Transcript: Track 36: Tattoos

Episode 36 posted September 24, 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 36th 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 subgenre in the huge collection of fan fiction dedicated to Destiel. And in this episode, not only is it our two-year anniversary, so congratulations to us, right?

Mal: Happy birthday to us.

Ellen: Yay! Can you believe it’s been two years? Woohoo. More on that in a minute, but we are also gonna talk about fics today where either Dean or Cas or sometimes both of them have tattoos.

Mal: and to discuss their fic, which is really well set within this trope, Cats and Tats, we would like to welcome Jemariel.

Jemariel: Hello.

[00:01:00] Mal: Is that how you, is that how you’d like me to pronounce that? Yeah, should have checked that first. Good.

Jemariel: Yeah!

Ellen: Welcome. Welcome.

Jemariel: Hello. Hello. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Ellen: So the other fics that we’re gonna talk about, apart from Cats and Tats we’ve got four fics for today. We’ve got, Not the Fire But the Spark by goldenraeofsun, Make You Feel My Love by Sternchencas and Under My Skin by xylodemon.

Jemariel: Love some Xylodemon.

Mal: And as always, links to all the fics we’re gonna be talking about today will be available in the episode post on and also included in our now simply massive collection on ao3. There’s a lot of good fic in there if you just wanna go fishing around for something.

Ellen: It’s two whole years of fics

Jemariel: So many!

Ellen: We’ve got our giveaway that we’ve started for on Twitter and Tumblr for our two year podaversary, is finished now by the time you’re hearing [00:02:00] this, but congratulations to whoever’s going to win. It’s still ongoing at the moment. But we, yeah, we thought we, we really appreciate everyone who’s listened to us and supported us over the last two years and we wanted to give back to you guys. So thank you. And congrats to the winners, whoever they may be in the future

Mal: Yes. We don’t know yet, but you do find out. Okay.

Ellen: And we’ve also gotta say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far on ko-fi. And if you would like to support us too, you can join our discord server and help us to decide what we’re going to talk about in episodes or just, random fun stuff that’s going on around the place.

You can do that at I’m going get this website right one of these days. Yeah, so thank you to everyone who has already.

Mal: We should also say that this specific troupe was suggested by somebody [00:03:00] on our ko-fi server. Tattoos were suggested by MercurialKitty, so thank you.

This was a fun one.

Ellen: Thank you. I’m pretty sure we’ve had this on our list for a while anyway, so it very well also suggested by others.

Mal: Yes. Yeah.

Jemariel: It’s a good trope.

Mal: Yeah.

Ellen: Obviously in Canon we, like Dean and Sam at least have their anti-possession tattoos. And Cas also has canonically, words tattooed on him.

Jemariel: Yes. Like Angel Warding

Mal: definitely got a precedent. Yeah. So tattoos and Supernatural kind of go hand in hand a little bit.

Ellen: Yeah. And it’s nice to imagine other ways that they might, represent different things, like I love it when Cas has like angel wings on his back and that sort of thing.

Jemariel: I love that. I love it so much

Mal: Yes. There’s just so many opportunities in this fandom for doing really fun things with tattoos. with all the different like warding and stuff that they [00:04:00] have. Even if you wanna keep it strictly canon you still get so many options? It’s awesome. But when you start to bring au into it as well and make one of them do the tattoos or something like that, there’s a huge scope there, which I just love.

Jemariel: Yeah. There’s so much even when it just comes to Canon verse, there’s so much, there’s so many symbols, so many fun languages to play with. There’s so many little iconic visuals that you can you really do have a lot to play with. And it’s like cliche at this point, but Cas with the wings dripping down his arms is just like my absolute favorite thing.

Mal: Yeah. Yeah. I mean it’s a favorite for a reason, right?

Jemariel: Yeah. . It’s just it’s good.

Mal: We like it. It’s good.

Jemariel: Precisely.

Mal: It’s, that’s all the justification we need. I’m also really fond of the, I guess semi-au semi-headcanon, depending on how you look at it [00:05:00] of Dean as a tattoo artist. ‘Cause definitely something Dean could do. Whipping up a tattoo gun in the back of a basement somewhere. We believe it.

Jemariel: So yeah. Something about him just screams tattoo artist. I don’t know what it is, but it’s, it works.

Mal: Yeah. If he can make, you know, EMFs and stuff, he could definitely set up in a back alley somewhere. Let’s face it. Yep.

Ellen: Not to get too personal, but have you guys got any tattoos?

Jemariel: I have several.

Mal: I do have several. I have several also. How many do I have now? One, two, stopping to count. 1, 1, 2, 3, 4.

Jemariel: I technically also have four, but one of them is large-ish and another one kind of got built over a while, so it started as one tiny one and then it became a large one, so I have several.

Mal: One. Yeah, I have one Supernatural one, one Dr. Who one. [00:06:00] One D & D one. One generic fantasy one. And my next one that I’m getting is also gonna be kind of Supernatural related, but it’s gonna be Supernatural fandom related. Nobody is gonna have a clue. I’m gonna be fielding questions for the rest of my life as to why I have a bat eating a burger on my thigh. But,

Jemariel: Oh, that’s amazing. I love it. That’s fantastic.

Mal: It had to be done. It had to be done. And I love the art so much. So

Jemariel: it’s so good. Amazing. I have one of my most visible one is actually, it started as my very first tattoo when I was like 19, which was a symbol from my favorite show from childhood on my wrist. And it kind of expanded into being at the, a bunch of different symbols from various shows and things that I’ve loved and fandoms that I’ve been in over the years spiraling up my arm and then I [00:07:00] added a bunch of things related to writing. I’ve got a pen, I’ve got some typewriter keys, I’ve got like scraps of paper and stuff.

So it’s really like my fan fictions, like my ode to fan fiction on my arm. And you can kind of tell who gets it and who doesn’t. Some people look at that and they’re like, and they’re like, Oh I’ve literally had people be like, “Oh, are you on ao3?” I feel called out. But yes,

Ellen: depending on who asks the question, it’s like, “no?”

Jemariel: Who wants to know?

Mal: Oh, that sounds like an awesome tattoo.

Ellen: It does, yeah!

Mal: My first one was actually my biggest one, oddly enough. I, that does happen sometimes. Started in at the deep end. And that was just like a generic fantasy unicorn, which I do actually love, but… So that was my general, like high fantasy book obsession when I was younger. And then I got a Dr. Who one on my foot, [00:08:00] which is just the bad wolf symbol from Dr. Who. And then I have on my arm a sword, but it’s made of D and D like dice. People have probably seen the symbol before, but yeah. And then just that my Supernatural one is one of the like slightly more low key Supernatural ones because I’m not brave enough to get like the anti-possession symbol because where I live, I feel like that wouldn’t go down well.

Jemariel: I did have that thought before I got the anti possession symbol on my arm, but then I did it anyway.

Mal: Good for you. I ended up just getting non timba mala written in like kind of cursive script like on the colt. Very nice. So I have that one day I’ll get a bigger supernatural one that’s definitely Supernatural related, not just, bats and snacks,

Bats and snacks. Oh God. That’ll be the next timestamp. Anyway..

Jemariel: That’s perfect

Ellen: That’s so cool. [00:09:00] I… don’t have any? (laughs)

Mal: Okay. That’s okay too.

Jemariel: That is okay.

Ellen: I have problems with sticking stickers on things because of permanency issues. So getting something. Not

Mal: too much of a commitment-phobe for a tattoo?

Ellen: something on me? I’d be like, “No!” but no, I’ve definitely thought about it and have planned, but I never actually have gone and done it, so maybe one day, maybe I can go to a con one day and everyone will be like, “Let’s go get tattoos.” And I’ll be like, “Okay, give me some plenty of drinks and I’ll be in”

Jemariel: You were drunk. It was Comiccon.

Mal: Now you’ve said it. Filing that away in my memory. (laughs) No, I was like that with tattoos to start with in that I would think about them and agonize over them for a very long time and plan them all out. Oh, I completely forgot about my other tattoo. I have five, sorry, just waving my hand in front of my face, and saw it [00:10:00] in front of me.

I have stars down one of my fingers. But now I’ve come to the conclusion that I, there are tattoos that I want planned out and I want to have meaning, but I also equally love the ones that are just a moment. And they’re just a record of that moment.

Jemariel: Yes. That’s something that I have found over the course of getting tattoos too, is that at first you’re like, Oh God, this is gonna be on my, be on me forever.

But then once you start getting tattoos, you’re like, Oh, that’s just how my leg looks now. That’s fine. That’s, it just becomes a history of who you were at that moment and it just reminds you of that time in your life, but in a good way.

Mal:Yeah. Yeah.

Jemariel: And it just becomes normal in a lot of ways. Now I just worry about running outta real estate.

Mal: Yeah that’s the other concern.

Jemariel: I can’t fill up all the good spots.

Mal: Yeah. Maybe that’s where my tattoos are getting smaller. I don’t wanna use up all [00:11:00] the space.

Ellen: Yeah Alright,  I guess we should actually talk about some fics

Jemariel: actually talk about fanfiction?

Mal: Epic tattoo tangent. All right.

Ellen: Let’s talk about Dean and Cas’s tattoos. So I guess we wanna start with Cats and Tats.

Jemariel: Let’s start with Cats and Tats.

Ellen: So you published this one serially in 2019 like over to 2020, right?

Jemariel: Yep. It was the last story… It was the last story I wrote before 2020 and all of the shenanigans therein, and I was finishing it up as everything was exploding.

That, that was an interesting… I like, I was looking at my author’s notes and is on the last chapter it’s “Hey, hope everyone’s okay.” Yep.

Ellen: Yeah. It’s always an interesting time to go back to look at that time.

Jemariel: Go back and look at what you were, yeah.

Ellen: Would you, this is 38,000 words long and it’s explicit. would you be willing to read us the summary? [00:12:00]

Jemariel: Sure.

Dean’s tattoo studio is his baby, and now this ridiculous pastel coffee shop is going to come along and ruin his bad ass aesthetic? No way. Except it’s not just any old cafe, and the owner is kind of ridiculously handsome…

Castiel is in over his head, opening the Toe Bean while trying to finish veterinary school. The last thing he needs is the distraction of the gorgeous tattoo artist next door who doesn’t even seem to like cats very much….

But the real question is: Will Sam Winchester ever get a moment’s peace??

Ellen: Poor Sam.

Jemariel & Mal: Spoilers, no. (laughter)

Ellen: No peace for Sam

Mal: no, he doesn’t, and that’s how we like it.

Jemariel: Yes.

Ellen: So you’ve got so many of my favorite things in this fic. You’ve got a cat cafe, which I’ve, I haven’t actually ever been to a cat cafe, but I love the concept of a cat cafe.

Jemariel: I did go to a cat cafe while I was like writing this fic. I wanted to go before I started writing it so that I could like research how they actually functioned. But I [00:13:00] ran out of time and I just started writing it. and then eventually went to the cat cafe and realized I’d gotten it completely wrong, but that’s fine.

Mal: I remember reading your author’s note in, I can’t remember where it was like the second, third chapter, when I was doing my re-read. The where you were basically just Yeah, this isn’t how they work, but it’s how it works for me. So let’s get on with it.

Ellen: That’s how this one works!

Jemariel: Yep. It’s a plot point that one of the cats is an escape artist, so I couldn’t have them like sequestered in their own little room like they usually are, or at least like they were at the one I visited, so that was important.

Mal: I don’t think it’s like… nothing seems an anachronous or wrong about it when you’re reading it to me, I certainly, nothing jumps out that makes me not enjoy the fic in any way. Hopefully nobody out there is asshole enough to have been up in your comments .

Jemariel: No, I haven’t gotten any that and I was thinking like…

Mal: good. I was gonna say, ‘cause there’s always that one person.

Jemariel: there’s so many, I don’t know, libraries or little curiosity shops [00:14:00] that just have shop cats. So I was like, okay, just take that. But in a cafe and there’s eight of them, it’s fine.

Mal: Yes. So I think the most important question is how did you come up with the names of the cats?

Jemariel: Okay, so there are several of them. There’s… some of them are based on actual cats. One of them is directly named after my cat, Simon. And he just appears in that fic, he just is there. Let me see if I can even remember all their names. La Rue. La Rue is a nod to my beta reader’s cat whose real name is Charlie, but they call him Douchey La Rue. So just his little nice cat nickname. That’s where that came from. That’s where from a lot of them I just pulled out of thin air, like Melody and Meringue ,Tyrion and they’re just… what would you name a cat? Mango, though. Mango actually has an interesting story if you’re interested.

Ellen: Yes? [00:15:00]

Mal: So we bring you here for the stories, you know (laughs)

Jemariel: Fair enough. So I, for the last several years have worked at an energy drink manufacturing company. I work in a factory that makes energy drinks and one of those energy drinks is Monster Mango Loco. and Mango Loco is delicious. It tastes like you’re drinking an actual pureed mango, and that’s because you are. It is made, it has a lot of actual mango puree, which is very fibrous and terrible to work with when you’re trying to run it through pipes and machinery and it gums up everything. And it was the worst product to run for a very long time. , it was a big pain.

So, when I went, I, so when you see things in this fics that are like, what mangoes fur does to the vacuum cleaners or him just being a general pain in the butt. That’s a note to Mango Loco being the worst product to run.

But everyone loves Mango because [00:16:00] he’s delicious and he’s great with the customers. So that’s where Mango came from.

Mal: It’s all a metaphor for energy drink! I love it!

Jemariel: Yep.

Mal: I love that

Ellen: Very clever! Mango’s the star of this fic

Jemariel: pretty much, Mango and Tim Tam really stole the show and as I should have predicted, Mango definitely became a favorite for people who were reading and I was like, Yep, nope, that tracks.

Mal: Yeah. If, yeah, if there’s an asshole animal in a fic or even one that’s not really an asshole, just has some quirks, let’s put it that way. that they always become the star Dean and Cas are just in the background at that point.

Jemariel: Absolutely. Never share the stage with an animal that no one’s gonna be looking at you, they’re gonna be looking at the animal


Ellen: That’s right. So the other thing that, that is the that possibly makes this fic stand out a lot is that Dean wears a kilt all the way through this one.

Jemariel: He does.

Ellen: [00:17:00] How come you made Dean wear a kilt? It’s amazing. It’s makes it so good for showing off his tattooed calves and things like that.

Jemariel: Yeah. Literally I was just writing the first chapter and that it just happened. He just I was, he walked out the door and his kilt was swinging around his legs and I was like, “Wait, his what?” Oh, this Dean wears kilts. Okay. And just I guess I rolled it with that. Then he continued to wear kilts through the rest of the story. And I really enjoyed that because it’s a very pleasing aesthetic and, it was fun.

Mal: Oh yes And we all appreciate it. Thank you for your service.

Jemariel: You’re welcome. And I don’t know if I’ve read another fic where he wears kilts like constantly. So

Mal: yeah, I mean I’ve, I’ve read a few fics where he’s maybe won a kilt for a scene. Or, they’ve appeared, but not constantly like that.

It gave him a very Priestly vibe, which I was really down with.

Jemariel: Yeah. That’s probably where the visual came from. Like in my head that’s probably, it just [00:18:00] lodged in my head and was like, okay, this needs to come out somewhere. But Yeah,

Mal: much appreciate it. We’d love the details. Thanks.

Ellen: You gotta love it when characters just do their own thing and you just like, okay, I guess we’re doing this now.

Jemariel: Yeah. It doesn’t actually happen for me very often, but every now and then it’s oh, okay, I, this is how this needs to go.

Ellen: awesome. So did you always like, So basically what happens in this story is, the tattoo parlor is next door. You’ve got the other people who work in the tattoo place, like Charlie and those guys…

Jemariel: Charlie, Jody, Sam, Benny’s there, getting tattoos

Ellen: And so they all end up in the cat cafe just all of the time. Which is really sweet. Did you always plan from the beginning for… I don’t know, do we want to go to spoil like plot spoilers here or I’ll just do a general warning if you haven’t actually read this fic yet, go and read it and then come back and listen. Or just [00:19:00] skip forward until we get to the next one.

Mal: Skip 30 seconds.

Jemariel: spoilers!

Ellen: Did you, was Marv always gonna come in and try and take over or was… like, how much of this did you plan before you started? is what I’m getting at?

Jemariel: Not as much as I usually do actually. No. Marv was kind of a hail Mary at the end. I was like, Okay, I need to finish this story somehow. And I, but I wasn’t really sure. I wasn’t sure how, which is rare for me. I usually know where I’m going. I usually know what the ending’s gonna look like. But, no, I was just like, okay, I need to have some, I need to have something happen.

And I had built up, Cas’s history with his family and his… and like the amount of pressure that he was under, and I was like, I need to explain that somehow and why he’s such an awkward dork and so insecure and why he’s doing this to himself. And Marv just kind of yeah, he just had to show up and rock the boat pretty much.[00:20:00]

So that, that. That was not planned. It was really just, I was struggling with how to end this story and I just needed something to blow up and Marv was pretty good for that.

Mal: Yeah, I think he works really well. Like he actually functions very well to give Cas some closure on everything that’s been hinted at throughout the fic in terms of his life. So I think that worked really well. I liked him. He was an asshole. I liked him as a character. .

Jemariel: Thank you. Yeah. Someone’s

Ellen: A likeable asshole.

Jemariel: Yeah. Don’t have to like someone for someone to work.

Mal: Yeah, exactly. That’s very true. I sometimes love the assholes in fics. But you do have. A really good supporting cast in this fic in general. Something that I know we said the other day was that sometimes you have a really good fic, but then sometimes you can have a really great fic. And one of the things that makes the difference to me is like the supporting cast of characters that’s in there, not just Dean and Cas.

And you have so many great characters in this. I love them. I love every [00:21:00] one of them.

Jemariel: Thank you. I particularly enjoyed writing Cas, or sorry, writing. Writing Jody and Donna in the background. I don’t write Donna nearly as often as I should because she’s so much fun to play with, but you see them like have their little romance in the background. And I really liked that. And Charlie is always just so much fun.

Mal: I loved Claire bonding with the world’s shyest cat as well. I loved that. For some reason that just fits so well and like I would never have thought. “Oh, let’s make Claire a cat person.” Like for some reason those thoughts just don’t come to the forefront of my mind. But for some reason in this fic, it’s perfect . Yeah.

Jemariel: In this fic, everyone’s a cat person.

Mal: Yeah, You’ve gotta be, if you’re gonna be allowed in the cat fic. Yeah.

Jemariel: So I really, I, I did like having Claire there and just giving her that moment, which kind of lets you see into Cas’s history a little bit.

Like it was I think I, I [00:22:00] teared up during writing that, because, with little Dixie, it’s cute.

Mal: They’re sweet, cute. And you had a little bit of Kevin there in the background as well.

Jemariel: I wanted to do more with Kevin in this fic, but it just didn’t happen, Kevin. It can be hard for me.

Mal: Okay. It really made me laugh when you had the chapter where there’s an instant, there’s a small explosion, and you just have, some, just some mentions of Kevin in there. And I was just laughing to myself ‘cause I was just thinking as a fandom, why do we always do this to Kevin? Poor Kevin!

Jemariel: I think , he just he gets the brunt of things so often.

Mal: He does. A little bit. Yeah.

Ellen: Just like in canon. He’s a bit of a punching bag, unfortunately. Poor guy!

Jemariel: Sorry bud. It’s just what happens.

Jemariel: Yeah, I, like I said, I wanted to do more with Kevin in this story, but he kinda wound up more in the background, but that’s fine. There are a lot of people in this story. I do tend, I do have tendency to [00:23:00] focus pretty hard on Cas and Dean been like, Who doesn’t? But this one has a lot of supporting cast.

Mal: I loved the idea of Sam being the piercer at the studio. Yeah. I don’t know why that delighted me so much. . . but it did.

Jemariel: Yeah. I had fun with that. I liked him. He was a bit of an asshole in this fic. Like he just was always being a little bit rude to Dean

Mal: a little bit and taping up signs, being like, if you can’t find any of the employees, they’re probably next door

Jemariel: check the cat. Check the Cat cafe. Yep. And I, he has that moment when he’s piercing Cas’s ear, where he’s like “Hey, so what are your intentions toward my brother?” And then immediately pierces Cas’s ear and Cas is like, “Excuse me?”

Mal: I mean, if it works.

Jemariel: Yep. More spoilers I guess. Sorry.

Mal: Yep. Cas gets his ear pierced! Spoiler! It’s probably not a [00:24:00] spoiler to say that at some point he does get a tattoo as well.

Jemariel: Yeah. It takes him a while though.

Mal: It does take him a while, but I kind of liked that, that like he’s not immediately folded into that world necessarily. He’s very much his own thing.

Jemariel: Yeah. This, yeah, this is Cats and Tats, but it does end up being a lot more about the cats. Ultimately. Dean just is a tattoo artist. And Dean has tattoos.

Mal: Cats are always gonna take over.

Jemariel: Yeah. They’re, like I said, never share a stage with an animal. But the the tattoos they are a way into Dean and Cas’s relationship because… he notices that Dean has a Star Wars tattoo and then they get to bond over that. And that’s a little bit of my own tattoo history working in there ‘cause he’s like “Yeah, I was dumb and 19 and I got a fandom tattoo” and so was I. I did that too

Mal: but look, it turned out okay.

Jemariel: It turned out alright. Yeah.

Mal: This [00:25:00] fake also has one of the kind of favorite sex scenes that I have read in a long time.

Jemariel: Oh, really?

Mal: And it’s one minor detail. I have this love for either very realistic or very silly, or just like fun, smart scenes. You can have the really scorching hot ones. no one’s gonna complain about that. But without being too much of a spoiler, there is a scene where they end up in Cas’s laundry pile , and I’m just like that. That’s real life. Yep. (laughter)

Jemariel: I actually, if I recall correctly, I had a really hard time writing the smut scenes in this story, which I, normally I don’t have that problem. But. It, I, for whatever reason, it felt like, did this story actually need smut? Maybe not. But it’s there anyway, because I am who I am and I write what I write, and I wanted them to be there, but it, they were harder.

And I think that actually ultimately made them a little bit sillier [00:26:00] because kind of I had to, I had to break the mood. I couldn’t take it too seriously with this story. But that ultimately I, upon rereading it, I do think that turned out to be a good thing because you also have, feline interruptions toward the end. So that that, that’s also, that can also be real life.

Ellen: That’s also realistic. Yeah.

Mal: We’ve all been there, right? Yeah. Cattus interruptus. So yeah,

Ellen: the cats have got their own personalities too, which I really like. In this one you’ve given all of them a different temperament and reaction to things

Jemariel: yeah. That comes from spending a lot of time around cats, there are no two cats the same.

Mal: Yep. This is probably a silly question because you’re probably just better at this than I am, but I know I would’ve had to do this. So did you have any way of tracking basically which personality you assigned to which cat?

Because if I had eight cats in a fic, I know I would have to have something written down so I didn’t mix them up all the time.

Jemariel: You know, that’s [00:27:00] a good question. I think I was able to track it just by their names ‘cause I felt like their names suited their personalities to a certain, like Tyrion is one of the bullies.

And like Melody and meringue are always hanging out by the window. I know that. And that they’re, I know that they’re a pair because they both have m names. I don’t know. I was able to… I was able to sort it out like that. And some of them definitely showed up more than others. There are definitely background cats and main character cats. That I think is a fact… That I think is the result of me forgetting about half of them. And then really featuring the ones I remembered, like Mango and Tim Tam.

Ellen: Oh, well done. I didn’t notice you mixing any of them up. So it worked. It was good.

Jemariel: whatever happened, it worked.

Mal: Yeah. I feel like I should ask some more questions about the tattoos, but I want people to just read it and discover what all of Dean’s tattoos are because I thought that they were actually really cool in the way you made it. So [00:28:00] yeah, not all of them have some kind of big story behind it, like we were talking about earlier, but how you did some of the I guess it like folklore, tattoos almost?

Jemariel: Some of the what? Oh folklore tattoos?

Mal: yeah. Yeah. I thought that it was a really cool, like nod to canon without being really heavy handed about it. So it was nice. I liked it. Yeah. But yeah,

Jemariel: I’m trying to even remember what all tattoos I gave him.

Mal: I’m trying to remember either, I remember specifically,

Jemariel: I know his calf tattoos. He says those are just ‘cause he thought they looked cool. Yeah.

Mal: Yeah. Which is the best reason for a tattoo.

Ellen: He had flames on his calf or something.

Jemariel: Those are just ‘cause they look cool, I’m trying to remember. But then there’s like his whole, he goes into his whole family crest history.

Ellen: Oh, that’s right. Yeah. This is like the first figure of this list I read. So it’s all you know when you read a few in a row that are similar and like it all kinda blurs into one.

Jemariel: Yeah. Who had which tattoo? Yeah. Then I go and read other tattoo fics and I’m like, Ah, damn, that’s so cool. I should have given him [00:29:00] that one .

Mal: Yeah. But you definitely had the family crest one that he kind made up had all these elements. Which, yeah, I thought that was pretty cool. And for some reason just seems like a really dorky thing that Dean would do.

Jemariel: Yeah. it’s so important to him. So yeah, he would do that

And something I feel, I do feel like it almost works better in tattoo stories if you are vague about what the tattoos actually are. Like, give an aesthetic more than a more than something super-concrete and specific. It does just let the reader fill in the gaps on their own.

And if you look at someone’s tattoos, unless you’re really examining them, you’re probably just gonna notice that they have some kind of, I don’t know, some, they’ve got florals on their arms. You’re not really gonna notice specifically what all the flowers are. So I feel like that works really well in fic.

So I don’t know really if I did that or if other people, if I just got that from other [00:30:00] people’s stories. But it can be nice to let the reader fill in the gaps.

Mal: I feel like that definitely happened this way, that way with this fic, rather, because, like you said, I can’t specifically tell you what different tattoos Dean has other than like the one or two that were specifically mentioned.

But yet in my head I have a whole picture of how he looks. It’s probably different to everybody else’s picture, which is fine.

Jemariel: So yeah, it works. Oh, and he has the one that he did himself. That’s right. He has like the, Yeah. That one’s important.

Mal: Every tattooist has one slightly dodgy tattoo they did themselves.

Jemariel: Yes. I think he says at some point, if you ever meet a tattoo artist without tattoos, don’t trust them. Which… I don’t actually know any tattoo artists, but they all feel like you can’t really be a tattoo artist if you don’t have tattoos of your own.

Ellen: Yeah. It would make sense.

Mal: Yeah, definitely. If you’re not willing to do it to yourself, why are you putting me through it?

Jemariel: Yep. Exactly.

Ellen: I was just gonna say before we finish that I [00:31:00] I reread this one for the warm kind of fuzzy feeling that you’ve got in this complete, like the coffee shop atmosphere is just so welcoming and nice to read about and the way… like there’s no, they don’t really have very much like actual relationship angst to a lot of the angst is from external kind of pressure.

Jemariel: Yeah. The only relationship angst they really have is Cas is scared and

Mal: that’s just, it’s part of a mutual pining situation going on.

Jemariel: Yeah.

Ellen: once they figure their shit out it’s great. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Like I, I love coming back to this one for rereading it.

Jemariel: Aw, I’m glad to hear that.

Ellen: It’s a happy, it’s a happy place.

Mal: It’s one of those fics that feels like a hug.

Jemariel: Yeah. That makes sense.

Mal: Just a really sexy hug with tattoos.

Jemariel: I will happily accept that. I will add just one more just anecdote, just fun [00:32:00] fact factoid kind of thing. This story, Cats and Tats was originally the working title and I was going to actually call this story Pain and Permanence. But my, my beta reader basically said that, that sounds way too angsty for this story. You should just call it Cats and Tats.

Ellen: It does sound kinda angsty!

Jemariel: You know what? You’re right.

Mal: Cats and Tats really suits it. And if I’m right this this fic was a prompt from Crypto, right? For, I wanna say one, one of the Fic Facers, but one of them, way back in time,

Jemariel: It was! Back in the before times. Yeah. It was for the 2019 Fic Facers for Crypto. Yes. The prompt specifically prompts the prompt specifically was about the tattoo artist and Cat Cafe and Dean having allergies and Dean’s allergies wound up mattering less than I thought they were going to in the end, but that, that is a struggle that he [00:33:00] has.

Mal: He’s a trooper in this fic. He isn’t just like popping some Benadryl. Like he ends up like going to the doctor, being like, “Okay, I need like a blood panel. I sort this out.”

Ellen: Yep. And at no point is he going to be like, “I’m not going near those cats.” He’s just like, “Well, I guess I’m taking some drugs now.” There’s no other option

Jemariel: Yep. You know what this this Cat Cafe owner is just too darn cute. I have to take, I have to take a nasal spray now.

Mal: So sexy. How about you on the nightstand?

Jemariel: Oh, absolutely. And then he ends up with a cat and it’s this is my life now.

Mal: I feel like that happens to a lot of people though. Like, how did we get the cat? Well…

Jemariel: It just happened. Yeah, absolutely. Cats. Cats just happen to you.

Mal: Yes, they’ve happened to me four times now.

Ellen: Oh wow.

Mal: All right. Okay. Let’s [00:34:00] switch to one where Cas has the tattoos. Excellent. All right. So the next fic that we will talk about is Make You Feel My Love by sternchencas, and I believe also by caswatchesoveryou, but I think that might be the art? So yeah, it’s one of those ones that’s tagged to two people on A oh three, but I think it was an art and fic partnership, so

Ellen: it was a reverse bang fic. That’s why.

Mal: Yeah. So I believe the fic itself is by sternchencas with beautiful art. It has to be said. Lots of it.

Jemariel: Oh, lots of gorgeous art.

Ellen: Yeah. Really beautiful.

Mal: Yeah. So the summary for this one… Oh, I should say first of all, that it is 24,000 words. And this one is from 2018, so it’s a tiny little bit older but not really. Still pretty new in my book. So the summary goes like this.

For the first time in his life, Dean has a ticket to the ‘Heaven on Earth Music Festival’ and after enjoying a weekend full of music, fast food, and freaky people, he takes a late night walk over the festival grounds to say goodbye. Little does he know that the weekend is far from over and that fate has a gift for him – a tall, dark, and tattooed gift.

Castiel regrets many things in his life, but in the midst of a sea of tents, he makes a choice that leads fate to finally give him a break – a hot, sweet break, in need of an angel.

So even from the summary, we can tell that Cas has some angel wing type things going on here. And I believe there is some gorgeous art specifically of the tattoos as well. So

Jemariel: there is I’m looking at it right now. It is lovely.

Ellen: The art is beautiful.

Mal: Yeah. We also have Cas with flowers in his hair, which is also just another weird, like little detail that I just love. Let that man have flowers in his air.

Jemariel: Absolutely.

Ellen: ‘Cause a lot of the fic, it takes place in a, in the music festival at night. So there’s beautiful kind of glow, it’s dark around them, but they’re lit [00:36:00] by a flame or whatever, like it’s gorgeously produced art.

Mal: the lighting in this art is wonderful. And the fic, it’s also wonderful!

Jemariel: art works really well in tattoo fics ‘cause it lets you show precisely what the tattoos are, but not have to describe it. It’s very handy.

Ellen: That’s right. Yeah. Or you maybe have to describe it to your artist.

Jemariel: Well, yeah.

Mal: That part can be hard.

Jemariel: Yeah. I just really love the festival atmosphere in this, It really gave you that vibe of just wandering around the tents. You’re outside of reality, just enjoying this specific moment with this specific person that you just met. Yeah, it just it really rang through for me. It was very nice

Mal: Yeah. And it was really important to the fic as well, that it felt almost like an alternate reality. Like a stepping away from your real life for a weekend. Which is very key, especially for Cas in this fic that it’s this whole other place where you can go and shed your [00:37:00] everyday baggage.

Jemariel: Absolutely.

Mal: Oh, I almost forgot. This has another wonderful trope in it, in that it has dean playing guitar, which I’m not actually a hundred percent sure where that came from. Is that something that’s ever alluded to in canon? That he wanted to play instruments?

Ellen: Yeah, when he was at Sonny’s place that, in that boys’ home, he learned the guitar. Yeah. I think it’s also wanted be a rock star.

Jemariel: I think it’s also a little bit of just Jensen creeping in.

Ellen: Yeah, definitely.

Mal: We love a bit of Jensen creep,

Jemariel: character bleed.

Ellen: They’re the same person. Pretty much

Jemariel: just about

Ellen: I love that too. And the way he like, okay, spoilers, the way he actually sings at the end as well is really sweet.

Mal: That’s so sweet. Yes. Yeah, I liked that. So at the beginning, ‘cause it is a little bit of a Jensen journey almost, isn’t it? Where at the beginning he’s almost too shy to actually sing in person. But he does show Cas a recording of him playing. Yeah. [00:38:00] Yeah. And then slowly by the end of it, spoiler time, but like by the end of it, we do get him performing in a way, like in front of a lot of people, which of course was the Jensen journey.

So loved it.

Ellen: actually, this, it was interesting actually, I was reading this, I thought it was just gonna be like a one night stand like type of thing, like at the festival for the whole fic but then it’s actually got two, two parts to this. they do their thing at the festival and then we jump forward in time to Sam and Eileen’s wedding

And where they, Sorry.

Jemariel: I really loved…Yeah, I really loved the time skips in this. I thought it worked really well to kind of space it out like that. I also noticed that like on the first, in the first part, it’s on the last night of the festival and in the last part, it’s on the first night of the festival. I just thought that mirrored itself really nicely.

And you had an ending in a beginning.

Mal: Bookends. Yeah. Yeah. I noticed that one as well. I made a [00:39:00] note about that one ‘cause I really liked it.

Jemariel: It just worked really nicely

Mal: and I loved how we saw the same characters pretty much in each section, but like different versions of the characters. They were the same people, but they clearly… life had happened in the meantime. Things had changed.

Ellen: out of context.

Mal: Yeah. So to the point where in the second part, it takes in a minute to recognize some of these people that he had met at the festival before, but they’re suddenly here, like at a wedding in suits, like looking presentable and with a reliable job and it’s oh, because it’s like that I find if you meet somebody at a festival or even like in a bar or like doing something, just on their downtime and then like you see them in an entirely different context later on , you’re just like, No.

Jemariel: Yeah, you don’t recognize them.

Mal: Worlds colliding. Yeah. I really liked that. I like that we have an Ash in this, which he is one of my favorite supporting characters and yet I feel like he’s just so tragically [00:40:00] underused, but don’t see as much Ash as we used to, ‘cause he was only in those first like couple seasons,

Jemariel: Note to self, use more Ash. He’s good. He’s so much fun.

Mal: He’s just, he’s so fun. He’s a lot of fun to play with. And Balthazar too. Balthazar also, I love Balthazar. He’s very well used in this, I think, but yes, absolutely. Okay, so what can we tell people about this fic?

Ellen: Yeah. I was like trying to think through it and I watched, I read this like at 1:00 AM this morning when I was watching the funeral, the on the feed. So

Mal: to a background of the Queen’s funeral.

Ellen: It’s like blurring together with this nice choral music in the back of my mind (laughs)

Mal: I’m just laughing at you. Reading people boning in tents during the Queen’s funeral.

Ellen: I know! I’m like, I’m reading this really nice smut and then all of a sudden I look over and they’re like removing the crown … I’m like, Oh, that’s right. I’m supposed to be kinda somber here… (laughing) [00:41:00]

Jemariel: just a little bit of cognitive dissonance. it’s fine.

Ellen: Yeah, it was a little bit weird, but anyway. Great way to use your time at 1:00 AM

Jemariel: Yeah. . .

Ellen: No, that I did there, there is some very delicious smut in this one, including doing it in a tent at, in the middle of the night where you’re waking up your neighbors. Is always a bit of a problem at a festival

Mal: Hell yeah. If you’re doing it in a tent, then just go for it.

Jemariel: Oh, let’s give them something to be mad about.

Mal: Exactly.

Ellen: What are they expecting, seriously?

Mal: You’ve already reached the point of tent sex. (laughing)

Jemariel: Yeah. I loved it. I loved, There was something that Cas said where he was like, I, to Dean “I thought you saw me as I really am,” and I loved that. That kind of points to that dichotomy of who you are allowed to be in a festival atmosphere and how that’s really kind of who you want to be more than your day to day self often ends up being like that. Just that kind, that sort of feeling really flowed throughout this whole story [00:42:00] that I really enjoyed. I haven’t been to any kind of festival similar since before the pandemic.

Ellen: Yeah. I was gonna say it’s similar to when we go to cons, like you’re a completely different person when you’re at a con with your friends and people who love the same things as you do, as you are in your everyday life

Jemariel: yeah.

Mal: Yeah. Not to get too deep into it and stuff, but there’s so much of our everyday selves, which is just constructed for us by the expectations of our jobs and the things that we have to do in day to day life.

And it’s not really who most of us are, I don’t think, it’s just a kind of face that we put on to get through day to day life. To earn a paycheck, whatever we have to do. So yeah it’s nice to have, this is such a really good representation of those times where you can just be who you want to be.

Jemariel: Yeah, absolutely. And I love that they meet in that environment and Ultimately being together because that’s really they get to be themselves with each other and that’s very sweet. [00:43:00]

Mal: That’s really nice. ‘Cause a lot of fic just like a lot of real life, you dig down to get to that part.

As they get to know each other more, but having it right there up front and then almost having to learn the reverse, learn all the other parts of somebody’s life after. It was really nice.

Ellen: Maybe this is Cas just walking in and saying, looking at Dean and going, You don’t think you deserve to be saved.

Jemariel: Yeah, absolutely.

Ellen: Maybe it’s an echo of that.

Jemariel: Yes, absolutely.

Ellen: Anyway, that got existential there for a moment

Mal: We just got existential about tent sex. Hell yeah.

Jemariel: It’s a beautiful thing of fan fiction. You can have both.

Mal: You could say it got intense. Oh God. I’m sorry. (laughter)

Ellen: So punny.

Jemariel: Fantastic.

Okay, so [00:44:00] do we want, I’m not gonna spoil any of this other thing, but I really liked how this fic had a whole background and like an entire story that had happened to Cas, but because we are experiencing it through the Dean point of view, other than there were a couple of splashes here and there of Cas I think there’s one right at the beginning.

But because we’re experiencing it with Dean, like we are not given any of that kind of backstory really upfront. We don’t really know what happens. And I adore fics like that. Please don’t tell me everything up front. I know some people love that and they really want go into it and knowing these characters already, but I am the opposite, I love digging things up as I go and then getting the whole picture as the character does. I think this was done really well in this fic.

Jemariel: I’m the same way I like when there’s, when you have to dig, sink your teeth in to discover what’s really going on and you get to discover it along with Dean.[00:45:00] Quite like that.

Mal I think that was, yeah, that was done really well here. Like you could make guesses, you could have inklings as to, that the larger story like war had gone on in the past. You could make some guesses, but it was nice to discover it with Dean. I like that as a writing technique.

Jemariel: Complete same. And Dean’s a firefighter in this one.

Mal: Yes. Dean’s a firefighter. I love that.

Jemariel: And. It’s all there is to say about it though.

Mal: Cas does have flowers tattooed on his feet. And there is a specific line where Dean tells him that he looks like a meadow, which was some reason I just adored

Because yes, he has a lot of tattoos, not just the wings. He has a bunch of other tattoos as well, and a lot of them are kind of flowers and I think it’s really cool that once you find out more about Cas and what he previously used to do day to day in his day job and stuff, I just, I love that the fact that all of that could be hidden away, like under [00:46:00] a suit or scrubs or anything else.

Any kind of day to day uniform somebody might wear. And you’re never gonna know what’s under there unless you know them.  So yeah, we did get existential on this one.

Jemariel: Mm-hm. It’s that kind of fic.

Mal: Go read it! I do think this one had a ton more smut than the last one and yet for some reason this is the one I’m getting existential about. I haven’t really talked about the smut and yeah, I managed to talk about the smut in Cats and Tats, so I don’t know.

They also go skinny dipping in this, which weirdly is a trope that I love and I can’t explain why. Like I have no idea why, but it’s, I like it a lot. So more skinny dipping. Yay.

Ellen: The funny part is that they go skinny dipping midway through a wedding and then they put their clothes back on and go back to the reception while they’re wet.

Mal: Yes. And freezing. Like freezing their balls off.

Ellen: Yeah. It’s like, hang on a minute. There’s not much of a giveaway here.

Jemariel: No, we weren’t doing anything. Nothing at all.

Ellen: [00:47:00] Yeah. I’m like, okay.

Mal: That’s why you do feel sorry for Sam, where he’s just They’re not subtle. not at all.

Ellen: No, He’s like, Why? That’s not the shirt that you were in earlier. It’s like Oh God.

Mal: And it’s Sam’s wedding. That’s the worst part. (laughs)

Jemariel: We love to torture Sam.

Mal: Yes. What he’s there for.

Jemariel: Affectionately. Yes.

Mal: Yes. Affectionate torture.

Jemariel: Affectionate torture. Exactly.

Ellen: Shall we move on again?

Mal: Oh, I will say that was Make You Feel My Love by sternchencas. Just ‘cause I’m trying to get better about saying the title at the end of the fic as well as the beginning because sometimes people forget when I got off on tangents in the middle.

Ellen: Yep. Okay. So the third fic on the list I think is Not the Fire But the Spark by goldenraeofsun. This one was published in 2020 and it is 30,000 words long, so it’s a little shorter… [00:48:00] Actually, it’s a little longer than Make You Feel My Love to be honest. just realized it was, they’re around the same.

This one’s also explicit, but this one is a soulmate au. So it’s where soulmates are… Your soulmates name is written on your skin when you turn 18, right?

Mal: I don’t know if it’s when you turn 18 or not.

Jemariel: Yeah, I don’t remember if it specifies. Yeah.

Ellen: Detail not important. (laughs) The summary goes like this.

Dean refused to look up his soulmate. His parents ran into each other by chance. Karen stopped by Bobby’s garage after her car unexpectedly broke down. Sam got seated next to Eileen on a plane, and he spent two hours miming conversation before she admitted she read lips.

Was it stupid for Dean to hold out for a story like that? Probably.

But he doesn’t regret his decision – not until Castiel Novak wanders into his tattoo parlor, asking about a cover up for his soulmark.

So I guess the pertinent detail that is not a [00:49:00] spoiler because it happens right at the beginning, is that Dean, actually, Dean and Sam were adopted by Bobby and Karen and changed their names to Singer.

So even though Cas has “Dean Winchester” written on his arm Dean’s name is now Dean Singer, so he doesn’t make that connection immediately.

Jemariel: Yes. I loved how that came up too. Like I just love that it came up early enough that you could say, “Oh, what’s that?” And then just move on.

Ellen: The Singer, the name thing?

Jemariel: Yeah, the name thing. Yeah. And then it kinda let you, lets you have an “Oh!” moment. When Cas shows up.

Ellen: I spent a lot of… this one’s a lot more sort of angsty in like a pining kind of way, I spent a lot of this thing going, “Just tell him!”

Mal: This was that really satisfying kind of angst though, like where the fic itself isn’t super long, so you know, you’re not gonna be like hanging on for months slash hours , but, [00:50:00] and you could tell it was gonna have a happy ending. Like you could see where eventually it was gonna work out, but you just got to really enjoy the pining and the angst in the meantime.

Ellen: Yeah. And Dean’s little heartbreaking with every tattoo session where he’s like gradually covering up his own name. It’s like “Oh God, this is awful.”

Jemariel: Aw, he just needs a hug.

Mal: Yes. he does. Yeah. There were moments where I wanted to smack Dean upside the head for not saying anything, but then I don’t blame him for not saying anything either. The situation that they were in, Cas comes right out the gate with…

Ellen: “I, I don’t wanna know who…”

Mal: Yeah. A lot of statements, which are definitely off putting for Dean.

Jemariel: Yeah. And poor Dean, he’s so romantic and he just wanted it to be this perfect story. And then it just was this instead, and it’s like “Oh” I felt so bad for Dean at the beginning of the for a lot of this story.

Mal: Yes, definitely did. [00:51:00]

Jemariel: Poor baby. but in a good way

Mal:, in a good way. And I wanted I, I wanted to smack Cas upside the head a lot, but at the same time, I genuinely understand like his decisions and why he did what he did. ‘Cause obviously he didn’t know that he was doing that to Dean. But, nonetheless, as a reader, I was just like, I just wanna smack you right now.

Jemariel: just wanna shake him

Mal: stop hurting my baby!

Ellen: There’s also a lot of people around Dean that want to smack him in the head as well. For example, after Sam finds out what’s going on, he’s just like “Have you told him yet? Have you told him yet?” Yeah, he’s very insistent. Yes. And there’s also… this is the one with Jimmy in it, right? Like Claire. And Jimmy.

Mal: Yes. I love a good Dean being confused moment.

Jemariel: No, you actually met my brother.

Mal: [00:52:00] Yes.

Ellen: Yeah. So we’ve also got this extra kind of side story with Claire being there and Jimmy and Amelia splitting up and all this stuff going on. But then when Claire finds out about the soulmate thing…

Jemariel: then she’s on them

Ellen: Yeah, she’s onto it. Great supporting cast in this one.

Jemariel: She’s like “Oh no, that’s not happening!” Yeah, this was another one with a great supporting cast.

Mal: Yeah, I really liked Claire in this one and I really liked Jo in this one. Big shout out for the representation of an aromantic character in this. I think Jo works really well for that.

Jemariel: Absolutely.

Mal: I just, yeah, and I love it. Love it.

Ellen: So who else is here we’ve got Benny? I think, Oh no, I’m getting confused with the BDSM one.

Mal: This one is fun, at least for me because you have a, an adult Jo who is aromantic now she understands [00:53:00] herself and where she’s coming from. But you get Dean teasing her all the way through this fic for her having a crush on him when she was a teenager. Which I just adore. Like the kind of friends that can make fun of things like that? Top tier. Love it.

Jemariel: Definitely.

Ellen: They’re basically siblings in this one anyway, so it’s very sibling behaviour

Mal:, yeah. True. Because he was adopted, yes.

I’m gonna do a shout out to Beekeeper Cas because it’s a classic, but I love it. And it does really play into the tattoos that he asks Dean to cover up his soulmark with: all these flowers and bees and such. And one of the first conversations they have really being dean, admitting to knowing all this like flower language stuff from having tattooed it so much, which I’m a fan.

Yeah. I like it.

Jemariel: It’s very sweet. I will say that earlier I was saying it works well to not really describe the… this is an exception to that in that really getting into the details [00:54:00] of, how many bees are there and which specific flowers do you want really worked for this one. I, and I think maybe it was because it was so much from the perspective of Dean as the artist.

Mal: Yeah. So he’s noticing all the details that probably your average person just looking at Cass would not. Yeah. And also so much of this fic is focused on Cass getting that tattoo. Like the tattoo itself is almost a character in this fic. So it’s important that we can see it clearly, I think,

Jemariel: and Dean’s struggle over having to do it in the first place.

Mal: Oh, my baby! I wanna smack someone again.

Ellen: He just needs a cuddle.

Mal: He doesn’t help himself though, but no,

Jemariel: when has Dean Winchester ever helped himself?

Mal: Yeah, it’s very in character, what can we say?

Jemariel: Bless his little heart.

Mal: [00:55:00] This is a really good fic if you want like a solid chunk of angst that is short, but has a very happy ending. It’s like a really nice little neat angst package.

Jemariel: and I gotta say, it’s not really a spoiler because it’s not really a secret where this fic ultimately is gonna go, but, When Cas does find out it, his reaction, his like nervousness is really sweet.

I really liked his reaction to finding out that, that Dean was his soulmate and he’s “Oh god. Ah,” I really liked his reaction.

Mal: Yeah. I liked that there’s a moment there where you can see that Cas clearly realizes that he might have fucked this up. And it’s lovely to read in a way? even though it’s like painful, but it’s like nice to read. Because it’s important that Cas does realize that. So realize that Cas didn’t just brush off how much he hurt Dean.

Ellen: And [00:56:00] Dean doesn’t, Dean could be a lot more upset about it as well. I was sort of wondering how far they were gonna draw it out, but they did it’s not drawn out at all. It’s Dean just it’s amazing how quickly it escalates into some lovely smut after. They’re just, they’re like, “You know what? That’s okay. Just come here and kiss me.”

Jemariel: I appreciated that. It was just like, “You know what? We’re good.”

Mal: I also appreciated that once Cas worked it out, there was no… like there was never a time where Cas knew and didn’t immediately come clean or anything like that.

Like Dean had his reasons for not wanting to say anything because he believed he was obeying Cas’s wishes, really. But I think it would’ve, the fic, probably, I wouldn’t have liked it as much if there had been a point where Cas knew and didn’t say anything. I think at that point it would’ve kind of tipped over that line into feeling manipulative to me. Whereas this never felt that way at all.

Jemariel: No, [00:57:00] this was. Miscommunication at its purest.

Mal: Yes. Loved it. Well worth your time. Please do read.

Jemariel: I do have one other note that just says, usually it’s Dean, you want to smack, but this time it’s Cas. (laughs)

Mal: Yeah. We gotta change it up sometimes!

Ellen: They could both do with a bit of a smack in this one. (laughs)

Mal: Yeah, like a good shake for Dean and then a smack for Cas, I think

Jemariel: And then cuddles for both of them. in the end. Ultimately.

Mal: Lots of cuddles, yes.

Ellen: So one last shorter one to talk about before we do some more general recs. This one is called Under My Skin, by xylodemon. And it was published in 2017, so it’s a few years old now. It’s only four and a half thousand words.

And it is explicit though. And it’s a canon verse. Oh, let me think. This must be, It’s [00:58:00] after Cas has died.

Mal: After 13.02.

Ellen: Yeah, that’s right. At the beginning of 13 when he’s dead, that time. That sounds awful to say

Mal: “that time.”

Ellen: Yeah, that time they’ve got Jack with them and that sort of thing. And the summary just says “Dean wants to keep Cas close.” That’s it. So obviously this is the widower arc time.

Jemariel: Yes, this is right when I was getting current on the show, 13 was the first one I watched live, so that was fun.

Ellen: Oh man. Yeah. I was a little before that. I was like halfway through 12, I think. So I was watching this live going, “Oh my God, what’s happening?”

Mal: Yeah. I think I came live during the Demon Dean era just after

Jemariel: Fun times. Fun times all around.

Mal: So I cried live when Cas died.

Jemariel: Yes. Meanwhile, I was sitting over there just like half a season behind and I was like watching everyone like go crazy on Tumblr. And I was like, Guys, he’s coming [00:59:00] back. Obviously. What show have you been watching?

Ellen: We didn’t know. We didn’t know for a little while. And then I think Jared gave it away or something at a con.

Mal: Yeah, it was a Jared, wasn’t it? Yeah.

Ellen: And then we all just went, “Oh, thank God.” It was like half a week or something. Yeah. Like they knew we were suffering

Jemariel: I think he was confirmed as a season regular. Like a week later. for 13, Like he’ll be fine.

Ellen: They mentioned something about Scoobynatural and how they’d already filmed it

Mal: Yeah. That was Scoobynatural talk that did it. I remember now. God, that was like, what, five years ago?

Jemariel: Yep.

Ellen: Yeah, it was, Oh my God. . . Anyway, sad times. For a little while.

Mal: Back to the fic, though (laughs)

Ellen: Dean is very sad.

Jemariel: Dean’s very sad.

Mal: That’s it. That’s the fic. Dean’s very sad.

Ellen: He’s sad until he is not sad.

Mal: Yes. Which is the best kind of sad. Yep.

Ellen: Yeah, definitely. [01:00:00] So he starts getting little… like in the actual show does Jack, they he tries to get the tattoo and then it disappears, right? That happens in the show.

Jemariel: , he like blows up the equipment.

Mal: I genuinely had a moment reading this fic where I didn’t know if it was like one of those mandala effect things where I like read it so often that I could picture it in my head and thought that it happened, or whether it actually happened in the episode and I had to go check

Ellen: Yeah. So yeah, that Dean starts getting tattoos for, just little symbols of things that he remembers about Cas. And it’s really sweet

Jemariel: getting tattoos as a grieving process is. It’s a very, that’s a very real thing. One thing I loved is that ‘cause you… it cuts back and forth between Dean and Cas being together and then Dean and the present when Cas is gone and every tattoo that he gets is a [01:01:00] special it’s like somewhere that Cas has touched him or is some, is somehow meaningful and tied into those flashbacks. And that was just really really well done.

Mal: Yeah. That the actual format of this fic was lovely, I think. The way that it gave us these tiny little snippets of flashbacks so that we were never like, fully taken out of the moment with the fic but they got me a few times.

Ellen: Yeah. And also that, the way that none of, I don’t think any of the snippets from the fic are actually canon like, shown in canon, but you know instantly where they are in the timeline because you’re just like, “Oh, this is when this happened.” And it’s just so beautiful. And they’ve also woven in bits of the Song of Solomon in there. So there’s a bit of a poetic bit kind thing going through there. Yeah. Really beautiful stuff.

Mal: I love it.

Jemariel: xylodemon is just goals, just period.

Mal: Yeah, xylodemon’s canon [01:02:00] is just (mwah!) love it. Chef’s kiss. Yes. One slightly more lighthearted thing that I enjoyed about the week. This is definitely the most serious, I would say, of all the fics that we’ve seen so far. Probably because it’s canon, but…

Jemariel: Let’s go that way.

Mal: But we did have a moment that I really loved in that Sam basically finds out about Dean and Cas from seeing Cas’s hand tattooed on Dean’s shoulder, Like he has not mentioned it up until this point at all. And then suddenly he’s got the dude’s hand print tattooed on his shoulder. and I love the fact that Sam just kinda rolls with it. He’s Oh, and Dean asked him, is like, “You’ve got something to say?” And he’s just “No. No, I don’t.” I loved it.

Jemariel: Sam’s just like “Oh, that makes sense.”

Mal: Yeah, “that tracks” okay. Yeah, no I liked it. It actually, I don’t know, it felt like a very genuine, [01:03:00] canon, like brotherly interaction. But like “we don’t really wanna talk about these feelings, do we?” “Nah, we probably don’t.” “Okay, let’s skip past it.”

Jemariel: “we both know what’s going on here. Let’s just move on.”

Mal: Yeah. It felt really genuine and I liked that.

Jemariel: And Dean wouldn’t talk about it. Not at that point in canon. So it felt, it did feel very true to their canon characters.

Ellen: A lot of what he did talk about at that point, during that period was just shouting. He just got mad at everybody.

Jemariel: Very true.

Mal: He had a lot going on. He was under a lot of stress.

Ellen: Yes. He had Jack there that he blamed for everything and yeah. It was just very… the whole thing felt like it could have stepped right out of an episode, to be honest.

Mal: Yeah. When I read it, I was instantly taken back to… I don’t think it was specifically shown in this fic, but I was instantly taken back to that scene of Dean yelling at Sam [01:04:00] about Jack.

Jemariel: Yes.

Mal: That that was the vibe.

Ellen: But all is said, it is quite sad, but it does have a happy ending. It’s really short, but it is resolved so. Definitely worth a read.

Mal: Yes.

Jemariel: That is kind of an interesting thing about Canon verse stories that are, that were written during the show, that are very specifically set when, like at that moment in the show, it’s like you can you can tell you there’s that particular flavor of what was going on in Canon at the time, what was going on in the fandom at the time. You’re like, Oh, that’s that moment.

Mal: Yeah. I love it and I love it when it’s done well enough. Like you, you can dig right down to that moment, even from such a short fic.

Jemariel: Yeah. And it just takes you right back there. It’s oh, suddenly it’s the beginning of season 13 again. Wow. Wild.

Mal: Yep.

Ellen: And we predated the actual return of the hand print by three years.

Jemariel: Yeah.

Ellen: There must have been some screaming when that came up. [01:05:00]

Jemariel: A smidge.

Ellen: Apparently I, I read this…like I, I searched through the kudos list to find out how long ago I actually read this, because when I reread it, I had no memory of having read it before. And I think I must have read it quite early on, like when it was very new because my name was way down the bottom of the kudos list. So I gave myself a pass for that one because it’s five years ago.

Jemariel: But yeah I mean I was the same with Not the Fire But the Spark. As I’m reading along, I’m like, “Oh, these mental images feel really familiar. I have def” and then I clicked the kudos button and it’s like “you’ve already left kudos here.” Well, shucks, I guess I have.

Mal: Yep,

Ellen: Always nice to rediscover though something that’s amazing.

Jemariel: But it was perfect because it had clearly been long enough that I didn’t actually remember how it ended, so it was perfect. Reading it, brand new all again.

Mal: Yeah, that’s the best because then you know that you already liked it enough to kudos it, so [01:06:00] you liked it.

All right. Shall we do a few more kind of quickfire tattoo recommendations before we wrap up?

Ellen: Let’s do that. have you got one in mind, Mal?

Mal: In that case I will jump in with The Meaning on my Skin then as I’ve just been rereading it.

Again, not my first reread of this story. This is by Saltnhalo. It is the longest fic that I’ve read recently. It’s 82,000, almost 83,000 words. So in a lot of ways this is more of a BDSM, well, not really BDSM, biological dom/sub story, but there is a very significant tattoo that is happening within this story.

Again, there is beautiful art here. There is, as always, saltnhalo’s lovely writing. So please go and read this one if you haven’t already. I feel like a lot of people probably have read this one because I know that we mentioned it I wanna say during our BDSM episode.[01:07:00]

So I feel like we have at least already mentioned this one, so a lot of you may have already read it, listeners, but if you haven’t, please do, because this is like one of my favorite, I wanna say my absolute favorite biological dom/sub fic that there is out there. There’s not a ton of them, but there are a few.

But the way that it’s done in this one is just lovely.

Jemariel: It’s really excellent.

Mal: Yeah, like sometimes biological dom/sub fics I find you can end up walking a thin line between consent issues and all kinds of weird… That can be a weird line walked and this fic never… because of the way it’s set up with Cas being a dominant who does not want to be one, to not spoil anything too much about him and his story in this, but the way that it’s set up, like this fic never once falls into that trap where you feel that either of them are doing something against their will. And that’s very [01:08:00] specifically done and well handled in this story, I think.

Jemariel: Seconded. It’s excellent.

Ellen: Yeah I love this one too. It’s a beautiful artwork. I think there’s artworks by Sunny and also there’s some crypto artwork in there too,

Mal: Yep, and there’s a sneaky Jackie D one in there too. There’s a, yeah, there’s a Winchester-reload in there too. And that’s beautiful.

Jemariel: Ooh.

Mal: It’s all green eyed and freckly. It’s so good! But yeah, crypto did some really lovely pictures of the tattoo that’s relevant in this fic. Dean is the tattooist, Cas is the one being tattooed. And crypto did a couple of different versions for different points in the story, which I won’t explain what happens ‘cause that would be a bit too spoilery.

But those are really lovely. And then there’s a lovely piece of line art from blueeyesandpie, Sunny in there as well. Go read it. It’s great. Yeah. What else we got?

Jemariel: I had one [01:09:00] that I, I haven’t read in a, I haven’t read in a while, but I remember it being an excellent fic that features tattoos and tattoo artist Dean. It’s old and really well known. But An Exercise in Worthless. by formerly BeastofSky, I think. But now name changed to glassedplanets. And the main thing that I really remember about this one is that it had one of the best uses of Alastair in a fic that I’ve ever read and like a villain figure. I just, I really liked how he was used as part of Dean’s backstory in Dean’s history in this one was very interesting.

Ellen: He’s always a good, a villain.

Mal: off the top of my head, this is the Dean thinks Cas likes Sam fic, isn’t it?

Jemariel: It is!

Mal: There we go. Okay. I knew I’d read this one. I knew it. The author name change was [01:10:00] throwing me but yes, I have read this one.

Jemariel: Yes. Cas doesn’t have a thing for Sam. Spoilers.

Ellen: We can’t let a tattoo topic go by without mentioning Enchanted Ink. Castielslostwings.

Mal: Yeah! Sorry, cheerleading in the background. I love this fic.

Ellen: Yay. I’m pretty sure we’ve spoken about this one before at length. Yes. On, on various episodes possibly.

But yes. Love this one. Mostly because… well, for one thing, Wings always writes the most beautiful stories, but this has magical tattoos that move and create shapes and patterns in the air and light and all sorts of things. I didn’t get a chance to reread all of it this time, but I’ve, I read the first few chapters and remembered how much I loved it, so have to mention that one.

Mal: Yeah, it’s magical, but yet I don’t, every time I read this book, I end up thinking this, that it’s magic in the way that the tattoos move, but it feels almost more sci-fi when you’re reading it because it’s got this… The way the tattoos move [01:11:00] is just like a kind of futuristic, very advanced way of tattooing and the, with the magic and stuff, but something about the way it’s done with everything else in the world being so normal.

Ellen: Yeah. It’s almost like magical realism ish.

Mal: Yeah. Love it. one of my favorite troops in general. So

Ellen: Yes. me as well. Highly recommended.

Mal: Yeah, I can recommend one. It’s a pretty long one. It’s by InvictaAnimi, it is, I believe how it’s pronounced. And that is Subterranean. It’s definitely like Dean is quite tattooed in this, Cas also actually, they both are. It’s a. In some ways quite a dark fic. We have a punk Cas in this kind of story. It’s one of those ones where they don’t give a lot away in the summary, so I don’t want to either, but it’s got some kind of light dom/sub elements in it going on. It’s a lot of fun if you’re into that kind of [01:12:00] slightly like dirty, gritty, fic with like punk Cas, he’s a bit of a thug, generally… it’s, if I’m remembering correctly, I’m pretty sure there is like sex in the church in this fic. So, it’s, it’s not light and fluffy or any of that kind of stuff, but it is really good. This author in general just writes really like those kind of fics where the writing is so good you get lost and then wonder where the last six hours went. So this is one of those, “Oh no, it’s 4:00 AM” fics for me, so love that.

Yeah, so definitely check out that one.

Ellen: There’s one short one, which I believe this is bendingsignpost’s The Art of Flower Arranging. I think this was originally one of his Tumblr. Short fics, it’s only, less than 2000 words. It’s like 1,400 or something. But Cas is a [01:13:00] is a florist and Dean is a tattoo artist and he comes in wanting to practice storing Cass’s plants.

It’s got some gorgeous art by Pallas, Pallasperilous. It is, eventually he, I don’t wanna give it all away, but. There are some, there’s some art, like body art going on in this by the end. It’s gorgeous. Just, usual bendingsignpost stuff, just beautiful writing, interesting concepts. He always comes up with some, good spins on concepts. So give that one a go.

Mal: Yeah. Ben is a staple for a reason. We love it.

Ellen: Yep. The other one I wanted to shout out was actually our fic, Mal. The Curious Case of Cuthburt Sinclair was our Regency romance that we wrote for a Pinefest, I think [01:14:00] maybe a few years ago?

Mal: Yeah, I think it was.

Ellen: And the tattoos that Cas has in that fic are important to the story as it turns out, but they’re… Mal, you wrote this most extremely hot, and… like I, I remember when you were writing this tattooing scene and you were like, “I think this got away from me a bit.” but it’s so good.

It’s just it’s just Dean thirsting heavily as he’s watching Cas get tattooed.

Mal: Me though. (laughs)

Jemariel: Mood.

Ellen: It’s So good. And you’re just like, “Is this too much?” and I’m like reading it going. “Oh my god. No, this is not too much.” But anyway, we don’t usually mention our own stuff too much, but I have to say that one.

Mal: Yeah, blushing awkwardly over here.

Ellen: and we did do a lot of research into that though, because he’s got like pilgrim tattoos from visiting the holy land and that was like a thing that we looked into a bit.

Mal: There was a lot of research involved in that.

Yeah. But yeah. Okay. Now you’ve made blush [01:15:00] awkwardly. Anybody else? We good? (laughing)

Ellen: I think I aim to do that in every episode now!

Mal: Oh no. Look, we need to find a new cohost for… (laughing)

Jemariel: I remember the one I was thinking of. It was Like Curving Color by robotsnchicks.

Mal: Oh, I love their fics! I don’t know if I’ve read that one.

Jemariel: Yeah. I’ve I read it a long time ago, but it’s a they’re, it’s an, “oh god, they were roommates” story along with a with tattooing and yeah, they get to do that. I don’t remember as much of it as I wish I did, but I know they were roommates and I know that there were, there was a tattooing apprenticeship and I remember enjoying it.

Ellen: Okay, good. We’ll include it in the list.

Mal: I’m going to have to read that one!

Ellen: [01:16:00] All right. Well we’re going to include links to all of those fics that we just talked about on the post for this episode on our website, And you can find there the ways to get in touch with us. Please let us know what you thought about these fics, and if you have any other tattoo fics that we missed out, you can let us know and we’ll add them to the list on the post. You can find us on social media under Mixtapebookclub in most places. Or you can email us contact at mixtape book or you can chat with us on Discord on the Profound Bond server or in our own Discord server, which you can get to via ko-fi.

Mal: The next episode we are going to discuss Musician Aus. So stories where either Dean or are musicians

Jemariel: or both.

Ellen: I love this trope

Mal: Or both! Yes, we would love both. So I am really looking forward to this one ‘cause I’ve read a couple of the major fics in this trope, but not a ton. And I’m really looking [01:17:00] forward to digging into some new fic.

Ellen: awesome. We gotta say a really big thank you to you Jem for coming to talk to us. Thank you.

Jemariel: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. This was fun.

Ellen: What have you got coming up? Are you working on a fic at the moment that you would like to share with us?

Jemariel: Oh, I just posted one, so I’m between projects right now, but I did just post one.

Mal: give us a sales pitch, no pressure

Ellen: I saw an email come in yesterday and I forgot to, I should have looked at it before we got here.

Jemariel: Yeah we were talking about canon verse stories that you can really pin down to a specific time period. I was trying to do a canon verse story that, but specifically aiming for that early seasons vibe, like that season one, season two of the show. But with Cas with, newly human Cas trying to figure out.

What’s going on. [01:18:00] So trying to mix that up a little bit. It’s called Ro Shambo.  

Mal: we love a human Cas.

Jemariel: Yes, absolutely. Got a lot of, got a lot of Sam and Dean playing rock paper, scissors, and a lot of bed sharing. ‘Cause you know how hard it is to find a motel room with three beds? pretty difficult. Anyway. Oh wait,

Mal: Wait, did I kudos this yet? I read this already. I’m pretty sure I read this when the email came in. It’s not super long, yeah. I think I did, I think it’s still open in a tab on my phone, ‘cause I need to do the whole kudos comment thing before I close it. Yeah, great fic. Go read it.

Jemariel: Oh, thanks. I do have more effects in the pipeline, both for Supernatural and for Our Flag Means Death and possibly some original stuff with Duck Prints. I’m working with them a little bit, so

Mal: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Jemariel: That’s what I’m working on right now.

Ellen: I look [01:19:00] forward to seeing all that.

Mal: Awesome. Yay. Okay. Yeah. Thank you for coming to talk to us.

Jemariel: Absolutely. Appreciate it a lot. I very much appreciate you asking me to be on. Thank you. Had a good time.

Ellen: So thank you everyone for listening, and we’ll talk to you all again soon.

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

[outro music]

Mal: One day I’m gonna have to say something different just to throw people (laughing) and just not mention it.

Ellen: But then I’ll be there going, “What just happened?”

Jemariel: “Wait, is the episode actually over? She didn’t say the thing!”

Mal: Who knows? Who knows?