The last place Sam Winchester expected to find his long-estranged brother was a John Oliver segment.
And yet that was precisely what happened that Sunday Night.
The theme of the week was omega rights, so naturally he and Sarah had decided to watch.
But Sam was not fated to take in much of the program, since only five minutes in, in a throwaway gag nevertheless, he saw Dean.
John Oliver was talking about “hope” states, where it was just possible that a more liberal Governor might be elected during the next term.
“And then there’s Kansas, where Fergus Crowley might – mind, I’m only saying this now just in case I can later say “I told you so” – actually take back the state from the Republicans in the upcoming elections.”
As an omega rights lawyer, Sam had of course heard about the Democrat after he’d decided to make them his signature issue. At the same time, he’d been a little suspicious, since not only had he never shown an interest before, but his contacts within the party had told him he had a certain ruthless reputation – and that he’d only become a Democrat to spite his mother.
“Of course he’s interested in omega rights, and not just because of politics – his whole mating story looks like the before and after pictures matchmaking services use to promote themselves. Do you happen to look like the weird uncle who’ll inevitably turn evil and betray everyone at the Democratic National Convention?”
A picture of Crowley dated 2007 appeared; Sam had to admit he looked out of place and decidedly moody amongst his own party members.
“Get mated and have a kid, it’ll fix it”.
Another picture, this one dated 2013, showed up. This time, Crowley was bouncing a baby up and down, looking decidedly happier and more accessible at the same time; as a matter of fact, he seemed to be conversing with Naomi Tapping, a well known pro-choice activist.
“Do you have problems with your kid?”
A picture of Crowley and what Sam assumed to be his then teenage son (he remembered vaguely that he’d been conceived during a one night stand and been brought up by his mother) arguing, this one taken in 2009. They couldn’t have looked less like family if they tried.
“Find a mate and you can bond over how cute their new siblings are”.
2017, Crowley and his son in a coffee shop. The son was holding an adorable toddler while Crowley was giving a bottle to the baby in his arms; there were smiles on both their face. It practically screamed “happy family”.
“Do you abhor these charity events you have to visit?”
Crowley sitting at a concert, 2010, an incredibly bored expression on his face.
“Let the arrow of love strike you. Congratulations. Every night is date night”.
2017: again, a concert, but Crowley was not sitting alone.
And that was how Sam learned what had become of his brother. Because that man, holding Crowley’s hand and being looked at adoringly by his mate, giving him a happy grin in return, was definitely the brother he’d walked away from when he had got into Stanford, and who’d been on his mind more and more often as the years passed.
“Sam?” Sarah asked, obviously concerned.
“It’s Dean” Sam forced out while John Oliver continued his segment, oblivious to what he had done.
“Fergus Crowley’s mate... It’s Dean, Sarah.”
“Are you sure?” she asked him gently.
He could only nod.
In the following days, he did all the research he could.
Dean Crowley – he’d taken his mate’s last name, so that’s why the Google searches he’d started in recent years had led to nothing – was a sculptor already pretty well-known in Kansas who was slowly gaining fame outside of his home state.
The few articles Sam could find about how he’d come to be Dean Crowley all pointed to Crowley’s own interviews as sources, so he decided to simply watch them.
First, he found an old one from 2009. Since they’d met in early 2011, he was about to click away, but then he became curious about the man his brother was mated to.
He didn’t like what he saw one bit.
Crowley was by no means rude, but much too smooth; exactly the kind of career politician Sam had always feared he was. He thought of Dean as he had left him, passionate, deeply loyal to his loved ones, quick to laugh and anger. Could he ever...
But it had been so long...
He shook his head.
On to the next interview.
This one was from about six months after they’d met.
And immediately, he was struck by the difference.
Crowley actually smiled and joked a little with the omega reporter, made sure she was comfortable with an alpha in such an enclosed space, and when asked about his private life just replied, “It is all very satisfactory”.
It reminded Sam a little of when he had first met Sarah.
Then, around the one-year-mark something must have gone wrong, because in one piece, Crowley looked as if he hadn’t slept in several days, all but bit the reporter’s head off when he asked whether he had any plans to be mated, and was generally angrier and more impolite than he had been before they met.
That apparently hadn’t lasted long though. In fact, just a few weeks later, Crowley had once and for all embarked on that transformation that was slowly making him the darling of Kansas voters, being more relaxed, open, and happier than he’d ever appeared before; and it wasn’t long before Dean began to accompany him at events, causing a small uproar in the state when people realized that yes, against their expectations Crowley was in fact courting a male omega.
They mated soon enough, Crowley announcing the fact at an interview as if he’d just won the most important election of his life.
The children soon followed; the elder one, a boy, was about four now, their baby girl only six months.
When Dean had presented as an omega, the doctor had told Dad it was unlikely he’d ever be able to bear children. Sam knew he’d always wanted them. He must have been ecstatic.
John Oliver had definitely been right about the pictures, too. He didn’t found a single one of them in which Crowley didn’t look absolutely smitten and Dean radiantly happy.
He then followed their twitter accounts and spent the next two weeks stalking his brother’s life from the sideline.
From a publicity standpoint, they were pretty clever. Neither revealing too much nor too little, and always careful to keep their children as much out of the limelight as possible.
But there was still enough for the gossip-thirsty public to fawn over.
For example, one day, Crowley had tweeted “Surprising the mate. Just knew he’d love this”.
It was a first edition of Slaughterhouse-Five that must have cost some money.
Dean had almost immediately retweeted it, commenting “Not much of a surprise now, peaches. Looks awesome, but you really shouldn’t spend all that hard-earned money on me ;)”.
To which Crowley’s reply had been another retweet: “And here I thought you were too busy with your masterpieces for your show next week to be on your phone all the time”.
“What can I say? I miss my mate. Mary and Bobby say hi to their Papa, by the way”.
The whole thread had gone viral, with such comments as “Omg look at these cuties #goals”, “Did you notice that not only is Kurt Vonnegut often called an “alpha author” but he also didn’t ask him why he wasn’t looking after their children? #WhatRealEqualityLooksLike”, and “Seriously, I can’t. Where can I buy a Fergus Crowley? #ForeverAloneBecauseTheyRuinedMeForAnyoneElse”.
Of course there were the usual negative reactions, but they were far outnumbered.
Then there was an incident that had taken place only two months prior, when an “alpha rights” activist had attacked Crowley with a knife; the alpha had taken him down together with his body guards, but had afterwards loosened his tie slightly. Normally, he was impeccably dressed, so that this had been the first time the public had seen his neck properly.
“Confirmed: Fergus Crowley believes in equality, wears bite mark” the caption of the picture read.
Sam had Sarah’s too, but way too few Alphas bothered to, claiming that it was quite enough to claim the omegas themselves.
Of course this had gone viral too, and Sam was beginning to ask himself how he’d ever managed not to see these things.
“Ashahdgjhasgfjhgf would you believe it #TrueLove” one tweeted, another “Can someone please tell me how to get your mate to accept the bite #ComeOnItsBeenTwoYears” and someone else “Please tell me there are pictures of Dean coming to get him after that #IHaveAMightyNeed.”
Of course there were, and Dean had shown up with both of their children, clearly upset; even Sam admitted that the photo of Dean and Crowley lying in each other’s arms and scenting each other to calm down was touching.
“You know, you could always just call Dean. His studio has a phone number” Sarah talked him after several agitated weeks.
“I –“ he stopped.
She was right.
What was the worst that could happen?
As it turned out, all his fears of Dean being opposed to seeing him again after all these years were unfounded. On the contrary.
The very next weekend found Dean, his mate and their children knocking on Sam’s and Sarah’s door.
“Sammy” he said, drawing him in his arms, Crowley having the good sense of introducing himself to Sarah while keeping an eye on the kids.
This of course was not the brother who, at twenty-two, had told him he was betraying his family by going to California without him or Dad; by the time their father had drunk himself to death five years later, Dean too had been gone from Lawrence, and no one had been able to tell Sam where he was.
“Didn’t expect you to call... but I’m gadl you did.”
With that, Dean introduced his mate and his children.
“Sam Winchester. I have heard a lot about you”.
“Mostly good things, I hope” he said carefully. If Crowley looking at Dean in pictures had been telling, Crowley looking at Dean in real life was even more so. It seemed like he was about to burst into song at any given moment.
Sam came to know him better on Sunday; Saturday of course was entirely giving up to catching up with Dean as well as he could; and even though he found much to regret at having lost contact with him for almost two decades, the happiness Dean displayed at his life, mate and children, was more than enough to make up for it.
He got to know Crowley better the next day, when they took the kids to the beach.
They talked about their work and the bill Crowley hoped he would eventually be able to introduce, getting rid of the strict unnecessary rules that had been placed on abortion clinics.
“You weren’t always this outspoken about omega rights” Sam eventually began, careful not to anger him.
Crowley looked over to where his mate and children were playing – or rather, his mate and his older child, while Sarah was holding the baby.
His face lit up.
“No, but things have somewhat changed since then”.
“Dean said you met at one of his shows”.
He also mentioned he noticed Crowley because the alpha followed him around the whole evening and he didn’t appreciate his posturing.
“Yes. And by God was I an idiot about it then. Thank God Dean taught me better ways”.
He really was a clever politician, but he was also deeply in love with his brother.
And that was enough for Sam.
“You know” he admitted to Dean shortly before they left, “I never would have pictured you as a Governor’s mate”.
“Not saying anything about Governor yet, Sammy” he answered, his eyes sparkling. “But really, I don’t mind. We can make the world a better place together. Common goals are important in any relationship.”
“So when will I be the brother of the First Gentleman?”
“Let’s call that one a long term goal”.
“Long term” in this case meant that eight years later Sam, Sarah and their children stood proudly next to Dean and his family at Crowley’s inauguration.