Aziraphale stood on the edge of the Heaven in what was more or less aptly called The Open Room. It's not even a proper room, nor it ever aspired to be. More like a patio that runs from the marble like floor right toward the chasm leading toward vast impenetrable nothingness and finely ending in a immensely large burning pool of glittery blue sulfur somewhere at the outskirts of Hell. He watched the small crowd with eyes cold and unapologetic, but full of pity. And how he dared, how he dared, that upstart Principality look at his superiors, Archangels, like they were the ones who had lost their way. Who turned their backs to Her and their brothers and sisters. It was not them who choose the blight of Hell, demon, The Serpent of Eden. A creature so depraved even the Fallen feared him enough to threw him out and leave him to spread his cruel ways onto humans without supervision. Not them who stood against War planed since the down of Time. But oh, he had dared. And turned all the better for it and even this, even this will not make him regret it.
"Michael," ordered Gabriel with a smile that plastered itself on his face, so awfully familiar in its smugness. Michael took out her sword, making a step towards the ledge, her posture straight and proud and weary. Cold wind ruffled the edge of her suit, stirred feathers, danced around her grip on a gleaming handle.
"Oh no, dear, that won't be necessary." Aziraphale slid closer to the Void and smiled beatifically at them. Michael stopped, confused as the soft pudgy angel raised both of his hands up, curling them into loose fists leaving only middle fingers sticking out and then fell backwards, wings spread, smile turning into small condescending twist of upper lip before his parting words. "May God forgive you."
They didn't have a moment to feel anything but outrage before a dull echoing sound penetrated the strangely thrumming air. Rhythmic whoosh and thump grow louder, coming closer, till a mass of black shot out of the place angel known as Aziraphale Fell to forever join the ranks of Hell. It was impossible, of course. No angel Falls up.
It takes them a moment to see that it was not Aziraphale, well, not only. The rush of feathers, so loud it sounded like ocean waves crashing against tall cliff on the stormy day come from a pair of wings beating the still air, the upmost pair arched high and threatening, while the third is safely encasing an angel of the Lord hidden under pointy chin, his feathers plastered along his back, still swan white against the dark.
The ambient light of Heaven turns gray. Wings stretch frighteningly wide and shed. Feathers fly, never fall, moved up and stirred into miniature tornado, spewed from the depth of the void like refused sacrifice. The wind is enough to make the archangels retreat closer to the heavy plain door, fearful of being accidentally swept away and hurled down. All angels were equal in the Void's gaping maw.
Aziraphale was panting slightly into Crowley's neck as his arms wound themselves tightly across his demon's middle. He was so prepared for this, for Falling. He knew it was coming even as he left his sleeping husband in their bed, basking in a patch of early morning sun. And now, somehow Crowley was here, somehow knew, somehow made it in the nick of time and came for him as always. It was enough to put tears in his eyes. How could he regret ever loving him?
"What are you doing here?" He heard Crowley hiss softly in exasperation at the question, before those long deceptively strong arms pulled him higher and closer. Cool dry lips pressed themselves hard to his temple and was fallowed by soft wet skin of demon's cheek before they disappear.
"I will not let you go. Not there. Not now. Not ever." Crowley is hissing, Aziraphale hazards a look up only to see that those yellow expressive eyes are firmly out of his vision, leaving only the long expanse of neck and bristly chin. Above their heads, beyond the misty fog glows a smear of dark reds and warmest of bronze edged with gold and with sudden clarity he recognizes it as Pillars of Creation. It's tremendously beautiful and horribly ironic twist of events that it would be this unfinished formation hanging above the head of the one who made it.
They did not moved up.
They did not move down either.
It felt a bit like they were floating, suspended in a space, edges blurred as if it was just a very strange dream that you could wake up from on a sunny afternoon clutching a cooling cup of tea. The only thing that kept them was the steady thump of Crowley's wings. It would not last for long. And he could not let him hurt himself so.
"Let me go, darling. Let go. " Crowley's reaction was as predictable as it was heartwrenching. He whined deeply in his throat, arms cradling Aziraphale painfully closer to his narrow chest and his wings beat the air even harder then before, the highest pair twitching from their stiff position as he tried to make them do something they were not made for.
"No.You will not fall. No."
"Crowley, my darling. My sweetest heart. My love, you have to. It will be alright."
"No." Crowley's body jerked hard when he finally bent his wings to his will, but he couldn't stop the pained gasp and his breath kept rattling in his chest right along the furious stutter of overused heart felt so keenly under Aziraphale's hands. "I will not leave you alone. You are my angel, and that you will stay." For a second golden yellow eyes made contact with cornflower blue before they pulled away. Aziraphale knew he had lost. Crowley rarely said no, because there was very few things he minded, and trusted Aziraphale not to ask for things he could not give. Unfortunately his "no" was iron clad and he could very well out-stubborn Satan himself.
"You can't fall again darling, please, your corporation..." It was already slipping. Crowley's freckles glittered like embedded shards of multicolored crystals, his hair, so short and neat few hours ago now kept running free, whipping and dancing around like a flaming halo, sparkled with blue-white heat. The blackness kept bleeding off his wings showing the cracked surface filled with red, like a temperamental lava running down the slope of crow-black plumage. Aziraphale saw Crowley's true form only once, it felt too much like a lucid dream to be real, but now, counting the wings outspread behind his husbands back, he thought that it must be truth after all. And then it would not take long before there would be no more hands to keep him close, slick scales would turn into a blazing inferno and it will grow and grow until Crowley would no longer be able to fill any physical place left.
"Just hold on, angel. Hold on."
"You can't keep us up forever, my love."
"Till Death do us part, yeah? I swore to you. I swore. Have faith." And Aziraphale heard the plea, the unspoken 'in me' as loud as if it was spoken right into his very soul. He had, Lord forgive him, he had faith in Crowley longer then a written word existed, but he will not leave his love to carry their weight alone. He moves, squirms, and finally frees fully his own wings. And then he tries to lift them only to realize it was nearly impossible. They were heavy, so heavy. He strained and choked back a whimper a he spread them up and out, his back screaming, body tired and nearly limp in the constricting grasp, but then, with determination and a single minded goal he flapped down, hard.
It felt like a moment, just before landing the plane, a single second of weightlessness and then the gravity rushed in to claim him once again.
His tongue tested blood, breath burned in useless lungs and he felt himself slipping, slipping, slipping down into something more then human, but…
He did that again.
And while every flap of Crowley's wings he kept them up and still and not falling, it was Aziraphale that made them rise. By inches. Fighting. After what seem like an eternity -winning a whole foot. He quickly looses count on how many times his wings rise, the agony is overwhelming, but all he could hear is Crowley's voice, not even the words but by their cadence alone he knows it's praise, compliments, it's a string of I l-love-you's and my-brave-little-angel's. It's a quiet and vengeful 'show them' and encouraging 'there you go, you mad bastard, come on, we've got this -you and me'.
The second pair of his wings slip loose. It was so easy to forgot they were ever there but oh not now. They ached. They pulled. Stiff and rigid and unkempt, arching up over his halo against the pull of the swirling darkness.
He screams into the scorching hot neck his face is pressed to. Under the skin, right before his very eyes bloom pinpricks of reddish gold light and with a start he recognizes them for what they are. Constellations. Ophiuchus and Serpens. He wonders if, would he focus enough, would he find Eagle nebula? Would he find the very picture of the creation spread above them etched on its maker? He sobs and thinks of a stars he saw Falling off the sky before the time and how little he thought of their pain until he choose to love one. Of poor lonely lovely Crowley who had no one to hold him up as he was swallowed by cold cruel darkness of a hungry nothingness. Of burning feathers and equally burning pain. His skin feels raw, stretched thin over his otherness, human shape barely holding up as the air resounds with lion roars and a screech of an eagle, but he fills his mind with love for that one being who accepts him wholly and loves him like Aziraphale's smile was worth more then the rest of existence. He presses harder to Crowley's neck and swing all his wings down.
And he falls.
First the wings, then his back. It's a harsh tumble as he slides several meters over the floor until they still with Crowley's weight above him. Feathers still scatter around, float more gently now as they catch their breaths.
The wall of darkness sprawls above Aziraphale's head as the upmost pair of Crowley's wings do what they were designed to do. They shield. This time not his eyes from the light of the Almighty but from the eyes of four scared archangels plastered against the wall.
Crowley is beautiful like this. The blues and whites fade from his hair but it stays long, fall down into tangled waves. He hovers just high enough over Aziraphale's face that he can appreciate the view of large golden eyes and, painted over face in all their shining glory, far away constellations that humans still call in letters and numbers, unnamed and waiting to be found in the sky. They blink out, slowly, turn into familiar line of freckles he had mapped so thoughtfully so many times before as his love protested loudly and kissed him back in sweet retaliation. He looks at them now and bows to temptation, raising as much as he can and nuzzling Crowley's nose with his own. He lays back, satisfied when lips chase after him and closes his thousand eyes in bliss.
They kiss lying down on Heaven's executioner's block, sore and tired and triumphant in the continued silence.
"This…this atrocity! This will not be allowed." Booms the voice over their head and Aziraphale rolls them over just in time to avoid the flaming blade falling onto his all-seeing wings. They scramble up to face Gabriel, his face twisted in hateful sneer, Michael's sword grasped too tightly in his fist as he jumps forward.
"Mum disagrees." Quips Crowley, making it very hard for Aziraphale to not to turn around and openly gape at him. He feels the movement of long fingered hand pointing at the edge in careless gesture. "That…was not your choice to make. You wanted to take away something that wasn't yours to take. You wanted to destroy something that doesn't belong to you… But you liked it, didn't you? Doing Her job, worshiping each other, patting each other on the backs for the job well done. Going along with a plan you came up with, no thought to the very first order She gave you? Now that takes a very special brand of assholery."
Aziraphale squeezes Crowley's hand, it's still burning, tense. Dry fingers squeeze back, long rough thumb skims over his skin and he calms down, changing his stance, allowing himself relax his jaw at that brief grounding touch. He breathes deeply knowing that Crowley was as ready and prepared to pounce and fight as he himself was.
"We were supposed to serve them." He can see Michael an Uriel exchanging glances that look promising enough. Sandalphon, though…he was always a sick sadist who enjoyed every holy war and all that came with it. He kept standing in his place, spitting mad, but also too much of a coward against anyone with power. And Gabriel…Aziraphale was sick with disgust, eternally grateful for the gift of tall demon gently pressed against him to balance out the scales. They were other, both of them, and different enough to make it work between them. And they were right in what they did. They had to be, yes? The whiteness of Aziraphale wings really felt like a mute testament to Almighty's judgment. "It had not occurred to you that if we truly went against the Ineffable Plan we would not be here now?"
"You will not be here much longer and that's a promise."
Gabriel flies, flames trailing over his head, but they are prepared. They split. Crowley jumps to the left, wings abruptly tucked flat against his back as Aziraphale swings to the right. They duck. Lightening quick hand shots out and tears the sword out of archangel's hand, throws it deftly behind his back. He tries to twist, to chase, his own wings useless in such a tight maneuver. Aziraphale grasps the familiar weight and smacks the pommel of the sword across the dove-grey clad behind with immense satisfaction. Crowley moves one step to the side and watches as the angel loose control of his flight and slides on the floor.
They are once more standing side by side, Crowley's arm wounding behind Aziraphale's back, yellow eyes watchful and full of disdain. He tugs them toward the door. They walk through. Nearly.
Sandalphon is not a gracious looser. He takes a cheep shot pulling his fist and driving it at Aziraphale's side.
He bends over, air lost from his lungs and then the world spins. When he blinks up again he is surrounded by the wall of black. He tugs down at the protective cocoon of feathers but wins only just enough inches to see Sandalphon pressed to the wall by enraged Serpent of Eden with a long elaborate staff pressed to his exposed throat.
He knows this weapon. There is no angel or demon who doesn't. It glows gently in its master's hand, its light unchanged by millenia of his changed allegiance. Sandalphon whimpers, his eyes blown hands pushed tightly close to his head in clear submission while Crowley leans in.
"If either of you ever touch him again, I will kill you. I will bind you until all you could do is watch and... I will burn you. Slowly. So slowly you will feel like you've been torn apart second after second. I will break your mind and you will thank me for every minute of the excruciating pain I will inflict upon your miserable existence, because it will be one more minute while you still draw a breath, wasting precious oxygen and hoping to be liberated from me. I will lie waste upon you and no one and nothing will ever scrape enough of what I will left behind together to make you not shat under yourself in fear at a whisper of my name, because fear will be the only thing left in your head after I am done. And then I will kill you like a rabid dog you are. Got it?"
Crowley didn't wait for an answer. He bent down to pick a sword that fell out of Aziraphale's hand, pushing it gently into his hand.
They leave undisturbed and Aziraphale chances a look behind to see Michael with her face halfway hid in her hands, like she was praying through her tears and Sandalphon sliding against the wall, pale and too shaky to keep himself up. But then it's hard to stand when you don't have spine.
Insistent hand on his back propels him forward. Staff clicks with Crowley's every step and, come to think of it, he uses one of the most known weapons like a walking stick. Aziraphale, with a strangely giddy movement uses Michael's sword to push the door open as they enter a long brightly lit corridor.
He thinks about how they are, at the very core, made to be warriors. They don't give angels swords and spears for ornamental value. They'd both, metaphorically, laid their weapons down. Aziraphale putting his sword in the hands of human to help them survive. Crowley, long before that, questioning and then refusing to rise his rod at his Virtues, at the angels he healed and aided and led before Time ticked off its first second. They choose different weapons. Words, cunning, love and knowledge.
They walk out of heaven undisturbed. Angels stop to watch, but none comes closer. The lift gives soft ping. The door open. Strong hand push him and cushions the way his body pitches against reflective surface. He hears clatter of metal before hard teeth close on his ear, a hand muffles his startled cry. He pants, suddenly very much alright with the idea, slumping against Crowley with stifled groan.
"You, " teeth leave his ear only for the low growl to vibrate through his body, his hands slide into riot of red curls." Are in so much trouble. So. Much. Trouble. Say goodbye to the nice angels."
The lift pings again and the shocked faces disappear replaced by his own wide eyed reflection.
In a fit of irony he realizes he is going down, and hard. But with Crowley? Oh, with Crowley, here, with him… it was such a lovely way to go.