Transcript: Track 30: Enemies to Lovers

Episode 30 posted March 18, 2022
Transcript by EllenofOz
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

[Intro music]

Ellen: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the 30th episode of Mixtape Book Club podcast. My name’s Ellen

Mal: and my name is Mal.

Ellen: In each episode, we take an in-depth look at a different trope or sub-genre in the huge collection of fanfiction dedicated to Destiel. In this episode, we’re gonna have a look at some fics that feature everyone’s favorite trope. Like a lot of people have this is their favorite trope and that’s enemies to lovers.

Mal: And to discuss her fic, This Cursed Sanctum, we would like to welcome author allmystars, also known as Jess. Hi Jess.

allmystars: Hello!

Ellen: welcome.

So the other fics we’re gonna talk about today include The Galaxy’s Most Wanted by Saltnhalo, (don’t) stop texting me by… now. I’m gonna say this wrongly because it has odd punctuation, but I think it’s feelthe_beat, and Such a Sweet Surprise by lefurlong. I dunno if I said that correctly either, but let’s roll with it.

Mal: As always saying ao3 names out loud is the bane of our existence.

Ellen: I’m sorry!

Mal: Okay. And as always links to those fics and all of the ones that we mentioned today will be available in the episode’s post on the blog, on and included in our collection on ao3.

Ellen: So a couple of things before we start actually talking about these fics today- we just had on last weekend the More Profound Con which was our online Destiel con, which was the first kind of mini version of it to try and make sure that we could actually do it. And we had such a lovely big turnout. So thank you, everyone who registered and came along to listen to our panel on… we were talking about AU fics and writing them. That was a weird description of that, but, you know… it was really lovely to see so many people there. It is really exciting that we’re going to have a much longer and more varied event on November 5th and 6th later this year in 2022. And that will probably try to encompass more time zones, like spread out over a longer time. Because I know quite a few people in Australia and like the sort of Asian time zones weren’t able to come because it was like the middle of the night.

Mal: Yeah, you had to get up at some horrific hour of the morning to moderate our panel. I felt so bad for you.

Ellen: it was, it was a sleepy morning, but that’s okay. It was worth it. It was a lot of fun. So yeah, that one in November is gonna be a lot more interactive as well, we’re hoping. So we’re hoping to have some kind of a social component, either a discord server or something like gather or one of those graphical kind of spaces where people can group together and talk. And yeah, it should be like a much bigger variety of panels and lots more people involved. So keep your eye out for a survey for expressions of interest for that coming up soon. And thank you to everyone who came along this weekend.

Mal: Yeah. And thank you to all the organizers as well. Because it was a fun experience. It was fun to do it. And it seemed, you know, from the chat, like people were enjoying it. So I’ve heard lots of good things and good feedback. So thank you to Amy and Chrisha and to you as well for all the work you did.

Ellen: Thank you! It was a lot of fun. If you registered, but couldn’t make it, the recording of it is available. You just have to email the con email address and request it. I think we’re looking at ways possibly to make it available to people who didn’t register, but there’s a sort of, a bit of a privacy issue and all that stuff. So we’re working through that so watch this space on that, but yeah, that was good fun.

Mal: So we do have one more exciting thing to mention today. Well, exciting and nerve-wracking in a way, a little bit. We wanted to talk to you about the launch of the Mixtape Book Club Ko-fi account or koh-fee account. However you might pronounce that. There has been a little bit of an ongoing saga with this for us in that we did actually get everything set up on Patreon a few weeks ago, but then things, things happened and we decided that we weren’t necessarily really comfortable using that platform.

So we had to juggle some things around. And now finally, a few weeks later than planned, we are now ready to announce our ko-fi space to you.

Ellen: Yay!

Mal: As everybody probably knows obviously Ellen and I do not have any advertising on this podcast. We don’t have any kind of, you know, sponsors or anything like that.

We just do everything ourselves from the hosting to the giveaways because we don’t ever want to force everybody to have to sit through ads or any of that kind of stuff. It’s not really not really what we’re about here. And our ko-fi is going to work in a way that hopefully reflects that. We don’t ever want to cut anybody off from content or put any kind of pay wall up that will stop anybody from listening into the podcast as they wish.

So if you go there to Mixtape book club on ko-fi ( which you will see linked on our blog and we’ll throw up on, on Twitter and everything as well. You will see that there are lots of different tiers at different prices, wherever people are comfortable with donating towards the upkeep of the podcast.

But it’s purely donation based. So you’re not going to… people who can afford to donate more are not going to necessarily get something that other people won’t be able to get. So hopefully everybody will understand why we chose to do it that way. And we’ll be very grateful for anybody who decides to support us and come along and join our discord server and talk about all of the upcoming fics with us and have all kinds of fun.

Ellen: Yeah, totally voluntary. You don’t need to do anything if you don’t want to, but it just helps us out a bit, if you appreciate the content that we put out for you guys.

Awkward kind of moments aside shall we, shall we talk about some enemies to lovers?

Mal: yes, definitely less awkward than talking about that.

Ellen: All right. Yes. I was gonna say at the start of this, that that our boys in canon have like the ultimate kind of enemies to love a story really. Don’t they? Like when they first met, it was like a stab in the heart.

Mal: Yeah. Probably not a lot of couples that can say that.

Ellen: Hopefully. (laughs) Well, it’s a very short love affair if that’s the case

Mal: in most cases. Yep, yep. So, yeah, they really weren’t the best of friends to start with. I think it changed, well, let’s say it changed quite quickly. It did take a decent portion of season four for them to get to the point where they kind of genuinely trusted each other, I think.

But then they got there and there was a big, a big like turnaround Destiel moment for me when they were in the green room much further on towards the end of season four. And I think to me that was like quite a big, a big moment. I think most people would agree where Cas decides to help Dean.

So, but yeah, definitely enemies to lovers.

Ellen: Yeah. There’s a lot of warring opinions on when the, the actual loving part actually came into play. Right? Like there could be so many points throughout the series where you’re like, yeah, they’re definitely, definitely in love here. And then later on, it’s like, actually, maybe not yet.

Mal: well, you know what, we can leave our listeners to argue about that. that’s fine. I think everybody has their own like slightly different interpretation of how they see it and yeah, it’s all, it’s, it’s all valid. It’s fine. As long as you let other people have their opinions too, it’s all good.

Ellen: we’ve got so many different, like canon verse fics that actually explore each different era of the show and you know, have that actual falling in love moment in, in all different times. So yeah, something for everyone.

Mal: And now the show’s over, it’s actually quite interesting to go back and look at those stories as well, and kind of see like where it could have diverged at so many points, but obviously the show just kept on going and was just on air forever. But there are so many kind of rewrites and, and canon-divergent fics that at various points we’re like, Okay. Now this is where it could happen. And this is where we could go from here. And then the show had to come along and well, Kripke them, I guess. It’s kind of like being Jossed only worse. So…


Ellen: That’s so sad.

Ellen: Well, which shall we start with, we’re gonna start with The Galaxy’s Most Wanted, right?

Mal: Yeah. Shall I give the summary a read? Oh, this is a long one. Okay Saltnhalo, thanks. All right. This is The Galaxy’s Most Wanted by Saltnhalo. It was published in 2018, and it’s just over 10,000 words. So, a nice old lunch break chunk if you’re someone like me. And the summary goes like this:

Dean had been the one always up to mischief, running around with his father’s broken laser pistol and constantly getting into places he shouldn’t have been. Sam, in comparison, always seemed to be the smart, studious one – until he reprogrammed the AI in their neighbours’ house to play ‘Happy Birthday’ at the loudest possible volume while keeping all the doors and windows firmly locked. It had taken two experts seven hours to undo the coding that Sam had managed to integrate into the house’s programming.

So, yes. They had been exceptional even from the beginning. And when John Winchester crossed one too many people, his sons inherited his beloved ship, and took to the cosmos doing what they knew best: stealing.

And they were damn good at it too. Almost unrivalled, across their own galaxy and even those neighbouring.


Ellen: Bit of space gays for us first up today.

Mal: Space pirate gays! Yay! Now anybody who’s listened to the podcast before knows that I am a huge space gays fan. We have an entire episode on space gays which we will have to remember to link up in, in case anybody hasn’t heard that one. But this giving me enemies to lovers and space gays? Yes, please. and we even get angry sex later, too. I mean, come on.

Ellen: Yeah. So we’ve got Dean and Sam who, so yeah, they’re scavengers, basically pirates who will go and find the cargo or whatever of ships that are in trouble and steal it. And often they get, they get there, but someone has already been there first. And they know, I think at the beginning they actually know of Cas. Like they know that it’s him. Right?

Mal: They don’t like that it’s him, but they are aware.

Ellen: Yeah. So that we cursing his name and whatever. Until eventually they both get to a ship at the same time and like actually meet each other in person. Which is just really interesting because I think they’ve got that thing where they’ve, they’ve heard each other speak before, but never actually seen each other in person. So they have that instant, like, “oh no, he’s hot” kind of moment.

And then also the forced proxy limited thing where… sorry, I’m just going to full spoilers on this because it’s only short I’m sorry!

Mal: It’s impossible. Not to with the short ones, I think. Yep.

Ellen: Yeah, I guess up front we have, we’ll have to say that we are gonna talk about spoilers during this episode. Because some, a lot of these fics are, are a bit shorter. Yeah, so it turns out to be a set up and, and Sam has to escape without Dean and he goes with Cas so they have like a forced kind of you know, snowed-in kind of situation where they have to spend time together on, on Cas’s ship.

Mal: So they’re trapped there together. And as far as I remember, I don’t think either of them actually got like the cargo they were intending to from that one either. No. So they completely failed.

allmystars: Yep. They have quite the argument about that too. I think that’s what leads up to their super angry sex.

Mal: Excellent. Yeah. It’s, it’s very Firefly, this one really, isn’t it.

Ellen: Yeah. I love it.

Mal: I think actually probably in the author’s note. Yep. there it is “inspired in parts by Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Firefly, etc.”. that. Yeah, that kind of kind of thing. It’s just a whole vibe, isn’t it? Space pirates. I mean, we love it. Yeah.

Ellen: I love that she’s added a lot of details here too. Like the different things that they… like places that they go. And there are things about the ship that you only get in like a space… thing. That’s a really, sorry, my words aren’t working  today I don’t think, but do you know what I mean? Like she’s built the kind of world around these, these ships really well. It’s very detailed.

Mal: Yes. I really liked that even though they are in spaceships, she still had it so they at Dean had to essentially manually fight this other ship. Like, you know, he obviously, instead of picking up a gun, like jumps into a seat and operates the ship’s guns, but it’s still a very like Dean position to be in.

Ellen: Yeah. Little bit Star Wars there.

Mal: Yeah. I think it’s fun. I like it. And they’re just very pissy with each other. Like, I love how smug Cas is at the beginning. Like the first time they come across him, like he literally just signs off with like “until next time” and then just steals off and like, I don’t know. I love it.

Ellen: Yeah. He is.

allmystars: I read this one last week just after you posted them actually. And I think this is my first space gays that I’ve read ever, maybe and then immediately went and looked them all up and now I have a list. (laughter) I really like the, like this one specifically, like… You know the enemies to lovers trope, that’s like, “knife to the throat”? This one has “gun to the back” and I just love that it’s there. Like, that’s my favorite thing in any enemies to lovers fic is that, or story, actually, is that that moment where like they come face to face and there’s that standoff. And I really, I really think this fic did really well with that, especially like within the danger they were in, without actually knowing it, yeah.

Mal: mm-hmm yeah. It added some really high stakes. And we’ve got the usual self-sacrificing Dean here where obviously he wants Sam to get away safe. So he makes Sam leave, even though Sam is kind of freaking out. He forces Sam to leave to safety by himself and leaves him there to be stuck with Cas who obviously at that point he doesn’t know, Cas could kill him for all he knows at that point, I guess. But I think that’s fairly typical of Dean. That’s a very solid Dean characterization, that bit. I dunno about you not being able to do words. I can’t either, apparently (laughs)

Ellen: that’s okay. I also loved at the end with when Sam actually gets, when he gets back in contact with Sam and he’s like actually now saying, “oh, Cas, he’s a good guy. He’s alright.” And then Sam’s immediately like, “Did you sleep with him?” (laughs)

I feel like that’s very in character for these two, maybe early seasons. Not so much later.

Mal: no, I liked it. I don’t know how much more we can say about this one. Just because it is a shorter one. It is just 10,000 words. And it’s, I feel like it’s one of those stories where the enjoyment out of it comes from the writing and there’s no huge kind of plot twist or anything necessarily. You don’t have space for that in 10,000 words. But so you know what’s gonna happen and where you’re gonna end, must admit the angry sex was a nice touch. You can add in more of that to any fics, I don’t mind, but you know, it, it does what it does really well. The writing is lovely. Like anything written by Saltnhalo is always going to have lovely writing I think. But it does mean that I, we can’t really just tell you anything else that happens without just spoiling the entire thing. So you’re just gonna have to go and read it, this one. Gosh, I’m starting to rack up more space gays fics now, like at some point I might have to force us to do space gays episode two. I’ve got so many more recommendations now.

Ellen: excellent. I’m totally okay with more of them!

So let’s go on to the second fic, which is gonna be Such a Sweet Surprise by lefurlong. This one’s actually really new. It was only just published earlier this year, which isn’t long ago. It’s 17,000 words long and it is rated mature.

And the summary goes like this:

“The ten-course menu starts off as an immensely promising and curiously understated list. There are hardly any details to the ingredients, leaving one to wonder what Head Chef Winchester is up to.

Not much, as it turns out.”

“What!” Dean’s shout echoes through the kitchen. It’s deadly silent; no one speaks. No one responds to him, that’s for sure, because he’d probably lodge his favorite knife in someone’s eyeball.

He’ll show Novak. He’s going to personally invite the guy back for another round. And this time, Dean’s not going to screw up a single dish.

It is so on.

So basically do not read this fic if you haven’t eaten a meal for a while, because it will make you so hungry!

Mal: yes. So it may only be rated mature for like fic porn, but there is a lot, a lot of food porn food. 

Ellen: Absolutely food porn. Yeah. So yeah, this is Dean’s restaurant where he’s the head chef and Cas is a food reviewer…a critic, who comes to visit and gives him a scathing review to start with. And then, as you can tell, he comes back.

Mal: So Dean actually writes him, I assume it’s an email that he sends him or, or a letter I can’t quite recall. Basically invites him to come back again ‘cause he’s so determined to fix his first impression. And then spends like a week or so. I think of time basically just nerding out and trying to create an absolute perfect menu that he thinks that Cas will love.

And I think one of the best things about this is that he has like a whole, whole kitchen crew there. So Garth is his boss and he works with Meg, who is his pastry chef there. And they’re all just, just making fun of him for the entire week, which I think is wonderful. I love it when people make fun of Dean. (laughs) That sounds awful, but like Dean gives it out a lot, okay? So sometimes he needs to take it as well. (laughter)

Ellen: He’s very flustered in this one too, which I love, I love flustered Dean.

Mal: Yes. Mm-hmm.

allmystars: I think this one was like… that part where he’s, he’s received the review and he’s so upset about it. And then I don’t know if this is spoiler or not. I don’t, but when Cas does come back and he confronts him about this review, Cas is just like, that’s my opinion. He just doesn’t understand why Dean is so upset. And I just, I find that so good. I love it. I love that in this fic.

Ellen: Yeah. He can’t quite understand why Dean’s taking it so personally.

allmystars: Yeah. He’s like, well, some people love this and some people hate it and I just didn’t like it.

Ellen: “But everything else you’ve given me has been great!” He wanted more and that’s what he got.

Mal: I think one of the things that I enjoyed about it is that after Cas gives him his second review, which is probably not a spoiler to say of much better than the first one, later on in the story, there’s a brief mention of the fact that Dean goes looking for this review again on Cas’s blog, the good one. And then he finds that it’s missing. So he is just like, what, what happened to it? You know, is it still there and Cas kind of admits later that it, it might have been just a little bit biased, just, just slightly. (laughs)

Ellen: I loved how smug he was too, when he found, when he, when Dean like revealed that he’d been stalking his blog he’s like, oh, so you read it, did you?

Mal: but then he ends up owning up to basically doing the same thing to Dean. So it’s fine. Just going, going back and reading all these like previous reviews by other people and interviews and stuff all about Dean. And that was why he apparently expected so much from him. So, but I like the idea that even when he was being critical, like Cas was never doing it to be mean. Like he was holding Dean to a very high standard, because he knew from all of these other reviews and things that Dean could do better. So. Even though, obviously at the beginning, Cas comes across as kind of a jackass, when you actually read it like, no, he just, he knew Dean was capable of more than he was doing that first time.

Ellen: Yeah. I guess this is similar to the first fic in that. At first, like before they actually meet each other, they’re kind of like Dean doesn’t like him because he is giving… well, he’s kind of a fan in that he has followed his work and whatever before, but when he gives him that review, he’s like, okay, I hate this guy.

But when he actually meets him in person and, and sees him, he is like, oh my God, he’s hot again. I keep saying that… but they have that instant kind of…

Mal: oh, like, dammit, he’s hot. Okay.

Ellen: Hey, you can work with this actually. No, I can’t. Keep it in your pants.

Cas is kind of, a bit more forward than he often is in this one. Like he, he’s the one who invites Dean on a date and they go on this little tour of the city and eat, you know, fried chicken and whatever. Like they have, like, I don’t know. If this is a recent fic, it might have been partially inspired by Roadfood, even.

Mal: I don’t know. It is quite recent. So yeah, this is February this year. So it is quite recent.

allmystars: That’s what I was thinking as I read it, yeah.

Mal: But yeah, Cas is quite forward in this one so that he is the one who invites Dean on a date. He’s also the one who invites himself to Dean’s for breakfast later.

Ellen: oh, that’s right. Yeah.

Mal: Or invites Dean over to come to his for breakfast. I can’t remember which way round it is.

Ellen: yes, he’s kind of horny. (laughs)

Mal: look, the man knows what he wants.

Ellen: Yep. Can’t blame him.

Mal: Mm-hmm. I really enjoyed Meg in this, actually. I love the little discussion that they have where Dean is basically annoyed with her ‘cause she’s being a little too pushy about everything that he’s doing and about Cas and everything else. And yeah. You know, he makes a comment about her, you know, “some people need to eat food, not like human souls.” So I’d like, I love his kind of very antagonistic relationship with her in this one. Yep. Though, he still enjoys her food, which is great. She’s a she-devil, but she makes really good, really good pastries.

Ellen: Right? Yeah. I’m trying to find a bit like a foodie bit that I can read out cuz it’s really lovely kind of food descriptions here.

Mal: Oh, you’re gonna make me hungry again now. Okay. And it all sounds delicious. Even the stuff where I’m like, huh, that’s a weird combination, but it sounds exactly like something you’d find in a really like pretentious New York restaurant, so…

Ellen: So yeah, like at one point he’s like talking about having beef with black garlic sauce or something that stays with you for days and like, huh, I dunno if, if I want it to stay with me for days, but that does sound amazing.

Mal: Yeah. Somehow even in the really critical review that Cas left, the food still sounded delicious.

Ellen: yeah. “I did enjoy the Nantucket based scallops decorated with cranberry snowflakes and a sea salt meringue.”

Mal: I loved Cas’s second review because he was very flirty in it, even though it was just a review that obviously he was posting and it was technically about food. It could definitely be read in a way that was kind of him flirting with Dean a bit, which obviously is the way everyone else in the kitchen reads it. And Dean’s just embarrassed and trying to get through to the food. But I did like it when Cas was just casually in his review, that he bets, with time, he can get Dean to tell him quite a bit more about the magic he creates with his hands.

Ellen: oh yeah. (laughing)

Mal: It’s like, really? In a public review? Come on now. (more laughing)

Ellen: That’s probably why he deleted it, I suppose.

Mal: But it worked. Hmm.

Ellen: It did work. Yeah. Well, I think Dean was already most of the way there by that stage, but yeah. So yeah, if you’re if you enjoy… like it gave me that kind of Masterchef vibe, where they’re like describing all these different terms of…(laughing) I’m really bad at foodie stuff like that, but it sounds so delicious when it’s described, so yeah, definitely give this one read.

Mal: Yeah. I remember, I don’t know which chapter it was in or anything like that, but I remember specifically there was like a description of these rabbit, belly meatballs or something with rosemary or something else. And like, somehow they managed to make it sound so good and I was just like, I don’t even eat, but okay.

Ellen: Yep.

Mal: But yes, definitely did have a, a little bit of a Masterchef kind of… like a foodie, definitely a foodie vibe to it, whatever, whatever food syrup you wanna attach it to, but…

Ellen: Food as a metaphor for love. That’s one of the tags. It also has food porn tagged, which is absolutely true.

Mal: Very accurate.

We’re under 17,000 words again with this one. So again, there’s not a lot of space for like a huge amount of plot twists or anything like that. But I did like that Dean actually kept him waiting a little bit, like when Cas first kind of inferred that he wanted to go out with him, Dean jump at it immediately he was like, Hmm, let me see. I don’t know. And then he lasted like two or three days something and he was like, yeah, let’s do it. An effort was made.

Just under 17,000 words, so it is quite fast moving in that sense. It’s probably a slower burn as you can get in that amount of time, I would say.

Yep. Yeah. Very nice, very cute fic, quite hot towards the end and not in a kitchen way. And then yeah, it will make you hungry. What else do you want? Yeah, go and read it and pick out your favorite dish.

Ellen: Yeah, no recipes in that one. That’s a shame they could have included… oh no, no, maybe not.

Mal: No, ‘cause then I would eat them.

Ellen: Yeah. I was gonna say there’s a lot of exotic ingredients, like lobster and like truffles like things that you don’t normally just have sitting around.

Mal: Squid, ink. Yes. That one. 

allmystars: Squid ink. I have never heard of eating squid ink.

Ellen: Oh, haven’t you? I’ve seen like the squid ink noodles and that, that are all black and look really awesome. But I don’t know what it tastes like. If it tastes makes it taste weird, it looks, looks really

allmystars: Cas says its salty.

Mal: yeah.

Ellen: Shall we move on to (don’t) stop texting me then?

Mal: Yeah. A much longer fic to talk about. So (don’t) stop texting me by feelthe_beat is 96,000 words. So it’s getting to that point where I will call it a mid-length fic, and then people will probably yell at me and say, no it’s long, but it’s a decent, a decent amount of words, 18 chapters.

This was published in 2021. So it’s moderately recent as well. And the summary goes like this:

Castiel Novak is relatively happy living his solitary life as a Starbucks Barista. He lives alone with a cat named Hamburger, and he has one (1) emotional support friend, Gabriel.

Unfortunately, he is plagued by the fact that some guy (see: a random hot dude named ‘Dean’) is giving out Castiel’s phone number as his own. And he’s been doing it for months.

So, of course, when Castiel’s at work and a hot stranger gives him his own phone number for the Starbucks Rewards Program… well… it doesn’t go well.

I wanna know how many people have, I was about to say had a real life version of this fic happened to them. I hope not, ‘cause that would be like seriously annoying, but as anybody, like I’ve definitely had people text me that like somebody has given them their number and I’m just like, Hmm. I’m just gonna ignore that one. Or I’d politely text back, like “wrong number”. And then just block it quietly, just “I’m sorry, whoever gave you this…” 

Ellen: Yeah. So I love… okay. We should probably start by saying that this fic… the premise and the summary makes it sound extremely cute and lighthearted, but it’s actually a fairly heavy fic, like, read the tags. It does have, the graphic violence warning. It’s got PTSD, it’s got you know, domestic violence.

Mal: I was looking at that and I was, I was trying to find if it’s tagged. And am I blind? I don’t think it is, but I, I really think that that’s one we need to give a warning for, and it’s not…Oh, no, it is. There it is. I’m just really blind. It’s like the top line, like literally could not be more obvious.

Ellen: It’s got like both of them having panic attacks it’s you know, actual… some really dark stuff in it. Having said that,

Mal: Read the text and actually read them, unlike me. yeah. Yeah.

Ellen: Yeah. It is a, a really beautiful story. And by the end, it’s actually very soft. They’re soft with each other and loving. The domestic violence is not between the two of them. It’s external. It’s something Dean’s going through.

Mal: Yes. It is not something that happens between the two of them. But there is in general, like a lot of violence in this fic, but somehow by the time I was done with it, the impression that it left was like quite soft, like you said, it actually, because their relationship, once they get past the initial kind of Cas really disliking this dude which doesn’t last too long in the… I mean, we’ve got 18 chapters here. So I think there’s really only a couple of chapters where he’s like convincing himself that he hates Dean, kind of tries to tell himself that for a while, but it’s very clearly not the case. 

Ellen: yeah. I mean, they actually meet face to face in like the first chapter, right. Like Dean comes in and gives him his own number and then he goes, “You!” I love that. But then sort of they, they come to this arrangement where Dean can’t text people from his own phone. So he has been giving… like he really appreciates the fact that Cas has actually essentially been pretending to be him for a while now. And because Cas started texting the people who, who, you know, he was getting messages from pretending to be Dean, basically, which sounds weird when I say it like that, but it was actually really sweet of him to do that.

Mal: Yeah. Cas is actually very nice. I felt like a lot of people would not have done what Cas did, but for some reason he had, you know, he felt sorry for the people on the other end of… the kind of missing third person here, I guess. The person who thought that they had Dean’s number as he initially thinks anyway. And then ends up just being Dean’s paid, answering service at one point.

Ellen: Yes. And then he finds out that he cares a bit more than he thought he did about what’s going on with Dean. So.

Mal: Well, ‘cause he sees all these kind of people that he’s texting for Dean, or that Dean is giving him messages to pass along to. And you know, obviously you can kind of… they say, don’t they, that you’re like likely to be a sum of the five closest people you hang out with or something like that. So clearly if you have like a bunch of really nice friends that think good things of you and are always telling you that they love you and are like all on text messages, it just doesn’t add up in his head that Dean is this awful person that he thinks he is when his friends clearly treat him that way. So yep.

Ellen: Jess, did you get a chance to read this one?

allmystars: Yeah, I, I did read this one. I really enjoyed this one, actually. I love the premise of it. The give somebody a fake number thing. And, and I love like, Cas seems kind of like that guy that doesn’t want the confrontation, you know, doesn’t wanna disappoint anyone.

So he kinda just goes along with it. And I really like how he’s so confused about the fact that Dean’s not answering these people that seem very, very nice and very, very lovely. And I really like, he, he just seems very, very confused about Dean and I think that really… like later in the story contributes to his, his curiosity and like his need to get to know Dean a little more, which I, I really enjoyed.

Ellen: Yeah.

Mal: Yeah. I think as a reader as well, it’s one of those things where as soon as you… How spoilery are we going with this one? so we’ll have to do at least a little bit spoilery thing. I think there’s a, there’s a certain name or shortened version of a name as soon as that kind of shows up the audience probably immediately cues in what is happening here or that something, something bad is happening with Dean, like as soon as the name comes up because it is do you find out, I think pretty early on probably like the second or third chapter? I think it’s early, it’s early enough on that it’s probably not a massive spoiler that Dean’s… the person who is making it so that Dean can’t text people is Alistair or Al, in this fic.

So, I mean, it’s pretty… I mean, anybody who’s seen the show knows where they’re going with that I think. So, and then you just have this moment where you’re kind of just waiting for it to click for Cas as well. And sometimes he’s like saying something or doing something that you are then worrying, cause you’re like, no, I wouldn’t do that.

That will make it worse. but obviously Cas doesn’t know. So it’s… I kind of love that when the reader is clued in just that little bit before the character is clued in. So you’re just like you have that anticipation.

allmystars: Oh, every time he tried to call Dean.

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: I don’t think we mentioned before that it’s actually also like a dom/sub  fic, this one. It doesn’t come in until sort of much later I think, but yeah, I guess the thing that really helps Dean to sort of calm down and come out of his panicked, touch starved kind of state, is that Cas just start telling him what to do and that helps him to… you know…

Mal: you know yeah.

Yeah. And it’s quite mild. It’s not like a very explicit kind of, they don’t have kind of scenes or anything. No. I think there is maybe one kind of mild scene thing going on later. If I remember, I can’t remember. But yeah, it’s, it’s more almost kind of an emotional thing for Dean, I think. But yeah, it’s quite effective.

Oh, the one thing I will say that like, you know, everybody needs to know about is, is there, there is a hurt animal in this fic. Because I know that’s a tag that like really, really bothers some people. So I’m gonna put that out there that there is an animal that gets hurt in this story, but the animal recovers just fine.

I know a lot of people… There’s a website or something isn’t there to do with movies where you can go and check if the dog dies?

Ellen: Does the dog die, yeah.

Mal: I was gonna say like, it’s a pretty common thing that people wanna know about. I kind of wanted to tell people up front, like, yes, the, the animal is hurt, but the animal is okay.

Ellen: yes, it does survive. And I will say that Hamburger, the cat is like one of the highlights of this fic, it she’s just, you know, adorable and gives the emotional support that Cas needs to get through all this stuff that he’s going through.

Mal: Yes. And just how much Cas loves this cat is wonderful.

Ellen: yeah. And he does what every cat owner does, I think, and just talks to the cat like it’s a human, I love it.

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: The other character who’s brilliant in this is Gabe. So, but yeah, Gabe is very supportive and just great in this story. He doesn’t take any nonsense from Cas. He’s just like, “what are you talking about? This is how it’s gotta be.” Even when Cas is having his panic attacks and everything he just looks after him. And yeah, he’s a great friend.

Mal: Yeah. And before, you know, before Cas and Dean have each other, Gabe is the one who was kind of looking out for Cas in that way. I guess he’s the one who’s… I think the one who even kind of told him what the panic attacks were and like helped him through it.

As in many stories, cast doesn’t have the best background in this one. He left his family, I wanna say like a year before and is kind of living by himself with the cat, and Gabriel’s his, his, he says his only friend, but certainly by the end of the thick, that’s definitely no longer true, And I’m sure it’s less true than he thinks it is even at the beginning of the fic.

But yeah, but Gabriel is great in this actually, like he’s really there for Cas. He’s definitely still very Gabriel in certain ways. But he’s, you know, he is there for Cas when it matters and he doesn’t take, take any crap, which is nice.

I like it. It’s a good characterization. Satisfying to read.

Ellen: Yeah. And we’ve also got people like Jack, like he’s got, there’s like a large collection of different characters in this one that come in here and there.

Mal: Yes, large cast. Oh, I loved Bobby in this one. I always love Bobby in fics, I just love Bobby period, but yeah, he, he was, he was great in this one, in that he had actually kind of adopted, like, not just Sam and Dean, which obviously we see in a lot of fics, but also Jack as well. And then later on, pretty much just like takes Cas under his wing as well. Obviously.

Ellen: They’re like foster kids basically, aren’t they?

Mal: Yeah. And they all get to call him Dad and it’s, it’s just very, it’s like an emotional moment.

Ellen: It’s wholesome.

Mal: Yeah, it is. It’s so wholesome. But he’s still very much Bobby in that the second that he finds out something… it’s actually quite a scene, which I probably shouldn’t have found as funny as I did, but I did where the moment that Bobby clues in that something is not right with Dean and that something, or somebody is hurting Dean, he immediately pulls out a gun and just like aims it at the nearest person that it might be, which unfortunately is Cas.

Ellen: Yeah. That’s right! He is a little bit scary. So I’m like, in a way, he’s like that friend who, when you go like, “oh, someone’s been mean to me” and they’re like pulling out a knife going “Okay. Who do we need to kill?”

Mal: pretty much. Yeah. (laughs) And I think the worst part that I laughed at was just because like, obviously Cas is upset about this, but it’s also just like, well, you know, I check another, another checkbox on the trauma list. I’m fine.  Just had a gun pointed at me, but I’m right. Like, don’t worry about it.

Ellen: Yeah, like what else can you throw at me today? Like, come on.

Mal: yeah.

Ellen: Poor Cas. I did feel for him in this one. I mean, and Dean as well, obviously, ‘cause he was, you know, being hurt on a regular basis, but Cas just kind of goes from zero to a hundred with the whole thing. In, in a matter of a few days, I think.

Mal: yeah, I don’t, I don’t know that there’s like anybody in this fic who doesn’t have it rough at some point, or have to witness things that would be, you know, very difficult.

So I think we, we haven’t yet touched on one of the main tags in this, which leads to one of the cutest scenes in it, but is also just an amazing tag, I think. which is that “Dean Winchester really likes Bath and Body Works.” So this is kind of ongoing theme throughout this story, that Dean in the relationship that he is in beginning, or wasn’t towards the end, was not allowed to have candles or things that smelled nice or, you know, it was something that he wasn’t allowed to indulge in at all.

And him and Cas end up having this really cute, like, not-date, cuz they’re not there yet, but they have this kind of, almost date at Bath and Body Works, where they have like a candle smelling competition. It’s really adorable. 

Ellen: It is adorable. And they pick their favorite ones and take them home and, and it’s like multiple times during this fic, Dean does something and he’s sort of like, oh my God, what have I done? And Cass like, no, it’s okay. You can have that. You’re allowed to have this now. And it just breaks your heart, like poor Dean. Like he’s just, he’s him finding out that he’s allowed to have nice things is just such a heartbreaking moment, over and over this one.

Mal: Yeah. Obviously this is quite amplified, but like there’s a certain amount of that like in canon that we see where he seems to genuinely believe that he doesn’t deserve nice things. Just like, no, no, no, no.

Ellen: And then he never got to have it.

Mal: You had to go there! (laughter)

Ellen: Oh my god, I’m back in the salt again!

Mal: Look, this fic has a happy ending. I live here now. 

Ellen: Yeah. It’s one of those AUs that Jack brought back and it’s all happy. It’s fine.

Mal: Yes. One of the ones that Chuck didn’t destroy. Though if he wanted to destroy Alistair, that would be fine.

Ellen: We shouldn’t really go there every episode, but we do. Oh, well

Mal: it’s not our fault.

It’s definitely the show’s fault.

Ellen: I think they both, they both have the, the touch starved kind of thing since I mean, Cas hasn’t really lived with anybody for a while. And even that before that his parents weren’t exactly very loving towards him, I don’t think. And then obviously Dean wasn’t allowed to be touched previously.

So when they do start actually touching each other, they sort of can’t stop it’s like, as soon as that happens, it’s all on after that. Which is just, it’s really quite hot.

Mal: Mm-hmm yes, definitely.

Ellen: And also sad in a way, because you know, they haven’t had this and now they’re, they’re able to, it’s like a relief for them I think.

Mal: There is a really nice section later on with Jody and Donna, where Cas and (spoilers) Gabe as well, end up no longer working at Starbucks. So through the, the plot of the story, they end up losing those jobs. And so they go to work with Jody and Donna who are friends of Dean’s, and they own this like really adorable sounding kind of cafe kind of space, which has an amazing name, which I didn’t… like until I read it the second time, and then like… You know sometimes you say something out loud, but in your head, so you’re not actually talking out loud, but you’re like… Is that just me? I don’t know.

Ellen: no, honestly, it’s a thing.

Mal: There’s, there’s an amazing pun in the name of that cafe, which I did not initially pick up on and then just like kicked myself. So the cafe is called Flour… And then…it’s called Flour Meadough, as in like,

Ellen: Oh yeah, that’s right! Like bread dough.

Mal: Yeah. but the way it’s spelled out is kind of like, you know, flowers, meadow, all the rest of it. But it’s this amazing, like inclusive, like adorable space that they have going on, which is just a lovely place for both Cas and Gabe to work.

And it’s also where, like Jack has his like meetings from school and there’s like a very background character of Claire in this as well, where they’re like best friends at school. And it’s, it’s very cute. I love it. I love it. Oh, I shouldn’t yet. This fic also has a later on towards the end has a they/them Jack, which is a head canon that I love.

allmystars: I just…I really love the scenes where like, Dean, like you said before, Dean is very like afraid of making Cas mad and Cas just immediately jumps in and, and does these things… like the one that comes to mind right now is when Dean tells him he can’t, he was never allowed to have candles and Cas just immediately lights all the candles he has in the apartment and like, I just really love that, that that softness between them, that, that like just the, the need to please Dean and, and make sure he knows that, you know, he he’s deserving of these things. I think that this fic did those did those things very well. And I really enjoyed them.

Ellen: Yep.

Mal: I think the, the fic had a really good method from making them communicate as well, because no matter kind of what world we place them in, I feel like these guys always have some communication issues, which obviously at the beginning of this story are very literal, like literally like. they’re communicating through phones and it’s just getting the wrong idea and all the rest of it. But in this one, Cas has to make a promise to himself and, and to Dean that, you know, he will vocalize exactly what he needs from Dean and whether he’s liking what Dean is doing, because, because Dean needs that, like he can’t kind of work it out for himself at that point.

And so it kind of really just forces them, like they don’t have any room to miscommunicate because Cas literally has to, to tell him, like, I like this, I don’t like this. I want you to do this. I don’t want you to do that. So yeah, definitely a lot of you know, angst to get through at the beginning. Definitely could be a triggering story for some people so make sure you read the tags and that you’re comfortable with them.

Or, you know, ask, ask a friend who’s read it or, you know, if necessary DM one of us and ask but if it’s a fic that you are able to read, it’s, it’s just a really rewarding feeling fic when you finish it.

Ellen: yeah. All works out at the end. It ends up with a very kind of wholesome and loving kind of feeling by the end.

Mal: Yeah. It’s one of those stories that kind of like all wraps up very, very satisfactory way. At the end. There is a sequel to this, which is currently posting. So in the, in the very final chapter, I think in the epilogue actually, there are a couple of little kind of like seeds sprinkled ready for the sequel, but I don’t think it, like, I wouldn’t call it a cliff hanger or anything like that, like it’s very neatly tied up. So you’re not left wanting anything from just reading this first piece. If you then don’t wanna immediately go onto a fic that’s not finished yet.

Ellen: So that one…like I, I just remembered that we were gonna say the title of the fics at the end, when we finished talking about them.

I forgot to do that for the earlier ones, but this one was called (don’t) stop texting me. And the don’t is in brackets. By feelthe_beat.

Right. Shall we go onto This Cursed Sanctum?

Mal: Let’s do it. Would you like to read your summary out for us, Jess?

allmystars: Sure. Can do. One second. Let me open it. Oh my goodness. This is a long summary, who let me do that. (laughter) Okay.

164 years after the expulsion of the angels from the Seraphim Garden, Dean Winchester has made it his personal mission to destroy every last one of them in any way he can, starting by evacuating the most fragile of their future followers.

The children.

But when a mission goes wrong and Sammy is kidnapped, Dean finds himself at the gates of the legend garden, then inside its walls, once said to kill anyone who comes near enough to know where they are.

As Dean comes to explore his new prison, and gets to know the Angel keeper, he finds that maybe not all angels are quite so wicked.

Will Dean find his way out if this cursed sanctum? Or will it kill him before he gets the chance?

Maybe he’ll discover it’s not so cursed at all?

Mal: Yes. All right. And this was your DCBB fic this year, right? Hang on, last year, technically.

allmystars: yes

Ellen: It’s got some beautiful artwork in it. Which I believe is by vorador, is that right?

allmystars: Yeah. Oh I love the artwork. I remember when they, they sent it to me and I just like immediately just gasped. It was so beautiful.

Mal: Yeah. They did an amazing job.

allmystars: yeah, they did really well.

Ellen: So can you tell us how the idea of this fic came about? Like how did you come up with this idea?

allmystars: So this one was originally actually supposed to be my 2020 DCBB, but things happened and it, it didn’t work out. But originally, I think it was a Facebook video about, it was like an informational thing about this garden that exists somewhere, somewhere in Europe. It’s a garden full of poison plants, essentially. And I thought that was like a really, really interesting idea. So like kind of sat with that idea of just this, this garden full of things that could kill you for a few years actually. And then tried to figure out how to put Cas and Dean in it.

And yeah, it took a while, but…

Mal: That’s always the fun part working out how to get those two in there.  

Ellen: It almost felt like a Beauty and the Beast kind of feeling at the beginning, like with when Dean actually discovers the garden, like he’s running away through the woods. Was that like a part of the inspiration too?

allmystars: It wasn’t actually! It was… it kind of came in after somebody, I think one of my beta readers mentioned it

Mal: Yeah, ‘cause you’ve just got that lovely rose motif going through as well.

allmystars: So which yeah, totally a coincidence, but definitely worked out well.

Ellen: Yes. Maybe just added to the you’ve got like a really brilliant, like creepy feeling to the whole thing. Like when he’s first making his way through really the brambles and kind of into the forest. I love it when people are able to get like that atmospheric kind of creepiness going on and you’ve done it so well in the early chapters of this one with the discovering the garden and everything.

allmystars: well, thank you. I’m glad it managed to get there. Can’t always tell, you know, when you’re writing.

Ellen: Yeah. It’s hard to tell with your own stuff sometimes isn’t it?

Mal: Yeah, it definitely came through. And, and I think I actually agree, like with Ellen specifically about that part as well. ‘Cause even at the beginning there was that like, that same feeling of like in Beauty and the Beast where like they’re running through the forest to trying to escape and there’s like wolves and, and stuff like that. But there are no wolves in this, but it’s still that, like that feeling of like, they’re trying to escape and literally like the, the forest itself is almost holding them back. So in this it’s like, there are vines and nasty, like poisonous things with thorns and all kinds of things and this, this kind of poison garden. And it does, it really does have that kind of same like, like atmosphere or feeling to it. So it was really good. I loved it. Oh,

allmystars: good. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Ellen: I liked that that Cas was so almost an unreliable narrator in that he doesn’t… we only get a certain amount of the story at the start. And then you find out later, like, as it goes on what actually happened and how yeah, he he’s, he’s surprised that….

Oh, hello, cat. Sorry, my, my cat has just opened the door of this bedroom and, and come in, like, okay, fine. What was I talking about?

He’s, he’s surprised that Dean isn’t being hurt by anything. Like he’s not…

(Cat meows in background) Yes. Hello.

He’s not, he’s going through the poisonous kind of plants that should have probably killed him, but they’re not.

Mal: Yeah. ‘Cause Dean does seem to be basically immune to everything in the garden, which is something they kind of, you know, they bring up more than once and don’t really know why. Yeah. Though, obviously you wonder if Cas even early on has an inkling as to why. But definitely not something that’s voiced and Dean just has other things to worry about.

So, yeah, it’s funny ‘cause there’s a lot of this story where, you know, in theory they are trapped, like Dean is kind of prisoned within this garden and I mean, he definitely views Castiel as, as a part of his imprisonment early on. And even when that turns out, not to be the case, it’s just the fact that they’re both there.

Like they’re both just trapped in this garden and yet somehow when you’re reading it, there’s like a, a section of it that is very kind of peaceful and, and calm. And you kind of find yourself like hoping he can just stay there forever with Cas and you know that’s not gonna happen, ‘cause it wouldn’t be a good story if, if it just went to that. So, you know, that’s not what what’s gonna happen, but this, this part of, part of me when I was kind of in that section where I was like, oh, I wish they could just stay here, in their poison garden together.

allmystars: and then poor Sam.

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: yeah. I dunno if I wanna give away too many, like we’ve… Okay. We’ve already given away spoilers. We may as well, but yeah, Sam…

allmystars: I’m so terrible for spoilers.

Mal: So I suppose we should say, not this isn’t even too much of a spoiler, ‘cause you find this out like immediately at the beginning of like the first chapter, I think. In the first chapter that’s happening in the time the fic takes place. Anyway, in this Sam and Dean kind of have like a sort of telepathic bond where they can talk to each other which is pretty cool. ‘Cause obviously we spend a lot of time talking about and representing the bond between Cas and Dean in stories. But there’s a very cool bond between Sam and Dean in this one, which obviously kind of comes in useful later on. But yeah, I thought that was cool. ‘Cause I don’t think I’ve ever read a story where their bond was that literal before. So that was cool.

And you can also just see them, like, especially when they were younger, just like driving each other nuts with it. So (laughter)

allmystars: I think that started like mostly out of a, you know, like the telepathic thing, it started as a, a plot convenience and then it just kind of… worked. I couldn’t really take it out. But I, I really enjoyed it. Writing their, like in their head was really fun.

Mal: Yeah. Like it, it works really well. Like obviously it is, you know, convenient for the plot that something works, but it also is just especially for the, the world you have them in and that, you know, they’re kind of saying, well, they’re just, you know, perfectly normal humans. It’s everything else. So you’re like, okay. But why there’s clearly something special? It’s not answered for quite a long time in the story, but you know, it, I think it definitely works to clue the reader off right from the beginning that like, no, there’s, there’s something special.

Ellen: We did actually mention at the beginning that this world is like a one where angels have taken over and sort of subjugated the humans, I guess. Was that like a, did you have like a backstory as to how that came to be? I don’t think that I remembered reading about that in the fic.

Mal: Yeah, we get a little bit of kind of what happened, but do you, do you have kind of in your head more of a backstory than what was needed for the fic?

Ellen:  yeah, I’m curious.

allmystars: I’m trying to remember how the story goes. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read it. Really basically. So I don’t, I don’t know how much is, I don’t know how much is clear in the first chapter, but

Mal: I think in the, in the first chapter we have kind of a tease of it, and then we get more of a bit more explanation later on when kind of the big climax of story is happening.

Ellen: The first chapter is more the attack on the garden rather than the humans.

allmystars: So how did that, so I think in my notes, if I’m remembering correctly Lucifer–and this might have been in the fic, I really don’t remember. Lucifer convinced the other angels, that it was the humans that got them locked out of the garden.

And that’s why… that was his kind of claim to the power to power. So that’s why he was able to essentially like turn these humans into slaves, but why did he want, I don’t remember. I probably should remember. I don’t…

Mal: that’s how I really enjoyed all of the, like allusions in this to kind of like the garden of Eden story that were then like taken and changed slightly and, and, you know, changed to fit this world.

Because it also kind of like gave, gave clues really as you were going along. ‘Cause obviously, you know, most of us know that story or some version of that story and you could tell that this was gonna be slightly different, but at the same time, you’re like, okay, but this is supposed to be something similar to that.

‘Cause I think they even have a discussion about it where Dean tries to call it the Garden of Eden and Cas is just like, “No” and just keeps correcting him all the time.

Ellen: The actual sort of climax of the story when they do oh, don’t wanna give it away. But you know Dean helps to kind of break Cass out of the garden and all that, all that stuff, is so beautiful and dramatic and really you know, heartbreaking and everything. I just wanted to tell you that I loved that chapter, those few chapters where it all went down. I thought it was, I, I couldn’t stop reading this story for like the whole way through, it was great.

Mal: Well, Ellen is praising your lovely, emotional climax and saying how wonderful that scene was, so I’m just gonna lower the tone by saying how much I loved the wing kink that turned up in this.

Ellen: Ah, yeah!

Mal: ‘Cause it was brilliantly done. Because you had that whole, the whole, all of the kind of tropes relating to that, you know, we love, with the, the wing oil and like Cas never really having had anybody like touch his wings before and all this kind of stuff, and then already being in this kind of will-they-won’t-they place because things have happened and Dean doesn’t necessarily remember…it’s a whole situation that they’ve got going on, but but you kind of add into that, the fact that in, in some ways, this Cas is quite naive, like almost like the kind of early seasons Cas that we had in some ways that like, he’s very, very like worldly in certain ways and in other ways, just very naive. And it just works out so wonderfully in this, like I loved the, the kind of wing kink portion of this. It was brilliant. Yeah. It was just what they needed to tip them over the edge, I think.

allmystars: I’m glad you like the wing kink.

Mal: Yeah. Very satisfying. Loved it. Thank you. I also like the, the symbolism with the color of Cass’s wings and how, you know, he’s, he’s in the garden and he’s kind of… I don’t want to say his wings are polluted, ‘cause that makes Cas sound bad, but like, you know, he is not pure anymore because of the garden.

It sounds terrible, but yeah, he’s still Cas. He’s still good, but yeah, he’s definitely been polluted by the garden and by the, the actions that he took to try and save… Cast the angels out. I should say really.

allmystars: It’s been a very long time since I even opened this fic.

Mal: So are you somebody that can read your own stuff or do you never read it?

allmystars: Oh, no, I post it and I leave it alone.

Ellen: That’s fair enough.

allmystars: Because then I just, you know, pick it apart and it would end up being totally different.

Mal: No, I’m the same and that’s why I have to leave stuff alone for a really long time, so I can like completely, almost forget that I wrote it. Mm-hmm and then I can go back and look at it a little more objectively. But yeah, initially when I first post things, I like, no, I just wanna tear that apart now, that’s terrible. So, yes.

allmystars: Well, because as soon as you press the post button, you’ll see every single typo and. Every single formatting mistake…

Mal: Oh yeah. And it’s magical. There’s something about that post button that just, I swear, introduces new issues that, that were not there before. (Laughter)

allmystars: but yeah. So I, I don’t even remember when this was posted… November, I think, and I, I haven’t touched it. I haven’t opened it. So yeah. Remembering anything that happens in it was difficult.

Ellen: Well I’m gonna remind you, well, I’ll tell you that. I loved it and I loved reading it twice. It’s a really beautiful fic, so well done.

allmystars: Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.

Mal: I was really glad to have an excuse to read it because I, I assume that it was when Ellen mentioned it the first time I added it to my marked for later list ‘cause I wanted to read it. And then obviously this trope came up. I was like, yes. Now is my time.

Ellen: Well, while we’ve got you here, can I ask you about a different fic of yours?

allmystars: Sure. I’ll try to remember it.

Ellen: Well, it’s Prince of my Heart. You’re currently still posting chapters of it quite regularly.

allmystars: Oh my god, that one?

Ellen: Tell us about that one. You’ve been posting for quite a while now, and it’s up to like over 300,000 words! How’s it going?

allmystars: Oh my goodness. Well, that one was supposed to be 500 words for Suptober in 2019. And it’s now 80…well, it will be 80 chapters by the time it’s done. And I don’t know how we made it from 500 words to 80 chapters. Yeah, it’s essentially a Bachelor AU where, you know, Cas the prince and he wants to get, well, I don’t know he wants to get married.

So he invites… It’s, it’s kind of also, you know, The Selection, the book series? It’s a little similar to that. Or I’ve been told it’s similar to that. Where Dean and ten others are invited to a palace to get to know Cas and it’s essentially every single day of the… I think it’s 11 weeks that they’re there.

So it gets really into every, almost every minute of the weeks that they’re there and it’s almost finished actually.

Ellen: Well, I, I was, I think I’ve started, I might have read the first chapter or something, and then I thought that I’d wait until it was finished and now I just keep getting the updates and going, oh, it’s still not done.

allmystars: Yeah. That’s one. I will definitely it’s it needs to be read over again. I I’ve been posting it over three years. Yeah. Two and a half years. So there are so many things that I don’t remember happening and I’m sure there’s tons of plot holes and stuff. So I need to go back over that when I’m done and just fix it, but no, it’s, it’s a lot of fun to write for sure.

Ellen: Awesome. Well, well, well done for, you know, keeping on going with such an ambitious kind of story, if it’s… phew, gonna be 80 chapters in the end.

Mal:. How, how long have you been posting it for now? ‘Cause I think you said it’s already over 300. I think.

allmystars: Yeah. Yeah. It’s I think it just reached 300,000. I started posting it October, 2019.

Mal: so that’s been a long term project.

allmystars: It’s been a long time. Yeah.

Mal: It’s seen you through the pandemic there.

allmystars: Oh yeah. definitely keeps me busy.

Ellen: So have you already written the whole thing or are you just writing to like an outline sort of thing?

allmystars: Oh, oh no. So I, yeah, no, I have I have an outline and when I, when I get ahead, I post on a schedule, but right now I’m not ahead. So I just kind of post as it’s written and sent to my beta reader and then I get it back and I post it, but yeah.

Mal: it is, it is pretty regular though. Like I see you updating it like fairly frequently. It’s not, not one of those fics where you subscribe and not get an update for like you know, six months or a year. I’m subscribed to a few of those where I’m just desperate for the next part. And I have to wait like six months between updates and I don’t know why I do it to myself, but I do.

allmystars: yeah. I try really hard not to read wips for that reason. I’m just so impatient for, for new new chapters. So like I’ll finish one and just immediately went on and move on and, and it’s not there and it makes me feel sad.

Ellen: yeah

allmystars: So I try to do regular updates with this one for that reason, but we’ll see.

Mal: yep.

Ellen: Well, shall we recommend some more enemies to lovers fics?

Mal: Yeah, let’s do it. I’ve got one. I’ll pull out one of my favorites which I’ve read a bunch of times. This one is How to Re-gift Fruitcake and Other Tips For Surviving the Holidays by museaway.

Ellen: It’s a really long title!

Mal: It is! I love it though. It’s definitely memorable. So it works. This one is just over four and a half thousand words. It’s 4,666 words. It’s a one shot. So it’s easy to sit down, read it’s 2015. So a little bit older now. But the summary just goes: The saying goes, you should love thy neighbor, but Castiel Novak was the neighbor from hell.

So yeah, this is just enemies to lovers, they are next door neighbors who don’t get along because they just misinterpret each other a lot, obviously in the beginning. It’s a Christmas story, which is… I read Christmas stories all year. I dunno if anybody else does that, but I, I read some random Thanksgiving ones the other week, like just, I have no sense of seasonality when it comes to things. I’m just gonna read this now, ‘cause it sounds good. Like I want Dean stuffing turkeys today. So yeah, I read this one just a short while ago and yes, Dean does re-gift Cas a fruitcake, it’s just the ultimate re-gifting thing isn’t it? I’m one of those people that actually enjoys fruitcake so I feel like, you know, it’s a bad rap, you know?

Ellen: Yeah, I’d never re-gift one. I will eat the fruitcake if I’m given one, I love fruit cake!

Mal: Especially the one I make. Cause I like, I like soak my fruit and whiskey and stuff, beforehand and it’s like, it’s really good. So, yeah, no re-gifted fruitcake for me. If you get fruitcake for me, it’s fresh. Just telling you.

Ellen: You better be eating that shit.

Mal: Yes. And I think later on in this fic, Cas does actually find out that it was a re-gifted fruitcake.

So this fic… I won’t give you too many spoilers, ‘cause obviously it is just a, a one shot and there’s nothing I can really say without spoiling the whole thing. But it is actually sort of quite sweet and lovely. They just, as usual don’t communicate well, assume things about each other and then it’s, it’s quite soft, quite soft and sweet. So, yeah, go for a nice little dose of enemies to lovers with fruit cake. Definitely go and read this one by museaway. That’s my first recommendation.

Ellen: I am going to recommend Tennessee Whiskey by my girl, TrenchcoatBaby. This one was published a couple of years ago. It’s one of her earlier ones that she did.

It’s 21,000 words, and it is about Cas and Dean who are both country music singers, and it’s set in sort of like the music scene in Nashville, which I know absolutely nothing about. But that did not stop me from enjoying the hell out of this story. They hate each other at first and then they get to know each other and turns out they’re actually, you know, really well suited for each other. So some lovely smut as always from TCB. Definitely worth a look.

Mal: Yeah. It’s been a long time since I read that one. So it might be time to revisit, I think. And Jess, did you have any that you wanted to recommend?

allmystars: Yeah, I, I made a list here, but I’ll just read one: Pies and Prejudice by linoresearch was one I read a few years ago.

It’s a Pride and Prejudice AU, but it’s, it’s also a Great British Bakeoff AU, or something like that.

Ellen: Oh my God. That sounds amazing.

allmystars: It was, it was really good. I loved it. So Dean and Cas are contestants in this baking show and right from the beginning, they’re at each other’s throats about butter and, and, and just, I don’t know, it’s, it’s really funny and it’s really it’s really great.

Castiel is the Darcy character and obviously Dean would be Elizabeth Bennett. And it’s just, it’s so funny and that you get clips from, or like little snippets from the show where it turns out like Dean is actually staring at Castiel’s butt a lot which is really funny. He gets really flustered about that. It’s, it’s really, it’s really cute. It’s one of my favorites.

Ellen: It sounds adorable already.

allmystars: I read it years ago. I should, I should reread it, but it’s, it’s definitely, it’s still on my top five anyway. Yeah.

Mal: Yeah. I’m gonna have to give that one a read. So I’m just like, no, take that one down. I’m a sucker for anything Pride and Prejudice related. So, yep.

I’m going to give a shout out. This is a longer fic and it’s one for the creature fic lovers. So this is Breathing Into You by casblackfeathers. And it’s a merpeople kind of thing where Dean was kind of raised to hate merpeople. Not just because there was this big war that that went on between humans and merpeople, but obviously he has like his own personal connection and, and reasons to hate them. But then obviously he finds himself in the middle of a storm and then there’s a stranger with blue eyes and… you know where it goes. So yeah, it’s 110 thousand words. A lot of, you know, hurt, comfort and trust issues and enemies to others stuff going on here. But anybody who wants a good enemies to lovers creature fic, go and give that one a try.

Ellen: one more, which is a little shorter one is called Dean Winchester and the Goddamn Kill-Steal by bendingsignpost.

Mal: I love this one.

Ellen: So this one’s only like 7,000 words, so it’s just a shorty. And so what happens is Dean and Sam are monster hunters are like, like hunters, basically. Like they are in the show and they go around trying to do different jobs and hunt creatures. But a lot of the time when they get to certain places, the vampires are all dead already or whatever, their eyes burnt out. Later, Dean meets Cas and they kind of introduce each other as, as business people who travel around a lot and they hook up one time, and then as they travel around, they kind of organize to meet up again, like whenever they’re in the same kind of area, but Dean never really clicks that the places where they’re getting their, their kills stolen is where he meets up with Cas.

So he’s okay with it though, because on those times when they don’t get the job done he’s getting some really good sex anyway, usually and I just, I love that the dynamic of kind of just hooking up, but then all being kind of a secret. I think it’s just really good. And obviously Ben always writes like, really the emotions are really high. He he’s great at doing that. So I enjoyed this one.

Mal: Yeah. I’ve, I’ve read that one before. And it was, it was fun. I did enjoy it. Especially, you know, when they, they work it out. It’s always a fun conversation.

Ellen: Yeah. When they finally work it out, it’s like “You?” and then, but then it’s like “what are you?” because he’s been, you know, he’s basically an angel and he’s been killing everything, and the way like… okay, this is a bit of a spoiler, but Cas always wants to have sex with the lights out because when he comes, he blows the light bulbs out. So, (laughter)

Mal: so he’s trying to conceal that part of himself by not having the lights on.

Ellen: Yeah. And Dean’s just like, oh, whatever he is got a thing about not having the lights on. That’s fine. Like whatever, it’s just quirky. I like it.

Okay. Jess, did you wanna do one more from your list?

allmystars: Sure. I think you guys talked about this one before: True As It Can Be by whelvenwings.

Mal: Yeah!. Oh, we’re back to Beauty and the Beast again!

allmystars: Which I didn’t realize when I started it. It was a nice surprise, but like, I really loved the beginning of this one, the first chapter where it’s kind of like it’s talking about this beast in a castle that you can sometimes see moving behind the, the, the stained glass window or whatever.

I really like, I found it really creepy. And then it kind of goes right into Beauty and the Beast, and it was, it was really good. And I, I really liked their depiction of the angel in this, in this story. It’s different. It’s not one I’ve seen anywhere else. He’s more of a, like a shadowy figure than, than our standard, like six-wing, you know, thousand-eye thing. I really, really enjoyed this one. And the talking furniture in this one is, is it characters from Supernatural, which was really enjoyable. I really like that.

Mal: Yes. I remember really, really liking wardrobe armoire Charlie in that. Yeah, I really liked it. So yeah, it was really well done.

Ellen: That’s one of my top, top favorite fics that one. I love it.

Mal: I have two more super quick recommendations. I can do for ones which are like, just kind of out there a little bit different, I guess. So there’s one called Come. I looked, and behold, a white horse. I believe the author’s name is pronounced Natchsie, but I could be wrong. It’s N A C H S I E. So that’s a tricky one. This, this story is just very unique. I just read it recently while we were researching things for this episode. And this is kind of a horseman of the apocalypse kind of AU where Castile is pestilence and Dean is kind of the only human that survived kind of deal.

So yeah, it, it is short, it’s like six and a half thousand words. It’s very different. There is, MPreg in this one, so it’s a tag that a lot of people like to know about. So that one is right there, tagged up front. It’s just very unique. Like I’d not read anything like it before. So I did wanna shout out that one.

And then another one, which I really enjoyed was Watch you rise (watch you fall) by mslilylashes. This one is actually tagged as crack treated seriously, and it’s definitely treated very seriously. Like they play it straight all the way through this one. But it’s a, like a tag team wrestling AU and they have actually tagged it as wrestling soulmates.

So essentially Dean is a professional, like WWE wrestler and he works for Crowley and he got injured in a match against Alistair. He got like badly injured and it could have been a lot worse than it was. And so he decides that he’s done. He doesn’t, you know, he he’s worried, he doesn’t wanna leave Sam by himself and that kind of stuff.

So he decides that he’s gonna quit and Crowley isn’t taking it well so to orchestrate his, his exit from the circuit, he teams him up in this match against Castiel who, you know, Dean has a certain impression of him that’s not true. He thinks he’s a lot younger than he is. He thinks like he’s got just a really bad kind of idea of who Castiel is, which turns out not to be true at all, and obviously Cas doesn’t necessarily think much better of him at the beginning. It it’s quite dramatic. Like if anybody who has watched wrestling knows that, like they have these really ridiculously, like dramatic storylines and like ridiculous things that happen in wrestling. And, and they kind of like went with that for this story where this big, like dramatic, “oh, then this happens”! Like they, they, they just went with it. They embraced the whole wrestling AU thing for this one. Like I said, they, they tagged it crack treated seriously, and they really did play it straight to the tropes on this one. So yeah, it, it was, it was just fun.

I’ve read one other wrestling fic before. I’m not like a massive wrestling fan, but I live with someone who is sometimes, so I have like enough knowledge to understand them, though probably not to be able to like work out the details, but yeah, this one was, was fun and, and completely different to anything else that was on the list. So that’s 20,000 words of Watch You Rise by mslilylashes.

Ellen: I always found that fascinating with wrestling that it’s such a, a blokey thing to watch, but then there’s all this like melodrama about it.

Mal: Yeah. It’s basically a soap opera where they punch each other.

Ellen: Yeah! (laugher) it’s unfathomable!

Mal: No, but I thought it was, it was quite well done in like, it was kind of almost meta in how wrestling, like the dramatic storyline was so it was fun.

Ellen: So I guess that’s, that’s all that we’ve got in the list today. Jess, what are you, what have you got coming up? What are you working on at the moment?

Mal: this is the, the pimp your fic section. So tell us what you got coming up.

allmystars: What am I doing? Mostly, I’m just writing trying to finish Prince of My Heart. As you said, Mal, 1920s bang is coming up. Artists signups closed today… actually 20 minutes ago… should probably shut that off. Not much else. Yeah. Just trying to finish prince of my heart before the end of the year.

Ellen: Oh, that’s a good goal. Gotta have your fic goals for the year.

Mal: Yeah. Especially when you’ve had something going on for that long as well. It’d be so satisfying to finish it.

allmystars: Oh, I’d be just so sad. It’s been like three years of my life.

Mal: yeah. Do you have something in mind to write next? Like once you’ve like closed that big one, do you have like another kind of big concept that you’re thinking of?

allmystars: Well, there was one I started years ago. I was still in my undergrad and I had, I posted a chapter of it. Just kind of like threw it out there, and then started outlining the fic and it’s, it’s probably gonna be very large. It’s called, what did I call it? Winchester and Co? Essentially the first chapter is up, but it, I haven’t touched it in like three years, but essentially Cas goes in for an interview at Winchester and Co as Dean’s assistant. And it’s one of those situations where everything goes wrong in the morning and like he’s in the wrong suit and he’s late. And he’s in the bathroom, kind of having a little freak out and this guy comes in and offers him his suit. And so they change suits and Cas is kind of you know, worried about his job and almost bad mouthing his potential new boss.

And it, it doesn’t actually happen in the first chapter, but the new boss is obviously Dean who just, who just did him a favor in the bathroom. And so…

Ellen: That sounds amazing already.

allmystars: That one is probably next. The outline’s on my old laptop. So I’d have to dig that out, but that’s probably the next one, when Prince of My Heart is done.

Mal: yeah, it sounds great.

Ellen: Yeah. All right. Well, thank you very much for coming to talk to us today. It’s been a pleasure.

allmystars: Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.

Ellen: No worries. So all of the fic that we talked about today can be found on our website:, and you can get in touch with us to tell us what you thought of these fic, or you know, suggest ones that we might have missed in this trope.

You can get us on social media. We’re @mixtapebookclub at most of those, or you can contact us by email: contact at Or if you’d like to chat with us, you can come on profound bond discord server in our channel there, or, or, or you can sign up for our, our ko-fi subscription and come onto our discord as well.

Just, yeah, so, you know, we’re not actually gonna, this is what I was gonna say earlier, but I forgot… maybe I’ll stitch it in.

Mal: Oh yeah. We’re still keeping the PB channel.

Ellen: We’re not gonna abandon Profound Bond. We’ll still be there in the channel there, we’re really grateful to those guys for letting us have a channel. And we’ll be talking about the fics and asking for recommendations and stuff there too. So don’t worry if you’re a profound bond person. You don’t have to sign up to other discord to get all the scoops. So, yeah, we’ll be there too.

Mal: Next episode, if you’d like to join us again, we are going to be discussing Regency AU fics.

Yay. I know this is a favorite of both of ours, so yeah.

Ellen: Always love a Regency. Awesome. So thank you everyone for listening, and we’ll talk to you again very soon.

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

[outro music]