"To the world." Crowley lifted his glass to Aziraphale, and gained a soft and free smile that could only come from someone that you've been to hell and back for, and someone who you've been friends with for Six thousand years.
"To the world." Aziraphale breathed out, clinking his glass to Crowley's, feeling the weight of relief. He has heard people say that when they have a feeling of relief a weight is lifted off their shoulders. This is not true for Aziraphale. For him, it's a weight in his chest and in his very soul and it's a weight he is all to happy to bare. Once they toasted, they each took a drink. When Aziraphale set his drink down, he grew curious as to what happened during his trial up in Heaven. He placed a hand on the table with an eager look in his eyes. "So, tell me how everything went in Heaven?"
"Are you sure you want to know, Angel?" Crowley asked with a small smirk, only furthering Aziraphale's curiosity.
"Oh, yes please! I do want to hear what happened."
"Well, the first thing is...you didn't get a trial."
"No, I wouldn't have expected one."
That caught Crowley's attention and a thick furious lump formed in his throat. "Really!? Why are you okay with that!?"
"I never said I was." He breathed out calmly with his smile and curious eyes remaining. "When you add everything up, I did more than just help a demon stop the Apocalypse, but enough of that, what did you do?"
"W-Well..." Crowley was nearly speechless. He didn't quite understand everything that encompassed in Aziraphale's statement, and he wondered, for the first time since he's met Aziraphale, just who EXACTLY is he? However, his friend needed an answer. No, that wasn't quite right. He deserved one. "...They bound me in holy ropes to a chair..."
"Oh my! Are you alright, my dear boy?"
"It stung..." He winced slightly at the memory before continuing. "...No...it actually burned and turned the tops of my...your...my...WHATEVER...the hands I was using turned red, but they didn't notice. Gabriel was too eager to have you walk into the hellfire. It took everything I had to keep up appearances. When I stepped into the hellfire after Gabriel told 'you' to shut your stupid mouth and die already...that was IT! I had to do something to the bastard! So...I made you look a bit crazy. I stepped in the hellfire and I breathed it out at them."
"Oh! I wish I could've been there to see it! How did Gabriel react?"
With that, Crowley sat a bit straighter with an intrigued, if not perplexed expression on his face. "Aziraphale...I've never seen this side of you." He mentioned calmly.
"Well, Gabriel never liked me and I knew it. I'm pretty sure he would've never hesitated to throw me into hellfire himself if he wasn't afraid of getting singed himself."
"I know...so...how did he react?"
"Well..." Crowley breathed out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding, not that he needed it, but it was there just the same. "...when I breathed fire at Uriel, Sandalphon, and Gabriel, they all backed away in pure fear. Gabriel had said that it may have been worse than they thoughts, and Uriel was wondering WHAT you were."
"Oh my...well...at least they'll leave us alone. So...you're a fallen...what was it like being up in Heaven again?"
"It...wasn't how I remembered it."
Aziraphale tilted his head in slight confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Aziraphale..." Crowley drawled out as he suddenly realized they had never discussed their ages before. It never came up. "...how old are you?"
"About six thousand and half years old. I was made five hundred years before the Earth. Why?"
"Ah, that explains why you don't exactly know."
"I doubt your that much older than me." He smirked as he eyed the food that came to the table.
"Older than you think. Well, when I was in Heaven, it wasn't as...white and shiny. It was more...hmm..." Crowley furrowed his brow as he looked into his glass and tool another sip. "It was more open in a way. The Heaven that I saw was more or less white, shiny, business-like, and you could see all of the important or well known landmarks. It wasn't like that."
"Huh...you know...it just occurred to me...you've never spoken of your life as an angel."
"You never asked, and it doesn't exactly bring back fond memories, me being a demon and all."
"Hmm...yes...I can't blame you for that." Aziraphale ate some of his food before continuing. "Well, what kind of angel were you?"
"I was...a healer and an artist. I also looked after several gardens and plants before they had names. I also looked after Eden before Adam and Eve showed up, but before they DID show up...that's when everything went FAR down hill."
"Wait...a healer and an artist? What do you mean? And...YOU looked after the Garden?"
"Yes, I looked after the Garden." Crowley nodded, purposefully avoiding the first question. "It's how I knew my way around when I tempted Eve. However, there is one little snag to all of that. No one in Hell, not even Lucifer recognized me."
"You knew Lucifer?" Aziraphale whispered out in awe. "Before he fell?"
"He was one of the reasons I turned into a demon." Crowley grumbled. "Yeah, I knew him. We were as close as brothers. His friends were my friends."
"But...Lucifer was one of the oldest angels..." Aziraphale shook his head as if trying to grasp what Crowley said, but he truly couldn't. It was all a bit over his head, but the one thing he COULD understand were the words Healer and Artist.
"I told you. I'm older than you think." Crowley let out a dry chuckle as he downed the rest of his drink.
"W-Well...what about the healer and the artist part?"
"Aziraphale...I really don't want to talk about this anymore. Can we talk about something else? Please?"
Aziraphale's eyes shot wide open at the pleading tone in Crowley's voice and the fact that he said the word please. Aziraphale could count on one hand how many times he's heard Crowley say the word 'please', and they had all been when he was completely drunk to the point of not being able to form coherent sentences, and that's what really unnerved him about it at the moment, because he could tell that Crowley was still perfectly sober. "R-Right. Well, I hadn't been to my bookshop since we went back to your place and figured out exactly how to swap bodies...so...anything different?"
"Oh, well...Adam may have added a children series on top of your roll top where you normally read and write."
"Is that so? That should be interesting to see."
They continued peacefully like that for quite some time, until it got dark out, and they both looked out one of the windows they could see from their table and they both came to the same decision in a way. "I think it's time to go." Crowley side out.
"Yes, quite." Aziraphale agreed, although, he was still concerned and curious about their much earlier conversation, and the fact that they were celebrating and Crowley only had one drink while he had three. "Do you mind terribly giving me a lift home?"
"Of course not, Angel." Crowley smiled at him, but Aziraphale could tell it was faked and it sent a pain in his chest.
Once they paid, left, and made it into the car, Aziraphale couldn't handle the tension any longer. "Crowley, are you upset with me?"
"WHAT!? What ever gave you that idea?"
"Well, my questions earlier..."
"Aziraphale...I'm not really one for talking about..." He gave a shudder before continuing. "...feelings. So, I'm only going to say this once. The questions and the memories they're related to...they were painful. It brought up memories that I don't deserve to have."
"What do you mean you don't deserve them?"
Crowley rolled his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. "The other demons forgot what it was like in Heaven. All they know is that they were once angels, they argued, fought, questioned, and then there was a war, which caused them to be cast out to Hell. That's all they know, and they thrive on that with all the wrath and sin they can muster."
"But...you're different or something?"
Crowley let out a wry laugh as he took the turn that would lead them closer to the bookshop. "Let's go with 'or something'. Hey...to get off topic...we um...when we switched bodies for the first time...did you um..."
"Yeah...I felt your soul split as well as my own, and when we switched back..."
"...we now have half of the other's soul while keeping our own half. Great!" The last singular word was said with so much sarcasm even the Bentley could understand it and it tried to cheer Crowley up by playing 'Under Pressure', but unknown to the Bentley, that made everything worse. "Oh hush, you!" At Crowley's command it stopped playing, and they arrived at the bookshop. "Aziraphale, before you get out...we don't know how us having a half of each other is going to affect the other. You're still an Angel and I'm still a demon, but..."
"...I know. It's like...we're brothers now."
"Well...difficult to say the word 'now' when it's been like that for six thousand years. Just...be careful, Angel. I don't know how my half will affect you."
"Same to you, Crowley. Good night." Aziraphale stepped out of the car and waved at Crowley as he sped off in his Bentley. With concern, wonder, and curiosity still warring in his chest, he walked inside his bookshop and walked around towards his roll top and couldn't help but smile fondly at the books that Adam so obviously added. Perhaps it was by accident, but it was there. "Something that he said..." Aziraphale muttered as he glanced up and out his window. "...a healer and an artist? I've never known any angels like that. Usually angels only had one task. I was the Guardian of the Eastern Gate...but that was it until I was charged with keeping an eye on Crowley."
He walked over to his religious section that he, ironically, had never read from. "Hmm...angels..." He breathed out and with a wave of his hand every book that had something to do with angels flew into the air and floated around him. Aziraphale quickly tinted the windows, closed the shudders and blinds, and flipped the door sign to close before he would forget and some poor human walks into a scene of floating books and a bookshop keeper. "Alright...now...angelic healers..." He waved his hand once more and three out of ten books floated back into their places perfectly on the book shelf. "...angelic healers AND artists..." Four more books floated back to the shelf, leaving three books about angels that held angelic healers and artists. "...alright...angels named Crowley." He waved his hand and nothing happened, which caused his brow to furrow in confusion. "Okay...angels named Crawley?" Another wave and yet again...nothing. "Strange...okay...angelic healers AND Artists...and those who have looked after the Garden of Eden." He waved his hand with determination, and he felt something flare in his soul. Suddenly all of the books started spinning rapidly before they started to make a cyclone of air, which soon erupted with red and yellow looking embers that dissolved before they hit the floor. "Strange...very strange indeed." Once the books stopped spinning, there was a book in the middle of the three books as the three books stood in the air, surrounding the new book that Aziraphale had never seen before. It was beautiful in his eyes, and as he took it from the air, he watched the other books float back into the bookshelf.
Once they were back in their places, Aziraphale looked closer at the cover of the book, and he knew for a fact that a human did not make this book. The cover was covered in stars, galaxies, and at least one Nebula, MOVING and SWIRLING all over the beautiful, impossible, cover. "G-God? Did you um...did you give me this book?"
At his question, a soft beam of light not unlike a moon beam shined through his closed ceiling and he heard a voice he hadn't heard in a long time. "The two of you share a soul now, Aziraphale. The two of you are soulmate brothers. He won't tell you on his own, and he's right. The memories are painful for him, but as someone who has known him faithfully and fondly for six thousand years...consider this as a gift for being there for him after he lost everything, and even after he KEPT losing everything." The light had gone and Aziraphale collapsed to his knees with tears streaming from his eyes.
"I-I didn't expect an actual answer!" He whispered out as the book shook in his hands. "Instead of reading it at his roll top where anyone might have a chance of seeing it and taking it, he ran up to his room, where his room was not what one might expect Aziraphale's room to look like. It had apple red walls, mahogany wooden floors, a bed that he never used, but kept clear of dust in case Crowley need to use it, and it had apple red blankets and sheets as well as pillows that were just a shade darker than the blankets. Crowley had never been in Aziraphale's room, of course, but if he needed a place to sleep, it was there and quite comfortable.
Once he sat on the bed, he tried to calm himself as he looked at the book. "This...is a book about Crowley before he fell. I can feel it, but it feels like an invasion of privacy. Oh...Crowley...forgive me." He opened the book and was blinded by a flash of beautiful green light, and he knew then, that there was no turning back until he was finished with the 'book'.
Once the light faded, Aziraphale found himself in the middle of well...nothing. It was pitch black and the air was somehow...waiting. "Aziraphale!?" He heard a familiar voice call out, causing him to quickly turn and face the source. When his eyes landed on the owner of the voice, he flinched slightly. "HOW. THE. HELL. ARE. WE. HERE!?"
"W-Well...God gave me a book about you. She said you wouldn't like it...but that it was a gift for staying by your side."
"GREAT!" He spat venomously as he rolled his eyes and waved his arms in exasperation. "GOD! When I said show me a Great Plan I didn't mean for my best friend! Your humor goes a bit too far!" Crowley pinched the bridge of his nose as he breathed in and out to try and calm down. He then snapped his fingers, switching out of his bath robe and into a black T-shirt, black jacket, black jeans, and black snake boots. "Alright...let's get this over with, and Angel...so help me, if you make fun of me after this..."
"I-I...I don't know what to expect so I don't know how to reply to that. Wh-Where are we anyway?"
"Oh, great! Even better! You have no clue! Tell, me, Aziraphale, when you open a new book...where do you start?"
"At the..." Aziraphale's eyes widened as Crowley's did, but Crowley's were expectant and urging while his own were in a complete state of shock. "...beginning."
"Exactly! We are in the VERY beginning!"
"B-But...wait...do you mean Earth or..."
"Oh, no, Angel, I mean THE Beginning." Suddenly, there was a burst of light and soon, it divided into millions upon millions until it turned into billions upon billions of smaller lights and they flew away until they were recognizable as stars that surrounded them completely, but Aziraphale quickly noticed that there was A LOT missing. The universe was FAR more than just stars.
Then, there was a glowing green light that soon appeared in front of them and it quickly morphed into a familiar shape, wearing emerald green robes, and the figure had gorgeous wings that were a graceful mixture of forest green and pale moon white. It was Crowley, Aziraphale soon realized, and other than the robes and the wings, he looked exactly the same, even his eyes. "Hello?" He called out, sounding unsure and confused.
"Hello." God's voice called gently and soothingly.
"Ah, so...I'm NOT alone."
"No, you are not. Do you know where you're at?"
"I'm not sure." Crowley answered as he looked around, wrapping his wings around him. "Where am I? What am I? Who are you?"
"You are at THE Beginning of something grand. You...are an angel and I am what people in the future will call God or The Almighty. Here...let me give you SOME of my knowledge." A soft blue light glowed around Crowley for a brief moment and then it was gone. "There. Do you know what you are...exactly?"
"I...I'm an Archangel." Crowley answered with a mixture of timidness and pride.
Meanwhile, Aziraphale's mouth gaped open and the three words alone nearly made him faint. 'CROWLEY was an ARCHANGEL!?'
"Very good. So, do you know your name?"
"My name is...Raphael. I'm the Archangel...Raphael."
"Correct. You are one of Five Archangels I will create. The others will be created later. For now, what do you see around you?"
"I see...small specks of light." Raphael answered.
As Raphael looked around, Crowley quickly came up behind Aziraphale to hold him up, because he actually did start to faint. "Aziraphale, don't faint on me. Wake up, Angel."
"Cr-Crowley!" Aziraphale shouted and he quickly straightened himself. "Y-You're...! You were...! I mean...! But...!"
"I'm Crowley, Aziraphale. I've been Crowley. I haven't changed."
"E-Except you DID! You went from being Raphael to being Crowley!"
"Angel, please, I'm still me, I promise."
Crowley saying please once more, told Aziraphale he had hurt Crowley and that made him wish he had fainted completely, because now that the glasses weren't on his face, likely due to him just getting out of a shower, he could see the pure and unmasked pain in them. He quickly nodded his head and whispered, "I'm sorry." He cleared his throat so he could speak a little louder. "I'm sorry, Crowley. It's just...immensely shocking is all."
"I know...that's why I never told you. Now...I've paused the memory, but I'm going to continue it now, alright?" Aziraphale frantically nodded his head and immediately turned his gaze to Raphael, acknowledging that at some point Raphael and Crowley had stopped being the same person.
When the memory continued, God's voice was heard again. "What are they called?"
"You...didn't tell me that."
"I know. What will YOU call them?"
"Hmm..." Raphael brought a hand to his chin in contemplation and a wide smile that resembled a child's at Christmas graced his features. "Stars. I'll call them stars. Hey, God?"
"Yes?" She hummed with a delighted tone.
"I...I feel like I need to do something with this space...space...that's what this place will be called, but...outer space...no...not yet. It won't be called that yet. Just...space for now. So...I feel like I need to do something with this space. I feel like I CAN do something with it...but...with your help."
"Then, shall we get started?" A bright glowing ball of pure white appeared next to Raphael, and soon, a woman appeared. "I've chosen this form, because you'll be able to see me like this. I have MANY forms. More than you can possibly imagine and more than I can show you, but this one...is easiest to be in when I need to be next to you. However, in the future...I will mostly just be a beam of light with my voice." The woman that spoke, caused Aziraphale's jaw to drop, because it was indeed God's voice as he's heard it, but the woman in front of him was beautiful beyond words. She had long wavy golden hair that seemed to shimmer with what Aziraphale could only describe as stardust. Her eyes were swirling galaxies that had yet to be created, her skin was as pale as the moon, her dress seemed to flow as if it were in the ocean and was the purest white he had ever seen, her lips were rose red, and she was Crowley's height exactly.
"You're beautiful." Raphael breathed out with a pleasant smile.
"Thank you. Now, what is it you want to create?"
"Something like your eyes. They'll be different sizes and shapes and they'll hold many more stars bunched together. They'll be vibrant, beautiful, colorful, and there will be massive spheres...planets I think...of course...I'll leave that one up to you. We can come up with names for them later."
"That sounds marvelous." She waved her hands and galaxies made of blues, greens, yellows, and purples were created off into the far distance and they morphed with shape. "Is this what you had in mind?"
"Yes!" Raphael jumped up and down excitedly. "Oh...there's something...it's in my head...It's colorful and spreads over a wide range of space."
"I know what you're talking about. Would you like to help me build it?"
"Would that be alright?" Raphael questioned with a curious and excited tone.
"I wouldn't have asked you if it wasn't. Move and use your powers as your soul tells you, and I'll do the same."
Raphael nodded and he started moving as if he were conducting a symphony, as God created stars in front of him while swaying side to side. Raphael commanded the stars to move in place while God gave them color, air, life, and light. Soon, they were surrounded in rainbow light and Aziraphale found himself completely breathless at the sight. It was a dance without being a dance. It was two composers conducting a beautiful and wonderful unheard symphony. A song that couldn't be heard. One that had to be seen, and Aziraphale SAW. His heart was pounding as he watched them continue. Then, when the conducting ended, they were moved outside of it. "WOW!" Raphael breathed out with pure awe in his voice. "I helped build that!?"
"Yes..." God chuckled warmly. "...you did. Hmm...let's call it...a Nebula. It's Good."
"A beautiful name." Raphael nodded his head. "Can we create more?"
"Oh, I believe that's doable." God grinned pleasantly. "However, we should create a place for you to live."
Raphael tilted his head as he furrowed his brow. "To live? Aren't I already alive?"
"Yes, Raphael. You are very alive. However, what I mean is...a home. A place with warmth, joy, love, adventure, faith, loyalty, and anything else that brings your heart warmth as long as it's not sinful."
"We'll speak of that at a later date. Come, this place will be called Heaven."
"Will I help create that as well?"
"No, I will create this. You will watch, alright?" Raphael nodded his head and stood back as a dimension was created. It had pure white sand, an ocean off in the far distance and bright blue sky.
Aziraphale quickly tugged on Crowley's shirt, and received a sigh in response. "Yes?" He asked as he paused the memory.
"Th-This is...this is where you took us when we were speaking to Adam."
"Yes, it was." Crowley sighed out. "Aziraphale?"
"Y-You...you hung the stars. You...you created a NEBULA with GOD! I...and...I...this whole time I've been friends with..."
"Crowley, Aziraphale. You've been friends with Crowley. That's who you met me as and that's who I am now. This is who I WAS. This was, as you can tell, a VERY long time ago."
"Yes. I can see that."
"And I'm sure you noticed...she hadn't named the light and darkness yet. That happens when she creates the Earth." Crowley crossed his arms and continued the memory.
With a graceful wave of her hands they were all suddenly and effortlessly surrounded by a place that was part garden, part 'space' that Crowley helped create, and part building at a beach, almost as if it were THE MOST luxurious beach resort in the entire universe and as Aziraphale looked around, it easily was. It was like a beach resort AND the rain forest all rolled into one with an infinite amount of space in the building. "This will change at a later date. When I make more angels than just you and the other four. This area will help you TRAIN the newer and different classes of angels."
"God...do you know all?"
"So...you more than likely know the REASONS for the different classes for angels."
"Then...why create the need for the different classes of angels?"
"Because, it is necessary." She hummed out. "I'm going to create something grand and unique someday. To me, it will be more grand and unique than what you and I had created together."
"God...you gave me a lot of knowledge...will you give the other four this knowledge as well?"
"Most of it. I will make each of you genuinely unique and different from each other. You will each have something called a..."
"...personality. Right?" Raphael smiled as his wings ruffled excitedly.
"That's right. Now, do you know the name of your age for an angel such as yourself?"
"I'm...a fledgling. A...baby angel. God? What's a baby?"
"You'll find out eventually. Don't worry. Now, it IS important that you realize that once your done with being a fledgling...you won't be able to ask so many questions of me. Some will be fine, but if they have anything to do with my decisions or if you try and go against something I had verbally made clear, than there will be consequences."
"A-Am I to be one of the reasons for the classes of angels?"
"You are not to know that."
"Because, you are merely not meant to know. I will not allow you to know. I created you, and I do not wish you to know, therefore, you won't know. Does that make sense?"
"Yes, it does a bit. I'm sure I'll understand more in time. So, when do I meet the others?"
The memory shifted to reveal Raphael running away with a joyful expression. "You get back here, Gabriel!" He shouted with pure laughter in his voice.
"Oh! I don't think so!" Gabriel's voice was heard, and because of the amount of joy and freedom it held, Aziraphale had to hold onto Crowley to keep himself from fainting from shock.
"It wasn't funny and you know it!"
"Yes it WAS and YOU know it!"
"Oh!" A voice Aziraphale vaguely recognized, but it was gentle, curious, and kind. Not like the malice ridden, judging, and hateful tone he's heard with that voice before. "A game is it?" A being Aziraphale didn't recognize came into view as he and Raphael flew into the air after Gabriel took off.
"Lucifer! Of course it is with him!"
"HA! What did you do now, Gabriel?" Lucifer questioned as he nearly caught up with Gabriel.
Meanwhile, Aziraphale couldn't quite comprehend how to put into words the beauty of their wings. Gabriel's were a swirling purple and white like the galaxies Raphael helped create with God, while Lucifer's was similar with crimson swirling with white and glittered with golden flecks like billions of golden stars.
"Me!? I did nothing! Just a little harmless fun!" Gabriel cackled as he closed his wings to drop from the air only to open them once he was below Lucifer and Raphael.
"You pushed me into the bathing pool after I JUST got my wings dry!"
"Oh? Is that why you're so slow?" Gabriel called out as he flew backwards, facing up at them. "I would've never guessed!"
"You...you...YOU TRICKSTER!" Raphael bellowed out a laugh.
Once Lucifer, Raphael, and Gabriel landed back at the beach they all started laughing as they sat in the sand almost immediately. "Oh! That was a fun flight though!" Gabriel sighed. "I should trick you more often."
Raphael shook his head with an amused laugh as he laid on his back in the sand to look of at the stars, placing his hands behind his head and lifting one knee while keeping the other straight. "Do it, and I'll have Uriel groom your wings."
"Alright, alright. I admit defeat!" Gabriel chuckled low as he followed Raphael's action and then was followed by Lucifer.
"Hey, Raphael?" Lucifer asked as he moved some of his long wavy golden hair out of his face that the wind felt so kindly to push back on to his nose. "Did you create ALL of the stars?"
"No, not all of them. I don't even think I created ANY of them. God did that. I just...hung them. I put them in place and I helped her...create."
"Huh..." Lucifer voiced with a tone of contemplation. "...but...if you can do that...what's stopping you from doing more?"
"Nothing, I suppose. However, I know that God wouldn't like it if I started doing things on my own without her permission. I assume I would instinctively know if I have her permission..."
"That is correct." God's voice was heard from above them and soon Michael and Uriel came into view. Raphael, Lucifer, and Gabriel immediately stood up as they looked at the light shining on them. "Listen everyone...I'm going to create your different angels now. You have been training for millennia, and now I believe it is time for you to have your angels. Raphael, you and your angels will be healers and Guardians. You will Guard many things in the future from objects to other living beings. Your angels will be known as Guardian Angels. You yourself will be an expert in plant life and all of the different plants, trees, and herbs. Lucifer, you'll..."
With that, her voice cut off and the memory shifted once again, confusing Aziraphale and Crowley slightly, but they both just shrugged their shoulders and jotted it down to God not wanting to finish that part of the memory.
Before the new angels arrived, God changed the scenery to what Aziraphale had recognized, minus Earth's landmarks and scenery. No one questioned it and no one spoke of it. Then, the angels appeared thousand by thousand until the entire room was filled. "Wow, there's certainly a lot of you!" Raphael chuckled out while Michael and the other Archangels took their angels and went their separate ways with them in the infinite space. Every angel would be given a room of their own in each Archangel's section.
The memory shifted once again and Raphael was walking peacefully down a corridor when he was met with his fellow Archangels. "Oh...okay..." He breathed out and they all nodded. "So...we're all here for a reason then."
"That you are." A light from the ceiling called out. "I made new angels to your specific...factions...five hundred years ago. You all know this, and now all of the angels will see what I'm about to do despite the newer ones still being fledglings themselves."
"What are you going to do?" Lucifer questioned with pure curiosity in his eyes.
"I...am going to separate the darkness. What you call 'space', Raphael, is actually darkness, and I will separate it and create day. I will also create a place called Earth, and there, I will create beings in our image, but they will be different. They will not have as long life spans as all of you, for all of you are something called immortal. You can discorporate, but you can't actually die. The creations of the things that can actually kill you has not come into being yet. Either way, you're immortal. They will not be. They will also not be in Heaven, but on Earth in a lush and beautiful Garden called Eden. They will not have wings and they will be naked, unaware that they are naked. They will not know Good and Evil. They will not know right from wrong. Now, before I go about creating this, I would like to speak with Raphael alone, and no, I do not want any of you asking what I'm about to speak with him about. That's the point of speaking with him alone."
"Understood!" The other four Archangels chorused unanimously, but there was a glint of something in Lucifer's eyes. Something again to hurt, curiosity, wonder, and...doubt.
Once they were gone, Raphael stepped forward, his wings giving a nervous flutter before he quickly calmed them down. "Yes, God?"
"Raphael...these beings I create...I will test them. They will be tested for as long as they live on Earth. There will be more of them eventually, and that is why your faction is Guardian Angels. They are to Guard these beings. They will be called humans."
"What are they to guard them from?"
"Do you remember what we talked about? Sins?"
"Yes, of course." Raphael nodded diligently. "We had a decade long discussion about it."
"Well, that's what."
"I don't understand...if they're not to know the difference between good and evil...why should I guard them?"
"That's a dangerous questions, Raphael." God warned in a tone that was similar to a mother warning a child to stay away from the cookies or else there would be punishment, but there was also a hint of worry like a mother who didn't want their child to cross the street without holding her hand properly.
"I-I understand, but...if I'm to guard them...I would like to know why."
"There is one among you, the Archangels, that instantly grew doubt at my voicing of my new creations. I know it's not you Raphael, and no, I won't tell you who it is. I want you to treat the others as you always have. I know you'll always be faithful to me...no matter what."
"God, you sound...heavy hearted."
"I suppose I am. When you know everything, it can be a burden. Just do as I ask, Raphael."
"Alright, we'll protect them. This erm...Eden...if it is to...house the humans...it should have Guardians at it's gates."
"Indeed it should. Do you have anyone in mind? There will be a North, East, West, and South gate."
"Well, I already have a good idea for who to put at the North, South, and West..." Raphael brought a hand up to his chin in contemplation that lasted about five minutes before his eyes shot wide open. "I know EXACTLY who to place at the Eastern Gate!"
"Oh? You're taking this seriously. This makes me glad, but how do you know they're perfect for it? You haven't seen the Garden yet."
"No, I haven't, but the first direction I faced when we hung the stars together...my soul tells me it was to the East, and you told me a long time ago, that I'm a bit different, because I'm the oldest and I helped build galaxies and the other things in the stars...this angel...he's different as well. He's unique. He's shy, but definitely has a strong heart and strong soul. He radiates kindness, strong will, friendliness, inner and outer strength...I've seen him fight with a flaming sword, and he's fierce! Although, since he was created five hundred or so years ago, he hasn't seen or noticed me, so he doesn't know who I am, but he's still a fledgling...anyway, he would be perfect for it."
"What is the angel's name?"
Crowley paused the memory, because he had to catch Aziraphale once again. "You alright there, Angel?" He asked carefully as he cautiously set Aziraphale down in a sitting position. His eyes were wide with astonishment, he was holding a shaking hand up to his mouth, and after about two minutes, finally looked up at Crowley. "Aziraphale, are you alright?"
"I...no...I'm not. I mean...I know you want me to treat you as I always have since I thought I met you, or since I thought I knew you, but...I...you noticed me when I didn't notice you. I...I was a nobody angel...a fledgling! I didn't notice YOU, but you noticed ME. YOU'RE the person that stationed me at the Eastern Gate! YOU trusted me with the Eastern Gate of Eden!"
Crowley couldn't help the smirk that appeared on his face as he shook his head in amusement. "Angel, you're telling me things I already know."
"I KNOW! But...I didn't know. I was told Raphael picked our stations...those of us Guarding Eden."
"Yes, and then when you gave away your sword you became a Principality as well as still being a Guardian, but you were a Guardian for humanity rather than humans." Crowley let out heavy sigh, slightly lowering his head. "Aziraphale...there's A LOT you don't know about me, and I had REALLY hoped to keep it that way, BECAUSE of all of my past. I don't know why God decided to give you a celestial biography on my life before being a demon...or perhaps it has my life as a demon as well, but..."
"Crowley, I know you're going to ask me to not see you differently, and I'm not. I've told you what I think of you. It's just...all a bit shocking. It turns my world upside down in a way."
"I realize that, but what do you mean you've told me what you think of me?" He raised an eyebrow in curiosity as he helped Aziraphale to stand once again.
"I mean...I've always tried to tell you that deep down you were a nice person with a good heart."
"Huh..." Crowley chuckled lightly. "...so you did." With a wave of his hand the memory shifted and it was Lucifer, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel in the Garden of Eden. God had not created Adam and Eve yet.
"But why would She want anyone else?" Lucifer questioned with a hurt expression on his face. "Aren't we enough?"
"It's God's Plan." Raphael breathed out. "It's Her creation. We shouldn't question it."
"Do you question ANYTHING, Raphael!?" Lucifer spat. "You and I...we're the closest with one another! Well, there's also Gabriel, but..."
"Thanks for including me!" Gabriel growled out in a furious manner as he crossed his arms, and Aziraphale saw more of the Gabriel that HE knew.
"OH! You know what I mean, Gabriel!" Lucifer waved his hand at him, seemingly calming him down from his fury. "Raphael, you were the first out of us. You're the oldest! Surely you've had questions!"
"I did, I do, and I always will, but that doesn't mean I should ask them. There are APPROPRIATE questions to ask, and WHY She does something is not one of them. We can ask her about things like the Garden, what the humans will be like, and similar questions, but 'WHY'...is not an appropriate question."
"Oh! That's easy for YOU to say! She gave you knowledge in THE beginning!"
"No more and no less knowledge than you." Michael added calmly.
"She's right." Raphael confirmed.
"You HELPED CREATE the UNIVERSE!" Lucifer shouted with a wrathful tone. "You're POWERFUL! To my understanding...these humans...they won't have any powers like us, they won't be as special as us, they won't even have WINGS! Can you imagine not having WINGS!? I can't! And she...she's giving them a WHOLE PLANET! How can these weak beings be so much better than us!?"
"We have all of Heaven." Uriel stated calmly. "Heaven is infinite. Earth is not. Raphael is right, we shouldn't question it."
"You are ALL blind fools! Well...if you won't listen to me...I'll go find angels that WILL!" Before they could stop him, he lifted into the air.
"Nothing Good can come from that." Gabriel warned. "We need to go after him!"
Raphael placed a hand on Gabriel's shoulder and there was a singular tear streaming down his face. "I-I'm sure...God knew this was what was going to happen. Whatever happens now...God knew about it."
"Which means...it was Ineffable?"
"It's not for us to know, now is it? The best we can do is Hope."
"Hope?" Michael questioned with a tilt of her head. "Hope for WHAT? He's going to gather angels together and there will likely be a fight!"
"Hope...that we don't lose too many." Raphael sighed. "You're right. There WILL be a fight, and it will be big! We DO need to get back and we DO need to talk to our angels. As many as we can, and try to convince them that they shouldn't question God. They shouldn't speculate. Whatever Lucifer is planning...it will cause pain...for everyone."
The memory shifted and they were in the middle of the war. There was fire, blood, torn wings, a flurry of feathers like rain during a storm, and screaming. Horrible screaming. "Raphael!" Lucifer called out menacingly, causing him to thrust his flaming sword into another rebellious angel with never-ending tears streaming down his face like a waterfall.
"Lucifer!" He shouted with pure heartache. "WHY Lucifer!?"
"Oh! So it's okay for YOU to ask Why, but not ME!?"
"I'm asking YOU!" He spat out as he looked directly into Lucifer's eyes. "Not GOD!"
"I will be BETTER than GOD!"
"No, don't say that!" Raphael pleaded. "No one can be better! She's created everything!"
"YES! She DID! She also created us and gave us POWER! I'm going to do what SHE couldn't or...wouldn't. I'm going to make a world where it's only me and MY angels! We'll be powerful and no one will ever doubt or question whether they are good enough EVER AGAIN! She doesn't NEED the humans! She has us!"
"Not anymore she doesn't! You doubted her, you've betrayed us, and you've gathered nearly over TEN MILLION ANGELS to your side and all they're doing is killing each other!"
"Raphael..." Lucifer sighed out as he shook his head and flew down towards him. "...you can JOIN ME, Raphael. You hung the STARS! You helped build a Nebula! You're powerful and the beauty of your work and the excellence of your power, strength, and determination won't go unnoticed! You'll be revered! It can be me and you!"
"NO!" He shouted and swung his sword at him. "BEGONE! You've caused enough pain!"
"INDEED HE HAS!" God's voice thundered above all of them and EVERYONE stopped what they were doing. There were still screams of pain and agony, but EVERYONE stopped fighting. "I HAVE CREATED A PLACE CALLED HELL! EVERYONE WHO HAS REBELLED AGAINST ME WILL NOW BE SENT THERE! YOU WILL NEVER KNOW ME AGAIN AND ANYTHING BLESSED OR HOLY WILL BURN, HARM, OR EVEN KILL YOU! YOU HAVE BETRAYED ME AND MY LOVE! BEGONE!" With a blinding light, everything in the Garden was repaired, the raining feathers ended, the screams stopped, the smell of blood was gone, and so were ALL of the Angels except for Raphael. "Raphael?"
"G-God? I'm the only one left."
"The others are back in Heaven. Raphael...I must ask something of you."
"You...want me to go with the ones who rebelled...don't you?"
"Yes, and I suspect you know why."
"Because...they're going to keep trying to attack the other angels and they'll come after the humans you have yet to create."
"That's right. There's also that fact that you HAVE asked some questions yourself. However, for this particular thing I am asking of you...I need you to do so willingly. They're wings...will still exist, but they won't be intact. They will be useless as a permanent reminder of how they've betrayed me, but you will still have yours. However, they will be completely black. There will be no sign of Heavenly divinity in your wings. You'll still have all of your powers and will still be able to do everything you were able to before...but I need you to blend in with them. They will be called Demons. I need you to be one of them. YOU won't be cut off, but I need someone in Hell that I can trust."
"But...what about Gabriel, Michael, or even Uriel!?"
"They briefly had doubts and they will likely regret it until the end of time. You...never doubted. Not once. It HAS to be you. However, I DID say you had to go willingly."
"B-But...the others...will they know I've gone?"
"No. They will believe you died fighting Lucifer."
"W-Will they ever know?" He questioned as more tears started to stream down his face, eyes filled to the brim with pain and heartache.
"I will not tell you that. Raphael...will you do as I ask of you?"
He looked at his sword, his wings, and then finally up at the sky. "I...I will still be what I'm meant to be?"
"And a little more. Yes."
"I...can still help the humans?"
"That is up to you. Now, should you accept, I will give you a new name."
Raphael got on his knees and placed his flaming sword on the ground. "I accept."
"You're name is Crawley." With that, an eerie stair case appeared in front of him, and he left his sword behind without further question as he began to walk down, wiping the tears from his eyes. However, by the tenth step, the stairs ended and he started falling, his wings changing almost immediately as well as his clothes. A brief aura of green surrounded him and then went inside his core to mix with his soul. "This way, no one will recognize you. It is a thin mask and only those who are REALLY looking for your Archangel form will see you, but they won't be able to sense you unless I allow it."
Once Crawley landed, there was an unbearable heat, the smell of sulpher, and he had to force his wings in quickly so that he could stand. 'I'm...a demon now.' He thought as the cries, groans, shouts, and growls echoed throughout the area.
The memory shifted, and somehow both Crowley and Aziraphale, who were watching the memory, knew it would be a brief memory. "Crawley!" Beelzebub shouted.
"Yes, Lord Beelzebub?" Crawley shot a toothy grin. "How may I be of service?"
"I've heard that you have discovered you can turn into a snake. Show me."
"With...pleassssure." He hissed as he morphed into a large black snake. "Isssss...thisssss...what you wanted to ssssssee?"
"Absolutely!" She cackled wickedly. "We want you to go to the Garden of Eden and corrupt the humans. Get them kicked out of Eden."
"Assssss you wishhhhhh." Crawley slithered up faster than anything and soon, broke through the Earth. 'At leasssst nothingssss changed. Oh! You have got to be king me! I hissssss in my mind too! Oh well. Now, God gave me more knowledge and what ccccccertain things are called...the forbidden fruit tree shhhhhould do it. Now...where'ssssss Eve?'
After that, the memory shifted to Crawley looking at Aziraphale with a somewhat sure and sympathetic expression. "Oh...you're an Angel, I don't think you CAN do the wrong thing."
Instant relief washed over Aziraphale's features, causing Crawley to grin, but it quickly fell, due to having an appearance to keep. "Oh! Oh Thank-Oh thank you! It's been bothering me."
"I've been worrying too. What if I did the right thing with the whole eat the apple business. A demon can get into a lot of trouble for doing the right thing." As Adam slayed the lion he decided to continue. "Be funny if we both got it wrong, eh? If I did the good thing and you did the bad one."
"No! It wouldn't be funny at all!"
"Oh...well..." He trailed off, not knowing what to say, but then thunder was heard, and he knew what was coming. Then, Aziraphale hovered his wing over Crawley, drawing out a smile from the not-so-fallen-angel. 'I knew I picked the right angel for Guarding the Eastern Gate. Now...I wonder what the future will hold.'
"Hello, Aziraphale!" Crawley grinned with a mischievous and knowing smile.
"Wait...I just realized...I never gave you my name on the wall."
"No you didn't. I knew who you were, remember?"
"Right...I should've known something was up though. I should've realized it then."
"Perhaps, but we're here now...unfortunately."
They had spoken over the memory that Crowley hadn't stopped and once they were paying attention Crawley looked distraught. "Not the kids! You can't kill kids!"
"Hmm-hmm!" Aziraphale hummed and Crawley's jaw dropped further.
"Well, that's more the kind of thing you expect my lot to do."
"Yes, but when it's done, uh...the Almighty's going to put up a new thing called a 'Rain Bow', as a promise not to drown everyone again."
"How Kind!" He sarcastically replied as if the sarcasm were a deadly venom to the air. 'What are you planning, God? Surely something important...to DROWN CHILDREN! It breaks my heart'
The memory changed again and this time, Aziraphale was able to take a good and proper look at Crawley's face. He was heavy hearted, and his eyes showed how much pain he felt for Jesus as he was being crucified. "Come to smirk at the poor bugger, have you?"
"Well, your lot put him there."
"I'm not consulted on policy decisions, Crawley."
"Oh, I've changed it."
"Changed what?" He asked, still looking at Jesus receiving nails in his body.
"My name. Crawl-y just wasn't doing it for me. It's a bit too...squirming-at-your-feet-ish."
"Well, you were a snake. So what is it now? Mephistopheles? Asmodeus?"
"Crowley." He answered proudly.
"Hmm..." The nails were heard once more along with Jesus' cries. "Did you uh...ever meet him?"
Crowley nodded his head, still baring his heartache for anyone to see that was WILLING to see."Yes. Seemed a very bright young man. I showed him all the kingdoms of the world."
"Why?" He questioned with awed and justified confusion.
"He's a carpenter from Galilee. His travel opportunities were limited." He answered matter-of-factly. 'He's the son of God...it was the least he deserves...no...he deserves even more than that...but it was what I could offer.'
Crowley and Aziraphale watching the memory both let out disheartened sighs as the memory shifted. When it settled, it was Crowley by himself walking through a lively town in Rome and he was giving an honest smile as he walked through the market of the town. Crowley remembered this memory fondly. It was a year or so after eating oysters with Aziraphale. "Please come and buy some beautifully handmade jewelry!" A child with a shy voice called out, catching Crowley's attention. He stopped walking and looked to the small girl's direction.
A man stepped in front of the stall and sneered. "How can a child make jewelry!? Where are your parents!?"
"Th-They're um...I uh..."
"You don't have any, DO you!?" The man growled out with a laugh.
"I um...they uh...they died soon after I was born. I never knew them."
"So! You're an orphan eh!? An orphan selling cheap and likely FAKE jewelry! Ah! I recognize you now! Yes! You DO live in that place that takes in children with no family!" Her words caused Crowley to clutch a hand to his heart, and with a determined look in his eyes, he lowered his hand calmly as he walked closer to the stall.
"Is there a problem here?" He asked the rude man.
"Oh! Nothing much. Just an orphan child selling fake and cheap jewelry!"
"At least she's doing something for herself. All you're doing for yourself is causing a scene. Look around you." The man did and noticed everyone was staring at him. "Have some shame and leave." Without another word, the man walked away thoroughly embarrassed. Once he was out of sight and the crowd started their normal chatter, Crowley stepped behind the stall to kneel down in front of the girl. "Did I hear that correctly? You're an orphan?"
"Y-Yes. I am. I'm the only one left in the home that doesn't have anyone. The person who runs the place...thinks that there will be more children like us, but that she hopes we all find good homes with people who will love us. I haven't had anyone look at me yet."
"Do you know why?" Crowley tilted his head in concern as well as confusion.
"W-Well..." The girl looked to the left, then to the right, and then beckoned Crowley to crouch closer so that she could whisper in his ear. "...I have a long gash scar from my right shoulder to my left hip. Physicians have no idea how I survived. Those that are told about it...think I'm cursed or something. They think the devil has marked me, but it happened two years ago...when I was six. A soldier was drunk and apparently I was in the way so he...well...he used his sword, and those who saw got me to the nearest physician." She backed away from Crowley who had started to cry, from the girl's story. "Because of that...no one even looks at me. Everyone who came to visit the place I live at...they are told everything about the children."
"Hmm...well...that IS something. So, what if I told you..." He whispered into her ear. "...that I'm both a demon AND an angel?"
The little girl gasped, covering her mouth as she took a step back. "Is that even possible?"
"It is for me. God made me this way on purpose FOR a purpose. Are you quite alright with that?"
"Wh-Why would I need to be alright with that?" She asked as she lowered her hands and furrowed her brow at him, causing him to give her a gentle smile.
"Well...what if I were to accept you into my home? What would you say to ME being your Father? You said that your birth parents died shortly after you were born. I have a place near here that you could live, be happy, ride horses, have a garden of your own, as much food as your little heart desires, and I can teach you how to defend yourself when you're old enough. You'll be loved, protected, well rested, full, and joyful."
"I-I...you...you really mean it!? B-But...who am I to say my Father is?"
"Hmm...well...that's a tricky one. You can't use my Heavenly name...or my Demonic name..." He whispered low. "...What do you think my name should be?"
"Hmm...what about...Oh! um..." She looked around again, gaining an amused expression from Crowley, who had used his powers to keep everyone distracted, away from their conversation. "Do you have...wings?"
"I do, but their black as night."
"Hmm...black huh? What about...Crow?"
"Unfortunately that's too close to my demonic name of Crowley. My Heavenly name is...Raphael." With that she gasped in shock with wide eyes. "Yes, the Archangel, but you mustn't tell ANYONE. It'll will be awful if you do. Not just for me, but for everyone."
"I-I understand...well...the only thing I can think of is...Jay. Like a Blue Jay Bird."
"Then Jay it is." He nodded and stood tall next to her. "How about we stop by your current home...and we go to your new home? That is...if you want to..."
"YES! I mean...yes, please." She smiled softly up at him and she grabbed his hand. "Y-You'll be my Father?"
"If you wish."
"Let's go home." She told him with a shaky voice and a brilliant smile.
Crowley paused the memory and crossed his arms. "Alright, out with it, Angel."
"YOU HAD A CHILD!? YOU ADOPTED A CHILD!?"
"I would think that was obvious from the memory you just witnessed."
"Why didn't you tell me!?"
"Oh?" Crowley questioned with a slight laugh as he turned to face Aziraphale. "After all the times you said demons were incapable of loving, how I would be incapable of loving, and always with the 'you're a demon and I'm an angel'...not only that, but later on in the years you started blaming ME for everything wrong the humans did as if I was the ONLY demon that tempted humans into ANYTHING! Can you tell me why I would feel so inclined to tell you that I had children?"
"W-Wait...children? As in...plural?"
"Yes. I had adopted multiple children throughout the years. Now, answer me, Aziraphale."
"I...I don't suppose...you would have any reason to tell me. I never thought...I'm sorry." Aziraphale started pouting and a look of pure guilt crossed over his features.
Crowley couldn't hold it in anymore. He let out a bout of laughter that he had held in as soon as Aziraphale asked him why he didn't say anything. He almost let it slip as he was questioning him. "Aziraphale, calm down. I didn't tell you for ONLY ONE reason and one reason ONLY!"
"What would that be?" He asked as the guilt was placed with curiosity and wonder.
"To protect me and you. If you knew I had adopted a child, you could've done any number of things. You could've taken my children away...which would've broken my heart. You could've told Heaven and then they would come after me...unable to recognize me, OR the off chance that you wouldn't do the first two and you let me live my life as well as visiting often, because your a sucker for children as well...BOTH Heaven and Hell would've found out A LOT sooner that we knew each other. I'm sure there's endless amounts of reasons, but the ones that stick out is basically to keep you out of trouble, and so that I could still be friends with you. So...in short...to protect the both of us."
"That's...thank you." Aziraphale stared at him in shock, unsure of what else to say.
"You're welcome." Crowley smiled, further stunning Aziraphale, but he continued the memory before he could say anything to that.
The memory blinked like a scene in a movie and they were suddenly outside of a luxurious garden, in front of a gate that was indeed near the market. "Oh my! Everyone has wondered who lived here to have such a beautiful garden and such a large home connected to the market...I can't believe it's you!"
"It is." He grinned. "The garden surrounds the entire house. Now, let's get you settled in. Oh! I almost forgot...you never told me your name."
"My name is Valentina."
"Well then...your full name is Valentina Crowley."
"Hey!" She laughed out as they walked through the gate. "I thought you said that was your other name."
"It is, but as long as you don't go throwing around your last name...hmm...what about just...Valentina Crow, then?"
"That sounds beautiful. That would make your name Jay Crow."
"That it would." He chuckled lightly as he opened the door, but as soon as he opened it, the memory blinked again and they were walking out of the house.
Valentina was considerably older than she was in the last memory. She seemed to be in her mid to late twenties, and she was wearing a beautiful dress with her hair up. "Alright, now, Father, you PROMISE to be nice?"
"Oh, yes, of course! You know, me, Valentina. A demon that's an expert at being nice."
"Yes, well...I'm going to need you to channel your angel side when we meet him. Would it make you feel better that he has faith in God?"
"It does a bit." Crowley nodded as they continued towards the market. Once there, they noticed a young man, seemingly around the same age as Valentina, and he was walking towards them.
"Hello. You must be Jay. Valentina's Father."
"That I am. You must be Julian Julius. Pleasure to meet you, young man. My daughter here tells me you have a question for me, which is strange considering this is the first time I've met you...but then again...work does keep me away sometimes. So, what would you like to ask me?"
"Father!" Valentina chided, earning a chuckle from Crowley and a suddenly nervous Julian.
"Calm down, Julian. I know what you want to ask. Now, let me get a good look at you." Crowley started circling around Julian, and his eyes were shifting in and out of their normally golden hue, mixing with purple and blue until he was done circling him. Once he was done, his eyes returned to their normal golden hue, and it seemed that neither Valentina nor Julian noticed anything. 'He's a good man with a kind and faithful heart. He's a carpenter and a gardener. He truly loves her.' He gave the nervous man a soft smile and made an urging motion with his hand. "Alright, ask what you want to ask."
"I...I would like to...I would like to marry your daughter. I'll make her happy, I swear. I don't have as much as she does now, but I have what I can give." The young man started wringing his hands in a nervous manner, causing an even broader smile to appear on Crowley's face.
"Valentina, do you love this man?"
"You know I do, Father." She rolled her eyes as she looked at Crowley.
"Then you have my permission and my blessing. I pray that the two of you will be happy and not know hardship too often." There was a brief flash of light that glared in both Julian's and Valentina's eyes, causing them to blink and rub at their eyes.
"What was that!?" Julian questioned as he tried to blink some more so he could focus his vision.
"Perhaps a glare off of something in the market." Crowley suggested. 'God, did you just answer my prayer?'
'Yes, but it is because you have stayed faithful, encouraged your daughter to do the same, and while keeping the appearance of a demon...have still done angelic duties as well. Also, they are quite adorable together.'
'I'll have to take your word for it.' Crowley nodded and looked at Valentina. "So, I guess I should leave the two of you alone now so that you can plan. I'll be at the house of you need me."
"THANK YOU, FATHER!" Valentina squealed as she jumped into Julian's arms.
The memory shifted, but only ever so slightly. Soon, they were in front of a grand bonfire, it was Valentina and those who were apparently her friends, Crowley, and Julian along with his family. They were all dancing, drinking, eating, and having a pleasant time. Valentina kept having to adjust her crown of flowers that showed she had gotten married, and her white dress flowed beautifully in the night. "Father!" She called out as she quickly made her way to Crowley. "Dance with me, Father!"
"Oh, no! Erm...people like me...can't dance. It's not that I don't want to...it's that I can't."
"Oh, are you serious?"
"As serious as I can be, Valentina. Go and dance with your husband...and Valentina?"
"Hmm?" She hummed with a concerned expression.
Crowley wrapped his arms around her with a proud smile. "I'm happy for you and you look far more beautiful than the Garden around my house. I can't call it our house anymore, because you'll be living with him, but you'll always be welcome back home."
She tightened her arms around him with joyful tears falling from her eyes. "I love you too, Father."
Crowley released her and quickly wiped his tears. "Ugh...sand in my eyes...alright, go dance with him. Make it a dance he'll never forget."
The memory blinked and it was obviously many years later with how much had changed around them, and he was standing at the edge of the ocean during a full moonlit night. "Crowley? What are you doing here?" Aziraphale questioned cautiously with a concerned look in his eyes.
"Oh, nothing. Enjoying the scenery I suppose. I helped spread someone's ashes today. I spread them in a Garden of all the irony."
"Why?" Aziraphale asked with a pure look of confusion and astonishment.
"Because I was asked to." He breathed out with a simple, but saddened air, but he quickly made the mournful look in his eyes vanish. "So, what have you been up to?"
"Oh, nothing much. I had gone to visit you, but you weren't at your home. Someone says you've sold it."
"I have. I'm going to move. Don't know where to, I might travel for quite a bit, see where work takes me. It should be interesting."
"Indeed. It certainly sounds interesting." He nodded as he looked out to the ocean. "So...why here?"
"Why are you here at the moment?"
"Oh, it's a beautiful sight and I have so many memories here, it seems a shame not to visit this place before I go and travel the world again."
"Lots of tempting the humans huh?"
"Heh...something like that. So, why did you come to look for me?" He asked as he turned to face Aziraphale completely.
"Well, there was something I was wondering if you'd erm...assist me with."
"Ah, they're piling the duties on you are they? Can't say I'm surprised. Wait...are you...you're seriously asking me to help you with...miracles and blessings? Oh! Aziraphale, you must be desperate if you're asking for a demon's help." Crowley chuckled low.
"A demon that for some reason can preform miracles."
"All demons have a little power here and there."
"Yes, but our power is...the same somehow."
"Is it? I never noticed. I think they may be running you ragged, Aziraphale." There was an exasperated sigh from the white clothed angel and a low chuckle from Crowley. "Alright, what am I..." He gave a shudder. "...blessing."
"An entire house." Aziraphale groaned. "Three young adults around their early twenties, a mother, and a father. Also...to ease their time of mourning."
"Really? Got a last name for the family?"
Crowley's eyes widened considerably, not that Aziraphale could see it, and he calmly tried to relax. "Alright, I'll do it. Tell you what, Angel, I'll do it for the whole family. You go off and preform other miracles, alright?"
"A-Are you sure?"
"Yes. Now go on before I change my mind."
"Very well, if you're sure."
As the memory started to shift, Crowley paused it and let out a shaky sigh. "I...I didn't know." Aziraphale whispered out, his voice laced with guilt, sorrow, and sympathy.
"No one did. Well, God knew of course, but I made it a point to stay pretty well hidden. If other demons wanted to visit me, they had to have a meeting place. They know where I live, so Valentina's room was a special room that I made sure the other demons wouldn't be able to find her room and she made sure to stay away from their normal means of communication with me. Kept that up for twenty-six years. She later had one child of her own, a son, and that child had three kids. Valentina died old and happy. She was loved by many and owned a flower shop where she would take some of the flowers from our garden and sell them."
"You were a good Father." Aziraphale stated with an honest and slightly proud tone.
"Thanks, but her teenage years...well...her as a teenager made Hell look like a vacation spot. She evened out around seventeen or so though. Which was actually around when she met Julian. Come on, we have a lot more memories to go through."
The memory shifted pleasantly and mournfully at the same time and it was Crowley and Aziraphale leaving Hamlet. "Oh! I told you it was good."
"It was gloomy!" Crowley groaned out. "But...you're right, it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't that good either."
"Whatever you say, Crowley. I know you enjoyed it. I felt it."
"Whatever YOU say, Angel." Crowley rolled his eyes as they walked into a bar.
"I'm curious...how did you do it?"
"Get everyone in there. The place was PACKED!"
"Ah, well...I may have erm..."
"CROWLEY! What. Did. You. Do?" Aziraphale made his disapproval heard in every syllable.
"Alright alright! I may or may not have...opened a kissing booth, caused a few women to commit adultery by kissing me, and I may or may not have grown tired of that around the thirtieth kiss so...I may or may not have...started...UGH...I may or may not have blessed some people and preformed some miracles that they have all sworn to never speak about. They also know to never come to me for anything else after tonight."
"Just thirty!? But...Crowley...all of those people..."
"Well...a lot of them brought their families and friends...I only did about...fifty of the...other stuff."
"Cr-Crowley!" He exclaimed in alarm before grabbing Crowley's hand and pulling him out of the bar and into what one might call an alleyway. "Show me your arms."
"It's nothing, Angel. Don't worry about it."
"Show. Me." He growled out, causing Crowley's eyes to go wide as a smirk appeared on his face.
"Well, well...I knew you had it in you!" He chuckled lightly. "Very well..." He rolled up his sleeves and to Aziraphale's surprise, there was nothing. "Well, doc? Am I going to be alright?"
"H-How? That many blessings and miracles...it should've..."
"Guess it's the luck of the devil." He grinned as he slid his sleeves down.
"Must be. It should've burned you raw!"
"It did, but I healed them." He answered honestly. "I miracled the pain and burns away."
"Fascinating!" Aziraphale breathed out in awe. "Can other demons do that?"
"Not sure other demons can even pull off one blessing. I'm just different I suppose."
The memory shifted to when Crowley appeared in the Bastille behind Aziraphale. 'Honestly, HOW!? HOW do you keep getting yourself into these messes, Aziraphale!?'
"Animals!" Aziraphale groaned out, and Crowley stopped time around the Bastille and the executioner.
"Animals don't kill each other with clever machines, Angel. Only humans do that."
"Crowley!" He turned quickly to face Crowley and then saw what his rescuer was wearing. "Oh good Lord!"
'Really now? Tsk Tsk Tsk...LANGUAGE, Aziraphale!' Crowley tried not to laugh so he decided to ask one of the questions on his mind. "What the deuce are you doing locked up in the Bastille? I thought you were opening a bookshop."
"Well, I was! I got peckish."
"Well, if you must know...it was the crepes. You can't get decent ones anywhere but Paris. And the brioche."
"So you just popped across the Channel during a revolution, because you wanted something to nibble...dressed like that?"
"I have standards! I'd heard they were getting a bit carried away over here, but..."
"Yeah, this is not getting carried away. This is cutting off lots of people's heads very efficiently with a big head cutting machine. Why don't you just preform another miracle and go home?"
"I was reprimanded last month. They said I preformed too many frivolous miracles. Got a strongly worded note from Gabriel."
'Gabriel...sending...a strongly worded note? Well, isn't that interesting. The TRICKSTER sending a NOTE rather than a PRANK!' Crowley looked up at him and gave a brief smile. "Well, you're lucky I was in the area."
"I suppose I am. Why are you here?"
"My lot gave me a commendation for outstanding job performance."
There was a sudden flash of anger in Aziraphale's eyes. "So all this is YOUR demonic work!?"
"NO! The humans thought it up themselves! Nothing to do with me!"
He snapped my fingers and released him from the cuffs. Aziraphale rubbed at his wrists with a slightly relieved look on his face. "Well, I suppose I should say thank you for the uh...rescue."
Crowley quickly got up, and sneered at Aziraphale, "Don't say that. If my people hear that I've rescued an angel, I'll be the one in trouble, and my lot do not send rude notes." He let out a huff of air through his nose before backing off slightly. 'Besides, if you start thanking me, they'll catch up to the fact I'm not completely heartless like them, and that would be trouble.
"Well, anyway, I'm very grateful. What about if I buy you lunch?"
"Looking like that?" At his words, he watched with an impressed look in his eyes as the KNOWN angel switched his clothes with the executioner.
"Well, barely counts as a miracle, really."
"Dressed like that, he's asking for trouble." Crowley muttered with mild amusement. "What's for lunch?"
"What would you say to some crepes?"
"I wouldn't be opposed." He grinned.
The memory shifted and it was quite obvious to both of them where and when it was, because of how Crowley was dressed and how Aziraphale was walking away with a hurt and furious expression. "I can't believe he thought I would use it to kill myself! And...fraternizing!? Really!? After all this time...that's all we've been doing? Oh...I need a drink!" The memory blinked and it was suddenly dark. So dark that the only illumination there was, was from the stars and moon above. He then started to walk with a heavy sigh. He walked slowly and with a heavy heart until he heard a an infant's cries coming from the door of a nearby church. He looked around to hopefully find the parent, but there was absolutely no one in the street but him. 'Whoever left the baby, didn't realize that this church is going to be torn down for a new building soon.' A cold wind blew through Crowley and the baby cried louder and more desperately. 'If I leave the infant there...he or she will be dead by morning just from the cold alone.'
He moved towards the crying infant in the basket and he lifted the crying babe up carefully. "Hey now..." He whispered as he supported it's head. He then closed his eyes and focused intently. "Well, at least neither angels nor demons can see us." He muttered as looked at the still crying baby. "Everything will be alright, little one. Let's get you warm and fed. Who knows how long you've been there and...you...you haven't even had your first bath!" With a snap of his fingers they were back at Crowley's mansion that he had at time. Everything matched with the times. The warm colored rug in front of the fireplace, the soft and comfortable chairs and sofa, the lamps, the gentle orange coloring of the walls...yes, everything fit with the times as they usually did.
"Let's get you in a bath. Let's see...if you haven't been given your first bath...and it's nearly one in the morning...that means your birthday is...October 10th, 1862. Great, we have a birthday, now to figure out of you're a boy or a girl." Crowley rushed to the kitchen and created a small warm tub of water on the floor. He then got on his knees in front of the basin and slowly unwrapped the baby. "Alright, a boy then." He grinned. "Your name..." He started as he carefully held the baby over the water, and started to gently wash him with lavender soap that he made himself with a snap of his fingers and the wash cloth it was in. "...let's see...you were at a church...so...your name should be..." Just as he was about to name him, the baby splashed just slightly, getting Crowley slightly wet, and smiled up at him. "You know what?" Crowley laughed out as he continued to clean the newborn. "Just for that...I remember a certain someone who pushed me back into the bathing pool after I JUST got my wings dried. Your name is to be Gabriel." The baby gurgled with a small smile. "Ah...like that name do ya? Well, it suits you just fine. Trouble is...I'm afraid it may DEFINITELY suit you someday."
Once the baby was clean, Crowley miracled the entire kitchen to be stocked with everything he would need for a baby, clothes onto the now suddenly dry infant, and a bottle in his hand. With a snap of his fingers, he was suddenly upstairs and in a nursery Aziraphale was sure he didn't have before. It was all beautiful, breath taking, and so loving, he almost couldn't believe it. Crowley sat down in a rocking chair and he started to feed the infant Gabriel, who guzzled down the formula faster than anything. "Like I thought. You weren't even fed either. That's okay. You'll have a home here."
Suddenly, there was a light coming into the room that was careful to only shine on Crowley's face and not on the baby. "Crowley, you've adopted another child I see."
"Yes, I have. Is that alright?"
"Does it bring you peace?"
"Yes." He answered honestly.
"Does it fill your heart?"
"Does it keep you sane?"
"With Valentina...it was easier to meet with the demons and to blend in, because I knew that she was at home, safe, and that we would have each other when I wasn't out with Aziraphale or the demons. Even when she got married and had a child of her own...she still visited. It...it made my troubles go away and it was easier to be what you've asked of me."
"Do you love your children? Even though Valentina is currently residing in Heaven?"
"Yes, I still love Valentina, and I will make sure my erm...make sure that Gabriel is loved as well. God, you know my answers. Why are you asking them?"
"Because, I want to make sure you'll admit to your answers. You are an Archangel with a demonic aura. No one knows what you are except me. I need to know that you won't be ashamed to answer if someone should ask the question of who your son is, should a demon or Aziraphale question it."
"WILL Aziraphale question it?"
"I will not tell you that."
"Of course." He sighed out. "So...is this alright? For me to...adopt children despite being what I am?"
"I didn't smite you the first time for doing it, and I distinctly remember answering a very specific prayer you had for your daughter and her betrothed."
"Right...so...it's alright then?"
"Yes, Raphael." She chuckled warmly. "It's alright."
"You are very welcome, oh, and Raphael?"
"Hmm?" He questioned as he set the bottle down and started patting Gabriel's back to burp him.
"Take it from me, dear, boys can be JUST as difficult as girls."
"I was afraid you were going to say that."
"Until next time, Raphael."
The memory blinked and Gabriel was a little bit older, it was difficult for Aziraphale to tell how old, but apparently old enough for him to take off Crowley's sunglasses for what was apparently the first time ever, because as Crowley carried him, he stopped instantly as he watched the baby take off his precious sunglasses. "Um..." The baby dropped them and placed his hands on either side of Crowley's face and giggled. "Y-You're...not...afraid." The baby then started gently batting at Crowley's face. He adjusted to where Gabriel wasn't batting at his face, and he couldn't help the smile that appeared on his face. "Well then...aren't you a brave one. Come on, it's time to eat."
The memory blinked and this time, it was when Gabriel was much older, and somehow gained Crowley's specific ginger hair color, and he walked in with a lovely young woman with her blonde hair up and her blue eyes gazing in awe around the room. "Father?"
"Yes, Gabriel?" He grinned as he came down the stairs. "Is this the young lady I've heard so much about?"
"Yes, it is." He stated proudly.
"Oh! Oh my goodness, you DO where sunglasses inside." She breathed out with a gentle voice.
"I'm just sensitive to light. So, you're Elizabeth. A pleasure to meet you. Tell me...has Gabriel told you stories about when he was a teenager? Or a child perhaps?"
"He has, in fact." She giggled, covering her mouth to hide her smile. "He's said he was a little demon as a child and as a teenager."
"Ha! Takes after me!" At that they all three had a good laugh, but it was clear that Gabriel's and Crowley's were for different reasons. "Oh! Yes, he was quite the little trickster. Did he tell you where he got his name from?"
"No, I don't believe he has." She tilted her head with a curious glance towards Gabriel, who started blushing slightly.
"I named him after my brother. They're BOTH tricksters. Oh, but don't worry, I'm sure you'll treat him well enough to where you won't have to worry about that."
"Oh, I think you may be confused." She smirked. "HE'S been treating ME well, and I've been a trickster to him."
"Oh, now that's something he HASN'T told me." Crowley blinked in surprise not that anyone could see it, but his brow was raised considerably in interest and intrigue.
"Oh, yes. You see, I have often messed up his plants at his shop. I've switched them around, and I did that until he agreed to go for a stroll with me. After that, I would splash him, push him, take his hat, a number of things."
"Oh really?" He nodded his head with an approving smile. "I'm going to be honest, I'm liking you more and more."
"Yes, it was quite a surprise this afternoon though. He asked for my Father's permission to marry me."
"It's about time. Young lady, I've been hearing about you for the past five years. I was wondering when he would ask, and I assume that's why he's brought you here to officially meet me."
"Y-Yes." She chuckled out nervously. "I felt so embarrassed that he met my family, but I hadn't met his. So, during our stroll, I asked if I could meet you, and he was hesitant at first, but well...now we're here."
"Am I invited to the wedding?"
"Of course you are, Father!" Gabriel laughed out joyously, all tension in the room evaporating with the sound.
The memory shifted and Crowley was walking down a street when he saw a man staring at a woman. 'He...He's lusting after a married woman. Hmm...I can work with that and send a good report to Hell.' He walked over and casually stood next to the man. He then let out a purposeful sigh. "Beautiful, isn't she?" He questioned with a risen brow as he pointed at the woman with lightly tanned skin and chestnut colored hair that cascaded down her back in waves.
"The woman with the brown hair?" The man asked.
"Oh yes. She's quite beautiful. Makes a man wonder what's underneath all those layers of clothes."
"I've known her since we were children. She has a husband though."
"Oh? Who is it?"
"My brother." He groaned out.
"Well..." Crowley tipped his glasses down and through what can only be God's intervention, Aziraphale could also see what Crowley was seeing. There was a red aura around her ring finger and her chest, but a purple aura circling around her head. The rest of her was a gentle green. 'Red for Love, Purple for Lust, and Green for Calm. Now...who are YOU Lusting after?' He zoomed in closer and saw a rather vivid image of what the woman wanted to do with the man he was standing next to, and he quickly put his glasses back up. The whole process was rather quick. Crowley shook his head with a smirk. "Well...why don't you go show her who the better brother is. I'm certain she won't mind. Besides, a man like you that's known her for that long...I mean...she has to know you're the better brother."
"Yes..." The man hummed out in a low and thoughtful tone. "...My brother didn't even notice her until she hit the age of nineteen."
"That's no way to treat a woman, now is it? Go on then...show her who the better brother is." The man nodded and walked over to the woman, and took off his hat to meet with her. Her friends dispersed and walked away. He seemed to be fumbling over his words, which caused Crowley to groan in irritation, because they were standing rather close. He tucked his cane under his arm and brought both of his hands up at an even level until, from his view, each hand was on the back of each of their heads, and he smirked ever so slightly. 'Now...KISS!' He clapped his hands together, and just like that, they both grabbed for each other in broad daylight, kissing wildly and passionately.
"Well done, Crowley!" Hastur chuckled in a low and menacing tone behind him.
'UGH! Go bother someone else! Anyone else!' Crowley pleaded in his mind as he turned around and flashed the demon a proud smile. "I thought so myself. So, let us recount the deeds of the day, shall we?"
"I have already seen your deed for the day. You tempted that man to not only move further with his lust, but to do so with his brother's wife. Lust AND Adultery. Quite the feat, Crowley. Very well...I tempted a woman and a priest to sleep together. It's only a matter of time now."
"Ah, so Lust! Seems a favorite these days."
"Oh, yes! I remember when it was wrath. Oh...the good old days."
"Right..." Crowley breathed out through his teeth as he gave a non-committal nod. "...well, you have a horrible day, Hastur."
"I will. I will also tell Lord Beelzebub of your efforts. I'm sure she'll be pleased." With that, Hastur vanished and Crowley shuddered.
'Out of ALL the demons of Hell...HE'S the one that makes my skin crawl! YEE-UGH!' Crowley continued walking, and they watched as he tempted a boy to pick-pocket, a woman to show more skin, a bartender that was already kicking someone out...to show more wrath, and a busy business man that was obviously in a rush to work...to nap on a bench. 'There, that should have me covered for a couple of months. I'll send in the report tomorrow. Now...I have a wedding to get to. It's been two years since Gabriel asked her Father.'
When the memory shifted sadly, it revealed Crowley, slumped in his kitchen in his house, and he was completely drunk on the floor. "God!?" He questioned to the ceiling. "I love them...but they leave. They go up there with you! Why do they leave? Why do they have to leave? Why not let them have an immortal life? I can never visit them again!" When there was no answer Crowley let out a heavy sigh. "Questions I already know the answers to. They leave because they're human and they don't have a mortal life, because that's what you decided. Oh well...he DID lead a good life. Gabriel was good to his wife. Neither of them wanted children, but they led a good and happy life. Well!" He let out a sniff as he brought himself up off the floor and sobered himself. "No use in dwelling on it, I suppose. I still love my daughter Valentina, which tells me I will also still love my son Gabriel. Human lives are so short, but it wouldn't do good if I was miserable because of it, knowing what I know, and being immortal as I am. Right! Now, what's on the demonic agenda today? Maybe I'll go...trick some people into a few things."
When the memory shifted and settled, they were in Scotland where there was endless night sky, and miles upon miles of green grass underneath the New Moon sky. Crowley laid on his back against the cool grass, dressed appropriately for the late 1930's. The wind blew softly against Crowley's hair as he took off his glasses and placed them on his chest before putting his hands behind his head again. "I wonder if she'll let me add something. The humans will just think it a new discovery and something they hadn't seen before. Times are changing and everything..." He reached up with his right hand while still keeping his left hand behind his head in a relaxed position and he was about to start, but realized something. 'I didn't create the stars...she did...hmm...I wonder if I can at least try. I remember what they felt like. Hot electricity wrapping at my bones all the way to the tendons in my wings while at the same time, a steady flowing river rushing in my veins, pushing my blood faster.' He closed his eyes and steadied his breath that he didn't need. When he opened his eyes again, much to Aziraphale's shock, one of his eyes had shifted to a striking sapphire color while still keeping its snake-like qualities. There was a light in the sky, and he smiled brightly at it. He then waved his hand and the light quickly spread, creating more stars, and from where he was at, he knew that the humans would name it a supernova of sorts, but it was bright, warm, and brilliant in his soul. He then made sure to make some of them a little brighter than the others. He then flicked his wrist to create a meteor shower for the night. After that, he gently put his hand behind his head once more.
"D-Did you just..." A woman's voice called out, causing Crowley to quickly sit up and face her, but when he did, his eye returned to its normal color and he didn't put his glasses back on. "...Oh! Oh my goodness! Your eyes!" She rushed over to him and adjusted her dress so that she could get on her knees next to him.
"I-I...I didn't realize anyone else was here! Where did you come from?" At that moment, Crowley seemed to take in her appearance. She had flaming red hair, freckles that littered her face from cheek to cheek, going over her small nose, emerald green eyes, and the clothes she was wearing were obviously handmade, but beautifully so. She was wearing a forest green dress that had embroidered designs of roses with thread that was just a slightly lighter shade than the dress.
"W-Well...Around sunset I decided to go for a walk. Allow my feet to take me where they wanted and now I'm here with you. I've been walking since sunset, but I still know my way back home. I saw you when you were erm...talking to yourself and then I watched you raise your hand to the sky and...well..." The more nervous she became, the thicker her accent laced itself around her vocal chords, drawing out a very brief smile from Crowley. "B-But...your eyes! Wh-What are you, if you don't mind my asking?"
"I'm a demon." He answered calmly, but when she shook her head and smiled, his brow raised in contemplation and curiosity. "What's with that look?"
"You can't be a demon. For one thing, I doubt God would let demons create stars and expand them, let alone create a meteor shower. I doubt he would let a demon alter with His creation for very long. So...what are you really? You're obviously not human. Not with eyes like yours."
"I...I was under the impression you were frightened of them." He blinked at her several times in shock. "They're snake eyes..."
"That they are." She nodded her head. "I'm not scared easily. So...are you going to answer me?"
He let out a heavy sigh and nodded his head. He quickly looked around and when he didn't sense or see anyone, he leaned closer to her ear and whispered, "I'm the Archangel Raphael, but I'm supposed to be a demon. God made it so. I have the aura of a demon, but I'm still an Archangel. If anyone found out...it would be disastrous for everyone. Heaven, Hell, and Earth...at least that's what I think, but I don't want to risk it."
Once he was finished explaining, he moved back to where he was and was thoroughly surprised by what he saw. She was giving him the softest smile he had ever seen on anyone. "That's what I thought."
"Pardon?" He quickly asked with a dropped jaw.
"Well, you're not human, you're not a...well...the other thing, and you certainly don't look like someone that is such a witch or wizard to where they can alter the stars themselves, so the only other option I had was...what you told me. However, I didn't think it was that high up of what you told me. That exceeded my earlier thought. I just thought you were an average one of those."
"And...you're not at all bothered by it?"
"No, not in particular. Your eyes are beautiful by the way."
"Th-Thank you." He grinned as he visibly relaxed, sitting up straighter, crossing his legs in front of her. He then looked down at her belly and noticed a small bump. "Ah...when are you due?"
She looked down at her belly with a bright smile before looking back up at him. "Christmas apparently."
"Well!" He snorted out a laugh. "That's quite the birthday. So, who's the lucky man?"
"Oh, there's no man. Not anymore." She let out a slightly upset sigh.
"May I ask what happened?" He tilted his head with a concerned look in his eyes as he picked up his glasses and held them in his hand.
"He was arrested."
"For...well...he wasn't a kind man. I thought he was at first...we weren't married when I got pregnant...so..."
"Wait...did he...did he hit you!?"
"M-Many times." She nodded as she swallowed a lump in her throat.
"Do you still have bruises?"
"I-I do, but they're...under my dress."
"Oh..." He pouted with a pained expression. "...don't tell me they're on your stomach."
"Alright...fine...I won't tell you."
Crowley got on his knees, placing his glasses in his breast pocket, letting out a heavy sigh of disappointment. "And people call me a demon." He muttered. "Well, I can heal you if you like."
"Yes, th-that is...if you don't mind. There's no one else around that I see."
She nodded her head and got on her back slowly and carefully. "As long as there's no one around..."
"Just me here...erm...I didn't catch your name."
"Right...no one else is here, Liliana." He gave her a reassuring smile, and she nodded her head as a reply before lifting her dress up just below her breasts, and a look of fury and disbelief crossed Crowley's face as he saw the three bruises on her stomach and one on her thigh. He looked around once again to make for certain that no one was there. Once he was completely certain that they were alone, he hovered his hands over her belly, and allowed a brilliant green light to surround his hands, quickly and effortlessly healing her bruises. It took only about five minutes, and he signaled for her to move her dress back down.
"Thank you." She breathed out when she was seated upright once more, her dress smoothed out and around her legs.
"You're welcome." He nodded at her with a calmer smile. "I took the liberty to check on your womb to see if everything was alright. So...would you like to know how they are?"
"THEY!?" She gawked with comically wide eyes and an even wider smile.
"Oh, yes!" He laughed out. "Twins. Two boys, in fact."
"My goodness!" She giggled out. "Well, that explains a lot."
"Indeed it does. You're four months pregnant with the belly of someone who is five to six months pregnant."
"You know..." She smirked at him slightly with a grateful look in her eyes. "...I was wondering about that. Oh, and I don't believe you've given me YOUR name either."
"Which name would you like?" He snorted out a short laugh. "I have a human name, demon name, and erm...OTHER name."
"I guess tell me all three and I'll pick one that I like best."
He shook his head with a bright smile as he put his glasses back on. He then stood up and held his hand out to Liliana and helped her up off the ground. "I'll walk you home and tell you. Which way are we heading?"
"That way." She pointed to her right.
"Right." He nodded and they started walking that way. "So...my demon name is Crowley."
"Hmm...interesting...but no." She shook her head with a contemplative expression.
"Alright..." He chuckled lightly. "..my OTHER name is Raphael..."
"That would explain the healing, the stars, and the protective warmth I felt coming off of you." She nodded her head, acknowledging his name. "But...no. Not that either."
"Alright, well...my human name is Jay Crowley."
"I don't like that either." She chuckled softly.
"Well...a long long time ago in Rome, I adopted a young girl and she came up with the name. I'm sure she would be amused if you help me come up with another."
"Oh...I'm so sorry! Wait...you had a daughter? You adopted her? God allowed that?"
"Yes, yes, and yes." He nodded his head once for every answer. "So...do you want to help me pick out a new name?"
"Sure! I would love to! Let's see...I'd like you to keep the 'Jay' part, because it was your daughter who gave it to you. Perhaps...as either a middle initial or middle name in general. Wouldn't make a difference really. Just depends on who says it and how they mean it. Now...for your first name...Christopher?"
"NO!" He bellowed out as he tipped his head back in laughter. Once he was calm, he let out a soft hum in contemplation. "What about...Alistair?"
"NO! That just sounds awful! Alistair Jay Crowley? I sounds like 'I stare at Jay Crowley' No way."
"I don't really hear the 'at' in there, but okay."
"It's there! Trust me." She giggled lightly. "So...I like your first name starting with an A...maybe we can work with that. Adam?"
"No. When you've been around since THE Beginning...the name Adam has some affect on you."
"Right." She sighed out. "What about...oh! What about Anthony? It sounds like a good strong and intelligent name while also being kind, and you're certainly all of those things."
"Hmm...Anthony Jay Crowley. Or Anthony J. Crowley...depending of course...I like it. So, that'll be my new name." They walked for some time until they finally reached her house. "I take it this is your home?" He questioned as he looked at the lovely farmhouse cottage.
"It is. Would you like to come inside?"
"You know? I think I would."
"Oh...a rule for you." She said as she opened the door and placed a hand on Crowley's chest.
"A-Alright." His face flushed slightly at the contact as he looked up at her from the bottom of the three-step-staircase.
"No glasses in the house and no shoes either. Leave them by the door." He gave a pleasant smile and nodded his head.
The memory blinked and it showed Crowley feeding a baby while slowly rocking in a rocking chair next to Liliana where she lay on a bed with her back propped against the bed frame, feeding the other infant, and she was so obviously tired. "You did amazing, Liliana. They're perfectly healthy."
"Yes...but they're a bit small though..." She looked down at the baby she was holding. "...thank you, by the way...for using your...miracle...powers to heal me, clean up the mess, and make the blankets warm...and for giving me clean clothes."
"N-Not a problem...oh, and twins CAN be small when they're born. Don't worry...I'm sure they'll grow to be even taller than me. I can't promise anything, but I'd like to thinks so."
"Same here. Thank you for being here. The town isn't far from here...but...I didn't want to go after everything that happened with the man I was with. He was well liked."
"I don't see how, and besides, he's missing out. These boys are so handsome! What will you name them?"
"Hmm...tell you what...you name the one I'm holding and I'll name the one you're holding."
"Sounds fair." He grinned as he looked over at the bundle in Liliana's arms that started to fall asleep eating up his formula. "Hmm...pick a letter."
"For this one..." She motioned as she lifted her arms slightly. "...an 'S' name. For that one...an 'R' sounding name."
"Right...hmm...the one in your arms...is Seamus."
"Oh! That's a good name! Then...the one in your arms is...Remus!"
"Seamus and Remus. Good strong names." Crowley smiled down at the baby in his arms as he set the now empty bottle down before moving to burp Remus. Liliana moved to do the same for Seamus. Once they were both burped, Crowley took both of them into the nursery room and set them down. He turned out all of the lights and looked up to the ceiling above Remus' and Seamus' separate cots. He grew a smirk on his face that was a mixture of mischief and love. He waved his hand at the ceiling and the Nebula he had created so long ago was above their heads, but as a painting rather than the real and moving thing. When he moved back into the room, he sat back down in the chair, picking up an Oscar Wilde book, and the Crowley watching the memory let out a groan.
Aziraphale was bouncing up and down with pure energy. "I KNEW you liked Oscar Wilde! I just never said anything! I just KNEW you stared at those books for too long in my bookshop! Well...too long for you."
"Yeah, yeah...come on...I haven't paused it."
They both turned to face the memory and noticed that at some point in him being gone with the children, Liliana had fallen asleep. Crowley glanced at her as he read the book and he let out a soft content hum of sorts, which stirred her awake. "Anthony?" She questioned as she got more comfortable, turning to face him.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you." He set the book back down on the nightstand that the chair was next to.
"It's alright...hey...can I ask you to come to bed?"
"WHAT?" He stilled completely as he stared at her in shock. "B-Bed? W-With you?"
"Hmm..." She giggled lightly. "...and here I was...under the impression you had excellent hearing. Yes, come to bed...please?"
"D-Do...do you want me to wear night clothes?"
"If you don't mind."
With a snap of his fingers he was dressed in black and red nightclothes for that decade and he cautiously climbed into bed next to her, facing her with a curious and confused look in his eyes. "Why do you want me here?" He asked cautiously.
She gave him a soft smile as she rested her smooth hand on the side of his face, gently sliding her thumb up and down his cheek, causing him to flutter his eyes close from the caring sensation. "Anthony?"
"Hmm?" He questioned as he covered her hand with his just as gently as she was caressing his face.
"Can I tell you something?"
"Anything, Liliana." He sighed out as he took away his hand and he opened his eyes up to her.
"I love you. I fell in love with you after about a week of you being in my house to help with my pregnancy."
"I-I love you too." He smiled with pure love and joy in his eyes. "I thought...well...I thought I would be too different for you."
"Different is good, in my opinion. I want you to know something though...I'm perfectly fine if you have to go off and do demon or angel stuff...just as long as you make it back...as long as you make it back..."
"Home?" He offered and she nodded her head in relief.
"Yes. Home. I-Is this place home to you?"
"It has been since I helped you the night we met. Truth be told...I had done nothing more than wandering all over the Earth...doing what I can, while fulfilling my role as a demon. If you truly don't mind me being both a demon and an angel..."
"I don't." She grinned and pushed him slightly so he would lay on his back. He obeyed and she laid her head on his chest. "Say...Anthony?"
"Yes, Liliana?" He asked with a softer voice than even he expected, but he hadn't expected hardly any of this.
"Wh-What!? I mean...a-aren't I s-supposed to ask?"
"Usually..." She laughed softly. "...but I wanted to ask. So...would God be terribly upset if I married one of her Archangels?"
'No, not really.' God chuckled lightly as she communicated with Crowley telepathically. 'I wouldn't be upset at all. The two of you are quite adorable together.'
"Y-You know..." Crowley smiled brightly as a singular tear fell from his face. "...I have a sneaky suspicion she wouldn't mind at all." He started to pet her hair gently as he gave her a soft kiss at the top of her head. "My answer is Yes. I'll marry you. I'll also protect you and...and..."
"Y-Yes...that...those...them...erm...yes. Ah! Jeeze, Liliana...you always manage to get me tongue tied."
She smiled happily against his chest, letting out a content sigh. "Well...at least I know what you MEAN to say. Goodnight, Love."
"G-Goodnight, Liliana." He couldn't stop the wide, overjoyed smile that appeared on his face. 'Thank you!' He shouted to the ceiling above him, hoping it would connect to the everything else above him. 'Huh...Christmas babies...well...I guess I'll just have to spoil them...just a bit.'
The memory shifted to a familiar time for both of them. However, Crowley was walking down the street when he saw Aziraphale step into the church holding books. 'Okay...books...in the middle of all this...being delivered in a church...Aziraphale!' Crowley pinched the bridge of his nose. 'Why in the Hell are you giving books to Hitler's men! They're murderers!' Crowley looked up waved a hand, concentrating on one of the bombing air crafts that would be dropping bombs on the East End...Hastur and Ligur's doing...and he had one of them head straight for the church. 'I don't like this, but it's the only way to get him out of there without them discorporating him, and perhaps I could convince the humans to run away before the bomb drops.' He walked closer to the church and hesitated for a moment. 'I've been a part of Hell for a long time...it's started to affect me. The last Demon I saw try and step into a church...burst into flames, but I'm...I'm still an Archangel.'
After debating whether to go in and help Aziraphale or to help him from outside, he placed his foot on the step and opened the door to the church. As soon as his feet touched the tile, his feet instantly stung. 'YOUCH! This Fucking hurts! At least I'm not bursting into flames! But that means...that means Holy Water really CAN hurt me! But...to what extent!?' As he hissed and danced his way down the aisle " Sorry, consecrated ground. Oh! It's like...being at the beach in bare feet!"
"What are you doing here!?" Aziraphale questioned with an irritated look.
"Stopping you getting into trouble!"
"I should've known! Of course! These people are working for you!"
Crowley's jaw dropped in disbelief. 'Really!? After all this time, you still think I would just go about murdering people, let alone working with...oh wait...I'm a demon...right.' He looked back and forth between Aziraphale and the Nazis briefly before speaking. "No! They're a bunch of half-witted Nazi spies blackmailing and murdering people! I just didn't want to see YOU embarrassed!"
"Mr. Anthony J. Crowley...your fame proceeds you." The larger one said with pure sarcasm in his voice.
"Anthony?" Aziraphale questioned with what could only ever be describe as a look of, 'Really?'
"You don't like it?" He wondered curiously. 'Sorry, can't change it now that I'm married. That'd be a bit difficult.'
"No, no. I didn't say that. I'll get used to it."
"The famous Mr. Crowley..." The woman holding the gun breathed out in what seemed to be awe, but her voice was also laced with sarcasm. "...It's such a pity you must both die."
"What does the 'J' stand for?"
"It's just a 'J', really." He answered while at the same time thinking, 'Well...it is in a way. A Jay bird or JUST a J...however...it's easier for it to JUST be a 'J' for now.' In the midst of his thought he caught a glimpse of Holy Water. "Look at that! A whole fontful of holy water! It doesn't even have GUARDS!" He shouted as he continued to 'dance' in the church. 'And if I really WILL have problems with Holy Water like I'm having with the church...I need to be more careful about it. I don't know what can happen! OUCH the ground Fucking hurts!'
"Enough babbling. Kill them both."
"In about a minute, a German bomber will release a bomb that will land right here. If you all run away very very fast, you might not die. You won't enjoy dying. Definitely won't enjoy what comes after."
"You expect us to believe that?" The larger man chuckled with an amused tone. "The bombs tonight will fall on the East End."
"Yes. It will take a last-minute demonic intervention to throw them off course. Yes. You're all wasting your valuable running away time!" His eyes widened slightly as he realized that they could both be discorporated and there was also a risk of the Holy Water splashing on him during the explosion. "And if, in thirty seconds a bomb DOES land here, it would take a REAL miracle for my friend and I to SURVIVE IT."
"A-A real miracle."
"Kill them. They are very irritating."
At the skinny man's words, Crowley stopped dancing and held his hands up, pointing up at the sky when he started to hear the whistle of the bomb. He then quickly felt an almost overwhelming protective barrier around him that felt like basking in both the warmth of the sun during the summer and the coolness of a windy full moon night. 'He's going to forget about the books!' With that, he placed his own barrier on the books.
Once there was nothing but them, the rubble, three dead Nazis, and a book bag that Aziraphale didn't notice was still being clutched by the skinny one, Aziraphale lowered his hat with a look of gratefulness mixed with shock. "That was very kind of you."
"Shut up!" Crowley groaned out. 'What are friends for!?'
"Well, it was. No paperwork for a start." His eyes widened as the APPARENT realization dawned on him. "Oh! The books! I forgot all the books! Oh, they'll all be blown to-"
'Thought so.' Crowley thought with amusement as he let out a slight sigh before bending over and prying the book bag from the dead Nazi's hand and gave it back to Aziraphale without so much as a smudge. "There's a little demonic miracle of my own. Lift home?" By the time Crowley made it to the edge of the rubble that had miraculously missed his Bentley, that he made appear there, he turned around and noticed that Aziraphale was frozen in place with joyful astonishment. "Angel?"
At his voice, Aziraphale blinked rapidly, attempting to bring himself back into reality. "Y-Yes?" He asked as he quickly and carefully made his way towards Crowley.
"I asked if you wanted a lift home."
"I-I would appreciate that." He nodded his head and made his way to and inside the car, clutching the bag of books as if his life depended on it. Once they were both in the car and once the Bentley started, Aziraphale cleared his throat as the same expression from before was plastered on his face once again.
"Alright, Angel..." Crowley sighed as he rolled his eyes. "...out with it. What's with that astonished look of...UGH Joy."
"Y-You...you didn't have to save the books."
"Of course I did! I know what they mean to you!" For a fraction of a moment his eyes widened as he realized that may have been a bit too nice. "Besides...you would've been mourning for decades."
"Crowley...what you did...it was...well...it was an act of selflessness. Yes, you're right, I would've mourned my books and you would've likely gotten irritated...but I could FEEL the selflessness in what you did. It was nearly palpable when you handed me the book bag. Selflessness and thoughtfulness. I was just wondering...why exactly did you do that?"
"Because..." He breathed out with a heavy chest, wondering if he should tell him, but eventually decided that it wouldn't hurt either side if he worded it carefully enough. "...I knew you would forget about covering your books. Also...the first answer I gave was the same. Aziraphale...you have a BOOKSHOP! Everything in it is either first editions or second editions because the firsts didn't survive. I saw you walking into a church with books...in the middle of ALL OF THIS..." Crowley motioned in front of them as he continued to drive, trying to show Aziraphale all of the mayhem that was going on. "...and I knew of only ONE person who would be crazy enough to send men into a church to collect books."
"Wait...you sound as if you don't like Hitler."
"Angel...if you're telling me YOU do, I swear I will discorporate you MYSELF! He's a murderous monster! I only HOPE that I'm the one that gets to over look his tortured soul! I hope I'm the one with the tools!" Crowley growled out so venomously, Aziraphale had leaned towards the window in pure shock.
"You're damn right!" He growled out, but tried to calm himself down as he slowed his car down to a stop before he made it to the bookshop. "Sorry..."
"Wh-What!? Y-You're sorry!?"
"Believe what you want Angel, I have a LITTLE decorum. I shouldn't have taken it out on you. You didn't cause this. Wait...you don't actually LIKE Hitler do you?"
"ME!? N-NO! I just...I've never seen you filled with so much rage before and then...you apologized. Wait...why don't YOU like him? You're a demon!"
"Yes, thank you for reminding me, Aziraphale. I almost forgot." He let out a heavy sigh before taking off his glasses to face Aziraphale, which instantly made the white haired angel shut his dropped jaw. "The monster is killing KIDS! They're murdering innocent people who haven't done anything warranting death! BOMBS, Aziraphale! He's BOMBING entire areas and there are entire families that WON'T. BE. ABLE. TO. GET. AWAY!"
"Y-You sound as if you...care."
"I know. Quite the shock to you, I'm sure. After all...I'm just a demon. To you I'm nothing more than fallen, a mistake, a traitor, a monster, someone lower than you, and you know what, with how LITTLE you seem to think my black heart is, I bet YOU want to pour Holy Water on-"
Before Crowley could finish, Aziraphale slapped him hard across the face. When Crowley turned to face him again, he quickly noticed tears streaming from Aziraphale's eyes. Then, he watched as the angel snapped his fingers once, making them appear in front of the book shop. Then twice, making them appear in the backroom of the bookshop. "How. Dare. You!?" Aziraphale shouted. "I mean just...I...OH! I can't believe you! How could you ever...!? There's a REASON I wasn't going to get you Holy Water all those years ago, Crowley! It. Would. Destroy. You!"
"Y-You slapped me!" Crowley stuttered out as he held a hand up to his cheek.
"Yes, I very well did, and you deserved it you foolish...OH! I can't believe you! A-And all of those things you said that I think about you!"
"No...you don't get to say anything nice about me after you just slapped me! Aziraphale, I'm a demon! I'm not nice! I've told you in the past not to say nice things to me! I've done terrible and horrible things!"
"Oh, really?" He hummed out with a furrowed brow as he crossed his arms. "Have you instigated a war?"
"No, but that doesn't mean..."
"Have you personally killed anyone?"
"You know I haven't!"
"Right, so...all the other demons would do such things." Aziraphale, completely fed up with Crowley's growing attitude lifted him up off the couch like he was nothing and slammed him into the wall with one hand gripped around his jacket. "If you're so TERRIBLE and HORRIBLE, Crowley, how about you explain to me how I FELT selflessness and thoughtfulness pouring off the bag!? And if you won't explain that, then how about this...I DARE you to make me FALL! Pride, Gluttony, and Greed are things I already have! I take immense Pride in my Bookshop, I always go out to eat despite not needing to, and I ALWAYS want more and more books! Go ahead, Crowley! If you're so terrible and horrible! Then do the ONE thing EVERY SINGLE DEMON WISHES THEY COULD DO! Go ahead! All you have to do is add up ALL of my deadly sins and I'll FALL!"
"A-Azira...phale..." Crowley struggled uncomfortably against the death grip and force Aziraphale was holding over his jacket as he pressed him into the wall while still keeping a safe distance.
"NO! You're going to listen to ME now, Crowley! You're different! I don't know how, but your different, and for SOME reason...a reason I could only draw up to God's Ineffable plan...you somehow are ALWAYS where I need you! Discorporation or just someone to eat and drink with! You're not terrible and horrible! Somehow...through all the impossibilities and improbabilities in this amazing world...you're deep down a good person! I have no Earthly idea HOW a demon can be that way, but you are and every year, every decade, every century, and every millennia you're ALWAYS surprising me! Now, I'm going to let go of you now...and you're going to sit back on the couch, and you're going to calmly explain to me just WHAT THE HELL your outburst was for! Your only other option is accepting my dare and tempting me to Fall!"
Aziraphale slowly let go of Crowley, and to his surprise, Crowley didn't stay put at the wall, move to the couch or even stare at him. No. He collapsed straight to the floor, with blood seeping through his clothes from his chest and stomach. "Crowley?" No answer, just a broken pair of sunglasses, Crowley's closed eyes, and bleeding form. "Crowley, this isn't funny!" Aziraphale cried out as he crouched in front of Crowley to reach out a hand to him.
"Huh..." Crowley started with an intrigued look in his eyes. "I don't remember this, but I guess it's something God wanted me to see."
"Wh-Why don't I remember this!? I remember us going back to my bookshop and we were discussing how both of us didn't like the war and we drank until sunrise. We sobered up and you went home!"
"I uh...I took your memories from you. Y-You'll find out why." Crowley waved his hand and continued the memory.
When Aziraphale reached his hand out to Crowley he quickly noticed that his hand was apparently glowing at some point. A bright and POWERFUL white glow had dissipated from his fist, and instant regret as well as pure terror crossed his features. "Oh! Oh, no, no, no, no, NO! I...did I..." He picked Crowley up in his arms, blood and all, and quickly rushed up the stairs as if Crowley weighed next to nothing. He miracled a door to open and set Crowley down on HIS bed that he never personally used except for when he would read. Once he got Crowley on his back, he snapped his fingers and Crowley's shirt, jacket, and tie were off, and the blood started pouring even faster, but what caused Aziraphale to fall to his knees, sobbing, was when he saw the completely dissolved skin with horrible burn wounds. "I...I smited...Cr...NO! I...I couldn't have!" He wailed and quickly scrambled to Crowley's side. He quickly hovered his hand over Crowley's body carefully, a light green light that they both knew from the times Aziraphale has healed him before, and he went up from the top of Crowley's head down to his feet, and not even so much as a flicker of reaction came from the glowing on Aziraphale's hands which would've indicated that Crowley was alive.
With a shaking hand he sunk to the floor again. "I...I killed him. Completely. I...I smited Crowley. He...He's never coming back. I...Oh, Dear God...what have I done!?" He sobbed into the mattress as his hands clutched the blanket that Crowley laid on top of. "Th-The last thing I said to him was...was daring him to make me fall! I...I was trying to tell him he wasn't horrible...but what he was ABOUT to say in the car...it hurt! I...I couldn't let him finish the sentence. All I wanted to do was convince him he was a good person! I don't know how...but he is! I don't know WHY, but he...no...not is...WAS! And I...I killed him...permanently! I...that was Heavenly WRATH! God...just make me Fall already. I've killed the only person who sees me as MORE than a worthless incompetent angel! I...I smited him! Oh...just...I'm no angel!" At his last cry, a brilliant and calming white light entered his vision, and it was resting on Crowley. "Lord! What more do you want!? He's dead! I-I killed him!"
"Aziraphale. You should know by now that I can bring anything back to life. I created life. I can give it back."
"Y-You...you wont' fell me?"
"No. I won't. Though it was an unfortunate thing to happen, you still realized the error of your ways and were quite willing to go to Hell for what you did. I will not Fell you." The light turned from pure white to a mixture of emerald green and ruby red. "Raphael...wake up and be healed."
"R-R-RAPHAEL!? M-My...the Archangel that I originally took orders from!? H-He's HIM!?"
"Yes, he is. Now, I will bid you both farewell, what he does with your knowing...is up to him."
The light was gone and Aziraphale immediately looked to Crowley who was completely healed and groaning in slight pain. "Well..." He laughed out, causing Aziraphale's eyes to wide as he quickly stood to his feet to give him enough room to let him get off the bed. Once Crowley was standing he looked directly at Aziraphale, who seemed to shrink in his gaze. "...remind me to never piss you off again." He snapped his fingers and was redressed in what he had been wearing, minus the sunglasses, but he always had another pair in the car. When Aziraphale didn't say anything a worried look crossed over Crowley's face. "Angel? What's wrong?"
"Y-Y-You're...God s-said y-your name was...IS..."
"Ah...seems she's let the cat out of the bag." He looked down to the floor, let out a heavy sigh, and nodded his head. "Yes, I'm Raphael. No, I did not fall, and no...I am not a demon. I only have the aura and very apparently have the weaknesses of one. I'm basically...spying on Hell for her. She's all knowing, but minor things can change everything."
"Y-Y-You're R-R-Raphael! Y-You're still a...a...a...W-Wait...I...I smited you...you remembered I did that...HOW COULD YOU STILL LOOK AT ME!?"
"Aziraphale..." Raphael stepped forward. "...I need you to calm down."
"C-Calm down!? I...I took orders from you and God in Heaven before everyone else fell! W-We were to be Guardian Angels and Healers and...YOU posted me at the Eastern Gate! I...oh...h-how can you stand to look at me!? Oh...all of these millennia make sense now! And I...I've said such horrible things to you, and I..."
"Aziraphale...I'm fine now. Look...no bleeding. No blood. God healed me and now I get to continue being her little spy. None of the other angels except you know."
"I-I...but why me!?" He asked as he wrung his hands together, trying to ignore the tears that continued to waterfall down his cheeks.
"That's...an Ineffable question, and you should really not ask her why." Crowley glanced at his watch and let out a forlorn groan. "She's going to discorporate me!"
Crowley grinned and nodded his head. "Yes, my wife. Got God's approval and everything. I was supposed to be home by now to help her put the kids to bed, but..."
"K-K-KIDS!? Ch-Children!? Y-You have CHILDREN!? B-But that would make them...!"
"They aren't Nephilim!" He shot out before Aziraphale could continue. "I married her after they were born. They're not biologically mine, but they are my boys just the same. Two twin boys and they, along with my wife, know all that I am, and know not to speak about it to anyone."
"You...you're really Raphael, and you...you have a family...and you...I...after all this time and...y-you saved my books...I...oh...I'm such a fool! I...p-please f-forgive me! I..."
Tears started to stream down Raphael's face as he witnessed the state Aziraphale was thrown into. "Oh...Angel..." He sighed out with pure heartache lacing his tone. He waved his hand, and made it so Aziraphale couldn't move.
"R-Raphael? Wh-What have I done w-wrong? I mean...never mind...I know..."
"No...Aziraphale...I believe it's me who has done wrong. I should have never started to say, ' I bet YOU want to pour Holy Water on me.' If I hadn't have said that...and if I hadn't allowed all of my stress and anger to rise to the surface...none of this would've happened. I don't think I could forgive myself for letting this happen to you. F-For letting you be afraid of me, asking ME for forgiveness and having to analyze millennia worth of friendship and trust. I...I can't let you remember any of this, Aziraphale."
"W-Wait! I...I want to remember! Please!"
"I..." Raphael choked out a sob as his bottom lip trembled with guilt. "...I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry. I can't let you do that. Don't worry...you'll have new...better memories. I'm going to heal your mind from the heartache and pain I've caused." Raphael placed his hands on either side of Aziraphale's head and they both watched as the memories shifted in much the same way the stars did when he hung them. They gently glided, moved past one another, and eventually settled. Raphael let go of his hands, and kept Aziraphale in a daze, and rather than snapping his fingers he clapped his hands together and all of the mess was gone from the bed, they were teleported downstairs into the back room of the book shop where that mess was also cleaned up, and there was a half empty bottle of wine accompanied by two glasses. He gently grabbed Aziraphale and placed him in his usual chair next to the now lit fireplace, and he moved himself to his normal spot on the couch, snapping his fingers, creating a new pair of sunglasses to appear on his face and resuming time for Aziraphale.
Aziraphale shook his head and held a hand to it as he looked down at his wine glass. "Oh...I'm sorry, Crowley...I do believe I've lost my train of thought. What were we talking about?"
"Beats me." Crowley smirked above the pain in his chest. "How about we start a new train of thought? How have you been lately, Angel?"
As the memory started to shift, Crowley paused it. "Do you see why I took your memory of it away?"
"I see why you think you had to." He nodded. "Yes. However, it seems me knowing is Ineffable and inevitable, because despite your grand and undoubtedly wise as well as kind efforts...I still now know who you are. Although..." He tilted his head slightly as he looked out to the golden and green glittering wall that appeared anytime the memory shifted. "...I was consolable apparently. I apologize, Crowley."
"You've nothing to apologize for."
"Oh, but Crowley..." He trailed off with a guilt ridden voice and apologetic eyes as he looked at Crowley. "...I do. More than you comprehend apparently. Crowley...you may have been Raphael without my knowing or realizing it, but before I found that out...I've known you for six thousand years. I never realized you had anything else other than being a demon, helping me, and us just spending time together. I didn't know..."
"...that I had a life?" He snorted with an amused and fond expression. "Tell me, Aziraphale, do you know why that is?"
"Yes, I unfortunately do. It would've exposed a weakness in you and Hell would've come after you and I would basically be betraying you if Heaven or Hell found out."
"No...because I didn't want you to get hurt. If you found out I had a life...you would undoubtedly want to become a part of that, come and see my kids, ask me questions, meet my wife, and that would involve spending more time together, and then we really would get caught. If you wanted to be a part of that life...I don't think I would've been able to say no."
"Because I'm your..." Aziraphale's eyes shot wide open as he remembered what Crowley said to him in a drunken state while he was discorporated. "...Best...Friend. You...I was the Best Friend you lost?"
"I've only ever had one Best Friend since the Fall. I thought you knew when I said it at the bar...or at the very least figured it out with all the times I've mentioned it in my memories."
"I...well...I guess I've been quite the fool, haven't I?"
Crowley scoffed out a laugh through his nose as he lightly nodded his head. "That's alright though. So...let's get through the rest. There shouldn't be that much more. It seems to skip a few years here and there."
"You're right." He nodded with a small smile, feeling a little more at ease at his words.
"Oh, and Aziraphale?"
"I forgive you...even though you don't have anything to be sorry for. I forgive you."
"Thank you, Crowley." His smile grew and now more than ever he wanted to see more of the memories.
When they memory settled, Crowley was wearing clothes that suited the early 70's, but he was also standing in a graveyard where there was one large headstone with angel wings etched on the sides and there were smaller ones matching that one on either side. It had Crowley's wife's name and his sons' names on it.
"Crowley, what happened?"
"Well...she died of old age about five or six years after she made fun of my hair style, and Seamus and Remus...well...they never had families of their own, but they had each other's back and they were inseparable through everything. Reminded me a lot of you and me...but anyway...they both got caught in the crossfires of a robbery gone VERY wrong. I couldn't get to them in time, and I knew better than to ask God to bring them back...no matter how much I wanted to. Hmm...let's see if I can't..." He waved his hand, focusing on just leaving the memory as if turning a page in a book, and was pleased when it shifted and began to play the next available memory. "Ah, much better."
The memory settled on Aziraphale and Crowley completely drunk in the back of the bookshop, and they both knew what memory this was. The Antichrist. "...Although, I have heard rumors that your boss REALLY loves The Sound of Music!" He teased while thinking, 'Because She's told me enough times.' He then decided to quickly continue as Aziraphale drunkenly groaned his disgust of the mere mention of it. "You fancy spending eternity watching that? You literally climb every mountain over and over and over and over and over and over and over."
"I don't like it anymore than you do, but I can't diso- not do what I'm told."
'Well, you've been doing that since the Garden! You gave away a flaming sword that GOD gave you, you talked to me, befriended me, and I'm pretty sure those are things you're NOT supposed to do!'
"I'm an angel! I..." Aziraphale continued over Crowley's thoughts. "...Oh, God, I...I can't cope with this while I'm drunk. I'm going to sober up."
"Yeah..." Crowley groaned out. "...met too." Once they both sobered up, they tried desperately to rid the taste out of their mouths. "Right...so what are we going to do?"
"Crowley, I told you the answer is no." Aziraphale sighed out as Crowley moved towards the couch. "Even if I wanted to help I couldn't. I can't interfere with the Divine Plan."
"Well...what about...Diabolical Plans? You can't be certain that thwarting me isn't part of the Diving Plan, too. I mean...you're supposed to thwart the wiles of the Evil One at every turn, aren't you?"
"You see a wile...ya thwart! Am I right?"
"I...Broadly. Actually, I encourage humans to do the actual..."
"But the Antichrist HAS been born, but it's the UPBRINGING that's important, the influences."
Aziraphale chuckled lightly at that as the memory continued. "Huh...you having children and a family certainly explains how you knew that so well."
"The EVIL influences, that's all going to be me. It'd be too bad if someone made sure that I failed."
It took about three seconds for the look of realization to cross over Aziraphale's features and a light akin to hope briefly shined in his eyes. "If you put it that way...Heaven couldn't ACTUALLY object if I was thwarting you."
"No. Be a real feather in your wing." When Aziraphale leaned over to extend his hand out in agreement towards him, Crowley couldn't help the broad smile that crossed graced his features. "We'd be God Fathers...sort of. Overseeing his upbringing. We do it right, he won't be Evil, or Good! He'll just be...Normal."
"I-It might work! Godfathers...well, I'll be damned."
'Not likely but that's amusing!' Crowley grinned at him with a knowing look in his eyes as he replied, "It's not so bad when you get used to it." The instant change in expression caused Crowley to burst out laughing. "Calm down, Angel! I was only kidding...sort of."
The memory shifted to Crowley sitting on his throne with his current hairstyle and feet propped up on the desk in front of him, his glasses no where to be seen. "Easy job. Deliver the Antichrist. Keep an eye on him. Nice, straightforward job, eh? Not the kind of thing ANY demon is going to SCREW up, right!?" He growled out the last word as he lifted himself off of his throne. 'But apparently an Archangel CAN! Time to go take my anger out on my plants!' Crowley picked up a plant mister and started spraying his plants with an irritated scowl when he noticed one of the plants had a spot. "Is that a spot? IS IT!?" He looked around at his plants that had started trembling in fear. "Right, you KNOW what I've told you all about leaf SPOTS! I will not STAND FOR THEM!" Crowley moved to pick up the small plant pot and in a calmer tone, spoke to the plant in question. "You know what you've done. You've disappointed me. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Everyone! Say goodbye to your friend! He just couldn't cut it. Now this is going to hurt you SO much more...than it is going to hurt me. And you guys GROW BETTER!" He walked down the hallway and into another room that opened to reveal a luxurious garden with trees, flowers, and bushes of all types, causing Aziraphale's jaw to completely drop.
Once inside, the plant in his hand stopped trembling, but its leaves waved in a subtle and confused manner. "Alright...sound effects!" He snapped his fingers and made a horrible disposal sound to where the other plants could hear it, and then he snapped his fingers again, making the plant appear in the ground and out of the pot. He put the plant in between some lavender and mint. "Enjoy your new home. Everyone in here is a bit imperfect, but they all grow just fine." He then walked out of the room with the empty pot, closed the door, and then showed his terrified plants the empty pot, causing them to shake even more.
The memory shifted, but it also caused them to change positions. Now, they were sitting in the back seat of Crowley's car as it sped down the road, weaving in and out of traffic, breaking more than a few laws of the road. "You've lost the boy..."
'Oh no you don't.' Crowley quickly thought. "WE'VE lost him!"
"A child has been lost, BUT you still know his age-"
"-his birthday, he's eleven!"
"You make it sound easy!"
"Well, it can't be that hard. I just hope nothing's happened to him."
'WHAT' He briefly thought. "Happened? Nothing's happened to HIM! He HAPPENS to everything!"
Trying his best to ignore the speed and the way Crowley was driving, Aziraphale quickly tried to get back on track. "So! We only have to find his birth records. Go through the hospital files."
'Why does this sound like a half-baked plan?' He wondered before asking, "And then what?"
"And then we find the child."
'Oh...because it IS! Aziraphale! Really!?' He glanced over at the angel with a slightly dropped jaw. "AND THEN WHAT!?"
The memory blinked and they were getting out of the car, walking towards the hospital. "Um...are you SURE this is the right place? This...this doesn't look like a hospital, and..." As he felt a shudder go down his spine and rest comfortably and warmly in his core, Aziraphale stopped abruptly and placed a hand on Crowley's arm while placing his other hand over himself just below his chest. "...It...feels loved."
"No, this is definitely the place." Crowley replied as he looked at the building, covered in much more objects than it was when he had last seen it. 'Hang on...he can sense the love here too? He's not LIMITED to JUST sensing love in people!?' He tilted his head towards Aziraphale in slight contemplation. "What do you mean loved?"
"I mean the opposite of when you say, 'I don't like this place. It's spooky.'"
'Well...that answers that question. Made him unique, didn't you God?' Without voicing his thought he simply shook his head. "I don't EVER say that. I like spooky! Big spooky fan, me. Let's go talk to some nuns." As they walked forward they were both hit with paint balls. "AH! OH!"
Aziraphale reached behind him and noticed his hand was a covered with a sky blue liquid. "Blue?"
"Hey! You've both just been hit!" He let out a scoff, earning a scowl from Crowley.
'Oh...he's annoying.' Crowley thought calmly.
"I don't know what you think you're playing at right-" Before he could finish, Crowley manifested his large monstrous snake head and made a sound that was a combination of a roar and a hiss before quickly returning his face to normal.
With pure amusement dancing upon his face, he watched as the man fainted right in front of them. "Well, that was FUN!"
"Well, yes, fun for YOU! Look at the state of this coat! I've kept it in tip-top condition for over a hundred and eighty years now! I'll never get this stain out!"
Crowley circled around him to see the damage. 'Eh...not that bad. Use a miracle.' Once he was face to face with Aziraphale he told him as such. "Well, you can always miracle it away."
"Hmm, yes, but I would always know the stain was there...underneath...I mean." He nudged his shoulders towards Crowley.
'Really? A bit childish, but alright. What are friends for.' Crowley leaned back slightly, held a hand up and let out a heavy yet smooth breath, lifting and vanishing the paint off of both of them.
'Don't mention it.' Crowley thought with a hint of sarcasm as he slightly tilted his head in acknowledgement.
He watched Aziraphale move towards the gun and pick it up with a curious expression on his face. "I've looked at this gun..."
'Oh have you now?'
"It's not a proper one at all."
With a half nod and amusement tightly wound around his throat he kept his words in his head as he thought, 'Oh, nothing gets past you! Does it, Angel?'
"It just shoots...paint balls."
"Hmm..." Crowley took the gun from him and pointed it at him. "Don't your lot disapprove of guns?"
"Unless...they're in the right hands."
'The right hands!? Really?'
"Then they give weight to moral argument...I think."
'You...you can't honestly believe that!' He let out an amused laugh that he couldn't hold in any longer. "A moral argument? Really?" He questioned as he gave him an honest and amused open grin. He tossed the gun and continued to walk. "Come on."
The memory shifted in almost a heartbroken way, catching Aziraphale by surprise, but he didn't say anything. Then, when the memory settled on the bandstand, he immediately clutched a hand to his heart in guilt. "Oh no..."
"Well? Any news?"
" What...what kind of news would that be?"
"Well, have you found the missing Antichrist's name, address, and shoe size yet?"
"His shoe size? Why would I have his shoe size."
''He only deflects a question if...he's a bout to lie to me or if he's TRYING to lie to me.' Crowley's jaw dropped slight, but he made a determined decision to not let it get to him, so he shook his head as he allowed his voice to take an attitude. "It's a joke. I've got nothing either."
"It's the Great plan, Crowley."
Yeah, for the record...GREAT PUSTULENT MANGLED BULLOCKS TO THE GREAT BLASTED PLAN!" He growled out, but immediately thought after, 'I'm sorry...that may have been a bit far, but come on...EVERYTHING will be gone and then...What will I do without Aziraphale!?'
"May you be forgiven..." Aziraphale requested with a quieter voice.
"I won't be forgiven. Not ever! Part of a demon's job description! Unforgivable! That's what I am!" He spat out the last sentence like venom as he thought, 'I'll NEVER be able to forgive myself for that night in 1941, Angel. That...is unforgivable. Better to just feel as unforgivable as the other demons.'
"You were an angel once."
'OH! SUCH a clever angel! But...not once...IS! Am! Are! I AM still an angel...but...you don't know that' He shook his head as he felt his heart pound against his chest due to the conversation. "That was a long time ago." As he took small glances at Aziraphale he let out a quiet sigh through his nose before continuing. "We find the boy. My agents can do it."
"And then WHAT!? We eliminate him?"
"Someone DOES. I'm not personally up for killing kids."
"Well you're the Demon, I'm the nice one! I don't have to kill children!"
'HELLO!? THE ARK! That was done by GOD! What about that says NICE!? You're an angel! You are fierce! You are strong! And trust me, I've seen you when you've hit your limit! I've been on the receiving end! I deserved it, but still...!' He held up a hand as the thought raced faster than a train through his mind. "Uh-uh-uh..." But was quickly interrupted by the angel in front of him.
"If YOU kill him then the world gets a reprieve and...Heaven doesn't have blood on its hands."
"Oh no! Blood on your hands! That's a bit holier-than-thou, isn't it!?"
"Well I am a GREAT DEAL holier than thou! That's the whole point!"
"You should kill the boy yourself. Holi-ly."
"I am NOT..." He looked around to see if anyone was looking. "...killing anybody."
'You did once...I know you can...but I can't hold it against you with how upset you were over it.' He let out a breath through his nose before saying, "This is ridiculous, YOU are ridiculous. I don't even know why I'm still talking to you."
"Well, frankly neither do I."
"Enough, I'm leaving."
"You can't leave, Crowley." At the brokenness in his voice he turned around to face him again. "There isn't anywhere to go."
"It's a big universe! Even if this all ends up in a puddle of burning goo, we can go off together!"
"Go off together? W-Listen to yourself..."
"How long have we been friends? Six THOUSAND years!"
"Friends? We're not friends!"
'W-We...you really never thought we were...No! I refuse to believe that!'
"We are an ANGEL an a DEMON! We have NOTHING whatsoever in common. I don't even like you!"
"Even if I did know where the Antichrist is, I wouldn't tell you! We're on opposite SIDES!"
"We're on OUR side!"
"There is no 'OUR side,' Crowley! Not ANYMORE! It's over!"
'What? N-No...' Unable to form coherent words, he walked away saying, "Right...Well then...eh..."
As Aziraphale watched memory Crowley walk away his eyes grew remorseful as he looked up at the current Crowley. "Oh, Crowley...I'm so sorry."
"It's in the past, Angel. You made up for it when you stood by my side at the end of the world. Well, the end of the world that didn't happen."
When the memory shifted and settled, it showed Crowley walking in his flat. "Where should I go?" He gently spun the globe on his desk in fake contemplation. "England's out." He removed the globe itself off of it's stand to look at it closer. "America's out." He breathed out as he hovered it between his hands, making it spin slowly. "Atlantis! Didn't exist yesterday. It exists today. Still out." He waved his hand, sending the globe to float by itself in the middle of the air as he moved to a book shelf.
He grabbed a book called, 'The Extremely Big Book of Astronomy' and slammed it onto the desk, opening it up with hurt determination. "The Moon! No atmosphere. No nightlife." He let out a frustrated sigh as he focused the same power he used to move the stars, forcing the pages out of the book without so much as a tear, causing them to float around him in mid-air. "Alpha Centauri! That's always nice this time of year." He remarked sarcastically, but then noticed a familiar looking Nebula. "BEAUTIFUL Nebula! I helped build that one." Not wanting to look at anything else, he leaned on his throne, clutching it desperately as he looked up to the ceiling. "I only ever asked questions!" He cried out. 'But so did Lucifer and he...' He squashed the thought due to the heartache, 'Why me!?' However, he squashed that thought too and instead said, "That's all it took to be a demon in the old days! Great Plan? God you listening? Show me a Great Plan!" When he didn't hear anything he inwardly sighed in exasperation. "Okay, I know, you're testing them. You said you were going to be testing them...but you shouldn't test them to destruction!" He looked at the floating globe and fury bubbled in his chest. "Not to the end of the world!"
"Has she spoken to you since that woman you married?"
"No, she hasn't. Most of the things I would ask or say...I already knew the answer, so there wasn't a need for her to answer me, and since it was the Apocalypse...I knew I wasn't to know anything or how anything would play out."
"I see...that makes sense."
The memory shifted differently this time around. Instead of golden shimmers, it shifted with flames and heat, and to Aziraphale's immense horror, it revealed his burning bookshop, but he had to wonder how this had anything to do with Crowley. However, he didn't have to wonder that for much longer as Crowley ran through the bookshop, into the fire, searching for him. "Aziraphale!" When there wasn't an answer, Crowley's cries grew more desperate. "Aziraphale! Where the Heaven are you, you idiot!? I can't find you!" He looked around some more before shouting to the ceiling, "Aziraphale! For God's...for Satan's..." As he was trying to figure out whose sake he was supposed to say, he thought, 'I'm an Archangel AND a demon! Who do I cry out for!?' As the thought came and left he settled for, "AH for SOMEBODY'S SAKE WHERE ARE YOU!?" As he was screaming at the top of his lungs, a fire hose started, knocking him on his backside, and he started crying. "You've gone!" He whimpered out with pure heartache and loss lacing his tone. "Somebody's killed my best friend! You BASTARDS! All of you!"
Without warning, they were thrown out of the memories and into Aziraphale's room. "Okay...and now I'm in your room apparently. Leave it up to Her to teleport me into your flat above your shop." Crowley made to stand in front of the window he was thrown against while Aziraphale was thrown towards his bedroom door. "You alright, Angel?" He asked once he was steady.
"I think so. That rather hurt." He replied as he rubbed the back of his head.
"Here, let me take a look at it." Crowley calmly breathed out as he walked towards Aziraphale, who relented and turned around to allow him to inspect his wound. "You're not bleeding so that's good. Do you have a headache?"
"A small one." He admitted.
"Right, hold still then..." Crowley placed his hand over the back of Aziraphale's head, causing his hands to glow a calming and brilliant green. After about a minute, he was satisfied with his work, and tapped his friend on the shoulder to tell him to turn around.
When Aziraphale did turn around, he wasn't sure what he was supposed to say, but his mouth apparently knew. "So...you're Raphael?"
"That I am." He breathed out calmly. "And...now that NEITHER of us have a side...I have NO IDEA what I'm supposed to do, but well...I guess I can do what I've always been doing."
"Being your Guardian Angel." He told him matter-of-factly with a toothy smile, but then they both heard a sound neither of them should've heard. The jingling of Aziraphale's shop door. They both immediately ran downstairs and noticed Gabriel standing at the door. "Oh no you don't!" Crowley growled as he stood in front of Aziraphale. "What do you want, Gabriel!?"
"I don't have to answer to scum like you."
"Well, quite frankly, Gabriel, I'm wondering the same thing." Aziraphale spat out, surprising both Gabriel and Crowley. "You can't very well throw me into Hellfire a second time and expect a different result. What do you want?"
"I don't have to answer to you either, Sunshine."
"So...what? You're here for a visit then?" Crowley questioned as he stayed in front of Aziraphale. "Sorry to say, but Aziraphale isn't taking visitors right no. Especially from YOU! So, if you've got something to say, get on with it."
"I'm not here to fight either of you."
"Awe..." Crowley drawled out sarcastically. "...such a pity. What. Do. You. Want!?"
Clearly pissed off, but also clearly trying to keep his composure, Gabriel relaxed his shoulders and let out a frustrated sigh. "I'm here for three things."
"That's three too many, but go on." Crowley grumbled at a level he knew Gabriel could hear him.
"Firstly, Michael's gone missing. Secondly, I suspect it was demons you're actually associated with, Crowley. Thirdly, I need you to get her back. Hell cannot have another fallen Archangel. It already has one, and that's Satan."
Crowley briefly looked up to the ceiling and he couldn't help it, he bellowed out a laugh that had his sides aching. "Oh! This is too much! Oh! Her humor truly knows no bounds! WHOO! God certainly has a sense of humor! You..." He started as he became calmer, pointing a finger at Gabriel. "...tried to kill Aziraphale using HELLFIRE, and sent MICHAEL to give me a bath in HOLY WATER, and now, YOU are requesting ME to go and save MICHAEL! Oh! Irony on a silver fucking platter! Why should I?"
"E-Excuse me?" He tilted his head in genuine confusion. "And how DARE you talk about God like that!?"
"I've been talking about her like that for years. She doesn't seem to mind as I'm still standing, and I wasn't aware you were partially deaf, Gabriel, so I'll say it slower so you can understand me. Why. Should. I. Help. You. Or. Her?"
"Did God command it?"
"No." He huffed out furiously.
"Is it part of the Divine Plan?" He said the last two words with heavy sarcasm as he moved his hands to make an invisible rainbow.
"No." He grumbled.
"Is it part of the Great Plan?"
"Then why come to us? Surely you can send others to go get her."
"No one will go!" He shouted, his voice a mixture of pain and desperation. "They don't want to risk falling, being tempted, being burned, or being taken to be tortured!" His shoulders sagged further and a sorrowful look crossed his features as his voice became much smaller when he repeated, "No one will go."
"Gabriel..." Aziraphale started. "...something tells me this is more than about losing an Archangel to demons."
Gabriel's violet eyes shot up towards Aziraphale and they were filled with so much resignation, defeat, and sorrow, that both Crowley and Aziraphale's eyes widened incredibly. "It was just us in the beginning. Raphael was the oldest, then it was Lucifer, then me, then Michael, and finally Uriel. Everyone knows how we lost Lucifer, but...when we couldn't find Raphael after Lucifer had found him during the battle...we knew he died by Lucifer's hand. I lost two brothers that day. Brothers that I can never get back, and now...Lucifer's followers...his demons...have my sister. I can't...Oh, Heaven help me...I'm SO WEAK right now! I shouldn't be this weak about it! But..."
"You care about her, that's all." Aziraphale breathed out. "You've lost so much. It's understandable that you don't want to lose more."
"He's right." Crowley sighed out. "So, do you know who took her? A specific demon?"
"The one that delivered the Hellfire. He came into Heaven and he was with another demon. Erm...Hastur is what I think he called him."
"Hastur, huh?" Crowley grinned wickedly as gave Aziraphale a side glance that he returned with a knowing smile. "Oh, I'm going to enjoy this. Do you have any idea where they've taken her in Hell?"
"They said to the cell they would torture you in. Something about poeticness...or whatever. Look, just...will you go?"
"Will YOU?" Crowley questioned with a risen brow.
"Pardon?" Gabriel blinked at them in astonishment.
"Oh, well, I don't think you'll need one of those, but...if you come with us to rescue Michael, I'll CONSIDER it."
"What would I need an actual pardon for!?" He gaped in shock and bafflement.
"Your treatment of Aziraphale for a start." He stated calmly. "So, will you go and help us rescue your sister?"
Gabriel's violet gaze darted directly towards Aziraphale. "You keep saying 'US' as if Aziraphale is already going to go with you."
"Well..." Aziraphale started with a hint of confidence that Crowley remembered hearing when they were questioning the ex-nun at the 'hospital'. "...why wouldn't I? He's my Best Friend."
"A-Aziraphale!" Crowley scolded as he blinked at him rapidly in shock.
"What?" He shrugged. "It's not like they can do anything to us anymore. I stood in Hellfire and they gave you a bath."
Crowley nodded his head as his shock quickly turned into joyful amusement. "You're right." He then turned to Gabriel who was staring at them both with a dropped jaw.
"H-He's fallen, isn't he?"
"No, he isn't." Crowley sighed out. "Focus, Gabriel, what's the task at hand?"
His second sentence caused Gabriel's eyes to widen, but he quickly shook his head. "Erm...Michael. Rescuing Michael."
"Right...and this is likely a trap for me." Crowley nodded his head. "They would take her from Heaven, causing alarm...at least in you...and then they would take her to a place I know all too well, and they would have me bring another Archangel into Hell...hmm. There's not really a plan for this, Gabriel. Are you sure you're ready for something that doesn't have a Plan?"
Gabriel let out an exhausted sigh as he nodded his head. "I don't have a choice."
"That's not true, Gabriel." Aziraphale commented. "You could choose to stay here. You could've chosen to leave her to her fate. You could've chosen to decide that her being taken by the demons were a part of God's Ineffable plan. You could've chosen to go by yourself. You could've chosen a great many things, but you chose to come to what you would refer to us as a traitor of Heaven and a traitor of Hell. In the long time I've known you, you were always a bit prideful, stubborn, strict, but when it came down to it, you DID care about others. Tell me something...how did you find out I had erm...betrayed Heaven?"
"Michael showed me pictures of you and Crowley together in different periods of time."
"What was your first reaction?"
"I...I told her that...I said, 'I'm sure there's an innocent explanation.' She asked me if she could use back channels...but we don't have..."
"WAIT!" Crowley shouted. "Back Channels?"
"Gabriel...I think this is more than just a trap for me. I think they may be personally wanting to get back at her. I wondered how they found out the trouble was me! The back channels...she must've been talking to Ligur and Hastur! When we needed to communicate, we would use something we called Back Channels. They would use it to communicate with me through phone or through radio or even my TV! Gabriel, she's in some serious trouble if they're trying to take their anger towards me...out on her, and they won't use Hellfire. No. They'll want to play with her! We have to go!"
"Wait, I know why I care, and why Aziraphale might care, but why do YOU care!?" Gabriel's eyes narrowed at Crowley with a look of confusion and a glint of suspicion, but not even Gabriel knew why it was there.
"Crowley..." Aziraphale began as he placed a reassuring hand on Crowley's arm. "...we're not going to get anywhere if he doesn't know. You know that."
"Yeah, but..." He glanced back and forth from Gabriel and Aziraphale with a slightly worried expression. "...you know what I was told."
"Yes, and perhaps this is what She wanted eventually. Maybe She planned for him to be allowed to know."
"Allow me to know what!?" Gabriel snapped, wondering what in the world they were hinting at and why it sounded like they were talking about God planning something.
"Well..." Crowley sighed out and looked up to the ceiling. "...A little help would be nice! A little insight! You gave Aziraphale the book on my life! The least you can do is lend ME a hand here."
A pure beam of light shined on Crowley, causing Gabriel to gasp and nearly faint, but he settled on propping himself up on a bookshelf. "Now, there's really no need for that."
"Was the book a part of this plan?"
"Yes, in a way. It was also because I wanted him to know. The two of you have known each other for so long and I've allowed it, because of past and future events. The three of you will need to be on your guard." The light spread across the room while still remaining on Crowley, it now shined on Gabriel as well. "Michael has gone behind your back, Gabriel. She has gone behind everyone's back by communicating with demons and not telling you about it, but would help you condemn Aziraphale for the same thing." The light shrunk back to Crowley, who, to Gabriel's surprise, didn't seem to mind at all to be basked in holy light.
"Thanks for the warning." Crowley laughed out. "So...about Gabriel knowing..."
"I'll remove the mask I have created for you, but I will only remove it for Gabriel to see for now. The mask was removed from you for Aziraphale as he read the book with you."
"What mask?" Gabriel asked with a furrowed brow.
"Just wait, Gabriel." Crowley grinned, and he let his wings out so they could also bask in the holy light. "Alright, I'm ready."
As the light continued to shine on Crowley, the mask that Gabriel had seen, which was usually a pair of sun glasses and black wings that weren't visible to humans or demons, but completely visible to angels started ebbing away. They were minor changes, and one that no one would look twice at after mourning the loss of another with as much heartache as he and his siblings did. As the mask slips away he thinks he should've realized it when he saw Crowley's eyes at the very least, because those hadn't changed at all, but he also knows that it was due to the heartache he suffered from losing two brothers in the same war, and the fact he thought Lucifer killed him. When the wings started changing, his eyes widened in both hope and shock as a tear fell from his violet eyes. They went from being black to their original beautiful green and white swirling mixture.
The light went away and Crowley lifted his wing in front of him to inspect it. "Huh...I can see the correct color of my wings again." He sunk his wings back into his back and looked at Gabriel who had, at some point, fallen to the floor just on the edge of fainting. "Gabriel?"
'It's even the same voice!?' The only thing that changed were his wings and the next time he saw any sign of Crowley, his eyes were covered in pictures Michael had shown him. Then he saw them again at the airbase, but wasn't paying attention, because he was too pissed off about Armageddon. "I..." He choked out as he scrambled to his feet. "Is...Is it really you?"
"Really!?" Crowley dropped his jaw in disbelief. "All that display and that's the question you ask me? 'Is it really-' YES it's me!"
"F-For how long!? H-How long have you been...well...I don't know how to phrase the question."
"Well, first off, I never fell...well...not like the others. Secondly, God changed my aura as well as my wings. There weren't a whole lot of other angels on Earth looking for me that would recognize my eyes right away, but I eventually decided, better safe than sorry, and I got myself sunglasses and God made it so that I could see as clearly through them as if I wasn't wearing them, she also made it to where my wings would appear black in case I DID run into other angels and I did. Thirdly, I've ALWAYS been myself, just with a mask that no one would be able to see through unless they were REALLY looking. However, no one HAD a reason to look after thinking I was dead, so there was that. The wings were just to make sure."
"S-So...you didn't change? You're still you?"
"Yes, but Consecrated ground felt like being at a beach with bare feet."
"Oh!" Aziraphale piped up. "But since you have your wings back, maybe it's not that way anymore."
"HA! I wish. No...I don't think she removed that. I can still feel that part of me clinging to me like a second skin. I don't mind. I'll still run into a church to save you."
"So...you're not a demon, but..."
"I have the weaknesses of one. All except Holy Water." Crowley answered, quickly adding the last part in, not wanting him to know about the switch yet.
"Right...and...the others won't be able to sense your an Archangel?" Gabriel questioned as he continued to stare at Crowley.
"Well, they haven't in the last six thousand years. God only removed the mask for YOU to see. To everyone else...I'll be as they've always thought of me. Now, that brings an even more important question. Will you be able to treat me with the same disdain and disgust that you treated me with before you found out who I am?"
"Crowley, are you sure?" Aziraphale questioned with a worried expression.
"Oh, yes! He's the best Trickster out of all of us. So, Gabriel...?"
"What!?" He snapped in disgust.
"Well!" Crowley laughed. "That answers that. Let's go trick some demons and possibly an Archangel."
"Right behind you...Crowley. It is YOUR cell she's trapped in...wait...what were you tortured for?"
"Well, you know how you would send strongly worded notes to Aziraphale?" He asked and Gabriel nodded. "Well, demons don't send rude notes. I was caught being...nice. If I got into fights with the other demons, if I interrupted a demons demonic deed by trying to pull it off as my own, if I was seen socializing too much, if I didn't preform ENOUGH 'miracles'...I'm pretty sure they looked for reasons."
"WHY!?" Aziraphale and Gabriel questioned together.
"Because, I'm the only one that 'Fell' and doesn't have a single blemish, scar, or scratch. Everyone else is...disfigured."
"But..." Gabriel started, confused with the information that was just given to him. "Beelzebub...when she surfaced..."
"That was pure power she was using to accomplish that. Trust me. That was her putting on her own mask to blend in. It's a trick all of the demons can do to a point, but once in Hell...the mask melts away and their true selves are revealed minus the torn, burnt, and battered wings. Some of them don't even have wings anymore."
"And you what?" Aziraphale shot furiously. "Just stood there and took the 'punishment?'"
"Had to. It wasn't like I could fight them with the strength I actually had. That would put you at risk!"
"Always about me." Aziraphale sighed out in agitation. "Do you ever think of yourself?"
"You personally saw that I did. Many times."
"Right...sorry." Aziraphale nodded as he attempted to calm his anger.
"Wait...Aziraphale, how long have YOU known he's Raphael?"
"Just tonight." He answered simply. "It was quite the shock, I assure you."
"Yes, well...we should get going, shouldn't we?" Crowley questioned carefully. "If this is a trap, we're in for a fight, and we can't break character, Gabriel."
"Just take us to Hell, Demon."
"That's better." He winked with a toothy smile. "Just remember, my name is Crowley...and we'll be playing this by ear." Gabriel nodded his head in understanding and so did Aziraphale. "Alright, first...we need to get into Heaven. My door to Hell won't work anymore since they cut it off from their end and I cut it from mine."
"I can do that. Can you still go up to Heaven?"
"Yes, I believe I can, but we have to make this believable. So, I'll hold Aziraphale's hand."
"Right." Gabriel nodded as he watched Crowley do exactly that. They ascended to heaven and were thankfully met with empty white space. "Move, Demon! You're going to get her back! It was your people that took her!"
"Fine! But after this, you leave me the Heaven alone!" Crowley moved to where he knew the back door was, because he could feel it. It was filled with hate, dread, and it smelled of brimstone and sulpher. He pressed a finger to the only button, and an ear piercing scream sounded rather than a ding as the elevator opened up. "Come on, Angel." Crowley told Aziraphale, who followed without question, and Gabriel, who followed with a look of determination and fury, focusing on WHY they were going to Hell, and he hoped he wouldn't lose anymore siblings.
Once they made it down to Hell, they were met with a swarm of demons. "Well! If it isn't Crawley!" Hastur spat as he pushed through the crowd.
"It's CROWLEY! There's an 'O'! Not that you'd know what the alphabet is, apparently."
"And he brings an Archangel and a...well..." Hastur gave an amused smirk as he looked at Aziraphale. "...failed angel."
"Hastur! Good to see you! How is it you have a body so fast?" Crowley quickly asked with absolutely no amusement or joy in his voice.
"Oh, it was that Adam boy! When he reversed things, he also accidentally gave me a corporal form. So, now I'm here. The questions is, why are YOU here with two angels? We knew you were a traitor Crawley, but this is a bit much even for you."
"I'm here to get the Archangel Michael out." He answered honestly. "Hell already had one fallen Archangel and he's the Grand King of Hell. He is Lucifer. Satan. If there were two fallen Archangels in Hell, it would be a battle for dominance, and then another war like what happened first in Heaven, would happen down here. If Hell had two fallen Archangels..."
"Heaven and Earth wouldn't stand a chance." Hastur chuckled darkly. "We'd get the war we were promised."
"We weren't promised a blessed thing!" Crowley snapped. "It was written, yes, but because it was written it means it wasn't part of God's Ineffable Plan and even DEMONS have to follow God's Ineffable Plan, and they do whether they realize it or not. You weren't promised to win or lose, you were promised a world that will last six thousand years that was to end in fire and flames. Well, what if that's what happened, and Adam, along with God, just created a new world out of the one that already existed.?Created a new reality and shift things? Because the way I see it...there was plenty of fire and flames, and it was certainly Armageddon-y. Either way, that doesn't mean Hell gets to have two fallen Archangels. I told you why I'm here, and I don't intend to leave here without Michael, Gabriel, Aziraphale, and myself all in tact or at least mostly in tact." The next thing that happened was something only Aziraphale and Gabriel could see, because of God, but some of the other demons could FEEL it, they just didn't know WHY. Crowley's Heavenly Wrath that he was still able to use slowly vibrated across the air and shined in his eyes. The vibration is what the demons felt, but since Crowley was still wearing the mask God gave him, they didn't know why, and they couldn't see the shine in his eyes like Aziraphale and Gabriel could. "YOU. WILL. NOT. STOP. ME!" He growled out and immediately moved forward. Some demons running away for reasons that perplexed them, while others stood firm and started to surround him, Aziraphale and Gabriel.
"Why do you have her anyway?" Aziraphale growled out.
"Like Crawley said. A fallen Archangel." Hastur grinned wickedly. "It would be a welcome sight in Hell."
"Weren't you just listening to anything Crowley said!?" Aziraphale shouted. "It. Would. Not. Be. Pleasant! When did you get her anyway? It's not been that long since our trials!"
"We grabbed her right when Crawley left after his bath. Had to wait for her to collect the Holy Water, but then one of our lesser demons was told to go grab the jug, they did, and it's in a vault. The demon that grabbed the jug from her was followed by me, and we took her from Heaven before she could walk too far from the elevator, and if you think we're just going to let you go get the bitch, you've got another thing coming."
"Then, I guess it's a fight." Aziraphale growled out, surprising Gabriel and Crowley yet again, but neither could show it at the moment.
"And what are you going to do!?" Hastur cackled. "You don't have a weapon! You're no Archangel! You're NOTHING!"
"I. AM. NOT. NOTHING!" He howled as his body started to glow with PURE Heavenly wrath, but it went unnoticed for a moment. "I am Aziraphale! I was once Guardian of the Eastern Gate of Eden and I was one of Raphael's angels! I. AM. NOT. NOTHING!" The light started coming off of his body in pulsing waves, causing Gabriel and Crowley to look at one another in pure shock and astonishment, because they knew what this was, and it was NOT the power of an ordinary angel. This was the power of an extremely pissed off Archangel. "I WILL PROTECT THOSE I STILL CONSIDER MY FRIENDS!" A harsh pulse rushed out through the demons, burning them slightly. "I WILL PROTECT CROWLEY!" Another harsh pulse of light pushed through, searing the demons even further. "I WILL PROTECT HUMANITY!" A more violent pulse of light left Aziraphale as he stepped forward once towards the demons. "AND THAT MEANS YOU DON'T GET TO HAVE ANOTHER FALLEN ARCHANGEL! NOW BEGONE!" At his command a final wave of light with the sound of a sonic boom erupted from him and he incinerated at least sixty demons, leaving at least fifteen screaming in pure agony at a pain they would NEVER be able to have taken away. As his glow and energy started to die down, Crowley quickly moved to catch him, because he had started to fall. "Oh...my head..."
"Damn, Aziraphale. You're just full of surprises."
"O-Oh!" He quickly took himself out of Crowley's arms and looked around. "Wh-Where did all the demons go?"
"You smited them." Gabriel chuckled out with a look of amused disbelief, but it quickly went back into a neutral expression due to necessity at the moment.
"H-How?" Aziraphale blinked in slight horror, but mostly bewilderment.
"That..." Crowley grinned freely. "...is a question best answered later. Come on, Angel." Crowley quickly moved down the damp, moldy, and dark hallways until he found his cell with his name engraved many times over on the door. He opened it, and found Michael chained up, hovering over Hellfire that was just far enough below her feet that it wouldn't touch her.
"Oh..." She groaned out, not looking at them. "...what do you want now? I told you! I'm not going to FALL!"
"We know." Gabriel calmly stated with a delighted smile, causing Michael to turn her face to them, dropping her jaw.
"G-Gabriel!?" He gave a nod and started moving into the cell, but was quickly stopped by Crowley's hand, further confusing Michael, but he noticed something was off. "And why are you letting that filth touch you!? AHHH! It wasn't supposed to happen like this!"
"That's what I thought." Crowley sneered. "What was your plan, Michael?"
"The PLAN..." She spat out. "...was to get you and Aziraphale alone in this room so that I could smite the both of you! You're both traitors. You're neither of Heaven, nor Hell! You're abominations! You CANNOT be allowed to roam the Earth! I will NOT allow it!"
"That's not up to you." Crowley calmly stated as he walked into the cell to look her in the eyes. "That's up to God, and you've seen what she does to those who make their own decisions such as the one you decided. Tell me...have you taken a good look at your wings?"
She let them out, and they were still white, but there was a singular black feather in the middle of her right one. Crowley plucked it, ignoring her cries as he showed in front of her face. "You see this, Michael? This is a sign you are ABOUT to fall. Do you know how I know that? Because I've SEEN angels being brought in here. I've seen what happens to them when they start to express doubts. The first part is always ONE black feather. Then, it takes them three days to either make their decision. It's always been the same. If they are still themselves by the third day they are simply killed by the very Hellfire you're hovering over. If they concede they are made and welcomed as a demon, and in doing so, wiping any Heavenly memories out from their mind. Look at this feather, Michael." Crowley breathed out the last sentence as calmly as he could, but when she looked away, all patience left him. "LOOK AT IT!?" He screamed. When she quickly brought a defiant look at the feather, she scowled at it. "THIS ISN'T MY FEATHER! THIS IS YOURS!" He tossed it into the Hellfire, and watched it incinerate before it even touched the flames. "Now, what's this about back channels? Heaven doesn't have back channels?"
"How do you know about-" She quickly cut herself off as she turned to glare at Gabriel, who openly expressed his pain in his eyes as tears slowly started to fall for reasons only Aziraphale and Crowley knew at the time. She was going to kill her own siblings. "YOU! You're a traitor!"
Crowley let out a growl as he slapped her hard on the face. "DON'T YOU EVER CALL HIM THAT AGAIN! HE'S THE REASON WHY WE'RE HERE! TO RESCUE YOU! HE DIDN'T WANT TO SEE ANOTHER SIBLING DIE! I'M A DEMON AND EVERYONE KNOWS THAT HE NEVER DISGUISED HIS DISLIKE FOR AZIRAPHALE, BUT HE CAME TO US ANYWAY! ALL FOR YOUR UNGRATEFUL ASS!" Crowley was shaking with fury, but in a white knuckle grip, he kept his wrath inside his body. Something he's had far more practice at than Aziraphale who let it all lose onto a hoard of demons.
"You're a demon! Why are you defending him!"
"You're an ANGEL! Why are you trying to kill as if it's YOUR decision!? YOU don't get to decide if we're abominations! YOU don't get to decide if YOU'RE the one to end us! YOU'RE the one that went behind HEAVEN'S back for who knows HOW LONG, communicating with DEMONS! YOU are more of a traitor than Aziraphale EVER was! Who knows what you've could've told the other Demons!? Information on Heaven? Information on Aziraphale? Weakness? Strengths? My, that would've been mighty helpful for the demons during the Apocalypse, huh?"
"Enough!" Gabriel shouted, but it was more towards Michael than anything. As he held Aziraphale up, because he was still a bit dizzy from what he did, he growled low and continued, "Get her down! We'll question her in Heaven. That way we don't risk another hoard of demons."
Crowley snapped his fingers and the Hellfire was gone completely as if it was never there. He then snapped his fingers again and she fell to the ground. One final snap of his fingers and not only were her hands bound in iron cuffs, but her wings were tied with red rope. A special rope that Ligur had invented which earned him the title of Duke. It kept an angel from using their grace, and kept them from flying away.
They left without any problems, mostly because of rumors spreading faster than wildfire as they exited, that Aziraphale had smited sixty demons without effort, and they were soon in Heaven once more. They then walked into the same room that they had held Aziraphale's 'trial' and they tied her to the same chair. "Gabriel, you go ahead and get Uriel and that other one...I don't know him..."
"WAIT!" Michael cried out in confusion. "Why are you listening to him!?"
"Because I can." He simply stated before leaving the room.
They waited for about fifteen minutes with Michael sending glares and scowls towards Aziraphale and Crowley, who didn't pay her any mind as they watched the door. Once it opened, there were instantly two pissed off Archangels, drawing their blades. "Uriel! Sandalphon! Stand down!"
"B-But..." Uriel started as she glared at them. "...they're traitors."
"We have a worse traitor in the room than them at the moment." Gabriel moved to stand by Crowley's side once they sheathed their weapons. He then gave Crowley a nod, telling him to go ahead.
Crowley waved a hand and Michael's cell phone floated out of her pocket, and he handed it to Gabriel. "Here you go."
"Thank you." Gabriel breathed out, causing Sandalphon and Uriel to gasp.
"Why are you thanking a demon!?" Sandalphon shouted in pure disbelief.
"We'll talk about that later." Gabriel muttered as he tweaked with Michael's phone. He then placed a palm on it, and pulled out a glowing ball of light. "We're about to see the last five calls Michael has made to Hell."
"What? To Hell?"
Crowley smirked, knowing that the binds around her wrist were laced specially by him, and he made them to be truth bindings. If she's asked a question she can't lie. "These, binds on Michael...their special. They force her to tell the truth whether she likes it or not." Crowley grinned. "So, Michael...how long have you been contacting Hell?"
"Three...hundred...years!" She gasped out as the bindings started to burn her.
"Right, go ahead Gabriel." Crowley nodded and Gabriel tapped the glowing ball of light to play the first out of the five calls.
"I'm only playing five, but there's many many more." Gabriel mentioned just before the other voices started.
'I need to know the activities of the Demon Crowley.' Michael's voice requested in a hushed tone.
'Why do you want to know?' Ligur's voice questioned with genuine concern, which was something Crowley never thought he would hear.
'Because, there's been Demonic AND Angelic activity where he's been located. I need to know if the Angelic activity is JUST Aziraphale, or if somehow Crowley is responsible.'
'Well, Crowley can't be responsible, because he's currently being tortured. Has been for a good month or so. He got into a fight with Hastur and a few of his...associates. They were discussing temptation territory and it went from there. No down hill or up hill...it just went. I'm to oversee his next round of torture.'
'I see. So, it must be one of your other men then. Goodbye.'
There was a click and the next one played.
'What do you want!?' Ligur shouted in an annoyed tone.
'Just curious, do any of you remember when you were a part of Heaven? Do you remember your factions?'
'Most don't, but a few do.' He groaned out. 'Why?'
'Like I said, just curious. Do you remember?'
'Yes. I was in the Guardian Faction.'
'Raphael's faction!?' She whisper shouted.
'Yes. Are we done here?'
'Yes, I do believe we are.'
There was a loud click before the next one began.
'You can't keep calling, Archangel.' Ligur sighed out with a hint of worry in his tone.
'Is that concern in your voice?' Michael's voice cooed with genuine curiosity and wonder.
'Might be. If it were, I wouldn't tell you. What do you want?'
'Oh, just wanted to let you know that our man Aziraphale has preformed eight miracles in Germany.'
'Right, we'll send Crowley there.'
There was a click just after a satisfied hum from Michael was heard.
'What do you want, Archangel?' Ligur groaned in agitation.
'Are you aware of a demon's weakness?'
'Of course! Consecrated ground, crosses facing upright and pressed to our skin, and Holy Water.'
'Interesting...well, do you know an angel's?'
'Hell's air is poisonous to angels. They get sick off of it, which makes it easier to make them fall.'
'Oh, so you don't know that Hellfire can kill an angel permanently?'
'I do now. How did you come about that little information?'
'Just a little intelligence. If Holy Water and Holy objects can harm you, then it would make sense if Hellfire or Hellish objects could harm us.'
'Why have you been giving me information such as this?'
'Well, when the war DOES come about, don't you think this second war should at least be on some even playing field?'
'I do, but why are YOU thinking that?'
'The war the first time was unfair. I lost two brothers, one of which killed the other and-'
'We ALL lost someone, Archangel!' Ligur growled out, quickly interrupting Michael. 'I didn't want to fight, but was pulled in and convinced by Hastur, who was one of yours at the time by the way, and I lost my wings, my grace, and I could feel the fire engulf my very being. I also lost MY Archangel. He was kind, patient, mischievous, snarky at times, and a good teacher. Those of us that remember...are the ones that didn't truly want to rebel in the first place, but were pulled into it by close friends rather than Lucifer himself. Now, I have no clue why you're asking about us and giving us information about you lot...though I am grateful for the information, all of Hell thanks you, but you can't keep this up. You're going to fall and Hell REALLY doesn't need TWO fallen Archangels. The result would be more chaotic than Armageddon and we're not even there yet! Goodbye!'
There was a click and then the second most recent one started to play. Gabriel took a guess as to what the most recent was, so he just picked the one below it.
'It's me. It's our man Aziraphale. Is there any possibility he's working for you?'
'No! Of course not! Why do you ask?'
'No? Well then, you might want to investigate the activities of the Demon Crowley. Might be playing his OWN game...word to the wise.'
'What that he's playing a game of chess or something!?'
'No! I'm...I'm telling you, you can't trust him.'
'Oh, and I'm supposed to trust you with all the information you've delivered about your own people?'
'Of course you can trust me! I'm an angel!'
There was a click and Gabriel allowed the ball to seep back into the phone before he gave it to Crowley for safe keeping. "So..." Gabriel started as he brought his hands behind his back as he looked at Michael who was practically glaring flaming swords at everyone. "...you've gone behind Heaven's back and communicated with demons, giving them OUR weaknesses!? But not only that...you played a part in trying to hurt or disrupt Aziraphale."
"Aziraphale and Crowley have been communicating for YEARS!"
"That may be so..." Aziraphale admitted with a confident grin.
"...but we never exposed any weakness." Crowley finished, but then decided to continue. "We never sought to hurt the other..."
"...or discorporate the other..." Aziraphale nodded.
"...or to completely disrupt the other..." Crowley smirked.
"...and we were always there for the other..." Aziraphale smiled softly.
"...to make sure the other didn't get themselves destroyed or killed..." Crowley looked over at Aziraphale remembering what he assumed about the Holy Water thing.
"...to make sure the other didn't embarrass themselves..." Aziraphale mentioned as he remembered 1941...ALL of it.
"...to protect the other..." Crowley breathed out calmly.
"...to be a Guardian, basically." Aziraphale looked at Crowley, silently asking if that was alright to say, and received a proud nod from him. He then turned to face everyone else with his own hands behind his back like Gabriel's. "We never betrayed each other. Not really."
"And how can we trust the word of a demon!?" Sandalphon quickly argued.
"Well, to be fair..." Aziraphale started. "...just a few minutes ago the question was turned around. How can we trust the word of an angel?"
"The answer is quite simple." Crowley grinned. "You have to have faith that your trust is well placed."
"And what would a demon know about faith?" Uriel questioned calmly with an intrigued look in her eyes.
"Not all demons know about it, but there are some that have faith in various different things." Crowley answered with a proud smile. "Now, back to the matter at hand. A traitor has been revealed in spectacular fashion. What will you do?"
"Throw her into Hellfire?" Aziraphale questioned as he caught on to Crowley's tone of, 'She's an Archangel, choose wisely.'
"Banish her to Earth?" Crowley offered.
"Take her wings?" Aziraphale shrugged. "I mean...she seemed rather fond of the demon she was on the phone with."
"Oh!" Crowley cooed as he leaned a little ways away from Aziraphale to give him a proud nod. "Nice! What about we ask God to Fell her? Gabriel, what do you think?"
"Me?" He questioned with a risen brow.
"Yes, you. You asked for mine and Aziraphale's help in rescuing her, you went with us, you personally heard her DECIDE that Aziraphale and I are abominations, and you heard her say that she was going to smite us both, taking our demises into her own hands without any insight from the other Archangels or God for that matter. You heard her say that it was a trap for Aziraphale and myself, not expecting you to actually come along. Isn't that right, Michael?" Crowley questioned as he turned to face her with a flashing toothy grin.
"Y-YES!" She groaned out as she tried to fight the restraints.
"Well? What will you choose, Gabriel?" Crowley repeated carefully and cautiously.
"I choose...three things."
"Alright, and what are they?" Crowley asked.
"Wait! Why does he get the decision? Aren't we supposed to decide as a group?" Sandalphon sneered obnoxiously.
"It's because everything that happened mainly concerns him, Aziraphale, and Crowley." Uriel supplied and motioned her hand for her to continue."
"Wait, hold up, just out of curiosity, how old are you, Sandalphon?" Crowley wondered.
"Why would that matter to you?" He spat.
"Just curious. I don't remember you before the fall, and I remember EVERY angel before the fall."
"I was created AFTER the fall. I took Raphael's place, because he was foolish enough to get himself killed by Lucifer." Sandalphon's frown grew into a wicked grin as he confidently continued, unaware of how much of a fool he was making of himself. "He didn't even try to fight from what I hear. Serves him right I say. The first Archangel dies by the hand of the Archangel that rebelled in the first place."
"Huh uh..." Crowley smirked, and it took all Aziraphale and Gabriel had to not burst out in laughter, but they kept their expressions well hidden as if they didn't feel one way or the other about the matter. "...just checking. Continue, Gabriel."
"Right...first choice...I forgive her."
"WHAT!?" Everyone in the room shouted. All except Crowley and Aziraphale who both wore approving smiles.
"That's my choice." He nodded his head. "Secondly, is to bar her from ALL communications. The only way she will ever be able to talk to someone is if she's face to face and she will ONLY allowed to do that in Heaven. The only person I would allow object to that right now would be God." They all waited about five minutes, but when nothing came, he nodded his head and continued. "Thirdly, for her to re-do ALL of the training that Raphael made us go through. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual."
"B-But...!" Michael stuttered out helplessly. "...he ran us ragged!"
"Exactly! And you'll be going through it ALL OVER AGAIN until I think you've learned not to be a traitor, or until I can trust you again, which won't be for a very long time."
"Well, that should be fun!" Crowley laughed out as he remembered the good old days of training Lucifer, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel.
"And what would you know of it, Demon?" Sandalphon spat with a look of disgust. "It's not like you were there!"
"Huh...well, I could say ONE phrase and ONE phrase only and Uriel and Michael will both know who I AM instantly. Like I've told everyone...I never fell, I sauntered vaguely downwards, but...when I DO say it...I don't want either of you to reveal it." He looked back and forth at Uriel and Michael who then immediately looked at the amusement on Gabriel's face and a slight sigh of relief and they both nodded. "Right then." He smirked and turned around to face Gabriel who relaxed his arms as he looked at Crowley. "Gabriel, you're such a TRICKSTER!"
"Ah, you know me. I love a good game. Some harmless fun."
"HA! That you do! I'm still made at you about pushing me into the pool though."
"STILL!?" He gaped with a laugh, but Crowley just turned around and faced Uriel and Michael who stared at him wide eyed with dropped jaws and tears running down their cheeks, but he also noticed a look of fear and immense regret in Michael's eyes.
"What the...?" Sandalphon tilted his head in confusion before looking at Uriel and Michael. "That doesn't make any sense. Gabriel's not a Trickster, and why did that strange conversation affect the two of you so much!?"
"I guess you'll have to figure that out for yourself." Uriel chuckled out as she wiped her tears. "He asked us not to tell you, so we won't. Will we, Michael?" She questioned as she noticed Michael was still sitting in the chair.
"No. I certainly won't."
"Good." Crowley grinned as he walked over and removed the ropes from her wrists. "You can get up now."
"Thank you." Michael breathed out as she wiped her tears as well.
"JUST WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?" Sandalphon shouted with a complete look of disbelief.
"You know, Crowley..." Gabriel smirked as he walked over to Crowley, draping an arm around him as he looked at Sandalphon. "...you may have beaten me in Tricks and Pranks with this one."
"Ah, you know me. I love a good game. Some harmless fun." He grinned at him as he dropped the ropes to the floor, but then he watched as they quickly moved across the floor without him doing anything, and they went straight into Sandalphon's hands, and the angel in question lunged at him furiously, tackling him to the ground, and he wrapped his wrists together before getting off of him.
"SANDALPHON!" Everyone cried out but the angel himself and Crowley, who merely sat back up and let out a heavy sigh of disappointment.
"Are these truly truth binds?" Sandalphon questioned, ignoring his peers and Aziraphale.
"What happens if you lie?"
"You choke or you get a horrible taste in your mouth. It really depends on the severity of the question."
"Who are you?"
"Crowley." He grinned.
"No, I mean who are you to them!"
"Also Crowley." He repeated with growing amusement.
"WHO WERE YOU BEFORE YOU FELL!?"
"I didn't fall like the others."
"Quit deflecting! I thought you said you couldn't lie!"
"I'm not. You're not asking the right questions."
He pinched the bridge of his nose and let out a frustrated sigh. "Fine! Who were you BEFORE the other angels fell?"
"Archangel Raphael." He stated proudly if not a bit smugly as he looked up at the angel who had disrespected him earlier.
"Y-Y-You can't be!" He stuttered out as he staggered back quite a bit.
"Ask me the other question you want to ask." Crowley challenged as he stood to his feet, hands still bound. "Go ahead." He added as he started walking towards him.
"I-Is...Is that who you ALSO are now along with being Crowley?"
"YES!" Crowley shouted, because dammit, the truth was truly liberating and the way Sandalphon turned sheet white as he fell on his ass at his answer warmed his soul, because he could tell that this was most likely the angel that suggested Hellfire since he was so upset at Gabriel getting to decide punishment. He snapped his fingers within the binds and now they were tightly wound around Sandalphon's wrist. "Okay, now it's time for you to be questioned. Did you suggest Hellfire for Aziraphale's punishment!?"
He tried to keep his mouth shut, but started to choke, so he relented to the binds. "YES!" He growled out, and immediately stopped choking.
"I. Don't. Like. Him!"
"Why is that!?"
"He. Was. Favored. By. You. We. All. Found. Out. After. You. Supposedly. Died. That. BEFORE. You. Had Died. You. Gave. Him. The. Important. Job. Of. Guarding. Eden...He. Was. Also. Strangely. Unique...After. Being. On. Earth. He. Became. More. Human. Like. And. He. Was. Allowed. To. Be. Like. Them. Eating, Drinking, Cursing. Among. Other. Things."
"Sandalphon, it's not good to resist the binds. Eventually...they will burn you. So, you were Envious of Aziraphale?"
"Why do you dislike me if you've never met me?"
"Because you were the eldest. You were the first. You created WITH God. You were one of the MOST favored. You were there for THE Beginning. I dislike you, because I'm envious of you as well! You had everything! Yet it seemed like you threw it away because you refused to fight. I dislike you, because it seemed that you didn't care one way or the other how the battle went despite everything we had heard about you!"
"Huh...well...since this was an attack against me, both verbal and physical, am I allowed to decide his punishment?" Crowley looked at Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel.
"You're still an Archangel?" Michael questioned carefully.
"Yes. He is. I've seen it myself." Gabriel confirmed.
"Then, yes. There's nothing we can do to stop you." Uriel answered.
"Great! Then I choose for him to ALSO go through the full training that I forced all of you to go through. From what it sounded like you did away with it, but I'm sure Gabriel and Michael know it WELL!"
"ALL too well." Gabriel groaned. "The training makes demons seem merciful!"
"Y-You're kidding!" Sandalphon shrieked and if possible, paled even further.
"No, unfortunately." Uriel stated with a sigh of her own at the memories.
"I-I'm going to be tortured!?"
"You're going to be trained to be an ACCEPTABLE Archangel." Crowley growled out with a proud and wicked grin. "The amount of 'torture' you go through is up to you." He then moved to stand by Aziraphale's side who had been staring wide eyed and shocked at the whole display. "Ready to go home, Angel?"
"Wait! But...you're an Archangel! Your home is here!" Gabriel cried out. "You're on our side!"
"Gabriel, I don't have a side anymore. Only friends, brothers, and sisters. I'm also still affected by Holy things so I'm also still partially demon even though I didn't fall. I don't have a side anymore, and if I do...it will always be Aziraphale's side."
"W-Well then...what about you, Aziraphale? We can pardon you."
"No thank you." He replied joyfully. "I also don't have a side anymore, but if I do, it's Crowley's side. Besides, he's the Archangel I was commanded under."
"Very well...if that's what you wish." Gabriel drawled out sadly, trying his best to not pout.
"It is, but I do also wish for you to carry out both punishments to the best of your ability." Crowley replied with a knowing look in his eyes.
"I will!" Gabriel grinned, his violet eyes lighting up once again.
"Oh, and Gabriel?" Crowley called out just as he was starting to walk away.
"You can come and visit me if you like. I'll mostly be at Aziraphale's bookshop. If I'm not there, he'll tell you where to find me."
"Thank you, Raphael."
"Thank YOU, Gabriel." Crowley gave a short but soft bow, before he and Aziraphale left Heaven and appeared back at the book shop. "So!" Crowley started as he fell back on the couch in the back of the shop. "About you smiting sixty demons..."
"Yes, I...I didn't know I could do that. Do you know what it was?"
"Yes, and I didn't think you could do it either, but I have a theory. Do you remember how we both realized that our souls split and we have the other half of one another's soul?"
"Well...my soul is an Archangel soul, and what you did is something only a VERY pissed off Archangel can do. So, congratulations, Aziraphale...seems you've been promoted."
"I WHAT!?" He shrieked as he held his hands over his core.
"Yup! That can ONLY be done by a full fledged Archangel. Oh, this is going to make our adventures far more interesting now!"
Aziraphale couldn't help the impressed, baffled, and joyful smile that appeared on his face or the look of excitement in his eyes. "Next chapter in the book I suppose." He snapped his fingers and instantly there were two champagne glasses and they were appropriately filled. He took his and lifted it up to Crowley. "To the Next Chapter of OUR book."
Crowley grinned and grabbed his glass to lift it up. "To the Next Chapter..." They clinked their glasses and started talking about the experiences the other didn't know the other had, and Crowley shared many more stories about his days as Raphael, but both of them knew that this was just a new beginning to their story, and it would be one interesting, devilish, angelic, and fun ride going through chapter after chapter.