|Reviews for What Family Is For|
| Shazza chapter 16 . 3/26
What fun. I love Dean’s delight in cooking and imagine he would be quite persnickety about his kitchen!
| Shazza chapter 13 . 3/26
Nicely done, I do love the wee Winchester’s!
| Shazza chapter 9 . 3/26
So “ Dean”, nuff said!
| Shazza chapter 8 . 3/26
I love this one! Think of what a positive experience it would be if people really did this. I’m going to think about my “ holidays “.
| Shazza chapter 7 . 3/26
“In the end Dean himself had become the most dangerous thing his little brother could face” What a great line! It makes me think how many time that has been true since Season 8. Thanks for your time!
| Shazza chapter 6 . 3/26
I just started on this immense project of yours. I loved this one for its clever take on how Crowley got that quote. Good job, and clearly thanks for the good will and good energy you have put into these stories!
| ImpalaLove chapter 245 . 3/13
I was getting a little frustrated with myself because I /know/ these two chapters have been sitting around forever, just waiting for me to read them. But I think I’ve finally figured it out: I’ve been stalling on purpose because I knew these were the last two chapters. And it’s super weird and a little sad, because this little (JK ENORMOUS) collection of stories has kind of become something I can rely on/always have to read, and it’s going to be super weird not to have that anymore. And if I’M feeling this way, I’m sure you’re also experiencing a lot of emotions about this haha. Or maybe you already have and now I’m bringing it up again. Whoops. Anyway, let’s get onto the reviewing and we’ll pick up with the sappy stuff in a minute.
Okay so I’m doing this review after I’ve already read both chapters/picked out the quotes I want, so I’m just gonna start with a big, overarching thing: I thought it was really cool how in this chapter, the brothers are at odds with one another, and in the final chapter, they’re totally on the same page. And the reason for that is that, when it comes down to the important stuff, there is no difference. Fighting or not, the moment crap hits the fan, they’re brothers and nothing else matters. They’re brothers, and they’ll do anything it takes to find each other and make everything okay. So whether intentional or not, the juxtaposition between these last two chapters was really cool to see, and it definitely highlighted the consistencies and strength of their relationship. Okay, so lines:
“They were in desperate need of something to kill that wasn’t each other, because goodness knew Sam was at the end of his very frayed rope with his bro- partner, and if something didn’t give soon then his sanity just might.”
There were a lot of different ‘parts’ to this one line, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. First, showing the level of conflict between the brothers in this moment. They have quite literally been in positions where they’re close to killing each other, so for Sam to have that thought (even casually and not at all literal) definitely means something huge has gone down between them. And being that this was set in season 9, we know how bad that fight was. Second, the small detail of using ‘goodness’ instead of ‘God.’ Now maybe I’m reading too much into that, but I just thought it was a really interesting choice that makes sense. It’s like when they say things like ‘go to Hell.’ There is more weight behind the words now, because they know what it means to actually be there. And obviously at this point they haven’t yet met God, but his presence has still been felt/they understand the concept not just as a meaningless phrase to just throw around. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but I’m sure you’ll at least kind of get it haha. The third part of this line (yeah, I’m still talking about ONE LINE, that’s AMAZING, okay) is Sam’s self-correction from brother to partner. Again, you’re showing how deep this conflict runs in just a single sentence while also clearly demonstrating how flimsily Sam holds onto this impossible idea that he can treat Dean like anything less than a brother who means everything to him. This next line is just part of line, but I loved it:
“...craving emptier space.”
It was just really cool phrasing instead of saying something generic like ‘Sam just wanted to be alone.’ And there’s a difference in meaning between those phrases, too. Because maybe Sam /doesn’t/ want to be alone. Maybe he /wants/ Dean by his side, but knows he can’t have that/trust his brother in this moment, so he instead wishes for the space it would take to clear his head. Maybe even the space it would take to start to really separate himself from his brother (because at this point, that’s the only option Sam sees). So yeah. Loved that. And this:
“Every utterance of ‘I’m sorry’ made Sam’s own gut clench. He’d wanted to hear those words spoken with such sincerity from his brother for so long now…”
I remember paying really close attention in season 9 to all the ways Dean said sorry without EVER actually uttering the words. The scenes at the end of both 9x10 and 9x12 are prime examples. In 9x10, Dean walks away because he thinks he’s ‘poison’. And in 9x12 he practically begs to work together again because ‘somebody changed the playbook.’ And it’s obvious that Dean is sorry for what his decision did to Sam, but I think he never really apologizes and says the words aloud, because that would be admitting that he /regrets/ it. And he doesn’t. He would make the same choice again, because Sam is alive. So I love that you brought that up: that Sam is waiting for those words, is waiting for the impossibility of Dean saying ‘if I knew then what I know now, I would’ve let you go.’ And Dean can’t say it, because it’s not true.
I also liked that you made this an ear infection, and not just a common cold or something. Because I feel like Sam would’ve let Dean get over that on his own, and you understood that at this point in time, it would have to be something serious for Sam to take action and feel like he had to take care of his big brother. And of course, like I mentioned earlier, I love that this dire situation makes us realize that no matter what, the love these guys have for each other isn’t just a switch to be flipped. It’s a deep, unwavering bond that can’t be severed.
THE LAAAST MELON. (That was an Ice Age quote). Anyway. This is it, man, and I’m not ready. Which is why this review is already so gosh dang long. I cannot stop typing right now, for real. Let’s talk lines for this one, too:
“The smell of clean air- not fresh air, but clean like chemicals have been scrubbing at each molecule in the room- is familiar in a way Sam can’t fully process, not yet returned to consciousness completely…”
Such a perfect distinction! Because you’re right, when somebody says ‘clean air,’ I’m picturing standing on a mountaintop or in the middle of a grassy field and just breathing in the clearness of it. But obviously the scent of a hospital is a different kind of clean- a manufactured, chemical smell like you said. And I love that it applies to ‘every molecule in the room.’ Super cool wording. This:
The name is the first concrete thought Sam’s managed since coming awake, and almost like it holds some magical power over him, the wobbly edges of his vision begin to solidify, too.”
Talk about MAGICAL POWERS. I know we say this to each other all the time but: that’s it. That’s the show. Haha. There are those lines every once in a while that you just read and all you can say is ‘yep.’ Because that one emotion or that one phrase just seems to encompass everything we know about the brothers, and this was one of those lines. The idea that they will always latch onto one another when they’re lost, that this thought is what allows them to hang on or wake up or come back or do what needs to be done. This:
“...the nurse babbled about his condition and other things Sam didn’t consider presently important as she rushed forward, attempting to gently manhandle Sam in that way only nurses can manage, back into a laying-down position.”
I liked this line because there always seems to be a lot of emphasis on how Dean’s own health doesn’t matter to him and how he puts everyone before himself, especially Sam. But the truth is that the same is true for Sam. If Dean’s missing or hurt or in pain, Sam doesn’t give a crap about his own suffering. So I’m glad you conveyed that here, because it’s a huge truth that sometimes gets overlooked in the face of Dean’s more obvious flippancy regarding himself and his self-worth. And then the Dean section. My goodness you start it off with such a sick line:
“Dean wakes up like dough rises, slow and warm.”
So cool! I love that phrasing and I never would’ve thought of it. I also love that even though that initially seems like a great way to wake up, it also gives you this sense of un-comfortability. Because for dough to rise, it has to be in an oven, and that is definitely not a great place for a human to feel like they're waking up. And this:
“Sammy should be there, and if he wasn’t, then no matter what Dean would soon be wherever Sammy was.”
Okay can we talk about this? Can we talk about the distinction between this line, and the earlier line where Sam thinks to himself:
“Dean would be there if he could, and if he couldn’t then it only meant Sam needed to get out of this place quickly and go find him.”
This is such a perfect representation of how both brothers think. Because Dean’s thought process is: If Sam’s dead, I’ll follow after him. No matter what, I’ll go where he goes, even in death. Whereas Sam won’t even allow himself believe that’s even an option. Because Dean is /Dean/, unconquerable, Superman Dean. And he can’t be dead. He /can’t/ be. The differences there are slight in the way the words are phrased, but I love the subtlety and what it says about the Winchesters. And finally, finally:
“Dean poked his head into the room and felt his whole world sort itself out in an instant.” and of course, the very last line: “Now they could truly recover.”
What a wonderful ending to an incredible series. You should be very, very proud of yourself for all that you’ve accomplished and all the crazy, wonderful, exciting, challenging prompts you’ve managed to fill over FOUR YEARS (and wow I don’t think I realized it was that long ago that you started this). It’s so cool because I feel like if you went back and reread a few of these (which I’m sure I’ll do), you could probably quite literally watch yourself grow as a writer. And that is pretty dang cool. So yeah. I’m excited to see what you do next, whatever that may be, because I know it’ll be awesome. Until then, you just keep on keepin’ on, my friend. It has been an absolute pleasure to be along for the ride on this writing journey of yours, and I know you’ve got a good bit of road left. I call shotgun!
| redlite chapter 244 . 3/9
I want to let you know how very much I've enjoyed your series and the hard work you've put into your writing. I like your style and if there's some other avenue that you publish in future, I'd love to know about it. Best of luck in whatever you're headed to - I hope you do post occasional chapters as delightful surprises for us!
| Guest chapter 245 . 2/25
What a great way to close this wonderful series. (I refuse to say "end" since I very selfishly hope that at some point a Supernatural story will come pounding on your door and demand to be told!) I know have told you before how much I have enjoyed this series (and so many of your works) and how much your Special Notes (and kindness and thoughtfulness and caring) have meant to me, but I wanted to say THANK YOU again. You are truly a blessing.
I am THRILLED to see that you plan to continue writing. You have so much to offer and I'm so glad you are going to continue to share your wonderful talent. Many readers have a terrific treat ahead.
I am honored beyond words by the dedication. I don't have the ability to express how much that means, so I won't try. Thank you.
I wish you much joy and wonder and great blessings in your adventures ahead. Good health and happiness and best of luck.
| roslyngrl chapter 245 . 2/22
Ah those boys! What a great ending to your series and what a great line, "Dean wakes like dough, slow and warm". HA! I'll be watching for you in the future and waiting for those original works. Carry on and thanks for writing.
| kylermalloy chapter 245 . 2/13
Omg I can’t believe this is the last one! I completely understand why you’re ending the series, but I won’t deny that I’ll miss it dearly. I can’t tell you how many times a crappy Monday has become brighter just because I get a notification from FF and I get to read another chapter of WFIF. So...thank you so much for this series LB!
PS this last chapter was a perfect ending—the series comes full circle and so do Sam and Dean’s perfectly symmetrical entanglement. Love it!
| NerdAngel chapter 245 . 2/13
It's a bittersweet moment here. I remember reading the hospital bed chapter and little did I know just what an amazing grouping of stories WFIF truly is. You handled the requests given to you like a pro! This story, though not a request, is no different. This was a beautiful ending to a beautiful series, though I know you are leaving it open to possibly come back to. I love that you decided to do a recall to the beginning here, but of course it was still its own thing. I've got quite a bit I'm hoping to cover without breaking Fan fiction, so I'm going to just go on and get on with it if that's alright with you? On we go.
First off, I love the title. Then And Now works wonderfully for not exactly what the story is about per say, but definitely works as a whole for this and I completely applaud what you did here. Brilliant!
I love the way you describe the air in the hospital. If there was a way to properly describe the air in the hospital, that would be it. Cleaning chemicals seems to be a really strong smell when you're in a hospital.
I love this:
"The name is the first concrete thought Sam's managed since coming awake, and almost like it holds some magical power over him, the wobbly edges of his vision begin to solidify, too."
I love the strength behind this. It makes sense that Dean's name would be the first solid thing Sam thinks of as he comes too. I'm pretty certain that's often the case whenever something happens. That's another thing I enjoyed. You don't outright say what happened, it's not even the first thing he thinks about. I also like that you said "almost like it holds some magical power over him" because even though there isn't any magic, there is that drive and determination that would make him push through to get to his brother. Oh and I also love how you wrote his coming to and recognizing shapes the more he's determined to find his brother. It reminds me of when you first wake up but you up on alert and try to instantly get up and move. Do you know what I mean? Either way it was realistic and I love that.
I'm not going to lie, I laughed at this:
"Where is Dean?"
I have a feeling you may have idea as to why that line kinda made me laugh. Although it actually reminded me of two different episodes, but the same abridged. Oh no wait! Three and this one isn't the same show. It also reminds me of "where's Stephen?" ROFL.
This whole part was a fantastic look into Sam's head:
"There was a time Sam might've thought nothing could keep Dean from parking himself beside if Sam were hospitalized but enough years and traumas have transpired for the younger Winchester to know better; Dean would be there if he could, and if he couldn't then it only meant Sam needed to get out of this place quickly and go find him. If he wasn't here then he was hurt or...No, hurt was the worse Sam would allow himself believe."
He isn't wrong. Dean is never not by Sam's bedside whenever he's in the hospital. That's just un-Deanly. But I love that it's more or less his thoughts we are hearing, which shows that you know the character very well. Sam would worry if Dean wasn't there and I really like that you have him not allow himself to think any worse than he's hurt. Even though it's obvious he's worried it could be worse, he won't allow that to be the case.
I'm going to kind of cheat here and do a compare and contrast with the brothers and their attempts of getting free from their beds.
I love that Sam tries to bring the railing down and because he's still drugged up, he struggles but doesn't want to break it or cause any commotion and basically tries to slip between the gap to get out. Also it's funny he doesn't remember the IV until he goes to leave and gets a painful reminder.
Dean on the other hand does it a bit differently but it totally makes sense to their character. After also realizing his brother wasn't at his bed which made him worried, the first thing he did was rip the IV out with "practiced resentment." Most of the time the first thing he does is rip out the IV when he's in the hospital so it makes sense he would go for that first. The barrier was also a similar (or really same) obstacle, but handled differently and in a Dean manner. Whereas Sam didn't want to break it, Dean was ready to break it if he had to, which I feel is very telling of who the brothers are. I loved the comparision because within it you were able to describe both Winchesters brilliantly.
Oh and I just want to mention real quick the side characters here and how much I got a kick out of them and how much they breathed life into this story. Sam's neighbor giving him an irritated look when he caused all the commotion he had been hoping to avoid was a nice realistic touch and I can just picture him as clearly as I can a struggling Sam. Honestly I kind of picture the old man as one of the men that were all mad in Sherlock when John walks into Mycroft's club talking loudly.
The family that notices a gimp Dean trying to act normal as he tries to find his brother made me laugh. I love this:
"The family he'd headed towards gives him suspicious looks as meanders by them, like they're considering telling someone about the strange, limping guy who won't make eye contact for fear they'll see how much morphine is still there."
Fantastic! Seeing a guy limping in a hospital isn't exactly strange, but a guy who's limping while looking suspicious and refuses to look at you because he's afraid that you'll notice he's a bit vacant and foggy in the eyes, yeah, that's worth calling someone about. I love it for how realistic it is, and also because when I read this I couldn't help but think of Markiplier in Octodad when he would be moving around and yelling "I'm normal. I'm normal. Sorry I'm normal." I could just picture that as Dean limps by avoiding eye contact, lol.
I also really appreciate that the reason they're in the hospital is never fully explained. Some shit went down that didn't land either brother in a good state, but that's really all we need to know. This story doesn't take place in any certain season and this could be any accident or scenario. How they ended up in the hospital doesn't matter, all that matters is that both brothers know the other is ok. It's simple, but that's the Winchesters in a nutshell. Which is shown in the end when Sam finally stops struggling when he sees Dean and Dean allows himself to be returned to his room when he sees Sam.
Oh one last thing, I love that Sam's in for a head injury and Dean a leg. We've seen Dean was a leg injury before and I'm starting to lose track of how many times Sam's head takes a beating.
This was a fantastic end to an ongoing weekly to biweekly series. I'm sad to see it stop, but I'm glad I got to be apart of this magnificent ride and I look forward to whatever it is that you write next. Because whatever it is I already know it's going to be *whispers* awesome.
| mb64 chapter 245 . 2/13
This has been a fantastic series and I have enjoyed each and every one of the chapters you've shared with us!
I am so happy that you will be doing some original writing- you have so much talent that I know you will go far. When you have something published in print or online, please let me know as I would truly love to read it.
Best wishes, good luck and hugs to you!
| zz5 chapter 245 . 2/13
A nice "last" chapter, corresponding to the first~ Thanks a million~~ :)
| reannablue chapter 245 . 2/13
Perfect story to end on. The show starts and ends with the brothers love for each other. Fantastic series of stories. Thankyou for sharing your stories with us!