A/N: I don't know where this came from but I typed it up on my iPad while I am traveling atm so had to post since it wouldn't let me go. Also - first Supernatural thing ever written so criticize away, these are not my usual muses.
Sam POV, domestic!Crowley, Kevin and Dean appearances, and somewhat struggling Cas. Not a plotty piece, just a sorta retrospective one, kind of a series of moments in between the action.
Only edited once and just copy-and-pasted from my tumblr, where put it up originally, so any and all residual errors my own fault, please point them out if you find them.
Disclaimer: Spoilers for throughout the entirety of Season 8. I don't claim any ownership over Supernatural, or the characters, because I'm not a mentally ill fan, just a plain ol' obsessed on ^_^
It was a slow day, their main and only objective being on that of "dull research", as Dean put it. Sam personally liked when they were able to sit down and research through dusty old books, whether from libraries or from Bobby's personal eclectic collection they now possessed parts of. It was only made better on these casual days when they weren't necessarily on the clock, racing to identify a monster or find an antidote.
And of course, the experience was near perfect after their discovery of the Men of Letters' bunker.
There were still so many warehouse-like rooms he had yet to explore and Dean hadn't either, more than happy to spend his time going through the boxes Sam pulled out. Kevin bounced between reading the Angel tablet more, playing games like Skyrim to unwind (something they all paid more attention to, not wanting the orphan kid to break after all they had put him through to begin with), and floating around, doing his own thing.
In that way, the kid was a lot like Castiel.
Cas. Sam rubbed his eyes and leaned back from the sketchbook he was studying, mind nowhere near in it. Cas had had it rough. It was hard to tell what the former angel was thinking lately, not that it had ever been easy. But Dean had started treating him with his almost instinctually maternal-like side that Sam had been raised under and Sam was glad to see it.
Cas needs to eat? Dean would whip something up (something his brother was more than happy to do for anyone just for the excuse to bustle around the kitchen without looking as though he's loosing any of his manliness, which Sam thought was completely absurd).
Cas feeling claustrophobic? Dean would go on a drive with him.
Cas feeling grumpy? Dean would sit with him in companionable silence.
Cas expressing self loathing? Dean would take him to their expansive training room and shooting range and teach him how to defend and strike with his human form, exhausting the angel, a routine that for some reason made him smile. (Sam had been there several times with them and didn't understand why, since it was simple training, but there was always the smile, like Cas was proud, or relieved, for himself, proving something contrary to some hateful voice in his mind.)
And then there was Crowley.
He was… odd. He still held some of his demon side, of course, because if he didn't then Sam would be dead and buried right now, and for that for some reason the former King of Hell seemed to go out of his way to accommodate Sam. And Sam, still recovering at a snail's pace, could not figure out exactly why.
He coughed roughly and suddenly, feeling like someone rubbed sandpaper along his throat. Standing, he was halfway to the kitchen doorway when Crowley came out with a glass of water. He thrust it into Sam's hand without a word. "Thanks," Sam mumbled out, gulping it down. Crowley nodded once and scurried back into the kitchen.
Sam finished the glass and sighed. A small pooling of orange liquid at the bottom of glass glared back at him. The blood was coming less and less, but there it was, all the same. He walked into the kitchen and rinsed out the glass. Crowley glanced up out of the corner of his eye from where he was sitting at the kitchen table, reading an old book of his own, but otherwise made no movement of acknowledging the other's presence. Sam set the glass back on the counter and withdrew the jug of milk from the fridge. "What's that?" He asked as he poured a glass.
"Kevin gave it to me. A prophet's journal he found dating during one of the demon genocides. I think he meant to be insulting." Crowley mildly smirked.
"A demon genocide? Seriously?"
Crowley nodded. "Hunters have managed to organize themselves from time to time over the centuries." He turned a page.
Sam carried his glass of milk over to the table and sat across from him. "So. Abaddon. Think she's taken over Hell yet?" He started conversationally.
"More than likely."
"You don't look very upset about that."
Crowley finally looked up. "I'm not fully demon, not even a lowly one, I'm vulnerable to emotions of guilt and regret, and I was thankful for the torching of a Knight of Hell's vessel. Making an inquiry downstairs about the status of power isn't exactly smart, demon GPS and all that, and wailing won't lead to anything. Whether I'm upset or not is irrelevant. There's nothing I can do about it, is there?" He returned his gaze to the journal.
Sam stared, feeling suddenly insufferably more curious, as well as pity for the quasi-demon. He twisted the glass in his hand. "But are you? Upset, I mean."
A heavy sigh across the table and then the journal slid shut. Crowley met his eyes again. "Power can be tiring," he admitted, an answer Sam supposed would be the closest to a 'yes' he would get from the much older man. He was just about to open his mouth to boldly ask, on whim, how old Crowley truly was, when there was a bang in the distance, the lock on the door going. They both tensed on habit but it was unnecessary.
"Sammy!" Dean hollered from the entrance, across the bunker. "Help Cas with the bags; he's trying to organize the damn cans again!" A muttering that sounded something like "why wasn't he called slowest angel in the garrison" followed Dean as he approached. His brother blinked at them sitting together but Sam stood and was out the doorway before he could hear Dean's daily scathing remark to Crowley, which always rolled off. Sam was almost sure the two had an agreement for a daily allowance of insults because of the way they exchanged them like clockwork. Like some kind of coping mechanism with this new strange working relationship they all held.
Cas was predictably standing at the back of the Impala, reorganizing the bags. "We have to unpack them anyway," he pointed out.
Sam grabbed the two bags Cas wasn't fussing with and went back inside. "He still out there?" Dean asked unnecessarily. Sam nodded. His brother shook his head and went down the hall to his room. Kevin came out from wherever he had been off to, scratching his red ears tiredly. Gaming marathon, Sam guessed. He said nothing. The kitchen was quiet. Kevin and Crowley hardly talked, another understanding developing there.
Sam and Kevin had everything put away fifteen minutes later, Kevin then moving onto warming up pancake leftovers (courtesy of Dean). "You should check on him, Moose," Crowley piped up casually. "Make sure he hasn't hurt himself."
He rolled his eyes but walked out all the same, the demon having voiced his own thoughts. When he found Cas again, the man was leaning against the bumper, the bags forgotten on the trunk top. "What's up?" He called out when he was a couple feet away.
"I used to be able to identify all the colors of green in the landscape," Cas commented slowly. "Now, they meld together. It's different, but I think it's more beautiful like this. Why don't more people appreciate this?"
Sam had a feeling the question was not said with the expectation of an answer. He shrugged and spoke anyway. "We're used to it, you know? We take it for granted. That's what humans do."
Cas looked at him. "No. Not you." He stared out again, raising his blue orbs at the sound of a long echoing bird call.
A pause. "You alright?"
The former angel licked his lips. "Yes. I am… coping; learning. I would not be here if I couldn't adapt." A somber smile played at his lips, as much as a smile could be for the normally stoic man.
"It's not your fault, them falling. We'll figure it out. We'll get your grace back."
"It is not that. I do want restoring the angels to their proper place to be our priority, yes, and I know their fall is not my fault. It is the one action I am truly a victim in causing. But, I…." He faltered. "If I have my grace once again…."
Sam felt his throat tighten. He understood. He went to lean against the bumper alongside his friend, tapping shoulders intentionally. Cas looked over, somewhat startled, having lost himself in thought, a somewhat common occurrence nowadays. "Just trust me, as someone who was in that kind of position just a couple weeks ago - don't do it 'cause you think it'll get you redemption. Do it 'cause it's best for you. It's okay to forgive yourself. It doesn't mean you have to forget, or suddenly stop trying."
Cas's eyes softened. "You're a good man, Sam."
He scratched the back of his neck. "I'll tell Dean you're studying bird songs. He'll leave you alone for a while." He picked up the bags.
Cas smiled again. "He can sometimes be… suffocating."
Sam grinned. "Yeah, well, now you got the mother experience too."
"Perhaps I should buy him an apron."
Sam laughed outright.