So today is September 18th which obviously marks the 6th anniversary of Dean and Cas meeting for the first time. Initially, I mean to do a gifset but then - for some reason - pirrofarfalla’s tags to a meta I wrote about Dean and Kevin (x) made me want to talk about the both of them in writing instead.
#somewhere along the way #as he’s grown in his relationships with the people he cares about #he’s done what he could to communicate his pride in them in ways beyond words #because he doesn’t quite know the words #it’s like trying to speak a different language #so he does what he can #Dean’s greatest weakness is the size of his heart and the purity of his soul #and those are also his greatest strengths #they’re what make him a hero #and he can’t always say what needs to be said when he needs to say it (via pirrofarfalla)
One of my favorite things to talk about is Dean’s heart and how it shapes him as a human and I think Lexa is absolutely right in saying that it is his greatest weakness in many ways - and at the same time it’s one of his most wonderful qualities. Problem is that he lost his direct access to it and the poison surrounding it makes it impossible for him to appreciate and embrace it. Instead, he’s been rejecting himself more and more up until the point he took on actual poison (The Mark) because the foulness he felt in his soul was basically killing him.
I can’t help thinking of Cas’ stolen Grace in this context. How it turned his humanity around and how it’s literally burning him out.
After he learned of Dean’s death he claims he ‘just wants to be angel’ or, in other words, wants his own Grace back as though it were a solution for the way his heart is hurting. But the thing is, I believe it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t really want to go back simply because it would mean he’s back to being part of a species where obedience and manipulation are spelled with capital letters.
I think, in many ways, Dean is what makes it easier for him to connect to his heart because he knows with certainty that Dean sees something worthwhile in him, no matter who or what he is. Case in point: he let his heart decide when he saved Dean’s life in 9x22, even if it was hard and majorly conflicting with the Bigger Picture. But Dean’s gone now and Cas heart is being severed into pieces.
Right now, Cas’ stolen Grace is making him a time bomb and giving it up would mean going back into a world where all meaning is dead (because Dean is gone). On the other hand, getting his own Grace back would mean being back with the family that hurt him, manipulated him, cast him out… but in the moments after Dean’s death he still prefers the latter over humanity because it’s the only solution he can see (I kinda interpret full angelhood as a metaphor to ‘numbness’ actually). I’m sure Cas realized the moment he heard of Dean’s death that the one thing Dean’s made him feel is important. Even if he had his doubts about it before (because who doesn’t), a world without the worth Dean sees in him must feel like a world without a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, Cas is still struggling with finding a place he belongs and all he wants to do is the right thing… but he also wants choice, he wants himself, he wants love.
Even if Dean never said it in so many words, Cas is not like Kevin who couldn’t understand Dean’s way of communication. Cas was definitely able to see through Dean’s anger and his many layers and feel what Dean actually meant - even if it was a more subconscious thing up until the moment he understood that he lost him for good.
Essentially, Dean was able to make Cas feel important and give him something to hold on to. Dean grounded him just by being who he is - by opening his heart to the people he loves in subtle but overpowering ways.
And Cas? I have no doubt in my mind that Cas has always been able to see Dean’s heart very clearly and that, in many ways, he must have seen his own reflected in it (Cas’ heartbroken expression at the end of Road Trip is still one of the most evident examples of that fact, if you ask me). Obviously, Dean’s pain and trauma are very different from Cas’. The self-destruction he craved through the Mark was deeply connected to his childhood and the ripple effect of pain and death it caused in his adulthood. Nobody could have stopped it, not with the players so neatly aligned the way they were (courtesy to Crowley…).
Be that as it may, we know that Dean needs Cas. That Dean prays to him when he doesn’t know what’s what anymore. That he puts an incredible amount of faith in Cas. That he’s willing to let Cas go because he feels that he deserves to be happy and to live his life (that he deserves choice (!!)). That - even after Kevin’s death and the inhuman amounts of self-loathing tightening around his heart - he calls Cas because he wants him by his side. That he’s not ashamed to show his vulnerable side to Cas. That he’s able to understand Cas in ways he is not yet (!) able to understand Sam because ‘the idea’ of Sam is still such an integral part of his issues (I’m calling it ‘idea’ because the Sam that exists in reality is not always the Sam Dean actually perceives).
And it’s because Cas has earned it. Or to quote the very wise words of Sam: ‘Because it’s Cas’. Dean knows Cas sees him for who he is and, to be honest, I am sure that deep down Dean knows he is loved. And he thrives on it. Like… even when he’s well under the Mark’s influence, he tells Cas ‘you just gave up an entire army for one guy' and he smiles, half-heartedly maybe, but it's an honest smile. He is in fact acknowledging the idea that Cas gave up everything for him and he's okay with it. This is incredibly significant because Cas made a decision that came from his heart and it was directed to Dean's heart. And Dean's reaction to it is a smile. The foulness Dean feels in his soul that I mentioned above is a creation of his mind and Cas couldn’t care less for it. What Cas sees in Dean’s soul actually shines with brightness… and Dean’s okay with Cas seeing it. Frankly, that is fucking amazing and it means that there’s hope - for all of them.
I think that’s the power of their relationship. They bring out each others hearts and they’re both allowing it to happen. Because, no matter what happened in the past, they feel safe with each other. They complete each other and the connection they have may not always be easy to maintain but it is free of poison because it actively pierces through all the dark layers.
And like Lexa mentioned in the tags above, communicating matters of the heart often comes like a different language to Dean and he has his own way of saying/indicating things. I just think that Dean and Cas happen to understand each other regardless of that because the foundation of their bond doesn’t need actual words - it’s simply based on their hearts’ connection.