“Do you ever wish that you could change vessels?”
The question came so out of nowhere that Sam, Meg and Dean all lifted up their heads from what they were doing. Castiel sat on the other side of the library and was rubbing the back of his hand against his cheeks, as if he had just noticed the soft stubble that always seemed to grow back even whenever he shaved it. Something about the stasis of the vessel; Dean knew he had explained it to him but he really didn’t get it.
“How do you mean?” Sam asked.
“Well, this vessel has been reconstructed for me after Lucifer obliterated it originally,” Castiel said. “And I have grown comfortable with it over the years. But I’ve had other vessels before and sometimes I wonder what the perception of myself would be if I inhabited those instead.”
“I know what you mean,” Meg said, turning her attention back to the celebrity magazine she had opened on her lap. “If I’d known I was going to be stuck in this one after Crowley tried to kill me, I would’ve chosen a taller one. I did like towering over people when I was Sam.”
“We said we weren’t going to bring that up again,” Sam pointed out.
Meg just shrugged and continued flipping through the pages of her magazine.
“Does it really matter if you’re tall when you need to be sitting down all the time now?” Dean asked, pointing at her wheelchair.
“That is a very rude thing to say, Dean-o. I stand up sometimes, when Cas holds me up against the wall and…”
“Alright, you know what, forget I said anything.”
Dean thought that was going to be the end of the conversation and lowered his eyes to the computer to keep shopping for erotic Japanese manga he didn’t have yet when Sam spoke up:
“I get it, though.”
“You do?” Castiel asked.
“Yes, it’s… it’s normal to want to change some things about ourselves. So the image we have in our minds matches our bodies. It’s very…”
“If you say human, I will scoop your eyes out with a spoon,” Meg threatened.
“I will have to shoot you,” Dean reminded her.
“Cas will smite you,” Meg replied, simply.
“I’m just saying,” Sam interrupted them before they escalated it even further. “I get it.”
He continued reading the book on ancient Babylonian incantations he’d found, but Dean was suddenly curious.
“Wait, what would you change about yourself?”
“Doesn’t matter, Dean, I was just saying.”
“No, really, what? You’re tall, you’re fit, you have fabulous hair…”
“Dean. It doesn’t matter,” Sam replied, in a cutting tone that indicated that it did, indeed, matter very much, but he didn’t want to talk about it.
“Alright,” Dean said, wishing now he could go back to his Japanese art.
“I understand,” Castiel intervened. “People make certain assumptions about us because of our masculine appearance that sometimes don’t match up our personalities. It can be annoying.”
“You’re… annoyed because people see you as a man?” Dean repeated. “But you are a man.”
“I am an angel,” Castiel corrected him. “I just happen to have the visage of what you perceive as a man.”
Dean was going to ask what exactly the difference was but Meg spoke up first:
“Should’ve just got a pretty girl’s body when you had the chance, baby.”
“Would you have gone for that?” Dean asked her.
“Sure. I swing every way.” Meg shrugged. “I mean, what, you think I chose this face just because I found it aesthetically pleasant?” She pointed at herself. “Well, I did, but being perceived as a pretty girl has its perks. People underestimate you.”
“But you are a girl,” Dean protested.
“It’s been so long since I was alive and I went through so many layers of Hell, I’m not even sure that’s true.”
“Wait, so you… used to be a guy?”
“No idea.” Meg just passed another page of her magazine. “I have been, sometimes. But much as I complain, I think this meatsuit fits me quite nicely right now.”
So Cas wasn’t a guy and Meg had chosen to be a woman. That was not confusing at all.
Dean turned to Sam to commiserate with him, but to his surprise, he found that his brother was nodding to everything they were saying.
“Yeah, I… I do feel like people just mistake me for a guy sometimes.”
“Are you serious? We are guys.”
“Well, you are,” Meg said, crooking an eyebrow.
“Yes, you definitely are,” Castiel agreed.
“I don’t think anybody would question that about you, Dean,” Sam added, with a chuckle.
Dean scoffed and shook his head.
“Well, whatever,” he said, grabbing his beer and shaking his head. “You bunch of weirdos.”
“It’s not us who are looking at drawn pornographic material in a room full of other people, Dean,” Castiel pointed out.
“Dude!” Sam shut his books and shot him a disgusted look.
“I’m going to go… be anywhere else,” Meg said, rolling her chair back to get out of the library.
“What? Come on! You can’t even see it from that angle!” Dean protested as Castiel stood up. “Why did you have to bring it up, Cas?”
Castiel stopped in his tracks.
“I just thought it would be an interesting conversation topic.”
He left before Dean had time to clarify he meant the hentai; not the vessels thing.
Dean took another swig of his beer. For some reason, he didn’t feel quite right about the conversation ending on that note.
“Hey,” he said, cracking Sam’s door open. “You want a beer?”
“I’m fine,” Sam said, not looking up from the books he’d spread on his desk.
Dean placed the beer next to him anyway and went to sit on his bed. He thought about it for a minute.
“Didn’t mean to call you a weirdo,” he said.
“It’s fine, Dean,” Sam said, turning the pages of his book.
“No, it’s…” Dean sighed. He really wasn’t good at this sort of conversations. “Look, man, in the end, it doesn’t matter what you… are, or aren’t. You’re Sam. And that’s the only thing I care about.”
At least that got Sam to lift his head over his shoulder.
“Thanks. I appreciate that.”
“And if you want to… I don’t know, wear a dress or make up or…”
“Dean, please.” Sam huffed. “I’ve been wearing mascara and eyeliner for years.”
“What? No, you haven’t!”
Sam smirked at him, but Dean barely noticed as he was staring intensely at his eyes, trying to determine if he was being bullshitted.
“We lived together in shitty motel rooms for ages, I would've noticed!” he exclaimed.
“Well, some girls definitely noticed.”
“Did they?” Dean raised his eyebrows. “Does that really work?”
“Like a charm. Wanna try?”
Dean considered it for about half a second.
“No, I’m good.” He stood up and patted Sam in the back. “You do you, though.”