Chapter 1: Beginnings
Two weeks before semester starts, Professor Robert Singer is sitting at the counter of a bar in downtown Amherst, drinking whiskey and idly watching the baseball game on the bar television. Someone takes the stool next to his, and orders. “A glass of scotch, on the rocks; top shelf, if you’ve got anything good.”
The voice belongs to a young man, English, if the accent’s anything to go by. Probably a graduate student, if he’s in town over the summer. Might be slightly unethical to sleep with a grad student, but then again, Bobby’s worked his way through most of a bottle of the cheapest shit money can buy and it’s still not killed the loneliness.
Bobby offers the kid a cheesy conversation starter, and yep, there’s the long, slow measuring gaze of someone who’s interested, but not entirely sure that a hook-up is what’s on the table. Bobby expects this to be a bit of a dance around, the kid not wanting to assume and him not wanting to be too forward about it.
“Well, I’m game if you are. Got a place we can go to, or is this gonna be a back alley blowjob?”
Bobby re-evaluates the kid’s confidence level, mentally marking him up several points, and mentions he lives a few blocks from campus.
“Sounds like we’ve got a deal then. The name’s Crowley.” ‘Crowley’ drains his glass of Scotch and pays for it, looking expectantly over at Bobby.
“Bobby.” He pays his tab, nodding at the bartender, who waves back.
It’s not a long walk to Bobby’s house, and Crowley’s a good conversation partner; the man knows how to tell a story.
They’re barely through the door before Crowley drops to his knees, and Christ, Bobby hadn’t expected such a talented tongue in a kid in his mid-twenties.
Bobby wakes up naked and pleasantly sore, and that’s such an oddity that he opens his eyes. There’s a slightly possessive arm around his stomach, and an equally naked Crowley sprawled out next to him. He groans and gets up, craving his morning dose of coffee. He’s not quite thinking clearly when he leaves the bedroom door open, and is halfway down the stairs when he hears the barking of his very-much-a-one-man-dog Rottweiler. He’s expecting a scream as he runs up the stairs, but he only hears a commanding yell of “DOWN!” followed by a quieter “Who’s a good boy?” and the whuffing that means his normally irritable dog has made a new friend.
“How the fuck’d you do that?” Bobby asks, and Crowley laughs.
“Just got a knack for dogs. My nanny was an English mastiff the size of a small horse. You get used to it.” He smirks and raises an eyebrow. “So, if I’ve passed the dog test, does that mean I can stay for breakfast?”
Bobby rolls his eyes. “Eggs and bacon. I’ll be downstairs.”
It was supposed to be a one-night-stand, but anyone who ate his food, liked his dogs, and was as much a demon in the sack as Crowley… well, Bobby could get used to having the kid around.
Chapter 2: Accusation
It turns out that Crowley is not in fact a grad student. Oops.
So. Umm. I have quite a lot of feels for this verse, and since I got a pretty good response about the verse on the last one, I’m going to keep writing in it. This one was actually intended for yesterday, but due to being sick, I didn’t get to finish it. Much thanks to ladyknightofhollyrose and frequentlynotonboats for betaing! :D
The first day of classes is usually one of the easiest for Bobby. With the lectures, it’s mostly weeding out the kids who’re just there to fuck around and heard he has a fun class that fills the Historical Studies general graduation requirement. He much prefers the upper-level classes: he runs two seminars that are part of the requirements for history majors, and a research oriented class that the theology and religious studies majors are required to take for their senior theses.
His only class on the first Monday of the semester is a lecture, full of freshmen and a couple of the sophomore history majors that hadn’t taken his class yet. It goes off without a hitch, which should have been a warning bell. Bobby’s gathering his papers at the front desk, answering questions from the curious students, and unclipping the microphone from his collar when all of a sudden Crowley is standing in front of him, the last person in the classroom.
“What the seven hells are you doing here?” Bobby can’t help the accusatory tone in his voice.
Crowley raises an eyebrow. “Why are you teaching my class?” he fires back, and Bobby should’ve known Crowley wasn’t going to take any of that crap.
“You’re an underclassman?”
“Darling, look at me. Of course not.”
“You gotta stop calling me that.”
“You haven’t cared for the past two weeks.” Crowley rolls his eyes. “Are we really going to do this? Here?” He sighs impatiently. “I’m a senior. I’m 23. I’d no more idea than you did that you were my professor, as my schedule does list a Robert Singer, and let’s be reasonable: Until today I knew you were a good fuck, fun to talk to, and liked dogs; I didn’t know your last name until you walked into the classroom an hour ago and you still don’t know my first name.”
“We can’t do this.”
“Of course we can, love. We just can’t get caught. And while I am exactly the type to use any advantage I’ve got, you ‘re the type who wouldn’t give them to me out of sheer stubbornness. So I think we’re fine.”
Bobby ran his fingers through his short hair and weighed his options. He’s still thinking when Crowley speaks again.
“Look, I’ve got two weeks until the add/drop period ends. If we’re still fucking then, which seems likely, and you still don’t want me in your class, I’ll find another class. A class I’m taking to fulfill a requirement versus keeping the best lay I’ve had in awhile? Not even a question.”
“Are we still meeting up at your place tonight?” It’s strange, hearing the hopeful note in Crowley’s voice.
“… what’s your first name?” Bobby asks, but there’s a resigned tone to his voice that tells Crowley exactly what he wants to know.
Crowley laughs. “I guess you’ll find out tonight, won’t you?” Crowley’s bag swings around as he spins and strides up the aisle to the doors at the back of the lecture hall. He stops and blows an exaggerated kiss back at Bobby before he disappears through the doors.
Chapter 3: Restless
Crowley occasionally has nightmares.
More of this verse, because I wanted more dogs. And, actually this one is also for yesterday, but it’s a different yesterday than the last one I posted. XD Much thanks to frequentlynotonboats for beta-ing! :D
Crowley wakes up at 4am, sweating lightly and breathing hard. His heart is pounding and he knows he won’t get back to sleep. Crowley rolls out of bed, careful not to disturb Bobby who’s still asleep next to him. Crowley creeps down the stairs, trying to be quiet, trying to decide what to do for the rest of the night.
He settles in the living room (it’d be more accurately called a library, as Bobby’s stuffed bookshelves into every available foot of wall space, but since it has the couch and a TV, Bobby insists it’s the living room), splaying himself out on the comfortably worn couch flicking the channel to an all night news station. It takes him approximately ten minutes to get so restless that he has to get up. He wanders out to the kitchen and fills a glass with water from the tap, and sits at the tiny kitchen table trying not to think about his dreams. The water is gone all too quickly, and Crowley is aimlessly tapping his fingers on the wooden table when he hears the lumbering footsteps of one of Bobby’s three dogs.
It’s the Rottweiler he met on his first morning here, whose name he now knows is Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld pads over to him, sticking his enormous head in Crowley’s lap. Rumsfeld gazes soulfully up at Crowley, his brown eyes begging for affection. Crowley laughs, and gives it to him, scratching in just the right spot behind the dog’s floppy ears. When Rumsfeld’s thick tail begins to whump against the kitchen floor Crowley pushes the dog’s head off his lap and leads him into the living room.
Crowley falls onto the couch, arranging himself comfortably before patting the cushion next to him. Bobby doesn’t usually let the dogs up on the furniture, but Crowley thinks that just this once he won’t mind. Rumsfeld clambers onto the couch, flopping his head on Crowley’s stomach and acting as a living blanket.
It takes Rumsfeld five minutes of having his head scratched to fall deeply asleep on top of Crowley; it doesn’t take much longer for Crowley to fall asleep after that.
Bobby wakes up in the morning to find that he’s the only one in his bed, and after ten years of being a widower and only a few weeks of having a fuck buddy-slash- friend-slash-drinking buddy who rarely seemed to leave, it’s odd how empty the bed feels. Crowley usually likes the luxury of sleeping in on the weekends, but Bobby just figures he’ll get an explanatory text at some point and heads downstairs to get a cup of coffee.
He’s stopped in his tracks by the scene in the living room, barely able to keep himself from laughing: Crowley is buried on the sofa under a pile of dogs. Rumsfeld is lying flopped on top of his legs, McNamara (a Jack Russell Terrier) is sleeping on his chest, and Laird (a lanky Irish Wolfhound) is curled up at his feet.
Bobby just grins, and goes to make breakfast.
Chapter 4: Snowflake
In which Bobby is (probably justifiably) paranoid, and Crowley insists that they have public interactions anyway. Also, ice cream is delicious.
So, this drabble is a good time to address the fact that the locations in this verse are real (with the exception of Bobby’s house), they’re awesome, and I own none of them. Today’s drabble takes place in Bart’s Ice Cream, which is amazing, and if you’re in Amherst, MA, I highly recommend it.
Also, I went with ice cream as a prompt, instead of snowflake, since it’s vaguely related, and even in New England it doesn’t usually snow in September/early October.
Much thanks to eightertrek and featheredpranks for betaing~
Crowley is sitting in a booth, laughing with Balthazar at a particularly funny joke of Gabriel’s, when Bobby walks in. They’re at the ice cream place on the main street of Amherst, one that’s a particular favorite of the student body. It’s just around the corner from Bobby’s house, so it’s not exactly a surprise to see him around.
Crowley waves at his friend, motioning that Bobby should join them. Bobby glances at the table, gives a short wave back, but otherwise ignores them.
Gabriel and Balthazar laugh at him, but Crowley casually flips them off and slides out of the booth. He walks up behind Bobby and says “You know, no one is going to arrest you for having ice cream with a group of students?”
Bobby jumps. “Jesus Christ, you need a bell.”
“Only if I get the collar to go with it, love.”
“We’re in public! Tone it down.” Bobby hisses under his breath, and Crowley just looks at him.
“Okay, one, everyone who knows me, which is everyone by the way, knows that I am a flirt; everything I’ve just said would be categorized as me being the flirtatious bastard I am. Two, unless I started blowing you under the table, no one would care. Three, even if my friends suspected that we’re fucking, they wouldn’t actually care: Balthazar would ask to join and Gabriel would ask to film us. Four, it is not a crime to run into students off campus and join them for ice cream, and five, I want you to meet my friends, and if you do I’ll reward you later.”
Bobby sighs, and scratches the back of his neck in an attempt to relieve the tension. “Yeah. Alright. Let me get my ice cream.”
“Perfect.” Crowley’s small smile nearly radiates smugness, and Bobby can’t figure out how he manages to look so damn pleased with himself.
“And you shouldn’t hafta reward me for not being stupid. So, I’ll be the one rewarding you later.”
For a second Crowley’s normally perfect composure shakes, and Bobby’s going to remember the look of honest, pleased shock on lover’s face for a long time. Then Crowley recovers himself, smirks, and says “I’m looking forward to it.”
Crowley slides back into the booth, leaving Bobby to order his ice cream, and says “Play nice. I like this one.” Gabriel and Balthazar exchange glances that mean they’re going to talk about this later, but they mostly abide by Crowley’s wishes. If some of their stories are a little more risqué than they’d usually bring up in front of a professor, or if a few teasing comments are designed to get under Bobby’s skin, well, anyone Crowley actually likes has to survive the gauntlet before getting their approval.
Chapter 5: Haze
Bobby rewards Crowley after ‘Snowflake’.
So. Uh. My first attempt at writing porn. I am /so so sorry/. Many thanks to the village of people it took to encourage me to write this. Endless thanks to ladyknightofhollyrose who put up with my whining and flailing and edited this, despite her incredibly busy schedule.
After ice cream, Crowley and Bobby return home for the evening, chatting as they stroll the few blocks from the ice cream parlor to Bobby’s house. Bobby lets Crowley unlock the door, using the key that he had given him only a few weeks earlier. Crowley smiles- and it’s an honest smile, even if it is a small, secretive one. Seeing Crowley delight in something so small, seeing him honestly happy… Bobby lets Crowley unlock the door whenever they get home together. Even though Crowley has only had the house key for a few weeks, it feels like he spends more nights at Bobby’s house than he does in his dorm; it’s what prompted Bobby to make him a house key in the first place.
Crowley slips in through the door, dropping his laptop bag on the kitchen table before turning to flop gracefully (and how he managed that was something that Bobby still couldn’t figure out, but it was certainly one of his more attractive features) on the armchair in the living room. Crowley looks at him and raises an eyebrow.
“I believe I was promised a reward.”
Bobby scoffs, but there’s warmth in his voice when he says “You think you deserve a reward?”
“I always think I deserve a reward, but I believe this one was your idea.”
“Gimme your jacket.”
“It’s a blazer. I’m a business major; we’re required to dress nicely.” Crowley complains, but hands the jacket to Bobby and unbuttons the first few buttons of his dress shirt. After hanging the jacket on the back of the armchair, Bobby leans down to kiss his lover. Crowley kisses back, helping Bobby out of his plaid over shirt. He nips teasingly at Bobby’s lower lip, sucking gently and unable to prevent himself from grinning. Bobby kneels between Crowley’s legs, unzipping his dress pants, and tugging them down his hips. He pauses.
“We waiting for Christmas love? On with it.”
“Jesus Christ, shut the fuck up.” Bobby ducks his head, mouthing at Crowley’s dick through his boxers. Crowley shuts up. He grinds his hips up into Bobby’s face, and Bobby moves his head back. “Not gonna get away with it that easily, darlin’.” He exhales on the wet spot on Crowley’s shorts, and he can hear Crowley stifling a whimper. He frees Crowley’s shaft from his boxers, and grasps it, stroking gently.
“God, I’m not going to break, love, harder.”
“Supposed to be a reward.”
“Well, if I die of blu-” Crowley chokes out a moan as Bobby swallows the head of his cock. Bobby slips the blade of his tongue under Crowley’s foreskin, and the odd sensation is worth it when Crowley gasps helplessly; the sound goes straight to Bobby’s cock and he’s starting to get hard himself. Bobby drags the foreskin back, sliding it down Crowley’s shaft. He follows it with his mouth, taking in as much of Crowley as he can handle and sucking, hollowing out his cheeks.
“Fuck, fuck, oh fucking Christ, Bobby!” Crowley’s hands are grasping at Bobby’s short hair; his hips bucking into Bobby’s mouth. Bobby swallows around the discomfort and is rewarded with a groan; he can feel pre-cum dripping down his throat and he wraps his fingers tightly around Crowley’s cock, jerking him off.
“Oh, more, more please.” Crowley moans, clutching at the back of Bobby’s head and dragging him closer, bucking his hips up and fucking Bobby’s face. Bobby lets him for a moment, taking a second to enjoy the sight of his normally composed lover reduced to someone so desperate and then he pulls back, letting Crowley’s cock slip out of his mouth with a wet pop.
“No, fucking fuck no!” Crowley barely has time to moan his disapproval before Bobby leans even further forward and sucks Crowley’s balls into his mouth. Bobby is nearly shaking with his own need and reaches down, unzipping his jeans- his motions are frantic, and he’s jacking himself off even as he rolls Crowley’s balls around his mouth. His other hand plays with Crowley’s cock, thumbing the tip. His fingers are gliding over Crowley’s shaft, sliding painfully slowly, and his touch is torturously light. Crowley lets go of Bobby’s hair with a growl, knocking Bobby’s hand away from his cock and he strokes himself desperately. It only takes a few short tugs and Crowley comes with a sharp cry, spilling himself on Bobby’s face.
Bobby leans back, still achingly hard and wipes some of Crowley’s come off his face. “You gonna help me with this, or am I alone on this one?” Crowley looks down at him, his eyes still half-lidded and hazy with pleasure. Bobby is instantly wary, because all of a sudden Crowley is smiling and the only word to describe it is devilish.
It only takes Crowley a second to slide out of the arm chair, and somehow, with that serpentine grace, covered in sweat, and breathing hard he’s the most amazing thing Bobby’s ever seen. He pushes Bobby back and lies between his legs, and although the angle is one Bobby wouldn’t dream of trying, Crowley effortlessly takes Bobby’s cock halfway down his throat. Bobby’s hips jerk upward and Crowley holds his lover down as his tongue traces meaningless patterns on Bobby’s shaft. Bobby’s swearing under his breath, and then Crowley constricts his throat, his eyes never leaving Bobby’s and Bobby comes hard. He bites his lip to keep himself from shouting as Crowley swallows, then exhales unsteadily as Crowley licks every drop of come off his cock.
Bobby is nearly breathless, but manages to ask: “Enough of a reward?”
Crowley’s eyes lazily flicker over to Bobby from where he’s cleaning himself up. “Love, if I’d known that was what awaited me, I’d have told Gabe and Balthazar to bugger off.”
Chapter 6: Flame
This originally started as a short piece about Crowley enjoying topping from the bottom. It ended up more as a thousand words of headcanon about their sex lives in story form.
I actually have warnings for this one? Shocker. And more pairings. Anway: warnings are for mentions of homophobia, dominance/sumbission games, threesomes, and animals interrupting sex.
Pairings are Bobby/Crowley, Bobby/Karen, Crowley/Gabriel, Crowley/Balthazar, Crowley/Gabriel/Balthazar, and mentions of others.
Thanks so much to knaccfornerdiness for beta-ing this at four in the morning, and dealing with my sleep deprived writing. You’re the best.
There’s a fire that burns in Crowley’s veins every time he rides Bobby; there’s nothing that turns him on like being totally, utterly in control. He doesn’t understand why people care about pitching and catching. To Crowley, if he’s riding, if he’s sucking Bobby off, however they’re having sex it doesn’t matter if he’s technically ‘catching’: if he’s in control of the situation, then that’s all that matters.
Bobby, though he’d protest that he really doesn’t, does care about who’s fucking who. It’s some lingering shadow of his father screaming at him, that if he gets fucked he’s less of a man. Bobby knows it’s stupid, and not even a little bit true: case in point, Crowley.
Bobby knows Crowley’s had more experience than he’s had; Bobby had a few short term girlfriends and boyfriends in college, but in senior year he’d met Karen- they’d been married a few years after they graduated, and when she died six years later… well, he hadn’t touched anyone else in nearly ten years.
Crowley’s sexual history, on the other hand, reads like someone’s little black book, and Bobby wouldn’t put it past him to have kept one. A boyfriend in high school and a more or less consistent friends-with-lots-of-benefits relationship with Gabriel and Balthazar (he’s not been able to look Balthazar in the eye since hearing exactly how flexible the junior was), but those are the only relationships that have even come close to being more than casual sex. Crowley, in fact, would argue that Gabriel and Balthazar are by definition casual sex. The three of them had been fucking since Balthazar had shown up on campus and accepted an almost joking offer to join them. And Crowley and Gabriel went even further back. Hell, they’d gotten busted during freshman orientation for barely leaving their room: whatever accident had lead to them rooming together had also lead to Gabriel propositioning Crowley within minutes of meeting him. And of course Crowley wasn’t going to say no. There’s no way that relationship is casual, not when Crowley is more than willing to expose the nastier, inventive sides of his personality to defend them, or avenge them, as the case may be. One of Gabriel’s cheating ex-girlfriends wouldn’t look at Gabriel or come within fifty feet of him for the rest of the semester, and as soon as the semester ended she’d transferred to a school half way across the country. Crowley still hasn't told anyone what he'd said to her.
Well, the point was that Crowley’s more of a man than his father ever was, even at 23 and six or seven years of sucking more dick than Bobby likes to think about.
So they compromise. And it’s not that Bobby doesn’t let Crowley fuck him or doesn’t trade blowjobs, just like Crowley breaks a personal promise to himself he’d made years ago and trusts Bobby to tie him down or fuck him while he’s on all fours, doggy style; it’s just that mostly Crowley gets to indulge in topping from the bottom. He gets to focus on pleasing himself, knowing that Bobby’s getting off on being along for the ride and Bobby’s just that slight bit less distracted as he watches Crowley ride him like any girl he’d ever been with.
They’re not kinky by most people’s standards, unless you happen to think that having lots of sex is kinky. Bobby likes the suits Crowley wears a little more than he’d like to admit- one time Crowley had come home from a guest lecture dressed to the nines, and a hello hug had turned into hello-is-that-a-roll-of-quarters-in your pocket-or-are-you-just-happy-to-see-me? Crowley had done a strip tease so achingly slow, removing every stitch of clothing with enough deliberation that Bobby came in his pants, still fully dressed. Bobby’d been embarrassed enough that it’d taken Crowley a few minutes to convince him that Crowley didn’t actually give a fuck so long as he came back to bed.
And Crowley? Well, he’d be the first to say he’s tried nearly everything two (or three) consenting adults can conceive of and enjoyed most of it. He’d enjoyed Dominance/submission games the most though, and while he’d never let himself go long enough to truly sub for anyone, he’d always enjoyed being a Dom. It’d surprised him that Balthazar was into D/s games as well, and more than happy to sub for Crowley, whether they were playing alone or if Gabe was involved. D/s wasn’t strictly speaking Gabriel’s thing, but if he was there as a voyeur, camera man, or as one of Crowley’s props… well, he’d never come so hard as when Crowley was whispering into his ear exactly how naughty he’d been and a bound Balthazar was so enthusiastically sucking Gabriel off that he was nearly choking himself.
Unfortunately, Crowley hadn’t yet managed to talk Bobby into subbing for him: and really, he had time. Crowley was a salesman at heart, and while he’d never do anything Bobby adamantly insisted turned him off or didn’t consent to, that didn’t stop Crowley from occasionally trying to sell it to his somewhat reluctant lover.
Neither of them had any interest in public sex, though they’d had sex in nearly every room in Bobby’s house, including one memorable time in the kitchen. It was a Sunday morning, and Crowley had ended up waking up early, making breakfast instead of going back to bed. Bobby had lumbered down the stairs, still groggy, and Crowley had just handed him a cup of coffee and turned back to the stove. Halfway through his first cup, Bobby’s feeling affectionate enough to wrap his arms around Crowley’s stomach from behind, and nuzzles into his lover’s neck, pressing kisses to the love bites he’d left the night before. He ends up bending Crowley over the kitchen table, and he’d thought they were having a good time when Crowley shouts “Stop!” Bobby stops. But Crowley wasn’t directing the shout at Bobby. It had to be because it was so damn early, but they’d forgotten to let the dogs outside and Crowley’s got an Irish wolfhound sniffing enthusiastically at his crotch, as dogs are wont to do. Bobby can’t stop laughing at the offended look on Crowley’s face, and by the time Crowley has rounded up the three dogs and shooed them into Bobby’s enormous fenced off yard, neither of them was much interested in sex any more.
It worked for them. They talked about it, they tried things, they compromised, and the genuine fondness that had arisen from two weeks of casual sex had turned into a relationship that made two grumpy, old souls happy, and that was really all that mattered to them.
Chapter 7: Companion
Phone calls at three in the morning are never good news.
Hurt/Comfort. Thanks to frequentlynotonboats for beta-ing!
Bobby is woken up at 3am by the sound of his landline ringing.
It takes him a minute to reach the phone, and when he does he growls into it “Who is this, and what the fuck do you want right now?”
He regrets it immediately when he hears Crowley’s broken voice. “Well, I’d hope you’d know me by now, darling.” It’s Crowley’s usual sass, but his voice is hoarse, and it sounds like he’s been crying.
“Hey, Crowley.” He doesn’t apologize, but his gruff voice is softer than usual. “What’s up?”
“Can I come over?”
“Now?” Bobby’s frown is practically audible, but Crowley doesn’t say anything. “Alright. You want me to pick you up?”
“No, I’d very much prefer to walk half an hour in the dark at 3:17 in the morning.”
Bobby sighs. “I’ll be there in ten minutes. Want me to stay on the phone?”
“What will I do without you for ten whole minutes?” Crowley hangs up.
Bobby’s already got his car keys and wallet, because while Crowley might be sarcastic normally, the scathing, biting, nearly cruel tone he’d delivered it in was cast-iron proof that something was wrong.
When he arrives at the dorm, Crowley’s sitting on the steps wearing nothing Bobby’s ever seen him in. Instead of his too classy suits, or even the nice jeans and dressy tops he wears on the weekends, Crowley’s in worn jeans and a sweatshirt. And not just any sweatshirt; one Bobby could’ve sworn he lost weeks ago.
He pulls up to the curb and Crowley climbs into the truck, but refuses to even look at Bobby.
“Gonna tell me what’s wrong, kid?”
“My parents called.”
As far as Bobby knew, Crowley didn’t have issues with his parents, not like Bobby’s encyclopedia set of issues with his own parents.
“When I was eight, my parents gave me the best pup of the mastiff litters they’d bred that year. When she was old enough, she was my companion and nursemaid; she was my only friend in college when my boyfriend got shipped to a Catholic school halfway around the world.”
Crowley finally looks at Bobby.
“This spring, she turned fifteen.” He doesn’t say anything more, but he doesn’t have to. Bobby’s been around long enough to know that most large dogs didn’t make it much past ten or twelve years. Crowley’s companion had been old.
He knows what it means to lose a dog, and knows nothing he can say will even come close to comforting Crowley. So he doesn’t try.
“You’ve got three options, for tonight.” The clinking of Bobby’s key ring echoes through the silent car.
“Do I?” Crowley’s voice has lost the hard edge it had during his phone call, and now, he only sounds like the kid Bobby often forgot he was.
“We can go home, sleep together, and see what happens in the morning. We can go home, sleep together,” and Bobby tries to make it clear that he’s offering a slower, gentler fuck than they usually have. “Or, we can go home, and I can forget that the dogs aren’t allowed on the bed, and we can try to fit two people and three dogs on one bed.”
“… can I talk you into all three?”
And that’s just so Crowley, all over, that Bobby has to laugh. “Sure, kid.”
“And I don’t want it slow. If we’re having sex, I want you to fuck me so hard I forget my own name.”
“Yeah, I think I can handle that.” Bobby grins.
The rest of the ride back was quiet. Bobby comforts Crowley by just being there, his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel and gear shift, tapping restlessly. Crowley finds it strange, that he can be comforted by someone’s mere presence, and even stranger that he actually trusts Bobby to not use his current weakness against him. He’d started the journey stiffly hunched into himself in the passenger seat, but ends it with his hand under Bobby’s on the gear shift, surrounded by the warmth that means he doesn’t have to face this alone.
Chapter 8: Formal
There’s only one real cure for the void caused by the death of a companion.
Thanks to frequentlynotonboats for betaing~ No warnings. This is a direct sequel to Companion, and was originally going to be the same fic.
When Bobby wakes up he can taste dog fur in his mouth, and it’s hard to breathe under the weight of Crowley’s arms around his stomach. He twitches as Crowley, not even a bit conscious, nuzzles into him and a day’s worth of stubble scratches his neck.
He knocks Rumsfeld’s tail out of his face, and is immediately reminded of why he never lets the dogs into bed when Rumsfeld wakes up and starts licking Bobby’s face. He’s trying to push his hundred-twenty pound dog off his chest when Crowley lets out a piercing whistle- half asleep he’s still got better command of Bobby’s dogs than he does- and Rumsfeld, along with the easily excitable McNamara, scramble off the bed and sit on the floor. Laird merely opens his eyes, languidly stretching before he gracefully hops down to the floor.
There’s a lot more room in the bed now, and Bobby can feel Crowley’s lazy grin pressing into his neck, so it’s something of a shock when Crowley’s grin twists into a grimace, and repressed tears begin to soak their shared pillow.
Bobby wraps himself around Crowley, pretending this is an everyday morning cuddle, and lets his lover bury his face into Bobby's shoulder to pretend that he isn’t crying.
Bobby’s picking at the eggs he’s made, steadfastly not looking at Crowley when he rumbles “S’two ways you get over a dog dying. There’s time. Slower, more painful, but probably the easier way.”
“And what’s the other way?”
“Or, you get a puppy, and the little sucker doesn’t let you be sad. You still mourn, but you tend to get over it a hell of a lot faster when you’ve got a pup that needs your attention all the time.
“I’m sure I’ll have no problem keeping a puppy in the 10’ by 12’ dorm I share with a roommate, right across the hall from the RA.”
Bobby rolls his eyes. “Wasn’t suggesting you would. Got more than enough room here for a few new dogs. If you wanted.” It was the closest they’d ever gotten to any sort of commitment, considering Bobby still wasn’t sure what Crowley planned to do after college, but Crowley wasn’t the type to abandon a dog, and even if it did stay with him, hell, he could use a puppy around. The youngest dog he had, Laird, was two-years-old and already well into adulthood; McNamara was getting on in years- Bobby’d count himself lucky if the fourteen-year-old terrier lived another year or two; and Rumsfeld was six, just into adulthood for a Rottweiler.Well, the point was if Crowley wasn’t stupid, he’d get a new puppy and Bobby’d enjoy spoiling it while Crowley was busy teaching it more whistle commands than most border collies could learn.
“Alright. If you don’t mind keeping it here… I guess we can go look for a puppy.”
“The animal shelter’s open Saturday mornings. Figured we could go now while you’re sleepy and amenable to bein’ prodded into getting something manageable. Rather than, like, a nightmare that’s constantly chewing up the furniture.”
“Well, I’m not making any promises, darling.”
“If it ruins a single page of my books, I’m feeding it to Rumsfeld.”
There are exactly two people on duty at the Amherst Human Society, the director (bandages on both forearms, extending past the elbow on the right side) and Scott, a volunteer working the front desk.
Scott shows them around the kennels, and when they say they’re looking for a puppy that’ll grow up to be a medium to large dog, he directs them towards larger cages in the back. There’s a Chesapeake Bay Retriever that’s happy-go-lucky and easily exited by Crowley’s hand as the younger man reaches into the cage. He spends a few minutes fussing over it, but eventually moves on to where there’s a underweight Rhodesian Ridgeback in the next cage. Crowley’s been through most of the puppies in the shelter when there’s an awful howling.
Scott groans, and half-heartedly yells for the director.
“What’s that?” Bobby asks, curious, as Crowley continues scratching the chin of a German Sheppard pup that happens to be missing an eye.
“Some asshole got arrested yesterday afternoon- apparently she’d been neglecting her dogs, those are her golden retrievers in the clinic over there, but she was beating one of them. It’s a total nightmare, a mastiff of some kind, it’s bitten three people so far, and it scratched the director to hell when she managed to let it into one of the dog runs in the backyard. No one’s even been able to get close enough to check a gender, and it’s too young to be obvious.”
“Some kind of mastiff?” Crowley’s looking over from his spot kneeling on the floor.
“Yeah, I dunno what kind. We don’t usually get them in here, so.” Scott shrugs.
“Crowley…” Bobby’s already concerned, because no animal deserves stupid owners, but Crowley sounds more than slightly interested in this dog. He hadn’t intended to get a dog that’d remind Crowley of the mastiff he’d lost.
“Mind if I take a look?”
“We weren’t gonna put him up for adoption until he calmed down…”
“My parents breed mastiffs.” Crowley shrugs. “I’m used to it. I can at least take a look.”
Scott shrugs and shows them out to the backyard, to the fenced in run where there’s a mastiff pup about the size of a small Labrador growling at the newcomers. It doesn’t stop Crowley, who hops the fence, and immediately halts. He’s not afraid of the dog, but he doesn’t want to frighten it any more than it already is.
He holds his hand out, palm down for the dog to sniff. The dog growls, then lunges, sharp-as-knives puppy-teeth digging into Crowley’s hand and not letting go. Crowley stiffens, momentarily, but doesn’t react otherwise.
He clamps his other hand over the pup’s nose, his eyes radiating sheer force of will.
It’s not a yell. It’s not loud or sharp. It is a quiet demand, a tone of voice that knows it doesn’t have to be loud because it will be obeyed. A voice that commands, a voice that says not obeying is not an option here.
The dog sits. It doesn’t let go. But it sits. And that’s enough for Crowley to turn to Scott, who’d been preparing to possibly call an ambulance, and say “We’ll take him,” with the puppy's teeth still embedded in his hand.
Bobby rolls his eyes.
It takes about an hour to formally adopt the pup, and only fifteen minutes into the process Bobby’s made so many comments for the dog to shut up and stop growling that Crowley, with a smirk, christens the dog Growley.
Chapter 9: Move
Saturday afternoons are sacred.
Thanks to ladyknightofhollyrose for betaing, and to parabellumeve for blatant bribery and discussing puppies at 6am my time, and to frequentlynotonboats for lots and lots of encouragement! Couldn’t have done it without you guys.
Saturday afternoons are always sacred in the Singer household. With three (now four) dogs to exercise, if they weren’t sacred they would end up with a house full of hyperactive and probably destructive dogs; adding a puppy into the mix isn’t helping with that issue.
Bobby’s house abuts an abandoned scrapyard that has plenty of room for four dogs to run free, with long aisles to play Frisbee in and derelict cars for the more adventurous smaller dogs (i.e. McNamara) to explore. Bobby takes the dogs for a walk around the scrapyard letting them run and do their business before he goes to teach and again when he or Crowley get back. But Saturday afternoons are for a long hard play and letting the dogs get their fill of exercise. After all, just because they are pets doesn’t mean McNamara hadn’t been bred to hunt foxes, doesn’t mean Laird doesn’t dream of hunting down the last wolf in Ireland, or that Rumsfeld has forgotten running along with the Roman legions. Genetic memory and instinct can’t be entirely bred out.
So, Saturday afternoons are sacred, especially now with a puppy to train and socialize, even when Growley doesn’t much feel like it. He spends some days snapping at Crowley’s hands, and even though Crowley possesses nearly supernatural talent at sensing and expecting these moods, he still gets more than a few bloody scratches and bite-marks of the definitely not fun kind. This new responsibility of a puppy means that Crowley is only out of sight of the house when he’s in class or with Growley, to the point where Bobby starts to shop for two rather than just himself and the occasional thing they can split.
It starts to hit Bobby, as he watches Crowley playing tug-of-war over a rope toy, that letting him house Growley is the most commitment Crowley’s ever shown a lover. Bobby knows that, with the possible exception of ridiculously expensive scotch, dogs are the things Crowley loves most- certainly they’re the most important to him. That Crowley trusts Bobby to take care of his dog when he’s not around says a lot about what their relationship means to the kid. Bobby teases Laird and McNamara with a much beloved, chewed-up Frisbee and then sends it sailing through the scrap yard. He kneels down to scratch Rumsfeld’s chin where the Rottweiler is flopped on the dusty ground, panting happily and thwacking Bobby in the shins with his baseball bat of a tail.
Crowley is playing with his new pup, and with the exception of the most important commands- sit, stay, lie down, down, and heel- he seems to be mostly concerned with socializing Growley rather than imparting all the tricks and whistle commands he’d taught Bobby’s dogs. Crowley, without a shadow of a doubt, knows what he’s doing with the dogs; it’s the sort of confidence that had attracted Bobby to him in the first place. Sometimes, especially in moments like this, Bobby wonders what Crowley’s plans for after graduation are; he knows that they’ll eventually need to have this conversation, and now it’s a bit more urgent, what with Growley now living with them.
Growley is a English mastiff- and thinking about the breed brings to mind a dog majestically roaming the grounds of some manor house, or the hound of Baskerville stalking the moors by night- he needs the space that having a house provides. Even with Crowley’s tenacious ambition and sheer talent for marketing, straight out of college the kid isn’t gonna be making the money that buys or even rents enough yard space to own a mastiff.
So yeah, that’s a conversation they’ll need to be having soon. But for now, Saturday afternoons are inviolable. He’ll have a few beers and Crowley will have a glass or two of scotch, they’ll play with the dogs, and they’ll leave all of their problems until Sunday.
Chapter 10: Silber
Bobby and Crowley finally have that conversation.
Thanks to ladyknightofhollyrose for betaing, and to both her and parabellumeve for helping me through writer’s block! Also thanks to ponderosa121 for fabulous fanart, which is I think linked at the bottom somewhere? :S
When Crowley comes home on Monday evening, and it’s strange how someone else’s house has become his ‘home’ in a matter of months, there’s a sixty-three dollar bottle of Scotch on the kitchen table. Bobby’s making grilled something on the back porch, and whatever it is, it smells good. There’s a pile of dogs sitting at the closed slider, tails wagging happily as they wait for the scraps that are never going to happen. Growley and McNamara come to greet him, and are rewarded with chin scratches and tummy rubs.
He drops his stuff on the table next to the scotch and slips out the glass slider, closing it in front of Rumsfeld’s eager nose.
“Hullo, love.” Bobby plants a kiss on Crowley’s lips, and despite Crowley’s attempt to deepen it, Bobby turns back to the grill.
“What are we having then?”
“Figured we could have steaks, and maybe a side of awkward conversation?”
“Ahh, is that what the scotch is for?
Bobby just ‘Mm’s in response, and pulls the steaks off the grill.
It takes perhaps half an hour to finish eating, and Crowley’s already started on his first glass of post dinner Scotch. “Alright, out with it. What am I being bribed for?” Crowley asks, as he takes a sip of the good stuff. “Not, of course, that I object to being bribed,” he adds, smirking.
Bobby sighs, and decides that quick would probably be easier than trying to tease it out. “What’re your plans for after graduation?”
Crowley idly swirls his glass, drains it, and pours another one. “Is there a point to this line of questioning?”
“I can’t want to know what’s gonna happen next summer? Crowley, I just wanna know if I’m adopting your dog full time, or if you’re stayin here, or if you’re gonna disappear and take Growley too. That too much to ask?” Bobby furrows his eyebrows and glares, mildly for him, at Crowley. Maybe the Scotch had been a bad idea.
“It might be.”
And Crowley’s face, twisted into that smug mask, irritates Bobby to no end. Yes, the alcohol had definitely been a bad idea. “And you’ve made no plans for next summer at all then?” Bobby asks, teeth grating slightly.
“Perhaps.” Crowley shrugs and takes another long sip of his Scotch, looking over at his older lover.
And that’s it. Bobby’s temper is never easily controlled under good circumstances- getting purposefully needled by Crowley, who’s doing his level best to avoid any sort of actual conversation… yeah, it was never gonna last long.
“I have no idea what’s up with you, but I’ve had it up to here with you, boy!” Bobby’s not yelling, but he’s working his way up to it. “I dunno if I’m just another in the long string of fucks you’ve had and left, but I at least want to know what’s going on. God knows why, ‘cause you’re smug and irritating and behaving like a goddamn child right now, but I do actually give a fuck what happens to you. So if you want be treated like a grown-up, start acting like one, idjit.”
Crowley’s staring at him, eyes briefly going wide in shock before narrowing down into the careful composure that hides whatever he’s actually feeling.
But then Crowley sighs, looks over at the wall as if the answers are written on it in tiny print and if he just looks long and hard enough he would be able to read them. The mask he’s wearing slowly cracks, and Bobby can see Crowley chewing on his lower lip in uncharacteristic anxiety.
“I don’t know, alright? Is that what you wanted to hear?” When it finally comes, Crowley’s answer is forced out and his tone is irritated in a way that makes Bobby think vulnerable rather than spoiling for a fight. “I’ve gotten a couple of offers- two back in London, one in New York and another in Boston.”
Bobby starts to speak, and Crowley cuts him off with a glance. He’s not done talking, and if Bobby interrupts him, he might not start again. “I’ve been thinking about taking the one in Boston. Genzyme. A biotech company- lots of medical stuff. So, not the real estate market, or stocks, like I’d been intending, but I’ve always been interested in how bodies work.” And he’s refusing to say it aloud, but Bobby hears ‘I want to be near you.’ all the same.
“If you want to work in real estate or stocks, that’s what you should do.” ‘Don’t pick something you ain’t interested in just because you want to be near me, idjit.’
Crowley waves his glass of Scotch as if to brush off Bobby’s unspoken words. “I’m interested, definitely, and Genzyme’s an excellent company-“
“Cut the crap.”
“I am.” The lightness of Crowley’s voice is gone, and the tension in his face is visible. “I’m going to accept Genzyme’s offer because it’s an excellent company that can provide me with the networking opportunities I need for future careers. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t even consider it. But yes, you utter moron, I am picking it because I can commute.” Crowley refuses to look at Bobby- and Bobby knows that’s as close to an admission that Crowley wants to stay, that this is more than serious for Crowley too. “If you’d rather I left, I’d like to know sooner rather than later- one of the opportunities in London is offering me enough that I could keep Growley, but they want to know by the end of the semester.”
“Y’don’t spoil him enough.”
“What?” Crowley looks honestly confused by Bobby’s response and the unguardedness of his face in that moment is breathtaking.
“Growley. He needs two parents.” The admission that he wants Crowley to stay is more than worth making, if only for the way Crowley’s face momentarily lights up.
“Of course I spoil him enough- you spoil him too much, he’ll be fat by the time he’s a year old with the treats you give him.”
“He will not.” Bobby rolls his eyes. “Glad we got that settled though. You’re giving me grey hairs,” he jokes.
Crowley raises an eyebrow, and clears his dishes, coming back to the table to stand behind Bobby and murmur into his neck “Well, even if I was, I kind of like the silver fox look on you.” He presses a kiss to Bobby’s cheek and strolls upstairs, and Bobby can’t help but watch his lover’s ass as the younger man walks away. Bobby laughs then, leaving his own dishes and following Crowley up to bed.
It may not have been much of a fight, but the make-up sex that followed always made their arguments worth it.
Chapter 11: Prepared
Bobby has a guest coming, and he and Crowley prepare for it. Bobby's hiding something about his mysterious guest, and Crowley wonders about it.
I edited this myself. I apologize for any and all mistakes you may find. If you’d be so kind as to point them out, I’ll fix them. I also apologize for the three-ish week wait.
One breezy fall afternoon, Crowley is typing up a paper out on the back porch when Bobby yells for him.
“Yeah?” he responds, projecting his voice, but not quite yelling back.
“Wanna help me set up the office?”
Setting up the office is Bobby-code. When Bobby has guests- be they visiting professors, hunting buddies, the occasional clergyman or someone he’s interviewing for research purposes- he sets up the office as a guestroom, since his home doesn’t have a second bedroom. It’s a code that let’s Crowley know that he’s about to be kicked out for a short period of time to allow the guest privacy, but mostly to keep their not quite ethical relationship secret. It’s a code they established the first time Bobby wanted Crowley to crash in the dorms while a pastor friend of his was over, and Crowley had kicked up a fuss at being thrown out of his second home for a stranger’s benefit. It hadn’t taken him long to give in, Crowley was always a suspicious and paranoid person- allowing a stranger access to his secrets, especially secrets that could hurt his reputation, wasn’t in his nature.
So Crowley helps Bobby set up a temporary bedroom as appreciation for the warning. He fetches the guest linens from the bathroom closet and brings them to the office, where Bobby is pulling out the sofa bed. They’re making the bed together with the efficiency of practice when Crowley asks “So, who’s coming this time?”
“Friend of mine. A hunter. John Winchester? Y’might know his eldest boy- goes to your school. He’s a sophomore.”
“It’s a school of thirty thousand; I can hardly be expected to know everyone.” Bobby rolled his eyes- he well knew that Crowley knew most of the student body from something or another, and knew the most important students at the four other colleges in the area. “Though the name does sound familiar.” Crowley finally admits, an eyebrow raised as Bobby snorts. “Does he have a brother?”
“Gabriel is currently infatuated with him- he goes to Amherst, correct?”
Crowley glances at Bobby- characteristic reticence, but there’s something Crowley finds odd about it this time. “What’s he hunt?”
“John. What does he hunt?”
Bobby’s hesitation doesn’t last any more than a split second and he responds smoothly. “Deer, mostly. Whatever’s in season. I think he’s just using it as an excuse to see his boys, much as he’d hate to admit it.” He’s not looking at Crowley, paying focused attention to fluffing the pillows, and it’s that more than anything else that makes Crowley wonder if he’s lying. Still. Bobby wasn’t likely to tell the truth now if Crowley called him out on it.
They finish making the bed, and Crowley works his way through the house, picking up the most incriminating of his belongings- anything that very obviously wasn’t Bobby’s- while Bobby called the four dogs currently racing around the backyard in for dinner.
While the dogs are eating, Crowley packs a duffle to take back to his dorm room and alerts his roommate that he’ll be in tonight, and it’s weird that he’s packing a bag to take to what is supposed to be his home. It doesn’t really feel like home anymore- he’s moved his more personal things to Bobby’s house, and shifted his furniture to give his roommate the maximum space the tiny room allowed.
He says a quick goodbye to the dogs, pausing to surreptitiously feed Growley treats- he knows he shouldn’t have favorites, but he can’t exactly help it. Growley feels his, far more so than the other dogs. Crowley knows he’s the alpha of the Singer household pack, but Growley feels like family, like his pup, while the three other dogs feel more like adopted family.
He consults his memorized bus schedule, and leaves the house at a trot- he can make the next bus if he hurries.
Crowley overhears a conversation he wasn’t supposed to.
Two updates in one night! All blame is placed on parabellumeve’s shoulders for being very enthusiastic in requesting the next chapter. Hopefully this makes up some for not updating in three weeks.
Crowley makes it halfway to the bus stop in Amherst center when he realizes his laptop is still on the table on the back porch- the curses he spits out under his breath aren’t meant to be understood, but they’d have every dog in hearing range growling.
He turns on his heel and makes his way back to Bobby’s, no need to hurry now that he’s missed his bus for sure. There’s a truck he doesn’t recognize in the driveway, and his paranoid mind carefully notes the make, model, and license plate number, filing it away in a folder labeled John Winchester. He skirts around the side of the house, dropping his duffle at the foot of the porch steps and easing his way up them. He avoids the creaky middle step, and creeps around the edges of the porch where he won’t be visible through the glass sliding doors. He’s about to reach out and snag his laptop off the table, when he hears Bobby and an unfamiliar male voice float through the open kitchen window.
“You’re hunting a damned wendigo, John. Y’need help. At least call the boys, since they’re right here. Hell, they’re probably already on the case if they’ve checked the news, which they have, because they’re your boys. They didn’t stop hunting just cause they’re in college- they’ve cleared out half the spirits haunting Amherst, and more’n a few in the neighboring towns.”
“Bobby, I just need a flamethrower and a place to sleep. If you don’t have either for me, I can find somewhere else.”
“You’re sleeping under my roof, where I can at least make sure you don’t die two miles away from a few of the best hunters in the lower 48. Just ‘cause I was never interested in the actual hunting doesn’t mean I don’t know nothing about hunting, boy.”
“I’m not gonna take any of your shit Singer. I CAME HERE TO HUNT. I DID-“
“You’re gonna sit there, and eat. I’m gonna make a few calls- one, to your boys, because I know you haven’t let them know you’re in town yet. I’ll track you down a flamethrower- it’s a college town, I’m sure there’s more than a few bored engineering students with too much time on their hands and a knack for pyrotechnics. But you’re gonna sit there, maybe take a shower- when was the last time you slept on something nicer than sleazy motel mattresses or showered in a clean bathroom?”
There’s a soft sigh from the other man, and seemingly the fight’s gone out of him. Crowley smirks, he’s been on that end of one of Bobby’s too reasonable, too calm speeches before, with much the same result. But he had to get out of here. Crowley snagged his laptop with one hand, tucking it carefully into his backpack, and edging off the deck. He snatches his duffle bag off the lawn and is out of the yard in a flash. He strolls down the road, lost in thought.
Crowley carefully turns over the new information in his head, while he waits for the next bus. Bobby being a hunter made sense. A least, in terms of the research aspects of hunting. Many of the religious and supernatural texts common to hunter libraries would blend in easily with Bobby’s eclectic collection of religious books. He’s never noticed any of the more typical sigils of protection anywhere in the house or on Bobby’s body, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. It just means he’ll have to make a thorough search of the house- there wasn’t much out there that could hurt him, but it didn’t do the leave that up to chance.
He’s idly flipping a hand-carved, wooden whistle over and over in his hands as he’s thinking, and when the bus arrives, Crowley shakes himself out of his thoughts. As he steps onto the bus, he blows three long, sharp blasts on the whistle.
No one on the bus reacts, but then, the whistle wasn’t meant for human ears.
Chapter 13: Denial
Crowley confronts Bobby about John.
No real notes on this chapter, just my continued apologies for a long wait and special thanks to Myrrti for commenting earlier today/late yesterday and getting my creative juices going.
On Sunday afternoon, Crowley gets a voice mail from Bobby, letting him know that John’s cleared out of the house, and he walks the few blocks from where he’d been crashing at the house Balthazar shared with a few friends. When he arrives at the house, Bobby’s nowhere to be found- it takes a muffled shout of “Balls!” from the garage to let Crowley know that Bobby’s indulging in some stress-cleaning of his tool bench.
Bobby grunts, flinging a loose nail into the paint can he kept to collect them in.
“How was the hunting?”
“Was fine. John said hi to his boys, did some hunting, and left this morning.” Bobby finally looks at Crowley, and shrugs. “How was your weekend?”
“Not bad. Spent most of it at Balthazar’s.”
Bobby raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t ask, returning to clearing out a drawer.
“Gabriel wouldn’t let the younger Winchester out of bed this weekend- actually, they haven’t left bed since Thursday, according to Balthazar, since Sam doesn’t have Friday classes, so I was deprived my usual back up entertainment.” Crowley is picking at his fingernails, cleaning them fussily, rather than looking at Bobby. “Apparently Gabe was taking advantage of the fact that Sam’s older brother was out of town this weekend, spending it with his boyfriend at Cas and Gabe’s parent’s house. They left Friday morning and aren’t back yet. As of forty minutes ago, Sam was making Gabe breakfast, he hasn’t heard that his father was in town, never mind said hi to him.”
Bobby doesn’t say anything, dumping the dust out onto the concrete of his garage floor.
“So. Who exactly is John Winchester?”
“Crowley, just drop it, okay.”
“I’d consider it, except you lied to me. Which I’d like an explanation for. I don’t actually care about why he was here- well, I do, but I mostly care that you lied to my face, and you’re not telling me now. What exactly is it, that you think I can’t handle?” Crowley licks his lips. He is absolutely not going to be the first to reveal he knows about the supernatural- he’s been hunted before, and been hunted by people he once trusted, and it’s not an experience he’d care to repeat. Perhaps Bobby might be alright with his secret, if he were eased into it, only given bits of information at a time- Bobby was a stubborn old bastard, but there was wiggle room if Crowley could just worm his way in, like he’d wormed his way into Bobby’s life.
“Stop worrying about it.” Bobby’s reply is terse, and he’s seemingly more focused on organizing the workbench in front of him than he is on Crowley.
Crowley raises an eyebrow. “You know me, love. If I weren’t a paranoid, cynical, suspicious bastard I wouldn’t be me. So. Spill, pet.”
Bobby puts down a hammer with such force that it clangs off the bench. “Okay, I have about had it. You either trust me, or you get out of my house.”
“…” Crowley hesitates, opens his mouth, then stops again. “I guess, I’ll see you later then?”
”Yeah, I guess.” Bobby slams the drawer of the workbench shut.
He leaves the garage an hour later, his tools immaculately organized as they only were when he was stressed and in need of a diversion. Bobby fills a glass of water at the kitchen sink, and tries to gage whether the dogs were hungry yet. His glance falls on the food dishes on the floor, and there’s one less than there should be. Frowning, he looks out into the backyard, and while his three dogs are easily spotted in the backyard, Growley is nowhere to be seen.
He scowls, and tells himself it’s a good thing that he’ll have less puppyish exuberance to deal with while his banged up leg heals.
Chapter 14: Wind
We find out what that whistle was for.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Crowley wraps his wool coat tighter around his body as the chilly November wind tries to blow straight through him. He crouches next to Growley, who is panting from the exertion of walking deep into the forest and warm enough to share some of his body heat with his master.
The clearing in the woods is natural, a result of ancient magics practiced in it millennia earlier. The magic had been what sparked the growth of the forest in the first place. More recently, it had been used as a summoning circle by practitioners of the Art amongst the British settlers in the area a few hundred years prior. The circle is saturated with magic, and as such it makes a good beacon.
The pressure in Crowley’s head is slowly building to unbearable levels- pressure that had been increasing steadily since he’d blown the whistle three days earlier. He stands up, looking through the trees to the east and slowly massages his temples. All of a sudden, the pressure spikes and Crowley falls to his knees, and as it drops back down again it recedes into relief- they’re in his radius again. He can feel his power swelling within him, filling out the void in his head that’d been empty for three and a half years.
The air in the clearing crackles with static, the tension of magic seeking a way into the physical world. The pounding of feet thrums through the woods and Growley whines in fear, shifting nervously. All of Crowley’s attention is focused on the approaching figures- not that he can see them yet, but he can feel their approach in his mind. Distantly he notices Growley’s fear and reaches out to give him a reassuring scratch, saying a word under his breath.
Growley immediately stops fidgeting and howls his greetings: the word, only intelligible to dogs, had been pack, with all the connotations of safe and family that the word brought with it.
Two enormous hellhounds barrel into the clearing, crossing it quickly and tackling Crowley to the ground. They’re licking his face furiously in their excitement and wagging their tails like outboard motors. They’d missed him, and they aren’t letting him up until they’re finished, or given a stern command.
Growley, buoyed by the reassurance of his alpha, joins in the greetings, barking a happy hello to the hounds that make him, a mastiff puppy (five months old and nearly a hundred pounds), look like a dog half his size. One them leaves off enthusiastically washing Crowley’s face to investigate this strange dog, and Crowley shoves the other hound off enough to bark out an identification-pack, pup, one who growls.
Crowley sits up, rubbing the belly of the hound that is still halfway on top of him, and introduces the dogs. “Growley, this is Nero, and the lovely lady greeting you is the Morrigan. They’re hellhounds from my parents kennel, and my littermates. They’re-“
Crowley’s cellphone rings, then again, and he checks it, frowning at the display and rejecting the call- sending it to voicemail. Nero headbutts his shoulder, wuffing a demand to know what was wrong and if it could be solved by judicious application of claws. The Morrigan snarls an agreeing growl, and Crowley sighs, scratching their heads. “Thank you, darlings, but no. My human mate and I are fighting.”
The Morrigan growls that she doesn’t see the problem with solving the issue with claws- she’d always been the more protective and aggressive of the two, and Nero whines a query: ‘mate?’
“As close as I’ve ever gotten- as close to pack as a full-human can get. He’s a hunter, though, which is going to be a problem. I’d rather try to work it out first, rather than going straight for mutilation.” He opens his voicemail, and listens to the message. “Well, ducks, we’re off to see the queen- he wants to tell me the truth now, and wants to do it in person.” Crowley kisses Nero’s neck, and laughs out of sheer joy- a rare enough occasion. He had his dogs with him, his mate wanted to work things out- he could howl. So he does, and it’s a good imitation, limited only by the finite power of human vocal cords.
“So, which of you two am I riding to the edge of the wood?” he inquires, and Nero immediately flops to his stomach. He climbs up, gripping carefully with his hands and knees, and the small pack sets off at a run.
End Notes: Yes! Finally we find out a bit about what Crowley is. I’ve tried to convey that in the company of his hellhounds, his thought process is a little less human and a bit more animal. Beta credit goes to ladyknightofhollyrose!
I think it was fairly clear, but anything in italics is ‘dogspeak’. It tends to be nuanced, and is unintelligible to most humans, Crowley being one of the exceptions. In the future I'll figure out a way to differentiate it from normal italics.
Chapter 15: Order
The explanation y'all have been waiting for.
Beta thanks go to Ladyknightofhollyrose, who stayed up to beta this.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The small pack walks from the edge of the forest through town, Crowley holding the end of a thin leash attached to Growley’s collar more for show than practicality. At the end of Bobby’s street, Crowley commands the hellhounds to stay since he still hasn’t managed to check the house for wards and sigils of protection- the last thing he wants is for the hellhounds to set off alarms as he walks through the door.
For the first time since early October, Crowley knocks on Bobby’s front door. It takes a few minutes for Bobby to answer, and by the time he does, Crowley has built a nervous and fidgety mask- biting the inside of his lip and playing with Growley’s leash. When Bobby opens the door, he pauses in surprise.
“Didn’t figure you were coming today.” Bobby nearly adds that it is downright strange for Crowley to come back so quickly. That he’d taken Growley the day before had been a sign of instinctive mistrust; Crowley knows Bobby’d rather saw his own leg off than use it to kick a dog, and for Crowley to believe that Bobby’d take out his frustrations with Crowley on the pup… well, Bobby hadn’t expected to be back in Crowley’s good graces so soon.
Crowley shrugs. “Growley doesn’t fit in my room, and it was hard to slip him by the RA last night.” And by hard, he meant he’d wheedled the girl down the hall into flirting with the RA, who’d had a crush on her for months.
Bobby snorts. “Yeah, I’ll bet. Probably bribed him.” He waves Crowley inside. “Figured we’d sit down and talk a bit.”
Crowley grins sheepishly, and it’s just as calculated as the nervousness had been. He releases the catch on Growley’s leash, and sends him to go bother Rumsfeld. Growley needs no other encouragement to go play with his friends, and takes off into the house.
Crowley sits down at the kitchen table, accepting the coffee Bobby hands him. He sips it carefully, fixing his eyes on Bobby’s as his lover stares back at him.
“Before I sit down…” Bobby hesitates.
Crowley raised an eyebrow.
“Y’don’t think I can’t tell when you’re faking it? When you’re wearing a mask? It might look like your face, but it sure as shit ain’t.” Bobby ran his fingers through his thinning hair. “You don’t need to pretend for me. If I’m bein’ honest with you, least you can do is be honest too. If you need a wall, that’s fine. But don’t pretend to be fuckin’ nervous or whatever the hell you call this.”
Crowley shifts uneasily- a reaction that’s instinctual to the persona he’s wearing. He carefully schools his expression, and straightens his posture into something resembling confidence. He isn’t going to be relaxed, but this little favour he can do. It’s just another kind of mask.
Bobby studies him for a second and shrugs. The tension in the lines of Crowley’s body is obvious, but it’s clear his lover is expecting something terrible. He searches for a way to start: he’s never had to introduce the idea that the supernatural is real to someone who isn’t under attack- or otherwise able to see proof.
He decides slowly might be the way to go. “Do you believe in ghosts?”
Crowley leans back in the wooden chair. “Yes.”
Bobby, for his part, is a bit suspicious. “Really?”
Crowley rolls his eyes. “Yes.”
“What about vengeful spirits?”
“Any ghost that lingers too long in this world can be a vengeful spirit. Or anyone who dies violently.” The expression on Crowley’s face is almost bored now.
“Does the word Hunter mean anything to you?” Crowley is trying to figure out how to answer the question when Bobby clarifies. “Anything, beyond the usual.”
He goes for the safest, simplest answer. “Yes.”
Bobby sits back, staring blankly at Crowley, trying to relate the Crowley he knew with this new Crowley, who apparently has knowledge of the supernatural.
“My parents, on top of breeding mastiffs, also bred hounds for hunting the supernatural.”
“You can do that?”
“Sure. Humanity’s been training dogs to fight the supernatural since the first humans huddled around a campfire, afraid of the dark.”
“Aren’t dogs a bit fragile for that? I mean, I wouldn’t take Rumsfeld on a hunt.”
“I would hope not. They’re not purebred dogs of course- they have supernatural blood bred into them. Laelaps are known for their determination, sarama are known for speed, and cu sith for strength. Kyrkogrims are known for their loyalty and determination to protect.” Crowley picks intently at his fingernails. “Hellhounds, on occasion.”
“How would you even do that? Kyrkogrims, okay, they’re church guardians, and I get that Laelaps were originally hunters dogs, but Sarama are quick as lightning and Cù Sith are death omens, and don’t even get me started on Hellhounds. They’re hellspawn, literally. How the hell do you guys handle them?”
“My family are…” Crowley takes his time selecting the right word, possibly more for effect than because he’s at a loss for words. “Talented.” He licks his lips. “Speaking of talented, I take it Mr. Winchester is a hunter? Very talented individuals, hunters.”
“Hmm. Yeah, he’s a hunter. He was tracking down a wendigo in the Appalachians, and figured he’d camp here.” Seeing the blank look on Crowley’s face, he added “Mountains. They run through western Massachusetts, down through the east coast. And don’t think I didn’t notice y’didn’t answer my question.”
“I did so.”
“ ‘Talented’ is not an answer. Your family breeds supernatural dogs for the hunt. That’s a bit more than talented.”
“… if I can’t tell you more than that?”
“… It’s soundin’ like something I oughta know. And I was just pretty honest about the whole hunter thing.”
“You lied to me for four months. I am omitting and this is a family secret that I’ve been entrusted with.” Crowley fiddles with something under the table. “You aren’t in danger by not knowing?” he offers, hopefully.
“Now it’s a dangerous secret?”
“Not for you.”
“… I think I oughta be able to decide for myself what’s dangerous for me.”
“I ca- I won’t tell you.”
“Crowley… either you trust me or you don’t. I trusted you enough to let you into my life, my house, no questions asked.”
“… Four months of a relationship and the best sex I’ve ever had isn’t enough to overcome 15 years of being taught to distrust hunters, especially when they’ve more than merited it in my case.”
“More than mer- Crowley, have you been hunted? Who the HELL-“ Bobby stops, because Crowley’s leaning back, and clutching at his hands, and clearly at least a little nervous. Bobby backs down. “Crowley, I don’t much care so long as you haven’t killed anyone on purpose.”
“You… I think I better hear the story.”
“ My great-grandfather was a man who loved his dogs, loved all dogs, including supernatural ones. So, he sold his soul to hell for the ability to have total command and loyalty of hounds; both normal and supernatural. And since he was a bastard, he wished for the ability to be tied to his bloodline, inflicting it on his kids as well.
But, the Crossroads demon twisted it a bit- in exchange, the souls of people born of his blood are born tainted, and dogs follow us around, well, like lost puppies. My mum runs a kennel because she needed a place to keep the dogs that followed her home, and then she got interested in breeding hunters when she married my dad.”
“What happened there?”
“He was a hunter.”
“Thought you didn’t trust hunters.”
“He’s the reason we don’t.”
Bobby’s silent, but it’s clear that he expects the story.
“He couldn’t see the hellhounds. He could see the mastiffs, and the hunter-dogs she bred him, and even the supernatural hounds. But he didn’t know about the hellhounds. He’d not had a problem with the other supernatural dogs, but as you pointed out- hellhounds are ‘hellspawn’. He wasn’t around often- bit of an absentee father, not that I noticed with how often my mum was out of the country, but I was eight when he found me wandering the grounds with my nanny and her pups, and no visible accompaniment. He asked me what was I doing out there alone, to which I responded, innocently, that I wasn’t alone; I had Inanna and the puppies with me. He told me not to lie, and when I brought his hand up to pet her, he screamed. He left. And then he came back, and tried to kill me and the hounds. Inanna tore him to pieces on top of me.” Crowley stops and stares at Bobby, and the lost look in his eyes remind him of the child he’d seen when Crowley’s dog had died. He’s still fiddling under the table with an unseen object, but it’s less intense, more distracted.
“A few weeks ago, when we adopted Growley…?”
“Inanna was killed on a hunt. My mother was helping with the destruction of a faerie mound, and Inanna was blown to bits by a spell.”
Bobby wants to reach across the table, and just put his hand around Crowley’s, whatever form of physical comfort his lover will accept, but he can tell that it’d be unwanted right now. Instead, he gets up, and pours a double of whiskey, sliding it across the table. Crowley downs it, and slides it back. Obligingly, Bobby refills it, grabs a beer from the fridge, and sits back down. “So, any more secrets you wanna let me in on while you’re on a roll?”
Crowley sips his whiskey, and then pulls out a handcarved wooden whistle from beneath the table. “Just one.” He blows a long blast on the whistles, and gets up to open the front door.
“Shh. You’ll see.”
A strong breeze blows through the front door, and it smells like dog, something primal and old, and it sends shivers down Bobby’s spine. Crowley’s petting and stroking dogs he can’t see, and he gives them the order to sit.
“Meet Nero and the Morrigan. Inanna’s pups, my littermates, and Hellhounds.”
Bobby can only stare.
Chapter 16: Thanks
Much thanks to aroundthecoffeepot on tumblr for talking me through the writer’s block and generally helping me out.
Bobby’s stare only lasts a second, before he lunges through the doorway into the library. He’s grabbed a shot gun off the table before Crowley can blink. But the Hellhounds don’t have to think- they run on pure instinct, and that instinct put Nero covering Crowley with his body, and The Morrigan knocking over lamps and table in a rush to hunt down the one who was threatening her alpha.
Managing to half run, half slide down the steps into the basement ahead of the hellhound on his trail, Bobby practically dove through the entrance into his panic room, shutting and locking the door behind him. He’d wondered when he was building it, whether or not to include goofer dust in the layers of circles built into the base of the panic room- he’d eventually included it, in case he needed to shelter a deal-maker, and now he thanked God he had.
He peers out the the hole just wide enough to poke a shotgun through, and sees nothing. Crowley’s nowhere to be seen- listening he can hear the kid upstairs assuring the beast he isn’t hurt. More importantly though, he can hear the snarling of the one that chased him, sharp claws dragging against the metal of the floor. It might not be able to cross the circle, but it wasn’t just going to leave him there. It takes him a moment to remember that he has a pair of reading glasses scorched with holyfire- specifically to be able to see hellhounds. All of his hunter’s equipment is in his panic room- having a live-in boyfriend kind of necessitated hiding the more arcane instruments of the trade. He grabs the glasses off his desk, and returns to the door. He can see Crowley sitting at the base of the steps, and two hellhounds prowling in front of the door. He pokes the shotgun through the hole and fires twice.
One of the beasts yelps, and he can hear it scamper away. He fires another few shots, and is rewarded with “BLOODY FUCKI- Thanks a lot, bastard, you ruined my jacket!” When he looks again, Crowley has ducked for cover on the other side of the stairs, and is tending to a whining, whimpering hellhound’s paw. Bobby’d nicked it and part of the leg.
Oddly enough, it’s the whining gives him pause. Rumsfeld whines the same way when he’s scared. It occurs to Bobby that maybe the hounds are as scared as he is- that most of the population considers Rottweilers to be one of the bully breeds- scary, terrifying, beasts, when they’re the most devoted companions a man could ask for. Loyal and sweet, when you aren’t threatening it’s master. It hits Bobby that he can’t kill a dog that sounds so much like one of his. Not even a hound of Hell. If he can’t kill the dog, how can he kill the master? How can he kill Crowley- who’s been his constant companion for months, who never once hesitated at holy water or a muttered Christo, a line of salk, didn’t balk at silver or running water. Crowley was human.
This was gonna be a bitch.
Chapter 17: Look
Crowley has finals to take, and his Hellhounds take things into their own paws.
Crowley and Nero have taken the limited amount of cover that the stairs offers; Crowley because of the very real possibility that Bobby could kill him shooting at his hounds and Nero to get his paw looked at. After a few moments of silence, Crowley throws his hands up. “Don’t kill him. I have a final to get to. And I have to change first.” Crowley looks warily at the iron door where Bobby has taken refuge in his panic room, before ducking out from behind cover and dashing up the stairs. “Fix it!” he calls down from upstairs, though Bobby isn’t sure who he’s talking to until the dog sitting in wait for him trots back over to where the other is still whimpering behind the stairs. He hears quiet whuffing and feels crazy as he wonders if they’re hatching a plan.
It takes Bobby a moment to get up from where he’s thrown himself to the ground automatically and look through the gun slit again. One of the dogs- Hellhounds, he reminds himself- is gone, and the other one walks over to the door, curling up at the base where Bobby can’t shoot it. It must be the same one that was there before because it’s not injured. The other dog has gone god knows where.
It’s been half an hour, and Bobby is starting to look at the pin up posters that are the only entertainment he has in here, besides his books. So, of course, that’s when he hears the whumph of displaced air that means the hellhound has returned. Carefully, he peers through the slit.
It brought a puppy. Visible to human eyes when Bobby checks, and looking for all the world like a baby Rottweiler. Maybe it is a Rottweiler. The puppy is mewling for it’s mother, clearly less than a week old with it’s eyes not even open yet. After licking it gently, the two Hellhounds disappear with twin cracks, air rushing to fill the vacuum of space left by the two dog- HELLHOUNDS. They’re monsters, not dogs, he thinks. Well, that pup can’t be a monster. It can’t even walk by itself. It‘s just flopped on the floor where the hellhound had left it. Either way, he can’t just leave the pup there. It’ll die. He doesn’t know what the dogs were thinking when they had brought it to him. He could’ve shot it. Not that he would, it’s just a pup, whining like anything though. Cautiously, he picks it up and stares into it’s face as it squirms in his hands.
“Now, what the hell am I supposed to do with you? Not like I know what to feed you.”
At the sound of his voice the puppy opens its dark red eyes and barks happily, wagging it’s stubby tail.
“What did I do…” he checks its parts, “Girl? Didn’t do anything special. Just talked to you.” A line from one of his books on demonology comes to mind. “Awwww shit. Hellhound’s imprint on their masters, don’t they? From birth. Fuck. What the hell do I do now? I can’t give you to anyone else. Fuck“ he says with feeling.
Resignedly, he carries the puppy upstairs, where he gathers the supplies to make a warm box for her until he can acquire another dog crate. He’d do the same for any mortal dog taken from its mother so young, so he can only hope the same thing should be done for a hellhound. He happens to glance out into the backyard, where he can see his other dogs curled up contentedly with the two enormous hellhounds. They looked like puppies themselves next to hounds the size of small horses.
“Guess I’m gonna have to get used to hellhounds, huh, girl?” He adds “Even when they’re smart as humans, leaving you with me, girl.” The puppy whuffed at him, like she could understand what he was saying. Now that was a scary thought. “Gonna need Crowley’s help to raise you and train you. God knows we need to make sure you don’t kill me or anyone else by accident, since humans are pretty fragile and I don’t have Crowley’s special abilities. Your claws could kill me. And, god, gotta keep you safe from other hunters. Liable to react worse than I did.“ He pauses. “Is this your fault? That I’m being so agreeable?” The puppy barks. Bobby frowns at her. “Don’t know that I like having my thoughts affected by you, even if it ain’t your fault.” He rolls his eyes. Ain’t like he’s got much choice but to roll with it now. He can chew Crowley- or his dogs- out later.
Bobby gives her a bowl of milk in the blanket lined cardboard box he’s made for her, and on second thought, adds a small plate of raw hamburg, just in case hellhounds eat solids earlier than other dogs. As he pulls out his phone to text Crowley to let him know it’s safe to come home, he muses aloud. “You need a name, don’t you, girl?”
Bobby Singer: Your hounds brought me a puppy.
Bobby Singer: Yeah. Safe to come home. She’s a good dog. So are yours. Sorry.
Crowley: I’ll be there after class. Thanks.
Bobby Singer: For?
Crowley: Not being like every other hunter I’ve ever met. Mwah.
He looks down at the dog curled contentedly up in the box at his feet. “I’ll have to think about that.”
Chapter 18: Tremble
Crowley returns home and they talk things over.
Crowley rings the doorbell, before barging in, nearly tripping into Bobby who’d been about to answer it. Crowley hesitates, checking for a weapon before kissing Bobby hard. Hands wrap into Bobby’s short hair, and Bobby pulls him closer, kissing slowly and gently, trying to tame Crowley’s ardent energy- Crowley’s kissing him like it’s the last time he’ll ever do so. After a moment Bobby disentangles himself from Crowley and presses the younger man back.
“What’s that about?”
“Finals are over, we’ve been fighting. Make up sex.” Crowley pulls his best irritable face. “You nearly shot me. Talking can wait, I want to fuck.”
“I think we shou-“ Bobby starts, but Crowley’s already past him whistling for the dogs, like a canine Pied Piper, leading them towards the deck and out so he and Bobby won’t be disturbed. When he’s back inside, he shuts the slider and the way he turns the lock somehow manages to be self-congratulatory and smug.
“So, no interruptions, no classes, no exams, no one else but us- and this little one here,” Crowley catches sight of the Hellhound puppy in the cardboard box on the kitchen table. The little thing is sleeping, breathing loudly and paws twitching slightly.
“Haven’t decided what to name her yet.”
“That’s fine- has she imprinted yet?”
“Would’ve been nice to know before it happened, but yeah.
“Then there’s no problem with me handling her~ Excellent.” Crowley croons to the pup, suddenly looking like the young man Bobby sometimes forgot he was.
“Look, kid, why are you even here?” Bobby finally says, hating the silence and needing to know. “I nearly shot you earlier.”
“Well, for one thing, the dogs like you.”
“Cut the crap- you barely trust anyone, especially hunters. So why me? Why’d you come back?”
Crowley stands a little straighter, but never once looks at Bobby. “Because I like you. I trusted you to /not/ shoot my dogs. They’re safe. Unharmed, besides Nero’s paw- you were scared, you get a pass on that one, though I wouldn’t play with him until it heals. And,” Crowley hesitates, chewing his lip, unsure of himself for once. “Well, if I didn’t come back now, I don’t think I could have ever come back. If this changed our relationship…. I don’t know that I could have come back if something this fundamental to me was something you couldn’t really accept.” Crowley gives him a lazy grin, and it’s as fake as his leather shoes. “Can we fuck now?”
“I think the couch is feeling a little lonely. And it’s got more than enough room for what I want to do to you. “
“Sign me up.”
Crowley leans in to kiss him, and after a second he leans back and walks backwards towards the couch. Predictably, he falls over a stack of books. He swears viciously, and Bobby can’t help but laugh. It’s /cute/ seeing his normally suave, cool lover do something as out of control as trip. Of course, there are other more fun ways to make Crowley lose control, so he goes over to help pick up the books. Crowley won’t look him in the eye, and he’s flushed bright red.
Bobby grins, and lifts Crowley’s chin with a finger, kissing him softly. “Don’t worry, I still think you’re smooth. Just take it slow, okay? We don’t have to do this. Still want you. But take it easy.”
“No. I want to do this.”
Crowley doesn’t say anything.
“Crowley, you’re shaking. I’m not going to do something I’m going to regret, even if you don’t think you’ll regret it.”
“I’m not going to regret it.”
Patiently, Bobby says “Yeah, but I will. So let’s go fix up Nero, and play with the dogs.”
“Okay.” It’s small and quiet, like Crowley can’t quite believe he’s saying it, but to Bobby it’s a victory, so he’ll take it. He wraps an arm around Crowley’s shoulders and leads him outside.
Later that night, exhausted, but happy, they made love.
Chapter 19: Winter
Christmastime! (Warning for minor character death)
On Christmas morning, Bobby woke up early. Crowley declined to get up so early- it was just barely past dawn, so fuck that shit. He just rolled over and went back to sleep, waving Bobby off half asleep already. Bobby decided to go downstairs, feed the dogs who were accumulating in number. There were four of his, and three of Crowley’s, with Rumsfeld, Laird, McNamara, Growley, Nero, The Morrigan, and his hellhound. He still can’t decide what he’d like to name the hellhound puppy that Crowley’s hounds had given him as a way of getting him used to hellhounds (and make him less likely to shoot them).
As he’s calling the dogs in from the entire room of Bobby’s house they take up, he realizes there’s one missing. When he asks them where McNamara is, the six of them whine. Laird leads him into the back room where the dogs sleep, and there Bobby finds McNamara’s body, perfectly still and far too cold to be still amongst the living.
He wakes Crowley up with red rimmed eyes, and says quietly. “McNamara’s dead.” Crowley understands immediately. Bobby had McNamara the longest of any dog- as a Jack Russell terrier, that he’d lived to nearly 20 was incredible, Bobby had had McNamara when he was married- he’d been through a lot with that dog, and now that he was dead he was grieving- there was a certain amount that was inevitable, but… “A wise person once told me that there are two ways to stop grieving over a dog. Time or a puppy. You just got your puppy a little early.” Crowley offers, and pulls his lover into a hug. There was nothing else he could do, except suggest maybe they run the dog’s today instead of Saturday.
They don’t bother taking McNamara to a vet. He’d been an old dog, and he hadn’t been in any obvious pain or distress during his last few days. It takes effort, real hard work to dig through the frosted over frozen ground, but they do it to bury him properly. They bury him in a corner of the yard, one that he had liked when he was alive. Standing over the grave, Bobby can’t find the words to… say something. To send him off. So Crowley steps in. “It’s said that all dogs go to heaven. But even if they didn’t, you would be one of the ones to make it there. Rest in peace.” Shyly, Bobby reaches out to Crowley, brushing their hands together, and Crowley clasps Bobby’s hand in his, holding it gently. Whether he knows it or not, he’s providing the support Bobby needs.
In a moment, they’ll go inside, exchange the gifts they’ve bought for each other, pass out treats to the dogs and high quality raw meat for the hellhounds. Bobby will kneel and place the collar he bought around the newly named Persephone’s neck, and tell her that her name is Persephone. She’ll bark eagerly and nuzzle into his stomach, wagging her tail so hard she falls over, and Bobby will smile for the first time since he woke up that morning.
Meeting Crowley's mother was just as stressful as Bobby had imagined it would be.
There's a significant time skip between the last chapter and this one- about five months.
It was nine o’ clock in the morning, just three hours before Crowley /graduates/, and Bobby couldn’t help but grin proudly. He was always proud when his students graduated- mostly just the ones he knows, the ones he’s mentored or advised, but watching his boyfriend fuss to make his suit perfect, despite the fact that it was going to be hidden under yards of plain white fabric was something else. Crowley probably practiced shifting his tassel from one side to the other, just so it would look exactly right when he finally did it for real. Crowley snapped irritatedly at him for grinning while there’s clearly an emergency going on, some wrinkle Bobby can’t even see, so he took it calmly knowing that it was just nerves.
This was likely to be their only time together on this important day, and Bobby wouldn’t risk it just to snap back teasingly. Bobby realized that while he wouldn’t be noticed in the general graduation crowd, whatever Crowley’s private plans were for post-graduation, a teacher would probably be noticed. That even though Crowley had graduated (fair and entirely on his own merits) they couldn’t be seen together just yet rankled with Bobby.
But, he was willing to wait. Crowley hadn’t given much indication about what his plans were for graduation evening, besides that his mother was in town and Bobby, while desiring to spend as much time with Crowley as possible, wasn’t quite ready to meet his mother just yet.
So, of course, when Crowley had crossed the stage, and graduation was over, the first thing he did was introduce Bobby to his mother. Crowley was a crafty bastard, who always knew exactly how to drive Bobby mad. “Mother, this is Professor Singer of the History Department- he ended up being a mentor of mine during this last year.”
“Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”
Crowley’s mother grinned and offered her hand. “Call me Sarah. How’d you two meet?”
“I was in his class in the beginning of the year- I needed a history credit to graduate, remember, so he offered to switch me into a class that ah, more suited my interests. Giving me the credit, even though the class wasn’t something I had the prerequisites for. It was an economic history of Europe. One of the easiest classes I’ve ever taken.”
“I’ve known grad student who complain about how boring that is. Just seemed like he wasn’t a good fit for Local Myths and Legends.”
“You know me better than anyone, love~” Crowley said teasingly, and Bobby blushed. Was he trying to advertise their relationship? But Crowley’s mother merely smiled, not seeming to notice the hints Crowley was dropping into conversation. Finally, he escaped to the bathroom, not able to take Crowley’s foot tracing a path up his leg.
“If you’re looking to pursue him, you can now.” Sarah said, taking another bite of her chicken marsala. “But, I’d prefer not to watch you flirt with the poor man- you’ve scared him off.”
“It doesn’t bother you that I’d be dating a man twenty years my senior?”
“You’re smart, and you know him, and if he hurts you, I can have him killed. You’re an adult now. If you’d like to date a former professor, that’s your prerogative.”
Crowley giggled. Sobering he asked, “Even if he’s a hunter?” When his mother went quiet he added. “He knows about me… He’s met Nero and the Morrigan- even has a pup of his own: Persephone.”
“Be careful. I suppose I can hardly comment, having married a hunter of my own.” She shot him a knowing look. “Maybe wait until I’m not around? It was traumatizing enough walking in on you and Ezra when you were fourteen.”
Crowley grinned. “That I can’t promise.”
When Bobby returned he was unnerved by the looks the two Crowleys were giving him.
“Mother has given her permission for me to court you, Professor. I hope you’re amenable.”
Bobby froze. “Uh, yeah, I guess.” He stumbled over the words, trying to process that they were talking about him while he was gone. He supposed he should be thankful at least Crowley hadn’t given away that they were already in a relationship.
Chapter 21: Outside
Crowley's graduation present.
The afternoon after Crowley graduated Bobby set into motion his plans for Crowley's graduation present. One of the things Bobby had never felt comfortable indulging Crowley in was his public sex kink. Just the anticipation of being caught, getting in trouble turned Bobby off the way it turned Crowley on. So, it was something they'd never done. Bobby decided that for graduating with full latin honors, Crowley deserved something special. So, he'd created a picnic, one with many of Crowley's favorite dishes, and a bottle of scotch so expensive that Bobby had nearly balked at buying it- Craig, at nearly $300 a bottle, was Crowley's favourite brand of Scotch, and it was the kind he'd grown up with since it was made near the town he'd lived in. His family, living on the size of estate they did, had never had problems affording the most expensive Scotch that money could buy. There was nothing Crowley had missed more, besides his hounds, than that particular brand of Scotch- Bobby figured that the Scotch and sex under the open sky would be a decent graduation gift for his boyfriend.
After the previous night's dinner with Crowley's mother, Bobby knew that Crowley was serious about him, at least as serious as he knew how. That Crowley wanted to keep their relationship going despite graduating, Bobby had known, but he'd been subconsciously worried that graduation would change their relationship. That maybe the end of Crowley's school career would be the end of their nights spent in each other's arms, the bleary mornings attempting to feed six dogs at the same time, and the easy banter and teasing that characterized the way their relationship went.
Crowley leaned into Bobby, unaware of the thoughts passing through his lover's mind, nuzzling into Bobby's neck. Distracted, Bobby twisted, pressing a kiss to the top of Crowley's head, easing himself down to kiss Crowley softly and deeply. It didn't stay soft for long as Crowley poured himself into it, moving to straddle Bobby, tongue dipping in to play with Bobby's. They made out for moment, savoring the closeness and intimacy. Crowley pulled urgently at the buttons of Bobby's shirt, before remembering where they were, and sitting back- grinding teasingly down on to Bobby's hardness.
"Keep going." Bobby said, panting.
"You sure?" Crowley frowned. "You've never-"
"Said keep going. I'm sure." Bobby grinned. "Deserve it, Mr. Highest Honors."
A slow smile crept over Crowley's face. "Have I mentioned that you know me better than anyone?"
"Only last night."
Kissing his boyfriend soundly, Crowley couldn't keep the grin from widening as he unbuttoned Bobby's shirt. He bit playfully at the exposed bits of Bobby’s neck and skin as he finished stripping his lover’s shirt off. Crowley trailed kisses down Bobby’s stomach as he moved to remove Bobby’s pants. His fingers ghosted over Bobby’s chest and nipples, as Crowley nuzzled the tent in his pants. Sitting up, he unzips Bobby’s jeans, and once he frees Bobby from his pants he breathes warm air over his cock. Bobby swallows and bucks upward, ass scraping over bare ground. Crowley breathes again, and rubs his nose against the tip of Bobby’s shaft.
“Please, Crowley, stop teasin’ me.”
Crowley’s not quite done teasing though, and he moves up to kiss Bobby instead, and Bobby just groans. Grinning, Crowley palms him, stroking in long motions and Bobby grinds up into his hand. Kissing Bobby’s neck, Crowley bites and sucks hard, drawing blood to the surface and leaving a mark that people will tease Bobby about for days.
He sits back, admiring his handy work, before Bobby grumbles. “Ready to put your mouth where your money is, princess?” Crowley full out belly laughs, and it feels like it fills the yard. Instead, he stands up, shedding his clothes for the world (or the people within the yard) to see. Then he ducks down, replacing his fingers with his mouth and smiles appreciatively at Bobby’s heartfelt moan. He sucks hungrily, using the talents that Bobby had discovered on their first night together until Bobby pulls out.
“You keep doin’ that kid, and I’m gonna come.”
“Well, we can’t have that now, can we?” Crowley sits up. “I don’t suppose you have lube in your basket of picnic goodies?”
“Why, you know, I do. Fancy that.” Bobby grins. He tosses it to Crowley and sits up to enjoy the show.
Crowley catches the lube, and uncaps it, and hesitates. “Do you want to prep me?”
“Nah. I’ll enjoy the show this time.”
Shrugging, Crowley proceeds to put on a show, fingering himself gently and slowly until he gets used to the sensation. Bobby can’t help himself, even though he said he’d just watch, he finds himself wanting to stroke Crowley’s cock, knowing it’ll drive the other man crazy. So he does, and Crowley’s bucking into him and fucking his fingers, now up to three of them, at the same time.
All of a sudden Crowley, panting softly pushes him roughly to the ground and straddles him, grinding their erections together. They moan together, feeling the heat of each other’s arousal, and Crowley guides Bobby’s cock into him, sitting down slowly until Bobby is seated balls deep in his ass. Then, Crowley starts to move, riding Bobby. His cock bounces with each motion and Bobby reaches forward to grasp it, jerking Crowley off. The sound of flesh against flesh resounds through the yard and Bobby blushes at the loudness of it. Pleasure builds within them until finally Crowley comes, splashing Bobby’s chest. Crowley sunk to his knees, riding out the waves of orgiastic ecstasy; Bobby started thrusting into him, all sense of rhythm gone as his body sensed his orgasm approaching. With a cry, he comes too, and Crowley moans at the sensation of being filled.
When Crowley is lying flat against Bobby’s stomach, panting hard, Bobby says, “You know, that wasn’t all of your graduation gift.”
“I get more presents? Do tell.”
Instead of telling Bobby shows him, dragging over the large picnic basket to reveal six bottles of Craig, Crowley’s favorite brand of Scotch.
“You’re my favourite.” Crowley says, lazily, but he kisses Bobby softly in gratitude.
Chapter 22: Sunset
Crowley has to move for his internship.
After a long hard day of moving into his new apartment in Boston, Crowley and Bobby were settled at the kitchen table, watching the sun set through the windows. It was a pretty decent sized apartment, and Crowley shared it with a girl who was also working for Genzyme, the biotechnology company who had offered him a paid internship in Boston.
He’d sent his hellhounds back to his mother’s kennels in the UK. Bobby couldn’t properly take care of three dogs, two hellhounds, and a baby hellhound of his own, and nor would Crowley have expected him to. There was a finite limit to how many dogs a person could take care of, especially when Bobby had for some reason loaded himself down with teaching half the summer classes the department offered. He supposed it meant Bobby would be well paid for his summer, but it wasn’t like either of them needed the money. Crowley would have more than enough to cover his apartment and his student loans.
For the first time it occurred to Crowley how hard it’d be to visit Bobby, or even for Bobby to visit him. How busy he’d be with his job, though he supposed he’d have weekends, and so would Bobby. Taking the bus back to Amherst would be a trial, but he’d endure it. It wasn’t like he had much choice, unless Bobby came to see him instead, because he didn’t have a car, and he wasn’t paying for a train.
They’d get through it. They’d managed to get through all of their fights so far, despite having some pretty major ones and some petty, minor ones. The fight they’d had over trust, over the Hellhounds, was months ago and that was the last major one they’d had. Since then, all the little fights they’d had had been solved with time and aggressive, athletic sex.
Bobby was a little more worried about visiting each other over the summer and through the fall than Crowley was. He knew Genzyme was a huge company and they’d put a talent like Crowley’s to work quickly and /hard/. He doubted Crowley would have all the free time he seemed to think he would. If he was lucky he’d get weekends, and even then Bobby would be tremendously busy with the work for his four summer classes - he was teaching both History 101 and 102, as well as his local folklore class /and/ his upper level seminar was open to graduate students only. Even if he wouldn’t have quite so many students as he did in the fall and spring, it was still a lot of work. Plus he hadn’t taught History 101 and 102 since he’d first started teaching, and he had prep work to do even before classes started. Work, work, work, work.
He’d only even decided to teach the summer classes to earn a little extra money so he could afford a slightly bigger house- big enough for three dogs and three hellhounds, rather than the tiny place he had now. He’d started looking for houses, but he hadn’t found anything quite in his price range that had a well fenced in, large yard. Which was a necessity when one played fetch with invisible dogs- and you used wheel axles instead of sticks and hubcaps instead of frisbees.
Shaking himself loose of his thoughts, Bobby reaches out to offer his hand to Crowley, who takes it, thoughtfully. For now, while they have the time, they’ll sit here and watch the sunset, and think.
Chapter 23: Summer
Crowley visits home.
In June, Crowley doesn’t visit at all. He’s too busy settling into his new apartment, his new life in Boston. Bobby does visit him, twice, only to find out that Crowley has been stolen away by the company for business dinners. He doesn’t even get to see his lover. They don’t get to see each other until one morning in early July, when Crowley has specifically requested the weekend off weeks in advance. Bobby comes to pick him up on Saturday morning, and they spend a great deal of time kissing in the kitchen until Crowley’s roommate kicks them out for being too cheerful at 7 in the morning.
The drive back is filled with easy talk, about what Crowley’s been doing, and apologies for not having time to come home for a weekend. Bobby doesn’t really mind this- he knew it would be a stressful schedule at least in the beginning, and he listens to what Crowley has to say. Already his lover looks more mature, the confidence of heightened responsibility combined with an enormous ego making him more energetic, even as he looks exhausted.
The hellhounds come back, teleporting from their kennels to spend time with Crowley. They play fetch, throwing wheel axles for the hellhounds to bring back, and before long they’re both exhausted and laughing so hard they’re nearly doubled over at the idea of someone seeing them. If someone walked around the corner into the junkyard, they’d see two men pitching rusted car parts as far as they can- not far enough for the invisible dogs retrieving them, who are getting more and more frustrated as the humans get more and more exhausted. Finally, they switch to playing frisbee with discarded hubcaps, sending them sailing like enormous, heavy frisbees.
When they go inside, utterly exhausted, but smiling, they have dinner delivered. As they eat the burgers, Bobby learns a little more about Crowley’s job - that he’s got a small team of sales people reporting to him, that his superiors have ratcheted up the pressure and responsibility since discovering that he’s lightyears ahead of the other interns in terms of talent, job related intelligence, and ambition. Because if there’s one thing Crowley is, it’s ambition. He might be starting small at Genzyme, but Bobby has no doubt that Crowley could work anywhere he wanted to. He’d gotten enough offers, and had turned them all down. But despite that, Bobby has to wonder if the pressure is too much for Crowley. The kid’s a manager right now. Has people reporting to him, is apparently about to start racking up the travel miles, and most importantly, Crowley doesn’t seem to have time for anything else anymore. It’s worrying. The kid seems happy, but Bobby wonders how long that’ll last. There are the beginning of lines on Crowley’s face and his already chubby stomach is turning into a potbelly.
But for now, he’ll listen to Crowley’s stories, and tell a few of his own, and take advantage of the little time they get to spend together.
Chapter 24: Thousand
They have a fight.
It starts when Crowley doesn’t call. For the third week in a row. Upon leaving Bobby’s house on the first weekend in July, Crowley had promised to call every week that he couldn’t make it out to Bobby’s house so they could talk in person. It wasn’t exactly a huge deal, but it was the only contact with his boyfriend that Bobby had, so it felt pretty damn important. As usual, when Bobby’s more than a little mad, he turns to alcohol. He drinks first all of his whiskey, and then in a moment of impaired judgement, the rest of the bottle of Crowley’s graduation present Craig. To be fair, it was only one of the bottles- the rest of them Crowley kept at his apartment. But the bottle was there because it was to be shared. Not to be drank like it was the cheap rotgut Bobby usually drank when he was mad. He cleaned up the evidence the next morning, but still felt more than a little guilty for drinking part of Crowley’s graduation present.
Then, it turns out that Crowley had wanted to surprise Bobby with a trip back home that weekend. He’d taken a bus from Boston all the way to Amherst, and shown up on Bobby’s doorstep on Saturday morning with a quick knock and a smug grin. Of course, now that Bobby’s finished off the Craig, the first thing Crowley wants to do is propose a toast to his ever increasing responsibilities and most importantly, his ever increasing pay. The heavy, sickening feeling in Bobby’s stomach grows as he watches Crowley hunt through the liquor cabinet for his precious bottle of Craig. He’s trying to figure out the right time to tell Crowley that he’d finished off the bottle the night before in a fit of drunken rage when Crowley asks:
“What’d you do with my bottle of Craig? I can’t find it anywhere.”
He steels himself mentally. “I drank it.”
“You did what?”
“Last night. I thought you’d forgotten to call again. I got mad, and I started drinking, and it kind of just was there. So I drank it.” Bobby cringes, waiting for the fall out.
“It was just there. So you drank it.” Crowley repeats numbly. “It was just there, so you drank a bottle of 50 year old bottle of perfection in alcohol form. Like it was moonshine, to drink until you’re smashed like some teenager.”
Bobby opens his mouth to defend himself and Crowley cuts him off.
“No, you don’t get to talk right now. That was my graduation present, you asshole!! It was /mine/. What the hell gave you the right to drink it at all when I’m not here, never mind to drink it like cheap bourbon because you’re mad at me.”
Crowley is working himself into a fury, sitting on the floor amongst piles of what Bobby is suddenly aware is very fragile glass. Fortunately, Crowley doesn’t seem inclined to be violent towards the alcohol at the moment, and that was Crowley all over, not wanting to waste even a drop of alcohol even in a rage. Unlike Bobby, who ended up drinking everything in sight.
At this, Bobby loses what little control he has left. “Well, princess, maybe if you ever fucking were here, I’d drink it with you. As it stands, drinking at least makes makes the loneliness a little more tolerable.” He stops, sounding more like a bitter, lonely, old man than he cared to. Even if it were slowly becoming true he thought he’d at least gotten over himself a bit while Crowley was with him. He’d regressed since he (and his dick) had stopped having regular contact with Crowley.
“You make it sound like I don’t want to be here. Like I wouldn’t choose to be here if I could. Do you know how much free time I have?” He pauses for effect. “Zero. None. Nada. I wake up, go to work, come home and eat microwaved food or take out because I don’t have the energy to cook for myself, and then I fall asleep. I don’t even have the time to properly grocery shop for myself. I haven’t exactly been going out clubbing and enjoying the high life as you seem to think I have. I’m bone-tired. I work harder than anyone in my department, for the least pay, trying to catch the eye of my superiors and hoping they pick me of the fifteen interns for a real job with real pay and major responsibilities.” Crowley’s tirade trails off and by the end of it he sounds more tired than angry.
Bobby sits back, wanting to place a comforting hand on Crowley’s back but knowing he’ll be rebuffed. He considers the problem. “Maybe the problem is we’re trying too hard?”
Crowley looks up at him warily.
Bobby continues. “Maybe instead of our only real contact being face to face and getting frustrated over how limited our time together is, why not try for more digital and phone contact. Even though we’re in the same state, it feels like we’re in a long distance relationship at the moment. So, emails maybe?” He quirks an eyebrow at Crowley. “And I guess I should upgrade my phone into the modern age.” Bobby adds, knowing Crowley has wanted to set fire to his ancient brick of a cellphone since he’d seen it that first morning after.
The gleam in Crowley’s eyes is nearly frightening. “We’re going phone shopping.” He says definitively, and Bobby shudders visibly for comic effect. It’s taken the tension in the room down another few notches, and he sighs in relief, because Crowley doesn’t seem angry anymore.
“And in regards to more texts and emails and treating our relationship as long distance rather than close distance, I agree. Although- I will rather miss your cock. Remind me to teach you to sext.”
Bobby flushes bright red. He knows what sexting is; he isn’t an idiot. He had to admit he’d frozen the first time he’d confiscated a cellphone in class only to find a very explicit picture of the young man’s girlfriend on the screen, but since then he’d been able to basically ignore it. He hadn’t thought that it was something Crowley might have wanted from their relationship.
Crowley grins at the bright red of Bobby’s face. “Come upstairs and fuck me mute, darling. We can shop in the morning~”
That did sound pretty good.
Chapter 25: Letters
Solving errors in communication.
Crowley wakes up in the morning deliciously sore from the night’s activities, and he stretches languorously. Bobby, who’s been drowsily watching him sleep for the past few minutes, takes advantage of that moment of open vulnerability to sneak in for an early morning cuddle.
Today, they would phone shop. And, to be honest, Bobby was more than slightly dreading it, because Crowley was sure to buy him something ridiculously expensive, complicated and hard to use. He’d pout until he got his way, and Bobby wouldn’t be able to deny him, even if it meant taking money out of his special savings to buy whatever phone Crowley thought was best. It was difficult to deny Crowley anything he truly wanted, and Crowley knew it- and used it against him. Despite how much of a bastard he knew his lover was, he did truly love the younger man. And that wasn’t new, exactly- he’d long since discovered that he really goddamn cared about this kid and that it wasn’t just about having a warm and eager place to stick his dick- but somehow he found himself enjoying the way Crowley blatantly attempted to manipulate him. Least, around the little things. But he hadn’t loved anyone since Karen. He wasn’t even sure he loved Crowley, but the kid had a place in his house, and had wormed his way into his thoughts, and Bobby was damn sure he wanted the kid to stick around for as long as possible. So maybe that was love.
Still didn’t change the fact that phone shopping was sure to suck. He sighed, and rolled over, moving towards breakfast.
That afternoon, Crowley dragged Bobby into the mall, towards his carrier’s store. He immediately bypassed the display of iPhones just inside the door, and Bobby stops in surprise. He was vaguely aware that Crowley had whatever the latest iPhone was, and had been pretty sure that Crowley would pick out one of them for him.
Crowley catches his look and snorts. “If you /breathe/ on an iPhone wrong you break it. Forgive me for thinking this is not a feature for a man with three dogs and a Hellhound puppy. Now, how about a blackberry? They aren’t too much of an upgrade- certainly don’t have as many features as an iPhone or even one of the android smart phones, but they’re definitely an upgrade if we’re going to be texting, and sending pictures back and forth.
Bobby takes the phone and frowns at it. He attempts to type out a simple hello on the interface and finds his fingers are pressing multiple buttons at the same time. His brow furrows as he tries to be as delicate as possible with the thing and still finds himself unable to fit his thick fingers onto the tiny keys.
Crowley laughs. “Maybe not,” he admits. “Android it is then.” He flags down a sales person- and really it’s a miracle that they haven’t been assaulted by one of the hyper cheerful sales people already.
“We’re looking to upgrade him from a brick to a smart phone. IPhones are out, and so are Blackberrys. We’re looking at Android. What are the options?”
The sales person pulls him over to a computer station and Bobby finds himself answering a million different questions- first to ascertain what phones his contract was even eligible to upgrade to, and then to what kind of phone he wanted. He left a lot of those questions to Crowley, trusting the other man to know what was best.
He ends up leaving the store with an HTC something or other, and warily watches Crowley fiddle with it on the drive home. When he’s handed the phone upon arrival, he realizes that there are apps and little icons on the main screen, and that Crowley had been setting it up for him so he wouldn’t have to stumble through it on his own. He smiles.
The next day when Crowley is sitting on the bus to Boston, staring out the window, he gets a text message. Opening it, he finds it’s a photo of Bobby and the four dogs, and how Bobby got them all to sit still for long enough to take a photo, he has no idea. The little caption says “We miss you.” Crowley smiles.
Chapter 26: Transformation
Crowley's grown up.
They haven’t seen each other in months. They have pictures, and occasionally they jack off together over Skype, but it isn’t the same as being in the same room, the same car. Crowley’s job gives him an actual vacation- two whole weeks- during the Christmas season, and Bobby makes the drive out to Boston to pick him up. When he gets to Crowley’s apartment building he parks in the garage, he grumpily pays for an evening’s worth of parking- he has plans to take Crowley out for a nice dinner to celebrate this vacation.
Crowley meets him at the base of the apartment building and Bobby is struck by the transformation that has taken place over the few months since they last met face to face. He’s lost what little childhood he had left, his body looks nearer to middle aged than a young man in his mid twenties. Bobby can see the beginnings of a paunch breaking the lines of Crowley’s otherwise exquisitely tailored suit. There are signs the his hairline has started to recede, and Bobby can only think that it must be a family trait- or it’s stressed induced, and the thought that Crowley would be under that much stress and define it as a normal level for his job makes Bobby uncomfortable. Ignoring these thoughts for now, he gives his boyfriend a kiss, sweet and warm and far too long in coming. He’d missed this, like he’d missed nearly everything about Crowley.
To Crowley, Bobby hadn’t changed a bit- maybe a few more grey hairs, and the beard was slowly claiming more of Bobby’s face - but nothing significant. He poured himself into Bobby’s kiss, pressing against his older lover and enjoying the heat and closeness. His fingers move into Bobby’s hair, pulling him deeper into the kiss and knocking off that stupid hat. Bobby makes a muffled noise of protest, but doesn’t seem too upset, as he slips his hands into Crowley’s back pockets, blatantly copping a feel. They’re so distracted by each other that they don’t notice the attention they’re starting to draw.
“Ay, mates, get a room!”
Crowley is smirking as he withdraws and Bobby is flushed red.
“Wanna come upstairs?”
“Wanted to take you to dinner.”
Crowley just kisses him again, biting Bobby’s lower lip gently and sucking it between his teeth until Bobby moans softly.
“Sold.” He says, eyes half shut.
Bobby drifts slowly into awareness in the morning, a lazy smile at the remembrance of their night together. Crowley had fucked him good ’n hard and he could still feel the sore stretched feeling. Wasn’t the best feeling in the world, but it had been worth it to watch Crowley lose every last shred of his usually perfect self control. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to look Crowley’s roommate in the face this morning, and it was probably a good thing he didn’t know the neighbors. Crowley might have no shame about moaning loud enough to keep half the floor awake, but Bobby was a little more easily embarrassed.
When Crowley finally deigned to wake up, Bobby was having an awkward breakfast with Eliza, Crowley’s roommate. The girl had just grinned knowingly and Bobby flushed red. Apparently Eliza and Crowley were a good match for each other. When she tried to mock Crowley- making exaggerated moaning noises and trying to keep a straight face, Crowley just gave it right back to her, moaning and shouting ‘Will, Will, Will’ in a falsetto. Eliza burned redder than Bobby had, and he couldn’t help but smile at the girl’s discomfort.
“So, are you all packed for your vacation?”
“Yes. All set and ready to head back home for two weeks minus one day.” Crowley grinned unapologetically, not at all sorry for delaying their departure by a day.
They left not long after breakfast, spending the car ride animatedly discussing whatever subjects came to mind- Crowley related tales of his coworkers and customers and Bobby answered with stories about his students. The ride home goes quickly, and before long, they’re spooned together in Bobby’s familiar bed, sleeping soundly.
Chapter 27: Diamond
There is a proposal that does /not/ involve diamonds.
The next day goes quickly- Bobby has promised Crowley a formal dinner at the nicest restaurant in Northampton, and has even promised to wear a suit. Crowley is gleefully excited, because it isn’t often that he can get Bobby into anything more than jeans and his fashion disastrous plaid shirts. The dinner is almost an after thought, as Crowley drags Bobby to his tailor. When they get there, they aren’t the first in line. With Christmas coming up, there are a number of formal dinner parties at the various colleges and businesses in the area, and Crowley wouldn’t patronize anyone but the best. Crowley passes the time by mentally dressing and undressing Bobby- imagining the various different kinds of suit cuts and options, trying to figure out what would look the best. Bobby, meanwhile, is standing uncomfortably staring around at the racks and racks of suits. He hadn’t thought he’d need a new suit for the dinner, but it was worth an hour or two of discomfort to get Crowley in a good frame of mind.
When the head tailor finally spots Crowley, waiting in the corner, he passes his current customer off to an assistant and whisks the pair of them off into a private room. Bobby stands on the platform in the center of the room, very still, trying not to be noticed as Crowley and the tailor, Mr. Mortimer, speak quickly in what may as well be a foreign language. The last thing he wants is to be asked his opinion on anything- he knows almost nothing about suits, and the little he knows is entirely about how to hang them properly. The first time he’d stripped Crowley out of his suit and not hung it properly had lead to the end of the heated moment and a lesson in how to hang suits.
Soon, the man is taking measurements, and Crowley is looking on- Bobby can see that he’s biting the inside of his lip and grins. Crowley’s more than a little territorial about the tailor having his hands all over Bobby. That bodes well. When the man disappears, Bobby beckons Crowley closer and bends down, kissing his lover. Crowley deepens the kiss, and they’re still locked together when the tailor returns. They break apart only when he clears his throat loudly, and gestures that he has suits for Bobby to try on.
From there, it goes quickly- Bobby ‘decides’ on an American cut suit, and Crowley insists on a single vent in the back. Bobby isn’t sure he wants to know what that’s about. Crowley tells him anyway: a single vent will let him admire Bobby’s ass. Bobby just rolls his eyes. The tailor makes the adjustments while they wait and Crowley quietly pays the bill where Bobby can’t see. Bobby lets it go.
Before they can do much else, it’s dinner time, even despite the fact that their reservations aren’t until 7:30. Dinner nearly evaporates, like time is running faster in the restaurant.
“Will monsieurs have dessert?”
Blinking and looking up at the server, Bobby orders dessert, and has no idea what he orders because he’s too busy staring at Crowley. Crowley finally orders the most decadent thing on the menu, a slice of Belgian triple chocolate cake. Bobby doesn’t remember what they talk about while they’re waiting for dessert and he nearly sighs in relief when the server brings out their plates. When Crowley gets his chocolate cake, the slice of cake isn’t the only thing on the plate- there’s a ring box. He opens it, half in shock, to find a solid platinum band.
“What… Bobby, what is this?”
Bobby swallows. He’d been working up to this for months- teaching summer classes and extra fall classes, ring shopping, house shopping… and now it all came down to this moment. He gets down on one knee, cursing the tight suit. “James Crowley, I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you- you’ve brought an old, bitter man some peace and light, and more than a bit of youth.” He grins. “Will you marry me?”
Crowley is sitting in shock, his hand clenched around the ring box. “Bobby…” He stands. “I’m sorry, I can’t.” Skirting the heartbroken man kneeling at his feet, Crowley leaves the restaurant and disappears into the night.
Chapter 28: Promise
Crowley made a promise to himself to never settle down.
Crowley had crashed with Gabriel until the trains started running, and taken the first train back to Boston. He couldn’t get out of Bobby’s home fast enough. He’d spent two days in near shock. He can’t believe that Bobby /proposed/. Surely they weren't that close. As Crowley goes over aspects of their life together, that they own dogs together, that they trust each other with their deepest secrets, that they’d been all but living together for a year... Alright, but he was /wrong/. They didn't care about each other that much- for certain Bobby didn't mean that much to Crowley. Sure he'd been celibate while they were together, but that was just because it was easier to get sex in a monogamous relationship than when he had to hunt for one night stands. And Bobby had always satisfied him, so it had been simpler just to abide by the rules of the relationship than to try and get around them- not that Bobby had ever directly said that they were monogamous. And, his traitorous brain added, you didn't exactly hit the town when you were frustrated and horny during your internship, when you were apart for weeks and months at a time. Well, he'd been tired, settling into a new job, and it hadn't left much time for hooking up anyway. It certainly wasn't because he'd intended to stay faithful to Bobby. Well. That changed tonight. Crowley would go clubbing, pick someone up, and prove to Bobby and his traitorous brain that monogamy simply wasn't him. That he wasn't tied down to Bobby.
He dressed to kill, wearing tight jeans and a deep blood red button down shirt that showed him off to best advantage- bait for whatever individual he chose to bring home, or fuck in the club's dark corners. Maybe definitely the corners, prove how little it would take to pick someone over Bobby, how little the other man meant to him. He threw himself into dancing, immediately finding no lack of willing partners. If his dancing was a little desperate and very provocative, well it didn't matter to them none that he was a little easy. One of them was tall- bright blue hair that he'd slicked back tackily, but he was built, and maybe the height would be reflected in the size of his cock. Crowley set his eyes on that one, practiced eye deciding that he was the only one that might have any skill, might be worth a fuck in the bathrooms rather than just a blow job or hand job off in the dark edges of the club. At the end of the next song, Crowley slipped his hands into the man's front pockets, pulling him closer and whispering that if he wanted, Crowley was a willing piece of ass.
It didn't take long for the man to accept and they were off the floor and into the bathroom- they weren't the only ones who'd decided to use the bathroom for that purpose based on the sounds resounding off the tile. It was possibly the dirtiest, filthiest bathroom Crowley had ever been fucked in- bent over the toilet like a two-bit whore.
At the end of it he was sore and still hard and full of another man's dripping come. God they hadn't even used protection. What the fuck had he been thinking. He cleaned himself up as best he could and left, heading home, where he spent nearly two hours in the shower, scrubbing himself clean. The water on his face hid the tears as he sobbed. He couldn't erase the dirty, unclean feeling from his skin- it felt like his skin was crawling with every germ he could have picked up from that bathroom, that toilet, every disease he could have caught from some unknown dancer, one he'd picked for being easy. He vowed to get himself checked out as soon as he could.
There wasn't a single thing about the experience that he didn't regret, from the club he'd chosen, to the person he'd picked, and most of all he regretted doing it at all. He was an adult now. An adult didn't go maybe get themselves killed to prove that they didn't need anyone.
Swallowing what remained of his pride, Crowley pulled out his cellphone and called Bobby.
Chapter 29: Simple
Bobby is awoken by a phone call, for the second time.
3am phone calls are never good news. This is something Bobby has learned based on every three am phone call he’s ever received. So, when Crowley’s name flashes on his caller id, just days after he’d stormed out of the restaurant when Bobby’d proposed, Bobby’s worried. He doesn’t know why Crowley’s calling, but it /isn’t/ to accept his proposal. His mind flashes on all the different reasons why Crowley could be calling- to reject his proposal out of hand, one of his hellhounds has died, or something’s happened. When he picks up the phone, he can’t understand Crowley at first, because the younger man is all out /sobbing/, which scares the hell out of Bobby. Crowley hadn’t been sobbing when the hellhound that had been as close to mom as his actual mother had died.
“Whoa, whoa, calm down, kid, I can’t understand you. It’ll be alright.”
He hears Crowley choke out “You can’t know that,” before dissolving back into wracking sobs. Patiently, Bobby decides to wait Crowley out, comforting with his presence rather than words. It’s uncomfortable listening to Crowley cry, and Bobby shifts restlessly needing to do /something/ but knowing nothing he could say will help Crowley calm down.
Finally, Crowley manages to stop sobbing long enough to take a few deep, ragged breaths, and the story comes out.
“I was upset,” he admits. “I was scared. I didn’t want to believe I could…” Another deep breath. “Could- It’s only been a year and a half since I was having orgies every weekend and getting laid anytime I wanted by anyone I cared to invite to my bed. The idea of marriage is terrifying.” Bobby’s stomach flips, and attempts to tie itself into an intricate knot. He does /not/ like where this is going. “I couldn’t believe I had changed that much. That our relationship was that serious. Earlier, I went out, with the express intention of getting laid. Of proving you wrong.” Crowley chokes out a bitter laugh. “It was the worst night of my life. I can’t get clean- I spent two hours in the shower scrubbing at my skin and I can still feel him touching me. I can’t get his come out of my ass. Nothing’s working.”
“And what, you figured you’d call me to… fuck I don’t even know.”
“Confession /is/ meant to clean the soul. I don’t know what to do, I hate feeling this way, I CAN’T GET HIM OUT OF ME!” Crowley’s voice rises in volume and he sounds truly panicked.
The knots in Bobby’s stomach are twisting around and he feels sick thinking of some other man getting to touch Crowley- and Crowley letting him. Much as he hates what Crowley has done, he can appreciate the fear that spurred the decision, and most of all? He hates how scared Crowley sounds. How this has reduced the most mature college student he’s ever met into barely more than a child. That makes his decision for him- he can’t let Crowley keep panicking when he can grant absolution.
“Crowley, Crowley, it’s okay.” Grasping at psychological straws, Bobby adds “I still want you, still care about you. I promise.”
The sobbing has a slightly more relieved tone to it, and Bobby sighs in relief. It takes a moment, but Crowley seems to be recovering. Within minutes the only sign that he’s been crying is the hoarseness of his voice, deepening the tone far below the normal range.
“For what it may be worth, Mr. Singer, I am truly sorry.”
“You get one fuck up. It was a mistake, you regret it. Next time it won’t be a mistake- twice is deliberate.” He rubs at his tired eyes. “Kiddo, I’ll be there in the morning. We can talk this out. But it’ll be okay. And yes, you are required to discuss your feelings.” Pausing momentarily, he asks “Are you going to be able to sleep?”
“… I doubt it. I’ll figure something out.”
Bobby’s not sure he wants to hang up, not with Crowley trying to deal with this all alone, but he knows the younger man hates having an emotional break down in front of anyone, never mind someone he respects. So, extracting a promise from Crowley to call back if he needs to, Bobby hangs up, rolls over and goes back to sleep.
The second Bobby wakes up, he makes a pot of coffee and pours most of it into a travel cup. He leaves a message on the departmental Dean’s answering machine, declaring that he has a family emergency and will be absent from class for today. That’s all the planning he manages through his worry for Crowley. It doesn’t seem to take long before he’s screaming down the interstate, headed east.
An hour and a half later, Bobby is hunting down a parking spot in Crowley’s garage. He slots the car into a nearly too small space, squeezing himself out of the car. He jogs towards the elevator, mashing the button. Bobby doesn’t even know if Crowley’s awake yet- if he slept at all. When he reaches the correct floor, he knocks softly, and the door is answered by Eliza, who frowns bemusedly at him, but lets him in.
“He’s sleeping on the couch.” She says softly. “I’ll cover for him at work- say he’s sick. Do you know what’s wrong with him?”
At his less than forthcoming answer she frowns again, but doesn’t ask again, just leaves. Bobby settles himself on the end of the couch Crowley’s sleeping on, letting the younger man’s legs rest in his lap.
Crowley sleeps another hour and half, fitfully and restlessly, as though he’s having bad dreams, which Bobby wouldn’t put past him after the night he’s had. Crowley finally sits up, leaning exhaustedly against Bobby’s shoulder.
“Hey, babe.” Bobby finger combs Crowley’s hair into something that sort of resembles the style Crowley usually wears.
“Want me to make you some breakfast? Or send you back to bed?”
“I came here knowing you hadn’t slept. I don’t mind entertaining myself.”
“Eliza’s covering for you.”
Smiling slightly, Bobby helps Crowley into his bedroom, lowering his half-asleep lover onto his bed. Bobby tucks Crowley in, standing next him until Crowley falls back asleep. Bobby busies himself preparing breakfast so Crowley can eat when he wakes up. It’s another four hours before Crowley wanders out of his bedroom and joins Bobby on the sofa, where he’s watching baseball highlights.
“There’s food next to the microwave if you want it.”
“Not hungry yet.”
“So. Want to talk about it?”
Crowley shoots him a look. “Not really. But I have to, don’t I?”
“I was scared and stupid. I’ve never really been monogamous. The thought of eternal monogamy, when only a year and a half ago I was one of the biggest sluts on campus is a bit of a shock. So, I set out to prove you wrong. And in the process, proved you right. That I didn’t want the touch of anyone else, and that the touch of another left me feeling violated, despite the fact that I was begging for it. I am definitely not ready for marriage, but I’m… you’ve spoiled me for anyone else. I miss you.”
“I did sort of shock you with it. But I’ve been planning this for awhile now. I wanted to do something for you. Show you that I wanted you in my life, forever. That my wife doesn’t bring painful memories whenever I think of her. That I want you. I wanted to move out of this house that was my wife and I’s, then mine, but never really yours and mine. Not ours. Wanted a place where we could keep three dogs and three hellhounds, where we could both commute to work and meet in the middle. Somewhere in Worcester county, maybe. 45 minutes for each of us. Marrying you just seemed to fit. I want a future with you. Despite all the issues we’ve had lately.”
“I would be amenable to that.” Crowley murmurs. “I didn’t know you felt that way.”
“So do I.”
The End. Thank you all for staying with this fic, for the nearly whole year it's taken me to finish it.