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vichan in ship_manifesto

Because God Commanded It: Dean/Castiel (Supernatural)

Title: Because God Commanded It
Author: vichan
Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Fandom: Supernatural
Spoilers: Up to and including episode 4.11
Warnings: Possible blasphemy? We are slashing an angel, after all.
Notes: Many thanks to to extraonions for the title, and to tracy for allowing me to pick her brain on this, as well as her eyeball for my typos. Any remaining mistakes are my own.





Because God Commanded It

A Dean/Castiel Manifesto


Sparks literally flew when Castiel first walked onto Supernatural. Wooden doors flew open, light bulbs exploded, and bullets blasted into his chest. Castiel knocked Bobby out with a touch to the forehead, turned to Dean and said, "We need to talk - alone."

I was in an AIM chat room with several other Supernatural fans, where we were all watching and commenting about the show together. The first thing I said in the commercial break following Castiel's introduction was this: "I'm going to start writing smut about those two right now." I was joking.

Or so I thought.

Okay, so maybe I was joking; I'm not exactly known for writing smut, and while I have a history of slashing, I was a fan of gen when it came to Supernatural. I certainly didn't expect that about ten minutes later, the ship of Dean and Castiel would first start wrapping its fingers around my gut and pulling at me in ways a ship hadn't in a very long time.

Over a period of fourteen years I've been in more fandoms than I can even remember, and I've shipped everything from Brooklyn/Demona of Gargoyles to Spike/Xander of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I first started watching Supernatural when I caught the second season premiere as it aired for the first time. It instantly caught my attention, and I bought the first season on DVD and watched every episode over the course of a single weekend so I could catch up with the rest of the fandom. Naturally, being a long time shipper, I watched with my ship goggles on. I'd gone in actually expecting myself to ship Sam/Dean, which is the fandom's most prevalent pairing. However, my personal shipping history includes nearly all love/hate relationships, and no possible pairing really fit that bill. For the first time since I first started participating in various fandoms, I found myself becoming primarily a fan of gen fic. I slowly removed my ship goggles and simply stopped looking, so when Castiel came along the possibility of a ship completely blindsided me. No ship has ever tugged at my heart strings quite like Dean/Castiel has.

I'm apparently not the only one who has been sucked in by this pairing. Within hours of Castiel's first appearance, LiveJournal's first Dean/Castiel community was created. Now, less than five months later, the community already has over 1000 members and continues to grow every day.

The ship has grabbed me, it's grabbed others and it simply isn't letting go.




The Characters Individually
Dean Winchester

"Saving people, hunting things."


Dean Winchester is, obviously, more than a staple of Supernatural; he's one of two columns, the other being his brother, Sam. At first glance, he's a very simple character: he loves food, women, his 1967 Chevy Impala, and hunting evil things. Oh, and he really hates witches. When we dig deeper, however, we start to find out just how many layers Dean really has, and we see that some of his strongest aspects are also his greatest weaknesses. He's quick-thinking, but he's also rash. He's extremely dedicated to his family, but his dedication borders on codependency. He's an expert at coming up with disguises and aliases, but he also hides his own feelings behind a very deep mask.

Dean has very few close relationships. Since he was four years old, he has been on the road almost constantly, which does not allow much time for bonding with others. After his father died, the only people Dean has allowed into his tiny circle are his younger brother Sam, and Bobby Singer, another hunter. Dean has said that Bobby is like a father to him, and Bobby has expressed that 'family don't end with blood,' a statement that speaks to the heart of Dean, especially considering what he has done for his family.

Dean is a man who goes above and beyond to prove his loyalty to his family. Dean's father, John, was his hero, and from the moment his baby brother was thrust into Dean's four-year-old arms by his father, Dean has looked out for Sam. Whether it's because of what John drilled into Dean's mind while they were growing up, or whether it's because Dean put the idea there himself, Dean has always felt that his true responsibility is to protect Sam. He has time and again sacrificed his own happiness, opportunities, and life to ensure Sam's safety. Dean's whole world has always revolved around Sam, and Dean literally went to Hell and back for his brother.

Sam was killed at the end of the second season, and Dean felt he had failed as a brother because he had failed to protect Sam. Dean wound up making a deal with a demon to bring Sam back from the dead, and in exchange Dean was given one year to live. Despite everything Sam and Dean tried to get out of the deal, Dean died and his soul was sent to Hell.

When Dean returned from Hell, the dedication between the two brothers was still there, but the dynamic between them had significantly changed. Sam spent four months trying to figure out how to survive without his brother, and had turned to Ruby, a demon, for guidance. Dean, on the other hand, spent forty years in Hell, longer than he'd even been alive on Earth. While in Hell, Dean was relentlessly tortured, and a demon named Alastair consistently offered Dean the chance to stop his own torment if he was willing to torture other souls. For thirty of those years Dean made the choice of being on the receiving end of the torture before he finally gave in. For the last ten years he was in Hell, the tables were turned and he was the one doing the torturing, and according to Dean, he did it with a smile on his face.

For Dean, those final ten years in Hell were like the last nail in his coffin. Dean, who had always viewed himself as someone who saved and protected people, had instead been the one to destroy souls. He now knows he is capable of truly demonic behavior, and it's very likely that he believes he still belongs in Hell, and that he should have stayed down there.

However, he didn't stay in Hell. An angel named Castiel personally pulled Dean out of Hell and resurrected him.


Castiel

"I'm not a hammer, as you say."


Castiel is one of the most powerful beings ever encountered on Supernatural, and also one of the more mysterious. His presence was first known when he tried to speak to Dean, and not only blew out every window in the area, but also nearly deafened the poor boy. Later, when the psychic Pamela Barnes attempted to contact 'the being that resurrected Dean' before they knew it was Castiel, her eyes were burned out of her skull just from looking at Castiel with her mind. When Dean and Castiel came face to face for the first time, Dean stabbed Castiel with Ruby's knife - a knife that, up until then, was known to kill anything. The knife didn't even faze Castiel; he simply pulled it out and then put Bobby to sleep so he could speak to Dean without interruption. Additionally, Castiel has shown that he also has the power to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye, as well as the ability to 'bend' time, as he demonstrated when he sent Dean back in time. The sight of his true form, and the sound of his true voice, is too much for humans to handle. In order to even speak with Dean, he took on a human man as a 'vessel.' When Dean berated Castiel for possessing someone, Castiel explained that the man had been devout, and he had prayed for it.

Castiel is an angel of the Lord, and he considers himself to be a soldier. He refers to God's other angels as his 'brothers,' and humans as 'works of art,' creations of his Father's. Another angel, Uriel, has mentioned that Castiel is his boss, so it is safe to assume that Castiel holds at least some kind of higher ranking in Supernatural's version of the angel hierarchy.

At first, Castiel seems to fall under the assumption that angels are unfeeling and emotionless; he is indeed always very serious and solemn, and is willing to carry out horrible orders without question. However, Castiel revealed that he does indeed have doubts about his heavenly orders, and that he has a hard time telling what is right and wrong. Though fleeting, Castiel has also smiled and laughed, grown irritated and angry, as well as expressed regret and sadness.




The Characters Together
The Hunter and the Angel

"I don't envy the weight that's on your shoulders, Dean. I truly don't."


Even before Castiel first appeared on the screen, it was clear that there was a connection between Dean and Castiel. After Dean is first resurrected, he discovered that all of his old wounds are gone. Castiel brought Dean back to life, healed him of all of his scars, and in turn gave him a new scar: a burn in the shape of a hand print on Dean's left shoulder. It's unknown whether this burn was a result of Castiel pulling Dean out of Hell or from when Castiel put Dean back into his original body, but the fact remains that Castiel marked Dean. Right there we had a visible physical connection, but we soon saw this rapport expand into other areas as Dean and Castiel interacted more.

In 4.02: Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester, Castiel appeared to Dean in Bobby Singer's kitchen to explain the details of the Apocalypse. This meeting is revealed to be a dream, but the information Dean received is still accurate. This tells us that Castiel has actually spoken to Dean in his mind while he's slept. While it is true that the angel Uriel has appeared in Dean's dreams as well, only Castiel has also apparently watched over Dean while he was dreaming of Hell.

Castiel: What were you dreaming about?
Dean: What, you get your freak on by watching other people sleep?

[Episode 4.03: In the Beginning]

The way that Castiel said this is very poignant; he said it in a way that tells the audience he knew exactly what Dean was dreaming about. It's not that far of a stretch to see this connection Castiel has to Dean's dreams, and therefore Dean, himself.

However, there is some evidence that this connection could run two ways. Dean has seemed to sense Castiel's presence without Castiel announcing himself. In 4.07: It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, Sam and Dean found Castiel in their hotel room. Sam entered first and was immediately suspicious, since he had not yet met Castiel, and he went so far as to draw a gun. Dean quickly came in behind Sam to explain who Castiel is. If you watch this scene carefully, however, Dean was actually shouting for Sam to "wait" before he even entered the hotel room himself. Castiel hadn't spoken yet, so we know that Dean didn't hear his voice, and yet Dean knew who it was before he actually saw Castiel. Dean demonstrated this more than once in the same episode. Castiel soundlessly appeared beside Dean on a bench when Dean was looking away, and Dean began to speak to Castiel before even turning back to see that he was there. It is within the realm of possibility that Dean is actually able to sense when Castiel is near.

Possible mental connection aside, Dean and Castiel truly seem drawn to each other. In nearly every scene they have appeared in together, the two of them have been known to share looks that seem to go on longer than what would seem comfortable. In fandom, this is commonly referred to as 'eyesex' or 'eyefucking,' and it's very interesting that the actors have chosen to play their characters this way. Again in the hotel room scene in 4.07: It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, we have one of the more intense examples of this. Despite this being the first time Dean met Uriel, despite this being the first time Castiel met Sam, and despite the gravity of the situation they were dealing with, Dean and Castiel held each others' eyes for nearly the entire scene. They sometimes glanced at Uriel or Sam, but their eyes always returned to the other, seemingly unable to look away.

Dean and Castiel also seem to have a great deal of compassion for each other. In 4.04: Metamorphosis, Dean first gave Castiel the nickname of "Cas." Sam later used the same nickname in 4.10: Heaven and Hell, which tells us it's entirely possible that Sam may have picked this habit up from Dean. "Cas" sounds especially affectionate when we hear the stark contrast to Dean's nickname for the other angel, Uriel: "Junkless."

Dean was tight-lipped about what happened to him in Hell, especially when he first returned. He went so far as to lie to Bobby and Sam that he remembered nothing about his time down under. However, he slowly revealed that he remembered everything about Hell - being tortured and torturing others. Castiel, being the one that retrieved him from Hell, knew this as well. In fact, aside from demons in Hell, Castiel is likely the only other being that could possibly know what Dean's behavior was actually like in Hell. When Dean and Castiel first meet face to face, they had this exchange:

Dean: And why would an angel rescue me from Hell?
Castiel: Good things do happen, Dean.
Dean: Not in my experience.
Castiel: What's the matter? You... don't think you deserve to be saved.

[4.01: Lazarus Rising]

Dean didn't confirm or deny this, but it was clear that Dean doesn't believe he deserved to be rescued from Hell, while Castiel clearly does believe it. Castiel's observation about Dean's lack of faith in himself so soon after they first meet is especially interesting in light of the fact that Sam and Bobby haven't yet come to understand this.

Castiel has shown more than than once that he has respect for Dean and what Dean does. Once again referring to 4.07: It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, Castiel told Uriel in confidence that Dean "has promise." Additionally, Uriel, who is the character closest to Castiel, has actually voiced Castiel's affection for Dean out loud.

Dean: Don't normally see you off the leash. Where's your boss?
Uriel: Castiel? He's not here. See, he has this weakness. He
likes you.
[4.10: Heaven and Hell]

It is probable that Castiel either told this to Uriel, or that Uriel may have simply figured it out. In this same conversation, Uriel threatened Dean with sending him back to Hell. While Castiel made the same threat to Dean in 4.02: Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester, it would seem that Dean grew on Castiel, and Castiel was no longer able to bear facing Dean down like that.

Much of Castiel's compassion for Dean has been wordless, such as in 4.03: In the Beginning. Dean had just witnessed the truth of his family's history: his mother had made a deal with a demon in return for bringing his father back to life. Dean was obviously in great emotional distress after this, and Castiel appeared just when Dean needed him. Castiel laid a gentle hand on Dean's shoulder and gave him a very concerned, sympathetic look.

Dean has also come to Castiel's side in a time of need. In 4.10: Heaven and Hell, the forces of, well, heaven and hell came face to face. It was revealed that the meeting was set up by Sam and Dean in hope that the demons and angels would fight each other. Despite the plan of letting "Godzilla and Mothra" take each other out, Dean leaps to Castiel's defense in the middle of the battle. Castiel had been overpowered by the demon Alastair and forced to his knees when Dean cracks a tireiron against Alastair's face. This was especially impressive in light of hints dropped about Dean's relationship to Alastair in Hell. Alastair was the one who repeatedly made the offer to Dean to stop being tortured in order to start torturing others; whether this resulted in something as simple as fear or as complex as a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, it must have taken some serious gumpture on Dean's part to attack Alastair the way he did, and he did it on behalf of Castiel.

Next we come to Anna Milton, who serves either as the elephant in the room or a giant warning bell. Anna was formerly an angel, just like Castiel. Anna, however, tore out her grace, which is best described as 'angelic energy,' and fell to Earth to be reborn as a human being. Castiel and Uriel wound up having to come after her to kill her, both to punish her and because she compromises their mission. Anna made a connection with Dean, bonded with him and slept with him. Additionally, she and Castiel had a 'history' that is not explained, aside from Anna being the former boss of both Castiel and Uriel. Anna could easily be described as a female who comes between Dean and Castiel, whether their relationship is friendship or something more. However, Anna's presence also added plenty of fuel to the fire that is Castiel and Dean.

In 4.10: Heaven and Hell, Dean and Anna had private conversations concerning a few different topics. It is interesting to note Anna's opinion on these subjects because they are often similar to, if not exactly the same as, Castiel's perspective. Dean and Anna bonded over the similarities of their fathers, John Winchester and God, who both gave orders from an invisible place, and those orders were difficult to comprehend. In 4:07: It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, Castiel expressed doubt in his mission and admitted that he has questions about right and wrong. Anna brought up that she knew what Dean had done in Hell, and that it wasn't his fault. As we've already discussed, Castiel believes that Dean deserves to be saved. When Anna and Dean were making love, she quite pointedly placed her hand directly over the burn on Dean's shoulder - Castiel's handprint, his mark from when he pulled Dean out of Hell.

However, one of the more interesting aspects of Anna was how she attempted to convince Dean that the angels were not necessarily good creatures. She expressed that she's "not like the others," and that the angels were unable to feel emotions such as love, forgiveness or sorrow, despite the fact that we had already seen anger and irritation from both Castiel and Uriel, as well as laughter from Castiel and vindictive satisfaction from Uriel. She contradicted herself by saying these things, because if angels were truly emotionless, Anna herself wouldn't have been able to feel 'want,' and in turn wouldn't have fallen to Earth. When Castiel told Anna that he was sorry for having to kill her, Anna insisted that Castiel couldn't know how that feels. Why was Anna so set on convincing Dean that Castiel felt nothing? Was she only ensuring that she had Dean's protection from Castiel and Uriel, or did she have motive to try and keep Dean and Castiel away from each other?

The last intriguing moment between Dean, Anna, and Castiel has been interpreted in countless ways by fans. While Castiel looked on, Anna kissed Dean. The way this scene was shot showed us Castiel looking directly at Dean and Anna with an unreadable expression until he had to look away. It is impossible to tell exactly what Castiel was thinking here. Was he curious about the human feelings of 'lust' and 'love?' Was he fascinated by their dedication to each other? Since he and Anna have a 'history,' was he jealous of Dean for kissing her, or is it possible that Castiel was actually jealous of Anna for kissing Dean?



Why We Ship Them
Salvation and Corruption

"I was not groped by an angel!"


It is very easy to see that Dean and Castiel already have a very intense relationship. What isn't as clear is exactly what kind of relationship they have - are they possibly enemies? Friends? One step away from being lovers? Since this is obviously a manifesto for the ship, we'll concentrate on the latter.

If they are potential lovers, though, what kind of lovers are they, or will they be? This is one of the magical parts of this ship: there seem to be countless ways to get these two together, and all of those way could be miles apart. I will discuss some of the more popular aspects of the ship.

1. Curiosity and Fascination
However subtle it has been, Castiel has been shown to be more and more interested in humanity, as well as more understanding of humanity as time progresses. He has called humans "works of art," and displayed possible jealousy when it comes to human emotions. If we take Castiel's significant 'look' at Anna and Dean's kiss as curiosity, then we have a very unique way to ship them: Castiel wants to learn how to be human, and Dean could be the one to teach him.

Castiel often becomes fascinated with Dean's humanity, and how unusual Dean is for a human. He is intrigued by how determined Dean can be, and how much Dean is willing to sacrifice for others. Whether on purpose or inadvertently, Dean could wind up teaching Castiel everything about humanity, up to and including human love.

Similarly, Dean said at the end of 4.10: Heaven and Hell that he wished he "couldn't feel anything." In a similar way to Dean teaching Castiel about humanity, Castiel could teach Dean to be more stoic, and feel less. (The author of this manifesto admits that she hasn't seen this written yet, but thinks it would be quite awesome and angsty.)


2. Love and Hate
This is an aspect not seen very often with this ship, but, as previously mentioned, one of this author's favorite flavors of ships. Love/Hate relationships are always very fun to write, as banter and arguments can easily be portrayed as unresolved sexual tension and can even turn into angry sex. Many of the most popular slash pairings around are often a result of these beginnings, such as Harry/Draco of Harry Potter or Spike/Xander of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dean and Castiel also have the potential to be another Love/Hate ship.

Castiel is not very straightforward, and often appears and disappears out of nowhere, which seems to irritate Dean.

Dean: *after Castiel disappears* What, are you allergic to straight answers, you son of a bitch?
[4.03: In the Beginning]

Dean has also managed to grate Castiel's nerves.

Dean: I thought angels were supposed to be guardians. Fluffy wings, halos. You know, Michael Landon. Not dicks.
Castiel: Read the Bible. Angels are warriors of God. I'm a soldier.
Dean: Yeah? Well, why didn't you fight?
Castiel: I'm not here to perch on your shoulder. We had larger concerns.
Dean: Concerns? Our people are getting torn to shreds down here. And by the way, while all this is going on, where the hell is your
boss, huh? If there is a God.
Castiel: There's a God.
Dean: I'm not convinced.
Castiel: *sighs*
Dean: 'Cuz if there is a God, what the hell is waiting for, huh? Genocide? Monsters roaming the Earth? The freaking Apocalypse? At what point does he lift a damn finger and help the poor bastards that stuck down here?
Castiel: The Lord works -
Dean: If you say 'in mysterious ways,' so help me, I will kick your ass.
Castiel: *throws his hands up in exasperation*

[4.02: Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester]

Apparently fed up with Dean's attitude, Castiel later threatened Dean.

Castiel: You should show me some respect. I dragged you out of Hell. I can throw you back in.
[4.02: Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester]

Dean was visibly shaken by Castiel's threat, and it is interesting to note how submissive Dean appeared to Castiel, especially when we compare Dean's somewhat nonchalant reaction to a similar threat coming from a demon in 4.01: Lazarus Rising.

This gives us the perfect setup for a Love/Hate ship, or possibly even a Dom/Sub ship. Dean has managed to get under the skin of Castiel, who is normally stoic and calm to the extreme. Dean, who rarely backs down to anyone, is visibly frightened by Castiel's threat, and he shows this fear before Castiel mentions a word of sending Dean back to a place he fears. It is interesting that these two spur reactions out of each other that no other characters seem to be able to draw out of them, and it is a joy to explore that aspect of their relationship.


3. The Savior and the Saved
We come to this one last because it is likely the most obvious, the most common, and has quickly become this author's favorite way to ship Dean/Castiel, even after years of nothing but Love/Hate relationships.

Castiel pulled Dean out of Hell when no one else, not even Sam, was able to. Dean truly believes he is damned, and neither Sam nor Bobby, two of the closest people in Dean's life, have actually seen this very important part of Dean. They have an idea, and they know that Dean has extremely low self-esteem, but I don't believe they realize the full scale of Dean's depression - Dean thinks he deserves to be in Hell. Castiel, on the other hand, saw this right away, meaning that Castiel is the only being who could even possibly know that Dean needs convincing of the fact that he is indeed a good man, and that he doesn't deserve an eternity in Hell. Additionally, Sam and Bobby also don't truly know what Dean did in Hell. Dean has told Sam the basics, but not in any great detail, and unless he was told off screen, Bobby still believes that Dean doesn't remember anything from Hell. Castiel physically pulled Dean out, he does know what Dean was doing in Hell, and yet he still believes that Dean deserved to be saved.

On the other hand, Castiel is an angel, and angels are supposed to be emotionless, never-questioning soldiers. Castiel doubts his unrelenting faith, though. He chooses to reveal this secret to one person, and that person is Dean.

Castiel: Can I tell you something if you promise not to tell another soul?
Dean: Okay.
Castiel: I'm not a
hammer, as you say. I have questions. I have doubts. I don't know what is right and what is wrong anymore.
[4.07: It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester]

Dean, who for most of his life followed his father's orders without question, pulled himself out from his own unquestioning obedience he had towards John. Because of his own experience, Dean is the only one who is in the position to teach Castiel that while faith is a good thing to have, it is imperative that faith is not blind.

This gives us a truly equal relationship; essentially, Castiel can pull Dean out of Hell, and Dean can pull Castiel out of Heaven. This is not to say that Castiel could potentially become a fallen angel for Dean, although this is also a common theme in fics. By 'pulling Castiel out of Heaven,' I mean to say that Dean can show Castiel the goodness in humanity, as well as teach him that never asking questions can be just as cruel as a looking away from a problem. Castiel can restore some faith in Dean, which is not to say that Castiel will necessarily help Dean believe in God, but he can help Dean believe that the world is not just 'chaos and unpredictable evil' and that good things can and do happen.

I believe their relationship is so incredibly beautiful, and I will likely continue to ship them even if all us Dean/Castiel shippers get "Kripked." Their unspoken words in subtle glances, their caring and confiding, and the unique likelihood that corruption can really mean salvation all add up to a potentially epic ship for the ages. In their own way, Castiel and Dean can save each other.



Dean/Castiel Resources

deancastiel - The LiveJournal community "Groped By an Angel," quickly becoming the definitive source for Dean/Castiel fanworks

Dean/Castiel meta/essay/manifesto thing by tracy, which spurned pages and pages of comments of much love for Dean/Castiel, as well as this Dean/Castiel Rec List, which provides miles and miles of fics to go through with a good mix of both slash and friendship.

2009 Secret Angel Fic Exchange at deancastiel - I'm listing this because this was happening as I was finishing up this essay. This particular collection of fics was fascinating to me because of how many different interpretations of the Dean/Castiel ship are here.


Recommended Reading:
I specifically tried to collect Dean/Castiel fics that are significantly different from each other. I think I've succeeded. Maybe.
The Melting Verse - by strangeandcharm
One of the first truly epic Dean/Castiel fics, and still one of the greatest. Long and plotty, schmoopy but also dark. Link leads to the first part.

Reverb - by leonidaslion
A fic so beautiful I think even non-Dean/Castiel folk would appreciate it.

Graveyard Talks - by izazov
One of the fics that came out of the 2009 Secret Angels exchange. It's quite gripping, incredibly real, and very difficult to stop reading.

What You Need - by xela_fic
Awesome Castiel POV. A beautiful interpretation of canon; touching and sexy.

Comments

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I just fell in love with this pairing all over again, and you mentioned so many things I never noticed about these two, even though I have seen all of these episodes several times. Thanks so much for this.:)
I've been shipping forever, so I know how to look for subtext within the subtext. XD

Thank you for reading!
You made me so happy and exstatic reading this.
I have no words for how much I love this ship and you´re sooo right in every aspect.

Thanks for writing - it was a joy reading it. And I couldn´t agree more with every thing you said.
Dude, I've been breathing this ship for months, and writing this helped me get some of that out. Thank you so much for reading!
This really says all that I love about this pairing.
Hehe. Thank you! :)
This was a fascinating look at a ship I've only given momentary thought to. Thank you for sharing!
\o/ Hooray! I was hoping I might grab some people aside from the peeps already shipping them... and your icon is so totally appropriate. XD

Thank you for reading!
It is within the realm of possibility that Dean is actually able to sense when Castiel is near.

I hadn't even considered this, but you're so right. Castiel pings Dean's sexdar, is what.

Sam later used the same nickname in 4.10: Heaven and Hell, which tells us it's entirely possible that Sam may have picked this habit up from Dean.

LOL yes, that was my initial reaction too. How often has Dean referred to Castiel as Cas while speaking about him? How many of these conversations don't end up on screen? XD

I wasn't seriously shipping these two until that scene in 4x07 on the park bench. Then - Castiel's need to confide in Dean, to have Dean understand him, and Dean's silent acceptance... they got me. What's more, in 4x10, Anna told Dean that angels could be cast out of Heaven or even killed for having doubts, which makes Castiel's confession so much more poignant; it was so important for him to open up to Dean that he essentially risked his life to do it. That's just, yeah, wow. Adds a whole other layer to "Can I tell you something if you promise not to tell another soul?"
Yes to all of this, 4x07 did it for me and from the on the show has made it so easy, whether you see it as an intense friendship or something more.

Also this made me spit out my tea:

'I hadn't even considered this, but you're so right. Castiel pings Dean's sexdar, is what.'

This is awesome and I love you for saying this.:)
Personally I love the curious aspect of their relationship...

And that's just one of the magic parts of the ship. I love how we can all ship them so differently.

Thank you so much for reading!
I never really saw this as a ship until I made a vid recently and I was amazed at how easy it is to find clips where Dean and Castiel are in a bedroom, standing, sitting or lying in or near a bed. It's oddly disproportionate.
HAHA. Yes, they do seem to hang out in bedrooms a lot.

Thank you for reading!
I had to link to this, this is so good and thorough. And like you, I'm completely captivated by Dean/Castiel in a way no other pairing has done.

No ship has ever tugged at my heart strings quite like Dean/Castiel has.

Yes!
\o/ Thank you so much!
Oh bb, I just read it all over again and now I'm getting emotional all over again. Add this to the fact that I've spent literally the entire weekend wrapped up in fics from the exchange, and I am seriously breathing so hard right now it hurts. I love this ship, and that's not even an expression.
It's been a Dean/Cas-tastic weekend, for sure. XD

Thank again, hun. <3
This is every reason why I love this pairing and I am so happy that you stated them so elegantly.

XD I would've just been squeeing over how awesome our boys are and how their love is so epic...
Elegant! \o/ I'm normally very clunky, so that means a lot.

Thanks so much for reading!
This is very well written! You've managed to cleanly layout the characters and then take it a step further and discuss the foundations for the pairing. Well done!

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION: "In a similar way to Dean teaching Castiel about humanity, Castiel could teach Dean to be more stoic, and feel less. (The author of this manifesto admits that she hasn't seen this written yet, but thinks it would be quite awesome and angsty.)" I have a whole universe being written on this very theme. It's my Second Verse, so far it's only two stories but the driving plot point is that Castiel is making [helping?] Dean experience less emotions by actually feeling them for him.

Again, thanks for writing this manifesto!!!
Thank you so much for reading!

And: I have a whole universe being written on this very theme.
*splutters* WHERE? WHERE?!?! WHERE?!??!!?! *FLAILS*
Ok seriously I said WORD to so many pieces of this that my husband told me stop channelling a 15 yr old teenage boy or he was calling the exorcist.

Favourite bits (You can quote a meta like fic right :D cos that’s the only way I can comment normally, long rambly with lotsa quote-age)

I apologise to anyone reading this post, but when speaking of spn and in particular Jensen or Misha, I tend to ramble, squee and generally decend to the level of a 10 year old girl discovering boy bands.

Sparks literally flew when Castiel first walked onto Supernatural. Wooden doors flew open, light bulbs exploded, and bullets blasted into his chest. Castiel knocked Bobby out with a touch to the forehead, turned to Dean and said, "We need to talk - alone."

Now for some reason, when Castiel first started talking to Dean, my mind went blankish and I wasn’t a shipper immediately (I think my first sight of Misha may have melted my brain) I do remember thinking

oooo, pretty fireworks,
Yay, kick ass Demon, wait the knife doesn’t work WTF????,
OMG he so better have not killed Bobby,
Mmmm Yummy Voice (this was at the line that now lives in infamy)
ooo hot Kick ass Demon (this was when he was reading through the book),
he’s got really nice eyes (this was when he was looking at Dean) and then
OMG he’s a freaking Angel, they went there Yay, {{{hugs}}} spn and Kripke, Black angel wiongs are cool!!!!
and then my very first flicker of Cas/Dean love sparked a little to life at the “You don’t think you deserve to be saved”

But didn’t go fully there until the kitchen scene, in this he was everything Dean needs. You saw the look that Dean gave him as he drew closer, the almost awe!!! Then there was Cas trying to relate to Dean. Then there was the epic dick comment, followed by the hands of exasperation follwed by the closeness and the threat, and there my obsession was born. It solidified in (ITB) with Cas’s sympathy

Then Came the Great Pumpkin, and the EPIC eye sex and the tenseness of the stand off, followed by Cas defending Dean to Uriel and culminating in Dean making him laugh and that was it, I was a goner, Dean/Cas girl for life

Anyways

For the first time since I first started participating in various fandoms, I found myself becoming primarily a fan of gen fic. I slowly removed my ship goggles and simply stopped looking, so when Castiel came along the possibility of a ship completely blindsided me. No ship has ever tugged at my heart strings quite like Dean/Castiel has.

I like you have been a part of several fandoms over the years (Buffy, Harry Potter, X Files etc) and have always been a shipper at heart, sometimes Slash (Harry/Draco, Sirius/Remus, Clark/Lex) Sometimes Het (Buffy/Angel, Maria/Michael, Mulder/Scully) and when I came to spn I was at a bit of a loss. Wincest just didn’t do it for me, I really disliked Jo as a character, Bela was annoying and I always Saw Ruby with Sam, so just accepted spn for what it was and never really joined the fandom, just enjoyed the show. Then Castiel came along and I was so entranced by the ship that I made an LJ joined Dean/Cas and started reading fic like crazy. Although I do love lots of the Gen fic I have since discovered since joining the spn fandom. Dean/Cas is what pulled me into this fandom, and they are what keeps me rooted here :)

The ship has grabbed me, it's grabbed others and it simply isn't letting go.

This was the first WORD :)
Thanks! I'm glad this is working for the shippers. \o/

I'm the same. My first fandom was Gargoyles, and I shipped my first ship, Brooklyn/Demon. (Which was het, but also pretty damn taboo. And then they made it 'canon' kinda in an alternate universe... and. Yeah. Never mind. That's a completely different story.)

Whenever I got close to shipping in SPN, they usually got shot down fairly quickly. Dean/Bela, because it had the potential to fulfill my love/hate, but then... well. Bela was disappointing. (She could have been a really awesome character, but suffered from bad writing, IMO.) I also was a bit fond of the idea of Dean/Victor Henrickson, but then Victor died. T_T I also kind of liked Sam/Meg, and Meg died. It was a good thing I never really put my ship goggles back on, because I would have been continuously disappointed. *shrug*
he's quick-thinking, but he's also rash. He's extremely dedicated to his family, but his dedication borders on codependency

This is the best summing up of Dean ever!!!! I love the man, but his dependence on his family borders on the almost obsessive, which is in turns heartbreaking and worrying

Dean is a man who goes above and beyond to prove his loyalty to his family

This was the second WORD :) j/k this is what I love about Dean’s character though, and it’s one of the things that draws me to the pairing, because when Dean loves he does it with everything that is in him. As a friend of mine and I were once discussing, if Dean loves you, then anything coming after you is pretty much screwed.

Castiel revealed that he does indeed have doubts about his heavenly orders, and that he has a hard time telling what is right and wrong. Though fleeting, Castiel has also smiled and laughed, grown irritated and angry, as well as expressed regret and sadness. this is what I love about the character, we’re watching him grow and it’s Dean that’s teaching him :)

a burn in the shape of a hand print on Dean's left shoulder

I love the scar, it’s the physical link between our two boys :)

Dean was actually shouting for Sam to "wait" before he even entered the hotel room himself

I have never noticed this before, will have to go back and rewatch :D but I love the idea that their connection is two way as I thought that during the park scene.

the two of them have been known to share looks that seem to go on longer than what would seem comfortable

Ahh the epic eyesex :D The Great Pumpkin episode is a massivey good example of this, they barely looked at anyone else through the full scene. Also the way Castiel was trying to stress things to Dean, as if asking for his understanding, and then the look on his face when Dean decides to do the right thing it is close to worship!!!!!

In 4.04: Metamorphosis, Dean first gave Castiel the nickname of "Cas."

I loved this little slip as it showed Castiel had gotten under Dean’s skin and I think it is directly tied into the last scene in the past with Castiel and the compassion he showed Dean. Also and it just occurred to me right now, when they were discussing in the car Dean changing things and all the people who would now be dead and Cas asked him if he cared. The way Dean was replying to Cas, was almost a plea to understand, he really cared that Cas understood why he was doing this. This was then echoed in 4.07

Uriel threatened Dean with sending him back to Hell. While Castiel made the same threat to Dean in 4.02: Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester, it would seem that Dean grew on Castiel, and Castiel was no longer able to bear facing Dean down like that.

I love this idea

Why was Anna so set on convincing Dean that Castiel felt nothing?

Because she is evil :) j/k I think, and it is just my opinion, that Anna armed with her eavesdropped conversations and her previous knowledge of Castiel, had every idea that Castiel likes and is connected to Dean, and that he is starting to doubt things because of this, and I firmly believe, the “You don’t know how” comment was a dig for revenge. I think that she fell because she wanted to feel, then when she gets her memories back she realises that she didn’t actually achieve that much, there doesn’t appear to have been any epic love in her life, and I think she was resentful and jealous of the fact that Castiel, as an angel has feelings, for humans, for Dean etc and this bothered her, as it made her realise it wasn’t being an angel that stopped her feeling, it’s just her. This to me also explains her obsession with the scar, Dean and Castiel were connected in a way that left a permanent mark on Dean’s body and soul and she was envious of that. That may just be me though. Either that ot Kripke is going to kill us with Cas/Anna history and then I may cry.
I know people say shit like this a lot, but I relate to Dean more than Sam. I think the (hopefully former) codependent in me recognized the codependency in Dean. Not everyone sees that; while many other people *SQUEE* over Dean's extreme dedication, it sometimes makes me sick to my stomach. :(

I have never noticed this before, will have to go back and rewatch :D but I love the idea that their connection is two way as I thought that during the park scene.
I noticed that... I believe it was the second time I watched it. Unless Dean peeked in when we weren't looking, he definitely wasn't in the hotel room, or even in the line of vision to see Castiel.

EPIC EYESEX IS EPIC. XD

OOOH! There were a ton of unanswered questions when it came to Anna, and I really like your Anna theory!
As to the reasons

Curiosity and Fascination

I think this element is what has helped them to initially bond, but is not the gel for their romantic relationship (what it’s practically canon) :D. I think it is what has helped them learn more about each other and trust each other slightly (although who knows what H&H did to this)

Love and Hate

Now like you this is usually my favourite flavour of all, and whilst there are elements of it there and I love angry Cas

This

The Savior and the Saved

Is my favourite. Because every single word of what you said is true. They can both save each other. They both have elements that the other needs. Cas like you say can restore Dean’s faith whilst Dean bring Cas the balance to sometimes question his.

Loved every single delicious piece of this manifesto and I hope my rambling hasn’t given you a headache :D.

Mags
Yes - that's another reason why this ship surprised the crap out of me. I'm serious when I saw pretty much every single ship I've had in the past has been love/hate - Brooklyn/Demona, Spike/Xander, Spike/Buffy, Harry/Draco, Sirius/Severus (yes, I enjoy 'Snack')... even Clark/Lex I enjoy more when they're not friends anymore. Dean/Castiel, though - I love it for the LOVE and not the hate. It's bizarre!

Rambling doesn't give me a headache. (I'd be giving myself a headache every day if that were the case.)

Thanks again for reading! :)
Damn. This was amazing and completely and totally spot on in my mind. Dean and Castiel are the first real SPN pairing that I have ever gotten really involved with. Wincest never really sat well with me, at all. So when Castiel walked into the SPNverse with his trench coat and baby blue eyes, I was instantly plotting my next fic.

And ANNA! I can't stand her. Not because she got to get freaky with Dean, but because I am convinced she is not one of the good guys and is just going to hurt Dean in the end.

Thank you so much for writing this.
Wincest - it just... never did anything for me. I've read it when I see a specific plot point I'm looking for (I'm a huge lover of Dark/Evil/Demented!Dean), but if the Wincest relationship is the only focus of a story it tends to bore me.

Dean/Cas, on the other hand? I can read them all day long, PWPs and all. XD

I'm finally starting to find my niche with Dean/Castiel - my first attempt was horrid and never saw the light of day. I blame the fact that it had been such a long time since I'd written slash. O_O Writing this helped!

Thank you for reading this. I'm glad so many others share my love of these two. :3
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