A/N: This is going to be a collection of chronological scenes of Crowley and Red throughout the time they've known each other. I've gotten a large majority of it done, and I thought I might as well start posting it.
Canon details for Blacklist may or may not be fucked-up. I tried my best, but it's hard to keep some of that straight when what's true and what isn't true changes from week to week, practically. I put together what I could with a semblance of coherence, I hope.
Also, because it's Crowley, things get a little gay at times, but not so gay that I would venture to call it slash.
Anyway, hope you enjoy. I know I'm not exactly catering to a huge audience here, but ah, I had fun with it.
[No. 2 - Mr. Crowley]
Raymond Reddington stands in the center of a lonely rural crossroads in Nebraska, and he wonders how it's come to this. To black magic, and things better left in the dark. To dying little girls and burnt stuffed bunnies. To demon deals and scars on his back that he knows very well will never heal.
Life, much like love, is often sad, but sometimes it's funny. He doesn't currently know which category his situation falls into.
With a sigh that should only come from men twice his age, Red kneels down, old cigar box in his hand. Something Sam gave him. A joke and a gift wrapped in one. Sam has a taste for irony, and knowing Red's penchant for only the most expensive Cuban cigars, he deemed it necessary to give him a cigar box that looked like it belonged smuggled away under some teenager's bed, alongside a hastily folded pinup.
Inside the cigar box is a vial of graveyard dirt, the bone of an unfortunate black cat he'd found poking into the dumpster behind Sam's house, and finally, his driver's license, the only picture of himself he has on hand. Frowning at the dirt that's bound to get under his fingernails, Red begins digging a shallow impression in the road.
Once he's four inches down, he gingerly places the cigar box in the hole and brushes the soil back overtop of it. Red rises, drawing himself up to his full height, in spite of the excruciating pain from the burns on his back. He should still be bed ridden, truthfully, but Raymond Reddington is not one to sit and wait while the world crumbles around him.
The best illicit medical professionals money could buy tell him that Elizabeth isn't going to survive the injuries she sustained in the fire. Her burns are mild, but the smoke inhalation... that is a different story entirely.
He has to take matters into his own hands. Today, he will take fate and force it to bend to his will. He can only hope that the mystic he'd spoken to in New Orleans last spring had been truthful when she'd told him of Crossroads demons and deals. He's inclined to be skeptical, it's his nature, but the woman had spoken with such utter conviction... he can't help but believe her.
"Well, well. What do we have here?"
Red freezes when he hears the voice behind him. Rough, British. It's not unlike the sound of someone dragging their fingers through gravel. He turns slowly to meet the newcomer.
Standing five feet behind him is a man dressed in a sleek, all black suit, complimented by a gray paisley tie. He wears a wool overcoat, where he buries his hands. He's clean shaven and his hair is neatly kept. His appearance screams wealth and taste.
How fitting, Red muses. "I do hope you're a Crossroads demon. I'm afraid I'm quite unprepared for any other supernatural entity."
The man smirks at that, giving Red a mock bow with an extravagant twist of his wrist. "King of the Crossroads, at your service." The man - demon, Red corrects himself - draws back up, brushing nonexistent dirt off of his suit. "The name's Crowley."
"Well, Mr. Crowley, I trust you know why I'm here," Red says. He realizes he should be afraid, being in the presence of a demon, but he's captured by a kind of numbness instead, separating him from his fear.
"Let me guess: wealth?" Crowley inquired, almost sounding bored. He gives Red a once-over with an arched eyebrow. "Dolce Cabana shoes, Armani suit. You've a taste for the finer things."
"I have no interest in material gain," Red replies evenly.
Crowley seems faintly surprised at that. "Not in it for money, eh? What is it, then? Women? Fame?" Crowley gestures vaguely at his head. "Little more hair up top?"
A muscle in Red's cheek twitches at that. He's only nursing a small bald spot, and really, it's hardly noticeable. It's not as if he's going to go completely bald.
Crowley comes closer, only a foot separating them, now. "Or..." the demon drawls. "You want me to fix those nasty second degree burns covering the entirety of your back?" Crowley leans forward and puzzlingly, the demon sniffs Red. "Wait, I take that back. Third degree burns."
"I do need you to heal someone," Red responds. "But not me. A young girl. She's sustained serious brain damage from smoke inhalation, and she doesn't have long left. I need you to save her, if that's within the scope of your powers."
"The question isn't whether it's in the scope of my powers, it's what exactly you'll give me in return for my services," Crowley tells him in no uncertain terms. "You do know how Crossroads deals work, I hope?"
"I understand that traditionally, I would offer up my soul in exchange for your help."
"I'm sensing a but, here."
"I see little point in signing over my soul to you, Mr. Crowley, when it's almost certainly already destined for your domain. I'm here to offer you something that I think will prove far more useful to you in the long run."
"Listening," Crowley says, scrutinizing Red's face.
"One moment," Red tells the demon, holding up a finger. He briefly returns to the beat-up Pontiac he'd driven to the crossroads, a car Sam had been so kind as to lend him while he sorts out his affairs. In the back of the Pontiac, there's a suitcase. Red stares at it briefly, and he hopes, he prays, that it's enough to buy the demon's favor... because if everything is not enough, he will have no choice. He will be forced to make the typical deal.
His soul for Elizabeth's healing, and in ten years, he will be killed and his soul will be taken to Hell. Ten years. Dead at forty. Raymond Reddington is not a man who clings to many things, but he does cling to life. Life is beautiful, and tragic, and compelling. Filled with wonders. He is not the kind to take it for granted, not one single moment, even the most painful.
Even with half of his body being roasted alive and a screaming little girl trapped beneath him, he values it. He values the lesson he is taught. Sacrifice, and its true meaning.
For Elizabeth, he will become an international fugitive.
For Elizabeth, he will take the scars, the agony.
For Elizabeth, he will make a deal with the devil.
He can pretend it's all just guilt over the fate Elizabeth's parents met, or the fact that Elizabeth is now the only living link to the Fulcrum - perhaps she even is the Fulcrum - but he's never been good at lying to himself. He believes in fate, and in some cosmic twist, the girl that was meant only to be a mission seems to have become his north star.
Red grabs the suitcase and returns to Crowley, who is waiting impatiently for him. Red pauses two feet from the Crossroads demon. "In this suitcase is a list of the most powerful men in the United States government. Their dirtiest secrets, and every pressure point they have. With this knowledge, you could practically seize control of the United States government overnight."
Crowley seems faintly impressed. "You're offering me power," he surmises.
"I am," Red confirms.
Crowley hums, lips twitching in slight amusement. "Brilliant scheme. But I'm afraid there's a flaw in your plan, mate." Red's hand is suddenly empty. Crowley is now holding the suitcase. "I am a demon, remember? I want something, I take it."
"I suppose I should have seen that coming," Red concedes. "But the contents of that suitcase, that's not the only thing I'm offering you."
"Unless your soul is in the payoff, darling, I can't claim to be interested," Crowley replies.
"It is, in a manner of speaking. But not just my soul. My body, as well."
He doesn't miss the lascivious trailing of eyes down the length of his body. "While the proposition is tempting, a good roll in the hay doesn't-"
"I didn't mean in that sense," Red cuts across him. While he considers himself adventurous - he's played doctor with both sexes in his time - getting into bed literally with a demon is something he'd rather avoid. "I have a network of contacts and informants that stretches across the globe, a veritable slew of resources. And most importantly," Red inhaled deeply, "I will do anything you ask of me for the remainder of my life, should you accept this deal. To couch it in basic terms: you will own me, and when I die - naturally - my soul will be yours."
Crowley chuckles. "You really are desperate, aren't you?"
"I'm willing to do what needs to be done to save the girl's life," he answers. "Waive the ten year deadline, and I will serve you for the remainder of my years."
"You've an awfully inflated sense of self-importance," Crowley observes. "Who says I need a human to do my dirty work for me?"
"You know my offer, Mr. Crowley. I can't control whether you take it or not." Red adjusted his sunglasses. "The ball, as they say, is in your court."
Crowley narrows his eyes at Red, lips thinning. The demon takes almost a full minute to weigh his options. When finally he speaks, he says, "Mr. Reddington, I find you fascinating. I'll take your deal." Crowley inserts himself into Red's personal space. He expects to smell sulfur, but a fine cologne is all that meets his nostrils. "But remember, when you die? You come to Daddy."
Crowley smiles. "Fantastic." The demon snaps his fingers, and the suitcase vanishes from his hand. Crowley reaches inside of his overcoat and pulls out a bound scroll. "And now it's time for my favorite part." The scroll unfurls. It's so long that it piles between Red and Crowley's feet. "This shouldn't take long at all," the demon declares cheerfully.
"Mr. Crowley, there's nothing in here that prevents you from killing me before my time and taking my soul."
"Ah, must've slipped my mind."
"There's also nothing to indicate that Elizabeth's healing will be permanent."
"I see you have an eye for loopholes. That's unfortunate."
"I request that you change the wording. Elizabeth's permanent good health is imperative."
After nearly three hours, their negotiations are finally complete. As the sun sets and paints the world orange, Red signs his name on the bottom of the nearly twelve foot long contract, which is now covered in corrections, all made in red Sharpie. Once it's signed, the contract rolls itself back into scroll form.
Crowley smirks at him. "And now to seal the deal properly."
"Like the Romans do, correct?" Red tilts his head.
"I do love an informed customer," Crowley practically purrs as he slides a hand around the back of Red's neck and pulls him forward. A moment later, the demon's lips are on his. He feels an itch in his skin, like the words of the contract are being scrawled into his flesh. Crowley's kiss is not delicate, but it is professional. It is done with impossible focus, and he can feel it, can feel the kiss binding them together.
Crowley tastes like smoke and scotch. Red's had worse.
When they break apart, Crowley is wearing a smug grin. "Enjoyed that, did you?" he asks, noticing the flush of Red's cheeks. "Don't worry, darling. Everybody does."
"I believe it's time for you to hold up your end of the bargain," is Red's only reply.
"Of course. Where's the girl?"
Red rattles of Sam's address. Crowley nods, then sets a hand on Red's shoulder. He feels a tugging deep in his stomach, an almost painful kind of compression, as the two of them suddenly blink out of existence.
When Red's senses return to him, they're next to Elizabeth's bed. Or rather, the bed in Sam's guest room that the young girl has occupied for the past three weeks. A cot nearby is where he's been recovering. Doctors visit everyday to attend to the both of them. Red receives more care than Lizzie, due to the severity of the wounds on his back, and the fact that besides changing her feeding tube and IV, there's little they can do for her condition.
Elizabeth is hooked up to a slew of machines that force her body to continue. Her ventilator is loud, and a constant reminder that she cannot breathe on her own.
"So, this is she?" Crowley asks, approaching Elizabeth's bedside. The girl is a pale, delicate thing, looking small and fragile underneath all of the tubes and wires. The demon reaches out and brushes a lock of hair out of her closed eyes. Red's not sure he likes the demon touching Elizabeth like that.
"What's her name?"
Crowley leans down, eyes intent on the four year old. "Well, Lizzie," the demon says, almost softly. "Aren't you lucky that someone's willing to sell themselves in order to keep you alive?"
"Relax, Raymond. I'm merely savoring the moment." He narrows his eyes at Elizabeth. "Isn't that interesting?"
"What?" Red asks, not liking the fascinated expression on Crowley's face.
"I've never seen a four year old with a soul this tainted before," the demon elaborates. "She's killed already, hasn't she?"
Red says nothing, but his silence speaks volumes.
"Dra-ma," Crowley chimes in a sing-song voice. He sets his hand on Lizzie's forehead. The demon closes his eyes for a moment.
And then, the machines monitoring Lizzie's heart rate and breathing jump to life. Color floods her skin, and she shifts in her bed as her mind and body reawaken. Crowley seems annoyed by the inane beeping. With a wave of his hand, the machines vanish.
"She's healed," Crowley states needlessly. "She should wake in a few minutes."
A wave of relief sweeps over him as he takes in the sight of the healthy child. Elizabeth is alive and well, and any cost he must pay in the future for his actions will be worth it. Elizabeth is alive. At present, that matters more than anything else.
"Thank you," Red tells Crowley, and he means it.
"Thanking the demon who owns your soul?" Crowley snorts. "I know there was a reason I liked you. Oh, by the way, did you a bit of a favor - I wiped her memory of that little... incident."
Red tenses at that. Crowley invaded her mind?
"Oh, don't get your knickers in a twist. No damage done. It's all for the best, scout's honor."
Red circles around to Elizabeth's other side. He gingerly lifts her pencil thin arm. There's a bandage covering her hand and wrist. The only area that was burned during the fire. Red had been able to shield the rest of her.
"Can you heal this as well? It's bound to scar."
"I've already numbed it. She won't feel any pain." Crowley smirks. "But I think I'll leave the scar... as a reminder to both you and her."
Red looks up at him sharply. "What do you mean?"
"I mean... I think this girl's got a very bright future ahead of her," Crowley says. "And someday, I may just pay her a visit."
Red's stalking towards Crowley in an instant. "That was not part of our contract-"
But it's too late.
Crowley's already gone.