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You shouldn't be here (WITH ILLUSTRATION).

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Illustration made by me.

***

He hadn't ever meant to Fall.

Like all things[1], it somehow ended up happening when he least expected it. He hadn't sinned, he had made sure to check his own records at least thrice, and as far as he was concerned, he'd just tried his best at being the most faithful angel Heaven had ever seen. But perhaps all those who used to make allusions towards him Falling one day or the other had made a valid point the moment they insinuated it. Perhaps they had been either clairvoyant or just clever enough to know that whoever was in charge of angels' Falling would, if not being God Herself[2], comply with whatever higher ranked Archangel would order.

[1]Which, usually, or at least when regarding lost property incidents, either were and then weren't or vice-versa.

[2]God is omnipotent, God is impartial, God doesn't judge, God sees all, the good, the bad, the neutral, but God also allows it to go by its flow, for all is part of the Ineffable Plan.

Why, for Somebody's sake, had he ever dared hold hopes for some being smarter than that?

He hadn't, however, been completely alone in the matter, in the second of its happening. He had, in fact, heard a voice before succumbing to the overwhelming darkness of the deepest pit of Hell. It had been a matter of seconds for him to find himself somewhere he both found oddly familiar and had never seen before[3]. His hair had flown in cold, lacing wind he hadn't been capable of discerning from the matter of reality just a few heartbeats ago. His pale eyes had opened slowly to faibly look up at the source of blinding, sickeningly heavenly light, attempting to find something in the shape or essence of a God, a saviour and a protector, a Mother to the world humans inhabited, the God he and all of existence had been promised. Instead of the usual warmth and protection he'd been used to sense all he was granted was darkness, oblivion and a giant pool of burning sulphur and then there was also something else, something quite different and completely unnoted in the usual schedule, something that could have lasted less than half a heartbeat but might as well have taken long eternities to be uttered, a soft, light and painfully reassuring 'I'm so sorry, my precious child…'. Thus had echoed the last words he heard before he Fell[4].

[3]Spoiler: all had, in fact, happened to be a minor misunderstanding; time had been bent by sheer willpower, therefore making what had actually struck him at that very precise moment, a déja-vu from one of the billions of versions of his future and past selves.

[4]What were his last words before Falling, one may ask? 'And I you. With all the humanity of it, yes, just as human as it may sound.', they were[****]. This information, in a matter-of-factly, should be enough of an answer. If one however decides to inquire further as to whatever had been said before his answer or what topic he had been discussing, one is kindly asked to take a wild guess - very wild indeed.

[****]Some might argue that the real ones were in fact 'Please, mother…' followed by a set of cries but let's be fair, such a minor inaccuracy is capable of making the ambience much softer, more pleasant and hands down much sadder.

Whilst Falling, he felt unprotected and naked. Whilst Falling, he felt deep worry and fear, oh Lord, paralyzing fear as to whatever was to occur next, after he hits the ground of his very own reversed soul. Whilst Falling, he noted just how slowly he sauntered downwards, how Heaven's light had made its disappearance long ago, but the office itself was still there, towering over his falling essence and corporation, his bruised features and pained, gray wings, how, each time he hit something or something hit him, he felt it with multiplied force and impact. But most importantly, whilst Falling, he knew, painfully knew how he couldn't ever reinitialize his life; its positive part, at least, had come to its dusk.

Or had it?

When thinking about it the least, some uninteresting, lonely day he had made the acquaintance of another living creature, similar to himself, with mirrored capabilities and duties, and yet so beautifully different. The other was a creature of what his own head office and respective side greatly disapproved of, one with whom it was strictly forbidden[5] to interact, let alone fraternise with, and he couldn't think for a second of the other's situation presenting itself any differently from his own. They had been rather pleasant to talk to, much to his immense surprise, and had sparked a pointy revelation in his heart - he feared he did in fact had one, or at least the corporation did - that perhaps not all creatures of the complementary kind were what he'd personally explicitly depict as negative, or at least this one in particular wasn't.

[5]If there were any rules his respective side had that he approved of, it definitely wasn't this one in particular; things had always been much more interesting with just a bit of communication, hands down. But as faithful as he had decided to be, he really couldn't just flout the set guidelines, now could he? He couldn't just mingle with them… could he…?

When first encountering somebody, one tends to either hope for at least another meeting to second the first and perhaps for a domino reaction of further ones to follow or pray to God they are never sufficiently cursed to stumble upon whoever it is they met ever again. Some might, at times, have their variety expanded to a hint of uncertainty as to whether or not they have enough willpower to encounter their newly met other again. The former angel, on the other hand, was gifted a much vaster hue of reactions, which was proven to him once he first partly pinpointed his feelings and decided he was in severe denial of actually enjoying the other's presence and existence. It was not his own fault, he had promptly reassured himself with a sigh, the other simply radiated this glow, this blinding shimmer, this portrayal of a perfect and harmonious nation, this warmth he hadn't ever sensed anywhere - and as far as he was concerned - not even in Heaven itself.

It had therefore been made crystal clear that he wished to stumble upon the complementary being oftentimes or at least regularly enough to get as much of them as possible[6]. Luckily for them both, his wish was one reality eagerly complied to.

[6]The real question was, could he really, anyhow?

He had ended up starting to perceive a certain pattern in his meetings with the other throughout history. Each time, a major event, or at least one that would be written or portrayed on front pages of history books many centuries later, was in session. One of those encounters had occurred in Rome, not long after Noah's floating zoo[7] hadn't, after all, drowned from the wrath of God Herself, in a welcoming restaurant founded by the remarkable arbiter elegantiarum Petronius, where oysters, as he was to find out a little later, were more divine than the ambrosia Roman godly figures purportedly drunk. Back in those past times, when their acquaintanceship wasn't of old date yet, they weren't the most comfortable around one another, causing many confrontations to play out with much awkwardness. No could do to twist and change the situation, he'd made himself have faith in that statement, but then again, when oysters were the recompense in question, who exactly could one deny such a tantalising treat?

[7]It is important for one to note that the previously mentioned event is still questioned by the best historians the Earth may offer, therefore labelling the matter as a valid historical event might appear as a bit of a leap of faith to some. To put it shortly, the idea is good but the world isn't ready yet[***].

[***]Get the reference? I'm adopting ya.

He'd also ended up coining the day of himself meeting the other for the first time as the absolute best of his entire, rather long lifetime. Especially after how their acquaintanceship had started developing for the better and brighter.

They had stumbled upon one another in a theater by the name of the Globe, where a poet of progressively growing popularity amongst those inhabiting the current times, namely William Shakespeare, was used to presenting his newest plays. The day fate chose to cross their parts at was one of the latter's practice ones, when one could easily sneak up behind some nobleman's back and watch an entire play presented in its highest quality without being demanded or obliged to pay the price of sighting it[8]. The play in question had been earlier given the name of 'Hamlet' - quite likely in the reference of a Danish mythological figure, 'Amleth' - and was both enthusiastically entertaining and extremely mundane which was, as the erstwhile angel had decided, the reason behind the few spectators present at its premiere.

[8]That is, excluding the price for some oysters, oranges or grapes which were sold loosely around the rather enormous round construction and the VAT tax assessed under the form of the loss of a great bit of one's sanity due to having viewed one of Shakspeare's gloomy ones.

Another time, circa a hundred and ninety two years later[9], they'd encountered one another in a cell at the Bastille in France, where - not only right across the Channel but amidst all fellow citizens of the country - a Revolution was in session. These days, the population quite fancied cutting off lots of people's heads with an enormous machine of their clever invention. The ones who were first put under the guillotine blade had been the members of the King's family and the head ruler himself. The monarchs in question had, as obvious, attempted to appease the people by saining themselves, giving away prayers and empty promises - although those were told for one purpose and one only, to save their own lives - but no could do. A sentence of beheading was announced and that was where their story came to its dusk[10]. Next in the line were the many of the most faithful royal followers, who priced fame and wealth higher over volunteering for those who ate the few leftovers from their feet. And in the end came in the the ones who opposed themselves or simply looked too wealthy to be kept healthy and alive - even the innocents. This was how he'd got to see the other during a revolution, by pure chance, one might say. After all, he'd been there just by passage, yet he was quite glad to have encountered his friend - yes, friend - in the Parisian cell. Luck of the devil, one could say.

[9]One is kindly requested not to inquire as to whether or not he did pointedly count the years passing without the other. It is a greatly personal matter and must by all means remain unknown to a wider audience.

[10]One could almost dare say they just couldn't cut it as royals[******].

[******]Get the pun? Uuuuuh lemme worship you??

Words were exchanged, an angel was rescued, a demon was satisfied, greatly, he'd convinced himself, and a dinner by crepes and wine was shared with a pure wave of satisfaction to itself. One thing - a simple 'thank you' would have sufficed - hadn't been uttered: an acknowledgment, perhaps a word of gratitude, an expression of one being being now somewhat beholden to the other. But no could be blamed, really, considering the circumstances[11] and the applied means of security.

[11]Namely, Hell being anything but the kind of lot to send a rude note telling whoever wasn't abiding by their rules off and warning that, 'next time', they aren't planning on going gentle on that good night[*]. They were, humbly speaking, ruthless.

[*]Anybody who gets the reference, marry me.

Then existence just happened to require a moment of realizations, a day where greater matters were revealed, where secrets were told in the most secretive of ways, a day similar to that one summer in one's life that changes them thoroughly and metamorphoses them into a completely different person. Humans called it the Blitz, surely due to how the war had been originally planned out, but if he were to give the matter some thought, he could easily admit that the instances of the happenings during their reunition in the occupated British church formed a blitz of extreme feelings, some much too complicated for his poor, apparently quite existent heart - no, no the corporational one, the one of an angel, somewhere deep, further than his essence, the one he ended up discovering only one person and one only could easily shatter to the tiniest of pieces, hitting the figurative ground with the unpleasant sound of broken glass, cutting through his soul to the surface of his disdain, cracking it figment by figment until it explodes into an unstoppable wave of sorrow - and some quite hurtful to his fragile soul. And then there had been one of those sentiments, indecipherable in its whole mystifying beauty yet possessing such power, such ravenous force it could effortlessly knock down the mightiest heroes and beasts[12].

[12]And the moment the angelic leather bag filled with stacked-up books of prophecy was handed over from one to the other, returned all safe and sound[*****] to its respectful owner, he felt as if he had just, himself, given away a heart-shaped box with a promise inside, a promise granting that, no matter the circumstances, he will never leave the other's side.

[*****]One could have asked, 'How were the books?'. 'Not a smudge. Not a book burnt.' the angel to whom they belonged would have responded.

That day, one had not only rescued the other from a potentially endangering fate but had also proven some rather important matters to both of them, some that would only be discussed much later. But favours tend to go both ways, do they not? Well, bold of one to assume this one wasn't returned, too, sometime later. Sometime later, precisely by twenty five years.

There had been the day where Holy Water had been given away and trust borderlines had got greatly diminished. When the matter was first mentioned, no being could call it fully serious; it has been a trifle, barely a frasque quest where both angel and demon had been proven childishly foolish. Things had unluckily taken a completely different turn once they spoke, discussed the brought up matter. Back then, he'd told himself he couldn't have ever been more angry than he'd got at that point. He had tried to reach out to the other in his own, peculiar way and had brought back nothing but failure and a lack of compliance or reciprocation of interest. The second time, however, had gone in an unexpectedly divergent manner, for on this day were the trust boundaries truly set: they were faint and, he had told himself, it seemed as though they were practically nonexistent.

And then at some point in history had come a soft apology, an incoherent, tear-muffled 'Oh angel... I'm so sorry I made you trust me with something like this…' because the guilt must have had nastily built up in this poor heart to the extent of exorcising such words from those quivering, pained lips, making the difficult moment one whereas a great, downbringing weight had been taken off this heavily breathing chest. It had been an important step having been taken, he'd told himself, indubitably had it proven as much to himself as to the other that, despite the limits set between their kinds by their past respective head offices at the dawn of time, they were capable of much more, of much richer endeavours.

In the end he figured he had always known, deep down in the deepest pit of his soul that, if they'd met under any other circumstances, he would have been far more than eager to comply with the friendship request they had subconsciously given one another the very moment they laid their eyes on the freshly encountered other, right when it was sent, rather than many decades later. Friendship. Yes, positively harmless, friendship with the creature that was supposed to be an opponent, a worst enemy to his heart but ended up happening to be a rather friendly figure. Nothing worse could possibly develop from that, he'd reassured himself. His wishes weren't, unluckily[**], destined to be granted. The conclusion his mind came to a little later had indeed appeared even worse in his eyes. Namely, he loved the other. He loved him much stronger than angels loved all living creatures and he disliked, lightly and kindly speaking, this sensation to the core of his heart. Perhaps it was just overwhelmingly new to him, this feeling much firmer and definitely more present that all others he had been given the possibility to feel before[13].

[13]But not even in his wildest dreams could ever possibly dare hope for any reciprocation, now could he?

[**]Luckily, you daft fool of a child ~God.

Had all this havoc brought him here, where he was at now? In this world to which peace had ostensibly returned, poorly attempting to cover newly arising problems issued from earlier mistakes with its illusion of a good lifetime? He didn't enjoy that in the slightest, it was way too much to deal with to him, despite how, compared to the impossibilities he'd already gone through, it was a matter equal to nothing.

"Oh damnation, y-you, oh… you shouldn't be here…" his soft, trembling voice resonated lightly, interflowing with the dense air surrounding him and the being of a kind opposite to his own but, in the end, of the same kin as him, standing before himself. The other's questioning gaze, gently encouraging him to pursue his explanations further, unpainfully burned two figurative holes in his tense chest.

"Come on, one deep breath in, a deep breath out and you've got this!" his counterpart, seeming ever so eager to assure him all would go as well as it could, tentatively offered his hands as though sealing a promise of eternal peace, one of never letting the other go, even if the entire Earth's population's existence and well-being depended on it.

Light creme curls slowly took a darker shade of gold with a white stripe here and there as formerly light blue eyes, those in the possession of this familiar and heartwarming friendly glow rose up to reveal themselves as two pitch black orbs with a certain depth to their unusual glow of wisdom, as if an entire erstwhile perfect, now broken, fractured universe was forced into them.

Then Aziraphale sighed and, taking Crowley's warm and welcoming hands in his trembling ones, he slowly unfurled his ragged, pitch black Fallen's wings.