Yep, sex. That’s what I kept thinking about while I watched it, and I’m sure that came in part from the rather… um… energetic sex scenes the series included.
Unlike shows like The Sentinel where I had a background in fanfic before seeing the show, I walked into Supernatural utterly blind. Despite the fact that I knew a lot of people slashed the brothers, I really don’t see the sexual subtext between them. What I see between them is the smoldering anger and jealousy that festers in dysfunctional families.
However, I did find myself drawn to certain pairings. I would love to put Dean with any number of people. Prior to season five, I wanted him with Anna, the angel. From the time I first met her, I wanted him with Ellen, the tough hunter and mother to Jo. I liked the history he had with Cassie Robinson, the tough reporter who refused to believe in the Supernatural. Hell, I wouldn’t have minded Dean going with the art dealer Sarah Blake. Hell, I even have a little fantasy involving Gabriel and Kali and Dean (or Gabriel and Dean or Kali and Dean). Early in the show, I couldn’t understand why people wanted Dean with Castiel, the cold angel who came with a big dose of colder reality. Yes, I changed my mind later, but I’ll get to that.
Looking at my list of pairings, I had to wonder what I was thinking, because I was clearly off the script from the rest of fandom. Yep, I was definitely heading in het directions, and usually I do like slash pairings. I don’t think I ran into the answer until I started feeling the Castiel/Dean love. When Castiel lost his temper and beat the snot out of Dean because Dean wanted to give up, I honestly felt the slashy vibe raise its little head.
So, what do these characters all have in common? Anna, Ellen, Cassie, Sara, Gabriel, Kali, and late season five Castiel. That’s an odd list.
That’s a flawed list.
Yep, I finally figured it out. I want a dominant who is flawed, and since I do see Dean as the ultimate submissive, I want him to have a partner who is flawed and owns those flaws. Anna understood that her grace made her cold and loveless. Ellen knew she had put Jo in the middle of the fight and she owned her own temper. Gabriel… well, what can I say about Gabriel, the archangel in witness protection? These characters know they aren’t perfect, and that makes them better.
No one is perfect, and when a dominant is too perfect (or who sees himself as perfect), I can’t relax and enjoy the story because I’m waiting for the inevitable disaster.
I cringed when people called Charleston from Gathering Storm the “perfect” dom who could fight anyone, plan anything, and understand all. Um… he was the bait, not the one who came up with the plan to catch the bad guy, he had to call for backup and his job in the first big confrontation was to distract the guy, and when Vinnie first started sniffing around, he thought Vinnie was a bad guy. Charleston is so flawed it’s not funny, but because the story is in Vinnie’s point of view and Vinnie is a little idealistic, those flaws didn’t come through.
However, the fact is that I like flawed dominants.
And that’s why I am starting to feel the Castiel/Dean love. Late in season five, Castiel really started to understand his own flaws. He doesn’t know what god wants or what he should do. He recognizes his own anger, and as he told Sam, he knows that he has consistently underestimated the boys. In other words, he’s now flawed enough for me to enjoy imaging him in a relationship. Or rather he was always flawed, lost, and ignorant of human capacity for good, but now he recognizes he flaws.
I can trust him to know himself, so I can trust him to know a partner.