Chapter 1: Entertainment
"C'mon Cas, it's going to be fun. The guys are great and you really have to learn to relax. What's your problem?" Dean wrung his hands in frustration. The Winchesters had spent the week in a bigger town for once and stayed in a motel near some clubs. Only two nights before, Dean had found a group of local young men and women and made plans for this very evening. Not only Sam should tag along but Castiel, too.
"Organised group activities aren't my thing, Mister Winchester."
Silence. A sharp intake and a distant chuckle from across the room.
"D– did you just quote Shades of Grey?" Deans voice sounded more than incredulous and the hunter threw a glance for help over to his brother.
"I did. Since you seem to enjoy occasional pop-culture references I thought I should start to participate."
The chuckling grew into a full-blown laughter. "Yes, but... Shades of Grey? Cas, you don't even know Star Wars!"
The honest defeated disbelief confuse the Angel a bit, but at least Sam seemed to have a lot of fun.
"Crowley doesn't like science fiction too much."
Dramatically the older Winchester threw himself onto the sofa, letting out an exasperated sigh. "Seriously dude, get a boyfriend with taste. That's horrible."
"The only horrible thing is your lack of acceptance for this kind of entertainment." Crowley, current King of hell had suddenly appeared right behind Castiel, lazily slinging an arm around the Angel's shoulders.
"Entertainment? I would have expected more, even from you. I mean, ewww."
Neither one of the Winchesters was even surprised by the demon materialising anymore, they had gotten used to it a few weeks into Castiel's relationship.
"Hey Crowley," Sam nodded, by now calmed down again. "You want to go out tonight?"
"Not with you folks, but I've got indeed plans." The King quickly checked with Castiel before taking a step back and straightening his suit. "So if you don't mind? Love, you're ready to leave?"
Before the ineffable pair vanished into thin air, Crowley raised an eyebrow in his typical provoking way: "Tonight, we're watching Titanic."
The last thing Castiel could hear was Dean's deep groan.
Later that night, Castiel found himself in their usual movie-watching position; Crowley curled up against him, beard scratching the Angel's collarbone every time the demon let out one of his little comments.
It wasn't as if Castiel really enjoyed this movies or would even watch one of them alone, but after a while he had figured out that the King of hell had a soft spot for something Dean kept calling "women's movies".
And somehow that fact alone made these evenings a lot more satisfying.
Chapter 2: Exhaustion
Monday prompt: I like to think it might all have been the same occasion. A fight leading to the rest – Crowley is one hell of a possessive bastard when it comes right down to it, and just imagine the bloody reckless little human going out and doing something stupid, again, that Crowley has to get him out of. Maybe it's while Dean and Sam have another one of their trysts and go separate ways and Dean, for some reason, thought it was a good idea to go and raid a nest of demons all by his lonesome.
Crowley, being the generous selfless being that he is (hah), gets him out of the place before Dean ends up in so many tiny pieces you could sell them as collectibles, and proceeds to yell at him.
I'm not entirely sure if Dean would spitefully kiss Crowley to shut him up or if Crowley kisses Dean to prove his point that no, the hunter cannot just go and get himself killed like that, maybe it's a mixture between those two. Afterwards, when they've blown off some steam (do I need to elaborate?), neither of them is sure who started it, but that doesn't keep them from doing it again.
(Bonus, because these things keep getting away from me: I tend to imagine Crowley as a closeted romantic of sorts - not because he was brought up that way but because he has seen how it could be when it's done properly - who some months later invites Dean out for dinner, something classy but not over the top, and declares that night their proper first time after he's taken Dean apart to the point where he's out of it enough to just murmur his agreement and can they go to sleep now, please, because the night was amazing but he's exhausted.)
Dean Winchester let out a little sleepy sound and burrowed deeper into the warmth his dozing mind found next to him. Crowley didn't mind, he liked that the hunter could sleep this relaxedly in bed with him, officially just because it lessened the possibility of betrayal by the brothers.
It was so very different from the other times they had come together in Crowley's bedroom, back then it had only been sex. Good sex, great sex—the King of Hell doesn't do beneath that—but just nothing more than frustrated and heated interaction.
This had been slower, more subdued. Crowley had taken the whole night after their fancy first dinner to show Dean all the ways of sweet torture he had never even thought about. The sight of the boy, writhing in the bed sheets, lip bitten and face scrunched up when he once again found himself just one little push away from the desired release.
After that, Dean hadn't been able to just jump out of bed and go back to his usual hunting business. No, tonight he had taken his last ounce of strength and rolled onto his side into Crowley, mumbling nearly inaudibly.
"Can we just go to sleep?" he had asked while the demon stroked over the naked, warm body.
"Of course you can, love. Get some of your well-needed rest." Crowley hadn't stopped the stroking, but it was never intended to be something sexual anyway, it was his way to ease his partner down from the endorphins, something akin to comfort.
Their first time together had been a lot more hectic and rage-fuelled. For reasons that went beyond the King's knowledge, the moron brothers had split up about something again, leaving a lonely Dean who thought it a good idea to run into a demons' nest.
Without calling anyone for backup or even him, for hell's sake.
Fortunately, not all of his subordinates were idiots and one deemed it necessary to call and inform him about a Winchester in the nest.
Crowley got the boy out before he could get injured, but it was a close call.
Bollocks. He really needed to put a tracker on those boys, that way it would be so much easier to keep them out of trouble.
It wasn't their first fight ever, they'd got a history after all, but it was the first one that ended in a kiss.
Both of them had kind of shared this idea, Crowley just to prove his point that Dean couldn't just go suicidal every time someone looked the other way and Dean – maybe he tried to let it appear spiteful.
Things got transferred into bed where they proceeded in similar matter. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that somehow went out of hand and led them to said "fancy ass restaurant" which they visited for steaks this night.
All in all, Crowley couldn't be too angry about the Winchesters' character trait to run head-first into things that would rip them into pieces small enough to be sold as collectibles. After all, he was now in the position to personally keep an eye on Dean without anyone raising an eyebrow.
The boy grumbled something unintelligible and slung an arm around Crowley's chest.
The demon smiled to himself. Of course he wouldn't say one of these things out aloud. At least not yet. Or to anyone else than Dean.
Chapter 3: Talks
Tuesday prompt: IT'S TUESDAY AGAIN! You know which pairing I have to go with for this one.
Angels and love don't really go hand in hand all the time, clichés and chubby kids in nappies be damned. Gabriel, of course, sort of poses an exception to that and he knows the Winchester boys' story; my personal headcanon is that Gabriel was very close to Lucifer, so of course he takes an interest in big brother Lucie's vessel. During mystery spot, he pretty much pushes him as far as he can (don't get me started on the symbolic of Heat of the Moment here) and he sees the same refusal to accept his brother's fate in Sam that he had when Lucifer got cast out, only that he ran away and hid while Sam is looking for ways to get Dean back. That is when Gabriel realises he likes this little (or, okay, not so little) human more than he possibly bargained for.
For Sam, it takes longer – Gabriel (or, as it started out as, the Trickster who just won't die and then Loki who does die) is an on-and-off presence and he presumes him dead until, during Castiel's escapades as God, Gabriel turns up in the Winchesters' motel room and announces “we need to do something about my little brother”. He sticks around after that, pestering the brothers, but it's not until Sam catches him alone one night (maybe on the roof of Bobby's house where they're stopping by or something absurd like that) and, while they talk, realises how much Gabriel misses his brothers – the ones in Heaven and the ones in Hell – and consequently comes to understand how much the archangel can actually relate to his and Dean's issues. That throws a whole new light on everything he did so far (and Sam could bang his head against something solid for taking so long to understand it) and he finally gets why Gabriel sticks around.
It takes some more time for Sam to work out how he feels about that, but he gets that, too, eventually.
"Why did you come? We've got no case at the moment."
Sam didn't bother to turn around to the archangel who had grown to a common presence on particularly tricky hunts or more rarely, when he was bored.
"Wow Sammy, I'm hurt. Can't I just hang around with the boys squad a bit?" Gabriel flopped down on the car wreck's hood next to the Winchester, one-handedly conjuring himself a bottle of beer. The very same brand Sam was sipping at the moment.
"Let me guess, you've gone too far somewhere and now you've to lay low?" Now he actually turned his head to the smaller man, finding no mock-hurt expression or a smug smirk for once.
Instead the young face was drawn tight, eyes looking as old as the soul behind them really was. This wasn't Gabe the Trickster God, this was Gabriel the archangel who left heaven.
"I'm sorry," Sam immediately apologised, feeling bad for his assumptions.
"It's fine, you're not too wrong. I did something and now I can't return there. And now I was just feeling lonely. I guess."
Gabriel got back to his feet, obviously getting ready to leave as unannounced as he had came. "Stop! Wait!" Hastily, Sam gripped the smaller man's shoulder with practised ease, how often did he have to hold Dean back like this? "I said I'm sorry and I meant it. Why don't you sit with me for a while?"
So they did. At first, there was a bit of awkward silence, but after the first bottle of beer things went smoother.
"Dean's being an idiot again."
Gabriel looked away from the nightly sky which was clear enough behind Bobby's old shack to glance at the stars. "That's nothing new, is it? It's your speciality after all."
The archangel smiled, but it was different than his teasing smirk, it was soft and somehow melancholic.
"Yeah, you might be right." Sam looked away, this gaze was hard to stand, it made his insides curl uncomfortably.
"But he loves you." Right when the Winchester had thought that they would go back to silently sitting and drinking, Gabriel opened his mouth again.
"I know that, and I love him too, he's my brother after all. I just can't understand why he keeps doing this stupid stuff!"
Old eyes caught Sam's again, not letting go this time, instead drilling deep as into his very soul. It was only slightly disconcerting.
"That already is the answer. He does these things because he wants to do everything he can do for you. Even though everyone knows that this is the worst you can possibly do, you keep going 'cause in your head you can only see your brother."
The Winchester swallowed, things had gotten from a typical rant about his brother to something deeper.
"That's why you did it?"
Another rueful smile, somehow defeated and sad, tugged at the corner of Gabriel's mouth. "Yes, I loved and still love them, especially Lucifer."
Sam frowned, he hadn't realised that the archangel had a particularly close bond to the former king of hell.
"But– even after what he wanted to do to the Angels and the world?"
Gabriel scoffed, eye-contact broken and instead focused on the brown bottle hanging limply in his hand.
"Yes, Samuel, even after that. I know you can understand that. How often did Dean, or you for some matter run out to do something stupid without telling anyone? How often did it end in a catastrophe? How often did you turn away from your brother because you couldn't take what he'd done, just to be drawn in again?"
Now it was easier to hold the Angel's gaze, now when the understanding seemed to dawn.
"Because whatever Dean did, deep inside you know he just wanted to protect you, protect everyone, do the right thing. He just didn't know how to do the right thing differently. Same goes for Castiel, and Lucifer."
Castiel and the Leviathans, Lucifer and his fight with Michael.
Lucifer had been nicer to him than Michael to his brother, Sam always had gotten that feeling that the fallen angel wasn't the personage evil people wanted to see.
"I've known Lucifer my whole life. He has taught me so many tricks and shared so many laughs with me. We got along so well, better than with any other Angel in heaven. Then the fight between Lucifer and Michael began, I couldn't do anything but watch. I couldn't stand stand to see my brothers I loved fighting, so I bolted. I still miss them sometimes. Even though they're arrogant dicks."
"Yes, I get that part."
In the early hours of morning, Gabriel disappeared to God-knows where, leaving a more relaxed and content Sam. He returned into Bobby's house, found his brother passed out at the table and shook his head.
Yes, Dean was an idiot, but so was he. And they still loved each other and knew they could count on the other to be by their side. It was a really comforting realisation.
The Winchester thought of the lonely archangel and sobered up a bit. Gabriel didn't have that, not anymore. But he could change that, he could be the brother, no the friend, Gabe could use. After all, he liked the Angel and had just noticed that they weren't too different.
"Hey Gabe," Sam mumbled, picking up a stray bottle next to his brother's head. "Wanna come over? Hang out a little more?"
Chapter 4: Worries
Wednesday prompt: Being with the king of Hell doesn't really make the best impression on people from both sides; Dean, as a hunter, can't very well tell other people in his line of work that he's with a demon, and then this demon out of all of them, and Crowley has to keep up appearances (and he might be a little worried that some subordinate might be stupid enough to believe it would be a good idea to use Dean to put pressure on him). Because of that, the only ones who get to see them interact with each other are usually Sam and Cas.
They both watched Crowley subtly (and, on some occasions, not-so-subtly) courting Dean and collectively kept their mouths shut when Dean didn't seem to get it. After they figure themselves out, watching them is... strange. Crowley is sarcastic and unbearable as ever and Dean isn't much into PDA in front of his brother, but there's moments when they don't feel watched (well, Crowley just doesn't care) when Sam catches the way Crowley looks at Dean or Dean leaning into Crowley's near-constant little touches and caresses instead of telling him to “knock it off, there's kids present”.
It's hard to get used to and Sam still isn't sure he likes it (because they made their experiences with demons, didn't they? He'd have thought Ruby was a good enough example to scare his brother off), but then Dean, talking to or even about Crowley, gets that stupid sappy smile that Sam relentlessly makes fun of and Crowley is being a lot less homicidal than usual and maybe, just maybe, this isn't all that bad.
Things hadn't changed too much out of a stranger's perspective, even Garth who met up with them for the occasional hunt didn't even bat an eye at the suddenly more prominent appearances of the King of hell.
But Sam knew and so did Cas, something that really should say something.
Crowley had hesitated far longer than the younger Winchester had deemed it possible before he actively tried to court Dean. At first Sam suspected he was just imagining the demon's interest in his brother, paranoia, since this hardly was the weirdest thing that had happened to him. But then Castiel had pulled him to the side one day and asked if Crowley and Dean had secrets or were plotting something. The poor Angel looked honestly worried about that.
Somewhere along the line every hunter developed trust issues, Sam assumed.
It wasn't until two months later that more earnest flirting as well as little comments added to Crowley's visits.
Dean had told him to "knock it off, there's kids present". The younger hunter had snorted.
But not long after his mean little amusement shifted into something like sympathy for the King of hell—despite everything—when his brother kept ignoring or staying blind for Crowley's advances.
One day, when Castiel and Sam were digging through some lore while the older Winchester was out to get beer and pie, Crowley appeared, undoubtedly for one of his usual visits.
"Dean's out, but he should be back soon." The Angel had informed him matter-of-factly before returning to his task at hand.
"Why do you think I come for Dean, feathers?" It had taken a lot for Sam to neither chuckle or answer that, just because it was way more interesting to let Castiel do it.
"I'm afraid Dean doesn't see your intention for being around so much, but Sam has explained to me that you favour him. Maybe you want to make your point a bit more clear?"
Funnily enough Crowley did and sooner than anticipated dynamics had shifted. Not too much to cause attention, but enough to turn things strange for a while.
While Dean close to never really reacted differently to the demon when he felt watched by any of them, things looked different when he thought themselves alone.
On no occasion Crowley ever enlightened the hunter that sometimes Cas or Sam would look over, eyes lingering on the little touches and caresses, before returning to whatever they had done.
Apparently the King of hell respected Deans boundaries for now. The younger hunter wasn't sure if he was irritated or glad about that. After all he had his own relationship with a demon vividly in mind, something neither of them had originally wanted to repeat.
And yet there his brother was, being in a kinda-relationship with a demon. Sam worried about the effects that could have, something Crowley apparently did as well.
Most likely that had been the night Sam had finally accepted the King of hell as partner for his brother. After that the slightly dreamy smile and sappy grins from his brother didn't put him off or scared him anymore, he was able to just be happy for him.
All it had taken was some accidental ears-dropping when Crowley angrily snapped into his phone. He said that the day one of his "moronic subordinates" would try to use Dean against him, or even so much as look in his direction, what they now knew as hell would be heaven against what Crowley would do to them.
Sam never doubted that for a second and had silently slipped away, leaving the demon to make his threats.
In all the time after the relationship started, Crowley never once caused Dean harm and made anyone who was stupid enough to try regret it.
Chapter 5: Home
Thursday prompt: Dating in threes isn't always exactly easy. Dean is surprised that they even got this far, without someone trying to strangle the other once they are in a room together, Castiel turning Crowley's scotch into holy water or Crowley trying to offer Cas steaks fried with holy oil. Or maybe Dean trying to stab... either of them, really. They've come a long way since then.
Still, none of their lives are exactly relaxed and at the end of the day, it's rare that anybody really has the energy to do something fancy for a date night. Usually, they curl up on a couch or a bed, whatever is available at the time, sometimes with a brief scuffle for the spot in the middle (as it turns out, Crowley is extremely tactile – Dean isn't sure why he's surprised – and even Cas is getting the hang of cuddling) and watch a movie while they eat. It's nothing remarkable, looking at it from the outside, but it's what they need, so that's alright.
Dean had declared the bunker his home the moment they had entered it the first time. When he had decorated his room he had paid attention to make everything as appealing to him as possible.
Sam couldn't understand that, he didn't need a home, he had said, he never had one, he had said. But deep inside Dean was sure that his little brother had been as enthusiastic about his room in college as he was now.
The most uncommon and surprising addition to the place "home" were of course an angel and a demon. Somewhere between war and apocalypse a little trio had formed, a profound bond, as Castiel had put it.
If someone asked Sam, Crowley had showed up at the bunker one day and just had moved in with them. But no one asked him, maybe because neither the King of hell not Dean were very keen on discussing these topics and Castiel just began to follow that lead.
In his life, the older Winchester had dated a lot, it had started early, back in the boys' home he had lived in for a few months, but that had not even remotely been like this.
Three-way-dates were a bitch to organise, especially if you were a hunter slash usual rescuer of the goddamn world, a former Angel of the Lord on the run slash secret protector of the humans and some Angels and a demon slash ruler of hell.
So, time management was important and no one was really good at it in private. That led to the result that in the end the three of them mostly ended up on sofa or Deans bed having dinner while watching a movie (aka: introducing Castiel to the importing knowledge of life) before falling asleep.
A bit earlier into this unusual relationship Sam had remarked how surprised he was that no one had tried to kill someone yet, there wasn't even hostileness between them (except for when they couldn't decide which food or movie would be chosen for the night). And while Dean never had voiced these concerns out aloud, he had had the same, earlier.
When they started dating, in a real restaurant owned by one of Crowley's subordinates, the Winchester had expected noises of agony at any moment because Castiel had turned the demons scotch into holy water or because Crowley had ordered to let the Angel's steak be fried in holy oil.
But things like these never happened. They just kind of lived next and with each other, weirdly content in an arrangement none of them had ever anticipated.
By now Dean had learned a few interesting things about his two boyfriends—leave it to him to get not one but two the first time he started dating guys—like that they were actually pretty inclined to cuddle.
The sleeping arrangements changed with the events of the day. Normally when Crowley had a really stressful and frustrating day in hell, he claimed the middle spot without any word. The other two would be pulled close, arms slung around them not on the bad side of crushing yet.
When Castiel was feeling lonely or disheartened (which happened more often these days when heaven and hell clashed around them) he would throw the others a questioning glaze out of big blue eyes and they would take him in the middle and stroke him tenderly until he relaxed.
Today Dean had gotten the middle spot for himself, Crowley and Castiel curled up against his sides dozing lightly. Neither of them really needed sleep, or at least not much, but they came to enjoy it in the warmth that was their shared body heat.
Dean didn't particularly have a bad day or was feeling bad or anything, at least not more than usual, still, Crowley and Castiel only had shared a short moment of non-verbal conversation before going to this more rare arrangement.
The evening was spent with Chinese food and an old black and white movie the Winchester couldn't recall, he couldn't remember anything really well. But that was okay.
The only important thing was that he was here in his own bed, in his own room, his Angel and his demon right next to him. Right now everything else could wait, right now he could breathe and just be.
Chapter 6: Tie
Friday Prompt: The Novak siblings work in the same street, but not the same place: Castiel has a job at the local library, Gabriel runs a sweet shop right opposite. Sam, of course, frequents the library while he studies for his law degree while Dean frequently stops by the sweet shop because while nobody can match Gabriel's sweet tooth, the man's chocolates are the best. Both Winchesters get to know and get along with their respective Novaks, but it's not until both decide to invite their buddies over that Dean meets Castiel. It's remarkable enough for him to be able to ignore Gabriel molesting Sam in the background.
"Hey Gabe, whatcha think, as funny as it is to hang out with you alone, maybe we could invite some other people?"
"People like?" Gabriel pried, grin wide on his face.
"My brother, you dumbass. He's hanging around in that damn library his whole life, I think he needs a break."
Dean leaned against the shop counter thoughtfully, pulling the wrapper from his super-special-awesome chocolate bar Gabriel imported from God-knows-where.
"Oh, you should see mine." The man rolled his eyes exasperatedly. "At least he gets paid for it."
They chuckled before they got interrupted by the doorbell, indicating that a new customer had dropped by. "Okay, I'll be on my way then. We'll see you tomorrow night, why don't you bring your own Mathilda, too?"
Sam Winchester was an eager pre-law student who used to spend nearly all his free time per the books. But the last months since he and his brother had moved to Kansas things had loosened up a little. His second week in, Sam had met the quiet and awkward librarian who turned out to be not only well-informed and helpful, but quite nice too.
Castiel Novak was older than he was, maybe even older than his brother, Sam had never asked and it never had been necessary. They got along well enough that sometimes after he had finished his study for the day, or Castiel's shift had ended, would sit in the library a bit longer, chatting quietly.
So the Winchester wasn't too amused when Dean told him that the two of them would go out tonight, no library and no Cas.
A bit annoyed Sam texted his friend about the change of plans and got informed that Castiel, too, had been dragged away for some beers with friends.
Two hours later Dean pulled the Impala up in front of a shabby looking bar that had "fantastic fries" and Sam sighed to himself. Maybe it wouldn't be too bad, admittedly it had been a while since he did something with his brother. Guilt made itself known before the younger man shook it off.
Dean was a grown man and definitely capable of making friends and going out by himself, but still.
"Oh, you'll like Gabe, he's awesome."
Sam wasn't as optimistic as his brother, he rarely liked Dean's friends, they were mostly loud, brash and rude. Totally not fitting to his brother, if you looked close enough, still wherever they went, Dean would find himself a group of guys who wouldn't even consider Sam as a friend.
"If you say so."
The bar smelled like those "fantastic fries" his brother had advertised and was definitely looking better on the inside.
Apparently, Dean had spotted the Gabe they were supposed to meet and strode to a table in the corner without hesitation.
While the two greeted with a hearty knock on the table (something that not everyone could make look cool), Sam's attention was on the other person sitting at the table. Castiel looked as surprised as he did, before his face returned to its usual mask of indifference.
"Castiel, hadn't thought I would meet you here."
The librarian nodded curtly, only after quite some time with him Sam noticed the smile tugging at the man's mouth.
"Same goes for me. I'm glad I will have nice company for the evening now."
That comment earned him a slap on the back of his head by Gabriel, whose eyes glimmed good-heartedly. "My, my, brother, people could get the idea that you don't fancy my company."
"They would be right," Castiel deadpanned.
Sam swallowed thickly, that didn't really sound like the well-mannered Cas he had started to know at the library.
"Oh, ignore that, Gabe, I get that all the time. Nasty little brothers. But at least I think I found out why mine is hiding in a library now." The younger Winchester attempted to say something but he never got the occasion. "I would, too." Dean winked, sending Gabriel into a laughing fit.
"Oh come on, Dean-o, really? I thought you'd have a better taste. Perhaps Sammy's got a little hope left." The blond man smirked up at Sam who still stood next to the table. "No need to be shy, sunshine. As you've heard, I'm Gabriel, Gabe for my friends and I own the sweet shop across the street from library."
Sam could remember the little, colourful store nestled between a washing saloon and a hair stylist. "Ah yes," he murmured just to say something and finally sat down next to the rest.
The evening went better than Sam had anticipated. There was a lot of banter between the siblings and they shared some funny stories while nursing a few beers.
Around ten, it grew obvious that Dean was interested in Castiel beyond just flirting, he was even blushing once in a while when he made a comment whose intention the librarian failed to understand.
Sam would have helped, but he saw himself confronted with his own problem of sorts. Gabriel was still heavily hitting on him, unnoticed by the other two who were way too invested in each other, and the younger Winchester didn't really know what to do.
By eleven, things had heated up a bit, somehow Cas and Dean now sat next to each other so Sam ended up on the seat next to Gabriel. The older Novak wasn't hesitant to openly place his hand first on Sam's thigh and then letting it slide upwards slowly.
"Hey, stop that," he murmured irritatedly pushing away the bold hands which just returned seconds later. "Um, Dean? Cas?" That was when Sam found his brother and his friend kissing on the other side of the table. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
The four of them met more often after that, even if Gabriel complained often enough that double-dates were only fun if there really were two couples. But no one really minded.
Sam and Cas still met up after work to hang around and Dean still frequented Gabriel's sweet-shop. But every now and then, Cas would excuse himself early and Dean would hang one of Sam's ties at their flat's door.
These nights the younger Winchester spent at the older Novak's place, crashing on the sofa or Castiel's now unoccupied bed. And if one of those nights, a lonely Sam Winchester had snuggled up against Gabriel, no one else would know.
At least not until Castiel comes home one night to find one of Sam's ties at the flat's door.
Chapter 7: Affection
Saturday Prompt: Crowley is a lot of things, but he's not naïve. He knows what he's able to do, and he knows very well that he isn't a person someone sensible would want to make their enemy.
He also knows that Dean knows this.
After he was screwed over by Castiel for much the same reasons, he knows better than to give the Winchester his absolute trust, even as they sort of stumble into their strange little relationship. He doesn't voice his concerns out loud, but they're constantly there – and he gets it, really, why the Winchesters would want him as their ally rather than their enemy. He's also relatively convinced that Dean wouldn't stab him in his sleep, if Crowley would indulge in such things.
But he's not about to believe that Dean is keeping him around for him, either, and he'll be damned (again) if he showed the hunter how much that affects him. He can take what he's given as long as he has it, knowing that it's the best he's going to get.
Crowley wandered through the bunker aimlessly. Castiel had left hours ago and even the Winchester brothers had gone to bed in the end. That only left the king of hell, strolling around the place not only Dean but Sam called home now.
It wasn't long ago that Crowley hadn't had the possibility to run around freely in here. He threw the cliché bookshelf that disguised a steel door a disgusted look, he had spent way too much time in the dungeon to set a foot in it without solid reason again.
Instead, the demon turned around, strolling in the direction of the sleeping quarters, currently only occupied by the Winchesters since that Charlie girl had flown off on an "adventure" and Crowley didn't use the one Dean had set for him.
Demons didn't necessarily need sleep. Especially not under these circumstances.
While it wasn't a too well kept secret that the king of hell had a soft spot for his squirrel and his moose and even had something like companionship with the angel, he wasn't naïve.
All around the damn world Crowley seemed to be the only one who didn't underestimate those flannel-wearing boys and still, he had been screwed over not only by them but Castiel too. Even if he had to admit that the angel thing wasn't necessarily their fault. That was on Crowley's miscalculation that this angel at least would hold his end of the bargain. He wouldn't make that mistake again.
So all in all, the demon was aware that despite everything, the three of them preferred him being an ally instead of an enemy and wanted him to stick around. Times were hard and the Winchesters needed every powerful backup they could get.
But then there was this other thing. The relationship thing.
Crowley didn't do that kind of thing anymore, for business reasons, but still, he had somehow stumbled into something that had inevitably led into a romantic (or sexual) involvement with Dean Winchester. They weren't there quite yet, but the signs had been there. Clear enough for Sam to pull his brother aside when he thought Crowley busy with other things.
Shortly after, Dean offered the demon to go out for beer and cocktails like they had done that one summer and Crowley had accepted. It had been a nice evening, it felt like when the boy had been a demon but before everything went to hell, figuratively speaking of course.
But Crowley didn't go down that road any further until again the older brother asked him out.
Things became complicated, the demon could understand friendliness for the sake of getting along, even drinks to smooth over the things that had gone down the last couple of months between them, but didn't know why it went on like this.
One night, he had snapped and bluntly asked Dean if he didn't think that it was enough to amend what happened and that they should finally go back to business. They had more important things to do than going all soft about this, after all.
The Winchester had just stared at him for a long moment, obviously lost for words. And before they came back to him, Crowley had left.
Of course the I-don't-do-chick-flick-moments Winchester decided that this was exactly the right occasion to work on this issue of his and hadn't let Crowley go when he returned to the bunker.
After a few embarrassingly awkward minutes in which the demon had learned that he wasn't kept around as a helpful ally but for himself, the king had lived through the formerly unknown relief to get called to tend hell-business.
Crowley arrived in the gangway which held the doors to the different bedrooms. Dean's and his own here, along with two unused ones and Sam's and Charlie's around the corner, as well as their three more empty ones.
For a moment the demon contemplated to open one of the doors, without any deeper intention behind it, just because of the inexplicable urge to do so, but he stopped himself. The older Winchester rarely got sleep, not only thanks to his life as a hunter but also through severe traumata in life and death, he really shouldn't barge in without reason.
"We don't keep you just because you're powerful. I want you here because I like you being here."
Crowley swallowed, remembering the words that had been said to him, words he still couldn't quite get the hang of. Because how could Dean say things like that?
And while the demon trusted him enough to be relatively sure not to be murdered from behind any moment, he didn't trust the boy enough to be honest about this. To be anyone be honest about this.
Suddenly the king found his hand on the door handle, pushing it down gently. The thick wood moved without any bigger noises, but Dean still sat up in bed immediately, hand jumping under his cushion to grab the gun.
"Crowley? What are you doing here?"
The voice was rough from sleep, but there was a noticeable weary edge in it. These bullets wouldn't hurt Crowley, not even slow him down much, Dean knew that. He should have the demon blade stored under his head, too.
"Did something happen? Is someone in the bunker?"
Crowley realised that the Winchester hadn't intended to shoot him, that this merely had been a reflex of years of experience when getting woken up in the night meant that hell was breaking loose. Sometimes more literally than at other times.
"No. It's just me."
Dean lowered the gun and blinked up at him, relaxing slightly back onto the mattress. "Why are you here?"
His eyes shone weirdly in the dimly lit room, making them hard to read. It made Crowley more uncomfortable than it should.
And he didn't know what to say, so the demon just stared at the man who actually let his guard down around him, against all common sense. Crowley just couldn't understand those Winchesters.
"Go to sleep, squirrel," he finally murmured, voice brisk with hidden emotions. For a long moment, Dean just held his gaze before he put the gun back from where it came from and leaned against the bed's headboard.
"Good night, Crowley."
Crowley could feel those eyes boring into his back when he left the bedroom.