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Why did the angel and the hunter cross purgatory? To get to the other side.

This story is not at all what I intended it to be. I had an epiphany during the early stages of drafting this beast: if God is a writer then God is probably a reader, too. The rest kind of fell into place. (The original plan was to have a monster push Dean aside and take control of his body/vessel. And while I love the idea of Dean being possessed by some purgatory hellbeast it just didn’t make sense in the world I’d created, so it had to go.)

It also occurred to me halfway through writing this that the traditional purgatory salvation story didn’t have to be Dean’s and that there’s never a guarantee for a happy ending. Castiel follows the traditional path of Dante’s Purgatorio, achieving “redemption” by attaining the virtues necessary to move forward. (The ascension up Mount Purgatory is also how the story’s organized; a chapter a level, more or less.) Dean’s journey more closely resembles Max’s in Where the Wild Things Are – fitting, I think, when you consider how each character views traditional religion and literature.

I married the comma. We’re expecting a bouncing baby semicolon any day now. *throws rice**kills birds* *makes herself sad*

The translation for Castiel’s Latin in part is: "Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Grant us peace," from Dante.

Each monster has its own forest, which reflects the nature and origin of the beast. They also have omens or familiars, such as the unicorn’s butterfly or Eve’s dragons.
- I wanted The Mother to be Russian because of her connection with phoenixes so she was modeled after the Mediterranean black widow. BTW, only the females of that species are venomous. Make of that what you will.
- The Wild Things live in Sequoia National Park. Because it’s ancient and it’s huge and it makes me happy.
- The groth-golka is a monster from the Cthulhu mythos. In my head they look like this, only flying.
- A nue. The forest where Dean encounters Amy Pond again is an actual place, Aokigahara Forest in Japan, also known as the “Sea of Trees” and the “Suicide Forest”. It’s an interesting place with some creepy story potential, but don’t image search it unprepared for the love of god.

For more of my visual references check out my tumblr tags here and here. And isn’t the art for this stunning? YAY NOVAKIEL!

I swear the unicorn scene was written before ‘Goodbye Stranger’ aired. The unicorn’s touch was a throwback to the line in Wild Things: “And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all. Then from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat so he gave up being king of where the wild things are.” Speaking of the unicorn scene, it was heavily influenced by The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, a favorite of mine as a kid. I also referenced it when Benny made an appearance; he was always calling Dean “brother” in the show, so he kind of became Dean’s harpy. Dangerous and caught sleeping, just like Dean. (”We are sisters, you and I. Set me free.”) Also, sorry about Benny. What can I say, Dean’s a dick sometimes.

It is my headcanon that when he was little and just learning how to read Dean loved Where the Wild Things Are. He’d check it out from every school library he went to and he’d read it to baby Sammy every night before bed. Dean even had a pet goldfish named Max. He won it at a carnival; his dad was so proud of his marksmanship he let Dean keep it the whole school year they were in Minnesota and even let him lug around the half full bowl on his lap when they drove across country for the poltergeist thing that summer. He didn’t remember what happened to that fish, but he knew it probably wasn’t good.

You can listen to Jensen Ackles singing ‘The Weight’ here.
It is also my headcanon that classic rock, the rumble of the impala, and John’s voice were the only lullaby Sam and Dean ever had. When their father was out hunting and it was just Dean and Sam on a double bed in some nameless town Dean would sing his brother to sleep. Sam’s favorite had been ‘The Weight’ and after a little while he’d sing along, clear and sleepy in the dark of a bedroom that wasn’t theirs. I also imagine that John asks Dean to sing this in the car one night after a hunt goes bad, maybe even after he lost Bill. Dean does, unsure why his daddy’s so upset, but willing to try anything to help.

I thought: if Dean were to ever, ever get over his issues about Cas it’d be in a place where no one would see or judge them for it. Where he’d been stripped of his defenses and had no excuse anymore. Purgatory fits that bill pretty well.

Sam makes a piss poor Penelope, what can I say? I knew he wouldn’t be pining away for Dean, or even trying very hard to get him out – why else would they bring back Bobby if not to give the advice to not meddle? (Shut up. Trying to make logic work for this show is like unfolding a series of origami nesting dolls made out of a single piece of lettuce.)

Speaking of The Odyssey, the title is from this Cream song. Some of the alternate titles were: Joseph Campbell Can Suck It and Dante Alighieri Was a Lying Motherfucker (Maurice Sendak knew where it’s at.)

Here’s the playlist I made on youtube. I didn’t put the link on the masterpost because I didn’t have time to make it pretty or put the songs in any particular order and it’s a little ramshackle. Still. Congratulations! You made it to the end! Have some music.

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.


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January 2015

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