Warnings: minor violence toward children, minor language, torture (of monsters)
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Written for fun, not profit.
A/N: Written for unofficial track of the Crowley_BigBang. I intended for this to be humorous so forgive me if the canon-plotline isn't terrible relevant. It's set during that short time in season 6 after Sam's soul has been returned and while the boys still believe Crowley to be dead.
Uncle Crowley's Adventures in Babysitting
An Unfortunate Arrival
Torture, as he'd always known, was part of the job if one was planning to take the title of "King of Hell," but Crowley had always assumed that, now that he was a higher-up, his role in the act would be less…hands on. "Leave the mess to the minions and the gloating to me" had always been his motto—there was a reason he'd risen to power at the crossroads and not on the rack. He'd even revamped a portion of Hell to get away from the mess. Granted that was partly to seduce the angel into his clutches, but still… For Crowley, being a demon wasn't so much about getting it up over a bit of evisceration as it was about the sheer power.
Not to say the slicing and dicing wasn't growing on him.
He lifted his instrument into place, letting its music join the screams from the table beside him. The saw's small circular blade buzzed at a high pitch, drowning out all the rest, until he laid it against the restrained ghoul's sweaty brow. Bits of skin and skull fragments spattered against Crowley's plastic goggles, and the creature the gore belonged to shrieked in terror. It was enough to put a smile on the old demon's face.
Sitting down the tool, he carefully lifted the mop of stringy black hair and the skullcap loosened with a sick pop. He tossed it over his shoulder and clapped his gloved hands together once before removing his goggles.
"Now, where were we? Ah, yes…"
Despite his preferences, though, these days Crowley had adopted a more appropriate motto, one which admittedly went against his nature: "If you want something done right, do it yourself." With that in mind, he spread his fingers wide, gripping the ghoul's slimy gray matter and leaned in close enough to smell the bits of the monster's last rotted meal, still stuck in its teeth.
"That's right, we were discussing your dear old dad and how you're going to tell me what crypt he's calling home these days before I make a pate out of your organs and serve it up to your kin in the next cell over."
The stir of wings was mere background noise when contrasted with the sudden crash of a bowl from the entry to the torture chamber—ehem—laboratory. The sounds of a hushed struggle followed. Crowley startled, pulling up a bit too quickly, and the monster on the table suddenly stilled.
Bollocks. Crowley huffed, finding himself with a chunk of brain in his hand, minus its ghoul owner. What a waste.
"This had better be good, Feathers," Crowley hissed, dropping the now useless mass into the basin at his work station. When he looked up, though, the angel wasn't in the room with him but, instead, still standing where the noise had come from, in the small chamber beyond the splatter curtain.
"Crowley, I…require your… assistance."
The demon paused, raising a brow. Was it just him or did the angel sound strained? "A plea for aid, darling? You do know all my turn-ons," he replied, just a hint of suspicion coloring his voice.
With practiced ease, he discarded his bloodied gloves and once-white apron, pleased to see not a drop of that wretched creature showing on his finely tailored black suit, and took a step away from his current project.
"Begging?" Crowley smirked, pushing the curtain aside. "Now you're just going down my kink list—"
He stopped mid-sentence, confused by the sight in front of him.
The angel was standing at the entry to the other room and looking downright frazzled. His constantly askew tie was laying limp over one shoulder, his hair more of a mess than usual, and what looked to be fresh vomit ran down the shoulder of his coat. That last bit was no doubt due to the toddler currently imitating a mechanical bull rider as he pulled and pushed against Castiel's arm, trying to free himself from the angel's iron grip.
"Want down! Want down! Want down!" the child sputtered, pounding white fists against the raincoat.
Or perhaps Crowley was wrong about the vomit's tiny owner—when his eyes drifted further down, he saw another child, this one at least a few years older, standing at the angel's legs and wiping a string of bile off his mouth with the sleeve of his oversized T-shirt.
Grossly oversized shirt. As a matter of fact, both of the brats were wearing men's shirts for nightgowns. How distasteful. Surely these weren't more of those disgusting shifter spawn—they at least tended to arrive better dressed. And smaller.
Crowley made a face. "And what, pray-tell, are these?"
"Children," Castiel replied. He cocked his head, studying the demon. "You do not recognize them." The statement seemed to aggravate the angel further. With a loud breath, he sat the toddler beside the child and pointed a finger at the eldest. "Do not move," he ordered, and stepped away.
Crowley followed him out of curiosity.
"Taken to abducting tiny ones, have we?" Crowley asked, amused. "Not that I'm judging."
"I would have met with you elsewhere, but I did not wish to transport them again. Dean purged on me twice already. It seems he did not prefer flight as a child either—"
Crowley blinked, raising a hand to cut him off. "You're missing a few pages there, darling. What on earth does this have to do with one of those overgrown baboons…Wait." He paused, Castiel's comment replaying through his head, and then leaned around the angel to stare at the pair still standing in the doorway, currently comparing the size of their spit bubbles. "Oh, for the love of Hell—those are Winchesters?"
Castiel sighed, exhausted. "I did not respond to their prayers until it was already too late. They are indeed Sam and Dean Winchester, but they seem to have lost several years of their lives."
"No, really? I hadn't noticed."
"Crowley, I have no time for your commentary!" Castiel snapped, sounding somewhat manic, but he quickly closed his mouth again, straightening. He lowered his voice. "From what I can tell, they appear to have aged backward over a night's time. I have forestalled any further regression, but I can't seem to set them right again. They are approximately two and six-years-old, and they have no memories of their adult lives. This is possibly the effects of a spell. The last I heard from the Winchesters, they were investigating a powerful witch."
Crowley raised a brow. "Feathers, I would recognize a spell from one of my own minions. That is not our kind of witchcraft."
"It is not," Castiel agreed. "I believe it might be the work of a fairy hag. Dean greatly angered the fay community recently, and this could be a form of revenge, but it is more likely simply—"
"Winchester good fortune at work?" Crowley snorted. "So the great lugs have themselves in a bit of a bind. Again. Lovely." His face darkened slightly. "Now, would you please explain why you brought them here?"
Castiel stiffened, glancing once over his shoulder as if to assure himself the pair was still in place. "I have told them that I am an angel of the Lord and that I was sent to aid their father by bringing them to their uncle while we pursued a dangerous creature. As children, they have never met the Campbell family, so Dean was easily convinced. You will assume the role of their mother's brother until I return."
Crowley blinked. "Excuse me? You told them what?"
The demon took a step closer, his face inches from the angel's as he growled out his reply. "And what is this 'you will assume the role' bit—you're giving me commands now? Naughty, naughty. That behavior doesn't make for a good working relationship, darling… Don't those sniveling meat sacks have an actual uncle-figure you could have left them with? Namely one Bobby Bloody Singer?"
Castiel's eyes narrowed. "If I involve other hunters, the fairy will be more likely killed than captured. I thought you'd prefer it this way."
Point taken—Crowley tilted his head slightly in agreement. It seemed something always went wrong when Winchester & Co. were involved in his hunts, and the angel wasn't wrong about the fairy. Purgatory was not the domain of the fay kind, but they were old and power, in many ways more knowledgeable than the elder gods who still roamed the world, and Crowley had been hoping for one to try his interrogation tactics on. Possibly his buzz saw as well.
"Then you play babysitter, and I'll send my boys out to find this pixie causing such a fuss."
"Your people have failed thus far in locating the fairies on their own," Castiel reminded. "Even I have trouble capturing their kind." His lip twitched. "Also, I… I don't believe I work very well with children. They require much…maintenance."
"And you think I'm who, exactly? Mary Poppins?" Crowley raised a brow when Castiel only blinked in confusion. "Surely you don't trust me to actually behave if given your two little pets to play with? They're so fragile in this state. Why," he smirked, "something tragic could happen to one of them."
Castiel's nostrils flared in annoyance, his mouth forming a tight line as he pushed up even closer to the demon. Crowley could feel waves of power rolling off the angel, threatening him as clearly as a physically blow, and his survival instinct was the only thing keeping his majesty from commenting on the sexual tension in the room.
"Crowley," Castiel said, his guttural voice deepening with anger, "you will keep the Winchesters here. You will keep them safe. You will play the role I have set for you. If you do not, I will have to put an end to our 'working relationship' immediately."
"Nice use of the finger quotes, darling." Crowley refused to acknowledge that he was the least bit intimidated. Contempt clear in his eyes, he gave the angel a tight smile. "There's no need to ruffle your feathers. While I do so love it when you take charge, it won't do you a bit of good, because I'm not keeping your favorites while you enjoy a night on the town, sweetheart. I have work to do, as do you. In case you've forgotten, I'm the King of Hell, and the king does not babysit for anyone."
Introducing Uncle Crowley
Crowley: King of Hell, part-time nanny, full-time angel's bitch. He'd have to change his business cards soon.
Staring down at the sticky little bastards put a particularly bad taste in his mouth. Or perhaps that was the blood from the quick beating his 'partner' had dealt out during their negotiations behind the curtain. Honestly, he hadn't expected the angel to have that in him—the whole 'brute force' bit was begrudgingly impressive—but apparently the Winchesters simply brought out the best—and most annoying—in him. Which was just wonderful. And precisely how Crowley now found himself charged with keeping these two things safe and returning them with "not a scratch on them."
The things he did to keep a game piece on the board…
Crowley sneered down at them. "What are you staring at?"
The two only blinked up at him, eyes wide and mystified, as if he were somehow more fascinating than the angel who had just poof and disappeared right in front of them. Children, he remembered from years far, far in the past, didn't make a great deal of sense, so why would he expect more from these two?
And what a two they were—they were absolutely the rattiest looking pair he'd ever seen. Samuel Winchester, it appeared, had been sporting the overgrown mop since infancy, as well as his famed round-eyed gaze. In fact he looked very much like a shrunken version of his former self, swallowed up in a blue shirt that pooled at his feet and left him swaying like a drunkard under its weight. There was a drop of dried snot beneath one nostril that made Crowley's frown deepen even further.
Could the angel not even bother to clean up his little hunter spawn before dumping them here?
"Are you really our uncle?"
The voice was quiet, hardly more than a whisper, and each word was trailed by a barely-existent baby lisp that the boy seemed to be growing out of. Despite that, though, the delivery was serious enough, and Crowley turned his attention to the speaker, the eldest Winchester.
Crowley gave him a quick once-over. The boy was small for his age, but scrawny in the way that children outgrowing their baby fat so commonly were, so Crowley assumed Castiel's guess of six-years-old was correct. Dean, unlike his brother, didn't so obviously resemble the man Crowley despised. There was still golden blond in the boy's sloppily trimmed hair, forming slight curls against his brow, and his freckles were sprouting over his cheeks and nose. That narrow, suspicious gaze was decidedly familiar, though.
Crowley forced a smile onto his face, leaning down slightly. "Well, if an angel says so, it must be true."
Dean pursed his lips, as if he wasn't quite sure how to take the answer. Just as thick-headed and dim-witted as Crowley expected. The demon rolled his eyes.
"Dean, do you really think your father would let you be left with a dangerous, if admittedly well-dressed, stranger? Now, I could find a way to call him, but, in case you've forgotten, he has a mission from God to complete. Would he really want you to distract him right now?"
Dean frowned, shifting his weight nervously, and Crowley smirked. "That's what I thought."
So refreshing to see that Johnny boy had instilled a sense of foolish trust of family in his eldest at such a young age. Well, perhaps "trust" was pushing it—Dean's pouty lips and narrowed eyes said he wasn't quite committed to the idea of his new uncle.
"Why do you talk funny?"
Oh, because Castiel doesn't like to think plans through before acting on them, that's why. "You really shouldn't be criticizing anyone else's speech, dear," he replied, before rolling his eyes. "But, if you must know, I was educated abroad—travelled quite a bit further than my dear sister, Mary. In fact, I've just moved back recently. Which is why John's never brought you to see me before."
Crowley stood straight again, more than a bit pleased with his story. Humans were so easy to lie to.
"What does abroad mean?"
Correction: humans over the age of six were easy to lie to.
"It means I went to school in a different country," Crowley answered. "Now, why don't we—"
"—'Cause Daddy said sometimes on old TV shows a woman is a called abroad. Was your teacher a woman. My teacher is. Did your teacher speak funny like you speak?"
"No—" Crowley winced. "I mean, yes, of course she did, but I don't 'speak funny'. Now, it's late and—"
"You sound like Higgins," Dean mused.
Crowley made a face. "Who?"
"On Magnum P.I. Our last room had a TV and Daddy said it was okay to watch when he's asleep if I don't turn up the volume." Dean cocked his head, deep in thought. "I like Magnum more than Higgins because he's funnier, and he has a cool car and girlfriends and a gun. Do they not have TV abroad?"
"Yes, of course there's television, and I've seen the damn—" Crowley cut himself off, shaking his head once to clear his thoughts. Admit nothing, he reminded himself. "Nevermind. As I was saying before you so rudely—"
"Do you watch Thundercats?"
"Can I watch Thundercats on your TV?"
"Can I watch He-Man on your TV?"
Crowley's nostrils flared. This what-ever-it-was was Castiel's doing. That or the eldest Winchester had consumed large amounts of sugar before being shrunken into his current form. "No, you may not, and you watch entirely too much television as it is."
"Nuh-uh—you're just saying that cause you're abroad. Is that blood?"
Crowley blinked, taken aback. He glimpsed down. On the toe of his shiny black shoe was smeared a sticky red stain. How the child had managed to spot that, he wasn't sure. "Yes. It's from the last insufferable little boy who refused to quit asking silly questions."
"Are you evil?"
"Enough!" Crowley thrust a finger at Dean, quieting him. "Not another word from you, toy soldier," he hissed. "It's far past your bedtime, and I've had enough of playing twenty questions."
Crowley raised a brow. "Do you want me to tell your father you disobeyed me?"
Dean's eyes widened slightly, and his lips tightened into a line. He shook his head. "No, sir," he said, suddenly as quiet as a church mouse.
Crowley bit down his grin. Now, that he could get used to hearing. Perhaps, despite the annoyance, he could find some entertainment in this yet. It was always nice to see one's enemy humiliate themselves.
Crowley blinked, realizing the toddler had spoken and that one of the boy's hands was currently fisted in the knee of his slacks, tugging at them to get his attention. Crowley had actually forgotten the miniature moose could speak. A moment later, the demon realized he was the one being addressed by the tiny beast.
"Crowley," he swiftly corrected.
"Cowy," Sam tried again, head held back so he could stare straight up at the demon.
"No—Samuel, I'm your Uncle Crowley."
"His name is Sammy," Dean said, at a whisper. One glimpse from the demon, and he was quiet once more.
Sammy nodded, smiling in awe at his brother before his saucer eyes moved back to the man. "Unk-elle Cowy?"
"Crow-ley. How is that possibly difficult?"
Sammy's grin widened. "Cow-wee!"
Dean giggled. It was a thoroughly upsetting sound.
Crowley gave up. "Yes, Sammy?"
"Uncle Cowy…" Sammy's mouth opened and closed, as if he were trying to suss out the correct words. Finally he took a shallow breath, formulating the proper approach, and nodded to himself in confirmation: "I pee peed."
The No Good, Very Bad Nanny
For once, Crowley was actually quite pleased that he was currently in hiding after his apparent demise at the hands of a flying monkey, because if he was actually out in the world, proclaiming his rule, this would be an even more compromising position. One for which his pride would not allow.
"No—not those! You'll need the cloth training pants, not pull-ups."
"—No, no—he shouldn't be training at all yet. I wouldn't recommend training until he's three, at least—"
"Well, now, my Jillian was potty trained by fourteen months—"
"Yes, but she's a girl—boys are different."
"Exactly. My Cody wore diapers until he was seven—"
"Seven? Let me guess, you had him breastfeeding until first grade?"
"My pediatrician said every child is different, and they shouldn't be forced to train before they're ready or they'll suffer developmental—"
Holy mother of sin.
"Yes, I'm sure all your little bundles of joy are special snowflakes," Crowley interrupted, silencing the gaggle of women forming a semi-circle around him.
The sarcasm was lost on his audience, and they each grinned fondly, and with some small amount of pity, at the demon. Perhaps feeding them his "I've just adopted my poor orphaned nephews" line in hopes that the army of mothers would do his shopping for him was not his most masterful plan ever. Releasing a calming breath, he reached out, sweeping a box of pullups into his cart. With some restraint, he managed a tight grin.
"Thank you, but I believe that's all I require." It was like watching a herd of cattle gape at an opening in the fence. They stared blankly at him, one slowly raising her hand to question his food selections. "Shoo," he added, with a flick of his wrist.
After a moment, they began to disperse, whispering amongst themselves. Crowley frowned at their backsides but took a moment to memorize little Jillian's mother's face. He had no doubt he'd see her on contract in a decade or so, putting her overachieving tot through law school for a standard ten-year.
He maneuvered his cart down the aisle quickly in hopes that none of the mothers would return—if he heard one more tip about healthy snacks, he'd be forced to paint this department store red. Actually, if he could schedule it in after this 'wee-chester' ordeal, he might just slaughter the lot of them for kicks.
Alas, he had no time for fun these days. It was one of the drawbacks of being King.
He absentmindedly tossed a stack of sippy cups into the cart, sneering at the diaper rash ointment hanging from the end-cap. He would absolutely not be pampering any Winchester's ass today.
Not that he knew if the children would still be there by the time he returned. Hopefully, that winged nuisance would be back with his fairy before he had to put any diapers to use. There was a reason why he'd had his minions deal with the shifter spawn, after all. Though, now, sadly, he had most of those demons sent away, as to not draw attention to his laboratory. He did still have a few held close by. Someone had to pick up his dry cleaning.
By all rights, he could have sent one of them on this shopping errand. Only, that would have required explaining why he needed them to buy proper supplies in the first place. No, it had been much simpler to just tell Spindle, the brainless baboon that he was—not exactly Hell's finest—that the two sleeping mini-hunters were monsters who needed to be watched over. And, of course, he ordered they be left unharmed until they could be questioned—no need to get Castiel's panties in a bunch over an accident involving the help.
Crowley paused, struck by the moment, and he shivered at the reality of the situation: he was the King of Hell and he was babysitting his enemy. Meanwhile his current plans relied entirely on waiting for his new business partner and would-be ruler of Heaven, an angel, to bring him another possible dead-end to question…
Perhaps the Apocalypse had actually come to a head. The merry band of free-will fighters had lost, and Lucifer had captured him, deciding to have bit of fun with his punishment. Perhaps this was all just a figment of Satan's imagination, a fresh new nightmare for the demon who's seen everything, a creative spin on his own personal Hell.
Crowley let out a breath, comforted by that possibility, then eased his way into the mass of clothing racks, casually pushing one over and out of his path—he'd already been through this section and found it severely lacking in casual-formal. Though he'd made a few selections, they simply wouldn't do if he was going to be stuck with those snot-nosed brats for more than a day. No, he'd have to call his new tailor in right away.
Not bothering to so much as check for witnesses, Crowley strolled past the check-out lane with his buggy and out the front door. Sometimes it did actually pay to be king—though, generally, he didn't care to waste his power on a bit of shop-lifting. Certainly not on child care products.
In the blink of an eye, he, and his haul, were gone, the abandoned and now empty, and visible, shopping buggy left to roll out across the parking lot and into the side panel of a mini-van.
Now, one might assume his laboratory was no place for two small children, however, Crowley had decided, after approximately ten seconds of deliberation, that the Winchesters were already so mentally scarred that the setting of their little trip to Uncle Crowley's wouldn't make much of a difference. So, he arrived back to the top-side property he was currently calling home, stepping into his private quarters, a lavish bedroom…Which—he sighed—he'd been forced to surrender to the annoying tots since Castiel hadn't arrived back before naptime. Not that Crowley actually needed a bed, but he kept one made for, well, purposes which had absolutely nothing to do with sleeping.
Crowley paused, raising a brow as he noticed that said-bed was currently empty, its covers a mess on the floor. "Huh." Dumping his haul of training pants and sippy cups onto the bed with a snap of his fingers, he turned on his heel and smirked at the empty room. Perhaps Feathers had arrived back already and this mess was over.
The moment of contentment didn't last. A high pitched cry echoed from the hallway, and Crowley scowled at the door.
"Oh, how the mighty have fallen," he muttered, not entirely sure if he was addressing himself or the shrunken hunters who, apparently, were in some grave danger—pfft, probably found a pile of corpses knowing the Winchesters.
Though… Crowley realized the demon he'd left to watch over the mutts was decidedly absent as well. That couldn't be good.
After all, Castiel had made it very clear what he was going to do to Crowley if something happened to the terrible tikes. Crowley reached up, adjusting his tie as he swallowed down his nerves. He refused to show his sudden anxiousness when he stepped through his doorway, strolling out into the hallway and following the sounds of a struggle.
One turn later and he was facing his problem. That is to say, he was facing Dean Winchester, the miniature model. The boy was pressed against the wall at the end of the hall, dangling four feet off the floor, a trickle of blood dripping down his nose. And there, standing in front of him, his back to his master, was Spindle, whose current form, a looming mass of muscle, tan, and bleached locks, almost blocked out the sight entirely.
Crowley rolled his eyes. What part of "don't touch the midget monsters until I return" didn't the bastard understand?
"Lemme go! Put my brother down!" Dean screeched. The child struggled against the invisible force holding him still until his eyes caught Crowley's and widened with hope. "My uncle's gonna kick your ass," he added.
Already such a cocky bastard. Crowley raised a brow, and then suddenly remembered his role. As the human uncle. He was a second away from tapping his minion on the shoulder and telling him to let the boy down, when he realized that the squirming form in the other demon's arm was a two-year-old.
Unaware of his boss, Spindle chuckled at his catch, then held his meaty arm out, lifting the toddler a bit higher by the back of his shirt. Sammy struggled inside the fabric, fat tears rolling down his cheek.
"Aww—want me to put baby brother down?" Spindle taunted. "Well, you asked for it, kid…"
Crowley lurched forward, catching the toddler just as the other demon released him. Sam let out a short cry, tiny fists clinging to Crowley's jacket as soon as the demon pulled him closer. Spindle spun around in surprise and did a double take when he saw his master mere inches behind him.
"I, I wasn't going to—" Spindle sputtered.
Crowley raised a finger to stop him and felt heat flood his face as he found himself unexpectedly angry with the demon's disobedience. "Congratulations," he hissed, a cruel smile at his lips, "you just earned yourself a trip downstairs."
Crowley didn't let the demon finish. With a snap of his fingers, a ring of fire lit the rug at the demon's feet. Spindle's jaw dropped in shock, but in a flash of light, the demon, host and all, disappeared with the flames.
"Good help and all that," Crowley muttered, shifting the toddler's weight to one side.
A thud sounded as Dean dropped to the floor—ah, yes, Dean Winchester, torture-magnet. Crowley took a step forward, staring down at him. "Anything broken?" he asked. It wasn't necessary to feign concern; the last thing he needed was to return his angel's favorite pet bruised and swollen.
But Dean simply blinked up at Crowley, eyes wide, and reached up, swiping the droplet of blood off of his nose. "You're…you do what my dad does?"
Crowley smirked back. Of course, why didn't he think of that? If he wanted a mini-Winchester to trust and obey him, all he had to do was be a hunter. "Why, yes, actually. I do hunt monsters. I just dress better while I'm on the job."
Dean's face brightened, and he pushed himself up off the floor. "What was that monster? His eyes turned black… What did you do to him? It was awesome!"
Sam bounced against Crowley's side, clapping his palms together. "C-cowy gave da baddie a boo-boo!" he squealed, delighted.
Crowley blinked, taken aback by the sinister grin on the toddler's face—he was far too excited about boo-boos. "Scary," he mumbled, impressed, then he arched a brow at Dean. "Well, if you must know, it was a demon. Most of them are the decidedly nasty, stupid sort, but a few of their number are rather attractive, intelligent, well dressed…And practically unbeatable."
Crowley trailed off and reached out, patting Dean on the head, suddenly seeing a bit of potential in the two children—he'd forgotten how violent little ones could be. He could work with that. "Be a good boy, and I'll teach you how to kill all sorts of bad things. How's that sound?"
Dean straightened a bit, looking decidedly less shy as he grinned up. "I'll be good, Uncle Crowley."
Crowley had always considered himself knowledgeable when it came to the nature of evil, but he was beginning to believe his education on the subject was insufficient. Because, despite his taste for demon blood, despite his role as Lucifer's vessel, Sam Winchester wasn't what Crowley considered to be truly wicked. Perhaps it was the puppy dog eyes that kept him fooled for so long.
"Unk-elle Cowy—I pee peed 'gain," Sammy said, smiling gleefully, a smear of artificial cheese leaving his chubby cheek a glistening orange shade.
Where had those two pint-sized terrors found cheesy puffs? "Bloody Spindle." He pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers, ready to address the problem in front of him instead of the one in Hell. "Samuel, where are your pants?"
Ten seconds. Crowley had spent ten seconds sending a hound after a soul in need of collecting and returned to the upstairs room where he'd left the children, only to find Sam in the doorway, stark naked. He was almost certain the two-year-old worked on Hell-time, suddenly turning mere moments into minutes in which he wrecked destruction upon all in his path.
The boys had been awake for two hours and already Crowley had found himself packing away most of his valuables and collecting the fragmented remains of those items he hadn't reached in time. And of course the toddler had managed to pee on his luxurious bed in the night. Why? Because he'd lost his bloody pullups then, too—Crowley swore under his breath. He should have gone with the diapers. And possibly the duct tape.
His instinct, of course, upon seeing the destruction was to lock the pair in a cell in the basement, but he was almost certain they'd manage to escape or damage themselves. Possibly both. And then the angel would throw a hissy.
Bloody Castiel. This was entirely his fault.
Sam twisted his behind from side to side, doing a shameless dance in front of the doorway as he babbled on in "Sammy speak", the child's unintelligible native tongue, and finished with a dramatic point in the direction of the bedroom. Which, as expected, was not the direction of the bathroom. "Pee peed!" he shrieked, happily, and ran inside.
Crowley considered not following. Letting out a huff of frustration, he stomped in behind the boy, and immediately stepped on the wet pullup. "Dean Michael Winchester!" he snapped. "Where the bleedin' hell are you?"
A pattering of feet sounded as the eldest Winchester slid in from the adjoining room, one of the demon's pressed black shirts tied around his neck like a cape. Or a noose, Crowley considered, glowering at the tiny hunter.
"Were you in my study?" Crowley frowned. "That door was locked."
Dean's face flushed, and he chewed his bottom lip. "Uh…no," he mumbled.
Crowley snatched the boy's arm, dragging him behind him as he walked to the other door. Scratches scored the metal keyhole, but the demon didn't bother to concentrate on that—in truth, he was somewhat impressed. He hadn't quite realized how early the hunters began training their sneaky spawn. But whatever admiration Crowley had for the morning's B&E disappeared as soon as he saw the books lying open at the bottom of his bookshelf. Books filled with the darkest of spells, from his personal collection.
"You're hurting my arm."
Crowley sneered down at the boy, but didn't relinquish his grip. In fact, he tightened it, forcing Dean to grimace. "Are you a complete moron?" Crowley snapped. "Do you know what would have happened if you'd read aloud from those books? Do you know how much danger you almost put your precious baby brother in? Who, by the way, you were supposed to be watching!
Dean's head dropped forward, chin wobbling. "I'm sorry, Uncle Crowley. I—I didn't—"
"As you bloody well should be," Crowley interrupted, then gave Dean a shake, turning him back to face the bedroom, where Sammy was sitting on the floor playing with a pair of socks. "An apology wouldn't have put Sammy's guts back into his body if—" He cut off, aggravated. "Look at me when speak to you, boy."
Dean lifted his head slightly, staring up at the demon through long, wet lashes. Pitiful looking really, if Crowley could actually feel pity.
Crowley rolled his eyes. "Don't begin with the waterworks…Surely your father doesn't let you get away with crying like an infant."
Dean's mouth formed a tight line, his eyes narrowing in anger. "You're hurting my arm," he repeated, his voice low. "And if you don't stop, I'll tell."
"Tell?" Crowley snorted. Nevertheless, he dropped the child's arm. "You're going to 'tell' on me?"
Dean gently covered his skinny arm with one hand, but he didn't so much as flinch at the contact, despite the red mark forming across the skin. "Uh-huh," he replied, and suddenly Crowley could see the future hunter staring back at him through those cocky green eyes. "The angel said if you were mean, I could call him, and he'd come. And you're being mean."
"Fly, De?" Sammy called from the other room, looking up from his sock with wide-eyed excitement.
Dean smiled at his brother. "Wanna see Castiel again, Sammy?"
Crowley took a step back, hands up in surrender. "Now, now—you don't really want to trouble the angel who's helping dear old Dad, do you?"
Dean crossed his arms over his chest and glared up at him. A moment later, a naked Sammy waddled up to his brother's side and did the same, pursing his pouty lips in mock anger.
Evil, the both of them. Crowley couldn't help but feel the smallest flicker of pride forming from somewhere dark and deep. He forced an awkward, placating grin onto his face. "Now, boys. Surely we can come to some sort of arrangement—you're right, Dean, I was being…" he winced "…mean, but there must be something that I can do to make your arm all better again, correct?"
Dean cocked his head in thought. "Maybe. What do you think, Sammy?"
The toddler tugged on his big brother's shirt, pulling him down to his level, his hushed voice coming out as a spiel of nonsense. "Umm, De, wike choco 'n num wid the 'pinkles on da top 'n the nella 'n the buttum," he whispered, fiercely, as Dean nodded along. "Fly no den if we has num keem."
Bloody "Sammy Speak". Crowley frowned. He was almost certain the two-year-old and his brother had developed a code of some sort—that babbling simply wasn't natural. One day he'd learn to decipher it.
"Good idea, Sammy." Dean straightened again, staring the demon down. "Sammy and I think ice cream sundaes for supper would make my arm feel better."
Crowley leaned down, smirking at the pair. "It's a deal, boys."
Uncle Crowley's Playroom
Perhaps he'd been over-thinking this whole ordeal. Sure, the previous night and preceding morning had been dreadful. Filled with the forced reading of storybooks and urine on his black satin sheets and vomit on his decorative pillows—he blamed himself for that last part; he should have known better than to feed them their promised ice cream sundaes right before giving them permission to jump on the bed. But, once the spellbooks were more securely hidden and "Uncle Crowley's tools" (the various weapons and instruments used to aid his interrogations) put away in "Uncle Crowley's playroom" (the sublevel laboratory an unschooled observer might call a dungeon), the boys had managed to keep themselves out of danger. In fact, an entire day had passed without an incident, and it had been, as Crowley would begrudgingly admit, pleasant.
By midmorning, the tailor had arrived to fit the boys in dress shorts and jackets, black on black, of course. When Crowley made his way upstairs after a few messy hours spent with his last remaining ghoul, he was pleased to see the pair of hunters lined up like tiny soldiers, socks pulled high, clip-on ties straight, both eager for a lesson at Hell's prep school.
Crowley had sighed at the missed opportunity. Surely the two would have made interesting students for him. After all, John had taught them to be hunters at such a young age—couldn't Crowley simply point them in a different direction? The demon had squashed the thought quickly though. Feathers would appear soon enough to take the boys, and whatever lessons in the dark arts he taught them, away.
After a light lunch together, he'd left them in the lounge room on the ground floor with old parchment and water-paints. Mess, be damned. That's what lower-level demons were for.
They were behaving so good, in fact, that it was well into the evening, after Crowley finally finished polishing off a new standard contract and interrogating his ghoul—another dead end—when he suddenly remembered that the two still existed. And that the wee Winchesters had been quiet for far too long.
Crowley looked up from his tool rack, slipping a bloodied pair of sheers onto a hook, and cocked his head, listening for movement in the house. Quiet. Then, footsteps sounded from above, lumbering and heavier than a six-year-old's and—
—a roar rang out. From upstairs. Where he'd left the children.
His face showed no surprise, only exhaustion, as he laid it to rest against his palm. "Where in Beelzebub's ass are you and that bloody fairy, Castiel?" he breathed. The pile of dead ghouls in the room gave no reply. And neither did the non-appearing angel. He was damned certain Feathers was choosing to ignore him.
A child's panicked shout echoed through the ceiling.
They were cursed. Not simply fated to meet an apocalyptic end, not mere hunter pawns. No, those bloody Winchesters were cursed. It was the only explanation for their magnetic attraction to anything deadly. Point in case, the King of Hell was currently their babysitter, and, presumably, a child-eating troll was currently their evening's entertainment.
The bloody troll. The only blasted monster he still had left alive at this location had to be a troll, hadn't it? That it had finally awoken from its sun-induced nap was no surprise, nor was Crowley shocked to find it had escaped its cage.
"But how on earth didn't I hear it?" Crowley's eyes caught sight of the gore incrusted electric saw on his table. "Oh. Yes."
Crowley blinked out of existence, disappearing from his blood-soaked workroom and reappearing in the main foyer, and he came to two quick conclusions upon his arrival. First, he was going to have to torture the demon who'd been in charge of locking the beast away. They'd failed in every respect judging from the dinky, broken chains around the ten-foot troll's wrists.
And, second, he sensed his favorite hellhound had just arrived back from delivering another unfortunate soul to Hell. Convenient. Perhaps he wouldn't have to get his hands dirty, dirtier, after all.
Crowley paused a moment, taking in the scene before him. Coffee table, ruined. Sofa, ruined. Vases, unrecognizable. Two children, cornered. Sammy lay, hiding beneath a Queen Anne sitting chair, floppy hair spilling out as he watched his big brother with awe instead of terror written across his pudgy face. Crowley didn't blame him—it was quite the David and Goliath scenario. Dean, looking even lankier and undersized in his school uniform, stood with feet spread, a wide butcher's knife held tight in his hand, face set in a fierce grimace as he waited for the troll to make another move.
"Troll not in the dungeon," Crowley noted, head cocked. "Enjoying a bit of free time, are we?" Not that the troll could actually reply at the moment. The problem with trolls was, though they could look like Average Joe most of the time, once they were overcome with bloodlust enough to shift into their true from, they became creatures of few words. And particularly hard to question.
The massive creature turned, smacking its head on a light fixture. It flickered, the too-close yellow glow doing no wonders for the troll's gray, molded skin. It opened its mouth of jagged, rock-like teeth and growled at the demon, obviously remembering who had kept it in captivity.
Crowley raised a brow, not bothering to move an inch. "Sic 'em, boy."
The hellhound bound through the double doors of the foyer and into the sitting room, its grotesque maul already open as it heaved onto its back legs, going straight for the troll's throat. The hound dug in, taking the beast down and rattling every shelf in the room as their heavy weight hit the floor.
Crowley considered calling his hound off early to salvage the monster, but as he'd found from his previous attempts, the troll wasn't exactly knowledgeable. Instead, he gave an inner-shrug and let the fight reach its fast finish.
Crowley wasn't sure which one of the children had offered the sentiment, but he acknowledged it by taking a step toward them. Dean had already put his knife down—Crowley was fairly certain it matched his set in the kitchen—and pulled his brother up onto his hip. They were staring at the shredded corpse of the troll, transfixed by the pool of gray blood forming on the rug.
"Don't be alarmed, I know you can't see it, but it's just a special kind of doggie. A hunter's helper," Crowley said, biting down a smirk. It wasn't very hard to hide his own amusement when it, just as quickly as it had appeared, disappeared entirely—two sets of small arms circled his legs, pulling him into a warm, unrelenting hug.
Damned disgusting Winchesters and their bloody hugs. With no other choice, he surrendered, patting the children on the back. "Alright then," he said, hoping they would let go. "Good job, all."
Finally, Dean pulled himself and Sammy away. Instead of appearing traumatized, though, they were both simply starry eyed, Sammy yawning, Dean smiling, elated. Crowley smiled back, his own grin somewhat more sinister. This was all it took to win the boy over? A bit of bloodshed and praise? He'd be only too easy to corrupt. The demon decided it was definitely something to consider…
"Bedtime," he announced.
Neither child argued, but Sammy outstretched his arms, waiting for Crowley to take him. Crowley's eye twitched, but he reached down, nevertheless, lifting the toddler.
"De, too?" Sammy asked.
Crowley held back a sigh. Damn them both. He found himself taking the stairs up to the next floor, a tired Winchester in each arm.
Dean batted his heavy eyes, rubbing at them. "What are we doing tomorrow, Uncle Crowley?"
Crowley considered his answer. He shouldn't have had one, as he expected Castiel to return for the pair by then, but Crowley supposed it wouldn't hurt to plan ahead. "How would you like to visit Uncle Crowley's playroom?"
Sammy's Invisible Friend
His hellhound was ruined the moment it received its first slobbery kiss from Sam Winchester.
Wonderful—the child couldn't manage his manage to say "Crowley," but had perfected the Dean-dubbed "Growley" with no effort.
Crowley groaned as he watched his favorite hound be tickle-attacked by the two-year-old. The creature, by all rights, could have fallen on the child and squashed him like a bug, but instead the hound rolled away, onto its back, slobbering with joy as the boy played with him. Not that the child could see the hound, but, apparently, kids simply knew how to please an animal. Even an animal from Hell.
Crowley leaned back in his seat, the throne-like chair he'd moved to the laboratory, along with the blanket for Sammy to play on. Growley hadn't been expected to join them, but the hound had followed them down, eager to investigate the manor's new occupants. And, the demon hadn't expected to find watching the pair so damned entertaining, but between seeing his soul-stealing killing machine act like a puppy and trying to learn "Sammy Speak," which only Dean Winchester had mastered, Crowley had already lost several hours of his day.
Hours he had expected to spend teaching.
Not that he expected Dean to retain the information if he were ever fixed, but Crowley had to consider the options here. He had, after all, spent all evening trying to contact his wayward angel. Castiel hadn't so much as left a voicemail, though, which meant he was no closer to finding a cure for the Winchesters. Which, in turn, meant there was a remote possibility the Winchesters would be stuck at this age and remember their time with "Uncle Crowley". Why not plant a few good habits while he had them, then?
The clatter of metal from beyond the plastic splatter curtain caught Crowley's attention. "Dean?"
"I'm okay, Uncle Crowley," came the boy's reply. "Almost done!"
Crowley nodded to himself. Sure, if he had an ounce of decency in his black heart, he'd feel a bit guilty for having the child clean his tools, but, thankfully, he didn't. And, really, it wasn't hurting a thing. Crowley had been rather impressed with Dean's reaction to seeing the blood stained tiles, the skin and hair left on the array of knives and saws and axes. The boy, instead of being afraid, had asked what monsters Crowley had killed and if there were any guns he'd used. And when the demon had asked Dean if he'd mind cleaning up, the child had only asked for a stool so he could reach the sink. Apparently, the boy was well acquainted with weapons.
A willing, cooperative Winchester…Crowley had never thought he'd see the day. If he said he didn't get the warm and fuzzies from having a Winchester literally at his beck and call, he'd be lying.
"…'N De pook all 'ver Fly 'n den Cowy got boo boo 'taws Fly say Daddy no…"
Crowley listened in on Sammy's conversation with the hellhound, as the toddler attempted to crawl onto the panting creature's back. If he wasn't mistaken, he was beginning to understand the child a bit better. Crowley found himself so caught up in the toddler-talk that he didn't hear Dean's exclamation or notice the sudden lack of movement in the other side of the room, until the boy rounded the curtain.
"Finished yet?" The demon froze, eyes widening in panic as he finally looked at the boy. A stream of fresh blood was spilling down Dean's mouth, over his short fingers. "The angel's going to kill me," Crowley breathed.
Then he spotted the happy curve of Dean's lips. The boy all but skipped to the demon, holding his bloodied hand out for him to see. "Look 'it!"
There, at the center of his palm, was a front tooth. Which, judging from the gapped smile the boy was donning, belonged to Dean Winchester and not one of the expired monsters.
Crowley took a shaky breath of relief. "Isn't that something?" he said, examining the tiny white fragment.
The demon made a note to self. He needed to collect the tooth from under the boy's pillow that night. Not for sentimental purposes of course. A piece of the hunter might come in handy somewhere down the line. Plenty of spells called for teeth, after all.
Uncle Crowley's Boys
Crowley flipped the light switch and gave the bedroom a final glance. On his bed lay two small bodies, both curled to face one another, Sammy's pudgy fingers wadding the front of Dean's shirt, their peaceful faces set aglow by the lamp. On the floor beside them lay his once-loyal hellhound, bright red eyes open but relaxed as it listened to the soft, whistling breaths of its new charges.
On the bedside table lay a book about a particularly vicious war campaign. The children had adored the demon's violent retelling. Just another sign of their potential…
Crowley chuckled to himself, tapping the tooth in his front pocket. It was rather hard to ward off the visions of grand schemes involving the duo. "Just imagine," he whispered to himself, considering what their future could hold. "The possibilities."
If the Winchesters stayed as they were, if he could raise them the 'right' way… They'd be a loyal pair, that much was obvious. Loyal to him, not just to Hell. He could still raise them to be hunters, obviously. But his hunters. Two wonderful weapons for his arsenal. And powerful, too, if they were fully exploited.
Perhaps it wouldn't even be that difficult to convince Castiel to leave them with him. Manipulating the angel wasn't terribly hard the first go around. He could simply plant a few thoughts, a few worries—what if the boys are in danger again? What if Raphael decides to take them, use them for his Apocalypse? They're so small and weak in their current form…Who better to hide them than the King of Hell? Yes…That argument sounded good, even in his own head.
The demon blinked, pushing those thoughts from his mind as soon as he heard the gravelly voice. "Ah, Castiel. Finally decide to answer my bloody messages?"
He turned to see the angel standing in the hallway, brow furrowed in thought as he examined the demon. Crowley wondered how much the angel had seen, or heard. If Castiel had any suspicions, though, he must have dropped them, because he took a step forward, looking into the bedroom at the children.
"They are very…" Castiel made a face, something close to regret in his bright blue eyes. "Young," he finally finished.
Crowley rolled his eyes. "Yes, well, don't let that fool you. They're tiny terrors—and they attract trouble like rats attract fleas. They're destructive little bastards, too. I'm sending you the bill."
Castiel frowned, but he didn't seem to be upset. In fact, if Crowley didn't know better, he was certain there was amusement showing in the angel's gaze. "I'm sorry for burdening you so, but they're no longer your problem. The fairy is downstairs in your workroom. I have ascertained the cure from her."
Crowley gave the room another glance. He could see one of the lumps on the bed moving. "Took your bloody time finding her, didn't you?" he said, quietly.
"Uncle Crowley?" It was Dean's voice, but as soon as the boy had sat up, his brother had joined him, rubbing two fists at his eyes.
Crowley gave the angel an annoyed glance, blaming him for waking the pair, then stepped up to the edge of the bed. "Wakey, wakey, boys. Your ride's here."
Dean crawled out from under the blankets, shuffling over on the mattress, but he stared past Crowley, to the angel. "Dad's done? We're leaving?"
Castiel hesitated, then nodded. "It's time for you to return, Dean."
Sammy pulled himself up beside his brother, unsteady feet planted on the mattress. "No more Cowy?"
"We should leave now," Castiel said, in reply.
Even in the soft light, Crowley could see the toddler's chin wobbling, brow wrinkled in restraint, before the sound of a sob left him. Dean wrapped an arm around Sammy and pulled both of them closer to Crowley.
The demon saw this one coming but thought it unwise to pull away in front of the angel. Didn't want Feathers getting upset, after all.
The boys both stood unsteadily on the mattress, all but collapsing against Crowley as they gave him a goodbye hug.
"Will we get to see you again?" Dean asked, into his jacket.
The demon could feel tears soaking through both sides of his shirt. As let down as Crowley felt at having to tuck his plans away, he could at least find comfort in the fact that'd he made two Winchesters cry tonight.
Crowley grinned. "Oh, of that, I have no doubt, boys. I expect you'll see me more often that you'd like."
God was knocking on his brain.
Dean could feel every pound rattling his body: knock knock knock. Dean wanted to tell him to shove off—the Apocalypse wasn't going to happen, couldn't he nap already? But no, another steady round of thuds sounded once again.
For some reason, God sounded Hispanic and female. Huh.
Must have been one of those nights. Dean pulled himself to consciousness with no small amount of effort, wincing as he tried to open his eyes to the morning sunlight filtering through the motel's ratty curtains. He pulled one hand up, pinching the bridge of his nose to relieve some of the pressure building there. His lashes were matted together, the lids stinging, as if he'd just finished a good cry—Christ, now that was embarrassing. Dean was pretty sure he'd been sleep-crying. He hoped to Hell Sam hadn't noticed.
"Go away, damn it!" he shouted, face still planted in the pillow.
It must have come out loud and frightening enough, because the knocking on the door stopped.
"Mmm 'outh tassed ike dog."
Dean grunted in agreement, automatically translating his brother's muffled words. "And ice cream," he added. Only after saying it did he realize it was odd. Shouldn't his mouth taste like beer? Did he have ice cream flavored beer at some point? "Dude, no more chick-drinks. They are mightier than they appear."
Dean promptly raised his head, confused. Eyes opened a crack, he could see that Sam duplicated the movement, suddenly awake and alert on the bed opposite.
"Dean?" he said, wiping the grit out of the corners of his puffy eyes. "I don't remember drinking last night…I don't remember last night at all. Or getting back to the motel."
Dean's eyes widened. "We were on a hunt and then—" He stared down the bed, realizing he was dressed in the same clothes he'd worn during the hunt. Minus his undershirt. Which was odd. But not quite as high up on the weird-o-meter as the missing memories. "What the crap?"
Sam shook his head, obviously taking a similar assessment. "Dude, I have no idea."
The sound of rock music filled the air, and Dean rolled over, seeing his spare cell still plugged into the charger across the room. Where he'd left if when they headed out. At night time. Which it was clearly not outside.
He pulled himself off the bed, hobbling over to the phone before it could ring again and crack open his head anew. He glimpsed down, raising a brow. Fifty-two missed called? What the hell? He couldn't recall picking up a clingy girlfriend, but apparently that happened. The tune blared out again just as Bobby's name flashed across the screen.
Dean answered with a frown.
"Sup, Bobby?" he grumbled.
He realized soon enough that answering the phone was absolutely not going to stop the noise from barreling out:
"Thank God—where the Hell have you idjits been! I called all of your phones and ya can't answer a blame one of them? You have me do all your damned research for a hunt, head off on it, and then don't even bother to call back afterward. One of ya better have a limb missing—"
Dean winced, again, wishing his hangover would abandon him, if only for a few merciful minutes. "Whoa, slow down, Bobby. I'm sorry we didn't call back last night, man, but something must have—"
"Last night? What do ya mean 'last night'? You two have been out of contact for nearly a week! I would already be there lookin' for ya if I hadn't had a blame wendigo orgy to clean up. As it is, I'm only about an hour out now—"
"Wait. What the hell are you talking about? We haven't spoken in almost a week? We were on the phone with you yesterday, right before we went after that witch bitch." Dean glanced up, knowing that Sam's confused expression was an exact mirror of his own. Bobby's end had suddenly gone quiet, and Dean didn't care for that answer at all. "Bobby, man, what's today?"
"Saturday. We spoke on Tuesday." Bobby sighed. Dean could almost picture the older hunter whipping off his ball cap off in frustration. "What did you boys get yourselves into this time?"
"Ah, Hell…" Dean pulled the phone down to his shoulder, shaking his head at Sam. "Dude, you remember sleeping a few days away?"
Sam's wide eyes were answer enough.
Dean raised the phone back up. "No clue, but if I had to guess?"
"You think the witch is behind this? Makes sense, but why wouldn't she just…"
"Kill us while we were out? I don't know, man. The rooms were warded, but still…Something about that seems off."
Bobby was silent a moment longer. "I'll be there in an hour. You boys sit tight. We'll sort this all out when I get there. And for God's sake, don't fall back asleep, just to be on the safe side."
Dean ended the call, slapping it back down on the small breakfast table. "Dude?"
"I know, right?" Sam shook his head. "Dean, what if this was something else—I mean, we know who witches work for usually."
"Other than themselves?" Dean shrugged. "I really, really don't want it to be demons. Even so, though, new villain, same issue. Why would a demon put us out of commission for a week without killing us?" He paused, raising a brow. "Unless they planted bombs in our stomachs or something…"
Sam rolled his eyes but subconsciously ran his hand over his stomach. "What if we weren't asleep? What if we've just forgotten what we did? What if something made us—"
"Sammy, slow your roll." Dean plopped down on his bed, feigning calm. "I'm sure we'll be able to figure this out as soon as Bobby gets here." He leaned back against the head of the bed, staring at the wall across from him as if it were some alien landscape. His patience lasted all of two seconds. "So, thought of anything?"
"Other than a panic inducing scenario involving fake-Lucifer taking me for a spin?"
Dean snorted. "And how would he have taken me for a spin, too?"
"Uh, drugs in your beer?"
Dean made a face. "Lucifer did not slip me a roofie… Christ, I really hope it wasn't demons. Are there still any alive that hate us?"
"All of the ones alive hate us."
"Noted. But are there any who'd want to screw with us like this?" Dean cocked his head. "You know who I kinda miss in a weird way…" His voice trailed off, and he shook his head.
Sam raised a brow. "Crowley?"
"Least you knew what was motivating that bastard." Dean frowned, suddenly feeling sentimental over the demon. "You too?"
"Better the devil you know, right?"
Dean nodded. "Better the devil you know," he echoed.