well, it’s safe to say that everyone involved in the production of the show knows how Dean and Cas’ relationshp is often read, if Misha’s repeated mentions of an unspoken acknowledgement are anything to go by, and that with that knowledge they’ve not scaled back on the tone of their interactions, but instead amped it up considerably this season. what that might stand to say for their actual intentions, i wouldn’t presume to know, because if it was leading to something positive in the end beyond mere carrot dangling, the writers certainly wouldn’t admit it because that’s a loaded as fuck thing to spoil.
from my own perspective s8 has renewed every assumption of mine that there’s is no other logical narrative resolution to their characters other than to pursue something romantic by the end of the series (either by admission or action), but indeed that could be—and more than likely will be—a couple years away. i’m also not gonna presume to know exactly how sensible the writers are inclined to being at any given time without the full benefit of hindsight, but i can indeed still hope! and s8, esp. interactions of late, has certainly given me a lot of that :’)