They had met in second grade, when the Winchesters moved into town. They were both the same age, in the same class, and only lived a couple blocks away from each other. It only made sense that they would get to know each other, become friends. However, they were so fundamentally different that no one anticipated exactly how close they'd become. Dean loved sports, movies, and a rough-and-tumble style of playing. Cas loved reading, music, and for some unfathomable reason, bees.
It was their shared love of nature that brought them together. When Cas discovered that the new boy loved hiking and exploring as much as he did, he immediately demanded that his parents take them to the local woods so that they might go on an expedition. From that moment on, the two became inseparable. The peanut butter to the other's jelly, the Sherlock to the other's Watson.
And so they grew up. They gathered many other wonderful friends along the way, but none of them could replace each other. Dean and Cas's friendship had survived the drama of middle school, and it had survived the first two trying years of high school. Hopefully, it would continue to blossom as the duo entered their third year.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dean shaded his eyes from the early August sun as he scanned the hallways of Bunker High for his friend, Cas. Soon, he caught sight of a familiar shock of dark, ruffled hair. "Cas!" he shouted across the crowded halls.
Cas turned in reaction to his name and met Dean's eyes. He grinned and motioned for Dean to join him by his locker. The latter strode over and through an arm over Cas's shoulders in a partial embrace. It hadn't been that long since they'd seen each other- just the last week of summer that Cas had been on a church trip- but Dean had still missed his friend.
"Have fun meditating in the woods?" Dean asked playfully. He almost had to shout the words over the din the students were making on their first day back.
"Shuddup," Cas mumbled with a laugh, knocking Dean's arm away. "Come on, we have to get to class. It wouldn't do to be late on our first day. I've got History with Mrs. Stacey, how about you?"
Dean gave his schedule a once over. "Hey, me too. And jeez, one day and you're already uptight. One tardy won't kill you, you know."
"Junior year, Dean, junior year! This is the year the colleges decide if we're worthy or not," Cas countered.
Their arms bumped together as they continued their playful banter. Slowly making it to first period, Dean couldn't help but noticed Cas' flushed cheeks in response to the summer heat. It did not hurt his appearance. If anything, it improved it. 'Stupid,' Dean thought, 'Stupid, stupid, damn it to hell. You cannot think of your best friend that way.'
Luckily for Dean, a redheaded whirlwind by the name of Charlie had noticed them and jolted Dean out of his unwanted thoughts. She ran up to Dean and gave him a tight hug, then the same to Cas. After Cas, Dean was closest to Charlie.
"What's up, bitches?" she said in a typical Charlie fashion. She had spent the summer at a tech camp on the other side of the country, so Dean hadn't seen her at all the past two months. The three caught up as the walked, and when they got to Mrs. Stacey's room, Charlie ran off with a promise of meeting them at their usual spot for lunch.
The classroom was already three quarters full when Cas and Dean entered. Spotting two empty desks next to each other, Dean dragged Cas to the back of the room and quickly claimed them. Mrs. Stacey began lecturing about rules in a monotonous tone, and Dean quickly zoned out. He and the other students had already heard this spiel about a thousand times in years past, so it was nothing special.
Unfortunately, with nothing to distract him, Dean's mind turned back to Cas. They had always been really close, but in the past year, Dean's feelings for him had diverged slightly from the 'Platonic Best Friend' role. Things that used to escape his notice, such as Cas's clear blue eyes or the way he could concentrate all of his focus on a single thing, now entered Dean's scrutiny. At first, he could just brush it off as a passing phase (maybe he was just extra observant now?), but Dean was now painfully aware that he harbored a not-so-little crush on Castiel Novak.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
After the first four classes of the day had finally passed, of which Dean shared with Cas only the one, it was finally lunchtime. Dean made his way to him and his friends' spot in the corner of the cafeteria. They had this one table they agreed to eat at every lunch, and so far, had stuck to it.
As Dean's fourth period, English, was fairly far from the cafeteria, he was the last to arrive. Cas, Charlie, Kevin, Garth, and Meg were all sitting there looking at him expectantly. There were, however, one more person than normal. Dean's younger brother, Sam, was awkwardly standing at the end of the table.
"Hey, Sammy, what's up?" Dean said casually. He knew that it being Sammy's first day of high school and all, there were bound to be some nerves involved.
Sam sighed and said, "Don't call me Sammy. And none of my friends have this lunch period. I don't know who to sit with."
Cas spoke up. "My brother, Gabriel, is new here, too. I am sure he would welcome you. He is sitting over there."
Looking relieved, Sam gave a "Thanks, Cas" and headed off in the direction Cas had indicated.
Once Dean saw that his brother had a place to go, the former took his usual spot next to Cas. Dean's leg brushed up against Cas's, and he silently cursed himself for even noticing.
"So how was everyone's summer?" He forced out to put his attention elsewhere. Even though they had all seen each other at some point over the break and therefore already knew the answer, this produced a conversation in which Dean was a grateful participant.
When the hateful bell rang, the six all made their way to their respective classes. Dean's next class was gym, and, as luck would have it, so was Cas's. In the locker room, the teacher assigned them all lockers and then gave a speech about the football season. Dean, having made the team the previous year, paid close attention to this.
After that, the rest of the day flew by. Dean texted Cas and Charlie to see if they were free after school. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, they decided to all meet at Dean's place. Since his dad, John, was rarely there, and they all agreed that Sam was a cool sibling, Dean's place was the optimal one to hang out.
Dean met Sam and Cas outside the school (Charlie had already left), and they walked home. When they got there, Charlie was sitting on the front stoop waiting for them. "It's about time," she laughed, "I've been waiting here for HOURS."
"You are such a riot. I mean, seriously, Charlie, you should consider comedy as a possible career path," Cas shot back as Dean unlocked the front door. Dean smirked at his friend's sass. Normally, Cas was the more serious one. It was nice seeing him having fun for a change.
Inside, Dean, Cas, and Charlie went to Dean's room while Sam stayed in the kitchen to make himself a smoothie. Cas, who played the violin like a freaking professional, began talking about the Bunker High Chamber Orchestra that he's gotten into.
'Overall,' Dean thought as he listened to Cas's ramblings, 'Not a bad first day.' Now all he had to do was get over this little crush...