AUTHOR'S NOTES: So looking at a 'favorite tv shows collage' someone did on DeviantArt, I noticed that this particular picture combined Supernatural with NBC's TV show, Hannibal. Creative juices began flowing and in an effort to deal with the SPN season 8 finale, I of course turn to fan fiction.
Now... I love SPN. I think my published stories covers that. So... why do I like Hannibal? Because this TV show covers what I have always found so interesting about the character of Hannibal Lector and that is what was he like before he was incarcerated. The sophisticated doctor, the high-class gentleman... the subtle manipulator who works so well, you don't even realize he's in your head. (Trust me, Lector's going to have a field day with the Winchesters, psychologically speaking). If you haven't been watching the show and love psychological thrillers, check this TV show out. Though if blood makes you squeamish... be warned.
Also...This story is going to have some dark humor and stuff that you're going to be telling yourself you shouldn't laugh at. Laugh, it's okay. I won't say boo.
Final note-With exception to the very first part of the story, I will be referring to Crowley by his demon name rather than his real name, if that makes sense.
SUPERNATURAL: Hunters and Prey
(X-over w/ NBC's 'Hannibal')
The demon-curing ritual hadn't been completed, but it had progressed enough that Fergus McLeod had the demon, Crowley, on a pretty tight lockdown inside. The foul, twisted thing wasn't fighting at all, but McLeod wasn't about to give it one single bloody inch.
After managing to free himself from the chains and devil's trap, the reformed demon was at least a little relieved the teleportation thing still worked. Ramming a fist into a wall, he narrowly avoided screaming as he felt the bones in his hand break but there was a very sizable dent in the stone. Within a few moments, though, McLeod felt the injury heal and he flexed his hand and fingers, testing that they were back to normal.
Super strength, check.
Invulnerability…not so much.
Quick healing….check… mostly.
Resistant to demon restraints…check, unfortunately.
The question became what to do now? How was he supposed to handle his new situation? Although more importantly, he wondered what he was also vulnerable to. Would salt, iron, or holy water still affect him and if not what did that mean for his future?
Going outside, McLeod stopped dead as he saw Sam on the ground by the '67 Chevrolet Impala with Dean frantically trying to wake him. "Can I help?" the partial demon asked as he approached the two brothers, warily. "I want to help you boys. Like… Like you've helped me."
Dean looked up sharply at that, his face full of pain and desperation. He couldn't speak except to say his brother's name, nodding at the prone form.
McLeod nodded, going to the Winchesters and grabbing them both before popping to the nearest hospital where he promptly passed out.
Two weeks later, Fergus McLeod groaned as he slowly regained consciousness, the sound of slow, steady beeping bringing him further into the world of the living. Blinking, he found himself staring at a woman he'd actually—No, someone Crowley had tried to kill.
Jodie Mills—Sheriff of Sioux Falls, South Dakota—stood in front of the hospital bed, her eyes stern and her face full of promise. "Dean's told me about you saving him and his brother and that you're not a full demon anymore," she said, succinctly. "And now I'm telling you that if I get even an idea that you're going to turn on those boys they won't be the only ones you have to worry about." And with that, she turned and left the room, closing the door behind her with a bit of a slam.
A few hours later, Castiel came into the room, looking troubled. At first the fallen angel did not speak but instead stared at McLeod—or rather at the part demon he likely still thought of as Crowley. "Dean told me that curing you didn't take," Castiel said, finally, his voice its usual calm near-monotone.
"It took enough that I ended up here," McLeod retorted with more of a snap in his voice than he'd intended. "We make quite a pair, don't we? Both of us trying to do the right thing for our kind and we get punished for it. Sucks, doesn't it?" He sat up a bit, wincing as his body ached as he did so. "Was it you or I that stumbled first?" McLeod mused out loud.
Castiel pondered the thought for a moment, weighing the words carefully. Although Crowley still had demonic powers, he, too, had fallen from his esteemed position as the King of Hell. "It does not matter," Cas said, after a while.
"It doesn't?" the demon formerly known as Crowley said, eyebrows raised in clear surprise.
The former angel shook his head once. "You and I have both fallen. You are not the demon you once were. You selflessly saved the Winchesters with no thought of yourself." Considering his words carefully, he went on. "The one of us who finds the strength to get up first must help the other."
McLeod pondered that and finally nodded. He wanted to prove that he was not the same as Crowley and he felt that his best ally to help with that mission was the man standing before him. "By the way…," he said thinking of possible way to prove himself. "You can tell the boys that as far as abilities I DO still have, tearing up all current deals is one of them. You can tell Sam and Dean it's my way of offering a white flag."
That caught the fallen angel off guard and he wasn't sure of what to say to that. Freeing likely thousands of people from their crossroads deals would anger the other demons and they would be gunning for Crowley to kill him and take his place as King of Hell. Without saying anything else, Castiel left the room, heading downstairs to the Intensive Care Unit where Sam was still unconscious.
The scene before him was heartbreaking.
Dean's face was sprouting a bit more than a five o'clock shadow which only served to make him look even more ragged than he already was. He sat right next to his brother's bed, holding Sam's limp hand and talking to him about something or other.
Sam was on a ventilator, a tube down his throat helping him breathe, while IVs delivered medicine and blood to his ravaged system. On Sam's left side, what was left of his arm rested on a pillow, the end currently unbandaged which showed the healing incisions.
When the demon, Crowley, had bitten Sam, that plus the needle injections had caused a severe staph infection mere hours after Sam ended up in the hospital. The infection had caused rapid and devastating necrotizing fasciitis and fearing for Sam's life, the doctors had whisked the hunter into surgery to amputate his arm just at the elbow.
"Dean," Castiel said, quietly, as he approached the bed. He put a hand on his friend's shoulder and tried again. "Crowley wishes to make peace with you and—"
"Crowley can go fuck himself!" Dean growled angrily as he looked up at Cas. "I want Sammy to have his arm back!" The outburst seemed to have broken his inner floodgates and he felt tears falling down his face. Wiping them away, furiously, he touched the stump where his little brother's arm ended. "Sammy… when you…" Dean's voice caught in his throat and he paused a moment before continuing. "Man, this is the second time we've been here, you know? First time, that guy had stabbed you in the back… He'd killed you, but Sammy… this is worse. Last time I knew I'd do anything to get you back and now… Now, I don't know what to do. Sammy, your greatest sin isn't how many times you've let me down. Okay? I mean it. If letting people down is a sin, then that one's all mine. I let you down over and over and somehow you still think I'm worthy of one more shot. I need you, Sammy. I've always needed you. Right now you're all I've got."
Bowing his head, Dean didn't know where the words were coming from, but he spoke them anyway, hoping they'd be heard even if it wasn't by the fallen angel standing across from him. "We screwed up, God. I mean, this is the mother of all fuck-ups. And you know I'll move Heaven and Hell to fix it, just like always…" He looked at his brother and let the tears fall, not bothering to wipe them away. "But I can't do that without Sammy. I know we're out of favors… but if you can manage one more… we could really use some help."
At first, the older Winchester thought maybe he'd imagined it. But after another minute, Dean felt Sam's hand squeeze his and looking at his brother's face, it felt like the entire world was lifted off of his shoulders when Sam's eyes opened. When Sam turned to look at his missing arm and then back at his brother, he looked stricken and there were tears in his eyes. "We'll deal with it, Sammy. Okay? We'll deal with it…together. Just like always…"
2 Months Later
Charlie Bradbury unlocked the door to the Winchester Bunker—as Dean had put it last time they'd spoken—and somehow managed to get inside with her arms loaded down with bags of food and supplies. After locking the door behind her, she headed into the kitchen and stopped at the first bit of counter space she could find.
"I hope that's everything," Crowley said as he came out of the pantry looking… well, bossy for lack of a better term. He was wearing an apron over a pair of black jeans and a long-sleeved black shirt and he seemed annoyed. "Last time I sent you out for supplies you forgot the flour and I had to settle for frozen pie crusts."
"Okay, see…This is why I'm constantly wigged out," Charlie said as she started putting groceries away according to the reformed demon's direction. "All of this is…" But Crowley was already working on food prep and she resigned herself to making coffee and finishing up the muffins he'd started the night before.
The first time she'd met Domestic Crowley, Charlie had nearly had a heart attack right on the spot. And when Sam, Dean, and Castiel had related everything that had happened after the botched third trial, the young woman had promptly asked for a stiff drink.
It hurt to see her boys so beaten down and after a few days of watching Dean brood and drink and Sam brood and… read, Charlie had done a little snooping with the help of Crowley and Castiel and had called Sheriff Jodie Mills who had promptly driven over to help sort the Winchesters out.
Of course it had taken the better part of three weeks to do that. Sam had been in a funk over the whole mess with the trials in general and losing his arm had only made things worse. Jodie had offered to help him figure out how to start adapting to his disability which usually led to Sam hiding behind his laptop or a pile of books.
Dean had been insistant that he and Sam would figure things out and in no time the two of them would be back to hunting and trying to fix everything that had happened.
After having enough of Winchester stubbornness, Jodie had sat both boys down and had a one-on-one with Sam and Dean. Neither Crowley, Castiel, or Charlie knew what was said during the sit-downs—though Bobby Singer's name had come up several times during both occasions—but the three did notice a change in the brothers afterwards.
Sam had agreed to start working with an occupational therapist although he wasn't quite ready to think about the idea of a prosthetic.
Dean had tried to stop hovering over his brother and asking if he needed help but old habits that he'd had almost his entire life were hard to break so he'd instead thrown himself into helping Castiel track down the fallen angels and their graces and training Charlie to be a hunter—as a back-up only, he'd assured Sam when the younger Winchester had looked hurt at the idea, not a replacement.
The timer on the oven brought Charlie out of her revierie and she grabbed a pair of hot pads, pulling the hot muffins out of the oven, setting them on the counter to cool for a bit while she poured coffee for her boys—black for Dean and cream and sugar for Sam.
"Before you go anywhere, missy…" Crowley said, stopping Charlie before she got to the door. "Tell your boys to stay out of the kitchen, alright? I've got something special lined up and I'd like it to remain a surprise."
"Sure. Whatever you say, Mr. Snippy," Charlie snapped, annoyed at Crowley's tone. "Want me to tell them to skip lunch, too? That'll go over great."
Crowley mentally chided himself for sounding demanding and he teased, "Fine. I was going to whip up a batch of homemade marshmallows for your birthday next week, but if you're going to accuse me of being… What was the word? Snippy?"
Charlie gave the demon a mock-glare and took the two mugs of coffee along with a basket of warm muffins and some butter and utensils out to the library.
Dean and Sam were up and just sitting down at their usual table when Charlie came in. She handed over breakfast, getting a raised eyebrow from Dean about the muffins. "Oatmeal muffins? Really?"
"Don't look at me," the young hacker replied, defensively. "Crowley's the one who made 'em." Studying her friends, she warned, "Speaking of which… he said to stay out of the kitchen today. I don't know why, but I'd just do it."
Sam nodded, rubbing what remained of his left arm before absently scratching at the itch that was developing there. "Right. Thanks, Charlie."
"So what are you up to today?" Dean wanted to know as he fired up his own laptop and logged on to check his email.
Charlie shrugged as she sat down in front of her own laptop computer. Since she'd been staying with the boys, she'd sort of avoided going out for stuff like conventions or just to do something fun. But the past day or so, she had been feeling a little antsy. "I guess I'll head back out a little later—do another supply run just in case."
Dean looked from Charlie to Sam and he tried not to react to the intensity with which his brother was scratching at the incision where his arm ended. "Hey, Sammy, why do you go with Charlie? Back her up, okay?"
Sam shook his head, still scratching in between flipping the pages of the book he was reading while snacking on a muffin. "Nah, I'm fine."
Recognizing the comment as withdrawing, Dean pressed the notion a little more, hoping Sam would go along with it, especially since the younger man had been avoiding going out in public. Dean knew his little brother was feeling self-conscious about his missing arm but he was at a loss about how to help Sam deal with it except to try and get him out of the bunker once in a while. Maybe he should try to fake a case or…
"Whoa, Sammy!" Dean exclaimed, as he noticed that Sam had almost scratched his arm raw. "Hey!"
"I'm fine, Dean!" Sam snapped, pulling away as his brother reached over to touch him.
But Dean wasn't about to be discouraged this time, especially since he knew that Sam was putting himself at risk for further infections and he didn't even want to think about what would happen if Sam lost more of his arm. "Look, Sammy, I just—"
"Don't 'Sammy' me, Dean! And why don't you just leave me alone?!" Sam shouted, angrily as he grabbed his empty coffee mug and stormed towards the kitchen.
Dean's eyes widened as he saw his brother reach the door and he tried to shout a warning. "Sammy, stay out of th-!" But it was too late. Dean groaned, even though he couldn't help a small smile as he heard Crowley's angry yelling.
"Oy! What part of 'Stay the bloody Hell out of the kitchen' did you not understand, Moose?!"