A/N: I was talking with Zafona a few days ago and we were discussing what would happen if Castiel was in trouble and one of us had to save him. Of course one thing led to another and I ended up saying that since Cas would probably be too heavy for me to carry, I would find a shopping cart and wheel him away from the bad guys. In the end she convinced me to write a one-shot and so I decided to write this for myself as an early birthday present.
Take note that this is AU and takes place in Lawrence as Dean and Castiel grow up. I am changing the time line and this takes place in the early 80's. There is extremely light pre-slash if you look for it hard enough, I figure I would slip it in there in case I make this into a verse. Title taken from the album Orange Days on Lemon Street by Lex Land because I was listening to the song "Sweet" while I was writing this.
R & R (as an early gift?)
It's the third week of summer.
In California, everyone runs to to beaches to escape the heat that washes over the rest the country in a wave. Women in brightly coloured one-pieced bathing suits slather thick, white, sunblock onto their slowly shriveling skin. Men in tightly laced-up swim trunks hit the salty water with surfboards: all attempting to look "cool" and "hip". In the end, the only thing they really achieve while standing up on the piece of wood in the middle of an oversized lake, is a sun burn.
The whole state wilts under the sun and it's citizens scatter under the intense rays, trying to get away from the oven baked land.
But this isn't California. This is Kansas.
Under the bright blue sky, white puffs of clouds roll lazily across the heavens. The cicada's call from their hiding places, and the lizards dash from rock to rock. Women in summer dresses rest on white wicker chairs, casually chatting over iced tea and lemonade in their gardens. Men grab their fishing gear and a six pack of beer, heading down with people that can only be called friends to the nearest fishing hole to catch dinner.
For children, it is the perfect time for a friendship to flourish and grow.
Bright eyes, the colour of unpolished emeralds, look up in playful earnest.
"Common Cas! Just give it a go!" calls the young boy encouragingly, "It'll be really fun, I promise! Besides, I've done it a million times."
The green-eyed boy gestures wildly to the "metal-cage-of-fun-on-wheels" as he puts it, next to him. His friend's eyebrows furrow as a doubtful look crosses his face.
"But Dean," the protest comes out as a whine, "It, it doesn't seem safe. The probability of falling and hurting myself is-"
"What are you turning in to? Sam?" the boy deemed Dean interrupts, "Just give it a go!"
He observes his friend's almost-more-than-human blue eyes, watching as the flame of hesitation flickers in and out of existence.
"Cas. Cassy. Castiel." his friend frowns at the multiple use of his names, "You can't know if you don't like it if you don't try it."
Castiel sighs, knowing he really can't win against logic. There is no way he can change Dean's mind now that reason has come into play, his friend is much too stubborn for that. With a mumbled "Fine" he swings his leg over the cool metal frame as Dean holds it steady.
After positioning himself securely (much to Dean's amusement that doesn't mean comfortably), Castiel tries to reason with his friend.
"If we are going to do this, can we at least get a helmet?"
Dean shoots him a incredulous look. "You serious Cas? My house is 10 minuets away! What's that thing you always tell me? Procrastination is bad? Just get it over with."
Castiel is aware that Dean knows when he says that it only really pertains to homework. But, Dean is right, he just needs to get this done and over with. Sighing, Castiel curls himself up into a tighter position, arms gripping the sides of the cold, metal, structure.
Knowing that his friend's sudden submissive behavior is his cue, Dean begins to count down. "10... 9... 8..."
Castiel lifts his head, peaking over of the top of the cart and looking down the slope to the base of the hill.
The sudden deluge of fear that hits him is almost suffocating.
"Dean, wait, maybe we should stop and think about this." reasons Castiel, gulping in a lung-full of air. Suffocation indeed.
Dean ignores him.
"7... 6... 5... 4..."
"Please Dean!" he pleads, eyes now wild and wide, dancing with his newfound fear and adrenaline.
It's useless and he knows it, the blue eyed boy's knuckles turn white against the metal, "I'm scared" he whimpers softly, screwing his eyes tight.
A dying man's last words.
It's so soft Dean almost misses it. But he doesn't. He hears it more clearly than the raw, angry, shouting from his teachers or the soft gentle call for bedtime from his mother. He hears it more clearly than the time he yelled, screamed, and growled at Sammy for doing something so stupid that resulted in said little brother's almost drowning.
Dean stands there, just for a moment, studying his friend as he waits for his "doom".
With a light sigh, he pulls the shopping cart away from the slant of the slope before reaching out and resting a calloused hand on top of his friend's baby smooth ones. "Why didn't you just say so?" Dean finally asks as he tries to pry his friends fingers away from the metal bars, it wasn't like Castiel to keep his fears to himself. At least not from him, he has "Best Friend" status.
His response comes in an almost inaudible mumble, "Because I said I would do it, because I thought you would make fun of me."
He doesn't quite know how to reply to that. Instead, Dean gives up on trying to pry Castiel's hands off the shopping cart and tries offering his hand. With a relieved sigh, Castiel takes it and scrabbles out as quick as he can. Once he is out of the contraption, he breaks free of Dean's hold and walks over to the base of the single oak tree before sitting down, head resting on his knees.
The silence lingers uncomfortably in the cool, 5 o'clock, Lawernce air, neither of the boys quite ready to break it.
"I'm sorry Dean" Castiel finally says, breaking the moment, hanging his head slightly, "I know I said I was going to try this."
Dean sits next to his blue eyed friend before slinging an arm over his shoulder, squeezing them in what he calls a more "manly" hug.
"It's okay, it was a stupid idea anyway." he replies, trying to comfort his friend. If there is one thing Dean will never do, it's to kick a man (or boy as the case may be) while he's down.
The edges of Castiel's mouth twitch into a oh-so-subtle smile.
They stay under the old oak and talk, until the sun starts to set, lighting the summer sky ablaze. They watch as the fire spreads, the edges of the orangey-red flames licking the heavens with malicious ease, turning the open plains below them into a raging wildfire of colour.
As they get up to leave, Castiel catches Dean send the shopping cart one last longing look. He makes a quick decision.
"Hey Dean," he calls from behind, "I'll ride down the hill. But only if you ride with me." he shyly nibbles his lower lip and rubs his neck in nervous habit. He really hopes he doesn't regret this.
But then he sees the million watt smile on his best friends face, brighter than the sunset, brighter than the sun itself, and he forgets his fears and knows this is going to be worth it.
Dean doesn't say anything for a moment, just smiles and gapes. He thought he would never get Castiel to ride in the shopping cart without having to push and prod. Finally he looks Castiel in the eye, searching for something to say. But Dean doesn't have to say anything, Castiel knows. With a small nod of approval (and a hint of something else that is unreadable), Castiel gives Dean the "a-okay". Wasting no time, Dean grabs the cart and lines it up by the slope of the golden brown hill.
"Come on, ride's leaving, get in!" Dean calls, finally regaining the memory of how to form words and sentences.
In return Castiel gives him a shaky smile and climbs back into the deathtrap, pressing his body as much towards the back as he can manage without hurting himself.
Dean shakes his head in disapproval, "Make sure you sit in the front, I want you to have the best view."
Castiel groans, he doubts his eyes will be open for any part of the ride down, no matter how much encouragement he gets.
He scoots forward anyway.
Very carefully, as not to shift the shopping cart, Dean hops in behind him. "Lean forward" he commands.
Reluctantly, Castiel obliges and leans forward. He can feel them begin to move.
Before they start to roll down, Castiel viably shivers, partially from the crisp evening breeze partially from fear. Dean automatically takes it as a sign of needed comfort and he snakes his arms around Castiel's waist, resting his head on Cas' shoulders.
"Look at the sun set" he whispers, warm breath tickling Castiel's ear, "Concentrate on that. Keep your eyes open. Remember, I'm here. If anything happens I'll protect you."
Taking a deep breath, Castiel does just that, and he watches as the sun lowers it's self below the horizon. Then, before he can think twice about anything, they are picking up speed and watching the scenery and wind dash past them in a race to the finish line.
When the two boys get to the bottom of the hill there is silence. Throughout his 13 years of life, Dean has learned that silence is almost never good. In the back of his mind, it scares him.
"Cas? You alright?"
Still no answer.
"Dean!" Castiel bursts out, causing Dean to jump in surprise, "That was amazing! I felt like I was flying! Can we do it again?"
Dean grins, all worries completely forgotten, "Sure."
Castiel leaps out of the cart with so much newfound enthusiasm, Dean can practically see the blue and green vibrant sparks of excitement radiating from him. Though you would never get him to admit it, Dean thinks it's breathtaking.
But much to both boys chagrin, right before they are about to head back up the hill, a distant call of "Dean, Castiel, time for dinner!", can be heard.
In the corner of his eye, Dean can see Castiel looking down in disappointment.
"Don't worry about it Cas, it's summer, we can do this again tomorrow." the green eyed boy pipes, "Besides, mom's making her meatloaf tonight, it's going to be great! Plus, I think I saw Gabriel bring over an angel food cake for dessert."
With that small incentive both boys walk, hand in hand, over to the Winchester household with the promise of family, a good meal, and adventure.
In California, people may cower from the heat and run from their homes but in Kansas, everyone is content and they do not conceal themselves from the elements.
Instead, they choose to embrace whatever life throws at them.
Instead, they choose to live.