The first hint Bobby had of trouble was the hard thump against his front door then a low rumble that threatened to shake the house. With a sharp curse, he grabbed his shotgun and stalked over to jerk the door open.

At first he only saw darkness then he looked down. There was a figure huddled there, covered with the remnants of torn clothing and blood. He swore again and peered into the darkness. Seeing nothing alarming, he knelt next to the figure, half-an-eye still on the darkness.

It took him a moment to register what he was seeing. Crowley, the demon. Battered and broken, his skin cracked and bleeding and burnt. It almost looked like someone had taken a blowtorch to him but Bobby suspected it was more along the lines of holy water.

Bobby looked up and around, scowling. Was the demon thrown here as a warning? Or had he somehow escaped his tormentors and, for some reason, come here?

Bobby glowered at his uninvited visitor, fingering the shotgun. It would be ridiculously simple to put an end to the demon. Maybe even merciful, considering the horrifying extent of his wounds. Even as he watched the demon's skin smoked and cracked even more. Which meant there was probably still holy water on him

Bobby's scowl deepened, debating. With a sigh he leaned the shotgun just inside the door and kicked a path in the protective salt. Reaching down to grab the demon, he gritted his teeth against the feel of burnt flesh and pulled him into the house. Closing the door, he quickly closed the salt circle.

That done, Bobby turned back to his unwanted guest and was almost sick. The demon looked even worse in the light. What little clothing he wore was literally burnt into his skin and Bobby's stomach rolled. It was obvious Crowley was deeply unconscious and the man was grateful for that. Made it much easier to do what he needed to do.

"Right," he whispered to himself, steeling himself to once again touch the demon. He rolled him over onto his side, trying to see the extent of the damage. It was obvious the demon had been tortured extensively. mostly with holy water.

Bobby paused, swallowing hard against the bile rising in his throat. Despite the horrible burns he could see suggestive bruising on the demon's hips and thighs; the damage that could have only been caused by a violent rape. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to continue, seeing even more bruises on his arms and back. The damage looked worse on his wrists and ankles and Bobby realized that the demon had somehow been restrained.

"Great. Damn." Bobby rose and walked to the linen closet, pulling out a sheet. Gently he wrapped it around the demon before pulling him up into a fireman's carry. He was surprised at how light he was and for the first time realized that he was thinner than he remembered.

He set the limp body on the guest bed and pulled back the sheet, wincing as flakes of skin came with it. For a moment he dithered. How the hell did you heal a demon? Kill one, sure. He knew a dozen ways to kill a demon but none to help one.

With a sigh he walked over to the medical supply cabinet and opened it to look over the supplies. What could he use on a demon? For a moment he thought about calling someone but who could he call? And why should he anyway? This was a demon, for God's sake!

He stopped abruptly. It would be best all around just to kill the poor bastard. but no, he couldn't do that. Not without at least trying to help him.

"Hope I don't regret this, you damn bastard," he grumbled as he turned back.


With a grunt Bobby set Crowley back on the bed. He had finally resorted to turning on the shower and setting the demon in it to clean him. It proved the easiest way to clean him though hell on Bobby's back. Setting his hands on his back, he stretched then relaxed, looking down at Crowley.

Crowley had thankfully remained unconscious during the entire time Bobby had carefully peeled the remnants of clothing from his body and washed the holy water from his skin. Even worse was cleaning away the blood and filth from the torn flesh. He tried not to think of what could do that kind of damage but a part of him suspected it could have only been done with repeated rape, most likely by more than one assailant. Cleaning his hair had proven to be a nightmare. It had been caked with stuff Bobby didn't even want to think about and he had to resort to cutting out clumps. He winced at the reaction Crowley would have to that.

He looked down at the demon. He was definitely thinner then he remembered; his ribs were actually showing. That had startled the hunter. Demons didn't have to eat; they were sustained by Hell. Of course Crowley would be cut off from Hell, more so than other demons still in Lucifer's favor. Or maybe it had something to do with that anklet literally welded to Crowley's ankle, an unfamiliar sigil etched into it. Bobby suspected there were more on the inside, pressed directly into the skin. He could see no way to remove it short of cutting the leg off.

Bobby reached for the scrubs he'd found in one of the drawers and worked at putting them on Crowley. It wasn't easy dressing a limp body but he managed. As he worked he cataloged the demon's injuries. Three toe nails and two fingernails had been torn out and his entire body was covered with burns caused by holy water. Uncertain as to what else to do, Bobby smeared on burn ointment and wrapped those he could with gauze.

Horror had stacked onto horror when he tried to get the demon to drink some water. There was more damage inside his mouth, even his tongue was burnt and he realized that Crowley had been forced to drink holy water. Which meant he probably had internal damage as well. Bobby had forced himself to take a closer look and was relieved to realize that that damage was actually pretty much healed. Still ugly and undoubtedly painful but healing.

With a sigh, Bobby rose and left the room, walking downstairs and into the kitchen. His mind wandered as he made himself a sandwich, trying to work out when he'd last seen the demon. His hands stilled when he realized that it was almost a year ago. Had Crowley been held captive all this time? His stomach lurched at the thought.

Shortly after the almost-Apocalypse Crowley had shown up on Bobby's doorstep, his customary smirk on his lips. He'd teased and tempted and, much to Bobby's surprise, made him laugh before finally giving the hunter back his soul. He'd stayed for two days before leaving. Bobby had never thought he'd see him again, except maybe as the hunted in some hunt or another but Crowley had returned, loitering around, and, Bobby insisted, getting in the way. Three times he'd done this, enough to get him used to the demon's presence then it had stopped. Bobby had actually been disgusted with himself when he realized he was waiting for the demon to appear and that, heaven forbid, he actually missed him. He'd put Crowley out of his mind, ignoring the twinge of disappointment and went on with his life.

Is that when it happened, whatever it was that had happened? Had Crowley been taken then, captured and rendered powerless, kept a prisoner, something to be tortured and abused sexually? Who or what could have done something like that? And how had he ended up here, especially with no powers of his own?

Bobby looked at the half-eaten sandwich before tossing it into the trash, too ill to finish eating. Demons. Had to be. That meant there had to be a nest of them, probably a large one and maybe close by. That was just great. He'd alert other hunters as he could. He looked around, suddenly realizing it was dark and decided to go to bed.

What dreams he had that night weren't very pleasant.


The next few days went swiftly, though not pleasantly. Bobby tended to the injured demon and spread the news among the hunters about the possibility of a demon's nest. He hoped to get more information when Crowley was conscious and coherent, whenever that may be. He did research and asked careful questions, not wanting anyone to suspect he had a demon in his house.

On the third day everything changed.

Bobby had four books spread out in front of him, scanning first one then another when he heard a thump from upstairs. He paused, blinking then ran up the stairs two at a time, turning into the bedroom his guest was in.

"Crowley ... what?" Crowley wasn't in the bed and Bobby froze, eyes jerking to movement in the far corner. He could see Crowley crouched there, hunched over.

"Damn it, Crowley ..." He fell silent as a broken sound came from the demon. Crowley tried to push himself even further against the wall then slumped in defeat. His entire body was trembling.

Bobby took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Crowley." He tried to keep his voice low and gentle. "It's Bobby." He paused, frowning at the lack of reaction. "Can you hear me?" For a moment he wondered if holy water had been poured into the demon's ears, maybe rendering him deaf.

A sound that would have sounded more appropriate coming from a wounded animal was the only response Crowley made. He wrapped his arms around himself, rocking slightly. His head was down and eyes tightly closed.

Bobby moved closer, crouched just in arm's reach. "Crowley." The demon jerked at his closeness, trying to move away then giving up as he seemed to realize he was in a corner. One of his hands reached out to probe the wall and Bobby's frown deepened at a sudden suspicion. "You're at my place, Crowley. You're safe here." He reached out to touch the short dark hair in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.

The demon trembled harder, a low moan coming from his throat.

Bobby's face tightened, unhappy with the suspicions lurking in his mind. "It wasn't demons, was it, that hurt you? It was humans. Maybe even hunters."

Crowley's body stiffened and he hunched himself down, obviously trying to make himself as small as he could.

Bobby let his hand dropped and he leaned back on his heels. "Damn," he whispered. Satanists, cultists, stupid kids playing with demons ... all were possibilities but Crowley's reactions made him think that it might be hunters.

And he was a hunter.

So maybe Crowley thought he was involved.

"Crowley, listen. What ever happened I wasn't involved. I swear to you, I wasn't. I didn't even realize you were in trouble. If I had," he paused, wondering. "If I had I would have tried to help you." Crowley was listening, he could tell by his body language. "I think you know I'm not that kind of man. Torture for information is one thing but what was done to you ... yeah, I know." His lips twisted into a humorless smile at Crowley's reaction. "I cleaned you up and took care of your ... injuries."

Something crossed the demon's face and a hand wandered hesitantly down his body, finding and fingering the bandages. Some of the wariness left his body and he raised his head then his hand found the anklet. His entire body shuddered and he whimpered.

"I can't get it off. I'm trying to find a way that doesn't involve taking your leg off," Bobby said grimly. "Listen, can you talk? I saw the damage to your mouth."

Crowley hesitated, rocking. "Little." The word was slurred and faltering. "They ... hurt ..."

"But it's healing. That's good." Then what Crowley had said hit him and he frowned. "Wait a minute. Did they hurt you if you tried to talk?"

Crowley nodded jerkily, obviously gaining confidence when he wasn't hurt for talking.

Bobby muttered curses under his breath. He moved forward, ignoring the demon's flinch. "It's okay," he said soothingly. "I'm not going to hurt you." He reached out with both hands to cup Crowley's face. "Open your eyes."

Crowley whimpered but didn't try to pull away. His eyes blinked open and Bobby swallowed more curses. The demon's eyes were pale, the color leeched from them, and disturbingly blank. Bobby could have kicked himself for not checking sooner. "Holy water?"

Crowley nodded. "Every day," he whispered thickly. "Never saw wh-where..."

"Easy. Doesn't matter right now." But Bobby couldn't stop the sudden flow of words.

"In my eyes. The gag they used." His words were halting and broken. "And the ropes they bound me with. Down, fa ... face-down so they could use me whenever they wanted." He resumed rocking, his arms wrapping around himself. "So many of them, laughing and hurting and ..."

"Crowley!" Bobby said sharply, reaching out to grab his shoulders. He ignored the demon's sudden cry of fear, pulling him close into a hug. The demon struggled but Bobby ignored him as he gently stroked the dark hair, murmuring soft gentle words. Crowley slowly stopped struggling, relaxing into the hunter's embrace. Bobby continued to stroke and murmur, showing the demon a kindness he had perhaps never known before. "It's going to be okay. You're safe here. No one knows you're here and they ain't going to find out. Let's get you healed up and see what we can do about that damn anklet. Come on." He helped Crowley to his feet and back to the bed.

Crowley hesitated, reaching out to run his hands over the bedding before plucking at the clothing he wore.

"Scrubs." Bobby grunted. "Had some around. Come on, back in bed." He raised the quilt and guided Crowley under it. The demon huddled under it, blind eyes wandering. "Rest. I'll bring up some broth later. There's some water ..." He cut off his words with a frown. Reaching down he took Crowley's hand, ignoring his flinch, and guided it to the pitcher on the table then to the glass. "There. I'll get that broth."


The next morning Bobby walked out of his bedroom to find the demon out of the bed and making his way around the room with a determined expression on his face. He was running his hands over the dresser, muttering under his breath before moving along the wall, finding and tracing a picture on the wall. Bobby watched him for a long moment before slipping downstairs.

When he came back up, a tray in his hands, it was to find the room empty. For a brief moment he panicked then tipped his head at a thump and a muttered curse from down the hall. Setting the tray on the desk in a corner of the guest room Bobby walked down the hall to the open door of his bedroom, frowning at the sight of Crowley rubbing at his leg.

"We need to set up some ground rules here," he started to say then paused as Crowley let out a startled bleat and hunched down, head ducked as if expecting a blow. The hunter bit his lip, kicking himself for startling the demon. "First rule. Stay out of rooms where the door is closed."

Crowley raised his head tentatively. "Door open," he said thickly.

Bobby grimaced. "It won't be once you're back through it. Come on."

Crowley hesitated before turning and walking carefully toward him.

"Careful. Stuff on the floor," Bobby growled.


Bobby muttered 'smartass' under his breath as he stepped back. Once Crowley was through the door and feeling his way back to the guest room, he closed the door firmly. "Breakfast is on the desk. That's to your left ..."

Crowley nodded. "Remember."

"Okay. Food's on a tray right in front. Eggs closest to you, bacon at 10 o'clock, toast at 2 o'clock. Milk's behind the toast."

Crowley nodded again as he fumbled at the chair, pulling it out and sitting in it.

"I'll be back up in a bit." He turned to go, pausing when Crowley spoke.

"Bobby." The demon seemed to struggle for a moment. "Thank you," he said finally.

Bobby hesitated, looking back at him. "You're welcome."

The demon, his head ducked in embarrassment, fumbled for the fork as Bobby walked from the room.

When he came back up to get the tray it was to find Crowley once again gone from the room and nowhere in sight. With a sigh, Bobby walked down the hall, finally pausing before the bathroom. He could hear humming coming from inside and he looked in to see Crowley exploring the room, hands touching everything. To Bobby's surprise, the dirty clothing and towels that had been scattered about on the floor were gone and the vanity seemed cleaner than he remembered. He opened his mouth to speak then, remembering how he had startled Crowley earlier, he stepped back several steps and walked back, stepping harder then usual.

Crowley stopped humming and Bobby looked in to see the demon with his head tilted toward the door, his expression wary. Bobby cleared his throat. "You wanna take a shower?"

Crowley hesitated. "Yes. Please."

"Fine." Bobby rocked back on his heels. "Think you can start up the shower? I'll get some clean clothes and towels." He left before the demon could even think of protesting.

When he returned Crowley had started the shower and was testing it with his hand. As Bobby entered, he tipped his head. "Bobby?"

"Who else?" he grunted, setting the clothes down. "Here's some clothes. Sorry. No Armani." Bobby couldn't help adding snidely.

The demon's shoulders hunched. "Anything ... anything good. Better than ..." The demon shuddered.

Bobby felt a flash of shame and sighed. "Right. Let me take a look here." He glanced into the shower. "Okay, did you find the soap?"

"On holder." Crowley gestured. "Shampoo?" He pointed toward a bottle set in a corner of the shower. Bobby was impressed with his memory.

"Yeah. Here's a washcloth. Towel's on the bar just outside the shower." Bobby matched actions to words, pressing a washcloth in Crowley's hand and hanging a fresh towel on the bar. "Come on down when you're done."

Crowley nodded and Bobby closed the door behind him.


Bobby made a quick pass through the downstairs, picking up loose items on the floor and tossing them into a basket. It wasn't as thorough of a job as he would have liked but it was better than it was before. With a sigh, he stashed the basket in a closet and walked the rooms, making sure doors were tightly closed.

Figuring he'd done the best he could, at least right now, Bobby walked into his library, intent on catching up on research. Once he'd moved all the books stacked on the floor to a corner behind his desk, that is.

He got so absorbed in his work he forgot about the demon until he heard his name being called in a tentative voice. He looked up with a frown and began to stand before reconsidering. "In here."

A few minutes later Crowley appeared, hand groping the wall as he made his way into the room. Bobby grinned at the sight of the normally immaculate demon dressed in too long sweats and a faded over-sized t-shirt. His feet were bare and his short hair, cut unevenly, was still damp and stood up in spikes. He paused just inside. breathing in deeply.


"Yeah. My library."

Crowley nodded, carefully walking further into the room, his hands exploring the shelves. Bobby watched him for a few moments before returning to what he had been doing.

"Anyone know I'm here?"

The sudden question startled Bobby and he looked up to see Crowley perched on the edge of a chair, sightless eyes turned in his direction.


Crowley tilted his head. "Why not?"

Bobby leaned back and looked at him. "When did they take you?"

"A day, two, after I left here last." Crowley's words were slow, halting.

"You thought I was involved."

"Knew were hunters. Thought ..."

"Yeah, I get it. Understand why too. But I wasn't."

"Know that now." He paused, chewing on his inner cheek. "Why help?"

Bobby considered a dozen different answers before settling on the truth with a sigh. "Cos the minute you walked out that door you're a dead demon or worse and we both know it," he said bluntly. "And I owe you. For the legs."

Crowley seemed to study him with those blind eyes. "I attached no strings," he said slowly, carefully.

Bobby snorted. "It's called gratitude, you damn idjit! How about you just accept it?"

Crowley looked thoughtful. He was quiet for so long Bobby finally turned back to his work. When he next looked up the demon was gone. For a moment he wavered then rose with a sigh.

"Crowley?" he called out as he exited the room.


Bobby stopped in the doorway, watching as Crowley worked his way around the kitchen. He opened every cupboard and ran a hand lightly over the contents.

"Can't just sit around," The demon said haltingly.

The hunter grunted. "Careful. Sink's full of dirty dishes."

"Noticed. Thought maybe do them but ... " He gestured. "Holy water?"

"Took off the filter but there's probably residue. I'll scrub it later."

Crowley hesitated. "I could do if gloves?"

"That's a thought. Jes a minute." Bobby dug around, finally pulling out an unopened package of heavy duty rubber gloves. "Here." He set it into the demon's hands.

Crowley nodded as he worked open the package and Bobby took the time to study him thoughtfully. He'd never thought the demon, the former King of the Crossroads, would stoop to doing something as common as cleaning and maybe before he wouldn't have. Or maybe he was wrong about that, remembering back to Crowley's last visit. He had helped clean up them, had even seemed to enjoy it. And that was a good thing, since Bobby refused to coddle the demon.

Days fell into a routine. Bobby would be up first and working on breakfast when Crowley made his way down. His voice slowly improved as his throat healed but he remained surprisingly quiet. His smug arrogance was gone or maybe just buried under memories of horrific abuse. The injuries caused by holy water scarred and Bobby occasionally saw him running his fingers over the puckered flesh.

Crowley did what he could, mainly cleaning then spent his time listening to the radio or television and the two of them managed to live fairly separate lives. The demon was quiet and obviously unsure of himself, avoiding Bobby as much as he could.

Which made finding the demon in his bed all the more shocking.

It was past midnight, almost two in the morning when Bobby woke up to the realization he wasn't alone in his bed. He froze, eyes still closed.

'Oh no!' he thought. 'This is not happening!' He took a deep breath in anticipation of sharp words, ready to kick the demon out of his bed and maybe out of his house but stopped when he actually saw Crowley.

Crowley was curled up on his side facing him, fast asleep. Bobby blinked and looked again, realizing that he was sleeping above the covers and was wrapped in the quilt from his bed. He wasn't actually touching Bobby; in fact he was almost at the edge of the bed and in danger of falling off. For a moment Bobby wondered what kind of nightmare could drive the demon to seek comfort with a hunter then decided he didn't want to know. After a moment of dithering, Bobby gave up and went back to sleep. When he woke up Crowley was gone. He almost wondered if he'd imagined it.

Bobby dressed, wondering how long Crowley had been crawling into his bed without him knowing it. He found himself sleeping lightly but Crowley didn't appear for the next three nights. The fourth night he didn't realized Crowley was there until a panicked whimper woke him up.

Bobby opened his eyes, not surprised to see Crowley curled up on the other side of the bed. The demon's eyes were screwed shut and he was making sounds in his sleep, obviously caught up in a nightmare. Bobby watched, uncertain as to what to do. He knew you should never wake someone up from a nightmare but his stomach clenched at the sheer terror on Crowley's face. Hesitantly he reached out to gently touch the demon's short hair. Crowley stiffened, his breath coming in short gasps. Bobby began to stroke the dark hair, his touch gentle and soft, something Crowley's captors would never have done. Even asleep Crowley seemed to realize this and he began to relax, fear draining from him as he settled deeper into sleep.

A couple hours later, when Bobby felt the demon stir and start to leave the bed he reached out to touch his shoulder. Crowley's breath caught and he froze.

"Don't bother," Bobby murmured. "You can stay. If you want."

Bobby didn't bother opening his eyes, just tucked his hand back under his head. After a long moment Crowley settled back onto the bed.

"Rough night?" Bobby asked quietly.

There was a long silence. "Some rougher than others."

"Thought so." Bobby shifted into a more comfortable positions and went back to sleep.

The next morning Bobby made pancakes as he whistled tonelessly to himself. Hearing a sound he turned to see Crowley standing in the doorway, looking uncertain.

"I gotta go into town. Do some shopping. You gonna be okay here alone?"

Crowley looked startled. "Yeah. Yeah, sure."

"I'll bring back some lunch. What would you like?"

"KFC." Crowley said without hesitation, walking over to the cupboard where the dishes were stored.

Bobby watched him, impressed with how the demon was adjusting to his blindness. He moved effortlessly between the cupboards and table. "KFC?"

"Yeah. One of my guilty pleasures."

Bobby chuckled at that and Crowley smiled slightly. He watched while the demon set the table, not surprised at the finicky way he made sure everything was set just right. As a precaution Bobby had moved the glass glasses to an upper shelf and was using plastic tumblers instead. Now he was thankful for that. It made it easier when Crowley dropped one.

Which he promptly did.

Crowley muttered curses as he dropped to his knees and searched for the tumbler. Bobby called out helpful advice and tried to pretend he wasn't amused by the sight of the former King of the Crossroads scrambling for a plastic tumbler. If he knew, Crowley gave no sign as he rose and set the tumblers on the table before making his way to the refrigerator to pull out the milk. He shook it with a frown. "Just enough I think." He walked over to carefully pour the milk.

"Mind getting the syrup out?" Bobby asked.

Crowley opened the refrigerator again, putting the almost empty milk jug back and reaching for the syrup. Since his arrival, the kitchen had become remarkably organized, much to Bobby's chagrin. In fact the whole house was more organized then it had been since ... well, since his wife had been alive. He turned back to the pancakes.

Bobby came back from town to find that Crowley had dusted throughout the house and straightened things as best he could. Laundry had even been sorted, though there was a pile that the demon referred to as undetermined. He carried in the groceries and set them on the kitchen table. By the time he brought in a second load Crowley was there, carefully emptying the bags. Bobby paused, watching as the demon felt each item before taking it to where it belonged and putting it away. Some items he placed on a counter and Bobby suspected he wasn't sure what they were. Well, he had something to help with that.

Groceries he put on the table; the rest he set in the other room for now. Once the groceries were put away, they sat at the table and ate, Bobby grinning as the demon dug in enthusiastically.

The demon really did like KFC.

"I picked up some more clothes for ya. And shoes. Try them on. Anything that doesn't fit I can take back."

Crowley nodded.

"Got some other things too."

"Oh?" Crowley tried to hide the interest in his voice but Bobby smirked.

"Clean up and I'll get the stuff."

When he returned the table was cleaned off and Crowley was wiping it off with a towel. He folded it and tucked it into the oven's handle, turning his head expectantly toward Bobby.

"Okay. Went to this place for the blind in town." He set the bags on the table and started to empty them. "Picked up a bunch of stuff that the lady there recommended."

"What did you tell her?"

Bobby hesitated. "Well, that you're a distant cousin from England. Had an accident and no immediate family so ..."

"You got stuck with me?" Crowley's voice was dry.

"Yeah, something like that. I'll see about fixing you up some ID and stuff later. Anyway. Got some books on braille, a braille label maker, kitchen helpers, things like that." He watched as the demon ran his hands over the items, exploring them with his fingers. His face was curiously blank and Bobby frowned. "What?"

"They won't heal, will they?" Crowley said hesitantly.

Bobby looked at the demon's face and arms, scarred by holy water and his washed-out eyes. "Maybe. Given time. But I don't think you want to be helpless until that happens. Look, I figure you're a quick study so I'll try and teach you braille. If I can't then Marcy ... that's the woman at the blind place ... said to bring you for a few lessons." Crowley looked thoughtful and Bobby looked at him, narrow-eyed. "You wanna go into town," he guessed.

Crowley jerked, panic on his face. "I ... maybe. I just ... maybe," he mumbled, his hands still exploring the items. "What are these?"

"What? Oh. Some CDs. Audio books. Thought you might like them. There's a few Lovecraft and some others."

"Oh?" Crowley's face brightened. "Lovecraft?"

"Yeah. Come on. I'll set one up for you. I got some work to do in the library."

Their days stretched into a new routine. Crowley no longer tried to avoid Bobby; instead he was there waiting eagerly for his lessons in braille. Bobby, much to his surprise, found himself enjoying teaching and together they labeled everything they could in the kitchen so Crowley could start cooking, an activity he seemed to enjoy. Bobby watched him cautiously the first few times then relaxed when nothing more drastic then the demon cutting his finger happened. And that only happened once. He did learn some interesting new words though.

Nights became routine as well. Crowley didn't even bother to start his night in the guest room, settling instead on the empty side of Bobby's bed. He did continue to sleep above the covers, curled up in a quilt but Bobby suspected that had more to do with his fears then soothing Bobby's. Which made the suggestion Crowley made almost two months later a complete surprise.

Bobby gaped at the demon, who was sitting at the kitchen table looking in his direction, head tilted in a manner what the hunter refused to admit was endearing. "Let me get this straight. You want to sleep with me?"

Crowley rolled his eyes. "I'm already sleeping with you," he pointed out. "I want to have sex with you."

"Why? I ain't gay."

Crowley hesitated, frowning. When he continued, his voice was surprisingly gentle. "No, you're not. But you are lonely. Bobby, when we sealed the deal, whether you want to admit it or not, you kissed me back. You want contact, even with a demon. And that hasn't changed. When was the last time you touched someone just to touch them? Or the last time you had sex with anything other then your hand? I'm not asking for love and roses. Just contact and release." His hands caressed the table. "Demons want those things too."

Bobby leaned back, studying him, searching for some hidden motive. "I would have thought, considering what happened ..." he fumbled at his words. They hadn't talked about everything that had happened to the demon during his captivity but he'd learned enough.

Crowley paled and he ducked his head. "I don't think I can handle penetration. Not yet anyway but there's much more to sex then just sticking it in and ..." His voice broke off and Bobby suspected he was too close to bad memories. He cleared his throat. "I'm just ... I just ..." It was the demon's turn to fumble at his words.

Bobby watched him, frowning thoughtfully. When was the last time he'd held someone close just to hold them? Caressed their hair and kissed them just to kiss them? When was the last time he'd simply enjoyed someone?

He rose abruptly, walking over to Crowley. Reaching down he gently touched the demon's hair, stroking down to his cheek. Crowley closed his eyes, leaning into Bobby's touch, humming low in his throat. Reaching with his other hand, Bobby traced Crowley's lips and the demon's tongue darted out to lick at his finger. The hunter shuddered, a part of him unable to believe he was actually going to do this. That he was even considering this. But Crowley was right. When was the last time he'd been with someone?

Too damn long.

Crowley didn't resist as Bobby slipped a hand into short dark hair and leaned down to kiss him. The kiss was slow and tender, a gentle exploration. Hesitantly Crowley slipped his arm around Bobby's waist, leaning into him, returning the kiss. His lips parted and Bobby darted his tongue inside to explore his mouth.

When they finally separated, Bobby was breathing hard and Crowley looked pleasantly mussed, his lips swollen from the force of the kiss. The demon's hand drifted down from where it was resting on Bobby's hip to caress between his legs. Bobby twitched, pressing instinctively against the questing hand.

"Upstairs?" The demon croaked.

Bobby pulled Crowley to his feet, his own hand reaching down to cup the demon's cock through the thick fabric of the jogging pants he wore. Crowley gasped, rutting against him. Reluctantly the hunter pulled away. "Upstairs."

Somehow they made it up to the bed, undressing each other hastily. Crowley ended up elbowing Bobby in the nose and Bobby jerked too hard on getting the demon's shirt off, sending him reeling into a bed post but the first touch of warm hand on hardening cock made up for everything. With a groan, Bobby grabbed the demon and tumbled them both onto the bed.

Crowley laughed and pushed Bobby over onto his back, scrambling up to kiss him, his hard cock dragging on the other's belly. Bobby grabbed his hips and held him firm for a moment.

"This no penetration goes both ways," he growled and Crowley blinked.

"Nothing happens without permission," he agreed.

"Right. Now how do we go about this?"

Crowley laughed again and showed him.

The next morning Bobby wasn't surprised to wake up with his arms filled with warm demon. Crowley turned out to be quite the cuddler and most mornings Bobby found himself waking up to gentle kisses and caresses. Some nights all they did was kiss and touch and cuddle, bringing each other off with gentle strokes. Crowley had no hesitation about giving Bobby a blow job, though it took Bobby longer to convince himself to take another man's cock in his mouth. When he finally did, hesitant and a little disgusted with himself, Crowley's obvious enjoyment made it worthwhile. Afterwards Crowley had licked his own cum from the hunter's mouth, murmuring words of thanks. The next time it wasn't so difficult and mutual blow jobs soon became the norm though penetration still remained off-limits for both of them.

Bobby continued his studies into the anklet that had been forced on the demon but found nothing. Defacing the sigil on it did no good, leading him to believe there were more engraved inside it. Crowley's eyes and the scars showed no signs of healing any further and the demon seemed to resign himself to remaining blind. Bobby faked up some identification, giving Crowley the name of Jaime Yates for their monthly trips into town.

Most days Bobby just acted as a knowledge base for other hunters and Crowley helped with information. Bobby was surprised when Crowley gave him detailed information about other demons until he reminded him that most demons were still after his head for betraying Lucifer. The hunter decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and made notes of what Crowley as willing to tell him.

He didn't go on many hunts himself, only going when a hunt was close to home. Crowley was always nervous when he did go on a hunt, especially alone. Bobby chalked it down to the demon being afraid of losing his meal ticket and went off anyway. Crowley was able to keep in contact using the CB and helping out by searching the computer, now equipped with text-to-voice software and a braille keyboard. When Bobby returned there was always a hot bath, a good meal, and a willing demon waiting for him.

The house got even more clean and better organized. They worked together with many chores. Bobby sorted laundry into braille-labeled baskets for Crowley to wash and prepared the ingredients for Crowley to cook. He started to use an audio recorder during his searches and on his hunts and Crowley would transcript them into the computer.

It was oddly domestic.

Later he'd wonder why he was so surprised when the day came. He was sitting at the kitchen table, papers spread out on the table as he came to the not-too-surprising realization that Crowley was much more clever then he'd ever guessed. Somehow the demon had managed to transfer money from one of his many hidden accounts to an account in the local bank. Bobby wasn't sure how he'd done it without the people and demons searching for him knowing about it but he had. Maybe it was because the amount wasn't that much, hardly enough for the hedonistic demon Crowley was known to be to bother with but it was enough that Crowley was managing to build it into a nice nest egg. He'd been working the stocks and doing a good enough job of it that a nice sum was being deposited into Bobby's account monthly. Officially it was from a trust fund set up for the care of one Jaime Yates, injured in a freak accident last year.

Leaning back, Bobby watched as Crowley made his way through the kitchen, preparing a roast. He was humming to himself as he worked, fingers moving deftly. The demon no longer looked out of place wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. In fact he looked comfortable. Bobby had gotten used to the scars on his body, could in fact map them out from memory, and the pale eyes were no longer alarming. He felt a pang at the thought that even after all this time, there was still no coloring in those eyes nor were the scars fading. Crowley was still a demon but with no demonic powers.

Bobby continued to watch the other man, enjoying the way he moved, those talented hands caressing spices into the meat. He bit his lip at his sudden arousal, wondering if he could entice the demon from his cooking and into an afternoon tryst. Rolling his eyes, he snorted to himself. Tryst? Where the hell did that word come from? Just because he wanted to tumble his lover ...

He froze, face going blank Lover? Is that what Crowley was? They shared a bed and their bodies but love didn't come into it.

Did it?

Bobby's face went slack as he thought about it. The little touches and caresses. The quick and not-so-quick kisses. The way Crowley worried and fussed over him when he returned from a hunt or even a trip into town. The way Crowley made sure everything was just as Bobby liked it and the way he himself saw to the demon's comfort. Hell, he'd actually changed his housekeeping habits, no longer just dumping things on the floor.

A part of him argued that that was just the things you did when your partner ... Bobby winced and corrected himself ... housemate was blind but the rest of him was too busy pointing out other things. The bottles of wine he'd started to bring home, much to the demon's delight. A sinfully expensive box of chocolate that the demon had shared with him one night, showing him ways to use chocolate that aroused him even now. Searching out audio books he knew Crowley would like and when he couldn't find an audio version, buying a paperback to read out loud to him.

Little things that, years ago, he would have done for Karen.

Bobby jumped to his feet so quickly the chair rocked. He steadied it and looked up to see Crowley looking toward him in concern.

"Something wrong, luv?" he asked.

And that. The little endearments Crowley said. He'd never realized before that Crowley meant those words, even if Crowley himself didn't realize it.

"Nothing." Bobby said gruffly. "Just going for a walk." He barely heard Crowley's puzzled 'okey' as he walked out the door.