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In The Garden One Night

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Eleven years until the end of the world-



Crickets sang their song throughout the dark garden, across the massive yard with perfectly trimmed grass. The frogs in the pond out back called to each other, soaking up the dissipating heat of the unusually warm day as the rocks cooled off.  Stars littered the sky above it all, clouds only on the horizon. The night was as peaceful as a night could be.

Somewhere on the edge of a pond at the furthest stretch of the property, Nanny Ashtoreth sat on the soft grass under a great oak with a six month old Warlock cradled in her arms.

Two ducks swam across the moonlit water, breaking a pattern in the silver ripples along the surface.

Her mind was deep in thought, beyond the garden around her and the boy in her arms. The sounds of the night were a white noise powering memories that hadn’t been addressed in years, not until now when the immediate purpose of raising a human had fallen upon her. She thought of a different garden, and a different boy in her arms, from a very long time ago. Her hands held the sleeping baby Warlock just a little bit closer against her dark dress.

Destroyer of worlds, prince of darkness… So innocent there with her. How dare her little hellion make her soul ache terribly for the future.

She wondered- tried her hardest to remember- when the last time she had held a child was. The memory kept escaping her, and she feared it was most likely for the best. Not often did a demon get to hold a newborn baby for simple purposes of life or celebration…

But Warlock…. He was hers. She could hold him like this, under the stars, without the weight of death upon either of them. And sure, his destiny was to bring about the end of the world one day too soon, but she couldn’t hide the little bit of pride she had for him. Right then, in that moment where it was just the two and the night all around, no problem could touch them. The future wasn’t there, he wasn’t the antichrist just yet- they still had a little bit of time, and a little bit of hope, dare she say it.

Oh, what a dangerous game she was playing, between a human boy, Hell, and-

“Oh, I thought I sensed you over here Crow- uh, I mean, Nanny!”

The angel. Yes, the human boy she was to raise, Hell, and the angel.

“No one’s around angel, you don’t have to call me that if you don’t want to.”

“Of course, my apologies dear.” Aziraphale smiled, normal teeth glowing in the dark, and sat next to her.

Nanny Ashtoreth looked over to him from behind dark lenses, and sighed as she turned away again immediately to gaze at the black pond. Aziraphale was dressed in his normal attire- no good a gardener could do at night, she supposed- and the loving smile the angel was sending her way was giving her too many chills to be comfortable. He was much too beautiful in the moonlight, and her weakened emotions were on a dangerous thread.

“Don’t you think Warlock’s parents will be quite concerned at the new nanny taking their infant out at three in the morning to sit next to the pond?” Aziraphale had no spite in his angelically soft voice.

“Don’t worry angel, his parents are gone for the weekend now. Six months in and already need a break from the child they rarely care to see anyways.” It was almost a growl as she kept her voice low.

Aziraphale smiled again, much more tender that time with understanding that radiated off of him.

“Well, you don’t have to keep the disguise up then, no one is around to see us.”

“Eh, well…” She mumbled with a tired shrug, “seems a bit rude otherwise… a demon, taking a baby out to the pond at three in the morning…”

Aziraphale chuckled at the half hearted joke, and Nanny Ashtoreth cursed the way it made whatever heart was inside her flutter. She smiled crookedly with joy she didn’t know what to do with. Warlock stirred in her arms, but only to burrow closer to her.

Silence fell between them once again, and Aziraphale sighed with content.

“You really think we have a shot at stopping the apocalypse then?” He whispered, watching the two ducks as they sat together out on the water, silhouettes in the moonlight.

“Am I allowed to say I hope so?”

The angel grinned, slow with admiration as he looked back to her with love.

“Of course, Crowley.”

The crickets and frogs sang; the demon almost looking over to the angel, but pretending to get distracted halfway by the suddenly interesting bushes in the yard.

“How’d you know I was out here by the way? What’d you mean when you said you sensed me, huh?” She took in a quiet sigh as she changed the subject.

“I could sense your love of course. Quite strong, even from across the yard.” The angel smiled with pride, not entirely for himself.

Nanny scoffed, and looked ahead again. She opened her mouth to disagree, growl about how she didn’t love anyone, she was a demon, full of hate- but the words of argument couldn’t make it out in anything other than a silent breath.

“Don’t be such a sap, angel, he’s not my boy. I’m only here to turn him into a monster,” She settled on.

Aziraphale debated responding, but he knew his friend didn’t truly accept her own words either. Whatever journey was ahead of them for the next eleven years, he knew they’d do it together- the three of them. A blink of the eye for two, and an entire childhood for the third. He looked away from the snake tattoo on Crowley’s temple he’d found himself gazing at again, and down to the sleeping baby, unable to imagine such a small precious life bringing fire and death to all. Maybe both of them were just fools to their own nature, he supposed- an angel unable to believe in born-evil, and a demon unable to hate it.

He wished his dear friend could get a little more time with the boy in her arms. But time was a thing neither of them could control, so they sat enjoying the moment while it lasted.

Somewhere in the garden around them, the crickets sang and the frogs joined in.