The Shipping News: Destiel Doesn’t Need to Be Canon


Warning: If slash makes you squick, turn away, cuz darling, I love my slash OTP and I will never apologise for it. 

Okay, first let me defend my choice of title. Destiel is the flagship in my armada of ships; a majority of my weekly fanfic recs are devoted to Team Destiel. And if you’ve looked around our blog ever, you’ve probably noticed that 1) we are Supernatural fans and 2) we ship Destiel (we ship it, ship it good). However, I’ve recently decided that I don’t need the writers of the show to make my OTP overtly canon. I mean, I’d like it–lies, I’d squee like a 12 year old–but I don’t need it. I won’t stop watching the show if it doesn’t happen, and if either Cas or Dean get it on with sexy lady, I’m not going to throw my television out the window (well, not the flatscreen anyway). In fact, even if they never share another hug, I will still love Supernatural. 

I can hear all the Destiel shippers gasping in shock. How dare I not ship the shippest of the ships? Don’t I know that Dean and Castiel share a profound bond?

Yes, yes, I do. And I believe these boys to have a bond so profound that it doesn’t need to be canonized to legitimize it. Even if you don’t ship Destiel, Dean and Castiel do have a deep relationship that is more than just a little bit complicated. Let’s consider what we know about the hunter and angel’s relationship, those things we know to be true because they are in the canon.

  1. Castiel pulled Dean’s soul from hell and ressurected Dean’s body.The first time Dean sees Castiel, the angel leaves quite an impression.

    That’s one hell of a first meeting.While Cas didn’t break into hell all by himself, he was the one to rescue Dean. Now while most of us don’t regularly get tossed into the Pit and rescued by an angel in a trenchcoat, you’ve gotta assume that this creates a–for lack of a better word–bond between rescuer and rescuee. A life debt, if you will. Now, the Winchesters have a trust-ourselves-and-nobody-else kind of attitude for most of the early seasons (with a father like theirs, can you blame them?), but here is a celestial being who rescues Dean from hell, with no intention of making Dean repay the favor. Not only does he rescue Dean, but he also recreates the hunter’s body (thankfully Cas has an eye for detail). Now, this is where the Destiel shippers get their fodder, because the angel has literally touched every atom of Dean’s body and soul. Romantic or not–that’s intimacy on a metaphysical level.

  2. Castiel left heaven for Dean.

    Again, this is the kind of scene that Destiel shippers love and use over and over again in fanfiction/fanart/fanvids. Now, romantic overtones aside, let’s think of this action by Castiel in a way more humanlike to a non-celestial being. Have you ever read/seen/heard of Romeo and Juliet? No, I’m not going to make a star-crossed lovers comparison (even if the archetype fits). If you know a little bit about the story, then think of the Montagues and the Capulets, the families of the two lovers. They hate each other, and their feud is so intense that the Prince of Verona is forced to intervene and declares that any member of either family will be put to death. Hmmm….feuding families and death threats…sound familiar? Think of Dean and Sam as Capulets and Cas as a Montague. Even with just their friendship, they risk death. Cas is a bit more aggressive than Romeo–he goes so far as to kill his brethren for the sake of the Winchesters–but the bottom line is the same. He betrays his family for the sake of another–someone who is far inferior and would not return the favor.I’m not sure I have a single friend that I would commit fratricide for, and Cas does it repeatedly. (Infer what you will.)

  3. Dean trusts Cas with Sam.
    We’ve seen what Cas will do for Dean, and it’s a helluva lot. What does Dean do for Cas? Well, simply put, he makes Cas a Winchester. He repeatedly refers to Cas as “family” (cue the awwws) and even when Cas is beating the shit out of him, Dean sticks to that. We know enough about Sam and Dean to know that family is priority #1, and somewhere along the line, that began to extend to the angel too.The clearest indication that Cas is more than just a regular friend to Dean is because Dean trusts Cas to watch over his younger brother. Who else does/did he trust Sam with? Bobby? Definitely. Their dad? Sometimes. See the connection? Family. In season 8 however, John Winchester and Bobby Singer are long-since dead, and Dean is alone in taking care of his brother for most of the season. As Sam falls more and more ill with each trial, Dean gets more and more worried. When he reaches an apex of worry, he calls out to Cas. Just like he did in Purgatory. (Cue another round of awwws)

Sidenote: That clip kills me inside every single time.

These are, in my humble opinion, the 3 biggest fuelers of the Destiel ship. But as with any non-canon ship, it’s all a question of interpretation. I will staunchly defend my OTP until the day the Reaper comes for my soul, but as I wrote earlier, I don’t need it to be canonized. Why not?

The clearest answer I can give is that I love the show. The writers, Chuck bless them, have given me episodes that I can watch over and over and over again. And I love it so much because of the two brothers v. the world dynamic. Yes, that dynamic shifts to include Bobby or Charlie or Benny or Castiel, but the show, at its core, is about the Winchesters kicking ass, taking names, and ganking demons. I don’t need a canonized Destiel because I don’t need that dynamic to change. I love the show just as it is, and while I love to infer Destiel connotations, I don’t need the showrunners to write it. I’ve got fanfiction for that.

In a more analytic approach, given the complexity of Dean and Castiel’s relationship, labeling it as “brotherhood” or “friendship” or “lovers” simplifies it too much. Castiel has existed for thousands of years and Dean comes with a freight train of baggage; so would it ever be simple for them to define what they are to each other? Probably not. I like to think that there are no earthly words that describe their relationship, that maybe Castiel has a special label for the two of them in Enochian. Regardless, arguing about the type of love between these two men doesn’t negate the fact that there is love. A profound bond. Of some kind. Do we, the shippers or the not-shippers, really need it to be spelled out for us in the canon?

Or, in the words of the Tenth Doctor, “Does it need saying?”

This is everything I need to know.
This is everything I need to know.

Shipfully yours,

The Collectress

Update 11/5/20: It’s canon. ❤