It was another stressful day for Samuel Winchester. Living life as a hunter and a Winchester was always hard, but things haven’t been this bad since the apocalypse. A couple of days ago, he and his brother, Dean, had been busy trying to find a way to defeat the Leviathan when a metaphorical bomb had been dropped on them.
It was all over the news. Two Leviathan, pretending to be them, were prowling around robbing and murdering the shit out of people. They were wanted criminals! Again! Taking down the Leviathan was already looking to be impossible and now, in just a few moments, they managed to skyrocket the Winchesters right back onto the FBI’s most wanted list.
No doubt the second they were caught, the Leviathan pretending to be them would show up in the flesh. It had to be some kind of plan to flush him and his brother out. He and Dean’s only real hope at the moment was Bobby figuring out a way to either kill Leviathan or slow them down before they were dragged in by the police. All in all, their only hope wasn’t all that hopeful.
The world was closing in around them and they were essentially forced into hiding. They couldn’t freely walk the streets without risking SWAT coming down on them. Which is why Sam had taken to going out in a hoodie with the hood pulled all the way over his face for food like he was at the moment. Dean taken taken to going out in a hat and Castiel’s trenchcoat (Sam thought it reminded him of Cas), but the hoodie was just fine where Sam was concerned.
It was late October and quite chilly where they were now. It was even starting to snow, but they didn’t have any winter clothing and, with the media storm swirling around them now, it was unlikely they would get the chance. So, Sam figured he would just have to power his way through and hope his hoodie would continue to take the edge off the chill.
It was when Sam was walking on a seemingly empty street that a pair of arms wrapped around his arms from behind and he was dragged into a dark side alley. Naturally, he struggled, but it didn’t get him far and his attacker only adjusted and strengthened their grip. The iron grip was, without a doubt, supernatural. He resigned himself to his fate and only hoped that Dean could evade capture even if he was taken by the Leviathan.
“Hello, Moose. Long time, no see.” A familiar, gravelly voice spoke from behind him as the strong hands removed themselves from his person.
Sam knew that voice!
Whirling around, Sam came face-to-face with his and his brother’s on-again off-again ally, Crowley. The demon in question was wearing his usual suit, looking far too refined for someone standing in a dark alley, dragging in innocent passerby. This was not who he was expecting at all. Sam seemed to be in shock as he silently opened and closed his mouth, momentarily unable to produce sound.
Crowley picked up on it quickly, giving a knowing (if condescending) smirk. “What’s wrong, Winchester? Leviathan got your tongue?”
That got a reaction.
“Leviathan?” Sam choked out, a tad louder than he maybe meant to. Knowing he probably wasn’t going to be able to get his thoughts across verbally, he settles for physically. He fixed the annoying demon with the best questioning look he could muster at the moment.
“I know about their little plan to flush you and your brother out. I’m here to help.” Crowley stated, straightforwardly.
“What?” Sam choked, skeptically. “Why would you want to help us?” He demanded. Crowley gave a resigned sigh and began pacing. When he ended up pacing behind Sam, the younger man turned around to face him again so that his back wasn’t to the demon for too long.
“I’ll admit, I did try extend the metaphorical olive branch to the Leviathan first.” Crowley admitted, his words immediately putting the hunter on edge.
“And how did that turn out for you?” Sam sneered, his tone scathing and defiant.
Crowley ignored the goading with practiced ease. “Oh, Roman blew me off. Said, in no uncertain terms, that he wouldn’t even consider working with a demon. Of course, there were a good amount of insults and threats tossed in there, as well.” This was all said in a casual, conversational tone.
The demon tossed his head to the side and fixed his unwavering gaze onto his sometimes-ally. “Needless to say, I was reasonably upset by all that. I want revenge . . . and to protect my crown.” He added the last bit after a moment of thought.
“And why, exactly, did you come to me with this?” Sam asked, disbelieving. He couldn’t believe this was happening. What did he do to deserve this being his life?
“Because you do need help and, with the kind of revenge I want, I need help, too.” Crowley sounded deeply displeased with having to admit that he needed help from a Winchester.
Sam, on the other hand . . .
“What makes you think I need help from you ?” Sam demanded. The thought of working with a demon (Crowley, in particular) made him feel like bile was rising in his throat.
“You need help from someone.” Crowley replied, readily. “Why not me?”
“I can think of several reasons.” Sam shot back.
“And I can think of several reasons why you should take me up on my offer. I’ve helped you boys before.” Crowley stated. “I can provide you with the opportunity to protect your brother. He is always protecting you, don’t you want to return the favor?”
Sam didn’t reply, but the look in his eyes said enough. Sensing he was making headway, Crowley continued on. “If you go along on my plan, not only can you get the chance to destroy the Leviathan’s plans from the inside, but you can also keep tabs on what they are doing and relay their plans. I can promise that you’re not likely to be hurt and, if you play the part well, you might even be able to distract attention away from your family’s activities.”
These possibilities sounded frightening and also slightly alluring to Sam. He had been frustrated feeling so helpless in fighting the Leviathan and this could be his chance to actually do something, handed to him on a silver platter!
“What is your plan?” Sam asked, against his better judgment.
A toothy smirk spread across the demon’s face, making Sam quickly rethink his interest. “Well,” Crowley started before Sam could take it back. “I imagine you know how to play the cute younger brother from your childhood, yeah?” The demon inquired.
Sam nodded warily, wondering where this was going.
“Well, when I talked with Roman, he said that he viewed humans above demons because of their useful status as a food source. He wasn’t willing to work with demons, but he may consider doing so with humans. He views them as something to be used anyway, so if he finds one he thinks of as particularly useful, then he would no doubt leap at the chance.” Crowley explained, leading into his way of thinking.
Sam lifted a sarcastic eyebrow in response. Sighing to himself at the Winchester’s lack of appreciation for dramatics, Crowley started to get right to the point. “My evil scheme is to give you abilities that no human, angel or demon, possesses in full and have you placed in the Leviathan’s custody.”
Panic promptly raised and swelled inside Sam. That was insane! This plan was insane! Before Sam could open his mouth to put his thoughts into words, Crowley held up both his hands in a placating gesture, effectively silencing the hunter for the time being.
“Just hear me out.” Crowley stated before he continued. “If I make you useful enough, they wouldn’t dare risk hurting you and you could potentially derail their current plans for you and your brother with your mere presence. You’ll even be at ground zero to overhear their evil plans and pass them on. They will tell you anything if they think you can’t escape! It’s perfect! You can’t go to them as yourself, of course. You’ll need a disguise.” The demon was getting excited now.
Sam was not going to get swept away in it, though. “And how, exactly, does it help anyone if I can’t get the information out? And how can you give me these mysterious abilities if even demons don’t have them?” Sam demanded, disbelieving of the entire plan.
“Demons don’t have all of the abilities I will give you.” Crowley diligently corrected, making the distinction. “We, demons, have a few of them, but I will get into that later on. As for passing on information, I have taken the liberty of purchasing a necklace with a built-in microphone for the occasion.
Saying so, Crowley reached into his suit pocket and drew out a simple necklace. It was very plain and, while attractive enough for someone to reasonably wear, it was easy to overlook and in no way stood out. The design was a crescent moon designed to look like it was formed from some kind of rusted, brown metal on a slim leather band with a similar brown color. For a covert listening device, it was perfect.
“This was made so there is no outward sign of what’s inside and it’s welded shut, so there is no opening it up and messing with the wires. Therefore, there is no way to turn it off and on; it is always on. It draws its constant energy, among other things, from a little spell I used on it after I bought it. I have the receiver that came with it, so everything said around you will come back to me, which I will then pleasantly pass on to Squirrel.”
It took a Sam a second of wondered where squirrels came into this to remember that it was Crowley’s nickname for his brother. Well, one questioned answered; time for another. “How do I know you will actually tell Dean what you hear?” Sam demanded, his distrust perfectly clear.
“Promise.” Crowley said lightly, giving a small shrug of his shoulders. The smirk he gave basically said that that was the best Sam was gonna get and he couldn’t even really complain about it because Crowley was offering a partial solution to his otherwise hopeless problem. He had a lot to lose, turning his back on this now.
“How do I know you won’t leave me to rot with the Leviathan once you get what you want?” Sam already knew he was going to agree, but Winchesters didn’t just fold.
“You boys are useful.” Crowley replied. “I wouldn’t want to get rid of someone useful. Besides, your brother wouldn’t rest until he had my head if he found out. We’re temporary partners in this, right? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. So do we have a deal?” Crowley inquired, holding out his hand.
“Deal.” Sam answered decisively, yet his hand reached out hesitantly to grab the other man’s. It wasn’t a binding contract, but it would have to do. “Alright. How do we get me into their ranks?” Sam questioned, his tone demanding.
Crowley rolled his eyes dramatically. Winchesters! “We can’t afford for them to be even the teensiest bit suspicious of your intentions. If they think there is even a chance that you’re a threat to their plans, they will obliterate you. The key here is to make everything about you seem as non-threatening as possible.”
That made sense. Sam nodded to show that he was following so far. “We need to think about how you are to make contact with them.
If you approach them saying that you know what they are and want to help, it would make you seem too conniving. It would raise too many questions, both about secret motives you may have and where you, a human, got so much knowledge of what they and their goals are.”
“Why can’t you give me to them?” Sam was too busy thinking and problem solving to feel the instinctive disgust at the idea of Crowley “giving” him to anyone. “You could paint it as trying again to win their favor through bribery.”
“I already thought about that.” Crowley replied, wearily. “They could take it at face value, but they are much more likely to question your past and my motives if we do that! They might think I’m planning something, which I am, but we don’t want them to know that.”
“Then, what?” Sam thought, aloud.
“Alright, stay with me now. This might take some explaining. Firstly, your personality is important. You need to act the innocent, helpless little brother; emphasis on innocent and helpless . Be over the top with it, if you have to.” Crowley impressed upon him. “You will not be The Hunter, you will be a young human at the Leviathan’s mercy and you need to play the part.”
During this, Sam’s eyebrows slowly rose higher and higher until they disappeared under his hairline. As soon as Crowley paused, he voiced his confusion. “You keep saying I need to be non-threatening, but I’m not really that young and I don’t think I could pull off innocent if I tried, not with my height. How are you going to make me non-threatening?”
What he got in response was a surprisingly confident smirk and an uneasy (for Sam) amount of amusement showing in the demon’s eyes. Sam fought the instinctive urge to take a cautious step back.
“The same way I can give you powers no demon possesses. Catch!” Shockingly (and strangely) enough, Crowley tossed a large balled up wad of paper at Sam’s face, which he caught instinctively.
What resulted was no less than the strangest sensation he had ever experienced, which was saying a lot for a Winchester. The paper unraveled itself in under a second and plastered itself onto his hand, almost fusing into the skin. Brown eyes widened in shock while his heart quickly sped up, fright overtaking him. He shook his hand frantically in an attempt to remove it using momentum.
When the paper didn’t disengage straightaway, he tried to scrape it off using the walls of the alleyway. It did nothing to help as the paper further fused to his skin, melding with the flesh. After another ten seconds of this, the paper was gone. Not fallen off, but completely part of Sam. Whether it had sunk straight into his soul or became part of his skin, Sam didn’t know.
“What the hell was that for?!” Sam demanded of Crowley once he had gotten his senses back.
“That,” Crowley stated, with irritating calmness. “was a gift. You’re welcome.” Seeing Sam getting revved up and angry, Crowley cut the hunter off from his impending tirade. “Close your eyes for a couple seconds, then open them. How do I look?” Crowley instructed.
Sam raised an eyebrow, both in mockery and in challenge, but decided to bite the bullet and close his eyes when Crowley just kept waiting for him.
Sam’s eyelids slowly, cautiously slid shut, hiding the demon from his view. Every instinct he had was shouting at him to reopen his eyes and not take them off of such a threat. Still, he ignored it the best he could and counted off a few good seconds before snapping his eyes back open.
What he saw made Sam gasp loudly and actually jump back a few feet.
Crowley stood in the exact same place he was in before Sam closed his eyes, apparently not having moved a muscle. He had a smugly pleased look on his face as he simply stood there in all of his demon-ness, which Sam could see. Crowley’s demon-ness, or perhaps it was his demonic energy, was suddenly visible. It formed a black, amorphous cloud wafting off his body like fog from ice and collecting far above his head.
It wasn’t just his sight that had changed, Sam noticed. His body was having a strange reaction to Crowley’s presence; his senses were practically screaming to the hunter that the person in front of him was, in fact, a demon. Instinctively telling him the being before him was dangerous. Sam’s entire range of perception had changed. Instincts he didn’t even know if he originally possessed had been magnified.
Then, the most jarring thing so far happened.
It lasted less than a second, Sam was sure, but it felt like much longer. The demon in front of him, for a moment, had two faces. One was the human face that had become synonymous with the demon in question. The other was incredibly hard to look at and even harder to explain. It was the horrendous, decayed-looking face one would expect when looking upon a demon.
And then it was gone, leaving only the human face grinning back at him in demonic pleasure.
“I know what you saw.” Crowley said to a shocked Sam.
“What did I just see?” Sam breathed out, his eyes fixated on some point beyond the demon.
“Me.” Crowley answered, pleased. “As I really am. You’ll see the true form of any other supernatural creature you see, now. You should be able to sense their presence, as well.” His pleased grin then turned into something more smug. “Of course, that’s not all you can do, but I’ll let you figure that out as you go. It’s better for the innocent character you’ll play for you to be surprised, anyway.”
This is all going to take some getting used to. Sam thought, miserably.
Crowley’s grin widened at the look on Sam’s face as if he could read his thoughts. “Now, here’s the beginning of the plan . . .”