Five Districts, Five Drugs

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Fanfiction
Title: Five Districts, Five Drugs (also known as 5D5D)
Author(s): rei_c
Date(s): December 2006-present
Length: 200,000 words+
Genre:
Fandom: Supernatural
External Links: 5D5D tag on rei_c's LJ]
podfic cover of Otherside by Cybel Harper

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Five Districts, Five Drugs is a series of five intertwined Supernatural Wincest AU stories written over several years by rei_c. The premise is simple: take two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) and confront them with multiple challenges, each differing in type and intensity, but keep the time-lines the same. In each series, Sam Winchester discovers he has supernatural (and sometimes dark) powers while away at school in Stanford, a fact he keeps secret from his family. He lives in different districts of the City of San Francisco, each with its own ethnic and cultural background and traditions. And in each series, Sam turns to a different drug to cope with his growing magical powers.

The stories all start at the same point (Dean going to find Sam at Stanford to help him in his search for their missing father). They also end at the same point with Dean being forced to choose between his father and his brother. What happens in between varies as the brothers wrestle with what does it mean to be non-human in a family than hunts and kills inhumane things. How does a family cope with addiction? Does the type of supernatural power make a difference? Are some types of addictions more or less damaging to the person and family or are they a necessary survival mechanism in highly unusual circumstances?

Portions of one of the series, Otherside,, have been recorded as podfics and can be heard here.

The Five Districts, Five Drugs

  • That Phantom World So Fair. The District: The Mission District, a predominantly Latino population. The Drug: Cocaine. The Supernatural Power: Brujo (a witch with psychic powers).
  • Otherside. The District: The Castro District, a predominantly gay and lesbian population. The Drug: Heroin. The Supernatural Power: Sexual persuasion.
  • Blue Like Heaven. The District: The Haight District, a predominantly student and alternative counter-culture community. The Drug: Opium. The Supernatural Power: 'Clairvoyance (Wiccan)
  • Down Darker and Darker Stairs. The District: Chinatown. The Drug: Yaba (a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine). The Supernatural Power: Can hear, see and talk to Supernatural creatures
  • Knowledge of Dead Secrets (also known as the KDS Universe). The District: French Quarter (near Chinatown). The Drug: Rohypnol. The Supernatural Power: Serving as a host to the loa (voodoo spirits).

and the final chapter that all five stories share: Five Districts, Five Drugs: The Epilogue

Author's Summary for a five stories: "Dean goes to pick Sam up from Stanford and ends up finding more than he bargained for."

Author's Notes

In the author notes, rei_c explains how the multiple plot strands came together: during an IM conversation with jellybean_slash, the two writers mused about what would take to get Sam addicted to drugs and what would Dean's reaction be? In their minds Sam's growing psychic visions would be the catalyst and Dean, once confronted with Sam's addiction would be desperate to find a way to fix him - both of the psychic powers and the drug addiction. How would he react when learns Sam does not want to be fixed and when Dean is viewed with suspicion and distrust by the people Sam has surrounded himself with. People who will always see Dean as an outsider trying to destroy their community and traditions? And a brother who now seems to be choosing to side with them against Dean and his family?

Shortly thereafter, rei_c posted an entry asking for peoples' favourite songs about drugs and compiled the first 5D5D mix-CD that night, along with the first few hundred words of That Phantom World So Fair, the scene where Dean watches Sam snort cocaine in the back of a bar. A few days later, maygra made a post in her journal about the lack of sex magic stories in fandom. From there rei_c began outlining the idea of a series of stories wherein there would be five novellas, all with the same beginning, the same ending, and roughly the same plot/timeline. [1]

Bibliography of Stories

That Phantom World So Far (The title is taken from the poem, "The Picture," by Samuel Coleridge).

Otherside (The title is taken from the Red Hot Chili Peppers song of the same name)

  • (Sex has come) Between Us, a pre-Otherside ficlet
  • (Love is Just a) Bloodsport, a pre-Otherside ficlet
  • One Night in Sodom, a pre-Otherside ficlet
  • Hours, a post-Otherside, post-epilogue ficlet
  • Minutes, the sequel to Hours
  • Seconds, the sequel to Minutes
  • Eternities, the sequel to Seconds

Blue Like Heaven (The title is taken from the Marcy Playground song "Opium")

  • The Hypocrite's Crime, a pre-Blue Like Heaven ficlet

Down Darker and Darker Stairs (The title is taken from the poem “Bavarian Gentians” by D.H. Lawrence)

Knowledge of Dead Secrets (The title is taken from T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, specifically "East Coker)

  • The Beginning of Knowledge, a pre-KDS ficlet
  • Regret, a post-KDS, pre-epilogue ficlet
  • Burden of Knowledge, a post-epilogue sequel to KDS
  • Knowing Danger, a post BoK ficlet
  • Hunting Knowledge, a post BoK, post Knowing Danger ficlet
  • Knowing Politics, a post Hunting Knowledge ficlet
  • Knowledge in Action, the Hurricane Katrina episode (in progress)
  • Fear of Knowledge, a K-Ville crossover
  • Ignorance of Knowledge, a Criminal Minds crossover
  • Recognition of Knowledge, a Criminal Minds crossover
  • Comfort of Knowledge, a Criminal Minds crossover
  • The Absence of Knowledge

Soundtrack

In 2007, rei_c posted a fanmix to accompany her Five Districts, Five Drugs series.

Reactions/Reviews

  • "This fic should be worshipped. The final story in the "Five Districts, Five Drugs" series. The sheer amount of research in this story amazes me. We get to see a completely different version of Sam, but he's still Sam. One of the best fics I've read in a LONG time." (reviewing Knowledge of Dead Secrets)[1]
  • "God, just amazing. Loved all the OC's as well, perfectly drawn characters who I felt absolutely drawn to. But the boys? Man, I feel like my heart has been broken into thousands of tiny pieces and then put back together with glue. The bond between the two of them was such a powerful thing in every one of these stories and you managed to make me feel the conflict running through both of them. PHENOMENAL. I can't even express how phenomenal." (commenting on the entire series)[2]
  • "I feel like I needed to learn a new language to really appreciate this one, but by the end of the story -- like total immersion -- I sort of had cobbled together a half-understanding that let me have at least a peek into the world that you'd created. I can't even imagine all the research that must have gone into KoDS, and how you managed to keep it all straight in your head as you wrote it...I am going to rec the HELL out of this series on my journal, and probably on any strangers I happen to bump into for quite some time. I don't use this word lightly, but this series? Is a frickin' MASTERPIECE. It should be required reading for anyone even considering dipping their toes in the Sam/Dean pool. Oh, if only I were King of the world. Brava, madame. Brava. ::standing ovation." (commenting on the entire series) [3]
  • "Rei is an incredible storyteller who weaves such intricate, wonderful worlds that you can easily get lost in for hours on end, and I keep going back to 5D5D because it sucks me in. Every. Single. Time....My favourite of the five, Knowledge of Dead Secrets deals with voudou and is such a wonderfully rich and dense story. It's followed by a sequel, Burden of Knowledge which in my mind even exceeds the original in its brilliance and is one of the most satisfying reads I've ever had." (commenting on the entire series)[4]
  • "Dear fic receptionist: do you have anything that tears your heart apart but then puts it back together in the end? Signed, Anonymous." "5d5d, all five of the stories are hopeless in the beginning but she brings it to a brighter place at the end." (antiquers.tumblr.com fic rec tag, dated December 2011. Now offline)[5]
  • "What is most fascinating is that you have this entirely original setting, a complete mythological storyline, you describe everything in such vivid details, and you still convey the angst and deep burning, need and the longing Sam and Dean feel for each other. You depict so well how they truly need each other and are one soul and then most powerful together. I am not able to express it well but I am just trying to say that every aspect of this story is strong." (comment in That Phantom World)[6]
  • "This one was the hardest of the series to read, I think because of Sam's horrific attitude toward Dean (though considering those flashbacks and Dean's unwillingness to make any connection with Sam in 3 years shows he might deserve a little of it). While with all of the stories there was at least a connection of being brothers, of some kind of acceptance, here there was only dirision and mockery. However, as the fic unfolded and you let us see some of Sam's motivations things began to make more sense, and made the whole situation all the more sad and haunting. The ending was terrific in that it was happy, because I really needed that!! But although I said that it was hard to read, it was still excellent. Were you trying to explore or debunk a part of Sam's personality or character with this fic?" (reader's question after reading Otherside)[7]
  • "And gosh, what a story you had to tell. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, to be honest. I loved it! It was gorgeously written and I couldn't look away, but it felt dangerous in a way that little fiction achieves. I was sort of reminded of the first time I read Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky and the reaction that provoked in me. (That is, by the way, one of the greatest novels I've ever read so, you know, COMPLIMENT.) I was so caught up in the madness of the story that it was hard to come back to washing dishes and taking out the trash, and I kind of feel the same way about Otherside. Sam is so piteously manipulative and Dean is so pathetic in his need and they're both brought so low by their love that it's rather shattering. I usually like to think of love as something that elevates, but you expertly showed the other side, the side that can degrade a person. The view is captivating but simultaneously hard to look at." (reader's comment to Otherside)[8]
  • "I really love the almost childlike simplicity you gave Sam, while making him so completely feral and dangerous. This story felt like it should be angsty, but it was really quite sweet. I enjoyed it immensely." (comment at Down Darker and Darker Stairs)[9]

References

  1. 5D5D - Behind the Scenes, Part One dated March 17, 2007; WebCite