King of Pain

A/N: Oops. My muse got inspired by the various things that have leaked out about 9x16. This isn't really based off of the spoilers or the promo, more just an idea that popped into my head and I wanted to write out. Plus, I wanted to try my hand at writing drunk/high!Crowley. There's a bit of Crowley/Dean in this, but it's more friendship than slash, except for a particularly awkward moment between them... anyway, here goes.

Disclaimer: I don't own SPN, Dean, Crowley, any of it. Though I'm contemplating selling my soul for the lot...

Although he was loathe to admit it, Dean was beginning to get worried.

Worried about fucking Crowley, of all people.

Crowley was not the type of guy (demon, whatever) to suddenly fall off of the grid. Dean knew from experience that he always had his damn iPhone in hand or within reach, and being the ever-present politician, he couldn't imagine him choosing to be unreachable for weeks on end.

So... where the hell was he?

Dean made himself a nasty habit of leaving Crowley voicemails on a daily basis since the king had stopped picking up his phone. After Dean had received the Mark, he'd called Crowley twice to check in over the following two weeks - he'd answered both times, snarked out a few insults and/or innuendos at Dean, then said something along the lines of, "Oh, bottom of the deepest ocean, isn't that just bloody specific? So pardon me if it's a bit of a work in progress!"

Then, he stopped answering when Dean called. And now it had been going on three weeks since he'd heard a single damn thing from Crowley.

And he was thinking about this way too much.

I'm only worried because he's the only one who can find the blade, Dean reasoned. That's it. That's all. It's not like I actually care about what happens to the little limey mook.

So, when his phone buzzed in his pocket, he tried not to get his hopes up. It could be any number of people. Like... he thought for a long moment. Cas. It could be Cas. Or Garth. Maybe Jody.

He slid off his head phones, the dulcet tones of James Hetfield fading as he took his phone out of his pocket. His eyes widened when he saw the caller ID. Triple sixes.

"Crowley," he said to himself. He picked up, quickly jamming the phone to his ear. "What the hell-" he began, but was cut off before he could fully get into his rant.

"Squirrrrrrrrrrel," Crowley slurred. "It's been too long, darling."

"Where the hell have you been?" Dean snapped, trying to ignore the fact that Crowley sounded totally smashed. "I've been calling you for weeks, you douche!"

"Couldn't get to the phone. Been busy," he drawled, his accent so thick at the moment that Dean could barely understand what he was saying. "I've... uh... may've fallen off the wagon, actually. A bit."

Dean sat up, his brow furrowing. "Define falling off the wagon."

There was a stuttered laugh on the other end. "You were right, y'know, I'm a... I'm a junkie. Human blood. I managed to stay off it for awhile... but..." There was a pause. "Gonna have to give back my blood junkies anonymous sobriety chip, mate."

"Are you high right now?" This didn't sound anything like the Crowley that he knew. The suave, always in control businessman.

"High. Drunk. 'M all kinds of fun things at the moment," Crowley informed him. There was a sniffling sound on the other end. "I didn't mean to kill her, I swear. I forgot how easy it was to exsanguinate you squishy people..."

"You killed someone!?" He didn't know why he was so surprised by that - Crowley was the King of Hell. He killed people on a daily basis, most likely.

A shaky intake of breath. "It was an accident," he mumbled. "I promise. Pinky swear."

"Damn it, Crowley!"

"She's in the bathtub. She was a whore. They're much more expensive than they used to be, did y'know that?"

"For the love of- where the hell are you?" Dean demanded, already rising from his bed. Wherever Crowley was, he'd gone completely off the deep-end.

"I..." There was a fumbling sound. "The Meadowview. I'm in... where am I... I'm in Vegas, I think."

"What room?"

"173," Crowley told him. "Gonna slip in a visit tonight, Squirrel? I always knew you'd jump m'bones eventually..."

"Go to hell," Dean growled. "Stay where you are. I'm coming to you. I'll be there before dark - and don't kill any more hookers!" He hung up the phone before Crowley could deliver a reply. Dean grabbed his duffel bag from his closet - it was only half-packed, but he didn't care at the moment - and then scooped up the Impala's keys up from his night stand.

He exited his room, headed into the foyer and then up the stairs, his destination the garage. He didn't bother telling Sam where he was going. He doubted very much that his younger brother would care, anyway.

In two minutes time, the Impala was pulling onto the dusty Kansas road, and he was headed for Vegas.

As the sun set on Las Vegas, Dean stood outside of Room 173, and he couldn't help but feel anxious at what he might find inside. Crowley had sounded completely wrecked on the phone... Dean wasn't used to dealing with Crowley in any capacity other than reluctant allies or enemies.

He was never in a position where Crowley might need... help, or something. Real help. Like emotional help. Which was not even close to Dean's area of expertise.

However, he'd seen his fair share of addiction in his time, and faced it himself. So if he was going to have to drag the King of Hell out of here kicking and screaming and then sober him up, then so be it. Not because he cared, because they needed Crowley to find the blade so they could kill Abaddon, and they needed Crowley in control of Hell and not some other demon.

That was all.

Dean sighed, knocking on the door. At first, he received no response. Huffing, Dean pounded harder on the door. "Hey, your majesty, you mind letting me in?" Still nothing. "Crowley, open the damn door or I'm breaking it down!"

There was a click. The hotel room door swung open. Crowley must've opened it with his mind, as he wasn't standing in front of the door. Dean slipped in, closing the door behind him, and took in the disaster of a hotel room.

The Meadowview was a relatively high class hotel. Certainly more than he and Sam would ever be able to afford. Right now, however, it was in worse shape than even the scuzziest motels that he and his brother had stayed at.

Empty bottles of Craig, champagne, and expensive wine littered the room, and many of the stains on the floor seemed to match the contents that had once been in the bottles. The whole placed reeked of booze, and underneath that stench, Dean caught a faint whiff of death and decay - his eyes went to the bathroom door, which was pointedly shut.

Clothes were scattered over the floor of the room. He could see Crowley's suit coat, button-down, wool overcoat, trousers, socks, boxers (Ew, Dean thought distractedly) and shoes all thrown helter skelter around the room. Then, a skimpy skirt, brassiere, tank top, and heels. All presumably belonging to the woman now drained and dead in the hotel bathtub.

The TV was on; the show seemed vaguely familiar. People in white lab coats were milling around - it wasn't Doctor Sexy, but it seemed to be a medical drama of some variety. House MD, he was pretty sure.

Enter Crowley. He was laying spread eagle and face down on the king-sized bed, his head smashed into one of the pillows and the white comforter tangled around his legs. He was in a black bathrobe that mercifully covered enough of him so that he was at least somewhat decent. He wasn't moving at the moment, but if he'd opened the door, he must've been in at least partially okay condition.

Dean's eyes went to the night stand. Empty needles on a bloodstained steel tray. There were over a dozen of them.

"Crowley!" Dean called, walking over to the bed, making sure to avoid the various bottles and long-stemmed glasses on the floor. He put a hand on the demon's shoulder and shook him. This elicited nothing but an unhelpful groan from Crowley.

"Go away."

Dean rolled his eyes, pushing at Crowley's side until he'd flipped the demon king over. His beard had gotten much thicker since the last time Dean had seen him. His hair was longer as well, and not in its usual neatly combed state, but rather in a wild disarray, sticking up in odd places.

His dark green eyes were bright, feverish, and his pupils were dilated to the point that they almost blacked out his eyes completely. Yeah. High as a bird in flight. And if the smell of the demon's breath was any indication, he was still wasted as well.

"Wow. You look like shit," Dean commented. Crowley threw an arm over his eyes, as apparently the light was too much for him.

"You sure do know how to make a girl feel special," he said, his words still dragging.

Dean paced around the hotel room, trying to figure out how to approach this. There wasn't exactly a handbook on how to deal with demon kings that went off the rails.

"So, this is what you've been doing for weeks?" Dean inquired, walking over to the wall length window. He looked out at the twinkling Las Vegas lights. There was a thin strip of orange on the horizon, a fading remnant of the blazing hot desert sun. "Laying around, getting high, drinking until you can barely remember your name and watching House reruns?"

"House is a beautiful program," Crowley slurred. "And I can remember m'name just fine," he continued weakly. "Crowley. Only one word, 's not exactly difficult." Crowley sat up with a good deal of effort, leaning over the side of his bed to grasp a half empty glass of champagne sitting on the floor. Dean quickly snatched it out of his hand.

"Uh-uh. I'm cutting you off, starting now," Dean said, setting the glass on the TV stand. Crowley shot him a glare and twirled his fingers. The glass reappeared in his hands. Defiantly, he downed the remained in one gulp. "You're a fucking child, you know that?"

"Oh, now you've gone and hurt my feelings," Crowley muttered, dropping the glass to the ground and rolling over on his side away from Dean. "Get out of here, Squirrel. I don't need you."

"You need someone," Dean countered. "And there ain't anyone else lining up to come and drag your ass out here, so I guess it's gotta be me."

"I never asked you to come for me. I never asked for help from you or anyone else," Crowley growled, his words barely more than a rumble in his throat.

"You called me," Dean pointed out, coming to stand at Crowley bedside.

"I was drunk."

"You're still drunk."

"I was drunker then," Crowley argued petulantly. "Get out."

"No," Dean said. "I'm not leaving you." Where the hell did that come from? "I'm dragging you back to the bunker, and we're getting you clean."

"Why bother? Shouldn't you be happy that I'm like this... that I'm ruined?" Crowley let out a bitter little laugh that led into a drunken hiccup. "Not much of a threat to you and yours now, am I?"

Dean just shook his head. "Yeah, well, for the time being, we're on the same side. And aren't you forgetting something? Like the fact that Abaddon is running around raising Hell and trying to usurp you? Oh, and the magic Knight killing knife you're supposed to be looking for, remember that?"

"What's the point, eh? Abaddon's stronger than me. Half of my followers defected to her as soon as I was indisposed... if there's no loyalty, there's no power... no kingdom..." Crowley let out an unsteady breath. "I'm a fake king on a plastic throne," he murmured, burying himself further under the covers.

Great. Now he was getting poetic on him.

"No, you're not," Dean insisted. "You're better than this, Crowley. You're better than getting wasted in some hotel room while everything you worked so damn hard for comes crashing down. You're better than shooting up with human blood and drinking a friggin' liquor store."

"How do you know what I am?" Crowley hissed. "You don't have a clue."

"We've been enemies for so long, we're practically friends," Dean said. "And yeah, I know that you're better than this." He bit the inside of his lip. "I don't even understand how you got hooked on the stuff. I mean, what could human blood even do for you?"

Crowley shifted onto his back, and he watched Dean with glistening eyes. "Do you know what it's like to feel nothing?" he asked lowly. "To feel cold, to feel empty for centuries?" Crowley pulled up the sleeve of his robe, revealing a grouping of tracks marks in the crook of his elbow, the entire area bruised and swollen from the amount of times it'd been stabbed with the syringe. "This makes me feel again. It makes me feel something." He let his head sink back against the pillows. "It makes me feel alive," he whispered.

"What you're feeling can't be anything good," Dean said, and his stomach was doing unpleasant flips. This wasn't Crowley. The mess of a demon in front of him wasn't the omnipresent, collected, manipulative king he'd known for years.

Right now, he seemed... hell, he almost seemed human.

"It's not," Crowley admitted, allowing his sleeve to fall from his grasp. "But it's better than nothing." He closed his eyes for a moment. "Anyway, that's what the alcohol's for. Dulls... everything."

"So what, you want to feel enough, but not too much?" Dean asked, a hint of anger slipping into his voice.

"Ding-ding, give that girl a cigar," Crowley said, covering his eyes with his palms and dragging in a ragged breath. "If I was just throwing down the blood, I probably would've killed myself by now."

The stunning bluntness of the comment hit Dean square in the chest, almost knocking the breath out of him. The idea of Crowley killing himself rooted itself into his mind, and Dean found he didn't like the thought - not at all. In spite of threatening to kill the demon on a routine basis, he just...

He didn't want him to die.

No. He really didn't.

"That's not how being human works, Crowley," Dean said. "You can't just take the good and leave the crap. You gotta deal with all the shit, the guilt, the self-loathing - if you want any of the good stuff to mean anything, you have to feel the bad stuff, too."

"What good stuff?" Crowley asked. He lowered his hands from his eyes, and Dean saw that he was crying. Oh, that was a whole new level of wrong. "What could I feel that would be good? Pride?" He gestured at himself pointedly. "Happiness? What've I got to be happy about?" A tear escaped his eye and trailed down his cheek, getting lost in his beard. "I've got nothing."


"And love?" He snorted. "What've I got to love? Who could I love... who the hell would love me? I'm a bloody monster!" Crowley grimaced, averting his eyes. "This is why I need the booze."

"That's the last thing you need," Dean said, and he bent down, throwing Crowley's arm over his shoulder and hauling the demon out of his bed. He was pliant under his grip. Once he was standing, Crowley was steady enough, so he released him. "Pack your trash. We're leaving."

Crowley looked at him, and Dean was a little frightened by what he saw there. From what he felt radiating off of the demon. Dark, angry, pulsing hunger. Crowley licked his lips, his eyes going blank.

"Been almost two days," he murmured, nostrils flaring. "I... I can smell it in you."

Dean went to back away. "You're freaking me out, man-"

Suddenly, hands were bunched in the fabric of his jacket, and he was thrown onto the bed. Damn it - he'd forgotten that even in a weakened, drunk and stoned state, Crowley was still about ten times stronger than he was.

The demon straddled him, pinning him down by the shoulders. Dean wished he had Ruby's knife, but he'd stupidly left it with Sam. "Get the hell off of me!"

Crowley didn't respond, instead lowering his mouth to Dean's neck and biting down hard. Dean groaned, wincing as the demon's teeth sank into his flesh. He struggled, but Crowley was too strong. The demon sucked on his wound, draining as much blood as he could, tongue lapping up the fluid that pooled on his skin.

Crowley's breath was hot on his neck, his tongue even hotter. Must be the whole demon-Hellfire-thing. Dean's hands went to Crowley's shoulders, and he dug in his blunt nails, trying to budge the demon off of him, but he was firmly latched onto Dean.

Crowley moaned into Dean's neck, sending vibrations throw his upper body. Dean sucked in a sharp breath - what the fuck was happening here?

The demon pulled back, gasping for breath. Dean's blood dripped down his chin, and his teeth and lips were stained with it. His eyes flashed Crossroads red for a few brief moments, the first time Dean had ever seen them do so.

"You taste so good," Crowley murmured huskily before diving down to lick the remainder of Dean's blood from his neck, his body pressing flush against Dean's own.

"Okay, way too fucking weird, dude," Dean said, and he managed to work his arm free enough to let his right fist fly into Crowley's jaw.

Crowley's head jerked back, and it gave Dean enough of an opening to knee the demon in the stomach and roll him off of him. Dean scrambled off of the bed just as Crowley sat up, wiping both his own blood and Dean's away from his mouth with the sleeve of his robe.

"Never, ever do that again," Dean ordered, putting a hand to his neck and grimacing when he felt the saliva and blood caked there. "Christ, haven't you heard of boundaries?"

"I'm an addict," Crowley said, eyes distant and hazy. "Addicts are good at getting their fixes."

Dean just shook his head. He began gathering Crowley's clothes from around the room. He had to get Crowley the hell out of here. The demon sat on the edge of the bed, his eyes lowered to the ground, not making a sound. Once Dean had the demon king's entire ensemble, he shoved the clothes against his chest.

"Get dressed."

Crowley looked up at him. "Dean," he said, sparing him a demeaning nickname. "You can't save everyone."

Dean latched his hands onto the sides of Crowley's robe and hauled him forward several inches, so they were practically nose-to-nose. "Watch me," he growled fiercely. He released Crowley before turning around pointedly, giving him a moment to get dressed.

After a few moments, Crowley cleared his throat, signaling that Dean could turn around. He did, and Crowley was currently fumbling with his tie. He imagined that the demon was currently barely coherent enough to accomplish the task at the moment - the blood seemed to have a very dimming effect on him.

Dean sighed, taking the paisley tie in his hands and doing it for the demon king. He tightened it so it was nestled properly at Crowley's collar. Okay. Good start. Crowley was back in his normal evil salesman getup.

"Alright, come on," Dean said, putting a hand on Crowley's shoulder and guiding him out of the room. "We're getting you out of here." Crowley allowed himself to be pushed forward without resistance.

He supposed he should be grateful that Crowley managed to get some blood in him; he certainly seemed more complacent now. Dean figured he was just too buzzed to care about much of anything.

He decided it would be best if they didn't check out, rather just left hurriedly through one of the fire exits. Especially given the dead body in Crowley's suite. He didn't think that the king had much a chance of getting the security deposit back on that room.

Soon, he was slipping into the driver's seat of the Impala and gesturing for Crowley to get in the passenger's seat. This time, he would actually allow the demon to have shotgun - mainly because there was no one else with them and because he wanted to keep an eye on him.

Dean started up the Impala, pulled out of the parking lot, and they were on the highway, heading back to Kansas. He checked his phone. Sam hadn't called him. As Dean suspected, his brother didn't care where he was at the moment. He sighed, stuffing it back in his pocket. They trundled down the interstate, the windows rolled down to let in the dusty, warm air of the desert.

Above, a bright full moon shone in the sky, guiding them.

Dean's eyes slid to the demon in the passenger seat. Crowley stared at the passing scenery, dark green eyes inscrutable even in the bright moonlight. Dean would've killed to know what was going through Crowley's head at the moment. Maybe it would help him understand the broken mess the demon had become.

He needed to understand what could bring a king to his knees like this.

He turned his gaze back to the road. Doesn't matter, he thought to himself. I'm gonna fix him. I have to. He says I can't save him... heh. Fucking watch me save you, asshat.

He was determined to prove Crowley wrong... for both of their sakes.