Castiel kept his gaze down as the other members of the fighting force showed up. Some stood off to the side by themselves, simply waiting for their leader to grace them with his presence. Others packed together to mutter softly, whispering one word to another in the question of why they were there.
A female, Stacy or something, looked over at him with a brow raised and Castiel fought the twitch in his hand to rub at his swollen cheek. Batter and bruised, oh how the mighty have fallen. He could see, from the corner of his eye, her small huff and roll of those dull brown eyes before talking back to the figure at her side. Yes, he too wondered at times why Dean kept wasting his energy on him. Why bother give him the time of day to grace his bed with his body? It was because Castiel was broken and Dean pitied him. That had to be it. Dean would seek him out when he needed, he could have anyone in the camp, men and women alike but Dean picked him, perhaps to remind himself that he had power over him. That Castiel was no longer stronger than him and he wanted to remind his fellow camper, remind Castiel who was in charge, who still protected him even after all he had done.
And Castiel was too weak to turn Dean away.
The door opened and a new face joined the group. This caused a spike of confusion to hit Castiel nerves and the sudden squeeze of his chest in fright. Jared stood in the door way, his eyes wide and bright with nervousness but excitement. Those eyes found Castiel, the young man was walking over, his face braking into a small smile. "Hey.' He greeted, placing himself at his side, hands digging into his jacket pockets.
"Jared." Castiel breathed softly, "What are you doing here?"
"Dean asked me to come." Was the answer, shoulders hunching up. Castiel could tell he was on edge, wanting to know what was going to happen. It was not normal for Dean to call upon the young to join the group of fighters. Normally he waited until their 18th birthday or if they were in a pickle, at least waited until Castiel was done training them. Jared was still new and had a few rough patches to smooth out so the mere thought of him here put Castiel on high alert. Something was going to happen.,
Something he was not going to like.
Another door opened and a hush went over the group. Footsteps and there he stood. Their fearless leader standing straight and tall, his face harden with years of pain and fight. Behind him Chuck stood sheepishly. Dean walked to the lone table that sat in the middle of the room, maps folded out for them to see. "We're running low of supplies." Dean started, this getting some of the group's attention. Tapping the sheet, Dean went on, his feet carrying him around the table slowly. "Chuck has informed me that some members do not understand the term, 'Use if needed.' Our food has been cut in half and by the looks of things; we will have to start using the lake and woods as our own personal bathroom."
Some small groans came out from that; Dean glared out, stilling the noise. "We have people out there we need to keep at ease and when they find out we are almost out of supplies, there will be a panic. I'm going to take a team out with me tomorrow morning. There is a town a day and a half from here, we might find something's there, what we find. We'll bring back."
"Who's going on this errand?" One of the ladies called out.
Dean narrowed his eyes at the group, his eyes looking at each ones face carefully before speaking out.
"Eric, Lisa, Brandon, Edger, Tiffany, Matt and Jared."
Castiel gasped then, causing Dean's gaze to snap to him. Castiel just stared upon him in shock, his eyes pleading for him to change his mind, to say he didn't mean it. Yet Dean just narrowed those lids, that ice cold stare ripping into Castiels blood making his body feel heavy and useless. Beside him Jared tensed up but nodded his head in understand, ready to take the task and prove his place in the group.
This was a simple supply run, it wasn't that bad but Castiel didn't want Jared to go. Not yet, he wasn't ready, what if the infected found him? What if they got surrounded by demons? What if the military tracked them and took them out? No, he needed to protect him; he needed to keep an eye on him.
All eyes turned to Castiel then, all but Dean's since he took that moment to turn his back to them. "Jared is not ready for this." The young man frowned at the remark but before he could say anything, Castiel raised his arm and silenced Jared with his fingers, taking a step before him, placing himself before his young charge. "Let me go instead."
"Then let me come with you."
"No. You will stay here and keep an eye on the camp."
"Chuck and the others can tend to the camp. If you're going to take my charge on his first mission, I request to attend as well to keep him safe."
"I'm not a child." Jared muttered behind him but Castiel didn't give him his attention, he kept his focus on their leader, whose hands curled into the table, crunching the map in his fingers. "Keep him safe?" Dean whispered to himself before he turned, letting the map go to turn his bitter stare upon the former angel. "If I remember correctly, the last Charge you were left to keep 'safe' was beaten, broken and then had the one thing that mattered to him taken away." Dean walked towards him then, the others in the room backing away, not wanting to get in the cross fires. "You did a pretty bang up job there didn't you?" He hissed in a whisper, his face close to Castiel, the heat of rage pulsing off him making Castiel insides twist painfully.
"I wont fail this time." Castiel whispered, his blue eyes looking up to him in a plea. "Let me go with you."
They looked upon each other silently, blue eyes begging to the hard green that refuse to back down. With a snarl of his lip, Dean growled out, "No." Castiel felt something inside of him crack, his fingers acting on their own account to grab Deans coat, stopping him from his retreat. He knew he shouldn't touch him, Castiel knew Dean would beat him later for questions him in front of the others but Castiel had to make him see, make him understand. "Please."
Dean smacked his hand harshly away before pointing his finger at him, his voice barking out sharply. "You'll stay here and protect these campers! God damn Cas, If you listened to me in the beginning we wouldn't HAVE this war to deal with! So you'll listen to me now or I'll throw your ass out of this camp so fast we'll just see how long you last without your fucking grace to safe you! This meeting is done, we'll meet at sun rise, and everyone get out!"
A sharp turn on his feet, Dean stormed out of the room, leaving the silence behind. Soon the other follows, some shaking their head at Castiel for questioning, others pitying him for the cruel words Dean has thrown. All that was left was Jared, watching his back as Castiel tried to overcome the grief and bitter truth Dean had so easily reminded him. His arm went flat to his side and Castiel just took a deep breath, closed his eyes and just gave into the grief.
Yet a soft touch pulled him from his misery, causing his head to turn a bit to the side to see whom held him so tenderly. Jared stood beside him then, looking into his eyes for a moment before he grinned, causing those green eyes to sparkle with life. Reaching up, he wrapped his arm around Castiel shoulders and pulled him into his side, giving him a half way hug, pressing his cheek into Castiel own lightly.
"He didn't mean it." Jared whispered. Castiel lowered his eyes to Jareds arm, watching the young man's thumb brush at his shoulder blade softly, fingers squeezing him every now and then. "He always means it." He replied, causing Jared to sigh out, knocking his temple with his own.
"Well, then he's an assbutt."
Castiel blinked for a moment before he found himself chuckling, his hands reaching up to touch Jared's arm, holding it lightly to his throat. They stayed like that for a moment longer before Castiel nodded to himself and began to pull away, releasing Jared's arm. "Come with me."
"Where we going?"
"My cabin… I have something to give you."