… Damn it, Dean.
After this episode, no one can convince me that their story is not meant to be the show’s romantic subplot. I understand people are saying that it needs to be more obvious, and that it needs to be pronounced in a way there is no ambiguity left about their feelings, and I agree with their reasoning.
Still, it was in this very episode - more than in any of the ones that came before - that I thought that the relationship between Dean and Cas *is* romantic and as such a vital part of this show, its universe and characters. The fact that no reprieve, not even the briefest moment of happiness is granted to the Winchesters and their allies has become part of the deal - in season 9 more than ever. Both Dean and Cas have their own lives, their burdens to bear, their responsibilities to meet. They both have neither time nor inclination to give in to complicated love affairs. They cannot afford to give in to introspection and moments of self-reflection; as it is, I think Dean believes he cannot afford to have a “big gay crisis”, so he just makes sure things do not even get that far. And Cas, on his part, does not even want to dwell on the implications and dangers of an angel loving a man in a very human way.
But even then, despite all that, they steal whatever happiness they can get from each others voices, from the comfort of a fleeting touch. What they feel for each other is romantic love in its purest sense: it serves no purpose, it doesn’t save or destroy the world, it asks for nothing, and demands nothing in return. It’s just there.
And they both know it, and accept it as a part of their lives. That they don’t talk about it, or act on it - at least for the time being - makes perfect sense to me.