Between the Lines – I prayed to you, Cas. Every night.

A/N: So, I'm new to the Destiel fandom, but with fodder like 8x02, I couldn't resist a quick fanfic! Forgive any continuity errors. I'm hoping to maybe turn this into a collection of oneshots if I can build up enough motivation/time. Stay tuned and enjoy! :3

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any of the characters.

Destiel. G rating. Spoilers of 8x02, if you haven't seen that one scene.

Chapter Summary: 8x02 - To protect Dean, Castiel will do anything. Even if that means pushing him away.

"I prayed to you, Cas. Every night."

Words lie exposed between them as broken, bleeding wounds.

Castiel detects Dean's frustration, and the angel's face falls with self-loathing. He has heard the prayers of his friend, heard every whisper of bargaining and every growl of anger-laced fear. Every night since the first they came to this place, Dean has called for his angel, and each time Castiel has denied him.

This is fact, and Castiel will tell the truth. But he cannot look Dean in the eye as he does so.

"I know."

The words slip out, hindered by regret.

"You know and you didn't…?"

Dean's brow knits with anger and betrayal. Castiel has seen this look before, and the memories of that time mixed with the reality of the now cut into his very being. He wants to explain himself. He does not want Dean to think so lowly of him. But he struggles with words. He does not know how to properly convey his guilt and remorse for this situation, or for what he knows must come next.

Castiel takes too long to answer. Dean's scowl seems permanently fixed and growing deeper, effectively erasing any trace of the smile that lingered from their reunion.

"What the hell's wrong with you?"

For fear of earning Dean's hatred, Castiel cannot contemplate the perfect sentence structure any longer, and the words slip out, almost in a ramble. If he tells the fullest truth, the necessary explanation will be there, somewhere, Castiel decides. No more lies. Never again.

"I am an angel in a land of abominations."

Not enough.

"There have been things hunting me from the moment we arrived."

"Join the club!"

Dean's voice is sharp. He does not understand.

"These are not just monsters, Dean. They are Leviathan. I have a price on my head."

Castiel cannot stop the words now. Nor can he keep the fear from his eyes. Still glaring, Dean does not understand. He has no way of knowing that Castiel's fear is for him. Not unless Castiel tells him.

"And I have been trying to stay one step ahead of them to…"

The angel hesitates. He does not want Dean to worry. He does not want Dean to know. Dean will not fear for his own life, and he will never back down. Castiel knows this, but he cannot leave the words unsaid. They are too important somehow, too necessary for Dean's forgiveness and comfort.

Dean looks beaten and torn down. Castiel cannot nor will not strike him further.

"To keep them away from you."

In an instant, anger retracts from Dean's features, removing the hard lines from his eyes and mouth. Surprise widens them instead.

"That's why I ran."

Castiel watches as Dean stares. Dean seems less distressed now, which pleases Castiel but does not make easier what must come next.

The angel looks out over the stream and down to the running water. He has gone over the reasoning for their necessary distance with repetition. To protect Dean, Castiel must remain separate from him. He cannot be selfish in this.

Yet Castiel struggles. Dean sought him out once, would he do so again? Would he continue to endanger himself for a broken friendship they both still harvest? Castiel does not know, and he cannot chance it. This time when they separate, Dean must be the one who acts.

"Just… leave me. Please."

The words sound forced, even to Castiel's ears, but he cannot take them back. He mustn't.