this is jake peralta- looking lovingly at his girlfriend despite currently being on trial just because she called his name how could you let such a pure, sweet man go to prison?????? how dare you America????
A hopefully one day conclusive study of these assholes, hopefully told as briefly as I can.
Written for the people in the fandom who care but sometimes need a pick me up on this, and not written to prove a point to anyone who doesn’t already care. <3
I have a rather hastily progressing set of events here, but it’s Cas’s rebellion in its essence - grabbing Dean to yank him once more off-balance, getting his silent understanding that Cas has decided to come help because he is ready to fight for it, banishing Zach, who has kept him shackled and probably enjoyed sending him to do all the dirty work in 4x21, and then straight to Chuck’s for the only intel they can get at this point, and Chuck, God, telling Cas that he’s disrupting the story, and Cas, in full attack mode, declaring they’re free. He’s free, and he’s writing his own story.
This is of course a wonderful meta statement on his character surviving beyond all expectations and breaking out of the small role he may have been lost to, to becoming such a powerful player.
But I think at the end of the season, let’s come full circle to Dean’s face at the end of it. At this point it’s fairly obvious to add up Cas’s attachment to Dean, his later declarations that he’s doing this for Dean, that it was all for Dean. Let’s assume Cas has reached the understanding of his relationship with Dean that will persist until his return in season 7 when he’s forced to re-evaluate and begin his next character journey. The Cas who understands he has a profound bond with Dean, who has derailed the story, broken free of his loyalty to Heaven, and transferred it all to Dean.
Dean’s face, here, at the end, his last moments with Cas in season 4, is a moment of dawning understanding of just what he has achieved, what he has gained in an ally like Cas. What has changed in his personal circumstance. He started the season not believing in angels at all. Refusing to believe they existed even when one spoke to him. Had spent a lifetime not believing because Mary told him they were watching over him and what good did it ever do them?
And through actual hard emotional work, he has gained his own angel, one who will fight for him; NOW he understands that when Cas said “us” he meant “me and Dean” and not “Heaven”. Now he sees Cas’s open defiance of the story as his personal declaration (though he says “we”) to answer Dean’s disowning of him in their last scene - his show of being all in because Dean said so, because now I’m fighting for what we believe is right. That Dean was right about this.
All that maybe too much for Dean to really process, but within a very short space of time when next season starts, his view on Cas has also changed deeply, and though he may act sometimes snarky and uncomfortable around Cas, next season he will get to know him on a personal level, to move beyond seeing Cas as an agent of Heaven and more as his friend. As “human, or like one” by the end. And this last look from Dean is the one time in this whole rushed moment of showing him emotionally processing the change in his and Cas’s relationship.
And once again being fundamentally shaken by his actions.
I’m not sure exactly when you can start saying Dean is in love with Cas, because for sure the belated realisation of feelings already had and missed isn’t given a time to settle in until, like, season 7 and processing the betrayal and loss. But this isn’t half a bad start point for Cas being special to Dean like no one else has ever been in a very particular way that no one else he’s known and loved in other ways has quite hit him in such a way. This look is one of those moments you’d include when counting strikes against Dean before it’s inevitable.