The Best of the Worst

Set somewhere in the fic Diners & Coffee Shops. Can be read as a standalone.

It was a difficult decision to make, and it often seemed like that was Crowley's primary role in life. Making the difficult decisions for everyone else.

If he sided with Dean, it would be favoritism. If he sided with Moose, it would look like pandering. And Crowley knew from a long history of immense suffering and bottomless regret that it was never in his best interests – or anyone else's – to side with Castiel.

He took a deep breath, and did what he had to do.

"The diner."

Dean's triumphant "that's what I'm talking about!" as he switched off Baby's engine and hopped out of the car did nothing to ease the disappointment of the other two. Sam sighed in life-long resignation and unfolded himself from the passenger seat to follow his brother, while Cas and Crowley clambered out of the back and into the parking lot.

The flashing sign in the window of the retro-fitted silver and pistachio-colored train car diner had a sign in the window, sloppily written in sharpie, promising a deep-fried onion blossom, smothered in nacho cheese and ranch-style chili and topped with a runny egg – choice of side: a small salad or bowl of refried beans – for only $4.99. Available 24/7.

It wasn't the worst decision Crowley had ever made, but he was certain it made the list of things he would come to regret.

Sam looked longingly over his shoulder at the tea shop across the street. The little old lady – most likely the owner – was still out front with her broom, sweeping the immaculate sideway. She had come out the moment the black '67 chevy had slowed in front of her establishment, glaring at the four of them and wielding her broom with a ferocity that resembled Demon!Dean and his jaw-boned blade.

It was less the owner and more the claustrophobia of cluttered teapots, undusted for decades, the ubiquity of porcelain pastoral figurines, and the menagerie of cats lazing about on greying lace table clothes that had forced Crowley's decision in favor of the diner. Dean had been fairly certain one of the cats had given him the side-eye.

This is what I get, Crowley thought to himself glumly. This is why I insist everyone have something to eat before leaving at dawn to work a case. As the little bell over the door to the diner jingled in that irritating way bells twinkled at every diner, and the inevitable consequences of this particular decision drew ever closer, Crowley thought wistfully of all the fine teas back home in the bunker.

It would be another cup of gritty black sludge for him this morning.

"I still don't understand," Castiel grumped to himself behind Crowley, as they followed the Winchesters into the least abhorrent eatery on the otherwise barren stretch of highway, "what's wrong with a seafood buffet for breakfast?"

This is not supposed to be the next chapter in the One of the Boys series. It was meant to be a little ficlet to post on Tumblr, but obviously it got away from me. I'm not really complaining, since it's the only piece of fanfiction I have written in nearly three months. Hope you enjoyed.