The world ended in flame and began with the rising sun. Crowley woke to his thundering heart. So loud, each thump could’ve been a gunshot ricocheting.
Would he wake to see Hastur’s soulless, black eyes looking for revenge? No, he didn’t have to worry about head office after that body swap idea.
He had a few centuries left. He’d lasted this long. Crowley groaned, trying to assume a sitting position. Why was his person so fragile? Must’ve been through the ringer yesterday.
He’d sided with an angel. Helped convince the Antichrist to stop Armageddon. Gone against everything the Head Office had told him for six millennia.
Processing that would take several human lifetimes. A century’s long nap sounded tempting.
He’d emerge in a hundred years with enough hair to cause an exorbitant hairdresser’s bill, and his brain would still need to process it.
Carpe diem, or whatever the Romans used to say. He was alive. He pushed himself again and found the floor. It hurt, but could’ve been worse.
Crowley forced himself to look at his surroundings. He was in his flat, but had fallen asleep on the couch. Had he been that tired?
The old grandfather clock in the corner said 8 o’clock. Time to face the dawn. He felt around for his sunglasses, hands closing over the familiar metal.
Crowley stumbled into the kitchen, intent on making a cup of strong coffee, only to have it handed to him.
“Good morning, my dear,” Aziraphale said. His hair was askew, his bowtie lopsided and his coat unbuttoned. What was he doing here?
“Th’ Bookshop-“ Crowley mentioned, but the rest of the sentence failed him.
Aziraphale shook his head and pointed to the steaming mug of coffee still clutched in Crowley’s hand. “Drink up,” he said. “You’ll feel better.”
The espresso was black and bitter, but it did the job. He drained it in a long gulp, appreciating the rush of caffeine.
The demon slammed the mug down on the counter next to dirty dishes. “Wha’ now?”
Aziraphale sighed and sat down at the table. He looked as if he’d aged ten years in one night. If an immortal being could age. Ex-angel? Was he an ex-demon?
“I don’t know,” Aziraphale said. “I suppose we could go back to our usual lives.”
Crowley snorted. “As if tha’s possible.”
Aziraphale shifted in his chair, running his hand through his tangled mess of blonde curls. What was he worried about? “I assume we could travel.”
“Where?” Distant beckoning shores filled Crowley's mind. It wasn’t a terrible idea. There was nothing for him in London except the angel. “Alrigh’. Let’s go.”
He grabbed a bag from the closet and started throwing in clothes. There was something human about completing such a simple task.
The idea terrified him. Not good enough to be an angel. Not dastardly enough for a demon. He wished the Almighty had spared him the misery.
He could’ve lived and died a boring, but ordinary life.
“Wait,” Aziraphale said, the surprise clouding his smiley features. “Do you wish to leave now?”
Crowley shrugged. “Th’ sooner we get started, th’ better.”
Aziraphale hesitated. What went through his head was anyone’s guess. “Yes. I’ve always wanted to travel for pleasure.”
The angel got up and began packing his belongings. It was a useless exercise, since everything he owned had gone up in flames.
As Crowley threw items into his bag, an idea formed. “France. Crêpes for lunch.”
The angel’s eyes widened with hopeful joy. “Brilliant, my dear. Are you ready?”
He paused outside Crowley’s flat, a question forming in his cerulean eyes. They’d worked out a temporary future to numb their existentialism, and he wanted to challenge it?
“What about this?” Aziraphale asked, gesturing to the locked door.
Crowley cocked his head. What was the fussy old thing on about?
“Do you want to come back to this?”
Crowley frowned. “Doesn’t matter.”
The angel wasn’t convinced, but knew better than to question it. He smiled, linking arms with Crowley. “Lead the way, my dear.”
They sat on the train, Crowley gazing out into the countryside rushing past. After the darkness of the tunnel across the Channel from the UK, he welcomed the sunlight.
Who would have thought a demon would crave the light? The Earth was so beautiful, and he’d had a hand in its creation. He’d fight for its right to exist until his dying breath.
“After the Crêpes, wha’?” Crowley couldn’t help but mumble.
“We have eternity before us,” the angel pointed out. “It is ours to make of it what we wish.”
“Yeah, bu’ thi’ is th’ first time it’s terrifyin’,” Crowley muttered, adjusting his sunglasses for the thousandth time that morning.
If he was developing a nervous reflex, he spent too much time around the angel.
The angel looked at him. How was it possible for a simple action to leave Crowley breathless? It was so hopeful. “We’ll make the most of it, my dear.”
Crowley felt a lump in his throat. The angel was right, annoying as it was. Together, they could face anything. They’d already done the end of the world.