Author Rambles: I'm on a roll. Need I say anymore?

And the Angst Queen did cry: "ANGST ANGST ANGST ANGST!"

And also… "IT'S THE END!" How about that? Thank you for the reivews, words of support, alerts and faves, and thanks to those who read every chapter and didn't think, 'dayum. She's nuts.' It's lovely to be loved. :L

This has Bully-but –then –Big-Brotherly! Dean, Emo-and- depressed! Sam, mentions of Guardian! Gabriel and Surprisingly- kind! Crowley. Yup, it's the full crew.

Warning: Contains swearing, violence, angst, mentions of attempted suicide, and attempted non-con. Yup, I like to hurt Sammy. You read at your peril, all right?

Disclaimer: As always, I do not own Supernatural. Not even a teeny knife or weeny gun. If I did, well… Life would be good.

Pro Bono

'Lover and friend hast Thou put far from me; and darkness is my only companion.'
~'The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing', M.T Anderson. ~

When Dean opened his eyes, he immediately closed them again. Damn, travelling like that made him dizzy. He hated it. Next time, he was driving.

"In my defense, I did tell you to hold on." Crowley remarked dryly, and Dean opened his eyes again to see that they where now back inside their latest crappy motel room. He was leaning against the Crossroads demon, who was still holding Sammy. Dean glared at the demon. He also hated it when the damn thing read his mind.

"Don't even." He said threateningly, as Crowley opened his mouth. "Stop doing that. It freaks me out. And," Dean continued in his rant as Crowley watched, apparently amused by his antics, "I don't care what you say to defend yourself, Crowley. Jumping around like that isn't nice. At all." He glowered at the demon who looked as though he was trying not to laugh. "It's not funny!" Rolling his eyes, Dean looked away from the demon and looked to his baby brother. He felt anger stirring up as he saw what his brother had been subjected too. Even though he had taken revenge on the demon back in the alleyway, part of him wished he had taken more time doing it. The bastard got off easy, he thought.

"Put him down on the bed there." He said to the demon, gesturing to the bed closest to the window. "I'll get our med kit from the bathroom." He paused in his movements after the sentence had left his mouth. Dean was reluctant to leave his brother again, even if it was just a quick journey of a few steps to his right in the same room. He bit his lip, considering.

Crowley rolled his eyes. "Dean, I am hardly going to eat your brother. He'll be fine for the second you are away." He carefully carried the youngest Winchester to the designated bed, and with the greatest of care laid the shivering Sam down on it. He stood beside the bed, looking at the young man lying on it. He had a strange expression in his eyes when regarding his brother, Dean saw. Was it pity? Or compassion? But a whimper from the bed drew his attention back to his brother.

Sam moaned. His head was killing him, and his ribs felt as though they were attempting to burst through, alien style. The scratches on his chest burned, and the bite marks around his neck and back were throbbing. He felt cold, and ready to throw up. Sam closed his eyes, but opened them again quickly. He wanted to see where he was; see that his brother was nearby. He quickly sought out Dean.

"…'Ean?" He muttered through still-bleeding lips. He coughed, the action grating his poor ribs and making him moan in pain once more.

"I'll be right back, Sam." Dean said to his brother, feeling his heart break as he heard how weak Sammy sounded. He raced away into the bathroom, gathering up the supply of bandages, threads, needles and anti-septic lotion he would need. His mind was buzzing with what had happened. How could he have driven his brother off like that, and abandon him to… Those sons of bitches in that alleyway? And why had he done it? He sighed to himself as he walked back to where his brother lay. He would never forgive himself, and he could understand if Sam would blame him for what he had been subjected to. Some brother he was. If only he had gotten there sooner. If only he hadn't shouted what he had at Sam!

He quickly pulled up a chair beside Sam's bed and look around for somewhere to put all the medical supplies on. Deciding to put them on the bed on a spot that wasn't covered by an injured Sam, and started to pick out the anti-septic lotion from the pile and gathered up the towels he had nicked from the bathroom.

"I'm sorry for all this, Sammy." He apologised to his brother. "This may hurt you a bit, but it's all good, yeah?" He watched as his brother blearily tried to focus on him. "Yeah, that's good. Keep looking at me, kiddo. Look at your handsome big bro." He was rewarded with a tiny smile. Behind him, Crowley snorted. Dean jumped. He had forgotten, with all this worrying about his brother that the demon was still here.

"Not a believer in modesty, are we, Deano?" The demon asked, snickering. Dean decided to ignore that one, and focused again on his baby brother. He carefully pried his little brother's arms away from his bleeding chest, feeling another surge of anger when he saw the blood and bruising there.

"Jesus, they did a number on you, Sammy." He muttered. His father had taught him that when you were dealing with someone who was injured and in shock, you were to talk to them, keep them awake and never mention how bad their injuries looked. But Dean forgot this rule as the monster inside him burned with fury against the filth that had hurt his brother.

Sam winced as Dean began to clean his scratches and dab them with the anti-septic lotion. When he had been a child, he had christened the lotion the 'stingy water' because of the burn it brought when applied. He shivered as Dean started to gently apply bandages to the open cuts. The hands on his skin remained him of that thing that had been pressed up against him. He told his frantic brain that it was his brother –Deanisgood Deanisgood Deanisgood. Goodkindgentle. He flinched as Dean once again put a hand on his chest, applying pressure to one particular bandage. Perhaps his brother picked up on his flinching, and knew why, for he immediately stopped.

Dean sighed, watching as his brother shivered. He knew that he had to talk to Sam about what had happened to him, but he didn't want to bring up bad memories. Personally, he would have preferred Sam to be patched up and to go to sleep first, but he knew that Sam would only have nightmares. Better tackle this shit head on now, and be with him when he talks.

"Sammy, it's me. Only me. You're safe with me, you know that." He said, but deep down he felt a twinge of guilt. Sam hadn't been safe with him earlier, when he had shouted at him and ordered him to leave.

Sam stirred, looking at Dean through half-closed eyes. "They're dead…Yeah?" He whispered, his voice sounding hoarse. Dean nodded, not trusting himself to speak. He cleared his throat.

"Yeah, Sammy. Those sons of bitches are dean and gone. No need to be worried about them. And I'm here for you. You're safe." He said, watching as Sam looked at him.

"He wanted… To break me." Sam whispered, closing his eyes. He swallowed. "I was…Terrified in case he did, Dean!" He trembled.

Now it was Dean's turn to swallow. He was furious with those things for what they had done to his brother, who had already been hurting enough as it was. He was furious at himself for not preventing this from happening, and he was heartbroken that Sam had been subjected to something like this. His little brother.

"I know, Sam. I know. But he didn't, did he? You didn't break." He said, reaching for his little brother's hand and holding it. "You're alright. You're okay." He watched as a tear trickled down from Sam's closed eyelids. He looked down at their entwined hands, feeling a weak squeeze from his brother's. He would never let him go again, not ever. Sam was his brother, damnit, and he loved him. Always had and always will.

He cleared his throat again, and looked at his brother. "You go to sleep, Sammy. I'll just patch you up, and then I'll watch over you, alright? You're safe here, I promise."

Sam felt the lure of darkness tug at him, and decided to give in. He briefly opened his eyes to look at his brother. His big brother, who had saved him. His big brother whom he loved, and who he knew loved him back. Dean had come for him, and that was all that counted. "I know… I'm safe… 'Ean… I'm with you…" He muttered, and closed his eyes again. Within seconds he was asleep, no longer feeling in pain, but happy. Happy to be near Dean again.

"Aha!" There was a brief smatter of quiet laughter. "You're gonna go to sleep at last!" Another soft stroke against his face which was so comforting.

"You're so not helping me, Gabe." Sam muttered groggily, struggling to sit up. He was immediately pushed back down, and the blankets were re-arranged around him. He was cocooned in warmth, which made him all the more sleepy. Not to mention that he had an Archangel lying beside him, with his head resting on Sam's shoulder. "You're making me wanna stay up when you do that."

Gabriel laughed delightedly. "I told you! I told you you'd never be able to resist my charms!" He giggled, prompting Sam to roll his eyes. But he was really trying not to laugh. Dean was next door, and wide awake as it was. He didn't want him to barge in and tell them to shut up, and then wink at Sam in that way which made him blush.

Gabriel ceased giggling after a few moments, and then lightly poked Sam. "One, two, three, four. I declare a poke war!"

Sam rolled his eyes again in a mixture of exasperation and amusement. Exasperation because Gabriel had a habit of doing this, and amusement because there were times when he wondered just exactly how old Gabriel was.

"A poke war?" He asked, yawning heavily. "Do you not mean a thumb war?"

"Silly Sammy." Came Gabriel's response. Sam twisted his head around to see his Archangel smirking. "I poked you, thus declaring a poke war. If I'd wanted a thumb war, I would've grabbed your thumb or something." He laughed again.

"Oh. Right." Sam murmured, yawning again. Gabriel noticed and with the same hand he had poked him with, he pulled the blankets closer around Sam.

"The war can wait 'til morning. You're knackered, Sammy-boy. Get some sleep." He edged closer to Sam, and giggled again. "You really are freakishly tall."

"Thanks. But maybe you're just freakishly small?" Sam said, smirking himself. He yelped when he got whacked with a pillow. "Fine, I'm kidding." He leant into his pillows with a smile. He had closed his eyes when he suddenly opened them again, laughing.

"For the love of… Samuel Winchester, do you ever sleep?" Gabriel asked, whacking Sam again with the pillow. "What can it possibly be this time?"

"I was just thinking about feathers," Sam said, battling off the pillow whilst laughing. "It's a good thing I'm not allergic to them. I'm not talking about pillows," He said hastily, seeing another one approaching him, "I'm talking about your wings. Imagine if I was allergic to feathers. I couldn't be near you." He laughed again.

Gabriel thought for a moment, his head on Sam's shoulder. "Well, what if you were? What would you have me do, Winchester? Cut them off or something?" Sam giggled. "'Cause you know, I don't love you that much!" He paused. "Why don't you cut your hair?"

Sam looked up. "How on earth does my hair fit into this topic about your wings?" He asked, puzzled. He yawned again.

Gabriel seemed confused. "I haven't got the faintest idea." He laughed, and nuzzled Sam's neck. "The poke war in the morning will decide how that works out."

"I shall wait with bated breath." Sam mumbled, closing his eyes again.

Gabriel smiled, and watched as Sam slowly drifted to sleep. He sighed, and his smile looked startlingly sad.

"Oh, Sammy-boy. I don't think you know just what I would do for you."

Dean gingerly untangled his hand from Sam's and sighed again, looking at the work before him. Where to begin? He resumed from where he had left off, bandaging the remaining scratches on his brother's chest before working on the bite marks on his neck and back. One on his neck looked particularly deep, so he was forced to stitch it up. He was thankful that Sam was deep in sleep and so was unable to feel it. He had always hated getting stitches, one of the reasons why he was loath to do it himself. Once he had completed the stitching, he covered it with a bandage and surveyed his patient. Just the forehead to stitch up – the cuts on his lips and hands would only need a dab of anti-septic from him, and his nose had not been broken. Dean got to work, humming quietly as he did so. Every so often he would drop his gaze to look at the still figure of his sleeping brother, just to check that he was there; that he was alright.

When he was done, he rubbed his eyes with his hands, yawning slightly. But his work wasn't over. He looked at his brother's chest. It was heavily bruised, mostly around the right side of his ribcage, and Dean prayed that no ribs were broken. He carefully felt along both sides of the ribcage, just to be sure, and breathed a sigh of relief when discovering that there were no broken ribs; they were only badly bruised. Of course, they were painful enough and Sam would be in some discomfort for a few weeks, but if they had been broken, things would have been definitely worse. So Dean gently began to wrap a long bandage around Sam's chest, carefully lifting him up, so that the ribs would be cushioned. Hopefully it would alleviate some of the pain, too.

That done, he leant back in his seat and surveyed his work. He shook his head, however. If only Sam had not needed to be patched up. He ran a hand through his hair, before leaning forward a dropping a kiss on his baby brother's forehead.

"We're gonna be okay, kiddo." He whispered to the sleeping figure, before easing himself out of his chair, bending over the bed to gather up the med supplies to return to the bathroom. He'd have to do something about the bloody towels, though. The thought made him smile slightly. He and his brother must be the motel guests from Hell. He turned around to look at Crowley.

"Are you gonna…" The question died on his lips as he looked into empty space. Damn demon must have fluttered away again. However, Dean didn't feel frustrated when thinking about the Crossroads demon. He no longer felt wary of him. He had to admit that Crowley had helped Sam – firstly giving Dean the heads up, before taking him there personally. And then he had actually gone crazy in that alleyway, or so it had seemed. Dean walked to the bathroom again, supplies in his arms, thinking heavily. What exactly had that all been about? And what the hell had Crowley done to those demons? Granted, he certainly wasn't complaining or anything – the more pain those things had felt, the better – but he had never seen anything like it. Making a mental note not to seriously piss Crowley off in the near future, Dean hastily left everything away and returned to his baby brother's bedside. He looked so pale, and the bruises developing on his face only served to highlight that.

"I'd do anything for you, Sammy. You know that?" He whispered to his brother, reaching out and tucking a lock of hair out of his eyes. "No matter what happens, that won't ever change." He glanced at the watch on his wrist – it was well past midnight now, but Dean didn't plan on catching any sleep. He was going to stay up and watch over his brother, and he would think about what to do in the morning when that became an issue. Firstly, however, he wanted to fix that protective line of salt around the door; the line he had broken to let Crowley slip in. He would fix it so nothing else could attempt to harm his brother.

He dug around in his bag for the –nearly empty – salt container, and got to work. He had just finished the line, and thickening the salt lines around all the windows too, when there was a sharp rap on the door.

"You've got to be kidding me." Dean muttered under his breath, a smile making its way onto his face. He walked back over to the door.

"Lemme guess. Behind Door Number One, we have a tall, beautiful brunette. She enjoys yoga and being adventurous." He said, trying not to laugh as he heard a dry, 'ha ha'. He opened the door to see a slightly peeved-off looking Crowley. "It's your fault for vanishing, dude. You know I always replace the gaps in the salt when they're broken."

"Does that rule of fixing broken things apply to your relationship with your brother as well, by any chance?" The demon ground out, folding his arms. Dean glared at him.

"Don't think that just because you helped me tonight, that you get to say that kind of shit to me." He said, watching as the demon mimed wiping away a tear.

"I'm heartbroken that I am still not considered a part of the family." Crowley said, pretending to sob. Dean rolled his eyes at the demon's behaviour.

"What do you want, Crowley?" He asked, stifling a yawn with the back of his hand. "I'm kinda busy looking after my brother, y'know." To his surprise, Crowley just nodded.

"I know. But I was wondering whether you required any assistance with that, too."

Dean stared at him, disbelief written across his face. He leant against the door. "You wanna help watch over my brother?" He asked, shaking his head. "Now, why would you wanna do that for?" The Crossroads demon met his gaze, but didn't make any venture to speak. Dean kept looking at him, and suddenly he remembered something. "Is this something similar to why you told me what was happening to Sam? About why you were in the same place as us?"

Crowley frowned. "What is this, twenty questions?" He asked impatiently. "Look, just let me in, and maybe – just maybe, mind you – I shall fill you in."

Dean let out a low whistle. "You can't say something like that to me dude, and not expect me to reply with, 'tell me now and only then can you come in'." He watched as the demon glared at him. "I can just close the door on you right now, and you know it. The salt means you can't enter, too."

"I'm not saying anything out here." Crowley ground out in frustration.

"Then it looks as if you just got rejected, Call-boy." Dean laughed. He was about to close the door when it was swung back against his fingers, and then out of his reach. He swore violently, albeit quietly, and looked to see a now-smirking Crowley staring at him. Smug bastard and his damn psychic powers, Dean thought angrily.

"You were saying?" Crowley ventured politely, tilting his head to one side. Muttering furiously, and nursing his sore hand, Dean once again broke the line of salt with his foot. Crowley neatly side-stepped his way into the room, and the door closed behind him. Dean grabbed him by the shoulder and dragged him to the kitchen corner. It was close enough to Sam to check up on him and far away enough to talk without disturbing him,

"Right. Start talking." Dean ordered, quickly glancing at his brother, and then focusing on the Crossroads demon, who was smoothing out his rumpled suit, care of being dragged by the oldest Winchester.

"Where would you like me to begin?" He enquired, smirking whilst pulling a lit cigarette out from nowhere. Dean pointedly gave it a look. Crowley rolled his eyes. "Your bouncing baby brother won't inhale this. We're too far away." Dean continued to look, and Crowley sighed. "Alright! I'll make any smoke vanish then, okay?" He took a long puff, and leant against the wall, cigarette in hand.

Dean didn't know what to say. He had been wondering about the reasons for why the demon had come to help him and his brother for some time, though they hadn't been top in his priorities – Sammy had been. Yet here was the chance he had to finally discovering the reason why. Part of him was actually excited, and another part was nervous. He decided to plough ahead, and see where it got him. Besides, he had a loaded shotgun nearby if he didn't like what he was hearing.

Crowley threw him a look. "That's not a very friendly thing to consider doing, is it?" Dean took a deep breath, and counted to ten.

"I thought I told you to stop taking peeks inside my head." He said angrily, trying to keep his voice down. Crowley just shrugged.

"Can't help it if you are thinking your wonderful little thoughts so loudly, can I?" He took another drag, and then another. Maybe he was nervous too, Dean thought. But could the self-styled 'King of the Crossroads' get nervous? The thought made him chuckle. He could see Crowley about to open his mouth, and he decided to get there first.

"I mean it. No more listening to what I'm thinking!" He ordered, and then Dean decided to start asking questions. "So… Why did you help me and Sammy? For what reasons? I mean, you being a demon and all, there must've been something in it for you." He said, watching the demon very closely for any reaction.

Crowley sighed, and took one last puff of the cigarette before he had it vanish. He then crossed his arms, and looked, not at Dean, but straight ahead. "Pro bono." He muttered, "I did it pro bono."

Dean raised an eyebrow. "For free? But… That doesn't make any sense!" He paced up the little area of the kitchen, and spun around to look at Crowley again. "Why would you help us for free? It's hardly because it makes you feel all soft and gooey inside!"

At that, Crowley visibly flinched, and then shook his head heatedly. Damnit, he was a demon, not a human who could be easily hurt by words. "Let's just say that I was asked to do so, alright?" He wasn't surprised to see Dean shake his head in disagreement again. In fact, he would've been surprised to have seen him nod in agreement.

"You're not getting away with only saying that! Come on, who? Or are you lying to me about this?" Dean said darkly, glancing to see whether his brother had been woken up by their exchange. Thankfully, Sam hadn't woken up and actually seemed at peace, so Dean concentrated again on the demon in front of him. Who was now glaring at him, his dark eyes burning into his own.

"We've been through this one before, Winchester." He spat, "And I specifically remember telling you that you had to trust me 'next time'. Well, now is that time!" He growled, shoving his hands into his pockets. Dean had to admit that whenever Crowley got really pissed, he was intimidating. Not that he would ever say that to him. Of course not. And you better not be listening to a word of this, you asshole, Dean thought frantically.

"Fine. Let's say then that I do trust you enough to believe you this one time. You can hardly expect me to trust you wholly, not after our," he glanced at his sleeping brother's form, "track record with your lot."

Crowley's eyes lost some – but only a small amount – of their burning rage. "I understand that." He said curtly. Dean sighed, dragging a hand through his messy hair.

"Well, are you going to say who then?" He asked, feeling a tad irritable. "Not getting any younger here, you know. Just more tired."

"You remind me strongly of a grizzly bear, Dean Winchester." Crowley said, with the briefest of tight-lipped smiles. The Crossroads demon seemed to think hard about something for a moment, before sighing himself. His shoulders slumped. "It was…" His gaze fell upon the youngest Winchester. "Gabriel." He muttered the word, his eyes not meeting Dean's.

Who was astonished. And didn't know what to say. Gabriel? The Archangel Gabriel? As in, the ex-Trickster, pain-in-the-ass, runaway angel Gabriel?

"Yes." Crowley answered, and Dean was too busy being amazed at this piece of information to tell him off for poking around inside his head again.

"Gabriel… As in, 'Mary, you're having a baby' Gabriel? But… But why?" Dean said, his tongue tripping over the words. "Why would he ask you, a demon, to do that? No offense." He added hastily, seeing Crowley look at him with a look of something that wasn't pure amusement. He honestly could not believe it. He knew Gabriel and his brother had… Well… Been close, to say it mildly; knew that Gabriel would've done anything to keep Sammy safe, but why track down a demon to do so? It made no sense.

"Look, he… I know he and your brother had a thing." Crowley said, rolling his eyes at the look on Dean's face. "He told me, but I could feel it rolling off him when I saw him." He snorted; as if love was something he considered unnecessary. "He summoned me, and managed to stop his brothers and mine from listening in. Gabriel informed me of a request he had for me. Said that he knew he was going to die, but that he also knew that darling Sammy was going to have tough times ahead of him. He asked me to watch over him and to keep him safe. Oh, he mentioned you, as well." The demon started to smirk. "He said in no uncertain terms that although you were an ass, he wanted to you to be safe, too. If you were in danger, Winchester Junior would be as well." He paused, staring straight ahead again. "He said that I would be able to help the two of you, if I wanted."

Dean stood there, still with that expression of disbelief on his features. Some of what Crowley had said made a bit of sense, he had to admit, but still – why a demon? Why him? Why did Gabriel not ask Cass, a fellow angel, to do it? But then again, who knew with Gabriel. That little bugger loved to screw things around, Dean thought with a smile. He really had gotten used to him, and he had been sad when he had died. Of course, it had been Sam who had been affected most, but still. Dean really did miss the Archangel; miss his weird sense of humour. Although he enjoyed not having to worry about being on the receiving ends of his pranks, something that had happened a lot. Damnit, Gabriel, he thought. Trust you to be still playing around, even after you're gone!

"But… Why you?" He asked Crowley, looking him in the eye. "Why did he not ask Cass – who is, after all, an angel – to look after Sam? He's usually with us, too. We've known him for over a year – you we've known for what? A month at most?" He shook his head, sighing. "I just don't get it. Why pick a bloody demon?"

"Look, Winchester. You cannot paint everyone with the same brush. Not all demons are bad, just like not all of those winged pompous dicks are good." Crowley shook his head. "Although with the angels, you are walking a fine line. And speaking of angels, Gabriel knew, as do I, that your little feathered friend Castiel can barely protect himself. Oh come on," He exclaimed as Dean opened his mouth in protest, "You do know that it is true. But I digress." Crowley paused and seemed to pick his words with care. "I am old, Deano. Older than you would think-"

"Considering the way you act." Dean muttered wryly. Crowley laughed sarcastically.

"Hilarious. Anyway, Gabriel and I…We go back. Know each other well, you could say." Seeing Dean raise both eyebrows at that statement, Crowley quickly continued, "Not in the same way as your brother and Gabriel, let me assure you." He leant back against the wall, looking weary. "He knew he could ask me to help him."

Dean struggled to contain a yawn. It wasn't that he found what he was hearing boring, oh no. Far from the contrary. It was just that it was late, and he hadn't been sleeping well enough as it was. He spared another quick glance towards his brother. Sam seemed to be at peace, as far as he could tell. Which did surprise him, seeing what he had recently been subjected to. But he wasn't complaining. Sam needed to sleep; even more than what he himself did. Dean let his attention be drawn back to the demon leaning against the horrible yellow wall of the motel room. He shook his head. This was so hard for him to believe – Gabriel and Crowley knew each other? From when? And how? Then again, considering how they both acted, perhaps it was better not to enquire too deeply about that.

Dean went to the refrigerator and pulled out a beer. He needed it to keep awake, and also to provide some sort of antidote to the craziness of the night.

"Can I ask how you two knew each other?" He asked Crowley warily, unscrewing the cap of the bottle and taking a drink. "Or am I gonna get bullshit from you again?"

Crowley sighed, rubbing his temples with his hands. He wasn't really concentrating on the oldest Winchester anymore; in his mind's eyes he was somewhere else. Somewhere bright, and beautiful. Somewhere from a very old and very distant memory. He shook his head to dispel the image. He was a demon, damnit. He shouldn't be feeling so sentimental!

"Earth to the demon. Kinda waiting for an answer, here." Dean muttered, taking another drink.

"I… I cannot recall clearly enough for an answer you would deem 'satisfactory', my dear little Deano." Crowley said, once again choosing his words with the utmost care. Seeing Dean as looked confused, he knew he had to elaborate once more. "I think I first knew him from… The days before I became like this." He gestured to himself. A look of understanding dawned in Dean's eyes.

"Before you were a demon? When you were human?"

Crowley kept his face perfectly emotionless. "Yes."

Dean let out a low whistle, thinking on what Crowley had just said. He could understand if he could not remember memories from his being a human - Hell tortures them out of you, as Dean knew all too well. "Where you as annoying then as you are now?" He asked with a grin.

"It is quite possible, I'm sure." Crowley concluded with a smirk, before continuing. "Once I became a demon, he did not contact me again. But I did hear news of him, about his running away." He snorted. "I had long seen that coming. Just surprised it took so long." He fell silent, apparently lost in his thoughts. Dean decided to prompt him some more. He really was starting to believe this, as crazy as it all sounded.

"So when did he meet up with you to discuss my brother?" He asked, watching for the demon's reaction.

Crowley stretched, and once again produced a cigarette from nowhere. "A few months ago. Just before the great showdown with Lucifer." He took a long puff, exhaling a ring of smoke. "He asked me to watch over Sam, blah blah blah, keep the two of you out of trouble, blah blah." He rolled his eyes. "Something that isn't exactly a walk in the park, as you know all too well." He took another long drag, looking at Sam this time. "I told him he could shove it all up his arse, but he pulled his trump card. I should have expected it, to be honest." Dean watched as the cigarette vanished, along with the traces of smoke. "But you never knew what to expect from Gabriel."

Dean nodded absentmindedly, "Tell me about it. Had you on your toes all the time." He muttered, setting the beer down on the kitchen table with a muffled thump. He was too busy thinking about what this 'trump card' must have been in order to have made Crowley change his mind. Obviously it had been something big; a demon doesn't just agree to become bodyguards for Hell's Most Wanted for nothing. He didn't know whether or not he would get the answer he wanted by asking, but decided to throw caution to the winds and attempt it, anyway. "Look, what was it he said that changed your mind?" He waited, hoping to hear an answer.

There was a pause, and he watched as Crowley stood up from the wall and tucked his hands into his pockets. He had a feeling he knew what he was about to be told.

"That's strictly between Gabriel and I, Winchester." There was a veiled order in there somewhere. "Besides, I have already told you too much." His eyes flashed, daring Dean to protest.

Dean sighed, and held his hands up, admitting defeat. "Fine. I get it. You ain't talking anymore."

There was a mutual silence for a few minutes, before Crowley announced abruptly, "I had better go. There are still things for me to do, apart from babysitting. As much as I enjoy it, of course." He said with a smirk, making Dean roll his eyes. "A little client to meet, and all that. Time stops for no-one, unfortunately."

"Hey, you're the one who came here, dude. I never asked for help." Dean stopped, thinking. "Are you gonna be tagging us from now on?" He picked up his drink and took another gulp. "'Cause you know, having a demon riding along with us will make us so popular."

Crowley snorted, and made his way towards the door. "And having myself associated with the Winchesters will, of course, vastly improve my reputation." He frowned, considering. "But it is damned to Hell anyway, seeing as I did surrender the Colt to you. Oh well." He shrugged, another smirk already on his features.

Dean rolled his eyes again, and couldn't help but laugh. "It was your choice to help us, you know." He said, looking at the demon.

"Indeed. Hand over the Colt, or be shot by it. What a hard decision." Crowley said dryly, "Now, as delightful as this little chat as been, Deano, I must dash." He narrowed his eyes, suddenly looking threatening. "Remember to look after your brother. I cannot aid the two of you all the time, you know. I do value my neck slightly more the yours'."

Dean nodded. He did understand what the demon was driving home. Crowley was, after all, a demon. He would think of himself before others, and think it natural. Anyway, he had helped them tonight, and apparently had to look out for them from now on. It was enough, Dean concluded.

He turned around to check his brother. Yes. It was enough. His brother may have been in an even worse state, had it not been for the Crossroads demon. He had to be grateful for that. And Gabriel… Well, it showed that he really did care about Sammy. He would be thankful for that as well.

"Yeah. I get it. Now-" Dean turned around and he stopped talking when he discovered that there was no one there; he was alone in the kitchen. He dragged a hand over his face, holding back a yawn.

"I really hate it when they do that." He muttered groggily, but he was too tired to even feel annoyed. He quickly fixed the salt line once more. "No offense, but don't you turn up again. We're running out of salt." He grumbled to the empty kitchen. Dean then made his way over to the chair next to his little brother's bed, and sat down. He sighed as he relaxed, his muscles aching.

It had been a heck of a long day, and an even longer night. He and Sammy would have a lot to talk about, and that too would take a long time. It was to be expected, especially after everything that they had been through recently. He would tell his little brother that he was sorry for his behaviour over the past few months, and tell him that he loved him. It was the least he could do.

Apart from staying up to watch over him, of course. Dean fidgeted on the chair, trying to find a comfortable position.

"See what I do for you, Sammy." He said with a grin, as he eventually found a comfort and stretched out. "When you wake up, we're gonna get something to eat, and then… Just chill. No thinkin' about hunts, or the Apocalypse. We're just gonna relax." He smiled, looking at the dark rings under his brother's eyes, a result of sleepless nights and being constantly on the go. "I think you'd like that." Dean nodded, as if to settle the deal. He checked his watch again, and then leant his head against the cushion he had re-arranged. "Night, Sammy."

And so that night Sam slept, watched diligently by his big brother. When he had a nightmare at approximately half past four in the morning, it was Dean who calmed him down, soothed him and helped him get back to sleep. And when he woke up at around noon, it was Dean who cheerily greeted him with, "Morning, Samantha. Enjoy your beauty sleep?"

Sam Winchester thought he had died, and gone to Heaven.


There you have it. One finished ficcy. The Angst Queen hopes that you enjoyed!
She also wishes to inform you that seeing as she has been attacked with a new theory to write about, there will be two companions pieces to this. But more of that later!

Thank you again, guys, for reading and reviewing. What an awesome bunch of fellas you all are. :P
Take care now. xx