Dark Hunters

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What is a Dark Hunter? I wish I had a dollar for every time Dawn and I have been asked that! It began with a road trip that became a fanfiction story that snowballed into the most amazing family.

The thing you have to understand is that Dawn and I had never met in person when we started planning this trip. We met through Twitter and our mutual love of Supernatural. Many hours of calling, texting, and Skyping followed.

Have you ever met someone and you just clicked? This is what happened with Dawn and I. So it was nothing for her to make a 22 hour drive to meet me, her new sister, for the first time! Sister, I don’t use that word lightly. That is what Dawn is to me. Without her, this journey would never have happened. Without her, I would never have started writing again (my own Dark Hunters stories as well as others). Without her there would be no Dark Hunters.

Thank you Dawn, for being there through it all, the ups and downs, the crazy, the wacky, the tears and the joy. Thank you for having my back.

Dawn and I had no idea that what we started would turn into what it has become;or would go as far as it has. I’m looking forward to seeing where the road takes us next!

So, to answer your question, what is a Dark Hunter? It is so much more than a trip or a story, or two sisters for that matter. Read on and let Dawn’s words tell you where our journey began.

Deb White (AKA-Danni Danvers)

The Tale of Two Hunters - One Road Trip

The plans for the trip to drive out and meet Deb White weren’t fixed but there was definitely something brewing. Here’s what we knew so far: April vacation from school, a 22-hour road trip by car, one overnight stay at a hotel in Ohio, first full day in Tulsa, meeting Megan and Mary the Impala the next, and a photo shoot with the car. That was the set itinerary, at least in December. By the time that January had popped up more was added to it, checking out Stull (from the side… other side of the road) a trip to Lawrence, and overnight stay and dinner at the house the night we got back.

So what happens when a writer has way too much time to herself? She comes up with a “what if”. That’s right, this whole story began with a road trip and a “what if”, as in “what if the night I’m all by myself at the hotel in London, Ohio things happen and I run into Sam and Dean, I mean the real Sam and Dean? What do you think could possibly go wrong?” And that my friends, is the beginning of this adventure.

We decided on character names, the adventure was pretty much outlined, because who wouldn’t use an actual photo shoot with an actual replica of Baby in their story? All we needed was a name, and we hashed that out over a phone call at lunch one day from work. Sam and Dean were darker, they weren’t the boys in the show, they were just a bit more… haunted. They were Dark Hunters, and that, my friends, began the ball rolling.

Where it went from there was some place more amazing than we could have ever hoped. The story was written over the course of a month and a half time. 150k words and 33 chapters later, on February 22, 2017 the very first chapter of Dark Hunters was published on FanFiction, on March 3, 2017, it joined the many other works on Archive of Our Own. An epic adventure was beginning, not only for us, but for those who heard about it since conception.

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When Danni Met Ali

The story was completely published by the time I left my house in Massachusetts to start the 22-hour trip to Oklahoma, there wasn’t any surprises waiting for those who had followed along, nothing but pictures and the long awaited meeting between me and Deb, or Danni in the story.

The first 11-hours were spent between Massachusetts and Ohio, and mostly on the wireless call with Deb, that I found funny as it came over the speakers. I felt like I was on a Supernatural Road Trip, there were signs everywhere, most I chose to ignore, but the coffee, that was unnaturally good and kept me singing at the top of my lungs to classic rock power ballads, and some Shinedown.

Stopping for the night in London, Ohio, I was surprised to have made it in enough time to actually arrive at a Waffle House, right down the street from the motel at almost exactly 8:43 pm, the time that things started going just a little sideways in the story.

I took pictures, posted them, hashtagged them with fun little things like #DarkHunters #FunFacts so those who followed along really could follow along, because I put things about the story in the description. These pictures were worth more than the thousand words they brought to the page, they were bringing the words I had put down on paper to life.

The adventure continued with the fact that while there may have not been a black 67’ Impala outside my door, but a silver instead, I still found myself a little on edge. Seriously, I wanted to know if things were going to come flying through my window, but nothing of the sort happened. In the morning, I was back on the road and headed to Fred & Red’s Chili diner in Joplin, just like in the story, to meet up with my Supernatural Sister for the very first time.

The Strangeness of it All

It usually never is this easy, finding the tribe you always knew was out there, but that’s how it worked. A story, a fan fiction, was suddenly becoming family. The days spent together were beyond interesting. While the pivotal points of the story had been researched, the major places we were going were known to the both of us, we still found ourselves finding little oddities that we had never dreamed of seeing.

Impala Bridge (Chapter 13 in the story) wasn’t supposed to exist, but there it was. The park that they stopped at in Chapter 12 as a rest area had been closed forever but it was now open. The garage the boys camped out in was never actually shown to me, or described, yet there it was in living color right out my bedroom window and all I could do is imagine Sam standing there.

The entire trip was a strange and surreal experience but Deb and I wouldn’t have put anything past the universe at this point because look how far we had come. And it wasn’t done yet, we still had the opportunity to get to Lawrence, Kansas, and with that came the crazy story of Mary the Impala and our four hour photoshoot with her and Megan.

Imagine driving around Lawrence, home of our boys in the front seat, in SAM’S seat, watching traffic go by, seeing the town that Eric Kripke had deemed their hometown. That was something I never thought would happen. We stopped at the Airport Motel, went out by an abandoned house on a dirty road, took pictures by an old silo, it was intense to say the least, but it was so much fun. We met up again with Megan at Chicago in July, and it was like meeting family again, but more on that later. Let me tell you about Sam and Dean.

How Dark Can You Be?

Right away in the story I knew that this couldn’t just be Sam and Dean Winchester from the show, there had to be an edge about them, so as I said before, they became darker, with just a little bit of a twist. What if Sam’s visions didn’t start when he was 22, what if he had them right along? What if not only did Dean have to watch over Sam when John handed him the baby, but also had to help control him? What if those characters we knew and loved in the series didn’t die, or didn’t die in the same way as the show? How would that change them, what would they be like? And where did Dean get that scar on his cheek? Where was Cas? Where was John? What happened to Bobby?

Yes, in this one our boys are a bit more on the rough side, but they need to be because life doesn’t just hand you an apocalypse and tell you to deal with it, there will be some ramifications with dealing with Lucifer, some sort of backlash, some left over emotions that you can either deal with, or you don’t.

I wrote this while listening to the characters in my head, I wanted to let them tell me how they felt, how they handled things and from that came characters that started out as one pair and turned into something more than just the names and faces that we all came to love. They became their own people, like most do when you watch them or observe someone for so long. Dean was Dean but such a genius, nothing got by him, there was no way that he didn’t see everything that was going on. Sam was Sam but more brutal because he had to be, more pulled back because he couldn’t trust the way he should have been able to. There were reasons why they were the way they were and slowly, through the story, we watch those walls break down, we get to see under the surface, and maybe get a glimpse of who they were supposed to be before the monsters, before all the bad things happened.

Oh, yeah, and they had some interesting new toys in their arsenal...now that was fun. FanFiction.net link to the book. (this link contains all three books, even the last which is still being posted: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12378284/1/Dark-Hunters

Archive of Our Own, which has books 1 and 2 in one link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/10051526/chapters/22394840

And Book 3 (Remembrance which is still posting) in its own: http://archiveofourown.org/works/13216347/chapters/30231690

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The Road So Far and Con-nation

After the success of the road trip, things got crazy! Our Dark Hunters family was starting to grow by leaps and bound. People wanted to know how to become one. There is no becoming a hunter, you are one, but there are a few simple rules to follow, something that everyone should be practicing no matter what.

There is no judgement here, you ship who you ship and that’s fine with us. If you think Dean should be with the toaster, who are we to say no.

We encourage each other, because no one should be putting anyone else down, for any reason.

We are the hands in the darkness that reach out to pull you towards the light, and trust me, everyone who started out in this family has come from some very dark places, myself included. We embrace your weirdness, your normalcy, your way of doing things.

We love our artists, our poets, our painters, and our writers. The singers, the players and the rockstars. You may feel you are not creative in that sense but what you put out of yourself, we love that as well. We have healers and defenders, leaders and followers. We have met them all and we love them all.

The road so far has taken us from one side of the country back to the other. We’ve met the boys, supported the cast, hugged the vendors at the cons, become family with those we have only met through social media. From Chicago and Vancouver to Pittsburgh, New Orleans and San Francisco we have become a family of huggers, selfie-takers and when I hear my name shouted out from the crowd, it’s only ever met with love.

Our family has even grown to include a few of the Supernatural cast and I’m sure anyone who was at Friday Night Karaoke in San Francisco would remember the shout out from stage. That was the first time that this became more real to me than I could have ever imagined. Deb and I never thought it would get that far, this far.

We even have our own official family logo: https://www.redbubble.com/people/dgray3994/works/26520497-dark-hunters-official-logo

Meeting Family

“If you see me at a con, don’t be afraid to ask for a hug!” It has always been that way from the get go,for both myself and Deb, but it has turned into so much more than that. Through random acts of kindness and the help of Creation Entertainment and their awesome staff, and IamAlive, we have stepped up and helped people during cons that would have gone unnoticed.

In Pittsburgh, I had the pleasure, along with other members of the Hunters, to make it an exceptionally special time for one young lady and her father by arranging for her to meet the boys, get autographs, make sure they had what they needed to enjoy the day, like food and water, because this young woman was not only Wayward AF, but she was a fighter, and she still fights today but there is never a promise of a future, or a future con for her. This one needed to be special.

In San Francisco, I proudly watched one of our Hunters take her IamAlive training to the next level by helping someone in need. Was she there as a volunteer, no, she was a con-goer just like the rest of us, but she stepped up, she made the difference, and she made us proud.

In NOLA, we met the most wildest people, but the one I will never forget is Liz herself from Little Pops Workshop. Months before she had designed a pop for Ali and Danni, the characters in the books and we had followed her straight through, she had become family, so when she had donated her autographed Cas for the Hurricane relief, we couldn’t let that deed go unrecognized or unrewarded and Deb and I had to make sure that this fine woman didn’t miss out. With Deb’s pop and my auto, Liz went home with an autographed Castiel pop, signed by Misha. She put her trust in us to deliver Alex his very own Little Jack pop, so I made sure not only did he get his own, but that Liz got hers autoed. The look on his face was priceless.

This is what family should be doing, not just for family members but for everyone. Support, encourage, lift up... love.

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Dark Hunters Day and SPNLV

Happy #DarkHuntersDay 2.22.18!!! The anniversary of the start of Dark Hunters falls on the first day of Las Vegas this year and we are happy to have a group get together while there to celebrate. It has special meaning not only to myself and Deb but to those who have become part of the family. It’s our first chance to meet some who are traveling from across the ocean to be there, and we can’t wait to celebrate our first year together.

No matter what comes of this, we will always be Supernatural Family. Our boys, the cast, the crew and now with the spin-off of Wayward Sisters happening, our family needs more togetherness. We need to bring everything, everyone to the same place and do what family does, support one another, so there will definitely be pictures from the Dark Hunters Gathering to share with the page.

What Family Means to Me: Members voice their thoughts on Dark Hunters

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We all come from different backgrounds, even from different countries. The reach of Dark Hunters is spread far and wide, but we don’t hold back when we embrace someone. Everyone is welcomed into the fold, and it is always amazing to see what we can do for others around us.

A small core group covered the United States, Canada and stretched across the seas to the Netherlands and Switzerland. Although these members were not unfamiliar with the stories that I had been publishing on FanFiction and Archive of Our Own, they were still a new to one another. As we grew in strength, we found a common bond that acted as a glue that only made it harder to separate, that inevitably brought us closer. The group expanded, more people flocked to the energy that these amazing people put out, and what we couldn’t supply in helping hands and kind words, we sent out in prayer and much needed contact.

Our efforts to band together brought us some very special people. In an act of kindness, knowing that he was about to head out on his very first convention, the Dark Hunters group decided that we needed to help make David Haydn-Jones feel welcomed, in light of the fact that he played a villian most people were beginning to dislike.

A care package was given to him by one of our members at his first con, and she was able to spend time with him, letting him know that we were there for him. David had become an honorary member of Dark Hunters and he was very proud of this, even taking the gift he was given to his next con as a way to feel loved and encouraged.

In San Francisco, David was presented with his own Dark Hunters family shirt and was proud enough to announce the hunters on stage at Friday night Karaoke, introducing another honorary member, Carrie Genzel, to the stage. Needless to say, we were in shock and very honored to be recognized. San Francisco also gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of our members, and both David and Carrie all for the first time.

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Carrie became a member as she worked with two of our fantastic girls on her #Slay project, which includes a blog and merchandise that benefits different charities. Carrie is a very active member in the Dark Hunters community and we love her daily encouragements, even get a smile at some of the responses to posts that brighten everyone’s day.

When asked to comment on what family means to you, I was lovingly surprised at the responses that I received about our not-so-little family. It has grown in leap and bounds since it’s conception and we’re thrilled to be celebrating Dark Hunters Day on February 22, 2018 at the Supernatural Convention in Las Vegas.

Words from some of our family members.

These wonderful women, came to me at a time when I couldn't get any lower. When my life was unravelling into despair. I met these inspiring women who in one way or another have experienced pain, hurt, insanity, and every other negative emotion out there. We have proven that together we can become better versions of ourselves. They changed my life. In them, I found acceptance, selflessness, strength, sisterhood, unconditional love. We found each other through fate. We will Always uplift, Fight for, Wish only the best for, and love one another. We are Family... Because we choose to be. We are #DarkHunters. - Shifu

It started with two wonderful women and one amazing story. Each one of us reading the story found strength in those words. We found a connection on a deeper level. Even though each of us has come from a different place, we found that each demon slayed was another spark of hope. For me, it cut through the darkness and loneliness to show me a family waiting to fight this battle alongside me. This support has helped me through some rough times. I’m positive they will be there everyday to keep slaying and celebrating with me. It’s that support that helps me move forward to take on bigger monsters. For me, that is what a FAMILY does. - Arrow

You asked me how DarkHunters helped me. It started with just the story. Something to look forward to every week. A new chapter. After a while we started talking, women that just like me fell in love with the story. Sharing our happy, sad, exciting and difficult times. We helped each other through them and before I knew it we were family. I gained a family. A family that gave me courage to follow my dreams and confidence to pursue them. A family that loves unconditionally. A family that will stick up for each other and those we love. DarkHunters helped me realize I truly am not alone, family really doesn’t end with blood and always has your back. - Willeke

That feeling of loneliness that takes over your body. The feeling of not being enough. Can be easily slashed to pieces with just one story. When 2 badass women go and fight Demons with the help of our boys. Now how does this help? You see part of this amazing Spnfamily was brought together by this story and we all became these two badass ladies of each other. We pick up and slay the demons that are hurting our fellow Hunters. We hold each other up when we see each other falling. We are a family of nothing but support for anyone who wants to spread love in this world. We are unstoppable. - Loki

The #DarkHunters family was actually more of an evolution in my mind because we were already together but under the Dark Hunters story, we were able to better define who and what our family stood for. We protect. We nurture. We uplift and encourage. We spread love and positivity anywhere we can. We embrace kindred souls and fight the darkness with our own brand of light that no one can extinguish. We are dark hunters.... come take our hand. We got you. - Janessa

During my stay in Barcelona, to follow an art class, I was feeling lost and lonely in this big city. With their kind words,encouragement, fun little gif exchanges and checking up on me every day, the #Darkhunters family helped me through the difficult time I had there. Brought me from darkness into light. Then the magical stories of Dawn and Deb came to life, what a glorious gift, to read about the adventures of 2 badass sisters, slaying monsters and vampires, sticking together in difficult times. And somehow the Dark Hunters family became these 2 sisters, we help each other up when it gets to hard to go alone, we share our joys, revel in each others successes, encourage each other to go beyond what we think we can do. Never in my whole life have I received this much love, have people believed in me so completely. I feel so grateful to be part of this family that is not bound by blood, but by love - Katerina

To me, the Dark Hunters family is home. It's where I can go when everything else is too heavy to carry on my own. It's Acceptance and Support whether it's a high or low. It's a kind word when you're sick. It's a critical eye on how to handle a problem. It's someone having your back and lifting you up for your accomplishments. Its a smile when you need it and I shoulder to cry on. The Dark Hunters family is about standing together against the darkness in this world and being a force of love. - Heather '

Fan Art, Pop Heads and Blades Oh My

I'm always amazed at what happens when people find something they love. It never occurred to me that the Dark Hunters story would be anymore than just that, a story, but as time passed and things began to happen, curiosity grew, I started to find out that not only did it have a following, it also had fans that were quickly becoming family, and with that also came the fan art. Here are some of the amazing things happening with it from our family members, and this isn't all, there are people who cosplay AND write their own spin-off fanfictions.

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Along with the cover image up at the top of the page, this was made by fan Heather Middleton for book two in the series. Heather has completed every cover that is tagged in the Twitter links to the book chapters.

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Made by Little Pop Workshop as a custom set. A lot of discussion and preparation went into getting these girls just the way we envisioned them. The Impala behind them is a custom made piece as well from two high school seniors as a project. Custom Pops and some of our favorite stars are captured in amazing detail on Little Pop's Etsy page. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittlePopWorkshop

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One of the biggest things to me is to see the characters come to life through other people's artistic expression. For those who follow the Dark Hunters on Twitter, anyone would recognize the handy work of Katerina. Early on in the series of three books, she managed to bring all three boys to life. Cas and his uncertainty as he explores the world through Ali and Danni's eyes. This brings the Castiel we know and love on the series into a whole new light. Where he has been beside the boys the whole time on the show, things have been strained between them in the books. With the boys themselves, there are differences. Dean is darker and harder, not trusting as easy, nothing we haven't seen on the show but in the stories, he carries a mark that he won't let go, a scar under his left eye, just barely there on his cheekbone. Sam himself is darker, closing himself off, having to hold back emotions and anger due to a past we aren't aware of as the story begins. Katerina has captured them perfectly. More of Katerina's creations can be found on her redbubble site. https://www.redbubble.com/people/katerinak