All posts by Ater Imber

Ater Imber became interested in writing fan fiction in 2013 after being talked into giving the Deviant Art website a chance. Ater began posting to the delight of Supernatural fans and continues to write new fan and non-fan fiction stories with regularity for an eager personal following. Ater also currently has four novellas available for purchase. 'First Try' is Aters’ debut, non-fan fiction novella, and is the newest released. It’s a collection of short stories Ater wrote during school after getting serious about becoming a writer, book-ended by the two ‘long’ first stories Ater ever wrote, published November, 2018. Ater’s third fan fiction novella, 'Holiday Treats', is about the holidays, forbidden love, and what can go wrong when the two collide, published in December 2016. Ater’s debut fan fiction novella, 'Don’t Get Caught', is a collection of short stories centered around a love theme, published in February 2016. Last, but certainly not least, Ater’s second fanfiction novella, 'Melting Hearts, Sunburns and Tanlines' is a collection of short stories with a main theme surrounding going on vacation and love, published in August, 2016. All three of Ater's fanfiction novellas are based on the T.V. series Supernatural. If you’d like to check out Ater’s books, you can do so here: http://aterimber.com/writing/books/ Ater Imber lives in Toronto, Canada.

Vegan Sunscreen





Alright, now that it’s May and we’ve officially left winter behind, what better time to buff up your knowledge of sunscreen before heading out into the sun? (And risking getting terribly sunburnt)

So, you may be asking yourself: ‘wait, sunscreen isn’t vegan?’

Yep, it’s true. It’s not just food that us humans use animals for. We put them (or some part of them) in all kinds of stuff. From plastic bags, to cell phones, to you guessed it – sunscreen.

Now, luckily some companies have seen the light and have begun phasing out the use of animal ingredients. And, while that’s certainly something to celebrate, that’s really only half the battle.

A lot of companies also test sunscreens (and lotions, shampoos, soaps, etc.) on animals! I know, right? And, here’s the kicker: these companies don’t exactly make it easy to find out if they’re testing on animals or not. I mean, why would they readily admit that they’re torturing animals?

So, what’s a newbie vegan (or family member/friend looking for a gift) to do? The below tips should help you out in determining if the product is vegan.

 

  1. Read the Ingredients

I know, I know, you’re not a chemist, I don’t expect you to instantly know every single ingredient listed. I would recommend starting with the list below. These are some of the most common animal-derived ingredients found in sunscreens (and sometimes lotions/creams):

  • Beeswax
  • Chitin (commonly comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans, insects and even arachnids. It’s essentially ground-up shell)
  • Collagen (a structural protein found in animal connective tissue. Typically from cows, pigs or fish)
  • Elastin (another type of protein. Found in the artery walls, intestines, lungs and skin of animals)
  • Lanolin (Animal fat that’s extracted from sheep’s wool)
  • Stearin/Stearic Acid – derive from the fat of cows, sheep and pigs

If the bottle has a few ingredients you’re not sure about, one of the best things to do is to Google it. Honestly, plugging the name into Google (or whatever search engine you prefer) will usually bring up a short about the product, and usually tell you where it’s derived from. (Sometimes it may tell you an ingredient can be both derived from animals or plants. In that case, I would check the companys’ website to see if they say which one they use)

 

2. Check If It’s Cruelty-Free

This isn’t always as simple as it sounds, unfortunately. While many companies have began using the universal cruelty-free symbol (or some variation of it) on their products, others don’t. It’s not always a simple procedure of a company slapping the logo on their products.

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(These or some variation is usually somewhere on the back of the bottle/product)

Some companies legally can’t put the logo on the bottle, even if it’s cruelty-free in your country, because sometimes, when companies sell to different countries, those countries have different safety laws that require testing on animals.

For example, many companies have taken to adding, ‘(insert company name) doesn’t conduct animal testing of our cosmetic products anywhere in world, except in the rare situation where governments or laws require it.’ to somewhere on their website (usually on a hard to find page that takes some digging).

The biggest example of this, would probably be companies that sell in China. China requires certain products to be tested on animals before being allowed to be sold in their country. So, some companies – while they may be cruelty-free in your country – technically aren’t cruelty-free as a whole, because they sell in China.

Whether you choose to buy from a company that isn’t 100% cruelty-free is your own choice. Some people will swear off buying from that company altogether as a protest, which is great. But that’s not always feasible. Finding vegan products, while improving over the last few years, can still be a hassle. I would say, do your best not to feel guilty if there aren’t any other options around. Remember, veganism is about ‘being as practicable as possible’ – not being 100% all the time.

I would suggest not making a habit out of it (if you feel guilty), and instead try to find one of the vegan sunscreens I’ll list below. (Or try making your own natural sunscreen!)

 

3. Call/E-mail the Company and Ask

If you’ve checked the bottle and didn’t see the above listed ingredients, or the cruelty-free symbol, and you’ve scoured every inch of their website to no avail, the best thing to do is hear it straight from the horses’ mouth. (So to speak)

In my personal experience, it’s usually easier to e-mail the company then call, because sometimes the agent you get won’t know off the top of their head and will likely tell you they need to double check with the correct department and then get back to you. Or, the agent on the phone will give you a very quick yes or no answer and hang up. (Yes, this has happened to me on more then one occasion)

I don’t know why it happens – perhaps they’re busy and need to get to the next customer, perhaps they don’t want to actually check and give you a real answer, or maybe they actually do know that quickly because they get that question all day – whatever the reason, (since you can’t be sure), e-mailing is usually better. It will take longer than a phone call, but a company will usually take the time to explain things in more clarity for you if you e-mail them.

If even after you’ve e-mailed them and they just give you the generic line from their website, I would suggest checking the laws in your own country to see what’s required. You may be happily surprised in your findings.

If all of that seems like way too much work (which honestly, I don’t blame you), and you want something fast and easy, check out one of the below companies/sunscreens. The only research you’d need to do for these, is to see if they’re available in your country:

  • Kiss My Face Organics Mineral SPF30 Air-Powered Spray (their FAQ states most of their products are vegan, with the exception of some containing honey or beeswax)
  • Alba Botanica Cool Sport Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (their FAQ says all products are vegan, except for those containing beeswax and honey)
  • Pacifica Mineral Sunscreen Coconut Probiotic SPF 30 (the slogan on their website is ‘Pacifica: 100% vegan, cruelty-free’, so I assume all their products are good to use!)
  • Nature’s Gate Mineral Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 20 (not all products are vegan)

These are just a few examples of sunscreens available. I personally haven’t used any of these yet, which brings me to a good point: I’m still finishing off a bottle I have that I received as a gift. I would hope that if you have non-vegan products laying around, that you don’t just throw them away and waste them. If you don’t think you could continue to use them after learning the truth about animal testings (among other things), see if you can donate it to a family member, friend, or even a local charity.

It’s much better to use up the product instead of waste it. It might sound weird, but to me, they already tested the product on the animal/put the animal ingredient into it, so the animal has already suffered/died. I’d much rather use the product then toss it, as if that animals’ suffering doesn’t matter. Some people might not see it that way, which again, is fine. But don’t feel guilty or like you have to trash almost everything you own just because you’re trying to be vegan.

There’s a reason we call it a ‘transition’.


Like this article? Check out more tips on veganism here!

(Red String of) Fate




Written: 19.02.01

Words: 730

Teen!Chesters, Abusive!Alcoholic!John,

TW: SH


He starred down at the red string tied around his wrist in annoyance, seriously? You had to pick this week? As if the blonde didn’t have enough to deal with, now his stupid ‘red string of fate’ chose to become brighter.

According to the lore, that meant he and his ‘true love’ were getting closer – the brighter it gets, the better chance you have of running into your fated other half. It could happen any time, any age, and was supposed to be a celebratory thing – you finally finding your other half out there in the big wide world.

Dean thought it was closer to a crock of shit then some fairytale. People were way too obsessed with finding their ‘love’, some would travel to every corner of the world they could in desperation, and the girls at school? They hooked up with pretty much any guy they could get their hands on – some of them thinking the fated love needed to be ‘activated’ – only to end up running around the room gathering their clothes, never to speak to the guy again when the strings didn’t glow intensely.

No, it was much better in Deans’ opinion to leave well enough alone and go about your own life – if the stories were true and you were fated to be together, you’d run into each other at some point, regardless of if you went searching for them, right?

“Dean!”

The shout from downstairs startled the blonde, and he quickly buttoned the sleeves on his shirt, no need making a big deal out of this.

He trooped downstairs to see John standing at the base, holding Sam by the collar.

“How many times do I have to tell you to keep an eye on your brother?”

“Sorry, Sir,” Dean grabbed his brother by the wrist – not missing the cut over his eye that was most definitely not there this morning – all but pulling him into the banister.

“I was in the middle of a fucking important job! Y’know, the kind that puts food on the table for your sorry asses!”

“It won’t happen again,” Dean roughly shoved his brother up the stairs, behind him.

“It better not,” the brunette turned on his heel, picking the half-drunk bottle of Jameson up from the coffee table, “He better have that homework done by the time I finish.”

“Yes, Sir,” Dean watched as his father collapsed on the couch before he turned back up the stairs, following his brother. Once they were in the privacy of their bedroom, he turned to his brother, “What happened?”

Sam sighed, deflating as he sat on his bed, “I was just trying to go out for a run,” he ran a hand through his hair, sleeve pulling down revealing his own red string, it was glowing too, “I didn’t turn the light on because I didn’t want to wake him. I got all the way to the door when I accidentally kicked over an empty bottle.”

The blonde let out a breath, running a hand through his hair as he swallowed down the lump in his throat, “They weren’t at the curb?”

“He said he needed to save them for a ‘project’,” he gave his brother a pointed look before flopping backward onto the bed, shirt lifting slightly revealing angry, red lines across his too-thin hips, those look fresh, “How much longer?”

“Not long,” Dean crossed the room, kneeling beside the bed to pull out the box of cash he’d been saving, “Just a few more weeks.”

“You’ve been saying that since I was 6, Dean.”

“Why do you think I never say a number?” He cocked an eyebrow at the upside-down smile his brother was giving him, “Just hang on a few more months. Once I’m 18 I can become your guardian and we can finally get outta here.” He replaced the lid and put the box in the closet, he made sure to keep it’s location rotating, just in case. He made his way over to the bed sitting beside his brother, tilting his head trying to get a better look at the cuts, “How much longer until you stop this, huh?”

Sam quickly pulled his shirt down and sat up in one fluid motion, sly smile on his face, “Not long. Just a few more weeks.”

Dean let out a dry chuckle and shook his head, “Deal.”


Wish it was longer? Let me know in the comments! (Longer version would turn into Destiel/Sabriel)

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Tofutti Cuties Original Review




Alright, since we’re getting into the warmer weather now (thank God), I thought what better food to review then an ice-cream sandwich? Might as well help you out with your summer treat shopping before it gets too hot to think.

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This was actually one of the first vegan ice-creams I tried. I remember back before I went vegan and my brother brought these home, excited he found an ice-cream that me and my family could eat, without us being there to help! He was pretty proud of himself, and it wasn’t too long before he started buying the boxes in two’s – and those would maybe last a week. Sometimes, I went to have one, only to discover that there was only one left – and no one else in my family had gotten to them!

Perhaps the best part of that story?  My brother isn’t even vegan – and he devoured them like that for a few summers!

One thing that’s cool about the Tofutti company, is that they make all kinds of different tofu-based products, which makes their cream cheeses, ice-cream and others perfect for people who can’t/won’t eat dairy.

Specifically speaking about these vanilla sandwiches, they come 8 to a box, each individually wrapped in paper and are pretty small. I like that they ran with the small-ness of them and decided to call them Cuties, but practically speaking, if it’s 40C and you need a good cool down snack, you’d need to eat two.

The chocolate cookie is nice and soft, which I like. I’d take soft cookies over hard any day – but one sort of con about their softness, is that sometimes when you unwrap the sandwich, bits of the cookie sticks to the wrapper. It’s no problem to lick the extra off when you’re at home, but if you were to bring these to a summer BBQ or get together, it’d be sad to see it go to waste.

The ice-cream itself is actually pretty surprising when you remember that it’s made out of tofu. It doesn’t taste like you’re eating tofu, it just tastes like ice-cream. (I was equally amazed when my friend Blair made chocolate ice-cream out of sweet potato!) It’s not overly vanilla-y and is pretty ‘plain’ as far as ice-cream flavours though – you won’t find any crazy chunks or chips in this. It’s simple, yet satisfying.

There’s not really too much else to say about it – I’d love to rave about how amazing it is, but that would be lying. It’s great if you want a simple ice-cream treat that you don’t need to scoop into a bowl – and I’m betting it would pack nicely in a lunch bag – but I can’t give it a glowing review.

It’s good for what it is, but I’ve had other ice-cream flavours that I like better, simply because they aren’t as simple. I still definitely eat them, but I would say these are like giving nooch a glowing review. It’s good for what it is, and it’s great to have on hand, but you can’t exactly praise it. It just kind of… is.

I would dare even say they’re a summer staple. Great to have, but doesn’t pack as much punch as say, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I recommend you try them, since you won’t be disappointed, but you won’t exactly be jumping for joy, either.


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Drop Shadows (PHSH Effect #2)




Now that I’ve shown you how to scale an image without distorting it, I’m going to delve a bit into specifics with this effect: adding a Drop Shadow to text.

It’s not the fanciest or coolest (or hardest) effect you can make in PHSH, but you gotta walk before you can run, right?

Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Open PHSH and make a new document. For simplicity, I made my document 6in x 6in.

Step 2 – Going down to your Type tool, you’ll want to click and drag somewhere on your canvas to create a text box. Type whatever you want in the box. You’ll notice that when you create a Text box, it automatically makes the text a New Layer.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Text Box w Words

Step 3 – To resize your Text box, click and drag one end of the box toward the words typed. Do this until the box is more or less the same size as the words.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Text Box Resized

Step 4 – You could also change the colour of your text, or the font and size you’re using in the top menu while you’re in the text box.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Font, Size and Colour Options

For this tutorial, I’m just going to keep things simple and leave the text black against a white background.

Step 5 – In the Layers panel (to the right) right-click on the Text Layer and select Blending Options from the menu.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Blending Options Right-Clicked

Step 6 – From the left-side menu in the Blending Options dialogue box, click on Drop Shadow.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Blending Options Dialogue Box

Step 7 – This is where it can get complicated, depending on what you need the Drop Shadow for. Since this is just a tutorial, I’ll try to keep this part as simple as possible.

Looking at the Drop Shadow options, these values are all the defaults for my computer. If yours is different that’s okay, because you often won’t be keeping the default values anyway.

It’s hard, but you can see the Drop Shadow effect applied between this picture and the last one.

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Let’s go through the options:

Blend Mode – This will change how the effect looks. This I feel like has bigger impact on some of the other Blending Mode options, such as Colour Overlay. For Drop Shadows, I usually just leave the default Multiply setting.

Beside Blend Mode, you’ll notice there’s a colour swatch. Clicking on it will bring you to the Colour Picker, where you can change the colour of your shadow. This is helpful if you want to match the shadow to the background colour of your document.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Colour Change

Opacity – This changes how dark the shadow appears. If you want the shadow to be more transparent, lower this setting.

Angle – This changes how the shadow looks. For instance, the default angle 120 makes the shadow appear from the top left corner down. Playing around with the angle will change where the shadow appears. (I drastically changed the distance to better demonstrate the changing angles)

Also, I always uncheck the Use Global Light box that’s by the angle. If you’re adding a shadow to more then one piece of text, Use Global Light will change the angle, distance, etc. for all the text, not just the one you’re working on. This can be annoying if needing to add multiple text boxes. I would recommend getting in the habit of always un-checking this box.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle -90

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 90

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 0

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Angle 180

There’s a little grey square to the right side of the options, this is a preview of where the shadow is. In case it’s hard to see on the document, you can use this preview to help you determine what works the best for your project.

Distance – This changes how far away from the text the shadow is. For better showing of the angle, I jacked the distance to 150. I usually don’t have the distance too far away from the words. Usually when I work with Drop Shadow, I leave it around 5-10. One thing I’ve noticed is depending on the size of the font, you may need to make the shadow distance greater, without it looking too far away from the words.

Spread – This changes how ‘thick’ the shadow looks. The higher the number, the thicker it gets.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Spread

Size – This changes how big the shadow actually is. Changing the size is great if you want to ‘soften’ the shadow, or make a shadow appear more like a fuzzy glow.

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AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Size 16

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I changed the size of the Drop Shadow here to a higher number to give it that blurry/neon lighting effect. I also changed the colour from the black to red.

Contour – I’m not entirely sure what this does, to be honest. I believe it’s something similar to the angle the shadow is? I don’t really use this, unless a specific effect I’m Googling tells me to.

Noise – This will change how ‘smooth’ the edges of the shadow look. Remember white noise channels on old school T.V.s? This is essentially that. I usually leave this to the default 0. I’ve yet to have a need to add noise to a shadow.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Drop Shadow - Noise

Feel free to play around with these settings to get the desired shadow effect you want. When you’re done playing around with the settings, click the ‘Okay’ button on the side to apply the effect. If you need to change the effect after, just right-click on the layer again and head back into Blending Options. You’ll be able to edit the effects for as long as you keep the Layers separate. Once you flatten the image/save it as a PNG or JPEG file, you won’t be able to edit the effect, due to the fact the work was collapsed into one single layer. This is why I always save a PSD version (I usually label it ‘UnFlattned’) along with a flattened picture, just in case I need to go back and change something.


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Gruff




Written as a sort-of request from Daughter of a Witch (SPN Amino app)

Written: 19.02.21

Words: 398

Crobby (My first!)


“Balls!” Bobby took his hat off his head, wiping back his sweaty hair before replacing it, reaching for his gun as he heard a crash from downstairs.

He crept down the steps slowly, running through his last salt-line check. He didn’t think he had missed any, but then again, last he remembered he was also in the living room.

He stepped as quietly as he could across his floor, praying his aging house didn’t give away his location.

Just as he was nearing the kitchen, the doors swung open, startling him.

The sound of the gun going off momentarily stunned him before his eyes were met with black, fuck.

“Well hello to you too, Darling.” Crowley placed the whiskey glass down before raising an eyebrow as he saw the bullet hole in his chest, “This is Italian!” He huffed once before digging his hand into the wound, “Y’know, if you had used the Colt,” he grit his teeth before yanking his hand out of the wound, emerging with the bullet between his fingers, “I’d be dead.”

“What’re you doing here?” Bobby clicked the safety on before putting the gun down, walking over to steal the mans’ drink, “Besides drinking my whiskey?”

The demon smiled, “Not one for small talk, are you?”

The hunter narrowed his eyes as he took a swig from the glass, taking a few steps back.

Crowley caught his wrist, smile widening, “I was hoping to make this a…” he brought his lips close to his ear, “personal visit.”

“I take it you know the boys’ ain’t here?”

“One of the perks of being me.”

The brunette eyed him for a moment before wrenching his wrist out of the demons’ grasp, crossing the room to his desk, “What makes you think I got time for that?”

“Bobby,” Crowley followed him, jumping up to sit on his desk, “You know what they say about all work and no play.”

The hunter eyed the demon for a moment before sighing, “Fine.” He flipped the giant book closed in a puff of dust, “But make it quick. The boys’ll be back any minute.”

Crowley smirked, “I could always send them a little…” he crept closer, sitting in the hunters’ lap, “distraction.”

“You do,” Bobbys’ breath caught in his throat as the demon went to work on his neck, “and next time I’ll make sure I use the Colt.”


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Calcium?




This is the second entry in my new Vegan Nutrient collage series, (check out the first post here), and I figured the simplest way to go about this series would be in order of the most asked questions new vegans get, (and most asked questions new vegans are bound to have).

That’s why this entry, is focusing on calcium.

We definitely have no need to consume cow’s milk (or sheep, or goat), and with all the terrible side effects, why would you want to?

Not to mention, it’s an unnecessary and cruel industry. Seriously, why would you willingly fund such horrors?

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Starting from the top left corner, going clockwise:

  •  Tahini 325mg
  •  Fortified Non-Dairy Milk 200-300mg (depending on which kind)
  •  Seasame Seeds 280mg
  •  Tempeh 215mg
  •  Almonds 200mg
  •  Tofu 150mg
  •  Seitan 142mg
  •  Figs 120mg
  •  Oranges 50-60mg (depending on size)
  •  Blackberries 40mg
  •  Black Beans 294mg
  •  Kidney Beans 263mg
  •  Chickpeas 210mg
  •  Soy White Beans 175mg
  •  Romano Beans 160mg
  •  Navy Beans 125mg
  • Collard Greens 350mg
  • Turnip Greens 250mg
  • Spinach 230mg
  • Kale 180mg
  • Bok Choy 158mg
  • Broccoli 95mg

These are in no way the only plant based sources of calcium, but they are the Top 22 that have the most calcium in them (per 1 cup).

With only needing 1,000mg/day of calcium, you can see how easy it is to meet your daily requirements with plant foods.

I hope you found this collage helpful, whether you’re a new vegan or veg-curious.

Next month, I’ll be talking about vegan sunscreens.


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On The Pyre

Request from ianneart (Tumblr): Hi! I got a samifer fic idea in mind (lel). Im currently watching season 6 in supernatural and i  saw this interesting thing sam said about hallucinating lucifer to bobby : “seeing Lucifer is…okay. I sorta think it’s the best scenario situation of them all.”

And my samiferness got jump started like nobody’s business. I imagine it like a one-shot, sam-centric pondering of sorts, where sam takes us through his mind and manages to convince us Lucifer’s company is…okay.

I’m so sorry this is so late! I hope you enjoy the fic regardless.

Started: 16.04.29

Finished: 19.03.15

Words: 2,146

Samifer, Hallucifer


“You’re sure you’ll be okay here by yourself?” Dean threw his duffle over his shoulder and paused in the doorway, not wanting to leave his mentally ill brother.

“Dean, I’m fine.”

“Yeah Dean, we’re gonna have a great time,” Lucifer jumped up from his spot on the couch to stand beside the hunter and winked.

What the hell are you doing?

The blonde frowned, “What Sammy? Oh right… you don’t like when I talk in front of Big Bro.”

The younger man tried to hide his confusion and focused on his brother.

Dean scrubbed a hand down his face, “I left my number on the fridge. Call if anything… happens.”

“Will do,” Sam nodded, “Now go give those sons-of-bitches what’s coming to them.”

While he was grateful for his brother’s protectiveness, he didn’t understand his lack of confidence in him, he’d been alone plenty of times before without issue.

“But you aren’t truly alone now,” Lucifer wrapped a possessive hand around the giant’s arm, “Besides, it’s not like having me here is the real problem,” he stroked it tenderly, “right Sammy?”

Focus… Sam ran a hand through his hair in an attempt to block out the words.

With a regretful look back to his brother, Dean nodded and headed out.

“Finally… I thought he’d never leave,” Lucifer clapped the hunter on the shoulder as he closed the door.

He does like to worry. Wait, what are you doing? Don’t let him in, Sam heard the Impala take off as he made his way to the couch.

“Well, now that we’re alone…” Lucifer waggled his eyebrows and straddled the hunter.

“What the fuck,” the giant jumped up and took a couple steps backward.

“Sam,” the blonde gave him a curious look as he picked himself up off the floor, “we’ve done this before you know.”

“No we haven’t,” the hunter had the nerve to look appalled, much to the devil’s amusement.

As if he doesn’t remember it was his idea… He brushed himself off and analysed the hunter, “Sam, do you… ,” he struggled to find the words, not wanting to give something away that he wasn’t ready to hear, “You remember what happened in the cage, don’t you?”

“Of course I remember,” he crossed his arms and cocked his head, “why do you ask?” And why do you sound so… hurt?

Lucifer shifted his gaze down to the floor as he worked out how to continue, “So then you… remember? W-what we did?”

“Damn right I remember what you did to me you son-of-a-bitch,” he couldn’t help but notice the flinch the blonde gave at his tone, Pfftt, please Sam… as if the devil is scared of you, get real.

“No,” Lucifer closed his eyes and sighed before he locked gazes with the hunter, “Do you remember what we did?”

“What do you-”

“In the cage, yes you were tortured, but never by my own hand,” the explanation rushed out of him, almost as if he couldn’t stop it, “it was all Michael. I told you I’d never hurt you Sam, and I meant it. I did everything I could to get between you and Michael, I couldn’t just stand there and watch him break you over and over again. So I… I made you a hide out.”

“A hideout?”

“A place where Michael wouldn’t be able to get to you. I set up a decoy version of you for him to take his frustrations out on, so he wouldn’t notice you were gone-”

“A decoy? Where do you get a decoy Sam Winchester from, Hunters R Us?” Sam chuckled and crossed his arms, remaining skeptical of the explanation.

“Not exactly…” Lucifer winced, clearly not wanting to divulge the information.

“Lucifer,” Sam’s voice was hard and he took a step toward the shorter man, “what did you use as a decoy?”

“Your body.”

“My body?!”

“Yes. I pulled your body apart from your soul,” Lucifer began again, following as the hunter collapsed back onto the couch, “completely detached so your soul wouldn’t sustain any more damage. A soul can only take so much before it becomes so corrupted that it can no longer be restored,” he was sitting on the coffee table now, cross legged in front of Sam.

“Wait, what do you mean restored?”

Lucifer sighed, “As you know, if a soul gets twisted and corrupted long enough it becomes a demon which means that person is then forever damned to Hell.”

“So…” he could see the hunter was having trouble piecing it together, “you prevented my soul from becoming irreversibly corrupted so I could what? Get into Heaven?” Sam threw his head back and laughed as he saw the blonde’s cheeks flare up, “Well I’m sorry to disappoint you Satan, but I’m pretty sure I’m the poster boy for what to do to get yourself into the fiery gates.”

Lucifer shook his head, “You don’t understand.”

“I don’t understand?” he stood up and started pacing, mind racing, I can’t believe I’m discussing the fate of my soul with the devil, “well please, by all means, explain it to me.”

The blonde ran a hand through his hair, this isn’t going to sound good, “If your soul was irreversibly corrupted and you became a demon, you could never be used as a vessel again,” at the look Sam gave him he continued, “I know you think that is a good thing, but your soul shines so bright…,” he dropped his gaze down to the floor, “seeing it corrupted would have devastating effects.”

Sam remained silent, unsure of what to make of this news. Is he telling the truth? If he is lying, what is he hoping to achieve? What’s the point of him telling me this?

“I will wage a war against the angels on the day when Sam Winchester isn’t allowed into the garden.”

It was spoken barely above a whisper, but Sam definitely heard the words. He wasn’t sure whether or not to believe them, but the soft spoken tone made him start to question his earlier judgement. There was no denying the undertone of care that sentence carried, as though he was speaking about someone he didn’t just need to keep safe, but wanted to.

“Lucifer,” Sam kept his tone soft, and found himself placing a hand on the man’s knee, “what don’t I remember?”

The blonde drew in a shaky breath in a failed attempt to keep his voice calm, “After I detached your soul, I gave your body specific instructions. It was to taunt Michael and lead him over to one side of the cage, so I could get your soul to the hideout on the other side. It did a remarkable job,” he noted with a small smile.

“Michael couldn’t understand how you’d got so cocky but was more than happy to rip the confidence back out of you. Once I made sure he was…” he swallowed thickly and closed his eyes, “occupied, I brought you over to the hideout, and did what I could to heal the damage,” it sounded as though he was fighting back tears and he hid his face in his hands, “but there wasn’t much I could do. I thought I could heal you, as I was once an angel but I-”

He cut himself off and hung his head lower, drawing in a shaky breath. Sam blinked and was surprised to see he had encompassed the ex-angel in his arms while he’d listened. What the… ?

“It’s okay, Sam,” Lucifer broke in, scooting out of the hunter’s embrace and hastily wiping at his eyes, “it’s my voice,” he gave a weak smile, “there’s a reason they called me ‘silver-tongued’.”

Sam got up and sat back down on the couch, unsuccessfully avoiding thinking about how… familiar it was to hold him, and about how unbelievably captivating it was to hear him speak. There was no way that was normal.

“What, ugh,” the hunter cleared his throat, “what happened when you touched my soul?”

“I ended up branding it, similar to when a soul gets bought by a demon, anyone else who touched your soul would know that I claimed it. That meant that it couldn’t be traded in any deal, or sold without my permission.”

The way Lucifer explained what he’d done made it sound like he felt guilty, and the way he kept avoiding Sam’s eyes didn’t help. Well what do you expect? He condemned your soul to Hell when that was the last thing he’d wanted, Sam found himself reaching forward again, but didn’t stop himself this time. Didn’t feel the need to stop himself. What would be the harm, anyway? No one’s around.

“The good news,” the blonde’s voice broke threw the hunter’s thoughts, “was that since I had branded it, it had become protected against further damage. No one, not even Michael could continue to harm it,” he ran a hand through his hair and rested his head against Sam’s shoulder, “the bad news, is that it couldn’t be healed past what I’d started. My branding had… preserved it, formed a protective barrier around its current state. Nothing could get in, good or bad… just in time too.”

Lucifer had stopped talking then, letting his voice taper off at the end of the sentence like the last few notes of a song, and allowed a silence to fall while he was held close to the hunter’s chest.

Sam breathed him in and kissed the top of his head, no longer caring about knowing all the answers. He just wanted to savour this moment, the peacefulness of holding him close. Wanted to savour the dream-like state that had taken over before Dean got back. He prayed for his brother not to come back so soon. After all, how often did he get to enjoy moments like this?

He wasn’t sure whether it was because his voice carried some sort of magic, or because of the branding on his soul, but having Lucifer in his arms, feeling his heartbeat had softened the moment—he didn’t want his brother stomping in and shattering that.

“Not too long after that,” the blonde began again with a long sigh, “Michael had began to look for me. I was stupid to think he wouldn’t have noticed I disappeared,” he shook his head at his own misjudgment, “I sensed he was getting close to the hideout so I had to leave you to meet him.”

“He caught up to me in the middle and was dragging your body behind him. Seeing what he did to you…” Lucifer snuggled his head against Sam’s chest and tightened his grip, “he was obviously curious as to where I’d been and why I wasn’t helping torture you since I am the devil,” he sneered the word like it was too vial to pass through his lips.

Like he doesn’t want the title.

“I couldn’t let on to what I was doing,” he dropped his voice low, as if saying it quieter would make it hurt less, “so I-” his voice broke and he buried his head into the hunter’s chest, “Sammy, I’m sorry.”

Sam turned him around so he was no longer sideways across his lap and pulled him close, rubbing a soothing hand over his back when he felt tears start to drip down his shirt.

“Ssshhh… It’s okay… Luce you’re okay,” Sam kept his voice soft as he continued rubbing circles into his back.

Sam’s words only succeeded in making him cry harder and the hunter would be lying if he said seeing him cry wasn’t hurting his heart. Whatever you did, it doesn’t matter.

“Sam-”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“I was so worried, I never wanted to tell you.”

“Luce,” Sam pushed him backward slightly, gently swiping at his eyes, “I don’t care what happened. You-”

The door slamming open made the giant jump, and he stood, confused as his brother burst through the door, eyes frantic.

“Uh, Dean?”

“They’re coming,” he all but ran to the back of the cabin, “We need to leave, now.”

Sam rushed to the back as well, gathering his stuff, “What happened?”

“No time,” Dean brush passed him, glancing quickly at the giants’ face before pausing, keeping his eyes on him, “… Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he shifted his weight nervously and glanced back at the now-empty couch, “why?”

“Looks like – never mind. We don’t have time. Meet me outside in five if you don’t want to be monster chow.”

Sam continued packing his stuff, doing his best to sift-through all the information he’d been given.

“Better hurry, Sam. I can feel them,” Lucifer was spread out on the bed, eyes on the floor.

“Luce-”

“Dean’s waiting.”

Sam sighed as he shouldered his duffle, making his way back out to the living room, pausing in the front entrance, “Come with me.”


Like the story? Check out more here!

Got an idea for a fic you want me to write? Shoot me an e-mail: fanfic@aterimber.com (I promise it won’t take me 4 years to write!)

Yves Veggie Bologna Review




The first time I saw this product, I thought I was going to hate it. I have very un-fond memories of eating a warm, margarine, Kraft single and bologna sandwich while in elementary school. Let me tell you that that is not an easy taste you forget.

Fortunately, this doesn’t taste like vomit, so that’s a win!

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Yves Veggie Bologna - vegan, vegan food, food review

Now, I don’t know if it’s just because real bologne is made kind of like hotdogs, being just a big mismatch of all the leftover meat parts that other (better) products didn’t want, but real bologne is just nasty to me. Maybe it’s tied in with those terrible, terrible sandwiches, or maybe it was just a stigma that my family had passed down to me, but you couldn’t get me to go near real bologne with a ten-foot pole.

This bodes really well for this product, because it doesn’t taste anything like what I remember bologne tasting like. I actually like these deli slices better then their faux chicken and faux ham – I think this one tastes the best! The other two products just don’t taste anything close to the original in my eyes – the faux chicken is too smoky and the faux ham is just… they’re not my favourite options.

I guess it’s easier to make a good tasting faux version of something if the original tastes bad? Perhaps faux spam could be a big hit, who knows?

Another thing I like about this product, is that it’s versatile – you can make a cold-cut (faux-cut? Eeeh?) sandwich with it, heat it up in a wrap, or even cut it into strips and make faux bologne bacon – it tastes good either way. Hell, you could even roll it up and put a toothpick through it as an easy app, it totally works to be eaten by itself.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Yves Veggie Bologna - Whole Wheat Veggie Wrap - vegan, vegan food, food review

(Not the best picture, but this wrap had: Yves Bologna slices, cucumber, Wee Bit Spicy Cheesy Rice and Daiya Mozz Shreds, all wrapped up in a Whole Wheat wrap)

Also, it’s one of the easiest findable pre-made vegan products. Metro, Loblaws, Sobey’s – even No Frills carries it! That’s definitely a plus when out shopping. It’s not the most exciting product, but if you’re in a pinch and need some quick products to throw together a sandwich, or a wrap this product is perfect.

One of the other perks, is you can freeze it without sacrificing its quality or taste. (On their FAQ page, they state that products can be frozen for 1-3 months.) So, you could buy a pack and throw it in the freezer for those times when maybe you’re not close to a store, or for time when you don’t want to run out to a store for only one or two items.

The only downside I think there is about this product, is that each pack only comes with 10 slices, so it goes pretty fast.

All in all, this product is about as great as regular lunch meat. It gets the job done, is pretty versatile, and can be easily found. I’d recommend you try it if you haven’t already.

*Not all of Yves Veggie Cuisine products are vegan. If you’re going to try some of their products, be sure to read the label! (Usually, their vegan products are labelled as such)


Like this review? Check out more here!

Content Aware Scaling (PHSH Effect #1)




This week, I’ll be showing you how to Content Awareness Scale and image. Which is a really fancy way of saying we’re going to learn how to resize an image, while protecting a part of the foreground that we don’t want to distort.

If you didn’t, please check out my PHSH Intro post, as this one builds on what was learned there. (Also, if you need a refresh of how to add an image to the PHSH document)

Okay, so, for this tutorial, we’ll be using the cabin picture I used on my Holiday Treats book.

Please right click on the image, save it, then open it in PHSH, so you’re starting here:

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Starting Pic

Alright, now that you’ve got that, we’re going to change the document size to 6inx9in. Resize the image to fit into the newly sized canvas.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Resized Pic

Okay, now the first step is to use the Selection tool to draw a box around the cabin. (Feel free to use the Guidelines to help you if needed)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Selected Cabin

In the right hand side panel, see how you’re currently in the Layers panel? Click over to the Channels panel, then go down to the bottom and click the New Channel button. This will create a new Channel with just the cabin. It’s fine to leave it named Alpha 1, the name doesn’t really matter.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Layers Panel

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Channels Panel

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Alpha 1 Created

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Alpha 1 Red

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Alpha 1 Hidden

Now that your document is the right colour, and we’ve created Alpha 1, switch back over to the Layers tab. You’ll notice now that you’ve switched back, the Layer you had previously selected is now greyed out, instead of blue. That means it’s no longer selected. To re-select the layer (so we can keep working) you’ll want to click on the Background layer, then click back to the picture layer. It should now be selected/highlighted blue.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Layer Grey

Using the Selection tool again, right click in the box you made and click on Deselect. This will get rid of the box around the cabin – now that we’ve created the Channel, we don’t need the cabin to be selected.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Deselecting Cabin

Now we’re basically back to how we started, except we’ve got an extra channel. This is the part where we do the actual Content-Awareness Scaling. (CA Scaling)




Going to the top Menu, click on Edit, then scroll down to Content Awareness Scale and click it.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Edit, CA Scaling Option

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - CA Scaling Open

See the box on the end there that says ‘Protect’? Click the drop-down menu and select Alpha 1. This will… well it’s gonna protect the cabin from stretching while we resize the picture.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Protect Drop Down Menu

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Protect Alpha 1

This is the fun part, now we’re gonna stretch the picture, and the cabin won’t be affected.

To do this, click on the box on the bottom in the middle, and hold down ALT as you slowly drag the sizing box down.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Bottom Square

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Drag Down Arrow

You’ll notice that the top of the picture is moving too, that’s what holding down the ALT key does – allows you to move both sides at the same time.

Keep dragging the image until the top of the box disappears off the canvas.

Once that happens, go over to your Select tool, click it. A dialogue box will come up and ask to apply the changes, click Apply. Then, drag the image down from the top of the canvas, lining it up with the bottom.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Top of Box Gone

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Apply Dialogue Box

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Aligined w/ Bottom

Notice how much bigger the background is? But the cabin stayed the same size! We didn’t get the picture to the exact dimensions of the canvas, but that’s okay.

To get the picture to the right size, we can just go back up to Edit – Content Aware Scale, and do it again until it matches the canvas size. Don’t forget to Protect Alpha 1!

(For this sizing, we don’t need to hold down ALT, because we just need to stretch the top to the top of the canvas, we don’t need to resize the bottom.)

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Done

Ta-da! Now, is the most important part – save.

This is a pretty handy PHSH skill I wish I had learned before doing the cover for my book.

For a side-by side comparison, here’s the cover when I first did it (before I knew how to CA Scale) and after I learned.

AterImber.com - Writing - Writing Tips - PHSH Tutorial - Content Awareness Scaling - Holiday Treats Stretched Cover

AterImber.com - Writing - Books - Holiday Treats Book Cover - Wincest, Short Story, SPN, Supernatural, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Castiel, Jess, John Winchester, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years

See the difference? The first one you can definitely tell that I stretched the image.

That’s why this is one hell of a PHSH skill to know how to do, and, it’s not that hard, either. Once you practice and do it a few times, you’ll be able to do it no problem.

Next tutorial, I’ll show you how to add a Drop Shadow to text:

Look out for that May 6th.


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Hunter Helper




Request from CarmillaPoisonberry (DA), who asked for: got another sick!fic in mind. Sick!Dean and Caring!Sam in the middle of a hunt. Taking place anytime after Season 6. (14.07.14)

I’m sorry this is so late! Please don’t hate me! Also, I’m sorry it went off the rails from the prompt in the middle, but I’m hoping you still like it anyway.

Words: 5,601

Hallucifer, Coda to S7 (Some spoilers)


“Damn it,” Dean glared down at his cast and dropped his hand back to his lap, uselessly.

The damn thing made it impossible for him to scratch at his leg, making him go just the tad bit crazy. He knew he wasn’t supposed to scratch at it, the doctors told him that meant it was healing, but damn if he didn’t try. How is anyone supposed to ignore this itching for two weeks anyway? He’d got so desperate a few days ago that he tried to get a stick in there but it ended up snapping in half, so now not only did he have an unreachable itch, he also had half a stick sticking out from his leg.

I really didn’t think that through, the blonde tugged uselessly at the end of the stick, only ending up pushing it further into his cast. The bark added to the itching. Every time he shifted his leg, the stick would move ever so slightly and tease him by scrapping against his leg – too slowly to bring any relief. Great. He let out a sigh and flopped his head back against the couch.

He knew that he shouldn’t be complaining about his leg, considering Sam had the devil riding shotgun, and the world was ending…again.

When did his life go so downhill?

Speaking of the devil…

Dean craned his neck against the back of the couch, trying to see into the back hall of the cabin, “Sam?”

All that met him was silence, which instantly spiked his worry meter. If Sam decided to fly the cuckoo’s nest, he wouldn’t even be able to go after him, unless he decided to cut his cast off. Which was a serious option if Sam did leave; there was no way he was going to just sit around if his brother was out walking around by himself.

“Sam?”

Still nothing. Damn it, he began struggling to get himself up off the couch, I swear to God, Sammy, if you left this cabin-

“Yeah, yeah, I’m right here,” The giant walked into the room, seeming shaken up about something, wringing his hands.

The blonde narrowed his eyes at his brother as he eased himself back down onto the couch, “Why didn’t you answer?”

“What do you mean?” Sam moved to help guide him back down, before sitting on the coffee table in front of him.

“I had to call you more than once.”

“So?”

So, I can’t just spring up and go after you if you don’t answer. I need to know you’re safe.”

“Okay, jeez I didn’t realize you being injured meant I had to stay confined,” His eyes began wandering off to the right, in the direction of the kitchen, behind my head.

“Damn it, Sam,” he punched the cushion beside him, making the youngest jump, “You have the devil making you see who knows what, and I’m down a leg, this is serious.”

“Okay, sorry, I was…,” Dean didn’t miss the way his eyes focused on something behind his head again, “distracted.”

“What were you doing?”

“Nothing.”

That came out a little faster than necessary, “You wanna try that again?”

He finally turned his gaze back to his brother, “I wasn’t doing anything.”

“Sam.”

“Dean.”

The brother’s stared at each other for a few minutes, before Dean sighed and Sam got up from the table, making his way into the kitchen.

Oh, that’s great, now he’s playing cops and robbers, the blonde leaned his head against the back of the couch again, doing his best to keep his eyes on him. If you’re seeing him now, there’s no way I’m leaving you alone, “What’re you doing?”

“Having sex.”

“Aw, dude, not on the table! And keep your special sauce away from the milk! I do not need that in my cereal.”

“Ugh, Dean,” Bitch Face Number Seven, looks pretty funny upside down, actually, “that’s disgusting!”

“Hey, you’re the one who’s having sex in the kitchen; I’m just giving you some parameters.”

He heard him let out a frustrated groan before padding toward one of the back rooms, that I can’t get to. Dean internally swore his brother for doing that – he knew he did it on purpose, wanting some alone time. But his alone time wasn’t just him, which was what Dean didn’t trust. He knew he was being a pain in the ass, but it’s not like he didn’t have a reason, and with his bum leg, he didn’t exactly have much else to do either.

He punched one of the cushions next to him again, “Shit!”

The blonde heard the creak of a door closing, and then… nothing. Not good.

“Sam?”

He ran a hand through his hair and grit his teeth, doing his best not to explode, why are you being such an ass about this? “Sam!”

“What the fuck do you want?”

Whoa, attitude much? “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Going to the bathroom! Is that okay with you Dad?”

Aaaand now you’re pissed. Great. “You sure that’s all you’re doing?”

“Oh, no, you’re right. I forgot to mention the person I dragged in here earlier to interrogate.”

How am I supposed to know what you’re doing if you don’t just tell me? Dean took a deep breath, running his hands through his hair, tugging at it out of frustration, you’re not this stupid, Sam. You know why I’m worried. He bit his lip and closed his eyes, I can’t believe I’m doing this, “…What’d he tell you?”

“Jesus Dean!”

He heard the toilet flush, at least he was telling the truth, before Sam reappeared, his hands shaking slightly.

“Ew, dude, there’s no way you washed your hands that fast,” the blonde threw one of the pillows at him, he won’t even leave you alone to go to the bathroom? Damn.

The younger sighed, letting the pillow fall to the floor before crossing his arms over his chest, avoiding his brothers’ gaze, “I’m not five, Dean.”

“You should still wash your hands, no matter how old you are, Sammy. C’mon, I thought I raised you better then that.”

Eye roll, well, that’s a step down from pissed, I guess, “Dean, look, I don’t need you to-”

“I got a hunt for you.” Bobby burst through the door, throwing a newspaper toward Sam.

Dean didn’t bother to hide the offended look from the eldest, “Anything non-leviathan related?”

“Are you ever that lucky?”

Sam’s eyes scanned the paper, stopping every second or third line to flick over to his left, hands twitching slightly, as if wanting to grab whatever he was looking at, before he returned to reading. He’s still here? Fuck… Dean gave Bobby a look, but the elder man either didn’t notice, or didn’t care anymore.

“So, Sam,” he noted the small jump at the sound of his voice, c’mon, Lucifer, at least give him five friggin’ minutes! “what’s it say?”

“What?”

“The hunt? Is it our kind of thing?” You can’t focus? No way are you leaving.

“Oh, right, uh, it just says a farmer couple went missing a couple of days ago, only thing anyone found was a swipe of black ooze on one of the windowsills. Claiming the couple just up and left for a vacation,” Sam threw the newspaper down on the table.

He walked back out of eyesight, now you’re just trying to piss me off, returning a moment later with a duffle slung over his shoulder, extending a hand to his brother to give him the keys. Dean’s eyebrows shot up and he shook his head. Sam huffed a breath and shifted his weight, giving his brother Bitch Face Number Four.

“No way Sam.” You really think I’m gonna let you go out on a hunt? After that?

“Dean, it’ll be quick, two, three days max.”

“No Sam, you’re not going alone, especially not on a Leviathan thing.”

“Hey,” Bobby cut in, “I can go with him, make sure he doesn’t get his head ripped off.”

“Oh c’mon Bobby, you can’t watch him,” Dean barely glanced at the older man.

“You wanna try that again, Son?”

“You’re reflexes ain’t what they used to be, half a second late, and Sam’ll be dead. Or worse.”

“Reflexes ain’t…?” Bobby huffed, eyebrows raising, “Is your cast cutting off the circulation to your brain or something, Boy?”

“Look, I,” he ran a hand through his hair in agitation, what is with everyone today? “that’s not what I meant.”

The eldest gave the blonde an expectant look.

Don’t make me say it, “Bobby, I just… If Sam’s going on a hunt, I’m going with him.”

“Since when don’t you trust me to watch the kid?”

“It’s not your job, alright?” You should already know this, why’re you making me spell it out for you?

“Uh, Dean?”

“Bobby, it’s not that I don’t trust you-”

“Dean-”

“I just – I’m going stir crazy here, not being able to leave, I need to burn off some of this energy, y’know?”

“Dean!”

“What?” He followed his eyes to the empty space where the youngest used to be standing, “Shit.”

He swung his cast leg off the couch and braced himself against the arm, getting ready to stand, “How the hell did he do that? You’re standing in front of the door.”

“There’s a back door at the end of the hall.”

I’m going to kill him, He hoisted himself up and gave a small laugh of triumph as he didn’t immediately fall back over, “Why didn’t you tell me that before?”

“Fine, next time I’ll give you a floor plan to the place,” he tossed his jacket at him before coming around to help.

“I got it,” the blonde swatted his hand away and thought of his next move, using the arm of the couch for support.

“He couldn’t have gotten far, he doesn’t have the keys to the Impala,” Bobby grabbed the crutches from the opposite wall and handed them over.

“Unless he hotwired it.” I swear to God, if you opened her up…

“We would’ve heard it start,” he yanked the door open and scanned the driveway for the vehicle anyway.

They were both half-way out the door when a creak from behind them made them stop and turn around.

“Uh, guys?” Sam came out of the back, shrugging his jacket on and took in the concerned look on their faces, “What? Did you decide I’m on lock down again?”

Dean moved as fast as he could back to the middle of room to hit his brother, “Don’t do that!”

Sam eyed his brother confused as he threw his duffle down on the small dining table, “Do what?”

“We thought you left for the hunt.” Bobby closed the door and helped the blonde back to the couch.

He made his way to the fridge, pulling out a couple of waters, “And neither of you realized I would’ve had to walk past you?”

“We thought you went out the back.” Dean flopped down with a sigh.

“There is no back way out of here.”

Dean glared at Bobby who just put his hands up in mock surrender and shrugged.

“My mistake.”

“Jesus, Bobby!”

“So,” the brunette stuffed the water bottles into his duffle before zipping it closed again and throwing it up on his shoulder, “can I go now?”

“No. You’re not going.”

“Dean-”

“No Sam. Let Bobby go. You can stay here and wait on me,” he gave his brother a thousand watt smile. No way am I letting you out of this house. Especially if you’re seeing Lucifer while you’re goddamn peeing.

Sam rolled his eyes and looked to Bobby, who was refusing to meet his eyes. Bobby sighed and snatched the paper off the coffee table before making his way back over to the door.

“I’ll call when I get there; let you know what I find.”

With that, Bobby disappeared out the door, leaving the brother’s alone. Sam made his way toward the back, rolling his eyes as he saw Dean tense.

He sighed and held up his duffle, “I’m going to put my stuff back.”

Dean waved a hand dismissively, letting him go before scrubbing a hand down his face, and letting out a deep sigh, fuck.

“Hey,” as soon as his brother got back into eyesight he hit him with another pillow, “go to the store?”

Sam caught this one and put it down on the dining table, “You sure I can do that by myself Dean?”

“No, but you’re here to wait on me, and me wants pie.” If you can do this by yourself, then we’ll see about letting you hunt. Definitely nothing Leviathan related, we’re starting you small. Salt n’ burns only.

Sam rolled his eyes and shook his head but walked toward the front door anyway.

“Hey, don’t forget these.” Dean threw him the keys. Bring him back in one piece for me, Baby.

“Yeah alright.”

“And some skin mags?”

“Anything else, your highness?” Sam turned back to him, bowing slightly.

Dean tapped his chin as if to think for a moment, “Pie! Definitely pie.”

“When do I ever not get you pie?”

The blonde opened his mouth to respond but closed it wordlessly, good point. He craned his neck to look at the kitchen behind him, “We might need some real food too.”

“Okay,” Sam had one hand on the doorknob, not even looking at him, eager, aren’t ya?

“And water, we’re down to the last case.”

“Fine.”

“And-”

Sam rolled his eyes, turning back to his brother, “Yes?”

“If you wreck the car,” he smirked at his brother, “I’ll kill you.”

“Yeah, alright. Can I go now?”

“Yeah you can go. I’m warning you now; if you’re not back in ten minutes I’m coming after you.”

“Dean, the store is fifteen minutes away at least, plus time to actually gather everything-”

“Oh, yeah, alright Mr. Cocky, you get half an hour then.”

Sam held up his hands in mock surrender before finally getting out the door, closing it behind him. Dean heard the Impala start up and rumble away, eyes on the clock, so he could time him.

He was serious, if Sam wasn’t back soon, he was going after him – he wasn’t just going to sit around while Lucifer had him doing who-knew-what to who-knew-who.

Dean leaned his head back against the couch, closing his eyes, don’t make me come after you.

 

 

“Dean!”

Dean jumped, startled, and looked around, trying to place himself. He relaxed slightly as he spotted Bobby over him, wait…

“Bobby?” He cleared his throat as he heard the grogginess of it.

“Where the hell’s your brother?”

“Supply run,” he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and stretched, “Did you forget something?”

“Forget something? Dean, I’ve been gone four days.”

“What?” He was definitely awake now.

Bobby flicked the light on, making Dean shield his eyes from the light, “I came back from the hunt to see the door unlocked, the Impala gone, you snoring on the couch and a lack of your mammoth of a brother.”

Fuck, he struggled to his feet, “Why didn’t you wake me up?”

“I got back yesterday, figured he was out on a supply run and waited to see if he’d come back. Gave the kid fifteen minutes from when I got in, when he didn’t show? I’ve been trying to wake you since.”

He is so dead. He started toward the door.

“Do you know where he went?”

“No, but I’ll start with the store and work my way up,” he reached into his pocket for the keys.

Fuck, I let him take the car! He banged a fist against the wall, “Can we take your truck?”

Bobby nodded, catching up to Dean, before running out the door. They climbed into his truck – needing to physically pull Dean half way into it first, which shaved off another couple minutes of catch-up time – before speeding off toward the store.

 

 

“C’mon Sam, I know you want to vent. Who better to listen than me?” Lucifer stretched his feet up onto the dash as they sped down the road, the youngest Winchester looking ready to explode, his grip on the steering wheel getting increasingly tighter.

“Leave me alone.” Sam pushed the palm of his left hand as hard as he could into the wheel.

Why can’t I just get some time to myself? Usually, Lucifer disappeared after a few minutes or he just hung around in the background, not really talking. But lately things had started to change – Sam would walk into a room to find him waiting there, actively trying to get him to respond, he seemed more in tune with the situation and would interject whenever there was a pause, and, perhaps the most annoying – the scar on his hand was pretty much useless.

“Don’t be mean, Sammy, I’m only trying to help.”

“I don’t want your help.”

“Oh c’mon,” Lucifer bumped his arm, “Tell me what’s bothering you about Big Bro.”

“It’s just-” he huffed, knuckles going white around the steering wheel, “He’s acting like I’m five. Like I can’t take care of myself. All the shit we’ve been through? And he just assumes I’m not able to handle this. I mean,” he pulled into the parking lot, “No offence but seeing you isn’t exactly the worst thing that’s happened to one of us, y’know?”

Lucifer nodded, “He has gotten more… controlling lately.”

“I know,” Sam got out of the car and made his way toward the entrance of the store, “I think it might be tied to losing Cas, but still…” he picked up a basket as they entered, pausing as Lucifer hopped into one of the carts, “… what’re you doing?”

“I’ve never rode in one before.”

Sam shook his head, replacing the basket, before making his way over to the cart, “You know they don’t go very fast, right? If you think riding in a car is slow – this’ll be ten times worse.”

Lucifer waved a dismissive hand at him before pointing to the doors, “Onward!”

Sam complied, making his way into the store pushing the cart, unable to ignore the thousand-watt smile the devil gave him.

“Don’t forget the pie, Sam.”

“I’m not gonna forget the pie,” he mentally cursed himself as a lady gave him a quizzical look as they passed, shit.

“What?” Lucifer turned to look at the lady, before turning back to the hunter, confused, “What’s wrong?”

Nothing, he turned down the produce aisle, throwing things into the cart occasionally.

“Ooohhh,” Lucifer nodded, “You don’t want to look crazy, got it.”

They turned down another aisle, Sam moving through it quickly, trying to find pie.

“Hold it!”

Sam stopped abruptly, glad the aisle was empty, “What the hell?”

Lucifer picked a box of Pop-Tarts up off the shelf, holding them out to show the hunter, “Can we get these?”

Sams’ brows furrowed in confusion, “Since when do angels need to eat? And since when do you like Pop-Tarts?”

Lucifer pet the box, “These are the best thing your kind has invented.”

“…Sure,” Sam held back his chuckle as the devil reached for another box, cradling both against his chest.

They continued shopping in silence for a while, before Sam doubled back on some of the aisles, scanning the signs above with frustration, “Where the hell is the pie?”

Lucifer pointed toward the back of the store, “Probably where it says Bakery?”

He stopped dumbfounded before shaking his head, of course, starting toward the back of the store.

He ducked as he heard a gunshot, before turning to the front of the store, eyes widening as he saw another him, “What the hell?”

“This is a robbery!” Clone-Sam yelled, firing two more shots into the ceiling, “Everybody down!” He made his way over to the cash, shooting some of the people in line, before throwing the cashier a bag, “Money, in!”

Sam was frozen to the spot, eyes fixed on the fake him, is it a shifter?

“H-hey!”

His head whipped around to the bakery counter, where a worker held their wall phone in his shaking hand, “D-don’t move!”

Shit, Sam quickly looked around, hoping for an exit.

“Psst,” Lucifer pointed to a door a few feet away.

Thank-you, he started toward it, doing his best to move as silently as he could, crouching down behind the cart. He stopped halfway, peeking over the cart at clone-him, who had moved on to another cashier.

“T-the police are on their way!”

Clone-Sams’ head whipped up at the yell, and, upon spotting the baker, his face twisted into an evil smile, “Good, tell them Sam Winchester says hi.” before shooting the man, eyes connecting with Sams’.

Shit, shit, shit, Sam continued toward the door, as he heard clone-him laugh. He turned just in time to see him jump up onto one of the counters, pointing his gun toward him, “Would’ya look at this? Seems we’ve got two of me!”

Fuck it, Sam stood, bolting for the door, bursting through it, as the alarm blared. He didn’t stop running until he reached the car, wrenching the door open before speeding away, “Fuck!”

 

 

“The Impalas’ not here,” Dean surveyed the parking lot from the truck, knuckles white around his cell, “Bobby, I don’t think he’s-” He cut himself off as he saw the older man come out of the front entrance to the grocery store, Sam in handcuffs.

Deans’ brows furrowed as he watched them get closer, his brother was smirking as they walked, like he wanted to get caught… Dean felt a boulder settle into his stomach as they reached the car and he winked, that’s definitely not Sammy.

 

 

“Yes!” Lucifer ran a hand through his hair, practically bouncing in the front seat, “Did you see that? Man, he was on fire!” His face was split into a giant grin and he turned to face the hunter, “There’s no way we can head back to the cabin now.”

Sam pulled the car off the road into an alley, eyeing the devil, “What’re you talking about?”

“Sam, everyone in that parking lot saw you get into this car. I bet there’s a BOLO out for it right now.”

“But… they would’ve caught me, I mean him… right?”

“You think whatever that was is gonna wait around for the police to show up and catch him? Or, isn’t it more likely he bolted not long after you did, and has a replica of the car?”

“Shit,” he rested his head against the steering wheel with a groan, “What am I supposed to do now?”

“C’mon Sam, what could be more fun then being on the lamb with the devil?” He clapped the giant on the shoulder before opening the door, “Come on, we gotta ditch this thing for a less conspicuous ride.”




 

“Where is he?”

Sam looked up, brows creasing slightly, “Sorry, what?”

“I said,” Dean took a few steps closer to his ‘brother’, hand tightening around his gun, “Where’s my brother?”

The giants’ expression softened and he smiled, gesturing to himself, “I’m right here, silly.”

“Uh-huh,” Dean dug his flask of holy water out of his jacket, eyeing the thing, “Then prove it.”

“Pfft, Dean,” Bitch Face Number Five – even that looked off.

He’d admit, the thing was pretty good at pretending to be his brother, but every so often, he would say, or react to something in a way that Sam just… wouldn’t. He couldn’t quite explain it, but he had a bad feeling that the thing in front of him wasn’t his brother.

The brunette sighed before grabbing for the flask, taking a big gulp of the holy water, pulling a face as he swallowed, “Ugh, dude, how old was that?”

The blonde replaced the flask before reaching for his knife, just as Bobby came back into the room.

The eldest looked to Dean, hand on his knife, “What kinda party am I missing in here?”

“Nothing,” Dean dropped his knife back into his pocket, “Hey Sam, why don’t you go fire up the grill for those steaks?”

“Sure thing!”

He waited until that thing was out of the kitchen before turning to the older man, “That’s not Sam.”

“C’mon, Boy,” Bobby dropped his voice and went to sit at the table, “What makes you so sure?”

“I don’t know,” he crossed his arms over his chest, “I just… it doesn’t feel like it’s him. He’s been acting weird ever since we picked him up at the grocery store.”

“Did you forget he’s got the devil riding shotgun? That’s gotta be doing a number on him.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Dean scrubbed a hand down his face with a sigh, “He’s just… different.”

“It’s bound to change him, Dean. But we’ll get him put together, and things’ll go back to normal. Now,” Bobby nodded toward the window, “why don’t you go help the kid with the barbeque before he lights himself on fire?”

Dean followed the mans’ gaze out the window and saw Sam standing in front of the barbeque, sniffing the lighter fluid. The blonde sighed but nodded, before heading outside.

 

 

“They gone?”

Lucifer peeked back out the motel curtain before nodding, “Yeah, they’re gone.”

“Jesus,” Sam ran both his hands through his hair, “That was close.”

“Too close,” Lucifer made his way back to the bed and jumped on it, “I told you we should’ve kept moving.”

“And I told you that I needed to sleep.”

“Aw, come on,” he waved a dismissive hand at the hunter, “You could’ve slept in the car.”

“You mean the fire red convertible you stole? Oh yeah, that would’ve been a way better hiding spot.”

“Y’know…” Lucifer sat up, voice careful, “I could always just keep you awake.”

“It’s been four days, excuse me for needing some shut eye.”

Lucifer shrugged, “Just saying. We coulda kept driving.”

Sam stifled a yawn, raising his eyebrows at the devil, “Wait…what do you mean you could ‘keep me awake’?”

“Well…” Lucifer averted his gaze to the floor, “You wouldn’t exactly like it, but it could be done.”

“What is it?”

“You know.”

“No, Lucifer I-” he cut himself off before shaking his head, “Demon blood? You’re not serious?”

Lucifer was standing next to him in an instant, “Don’t you remember how much sharper you were when you were on it, Sam? You were stronger, had faster reflexes, barely slept – you were a machine. You had to be – you were set to be my vessel, after all. Only a person of the utmost strength can contain me.”

Sam shook his head and got up, “No. No way. Dean would ha-” his eyes widened in realization, “Shit, Dean! He’s gotta be going nuts!”

“Wha-?” Lucifer starred as the hunter moved to the bed, grabbing his duffle, “Where are you going?”

Sam threw his clothes into the duffle before zipping it, making his way over to the door, grabbing his jacket, “Home.”

 

 

“I knew it!” Dean punched the thing in the face again, heaving.

The thing just laughed, spitting black goo onto the floor, “What do you want? A medal?”

The blonde pulled out Ruby’s knife, plunging it into it’s heart, “Fuck you!”

“Dean!” Bobby dragged the hunter away from the thing tied to the chair, “That won’t do anything.”

“I don’t care!”

“Hey! We need him to tell us where your brother is,” Bobby gave the younger a pointed look, “Think you can play nice until we get that information?”

Deans’ lip curled in anger but he nodded, taking a breath.

The Leviathan chuckled as it watched them, “Better listen to Daddy, Junior.”

“You son-of-a-bitch!” Dean surged forward, nearly falling over his broken leg. He hobbled closer to the creature, bringing his head down so they were more-or-less eyelevel, “I’m gonna have fun figuring out a way to kill you.”

 

 

“Sam! Look out!”

Sams’ eyes shot open and he swerved the car back into the right lane, heart hammering in his chest, as the horn of the oncoming car faded, “Fuck!” He pulled the car over to the side of the road and rubbed his hands over his face, “I-I can’t drive, I’m too tired. Ugh!” He rested his head on the steering wheel, what am I gonna do?

“There’s still that other-”

“Jesus, Lucifer!” He shot the devil a look before reaching for the coffee cup, tipping it up as far as he could, trying to get every last drop of caffeine he could.

“That’s a phrase I don’t think I’ve heard,” The devil smiled before snatching the cup from the hunter, “Sam, come on. We both know what you need, and it isn’t more caffeine.”

“No, I’m not gonna-”

“I’m not saying you’ve gotta go full black eyes again. Just drink enough to keep you awake enough to drive you back to the cabin without killing yourself, and then that’s it.”

Sam debated for a moment, brain foggy from lack of sleep.

“C’mon Sam, you have enough self control to handle just one cup, don’t you?”

“I…” he sighed before nodding, “Fine.”

 

 

“C’mon, Dean,” the creature sneered at him, black dripping out of his mouth, “We both know you can’t hurt me when I look like this.”

“Oh no?” Dean twisted the knife sticking out of its’ chest, face falling slightly as it didn’t cry out in pain.

“Oh, I’m sorry, were you waiting for this?” The Leviathan let out a cry of pain, before pointedly looking to the eldest, “Don’t tell me you taught him how to torture.”

Bobby glared, “Don’t worry. We got enough books to keep you busy for the next thousand or so years.”

“Ooohhh,” Leviathan-Sam smiled before turning back to Dean, “Let’s get started, then, shall we?”

 

 

“This doesn’t look good.”

Sam pulled up to the cabin slowly, noting the uncooked steaks on the barbeque and the open front door, “No, no it’s not.”

He got out of the car, gun at the ready as he approached the house, listening for any signs of movement. He made his way into the living room, eyes scanning the surrounding area for any sign of his brother or father figure. Feeling a sense of dread, he continued deeper into the cabin, feeling of dread growing as each bedroom he checked came up empty.

A whistle from Lucifer got him back into the hall, following the devils’ gaze to the floor, and the upturned carpet that revealed a trap door. This place has a basement? He opened the trap door and immediately heard his brother grunting, and it’s soundproof? He started down the steps as swiftly as he could without making too much noise. As he came down the stairs he saw his brother, getting choked out by what looked to be him.

Wait… what? He reached the bottom, and noted Bobby was laying on the floor, gash on his head preluding to why. He spotted the machete a few feet away and picked it up, before creeping up behind the creature, noting the black that was soaking the shirt it wore. Ah, his eyes met his brothers’, face melting into a relieved smile.

“Why’re you smiling?”

Momentarily stunned hearing his voice come out of the thing in front of him, he swung at its’ head with all the strength he had, the sound of flesh cutting filled the air before the head landed on the floor with a thud.

His brother dropped to the ground, cast making a dull crack as it hit the ground. Dean coughed a bit before propping himself up on his elbows, looking down at his freshly-freed leg, “Well… that’s one way to get a cast off.”

“Was that what I think it was?” Sam offered his brother a hand.

“Yep. Leviathan you,” Dean stumbled a bit before finding his footing and looking triumphant, “We picked it up at the supermarket.”

“And here I thought you could only get food there.”

The brothers’ turned to see Bobby sitting up, holding a rag to the gash on his head, “Whenever you princesses are done over there, I’ll just wait here… possibly bleeding out.”

Dean rolled his eyes before making his way over to the older man, “Yeah, yeah, don’t get your panties in a bunch. You’re the one who picked him up, remember?”

Bobby shook his head, “You’re not gonna let me live that one down, are ya?”

“Nope.” The blonde swung Bobbys’ one arm across his shoulders before helping him up, moving toward the stairs, “How could you of thought that thing was Sam?”

“Well excuse me. It looked like your brother, talked like your brother, and recognized me, I’ll be sure to test him in front of the cops next time.”

Sam stood over the Leviathans’ body, eyes fixated on the eyes, it looks so real…

“Of course it does,” Lucifer perched himself in the torture chair, following his gaze, “They’re one of the oldest creatures in creation. Dad didn’t feel the need to skimp on their powers.”

Sam kicked the head a bit further away from the body, shifting his body weight from one foot to the other, one hand closing around the flask in his pocket, keeping his voice low, “Do you think he noticed?”

“Your brother?” Lucifer laughed and shook his head, “Not likely. Dean’s not exactly the sharpest crayon in the box. It’ll probably take him a while to notice. Just don’t go disappearing for long stretches of time and leaving a trail of bodies behind like last time and you’ll be fine.”

“Sam?”

The youngests’ head whipped up at the call and he started toward the stairs, “Yeah?”

“Where’s my pie?”


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