•Ramiel: Allies. Is that what you call three humans with one good liver between them and a busted up angel? •Crowley: I admit, they don’t sound like much. But every Armageddon, every bloody “this is the end of all things,” a Winchester stopped it. Like it or not, they’re an asset we can’t afford to lose.
-Supernatural: 12x12 “Stuck in the middle (with you)”.
I’m not sure I can shout any louder or more regularly that THIS IS CLASSIC ROMANTIC STORYTELLING.
~ Dean doesn’t believe in Angels.
~ Cas is a soldier and Angel of the Lord.
Classic antagonistic meet-cute. They get to know each other through season 4 as reluctant allies. Debate is rife between them as to the right thing to do. Denial is a running theme for Dean re: Cas, let’s be honest, not even romantically but the ever old “It’s Cas, he’ll be fine” etc. Denial is central.
Season 4 finale: THE NEW RELATIONSHIP. Cas rebelled. He did it, all of it, for Dean. They are now compatriots working together against Heaven and Hell.
~ Dean starts to have faith in Cas, he prays to Cas.
~ Cas starts to see Dean as his leader and ally, not the Angels.
Season 5 - 8. Getting to know you. Well its SPN, so not exactly Fun and Games but yeah, this is it. They do get to know each other, and we get to know them better too. Cas even occasionally takes part in some MOTW ‘fun and games’ episodes and we see the development of both the romantic Destiel and the verykindly clearly written as a mirror obviously platonic Sastiel for comparison.
Point of no return / deeper commitment: somewhere around season 8 / Purgatory. “I’m not leaving here without you” etc. This is also the point where Dean believes that emotions will break Cas. This is literally heartbreaking and affects how he reacts to everything moving forwards, most specifically it is the reason why he holds back so much other than when Cas is human (see all the meta about 2nd nightstands, all of 9x06, the bar scene etc). It is also a standard unrequited/undeserving/it’s better for them if they don’t love me love trope in order to drag the story out, just saying.
Falling for you / Complications & Higher stakes: Cas becoming Human. Dean’s Demon/MoC arc. All these arcs lead them to a more profound emotional development towards each other and more textual romanticism in the writing rather than the initial crush/interest.
Final straw for Cas: Perhaps believing Dean is dead in 9x23 but then consolidated in 11x23.
Final straw for Dean: Lucifer possessing Cas, the whole second half of s11.
~ Dean over this whole period comes to see Cas not as a distant Angel but in a much more Human way. He even might have stopped praying to him as he replaces it with phone calls / direct communication, but his faith in Cas is clear.
~ Cas replaces his love and faith in God with his love and faith in Dean (consolidated in 11x23) and doesn’t want be a soldier but wants to help people, maybe by saving people, hunting things…
12x12 is the expositional point telling us that Cas has CHANGED. It also is a call back to Dean’s worry that emotions will break Cas as here he is, emotional and breaking. Dean even bows his head and visually looks like he is praying (it doesn’t even matter really if he is or not, the effect for the audience is the key).
These concepts tie back round to and build on where they were BEFORE THEY MET to show how they have changed within themselves and grown in relation to each other.
So, Now. They have both experienced the complications and higher stakes towards each other. They have both fallen in love, Cas both metaphorically and literally falling (it’s only on becoming human that I think he truly realised how he felt, it’s both a narrative reality and a metaphor). Dean’s gone from having no faith to eventually meeting God and worrying the whole time about saving Cas.
Which leaves us currently at the Break up Moment.
Which is honestly exactly where I see this separation and all the questions about choices/Angels/nephilim/cosmic consequences going, leading us to….
Always remember: Telling your mother that if she wants to be treated like family she needs to start acting like it, i.e. not betray you, endanger your life etc., this is exactly the same thing as demanding she make you lunch and kiss you good night.