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recced by anon
Purgatory has taken a toll on Cas’s health, and both Sam and Dean are concerned for his safety, especially on hunts. However, Cas’s mysterious illness is not the biggest threat. There are far more serious dangers on the horizon for the boys and especially for Cas…
Fata morgana. by orange_crushed [author spotlight]
Word Count: 6,600
Summary: The endless asphalt and broken road, the empty land and piles of human garbage, the unwanted ends of life, the cracked toys and broken screens and burning cars and gravel. Dean Winchester is the king of hell. ”Oh,” says Bela. That changes certain things.
Here’s a 9x23 coda fic that takes place in hell, right after the regime change. Through Bela’s POV we witness hell’s changing landscape and how it molds to reflect the new ruler’s mindset. And well, Dean’s hell is a desolate place - no wonder there! Bela’s characterization in this fic is just pitch perfect. Her interactions with Castiel are as complex as she ever was. Meanwhile Cas is doing his best to save Dean from hell, again.
"We will always end up here."
Would 2014 be any other way?
Sam said yes, couldn’t wrest control away from The Lightbringer, and we all know how Detroit fell apart. But later as Dean drove up into Stull Cemetery, Lucifer had one more slight of hand to play. Instead of pulling the Impala up alongside the archangel stand off, Dean found himself suddenly sidelined, spirited off by Lucifer’s powers. He and the Impala were parked a thousand miles away from Lawrence Kansas. With him in the car sat Bobby and Castiel, and Castiel’s fading grace was gone entirely.
Lucifer ripped Michael apart, burnt a hole the size of the state of Kansas into the surface of the earth, making Hiroshima look like a rough hiccup.
In the end, Lucifer won.
But that was just the beginning…….
Repent of Your Sins by anonymous
Word Count: 23,700
Summary: AU from the end of Season 8.
When Cas returns to Dean and Sam, human, confused, disoriented and scared, they take him in. What else can they do?
But Dean is still harboring some resentments. Sam is still sick and damaged from the trials, and Dean feels that Cas is to blame for much of what’s happened to them in the past couple of years - things he’s never really made amends for…
Picking up after 8x23, this is a wonderfully well written, dark!fic that did a great job filling the kinkmeme prompt. It’s certainly not for everyone (note the author warnings on ao3), but if you are after a recent canon fic with evil!dean and whumped!cas with a side of cas&sam, this fic is downright perfect. It’s Dean/Cas but not really destiel and is definitely pre-sastiel. Ok, ok, enough of me warning you away from this fic, lol. Let me actually tell you what I loved about it. :P
First and foremost, I love how the author wrote a really fucked up Dean who has rationalized why Cas deserves punishment for his past wrongs. This is not canon!Dean, but instead the author has purposefully exaggerated traits to create an OOC evil!Dean who is very dark and vengeful. This is so successfully done that the sudden reversal at the end is hard to believe, especially since this is a relatively short fic. Cas and Sam are well characterized, though Cas does tend toward woobie for, uh, pretty understandable reasons.
The fic starts with verbal abuse from Dean, soon leading to sexual abuse. Having just caused his entire family to be expelled from their home, Cas isn’t feeling too great about himself and thinks he deserves being “reduced to a stress ball or a chew toy at best, trying hopelessly to atone for its sins.” But what makes this story just awesome is Sam. First of all, it’s enjoyably horrifying seeing him misinterpret Cas and Dean’s interactions. But secondly and most importantly, the Cas&Sam comfort to counter the Dean/Cas hurt is fantastic; there’s not really romantic overtones until the end and you can read it either as a Cas&Sam fic or the beginnings of Cas/Sam. This fic painfully illustrates how loved ones can hurt you the most as all of the darker elements that haunt Dean and Cas’ relationship are examined. I was just after a fucked up Dean/Cas story. I wasn’t expecting this gem.
All Your Instruments by kalliel
Word Count: 25,800
Summary: A suicide mission against Hell leaves Heaven in shambles and the rest of world in ecological turmoil, as ocean temperatures spike and Heaven’s ashes trigger volcanic activity in Alaska. And all bets are off in Heaven, where memories are malleable, similes are no longer strictly figurative, and Castiel has organized an appallingly novice brass band to play his homeland’s swan song. Castiel and Mary separately investigate the circumstances surrounding Dean’s death, but find that the autopsy of a suicide is no easy task. Meanwhile, Hell’s more artistic titillations have followed Dean upstairs, and he’s disinclined to resist the inevitable. Sometimes things burn.
And the carnival of the grotesque has Alastair’s House of Reds on the grandstand tonight.
There’s a lot I love about this fic. A LOT. I love the imagery, the surrealism, the confusion, the introspective angst; but most of all, I freaking love how it’s left me feeling haunted. I’ve been rereading portions of it, thinking about the characters, and mapping out/translating the plot based on things gleaned from Dean’s unreliable POV. If you’re not into dreamscapes and prefer the concrete to abstract, this story might not be the one for you. But oh man, was it perfect for me (right down to the ending).
This is gen, but Dean and Cas’ relationship is a focus (in the author’s own words: “if you can’t stand Dean/Cas, this fic is probably still not for you”). They are both very well characterized and you’ll love their interactions, even when they hurt. Plotwise (well, definitive plot) this fic is set in Dean’s heaven after his suicide. As noted in the author’s warnings, his suicide is a big focus. It may be in the past, but heaven’s blueprint is a person’s memories.
As much as I enjoyed reading this story that’s pretty much set in Dean’s psyche and a really great character study, I was unexpectedly moved by and drawn to Mary and her POV. (I should curse this author because they’ve ignited my desire for Dean&Mary fic.) It’s refreshing to see her so well characterized and ruminating on her own life and family. Dean and Sam’s relationship is also a focus (Sam’s POV popping up in the fic as well), even if there’s a bit of a Same Time, Same Place thing going on.
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.