Castiel/Dean Winchester, commonly known as "Destiel" by fans, is a popular non-canon slash ship from the Supernatural fandom. It is the most popular ship on the fanfiction archive An Archive Of Our Own, with more than 54,000 works tagged with the pairing.
The ship expanded rapidly in popularity after Castiel's character was introduced in season 4, perhaps because the show's limited recurring cast had meant that the previous two juggernaut ships of the fandom had been the incest ship Dean Winchester/San Winchester (aka "Wincest") and a Real Person Slash ship, both of which were uncomfortable for many fans due to the controversial natures of incest and real person shipping.
Although you would think the Destiel shippers might have been a relief for the show's creators and cast compared to the Wincest shippers, the relationship between creators and fans has been remained somewhat strained, with frequent accusations of queerbaiting by fans thanks to lines like this:
Dean: Cas, not for nothing, but the last time someone looked at me like that...I got laid.
Balthazar (to Dean): Sorry, you have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who's in love with you.
It was also revealed that in one episode, Dean told Castiel "I love you" in the script, but in the show, the line was changed to "We're family, I need you."
- Castiel/Dean Winchester on AO3
- Dean/Castiel on Super-wiki
- Supernatural Has a Queerbaiting Problem That Needs To Stop
- Fans Take Supernatural To Task For Queerbaiting
- Supernatural - 9.07 - Dean and Castiel's reunion and Queer-baiting
- 5.18 Point of No Return
- 6.17 My Heart Will Go On
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