Crowley, the King of Hell, looked very satisfied by whatever plan he had concocted. Amongst the wild landscape, he shone out in his crisp, dark clothing, his hands lazily bunched up in his pockets. His eyes were playful and smug, Dean narrowed his eyes, what a prick.
‘Crowley,’ said Cas, nodding his head slightly in a sign of guarded welcome and respect.
‘Angel Face,’ he replied, raising his eyebrows with amusement. ‘Good to see you aren’t dead. Yet.’ His gruff, Scottish accent curled his words with a strange form of elegance, odd to come from such a burly form. ‘I did warn the others to give you a couple days head start.’
‘Head start on what? What the hell’s going on?’ demanded Dean. Cas turned his head to glance at his companion,he never changes,he thought, stifling a smile.
‘You’re so to the point, Dean. Anticipation is truly lost on you.’
‘Rightly so,’ said Cas. ‘Why are we here? How did we get here?’
Crowley shrugged, ‘what? You think I became King by signing a few papers and cleaving the occasional head?’ He smirked, a smattering of stubble on his upper lip. ‘I have my ways. You think the entrance to Purgatory is ‘admit one.’ What’s that phrase? Stand too close to the Leviathan, you get sucked into Hell.’
‘So it worked?’ asked Dean, ‘Dick’s dead, right?’
‘Certainly,’ said Crowley happily, ‘and you’ve answered your own questions.’ When neither replied nor retorted, he sighed with disappointment. ‘I wanted Roman’s head on a spike. So did you. And even though you blew up his head, along with the rest of him, you still got the job done. And as much as I’d like to congratulate you on that, you seem to have forgotten that our alliance is now…null and void.’ His eyes darkened with malice. ‘Both of you did me wrong. Angel Face broke our deal, and you, Dean, I haven’t the time to write up how many of my men you’ve…ganked. We’ve got a score to settle.’
‘So why didn’t you just kill us in the lab?’
‘Not my style,’ he said smoothly. ‘This is much more fun, and having you all down here, I’m pleasing my masses. Waiting for judgement can be awfully slow. My guys can get terribly bored. You should have seen their excitement when I told them a Winchester was on our turf.’
Dean flinched, one? ‘Where’s Sam?’ he asked angrily,
‘Moose-boy? Oh, he’s fine, for now. Up in his own world, still panicking about losing you last time I left him.’ Crowley watched Dean’s expression, his eyes bright with hatred and confusion. ‘You’re wondering why I didn’t send you both down here? Don’t misunderstand, I want you both in pieces, but I’ve known you long enough to know your weaknesses, and that’s each other. I want to see what you’ll both do without each other. Again.’
Crowley gave them a final smirk, but before he disappeared, Dean spoke. ‘Why’d you give Cas his head back?’
Castiel turned to Dean, his blue eyes flickering with surprise, ‘Dean…’ he said in his usual way, stern and full of concern. Dean answered his look with one which shouted the words don’t-“Dean”-me-fruit-loop.
‘I told you why,’ Crowley answered. ‘The feud resumes when Cas gets his marbles back. Funny how a little trip down to the circles of Hell can knock some sense back into you. So…Castiel,’ Cas set his shoulders and clenched his fists readily, ‘feel the need to apologise?’
‘I have a feeling it would make no difference, Crowley.’
The King of Hell shrugged, ‘stubborn as always, but you’re right.’ His eyes became dark and hooded, speaking in a warning. ‘Don’t die too early, that wouldn’t be fun…for any of us.’
There was a sound of billowing material, the sound of Crowley vanishing, and then his presence dimmed from Cas’ senses. He relaxed immediately. He thought about what could have happened to him in Crowley hadn’t wanted a fair fight, what he would have done in Cas had been incapacitated. Did that mean he…owed Crowley?
‘Son of a bitch,’ murmured Dean, snapping Cas from his trance. A smile twitched on his lips, such vivid vernacular.He turned around to face him, he looked determined, his brow furrowed in irritation, his lips set in a firm line, every muscle in his body tense and ready.
‘We should move,’ said Cas. ‘Demons will try and track Crowley’s scent to us. I imagine that was his plan all along.’
‘What happened to our head-start?’
‘This is it. Now, quickly.’ Cas began to move away, and Dean looked surprised.
‘You’re not flying?’
Cas froze, and sighed. Embarrassed, he said, ‘I cannot. I do not know how. Crowley, maybe, demon magic. Either way, I am practically earthbound.’
Dean scoffed, ‘you kidding me? A Hunter without weapons and an angel without wings, in what world is that a fair fight?’
‘This world,’ he replied, unable to cotton on to Dean’s sarcasm. ‘There must be somewhere to go.’ He directed his senses ahead, trying to feel any presences within a mile of them. He felt them,everywhere,but none particularly powerful. ‘This way,’ said the angel, heading off through the forest.
‘Hey, Cas,’ Dean called, not moving from his spot. Castiel turned around, curious. ‘I’m – uh – I’m glad -,’ Dean coughed, disguising his hesitation. Cas knew this, but he remained stoic. ‘I’m glad you’re back.’
Cas smiled, ‘so am I, Dean.’