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How Still My Heart by cadignan [author spotlight]
Word Count: 70,700
Summary: Charlie hadn’t been waiting for the call, but it’s not exactly a surprise to hear from Dean.
"Cas? You want me to find Cas?"
This was a wonderfully refreshing read. It’s got enough plot to keep things interesting (well paced, too), but there’s also a lot of time paid to interpersonal relationships. And it’s such a fun read - with humor seamlessly fitted in and a great ensemble cast (Charlie and Kevin are both heavily featured, as is Sam’s relationship with an OFC :D). The fic picks up right after 8x23, with a newly human Cas fortunately being found by Charlie. While the overarching plot deals with reversing Metatron’s spell, I think this fic perfectly highlights how much fun the journey can be. There’s road trips, nights spent in motels, domestic bunker times, tracking down leads, and research…but most importantly there’s family. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of time spent on relationship development, but I think what I really loved most about this fic is that while various personal issues are explored, it never feels over the top or too angsty. I also really enjoyed the authentic midwestern flair and how the author’s love of the characters shines through. The end left me completely satisfied and very much deserves the happy canon tag.
It’s always fun going through archives and reading fic posted before major canon storylines were revealed. And this story is a great example (written less than a month after Castiel was introduced). It’s told from the perspective of one of Dean’s neighbors, who later befriends him despite his talks of ghosts, the apocalypse, and the possibility of his dead brother haunting her apartment. She doesn’t have the whole story, but recognizes something in Dean and wants to help. It’s great (and heartbreaking) to see Dean’s depression and feelings of purposelessness filtered through an outsider’s perspective who doesn’t have all the details. It really highlights how a lot of Supernatural’s storylines are very human at their heart: “I understood, sort of. I’d survived an invisible apocalypse myself.”
Things only get more interesting when a new guy shows up looking for Dean: Jacob (written before we knew Jimmy’s name or backstory). Dean wasn’t the only one left with nothing after the big showdown. This is an established relationship fic with past Dean/Castiel but is ultimately a Jacob(Jimmy)/Dean piece and I really love how it’s done. There’s some sort of matchmaking on the part of the narrator - it’s more the case of mediation. Dean is not happy to see “Castiel” after five years of nothing. Dean may not know Jacob but Jacob knows Dean. He was there through it all.
The author creates a great sense of isolation throughout the fic with wonderful moments of hopefulness and humanity sprinkled in. I love when fics echo back to canon like that (though, I’m pretty sure SPN will not end happily, lol). Even though this fic is set years after the apocalypse, I am tagging it season 4 because it uses canon from that season.
recced by huuuuughdancy
Sam could’ve kissed them both when he got to the bunker one day to find a string of clothing (his heart nearly burst with hope when he saw the abandoned flannel and trench coat) leading to a very naked pile of limbs tangled on the couch. Just kidding. Of course it wasn’t the couch. Sam always imagined it as the couch because the fact that he actually found them on the dining room table had tainted the happiness of the memory.
Aurora Borealis by Unoshot
pdf/epub/mobi (courtesy of destielebooks)
Word Count: 26,500
Summary: The prompt was, “SPN/The Last Unicorn: Cas as the Unicorn (tho ‘angel’ would actually work in this instance) and Dean as Prince Lir. Sam would make a pretty good Schmendrick imo, but still be Dean’s brother, but left home instead of feeding into the insanity of their deranged father. John could be Haggard, or even the YED could be a stepdad who murdered their parents or something equally as sinister. And now he’s collecting unicorns (or angels, if the author chooses) and Castiel is the last, who Dean falls head over heels for when Cas is turned human.”
Here’s a fusion of a most beloved book, The Last Unicorn, and Supernatural and it is gorgeous. This fic is about a world where angels used to walk among people and answer their prayers. It’s been long since anyone saw them and the story starts when Samuel the Magician accidentally finds Castiel, the last angel on Earth, in Old Meg’s Caravan. Their chance meeting sets in motion a retelling of Beagle’s original story through the twists and turns of Supernatural canon and it is astounding to see how many canon details and characters fit seamlessly in this universe.
The story is told from Sam’s POV and usually I’d say that first person narration is a fickle unicorn to tame, but here it works perfectly and enriches the narrative beyond a simple retelling of events. Sam’s voice is full of emotions and remorseful reflections when he talks about past events that scarred him and those closest and dearest to him – Dean, Castiel and Anna. Everybody’s characterization rings true to their SPN originals. I especially loved Dean in this story - with his curse words and his devotion to his loved ones till the very end. It is a rare treat to watch Dean fall in love with Castiel through mundane daily events and pick up on the depth of his feelings through shocked statements like “You’ve no idea how much he loves that horse.” when Sam sees Castiel atop Dean’s favorite steed.
This is one of the older dean/cas stories that is posted only on LJ (October 2009) and I think that now is the right time to bring it back. This fusion explores story elements that are very similar to the latest canon events and may rip your heart out in the end. Nevertheless, the love story of prince Dean and the last angel Castiel is very touching and hauntingly beautiful.
It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine) by mtothedestiel [T, 36,400 word count]
recced by willbakefordean
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy AU. Sam Winchester is living a happy, ordinary life on Earth. Except now his friend Castiel is saying he’s an alien, and the world is about to be demolished to make room for an intergalactic highway. Sam has no choice but to believe him, especially once Castiel promises to reunite him with his long lost brother: Dean.
Pro Tempore by snappapple & wildirerose
Word Count: 50,500
Summary: The year is 1901. It starts, or always was, or ends. Castiel stole a hundred years just to have them- to give Dean time- to fix everything he broke, but theirs was always the space between duration. Struggling towards something bigger, Dean braces himself for the worst- he can’t see the silver lining, but Sam can. Determined to make the best of a bad situation Sam, Meg, and a predestined sense of duty are already rethreading the universe Castiel unravelled. Integral players never get a choice; Castiel loves Dean, Dean might love him back, but what heroes are built best for is always the perfect goodbye. Canon!Verse AU. S7/S8. Canon Compliant ending.
Don’t let the disjointed summary stop you from sinking your teeth into this season 7, time travel fic! It is almost a bottle episode in that the group (Dean, Sam, Cas, and Meg) minimizes their interactions with people in the past to prevent them being remembered and possibly messing up timelines. It starts with not-all-there!Cas bringing the group to the past to keep them safe from the leviathans. (This is Cas from the end of season 7, so the 7x17 tag is used; he also deals with hallucifer occasionally.) Unable to find a way back, they settle in and begin a quieter, domestic-ish life.
The authors alternate between different POVs and it was wonderfully done - each feels different and the character voices come through strong. Meg’s writing is what hooked me in the beginning. I loved seeing her reluctant fondness and eventual unrequited affection for Cas. And yes, Dean is very jealous of Cas and Meg’s friendship and closeness. I enjoyed reading Dean and Cas’ relationship development - often in a two steps forward, one step back state. Mutual pining and miscommunication: my favorite!
There’s some typos, a few disorienting time jumps, and at times I felt things were too spelled out via inner monologues. But overall, I liked the fic, the relationships it explored, and how their actions in the past connected to the (canon) present. Be prepared for a not-so-happy ending (that I loved!).
A DCBB 2013 fic
By Some Unseen Light by melo
Word Count: 23,000
Summary: Theo’s just a delinquent teen laying down new roots in Lawrence, Kansas, and he quickly finds himself in trouble with the man rumoured to be a murderer, Dean Plant. Theo spends the summer helping to fix the property he damaged and seeing a side of the man hidden from public view. Yet the more Theo learns, the less he understands about Dean, himself, and his family. And all the while teens are going missing.
I needed a break from all the AUs DCBB produced and turned to this old fic that’s been in my queue for an embarrassing amount of time. It’s a post season 5, future!fic and is pretty awesome. It’s told from Theo’s point of view and it was just great seeing the Winchesters from a civilian perspective. I mean…they are pretty damn intimidating. Dean’s in his mid/late 40s and I’ll be honest, I was cackling at how much of a curmudgeon he was (omg…he even pokes Theo with his cane so he will walk faster)! I never really thought about it, but yes…Dean would become the “gruff, scary guy down the road who keeps to himself.”
There’s a lot of mystery that surrounds Dean and it was fascinating seeing Theo try to figure it out and having it all come into place. The plot is just so well executed. I wasn’t a huge fan of the very ending, tbh. It’s positive and I don’t think it was meant to be super angsty. But yeah…it is bittersweet. Oh, and don’t fret! This is a destiel fic, not gen.
Round Came the Magpie by stolen_childe
Rating: hard R/M
Word Count: 68,400
Summary: Dean Winchester met an angel on his thirteenth birthday and never could have predicted the road his life would take… Now, it’s thirteen years later and John Winchester, his father, goes missing. Dean finds his past and his future coming together in one horrible mess. Luckily though, Dean has some help to get him out of it – even if it isn’t exactly a smooth ride.
This is an interesting piece and yet another AU/SU fic (omg my weakness!). Dean and Cas meet when Dean is a child and kind of grow up together. I say “kind of” because though Cas is an angel, he is getting used to humanity - so it’s similar. Their first meeting and experiences growing up are told as flashbacks, sprinkled throughout the work. In present day, Cas and Dean are married and hunting together. John goes missing and they recruit Sam to help find him. Sound familiar?
This plotty fic is a season one rewrite and sticks pretty close to canon with tweaks to include Cas and angels. It was fun experiencing episodes like the Pilot, Scarecrow, Faith, and so on again, but with new (sometimes later canon) elements added. Note that I’m not adding the case fic tag. Though the episodes and MOTW are there, the fic glosses over canon (so don’t worry about being bored reading something you’ve already watched).
I do want to throw out a small warning (or selling point! ;P) for undertones of Dean/Jimmy (unrequited with some pining!jimmy). Oh, and Dean is 15 when he starts noticing Cas/Jimmy…so I’ve added the underage!dean tag even though they aren’t sexual active while he is underage. Tbh, the consent issues (age and vessel related), while mentioned, are kind of glossed over. It didn’t bother me but figured it might irk others.
A DCBB 2013 fic
The Angle of Repose by standbyme
Word Count: 45,000
Summary: by the year 1972 the state of kentucky had produced over 100 million tons of bituminous coal. when castiel, the new continuous miner operator at the venus coal camp’s no. 6 mine, begins to sense something strange is happening underground, the lines between the possible and the impossible begin to blur, and dean may be the only one who is willing to believe him.
DeanCas Big Bang season is finally upon us! (More info here.) This work caught my attention during art claims (when summaries are posted) and my love of Loretta Lynn as a child is
probably definitely to blame. Highly atmospheric and with great regional flair, I was pretty impressed by this story. The mine and town are basically characters and both felt very authentic (you’ll likely need to google some mining terms). The town was simultaneously small and expansive, and the regional tone was enjoyable. There was even a brief clogging scene! Though this is a historical AU, there isn’t any gay panic or homophobia (even if there are a few scenes that imply they are hiding their relationship). While inaccurate, I was totally fine with it being glossed over.
I loved how well the author fit the characters into this AU. The occupation of coal mining aligns surprisingly well with hunting (high risk, low monetary reward, blue collar). I found myself very drawn to Sam’s storyline and his character journey (influence by pre-series!Sam). Then there’s Dean bearing the brunt of familial responsibility but loving his work, and Cas as the outsider working alongside Dean and offering support Dean’s never had.
The story focuses more on the overall human drama, with the romance taking a backseat (with not just Dean and Cas, but Sam and Jess as well). This is also a supernatural horror piece. All the mine scenes were fantastically confining and at times creepy and chilling. Though I personally would have liked to see more horror, what’s there is well done.
A DCBB 2013 fic
Leap That Makes the Fall by miss-annthropic [author spotlight]
Word Count: 60,000
Summary: With no explanation for how or why, Dean and Sam find themselves with a fallen angel on their hands.
If you are looking for a fallen!cas fic that’s heavy on the hurt/comfort side (without danger-induced h/c) and Dean fussing over him, this is your fic. It’s set in season 6 and is a bit of a fix-it fic with the author trying to bridge the distance between Dean and Cas that was pretty apparent (but not really explained until 6x20). Cas doesn’t remember much and it’s a great plot device to bring things to the surface that the two of them are used to leaving unsaid and buried. Cas can tell Dean’s upset with him but doesn’t remember. Cue Dean being cagey and grumpy and pining (what season 6 fic doesn’t have pining!dean, lol). My only real complaints are that the narrative spelled too much out and the ending was too neat. But if you’re looking to scratch an itch and want an emotional h/c fallen!cas fic, I can’t imagine a better story to read than this.