Better safe than sorry," Jet pointed out as Sam crawled back to his side of the car and opened the door.

"Yeah but who says we're safe?"

Jet found himself smiling at that, the way Sam said it said everything more than just words could expression. Who the fuck says we're safe? When are we ever? Good fucking question. He opened the door and climbed out.


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