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Attraction vs. Aesthetics

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“He’s pretty hot”

Cas turned his head only slightly to the left, far enough to see a woman standing right next to him. He didn’t know her, had never seen her before. Not that he would have expected to know her, no. Honestly, running into a familiar face while on an undercover hunt probably wasn’t the best thing to happen, and therefore they were always happy to be faced with only people they had never met before. What was irritating to Cas, though, was that this unknown woman felt connected enough to him to start a conversation with that comment and nothing else.

“Huh?” he made. Nothing more than that. He was still looking at her, an eyebrow raised, surprised and admittedly more than a bit irritated by that conversation starter.

“Your friend,” the woman now said, and her head nodded into the direction where Dean was standing, a couple of feet over, talking to some other people in fancy clothes. “I saw you coming in together earlier. He’s quite the looker”

“Oh,” Cas gave a mumbled answer that the woman probably couldn’t even hear, with all the chatter going on around them.

The hall was busy, as they had expected it to be. Lots of rich people in expensive clothes, sipping expensive champagne out of expensive glasses, chatting and laughing, all together pretending to be there for the charity event, but secretly they all knew it was just another opportunity to show off. In the middle of all that, Dean and Cas, chatting to these exact people, Sam somewhere around the round, out of sigh but probably doing the same, and hopefully, a werewolf in disguise somewhere among the guests.

Cas wasn’t exactly paying attention to any of that, though. His eyes had followed the woman’s nod through the room, over the crowd of rich people, and had now landed on Dean.

Dean, who was standing there in a borrowed suit, because none of the fake-FBI ones he owned had seemed fancy enough, right next to a little fake-fountain, having a fake-smile on while maintaining a fake-friendly conversation in which neither partner seemed to really pay attention to what the other one was saying.

He was looking good, that much was true. Cas could definitely agree there with this strange woman. He was looking good in that suit, but Cas found it didn’t make much difference to what he normally wore. Actually, if he was honest, he probably preferred the old jeans with the washed-out parts where the knees were, along with an ordinary shirt and one of those flannels Dean insisted on wearing at every possible and impossible occasion. Cas’s preference wasn’t even about the looks. It was just, that outfit was Dean. It was what he felt comfortable in, what he chose to use to express himself. This suit, on the other hand … Dean tried hard, and he was probably fooling most of the strangers at this weird party, but Cas knew, he could see how stiff he felt in that suit.

And he was looking good, he was always looking good, in Cas’s opinion. Dean was always looking good, at every instance, every second of every day – and night, for that matter. No matter if it was all dressed up and ready, or fresh out of bed with no coffee yet, in his pyjama pants and with ruffled hair and a sleepy face, even after a hunt, with blood and slime all over him, even though Cas had to admit that was kind of disgusting. But an okay amount of disgusting, because it was Dean, after all.

Dean was looking good indeed, as he always was, yes. Looking good. But hot?

He’s pretty hot, the woman had said, and that word …

It was ridiculous, almost. Kind of like a bad joke. An Angel, an actual Angel of the Lord, capable of speaking, of understanding every single language that was and had ever been anywhere on earth, and yet, there were those few words that meant nothing to him. Hot, Attractive, words like those, no matter in which language, no matter where on earth, in hell or on heaven they were spoken, they meant nothing to him.

Maybe one could say that they weren’t even words for him, because per definition, a word has to have some kind of meaning – and words like those just didn’t.

As much as he had seen in his uncountable years of existence, as many things he had learned, words he had spoken, those were the only ones he couldn’t make sense of. He of course knew there was some kind of meaning to them, a meaning that he could piece together from the context he had witnessed others using them in, but that meaning was, as a result, an observed one, not an understood one.

It wasn’t understood, and it could never be, because Castiel simply didn’t understand.

He didn’t understand the thing that was lying beyond, the feeling those words described – because he simply didn’t feel them. He never had, and for quite the amount of time he had thought maybe he would one day, maybe he would get it, maybe he would feel it and then understand, but he didn’t.

It wasn’t like Angels generally wouldn’t be capable of feeling such things, of experiencing attraction – they were, Cas knew that. It was just, that he personally wasn’t. And he had thought – or maybe, hoped – to understand it one day, to see what the fuzz was about, what everyone seemed to be so fascinated by. What that thing about humans and their attraction and sex was that seemed so appealing it had caused several Angels to fall. But he didn’t.

The falling part, he could understand. He saw the appeal in humanity, he definitely did. It would be pretty ironic to claim that he didn’t, considering he had betrayed Heaven, betrayed everything he had ever stood for, just for one human.

And that human, that one silly little human that seemed so unimportant at the first glance, that one single little American man, the one that meant so much to him that words couldn’t possibly describe it – that one had made him understand a lot, almost everything.

But the thing was, almost everything. He understood why others before him had turned their backs to heaven, had betrayed the Great Plan, had betrayed God himself. He understood, because Humanity – or that one single human, in his case – was definitely worth it.

He understood so many human emotions all of a sudden, and he cared. For the first time ever, after millennia of existence, Cas had started to care instead of blindly following orders.

He understood what it meant to care, as he watched Dean care so incredibly much.

And he understood what it meant to love. He understood as he watched Dean do so many selfless things out of love, and he understood even better as he found himself falling in love.

He was falling in love, he knew that. Maybe he had fallen in love, maybe he was still falling. Cas wasn’t entirely sure if this was more a state or an ongoing process, but in the core, he knew that it was love.

So much love, for the world, for humanity, and especially for Dean – love, definitely, undoubtedly love, but no attraction.

Cas’s wouldn’t dare to say that he now understood love, because he didn’t. probably nobody had ever truly understood love. But he was content in saying that the word now had meaning to him. If someone was talking about love, he could definitely imagine something, make out a meaning below the word – no matter in which language.

And that was thanks to Dean, so you would assume that the sight of Dean would have awoken another kind of feeling in Cas, would’ve made him understand attraction. But well, it didn’t.

Cas had expected it to happen, he had been rather sure that as soon as he understood he was experiencing love like that, he would start to understand that other thing as well, sooner or later. But he didn’t.

And by now, after years and years around Dean, by his side, caring about him, loving him, Cas had come to the conclusion that he probably never would.

And that it was okay that way.

Because he felt good that way. He truly did feel entirely good that way, having accepted that this was just the way he felt, the way he was, that this was just him. And there admittedly were many things about himself that Cas didn’t like, some not at all, some he hated with a burning passion, and some he simply wanted to forget about, but this wasn’t one of them.

He was happy with how it was. He still didn’t understand, the words still didn’t carry any meaning for him, but that was okay.

He was aware of Dean’s good looks, of course he was – how could he not have been. But never, not a single time, had he thought of him as hot or attractive. It was rather, beautiful.

Dean was like a fine painting, Cas liked to think. He was so aesthetically pretty to look at, he was like the masterpiece of a hard-working artist, every freckle on his face the result of the well-thought-through tap of a brush, the shape of his face carefully drawn on canvas, every single hair added with a careful movement of hand, and his eyes, his mesmerizing green eyes, the result of long hours of work, with every little variation of colour being carefully thought of and added, colours mixed with the tip of a fine brush, making those eyes as deep and beautiful as they were.

It was almost ironic, if you thought about it. Years back, Cas had thought of humans as an artwork as well. An artwork by his father’s hand, his most perfect creations. Today, he wasn’t thinking that way anymore, he wasn’t praising God for anything anymore, not after everything he had put them through.

But Dean, Dean in particular, he still considered a piece of art. A masterpiece of art, made by the most talented artist in the world.

Cas’s eyes were still on Dean, following him moving around over there in the other half of the room, talking to people with that smile on his face. The face was beautiful, and every time Cas looked at it, he couldn’t believe just how beautiful it was. Every time he looked at it, he was thinking that a masterpiece like that should be put in a museum.

But then, on the other hand, Cas really didn’t want to share the masterpiece. So, he always reminded himself, no museum. Leave him here, with you, in the bunker, and admire this masterpiece at its finest: When he’s just rolled out of bed, in his silly pyjamas with cartoon prints all over, sipping on his coffee, sleep still in his eyes, hair ruffled, but his freckles standing out.

As he was looking over, eyeing Dean from across the room, he still didn’t understand those words the woman next to him had said.

They still carried no meaning for him, he couldn’t make any sense of them or relate to the feeling they implied – But that didn’t matter.

It wasn’t important, not to him, nothing of this was. He was happy as it was, as he was. Oblivious to the meaning of such words, but happy. As happy as it could get, really, as a fallen and rebellious former soldier of Heaven.

Cas didn’t understand the meaning beyond those words, and he never would. But he also had had time learn, and he had acquired a general picture of someone who got attributed the label attractive. And what he had especially learned was that Dean seemed to be considered extremely attractive by quite a number of people.

So, Cas decided, as every so often, to do what he had learned to do, to pretend to understand, to just agree to this definition society of attractiveness that society seemed to agree on.

“Yeah,” he said, still looking at Dean. “Yeah, I guess he is”