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The Old Switcheroo

Chapter Text

"God does not play games with the universe."

Yeah fucking right.


It was a cool autumn morning, and a peculiar pair - a demon and an angel, both rogue agents, 'traitors' to their particular causes - were walking down the street together to a certain A. Z. Fell's bookshop.

The angel's - Aziraphale's - hands were full. In one hand, he carried a box, containing a number of small, sweet pastries from the lovely café he and his partner had just finished breakfast at. They were a treat for later - though, not much later, seeing how they just looked far too delicious for him to resist.

The only reason he wasn't currently munching on one as he walked was because his other hand was occupied with holding the free hand of the demon, Crowley, walking beside him. Crowley's other hand was less busy than any of the other three in question, simply resting in a pocket of his tight trousers.

The front door shut quietly behind them as they stepped inside the bookshop, chatting about the morning behind and the day ahead.

"I almost want to head straight back there already!" Aziraphale chuckled. "Oh, the waffles, dear, they were darn near divine!"

Crowley smirked. "Angel, I was there, if you recall. I think I might've been able to tell that they were good based on all your little 'oh, this is really tasty' noises."

"Well, yes..." Aziraphale paused as he set down the box on a nearby table. "...But they were really tasty, I just can't understate that! Perfect, I might even say!"

Crowley pouted exaggeratedly for a second at that. "Never called me perfect before. You like those waffles more than me, eh?"

It was a joking tease, evident from the amused look on Crowley's face, but the angel reassured him anyway, kissing his cheek. "Of course not, darling. I just thought it was obvious enough that you're perfect that it didn't warrant saying out loud. There's nothing I could love more than you."

"And..." Crowley draped his arms around Aziraphale and pulled him closer. "Nothing more than you, either, love."

They were allowed a brief moment to share a kiss before being rudely interrupted by the ring of Crowley's phone in his pocket. He rolled his eyes at the sound (the most generic ringtone possible, for the nuisance factor) and quickly tapped ignore on the call. An unknown number? Expecting him to answer? In this day and age? Not likely.

"Was somebody telephoning you just now?" Aziraphale asked, glancing at the demon's pocket. "Who could that have been?"

"Oh, nobody." Crowley responded. "Nobody worth talking to, 's just gonna be someone asking if I'm getting the best deal on my energy bills or something."

"...You don't pay energy bills."

"Exactly. Not worth talking to."

No sooner than Crowley had spoken, his phone rang again, showing the same unspecified caller, and he denied them yet again with a huff.

"Persistent today, aren't we?" he tutted.

The phone sounded off yet again, and this time, Crowley had barely enough time to put the thing away again before it did. And this time, no ringtone was heard, just the voice on the other end coming through regardless of the lack of answering.

"What on earth is the point of being able to be contacted at any time if we simply have to do things the sort of old-fashioned way?!" a demonic voice snapped.

Crowley's face dropped. "Oh no."

"Oh no?" Aziraphale repeated.

"-only bloody functioning electronic device within your vicinity, where even could you be-" the voice continued to ramble.

Crowley looked to Aziraphale with a grimace. "Hell."

"Oh no."

"-first day here at this job and I get to call upon the elusive Crawley, yay me, I know you scared everybody and all, but that doesn't give you an excuse to make my job harder, I'm having a shitty day as is, and you don't scare me, you bastard, you're not better than any of us-"

Crowley answered the call and set it to speaker before they really flipped their lid. "Crowley speaking. Good for you, great to hear there's still someone who's gonna be a challenge to scare after the... the bath thing. Love to give it a try sometime. Um, am I still not on a 'do not call' list down there then?"

The phone went dead silent for a few seconds, then the voice spoke again, far more timidly than before. "...Uh... I... you heard all of... I meant to make it ring again, not-"

"S'alright, people've said worse to me. Just get on with it."

"R-right." The young demon cleared their throat. "Lord Beelzebub has ordered your attendance to a meeting with them immediately."

Crowley's already cold serpentine blood ran even colder. "Wh... what for?"

"They didn't specify. Something big, it seems. And they want you there now."

"...And if I don't want to go? Can't really touch me, can you?"

"We don't know what the punishment will be if you don't turn up, either, considering the... water incident... but we've been assured it'll be worse than attending. So, there's that to keep in mind."

"And if I'm busy?"

"Then be not busy."

"Sounds like an empty threat to me."

"Well... you can believe what you want. None of my business. I'm just delivering the message. Definitely wouldn't recommend skiving though."

"Right," Crowley sighed. "Okay, alright, duly noted."

"Don't keep them waiting, Crawley."

And with that, the phone went silent again.

"You- mph, little cheeky bugger."

"Well," Aziraphale, having heard the entire conversation, piped up. "That's... alarming."

"You're telling me." Crowley frowned. "Ugh, what do they want with me? Months of silence and all of a sudden Beelzebub themself wants an audience with me again."

"You're going now, I presume?" the angel responded with an equally concerned expression.

"Seems like I don't have a choice. But... something smells fishy about it, angel."

"Hmm, yes, I'm certainly not liking this. Oh," Aziraphale took Crowley's hands in his own and kissed them, squeezing them tightly. "Crowley, dear, do be careful, won't you?"

"'Course I will. Oi, love, in case anything happens to me-"

"Oh, perish the thought. But... if so, I'll make sure to raise hell about it." Aziraphale answered with a smile. "Or... heaven. Or both!"

Crowley couldn't suppress a smile of his own. "I was gonna say I want you to know how much I love you, but that works too."

"Ah. Yes, of course. And I love you too, dearest. Immensely."

With a few more moments, one more kiss, and a "Wish me luck!", Crowley had disappeared, on his way down to his old workplace, and Aziraphale had sat down with a book to try and keep his mind off his partner's current predicament.

And very shortly after, someone arrived at the bookshop, disregarding the 'closed' sign, and entered.


It had been some time since Crowley had last been to Hell. Longer still since he himself had actually been there, and not just Aziraphale wearing his visage while he was off in heaven doing the reverse. The place hadn't changed at all in those few months. Still as dim and dank and dingy as ever. Messy, and crowded, and full of the worst folks around.

The throng of demons parted nervously as Crowley made his way through the hallways to Beelzebub's throne room, the lights overhead flickering intermittently. The anxious looks on the other demons' faces upon seeing him served to calm his own worries, if only slightly. It was easier to act the part of the immeasurably powerful demon who was immune to holy water when everyone else already believed him to be exactly that.

This is fine, he convinced himself, so that it might possibly be true. This... is okay. In much the same manner, and with the same intensity, that he made himself believe his car was functional just months prior, he kept believing that everything was going to be just fine. Perhaps his imagination would even work again.

He kept the thought running through his mind all the way up until he stood before Beelzebub, where it quickly disappeared as they spoke and brought him back into the moment.

"So, you actually came."

Crowley nodded in their direction, as nonchalantly as possible. "Alright, Beelzy?"

"No need for the pleasantriezzz, Crowley, let's get straight to it." Their voice held the same cold, unimpressed authority as it always did. On the other hand, their position in their seat was stiff and guarded - still slouching, but noticably off from the lazy way they usually sat.

"Yeah, alright. So, uh, what's the deal, then? Bringing me down here? Thought you wouldn't wanna see me back here after... y'know, last time."

"Yes, well, we don't want to see you here, but there's newzzz, and we've all decided it would be better to tell you on our own turf."

"Whatever you say." Crowley shrugged. "What's the news?"

Beelzebub got straight to it. "It's clear to all of us in Hell, especially after your dealings with the antichrist, that none of us here are all that fond of you,"

"Ouch?"

"And it would appear the feeling izzz mutual. Am I wrong?"

Crowley paused for a second. "To be honest... nah, mate. Spot on."

"Good to hear. Well then, here's some good news for you." They went silent, leaving him in suspense as they sat up and leaned forward. "For the first time ever, Heaven says they're taking a Fallen angel back in. That being you."

Those few words were enough to leave Crowley speechless, dumbstruck. Beelzebub continued, to try and hasten his processing of the new information.

"You're officially an angel again."


"Um," Aziraphale called out into the nearly-empty shop. "Shop's closed right now, I'm afraid! I'm not sure if you saw the sign, but you'll have to come back later! Goodbye!" He felt rather silly for not having locked the door. Then again, his hands had been full, and his mind was preoccupied.

"Oh, I'm not here as a customer." an all-too familiar voice called back, its source heading closer to the angel.

He knew exactly who it was.

"Oh, lord."

Gabriel stepped into view, his hands clasped together, and his gaze met Aziraphale's own displeased one.

"Aziraphale." he greeted simply, with a synthetic, strained smile.

"Gabriel." Aziraphale closed his book and set it aside. "I wasn't expecting guests today."

"And I wasn't expecting to be a guest. But," Gabriel shrugged. "Business demands it."

Business. As if Aziraphale hadn't wanted the conversation to be over quick enough.

"Right. How are things in heaven, then? Good? Fantastic. What are you doing in my home?"

The archangel was unprepared for Aziraphale's curtness, but managed to keep his surprised reaction to a minimum, just a twitch and a deep breath as he readied himself to speak again.

Gabriel's smile faded to a put-on frown. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Aziraphale, but we've received word that you're, uh... well, to put it simply... you're officially Fallen."


"Wh..." Crowley never was excellent with his words. "What if I don't wanna be an angel again?"

"Tough luck. It's been decided already." Beelzebub answered simply.

"The- you- there's- no, there's no way. I stepped out of line, I'm, y'know, unforgivable."

"Evidently, there is a way. Congratulations, forgiveness found. As of today, you're dismissed of your demonic duties. Now," They slouched back again with a hint of a sneer on their face. "Get out before you stink the place out with goodness. Ugh."

The concept almost refused to set in for Crowley. He stood, stunned, yellow eyes fixed on nothing as Beelzebub's words echoed in his head.

Beelzebub spoke up again to bring his attention back. "Do I need to remind you of the way out?"

Crowley shook his head. "N-no. No, I'll... see myself out."

Without another word between them, he turned and left. The short walk to exit Hell felt as though it stretched out into hours as his thoughts filled with fog and confusion, a thousand questions hitting him at once.

Why? And why now? Was this because of the averted apocalypse? He would've thought the reaction would be quicker than the gap of months between then and now if that were the case. What's he done for this? Thousands and thousands of years as a demon, and now... now what? He's just supposed to take up his old role up above again like millennia hasn't passed since before his Fall? What in the fuck?

Before he knew it, he was back up the escalator, stepping off it. He took a second, now free from the stuffy, oppressive environment down below, to take a deep breath. He had to calm himself down. He had to get a grip.

In. Out. In. Out. Breaths he didn't really need to take, but did anyway - they did help with the agitation in his corporeal body, at least somewhat.

He tried to focus on the definite positives to the situation, rather than the potential negatives. Hey, he had another thing in common with Aziraphale again! And he didn't have to work (Well, neither he nor Aziraphale did much work for either side lately - they did still do plenty of blessings and damnings and the like, just more that they carried out on their own terms and less that they were ordered to do - but still.) alongside all the gloomy bastards down there anymore!

Shit, this was a free pass to work closely with Aziraphale - even if they'd 'worked' as closely as they could do for the past few months without regard for any consequences, and actually worked together - fairly closely, considering who they were - for centuries. And-!

His thoughts were cut off by the sound of someone clearing their throat from the top of the other set of escalators. The ones that went up from his current position, that he now knew he'd be climbing soon enough. He turned to face them, and-

Ugh. Michael.

"Demo- mmph, Crowley?" They gestured behind them. "Gabriel will be back soon to welcome you to your new position. Or, rather, your old one, I suppose. Head on up, if you would."

Now there's a definite negative. Every other bloody angel.


"I... um..." Aziraphale stuttered. "I'm sorry, I don't quite understand."

Gabriel sighed. "The Almighty's seen fit to... fire you, so to speak. You're being kicked out of Heaven, and deprived of your angel status."

Aziraphale frowned, his brow furrowed. "Wh... No, no, that can't be right... What could I have done to bring this about?"

"We..." The archangel seemed to think hard for a second. "...Can't be too sure, but if I had to guess? It probably has something to do with the whole... 'having a hand in stopping armageddon' thing."

"Well, that definitely can't be right, that was months ago!" Aziraphale protested. "Surely She would've reprimanded me sooner than this, were that the case. And what about... you know, the cancelling of the apocalypse being part of the ineffable plan? If that weren't meant to happen, She... She wouldn't've let it, would she?"

Gabriel shrugged. "God works in mysterious ways, Aziraphale. Her decisions are Her decisions."

Silence hung between them as Aziraphale digested Gabriel's news, almost saying something, and almost saying something again. Any words he came up with got caught in his throat, though, tightening it, choking him, silencing themselves.

Thousands of years spent being afraid of Falling came rushing back to him in an instant. Of course, of course this would happen just after he'd managed to shake that very fear. Yes, he and Crowley were no longer loyal to either side, just themselves, but it was a shock to the system. Words he thought he'd worked hard enough not to hear, an announcement he'd avoided for so long.

He couldn't be sure whether he would've preferred to have the news broken to him long ago or right now. For an Aziraphale of years past, it would've been confirmation that he wasn't good enough, that, careful as he was, he just couldn't reach Heaven's standards. And - though he hadn't yet considered it - for the Aziraphale now, it was a slap in the face, a declaration that all his elaborate efforts to work with Crowley while keeping things the same as always were all for nought.

He was so sure he'd be able to deal with the news better, but it was really the one thing he'd been afraid of most, all this time.

The one thing... alongside...

His eyes blew wide open, and his already-fidgeting hands shook.

No...

"Wait!" he exclaimed. "Um... Cr-Crowley..."

"Your demon buddy? What about him?" Gabriel asked dismissively.

"He was here, just now, um..."

"Yes, I thought it smelled particularly evil in here today. Though, I guess that could be down to the new..." The archangel gestured up and down Aziraphale's form. "Essence, that you're getting. Your new job. All tha-"

"He was summoned away by Hell for something just a moment before you arrived. Is he..." Aziraphale interrupted, urging the conversation back on track. He swallowed hard, too anxious to voice his greatest worries. "Does this have something to do with that? Is- is he alright?"

Gabriel looked around, disinterested. "Hard to say. That's Hell's dealings, not ours."

The answer did nothing at all to assure Aziraphale.

"Anyway!" Gabriel clapped his hands together. "Just came down to let you know. Oh, and, uh, by the way, you've got until the end of the day to finish up any business you've got upstairs, collect any of your things you've still got there, anything like that. Gonna have to close the gates on you after that."

Aziraphale's nails dug into the flesh of his hands with how tight his fretful grip became.

"Well," Gabriel continued, unconcerned with Aziraphale responding. "This is goodbye, I suppose."

Without waiting another second, he turned to exit, and Aziraphale was left alone, trembling.

His body almost felt numb enough from the flurry of confusion within him that he almost didn't notice a tingle running up his spine moments later. It began as a tingle, and escalated. A tingle, a light burn, a searing burn, pain.

He felt his wings burst forth through it all, and caught the reflection of them in a nearby mirror. Flames sprouted from the spot where they connected to his back, and licked outwards across his snowy white feathers. As they spread, they turned darker, darker, until they were entirely black as pitch, and the flames snuffed themselves out on the very tips of the wings.

Then suddenly, when the fire dissipated, he felt, rather than saw, the area of floor below him open up and pull him into emptiness.

And then he was Falling.

Chapter Text

Heaven wasn't too far off from how Crowley remembered it, he mused to himself as he followed behind Michael. He hadn't got to properly take in the surroundings last time he was there, impersonating Aziraphale - he'd been more focused on keeping up the act - but this time he got enough of an eyeful to analyse it a little.

Sterile, full of empty space, no decor in the slightest. And most of all, covered floor to ceiling with whiteness and bright light - it was something his eyes hadn't been accustomed to in such a while that he had to squint a little to bear it, even behind his sunglasses.

"So," Crowley piped up over the uncomfortable quietness of the place. "When's he coming?"

"In a moment." Michael stopped suddenly, and turned to face him. "Wait right here." Then, they walked off.

Crowley was left alone for no longer than a minute, but the simultaneous anxiety and boredom of being left in an unfamiliar(ish) place stretched it out to feel far longer. He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets with a sigh, and absentmindedly began to tap his feet on the floor.

Bit of a stupid move, leaving me here like this already, free to roam about and do whatever, he thought to himself. Could cause a big old mess if I wanted.

And he did want to, it sounded like a right laugh, making a bit of trouble while unsupervised in Heaven of all places. But he concluded that it wouldn't be the best thing to do at the moment and put the idea aside. For now.

Finally, Gabriel arrived, striding over to the un-Fallen demon casually as anything.

"Crowley!" he greeted, with the coldest warmth in his voice.

Crowley's eyes burned into him through his shades. Their last encounter (as unknown to the archangel) had been, to say the least, not the best. "Hmm. Been a while, eh, Gabe?"

"It's... Gabriel."

"Oh, sorry, lemme correct myself." Crowley said, dripping with sarcasm. "Been a while, eh, twat-features?"

Gabriel took a deep breath, then let his face fall back into an artificial smile. "You know, I have to wonder if you even need another introduction to Heaven. I mean, you haven't been back here for a long time, but... you remember your way around, right?"

A long time since he'd been there while he still held the status of an angel, yeah, but oh, he'd been back since then.

"Yeah, well enough, I suppose." Crowley responded, shrugging.

"Fantastic." Gabriel patted Crowley on the shoulder harshly. "Welcome aboard again! And congratulations on Her forgiveness."

Crowley bristled at the touch, and frowned. "Yeah, yeah."

"Well, we'll be in touch about your duties soon."

And with that, Gabriel made to leave.

"'Congratulations on Her forgiveness'." Crowley mocked under his breath once the archangel was firmly out of earshot. "Prick."

"Oh!" Gabriel suddenly exclaimed, turning back towards Crowley. "Almost forgot. One more thing."

With a point of Gabriel's finger, Crowley's wings appeared, and the ex-demon looked towards them inquisitively.

"What's all this about, then?" Crowley asked.

"Give them a shake." Gabriel suggested.

"Why?"

"You'll see."

Crowley saw no good coming of not doing so, and had them flap just the once. Masses of ash suddenly fell from them, reminding him of a thick layer of dust blown off of one of Aziraphale's old tomes. Beneath the ash, freshly revealed, were pristine white wings, like he'd had before his fall.

"Hmm." Gabriel made a face at the dark mess now covering the floor. "In retrospect, I should've told you to do that outside. No worries, I'll get someone to clean that up."

Crowley frowned. "I liked them black."

"Yes, I can see these aren't really your..." Gabriel looked Crowley over, up and down. "Style. But those weren't wings of an angel, so, uh... they had to go."

"Right." Crowley tutted. "Oi, why am I being brought back here now, anyway?"

"Well," Gabriel forced his smile back again. "Seems you've just got too much good in you, Crowley."

"Hm. Yeah. Enough good to be damned for thousands of years, eh?"

Gabriel decided to not respond to the question, and walked off with a small wave, calling back to Crowley as he left.

"Great to have you on board again!"


The act of Falling itself, in the moment, felt like an endless drop. With no possible landing in sight, there was no way of telling how long the Fall would be. All Aziraphale had was an indeterminable amount of time to reflect on what led him to that point.

The landing, however, made it feel like it had only taken seconds to Fall, regardless of how long it may have actually taken. Everything burned. Harshly, intensely, so much so that it burst through the dizziness from the freefall and consumed every nerve in his body.

Aziraphale fought through the burning pain, struggling to make sense of anything around him. He wasn't on solid ground, he knew that at least. It was almost as though he were still falling, but the air around him was thicker, there was a resistance when he moved his limbs.

It wasn't air, he realised. It was liquid. It was boiling hot sulphur.

With all the effort he could muster, he made his way through the deathly pool of liquid and climbed out. Once free, he collapsed at the very edge and rolled onto his back, panting heavily as relief washed over him and the sulphur ran off him. The majority of the pain had faded away once he breached the surface, and the rest was slowly ebbing with it.

His eyes opened at last, and he spent a moment taking in his surroundings. Besides the bubbling sulphur beside him, there were the walls and ceiling - fairly familiar, from what he saw - a door, closed, and not much else.

"Oh," he sighed to himself, disappointedly recognisant. "I know this place."

As if on cue, a somewhat familiar demon opened the door. It was one of them from just behind the viewing window at Crowley's trial - he vaguely remembered their expression from when he'd splashed water at the glass.

They looked Aziraphale up and down. "You're the new recruit?"

"Um," He hesitated. "I... I suppose?"

"Come on, then." they said dully, motioning for him to follow them before exiting.

After a moment of processing their request, he scrambled to his feet. He took pause for another second, looking around anxiously, then quickly caught up to follow behind them.

They led him on a path he'd walked almost exactly before, to the very same room where he'd tricked all of Hell. It looked just the same as it had looked the last time, but minus the bathtub and the majority of the demons.

"My lord," they called as the pair of them entered the room. "The newly Fallen angel has arrived."

He stood before Beelzebub, who was sat upon their throne - again, the same as last time. Once they'd given him an appraising look, they spoke up.

"So, Aziraphale, was it?"

"Ah, y-yes, and you're... Beelzebub, prince of hell." He nodded at the high-ranking demon, wringing his hands nervously. "Um... Nice... to meet you?"

"Pleasure'zzz all yours. Welcome to Hell."


Crowley grumbled all the way back to the bookshop, mumbling curses to his old-new bosses that he couldn't properly act on anymore.

As he opened the door, a wave of something washed over him, potent enough to take his breath away for a moment.

"Wh..." he panted. "The fuck?"

He stepped into the shop, and though the feeling faded, it didn't disappear, faintly lingering deep in his chest somewhere. Great, things were getting weird already. Whatever. He just wanted to sit in Aziraphale's lap and tell him about what had happened and put today's events behind him. He could figure out how to dodge all the new Heaven bullshit later.

"Oi, angel!" he called into the empty shop. "I'm back, love! Oh, you're not gonna believe what happened!"

He was greeted only by silence.

"Angel?" he repeated.

No response.

A good five minutes was spent by him wandering around the shop, checking every area, every nook and cranny, for Aziraphale - yes, he would have likely preferred to be sitting on a comfy chair to read or whatever, but who knows, he could be curled up in a corner, hidden away where Crowley couldn't spot him. For some reason.

"Aziraphale!" Crowley called one last time, once the whole building had been thoroughly searched.

Useless.

He began to panic. Did something happen while he was gone? Something he wasn't around to prevent? Fuck, had Aziraphale been discorporated somehow? Or worse?

A moment of clarity broke through the encroaching darkness, and he managed to keep himself under control. He'd considered what to do in a situation like this after that 'thought my best friend got killed in the burning wreckage of his bookshop' thing. There were still things to try before jumping to the worst possible conclusion.

He pulled out his phone, and called up a special miraculous number he'd set up. It'd ring the closest phone to Aziraphale, any phone of any form. If he at least heard it ring, then Aziraphale was alive and corporeal.

Thank fuck, it rang. Once, twice, three times, then an answer.

"Yeah, you've reached Hell, who's calling?" a slightly familiar voice asked upon picking up.

"...What in the fuck?" Crowley exclaimed in his surprise.

"Who's calling?" they repeated.

He'd never get to the bottom of things if he didn't respond to the question, he could tell already.

"Recently ex-demon, doesn't matter. Who are you and why are you not Aziraphale?"

"Oh, looking for the new fellow, are you?"

He recognised the voice now. He was on the phone with the same demon as that morning.

"The new fellow? Wh- oh, for the love of- shit!"

"I'm assuming you want me to put him on the line?" the young demon asked.

"I- he-" Crowley stuttered. "Shit, yes, put me through to him, what's he doing down there with you?!"

He received no answer for a good minute or so, anxiously awaiting to hear his angel. But the sheer relief once he did...

"Hello?" Aziraphale's voice came clearly through the phone. "Um, who might this be?"

"Jesus fuck, angel," Crowley sighed. "You have no idea how much I needed to hear you talk."

"Oh! Oh? Oh, Crowley, dear, is that you? Oh, thank goodness, it's such an comfort to hear you, too!"

"Yes, it's me, you- ugh look, I got back to the bookshop and you weren't there, no note saying you went out or anything - what the hell is going on?"

"Ah. Interesting wording you used, there - because, well, you see... I'm actually in Hell right now."

"Yeah, I can tell that! Their bloody receptionist or whatever just put me through to you!"

"...Yes, that would tip it off, hm?"

"Are you okay? What are they doing to you?"

"Don't worry, I'm just fine. I think. Um..." Aziraphale paused just long enough to cause concern for Crowley. "Long story short, I'm sort of in the middle of something. I'll explain later - be with you soon, love!"

When he'd finished speaking, Aziraphale quickly hung up, leaving Crowley confused, concerned, and just a bit lonely in the shop.

His string of "Shit, shit, shit- what in the fuck-" that he spouted in his frustration went unheard.

Meanwhile, in Hell, Aziraphale placed the handset down on the rotary phone presented to him, and handed it back to the young demon beside him with an "Um... thankyou."

"Azzz I was saying, before we were interrupted," Beelzebub said. "You'll receive the first of your demonic duties in the near future."

Aziraphale nodded. "Right. I'll, um, keep an ear open."

"Always helps to have more people on board. Welcome, Aziraphale. Now," They gestured towards the door. "Run along. You'll be shown the way out."

He nodded again. And then, run along he did.


Crowley could've exploded with all the nervous energy inside him. Aziraphale had told him not to worry, but how was he supposed to not?! He was an angel, down in Hell for some unknown reason. He considered that something to worry about.

He paced around the bookshop for minutes on end, fidgeting and tidying and fixing up things here and there around the shop, just to have something to do while his head tortured him with possibilities.

At last, thank Go- Sa- well, actually, he was apparently an angel now, so perhaps he could switch up the language to the more commonly used stuff without gagging on names, now - thank God, Aziraphale finally returned.

"Crowley?" he called, making sure to miracle the door locked behind him as it closed this time. "Crowley, darling, are you still here?"

The ex-demon, who had been on the exact opposite side of the room, practically threw himself at the ex-angel to embrace him.

"Awh, fuck, Aziraphale," He pulled back momentarily to kiss him. "I thought I lost you again for a second there."

"Don't you worry, dear, I'm here." Aziraphale reassured with a soft smile and a chuckle, hugging him back. "Won't get rid of me that easily!"

Crowley couldn't help but let out a small laugh of his own at that, and wrapped his arms tighter around the other being.

And then he noticed him wince when he ran his hands up Aziraphale's back.

"What's wrong?" he questioned, their levity immediately disappearing. "Are you hurt? Did they hurt you down there?"

Aziraphale couldn't lie about it. "It only hurts a bit. And, no, it... it wasn't... entirely them? I'm not quite sure who oversees the, um... the wing stuff. And the pits aren't really a 'they', so... Never mind that, though - did they hurt you? I know how Hell can be."

Crowley shook his head. "Doesn't matter, what does matter is how did they hurt you?"

"Yes, it does matter, Crowley!" Aziraphale looked almost offended. "It's been a long, strange morning, and I love you, and I want to know you're okay!"

"I'm...! I'm fine, angel. No-one did anything to me."

Aziraphale frowned. Something was off. "Dear, what happened when you left?"

Crowley took a deep breath. "Well, uh... I was... informed that - you're never gonna believe this - um..."

The ex-angel took his hand in his own in an attempt at encouragement. It seemed to work.

"I'm... fuck, Aziraphale, I'm an angel again!"

Aziraphale blinked at him. "You're... what?"

"I know, it baffles me too! They just... pff... told me I'd been accepted into heaven!"

"Hmm... I see..." Aziraphale's mind had gone blank, zeroing in only on the new information.

"'S not really bad, or good, or anything really, is it? Just weird." Crowley thought aloud. "But we're... well, we're on our side anyway, but on a superficial level, hey! Same... usual, weird, other binary side! Isn't that something?"

"Um... Yes, that surely is... something."

"Now, angel," Crowley continues, his face growing serious again. "What happened to you?"

Aziraphale gulped. "Well..." He went quiet for a few moments as he wondered how to break the news just after Crowley had managed to find the bright side of his own change. "In short, dear, you might have to find yourself another pet name for me. To replace that one."

Crowley looked confused now. "Eh?"

"Because... 'angel' doesn't exactly fit anymore."

Chapter Text

"They look like mine," Crowley mused from the seat across from Aziraphale's, forlornly admiring the other's unfurled wings and their new, shadowy look. "Well, how they used to, just a little while earlier."

"I could say the same for yours." Aziraphale responded, regarding Crowley's wings similarly.

"If I didn't know better," Crowley continued. "I'd say they got switched around entirely. Only mine aren't nearly this messy."

He went to adjust one of many out of place feathers on one of Aziraphale's wings - one that was particularly bugging him - grooming him like he knew the ang- hmn, demon never did himself. He retracted his hand like it had been burned, though, when Aziraphale flinched at the touch, sucking in air through his teeth.

"Shit, sorry, babes, almost forgot." Crowley blurted out, panicked.

"It's alright." Aziraphale responded. "Mmh, they still sting so much."

"Yeah, they'll still be raw for a while. Couple days, at least. That was my experience, anyway."

"I see... How are yours? I'm sure they must feel different, somehow."

Crowley turned his attention inward, focusing on how his wings, with their new appearance, felt.

"Lighter, I suppose? Not too much, though, I really have to pay attention to notice it." He moved them then, slowly, gently, back and forth, testing their motion. "They're still the same, but... really slightly different."

Aziraphale hummed to himself at that. "Now, why does that sound familiar?"

The pair shared a chuckle, then the room fell into a comfortable quietness.

"You know," Aziraphale piped up at last. "I think they rather suit you, if I'm honest."

"I don't. The wing change was one of the upsides to my Fall, in my opinion." Crowley scoffed. "...You really think so?"

"Really and truly, my dear. They look nice on you."

The now-angel rolled his eyes. "'Nice'. What have we said about-" He cut himself off as a realisation hit him. "Awh, fuck, I'm supposed to be nice now."

"Won't be too different from usual, then." Aziraphale teased.

"Oh, shut up, you."

"You can't say I'm wrong, though."

"I'm only interested in being nice to you. Not really the makings of anything angelic, I'd say."

"I've seen evidence that would disagree with that first statement, but to each their own, I suppose."

Crowley huffed, but didn't continue that line of conversation. "...Y'know, yours suit you, too. You look good with the black."

"Oh," Aziraphale's smirk shifted to a pleased smile. "Thankyou, darling. I must say, they are growing on me. I wasn't so sure about the colour contrast, but having had another look at them... well, it's... what with how they remind me of yours, or, how they used to look..." He glanced back at the darkened wings. "...It feels like... having a part of you with me."

The angel blinked back at him, stuttering. His face became tinged with red.

"Sorry," Aziraphale said, waving a hand dismissively. "No, that's a bit silly, isn't it? That's the look of demon wings in general, not just yours. I've just... seen yours the most, so I associate the colour with you..."

"No, no!" Crowley suddenly protested. "That's... I wouldn't say it's silly. 'S... it's sweet, really. Thinking about it... uh, same here."

"Ah. Um. Good to hear." the demon said, then snickered and latched onto a new subject. "Don't go calling me sweet, now - I'm not supposed to be that anymore, am I?"

Crowley smiled back. "Don't you worry, ang- oh, that's gonna get some taking used to - don't worry, you're enough of a bastard to do the job."

The pair shared a quick laugh, then sat together quietly for a short minute, confirming to themselves their new situation and taking in the new images of eachother. It was Crowley who broke the silence.

"You wanna know something, 'Zira?"

Aziraphale gave a questioning look. "'Zira?"

"Uh... same syllable count as 'angel', I thought it'd be an alright replacement." Crowley explained. "Would you prefer I didn't use that?"

"No, that's alright - I like it! What were you going to say, dear?"

"Well... I think we're being fucked with."

"You do?"

"Think about it." Crowley said, sitting up straighter and crossing one leg over the other. "This whole thing came out of nowhere. It's been months since the apocalypse business, we've been doing all this other shit that we're not supposed to do for millennia, and yet now the big boss decides we're supposed to Fall and... Rise?"

Aziraphale nodded. "Yes, I questioned that as well."

"This isn't some slow bureaucratic paperwork bullshit finally going through, this is an order right from God, and I know damn well that kinda thing gets processed A-S-A-P. Someone, be it Her or someone else, is fucking with us."

"She is quite prone to that."

"Prone to it. Ha!" Crowley shook his head. "That's all She does. Everything, from the beginning of time - tragedies, death, everything like that - all She does is fuck with everything and everyone on Earth. All part of her divine, ineffable, bullshit plan. And since we're apparently part of that plan..."

"...She's fucking with us, too." Aziraphale finished.

An amused smile grew on the angel's face at his partner's words. "Exactly."


~Two Days Prior~

An apartment block in an American town was burning. Flames consumed the building, lighting it up as a beacon in the dark night.

Residents of the flats - families, partners, roommates, and lone singular people of all kinds - fled from the collapsing building in fear, running for their lives and gathering across the road, watching on in horror as their homes were lost to them before their eyes, like the audience to their own personalised tragic play.

The sirens of a fire engine blared in the distance, growing closer. The shaken crowd failed to pay attention to them as they cried and checked on eachother's health, disbelieving of the upheaval of their normal lives.

A short distance from the devastated crowd, unseen and unknown to them, stood a demon. Even if the people could see them, they would have no idea of their demonic nature, and especially not of their status in Hell. They were the prince of Hell, Beelzebub, and while they weren't usually one for doing this kind of work themselves, they simply... felt like it tonight.

A young man had had a grudge against another man who lived on the second floor of the building. It had been easy for them to amplify the wrathful thoughts in his head and inspire him into committing a little arson. Then, all they had to do was stand back and watch as he carried out the crime and let his soul fall into Hell's hands.

They didn't even consider all the ill will that the incident would lead to. Ripples leading out in a pool of sin weren't a concept demons were generally interested in. There was point A and point B (the man's initial hate and the burning of the building, respectively) and that was it, in their eyes. If there was a point C, a point C.1, C.2, C.3, or more... well, there'd be more souls damned, but that was just a bonus on top of the single individual who had sinned.

There was one demon who planned elaborate damnations of throngs of souls, but those instances went generally unrecognised by his peers. And they all thought he was a bit of a prick.

Suddenly, Beelzebub felt something in the air that made them pull a face. Something... good.

"Now, that... Wow, that's terrible." came a familiar voice from beside them, in a fascinated tone unfitting of the words it spoke.

They looked over at the owner of the voice, confirming it was exactly who they thought it was. "Archangel Gabriel." They greeted coldly.

Gabriel nodded at the demon. "Beelzebub."

The pair had done business before, yes, for the trials of a certain other angel and demon, but they weren't friends of any kind, not even acquaintances, of course not.

Still, conversation about work wasn't out of the question.

"What are you doing here, then?" Beelzebub asked, still looking at the scene before them rather than the angel they were talking to.

"Isn't it obvious?" Gabriel replied. "I'm here to influence a few thoughts into being pure. Maybe let these folks have a little miracle or two in this dark hour."

The angel gestured to a woman at the edge of the crowd who was kneeling on the floor in front of a small, unconscious child, and crying hysterically as she and a few people around her tried all they could to wake him.

"Her, over there. Did you see the little guy who got stuck under that chunk of fallen ceiling in there? That's his mother."

"Yes, I'd noticed. What about them?" Beelzebub asked.

"He's not gonna make it. His little four-year-old lungs aren't going to be able to handle the smoke that he breathed in. He'll be dead by the morning. But that lady? She's going to become incredibly charitable after this. She'll go on to care for others as best as she can now that she can't care for her own child anymore."

"Well then. We'll have to put special attention on her to win her over to our side. Thanks for the information."

Gabriel sighed, hoping the woman would resist Hell's temptations.

"Hey," he piped up after a few moments of silence, changing the topic. "Unrelated, but... I've been meaning to ask, how'd that trial with your traitor go?"

"Crowley?" the demon responded in surprise. "Not exactly as planned. He wriggled his way out of execution. Somehow."

Gabriel raised an eyebrow. "Yours too?"

"Yes. I'd ask if you sent down faulty holy water, but we tested for that while we were there."

"Faulty? Of course not! We upstairs are true to our word." There was a beat as a thought hit him. "Wait, you're not bringing that up because you sent us faulty hellfire, are you?"

"Would you like me to give you a personal demonstration of just how functional our hellfire is?"

"Okay, okay, no, I get it, it was functioning properly."

"Either way, they're immune to our tools of destruction against them, and they got off scot-free." Beelzebub folded their arms. "At least Crowley barely comes around anymore. Can't stand the bastard."

"If I'm honest-" Gabriel shrugged. "And so I should be, I'm an angel - what is it the humans are saying these days? Ah. 'Big mood'. The biggest. In regards to Aziraphale, of course."

"Hm. Crowley's obviously more annoying, though."

Gabriel snorted at the idea. "I beg to differ. You've obviously never worked with Aziraphale."

"I haven't, no, but he can't be any worse than that bugger with his sunglasses."

"Sure." the archangel said, dripping with sarcasm.

The fire engine arrived, at last, and the firefighters quickly set about putting out the fire, checking with the residents to see if there was anyone inside who needed rescue.

The flames soon began their slow descent into extinguishment, dimming slightly with every gallon of water being shot at it. It still raged on, though, as did the firefighters' attempts to quell it.

"Oh!" Gabriel exclaimed with a clap of his hands. His face brightened, and he looked to Beelzebub. "Oh, I just had a fantastic idea!"

Beelzebub looked at him inquisitively. "What?"

"Okay, well. You and the rest of Hell - you don't like Crowley."

"We're positively sick of him downstairs, yes."

"And we don't like Aziraphale."

"Yes, I've gleaned that from what I've seen and heard."

"And we both think our side's respective traitor is worse than the other."

"What's your point, Gabriel?"

"Okay, hear me out here - there's a way we can test how you and I handle Aziraphale and Crowley respectively, and at the same time, we get to... give them some holy and demonic retribution."

Beelzebub cocked a brow. "I'm listening."

"...What if we asked the Almighty to switch their roles around?"

"...You what?"

"Aziraphale becomes a demon, Crowley becomes an angel. Simple!"

"And how, exactly, is this 'holy and demonic retribution' for the two of them, aside from having an angel Fall?"

"Alright, I'll admit, it's really just messing with them... but without being able to kill them, it'll be the best way to throw them for a loop. It'll mess with them, at the very least, and if it does more than that? Even better. And it'll settle our little debate, won't it?"

Beelzebub pondered over the suggestion for a moment. Any slight against Crowley that they could get was a good one, and seeing what that Aziraphale fellow was like as a colleague did intrigue them...

They'd be proven right within the week, and Crowley would be out of their hair forever, they reasoned. And that just couldn't be passed up.

"Alright." Beelzebub shrugged. "Yeah, let's try it. Let's see what She says."

Gabriel smirked, and looked back at the building, still currently locked in its equilibrium of fire and water. "This'll be interesting."


~Present Day~

"You don't think it's too much blasphemy to be saying all that, do you? For someone who's recently found themselves being an angel again?" Aziraphale questioned.

"Nah," Crowley answered. "And even if it was, 'm sure there's some sort of... grace period, for that kind of thing. Y'know, let me adjust to the position before punishing me for still acting out against Her."

"Hm... I'd hope so."

"Even if there weren't," he continued, shrugging. "What's another Fall to someone who already Fell?"

"Oh, don't, dear." Aziraphale said with a frown. "I know what that experience is like, now, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody once, let alone two separate times! Especially not you."

"Ange- mph, Zira, don't worry, I'd be fine with a second go with it. Least I'd know what to expect this time."

"But you'd still get hurt again. And I... I couldn't bear that, Crowley."

Crowley sighed, and placed a comforting hand atop one of Aziraphale's own. "'S fine, love, I'll be fine. I'm not gonna Fall again."

Aziraphale took pause at the assertion. "...You can't know you won't, though."

"Maybe I can't," the angel responded. "But I promise, I'll be fine either way. It can't hurt more than knowing you've been through it too."

After another moment of hesitation, the demon sighed. "...Alright. If you promise."

"I do. Long as you're with me, and you're okay - well, as okay as you can be, given the circumstances... then I'll be just fine, love. Promise."

Crowley leaned over then, and gently kissed his lover's cheek. Aziraphale's face softened, a small smile growing on him, and he reciprocated the action.

"Anyway," Crowley piped up through the quiet that had overtaken the room, giving Aziraphale's hand a light, affectionate squeeze and patting it. "Enough of all that. I think we've had our fill of worrying for the day - and it's barely eleven yet."

"Right. Yes." Aziraphale sighed. "So... what now?"

Crowley thought for a moment. "Well, first off... I wanna get some more answers. Something, anything to explain all this shit."

"Hm. Our bosses didn't exactly give us clear reasons to why this is happening - if they even know themselves." The demon glanced upward as a thought came to him, then looked out into the bookshop, to a particular rug on the floor. "Should we perhaps... try getting information directly from the best source?"

"Best?" Crowley asked. He followed where Aziraphale's eyes went, then looked back to him.

"Well, She is omniscient. And it was Her decision." Aziraphale's gaze met Crowley's own again, and he shrugged. "It's worth a shot, at least."

Chapter Text

~One Day Prior~

"You done it yet, then?" Beelzebub asked, looking not at the archangel they were addressing, but instead at the young man on the opposite side of the park.

The young man, to anyone who was actively looking, was obviously eyeing up the unwatched handbag of a woman who was sat on a nearby bench and playing with her baby in the pram next to her.

"Yup." Gabriel responded from the opposite end of the bench the supernatural pair were sat at themselves. "The Almighty has been informed - now all there is to do is wait for some news on a decision."

"How long?" the demon asked as they put some demonic influence into the man they were watching, subconsciously tempting him into thievery.

The angel noticed their actions, and tried to influence him into doing good instead. Thou shalt not steal, of course. "What, how long to wait?"

Beelzebub rolled their eyes. "No, how long until you finally discorporate me with your stupid questionzzz? Of course, yes, how long are we gonna have to wait for?"

"It shouldn't take too long. And with those two's actions, and the weight of them? My best guess is that it's gonna be a 'yes', and very soon."

"Right. Good." They swayed the human into thinking evil thoughts again.

"Y'know," Gabriel said, reversing Beelzebub's action again. "I've gotta say, I'm pretty ex- well, not excited - pretty... interested, I guess, in seeing what it's going to be like to have Crowley back upstairs."

The fight for the man's soul continued in the background as the pair talked, angel and demon both subtly shifting his handbag-based desires back and forth.

"You forgotten what it's like working with him?"

"We were in different departments when he was around. And it was, well, forever ago. Literally, pretty much. I didn't get too much of a read on him back then."

"Fair."

"Hm. You haven't properly met Aziraphale yet, have you?

Beelzebub thought to themself for a moment. "He's the posh fellow who was there at the air base, yes? White hair, standing around all... disgustingly angelic? Sticking by Crowley's side like he'd discorporate if he didn't? Went on about the ineffable plan?"

"Yup." Gabriel exhaled. "That's the guy."

"Hm, no. I wouldn't say that was a 'meeting'."

The angel chuckled. "Well, I'm sure you'll have a real blast if and when you're introduced."

The man in the near distance decided against stealing the bag. Then looked at the woman's expensive-looking clothes and jewelery. Then asked himself what his mother would think. Then asked himself how much that would matter if he made sure nobody found out.

"I really am looking forward to this little experiment. I think it's gonna go great!" Gabriel smiled self-assuredly, then his expression became tinged with concern after a moment. "Unless they decide to come after us."

Beelzebub glanced at him for the first time that day. "What?"

"I mean, they've got their resistance to the only weapons we've got against them... If they flip and do something drastic..." He trailed off, instead finishing his point with a hand gesture that left the demon to their own guess as to what would happen to the pair of them.

Beelzebub shrugged. "It'll be fine, so long it came straight from God. Or at least, if it seems to them to be that way. They're not gonna attack us if they don't think we're to blame."

Gabriel hummed to himself thoughtfully and nodded. "True. Very true."

The pair never did find out where the man's soul would eventually go. They left before he could make a definite decision on the handbag matter. To see that decision in action would've required a longer conversation with eachother than they should be having. Or, obviously, than they wanted to be having.


~Present day~

"Now, last time I did this, it... didn't go amazingly, to say the very least." Aziraphale said, lighting up the final candle around the chalk circle on the floor.

"How so?" Crowley asked. He was leaning against a nearby shelf, and had watched Aziraphale the whole time as the demon had methodically set up the entire scene before them.

Aziraphale shook out the match he'd just been using. "I think I may have forgotten to mention that this is how I got discorporated on the day of the apocalypse."

Crowley cocked a brow and gestured towards the circle. "You were silly enough to step inside?"

"It wasn't on purpose." Aziraphale pouted. "Sergeant Shadwell had snuck in, and you know how he is about supernatural concepts. Things happened."

"What, and then he burned the place down?"

"Oh, I'm sure that was an accident, too. He's an odd man, but not spiteful." Aziraphale paused. "Well, I can't be sure, but I wouldn't think he'd do something like that."

"Hm." Crowley folded his arms. "I'll be having words with him later."

"Anyway," the demon continued. "That happened, and I hadn't even had the conversation I wanted beforehand. So, fair warning, it's a bit of a coin flip as to whether we'll get anything out of Her. Or, rather, the Metatron - it's more likely they'll answer instead."

The angel nodded. "Yep, that's one thing I remember from having this job before."

Aziraphale placed the box of matches aside, then stood up straight beside the circle and put his hands together, closing his eyes.

"Hello?" he spoke to the empty air in front of him. "This is the principality - um, ex-principality now, I suppose, Aziraphale, speaking. I'm looking to talk to a higher authority. Once again. The highest, please."

There was no response. Fine; Aziraphale hadn't expected an answer after the first try anyway.

He continued. "I'd like to pose some questions to the Almighty. This is rather important to us, so I'd prefer a response sooner rather than later."

Nothing. The pair in the room glanced at eachother for a second.

"Could I... perhaps get a sign that She is listening? Anything?"

Still nothing. He carried on, agitation clear in his voice.

"Look, I know She's decided that... that I'm not worthy of my old spot in Heaven anymore, but... surely we can still communicate, can't we?"

Crowley's attention was caught by the demon's last plea. "Wait." he piped up.

"Hmm?" Aziraphale looked at the angel. "What's the matter, dear?"

"...I was never able to get in contact with Heaven after I Fell. Any time I tried talking to Her... I don't know if She ever listened. Certainly never responded."

Aziraphale frowned as he processed Crowley's statement. "...I've been cut off."

"'Fraid so."

"Well. That throws a wrench in that plan."

Of course, Aziraphale thought, he should've expected this. He'd been cast out - why would he be listened to now? Only an angel could-

...Now, there was an idea.

Aziraphale perked up again. "Oh!"

Crowley tilted his head in interest. "Oh?"

"What if you tried it? You're an angel again - of course, how could it slip my mind - wouldn't you be allowed a response?"

"Hm." The angel thought to himself. "I s'pose so."

Aziraphale stepped aside, and gestured towards the circle. "Why don't you give it a try?"

"Pff... alright." Crowley moved forward into the spot where his partner had been, and closed his eyes. "Wow, 's been a while since I've done this and not just... complained at the ceiling instead."

He took a deep breath and put his hands together. "Um... I, uh... y..." he stuttered, figuring out how to reach out to Her again. "...Hi? 'S me again. Crowley. So... look, I've got some questions for God? Yeah, I know, that's how I got kicked out in the first place, but, uh... different kind of questions this time."

"That's how you're going about it?" Aziraphale asked incredulously.

Crowley gave him a nonplussed look. "Gimme a break, Zira, last time I thought I might actually be listened to was millennia ago. I've still got to get into the swing of it again."

The circle lit up, then. Not just lit by the candles around it, instead it now glowed with ethereal light - both from itself and from a beam cast on it from above. The pair jumped, startled at the sudden presence making itself clearly known, and stepped back a bit to fully take in the sight. A voice, echoing and authoritative, came from the column of light.

"Speak, Crowley."

"Ah, fuck me," the angel nervously mumbled to himself before clearing his throat. "Uh, hi. Is... is this God?"

"I am the Metatron, the voice of the Almighty."

"Right, okay."

Aziraphale and Crowley gave eachother a look, as if to say of course this would end up being the case.

"So, can I..." Crowley shrugged. "Ask a few questions?"

"You may." the Metatron responded simply.

"Okay, um, first off... why? What's with this? why am I an angel again? Why's Aziraphale a demon?"

"It has been brought to the Almighty's attention that the two of you would be more suited to these positions. You, Crowley, have performed so many good deeds without prompting, and Aziraphale so many bad ones, that She chose to redeem you, and cast out the former angel."

The angel cocked an eyebrow. "So does that mean it's got nothing to do with the whole apocalypse thing?"

"Your roles in averting armageddon have played a part in it, yes - but She has found enough goodness and sinfulness in your souls that She has decided this shall be so."

"Okay, disregarding the armageddon bit," Crowley continued, crossing his arms and attempting to keep some semblance of calmness about himself. "Why's this being done now? Did we not already have enough 'goodness and sinfulness' in us beforehand? 'S not like armageddon changed us any in that regard."

"Because She decided upon this course of action after that information was brought to Her attention. The Almighty knows all, but many things go less noticed than others by Her."

"That's-" Crowley interrupted himself before he could convey his real thoughts on the explanation and sighed. "Right. Yeah, alright."

"Do you have any other questions, Crowley?"

"Uh..."

He turned to Aziraphale, mouthing 'You got any?' at him.

The demon shook his head. "We got what we came for, really, didn't we?" he whispered.

Crowley nodded and turned back to the Metatron. "Nah, no, that's... that's it for now, I guess."

"Hm. Well, you are always free to contact us again."

"Right." Crowley said, giving a languid thumbs up. "Gotcha."

With that, the light quickly faded, and the glow of the circle disappeared. The pair still standing there looked on in silence until they were sure the means of communication had closed up.

"Well," Aziraphale spoke at last. "That certainly went better than last time."

Crowley snorted. "Well, yeah, I haven't been left here thinking you're dead this time."

Aziraphale bristled as he recalled stumbling across Crowley in that pub after discorporating, with that look on his face and that pain in his voice. "I really am sorry about that one, dear. I can't imagine how worried you must have been before I found you."

"Never you mind that, Zira. 'S all good now." Crowley said, extinguishing the candles on the floor with a snap of his fingers. Best not to risk the other thing that happened that day. "Anyway, that does clear up a few things, I suppose."

"Which things?"

"Well, we're definitely being fucked with, for one. 'Brought to Her attention' - you know what they meant by that, don't you?"

"Hm. Someone's made an... HR complaint."

Crowley nodded. "Heaven and-slash-or Hell are doing some kind of shit to spite us, and She's," He pointed upwards. "Entirely down for it."

"Well, then." Aziraphale responded, setting about clearing up the candles. "I'm sure I can guess, but... what do you suggest we should do next?"

"Aside from wait around for them to give us stuff to do?" Crowley grinned. "I say we fuck with 'em right back."

Aziraphale smiled back. "I knew you'd say that."

"You know me too well, babes."