England believes in angels.
This is obvious, given that thing with Britannia Angel. America may still think that it’s all an elaborate prank and/or a sign of England’s alleged insanity but the boy will learn, someday.
(But even America concedes that, insanity or otherwise, England really does believe in his angels, and his fairies and unicorns and assorted other creatures. He may mock England endlessly, but he believes that England believes.)
What America, and other nations, doesn’t know is that England believes in demons too. Not for any theological concept of Hell, but because he has one who has taken up residence in Mayfair for many years.
And he also believes in angels because he has one of them too, an owner of a dusty bookshop in Soho.
He’s not entirely too sure if either of them know that he knows (or even if they know him and his fellow nations exist), but it’s hard to ignore their presence when they feel like two anomalies treading over his heart every day.
(And, really, it’s been decades and they haven’t aged a day. It’s impossible to miss these types of things, surely.)
He likes to drop by on the angel once in a while, browsing the packed bookshelves and sometimes, after he’s made it clear that he’s not looking to purchase anything, no dear chap not at all, sharing a cup of tea and digestives and avidly discussing literature. It’s hard to find good conversation nowadays, and it secretly amuses England whenever Mr. Fell mentions “hearing from a trusted source” about an odd and obscure incident that happened to a particular author decades ago.
Additionally, Mr. Fell makes excellent tea.
(He won’t admit it, but England enjoys being in the company of a being as old as, and probably even older than, himself. Even if the other party is unaware of the similarities they share.)
As for the demon, England has little direct contact with him. If England is in the area, he might spy the demon idling in a café, surreptitiously watching a coin which, England suspects, is glued to the sidewalk. More often though, recently, he sees the demon strolling amongst the crowds, or simply watching the busy lives of England’s people from his seat. Although his eyes are always covered by those obnoxious sunglasses, England’s sure that there is a soft, pensive look in those old eyes.
(He knows, because he’s seen that same expression thousands of times before. On France, every year on the 8th of April when their bosses push them together, but only when he thinks England’s not looking. On America, whenever he’s thinking of times long gone. He recognises it on himself, too, whenever he looks over at America across the meeting room.)
Some days, when London’s skies are fine, he takes a book or his paperwork to St. James’ Park. He usually sees one of them by the pond, throwing pieces of bread towards the squawking ducks. Sometimes it’s the demon, who tends to aim at the ducks to confuse them. More often, it’s the angel and his absent minded scattering which attracts large, squabbling flocks.
Whichever one it is, he is always quietly joined by the other not long after. Sometimes, whenever England looks up from his book, he sees them chatting amiably as old friends do. Sometimes, they say nothing at all.
England doesn’t know why these two beings are here, nor why they have chosen London as their home. But they’ve become as familiar to him as his own people, and some days he doesn’t even notice the two cold spots in his heart. They’re his now, and he is theirs in the same way.
Crowley can see Aziraphale eyeing the last digestive, about to delicately ask if Crowley dear, could you possibly manage one more biscuit, and he would say, no, I’ve had enough, you have it, and pretend he doesn’t see the angel’s face light up completely. But then the front door jingles open, and Aziraphale smiles a little and stands up. Crowley stares.
“I thought you closed the shop,” he says, because Aziraphale always closed the shop when Crowley came by, and whenever else he could get away with it too.
“I did, but this is a special customer,” Aziraphale says, refilling the teapot. Crowley raises his eyebrows. “Oh alright, he’s not actually a customer. But he’s a nice fellow, and I thought you ought to meet him.” He smiles again. “Properly meet him, that is.”
Crowley sits back and watches as Aziraphale goes out to the front. There’s some pleasant chatter, and then the sound of footsteps coming towards the back room.
“I suppose I’ve the time for just one cuppa,” says the man who enters the room after Aziraphale. His eyes land on Crowley and his (rather impressive) eyebrows rise slightly. Crowley’s do the same. He recognises the man, vaguely, as one of the many reoccurring faces that pop up around London. More than that, it’s a feeling of familiarity, somehow.
“This is Crowley, my good friend and associate,” Aziraphale’s saying as the man takes a seat at the little table. “Crowley, this is Arthur Kirkland, a fellow man who properly appreciates the written word.” Crowley rolls his eyes, but nods to Kirkland.
“Pleasure,” Kirkland says, accepting the steaming cup that Aziraphale offers him and taking a sip.
“Perhaps,” Aziraphale continues with a smile that Crowley’s sure was picked up from himself, “better known as England.”
Kirkland chokes a little. Crowley’s eyebrows couldn’t go higher if they tried.
Aziraphale kindly offers Kirkland – England – a tissue. “Really, dear,” he says to the spluttered questions. “It’s been decades and you haven’t aged a day. It’s not that hard.”
England colours a little, and something clicks in Crowley’s head. He points at England. “Drunken waiter guy!” he crows gleefully.
England swears, colourfully, and Crowley can’t stop laughing for a good ten minutes.