The last person Crowley expected to see in a crowded pub on a Saturday night was the archangel Gabriel, but there he was in all his shining glory, hair a mess and usual pristine suit replaced with an outfit akin to what he’d worn at the Not-Pocalypse. They were darker though, a dull grey color, not their usual white. He was surrounded by empty glasses and bottles and looked about ready to pass out, but he called to the bartender for another beer. Crowley wrinkled his nose in disgust.
“What are you doing here?” Crowley spat, taking his usual seat at the bar and waving for his drink. They knew him well here; he came every day at the same time since the early ‘70s. Of course, the bartenders all assumed he was keeping up some sort of family tradition, much like Shadwell with the witchfinder army (until he figured out the truth). Gabriel looked up blearily, squinting at the demon before tensing.
“Crowley. Fancy seeing you here,” Gabriel said with a stiff smile, trying to remain calm as he leaned against the bar. “Just getting a few drinks, you?” Crowley glanced at the numerous glasses and bit back a smart reply of how it didn’t look like just a few drinks to him.
“Doing the same. Aziraphale wanted to spend some time reading and I’m not really one for just lounging around,” he lied easily. The truth was, the angel was visiting Madame Tracy and Shadwell and Crowley just didn’t want to admit he was lonely; not to Gabriel. Gabriel hummed and nodded, a flicker of sadness in his eyes as he lifted the glass to his lips.
“How is he? Aziraphale?” Crowley scowled.
“Why do you care? You tried to murder him,” Crowley muttered. Gabriel tensed and his grip on the glass tightened so much it shattered. Crowley jumped back in surprise and a few of the bar’s patrons cried out. Gabriel grabbed a napkin and pressed it to his bleeding hand, muttering apologies to the bartender as he grabbed the shards of glass, cutting his hands up more as he shakily went over to the bar’s rubbish pin and threw it away. Tiredly, he healed his hands and went back to his seat.
“You alright? Didn’t get any glass on you?” Gabriel asked, giving Crowley a once-over and checking for broken glass on his clothes. Crowley shook his head and moved his seat a little further away. Gabriel was clearly drunk out of his mind; the angel never showed his true physical strength in public.
“Any particular reason that struck a nerve?’ Crowley asked, quirking an eyebrow at the other man. Gabriel grimaced and chugged his beer, taking down the entire bottle in one go. He groaned and held his face in his hands.
“Let’s just say I apparently fucked up really, really badly in the eyes of God. Heaven is now under new management,” Gabriel said bitterly, moving his hands to grab his handkerchief and wipe his eyes. Crowley stared at him in disbelief.
“They demoted you? Why? Because we stopped Armaggedon?” Crowley asked, shocked. Sure, the Almighty could be unreasonable at times, but why would she strip Gabriel of his position when he did everything he could to stop them. Gabriel laughed, but it was humorless, and the end of it turned into a choked sob.
“Oh, they didn’t just demote me. I fell, Crowley. I’m a demon,” Gabriel said with a sarcastic grin, tears welling up in his eyes. “I’m a demon. Yep! All because I didn’t fucking listen to you and Aziraphale. Apparently, you were right! The world ending now wasn’t part of the divine plan! But how the FUCK WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT WHEN YOU DON’ SAY SHIT?!” Gabriel screamed at the Heavens, shaking his fist up at the sky as tears began to roll down his face. Crowley grabbed Gabriel’s wrist, pulling him back down to earth and forcing him to look at, him. Gabriel’s eyes were beginning to turn a deep black, clouding over the whites of his eyes. He looked terrifying.
“You’re drunk, Gabriel. You need to sober up or come with me, or something,” Crowley said desperately. He did not like the ang-demon, but he knew how painful it was to fall. He had experienced it. Gabriel wrenched away from Crowley, still crying. He left his bill and stormed out of the bar, blinded by tears and rage. Crowley paid quickly and ran after Gabriel, searching wildly for him in the bustling streets. He spotted the light gray scarf the demon was wearing and ran after him, yelling his name. Gabriel ignored him, hands shoved deep into his pockets as he walked right into the road, tears falling rapidly down his cheeks. Crowley grabbed him by the back of the shirt and dragged him out of the streets just as a car came barreling towards him, nearly hitting the demon and discorporating him.
“What in heaven’s name are you doing?” Crowley hissed, grabbing Gabriel by the shoulders. “You could have been killed! it takes a lot more effort to get a new body in hell than it does in Heaven, I can tell you that!” Crowley was starting to get annoyed with the freshly fallen demon. Yeah, he got the whole self-hating thing, but this was getting ridiculous. Gabriel stared blankly at him for a moment before looking at the road with longing.
“Humans are so lucky, aren’t they?” Gabriel whispered. “When they die, that’s it. They go to Heaven or hell. We have to live, again, and again, and again. It never stops. There’s no way to escape it.” The demon was shaking again and his tears returned fiercely. Gabriel looked back at Crowley, his expression so filled with anguish, it made the demon’s heart stop. “I want to go home.” His voice broke and he dissolved into sobs, quickly covering his mouth with his hand as his shook, tears spilling rapidly and sobs making his shoulders jerk. Crowley’s eyes softened and he took Gabriel by the shoulders, heart aching when he flinched, and guiding him through the streets to Aziraphale’s bookshop.
“I’m bringing you to the bookshop tonight, but you can come to my flat after this any time you like. Hell can be pretty bleak,” Crowley said. Gabriel followed him but said nothing, and Crowley found himself rambling on about nothing and everything just to fill up the silence. Gabriel’s tears came to a stop and he slowly relaxed as he just listened to Crowley, leaning into him and bracing himself by putting an arm around his shoulders. Crowley found himself not really minding. Don’t worry, dear reader, Gabriel is far from being forgiven; Crowley was merely sympathetic to the demon’s situation. He knew what falling was like, and he knew what falling despite loving Heaven with everything you are was like. The odd pair soon reached Aziraphale’s bookshop and Crowley helped Gabriel up the stairs, guiding him in through the door and into the small parlor. He sat him down in his usual chair and miracled up a cup of tea.
“You…You said I could sober up. How do I do that?” Gabriel slurred. Crowley nearly forgot that Gabriel had never had alcohol before or any earthly things for that matter.
“Just concentrate and…squeeze? I don’t know how to describe it better, sorry,” Crowley said apologetically, handing Gabriel the cup of tea. The demon screwed up his face and did as Crowley instructed, and back in the pub, the bartender stared in amazement as thirty-something empty bottles and glasses filled back up to the brim with alcohol. Gabriel wrinkled his nose and smacked his mouth.
“Remind me to never get drunk again. Ever,” Gabriel muttered, rubbing his face and sighing deeply. Crowley’s lips quirked into a smile and he sat across from the other demon, watching him as he sipped his tea. Gabriel closed his eyes, letting the warmth of the beverage flood through him. His eyes suddenly snapped open and he groaned as if he’d just remembered something embarrassing. “Did I really try to get myself run over by a car and then get all emo about it?” Gabriel asked, grimacing. Crowley sighed and nodded.
“It was…frightening, honestly. I’ve never seen you like that. I know it’s a dumb question, but…are you alright?” Crowley said gently. Gabriel pursed his lips and set down the cup of tea, folding his hands in his lap. After a moment, he responded.
“No. No, I don’t think I am,” Gabriel answered honestly, tapping his fingers against his legs. Crowley nodded in understanding. “I dedicated my entire existence to Heaven, and to serving Her. Now it’s gone; I don’t know what to do with myself. That was my one purpose. it was the only thing that made me worth something,” he continued softly, his gaze dropping to his feet. “I’m nothing without Heaven. Without Heaven, I’m just a big-headed, egotistical moron,” he spat, tone and words becoming more and more self-deprecating. Crowley frowned and went to respond when the door opened and Aziraphale stepped inside, carrying a bag of Chinese takeout and grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m home dear! Did you miss- What the hell is he doing here?” Aziraphale’s bags fell to the floor and he glared at Gabriel. Crowley quickly stood and Gabriel curled further in on himself, hiding his face in shame. Crowley rested a hand on Aziraphale’s chest, looking him in the eye.
“Angel, sunshine, dearest, my love, listen to me,” Crowley said. Aziraphale scowled.
“No amount of flattery and cheesy nicknames is getting you out of this one, and you better believe it, Anthony Crowley! Now explain your…” Aziraphale’s voice suddenly trailed off and he looked at Gabriel with wide eyes. He sensed a different presence than usual, like when Gabriel had sensed evil in his shop when it was Crowley. He felt that, but more intensely, and he gasped. “Oh, you’ve fallen,” he said breathlessly, clasping his hands and wringing them, eyebrows furrowing in confusion and denial. “W-Why did you…?”
“You were right and I was wrong. God expected me to listen to you and I didn’t which went against Her Divine Plan, so I was cast out,” Gabriel said, answering the unspoken question. Aziraphale’s eyes widened and he moved away from Crowley, hesitatingly standing in front of Gabriel.
“You shouldn’t have fallen,” Aziraphale said softly. “I may not like you, and your methods were very unethical, but…it was all for Heaven. You were so dedicated-”
“I know, Aziraphale. Please, I know you’re trying to be kind, but you’re rubbing salt in the wound,” Gabriel pleaded, looking up at Aziraphale with a desperate look in his eyes. Aziraphale murmured a hushed apology and sat down. Crowley got a third chair and sat next to him. The two of them stared at Gabriel, the tension in the air thick enough to be cut with a knife. “I should be going. I’ve intruded on your hospitality long enough. Thank you for the tea, I’ll let the two of you get on with your night,” Gabriel said, bowing his head slightly in a gesture of thanks and standing, getting ready to go out the door.
“You will do no such thing!” Aziraphale said, voice scolding as he stood as well and blocked Gabriel’s way to the door. Gabriel sighed.
“Aziraphale, this really isn’t-”
“Not none more word out of you,” Crowley chimed in, getting up and joining Aziraphale’s side. “You’re staying here, at least for the night. You’re in no state to be going out in the streets of London alone,” he continued in a matter-of-fact tone. Gabriel’s nostrils flared.
“Says common sense! I found you drunk on Vodka and beer and then you tried to kill yourself!” Crowley replied, tone harsh but not angry. Aziraphale gasped.
“Yeah! He tried to run in front of a moving car! I’m sorry Gabriel, but we are not leaving you alone right now. You’re staying here, and that’s final,” Crowley said firmly. Gabriel grimaced.
“You two are the last people who should even be thinking about helping me,” Gabriel said solemnly, attempting to push past the two of them again. Aziraphale grabbed him by the shoulders and looked at him pointedly.
“If you’re acting this way because you believe you do not deserve our forgiveness, then you are wrong,” Aziraphale said firmly, taking both Gabriel and Crowley by surprise. “Everyone is forgivable, even a demon, and I’ve had worse things said and done to me by the human race than things you’ve said, and I love people with all my heart. You, Gabriel, are no different. That doesn’t mean I like you, but I don’t have to like you to forgive you or help you when you’re hurting. Do you understand?” Gabriel blinked back tears and nodded, his head hanging low in shame. Aziraphale softened and put his arm around Gabriel’s shoulders, leading him up the stairs. “Why don’t you get some sleep? Don’t worry, I can show you how; Crowley helped me learn. It’s a human thing but it’s very pleasant, and when you feel sad like this it’s a good distraction.” Crowley listened to his angel explaining what sleep was with a smile before returning to his seat, removing his glasses and setting them down on the table.
Crowley rarely talked to God. He thought it was meaningless and stupid; she wasn’t listening anyway, so nothing would come of it. He found it comforting, however, to occasionally voice his doubts and concerns to the Heavens. She cared once, and Crowley would pretend that she cared again until the day he died.
“I understand you want to keep your ranks pure, but this is ridiculous. He was doing what he thought was best for Heaven. Why would you make him fall?” Crowley muttered, more to himself than actually to God. “He loves Heaven. He loves You, even now after you’ve forsaken him. He wants to go home. why can’t you just let him go home?” Crowley drifted off to sleep in his chair with a trace of bitterness in his heart, curled up into a ball and muttering about how unfair it all was.
The next morning, Crowley was shaken out of his slumber by a loud scream coming from the bedroom upstairs. Thinking it was Aziraphale, he jumped to his feet and bolted up the stairs. However, he bumped into the aforementioned angel in the hallway, who was blearily stumbling towards the spare room. They exchanged a glance before rushing into the room Gabriel was in, bracing themselves for what they would find inside. Gabriel was standing in the middle of the room, thankfully fully clothed, but mouth agape. His wings were extended to their full glory, lush and white and as Heavenly as the stars in the sky. His clothes had returned from grey to their normal white.
“Which one of you did this?!” Gabriel demanded tearfully, pointing an accusatory finger at the two of them. “This isn’t funny! How could you do this? You know I-”
“We didn’t do this, calm down!” Crowley snapped, cutting the ranting man off. Gabriel pursed his lips and folded his arms stiffly. Aziraphale gazed at his wings in wonder, a thoughtful expression on his face as he looked Gabriel up and down.
“I no longer sense another Fallen presence. Gabriel, have you…was your fall reversed by the Almighty? I only sense holiness from you.” Gabriel shook his head, his hands beginning to shake.
“That’s impossible. Unless I was prayed for and the Almighty listened, which I doubt was the case, I am still a demon,” Gabriel replied. Crowley scratched the back of his neck sheepishly.
“I…uh…may have said a tiny little prayer. Last night, after Aziraphale took you up to the bed, I had a little heart to heart with God. I don’t know why she would choose to listen now,” Crowley admitted. Gabriel blinked and then looked at his wings. His face flushed and Aziraphale could sense a rush of joy that flooded the entire room, so strong it nearly knocked him off his feet.
“Oh my God,” Gabriel said breathlessly, his eyes wide as he ran a hand over his soft, white feathers. “Oh my God, She…She actually…holy shit!” Gabriel exclaimed, shock giving way to a bright grin and shining purple eyes. There was no black, no demonic eyes staring back at Aziraphale and Crowley.
“What are we waiting for then? You need to get back to Heaven!” Crowley said, clapping Gabriel on the back with a grin of his own on his face, feeling a twinge of jealousy but quickly shoving it down. Gabriel nodded vigorously. “We’ll take the Bentley. It’ll get is there faster than walking!”
And fast that car went indeed. Aziraphale couldn’t recall a time Crowley had driven as fast as he had that day. He drove like a maniac, like a…well, like a demon. They had reached the main entrance to heaven in no time, and Gabriel was practically vibrating with excitement as he jumped out of the car. Crowley and Aziraphale joined him, having to run after him as he went up the escalator steps two at a time. By the time Aziraphale and Crowley had caught up to Gabriel, he had skidded to a stop in the middle of Heaven, eyes wide as he stared at the other archangels. They hadn’t noticed him yet, talking quietly among themselves, each of them wearing a grave expression. Nervous and excited at the same time, Gabriel clasped his hands behind his back and cleared his throat dramatically. All three of the archangels whipped their heads up to look at Gabriel, mouths hanging open in surprise.
“Gabriel!” Michael shouted joyously, flinging her arms around the restored archangel and crying on his neck. Gabriel held Michael in his arms, picking her up and spinning as tears of joy ran down his face. Sandalphon and Uriel practically tackled their friend with pure joy, hugging him tightly and laughing through their tears. Michael and Gabriel shared a kiss as tears rolled down their cheeks, holding one another and crying together.
“How is this possible? A fall is permanent! You…You shouldn’t be back,” Uriel stammered, clinging to Gabriel’s arm, their eyes wide. Gabriel smiled and looked at Crowley and Aziraphale brightly.
“Well, I wasn’t alone. I had some help.” The three other archangels stared at Aziraphale and Crowley with disbelief, until Michael broke away, tears still falling down steadily. She took both of Crowley’s hands in hers.
“Thank you for bringing him home to us. Thank you so much,” she said through sobs, kissing Crowley on both cheeks before doing the same to Aziraphale. She lingered there for a moment though, and Aziraphale wrapped his arms around her in an embrace. When they pulled away she was smiling brighter than Aziraphale had ever seen her smile before. She joined Gabriel at his side once more, grabbing his hand and leaning into his side.
“He didn’t deserve to fall. We both knew that. We’re just happy he can return to his true calling,” Aziraphale said with a soft smile. Gabriel’s eyes were soft and kind as he looked at the couple.
“If either of you ever needs anything, you can always consider Heaven an ally. We will be here if you ever need us,” Sandalphon said, grinning with his crooked teeth and dimples. Aziraphale and Crowley both nodded. Gabriel gave Michael’s hand a squeeze before going to the two of them, eyes flitting nervously.
“You didn’t have to help me, and that makes your actions even more commendable. I’ll never be able to repay you,” Gabriel said, placing a hand on Crowley’s shoulder and clasping one of Aziraphale’s hands in his own.
“Oh, come here you big sap,” Aziraphale teased, pulling Gabriel forward by his hand and trapping him in a hug. Crowley smirked at the surprised grunt that left the angel and decided to join the hug. It was brief, but all three entities pulled away smiling. “You do a good job up here, you hear?” Aziraphale said, wagging a finger at the archangel. Gabriel laughed, his eyes sparkling, and nodded.
“Yes sir, I promise. You two do a good job on earth,” Gabriel replied. More embraces were exchanged, and tearful thanks from each of the archangels were brushed aside by modesty. And with that, they parted ways. Gabriel returned to Heaven, once again in the company of angels and friends and a lover, and Aziraphale and Crowley returned back to their earth, to their bookshops and their vintage cars and Queen.