“Dean? Are you listening?”
The hunter nodded as he drowned half mug of his coffee. Dean’s tolerance for caffeine always seemed to surprise Sera.
“Then what did I just say?”
“We have a ton of spells to try. Crowley and Cas are getting the ingredients. And I need another cup.”
Sam looked at him and rolled his eyes, but remained silent, pretending to focus on his breakfast. It was too early to start arguing, especially if they'd have to stay together all day.
The archangel put her tea closer to her face and took a deep breath. It didn't really smell like anything, but the stream was calming and she enjoyed the sensation.
“I hope we find a spell that works fast,” she said, “because the ones we left for last are better off forgotten.”
“Why? Are they dangerous?”
Well, no, but... “In the wrong hands, they could be.”
“Oh, you mean like Crowley’s?”
No no no no that's not what I meant .
“I think that the fewer people know about this, the better.”
“Yeah, I agree,” said Dean, “we don't want somebody with access to... What , exactly?”
Sera nearly answers, but she stopped herself.
“Let's hope you don't have to find out.”
Dean's eyebrows raised in an involuntary gesture. If he was curious then, now the thought wouldn't leave his mind.
Sam chewed in his pancakes silently. Sera had the habit of cooking (well, not “cooking”- ... you know what I mean) for the boys every time she stayed at the bunker, which had somehow ended up with her knowing all of their preferences when it came to food. Sam and Dean, on the other hand, were starting to get used to her spoiling- a fact that could make them uncomfortable, especially when this motherly figure looked younger than them.
Being as perceptive as she was, Seraphiel was well aware of this. But changing her vessel- or even its appearance- would point out the issue, which eventually would lead to a very awkward conversation she was not looking forward to having.
Sam put down his fork and opened his mouth, but before any sound left his throat, the King of Hell appeared in the middle of the kitchen.
With a lot of chickens.
Dean frowned deeply but didn't say anything. It was too early for this shit, he decided. Sam's eyes snapped open, but all he could do was shot Crowley a very questioning look, as he struggled not to choke on his breakfast.
“Hello, boys,” he said, not really paying them that much attention. Instead, he turned to face the archangel and continued, “is there any way we can know which one is it?”
Sera blinked several times. It took her a few seconds to realize what he was asking.
“Oh! Yeah. It's supposed to be lighter than the others, but it'll sink in water.”
Crowley raised his eyebrows, an expression that clearly said you’ve got to be bloody joking .
She apologized through her expression, and after a sigh, he nodded.
“See you later, darling. If you need me, I'll be drowning magical chickens.”
The tiniest “...what?” ever heard to man escaped Sam's lips, and the demon was gone a second after.
“Why do we need chickens again?”
“Not the whole chicken, just the heart. And those are not really chickens. Don't let them fool you, Dean.”
The sudden warning tone the answer took did nothing but ignite the curiosity in the hunter, but he kept his questions to himself.
Instead, he thought about what Cas told him about Sera and Crowley.
Sera and Crowley.
I mean, she did kinda smile when he showed up, but the dude was covered in chickens. He would have laughed too if he wasn't afraid of pissing her off.
Which got him thinking even more. Was she protective of the demon? No, she was protecting the peace, he told himself. So she wasn't making fun of him. When she smiled, it wasn't because of the chickens.
Was she flir-? No, no way.
Sera wasn't flirting, but then again he had never seen her flirt. He had no idea how that looked like. And Crowley flirted with everyone, so that didn't count, right? But his flirting always had that snarky undertone, the sarcasm that defined him as a person; And with Sera, well... Dean couldn't remember him ever being even minimally disrespectful to her.
She was an archangel and disrespecting her was a bad idea, but after a few hours of knowing her he must have figured out she is not a threat.
He didn't even have a nickname for her, other than dear or darling .
...Son of a bitch.
Cas was right.
“So that makes four,” Sam rubbed his hands over his face, exhausted. Dean continued, “and we're still at zero.”
“That's not true. We're getting there,” said Sera, grabbing the dirty bowls from the table, “slowly, yes, but slow progress is still progress. We're getting there.”
“The only place we're getting is the end of the list, and closer to those mysterious spells you refuse to talk about.”
Sera shoot him a hurt glance that only lasted a second before continuing to clean the table. She knew he was tired, and annoyed, and he didn't mean it. In his eyes she could see he wanted to apologize, but with the demon around, he was not willing to risk getting made fun of.
“I have a good feeling about this one,” she insisted. Sam handed her the rusty book and she opened it on the marked page.
“We're going to need more holy roots than the ones we have here.”
“I'll go get them,” Dean said, getting up, “Cas, wanna come?”
The angel nodded past his confusion, and started walking right behind him. Sam and Sera traded curious looks, but decided to stay out of it.
“Looks like they finally decided to solve that sexual tension between them,” commented Crowley, his eyes not leaving the page of the book he was reading.
Sam rolled his eyes, but he didn't reply. Neither did Sera, consciously focusing on setting all the ingredients on the table in their correct order.
Not so far away, Dean stopped dead on his tracks to turn to see the angel, who almost ran into him.
“You were right. About Sera and Crowley.”
“But you said...”
“I know what I said, but then I started thinking it, man, and-...” That sentence only finished inside his head. “How could we miss something like that?”
Cas was tempted to clarify that he hadn't missed anything, but he decided not to.
“What do you think?”
The hunter's eyes traveled for a moment to some spot behind Castiel, and right before he could ask what was wrong, Dean grabbed his arm and lead him further away.
“I'm not sure. I mean, I think Sera fell for that whole charming thing he has going on, but I don't know if he's into her or into her powers.”
“If they got together, he'd be unstoppable,” agreed Castiel, nodding, “but even then, do you think she'd agree to his methods?”
“It- It just doesn't make any sense!” Dean took one last look behind them before entering the closet with the roots he needed. “I know what they say about opposites attract and all, but this...”
“Is nonsense, I know. We must stop them, Dean.”
“But how? It's not like we can just convince them-...” Again, Dean's sentence was left unfinished. Looking up into Castiel's eyes, he repeated, more excited this time. “We have to convince them both it's one-sided, and that way they will forget about it.”
It made sense when Dean explained it. Cas wondered why he couldn't come up with that on his own. I mean, it definitely wasn't a master plan.
“Do you think that'll work?”
“It has to. Think about what'll happen if Crowley gains control over Sera's powers. We wouldn't stand a chance.”
The angel nodded. “Should we involve Sam?”
“I'll talk to him,” Dean promised. He knew that there was a chance that he'd oppose, but if they got to him before any of them, he had a bigger shot at convincing him that he and Cas were doing the right thing. “We need him on our side.”
“Alright. What's the plan?”
Dean frowned. They had dealt with way worse, but all those times had included a massive amount of luck, and at least one of them dying.
Even if this wasn't their most ambitious crusade, he still wanted to do it right.
“We should split up while we finish the spells, and talk to them separately.”
“You think talking to them is the best way to go?”
“Not directly, no. We'll mention things casually, like that's just the way the conversation went. Hopefully, by the time we figure this out,” Dean raised the box with the roots, pointing at it with his chin vaguely, “they'll be over this.”
The angel nodded, focused. “You should be the ones to talk to Sera.”
“You want to handle Crowley?”
“I'd give anything not to be the one who handles Crowley,” muttered Castiel, “but since I'm an angel, Sera will be able to see when I lie to her.”
[Author's note: I know that's not canon. I know. But since not even the writers give a shit about canon, and this is my fic and I do what I want, neither will I. Sera can tell when Cas is lying, because I feel like it, because that makes it interesting, and because y'all can't stop me.]
“Crap, I had forgotten about that,” sighed Dean, “almost as if someone just made it up.” Dean turned to look at the reader, and suppressed an annoyed eye roll. He hated fourth-wall-breaking jokes.
“I know. We should go back now, or they might get suspicious. Will you talk to Sam?”
Dean nodded. “You go back there, tell him I need to know where he left the roots, and send him here. I'll convince him.”
Cas gave one sharp nod and left the hunter alone in the hallway. Less than a minute later, his brother made his way towards him, sporting a confused frown.
“Dean?” Less than a minute, however, was long enough for Dean to realize Sam was never going to agree to what they were doing. He was Sam , after all. “Cas said... Wait, you found the roots. Good. Come on, let's go back.”
“No, Sam, wait,” Sam stopped and looked at him, analyzing his brother. “I need to talk to you. About Sera.”
Not gonna lie, when Sam heard the words “I need to talk to you”, his mind went places. But Sera was not the angel he'd thought be involved.
“What about her?”
“And Crowley.” He added, kind of late. “Me and Cas, well, we think they might... be in love. With each other.”
Sam's eyes went wide. He tried to swallow the pool of spit that was forming in his mouth, but he nearly choked in it. Sera and Crowley. Still, he managed to force his voice to ask, “What?”
“Come on, you've seen what I mean.”
Sam tried to think. Incredibly, what Dean was saying made sense. He couldn't help to remember what she had told them the night before, about there being something bothering her.
And it made sense.
“Oh, my God.”
Sam shook his head, as if Dean were arguing with him.
“ Dean .” Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder to ground himself. To say he was shocked would be an understatement.
“I know, Sammy, I know. But listen, we have a plan.”
That worked to pull Sam out of the overanalyzing spiral he seemed to be in.
“A plan? A plan for what?”
Dean knew he wouldn't like the truth. And if Sam sided with the love birds, his scheme would fly out the window.
So he lied.
“Cas was the one who noticed first,” he started, acting like he hadn't realized what his brother was truly asking, “and we think Crowley knows. Or suspects, at least. That's why he's been flirting with her, to use her feelings to get her on his side.”
It wasn't a complete lie, and Dean felt better about it as he saw Sam's frown deepen.
“You think he's using her?”
Dean raised his eyebrows. “The other option is that he's actually in love with an archangel .”
Sam thought it over for a second. Dean was right: Sera was sweet, and kind, and literally an ethereal being of light . And he was Crowley, for fuck's sake.
“Okay, you might be right,” he wasn't agreeing to anything until he knew exactly what he was getting into, “what are you planning?”
“Well, we're just going to talk to them. Cas is going to scare Crowley off, and we,” Dean pointed at both of them, “We can let Sera down gently.”
“And how are you planning on doing that?”
“We just have to casually mention how much of an ass Crowley is. She'll believe it if it comes from us.”
Incredibly, Sam found himself nodding along.
“Fine. Okay? I'm in.”
“We're doing the right thing, Sammy.”
“I hope so.”