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It had been five years since the end of the world.  In that time, children had grown, relationships had blossomed, and the Earth had flourished.  It was far different than all those post-Apocalyptic movies suggested it might have been.  There were no gangs of scavengers roaming the streets, for one.  Of course, that probably had a lot to do with the fact that the Antichrist had somehow managed to become a reasonably well-adjusted teenager in the intervening years since the full destruction of the planet had been narrowly averted.

Meanwhile, though the collective hosts of both Heaven and Hell were still bitter over missing out on the war they’d been looking forward to for millennia, they had mostly moved on and were continuing to go about their everyday business.  They were sure they’d get another chance someday.  There were a few, though, that continued to harbor a serious grudge.

Zachariel, the youngest archangel, had been particularly excited about the Armageddon that wasn’t, given that it had been the primary reason he was created.  He’d found purpose in his other duties since then, of course, but the fledgling angel was often frustrated as he thought of what could have been.  He wasn’t alone.  Charmaine, a dominion who was about the same age as him, never needed any prompting to join Zachariel in sighing about the war that had been so narrowly avoided.  Often loudly.

As for the demon and angel involved in that bit of chaos, they had since moved into a small, comfortable cottage in the South Downs and were attempting to live lives of relative anonymity.  Some days, that went more smoothly than others.

It hadn’t all been a bed of roses.  (There was a bed of roses in the garden, and they were glorious, but that was beside the point.)  Aziraphale and Crowley were exactly alike and yet nothing alike.  This, of course, led to the occasional spat…though they were certainly used to those by now.  Overall, there were more good times than bad.  They had accepted that, for all the times they drove each other batty, they were also the yin to each other’s yang – and, honestly, probably the only ones in the universe who could put up with each other’s quirks.  It all worked out in the end.  Granted, there had been The Baptism Incident, but that’s another story for another day.  Heaven and Hell had been leaving them alone, and at this point, neither Crowley nor Aziraphale cared if it was out of pure fear or anything else.  The end justified the means…and they certainly had a few backup plans on standby should things change.

Among the angels, the upper administration had managed to keep rumors about a certain “Hellfire survivor” – they refused to say his name aloud, if they could avoid it – under wraps.  A few sharply-worded threats from Beelzebub had managed to keep whispers about “the one who bathes in holy water” quiet as well.  And, so, both organizations kept moving forward.  Among all three realms – Heaven, Earth, and Hell – things seemed relatively stable for the time being.

That, of course, was about to change.