There was nothing angelic about Billy.
Except perhaps for his wings. Billy's wings were grey and soft and not too big and he was really rather fond of them. They weren't as big or as bright as Orlando's, whose wings were such a clean and sparkling shade of white they could have advertised the heavenly equivalent of Persil. Orlando occasionally stared at Billy's wings, one eyebrow cocked, and tried to pronounce them off-white, or slate, or even one memorable occasion, seashell, but Billy was having none of it. They weren't palest sea green or light steely blue, or whatever way Orlando wanted to dress them up. Billy's wings were grey. A lovely, soft, pale grey. They might not be as big as Orlando's (Orlando could open his up and wrap them around Billy like a blanket, if he was cold), or as awe-inspiring, but they were Billy's, and Billy liked them just the way they were. Which may have been a bit bashed in places and slightly crooked, but Billy didn't care.
Still, there was nothing angelic about Billy. He drank like a fish, for a start, sliding through his days with whisky as a constant companion, taking leisurely gulps from a worn silver hip flask whenever the fancy took him. He also swore like a trooper, usually besmirching all that was holy and God-fearing with a voice that trickled towards honey and caught like burnt sugar, flickering at the edges. Ian just raised an eyebrow at him whenever he happened upon Billy in the middle of one of his drunken soliloquies, but Billy wasn't one to stop just because the Metatron had caught him expounding on all that was wrong with the world. Billy was just more likely to get louder and attempt to use every swear word he knew, one after the other.
It was entirely possible that if it wasn't for Sean Bean, Billy would be the scruffiest, least-angel-like divine being in heaven.
Luckily for Billy, Sean Bean had no intention of giving up his position just yet. And because Sean Bean was still in Very Big Trouble after the great Sheffield United debacle, Billy was in no danger of accidentally slipping into Sean's shoes accidentally. Billy lived in perpetual fear of inadvertently sneaking past Sean on the scruffy radar, because he was secretly rather afraid of Sean, with his huge muddy brown wings and his tattoos. But because Sean was currently confined to heaven (with his own special curfew and everything), Sean was petulant and sulky and had taken to wandering round with cans of beer bemoaning the fact that despite the fact they were all heavenly creatures, not one of them was able to set the video recorder to tape the football off sky. He was reduced to dispatching Orlando down to earth every morning to buy the tabloids for him, and it was slowly killing him that Orlando only handed them over after he'd read them himself. Which meant there had been a half hearted attempt to fill in the crossword, the horoscope page was always creased and Sean's was always highlighted in blue biro (with notes in the margin), and the problem page was always missing. Sean was beginning to wonder what Orlando did with his copies of Dear Deirdre every morning, but he didn't like to piss Orlando off. No one liked getting Orlando angry, actually, which was probably why it happened so flipping rarely. Orlando glowed red when he was mad, and the tips of his wings flickered pink. It was frankly disturbing. Sean liked it better when Orlando's pink-tipped wings were entirely down to Orlando having too much time on his hands and the newsagent's close proximity to the chemist. He'd come back with blue hair gel the previous week; the shocking disparity between the blue tips and the whites of his wings had been enough for Dom to refer to him as the Ice Queen for the whole day.
It was Sean's own fault, really, his current imprisonment in heaven. There were better ways to get Sheffield United into both the upper echelons of the Premier League and the finals of the FA cup than trying to persuade the opposing teams to sell their souls to the devil. Standing on the terraces and trying to sneak in small divine miracles every time Sheffield got the ball past the line into the opposition's half was bound to get you noticed after a while; doing it whilst bloody Dom was stood on the opposite side of the pitch in a Manchester United shirt was just asking for trouble. Doing anything when Dom was around was asking for trouble, really. He was a demon with a death wish, which was the very worst kind.
There wasn't anything particularly evil about Dom, excepting a vague malevolence and an extremely low boredom threshold. Dom might have been a demon from the lower echelons of hell, (which explained his football allegiance) but he wasn't above barging past the pearly gates every other day and bugging the angels. He certainly wasn't above teasing Orlando, unfolding his jet black wings (with a tint of blue, they shimmered like a crow's wing in the right light) and flapping in Orlando's general direction, saying "I think they're bigger than yours, Orli, check the wingspan, they're definitely wider. And mine are more flappy. Yours just sort of... hang," until Billy would come over and ruffle his feathers and tell him to sod off back to hell. Dom would just stick two fingers up at him (his allegiance also stemmed back to the Hundred Years War, not just because he was English but because Scotland were on the other side, fighting with the French) and plonk himself down on the bench beside Orlando, saying "You know I don't mean it, mate, it's just that someone's got to have the bigger wingspan, and clearly it's me," until Orlando looked miserable and went and made a cup of tea. Dom was short, and bouncy, and he spent almost as long in the chemists on Earth as Orlando did, buying eyeliner and kohl - and on one memorable occasion, black lipstick - which he played with when he had nothing better to do. Which - considering Dom's malevolence stemmed from sheer boredom - was fairly often.
So. There was absolutely nothing angelic about Billy. Especially when all he could think about was Dom; when he couldn't get rid of the image of Dom, dark eyeliner and black hooded eyes, and those huge, black wings and it was indelibly imprinted on the inside of his eyelids. Billy was an angel who was obsessed with a demon. Billy sighed, swore, and took another gulp of warm whisky. Fuck.
There was nothing angelic about Billy.