Title: Again, Castiel
Summary: Castiel was broken, emotional, and human in all the wrong ways. Naomi was fixing him. The first step was to cure him of this attachement he had to Dean Winchester. She put a sword in his hand and told him to kill, again and again. She was fixing him.
Warnings: Sort of major character death...blood, creepy psychological mind control techniques are implied.
A/N: I'm coping with last weeks episode, and reading various fics of Cas having to kill Dean over and over, but I hadn't seen anything from Naomi's POV, which I think is fascinating. So I wanted to explore what would be a very emotional and confusing time for Cas from very clinical eyes. I hope it works. (c) to Erik Kripke.
Castiel was making progress. That's what she had to keep reminding herself. This fiery, emotional, broken creature was slowly but surely becoming more how he was made to be. More righteous, more stoic, and more obedient. Naomi recalled how he'd been and knew this fact. She was fixing him, she was.
And his occasional slides backwards were just setbacks.
When he'd returned to her carved out corner of Heaven, bearing the body of their brother, he's been bleeding from the eye with the effort of fighting her. She couldn't have that anymore. Naomi, with her heart in her throat, took him there and kept him.
For Castiel was broken, and he was dangerous, but she was fixing him.
He'd struggled, half panicked when she'd refused to let him go to earth, still reeling from what had happened, from the memories that had come flooding back. He knew who she was at that point, and had flashes of what she'd already done, but she needed to go so much deeper.
He was so shattered, the pieces were nearly dust, but she rebuilt him with the ideals of an angel inserted into his brain.
The others had argued against this, against the original mission of bringing him out of Purgatory.
He's too dangerous. They'd said.
He'll kill us all, and destroy the world.
They didn't understand. This was her mission. She would teach her brother how to be an angel again. She would save him. She would fix him.
And this was how.
"Come with me. She ordered, and his shaking trembling vessel stood. He didn't want to, that much was clear, but the original tests and training had gone well, and it was hard for him to disobey an order. Now they would see if it was enough.
Naomi led him to the place she'd prepared; just a flat expanse of metaphysical space, but carefully fashioned. An empty warehouse floor-cold, clean, empty of distractions. Pure. Castiel looked around, but otherwise didn't react, didn't ask what they were doing there. Good.
Naomi turned to him, lifting her chin.
"You will not leave this room until you've accomplished your directive to my satisfaction. Any hesitation, any argument and the test will be repeated. Do you understand?"
Castiel nodded, and though Naomi could see the curiosity in his face, he said nothing.
"Good. Draw your sword."
The blade dropped down into Castiel's hand without hesitation, and she allowed herself to smile.
"Good." Naomi touched his shoulder, knowing he's picked up habits of human contact, and not willing to lose that advantage yet by training that out of him. "Now, Castiel, I want you to listen to me. This will be hard, and you won't want to do it." She caught his eyes, and held the gaze: this also was a human trick, their studies showed the effects of eye contact. She pressed down. "But you must be strong. You can do this."
Castiel watched her, looking lost and confused. He held the blade like he wasn't sure what to do with it. Naomi watched for any change of expression. In truth, she was wary. She was unarmed, and he, a murderer of their kind held a weapon a foot from her and she was vulnerable in a vessel...but, she trusted in the controls she'd already built up. She stepped back.
He watched her walk to the side of the room with that same uncertainty on his face. His throat worked, wanting to ask, she thought, but not willing to admit he was afraid. Fear was another human emotion, that would have to be dug out of him. But this was not the time. The emotion they were targeting now was love.
Angels did not love, not as a human does. They didn't have favorites. They didn't let affection and connection stop them from following their duty, and they certainly didn't follow humans out of Heaven multiple times. Not as Castiel did. And everyone knew that Castiel loved Dean Winchester best of all.
That had to stop.
A door slammed on the other side of the room, and one of her perfectly made doppelgangers emerged.
Naomi watched as Castiel's body started, took a shuttering half step forwards towards the figure that entered, and then jogged over, shock on his face.
"Dean! What are you doing here?"
Dean Winchester approached Castiel, everything about him just the way he was on earth. His customary clothing fitted just so over his stocky body, hair styled the way the real one did, his eyes just that particular shade of green. She'd gotten everything perfect.
"Dean?" Castiel was even more confused, staring at Dean with a pale face. The double did not respond, as programmed. It wouldn't have lines until Castiel passed the first phase. It only stood there as Castiel leaned closer, examining, seemingly forgetting that this was a test, and the examiner was in the room.
"Now." She murmured, and the programming picked up her order.
Castiel stepped backwards at the same moment she spoke, realization on his face.
"Wait-" But it was too late. The Dean double attacked, swinging a blade at Castiel's face. Castiel leaped backwards, the blow coming within inches of his right eye. He ducked under the blow, and came to a rest in a crouch.
"You're not Dean." He said, his voice sure, hard. He could see that these doubles were automatons, soulless and only able to follow instructions, but that was part of the plan.
The double took no notice, and attacked again, stabbing downwards. Castiel dodged, and rolled, coming out of it to swing a leg under the double and topple it to the ground. It crashed into the floor, and let out one of Dean's programmed huffs of air. She smiled, the sound was perfect. It gave Castiel pause, but only for a moment.
He knocked the blade out of the doppelganger's hand with his foot, and then straddled its chest, immobilizing its hands over its head. He was breathing quickly.
"Naomi," He called out, his voice rough. "What is this?" He didn't look over at her, but stared into the impassive face of Dean's double.
Naomi watched Castiel almost as impassively.
"A test." She said.
"What kind of test?" He growled, and now he glanced over, anger filling his face. The double took advantage of his distraction. It had Dean Winchester's full fighting prowess, and Castiel would have to pay attention. It reared up, and head butted Castiel, cause his head to snap backwards, allowing the double to roll away. Castiel got to his feet quickly, as did the double. They circled each other slowly.
"Naomi, what kind of test? What have you done to Dean?" Castiel said, not making the same mistake, his eyes glued to the double's.
"Affection is a weakness, Castiel. You have to defeat it, purge it from you. That isn't the real Dean, you know that. But you must be strong enough to break free of the hold he has over you. And this is how you do it."
Castiel was distracted again, confused. Her training was telling him that what she said was the truth, but the human side, that 'gut' that Dean would tell him to trust was protesting. That was another thing that should be purged.
The double was about to attack again, but she held up a hand, wanting Castiel to understand this. The double froze where it stood.
"Castiel, look at me." Naomi stepped closer, and he turned to her fully. "You trust me, don't you?"
He hesitated, started to shake his head no, took a step back, and then nodded slowly. "Yes?" It lilted upwards into a question, but Naomi ignored it for the moment.
"You must understand that I'm trying to help you, trying to help Heaven. Dean has corrupted you."
That brought a strong denial, but that was acceptable for now, for he was still listening.
"He led you away from Heaven, away from your family, and broke you. He left you behind in Purgatory."
"No, that's not-"
"He is just a human, Castiel. And you know better."
Castiel was shaking again, and Naomi sighed. The discussion was going nowhere. She stepped backwards, and signalled again, and the double jumped to life. The barest scuff of the boots it wore on the floorboards, and Castiel whirled into a defense. The knife was back in Dean's hand, and it fought hard.
Castiel blocked and dodged and jumped away, but he was still trying to avoid hurting it. That wouldn't do.
"Castiel." Naomi said, as the fight continued. "You know what you have to do."
He shook his head,
"No," He said, ducking another strike from the double, and circling around to shove it to the floor.
"You must kill him."
"No!" Castiel shouted, and leapt on top of the double, pinning his hands again, and knocking the knife far away. His own angel sword was still gripped in his hand, seemingly unnoticed. The double squirmed, trying to get to the knife, but Castiel held it firm with his free hand.
Naomi breathed out in annoyance.
"Kill him." She ordered. Castiel's blade hand twitched, but he noticed and stilled it, fighting against her.
"I won't hurt Dean."
Naomi stepped closer, until she stood above the two.
"That's not Dean. You said so yourself. This is simply an exercise, one you will have failed if you don't do this. Kill him."
From this close, she could see the minute trembles that ran up and down Castiel's body, the grimace he made to fight off her persuasion. The double still fought back, as it was instructed to. Naomi ignored it, instead watching Castiel.
She watched as his blade hand moved from his side to lift above Dean's chest. The point trembled.
"Kill him, Castiel."
He struggled, and his face twisted, agony and denial in his expression. Naomi thought of the calm faces of her brothers and sisters, and leaned closer. "Kill him!"
He still paused, still hesitated, still refused, and so Naomi grabbed his hand and did what he would not.
With a sharp thunk, Naomi stabbed the sword downwards, Castiel still gripping it, and pierced the double's chest, through the heart. Dean gasped realistically, his eyes going wide, and his face pale. Blood welled up around the blade's handle, where Castiel's hand still was, covered by hers.
The double died undramatically.
She squeezed Castiel's cold hand, and let go, climbing to her feet and dusting off the suit her vessel wore.
"There, Castiel. That wasn't so hard, was it?"
Castiel didn't move, staring at the doppelganger underneath him. It gave Naomi pause, the blatant grief on his face, the disbelief, the anguish.
She stepped away, knowing she should call the next double in. She would make Castiel practice this until he was perfect at it. But, something held her back for a moment.
Castiel had slowly climbed off the double's body, and was pulling it upwards to hold its limp form against his chest. In his embrace, the double was already cold and white, but Castiel didn't seem to care. He buried his face into the double's neck, and his shoulders trembled. He was weeping.
Angel's should not show such emotion. This was why the others thought she was crazy to attempt this. Castiel just felt too deep. It was insane to think she could grind that out of him, turn him back into the obedient angel they all remembered. Insane? Perhaps. But Naomi remembered that she'd gotten him to draw his sword, and hold it shaking above the chest of the man he loved. That was a step.
The next step would come.
She gestured, and the next double entered the room. Blood spattered the floor here, but there was plenty of space.
"Castiel." She said, her voice sharp, brooking no objection. His head jolted up, looking at her through a film of tears. The vessel's fluids already ran down his face, smeared with the blood of the double. He was shaking and flushed and hitching little breaths. So very far from angelic.
"What? I've killed Samandriel. I've killed Dean. What more could you possibly want me to do?" His voice was low, poisonous, jolting. Naomi did not allow herself to react. She gestured to the side.
"Again." The double stepped forwards. Castiel's eyes flitted to the second double, before going back down to the first one. There was definite relief, as well as fear and horrifying realization. He shook his head, pulling the first double against him.
"You will." She ordered, and stepped back. "You will fight, and you will kill Dean Winchester, until you can do it easily, with no hesitation. Do you understand?"
Castiel shook his head again, like a stubborn child, but Naomi's patience was through. She walked back to the edge of the room to watch. She would not help this time. The doppelganger attacked, and Castiel dodged and ran like a coward for hours. But in the end, more due to an accident than not, the second Dean lay dead beside the first. Naomi didn't allow Castiel to grieve this time.