Greece, 432 a. D.
Aziraphale stepped quietly, reverently, even, into the large, crumbling temple. He set the food he’d brought with him aside and took out a jar of water. He poured in two glasses and smiled meekly.
“Um. Hello,” he shuffled awkwardly with his robes, “I brought you some honey and bread. It’s still very fresh.”
The waning female figure lying on a rock bed smiled. She was old, older than any age you’d possibly guess, with piercing blue eyes and flowing grey hair. She was decked in robes of the softest silk and fine jewelry that seemed to constrict her rather than adorn her. When asked, she said she preferred them on.
“How’re you holding up?” Aziraphale spoke once more while setting up a table with little stones and circles next to where she was.
“So much for eternal youth,” she managed, spluttering a bit with her “h”s.
“Nonsense, you look fine. Do you want to be white or black?”
“Why are you asking, I always pick the same.”
“And I always ask. It’s only courteous. White, then?”
They played in silence, moving the pieces from place to place in turn, the food forgotten for the moment. It wasn’t a very interesting game to watch, but it was the only way they could really communicate now. The woman held up an arm to deal the winning move and paused.
“Is something wrong?”
“Do you… want me to do it for you?”
“What can I do?”
“Just revel in the spectacle, Aziraphale,” she coughed once, twice.
“No, wait,” Aziraphale tensed, “Be a dear and fetch me my elm.”
He chuckled, picking up the rusty, battered elm from the ground and placing it gently next to her. There was a comfortable silence.
“I liked Milan’s Edict, you know? I really did.”
“Why would you? You won.”
“I don’t think I did.”
“Not… not you,” she poked him in the chest with her last bit of strength, “You,” she pointed vaguely upwards.
“I know, but…”
“If it makes you feel any better… you’re holding up quite well yourself. If it were me, I’d be laughing in your face.”
“You were never one to boast, though.”
“You’re right… My brother, then. He’d do it, certainly.”
“But listen well, Aziraphale. One day, your time will come, too. You. All of you. Same as me. That’s what humans do.”
“Is that a prediction or a fortune?”
She grinned weakly, “Can’t tell.”
He gingerly placed a hand on her forehead, “You’re freezing.”
“Oh, that’s…” she started coughing again, convulsing and shaking. Aziraphale ran to grab some water and doused a ragged cloak in it. When he came back, she was still, peaceful.
There was no reply, just a grave silence hanging heavily in the air. Aziraphale walked out of the temple, the game unfinished, the bread and honey left to rot.
“And he asked me to stab him, the bastard. Wanted to go down a fighter.”
“Did you do it?”
“What other choice did I have?”
They were sitting on a rooftop, elbows and shoulders pressed together, a jug of wine next to Crowley’s thigh. The view was of a perfect sunset and a tall church. It made Crowley want to retch and Aziraphale wasn’t faring any better. It was one of those rare, tragic moments when they weren’t at each others’ throats.
“They’re all gone. No more,” Aziraphale whispered through sips of wine.
“Bloody bastards, they were.”
“Not dead. Just forgotten,” Crowley amended bitterly.
“We remember, though.”
“We don’t count.”
Aziraphale hiccupped, “I really liked her, Crowley. I really liked her a lot.”
“I know…” Crowley felt the angel’s hair on his shoulder and did nothing to stop it from staying there, “I… I know.”
“It’s not fair…” Aziraphale’s whisper was so soft even Crowley, with his inhuman hearing had a hard time making out the words. When he did, he simply nodded.
The glasses clinked together as the last two immortals in all the Empire made a silent toast.