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What we’re made for

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“Maybe you shouldn’t have set the fire,” Aziraphale scolds him as he carefully removes the pieces of glass from Crowley’s back. “I’ve never thought you so stupid to stand that close to a burning building, especially near a window. You could have been discorporated!”

Crowley grunts in reply and says nothing. Aziraphale is wrong. He didn’t start the fire, he was just passing by. He hadn’t even planned to watch or get close to the building. It had been a church, after all. A demon wasn’t made for being close to churches.

“Why, Crowley?”

“You won’t believe me anyway,” he mumbles.

He doesn’t know why the church was burning. He had always thought, this particular church wasn’t built with that much wood. He thought it to be made of stone. Sure, there the seats on the inside are wooden, but they’re never able to make it burn that much.

Aziraphale tuts. “It’s good that you came to me, though,” the angel says. “Your back looks really messed up, but I can heal it. I just have to remove all the shards.”

 

The people had been screaming. Some had run off to fetch some water, but most of them stayed. Among the people standing and watching, was a young woman. Ash was smeared on her face, and her dress was more black than anything. Seemingly headless she was running from person to person, asking if they had seen her daughter.

Crowley had closed his eyes and concentrated. He hadn’t seen the daughter, but he knew where she was. Without a second thought, he went into the burning building. It was just fire, after all.

 

“I think I’ve removed them all,” Aziraphale says. “Please take off your shirt, my dear.”

While Crowley struggles to remove the bloody linen, Aziraphale washes his hands and takes a wet cloth.

Carefully, he starts to wash off the worst of the blood on Crowley’s back, constantly checking for forgotten shards.

 

The girl had been in the corner farthest from the door, arms over her head and crying. She couldn’t be older than four. “Hello, little lady,” Crowley said softly and kneeled down. “I’m here to rescue you.”

The girl looked up at him. “Are you ‘n angel?”

Crowley made a face. “In a way. I’m here to bring you to your mother.” Carefully, he took her into his arms and stood up again.

The girl, realizing that the presence of an ‘angel’ didn’t make the fire go away, buried her face in Crowley’s shirt.

“That’s good,” he soothed her as he walked towards the door, trying to avoid all fires. “Just close your eyes. It’s all over soon and you’ll be with your mother again.”

He hurried up. Despite the fire, this was still a church, and every step hurt his feet. But for the sake of the girl, he tried to walk normally.

 

Aziraphale puts his hands over Crowley’s back. “Oh Lord, heal this-” he hesitates. “Oh Lord, heal this lost sheep.”

Crowley laughs and winces. His wounds closing hurts, or maybe it’s the divine power that hurts. Either way, it’s still better than being left with an open back.

 

“Oh, thank you, thank you so much!” The woman cried as she took the girl out of Crowley’s arms.

“Don’t mention it,” Crowley waved it off. He was a demon, after all.

“We will include you in our prayers today.”

“I’d rather not,” Crowley said. “Just… feed some ducks in my name, that’s sufficient.”

Letting the surprised woman stand where she was, and letting her take care of her child, Crowley walked away from the church.

That was when the glass window exploded, and the shards found their way into Crowley’s back.

 

“Thank you, Aziraphale,” Crowley says as Aziraphale washes away the last blood from Crowley’s freshly healed back.

“Oh, don’t mention it, my dear. I’m an angel, after all, that’s what we’re made for.”

“Yes, that’s what we’re made for,” Crowley repeats and smiles.