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Set Your Shoulder To The Wind

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And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. (Gen. 7:10)

Aziraphale watches the clouds come in from the top of Mount Sinai. They are dark and brooding, a purple-black bruise on the sky.

Thousands of miles below him, men and women are reinforcing their homes, digging into hillsides, collecting their belongings, fleeing the oncoming clouds.


"Hello Crawley." Aziraphale doesn't turn. In a moment, the clouds will crack open and the screaming will begin.

"Isn't there somewhere else you should be?" Crawley demands.

"Not really."

Crawley hisses out on a long, sibilant sigh and then settles in next to Aziraphale, his feet over the edge of the precipice. He's taken a human form, but it hangs on him awkwardly. He still looks like a snake.

Aziraphale draws his wings in closer, a cloak against the cold. "So you won. How's it feel?" He shouldn't sound as bitter as he does.

Crawley shrugs morosely. "There's not much point in existing to corrupt humanity if there's no humanity left to corrupt."

Aziraphale stares. "You're not thrilled?"

"Because we did so much damage that He had to start over?" Crawley snorts. "Ideologically, maybe, but there's supposed to be some sort of balance. We corrupt, you save. You save, we corrupt. Give and take. Not a thunderous end to the entire world because of some bad marriages."

There is a timely boom, and the lowest cloud splits with a long dagger of lightning. "You're forgetting about the violence and horror."

"I'm not," Crawley says, "but would it have been so hard to fix with a little Angelic intervention? A bit of love and sunshine and harp music and whatever it is you people do?"

The first raindrops begin to fall, heavy and wet on Aziraphale's face. Somewhere above those clouds is Heaven, dry and peaceful, warm and serene. His fellow angels will not grieve for humanity, not when everything is ineffable. He shivers. "I don't know."

"And you don't doubt, either," Crawley's voice is snakeskin dry, "or else you'd be down in Hell with the rest of us sinners."

"No," Aziraphale agrees. He doesn't doubt, not really. He does grieve, though, and he grieves for the murderers as much as he grieves for the heroes.

They are silent for a moment, as the clouds part and pour and flood.

"I don't think I like apocalypses," Aziraphale murmurs eventually, almost a whisper. He is a guardian, not a warrior, and fire and water and blood are not his elements of choice. When Lucifer rose up against Heaven, Aziraphale held down the homefront. And then there was the bit with giving away his flaming sword.

Crawley is gazing down at the invisible earth below, where the rivers are spreading beyond their floodplains and the oceans are swallowing forests. "Yeah," he says, "me either."

"I don't—" Aziraphale stops, starts again, "I don't think it should happen again."

That gets Crawley's attention, because he turns abruptly, nearly tipping over the edge of the mountain. "Are you serious?" Aziraphale looks down, and Crawley hisses. "That's rebellion, Aziraphale."

Aziraphale shakes his head adamantly. "I just think that next time, someone should be ready to talk Him out of it."

"Are you volunteering?" Crawley sounds skeptical, and Aziraphale can't exactly blame him.

"I suppose so."

Crawley stares at him for a moment, and then nods, "Okay." There's desperation in the demon's unblinking eyes, and it's familiar enough that Aziraphale keeps talking.

"Look, Crawley, this is the kind of thing that requires a promise."

"Even if it means—"

"Yes," Aziraphale says. He'll probably regret it later, but right now he can't be bothered to care about consequences.

Crawley looks out at the rain, and when he turns back to Aziraphale, he is smiling. "May it go against my people and your people, I will not let this world end again."

Crawley is a demon, and Aziraphale is an angel, and they have nothing in common but this. They're united against Heaven and Hell for humanity, and it's enough. Aziraphale holds out his hand, and Crawley takes it.

"May it go against my people and your people, I will not let this world end again," Aziraphale vows, and the rain witnesses their covenant.