One-shot, head canon thing that explores the reason why Naomi forced Castiel to kill 1000 Deans in 8x17. This was written before I saw last night's episode, so some of this doesn't like line up. Since Naomi met her end, this story goes out to her. Amanda Tapping is fantastic and I really wish we'd gotten to learn a little bit more about Naomi's charcter. RIP, you fierce bitch.

By the time Castiel was convinced to kill Samandriel, Naomi nearly had complete control over him. At this point, Castiel didn't know who she was and he didn't remember her face. All he knew was what she had done to his mind, the thoughts and ideas that she had put there. The night he killed yet another angel, it was Naomi pulling the strings. He saw Samandriel screaming at him, calling him a traitor, his eyes glazing over as he reached for the angel blade at Castiel's side. He saw the little angel as completely broken, driven insane from weeks of torture, his mind torn into and destroyed by demon. He saw Samandriel attempting to kill him and he saw himself acting in self defense. As this version of Samandriel reached for the blade, Castiel saw himself, an angel who quicker, older and more powerful, snatching the blade from Samandriel's grip and driving it into his chest, and then watching as the light and the grace poured out of his vessel. Finally, as he cradled the dead angel in his arms, he saw himself mourning Samandriel, heartbroken that he had given up and been driven insane. Of course, none of this actually happened, except the last part. Castiel had indeed nearly wept because of Samandriel's demise and he was heartbroken that he had been the cause of it.

When he returned to Heaven, once again convinced that it was the first time he'd been back in years, he didn't see Naomi, pacing the white room, muttering to herself about how unbelievable it was that Samandriel had broken. He doesn't see Naomi snatching the broken down body of Alfie and looking at it like it is roadkill. He doesn't hear anything she was saying about the angel tablet, about how it would give Crowley the power to close Heaven. He doesn't hear her telling him that the angels had to keep it out of Crowley's hands, at all costs. He certainly doesn't hear her say that they must keep it out of the Winchesters' hands as well. Right now, Castiel doesn't even realize there is an angel tablet.

No, Castiel didn't see any of this and he didn't know of this. At this point, all he saw was white. After a few minutes in Naomi's office, he was no longer cognizant of his surroundings or even himself. Naomi made sure of that.

All angels can read minds, but Naomi, the queen supreme of the Investigations team in Heaven, has unparalleled telepathic abilities. Her abilities give her total access to angelic minds, to the deepest crevices where the tiniest shards of doubt and free will exist. Castiel's mind is probably one of the messiest minds she's ever encountered. It's a tangle of guilt, love, confusion, and worst of all, humanity. Castiel's time on earth and in purgatory, his rebellion, and "acts of God" make it difficult for her to fully delve into his head. She's not sure she wants to; the humanity disgusts her and she doesn't understand the guilt, because most angels don't feel guilty for anything they do.

On most days, Castiel's mind is nearly human. If it weren't for his grace, she probably wouldn't be able to tell it was the mind of an ancient angel who'd been around since the dawn of humans. Instead, she might mistake it for the brain of a human who had lived a difficult existence. When she plucked Castiel from Purgatory, she almost threw him back in, because his mind made her wince, while also confusing her, which hadn't happened to her since 1300. His thoughts disturbed and almost terrified her. Castiel was so far off the reservation, so close to humanity that she didn't think he was worth saving.

When Naomi delves into Castiel's brain after Samandriel's murder, she sees her own work, the control, the memory wipes, but below that, she is once again shocked at what she finds. After weeks of reprogramming, Castiel's humanity remains. His mind is still drenched with guilt, which Naomi is using to her advantage. On top of that, there are also lingering feelings of love and thoughts of never returning to Heaven again. In Castiel's mind, the only reason he'd ever return would be to make amends. Castiel no longer sees himself as an angel and his thoughts about his form and his true home are conflicted. He thinks he's fallen too many times to be a real angel and Naomi agrees; Castiel is cracked, flawed, and he is hardly worthy of calling himself a Soldier of God. Below this particular brand of self-loathing and self-doubt, she sees Castiel's true thoughts about the other angels. He sees them as murderous creatures, riddled with God's mistakes. Castiel prefers humans to angels, yet his need to redeem himself to Heaven still overtakes him, because he still views the angels as his true family. Getting past the guilt and the doubt, two emotions that dictate his thoughts, she sees something that makes her consider throwing him back into Purgatory herself. She sees a face. One face, above all, that dominates almost everything, even overwhelming the angel's self-loathing and guilt.

It's a face she loathes, a face she cannot seem to eliminate from Castiel's mind, no matter how often she digs her claws into his brain. She sees the face of Dean Winchester, former sword of Michael, the Righteous Man, the one who motivated Castiel to act upon centuries of doubt and fully rebel. She was able to scrub Castiel's mind of the younger brother in three sessions. True, it had been difficult to erase Castiel's empathy for Sam Winchester, but it is proving to be nearly impossible to scrub away Dean. Naomi loathes the brothers. The Winchesters are the destroyers of archangels and the impetus for Heaven's current state of being. While the Winchesters as a single entity anger Naomi, the disdain she has for the elder Hunter overwhelms her. She loathes him, wants to kill him slowly and painfully. She hates him most of all because he is the first human that she has not been able to wipe away.

Angels like Castiel aren't totally unique—many angels love humans, but Naomi has always been able to destroy angelic goodwill toward God's hairless apes. Yet, Dean and Castiel stand out among others. Castiel's memories of Dean, the love he has for Dean, are proving to be stronger than Naomi's control—stronger than Naomi herself. She cannot have this, nor does she understand why this human is stronger than her abilities. There are very few things Naomi can't do. Yet despite her enormous power, Dean Winchester has overpowered her in more ways than one. Castiel loves Dean and she is certain that this love will prevent Castiel's full reprogramming and will prevent him from doing what he was brought back from Purgatory to do.

She decides moments after Samandriel's murder that Dean Winchester has to die. It is a task that is easier said than done. Killing Dean has never been the difficult part—it's making sure he stays dead. Naomi is certain that if she were to strike Dean Winchester down now that Castiel would just bring him back to life. She considers Crowley, perhaps handing the elder Winchester over to her sworn enemy and her former lover. She decides against it when she remembers that Castiel was able to get part of Sam Winchester out of Lucifer's cage and that doesn't seem like a good plan either. Also—it's Crowley—and though Naomi has a certain and very secret fondness for the King of Hell, she does not make deals with the Devil. Naomi also knows that killing Dean could break the precarious hold that she has over Castiel and make him rebel once again. She never thought he'd rebel after reprogramming him the first time, so many years ago, before Lucifer was free. Yet, Castiel had rebelled and he had just met Winchester at this point in time. Now? Castiel has known him for years and he loves him—her hold is strong, but it could still break. Castiel is not like other angels and Dean is not like other humans.

The solution comes to her when she is disposing of Samandriel's vessel. Castiel is seated in front of her desk—or what looks like a desk, anyway, looking stoic, unaware that she is defiling what remains of the little angel. Her control is great because Castiel barely realizes where he is. Yet, once again she is reminded that her control is not strong enough to overcome Dean Winchester. She decides that Castiel must be the one to destroy Dean Winchester. No other angel would dare bring him back to life—not after what happened with Zachariah and Michael—and if Castiel killed Dean and had no desire to bring him back, then her problem would be solved. It was going to be difficult. She will have to train him to kill the hunter, make it automatic as an angel's ability to fly. She might not be able to wipe Dean from Castiel's mind, but if she can wipe away Castiel's empathy for him through action instead of control, one of the peskiest thorns in her side would be gone for good.

She expects it will take awhile. That almost pleases her though. Watching Castiel kill Dean Winchester over and over again seems like an agreeable way to spend her time.

Castiel snaps awake. True, he doesn't sleep, but suddenly, his consciousness comes alive, and it's as if he's waking up for the first time in weeks. His eyes widen and he looks all around him. Wherever he is, it feels familiar, yet he's never seen it. It feels like home- a perverse, terrifying version of home. He's standing up, in a large, white room. Everything is white, the walls, the tiles, the ceiling. It's cavernous. It reminds him of a hospital or an arena.

"I've been here before." Castiel murmurs, his eyes darting back in forth. He looks down. He's in his vessel—or what appears to be his vessel—yet, he knows he's not on earth. "I'm in Heaven." He says in a shocked voice.

"You're in your vessel because this is what it's going to be like down there. You will appear as you always do to him." A commanding female voice says.

An angel appears before him. Her human form is wearing a charcoal grey pantsuit, her hair is brown and her eyes are blue. In truth, her vessel is similar to his in appearance. That is where the similarities end. One look tells him that the angel standing in front of him is much stronger than he is. He senses power, overwhelming power that he can hardly comprehend. She appears perfectly controlled, yet underneath it, Castiel can sense anger, and underneath that, excitement.

"Naomi." He says. The words come out of his mouth and he doesn't know where they came from—Castiel is sure that he has never met this being.

"Castiel. I think it's about time you start becoming more aware of me. After all, I am the one who rescued you from Purgatory."

Castiel's eyes widen again and he opens his mouth to say something. He wants to find out why she rescued him, wants to find out who she is. But he doesn't, because he already knows this.

"Samandriel." He says slowly. "You… made me kill Samandriel."

Naomi nods curtly. "And you are perfectly fine with it."

It feels wrong to admit it and he can't remember why, but Castiel knows in that moment that Samandriel's death was justified.

"He was a traitor." Castiel muttered. "A traitor who had to die."

"Yes, and you did Heaven a service taking him out. You are a great warrior, Castiel. You are one of Gods favorites because he knows you will do anything to protect his creations, to protect earth. But we are God's children too and it is time for you to repay your debt to Heaven."

Castiel's head drops and if he could cry in Heaven, he would. Waves of shame and self-hatred, overtake his grace and as usual, he wishes he were dead. He feels nauseated, even though angels don't eat, don't have internal organs and shouldn't be able feel nauseated. He guesses that this is what self-loathing feels like.

"Do not feel guilty. You are flawed. You spent too much time on earth, just fell too far. I am here to make you better, to give you a purpose. You can save us all, protect us. I am here to give you a mission."

"What mission?"

"The angel tablet." She says simply.

Castiel's eyes widen. An angel tablet? One exists?

A tight smile dances across Naomi's face. "Yes, Castiel. You know how important it is."

He does. Innately, even though he didn't know until this moment that it existed, he realizes its grave importance, simply because he knows what the Word of God can do. The angel tablet could save Heaven or destroy it. It's a nuclear weapon and if it got in the wrong hands…

"Crowley knows about it, because of Samandriel. He betrayed us. But I know you won't. Not this time. You are meant to protect it, Castiel. It is written."

"But… Metatron…"

"Metatron is dead." She snaps, a little too sharply, making Castiel think for a brief second that he's not. "Now, it is your duty. You must protect it, bring it home, keep it away from the demons and others who seek to destroy us."

"The Winchesters… they could bring it to the prophet. We should tell them. They could help me find it." Castiel says.

"No! Don't you see, Castiel? The Winchesters are the reason you fell so far. They are the reason Heaven has been destroyed. None of this is your fault. You spent so much time in the presence of humans and demons that you forgot about your mission. Protect Heaven. Protect the angel tablet." Her voice is like a lute, melodious and convincing. Castiel can feel himself getting pulled under.


"That is why you are here, Castiel. This is why we brought you back. Your mission is to recover the angel tablet and protect it all costs, including keeping it away from Dean Winchester."

"You're right, we shouldn't tell them." He agrees, even though he's not sure why. "I swear to you, I will keep it safe once I find it. Only Heaven will ever harness its power."

Castiel suddenly has a mission and it feels good to have a mission. It feels good to be chosen by God to do something. He doesn't bother to wonder why he was chosen or why the Word of God, which belongs to humanity, would need to be protected by an angel in the first place.

Castiel himself said that the Word "wasn't meant for angels."

None of this matters now because he has a mission. He thinks it's a mission from God, although it is actually a mission from Naomi.

Naomi jumps straight to the point.

"It is not enough to keep it from the Winchesters. You know they will get it, one way or another." She says. "To protect the tablet, you must kill him, Castiel. Dean Winchester. He will not stand for this. He will not allow Heaven to guard the tablet. He will not let you guard the tablet. He seeks destroy us. All of us."

Everything goes cold. "No." He whispers. "No, Naomi, he's just a man, he could never…"

"He is a distraction. He is also more than a man. I think if we had realized this a long time ago, than Heaven would be far better off, and so would you."

"He's a good man." Castiel repeats. "He's just a man. He's not an angel. He's not you. He could never..."

"With the tablet, he could. With a prophet under his thumb, he could. He is an obstacle and you must destroy him." She says firmly.

"I care for him." Castiel says weakly.

"You are in love with him and it is absolutely disgusting." She snaps, her cool and collected demeanor fading for the first time. She catches herself and straightens up. "You are an angel. He is human. It is blasphemy."

"I am not in love with him. He's… my friend."

"Oh, Castiel. You are so lost. Chosen for such a great purpose, yet blocked by something and disgusting and insignificant as a human. You don't even realize. I can see inside your head in places that you can't. Your love for him, it will be your downfall, your death. It clouds your judgment, and blocks your path. I know your true path and it is with the angel tablet." She says, her voice once again soft, almost a coo.

Castiel hangs his head. With or without Naomi's control, he'd know it's blasphemy. You can love humans as artwork or as pets, but not as equals. Sexual intercourse? Well, there's a reason Balthazar and Gabriel left when they had the chance. There was a reason that the Archangels had eliminated all products of human and angel conception. Intercourse with humans and romantic love for humans are considered the greatest sins of all for angels. He doesn't feel wrong though. It's never felt wrong to love him. Castiel realizes in that moment that Naomi is right and it's just something he's never said out loud.

"You have to kill him."

"I can't." He whispers. "Naomi, I could never…"

"I know. You are not ready. But you will be."

Without a word, Dean materializes and comes trotting toward him. Castiel's breath hitches in his chest at the sight of him, drinking in his familiar gait, the dusting of freckles across his face, those deep jade eyes and the warm smile that Dean reserves for him, just for him. It's always like this, every time he sees him.

Castiel stares at him. Naomi stares at Castiel and he can feel her revulsion toward him and Dean coming off her in waves. She keeps her back and her face completely straight though.

"Dean." He breathes, speaking his name like it's a prayer. "What is he doing here?"

"That's not really him. It's a copy. Can you not tell the difference?" She asks, sounding dubious.

Castiel stares at Dean again and really takes him in this time, and suddenly, it's obvious. He can't sense Dean's emotions and his grace isn't pulling him toward the copy like it does with the real Dean.

The Dean copy loses his warmth, instead smirking as he approaches Castiel. "Do you know how much I wish you'd stayed in Purgatory?" The copy taunts. "How much I wish you had died? How much I wish you'd stayed in a coma? Why the fuck are you here, Cas?"

Castiel stops. The copy is somehow emoting. He can feel and hear the disdain. The copy of Dean is disgusted by him and truly does not want him around.

"You're pathetic." The copy spits. "You're a power hungry, maniacal, and you think you're God, when really, you're a sorry excuse for an angel. You're a goddamn child, Cas. You ruined everything. Everything."

"Stop this." He murmurs, glancing at Dean and then at Naomi. "Get rid of him."

"All you wanted was Dean." She says. "Well, now you've got him." Suddenly she pops out of sight, leaving Castiel alone with the cruel copy of his Dean, the Dean that she says he loves.

The copy stalks toward him and suddenly an angel blade materializes in its hand. Castiel can tell it's real by the way it glints, reflecting the bright white of the room. Castiel gulps a little bit. He doesn't know what this copy is. He doesn't know if it's a figment or another angel or some poor soul being forced to dance for Naomi's pleasure. Whatever it is, what matters is that it's angry and it currently possesses a real angel blade.

"What are you?" Castiel asks, backing away. "Who are you?"

"I'm Dean Winchester and I'll do anything to stop you." The copy snarls. He leaps at Castiel with surprising speed, speed that reminds him of how quick Dean was in Purgatory, and slices the edge of Castiel's arm with the blade.

Castiel gasps in pain and jumps backward. He looks down at his arm and can see the faintest hint of grace leaking out. He stares at the copy, taking in its furrowed brow, the stormy green of his eyes, looking exactly how Dean looks during a hunt. Except now, he is hunting Castiel. It is one of his worst nightmares come true.

The copy leaps forward again, slicing the angel blade through the air. Castiel is quicker this time and avoids it. He continues to back away, unable to hurt the copy. He can't believe that even two years ago he could almost kill Dean. He thinks of the alley. Maybe if he just beat on the copy a little bit, it would go away.

It's a test.

Castiel is suddenly horrified by Naomi and he's horrified of what he'll have to do to the copy. He tries to fly away, zap down to earth, confess everything to Dean, but he can't.

Naomi's voice is in his head, but she's nowhere to be seen. You have to kill him. You aren't going anywhere until you kill him. Don't worry, Castiel. It's not really him. It'll get easier.

The Dean copy slices at him again, catching the edge of his overcoat, the blade grazing his thigh for one brief, painful second.

It's not really him.

Castiel tells himself this as he stares down the copy. The copy smiles at him, an evil, angry smile, its green eyes glinting, and then lunges at him again. The copy is surprisingly strong, much stronger than the real Dean. The leap sends them flying backwards. A leap like that from the normal Dean never would have knocked him from his feet.

It's not my Dean.

The copy straddles him, angel blade held high, ready to penetrate his chest, when Castiel shoves his hand forward, covering the copy's face, and reveals his true form to it for a millisecond. The copy howls in pain and falls backwards, clutching its face, its eyes burning out of its skull. Castiel watches miserably as the creature screams and claws at its face, hollering MY EYES! MY EYES! over and over again. He bends over and grabs the angel blade from the copy's hand and quickly stabs it in the chest, ending its pain. The copy howls one last time and dies.

Castiel stares at it, his grace thrumming as heartbreak fills the core of his being. The copy looks exactly like Dean, sounded exactly like Dean, even mimicking his mannerisms down to Dean's smirk. This version of Dean currently has charred, blackened holes where his beautiful green eyes should be and the angel blade protrudes from his body, tilted at an unnatural angle. Castiel chokes and pulls the blade from his chest and falls back, unable to take his eyes from the body.

It's not really him.

As Castiel assures himself that the Dean is a copy, just a copy, not a human or an angel, he hears footsteps resounding through the arena, coming up behind him. He spins on his heel and another copy is slowly moving toward him, a cocky, Dean-esque smile on his face. Castiel groans as the copy winks at him and unsheathes another angel blade from a holster on his hip. One look at it and Castiel can tell this one is real too.

Hidden from sight, Naomi feels a smile blossom on her face as Castiel punches the second copy and stabs it with the angel blade taken from the first copy. He lets out an anguished cry as it falls dead next to the first one. She twitches her hand ever so slightly and the original angel blade disappears from his grasp.

"Why are you doing this?" He cries. "Please, stop! I'll do whatever you want, just don't make me do this."

Naomi smiles wider and a third copy appears in front of Castiel, this time holding a false version of the Colt, which wouldn't kill the angel but leave him in extraordinary pain. She has already decided that the first few copies are going to be vengeful versions of Dean, coming after Castiel because of what he did while he was playing God. She figured this was the easiest way to play on his guilt complex while also making him defend himself. She wanted to twist him as much as she could before he started going numb. She thought it might take 100 Dean copies to make him reach this place, but it'd be well worth it. The third Dean shoots at Castiel and the angel easily dodges it, despite the emotional anguish he's clearly feeling. The copy stalks after him, preparing to shoot again, and Castiel bends over the second Dean and picks up the angel blade, throwing it with deadly accuracy into the third copy's chest. The copy dies and Castiel lets out another anguished cry as it falls dead. Naomi is slightly impressed because Castiel is quickly and easily racking up a pile of bodies.

He really is a good fighter.

Despite this thought, as she watches Castiel break, she realizes that she has never seen an angel display this much emotion. Castiel's pain over killing the copies is thrice the pain what he felt at killing Samandriel. This both outrages and pleases Naomi. She is angry that Dean means more to him than another angel and it pleases her because sensing Castiel's pain is giving her a sociopathic little thrill. It's not like she wanted Castiel back in the first place. Once the Winchesters dug up the Leviathan tablet, she realized that she needed him. Naomi hates this and making him hurt is making up for it.

She realizes it might take more than 100 copies to break him and that she might have to change her approach after the 20th copy or so, perhaps making the copies beg and confess their love as Castiel as he kills them. The real Dean would never do this though, unless in great torment, so she might have to intervene herself and kill a few copies in front of Castiel. She smiles even harder. The prospect of murdering Dean Winchester, even if it isn't really him, gives her chills.

A fourth copy appears in front of Castiel and Naomi makes the angel blade disappear, this time forcing Castiel to kill him with his bare hands.

It does not take 10 copies or 100 copies. It takes more than that.

Naomi, for the 800th time since she plucked Castiel from Purgatory, is shocked.

What does it take for him to break? When will he completely bend to my will?

She doesn't know anymore.

Castiel is currently being faced with the 300th version of Dean that she has conjured.

Castiel stares at the copy. He has lost track of how many versions of Dean he has been forced to slay. He doesn't know how long he has been here. It feels like it has been years. Castiel fears he has actually died and this is Hell. In Heaven, your paradise is whatever you want it to be. Maybe that's what Hell is now. Hell is your worst fear embodied and then being forced to face it and do it for eternity. Choose your own torture. Castiel's worst fear has always been killing Dean. The only time it wasn't his worst fear was in those brief moments as a deity where he felt so superior that Dean no longer mattered to him.

The copy is walking around, seemingly oblivious to Castiel's presence. The copy is cautious, like he's hunting. At least this time he's not after Castiel. Despite this, he still doesn't know what this one will be like. So far he's encountered many vengeful versions of Dean, a few Deans that begged for his help "finding Sammy," a Dean or two that claimed to love him, and even a dead-blind-mute Dean that was so defenseless that Castiel was able to kill him easily, because the real Dean would never be defenseless. This Dean seems normal though, in hunting mode, gun drawn, creeping around walls that seemed to pop up out of nowhere, looking for his prey. Castiel watches warily as the copy bends over.

Naomi pops into existence. She stands behind the wall where the Dean is and Castiel can see her smile at him, placing a finger to his lips. This is a new game. She has yet to insert herself into the "Kill Dean" scenario. The Dean moves around the wall and comes face to face with the copy. The copy backs away, becoming aware that Naomi is what he is hunting.

"Where is Cas?" The copy snarls to Naomi.

Castiel's heart drops, which surprises him, because after killing so many copies, he thought he'd lost it. He tries to move forward, but he can't.

He's trapped.

"Castiel was a bad boy." Naomi says, taunting the copy. "I sent him home to Purgatory."

"You bitch!" The Dean screams. "You fucking bitch, what did you do to him?"

Naomi shakes her head and with the twitch of a wrist sends him flying. The copy yowls in pain, but stands up and re-approaches Naomi. He shoots at her and misses, and she throws him again.

"I'm not leaving here without him." The copy chokes.

Castiel feels his heart drop even lower and he realizes what Dean this is. It's Purgatory Dean, the one that never stopped looking for him, begged him to come back to earth with him.

"I need him, where is he?" He yells. "Come on, you don't want him!"

Naomi approaches the copy. It is lying on the ground, clutching its arm, which appears to be broken. Naomi looks up and smiles coldly at Castiel, looking him directly in the eye. He involuntarily shudders because her gaze is filled with so much hatred for him. Naomi moves her hand and flays the copy.

Castiel screams. He screams like animal, his voice guttural, filled with more pain than he ever thought possible. If he was on earth, any nearby humans would die. He tries to run toward her, kill her, but he's still frozen.

The copy no longer has skin. Naomi has turned it inside out and Castiel can see is tendons and bone. The copy is smoking, literally smoking from being skinned alive. Castiel thinks of the real Dean and how he loves to grill out and he feels sick.

The copy isn't dead. "Cas." It gasps. "Cas, please."

Castiel's walls break. He howls out in pain again, determined to cradle the copy, ease its pain as it dies. Naomi won't let him. She grins at him again and then with another flick of a wrist, she snaps the copy's neck.

She makes him watch her kill 50 Deans, breaking their bones, snapping their necks, decapitating them, stabbing them, and disemboweling them. She kills them slowly, taking her time, regaling in their cries and in Castiel's reactions. By now, Castiel is so overcome with grief that he is convinced that he is truly in Hell, except this layer is further down, reserved for the very worst kind of sinner. Naomi killing Dean over and over again and being unable to stop it, listening to the copies beg for him, pray to him is one hundred times worse than having to do it himself. Being unable to protect Dean, watching him die over and over is worse. By the end, it doesn't matter. Castiel knows what's coming. He finally knows what's coming and he knows he's unable to protect them. It'd be better to spare them Naomi's wrath by killing Dean himself because at least he'd do it mercifully.

When Naomi hears this, she stops and gives the power to murder Dean back to him. Castiel thinks it might be over. Finally over. She isn't done though. Castiel has to be willing to do more than murder Winchester out of mercy. She needs him to kill on command.

She continues sending copies out and Castiel simply stares at them dejectedly, killing them quickly by snapping their necks or by stabbing them. Naomi senses his dejection and sends out yet more copies that tug at Castiel's heartstrings. More Deans that claim to love him. Versions of Dean that want to protect him. Deans that smile at him easily, mouth in that ever familiar quirk, and offer him a beer. There is no longer any need for vengeful Deans because Castiel will kill them either way.

Castiel isn't fooling himself anymore. He realizes that she won't stop. If she will, he doesn't know how to make her. After all, he's passed his tests; he's killed hundreds of Dean and watched her slaughter 50. He doesn't know if Naomi will ever stop. Maybe this is his punishment. Maybe this is how he will redeem himself to Heaven. Castiel is so crazed with grief and pain that, at this point, that he no longer remembers what she told him about his mission to protect the tablet. Maybe it doesn't matter because all he can feel is the utter sickness that comes along with these tests. He no longer believes he will ever be able to return to Earth. He will do this until his grace burns out or until Naomi kills him.

By around the 500th Dean, Castiel has accepted his fate.

By the 900th Dean, Castiel no longer feels anything.

By the 1000th Dean, he no longer cares.

By the 1200th Dean, killing Dean has become so automatic that Naomi decides that Castiel is finally ready.

"I know what I must do." He intones as yet another Dean appears out of nowhere.

Castiel doesn't even hesitate or watch the copy. He creeps up behind him and stabs him in the back with the angel blade. Another copy appears immediately , begging for his life as Castiel knocks him over and stands over him with an angel blade. Castiel just stares at him with dead eyes and stabs him in the chest, watching as he crumples and falls on top of the Dean he'd killed seconds previously. Naomi reaches into Castiel's mind for the hundredth time in just as many days.

There's nothing.

No guilt. No love. No humanity. The memories of the Winchester brothers still exist, but they are washed over in shades of grey and whitewashed of any emotion. Castiel's other emotions, memories and thoughts bear a similar sheen. He is aware of what he's thought, what he's believed, but he no longer cares. It isn't even obvious that he has been broken. Castiel's mind is a void; the emotions and the thoughts that made him the worst kind of angel are now covered in layers upon layers of apathy. Naomi's "tests" involving Dean have done the unspeakable: they have broken Castiel, literally made him numb. The only part of Castiel's mind that shines brightly is Naomi's own words and the utter fear that he has of her. Castiel is no longer sure why he is scared of her, but his fear is so great that she knows he will obey.

Naomi materializes, smiling at Castiel, but mostly smiling at her own work.

"Congratulations, Castiel. You are finally ready." She says.

Castiel cocks his head and regards the pile of dead Deans with indifference. He mostly is thinking that soon they will start to smell. Otherwise, they aren't affecting him at all. Naomi is so happy she laughs. Castiel just gazes at her with the same dead eyes he had when he killed the last 200 or so Deans. He looks bored and he doesn't laugh along with her.

He's the perfect solder again.