Aziraphale rapped lightly on the door to announce himself, before miracling it open and entering Crowley's flat. Under normal circumstances, he'd wait politely until Crowley answered and ushered him in. But these weren't normal circumstances.
Crowley had called him on the phone, a simple message, "Get over here, angel. I'm at my place. I knew it all along!"
His voice had sounded a bit crazed.
And so, Aziraphale, all puffed up with flustered concern, had hurried right over. Never mind that Crowley had spent the previous night at the bookshop and he'd only just left an hour before, well-loved and grinning. Obviously, something had changed for the worse between then and now.
Of all the worries that had crossed Aziraphale's mind from the time he set down the phone until the moment he strode purposefully through the door of Crowley's flat — none of them had included a scenario with a duck in the kitchen.
But there it was in the sink, which Crowley had filled to the brim with temperate water, and it was paddling its little duck feet contentedly to keep afloat.
"Careful," said Crowley, because the duck had begun to emit a series of soft warning quacks as Aziraphale came closer. "Gotta go slow. Or he startles."
Crowley's hair was noticeably messier than usual, and he was sporting a series of red welts on his face and neck that might well have been beak marks.
Aziraphale stopped a careful distance from the sink. His gaze shifted from the duck to Crowley and then back again.
"Well, don't look at me," he said to the duck, who was looking at him. "I don't know why he's brought you here."
"Hah!" Crowley said. "Don't let him fool you. 'S not a proper duck."
With the flick of a finger, Crowley lifted the duck out of water, its feet still paddling uselessly, and he levitated it to the dark, polished marble of the kitchen island. He set it down, very gently, and then when it reared up and flapped its wings, he asked it to settle down, please.
The duck obeyed.
"We've come to an understanding," Crowley said.
The duck quacked, as if in agreement, and looked expectantly at Aziraphale.
"Told him you'd get the surveillance thingy out of his eye."
"Oh, goodness," Aziraphale said once he'd moved closer to examine both eyes of the hapless waterfowl.
The left eye was a normal, beady duck eye, full of appetite and menace. The right eye, however — the right eye was something else altogether. A swirl of cold, angelic light clouded its surface and the pupil looked quite a bit like the lens of a camera.
"Do you think Heaven's been using ducks all along. Or is this something new?"
"Dunno," Crowley said. "Can you fix it? Make him a normal duck again? He wants to be a normal duck. Said so."
"Yes. I can fix this. I just have to–"
"Wait!" Crowley grabbed his hand, stopping Aziraphale before he began the miracle. "Not yet."
"What on earth... oh," Aziraphale said as Crowley pulled him into an embrace and then a kiss.
"Let's send them a message first. Before you destroy the camera."
Crowley resumed the kiss, and it was a lovely one, full of love and tenderness — those gentle things Heaven wouldn't have believed possible for a demon — with just enough desire mixed in to shock any angel that wasn't Aziraphale.
All the while, the duck kept its eye on them.
In another plane of reality altogether, a lesser cherub pressed the emergency call button at their desk, summoning Gabriel and Michael to the surveillance department. Perhaps the archangels could watch the live feed with them and help them make sense of what was happening.
What, exactly, were the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley doing to each other's faces? And also, what did it symbolize for the angel to gesture, like so, at the camera, his middle finger pointing skyward?