Hey, congrats, man. If you've managed to find me, you've survived!  survivor(s) in Camp Chitaqua
The Fearless Leader A Day In The Life Of..
Anywhere But Here//Closed//thelightsgoneout

halfblooddemon:

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The string was pulled back as she eyed her prey. The buck stood motionless, half hidden by the trees that surrounded them. She hadn’t had to hunt like this in a long time. It had been so long that her bow felt awkward in her hands, and her right hand was shaking as she aimed. She had allowed herself to grow lazy and live in comfort, and now she might have to pay dearly for it. She allowed the arrow to fly, and swore loudly as it missed the buck and struck the tree in front of it.

The animal took off, leaving her in the dust. It was the first deer she had seen in weeks, and it would probably be another few weeks before she saw another one.

Oh, well. She sighed and retrieved the arrow. Fay had eaten the last of her small stash of food a few days before, and now she had to find something to eat. The hunger was distracting her, and that was a dangerous thing when it came to survival. For the most part, she avoided going into towns and cities. Every once and a while, she broke into a house or two to find something that could be useful, but most of the time there was nothing for her.

She slowly made her way to the road, and stopped at the edge of the forest. This was where most of the infected she had met would be found. They would linger along the road, hoping to find some random traveler who was stupid enough not to stay away. Unfortunately, this was also the only way that she would find other survivors. She had found a man once before, and they had traveled together for some time, until he wandered away from camp during the night and never came back.

Normally, Fay would be fine with being alone. Other people irritated her. This time, however, she was afraid that she may go insane. She needed to talk, to be heard. She was afraid of dying alone.

A small noise down the road made her head shoot up, and she stepped away from the trees. It sounded like a car, but she couldn’t be sure if it was. She lifted the bow and waved with it, hoping to catch the driver’s attention.

Maybe she wasn’t going to die after all.

As the soldier slowed his vehicle to a crawl, he spared a glance over at his map sat in the passenger seat, where there were multiple red marks in various areas of the suburbs and inner Kansas City. Despite the vast majority of the marks being within the city, it was his routine to monitor the outer-most forestation, since it where was the Croatoans tended to migrate from; it was dense, and an easy place to lurk. From where Castiel was looking, he had a good few areas to cover before heading back to the camp, and the only concern that crossed his mind was the fact that he didn’t have time to eat this morning — and he knew a select bunch of soldiers who liked to take the good stuff before any body else. With a defeated sigh escaping his lips, the male turned his attention from the map towards the lining of trees, where he kept his vehicle at a steady pace in order to survey each break in the bark for any movements; survivors, Croatoans, or even animals that could contribute to the camp’s rations. They were scheduled for a supply run tomorrow morning, but it wouldn’t hurt to start early.

Every now and again, Castiel would hear his radio crackle and transmit another soldier’s voice from the camp, asking what his position was and whether he needed any support. It was compulsory, but the ex-angel found it hilarious to think that a soldier would have time to ‘ask for support’, if they were already in urgent danger. The radio was almost always attached to the vehicle, and mobile radio’s were scarce in the camp, so it was a miracle to receive one — it was your responsibility to keep that radio safe, not break it, and make sure nobody else ran off with it.  Grabbing the radio, Castiel pressed down the button and returned a response: “I’m currently near the south-west forestation, where the Croatoans have accepted me into their group. I’m now being crowned leader at the ceremony they’ve held for me.” The response he received wasn’t too pretty, causing him to chuckle under his breath and allow a massive grin to cross his features; they must be new recruits, because the older soldiers were used to Castiel’s sarcastic remarks, despite Dean warning him multiple times to take the radio seriously. 

The ex-angel knew that a majority of the soldiers thought he was immature and inconsiderate, but none of them had attempted to strike up a conversation properly to realise that they were wrong. When it came down to emergencies, or discussing plans, Castiel didn’t leave his manners at home and it was then that others realised how he was second in command; he could be serious when he wanted to be, and there was no stopping him from letting everyone know that. Nevertheless, he believed in keeping the camp calm, and his cabin was the place to go for any advice and confidentiality; he was the peace-keeper amongst the soldiers, and his laid-back attitude was often mistaken for ignorance. However, Castiel wasn’t too concerned about what the other soldiers thought of him, so long as Dean held his own opinion about him — and that opinion held such pride that it gave Castiel the confidence to remain with his witty comments, his care-free demeanour, and his positive out-look through Hell on Earth.

To put it in simpler terms, Dean was finally glad Castiel had managed to take the stick from out his ass.

——Thump!

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A-ha! Caught one—” He saw the Croatoan in his wing mirror before it decided to run towards his Jeep, arms outstretched, and already attempting to somehow force open the passenger seat door. “—and you’re definitely a fighter.” With the speed the vehicle was going, it wasn’t entirely difficult for the infected to catch up, and the soldier reached over to lock the door before taking the wheel and sharply veering right in order to shake his visitor off. As much as he loved visits to his cabin, it was a much different situation when he was alone in a Croatoan-infected area, much less a good hour drive from the camp; it was routine, but there were some infected that preferred to catch soldiers unaware, leaving them second-guessing their training and going with whatever the Hell their instincts decided to tell them. With the ex-angel, this type of situation was something he was used to, and he instantly reached to grab his hand-gun from the dashboard. The usual choice of weapon was a sniper rifle, but even the most skilled soldier couldn’t keep his hand on the wheel and take down a Croatoan with a rifle through a rolled down window — though it would be an awesome skill to have, and Castiel gave it a brief thought as he pressed the button next to him to roll down the passenger seat window.

There was no doubt as to how the infected would react with an opportunity to reach their target, as Castiel was soon faced with an indistinguishable smell of decay. It was a few moments before he pulled the trigger and heard the heavy thump of a body hit the road seconds later; he wasn’t as ruthless as some soldiers in the camp, and it still took him a short while to compose himself before killing something that was once a human being. As a former angel, it would be no different than following orders, but since he became human there was a part of him that held sympathy; he had killed angels, his own kind before, but somehow it wasn’t the same. With every gun he fired, he felt as though he wasn’t fighting against the war, but simply contributing — for those infected, it wasn’t their fault, and it was similar to shooting the innocent. But if there was one rule to go by, it was to keep on smiling and prove to his eldest brother - Lucifer - that he could throw anything at them. 

That wasn’t to say, however, that Castiel still wouldn’t step out of his vehicle and make his way over to the Croatoan, where he would see who they were. Sometimes it was fallen soldiers, or survivors they once rescued, but most of the time it was the residents who used to inhabit Kansas City and ended up getting involved at the wrong time. They were used for the war, and Castiel noticed how the infected was a young male, dressed smartly and clean-shaven; a follower of God, perhaps, or somebody who liked to take care of themselves and give a good example to others. “Sorry, buddy.” Castiel muttered, because this was the only time he could ever do something like this. If he wasn’t on his own, he couldn’t allow the other soldiers to see how he takes care of the bodies. He couldn’t allow them to see how he moves the body towards large under-growth, where he covers them up and makes sure that no other infected could scavenge them, or any soldiers to practice their shooting on. He was risking his own life doing this in such an open area, but everyone deserved some sort of funeral.

A rustling noise in the trees above the hill in front of him prevented the soldier from tending to the body any more, and he quickly made his way back to his Jeep and began driving down the road before any of the infected buddies came along. It was probably some sort of animal, but he couldn’t take that chance for the sake of a few day’s rations he would get from it — even he limited his boundaries. There had been too many times where he wished he had listened to his Leader, instead of following his own foolish theories; the what-ifs, and should-haves, were apart of his life way too much. Nevertheless, he had managed to drive another half-hour without any bother from Croatoans, and he only hoped that the rest of the drive was like this. Hope was a fickle thing, but at least the weather was nice. It was rare to see a day without grey clouds, and Castiel often took it within himself to do his yoga outside when the weather was calm and the sun was beginning to show some power, but even that was pushing it. How annoying it was to be doing a morning patrol, instead of strengthening his muscles.

Glare against his windshield caught his attention ahead, and he expected it to be another Croatoan, but the source was nowhere near close to what he expected. Not only was the source a survivor, but they had miraculously managed to make it past an area that was known for high death counts, both human and Croatoan. However, it would go against all training to approach the survivor without caution, especially when not knowing if they were infected, or part of a larger group that had used them as bait to jump an unsuspecting victim. Weapons and supplies were valuable, and scavengers were as much danger as the Croatoan themselves; fight, or be fought. The ex-angel saw her weapon clearly - a professional-looking bow - and placed his handgun inside of his jacket, because he had learned plenty of times that not everybody was kind. Sure, he would greet her as he greeted everybody else, but he could be just as resilient should she decide to turn against him.

Slowing his Jeep down, Castiel drove up alongside where she stood whilst rolling the window down. A quick check confirmed that she had no visible wounds from Croatoans, but he couldn’t be too sure about what her clothes could be covering, so the door remained locked. With a large grin gracing his features, Castiel held up his hand in a small gesture of welcome. “You do realise that you’re in a crazy area, right? Whole forest is shakin’ it up with the infected, and I’ve marked this area as a no-go unless you’re prepared.” His tone was kept light, underlining a friendly approach,”Though, judging by that awesome bow you have there, you’ve had no problem surviving. I just gotta ask whether you have any bites, scratches, or done a recent waltz with any Croatoans?” A small chuckle escaped his throat, but he noticed that the other seemed somewhat hesitant. “…ah, I’m Castiel, by the way. I patrol the area for any infected, so they don’t spread towards the inner city.”

teapalm:

( teapalm )

brightfallenstars:

And here is just another version of this painting without the tattoos, cause I like how his shoulder and back muscles turned out and you can’t see them well in the other version.

( Would any one like to start a thread? Novella/multi-para. )

endcastiel:

we sat around laughing 
and watched the last one die

ohfearlessleader says: It's second nature, the way he tries to convince himself that he doesn’t feel anything more for him than friendship (if even that), and, every time, he’s met with a stark sensation of longing in his chest. He swallows the hot burn of misplaced anger in his throat, fire racing through his body, and pushes everything out of his head, shuts Cas out and pretends he feels nothing; it's easier this way.
ohfearlessleader says: Sometimes Dean stares at Cas when he thinks he can't see him, from the the corner of his eye, when Cas is too busy to notice, and most times? He pretends that he isn't looking, that he doesn't care, but it's a lie; he's always looking at Cas; always looking out for him--when they raid drug stores, when they're on supply runs, when they're running for their lives. It's second nature, how every instinct in him screams at him to look out for Cas, to protect him, make sure he's safe.

(Source: victorhenriksen)

ohfearlessleader says: It's one of those nights where he's feeling restless, uneasy. They are in Castiel's cabin (again) and they've been drinking for hours, perhaps days--what day is it? He's sitting on the floor, back pressed against Cas' bed. His head feels woozy, his throat's dry and throbbing; he doesn't wanna go to bed tonight. He rubs the back of his neck, closes his eyes as a shuddering breath topples past his lips and he glances at Cas, feeling his stomach clench. "Do you trust me?" he blurts out impulsively.

As his movements slowed, his eyes wandering aimlessly along the ceiling of his cabin, it was then that he realised how much alcohol he’d consumed. If the empty bottle of whiskey - shared between them - was anything to go by, he reckoned that they had been sitting here for a good, solid few hours. Part of him wanted to believe that the second half-bottle he spied over in the corner was from another ‘serious’ night, and had definitely not passed his lips throughout a hazy conversation he couldn’t even begin to remember. As far as their conversations went in the past, it most likely started with the responsibilities of the camp and gradually disappeared into talks of nonsense; the only time they were ever themselves, where nobody else saw how they really acted around each other.

Castiel was the same in or out of his cabin, but Dean became a completely different person when alcohol was involved and he accompanied his regular spot on the ground.

Lying on his back, the male found himself resting on his couch despite being sat on a chair a few minutes ago. As he placed his glass on the floor, he looked over at Dean in an attempt to focus his vision — no doubt he stared at the other male for quite a while, before he was given the question suddenly. Do you trust me? The urge to reply sarcastically with the mention of: if he didn’t trust him, then he wouldn’t still be in Camp Chitaqua boozing it up in the middle of the night with him. However, the remaining part of his sensibility knew that this kind of sincere question was a clear indication that his Leader wasn’t thinking of leaving any time soon – not that Castiel would want him to, because it was nice to sit and chat every once in a while without worrying about duties and responsibilities.  Instead, the ex-angel offered the other male a hazy smile, and returned an answer: “I don’t know why you’re asking that, when you quite clearly know the answer, Dean.”

Castiel knew that Dean wouldn’t buy it, being his stubbornness and doubtfulness, so the male decided to explain what he meant, exactly. “If you hadn’t noticed, most of my human life has been saved due to trusting you. Not only before the whole Croatoan out-break, but for the past years we’ve spent in this camp. You’ve been the person to remind me not to peak down the barrel of a gun, because you check to see if it’s loaded through the magazine. You’ve been the one to say, ‘Eat this, it’s good for you,’ even if all we ate was junk food. I trusted your guidance back then. And even though I don’t have my angel mojo any more, you still rely on me, despite all those years relying on what I used to be able to do. That’s what made me trust you even more.”

“I wasn’t meant to trust you, but have you trust me. That was God’s game, but I wasn’t going to play it any more. I made the right decision, because I’m clearly still alive, so you must have done something right somewhere.” A chuckle escaped his mouth in an attempt to crack a joke, because a gloomy Dean staring at the bottom of his glass was an imagine seen one too many times.

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Phase I: Dream And The River

ohfearlessleader:

It’s been hours since he’s awoken and he feels on edge — nervous, worry constantly gnaws at him. He’s anxious and unsettled — has been for days, perhaps weeks — and part of him wants to stay awake for as long as he can, keep watch, afraid to let himself be vulnerable. He feels restless; his system is swimming with endorphins and adrenaline—he’s been on full alert for days, and his head feels woozy like it’s full of hot wax, his muscles ache dully, his throat’s dry and throbbing. 

It’s been three weeks since Lucifer appeared to Castiel and Dean’s nerves are still on fucking edge; he knows the camp’s secure—there are banishing sigils drawn across the entire camp, devil traps on their ceilings, under their beds, the carpets—but there is an anger inside of him that scares him; it makes him feel hungry, rage seething under his skin, and the weight of it presses down on his sternum, his throat, his ribs, runs deep into the cavity of his chest, the hollows of his rib cage. He’s not just angry that Lucifer’s got the upper hand. He’s a walking, breathing ball of rage. His mind is out of sync with his body, and he feels entirely exhausted

Lucifer knows where they are. He knows where he is, and he doesn’t care—he’s been toying with them, and the fact that there’s nothing they can do but anxiously wait for Lucifer’s next move is setting his fucking teeth on edge. Essentially, he feels useless, trapped, held fast like a caged animal, helpless, the metaphorical mouse dangling itself in front of the jaws of a cat and it’s fucking infuriating—let alone the fact that they still have no fucking idea where the Colt is. 

It’s three past midnight and he’s standing at the foot of his bed, staring at the wall behind him that is covered by a large map of Kansas City. He sweeps his finger along the paths Cas drew out, eyebrows furrowed and his mouth forming a strong, hard line. He has dark circles under his eyes, and he looks pale and exhausted, and more than a little sick but he’s determined to stay awake for as long as he can help it, waiting, wracking his brains for an idea, something that could help him come up with an actual plan—with something, anything that could help—defiant and sweating. Anger rumbles around in his chest and he roughly bangs his fist against the wall, exhaling sharply through his nose. 

"Fuck" he releases a disgruntled sound that is on the verge of a growl and punches the wall again. 

He’s so sick of it, of Lucifer constantly being one step ahead of them.

Fuck.

Fuck,fuck,fuck. Fuck it all.

It’s gonna be another long night, he realizes as he finishes off his whiskey, running his index finger across the side of the glass, the moisture on his fingertips grounding him, helping him focus. 

He rubs his forehead, then glances at the map and turns around, but just as he’s about to make his way over to the cabinets to retrieve another glass of whiskey, he hears someone scream in complete agony—he flinches and sharply glances at the door, the voice taking him so much by surprise that at first he doesn’t react. He clenches his teeth and grabs his rifle off the table, a muscle in his jaw spasming spastically as he lurches forward and throws the door open, runs down the porch steps.

There’s someone,something,out there, he realizes, the flicker of distant flames the only light in the thick darkness that surrounds him. He’s tired, exhausted, his skin stings, the tightness in his throat hurts like fire, and he swallows the sick feeling in his stomach, clenches his jaw, determined as he heads towards Cas’ cabin, as a ripple of fear sweeps over him and a steadily escalating sense of foreboding envelopes him.

Somebody screams in the distance, groaning in pain; the noise slams around his head, and he feels a spike in his pulse, a vein ticking spasmodically in his forehead.

And then a scent hits his nostrils that makes him pause: Croatoan, the rank, musty smell of decay, tangible in the air.

"Shit. Fuck" he hisses and runs towards the gates. Vernon catches up with him and Dean roughly grips his shoulder, pausing mid-step. “What the hell’s happening?” he yells, because the guards on the southern part of the camp are shooting at the Croats that are crawling over the fences now, and there are women and children screaming, terrified, people running around, thronging into the path leading to the northern part of the camp, noise rising and bursting in the air, making the entire camp vibrate and rattle violently with it. 

"There’re at least three dozens of them, tore the fuckin’ fence down" Vernon exhales sharply, sweat dripping down his forehead.  

Dean swallows thickly and nods. “Get the others and secure the south-west corner, eyes open, watch your sectors” Dean says firmly, a command, getting into Leader Mode easily, and heads towards Cas’ cabin, yelling at the mothers and their kids to go back to their cabins and lock themselves in, keep an eye out for Croats. 

————>

Inhaling sharply as the back of his neck pressed against the cool metal post, Castiel tilted his head in a way that he could keep his attention on the factory doors. They were rattling viciously, prevented from opening only by the metal bar he had shoved through the handles; it wouldn’t last long, especially with the rust, but it gave him some time to prepare for when they came. Alone, having lost his way from the other soldiers, he knew that nobody would find him — they were surrounded by Croatoan when he ran, and the sounds of the others yelling became a distant calling. If anyone had survived, they were extremely lucky.

A drop of water from the damaged roof above landed on his cheek, causing him to flinch from the slight sting it brought on one of his wounds. Scratches scattered across his face, leaving deep gouges and decorating his face with streams of blood and broken skin; he could no longer feel the pain it gave him, either by choice or human instinct, but he could still feel the warmth of his blood. It was an amazing feeling. It meant he was still alive, and his body hadn’t given up just yet, allowing him the few moments he had left to think over a few things. From how the patrol was meant to be a regular one, where things were supposed to go smoothly as they always did. To how he was always aware he was going to die soon, but not entirely in this fashion.

All humans died eventually, Castiel was well-informed. He just never imagined he would join them.

Angels didn’t have the ability to regret decisions, to face karma and feel guilty for their actions, but Castiel was ignorant and he learned that that wasn’t true. Emotions were a fickle thing, and he was pushed straight into the deep end; it was never gradual, and he became ever more aware the more he spent in the company of the Winchesters. He experienced hate, guiltiness, happiness, friendship, and emotions that he didn’t even know existed — sometimes he used them wisely, but other times he was clueless. He had to learn quickly, because the Winchesters weren’t always there to guide him.

Now, he felt guilty. It gnawed at him, clawed at his throat, and racked his brain. It destroyed his thoughts, replacing them with all the things he could have done to prevent this from happening. Perhaps he should have studied the map more, or double-checked the weapons this morning for any faults — or perhaps he should have stayed close to Dean, instead of breaking apart the group in order to make the search quicker. How was he to know that half of the rifles would become jammed, and their main radio run out of battery, or know that he was going to make such a selfish decision whilst relying on his maps?

A crackling sound came from his right hand, followed by a frantic voice that wasn’t quite reaching Castiel’s ears. His radio was running out of battery and was beginning to lose its frequency, but somebody had managed to come through on it, and he wouldn’t stop repeating the ex-angel’s name. Castiel recognised the voice immediately, and his finger hesitated over the button on his radio, wondering whether it would do any justice to give his Leader false hope. There were too many lost chances for Dean in the past to give him another one, and the soldier placed the radio down before sliding it across the factory floor until it hit a wall and lost its frequency. Even if Dean was to save him, he couldn’t stop the virus that was currently working through his veins and painfully wasting him away.

They were becoming even more erratic, having heard the noise from within the factory and knowing he was in there. Another push, a groan, and Castiel watched as the metal rod bent and broke before falling to the floor with a clank. He could smell their decomposition, filling the room with a putrid scent, and the soldier closed his eyes to rid their image from his mind and only concentrate on seeing his family. Not Balthazar, not Anna, nor Gabriel. Not them. Instead, he focused on Dean’s laugh, on Sam’s research ramblings, on Bobby’s insults, on Ellen and Jo’s fighting talk, and he felt safe as he lifted his left hand with the gun and pressed it against his temple.

With a smile, he pulled the trigger.

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Adjusting his eyes to the darkness was sudden, as his mind tried to make sense of whether the massive bang was from his dream or within the camp. Either way, he immediately grabbed his clothes and got dressed, pulling his jacket over his shoulders and retrieving his rifle from one of his cabinets, where he made sure that the magazine was full and the trigger wasn’t jammed; it was only a dream, but there was something foreboding about it. He had retreated to his cabin early, as any duties he had in the camp were completed and he fancied sleeping early for once — he was never one for going to bed before midnight, because anything could happen and he preferred being prepared than being caught unaware. It rarely happened, but it was just his luck tonight that he was needed.

The quietness unnerved him, and he ceased his actions for a moment in order to listen for any movements outside. In his silence, Castiel contemplated making his way to Dean’s cabin, but he knew that he was studying the maps he gave him and didn’t wish to be disturbed. Besides, he could no longer hear any commotion and he blamed himself for being so on edge — the dream shook him up, because it felt real, and he had to check himself over for any phantom wounds. Reaching up, he rubbed at his eyes and released a wavering sigh; he was clean from drugs for months, and his body screamed at him every now and again for the release it needed. But he wanted to change, become clean permanently, and make Dean proud. He wanted to believe he could do it, but there were nights where he doubted his own restraint and he broke down, searching his cabin like a rabid wolf for any stray pill, or hidden blunt he might have stashed away and forgotten about. He never found anything, because himself and Dean made sure to get rid of everything.

Before he could register the scream in the distant, his door had already been forced open and he could smell the decay before he saw what decided to pay him a visit. It wasn’t the attack that surprised him, but the fact that he hadn’t seen a Croatoan for two weeks and one decided to suddenly show up; they should be in the inner city, as last reported by the morning patrol soldiers. Something was wrong, and their pattern was off; it definitely wasn’t staying true to his map migrations. It wasn’t staying true to Lucifer’s patterns, more specifically. Before he could question it any further, Castiel found himself using the side of his rifle to prevent the infected from tackling him to the ground — he had forgotten how strong they were, and he felt the impact of the ground moreover than the stinging on his forearm. “…Argh!" Clenching his teeth, the ex-angel pushed the Croatoan from his body using the rifle, before reaching inside his jacket and producing a knife that he promptly lodged inside the infected’s head. The Croatoan was too close for him to use the rifle, and he mentally thanked himself for equipping his jacket with necessary belongings.

This wasn’t a one-off attack, and Castiel knew this one would have brought his buddies along, so he shut the door and pushed a cabinet up against it in order to buy him some time to get his gear together. He collected more rounds for his rifle, any knives that he had available, and spare batteries for his radio and anyone who needed some. He wanted to believe that the items he was grabbing had nothing to do with his dream, but there was no denying the impact it had on his thoughts. When he had his wings, any sort of indication of bad-happenings was a sign that it was definitely going to occur, and he never lost his immediate response to prevent it from doing so; now was no exception. He could hear screams outside, mostly of children, and he breathed in deeply to remain calm - there was no justice in getting angry, losing concentration, and ending up with dwindling numbers in the camp. The only worry that niggled at him was the fact that Dean wasn’t here yet, because he always came to his cabin during an emergency.

With everything prepared, the ex-angel had no hesitation as he pushed the cabinet aside from the door, but he was promptly stopped as a sudden rush of blood made it to his temple and his vision turned grey for a few seconds. It was silent again, caused this time by a small loss of hearing, and all he could hear was his blood pumping; he felt as though somebody was keeping  him in a choke-hold, and he used the cabinet for support before everything returned to normal. Pushing up his jacket sleeve, he noticed the small trickle of blood before the wound, and it took all his strength to swallow the nausea that attempted to crawl up his throat; he couldn’t remember being…

no, he wasn’t going to believe that.

It was no good, he thought, as he curled his hands into fists to stop them shaking. It was no good focusing on that, because he had other people to save, and he  would rather go out fighting than let the virus take him in his cabin. He couldn’t be sure he had the virus, but nobody needed to know either — especially Dean, because they had other things to worry about other than silly ol’ Cas. Using a bandage from his first-aid kit, he wrapped the wound and made sure that any signs of blood weren’t visible, before moving the cabinet completely. As he was about to open his door, he heard the familiar voice of the Leader speaking to another soldier nearby, and the worry he had from earlier disappeared. Looking back at the dead Croatoan, slumped in the corner of his cabin, Castiel couldn’t shift the dread that crawled up his spine; at least a bullet would be quick.

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Placing his rifle strap around his shoulder, the male breathed in deeply and placed an unyielding expression to hide his uneasiness. Rolling his jacket sleeve back down, Castiel opened his cabin door and observed the camp quickly; it no longer looked peaceful, and he watched as their survivors scattered in different directions. Some of them were returning back to their cabins and presumably locking their doors, but others weren’t as prepared. Older survivors knew what to do, but recently saved ones were yet to be addressed with survival skills and what to do in a Croatoan attack, because no-one in the camp expected to be ambushed for a good while. Castiel had studied the maps, chartered the patterns, and even he wasn’t expecting it because this wasn’t predicted.

Either Lucifer had changed his direction, or this was caused by somebody else.

There was no knowing how many Croatoan’s were in the camp by this point, though it sounded more than dozen, or whether they had broken into each perimeter. As long as they were able to access vehicles and weapons, then there wasn’t going to be a problem, otherwise it was going to be difficult to balance survivors and defence. Various worries flashed through Castiel’s mind, from saving the food rations to making sure a majority of the survivors were saved, but he couldn’t do that by standing around and waiting for something to happen. It wasn’t long before he saw Dean making his way towards his cabin, looking as though he had already entered Leader-mode hours ago. “Dean, I already know what’s shakin’, so you don’t need to tell me—” I already had one visit, but I’m not going to tell you that, because you’ll worry "—what’s the situation? How many of the fences have been taken down?"

Inside, Castiel wanted to take Dean aside and tell him as much as he could; his regrets, his past decisions, and why he chose to help him. To tell him how thankful he was for guiding him, and how he still remained by his side through tough times; no matter his mistakes, Castiel somehow always ended up having a beer with the eldest Winchester and sitting in forgiving silence. He couldn’t do that, however, as it would be the biggest regret of his human life — he couldn’t do that to a man who had gone through enough already. Instead, the ex-angel kept his composure and promised himself that he would see through Dean’s survival.