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The first daemons were not meant to settle. It pained them, taking a single form, as they filed out of the garden from the crack in the wall. In an attempt to hide from the knowledge of shame, Adam and Eve wore leaves to cover their nudity and their daemons, Dakrassara and Astsweven, slunk behind them in their newly settled forms of an onager and a dhole. Aziraphale watched them with a heavy heart and an empty hand.

 

God apparently had enough pity that the black clouds on the horizon would unleash river-forming rain and give Her children fertile river valleys to live in, but enough rage that She also left them to cross the harsh desert during a storm. They had knowledge of good and evil, but no knowledge of the dangerous but beautiful home that they would find a on the other side of the desert and cataclysmic storm.

 

It started to rain, finally, and Aziraphale, absently and automatically, sheltered the demon beneath his wing from the first storm. They watched Adam stab at an attacking lion as Dakrassara kicked at it fiercely and Astsweven snarled protectively at Eve’s side.

 

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Crawley said dubiously. “Just look at their daemons – adaptable lot, that. Grit and gumption. They’ll be perfectly fine.” Thunder shook the walls of the Garden of Eden as Aziraphale shot the ex-serpent an incredulous look. Crawley wouldn’t meet his gaze, though, continuing to squint against the rain and the sand whipped up by the wind to keep track of the mortals instead.

 

“I’m going to miss them,” Aziraphale confessed glumly. “I mean, I didn’t speak to them much – I’m just supposed to guard the gate, not join them for supper or stop by for tea, so I didn’t even see them all that often, but I’ll miss them all the same. It’ll be rather dull around here without them, I’m sure. I just – I mean, it’s so hard – I’ll miss them,” he said on a long sigh.

 

“Well, I won’t,” Crawley announces, squaring wings and shoulders against the wind howling through the storm. “I’m going after them. A demon’s work is never done, and all that,” he says very unconvincingly. “You coming?”

 

“I – I couldn’t possibly –“ Aziraphale starts, but Crawley has made his decision and is already spreading wet black wings to catch the currents.

 

“Suit yourself, then, angel,” he says, and launches into the storm. Aziraphale watches his laborious flight through wind and over sand, until the demon is just a great black shadow on the horizon, fading into the clouds as he follows after Adam and Eve.

 

-

 

Angels don’t have daemons. That would be ridiculous – daemons are the Dust that humans can’t contain within themselves, while angels are nothing but Dust. That would be like using a hypothetical ice cup to hold the excess water that was created when the cup was made. It’s a preposterous notion, an angel with a daemon, and though humans often ascribe birds or elementals as angels’ daemons in their art, no angel has a daemon and the subject is thoroughly mocked around the proverbial watercooler in Heaven.

 

And a demon with a daemon? Good God, what a thought!

 

-

 

Crowley learns to fake a daemon whenever he’s Earthside somewhere around the time of Shalmaneser the Third. The other demons never have this problem, but the other demons also wear frogs and flies and salamanders, and Crowley is far too vain to degrade himself by wearing an inferior serpent on his shoulder. He still occasionally slips into the old snakeskin to sunbathe, because Pride and Sloth are both sins, after all, and Crowley believes in leading by example. Instead, he takes a spare bit of himself and turns it into any number of strange, malevolent, or slightly offputting creatures when he knows humans will see him – hyenas, crocodiles, albatrosses, spiders, unnaturally thin bears and incredibly large panthers, that sort of thing – and lets them lurk and loom and slink and stalk while he goes about his business. Currently, his favorite thing is to wear ostrich leather breeches while a red-eyed moa towers over the unnerved crowd of dandies around him. The opera itself was a new Gillbert and Sullivan piece; he had cringed his way through the last one he saw, The Mikado, and therefore had low hopes for The Gondoliers.

 

“Good gracious, Crowley, what is that?”

 

“Why Aziraphale, you’re looking positively heavenly tonight,” Crowley sneered fondly. The angel, as usual, was in all white and in his dandiest finery; he’d dressed head to toe in shades of white or ivory, wearing fine kid gloves, and his unfashionable and hideous lacy cravat suits him perfectly. He’d taken a leaf from Crowley’s book and a fake daemon, a fat, cooing violaceous quail-dove, sat at the crook of his elbow.

 

“You know, it’s rather rude to sit in front of so many people with such a large daemon,” Aziraphale said. He fussed about with the tails of his coat before taking a seat beside the demon. In answer, the moa stretched its wings wide, sending neighboring audience members ducking and scurrying to keep from touching it, while Crowley kept a pleasant smirk and a steady gaze pinned on the angel. Aziraphale rolled his eyes.

 

“Why are we here again? There’s a production of Faust up to Date on in the Philadelphia, I’m sure I’d have preferred that,” Crowley said. Aziraphale glanced around before leaning in, tugging nervously at his gloves and squashing the dove.

 

“I’ve heard rumors, you see, that a certain soprano might have sold her soul to the devil to get the voice of an angel,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if it was one of yours, but if she is, then I’ll be here to gently guide her on the path to righteousness, away from wickedness and vice. If she isn’t, then I get to see the new show.” He beamed at his own logic and sat back. Crowley considered pointing out that that didn’t mean that he needed to be there, but decided it wasn’t worth spoiling the angel’s fun when he could instead sow unease and annoyance just as well here as he could have in Philadelphia. Crowley instead swings one leg up to perch on the other, props his arms up on the backs of the seats beside him, and turns his attention to the stage.

 

It’s a little confusing, all the swapping babies that goes on and the arranged marriages, but it turns out to be a relatively pleasant evening. Decima Moore hadn’t sold her soul or been blessed by angels, just born with talent and drive, so he manages to tempt the angel with dinner at a small restaurant near the Savoy. Crowley just enjoyed himself and barely made any mischief at all that night.

 

-

 

If you mention shedding, most people think of cat or dog hair. People with more exotic animal experience may think of a shedding snake or a molting bird. In fact, a great deal of dust – small d dust, mind – in people’s homes is dander generated by their own body, from dead skin cells and stray particles of hair. Bits of people separate from the body and become a stray particle within the universe constantly; it is part of the greater cycle of life, though it takes place microscopically.

 

The amount of human dander in dust is somewhat exaggerated by many sources, but it’s something to keep in mind, at any rate.

 

-

 

A sick feeling twisted in his gut when Aziraphale reached the laboratory and it almost certainly had nothing to do with having eaten so much haggis in Glasgow. There had been something like an aftershock in the ethereal fabric of the world, a huge shift as if the metaphysical plates of reality collided and produced an 8 point Richter scale etherquake. It’s a very minor miracle that allows him to pop in and observe without garnering the attention of the humans and daemons gathered around the horrid contraption, but he does catch the attention of a very familiar demon.

 

“Don’t look,” Crowley said grimly. His face was ashen and he appeared more shaken than Aziraphale had ever seen him. A raven’s black wing stretched out to block Aziraphale’s view, but the determined angel reached out and pushed it out of the way. He immediately wished he hadn’t.

 

“I told you,” Crowley said. Aziraphale’s hand found its way to Crowley’s arm and gripped so hard a human’s bones would have ground to dust. It still wasn’t enough to steady the angel.

 

“No,” he whispered vehemently. “No, no, no, no – ”

 

He can’t help remembering Crowley’s first piss-poor attempt at a joke about him doing the wrong thing while Crowley did the right one. These humans, they have knowledge of evil, but it hadn’t stopped them from committing this atrocity and the blade swinging like a scythe, severing bonds between human and daemon, is so dreadfully familiar to him. They both did wrong that day all those millennia ago, Aziraphale thought wildly. A high, pained keening split the air and Aziraphale didn’t know if it came from him or the frantic, mutilated human child and daemon. Under the awful sound, pens scratched loudly on paper as adults jotted down their observances in the aftermath of the intercision.

 

Crowley shook Aziraphale roughly, drawing his attention away. “There’s about to be a demonic miracle here, one that destroys that – that thing and all the research that went into it.” Slitted pupils in golden eyes focused on the child and daemon weeping piteously. “It sure would be a shame if they ended up somewhere else. Somewhere safe.”  

 

“There is no safety for them anymore, Crowley,” Aziraphale said heavily. “There’s nothing for them anymore, no cure, no miracle that can reform the bond – but it is mercy to give them a comfortable place to live out their days.”

 

Crowley patted Aziraphale’s shoulder awkwardly. After the lab and scientists are gone and the child and daemon relocated, the two get blind drunk and stay that way for a full two years.

 

By the time either of them thought to look for the blade, it had vanished again.

 

Aziraphale prayed desperately that he wouldn’t see that infernal sword for another six thousand years. Unfortunately, he’d see it again in just over six decades.

 

-

 

Dust, in many ways, is completely different from dust. Dust is inescapable, unavoidable, and omnipresent, even in places where you’re sure none should exist. It accumulates in small pockets and wayward corners and gradually creeps over everything in its presence, blanketing anything and everything it can settle on.

 

The other Dust is innate, elemental, and inevitable, much like fate. It does, however, sometimes act like dust.

 

-

 

Crowley barely peeked into the basket containing the Antichrist and his daemon. For all that the infant’s daemon was a hellhound, new-born hellhounds really don’t look much different from any other newborn canine. The Antichrist also looked exactly the same as any other boy his age: small, ruddy, wrinkly, and unsettlingly disproportional.

 

Crowley didn’t like babies of any species. He also didn’t like The Chattering Order of St. Beryl. He therefore dumped the basket with the first available nun and left as soon as possible to go find Aziraphale and complain about the end of days. The nun and her chittering squirrel daemon whisked the child off to be swapped with the American diplomat, only to cock up and give him to the wrong parents. Crowley also didn’t like Three Card Monte, despite having taken credit for its invention, since he always had the frustrating feeling of knowing which card was which and then being completely wrong.

 

Crowley should probably have paid more attention to that feeling. If he had, he and Aziraphale wouldn’t have wasted several years influencing Warlock Dowling and he wouldn’t have broken his personal no snake false daemons rule. Instead, he spent years with a stray wisp of himself pretending to be something that alternated between looking like a coral snake and a scarlet king snake, since he could never remember which pattern was supposed to be venomous, while stomping after Aziraphale and fixing the messes he made. That worked for Warlock, who turned out almost entirely normal through no fault of his or Aziraphale’s, but even Crowley’s best efforts couldn’t salvage the garden from the enthusiastic and inept attacks from an angel and his hazel dormouse “daemon”. The blasted angel trimmed lavender bushes in a mangled lilac pruning method, overwatered everything, took only the tops of weeds off and left the roots in the soil, and planted mint directly in the ground. Crowley ended up using hellfire to kill the mint, much to the angel’s dismay. He’d planted it so he could nibble on it while working (read: ruining) the garden.

 

Warlock’s daemon, Valonia, spent most of her time as either a raccoon or a spaniel, but settled into the form of a turkey. His father tried to console himself with the American-ness of the turkey, which is native only to North America, but had been hoping for something far grander, particularly a bald eagle. Warlock was just glad that Valonia stopped complaining about the growing pains she’d experienced in the weeks leading up to the event.

 

-

 

It should be noted that all witches’ daemons are birds, but not all bird daemons belong to witches. This is why the standard determining factor in the Witchfinder Army’s Handbook was counting to be sure a potential witch didn’t possess extra nipples.

 

Witches, a far-ranging, diverse, and powerful lot, did not have extra nipples any more often than the general public did. This rarely stopped the Witchfinders from finding witches, or at least people they decided were witches, regardless of the number of nipples and even the shape of their daemon.

 

-

 

Anathema Device’s daemon was a very respectable yellow-billed magpie. At least, Fendascali looked respectable. The daemon’s impulsivity and adventurousness far outstripped Anathema’s, though their intelligence and curiosity were evenly matched. The two peered through a variety of occult spyglasses, frowned at uncooperative dowsing rods, and swore at seemingly defective pendulums as they trekked up and down the hills around Tadfield. Fendascali exclaimed sharply when Anathema almost ran in to a young boy with a small, spotted dog daemon nipping at his heels.

 

“Are you lost?” asked the boy. The dog tilted its head and stared at Fendascali, who would have flown to the ground to investigate the other daemon if Anathema hadn’t put a restraining hand on him.

 

“Not really,” Anathema said. “I’m looking for something that’s lost, though.”

 

“What’s it look like?” asked the boy.

 

“Well, I don’t really know. That’s part of the trouble of finding it,” Anathema admitted.

 

The boy snorted. “That seems like a wild goose chase, if you ask me. If you don’t know what it looks like, how will you know you’ve found it?”

 

“Good question, kid,” Fendascali said. Anathema shushed him.

 

“It’s Adam, not kid,” the boy said, sounding faintly offended that they didn’t already know his name.

 

“Well, Adam, I’m hoping that I’ll know it when I see it,” Anathema said. Adam and the dog daemon exchanged dubious looks before the boy shrugged.

 

“Good luck, then,” Adam said. He waved and then took off toward the Them’s lair with Kiveddaeg racing beside him. Kiveddaeg had only settled a few days before, but had been some type of dog Adam’s whole life. As a toddler, Adam hadn’t been able to say Kiveddaeg, so he simply called him Dog, and the name stuck.

 

Kiveddaeg practically dove onto Avaryel and Esamia, who were tussling in the hollow between tree roots. Pepper’s coyote daemon was winning handily, as was Pepper, who was arguing with Wensleydale. His whippet daemon was putting up a much better fight than he was. Brian and Tiresi watched from a comfortable spot in a pile of leaves, munching on some snack or another from a brown paper bag. Tiresi was, as usual, a muddy and matted mess. In the two years since she’d settled, Adam couldn’t remember ever seeing Tiresi’s natural fur color – she was supposedly a cream-colored golden retriever. Brian generally wasn’t any cleaner.

 

Esamia slunk away while Dog had Avaryel’s attention. Adam’s arrival meant the argument started winding down, anyway, in order to get ready for whatever game he’d come up with.

 

“Have you heard that there’s a witch moved in?” Pepper asked.

 

“Actually, there’s no such thing as witches. Science disproved them ages ago,” Wensleydale proclaimed wrongly. That started another spat between the two until Adam broke it up.

 

“That’s what we’re going to play,” he said decisively, “witches and witch hunters. Brian, grab sticks, we’ll draw for short stick on who gets to be witch first.”

 

-

 

Hellhounds, despite their fearsome reputation, are really just as much a dog as any other. More so, even, since they’re dogs who react to the environment around them. They could just as well be heavenhounds, except that Headquarters has a strict no-pets policy. There could have been a few in the residential sections, but angels are sticklers for rules and they weren’t about to walk some apparently demonic dog through Headquarters. They definitely wouldn’t carry them or put them in a backpack the way people on public transport do to get around no-dogs rules.

 

This is another reason why Heaven is so boring. They don’t have anywhere near enough dogs there.

 

At any rate, some may wonder how a hellhound daemon could be switched up with a daemon that would eventually become a wild turkey. The answer is two-fold. Firstly, most babies’ daemons are somewhat canid at birth. There has been speculation that, as the animal that’s been domesticated longest, dogs have indelibly imprinted themselves on the human psyche to the point that dog forms are almost a default setting for daemons. There were, therefore, three babies with dog daemons in the maternity ward at the Chattering Order of St. Beryl.

 

Secondly, newborn daemons also look newborn, being just as pudgy, wrinkly, wiggly, and oddly proportioned as newborn humans. Newborn canid daemons all look relatively similar, even daemons that are actually hellhounds: like fuzzy potatoes with closed eyes, small ears, and prominent noses.

 

-

 

Aziraphale, at the end of his rope and desperate, drew an Enochian circle to attempt to talk with God and put an end to this whole Armageddon business. It already hadn’t been going to plan when Shadwell burst in with Causly, the hare leaping about frenetically as the two accused him of witchcraft and demonry. Aziraphale didn’t help anything by not having a faux demon around, which Causly noticed immediately, the hare shrieking about how he’d “clearly sold his soul to the devil!” In Aziraphale’s experience, there was never a daemon that more closely mirrored its human than the she-hare; most seemed to balance out a person’s temperament. Not so with Causly, who was every bit as paranoid, high-strung, and irritating as Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell, particularly when the hare’s boxing forced Aziraphale to step backwards into his own circle.

 

Levitating, fighting the pull to Heaven with all his might, Aziraphale had just enough time to see the scrambling human and daemon knock over a candle. There had already been a burning, tearing sensation as he resisted the circle’s destructive power, but when the bookshop caught fire, wracking pain like he’d never before known existed licked across his discorporating nerves, as eager and greedy as the flames swallowing up the shop. He couldn’t help but curse and a scream rose in his throat even as his flesh vanished.

 

Crowley staggered into the burning shop not long after and felt the death there, the hollowness of the space that had, for so many decades, housed Aziraphale and his precious books. The shop had always felt homey and welcoming to Crowley, had felt like a full belly and the smugness of secrets hidden between pages – it had felt like an extension of Aziraphale.

 

He reeled through the shop, denial and fury and sorrow piercing him in a way it hadn’t since he’d been cast out from heaven. He slammed the door of the Bentley behind him, clutching the single book he’d salvaged. The Bentley, unbeknownst to Crowley, was also pained, making a strange whining from the engine that Crowley did not hear for the sound of his own great wailing and gnashing of teeth, rather, half-sobbing breaths and snarled curses. Crowley then went searching for a bar to get rip-roaring drunk to try to dull the pain. It didn’t work.

 

He did manage to get rip-roaring drunk, mind you, but all the alcohol in the city wouldn’t dull the pain of losing Aziraphale. It was fortuitous, then, that Aziraphale wasn’t completely gone, though it took the demon’s booze-soaked brain several moments to process the discorporate form of the angel sitting across from him at the hole-in-the-wall pub he’d chosen to drown his sorrows in.

 

“The Antichrist is in Tadfield,” the angel said, “I’ll meet you there, somehow.” Then the blasted angel was gone again, looking for a host for an angelic possession.

 

He’d expelled the alcohol before leaving the pub and slammed the door to the Bentley while miracling away the resultant hangover. Driving at his usual breakneck speed, pedestrians and other cars alike magically removing themselves from his path, Crowley made for Tadfield, only to be held up by traffic and the flaming M25 and, briefly, the interfering Hastur. He stared at the wall of flames ahead of him, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and considering his options. Hastur was, as always, repugnant; Crowley couldn’t stand the thought of the other demon in his car, but had to focus on the important part: getting to his angel in Tadfield. The Bentley wasn’t any happier about having the other demon in the passenger seat, rumbling with fury as it idled in traffic. That rumble turned into a full-throated roar from the engine when Crowley stomped on the gas pedal. The wall of flames were intimidating, but there was the promise of Aziraphale on the other side and staying within London wasn’t an option. The Bentley was decidedly smug when Hastur, screaming, burnt away, but it couldn’t help worrying as it and Crowley caught fire.

 

They powered through on sheer force of will, much the way they had done everything else since Crowley purchased the Bentley all those decades ago. The Bentley was momentarily glad that Crowley never bothered to fill the gas tank, since it bought them more time to get to the Air Force base in Tadfield. Crowley was just glad to be past the flames and made sure to crank up the volume for Best of Queen as they practically flew across the space separating them from the epicenter of Armageddon and from Aziraphale.

 

Crowley wasn’t entirely immune to fire, but he was far less susceptible to it than a mortal and even more fire resistant than other demons, but there was still a very uncomfortable burning sensation during the drive. He rated it worse than falling but not worse than thinking he’d lost Aziraphale, so he simply gritted his teeth and kept going. That proved impossible when the Bentley finally died in a fiery explosion, the sheer force of the pain sweeping over him driving him to his knees. A great sorrow for the Bentley, his fondest possession in his entire six thousand years on Earth, welled up with the pain before Aziraphale, wearing the form of an old lady with exaggeratedly arched brows and hair an unlikely shade of red, pulled him up by a grip on his jacket.

 

“I’m having a moment here,” Crowley snapped.

 

“We don’t have time for that, get moving!” Aziraphale snapped back. Madam Tracy’s daemon, Saturnia, bounded ahead as fast as his wildcat legs could carry him, Tracy and Aziraphale hot on his heels.

 

-

 

None of the Harbingers have daemons except Death. They are, after all, forces, not people. Whether you can even call Death a "person" or what Death has a "daemon" is debatable, but the nebulous form hung around Death, reaping daemons as Death reaped the rest of all living things. Dust inevitably followed in their wake, falling like rain around them.

 

-

 

Newton Pulsifer was not overreacting, despite what Anathema, Fendascali, and Thylorane seemed to think. It was the end of the goddamn world and he’d only had sex once, never been on a date, never managed to fix a computer, and hadn’t even been further from home than Tadfield. There was so much he still wanted to do with his life – and yeah, okay, those desires were pretty nebulous and undefined at the moment, but he didn’t exactly have time to make a bucket list –

 

“Newt!” Anathema shouted, her tone implying that she’d been trying to catch his attention for a while. To be honest, she wouldn’t have had it then if Thylorane hadn’t walloped him with all the power in her wallaby legs directly in the ribs. The two sensations managed to snap him out of his spiral into panic. “Fix the computers! Make them work better!” Fendascali flapped his wings excitedly and Thylorane was leaping about impatiently as Anathema’s order almost sent him back into a panic.

 

“I’ve never fixed a computer before,” he said glumly.

 

“Exactly!” Thylorane bellowed.

 

Oh,” said Newt.

 

Even as he set about wrecking the global computer systems controlling the nukes, Pepper and Avaryel were snarling at War, who was unwisely keeping a much closer eye on the coyote daemon than the girl who’d produced it. She apparently didn’t realize that Pepper had teeth just as sharp as Avaryel, metaphorically speaking.

 

Avaryel feinted forward and War dodged to the side, straight into Pepper’s roundhouse to the knee. The Horseman fell hard and the coyote daemon turned, quick as a whip, to snap at her face as Pepper grabbed the flaming sword from War. Pollution and Famine backed up a step, though Death stood unmoved, as girl and daemon faced off against War.

 

“You can beat them,” Adam declared, and it was so. “You can beat them easy. Pepper!”

 

Pepper raised the flaming sword, which felt so comfortable in her hand, and stared down War. Avaryel’s bared teeth and dark eyes reflected the flames. “I believe in peace, bitch,” Pepper growled, and then she vanquished War.

 

Pollution and Famine started to back away, but Avaryel and Kiveddaeg snapped and snarled and drove them back towards Tiresi and Esamia. The daemons kept the Horsemen pinned as Brian and Wendsleydale took up the flaming sword in turn and dispatched them, albeit without Pepper’s panache or vicious glee.

 

Then it was Adam and Dog staring down Death and the nebulous maybe-daemon. The adults, ethereal and human, hung back, making small motions like they wanted to intercede but couldn’t summon the courage to do so or perhaps couldn’t think of how to do it.

 

“You can’t get rid of me,” Death said, and it was true.

 

“Maybe not, but the world doesn’t need to end,” Adam said, and it was true.

 

Death and its daemon-adjacent being looked hard at the boy and hellhound daemon before them and considered the vanished Horsemen, the flaming sword in Adam’s hand, the sheer chaos that whirled around the boy; they considered the inevitable and the impossible and everything in between in the space of a breath and then they stood down.

 

Death may be inevitable, after all, but so is life, chaos, and hope. Inevitabilities have no need to fight one another. They disappeared.

 

“It’s alright,” Adam said. “Everything’s going to go back to how it should be.” And it was almost true.

 

Newt whooshed out a huge sigh of relief, but even then it wasn’t over – first an angel and then a demon came to try and convince Adam to restart the apocalypse. When that didn’t work, the demon tattled on the Antichrist to his father.

 

“I think we should run,” Newt said, looking up at the terrifying visage of Satan.

 

Thylorane walloped him again and was about to start arguing when Adam said, “You’re not my dad. My dad has been here for me my whole life. You can’t just show up after eleven years and say you’re my dad because you’re not. You're just not.” And it was true.

 

-

 

In many ways, Dust is not like dust. In many other, important ways, though, it is. For instance, Dust accumulates around immortals the way dust accumulates in human dwellings. Most immortals don’t stay on Earth long enough for anything to happen with this Dust, merely sprinkling a small amount in the mortal realm before returning to Heaven or Hell, where the Dust aggregates and is harvested as material for new souls. Death, as an immortal force, has been collecting Dust from reaping for so long that it was practically inevitable that something would form from it.

 

It took rather longer for Aziraphale and Crowley to shed enough Dust in one place for anything to happen with it. In fact, it took five thousand eight hundred and forty two years for Aziraphale to unwittingly establish a reservoir for his Dust and took Crowley five thousand nine hundred and thirty eight years to do the same.

 

-

 

It was a relief to stop pretending to be Aziraphale. As much as he did like the bookshop and vice-versa, the bookshop was clearly pining for the real Aziraphale and Crowley couldn’t help wanting to spend time with his recently revived Bentley, checking over every inch to be sure there wasn’t a single scratch or scorch mark on it. Aziraphale, for his part, spent many long days in his bookshop once their trials were over, leaving only when Crowley tempted him with meals at restaurants around London.

 

In fact, that was why the demon was there now, the Bentley waiting at the curb. It talked idly to the bookshop in a way only mouthless and usually lifeless daemons can – in a language so obscure it would be impossible to even transcribe, much less translate. However, there was a very strong fondness between the two daemons and the bookshop opened its doors for Crowley before Aziraphale even knew he was there.

 

“So,” Crowley said. There was a great deal still hovering in the air between them. For instance, they had yet to discuss what repercussions they’d likely face now that they were now, truly, their own side against both Heaven and Hell, what it meant to be the first angel and demon to have daemons, or even what to do with themselves now that the apocalypse, through no real exertion of their own, had been averted.

 

“So,” Aziraphale said. All those vagaries and questions hung between them, quivering with promise and anticipation.

 

“Sushi?” Crowley asked.

 

“Sure!” Aziraphale replied. They hopped in the Bentley and sped down the road to Whitechapel, ignoring the cloud of uncertainties that had just barely squeaked into the car before the doors shut, and had a very lovely dinner and quite a lot of sake.