Cas pumped his legs, forcing the swing to go higher and higher. This was his favorite time of day because Miss Missouri always took him to the park with the tall swing set. Cas loved swinging. It felt almost like flying, like the stories Aunt Amara told him. He closed his eyes, letting the feeling of weightlessness surround him. Mama always hated when he closed his eyes while swinging. She said that he was going to fall out and split his head open. Miss Missouri never got mad at him though. She would just smile at him and ask how he enjoyed swinging today.
“Hey,” a voice piped up beside him. Cas kept his eyes shut, hoping the person would leave.
“Hey!” the voice said again. “I’m talking to you!”
Cas threw his legs out, letting his momentum slow before opening his eyes to glare at the stranger.
A sandy-haired boy with freckles covering his cheeks and nose was staring at Cas.
“What?” Cas grumpily asked him.
“I wanted to see if you wanted to play,” the boy said, looking at Cas hopefully.
“I was playing. Alone,” Cas said.
The boy’s head drooped. “Oh,” he softly said. “I’ll go.” He turned and ran off towards the park bench where Miss Missouri sat beside a blonde woman.
The boy ran to the blonde woman, throwing himself on her lap. Cas watched as Miss Missouri talked to the two of him. She glanced at him and he felt his stomach turn. He closed his eyes and started swinging again.
The next day, Miss Missouri loaded Cas into the car after picking him up from school.
“You want to go to the park again sugar?” she asked.
“Yes, Miss Missouri!” he happily said.
“Alright. Just promise me that you’ll be a bit nicer today, okay?” Her eyes locked with his in the rearview mirror.
“What do you mean?” Cas squirmed.
“That little boy said you weren’t very nice yesterday. He wanted to play with you and you didn’t even get off of your swing.”
“But Miss Missouri, I was swinging,” Cas whined.
“And that’s fine to want to swing,” Miss Missouri softly said. “But you can’t swing all the time, can you?” Cas shook his head no. “And if you can’t swing, you’ll want to be able to play with other people, right?” Cas nodded slowly, little mouth twisted in a frown. “I’m not saying that you can’t swing, Cas. But don’t lock everyone out.”
“Okay,” Cas mumbled.
After swinging for about 15 minutes at the park, Cas saw an old black car pull up. The boy from yesterday jumped out and, noticing Cas on the swing set, made a beeline straight for him. Cas bit his lip but let his swing come to a stop. The boy ran up to Cas, slightly out of breath.
“Hiya, Cas. I know you like to swing but Miss Missouri said you might want to play today. She said you like stories and rocks. I don’t have a story but I went to the woods behind my house and found this really cool rock yesterday.” He yanked a small black and white striped rock out of his pocket, shoving it toward Cas. “You can have it if you want.”
Cas’ eyes widened as he stared at the rock. He looked up at the boy. “No one’s ever given me a rock before.”
The boy’s face flushed. “It’s dumb. She said you liked them but that was dumb to give you a rock.” His hand fell, about to drop the stone.
“No!’ Cas yelped. “I like it. No one’s ever done it. That’s really nice of you.” He reached for the stone.
The boy dropped it into his hand. “My name’s Dean. You want to play cowboys?”
Cas smiled as he gripped the rock tightly. “Yes, I’d like to play cowboys, Dean.”
Years passed and the friendship between Dean and Castiel continued to strengthen. Of course they had fights and disagreements but every single time Dean would show up at Cas’ house with an interesting stone or crystal to offer as an apology.
A gorgeous blue geode accompanied Dean’s stuttered confession that he liked Castiel. A shimmering moonstone found its way into Cas’ collection a month before the prom. A desert rose crystal adorned the new dresser they purchased after Dean asked Cas to move in.
But Cas’ favorite addition to his collection was the brilliant stone that he wore on his left hand every single day.
“It’s not a diamond,” Dean softly said, kneeling before Cas. “You’ve never liked diamonds but I wanted something that was durable and well, I found these. Moissanite is lab-created but they refer to it as the gemstone of the stars. I thought it was appropriate. You’ve always dreamed of flying, so what better gemstone than one from space?”
Cas smiled at the glittering stone before taking a deep breath and marching out of the tent. The enormous red rock formations soared over his head. His eyes tracked up them before he looked to the front of the cave area. A smile tugged at his lips as he walked toward his future.