On the side of a hill, just above the rolling fields of Nagtoon, there was a large brick house, enclosed by a white picket fence. It’s burgundy sides illuminated in the sun, it’s perfect chimney puffed the smoke of the internal fires, all through the summer or winter of the year. And from this house there was a gravel path. It led all the way from this watchful abode, into the main street of the town below. Within this street lay the church, a stone clad building no bigger than the house, and beside this church was the school. One that reached from all the way from the wee age of kindergarten, to the bustling sulky teenager encompassed into the bodies of hunched 18 year olds.
So every morning, up in the brick house overlooking the town, the five Novak’s pilled into the family station wagon, and made their way into the town, ready for their day of learning. In the back of this car, beside the lone younger sister, always sat the one with blue eyes.
His eyes had always been special, as no other Novak had these eyes. While the others sported the greens and the browns, this boy’s were electric and lively. They lit up rooms as he opened them, and they stared down bullies like no others. He may have been timid and small, but the intensity in these eyes was unmatched. They followed you around, unnerving your aura until you turned your back towards him.
They smiled brighter than the sun, until you were forced to join him. They darted around a locker room, despite his best intentions. They accidentally slipped and fell down to one's lips, while the football players were talking to him. They forced his older brothers into questionable glances. Questionable glances that turned to firm discussions with their mother. Firm discussion that turned into the scheme laid out today. The scheme, Castiel, the boy with the special eyes had not been enlightened upon in the slightest.
“We’re going to be late,” Balthazar, the second oldest complained, from his customary position of the passenger getting a seat.
“Well we wouldn’t be if you didn’t spend 30 minutes solely on your hair,” Gabriel, the eldest and the driver shot back.
Balthazar huffed, straightening out his uniform tie, “Well somebody in this family had to look presentable, we’re the most looked at, we should be the best dressed.”
“Is that why you insist on a $2000 overcoat?” Lucifer, the strangely methodical one huffed.
Balthazar turned In his seat, annoyed with the conversation. Looking presentable wasn’t a sin, he’d read the bible enough times to know that. He only got this shit because he was the only one that dared to use what his parents provided. They were rich, money was pouring from their establishments. Day in and day out more came in, why shouldn’t he use it to look nice? It was about the only fun any of them were allowed anyway.
Besides, it’s not like everyone else in this car hadn’t done worse. Except maybe Anna, but her time was coming, he was sure. She may be an innocent 14 year old now, but one day she would snap, they all had, just like Cas. Cas was just the worst at not getting caught.
“Oh come on Balthy, don’t pout'' Gabriel chided to the scowl on Balthazar’s face, “it’ll ruin your Botox''
Balthazar yanked Gabriel’s hand down in retaliation, causing the automobile to swerve, the honk from the oncoming truck deafen and the car.
“What the fuck?” Gabriel shrieked, turning to get the car back on track. He fumbled with the wheel, before slowly stabilizing it once more. “Jesus Christ are you trying to murder us?”
“Don’t swear” both Anna and Cas proclaimed from the back seats, then smiled at each other for the timeliness of their words. Gabriel rolled his eyes so it was only visible to Balthazar.
“My apologies. Jolly gee Balth, do you have a death wish for yourself as the rest of our happy go lucky family?”
“Honestly?” Balthazar questioned.
Gabriel snorted, “no.”
The silence stretched on. Gabriel unwrapped a snickers bar and started shoving it into his mouth, much to Lucifer, or Luke as they called him, upturned nose.
“It’s 8 AM.”
Gabriel grumbled to himself, their lives were already so conditioned by their parents, why did his siblings need to talk about his eating habits? Or get mad at him for swearing, like Cas and Anna had just done, it wasn’t their place.
Well he supposed Cas wouldn’t be around to do it for a while, he felt guilty for that sure, but at the moment there was nothing he could do. Perhaps he could cut Cas some slack today, considering, but not Lucifer. This was all his fault.
“If you don’t like my food, get out of my car”
“It’s not your car” Anna interrupted, “it's the family's car.”
“Me and you both know that I have no qualms for being late, I will stop it right here and let you walk,” Gabriel threatened.
“You can't do that,” she replied, narrowing her eyes.
Though truly Anna was not sure what he could do. Her eldest brother had always been somewhat of a mystery to her. He claimed his parents supported the pranks he enjoyed pulling, that he was only sneaking out the window as he was too lazy to walk down stairs. But then, why couldn’t she tell her parents? He promised it wasn’t lying, but… she wasn’t sure, something was off with the situation they had going on.
“I can and most definitely will, unless all of you don’t stop talking”
The car silenced.
More moments passed. Longer and longer into the abnormally long trek.
“Can I talk again?” Castiel demanded from the back seat.
Gabriel bit his tongue, fighting back the urge to flip his brother off. “Fine,” he conceded.
Castiel grinned, he knew Gabriel always had a soft spot for him, so in fact did Balthasar, in actuality, it seemed Lucifer was the only one who had never been too fond of the youngest brother.
“I have a debate team tournament today in the next town over. Mother and father gave all of you permission to join me on the bus if you wish,” Castiel said into the silence, jumping on the opportunity at hand.
Each Novak in the car played their best smile, strained as they all were. This was it. This was the start of the plan.
“I can drive you if you want?” Gabriel suggested, burying into his snickers again. He chewed it loud and obnoxious, watching Cas’s eyes arrow.
“Why would you do that?”
“Buses suck, wouldn’t want to be stuck on one all that time.”
“It’s a 20 minute ride.”
Garbiel shrugged, aiming for nonchalance, luckily he had enough practice lying, “20 minutes of hell, you don’t have to endure if you all come with me.”
“Are you all coming?” Cas questioned, his gruff voice still emotionless. He may have been the youngest brother, but his voice had now dropped far beyond anyone else in the car.
“Of course, why on earth wouldn’t we?” Balthasar demanded.
Castiel raised an eyebrow, and eyed around the car.
Shit, Garbiel thought he’s already getting suspicious.
“Because besides Anna, whom I actually like, I have attended not one of your school functions.”
“Nonsense” Baltahsar waved his hand, “I don’t have any to attend, doesn't count.”
Cas’s eyes just narrowed further, “Yes you do.”
Balthsar winked, “Or do I?”
Cas's head tilted to the left, eyeing Balthasar down who had turned in his seat to have this conversation, but Anna spoke up before he could reply.
“I love debates'' she exclaimed into the tense car, a huge grin plastered onto her pale face. And just like that the matter was settled. Cas leaned back, Balthasar turned, and Garbriel let out the breath he had kept inside his lungs since the last turn into town.
The car resumed its standard silence, and at last the five of them maneuvered their way into the school lot. It was 8:15, classes started in 10 minutes. Everyone attempted to leave the car, but Gabreil turned around, and tugged on the dumb trenchcoa Cas always wore. It’s beige fabric rippled in his grip.
“Hey cas, can I talk to you for a sec?”
Balthsar shot him a look.
Gabriel replied with a stronger look.
Balthsar raised his eyebrow.
Gabriel kicked him in the shin.
Balthsar left the car.
Now it was just him and cas. He took a deep breath, sucking everything inside himself, remembering the rule he’d followed since he was old enough to talk. Keep it all inside. He still needed to do that. He just... he wouldn't let his brother get sent away thinking this is what he wanted, thinking this is all he thought. They were far more similar than Cas would probably ever realize.
“What?” Castiel asked in silence.
“I... I um” Gabriel stammered, suddenly at a loss for words for the first time in his life. “I… Cas you know I love you right?”
Castiel simply stared at him.
“Like, I’ll always love you,” Gabriel continued beneath his brother’s gaze. His eyes somehow, even after all these years, had the power to make Gabriel uncomfortable.
“Of course,” Cas replied, confusion imminent on his features, “It is in the bible, Mathe-” he started to recite, but Gabriel cut him off.
“No Cas, not, not from the bible.”
“No cas, you just... you got to know. I don’t care what the bible says, or what anyone’s going to say, or even, even what I might say later. I’ll always love you ok? I don’t believe what I’m going to say.”
Cas’s eyebrows lowered, scrunching his eyes, his head tilted slightly.
“You don’t care about the bible?”
Gavriel bit his lip, he was going to ruin this wasn’t he?
“No god Cas I-”
Gabriel scounched his fist, his face tight in restraint as he bit back his favourite, quite uncouth, reply after being chastised for his swearing.
Cas needs you, he reminded himself, you can be serious for one minute.
Despite what your parents believe, a dark part of him added, he pushed that part aside.
“Cas,” he started, breathing deep, “I care very deeply about the bible, about the message our lord has let through to his children. I love god, and cherish his gifts, but god's word can also be interpreted. His words can be misused.”
“You know mother won’t be happy if you’ve been attending a theology class without her knowledge.”
Gabriel nearly slammed his head on his steering wheel. He needed Cas to get this.
“No cas, I-. Just look” he tried.
He had now turned completely in his seat, sitting on his knees so he could take in all of Cas's face from the back seat.
“The bible says I love you, because it’s good for me to love you, as my family, as my brother, as my friend. And I do love you. But not just because the bible says i should. And even, even if you did something that maybe the bible doesn't like... I wound... I wouldn't stop loving you. Because... because my love goes beyond the bible alright. I love you because you're your Cas.”
Cas looked lost. Cas was lost Gabriel was sure, but soon, so soon, he hoped this might make sense to him.
“Your being strange this morning,” Cas supplied.
Welp, it’s not like Gabreil wasn’t always strange.
“Do you, do you atleast sort of get what I’m saying? '' Gabriel pleaded.
He wanted this to get through so badly. He needed this to get through more than anything.
And with that Cas grabbed his backpack from the seat beside him and left, slamming the door behind him.
Gabriel looked up at the sky, to the asshole god who was probably sitting up there, ignoring all the pain, the suffering and the heart ache he had caused, by writinng a dumb fuck of a book, that people decicded they needed to fucking follow.
“Go to hell you fucking cunt” he murmed, actually hoping his prayer might get through this time, “It’s not like I’ve ever asked you for anything else.”
What an asshole of a father this man had to be, to keep pulling the shit he did. Garbrel knew he had daddy issues, he knew his dad was a little bitch. But god damn, did he feel bad for all those little angels floating up in the sky. This guy, god or whatever, had to take the cake for worst father of the year.
Gabriel leaned his head into his forearms, that were propped up by his grip on the steering wheel. He took three deep breaths, before at last, grabbing his own backpack, and exiting the vehicle. He walked around to the other side, and was greeted by the appearance of Balthasar leaning against his car.
Gabreil checked his phone: 8:24.
“Your going to be late” Gabriel smiled into Balthasar's ear, causing him to startel,and drop his phone he’d been scrolling on. He scowled at Gabriel as he bent to pick it up.
“It’s not like mother and father are going to care. Today of all days, we actually have leeway for once.”
“You're actually using this happening to Cas so you can skip class?”
Balthsar grinned, “Your not?”
Gabriel shrugged, moving to lean against the car as well.
“It just seems wrong, unfair to his memory.”
“He’s not going to die.” Balthsar scoffed, “It’s a 60 day program, we’ll see him in 2 months.”
“Will we?” Garbriel demanded turning to look at his brother, “You actually believe he’s coming back from this?”
“Of course,” Balthasar assured him, nodding to himself as if he needed his own reassurance. Then quieter he added, “He has to.”
Gabriel saw the fear turning in his younger brother's eyes, and he dropped it. Balthsar might pretend to not care about shit, but he knew he cared for Cas. They all cared for Cas. God he hated being the eldest now that Micheal was away. It always fell on him. He always had to make everyone feel good, feel better, feel safe. He despised it. He never felt good himself, why should he be causing the happiness of others?
And yet? It was all he truly was good for he supposed. The joker, the comic relief. His siblings looked to him, so long as he was joking, they knew not to be scared. Even if this meant he had to joke at the most inappropriate times.
He watched balthasar fish something out of his pocket, and bring out a short white stick with a stupid grin plastered all over his face. “I think we need this today, you got a lighter?”
Gabriel silently thanked his brother for joining him in his weed dependency. He hadn't had time to get to his stash this morning.