Transcript: Track 29: Royalty AUs

Episode 29 posted February 25, 2022
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

[Intro music]

Ellen: [00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the 29th episode of Mixtape Book podcast. My name’s Ellen

Mal: and my name is Mal.

Ellen: In each episode, we take a look at a different trope or subgenre in the huge collection of fan fiction that is dedicated to Destiel. And in this episode we’re gonna take a look at some fics that feature, alternative universes where Dean or Cas, or both are members of a royal family.

Mal: So to discuss her fic, King of My Heart, we would like to welcome author and Queen of Fluff, tricia_16. Hey Tricia.

Tricia: Hello. Thank you for having me.

Ellen: Welcome.

Mal: It’s a pleasure.

Ellen: So apart from King of My Heart, we’re also going to discuss Of Stone and Trees, which is by anyrei and queerwerewolf and A Midsummer Night [00:01:00] in Las Vegas by whelvenwings.

Mal: And as always, links to all of the fics that we’re gonna be talking about today will be available in the episode post on, and included in our collection on ao3.

Ellen: So before we start getting into this, we’ve got a couple of exciting announcements to make today. In a few weeks time on the 12th of March we are all going to be part of the More Profound Bond online con.

So this is gonna be totally online and free registration. And there’s a number of panels gonna be happening. It’s all gonna be through Zoom, including talking about canon fics and au fics and artists are gonna be involved. So mark your calendar, March 12th. And more information will be coming out about this very soon.

The website that’s got all the information is And that has some more information about what’s happening on the day. So we’re gonna [00:02:00] go for about four or five hours for this one. Please come along and listen. And it’s gonna be loads of fun.

Tricia: I can’t wait.

Mal: Yeah

Ellen: I’m on with Tricia and Mal, we’re gonna be talking about alternative universe fics, so

Tricia: Yes.

Mal: Yes.

Ellen: Let’s go on to Royalty Fics. Royalty a user are a funny thing. We’ve just realized as we’ve been looking through the list of them on ao3, that a proportion, a large proportion of them involve arranged marriages, which is a great trope in itself, don’t you think?

Tricia: Absolutely

Mal: Yeah. Have we done that one yet? I’m trying to remember. Have we done arranged marriages?

Ellen: Oh no. We’ve done like fake relationship type things where… But not the other way where they’re forced to do it.

Mal: So yeah, but there are a lot of them within this trope, huge amount crossover here

Ellen: but there are also varieties, like where one of them is a guard…like they all seem to be, A lot of them seem to be involving fantasy worlds as [00:03:00] well.

Mal: Yes. There are some modern ones. One of the ones we have is a modern one today. There are some modern ones. There’s quite a large crossover with A/B/O that I noticed. Not all of them, though. There’s quite a lot of fantasy worlds which use A/B/O but also just quite a lot of kind of plain, ordinary kind of, what would you call it?

Not necessarily high fantasy, but what we think of as fantasy without any A/B/O built into it. Yeah. So there is quite a lot of variety out there for these. Actually there’s, even for the weirdos like me, there’s actually quite a few of these for some reason, where Cas is a dragon. I don’t know why, but there seems to be a very large number of them where Cas is a dragon.

Tricia: I did not know that.

Mal: Yeah. Sometimes ones where, you know, he is royalty that has been turned into a dragon or sometimes just that Dean is going to slay him. which is, [00:04:00] it’s interesting the way the standards mind works sometimes.

Yeah, I’m very, I’m fascinated with the dragon fics. General, but especially the ones where it’s like a more, like a slightly kind of human version of a dragon and they have a human form or something. So yeah, I’ll definitely talk about one of those later because there is one of those that is a very good arranged marriage slash dragon slash everything else story.

Slash for sure.

Ellen: it’s definitely slash

Mal: Okay.

Ellen: We might, while we’re discussing these fics, we may talk about spoilers. So just… we’ll warn before we say spoilers, but I think some of these stories we can’t really talk about without spoiling things. So just go and read them and then come back and hear us talk about, maybe

Mal: Go read and come back!

Tricia: Then you won’t have to worry about the spoilers.

Ellen: exactly. Shall we go get right into King of My Heart then?

Mal: Yes, let’s do it.

Tricia: I’m ready.

Ellen: Hey. Okay. So King of My Heart. Tricia, you posted this one [00:05:00] during 2020?

Tricia: yes.

Ellen: Right back in the start of pandemic times,

Tricia: It was.

Ellen: And so this is 127,000 words and it is rated explicit.

Would you be willing to read the summary for us?

Tricia: Sure. I was reading over it when you said that I might be doing this early, and I realized there’s a really long sentence in here.  So the summary is:

When a fresh-out-of-the-closet Prince Dean is forced into an arranged marriage with the Princess of the Land Of The Angels, he’s sure he’s just signed away any and all hope of ever experiencing true love. But one knock on the castle door changes everything, and with The King and The Queen out of the kingdom and unable to interfere, Dean finds himself falling so hard and so fast for the first time in his life that he forgets to worry about the imminent return of his parents and what that might mean for him…

Mal: Dun, dun daaaah! (laughs)[00:06:00]

Ellen: So this was like a bit of a, like a lockdown project, like you, you started it early. Can you tell us about how this fic came to be?

Tricia: I remember I found a prompt. It was just I think it was like a prompt generator and like you click until it goes and until it like fills in all the blanks and it got me an arranged marriage, but same gender. I think was the original prompt. And I was like, how would we make that work? And that’s where the idea came from. And I didn’t write it in lockdown. I never missed any work, so I work full time and I never missed a day of work the whole time. But I saw a lot of people in the fandom who were going through hard times and that everything seemed to be really bleak.

And so that’s why I decided [00:07:00] to post something completely angst free, as fluffy as we can get, and just an easy, comfortable read for everybody so that they could have at least one thing to look forward to that wasn’t gonna bum them out.

Ellen: It is, it does end up being very fluffy. Thank you. It’s a gorgeous story.

Tricia: Oh, it’s very fluffy.

Ellen: The only angst is external. Sorry, Mal.

Mal: It is lovely. Yeah, that’s what I like about it, that there is almost all the way through this kind of tension that you never quite know what’s gonna happen when the king and the queen return. And it turns out there are whole other issues that they could not have anticipated at the beginning.

But there’s never any Dean/Cas angst, there’s maybe like a couple of paragraphs where there’s some potential upset, maybe I wouldn’t even call it angst.

Tricia: Yeah, I wouldn’t call it angst either.

Ellen: It’s just Dean Deaning.

Mal: There’s, yeah, there’s a discussion.

Tricia: A little bit of jealousy.

Mal: Yeah. A discussion for like, a couple of paragraphs and that’s it.

Tricia: So yeah it’s, it was interesting to write this one because it. [00:08:00] It was never a conflict between Dean and Cas that was driving the story. Like you said, it’s like the anticipation of what’s gonna happen when the King and Queen come back. That’s really driving it. So that was different.

Yeah. A different way for me to write.

Mal: I actually really enjoy that. Those are my favorite types of fics because I find that you get really interesting reactions out of characters when they’re reacting to external things. Especially Dean because he reacts to things so passionately, sometimes.

And throwing him in different situations, you can do such interesting things with him and whether or not that is to do with his relationship with Cas or not, it’s gonna affect him in some way. Luckily in this one, just solid fluff wall to wall, which was what everyone needed at the time.

And it was a love read for me recently too, so. Wow.

Tricia: Thank you.

Mal: Yeah, I was definitely in need of the fluff, so it was a good place.

Tricia: I gave it a reread, not all of it, but a pretty good skim. [00:09:00] Before I came on here to make sure I remembered what I was talking about. And one thing that jumped out at me was I remember how much fun I had picking out their clothes and dressing them in these fancy clothes.

Mal: I was going to ask about that, because I noticed, I was like, there’s a lot of clothing descriptions. She sounds like she’s having fun and like, when the author sounds like they’re having fun, I think the reader does. So

Tricia: it was a lot of fun to just picture them in all those outfits.

Ellen: Yes. And without them. (laughs)

Mal: did you have pinterest boards or websites or did you just do it in your head? How did you do it?

Tricia: My editor and beta reader Brianna– she was the one who was coming up with all the pictures, so she would find the ones that she liked and then she would send them to me and I would describe them and change little details whenever I needed to make it fit the characters a little bit more. Like I always try to add some sort of aspect of wings or feathers to Castiel’s outfit since he was from the Land of the Angels.

Yeah, so it was, the lot of the outfits were [00:10:00] thanks to Brianna. She was the fashion designer for this fic.

Mal: Very nice. Well, everyone needs a Brianna for sure.

Tricia: It’s true.

Ellen: I liked that that the Land of the Angels was more technologically advanced, like the way you built this world in is that the different kingdoms kind of had different technologies and the way they did things, they ate different food and Cas was really happy to come and eat fresh food and …

Tricia: I was kind of thinking of The Hunger Games, how in that book they each have like their district and each district is responsible for one thing.

Yeah. Yep. So I just kind of did that, but used elements of the Supernatural TV show we all and love.

Mal: Yeah. I thought it was really effective as well because I mean, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say we have to talk about the chickens, right? so

Ellen: Oh, I love that scene at the beginning with the chickens.

Mal: Yeah. So obviously Cas is coming from this place where he has [00:11:00] not seen a chicken in person in his life ever. and Dean’s just well we have a bunch of them. Let’s go

Ellen: And then he just goes and

Tricia: And Gabriel. Oh, Gabriel was also head over heels with the chickens when he finally got there.

Ellen: I loved that he said, “oh, you just, you have to catch one.” And Cas is like, “how do I catch one?” That would be exactly my reaction if I went into a chicken pen and someone said, you need to catch a chicken.

Tricia: I really loved how playful they were in that one. And I love that Dean was sometimes being serious and sometimes joking and he’s being so serious the whole time that Cas couldn’t tell when he was being serious and when he was joking like the, like why is there brown chickens and white chickens that he said because some hatch from the brown eggs and some hatch from the white eggs or whatever.

I thought that was pretty funny. Is that true? Was that not true? Cas doesn’t know!

Mal: Cas has no idea.

Ellen: He’s quite in character for Dean. I think he does that a bit [00:12:00] in the show anyway. He just, you know, has a deadpan kind of humor sometimes.

Tricia: Yeah. And I think that like Dean is a bit of a pain in the ass with Sam sometimes the whole brother like sibling relationship where they just poke fun at each other.

And so I like, I think given the opportunity, he would be more of a playful person than we got to see in the show.

Mal: Yes. A hundred percent. That’s one of the reasons why I’m, I love AUs so much. I mean, I love canon fics always gonna be my like, yes love because I love the characters, but we just get to see those parts of them that we didn’t get to see in canon and in AUs , we get to give them other opportunities and chickens and all kinds of things.

Tricia: I love doing the why did the chicken cross the road jokes too.

Mal: Yes.

Ellen: Yes. Yeah. Nice touch.

Tricia: It’s always fun when you can have a good, why did the chicken cross the road joke in your back pocket (laughs)  You never know when you’ll need that!

Mal: [00:13:00] This fic did have some lovely art scattered throughout it as well, which had some of those nice outfits that you were talking about. And I think we also get to see Baby and we get to see some of the chicken scene. Yes. Nice.

Tricia: I was very lucky. It was just one of my Twitter followers, Elle, who just reached out and said I would love to draw art for you.

And when I came up with an idea that was an AU which is what I almost always write, but not them just in regular clothes, like jeans and a t-shirt kind of thing. I was like, this has got to be like artists all over it, right? Let’s really see them. And she was fantastic. She was so fast and so detailed.

It was, I loved working with her. It was fabulous.

Mal: Awesome. Cause yeah, this is a slightly different AU for you. I mean, not completely off the reservation. It’s definitely still an au, definitely still has all your trademark kind of fluff and everything in it, I would say that most of yours are more kind of modern era, day to day [00:14:00] kind of setting stories. Do you have any others that I’m just not thinking of off the top of my head, which are kind of more fantasy settings? Or is it just this one,

Ellen: the wings one that we talked about in our first episode.

Mal: Oh, yeah. Molting Expectations. Yeah. But even that’s not oh, I can’t think of, that’s more like what would the term be? Urban fantasy?

Tricia: It’s contemporary, yeah.

Mal: Because Dean’s a police officer in that one, right? Or he was Yeah, that’s right.

Tricia: No, I have not, I don’t… So this is the thing about me is that writing fic for me is supposed to be fun. And so I tend not to choose anything to write about that I don’t know a lot about because that would lead to me having to do a whole bunch of research, which to me is not fun.

Ellen: that’s fair, yep.

Tricia: And so you’ll find I’m not gonna write anything like based in the past or anything like that because I don’t know anything about different times in the past and it would cause me to do so much research. So I’m basically sticking with what I [00:15:00] know, like 1990 and older

Mal: Yep. See my problem is I find the research fun, but then a lot less writing gets done. Cause you just end up in like a research hole at 3:00 AM like, shit, I should have gone to bed hours ago. Yeah. So

Ellen: I guess that’s a bit different with fantasy too though, because a lot of the time you’re just making it up. Like it, it doesn’t have to be based in any kind of truth. You can just build it yourself.

Tricia: Yeah! There’s like, no one’s gonna be coming along saying like, why would you have electricity and no television in their kingdom? Well, because I don’t want to. (laughs)

Mal: Because I said so.

Tricia: Yeah. It’s not historically inaccurate. I made it up. So zip it!

Ellen: You can have brown chickens coming out of brown eggs if you want to do that. No problem.

Mal: Yeah. Was it true or not? We’ll never know!

Tricia: Exactly. And so yes, I do. I will do that. If I have to make something up, I’m making it up so outlandishly that nobody can come back and be like, that’s not accurate because I made it up. So.

Ellen: Yeah. [00:16:00] Great thing about fantasy.

Tricia: Yes. Make my own rules.

Ellen: I wanna get onto the spoiler bit, but maybe we shouldn’t do that until the after the end.

Mal: We should probably save that for the last thing to talk about, right? Yeah. So, is there anything else we wanna talk about specifically before we get to the spoiler bit? Or are we now just on the edge of our seats wanting to talk about the spoiler bit?

Ellen: Oh, I dunno.

Mal: Now all I can think about is the spoilery stuff then.

Ellen: Yeah. Sorry. No, I was just, I was gonna ask something about John and then I’m like, oh, we have to kind of, okay. So if you if you haven’t read this fic yet and you want to read it before you hear spoilers, then you know, I’m gonna do… in the show notes this time… We’ve actually had a bit of feedback in the last couple of weeks that you know, people are finding sometimes find it a little hard to keep track of which fic we’re talking about when just because we mention the name of it right at the start and we don’t say its name again. So, to try and help with that, what I’m gonna do is put a timestamp on [00:17:00] each fic in the notes so that you know you need to skip ahead to the next fic, then you can find where that timestamp is. In the show notes, of course. And we will try and mention the name of the fic at the end of when we’re talking about it. So then if you are listening and go, oh, I really wanna read this. You don’t have to rewind to hear what it is.

Mal: Excellent. Okay. Good thinking

Ellen: So, spoilers. Okay.

Mal: Spoilers for King of My Heart, we should say.

Ellen: Yes. So you’ve got “John Winchester’s A+ parenting” tag on this one and John is a bit of an asshole at the beginning, to be honest. He’s just like “Nope, you’re doing this. There is no getting out of it. You’re gonna marry that princess, and that’s it.”  And but when we get to the end and John and Mary and Cas’s dad get to the Kingdom, we find out things aren’t quite the way that the princes had thought they were.

Mal: Yes. Amazing. Maybe there’s a reason John was acting the way he was . Yeah, . [00:18:00]

Ellen: That’s true. So I just gotta say I had no idea that you’d done this with this fic and that you’d actually pulled in like this as part of the Canon multiverse.

So you brought in Chuck as you know, Cas’s dad, but also actual God Chuck. Yeah. How come was that, did you always plan to do that when you started writing or did it just sort of happen as you were watching season 15 or how did that happen?

Tricia: Um, I think, I can’t remember the exact moment when I decided to go that direction. I do know that I did always know that there was gonna be a big reveal with who Chuck was, but I didn’t know I was gonna go multiverse right away. So I think when I started writing in Sam, having dreams about them,

Ellen: yeah, he has dreams about the graveyard, the zombies and stuff like that. I was like, ooooh.

Tricia: Yeah. So then I did that. I think I wrote that twice. I think I did like that vision and then about [00:19:00] all of them being squirrels. And then after I put the squirrels one in, I’m like, oh, wouldn’t it be neat if this was one of those alternate universes? And then I just kind of, yeah, threaded it in as I kept writing.

Ellen: Yeah. So I guess the I’m not sure what I expected the ending to be like but then when we got to that point, I was like, oh my God, this is like a, this is totally unexpected. I was really surprised, like pleasantly surprised. I was like, wow, I did not expect this. That was great.

Tricia: I did have some people when I was posting as a wip who caught onto those tiny little foreshadowing bits about the other universes, but I think that was the general consensus was that nobody really saw it coming, which I don’t know if that’s a great thing, or not, but it happens, though.

Mal: So, no, I was picking up on bits where you were kind of making reference to, you know, that Dean and Cas would find each other in every universe and that kind of stuff. Yeah [00:20:00] and I was kind of clocking those bits going through. and like the increasing frequency of them. But I was wondering to myself, I was like, okay, so are they heading to something with that or is it just that, you know, that’s basically any strike of the entire show for us.

Tricia: Right. Is it like an, yeah. Is it like a nod to the audience or is it actually leading to something?

Mal: Yeah. And then it turned out it was, it was brilliant.

Tricia: I remember when Brianna, my editor read that and I only give her like a chapter at a time. And so of course I left her on like the huge cliffhanger of what happens to Chuck.

And I remembered just like coming back to my inbox and just being like a flood of “Tricia, how could you leave me there? What happens next?”  that was fun for me. (laughs)

Ellen: So this you wrote this before, you know, in the middle of season 15 kind of thing. So I guess you didn’t know what was gonna happen in the end.

Tricia: I didn’t know, no.

Ellen: [00:21:00] I was gonna say, did it change? Has it changed? Would it, would have seen the ending changed anything that you did about it? But I guess it didn’t really you know, he just kind of disappeared at the end of it and went off to, you know, the canonverse I guess

Mal: presumably other places.

Tricia: Yeah. And I don’t know. I don’t think it would’ve changed anything. I always expected to not have a great ending for the show. So I had made my peace with that for a while before.

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: We were so hopeful.

Mal: Sad, sadly. I feel you on that one.

Ellen: who knew?

Mal: So, I mean, look, I knew. (laughs) I never knew exactly what I knew, but I knew I was always one of those people that just could never bring myself to believe that I was gonna get a good ending.

Ellen: I hoped. I wanted to hope Anyway, let’s not be salty

Mal: No this isn’t one of our canon salt episodes.

Ellen: No. So you did give them a, but you did end up giving [00:22:00] them a happy ending. This does have a happy ending at the end. Everybody’s in a good place.

Mal: This fic has probably a lot of happy endings in it. Ellen, where have you been? (laughs)

Ellen: It’s got a lot of happy endings.

Tricia: Yes it does. I try to deliver, what can I say? Yes. I would consider this whole story to have a happy ending. I mean, if you wanna go like way deep into it, then maybe not. But if you just leave it at where it ends, then yes.

Ellen: Yeah, I guess it’s an open kind of ending if you

Tricia: Right , because I guess at like the end of Supernatural, he would’ve killed all those other alternate universes, right?

Mal: Oh no. Let’s not think about that!

Ellen: Oh my God. No. Don’t (laughter)

Tricia: So like, just don’t go too far! Everythng’s fine. I just ruined my own story. I made it a not happy ending.

Mal: Yes.

Ellen: Okay. No. It never happened.

Mal: This is technically MCD for everybody.

Ellen: No, it never [00:23:00] happened. Jack put everyone back and everyone’s happy.

Tricia: Yes. Okay. 

Mal: Such a shame that pandemic happened and they only. However many episodes of Season 15

Ellen: Well, technically he’d started killing, killing off alternate realities before that. But

Mal: Shhh, will you stop! (laughing)

Ellen: let’s not argue about canon

Mal: Stop murdering Tricia’s characters. That’s her job!

Ellen: This includes your amazing, and you know, very brilliant smut. It’s got some beautiful scenes in it. I was gonna say they’re long, they’re long scenes, but I don’t think they’re not as long as ones in Light Me Up, which go for like thousands of words. Like you’ve got some gorgeous scenes in this one, but yeah, it’s not chapters and chapters of smut, you’ve got some plot, like squeezed in there too.

Tricia: I do, yeah. They only had a couple days.

Mal: So it’s more like stages of exploration in this one, like [00:24:00] yeah. It’s nice. I liked it. It’s cute. It’s wonderful. I was kind of rooting for them in the pond, to be honest. But then I was like, no, it’s outside. It’s cold. They have their pride let’s

Tricia: Yes. I always like writing a like a younger Dean and an older Cas because Dean was much smaller in the beginning seasons. So I always personally I like the idea of Cas throwing him around. But that, so I think I gave them what a six year age gap in this one?

Mal: That sounds about right. Yes. I think that sounds familiar. Yeah. So from yeah, I remember Cas was 25, so yeah.

Tricia: So that’s a bit of a gap there for how men tend to fill out.

Mal: Okay. Just so that we could incorporate Misha’s shoulders into that and Misha’s biceps and Misha’s thighs,

Ellen: and the collarbone.

Mal: just all of his other body parts.

Ellen: Yes. I was gonna say you have, you [00:25:00] ended up making Dean less of a ladies’ man in this one. Like he’s got, had women thrown at him during this arranged marriage process, but he’s never been interested in any of them. And until he realized, you know, suddenly that he must, he’s attracted to guys and he must be gay. Which is a…

Mal: And we got Cain.

Ellen: Ah, yeah. Interesting revelation. All of a sudden he is oh, this is why! this is like a light bulb goes on.

Tricia: Yeah. I thought it was kind of an just a different twist on the like Yeah. The princess who sees suitor after suitor, and it’s because they’re all rich or snobby or whatever, like I’m thinking of like Aladdin, like for example. Jasmine sees person after person, turns ’em all away. But I thought it’d be an interesting twist that it’s not because like they’re all jerks, it’s just that Dean’s not attracted to that gender. And it was not even something that occurred to him because he hadn’t been exposed to anybody personally that he knew that was gay. He hadn’t seen [00:26:00] that because in this world there’s not a lot of like print or print media or porn or videos or anything like that. So he was only subjected to what he was subjected to.

Ellen: Yep. And it just makes sense all of a sudden.

Mal: And then suddenly a world of opportunity opens up

Tricia: and then in comes Cas

Ellen: Yes.

Tricia: All problems are solved.

Ellen: You turn anyone’s head, I’m sure dressed like that.

Mal: Oh. Yeah. Was there a specific scene in this that you remember writing that was your favorite?

Or one like that you, when you first started writing, do you, if you write in order, is there something that you were kind of itching to get to?

Tricia: I do write in order, but I don’t plan my stories ahead of time. So I don’t know what’s gonna happen when I start writing it.

Ellen: True pantsing.

Mal: Ooh, pantser. [00:27:00] Okay.

Tricia: Yeah. I do remember I remember having a lot of fun writing the chicken scene, which I’m sure doesn’t surprise anybody because it was a pretty fun scene. And I also remember the proposal, spoiler. I remember again Brianna just being like, wow, I. She said it was poetry and I was like, oh, she’s being so nice to me.

But I just remember her like talking a lot about the way that I wrote for this story to make it more, I dunno, fantasy like, I guess. So I remember a sense of pride from that scene.

Mal: Yeah. Oh, that’s always nice to have. Yes.

Ellen: Extremely romantic.

Mal: Yeah, it is. It’s right up there with the Tricia Fluff, I think the romance and this one.

Excellent. All right, well, is there anything you would like to tell readers about this story?[00:28:00]

Tricia: Geez, you really just put me on the spot there.

Mal: I know, but I sometimes wonder that when I’m reading a story, I’m like I wonder what the author would like me to know about this.

Tricia: I think it’s fluffy, but it’s not… I wanna say adorable fluffy, like you’re not gonna be like, oh, like heart melting the whole time.

It’s more like fluffy romantic, which I don’t think is quite the same thing. So like you won’t die from fluffiness when you read it. It’ll hopefully leave you smiling and gooey at the inside.

Mal: Yes. And it sneaks up on you sometimes. It builds.

Ellen: I’ve definitely had a smile on my face. You know, by the end I was like, oh, they’re so sweet. Love them. So you hit your mark.

Mal: I am a fast reader, but I did read this all in one sitting, That’s… I know something’s compelling when I just sit and read the whole thing in one sitting, so.

Tricia: Awesome. Well, thank you.

Mal: [00:29:00] You’re welcome!

Of Stone and Trees

Okay. So the next fic we’re going to look at is called Of Stone and Trees, and it’s by anyrei and queerwerewolf.

It was published quite recently, I think this was September, 2021 I say quite recently, and it’s six months ago. How did that happen? (laughs)

Ellen: September does feel like just the other day.

Tricia: What is time?

Mal: It does, yep. So this fic is a little shorter than Tricia’s. This one is 48,000 words, 48 and a half. And the summary goes a little something like this.

The lands have been rife with demonic rifts, so in an effort to outnumber them, the King of the Druids and the human King decide it is time their kingdoms unite together to fight this foe. And what better way to unite than a wedding? Prince Castiel of the Eski Forest is to be joined with the eldest human Prince, Dean Winchester. Not that either of them are particularly excited about that…

Ellen: So this is like a true high fantasy kind [00:30:00] of au here, with druids and magic and that kind of thing. They built sort of two amazing worlds here, like the Druids realm. The Druids Kingdom is like in, in the forest and built in the trees and they visit each of the two kingdoms, so you do get a good sense of that world being a lot bigger than just one castle kind of thing. Like I guess a lot of fics that are in this genre tend to be just set in one city or whatever, but this feels a bit more like an epic kind of spreading out across a whole world kind of thing.

Mal: And it felt very detailed considering it was 48,000 words, and obviously a lot of that is focused on Dean and Cas and their relationship. Like it felt really detailed, the whole world that was set up.

Ellen: Yeah.

Mal: Without like, at no point other massive paragraphs, info dumping stuff at you here. That’s generally not their style of writing here at all. But at the same time, like I still felt like I knew a lot about this world by the time I was done.[00:31:00]

One of my favorite things early on about this, just such a tiny detail that Castiel has a crow in this. Which I just love anything, you know, anything feathers, a little nod to his angel-ness even in AUs . I do love it, but he has this very intelligent crow that can kind of go and, you know, scout out things and do things like that for him.

Ellen: Yeah. And I also love if they’ve got animal companions of any kind that the other one, like he often it’s Baby being a horse. And like Tricia, I’m pretty sure, and you are one that Cas kind of got on really well with Baby from the start

Tricia: Yes. And most other people don’t.

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: Yeah. And so in this one, it’s the other way around.

I mean, they both like baby and Cas’s mount, which is a deer… now, I’ve forgotten the name of it. It’s a very short name and I don’t remember. But anyway, that’s not important.

Mal: Skadi, I want to say you would pronounce it, I’m not sure.

Ellen: Skadi is the crow, right? So he…

Mal: The crow, yeah. The deer I’m not sure.

Ellen: [00:32:00] Yeah. Anyway, you know, he gets along really easily and well with the animals that Cas brought with him. And it’s really sweet.

Tricia: I like how in these stories we always, as writers seem to make like familiars or pets or children always get along with the other one as if it’s like some sort of clue that they belong together.

Ellen: That’s right. Yeah.

Tricia: As if we have any idea. Like it’s not gonna happen when we start reading.

Ellen: “Normally he’s so cranky with everyone else. I dunno why he is so happy to see you all the time!”

Tricia: Mm-hm! What an odd coincidence!

Mal: One of the things I remember noticing first on about this is, if I remember correctly, Castiel coming from his kind of whole druid background, he doesn’t eat meat.

And so kind of one of the first times that he meets Dean, unfortunately, is basically Dean stuffing his face. And I’m trying to, I’m trying to recall if that ever changes at any point. If Dean kind of dials back a [00:33:00] little bit just to I’m out just to kind of be respectful, or if they just get used to each other, I can’t remember.

But I do remember that it’s kind of a bit of a point of contention between them to start with… everything, everything is a point of contention between them to start with pretty much, but it doesn’t last all that long. I have to say it’s not like a huge angsty fics where, you know they’re going to be enemies for a long time or anything like that.

They do kind of come together and actually have a very kind of genuine sweet and then very smutty relationship by the end.

Ellen: Yeah. They do resolve that fairly quickly. They become friends quite fast.

Mal: Yes. They become friends and then they become lovers. Although there is some kind of a little bit of tension with that almost for a little while as Cas with his magic and they have this whole concept of him being in like a pure state to access his magic.

And whether it’s safe for him to use his magic if he’s impure cuz they’re fighting against… Are they demons? I [00:34:00] remember them being some kind of…

Ellen: Yeah, they’re demons

Mal: dark, shadowy… Yes. And about how it is believed… I won’t, we won’t go into like too much into spoiler territory. I’ll just do the general setup here.

But it is believed that if you are impure, then it’s much easier for the demons to get you basically when you’re using magic, they can basically get in around the edges. But yeah, he doesn’t stay pure that long. , there’s some token, yeah, there’s some token resistance. It must be said. (laughs)

Ellen: also I think it’s also because he because he’s been abstaining for so long at the insistence of his dad or whoever was teaching him the magic that he’s very touch starved and when he finally you know, starts being kind of a bit intimate with Dean. He’s like, “oh, this is all right. I really like this.” So that kind of accelerates everything a little bit. So,

Mal: yes.

Tricia: Oh, that’s such a sad idea. A little touch starved Cas.

Mal: Yes. So, yeah, so that is [00:35:00] kind of a whole plot to this. Like Ellen said earlier, you do get to go they begin with Cas going to Dean’s realm, world, land. And then they end up going to Cas’s.

And there’s, there are, there’s plot, there’s things that happen, great . But to me the best part about it was just their relationship in this and watching them, I guess learn about each other because even though they are in this kind of same world, they’re very different. So that was lovely. I enjoyed that. I also very much enjoyed. Gabriel in this story? He was great.

Ellen: Yes. And despite coming from another you know, race and realm and everything, no I don’t know if they’re a different race, but they’re Druids anyway. He’s very Gabriel in this one. Very idiomatically Gabriel.

Mal: So yeah. I don’t wanna talk too much about, especially about the stuff that happens when they get to Castiel’s realm, ‘cause that is full on spoiler territory.[00:36:00] But yeah, there’s some good plot in this one, which kind of never, you know, the relationship never takes a backseat, which is what I enjoy. Like you’re still focused on Dean and Cas, but there’s a lot happening.

It’s really good. Love it. And the smut’s so hot. They’re just so good at it. These two always are.

Ellen: Yeah, they are. It does say this is part of their, they did this smut week thing. Around this time where they just, where they posted a different story each day, that was a different lengths. And the header of for the whole thing says it smut… What do they call themselves? Queer wolf. Is that right?

Mal: Anywolf. Anywolf presents smut week. Yeah.

Ellen: Like shark week, but with penises. (laughs)

Tricia: penises everywhere!

Mal: I love it.

Ellen: And yes, they’re very… I don’t know how to describe it. They’re very explicit.

Mal: Yeah, they are. And they’re very [00:37:00] beloved. We love them, so yes.

Ellen: I haven’t read any actually Anywolf for a while and I forgot how much I enjoy their writing, so I’m gonna have to go and, ‘cause I… they tend to post like huge things, like really big stories. And sometimes you look at that’s like a 200,000 word story and you just go, phew okay, so I haven’t caught up for a while.

Mal: just can’t, not today, yes, but they’ve been posting some good things. I haven’t quite been able to keep up with them, but I’ve been reading a few and they’ve been posting some good ones, so…

Definitely recommend going to see what that’s all about.

Ellen: So much fic, so little time.

Mal: I was amazed when it got to a hundred K and now it just keeps going up, so. Yeah, of course. All right, well that was Of Stone and Trees, by anyrei and queerwerewolf.

Ellen: Okay, so the third fic we are gonna talk about is called A Midsummer Night in Las Vegas, and it’s by Whelvenwings who [00:38:00] we did have on the podcast during last year to talk about their fic, True As It Can Be, so go back and have a look for our fairytale episode where we talked about that one. But this one is a modern kind of royal AU. It was published in for DCBB 2020. So it’s got some artwork in it by deliciousirony and 60,000 words long and explicit. And the summary goes like this.

Dean is a Prince, and even in the 21st century he’s expected to make a good match (unfortunately for Castiel, marrying your local librarian and best friend apparently doesn’t count). The announcement of Dean’s upcoming arranged marriage to someone he doesn’t even know hits Castiel hard.

But late in the night during his bachelor party in Las Vegas, Dean leans over to Castiel and asks him a question. Castiel knows he should say no. But the next morning, Dean and Castiel wake up with matching rings on their fingers.

With an international incident only one mistake away, Dean and Castiel begin trying to get an annulment in secret – but slowly realise that neither of them wants to spend the rest of their lives apart.

Get that very sums it up, like really neatly,

Mal: actually, Yeah. Great summary. Good job, whelvenwings. It is a great summary.

Ellen: Dean is supposed to be getting married to somebody else in, in this case, Lisa who’s like a Duchess or something. This is an interesting sort of, it’s modern kind of in the world, but the place that they are from, the kingdom that Dean is from is a made-up place basically. So, somewhere in Europe. I get the feeling, I think…

Mal: It gave me like a Princess Diaries vibe because of that. Yeah. I was having Princess Diaries feeling every time they were talking about the Kingdom.

Ellen: Yeah. It did feel little like that. You’re right. So Cas is just his, is his childhood friend who is a librarian and not like… he’s confused because Dean hasn’t been speaking to him [00:40:00] lately, but they used to be inseparable and now they’re kind of not.

And so there’s a lot of kind of heartbreaking angst in the middle of this when they do find out that they’re married. But you know, they go… they’re going through the process of trying to annul it when it’s quite obvious that neither of them actually wants to. I mean, even after Cas works… even after Cas realizes, I think this is all from Cas’s point of view, right? Am I remembering that right? So even after Cas realizes that Dean actually has feelings for him, he’s still trying to kind of break it off because of Dean’s image or whatever… the good of the nation or whatever, you know. So it is, it’s quite angsty in the middle there.

Mal: Yeah. ‘Cause Dean has, yeah, Dean has both this whole concept that, you know, he has to do what’s right for his country, but also he thinks that he would be letting his mom down if he… because she’s already arranged this whole like, marriage thing, which obviously terrible reason to marry [00:41:00] somebody, but we all know he’s an idiot in every universe so yeah, he, so he’s really got this built up in his head that he will be letting his mom down if he doesn’t follow through with this. And there are a few moments in this where like Cas. I think he kind of even thinks it’s just that there are some brief moments in this where Cas really hates Mary.

And it’s understandable from where Cas is standing, like why he feels like that. ‘Cause obviously he’s a commoner, you know, and she kind of, kind of makes it clear that he needs to not get in the way several times. And so you can understand from Cas’s point of view why that is and why he would feel that way.

But a lot of it, I think for Dean comes down to not wanting to disappoint his mom, which I don’t know, it’s just such a kind of endearingly childish way. But like he’s just desperately wants to not let, like it’s very Dean. [00:42:00] It’s very Dean, but it’s also very stupid.

Ellen: Like he just needed Cas to go “Stop being so stupid!” like he does in the show.

Mal: Yeah, really. We needed a canon Cas moment.

Tricia: I love how so many of us tend to write Dean as like a smart person overall, but so, so dumb when it comes to relationship stuff.  

Mal: Yeah. He is a smart boy, but damn, he’s stupid.

Ellen: I also loved him is the one that he’s got… Cas is an orphan who lived in a home, I think they actually call it an orphanage or a, I can’t remember, but they, he and Dean have been going to visit this place every week or whatever. And it’s run by Jody and Donna as a couple, and they and Claire and a bunch of the other kids involved are all there. And that…

Tricia: Sounds wayward.

Ellen: Yeah. That part of it was [00:43:00] really endearing. I loved that.

Mal: It is, it’s really endearing. It’s so lovely and especially lovely how Claire, just a grumpy teenage Claire angry at everything, but yet her solidarity with Cas even in her angry grumpy way.

Like when it turns out that Dean’s going through with the wedding and obviously they, all of the girls kind of know that there’s something with Cas and Dean, even if they don’t know the details. And Claire just basically says that she wants to burn the cathedral down.

Ellen: Yes. She’s like, “Let’s blow up the cathedral.” And Cas’s like, “No. Bless you, but no.”

Mal: Yeah. They just basically have this entire conversation about whether or not she would get caught if she did.

Ellen: And he considers it for a brief moment. He goes, “I wonder if we could do that. No, we can’t.”

Mal: it’s just very endearing. I love a good Cas and Dean, any of them really wayward sisters moment and it’s done so well in this. It’s very endearing. Yeah. I also love Charlie in this. Bless her. [00:44:00] So Charlie is Dean’s best friend slash PR slash personal assistant slash person who keeps his head screwed on right. Basically she ended up with all of those jobs cuz she’s the only person Dean will listen to. Which somehow just feels incredibly realistic.

If Dean was any kind of royal person and somehow still had the exact same personality he did now I just, that would just be a nightmare for anybody who was trying to like, herd him places and get him to do stuff. And so poor Charlie has to do everything because she’s the only person that can get him to do anything.

So you get a lot of, what at the beginning you know, trying to stay away from the spoilers again, but at the beginning you believe it’s just very exhausted, exasperated Charlie throughout most of this which is definitely true. She’s definitely exhausted and exasperated ‘cause she’s handling Dean who’s being even more of a pain in the butt than usual, because he also fails to tell her that he married [00:45:00] Cas. So not only are they trying to hide it from the public, they are hiding it from everybody around them.

Ellen: Or even, when I think, doesn’t she say “there’s a rumor that you guys got married” and he’s like, “No! We didn’t do that.” (laughing)

Mal: No. Like they are the worst in this. They just endearingly the worst, but the worst. But yeah, she’s definitely one of my favorites. And she also has to entertain Lisa throughout almost the entire fic because Dean barely speaks to her, like a couple of words, a sentence or two here or there the entire rest of the time that she is in the same room as him or Charlie has to entertain this poor woman and it turns out that,

Ellen: yeah, I was gonna say, without going into spoilers like too many plot spoilers they, they do end up together. It is tagged in the relationships. So we can reveal

Mal: Yes, [00:46:00] we can mention that part that

Ellen: yeah, Lisa and Charlie do, you know, form a relationship out of that.

Tricia: Well, that’s not something you see very often.

Mal: No. It kind of works in this though. I was like, yeah that, that works out. Especially when it turns out that Dean has been engaged to Lisa for like…I think it’s something like six months or a few months at the beginning when the fic starts. And he hasn’t spoken to Cas in that time.

He’s been avoiding him. And so Cas kind of assumes, I would guess that he, you know, he’s been avoiding him because he’s wrapped up in his romance with this Duchess or whatever. And then Cass is kind of confused when he finds out that he hasn’t even met Lisa yet. And he’s just been avoiding her too, and apparently he’s just been sending Charlie instead every time, like every time he’s supposed to meet this poor woman, he just sends Charlie, which I’m laughing, but like Dean. Dude. So not cool. Really. Like I definitely did feel bad for Lisa a little bit. Obviously turned out well for her.

Ellen: She’s [00:47:00] a bit of a divisive kind of character sometimes in the Canon verse. But I did feel for her in this one, she does get that kind of, you know, stuffed around a little bit with.

Mal: She did. And she bears it with like good grace the whole way through. Yeah. Yeah, she does. And obviously it turns out welfare in the end, but yeah, she definitely doesn’t get treated the best. He’s never mean to her or anything, but he… neglectful certainly. Yeah. What else to say about this one?

Ellen: I think that the slow burn and just sort of relationship angst in this one is what kept me… I read this one all in one sitting because I, I had to know what was gonna happen because I felt so sad for Cas going through all of the stuff that he was going through that, you know, when you… I don’t know about you, but it was like a, it’s a physical sensation. Like when I’m reading about that angsty kind of feeling, I get like this tingling in my hands and I’m like, oh my God. I need to know what’s gonna happen!

Mal: Oh yeah. [00:48:00] My, my ribs ache. . . Yeah. It’s very physical, I must know. Yes. I really enjoyed the fact that the way this is written, there are so many conversations with Dean and Cas are…they’re having the same conversation, but they’re having an entirely different conversation and they’re just like talking at cross purposes. And Dean thinks that Cas knows. And tt’s no, he doesn’t. He thinks you means something else entirely and you just want to scream at the page cause they’re both being so stupid.

Ellen: Yeah. And Cas is like, “no, I know… this is what I want.” But something completely different comes out of his mouth instead. No, this is the best for you. Let’s just do what’s best for you. Don’t worry about me. And then, oh!

Mal: endlessly selfless Cas Which I guess carries a little more weight in this AU than in some AUs ‘cause obviously he’s not just thinking about, you know, gonna do what’s best for Dean.

But doing what’s best for Dean is in some ways doing what’s best for an entire country and the economy of that country. And what happens if [00:49:00] he breaks off his engagement to Lisa and then her country you know, doesn’t get along with his so well anymore and there’s this fallout from that and that kind of stuff.

So there’s actually kind of some weight to Cas’s selflessness more than just him wanting what’s best for Dean which kind of adds this whole other layer of issues to this. But yeah, there’s so there’s so much of Dean thinking that Cas knows, and there was a part like halfway through the fic where I’m just like staring at the page and I’m like, “Cas, he asked you to marry him. Like he did… That came out of his mouth. So at some point, did you not think to ask why?” (laughing)

Ellen: Well they were very drunk, but still…

Mal: And you know that like… Yeah, they were drunk. But it’s like Cas is like deliberately not asking himself that. Like he’s deliberately avoiding it. You’re just like, Nope, nope. Sit down and make them talk. Damn it.

Ellen: Yeah. Yeah. [00:50:00] Kind of need to scream at them. (sigh, laugh). Anyway, I love this one.

Mal: This one was really good. Very compelling. So if you want a modern version of this whole trope, this is a really good one, very compelling. Did not… it was one of those fics that when you read it, it did not feel like 60,000 words to me. I would’ve guessed it was like 30 something. So I think that’s a sign of a good fic generally.

Ellen: Yep. Yeah, so that one was called A Midsummer Night in Las Vegas by welvenwings. And all of the, these links are gonna be in the episode post. So if you wanna… if you don’t want to deal with ao3 search, which can sometimes be a little bit crazy, a little bit difficult, go and find the links.

So shall we go, shall we? Recommend some extra ones now? Mal, I know you’re dying to talk about dragons.

Mal: [00:51:00] I’m always dying to talk about dragons or creatures so that I can then start talking about Cas’s otherness and all kinds of stuff, but that there are so many rants about me talking about that on this podcast.

I apologize. Please see episode 3 6 9 4 12… Okay, so, of those royalty AUs that we just spoke about, those were all arranged marriage AUs, which, like we said at the beginning were… it’s a very common group. If you start looking in the royalty tag, you’re gonna be swimming through arranged marriage fics.

So I actually went out of my way to dig around to find some that weren’t, and found a delightful amount of dragon Cas fics under this tag, which any of you have listened to our creature thick episodes before know that I adore anything where Cas is not necessarily, at least maybe not part of the time or maybe all of the time depending [00:52:00] on the story in a humanoid shape, because there’s a lot of canon kind of reasons why we would like to write that, right. You know? And it’s a really interesting way of exploring how “other” Cas is compared to a lot of humans. So the fact that I’m gonna rants to start with is called See the Sunrise by Carver Edlund and Zerda. It’s 36,800 words. I’ll give you a quick go through of the summary.

He didn’t know what he expected. Maybe piles and piles of gold and treasure, closely guarded by a massive scaly beast. Red or blue or black and breathing fire. Maybe wings, maybe not, maybe it would have red eyes and maybe it would attack as soon as it’s saw Dean. He was expecting, well, he was expecting a dragon, not this being a young man with dark hair, two blue eyes and a tilt to his head. He didn’t look like a dragon. He just looked confused.

So the story in this one is Prince Dean is going off to [00:53:00] slay the dragon that has been eating the cattle from the fields at the edge of his province. It turns out that it’s not a, well, technically yes, it is a dragon, but only after sun set.

During the day he is a human dude who chills in a cave because he can’t really go anywhere because he turns into a dragon as soon as the sun goes down. It’s all tagged, so it’s not a spoiler for me to say that Cas is also a prince who was a prince of a neighboring kingdom. A kingdom, which is pretty much next door to Dean’s Kingdom, is now a dark, horrible kingdom. They call it the Kingdom of the Croats, where people are enslaved. It’s a nasty place, dark, ruled over by a king who is a bit of a tyrant. And it previously used to be a beautiful, light happy place where the people were happy. And the reason for that being that Lucifer cursed Cas, his brother, so that he could take over the throne instead.

So [00:54:00] he then took Cas to this cave and chained him there. So he was actually chained in the cave for the first five years. We also find out that Cas has been in this cave for, I think about 15 years. And so during that time, his kingdom has fallen into what’s now known as Kingdom of the Croats.

So once Dean finds all this out, obviously Dean’s like “well now we have to break your curse. We have to rescue your kingdom. We have to do all these things.” Which causes a few problems ‘cause Dean doesn’t always think things through.

We’ve got some really great tropes happening in this one. We have Dean being afraid of flying, but of course circumstances force it to have to happen anyway. So you just have him clinging on and screaming. Just seems necessary. Cas is an ice dragon in this one. So he’s not your typical kind of fire breathing dragon. He can freeze things instead.

They go on a quest to find the three things [00:55:00] that are needed to break Cas’s curse. They avoided the cliche, you know, “oh true loves kiss, will break it,” blah, blah, blah. Instead it’s like a stone from the deepest lake, like the bottom of the deepest lake in somewhere.

And then something that belongs to Lucifer to the person who created the curse. So they have to go behind enemy lines to get it, which does not go well at all, unfortunately. Okay, there is minor character death in the tags, so Yes. So when they go behind enemy lines, it does not go well. And does involve… end up with Castiel losing one of the remaining members of his family which obviously goes terribly well, terribly not well, especially considering Dean and Cas are found stood over her body which doesn’t look good for them, doesn’t look good, even though it was very clearly Lucifer that did that. And then the final ingredient is the blood of one of his loved ones, which, you know, they have that cliche moment, which we all love, where it’s “oh no, but now his loved [00:56:00] one is dead. So what do we do? Cuz there’s clearly no one else he loves. Right?” (laughs) No it’s wonderful. It’s full of some really nice tropes, but done really well. I just loved it, the whole thing. It’s not super long, but again, I binged it all in one go. And it was just so fun. I loved Dragon cast, even though his, when his curse was broken, I was like, oh, why can’t he still be a dragon sometimes? oh just now and again?

When he is a dragon, because he has this profound bond with Dean. They can talk telepathically which is fun. So they have the whole PB going on..What doesn’t this fic have when it comes to these kind of tropes, honestly oh, we do have a Sam and a Charlie who are doing great in this.

Dean I believe is supposed to be that… the entire kind of timeline of this story is that when it’s Dean’s 21st birthday, he’s supposed to, [00:57:00] you know, do this big event to basically become mature enough to one day be king and that kind of stuff. And he’s supposed to marry, I believe it’s Jess, Jessica, from another kingdom, which obviously everyone’s happy. That doesn’t work out. Nobody more happy than Sam. So yeah. Yeah, so many good tropes in this. I would just love everybody to go read it. Yay. Awesome. Did I babble enough about the Dragon fic yet?

Ellen: Yes, absolutely. Okay. Tricia, did you have one you’d like to recommend at the moment?

Tricia: I really loved All Things in Succession by everandanon, yep.

Yeah, I probably, it’s a very long one. Another arranged marriage kind of idea, and I bet you I’ve read it five times and it is a long one that has not been out very long, but I, I adore it. [00:58:00]

Ellen: I haven’t read that one.

Mal: No, that’s one of those ones that’s been on my like to read list for so long and I look at it and then I’m like, oh, but I just don’t have time right now, so I skip over everything.

Tricia: I find that this author is really great at writing Dean being stupid, but seeing from, for us, seeing from Dean’s point of view why it isn’t stupid. Like it makes perfect sense the way she explains it, even though like you as the reader are like, “oh no Dean!” but the author does such a great job of making it seem perfectly logical for Dean. And I love that. It’s so funny to read.

Ellen: That one’s A/B/O, right?

Tricia: Yes, I’ve, yeah, it is. This one’s only rated M though. There’s not really too much of that.

Mal: [00:59:00] Oh, that’s interesting for an A/B/O. You don’t see many A/B/Os that aren’t explicit.

Tricia: It’s really good. I do highly recommend that one.

Ellen: Cool. Well, speaking of long fics we have to mention Cinderwings, which obviously is a royalty AU. We’ve already spoken about it before in our fairy tale episode. So if you wanna hear more about Bendingsignpost’s Cinderwings, then go have a listen to that one.

But the other longer fic that I was gonna mention, even though I have not read a lot of this, I think I’ve read the first few chapters, but it’s still a work in progress. So this is Prince of My Heart, which is separate to King of My Heart, but Prince of My Heart by AllmyStars. They started writing this a couple of years ago and it’s still going at… let me just go back to the fic itself…

65 chapters and they’ve got 80 chapters as the full count. So not quite close. It’s [01:00:00] already up to 300,000 words. And this is also, I believe it’s not arranged marriage, it’s like where Cas is the Prince and he’s looking for a suitor basically. And Dean sort of comes along to tries I think he’s not a prince, he’s like a… some kind of commoner, but it’s got, you know, a quite a big following for a wip and and looks amazing.

And I’ve kind of had it on my radar for ages thinking, oh, it looks so good, but I’ve, I was holding off until it’s finished and now it’s just getting so long. And I’m like, Ooh, maybe I should start now. I might be finished by the time it’s finished posting, but but yeah, might be worth a look if you like, if you’re into long slow burn.

It does have slow burn tagged. So, but I think at this point in the fic they are actually together, I believe by the three quarters of the way through

Tricia: that would be a slow burn. Yeah.

Ellen: Yeah. So yeah, that’s Prince of My Heart

Mal: Excellent. Cool. Well, as we’ve had two longer ones, I’ll [01:01:00] recommend a nice short and sweet one then.

So I’m going to give a shout out to Letters to a Prince by Saltnhalo. Which is, it’s under 10,000 words. This one is very sweet. So it’s also a two person love triangle where Prince Dean and Prince Cas have been writing to each other for years. And then there’s an arranged marriage and off they go to meet the person that they’ve been arranged to be married to.

Obviously we know as readers, we know what’s happening here. They don’t immediately talk about it…like it’s not as straightforward as you would think in this one. They don’t just write a letter and say, I’m getting married to this person. ‘Cause you know, that just wouldn’t be the kind of communication we expect from these guys (laughing)

But it’s very cute. Like it’s not angsty or anything like that. It’s lovely. This is a teen, like very cute story. I love a two person love triangle, no matter how small. So give me one [01:02:00] that’s under 10,000. Yeah, this one that I can read in a lunch break that’s 10,000 words and it’s as cute as this one.

I’m sold , so, yeah.

Tricia: Yes. I have read this one too, and I also remembered liking it. And yeah I remember this one.

Mal: Yes, it’s exactly, definitely recommend that one for a shortie. So I’ve got a couple more recommendations and they are, yeah, those are slightly bigger, but not quite the length of the ones you were just talking about.

I have a recommendation for a story called Who Is The Lamb and Who Is The Knife. Now this is actually by an orphaned account on ao3 now. It was by fairychangeling. So it has been orphaned. It was published in 2016 and it’s 17,000 words, actually just under 18,000 words.

So this is an arranged marriage story. It’s a little more angsty than the previous ones that we were talking about. In this one, we have two worlds that are at [01:03:00] war. So we have angels versus demons. They are basically that the arranged marriage is to encourage peace between the two lands. And Cas is sent off to marry the Demon King.

Off he goes. They don’t necessarily hit it off well, Dean is very nice, but he’s not what Cas expects and vice versa. They’re basically just across purposes for a while. I think the thing that’s wonderful about this story when I was reading it was I was really fascinated with the two worlds that they’d set up because they somehow managed to make it feel like there was just so much misinterpretation between these two different factions.

That each of them thought that they were kind of forced into this because they were probably gonna lose otherwise. Each of them thought that, you know, the enemy is the barbaric one, cuz they’re doing all these things. And so that’s what Dean and Cas think about each other. Yeah. And it’s actually not true at all.

And they really have to make a conscious [01:04:00] effort to kind of stop doing that and putting themselves in each other’s shoes a little bit. And so much of it is written like when you read it and they finally kind of talk, start talking about it a bit, so much of it is just kind of misinterpretation of values, neither of them were necessarily kind of worse or better than the other. They were both terrible. But for example, the angels are viewed as horrific and having no mercy because they just kill everybody. And that’s because the angels consider it to be an honor to die in battle. And if they survive, then that’s shameful.

Whereas the other, the demons view it as no, we would rather not kill people. We would rather torture somebody for information and leave them alive because we know they have a family to go back to. We know that, you know, if we kill them, we’re taking away a family’s income or something like that.

So they just have two very different ways of looking at the world. Neither of them are right, but neither of them are wholly wrong. [01:05:00] And it’s just so fascinating the fact that they have these two realms like that and Dean and Cas think those things about each other and it’s this whole thing is just them untangling all of that really.

Yeah. It’s very fascinating. They like each other from the beginning, but each think the other doesn’t like them. They’ve got that whole thing going on. But yeah, I was really interested in the world building for this one. It was great. And that one is, did I say it was 17,000 words just in case. It’s 17,000 words, and it’s called Who Is The Lamb and Who is the Knife?

Ellen: I was surprised when I went through the list of… like we, we got a load of recommendations from our channel in PB. So thank you. Thank you everyone in the Discord for all the recs. I was surprised at how few of these I’d actually read.

I feel like I’m slacking on the royalty AU front here. So I’ve got a whole new new list of things to read, but one of them I have read is called Once Upon A Time in a Disney Store [01:06:00] by NoxSoulmate. So this is not actually a royalty AU, but it is where Cas works in a Disney store, and he like cosplays as the prince.

So he’s sort of Prince, but not really. I think he’s Prince Charming or…It’s been a while since I actually read it so I can’t remember the, all of the details. But basically he gets sick and he loses his voice and he still has to go to work. And then the kids at the store are really worried about him because he can’t speak.

And a little girl, I think Mary Winchester, who is Dean’s niece, you know, like Sam’s daughter, decides that she has to help him break this curse that is losing his voice. So she you know, tries to get Dean to you know, break the curse. How else does one break curses in Disney as well?

And so it’s actually a little, it’s not as simple as that sounds, it’s 23,000 words and I do think it involves them actually getting to know each other and having a [01:07:00] real relationship. But it’s very cute and funny, I think as well, so worth a read.

Mal: Adorable. Okay.

Ellen: Yeah. One last one for you?

Mal: Yeah, I’ve got one more then. So this fic is The Hunter and the Wildcat by ghoulsandhalos. It’s just over 40,000 words, so it’s a good mid-length fic you can sink your teeth into. The concept of this story is that Prince Dean and Prince Castiel are from neighboring realms. This is a kind of a world where there’s only one realm out of all of them where homosexuality is allowed.

It’s not in the other realms. So it’s very much. obviously happens, you know, but kept quiet under wraps. The story begins because a Lady Eileen has been captured by King Azazel of a different realm. And Dean’s gonna stop at nothing to get Sam’s girl back, basically.

So he goes [01:08:00] to King Michael for help. And Michael refuses until Castiel offers an alternative solution and it ends up with Dean and Cas basically going behind enemy lines trying to get Eileen back for Sam. So you’ve got this whole kind of fantasy plot going on and them basically falling for each other, but a lot of the time being too scared to say anything because they know that in both of their realms it’s not allowed.

So there’s some really nice tension building in this one. Which obviously erupts at various moments. But it does have a very happy ending. Which I will say even given kind of those tags and those things, there is a very happy ending for them where they get to be together and live openly.

And it’s like the best ending that you could think of for everybody involved. It’s wonderful. So yeah. I love a happy ending. I will go through almost anything to get to one. But this is just [01:09:00] really good. I really enjoyed like the actual kind of world building. And like I said, it’s got that really like fantasy, adventure feeling to it.

So it’s like those like fantasy adventure movies from the eighties, like talking like Princess Bride kind of style of stuff here, like cool. I really enjoyed it. It also has lovely art ‘cause this was a PineFest from 2021, so it has some beautiful art by ladyrandombox. There are several pieces throughout this and they’re so good.

So even if you end up reading, like always. So yeah, even if you download this to read, make sure that you go to a oh three to appreciate the art. ‘Cause it’s oh so good. I love it.

Ellen: Awesome. Sounds great.

Mal: Yes. Would recommend to anybody.

Ellen: So I guess that’s everything, so thank you. Thank you so much, Tricia, for coming to talk to us today. It was a pleasure.

Tricia: Oh, thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.

Ellen: Yeah. You’ve got a new fic coming up soon. [01:10:00] Is that… Can you tell us anything about that?

Tricia: Yeah, I do.

Mal: You’ve been writing again, it’s exciting.

Tricia: I am. I think I, I lasted, what, three, four months maybe?

Mal: I mean, I’m still impressed that you lasted that long, honestly,

Tricia: it was a long, that was the longest. I think I’ve gone without writing since I started writing, so it was weird for me too. But yes, I do have a new story coming out. I think I have finished four chapters so far, and I, I don’t really know. I actually I was gonna say, I don’t know how to describe it, but I did just write a summary for it and it’s pretty short.

So I’ll just tell you what it is. It says “when Dean’s college roommate Cas ghosted him right after graduation, Dean assumed he’d never hear from Cas again. 11 years later, Dean finds an old email Cas sent right before Cas got married almost a decade ago. And suddenly Cas leaving without a [01:11:00] word, looks a lot different. Dean’s fully aware he may be projecting here, but Cas’s email sure sounded more than friendly. It was sent a long time ago though, and a lot has happened in the last 11 years. Could Dean actually have a chance? There’s only one way to find out.”

All: Ooooh!

Tricia: So, so it’s pretty fun. I’m having a lot of fun with so far.

I’ve mostly been writing texts and emails back and forth between the two of them, which I haven’t done a lot of in old fics. So it has been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to being able to share some new stuff hopefully soon.

Mal: Exciting. Well, you know that we will all be there for it.

Tricia: Thank you.

Ellen: Cool. Well links to, as I said earlier, links to all the fics that we’ve talked about today. Can we found at and you can get in touch with us through the website or through any of our social media. All of it is @ mixtapebookclub.

Mal: Awesome. So for our [01:12:00] next episode, we are going to be discussing Enemies to Lovers Fics, which are one of my favorite tropes.

I am looking forward to binging a bunch of enemies to love stories. Love that trope. So please, if you have any recs, go ahead and throw them at us on social media.

Ellen: Yes, we welcome all recommendations, always. So make sure to get in touch with us. So thank you very much for listening and we’ll talk to you again next time.

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