Title; Shattered Glass
Disclaimer; Crowley and Aziraphale are both the property of Terry Pratchett
and Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman wrote HP Lovecraft fanfics, and they were very
good. So I hope he doesn't mind us messing about with his characters.
Crowley shoved the door of the shop open with his shoulder and half-
carried, half-dragged the bundle of scorched wings and broken angel inside.
The smell of burned feathers made his stomach turn.
He staggered across the shop and into the back room where he dropped his
burden onto a worn sofa and took a needless deep breath.
"Wake up Aziraphale!" he shouted. "You have to wake up." The angel on the
sofa remained absolutely still.
"Get him into trauma room two, stat!"
"Please doctor, your have to save him!"
The telephone rang. Crowley raised a hand from where he lay slumped on his
couch and Chicago's finest fictional doctors and nurses froze on the
He picked up the phone. "Crowley, can you meet me at the British Museum in
15 minutes?" There was a note of pleading in the angel's voice, the sort of
note that told Crowley he was about to be dragged into doing something Hell
really wouldn't like.
"I thought we'd given up on that place after the new roof debacle," he
It was true. The new café in the Great Court was a dreadful place, selling
overpriced cakes and tea made by dunking bags directly into lukewarm water
in the cup, then adding disgusting UHT milk. There were certainly no
devilled eggs any more. Despite both being rather impressed with the
immense glass roof, both demon and angel had been heartily disappointed to
find such a decline in tea-room standards. Eventually they had decamped to
the Refreshment Room at the V&A - as had most of the other agents in London
who needed cosy anonymous tea-rooms to meet in.
"Not for tea Crowley. It's just, er, I think I might need a hand with
Crowley sighed. "What is it this time?"
"There's really no need to be like that, especially when it's actually your
lot's fault. Apparently a group of teenagers are about to summon a
hellbeast of some kind in the Central American galleries."
"And?" asked Crowley.
"And I'm supposed to get over there and stop it wreaking too much havoc and
"That's just daft," said Crowley. "Teenagers will never manage to summon a
hellbeast - and even if they do, the creatures deserve letting out for a
bit of exercise now and then."
"But all those books and treasures of ancient civilisations," whined
Aziraphale. "---Er, and the people, obviously."
"Sorry Angel, things to do. I'm sure you can handle the beastie." Crowley
put the phone down.
The staff of Chicago County General sprang back to life on his screen and
he settled lazily back onto the couch. Crowley liked ER. He'd started to
watch the daytime repeats as inspiration - to keep up to date with some of
the really gruesome things people were doing to damage each other these
days, but had ended up finding it rather addictive. He was especially
enjoying the current plotline involving the young doctor and the nurse with
the unbelievably screwed up family.
Half an hour later several fictional patients had died in really unpleasant
ways and most of the hospital staff's lives were even more messed up than
they had been at the start of the show. A satisfactory episode all in all.
But something was niggling at Crowley. Hellbeast. Aziraphale. Hellbeast.
Oh, for whatever's sake.
The Bentley screeched to a halt in Great Russell Street and Crowley
abandoned it on a single yellow line. Screaming tourists were pouring out
of the museum.
Crowley ran up the museum steps, past the shops in the foyer and into the
Great Court. He was just in time to see the last few moments of the battle.
The beast was enormous, seeming to fill the vast space. It had several
heads, at least two of which were breathing fire and a long scaly tale that
thrashed from side to side. Glass from the ceiling lay shattered on the
ground, as did broken lumps of statuary that had lasted 3,000 years in
The last few terrified tourists ran past Crowley, leaving just one man
sitting in the café, calmly drinking a glass of fruit juice.
Aziraphale, not the tweedy bookshop-keeper, but a radiant white-winged
Aziraphale, danced in the air just out of the beast's reach. He was armed
with some kind of lance, which looked more archaeological than angelic and
had probably been lifted from an exhibit case. He seemed to be enticing the
monster towards the café area. "Here beastie, beastie, beastie," cooed the
Then, just as a massive head lashed into tables, Aziraphale plunged
downward with the lance, sinking it deep into the scaly flesh. The beast
groaned and sank to the ground looking frightened and deflated, its
writhing death throes shattering a fridge unit filled with expensive and
slightly dried out sandwiches.
Crowley applauded, his clapping ringing out across the space. "See, I told
you, you could handle it," he shouted. Arizaphale, still hovering in the
air, turned to look towards him with a slightly manic grin. At the same
instant, one of the beast's heads flicked upward. A jet of hellfire spurted
forth, engulfing the angel.
Aziraphale fell in flames. Racing across the indoor courtyard, Crowley
heard the sickening crunch as the angel hit the ground shoulder first.
The man who had remained sitting in the cafe - who was, in fact, an MI7
agent visiting the museum for old time's sake - helped Crowley extinguish
the flaming feathers. There was little left of the wings. There was little,
it seemed, left of Aziraphale at all. His angelic form lay frighteningly
still on the cold stone floor, his skin deathly pale wherever it was not
red raw or blackened.
"He's not breathing," said the spy.
"He doesn't need to," snapped Crowley.
"Ah," said the spy. "Will he be alright?"
"Oh yes," said Crowley, sounding far more confident than he felt. "As soon
as he comes round he'll be able to heal himself."
"Must be useful. But can't you do the healing thing?"
"Not angelic bodies, no."
"Oh, sorry, I just assumed.." An awkward silence fell.
Between the two of them they carried the angel out to the car.
"Well, that was one of the stranger things I've seen," commented the spy as
they laid Aziraphale onto the back seat of the Bentley.
"Um, thanks for the help," said Crowley.
"Don't mention it," said the spy before strolling off in the direction of
Tottenham Court Road.
Back at the shop.
Hellfire. It was to angels what holy water was to demons.
"Come on Angel," said Crowley, selecting one of the more painful looking
areas of blistered angel flesh and giving it a firm poke with his
outstretched finger. Aziraphale winced and whimpered faintly.
The elation was almost dizzying. It was the first sound the angel had made
since hitting the museum floor. Any minute now he would be wide-awake and
healing himself. Crowley prodded again. Nothing. He prodded elsewhere.
Aziraphale's presence was fading. The tingly sensation that 'warned'
Crowley of an angel in the vicinity was dwindling to practically nothing.
Panic and misery fought a fierce battle in Crowley's stomach, which,
however uncomfortable, did at least leave his head clear for thinking.
Losing a human body was one thing. There'd be a lot of paperwork and
huffing and puffing bureaucrats, but in the end, they'd give you a new one
just so you'd stop hassling them. But Crowley wasn't even certain what
happened if you lost your real body. Surely Aziraphale's people wouldn't
leave him like this, although there weren't exactly heavenly hosts beating
the door down to help right now.
There was one possibility left, and the very thought of it made him feel
Well, to he- to heck with the consequences. Crowley knelt by the side of
the sofa, clasped his hands and closed his eyes.
"Um, God?" he began. "I know this is a bit odd, me contacting you like this
but please, please help Aziraphale."
The silence wasn't just the silence that so often meets human prayer. It
was a deafening, crashing silence, a palpable not-being-listened-to, like
the concentrated essence of having the phone put down on you. It was the
silence that meets demon prayers, the silence of really being cut off from
Crowley began to babble. "He's an excellent angel really, always thwarting
me or running off to kill some giant hellbeast. He doesn't deserve this.
More silence. Crowley opened his eyes and looked at the battered, blistered
body on the sofa.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, and even Crowley wasn't certain whether it was
an apology to Aziraphale or a prayer of confession.
What he was certain of was that it hadn't been heard.