Transcript: Track 18: Murder Husbands

Episode 18 posted June 11, 2021
Transcript by EllenofOz
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

[Intro music]

Ellen: Hi everyone, welcome to the eighteenth episode of Mixtape Book Club Podcast. My name’s Ellen…

Mal: And my name is Mal.

Ellen: In each episode we take a look at a different trope or subgenre in the huge collection of Destiel fanfiction. And today, we’re gonna be taking a dive into the dark world of murder husbands.

Mal: To discuss her fanfiction, and in particular Red Right Hand, we would like to welcome author Duckyboos. Hi Ducky!

Ducky: Hi!

Ellen: Welcome!

Ducky: Thanks for having me.

Ellen: No worries. We’re very excited. Um, the other fics we’re going to discuss today apart from Red Right Hand are Dirty Laundry by–now, i don’t know how to pronounce this author’s name, but i think, we’re thinking it’s v-i-p-july? Or it could be vip-july—I’m so sorry that we–if we’re getting that wrong, but, yes. And the other one is From Grace and Uniform which is by saltnhalo and ThursdaysWaywardWriter. And we need to give a bit of a warning today, because of the fics that we’re talking about today, obviously we’re going to be discussing some adult topics and including murder, basically, extreme violence. And we’re also going to—we can’t really talk about mystery and murder without giving away spoilers, so listen on at your own risk and don’t say that we didn’t warn you.

Mal: Links to all of the fics that we will be talking about today will be available in this episode’s post, on, and included in our collection on AO3.

Ellen: Okay, so. Murder husbands. You guys are gonna have to tell me all about this, because I am a new murder husbands, y’know, fan, and I don’t really know much about it at all, apart from the fics I’ve just read for it. So go ahead (laughs).

Mal: Well, where did you first come across it, Ducky?

Ducky: Um, I thi–i’m pretty certain–well, actually, if I’m gonna be really really lame about this, um (laughs)

Ellen: Please go ahead and be lame.

Ducky: I will be [laughs] Um, well, obviously Hannibal was a huge, huge thing, um, in terms of murder husbands, um, but my sort of first idea was—or the first thing that i kind of saw–was murder partners, is actually one of my favourite books that was adapted into a horror movie, um, which would be Hellbound Heart. Which ended up becoming Hellraiser, um, and bizarrely, obviously it’s a horror film, people know it as a horror film, but i’ve always viewed it, and the author and the director of the film, Clive Barker, reckons as well that it’s a romantic story. So I don’t know how much people know about the movie, or the book, but it’s sort of cool. It’s these two people, or this one guy, who sort of gets his—his sister in law’s fallen in love with him, and he ends up messing with this box that opens up all these—this crazy world, paing, pleasure, all this BDSM goodness, and um, he ends up dying for it, and she commits all these murders at his behest to bring him back to life, and that idea has always fascinated me. I just—it’s kind of a graphic horror movie, but at the same time, there’s this, kind of, lovely, beautiful love story running through it. So yeah, so that’s kind of—I’ve always found those kind of, uh, that dynamic really interesting. But yeah, Hannibal definitely popularised it, as far as i’m aware, so yeah.

Mal: I’m actually just making a little note for myself, I need to look up the book that Hellraiser was based on (laughs)

Ducky: (laughs)

Ellen: (laughs)

Mal: Little sidenote for me.

Ducky: It’s dead short, it’s a new novella, um, and it’s dead short, so, I think it’s on Kindle for like, a couple of quid or something, so, it’s definitely worth looking up.

Mal: Oh, I’ll have to do it.

Ducky: Yeah. He’s a great writer, as well.

Mal: I’m a horror movie junkie, generally, and also, like, the worse a horror movie is, the more I like it, usually (laughs)

Ducky: (laughs)

Ellen: (laughs)

Mal: If it’s—if it’s a good horror movie, then yes it’s enjoyable, but there’s something extra special about a really, really terrible one. (laughs) So I will have to look that up…

Ducky: In that case, you should watch the entire Hellraiser series, because honestly, the first one is like, as far as I’m concerned, the pinnacle, and then it’s all downhill from there, and there’ve been ten.

Ellen: (laughs)

Mal: I want to say I’ve seen, like, four of them? Maybe?

Ducky: (laughs) yeah.

Mal: I don’t know. And then I just kinda gave up.

Ducky: You get to the fourth one–yeah (laughs) yeah, that’s probably wise (laughs)

Mal: (laughs)

Ducky: Yeah, they really go downhill after, like the third one, it’s kind of just like off a cliff. But the first one, the idea, it is really kind of beautiful in a really morbid way but yeah.

Mal: Mmhm, interesting! I think a lot of, um, the murder husbands trope in—it’s almost inextricably linked with horror and horror movies, because you do have that kind of, quite often, serial killer aspect, but I guess, yeah, we do have a lot to thank Hannibal for (laughs) when it comes to—I mean they, the entire name of it ended up becoming the name for their ship so, y’know. Definitely can’t ignore them when it comes to murder husbands, so—but I think, and there are several different, um, kind of description and tags that are used on things like fanlore and stuff like that for murder husbands. So it—I think, previously it did exist, but it was kind of—there wasn’t necessarily a unified name for it, or it was called various other things.

Ducky: Yeah.

Mal: And then Hannibal came along and just gave us the perfect name (laughs) for a serial killer slash ship, basically.

Ducky: Yeah.

Ellen: Surely it was around before that.

Mal: It was, and I think mostly, before that, it was just tagged as, um, ‘serial killer AU,’ or, um, sometimes just an ‘evil AU,’ like people wouldn’t necessarily specify, and then I think there were–there used to be a tag that was something like ‘til murder do us part’ or something, um, but that can be used in different ways because sometimes that’s ued if one of them kills the other at the end, whereas with murder husbands ones, that’s very rarely the case (laughs) Like, usually, they’re both alive and pretty damn pleased with themselves by the end of it.


Mal: So—but yeah, ‘til murder do us part’ is a very closely related trope, I guess.

Ellen: Yeah. I mean, at its heart, it’s sort of, it’s–it’s still romance, there is still almost the obsessive, love story going on in these fics, right?

Mal: Yeah. It’s that kind of, very heavy, obsessive love to the point where this person would kill for you. Very literally (laughs) so…

Ellen: And drag the other person along with them (laughs)

Mal: Definitely very romantic in that way, though if you would consider it romance if it was turned towards you is a whole other question, but (laughs) clearly these people—clearly these people dig it, so (laughs)

Ellen: I’m kind of fascinated by the psychology of it, in a way, because, I’m used to reading a lot of, you know, fluffy kind of romance where, y’know, people don’t want to murder each other or other people, obvously, but I find that the actual, the intensity of the feelings is—seems to be a lot more, um, because they’re so (laughs) um, i guess obsessed with the other person, they will do literally anything and, I guess you bring in that kind of psychopathic tendency that it’s just really interesting, like I wouldn’t normally–i don’t like listening to murder podcasts or watching documentaries or anything about serial killers, but now I’m like, really kind of intrigued by the whole thing, I have to admit.

Mal: Yeah, i’m kind of fascinated by, like, the psychology of all of it, so…

Ducky: Yeah. I think it’s really interesting as well—actually, another book, I shouldve mentioned before is one called—um, that’s probably a really good place to start as well with murder husbands is ‘Exquisite Corpse’ by Poppy Z Bright, because it’s about two serial killers, one from the US, one from the UK, and they’re actually based on real serial killers, um, who end up meeting and falling in love, and it ends pretty badly. But it’s the kind of literal murder husbands, um, when they meet. So that’s kind of interesting as well, that’s a really good look because it does it from their points of view and the points of view of some of their victims as well. So that’s a really interesting book to look into as well.

Mal: Interesting. Getting some book recommendations today, I like it! 


Mal: I think, as well, one of the—I read it somewhere earlier, that phrased it really well, and now i’ve clicked away from where it was and i can’t find it. But there was somebody writing about how traditionally they used to have these fis tagged ‘evil AU’s and then, you’ve now got this very specific subset that’s murder husbands, and a lot of the time the—one of the defining characteristics of the murder husbands fics is that we’re almost (laughs) that—you can kind of walk the line of making these characters sympathic, but at no point are you supposed to make them redeemable, because you’ve actually kind of broken the contract of it being a murder husbands AU if you do that? (laughs) And I thought that was quite interesting, and that people probably have different takes on that, because the whole point of it is that these are not characters that you are supposed to like, it’s like the pinnacle of an unlikeable protagonist, but you are in some way still supposed to understand them, like they still have to be—like they still have to in some way be the characters that we kind of know and love, or why would we be reading it, right? 

Ducky: Yeah.

Mal: And, uh, just really interested in all the stories that we picked today, like how the different, um, authors managed to do that, like managed to make us still love these characters, even though they’re doing things that are completely irredeemable in almost all cases. I think a lot of that probably centers around, um, their motives for why they’re doing what they’re doing? And I was really interested to see that we had, a, like, three very different motives in the fics that we picked, so (laughs) that was excellent. Okay, so. Which one do we want to start with? Can we tell that I’m excited? I’m like (laughs, claps) aaah! This is one of my favourite tropes to talk about.

Ellen: Would you like to start with Red Right Hand, then?

Mal: Yes! Let’s dive in at the deep end.

Ellen: Okay. So, Red Right Hand, by Duckyboos, was published in, uh, 2015. It’s 85,000 words long, and it’s rated Explicit. Ducky, would you mind reading the summary for us?

Ducky: Uh, yeah. So: 

You’re one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, designed and directed by his red right hand. It all starts with the mysterious note left on Dean’s chair. It all ends with Dean coming to terms not only with what he’s capable of, but how much that knowledge doesn’t bother him.

Ellen: Okay Mal, go for it. I know this is your favourite, go— (laughs)

Mal: (laughs) Yeah, I’m not sure, I—like—I didn’t want to like, freak Ducky out at the first—by like, fangirling immediately the moment I spoke, but this is actually 100% definitely my favourite Destiel fanfic ever, so out of the hundred thousand or so that we have out there (laughs) on AO3, uh—is it embarrassing to say that i think i’ve probably read this fic about fifty times? (laughs) An embarrassing amount of your hit count is probably me, so. Sorry about that.

Ducky: (laughs) No, that’s awesome. It’s, uh—I had no idea it was anyone’s favourite fic, so to know it’s yours is absolutely awesome.

Mal: It is, it is like—well, I’ve been trying to get Ellen to read this fic for…I don’t know, probably three years now? (laughs)

Ellen: [laughs] Yeah, a long time.

Mal: Like, anybody who knows me and who has had any interaction on the level of, like, fic recs with me knows that at some point (laughs) i’m going to inevitably bring up this story. So… (sighs) okay, now i’ve got that out of the way… i’ve embarrassed myself (laughs)  Red Right Hand, first of all, do we want to–we’re doing spoilers, yeah?

Ellen: yeah, I think we… warned for that earlier, so.

Mal: Excellent. Okay, so I guess a… a very vague summary for people, uh… we have, we begin with Dean, uh, he is working in a library—it actually begins the way, i guess, a lot of—we’ve got quite a lot of AUs in this fandom that start off with libraries and Dean and he’s just eatin’ a slice of pie and he’s having a great day.


Mal: Um, so it starts—I think that’s part of the charm of the first chapter, for me, is how very mundane it is at the beginning, and you’re just like ‘yep, this is life, this is normal, this is perfectly fine.’ Um, the-the twist with this one I guess, is that Dean–in the library, Dean starts receiving notes from this mysterious ‘J’ character, almost simultaneously as Cas turns up for the first time in the story. Mm, curious…


Mal: So, so I guess my first question is: what was your—like, can you tell us about the inspiration for J and the notes and—because it’s kind of a trope in itself, although not one that you see done very often, but i know there’s been a couple of movies or books that have had similar-ish kinda concepts in them, so… tell us where it came from, please!

Ducky: Well, I kind of love the idea of adults passing notes in class—you know, like, that kind of teenage thing where you pass notes in class and it’s this—it’s this kind of wholesome crush kinda thing and I really like the idea of, sort of, perverting that a little bit, and making it a little bit more sinister, I suppose.

Mal: Yeah.

Ducky: So yeah, I’m a massive fan of literature which I kind of bludgeon people over the head with in a lot of my fics. But, yeah, so I really wanted to incorporate something like that, and that’s why—that’s why specific books were used and specific references were used throughout. But yeah, it really all started with that idea of these little innocent—or, notes that could be perceived as innocent, but obviously as you get through they really aren’t and are sort of leading Dean down this path. So yeah, that’s where I started that, really.

Mal: Aw, so it’s like a wholesome crush, apart from in this case it’s not really that wholesome at all, but (laughs)

Ducky: Yeah (laughs)

Mal: It’s definitely a crush, but it ain’t wholesome (laughs)

Ellen: (laughs) No, I liked that the first few chapters started out so sweet, like, with Cas wanting to look after Dean and take—you know, make sure he wasn’t hurt, and there’s a lovely kind of hurt/comfort side to this one as well, in the beginning, even though, you know, the—obviously, i didn’t know anything going into this, apart from Mal, like, poking me going ‘where are you up to, where are you up to?’ So I knew something was coming (laughs)

Mal: (laughs)

Ellen: But, um, I got the feeling like this kind of anxious kind of feeling quite early on from, like, a creepy vibe from Cas. Like, it was too convenient that he was there at the time, y’know? So it was juxtaposed with this, you know, really sweet kind of, y’know, almost love at first sight thing.

Ducky: Yeah. I mean, I’m a massive fan of—I probably shouldn’t say this but i’m a massive fan of giving away endings in the first couple of chapters. Uh, so anything like that that i write—so it’s the same with Number One Crush as well, um, I basically tell you who it is, at the beginning, and then try and work backwards from there. So yes, I love—I love making people very suspicious, um, of the characters straight off.

Ellen: Well you did a great job of that, because I was (laughs) definitely like ‘something’s up with this guy… what is it?’


Mal: Yeah, I think one of my favourite things about this story, even the very first time I read it, was it-it’s not so much that you’re putting together, like, who it is or anything like that, like, you know. But like, you’re trying to work out how, and you’re trying to—also, like, there’s almost this very endearing quality where you’re desperately just trying to see how much Cas can get away with (laughs) like, you’re just kind of like… waiting for Dean to catch on, but at the same time, you’re like, you want to see how far Cas is going to be able to push this before he does.

Ellen: And there is a—also, like an escalating kind of nature of it, like, the further you go in, the more Dean is kind of losing his mind about the whole thing, and the more, um, I guess violent their interactions get.

Ducky: Yeah, I, um… I wanted–obviously the whole point, or should I say, one of the points I was trying to make with it was that obviously Cas is trying to show Dean who he is and how he’s not the person he thought he was, how he’s stronger than he—he initially thinks he is at the beginning, because obviously—I think there’s a—it’s been a long time since i’ve read it, to be honest, and a long time since i’ve written it—

Mal: (laughs)

Ducky: But from what I remember, there’s a bit where, um, he’s under the bridge doing one of the notes while Cas is supposedly at home, waiting for him, and um, and he—you know, Dean’s sort of berating himself, saying ‘are you just gonna let this—everything keep passing you by, are you gonna keep being this way’ and, um, and i love the idea of Cas sort of, whether for better or worse, I guess it’s probably for worse, um, in real life, really, trying to pull this kind of, um, side of Dean out. Yeah, I—it’s really interesting, doing that, and like you were saying at the beginning, the psychology of it all is fascinating to me as well, so…

Mal: Yeah. I think Cas’ motives come across very nicely in this fic, because even though there’s absolutely no question that Cas is very clearly quite a twisted individual (laughs) It’s—in a way, if you kind of strip away how he’s doing it, he tries to give Dean parts of himself back that were taken from him, and make him stronger and give him his freedom back, and those are all good things. Obviously the way that he executes those (laughs) is, you know…

Ducky: (laughs) Execute being, like, the key word there.


Mal: (laughs) Ooh, yeah.

Ellen: He puts the ‘cute’ in ‘execute.’

M: He sure does.

Ellen: Um, I know you said it’d been a while since you had written this one, it’s been—I don’t know, six years? A little while, but we did have a question from—we’ve got, like, our own channel in the Profound Bond discord server which is like, the big Destiel server—

Ducky: Right.

Ellen: And we had one question from—oh god, now I’m gonna say another person’s name wrong, um… zybynarx? I’m sorry, had a question for you to say that: how is the research and planning process for this sort of fic, different from writing another fic? Like, I guess that this is, it’s basically a mystery, like a psychological thriller type mystery. Do you have, like, a really detailed planning process for this kind of fic, or does it organically come out?

Ducky: Um, it’s completely organic. I’m the worst for planning! If I plan something in my head, like if I go “right, I need this at the beginning, this at the middle and this at the end”, I get bored? I go “right, I’ve written it now.” [laughs] So, I literally just…wing it. Which is generally why I don’t have betas, because I think I’d drive people crazy. [laugh] For Number One Crush I had a very, very brave soul, FriendofCarlotta, who sat there with me, very patiently, saying “are you sure you wanna do this? Okay, are you sure about this?” But yeah, I was literally didn’t tell her which way I was going with it until about halfway through I think, because I was like “ooh, I could change this, or I could do this.” So there isn’t really much of a process, which… I’m really sorry.


Mal: That’s okay.

Ducky: I just kind of go whichever way I think. Obviously I always start with the idea that they’re gonna end up together. So…that was always the goal with this fic, like Dean was going to end up with Cas and it was gonna be really psychotic. But, yeah, I didn’t really have a roadmap. I know, for research and stuff, I know bits already about the law. I have a law degree, which people find hilarious…


Mal: They always say that lawyers and police officers would make the best serial killers, right?

Because… [laughs]

Ducky: Honestly, we know all the loopholes! [laughs] But yeah, I’m just waffling on now, but that’s a theme in a few of my fics, is that disillusionment with the law and its limitations, and I think that’s kind of a big one in this because Dean… Cas’ big thing is that the law, and everyone Dean turned to for help, let him down, and so let’s try it this way now. So, going back to your question, I have some base knowledge of a few things, and I’ve studied criminology as well, so again, going back to the psychology of serial killers. So I kind of start there. I’m probably on quite a few watch lists by now. 


Ducky: So, there’s that too. So yeah, I don’t think that really answers the question much, but I hope it sort of does…

Mal: No, I think that’s really valid, though, like you have your planners and you have your pantsers, and you have everything in between. 

Ducky: Exactly. 

Mal: And I think it’s probably okay if you’re on a few watch lists. I think almost all fanfic writers end up on a list at some point [laughs] 

Ducky: You’re doing something wrong if the FBI isn’t watching you. 

Mal: I had a point where I was writing a story, and it was one that was based on a horror movie, and I was adapting it into a case fic, and there was literally a point where I stopped writing mid-sentence and was like, “if anybody came in right now, at best I would be in therapy, at worst I’d be in prison.” [laughs] It just kinda suddenly hit me on that one. It’s okay, I’m in good company I think. 


Ducky: Like, I’ve looked up like the prices of guns and stuff, the chambers and stuff, and obviously in the UK we don’t have really the same gun culture as the US, and so I’m sure I’m definitely being watched by federal agencies. 

Mal: Well we appreciate your dedication! 


Ellen: I hope they’re enjoying the, you know, the gay sex.

Ducky: Yeah, exactly. I’ll just keep forwarding them and they’ll go oh look, here we go.

Ellen: It’s amazing smut, by the way. Thank you. [laughs] Like the actual sexy bits are very good. Thanks. [laughs]

Mal: You can just imagine being an FBI analyst and they’re like “oh god, it’s one of these people again.” 


Ellen: Yeah, maybe that strikes you off their list if they start reading and go, “Oh, it’s the porn again. Okay. Put it on the list.” 


Ducky: “Oh, it’s another gay sex one…” [laughs]

Mal: Oh, I’m having flashbacks to that story now, where Cas… I’m gonna have to find it, ‘cause now I’m talking about it and link it somewhere. There is a story out there where Cas is exactly that. He works for.. I think it might have been the CIA, I can’t remember, one organisation, and his job is literally to watch Dean.


Ellen: Oh dear…

Mal: Yep, yep. Which once again just proves that anything can be fanfic, so…it’s a really well done one.

Ellen: And is. Anything can and will be. Especially in Destiel because we’ve just got so much of it. 

Mal: Yeah! It has its own rule of the internet. Because it’s such an expansive thing now. Like once you’re into six figures worth of fic, there’s nothing that’s not out there somewhere. 

Ellen: We’re so lucky, though. 

Mal: I, as I mentioned earlier, heavily pressured you into reading this one, as the first one, so what was your favourite part of this story? I’m just curious whether it’s the same as mine or not. 

Ellen: Ohhh. Um… Look, I…I’m not usually a fan of graphic violence stuff, like I don’t…I can’t read torture scenes and stuff easily, so…I will admit I did kind of skim over some of the more graphic scenes, but I did…I did scream in your dms about this, Mal. When I got to the part—this is a spoiler so if you’re trying to avoid them, skip over a bit—when I got to the church, and Alastair was there on the cross and everything, and I just.. Like, this was the scene this fic was written for. Is that the case? [laughs] Because it felt like everything had been building to that point. 

Mal: That’s 100% what it feels like when you hit that part. Yep. 

Ellen: It was very… like it built up and up and I was on the edge of my seat going “Oh my god?!”  Yeah. I enjoyed the tension of that. It was great.

Mal: Was that something that you specifically envisioned ahead of time, Ducky? Or did that just kind of happen as you were writing it? 

Ducky: I knew I wanted there to be a confrontation with Alastair where either Dean or Cas killed him, but I wasn’t sure exactly where I was gonna place it. Funnily enough, the bit where I was kind of building to, I suppose, through that was Dean fully realising who Cas was, which I think occurs in the next chapter. I really…I felt like that was sort of… Once Alastair was out of the way, then Dean could sort of start…’Cause I think he was very sort of clouded by the fact that Alastair was alive and “oh my god, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do?” And so, once he was out of the way he was then able to focus on all the red flags that Cas had been throwing up. All the stuff he’d sort of been pushing to the back of his mind because he really desperately wanted to trust him but he had other things to worry about with Alastair, and blah blah blah. So I definitely wanted that church scene to happen in that, I knew it was going to happen one way or another, I love the idea of Alastair being tied in a similar way to “On the Head of a Pin”…like it’s not exactly the same but I like that imagery. So I was sort of going for that, but it started off kinda hazy, and it was only a couple of chapters before that I realised I wanted to do it that way.

Ellen: Yeah, I mean that scene in that episode in the actual show is so…kind of raw, and you know, so much emotion for all of them, like Cas and Dean in the actual show. So for it to be reflected in this way was really effective, I thought. Just heightened your.. “What’s gonna happen here?” ‘Cause we know what happens in the show, like with Dean torturing him and stuff, so yeah. Well done, I liked it. 

Ducky: Thank you.

Mal: Yeah, the tension in that scene was excellent. That’s really…I was gonna say the point of no return, like obviously the first note was probably the point of no return, but [laughs] Like at that point it’s not… Like Dean can’t pretend that he’s on the periphery of it from that point onwards. He can’t say that he didn’t have anything to do with it, that it was all Cas. Like his own decisions come into play at that point. Every time I read the fic I’m racing to get to that scene so I’m just like, “Yes!” love that!


Ellen: I was sort of reading it between my fingers, you know, like this is how I watch horror movies as well [laughs] hiding going “oooh, what’s gonna happen?” But yeah, that one was good. 

Mal: Still kinda on the topic of that scene, though, I do think that’s one of my favourite scenes because it very carefully illustrates that even though this whole story, we’ve had all these different horrific things happen, and you also find out really in the next chapter that there are even more terrible things going on in the background that maybe Dean was just not paying attention to, because he was far too busy freaking out about Alastair and everything else, but even so, even through all of that, Cas still… Dean is the one in charge in that scene. Like yes, Cas ends up guiding him, like we’re definitely in full spoiler territory here (laughs), but even at that point, it was never about Cas. Like you’ve got different types of “killer”, right? In air quotes. Like you’ve got killers who kill for pleasure, killers that kill for whatever, but you 100% can see very literally in that scene onwards in the fic that this was all about Dean. Like, Cas wasn’t choosing these people or doing these acts through his own preference, there was always a reason, and it was always Dean. Which is incredibly creepy, but then again, comes back to that kind of very intense, obsessive passion which is kind of the hallmark of these types of stories. 

I did get a question sent to me, from… it’s more of a general one, but the specifically reference this story. The question was from Sami, on Twitter (hey Sami!). So, obviously Red Right Hand leans very heavily into all the serial killer tropes, like we get it in graphic detail, so why do we think people enjoy reading this stuff so much? 

Ellen: I wonder that too, sometimes. ‘Cause like… (laughs)

Mal: (laughs) ‘Cause you’re the one who doesn’t enjoy reading it. 

Ellen: Well it’s like.. Obviously its the romance in particular for this… I guess not all of them have a happy, romantic ending, but yeah, I’m just fascinated by how many people… like even Hannibal, I can’t watch it because it’s too graphic for me (laughs), but there’s a very big fanbase for it. So I’m intrigued.

Mal: Yeah. I mean, I can speak about it in terms of research I’ve done out of pure curiosity, like the psychological aspect of it just in terms of… people who enjoy serial killer stories, movies, that kinda stuff, it’s pretty much that serial killers are for adults what monster movies are for children. So there’s almost a spike of adrenaline there. Like people go on rollercoasters, right? People jump off bridges and do like crazy bungee jumping things, and that kinda stuff. And it all kinda comes down to the same thing, like you’re doing something that your brain is gonna tell you inherently not to do, or that it’s bad or taboo in some way. And this kinda comes down to the same thing, but it’s a very safe way to experience that kind of thing. ‘Cause all you’re doing is reading about other people doing crazy things, and it’s gonna spike your adrenaline because it threatens your sense of safety. Because you know that all these crazy things are happening, but thank goodness they’re not happening to you, they’re not happening in real life, but you’re reading about them and it’s just enough to threaten your sense of safety enough that you’re compelled to go onwards and to read more. It’s quite interesting. I also found a slightly terrifying statistic when I was reading that which I have never forgotten, that at any given time there are at least 25 active serial killers in the US. 


Mal: I was like, “Oh! Okay, that’s comforting!”


Ducky: I think I actually used that statistic in one of my other fics years ago. It was one of the very first fics I wrote, and I used that statistic, and I remember people commenting going “Oh my god, is that true?” and it’s like, yeah. Terrifying. 


Mal: It actually says a lot about the US media that we don’t hear a lot more about serial killers. [laughs] Like if there’s 25 out there at all times, why aren’t we hearing more about it? 

Ellen: I’m interested in the Australian statistics now. I’m sure we’ve got them, I just don’t know. Haven’t heard about them. 

Mal: Yeah, I mean I’ve only read US statistics for that ‘cause I’m assuming they would’ve been my primary search results when I looked it up, but people in other countries, let us know, how many serial killers do you have at any given time? (laughs)

Ducky: I think America is just… I mean I obviously don’t know much about Australia to be honest, but certainly in comparison to the UK, in America.. It’s just the expanse, isn’t it? Like it’s just.. It’s so easy to travel from one place to another completely undetected. I think Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is just like the pinnacle of this idea that there are roads stretching out past anything that you could imagine. I’ve never actually been to the US or anything like that, I’ve only ever been to Europe and we’re all so, so caged in, but just that idea of infinite possibilities, all these roads stretching out in front of you, like if you’re that way inclined, why not? (laughs)

Ellen: Easy to disappear.

Ducky: Yeah, exactly. Like there’ve been so many serial killers who’ve just got away with it for years and years, just by driving and driving and switching up M.O.s and stuff. It’s fascinating.

Mal: And slightly unnerving. But fascinating (laughter). To turn it back to a Supernatural perspective, though, there are people in the show who think that about Sam and Dean, though, if you think about it. Because they are, officially, in canon, known as serial killers. They’re also officially dead, probably several times by now. (laugh) But it’s the same thing, with being on the road and switching up identities. They might be killing the right things, by our moral standards, but they’re still doing the same things any other serial killer would do. 

Ducky: Exactly. For years I’ve wanted to write one from that perspective.. Of someone who sees them roll into town, and then roll out again, and people are dead. And like, “What are these guys doing?” You know, ‘cause from outsider perspectives they are just serial killers. I find that so, so facinating and such a cool element of the show that isn’t ever really looked at. 

Mal: Yep.

Ellen: I mean they do sort of skate around the moral aspects of it when… you know when Dean kills Amy Pond in that one episode? Which I hated, by the way. When I watched that I was like, “Why?! No, don’t do it!” But, they do address that moral kind of, “Are we doing the right thing?” and eventually Dean starts being okay with leaving good monsters alive. 

Mal: Yeah, and I think at one point in canon there was more question about possessed people. Like the people that are intrinsically involved with these monsters, and I think at one point they just kind of briefly questioned the morality of killing these people, but they kind of seemed to forget about that over the years.

Ellen: They just kind of hand-waved it and went “oh, if you’re possessed by a demon, you’re already dead.” (laughs). So, “It’s okay, we’ll just stab them, it’s fine.”

Mal: Even though that was 100% not true earlier on in the show! (laughing)

Ellen: Which is why I really liked it when Sam had his blood powers or whatever, and he could pull demons out of people without killing them and I thought that was really cool! And then they just kinda went, “Eh, stabbing’s better.”

Ducky: Exactly.

Mal: Yeah, I know that Sam was a little crazy, and things weren’t great, but there were definitely some pros to that storyline.

Ellen: Yeah, there were.


Ellen: Sorry Ducky, what were you saying?

Ducky: No, I was just gonna say, they made that massive deal about Meg, didn’t they? How they killed Meg, how she fell out a window, blah blah blah, and then with the raising of the witnesses at the beginning of season four, that was her whole reason for being so angry at them, was that she was alive in there. And then like you say they just hand-waved it away, and I’m always like, “No! That’s such a cool idea.” Just keep Sam with his boy-king-ness and his blood and stuff.

Mal: Yeah. Well I think as a show, the characters are the most interesting when they’re being morally grey, or when that’s being looked at closely. So that was a lot of fun for me, rather than just hand-waving it. Oh well, that’s why we write fanfic, right? 


Ellen: Well it gives us a lot to play with, really. I mean, when all these things have happened and kind of got forgotten about, then we go, “Well what if they…just… kept that for a little longer?”

Mal: All right, did anybody else have any thoughts specifically on why they enjoy reading this kind of stuff, or in your case, avoiding it, Ellen? [laughing]

Ellen: No, I already told you it’s because I’m a big softie.

Ducky: I think you’re completely right, I think it can be a form of catharsis for a lot of people. Just addressing certain issues that you can’t necessarily address elsewhere. Like obviously we drew the line between horror and this trope, and horror as a wider thing deals with a lot of social issues that other genres don’t really tackle in the same way. I always think of the original Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead tackling race issues, and social issues. So I just feel like murder husbands in a way is sort of pointing out the extremities of love and the depth of feelings that you have sometimes, that are always very toxic, but are taboo, as well. And I think it’s a safe way of looking at it through fic. 

Mal: Yes, it’s a safe way to look at terrible things. And I think that humans in general, like huge swathes of humans do have the urge to examine more closely the things that they know are wrong or that they’re afraid of. I mean it’s like the same question: why does everybody stop to look at car crashes? Right? Like they know they’re not gonna want to see what is actually there, but they still want to see and they still want to look. Which I think is the same with serial killers, really. It’s a perfectly safe way to sit there and read your fic or listen to your podcast or watch a documentary or whatever, to get that experience in a perfectly safe, healthy way. 

Ducky: It’s all part of the human condition whether you like it or not. Like serial killers aren’t monsters, they’re just people who are either wired slightly differently or have different priorities. So yeah, I always find it really fascinating to pull that apart and look at people under a microscope and go like “Actually how different is this person from me?” Like how different is Ted Bundy from the next person? He had kids and stuff like this and I find that the scariest thing of all really, is how not-monster-like they are.

Ellen: He was just an ordinary guy.

Ducky: Yeah! Just a dude, man! 

Mal: On a general serial killer note, I guess, I think part of my fascination came from back when I lived in England I spent a while living in Gloucester and I lived on a very famous street known as Cromwell Street, where some very famous serial killers in England called Fred and Rose West, which is where they lived, and where a lot of their bodies were stashed. Which, interestingly enough, I did not know this before renting the flat that I rented [laughter] But it was a very strange little rabbit hole I tumbled down, because the building they had lived in, and that obviously a lot of their crimes had been committed in, the city had completely razed it quite a few years before. So you’ve got this perfect old row of houses— they’re quite old buildings in that area of the city– and then this one just missing completely in the middle of this row. And so me, being nosey, I was just like, “What happened to that house?” And I noticed there was a little plaque there, and that sent me down a rabbit hole. So inadvertently, moving into that dodgy, cheap, student-level flat in Gloucester [laughter] started me down this road of being interested in all these kinds of true-crime, serial killer type things, which somehow ended up with me being obsessed with murder husbands fic! So a decade later…

Ducky: Well, interestingly enough, it’s actually a similar story for me. I grew up in Hereford, which is literally a couple of towns along from Gloucester. Fred and Rose West were tried at Hereford Crown Court. So I grew up in that kind of shadow as well, and I was always fascinated by just how brutal they were. I think everyone sort of focuses a little more on Ian Brady and Mara Hindley, but I always find that Fred and Rose West were infinitely worse. 

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: It kind of makes you walk… like I was at the supermarket yesterday looking around at people going, “I wonder if any of you are serial killers.” [laughter]

Mal: Well, I mean, they’re all just humans. They buy toothpaste and pasta just like everyone else. 

Ellen: I mean everyone’s got their own kind of secrets. They wouldn’t have thought that I, a middle-aged mother of two, would be reading serial killer porn in the morning and then going to the shops in the afternoon! [laughter] So who knows!

Mal: See, I think that’s what’s different for me, and that I love. Like if I’m sitting on a train, or in a coffee shop or something, I’m always constantly making up stories in my head about all of the people around me and they’re generally much more of the fun kind. I’m just like, “Oh, that innocent-looking old woman over there, I bet she’s reading some wolf porn on her kindle right now.” [laughter] And you know what? I like to think that stuff is true more often than we think it is. 

Ellen: It’s gotta be, right? 

Mal: There’s some kind of—I don’t know the term for it—like a psychological phenomenon thing, there’s a word specifically for realizing that everybody is the main character in their own story. And that they have an entire story and life going on that you are just like blipping into for a brief second?   

Ellen: Oh my god, we’re gonna have existential crisis in the middle of this… [laughter]

Mal: At least we’re not just yelling about cats for once! [laughing]

Ellen: It’s true.

Mal: Okay, anyway.

Ellen: Shall we…?

Mal: Shall we move on to our second story? [laughing]

Mal: So the next fic we’re going to discuss is Dirty Laundry by—we’re still undecided whether it’s VIP-July or V-I-P-July. We apologise for whichever one is wrong! It’s an explicit story, it’s 28 thousand words so it’s the shortest one of the bunch that we have today, and the summary goes:

Perhaps intelligence comes with its own dose of insanity.

Dr. Castiel James Novak is a leading name in the mental health community. When Dean Winchester, self-proclaimed Golden Gardens killer, lies down on his couch for the first time, Castiel feels it.

Dean Winchester is exactly who he says he is.

Castiel Novak is exactly who Dean makes him out to be.

Ellen: I loved that this started out like…it could have even been shorter, like it could have been… okay we’re gonna go into spoiler territory here, but.. Dean comes to see Cas as a therapist, obviously, and over time they get closer and they start a relationship that’s more than just a therapist one, but then Cas asks Dean if he would stop killing people if he asked him to, and then they kind of get into this stasis where they’re basically having sex in return for Dean not killing anyone. And it could have even ended then, if she’d wanted to, like it was a still point, I guess, in the story. But then, then it kind of went… descended into the darkness where Cas starts wondering what it’d be like if he joined in. I dunno, I liked that at the start it was one thing, and then it devolved into a darker thing afterwards. 

Mal: Yeah, it kind of almost teases at the beginning that maybe Cas is—how shall we say—not quite as much in the murder husbands trope as Dean is, but this one actually fully ends up with—we’re in full spoiler territory anyway—basically ends up with Cas picking Dean’s victims and basically having a pet serial killer on a leash at the end of this one. And then of course going that little bit further and getting involved himself. Which he can obviously tell himself is to protect Dean, but at the end of the day, if you’re doing it, you’re doing it, right?  

Ellen: Yeah. I liked that because Cas was almost a celebrity doctor, at the beginning he’s quite a popular figure, and then once he brought Dean into his public persona, and then they ended up with “Destiel” trending on twitter and it’s this meta kind of thing. I thought that was funny. 

Ducky: I liked the perverse pleasure that Cas took in having Dean pushed to the forefront like that and knowing exactly who Dean was, and knowing that nobody else knew. I think when the went to the ball and they’re all taking photos of him and that little internal monologue of Cas’ where he’s just like, “yeah, none of them know.” I thought that was really cool. 

Ellen: Yes. There’s a lot of power play in this one. Where he’s in control of the whole thing and he loves it. And for that reason I think sometimes Cas comes across as being quite cold in this one for most of it? Because they’re not really in a relationship because they’re in love, although later on they do kind of admit to each other that they do love each other, I guess. But most of it is just for the power. And submission, for Dean.

Mal: Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of power exchange in this one, in that, the only reason Dean isn’t killing is because Cas has asked him to, and that’s quite a heady thing for Cas to know, I guess, that he has that much power, because… essentially what it comes down to is, somebody being alive or dead is based on Cas’ word. And that’s obviously a really big powerful rush for him, to know that, which Dean does clock on quite early in this story that Cas is a lot more like him than Cas realises he is. And kind of keeps suggesting that and pushes that. And I guess that’s always the question of like, how much of how Cas ended up was because of Dean pushing that, and telling him he was like that, and how much was naturally him to start with. But that’s an impossible thing to know outside of the bounds of this 28 thousand word story. I thought it was quite interesting because Dean is very much pushing from the beginning the fact that Cas is a lot more like him than he realises. And obviously that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in the end. 

Ducky: I like the way that Dean…At first it almost seems like Dean’s the one in control. Dean’s the proactive one, he turns up on his doorstep a couple of times and Cas is sort of a little bit intimidated at first? Because he’s not sure, he’s hovering in that, kind of, “Is he really who he says he is? Is he this killer, or is he just in his own little world?” I found that really interesting, and I think one of my favorite scenes is where he turns up on his doorstep for…I think it’s the second time, and he takes Cas on… oh gosh, this is so spoilery… he takes Cas on a ride to show him the graves that he’s moved. And I just love that push and pull right there, that’s like the turning point, that’s kind of like the snap where Cas sort of goes for it, and he’s like, “see, you are exactly like me.” I really love that dynamic, I thought it was really well done. 

Mal: Yeah, that’s a really good scene. And we get a little baby step towards that the first time that Dean turns up at his house? And he turns up and he’s got messy jeans on, and stuff like that, because he’s.. Turns out he’s just been in a fight, he hasn’t killed somebody, but the way he turns up, it’s almost like Dean wants Cas to think that he’s just killed somebody. Like he’s pushing Cas to see how he reacts. And it’s very telling that Cas’ first reaction isn’t to tell Dean to get out or to call the police or anything, it’s to offer to wash his clothes. So I think from that point onwards, Cas is done, basically. [laughs] I was gonna say stick a knife in him, but with this trope, that could be very literal! [laughter] There was obviously quite a lot of research done for this one as well, I think. I was reading through it— I’ve read this one before, but I read back through it again, just before we did the podcast to get it fresh in my mind, and I was definitely noticing different things that Cas was thinking about Dean during his therapy, like “Oh, well…” he doesn’t think Dean kills for this reason or for that reason because of this thing and because of that thing, like he doesn’t think it’s for passion because he doesn’t use knives and all these other different things. I thought that was quite interesting. There’s a lot of little details packed into this story even though it’s a shorter one. 

Ellen: I did like.. Like I guess it all comes to a head when after they’ve been together for quite some time, when they go to the ball and they meet Meg there, and what happens with her, and that was sort of another turning point where Cas kind of let Dean off his leash again. You know, “Why don’t you go and do this?” and he’s like, “Really?!” I really liked that. I mean, I didn’t like it, I thought it was horrible! But you know… I enjoyed that he gave Dean back his coping mechanism. Like he wasn’t just holding tight to him anymore, he let him go again. It was interesting.

Mal: Yep, but even so, he was still very much in control. Like I found it really fascinating that they’re going away for a few days and he basically tells Dean, “Okay, you’re going to be outside of your usual hunting grounds, so I will let you off the leash for the time we’re there.” But he does it with such strict bounds, like he knows so much about Dean psychologically, he knows that he still needs these boundaries to not go completely off the rails so he literally gives him a curfew, like the amount of time he’s allowed to go and scout out…okay, a person, a victim, that he wants, so he gives him two hours, or four hours, or whatever it ends up being, that he can go and scout this. But then it’s like, “At that point, it’s closed and you have to come back, and you have to rein it in and you have to just be the Dean on a leash again after that.” It’s just really really interesting, fascinating, that whole dynamic in this one. 

Ellen: Okay so the third fic we’re going to talk about is called From Grace and Uniform and it’s by saltnhalo and ThursdaysWaywardWriter. This one was published in 2017 and it’s 94 thousand words, so it’s a bit longer again, and it’s also explicit. And the summary goes like this:

When FBI agent Dean Winchester was first assigned to the Ghost’s case, he was expecting it to be the same as any other serial killer hunt–frustrating dead ends, a trail of bodies, unending paperwork. What he wasn’t expecting was for it to be interrupted by a mysterious alpha calling himself Cas, knowing far too much about him and offering up not just a lead, but concrete information on his mother’s killer.

As the two set off in search of justice for Mary Winchester and the countless other victims of Azazel Masters, Dean struggles to come to grips with himself. Despite his whirlwind attraction to Cas, he knows that exposing himself to his colleagues as an omega instead of the beta he pretends to be would be a mistake. Nothing can happen between the two of them; not without Dean losing everything he knows.

But resisting the mysterious alpha isn’t nearly as easy as he anticipated–no matter the dark secrets the man carries with him.

So you may have gleaned from that this is an A/B/O, omegaverse fic. We haven’t done one of these in a while.

Mal: Just to change things up! Yeah. There’s some variety in there for everybody. One question that I got once I shared that we were covering this particular story. So yes, I guess it’s a spoiler or more of a reverse spoiler… Some explain it saying something that’s not in the story. I was asked very specifically just from somebody who read the summary, whether Cass, murdered, Mary, and the answer to that one is definitely no, that is not what this story is about.

So just putting that out there for anybody who hasn’t read it and who, who wonders that and thinks that they wouldn’t like reading that, that is actually not the route that the story takes at all. So, yes,

Ellen: Azazel was definitely the bad guy. Well, the baddest.

Mal: I mean, Cas is very questionably not the good guy, but…

Ellen: He’s the baddest of the bad guys.

Or should we just say he’s, he’s the killer, the main killer of Mary.

Mal:  Yes. Yes, because this is definitely a story when we’re dealing with two killers, two very different types of killers, I guess. 

Ellen: Yeah. So the main, I guess this story is very… being omega verse. I guess it’s very focused on the romance side of it.

I mean, there’s not, obviously there’s an underlying thread of the mystery and the search for the killer and all that sort of thing. But the, the majority of the fic is the two of them being like true mates and attracted to each other and having some really, you know, slick-filled, hot sex during, this one. (laughter)

So. I guess the focus isn’t really so much on the murder husband’s part of it. It’s more the unraveling psychological…

Mal: Yeah, it’s still a main part of the plot, but yeah, quite right. Quite right. Murder husbands, but wetter than usual. (laughter)

Sorry. Sometimes I say something and then I hear it afterwards and I’m like, hmm, okay

Ellen: that was a good one. I like that. 

Ducky: That’s it. That’s a really good tagline for that fic.

Ellen: I’ve forgotten what I was going to say about it, that mental image it’s like, ugh… 

Mal: (laughs) you’re welcome. I was gonna ask, so this is one of those fics where you get an inkling, I guess I’m all the way through what’s going on. Like you definitely know because we have both a Dean point of view and a Cas point of view in this one.

So we are aware the whole way through that Cas is more than he’s presenting himself as though it, I think it’s an interesting perspective in this one, in that although Cas very carefully controls the information that Dean has, he never actually lies to Dean at all in the story. He just very, like I said, very carefully controls the information that Dean is given until obviously the shit hits the fan at the end of the story and everything, everything comes out.

Ellen: There’s an element of a real kind of unreliable narrator thing going on with him. Like it’s interesting. Cause the other two only from Dean’s point of view, is that right? No. And Cas on the other ones. So they’re only from the point of view of the person who’s not the killer to start with, I guess, so having both of their points of view in this story is really different kind of way of approaching it. I guess

Mal: I thought it was really interesting that even though we do have that Cas point of view, so theoretically we know what’s going on with him, he is such an unreliable narrator that even when the kind of twists are all fully revealed at the end there are still some surprises there.

Like it, it’s not a surprise necessarily that Cas is a killer or any of that kind of stuff, but there’s a lot more to it than that, that you don’t get until those last couple of chapters, because he’s like, that’s such an unreliable narrator that the reader is taken in by him as well.

Ducky: Yeah. I I really liked the manipulation in it. It, for me, it was really reminiscent of like season six Cas that kind of like, as you say, not, not necessarily lying, but withholding the truth in a very strategic way. And there’s like a bit where in the car and Dean starts to talk about the red tape that Cas referenced earlier and like Cas immediately, like sort of manipulates him and starts touching him and stuff, knowing that their, their bond will sort of win and distract him.

And I thought that was really interesting. 

Mal: Yeah. That the A/B/O aspect, and this definitely does give way to some very, I mean, they are very hot scenes and I’m not complaining, not complaining at all in the slightest here. But Cas definitely does use sex to manipulate Dean a lot in this one.

It’s all fully consenting the whole way through, but the way that Cas uses it actually becomes. Like, as, as you kind of read on, you can see that it’s something kind of deliberate that he’s playing with to his own advantage. And yeah, I really liked that as well. It was done well, I think because somehow, even though, you know, he’s like manipulating him, he’s doing that deliberately to distract him from talking about certain things.

They managed to do it without it kind of feeling like particularly skeevy or weird, like, it doesn’t feel like Cas is just using sex, to throw Dean off his trail. Like you very much see it from Cas’s point of view that he’s, you know, fully participating in this whole experience. It’s not… They somehow manage to write it without it feeling skeevy and creepy and like Dean is just being used in that way. Because obviously it’s still Cas’s point of view.

Ellen: It’s still creepy, but not in a like a sexual predator kind of way. It’s creepy in a, you know, what, what is really going on here kind of way.

Ducky: Yeah, I think it’s, I think they did a really good job of making it very clear that the feelings on both sides were very genuine.

I think that was the kind of main thing really, rather than I think that’s what took away from the creepiness of it. Otherwise, if he was just doing it for the sake of doing it or for sex or whatever, it wouldn’t have, it would have been a bit more hollow, but because the feeling was there I thought that was quite clever.

Mal: Yeah. One of the things that I like that makes it makes me sound really messed up, say that I like it. I like it in fic, okay, people? like the the, the stalking aspect of this which again, it’s kind of reminiscent of Red Right Hand in a way where, you know, Cas knows a lot more about Dean than Dean knows about Cas, and it’s only kind of slowly revealed throughout the story exactly how much Cas knows and how long he’s known that information. And that he knew Dean a long time before Dean knew him, and that kind of stuff. And I love stories like that and the particular reason why is because I love watching for those tiny little slip-ups. Where I’m just like waiting for them to accidentally say something they shouldn’t know, or just, you know, allude to something that they shouldn’t be aware of yet.

And I don’t know, I love the anticipation of waiting for them to mess up when there’s been that kind of storyline. So, yeah. I, well, I was gonna say my favorite part of the story is actually the last couple of chapters. Cause like you said the, the kind of romance pot takes the front seat in the first kind of half of the fic, really.

Because there’s a lot of, they’re just kind of on this long road trip and it’s just them and they’re staying in motels and it’s, it’s very much them, but obviously once they get to their destination and the kind of really like the plot stuff starts to kick in that’s, that’s almost always my favorite part of any story as much as I’m here for the smut, as much as anybody else. It’s great. But I do love like when I can get to that, like edge of my seat plot kind of plot. And I really liked that this one had such a great buildup and you can really see anybody who likes to pay attention to kind of like story structure and that kind of stuff, you can really see them kind of building towards that, like climax in this one, and then it hits and we have this really good falling action afterwards, which I like. I like that we have the big reveal. I won’t spoil what it is, but we have, the big reveal, some stuff goes down. There’s a really nice kind of action sequence going on while all this is happening. Which again was really well-written because sometimes writing action in fight scenes and stuff. I know a lot of writers avoid them for that reason ‘cause they can be a little bit more kind of challenging in that way. But this one was super clear. It played out in my head like a movie as I was reading it. It was great. But then it doesn’t end there. It gives us this little kind of bit afterwards where kind of at that point, everything changes, like Dean could have made certain decisions, but instead he chooses to make different ones.

And that’s the part that I love the most. I love the part where… it sounds terrible! I love the part where the second murder husband participant, or I guess the most reluctant one, makes the choice on their own. Let me say that they have to make it on their own for me to really be invested in the story I think. ‘Cause there’s, there’s, I’m sure there’s a, a valid, you know, story out there where it’s all about the manipulation and stuff like in the last one, Dirty Laundry was much more kind of on that front. Where there’s that push and pull and manipulation the whole way through, but my favorite parts in this one and in Red Right Hand are basically where Dean starts making the decisions for himself.

Good. That was a really long-winded rant about nothing. I’m sorry. I just really like murder husbands. (laughter)

People are gonna stop avoiding me in the street after this episode. Like, “What’s wrong with her?”

Ellen: Ducky, did you have anything to add about this particular one?

Ducky: Just little tidbits, really. One of my favorite bits was somewhere midway through and it was Cas’s very slight amusement at the ghost nickname… is that too much of a spoiler?

Mal: I just, I think that one’s okay. Yeah. That’s okay. That’s pretty obvious. Yeah.

Ducky: I just really, because I sort of like, from the off, I was like, right. I know who the ghost is going to be. And I was like, I’m ready for this. Come on, bring it on. But I just loved his little, like, again, his inner monologue has it all like, oh my God, what a stupid name kind of thing. I just thought that was a really nice little touch. And yeah, and I just love the, the whole way through his intentions, like his intentions are technically good. He’s just like going about in a really fucked up way. So I just, yeah, so that’s basically all my comments and I did, I did enjoy it even though I’m not a massive fan of A/B/O in general, but I thought it was really well done.

Ellen: It’s kind of a tagline for the entire trope, really. Like, you know, they’re just, they’re in love. They’re just really fucked up about it.

Mal: No, I do think that those quite often make the most satisfying murder husbands stories. When, although you might not agree with their way of doing things, you can understand their motives for doing them. Yeah. Now they’re not necessarily good motives or forgivable motives. I’m not saying like, in the end they’re not really redeemable characters, but I think you have to be able to understand the motive. Like you have to say, okay, like in this one that you said Cas has really kind of good intentions the whole way through. And we’ve come back to that kind of a theme that pops up a bit in Red Right Hand as well, where, you know, every other way has been tried kind of? And Dean has been let down by the system as it stands. And sometimes when you’ve reached that point, then at that point, you think outside of the box, you go beyond the system. And that’s kind of where Cas is at in this fic, that he’s… Yeah, I won’t spoil exactly. I’m trying to work out how to say this without being horrendously spoilery, but yeah, his, his intentions are good. His actions not so much.

Ellen: Yeah. The only other way is to murder apparently, (laughter) Oh dear, I need to get on read some like extremely fluffy things after all this violence. 

Mal: So I’ll give you some nice fluffy recs. We’ll get you. We’ll get you back to where you should be.

Ellen: Speaking of recs… So we’ve got some other murder husband’s fic that we can recommend to you. I say we, I mean, Mal does probably ‘cause I haven’t read them!

Mal: Okay, well, we can probably recommend a large swathe of Ducky’s back catalog of fic for this one. So one

Ducky: I’m kind of a trick pony,

Mal: but it’s such a good trick! (laughter)

So instead I will I’m going to have to bring up this one. I think it’s, this is a story that every single time I open it and see how many kudos are on it. I’m always surprised because I feel like it should be at least 10 times what it has. It’s definitely a staple for this particular trope, but clearly not as well known as I think it is. And that is Conventional Psychopathy part one by I believe the author’s name is Mayalaen, maybe. And the summary of that one is: Castiel is a cleaner, one of the agency’s best. He and his handler Dean Winchester have a high success rate in a world where the criminals aren’t imprisoned for their crimes, but instead are captured by licensed serial killers who dispose of them, doing what they do best while getting paid for it. Cas doesn’t form attachments, doesn’t leave himself open to a risk like that, but Dean wormed his way into Cas’s life and into his house. But does Dean realize what falling in love with a serial killer really means?

So this is, it’s very interesting because this whole aspect of being a legal serial killer, which is kind of an interesting twist on the trope, I guess. And obviously, you know, everyone in the story, they have reasons for why they do the things they do, how they ended up the way they did. But it’s really well-written and I just love that kind of slight, slight twist on this one. And that one is 75,000 words. I don’t know if I mentioned that before, but it’s a good, chunky, fic you can sink your teeth into. So I would definitely have to recommend that one to anybody who’s intrigued by the trope in general. 

Ellen: Ducky, did you have any that you wanted to add?

Ducky: Okay. I have a confession to make. Most of the, the tropes that I read for murder husbands are outside of Destiel. So not entirely appropriate, there’s a Hannibal fact that that was great, but obviously so, so unfortunately I don’t really have any that will be relevant.

[01:12:10] Mal: I would say it would be disappointing if you Hannibal fics, you know, didn’t have this trope. You really need to. I can probably recommend another one then. 

There’s another story, which has this similar kind of tropes going on here. The story is called Savior’s in the Details by PaperAnn. It’s 70,000 words and this is a kind of bodyguard assassin, hitman kind of AU. It’s also a little bit of a comedy of errors. So it sort of has almost a, a lighter take on the trope. There’s some real like dark comedy in this which I think probably comes out in the summary, so here goes.

If Dean was anything, he was stubborn: the means didn’t matter, as long as The Mission was achieved.

His purpose: serving, protecting, and putting his life on the line for the sake of others.

Fresh out of high school, he enlisted. During his time with the Marines, Dean found himself and happily discovered public service was his calling. After the military, he didn’t miss a beat, joining the police force. Dean knew he wanted more and, combined with his brother’s urging, he poured every spare second into his education. After fighting like hell, he joined the CIA.

But then Dean’s life changed. And it sucked. Flipping through online job listings wasn’t cutting it, so Sam offered another suggestion.

Except, after hearing the pitch…this job sounded too good to be true. The damn contract weighed more than Dean could bench press! After the fiftieth page, he’d zoned out and lost interest. The read was boringly ordinary: the gig was right up his alley.

When Sam vouched for the legitimacy, Dean saw freedom. An escape from mundane life. His chance back into the field—a golden opportunity!

He was so fucking wrong. Within five minutes on his first day, Dean knew he’d made a horrible mistake.

Wow. That’s quite at summary it’s, it’s quite, it’s quite the summary. Yeah. So there’s definitely a kind of comedy of errors element in this, in that Dean gets into something without really paying attention to what it is that he’s getting into.

But it, it’s a really good story. Kind of nice, nice meaty one 70,000 words. Lots of inappropriate humor and sexual tension and pining throughout all of this. And I think if I remember correctly, just off the top of my head, I think this one was a DCBB. So you can also have some lovely art yes. By a telltaleofthestars.

So if you like images of our boys where they’re a bit blood-splattered, this is one for you.

I think we should make ducky talk about her other fics. ‘Cause you have a work in progress posting. So you, you caught yourself a one trick pony there. I like to think of it much more as you’re definitely like the go-to name for the stroke. Like anybody who kind of has the urge to read something like this, like your, ao3 page is where they’re going to find some of that stuff.

So at how, how many of these kinds of stories do you have you written now? You think?

Ducky: I don’t know. Like, I think probably like 80% of what’s on my ao3 is murder husbands, and not all of them are tagged either. ‘Cause there’s a couple… there’s one that I wrote in like 2014, which is like a Dexter one which I’ve never tagged, I didn’t think anyway as murder husbands, but it, it definitely is.

Yeah, there’s, there’s a few yeah. I mean, I can sometimes write nice things. I just, I struggle writing fluff, I guess.

Mal: Well, do you want to maybe give a pitch for Surprise! You’re Dead! to everybody as you have that currently posting.Give us the elevator pitch.

Ducky: Okay. So Surprise! You’re Dead! is… it’s a zombie fic.

If anyone’s seen Santa Clarita Diet, it’s basically that, but with like more gore and more sass so Cas is basically turned into a zombie. But he’s, he’s perfectly, he’s highly functioning. He looks normal. He just really likes to eat people. Because, and, and Dean and Cas have their own family. They have Claire and Jack adopted, they’re older, they’re older teenagers.

But they, they have this really nice standard life and then Cas is a zombie and Dean’s like, right. Okay. So we’re killing people now. Okay. Then let’s, let’s just get on with it then. And just kind of like wacky hi-jinks ensue. Cas becomes kind of like kind of bitchy and very horny. And Dean is just like, “what is my life become?” And the kids are just taking advantage of the situation. They’re kind of like, well, we’re allowed to swear now because Dad’s eating people. (laugher) So, you know, he’s that kind of like, kind of all’s fair, you know? So yeah. And I think it’s like in the third chapter so far that Cas eats Balthazar because he was being a dick. So Cas was like, yeah, he’s, he’s got to go. He’s got to go. And yeah, as I say wacky hi-jinks basically. So it’s kind of definitely not anywhere near as serious as Red Right Hand, as I’m sure you can probably tell. But it is, it is, you know, kind of silly. But if you want to laugh and have gory stuff, then yeah, it’s a good fit for that.

Mal: yeah. I love the fact that it’s tied to murder husbands and then healthy relationships right after it.

And also “Cas is a zombie, but he’s high functioning”.

Ducky: That’s the thing. Their relationship is really sweet. Like there’s no manipulation it’s just straightforward. They love each other. And Dean thinks the world of him and Dean would do anything for him and vice versa. So it’s, you know, it’s a two way street and he’s just like, well, my husband’s dead, you know, so what are you going to do? You’re going to help your husband kill people so that he can live. Or not live? I don’t know. Yeah, so, you know, it’s obvious it’s a good solution as far as Dean’s concerned and yeah. In the state of kids, they’re along for the ride as well. So yeah.

Mal: yeah. That the inclusion of Claire and Jack is a stroke of genius. I think. So

Ducky: they’re very, they’re very unsympathetic to Cas’s situation when it’s first discovered. Claire is like, “I really need my own car” and the parents are determined she’s not going to get her own car because the last time they bought her a car, she drove it into a pond or something. And so as soon as like, they realized that Cas might be dying or has a problem, she’s like, “right. So do I get his car then?” You know, that kind of thing.

Mal: (laughter) Oh, Claire.

Ducky: Yeah. And Jack’s just kind of like adorable. So yeah. Worried about everyone and making sure that everyone’s nice to people and that they kill people in a nice way. You know,

Mal: Killing people in a nice way and eating dicks like Balthazar, but in the non-sexy way. Yeah.

Ducky: Yeah, exactly. But it’s, it’s slightly different from most of my fics, ‘cause I get comments quite a lot saying why didn’t you ever arrive from Cas’s point of view? I, this one, it switches perspective. So one chapter is Dean and next chapter is Cas.

It gives you a little bit of insight into how Cas is feeding. And as I said, he gets kind of sassy because he’s, he’s… when he’s alive, he’s kind of patient and nice. And and he kind of loses the inhibitions when he’s undead.

Mal: He gets hangry.

Ducky: Yeah, exactly.

Mal: Yeah. Awesome. Well, if that sounds like a good read head on over to Ducky’s profile and read that one is a lot of fun so far.

Okay. One more thing that we wanted to mention in this episode is the 2021 Ficfacers auction. For anybody who doesn’t know what that is, it’s a yearly auction of fan works. And it’s fanart, fanfic. There are people who do podcasts and physical crafts, and I’ve, I’ve seen all kinds of things in this auction. All the money raised goes directly to Random Acts. And last year they raised $5,000, I think last year alone, I think the total amount that they have raised so far in the years they’ve been doing it is over $11,000 that’s been raised for Random Acts. There is an auction catalog where you can go and see all of the writers and artists that are taking part.

And once the auctions are live, which by the time we’re talking to you now, they will be live. The auction’s going to run from June 11th to June the 28th. And you can put in bids and see if you can win somebody and get them to tell you a story or draw art for you or whatever, whatever it is that they’re looking for. They’ve got quite a variety of things out there.

So I will put a link to that in the blog post, if it’s staying in case anybody would like to go and have a look at the options, donate to Random acts and get themselves some potential fic or art. 

Ellen: Links to all of the fics that we’ve talked about today will also be available on the blog post on And if you’d like to get in touch with us, to tell us about your favorite murder husbands fic, or anything else you wanted to tell us? On the website, it’s got all our contact details, but we’re under mixtapebookclub on most of the social platforms as well. Or you can email us: contact at mixtapebookclub dot com.

Or if you want to chat with us, you can join the Profound Bond discord server and come and join us in our channel there.

Mal: Next episode, we will be discussing pride fic. It’s going to be the end of June pride month. So what better time to discuss a full rainbow colored array of Destiel fic?

Ellen: Yes. And we have to say a really big thank you to Duckyboos for coming to talk to us today, thank you.

Ducky: Of course, it’s been awesome.

Ellen: Lovely to have you. 

Mal: Thanks. Thanks for putting up with my embarrassing fangirling and squealing.

[01:22:38] Ducky: Honestly, that’s, I, I, because I write kind of me stuff, it’s always absolutely amazing to meet people who, who read it and especially someone as big in the fandom as you that’s, that’s made my day, honestly.

[01:22:53] Mal: I’m honestly quite proud of myself I held it together so well throughout this episode. So, (laughter)

[01:23:01] Ellen: and thank you everyone else for listening. And we will talk to you again very soon.

[01:23:06] Mal: And as always remember that the story isn’t over until we say it is.

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