Transcript: Track 40: Case Fic

Episode 40 posted May 26, 2023
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

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[Intro music]

Ellenofoz: [00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the 40th episode of Mixtape Book Club podcast. My name’s Ellen,

MalMuses: and my name is Mal.

Ellenofoz: Can you believe we made it to 40 episodes, Mal? That’s so amazing!

MalMuses: Wow. That’s just hit me. And we’ve still got so much more on our list that we want to record at some point.

Ellenofoz: We do. We will never run out! In each episode we take an in-depth look at a different trope or sub-genre in the huge variety of Destiel fan fiction.

And in this episode, we are gonna jump right back into the canon Supernatural verse and take a look at case fics in particular.

MalMuses: To discuss her fic Can’t Fight the Moonlight we’d like to welcome author, DoctorProfessorSong, also known as River. Hi.

Ellenofoz: [00:01:00] Welcome, River!

River: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m very excited.

Ellenofoz: I am very excited to talk to you today as well because I’ve been a fan of your wonderful comments for a really long time. You leave such a long, detailed comments and it’s just such a delight to actually speak to you in person. Hello.

River: I’m glad you enjoyed them. I will say it took me a while before I was confident enough to leave these along ridiculous comments cause I was like, people are just gonna start blocking me.

Ellenofoz: No, no. I love an essay comment, it’s wonderful. Much appreciated.

MalMuses: Your comments are wonderful. And have genuinely actually gotten me through some, like, really hard writing days. So thank you. Yeah, yeah.

River: Consider it sort of my payment for the good fic and getting to read it, but also it’s sort of fun just to be able to react and sort of show the person who wrote it, Hey, look, here’s, here’s how I reacted to this.

So it’s, it’s kind of fun.

Ellenofoz: Brilliant. All right, so we are [00:02:00] looking at case fics this time. I apologize for my croaky voice. I’m just coming off the end of Covid, but I’m, I’m okay. I had a mild case, but I sound like a frog and I apologize. But we’ll get through it. It’ll be all right. So if we are gonna… our fandom has such a wide variety of wonderful case fic that we… I, I guess I should define that a case fic is one where our guys are going out and doing looking at a case, like an episode of Supernatural, basically.

So but we’ve got such a long history of it, and I think today the ones we’ve decided for this episode are more recent… Well, except for maybe one of them, more recent fics that have been written this year, like for recent bangs and stuff. So we thought we’d bring a few newer ones to light.

So the other main fics we’re gonna talk about are Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies by Ariasune. I hope that’s how you pronounce it. I apologize if not.[00:03:10] Everyone knows the year doesn’t start until april by fleeceframe, and That Black Dog Ache by saltywords.

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

Ellenofoz: Yeah, and we have to say big thanks to everyone who supports us on ko-fi. You can also support us if you wanna go to, and you can join our Discord server and help us decide what we’re gonna be talking about in the future, add to our list of fics to read because we never have enough fics on our open tabs or read for later. But yeah, thank you very much to everyone who, who, who supports us in that way. We really appreciate it.

[00:04:00] Okay, so where would we like to start with case fics? Can we, can we start with yours, River? Should we do that?

River: That sounds great. Yeah.

Can’t Fight the Moonlight

Ellenofoz: All right. So Can’t Fight the Moonlight by DoctorProfessorSong was published for the Rhonda Hurley bang in 2023 this year.

It’s 34,000 words long and it is explicit and it has art in it by Ruby, who is solstheimart on Tumblr. Would you mind reading us the summary?

River: Sure.

It feels like some sort of cosmic joke. A man, his would-be lover/platonicish life partner, and two of his ex-hook-ups walk into a bar. Only Dean is struggling to find the punchline. When Claire’s car breaks down, Dean and Cas interrupt their semi-retired life to meet up with a local hunter in need of back-up. Unfortunately for Dean, they’re meeting up in a dive bar that just happens to be the local haunt of his ex, Rhonda Hurley. Even worse, Cas and Claire neglected to mention the hunter they’re meeting is Annie Hawkins, one time lover to Dean (not to mention Sam and Bobby).

But that’s okay, because Dean figures they’ll get the details of the case and head out. What he doesn’t know is the monster is targeting women, and may be specifically going after women who are into, well, women. So they need Annie AND she needs a girlfriend for this to work. Enter Rhonda Hurley, looking to get out of town and willing to play fake girlfriend for awhile to help her old friend. And it isn’t like Dean can send a civilian and a hunter he had to bury once into a dangerous situation alone. So it looks like they’re all headed on an awkward family vacation.

Ellenofoz: So awkward. It’s amazing.

MalMuses: A family vacation is such a good way to describe this fic.

River: I said it’s the, the Dean Winchester torture chamber, but in a good way, right? (laughing)

Ellenofoz: Yes. Before we start talking about the fic, can I just ask about the Rhonda Hurley bang? I mean, what an amazing idea for a bang.

River: I know, right? I I, it was so funny because I was, I was doing something else and I was like, I can’t write another fic right now. And [00:06:00] then I saw it and I had made this joke in a u quiz about Rhonda Hurley getting together with Annie Hawkins.

And I was like, oh, well now I have to write it. (laughs) And it was really fun. And it’s actually, you know, it’s really fun to go read all the fics because everyone’s Rhonda is very different because you have one sentence, right? And so Rhonda is, is completely different in all of the fics. And so it’s kind of fun to see how everyone took this one little smidge of information and then created this character out of, out of that one line.

Ellenofoz: She’s just such a gift to the fandom, really. Like that one throwaway line.

MalMuses: Right? This is one of those bangs that I definitely wish, that I had known about at the time. I, I’m always out of the loop on these things. I’m just terrible for some reason, unless, like one of my friends on Discord specifically says, oh, this bang signups are open now, then I’ll go and do it.

Otherwise, I just don’t know. I even missed the regency bang this year and Ellen runs that, so

it’s shameful. But yeah, I [00:07:00] wish I had known about this one, for sure.

River: I think about her power, like one, one line, never showed up on screen. And how many fics, say, you know, “Dean’s panty kink” or, mention Rhonda Hurley. I mean, she probably appears in a, a huge percentage of fics and we never even see her.

MalMuses: Yeah. Yes. But her presence is very much felt.

Ellenofoz: Well, she’s an awesome character in this, in this fic, so she’s like she’s almost like a, a female version of Dean, really, like drifting from town to town, hooking up with whoever, like maybe early seasons Dean more than more so than later. But yeah,

River: yeah, I definitely channeled some early Dean in her.

I also I wanted her to be a little Dolly Parton. You know, she’s southern. I made her southern, I poured some religious trauma in her, so a little self insert there. And I just wanted her to be sort of a lot of sort of like clever sayings and she’s sort of funny and, and, but she doesn’t really want [00:08:00] to look at what’s right in front of her.

MalMuses: Yeah, I love that about her. And I also really enjoyed that even though this is obviously a Dean and Cas fic, it’s, it’s Destiel-centric, she very much gets her own character arc in this, like you fully developed her and Annie as well to the point where they have their own, you know, you’re rooting for them by the end as well, which I really enjoyed.

I like that. I love a good side character. So enjoyed that a lot.

River: Yeah. One of the nice things was that it, she gave us a sort of third party look at what was happening with Dean and Cas, which was sort of fun, right. But also I wanted their relationship to be sort of on an opposite arc to Dean and Cas. So Dean and Cas are really together although they’re still trying to figure out what that means and, and also both of them think the other one doesn’t wanna have sex with them.

Possibly because [00:09:00] Cas is straight. Maybe he’s just an angel, but… so they’re sort of emotionally and physically very connected. But can’t figure out the sex, whereas Rhonda and Annie jump right into bed and then avoid any emotions or any talking about them at, at all. And so it’s sort of fun to watch the two couples, both of whom need to talk, but for entirely different reasons.

Ellenofoz: yes.  So tell us about Annie, like if, if listeners don’t remember who she was, she was the, the hunter in that haunted house case that… now I, I don’t remember which season it was in, but I don’t

MalMuses: Yeah. Who needs episode numbers? We’ll go by vibes.

River: I’m trying to remember what, what the episode is called. But I did a little psychological damage to myself because I’d forgotten she was in an episode with Ghost Bobby. And so I went to go re-watch it and like, “No! it’s Ghost Bobby!”

Ellenofoz: Yeah. That’s a very sad episode.

River: It’s a very sad episode. [00:10:00] But she is a hunter. And she calls to meet up with Dean and Sam, and then she doesn’t appear.

And it turns out that she was killed in this, in this sort of haunted house where these ghosts are trapped. And she’s very sort of cool and collected and she’s a, she’s a lifelong hunter. And it also comes out that she scored the Winchester-Singer Triple play, so to speak. (laughing)

MalMuses: Yeah,

River: the hat Trick, if you will.

She’s a fun character. She’s a very classic hunter type character, but she’s a little softer, I think, than a lot of the hunters we get to see. And at the end of that episode, she asked for a hunter’s funeral. And so she was a really fun character and I sort of wished we’d gotten more of her cuz she was really fun.

Ellenofoz: She’s only in that one episode, right?

MalMuses: Yeah, I think it was just that episode.

Ellenofoz: We never meet her before that? It’s just the one episode.

MalMuses: I don’t think we met her before. Or did we? No, I don’t think so.

But yeah, again, it’s [00:11:00] this kind of one-off character that the show gives us. And thanks to the, the power of supernatural fic, we get to kind of hand-wave the fact that she had that hunter’s funeral, you can just say, “well, you know, didn’t stick.” So, and I love the fact that we can do that. Like there’s no character out there and supernatural that we can’t just say, “oh well I’m just gonna make it work my way and I can, I have the power.”

And, and that power doesn’t even conflict with canon. Not even a little bit.

Ellenofoz: No. I mean now we have, we have God, like he, he brought, apparently brought Cas back even though we never saw him. So anyway, let’s not get into like finale salt, but we do have that, that ability to just bring anyone back without like having to explain it just…

River: And I did hand wave it a bit.

MalMuses: Yes. I, I must admit I missed that in other fandoms. In other fandoms. You have to explain these things. It sucks. (laughs)

River: I liked her. I’m bringing her back!

MalMuses: That’s all the justification we need. Yeah.

Ellenofoz: So this is like post-canon timeline, right? It’s like after [00:12:25] even like Cas has come back from the empty. It’s post-canon.

River: Yeah. Yeah. So I, well, I sort of ignore the finale. (laughs)

Ellenofoz: Yeah, why not?

River: Why not? But yeah, it’s sort of,

MalMuses: we, we all do on some level.

River: It’s it’s in this unspecified time. Cas is back, he said “I love you.” And he and Dean have sort of started building a life together. And, and they share a bed platonically because Dean doesn’t think Cas wants him other than platonically.

But they’re very sort of, it’s sort of a very soft post-canon Destiel that you get in this fic because they are sort of, you know, they’re half in, half out of hunting and, and sort of trying to raise Jack and, and figure out what they’re gonna do next.

Ellenofoz: Mm-hmm. It’s so soft. It’s lovely.

MalMuses: It is very soft and lovely.

And you mentioning the platonic bed sharing just made me think of how much, I love how hard [00:13:00] Cas tries in this. fic and Dean is just so oblivious for so much of it. I don’t think he’s, I don’t think he’s as oblivious as he thinks he is. Maybe like he’s, he’s clocking some things, but just not joining the dots on what they could mean for him. but I mean, Cas is trying, bless him, like

River: it’s true. He is. Cas is trying and, you know, there is a reading of canon where Dean meets Cas and sort of throws out his best lines and Cas is like, mm-hmm. You know, does not understand what’s happening. And so this is sort of, I guess he kind of deserves it right?

MalMuses: A little bit. Just a little bit.

River: But he, Dean, Dean has sort of is, is operating under these assumptions that he made at a different time when Cas was sort of, had a different understanding of himself. And so I think it, it is kind of funny because there are points where Cas like really, I think, tries very hard to say, “I want this.”

And [00:14:00] Dean just gets it in his own head. And, and part of that I think too is that he’s sort of struggling with this idea that his relationship has to easily fit into a little box and he doesn’t know what he’s, quote, “allowed to do.” Right. And, and I think he has to sort of get to the point where he says, well, we can build what our relationship looks like.

We don’t actually have to listen to anyone else. We can just figure out what we want and ask for what we want. So they, they, they get there, but it takes, takes a minute.

MalMuses: They do. Yeah.

Ellenofoz: They just have to convince each other to actually use their words, which is like just so hard for them, apparently.

River: So difficult

MalMuses: Arguably, there is a point in this fic where Cas very clearly uses his words and it just goes so far over Dean’s head that I was just cackling on the other side of the screen.

Ellenofoz: Yeah! He says it, and Dean just hears something completely different. It’s like, what?

River: Poor Dean, he’s…

MalMuses: I love that. I love a good miscommunication that doesn’t feel forced.

Like the [00:15:00] miscommunication just felt so much like Dean. Like you could just picture it and you would just sit there and, and laugh at him a little bit, but also just be like, “come on man. You, you, you got this. You can do it.” You root for him, but you, it’s quite funny as well.

River: And, and I will say like, one of the things that I tried really hard to do is it was never really like… It, it, it was never, the miscommunication was never such a point of tension that they weren’t sort of together and really a unit which I really wanted.

I wanted to write them together and sort of give full faith and credit to their relationship so that when they kiss at the end, you’re not like, well, they’re finally together because they’re sort of always together, right? So it never gets to a point where the miscommunication is, is super angsty. It’s really more funny, I think, hopefully.

MalMuses: Yeah, I definitely found it funny in this one like that there are, there were parts in this fic where I thought it was a very amusing fic, I love some humor thrown in with my angst and my case fics. And I think anything with [00:16:00] Dean Winchester’s got to have a little humor, right? That’s just who he is as a person.

So when you’re writing canon, I love it when you lean into that a little bit and then there’s an extra layer of humor that we as the reader get that’s escaping Dean. But

Ellenofoz: the other side of the miscommunication is that Rhonda and Annie kind of… like, it’s, you don’t, I don’t think we ever hear from Annie’s point of view, but we do see through Rhonda’s point of view that they are both kind of more into this relationship than they actually tell each other they are.

They’re both kind of on the wrong page, but then they work it out eventually too. So you’ve got this nice kind of parallel thing going, like you said before, with the opposite kind of direction arcs. But yeah, they also get their share of miscommunications.

River: Yeah. They sort of you know, I think neither one of them wants to be vulnerable.

And so you don’t, you don’t really get to hear… you’re, you’re right, you don’t get to hear Annie’s side on it, but they’re both sort of, you, you can see that they both want this [00:17:00] and they bring themselves to sort of admit it and get to that point. And I think that they’re sort of scared that the other one doesn’t feel the same way.

Right. And they, they sort of did have a conversation at the beginning and they said, this is just for fun. And neither one of them wants it just to be for fun or at least they don’t want it to end. Right?

Ellenofoz: Let’s do a spoiler warning so that we can talk about the actual case itself. So we don’t blindside anybody. So if you don’t wanna hear about what happens in this fic, then just skip ahead a little while.

We’ve got this idea that Artemis is like basically well inviting lesbians into her realm. That is a major plot spoiler. I apologize if you’re still listening and didn’t wanna hear it. I warned you.

MalMuses: You were warned. Yep.

Ellenofoz: How did, how did you sort of come up with the idea of of this being the main sort of case?

River: So, it’s kind of funny cuz I usually am a person who writes, who comes up with a plot first. But in this case, I sort of [00:18:00] knew all of the players I wanted and I had to figure out how to have an excuse to have Rhonda be there.

And so I kind of needed a monster that would go after women who were into women, as I said. And I sort of was like, well, I’m not gonna, I’m not burying any of them. I can get plenty of that elsewhere. And so I sort of started thinking, okay, well let me go back to mythology. And Artemis has all of these handmaidens and some of whom are mortal and some who are, are immortals of some sort.

And I thought, oh, she’s the goddess of the hunt. She would love Annie. And, and, and I really love the idea that we have these gods and goddesses in canon who are losing their power because no one believes in them. And so I sort of saw, okay, well it’d be fun at the end to have her sort of become the goddess of hunters.

And then, but I had forgotten that she was in the show, and then I remembered and I was like, “oh no!” So I had to go back and watch that episode.[00:19:00] And actually I felt like she was a little underused cuz she’s really defined by her dad and her ex. And so I was like, actually I can, I can work with this.


Ellenofoz: she’s in that episode with Prometheus, right?

River: That’s right, that’s right. Yeah,

Ellenofoz: yeah, yeah. Okay. Because I couldn’t remember either. I got up to that bit and went, oh, she was in it?

River: But she’s kind of fun and she’s sort of, sort of scary, but like in a fun way. Just very powerful, which I, I thought, I also just loved the idea of saying a monster, so to speak, who’s not really truly a monster and who they don’t have to in the end sort of kill.

I, I like the idea that you end up with a different resolution. I just think that’s kind of fun to write. Yeah. And then I remember Dean was a handmaiden, which made it funnier.

MalMuses: We love handmaiden Dean!

now I’m a big mythology person, so I was very excited [00:20:00] about the, the actual kind of case of this one as well. I mean, we love the, we love a kind of fake relationship deal, no matter how it’s presented. But I really love the actual case and the Artemis stuff in this one cuz I’m a, I’m a mythology slut when it comes down to it.

I love it. Give me more of it. So, thank you. You, you tickled my mythology pickle with that one. Oh, I was gonna say that one of the things I really enjoyed about the opening for this fic, is first of all, how uncomfortable Dean is just seeing these two women that, you know, he’s, he’s been with both of them.

And I feel like with Dean, if it had just been one of them and or if Cas hadn’t been there, he could have played that off entirely differently. But with Cas there and with the assumptions that not just them, but like everybody, the assumptions that everybody makes about him and Cas, I absolutely loved how awkward he was to the point where he, he’s like, is this just like a nightmarish [00:21:00] djinn dream?

Like this is terrible. These two women that if it had been just a few seasons earlier, I can see that going down really differently. But the, the point where you place this in the Supernatural timeline just made it absolutely hilarious to me. I loved it. I kind of now want Dean to just run into all of his exes and all of the people that he has ever slept with.

And for Cas to be there with him just rolling his eyes in the background, like, okay

Ellenofoz: and for them to just make assumptions,

River: that was very much intentional, right? Like I think if Cas hadn’t been there, it would not have been nearly as awkward for Dean. And, and also he’s sort of still doesn’t know how to introduce Cas and sort of where they are. And so he just sort of panics and, and I think that scene and then also the scene at the restaurant, right, where they, Rhonda and Annie are just so comfortable. Right. And he is just like falling apart. He’s already had the massage. He’s like, I gotta get this together man.

And [00:22:00] they’re just like talking about sex and he’s like, “you gotta stop. Cas is right there.” And Cas is like, “Why are you being weird?” (laughing)

MalMuses: Yes. I love fics. Where it turns out that Dean’s the weird one that like for years Dean has been, you know, calling Cas the weird one saying he has no social skills. But then I love it when it, the, the scale tips and Dean just falls apart and he has no social skills and he is the weird one for a little while because of Cas’s presence essentially.

Absolutely love it.

Ellenofoz: And we have seen that in canon too, so you can quite clearly picture like Jensen Ackles doing that exact thing.

MalMuses: Yeah, yeah. Yes. Flustered Dean is one of my favorite things to write and read in any, in any situation.

This is like a very subtle Twitter shout out. Like you’ll either know the personal you won’t, and I’m not gonna name them fully because that seems like an invasion of privacy. But[00:23:50] I, I’d love that you, you, you seem to keep finding new and interesting ways to kill Mallory in your fics.

River: (laughs) No, I think she’ll be fine. So Mallory is a friend of mine, but also has written some really fantastic fics in fandom. And I was reading, I wanna say it was Redux, but it, I, I, she’s written so many that I, I love, but I was reading one of her fics and I said, swear to God, if this thing happens, I’m gonna write you into my fic and I’m gonna kill you.

And she thought that was the funniest thing she’d ever heard. And she’s like, you have to do that now. And so now I’ve killed her in two different, well killed her in two different fics. But I mean, another spoiler. She doesn’t actually die in this fic. And I was telling her, I was like, too nice to you in this fic. Like she had a threesome, and then I put you in She-den! (laughing)

Ellenofoz: You were nice to her in this one though.

River: It was very nice to her. It was very nice in the other fic too. Like I’m, [00:24:00] I’m too nice to her. Unfortunately I also just really like her as a person and I just don’t seem to be able to actually kill her. But no, she thought that was hilarious. And that was entirely based on one of my ridiculous comments in one of her fics. So…

Ellenofoz: Excellent.

MalMuses: I love the layers of things that we get in fanfic cuz there’s like, The show is the top layer and then you have all of our like fanon head canons which fit into a lot of fic and you see those as well. And then beyond that, there’s all these very personal, like specific fandom and friend like references that like if you don’t know, you won’t get, but I find that most fics are full of them.

Absolutely love that. So many layers. They’re all onions, these fics.

River: plus Misha Collins has been wearing shirts and Misha Collins shirts definitely showed up in this fic, several of mine. Someone put a jacket on that man.

MalMuses: No, please don’t.[00:25:00] (laughing)

It took us 10 years to get shirts. Okay, 10 years.

River: Don’t actually do it. Don’t actually do it. I’m joking.

MalMuses: It is very distracting though.

Ellenofoz: I, I think it’s just that we, we are writing for such a, like you, you wouldn’t see, well, maybe you would see that kind of thing in a, in a published actual book, but only a few people would not understand it still even then. But we are writing for such a specific audience that we can put those references in and, you know, a bunch of people are gonna get it.

And then if you don’t get it, it doesn’t detract from the story at all, so why not shove ’em all in there?

MalMuses: Yeah, I love it. I’ve definitely used like friends’ names and all kinds of things. Like the thing I’m writing right now, I just killed off three of my friends. So like, I’ve definitely, I’ve definitely done it before.

What’s interesting is when you have close friends named Jess and you put them in a fic, and everyone obviously assumes that it’s Jess, like [00:26:00] Supernatural Jess, because you know, that’s the, the name that gets used, but just in the back of your head you’re like, “that’s not the one I’m picturing!”

Ellenofoz: I’m sure our friends, Jesses, will be happy to hear that.

MalMuses: Yes. (laughing)

Ellenofoz: Maybe not happy.

River: I was gonna say, sometimes you just write things for yourself too, right? Like you put a little something in just as, as a joke to yourself or a reference, and then someone will catch it and you’re just like, how did you catch that obscure reference to Dr. Horrible, or whatever it is.

MalMuses: Yes. That makes I’m so happy when people do that.

Yeah. It’s so much fun. It’s so much fun when that happens. Yeah. Like I have a fic that I, I write periodically. It’s just one of those that’s like ongoing, but it’s, it’s not one of my main focuses, but it has a lot of references to a really like old cult British sci-fi show in it. And every now and again, I will just get these comments, this like list of comments when people are [00:27:00] just screaming, like, “I’ve never seen a fic with references to this show in before!”

And I’m just like, I’m just very happy that you got it, because I’m pretty sure that. A lot of people reading that fic don’t get it. So it just absolutely delights me. It’s one of the best things when you can pick out someone’s weird little weird little references. So, love it.

Ellenofoz: I have to start up my campaign to get you to update that one again then, shall I? I love that one!

MalMuses: I do actually have it in my giant pile fic. I do have at least two more chapters semi ready to go for that one. But posting is scary. I have issues right now. Okay. Yeah.

Ellenofoz: It’s gonna be okay.

MalMuses: She’s like, it will be okay. You will post it.

Ellenofoz: Okay. Gentle encouragement, gentle encouragement.

MalMuses: All right.

Do we have anything else that we want to say about this book other than the general screaming of how awesome this was and how funny and just, I don’t know, by the time you get to the end of it, this is one of those which left me with like a really like wholesome, happy feeling cuz it’s like a genuine, happy ending for [00:29:00] everybody story and yeah.

I love that. I do. Like we put like please put them through some things like give me, gimme something to work with when I’m reading. But then at the end I do love it when we have a really nice, happy ending, especially in canon fic, cuz I feel like they deserve it.

River: I think we all, we all wanted to see a happier ending than we got, though The Winchesters has done some healing for me personally. But also what’s funny as well, I was writing this when I also wrote probably my saddest fic because it was during a period of time that’s an anniversary that’s very difficult for me. And so it was really funny cause I’m writing this really funny, silly thing and then I go write this just like super angsty sad thing.

And then I go back to writing this like super happy thing. So I think by the time I got to the end it was gonna have to be like, just like really happy. (laughs)

MalMuses: The fic whiplash when you’re reading and writing like that. Please write more Rhonda Hurley fics, people! We love them.

Ellenofoz: [00:30:00] Yes. I’m gonna have to go through the, the bang list, I think and have a look at them

MalMuses: a hundred percent.

Yeah. And if the bang runs again, I’m gonna have to like, keep my eye out for it this time. So.

Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies

All right, so which one should we move on to next? Okay, so the next fic that we have to talk about is Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies by Ariasune, Ariasune? Probably saying it wrong, but hey, we’re trying, that’s the important part.

People underestimate how difficult it is to say like, screen names out loud. This fic is 13 and a half thousand words thereabouts, and it’s pretty recent. It’s from the Dean Cas Reverse Bang from this year, 2023. So it’s quite new. Just came out in. April. Wow. This one really must have been like top of the list when we really went out there looking.

And the summary goes like this.

“Look, Charlie thinks the Men of Letters have something that can help you actually, you know, find this monster.”

“Good,” Dean licks at his thumb to get the last of the chicken salt clean. “Cause right now it seems like we’ve got a monster that’s some 20, 000 leagues under the sea…” He stops. “This isn’t some 20, 000 leagues shit is it?”

“It’s a submarine, actually.” Fuck, that sounds like a yes.

So I, it’s, it’s probably no surprise to everybody, but I absolutely love this fic. It’s got the deep sea horror. It’s got ocean, it’s got creepiness, it’s got trueform Cas. It’s got just everything. Like this fic was not made for me, but in my fantasies it was.

Ellenofoz: And as a Reverse Bang fic, it has some beautiful art by Mangonatural.

MalMuses: Yes. Lots of gorgeous art in this one, including some really, really, I think one of my favorite trueform Cases I have ever seen. And I’m, I’m a connoisseur when it comes to yeah, true [00:31:00] form Cas. But this one is spectacular. So yes, Mangonatural.

I believe they are usually on Tumblr. I don’t think they are much of a Twitter person. I think they’re a Tumblr person. So go and go in love on Mangonatural if you read this fic, because it’s one of those fics that’s truly enhanced by the visuals as you go through. It’s beautiful.

Ellenofoz: Yeah. One thing I did enjoy about this was that what was quite obvious was that this author must have either already known about underwater exploration or did a whole lot of research about it because the level of detail of like describing what this bathyscape thing is and everything was quite, quite you know, in depth, so to speak.

Yes. It like the, the Men of Letters have these underwater exploratory, heavily watered vessels just wait, sitting there waiting for someone to use them. And Charlie knows that they’re there. And yeah, just brilliant.

MalMuses: [00:33:00] Yeah. I love the idea that the men of letters have all this cool stuff just stashed around the country.

It’s a great thing to use for fanfic purposes, but I mean, it really does make sense and seem, seem obvious almost the way that they were portrayed in the show. Like, it makes absolute sense that they have all of these different things stashed around in different places. Cause I, I think it’s mentioned in the show that they have, like, I’m not sure what they call them in my head.

I think of them as like other, other bunkers in places. Yeah, because I know that we, we see one in that episode where Dean interacts with the tentacle creature. That’s not a vague reference in the slightest, is it?

Ellenofoz: That tentacle creature.

MalMuses: one, one of the, one of the canon Dean tentacle references (laughing)

River: We all know

MalMuses: we’re doing panties and tentacles in this fic, in this episode.

River: Yeah. I think the nice thing about using the men of letters [00:33:00] too is that it’s like an antique submersible. Yeah. Which adds to I think, a little bit of the tension. Right. You know, you don’t really love the antique next to I’m gonna get in this thing and go down where I could be crushed into nothingness.

So it’s got so much atmosphere because you’ve got this like very, and, and it’s covered in rust, right? Like just the visual of this fic is just beautiful. Both the art and the descriptive words. I mean, you could just see the entire fic, it was very sort of cinematic, I think.

MalMuses: Yeah, like the, the visuals between the, the submersible itself, the, the Jackalope I believed they called it.

And the, like you said, the, the actual descriptive writing. Like it gives a very almost kind of Lovecraftian feel of writing. Like it has that kind of slightly, I’m gonna say slightly eldritch, just because we do have true form cast and he is, if nothing else, an eldritch horror with a heart. So I [00:34:00] love that feeling when I’m reading a fic or you, you get that kind of almost like old mid-American horror feeling, works so well for case fics.

It’s beautiful. And there are a couple of authors in this fandom who do it really, really well. This was a new author for me, so apologies to them, they’re gonna be sick of me because I will be in their inbox on all the rest of their fics now.  

Ellenofoz: I think they got added to my you know, subscription list, too. Fantastic descriptions and beautiful words in general.

MalMuses: Just beautifully done.

Ellenofoz: So interestingly, this this is set in season eight, like the end of season eight, basically, where I think after Cas has got over the attack dog spell thing. Is that right? And he’s been… Am I, am I mixing this up with another of the fics where he’s been stuck in the bunker?

Is that this one? No, no, that was the other one. I, I just read

MalMuses: No this is definitely at the end of season eight.[00:36:00]

Ellenofoz: Yeah, he’s, Dean’s mad at him for, you know, something. Oh God. Now they’re all blurring into one.

MalMuses: the entirety of season 8?

River: The angel tablet?

Ellenofoz: Oh yeah! The Angel tablet. Okay. Okay.

River: They’re definitely fighting.

Ellenofoz: They’re mad at each other. Yeah.

MalMuses: Just everything from Purgatory onwards is the issue here. So, Yeah. And then,

Ellenofoz: but, but he, like, Cas is just so sad. Like he’s just despondent that Dean’s so mad at him still, and, and Dean’s like, look, I’m mad, but I still, you know, I still love you. Like, you know, he doesn’t say that, but that’s kind of what he’s thinking the whole time.

But yeah, I don’t know. They’re just like, you just kind of want to beat their heads together at some point. It’s like, come on guys.

River: I think you wanna lock them into a small, claustrophobic thing and put them at the bottom of the ocean until they work it out, which is, that’s exactly what happens.

Ellenofoz: That’s exactly what you [00:36:00] wanna do with them. (laughs)

River: This is like when I lock them in an elevator sometimes you just need to give them, and, and one of my favorite lines, and I can’t remember exactly what it was, was when he said “the opposite of fear is boredom” or something like that. And it was just, it was so funny cuz it was like, well look, you’re stuck in, you’re stuck in this submersible.

You can’t go anywhere. You have to talk, eventually you have to talk. You can’t just sit there forever.

MalMuses: Yeah. It’s, it’s the really extreme end of just like the making them kiss gifs, like the, the really extreme end of that.

Ellenofoz: And I, when they, when something actually does happen after they stop being, you know, having to be quiet for a while. I don’t wanna like add an extra spoiler here, but the terror that Dean has at the thought of, you know, dying in the first instance and then actually losing Cas at one point is just so well described. It’s like you’re on the edge of your seat reading it. You’re just like, “oh my God!”

River: [00:38:00] Yeah. I think the tension is really well written. Right. It’s just you, you sort of, you feel like you’re down there with them and I’m a huge fan of sort of sci-fi space or deep, deep sea, right. Where you can’t get out easily.

And there’s this feeling of, of claustrophobia that I just think is so beautifully written. And this sort of feeling of desperation and helplessness that I think really adds to the story.

MalMuses: Yeah. There’s some really, really skillful writing and imagery in this one relating to the fact that there is a point where Dean is trapped inside this submersible and he is alone at, at that point within.

But there is trying really hard not to give any spoilers here. There’s a lot going on outside the sub. But Dean obviously only has like a, a tiny like, field of vision of what’s happening out there really. It’s very, very dark. He’s like really far down under the sea and just the [00:39:00] idea that Dean is, is trapped in this thing and he’s aware of what’s happening beyond, but can only really see this, this like slither of it.

Like, you know, if something turned, he would lose it entirely and have no idea what was going on out there. I just love the way that they used that. Like it was so skillfully done to increase the tension even more because if we’d have seen the whole, like the fight, like everything that was going down, I don’t think it would’ve been as impactful as seeing it only through Dean’s eyes in this one.

Like it was such a good use of pov. I loved it.

Ellenofoz: Absolutely. And even after you are terrified reading it and it all goes down, it has a really lovely soft ending as well. A very nice ending. It’s only rated Teen, but it has like a, a loving ending I guess.

MalMuses: Yeah. It, it’s really lovely the way it wraps up. [00:40:00] It’s very soft and, you know, it does, it does stay within that, that Teen realm.

But it, it definitely gives you an idea that more is coming and it, it’s, and it’s, it’s lovely. It’s, it’s a very nice ending. To wrap this up I do wanna do a very specific mention for something that I have only ever seen done in fics a couple of times before. And it’s such a, a tiny thing, but I love it.

So again, trying not to be too spoilery here. So at one point Cas is injured a little bit and being an angel, he’s injured in a way that doesn’t really translate to human language, which I love. Like he’s telling Dean what it is about him that’s injured and Dean is just like, What the hell is that?

That’s, that’s a body part that doesn’t exist. What are you talking about? And I just love that, you know, I was gonna bring Cas’s otherness into it somehow, but that’s just such a very, [00:41:00] very specific and awesome trope I’ve only ever seen done a handful of times. So I just want to encourage more writers to think about that.

Like, Cas is weird. You can do what you want with him. Like yes. He’s made up of weird bits. Okay.

Ellenofoz: It’s very clever. We can’t say too much more about this without giving the whole thing away.

MalMuses: No, because it is quite a short one as well. It’s, it’s clever. Yeah. It’s 13,000 words, so it’s not gonna take you a really long time to read this one.

And I just desperately want to encourage everybody to give it a try cuz the, the writing is just so good in this and you get such a sense of this whole world in such a small amount of fic, it’s wonderful. Plus it’s a true form fic. And how, you know, I’m gonna try and force everyone to read a true form fic.

Please do it for me.

Ellenofoz: We, we need, we need to do a true form episode at some point.

MalMuses: Have we not done one? How, how did that happen?

River: I love, I love true form Cas. I’m such a sucker for true form Cas. I will read anything with, [00:41:00] and I, and I wrote a fic where Dean takes true form Cas on little dates.

Oh. But like, really, like any, any true form picture, any true form fic, like, send it to me. I will read it. I will look at it, I will scream about it. You will get tired of me talking about how much I love true form Cas. But

MalMuses: yes, a person after my own heart here.

Ellenofoz: Absolutely.

everyone knows the year doesn’t start until april

The next fic is called, everyone knows the year doesn’t start until april and it’s by fleeceframe.

[00:43:00] This one was, was also published in 2023. It’s rated Mature, and the summary goes like this:

Dean had said, “I’m right there with you, I don’t like loud noises either. I mean, being afraid of loud noises is a good thing, though. It’s just your body telling you something big is happening and that you might need to get somewhere safe. Is that what happened on Tuesday when all the lockers went crazy?”

A pause.

“Did you see anything that seemed weird, or did you make yourself safe in one of the rooms?”

And it struck Castiel then how Dean phrased that. How he didn’t say Did you hide? as in Did you run away? as in Were you not brave enough of a little soldier to stay and figure out just what was trying to hurt you?

He had said- Did you make yourself safe?

or the one where dean and cas are investigating a haunting in an elementary school, things are still new between them, and cas has more love than he knows what to do with.

So this is like another established relationship one.

MalMuses: sort of, yeah, like I love these established relationship, but they’re not quite there yet fics, like, they know they’re there, but they’re also not quite there.

Ellenofoz: Yeah. So it’s not, there’s no… I mean it’s, it is not tagged as post canon and I don’t know what kind of timeframe we’re looking at here, but they are together and they are still investigating stuff.  I don’t think it’s post canon.

MalMuses: I don’t think so

Ellenofoz: Anyway, that doesn’t matter.

River: I don’t think it was a specified time. I don’t recall any sort of markers.

Ellenofoz: Yeah they didn’t really say.

MalMuses: Yeah. just a vague timeline story. So…and definitely an established relationship. We’re just getting some emotional growth, I guess, in this one. So,

Ellenofoz: yeah. So this one’s an interesting mixture of like an actual case, like a haunting at a school. And also there’s just these beautiful sections where Cas is just telling, like forcing Dean to accept how much he’s loved.

So there’s two kind of modes to this fic, I guess you could say. Like there’s the case mode where they’re doing the things at school and then there’s the, the other side where they’re actually communicating for probably the first time. It’s beautiful.

MalMuses: Yes, And even though this one is rated mature, but there’s no, there’s no like actual smut in these necessarily in here [00:44:00] necessarily as far as I recall. It’s definitely implied. I think there’s definitely a tag here that’s like “this fic is only rated M but just know that these old guys wanna fuck so bad.”

And I’m just like, yeah, yeah, I agree with that. Like, you get the vibe all the way through. And there, there are definitely implications and references to them wanting that to happen. But even without that, you definitely get a feeling, especially with the, the kind of Cas stuff that you were talking about.

You can tell how much Cas wants Dean at every point in this. And, and, and it is in a very loving way. Like, it’s not just like smut for the sake of it. It’s, it feels very purposeful and, and character driven. But like it’s, as the tags say, it’s like Cas is in his horny honeymoon phase in this one and I love it.

Ellenofoz: Like I feel cuz like… there’s certain fics that really capture Cas being weird and other, like how you were mentioning before that are in [00:45:00] the last one. His thought processes aren’t the same as a human’s. Like he’s thinking about the way that, that he put together Dean’s body and, you know, things that, that Dean’s body is doing… like how many eyelashes are on one eye and compared to the other one, you know, like things that.

No human would ever think about, but they, they, this author does a really brilliant job of just throwing them into the conversation. And it sounds, you know, kind of weird, but totally… It’s just Cas, it’s like, it’s so good. I love it. Just bringing his otherness in.

River: I think Cas is just so loving in this fic, and I, I read several fleeceframe fics and I’m a huge fan and I think there’s just something really beautiful about the way that this fic is about, there’s not really any tension about whether or not they care about each other, but it’s really, you know, Cas is appreciating so many things that Dean thinks are maybe drawbacks or maybe, you know, “I love you [00:47:00] even though X, Y, Z” and for Cas it’s like, “no, like I, I see you and that’s why I love you.”

And I think it’s just, there’s just such something very healing and beautiful about getting the Cas perspective here and sort of hearing how much he loves Dean. How he loves Dean and how he loves Dean in a way that you know, is very unique to his character and sort of the way he thinks.

MalMuses: Yeah, yeah.

And it, and it is done in such a loving way and written in such a loving way. So even though we’re getting it, you know, it’s a Cas POV, we are getting so much of Dean in this, cuz we’re seeing so much of him through Cas. Right. And the way that Cas is, is always observing him and always aware of him even when other things are going on.

And I think one of the reasons I love these kinda, I think them is kinda like in between fics, where it’s definitely established relationship like they’ve got there, but it’s not the, the type of [00:48:00] fic where it’s like, okay, we are retired and we’re happy and we’ve been together a long time and that kind of stuff.

It’s, it’s these kind of midway, like the relationship is still maybe a bit newer or they’re still working out some things, but they, they’ve got there, you know, they’ve got past the angsty part or the getting their heads out of their asses part or whatever it may be. But there’s definitely I think, a journey that, in most cases in canon fic Dean would need to take to not only just be with Cas, but to accept that Cas would want him and all that that entails and all the things that he’s done and who he is and everything else.

And this fic just slots perfectly into that spot for me. Cuz this is very much Cas just being like, “no, I am going to show you like you are, you are going to accept this one way or another.”

River: Yes. It really drives that point home.

MalMuses: He sure does. And we love it.

Ellenofoz: It’s like, it’s, it’s very healing for Dean because he, obviously, his whole life, he’s never really had anyone like this who sees who he is in every part of him and loves him unconditionally. And I guess that’s what everybody wants out of their relationship really with their, their relationships for other people to accept who they are, I guess. And so it’s not just healing for Dean, but it’s a very healing thing to read, I guess, for anybody.

MalMuses: Yeah. Yeah.

River: And I think, we’ve talked a lot about sort of how Cas feels in this fic, but there are moments where Dean drops his guard and lets Cas see things and, and Cas says like, when did he start letting me see these moments?

And I think that’s also… you get to see sort of both of them making progress towards each other in a way that is just sort of having better emotional intimacy and, and better communication which I really loved.

MalMuses: Yeah. Yeah. And I think in a way it, it [00:49:00] reads as very healing for Cas as well, in a way because he’s being understood, whereas before, you know, he may have been kind of keeping all of this inside and not really sharing how he felt about Dean until they finally kind of reached this point at whatever timeline we’re in here. But it just very much reads to me as like, like I said, kind of healing for Cas as well because he’s being understood now like he is expressing himself and Dean is, is getting it.

Like he really, it’s kind of the, the thing we, he, he says during his whole like, confession scene that sometimes it’s not about the actual act itself, it’s just about the being, the saying it. And this just seems like very cathartic to Cas to me that he is just getting all of this out there and he is being understood and it’s just wonderful.

And that’s, all he wants in a way, like it doesn’t seem like he’s not doing any of this with some kind of expectation of reciprocation from Dean. He’s literally just like, “no, [00:51:00] you, I want you to understand this because I think you should know these things, and I want to tell you these things.” There’s no, there’s nothing, no kind of manipulative aspect to it.

There’s no expectation of anything to be returned. Though he does seem perfectly well aware that Dean loves him as well, but I just love that. I love it when it’s like, no strings attached. It’s just, here are my emotions. I’m giving them to you. They are a gift. So

Ellenofoz: [00:52:00] yes, I love that that fanfic is like this. Sometimes it’s like actual emotional therapy kind of type thing wrapped up in like a, a haunting at a primary school. (laughing)

MalMuses: a haunting at a school where the lockers exploded

River: it’s like, looking for smut and oh, no, actually you’re, you’re going to therapy. Surprise! The, the other thing that I had written down for this fic that I thought was one of my favorite pieces of it is that Dean is good with kids fic.

The dean is trauma fic and, and the way that he interacts with the kids, Seb is just so beautiful because he’s been, the, the kid Seb has been traumatized. Something that happened at school. He hasn’t spoken since the event. And Dean is so understanding it about what he’s going through and the words that he uses are so intentional.

[00:53:00] He speaks to this kid as just so beautifully intentional. It’s one of those things that I love about canon that that got brought into this fic and it just, I thought,

Ellenofoz: yeah, he’s always like very gentle with kids.

MalMuses: Yeah, and I love that without kind of going into it and making the story about that through this kid, we got kind of echoes and, and colors of Dean’s own trauma when he was little. I, I know there is a part in the show that a lot of people kind of interpret to mean that Dean had a phase when he was younger of some kind of trauma where he didn’t speak much after Mary died. I’ve seen several things on that.

Cuz I, I love reading about all the different, like, layers of meta and things in the show that people have gone into. I’ve spent many, many late nights on Tumblr digging into all of that. But even though this fic doesn’t focus on that necessarily in the way that Dean deals with this traumatized child, you can see the echoes of all of that.

[00:54:00] And it’s so wonderful and he’s so good with all of these kids. And, you know, there is a kind of a mention in here somewhere that yeah, maybe in a different life he would’ve liked to have been a dad someday. And, you know, that’s, that’s one of those parts of Dean that’s like a little bit sad sometimes.

Because the life that he’s had or the life that he believed he was expected to have kind of prevented that, but he’s still, he’s still got that, that softness in him cuz there’s, there’s so many layers to Dean. Right? But this is definitely a lovely, soft kind of daddy Dean aspect that we get in here.

It’s very nice.

River: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And very much breaking the, the trauma that he, you know, he was traumatized as a child and he was treated in a certain way and you almost feel like even without him saying it, without having it explained, thought a lot about sort of what he would’ve liked to hear. And he brings that forward when he talks to the child in this, in this fic. And I love that.

MalMuses: [00:55:00] Yeah. It, it’s really beautifully done. And, and it’s, it’s not kind of like hitting you over the head with all this, this trauma either. It’s, it’s done in such a lovely, gentle, soft way. Yeah. I really loved, really loved this fic. It’s just such a lovely, like, by the end of it, it was just such a heartwarming fic to read. So yeah, really enjoyed it.

We’ve got, we’ve got some, some shorter ones going on in this one. This one was what? Just over 20,000 words. So

Ellenofoz: yeah. They’re all, they’re all kind of bite sized, aren’t they? These ones? They’re not, Extra long ones

MalMuses: yeah. Though sometimes I get some flack on social media for calling longer fics ones that, to me are bite sized or not very long, but everyone’s version of that is different for sure.

But that one is just under, or just over 20,000 words. So to me that’s a, a reasonable, that’s like a lunch break fic, you know?

Ellenofoz: Yeah. If I can read it in one sitting, then I’m gonna call it bite-sized. (laughs)

MalMuses: [00:56:00] Yeah. See I’m not a good gauge for that. Cause once I get into something, I just continue and time becomes irrelevant. So pretty much any fic becomes a one sitting fic for me, unfortunately.

That Black Dog Ache

All right. Shall we move on to That Black Dog Ache?

Ellenofoz: Yes, let’s do that.

MalMuses: All right. So That Black Dog Ache is a fic by SaltyWords. It is one of the longer ones we’re talking about today. So it’s 28,200 words. This is the older one of the batch.

So this fic is from 2016. I don’t believe it was attached to any, any bangs or anything like that. I think this one was just posted in, in one go, dropped on ao3 as a beautiful gift for no specific reason back in 2016, which let me do the math here, eight years ago? Hang on, I can math. Really.

Ellenofoz: Oh God. That’s a really long time ago (laughing)

MalMuses: I dunno. It was a few years back anyway. I think it was during, yes, season 11 was probably, I would say, airing when this was happening because it is set in season 11. It’s canon compliant up to 11.05 and diverges after that point where they go off and do this specific case fic instead. So I believe that this is the one where Cas has, has been recovering from everything that he’d been through with like the attack dog spell and everything else.

Ellenofoz: Ah, yeah, yeah.

MalMuses: That specific, that specific season where we get where we get like bathrobe Cas for like just one second on screen.

Ellenofoz: Oh yes, he’s very naked.

MalMuses: He was very naked. One particular scene. Yes, so, so the summary for this one, very short and sweet. It just says

A simple case turns Dean upside down as he attempts to deal with the effects of a particularly strange love spell.

So I love the fact that case fics can pull in almost any trope that we love. There are definitely certain ones that seem to be the favorites, like the fake relationships, the love spells, just, just the, the kind of bread and butter of our case fic world, just because they’re the ones where it makes it easier to focus on their relationship, I guess.

And I do love a good love spell fic, especially when with this one, you know, when you’re dealing with any kind of love spell fic, you’re gonna have some kind of mildly dubious consent to issues to address. And hopefully they are addressed in the fic I think they address them in this fic very well to the point where sometimes it’s, it’s, it gets, it gets a bit angsty in this one.

Because they have to, that they, they have to deal with that, this whole consent issue. [00:59:00] So yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s some angst here. I will say there’s nothing, at least to me, when I was reading it, there’s nothing that actually felt like genuine, like dubious consent or anything like that. It, it was discussed more than it actually seemed like it was happening to me.

There was nothing in there that kind of stood out in that way between Dean and Cas. But it’s definitely a part of the plot, I would say.

Ellenofoz: Yeah. It’s more like Cas thinks that it’s dubious consent, but we know from, cuz from Dean’s point of view that it’s not

MalMuses: Yes. And there’s, there’s some convincing that has to happen there.

Yeah. And that, that’s where the angst comes from folks. So, yeah. I do love a good bit of angst though. And I think this was written really well because we did have that dean point of view and it was written so well that. You, you felt for Dean, but it, it, it hurt at points. [01:00:00] I loved it hurt me. Please.

Ellenofoz: I always forget that not only like, Jackie’s like mainly known for her artwork in the fandom, but I also always forget that she’s actually a really brilliant writer as well.

And this is one of the ones where I’ve, I forgot that it was her pen name and then I got to the end and went, oh, “I’m Winchester-reload” in the note at the end. And I’m like, “oh, that’s right. It’s you!” (laughing)

River: I did the same thing.

MalMuses: Yeah. She goes kind of incognito on ao3 a little bit. Yeah,

Ellenofoz: absolutely brilliant. I don’t think I blinked through most of this fic just because it’s the angst, it’s just so…like it’s not a super long one either. It’s only, well it’s 28 thousand. But I did read it all in one go just because I couldn’t stop. I was like, I got to a point where I was like, “oh, come on Dean, come on. Like, get it together, man.” I had to keep reading to see what was gonna happen, but yeah. Amazing tension through this whole thing.

MalMuses: Yes. And this is one of those fics, there’s two, there’s two types of case fics in my mind. The ones where you really do have a substantial plot and there’s a lot going on with the case.

And the one where we are just using the case to frame the relationship progression, neither of which is bad or good, they’re just different types, different types of case fics to me and I love both. But this one I really did enjoy like the actual plot aspect of it. Because the, there was kind of a…

Ellenofoz: yeah, the spell itself and everything.

MalMuses: Yeah, the spell was really well done and kind of second guessed in a, in a certain way, like you thought that you understood it, but then as it went on, it wasn’t quite that simple. And I really enjoyed that. I, I love a new twist on a love spell kind of fic cause it is a trope that I enjoy, which I feel like you used to see a lot more.

I think there was like a phase that the fandom went through at some point where there were a lot of love spell fics. And I haven’t seen any new ones in, in a while that I’m aware of. But this was a really good one.

Ellenofoz: get on that people. We like it. We like love spell fics.

MalMuses: We do, we do.

I especially love the ones where they deal with the, like I said, the mildly dubious consent issues within the fic itself. Like I love when the characters themselves deal with those issues, because it does tend to get a bit angsty when they do that. And I’ll, I’ll admit, I’m, I’m a fan, I’m a fan of the pain. (laughing)

River: Yeah. I liked the, I liked the vibe of this one too, and sort of, it did feel like a case fic, but it also, it felt very Supernatural. It felt very sort of “My Bloody Valentine” or “Regarding Dean,” right? You had the hotel room that just felt very, very canon. So that’s always something that I think is fun is when it’s very rooted in that, in that sort of canon gritty feel.

MalMuses: Yeah. That’s something that when I read SaltyWords fics, which [01:01:00] maybe, maybe it has a connection to being an artist in there, but she’s very good at these visuals, at giving you just enough descriptions of these places that she makes them very clear and very Supernatural. And, and you can see all of that without ever just kind of dumping a ton of description at you that you have to kind of plow through to, to construct this place.

Like she’s very, very skilled at the visual part of fic, in my opinion. and I, like you said, I really liked that in this one. It really did give me, when you said “My Bloody Valentine”? Yes, definitely. I suppose it helps that we are dealing with, you know, things with, with soft potions and hearts and things like that here, but it really does give that vibe to the point where, because it’s connected to the Supernatural world, so well, you’re reading along and I could really just picture this fic unfolding in my head like a movie.

And I love it when I get that.

Ellenofoz: Yeah. It’s not just the visual either. [01:04:00] It’s the like bang on characterization. I think the dialogue is, is just right for each of them. And like you were saying earlier, you like flustered Dean, like he is just. So flustered in this one all the time because, you know, the spell hits him and he starts hallucinating people coming onto him, whatever.

And I love that. Like it just builds up and builds up and you’re like, oh my God. But yeah, just the way that he reacts to it and even, even what Sam says to him and stuff, it’s just, it, it’s very, it’s just like an episode of the show.

MalMuses: It really is. We don’t get a ton of Sam in this one. I mean, he is in it and he’s helping with the case, but obviously we are very much in Dean’s head dealing with all these things that he’s seeing and, and thinking.

But the bits of Sam that we do get, like you said, are so very Sam. It’s just wonderful. I really like Sam in this,

River: [01:05:00] I think even Cas sort of trying to hide what’s going on in his head and, and sort of being evasive that it feels very like our, our guys.

MalMuses: Yes. I don’t want to, yeah, I don’t wanna spoil the case fic aspect of this one too much by talking too much about the spell itself.

But I really liked the hallucinations in combination with this because I, I think I’ve seen a few times different kind of versions of this trope with a love potion or a love spell that have a hallucination aspect. But it was done really well in this one, and I loved seeing like what the next slightly outrageous thing that Dean was going to fantasize was.

Yeah. That was, that was a really fun aspect of it and I love that it interacted with one of those Sam moments where Sam’s kind of trying to get Dean to admit that he is hallucinating this, this particular guy in a bar as, [01:06:00] as doing like provocative things cuz he’s hallucinating it and Sam’s kind of trying to get him to admit that it’s the guy as well.

And, and Dean’s just like, Nope, nope. Definitely not. Nope. Just like, come on Dean. Yeah.

Ellenofoz: Then Cas comes in and, and Sam’s just like, oh, I see how it is now.

MalMuses: Yep. At that point Sam’s like, “I’m outta here” (laughing)

Ellenofoz: “I knew there was something!”

River: Cas’s entrance is, is pretty memorable.

MalMuses: Yes. Yes.

Ellenofoz: Amazing.

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s not a huge spoiler, but please just read it for, for that part.

River: I’ll say I got a little embarrassed. Y’all mentioned this one and I had read it and I, I remembered a lot about it, but that was specifically what I remembered about it, which probably says a lot about me.

MalMuses: No,

Ellenofoz: no, I will remember that as well. I, I’m with you.

MalMuses: I mean, it’s, it’s very hot. I’m sorry, but it is. So,

Ellenofoz: [01:07:00] yeah. I’m surprised. I hadn’t got, I hadn’t read this one before, but definitely going on my bookmarks now. I love this one.

MalMuses: Yeah. I really enjoyed it. One of my favorites that she has done, I think, and she’s done some other really good ones that we’ve enjoyed and I think that we’ve even maybe discussed on the podcast before. But yeah, definitely some really good ones.

So we do have quite a few other really good ones though. So did we wanna do a quick fire chat about some other ones as well?

Ellenofoz: Yeah, let’s do that.

Other recommendations

MalMuses: The first one I’m gonna mention then just cuz it’s by one of my all-time favorite authors. And so I was very happy that I got to reread it for this particular trope as we did. And this is Any Port in a Storm by microcomets.

So this one is a bit longer. This is 52,000 words, nearly 53. And the summary is:

The angels have fallen, leaving Castiel graceless and Dean with, well, more of other people’s problems with a string of couples goes missing on the east coast. Dean and Cas decide to investigate and find themselves trapped and hunted on a couple’s counseling cruise.

[01:08:00] Although battling monsters at sea is dangerous enough, sorting through emotional baggage proves to be far more deadly and in which Cas embarks to find his missing grace and Dean is put out not necessarily in that order.

Ellenofoz: I see why you love this one.

MalMuses: Yeah. It’s got so many tropes that I love in it. It’s got sea monsters, it’s got fake relationship, it’s got angst and miscommunication. It’s, and then, communication. It’s, it’s really, really good. They have some really fun original characters in this as well. It’s one of those great fics where you kind of wonder what poor Sam is going through because as far as Sam’s concerned, they just kind of disappear for a while because they go off on this case and then their phones stop working and they’re at sea and in the back of your head, you’re like, Sam and Kevin at the bunker, just losing their shit right now.

Yeah, I do love that. But this one was a, was this a DCBB maybe? What was it? [01:09:00] It was, it was a DCBB from 2014. So this one is again, quite a bit older. And is set during, I’m not sure that we get, and this might be one of those kind of more timeline, non-specific fics. But yeah, I really love the original characters.

I love the, the whole concept is that they’re on this, this couple’s cruise, and it’s specifically for couples that are having like marital issues. So they have to communicate a lot and do all these like sessions and have games where they go back and forth. And Dean and Cas actually participate, in the games.

Ellenofoz: Aw, we put them in therapy again!

MalMuses: Yeah, it’s so good. I love putting them in therapy. I really do. And, but they have to keep their cover, so they are participating in these games. But you also see Dean start to slowly, like there’s a point in the fic where he could go and interrogate people or make some progress on the case. And you see him have this moment where he’s just like, ah, fuck it. And just goes and sits by the pool for a while.

[01:10:00] And like, it’s just such a, I don’t know, it’s such like an important character moment to me where he’s just like, “no, I can do something else as well. Like my life doesn’t have to only always just be this,” and it really like opens the door to many other moments in the fic.

And I, I just love it. I just really enjoyed this one. Definitely recommend if you enjoy any of the tropes that are in here. Cause there’s a, there’s a lot of like mutual pining fake relationship case fic. Just so many, it’s, it’s very tropey in a very good way.

River: I think also it is sort of fun because they’re doing therapy and Dean has to like, try to explain what has happened between them, but their lives are so bananas that he can’t say what has happened. And so it ends up sounding like so dramatic and hilarious. And so it’s kind of fun to see everyone else try to figure out what is, what is happening between these two.

MalMuses: Yes, and it’s, it’s very funny because there’s, there are some people on this cruise, obviously. [01:11:00] There are, you know, civilians out there and hearing Dean’s phrasing of the things that Cas has done to him and him trying to put it in a non, in like a non-supernatural way.

And these people clearly just think that Cas is a fucking terrible person who has abused his husband, who has done all these terrible things, and you’re like, poor Cas is getting such a bad rap here for shit he did not do. It’s, it’s, it’s funny. I like it. So yes. I do recommend that one. Not gonna, you know, I could talk about it for a very long time just because everyone probably knows from my gushing over several of their other fics microcomets is a kind of classic writer that I really, really love in this fandom.

I don’t even know, I don’t think they’re still writing for this fandom at all anymore. They do still write, but I haven’t seen them writing anything for this fandom in a long time, sadly. But I do wish that they would. I wish they’d give me more.

Ellenofoz: All right. Another one that I think. I think we all read it this week as well is called A Midsummer Night’s Dean.

Yes. Which is by screamintothesun, which is a great author name. Hello, screamintothesun. This one is it’s, it’s a, a case where a group of friends [01:10:00] has sort of one, one person in a group of friends has gone and killed someone else because they’re sleeping with their partner or some, you know, there’s a complicated web here, which is not dissimilar to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the actual mechanism of how it all happened is a little different to the Shakespeare version. And, and in this one, Cas gets hit with a spell. And instead of falling in love with Dean, he instead falls in love with Sam. So shenanigans ensue. And poor Dean. He, he just, he can’t see that the way that that Cas is treating now, treating Sam is the way that he usually treats him.

So he’s just really kind of upset about it, and Sam just has no idea what’s going on. He’s like “Um, okay, man, just back off.” (laughter)

MalMuses: Yeah. Sam’s reactions in this fic were one of my favorite things about it, because to start with, it’s like he doesn’t get it [01:11:00] and he’s just like, “okay, all right. Yeah, this is getting a little uncomfortable, but okay.”

Ellenofoz: And Dean’s just like, Hey, that’s, that’s usually me.

MalMuses: That’s me. Yep. Anyway. And when and when Sam puts two and two together, it’s wonderful. He’s like, “no, he’s not treating me like he’s in love with me. He’s just treating me the way he usually treats. Oh.” It’s so good. I love it.

River: It’s, it’s a really fun read. It was really funny, I thought,

Ellenofoz: Yeah, it says, it says here, one of the tags is “a metric fuck ton of song and movie references and fewer Shakespeare references than one might expect.” So it’s got like, it’s just, it’s just very funny. It’s very good.

River: I’ll say if you are A Midsummer Night’s Dream fanatic like me, that is, that is probably my second favorite or favorite.

It goes back and forth between Twelfth Night and Midsummer Night’s Dream. You also get excited about sort of the [01:12:00] love spell and, and the way that it’s written because I, I think it’s a fine, I think it’s kind of a fun way to take that play and sort of take one aspect of that play and pull it into a case fic.

Ellenofoz: Yeah, I mean, it just, it says there’s less references than you might expect, but it does feel a lot like that kind of thing. Yeah. Where they’re like playing friends off against each other and mixing up the. Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. And, and like a, but an aspect of kind of the comedy as well almost seemed like an homage to that to me.

[01:15:00] Like just the, the way it, the, the comedic way that it works. I really enjoyed it and I would say, yeah, there’s, there’s probably, it’s not the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, obviously. but there, there’s enough there that I think the title is very well justified.

River: I guess I could mention Though The Course May Change, which is I think sort of a classic. But it’s also I think, one of my favorite case fics and I have reread it a few times.

MalMuses: I love that one as well. So, yeah, just give us like a, a very short summary and just tell us some details about the fic.

River: Okay. So it’s Though The Course May Change by imogenbynight, it’s 51,000 words, so it’s a little longer.

And the summary is:

After a couple who went missing several years ago from an Oregon couples retreat are mysteriously returned on the same night that another disappears, Dean and Charlie plan to go undercover to find the cause–until Dean’s foot meets his mouth, and he finds himself fake-engaged to Castiel instead.

So this one I think is just, you know, it’s got all of all of the fun. We’re gonna throw them in a resort, we’re gonna make them do activities, they’re gonna be fake dating, they’re gonna be stuck in a room with only one bed. All of that fun stuff, and I think it’s just one of my favorite case fics from that perspective.

And that it’s just like all of the things that you want in case fic and I also just really like …without, without talking about sort of what’s happening. I just think that the case is really intriguing and the characters are really, and it’s sort of, it’s something that, it’s very readable and it’s a great mystery as well.

MalMuses: Mm-hmm. Yeah, this is a really well done for the Case fic aspect as well as the relationship aspect. Haven’t read this one in a while, but I’ve definitely read this one at least a couple times before. I think this one’s from 2016 as well. [01:17:00] So apparently we were just churning out some great case fics in 2016 in this fandom.

River: I think this one’s just like, if you are looking for sort of a classic case fic type, this one really, really hits the spot and it’s also just there, you know, Dean is a bit of a disaster too and I’m just such a sucker for disaster Dean. I mean, the whole reason that they end up together and I feel like this, this is such a minor spoiler cuz it’s at the very beginning, like it’s the whole like premise.

But he goes in there to, he’s supposed to be married to Charlie or engaged to Charlie and he goes in there and they ask him what his partner’s name is and he says Cas. He’s like, “his name is Cas.” And so he goes back out and he’s like, “I’ve screwed up.” And Charlie is like, “well, I mean I could be Cas.” And he’s like, “I said HE” And so you know, I, I love it cause it’s so funny because it’s just, he just doesn’t think about it and, and he’s used to like investigating and he just, so yeah, my partner’s name is Cas.

[01:18:00] And so it’s, it’s kind of fun. I also, the, the Dean and Charlie relationship in this fic I think is really special. And so I, I really love that aspect as well. So it’s just, I think if you’re looking for a good case fic, and you’re looking for sort of a classic case fic, this is one that I think hits both the relationship side and the key side very, very well.

MalMuses: Definitely agree.

Ellenofoz: Well, the other classic case fic that we need to definitely mention is The Tunnel of Love by Xylodemon.

MalMuses: Yes. We’ve actually covered that one on the podcast before in depth, I believe so. We will get a link to that on the blog. I think so, yes. It definitely needs to be mentioned, but I have a feeling that we have talked about that one specifically.

Ellenofoz: Okay. Covid brain is getting me, I don’t remember, dunno, but I’ll,

MalMuses: I’ll, yeah, if we did, I will find the link for it so that you can listen to us talk in depth about that one a bit more.

Ellenofoz: [01:19:00] Yeah. This one was back in 2015 and this is the one where they end up in a haunted like a carnival and go in a tunnel of love ride and yes, so good, so good.

I need to reread this one actually, cuz I remember how much I loved it, but it’s only 21,000 words, so one of those bite size reads again,

MalMuses: it’s really a good one. I, I love the, the setting in this one.

River: Well, I will also just add that it’s funny cuz I hadn’t, I hadn’t read this one in a really long time and I went back to reread it and I remembered every detail of it.

So it was very memorable for me. Cause I was looking it, but I was like, oh, I really did remember this entire thing. I think it’s, it’s just a really good, strong case fic.

Ellenofoz: Mm-hmm. And it also now has a podfic version by NerdyNerdenstein on her podcast. So go and listen to it.

MalMuses: Yeah. We love listening to Fick.

Ellenofoz: Yes. That’s a good option for a reread.

MalMuses: [01:20:00] All right. I have one more short one that I want to mention. It’s about 15 and a half thousand words. It’s called With this Ring (I Act the Part) by haus_seeblick. I particularly love this one. It’s a, it’s another like marriage therapy bootcamp fic type thing where they are having a, a fake relationship going into this marriage therapy camp because, people aren’t coming out of it possibly.

There are two things that I really love about this one, in that it’s kind of a, a little bit of a twist on what you would usually expect from that trope in that in this they communicate so well that they are disappointing their counselors because the counselors, for reasons I will not go into for, you know, plot spoilers really want to bring out the, the, the angst in between them and these relationships.

And as soon as Dean and Cas are forced to actually sit down and say what it is that’s wrong, they’re just like, “oh, okay. Yeah. All right, we’re, we’re good. We’re communicating.” [01:21:00] And, and the people in the, in the camp are just like “Um, maybe, maybe a little more” and they’re like, “no, we’re good.”

Like, I just love it cuz like once given the opportunity to actually properly say what it is that that’s causing their issue, they both get it and they’re just like, oh, okay. Yeah, I, I understand why you feel that way. All right. Yes. And Cas talks about his feelings and Dean’s just like, okay, I, I understand we, we’ve got that out in the open. We are good. And then, and everyone else is just like, that is not how this usually works.

So I love it cause it was…

River: Yeah, it’s a great twist.

MalMuses: Yeah. It’s, it’s a little bit of a, a twist on the marriage therapy bootcamp trope, but the actual like case fic aspect of it as in, you know, what’s going on at, at this marriage therapy camp and everything is really good. I really liked it. Very, very strong case fic.

And just for a little humor, they do separate Dean from his car at the beginning of this, and he’s slightly put out about that. So, yeah,

River: [01:22:00] I don’t blame him. I’d be very upset. No, that, that part was really funny and they work together so well and so it is, it is sort of fun because usually we’re throwing them into therapy because we want them to talk about their feelings, but in this case it’s sort of no actually, you know, they really do get each other and like each other and sort of everyone else was like, oh, well, all right then

MalMuses: they just need the opportunity and once they’re given it, they’re fine.

River: Fine. Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly right.

MalMuses: So yeah, little bit of a twist, just something a bit a bit different to Randolph my recommendations there. Yeah. It’s

Ellenofoz: funny, you know, looking through the list of fics that we’ve got in our longer list for this trope, I don’t know if it’s like a, something that’s unique to case fics, but we seem to have a, a much smaller ratio of Explicit than we usually have.

MalMuses: Yeah. I wonder if it’s…

Ellenofoz: [01:23:00] Like we quite often have like, all explicit or mature at least, but we’ve got quite a few Teen rated things. Maybe it’s just the canon aspect.

MalMuses: Yeah. I do wonder about that, like the canon aspect of it and whether it’s more that we’re thinking about how we would see the fic on screen whereas the likelihood of them actually showing that part on screen, even if it happened? Very slim. Like this ain’t HBO here people  

Ellenofoz: Yeah, maybe. We are focusing more on the plot. Kind of the case itself is more important. Although the ones we’ve talked about, they’re all very heavily relationship focused. So maybe we just, it’s the therapy that we’re focusing on rather than the pure smut aspect.

MalMuses: we do love putting them through it. Actually I’m gonna make one more like super quickfire recommendation in case somebody wants like a really short like one shot kind of fic. There’s one called Stories are Made of Mistakes by wildhoneypie. Which is 4,942 words. [01:24:00] So if you want something that’s more kind of case fic adjacent and really isn’t getting into like a ton of the case fic stuff, you’re just getting that canon case fic vibe.

I think this is a, a good one for that. It, it’s not, you know, there’s not a big plot here. There’s not a, a ton of case happening. It’s really more kind of like a post case breakdown that occurs in a diner when somebody questions Dean and Cas’s relationship, and Cas just straight up says that they’re together and it just goes from there.

And it, it’s Dean dealing with that. And I love the fact that at one point, Dean is just like, “but that’s not true.” But at no point does he think about correcting Cas. He just kind of adjusts his brain until he is like, “well, I guess this is what I’m living with now” and it’s just such a fun way of doing it. This is very much like, didn’t know they were dating, but just Dean didn’t know. Cas was fully aware this whole time. He’s just been waiting for Dean to catch up.

Ellenofoz: All right. Any more?

MalMuses: I’ll, I’ll be quiet now. There’ll be lots more on the list on the blog. There we go.

Ellenofoz: Yep. You can find all of those links at River, have you, what have you got coming up? Have you got… you’ve just posted something, haven’t you this week?

River: Oh, yeah. I, I wrote a smut. (laughs)

MalMuses: Thank you.

River: Yay. We’re also, I’m, I’m doing the Bang Bang, which is a smut bang.

And we’re still doing that, I’m modding that. And then I am, I am writing a fic that nobody wants but me, but it’s Gabriel and Crowley with a side of Bela and Rowena, which are two of my rare pairs who I really love. So that’s, and, and then I’m also doing the Taylor Swift bang, so I’m sure that will end up being 200,000 words.

A little bit of everything.

Ellenofoz: I’ve gotta say that, Gabriel and Crowley sounds like a lot of fun. That sounds like it’ll be good fun

MalMuses: yeah, I, it sounds like the kind of chaos pairing I could really go for

River: Yeah, I’m the one Growley… There are some people who like Growley, but to me it’s like they both care so, so, so much. And they both try to pretend so hard that they do not care at all. And so I think they make a great enemies to enemies with benefits to friends, to lovers to would then smite anyone who tried to cross either one of them. Yeah. So that sort of, that’s sort of the, the vibe that I’m, I’m working on.

MalMuses: Very nice. Well, we love a rare-pair here, so

Ellenofoz: Well, thank you. Thank you very much for coming to talk to us today. Been a lot of fun to talk to you.

River: [01:27:00] It was a blast. I, I’m a, as I said, I’m a huge case fic enthusiast because I love taking them and putting them into situations and then sort of watching them squirm a little bit. But then they end up better at the end. So,

MalMuses: the essence of fic in general, put them in situations?

River: Yes. Put, put them in, put them in little situations. Throw curses at them. Lock them in small places. Force them into therapy. You know, all of the things that we wanna see.

Ellenofoz: They deserve it. They need it. (laughs)

All right, well, if anyone listening has extra case fics that we have missed or that you have a favorite that we haven’t mentioned, you can let us know. You can send us messages on social media. We are mixtapebookclub at most of those. [01:28:00] Or you can email us at contact (at) or you can come and chat with us in our Discord server or on Profound Bond Discord server.

Okay, what are we doing next time, Mal?

MalMuses: Next time. Yay. One of my favorites. So next episode we are going to discuss friends with benefits fics. I feel like there are some really juicy ones we’ll be able to get our teeth into for this one out there, so I am looking forward to it. So if you have any friends with benefits recommendations that you would like us to consider please do drop us a note at any of the places that Ellen just mentioned a moment ago.

Ellenofoz: And thank you everyone for listening, and we’ll talk to you again really soon.

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

[outro music]

Ellenofoz: Yes, I consent to adult content, my God!