Transcript: Track 44: Westerns

Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

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[Intro music]

Ellen: [00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the 44th episode of Mixtape Book Club podcast. My name is Ellen

MalMuses: and my name is Mal.

Ellen: In each episode, we take an in depth look at a different trope or subgenre in the huge variety of Destiel fan fiction. In this episode, we’re going to take a look at fics where Dean and Cas live in the Wild West.

MalMuses: And to discuss her wonderful fic, The Shawnee Trail, we would like to welcome author emmbrancsxx0, [00:01:00] also known as Mallory. How would you want us to say that Mallory? Come on.

Mallory: So it’s just emmbrancs. It is a very weird name that I picked when I was in high school and I can’t go back. Unfortunately, I wish I could.

MalMuses: No, I love it. It reminds me of like, people who apply for jobs and things out in my real life, you know and they send in like resumes and stuff with like old like AOL or Hotmail emails on them

Mallory: You know, that’s exactly what it is My name is Mallory Branca, I don’t know if I can save my full name on here but it’s basically just M, my first initial and then Branca’s my last name.

MalMuses: Behind it, it made sense. All good. Definitely less embarrassing than some of the emails I’ve seen, but let’s put it that way.

Mallory: That makes me feel a little bit better at least.

Ellen: All right. So as well as The Shawnee Trail, we actually have four other fics to discuss in detail today. The other ones we’re going to discuss [00:02:00] are Wheatfields and Jars of Light by Violue, West by Xela, Something Like a Broken Heart by RhymePhile and Hunter’s Caress by Ltleflrt.

MalMuses: And as always, links to all the effects that we’re going to talk about are going to be available in the episode post on and included in our collection on AO3.

Ellen: Before we start, got to do a shout out to Jake Lionheart. You would have heard at the start of this episode. We have some new music. It’s still the “Angel With a Shotgun” theme music, but it’s just remixed a little bit and it sounds so cool. So thank you very much to you can feel like Jake has done a brilliant job.

You might’ve heard his work before on like especially on Monster of the Week podcasts and their kind of spin-off podcasts. He does all their music. And I thought without season two, we might need a bit of a shakeup. So we’ve got some new music now too. Thank you, [00:03:00] Jake. And I’ll put links to his socials and stuff if you want to also, you know, make use of his wonderful services.

MalMuses: Yeah. Very excited for everybody to hear it.

Ellen: God, listening to that new track though made like, it made me like choke up. I was listening to it going, Oh my God. It’s their music, but it’s ours.

MalMuses: It was super good. I sat like listening, cause when we got sent options, I, I sat and listened to all of them on a loop for a kind of tragically long time, honestly. Just like, oh, so exciting.

Ellen: So good. All right. So we also have to give a big shout out to everyone, all of our Kofi supporters. Thank you so much for sticking with us through our, our long break. We talked about it a bit in our last episode, but you know yeah, We really appreciate your support and I’m really excited to get back into talking about some fics again.

We’ve got like lots of cool things coming up too after, after this episode so stay tuned.

MalMuses: [00:04:00] I want to do an extra special little thank you as well to the handful of people, I was shocked, who reached out to me after that last episode and were just super, super nice. They were just like, “Oh, I didn’t realize you’d been away. I didn’t realize you’ve been sick.”

And there was one person, one person who knows who they are and don’t be embarrassed. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna name and shame you, but reached out and was like, I feel terrible because I left comments on a ton of your fics being like, where are you? I want the next chapter.

And I’m just like, Just want to put it out there. It’s always okay to be enthusiastic. It’s fine. And I did not take it as demanding more fic or anything like that. It just made me want to come back to finishing it sooner. So it was fine. Thank you. And it’s the same with the podcast. Just when people have been talking to us about it and wanting to know when we’re coming back and what we’re doing, it was all just taken as loving encouragement.

And here we are. Thank you.

Ellen: All right. So. We brought Mallory in. Finally, we’ve got you here. [00:05:00] Thank you. Thank you for joining us. Because we know that you, we, we know that you’re the, like the biggest fan of Westerns that we have in our broad fandom.

Mallory: Well, thank you for having me.

MalMuses: Kind of your thing.

Ellen: We do have a couple of episodes in the actual show where they do… we’ve, we got one actual historical episode, right? Like season six, episode 18 “Frontierland” is where they actually go back in time. And dress up as cowboys and put posse magnet on a t shirt.

Malmuses: I’d forgotten that was the same episode (laughs)

Ellen: And of course we have our best beloved “Tombstone” in season 13, where it’s it makes Cas dress up as a Texas Ranger. “The dead are rising in Dodge city, Kansas.”

Mallory: So my favorite episode is a surprise to no one.

Ellen: [00:06:00] It’s so good. It’s, it was just so cheesy at the time. We were just like, what is this? And then it was just so great.

MalMuses: I love how that one split second shot of the two of them in the cowboy hats has fed this fandom, like for years, for years, and it’s never going to get old.

Mallory: Although that episode does, I do have a bone to pick with it because everyone, you know, took I’m your Huckleberry to mean something romantic, and that’s not what it means, but we’re not here to discuss that.

Ellen: What does it mean? Tell, no, tell it, do tell us.

Mallory: Okay, well, okay, I can just, a blanket statement, so.

I’m your huckleberry. That basically was southern slang at the time. It was more of a rise to a challenge. So, like, you know, if somebody was, like, really good at something and they were being challenged to something, they’d say, “I’m your huckleberry” which it means I will, like, I’ll take the challenge, but it also means I’ll beat you [00:07:00] because back then huckleberry trees were used for the wood for pall bearers to bring a casket into a grave.

So it was basically saying, I will beat you at this game and I will put you in your grave. So sorry, it’s not romantic, but that is what it means.

Ellen: Historical contexts are just so important, right?

MalMuses: I also feel like that’s one of those things that maybe the full detail wasn’t clear, but also if you’ve actually seen Tombstone, I feel like it’s quite clear as well.

But I’m, I’m, I’m letting people have their fun with that one. You go for it. It’s all good.

Mallory: Yeah. Oh no, I, I love, like, I love Destiel more than I love historical accuracies. (laughs)

MalMuses: Got your priorities right. We’re good.

Mallory: Thank you.

The Shawnee Trail (7:50)

MalMuses: All right, well, shall we start off with your fic then, so that you can geek out about all the wonderful historical things and very much non historical things that you have going on in this amazing story.

Mallory: [00:08:00] Sure thing. I mean, where do you want me to start?

MalMuses: Let’s, let’s start off… Do you want to read the summary for us?

Mallory: Sure! Okay.

In 1887, Dean Winchester and Castiel Novak lead a peaceful life in Lawrence, Kansas. Dean and Sam are stagecoach messengers for Wells Fargo, and Castiel is the town doctor. When Castiel’s patient, Kelly Klein, knocks on the door one night, about to give birth, she asks for the Winchesters’ and Castiel’s help in protecting her son against one of the West’s most notorious outlaws. To fulfill that promise, the men set out on a journey full of shootouts, trouble with the law, gambling, and an important discovery. Dean and Castiel really need to define the nature of their relationship.

MalMuses: I, that last sentence is one of the things I adore about this fic actually.

Mallory: Oh. (laughs) [00:09:00] Yeah, you know, I’ve been told that my sweet spot is kind of like, it’s a slow burn, but they’re in a relationship the entire time.

MalMuses: I kind of live for that part in a fic where you just want to kind of smack their heads together. And it’s usually like, you know, a specific section of the story where it’s kind of like they’re in a will they won’t they phase or something like that. But this one, it’s the entire story. (laughs)

Ellen: Yeah. So they, they are together and they, they, they sleep together, but neither of them will actually admit how, how deep their feelings go, which is, yeah, definitely a smack their heads together moment at several times through this story. We should probably say it’s also 166,000 words. So, you know, it’s a, it’s a lot of, of pining and, you know,

Mallory: Yeah, it is. I mean, I started it when lockdown first happened, so it kind of helped me, you know, not climb the walls at first.

And I wanted to write a Western for a really long time, [00:10:00] so it was nice to actually have some time to sit down and, you know, do it without having the whole world get in my way. It was my only responsibility at the time.

Ellen: Yeah. Okay. So they do… you said in the description in the, in the summary, but Kelly did die in childbirth, no spoils because, you know, it’s kind of canon.

And so Cas and Dean and Sam eventually you know, promise to take Jack to Texas to her parents. That’s right. Isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah. So they have to take this long journey with the baby and it’s you know, get into all sorts of adventures along the way. I think at one point you have. You have an end note that says how much you love Doc Holliday.

Mallory: Yeah.

Ellen: Tell us about that!

Mallory: Yeah. So there was actually a scene in it that was inspired by something that [00:11:00] may or may not have, have happened in Doc’s life. But I mean, it, it’s one of the most famous Doc Holliday stories and most people pretty much see it as truth, even though we don’t really have any solid historical record for it.

But I, for people who haven’t seen Tombstone or have it is his entrance scene in the movie where they’re at the they’re at the, And he’s gambling and in the movie it’s, it’s kind of shown that he was the one cheating. And then the, the guy that he was gambling against took out, took out his gun and was like, I’ve had enough of this pretty much.

And Doc kills him and then they leave. It was actually the opposite in real life. It was that he the guy that he was gambling with was the one who was cheating and Doc kept being like, you know, [00:12:00] you have to play poker, which basically meant stop cheating. I know you’re cheating. And if you just stop doing it, it’ll be fine.

But he didn’t. So Doc got mad and he took the whole pot and was like, this is rightfully mine now. And he and Bailey, the guy who he was playing against got mad, took out his gun, and Doc was defending himself. So there was kind of like the aftermath of that, which isn’t shown in the movie, where Doc gets arrested and basically a lynch mob forms and his girlfriend, Kate, burns down a barn to get all of the town to kind of get, go and put the fire out and then she comes and gets him out of jail pretty much.

And there was a scene in the, in the fic that was very heavily inspired by that where Ruby helps them escape jail by burning down a barn.

MalMuses: [00:13:00] Shout out to Ruby, actually one of my favorite characters in this fic.

Mallory: Yes.

MalMuses: Actually, I love Ruby in this fic, and I love, yeah, I love Sam in this fic as well, actually. Gotta get some Sam love.

Mallory: A lot, a lot of, like, fics don’t really get too much into Sam’s POV, and I, I don’t know, I thought his was kind of needed for this fic, it was interesting. Especially because him and Ruby have such a big I guess, like, influence on the plot.

MalMuses: Yes. Even if Sam’s somewhat unaware of it for part of it, but yeah,

Mallory: yeah

MalMuses: without going too heavily into spoilers there, but I just really enjoyed the way you write Sam because you know, he was he’s a good like strong character in his own right and yes, he is running after Dean, but I know sometimes when you have stories where it’s Sam running after Dean, trying to save Dean, you do get this very, like, Sam is reliant on Dean feeling.

[00:14:00] And that doesn’t come across to me in this one. It’s very much that of course he’s saving Dean. He’s his brother. What else is he going to do?

Mallory: Right. Yeah.

MalMuses: He’s very much his own person and causes his own chaos for sure during, during this week.

So I guess we, we got to talk about Cas a little bit because. the father instinct in this fic is, is intense. There’s a lot, like the whole canon Cas, Jack feels are actually quite intense for a lot of this fic.

Mallory: yeah, and you know, I think it’s because Jack is a baby, so he obviously can’t talk. (laughs) I mean, I’m glad that that came across because I think, you know, especially in canon when Jack is born, Cas kind of, his priorities shift a lot.

And he does take on more of this like father parent role. And I mean, I’m not a parent. [00:15:00] So there’s a lot of things that I, you know, I, I don’t know what someone would do for their child. But you know, I think it was, I hope I did a good job with it in this fic, because it is a very intense relationship.

And I just kind of, you know, went off what it is in the show, pretty much.

MalMuses: Yeah, and I think you did a really good job with it. And especially because, in this specific circumstance, there’s kind of this, like, bittersweet note to it for most of the time, because Cas does kind of expect this to almost be a temporary thing initially and you know that he’s just gonna hand this baby over and go on his merry way, even though it’s very quickly apparent to everybody that that’s not really what Cas wants to do Yeah,

Ellen: yeah, but even when I think when they’re sort of getting to the stage where they think they might have to take him to you know, an orphanage or something.

And it’s not just Cas who’s then like, “Oh, do we really have to do this?” [00:16:00] Like, but then the others are really attached to him too, which is so cute.

MalMuses: Yes. Because it’s just so very canon that Dean cannot abandon a child in need. So, yeah. Yeah. So even if, even if he likes to think that he’s too big and too bad for that.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was definitely interesting because I think I mean, the characters, how I have them in the fic, are very transient in a way. Especially Cas, because it’s like, he’s not from Lawrence. He just, you know, came and was like, hey, I’m a doctor. As one did in the Old West. And Dean and Sam were like, barely there because of their job.

So I think it was just interesting to see, to just, I guess, kind of play around with the whole family element of it and what they would do when they kind of have to, not so much like stick in the same town, but stick together in a way, if that makes sense.

MalMuses: [00:17:00] Yes. Shoving them into close quarters for quite some time. Then setting them up with some truly awful slash exciting circumstances going down. Trial by fire. Yeah, for sure.

Ellen: Lucifer is like the perfect villain in this. Like he we don’t even like meet him for quite a long way into the fic. Like it’s, it’s just the threat of him hanging over them. It’s quite scary. It’s great.

Mallory: Well, yeah, I mean I think I really kind of got inspiration from what Lucifer used to be in the show like in season four and five where he wasn’t like he was hanging over them all the time in season four and then five we finally meet him and he’s this very like icy presence, almost, where he was, he was terrifying.

And then, you know, they completely ruined that in the show. But I, I do, I do like the terrifying element of what he used to be. [00:18:00] So I’m glad that came across.

MalMuses: It was definitely OG Lucifer vibes. And just, just the villainy. I really liked it. It’s like, I don’t know. It’s like, Lucifer with a sprinkling of Val Kilmer for me. (laughs)

Like, I really enjoyed it. So good. I think that’s probably one of the things where I ended up liking Ruby so much in this fic as well, even though arguably, she’s not very likeable. But I think it’s because you kind of you see some of his villainy through Ruby and how he treats Ruby towards the end of this fic.

And, and it I don’t know, it’s a little bit chilling sometimes that even somebody who you think has been like fighting… trying so hard not to like drop massive spoilers in here… but who, you know, you just kind of assume is fully on his side and has done a lot for him and just how cold he can be, even to those people.

Mallory: [00:19:00] Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm. So yeah, it was, yeah. I mean, I think in the fic, Ruby definitely drank the Kool-Aid and she was like, “yeah, you know it, we don’t want a west that is civil. We don’t want people from the east coming out here and, you know, putting the laws down. We’re all supposed to be free out here.”

And that’s kind of like the message that she believes, but it’s very much, you know, Lucifer just wants power. That’s all he wants.

MalMuses: It’s probably not a spoiler to say she’s a little bit screwed over at the end and gets put in a position that she did not volunteer for, or he attempts to put her in a position she didn’t volunteer for.

But yeah, it’s, it’s very interesting. I like the dynamics of all the bad guys in this one. It wasn’t just a case of like, Oh, he’s evil because he’s evil. Like, no, he, he has a vision. Unfortunately, that vision is mostly just him wanting things. But it’s a vision. Okay.

Mallory: It’s a vision. It’s a very culty vision.

MalMuses: [00:20:00] It is very culty. Like the way it’s all set up in this? Yeah.

Ellen: They call him father, right? Is that…

MalMuses: It’s very creepy.

Mallory: Yeah. I think so. I wrote it, and I’m like, do they? (laughs)

MalMuses: But they, they really go through some shit in yours, in terms of, particularly Cas, like, even physically. He he has it rough.

Mallory: Yeah, I, I like to, I guess, torture him a little bit. Just, I like to see what he’s made of.

Ellen: Yeah. And I do remember that the, the last few chapters, like the, you know, the showdown kind of thing with Lucifer without going into detail is like so nail-bitingly tense that you did a brilliant job with that whole scene where, you know, they’re all trying to get out of there alive basically. It’s very very tense.

Mallory: Thank you. Yeah, it was a fic to write for sure. And it was nice to bring in a bunch of side characters and just have a journey with it. [00:21:00] Cause I, I think the show is very like, almost like a modern day Western in a way, and Sam and Dean are very much cowboys. So it was, it was cool to make them actual cowboys.

Ellen: Yeah. I’ve seen a few people say that before. Like what, what do they, what is it about the modern show that makes it feel like a Western to you?

Mallory: Yeah, well, I mean, I think it’s very much, you know, that these noble heroes riding into town and, you know, saving the day and there’s this kind of theme of high justice in a way where they are judge, jury, and executioner.

And they always have the moral high ground in this morally gray world, which obviously becomes more of, you know, the morally gray part comes out more and more in the show as it goes on. But it very much starts out as like, you know, they come in, save everybody and then ride into the sunset.

[00:22:00] And that, that’s, that is basically what a Western is.

MalMuses: Yeah, I can see that. And definitely that vibe on, on like an overall arc of the different seasons, but also on an individual like episode level, we have a lot.

Mallory: Yeah. They’re almost like bounty hunters in a way.

MalMuses: So, yeah. So we’ve talked about Cas. We have talked about Sam, but we haven’t said a lot about Dean.

So I feel like, I feel like we need to touch on, on Dean’s character in this one, because I said early on that I spent a lot of the fic wanting to grab Cas and Dean’s heads and smack them together in this one. Especially as kind of our intro, like very early on in our introduction to Dean, all we hear him saying is basically Sam makes a flippant… Actually, I think it’s Bobby makes a joking comment about Dean being married and Dean just fully like with his whole chest rejecting that just like, Nope, Nope, not at all.

Ellen: [00:23:00] Yeah.

Mallory: Yeah, I think he has to come a long way. And I think a lot of it in the beginning is him not wanting to admit it even though he, you know, he is in love and he does want to have a relationship. I think he doesn’t want to admit it so much because he just kind of expects Cas to leave at any moment and, you know, again, he, they’re not together a lot at the start of the fic because Dean and Sam are away for their job most of the time.

Cas is still, he’s basically like a boarder in their house in a way. So they don’t have too much. I mean, I don’t want to say that they don’t have too much interaction because obviously they do when Dean is in town, but I think it is still very much like a, “Oh, you know, Cas is just going to move on and I’m not going to be here anyway. So I don’t, I don’t want to admit that there’s anything here, even though there very much is.”

MalMuses: [00:24:00] Yes. With, with Cas staying in the house, it gave me very like late season bunker vibes. Where it’s like, you know, technically, technically he has a room and he’s here, but is he really like,

Mallory: yeah, I mean, no, he doesn’t even really even get that close to Mary who’s around all the time.

He’s just like, I’m here, you know, like, Dean is, you know, the one that I’m attached to here. And I think he also kind of thinks like, oh, this isn’t going to last forever kind of deal.

MalMuses: I mean, again, very canon, all of that. (laughs)

Mallory: Yeah, they’re the worst.

MalMuses: Like, “I’m here for Dean, by the way. Hi, Sam. Hi, Sam. How you doing?”

Mallory: Yeah. And then, you know, priorities change, obviously when Jack is born and he’s like, I will leave you in a second.

MalMuses: Okay, I was curious especially when I reread this fic, because I read this fic, not as you posted it, but relatively quickly after that, I think. [00:25:00] So I reread it for the podcast, obviously. And I was curious, having interacted with you a lot more since then, since you posted it, I now want to know how much of this was, actually just came straight from your brain, or like, did you have to research any of this, or was this just all in there?

Mallory: It was all in there. (laughs) It’s a horrible life to lead. But yeah, no, it was, it was pretty much all in there. I’ve been a fan of the Wild West for pretty much my entire life. And I, I just, I don’t know, I’ve collected all this information about it. So yeah, it was, I mean, I had to do that. Actually, I lied.

I had to do a little bit of research on Lawrence as a town which they have actually a really interesting history. They were basically during the civil war. [00:26:00] They went into the Missouri border. And basically, like, were a small militia to free slaves, and they called them the Kansas Jayhawkers, which I think the Kansas University, which is in Lawrence, their, their, their mascot is the Jayhawk or something.

But yeah, so I had to do a little bit of research on Lawrence. But other than that, like the West as a whole, not really. I mean, I had to obviously, you know, make sure that there were still some towns that were on the map back then pretty much, but I tried to stick a lot to the gambling circuit that.

I was back there. Obviously, I didn’t, you know, go into Arizona or anything like that, but I did try and, you know, stick to the cowboy towns that were pretty much where people were.

MalMuses: [00:27:00] Well, I think you did a really good job of building this whole world out for people and actually putting like so much information and background into it, but doing it in such a way where you stayed focused on the characters.

It’s that whole thing of like teaching people without them realizing they’re in class. (laughs)

Mallory: I believe we should all learn something when we come to fan fiction.

MalMuses: There we go. How much I loved Cas’s doctoring in this, in that he just seems completely unaffected by the grossest of things.

Mallory: I almost made him a dentist because of Doc Holliday because I know weirdly a lot about Old West dentistry, but nothing about Old West doctoring. So I was like, oh man. So, but I, I figured a doctor would be better.

MalMuses: [00:28:00] It, it suits him. Yeah, it suits him for sure.

Mallory: Yeah, dentistry isn’t as glamorous.

MalMuses: Especially, especially this kind of like, I don’t know, modern doctoring doesn’t suit Cas quite as well, but there’s something about back in the day being like up to your elbows in somebody else’s blood and him just being completely nonchalant about it.

Mallory: Agreed. I, you know, I think it’s hot.

MalMuses: We love a bit of blood in this fandom, it has to be said.

Ellen: I did love when, right at the start when he’s helping with with Kelly, like during childbirth and whatever. And, and Dean’s just kind of hovering around going, what do I do? What do I do?

Mallory: yeah, it’s like, Dean’s kind of like the father in childbirth. Yeah. Like out in the waiting room, smoking a cigar. Like what do we do?

Ellen: Yeah. He’s having a full on panic and Cas is just like, “okay, just get me this, that, get, get some water. Like, I don’t care what you do. Just get out.” (laughs)

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was a fun fic to read. [00:29:00] Although I did realize that a lot of my influence, I don’t, this is a deep cut into the John Wayne universe, but there’s this movie called Three Godfathers that is a John Wayne movie.

And there were some scenes that I was writing and I was like, this seems, this seems familiar. I think there was one scene where they were changing Jack and I was like, this seems, this seems familiar. Have I written this? And I, I didn’t write it. And then I woke up in like a cold sweat and I was like, Oh my God, I just remembered the movie Three Godfathers exists.

So if you have a pretty good time, I would recommend watching that movie. And it is a little similar.

MalMuses: I swear, I’m trying to think, I swear I’ve seen that movie. grew up surrounded by like old movies like that. And is that the one where they’re like bank robbers and there’s like a newborn and then like, okay, yes, I can, I can see the connection.

Mallory: Yeah, no, it’s, it is. It’s, it’s a, it’s a pretty fun movie. I mean, I’m not going to say it’s the best John Wayne movie that you’ll ever see. It is. It’s fun.

MalMuses: [00:30:00] That’s the only requirement for a good movie. All right. Okay. Well, I guess we better move on to the next one, other than telling everybody to please subscribe.

Go and read this fic and then come and tell me how much you love Ruby, because.

Ellen: I love, I loved the overall story of this, like the journey and the, you know, looking after a baby along the way is like my favorite thing. It’s great. So please go and read The Shawnee Trail. It’s amazing.

Mallory: Thank you. Can I, can I, it would be like uncouth of me to plug the fic that I’m posting right now?

Ellen: Oh, no, do it. Do it. Go ahead.

Mallory: Okay I am posting the final part of Heavyweight, and this one is called Champion. It is part three. There are two other parts. The second one is tiny, so I guess this is technically a sequel but it is Dean and Cas are boxers and [00:31:00] they are the worst people you’ll ever meet.

Go read it. Anyway, Champion is posting now on ao3.

MalMuses: Go read it! Woo!

Ellen: It’s like a historical type thing as well, right?

Mallory: It is. Yeah. So the first one was took place in the 1920s, which is the golden age of boxing. And this one is the 1930s. And I say it’s going to be the final one, but the, this version of them rewrote my brain chemistry.

So I’m like, Oh, maybe I’ll just be here until we all die. Writing about them.

MalMuses: Fandom as a whole.

Mallory: Yes, pretty much.

Ellen: Okay. So I’ve before, before now I I’ve had Raise the Black in my open tabs for like months, like pretty much ever since it was posted in the first place. And I’ve had so many people recommended to me separately after the, after we’ve already done a pirate episode like a couple of years ago, like before this, before it was posted.

[00:32:00] But I just wanted to throw it in, throw in to say that how many people say how much they love Raise the Black. And If you’re in for pirate fic, go and read that. And I am going to get to it at some point.

Mallory: That means a lot to me. That one, I almost didn’t write it. It was the first fic idea I ever came up with like over a decade ago.

And it was the thing, the story I would tell myself when I was going to sleep at night. So I do miss it, but I’m happy it’s out there. So thank you for giving that one a shout out.

Ellen: That’s all right. It’s like, I think part of the reason is because it is like you know, 250,000 words. And I just, every time I go to start it, I’m like, Oh, this is a, this is a commitment.

Mallory: But hopefully worth it. I also know a lot about the Golden Age of Piracy. So if you like the history.

Ellen: Yes. I’ll have to add it to our, our list of fics for that pirate episode we did. [00:33:00] But anyway, yeah. Just thought I’d throw in that. Right. We, where are we, where do we go from here? Shall we go on to the West series?

West series (33:13)

So this is five works that are all quite short, like all together, the whole series is only just over 6,000 words. So it’s not a long series. It was published way back in 2012. So it’s older. But the ratings do go from G all the way up to E. So there’s, some of them are pretty good. just little snippets of what’s happening.

And some of them are like full on porn. So…

MalMuses: A little of everything.

Ellen: the funny thing about this series is that they’re out of order. Like, did you guys read all this, this whole series as well?

MalMuses: Yes, I did.

Ellen: Yeah. Yeah. So in the first one. Is like the, the one that comes at the end kind of thing, or maybe it’s in the middle.

[00:34:00] I don’t know. The, the, each of them are sort of out of order in the whole series.

Mallory: I guess I didn’t really, I guess I didn’t even really realize that. But now that you’re saying that, it makes sense.

MalMuses: There is actually, if you look at the, the page for the series on ao3, rather than going to the first fic, it does actually have like a chronological reading order, like if you want to read them in chronological order, the author listed it out.

But they were posted more as like standalone kind of like moments in time. Not necessarily in order. So

Mallory: Huh. You see this is why everybody should read the notes. Don’t be like me

MalMuses: Now apparently the first one is the second fic. So which one was that? Oh, yeah, technically that’s the John… There’s a little bit of like John and Mary showing us where they came from

Ellen: Yeah, and so Cas is a preacher who’s traveling to his new like mission or whatever in the West.

[00:35:00] And his train is attacked by a demon and the Winchester brothers come to the rescue. But but the first, the first fic is actually, it’s good that you don’t know what’s happening because it’s the most kind of tense, like you’re not sure what’s going to happen in the end. You discover what happens. I won’t give it away, but… Yeah, I liked that that one was first, just because it gives you the surprise of the outcome, I guess.

It’s only very short, so I can’t, like, without reading out the whole fig you know, give any spoilers, but yeah. I really enjoyed this one. It’s got some interesting Indigenous culture elements, too, like…

MalMuses: Yes, I love when people put that into their like cowboy fics because it just seems like how can you ignore like an entire an entire culture?

So I love it when people kind of intersperse especially considering I usually talking about like hunting or supernatural things or whatever so it just makes a lot of sense for them to use things from that particular culture. It’s amazing. [00:36:00] Even though they only touch on it a little bit in this one due to the the size of the fics I think the longest one is… Can’t remember, do you remember how long the longest one was?

Ellen: I’ve got the thing up here. Let me see. Two thousand. Two thousand. Yeah. Two thousand words.

Mallory: And that’s the last one. I also, I’m looking at these again, and I like how some of them are movie titles.

Ellen: Are they?

Mallory: I just realized that.

Ellen: The Great Train Robbery is the only one I know.

Mallory: Oh yeah. And then there’s Once Upon a Time in the West, too.

Ellen: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

MalMuses: Yes. I love that. I also love that because obviously these fics are quite short, you don’t get a lot of context in the summaries, which I, I know is frustrating to some people. I kind of love it, especially when it’s a short fic, I’m like, When it’s that tiny, don’t spoil me. Let me just dive in and let me go.

So I love that it’s kind of like a slightly out of context quote or line of dialogue in most cases. Which is just enough to just make you ask what the hell is going on and dive in.

Mallory: [00:37:00] I also like that they’re so short that it’s almost like we don’t get into their characters too much. If that makes sense.

I mean, I like that even throughout you… Dean and Sam still kind of seem a little shady. I feel like they’re more anti-heroes than they are, like, straight up heroes..

MalMuses: Yes. Which I want to say, especially early seasons, you can take that reading of the show as well.

Ellen: They killed the demons, but I think they also took some booty, you know, apart from actual Cas himself.

MalMuses: Yes. I love as well, I’m going to touch upon, I guess, something that happens in, is it the first one? I think it is which is a trope that I’ve actually seen come up multiple times, even just in these fics that we’re reading, which is the trope of somebody is about to hang or, is getting ready to be hung and then being rescued in some way, [00:38:00] or something unexpected happening in some way, or the characters are watching this occur.

It’s cause I feel like that’s such a trope in like the old like cowboy movies as well. And it would be almost like this, like, slapstick moment almost sometimes and so I loved seeing that turn up especially because it’s so like in character for these chaotic characters that we have. Like, you know that Dean would be just smirking away and be quite happy to be hung knowing that like Sam or Cas or someone is gonna come get him like any second.

He’d be rubbing their face in it and loving every moment

Ellen: Yeah, I can’t say much more about this one without just Giving the whole thing away.

MalMuses: Yeah, without spoiling it for anybody. I do love that we get to see, I was gonna say, I do love that we get to see, in these brief little snippets, like, the evolution of Cas from somebody who has no awareness of any kind of scary demons or vampires or anything out there. [00:39:00] And we slowly get to see him evolve and kind of fall more into their life, even if it’s kind of reluctant on his part. I love, I love fics where we get to corrupt the angel. Okay. That’s great.

Ellen: Me too. And this one is done in so few words, but it does convey like that whole thing.

Wheatfields and Jars of Light (39:22)

MalMuses: Okay. Shall we move on to Wheatfields and Jars of Light next? That one’s a little bit longer, but not super long.

Okay, so Wheatfields and Jars of Light is just under 1600 words, and this was a reverse bang from 2018, so there is some pretty nice art throughout. I believe the fic is by Violue, and no, hang on, which way around is it? So it’s by Krisham and Violue, and I’m not sure.

Off the top of my head, who was the author and who was the artist? Pretty sure Violue wrote it. Yeah, that’s right. Okay. So Violue wrote it and Krisham did the art. There we go. [00:40:00] So this summary is:

It’s the mid 1880s, grieving the loss of his twin brother. Castiel Novak is on a journey across Kansas to search for those responsible for his death. By horse, by carriage, by foot, he won’t stop until he’s hunted down and gotten his revenge. What he finds though, is that nothing in the world is quite what he thought it was.

I love the twin aspect of this one. I know you read this one and enjoyed it, didn’t you, Ellen, I think?

Ellen: Yes. Yeah. I love this one because of the magical aspect. If you can bring a real world situation a bit of magic, then I’m in. (laughs)

Mallory: Yeah, yeah, I think there are a lot of like Western fics where Dean and Sam are hunters, but we don’t really get to see them play around with magic too much. And I thought that was a cool element of this. [00:41:00] Also, really quickly. Thank you so much for putting this one on the list, because I think I’ve been looking for this fic for, I’m telling you, like, it must have been eight years or something like that, however long it is since it posted.

There was a time where I thought that I must have made this fic up because I was like, has anyone heard of this? And nobody, like, and I’m just like, no, this fic exists. I know it does. So thank you for bringing it back into my life.

Ellen: That’s good. That’s good. You’re welcome.

MalMuses: I feel like I read this fic a long time ago.

When did I say it was posted? 2018 reverse bang. So I think I took part in that reverse bang. So that’s probably when I read it. I was probably paying close attention to the posting at the time. And I absolutely love it. The art is beautiful. I have to give a really good shout out to the art in this one.

There are quite a few art pieces given the length of the fic. One of them is Dean in some amazingly fetching and appropriate 1880s nightmare, which is just wonderful. [00:42:00] I love it. I love the, I think one of the thoughts he has, I think, I don’t know if it’s earlier than that, it’s before he’s actually found the kind of basement, I want to say kind of thing that they’re in.

Ellen: Bunker. Let’s just call it the bunker.

MalMuses: Yeah, let’s call it a bunker. I think before that he has a run in with Dean and Dean like puffs, like throws some sand or something… magical sand in his face and does like a little spell to give him time to run away, I guess, or whatever.

Ellen: Yeah, that’s it. Yeah.

MalMuses: And I don’t think at the time Cas really connects, you know, what Dean did with, with Dean. You know, him being magical himself or anything like that. He just kind of like, it’s literally just like, “this man has magic sand.” Yes, Cas, he does. It’s, it’s kind of adorable that Cas is so naive at the beginning of this given [00:43:00] the really beautiful magic that Dean uses in this is like obviously from the title we can tell there’s like jars of light, but it’s literally like Dean can make little, little glowing, like firefly type things and it gets, he can do all of the mage stuff. And we don’t see enough magical Dean. I feel like we see magical Sam plenty.

Ellen: Yeah, it’s usually Sam who gets it.

Mallory: Yeah, and I think, I think it is cool, like, like you said, the magic in this is so descriptive and so lovely and it’s, it’s not what you would expect of Dean at face value.

MalMuses: It’s the underneath, it’s the soft Dean that we’re getting. Yeah, it’s the soft boy. Under the crusty cowboy outside, there’s a soft boy in there.

I do like this is one of those fics that kind of has, like, very short scenes, like to the point that we’re not seeing a lot of Castiel’s life outside of his determined hunting of Dean to try and, he believes, you know, pay him back for his brother’s death. So you’re kind of, you know, there are several scenes that are just a paragraph or a few lines, a tiny exchange of dialogue, and we’re kind of jumping through time.

[00:44:00] And I do like a fic like that now and again, like sometimes it’s, it’s good to stick to it. I find it quite satisfying, but we still can learn so much about Cas, even from those little interactions, like just like flashbacks to like how much he cared about his brother and like the fact that he still carries his brother’s gun, which is the colt in this, which is kind of fun to have Cas have the colt instead of the Winchesters have it.

And I really like that. It’s one of those fics that gives you like very few details, but very specific details. And that’s something that I think Viola in general is very good at when they write, not giving you any more than you need, but giving you just this like beautiful text. And then afterwards you realized you’ve learned so much from it, but it was just really pretty to read, so you didn’t realize, love it, love a fic that’s written prettily like that.

Ellen: And naturally in like a canon kind of way Cas ends up [00:45:00] becoming, like, joining them, becoming a hunter and joining them which is kind of cute as well. Naturally, he’s pretty good at it.

Anything else to say about this particular fic?

MalMuses: I don’t think so without spoiling it, because again, it is on the shorter side.

It’s not super tiny, but it’s a shorter one. I don’t want to tell you exactly what happened with Castiel and his brother and any of the rest of it. But it was fun learning along with Cas. Please go do so.

Ellen: Yeah. There’s like a little montage kind of thing at the end with Dean teaching Cas a whole bunch of huntery stuff, which is kind of cute.

MalMuses: Yeah. I love it when we have a human Cas that has to, to learn from Dean because I just, I love the parallels with, with Cannon and Cas learning how to human from Dean on occasion. Is he really the best teacher for this? Well, he’s the only one Cas has got. So

Ellen: yeah. [00:46:00] And then falling in love along the way.

MalMuses: Oh, definitely really beautiful. Like wonderfully written but like concise and lovely and beautiful art to go with it. There’s really no drawbacks to reading this fic. I think we should move on to the big chunky one next.

Hunter’s Caress (46:19)

Ellen: All right. So Hunter’s Caress was posted by Ltleflrt back in 2019. It’s 161,000 so it’s another long one.

And I believe this one’s based on a Western novel that Ltleflrt says in the author’s note that they really loved. And it does, it, like, it reads like a paperback novel, right? Like, it’s got that kind of, I don’t know, light feel to it. It’s great.

MalMuses: Yeah. That’s actually one of my favorite things about this fic, is the way it reads, and that you do feel like you’re reading some, like, [00:47:00] I don’t know, like a cowboy romance, like, dime store novel.

Mallory: I was actually just gonna say that, like, one of the things that I really love is that it does, it’s like a, it’s like a dime novel. It’s, you know, there, there’s romance in it and it’s, you know, this hero on the trail, like, has to defend his love. It’s, it, it feels like something that someone back in the day would, you know, pick up at the general store and read.

I, I, I love that feel to it.

MalMuses: It fits that obviously the world that it’s set in so very well. It feels like this story could exist in that world. So.

Ellen: I’ll just read the summary. So we get an idea of the story for everybody.

Castiel Jameson won’t rest until the outlaw who murdered his brother faces justice and Dean Winchester is the only man alive who can help him track the villain down. Some say Winchester is a cold blooded killer himself. Others say he’d been wronged his whole life. All Castiel knows is that the desire glinting in Dean’s green eyes is even more dangerous than he is. [00:48:00] Castiel fights to keep his mind on business, but during the long nights on the trail with the dangerously handsome hunter, he finds himself dreaming of yielding to Dean’s illicit kisses and losing himself in lawless passion.

God, that does sound like a romance novel. Dean Winchester…

MalMuses: I think Ltleflrt Said that she lifted this, I have to say, straight from the back of the novel. So. Continue.

Ellen: Dean Winchester is about to hang when Castiel saves his neck with his crazy plan. But dying might be better than spending day and night playing nursemaid to such an infuriating city slicker. He appreciates the stubborn detective’s desire for justice, but he’d appreciate Cas a lot more if he’d stopped being a lawman long enough to just be a man. He certainly has all the right equipment. Dean aches to run his fingers through Castiel’s dark hair, yearns to know how Castiel’s golden skin will feel against him, and before the coming of the next dawn, Dean vows to teach him the pleasures and sweet rewards of a hunter’s caress.

Oh my goodness.

Mallory: [00:49:00] I’m grinning. Just from that. I love it. I love it.

MalMuses: Amazing. I love it because that really is the epitome of a romance novel description and I love it. Just take it and make it gay and go with it. Yeah. If the straights get it, so do

Mallory: we. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Ellen: Cas is a Pinkerton Agent. Like I’m assuming this is some kind of precursor to the FBI.

Right? Like it’s that kind of a…

Mallory: No, there’s actually still a Pinkerton agency around. I mean, they don’t really, you know, I don’t want to say they don’t do much in case there’s a Pinkerton out there listening to this. (laughs) But I mean, they, they were a detective agency, kind of like a private outside of the police thing. It wasn’t so much a government-run organization or anything like that. [00:50:00] But I, I do appreciate that Cas is a Pinkerton in this. I, I think there’s a lot of, you know, one of them’s a Marshal or whatever, but there’s not enough Pinkertons in fan fiction.

Ellen: It’s the first time I’ve heard about them.

MalMuses: They definitely still exist. They do like private security.

I think mostly like onsite security stuff now, a bit less detective and a bit more. security these days. They definitely still exist. They’ve been around since 1850, apparently, Google tells me. So there you go.

Mallory: Yeah. They were pretty ubiquitous back then. Right.

MalMuses: I like it. Yeah. I like something a little different.

It’s like Ellen said, we have lots where, you know, he’s a, a marshal or a sheriff and I’d love those two, no criticism on any of those. But this is something a little bit different. So that’s fun.

Ellen: And like from the beginning, they, they really like… Dean and Cas. Okay. So I better start by saying that this, this story is interesting.

It’s different from a lot of fic in that it’s like a almost omnipresent narrator, like it’s not really, but like the point of view switches between the characters. [00:51:00] So sometimes we get what Cas is thinking and then, you know, a few paragraphs later, it switches to Dean, which is like, at first it’s a little disconcerting because like, we’re really not used to doing that sort of thing in fic.

But once you get into the story, It’s fine. It’s like, you know, you get used to it, I guess.

MalMuses: Yeah. It makes sense.

Mallory: Yeah, you almost don’t notice anymore.

MalMuses: It makes sense knowing what they’re all thinking as well. It actually really helps with the story. I think

Ellen: yeah, it helps. Yeah. So you do know that they really, at the beginning, both of them they realized that they’re attracted to each other, but they kind of hate each other.

And Cas is always like, he keeps thinking how he’s going to shoot… Like if he, if he was, if they weren’t in this particular situation, he’d just shoot Dean right now. You know, he keeps saying that. But you know, obviously the tension grows like so slowly, but so deliciously as they escape from, well, leave from the current predicament, which is like this extremely tense, like almost hanging that happens.

Mallory: [00:52:00] Yeah, well, we were just talking about it, but yeah, it was pretty tense. Also shout out for the Brothers Earp in it. because the beginning of it is in Tombstone which I love, but the, yeah, the, the Earp brothers are in it. So I, I, when I first read that, I was like, oh, yay.

MalMuses: I feel like that’s the kind of detail that Dean himself would love. So.

Mallory: Cool.

Ellen: There you go, Greenhorn people like me, don’t get those connections.

MalMuses: I think that’s one of the most fun things about this fic and like several others that we’ve looked at, like, if you are somebody who has even a passing interest in this kind of era, there’s probably a whole bunch that you can get out of it, like little Easter eggs.

But yet they’re still so readable and enjoyable just as stories for people who have no idea. So, yeah, that’s a really good kind of line to straddle.

Ellen: Yeah, I think we also deserve to give Sam a shout out in this one. [00:53:00] He’s very He’s very much third wheeling through a lot of the relationship parts, poor guy.

To the point where he tell, he eventually turn, like, pulls Dean aside and said, “would you just sleep with him and get it out of your system? Like, God, come on.” (laughs)

Mallory: A true ally.

Ellen: Yeah, he’s a wingman

MalMuses: I would have still killed for a scene in canon where Sam did that. But, you know, that’s

Ellen: right? We were robbed.

MalMuses: Poor Sam.

Ellen: But yeah, he’s very like, it’s obvious that Dean is like, won’t, doesn’t want to let Sam get into trouble. Like, doesn’t want to let him out of his sight, but he does let, allow him. He knows that he’s capable, like, very capable of looking after himself as well. So they do, you know, split up on multiple occasions and then find each other again.

And, you know, he can hold his own definitely. Like you were saying before, he’s not too dependent on Dean in this one. He’s very. Capable. [00:54:00] Yeah. They have a lot of like the way they actually start getting together is so good. Like they have a number of scenes where they almost kind of get something together and then they don’t like, when like Cas steps backwards and falls on a cactus and then Dean has to help him pull spines out of his bum. (laughs)

It’s just so good.

MalMuses: I had actually forgotten about that until I reread it for the podcast. I know I enjoyed it, I’m sure, when I read it the first time as well, but it was very enjoyable the second time around.

I love Cas’s thoughts in this it’s just one of the reasons why I love it being kind of, kind of omnipresent, like floating POV, because the number of times where Sam is, where Cas is, is thinking something, he’s trying to keep on track and then he just randomly starts thinking about like Dean’s lips or something and you get to see him like have to course correct and be like, God damn it.

Like, he’s so fed up with himself, you know?

Ellen: [00:55:00] And in this one they’re looking for… so yeah, Cas is looking for the people who killed his brother and Dean and Sam have been, you know, involved with Alistair and his demon… gang. I can’t remember how they refer to them. Oh, it’s like the, it’s the Comancheros, right?

Like the the group of outlaws.

Mallory: I believe so.

Ellen: And the way they just describe all the things, like the, the The evil things that they get up to is really quite chilling when they, you know, they find a bunch of people who’d been murdered and then there’s like some undead things that rise. And it’s just like, Oh my God, this was kind of scary.

MalMuses: Yeah. There’s no shortage of plot in this one. Like, even though it’s very much a romance and you know, we’ve got all these wonderful like tropes happening. Like it really is like, there is plenty going on. There is enough story to really support. [00:56:00] All of the fucking and not fucking that we get in this.

Actually, one of the scenes I will say I love in this is one of the first times that Or it might be, I think it’s the first time that Dean and Cas finally give in to their urges, shall we say.

There’s always the trope, you know, in like old, like historical novels of them like kissing in the rain or like someone’s running through the rain. And I love in this that we’re just steamrolled straight through that to fucking in the rain. (laughs)

Mallory: Yeah. And there’s, there’s another great one in the river.

Yeah, that, that, when I think about this fic for some reason, that is the scene that immediately pops into my head. It’s, it’s a good one. Yes.

MalMuses: Good, I definitely don’t want to do any spoilers for the end of this Vic, because I know that you’ve not quite finished it yet, Ellen, is that right? No, I’m nearly there.

I’m nearly at the end. Okay. You can talk about it if you

Ellen: want, it’s fine.

MalMuses: [00:57:00] No, I don’t want to, I don’t want to spoil it for like listeners as well, but I really enjoyed like how the plot wraps up and how it’s not like, you know, here’s a nice little bow on everything. Like it’s messy and. It’s just a very satisfying plot.

I like it. I don’t like simple plots as much as when you could really make me sit there and not be able to put it down for several hours. That’s, that’s the sweet spot. So.

Ellen: Just, it has a happy ending, right?

MalMuses: Yeah. Yeah.

Ellen: Okay, good.

MalMuses: Do you think we’d put you through all this without a warning?

Ellen: Well, I mean, we don’t normally go for fics that don’t have a happy ending, so it’s fine.

MalMuses: Okay. So I will say there is. It’s one of those stories where up until, I think it’s probably the very last scene, you are actually not quite sure if it will have a happy ending in terms of the characters. Like everything works out plot wise, it’s working great. Are Dean and Cas living happily ever after?

No, at that point. But the very last scene is actually one of my favorites in [00:58:00] the fic. So just in terms of. the way that it’s written and the kind of agreements that they come to. And it’s like that, I, it’s, it’s very satisfying way to wrap it all up for me.

Mallory: It’s very hopeful, I feel.

Ellen: Okay. Excellent.

I’ll get there at some point in the next couple of days, probably. Cause I got stuck in this weekend. It was funny because I’ve just been camping for the weekend and we went to this… we were on an actual cattle farm. That’s where we were camping. And so these cows are all around and horses too, they were and I’m sitting by the campfire and these cows like come out of the darkness and like stand near the fire because they want to be warm.

Mallory: Oh, that’s adorable.

Ellen: And I’m reading it. It’s like, it was so strange, but but I was really,

Mallory: you were being a cowboy.

Ellen: I felt like a real cowboy just for a moment. [00:59:00] But yeah, I was getting right into the story and then I had to stop because we, you know, had to come home and I’m like, no, I need to finish it before the, you know, we do this recording, but no, I’ll have to finish it tonight.

Sometimes, because it’s great. I’m really enjoying it.

MalMuses: Yes, and I love Ltleflrt fics in general. I’ve read so many of her fics. I don’t think I’ve read everything she’s written, but pretty close to it. Pretty close. Yeah, yeah. So you always know that you’re gonna have, you know, a good one when you open one of Ltleflrt’s and I love historical fics in general.

So when I discovered this one, because for some reason I don’t know that I read this one immediately when it posted, maybe I wasn’t aware of it, but it was a very happy day when I discovered my crossover between Ltleflrt and historical.

Something Like A Broken Heart (59:45)

So we said we were going to talk about one more, didn’t we? Which one was it? Cause I’ve got a million tabs open here with good cowboy fics.

Ellen: Something Like A Broken Heart.

MalMuses: Yes. Okay. I really like this one. Quite different to the others. Yeah, do you want to read it?

Mallory: [01:00:00] This one was really well written.

MalMuses: So this is Something Like a Broken Heart by Rhymephile. It’s 12, 200 words ish. And the summary goes like this.

Dean Winchester is a Texas ranger traveling to the town of Fort Griffin Flat, Texas to rendezvous with the rest of his company when he meets Castiel, a prostitute in town.

And there’s a little bit of information here that this is the answer to an AU fusion challenge prompt where they wanted to see something where Dean was a cowboy who meets a cheap prostitute, scraping out a living and saves him from a dangerous customer.

So I think this is actually quite an interesting interpretation of that particular prompt that they got, because yes, it does have all those things, but there’s a lot more to casts in this than there could have been just from that prompt. Yeah. And I think it’s, it’s very interesting. Love it. So what’d you, what’d you think about this one?

Ellen: [01:01:00] I mean, this is only 12,000 and the, it was published in like 2009. So it’s way back in the dark ages. No it’s got a mature rating, but it does have some sort of, you know, what we would probably call explicit now. It’s one of those ones.

Mallory: This was first posted on I, I bet you.

Ellen: Probably.

MalMuses: a whole nother level to be considered explicit on (laughs)

Ellen: So yeah, he does like Dean ends up saving Cas’s life and then finds out he is a Benny boy. But any guys who he owes. the owner of the whorehouse, who is Alistair, you know, he has to stay there and work for him. So, and Dean feels drawn to him and decides that he needs to help him out of this situation.

But it’s like, it’s also,

Mallory: I love that the whorehouse is called Perdition. Yeah.

Ellen: [01:02:00] Yeah. So it kind of starts out like a bit of a… I don’t know, he’s a Texas Ranger, like riding into town and everything, and then turns into kind of this sweet, kind of soft, I need to help you get out of this kind of a deal.

MalMuses: I love the idea in this that when Dean initially helps Cas out of a rough situation, Cas kind of rewards him with the only thing that he thinks he has of value, which is just like a token, basically like a brothel token, one go free kind of deal. And like Dean, it’s not necessarily that he doesn’t want it necessarily, but he ends up not actually quite cashing it in for that exactly, which is very sweet.

Ellen: Yeah, yeah. At first he’s kind of taken aback. He’s like, “Oh, I wasn’t expecting this.”

MalMuses: Yeah. I think sometimes when you have any kind of fic where there’s no matter where you are in history, like a sex worker involved there’s like a fine line to walk between [01:03:00] their relationship feeling very transactional and how you get from there to like a genuine relationship, and most fics do it really well and I love that in this one, it was kind of Dean is in air quotes here like rescuing Cas. He is helping him out of this situation but in some ways Castiel is kind of educating Dean a fair amount as well. Kind of opening up his eyes to things that he really just didn’t consider before.

He was just trotting around, saving people, hunting things, or people, in this. I love it that it feels equal in that way somehow, even though Castiel is very much the one being rescued in this. And as always we have a very despicable Alistair, which is a staple that I love and appreciate.

Ellen: Yeah, he’s good at being a really nasty baddie.

MalMuses: He is. I think he’s one of our best, like, default, like, baddies. Especially when you have a shorter fic and you don’t necessarily have time to really you know, build up the hate for a villain. [01:04:00] If you drop Alistair in there, we’re all already on board. You don’t need it. We all already hate him. We’re fine.

Ellen: Yep. And this one’s got some interesting authors note as well, because it was, it was written about Texas in the 1870s. And the author says that at the time hostilities between settlers and native people was an everyday occurrence and violence was common. And so there are bits of this story that are quite violent.

Like, they’re not, the events don’t happen in the story, but Dean talks about something that happened in the past that was quite yeah, violent, I guess, and possibly offensive to people. So even though it doesn’t have any archive warnings, I guess you could say that it’s got “Graphic depictions of violence” in it, even though it’s not that stuff doesn’t actually happen in the story.

MalMuses: Yeah. Something else I noticed in the notes for this as well, which just struck me as kind of funny. [01:05:00] There are a couple of mentions as they’re going through and Cas is kind of talking about his past and stuff like that, there are several mentions of Gabriel in this fic, which I didn’t even bat an eyelash out because.

You know, we’re used to having background characters, even if they’re not in the fic, you know, a little name will be dropped here and there from somewhere in canon. But the funny part was that this was actually written before Gabriel turned up in Supernatural. Like he didn’t exist in the show.

Ellen: yeah.

Mallory: Oh yeah, you’re right!

Ellen: Wasn’t, and also in this, in the story, Gabriel was someone who Cas had had like a, a relationship with in the past.

MalMuses: Yeah. That he’d known in the past.

Ellen: And then, so when I was like, Ooh, that’s weird. Then it was like, okay, he wasn’t introduced at all.

MalMuses: Yeah. No, before, before Gabriel, as we know him existed in the show, just a name picked at random.

Ellen: Yeah. I thought this had some great historical details as well. Like you know, talking about the way that, you know, They, they treated the native people. Actually, there’s a whole heap of references at the end of this, like links to information about Wild West stuff, basically. [01:06:00] So if you’re, if you’re looking for, to write something, there’s probably a whole list of historical texts in there.

MalMuses: Yeah. Really good fic to keep in your back pocket as a reference point. Cause they cover everything from like models of Winchester guns to Pinto horses brothels, like there’s a, there’s a ton of stuff here. They do a really good job.

Mallory: I love a fic with a bibliography at the end.

Ellen: Yeah, that’s pretty much what it is. Amazing.

MalMuses: I think it’s awesome. I’m into it. This one actually, considering it’s a fic where Cas is a prostitute, is not that smutty. It’s a mature, I think yeah, it is mature and, but even though there’s, there’s definitely some, definitely some explicit parts in here that we would, we would call explicit, but it’s not as much of the focus as you might think it would be given Cas is a prostitute in this.


Mallory: yeah, yeah, I think the way it’s almost handled, it almost reminds me of like, [01:07:00] I guess an old movie almost, it does, it reminds me of like something that might have been, you know, obviously take the sex out of it and everything. And it was going to be heterosexual, but it almost reminded me as I was reading it, I was envisioning it as like a 60s black and white cowboy movie.

MalMuses: Definitely. I love that. I love that so many of these different fics that we’ve read, because whenever we do something on the podcast, we read the main fics and then kind of just binge as much other stuff in the genre as we can. And like so many of these have that like Western, not just Historical Western, but like specifically Western movie or Western Dime Novel feeling to them, like we just fully went in and embraced it.

And in my head, at least part of that is just us having a Dean Winchester moment where we’re like, we’re such fans of this media that we want to do it.

Mallory: [01:08:00] I mean, that’s, that’s what makes it fun.

MalMuses: Yeah! Dean could have written any of these, just saying. If Dean Winchester wrote fanfic, you cannot tell me he wouldn’t be writing historical cowboy fic.

Cowboy AUs all the way.

Ellen: Yes, for sure. Well, we know it’s canon. A hundred percent. He even likes the, the guy in the show that wears the cowboy boots. I mean, he’s all in.

Other Recommendations (1:08:27)

MalMuses: All right. So does anybody have any other fics that they would specifically like to mention? Because we covered five, like, a pretty good variety with those five, but do you actually have a bunch more I can talk about?

But I’m sure you both do as well, so please somebody go first so that I don’t just talk for the next half hour.

Ellen: No, I was gonna say, we should mention, hang on, let me just bring up the details. [01:09:00] Okay, way back when we were first gonna record this episode, which was like, I don’t know, towards the end of last year we found there was a, a Dean Cas Wild West Fest.

Like a bang that was… the signups were starting back then. And now the fics are actually posting. So we’ve, we’ve come full circle and we’ve got excellent timing on this. Now there’s about, I think 10, like 11 or 12 fics that have posted in this bang already, and I’m not sure how many more there are, but there’s some great looking fics in there.

Mallory: I’m for sure excited to read them.

Ellen: I read one the other day, which is called A Love Beyond Boundaries, which is by Mydestielbabies_67. One of our… one of my Aussie con friends wrote this one and it’s about… so Claire Novak is a world champion horse jumper. She’s had an accident on her horse and is, is sort of having trouble getting back on the horse and back into the competition and Cas finds that Dean, who is the owner of a, a ranch, a cowboy who… [01:10:00] so this, this is a modern one, like all the other ones we’ve talked about, I know I’ve been historical, but this is a modern story.

And he takes. Rehabilitates Claire’s horse, and then convinces Claire to get back into it, and at the same time develops this relationship with her dad. So, you know you can see where this is going. But it’s a really soft fic, not much sort of heavy angst or anything in it. Really sweet fic, so worth giving that a go.

It’s only 28,000 words, so. That’s just one of the fics in the Wild West Fest. So I’ll put a link to the actual Fest collection in the notes so you can have a look through all of those ones as well.

MalMuses: Yeah. I’ll be able to fill my Mark for later back up again. Because it’s running so low, obviously. (laughs)

[01:11:00] I want to give a shout out to one of my favorite fics, even outside of specifically looking at the Western genre a fic that I love and have read probably five or six times since it was published in 2017. And that is Vagabonds by chevrolangels. It’s a special edition.

Mallory: Great fic.

MalMuses: Yes! It’s so good.

I love it. So this is a story where I love the arc for that one. Dean is a sheriff he’s a little bit, kind of, you know, unsatisfied with his life, and so, you know, he doesn’t get to do enough capturing dangerous out dangerous outlaws is what they say in the summary, and I’m like, yeah, that’s that’s kind of the vibe you get.

Like, he really wants to be this badass sheriff who’s bringing in all these outlaws. Unfortunately when he comes across an outlaw, he gets captured by said outlaw. (laughs) An outlaw known as Emmanuel, which is a lovely nod. I love that they did that. [01:12:00] This again is another one that has one of those kind of like dime novel feelings to me where you have this entire story where Dean is dragged along by this outlaw and then, you know obviously eventually when he can leave does he really want to?

It’s almost 90,000 words, so it is a pretty good chunk and there’s a lot of stuff that happens here There’s some really great background characters. We’ve got like a train robbery that Dean ends up participating in, not quite as reluctantly as he should. It’s, it’s really good. And it’s, it’s the character of Dean is great because when the lines start to blur between what he’s being forced to do as he’s being dragged along with these outlaws and what he is choosing to do.

I just think that’s a really cool place to be. It’s a really interesting look at his character. It feels very Dean to me. Like, is he doing things for the greater good or is he doing them because he wants to? [01:13:00] It is, I will say, because there’s, you know, there could be, I guess, consent issues in this, what with Cas having, being effectively his prisoner, Dean being Cas prisoner for much of the fic.

There is no issue with that, just to, just to put that out there. It’s not something that is an issue in this fic. It’s written in such a way where everything is fully consenting and very eager from everybody involved.

And Cas makes a great anti hero in this one, cause he kinda does some good things at the end of the day. But does he do them in the right way? Definitely not. So.

Ellen: Kind of sounds canon.

MalMuses: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. Okay, I’ll do like a quick fire round of a few fics then we can do that.

There is a fairly recent fic, it’s a 2023 reverse bang by paceprompting called Apple Pie Order.

And it’s a great fic where, again, it’s got that slight element of Dean being a hunter and being kind of hidden away in the Old West. [01:14:00] People just think he’s, you know, a villain, a rustler, a terrible person when actually he’s saving their lives, you know. And Cas is the sheriff who keeps catching him.

And he keeps escaping and Cas gets worse and worse at preventing him from escaping and eventually just gives up and is like, yeah, this. Also Dean’s idea of dating in this fic is to take the sheriff who had the imprisoned him on a date to a haunted house and have him watch him exorcise a ghost.

So it’s, it’s really fun. It’s not huge. It’s like 18,700 words. And it’s, it’s just, it’s, it’s a lot of fun and, and Cas tries so hard to be a good sheriff and it’s, it’s just not going to happen. You know, like the second he meets Dean, he’s going to end up leaving behind his good lawful life to support Dean.

But it’s, it’s really fun watching him try. [01:15:00] Also, Baby is a great character in this. She is an incredibly smart horse who helps Dean escape from prison multiple times.

Ellen: Wow.

Mallory: I gotta read this.

MalMuses: It’s great. I love it. It’s great. It’s fun. Choo choo choo. There is another fic called Desperado, which is much shorter.

It’s 3,700 words and it’s by CoyDahlia. And this is a fic where Dean is playing cards, strip cards with a bunch of strangers that he’s run into that night in a fancy hotel. He’s very drunk. And Cas and I believe Gabriel and one other character Balthazar, I think end up playing essentially strip poker with Dean and with Sam.

So there is a, a Sam, I won’t say relationship. I’m not sure you could call it that, but Sam has his own interactions, shall we say in this fic. They play cards. It ends exactly how you think it would end. [01:16:00] And then eventually Cas turns up again later in Dean’s life after that incident. Again, it’s just a good bit of fun. A short little one shot 3,700 words.

Mallory: I remember that one being pretty funny too.

MalMuses: Yeah, like it’s, it’s just really entertaining to read. It’s written in a really good way. So, oh, here we go. In the Arms Of A Cowboy, which unfortunately is by an orphan account, so I can’t tell you who it was originally by it’s from 2018, and it’s a short one shot 3,148 words.

Again, Castiel is a sheriff. And this is one of those great fics. I can’t really not spoil it at this particular length. But it’s one of those fun misdirection fics where Castiel walks into work and sees Jane… Jane? Who? Dean in his jail. (laughs) Dean in his jail and Garth is like, hey, you know, we caught this dude.

And you very quickly pick up on the fact that Cas and Dean already know each other. And Dean let’s just say got himself arrested because he missed Cas. [01:17:00] So it’s, it’s fun. It’s a little one shot. I feel like it’s kind of a trauma, common trope in this arena that they already know each other. They’ve been banging a while. Dean misses him. So off he goes to jail.

I had another longer one, where is it? And it was a new one for me that I read just for the podcast. Here we go. It’s called Roses and Redemption by TheReluctantShipper. And I think the reason I probably hadn’t read this before is it’s, it took me a long time to get into reading anything that was A/B/O. It was just something that didn’t interest me for a while.

But this is a Western A/B/O where Cas is a very independent Omega that lives by himself, like out, out in the middle of nowhere. He has a little Claire that he lives with and they have a farm which is full of roses. [01:18:00] Anybody who’s, who’s read or watched movies where suspicious loners have fields full of roses or other plants may be able to make some assumptions about what happened. (laughs)

But it’s, it’s fun to read and it’s actually incredibly sweet. Tooth rotting fluff. Dean is injured and gets taken in by Cas temporarily. They both have a lot of secrets and they eventually work each other out, but it is just. I think 36,000 words of tooth rotting fluff, even though there’s a fair bit of plot going on in there.

But they are incredibly soft and incredibly fluffy, even in the very harsh circumstances that they find themselves in.

Ellen: That sounds lovely.

MalMuses: Yeah, it is lovely. I don’t want to be like, say like the dark parts are off putting because they’re not there very much in the background, but it’s a little bit different.

It’s 408 to Tombstone by zuzeca.

Mallory: That’s a good one.

MalMuses: Yeah, this one is fun because it’s more canon based, and so the summary is:

[01:19:00] When minor outlaw Dean Winchester’s beloved brother ended up on the wrong side of a robber baron with yellow eyes and a sadistic streak, Dean never expected to wind up in the Arizona Territory’s most notorious prison.

Nor did he expect, after years on the rack, to be sprung by a former federal marshal and man of cloth, Reverend Castiel Milton.

Now on the run from corrupt lawman Warden Allister, the two men must learn to trust each other, or hang.

And if this sounds like Dean Winchester’s wet dream, the next section of the summary agrees with you because it says,

When Castiel, lesser Seraph of the Lord, descended into hell to help rescue the righteous man, he never expected to be unwillingly cast in Dean Winchester’s repressed bisexual cowboy fantasy. (laughs)

It’s so good. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s a little bit angsty. I mean, technically Dean is in hell for most of this fic, but It’s just very good fun. And the way that Castiel just kind of takes it in stride and is like, “well, I guess this is what we’re doing. Okay.” [01:20:00] Love it. Love it. Please do read it.

It’s it’s 20, 000 words of pure fun.

Ellen: It sounds great!

MalMuses: And yeah, it’s, it’s quite hot as well. I have to say it’s definitely explicit. I’m looking at the tags for the fic now. And one of the tags is “implied cannibalism”. And I’m sitting here trying to remember where the hell that was in the fic. I’m sure it’s in there if they’ve tagged it, but like, really? I don’t remember that.

Okay, I do have a bunch more, which I guess we can just link. I do have one. Oh, I should mention just for people who aren’t into historical, I do have one modern cowboy AU, which is Broomstick Cowboy by Jupiter James. Jupiter James writes wonderfully fun fics. And this one is a rodeo AU, where Dean is a, basically a cowboy, he rides, he does rodeo stuff, he’s like a big, fairly well known performer. He’s managed by Sam, and Cas is the owner, like a business owner, ranch owner, [01:21:00] I’m not quite sure what you’d call him. But basically he’s kind of working for Cas. This one has some fun tags like Dean riding Larry and misuse of cowboy hats and things like that.

So there’s some modern Western stuff out there for people, for people who want it. And this one is incredibly well written, especially in terms of like the actual kind of like rodeo set up and the horses. And like, I feel like I learned things reading this fic, which is always fun because I don’t know a lot about modern cowboy culture at all.

It’s very much a historical thing, the little that I do know. So this was a lot of fun for me to read.

Ellen: Awesome.

MalMuses: There we go. I’m done. I’ll shut up now, and I’ll just put the rest of the links in the show notes, and everybody can read all my other suggestions.

Ellen: You filled up my tabs again, thanks.

MalMuses: You’re welcome.

Oh, damn, how did I miss mentioning Church of the Country Wild? Okay, it’s fine. I’ll link it in the show notes. We’re fine.

Mallory: There are so many out there.

Ellen: You can mention it now if you want!

MalMuses: [01:22:00] Church of the Country Wild is a really good fic. Again, kind of a longer one. Actually, not that long. 52,000 words. Where Dean… So he’s a sheriff in this one.

He goes to Boston to collect their new preacher. Obviously it’s Cas. Cas is not at all what he expects. And there’s a lot of kind of like pining and angstiness in this one. And it’s actually pretty hot when they get there as well. I guess it’s good. And that’s written by Amazonia8. Okay. Yes.

And I love the notes for this one. Cause it’s just, “I offer no promises of historical accuracy. I just really wanted to write about cowboys and preachers getting up to no good.” And that is a hundred percent what this fic is.

Ellen: Excellent. Who cares about historical accuracy?

MalMuses: I will be quiet now. I will not mention any more. Okay. Oh, there’s actually another Ltleflrt fic, which I feel like we should mention as we kind of featured Hunter’s Caress.

Ltleflrt does actually have another Western fic called Hope on Fire [01:23:00] which is much shorter. It’s 32,000 words, and it’s set after the end of the Civil War, and Cas is attempting to start over. So, he finds a little mountain town called Purgatory, and then I think this is like five years later.

Yep. Summary says five years later. Learn to read Mal, it helps. Five years later, a storm blows in bringing the Winchester brothers and some bitter memories along with it. So I remember really enjoying this one when I read it. I haven’t read it for a long time. It was published in 2014. But I do remember really enjoying it when I read it.


Mallory: I don’t think I knew about this one.

MalMuses: Yeah, there you go. Ltleflrt’s got another offering.

Mallory: I’m like gasping a little bit like, oh my god, another Ltleflrt Western? I gotta read it right now.

MalMuses: There we go. Now I have occupied the rest of Mallory’s week with,

Mallory: yeah, you have, yeah, I’m a very slow reader. So maybe the month. (laughs)

Ellen: [01:24:00] Well, we better, we better wrap up. Mallory, we already spoke earlier about your fic that you’re currently posting. Do you want to just remind us of that? What it’s called again?

Mallory: Yeah, it’s called Champion. And the series is called Heavyweight and you can fight find it under my emmbrancs(xx0) author, but I, I kind of have navigated under a pseud called valleydean, which is the same as my Tumblr.

Ellen: Okay. Yeah. Awesome.

Mallory: Yeah, and maybe I, I’ve been thinking of writing more westerns eventually. I have a bunch of ideas, so maybe one day there’ll be more.

Ellen: Excellent. Yes, please. Well, thank you for coming to share your Western wisdom with us today.

Mallory: Thanks. You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me.

It was a lot of fun.

Ellen: Yeah. All right. So you can get in touch with us, tell us what you thought of all these Western fics or [01:25:00] share with us others that we haven’t mentioned. We’re all on our social medias are all under @ mixtapebookclub. Or you can email us contact (at), or you can find us on discord in the Profound Bond discord server or in our own Ko-fi server which you can get to by subscribing at

MalMuses: Excellent. And in our next upcoming episode, we’re going to be discussing fics with reunions in them. So fics where Cas and Dean knew each other some time ago, maybe they were Already together and broke up for some reason or the world took them apart for a while and they have been reunited yeah

Ellen: Always a fun trope.

MalMuses: Yeah, it is i’m surprised that we haven’t done that one already because I feel like it’s a very common trope, especially post season 15 breakup so but Yeah, so i’m looking forward to it [01:26:00] and there’s a lot of a lot of fics in that one that I have not read yet so

Ellen: Excellent. And if you need something to listen to between now and the next Mixtape Book Club episode and you happen to be watching the show 9-1-1 you can listen to me speaking with my friends Bex and Alice on our podcast, our watch podcast for 9-1-1, which is called That WeeWoo Show.

And you can find us on Spotify and all that stuff. And so now I am not only reading a whole bunch of fics to talk about, I’m also watching a whole bunch of TV to talk about. So that’s, that’s been a lot of fun. We’re just, you know, following that Supernatural to 9-1-1 pipeline at the moment.

MalMuses: I’ve so far resisted that pipeline though.

What’s kind of funny is someone sent me a prompt a few years ago for a, like something that they wanted to see in like Destiel flavor. And it was literally just a scene from a show. I had no idea what the show was, but I thought the scene was funny. [01:27:00] So I did write that fic and write a little one shot based on that scene.

And then someone commented ages ago that it was like, Oh, I had no idea you were into 9-1-1 and I’m like, “am I?” I didn’t think I was. And apparently it’s a scene from that show that I wrote as Destiel without ever having seen that show. So, probably confused a few people there. No, I’m not a huge 9-1-1 fan.

I’m not saying I’m against it, I’ve just never seen it, so.

Ellen: Well, the thing is that I’m not like, firefighter shows or whatever aren’t normally my thing at all, but but this is found family kind of character relationship stuff is so gripping. It’s really dragged me in and I know that it’s, it develops as the story goes on a lot, because it’s just all over Twitter at the moment, so.

Anyway, that’s happening.

MalMuses: Well, I definitely don’t need another show on my plate,

Ellen: Yes you do! (laughs)

Mallory: It’s a cute show.

MalMuses: but I might have to give it a go at some point. especially if you’re podcasting about it, I might have to give it a go. [01:28:00] Are you starting right from the beginning or are you doing the most recent?

Ellen: Yeah, yeah. Season one.

MalMuses: Okay. All right. Maybe that’s the way to do it then.

Ellen: All right. Well, thank you everybody for listening and we will talk to you again really soon.

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

Ellen: Bye.

MalMuses: Bye.

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