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Hell or High Water

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Hell or High Water banner by CR Noble

In Greek Mythology, Icarus was the son of Daedalus. To escape from the island of Crete, Daedalus fashioned wings for himself and his son out of feathers and wax. Daedalus tested his wings out first and warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, for his wings may melt and he would plummet to his death. Overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared into the sky, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax. Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms, and so Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.

But Icarus was not the first to fall because of hubris.

When God first created man, there were some that considered it a bad move. Chief amongst the dissenters was Lucifer, God’s favorite, and he made some compelling arguments. The angels were told to bow to the humans, and Lucifer thought they were above that. The humans, he claimed, were flawed abortions of creation. Everyone’s a critic.

Instead of bowing to these monkeys with anxiety, Lucifer rebelled. He believed he could prove the humans to be nothing more than another failed experiment. He, and a select few other angels, were purged from Heaven’s grace. Other angels fell for their own reasons. These angels were given the title of Prince of Hell, and their grace was tainted from blue to yellow.

Others fled. Gabriel, for instance, sought shelter from the pagans to avoid being caught up in his family’s war. Loki let him use his face, and in return he got a nice holiday.

One, however, fell in hopes of sparing his family.

Cassiel was one of the Eight Archangels. Only half of them had seen the Face of God, and Cassiel was not one of the lucky few. No, outside his job, he wasn’t sure what his greater purpose was. Not to say that he was particularly fond of his job either.

But what was his job, I’m sure is the question. Well, I’m glad you asked.

When angels are born, someone needs to “program” them, so to speak. Someone needs to instill in them their very essence. Their reason for life. For most angels, it was as simple as spreading love. For others, their job was to communicate God’s will.

Cassiel’s job wasn’t simple, however, and he didn’t want to do it. To program angels, one needed to drill into the center of the angel’s grace and tamper with the very thing that makes them who they are. It was a very delicate process where everything could go wrong. As such, Cassiel trained someone to be able to spot him and make sure he didn’t slip. Not that he ever did, but he didn’t want to chance it.

Naomi was a good student. She paid attention, and picked up on a few things that Cassiel didn’t teach her. If only he’d known what she would turn out to be.

When Lucifer fell, Cassiel knew his job was about to change. The ethereal fields were being prepped for battle, and his job would be to reprogram the angels for battle. The older angels were one thing, but the fledglings He couldn’t take a lifetime of happiness away from the fledglings.

“Where will you go?” Naomi had asked after Cassiel confessed to her that he was leaving.

“I don’t know.” Cassiel didn’t look at her. He wasn’t sure if he could. “Might go down to Earth and live amongst the humans. It’d be better than staying here and watching our brothers and sisters kill each other.”

But Naomi knew better. She knew Cassiel didn’t want to see his mate change before his eyes. No one did, but not everyone was Cassiel. Only he and Naomi would remember life before the Fall, and not even he would if he was serious about what he was about to do.

“What do you want me to do about-“

“Make him forget,” Cassiel interrupted. It was killing him inside, knowing what he was about to do. Part of him wanted to find his mate so they could run away together, but he knew just how impossible that was. As much as it broke his heart, he had to flee on his own. He just knew it would be less painful for his mate if no one remembered him. “Make them all forget.”

Naomi seemed disconcerted by this order. She shook her head. “No, there has to be another-“

“I said make them forget. That’s an order, Naomi!” Cassiel hissed, his wings flared out angrily. His eyes bore into her, but he had no fight in him. After a moment of Naomi staring back at him, Cassiel’s wings relaxed against his back. His pale blue feathers ruffled in frustration, but he knew she was right. Leaving his mate was a mistake. He just wished there was a way to leave with his mate, but there wasn’t. Not that he could see.

Naomi knew better than to argue with him, though she thought he was being completely unreasonable. She didn’t know how to tell him that his mate would follow him anywhere. Or maybe he knew that and knew that was the problem. Whatever it was, she wasn’t going to be able to talk Cassiel out of leaving, so she flapped her wings once and left him alone.

Cassiel looked across the horizon of Heaven, taking the sight in one last time. This truly was paradise, and he was leaving it. As he looked out over the ethereal plains, he felt a tear roll down his cheek. He could never come home. He was leaving everything he ever knew, and everything he ever wanted. Regardless of whether or not he had a good reason, he didn’t want to leave. Not without his mate.

But it was impossible. He knew that. His mate was needed here.

He found himself second guessing his decision. But no. He couldn’t torture the fledglings by altering their purpose. And besides, he hadn’t taught Naomi everything. She couldn’t possibly be able to do his job, right?

Before he could think about it anymore, he marched toward Heaven’s Gates. It felt like he was leaving a piece of himself behind. In fact, he was, though neither of them would remember. His mate was better off, he was sure. He was sure his mate would find someone else. Someone better suited for him. Someone that wouldn’t run away.

He looked through the gate to see Earth stretch out in front of him. The battle of the angels hadn’t yet reached Earth, so it looked… peaceful. Quiet. Everything Heaven wasn’t, and would never be again. He took a leap and fell.

He plummeted to the surface and … kept going.

He must have crashed through the gates of Hell, because when he opened his eyes, he was surrounded by brimstone. The other fallen angels immediately took notice when someone joined their ranks. When they discovered who it was, there was talk of him becoming the Grand Inquisitor of Hell. With his knowledge of how angels worked, surely he would be an expert in torturing any humans that earned their spot in Hell.

Cassiel tried to play along. He tried to pretend he was on Lucifer’s side, but the truth was he loathed Lucifer. He hated this war. He hated the angels. Hated the demons. Hated that every second he spent in Hell, he could feel his grace distorting and becoming something it was never meant to be.

For a hundred years, he did everything he could to keep his head down. He was good at that. Observing with minimal interference. The fallen angels, the princes of Hell, they wanted him to do what he would have done in Heaven had he not run away.

A hundred years, and he had seen Lucifer corrupt Eve. He had watched humanity’s banishment from the Garden of Eden, and he hated Lucifer all the more. Not because Cassiel was wrong about the humans, but because he was right. He watched as Lucifer turned Cain against Abel. He watched as humanity became every bit as corrupt as Lucifer said they would. He watched as Lucifer was locked in the cage. He watched as Lilith created the first demons. He watched everything.

A hundred years and Cassiel was at his limit.

The first chance he got, he made a break for it. He didn’t belong in Hell. He wanted to go home. He flapped his wings and they carried him to Heaven’s gates once more. Heaven was … a wasteland, compared to what it had been before. It was heartbreaking, but it was home.

He took a single step toward the pearly gates, and was greeted by five angelic soldiers. He blinked in surprise, but they didn’t give him a chance to introduce himself.

Naomi had really done it. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but he hadn’t been expecting Naomi to truly wipe him from everyone’s memory. With his hands up, he dared to take another step. He even showed his pale blue wings to them to prove he was an angel. Only, as he glanced at them, his wings had begun to grey.

“My name is Cassiel,” he said, loudly and clearly. “I’m here to talk to-“ The angels didn’t care what he had to say. They drew their blades and pointed them at him.

“You are no angel I’ve ever heard of,” one said.

“And even if you were,” added another, “you turned your back on Heaven. You don’t belong here anymore.”

“You have five minutes to leave, or we will kill you.”

And there it was. He didn’t belong in Hell, and Heaven wasn’t his home anymore. He was truly without a realm to call home. He started to walk toward the gates again, but stopped. He intrinsically knew, in that moment, what his purpose was meant to be. He was the angel of solitude. Of tears. Possibly the first angel to shed a tear for the world that might have been.

He glanced back to take one final look at what he was leaving and muttered and apology to the angel he was leaving behind. Out of options, he took his angel blade in hand and stabbed himself in the kidney, crying out so loud it shook the Heavens. He carved his grace out and, before he knew it, he was falling.

When an angel falls and they remove their own grace, they fall separately. Cassiel was the first to discover this, as he watched his grace rocket off in a different direction. He, himself, fell at alarming speeds toward the surface of the Earth.

That was the last memory he had, and then it was gone.

Chapter Text

Scotland – 1713

Fergus Roderick MacLeod had been on this Earth for 53 years, and in his opinion, it was 53 years too long. He hadn’t made any significant contributions to the world, his marriage was failing, he hated his son, and he was an unsuccessful tailor in a time when tailors shouldn’t be unsuccessful. All he had going for him was his athletic calves, and those certainly hadn’t gotten him anywhere.

He had heard about crossroad deals from his mother (before she abandoned her, anyway) and … well, he truly had nothing to lose. He knew the typical tradeoff was 10 years for whatever your heart desires. He didn’t particularly want anything, but then he didn’t particularly want to live longer than 10 years either.

And so here he was at the crossroads in the country. He buried an etching of himself, a bottle of graveyard dirt, and the bone of a black cat inside a box, and all that was left to do was wait. So, wait he did.

Just as he was about to give up hope that anyone would show up, he turned, and there was a beautiful woman standing where he was sure no one had been standing before.

“Are you-?” Fergus wasn’t sure if this was right. After all his mother was the witch, not him.

“I am,” she assured him. “What is it you desire?” She flashed a charming smile, and caught Fergus completely off guard.

To be perfectly candid, Fergus had no goddamn idea what he wanted. All he knew was he didn’t want to live longer than another 10 years. And, if he was going to die, he was going to have some fun before he did. “Alright … don’t laugh.” He took a deep breath before spilling it. “Give me three extra inches.”

“You’re …. Going to have to be more specific,” the demon cooed, smirking in amusement. “You know how these deals can go. Either get specific or you get what you get.”

“Wha- … You mean I have to say it?” He grit his teeth when the demon simply chuckled and nodded. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Well. I want my cock to be three inches longer. You can make that happen, can’t you?”

“You …. You do realize you only get ten years to live after this deal, right?”

“I’m counting on it.”

“So you really want to sell your soul for three inches?”

“I’m certainly not using it.” For some reason he couldn’t place, he always felt out of place when talking about souls anyway. Not that he particularly made a habit out of it, but there were so many places he felt wildly uncomfortable in. He might as well sell his soul and have a good time. “Give me the three inches, give me the ten years, I don’t care what I have to sign. I’m done with this world.”

“Oh, you don’t have to sign anything,” she said, sauntering toward him with a coy smirk on her face. “We seal this deal the old fashioned way. With a kiss.”

Fergus certainly didn’t have any objection to that. The two of them were standing nearly chest-to-chest now, and he leaned in, pressing a kiss to her lips.

The sensation was …. Strange, to say the least, when he felt her keep her end of the bargain. His dick definitely grew bigger. The demon had disappeared, and he was left to check inside his trousers. Honestly, it wasn’t like he was lacking in the length department, but he always wondered what it would be like to be in the double digits.

To say that he made the best of the ten remaining years would have been putting it mildly. He left his wife, slept around, but with every good thing, there is always a dark side. He was a heavy drinker. He drank so heavily, it drained what little money he had. Unsurprisingly, he felt unfulfilled. He was indeed having fun, but it was hollow. He felt nothing.

When his ten years were up, he spent the entire day drinking. It didn’t take long for him to drink himself to death, which honestly spared him a gruesome death at the claws of a hellhound.

The next thing Fergus knew, he was being tortured. He hadn’t realized this was what happened when you sold your soul.

Fergus wasn’t known for being particularly good at performing under pressure. Even in life, when he had deadlines, he would have rather turned to drink than get any work done. Maybe that was why he was so unsuccessful as a tailor. Hindsight is 20/20.

When it came to getting tortured, it was no different.

He had no dignity left, by the time they were done with him. Knives sliced through his flesh and hooks peeled it back until he was suspended by sheets of skin hanging off his back. They bore hot nails into his skull and under his nails, one demon in particular reveling in the irony of cutting him apart and sewing him back together with a dull needle. Every day was something new and every day they put him back together so they could start over with a clean slate.

Fergus had no illusions about what kind of person he was. He knew he was a drunk, abusive adulterer, and he wore that badge with pride. But when Alastair came to him and offered him a deal – they put down the knife if he picks it up – he took it. Gladly, and without a second thought.

Time moves differently in Hell than it does on Earth. What would be a month on Earth was ten years in Hell. For 50 Earth years (for those at home who don’t want to do math, that’s 10x12=120, 120x50=6000 years) Fergus tortured other souls.

6000 years ripping apart souls atom by atom can really change a person.

It only took 3000 years for him to become a demon. It took 3000 more years for him to find his niche and his new identity: Crowley.

Lilith had sequestered Crowley for herself. She gave him the powers of a crossroads demon and taught him what he needed to do. It didn’t take long for him to impress her with his newfound charm and sophistication. Soon enough, he was her right hand man.

Everything was coming up Crowley except…

It felt like he was missing something.

Reincarnation is, simply put, the passage of a soul from one living body to another. It doesn’t happen often, since both Heaven and Hell were very well organized and very thorough. It’s rare that a soul is lost in the shuffle, but when it is, it’s reincarnated. On even rarer occasions, the soul reincarnates multiple times.

Such was the case of Cassiel. Since he had become human, he was bound to the rules of the realm. Heaven had rejected him, and he hadn’t earned a place in Hell, so his essence just kept passing from body to body until one dominion or the other would claim him.

The last 3000 years he had been a demon, he felt this overwhelming emptiness inside him. A void that grew more apparent as time went on. He was missing part of himself.

One day, Crowley realized something he never would have expected. The void he was feeling was from the mate he left behind in Heaven …. In Heaven? That couldn’t be right. He was a human … well, a demon now. The only way he could have been in Heaven was …

If he was an angel.

He tried to push the thought out of his head. It wasn’t possible. It just wasn’t possible. There couldn’t have been precedent for it, an angel becoming a demon. It didn’t make sense. The fallen angels he knew about had become Princes of Hell.

Desperate to keep his tracks covered, he did his own research to see what might have happened to him. Cassiel – Crowley – began searching tirelessly for answers.

30,000 after he became a demon – 30,000 years of emptiness –  and then he stumbled across something he never expected.

Amongst Hell’s trophies was Lucifer’s angel blade. The triangular blade jogged something in Crowley’s mind. He remembered Heaven. The Fall of Lucifer. Cutting out his own grace. But why. Then it hit him. The void he felt. That emptiness was where his mate should have been. But who was it? He could remember a face. The feeling of the other angel’s hair in his face. The taste of their lips on his. The heartbreak he felt in leaving them.

30,000 years after he became a demon, he pined for an angel that may have very well been dead for all he knew.

As he did with his time on Earth, he began trying to fill that void with sex and alcohol. He became Lilith’s lover, in hopes of filling that emptiness inside him. The more he had sex, though, the more that void grew.

It was worse than any torture Hell could have ever devised.

Chapter Text

2010

It had been a long time, but Crowley was set on trying to find himself a little insurance policy. Lilith was dead, and it was up to him to organize all the crossroad deals, which he did with a certain amount of glee.

With Lilith gone, he was really flourishing. He was in charge of his own domain. He had collected a fair few extraordinary weapons just in case he needed them, including The Colt. Well, he liked to think he acquired it, when really a woman named Bela had traded it to him.

What he was looking for now he was sure was more of a concept than a physical thing. He had a contact from Heaven, Balthazar, who would sell him angelic devices at very reasonable rates. He had hesitated, until now, to ask Balthazar for something so incredibly rare, but if anyone would have known where it was, it was him.

And so he waited, in his ornate manor, for Balthazar to join him. He sipped on 30 year old Glen Craig, barely looking up when he heard the familiar rush of feathers.

“You’re late,” he muttered, sitting back in his chair at his desk.

“You’ll have to forgive me. I was on a yacht with at least 7 gorgeous coeds, and they all had sins to confess.” The cocky angel grinned, his hands in his pockets. “Now, what was it you need me to look for?”

“An angel’s grace,” Crowley said, coolly. “Very old by now. Grace that was possibly discarded shortly after Lucifer’s fall.”

Balthazar was naturally curious what a demon would want with an angel’s grace, but he knew better than to ask. He smirked. “You might just be in luck. I’ve got some poor angel’s grace stored safely away.”

Crowley finally did look up at this point. He set his glass down and leaned forward, arms resting on his desk. “And who might it belong to?”

Balthazar shrugged. “Didn’t recognize it. As far as I know, it was some fallen angel that tried to ditch Hell and live among the humans.”

Or some fallen angel that saw transubstantiation as their only option. Crowley stood and walked around to close the distance between himself and the angel. “You’re sure you don’t recognize it?” He was rather hoping someone might have remembered the name Cassiel. His angelic name had been plaguing his dreams, and he knew it wouldn’t stop until he found more of an explanation for who he was and why he was where he was.

“I’m very sure I didn’t recognize it.” Balthazar was getting dreadfully curious now. He prided himself on knowing every angel in the choir, but this one was a mystery. He always did like mysteries. “What’s all this about, Crowley?”

“Never you mind,” he snapped. He could almost hear Balthazar’s feathers ruffling, and there was a twinge of jealousy in his chest. Truthfully, he was sure if he could get his hands on his grace – the thing that used to be his very essence – he could remember everything about himself.

“You do know that an angel’s grace is probably lethal to demons, don’t you?” Balthazar offered. Not that he was going to begrudge Crowley anything if the price was right. It was simply that Crowley was one of his best clients and he didn’t want to lose that flow of income.

“I’ll take my chances. The usual price, then?” Crowley opened a drawer in his desk and started to rifle through it, searching for something.

“Actually, the price has gone up.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“This isn’t just anyone’s grace. This is an Archangel’s grace.”

“I thought you said you didn’t recognize it.”

“I don’t, but I know grace a little better than some demon.”

Crowley’s nostrils flared angrily. He wasn’t just some demon, and he had half a mind to prove it. He knew, though, he was helpless against angels until he had his grace back. “Fine. What’s your price?”

Balthazar gave this some thought. “I want one of your manors.”

“Done.”

The angel blinked in surprise. Crowley was known for owning more nice things than, well, anyone alive. Him just surrendering one of his manors was curious indeed. Still, he extended a hand to shake. “Well, I think we have a deal.”

Crowley shook his hand and tossed him a pair of keys. “Take care of her.” The truth was, he only had two manors, and he gave Balthazar the one he didn’t use. He was down to one, but it wasn’t like it mattered. He was about to get his hands on what was very possibly his grace.

Balthazar vanished and reappeared with a little glass vial. Inside was a swirling, pale blue mass that glowed with heavenly light. Crowley reached out for it and Balthazar handed it over. “Be careful with that.”

The second it touched his skin – it didn’t even need to come out of the vial – Crowley felt a wash of memories. He could remember almost everything. The feeling of his mate’s hair on his face, the taste of their lips on his. He even remembered a face. One of the most beautiful in all of Heaven. Then a name. But … No, that couldn’t be right. Could it? He was amazed that he was so lucky … and so foolish to leave it all behind.

The longer he held onto the vial, the more he remembered. He left because … because he didn’t want to hurt anyone. A sense of shame washed over him and he grit his teeth. And he had broken so easily in Hell. Spent so long torturing others. He fell, and it was all for nothing.

He didn’t think he deserved this grace. Not now. Not when Cassiel had fallen to protect his family. Crowley did quite the opposite, and he was almost disgusted with himself. There had to be a way to make things right for himself. If his mate really had been who he thought it was, Lucifer running around was the last thing he needed.

He decided, then and there, that he was going to betray Lucifer, at any costs. He had already intended to, before this whole angel mess started, to survive. Lucifer hated demons almost more than he hated humans. If he was going to live long enough to see his mate again, he was going to do whatever he had to in order to put Lucifer back in the cage – or better yet, kill him.

He tucked the grace into his desk, picked up his glass of scotch, and walked into another room. He had been watching some of Hitler’s speeches. Mostly because, as silly as his mustache was, he was quite a speaker.

He had just made himself comfortable when the electricity went out. He sighed. There was usually only one reason for this. Hunters.

Crowley got up and walked a short distance before stopping. He knew the two hunters who had broken into his house. By reputation, at least.

“It’s Crowley, right?” the taller one had asked. He was holding what Crowley recognized as a demon killing blade. The other was holding a shotgun.

Crowley could hardly help the incredulous look he offered the shorter of the two at the sight of the gun. The worst that could do was sting a bit. “So. The Hardy Boys finally found me. Took you long enough.” He approached the Winchesters slowly, but stopped short. He noticed his rug had been rumpled slightly. He lifted it to see a devil’s trap spray painted on the bottom of it. “Do you have any idea how much this rug cost?”

Two men came from behind and grabbed Sam and Dean. They easily disarmed the hunters and held their arms back. Crowley held up The Colt and half smirked to himself. “This is it, right? This is what it’s all about.” He took aim at Dean and thought for a moment. The Winchesters themselves were here. This provided a unique opportunity. He adjusted his aim and shot both demons that had held the Winchesters at bay. “We need to talk. Privately.”

The boys exchanged surprised glances and followed Crowley into his office, very clearly not trusting anything he had to say. He expected as much, but he was prepared for it.

“What the hell is this?” Dean had asked.

Crowley held up The Colt again and gave Dean a look. “Do you know how deep I could have buried this thing?” When Bela had handed it to him, he was quite tempted to let it fade into obscurity. Let it become a legend once again. When Lilith died and Lucifer was released, he realized he needed a helping hand … or two.

The demon waved a hand, and the door slammed shut. The Winchester boys looked back at it, then at each other before turning their attention back to Crowley.

“There’s no reason you or anyone should know this even exists, except I told you.”

“You told us,” Sam said, looking more confused than anything.

“Rumors, innuendo, sent out on the grapevine.”

“Why? Why tell us anything?”

Crowley aimed at Dean once more and paused a moment before saying anything. “I want you to take this thing to Lucifer and empty it into his face.” It was the one sure way of protecting his mate – who he presumed to be his mate.

Dean looked unconvinced, if not a little worried that Crowley might shoot him this time. “Uh-huh, okay, and why exactly would you want the devil dead?”

“It’s called –“ Crowley set the gun down onto the desk and put his hands back in his pockets, “Survival.” The boys stared at him for a moment and the demon’s eyebrow quirked. “Well, I forgot you two at best are functioning morons –“

“You’re … functioning … morons,” Dean tried to quip back. Luckily, he realized how dumb it sounded and looked to the ground.

Crowley stared at him a moment, a look that said, ‘we’re just going to gloss right over that,’ and decided it was best to explain things to them as he would a child. “Lucifer isn't a demon, remember? He's an angel. An angel famous for his hatred of humankind. To him, you're just filthy bags of pus.” He reached for his all but abandoned glass of scotch and took a sip. “If that's the way he feels about you, what can he think about us?”

Sam, ever the skeptic, was the next to speak up. “But … he created you.”

“To him, we're just servants. Cannon fodder. If Lucifer manages to exterminate humankind, we're next. So, help me, huh? Let's all go back to simpler, better times, back to when we could all follow our natures. I'm in sales, dammit! So what do you say if I give you this thing, and you go kill the devil?”

Crowley held The Colt out, handle first, toward the hunters. They looked at each other, and Crowley wiggled the gun more enticingly. With any luck, these two morons could get the job done.

One could only hope.

Chapter Text

2017

The last seven years had been Hell. Crowley should know, being the King of it. The Winchesters had failed in almost everything they put their minds to, up to and including keeping Lucifer in his cage. Crowley himself had been abused, for lack of a better word, by the devil. Forced onto his hands and knees, made to lick the floor clean, reduced to little more than a puppy.

Crowley had had enough. He wanted Lucifer gone. He wanted the Winchesters dealt with. He wanted Castiel smitten, and he knew he couldn’t do it on his own. He needed help, and help could only be gotten by an Archangel. Gabriel was MIA, Raphael was dead, and he was sure the three other Archangels hadn’t survived this long (or else they might have turned up before now).

He hated to admit it, but he needed Michael. But how to get him out of the cage?

A little birdie might be able to help.

Well, maybe not a birdie … but a fairy, maybe.

Crowley set out a dish of cream and set it on the windowsill of his safe house. With Lucifer on the loose, Hell was hardly safe for him anymore, and the demons had burned down the manor he used to live in. The outside wasn’t much to look at, but the inside was decorated to his usual tastes.

Barely a few hours went by and Crowley noticed a figure standing near the cream, drinking straight from the dish. It was one of the fae. She smiled a crooked smile and leaned against the wall. “Crowley,” she giggled. “You haven’t called in a couple hundred years. What can I do for you?”

“Alvina,” he replied, sliding his hands into his pockets. “Lovely to see you again. I’d like to make a deal.”

“Now, now, you know you can’t claim fae souls,” she slurred. Already, the cream was starting to affect her. Had she known better, she might have saved the cream until after they had done business, but it was far too late for that now.

“Not you. Me. I need something rather … big. I’m prepared to offer my first born for it.” He offered a smile, though Alvina didn’t seem impressed.

“You’ve already had your first born.”

“Yes … well, I can get him to you. I just need this favor first.” Alvina quirked a brow at him and narrowed her gaze, but Crowley didn’t seem phased. “You know I keep my bargains.” Another blank stare and he quirked a brow at her. “I have more integrity in my little finger than most of the jack offs you deal with have in their whole bodies.”

She sighed, knowing he was right. “Fine. What’s the favor?” Alvina finished off the cream and hiccupped.

“I need you to open a door for me.” When the fae stared blankly at him, he decided to go ahead and tell her the catch. “To Lucifer’s cage. There’s an angel trapped in there and I need him out.”

“A demon wants to stage a rescue for an angel,” she mused.

“Completely selfishly, I assure you. Michael is my only hope.”

“Well, it won’t be easy.” The cream had started to intoxicate her. “Eh. I don’t see why I can’t do it.” She had her own catch, however, and she wasn’t going to tell him. It would hardly be fun that way. “Alright. You’ve got your doorway. Michael will be out within 24 hours.”

Crowley smirked. 24 hours and he would be home free. “Where can I meet him?”

“I’ll do my best to have it open here, but doors are tricky,” she said. “It’s always a pain to tell exactly where they’ll open.

Now it was Crowley’s turn to be unamused. He fought back against a roll of his eyes and sighed. “Helpful. I’ll remember that when I’m sending out Christmas cards.”

Alvina winked, and she was gone.

And so, Crowley was on his own, waiting for some surge of power to let him know that Michael was free. He hoped Alvina would keep her word and the door would open here, in the office of his safehouse, but the hours ticked by. He sat, waiting, even catching himself praying that there would be some sign – any sign – that Michael was free.

12 hours had passed, and nothing. He had gone through an entire bottle of scotch by now, and there was still no sign of the Archangel.

18 hours. He hadn’t slept. Not that he needed sleep anyway, but he was getting anxious. The longer he stayed in one place, the more likely it was that the Winchesters or Lucifer would find him. He couldn’t have that. Not when he was so close to freedom.

20 hours. Crowley was second guessing himself. He had no way of knowing if Michael would help him. He was a demon, after all. The grace he had in his possession could have been his, or it could have been anyone’s. Michael might not believe a word he had to say.

24 hours, and nothing. Crowley had sat in the same spot for 24 hours, and he had no idea if the Archangel was freed. It wasn’t like when a demon takes up residence in a town. There were no omens he could think of that specifically heralded an angel. It certainly made tracking an angel quite a nuisance.

Getting impatient, he began trying every summoning spell he could think of to see if that would call attention to himself. Normally, this was exactly the kind of thing he wouldn’t be doing whilst hiding for his life, but he was starting to get desperate.

Just as he was about to give up hope and walk away, he heard a rush of feathers behind him. His blood ran cold. He let his angel blade slip out of his sleeve and into his hand, whirling around to see who it was.

Then, the most extraordinary thing happened. He recognized the angel. Not just the vessel, though he recognized a young John Winchester when he saw him. No, he recognized the angel inside the vessel. It was the face of an angel that had haunted him for 30,000 years.

But it couldn’t be … could it?

Unsurprisingly, Michael didn’t know him, but he knew his name. “Crowley.”

Crowley gripped his blade tighter and took a step back. There were so many emotions flying through him, he was almost dizzy. “Michael.”

“I’ve heard about you, through the grapevine. The walls have ears in Hell. You and I aren’t so different, Crowley.” The angel snapped his fingers and the angel blade was suddenly in his hand. He smiled wryly at the King of Hell. “We could do great things together, you and I.”

He didn’t like this, but hey. At least Michael hadn’t smitten him where he stood. That was some small comfort to him, but it didn’t put him at ease. “What, pray tell, do you think we could do together?”

Smiling, he poured himself a glass of the fine bourbon Crowley always kept on hand. He swirled it around, watching it thoughtfully and took a sip before he spoke again. “Heaven is falling apart, and from what I hear, Hell isn’t much better off. Perhaps if we came to an … arrangement, things could be restored to their natural order. In Heaven, in Hell, and more importantly on Earth.”

Well, the angel was talking to him, which was good news. The bad news was, he had no idea what he was getting into. “You want me to rule Hell. Me? Not Lucifer?” Crowley glanced around, half expecting to see a camera crew behind him. “Am I getting … punked?”

Rolling his eyes, Michael downed the rest of the bourbon. “Have I ever struck you as the type to joke? Lucifer is… volatile at his best. And frankly, I want him put down as much as anyone else. You, Crowley, are much more orderly. You keep your people in line and I like that about you. So, what do you say?”

Well, Michael had him there. He poured himself a glass of scotch and sighed into it. “Alright. I believe we have an agreement.” He looked at Michael letting the amber liquid flow into his mouth. He swallowed harshly, then, “You’ll forgive me if I don’t shake your hand. I had the same arrangement with Castiel and he stabbed me in the back.”

“Well, Cassie can’t really be trusted due his attachments to that Winchester boy.” He looked at Crowley, smirking softly. Crowley found himself staring at Michael, and he couldn’t look away. Michael didn’t seem to notice, or care. “Perhaps they should be the first item on our agenda.”

“I do like the way you think.” He was starting to relax around the Archangel, but Crowley knew better than to let his guard down. “I’ve been wanting to be rid of the moose and squirrel for years.” They almost got him killed far too many times for comfort.

“I have a feeling,” he said, tossing the angel blade back to Crowley, who caught it firmly by the hilt. “If we can detain Castiel, Sam and Dean will come running like the loyal little guard dogs they think they are.”

“We’ll need to ambush those lumbering piles of flannel before they can get an angel banishment sigil up, or try to exorcise me.” Crowley spun the angel blade around his fingers and chuckled. “I’d love to off the lot of them, but I do think you should have some of the fun. Maybe leave Squirrel alive so you can wear him.”

Michael rubbed a finger thoughtfully against his chin. “I knew I liked you, Crowley. With Castiel as our prisoner, I am certain I can convince Dean to say yes. I can finally have my perfect vessel.” 

Crowley paced pensively, trying to plan out the next course of action in his head. “It won’t be easy, I hope you know. Team Free Will, as they call themselves, are annoyingly hard to stamp out.”

With a dark smile on his face, Michael leaned in close to Crowley. “I have faith in you.” He turned away, taking a few steps before looking back over his shoulder. “Perhaps we can use some of your demons as bait. If someone were to possess Claire Novak, for example, Castiel would come crawling to save her. Some misplaced sense of loyalty to his vessel’s child.”

Crowley’s smile reflected the darkness of Michael’s. “And they say you can’t be reasonable.” He chuckled and topped off his glass of scotch. “I’ve got a couple of boys I’d happily send on a suicide mission, because we both know that giraffe will do everything he can to kill the demon that dared possess that colossal waste of plaid.” He chuckled deep in his chest as he sipped his drink.

“Fantastic! Then the trap is set.” Michael found himself liking Crowley more every time he opened his wicked mouth. They were certain to do great things together. “Now all we have to do is wait for him to take the bait.”

He grinned and looked over his shoulder to the demon that had appeared behind him. “Marty. Good news. Your probation is up. You have an assignment.” He chuckled and walked toward him. “Routine possession. Claire Novak. Just go nuts on her loved ones. Really have fun with it. I’ll let you know when you’re done.” The demon looked a little frightened, but nodded once and vanished again. Crowley turned to look at Michael again. “What shall we do while we wait, then?”

Taking a step toward Crowley, Michael raised an eyebrow. “I’m open to ideas. Did you have anything in mind?”

A smirk curled the demon’s lips upward. “Oh, I have a few ideas, but I doubt an Archangel would find them tasteful.”

Michael laughed, catching his lower lip between his teeth and looking Crowley up and down. “Why don’t you press your luck and find out?”

Crowley’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, but he grinned and closed the distance between them. “Just remember, you find me useful.” He slid his arm around Michael’s waist and pulled him close, pressing a kiss to the angel’s lips. His angel’s lips.

For the first time since the Fall, he had his mate in his arms.

Chapter Text

Crowley would never have expected to be back in his mate’s arms, much less that it would be Michael. He was shocked, to say the least, but grateful. The kiss they shared felt … natural.

That is, until Michael threaded his fingers into Crowley’s hair, grabbing a tight fistful and tugging it roughly to tilt Crowley’s head. Deepening the kiss, Michael took control of it, tongue dominating and claiming Crowley’s mouth. Slowly, Michael walked him backward until he hit the wall and Michael broke away, looking down at the pinned demon with smoldering eyes. “Perhaps you can be useful in more ways than I thought.”

Whatever he had been expecting, it wasn’t this. When his eyes opened to look at the Archangel, Crowley’s eyes were a brilliant red, burning with lust. He stared up at Michael, lost in the intensity of his gaze. “Let me know how I can be of service,” he growled, grabbing a fistful of the other’s hair and pulling him into another deep kiss. He was not one to give up control without a fight, but he was also not sure how much he cared what the outcome was. He was just glad to be in Michael’s arms.

Michael bit Crowley’s lip harshly and snapped his fingers, pinning Crowley’s wrists against the wall above his head with his grace. Michael tutted, tracing a finger across Crowley’s stubbled jawline, grabbing his chin firmly, and forcing him to look up at Michael. “This will all be much better if you remember your place.”

Crowley stared up at Michael, again. This wasn’t something he’d ever experienced before, not having total control. Even when Lucifer used him as a puppy, he could still figure out how to regain control of the situation. Now, though? His hands were almost literally tied. For now, all he could do was play along. His eyes faded back to their regular brown hues and he smirked. “You make a compelling argument.” His voice was husky, even more growly than normal.

A smirk tugged at Michael’s lips. He knew better than to believe Crowley would submit so easily, but he’d be lying to himself if he said that wasn’t one of things he liked about the demon. Michael enjoyed a good power struggle, especially when he knew he would come out on top. His fingers ghosted down until his hand rested against the base of Crowley’s throat. Leaning forward, he caught the demon’s ear between his teeth, pulling at it gently and sucking at it before whispering “You think you know what you want, Crowley, but by the time I’m done with you, you’ll never want it any other way.”

Crowley purred and let his head lean to the side to allow the angel better access. He was certainly not going to give up as easily as all of this, but it was almost fun to pretend. His hands writhed, trying to loose themselves from the invisible bindings that held him. He’d have been lying, though, if he were to claim he didn’t enjoy this kind of attention. He chuckled, and growled, “Even when I lose, I win.”

Michael snapped his fingers again, letting Crowley’s arms fall to his sides as he lifted the demon off the floor. Holding him up with one arm, Michael flicked his wrist, sending papers, pens, and tumbler still half full of brandy flying. He ignored Crowley’s protests when the glass shattered on impact with the wall, and protest he did, as that brandy was more expensive than his house. Michael slammed him down on the surface of the desk, using his grace to pin the demon’s arms again. “Tell me, what does it take to make the King of Hell beg?”

Crowley was still looking at the broken bottle of brandy and fought back a sigh. He had no time to mourn his loss, however. Before he knew it, he was flat on his back and his hands were bound again. As much as a proponent of bondage as he was, he was starting to get annoyed he couldn’t reciprocate. He did still have one weapon, though. He could talk. “Why don’t you press your luck and find out?” He grinned at Michael, rather pleased with himself for being able to throw that back in his face.

Laughing darkly, Michael crawled over Crowley on the long desk until they were eye to eye. He caressed the pinned man’s cheek and then slapped him, just hard enough to watch his eyes widen when he felt the subtle sting. “Being a brat is no way to get what you want from me.” He certainly wasn’t planning to let Crowley know how much his smart mouth turned him on. Michael contemplated the idea of tearing the expensive silk shirt Crowley wore in half just to piss him off, but instead started unbuttoning slowly with one hand. “If you’re not careful I’ll have to put that smart mouth of yours to better use.”

He couldn’t remember the last time someone had dared slap him. Crowley had been beaten before, by the Winchesters, but something as degrading as a slap? He stared at Michael for a moment, utterly stunned. But he’d be damned if he was going to let that stop him from being a brat. His mouth curled into a smirk, squirming slightly under Michael. “It seems being a brat is exactly the way to get what I want from you, sir.”

Michael opened the shirt as the last button came undone, exposing Crowley’s skin. He wasted no time, catching a nipple between his teeth and pulling on it as he dragged his nails down the exposed flesh on the demon’s side. Michael generously decided to give Crowley one last opportunity to behave. “This is your last chance. Tell me you’ll be good for me and I’ll release you. But if you don’t behave yourself, we’ll end up right back here.”

If he wasn’t turned on yet, he was now. He let his head drop back, arching himself into the Archangel’s touch. As he was currently a demon without a plan, he finally sighed. “I’ll be good,” he said. He intended to be. At least, as good as a demon could be.

It may not have been the answer Michael was expecting, but he was an Angel of his word. Snapping his fingers he released Crowley’s bound arms. The demon looked half-wrecked already, his pupils dilated with lust.  Michael moved back, sliding off the desk and pulling Crowley to stand with him. Pushing the shirt off over the demon’s shoulder Michael leaned in and captured his lips again in a bruising, possessive kiss. He would make sure the King of Hell knew who he belonged to. Breaking away, Michael’s eyes flashed a momentary, brilliant blue. “I want you to undress me. The old-fashioned way, no magic. Don’t ruin my clothes, either.”

Crowley’s mind was still working, trying to strategize his next steps. He felt his knees weaken, though, at the sight of the angel’s blue eyes. He smirked and looked him up and down, letting his hand trail across Michael’s chest as he walked around behind the angel. He slowly, very slowly, began to unbutton his shirt from behind him. All the better to wrap his arms around the other, of course. 

Michael watched Crowley’s hands as they worked the buttons of his shirt excruciatingly slowly. His fingers twitched impatiently at his sides and he resisted the urge to rip his shirt open himself. Regardless of how much he enjoyed being in control, he couldn’t deny that he ached to be touched. Just the heat radiating his back from Crowley and the light ghost of his fingertips against the increasingly bare skin of Michael’s chest made it hard to control his own breathing. He let tendrils of grace extend out to caress Crowley’s chest and neck, hoping it would urge him to move more quickly.

He didn’t move more quickly, but the demon did finally reach the last button and popped it open with one hand. Once his shirt was completely undone, he gently, almost reverently, slid it off Michael’s shoulders and kissed his bare back. He gently nibbled on Michael’s shoulder, sucking a mark into his skin as he slid his hands around once more to work on undoing the angel’s belt.

Michael rolled his shoulders, failing to contain the pleased moan at Crowley’s attentions. His lips were so close to the spot where Michael’s wings, incorporeal though they were, met his body. He should have reprimanded the demon for not asking permission first but it felt so good that Michael couldn’t be bothered to say a word. Perhaps the next indiscretion would be punished. 

Crowley couldn’t possibly undo the belt fast enough, Michael was already straining against the fabric of his pants. He felt as much as he heard the rumbling hum of pleasure in his chest and bit his lower lip. His voice was low and rough, tinged with desire. “You’re taking too long.”

Crowley felt a certain sense of pride that he could have this effect on the Archangel. He chuckled and ghosted his fingers up Michael’s body, slowly stepping around to face him face to face. “Now now. Don’t rush perfection.” He peppered the angel’s chest with kisses, slowly trailing downward as he sank down to his knees. 

He exhaled softly and unbuttoned the other’s pants, leaning in to unzip him with his teeth. His eyes were locked on Michael’s, a lustful glint in his eye.

Michael sucked in a hissing breath as he watched Crowley with the tab of the zipper between his teeth. Keeping him in line without restraining him was going to be more difficult than Michael had imagined. Running his fingers into Crowley’s hair, he grabbed fistful of it and jerked the demon’s head back.

“You’re lucky on your knees is where I want you.” Michael pointed an admonishing finger at him. “Take care you don’t push that luck too far. The next time you do something without permission, I will punish you.”

He couldn’t help it. Crowley’s tongue slid out and he playfully licked Michael’s finger, hands wandering up his legs. “Darling, I’m a demon. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep.” Crowley winked and leaned his head back into the angel’s hand. 

Michael’s cock twitched as Crowley’s tongue dragged across his finger. It was clear the demon wanted to be punished and Michael was more than happy to oblige him. Holding his head in place with a hand still fisted in his hair, Michael slapped him again, harder than the first time. He snapped his fingers impatiently and what was left of his clothes disappeared, his length bobbing free a hair’s breadth from Crowley’s face. “Be a good boy, Crowley, and open your mouth.”

If that was Michael’s idea of punishing him, Crowley had a feeling he was going to enjoy being a brat. He did enjoy the pleasant sting on his face, though he’d never admit it out loud, but the smirk on his face probably gave it away. 

 

Rather than trying to sass him again, his hands came up to rest on Michael’s hips. His mouth opened and he winked once more up at the Archangel. He wasn’t sure what it was that satisfied him about being bested for once by someone he could actually respect, but the strain in his pants was all the proof he needed that maybe he was a little more submissive than he’d originally thought.

Oh yes, whatever Crowley may have thought walking into this, it was clear now that he enjoyed submission. He was untrained and bratty, but no less a sub. Michael smirked down at him, tempted to smack him once more for good measure. 

Michael had given Crowley some control of the situation after all. He normally had the patience of a saint. Not this time. His impatience got the better of him, again, and Michael slowly pushed into the wet heat of Crowley’s mouth. He let out a groan of satisfaction and one of the ceiling lamps sent a shower of sparks over their heads. “So good for me.”

It may not have been much control, but the demon took his victories where he could. And now he knew that Michael was sometimes quite impatient. He didn’t remember him being such, but times changed a person. Just look at what time had done to Crowley. Upon hearing that satisfied groan, he could feel his hips buck slightly as his need begged to be touched. If he was in Michael’s shoes, however, he wouldn’t have let his sub touch themselves, so he was determined to show the same courtesy to Michael. 

Luckily, even in this position, he still had some power over the angel. Not much, but some. Besides, getting the King of Hell to sub needed to be earned. This was just a fun way of making Michael earn it. 

He sucked gently on the angel’s length, bobbing his head to a rhythm just enough to satisfy, but not enough to thrill. 

 

Michael’s fingers tightened their grip in Crowley’s hair as he watches nearly the entirety of his length disappear into the demon’s mouth. It was almost perfect, the slow, steady pace Crowley had taken up, like he somehow knew exactly what Michael wanted. He deserved a reward for his good behavior. One last snap of his fingers and Crowley was naked before him. Michael’s grace slid across the King of Hell’s heated skin, down to circle his rim before plunging into him in search of that sweet spot that would make his toes curl.

The demon truly was getting what he wanted, and he couldn’t be happier. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He would much rather be trading places with Michael, but the status quo being what it was? Crowley was smart enough to play along for now. He groaned against the flesh of the Archangel, squirming under the sensation of Michael’s grace. Eventually, it did find his sweet spot and his grip on Michael’s hips tightened ever so slightly, simply melting into the moment. 

Michael pulled Crowley’s head back, forcing the demon to look up into his eyes. As fun as it had been to assert his dominance, Michael really preferred things to be more mutual. His voice was low, ragged, and broken by lust. “Tell me what you want.”

What did he want? He wanted to bend that angel over and show him how they do things in Hell, but that wasn’t going to happen just yet. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure it was what he wanted. He sucked gently as he pulled all the way back to free up his mouth, looking up at him. Their eyes met, and Crowley intrinsically knew what he wanted. His mind was too clouded with lust to be able to think of anything else. “I just want you,” he growled.

 

Michael hauled Crowley up onto his feet by his hair and shoved back onto the desk, lifting his knees as he tipped backward. Bending to claim his lips, Michael let his grace surround his length as he buried himself in Crowley’s heat in one hard, smooth thrust. With a broken moan, he broke the kiss, setting his teeth harshly into Crowley’s shoulder. “So hot and tight for me.”

The demon groaned into the kiss, snapping his teeth to try to capture Michael’s lips again when he pulled away. When the Archangel set his teeth into his shoulder, Crowley purred and hooked his arms around the other’s shoulders. He was, for the first time in a long time, speechless. He dug his nails into the angel’s shoulders, careful to avoid the base of his wings. “May I?” he asked, breathlessly, desperately wanting to touch his feathers.

Michael’s wings stretched outward, on full display, a glow emanating from the bright, white feathers. He settled them around himself and Crowley almost like a cocoon. He nipped at Crowley’s collarbone, slowly rolling his hips as he did. “You may.”

Very gentle hands worked their way into Michael’s brilliant feathers. He touched them reverently, gently smoothing his feathers back into place in the few places it would be hard for Michael to groom himself. It wasn’t entirely clear how Crowley knew how to groom, but it was clear that he was good at it. He rolled his hips up to meet the angel’s, breathing becoming ragged. One hand slid from the base of one wing into Michael’s hair and gripped it tightly, gently holding him in place, a silent plea for more.

Michael had absolutely no way to stop the shiver that passed through his body the moment Crowley’s fingers delicately caressed his wings. The sensation was overwhelming. Any other time he might wonder how exactly the King of Hell knew how to groom an Angel’s wings but at that moment, Michael was lost.

His fingertips dug into the flesh of Crowley’s hips, pulling the demon down to meet his long, powerful thrusts that tilted the heavy desk onto its back two legs. He couldn’t speak-or think-and his breath shook as he rested his forehead against Crowley’s.

If someone had told Crowley this morning that he would be in the arms of an Archangel – and not just any Archangel, but his Archangel – he probably would have slapped them. He let his eyes close for a moment, and suddenly … 

He dared to kiss Michael again, perhaps a little more tenderly than he’d have otherwise tried, but no less heatedly than would have been expected. His hand trailed through the feathers of the angel knowingly, and rested on a spot he knew could make Michael melt into his arms. In the situation he found himself in, it really was the best he could hope for that it would still work. He gently massaged that sweet spot and deepened the kiss.

The broken keen that escaped Michael was a sound he’d never heard himself make. The strength left his arms and he all but collapsed onto the demon – his lover, who knew exactly what to do to drive him wild; knew exactly what he wanted without his having said a word.

Michael heard another lightbulb pop but he didn’t see the sparks falling, couldn’t see anything outside the safe cocoon his wings provided them. Crowley pressed into that same spot a little harder and Michael’s hips stuttered. It was too much, he was so close.

And there it was. It was all the evidence he needed to know that Michael was his. The knowledge that he knew this angel so well was a comfort to him. What wasn’t a comfort to him was how they got into this situation. Crowley, with all his memories, and Michael without. His arms slid around the angel and held him close. His eyes opened for a second, just in time to hear two more lightbulbs pop. With the combined power between them, it was a small miracle they hadn’t been plunged into darkness earlier. 

Crowley keened as he pressed his forehead against Michael’s, feeling far more satisfied than he had been in a long time. The sensation of the Archangel’s skin against his own caused him to shiver slightly in satisfaction. He whined softly, feeling himself nearing his edge.

 

Something had changed between them. It was no longer about who held the power; it was just this moment of being together. It was soft, tender, despite the fact that the desk still threatened to tip over with every uneven thrust. Michael’s found Crowley’s neck and he left a trail of warm, wet kisses on his skin. He knew he couldn’t hold out much longer.

Lifting himself ever so slightly off of Crowley, Michael reached between them to take his throbbing length in his hand and stroke him. He locked eyes with Crowley and the look in the demon’s eyes was something akin to loving. It should have been unrecognizable in the King of Hell but it was right. Everything about this felt right. Like he belonged right here, wrapped up Crowley’s arms.

There was something dormant inside Crowley that woke up when their eyes locked. He had spent so many years trying to harden himself against the world, but Michael melted his icy heart. The walls he had taken such care in building up came tumbling down with that one glance. What he felt was so much more than simple lust. It killed him on the inside, remembering everything as if it had happened yesterday. 

He rolled his shoulders back against the desk and there was a surge of power that caused the wood to crack. There were so many things he wanted to reveal, but this was hardy the time. He tried to focus on the moment at hand. It didn’t take much longer for him to release, crying out as he spilled over himself. He couldn’t stop himself. He purred the Archangel’s name, “Michael…”

“Close your eyes.” Michael covered Crowley’s eyes with his hand, blocking his vision as he thrust into him and stilled. Everything exploded in bright white holy light as he found his own release. He could hear glass shattering all around them as the windows in the room blew out, unable to contain his power any longer. The two of them fell as the already cracked desk splintered and split beneath them. Michael couldn’t even be bothered by the pain as his knees crashed into the floor. He pressed tender kisses to Crowley’s shoulder, softly repeating his name like a mantra.

He didn’t gave the heart to tell him he ached to see that flash of holy light. He didn’t have the heart to tell him anything. No matter how desperately he wanted to, he couldn’t say a word. Not without revealing everything. He wasn’t sure if he could stand to lose him again. How would Michael react to knowing he’d been lied to? If Michael didn’t kill him for it, the pain of the truth coming out just might. When the desk splintered, Crowley clung to Michael. They toppled onto the floor. Then, something surprising happened. Michael was saying his name in little more than a whisper. His heart ached. He gently brushed the angel’s hair out of his eyes and guided his chin upward, drawing him into a tender kiss.

Michael blinked slowly as his breathing started to normalize. The tenderness with which Crowley brushed his hair away from his face was not something Michael was prepared for. This had become something completely different from what it was meant to be.

Crowley. The King of Hell. 

Michael was lovingly wrapped in his arms and his heart was filled with… No. This couldn’t be right. He couldn’t possibly feel this way about a demon. It wasn’t right. Tenuous alliance aside, Crowley was the enemy. Sex was just a way to pass the time. Put the King of Hell back in his proper place.

He was a demon. Beneath Michael.

So why did it feel like he was meant to be here?

A tendril of fear rooted itself inside him and he broke away from Crowley immediately, standing and backing away several steps. He snapped his fingers and everything in the room was put to right. The windows were no longer shattered; Crowley sat, clean and fully clothed, atop the unbroken desk. Michael stood several feet away, suddenly afraid to get too close to the demon. With a rush of air, his wings folded in and returned to their incorporeal state.

All at once, it was like nothing had happened. Had it not been for the lingering sensation of Michael’s skin on his, Crowley might have assumed he had imagined it all. He blinked and slowly picked himself up, trying to bury his feelings as he had done so many times before.

Michael turned to leave. “I have to go,” he said, without bothering to look back at Crowley.

No. No, he couldn’t leave. Not now. Crowley had let his carefully crafted walls crumble in the hopes that perhaps the angel would … somehow remember. Michael had melted his heart to stone, and now he could feel himself breaking. Four little words was all it took to bring the King of Hell to his knees.

He knelt on the ground, staring at Michael as though the Archangel held his still beating heart in his hand. But what could he do? For once, he held all the cards, and he was terrified to show his hand. He swallowed his emotion, though it didn’t relieve the sting of the tears threatening to fall down his face.

He pulled himself together and stood, turning away from Michael, brushing off his knees. It was all he could do to push that glimmer of hope he’d felt back into the ashes of his past. He knew better than that, or at least, he should have. “I’ll…” his voice cracked, but he cleared his throat and continued. “I’ll let you know what I hear.” He should have known better than to get his hopes up. He should have known better than to let his guard down.

Facing away from the angel still, he covered his mouth to hide the words from detection. He closed his eyes and cleared his throat again. Of course this was just a way to pass the time for him. He was foolish to think for a second that Michael would have ever seen him as more than a nuisance. “Don’t be a stranger,” he squeaked out in a voice only barely loud enough to be heard.

Michael hated himself in that moment. He hated the way his heart broke when he heard the painful crack in Crowley’s voice. He hated himself for wanting to run. His wings ruffled in his annoyance with himself and he stopped walking.

Crowley’s fingers in his feathers.

Turning back to look at Crowley, Michael took a deep, shaky breath. “How did you know?”

Crowley didn’t look at him. He was worried if he did, he would break down and tell him everything. He hated himself so much. He had for years, but now he realized why. Because he was about to cover one lie with another. “Demons were taught to groom their betters,” he lied. “Lucifer wasn’t the only one to fall. Hell is littered with self-important pricks who can’t be bothered to groom themselves. It was their way of reminding us we were lesser.” Hopefully the emotion that leaked into his voice would be taken as bitterness. He didn’t know what else to do or say. And he just hoped that Michael didn’t ask him how he knew about that spot.

But of course. That made sense. Why had Michael thought it would be anything else? He needed something – anything – to make sense of the way he felt. But, of course, there was nothing. 

Crowley had, in his submission to Michael, only offered to do something that he felt suited the role. Something he was clearly bitter about. But even that clashed in Michael’s minds.

The way Crowley had looked at his wings; the reverence with which he’d groomed them… Michael was sure he’d wanted to do it.

And that spot at the base of his wings. No one knew about that. 

No one but Crowley.

“Keep me apprised of the situation,” Michael commanded like a coward.

Crowley simply nodded once and vanished. He went to his heavily warded home, where Michael wouldn’t be able to find him. Where Michael wouldn’t be able to hear him. He let out a pained roar and there was a burst of power, damn near destroying the entire room he was in. A glance at the floor, and he saw the reminder of what he used to be. The little glass vial of grace had become unstowed from its hiding place.

He knelt and picked it up, staring at it. He wanted to break it. To either absorb the grace or let it destroy him. Either way would have been better than what he was feeling now.

Like a coward, he stashed the grace in a drawer and left it.

Chapter Text

Crowley had spent the past couple of days trying to organize the chess pieces for this caper he was supposed to pull with Michael. Though, whether the angel still wanted that or not was anyone’s guess. Angels were notoriously hard to read. Not unpredictable, necessarily, but certainly difficult to interpret. Crowley, at least, wanted to offer this as a real plan just in case.

The plan was simple enough, in theory. Possess the Novak girl, ambush Castiel, and wait for the Winchesters to stage a valiant rescue. Castiel would be easy enough to trap. He would have tunnel vision and try to kill the demon that was possessing Claire. He wouldn’t notice the angel depowering sigil painted on the wall.

There were a lot of pieces to put in place, however, in preparation for ambushing the Winchesters themselves. They were easy enough to bait, but once they were cornered, they were more of a nightmare. Crowley wasn’t in the business of underestimating them. In fact, he often felt as though he were the one person in the universe that didn’t underestimate them.

Marty the demon – you remember him – was in place and possessing Claire Novak. His orders were to cause “light mischief” whatever that was. He assumed it meant more minor inconveniences and less catastrophic disasters.

Crowley was about to call Marty and ask for progress, when he got a text message. He stared at his phone – at the number he didn’t recognize. It wasn’t hard to piece together who the message was from, however.

I’m sorry for leaving the way I did. Can we talk?

Michael.

Crowley would have liked to text back passive aggressively. To text something along the lines of I’m sorry you’re such a colossal twat. He felt, however, that that would be a mistake. Not because Michael might smite him, but because of the feeling he got from the angel during their last meeting. Michael had felt something too. He knew it.

Maybe that was just him getting his hopes up again.

His mind wandered back to the incident, with his hands buried in Michael’s bright feathers. There were so many emotions that flew through him at once. Longing – for that feeling again, envy – to have wings like that, jealousy – that he wanted his own wings to be touched that way.

Angels, generally speaking, have a few nervous habits. One in particular applied to Crowley: nervous grooming. Now, Crowley didn’t often forget he was a demon. In fact, demons, especially ones that used to be angels, suffer from a condition called phantom limb syndrome. What this meant for Crowley was that every once in a while, he would feel a twitch in the wings he didn’t have.

He felt such a twitch now, which prompted him to unconsciously start nervous grooming. He reached behind himself, half expecting to have wings again. To his dismay, they weren’t there. His heart sank, and he began to notice that burning pain in his back once more. He wasn’t sure if all demons felt it, but fallen angels typically did. A reminder that they had turned their backs on God and the heavenly host.

He grit his teeth and walked over to his desk drawer and opened it, taking out the vial of grace and examining it. He had considered smashing it and reabsorbing it every day since Michael came back. Now, he was considering it a little more seriously.

But no, he couldn’t. What if it killed him? Who would remember him when he was gone? Certainly not Michael, the way things ended.

The way things had ended…

Crowley picked up his phone and sent a text back to Michael.

Let’s talk. I’ll call you when.

Chapter Text

It had been a few days since “the incident” in his office, and he hadn’t been back in that time. He chose instead to conduct his work from the manor he’d taken up residence in on Earth, as it was heavily warded against even Archangels. There was, of course, also maintenance that needed to be done. The word had gotten around that the King may have grown soft. He put a stop to those rumors, and put an end to the lives that perpetuated them.

Finally, though, he’d gotten the courage to go back to his office. He looked around, searching for any sign that what had happened wasn’t all in his head, but found none. All he knew was that he needed to tell Michael the truth. Somehow. He prayed to the Archangel, letting him know he had some news. He did, which meant he was starting today on the right foot. He was going to tell Michael as much as he could. He had resolved to. He had to, even if it killed him.

When Michael did appear, a few moments later, everything was pristine. Papers stacked neatly at the edge of the desk, a crystal decanter of brandy with two tumblers set next it. The books were on their shelves. The windows and desk still properly intact. Exactly the way it had been when he left. “You called for me, and I’m here.” Michael seemed unsettled, uneased.

Crowley looked up from his place at the desk, his face almost completely unreadable. His eyes did betray a touch of longing, but he looked away before it could get worse. “My demon possessing the Novak girl has reported in. Her …family” he said the word with a bit of disgust, “don’t suspect anything. Now, we wait for Castiel to fall into our trap.” He was flipping through papers, though it was clear he wasn’t reading any of them. It was simply a way for him to gather his thoughts for what he was about to do. “Now…. about that apology….”

Michael stared at Crowley, surprisingly cowed by his brusque, business like attitude. “May I sit?” He couldn’t believe he was asking, if he was honest with himself. But he was already put off balance by the flood of emotion he felt upon seeing Crowley sitting at that desk.

Still standing, Michael all but blurted “I meant it, Crowley. I really am sorry for leaving the way I did.” He stood there and waited for the King of Hell to tell him whether he could sit.

Crowley looked up at him, then nodded toward the chair in front of his desk. He didn’t say so out loud, but it was an invitation for him to sit. He leaned back in his own seat and regarded the angel for a moment. “I suppose the question I have is … what made you leave the way you did?” It was taking all of his effort not to break down and beg Michael to tell him if it was something he did or didn’t do. He kept a cool head, but inside, he was aching.

Michael took the offered chair, shifting uncomfortably under Crowley’s gaze. It was a heavy question and Michael wasn’t sure exactly how to answer it. “I wasn’t prepared to deal with the way I felt.” It wasn’t enough, Michael knew, but he paused to collect himself and try to choose his words carefully. “Being with you felt… right. And it shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have been interested at all. For as long as I can remember, sex has been a tool for me. But that time… it wasn’t…” Michael trailed off. He wasn’t sure anything he was saying even made sense. Hopefully, Crowley would understand.

No. Oh no. There was that glimmer of hope. He drummed his fingers against his desk as he tried to think of what he could possibly say that wouldn’t scare Michael away. He was quiet for an uncomfortable amount of time before he finally spoke. “I might have an answer for you,” he said. He got up and walked to a cabinet. When he opened it, it was clear that inside was a series of torture instruments for different creatures. One might stand out to Michael, though. A tool that helped get into the head of an angel.

Michael walked over to the cabinet. Silver knives, salt, a demon knife, and something else – something familiar – were stored inside. He reached for it. Why did it seem so familiar? He stared at in his hands. He knew what it was. Why couldn’t he remember?

“Tell me,” Crowley said. “Do you feel like you’re trying to remember something, only to run into a brick wall?”

Michael’s eyes snapped up to Crowley’s and he asked a question that he seemed to ask the demon far too often. “How did you know?”

Crowley watched the Archangel take the device into his hands, and he bit his lip for a moment as he prepared his next words. “Because Naomi did her job,” he said, coolly. He withdrew his grace from his pocket, hoping beyond hope that Michael would recognize it. “I know you have questions. I want to answer them. But I want you to understand, I … never wanted to hurt you.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, breathing a little shakily.

The device dropped out of Michael’s hand, clanging loudly as it hit the floor. “No. No, this can’t be right.” Michael shook his head. “I know the name of every angel that fell. You can’t… I would know… What do you mean, Naomi did her job?”

“Naomi had to learn her tricks from somewhere, yes?” He didn’t wait for an answer. He knew the answer already. “Before her, it was my job to … program the angels as they came into existence.” He looked at the floor, unable to meet Michael’s gaze. “When Lucifer fell, I was torn. I wanted to leave Heaven because I knew what my job would become. Just as Hell had a grand inquisitor, so it must be in Heaven. But I ….” he trailed off, finally meeting the Archangel’s gaze. “I didn’t …. I didn’t want to leave you. And I didn’t want you remembering me. It would have been too painful for you. So I left and had Naomi wipe your memory. And the memory of every angel that knew me. And so, Cassiel became Crowley.”

He picked the device up off the ground and looked at it. “…. do you trust me? I know what I’m saying is hard to believe, but what I have to say next will be even harder… unless I take down that wall.”

Michael didn’t look at Crowley. He couldn’t. His face impassive, he crossed the office back to the chair he’d sat in moments earlier and dropped unceremoniously, numbly down into it.

Cassiel. He knew the name. No matter how he searched his mind he couldn’t find a face to go with it. Just the ever-frustrating wall. Not even flashes of memory. Just an emptiness where the angel Cassiel belonged. And if Michael was to believe the King of Hell… not only was he an angel, he was the angel responsible for the blank spots on the canvas of Michael’s mind. And apparently, there was more. As if what he’d just heard wasn’t enough. Staring blankly ahead, he said, “Take it down.”

Crowley absolutely hated what he needed to do. Detested it. Not because he had put down the knife, so to speak, for good. Quite the opposite. He had used his knowledge of angels to his advantage as King of Hell. But this? He didn’t want to do this to Michael. He grit his teeth and walked over to the angel. “This is going to hurt,” he said, weakly. If nothing else, at least his tone betrayed that he got no pleasure out of this. He put the device on Michael’s head and tightened it into place. He snapped his fingers and restraints slid around the angel’s wrists, chest, and ankles.

And just like that, he went to work. He twisted the sharp implements on the device, boring them into his head. From here, he just had to find something that wasn’t supposed to be there. It didn’t take long, by some miracle, and Crowley muttered a soft spell as the drills went deeper into Michael’s skull. As an angel at full power, this might have been easier, but now, he had to rely on the spellwork he had come to know.

Before too long, he could sense the wall crumble in the mind of the Archangel. The second it did, he removed the device and used his pocket square to wipe up the blood that had trailed down Michael’s face. He knew all he could do was hope Michael could remember now. Hope, and pray he didn’t smite him for lying.

Michael did his best not to let the fear that spiked through him show on his face as Crowley fixed the device on his head. He closed his eyes to avoid making eye contact with the demon. It was clear enough that Crowley didn’t want to do this, didn’t want to put Michael through the pain.

The drills pierced his skull and every molecule of his being vibrated with agony. Distantly, he could hear himself screaming with it but after a moment, the flood of memories drowned out the sound.

Long forgotten visions of his past played through his mind. Each memory in its turn. Flashes. Cassiel with his wings, such a pale blue that they were almost white, spread wide behind him as he laughed at some joke Michael told. Intimate moments shared between them. The anger they’d shared at Lucifer’s betrayal. Being strapped to a table with Naomi leaning over him, worry lines creasing her forehead.

Michael opened his eyes, surprised to find they were wet with tears. He’d been alive since almost the beginning of time and he had never cried. Never. But this? It was too much. He didn’t even know where to start.

Crowley–Cassiel–was holding a once pristine pocket square, now stained with Michael’s blood. “Michael? What do you remember?”

He drew a shaking breath and looked up at Crowley, unable to process or be angry, at least not yet, and said the first thing that came to his mind. His voice was small, broken, quiet. “You left me.”

So it had worked. Crowley clenched his jaw to steel himself as he saw Michael’s eyes water. He looked down at the bloody device in his hand and let it fall to the ground with a clang. “I never wanted to,” he said in an uncharacteristically small voice. “They would have made me torture the other angels, reprogram them for war. I thought if I left, perhaps they couldn’t do it.”

He looked up, and snapped his fingers. The restraints disappeared. If Michael was going to smite him, at least he would do so knowing the whole truth. “I knew you would try to talk me out of it, so …. I had Naomi wipe your memory of me. I thought… it might be less painful for you that way.” He blinked back a few tears and forced a chuckle. “I was so worried about you, I should have had her wipe my memory, too.” He finally met Michael’s gaze, and the pain in his eyes was clear as day. “I didn’t expect you to come to me. Then, when you did, and we … I got so caught up in having you back, I was … scared, I guess, that you would leave me. But if we’re honest with each other, I deserve it.”

The pain was too much for Michael, so he let anger take over. He could feel it rushing through him, contorting his face into some wicked sneering resemblance of a smirk. He rose from the chair, spread his wings wide in righteous fury and towered over Crowley.

He forced Crowley back with a slow, determined step forward into his personal space. “You thought this would be better?” Michael took another step forward. “You were worried about me?” Another step. “You left me. You ordered Naomi to erase my memories. And now you expect me to believe you did it for me?”

Michael’s eyes flashed blue and the closest window shattered, but neither of them flinched. “You’re full of shit. You knew what would happen, what I would do if you told me and you couldn’t handle the guilt.” He shoved Crowley hard, so his back hit the wall. “You selfish son of a bitch, you didn’t do this for me. You did it for you.”

There was nothing he could do but let Michael rage. He let himself be shoved back, stumbling back into the wall, but made no move to retaliate. He was prepared to be smitten. It was all he deserved after what he did. But he had to tell Michael the truth. The whole truth. 

“I was scared,” he half-shouted. “The lot of us were! We didn’t know who would be kicked out next, and Lucifer offered protection. He offered a safe haven. And when that turned out to be a lie, we were all too afraid to run back home.” He stood up straight and looked Michael in the eye. He was hurting, that much could not be denied.

“I promise you, my own fear was the extent of what I did for me. I did what I had to in order to save the fledglings. I just … never expected Naomi to be as good as she was. I never expected it to change you the way it did. I never expected you to come searching for me. I never expected any of this. If I had, I would never have done it. I-” He stopped, voice cracking with emotion. “I… loved you. I never stopped loving you. I loved you more than God Himself, and at the time? That was an offense punishable by death. So yes, I was scared. I ran. I hid. But I never wanted to hurt you.”

He sighed and looked at the ground again. “If you’re going to smite me, please just do it. But what happened a few days ago? That was the first time in eons that I felt anywhere close to my old self. If that’s my last memory, I don’t regret it.” He couldn’t remember the last time he cried. He couldn’t remember if he had ever cried before. But dammit, he was crying now. His face was steel, jaw locked to hide his emotions, but his eyes… He blinked and a tear rolled down his cheek. He held his arms out wide, prepared for Michael’s retaliation.

Mad, hysterical laughter filled the air and it took a moment for Michael to realize it was his. He slammed Crowley against the wall with a hand on his chest. A rift spread up into the ceiling and down into the floor with a resounding crack as the wood splintered under the weight of the blow. “You give Naomi far too much credit.”

Crowley’s nose was inches from his as he spoke. “You did this. You made me what I am.” He could feel his eyes filling with tears but he blinked them away, desperately clinging to the anger. “I lost everything when Lucifer fell. My closest brother was cast out for his betrayal. Gabriel ran. God… my Father abandoned us, abandoned me. Raphael was bent on destroying Lucifer. I was alone.”

Michael could crush Crowley, then and there, as easily as he might swat a fly. There was only one creature in Heaven and Hell that held more power than Michael and that was God. Even Lucifer couldn’t hold his own in a fair fight. Instead, he took a deep breath. “You left me alone, Crowley–Cassiel. I don’t even know what to call you anymore.”

For the first time in his life, he was actually afraid. He was afraid for his life. What was worse, was it was the angel he loved most that threatened his very existence. And he was right to. All these years, he thought he had done the right thing, and here he was, faced with the reality that he’d only made everything worse. 

He opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out. He just closed his eyes, accepting his fate with as much dignity as he could muster. “For what it’s worth,” he croaked, throat thick with tears, “I’m sorry.” He’d never apologized for anything in his life. “You can believe me, or not, but hurting you was the last thing I wanted.” 

Instinctively, he put a hand on Michael’s, a silent gesture to let him know he didn’t hold this anger against him. It was well deserved, and he knew it. “I’m putting up a white flag, here.” He looked pleadingly at Michael. He didn’t expect to be spared, but he wanted – no, needed – Michael to believe that he was truly sorry. “I wasn’t there for you when I should have been. At least give me the chance to make up for that now. I won’t beg. I don’t deserve your mercy. But you deserve so much more than the hand you’ve been dealt. You deserve the moon and stars. You deserve to be loved.”

It was hard to tell what the King was thinking, because even he didn’t know what he was thinking. He wanted to be spared, to be given a chance to repent, to give Michael some kind of closure. He wanted so much for Michael that he knew he couldn’t provide, and so he had accepted that he might not live to see the Archangel smile again. It broke his heart, but he knew he didn’t deserve to be graced with that smile. 

Michael was torn. He wanted to kiss Crowley until neither of them could breathe. He wanted to rip his throat out. In that moment, he finally understood why his Father had created that rule. Love no one before God. Love no one more than God. He should have listened.

Michael wanted to hate Crowley. It would hurt less. The demon was full of lies. He’d made several millennia of Michael’s life a lie. All because of his own fear. How did they get past this? Did they get past it all?

Michael hated that even in that moment, he ached for him. He needed Crowley. But how could he trust him? He didn’t say anything out loud. The anguish was too much for him to speak. He released Crowley and turned away, running a hand through his hair as he tried put enough space between them to think properly. He wasn’t sure enough space existed in the universe.

When he was released, he couldn’t help but take a step toward the Archangel, but stopped immediately. No. He needed space. He knew that look and he knew it meant not to pester him. Even so, he wanted to earn Michael’s trust back. As much as he wanted to run up and kiss him, he knew that would only make things worse. 

“I know,” he said, softly. He had about given up all hope that they could reconcile, but that didn’t make him want to stop trying. “I know you can’t trust me. I wouldn’t either, if I were you. But … Let me earn that trust back.” He slowly knelt, hands to the floor. “I’m on my knees in a $900 suit. Please, I’m begging you … let me try to make it up to you.” The one thing that terrified him now was the thought of losing the one person he’d ever truly loved. 

Michael couldn’t deny that part of him felt that was exactly where Crowley deserved to be. Except Crowley wasn’t Crowley. He was Cassiel. Angels only knelt before God. 

Michael was nothing like his Father.

His mind stuck on the thought. He was like his Father. Quick to anger and long to get past it. Comfortable in almost any situation where he held all the power. He’d razed the Earth in righteous fire. He’d destroyed worlds. Caused countless deaths. He was his Father’s son.

But Michael was not God. He didn’t turn his back on the people he cared about when they made mistakes. He didn’t abandon them. He’d fought with God to let Lucifer stay. He’d begged Gabriel to stay and help him. He’d done everything in his power to hold his family together.

Would he turn away now? He didn’t want to become his Father.

“Get up.” Michael turned to face the fallen angel on his knees. “Angels don’t beg.”

Crowley didn’t look up at him at first. “Angels don’t, but demons do,” he said. He had fallen so far from grace, he didn’t deserve to be called an angel. A moment passed, and he looked up at Michael, and the look he was greeted with was one that froze him. He hesitated a moment before finally standing. He didn’t brush off his suit. He didn’t meet Michael’s eye. He still didn’t think he deserved mercy. “Where do we go from here?” He asked, a little afraid of the answer.

“To the beginning,” Michael said, turning to the somehow still pristine, untouched desk. He ran his fingers across the smooth wood, grounding himself. Fighting the impulse to flip it, he instead reached for the crystal decanter, tipping the expensive brandy into the two tumblers beside it.

He set one glass on the very edge of the corner of the desk before sitting in Crowley’s chair and waiting as Crowley took the glass and sat in the chair Michael had been in before he remembered. There were so many questions Michael wanted to ask, so many things he wanted to say. He settled on “Why didn’t you come to me, Cassiel?”

Crowley watched as Michael took his chair, any frustration he may have felt being replaced instead with relief that the angel was willing to talk. He took a seat and took the glass offered to him, looking at the amber liquid. “I suppose I didn’t come to you because I knew … I thought you’d try to talk me out of it. I didn’t want to torture angels for a war I didn’t believe in. Now look at me… doing exactly that, for my own gain.” He was disgusted with himself and it showed.

“In the future–” Michael paused to down the warm brandy, letting himself feel the burn in his throat and make sure Crowley had plenty of time to understand the implication of his words “–perhaps it would be best if you let me make my own decisions.”

Michael wouldn’t hold the things he’d done as the King of Hell against. Looking at the things he had done himself, he had no room to judge. Neither of them had turned out as who they wanted to be.

Crowley took a moment to regard his words carefully before answering. “Perhaps it would be best, yes,” was all he said. Then, he listened to Michael’s next words. He hated that he’d heard these words come out of an Archangel’s mouth.

Michael looked Crowley for a long moment, silently contemplating. “You’re right. I would have tried to talk you out of it. And when that failed, I would have left with you.”

 “Heaven needed you,” he pointed out. “Gabriel fled, Lucifer fell, Raphael was … let’s be honest, a little psychotic. They needed you to lead. They didn’t need me.” He downed his brandy and held the liquid in his mouth for a second before letting it flow down his throat, savoring the burn. 

Though, of course, he’d be lying if the thought of Michael leaving with him didn’t appeal to him. They could have lived on Earth. He might not have had to cut out his grace. They might have simply lived. “Hindsight is 20/20,” he muttered. “I’d change it all if I could.” And it was true. He’d thought about what he’d done almost every day for millennia. He wished he could take it all back.

Michael tipped more brandy into his glass, mulling over Crowley’s words. He wasn’t wrong. Heaven had needed a leader. Especially after God abandoned them. But there were plenty of angels that would have been fit to lead. They would have survived. It took a lot more than a few missing Archangels to take down the Host.

But he couldn’t help the swell of anger he felt in his chest. Michael didn’t give a damn about what Heaven needed. Over the millennia it had become very clear that Heaven never really gave a damn about him, so why should he? He’d done everything right. He was a good son, a good brother, a good leader. What had the Host ever done for him?

It didn’t matter if Crowley wished he could take it back. What was done was just that. “I needed you.” Michael took another drink and slammed the glass against the desk, shattering it in his hand. “I NEEDED YOU!” The tears came then, thick and hot as they tracked down his face, deflating what was left of Michael’s ire. He didn’t bother to wipe them away. What did it matter if Crowley saw him cry now?

“I … I need you.”

It absolutely destroyed Crowley to see Michael cry. He’d never seen it before, and he didn’t want to see it now. He didn’t flinch when Michael shattered the glass. No instead, he stepped around the desk to approach the angel. 

He hesitated a moment, then decided … to hell with it. He gently dared to run his hand through Michael’s hair, brushing it out of his face. His hand trailed down, fingers ghosting against his cheek, to lift his chin ever so slightly. 

“Don’t cry,” he said, voice soft. “Tears don’t suit you.” He offered a smile, hoping beyond hope that his smile might be reflected in the other’s face. He leaned in and pressed a tender kiss to his forehead. “If you’ll still have me, I can promise I will never leave you again.” The truth was, he needed Michael too. He had needed him from the moment he came into existence, and he would need him until the end of time. 

It wasn’t like Michael. Sobbing like a child. Leaning into Crowley’s touch like he was starving for it. After everything he’d lost, Michael had made it his business not to need anyone. Another lie, this time of his own making.

He leaned forward, pulling Crowley toward him with hands fisted in the lapels of his jacket, until he was close enough the Michael could rest his forehead against his chest. He stayed like that until the tears slowed and eventually, stopped. 

The suddenness of remembering, the anger he’d felt, the pain… it had all been overwhelming. But now that he’d gotten through the shock, Michael found that an emptiness he’d carried with him for as long as he could remember was gone.

He pulled away, looking up at Crowley. “If you ever leave me like that again, I will kill you.”

Crowley simply held Michael in his arms, softly humming to him to soothe his sobs. He hadn’t sung since Heaven. He hadn’t had a song in his heart since he left. Michael gave that back to him. 

He chuckled, though he knew Michael wasn’t kidding. The sudden burst of barely suppressed laughter seemed to lighten the mood considerably. He regarded Michael for a moment, smirking that familiar smirk. 

“You won’t need to worry about that at all, darling.” He sat on the arm of the chair, brushing his thumb against the angel’s cheek. “I promise. And no more lies, either. I don’t think I have it in me to lie to you anymore.”

Pulling Crowley down by his jacket, Michael tilted his head until their lips met. It was nothing like the kisses they’d shared the last time he was in this office. This was nothing but tenderness; a sweet reminder that while things would never be the way they were before the Fall, they could be just as good.

Chapter Text

Michael thought about Cassiel’s fall. And when he pulled away from the kiss they shared, he opened his mouth to tell him he still loved him but he stumbled over words he hadn’t said in so long. Instead, he reached tentatively toward Crowley’s back, where he knew his wings used to be. “They aren’t … are they?”

The demon was still surprised, but thrilled, by the kiss. He knew what it meant. That maybe they couldn’t be okay, but maybe they were tough enough to try anyway. They could never get back to the way things were. They would never be normal again, but … something next to normal might be okay. Something close enough to normal to get by. And, they would get by. 

Then, the angel surprised him again. This entire time, he hadn’t thought about his wings. He shook his head, though he could feel his phantom wings ache to be touched. “I’ve gotten by just fine without them,” he said. He didn’t want to trouble Michael with something as trivial as his wings. 

Michael wanted to push the subject. He’d heard stories, knew Crowley must be in pain. The damage from a fall was never meant to stop aching. It was meant to be an eternal punishment for turning one’s back on God.

“Okay,” Michael said, reaching up to cup his lover’s cheek in one hand. If Crowley wouldn’t let him demonstrate how he felt by healing his wings, he would give the words a go again. “Crowley, I…” Michael licked his suddenly very dry lips. “I love you.”

Those words gave Crowley pause. He stared, trying to comprehend what just happened. All these eons had passed since he’d heard those words from anyone, He blinked, then smiled softly and cupped the angel’s cheek in his hand. “I love you too,” he purred, leaning in to kiss him once more. 

Wrapping his arms around Crowley, Michael let the kiss deepen. He made no move to take control, pulled the Fallen Angel a little closer. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than for the two of them to be like one, together in a way that was more intimate than he was willing to admit out loud.

But Michael was sure Crowley knew.

He always knew.

It was a sensation Crowley wasn’t used to feeling anymore, the feeling of being wanted. He slipped off the arm of the chair and onto Michael’s lap, straddling him, never once breaking the kiss. He ran his hands along Michael’s chest, one hand sliding up to his neck, then into his hair. It wasn’t about control anymore. No, for him, it was simply the need to know the Archangel was really there. 

Michael couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so needy. Crowley’s hand sliding up into his hair sent shivers down his spine and his wings ruffled, fading in and out of the corporeal world. His fingertips dug into Crowley’s back just a little as he broke the kiss, pulling him closer so Michael could leave a trail of warm wet kisses across the Angel’s jawline and down his throat.

Crowley purred, gripping Michael’s hair tightly as his back arched into the other’s hands. His free hand brushed against the angel’s wings every time they came into view. His eyes fluttered shut at the sensation of Michael’s lips all over his neck. He whispered the Archangel’s name, chanting it like a mantra. Finally, after all these years, he was back where he belonged. In the arms of the one he loved above all else. 

Taking his time, Michael unbuttoned Crowley’s shirt one button at a time. With each button he stopped to explore the freshly exposed skin with his lips and tongue. He gasped at the sensation every time he felt Crowley’s hand brush against his feathers. Michael wanted so badly to return the favor. Pushing Crowley’s shirt down off his shoulders gently, he set his teeth into the demon’s chest, slowly sucking a mark into his flesh.

Crowley felt an ache in his phantom wings, that wasn’t the usual burning sting. Never before had he longed to have his wings back. He kissed at Michael’s neck, sliding his hands up the angel’s T-shirt to expose his flesh.

Michael tilted his head, allowing Crowley easier access to his neck as he slowly, gently ran his fingers along Crowley’s back.

Crowley couldn’t help the satisfied groan that escaped his lips, nor could he help the effect it was having on him. His hips bucked slightly, and he pulled Michael’s shirt the rest of the way off. Lust was starting to cloud his mind, but he kept a grip on his senses. He needed to show Michael that he wasn’t totally focused on the sex. That he truly wanted to make his lover happy.

Seeing the effect he had on Crowley was breathtaking. The way his eyes half shut and his lips parted slightly, letting a moan escape as he rocked into Michael made him eager to do anything he could to hear the sound again. He lifted his arms to let Crowley pull his t-shirt off and then Michael’s hands were on his lover again. One bringing his head down so he could gently suck Crowley’s lower lip into his mouth, the other gently tracing lazy patterns against the other’s skin.

It didn’t take much to get him to react that way again. He rocked his hips again, his need growing more obvious as he felt himself strain against the fabric of his pants. He moaned softly once more, eyes fluttering shut again. After a moment, he dared to open his eyes, half expecting this to be a dream. But there Michael was, as clear as day. He muttered soft words of love and devotion as best he could with his lip otherwise occupied.

Michael rolled his hips against Crowley’s, the friction sending a spark of electricity through him as he devoured the needy sounds his lover made. Cassiel had been his for so long. Crowley was his now. They were one and the same, but still different and Michael felt his love bloom possessively in his chest. Releasing the Angel’s lip, he pressed the foreheads together and looked into deep brown eyes. “You’re mine, Crowley. Only mine. Always mine. You belong with me.”

It was all almost too much. His lover’s grace mingling with his own to take the pain away, feeling the angel he loved hold so tightly to him… and the words. Crowley melted into Michael’s arms, nuzzling his nose against the other’s. “Always yours. From now until the end of time.” He pressed a tender kiss to Michael’s lips, unable to repress the love he felt for the Archangel. Not that he wanted to, but he couldn’t hide it if he tried.

It was too much and not enough all at once. Michael wanted to feel Crowley-needed to feel all of him. He was already gasping into the sweet kiss, clinging desperately to his Angel, the sensation of his skin nearly overwhelming. Michael’s fingers shook as fumbled at Crowley’s belt buckle. He could just snap his fingers, leave nothing between them. But it felt far more intimate for Crowley to be able see what he did to Michael.

Crowley watched, slack-jawed as he watched Michael’s shaky fingers fiddle with his belt buckle. Not once did he think to snap his fingers and be rid of the layers between them, but he did fumble around with the closure of Michael’s jeans. He swore to himself when he couldn’t get his fingers to cooperate, but he finally got the button undone and his fly unzipped. He slid his hand down into his angel’s pants, gently stroking Michael’s length as he captured his lips in another kiss.

Crowley must have still be more clearheaded than Michael because his fingers still wouldn’t work properly by the time Crowley’s hand closed around his length. They certainly weren’t doing what they were told now. Moaning into the kiss, Michael grabbed the belt by its buckle and pulled. The leather broke and the belt came easily free of its loops. Fortunately, he had much better luck with the button and the zipper. Seconds later, Michael was stroking Crowley’s length in the same slow, gentle rhythm.

If it had been literally anyone else, Crowley might have stabbed the one that tore his $300 belt, but when it came to Michael? It sort of turned him on even more, if that was possible. A few moments passed as they matched each other’s rhythms, but Crowley had other ideas. In an instant, the two of them were sitting in the same position on the edge of the opulent bed Crowley called his own. The fallen one slid off of Michael’s lap and tugged both of their pants down and off, tossing them unceremoniously into a pile on the floor. That done, he kissed a trail up every inch of Michael’s body, slowly pushing him to lay down against the velvet comforter.

Even in the time he spent on Earth, Michael had never been interested in fancy things. But now, with his back against the velvet spread on Crowley’s bed and his lover’s lips on his skin, he definitely saw the appeal. He sighed contentedly, touching Crowley wherever he could reach. Michael resisted the urge to pull him up over him, letting Crowley set the pace. No one else had ever treated his body with such reverence and as much as Michael wanted more, he didn’t want this to stop.

Crowley leaned into Michael’s hands whenever he could, just in complete awe of the Archangel. The way his vessel looked didn’t hurt much either. He hadn’t had the chance to totally appreciate it before, but now he felt he had all the time in the world to appreciate every last detail of the Archangel. 

He kissed a trail up to Michael’s neck, then to his jawline, and finally kissed him with such passion, it left one to wonder how long he’d been looking forward to that kiss. He took Michael’s lower lip into his mouth and sucked gently as he straddled the angel once more, hands gliding up the other’s chest, then around and back to his lover’s wings, burying his fingers in the feathers once more. 

A soft moan escaped Michael’s lips as Crowley’s fingers threaded between his feathers and his back arched up off the velvet. He matched his lover’s passion, reveled in it. Somehow, even if his mind had misplaced the memories, Michael had never truly forgotten this. He held Crowley to him, clinging to him like a lifeline as he devoured every groan, every sigh that came from him.

The demon purred softly and ran his fingers through Michael’s wings, gently massaging that spot at the base of his wings. He had missed this. Making the Archangel make those sounds was delicious. 

He pulled back from the kiss briefly to cup his lover’s cheek, looking at him with hooded eyes. “What do you want?” he asked, willing to do anything to make Michael happy. 

Michael stared earnestly up into Crowley’s eyes and softly caressed his cheek with a finger. Mirroring Crowley’s words from before, he said, “I just want you. All of you. In every possible way.”

He pulled his lover’s face back to his, pouring all of his emotions into the kiss. His love, his pain, his anger–everything. It all belonged to Crowley.

The demon couldn’t help it. He melted, hearing those words pour from Michael’s lips. He smiled more genuinely than he had in a long time, and kissed him passionately. He positioned himself between the Archangel’s legs, draping the angel’s legs over his shoulders and, with one gentle motion, he used his demonic energy to slick himself and buried himself in his lover. He gave Michael a moment to adjust before adopting a slow, tender pace, peppering the other’s chest with kisses.

Letting his legs slip off of Crowley’s shoulders, Michael wrapped them around his waist instead, pulling him closer. He let his hands drift up his lover’s arms and over his shoulders to frame his face. His hips rolled up into Crowley’s, meeting the slow, steady rhythm of his movements. Michael wrapped one strong arm around his lover, using a hand at the back of Crowley’s neck to draw him in until they were eye-to-eye, foreheads touching, and shakily breathing the same air as the heat between them was slowly stoked to fire.

While one hand kept him hovering over Michael, Crowley’s other hand slid down the angel’s side to rest on his thigh, gripping it tightly. His nails dug into his thigh, eyes locked on Michael’s. His breath grew ragged, pace quickening as his desire to hear his lover’s sounds of satisfaction. He felt the heat between them grow hotter and hotter, and it stoked the passionate fire in his eyes. He took in every detail of Michael’s face, as though he was afraid he would disappear.

As their pace increased, Michael held Crowley’s gaze and let his hand drift down to where the base of Crowley’s wings would have been. “Crowley.” The name fell from his lips as a broken moan as waves of pleasure crashed through Michael. His lover’s eyes fell shut and Michael stroked his thumb across Crowley’s cheek. Michael’s entire being vibrated with the intensity of it. He was nearing his end. “Open your eyes. I want to see you. I want you to see me.”

Feeling Michael’s fingers gently massaging his back was almost like being in Heaven again. Hearing Michael say his name like that was enough to fool him into thinking this was heaven. His eyes had fluttered closed as the sensation overwhelmed him, but then he heard Michael’s next words, and his eyes opened again. 

He was greeted by his lover’s eyes, full of love and passion. His jaw fell open slightly, completely lost in the moment. That is, until he hit his release. His eyes glowed red in his ecstasy, his forehead came down to touch the angel’s once more, his hips stuttering as he continued to rock into Michael until he was entirely spent. His hand went to Michael’s length and he started stroking him to bring him to a similar climax. 

It didn’t take long after Crowley’s release for Michael to follow. It was different this time, the holy glow of light emanating from him was softer, less explosive. He clung tightly to his lover, eyes glowing brilliantly blue. This time he didn’t try to hide it from Crowley.

Michael’s legs tightened around Crowley as he cried out his release. Their eyes locked together through it. Leaning his head slightly, Michael caught Crowley’s lips in a breathless kiss, wrapping them both in his wings until the light faded.

It was satisfying, seeing the angel’s grace bleed through like that. He clung tightly to Michael, closing his eyes again only after he melted into the kiss. He deepened the kiss and cradled Michael’s face in his hands. He wanted nothing more than to lay here with his lover for the rest of time. 

Michael carefully unwrapped his legs from Crowley’s waist, resting his heels on the bed but he didn’t let him go.  Letting his head fall back onto the bedspread, he closed his eyes, panting heavily. They stayed tangled up in each other’s arms as his breathing slowed and his blood cooled. If Michael hadn’t been sure before, he knew now that they were made for each other, meant to be. 

He wouldn’t let Crowley go this time.

Opening his eyes again, he looked at Crowley and cupped his face in one hand. “I’m still angry at you,” he said, almost weakly. It was true. Michael was still pissed and he still had questions. But they would get past it, he was certain.

Crowley chuckled softly. He knew Michael was serious, but he had to admit, that was not what he was expecting to hear after sex. He ran his fingers through Michael’s hair knowing it was something they could work through. “I’d be surprised if you weren’t,” he said honestly. He snapped his fingers and the two of them were cleaned up. “Honestly, I’m just glad you still want me in your arms.” He kissed Michael again and nuzzled close to him. He never wanted to leave him again. The first time had almost killed him. Now, he was sure he couldn’t survive being away from the angel he loved. 

Michael turned contemplative eyes on him. “You have many things to answer for,” he said. Crowley turned away, apparently avoiding eye contact. Michael rubbed a finger along his jawline and hooked his chin, lifting it until they were eye to eye again. “I meant what I said. I need you. I have always needed you.” Releasing Crowley’s chin, Michael ran a hand through his disheveled hair. “Even when I didn’t know it was you that I needed.”

It was never easy, hearing that he had to answer for his actions. He knew, realistically, that he’d have to someday. He just never anticipated it being in this manner. When he broke eye contact, he did so to collect his thoughts, but then Michael brought him around to look him in the eye again. Crowley melted, hearing that he was needed. He never thought he’d hear those words again. “I love you,” he said, after a moment’s silence. “Tell me what I need to do to make up for what I’ve done.”

Michael wished he had an answer for that but he didn’t. Not really. Instead, he had questions. Lacing his fingers with Crowley’s so they rested on the bed between them, Michael tried to sort through his thoughts.

Chapter Text

There were many questions that needed to be answered, none less important than the others. In the end, Michael just picked one. “You said you did what you had to do to protect the fledglings. What did you mean? Protect them from who?”

He knew there would be questions. If he’d have predicted this day would come, he might have prepared answers. As it was, he was left dumbfounded. He really wished he knew what to say. Since he didn’t, he stuck with what he knew. The cold, hard facts. “I wanted to protect them from me,” he said, simply. “With God’s war started, I knew he would have me reprogram the fledglings so they would grow up ready to fight. To kill. He would have trained them from an early age, so they would know nothing else. I couldn’t bear the thought of doing that to them.” He looked away again. “Like you said, I was selfish. I didn’t think Naomi would have taken over all of my duties when I left. I would have assumed she’d move on to another job. I was wrong. The fledglings never got the childhood you and I had. Most of them didn’t even learn how to love. I wanted to protect them from that fate.”

Michael swallowed a bitter reply and simply nodded. Crowley knew how things had turned out in Heaven after he left, there was no reason to rub it in simply because he was still angry. There was a long moment of silence before Michael could speak again and when he did the question he asked was entirely different from what he’d planned. “Did you ever want to come back?”

Crowley met his lover’s eyes again, an uncharacteristically regretful look reflected in them. “There wasn’t a day that passed that I didn’t want to go home.” He grit his teeth and sighed. “Not too long after I’d left, I tried to repent, tried to recant. But Naomi had so completely wiped me from their minds, I never made it through the gates. All they saw was a demon trying to invade.” It was the truth, too. Even though he had known there was no going back, he still tried. He had to. He couldn’t bear the thought of Michael being alone in all of this.

So he had tried to come back for Michael. It was a small comfort. He squeezed Crowley’s hand, offering support, because even in his own pain, Michael understood how difficult this must be for him. “Why don’t you have your wings?”

Crowley took a moment before he answered. He wasn’t entirely sure what to say. He knew why, but didn’t know how to explain. “When I fell, I lost my grace,” he said. It was a partial truth, but it still didn’t feel right to say. “I say I lost it … what I mean is I carved it out.” He squeezed Michael’s hand in return, smiling weakly at him.

Michael looked horrified that his mate would do that to himself. He opened his mouth to say something, but Crowley interrupted before he had a chance.

“It was the only way I could avoid going back to Hell. I thought, if I became human, I might be able to return to Heaven one day. Honestly, I remember falling, then I woke up in 1661. For reasons I’m not proud of, I made a demon deal and wound up back in Hell.” He realized the irony of running away from Hell to end up in Hell, mostly because he made a living exploiting irony. How ironic that irony would get him after all.

Michael frowned and gently rubbed Crowley’s back with his free hand, pulling him into a one-armed hug. “You showed me a vial of grace. Your grace. Why haven’t you reabsorbed it?”

“Mostly because I’m not sure what will happen,” Crowley admitted. “I might become an angel, I might die. There’s no precedent for it. I have no way of knowing what will happen to me.” He met Michael’s gaze and gently cupped his face with his hand. “I’m not risking leaving you again. Not when I spent 30,000 years hoping to get you back.”

“30,000 years?” Michael was having a hard time processing what he was hearing. “How is … what?”

“Time passes differently in Hell. 10 years to an Earth month.” Seeing the still shocked look on Michael’s face, Crowley pressed a kiss to his lips and smiled weakly once more. “There’s a reason it’s called Hell.”

“Right.” The angel laid back against the pillows, sighing softly. Crowley laid his head against his lover’s chest, and Michael wrapped an arm around him. Cassiel may have been a demon now, but it still felt right. As though they belonged together. “How did you get your grace back?” Michael asked curiously. It had been thousands of years since the Fall. It was hard to believe that Crowley would just happen upon it.

“I bought it,” he stated simply, shutting his eyes and draping an arm over Michael’s torso. “I had a contact in Heaven that would sell me …” He trailed off, trying to decide how much backstory was really needed. “… Well, I had a contact in Heaven, and I asked if he’d ever come across an angel’s grace. Someone he didn’t recognize. He said he had. Bloody deal cost me a perfectly good house.”

Michael hummed pensively, unconsciously trailing his fingers along Crowley’s shoulders. There were still so many questions he wanted to ask, but the more he heard from the demon, the less angry he felt. Not to say he wasn’t still angry, of course. He was still quite angry, but what Crowley was saying made a surprising amount of sense.

“Last question for the night,” he said as Crowley looked up at him. “You aren’t going to leave me again, are you?”

Crowley was surprised to hear those words come out of his angel’s mouth, but he could hardly blame him. “Absolutely not,” he purred, reassuringly. “I lost you once. I’m not about to lose you again. It might kill me.” Saying the words, he realized that his leaving might prompt Michael to actually kill him. The two of them silently agreed to overlook it, however, and the demon laid his head on his lover’s chest once more. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Michael pressed a kiss to Crowley’s head and wrapped his wings around the two of them.

Chapter Text

When people say opposites attract, they generally mean it in the most clichéd way possible: a justification for why two people who shouldn’t be together are somehow just that. She drives a Lexus, he rides a Harley. She’s a sports nut, he’s a book worm. He’s the King of Hell, and the guy making love to him? That there’s an Archangel of the Lord. Crazy how that works, right? Mind boggling.

But, it was true, as far as Crowley and Michael were concerned. Not because they were opposites. Sure, they were an angel and a demon, but it was because – at their core – they were the same. Both were incredibly well organized, both were good dressers, but – and I cannot stress how important this is enough – they both hated the same people. Michael thought the Winchesters were obnoxious, thought Castiel was naïve, and thought Lucifer was a self-important jackass. Crowley may as well have stood next to him, pointed at him and said, “What he said.”

Of course, they had good reason to think such things. The Winchesters, for instance, thwarted their wiles. They saw a wile, and they thwarted it. It was pretty much their job to make life difficult for anything that wasn’t human.

Castiel, of course, got a little self-righteous about his duties as an angel. It hadn’t escaped Michael’s attention that the young angel had tried to take God’s place in ruling Heaven, and frankly, he didn’t stand for that shit one bit. Crowley, on the other hand, had been stabbed in the back by Castiel one too many times. (So had Balthazar, but Crowley had lost track of him after buying his grace anyway, so that’s another story for another time.)

Then, the obvious, Lucifer. They shared a reason for hating Lucifer, and it was quite simple. Lucifer had fallen. It wasn’t the fall by itself, obviously, but it was everything that came after. Everything. Lucifer had started a war on Heaven. The war Michael was always meant to lead, but never wanted. The war that drove Cassiel to flee the only home he had and leave the only one he ever loved.

Crowley and Michael didn’t agree on everything, but they did agree on the important things.

Like, for example, who was in charge between them.

They had hardly gone 24 hours without having sex in the days since Michael had gotten his memories back. They were in the blissful throes of romance, and they had all but forgotten their plot to get Michael’s sword. Crowley was sure they’d get around to it eventually, but he was preoccupied in making sure his mate was happy.

And so, they found themselves in the throes of blissful union between body and soul – or, whatever it was angels and demons had.

Crowley himself was strapped to a bondage horse, ankles suspended by chains from the ceiling to spread his legs. His demons knew better than to intrude on them when they were together. Not that they particularly wanted to. Their king was fraternizing with an angel. Again. More than that, he was fraternizing with an Archangel.

Crowley didn’t make it his business what the other demons thought, though. Not after they had turned their backs on him the second Lucifer walked in.

Besides, what they were doing right now? That was much more fun than worrying about some black-eyed jack-off.

Michael was buried to the hilt in Crowley’s heat, rocking into him needily. His lips connected to the king’s neck, hand tangled in his lover’s hair. Crowley was simply happy to soak up the attentions the angel paid to him, finally submitting entirely. Michael had more than earned it.

His head fell to the side, broken moans echoing through his bedchamber. Michael delighted in those sounds. He pulled out all the stops to illicit more of those sounds from the demon. Tendrils of grace slithered along Crowley’s skin, sending electricity up and down his nervous system.

His grace wrapped around Crowley’s length and began stroking him. The demon’s eyes rolled back into his head, hips bucking, starving for more. Michael tugged his hair back as a warning and Crowley knew to stay as still as he could, but that didn’t stop him from making all the noise.

And oh did Michael love that noise. He couldn’t stop himself pushing into Crowley with more intensity. This, of course, started the vicious cycle of pulling more noise out of the demon, which only stoked the angel’s fire more.

They escalated and escalated until there was nowhere for them to go. All that was left for them was their simultaneous release, Crowley’s spilling onto the floor, and Michael’s filling the demon. The angel’s grace bled through his vessel as the wave of pleasure washed over him, but subsided once he leaned over and peppered his lover’s back with tender kisses.

Crowley felt himself relax entirely. As much as he loved the sex, he had grown to love the aftercare even more. Michael unstrapped and unchained him and carried him to the lush velvet-covered bed.

“You’re so good to me,” the king muttered against his angel’s neck. Either of them could have snapped their fingers and cleaned each other up, but doing things the old fashioned way felt so much more intimate. Michael took a towel from the bedside table and gently began to clean his lover.

Moments later, Crowley was grooming the angel reverently. Michael’s wings weren’t in the state they were after he made it out of the cage, but the demon did delight in running his fingers through the other’s wings. Even just a few days ago, he felt a twinge of wing envy every time he saw those brilliant white feathers. Now, he was just pleased to have some semblance of what they used to be.

Perhaps they could get back to normal one of these days.

Chapter Text

“How would you suggest telling someone that you had accidentally released and bound an ancient and powerful spirit inside their home? Hypothetically.” Crowley didn’t look sheepish. He never did, really. It came with the territory of knowing nothing you’ve done has ever been a wrong move, so why Crowley subscribed to it is beyond reasoning.

“Motherfucker,” Michael muttered to himself. “You didn’t.” The Archangel was content to stay in the vessel he had. John Winchester suited his needs just fine, even if he had to go back in time to get him. It was Crowley that was set on seeing this scheme go through. Perhaps it was because he knew he had the most powerful Archangel in his corner. Perhaps he just wanted to see Dean Winchester naked again. Perhaps it was for, as they say, “shits” with a potential for “giggles.” Who’s to say?

“Well, you see,” the king started, already sensing (correctly so) that Michael was less than pleased with him, “I thought, since Claire Novak’s possession didn’t pan out the way we had hoped, that perhaps an angry spirit might be enough to lure-“

“Let me stop you right there.” Michael pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed in exasperation. “You thought … that you could lure the Winchesters … to your safe house … to help you … when they have no reason to trust you at all. Does that about sum it up?”

“I think you’re missing the simplicity of this plan,” he said defensively. “I-“

“No.” The angel held up a finger to stop Crowley from speaking again. “Tell me this … what kind of spirit did you summon?”

“A Shinigami.”

“Uh-huh. And what was your plan to get the Winchesters to help you?”

Crowley opened his mouth to speak, and suddenly realized that perhaps he may have not thought this through all the way. He looked, almost helplessly, at Michael, a silent plea for guidance on what to do next.

Michael was not merciful. “No. No, you got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out.” He started to head for the door, but stopped when Crowley protested. He turned and frowned at him. “You’re the King of Hell. I’m sure you can handle a single spirit.” And with that, he had flapped his wings, and he was gone.

That had been their first argument since Michael’s memories came back. Not a serious one, so it was a surprise to Crowley when Michael didn’t come back. A nasty surprise.

Days went by, and he hadn’t heard from the angel at all. It was unlike him. Besides, it wasn’t like Michael had many places to go. There was Heaven, and there was Hell. Neither side had seen hide nor hair of the first Archangel, and Crowley was starting to get worried.

He still had a few loyal followers. At least, he thought they were loyal. Demons weren’t known for abiding by their allegiances, after all. He sent one of them out to search for Michael, and waited. It was a waiting game now, and he hated it.

The thought had crossed his mind that Michael never wanted to stay and was simply looking for the first opportunity to leave. A petty squabble offered exactly that.

No, that wasn’t right. That second night, he had asked if Crowley was going to leave. Why would he have asked that if he wasn’t worried Crowley would leave? No, it didn’t make sense. Michael wouldn’t have worried about that if he was planning on leaving.

Minutes turned into hours. Hours turned into days, and Crowley hadn’t heard a single whisper about where Michael might have been. It was driving him crazy. He had already drank through his stock of the less expensive liquor, and he was starting to dip into the better stuff. He couldn’t stand the feeling that he might have driven his lover away with one stupid mistake.

Finally, after nearly a week, his informant appeared. “Sir, I have word,” she said, standing with her hands clasped behind her back.

“Well, spit it out,” he growled impatiently. “Where. Is. Michael?”

“Sir, Lucifer has him.”

All at once, Crowley’s stomach was in knots. In his bliss, he had almost forgotten that Lucifer was prowling about. Of course that’s why the Novak girl’s possession didn’t work. Lucifer was still possessing Castiel. He swore loudly and chucked his glass across the room, letting it shatter against the wall. How could he have been so stupid? His mistake cost him his lover.

Well, he’d be damned if he was going to lose Michael a second time.

He stormed over to his desk and opened the drawer. His little vial of grace rolled into view, and Crowley stared at it for some time. The way he saw it, he had two options. One was to wait and hope Michael got free on his own. That, however, was a bad idea and he knew it. The other option was to smash that vial open, reabsorb his grace, and hope for the best. This, too, was a dangerous idea, and not one he would have usually considered. For seven years he’d had his grace, and for seven years, he had been hesitant to pull a stunt like this.

But really, what choice did he have? It truly was a case of “save Michael or die trying.” Either way, he kind of won. Either he saved his lover and killed the devil in the process, or he wouldn’t have to live without the angel.

The answer was really simple.

He took the vial into his hand and looked at it. Watched the blue essence swirling within the glass. He turned it in his fingers as he walked to the center of the room, captivated by its holy glow. He made up his mind. He would pull Heaven down if it meant getting Michael back. Frankly, that’s exactly what he was going to do.

He threw the vial onto the ground as hard as he could, letting it shatter against the stone floor.  

The grace spread like dry ice on the floor before swirling upward into a vortex. Crowley watched it as it arched in the air, searching for the nearest possible vessel. Which, of course, was the King of Hell himself. Before he knew it, his grace was slithering into his mouth and into his being.

It burned, as would be expected from holy light integrating into is demonic being. To compare the feeling, imagine if your leg fell asleep … while it was on fire. Then imagine dropping an anvil on your leg to put the fire out. You would then come close to imagining what Crowley was going through.

He was sure of it. He was dying. Angelic grace and demonic energy couldn’t exist in the same vessel, could it? Not when they were essentially the same person. It was a paradox. It had to be. His chest tightened as the two energies inside of him battled for dominance.

He collapsed to his knees, eyes wide as he felt his very insides begin to melt.

Chapter Text

Lucifer wasn’t what you would call “balanced.” As a matter of fact, he was very unbalanced. Picture a see saw, if you will. How the goal is to constantly go up and down and up and down. That was how Lucifer’s mind worked. Only, instead of going up and down as intended, it was like a see saw on a rollercoaster. Wildly flailing around in all directions, with the occasional scream to pepper the atmosphere.

Michael was learning exactly what the cage had done to his brother. As if he hadn’t witnessed it for the last thousand or so Hell-years.

The devil had spent days trying to break Michael. What he didn’t count on was that Michael wasn’t easily broken. Not after everything he’d already been through.

Lucifer trailed the angel blade along Michael’s chest, smirking as the Archangel’s grace bled through his vessel. He carved the devil’s pitchfork into his brother, directly over his vessel’s heart. He pressed an ice cold hand to the fresh wound, causing it to scar.

“You will never be free of me,” he purred into his elder’s ear. “I’m inside your head! Now? Your last words are going to be begging me to spare you.”

“That’s … not likely,” Michael growled weakly.

“Are you sure? Because I’d really like to hear you beg.”

“Lucifer, I wouldn’t beg you for a Klondike bar.”

Lucifer frowned and tussled Michael’s hair. “I don’t think you’re in a position to make jokes, brother.” He stabbed the blade through Michael’s bound hand, eliciting a cry of agony from the elder. The blade pierced through his very grace in such a way that even Michael wasn’t able to stifle his cries, try as he may.

 

Just as Lucifer was about to bring the blade down into Michael’s chest, the doors swung open. Crowley stood in the doorway, jaw locked in resolution.

Lucifer looked at him and laughed. “Well, hello puppy. Come home to your master, did you?” He stepped around to stand behind Michael, tussling his hair. “You’re lucky. You’re about to witness my hostile takeover of Heaven.”

“No, I don’t think I am,” Crowley remarked, coolly. “You’re going to let him go.”

“I am? That doesn’t sound like me. Why would I listen to a demon like you?”

“There are no demons like me,” he rasped. Crowley chuckled darkly and took a few daring steps toward the two angels. Michael, staring at Crowley, could tell there was something different about him … but what? Lucifer, prideful as ever, decided it didn’t matter if there was something different about Crowley. All that mattered was that he was sure he could kill Crowley, for his insolence if not just for giggles.

“Crowley, what do you think you’re doing?” Michael shouted. “He’s going to kill you!”

Lucifer grinned and tugged Michael’s hair back. “Speak when spoken to, brother.” He looked between Michael and Crowley. He was a great many things, but he wasn’t stupid. He could see the connection between them. “Oh. My. Dad. You two are …?” He laughed wickedly and leaned in to bite at Michael’s ear. It was enough to wipe the smirk off of Crowley’s face. “Ohhhh, this is precious. I mean, I know you like to joke about ‘lovers in league against Satan’ but this? Oh, it’s almost adorable.”

“Like I said,” Crowley reiterated, “You’re going to let him go. And then? Then I’m going to kill you.”

Manic laughter filled the room. “I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit on that one, skippy.” Lucifer was far too proud to admit that Crowley might just be able to kill him. After all, it wasn’t just his demonic energy he was feeling.

 “You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to see you burn.” Crowley started to walk toward Lucifer, hands comfortably in his pockets. “It’s a funny ol’ world, isn’t it? You took everything from me. You took my throne, my mother, my dignity … and now? I’m going to do the same to you. But don’t worry, I’ll kill you when I’m done with you. After all, I’m not a monster like you.”

Lucifer snarled. “You’ve got some nerve, doggie. Do I need to rub your nose in shit for you to learn-“

Crowley held a finger to his lips and shushed. Lucifer was more surprised than anyone to find that he could no longer speak. The demon king smirked and flicked his wrist and the devil collapsed in pain. “I told you once before. You make me your dog? I make you my slave.”

Lucifer looked up at him incredulously before silently yelping in pain. His entire body felt like it was on fire. He looked up to see something he never thought he’d see: Crowley’s grace shining through his every pore, casting a shadow of his wings against the wall behind him. His eyes grew wide as every atom in his being cried out in pain.

Crowley stayed focused on the fallen angel in front of him, eyes glowing a faint light purple as his demonic energy and angelic grace continued fusing together.

The funny thing about physics is that there are infinitesimally small spaces between atoms, but the atoms never touch. They may trade electrons back and forth, but the atoms themselves never actually touch.

Crowley, with his newfound power, had found a way to ignite that space between atoms.

The demon – angel – stepped toward Lucifer, and pressed two fingers to the devil’s forehead. The angel that burned cold was suddenly burning hot. The pain became so much that he was desperate to get away from the pain. His grace exploded out of Castiel’s vessel, rocketing toward the ceiling.

But Crowley wasn’t about to let him go that easily. He pointed at Lucifer’s grace and froze it in midair. His eyes glowed a more intense purple as the grace above them started burning. It erupted into flames, slowly becoming a cloud of burning inferno.

When there was nothing left but ashes, Michael shifted his gaze from the pile of smoldering embers on the floor, to whatever it was Crowley had turned himself into. There were a million questions that burned in his mind, but only one that made it to his lips: “How?”

Crowley snapped his fingers and the bindings that held the angel dissolved into nothing. He rushed to his lover’s bleeding form and wiped the blood from Michael’s eyes. He didn’t answer immediately. He was far more concerned with his angel’s condition. “We’re going to get you patched up,” he said, struggling to harness his grace to heal Michael.

But Michael wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily. “Crowley. How?”

Castiel stirred and opened his eyes. The ordeal had rendered him unconscious, and he wasn’t sure what he was looking at anymore. “Crowley? … Michael?”

Crowley snapped his fingers and apported Castiel far away from them. He looked at Michael, clearly not sure what to say. “Well … You remember that vial of grace I showed you?”

“You didn’t.” Michael looked almost horrified. He was grateful for the rescue, but at what cost? “Crowley, tell me you didn’t risk your life for me.”

“I could, but I promised not to lie to you anymore,” he stated simply. “Michael, I existed 30,000 years without you. I’d say I lived, but it wasn’t much of a life.” He brushed a lock of hair out of Michael’s eyes and used his pocket square to mop up some of the blood that had collected on his face. “I wasn’t about to go another day without you. So, yes, I risked my life. For the first time in longer than I can remember, I had a reason to risk my life.”

Michael looked at him, surprisingly cowed by what he was hearing. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had cared enough about him to risk their lives for him. Not even the other angels in Heaven would have stuck their necks out like that against the devil. “Crowley…” He slid his hand to rest on the back of the demon angel’s neck, pulling him close enough to capture his lips in a tender kiss.

Crowley returned the kiss in kind. His wings stretched into view, tinted black with his demonic energy, but shining an iridescent blue. They flapped once and the two of them were once again in Crowley’s chambers in Hell.

Chapter Text

Crowley didn’t often think about his time on Earth as a human. He tried not to make it a habit to dwell on the past, but there were very rare occasions in which he found himself … reminiscing. With his grace now intact and fused with his being once more, he began to remember his previous lives, before Fergus.

It seemed like every life he led, he felt the same loneliness that had plagued him as Fergus. The same loneliness that drove him into the arms of … well, anyone that would open their arms (or legs) to him.

One memory in particular, however, was clear as day. He was standing on a shore, holding a small lantern. Beneath a moonless sky, he had whispered his wish into the breeze. A wish that he find his true love, in this life or the next. He had never felt … comfortable in his skin on Earth. He never felt like he belonged. Maybe he never would belong, but he longed for at least some company.

He would often dream that memory, even across his many lifetimes. He would lay on that shore, gazing into the skies, mesmerized by the rolling tide. Softly whispering that feeling he missed with all his heart. He would wish upon a shooting star that he wouldn’t have to exist alone anymore. Sometimes, in this dream, he wouldn’t be alone. It was always the same person, though for the life of him he couldn’t remember the face.

Now, lying next to Michael, he was sure that this was what his heart had been yearning for all of those eons. All of those lifetimes led up to this moment.

Crowley had his arms around Michael, gently petting the angel’s hair. Michael was still healing from his run-in with Lucifer, and Crowley was doing his best to help. The demon had even built a nest with some of Michael’s favorite things to bring him some comfort.

Now that the two of them had their memories, the fallen angel was determined to treasure them for the rest of his natural life. Words were useless to define the celestial bond they shared. It was beyond quintessence. Even if Crowley had lived a thousand lifetimes or a thousand more, he knew it would lead to this moment: A fleeting moment of peace and bliss in silence.

They were well on their way to lighting their own star.

All they needed now was a little push in the right direction.

Crowley pressed a kiss into Michael’s hair and looked at him. Michael was still reeling from the discovery that his lover was no longer a simple demon. Not that he ever was a simple demon. But that didn’t change how the angel looked at the fallen. He still looked at him with nothing but the truest love, which made Crowley feel like what he was about to do was what his whole life had been leading up to.

“Crowley?” Michael could tell the demon was thinking something, but it was always hard to tell what. “What is it?”

“I was just thinking.” Obvious, and always a good sign. “I’ve been waiting for you for longer than time has been time. I was thinking … why not spend the rest of eternity together?”

Michael stared at him, trying to process what he was hearing. “What?”

“You heard me.” Crowley sat up and held Michael’s hands in his own. “It’s the only thing about eternity that makes me look forward to it.”

“You can’t be serious.” His tone was less accusatory and more curious. He was surprised by this, though he knew he shouldn’t have been. “Crowley, are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” In an uncharacteristically soft gesture, he cupped Michael’s cheek in his hand, brushing his thumb against the other’s cheek. “Michael, you are the most important thing to me. More than Hell, more than Heaven, more than power…”

Michael didn’t have to wonder where Crowley was going with this. He had stopped before he said what was really on his mind: More than God. That was what had gotten them into this mess in the first place. “Please, don’t.”

But Crowley would keep going. “More than my own life.” The one thing he was accused of loving more than anything else, and he was claiming that Michael was more important to him than his own existence.

“Don’t say that. Not when you just became powerful enough to kill the Devil.” Michael would have been lying if he said he wasn’t a little bit … afraid, you could say. He knew, in his heart, that Crowley would never hurt him, but he’d also never been in this situation before. Being face to face with a being that could snap his fingers and destroy him. “What do you want from me?”

“Kiss me,” he said. “That’s all I want from you.” He moved a little closer to the Archangel, strangely vulnerable. “Tell me you’re mine. For better or worse. In sickness and in health … ‘till death do us part.”

Michael stared, flabbergasted. In his wildest dreams, he never would have thought he would hear those words directed at him. More than that, he never expected that his inclination was to say yes.

“What do you say?” Crowley asked, suddenly concerned that he made the wrong move.

Michael thought for a moment, though he wasn’t sure what he was thinking about. He wasn’t sure what his hesitation was, which must have meant that he had no good reason to hesitate, right? Another few moments passed before he managed a smile. He kissed Crowley and beamed at him. “I say yes.”

“I love you.” The demon grinned happily and nuzzled his face into Michael’s shoulder.

“Pathetic,” Michael teased.