FIVE YEARS LATER
SIX YEARS BEFORE THE END OF THE WORLD
The large, oak fancy looking door to the colossal, white mansion opened with a ring of a bell, by what looked like a butler in a black suit. There stood in the doorway was a short, stout woman, standing with her back straight. Her hair was white, and short, and it framed her round face rather well, and was curled in waves, and it hid a goat tattoo on the side of her face. She wore a lovely, big black Kentucky Derby hat, that held a lovely sizeable red rose, and a black blazer, and red belt, her clothes framed her chubby figure well, and brought attention to her large bust, with a black undershirt and a red tartan bow tie. Her skirt was long, and black and came to her ankles, and was also tartan, and wore black Mary-Jane's, and black tights, or maybe they were stockings? She wore white, silk gloves, and held an umbrella with a silver goat head on the handle, and a large, red, rather hideous carpet bag, and wore black lipstick on her lovely small lips, and she wore small black sunglasses that were perched on her button nose, yet still kept her eyes hidden. And, finally, she wore a necklace with a black serpent, that she kept on show for everyone to see.
"I understand you're in need of a Nanny." She offered, in a soft, smart, posh and rather arousing British voice. "I'm Nanny Astarte." It sounded like she came from London, and went to the best schools possible, a woman to be admired. However, she had a voice that should be illegal, (one that got the Secret Service men, and even Thaddeus, all hot and bothered.) She looked like a stereotypical Nanny, if you're basing your looks off Mary Poppins. (Azirafell had seen it one Christmas with Crowley, albeit behind the scenes, but Crowley had a hand in television, making good, quality content. It did thwart Azirafell invention of the 'Game Show', one of his better achievements.)
A single, creme, small door with multiple windows in opened by one of the cooks in white. And, there stood a man, his back to the person and he turned around. He was tall and skinny, with very little muscle, with long red hair that was pulled back into a bun with a green hair tie, and was slicked back as much as possible - though it was fuzzed and stuck up in random directions. He wore a light blue, and white flannel shirt, with stitched in patches, and his sleeves covered his arms and fastened with a button, with his top button undone, his collar popped up. He also wore leather, green dungarees with multiple pockets, and large off-white gardening gloves, with brown leather, scuffed gardening boots. He held a straw hat in front of his chest, and held a large, bright goofy smile, showing off his white teeth, with sharp fangs with a gap between the front two teeth, and held a singular hay straw held between his lips. He had a ginger scraggly beard, well a mix between stubble and scraggly. And finally, a silver necklace with a goat charm on.
"They do say as you might be lookin' for a gardener!" Smiled the man in what one might describe as a common, dumb voice. One you might hear from the country side, and would mock and dislike behind ones back. "I be Brother Edmund!" He introduced, in a friendly tone, (many people would befriend him, yet no one found him attractive. They thought he seemed rather dumb, especially when he would talk to the plants.)
Warlock skipped down the garden with freshly cut grass, lined with lovely green bushes and flowers growing on each branch, he would always go in the garden when his Nanny had the afternoon off. There he saw Brother Edmund knelt down, talking to the plants, "come on, ye gotta grow... you be beau'iful... I ain't angry, just disappoin'ed... oh! Young Master Warlock!" He smiled, with extremely friendly look in his eyes and his big goofy teeth on show. "You're growin' fast." He said in amazement, as he gently traced the leaf of a plant with his thumb. Warlock noticed he was holing a wicker basket, with an old looking book in, and a few packets of seeds littered about, "you must be all of, um..."
"Five!" Called Warlock happily, showing off five fingers. His hair was silky, and short, a dark sandy brown colour that was slowly darkening with age, and wore a white button up white shirt, and blue jacket. "I'm five!" He pointed up to a bush with purple flowers, "what's that?" He asked curiously, looking at a bird, with grey and purple feathers on.
Brother Edmund scowled at the sight, though his eyes were soft, "oh, that's Brother Pigeon." He grunted, and moved over, and gently picked the bird up, and set it on a wall, setting down a pile of seeds for it. "And Brother Snail." He pointed to a snail on the grass with groan, wearing another scowl and picked it up gently, and took it to the cobble, letting it loose. "Oh, and Sister Slug." Smiled the gardener, pointing to the next pest, and he moved it from the grass as well, murmur. "Not good f'r gardenin', but you remember, young Warlock," he heaved out, as if in pain from old age, sitting down on the grass looking to the boy and smiling. "As you grow, to have love and reverence for all livin' things."
Warlock frowned, "Nanny Astarte says living things are only fit to be ground under my heels, Brother Edmund."
Brother Edmund smiled, and chuckled fondly yet looked rather annoyed, "well, don't you listen to that woman. You listen to me." His eyes were stern, yet welcoming and king.
Warlock nodded, and Brother Edmund smiled, "now! Le's go pick some apples, yeah?"
Warlock's action figure moved in a circle, as a lullaby tune played, and he lay in bed under the flannel covers. He watched as Nanny Astarte turned the night light on, the one that was in the window, and closed the curtains slightly. She sat down on the old wicker chair, and Warlock asked, "will you sing me a lullaby, Nanny?" He asked, tiredly. He loved the strange lullabies his Nanny sang, his friends never heard of them!
"Of course, dear." Nanny Astarte said, voice soft and smooth, reaching over and tucking his hair behind his ear gently.
"Go to sleep, and dream of pain, doom and darkness, blood and brains. Sleep so sweet, my darling boy, you will rule, when Earths destroyed."
She smiled softly to him, tucking Warlock in who watched her with such attention. "Brother Edmund says that I must be kind and nice to everybody." He said, repeating what the 'dumb witted' (as his Dad had put it), yet 'well meaning' (as his Mom put it) gardener had said earlier that day. "Even Sister Slug." He sneered in disgust, leaning up, "and not ever destroy the Earth." Whatever that meant!
"Don't listen to man, darling." Nanny Astarte said softly, gently brushing hair from Warlocks eyes. She leaned forward and baa-ed out, "listen to me."
Nanny Astarte had a book in her carpet bag, the same one the gardener held a while ago, and Brother Edmund held a long stemmed red rose between his fingers. Her hand was nestled in the crook of his thin arm, her umbrella pressed against the cobble on the ground sternly and he was smiling down at her like she was his everything, while she smiled not once glancing to him, yet seemed to radiate as much love for him too. It was a rather odd... relationship. Nobody in the house would have put them together, (the Secret Service men were jealous of the gardener, if they were honest. How could he snatch up someone as gorgeous as her?!) The two watched Warlock run around the garden, kicking a ball at the makeshift goal, or ride his tricycle, though he never cycled in the house, and Nanny Astarte could never convince him.
Nanny Astarte leaned in, "if you ask me, he's too normal."
Brother Edmund frowned, "we ain't havin' this meetin' 'ere. Wait."
"Edmund, angel... there's only six years left." Nanny Astarte whispered.
"Not now, darlin'." Edmund hissed back.
The two smiled as Warlock looked over, and they waved happily to him. That's how he usually saw his Nanny Astarte and Brother Edmund, standing together, hand nestled in arm.
"Come play, Nanny Astarte!" Warlock called out.
So, without a second thought, Nanny Astarte handed her bag and umbrella to Brother Edmund, slid off her Mary-Jane shoes, and hitched up her tartan patterned skirt, joining Warlock in his game. (Of course, she let the child win, but would never admit to it. For Warlock's sake, and her own.)
There are many doors that will take you to Heaven or to Hell. But when Crowley and Azirafell report in an official capacity to their respective head offices, they take the main entrance.
Azirafell and Crowley walked through the revolving doors to work. Azirafell now in his normal dark clothing, and Crowley in his white clothing, the demon strolling, the angel sauntering. The weren't holding hands in fear of anyone seeing, their necklaces now hidden for good measure, but they did keep sharing glances with each other as they walked down the hallway to the escalators. One was shrouded in dark green, the other in sterile silver.
Azirafell sunk, or well phased, through the floor, and it was as if he was in the reflection of said floor, as he went up (or down in this case) the escalator, while Crowley went up, still on top of the floor rather than in it, or beneath it.
Hell was dark, hot and dingy. You could choke on how stuffy it is, and how much it stank of garbage and sex, with rotten flesh, it was full of demons and you had to push your way to get to where you needed to be. The lights were the terrible ones you might find at a school, or maybe the ones you would find at a terrible office job, maybe even in a horror movie, which would be rather fitting in this case, for all three...
Beelzebub walked forward through the crowd of demons, pushing past them without a second thought. They had black shaggy hair, with bright red balls on their head, with boils on their face, as flies flew about their head with a buzz. They walked into the dark meeting room, which had Hastur (without his wig), Ligur and Azirafell situated in, as well as a few other nameless, low level demons, with paper and filing cabinets all up the wall - totally unorganised, a monitor, projector and old, metal chairs.
"Tell uzzzz about the boy, Warlock." Called Beelzebub, their voice annoying. Dull, yet nasally. They sounded bored, as their flies buzzing around their head.
"He is a remarkable boy, Lord Beelzebub." Azirafell assured, smiling as he bowed to them. He was always more respectful to Lord Beelzebub out of absolute fear.
"But, is he evil?" Asked Hastur, annoyed, gesturing his arms.
"Fantastically evil." Azirafell said, smiling. "Incredibly wicked, and immoral."
"Killed anyone yet?" Asked Ligur, moving forward and stood toe to... hoof, with Azirafell.
The goat smiled uneasily, leaning back slightly, "no, not yet darling, baa-ut there is a lot more to a malevolent, corrupted living, than just plain old man slaughter, isn't there, dears?" Asked Azirafell, sweet talking himself out of the problem as he looked to the other demons in the room with a smile. They hummed in agreement. Warlock not doing anything 'evil' was a valid issue, one he nearly brought up with Crowley, but was unable to at the time.
"I suppose." Ligur hummed annoyed, "but it's fun!" He snapped, moving back to Hastur. Did Hastur to put his arm around Ligur's waist? Not hiding their relationship very well, are they?
Azirafell nodded, "oh yes, indeed! Very enjoyable!"
"Have you encountered any problemzzzz from the... oppozzzzition?" Asked Beelzebub, buzzing slightly as they choked out the final word. The thought of an angel...
Azirafell smiled, shaking his head, "they don't suspect a thing, my dears."
"I'm happy t'say," Crowley smiled, looking to his superiors and siblings. "That on a very real level, the Antichrist is bein' guide t'the light." He poorly lied, smiling in a snake-like manner. (However, his siblings were the reason for the cruel nickname 'Crawly' due to his fangs, and serpent like talk, so his serpent like features were glanced over. (It should be noted Heaven has no idea he can turn into a snake, they believe these features are just that. Features.)
Heaven was the exact opposite of Hell. It was very well lit, too bright some might say, and it was all white, with a few pale blues, with pillars everywhere, as well as windows lining a wall. There was a rotating globe to the right of him, and it was a rather nice, warm temperature. However, still slightly cool, and very spacious. Barely, anyone was around, and you never have to push people to get from point a to point b. It was quiet, and smelled of lemon and roses - like a breath of fresh air. However, one might still choke on how sterile it is, as well as shiver from time to time, and maybe feel very small and alone.
Crowley was stood in front of Gabriel, Michael who was in a off-white, well framed suit with frilled sleeves, Sandalphon who wore a pale brown suit and Uriel who was in a pale blue suit and gold markings on her face, less form fitted.
Gabriel clapped, "very commendable, Crowley." The other three Archangels also clapped, blankly, and Crowley grinned. "Excellent work, as usual." The clapping felt lacklustre of any joy, or genuine praise, and echoed the room tensely.
Crowley held back a curious frown, seeing an angel zoom past in the background, situated on a hover board.
"Yes." Michael agreed, as the clapping quickly came to a stop. "But, Raphael, we will be most understanding when you fail." He insulted, and Crowley slowly frowned. Gabriel nodded in agreement with his brother. He held his hands out, "after all, Wars are to be won."
"Not avoided." Agreed Uriel, blankly and annoyed.
"First of all, it's Crowley." He corrected, annoyed at his siblings for using his old name. "And, I won't fail." Crowley said, confidently. "That'd be bad." He seemed nervous now.
"Crowley, what you're doing is praiseworthy," praised Gabriel, a frown on his face, using the correct name, trying to stay of the former Archangels good side. "But obviously doomed to failure."
The red haired angel frowned, but tried to stay confident, though the friendly smile slowly diminished.
"Still, as the Almighty likes to say," Gabriel moved to Crowley. "'Climb every mountain.'" He smiled, and Crowley smiled back weakly.
The Archangels walked off, as Sandalphon moved to Crowley, and said in a whiny voice, "'ford every stream.'" It smiled, the shine in it's teeth, almost like a grill, glistened and walked off.
Crowley's smile vanished, completely.
Nanny Astarte and Brother Edmund left when Warlock got too old. He likes to think the two settled down somewhere together, in a cottage and got married, maybe had a child of their own? Maybe got a dog called Rover?
They left with less bounce than they arrived in, but Warlock got two new tutors.
Mr. Cortese, who taught him about Attila The Hun, Vlad Drakul, and Darkness Intrinsicate in the Human Spirit. (He avoided telling him that Attila was nice to his mother, and Vlad Drakul was punctilious about saying his prayers everyday.) He tried to teach Warlock to make rabble-rousing political speeches to sway the hearts and minds of multitudes.
Mr. Harrison taught him about Florence Nightingale (except for the bits about syphilis.), Abraham Lincoln and the appreciation of art. He tried to teach him about free will, self-denial and Doing unto Others as You Would Wish Them to Do to You.
(On more than one occasion Warlock saw Mr. Cortese and Mr. Harrison flirt and hold hands, messing with necklaces and sharing sweet smiles.)
They both extensively read to him from the Book of Revelation. And, despite their efforts, Warlock showed a regrettable tendency to be good at Maths, and neither tutor was pleased with the progress.
By the time Warlock was ten, he liked baseball; he liked plastic toys that transformed into other plastic toys that were totally different from the first set of plastic toys; he liked his stamp collection; he liked banana flavoured bubblegum; he liked comics, and cartoons, and his BMX bike.
Azirafell was getting troubled, more and more.
They met at the tops of buses, and in art galleries, at concerts, in a small cafe for coffee and in a garden, or pack, and exchange and compare notes, and smiled, and rarely frowned.
Crowley sauntered up the stairs on a double-decker bus, and saw Azirafell reading a newspaper. He slipped his own pink tinted sunglasses on, made sure his hair was pulled half back in a lower bun, and went over to the demon and sat behind him, hand casually resting on the white haired demons shoulder.
"The boy is too normal." Aziarfell said, lowering the newspaper.
Crowley leaned forward, "good. It's workin'." He grinned, "my work is balancin' out yours. A draw."
"I hope you are correct." Sighed Azirafell, looking around. "It's not long now... The boy should be warping the world around him, making it to his own desires. Baring in mind, he should be doing that unknowingly..." He looked behind him slightly to look at the angel, "have you any evidence he's been doing that?"
"No..." Crowley was also looking forward, and around the bus, making sure no one was listening in.
"He should be a power-house of raw, unadulterated energy..." Azirafell looked down to his newspaper.
Crowley frowned, "he should?"
Azirafell frowned, "I don't like it... he's too normal, somethings fallacious..."
"Darling?" Crowley asked.
"If he comes into his power," swallowed the angel nervously, breathing picking up slightly. "How d'we stop him?" Asked Crowley, a frown on his face.
Azirafell had no answer, and said, "I'm certain it won't come to that."
Crowley sighed, and leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms. He swallowed, and rubbed his hands his face pale, knocking his sunglasses up, his golden eyes wandering the bus worriedly. Azirafell sat straight, and went back to reading his newspaper, shoulders tense.
THE PRESENT DAY
SIX DAYS BEFORE THE END OF THE WORLD
"Warlock, are you listening to me, honey?" Asked Harriet Dowling in her American accent, a red coat wrapped around her. She and her son, Warlock, walked down the path of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs of Bromley, she was looking at statues and dinosaurs, and he was on his phone, ignoring her, as most rebellious teenagers do. "Look what they used to think dinosaurs looked like." (I would just like to say, it is a rather funny joke. How people haven't picked up on it yet, I have no idea.)
"Whatever." Sighed Warlock.
"They're old and educational." Tried Harriet, looking to her son. She had no idea what she was doing, and she clearly had no idea how to act around children.
"It's dumb." Warlock said back, immediately.
"It's not dumb, sweetie." Tried the mother, really... she had no idea what her son liked, she was rather bad at it as she had to keep up images for the family, Nanny Astarte, Brother Edmund and even the tutors, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Cortese knew her son better then she did. Warlock missed all four of them. "It's a dinosaur." She pointed out, obviously.
"Dumb-a-saur, more like." He insulted, though it was rather pathetic. The two stopped walking, standing at a fence separating them, and the lake. He slid his phone into a pocket, and wrapped his hand around the curve of the green fence, "can we talk about my birthday party?" He asked, and she paused in front of him, watching him. "Why can't we have my party in an escape room?" He asked.
"Honey, for the last time," she sighed, walking away. "We've already hired a..."
"But, Mom..." Came the distant whine of the boy.
Just up the hill, overseeing the outing between Mother and son, sat two presenting males on a bench. Azirafell sat with his back straight, one hand on his lap and the other resting on the middle of the bench, Crowley was sat, his back straight, next to Azirafell, his arms crossed and his hair now shorter, he lowered one arm, and placed his hand on top of Azirafell's.
"Well, we've done everything possible." Sighed Azirafell, watching the boy. He looked to Crowley, "all we can do now is wait for his birthday. The Hell Hound will be the key." He said offhandedly, looking back to the boy.
Crowley frowned in confusion, and looked to the demon in worry.
"It shall arrive at three on Wednesday." Azirafell said.
Crowley frowned, eyes travelling the area, and nervously looked to the demon, "you've never said about a Hell Hound before."
"Oh, yes." Azirafell said, and began stumbling over his words in realisation, "well, uh, yes. Yes, they're delivering a Hell Hound..." He looked to the annoyed angel, with a look of tempting ease, "to stay by his side and to guard him from harm..."
Crowley blinked, "ngk?"
"Apparently, it's the biggest Hell Hound they've got." Shrugged Azirafell.
"Won't people say somethin' when they see a huge black dog?" Asked Crowley, as if it made sense. At to some, it would make sense. "While they're absolutely useless, and good-for-nothing, his parents'll say somethin'?"
Azirafell shook his head "No one will notice anything out of the ordinary, and therefore, no one will remark on the appearance." Assured the demon, "it is reality, angel." He sighed, "young Warlock can do what he wants or wishes with that, whether he is knowledgeable about it or not."
Crowley looked forward again.
"It's the beginning. The boy is to name it, probably something along the lines of... Stalks by Night, Throat-Ripper, Killer or Terror... possibly?" Sighed Azirafell, running his free hand through his hair. He had long since taken out the spikes from his hair, as it caught too much unwanted attention, and didn't do him any favours in Hell. (Despite what one might think, having horns and not being Satan himself was not normal. Anytime he wore fake horns, they stared in confusion, judgement and... fear... though they hid it from the demon well, Azirafell had no idea. He never showed his real horns, he just knew horns weren't a good thing to have. (Crowley had asked, and the conversation was a strange one. "Why do you not show your horns?" He had asked. Azirafell scowled, "because, I was offered a position to defend Satan himself. I'm a warrior, my horns display that. I, rudely, declined the offer and instead asked to be placed on Earth... No one likes me for it, yet here we are.").) "But if we have succeeded in our assignment, then he shall send it away - unnamed. He might even be petrified of the beast... he will be actually, he's terrified of dogs..." (There was a time a few years ago, when he was Nanny Astarte, he took Warlock to a shelter, and he stayed clear of the loud, yapping dogs. He was terrified of them, and so Nanny Astarte hid the child behind her legs.)
"What if he names it?" Asked Crowley, swallowing.
"Then we will have failed, he will have all of his abilities, and Armageddon will be mere days away." Said Azirafell, nervously, looking to Warlock again.
The angel kept looking to the demon, "there's gotta be a way of stoppin' it."
Azirafell's goat eyes lit up behind his glasses, eyes wide in thought, "if there was no boy... then the process will be terminated."
Crowley frowned, confused, "yeah, but there is a boy." He reminded the demon, and pointed over to Warlock. "He's over there, writing a rude word on a description plaque."
The two looked over to see Warlock with a sharpie, a smirk on his face as he wrote something on a green plaque to do with a dinosaur. They were unsure which one, as dinosaurs aren't real. His mother was standing just a bit away, texting on her phone.
"Correct, there is a boy now. That could change, though." Hinted Azirafell, seemingly tense. Crowley simply frowned in confusion. "Something could happen to him." He winced out, hinting and insinuating.
Crowley's confused and lost gaze turned to realisation, and his eyes widened in horror, "are you sayin' we could kill him?!"
The two turned to the boy. The mother was taking pictures, and Warlock was still doodling on the plaque, unaware of the angel and demon he had unknowingly known his whole life.
"I was hoping maybe, you could kill him?" Offered the demon, laughing nervously. "I mean, I don't really want to hurt the child... I can't, but you could?"
"Darling, I've never killed anything." Scoffed Crowley, a sick feeling in his stomach, "couldn't even smite you. And, you can't either. Remember Adam and Eve, and you gave 'em the Flaming Sword to help 'em?"
"Shut up..." Sighed Azirafell. "You couldn't kill him, even to save humanity?" The angel looked to the small child, who was only just turning eleven, only just starting his life. "One life... against the universe." Azirafell tempted.
Swallowing back bile, Crowley asked, his breath and voice shaky, "this Hell Hound, it'll show up at his birthday party?"
"We should be there." Nodded Crowley, "maybe I can stop the dog." His eyes lit up, "I could preform!" He declared, a serious look on his face.
Azirafell looked to Crowley in shock and horror, his head snapping to the angel, "No, no, no." He begged, voice full of horror, as he watched the angel wiggle his fingers, moving this hands up and down. "Please, no. No." He continued begging, realising what the angel was suggesting. He threw his head back in a pain filled whine.
"I just need t'get back into practice!" Smiled Crowley, clenching his hands and reached into his back pocket for a coin.
"Oh, no, no." Cried Azirafell. He threw his head back in a pain filled whine. This was Hell... this was torture... his own personal brand of Hell and torture! "Don't do your magic act." He pleaded. He looked over, to see Crowley had a coin held between his finger and thumb, "please." Crowley wrapped his other hand around the coin so it seemed, and the other hand clenched. "Please!"
"I'm actually begging you. I'm pleading!" Whinged Azirafell, as Crowley opened the clenched hand and blew air out of his mouth. The angel dropped the coin, and he bent down to pick it up. "You have no idea how demeaning that is." Azirafell said, shaking his head. "Please."
Crowley got up off the bench, and stood in front of Azirafell. He moved his hand to Azirafell's ear, golden eyes shinning and a smile on his face, and let out a, "hwaa!" He then waved the coin in front of the demons unimpressed face.
"In your finger." Scowled the demon.
"Nope, in your ear." Smiled the angel, gesturing to the ear.
"It was in your pocket." Azirafell said, head jerking to the angel's pocket.
"It was close to your ear." Reasoned Crowley, waving the coin to his own ear.
"It was never anywhere near my ear." Sighed Azirafell, shaking his head,
Crowley sat down, a smile still on his face, "you're no fun." He went back to watching Warlock, a little more excited.
"It's humiliating." Sneered Azirafell, he would never actually admit that he found the angels fake magic cute. "You're able to preform authentic magic. You're able make objects vanish!"
"It's no fun!" Smiled Cowley with a shrug, ignoring the annoyed look on Azirafell's face.
"I'll make you vanish." Fibbed Azirafell, with no malice in his voice, looking to the boy.
Crowley looked to him annoyed, a frown on his face. Though, the playful twitch of Azirafell's lips were unmistakable, and it took everything in the angel to not kiss the demon in broad daylight.
"Where has he got to?"
Warlock's eleventh birthday was at his mansion in the garden as it was a hot day, and he was spending it with all his rich, bratty friends - twenty small boys and seventeen small girls. Some were sleeping, some were texting, all were bored. Secret Service Men in suits and shoulder holsters, and waiters in white button up shirts, black ties stood around. There was also crew of caterers. The party took place in large white tent, it had a table full of food and snacks, and drinks, with multicoloured balloons, and pastel coloured flags, with one American flag. People sat in chairs, such as the parents, kids sat on the floor, and the guards stood around in suits, backs straight and hands clasped together in front of them
"Is he in here... somewhere?"
Crowley stood at the small stage, though it was more like he stood in front of the bored kids. He wore a stereotypical magicians outfit with a drawn on marker moustache, and it was all thanks to the miracles that he was able to do this. Even if Azirafell was heavily against it, he did help the angel to get this... thing going, even if children's parties were the one thing an angel should run from. Speaking of Azirafell, he was a caterer in a white shirt, and black tie, watching his pocket watch, the same watch he never changed the battery in. (The time read: 3:58.)
"There he is! Ha!" Smiled Crowley, seeming to be nervous. "This—" He accidentally flicked the cards out, all over the place, and he dropped his hands. "We'll come back to that one." He assured, swallowing, none of the children seemed impressed, and the adults were less then helpful. Azirafell wasn't even watching.
"You see, it's me old top hat." He gestured to the hat that was on the table, rim up. He pulled out his fake magic stick, or wand whichever you prefer, and said, "but, wait!" He waved it around, and tapped the hat harshly. He looked into the hat with a curious gaze, and said, "what's this?" He looked at the children in wonder, "could it be..." He reached into the hat, and paused, seeing Azirafell now watching, his eyebrows were relaxed, and therefore his gaze was soft and fond behind his sunglasses. Crowley flushed a light pink, seeing the barely there smile on the demons face. He pulled out something from the hat, "our old furry friend, Harry the Rabbit?" He held up a cute, white, fluffy rabbit, a smile on his face again. He gasped, excitedly, gently waving the rabbit around.
Azirafell groaned quietly, and shook his head subtly - this was painful to watch.
"It was in the table!" Warlock said, easily explaining the trick. This was the lamest birthday ever...
"You said there was gonna be a celebrity magician." Said one of Warlock's female friends, who was resting her chin on the palm of her hand, bored.
Azirafell looked down to his pocket watch, 2:59... literal seconds until three... he looked up, face blank and unimpressed at the girl mocking Crowley.
"I had Penn and Teller at my party, and I had a silent disco, and I got a—"
"You're rubbish!" Warlock declared.
Crowley's smile look painful and uncomfortable, as a child asked, "excuse me, excuse me." Crowley looked to the child with a wavering smile. "He's right, you know. You are actually rubbish." The angel looked down. The child continued, "and probably a faggot." Crowley looked to Azirafell for some help, completely embarrassed and mortified.
Azirafell looked down to his pocket watch not seeing Crowley, mumbling the countdown, "five, four..." Crowley stared at the demon, who was still counting and now looking around, tense, "three, two, one."
His pocket watch read; 3:00.
Music filled the tent, and Crowley was hit in the face with a piece of jam cake. Kid's were cheering and screaming, throwing cake and food around. Azirafell sneered in disgust, and shuffled away, and out of the tent, practically unnoticed. Drinks and cakes flew everywhere. Crowley's magician outfit was ruined, and he wiped the cake splatter off his face with a grimace of disgust and followed Azirafell, walking off the stage.
"That was the best eleventh birthday ever!" Declared Warlock, with cake smeared all over his face, eyes sparking in joy.
Crowley walked down the path with a frown on his face, and reached into his magician coat pocket, "well that was a failure..." He grumbled, as he neared his white Bentley.
"Nonsense. You gave them a celebration to remember." Assured Azirafell, trying to make the angel feel better. "though, it is the last party any of them will ever have, mind you." He was clean, luckily.
"A kid called me a faggot..." Crowley frowned, offended at the slur.
Azirafell raised an eyebrow behind his glasses, "seems to me the child is going to have nightmares for the rest of his life... which is six days."
He looked over to see Crowley smiling slightly at that, and now holding a dead, white dove, and the angel tapped it, "it's late." Crowley literally breathed life back into it.
"Well, you did in fact, bury it in your sleeve..." Said the demon getting in the passenger side of the car and turning on the radio.
"The Hell Hound, darling." Crowley sighed glancing to the demon, and he let the bird go and watched it fly off. He climbed into the drivers seat and closed the door, "it's late."
"...Isle of Skye, and your time starts—"
The radio glitched and squeaked, and the male voice on the radio was manipulated.
Crowley tensed, and looked to the demon, who swallowed. Azirafell looked at the radio, "uh, salutations. Who am I communicating with?"
DAGON, LORD OF THE FILES, MASTER OF MADNESS AND UNDER-DUKE OF THE SEVENTH TORMENT.
"Ah, yes of course. Disgusted to hear from you again... yes, dismayed you called! I'm just checking in about that devilish Hell Hound." Azirafell said, trying to keep his voice level as to not arouse suspicion.
HE WAS RELEASED TEN MINUTES AGO, AND IT SHOULD BE WITH YOU BY NOW.
The angel and demon slowly turned to each other, it wasn't panic, it was blank. Dead. The fear, worry and panic was internal, and well hidden. Crowley looked out the rear window, checking around to see if they missed said Hell Hound.
WHY? HASN'T IT ARRIVED? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG, AZIRA?
'Azira', not 'Azirafell', he swallowed. Clearly, right now, they're suspicious, judgemental... he's not in their 'good books', or well, 'bad books', whichever you prefer right now. "Wrong?" Repeated Azirafell with a confident scoff. "No, of course not. There's nothing wrong. What in Hell could be wrong? You suggesting that, implies I made a mistake." He glanced to the angel at that.
Crowley was looking around, and caught the demons eyes, picking up on the last sentence, 'I made a mistake'... what's gone wrong?
"Oh, no!" Azirafell said, nodding his head. "I can see him now, yes indeed! What a marvellous, and sublime, gargantuan helly Hell Hound." Smiled Azirafell, as if he saw the large dog.
Crowley looked forward, keeping his face steady and calm.
"Yes, well... okay! Dishonoured conversing with you, Lord Dagon! You're all doing amazingly terribly, horrific work down there! Goodbye Dagon, we'll talk soon, yes?" Azirafell reached over, and pressed the off button quickly.
The two were staring out in front of them, staring blankly out the window, they had yet to look at each other.
Crowley let out a shaky breath, and realised he was tense. "No dog," he grumbled out, almost mute.
"No dog." Repeated Azirafell in his posh voice, tense.
The two turned to each other, their faces now holding and showing their fear.
"Wrong boy?" Crowley asked.
A. Z. Fell & Co., was a rather dingy and haunted looking bookshop that specialised in old, trading books and antiques. The place had lights that flickered and barely worked, and were rather dim, the open/closed sign was more closed than open, and when it was open it was at stupid, and weird times to make it hard for people to actually enter and buy books. On the odd occasion that someone tried to buy a book, and succeeded, they'd come back before an hour, beginning Azirafell to take it. The books were cursed, all thanks to the demon, and so he'd take it back with a fee. Genius really. Most books were first additions, signed by the author with a lovely note, or just... first additions. ("It was a bargain, Crowley!" Azirafell had once gushed, a book in his hand, "and first addition too!" He had raved. Crowley had barely looked up from watering his Peace Lily, and said, "you stole it, didn't you?" The response was immediate, "why, yes I did.")
"Armageddon is days away, and we've lost the Antichrist." Grumbled Azirafell, sat at the desk in his shop. He held a glass of whisky, and swirled the drink, nursing his head, "why did the powers of Hell have to drag me into this?" He whimpered out, near crying bloody tears at their obvious failure. All that time and all that effort, all for nothing... Hell, they almost killed an innocent child! One that Azirafell adored!
"I'm not sure," Crowley said sarcastically, "but it might be because of all those memos you kept sendin' 'em." Scoffed Crowley, pouring himself a glass as well. "Sayin' how, and I quote, 'amazingly well', you were doin'."
"Is it truly my accountability? They never do an examination..." Sighed Azirafell, who placed a hand over his chest, one that held a cold hole, that was supposed to hold a heart. "I'm to blame they never inspect? Everyone embellishes the truth in memos to Head Office." Reasoned Azirafell, pointing to the red haired Archangel, "you know that, angel."
"Yeah, but you told 'em you did the Spanish Inquisition," reasoned Crowley, sitting down with a slouch, opposite the demon. "And, started the Second World War."
The demon shook his head, "alright, the humans preceded me!" He shook his head, "I'm not to blame!" Azirafell tensed up suddenly, and sniffed the air, lips moving and pursed. "Something's changed." He said, lips no longer moving.
Crowley sniffed himself, his tongue sticking out slightly, and then looked around, he leaned into the demon, "you're right, somethin' has changed... what're you wearin'?"
Azirafell tugged at the collar on his blazer, and inhaled, "oh, it's a new cologne. My barber suggested it!" He sniffed again, "not me though."
"Oh, me then?" Crowley blushed with a smile, "you noticed? I tried a new shampoo—"
"No, not you!" Snapped the demon, sighing. "I know your sent!" Azirafel frowned, felt a grumble-like feel in his stomach and up his spine, and stopped looking around and he swallowed, tense, "the Hell Hound, it's found its Master."
"You sure?" Asked Crowley.
"I felt it." Answered Azirafell, and looked to the angel slightly offended. "Would I tell you a falsehood?"
"You're a demon, it's what y'do!" Reasoned Crowley, eyes wide.
And, maybe most demons would lie, but this was Azirafell. "No, I'm not lying. Not to you, never to you. The boy," he shook his head, "wherever he is, has the dog." He ran a hand through his white hair, "he's named it. It's done. He's coming into his power." Azirafell let out a shaky breath, as he locked eyes with Crowley.
Crowley tensed up, and leaned forward slightly, swallowing back poison filled saliva, "Azirafell, darling..."
Azirafell shook his head, "we're doomed." He choked out, voice thick with worry and fear.
"Well, then..." Crowley breathed out, lifting up his glass of whisky, his eyes staring into Azirafell's covered ones. "Welcome to the end times."