Transcript: Track 26: Witch and Familiar

Episode 26 posted December 10, 2021
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

Automated transcript corrected by kaede.

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[Intro music]

EllenofOz: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode 26 of Mixtape Book Club podcast. My name’s Ellen —

MalMuses: and my name is Mal.

EllenofOz: And in each episode we take an in-depth look at a different trope or sub-genre in the huge variety of Destiel fanfiction. And in this episode we’re gonna take a look at some alternate universes where Dean and Cas are a witch and familiar pair. Some of them where Dean is a witch and some of them where Cas is a witch. We’ll mix it up a little bit.

MalMuses: And to discuss their Leviathans series and obviously to chatter about all of the rest of the stories with us as well, we would like to welcome author nickelkeep. Hey nickel.

nickelkeep: Hello.

MalMuses: Hi.

EllenofOz: Welcome.

MalMuses: How would you like to be addressed today? Is just nickel okay?

nickelkeep: Nickel is perfect.

MalMuses: Excellent.

EllenofOz: Awesome. So, as well as the Leviathan series, we’re also gonna talk about Mail Order Familiar by Amethystaris and BlueMasquerade. And also Familiar Man by bendingsignpost.

MalMuses: And as always links to all of the fics that we’re gonna be talking about today will be available in the episode’s post on, and included in our collection on AO3. So, our collection is growing. Yeah, I opened up our collection — when was it? Last Friday, I can’t remember. Last night, I, last night I added things to it. So yeah, it would’ve been last Friday and, it’s quite big now. [ Laughs ] I was quite proud of it.

EllenofOz: Oh, yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. Well it’s getting quite chunky these days. Yeah.

EllenofOz: We add you know, three or four fics to it each time, so I guess [ Laughs ] Must be pretty big. 

MalMuses: Brilliant. It’s quite a nice collection actually, ’cause it’s got like a bunch of like big fics in it that are like, you know, well known like classic ones, but it’s also got like tons of like little tiny fics that like, people haven’t necessarily like heard of or like, it’s just like such a big range of stuff in there. So it’s actually quite fun to just go through it. Anyway. Off topic already. Let’s, let’s reel me back in. Okay.

EllenofOz: That’s okay. All right. So Witches and Familiars. I guess in the actual show, like in Supernatural itself, we have such a range of different kind of witch tropes and such. Like some of them are really evil and some of them are, start off evil and become good, like Rowena. And we, I think we actually do have some good witches, like witches who use their magic for good. Right? I’m trying to think.

MalMuses: Yeah. ’Cause there was I would say Max and Alicia were probably, I would say pretty good.

EllenofOz: Yeah. They were hunters, right?

MalMuses: Just, yeah.

Nickelkeep: Max is a witch. Alicia’s a hunter and their mother, Tasha is a witch.

MalMuses: And I would definitely characterize them as good guys. So, yeah. 

EllenofOz: Obviously some get their powers from like demons or, you know, dark magic and whatever. So there’s a really wide range of lore associated with them in the actual show. Unfortunately the only actual witch familiar episode that there was in the show was S8 E15, which is Man’s Best Friends With Benefits which has got a mixed kind of reaction from everyone because, you know, it’s a, a woman who transforms into a dog, she wears a collar. It’s a little bit, you know, it’s not —

MalMuses: Yeah. Not, so —

EllenofOz: — such a nice kind of representation.

MalMuses: Yeah. Hmm. One of those. 

EllenofOz: Yeah, it’s, it’s one of those ones where you just sort of cringe and go, oh, okay, let’s just move on from that one.

MalMuses: Yeah.

EllenofOz: But, but it does show that, you know, the familiars are, they’re used for, you know, focusing the witch’s power and that kind of thing. So I guess,

MalMuses: Yeah, they exist within the universe and then. Okay. Move on from there. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Definitely. So so we’ve got like a variety of different fics today where we’ve tried to pick some where Cas is a witch and Dean’s the familiar. In most cases they seem, most of these fics, they seem to be, the familiar parts seem, it seems to be like a shifter type, like an animal shifter. 

nickelkeep: That’s probably the most common lore in general. Not just from Supernatural though.

EllenofOz: Yeah. So some, I mean, some stories that aren’t fanfic that are familiar is like a, just an animal all the time, right? So like a black cat or whatever, or crows or, but yeah, I mean, it’s nice to have a human form when you are writing erotic fanfiction. [ Laughs ] 

Leviathans series [00:05:00]

Well, let’s get stuck straight in then. We’ll start off with the Leviathans series by nickelkeep. This’s got three parts to it. So total like 19,000 words altogether, but three separate parts. It was published in 2020 and it is rated Explicit. And nickel, would you mind reading us the summary?

nickelkeep: Barrow, Alaska has come to be known as the top of the world. People come from far and wide to say that they’ve been as far north as possible without going to the North Pole. Barrow only has one major law that’s strictly enforced. Don’t be outside after the sun goes down.

Cas has lived here his whole life, and now runs the Raven’s Nest, a Bar and Gathering Place for his neighbors. On the last day before the town plummets into darkness for nearly two months, a stranger arrives in his bar, and is unable to find shelter before night falls.

When Cas lets the man stay, things start to change, and despite the dark, there may be a new light.

EllenofOz: So this, you, this was part, originally part of your story time series for Profound Bond? Could you, could you tell us a little bit about how that worked and how this story came to be?

MalMuses: Yeah. For those who aren’t familiar, I guess explain to people what storytime is.

nickelkeep: So for those who aren’t familiar, the Profound Bond Discord server has a storytime channel where people can hop in and tell stories live, and on a dare, ’cause the very first story that happened was a dare, I told a story live, has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but it’s what started it. And then I did another story the following week and I did another story for three weeks in a row. And then I’m like, I wonder if I can do this for a year. And so every Monday for 52 weeks, I told a story live on the Profound Bond Discord server.

EllenofOz: That’s amazing.

nickelkeep: Yeah. I still can’t believe that I did it.

MalMuses: That’s a, that’s a pretty cool achievement, honestly, to say that you were able to do that. So.

nickelkeep: And I, I still, I haven’t done one in a while, but I did a few more after the original 52. And once, you know, life gets back to a little bit of a more normal status, I do have plans to do some more. It just, you know, life’s been pretty hectic the past, you know, almost two years now. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s been a little, it’s been a little weird. So. 

nickelkeep: So the Leviathans series, it didn’t actually have a prompt that went with it. Most of the storytime stories are a prompt that somebody dropped in the server in the prompt channel that’s there. Either brought to me directly or there’s a couple where I was contacted on Twitter. The Leviathan series actually just came out of being stuck in quarantine and being frustrated with the whole situation.

MalMuses: Yeah, I was gonna ask about that because there’s a really kind of cool sense… oh, cool might be the wrong word. It was cool to read. But there’s a definite sense of like geographical isolation in this, from the location of Barrow, obviously, which is obviously intentional from the way that you wrote it and is actually a key component of the plot in the story. And so I was wondering like how much of that was related to what was kind of happening in the world at the time, ’cause I noticed that it was written in March 2020, so I was like, [ Laughs ] yeah, surely that played into it somehow.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.Yeah, and the whole reason it, it was actually only supposed to be one story, but I found that I couldn’t wrap the very first one up properly. And so I’m like, alright, well I’ll just make this into two stories, ’cause I had done that before with a different set of stories that I couldn’t wrap up in one week. And then, when I finished the second one, I’m like, I’m not done, however, I need a break because it was getting a little dark for me and not, ’cause I don’t usually write, hmm, like, I love dystopian themes, I love dark themes and whatnot when I write. But it was getting a little almost depressing for me, I didn’t wanna do it three weeks in a row. So I did a storytime in between them and then I finished it up. Stories are actually in the series. They’re number 37, 38, and 40.

MalMuses: That was actually kind of one of the reasons why I thought this one would be an interesting one to do and to discuss storytime kind of through the lens of this one. Because people can see that there are actually several where there’s more than one connected story within storytime. Like pretty much everything within storytime that I’ve seen, you could pretty much read as a standalone.

nickelkeep: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: But, you do have these connected thread kind of stories where if you want the overall plot, then you have the works within the storytime series, which, it’s just pretty cool. It’s, it’s just a kind of unique thing within the fandom, really, which is pretty interesting.

nickelkeep: The last six of the series also kind of dabbled in, while technically not a familiar, Dean is a witch in that one, and Cas is a werewolf, and they have that profound bond that builds off of one each, one another, and boost their magic. So it’s a, I love the theme of…To me, it, their profound bond just makes sense to have that familiar connection between them to make them witch and familiar, or in the case of, like I said, the last series, I guess Witch and Werewolf, but they just had that bond that pulls them together and tugs at them.

MalMuses: Yeah, I think that’s why these stories work so well, really, isn’t it? ‘Cause there’s, it, it mirrors that profound bond that we’re so used to, and I always think it’s just a little bit fun to do just because, you know, we, we hear so much in the show about how much Dean hates witches.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.

MalMuses: So it’s just like something fun about either making him one or making him date one. One or the other. [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: Oh yeah. 

EllenofOz: Yes.

nickelkeep: I love fics where it ends up, it’s slightly off topic, but there is a, Cas is a hedge witch, and I think it’s actually called The Hedge Witch, Cas is the witch, and Dean ends up in his care, and he’s like, oh, I guess not all witches are bad, and like his, Sam and I think their dad comes down and tries to tear apart the world, and it turns out Gabriel’s there and Gabriel’s actually Archangel Gabriel and everything, it’s. Just playing around with the whole witch trope is amazing when it comes to…

MalMuses: Yeah, that sounds familiar. 

EllenofOz: Yeah. So I guess we should like describe what actually happens in this fic,

MalMuses: We should probably talk about the story a little bit. [ Laughs ] 

EllenofOz: Yeah. Maybe. So yeah, Dean comes into this town and gets sort of stuck with Cas and his place in his bar because they need to be locked up for, I think it’s a whole month, right? While the, while it’s dark.

nickelkeep: So it’s, it’s two months. I actually did a little bit of research before I went into this. It’s two months total, but in halfway through, there’s about several hours of light, where the [ unclear ] comes together.

EllenofOz: Okay.

nickelkeep: And I think that’s actually in the second fic when that happens.

EllenofOz: Yep. So I guess they’re all locked down in the, in the meantime while these Leviathan are like shuffling past outside in the dark, which I think is ama —, it’s kind of amazing, almost a metaphor for COVID anyway, like being, being locked up while the virus, like, you know, that around that time, the March/April kind of time last, in last year where we were all just, didn’t know what was going on out there while we were stuck at home. So just definitely got that kind of quarantine feeling to it, I thought.

nickelkeep: Yeah. It was, again, it was just, I was feeling like I’m, I’m a homebody anyway, but having that isolation on top of it, where even if I wanted to go out, I couldn’t?

EllenofOz: Yeah.

nickelkeep: And I know everybody was doing that.

MalMuses: It’s like the difference between being able to go out whenever you want to and choosing not to.

nickelkeep: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: And just not being able to, yeah. It’s just psychologically is a huge difference, I think.

EllenofOz: I also kind of thought in this one, with the Leviathan being able to be stopped by a wall and you know, they built sort of fortifications for the town and stuff, it almost had a little bit of a, you know, Down to Agincourt, kind of a, a frontier town kind of feel to it, which I liked. I appreciated. I liked how they all came together and came up with their plan.

MalMuses: I appreciated the Game of Thrones kind of reference. Joking about the wall as well. I did.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

nickelkeep: A lot of, we’re not the north watch

MalMuses: Come up with some pop culture references. Yeah. Like it had to be done, I think.

nickelkeep: Yeah. So Barrow is an actual town.

MalMuses: Oh, is it?

nickelkeep: It’s not called Barrow anymore.

MalMuses: Ooh. Educate us nickel. Go for it.

nickelkeep: I would have to look it up real quick, but the town was, so, it was a Native American town, that was claimed by settlers and they called it Barrow. And then within the, I think the, like the past five or six years, and I didn’t actually realize this until after I was like halfway through, they reclaimed the name and took and renamed Barrow back to the original Native American name.

MalMuses: Oh, that’s awesome. Okay. That is cool.

nickelkeep: And there’s several, so any time that you see a town name in the fic, it’s an actual town or an actual place.

MalMuses: That’s awesome.

nickelkeep: And they’re all the north, they’re the northernmost points on the globe. 

EllenofOz: Cool.

MalMuses: That is very awesome. I have this strange fascination with things that are like that far north, which I developed, I mean it was years ago now, I ended up doing some beta editing work to help with… It was a DCBB fic for NorthernSparrow that she did, which was, ooh, what was it called? Under the Midnight Sun, I think.

Yeah, and obviously that is based very, very far north and through the, just the process of like, betaing that story, I just became like increasingly curious and obsessed with things being that far north and the whole like midnight sun idea. And ever since then, I’ve just like been oddly fascinated with it, which is definitely what drew me to this story over your other Familiar story, which we will definitely talk about in a second. Just ’cause the entire concept of that is like, I don’t know, so kind of fascinating and eerie, and it’s definitely one of those things that’s like on my bucket list for my life at some point is to, you know, in some magical world where, you know, we can travel again and I’m a millionaire and can leave my house. [ Laughs ] Just where I, I want to go, and experience —

EllenofOz: That fantasy world.

MalMuses: Yeah. Gosh, I used to have such higher standards for my fantasy world, but you know, they’ve, they’ve, they’ve been increasingly coming down the past couple of years. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Aww.

MalMuses: Yeah. Now just, you know, a little bit of money and like being able to leave my house, I’ll be good. But yeah, no, that’s definitely one of the things that’s up there is being able to like, experience that, the whole like, eternal night thing, for some reason. I definitely wouldn’t like to live there, I’m one of those people that would not be able to cope with that very well. I think I would get very depressed, very fast.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: ’Cause I just, doesn’t take much, honestly, so I just don’t think, don’t think that’d be good for me, but I would just like to experience it, I think.

nickelkeep: I, I think it would be fun to experience at least once.

MalMuses: Yeah. Yeah. So when I saw that that concept was being used in a fic, I was very entertained. I also really loved that, the impression personally that I got of the Leviathans in this one. Obviously, when we hear Leviathan for Supernatural, we have something in our heads already from the show that we know of.

nickelkeep: Dick Roman.

MalMuses: But in this one, yeah, in this one, I had much more of like a kind of Lovecraftian, Leviathan thing going on in my head.

EllenofOz: Yes. There were tentacles involved.

MalMuses: Which to me is also…Yeah, I love that kind of stuff.

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: The man himself, I would kind of just like to erase from existence, but if I could keep everything that he created and just kind of do it in a slightly different way, that’d be awesome. MalMuses: So I was very pleased with that. I really enjoy that interpretation of Leviathan and it’s pretty awesome.

nickelkeep: Yeah. I, I, I guess, like you said, when we hear Leviathan in Supernatural, again, Dick Roman, we know that they have that hive mind thing, and you know, Dick was at the top of it, and then he had a, he could be like, “Bib yourself, go eat yourself,” which I always thought that was fascinating. But I also come from other fandoms where we have Leviathans in the lore, and it’s like, when I hear Leviathan, I also think of this tentacley creature. So I’m like, how can I make my worlds overlap? 

MalMuses: Kind of makes you wonder what, or at least to me, makes me wonder what the Leviathan in Supernatural look like to Cas.

nickelkeep: Ooh.

MalMuses: Because obviously we see them as like humanoid-ish people who are, you know, in vessels, kind of like angels. But it just makes me wonder what they look like to him or to a demon or, you know, someone else who doesn’t necessarily see things, 

nickelkeep: Like, I’m probably a weird one, but the Leviathans are probably like my favorite overall, arc bad guys.

MalMuses: I mean, me too. I’ve had that stupid Leviathan Cas-like avatar for like the past half a decade for a reason. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: [ Laughs ] So I mean, it’s just something about them is… Could there have been more? Absolutely. But even that little bit of the surface that we scratch that, it’s like, I think they’re awesome, because even, like, what is a creature that angels are afraid of?

MalMuses: Yes. 

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Like, yeah. They were one of my favorite concepts in the entire show, and to this day, I’m mad that they were essentially to my mind, just very badly used in the show.

nickelkeep: Yeah. 

EllenofOz: Yeah. I feel like they, they had a great sort of, you know, really evil kind of bad guy that they used, but then they just got distilled down to like a series of dick jokes.

MalMuses: Yeah. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good dick joke, but, 

EllenofOz: Yeah, me too. But, [laughs]

MalMuses: They, they could have done so much with them. And they just didn’t. They just didn’t. Yeah.

EllenofOz: Yes.

nickelkeep: I mean, they sat there and they talked about, oh, all we have to do is kill Dick and we’re, the Leviathans are done for, and it’s like, really? You don’t, there wouldn’t be another Leviathan to rise up and take the place and lead them to be the mind of the hive mind, really?

MalMuses: Yeah. Don’t think so somehow that, that, that entire concept just never worked for me.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: I mean, in some fantastical world where they had like a never ending budget, like they could have had like entire seasons taking place, like in Purgatory, like they could have had, you know, taking the fight to them, they could have had all kinds of, like, there are so many different roads they could have gone down and, you know, I guess that’s what fic’s for. [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: I mean, as long as I’m writing fic and I have a place for them, I will put the Leviathans somewhere in my fic, because I, I just love them that much. 

MalMuses: I’ve used them several times and referenced them several times, and I will keep doing so. So, yep. 

EllenofOz: Yes. The other thing I loved about this one was that, like, Dean is a, is the witch in this one, but when he first comes to… like, I was since, the thing that I loved was that Cas was a raven. He could turn into a raven and fly around and see what was going on, and that was really cool. But when Dean arrived in the town and did, was he already aware that he was a witch? I’m just trying to remember back to the first story. Sorry.

nickelkeep: No, he had no clue

EllenofOz: No, no. Okay. Because there’s a point where, where Cas, like removes a bracelet or something and all of a sudden he can feel all the magic. And I, that was like a, a brilliant scene, I thought that was really well kind of described, like he, all of a sudden he, he realizes what’s going on and he can feel Dean then. 

MalMuses: Yes. ’cause we had Missouri who I love and even though we use her in fic so much more than they did in the show, I still always feel like she’s underused just ’cause I can never get enough of her. But, I just love that when she just like pops up and knows everything, like it should be —

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: — like a terrible cliche and like, so like a, a deus ex machina that we shouldn’t use, but I just love it. Like, no, I’m never going to fault a writer for doing that, ever. Because it’s, it’s brilliant and it’s, it’s entirely canon that she knows everything. So I’m never, I’m never gonna fault a writer for doing that in the slightest, so I love it. So I just loved that she just turned up and knew.

nickelkeep: Yeah, and I just for the same reasons as you, like, she’s a psychic, that’s canon. And having her as the psychic in here was just like, “oh, Dean, baby, I’m so sorry. You know, I’m sorry about what happened to your mother.” “How the fuck do you know what happened to my mother? I haven’t even told Cas about my mother.”

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ] Yeah.

nickelkeep: “Benny, who is the whole reason I’m up here in Barrow doesn’t know about my mother.” It’s like, I’m just proving the point that I know what’s going on and I’m gonna tell you how it’s gonna be.

MalMuses: I also love the, love the fact it’s such like a minor background detail, I love the fact that Dean came all the way up here for Benny and then we get like maybe two lines from him in this entire three fics. [ Laughs ] Not that I don’t love Benny as a character, ’cause I do, I actually really enjoy him as a character. But just in the context of these stories, I thought that was really quite funny.

EllenofOz: They’ve been, they’ve been locked down. They have no opportunity to actually talk to each other.

MalMuses: I know, I just thought it was funny. Especially as it’s Benny’s own fault for not telling him any of this at the beginning. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah.

nickelkeep: Yeah, I’m sitting here like, when I, when I started the fic, I’m like, why wouldn’t Benny tell him? I guess, I guess he just, he would tell him afterwards. I mean, that’s one of the small things that, and not to take away from anybody who’s reading the fic for the first time, but I will fully admit as an author that I could not figure out why Benny wouldn’t tell Dean. So it just hangs there.

EllenofOz: Okay, that’s fair.

MalMuses: I think, I think I rationalized it to myself as I was reading. Because there’s a, there’s a line where I think Cas says something about that when Benny moved there Andrea had to give him like, the whole talk before he moved there. Yeah, so in my head I just went, oh, so Benny’s not a native, so he’s not used to having, having to give people this talk yet. And, and then just kind of like, assumed that for myself and moved on. [ Laughs ] I was like, yep, that’s what it is. Benny’s just not, you know, he’s not used to having to, 

Nickelkeep: I meant that the entire time. That’s exactly what it was. You got it. Thank you. 

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: See, of course you did. Uh-huh. See? [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: Yeah, no, Benny is not a native. That is right, because Cas, I think the line is, “at least Andrea told Benny when he arrived about the moon sickness.” ‘Cause that’s what they call it.

MalMuses: There we go.

nickelkeep: They call it moon sickness. They don’t call ’em the Leviathans unless you’re actually in the town and, and live in the town. Yeah, I, I took so many pop culture references for this one, ’cause I mean, I, not that I directly referenced it, but there’s influences from Thirty Days of Night, if you know that movie. There’s the conversation about how we keep telling DC about this, that’s a reference to National Treasure. This one I just pulled out, like all the pop culture references and,

MalMuses: Yeah, what, what else did we mention? Oh, we said Game of Thrones. Obviously, oh,

EllenofOz: I said Down to Agincourt, but that’s, that’s fanfiction. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: It still counts. It’s part of our cultural makeup. Oh.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. No, I love it when… I think because it’s so very Dean, but I just love it when there’s a ton of pop culture references and stuff in fic, it’s part of who Dean is, so therefore any fic that’s told from his point of view, it just feels very natural to have it worked into the story to me.

nickelkeep: Yeah. 

EllenofOz: Yeah. And you’ve also worked in the, the sort of SPN references, like obviously the, all the way through, but especially I felt, felt when at, at one point Cas realizes that he, originally, when Dean arrived, he had wanted to kind of, you know, make sure he knew about the dark and, you know, wanted him to be afraid of it, but instead Dean changed him and, you know, the whole town. And you know, that was a nice reflection on canon, I thought. 

MalMuses: Yep. I’m a sucker for anything where Cas is a raven, honestly, or —

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.

MalMuses: — A bird of some kind, but whether it’s a familiar or a shapeshifter or something like that. 

Alright, so do we have anything else to say about the Leviathans series there? Anything you would like people to know about the Leviathans series, nickel?

nickelkeep: The Leviathans series, I just hope people enjoy it. Like I said, I did have to interrupt it. I know some people, when they find my work and they go through the storytime series, that a lot of them are very confused by that skip. But like I said, it was getting dark because it was, you know, that was the heaviest time of COVID. We were in that strict lockdown, you couldn’t go anywhere. So I had to take that break in between, but it is pulled out and it is its own separate series if you want to read the three consecutively without being interrupted by toddler Sam.

MalMuses: [ Laughs ] What an interruption. 

nickelkeep: I mean, that, that’s the fic that’s in between them, which you actually mentioned on another podcast, which I love you guys for. But yeah, I, I had to have that break. It is dark in, in sections of the fic. It does end up with that happy ever after, so if you wanna stick through it, absolutely push through it. It’s only, it’s less than 2000 words total. But I just, I do want people to enjoy it and I, I hope that they do. 

MalMuses: Yeah, well I enjoyed it ’cause I do, like I said, it, it’s quite, quite plotty really. Like there’s a lot going on with the Leviathans and everything and I do like a good dose of plot with my Destiel. So, enjoyable.  I liked it a lot. 

EllenofOz: Me too. It’s got some nice you know, interspersed sexy times too. So you packed quite a lot into like a fairly short word count there.

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s, it’s a fic that like rattles along at quite a fast pace. Like it definitely is something that you could have done as like, obviously the point of this was that it was like a storytime story, so it was something you were doing on like a weekly basis. But it’s definitely something that I could see, like, plot wise you could have done easily, like a 50k like story or something, so kudos to you for fitting it into, what did we say it was altogether? Like just under 20?

EllenofOz: 11,000 words. Thousand.

nickelkeep: Oh, I think it’s 19 something.

MalMuses: Yeah, I just closed the tab. So typical. Yeah, I think it was just over 19. So good job. I would never be able to do that. Like, brevity is not my skill as we can all tell. So.

nickelkeep: And most of the fics in… So the storytime series as a whole is 386,591 words.

EllenofOz: Wow.

nickelkeep: With the average fic ending up about between six and seven k, but I did have, there’s I think three fics total in the series that end up over 10k. And I don’t know how I did those, ’cause those were like all day fics.

EllenofOz: Amazing. 

MalMuses: Trying to think. There’s one I read, which felt like a longer one. Was that part of your storytime ones though …

Nickelkeep: The only one in the storytime series that has werewolves are the last six, because the last six are known as the Runaway series.

MalMuses: Yeah, I think that was the one, and it’s like a whole series, and there’s like a thing with John trying to like… let me just look it up, it’ll be in my history. One second. 

nickelkeep: Yeah, because that, that’s the one where Dean is a witch and Cas is a werewolf and their magics pull to one another, ’cause Cas is a unique werewolf.

EllenofOz: I’ve read that one.

nickelkeep: In the sense, where his pack pulls magic from him, he’s like a power conduit. So in a, in a sense, he’s a familiar to his pack, but then he finds Dean, and he and Dean are compatible, so he’s… he has black fur compared to the rest of his clan, except for his Aunt Amara, who also has black fur. It’s like once in a generation thing, do one of the wolves have black fur.

MalMuses: Yeah. And so without spoiling it, for anyone that’s listening, that’s the one where like John is a giant asshole. Right?

Nickelkeep: He is a huge… I mean, to be fair, I do write him as an asshole in a lot of fics. But yes, he is a huge asshole in this fic. 

MalMuses: Yeah, that’s definitely the one I just read. [ Laughs ] I read a little while ago, I should say.

nickelkeep: John is a huge asshole and Naomi, who is Anna, Gabriel and Cas’s mother. I feel so bad because I do actually like Naomi, but she’s such a fantastic villain.

MalMuses: Yeah, she’s so good. I love her because I just love the actress from like her other work.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah. Love Amanda Tapping.

MalMuses: Like I’ve always loved her. But she’s so, yeah. She’s so good at that character. Like, she makes you, dislike her in the best way.

nickelkeep: Yeah. Like, like you love to hate her.

MalMuses: Yeah. I think that’s so good. That’s just a testament to her as an actress in general. 

nickelkeep: The same goes with Metatron. I, I love Metatron.

MalMuses: Yes. 

EllenofOz: Yeah, I do.

MalMuses: And he’s awesome. 

nickelkeep: I love him so much and I just, 

EllenofOz: He’s just such a bastard.

nickelkeep: He is, especially, it’s like, and again, that’s because of Curtis, because Curtis plays that so well. 

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s like, it’s like Rob really, like he is an awful fucking villain, but we all love him, so.

nickelkeep: Oh, absolutely.

MalMuses: I was going to ask if we wanted to briefly touch on Something So Magic as well, which is nickel’s other very Familiar-centric storytime series fic. 

nickelkeep: That’s another. Another Dean witch, or witch Dean and Familiar Cas. I don’t have that one pulled up, but the gist of it is, a random cat shows up on at Dean’s doorstep, or no, hold on. I forgot my own story for a second there. Cat Dean lives on —

MalMuses: Oh, I have it pulled up. I can read the summary if you want. 

nickelkeep: I mean, yeah, go ahead and read it. I think it’s just a line from it, but, 

MalMuses: Oh, God. I’ve, I’ve dropped myself in it now it’s like four paragraphs. Okay, here we go. [ Laughs ] Okay. 

About halfway through cleaning and treating the wounds, the cat started to stir. It let out a very confused sounding meow, causing Dean to chuckle. ‘I know, right? The last thing you know, you were outside with a big, bad bird sweeping in over you.’ The cat turned to look at Dean. ‘Aren’t you a bright little guy? Sorry. I figured that out while cleaning you up,’ Dean tended to a final spot along the cat’s rear leg. ‘Almost done. And I, and I can get you something to eat.’ The cat chirped in response and tilted its head. ‘All done.’ Dean held up a finger and turned his head before sneezing. ‘Sorry little guy. I’m allergic to cats, but you do need some strength. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a can of tuna or something around here.’ Dean wandered to the kitchen area and looked through his cabinets. The cat rested its head on its paws and watched as Dean dug through his rations. ‘Here we go. One can of tuna, I guess it’s a little cliche, but you work with what you’ve got.’ Dean opened the can and drained out the excess water. ‘While we eat, I’m gonna look for a spell to heal you up a little more so you can be on your way, okay?’ 

So yeah, clearly Dean finds this cat, helps him out, this adorable little head tilting kitty, and even though he’s allergic to said cat, he decides to try and heal him up, look for a spell to help him out. I love the fact that in this fandom, all we need to do is give an animal a friggin’ head tilt.

nickelkeep: We know it’s Cas.

EllenofOz: It’s a defining characteristic, isn’t it

MalMuses: Yes. And I like the fact that the, the, the prompt from this one, which came from Crypto, I believe … yep, was just, instead of Dean adopting a cat, it was Dean getting adopted by a cat.

nickelkeep: Yep.

MalMuses: So, which we all know is genuinely what happens with the cat.

EllenofOz: That does happen.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah. Because I, I, I was completely stuck for a storytime that week, so I’m like, guys, throw a prompt at me. And Crypto threw that out in general chat and I was like, alright, let’s run with it. I’m like, you know what, let’s just make it a whole Witch Familiar thing. And, you know, we know that Dean’s allergic to, or is it actually canon that he’s allergic to cats?

MalMuses: Um, the, it’s one of those things where there seems to be some debate, but —

EllenofOz: He does sneeze… I think it was the one with the, the, that actual Familiar episode because the cat, there’s a guy who’s a cat in it.

MalMuses: Mm-hmm.

EllenofOz: And he sneezes when he’s like, yeah. But that’s the, I think that’s the only time that it’s ever kind of mentioned.

nickelkeep: That’s right.

MalMuses: Yeah. I think it’s one of those things that’s kind of definitely canon, but then some writers kind of forgot about it. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah. 

Nickelkeep: Yeah. And then the fandom took it and ran. 

MalMuses: Like a few other things in canon. [ Laughs ] 

nickelkeep: We have so many things that we, I mean, it’s what, 15 seasons, 16 years of a show, and it’s just like, is it canon or is it fanon?

EllenofOz: Yep. Yeah. There’s a few things. Actually we’ve come across a few of them in, in recording the podcast actually, where we’ve just been like, is that really canon? I don’t know. 

MalMuses: Yeah. And then there’s a few of those, like little like weird mandala effect moments. Where you’re like completely convinced that something’s canon, and then you’re like, wait, nope, that never happened, but, but we’re all like, you’re never told, it’s just part of the bell thing, right?

Nickelkeep: The bell thing. Benny never called Dean “cher.” 

MalMuses: No, not even once.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Like just, it’s, it just weird little things and where they came from, who knows. But, but we like ’em anyway, so

nickelkeep: We keep ’em. 

MalMuses: Yeah.

nickelkeep: Take ’em and we run with them.

EllenofOz: One day I am gonna write a PhD on fandom culture, like, you know, development of culture within a fandom, ’cause I find it absolutely fascinating.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.

MalMuses: It really is fascinating, isn’t it?

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: There’s a, a couple of people on Twitter who have, are working on various kind of fandom related PhDs and it’s just so fascinating to me everything that they work on. It’s like, I wish, I wish I could do that.

EllenofOz: Yeah, it’ll probably never happen for me either, but you know, I’m fascinated by it.

MalMuses: Well, if I ever happen to be a writer on, you know, in one of those fantasy lives I was talking about earlier, on a TV show like Supernatural that’s been running for so many years that I can’t remember what’s happened, I’m just gonna do the logical thing where if I’m unsure about something, I’m literally going to turn to the internet and just be like, “Hey, fans have said show who have definitely watched it and know it better than me. What’s the deal with this?”

nickelkeep: Mm-hmm.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Because believe me, those fans know.

EllenofOz: Yep. They do. And they know better than the actors too. [ Laughs ]  not to throw anyone under the bus there…

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.

MalMuses: Uh-uh. And I’m a hundred percent putting a line in the contracts for my actors that they must watch the show. 

nickelkeep: I live the show seven days a week. Do you actually expect me to watch it afterwards? 

MalMuses: Yes. Yes, I do. [ Laughs ] Even if it’s scary.

EllenofOz: Aw.

MalMuses: Sorry, but yes. Even if it’s scary, you must watch it if you’re in it. Aw, no shade. But it’s true. [ Laughs ] 

EllenofOz: Alright. No, I have a question about storytime again because I, as an aside, is it a channel that you need to have a role for to see it? ‘Cause I don’t think I can see it.

nickelkeep: You did at one point. You had to have the kinky role.

EllenofOz: Okay, I’m pretty sure I’ve always had that though. Anyway, never mind. I was gonna ask…

MalMuses: Ellen’s always been kinky. I’m pretty sure that she’s had that.

EllenofOz: Yeah! [ Laughs ] 

nickelkeep: It was, it was locked under kinky, and then about a year ago when they did the whole server rearrangement, they brought it up and I forget where it’s at on the server now. But you don’t need a special role for it. There is a role for storytime that the authors can tag to say, Hey, I’m about to start a live story. 

EllenofOz: Right. Okay.

nickelkeep: But you don’t need an actual role to see the channel. 

MalMuses: It’s under the creative corner section.

nickelkeep: There you go.

MalMuses: Two sections up from our own Mixtape channel. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Okay. Obviously I don’t actually read before I ask questions. 

MalMuses: I’m just g-giving you directions around Profound Bond in the middle of the podcast.

EllenofOz: Thank you. It’s a very big place. It has a lot of channels. 

MalMuses: It is, yeah. Something for everybody on that server for sure. But, 

EllenofOz: I was gonna ask you, do you, when you are writing, when you’re doing the storytime, do you write the whole thing beforehand or are you actually writing it as like live, like as you’re… each sentence is coming out?

nickelkeep: I am actually writing it live. I do have a, to keep myself on track, I do have a bit of an outline, but it is 100%, well, I guess 99% written live, because I do have,

EllenofOz: that’s amazing.

nickelkeep: I find it actually easier to write under that pressure, I guess. I don’t know if it’s because of the limitations of the channels. Granted, you know, Discord now has, if you have Nitro, I think you can like write 4,000 characters now, but at the time it was like 2,000 characters, so you can only write 2,000 characters at a time, and you had to sit there and I would actually, like, I was watching that little thing in the corner saying alright, you’ve only got like 50 words left or 50 characters left, you gotta watch yourself. It’s like,

EllenofOz: Oh.

nickelkeep: And then I would I would post it, I would go in copy and paste or copy it, paste it into the document that I had my outline in, delete the section that I had of the outline that I had covered. See what’s next from the outline, go in and then write the next section. 

EllenofOz: Brilliant. So yeah, to be able to write something live like, like this, that is so well, kind of structured and put together, I’m extremely impressed by that. That’s amazing. Well done.Yeah. 

MalMuses: Yeah.

nickelkeep: I actually brought a, that, so I have my own, I don’t, it’s not a private server. A few friends have access to it, but I have a locked channel in my server where, when I find myself stuck on writing, I will go in there and I will just start typing out the story in there. Just because I got so used to,

EllenofOz: It helps it to flow.

nickelkeep: Yeah. It’s, it’s probably the weirdest thing. I think I did like a Pav plo, pav, you know what I’m trying to say? Pavlovian?

EllenofOz: Pavlovian? 

MalMuses: Yeah. Pavlovian response. 

nickelkeep: Yep. It’s almost the Pavlovian thing at this point. It’s like, if I’m stuck writing, I will just hop over into my, my private personal Discord server, and I will just start typing it out, and I find myself getting back into that groove again. And then I’m like, alright, I’m good here. And then I can go back to like the main document again. It’s just, it’s so weird.

EllenofOz: You conditioned yourself.

nickelkeep: I did. Yeah.

EllenofOz: To be able to write, that’s awesome.

MalMuses: Hey, whatever works.

EllenofOz: Oh. Well, shall we move on to the next thing?

MalMuses: Yes. 

Mail Order Familiar [00:43:30]

So, the next fic that we will talk about today is Mail Order Familiar by Amethystaris and BlueMasquerade. Sorry if I’ve pronounced anybody’s name wrong there. It was published for DCBB back in 2019, so it’s 62,000 words and it’s Mature. And it does have some lovely art as it was a DCBB fic. The art’s by Hitori Alouette. 

And the summary for the story goes like this: 

Dean Winchester was a Familiar meant for the wide-open spaces of the frontier. An ad in the paper combined with increasing pressure from his grandfather to sign a contract with a Witch of Samuel’s choice was just the motivation Dean needed to leave the big city behind.

What he expects to find is a year of hard work and rough living cleansing the land of magics that corrupted it centuries ago. What he doesn’t expect is that the Witch waiting for him just might be exactly what he has been looking for his whole life.

Castiel Angelus is cautiously optimistic that the Familiar he’s agreeing to work with, sight unseen, will be a good fit for his power. He’s chosen to work on the frontier in order to escape his demanding family and their unceasing ambitions.

He finds that Dean’s compatibility is beyond his wildest dream. Their bonds, both magical and personal, will be tested to the limits as they encounter the source of the corruption and seek to defeat it, before it’s too late.


EllenofOz: Yes, so this is like lovely plotty like fantasy crossed with, like a cowboy frontier thing, right? Like a western.

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s like a fantasy frontier-y… It’s, there is a lot of plot here, but I personally found that like the kind of slow build Destiel was like very nicely woven into it. So, like you weren’t waiting on the plot to wind up before you got the Destiel, but you also weren’t like starving for plot and only getting the Destiel which I thought was really nicely balanced myself.

nickelkeep: It was definitely a fic, once I started I could not stop it. 

MalMuses: Yeah. I binged it all in one go, which for a 62,000 word story is … yeah. Decent I would say. So.

EllenofOz: I loved the language in this, like the, it’s, it feels like a bit like a historical… I haven’t read a lot of westerns. Maybe we need to do an episode about westerns ’cause I know there are a few out there. But it had like an old time kind of language to it that I really, I liked. I got into it. Once you get into it, it’s, it flows really well. I liked it.

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s kind of almost like reading, like historical, like Regency fics, something like that, like once you get into the flow of it, it just, it just grips you and goes.

EllenofOz: Yeah. And while still feeling like it’s actually Dean and Cas speaking, like,

MalMuses: Yeah.

EllenofOz: I think it’s hard to get a modern kind of character into a historic kind of role, but, but yeah, they managed to bring in some character-like mannerisms or whatever that Dean has that made it feel like him, even though he was speaking kind of a different language, I guess, almost. It wasn’t a different language. What am I talking about?

MalMuses: Yeah, no, it makes sense.

EllenofOz: You know what I mean?

MalMuses: Makes sense, like, It’s always good when an author can do that, can still make it feel like them, even when there are those like substantial differences. But it’s still very much the characters that we know.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah. The authors for this one just… it didn’t feel unnatural. It felt like we were actually there and it felt it, it was a very good fit and I, it’s not something that you see every day with magic in the, in the Old West, which, that was just absolutely fascinating to me. 

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah, it was really cool, ’cause you know, I, I do enjoy like, kind of western stories, like, I think they’re fun. It’s not something that I have ever really read or had much interest in outside of the fandom, but I think because we know, like canonwise that Dean is like so into that kind of stuff. I don’t know, like within the fandom, it’s kind of quite a fun kind of trope and setting to explore. But I’ve never had really any interest in it otherwise. But I’ve read some really good ones within the fandom, but I’ve never read one before that had this kind of like, magical element to it. That was really something I love.

EllenofOz: There are some, there are some amazing fantasy books like outside of fanfic that have this kind of feel to them, like, what came to mind though, though it’s less of the horror kind of thing is the gunslinger like from The Dark Tower (by Stephen King), you know, like,

MalMuses: Yeah, I was gonna say, I’ve read that, that kind of —

EllenofOz: feel to it,

MalMuses: Sci-fi tilted kind of stuff.

EllenofOz: Yeah. It wasn’t so dark as that.

MalMuses: Yeah.

EllenofOz: But also there was another series that I read that, I’m trying to think of the name of it, and I will link it if I, if I can find the title. But there was a guy in that who was a kind of a gunslinger type character. Like he had, you know, a cowboy hat, I think. And, but he was, this post-apocalyptic world and he was looking after a little baby as he was going around, like trying to get these evil guys out. It was just, it was a great story. I can’t think of the name of it.

nickelkeep: Oh I know what you’re talking about.

EllenofOz: God, I’m gonna have to think of it.

MalMuses: I probably’d like it, because I mean, if you put cowboys in space, I’m endlessly happy. I was a brown coat long before I was a Supernatural fan,

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah. Like, like if something appeals to the, that, that frontier kind of thing, but in a sci-fi setting, or even in its case, like a fantasy, kind of high fantasy magical setting is really, it’s genre-bending. I love it.

MalMuses: Well, once I’ve finished my current novel that I’m reading, which is lesbian werebears for anyone who’s interested.

EllenofOz: Oh, wow.

MalMuses: Once, once I finish that I might have to dig around and see what I can find. Yeah. 

nickelkeep: So we were talking about how in mine, Dean was allergic to Cas? Dean is a cat in this one. 

MalMuses: Yes. Yes. Which I thought was a really fun twist.

EllenofOz: He’s a mountain lion, like a panther

MalMuses: Yes. So he’s not just like a little kitty cat.

nickelkeep: No, he’s a big mountain lion.

EllenofOz: A big cat.

nickelkeep: They’re not, they’re not little. They’re huge.

MalMuses: Yeah. He is like a big old cat. Which, which is great because actually in the, the art, which if you’re somebody who downloads stories routinely to read on like a Kindle or something like that, which more power to you, however you like to read, you do it. But please do go back and check out the art for fics afterwards, because I feel like sometimes people don’t do that and then they miss out on something. And in this one, the very first chapter has a brilliant piece of art that Annie, Hitori Alouette did, where you can like kind of see the size of Dean quite easily, like he comes up to Cas’s hip pretty much. Like he’s, he’s a, a big kitty.

nickelkeep: The best part is though, going along with that is in the fic, Dean’s like, Dean has no shame in admitting like, yeah, I’m a big cat, I like lounging in the sun, I want belly pets. Come on, give ‘em.

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: Like, there’s a scene where he’s, he’s like, I wonder if Cas would pet my belly. And I just, I, I chuckled at that. 

EllenofOz: I have a soft spot for Dean as a cat.

MalMuses: There’s something that’s so very Dean about that. [ Laughs ] Or he’s just this big badass cat with, you know, could shred you easily apart with his claws, but he does still want his belly pet.

nickelkeep: Yeah, that’s, but that, that also seems just like, so in character with Dean anyway, ’cause Dean is this badass hunter, but at the same time he has these soft spots. I mean, there’s, when they find the bunker, what does he turn into? He turns into a nesting mother. I mean it’s,

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s, it’s quite literally his soft underbelly. [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: Exactly.

MalMuses: Like he wants his soft underbelly pet. Okay. I love it. It was brilliant. It was a really fun choice for a, a form for him. And it makes a lot of sense as to why he would feel more comfortable out on the frontier than like in the city.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.

MalMuses: When he has a form like that. Yeah. So.

nickelkeep: The one thing I did also love about this fic, I know this is, you know, we’re, we mostly focus on Dean and Cas here on the, on your podcast and everything, but having Charlie be Gabriel’s Familiar.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: Yes. No, I loved them. That together as friends, like that was so good.

nickelkeep: That was amazing. It’s so often —

EllenofOz: It’s an interesting choice. Interesting pairing.

nickelkeep: Yes. ’cause so often we see romantic love and it’s like, Charlie’s like, nah, we’re just, we’re best friends. I’m, I’m way too into the ladies to be into Gabe.

MalMuses: Yeah. No I love that. The fact that it doesn’t always have to be that way.

nickelkeep: Yes.

MalMuses: That like just because somebody has a bond doesn’t mean it has to be that kind of bond.

nickelkeep: Exactly.

MaMuses: So I love that.

nickelkeep: I love that.

MalMuses: And I really do enjoy a well written Gabriel in stories ’cause he’s such a complex character in terms of how he evolved over the course of the series and how his character evolved. So, I really do like to see him well written in fics, particularly in AU because he’s so easy just to write at a surface level where he’s just like this kind of bombastic joker without much depth to him.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: Which is fair enough if that’s the kind of like very lighthearted AU that you’re writing and you know, it’s, it’s just a short, lighthearted thing and that’s what it calls for. But with something much more in-depth like this, to be able to like dig further into his character and like, it was really … he was good in this. Okay? I liked it.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: But yeah, I, I like it when you get like a good Gabriel. There’s like two levels of Gabriel I should say.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

nickelkeep: Yes.

MalMuses: I enjoyed Bobby in this one as well. I always love it when we get like, some kind of friendship or relationship between Bobby and, and Dean or Sam both usually in fics, even when they’re AUs, whether it’s a case of them kind of being brought up by Bobby or kind of knowing him as like an uncle or, or whatever that, that shows up a lot in AUs. But in this one I liked it because he didn’t know Bobby, like he wasn’t raised by him or anything like that. He meets him —

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: — at the frontier. So it is like a brand new like friendship and yet there’s still that kind of almost instant, like being taken under his wing and looked after and Dean allowing it and seeing something in him that he respects. Like so that that kind of core relationship is still there and still clicks into place almost instantly, which I really liked that even though they weren’t raised that way, like the core of who they were was still the same and caused their relationship to be the same even though the history wasn’t there. 

nickelkeep: And of course the instant bonding over romance novels.

MalMuses: Yes. Loved that. 

EllenofOz: Yes, I did. I love that too. Especially when he was like trying to hide it and then, and then Dean’s like, oh no, what about when this happened? And he’s like, oh, that’s, yeah, that is how they instantly bond. [ Laughs ] 

MalMuses: I won’t, I won’t say one of the things that I enjoyed about it then, ’cause it will be quite spoiler-y for you.

EllenofOz: Oh, you can, it’s alright. You can spoil.

MalMuses: But well, it’ll be quite spoiler-y for, for listeners as well, so I won’t.

EllenofOz: Okay.

MalMuses: I’ll avoid like the, the big spoiler on it, but I did like how the authors mirrored … let me have a look at the tags … It’s tagged? No, she’s not tagged, so.

nickelkeep: Oh, I know what you’re talking about.

MalMuses: I’ll just say, yeah. So I’ll just say that I like how the authors mirrored the relationship between Dean and another character in canon. And they did it like, without, somehow without making it as creepy as it was in canon, but like,

nickelkeep: I thought it was creepy in a different sense.

MalMuses: Yeah. Yeah. It, it worked really well for the story that they were telling and definitely used like everything that they had in canon to like have those mirrors there and we worked really well, but I just thought it was inspired to like, use it that way.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah.

MalMuses: Like I thought it was very good.

nickelkeep: Yeah. Without spoiling it for,

MalMuses: — very much enjoyed it —

nickelkeep: for listeners and whatnot. No, it was, that was a very pleasant twist and I,

MalMuses: Yeah, I liked it. It’s good. I also enjoy fics where, I don’t think this is particularly spoiler-y to say, that where we get, even in a story where it feels like maybe there’s not a lot of Sam, but then you suddenly get like some surprise to Sam at the end.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: ’Cause you just can’t keep them apart.

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ] Surprise Sam.

MalMuses: Yeah, ’cause in this one, obviously Dean goes out to the frontier, so even though Sam exists in this universe and you are aware that they are kind of, you know, writing to each other and, and you know, they are still kind of close as brothers, Sam is not at the frontier, so he’s not in the bulk of the story. But I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say he does kind of show up later on in the story. Can’t, can’t keep ‘em apart for that like forever. [ Laughs ] So yeah,

nickelkeep: I do love that.

MalMuses: And I, yeah, and I liked the way that Sam was written. He was my kind of Sam, the way, the way he was done. I liked it, so.

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: I actually really liked all of the characterizations in this fic, I think that was one of my, like the setting was, was great and really unique and fun. But the actual characterizations were my favorite part of the story, I think.

nickelkeep: I mean even Jess, who we don’t get too much of in, that the show itself, like her character’s characterization in the fic was, I thought that was spot on for the little bit that we did know of. It fit what we know of Jess and they grew, they expanded upon it and she was more than just, you know, the love of Sam’s life. So.

MalMuses: Yeah, I enjoy fics where they give us some depth to Jess and give her like more personality than she was allowed to have. In the short time we got her for. So, ’cause I think she had the potential to be a good character.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: You know.

EllenofOz: If she hadn’t died, been killed off for man pain. 

MalMuses: Yeah, I was gonna say, I’ve heard the argument that we don’t really know what kind of character Jess was because there was always the question of, that she was sent to like, she was pushed into Sam’s path deliberately, and so we don’t really know what she was really like and all that kind of stuff. And I was like, well, that was one of those things that we don’t really even know how true that was, like, what was manipulation and what wasn’t, you know? So,

EllenofOz: I did find the name of that book, by the way. It’s The Vagrant. It’s by Peter Newman. 

MalMuses: Okay. I’ll have to check that out.

EllenofOz: It’s worth a read. It’s really, really good. And there’s, it’s like a duology? It, there’s two of them. 

MalMuses: Alright.

EllenofOz: Anything else about this story or shall we go on?

MalMuses: Yeah, definitely recommend this one. Binged it in one go. Loved it, gorgeous art to go with it. Nothing, not that we ever really say anything bad about a story, because we wouldn’t be covering it if we had bad things to say about it, but [ Laughs ] just go read it. It’s, it’s really good. Very much enjoyed it. 

Familiar Man

All right. So Familiar Man. 

EllenofOz: Third story that we we’ll talk about, it’s called Familiar Man. It’s by bendingsignpost. This is his, his DCBB for this year, I think. It said in his notes that this is his, the first DCBB that he’s done.

nickelkeep: I think it was his first Bang, period.

EllenofOz: Wow. Okay. Well that’s very exciting, ’cause we always love a Ben fic. This one is, yeah, so it’s from 2021, it only got published, like last month I think. 

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s very new. 

EllenofOz: 65,000 words and it’s rated Mature. Funnily enough, this one also has art by Hitori Alouette.

MalMuses: Oh!

EllenofOz: Which I, it’s such a, a shock that we’ve managed to pick two that the same artist, but Annie writes, 

MalMuses: Now that’s interesting.

MalMuses: creates beautiful artwork —

MalMuses: I wonder if it’s because in art claims, Annie looks for particular things. Hmm. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah, maybe.

MalMuses: Yeah, I wonder why.

EllenofOz: But anyway, we’ve got two, I mean, I’m not sure which fic she did art for in 2020, but maybe we’ll have to go and find out what this, but no. So the summary for this one, it goes like this: 

For years, Castiel has focused on his medical degree over his magic before ultimately (and quietly) combining the two. As a natural born witch, he has an innate connection to magic.

Or rather, he did.

With that connection strained to the point of breaking without the help of an animal familiar to center him, Castiel’s mojo has all but worn out, and he has yet to find anything close to a match. To top it off, a crossroads demon won’t stop pursuing him for a pact, but Castiel would rather die without magic than sell his soul.

As his connection continues to fizzle out, he uses all but the last dregs of his power to cast a newly crafted spell that should, theoretically, lead him to a suitable familiar. And without enough magic to cast it again, whatever animal he finds is the one he has to keep.

You can probably guess who he finds.

MalMuses: From the title.

EllenofOz: If you haven’t read this yet, I dunno, I, I loved, I couldn’t put this one down when I started reading this one, I just like this, overall sense to it of time running out because, you know, Cas’s magic is gonna disappear if he doesn’t bond with a Familiar.

MalMuses: Yeah. It’s one of those fics where I felt like I was reading, like trying to read faster and faster the closer I got to the end.

EllenofOz: Yeah! Yeah.

MalMuses: Because I was like, yeah.

EllenofOz: It’s, it’s incredible tension to it. Like, yeah. Like, you know, that the answer is right there. Like you, we know that Dean also feels like he needs to bond with Cas, but neither of them are really getting the picture. [ Laughs ] I dunno, they’re not willing to, like, at least Cas isn’t willing to you know, bind a human, and Dean isn’t sure what he’s doing wrong. The why, why is Cas pushing him away? And, you know, it’s the amazing kind of tension to it. 

MalMuses: I really liked, well, first of all, I really liked the kind of trope inversion in this, in the, obviously his Familiar is a person and not an animal.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: So that, that was, that was a lot of fun to start with. I also just really liked kind of the, I would say the very canon version of Mary that we got in this, or

EllenofOz: Yes!

MalMuses: One of the canon versions of Mary I could say. Because I think there’s probably several different canon interpretations of Mary that we could take depending on the different lives she could have had. [ Laughs ] Depending on whether she was killed or not, or brought back or not. But in a life where she had lived and had the kind of life she’d had in this, that was a hundred percent how I could picture her being.

nickelkeep: Yep.

MalMuses: And the way that she acted, even though it’s when you’re reading the story and you are and you sympathize with Cas, it seems very harsh and cruel and it seems, it almost to the point of kind of painting her as a villain, but not, but, but it’s not because you understand that she’s doing it because she, without being too spoiler-y, obviously she loves Dean. Mary is still a Campbell, so she knows kind of Hunter things said to her, which equals bad. There’s that whole complicated “Cas is a witch” kind of thing going on with that. But it’s never, even though like she’s doing those things, like you can never, I know it’s a, it’s complicated. Like most things are, like Mary has always been a complicated character, which I like because there’s far too many, like 2-D paper women in media. So I, I really like that Mary was never like that personally. And that she is a more complicated character. And I think that this particular fic showed that so well and that she actually, yeah, had to make some choices, which as a reader, sympathizing with Cas, were hard to read, but you couldn’t really judge her for, personally. That’s, that’s the way I interpreted it anyway.

EllenofOz: Yeah. It was the way that, that hunters thought that Witches always, you know, made deals with demons to get their magic and, when the actual reality was a bit more broad than that.

MalMuses: Yeah. Working within her own experience.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Because she’s never known anything else. And obviously she’s very suspicious of a Witch who is telling her otherwise, you know? Especially one who, the way that she sees it, has like, enchanted her son or done something, you know, made her son behave so bizarrely, you know. 

EllenofOz: But at least she’s got Ellen and Jo there to talk her down.

MalMuses: They’re both acting kind of weird for most of this, most of this story. I feel like to be in this story and be an observer of these characters would’ve been, would’ve been a wild couple of weeks to watch these people. 

EllenofOz: Oh yeah, definitely. They’re very obsessed. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Yeah, I, I don’t think I blame any of the characters that are around them for the concern that they were showing.

nickelkeep: That was something that was actually, I loved about this fic was that sense of urgency and how it made everybody just stop and look at them like, “what is going on with you?”

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I love that they did do that. ‘Cause I think that was a very, like, healthy example of like, friendships and family and people who should stop you and go, “Hey, look for your own good, no.” Like, you know, I, I think that’s actually a really like reasonable, healthy thing to show that like sometimes being a good friend is stopping someone and going, “you need to sit down and not,” like,

EllenofOz: Yeah, it was almost like that episode where Dean gets that love spell put on him and he’s just like, totally out of, off his brain, like

nickelkeep: Comes into the bunker…

EllenofOz: That was kind of, yeah. And he is like, “I’m in love.” And Sam’s like “What the fuck are you talking about?”

nickelkeep: Yeah, he’s all excited. It’s wonderful

MalMuses: And Sam’s face. Sorry, I love that scene. 

EllenofOz: Yeah, it’s a great one.

MalMuses: Yeah

EllenofOz: Yeah, that you had that kind of feeling to it, ’cause the two of them are like, so it feels like instant kind of connection there and then they have to drag themselves apart. [ Laughs ] It’s just so, it’s great. I liked that.

MalMuses: I love the layers to it, because on like a surface level it’s kind of funny and like, you know, it’s amusing, but then you go like a little bit deeper, you’re like, well actually, like the questions that that raises are like quite deeply concerning and the rest of it, but then beneath that, you know, that the kind of bond that they have actually is, is something else in, you know, that Cas would never do that to him. I won’t spoil it by saying how it ends up happening in the end, but,

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Like, Cas doesn’t? Like that’s that, to be clear that that doesn’t end up happening. That’s something that Cas doesn’t do. But yeah, I kind of like that there’s there’s layers to it, like more you think about it, but,

EllenofOz: Yeah, it comes, the, the looking after them both comes from both sides too. Like Cas’s got his coven of Gabriel and Hannah are also witches.

MalMuses: And Alfie, I do like it when we get an Alfie

EllenofOz: And Alfie. Yeah,

MalMuses: Yeah, I liked it.

EllenofOz: He’s like the junior, the intern. But I also loved the description of the magic in that they all have a slightly different way of in, of manifesting their magic, I guess, ’cause like, Cas is like musical kind of, he hears like this, Symphony of Life or whatever, or he doesn’t, when Dean’s not around or whatever. And with Gabe, I think it was like colors and painting or something. So yeah, that was a really interesting way of putting that together.

MalMuses: Yeah, that was really cool. I, I think I’d seen all of those elements before individually in stories, like, this is how magic is. You can see it in colors, or this is how magic is, you can hear it. But I don’t know that I’d necessarily ever read a story that combined all of them with it being different for different people. So, that was pretty cool.

nickelkeep: I loved that Alfie’s was smell.

MalMuses: Yeah, that one was definitely unique. I don’t think I’ve ever read that one, but that’s really cool. But it kind of follows, right? Like if all of the others with different senses, it kind of follows that he could do that too.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: And I did have like a little chuckle to myself when I read the line that like, trying to work out if things smelled normal.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: Like for some reason I, that just like tickled me a little bit. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: I was like, yeah. Well that all sounded like quite highbrow and literary that you were actually discussing that there Ellen, like that you enjoyed that magical part.

EllenofOz: Yes?

MalMuses: Because I’m about to tell you that my absolute favorite part of this story, of the entire thing, my absolute favorite part was fucking Crowley, and just the mental image of him standing on,

EllenofOz: Standing on the bins?

MalMuses: Fucking trash bins, [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Peeking up over the fence. It wasn’t even his, it was the, his neighbors’ bins. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: His neighbors’. Yeah. So to put some context into this, as is clear from the summary, Crowley is the Crossroads Demon who is trying to make a deal with Cas for his soul. Which, you gave the impression will kind of stabilize Cas’s magic, but at what cost? So Crowley’s a little bit obsessed. He comes across like a big old Crossroads Demon stalker because Cas is so powerful, so obviously Crowley wants his grubby little mitts on him.

But, but the stalker thing comes across like, I don’t know why, but I was literally just picturing him like, like a cartoon villain-like stalker, like peeking around like buildings and just like, I just, it was, it was wonderful. Like I loved it. Like it was, while being like obviously quite a serious part of the story, there was also something quite comedic about it, which I really enjoyed, and especially him standing on Cas’s neighbors’ trash cans and peering over the fence to spy on Cas, and the fact that it had been noted by the neighbors and reported to the police. [ Laughs ]

nickelkeep: Gabriel also made a throwaway line about binoculars too.

MalMuses: Yeah.

EllenofOz: Oh really?

MalMuses: Just perfect. Just perfect.

EllenofOz: That’s even more cartoony. I forgot about that.

MalMuses: Yeah, so Crowley was an absolute highlight of this fic to me, so, just really well done. I like those kind of little bits of comedy interspersed, ’cause they, I don’t know, they just kind of offset everything else and make the sweet bits sweeter and the serious bits more serious to me.

EllenofOz: Yeah. So it’s good to have a combination. Ben’s really good at doing that all in all of his fics.

MalMuses: Yeah, he is. So we love a Ben around these parts. So, 

EllenofOz: You know what, I have, I think I must have read this on my Kindle and hadn’t seen the, the art properly there. The art is gorgeous! I’m just looking through, looking at it. It’s really beautiful. It’s like all black and white, and then Dean, like, Cas as seeing Dean and he’s in color and it,

MalMuses: Yep. 

EllenofOz: Oh, that’s gorgeous. Okay. Sorry. I’m just delighted by that.

MalMuses: I, I love the picture of when they first see each other and they’re like staring into each other’s eyes. like, it’s so like, intense, like,

EllenofOz: Yes.

nickelkeep: I, I say this in the most lovingly way, ’cause I mean it with so much endearment, I got such secondhand embarrassment from it.

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Yeah. No, I, I feel like you’re supposed to though,

nickelkeep: I loved it.

MalMuses: It’s, it’s intense to that level where it’s too much, you know? Like,

EllenofOz: Well, Sam obviously was, he was like, what the fuck are you doing?

nickelkeep: Yeah, poor Sam.

EllenofOz: Look at Dean. Come on. You just saw the guy and then you’re snogging him.

MalMuses: Yeah. To be Sam, just casually walking your dog, and then your brother just wanders off and starts snogging this random man.

nickelkeep: It’s the [ unclear ] in front of my salad.

MalMuses: [ Laughs ] Pretty much. 

EllenofOz: This, this goes in the brain bleach tag, right?

MalMuses: Yeah.

EllenofOz: Poor Sam.

MalMuses: Just picturing Sam just like, stood there with his dog just like reaching over to like cover the dog’s eyes. Just like Oh, [ Laughs ] Oh, yep. 

nickelkeep: That’s the other thing I love in the beginning, he’s like, ah, I’m gonna have to steal their dog.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yes. Because he thinks that that was good.

nickelkeep: Just the dog.

EllenofOz: Oh, damnit.

MalMuses: Like that was the next logical thought. Like, well, gonna have to steal it. Oh, I also loved, I have to say, there’s a scene where Dean goes to see Cas at work. Cas is a physical therapist, so part of what he does is, you know, involves kind of massage type techniques and stuff like that. So Dean goes in with the impression that he’s getting a free massage after a tipoff from somebody else and actually ends up getting one from Gabriel instead. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Which is, is done very nicely and he ends up with a very nice massage. But, it was just quite funny the way that that got that little twist to me. And the fact that, you know, Gabriel saw Dean mostly naked before Gabe, before Cas did.

EllenofOz: Yes. 

MalMuses: Enjoyed that, enjoyed that twist. 

EllenofOz: I loved the the dreamwalking part. I loved that Dean kind of just did it without really knowing what he was doing and then, and then later thought that it was all the dream anyway and he didn’t think it had been real. 

MalMuses: Yeah. Testament to how stubborn Dean is that just like he wanted to do this thing and he wanted to do it so badly that he’s just going to dreamwalk to do it. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah. Just did it.

MalMuses: To the point where even Cas is like, what the hell are you doing? 

EllenofOz: Yeah, he’s like, how are you here?

MalMuses: And I like the fact that Cas basically kind of treated him like a magical toddler and like dreamwalked him back to his own mind. Like, no, no, no,

nickelkeep: You stay here, you’re stronger, but you stay, stay.

MalMuses: [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Don’t come back now.

MalMuses: Yeah. No, I really liked it. This is, is one of those stories where there could have been many kind of quite problematic pitfalls with like the different tropes that were involved and, Ben being Ben, he avoided every single one of them and subverted a majority of them. And,

nickelkeep: It’s another thing was great, done.

MalMuses: Yeah, exactly. It was, it was great. I loved it.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: There’s a picture of the hotdog pants at the end too. Yeah.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: I was still looking at the art. It’s brilliant.

EllenofOz: Yeah. That’s gorgeous. All the little photos — 

MalMuses: It’s so much art.

EllenofOz: — of each other. Yeah.

MalMuses: I hadn’t seen all the ones at the end before, I don’t think, I don’t know if I like got to the end of the story and then like hurried along to the next one so that I could fit more in before you were done.

EllenofOz: Okay.

MalMuses: But there’s like one with the keys where there’s now like multiple keys on the, the key thing where he sent him one at the beginning where there was only one key. Aww,

EllenofOz: Yeah, and then together in the, in the house. And, yeah.

nickelkeep: I love the, the one in front of the fireplace, the first one he sends is the empty fireplace and then it’s got the fireplace with the glass of, or the glasses of wine and the pie. That’s my favourite

MalMuses: Perfect.

EllenofOz: Aw.

MalMuses: Oh, and Dean’s filling in the space on the couch that was empty before. 

EllenofOz: Oh yeah, the hotdog pants. Okay, I see now. Okay. So they do act as a kind of an epilogue kind of thing, like an ending.

MalMuses: Yeah. adorable.

Other Recommendations [1:17:15]

EllenofOz: All right. So I know, Mal, that you’ve got a bunch of other ones to recommend. Go ahead. Go for that.

MalMuses: Yeah, I’ve got a few, so I’ll just do like a, kinda like a quick fire round of other Familiar stories that I enjoy and recommend.

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: So the first one is called The Weight of a Promise by saltnhalo. It’s a another kind of fantasy-type story. But this one is Prince Dean, childhood friends pining. And this is one where Dean and Cas already know that they are a good match Familiar and Witch-wise, but Dean’s father, the King, sent Cas away years before. And the story takes place when there is a masquerade ball. And Dean meets somebody behind a raven’s mask that he is drawn to. I guess we can all work that one out, [ Laughs ] but it’s yeah, it’s, it’s not a long story, it’s, it’s just under 6,000 words. But you know, saltnhalo always writes really well, so this one is just very, it’s a really satisfying read for the amount of words that you’re invested in.

nickelkeep: Didn’t she write that for the PB Exchange Masquerade?

MalMuses: Let me have a look. I think so, ’cause it’s not …

nickelkeep: Because I, I remember that one.

MalMuses: Yes, yes she did. So it was, yeah, 2019 and it’s one of the Profound Bond Gift Exchange fics. So some lucky person was gifted this as part of that. 

EllenofOz: Can also give a shoutout to her other, Witch Familiar one, which is called Such Familiar Magic.

MalMuses: Mm-hmm.

EllenofOz: Which is a little bit longer. It’s like 26,000 words, but it’s Explicit. It is also Cas, as a Witch, and he just, he finds a dog who’s been injured in his garden and turns out to be both Dean and a Familiar. And I, it actually, that was one of the ones that I was inspired, like inspired me to try and write one of these as well. Because I loved the kind of build up to the, the big showdown in that one, it’s like a really awesome, kind of a magical, I don’t know how to, how else to describe, there’s a storm involved and it’s just, I loved it. Really, really good one.

MalMuses: Yes. That is a really satisfying story. I read that one. I’m pretty sure I read that one as it was posting? I think?

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. I don’t know, It was a couple of years ago now, I think. But yeah. Brilliant story. Definitely recommend that one.

EllenofOz: So, nickel, did you have any that you wanted to recommend?

nickelkeep: One of my favorites is Unfamiliar by riseofthefallenone.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: It’s a chunky boy.

EllenofOz: No, no, that one’s only short.

nickelkeep: That’s one of the short ones.

MalMuses: Is it? Is that not one of the big ones?

nickelkeep: It’s short by rise’s standards.

EllenofOz: Yeah. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Okay. Which is the one I’m thinking of? Hmm.

nickelkeep: I’m familiar. 

EllenofOz: I don’t think they’ve got really long one, but yeah. 

MalMuses: Unfamiliar is another one where Cas is losing his magic and Dean is —

MalMuses: I’m probably just thinking of another one of rise’s fics, because most of theirs are pretty big.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

EllenofOz: Yep.

MalMuses: So, yeah. Okay.

nickelkeep: Yeah, Unfamiliar, it, it’s Witch Cas, Familiar Dean. And Dean is an owl who is afraid to fly.

EllenofOz: That’s right. Yeah. It’s been a little while since I read this one, but I remember it was beautiful.

MalMuses: You know, I don’t think I’ve read that one. Hmm. Excellent. That’s my reading for tonight sorted.

EllenofOz: Okay, yeah.

nickelkeep: It’s, it’s very, there’s times where like, you get angry at Dean because, I don’t wanna spoil anything for you if you haven’t read it, but you get angry at Dean because you find out that there’s, you start off in the beginning, Cas is going to a center to go meet a Familiar, it’s basically something all young Witches do is they’re sent to the center to go meet with,

MalMuses: Oh, wait, wait, wait. I think I have read this. Yeah, I think I have. There’s a bicycle, right?

nickelkeep: Yes. Cas, Cas doesn’t drive. He rides, he rides a bike and he has a basket on the front, that when Dean is in owl form, he rides in it. And it turns, again, I don’t know. I mean it’s a, I don’t wanna say it’s a fandom staple, but,

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s weird the little things that like make the pieces join together in your head sometimes.

nickelkeep: Yeah.

MalMuses: Just suddenly, just like, the bicycle story! Don’t know why in my head that was filed away as the bicycle story, but like,

nickelkeep: I did I, I, Unfamiliar is one that I will always rec for a Witch Familiar fic.

EllenofOz: The other one that we’ve, that we, we actually spoke about this one a few episodes ago in our, I wanna say our Creature fic episode, I think it was that, that group of four stories by goldenraeofsun. Like,

MalMuses: Mm-hmm.

EllenofOz: This one’s Magic Quarantine Ride is the one with the Witch in it as well, that’s always a great victory. So, they’re, they’re roommates and they’re trapped in quarantine during COVID. So Cas is a Witch and his, his bedroom is like, bigger on the inside.

MalMuses: Yeah, that’s a Tardis bedroom. I love that one.

EllenofOz: Yeah, that’s a great story. But if you wanna hear us talking about that more, yeah, go back to our Creature fic episode.

MalMuses: Yeah. Well, I have a couple more that I’ll just do quick fire. There is one called, I’ve Got Ninety-Nine Problems (But a Witch Ain’t One) by Shelobs_web which is three and a half thousand words. It’s a slightly old one, it’s from 2017. And it’s a, just a story about Cas who likes going to this bar, which is like a Witch Familiar bar, which is a nice place for Witches to kind of meet their Familiars and hang out and stuff. But he likes going there because he has a crush on the hot bartender, obviously.

EllenofOz: Obviously.

MalMuses: And he also keeps seeing this beautiful Familiar when he goes to sit, I, I assume it’s quite close by, he goes to sit by this bench, he sees this beautiful bird that keeps like, swooping down. However, he doesn’t connect the two people. So it, it’s a little bit of a,

EllenofOz: Sort of like a two person love triangle kind of thing.

MalMuses: Yeah, almost, like he doesn’t like, you know, neither of them want to make a move. Dean doesn’t wanna make a move because he kind of wants Cas to want both parts of him? So until Cas makes the connection, he, he doesn’t. Doesn’t wanna do anything about it. So obviously it doesn’t keep you hanging on very long ’cause it’s only three and a half thousand words, but it’s very cute. It’s, it’s fluffy. It’s a little, tiny bit of an angst with a happy ending, but it’s, it’s very cute. Very kind of awkward Cas, but I really enjoy it. I’ve read that one quite a few times.

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: And then I have, there’s a fic called Bluebells by Hollyblue2 where there’s a story where Dean is the Witch and his magic has been running out ever since he kind of moved to the city. So he kind of has to take a vacation, so Bobby orders him to go to the White Mountains and just to kind of soak in some like earth magic and kind of take himself away from, from everything. It’s obviously has Familiar Cas. We have a little bit of like accidental kind of bed sharing going on, strangers to lovers kind of story. 6,000 words. Very satisfying. I like it. Yeah, that one’s by Hollyblue2. 

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: I really enjoy that one. I’ve read that one a couple of times too. I think that one’s a couple of years old. 

EllenofOz: I feel like I’ve read that one, but I’m not sure, I might have to go back and do again.

MalMuses: Yeah. There was one that I reread specifically for the podcast because it was one of those ones which I, I knew that I’d read it and I couldn’t remember what the title was, so I spent like quite a bit of time trying to track this one down. It was a fic called Wild Touch by QuillsandInk.

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: And it is a story where Cas is a plant Witch, and he finds an injured deer in the woods. The deer turns out to be Dean. Dean has some issues. [ Laughs ] Dean is, is running away from a lot of things. Dean is very stubborn. He does not want to be tied to a Witch, definitely has some issues. Definitely got some kind of lonely, kind of sad Cas in this and some kind of trust issues going on. But it does end up very happily. Let me see … it is 13,000 words. It was published in 2020. And by Wild Touch by QuillsandInk. I really liked it. Like the, the, the kind of hurt / comfort aspect of it is, is really nice when, when Dean is hurt. It does actually have some kind of quite, quite nice plot in it for the length. And it’s, it’s just actually kind of quite cute as well. I really enjoyed it. Oh, and it also has lovely art by Threshie, which is nice. Oh, so, so was it a Bang, I’m wondering? Yes, it was, it was from the 2020 Perfect Pair Bang.

EllenofOz: That’s why it’s familiar. Yeah. 

MalMuses: There you go. Mm-hmm. Two more, but I’m gonna let anybody else volunteer.

EllenofOz: No, I’m, I just keep looking down the list and I, I actually haven’t read many of these fics at all, so I’ve got, I’m getting a huge list here of things I need to read. 

MalMuses: Okay.

EllenofOz: So go on.

MalMuses: Well, if anybody would like a, just a very fun, fast-paced kind of smutty Explicit Familiar fic, there is one by Zation, which is called Voco Familiarem. It is 54,000 words, was completed in 2020. So this has a Dean who thinks he is straight, Wizard Dean casts the summon Familiar spell, expecting a hot woman like Sammy got with his owl, Jess, and definitely does not get that. [ Laughs ] So he gets Castiel who is a cat. They’re definitely not amused about it until they eventually are so, [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: It, it’s great. It’s a little bit of a, there’s like a, a mild aspect of like a, a kind of gay panic, but it’s not so much a panic as a, okay, well this is pretty hot, so this is fine. [ Laughs ] So it’s, it’s just a, a kind of fun smutty take on the fic. There’s, there’s some, some plot and some stuff happening there, but anybody familiar with Zation’s work knows what they’re getting into with this. They, they write a lot of kind of very hot fun fics like this. So there’s that one. 

And my final recommendation that I dug around to find was a Reverse Bang from back in 2016 which was one by xHaruka17x. So this is a story called The Gift, and it’s a story about Witch Cas who is kind of afraid of his own powers and Familiar Dean. They are, it’s also like a soulmate sort of story. And it’s just over 8,000 words. It’s called The Gift, and because it was a Perfect Pair Bang, it also has some really, really pretty art in it. And I think the art is actually by the_miss_lv, who also I think used to be a writer if it’s the same person. But there it gets some really pretty art in this one as well. 

Alright, so the final story that I am going to mention, and I will flag at the beginning, because it’s only fair to do so that this story is not yet complete. However, I do know that it does have an ending outlined and that the author does know how this story is going to end, and I know that because it’s one of Ellen’s. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: So, this is a story that I am absolutely in love with, and I do mention it to her on like a semi frequent basis. [ Laughs ] I’m, I’m probably mildly annoying about this story because I love it. So, I’m probably gonna pronounce this wrong ’cause I’ve just realized, I don’t think I’ve ever said this word out loud before.

EllenofOz: I don’t think I have either. Actually.

MalMuses: It’s one of those, the things that I, like, I read it, but I don’t know if I pronounce it correctly. Oh well. So Felix in Aeternum, I’m gonna say.

EllenofOz: That’ll do.

MalMuses: Yep. So, the summary is: “It’s fall and that means Castiel’s best friend Charlie is obsessed with Halloween. At least he made a new friend at the Pumpkin Festival that Charlie dragged him to: a black cat with bright green eyes. But a few days later, the cat shows up at Cas’s door and strange things start happening around him. This Halloween may just turn out to be a lot more supernatural than he ever thought possible.” So we know I love plot in my story, so you can assume there’s plenty coming in this story. But there’s also just a really satisfying like, slow burn, Dean / Cas kind of thing going on here, that so close … so close, Ellen.

EllenofOz: I know, I know.

MalMuses: So yes, this has been posting for a while and we’re not quite there yet, so if you choose to read it, you need to, to know that going into it, that we are not quite there yet. But it’s, it’s not an abandoned story, so it’s not something that isn’t going to end. It’s just one that hasn’t ended yet. 

EllenofOz: Yes. See, the problem with me is that if I don’t have a deadline,

MalMuses: Rephrase that, please. There are no problems with you. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ] My problem with the story is that, no, there’s no problems with the story. I, it is, it is completely outlined, I just have to do it. You know how when you’ve got other things that keep taking priority and I keep signing up for things and this gets shoved to the side? And yeah, I will do it,

MalMuses: Like when you have annoying friends that sign up for Bangs and then like sidestep over and go, Hey, do you wanna write this with me?

EllenofOz: Yeah. Hey, I’m, I’m just as guilty of that too. But yeah, it is, I do know what’s coming. I just need to write it, the words down. 

MalMuses: Yes. So you just need a few extra days in your week, which I relate to heavily.

nickelkeep: Oh yeah. 

EllenofOz: I just, I, this fic’s got a special place in my heart because it’s, it was sort of, the reason why I started posting it in Halloween was because we had like friends of mine who actually went to a pumpkin festival and met a cat there that wouldn’t leave them alone. And so, and I love the idea of Dean as a cat anyway, because he, you know, knocked the angel statue off the thing and he just, things that he does that are very catlike. Anyway,

MalMuses: He is a cat. 

EllenofOz: So I dunno, I love writing it. I just need to do it so everyone feel free to poke me. 

MalMuses: That’s not, there has to be a Tumblr like gift set somewhere of Dean as a cat, right? Like that’s,

EllenofOz: Oh, I hope so.

nickelkeep: I’m sure I’ve seen something like that. Yeah.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah, so it’s gotta be out there, like gonna have to find that. 

EllenofOz: Yes. So I try to add as much Cat Dean to it as I can when, as I’m going along, so yeah, it’s got, there, there are five chapters posted and you know, more to come. So. 

MalMuses: Yeah. And these are a decent length chapters ’cause you’ve got almost 24,000 words posted already.

EllenofOz: Yeah. Anyway, I’ll get this.

MalMuses: You will get that. I have absolute faith in you because you —

EllenofOz: Thank you.

MalMuses: I, I need, I need the ending. Okay. Because it’s, it’s good. There’s a satisfying plot as well as the satisfying Destiel. So,

EllenofOz: Thank you.

MalMuses: But even though it’s not quite done yet, I couldn’t not mention it as it’s my favorite Familiar story. So,

EllenofOz: Aww, thank you.

MalMuses: Had to be mentioned.

EllenofOz: Promise I’ll do it. 

EllenofOz: Well, I think that’s all of the fics we’re gonna talk about. So links to all of those things and all the other things we’ve been talking about today can be found on our website, which is and you can find there also all the ways that you can get in touch with us if you wanna tell us about a Witch and Familiar fic that we missed or anything else you’d like to tell us about, you can find us on social media under Mixtape Book Club, and you can email us, or you can join us on Profound Bond Discord server in our own channel there. 

MalMuses: As our next episode will be the first of 2022, we will be doing a quick review. That will be a quick review ’cause I remember our last episode of it on this we prowled on for ages. [ Laughs ] Let me revise that statement entirely: As our next episode will be the very first one of 2022, we’ll be having a discussion of our favorite fics of 2021. So if you want to let us know what your favorite fics published in 2021 were, let us know on the blog or in our channel on Profound Bond before, before the end of the year. And we will have a look at those as well. 

EllenofOz: So thank you very much nickel, for coming to talk to us.

nickelkeep: Oh, thank you for having me. And you know, if, if there’s anything I ever fit again, I would love to come back.

EllenofOz: Yeah, of course. 

MalMuses: It’s been a joy to talk to you.

EllenofOz: I was gonna say earlier, and I forgot all about it, but I’ll mention it now. There’s, you are putting together another quarantine zine again, this coming up.

MalMuses: Yes.

EllenofOz: For sale in the next few weeks, right?

nickelkeep: Yes. It’ll be coming out on the 20th. I, I only got access back to the Twitter and Tumblr accounts, so I,

EllenofOz: Oh, good.

nickelkeep: Yeah, no, that’s why I haven’t been doing any publicizing because I’ve been fighting to get them back. I’m not sure what happened.

EllenofOz: Right.

nickelkeep: And I don’t wanna throw anybody under the bus ’cause I don’t know what happened. I, maybe I did just forget the passwords or what happened, but I didn’t have access, but I got ’em back, posted today and tomorrow, or I posted today and I’m gonna post again tomorrow. But sales will start for that on the 20th of December, and all proceeds will go to the ACLU. 

EllenofOz: Awesome. So make sure you stay tuned for some awesome zine full of fic and artwork. It’s not all Destiel, right?

nickelkeep: No, it, it’s, it’s a mixed bag. It does lean heavy towards Destiel because, let’s face it, in our fandom, I mean, 100,000+ fics, Destiel is, you know, the largest ship in the fandom.

EllenofOz: Mm-hmm.

nickelkeep: But I know personally I will have a Sabriel fic in there. We have a couple of Gen fics that will be in there, so it’s it’s got a little bit of something for everyone. 

EllenofOz: Awesome. Well, I’ll make sure we put a link to it, the Tumblr in that, in this post as well, so,

MalMuses: Yeah, great cause to support as well.

EllenofOz: And if I get a couple of minutes this week, I will have definitely have a story in there too.

nickelkeep: Awesome.

MalMuses: Brilliant.

EllenofOz: I just have to finish it.

nickelkeep: I’m the same way. I’ve only got about 500 words in mind, so, but that’s the one, I’m gonna be the person who puts it together as I can wait until the last minute to put mine in there. 

EllenofOz: Yes, yes. The deadlines. Don’t apply. No, that’s good.

nickelkeep: Yeah. She takes care of the art and I do all the writing stuff.

EllenofOz: That’s great. And the ones we’ve, that, that had have been published so far have been brilliant. So looking forward to seeing what this holiday kind of winter themed one comes out like.

nickelkeep: It’s not gonna be as big as the other ones were, ’cause the first one was I think 68 pages and the second one was like 72. I think this one’s only gonna track out to be maybe about 50, but it’s, you know, it’s a small one for the holidays, so.

EllenofOz: Yep.

MalMuses: Yep.

EllenofOz: Cool.

MalMuses: I had to excuse myself from this one ’cause my head has not been in the game.

nickelkeep: I hear that and relate to that completely.

MalMuses: But I’ve, I’ve now got the like, terrible FOMO issues. I’m just like, oh, I really wish I was, but,

nickelkeep: I mean, if you wanna,

MalMuses: There’ll be another, hopefully. If I manage to do it this week, some, I will ping it into your inbox. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: All right. Well thank you and you’re very welcome back anytime. So thanks, nickel.

nickelkeep: Thank you.

EllenofOz: And thank you everyone else for listening and we’ll talk to you again very soon. Happy holidays.

MalMuses: And as always, remember that the story isn’t over until we say it is.

[ Outro music ]