Characters: Robin Wood, Bernard Crowley (Nikki Wood's canon watcher)/Crowley
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural.
Summary: As it turned out, Crowley had been working on the whole Purgatory deal for quite a long time, and he'd gone to some extreme measures to gather information. But why ever would he offer to raise a Slayer's child? The world may never know.
Warning: The setting should be obvious from the timeline, but as far as the shows are concerned, it contains SPOILERS for SPN up to S6 and BtVS up to S7 (disregarding any of the books/comics that mention Nikki Woods, her watcher Bernard Crowley, or Robin; basically, I'm just rolling with what was mentioned in the show).
Author's notes: Ok, this is kind of a stretch of the imagination, but just go with me. I know it's weird. I know it leaves you with more questions than answers…but don't all of my one-shots? Hope you still get some enjoyment out of it.
"How to Raise a Hunter"
"So, you're probably asking yourself, why? Why would a demon raise a hunter? A bit counterproductive, isn't it?
"The truth of the matter is, that wasn't in the plans. You see, old Crowley's been around the block, but I wasn't always called by that name. In fact, I picked it up rather recently from my current meatsuit, an emotionally torn literary agent with more money than sense. The poor bloke had the misfortune of being from an upstanding English family with strong ties to a group of old know-it-alls. Stop me if you've heard of them before, but the old buggers called themselves the Watcher's Council.
"Ah, I see I have your attention...
"Wearing one of their golden boys seemed to be the best way of getting access to their information. Unfortunately, my plan was an utter failure. While the suit worked well enough, wards kept me from actually obtaining what I needed. But, damned if I didn't manage to outrank the tweed-brigade while I tried… Did so well, in fact, that they assigned me to watch over a vampire slayer.
"Those are seven years I'll never get back. Had me missing the old pit at times. I'll admit, I thought about just breaking Nikki's neck myself, but, as it turned out, a vampire took care of that for me.
"It pissed me off. Seven years of working my way past the Council's defenses, slowly chipping away at the wards, seven years of listening to a whiny little bitch with a destiny, and then a measly half-breed offs her? For shame. But, as they say, when one door closes…"
The figure known as Crowley watched from the doorway, cold eyes steady and trained on the small lump beneath the covers. It was a child, dark-skinned, underdeveloped for his age, and, most importantly, carrying the blood of the slayers in his veins. A moment's pause, and Crowley was left to conclude that little Robin Wood was, in fact, asleep, and peacefully. No fitful nightmares of dead mummy, no dreams of monsters crawling out of the woodwork to eat him.
Crowley closed the door gently, stepping down the hallway, taking the stairs to the home's cellar. When Nikki had been alive, he'd left her to her tiny apartment, played the part of the poor scholar working on a Watcher's salary. That part of the charade was no longer necessary, however. A child didn't so much as question a "family estate" or how the bills were paid or why his guardian had started using an even funnier accent.
The coolness of the underground swept over him, refreshing, and the smell of blood hit his nose. Also refreshing. He smiled coldly at the demon standing at the center, holding a bottle of his wine and reading the label with interest. She appeared to be ignoring the blood stained chamber beyond the shelves. As if the iron maiden, the chains, the chair covered in shards of glass, didn't concern her.
She flashed her red eyes in his direction. "Boss," she said, putting the bottle back in place and sauntering up to him in her cheap-hooker meatsuit, "it's been a while. I was surprised when you summoned me."
Crowley cocked his head. "Not long enough," he answered, bored already. He released a heavy sigh, entirely unnecessary for his body, and shot her a sharp glance. Straight to business. "Now, what's this I hear about you offering that talented young chap Gacy such a short ended deal?"
Hours later, long after the female demon's screams had stopped, Crowley emerged from the cellar humming a little tune and satisfied that the "customer" in question would get another good year of playtime before his arrest…It wasn't exactly an easy job, being the King of the Crossroads, teaching his merry band of deal-makers how it was done, but someone had to do it. He smiled to himself - a little bit of torture always left him in a good mood - and decided he'd fix the kid pancakes for breakfast.
And then teach the boy how to kill something interesting. Just for fun.
"…I mentioned the planning, right?
"You might have noticed, but we demons are schemers by nature. While the majority of Hell's best was off getting ready for the big bad Rise and Fall of the world, I was planting my own seeds. Preparing, just in case the opportunity for action should arrive.
"There was a chance Azazel's 'children' would bring about the End…But I knew something they didn't. Humans, they're like cockroaches with holy water. Damned hard to wipe them all out. So, I kept my alternative ending to myself, made sure the pieces were all in place.
"Of course, I hadn't expected one of those pieces to involve a hunter, but that's how it worked out."
"The heart, Robin! The bleedin' heart!" Crowley snapped.
He snatched a stake out of the leather bag hanging from his shoulder, but found he had no use for it. The teenager had finally heeded the advice and driven the wooden point up in a forty-degree angle, hitting the organ. Robin stepped back, nearly stumbling into a tombstone, a grin of satisfaction on his face when he saw the vampire turn to ashes.
Crowley rolled his eyes. The boy wasn't horrible at the job, not really, but he didn't have his mother's super-human abilities, that was for damned certain. Nevertheless, Crowley forced a proud grin onto his face, slipping on the familiar mask with ease.
"Well, done, my boy," he said, clapping the young man across his shoulder. He shook his head, looking reminiscent. "You looked so much like Nikki tonight…She would have been proud to see you this strong, picking up where she left off."
Robin's throat tightened with emotion, but it barely showed across the hunter's face. He held his grief well. "I owe it all to you, Crowley," he said, his voice soft.
Crowley snorted. "I'm just doing my job, kid. Ridding the world of evil and all that."
The teen shook his head. "No, you do more." Robin let out a shallow breath. "You left the Council for me…you raised me. And I don't think I've ever thanked you for that."
Then he turned away, looking down at the pile of ashes on the ground, gaze lifting a moment later to survey the cemetery. "It's not enough," he finished, at a whisper.
Crowley raised a brow. "Not enough?"
"I know it's the right thing, hunting down these monsters." Robin shook his head. "But it's not enough. This vampire, it wasn't the one who killed my mom. Until I find him…" He closed his eyes, holding back the wetness there. "Crowley, I would do almost anything to get a chance at that vampire one day."
A silence passed between the two. Finally, Crowley's fingers tightened on Robin's shoulder, pulling his attention away from the graves.
"Anything?" Crowley asked.
"You've got to admit, I held up my end. You're the one who chose to let the bastard go."
Crowley stepped forward, smiling down at the man tied to the chair. In the emptiness behind the demon, something large released a low growl, but the hellhound went ignored. The demon reached down, using one finger to draw up the bloodied face.
Robin stared up, his expression fierce. "You think telling me all this changes anything? You're still a demon. A monster."
The demon chuckled. "A deal's a deal, Robin. Now that you've had your little moment of rebellion, played in the slayer sandbox a few years, I think it's time you got back on task."
"Oh, you will," Crowley assured. "You'll bring me the monsters I want, work with the other hunters I send your way, and you'll whistle while you bloody well work. And do you want to know why?"
Crowley flicked his wrist and the ropes holding the man slipped away. The demon leaned down, his face inches from the hunter's.
"Because I'm the man who raised you, the only father you've ever known," Crowley replied, his voice at a hiss. He straightened, a sneer on his face. "And because you know what really matters."
There was a deadness to Robin's gaze when he answered. "The mission."
Crowley's grin grew wider, biting. "That's my boy."