Here’s a fact: falling in love is not an independent emotion.
Well, not completely, at least. It’s not some new type of emotion, different from other emotions. It’s more like—Dean isn’t really good with this, so bear with him—more like this hybrid, a collection of heightened sensations, tangled up with one another into one gigantic ball of feelings that perpetually pound your chest, demanding to be felt all at once as common sense scrambles to create a semblance of order and fails miserably.
Here’s another fact: angels do not fall in love. Angels do not have emotions, were not built to feel, and thus, extrapolating from the previous fact, are simply incapable of falling in love. Free will may help them from becoming less of a jerk, but it requires a giant and frankly irrational leap of logic from “not being as much of a dick as you could’ve been” to “being in love.”
Dean Winchester is not stupid. Or irrational. He is aware of all these.
Here’s a fact: it still doesn’t stop him from falling in love with an angel.
Sometimes Dean thinks that his post-apocalyptic life is just a series of gory, slightly disturbing and yet ultimately repetitive routines. They aren’t the typical routines found behind white picket fences, not ones involving gossiping about nextdoor neighbours or mowing the lawn, but nonetheless routines.
He can even organize them in fucking bullet points.
This is how his week usually goes:
Dean and Sam catch wind of strange occurrences that can only be explained by supernatural influences.
Dean and Sam investigate said strange things.
Dean and Sam (but mostly Sam, because Dean swears that kid can get off from Google Scholar search results or something) do some research.
Dean and Sam (but mostly Dean, because unlike that giant of a brother, he knows a thing or two about this thing called having fun) solve the problem by killing some demons and/or monsters.
Dean and Sam save the day.
Add some friendly banter, blood, and the occasional man-pain (courtesy of Sam 'I Was a Girl in the Previous Life' Winchester) in between.
Dean groans and blinks his eyes open, glaring at the clock at his bedside. The red light display of 2:34 a.m. glares back at him, and he somehow ends up being engaged in a half-sleepy staring contest with the clock as Sam sleeps peacefully on another bed one small table away, his breathing soft and even.
God, he thinks miserably as he comes to a realization, the kind that only comes at two fucking a.m. My life is a fucking TV show.
He suddenly understands how Chuck could make a living out of writing about his life. He, Dean Winchester, lifetime hunter whose Impala has travelled more miles than a businessman with a frequent flyer, actually has a routine. A repetitive, formulaic one, to boot. And not being ungrateful or anything—successfully averting the apocalypse with all limbs intact is definitely something to be grateful for—but it does, sometimes, kind of, get a little bit, well. Boring.
A little, tiny bit.
Oh, who is he kidding.
He is the most ungrateful bastard in the universe and he thinks his life is fucking boring as (figurative) hell. Sometimes he wishes Castiel would be around a lot more because if anything’s interesting, it’s Cas, and sometimes Dean just wants to talk to him or have a drink with him or bend him over a table and spread his legs and.
Something, something, settles at the back of his mind.
He immediately jolts upright from his position upon this extremely distressing realization, the creaking noises from his bed making Sam shift in his own for a few seconds before settling into a new position.
Dean blinks again.
He then says, heartily, “Oh, fuck.”
In the distant, distant future, this moment will be remembered by readers of the Winchester Gospel as ‘that one time the Righteous Man Dean Winchester realizes he has the largest, most embarrassing man-crush on the Angel of the Lord Castiel.’ The readers would usually be able to imagine the moment and what comes after vividly—all thanks to Chuck’s decision to have five-and-a-half pages devoted on the moment—and how Dean finds himself freaking out silently in the toilet a few minutes later, hands carding through his hair multiple times as if the movement could trigger a previously-untapped power in memory alteration. In the Winchester Gospel: Uncut Version, it is revealed there has been some creative cuss words only a man who has been to literal hell can come up with.
In retrospect, it is really hypocritical of him that, for all his complaints about the predictable redundancy that is his life, this one unpredictable revelation is regarded as something extremely unwelcome.
Dean refuses to call the moment a plot twist.
This, he argues to that part in his brain that sounds suspiciously a lot like Sam as he wolfs down another slice of pancake the next morning, is definitely the case of taking an analogy too far. It also feels like tempting fate, and considering the Winchester luck when it comes to fates, Dean spends the next fifteen minutes resisting the urge to pray for Chuck never to get a TV show deal. Or worse, whoever-is-in-charge-up-there-now forbid—a movie deal.
Evading the Supernatural books in a bookstore is already hard enough. Dean can’t yet imagine how he’s going to avoid all the hypothetical Supernatural movie posters on gigantic billboards as he drives. He blanches in horror. What if he's being played by Zac Efron. Or that Twilight dude.
When Sam takes a seat across the table, back from the toilet, Dean instinctively glares at him.
“What?” Sam asks, probably wondering the possible offensive nature inherent to the act of going to the toilet.
Dean’s brain chooses that very moment to remind him that no matter how similar they sound, his inner-Sam and the actual, living-Sam are completely different entities, and Dean looks away, muttering lamely, “Nothing.”
Sam, of course, isn’t buying it at all. “Dean, what’s going on? You know you can tell me anything.”
“There’s nothing to tell, Sam.”
“Dean,” Sam insists, because he’s Sam. “Is this about Cas?”
Dean whips his head so fast he thinks he heard a crack from his neck. “Who said anything about Cas?”
And because everything in this universe that doesn’t go by the name ‘Sam’ or ‘Castiel’ hates him, there’s a familiar sound of fluttering feathers, and Castiel appears out of thin air on the seat beside Dean. Both brothers almost jump from their seats, Sam’s reflex thankfully fast enough to snatch the empty glass Dean accidentally knocked over the table.
“Jesus, Cas,” Dean breathes, “warn a guy, next time? Sometimes I wonder whether you secretly want to give me a heart attack.”
Castiel frowns. “Considering the effort that I put in to keep you alive, that would be irrational, Dean.”
Sam scoffs, and Dean has to consciously remind himself that he doesn’t find Cas’ obtuseness cute or endearing at all. Castiel is a billions-year-old angel, not a clueless toddler, and this crush-thing is stupid because Dean isn’t a fucking teenager looking at the girl he really wants to ask out to the prom, and. Well. Dean is actually running out of arguments already. “So,” he clears his throat, “any reason you suddenly dropped by?”
Castiel does a very human-like shrug. “I… do not have anything of import. If you don’t want me around, then I can just—“
“No!” Dean says too quickly, and thinks, shit. Cas freezes, the rest of his sentence dies in his lips, and if that manages to surprise the usually stoic angel of the lord? Dean refuses to know what Sam’s reaction would be like. So instead he looks down at his third plate of pancake and pushes it towards Cas, hoping that he looks nonchalant enough. “Here, try this. The pancake here is fantastic.”
Cas opens his mouth like he wants to say something, but after a few seconds he shifts his gaze to the pancake, much to Dean’s relief. He looks at it tentatively, like it’s going to betray its seemingly harmless appearance by exploding or something, before acquiescing and reaching for a fork.
Nope, not adorable at all. ‘Adorable’ isn’t even in Dean Winchester’s vocabulary, fuck you very much.
“Cas,” Dean says as Cas starts poking the pancake, “you know you’re free to hang out with us anytime, right? Even if there’s no apocalypse going on.” He pauses as he processes that last sentence, and quickly amends, “especially with no apocalypse going on.”
At that, Castiel’s eyes soften. “Apocalypse or not,” he says, “I believe it’s one of the rules to enjoy the little things.”
“Dude, is that a Zombieland reference?” Dean says, and Cas ducks to take a bite of Dean’s pancake, but Dean has caught the smile on his face. “You’re learning.”
Dean knows he must have sounded stupidly proud, and that’s because he is, even for something as trivial as a pop culture reference, and he finds himself grinning at the idea of Castiel watching movies in heaven, probably lying down on a random cloud with a Mac precariously perched on his knees as other angels flying around doing douche things douche-angels-who-aren’t-Castiel do. This may not be an accurate image, but Dean likes to think it’s close to the truth.
This time Dean catches Sam’s reaction—a funny, speculative look on his brother’s face—and Dean inwardly squirms under his brother’s scrutiny, feeling unreasonably indignant. It’s not like he ever had a choice in all these. He can’t help it, okay, can’t help the stupid grins, the warmth that slowly spreads from his chest, the major short-circuit that takes place in his brain right now, repeating, Cas, Cas, Cas like a broken record.
He is so fucked.
It is decidedly ironic that, for someone who’s practically heaven’s poster boy for free will, the one thing that Dean Winchester can’t choose to be is not in love with an angel.
If Dean’s life were a movie, it would be one of those cheap, bait-and-switch movies. The ones that look like they are of this one popular genre, but when you get around to watch it, it turns out to be something completely different.
Dean’s life right now would totally look like a romantic comedy. There’s the handsome male lead (ha), the quirky love interest (though ‘quirky’ is definitely putting it really, really mildly), and they don’t get along initially, until they do. There’s also that unresolved sexual tension between them that can be seen from miles away.
The love interest does things normal people would find weird. The male lead refuses to admit his attractions. The male lead falls in love anyway.
There was this one time, during the apocalypse, when Dean and Sam brought Castiel to a Walmart, and Cas’ entire face just lit up like a nine-year-old on a Christmas Day. Cas immediately made it his mission to help the Winchesters pick out some cheap mass-produced clothes, but it soon became clear that Cas’ tastes sucked. Or, well, weird by human standard, like everything else about Cas is. Inevitably, what supposed to be a brief trip to Walmart turned into a small competition, with Cas surreptitiously putting his choices inside the cart when the brothers weren’t looking, and Sam and Dean trying their best to spot said choices among their pile and returned them to where they belong, which was hopefully never on anybody’s skin.
Dean caught Cas in the act one last time near the cashier and snatched the bright purple boxers with orange stripes from Cas’ hands.
Cas scowled. “Dean, I really like that one.”
Dean scrunched up his nose and waved the offending garment in front of Cas’ face. “Dude, just—think about it. What would you feel if anyone ever caught you wearing this?”
Cas frowned and tilted his head in genuine confusion, and Dean’s smile faltered.
“But Dean,” Castiel said, “I don’t feel.”
When you get around to watch it, Dean’s life turns out to be a tragedy.
The thing is, Dean might be bored to death, might catch himself feeling restless as he absentmindedly drums his fingers on the table more often than not, but he is happy. Genuine, honest-to-god happy, for—this. Whatever this is that he’s having now. He and Sam on the road, Bobby only a phone call away, Castiel dropping by to just be instead of bringing Bad News Number 51046.
He is happy, and he’s scared.
Cas once told him, “good things do happen, Dean,” like he thought Dean believed otherwise, but for once Cas got it all wrong. Dean is not a pessimist. He’s a realist. When he said, “not in my experience,” it doesn’t mean that good things don’t happen, because they do.
It’s just that they don’t really last.
Dean is scared, fucking terrified, that he would screw something up and lose everything. Again. And if there’s anything he’s sure about, is that declaring his feelings on someone (something?) who can’t even feel in the first place is a one-way ticket to Screw Something Up.
Dean isn’t a pessimist, but he’s a realist. He’s realistic enough to know that if this ever were to last, the only thing he should do is absolutely nothing.
Preferred Soundtrack List for the Hypothetical SUPERNATURAL Movie, as compiled by Dean Winchester:
AC/DC – Back in Black
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
Bon Jovi – It’s My Life
Def Leppard – Rock of Ages
Queen – We Are the Champions
Kansas – Carry On My Wayward Son
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
AC/DC – Highway to Hell
Metallica – One
Actual Soundtrack List of the Hypothetical SUPERNATURAL Movie, taking into account Dean Winchester’s current real life experience:
Every single Taylor Swift’s songs.
Absolutely nothing else.
Castiel is bleeding and there’s blood on his usually white shirt, on Dean’s jacket, on the backseat of the impala, red, red, red everywhere. Dean’s hunter instinct is telling him to stop freaking the fuck out, to calmly look for possible, hidden fatal wounds with a clear mind, but Cas doesn’t heal and he’s pale and his breathing is so shallow Dean wouldn’t have noticed it if he weren’t looking for it, and fuck.
He thinks Sam is talking to him, telling him that this wound is beyond something a first aid kit can handle so Sam’s calling 911 and it’s okay, he’ll think of a cover story, Cas will be fine, just calm the fuck down, Dean. But Dean can’t stop his hands from shaking as he grips Cas tightly around the angel’s shoulder, his lips whispering stupid things into Cas’ ears, things like it’s going to be okay, and I’m here, and you better don’t die on me again, you fucking idiot.
When the ambulance arrives, he’s too shaken to answer a single question.
The next thing Dean knows he’s in a hospital room, a ball of blood-soaked trenchcoat on his lap and Cas’ hand in his, and he feels like the world was tilted on its axis and only started spinning on the right direction again. There’s more color on Cas’ face, and Dean can finally hear him breathing (so angels do breathe when they’re inside a vessel, his mind distantly thinks), but he doesn’t--couldn’t--leave Cas’ side except for a couple of toilet breaks. Sam doesn’t comment on it, making small talks as he brings Dean takeout food, and Dean is grateful for that.
On the third day, Castiel regains his consciousness.
The weakened angel looks equally irritated and confused at the state he’s in, and when he notices Dean sitting at his bedside, the first thing he does is apologize.
Dean is furious, because anger is the easiest emotion to understand.
“Fuck, Cas, it’s not—“ he pauses, because his voice just cracked and he needs a moment to—to breathe, to collect himself, to just be. “Fun fact. When you get injured so bad you get into a hospital, it’s usually not your fault, and you’re not supposed to apologize.”
The frown doesn’t disappear from Cas’ face. “I fail to see how that fact is ‘fun’ in any way.”
Dean was ready to launch into a speech about the importance of having a self-preservation instinct, but Castiel’s line just threw him off the track so suddenly he’s laughing before he knows it. And god, does it feel good. He hasn’t laughed even once in the last three days, not since Castiel was unconscious and bleeding all over the place and dying, and Dean realizes he’s been an idiot.
Because Cas may be a being whose existence Dean can barely comprehend, but that doesn’t mean he won’t suddenly be taken away from Dean’s life by forces he can’t control. And Cas always returned so far, always comes back to Dean, but that doesn’t give Dean the excuse not to give him a reason to stay.
“Hey, Cas,” he says, and Dean feels his stomach twist; he raises his hand and brushes a strand of hair away from Cas’ forehead, and says, almost in a whisper, “just—you can—tell me if you don’t. You know.”
Cas doesn’t say anything. He just regards Dean with a blank expression, not particularly repulsed and—Dean might be imagining things right now, but—not particularly confused, either. It’s like Cas knows what Dean is planning to do. Maybe he really does.
Dean waits, giving Cas the time to say ‘no’, to back away, anything. When Cas doesn’t move, Dean leans forward.
Here’s a fact: Uriel made his first joke during the Cretaceous era.
The joke would later on be described by Uriel as a masterful play of words and by anyone else as nothing short of a pun. Uriel would also argue that, in his defense, it was literally the first joke in the history of anything. It can be noted that Uriel’s joke and sense of humor wouldn’t actually stray far away from puns after millions of years of existence, not that Uriel would ever admit it.
Here’s another fact: they were in the middle of a holy war. Annael’s garrison was cornered, their grace so frayed and mangled they could barely sustain their conscience, their true forms threatening to escape their current vessels. They were exhausted, at wits’ end, and while their existence was a little more complicated than simply dead or alive they were, for all intents and purposes, dying.
Inias scoffed. Samandriel was already wearing an ear-splitting grin, and Castiel and Annael weren’t far behind, breaking into laughter as soon as they caught each other’s eyes. Hester was the grumpiest angel in the universe, as grumpy as angels could be, but even she cracked a smile. Rachel was the last to laugh, but she was the loudest, too.
From anyone else’s point of view, this scene wouldn’t have been pleasing, much less endearing. Their vessels at the time—more primates than human—were not accustomed to the act of smiling and laughing, and calling what they were doing as anything other than groaning and gaping is being extremely generous. Angels did not know how to laugh, were unfamiliar with the notion of laughing, the notion of feeling.
But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t.
Here’s a fact: contrary to what Dean Winchester believes, angels do feel.
Sometimes, even deeply.
Castiel leans forward and meets Dean halfway.
This is how the casting call for the Supernatural movie would look like, in Sam’s mind:
Actor interested to be DEAN WINCHESTER should:
- be able to withstand constant, intense stare from another actor.
- be able to act oblivious and unperturbed as the aforementioned stare fully intents to undress you in every location, public or private.
- be able to act as the most unloved man in the universe despite being showered by complete adoration and devotion by a character who is, for all intents and purposes, an angel.
Actor interested to be CASTIEL should:
- be able to look comfortable in a billion layers of clothing.
- be able to make an expression that is equal exasperation and adoration.
- be flexible because holy shit that one time in Iowa that Sam pointedly pretends never, ever happened.
- be able to look at someone as if the person has a soul deserving more fervent devotion than God.
Actor interested to be SAM WINCHESTER should:
- be handsome.
- be smart.
- be able to look at the actors playing DEAN WINCHESTER and CASTIEL like they are the most idiotic idiots in the history of idiotic humans and angels and yet somehow still look fond, because really, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m going to fucking disembowel Chuck,” Dean declares loudly, and he would have chucked the brochure for the opening of the Supernatural movie into the nearest trash can, except that Cas is already walking away from said trash can and Dean can’t bring himself to disentangle their hands yet, so.
The movie turns out not to be so bad. It may have something to do with the fact that Cas’ head rests comfortably on Dean’s shoulder throughout the viewing, not that Dean will ever admit that in a thousand years.
It’s a romantic comedy.