"...And, when we get all the ingredients, Cas will perform the spell on you, and you will be powerful enough to ice this bitch."
Sera nodded, eyebrows raised high. She found amusing how the eldest Winchester spoke; even when she had met thousands of other humans, his particular way of communication always managed to charm her.
Indeed, sometimes she'd even try to emulate him. Or Sam, too. Because even after all those years on Earth, she knew she still sounded like an angel most of the time. People usually would just look intrigued because of her manners, but on some occasions, some jerk would make a snarky remark about her being too correct or similar. She never reacted, but that didn't mean she didn't care.
"And are we completely sure that I can't just go like I am right now?" She asked. She was an archangel, after all. Sam looked at Cas, standing beside the table, and found the angel pouting in silence. "I could 'ice her' , as you say, even in my sleep. Cas could too. She's just a demon."
"Well, we can't- you can't do that, we've tried. She's... immune to grace."
The archangel gasped in shock, before noticing that what the hunter said was not possible. Not unless someone had seriously messed up.
She looked at her little brother, like everyone else in the room was doing.
"How, exactly , did that happen?"
"It was my fault," groaned Castiel, taking a step ahead. "She tricked me into giving her the spell. I- I was naive, I should have seen it coming. I'm a-..."
"Woah there, kid," interrupted Sera, realizing how bad her brother felt. "Things like that happen to everyone, okay? I mean, literally. Remember Troya?" He nodded, quietly. "It's okay, really. I'll help," she accepted. After all, that's why they had called her to the bunker to start with.
"Thanks, Sera," said Sam, in a low voice. He wasn't trying to be secretive, she realized, but he was seriously tired. Too tired for 6;45 pm, she thought.
"Alright, then," cut off Dean, standing up. He handed her the almost torn apart page, and her eyes traveled through the lines of the spell as he continued talking, "see if you know where can we get that stuff. The marked ones are already in here, so-..."
"A shattered angel?" She read out loud, searching for confirmation. Maybe she had translated it wrong, after all, this Enochian was ridiculously cryptic and old.
"Shattered?" Repeated Cas. He walked over to where she was standing, and stole a peek of the spell, trying to find the term. "Are you sure?"
"Here, under the ingredients marked." Sera pointed it out with her index finger, and the blue eyes followed the directions that her slender hands indicated. "It says that the spell must be performed by a shattered angel in order for it to work."
"I... thought it meant 'broken', as in 'fallen'..." He explained, embarrassed.
"Isn't it the same?" Asked Sam, hopefully.
"No. Shattered angels aren't so... Common, to say at least. This is going to take longer than expected."
"Well, that's just awesome," muttered Dean, suddenly annoyed, "someone has to tell Crowley that the plan it's going to be postponed."
The face of the King of Hell flashed through the archangel's mind, and she had to force herself to remain neutral. There was something, a feeling she knew well, that flooded her when that demon in special was mentioned. Seraphiel would like to be able to convince herself that she was ignoring it, but it was a lie.
She was not ignoring it, neither the feeling or it's causant.
That's one of the reasons she responded to the Winchester's prayers so fast lately. Of course, they were her friends, and they had helped her in many occasions, but the hope that it might have something to do with demons, or Hell, or it's King, definitely made her a little more excited with the idea of returning those favors than before.
She blinked rapidly, trying to reconnect with reality. Sam and Dean waited for an answer to a question she hadn't heard. Cas, on the hand, stared at her with a puzzled look in his eyes.
"I apologize, I got distracted. What were you saying?"
"We thought that maybe we could figure out what to do with the angel thing, call Crowley tonight, and then see what to do next."
"Sounds great to me," she smiled.
"Good, 'cause you're the only one who knows anything about shattered angels,” informed Dean, smirking. Sam rolled his eyes at his brother's gesture, but nodded anyway.
"Well, makes sense. There hasn't been one in... Thousands of years, I believe. I don't know how will we find one for the spell."
"What is a shattered angel anyways?" Asked Sam.
"It's what happens when an angel gets their heart broken," she started to explain, but the green eyed man interrupted her.
"Like, an angelic crush gone wrong, or..?"
"Dean,” muttered Castiel, in a warning tone.
"I'm not talking rejection here, Dean," she said, after thanking Cas with her eyes. "This is a pain so deep, that broke something inside them; not their grace, but their soul."
"I thought angels didn't have souls."
"They don't. I meant, essence. The part of them that makes them... ' them ',” Sera said. She only understood how poor her explanation was when she heard it out loud, but she couldn't help it. Crowley was still in the corners of her mind, difficulting her thought process.
"For example, when I became human," started Cas, trying to clarify the situation, "my grace was gone, but the essence remained."
"I see," muttered Dean, "so the angels get hurt, and then... What?"
"And then they shatter. That's it." Dean raised his eyebrows, but all the archangel could do was shrug. "I'm sorry, but that's all I know. I never spoke to one of them. It's not like it happened many times either, you know?"
"Well, we need to find one if we want to defeat Nyila," replied Sam. "Who was the last angel to shatter?"
"I-... honestly don't think he's an option. I can't think of any shattered angels that didn't disappear mysteriously ."
"I do," said Cas, grabbing everyone's attention, "it happened after you left. An angel named Madziel, I think... 1200 years ago."
"Madziel?" She repeated, in shock. "Oh, my... Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am," confirmed the angel, "I'm sorry, were you friends?"
"Not really," she confessed, with a small laugh from the nerves, "but I trained them, along with many of our siblings."
"You remember every angel you trained?" Asked Sam. Sera reclined herself in the door's frame, smiling nostalgically.
"Most of them, yes. All, actually. I think I can recall on the ones trained by Michael too," She sighed, putting her arms around her body, hugging herself, "to be honest, I like to think I remember every angel I met in Heaven."
"Wow," whispered Dean, as Sam lifted his eyebrows in surprise. Castiel, more than surprised, seemed amazed.
"But you didn't-... You remembered me? Not only because I fell, and all that came after, but..."
"I did." She smiled wide, like it was something obvious. "You are my brother, rebellious or not."
"You are a seraph, from the seventh generation, right?" She interrupted, to test her memory. "You got assigned to Annael, with older angels, because of the excellent application you put into training."
"You do remember."
"Why wouldn't I?" She chuckled in honesty.
Cas blushed softly, flattered. An archangel, the first archangel, the single most powerful creature ever made by God, considered him special enough to be remembered.
"So: Madziel," Dean put his hand on the angel's shoulder, calming him down, "do you think she'll help us?"
"It's a them , actually," she corrected, "not a she . And I don't know. The angel I met in Heaven was kind and generous, but after shattering... I don't know what are we dealing with."
"Well, can't we just go and find another?"
"There isn't ' another ', Dean," said Sera. He looked at her as she separated her body from the door, only to start fidgeting with her hands. "I've heard of only two other cases, and both times the angels disappeared forever under shady circumstances. They are our best shot."
"Alright. What are we gonna do now?"
"Well, they still have their grace. It can't be so hard to find. There has to be a spell somewhere."
"Then, I suggest you two get a decent night of sleep while Seraphiel and I search for a spell like that in the library."
Sera looked at Castiel, waiting for him to elaborate, but he didn't.
"Why are you guys not-sleeping for?" She asked.
"Nyila," Sam limited to answer. She understood what he meant immediately.
Nyila maybe wasn't as powerful as some of their previous enemies, but she surely was smarter, and way more ambitious, even when they didn't know what -exactly- she wanted. All they did know was that she was about to overthrow Crowley, and she didn't underestimate the Winchesters, a mistake all of her predecessors had made.
"Then Castiel is right," she decided. "You guys go take a shower or something, and I'll go get you both a proper dinner. And you should consider going to bed early, because tomorrow we're going on a little 'angel-searching' expedition, alright?"
Both brothers knew better than to argue with Sera when the subject was their health, so they resigned to nod and start walking to their rooms. But then, Dean remembered that he had a little extra in his to-do list.
"I still have to call Crowley, and update him. He's really cooperative when it comes to Nyila."
Sera nodded silently, trying to ignore the excitement in her chest. Dean started walking as he pulled his phone out, and Sera assumed he was headed outside, since there wasn't a good reception inside the bunker.
"Are you okay?" Asked Castiel, noticing the odd behavior of her older sister.
When he realized he had thought of her as an ' older sister ', his worries went to a second plane, losing their position to the softness of those words.
Of course, she always referred to him as ‘brother’, but he, at least to some degree, still saw her as a superior.
Not anymore, apparently.
"Yeah, don't worry. I'll have dinner ready in an hour, and I want everyone on the table, alright? That includes you, Cas," she commanded. She was used, after all, to take control of the situation.
"You're cooking?" Questioned Sam, turning around to see her. He was still in the library with them, looking for something in one of the shelves.
"Oh, no, I'm terrible at it. I'm calling in a favor from an old friend." She grabbed her black coat and put it on, before adding, "If something happens, pray and I'll be back immediately, okay?"
"Okay," Sam replied, "stay safe."
"You too,” she asked, and the angel zapped away.
"Everything alright, brother?" I questioned when I teleported back to the kitchen, noticing how his mood seemed even worse than when I left.
My heart skipped a beat, and I did the best I could to keep him from noticing.
"Oh. Really?" Damnit, what kind of answer is that? "What is he doing here?" Now that's better. Heavens, Sera, get it together.
"He showed up when Dean called him. They are talking in the library."
"I should go then." A curse ran through my mind. Why did I say that? "Since Dean doesn't know much about shattered angels."
"I guess you're right. Want me to start putting the table?" He offered, gesturing to the kitchen table.
"No, actually, I was thinking we could eat in the library this time."
Castiel nodded, and after leaving the paper-wrapped dinner in the table, I left the angel alone to meet Dean and Crowley.
When the demon saw me, he stood up immediately. Dean, who had his back turned to me, imitated him and followed the direction of his eyes to see me standing in the door that connected the war room with the library.
"Seraphiel," greeted Crowley.
"You're back," said Dean, "good. I was just explaining Crowley why we need more time, " he continued, in an aggressive tone.
The demon replied to him instantly, with a voice tone filled with even more anger than Dean's. "And I was just telling Squirrel tha-..."
"Good evening, Crowley," I interrupted politely, walking to them. Even when they were both standing, I sat at the opposite side of the table, in front of them, "It's good to see you."
Dean looked at me cautiously, but his expression turned to one of pure confusion when he heard Crowley's response.
"Good to see you too, darling." He sat directly in front of me, and smiled. "How's your back?"
He's really good at faking politeness , I told myself, in a desperate attempt to avoid building any kind of expectations about him.
"It's been worse. Thanks for asking," I replied. Not many people talk about it, afraid that they might overstep the boundaries, but he knew exactly how to ask about it without making it uncomfortable. Pretty impressive, I must confess. "What seems to be the issue here, then?"
"Squirrel is trying to convince me that the spell is more complex than it actually is," he explained, repressing his annoyed tone, "I don't understand why , though; or how are you related to any of this."
Dean aggressively sat on the table, trying to remind us of his presence. It didn't seem to work.
"Well, sadly, he's not lying. The spell requires a special kind of angel to perform it, and it's going to take us some time to find it."
Crowley raised his eyebrows, and straightened up in his chair.
"That's why you're here? To perform the spell?"
He sounded interested, but not in the way I was expecting him to be. It wasn't a "now we can get over with this" excitement, but more of a "isn't that dangerous" kind of worry.
"Oh, no. The spell is going to be performed on me. There was a mistake during the translation process. What we need now is a shattered angel."
"I thought those were a myth," he said, shocked.
"Well, they are not ," interrupted Dean, snapping us back to reality. Crowley looked away, nodding, as I stood up. "We'll keep you updated."
"Alright then, unless anybody wants to help me set the table, get out of here," I ordered, focusing again, "Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes. Don't be late."
"He's staying?" Exclaimed Dean, as Castiel walked into the room, accompanied by Sam.
"If he wants to, yes," I said, feeling suddenly surrounded.
"I would like that," accepted Crowley. A smile grew on my face.
"He tried to kill me!" Dean argued, looking at his brother for backup.
"If I remember correctly, so did you," replied Crowley with a smirk.
"Dean, everyone in this room has tried to kill each other at least once. Your argument is invalid."
Sam, to Dean's despair, didn't seem to be able to even formulate a phrase out loud. The young hunter was shifting between panic and laughter, thing that visibly pissed his brother off.
My brother, on the other hand, was really focused on staring at me, with a confused look on his face.
"But still! Why?"
"Well, I wanted to have a 'Family Dinner' , as you call them. And as far as I understand, it is normal to have guests during those. So I think having Crowley here is a good idea."
I realized, maybe too late, that I was taking it too far.
He's being nice to me out of fear, or, a little more likely, to get me as an ally. Crowley doesn't share my feelings, and that's why there's no use in attempting to become -at least- friends with him. Especially since the Winchesters and my brother are in the middle.
Yet, no matter how much I told myself that, I just didn’t seem to be able to make my actions match my thoughts.
" A good idea -" Dean repeated, in disbelief. "Cas, back me up here."
The angel, nervous, started to shift his gaze between me and the hunter. After a couple of seconds of trying to avoid confrontation, he spoke; "I'm sorry, but I think I see Seraphiel's point, Dean. Since we're going to have to work together for more time than originally expected, it is a good idea to at least try to be on good terms."
Dean turned to see the only person who hadn't said anything so far. Sam, feeling his brother's stare, limited to shrug, and the eldest finally gave up.
"You're all insane. You know that, right?" He said, before storming off to his room.
Since it was my best option, -what else could have I done, honestly?- I chuckled. Crowley joined me. Sam murmured something about finishing his research and went behind his brother.
"What about you go get something to drink and I set the table?" I offered Castiel, who was just standing there, with no idea of what to do.
With a nod, he turned around and flew away, leaving us alone.
"I'll go get the stuff," I mumbled, doing my best to sound calm.
"Please, I'll go with you."
I smiled thankfully and led the way to the kitchen, where my friends kept their dishes.
I took out five plates and then stopped. Cas doesn't really do the whole "eating" thing. And...
"I forgot to ask, but, do you eat?" I said, looking at the demon, who waited patiently for my instructions.
"I don't need to, but I do enjoy a good dinner every once in a while. Mostly for the company," he answered, calmly, "don't worry about it, though, anything you consider good enough for yourself will suffice."
"Oh, great!" I grinned, maybe a little overexcited, but definitely ignoring the ‘company’ thing. He chuckled at my gesture, picking up the plates I had just left on the table. "Please, take those to the library, I'll take the glasses and the cutlery."
"Of course,” he said, and obeyed my request.
When I had everything I needed, I followed his steps. I found him putting a plate in front of each chair, with a relaxed smile on his face.
When he saw me, his gesture grew bigger.
"Leave those here, darling, and I'll accommodate them, so you can go and get the meal," he offered.
"Sounds great," I replied, as I did what he asked. While I was walking back to the kitchen I heard the known flutter of wings in the room I had just left.
I opened the package I had brought from Italy carefully, and a smile planted on my face as I realized it was still hot. The homemade pasta smell soon flooded the entire bunker, making both of the Winchesters appear as if by magic.
"You brought pasta?" Asked Dean. I answered as I transferred the food to a more suitable container.
"Yep, homemade. From a chef in Italy. I helped him some years ago and now I have free meals for the rest of eternity."
"Wow," gasped Sam, "you really meant it by 'decent dinner '."
"You're welcome," I joked, "let's get going, shall we? Cas is back already."
They both nodded and followed me through the hallways, until we met the king of hell and the seraph, who seemed to be silently disagreeing over something.
"Everything alright?" Asked Dean
Castiel looked at him, annoyed, and sighed.
"Yes, it's fine. Don't worry about it."
"Okay, everyone;" I called, grabbing their attention, as I put down the pasta. "Ground rules: no murder attempts, no talking about the case during dinner, and especially , no weapons, exorcisms, demonic powers or grace on the table," I said, giving each one of them meaningful looks.
"Sounds fine to me," said Crowley, and the other three decided to remain silent.
"Good! Let's go, then."
Dean sat on one extreme of the table, Cas on his right and me on his left. Besides me was Crowley and, in front of him, was Sam.
I started serving Crowley, who murmured a "Thank you, dear," before moving on to Dean, who limited himself to nod. When I was over with Sam, and his "Thanks, Sera," I tried to take Castiel's plate, but he interrupted me.
"We don't require food to function."
"I know, but this pasta puts ambrosia to shame, I promise."
He frowned, tilting his head to the side.
"How'd I know? Everything I eat tastes like molecules."
I lifted my eyebrows with realization.
"You don't know..?" He didn't know! "Give me that," I ordered, motioning to his plate. He obeyed. I served the food, careful not to spill sauce on me or anybody else, and handed it over to him. "Before you eat it, retract the grace from your tongue," I explained. His brows furrowed even more.
"He can do that?" Asked Dean.
"Yeah, it's just like... when you project your wings," I continued, "but the opposite. Instead of adding more grace, you move it to some other place. Try it."
He didn't argue, just limited himself to do as I said. Castiel put the pasta inside his mouth, and after a second of tasting it, his eyes shot open in a delighted expression.
"This is amazing."
Sam let out a chuckle that was mirrored by his brother. I could have sworn I saw a smile on Crowley's face, but he replaced it quickly with a smirk.
"Holy-..." muttered Dean, who in my distraction had taken a bite of his meal, "this is... By far, the best pasta I have ever tried. Ever."
Sam, Crowley and I imitated his actions and we all had the same reactions.
"This is really good, indeed," agreed the King of Hell, as Sam nodded.
"I'll make sure I tell him the next time I see him," I promised.
"How'd you met him, anyways?" Asked Dean.
Part of me was worried that the dinner would be full of uncomfortable silences, but it seemed that I might have been a little pessimistic.
"Seven years ago or so, I was travelling through Italy when I walk into this tiny restaurant, in a terrible neighborhood. I get my food, and before I can take a seat, this man walks in, waving a gun around, yelling for the money."
"You stopped a robbery?" Questioned Castiel, but I denied shaking my head.
"I played along, gave him my purse, and everything was fine until he trips and shoots accidentally. The bullet hits a kid, of no more than nine years. The next thing I know is that the robber is on the run and the boy is bleeding to death. So with no explanation, I heal him and go chasing the man."
"Did you catch him?" Asked Sam.
"Of course I caught him! And I got him arrested. The kid ended up being the owner's son, so after a short explanation, he says I'll have free food from him for the rest of my life."
"Wait, so he knows you're immortal, and still offers you free food for life?" Said Dean, in a playful tone.
"Yep. Honestly, not the best business management." Crowley laughs at my bad joke and I can't help but smile. "Some days later a critic comes by the restaurant because of the notice of the ' heroic girl who stopped a robbery '," I explain, air quotes included. "And I'm staying there until I get my strengths back, so he gives him an amazing review and the place is suddenly crowded all the time, thing that the owner gives me credit for. I go back some years later and he had already the third most successful restaurant in the country. And when he sees me, he instantly remembers me, and-" I interrupt myself, embarrassed of how much I was talking. "And, that's it, basically."
"Woah, Sera. A true everyday hero." Commented Dean, laughing.
"I'm not, really. But after hundreds of years on Earth, I've done almost everything there is to do."
"Sounds like you have some stories to tell," joked Sam.
"Says the boy who stopped the end of the world," I replied, "Three times," I added. "Or more. I stopped counting."
Dean starts laughing as Sam's cheeks start to get red.
“Touché,” said Crowley, in a mocking tone.
Dean stops laughing and, seeing a chance to bother him, speaks:
“You should know, right? Since we stopped you too.”
“Ha!” He smirks, “I may have been against the two of you, Squirrel, but I’ve never wanted the world to end. Humanity is a sad, doomed, little thing, yes; but I have a Hell to run and it needs it alive.”
Dean rolls his eyes and I know that I should drop it, but I ask anyway, “Don’t you think that’s a little bit pessimistic?”
Everyone in the table looks very surprised at my words, and I use that time to continue. “I, more than anyone, have reasons to despise the humankind, and yet I don’t. They deserve some credit, in my opinion.”
“I didn’t strike you as a philanthropist,” replied the demon, softly. His voice tone makes me calm, for some reason.
“Am not, trust me,” I smirked, faking confidence. I am not really comfortable talking about this. The problem isn’t really this subject, but the one that unavoidably comes right after: home. “I see what you mean, about the world being sad and little, but you’re missing the best part. It’s alive. And you can see it , because people live their lives with so many feelings and experiences... No life or person will ever be repeated, everyone has their own unique perspective and- Well, I don’t expect any of you to understand it, you should have been alive for way longer than you had but...”
The words seem to abandon me and I stop talking. The hunters and the King of hell watched me in awe, surprised by my proclamation.
Castiel, sitting in front of me, doesn't even smile. He just stares at me, his eyes full of an emotion I can't understand.
“Every day I’ve spent on Earth has been a blessing. And, about the ‘doomed’ thing: If there’s something I’ve learned here, is that as long as there’s life there’s hope.”
Sam let out a breath, stunned.
“Wow,” muttered Dean.
“I had never thought of it that way,” smiled Crowley.
"Sera, how long have you been on Earth?" Asked the youngest Winchester, carefully, and I stopped for a second to think. That can be a touchy subject. I am, after all, way older than most beings. That, of course, includes angels, humans... And demons.
"I fell a little before the Egyptian Empire was founded."
"Really?" Asked Crowley, surprised. He didn't seem bothered, to my relief. Just impressed.
"So, you saw the pyramids being built?" Asked Sam, returning to the subject. "How'd they do it?"
"Hell if I know, I landed on Madagascar," I replied, noticing the sass in my words only after they had left my lips. I've been told that I can be incredibly witty, especially when I don't intend to be.
Everyone in the table laughed, except Castiel, who limited himself to smile minimally for a second, before returning to his concerned expression.
"I spent most of the time in Australia, actually. Gabe was there a lot, to watch over the platypuses," I explained, getting more than one looks of confusion. "I can't believe those weird little things are still kicking," I whispered, obviously not low enough.
Dean starts laughing again and Sam joins him in less than two seconds. Crowley laughs too, but his laugh is more calm, like he knows he can spend the rest of his days laughing at my stupid little joke. His face, his true face, gets blushed thanks to the laughter. His vessel gets red a lot, but his soul, which usually covers his face when I look at him (like it happens with everyone), normally has a blank expression.
Unlike some angels, I rarely see people's faces. I, for example, don't need to stick my arm inside someone's chest to see the state of their soul. All it takes is one look.
It doesn't discriminate between species either. I remember the first time I saw a demon. It was Lilith: Luci's first creation. I was used to seeing human souls, and the sight of something so corrupted made me look away, horrified.
Then, I remember the first time I saw Crowley.
It was nothing like looking at Lilith, I must confess. There was no horror, or fear, or disgust. First, it was surprise, because I was not expecting a demon inside the bunker. Especially, not a demon as powerful as him. Then it was curiosity, that kept me from attacking him right away. Finally, the feeling that established and never really left, amazement. His face was more complex than any other I had ever seen. It didn't take me long to realize it wasn't just his face that had such complexity, but his soul too.
Because (and I do remember that I'm talking about a demon here) I have seen evil before.
It has stared down at me, and I have held it's gaze like the warrior I was raised to be.
I've never been other than brave in the face of evil, and there's a reason why I don't fight Crowley like I would fight anyone else.
It's because, truth be told, I don't think he's evil. He has a business to run and he does the best he can, but he's not evil.
He's far more complex than evil. And so help me , it's making me crazy.
"Are you seriously telling me that Gabriel invented the platypus?" Tried to confirm Sam.
"Have you ever seen one? Of course he did. And you should have seen the ones that Father rejected."
At this point, Dean can't stop laughing, and if he doesn't calm down he's going to throw his pasta all over the floor, but he doesn't seem to care. No one could tell anymore if Sam was laughing at his brother or at our conversation, but it doesn't matter either. I laughed too, but not nearly as hard as them. Castiel's face is starting to worry me.
"Did you make anything?"
I turned to Crowley, as a shy smile lights my face up. His gentle laugh still ringed in my ears when I answered him, nodding, with my voice full of pride.
"I made dogs." His mouth takes the shape of a small 'o', but he remained silent, waiting for me to continue. "As a gift for Lucifer, believe it or not," I added, not so happy anymore. The name seemed to have a serious effect on everyone, because both laughs died suddenly. "Then the asshead gave one to Lilith and she made Hellhounds. Yay, " I said sarcastically, minimally raising the mood.
"So I owe Juliet to you, then." Said Crowley, kindly, and ignoring the looks we were getting from the Winchesters. Suddenly, Castiel wasn't so out of place. "Thanks."
"There's pie in the kitchen, if somebody feels like having dessert," offered Dean, starting to get up.
"Sounds great, yeah," replied Sam.
"Don't worry, I'll get it," I said, "Cas, would you mind helping me?"
He nodded, stood up and followed me, not even once changing his confused expression.
When we got to the kitchen, I spoke.
"What is it, Castiel?"
My brother frowned even more.
"I don't understand what are you referring to."
"You look like someone just ran over your puppy," I explained, maybe more aggressively than I intended.
"I don't... have a puppy."
"Well, you should get one, maybe it'll help with that mood of yours." The angel remained silent, and my frustration just got worse. "Listen, I know you don't like Crowley but this is getting ridiculous." I got the pie out of the fridge, and handed it over to Cas. "Could you at least try to have a good time, for me?"
Castiel's face enlightened with, what I assumed, was understanding.
"I am having a good time."
"Then why do you look so constipated?" I asked, equally annoyed and confused, as I grabbed more plates.
"I'm just... Worried, about the nature of your relationship with Crowley."
"...‘ My re--’ ? ‘ The nature of--’ ?" I blinked several times, shocked. Realizing that I was frozen in my place, I regained control over my vessel and I continued to reunite the items needed. I thought I was doing a good job keeping my emotions to myself. I thought wrong, obviously. "I have no relationship with Crowley for you to worry about, dear brother." My voice came out mechanical, like a planned speech. Maybe because those were the words I told myself every second of the day, mechanically, in repeat.
"You and the demon seem to be close."
Dad damnit, Castiel.
Silence -or even acceptance- was probably the best option in that case, but at the moment, I didn't realize it. Instead, I replied a "No idea what you're talking about," and left the kitchen, with my heart beating in my mouth.
"Are you okay?" Asked Crowley when I sat back on the table. "Your face is red."
"Really? How odd."
I cursed mentally; to my formality, to my brother, and to the king of hell, for being able to see the true me.
"And the pie?"
"It's here. Sorry for making you wait,” said Castiel, appearing through the door with the dessert in his hands.
I felt Crowley's eyes on the back of my head, but when I turned to see him, he was looking somewhere else.
Things got quieter, to the point we were all just eating in silence.
"Fine, forget rule number two. We can discuss the plan now if you want."
"Thank God!" Exclaimed Dean, rolling his eyes. "As soon as we get the shattered angel, we'll continue how we arranged. But for now, our main priority is to find them." He said, talking to Crowley.
"I see..." nodded the demon. He stole a glimpse in my direction and continued. "How are we planning to do that?"
" We ?" Repeated Sam.
"Well, Nyila is more of a problem to me than she is to you, obviously. The least I can do is help."
"Great!" I said, before the Winchesters could keep complaining, which didn't stop them from staring at me in disbelief. "The more the merrier. Especially when we have to research through the entire library."
"If you guys need help, we can help you,” said Dean.
"You are not going to sleep-deprive yourselves again," I said, in a voice tone that made clear that it was not up to discussion. "Cas and I can stay up all night perfectly, and having Crowley here only means we will be done faster."
"What exactly are we looking for?"
"A spell, maybe. Anything that can take us to a shattered angel, or, at least, that can help us find an angel's grace."
Sam's eyes met his brother's, full of concern and doubt. They did not trust Crowley. They did not . However, the archangel seemed to be able to see something in him that they were obviously missing. I mean, she was a freaking archangel. The freaking archangel. The first and most powerful creation of God. If he wasn't trustworthy, she should know, right? She saw lies being created, she must know how to recognize one. Right?
"And are we sure that there even is one out there?" Crowley asked. "Not trying to question you, dear. Just wanna be on the same page,” he clarified instantly.
"Yes, Castiel remembers an angel being shattered. It's our best shot," I replied, my eyes meeting my brother's.
"Bollocks!" Cursed Crowley as he shot up from the chair, with his shirt soaking in red wine. I instantly realized that I had spilled his drink when I turned around to see Castiel. It was my fault.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" I apologized, standing up too. I materialized a dry cloth and handed it to him, embarrassed, and fighting the urge to clean him myself. "I ruined your shirt, I'm sorry."
"Darling, it's alright,” he said, waving off my worries, "it's just clothes. Not much big of a deal."
" Just clothes ? Who are you and what have you done with Crowley?" Mocked Dean, making me feel worse.
"Oh, crap,” I whispered, "I'll get you a new one, I promise."
"Seraphiel," said Crowley, placing his hands in my upper arms to calm me down, "It's fine. I swear."
"Really? Okay," I breathed, almost voiceless, as I tried to smile. The anxiety I was feeling started to be replaced with something else, something I did not dare name.
Crowley took a step back, taking his hands off of me. My arms felt instantly too light, like a part of them had been ripped off.
The phantom touch of his hands was still on me when he spoke to everyone in the room. "I'm gonna go get myself cleaned up, and then we can start looking for that spell."
He nodded a gesture that could be understood as a "goodbye" and in a snap of his fingers, he was gone, and so was the only thing that kept me from thinking straight.
And, well, shit .
Not only did I thought he was actually flirting with me ( me! ), but I also had been an absolute mess. A literal walking disaster.
"Sera, are you okay?"
I looked up, just now noticing I had been staring at my feet, and I found Sam's concerned face looking at me. And way closer than I remembered.
"Oh! Yes, I'm fine. I'm fine," I repeated, more to myself than to him. He didn't seem to notice.
"You sure?" Interrupted Dean, not letting his brother accept my lie.
"Yeah, really. Don't worry about me."
Castiel, who was about to walk out of the room, stopped and turned around.
"You do seem a little strange. Is there anything bothering you?"
"Okay, what is this, an interrogation?" I snapped, more violently than I wanted. The three men stood there, not wanting to upset me. They were just trying to help. " Fuck . Sorry. I'm sorry. I shouldn't ha-.. "
"It's okay, we shouldn't have pushed it,” replied Dean, smiling warmly. Castiel nodded, agreeing silently with the hunter.
"No, you’re right. There is something bothering me, alright? But we have to find Madziel, and then perform the spell, and then take care of Nyila. It's not the moment to deal with my issues." After a deep breath, I added, “I really appreciate your concern, though.”
"I'm-... We, all of us, are always willing to listen, okay? Anytime. Whatever it is, we can try to help,” said Sam, and then continued, "I'm going to bed now, but call if anything happens."
When I tried to reply, I realized that their attention was focused on something behind me. I turned around and found Crowley, in a new suit, standing a few steps away from me.
He smiled, silently, and motioned me to continue.
"I'm going to check on you both in a while, and if you're not sleeping by 11 p.m. I'll kick your asses. Set your alarms for 10 a.m: If we find something before I'll wake you up at 8 or so. Okay?"
"Yeah. Goodnight," replied Sam, nodding.
The Winchesters waved a goodbye and walked away, hopefully to do as I told.
"Where do we start?" Asked Crowley, smiling.
I put together a task list in my head that looked a lot like this:
□ Clean the table.
□ Search in the archive all the books that might have something useful.
□ Find said books in the mess they call library.
□ Read said books.
□Don't embarrass myself more than strictly necessary.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? Something tells me that it won't be so simple.
Especially if Castiel doesn't stop looking at me like that.
"First of all, I'm going to take those to the kitchen. You guys can help me, if you want."
Their eyes met, in what I assumed was the offer of a truce.
"Of course, dear."
We took the dishes to the kitchen in a fairly comfortable silence.
As I put the dishwasher to work, I focused on deciding how was I going to act.
"Shall we head to the library?"
I decided poorly.
"We won't find anything in that disaster unless we know exactly what we're looking for, so we need to check the archives first."
Castiel and Crowley nodded, and followed me through the hallways of the bunker. We ended up in front of a door with an "Inventory" sign.
"Are you ready?" I tried to joke, lightening the mood. I opened the door, and we found ourselves in front of a table with six chairs, surrounded by three rows of file cabinets. I walked in, and started giving orders. "Anything biblical, in Enochian or about angels goes in the table. If something seems especially promising, it goes in pile A," I said pointing the right side of the table, "everything that might be useful goes in pile B, and pile C is for the stuff that's probably nothing but we can't leave out. Understood?"
The angel muttered a "yes", and started walking towards the cabinet in the corner. I noticed that the demon had remained silent. I turned around to see him, and found him staring at my back.
I realized just then that I had left my scar uncovered.
"Crap. Sorry," I mumbled as I put my hair down, strategically over the awful scar that crossed my back, like it usually was. I always kept it covered- it was upsetting for Castiel and the other angels, and disturbing for the rest of the world.
"Darling, I'm the King of Hell," he said, reassuring. "I've seen worse, you don't have to hide it."
"It's okay. I don't mind."
"Why do you keep it covered like that?"
I felt myself hitting a -metaphorical- wall. I wasn't trying to hide that detail, I was just trying to ignore it.
"Well, I just-..."
"We can start with these,” interrupted Castiel, a bunch of files in hand. He had probably taken everything in the first cabinet.
Crowley eyed me one last time before sitting down. He didn't say anything else.
Cas left the papers on the edge of the table. There were about thirty, if not more, yellow thin carpets, with a tiny label with the name and the author of the book they were about. Once you opened them, there was a more complete file, from the year they were written, their origin, their language, and their contents.
This is going to be a long night.
Most of the time we spent reading quietly, every once in awhile interrupting the silence to ask for opinions. When the pile A had gained a decent size, (about the time we were on the third cabinet, because apparently a lot of the books about angels and the bible start with 'A' and 'B') Castiel stood up, grabbing our attention.
"I'm going to look for these," he said, picking up the files in the left, "and start reuniting the books. It'll be faster."
I looked at Crowley and found him already looking at me. Crowley and me, alone in a small room, far far away from the Winchesters and my brother.
The word 'brother' reminded me that he was still waiting for a reaction.
“Yes, you're right." Castiel nodded once, and opened the door to leave. "Call if anything happens."
Crowley and me, alone in a small room.
Father, kill me now.
Part of me wanted to start a conversation, even when I knew that said conversation was definitely going to be the most awkward moment in history.
Luckily for me, there was also another part that realized that if I started an awkward conversation, I'd have to carry that awkward conversation for who knows how long, and there's no way I could do that without embarrassing myself.
So I decided to remain silent, and Crowley imitated my decision.
But, hell , I wanted to talk with him.
I waved those thoughts off, as I tried to focus on the file in front of me. "Causes of a poltergeist haunting." Definitely useless.
Then why have I been staring at it for six minutes? I need to get it together.
I stood up and put it back where it belonged.
Crowley was leaving a file in the (now empty) pile A when I sat back on my chair and started reading again.
Crowley and me, alone in a small room.
After what felt like an eternity, and turned out to be 40 minutes, I stood up and said I was going to get something to eat. I asked Crowley if he wanted something and he said he was fine, and then I rushed outside the room.
What the hell am I doing? I asked myself as I wandered down the hallways. I wasn't hungry for obvious reasons, so the kitchen seemed unappealing. The guys were asleep, dad was ignoring me as usual and Castiel was too judgemental for his own good, so there was no one I could go to.
No one but him.
I took out my cell phone and called the person I trusted most in the surface of the earth.
"I don't know who you are or how did you get this number..." Started his voice mail, "...but don't call again. Unless you're my sister, in that case, and in that case only , leave a message. Buh-bye!"
After the beep, I spoke in a hushed voice.
"Hey. It's me. I--... Uh, well, I think I'm going insane. You have way more experience in this than I do, so I could use your advice right now... Text me when you get this, 'kay? Goodbye. Stay safe, Gabe."
Gabriel had been the one to ask me not to tell the Winchesters he was alive. They were none but trouble, according to him. I'm not saying he's wrong, but they are the kind of trouble worth dealing with. I think he thought that too-- at least, until Lucifer killed him. Kali told me what had happened, and gave me the address of the hotel. I rebuilt his vessel and brought him back from the Empty.
Dad had explicitly forbidden me to bring anything or anyone back from the dead, but he didn't try to stop me.
I don't know if he dared to.
I turn around to head back, but I run into someone. Crowley stands there, with a file on his hands and his mouth opened.
"Gabriel is alive?"
"You can't say anything. Oh, God, please don’t say anything,” I begged, frantically. The words weren’t even properly separated by silences- it all sounded like one long word. If something happened to Gabriel--...
“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone,” he said, stepping closer to me. Why, oh, why , did he had to be so close to me.
“I’m begging you, Crowley,” I insisted, feeling my lips shake, “nobody knows. Nobody. Please.”
“I promise, dear, that I’ll keep that information to myself,” he said, raising his right hand. “I know you don’t have any reason to believe me, but I am being honest.”
When I made sense to his words, my eyebrows furred. “What? No, Crowley, it’s not that. I trust you, I just--...” Have deep trust issues? What was I supposed to say next? “If something happened to my brother, I- I don’t know what I’d do.”
He nodded, as a soft smile settled on his face.
“I understand. Sometimes it’s easy to forget these are your actual brothers.”
“Everyone forgets that, don’t worry about it,” I said, in a low voice. By ‘these’ he meant the archangels: Michael, Lucifer, Raphael, and Gabriel. All the other angels too, but the ones I grew up with were the ones I actually had a relationship with.
Of course, look at how that played out. Raphael dead after trying to take over Heaven. Michael trapped in the Cage -an awful destiny that nobody, not even Lucifer, deserves- and with no apparent date of release. Gabriel killed by his brother and brought back to life, just to live hiding in the shadows and away from his family. And don’t get me started on Lucifer.
“You sound disappointed,” he practically asked, not pointing it out, but searching for confirmation.
“I’m not,” I replied quickly. “It’s not disappointment, it’s--... Not important.” I stopped myself. He frowned at my sudden change of mood. “What did you want?”
“Oh, of course. I need your opinion on this,” he said, handing me what he had in his hands. I read it in silence, absorbing all the information I could in the minimal time possible. The file spoke about a book from unknown origins, half in Enochian and half in Hebrew, that was supposedly an angel encyclopedia, dated -according to the Men of Letters’ calculations- to over a thousand years ago.
“This is actually very promising,” I said, avoiding subtly his eyes.
“That’s what I thought. Are you coming back to the Inventory room?”
“Yes, I’ll be there in a moment. First I’m going to check on the Winchesters.”
I was going to have to tell Gabe that I had -accidentally- given away his secret. The demon nodded once, and walked away, leaving me alone again.
As soon as I found myself unaccompanied again, I typed down a text message, which had more chances to be seen than the voicemail.
“Crowley heard me talking on the phone. He knows you’re alive. I made him promise to keep the secret, don’t worry. I am so sorry.”
Not even waiting for a reply, I headed to the bedrooms.
It was 01:56 a.m. when the archangel finally closed the last file and decided it was pile C-worthy. She was mentally exhausted, but still determined to find something- anything , to help her friends.
Castiel had returned for more files three times during the night, and each one of those times he had found them sitting in a silence not awkward enough to be called ‘uncomfortable’. The angel didn’t say anything, even when in his head, many theories were forming, each one worse than the last.
“It seems like we’re done here.”
The demon raised his head to look at Sera, and nodded. “It seems like it,” he agreed. When the archangel stood up from her chair, he continued: “Wait, before we go to the library, there’s something I wanted to ask you...” Her eyes widened, in a fear that the demon mistook for indignation, “... If that’s okay by you.” He added, cautiously.
“Oh, uh-... Yes, of course,” Sera replied, still nervous.
Her mind was racing to conclusions that, rationally, made no sense. However, the anxiety that his words had caused in her made all of her theories sound completely realistic.
From his seat, Crowley extended his arm and reached a file on the floor. She remembered seeing him carefully drop it there, but at the time she hadn’t said anything.
“Is this yours?” He asked, as he handed the file to the archangel.
Sera opened it and started to read. When she realized what it was, her mouth fell open.
Unknown Journal number 243 may not sound recognizable, but when you reach the ‘contents’ part, things become much clearer.
This was her journal.
One of her journals, at least.
“How did you realize it was mine?” Sera questioned, frowning as a nostalgic smile crept into her face.
“Call it a hunch,” he replied, smirking. That was, Sera had realized, his default expression -ignoring, of course, the choleric anger that she had seen many times, although never directed to her-. “I thought you might want to re-read it when we are done, for the sake of old times.”
“Since you took the time to set the file apart...” She chuckled, “I might as well do it. Thank you.”
He smiled proudly at her words, but replaced the sincere gesture with his known smirk before she could appreciate it.
“Library, then,” he repeated, picking up the biggest pile.
Castiel observed his sister in silence.
The angelic beings searched through the books they had, as the demon reunited the others.
Sera’s eyes drifted almost unconsciously to Crowley, for a couple of seconds at least, and then she’d take a -silent- deep breath and continue her reading. Cas felt like he should say something; inform her of the things he had noticed, what he thought they meant, and, if given the chance, give her a few suggestions about the actions to be taken.
However, he was not in the position to give advice: Sera was advancing more than he was, even in her distant state, so he kept himself from making a comment.
Instead, he tried to find a way to stop this- all of it, by himself. Even when he wasn’t one hundred percent sure about what exactly he was dealing with.
He was only sure of what he had seen, not only tonight, but for the past weeks. Sera was always available to help them in hunts, even the ridiculously simple ones. And she used the room the boys had set up for her more often. Or the way she was always playing devil’s advocate when it came to Crowley.
Of course, that didn’t mean anything; nothing serious, at least. He was far more puzzled by the way she acted when Crowley was around than when he was not.
Mainly because he didn’t understand it, but also because he couldn’t even figure out exactly what was different.
If he was honest with himself, all he really knew was that there were human emotions involved in this mess. And he did not understand those... at all.
Sera had conjured plenty of office supplies, -all of them cute and colorful- and entertained herself in drawing little hearts in the post its she later used to mark the useful information.
Even in that small gesture Castiel saw clues. Hearts were commonly used as a symbolism for love. More specifically, romantic love. Did the hearts meant something, or was she drawing them completely for aesthetic purposes?
Castiel resigned to it, he had no idea of what to do. Then, he realized the obvious solution: Dean.
Yes, that is what he would do. He was going to voice his concerns, and Dean would know how to fix this.
He almost stood up from his chair, but then he remembered two facts: Dean was asleep, and he was an angry sleeper.
Actually, make that three. If he woke Dean up, he’d stay up and Sera would get angry at Castiel. Castiel didn’t like to make his sister angry. She was terrifying when she was mad.
As one angel decided to stay still, the other decided to do the exact opposite.
“I’m gonna check on the boys. Be right back, okay?”
Crowley nodded, deeply focused on his search.
The archangel walked out of the room and Castiel saw an opportunity he would not miss.
“Crowley,” he called. The demon turned to see him, curious.
“Yes, feathers?” Crowley smirked. Castiel remembered a line from one of the movies Dean had made him watch and decided it would be fitting for the situation.
“What are your intentions with my sister, demon?”
A grin spread through Crowley’s face, unable to help it. Someone needed to lay off the rom-coms.
“The same I have with all of you, you giraffe,” he replied when Castiel didn’t ease his cold expression, “do whatever it takes to kill Nyila and then get as far away as possible from you bunch. In case you haven’t noticed, you are bad luck to the people around you.”
Cas opened his mouth to respond, but he had to close it again because, like it or not, the demon had a point. Still...
“I don’t believe you.”
“Well, shame,” mocked Crowley, “I’m not that interested in having you trust me.”
Both men turned to see the archangel, who had just walked in and watched them disappointed.
“What are you arguing about?”
They traded angry looks, one more embarrassed than the other.
“Explain,” she commanded.
“I don’t understand his behavior towards you, and when I confronted him, he pretended not to know what I was talking about.”
Her mind was cooler now, and she was able to see that the best option was to simply ignore that statement.
“Please don’t fight. We are supposed to be a team, and confrontation doesn’t help.”
After a second of hesitation and a pair of eyerolls, Crowley spoke.
“I'll do my best.”
Castiel’s gaze turned to her, quizzical. He had noticed the way she had dodged the subject. There was something definitely going on.
“Thank you.” Sera looked at her brother, trying to read him. Castiel seemed resigned. “The Winchesters are sleeping and well, if you care. Shall we get back to work?”
When Crowley finally sat on the table, the clock marked 04:12 am. He felt pretty tempted to drive himself off a cliff, now that he had to do some actual reading, but he realized that, as much as the angels shared his exhaustion, a vocal reminder of that wasn’t going to help.
When the demon realized that he had just decided to save his snarky comment for the sake of the archangel, he nearly falls of his chair. If he continued down this road, it wouldn’t be long until he had no other option but to accept the fact that had f-...
Crowley shot up from his seat. “I’d like some coffee. Anyone wants a cup?”
“Yes, please. Three of sugar.”
He may be ready to accept it soon , but definitely not now .
He walked out of the library with a frown on his face.
hii! just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a happy new year! and also let y'all know that i'm writing the end of this story, which will have an estimate of 15 chapters.
Boredom did not describe the feeling accurately, Sera had decided. It was something more profound, a sensation that crept through her bones and could not be shaken off, regardless how hard she tried.
However, her friends needed her. That was enough to keep her going.
All the books that were still to search through were set on the table, and continued through the floor, and the chairs, and even on the angel herself; On top of that, the pile conformed by useless books was always smaller, regardless of how much they seemed to read.
That would led one to think that they had found plenty of useful information, but that wasn’t the case either. The smaller bunch was, by far, the one containing the promising books.
Although on the long run, it meant less work, so they weren't complaining.
The three beings read in silence: Castiel sitting on the table, Sera on the floor and Crowley pacing around the room with a book on his hands.
When the clock marked past five twenty in the morning, the demon found himself clutching besides Sera.
“Darling?” He called, breaking the spell-like concentration she was in. “Does this seems accurate to you?”
Her eyes, now visibly tired and poofy, searched through the page looking for some false information. The more her pupils travelled up and down the page, the deeper her frown got.
“I don’t know about accurate, but it is kind of too good to be true.”
Crowley smirked. “That being my point exactly.”
“Cas? What do you think?”
“Uh?” He asked, pretending not to be paying attention to the conversation. “Let me see.” Leaving his book on the table, he took the notebook that the archangel was offering. His brows furrowed as his eyes assimilated the information. It was a spell that, theoretically, could show the exact locations of every angel on Earth. Every single one. “I’ve heard rumours about something like this, but nothing was proven. Should we give it a shot?”
Sera had heard those rumours too: A men of letters that had accidentally killed himself among with many others during the preparation of a new untested spell. After the accident, his project was dismissed and archived, never to be touched again.
Many had tried to steal it, in crazy hopes to catch an angel, but even if they had managed to reunite all the ingredients, performing it was just as difficult.
“We don’t have anything to lose-... except time, of course. I guess we could give it a try,” replied Sera, and the other two nodded. The notes went to the ‘useful’ bunch, and was later joined by several others books, as the hours passed, and took with them all the energy and focus on the room.
But before all that could happen, and about fifteen minutes after that conversation, Dean woke up, on instinct, and ran into Cas, who was taking a little break in the kitchen.
“Dean?” The mentioned smiled instead of responding and went to get a glass of water. “You should be asleep.”
“And you should be searching,” Dean replied.
“I’ve been reading all night long. I was just taking a break,” said the angel, defensive.
Dean chuckled. “I was joking. Don’t push yourself too much, okay? Research can be a bitch.”
“How’re you guys doing? Crowley’s given any trouble yet?” For a second, Cas thought Dean could read his mind. It didn't made any sense, because he was a human and humans couldn't do that, but it took him a few seconds to convince himself of it.
“We’re doing fine, I guess. We still have to go through more books, and then start working with what we have. Crowley has-... Well, I’m not sure. I was hoping you could help me, actually.”
Dean raised his eyebrows, both surprised and interested.
“Really? With what?”
“Crowley and Seraphiel seem... oddly civilian to each other. Kind, even. They seem really close, but...”
“But I’m not sure how. Or, why. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
Dean made a somewhat pitiful smile.
“Cas, I think you’re jumping to conclusions.”
“What?” Asked the angel, shocked. He wasn’t expecting that response, for sure.
“C’mon, man. Sera? She’s the kindest person I know. She would have said please and thank you to Hitler if she had the chance.”
Oh. That made sense.
“So, what you’re saying is...”
“Hey, you could be right! Sera is acting weird lately. But I don’t think it has nothing to do with Crowley.”
Castiel sighed. Dean was right- Sera was very kind. He knew that.
“You’re probably right. But what about him? Why is he being so..?”
“Respectful? To the most powerful being on Earth?”
Cas sighed again. His theories were crashing down, and even when that was a good thing, he still felt a little disappointed.
“You still have a few more hours to sleep.”
“Yeah, I know. Can you try to convince Sera to wake us up a bit earlier? I don’t think I can go back to sleep.”
“I’ll try, but I can’t make promises.”
“I know,” the hunter smiled, “thanks, Cas.”
The little pink alarm clock went off exactly at eight a.m., and even when it was sooner than she’d like, Sera decided to wake the Winchesters up.
“Take a break while I go get the guys, alright?” She offered, stretching. Her shirt lifted up a little, showing off a bit of her stomach, and making it impossible for Crowley to look at anything else until the cloth had covered her skin again. “I’ll be right back.”
While Cas got up and headed towards the door, Crowley took a moment to put his emotions in their place: The garbage.
He was a demon, for goodness’ sake, and she was an archangel. Not only was she never going to look at him that way, but-... Well, she was never going to look at him that way.
He was a demon after all. He represented everything she was against.
The exact same though went through Sera’s head, and not in a much different context.
He was a demon, after all. He was pretending to like her so that she wouldn't hurt him, but he was most likely bored of her, or, in worst case scenario, disgusted.
What would he even see on her? She was just like all the other angels. And demons hate angels.
“Dean? Are you listening?”
The hunter nodded as he drowned half mug of his coffee. Dean’s tolerance for caffeine always seemed to surprise Sera.
“Then what did I just say?”
“We have a ton of spells to try. Crowley and Cas are getting the ingredients. And I need another cup.”
Sam looked at him and rolled his eyes, but remained silent, pretending to focus on his breakfast. It was too early to start arguing, especially if they'd have to stay together all day.
The archangel put her tea closer to her face and took a deep breath. It didn't really smell like anything, but the stream was calming and she enjoyed the sensation.
“I hope we find a spell that works fast,” she said, “because the ones we left for last are better off forgotten.”
“Why? Are they dangerous?”
Well, no, but... “In the wrong hands, they could be.”
“Oh, you mean like Crowley’s?”
No no no no that's not what I meant .
“I think that the fewer people know about this, the better.”
“Yeah, I agree,” said Dean, “we don't want somebody with access to... What , exactly?”
Sera nearly answers, but she stopped herself.
“Let's hope you don't have to find out.”
Dean's eyebrows raised in an involuntary gesture. If he was curious then, now the thought wouldn't leave his mind.
Sam chewed in his pancakes silently. Sera had the habit of cooking (well, not “cooking”- ... you know what I mean) for the boys every time she stayed at the bunker, which had somehow ended up with her knowing all of their preferences when it came to food. Sam and Dean, on the other hand, were starting to get used to her spoiling- a fact that could make them uncomfortable, especially when this motherly figure looked younger than them.
Being as perceptive as she was, Seraphiel was well aware of this. But changing her vessel- or even its appearance- would point out the issue, which eventually would lead to a very awkward conversation she was not looking forward to having.
Sam put down his fork and opened his mouth, but before any sound left his throat, the King of Hell appeared in the middle of the kitchen.
With a lot of chickens.
Dean frowned deeply but didn't say anything. It was too early for this shit, he decided. Sam's eyes snapped open, but all he could do was shot Crowley a very questioning look, as he struggled not to choke on his breakfast.
“Hello, boys,” he said, not really paying them that much attention. Instead, he turned to face the archangel and continued, “is there any way we can know which one is it?”
Sera blinked several times. It took her a few seconds to realize what he was asking.
“Oh! Yeah. It's supposed to be lighter than the others, but it'll sink in water.”
Crowley raised his eyebrows, an expression that clearly said you’ve got to be bloody joking .
She apologized through her expression, and after a sigh, he nodded.
“See you later, darling. If you need me, I'll be drowning magical chickens.”
The tiniest “...what?” ever heard to man escaped Sam's lips, and the demon was gone a second after.
“Why do we need chickens again?”
“Not the whole chicken, just the heart. And those are not really chickens. Don't let them fool you, Dean.”
The sudden warning tone the answer took did nothing but ignite the curiosity in the hunter, but he kept his questions to himself.
Instead, he thought about what Cas told him about Sera and Crowley.
Sera and Crowley.
I mean, she did kinda smile when he showed up, but the dude was covered in chickens. He would have laughed too if he wasn't afraid of pissing her off.
Which got him thinking even more. Was she protective of the demon? No, she was protecting the peace, he told himself. So she wasn't making fun of him. When she smiled, it wasn't because of the chickens.
Was she flir-? No, no way.
Sera wasn't flirting, but then again he had never seen her flirt. He had no idea how that looked like. And Crowley flirted with everyone, so that didn't count, right? But his flirting always had that snarky undertone, the sarcasm that defined him as a person; And with Sera, well... Dean couldn't remember him ever being even minimally disrespectful to her.
She was an archangel and disrespecting her was a bad idea, but after a few hours of knowing her he must have figured out she is not a threat.
He didn't even have a nickname for her, other than dear or darling .
...Son of a bitch.
Cas was right.
“So that makes four,” Sam rubbed his hands over his face, exhausted. Dean continued, “and we're still at zero.”
“That's not true. We're getting there,” said Sera, grabbing the dirty bowls from the table, “slowly, yes, but slow progress is still progress. We're getting there.”
“The only place we're getting is the end of the list, and closer to those mysterious spells you refuse to talk about.”
Sera shoot him a hurt glance that only lasted a second before continuing to clean the table. She knew he was tired, and annoyed, and he didn't mean it. In his eyes she could see he wanted to apologize, but with the demon around, he was not willing to risk getting made fun of.
“I have a good feeling about this one,” she insisted. Sam handed her the rusty book and she opened it on the marked page.
“We're going to need more holy roots than the ones we have here.”
“I'll go get them,” Dean said, getting up, “Cas, wanna come?”
The angel nodded past his confusion, and started walking right behind him. Sam and Sera traded curious looks, but decided to stay out of it.
“Looks like they finally decided to solve that sexual tension between them,” commented Crowley, his eyes not leaving the page of the book he was reading.
Sam rolled his eyes, but he didn't reply. Neither did Sera, consciously focusing on setting all the ingredients on the table in their correct order.
Not so far away, Dean stopped dead on his tracks to turn to see the angel, who almost ran into him.
“You were right. About Sera and Crowley.”
“But you said...”
“I know what I said, but then I started thinking it, man, and-...” That sentence only finished inside his head. “How could we miss something like that?”
Cas was tempted to clarify that he hadn't missed anything, but he decided not to.
“What do you think?”
The hunter's eyes traveled for a moment to some spot behind Castiel, and right before he could ask what was wrong, Dean grabbed his arm and lead him further away.
“I'm not sure. I mean, I think Sera fell for that whole charming thing he has going on, but I don't know if he's into her or into her powers.”
“If they got together, he'd be unstoppable,” agreed Castiel, nodding, “but even then, do you think she'd agree to his methods?”
“It- It just doesn't make any sense!” Dean took one last look behind them before entering the closet with the roots he needed. “I know what they say about opposites attract and all, but this...”
“Is nonsense, I know. We must stop them, Dean.”
“But how? It's not like we can just convince them-...” Again, Dean's sentence was left unfinished. Looking up into Castiel's eyes, he repeated, more excited this time. “We have to convince them both it's one-sided, and that way they will forget about it.”
It made sense when Dean explained it. Cas wondered why he couldn't come up with that on his own. I mean, it definitely wasn't a master plan.
“Do you think that'll work?”
“It has to. Think about what'll happen if Crowley gains control over Sera's powers. We wouldn't stand a chance.”
The angel nodded. “Should we involve Sam?”
“I'll talk to him,” Dean promised. He knew that there was a chance that he'd oppose, but if they got to him before any of them, he had a bigger shot at convincing him that he and Cas were doing the right thing. “We need him on our side.”
“Alright. What's the plan?”
Dean frowned. They had dealt with way worse, but all those times had included a massive amount of luck, and at least one of them dying.
Even if this wasn't their most ambitious crusade, he still wanted to do it right.
“We should split up while we finish the spells, and talk to them separately.”
“You think talking to them is the best way to go?”
“Not directly, no. We'll mention things casually, like that's just the way the conversation went. Hopefully, by the time we figure this out,” Dean raised the box with the roots, pointing at it with his chin vaguely, “they'll be over this.”
The angel nodded, focused. “You should be the ones to talk to Sera.”
“You want to handle Crowley?”
“I'd give anything not to be the one who handles Crowley,” muttered Castiel, “but since I'm an angel, Sera will be able to see when I lie to her.”
[Author's note: I know that's not canon. I know. But since not even the writers give a shit about canon, and this is my fic and I do what I want, neither will I. Sera can tell when Cas is lying, because I feel like it, because that makes it interesting, and because y'all can't stop me.]
“Crap, I had forgotten about that,” sighed Dean, “almost as if someone just made it up.” Dean turned to look at the reader, and suppressed an annoyed eye roll. He hated fourth-wall-breaking jokes.
“I know. We should go back now, or they might get suspicious. Will you talk to Sam?”
Dean nodded. “You go back there, tell him I need to know where he left the roots, and send him here. I'll convince him.”
Cas gave one sharp nod and left the hunter alone in the hallway. Less than a minute later, his brother made his way towards him, sporting a confused frown.
“Dean?” Less than a minute, however, was long enough for Dean to realize Sam was never going to agree to what they were doing. He was Sam , after all. “Cas said... Wait, you found the roots. Good. Come on, let's go back.”
“No, Sam, wait,” Sam stopped and looked at him, analyzing his brother. “I need to talk to you. About Sera.”
Not gonna lie, when Sam heard the words “I need to talk to you”, his mind went places. But Sera was not the angel he'd thought be involved.
“What about her?”
“And Crowley.” He added, kind of late. “Me and Cas, well, we think they might... be in love. With each other.”
Sam's eyes went wide. He tried to swallow the pool of spit that was forming in his mouth, but he nearly choked in it. Sera and Crowley. Still, he managed to force his voice to ask, “What?”
“Come on, you've seen what I mean.”
Sam tried to think. Incredibly, what Dean was saying made sense. He couldn't help to remember what she had told them the night before, about there being something bothering her.
And it made sense.
“Oh, my God.”
Sam shook his head, as if Dean were arguing with him.
“ Dean .” Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder to ground himself. To say he was shocked would be an understatement.
“I know, Sammy, I know. But listen, we have a plan.”
That worked to pull Sam out of the overanalyzing spiral he seemed to be in.
“A plan? A plan for what?”
Dean knew he wouldn't like the truth. And if Sam sided with the love birds, his scheme would fly out the window.
So he lied.
“Cas was the one who noticed first,” he started, acting like he hadn't realized what his brother was truly asking, “and we think Crowley knows. Or suspects, at least. That's why he's been flirting with her, to use her feelings to get her on his side.”
It wasn't a complete lie, and Dean felt better about it as he saw Sam's frown deepen.
“You think he's using her?”
Dean raised his eyebrows. “The other option is that he's actually in love with an archangel .”
Sam thought it over for a second. Dean was right: Sera was sweet, and kind, and literally an ethereal being of light . And he was Crowley, for fuck's sake.
“Okay, you might be right,” he wasn't agreeing to anything until he knew exactly what he was getting into, “what are you planning?”
“Well, we're just going to talk to them. Cas is going to scare Crowley off, and we,” Dean pointed at both of them, “We can let Sera down gently.”
“And how are you planning on doing that?”
“We just have to casually mention how much of an ass Crowley is. She'll believe it if it comes from us.”
Incredibly, Sam found himself nodding along.
“Fine. Okay? I'm in.”
“We're doing the right thing, Sammy.”
“I hope so.”
Sera found it harder than expected not to argue at the idea of working separately. But she managed, and now she was alone with the brothers, chopping holy roots in small pieces.
They looked like ginger, except they were a deep crimson, which was probably the reason for their legend. She smiled when she thought of the person who first saw them, and could not find any explanation for their existence other than true love.
The details of the story were coming back to her when Dean's voice pulled her out of her own head.
“I got a text from Cas,” he announced, kind of confused, before reading out loud, “Is it necessary for me to hear Crowley on the phone with his liver? It's making me rather uncomfortable.”
Sam laughed, and shot a mildly panicked look at his brother, that the archangel missed.
A buzz interrupted Dean before he could speak. “I meant lover,” He read, “the phone seems to change the words I write.”
“What will you tell him?”
Dean eyed Sera, who pretended not to be interested in their conversation.
She had never been more eager to hear an explanation as she was at the moment.
“He'll get bored of her in no time,” he typed down, “think you can handle it for a while?”
Sera knew he had sent the text because she heard the tone phones make, but her eyes were as steady as she could hold them on her task.
She shouldn't be upset. She knew. She knew. She had known since the very first second.
He has someone?
A demon, most likely. Or maybe a witch, or- She shook those thoughts off. You knew! she told herself. You can act like you didn't know all you want, but you're not fooling anyone. You knew! And you fell anyways. Serves you well!
“Poor Cas. You think he'll be fine?”
“Yeah. Annoyed, but yeah. Crowley can be such a-” Dean stopped very abruptly, and Sera knew exactly why. That's the reason why she did what she did.
“Sorry,” Dean said to where she had been just a moment ago, “Wasn't trying to pick up a fight.”
The illusion that was replacing her frowned, and then shook her head. “As long as he doesn't hear you, and it doesn't affect our work, you can say whatever you want.”
The real Sera, now invisible and sitting on the kitchen floor, did her best to blink her tears away.
Why did she let her hopes get up in the first place? What was she thinking? That he would fall for her, and they'd fight Heaven, Hell, and Earth to be together, because from all people he could start to develop feelings, which he didn't have , and probably never will, he would develop feelings for her?
The clone smiled and nodded along to the stories the boys told her, but she didn't hear much.
“I mean, I'm getting used to it, you know?”
How could she be so stupid?
“At first I tried to remember the names in case they ever became relevant, but now I don't even bother.”
He didn't care about her. But she, so desperate, had seen affection where there was nothing.
“One girl comes in, then a new one shows up and replaces her. It's always the same story.”
At least, she had friends like Sam and Dean. Because even being the oldest being on Earth, she was still a fucking child.
“I wonder if they have like a support group or something.”
“ Dean!” Chastised Sam.
“What?” Replied Dean in the same tone.
A demon would never fall for an angel. Much less for someone like her.
Cas’ task was easier in theory. Lying to your enemies should be easier than lying to your friends.
But Crowley was exasperating.
For a moment, he considered smiting him and ending the issue. Then he remembered this was Crowley .
It’d take more than just a smiting to finish him permanently.
He sent the texts Dean had instructed him before turning off his phone.
“Are you done texting your boyfriend?” Questioned Crowley, condescending smirk on his face.
“I am,” replied Cas, after rolling his eyes. No point in arguing, he told himself. “Are you going to help or that would be too much to ask for?”
Crowley's eyes widened a fraction and he faked a gasp.
“Well, would you look at that? Now there's the angelic bulldog I love to hate,” he said.
“Of course,” Castiel went on, ignoring his remarks, “If Seraphiel isn't here then there's no one for you to impress, right?”
Crowley's face darkened.
“I mean, did you think we wouldn't notice that you are attracted to my sister?”
Bloody hell, the demon thought.
“I feel like you're trying to make me confess something here, feathers.”
“There's no need. Even Sera herself has noticed.”
“What?” He asked, honest concern in his voice. He cursed silently- He had just confirmed his accusations, even if not directly.
“She doesn't know how to react, however. She treats you as if you're going to break, but I know better.”
Crowley put on the most annoyed face he could master and rolled his eyes, turning his back to the angel.
In reality, he was just trying to get his face away from his line of sight.
Seraphiel knew nothing, because that's what was going on. Nothing . Not a damned thing.
“I thought I was the one avoiding work.”
“There’s nothing stopping me from working and talking. You, however, seem too busy fantasizing to do anything productive.”
Oh, that's bloody well enough.
"Listen, Castiel, entertaining as it may be to hear this nonsense, I'm having a hard time concentrating as it is-"
"I hadn't noticed," the angel deadpanned.
"-And if you're truly interested in finishing with this, then I'd suggest you leave your delusions alone for the time being," Crowley growled, annoyance clear in his voice.
Castiel glared, but resigned himself to go back to work.
It is done. They should be over this anytime soon.
He hit send.
i know it's been a while since i last updated this but most of it it's done -just a chapter i haven't finished and some editing- and everything should be good to go!
Unsurprisingly, none of the spells worked. They just... didn't . Sera was starting to conceive the thought that there was something -or someone- trying to stop them.
If there were someone, at least, she thought, everyone would believe these spells are fake, and they’d probably get lost again.
But as it usually happens when one manages to find a silver lining on a probable situation, things went a different way.
Because after the crushed bones had been dumped in the bowl and the chanting had been done, nothing happened.
Where they expected it to happen, at least.
Dean frowned at the map, frustrated.
He picked the paper up and stared.
"Do you see-"
"Not a damn thing." He threw the map to the floor and Sera bit her lip subtly. "Seems like you were afraid of a fake..."
But Dean's voice died off as he noticed Crowley staring at something in the war room.
In a second, they were all surrounding the map table.
“What are those dots?”
“Those... Those are angels ...” Whispered Sera, shocked.
"Wait, so what are you saying?" Asked Sam.
"Every angel? You can't be serious."
Sera turned to face Dean, and he realized how deadly serious she was.
" This is why you wouldn't tell us what this spell was?" He insisted anyway. But she just couldn't care to answer him right now.
The spell worked. It made sense, if you thought about it: It had been made by a man of letters, so it needed to be done in the bunker. Sera knew this one wasn't the only bunker out there, and while normally she'd be wondering where did it come from, now all she could do was shiver.
"This spell-” Her voice failed her, and she had to take a recomposing breath. “It's too powerful. It's-... This is wrong." She stated. She looked shaken, but her point remained. "Nobody should have access to this. Not even Heaven. Not even me."
Sam shot a look at Crowley, one that meant what they were all thinking.
"You don't have to worry about us. We will never mention any of this again," said Castiel solemnly, and then added, "but I can't speak for everyone."
Sam was about to say something, but Crowley interrupted him.
"Please, feathers, there's no need for such inhospitality." The King of Hell smirked, and then dropped his head to the side. "It's true that you don't have any reason to trust me, but I know better than going against you lot. Usually doesn't work out well for me."
"That never seemed to stop you before," pointed out Sam, staring challenging at the demon.
"Why would it stop you now?" Finished Dean, shifting his stance from one foot to the other. Against all logic, it didn't make him seen nervous but impatient, like he couldn't wait for the most minimal excuse to tear his throat out.
The next thing he knew, was that all eyes were on Crowley. The demon, realizing this, looked for backup in the only place he thought he'd find it- And he was shocked to find fear instead.
"Sera, dear, please tell me you don’t honestly think that I’d-...”
“I-...” She started, but she closed her eyes in a poor attempt to ground herself. “I need all of you to realize of serious this is.”
“Sam, wait, let me finish;” she asked, and the hunter nodded. “This goes beyond hunting Nyila, or finding Madziel, or anything else. This- This could extinguish our entire race.”
All eyes went back to Crowley. Seraphiel lifted her hand and snapped her fingers together.
And just like that, they were no longer on the war room. It took the demon a second to recognize the kitchen of the bunker, and then another one to realize that they were both alone in the kitchen of the bunker.
“I need to speak with you.”
“Yes, I can tell,” he replied, gesturing vaguely to the change of scenery.
His chest tightened at her voice tone. Normally, she'd roll her eyes thinking that no one saw her, return the sassy comment or just smile, but now she was leaning on the wooden table, not even meeting his eyes.
“So am I. Sera, I won’t ever discuss this with anyone, you have my word.”
“I want to make a deal.”
Crowley eased the shocked expression on his face and forcefully replaced it with one of entertainment.
“You could lie to me, and you could break your promises, but you can’t break a deal. I’m sorry, but this is not a risk I’m willing to take.”
“You... Do remember how deals are sealed, right?”
“I don’t care what I have to do,” she stated, her lower lip trembling. Her eyes met his and he could swear his breathing stopped for a split second. “Just name your price, and I’ll do it. Please.”
Something removed inside of Crowley’s chest. There was something about having the archangel begging in front of him, that sent waves of heat straight to his d- Well, I’m sure you can imagine.
But even when he knew he would never take advantage of this situation, knowing that he technically could ... The demon took a deep breath.
“There is something you could do for me. But if you don’t feel up to it, feel free to negotiate.”
Crowley took a few steps to the side, pacing calmly. He hoped she couldn’t see past his act, because he hadn’t been this nervous in ages.
It’s not like he was asking her out on a date or anything. Except that he totally was, in his own way. And she could laugh at him, or accuse him of trying to trick her, or who knows what else. So he walked a little around the kitchen, before turning his back to the angel and placing both of his hands down on the counter.
“I want you to tell me the truth.”
“Wh-..?” Sera shook her head, and he could see it even when she was behind him. “Ask away,” she said, sounding suddenly a lot more angelic than he was used to, “I’ll tell you anything I can.”
“Not like that. And not now,” he explained, turning to see Sera’s burning face, “once this whole mess is over, I’d like to sit down with you for a cup of tea, and ask you a few questions I have.”
She frowned, untrusting, but she’d said she’d answer anything, so backing off didn’t feel like an option.
“Can I know what kind of questions to expect?”
“Nothing too dangerous for me to know, don’t worry. It's just innocent curiosity, that’s all.”
Something about the way he said ‘innocent’ sent a shiver down her spine. She knew that this could go very wrong very fast, but if he said anything about the spell...
“I’ll do it.” The demon hid his victorious smile before turning to face her. Her pale skin was a shade of red as vibrant as a Picasso painting. “I’ll answer anything you ask me. The meeting can last up to four hours, in a place of your choice. In return, you must never speak, write down, try to reproduce or even attempt to remember the spell. Agreed?”
A little impressed at the archangel, the demon nodded. Not everyday you find someone who knows how to properly negotiate terms.
“Looks like you’ve got yourself a deal.”
The second those words were in the air, both beings realized what came next.
Part of Crowley wanted to tell her that he could write down a contract instead, that she didn’t have to go through that if she didn’t want to. But the other, more demonic part, was not willing to let pass the (probably) only chance he’d ever get to kiss the archangel.
So he walked towards the angel slowly, and watched as her lips parted while she took a deep breath. Once he was only one step away, her eyes closed, and her hands rested on her sides, giving him full access to her face.
The shout came from far away, but they wouldn’t take too long to find them. In the moment that it took Crowley to mentally curse those damned plaid wearing nightmares, Seraphiel took him by the collar of his suit and pulled him closer, sealing both their lips and the deal in a rushed movement.
It took Crowley more than he’d like to admit to realize what was happening. Not only they were kissing, but she had kissed him. Yes, it was to make a deal and it was fueled by the fear of the Winchesters trying to stop her, but he had never once considered the possibility of this situation going down like this. Or even happening at all, of course, because that'd be ridiculous.
The deal was closed, so they didn’t had any reason to continue kissing.
However, they didn’t stop.
Crowley had only gotten to close his eyes when Sera pulled away, took a few breaths not looking at his eyes, and kissed him again.
She didn’t had an excuse, and Crowley had bigger things in his mind at the moment to worry about it. Like, for example, the softest lips he had ever felt, gently caressing his own, or the way that her hair smelled like coconut, or vanilla or caramel or everything mixed together.
If all angels were like her, he'd probably wouldn't mind having to deal with them in such a regular basis, he realized, right before the door was open by a very hysterical Dean.
Sera, whose hands were still on Crowley’s suit, broke the kiss as abruptly as she had started it and immediately walked towards the door before Dean, or anyone, could get a word out.
She walked past Dean, not making eye contact. Sam and Cas were right behind him, but she wasn’t sure if they had seen her. Dean had, undoubtedly, but they were further away than him.
Dean closed the door with Crowley still inside, and stepped right in Sera’s way, putting his hands on her shoulders.
She looked up, ashamed to see the concern she had put in her friend’s expression.
“Sera, what did you do?”
“What I had to,” she replied, before shaking off Dean’s gentle grip and walking back to the war room.
Sam was the first one to go after her. Cas and Dean stood there for an extra moment, frozen into each other’s eyes, with only one shared thought: Crowley is a dead man.
“What happened back there?”
Sera looked at Sam, whose voice gave away everything his face struggled to conceal.
“Nothing as terrible as you’re imagining, I promise,” she tried to smile, “...I made a deal.”
“What!?” The shout made her take a step back, and Sam felt terrible when he realized that. He went on, his voice lower this time. “Why? What did he want?”
“I have to protect my siblings, Sam. I had to make sure they’d be alright.”
“What do you owe him?” He insisted.
“He just wants to talk. Once this is over.”
“Are you sure? He could be tricking you, did-...”
“Sam, breathe. I know what I’m doing.”
He nodded, slowly, before adding: “I know you do, but please, don’t trust him. Even if you think you have it under control, if he finds an opportunity to screw you over, he will take it.”
He wasn't really telling her anything she hadn't heard before, but it still filled her mouth with a bitter taste.
She knew it. She'd always known. Why did it still hurt, then?
“Thanks for the advice.”
“No problem. You know we worry about you, right?” He could see it in her, the minimal frown, and the way she avoided his eyes, or the little twitch in her lips, that told him there was something wrong, and that he was completely missing what it was. “Like, if he tried to do anything...”
Sera smiled, tired. “I needed to make sure,” That he didn't felt like I did , “I couldn't risk it.”
Sam extended his arms and took a step forward. “Can I hug you?” He asked, and waited until she had given him consent to wrap his arms firmly around her.
Sera's mind was still racing, and Sam and Dean were right, yes, but at least she had gotten to taste his lips without direct consequences.
She tried to convince herself that she was satisfied. Even if she wanted to go for a second kiss, and a third, and maybe a fourth-...
A memory hit her as Sam released her and walked towards the door. How many times had she kissed him?
“-AND IF YOU DON'T LEAVE HER THE FUCK ALONE, SO HELP ME GOD, I'LL...!
Dean's voice rang through the Bunker's halls, putting Seraphiel on high alert. When it reached her ears, she picked up her pace, more and more, until she was running towards the kitchen.
She could teleport, but leaving Sam after he had come after her seemed rude.
So, she ran.
“Dean!” She cried out, loud enough for them to hear her. He stopped screaming, but when she opened the door to the kitchen she found her brother and the hunter, holding Crowley against the table by the shoulders. “Cas! Dean! Stop!”
The three of them turned to see her, but no one moved.
Not satisfied with that response, she practically floated to them, and grabbing her friends by their arms, she dragged them away from him.
Once there was enough space between them, she stepped in the middle, facing them, to make sure they wouldn't start fighting again.
“What are you doing?” She asked, frowning.
“What are we-!? What are you doing? You let him trick into-”
“No one tricked me!” She shouted back. Then, lowering her voice, “I made a choice, and you need to respect that.”
Dean's eyes narrowed in anger. Cas, on the other hand, was glaring at Crowley, apparently not interested in participating in the argument.
“Like you're choosing to defend him!?”
Her back was to Crowley. She took a deep breath.
“You were attacking him, Dean. Cas, you too.” The blue orbs abandoned the demon to look at her. Her voice was still calm. “He’s not the enemy here.”
“Well he's acting a lot like one!”
It was hard to scream at someone who refused to yell back.
“What are you talking about?”
“You made a deal!” His voice lowered finally, and he went on, “That's not gonna end well, and you know it.”
“Maybe. Maybe not, but even then , that would be better than the alternative.”
She was right, and everyone knew that. But they stayed silent, because that was easier.
Sera turned her face to Crowley, not enough to actually see him but to make clear who she was talking to.
"You should leave."
She knew he had left based on the guys' reactions, because the demon didn't make a sound.
The angel looked up, and found Dean standing at the door of the library with shame on his face.
"I came to, y'know... Apologize. For yelling at you earlier." When she didn't respond, he sighed. "I'm sorry."
"It's forgiven." She didn't lie. But that didn't meant she was over it.
"It's just-... It wouldn't be the first time he flirts with someone to get their guard down for a deal, that's all."
Sera did her best to sound casual.
"Yeah... Just be careful, okay?"
"I am, Dean."
"I know you are. I just worry. Crowley plays people, makes them feel like he's on their side and then screws them over. I mean," he said, "I know you're smarter than that. You would never fall for it... But it's instinctive, you know?"
"Anyway, sorry. It won't happen again."
"Thank you." He smiled sadly and she returned the gesture. "Go to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long day."
"Well, which one do you think it is?"
"How could I know? There's dozens!"
"They're here." Both brothers looked up sharply, confusion mixing with curiosity on their faces.
"How can you be so sure?" Asked Sam, as he tried to make out the name of the country from where he was.
There was just one lonely point in the middle of what, Sam guessed, was the Amazonian jungle.
"I- It just makes sense to me," she stammered. Her lie wasn't convincing anyone- not the Winchesters and not Castiel, who watched from the other end of the table. She sighed. "I was the one who assigned their Garrison to this area before everything went down. I saw how excited they were about this place. It can't be a coincidence."
"So we're going to the jungle, then?"
Sera's answer was cut short by a thick British accent.
"Had I known that, I wouldn't have worn my nice suit."
Sera didn't even bother to look at him. Crowley walked towards the table with a relaxed posture that had to be faked, because no one could walk up to a group of people who want to murder them with so much calm.
"What are you doing here?" Hissed Sam, taking a step closer.
"This again?" Crowley groaned. "We already had this conversation, or am I mistaken?"
"We leave in thirty minutes," ordered Seraphiel, finishing the discussion instantly. "I'll get you proper supplies, you take care of the water and the clothes," she informed, mainly directed at the Winchesters, “and I’ll only say this once, so listen carefully: No matter what happens, you will not ask Madziel about the event that shattered them. You won’t even mention it.” That was the last thing she said before turning around and flying away.
If they noticed the coldness of her tone, they didn't say. Neither did they mention how rigid her body was or the complete lack of expression on her face.
They all had their guesses, though.
The jungle was hot. That didn't came as a surprise to anyone, but I can assure you that, unless you've been in one, you simply cannot imagine the kind of heat that surrounds you completely, like a blanket made of hellfire.
The vegetation didn't help, either. Nor did the humidity. The jungle didn't want them there, and it didn't hesitate to make that as clear as possible. Moving was incredibly difficult, and uncomfortable, and tiring.
They all carried machetes, except for Sera, even when she was the one leading the expedition. The jungle didn't mind her, it seemed, because she slipped easily through the trees and leaves, while the rest of them had to chop open their way through.
"Are you sure it's this way?" Asked Dean, for what had to be the millionth time.
"Yes," she replied. At first, her responses were more elaborated and informative, but now the length of their journey was wearing in on her and to be honest, Dean was getting on her nerves.
But before she could even think about it, she froze.
Sam, who was behind her, ran into her, and Dean almost did the same.
Ahead of them, a small clearing of trees waited. There was something that resembled a tent to keep the rain from a rustic bed and an old, beaten down suitcase, which were all the "furniture" in the place.
Sera got closer, and as soon as she stepped in the clearance, a ring of holy fire lit around her.
"Don't move!" A voice ordered from somewhere near them. Dean and Sam, already out of the jungle, froze, waiting for another sign of life. "The angel and the demon will join the two humans slowly, or else your friend here will die."
"We don't want to hurt you," tried to soothe Sera, but the voice wasn't having it. Crowley and Castiel did as they'd been told, and walked up to Sam and Dean.
Sera shot them a calming look, but she could tell that it just wasn't working.
"Madziel?" Castiel tried and the voice gasped. "We need your help. My name is-"
" Castiel, I know. I've heard of you." He frowned, and Madziel went on, "No matter how far I go, I can still hear the gossiping and the rumors."
Castiel didn't have an answer for that, so Seraphiel was the one to talk.
"Do you know who I am?"
The voice waited. "Seraphiel... I heard you were dead."
"And we heard you shattered," replied Dean, as ever impatient. "Why don't you come out and we do a little catching up?"
Sera and Sam glared at him, but he pretended not to see them.
The voice laughed, but this time, it came from an exact location. The group looked up to see a pair of eyes glistening from a tree.
"Very well..." Madziel's body was hidden by leaves and branches, but their face was visible- barely. The skin blended in perfectly with the background, the only thing separating them being the eyes and the too-white teeth. "I hope you truly didn't come here with foul intentions, or else I'd be forced to make you leave... You understand that, right?"
"Yes," replied Sera solemnly before anyone else could get a word out. "But we need your help-"
"It that why you brought a demon to my home?"
Crowley froze for a second, considering his options. Dean didn't miss a beat.
"I think that's your cue to leave."
"Don't. Not until I'm sure he's harmless."
That made the demon return to his usual confidence, a little watered down, of course, but not enough for it to be noticeable.
And if while the rest of them tried to convince Madziel to help them, he focused on making a contingency plan in case they decided he was a threat- Then nobody needed to know.
"He will not try anything against you, I guarantee you. He needs you even more than we do."
"So you keep saying... What exactly is that you're asking for?"
"There's a spell we need, but it seems like we need someone like you to perform it."
"Someone like me ?" They chuckled, " Shattered , you mean?"
Sera hesitated. "Yes. Shattered."
"Uh. I see." In a second, Madziel was no longer there and they're hanging from a branch on the other end of the clearance, eyes still wide open but with their body more visible. Their hair was dark blonde, in a sun-kissed fashion that remembered Dean of his own to a degree, although his was way better kept. Their body was covered in leather clothing and animal skin, that hid somewhat poorly a wide collection of scars and bite marks all over their body. They were barefoot, too, which only added to this Tarzan-y vibe they had going on.
"Is that why you came all the way out here? For a spell?"
"Yes," replied Castiel, confidently, "we wouldn't have if it weren't life or death."
"What's the spell for?"
"There's a demon, named Nyila, who has managed to turn herself immune to Grace, and now is trying to take over Hell."
"And why would you care about that?"
"Because she's not stopping there," replied Sam, "and we don't know what she's planning next. As far as we know, she could try to exterminate all angels, yourself included."
"Have you ever met an angel?" Madziel shot back, "Whatever this Nyila has in store for them, they have it coming."
"You think I don't remember what was like? Back up there?" Their voice turned to a whisper as they hugged the branch closer to their body, protectively. "Some things you simply can not forget."
"I'm sorry, Madziel," said Sera.
Her voice turned their focus back on the ring of holy fire that was still burning. The heaviness of their words eased as they spoke.
"But I remember what you did for me, too."
"What do you mean?"
"Seraphiel. My Garrison and I reported to you for a very long time. When we succeeded, you were there to praise us. And when we didn't, you were also there, ready to take the blame for our mistakes." The archangel looked at the floor, and Madziel jumped down from their tree, descending gracefully and putting the fire out with them. "Did you think I'd forget about you? You're the reason I'm here. You saw me feel emotions , - which were forbidden- , for this place and for the other angels, and you kept it a secret."
They reached out for Sera's face, but she still wouldn't look at them.
"It was nothing. I was just glad you were enjoying your job."
"Don't dismiss my memories, archangel. I know well that you lied to many of my superiors to keep me safe. I will never forget such kindness."
"I'm- It means a lot. Thank you."
"But as you say, this favor isn't just for you. Which is why I have to ask for something from them too."
"What is it?" Asked Dean, carefully.
"There are men, humans, infiltrating my jungle. Explorers I don't mind, but these have come here with ill intentions, and they're killing my home. I've tried to fight them but they keep coming back." Sera nodded, slowly, and made eye contact with her friends. "Make them leave and I'll perform your spell."
"We'll do our best," promised Sera, and she turned around to regroup.
"How in the hell are we supposed to stop deforestation?" Whispered Dean, exasperated.
"I can do that," Crowley muttered, faking disinterest. When he felt the questioning stares, he went on, "What? I'll just pay them off, and worst case scenario I'll kill whoever's in charge and replace them with an ecologist or something."
"You can actually do that?" Asked Sam, impressed.
"If it means getting rid of Nyila I'll even stop global warming."
" Okay great," cut off Dean, dragging Crowley by the suit and bringing him up to Madziel. "He can get rid of your problem."
"Is that so, demon?"
"The name's Crowley," he said, "and yes, I can. All I need is to get some reception and it should be done in the next few days."
Crowley pulled out his phone and showed it to them. "Signal. For this. As soon as I can get in touch with my people, it'll be only a matter of time."
"Seraphiel," called out Madziel, not taking their eyes off Crowley, "is he telling the truth?"
"Yes. You have my word."
The angel looked up, golden eyes meeting Sera's, with a wide, toothy smile on their face.
"Then let's go."
"You should know, Madziel, that you missed a lot in these past years. Prepare yourself for some confusion."
Madziel laughed, nodding.
"I've seen it myself, so I believe you. The humans used some sort of horrible machines to kill the trees." I nodded, and their smile disappeared before they continued. "Do you trust the demon?"
I had returned alone to the jungle to pick them up. We'd decided it would be easier to prepare the spell first and just have Madziel go when they were needed.
It wasn't an accusation, and it didn't seem like they were going to change their mind, so I didn't argue with them. Instead, I sighed.
"He has hurt me," I confessed, "but he won't try anything until Nyila is dead, and by then you'll be back here safe. You have no reason to worry."
"It's not me I'm worried about. Why do you work together if he has harmed you?"
"Because-" I stopped. Why? "Because my friends don't know he has, and if I quit now, they'll realize something happened."
"They're your friends," Madziel reminded me.
"But it’s embarrasing," I replied instantly. My eyes widened at my own words. I hadn't phrased it like that before. Then I sighed, sadly. "I'm ashamed that I gave him that power over me."
Madziel sighed, satisfied. Now that that was out in the open, I'd have to actually deal with it- Which was their intention all along.
"Let's get going, archangel."
"Are you sure?"
"Three of my informants have told me she's going to be there, Squirrel. I'm sure," replied Crowley, sarcastic.
"This spell only lasts for a few hours so if we can't find her, we'll lose our chance," Dean insisted.
"You say it like I don't already know that," Crowley said, but there was no edge to it this time. He knew that if this was a trap, or if something went wrong last minute- It was over for him. And Dean bloody Winchester was determined to remind him of that every two seconds.
"We're good to go," informed Sam, possibly interrupting another stupid argument between the two. He turned to Madziel and asked, "You know what you have to do?"
"I do," they replied solemnly.
"Sera, I need you here," Sam instructed, "Madziel will mix all the ingredients and then, they'll give it to you as they read the spell, and you only have to take a sip. Alright?"
I nodded. I walked up to the table where he was, and Madziel did the same from the other side of it.
Castiel swallowed and looked a the floor. Nervous was an understatement. Sam backed up until he was standing next to him and Dean, and that's when Madziel picked up the carved bowl and started to pour its contents into the chalice.
"Potione hac, restitutus Eris. Omnia erunt sicut erant!"
I took the cup and took it to my lips just in time to see the liquid flickering green. That's reassuring.
I took two sips for good measure and focused as much of my Grace as I could into my tongue, successfully avoiding the taste. The texture I couldn't escape, and that was enough to make me shiver.
"...Sera?" Called out Dean, and I realized I had been frozen in place.
"It is done," I said, but my voice sounded far away. Is this normal? "We need to move."
Sam hesitated a bit. "Uh- Yeah, you're right. We leave in ten, everyone get ready," he said, and then turned to face Madziel, "The men should have abandoned your jungle by now. Thank you."
They gave a small reverence, and vanished right after muttering "Good luck".
Sera walked in first, with Dean behind her, then Cas, then Sam, and lastly Crowley.
He and Sera had barely even looked at each other since they pulled their little scheme, and Team Free Will was completely on board with helping them stay away from each other.
Even if that meant walking into what was clearly a trap with the confidence of those who don’t know that, just for the sake of avoiding conversation.
Sera looked at the warehouse she found herself in and held in a sigh. After all these years, demons still couldn’t come up with something more original?
Of course, she understood why they refused to change. The warehouses served their purpose, and, as she’d heard someone say one time, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Just like they didn’t change their manipulation tactics, to put another example. Because they work even in the oldest being in creation. A being who should know better by now. A being who is clearly-
Seraphiel shut her eyes closed, shaking those thoughts off her mind. Self-loathing would have to wait.
Not long after that, as the group walked through a corridor, a pair of demons kicked open a door and proclaimed, "Long live the Queen!" right before attacking.
There were only two of them against five, so they were defeated easily. It also meant it was purely a distraction, not meant to defeat them but to slow them down.
They all knew that, so why Crowley felt the need to point it out was beyond her.
“That felt a little kamikaze, so I’d advise-”
" Why would any of us take a demon's advice?"
Dean’s eyebrows shot up, but a subtle elbow from Sam made him pretend he didn’t hear it. But Sera, however, didn’t seem to care if they heard her- She seemed to expect it, even.
Crowley was taken aback for a moment, but the shock didn’t last, since an instant later he was back to his smooth self. He put on a smirk, and looked down on her-, as much as he could, being the shortest one there.
“Bit grumpy, aren’t we? I think you’ve been spending too much time with the Golden Trio-”
Sera huffed, sarcastically. Her chin was pointing at the ceiling, her head as high as she could get it without looking awkward.
There was something, she didn’t know what, bubbling in her stomach, fueling her already less-than-ideal feelings. She knew -assumed- this was caused by the spell, but then again, it had been a while since she’d been betrayed, so it could have perfectly been that.
"I disagree.” It was such a simple statement, yet so powerful, that it made him frown. “Listen- Maybe a part of you convinced yourself that I actually liked you," she added, coldly, "Guess what? You were wrong ."
If that hurt him -it did- he didn’t let it show.
“I think we have different definitions of ‘liking’, darling,” he replied.
"Yeah? Well, let me clarify then. These are my friends,” she said, and pointed at Sam, Dean and Cas with a wide gesture. “Them I like. You,” she went on, disgust clear on her voice, “are a low life demon pretending to be fit to rule a kingdom. I don't need nor want your presence near me, and considering I could end your existence in a second, I'd suggest that you don't tempt me."
He stared, and she stared back.
Sam would have done something about his brother’s hanging-open mouth if he weren’t too busy with his own look of shock. Cas, two steps ahead, shared their opinions.
Maybe, just maybe, the plan had worked a little too well.
The door didn’t make a sound when Dean opened it, and those were the last good news they received before realizing it was an ambush.
Behind the ten? Twelve? demons, Nyila stood with a smug grin, that didn’t vanish even as she commanded her goons to attack. “And nobody touch Crowley!” She added, “He’s mine. ”
As a matter of fact, the smile only receded after seeing three of her demons get taken out by a single hit from the archangel.
She hummed, keeping the surprise out of her voice. “You got yourselves a new toy, boys?”
Any resemblance of calm she’d manage to gather after the discussion evaporated instantly.
“Ooh, touch a nerve, didn’t I?” She laughed when she noticed Seraphiel heading directly towards her. She pulled out a knife too, but Sera didn’t even notice.
She blasted another demon off her way before she reached Nyila. By then, the archangel blade had already been materialized in her right hand and she had a comfortable grip on it, which made it easier for her to plunge forward with it.
The hit missed, barely, and the demon managed to slash her a few times before Sera finally got a grip on her.
But suddenly the sound of the fight behind her got to be too much, and in an instant she didn’t have the blade anymore.
She barely had any time to react.
Nyila laughed cruelly and in a second, she plunged the blade into Seraphiel's stomach.
The angel's eyes widened as a cry of pain escaped her lips. Blood started to pour from the wound, quickly covering her clothes with no intention of stopping any time soon.
The noise had attracted everyone's attention, for long enough that they all took advantage of that to kill their opponents before returning their eyes to the archangel.
As soon as Nyila stepped back in satisfaction, Sera took a hesitant step towards her, eyes wide in horror and with a shaking hand reaching out... And the next second, the pained expression on her face had been replaced by absolute determination as her hand grasped her neck and then-
The entire group watched her break the demon's neck and then letting her body fall limp to the floor, as the corpse's eyes exploded in shades of orange and red.
When the rush died down, (which wasn't long enough for any of them to move from their spots) Sera attempted, and failed miserably at keeping her emotions to herself. Out of nowhere, a wave of sadness seemed to have washed away any fire she had in her eyes, almost pulling her down as she stared at Nyila.
What they couldn’t tell, not at least from just her expression, was what caused that feeling. Looking back, they could have assumed that the spell’s side effects were responsible, if Sera had bothered to mention that those existed.
But that would have been a mistake.
A mistake, of the likes of thinking that Sera was sad. She wasn’t sad - not in the original meaning of the word. She was disappointed deeply at herself, and that was a pain with origins that dated back to the beginning, to the dawn of creation itself.
As much as angels try to forget it, human souls are their responsibility. That’s a fact that, shockingly, won’t go away just by ignoring it. And every demon she had to kill was a reminder of how badly they - she - had failed. Demons had been human souls abandoned at their own luck.
When God created Seraphiel, she hadn’t had any purpose other than to survive -and eventually defeat- Amara. All the angels that came after her had a clear motive, a job to do, and absolutely no doubt inside them. Sera was different.
That’s probably why God made the mark for her to carry: A sense of purpose, the feeling that she belonged, that she had a place. But then, He gave the mark to Lucifer. And He gave Sera Lucifer’s original work: Controlling the fate and destiny of every being in creation. To know the path that angels -and humans, when the time came,- had to follow, and to make sure they followed it. Which, for your information, was not the greatest job to give to the only angel who questions what she’s told.
God would find that out a little later, after the first breakdown Sera had. He gave her another job, a different and less official one, that he’d thought would make it easier: Protect humanity, both from Heaven and themselves.
If only He had realized how conflictive this new task was with her original job...
Sera couldn’t do it. She just couldn’t. To decide which parts of destiny to let occur and which ones to stop, choose who lives or dies- It was too much. But it was too late, ‘cause Lucifer didn’t have the mark anymore and he was already corrupted. And she had to hold on to whatever hope she could grab, because the next thing she knows is that her Father has left and so has her baby brother, and the ones that are still in Heaven are barking orders right and left and changing history as they please to fit their ideals, completely oblivious of the consequences it had to humans.
Her job was to stop that, she realized after she left Heaven: God knew they would go overboard with destiny and someone had to stop them, both for their own good and for humanity’s sake.
But she underestimated the importance of her job and left, and she couldn’t ever go back. She was responsible for everything wrong with the world.
Demons are what happen when angels forget their mission, she repeats herself very often, or when they decide they don’t want it anymore.
And that was the thought on Sera's mind as she watched the demon's corpse on the floor.
After shaking away the initial shock, Sam ran towards the angel, staring alarmed at her bleeding stomach.
The rest of the group followed. Seraphiel looked a little confused at their expressions of concern, until she remembered she had been stabbed.
“It's nothing,” she promised, “don’t worry about me, I'm fine.”
“You're hurt!” Argued Dean, “Come on, we've-”
“It's fine, Dean. I lied,” She explained, as her usual calmness returned to her. “Nyila didn't do anything to me, see?” Sera took out the blade from the wound, that came out with an awful sound, and cleaned herself with grace. “I acted hurt to get her guard down. It worked.”
Sam, Dean and Cas watched her with mouths hanging open and utter shock written on their faces. None of them would have even imagined Sera would be capable of playing dirty like that.
Those thoughts were inevitably followed by questions such as, were they responsible for that change? Was it a bad thing? Should they be feeling even more guilty?
Crowley's mind was crowded with racing thoughts, that bumped into each other and clashed together, making impossible to reach a single conclusion.
As much as Sera was kind and honest and good , she was not naive, and she would sacrifice her own nature for those she loved- which in the end, did nothing more than to solidify it.
She wasn't just an angel, he thought, she was the brightest being under the sun. And above it, too. Hell, the sun and all the stars combined wouldn't stand a chance against her.
He knew he was staring, but so was everybody else- or so he hoped.
Maybe there was a hopeless romantic inside of him, he admitted, that didn’t give up on her even when she had, very explicitly, made clear that she wanted him dead- Or maybe, a more likely option, he’d just discovered a new kink he was unaware he had up until just now.
"Seraphiel, you-" Sam shook his head, interrupting himself. "We need to clean this up before somebody finds this mess.” She started to nod, but then he added, “Sera, you should probably go back to the bunker and get some rest.”
The archangel frowned. “I’m not any more tired than any of you,” She argued.
“Not yet, but when the spell dies off, you’ll probably pass out on the spot,” said Dean, agreeing with his brother.
The spell, right. It had a time limit. The withdrawal wasn’t going to be pleasant for her.
“Don’t worry about this, okay? By the time you wake up, we’ll be home, with you.”
Her hands and feet started to tingle as she nodded. “You’re right. Thanks, Sam. I’ll see you soon.”
She teleported back to Kansas, directly at the feet of her bed. She only had time to kick off her shoes and take off her bloodied jacket before her eyes became heavy and she had to lay down.
When Sera opened her eyes, the first thing she knew was that she’d slept for more a night.
The next was that the effects of the spells had worn off. She was back to normal- Or so she hoped. At least, she felt normal.
It didn't felt like she was outside of her vessel moving a puppet, and when she tried to make a noise, it didn't sound far away anymore.
But then, when she went to check her angelic vision, she felt something inside the bunker. Something dark.
So, yeah. The effects could still be messing with her. Or they could be gone, and the Winchesters had had a busy couple of days.
Sera dragged herself out of bed, slowly, testing her limbs. Everything seemed to be working perfectly.
She walked around, focused on the feeling. She couldn't really pin down where it was coming from, but she wasn't very surprised to realize she was headed in the direction of the dungeon.
She probably should just turn around and go looking for her friends, Sera thought, they could easily explain what had happened while she was unconscious. But, for some reason, she didn't.
When she stepped into the room, any doubts she might have had were gone: This was a demon.
It's not like there were really that many options before, but now this was an absolute certainty.
So, something had definitely happened while she was out. Sera was ready to go looking for her friends now, but a rough voice made her freeze in her spot.
"Seraphiel," Crowley called, from behind the shelves.
What on Earth was Crowley doing there? After Nyila had been taken care of, he had no reason to stay near the Winchesters long enough for them to capture him. Nor did they have any reason to- It was supposed to be over!
She was supposed to be able to forget about all that- all this . What the hell was Crowley doing in the dungeon?
She opened one of the shelves, slowly, and took a step inside.
Then, she had to choke in a gasp.
"I take it I don't look so well, do I?"
No , Sera told herself, ignore him. Don't fall into his game.
"What are you doing here?"
Even completely bruised and covered in blood, Crowley managed to look sarcastic.
"Vacationing," he replied. When Sera narrowed her eyes at him, all he could do was shrug, exasperated, "Take a guess."
"That's not what I asked, and you know it."
He raised his eyebrows briefly, admitting that she had a point.
"I might have forgotten that the hatred the Winchesters have for me is stronger than their sense of gratitude."
Sera turned around and left the dungeon faster than humanly possible, not even giving Crowley time to ask what she was going to do.
She marched towards the kitchen, decided, but as the voices started to reach her, her steps became more and more hesitant.
"But you saw how he was looking at her! Dean," Sam gasped, "you can't tell me that was an act. What if-?"
"What if what?" Snapped back Dean. Sera tried to hurry, decided to intervene and act as a mediator, but when she heard what Sam said next, she changed her mind.
"What if we were wrong?"
She stopped dead on her tracks, a few steps away from the kitchen door.
"We weren't, alright?!" Dean took a deep calming breath and then repeated, "We weren't."
"You saw it!" Accused Sam, "You both did!"
Cas didn't say a word, but Sera could still feel him in the room.
"I saw him watching her sleep like some creep! That's what makes you think he's in love with her?"
"Dean," muttered Cas, sounding regretful. "Maybe Sam is-"
"I'm not saying we shouldn't have intervened, but Sam has a point," said Cas, sounding a little more convinced.
"Let me give you another point, then," replied Dean, "the point that nothing involving Crowley ends well for us, and telling her all that was the right thing, even if it doesn't feel like it."
"All that"? Wha-?..
Then, it hit her.
The lovers. They regret telling me?, Sera wondered.
"It doesn't 'feel like it' because we lied , Dean-" Sam hissed, and he was about to continue when a soft gasp made them all turn.
“...You what ?”
Standing in the doorway, Seraphiel stared at her friends with a deep frown.
“ What? Huh!?” Her voice was rising, as blood rushed to her face and her hands began to shake. “What!?”
“We were just trying to protect you,” said Sam.
“From what? I'm an archangel, what could've he done to me?”
Silence was the only response she had.
“You planned all of this... What for? To get me to kill him for you?”
“Sera, that's not-” Castiel started, but when she turned to stare at him the words seemed to abandon him.
The archangel wanted to scream more, but instead decided to listen to what they had to say first.
It didn't mean she was any more calm now, however.
“Then what?” She sighed, “What were you trying to do?”
Sam looked up to meet her eyes and almost whispered, “We know.”
“Sera, we know.” A million thoughts went through her mind in less than a second. “We know how you feel about Crowley.”
“ Excuse me?” She choked out, her frown deepening with each passing second.
“And we think he knows too,” continued Dean. “If he used that to get you on his side...”
“Sera,” begged Sam, voice raspy and low, and she saw the rest of his sentence though his eyes alone: Stop it, we know .
“What did you do?” She asked, no, she demanded, after a few seconds of silence.
Dean got one step closer to her.
“It's not-... Listen, Sera,-”
If he wouldn't tell her, then that’s fine. She put her palm on his forehead, and watched it herself.
Her eyes lit up for a few seconds, as the images flashed through her mind.
The plan, the scheming, the lies- all of that went straight from Dean's memory to her brain, answering every question she didn't know she had.
When Sera let go of him, she was shaking.
And so was the whole bunker.
“Why would you-!? I thought-..! I can't-!” The lights flickered, long enough to grab the archangel's attention, and she made an effort to stop screaming. Her voice was still loud, but the ground did no longer felt like it would rip open and swallow them, so she did not stop. She had a lot inside her chest to stop. “All of you- You lied to me, manipulated me and played with my emotions, and for what!? ”
“We were trying to-”
“Don't say protect me because so help me , I will hurt you.”
Regardless of how scary she sounded, Dean tried again.
After all, this was his fault, if you thought about it. Cas was forgetting about it before he convinced him and Sam to help. Sam, who would have never agreed to something like this if it weren't for his lies. Yeah , he decided, this was his fault .
“You did not care about how I felt. You did not care about what I wanted. All you did was assume that if Crowley and I got together, he'd use me for whatever crazy plan you think he has.”
“ No! Don't act like you were trying to keep me from being hurt, because you weren't. You thought...” Her voice broke, and just then they realized how betrayed Seraphiel felt. This had been a mistake . “You still believe that I can't think for myself. Have I not yet proved that I can make my own choices?”
She went silent for a moment, but this time no one tried to argue. How could they? She was telling the truth.
“You thought that I'd let people use me as their angelic bully, regardless of what I think-... I'm not a weapon people can gain control over! I'm a person !”
Sam took a step forward, and attempted to reach out for her, but she bolted back.
“You're the same as everyone...” She muttered, before teleporting away.
“Lovely view, don't you think?” Seraphiel didn't respond. “Well, of course you agree, you're the one who stormed out and decided to come here.”
“Please leave me alone.”
“Is that what you truly want?”
“I've been humiliated enough for this century, thank you.” She replied, sniffing. Her hair was pressed against an old wooden tree, with her eyes fixated on some point in the distance. “I just want to be in silence.”
“I can do that.”
Crowley sat down beside her, and frowned at the sight of her reddened eyes and nose. The tears gave a beautiful yet very sad glow to her cheeks.
An ant tried to climb into his shoe, but he shoved it off. In front of him, miles of almost uninterrupted field extended, bathed in sunlight. A few morning birds chirped, but the sound felt so distant that it was just white noise to the quiet of their spot.
The silence didn't last, though.
“How'd you even escape the dungeon?”
"It wasn't hard. The demon trap got damaged the last time I was there, and it hasn't been working since."
"Why didn't you leave before, then?'
"Eh, I guess I was waiting for the right moment," Crowley sighed. "Thanks for that, by the way."
"Pleasure." She replied, nonchalantly. "And you just knew where I was?"
“You mentioned in your journal that you used to come here. I assumed-...”
“You read that?” Crowley didn't reply, and Sera looked away. The answer was obvious, but that was not what she was really asking. Answering that would imply that the demon had been paying more attention to her than strictly necessary, which considering recent events might not be the ideal subject for a conversation. “I know what you must be thinking.”
“Do you, now?”
She truly didn't, she realized. She didn't know anything anymore. But even not knowing, she felt the need to clarify where she stood.
“I'm not going to betray the Winchester's trust, even if they betrayed mine.”
The demon held in a laugh.
“If I wanted to get information, I would send someone to spy on them, darling. They're really bad at keeping secrets, as you could see.”
“Are you done making fun of me? I feel stupid enough.”
“What's there to be stupid about?” The demon replied instantly, like he truly didn't understand what she was talking about. “They are your friends, you're supposed to trust them. Isn't that how that works?”
“They're not my friends anymore.”
They lied to me and made me feel unlovable and stupid and naïve , she wanted to say. Instead, she muttered, “You know why.”
“Yes, I do,” he sighed, and then added, surprised at the words that were leaving his mouth, “But I do know why they did what they did, too.”
“I'm not an object,” she restated. Unbelievable how, after millennia of talking that sentence into her DNA, a couple of humans can make her feel just like she did the very first time she set a foot on Earth. “I'm not a weapon.”
“No, you're not. But you're kind, and sweet, and caring, and you act like you only see the good in people.” Sera turned to see him, the words resonating in her head. “And they think I'd try to take advantage of that. It's not their fault, really, I've given them more than enough reasons to...”
“ 'Act’ ?”
“You said ‘you act like you can only see the good in people’. What do you mean?”
It took him a moment to recall his own words.
“It means, that if you were truly incapable of seeing people for what they are, you wouldn't have lasted so long, dear.” She avoided his eyes again, looking at anything except at him, and he did the same. “It is admirable, however, that you continue to look for something you can respect on every person.”
“I don't see good on everything,” she argued, “What they did-... It-... I don't see any good on lying.”
“And you shouldn't, really. But that's not what I said, is it? Their intentions were good, and deep down, you respect that.”
“Impact overrules intention.”
“Still, that doesn't change the fact that they thought they were doing you a favor.”
“I said... Things , to you.”
“No need, darling. I understand.”
“I didn't mean them.”
“You don't have to lie to me, I can take it.”
“I don't lie. Dean said that you-...” Sera took a deep breath, and started again. “My pride was hurt. And when I tried to make you hurt like I was hurting, I realized I knew exactly what things to say, and the fact that I knew that, that I had allowed myself to get to know you like that- It made me feel even worse. It's not an excuse, I'm not trying to justify, but... It's the truth.”
“You do owe me that...” Trailed off the demon. “Come on. Part of the deal was that I got to pick the location. I mean no disrespect, but this isn't exactly my choice of scenery.”
“Where are you going?”
“Crowley,” she called. The demon looked up to see her, interested. She felt embarrassed suddenly- Even more than before. “I know I said we'd go where you wanted, but...”
“You don't like it here?”
“No, I do, it's just-” Her hand gestured at herself discreetly. “I'm kind of out of place.”
The restaurant was five stars, and every single person in there had a net worth of over seven figures, at the very least.
It’s not like she was poor (she was very much the opposite), but her money had accumulated precisely because she didn’t put it to use.
“Why do you think that?”
She frowned. “This fork alone is more expensive than everything I'm wearing right now, combined.”
A low, deep chuckle came out of Crowley's throat.
“And?” The tone near exasperated Sera, but he continued before she could complain, “You are, by far, the most gracious person in here. Not to mention that you exude class in every gesture.”
Her body tensed at the compliment, embarrassment sending a chill down her spine. She took a calming breath before opening her mouth again.
“You seem to be the only one to think that way.”
“It's not your fault they're jealous, love.”
A waiter came by with two big leather menus. By his accent, Sera figured out they were in England.
Noticing how lost she looked as she flipped through the pages, he smiled softly.
"Want me to order for you?"
"That'd be nice, thank you."
But by the time she closed her menu and looked up, his smile was gone and replaced by his signature smirk.
The smug gesture didn’t fool Sera, it hadn’t for a long time now and he was well aware of that, but he pretended not to know and she pretended that it did, and then the waiter left with their order and they were left in silence.
Sera looked around, in a successful attempt to avoid his eyes.
What was she supposed to do now, she asked herself. He wanted the truth, and she'd promised to give it. And even when her friends had warned her, she wasn't worried. Maybe she should be? Crowley wouldn't-...
But wouldn't he?
She looked at him again, to find him looking somewhere else. Wouldn't he?
The waiter came back in record timing with their food, ande once he'd left, Sera knew that whatever was going to happen, it would happen now.
She took a deep breath. If he was going to prove her friends right, the time was now.
She'd leave this restaurant knowing if she owed them an apology, or if it was the other way around.