"You know, we know what it is, what’s going on. We don’t talk about it. The actors don’t, Jensen and I don’t. But we’re all perfectly aware of how the relationship is, the writers are completely aware of how it’s being written. It may be unspoken but that doesn’t mean it’s not there or not true."
From Castiel's first appearance in 4.01 Lazarus Rising, fandom saw the on-screen intensity between Dean Winchester and Castiel and took it further. It soon became a very popular pairing, with the first Dean/Castiel LiveJournal community appearing on 19th September 2008, the day after "Lazarus Rising" first aired. Its tagline is "Groped By An Angel". In May 2012 the community had 5774 members.
The first fics posted on Livejournal featuring Dean/Castiel were:
In the tradition of fandom making "mashup" pairing names, Dean/Castiel is usually referred to as Destiel (or rarely Dastiel).
Numerous allusions to the bond between Castiel and Dean in canon, often with ribald sexual references, have delighted fans.
Dean: Don't normally see you off leash. Where's your boss?
Uriel: Castiel? Oh he's, he's not here. You see he has this weakness, he likes you.
Dean: So what, I'm Thelma and you're Louise and we're just gonna hold hands and drive off this cliff together?
Reference to the movie "Thelma and Louise". The two women kissed before driving off the cliff.
Dean: There are two things that I know for certain. One, Bert and Ernie are gay. Two, you are not gonna die a virgin. Not on my watch.
Castiel stares intently at Dean in silence
Dean: Cas, not for nothing, but the last time someone looked at me like that...I got laid.
Sam: So what, you like him better, or something?
Castiel: Dean and I do share a more profound bond. I wasn't going to mention it.
Balthazar: Sorry, you have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who's in love with you.
Dean: Why's it always got to be me that makes the call, huh? It's not like Cas lives in my ass. Dude's busy...
(Cas appears behind him) Cas, get out of my ass!Castiel: I was never in your...
Meg (to Dean): Ask him, he was your boyfriend first!
Sam: We should call Castiel.
Dean: Dude, on my car, he showed up naked, covered in bees.
Castiel: I don't sleep.
Dean: Well, I need my four hours, so...Castiel: I'll watch over you.
Dean: Cas, I know you're in there. I know you can hear me. Cas, it's me. We're family. We need you. I need you.
There are numerous visual moments taken as Destiel references. In 8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy?, when Dean finds Castiel in Purgatory he hugs him, and then strokes his scruffy beard source. Later when Castiel returns to earth in 8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin, he shaves his beard and restores his suits and tie, and cleans his trenchcoat int he process. Fandom was amused that when he appears freshly scrubbed, Dean appears to shift uncomfortably in his seat, and press his hand over his crotch. Watch the "Boner alert" gif here.
Castiel is usually written as topping when he’s being a powerful angel, or as a bottom when the fic focuses on his sexual inexperience, especially losing his virginity to Dean. For more on these roles see Top/Bottom.
Like all Slash fictions, stories featuring Dean and Castiel in a relationship may cover any genre or kink including Future Fic, Pre-Series Fic, Crossover, Angst, Deathfic, Crack, Post-Apocalypse, Curtain Fic and Kid Fic. Hurt-Comfort especially involving whumped!Castiel and the appearance of the Magical Healing Cock are especially popular, as are and stories where Castiel discovers human emotions and sexual feelings for the first time. In AU fics, Castiel may be human rather than an angel.
Destiel outside fandom
Misha Collins mentioned fanfic and Dean/Castiel slash at several conventions. At the Salute to Supernatural Vancouver 2009, he said he'd heard about "Dean/Castiel/Pie fic". At Collectormania London 2009, he said he'd read some slash fanfic but "stopped at the part where Cas choked... on someone's cock". Source.
Salute to Supernatural Toronto 2011: When asked what had happened to Castiel's Trench Coat, Jared mimed Dean smelling and rubbing it all over himself. Jensen said, "He used it as a pillow — or as kindling. One of the two". Source.
At Comic Con 2012, a fan asked Jensen and Misha what they thought of Destiel. Jensen, thinking the fan said "Deathsteel", asked the panel what it meant.
Ben Edlund: "That's some weird shit."
Jensen: "Is this something that you created, Ben?"
Ben: "You don't want any part of that."
Jim Beaver: "It's...extreme bromance."
Ben: "There's a lot of pictures of Dean in an angelic embrace - and that's being kind of gentle with it."
Misha: "Oh that, love that. I mean (pointing to Jensen) you've got pictures like that of us, in an embrace, all over your bedroom."
Ben: "Oh there's a van with that airbrushed on the side."
Jensen: "Oh yeah it's my conversion van. It's just a nice airbrush on a pillow in the back, there's not much room. Oh and a wolf howling at the moon. It's cool, you'll like it."
As with Wincest, this pairing has been recognized in broader fandom — beyond fanfic authors and readers — including discussions on After Elton. In May 2011, Dean and Castiel won "TV's most romantic couple", beating out Kurt and Blaine from Glee in an online poll run by Spoiler TV. In September 2012, After Elton ran the reader-voted Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney. The final contestants were Destiel and Sterek (aka Derek and Stiles from MTVs Teen Wolf) and the competition was fierce. Misha himself even got in on encouraging the voting, tweeting "This homonormative poll makes me sick! No one could seriously think that those Teen Wolf jerks are gayer than us".source.
At a fan meet and greet at Salute To Supernatural Chicago 2012 Misha said about Dean and Cas' love for each other "You know, we know what it is, what’s going on. We don’t talk about it. The actors don’t, Jensen and I don’t. But we’re all perfectly aware of how the relationship is, the writers are completely aware of how it’s being written. It may be unspoken but that doesn’t mean it’s not there or not true." Source
- Profound Bond - website focusing on Dean/Castiel
- DestielFanfic Fanfic Review and Organization Blog
- deancastiel LJ comm for Dean/Castiel fic
- newsletter for Dean/Castiel fanworks on LJ
- Redemption Road - a fanfic/art project creatign a cirtual Supernatural season focussing on Destiel
- Park Bench Anthology - a Dean/Castiel fic anthology
- Because God commanded it:a Dean/Castiel ship manifesto
- Dean/Castiel fic rec list
- Dean-Cas Radio a podbook community
- Secret Angel Fic Exchange held in 2009
- Dean Castiel Secret Santa Fic Exchange
- Rock Salt And Feathers Fan fiction archive for the pairing Dean/Castiel
- Destiel Ebooks archive for PDF/ebook versions of Dean/Castiel fics
- Dean/Castiel fics tagged through the Supernatural Fic Link Archive
- Dean and Castiel's chemistry discussed on AfterElton
- More Dean and Castiel appreciation on AfterElton
- Collection of quotes by Misha about fanfic by strangepicturesofmishacollins
- Swing_set13's Epic Dean/Castiel AU Fic List a listing of all the Dean/Castiel AU fics, including genderswap and Croatoan universes
- Dean/Cas fic review blog
- Best Relationship Involving a Heavenly Being: Dean and Castiel in Supernatural
- TV Romance Competition - The winner announced: Dean and Castiel in Supernatural
- Most Crushworthy 'Ship Tumblr Sails: Dean and Castiel by Zap2it