Transcript: Track 12: Endverse
Ellen: Hi everyone! Welcome to the 12th episode of Mixtape Bookclub Podcast. My name is Ellen.
Mal: And my name is Mal.
Ellen: Each week we take a look at a different trope or sub-genre in the huge collection of Destiel fanfiction and this week we’re taking a look at a long awaited trope that we all love, and that is Endverse.
Mal: To help us discuss her fic, After the End as well as a few other Endverse fics we’d like to welcome Castielslostwings, otherwise known as Robin.
Robin: Hi! Thank you guys for having me.
Ellen: As well as After the End we’re also gonna discuss two other fics today: Hope is a Living Thing by Whichstiel and also the enormous series which is called Down to Agincourt by seperis, and you might hear us referring to that in a few different ways during this episode because we all have a different way of pronouncing Agincourt (Ay-gin-court) or Agincourt (Ah-jin-court) or Agincourt (Ahh-gin-court) or something but you know we’re all talking about the same thing right?
Mal: As always links to all of the fics that we’re going to be talking about today will be available in our post on mixtapebookclub.com and included in our collection on ao3.
Ellen: So Endverse is based entirely around one episode of Supernatural. We’ve got season 5 episode 4 which is called “The End”. It aired way back in October 2009, can you believe that? That’s like, 12 years ago…
Mal: Oh wow, okay…
Robin: No! It wasn’t. It was last year.
Ellen: Yeah, that was the actual end but you know this is “The End”. It was written by the amazing Ben Edlund who not only gave us an episode where Zachariah the angel threw Dean five years into the future to show him what would happen if he doesn’t say yes to Michael and let him possess him to kick off the apocalypse. You know, it’s a post-apocalyptic Croatoan thing, you remember how it goes: they end up at Camp Chitaqua, but not only do we get all of that plot-based stuff in it, we’ve also got some cracker lines in this episode. We’ve got at the very beginning Cas saying to Dean, “I’ll just wait here then,” on the phone. I’d forgotten that was in this episode when I re-watched it the other day. I was like “Oh, that’s right!”
Robin: Vintage Destiel.
Ellen: That’s right. And we’ve also got obviously the iconic line about Rhonda Hurley and her panties. Thank you Ben Edlund!
Mal: I forgot that was in this one!
Robin: Yeah, Dean’s entire panty kink stems from the Endverse. Which I think people sometimes don’t remember.
Ellen: That’s right. And the other line that I remembered that came from this one was when Chuck tells Dean when he goes back to hoard toilet paper, which is like somehow prophetically come true in the actual pandemic times.
Ellen: So anyway. That all, all that wonderful stuff came from one episode.
Robin: And we have, Cas says “I like past you,” which is, I feel like people steal that a lot for fics too.
Ellen: Yeah. And did you hear recently there was a thing, I know it’s probably an old thing that’s just come back recently, but that he really said “I love past you,” and they got Misha to dub over that?
Robin: Oh yeah, if you watch it you can see, it definitely, yeah, it fits.
Ellen: Yeah. That’s right.
Robin: It looks like that. As soon as you know that’s what he’s saying, you can see that’s what he’s saying.
Robin: But that’s not the only, you know they cut a lot out of Cas’ whole speech about you know banging a few gongs? That also ended completely differently—it was a little bit more… “sub-textually inclined” I guess?
Ellen: He was saying something about how he and Dean only have each other now and…
Ellen: Yeah, anyway.
Robin: And, you know so, yeah not the only thing that was cut. So, in my opinion that was a very believable one.
Ellen: Yeah. Yeah, so the actual text of the episode aside, this is sort of a subsection of canonverse I guess.
Ellen: And has spawned a whole lot of fan creations. The “AU Endverse” tag has like, nearly 1,300 fics in it. Not all of which are actually set in Endverse itself in canon, like sometimes they’re set in the real world, like in, you know, a modern AU kind of thing, but with Endverse Cas because he’s like a certain character in this particular episode.
Robin: Yeah, I feel like, like a lot of the times when people are writing about Endverse Cas, they’re not writing about Endverse at all but like they’ve taken that version of Cas, the same way we take, you know, crazy Cas and Emmanuel or…
Ellen: Yeah, Dean Smith.
Robin: Whatever, the other… exactly. And then they plop him in a different universe. And, like honestly, that’s probably my favorite thing to have come out of the Endverse is being able to take that version of Cas and put it—because it allows Cas to be a little bit more flexible, I guess, than the canon version of him? You can get away with a totally different personality set I guess than what you would if you’re trying to stick to a very close to a canon iteration of Castiel.
Ellen: Yes. So in the actual episode, because it’s so early in the show, like I… you know it’s quite early in season 5 so…
Robin: So early.
Ellen: Cas is still very much his angelic self in the real kind of world before, like…
Ellen: And for him to be so different in this other reality that Dean ends up in is quite—like, now I guess it doesn’t feel so weird when we watch it because he’s quite human in the later seasons anyway. But at that time for him to go from being like a rigid kind of angel who’s only just starting to have these doubts, you know…
Robin: Yeah that was a huge deal.
Ellen: Yeah. I wish I’d seen it back then, like when it was new.
Robin: And, like, and just to bring it into like the fic universe it was a big deal for people who write fanfic back then, and you know years into the future because you only had—aside from that—you only had this very particular form of Cas, like I was you know kind of saying before, and this opened up a whole new world to dip into I think. And that’s, like there’s… I think a lot of people hear Endverse and they think “sad”, like right off the bat. “Sad”, “depressing”, and there’s certainly if you want to google Endverse fics, you’re going to find a lot of that.
Robin: Especially if you’re looking for the tag, like the you know “5×4 The End Episode” you know you find like, hate sex and like you know, they’ve lost each other, they hate each other, they’re you know, all the really angsty…there’s a lot of hurt, no comfort. For mEllen: I like Endverse because of the potential for the exact opposite, because the angstier it is, the more painful it is, then for me the more like fulfilling the comfort side of that is, so that’s why I like Endverse and the Endverse fics because there’s just so much potential to fix it.
Ellen: Yep. I think it seems to go two ways with these kind of things. Like, it is either very angsty like the heavy drug use kind of…Dean is a very closed off version of himself who doesn’t, you know, want anything to do with Cas I guess…
Ellen: And then… Or then there’s the people who make it all better. Like yourself, who write a happy ending, and who will do like maybe will not even go for the angst at all just go, “Okay this other Dean came in and he made everything better,” and you know? I don’t know.
Robin: Yeah! And that kind of goes back to like some of the questions about the nature of the Endverse itself, there’s so many possibilities.
Ellen: So I did ask, when we first announced on the Profound Bond Discord that we were doing Endverse we had quite a few questions from people who are big fans of this kind of ‘verse. So there’s often sort of the question of if like Zachariah is showing Dean the real future five years in the future like he’s actually time traveled…
Ellen: Or is he, is it just like a pocket universe that he’s created, or is it all just an illusion it’s all in Dean’s head, or you know there’s so many different options that it could be, and now that… that Supernatural is like a multiverse type thing, could it actually just be an alternate reality that they went to? I don’t know, what’s your thoughts on it?
Mal: Yeah I think, I think everybody has… I feel like, anybody who watches the show has to have “a theory” on that, right? Like I think it’s impossible to watch that episode and not come up with your own theory that you will dig your heels in and be… so…
Robin: I see it every so often like on Tumblr and Twitter you know somebody’s theory still. Like brand new theory, you know? Ten years later comes across my screen about, you know, Endverse. I think you’re absolutely right there Mal.
Mal: Yeah. And one of the ones I saw earlier is actually the one that I have always had in that… To me, the Endverse isn’t necessarily even… it’s not a pocket universe or an alternate universe necessarily. I think it was something that was constructed by Zachariah out of pretty much exactly out of Dean’s worst nightmares.
Mal: And there is a big question to me about why so many of his fears and issues were connected to Cas.
Robin: So my, like, my like inclination is that you’re right about that, like in the canon universe I think that is probably the correct interpretation, that’s what I think. But in my head, I prefer to think of it as a different universe because especially after the episode that shall not be named, it feels un-ruined to me. Like, if it’s an alternate universe, if it’s one of Chuck’s constructs, if it’s one of, like if it was like an offshoot that, you know… like a future that Zachariah created as an offshoot, or even Chuck created ’cause Chuck was there! Um you know, so we have like canon God was in this universe so was he just playing with them? Whatever. If you feel that Jack put everything right, you know towards the end of the show and restored all the things that Chuck destroyed, then to me it feels, it’s almost like a little band-aid over the canon pain…
Robin: …because it’s like untouched, it’s still this universe that I like to dip into and it’s, you know, nobody can take that away, nobody can take that ending away.
Mal: Yeah and I think that it then plays into what Chuck said because obviously towards the end of season 15 Chuck very specifically said that the canon universe was the only one where Cas ended up the way he did.
Mal: And that he… so… In which way that kind of invalidates the Endverse as a…as one of Chuck’s AUs anyway? Because he wouldn’t have fallen like that if he’d been following Chuck’s instructions.
Robin: I mean, and if you look at the power, like the angelic power that Zachariah doesn’t have, I’m not sure that he had…not that Supernatural is known for its consistency [laughter] but I don’t know that Zachariah had the power to create a whole time-line offshoot or even necessarily depending on where we were time-traveling is iffy? But, what he did: he was in Dean’s room. So what he did have the power to do was give him dreams, I mean I feel like that’s a very obvious… I mean, Dean wakes up in bed…
Mal: Because we know that angels can manipulate dreams. Like even Cas can do that.
Robin: Yeah, exactly. So, to me that feels like the most obvious this is probably the canon intent? And again I like that for the reasons that you know Ellen was saying, that says a lot about what Dean feels about Cas. And because it’s Ben Edlund, like we know that that was intentional.
Mal: I think that’s interesting as well, because I think another way of looking at it is if…say that Zachariah didn’t have the power to do that, which I kind of don’t think that he would either, like there’s really no precedent for an angel being able to just create an alternate universe of their own.
Robin: Yeah. Only Gabriel, I mean Gabriel right?
Mal: Unless Chuck, yeah I was going to say, unless Chuck gave him that power, because that would have been Chuck’s endgame, right? Would be to convince Dean…
Robin: Right! And there has definitely been some chatter about, I’ve seen people with different theories about how Chuck could fit into that and was… I mean if you, you could write the whole thing off by saying “Chuck wrote it that way,” because that’s… you know…
Robin: Unfortunately, I don’t know if I actually like the “Chuck wrote it that way” loophole because I feel like it glosses over so much… but… you could.
Mal: Yeah, I think, although there were definitely some writers who were like… some writers that have written for the show that would be that lazy? I definitely don’t want to name one of them, but…
Robin: Some! If I could just remember the name!
Mal: I’m being kind here.
Robin: And blanking…
Mal: I’m not naming any specific names, but…
Robin: Totally blanking!
Mal: Writers who are not Bed Edlund, let’s put it that way.
Ellen: One inconsistency in one of the more recent like latest episodes in season 15, that photo of the guys at Camp Chitaqua shows up again. And I don’t know if that was just like a bit of a throwback by the writers, but… that photo existing in the real world kind of throws a big spanner in a lot of theories.
Robin: It doesn’t! It doesn’t because Dean found it in John’s journal in Bobby’s burnt out house.
Robin: The way it makes sense is if Dean put that in his pocket and took it back with hiMal: Oh! I see what you’re saying, like because if it’s not real and just a dream… [laughs]
Ellen: Yeah, because if it’s just a dream, maybe it’s just a dream well then how did he bring it back with him, you know like… I don’t know.
Ellen: But, maybe that’s just, oh you know a consistency.. a like a, what do you call it…
Robin: You know there’s like one of those things that’s very frustrating…
Ellen: A continuity problem.
Robin: Yes. And there’s a lot of those in Supernatural that you don’t know whether they’re Easter eggs or they’re like intentional kind of little meta digs, or if it’s just an accident someone thought it was cute and funny or what, and you just don’t know. And that’s a little frustrating for me but…
Robin: It is what it is.
Mal: And I think everyone’s going to have different opinions on that.
Robin: For sure.
Mal: Yeah, my personal one is that the photograph was probably not intentional. ‘Cause it just seems that there was so much put into Endverse originally and how “The End” was written that I just think that that was just one of those things like “oh”…
Robin: Wasn’t Mary looking through John’s journal when she found that?
Mal: Something like that, yeah they probably just find like, things to go in…
Robin: So they left it in.
Mal: John’s journal yeah and in the prop in the prop cupboard, just stick it in there…
Robin: Or they literally, like I am now wondering if they literally left that picture in there from when they filmed “The End.”
Ellen: Leave it in the journal? Yeah
Robin: Because that’s where it was.
Ellen: She flicked through…
Robin: Wow like that’s so lazy.
Ellen: …and went, oh this is here, and they went “yeah just leave that in, it’s fine.”
Robin: I’m having a moment.
Mal: Yeah that’s a cute, that’s a cute picture. Because I mean you know it was years later…
Robin: Oh my god…
Mal: …so they had probably forgotten what it was for.
Robin: Yeah! They probably had no idea, they thought it was like John’s hunting buddies or something. That’s awesome.
Mal: Oh yeah. Because that’s probably an entirely different crew that were dealing with it
Robin: Oh yeah.
Ellen: But surely, wouldn’t they employ people to like, you know, keep an eye on this continuity stuff? I don’t know?
Mal: Look, if we can’t get all the writers to do it, we ain’t got any hope for anybody else.
Robin: I don’t even know what to say to that! Now I’m depressed.
Ellen: Oh well, anyway. Let’s not worry about the show itself because this is our story now, it belongs to us.
Mal: And we all know that fanfic authors and readers are ten times better at continuity than anybody on the show ever was.
Robin: I know! We spent, we could spend and hour talking about this and not come to a consensus and they were just like, “Here’s a picture. Put it in the book.” Like… [laughter] Ok! But yeah no, I mean to the point and that is the great thing about fic and about Endverse in general because it can be whatever you want it to be. And it doesn’t, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if it was a dream or if it was a, you know, an offshoot universe, or really the future. It only matters in the context of if someone’s writing about it, what they want it to be.
Ellen: That’s right, yup.
Mal: Yeah, exactly.
Ellen: Well, one of the questions that we had in relation to I guess writing about it is: what are our head canons around what Dean and Cas’ relationship there, like you know the future Dean I guess…
Ellen: What they, do they actually have, oh sorry go on?
Robin: Before! No I was just going to say because this stuff gets me excited! So there is actually a dissertation Tumblr post about this.
Ellen: Is there?
Robin: And it’s not, yeah, it’s like not necessarily my head canon or whatever, but it’s fantastic and I will try to find it and link it under the mixtape post, because it’s very cool. Somebody like, somebody went through the whole… the whole episode and kind of pointed out some inconsistencies and some things that point to them being lovers. And again because it’s Edlund, you can extrapolate that it was, most of the things were likely intentional. But you know obviously it’s all you know, whatever your own interpretation is, but… it’s masterful, like there’s that’s all I have to say about it. People need…if you have this question, you need to read this post because it is really fun. Like for example like I’ll just—one thing off the top of my head is about Cas’ cabin. His cabin is the, it’s nice. It’s the biggest, it has, like it’s implied it has like running water, it has a huge bed, and its proximity to the weapons, like wherever, do you remember where Dean was locked up like when he was handcuffed?
Robin: By past Dean, or future Dean? Cas’ cabin is the closest to that little weapons locker that they have there. Why would Cas be housed at the cabin that has the closest proximity to everything, and her theory was you know: because he’s screwing the leader. So, because Dean lives in that cabin, not because Cas lives in that cabin. So, and then, I’ve seen a few people take that theory and kind of like run with it as far as like maybe Dean used to live there, you know and Cas inherited it after, but anyway… so. I think there are a lot of people who feel very strongly that he did, that they did have an actual relationship in the Endverse.
Ellen: Yeah. I mean, it just depends what you want to write about really, isn’t it? Like if you want to write about an established relationship, then you’ve got all the clues there that shows that they could actually be happening. And if you want a like one-million-word slow burn, then you can also do that.
Mal: We can recommend one!
Robin: Oh my god I’m howling! We have one of those! If you’re talking about in canon, obviously those things are in canon, but you know like anything else it’s tough because you know this is a whole trope genre whatever that revolves around this one episode. So yeah, you have all these great things that you can pick apart and look at and use, or you can just not use them, and it’s still just as valid. I mean you’re still going to have tons of fics that don’t reference any of this crap, and they’re just as awesome. You know so it’s a good example of: it is what you make it.
Mal: Yeah and I think there’s probably no other Supernatural episode that’s had quite as much meta written about it, and quite as much kind of thinking and thought and discussion going into just that one episode. There’s really, there’s something special about “The End” I think.
Robin: Agree. Oh It also scratches that like…I think apocalyptic fiction is its whole other sub-category and “The End” really satisfies that kind of, that itch or whatever? So in that way, it’s like we have our own little apocalyptic AU built into canon that people can use? So that’s another kind of…
Mal: Yeah it offers people that for example only write canon, because there are plenty of people who don’t want AUs. But they still get to switch it up and do something different while still remaining in canon.
Mal: I think that… that’s pretty unique actually for a lot of fandoms. Like I’m not sure a lot of fandoms would really have that built in, in that way.
Robin: Yeah for sure.
Mal: Alright! So: Robin would you like to read the summary to your fic to us?
Robin: I actually avoided writing an Endverse fic because I was too wrapped up in Down to Agincourt, like I didn’t think that I could write one without pulling too much from that story into mine. Because I just love it so much and it just dominates my thoughts on a regular day. [laughter] But… I finally kind of just gave in and I had messaged the author and was just like “Hey, is this, is it cool with you if I write something that’s inspired by—it’s probably going to end up with a lot of references.” And she was totally fantastic, she was like “Yeah! Definitely! Send me the link when you’re done,” you know. No issue whatever, but I make no bones about it this is incredibly Down to Agincourt inspired. It wouldn’t exist. So the summary is:
In 2014 Dean Winchester led a raid on the asylum in Detroit where Sam wearing Lucifer was waiting for him. Everyone knows what happened next. The Chitaqua – woah – Chitaquan soldiers who accompanied Dean died horribly at the hands of Lucifer’s minions while Lucifer murdered Dean in the garden below and warned the Dean from days past that no matter what he tried, he would always end up there. There were no survivors. Or were there? This story picks up where “The End” leaves off, from Castiel’s perspective from inside the asylum, a twist of fate, and conditional divine intervention that no one saw coming. It details what happens after Lucifer dies, Dean lives, and the world doesn’t actually stop turning. A canon-compliant fix-it for the Endverse and a Dean and Cas who deserved better. Or, the end was not the end: this is a story of what came after.
Robin: Chitaquan is a really hard word to say!
Mal: So this fic is 24,000 words, and it is explicit. So you’ve kind of distilled the essence of that kind of whole Down to Agincourt feeling down into 24,000 words, which is quite impressive.
Robin: Yeah, and it’s not, it is not… Let’s just call it D to A because that’ll help me. This is not D to A, like this is a totally different story, like this does not have the depth it doesn’t have the side plots, it doesn’t have the overarching epic story that Down to Agincourt has behind it. It doesn’t have like… the myth or the lore that that story has in spades. This is just an Endverse fix-it that takes some of my favorite parts of that story and kind of turns them into a feel good like “this is how I think this episode should have ended” and this is in my head what happened after you know the screen went blank.
Ellen: Yeah it is absolutely happy fluff, this whole thing. Thank you so much, it’s like a warm hug.
Robin: Which is just! It’s like a weird thing to say though isn’t it?
Ellen: It is! It’s weird when it’s in relation to Endverse, for sure.
Mal: Yeah it is very fluffy though.
Robin: I tried to like… like I try to explain it to people by saying it is actually canon compliant because it picks up… it picks up in the asylum like right after “our” Dean gets snapped back to “our” Supernatural timeline.
Ellen: Yeah and he never, he never sees Cas being killed so it’s like…
Ellen: …all of these kind of AUs you know, alternate versions where Cas does come back and bring Dean back and whatever is totally canon compliant.
Robin: Yeah, and the fact that we did.. that the audience and Dean or whatever, nobody saw Cas die in “The End”, it eliminates the need to find a fix-it for him being dead and it also allows you to use him, which is what I did, to fix Dean’s death. Which, is actually, obviously if it’s canon compliant with “The End” Dean dies, but I don’t have “main character death” tagged in this fic because it’s very temporary.
Ellen: Because he comes back in the next… like in the first few paragraphs.
Robin: Like literally! Yeah it’s very temporary and it’s all very like… like they planned for this. And that’s, I feel like with “The End”, one of the things that people who love Cas and people who love Dean and Cas kind of balked at, at the end is obviously the way Dean fed Cas into a meat grinder, which was “our” Dean’s words. And, the way he was kind of treated as… you know in the beginning it seemed like they were really important to each other, and there were hints that they were still really close and were all each other had left. And then by the end of the episode, you know, Dean’s on a suicide mission and he’s willing to, you know, to kill Cas over it. And even with Supernatural’s like, their inconsistencies and their continuity issues, never in the rest of Supernatural never has Dean been willing to do that with Cas. So in some ways it seems very out of character.
Mal: Yeah this is probably like a, a philosophical question way of looking at it, but do you think that that maybe had… was some kind of reflection of Zachariah’s inability to understand that kind of human emotion? That he could imitate what he knew Dean would do at the beginning, but the further he got along he was not capable of understanding what Dean would do?
Robin: Yeah! Yeah, I mean, I think he created this nightmare world that was everything that was Dean’s worst fears, and this is why I think what Mal said about the nature of Endverse probably being like a dream construct or you know just a Zachariah hallucination kind of thing is probably accurate, because he… he didn’t really get Dean. He never got Dean. He never really got his motivations and he… everybody in the course of Supernatural kind of underestimated how much Dean cared about Cas, I feel like. But then, also in that same vein I feel like if it was that sort of a dream construct, it could also be explained by Dean’s own feelings and emotions mixing into the construct. If that makes sense? You know what I mean? Like Dean fears these things, and he has these deeper feelings for Cas, but he doesn’t… he’s definitely not at the point where he’s verbalizing them or anything? Like at the end of this episode he says, you know, “Don’t ever change,” which is one of the other iconic lines from this episode. And that’s like the first time that Dean’s really verbalized, “Hey I… I like you, like I want you around.” And I feel like that’s a reflection from… like it’s obviously a reflection from everything he’s been through, but it makes a lot more sense if it came from his own internal motivations, like if that makes sense? And he’s kind of figuring himself out. I mean, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not a fan of like the Dean is dumb, or Dean doesn’t know his own feelings, or Dean doesn’t know his own motivations, I’m more in the camp of like Dean represses his motivations, Dean puts…
Ellen: Yeah, absolutely.
Robin: …others first, like the world first, like he thinks he can’t have it because he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. That kind of… I think Dean knows full well what he feels and what he wants. And so for me, that kind of goes hand in hand.
Ellen: Yeah, maybe he’s never been in a position to be able to tell anybody about that.
Robin: And I don’t think he ever does.
Mal: Yeah, I don’t think he ever does tell anybody about that. He could have told a million people off screen and we’d never know. [laughter] I just… I just don’t think that he did.
Ellen: Yeah, accurate. But anyway. There was a line at the end of this which, I don’t know, is maybe a spoiler so I don’t know, block your ears for a few minutes if you don’t want to hear it, but… It’s a beautiful line which is just at the end, I won’t give away the ending. You said “Dean is free in this moment, he’s carefree and he’s happy, and he’s going to be okay, they both are.” Like, last year before the finale if I read it, like that would have been just so beautiful but it just totally made me tear up I was like… “No!” That’s really hard…
Robin: This was so frustrating. Like because I wrote this… and I wrote this a while before it was published, like a long while. Because it was meant for a band, and it didn’t end up going into a bang, and I kept it for a while and I just posted it. And so: the context of me writing this was like… early season 15?
Robin: So I had a very different… like POV? But then when I posted it, I had changed the ending a little bit to be… to intertwine with the way that it seemed like things were going with the season 15 finale, so again! It was kind of… this ending was meant to mirror, because in the context of After the End that I wrote here it was supposed to be like fully canon-compliant not in just that it picks up right after “The End” but that it references some things that happen in season 15 and where they are and where they’re going in a way that would have made sense with the ending we thought we were going to get. So it should have mirrored that ending, and it doesn’t. Because that ending… doesn’t exist!
Ellen: Oh! What a shame! They never recorded those last two episodes.
Robin: I know it was so awful they couldn’t come back from that covid break… I’m very depressed. Would have been nice to see. But yeah… that was my intention. I thought it was real smart at the time.
Ellen: It’s still smart. Because what you’ve written is a whole lot better than what we got.
Ellen: But, salt aside…
Robin: Yeah it’s still like… yeah salt aside, it is still the ending they deserve and it’s the ending like I feel like they deserve in all the universes. Not just… a fluffy ending, if that makes sense? But also an ending that makes sense for them and that… like I tried to… like this is a very Endverse Cas. Like when you meet him, he’s popping pills, he’s a total disaster, he’s skeptical of Dean’s motivations he’s just… he’s having a tough time. But he doesn’t let it weigh him down. Like as soon as there’s a second chance for them, they both take it. And then I tried to kind of really depict Cas slowly changing to be more like you know the canon Cas that we know like, dropping the drug habit and whatever but… and the sleeping around and whatnot. Like he has thoughts about it that are realistic I think? Just because Dean is back and he wants him and he’s… and you know he’s… he’s not on this death mission any more, he’s kind of trying to live? I didn’t want Cas just to drop all of those bad habits like they were nothing, because you can’t do that.
Robin: He was… He clearly was so far gone in “The End” that he wouldn’t do that. So I tried to balance the happy fluff and he like he’s really in it and trying to live, but he’s also kind of struggling with… you know he’s dug himself this hole personally in his own head and he has to get out of that himself. And that’s where I brought Chuck back in and tried to do a little parallel with season 15 and writing your own story and standing up for yourself and, you know, kind of taking back control of your own fate? So…
Robin: Hopefully those things came through!
Mal: I think they did, and I really liked the fact that, again kind of I guess mild spoilers this one, but I like the fact that even though the ending is for the two of them kind of very happy in that way and kind of fluffy and kind of very hopeful feeling? It’s not perfect. Like, I mean, they’re still in a camp at the end of the world, basically. But.. but there is… it does kind of give you that nice satisfying feeling because it is such a hopeful feeling ending.
Mal: Which is something that you know that you don’t always get with Endverse, I’d like to say…
Robin: Truth! Yeah.
Mal: But this one definitely is uplifting at the end, I think almost.
Robin: That’s why I read Endverse is for the fix-it. And I know some people just like to read it for the pain, but… I’m here for the love.
Mal: I do enjoy the pain. I do enjoy the pain a lot, but it… it’s because it makes the improvement and the happiness and the earned fluff that much better, when they’ve had to work for it.
Robin: Exactly! Exactly. I mean, yeah, and that’s… The one thing that I got a lot of comments about, and I feel like this is.. There are definitely two roads that diverge with fix-it Endverse fanfic. The people who save Sam, and the people who don’t. Like, those are… that is definitely two distinct fanfic categories within The Endverse. And for me, like it did not feel… I wanted to, because I know everybody loves the full fix-it. I… I tried to give it a little… a little shout-out… In the first chapter Cas, after his encounter with Chuck he, he thinks about hoping that Chuck has sent Sam’s soul to heaven. You know, he doesn’t really, he doesn’t know the full extent of what Chuck is, obviously not like our boys do. But that’s really like the end of the discussion about Sam. That’s the one problem with Endverse, there is not a lot you can do for Sam, in that situation.
Mal: Because it can very easily be argued that even if they manage to cast out Lucifer and save Sam, like the Sam that they have left is not gonna be the Sam that they started with.
Robin: Exactly. And then you have a whole different story which is, you know that’s great if that’s what you’re going to write about. But if you’re trying to write an uplifting sort of… fluffy sort of you know love story? That’s… you can’t…
Ellen: That’s a whole lot more plot than you’ve probably got time for.
Robin: And then it would have been Down to Agincourt but with a Sam focus…
Mal: One hundred million words later…
Robin: So many thousand words… Yeah.
Mal: Talking of stories where Sam ends up okay…
Ellen: Um, ok, so Hope is a Living Thing by Whichstiel and it was published in 2019. It’s around the same length as After the End it’s 24,000 words and it is explicit as well. And the summary is very to the point. It just says:
Castiel storms the sanitarium ready to die. The last thing he expects to find is hope for a better ending.
Ellen: So yeah, I think I feel like this one… In general this story is very, has like a melancholy kind of feel to it, like it’s… it’s slow kind of—not slow… but you know it’s gentle I suppose.
Robin: Like moody.
Mal: Moody is a good word. I like that one.
Ellen: Yeah like there’s hope, definitely it grows as it goes on, but it has just like a sad, like a melancholy kind of feel to it. In my opinion.
Mal: Yeah, which I think a lot of that is kind of like the essence of that Endverse feeling like there is a sadness to it.
Mal: Obviously in some fics that’s more like accentuated than in other fics, but you know they definitely captured that kind of sadness a little bit in this one. Particularly in the beginning and then it gets more hopeful, the hope grows as it’s going through because hope is a living thing.
Ellen: Ah ha! The title!
Mal: Oh, I’m sorry.
Robin: Ah she said the thing!
Mal: I know, I’m sorry. I’m not sure if I’ve had not enough coffee today, or too much.
Ellen: It’s similar to your other one and in actually Down to Agincourt as well in that they’re… so when I’m thinking about the post apocalyptic kind of thing, for some reason in that episode you don’t, you’re not aware… or I when I’m watching it you’re not aware of what outside the world outside, like apart from where Zach said was that the virus has made it to Australia or whatever. That’s the only indication that we have of anything going on outside. And in all of these three fics in fact they come in contact with outsiders, like other survivors who have their own motivations and plans and whatever. So I really liked this, in Whichstiel’s one they’re meeting up with like a… they’re traveling across the country and meeting up with a bunch of different towns or whatever. Or you know, trading the goods that they have. You know, it’s like a proper post apocalyptic kind of a story.
Robin: Yeah, I really liked that part where they were like in the, in the bar, and they weren’t sure whether you know people were friendly or not and there was like a whole, the scuffle with the people, you know the people who saw them as outsiders, the people who were there to take what they had and it was just, it was a little bit more, like you said, like an apocalyptic AU. Really like, taking advantage of the Endverse outside of just Camp Chitaqua.
Ellen: And they’re using like the drugs and the alcohol and stuff that they’ve looted or whatever for trade goods, you know? Like… like it might really happen.
Mal: Yeah, and I really liked that detail that those things had so much value. Because obviously they can’t produce those things easily now.
Robin: I think, this fic is what made me think of the Sam thing. Because this is one of the few that made, not just made an attempt to address Sam, but kind of made the conclusion, and this is definitely, definitely a spoiler so you know block your ears if you don’t want to know, where Sam is, Sam’s rescue is the culmination of the whole story. But the really cool thing about that is that there are tons of canon shout-outs that come from later in our timeline, so the Supernatural that we watched like they use the… that egg device that they used when Lucifer was possessing the president. That ends up being the tool that they’re looking for, that they’re trying to find, and it comes from Ketch. Like Ketch is the one who puts them onto the scent of it. So I thought that was just really cool, because like why, who would think that Ketch would show up in an Endverse story. I just thought that was really neat.
Mal: Yeah because obviously he didn’t exist in canon until years later. But because he did exist in canon years later, he was obviously alive during that period.
Robin: And it made so much sense.
Mal: He does exist in the universe.
Robin: Like the way that she.. the way that it was portrayed… Yeah, it makes sense that, okay Lucifer is causing all this destruction in the United States. Of course the Men of Letters are going to come… I mean they came over you know in… in season… whatever season that was. What was that?
Mal: 11? 12?
Robin: 12? 11? Wow, we’re good at this.
Mal: Someone will let us know, it’s fine.
Robin: Oh goody! But like they, they came over when that was kind of happening so it makes perfect sense that they would come over and try to fix it with what they had at their disposal then. And it’s not even… it’s one of those things that could have been running parallel in the actual canon episode that you’d never know about because it was just a thing that was running parallel that you know that doesn’t get addressed. Just those kind of details that were able to be.. the world-building I guess is the word that I’m looking for was really good.
Ellen: Yeah. It felt like a whole, a whole thought out world. And I could have read a lot more of this one. I sort of got to the end and went, “Oh, that’s the end?” Like I could have read, you know, I would have been happy to expand.
Mal: Yeah the world was created in such a way that it would have been, even it would have been satisfying to me even to just continue with like established relationship stories of them kind of rebuilding or exploring different places within this world. Because it did, it felt that real that it could have held that I think. Very good!
Ellen: And also the romance in this one is really lovely. Like it’s gentle. Like I.. Dean is really gentle in his attentions in this one, which I really like.
Ellen: Well sometimes, sometimes it’s good to be you know… a bit rough. And sometimes you just want like a warm hug. This one’s one of those.
Mal: And sometimes when the world is as rough as that one is, I think you’re actually… it even it kind of makes more sense for Dean to be gentle in that way because everything else in their life isn’t.
Robin: It’s so satisfying when you have like that really difficult, like you know the really difficult situation end of the world, everything’s awful all the time, and then they’re just like super soft with each other. And you’re like, “Oh! Ohhhh, they love each other.” Disaster. I shouldn’t be let out in public.
Mal: Everything’s a disaster, everything ended and everything was poisoned, but not this.
Robin: Yes! Though! That’s… As we’re all like, no we revealed ourselves to be soft!
Ellen: Should we go on, then, to the big one?
Robin: Oh, lord. I’m scared.
Mal: Yeah, which we’ve obviously already mentioned a bunch of times, but…
Robin: There’s almost no way around it.
Mal: So obviously the big one that we’re talking about is Down to Agincourt by seperis. The fic in total is currently at 1.1 million words. But that is broken up into four parts. So the first part from… which was actually published back in 2014, was Map of the World, and that one is 154,000 and then after that came It’s the Stars that Lie at 164,000 then A Thousand Lights in Space is 223,000 so that’s the third book. And then the fourth one is still in progress. We’re at 25 chapters out of 28 posted and it’s currently at 580,000 words. So… and it has been a work in progress since 2015, but it is not abandoned. Have to put that out there in case anybody ever kind of looks at this and thinks…
Robin: It’s not.
Mal: No it’s definitely, in fact there was a new chapter not that long ago I think?
Robin: August I think. But, you know one month bleeds into another, August feels like… yesterday to me!
Mal: Yeah, that’s true. Not that long ago is like a year at this rate.
Ellen: Oh my god, was it… that actually feels like it just happened. And that was August? Are you serious?
Mal: Are you sure that was August?
Ellen: Wow, okay!
Mal: What is time?
Robin: She’s also putting out – like there’s a little bit of a sub-series? It’s like an AU of the fic and that, those chapters come out regularly too. I know, it’s like… whatever. The thing about the actual writing of this is that seperis has said many times that most of the fic is actually written. It just needs to be edited? Which, editing is a huge project when something is this big and this intricate and there are so many different layers to the plot and whatnot. So, that’s her biggest project but a lot of it… So, I don’t… this is not really a spoiler it’s just a general major topic kind of overview. In the fourth, something happens, where the town that they’re in kind of has almost… it’s like a group panic attack thing. It’s a curse that travels between people and it essentially causes a more involved panic attack, that’s the easiest way to explain it. So the whole town is having panic attacks essentially at different points in time. This was causing seperis to stress writing it. And seperis has talked about this on Twitter and on Tumblr a few times. It was a struggle for seperis to continue editing in that kind of difficult mindset, so where chapters were coming out quickly before and were promised in a certain time frame, you know she just needed to take a break and kind of like recenter and kind of get control of how that was affecting her before continuing. So that’s what the big pause was about, when chapters stopped coming. And I think what is still continuing to, you know, cause some trouble now as she tries to get back into it. But, the last update came with a very thankful and positive message about how seperis was really, like grateful to the readers and people who believe that it would keep coming and that you know she wouldn’t give up on it, so if you’re leaving her messages like that please continue to do that because apparently they’re very motivating. But yeah! So, anyway it definitely is still coming, as far as we know.
Ellen: Well maybe it’s a good time to start reading it now, if there’s only a few chapters left to post.
Robin: It’s a few chapters left of book four.
Ellen: But when each chapter is like 20,000 words or whatever so…
Robin: Yeah, you’ll be entertained for a while.
Ellen: I mean, I read Map of the World last year sometime, I think. And I started reading part 2 a few weeks ago to try and get through it for this episode, and I just… I’m two thirds of the way through and it’s just like, “Oh my god, there’s so much more of it!” this is a bit overwhelming. So basically this story does start like… kind of like After the End it starts you know at the end of the episode “The End” where you know everyone’s dead and Dean has died. And the 2015… no the 20… okay I’m getting confused now? Past Dean comes back?
Robin: It’s our season 7… no it’s… no it is. It’s our Dean from our timeline, but the one who shows up is from, like, two years after he left like season 7.
Ellen: Yep. Two years right? Yeah that’s right. So it’s still—it’s a future Dean and he’s quite different to the Dean who died in “The End” and then it’s sort of a story of him going back to Camp Chitaqua and trying to deal with being a different person and kind of… I don’t know, I don’t know how to explain it. There’s just so so so much plot that is going on with this one. So there’s a lot of original characters in this one, like all the people who live in the camp. I don’t think barely any of them are actually from the original episode. So, she’s developed this entirely new kind of world and situation that they’re living in and it’s amazing! It’s just very intelligent and witty writing, for one thing, but also very very detailed and beautiful world building too.
Robin: So the thing about Down to Agincourt is that there’s a superficial read and then there’s like the real read. And unfortunately it takes a little bit to figure out what exactly is going on as far as the superficial read and then… so you miss things the first time around. The fic itself has a huge fandom of its own. And it’s Agincourt Agitators and it’s on Tumblr, on Twitter, it’s a really cool, you know like it’s a really cool community. And the tag line is “always be re-reading”. And it’s “always be re-reading” for a reason because every time you do, you pick up something new. Unfortunately I feel like for new readers or people who are looking for like a quick, you know, pick me up where Dean and Cas get together real fast and then the focus is on them having sex—this isn’t the fic for you, like it’s just not.
Robin: That’s not what happens. But, the cool thing is communities have spawned from this. Like I’m in at least two active chats right now about it, where people are doing re-reads and talking about what’s happening as they’re reading as they go, and then everybody in the group kind of chimes in with, “Oh yeah, remember when that happened… Let me tell you my theory on xyz…” That’s not something that’s going to happen the first time you get, you know the first time you go through it. It actually, and I’m going to admit something that’s shameful. It took me three attempts to get through the first book, which is Map of the World, like, I wasn’t getting it. I really, I was having some trouble following. But I ended up talking to some people who liked it and they were like, you know, “Keep going! Ask me questions!” etc… and I did that, and once I kind of got into the rhythm and just accepted it for what it was…This is… most of the first book is Dean and Cas talking at the end of the world. That’s, like it! That’s the premise. And if you accept that and just kind of…
Ellen: Yeah, there’s a lot of talking.
Ellen: They do spend a lot of time talking.
Robin: That is all they do. Like, and I think that is part of the humor in it? Because you think, like oh the end of the world, everything is crazy and awful and they’re always, everybody is always dying and, yeah there’s some of that you know… Dean gets sick at one point and there’s a whole you know nursing him back to health aspect with Cas, and… you know war medicine at the end of the world. But most of it is them just coping with existing. And I think, like when I first read Map of the World I was like… I knew that there was a huge plot that I was supposed to be looking for, so I spent a lot of time looking for it instead of just kind of enjoying the conversations that were being had, if that makes any sense?
Ellen: Yeah. I mean there’s a lot of… I guess there’s… a big part of it is… is of Cas actually cleaning himself up and actually running the camp basically?
Ellen: So there’s a lot, like a big part of it is just talking about patrols and like you know, stuff that’s happening in camp? Which is, like it’s very… if you read the actual… like if you read it on the surface it’s very clever like the way that it’s all, like it’s witty. But, oh my god it goes… it’s just you get a little bit bogged down in that. And when you actually find a bit where there’s an actual development happening, like something’s happening? You’re like, “Oh my god! This is so exciting!” you know because you’ve kind of been lulled into this like, okay they’re just sitting there talking for hours and you know… and I don’t know.
Robin: So like kind of the great thing about Cas’ focus on patrols and patrol logs and all that stuff, it stays, but it gets less into the like bogged down detail and it becomes…once you understand because you went through all that, when you read about it in the coming books, it’s like a running joke.
Robin: Like between… yeah, like it becomes… Like Dean gets frustrated with Cas and his laptop and threatens to set it on fire because all he cares about is looking at the shift schedules and Dean wants to get laid. Like that kind of, like… it’s a running thing. But yeah early on there are a lot of details where you’re not sure, “Is this important? Is this not important?” The bottom line is, everything is important, but for different reasons. And so some stuff is just a lot the first time through. Yeah, I admit fully, it is… Maps… is a lot to get through. My favorite book is the fourth book honestly, because they, like again—because this goes back, this goes back to what I said before like my favorite tropes are the end of the world, like living at the end of the world situation. You can see this reflected in After the End where you know they go immediately to New Washington the city. Ichabod is the city that they go to in D to A and that’s—I just love that. I love that you know the surviving at the end of the world and they’re forming a new town and a new community. And I found that the OCs that you were really starting to get curious about and get into, really starting to like care about—by the time book 4 rolls around, you’re like in love with them. Like, I have never…
Ellen: They’re old friends by that point.
Robin: Yeah! It’s… You care! You care about them as much as you care about Dean and Cas, which for me, for a fic? To make me care about an OC? Is unheard of. I don’t—I don’t know about you guys, but that does not happen to me on a regular basis. Fatback aside.
Mal: Gotta love the pig though.
Robin: Yeah! Like that, that’s very strange. And there are… you know there are a lot of things that happen to the OCs that I think, and this is one of the things that makes Down to Agincourt very special is that everybody’s story is treated as important. It doesn’t take away from the Dean/Cas story, it doesn’t take away from their relationship, it only adds to it because you see their relationship in the context of them caring about other people and then being themselves, like it’s the most canon characterization I’ve ever seen of Dean and Cas in a relationship because they don’t—like they don’t shirk like important things to go have sex in a closet which is what I would write about because that’s… [laughter] you know what I mean! They are themselves in a war. They’re soldiers, they’re leaders. But they’re also figuring out how to be with each other, and that’s just I mean…I feel like it’s masterfully done but book 4 is where it really gets super emotional for me in where like I… After reading it was like oh yeah I have to read this whole thing over again, because a lot of the things that were like… kind of floating puzzle pieces at the edges of my mind clicked into place and then I was like “I get it now…”
Robin: But that’s a big investment. I mean, you know, when the couple that you’re reading about doesn’t kiss for 500,000 words… And it’s you know this heavy plot that you have to kind of work to understand, yeah, I mean, I can understand why people shy away from it, but… I mean, all I can say is it… I feel like it’s well worth the investment and the payoff, like the payoff for the wait is really good. If you can get through it.
Ellen: Yeah well I’m… Yeah, the whole reason that I’m pushing through… Well, not the whole reason because I do actually enjoy the writing style and everything but… is, you know, the first… If you’re not someone who enjoys sort of epic fantasy even, like you know it’s that kind of… it’s almost Gormenghast level of like… heavy writing and details. So if you’re not into that kind of thing then this probably… you may not get through the first part of it.
Robin: Right. And that is like, that’s heavily intertwined with—like there’s a reason for it. It is heavy, but that’s kind of the point? The whole thing about like all the details and stuff? It’s the minutiae at the end of the world. It’s the whole like, the end of the world is actually boring most of the time. It’s actually like them sitting around waiting for something to happen. Like, when you get into book 4 it’s really funny because there’s like all this incredible, cosmic, crazy stuff that’s just kind of like hanging overhead, but there’s not a lot happening. I mean, stuff does happen, there are events and there’s you know exciting things that happen, but there’s also a lot of them, you know Cas and Dean sitting outside talking. You know, and that doesn’t sound that interesting, but it is! And especially when you’re like… it’s the contrast of like, the minutiae of the day to day and the fact that they are still facing down an apocalypse. They’re still facing down Lucifer, he’s still out there somewhere, you know. Does he know that this new Dean is in this universe? Does he not… There’s this whole entire mystery of how did Dean get here to begin with, and I don’t—it’s very difficult for me to get into that topic without spoiling because that is just its own entire… I could talk about that for an entire podcast worth. But suffice it to say, there are all these subplots that you don’t even think of that start popping up, you know later down the road. But when you re-read it, the stuff that felt like minutiae and kind of felt like, “I don’t understand why there’s all this detail,” when you read it again you’re like, “Oh! Okay this is making sense now,” because it’s you know usually contrasted with something else down the road, or it’s meant to foreshadow something down the road. It is very complicated though. I mean, there’s a reason there’s like entire wikipedia pages, like there’s a whole fanlore page devoted to it.
Ellen: Okay, so I got part way through the second book, and then… When things started happening and like the curtains started drawing back on one subplot and then another, like something else suddenly made sense, and I… the important thing about it is to remember about it is that even though Cas is… you know he’s basically human. He’s lost his—he’s fallen and he’s given up his grace but, he doesn’t ever lie, he can’t… he doesn’t lie. He just sort of… you know tells some of the truth so… so everything he says…
Robin: He’s definitely manipulative in some ways
Ellen: Yeah, he’s kind of like a master at just kind of saying enough. And then later you realize that some of the things that he tells Dean were purposely not quite the truth but… And then suddenly like this light-bulb goes off and you’re like, “Oh! That was that other thing,” and like yeah, it’s extremely clever writing.
Robin: And like the whole thing. The other thing about the first book that is important is that Cas is grieving. And he’s a different Cas in the first book than he is in the other books because—and this is important, because he’s grieving his Dean, and that isn’t glossed over. There’s definitely, there’s a lot between him and you know… I’m just going to call it “our” Dean, that like they’re at each other’s throats because Dean—for a while Cas actually makes Dean be invisible to the camp. He doesn’t just bring him back and say, “This is… this is your Dean.” Because he knows, like at first Cas thinks that Dean will never be able to be seen, that he’ll have to be invisible forever. And hiding from people forever, that he won’t ever be able to be like a part of—because he’s scared, because Chitaqua in this story is a legit militia. I mean they are like kill on sight, they have been hyper trained, they are ultra soldiers, and if they knew that Dean wasn’t Dean, Cas believes that they would kill him. So…
Robin: …that whole dynamic of him grieving and him simultaneously worrying about Dean, but also not paying enough attention to Dean? Dean gets very lonely, he gets… he pushes Cas’ buttons. He’s—they’re both, they both have no idea how to like, how to interact with each other or be around each other, and it’s almost like, like you almost feel like they hate each other for a while, but it’s clear when you’re in… when you’re in Dean’s head that that’s not the case, it’s just that he’s lonely, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. But that, that whole, the whole first book is Cas trying to cope with all of those things, and he’s still definitely using, he’s drinking, he’s having a hard time with it. It’s only down the road when Dean, you know, becomes a part of the camp, when he integrates him into the camp and then he, and he is pretending to be his predecessor. So that’s stress like for Cas too because he’s constantly worried that someone’s going to discover Dean or find him out. It’s only when Dean gets hurt and then subsequently gets sick and can’t function as “End” Dean, that’s when Cas starts to clean up his act and starts to like kind of you know take over duties in the camp, and it’s funny because he doesn’t even really realize what he’s doing. He’s been sort of, like he knows that it’s the only option so he does it? But he definitely doesn’t want to be doing it. And so he kind of takes it out on people by doing things like making them mow the lawn, or you know…
Ellen: I loved actually during that section the… you kind of get this hyper focus thing from Cas? Like he’s really concentrating on helping Dean and then, so from being like almost totally ignoring him to being like right in his face the whole time is really… is great, I like it.
Robin: Yeah, and that’s where you get like—when Dean gets sick and Cas is nursing him back to health, and he’s line in his face 24-7. Like this where you get into the tropes. Because Down to Agincourt actually has a lot of tropes, it has the “nursing you back to health”, it has “fake relationship”, it has “accidental bed sharing”, it has “I thought you were straight”, it has “awkward first kiss”, it has like… you know misunderstandings out the wazoo, it has “everyone knows but them”… Like you name it, it’s in here. And the funniest part to me is that they’re oblivious of a lot of it. And they always kind of like Cas and Dean always kind of come in on the ass-end of it finding out that this is happening. They’re very… they do not realize how their relationship comes off. Like they’re doing this whole fake relationship thing for Dean’s protection so that the camp doesn’t find out that he isn’t who he says he is, and also you know so that Cas can make him healthy, and the camp just assumes that they got together! And, Dean wants to get together with him, and he thinks Cas doesn’t want that. And Cas wants to get together with him, and he assumes that Dean is straight because his predecessor was straight. That’s… that is definitely the setup in D to A, like “End” Dean… and for a reason. I was just talking about this in one of my group chats the other day, which was about the contrast between the Dean that we see in D to A and his predecessor. And it’s made very clear that they are two different people. And seperis goes out of her way to illustrate that quite a bit. And I will, I appreciate that because I feel like a lot of the issue with Endverse in general sometimes is, you know does this make sense? And especially using “our” Dean to come in and essentially hook up with Endverse Cas, it’s like you would always have that question of, is he the replacement? And Dean does have that question and that comes up later, in later books where… it comes up during arguments and things, very domestic dispute. “I can’t believe you would ask that of me,” kind of thing, yeah. But yeah, it is made very clear in many different ways that they are two very different people. And that actually not just affects Dean and Cas’ relationship, but once you read through what’s there of book 4, you realize how much it affected the OCs, like the other people in Camp Chitaqua as well. And it’s like, that’s actually one of the most mind blowing… that was one of the most mind blowing moments to me was to realize how deftly that had been written in to make you see that without ever saying it? And then there’s like a moment with one of the original characters where she essentially admits to Dean that she knows, and has known the whole time that he’s not who he says he is but she likes him because he’s an improvement. And that’s why she kept the secret. So like it’s—I don’t know, it’s just… It’s… aggh! It’s genius. Like I couldn’t imagine writing something like this. I don’t have the brainpower.
Ellen: Well it’s just such a long game, too, like obviously she wrote a lot of it in… very quickly. Like, if the episode only came out in… Well I guess she’d had a few years there. It was… it aired in 2009 did I say? And the first fic was completed in 2014, so I guess there was a few years there, but. But!
Mal: The first two I think maybe came out in the first year?
Ellen: Yeah, a lot of it was posted… really quickly.
Mal: So the first two books in 2014 and then the third one in 2015. And the fourth one was even started in 2015.
Ellen: Yeah. So you know I don’t know if she, if like you said she wrote most of it before posting any of it. That’s a lot of words to write, even in a short time. And have them…
Robin: God, yeah.
Ellen: …actually make such an intertwined, like tightly woven subplots into it as well. That’s like, pretty impressive.
Robin: I don’t know about you guys, but I like get bored of writing after, like 60,000 words, I’m like “That’s enough!” [laughter] Like I… you know I want to move on and do something else? I just can’t… like a million words, and you’re still writing a coherent, awesome—and the story’s even better! The story is better! It’s, like, even more awesome than it was in the first, you know, 60 million words… [laughter] whatever it was. It’s just, it shocks me. But I will say to the long game and I’m not, I’m not going to give any spoiler details about this, but seperis is an awesome person. When I was in labor with my son, at the beginning of 2018, I had… I was doing a re-read of Down to Agincourt as like a comfort thing because I had contractions for like two weeks in a row. It was terrible. And I had left a comment about you know yeah, like what I was going through and how appreciative I was of having this story to read and she was like, “E-mail me. I have a chapter, a time-stamp from the future, if you want it?” So I e-mailed, and she sent it to me! And I mean, I won’t get into what’s in it or anything like that, but to what you were saying about the long gamEllen: holy crap! That is…! She is playing the longest…!
Ellen: You’ve got some insider knowledge!
Robin: Yeah I mean just the little—it was just a little snipped of like… but you could tell because the world-building was there? And you can see from where we are now, like at the end of what’s there in book 4 if you call that point A and you call the time-stamp point G, you can see easily how she extrapolated from point A to point G, you just don’t know the details in-between. But when you read it, you’re like, “This is so! Like how! how..?” Like it’s just… It’s mind-blowing how coordinated it is, how consistent it is… Back to Supernatural that can’t even decide whether a picture should belong in John’s journal ten years later… [laughter] Anyway, I’m not salty—it’s fine. But, no I mean, it’s just it… she really deserves all the credit. And you know, we forget like this is all for free. This is a million word—so far—free work that is more—I mean I don’t think I have read any novel or anything that is as complicated as this. And I just – it blows my mind…
Ellen: It’s like the sort of length like a seven-book series, like… you know Wheel of Time springs to mind, something like that? It’s really…
Robin: Yeah! Or even like you know Harry Potter or something. Like where there’s like a long game journey for the main characters and there’s a bunch of you know side happenings in-between… it’s, yeah—that makes sense.
Robin: I feel like this story deserves to be published, but unfortunately it’s just one of those fics that you couldn’t scrub the canon out of well enough.
Ellen: No it’s very well entrenched in canon, I think.
Ellen: I don’t think you could do it.
Robin: But if anybody reads it and wants people to talk to, hit me up because I can definitely direct you by way of group chats or you know whole communities that talk about it on a regular basis. Because I do feel like one of the things that makes D to A so great is the community that has sprung up around it, which is just like Supernatural in general.
Ellen: Yeah, and there’s fanfic written about this, as well, isn’t there?
Robin: Mm-hmm. Tons.
Ellen: There’s like, other people have written stories in this universe.
Robin: Yeah if you go to the…seperis has all the “inspired by” works linked within the actual work. So you can click, there’s…
Ellen: It’s within the series, right.
Robin: Yeah, there’s art, there’s poems, there’s fanfic based on… You know what, and she will goad her audience too. Like there was a whole… she interacts on Twitter a lot, and there was a whole thread recently where we were trying to convince her to build a moat around Ichabod, the city that they’re currently in? And that’s all… that’s later, that’s book 4. But we’re trying to convince her to build a moat, and she’s like, “If somebody writes me a fic about this particular thing that happened… I’ll build a moat.” So…
Robin: It’s… yeah, it’s… Things like that happen on a fairly regular basis on Twitter when people are talking about it. So you know I feel like that’s pretty cool too.
Ellen: Well, it is quite an investment, I suppose.
Robin: Oh yeah.
Ellen: But… having read the first—god, I feel like… How much am I up to now? Probably around… close to 200,000 words in? Out of over a million…
Mal: A quarter of the way in?
Robin: You have not…
Ellen: I’m starting to get it—no… I’m starting to get the inkling that this is something amazing, and I need to keep going.
Robin: Did I tell you to look out for the couch scene? I told you that right?
Ellen: I don’t know? I can’t remember? But okay! Now I will!
Robin: Well now you know! When you’re reading… if they’re on a couch! Then you should pay attention because something’s about to happen…
Ellen: [gasp] Okay.
Robin: No, no, it won’t be that big, this is not really a spoiler, I mean everybody knows there’s a first kiss eventually. But I mean, the couch scene is one of those things that like the community kind of like lauds as one of the greatest parts of the series because it’s super hot. Nothing that much happens. Like, they make out and there’s a little bit of a misunderstanding, but it’s… they’re… it’s their first you know kiss and it’s like… It’s one of those scenes – you know when you read something and you’re like, “Ahhh! How can this be so hot, and they didn’t even do anything!?” It’s one of those.
Ellen: Okay. Awesome, I can’t wait.
Robin: And it’s because you read 500,000 words! Waiting for it! Yeah… No it’s good.
Ellen: That’s right, it’s like the build… the long build up. Finally! As long as it pays off, then that’s okay.
Robin: They’re… it does. There’s… my favorite… I’m going to probably get crap for this from other people because it’s, it’s not even that big of a… My favorite scene in the whole series is on New Year’s Eve, they go to Ichabod for—Ichabod is having a party, like that’s, they’re supposed to be there just enjoying the party. Of course that’s, you know… it’s a Supernatural fanfic so things go off the rails, but! They are like running around town making out in alley-ways, and like just trying to catch a minute alone, and their patrol teams are following them and preventing them from making out. So any time they find a moment alone, this is like when they first get together and they’re trying to get a moment alone because they just figured crap out! And they’re busted every single time they try to make out. But… it’s… it’s just so great because it’s like a combination of that Endverse domesticity kind of thing, like where it’s the end of the world but they’re.. it’s a little bit fluffy. And then they’re making out for the first time, which is great because you’ve waited 500,000 words for it. And then it’s funny! It’s just, it’s just like a really great combination. I will read that scene any time that I’m a little bit depressed.
Ellen: That’s awesome! Alright! So, I guess we’ve got, like there’s a lot… Like since the beginning, there’s a lot of fics in this ‘verse. Not Down to Agincourt ‘verse, but in Endverse in general! So we’ve got a few others that we could recommend. Robin, did you have one that you wanted to recommend? Other than this…
Robin: Yeah I think my other favorite outside of the obvious here is Thursday’s Child, which I could ramble about that one for a good long time too. But that’s strangeandcharm is the author, or sometimes they’re known as strangenessandcharm, depending on where you’re looking. I feel like finding the really good ones is tough, because there’s a lot of like that “hurt no comfort” that we were talking about before out there, and I ain’t into that.
Robin: You know what we should remark on at least, which I can’t believe I didn’t even think of this before, is that there is a huge, there is a big concept with Endverse that’s Dean / Dean / Cas, the threesomes. Those definitely exist out there.
Mal: Oh, of course. Yeah, we can’t leave that out.
Robin: If you are into that…!
Ellen: Yeah, that was one I was going to mention. I did read earlier this week, because it’s only short, was MaggieMaybe160’s one called…
Robin: Oh, yeah!
Ellen: …What Happens in 2014 Stays in 2014 so that is…
Robin: That’s the definitive.
Ellen: …a Dean / Dean / Cas threesome story. Which was very good…
Robin: This… I actually have it personally where this is a widely… it’s on my to-read list, but it’s a widely shared pretty popular one. It’s got, like 2,000 kudos. It’s called Epilogue, and it’s by Jayne L. If you, like open an Endverse rec list, that’s going to be on it. It’s like, it’s almost more definitively circulated than like D to A or Thursday’s Child which is pretty…
Mal: I think that’s another issue sometimes with recs for Endverse fics because there are so many of them that include kind of other things that people may not be looking for…
Ellen: Yeah MCD or… All the fics that we’ve talked about today, including all the recs and more recs as well will be listed in our post on mixtapebookclub.com. And if you want to tell us what your favorite Endverse fic is or scream at one of us about D to A or… whatever you’d like to tell us about, you can get in touch with us, or you can e-mail us contact at mixtapebookclub.com or you can find us on any of our social media platforms where we’re all @mixtapebookclub as well. If you want to have a chat with us, you can also do that on Profound Bond Discord server, we’ve got our own channel there. And come and join in and hear when new episodes are released and stuff too.
Mal: Yeah, and you can also submit questions to us through the Discord channel, it’s a really good way to do that.
Mal: Please join us again in the next episode when we’re going to be discussing fics involving our favorite boys in space! It’s going to be the space gays episode.
Ellen: Yes! We’ve had so many people tell us that they wanted space gays after last time we mentioned it that now we have no choice but to devote an entire episode to it. So that will be next time.
Mal: I’m delighted about it, I love space gays.
Ellen: Me too!
Robin: You better talk about your fics in that Mal. You better!
Robin: You have to! That’s your specialty!
Ellen: It’s okay, I’ll try and drag her out from behind the couch.
Robin: Oh god. Right, I’ll go back to being quiet now.
Ellen: So we have to say thank you very much Robin for coming to talk to us today. We know you’re a huge fan of Endverse, and now you’ve definitely proven it! Thank you very much.
Robin: I’m so sorry…
Mal: It was lovely, just sitting here and listening to you talk about D to A honestly.
Robin: I really enjoyed sitting in the closet and talking to you guys too!
Ellen: Well thank you everyone for listening and we’ll talk to you again soon!
Mal: And as always remember that the story isn’t over until we say it is.