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“Just tell me how you got out of Purgatory. Be honest with me for the first time since you’ve been back and this is yours.”

The blade dropped into Cas’ hand with a flash of silver. Fear flashed in Dean’s green eyes as Cas made his choice. His hand tightened on the handle of his blade, a practiced motion of a soldier.

“Cas.” Dean looked up from the blade to his angel’s face. “Cas, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you, but if you’re in there and you can hear me: you don’t have to do this!”

“Cas!” Dean screamed as he lifted the tablet in front of him, the angel blade striking it where his head used to be.

 

“This isn’t right. I won’t hurt Dean.” Castiel said, staring at Naomi in her too-bright office.

“Yes, you will” She demanded. “You are.” And he was.

 

“Cas, fight this! This is not you!” Dean shouted. He was fighting for his life as his angel came at him again and again, ready to kill him. “Fight it!”

“What have you done to me?!” Cas backed off for a moment, grabbing his head as if in pain. “What have you done to me, Naomi?”

“Who is Naomi?!” Dean yelled, his fear mixing with worry. His love was poured into his words, but Cas couldn’t hear them.

“What have I done to you?!” Naomi yelled back, over Dean, over everything. “I fixed you, Castiel. I fixed you.”

The tablet smashed on the ground as Cas twisted and broke Dean’s arm easily. His Winchester fell to his knees in pain, still in Cas’ grip. He let go of Dean as he swung and slammed his fist into Dean’s face again and again. Dean grunted and reeled.

“You want it? Take it. But you’re going to have to kill me first.” The dare was a bluff. Cas had heard it a million times before, killing all of the other Deans. They all prompted and provoked him when they got to this stage. They all gave him the option. “Come on you coward! Do it! Do it!” Cas swung again, shutting him up and making their eye contact break.

“Cas, this isn’t you. This isn’t you.” Dean sounded weaker. He was begging. He was losing. He was scared.

“BRING. ME. THE TABLET” Naomi ordered.

“Cas,” Dean gasped. “Cas, I know you’re in there. I know you can hear me.” His hand was up, halfway between a protective stance and a longing gesture. His bloody face was upturned and his one open green eye was locked on Cas, still begging for his angel to hear him. “Cas, it’s me. We’re family. We need you. I need you.”

“Cas.”

Kill him. Kill him. Kill him.

Cas’ hand tightened on the blade. With his free hand, he reached toward Dean. Dean cowered, putting up his hand in front of him while pleading. He grabbed the sleeve of the trench coat. He was gulping in his breaths.

Cas plunged the blade into Dean’s heart, all the way to the hilt. Blood bubbled up and spilled from Dean’s soft lips. His eyes stayed on Cas, the light flickering behind them as if he was trying to stay. His mouth moved, silently saying his angel’s name. He blinked slowly, painfully.

Cas slid the blade back out and watched Dean fall to the floor. His head hit the ground with a thud. His eyes didn’t open again. His chest was still with blood leaking from the wound, staining his clothes and dripping onto the floor.

Cas backed up, his angel blade still dripping with the blood of the only being he’d ever loved. The lights were supposed to come on now. Naomi was supposed to walk through the door, clapping and congratulating. He was supposed to be told how well he had done in the room full of Deans.

Cas looked at the broken tablet and back to Dean. His mind reeled. The fight replayed in his mind. This time he heard Dean’s pleading. He heard Dean’s fear, worry, and unguarded love as he begged Cas to come back and hear him. His heart felt like it was going to rupture. His breathing was too fast. This wasn’t supposed to be real.

He was on his knees next to Dean, trying to stop the bleeding. His hands helplessly scooped at the blood, trying and failing to put it back into Dean’s chest. He stopped, his blood soaked and shaking hands pressed to Dean’s open chest.

“This wasn’t supposed to be real!” Cas shouted.

“Dean!” Sam called as he ran in. “Dean, we need to go-” He stopped short. Cas turned to face the younger Winchester slowly. Sam’s eyes darted from Cas, grief stricken and hollow, to his brother, bloody, beaten… dead.

“Cas, what have you done?” Sam breathed. Cas stood slowly, leaving his angel blade by Dean’s side. Sam swallowed hard, fear visible on his face. “Cas?”

“It wasn’t supposed to be real,” Cas whispered. He sounded as if he were pleading. He struck Sam so his head hit the wall behind him. His palm pressed to Sam’s forehead, he watched Sam’s eyes light up as he was smited by an angel he trusted with his brother’s life.

Sam’s lifeless body sagged to the floor as Cas turned around to face Dean. He looked like all the rest of them, but his heart was broken this time. He knelt next to the tablet and picked it up. Bright light blinded him for a moment as it repaired itself using his grace.

Maybe it wasn’t real. Maybe this was just one more test and he could go back to the real Dean and it would all be over.

He handed the tablet to Naomi with steady hands. He held onto it as she tried to take it.

“Can I go back to the Winchesters now?” Cas asked, pleading to be released.

“What?” She looked genuinely confused. “You carried out your mission, Castiel. Dean Winchester is dead. So is his brother. Mission complete. Hand me the tablet.”

His hand tightened as his chest seized. Dean. The tablet crumbled in his grip. Naomi yelled out, but all Castiel could hear was his hunter saying his name over and over.

Cas, this isn’t you. Cas.

His blade dropped into his hand again as he stabbed Naomi, his eyes stuck on her face as her eyes lit up, her grace lighting a fire inside of her that would kill her in a moment. She dropped onto her desk and her precious tablet pieces.

It was real.