With the Supernatural writers thinking that the real love story is between Sam and Dean, and Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki admitting they've read "Wincest", can you blame the fans for noting every bit of subtext between the boys?
You also get Misha Collins commenting at cons about how he hopes Sam, Dean, and Castiel will all live together when the series is over and openly asking the crowd how they feel about Dean/Castiel. TPTB know ALL about the slashy subtext.
There's a running joke, especially in the first season, where other characters assume Sam and Dean are gay.
In 'Bedtime Stories', Sam explains the basic concept of several classic fairy tales to Dean. Dean then asks Sam if he "can be any gayer!?" Sam just looks at him, and Dean tells him "not to answer that".
In "Lazarus Rising", the girl in Sam's hotel room revealed to be Ruby in a new body asks if Sam and Dean are together after they passionately hug each other. Sam distractedly replies that Dean is his brother.
Girl: Uh...got it. I...I guess?
When you think about it, the fact that they are so clingy and that they completely destroy themselves when the other one is dead kinda makes their love canon, even if they're not screwing like hot, gay, incestuous bunnies.
Lest we forget Sam referred to Dean as "a male model type" in "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
"What exactly are you afraid of? Losing? Or losing your brother?"
They tend to bring the ridiculously stupid crazy sometimes when it comes to each other. When Sam died, Dean making a year-long deal to bring him back was possibly the stupidest thing that he could possibly do. Ever! And in Time Is On My Side, Sam is willing to make himself and his previously-suicidal brother immortal monsters just so that Dean wouldn't leave him, which is messed up in so many ways.
At one point, Dean, when trying to describe their relationship, differentiates between their love and their family bond.
And isn't it just a bit odd that they keep getting compared to self-destructive, clingy, passionate couples? In Nightshifter, Hendricksen called them "Bonnie and Clyde" and in Time Is On My Side, Dean compared them to "Sid and Nancy". Foreshadowing a downer ending? Or just Ho Yay-tastic?
And they are named after their maternal grandparents, who were, of course, a married couple.
The writers play this up for all it's worth, even if it isn't canonically "that kind" of love. One episode has the brothers hunting a Siren, which seduces men by reading their minds and turning into the perfect woman for them (plus a little bit of love saliva). It inevitably gets to the Winchester brothers by becoming a male, if not particularly hot, FBI agent who offers to be Dean's new little brother if he kills Sam. (For the record, it's Hand Waved in the episode by saying that the siren gives its victims whatever they desire most. For most men, it is a beautiful woman. For Dean, it was "a little brother who looks up to him.") Doesn't slow the slash down, but it was a clever way of working it in.
This bears repeating; in an episode in which the Monster of the Week was reading the innermost thoughts of various men and morphing into whatever their deepest desire indicated (and, for every previous male victim, manifesting as a hot stripper), Dean's ideal, the person by whom he is most easily seduced, is revealed to be... wait for it... an idealized version of Sam. This from the same Dean Winchester who does all in his power to be viewed as a womanizing neanderthal. And ignoring the fact that the Siren later draws Sam into his thrall as well, and forces the Winchesters to fight to the death over his love. Yeah.
As well as the fact that in every previous incident, the stripper/Siren seduced the male victim and proceeded to convince him to murder the other woman in his life; in Dean's case, the Siren manifests as Dean's ideal male companion and then sics him on Sam. This... is barely even subtext anymore.
The siren was being an idealized version of Sam. Sam himself isn't perfect, no one in the victim's life is, so you can say he took the "blueprint" of Sam and turned it up to 100. You could sort of say the siren was younger!Sam and adult!Sam in the same body: the mindless big brother hero worship Sam held for Dean when he was younger, combined with the proud man who can match Dean step for step in the present.
It finally gets to the point where the brothers actually comment on this after reading fan comments on the internet (of a book series inexplicably written about their adventures).
Dean: There are Samgirls and Deangirls, and... what's a slash fan?
Sam: As in... Sam-slash-Dean. Together.
Dean: Like, together-together?
Dean: They do know we're brothers, right? ...that's sick.
In 2.05, Simon Said, when Dean and Sam are sitting in the Metallicar, Dean mumbles something that sounds suspiciously like he is calling Sam "baby".
Dean: Baby, you look like you're sucking on a lemon.
And in 5.16, they share a heaven because they are "soulmates". Although this is not actually canon, just something fans assumed based on what Ash said. In fact, Dean and Sam meet in Heaven because Dean seeks Sam out, not because they actually shared one Heaven together. It's even an important plot point that Sam's Heaven didn't contain memories with Dean as far as we've seen it, while Dean's first memory, i.e. piece of Heaven, is of making Sam happy. If anything, this episode hints that they aren't soulmates after all, but that obviously doesn't prove anything.
Dean: Wait. If Iím in heaven, then whereís Sam? ("Dark Side of the Moon")
Dean: [waking up after being strangled by Azazel and sees Sam] So I'm dead? This is heaven? ("Exile on Mainstreet")
Sam and Dean are always being likened to criminal couples, or just plain couples, even by Dean himself. Hendricksen calls Sam the Bonnie to Dean's Clyde (to which Dean smiles and agrees), and Veritas tells Sam that he and Dean are Mallory and Mickey, the killer romantic couple of Natural Born Killers.
Again with parallels, in "Goodbye Stranger", Castiel wants Sam to protect Meg who he reveals he has feelings for and doesn't want to get hurt, and Dean wants Sam to stay outside to "guard" Meg because he doesn't want him to get hurt either.
Dean seems all too comfortable to read porn with Sam around
In the episode "Goodbye Stranger", Dean finds vintage porn and proudly shows it to Sam before sitting down right across from him and reading it.
Sam helpfully offers to leave the room while Dean has his, ahem, personal time with "Miss October", to which Dean says he could use 10 minutes. Then raises his eyebrows and smiles suggestively at Sam as he gets up and leaves. It's even funnier when you remember Dean's stern words to Castiel about it being "unacceptable" to talk about porn with dudes in the room. Sam is always the exception.
Kyle revealed to Sam and Dean in "Bedtime Stories" that his brothers had been killed. When he asks how would Sam and Dean feel, Sam replies he couldn't imagine anything worse.
Seen subtly in Hook Man: While Sam is explaining to Dean what he's found out about their case, a male party-goer openly sizes us Sam in the background. Dean watches him until he's out of the shot, then puts a hand on Sam's back to lead him away. After which we see the guy come back in the shot, take a look at Sam and Dean, then roll his eyes and leave. The implications are hilarious.
Dean admitted he was at his best next to Sam, doing what they do best
Eric Kripe called Supernatural "The epic love story of Sam and Dean". The actual original showrunners words. Doesn't get much ho yay than that.
Can we count all the times Sam has chosen Dean over everything else? The Man Who Knew Too Much, The French Mistake, The Girl Next Door, etc.
Pam asked Sam and Dean if they wanted to have a threesome with her. Pam is psychic.
The majority, if not all, of Dean's prayers are always to ask for help for Sam.
In "Changing Channels", Sam is tranformed into the Impala and Dean goes to search the car for holy oil. After a moment, Sam tells Dean he's really uncomfortable. Dean has his hand in the trunk of the Impala.
As pointed out later, episode 6x05, "Live Free or Twi-Hard", has something that could be a parallel to either Destiel or Wincest: Sam and Dean go to a bar during their investigation. While they're there, they see a taller fair-haired man kissing a shorter man with dark hair. Hm... Furthermore, souless!Sam shows no reaction, but Dean finds it necessary to avert his eyes - glancing quickly at Sam, looking for his reaction - and keep them averted for a while.
Who could forget the line in Mystery Spot: "Sammy, I get all tingly when you take control like that." So blantantly Ho Yay-tastic that it's a wonder it got through the censors.
There's a scene where they have been Mistaken for Gay for the second time that episode. Rather than explain that they're brothers again, Dean runs with it, calling Sam honey and smacking him on the ass.
Pointing out how weirdly close the brothers are to each other is basically a competitive sport with the minor characters on the show.
Michael: FirstÖwe talk. Then I fix your darling little Sammy.
Also the moment Sam is hurt in that scene, the look on Dean's face is heartbreaking enough without the shocked "Sam?" that accompanied it. The show feeds off tears, it would seem.
In "Coyote's Kiss" of the Supernatural book, Dean jokingly asks Sam if he'd miss him too much to go on without him. Sam immediately looks away◊.
In "Appointment in Samarra", Dean tells Death he wants to bring Sam's soul back instead of Michael's, even those he acknowledges that it's "damaged" (try "flayed to the raw nerve").
In "Bloodlust", after Gordon refers to Sam as "Sammy", Sam coolly tells him that Dean is the only one that gets to call him that, after which we get a reaction shot of Dean smiling smugly to himself.
The angel Zachariah described Sam and Dean as "erotically codependent." The only other way to interpret that is as a way of turning Adam against Sam and Dean.
Pointing out other people's Ho Yay seems to be Balthazar's hobby. When Sam is knocked out by Castiel breaking the Hell-wall, he calls him "Sleeping Beauty" and asks if Dean stole any kisses.
More recently, in "Shut Up, Dr. Phil", after an episode of marital hijinks between two pissed-off witches, Sam attempts to wind up the case by turning Maggie and Don's tempestuous eight-hundred-year marriage into a metaphor for his and Dean's relationship. Dean attempts to shrug it off by saying that he and Sam have nothing to work through, but Sam and the viewers know better.
During the final moments of Supernatural Season Four, Sam and Dean react to Lucifer's imminent appearance by blindly clinging on to one another.
Even soulless!Sam felt the innate love that Sam had for Dean. When Dean hugged him, he smiled, not out of any raw feeling, but because he knew that was the instinctive feeling that went along with it. Like "Yes, this is how this goes".
Then there's this gem in "The End Quotes":
Dean: We're not stronger when we're together — I think we're weaker. Because what we have — love, family, whatever it is — they are always gonna use it against us. We're better off apart.
In this show the heroes are more concerned with their Heterosexual Life Partner than with any Love Interests. Especially the moment in "All Hell Breaks Loose" where the hellgate opens: Sam, Ellen and Bobby try and shut it; Dean gets pinned to a grave by the Yellow-Eyed Demon, and Sam immediately goes to save his brother, leaving Ellen (who is a woman, but not a Love Interest) to try and shut one door by herself.
In the most recent episode, the two guys filming wonder if Sam and Dean have an office romance going on.
And then you've got Shifter!Dean tying Sam up and laying his hands on his thighs.
In "Point of No Return", Zachariah lamented that Sam and Dean would "rather save each other's sweet bacon than save the planet"
During a con, Misha Collins (who plays Castiel) started talking about a Supernatural drinking game:
Sam and Dean are so codependent, it's a wonder they even know how to function, really
Dean: "You almost died there. I mean, what would I have—"
More so, when Sam asked Dean to kill him so he wouldn't kill anyone else, Dean tells him that he'd rather die than do that.
In season 3 we see Dean being tortured in Hell while wearing Sam's amulet. In the first episode of season 4, we see Dean returning the amulet to Sam. That means that Dean's soul was wearing the amulet. This gives support to the theory that Sam and Dean are soulmates, tied to one another.
In 7x08's "Time for a Wedding!", Dean is pointedly annoyed with Sam and Becky's marriage, though it's mostly because she's monumentally creepy.
Dean: [annoyed] Shouldn't she ask for my permission or something?
The whole jealous!Dean things goes so deep, it's become a parody of itself. In "Metamorphosis", Dean finds out Sam has been spending his time with Ruby and acts in a stereotypical jealous wife from a 50s novel.
Sam: What, are you, are you leaving?
Dean: You don't need me. You and Ruby go fight demons.
Sam: Hold on. Dean, come on, man.
Dean: [punches him in the face.]
Sam: "You satisfied?"
Dean: [punches him again]
In "Swan Song", Dean's love for Sam and vice versa is so strong, it breaks the hold Lucifer has over Sam. That makes it the love that literally saved the world. This is even more powerful when you realize this was actually intended to be the finale of the show before CW asked for it to be renewed and replaced showrunner Eric Kripke with current executive producer Sera Gamble.
And while there, Dean mindlessly shouted out Sam's name while being tortured, signifying their "psychotic" codependency.
Sam has become comfortable with comparing himself and Dean to the married couples they meet.
In "Sam, Interrupted", Dr. Fuller separates the brother because, quote, "To be frank, the relationship you have with your brother seems dangerously codependent", to which Dean immediately looks upset.
Dean's idea of a prank is putting things in Sam's mouth in crotch-area
In the pilot, Sam tells Dean that he had the skills to find their dad alone. Dean tells him he doesn't want to, not without Sam.
Jensen Ackles acknowledged that Wincest was a "hot fantasy" for fans in his interview for "Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships".
Sam and Lucifer. "It had to be you", after some rather intimate moments in bed with the supposed ghost of Jessica.
The whole Lucifer-is-destined-to-possess-Sam thing had shades of an arranged marriage, with Lucifer doing his best to "court" Sam and trying to convince him that it was his destiny. Brought to its fullest subtext in the finale of Season 5 when Lucifer finally possesses Sam and spends most of the episode trying to make him happy with the arrangement from sparing Dean (which came back to bite him the ass) to giving him revenge against Azazel's cronies who'd been manipulating him his entire life. Really he came off as an older dutiful husband trying to please his young, unhappy bride!
Season 7 gets off to a good start Ho Yay wise, what with Lucifer calling Sam things like "bunkmate" and "his little bitch in every sense of the word". It's far beyond subtext now.
Balthazar more than implied this way back in the middle of Season 6; Michael and Lucifer "hate-banging" Sam, anyone? And even earlier on, Castiel was making some extremely suggestive comments about how traumatized Sam would be as a result of the two pissed-off angels "taking out their frustrations" on him.
Actually, what Mark Pellegrino has unleashed upon the seventh season is probably the most blatantHo Yay in the history of the show.
Except that at this point, we're pretty sure that Lucifer isn't actually there. Which means that yeah, it's Sam's mind that generates all of Lucifer's yay-tastic comments. "Aww, he wants to hold your little hand... How sweet."
And in Season 7, Episode 15 Sam's hallucination of Lucifer returns, this time acting pouty whenever Sam ignored him and squealing like a schoolgirl when Sam finally interacted with him again! Not helped by the Monster of Week's relationship to his former host almost explicitly paralleling Lucifer's relationship to Sam, and they were anything but subtle!
Not to mention the line about how Lucifer had missed interacting with Sam: "The rapier wit, the wittier rape..."
All the way back in the pilot, you've got this lovely line:
Deputy: Fake US Marshall, fake credit cards... you got anything that is real?
There's also a bit of Gordon/Dean going around. After all, Dean did get manipulated pretty badly by him in Bloodlust and wanted him as a Daddy figure. When Gordon becomes a vampire in Fresh Blood, he can sense Dean's scent all over the phone shop and before Sam beheads him with barbed wire, he slams Dean up against a wall and bites him, prompting an honest-to-god orgasm face.
To be fair, though, nobody seems to have any concept of personal space when it comes to Dean. Can someone say Azazel? He just loves to pin Dean to walls/graves, lean in far too close and tell him how worthless he is. It's especially disturbing/sexy/twisted when he's possessing Dean's Daddy in "Devil's Trap".
Continued when Azazel possesses Dean's grandfather and moves into his personal space, showing once again that the Big Bad apparently loves Wincest even more than the fans do.
And then there was also Alastair and Dean. With all the implications of "poking and prodding", Alastair acting like an stalker ex-boyfriend and even calling Dean "Daddy's little girl", it was all quite yummy to say the least.
Let's be realistic. There is no way in Hell that Alastair did not get around to tormenting Dean that way at some point.
There's only so many ways you can try to break somebody. Has to be taken into account.
4x06, "Yellow Fever", Dean gets drunk and starts flirting◊ with a policeman.
There are not enough words in the world to describe the Dean/Nick(-the-Siren) in 4x14, "Sex and Violence".
First off, for the previous victims of the siren, said siren had appeared as a woman and caused the victims to kill the most important woman in their life. In one case it was the man's wife; in another, it was his mother, but in both cases the siren was disguised as a woman the men found sexually desirable. For Dean, the siren is a man, and tries to make him kill the most important man in his life - in his case, it was his brother. Presumably, the guy who killed his mom wasn't actually in love with her, he simply loved her more than any other woman in his life, but the siren still appeared as an attractive woman. It's well-established that Dean cares about Sam more than anyone else*
regardless of your feelings on Wincest vs. Destiel, this is still fairly early in Dean-and-Cas's relationship
, but in only his case does the siren appear as a man rather than a woman.
Dean ignores the girls◊ at the strip club, instead paying◊ attention◊ to Nick. Note that this is before Nick has poisoned him, and so any effects Nick has on Dean are entirely free of the supernatural.
When Dean thinks Sam has been infected by the siren, he calls Nick - the (supposed) Federal Agent - for help.
Most of the episode goes back and forth between Sam and Cara (who Dean thinks is the siren) working together, and Dean and Nick (the actual siren) working together. The two relationships run more-or-less parallel; we see each pair growing closer in roughly similar time. Sam and Cara's relationship leads eventually to sex...
Dean is finally infected by the siren. Nick proceeds to tell him this in a very seductive voice.
Sam sees that for Dean, the siren appears as a man. He is totally unsurprised by this.
Bobby sees that for Dean, the siren appears as a man. He is totally unsurprised by this.
And do let's note that this episode was written by Kripke himself, shall we?
In "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester", 5x07, Sam has just quite definitely confirmed the ID of a man. Dean proceeds to lift up the blanket and look at said completely naked man, with a most interesting look on his face◊, before putting the blanket back and saying that yes, it's definitely him, he has the right birthmark.
And of course, in season five's Changing Channels, Dean very obviously has a crush on the very male "Doctor Sexy". Just look at that body language◊. Could he look any more like a pre-teen girl meeting her celebrity crush?
Dean: Oh boy. It's him. It's him, it's Doctor Sexy.
And, of course, he knows the show well enough to spot the Trickster in disguise as Dr. Sexy, because...
Dean: I swore part of what makes Dr. Sexy sexy is the fact that he wears cowboy boots. Not tennis shoes.
Dean gets a bit with Gabriel, too:
Dean: Bite me.
Gabriel: Maybe later, big boy.
Demon!John leans in real close to Dean and emotionally tortures him.
Episode 6x06, "You Can't Handle the Truth", we've got this little snippet:
Episode 7x20, "The Girl With The Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo": Charlie has to flirt her way past a guard to get to Roman's computer, but has no idea how to flirt with someone who isn't a girl. Dean has to coach her through picking up a guy.
Dean: "It shows, you look amazing." (to Sam) This never happened.
A new ship joined the fleet right in the very first episode of season 8: Dean/Benny, also known as Denny. They embrace each other right in the first five minutes of the episode, and obviously share a strong bond they formed in Purgatory.
Then, 8x05 introduced us to the OT 3 that is Dean/Cas/Benny also known as "Destiny". Benny saves Castiel's life in Purgatory despite their mutual dislike, and the entire episode is basically Dean and Benny bonding further, outside of Purgatory.
Early in season seven, Sam makes a joke about the current Big Bad being named "Dick" *
of course, Sam's far from the first or last to do so, in-universe and out
(and then looks down at the computer◊ apparently concentrating intensely on typing [because a google search requires one's full and complete attention])
(and, to quote bakasara again, "and Sammy held this priceless face◊ for 2+ seconds straight as he decided he would never try to be funny again)
But why is it this joke, out of all the many he's laughed off or returned in kind, that Dean's apparently too hurt/upset by to respond or even acknowledge?
And how could we not mention Dean's "gay thing" in 8x13, Everybody Hates Hitler? As he speaks to two very attractive pretty girls, he can't help but be distracted by the MAN giving him eyes in the corner. Immediately after noticing Aaron (playing a part, but Dean doesn't know that!) noticing him, Dean becomes much more flustered than with aforementioned pretty girls.
And hoo boy, when he gets over there. First we have Dean's gem of a facial expression when Aaron begins openly flirting with him. Then the seemingly inexplicable shot of Dean slooooowly pulling his FBI badge off the table (gratuitous hand porn, or metaphorically taking rank off the table? You decide). Then Dean becoming more flustered than we've ever seen him, stumbling over words, missing whole syllables, looking anywhere but at Aaron, blinking WAY more than usual, finally coming to a pinnacle in Dean's running into a table when he looks back to wish Aaron (still botching the whole situation like a middle school girl around her first crush) a good night.
Then the affirming to Sam on the phone later that the girls he was talking to were ''really hot,'' no, ''really.'' And another golden facial expression when he finds out that his "gay thing" (as he speaks of it to his brother) was just a ploy. Almost like he's...disappointed.
Not to mention that this is the first time we've seen Dean react to a man's blatant advances with anything BUT a declaration of heterosexuality. Character development in and of itself.
Sam and the Trickster/Gabriel in Mystery Spot. Whether Sam has Gabriel pinned against the wall, or is begging him to bring Dean back, it just smacks of slashiness. Then Gabriel admits who he is to Sam, despite Dean being there as well. And then very, very clearly holds eye contact with Sam for a beat longer than is entirely necessary.
It doesn't help that in their first meeting, back in Tall Tales, we get Sam paying way too much attention to (what he believes is) a simple janitor, especially considering the story was told from his point of view.
There's also Gabriel's odd obsession with Sam's genitals in Changing Channels, from the Japanese game show 'Nutcracker' to the genital Herpes commercial.
In 5x17, Castiel whispers into Sam's ear, for no apparent reason other than fanservice.
After Sam asked Balthazar for "angel advice" in 6.11, Balthazar immediately makes a quip about his "boyfriend" and Sam simply responded with "Cas can't help me."
Cas standing in front of a tied-up Sam, then removing his belt and putting it in Sam's mouth, effectively gagging him, comes across as just a little bit hot (minus the excruciating pain for Sam that followed).
Castiel and Balthazar. The cheesy (in-universe) music that plays during their first scene together doesn't help.
It helps that the two of them already have a history. Balthazar tells Castiel he admires him for rebelling (though his type of rebelliousness is the more shiftless, hedonistic Gabriel-type) and wastes no time trying to get Cas to indulge.
Balthazar: The footsteps I've been following—they're yours...you might as well blow coke and jump on the bed.
He then takes on the archangel Raphael to save Castiel, despite telling Castiel that he won't help him with the Civil War in Heaven.
And then in "The French Mistake" he does help—despite all his previous declarations about staying out of the war—and shares a long look with Cas while he was at it.
The Castiel/Crowley relationship has developed enough for it to gather a sizable following. It even has its own cute shipping name: Crowstiel. It helps that the two of them tend to act like husband-and-wife/husband-and-mistress in their interactions, and the other characters notice it (see below).
In 6.20-6.22, the Castiel/Crowley Ho Yay is off the charts. Crowley calls him 'kitten' and 'sweetie', there's angry slamming up against walls, Dean and Balthazar make bitchy comments about them being a couple ("THAT marriage is going swimmingly"), Balthazar quite seriously asks if they're "in flagrante"... oh, and Crowley reminds Cas "you're the bottom in this relationship".
And then in season seven, we've got more:
Crowley: You fancy a drink before you smite me?
Crowley: You like to bend 'em right over, do you?
In another scene with Castiel and Crowley in the same episode, when they have a fight about Crowley sending his demons to kill Sam, Dean, and Bobby, Crowley says "Well, I got news for you, kitten: a whore's a whore's a whore," regarding Castiel's conflicting loyalty. Castiel proceeds to slam him up against the wall and gets right in his face.
Castiel's archangel brother once calls him a "pretty boy angel", and the male demon Crowley very discreetly checks him out while acknowledging the following:
Crowley: There's a lot of angels swooning over you...you've got what they call 'sex appeal'.
Even if you didn't take into account all the blatant flirty comments Crowley tends to send Castiel's way (because homoerotic double entendres do seem to be his specialty), the fact that Castiel seems to be the only character in the series who consistently and profoundly affects Crowley—cool, always-in-control Crowley—is very difficult to miss.
When Castiel and Crowley meet again to clash over the Word of God, Castiel threatens the King of Hell in his weakened state, Crowley can't help but turn even that into a double entendre:
Crowley: Maybe you can get it up, but you can't keep it up!
Let's face it: the demon Crowley and everyone. He has a naturally sexual air about him.
Let's not forget Crowley and Bobby sealing the deal they made.
Bobby: Why'd you have to take a picture?
Crowley: Why'd you have to use tongue?
And was it just me, or did Sam seem way too interested in whether or not that had happened?
Gabriel: Face it. Lucifer's going to ride your ass one way or another.
Also with Dean:
Dean: Bite me.
Gabriel: Maybe later big boy.
He has some shades of this with Lucifer in "Hammer of the Gods" as well, with Lucifer cradling Gabriel's head in his arms and getting quite up close and personal. Unfortunately, this is right before killing him. Then, of course, there's this line, said quietly while very close to Gabriel's face.
Lucifer: I know where your heart truly lies. Here.
In 5.14, there's a Cupid. He's naked. And he hugs Dean, Sam, and Castiel quite enthusiastically.
Dean, of course, gets taken from behind.
It should be noted that this has bled over into the behind-the-scenes stuff, especially Jared. Somehow, he tends to be the one that tries to get all the other actors to Corpse, and tends to resort to things like just-off-camera ass pinching and kissy faces to do it. One time, he was lying in a hospital bed for a scene, and tried to get Misha to break by planting his foot in Misha's crotch (Misha: "There's a foot in my balls, just FYI.")
The title of Episode 6.15 - "The French Mistake" - is an example. It is a reference to the ending of the movie Blazing Saddles, where the camera zooms out to show the movie being filmed on a soundstage. Another movie is being filmed adjacent - which happens to be the homoerotic "French Mistake" - and the words "French Mistake" are extremely obviously meant as a euphemism for gay anal sex.
The bloopers. Oh god, the bloopers. They have loads of stuff (mostly Played for Laughs) like Jensen putting his head in Jared's lap, randomly jumping into his arms or stroking his face, Jared slapping Jensen's ass, J2 hugging and saying "I love you," all the time, Jake Abel groping Jared, Jensen fussing with Jared's hair, Jared fussing with Jensen's eyelashes of all things, Jared checking out Jensen's ass, and surely everyone's heard of the "I miss your musk" incident. And then Misha shows up and the foot-in-Misha's-crotch thing happens, he makes some insane come-hither face (twice), Jensen does this him-me-wink thing, Jared trying to make out with him and playing footsie with him, Jensen smelling his jacket and whipping him on the ass with a prop, etc... Not to mention Jared calling Sebastian a "sexy bastard" and making eyes at him. Jared does a lot of alone stuff too, like constantly showing off his ass and, at one point, licking his knife very suggestively.
According to Misha's CW Connect session he regularly ruins scenes by laughing. The most recent in the finale of Season 7 when Jared tried to pull his pants off.
"The Real Ghostbusters" hangs a massive lampshade on all this.
Announcer: "And at 4:30, there's the "Homoerotic Subtext of Supernatural."
On the female side of things, there's Anna and Ruby hiding out alone in a cabin before Sam and Dean find them, which leads to Anna smiling at Ruby and saying she's "not like other demons." Then Pamela comes in and gets all touchy-feely with Anna. Sadly, after they find out she's an angel, neither of Anna's girlfriends ask her on a second date. Boo.
Ahem. Dean and Castiel. Episode 4x01, his first episode, he already seems to have a thing for leaning waaaay too close to Dean and staring into his eyes. There's a reason for that.
Forget the staring, look at the way he's introduced! To quote Eric Kripke, "[Dean would] be attracted to someone who walked in the door, slaughtered everybody and walked out, and then he would say, 'Who's that?'" Castiel doesn't kill anyone, but he does knock Bobby (the only other person there) out cold. Dean's reaction to seeing him walk in, sparks falling all around? "Who are you?"
It's not just the first episode. In particular, the last 5 minutes of episode 4x02 were just ridiculously slashy.
The solidifying moment of shippiness was at the end of "In the Beginning," episode 4x03, when Castiel appears beside Dean in the past to bring him back to the present, with a hand on the shoulder and a tender, sympathetic expression. Look at his faaaace!◊
Episode 4x07 has a few moments between them, especially when Dean appeals directly to Castiel to let them try to save the town.
And later when Castiel confides in Dean something that he literally cannot tell another soul.
It's established pretty early on that Dean trusts Castiel, despite thinking angels are "dicks with wings."
Episode 4x10: Uriel delivers a threat to Dean. The explanation given for Castiel not being present?
Uriel: Castiel? He has this weakness. He likes you.
Dean's face there! He kinda straightens up, like he's thinking, "You- you mean it? You really think so?"
In that same episode, the plan is to set the angels and demons on each other and get out of the crossfire. Yet Dean, who makes it no secret that he has little love for the angels, saves Castiel from Alastair.
And by this point, Cas has apparently visited Dean's dreams often enough that Dean can immediately tell that Uriel is in Dean's dream. Later in the episode, we actually see Cas in Dean's dream for the first time, and they seem totally at ease there, like they've done it so many times it's normal for them.
Episode 4x16: Castiel has been demoted because he cares too much about Dean and his superiors feel it will 'impair his judgement'.
They're right. Castiel goes on to investigate something he has been ordered not to, because Dean was hurt.
Episode 4x18, Cas bends the rules almost to the point of breaking them entirely to help Dean, and by the 20th episode he's all set to disobey completely and tell Dean what the angels are really up to.
By this point at the latest, Dean has figured out that he can manipulate Castiel simply by threatening to end their friendship.
Every single episode in which Castiel appears seems to be a teaser for Castiel/Dean. Cas watches Dean in his sleep, he visits him in his dreams...
Episode 4x20 is a good one.
Cas apparently visits Dean's dreams often enough Dean can tell within seconds it's a dream, and seems totally calm about it.
When Cas asks Dean to meet him somewhere without telling him anything other than where to go, Dean does, though is confused and surprised when Cas doesn't give any more information.
Dean seems worried when they see the area trashed, and sounds pretty stressed when he calls for Cas.
Dean acts completely differently around Jimmy. He starts out with the usual eyesex, but within a couple of minutes stops looking at Jimmy almost entirely, and says nearly nothing. This behavior continues throughout the entire episode, and Sam starts giving him very weird looks when he notices.
Dean tries to send Jimmy away with no protection, and has no good reason for it. Because, of course, there isn't a good reason. Sending Jimmy away, back to his family, would just make him a target, and them, too. And of course, Sam's right, it does, and all three of them nearly die. Dean is an experienced hunter, this isn't exactly the first time he's dealt with demons, or with someone likely to be targeted by a monster. Sending an untrained, unarmed, unprotected man off alone, back to his family? Dean knows perfectly well that is a terrible idea.
Dean is in a much better mood after Jimmy escapes, actually laughing about it, despite Jimmy now being in serious danger.
Dean's good mood completely vanishes when Anna tells him that Cas was "dragged back home", saying it was "a very bad thing. Painfully, awfully bad", and "he must have seriously pissed someone off." Dean knows torture, he knows what Anna's saying.
When Jimmy kisses Amelia, we get a Reaction Shot from Dean, and he looks really jealous. Nothing from Sam, of course, because why would Sam care?
Dean's plan works almost perfectly; he was totally right about Cas coming back if his vessel was in enough danger, but when Jimmy is shot, Dean is horrified.
Claire!Cas comes to help Dean first, and then continues to stand within about four inches of him as long as possible.
Cas planned to tell Dean something Heaven didn't want him to know. Something they were so determined Dean must not learn that they tortured Cas to stop him.
Episode 4x21, Dean and Castiel just stare at each other for nearly 20 seconds.
More than just the stare, what's going on in that scene is amazing. For starters, despite being majorly stressed about Sam, his addiction to demon blood, not even knowing if Sam would survive the detox, or hell, trying to stop the apocalypse, the first thing Dean says to Cas is about Cas. "You can start with what the hell happened in Illinois?" He's not asking about Sam or the apocalypse, that's about Cas and Dean.
Cas starts the scene behaving completely differently from his normal manner. Usually, he appears within a few inches of Dean, and now he appears a good twenty-some yards away. (Meaning, at the very least, that he can do that if he wants, and so chooses not to.) He has to walk toward Dean just to talk to him, and he's so reluctant it looks like he's in physical pain.
Cas is a terrible liar, at least when it comes to Dean. When he says that what he was going to tell Dean in Illinois was "nothing of import", he can't look Dean in the face. Note that by this point, he's back to his usual spot a few inches away from Dean.
Cas looks back at Dean after he finishes speaking, but when Dean references his torture in Heaven he looks away again, only looking back to say "I can't. I'm sorry."
And after he says that, Cas walks away from Dean. We've seen it the other way around before, that's what Dean does when he's struggling, trying to deal with his emotions, when he's feeling vulnerable, when he's feeling scared, but Cas? That, we've never seen before.
Once there's some space between them, Cas changes the subject to Sam, getting the topic of coversation away from himself, and then comes right back mere inches away from Dean.
Even though Cas had just told him basically that if he did this thing, Sam would be okay, Dean kept questioning, and when he got that Cas was lying to him, or at the very least keeping relevant information from him, that was what upset him. Not that Sam might still be involved, even hurt, but that Cas had tried to lie to him.
Cas was called back to Heaven with no warning and tortured, because he was getting "too close to the people in his charge. You." Specifically, he was going to tell Dean something Heaven didn't want him to know, something they were willing to torture to prevent. And even after that, after he was tortured for being too close to Dean, he still manages to give Dean information the angels did not want Dean to have.
The zoom-out shot of them in that scene is reminiscent of the shots employed for especially romantic kissing scenes in many movies. You know the ones, beneath a starry sky, wrapped up in each other and oblivious to the rest of the world, surrounded by the scrap parts and old tires of Singer Salvage Yard...
Episode 4x22, Cas pins Dean to a wall and covers his mouth, leaning in REALLY close...
Aaaaand don't forget, this is the episode where Castiel chooses Dean over all of Heaven. And he does this by slamming him into a wall, getting up real close, putting his hand over Dean's mouth and pulling out a knife. Fanservice at its best.
Dean trusts Castiel, despite the knifeplay enough to go along with everything without question or complaint.
Also, Castiel does all this because Dean becomes disgusted with him and tells him, "We're through." Castiel reacts with visible distress.
And there's Castiel's repeated assertions (5.02 and 5.18 in particular) that everything he has done, he did for Dean.
Castiel: I killed two angels this week. My brothers. I'm hunted. I rebelled. And I did it, all of it, for you.
It's just barely visible in the very last scene of 3x16, when Dean is in Hell, but that's not his physical body. The actual amulet was removed from Dean's (dead) body, and kept safe by Sam until 4x01, when he gave it back to the newly resurrected Dean.◊
That Dean "felt naked" without. And he just hands it over to Cas, after not a full minute of thought.
Episode 5x03, Castiel appears out of nowhere about a foot away from Dean so that when Dean turns around their faces are really close together. Later in the episode, Dean straightens Castiel's collar and tightens his tie.
And when Dean takes Castiel to a brothel to get him laid, they both end up fleeing the place, with Dean admitting that he hasn't had that much fun in a while, as he slings his arm round Castiel and the two share a smile.
But Dean promised Castiel wouldn't die a virgin. Many a fanfic has sprung up around him keeping that promise when the brothel plan fell through.
Dean also, quite pointlessly, informs Castiel that Bert and Ernie are gay before taking him off to get laid. One has to wonder why.
Earlier in the episode, when Cas first shows up and asks for Dean's help, Dean says "So, what, I'm Thelma and you're Louise, and we're just gonna hold hands and sail off this cliff together?" Thelma and Louise, of course, kissed right before sailing off said cliff. [[The way he looks at Cas◊ as he says it... are they even trying to keep this to subtext?
Not to mention the reason he takes Cas to a brothel is because he asked Cas what he wants to do (on his last night), and offers booze, women... the look Cas gives Dean could easily be mistaken for "you".
The whole plot for Dean and Cas counts, actually. Cas probably isn't consciously manipulating Dean, but his explanation about needing Dean's help isn't exactly true. Everything they do in regards to the case, he could have done himself. Even his implication Dean could be used as a human shield didn't work, because when Raphael gets pissed and explodes a window, Cas instinctively shields Dean with his own body. It seems what Cas actually needed was moral support- understandably, not many people would want to spend what could be their last hours alone. Dean, in general, is so important to Cas that, in this instance, Cas mentally assigned him a more important role in this particular case than Dean actually occupied.
Episode 5x04, Even in the post-apocalyptic future, Castiel remains on Earth with Dean and fights beside him for 5 years, and despite becoming utterly disillusioned he still follows Dean into a situation he knows to be potentially deadly.
Future!Dean basically admits that he is using his friends as cannon-fodder, and yet:
Dean: Are you coming?
Castiel: Of course.
One of the things that appalls Past!Dean most about Future!Dean is his willingness to sacrifice his friends, but Past!Dean seems especially horrified that he's sacrificing Castiel. "You mean you're going to feed your friends into a meat grinder? Cas too?" He seems to imply that he could possibly understand sacrificing the others, but deliberately letting Cas die is crossing the line.
Cut from the production script:
Future!Castiel: But instead, we become this. The only thing I think we have left, Dean and me, is each other. (unadorned sincerity) If Dean says itís time to go out in a blaze of glory, win or lose, so be it. Iím in. But then... (smiles at Past!Dean) Thatís just how I roll.
Episode 5x08, "Changing Channels", has an interesting little moment. The host calls Cas a "pretty boy angel", and we get a Reaction Shot from Dean. Not from Sam, just Dean. And the face he makes... if he'd said "'Pretty boy angel'? I never really thought... well, maybe a little..." out loud, it couldn't have been any clearer he was thinking it.
And that's not all in this episode: So, Dean and Sam are in a sitcom-style show; Castiel manages to break in, and apparently tries to impart some important information. Before he can, the Trickster bursts in, throwing him against a wall and making duct tape appear over his mouth so he can't say anything. Dean looks, until this point, surprised/confused/annoyed, but not much more.
Trickster: [brightly] Hey, Castiel!
(The Trickster flicks a hand, and Castiel vanishes)
Sam: You know him?
Dean: Where did you just send him?
Trickster: Relax. Heíll live. (pause) Maybe.
Dean:(stepping forward, now clearly angry) All right, you know what? Iím done with the monkey dance. ĎKay? We get it. /
So he ignores Sam's fairly good question — how does a Trickster know Cas by name? — in favor of just getting mad.
Dean called Castiel "Huggy Bear" over the phone in "Abandon All Hope..." (in reference to a character on Starsky & Hutch, because of Cass saying "it's going down").
Episode 5x13 has a delicious little parallel. Dean is still dealing with the decision of whether or not to let Michael use him as a vessel. Sam points out that their father had eventually said yes. Dean responds:
Dean: That was different. Anna was about to kill Mom.
In other words, John said yes because the love of his life was in danger. Cas, meanwhile, is continually getting weaker, and is being targeted by both the angels and the demons. And what does Dean do a few episodes later? Try to say yes to Michael, even though Dean and Sam themselves are still okay. The only one currently really threatened is Cas. Meaning...
And, of course, there's this: When Cas almost collapses◊, Dean and Sam◊ help hold him up◊. However◊, they hold him very differently. Note how Sam has his hand on Cas's chest, but quickly removes it as Dean comes farther forward. While Sam has one hand hooked under Cas's arm and the other holding Cas by his elbow, Dean is holding Cas's arm so tightly it's pulling at the fabric, and the other is holding Cas's forearm. The way Sam is holding Cas actually provides more support than Dean, which would usually be Dean's primary concern. Then, when Cas starts to fall again, Sam tries to pull him up, using his own body weight as an anchor, while Dean collapses down with Cas to catch him before he hits the ground.
It's also probably worth pointing out Anna dies in this episode. A small, unimportant fact, it might seem at first — and until the reveal that according to TPTB, Anna was originally supposed to be Dean's endgame. As in final/long-term love interest. The Anna who appears in six episodes and gets killed off in the last. And the reason for the change? Misha Collins was originally slated for a few episodes as Castiel, to pull Dean out of Hell, before getting killed off, with Anna the one who'd be sticking around. But instead, Dean and Castiel had such chemistry, and the fans liked Cas so much better than Anna, that they switched the roles, killing off the no-longer-long-term-love-interest Anna, and keeping the fan-beloved Castiel instead.
5x14, "My Bloody Valentine" - a shipper's dream come true.
Everyone in the town is being affected by Famine. While Castiel explains that the effect can be to make them crave love, sex, drugs, or food, Sam is listening to Cas and taking in what he's saying. Dean,◊ on the◊ other hand◊...
Near the end of the episode, Dean tells Castiel to go in and deal with Famine while he waits in the car. He does so for all of twelve seconds. Dean then says it's "taking too long", and follows Cas inside. This is the hunter who's stayed up all night on a stakeout how many times, and now twelve seconds is "too long" to wait for Cas to come back. Tell me again how Dean isn't hungering for anything?
Let's note that the one who gave us that line about Dean not hungering inside because he was "dead inside already" was Famine. Who was working with Lucifer. Who wanted Dean to say yes to Michael so that Sam would also give in. And Famine would have no problems lying to Dean to advance his agenda...
One interpretation is that the reason Dean says that is not due to impatience, but the simpleness of the plan, which was teleport into the diner, cut of Famine's ring, teleport back with the ring. The fact that it took longer than a few seconds meant that the plan had failed.
Also note the name of the episode: "My Bloody Valentine"? With the impatience to follow Cas and the practically lustful staring referenced above, could this be another parallel perhaps?
"Huggy bear" from the last episode isn't their only slashy phone call. Practically all of them are, to some degree, but this episode has a particularly nice one. Dean calls Castiel to give him their location, and Castiel appears right in front of him before the call is even finished. Which prompts this exchange, all while standing mere inches apart and staring at each other, apparently oblivious to the fact that Sam is in the room with them:
Castiel: I'm there now.
Dean: Yeah, I get that.
Castiel: I'm going to hang up now.
Episode 5x18, "Point of No Return", has a lot of fun with this:
Dean responds to one of Castiel's way-too-intent stares: "Last person who looked at me like that, I got laid," followed by a wink when Castiel starts to leave.
The fight (or rather beat-up) scene. While it was surely brutal and nothing to be encouraged, not many fangirls missed how CLOSE their faces were. And just the fact that Cas took it that personally that Dean in particular was giving up... it was all very emotional.
It seems very likely that the quite stunning overload of Ho Yay in this particular episode was all quite deliberate Fanservice, since this was a milestone episode (the show's 100th) and what better way to thank your fans than trampling all over that fine line between subtext and text?
In episode 6.03, "The Third Man", Castiel states (like it's the most obvious thing in the world) that he and Dean "share a more profound bond" than Cas and Sam. The way he says it and then looks back at Dean makes it look like it's something he'd told Dean before, but "wasn't going to mention it" (his words) to Sam.
Amusingly, whenever another character points out the "profound bond" that Dean and Castiel seem to have, the normally snarky Dean goes completely silent and cannot even seem to muster a denial.
In episode 6x05, "Live Free or Twi-Hard", Dean and Sam go to a bar during their investigation. While there, we see a taller fair-haired man kissing a shorter man with dark hair. ::cough::parallel::cough::
Worth noting, too, that souless!Sam shows no reaction, but Dean apparently finds it so unpleasant to look at that he turns away, glancing over to see Sam's reaction, and then keeps his eyes deliberately averted for several minutes more.
In episode 6x10, "Caged Heat", Castiel and Meg unexpectedly start making out. The Winchesters could've turned around or pretended not to see, but the fact that they ogled the whole thing with those particular expressions on their faces made it hard not to think other things. Dean's shuffling and awkward little dance — like he doesn't know what to do◊ with his hands — made the entire scene all the more Ho Yay-tastic.
Most of season 6 has Dean being a big baby about Castiel not being around enough for him. He openly laments Cas not being human-like anymore. He just seems so entitled and used to having Cas by his side, and he's being a big jerk about it. In episode 6x17, "My Heart Will Go On", when Castiel finally opens up enough to say things aren't going so good for him, Dean finally starts cutting him some slack.
It's not just that Cas admits things aren't going well for him, it's that he admits he'd rather be with Dean and Sam.
That episode gets better: Balthazar tells the boys, or more specifically Dean, who he's clearly looking at for the last part, "I'm sorry, you have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trenchcoat who's in love with you?"
Episode 6x19, "Mommy Dearest."
Dean: Why's it always gotta be me that makes the call, huh? It's not like Cas lives in my ass, dude's busy!
Bobby: *Gives a disbelieving look*
Castiel: *Shows up behind Dean*
Dean: Cas, get outta my ass!
Castiel: I was never in... your... *Cue awkward looks*
Episode 6x20, "The Man Who Would Be King", is one giant testament to Dean and Cas's relationship, depressing ending included.
Dean seems really reluctant to suspect Castiel's working with Crowley, and seems visibly distressed by it. When Castiel is spying on them, he gives Dean a long, mournful look.
OHMYGOD this episode is so Dean/Castastic it's not even funny. Dean not wanting to believe the truth about Castiel, Castiel's desire to have his friends [read: Dean] not think poorly of him, topped with the emotional confrontation at the end. Take away all the heaven/hell/angels/demons stuff and this is an episode about cheating. Castiel is a cheating husband who covers his tracks and eventually slips up, Crowley is the other woman and Dean is the wife who won't listen to her girlfriends when they tell him her man is cheating. Take a look at this exchange and replace 'working' with 'sleeping', seriously.
Dean: You got to look at me, man. You got to level with me and tell me what's going on. Look me in the eye, and tell me you're not working with Crowley.
[Castiel looks at Dean, but then looks away]
Dean: ...Son of a bitch.
Castiel: Let me explain.
Dean: You're in it with him? You and Crowley have been going after Purgatory together? You have, huh? This whole time!
Everybody and their mother knows Dean projects his issues on other people. We see it again and again, including repeatedly in season 7, particularly 7x03 and 7x05, but there's a brief moment here, too.
Bobby:(talking about Castiel) That means we're dealing with a Superman who's gone Dark Side.
Dean:(looking at Sam) That makes you Lois Lane.
Note too his face during the line "Superman gone Dark Side"/"Superman going to the Dark Side", and even more look at his expression when he turns back to look at Castiel one final time before leaving the warehouse. He seriously looks like he's about to cry.
Episode 6x21, "Let It Bleed". Despite it being an episode with Lisa and Ben, it screams of break-up for Dean and Castiel. In Dean's mind, all things having to do with Cas > Lisa and Ben.
Castiel cares about humanity only in a very detached way. Him turning against heaven is motivated by a desire to keep Dean's friendship (as confirmed by Misha Collins - and the script). Teaming up with Crowley is motivated by not wanting to cause Dean further anguish.
Episode 7x01, "Meet the New Boss".
Right at the beginning, Cas says specifically the point of becoming God was to attain Dean's love.
Godstiel: Stop it. Whatís the point if you donít mean it? You fear me. Not love, not respect, just fear.
The first thing he does as Godstiel is to smite a minister in the middle of a sermon about the evils of homosexuality.
Dean clenches his jaw and turns off the tv immediately after a woman being interviewed calls Cas sexy.
And then, that final scene is so slashy it's not even funny. First, right at the beginning of the ritual, Cas falls and Dean starts forward to help him immediately, is hesitant to let go, and is clearly ready to catch Cas if he starts to fall again.
Then, just as the portal is opening, Cas turns to Dean and says "I'm sorry, Dean.". The mix of emotions on both of their faces says so much in just a few seconds. And then, when you learn a few minutes later Cas didn't expect to survive the ritual, you realize that though he had enough time to say goodbye, he chose not to, so that instead the last thing he said would be Dean's name.
As soon as the ritual is over, Dean is there with Cas, trying to tell if he's alive. When Bobby says Cas is cold, he asks if there's a pulse. Then, he gets this hopeful look on his face and suggests "Maybe angels donít need to breathe". When Bobby convinces Dean that Cas is really gone, he looks completely crushed, and like he can't believe this is really happening. As he stands up, he says "dammit", and he sounds like he's had the wind knocked right out of him.
And then, all that is completely reversed in a matter of seconds when Cas heals and opens his eyes. He looks like he's just been told the most wonderful thing he's ever heard. He helps Cas up, holding on to him rather longer than necessary, and when he does let go he just kinda trails his hand down Cas's arm slowly...
Despite Cas having betrayed him completely - including hurting Sam - when he says he'll find some way to redeem himself to Dean, he says "one thing at a time," indicating that as actually possible. Only Sam's ever gotten that much from Dean.
And then, after the Leviathan take over and say Cas is dead, Dean just collapses, looking utterly crushed, and so much more so than any time before, even when he thought Cas was dead just minutes ago.
And this isn't nearly everything! There's so much meta out there about this episode.
Also a bit of slashy Foe Yay there, considering Leviathan!Cas yanks Dean close, holds their faces about four inches apart, and stares at Dean's lips half the time they're talking.
Might be more than just Foe Yay, too... In a later episode, a captured Leviathan tells Dean they knew everything Cas knew. Perhaps a bit of Cas's ...feelings... carried over for those initial few seconds?
Episode 7x02 is just as amazing. In particular, when Castiel seemingly explodes underwater and his trench coat (over coat) washes ashore, Dean picks it up, folds it, and takes it with him.
Not just folds it - folds it roughly the way the flags on veterans' coffins are folded for their widows/widowers.
Bobby points out the thing Dean and Cas had, in a totally un-Bobby move. When Sam chose Ruby over Dean, Bobby's reply was "So sorry your feelings got hurt, princess." When Cas dies?
Bobby: You just lost one of the best friends you ever had, your brotherís in the bell jar, and purgatoryís most wanted are surfing the sewer lines, but you know, yeah, I get it. Youíre fine.
Parallel time! Episode 7x03 has a major parallel: from Dean's point of view, Sam/Amy is pretty much the same as Dean/Cas; a relationship between a supernatural being and a Winchester boy who fell in love with them when he was too stupid not to. Dean thinks Cas betrayed him, and that he should have killed Cas when he had the chance, and he projects that guilt onto Sam and Amy. Killing Amy is basically Dean trying to do it right this time.
Episode 7x04, we see Dean go for his first one-night-stand in a very long time, and he apparently has to convince himself to do it.
Dean: You are Dean Winchester. This is what you do.
And then there's this:
Dean: Iíll do another.
Bartender: Love life or job? [*smiles at Deanís confused look*] Two quick doubles, itís something. Iím Mia, by the way.
Dean: Well, Mia. That is aÖ complex question.
...so why exactly is it complex? What "love life" are we talking about? Dean hasn't slept with anyone that we know of since Lisa, and before that, Anna. Why would either of those be affecting him like this now?
Episode 7x05, "Shut Up, Doctor Phil". Though, as mentioned above, this could be a parallel to the Sam/Dean relationship, there's some notes of Dean/Cas in there, too.
Dean: Obviously you two are capable of wiping each other out, right? But you havenít, huh? Which means, that you two, you still valueÖ whatever it is youíve got. And you want to keep that dance going.
Dean and Cas both had the chance to kill each other, multiple times, but didn't. And then, it gets better...
Sam: Okay, thatís going WAY too deep there, cowboy.
Dean: *pulls back, looking completely horrified*
Since when has Dean been bothered by talking about sex? He and Sam have joked about it before, what difference is there this time? ...except maybe the fact that he's talking about himself and Cas there? Dean himself has used "feathery" to talk about/to Cas before, including in "The Third Man" - moments before Cas's line about their "profound bond"; remember that - and that previous bit set it up as Dean talking about the two of them disguised poorly as talking about the two witches. How does Sam take over from here?
Sam: What he's trying to say is that you two, whatever it is you have, you're bonded.
"More profound bond", anyone? Clearly, considering how Sam cut Dean off, he got what Dean was really saying there, and was basically saying "stop projecting your shit on these two."
Episode 7x07, Dean manages to say more about what's up with him than he has so far in the entire season except through projecting on others.
Dean: Ever since Cas, I'm having a hard time trusting anybody.
In addition, we see Cas's trenchcoat in the car at the end, and that pony from last episode - the one with the wings - is next to it.
Episode 7x08 takes that even farther, thanks to the Turducken.
Dean: Are you kidding? Iím fine! I ó I actually feel great. The best Iíve felt in a couple months. Cas? Black goo? I donít even care anymore. And you know whatís even better? I donít care that I donít care. I just want my damn slammer back.
So, having been drugged by said slammer, Dean's able to say what's bothering him. It's not the problems he and Sam had been having, it's not losing/giving up Ben and Lisa for good, it's not the Leviathan keeping them on the run, it's not Sam's mental problems, it's not even Cas's betrayal, or time as God, it's about Cas's death.
Episode 7x15 is an entire episode of incredible parallels. Go read flutiebear's meta on it, there's not room for it here. (Actually, go read flutiebear's meta about all of these. She covers everything mentioned so far in season seven and more, and usually in more detail.)
Even though his wife was just held captive by a demon, it's Dean who holds Emmanuel's attention, and not her, in their conversation.
The entire conversation in the car is amazing, and cannot possibly be summed up here. One moment out of many, and one fairly easy to overlook on a casual viewing, is when Emmanuel!Cas asks Dean if the one who betrayed Dean was his friend. Dean doesn't answer verbally, but his face gives it away. He gets this expression on his face, and looks away from Cas, like he wants to say "Yes, he was, but he was more than that, too," but can't, because he still doesn't quite understand how he feels, and he doesn't know how to put it into words.
When Cas regained his memory in that same episode, the three memory flashes shown were about Dean. There was another, too, but with that one we didn't get to see what he remembered, only the expression on his face when he did. And look at his eyes: he's looking down and to his right, "a body language cue which generally indicates you are remembering a smell, a feeling, or a taste."
Not to mention, Dean kept his coat in the back of their car, and there was the line from the promo, "part of me always believed you'd come back." How is this not canon?
This deserves to be repeated. Despite Cas lying to them about a major issue and hurting Sam, which Dean will not tolerate from anyone, and despite the two having to change cars at least seven times over the past few months, Dean never stopped carrying the coat around. He always kept it with him. He never washed it, either, as if he wanted it to still smell like Cas.
Episode 7x21, "Reading Is Fundamental" has this little gem:
Dean: The Angels, they donít care. I think maybe they just donít have the equipment to care. Seems like when they try, it just breaks them apart. *forlorn stare into nothingness*
It should be noted that while he is talking to Kevin at this moment about the angels in general, that he is talking about Cas in particular is heavily implied by the nature of the other events in the episode. i.e. Deans attempted intervention/talking about feelings with Cas.
Those demons and their lampshading. In the season 7 finale, episode 7x23, Meg says to Dean that Castiel "was [his] boyfriend first". Dean says nothing to deny it, as if he's given up on pretending they weren't.
That entire episode was Destiel filled, from the apology to Purgatory. The only thing missing is the big kiss.
Sam: We should call Castiel.
Dean: Dude, on my car, he showed up naked, covered in bees.
Sam: Yeah, I am not really sorry I missed that.
Their entire conversation by the covered Impala. The best bit:
Dean: Do I look like good luck to you?
Cas: *awkward pause*
Castiel has been swearing up and down that he doesn't condone or commit violence anymore. When Dick Roman makes a move to attack Dean, Cas lunges between them and shoves Roman across the room and into a wall.
He also draws attention to himself when Hester looks like she's about to move against Dean.
Dean:(angrily turning back to Sam) I said I saw enough, Sam.
Dean went back to torturing to find Cas.
And of course, we have this lovely exchange: In six words, we have Crowley referring to Castiel as Dean's angel, and Dean not trying to deny it in any way; instead, he responds without missing a beat, and in such a way as to imply it's true.
Crowley:(looking at Dean) Where's your angel?
Dean: Ask your mother.
Let's not forget that in the past, when Dean tried to tear down Cas, he's used sexual lines like "Blow me, Cas," or calling him "junkless". Now to insult Crowley, he's making jokes about Cas and Crowley's mother.
And now episode 8x02 has managed to cram enough Dean/Castiel Ho Yay into a few small minutes to give Tumblr a nervous break-down. Just to summarize:
The scene begins when they find Castiel. Dean, who avoids emotional moments like they'll give him the Croatoan Virus, walks up to Cas and flat out hugs him with no hesitation at all. Apparently the fact that Cas betrayed him and drove his brother insane has been completely forgotten about, and it just gets better (or worse) from there.
The hug alone has hours of meta written on it. Of particular interest is how Dean hugs him. In the previous episode, we saw Dean hug both Sam and Benny, but it's different. When Dean and Sam or Dean and Benny hug, they each put one arm high, the other low; one arm around the shoulder, the other around the waist. That's how two guys hug. When Dean hugs Cas, he wraps both arms high and comes in high, meaning that if Cas had hugged back, either his arms would be on Dean's upper back, pressing their chests closer, or his arms would fall above Deanís hips, pressing their midriffs closer. That is not a platonic hug.
Dean leans into the hug, resting his head against Cas's.
Meanwhile, instead of hugging back, Cas just stands stiffly and clenches his fist, like he's having to physically prevent himself from hugging back.
Right after the hug, Dean steps back just slightly (though still, personal space? what personal space?) and touches Cas's cheek.
You have Dean utterly convinced that Cas had a legitimate reason for abandoning him in Purgatory despite his previous betrayals and general craziness, fiercely defending him to Benny when he implies otherwise, and refusing to leave Purgatory without him.
Dean prayed to Cas every night.
Episode 4x01, Castiel: This is your problem, Dean. You have no faith.
Episode 4x18, Castiel: Prayer is a sign of faith.
Episode 8x02, Dean: I prayed to you, Cas! Every night.
You have Dean telling Cas he needs him, clearly meaning in an emotional sense, seeing as Cas is a walking target at this point and bound to complicate the escape from Purgatory, particularly since Benny seems to dislike the idea of Cas tagging along and also seems unsure if his plan works for an angel as well.
On Castiel's side, you have him abandoning Dean, his only support in Purgatory, in order to protect him from the Leviathan still after him, and refusing to leave with him because he'd be a danger to Dean.
Cas's line about keeping the Leviathan away from Dean was pretty much a confession of love, and Dean got it, too. He looks practically poleaxed for a minute after Cas finally comes out and says it. That's actually what prompts the line, "Cas, buddy, I need you."
And that's ignoring all the long stares and teary eyes- there's even romantic music playing the whole damn time. Let's be honest- the writers just don't care about subtle any more.
All this after Dean's spent an unspecified amount of time searching Purgatory for Cas, actually going back to torture to try to find him. And while that length of time is unspecified, it's long enough that both Dean and Cas, or at least Dean's search for Cas, are notorious by the end, with one of the last monsters Dean interrogates calling Cas "Dean's angel".
Let's not forget that the flashback started after another angel said he thought Castiel always had "too much heart".
For a Cas-free episode, episode 8x03, "Heartache", was fairly screaming Destiel. The ancient, immortal warrior who fell in love with a human, and couldn't bear the idea of living alone again? Just compare Dean's face to Sam's when Betsy tells the story. Sam looks sad and understanding, like you would listening to a really sad story. Dean, though, just looks crushed, in such intense emotional pain; he's not listening to the story, he's remembering it, he's in it. His face isn't how you look when you listen to something sad, it's how you look when you see yourself in that story.
Let's also note the difference in Dean's reaction to a case with strippers here as opposed to back in season four:
Destiel has been declared canon by Misha Collins - as in, the actor who plays Castiel. This post by lurea has been confirmed as fact by the twitters of two other people who were in the room.
lurea, quoting one of the main writers for the show: "'There is a relationship that fans like to talk about a lot that will be talked about on screen soon and resolved.'"
Misha: "A relationship that fans like to speculate about? Well, yeah, that would sound like heís talking about Dean and Cas to me. Thatís really the only love relationship on the show that it could apply to."
(everyone in the room gapes in shock)
Misha (impatiently): "C'mon, I think the love there is made pretty clear."
lurea (trying to get him to elaborate): "Sure, on Casís part, it's well established that he loves Dean, but I donít think it is on Deanís side."
Misha: "Címon, in the first few episodes, Deanís running around Purgatory, chopping off heads, Whereís the angel, whereís the angel, you know, the guy Iím in love with?"
lurea: "I DON'T REMEMBER DEAN SAYING THAT!"
Misha: He might as well have. You know, we know what it is, whatís going on. We donít talk about it. The actors donít, Jensen and I donít. But weíre all perfectly aware of how the relationship is, the writers are completely aware of how itís being written. It may be unspoken but that doesnít mean itís not there or not true.
And again with the parallels! Episode 8x05, "Blood Brother". If Benny and Andrea aren't parallels for Cas and Dean the same way Brick and Betsy were, then this episode doesn't make sense. The difference is, of course, that here the major parallel is Benny-and-Cas, whereas before the focus was on the Dean-and-Betsy side of things.
When Benny asks why Dean actually resurrected him once he made it out of Purgatory, instead of just getting rid of him, Dean gives a non-answer. Then we get a flashback to a Purgatory fight scene that ends with Benny saving Cas from a Leviathan when Dean couldn't.
This one deserves more. That fight scene alone has had loads of meta written already; here's a few points.
Early in the Purgatory flashbacks, Dean is actually shown not getting along particularly well with Benny, in complete contrast to what we see in the present.
Dean says he will do whatever it takes to get Cas out of Purgatory, even if it kills all three of them.
When Cas warns of Leviathan coming, Dean tries to get Cas to leave. After all he's done trying to find Cas and stay with him, once the Leviathan are coming, he wants Cas out and safe(r) even if it means he'll have to search Purgatory all over again.
While Dean is struggling with one Leviathan, Cas is dealing with another. Just as Dean takes out his, the other gets the advantage over Cas, and is about to kill him, but Benny saves Cas. Cas doesn't look particularly grateful, considering he's now only not dead thanks to Benny; instead, he looks surprised, and somewhat upset, as if he's thinking "Why did you save me? We both know if I die, you will be safer, and so will Dean. You should have let me die."
Dean, meanwhile, doesn't look as happy as you'd expect considering he just saw Benny save Cas's life. Instead, he looks haunted, almost scared, like he's having trouble moving past the bit where Cas nearly died, and there was nothing Dean could have done about it.
Considering both how we've seen Cas deal with Leviathan before, and how we know Cas kept himself alive for what could have been months without any help, having one get the drop on him there seems rather odd. Taking into account how upset he looks when Benny saves him, what if Cas deliberately didn't fight as hard as he could have? What if he was letting it win, thinking his death would mean more safety for Dean? And if there's any truth in that, Dean, of all people, would know, which comes back to that haunted expression he had; for perhaps the first time, he'd just had it shoved in his face that Cas has lost his will to live, that the only reason he fought this long was for Dean's sake, to be a distraction, and now that Dean has found him and won't let him leave again, the only way to ensure Dean's safety would be for Cas to die...
Before Benny saved Cas, Dean and Benny had a fairly antagonistic relationship, Dean clearly not trusting Benny at all, even calling him an "undead blood junkie" - and coming from Dean, that's actually a harsher insult than it sounds to someone who wouldn't likely know about Sam's history with the demon blood. After Benny saved Cas, we know already their relationship improved to the point they call each other brothers.
Oh, and did we mention that this flashback came right after Benny asks Dean why Dean didn't just let Benny die once out of Purgatory, and Dean didn't give him an answer?
And of course, we get to see six people featured prominently in this episode. Four of those people come in pairs: Benny and his love interest Andrea, Sam and his love interest Amelia, and the odd two out are... Dean and Cas.
And there's more! Before we learn that the parallels are stronger the other way around, the initial conversation where Benny tells Dean about Andrea has this lovely scene:
If that's not the face of someone who does know exactly what he means, what is it?
A minor moment, perhaps, compared the episodes before and after, but episode 8x06, "Southern Comfort", includes Dean being possessed by a ghost that forces people to kill those they feel have wronged them. While he's talking to Sam, we get the line "Cas let me down, you let me down." As he says the first part, he looks much more upset than he had any time before in the episode. Then he's talking about and to Sam, and he's back to looking angry, even furious, again. It's a subtle contrast, and one easy to miss initially, but is very telling when it comes to comparing how he apparently feels about the difference in how Cas let him down vs. how Sam let him down.
There's also the moment when Garth asks if Dean really went to Purgatory-Purgatory, and Dean replies "No, the one in Miami." Said "Purgatory" in Miami is a bar. A gay bar.
Welp. Episode 8x07, "A Little Slice of Kevin", was a fangirl's dream come true.
The episode starts with Dean seeing a hallucination of Cas by the side of the road. Considering this show's love of parallels (look at this season alone), comparing it to Sam hallucinating Jess by the side of the road back in season one's "Bloody Mary" doesn't seem like much of a stretch. Of course, that was a Winchester imagining he'd seen the love interest◊ he'd lost not long before◊... hm.
Then we have another hallucination not long afterward: Dean sees Cas standing outside the window of the motel. Note that while Sam was sound asleep, Dean was on his bed, fully dressed, on the computer, despite it being the middle of the night. He could easily have passed it off as nothing, just lack of sleep, or to him actually dozing off. Instead, he gets up and actually goes outside, looking around for a couple of minutes before finally coming back inside.
When Sam wakes up and notices that Dean is clearly upset, Dean actually tells Sam what happened, including willingly talking about his feelings. When have we ever see Dean volunteer that much information about his emotions?
During the entire conversation, he looks on the brink of tears.
When Cas makes it out of Purgatory, he goes straight to Dean. As in, about two feet behind him. He doesn't stop to clean himself up, just finds the Winchesters as fast as he can.
When Dean finally makes it into the room where Castiel was confronting Crowley, he goes straight to Cas, ignoring the kidnapped and tortured prophet and the Word of Goduntil he's sure◊ Cas is alright◊.
At the very end of the episode, it's revealed that in fact, Cas did quite literally just "let go". He voluntarily stayed behind - never had any intention of leaving Purgatory in the first place. Dean couldn't handle with the idea that Cas would leave him, his massive guilt complex making it be his fault for failing Cas, for not trying harder to get them both out, not managing to show Cas how much he needs him, and so he created a set of false memories so it would be much more directly his fault. So he'd been the one to "let go", really. So he hadn't held on tight enough to Cas, so he'd really been the one to fail him. So all he'd have to deal with would be one more simple reason to feel guilty, because he'd failed someone he cared about yet again.
Cas planned to stay all along, but couldn't ever bring himself to tell Dean while they were in Purgatory.
When Castiel realizes that Dean didn't remember how things had really happened, he is horrified. Because the one thing he hadn't wanted was for Dean to blame himself.
Dean actually says to Cas in so many words that he cares about him.
For how many seasons now, demons and monsters have been using Dean's failure to save everyone as a taunt, to hurt him, make him feel like a failure. And then Castiel says the same thing, but to help Dean. And it does.
Cas: You can't save everyone, my friend. Though you try.
And, of course, when Castiel learns how he escaped Purgatory - he was pulled out by other angels, who are now using him as an unwitting spy on the Winchesters, forcing him to tell what they're doing and wiping his memory each time they're done with him - he looks crushed.Look at his face!◊
And let's not forget perhaps the most glorious scene in the episode:
Cas comes out of the bathroom, all cleaned up. First, we get a shot of his shoes that pans up◊ like the post-makeover scene in a movie when the suddenly pretty! girlfriend comes out in her dress.
And over to Sam◊, who's looking away from Cas - notably, watching his eyes you can see they never leave Cas's face, unlike Dean - toward Dean, smiling at Dean's... reaction to cleaned-up Cas.
And for the finishing touch◊, Dean looks at Sam for a moment, and then looks straight back to Cas, his mouth still hanging open all the while.
Let's also note that Dean's now been out of Purgatory for seven episodes and has yet to hit on a girl once or even pay attention to an attractive woman in any manner other than strictly business, including the case at the strip club.
Of course, anything after that was bound to be a disappointment. How could they possibly improve on that episode? ...Apparently, with this one. 8x08, if anything, was better than the last.
Starting off nicely, we see Dean looking at Cas briefly, then looking away, and then looking back again, like he has to keep checking on him.
Then Cas tells Dean that he's no longer listening to the other angels. Dean, though obviously wanting to, doesn't say anything.
Dean makes a comment about getting a bed & breakfast in Vermont - which was, coincidentally, the first state to legalize gay marriage. Perhaps an innocent statement on its own, but added to the "the Purgatory in Miami" bit from last episode, it makes one wonder...
Note that Dean also says not "What's next for you", but simply "What's next?"
Dean objects immediately when Cas says he wants to be a hunter, because he doesn't want Cas to leave. Once it's settled that Cas will be staying and working with them, Dean's a-okay with it, no more discussion needed.
Note too that Dean doesn't, y'know, ask Sam if it's okay for Cas to join them. We're talking Cas working with them indefinitely, and very specifically travelling with them. Kind of a big change for Dean not to check with Sam about.
In the morgue, we meet the detective. The very pretty female detective, who's very much Dean's type (intelligent, assertive, and ethnic or a minority*
Look at Cassie Robinson, Lisa Braeden, Risa from 5x04/"The End" for examples
)... and Dean shows zero interest. Huh. Instead, we have Dean and Cas standing very very close to each other.
So Cas acts and looks like Mulder. Dean, on the other hand, is the voice of reason in this scene, explaining the facts to Cas. So the lady identifies Dean as Scully.
ďI wrote that Agent Scully falls in love, but thatís impossible. Agent Scully is already in love.Ē
All through the episode, Cas fails pretty hard at the detective-work part of being a hunter. Instead of mocking him or getting annoyed, Dean teases him lightly, the way he would Sam, and shows him how to do it right.
For a particularly good example, look at right there in the morgue. Cas learns a lot about the man, thanks to his angelic powers. Dean helps show him how to narrow it down to what's relevant. Then, when Sam reveals the man was having an affair, Dean starts talking about it, walking Cas through everything they can figure out. When they walk out, he's still standing right behind Cas. Who's that talking about "personal space" again? ...well, not Dean, since we haven't heard a complaint from him since season six.
Cas, as usual, is... less than good at interviewing/interrogating people. Dean makes a joke about Cas being not "bad cop" but "bad everything", but then again, instead of making fun of him or getting frustrated, he tells Cas to watch Sam, so he can learn to do better.
And ''still'' no personal space.◊ Really, you two? All that space, that wide-open room, and you're standing at most three inches from each other, probably less.
Cas doesn't know about cartoons. Does Dean make fun of him? Tease him at all for thinking that Bugs Bunny is an "insect-rabbit hybrid"? Nope. He calmly, patiently explains Looney Tunes to Cas, then takes him back to the motel room to let him see for himself.
When the question comes up of where Cas will sleep, Dean's resistance seems a bit forced, and the joke he makes is more at Sam's expense that Cas. Later, they come back to the motel, but there's no further discussion of what Cas will do or where he'll go.
Dean: Cas, you gonna book a room or what?
Cas:(Continues looking through Dean's bag) No, I'll stay here.
Dean:(Sarcastically) Oh, okay, yeah. We'll have a slumber party, braid Sam's hair - where you gonna sleep?
Cas: I don't sleep.
Dean: Okay, well, I need my four hours, so...
Cas:(Wide-eyed and totally sincere) I'll watch over you.
Dean:(Pauses, then points a finger at Cas, shaking his head and grinning) That's not gonna happen.
Sam, meanwhile, is there in the same room, but Cas is very clearly only addressing Dean when he says "I'll watch over you."
Also worth noting - Cas's line about watching over Dean is a clear reference to an earlier episode, in which we witness Mary (in a flashback, of course) telling a young Dean "Angels are watching over you."
At the bank vault, Cas asks why the black hole isn't working, and Dean replies, seriously and without even a hint of sarcasm, that he has no idea; all through the episode we see him treating Cas this way, like an equal, someone to take seriously and teach.
When the three of them arrive at the nursing home, Dean makes a joke about Sam and Cas, but one that implies they'll be working alone or separately. Despite that, Dean and Cas stay within maybe two-three feet of each other nearly the entire time (as per the norm for this episode).
In a moment reminiscent of season five's Changing Channels, Sheila, one of the elderly ladies, they interview calls Cas "pretty", and Dean immediately looks away from Cas, as if trying not to think about it. His gaze lands momentarily on an attractive nurse, but he looks uninterested, and shifts his gaze again quickly. When, later, she is revealed to have been stealing from the people at the nursing home, Dean looks like he couldn't care less.
When they find the injured man, Dean says simply "Cas?" Cas then heals the man and they begin questioning him, no further/explicit request required.
When they get to the bank, Dean (in what seems an OOC move at this point in the episode) sends Cas with Sam to go find Fred Jones. Meanwhile, he goes after the man with the gun inside. The gun that probably wouldn't hurt Cas. At all. And yet, Dean sends away his brother and friend, choosing to confront the armed man inside alone.
And, of course, The Scene.
So, we start with Dean and Cas alone at the motel. Note the lack of discussion of where Cas will be that night. Cas is poking through Dean's things, including looking at John Winchester's journal. Dean is on the computer. We've seen him repeatedly choosing not to discuss things with Cas as yet - Cas shutting off "angel radio", wanting to become a hunter, not talking about Purgatory - and now he starts to talk about it. Now, he and Cas are alone, Sam's not with them, and they have time before he'll get back, and so Dean Winchester is voluntarily discussing feelings◊. HELLO, Character Development.
Cas deflects the question, saying simply that he's "fine". Dean doesn't let it go. Instead, he turns away from the computer, offering his own experiences to Cas, trying to lead him into conversation.
"I'm happy you got out, I'm freakin' thrilled." Thrilled? What happened to "No chick-flick moments"?
He suggests Cas go check out Heaven, apparently contradicting his behavior throughout the episode. Unless, of course, he's trying to get Cas to open up, and thinks that will get a reaction from him. Cas refuses, and Dean keeps on at it, until Cas actually raises his voice
Dean: It's just this whole mysterious-resurrection-thing always has one mother of a downside.
Cas: So? What do you want me to do?
Dean: Maybe take a trip upstairs?
Cas: To Heaven?
Dean: Yeah. Poke around, see what the God-squad can tell us about how you got out.
Dean: Look, man, I hate those flying ass-monkeys just as much as you do, but-
Cas: Dean, I said no!
Instead of giving up there, Dean closes the computer and walks over to Cas, sitting down on the bed across from him, and tries again. Dean Winchester, Mr. No-chick-flick-moments, asks Cas to talk to him. And Cas does.
Dean:Talk to me.
(Cas sighs, puts the journal down, and turns to face Dean)
Cas: Dean. When I was... bad, I had all those things, the Leviathans, riding inside me, I caused a lot of suffering on Earth, but I devastated Heaven. [...] I can't go back.
Dean:(trying to understand) Because the angels will kill you.
Cas: Because if I see what Heaven's become because of me, what I made of it... I'm afraid I might kill myself.
And Dean's heart nearly stops. Look at his face! He understands completely what Cas is saying, though he doesn't want to, he's just had some of his worst fears confirmed, and his face shows it. In comparison to his behavior in the rest of the episode, it's particularly striking. Throughout most of the episode, he's been much happier, behaving almost like pre-Hell!Dean in many ways, because Cas is back and sane and hunting with Dean and Sam and there's no apocalypse on the horizon, and from Dean's POV things are pretty much perfect. Sure, he's teased Cas about his lack of experience hunting, but they're light-hearted taughts made all in good fun. And then came this converstion. Now, all the little niggling doubts he's had, all the little tiny things he noticed almost in spite of himself, are being proven true and are very much something to be worried about.
Episode 8x10, Torn and Frayed starts off pretty well, considering the title comes from a song about being in love with a man who wears a trenchcoat that's seen better days. Could be written off as a coincidence, but some of the lyrics seem a bit apt...
"Hey let him follow you down/ Way underground, wind and he's bound/ Bound to follow you down"
"Well his coat is torn and frayed/ It's seen much better days/
Just as long as the guitar plays/ Let it steal your heart away"
During an investigation that's as yet born no fruits, Dean asks Cas if he wants to head back to the bar a few miles back. As in, he actually shows interest in spending time with Cas just hanging out, completely outside of work.
Well, Episode 8x11 certainly didn't disappoint, with the most explicit Dean/Castiel parallel so far in season 8. Let's start, shall we?
Charlie and Gilda are both female - yes folks, we have a supernatural/human couple of the same sex.
When Charlie & Gilda met, she viewed her as a threat, and attacked her thinking she was part of the game, much like Dean trying to kill Castiel the first time they met.
Then we discover that Gilda is being controlled by another LARPer and being forced to kill. We saw this last episode, with Cas and the angels.
Gilda sympathized with Charlie so much that she goes out of her way to keep her safe. To the point of defying orders in order to do so.
In the end, Charlie ends up saving Gilda, but then Gilda has to leave indefinitely, leaving Charlie heartbroken. Again, that just happened last episode, again, with Cas going back to Heaven, leaving Dean with no idea when — or even if — he was coming back.
It's also probably worth noting that unlike the previous times there's been a relationship between a human and a supernatural creature, at least this season, Charlie and Gilda's story actually ends fairly well. Yes, Gilda has to leave, and we don't know if she'll ever come back, but that is a possibility, and they're both still alive. Compared to Betsy and Brick? Benny and Andrea? Any side of the Kate-Brian-Michael triangle? That's doing pretty well.
Episode 8x15 continues with the parallels, making them almost a running theme in this season.
The first comparison is, again, an interspecies romance. James, a human and a witch, has been in a relationship with Portia, his familiar who can turn into a dog. At one point in the episode, Dean seems very interested in how such a relationship works.
There is an emphasis on the unbreakable bond between a witch and their familiar. The bond between Dean and Castiel has been pointed out and commented on a fair amount of times. With James and Portia this extends to how they would die for each other. Seems familiar?
Portia is portrayed as James' guardian, and because of this their relationship is considered wrong.
Portia gives Dean a stern talking to, slightly reminiscent of one Castiel gave him in season 5. Afterwards, Dean says "That was incredibly hot."
Episode 8x16 continues the parallels even further:
Basically, Prometheus is Cas, Artemis and Hayley are both Dean, and Oliver is Sam.
Prometheus keeps coming back to life and he doesn't know why (Cas has been resurrected three times, and we still don't really know why)
Prometheus's memories have been taken from him (Cas can't remember Naomi)
His memories were taken because he tried to help humanity, against the wishes of his superior(...um, yeah)
Artemis, the Hunter, initially follows her father's orders no matter what (Dean and John, for the first couple seasons)
There's also Hayley, in love with the man who lost his memories, and with a younger boy she spent her life taking care of (Dean and Sam)
And the last person in the Hayley-Prometheus-Artemis/Lisa/Dean/Castiel parallel triangle: Artemis and Cas. Artemis attempts to save the man she loves, killing her own family to do so; see all of season six and a fair amount of season five. :::coughI did it, all of it, for youcough:::
In the end, Prometheus fought to to save his family, and Artemis fought to give him that chance.
And, of course, The Prayer Scene.
So, earlier in the episode he makes a casual reference to Cas not answering — though that alone calls back to 6x20.
Cas: I always come when you call.
Dean: He's, uh, he's not answering.
Later on, after the case is over, Sam and Dean head back to the "Batcave". Dean goes into his room; once alone, he prays to Cas, and it's a prayer like we've never heard before.
Dean:Cas, you got your ears on? Listen, you know Iím not one for praying, Ďcause in my book, itís the same as begging. But this is about Sam so you need to hear me. We are going into this deal blind. And I donít know whatís ahead or when itís gonna break for Sam. Now, heís covering it pretty good, but I know heís hurting. And this one was supposed to be on me. So for all weíve been through, Iím asking youÖ you keep a lookout for my little brother, okay?
An episode that marks Cas' return was definitely going to be Destiel-heavy, and 8x17 didn't disappoint.
Let's start with the fact that, to condition Castiel back to factory settings, Naomi had him kill hundreds of copies of Dean. No Sam, no Meg, no Balthazar and no Bobby, only Dean. Certainly says something about the high regard Cas holds Dean in.
Perhaps more specifically it demonstrated that Naomi was confident that she could easily compel Cas to kill anyone except Dean. Even Sam, whom Cas thinks of as a friend, apparently was not a significant concern.
It also takes about a thousand kills for Cas to get to the point where he can do it without hesitation.
Not to mention the fact that, when Cas is finally in a position to actually kill Dean on Naomi's orders, what does Dean say to snap him out of it?
Dean: Cas. I know you're in there. I know you can hear me. Cas, it's me. We're family. We need you. I need you.
An important point being that Cas has already broken free of Naomi's control before he touches the tablet and vanishes from her sight altogether.
Following this, it's probably quite significant that, when Cas heals Dean, he chooses to caress Dean's cheek with his whole hand, rather than doing the usual two-finger forehead-touch.
Dean also grabs onto Cas's wrist◊, clutches him in what appears to be an attempt to prevent Cas from fluttering off, and then all but caresses his arm.
Cas takes the time to explain to Dean everything that has been going with Naomi controlling him.
In 8x18, "Freaks and Geeks", Sam asks if Dean needs to talk about his feelings towards being beaten by Castiel. Dean snarks back that they could get some Cowboy Junkies music for the conversation. Two of Cowboy Junkies' most well-known songs, "Misguided Angel" and "Angel Mine", are about being in love with an angel.
Actually it's even better: Sam only asks if Dean wants to talk since he was beaten up by Cas, and it's Dean who brings up his feelings. Sam could well have been talking about if Dean was physically ok after being hurt, but Dean immediately assumes the talk would be about his emotions.
Realistically, Cas healed Dean and it is obvious that he is in perfect condition. Also, Sam did not witness the actual beating or see Dean injured. So it seems likely that Sam actually was hinting that Dean might need to talk about his feelings rather than his health. It is however interesting that Dean did not just point out that Cas healed him and that he is physically fine, and leave it at that. Instead he got defensive about what he clearly understood to be a question about his emotional state. The two Winchester brothers know each other well enough that misunderstanding is now less of an issue than willful avoidance of certain conversations.
In 8x19, "Taxi Driver", Naomi meets with Dean and observes that the reason Dean has not warded Kevin's hiding place against angels is because he is hoping that Cas will come back. Some of the language she uses is... deliberately ambiguous at best.
Naomi: You're hoping Castiel will return to you. I admire your loyalty. I only wish that he felt the same way.
It has been observed by many fans that the fact that Naomi makes a point to have this conversation with Dean when Sam is not around, and the fact that she specifically refers to Cas returning to Dean, is meant to imply a personal relationship between the two of them, not between the Winchester brothers and Cas collectively. This ties into episode 8x17, wherein Naomi forced Cas to kill a thousand clones of Dean, but none whatsoever of Sam.
In 8x22, "Clip Show", Dean is unforgiving of Cas's abandonment but obviously still cares. He ignores him, verbally lashes out, and then, orders him to stay in the bat cave and heal while the brothers go out on a case. Instead, Cas goes to a convenience store and tries to buy toilet paper along with beer, beef jerky, and Dean's preferred porn magazine. He wants to buy pie, but they're out. His response to this is to physically assault the teenage cashier, manically declaring he needs pie. The sad thing is that if he'd just been there at the bat cave when the brothers returned, Dean might have finally started to relax and been more willing to start mending their relationship.
They also have something far too close to a couple's fight at the beginning of the episode, complete with sad piano music and Sam coughing awkwardly to remind the two that he's still in the room.
In 8x23, "Sacrifice", Dean and Cas are in a bar, trying to catch a cupid. There are two human men in the bar, both gruff and conventionally masculine, and in the bartender's case, heroic, as he had previously helped save Cas' life. The bartender is due to be visited by the cupid. A delivery woman comes in, and they assume she and the bartender are meant to hook up. Only, it turns out she's the cupid, and she got these two traditionally masculine men together. Cas is unsurprised at this twist. Dean, on the other hand, has a brief moment of shock. Never mind the positive message this sends about Supernatural's statement on religion and QUILTBAG individuals, this is an important moment for Dean, who has always been insecure in his masculinity. Seeing this couple get together subverts Dean's expectations of male homosexuality, which would be an important step towards making Destiel possible in canon.