Crowley stumbled through a ravaged London. The morning after the night before. Except the night before hadn't involved copious amounts of alcohol, a bar brawl and a severe headache, as it usually would have.
The night before, death had rained from the Heavens. More specifically, from the Luftwaffe.
Crowley'd known this humans flying crap was a bad idea. He'd known. Right from the start, right from when old Leonardo had been doodling his little whirligig back in the Renaissance, Crowley'd known it was a bad idea. Humans flying could only involve bad things happening, bad things on a scale not seen since the First War. Angels flying, that was bad, but angels at least tended to be traditionalists, and aerial armaments tended to be of the flaming sword variety. Humans, though, humans were smart. Smart, and short-sighted, and bloody-minded little buggers, and World War I had been bad enough, with the fighters, but this ...
He'd died a few days ago. Discorporated. Not from a bomb. Not from a building. He'd been smart about those, kept up a nice little infernal miracle shield to protect him from those. No worse than driving, really. Just keep all the moving lumps of metal away from you, no problem ... But it hadn't been the metal that killed him. Hadn't been the debris. Hadn't been the fire.
It had been blast lung. That was the name they were putting on it. Blast lung. Survive all the rest, survive Hell itself falling out of the sky onto your head, and just when you think you're safe, your lungs collapse. That invisible wave of air and pressure as the bomb hit, pulverising your chest inside you, leaving you to just sit down and blink and die. Crowley'd seen nothing like it since that tosser Raguel had gotten shirty during the siege of Antioch and lobbed a Holy Hand-grenade. Wave of angelic energy that pulped any infernal agent in range. But that had been miracles. This ... this was mundane, mass-produced, and prone to landing right on his bloody head ...
He staggered out of Covent Gardens, and into Soho. Weaving his way around beleaguered fire crews, around shocked survivors of last night's additions to the Blitzkrieg, around bodies sitting pale and silent in the dust. Some of them looked simply asleep. Crowley knew better.
Everyone did, these days.
There were crews at the end of Aziraphale's street. Crowley felt his heart seize up in his already-aching chest, felt something he would ever and always vehemently deny was worry sizzle through his veins, and broke into a run. Trying to convince himself it was just professional curiosity, it wasn't fear, why would he be afraid when even if the bugger had gotten himself pulped, he'd be back in a few days in a shiny new corporation ... And then he cleared the last of the crews, the last of the bags, and there was the shop, there was the shop, windows blown out, door in ruins, first few shelves so much kindling, but intact, standing, and there ...
There with a tray of tea, a teapot coated in grime and mugs that probably hadn't been a dirty grey the evening before, handing them out to exhausted firemen with a gentle smile and the occasional absent wipe of one filthy hand against an equally filthy jumper ... There was Aziraphale. There was the angel.
Crowley almost sat down in relief. Almost just folded himself up on the footpath, dizzy and lightheaded, with relief that his enemy was still alive, still his usual bustling self, still ambling around a gutted Soho making a fool of himself. Still Aziraphale. Still there.
The angel turned around, then, turned away from the fire crew, probably to go refill his teapot or something, and saw Crowley. Saw the demon, dirty and undignified, sitting in a heap on the rubble outside his shop, blinking dazedly at him with unshielded eyes. There was a flicker of shock across the angel's face, followed by fear, and then concern, and then, as presumably he realised Crowley wasn't there to either attack him or die on him, something soft and sad and quietly sympathetic. Crowley grimaced, but was too tired to complain.
"Hello, dear," Aziraphale said, very quietly, as he came over to sit himself down on a handy piece of chimney beside Crowley. Crowley grunted at him. He wasn't up for much else. And the angel, bless him (in all senses of the phrase), didn't push, didn't prattle on inanely and expect Crowley to answer, didn't ask him why he was here or what he wanted. The angel, in a true example of angelic mercy, said nothing at all. Simply handed Crowley a warm, grimy mug of tea, propped his shoulder against the demon's, and sat there in silence while Crowley nursed his tea, his battered chest, and his battered, supposed-to-be-nonexistent heart.
For a little while, in the midst of the kind of war Crowley hadn't seen in centuries, in the ruins of yet another city in yet another land, six thousand years down the bloody line and no bloody better ... for a little while, there was peace. For a little while, an angel and a demon sat side by side in the midst of humanity's mess, and were quiet. While the dust settled, and the fires died down, and the dead were carried quietly away.
For a little while, there was peace. Crowley would always afterwards be grateful for that. For the angel, and his cup of tea, and the shoulder to lean on in silence.
He would always be grateful.