Disclaimer: Good Omens belongs to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Raguel, the Angel of Justice, and Oriel, the Angel of Destiny, presumably belong to themselves/Himself.
Author's Notes: I had an irisbleufic marathon; I read her entire Crown of Stars series in one sitting and went on to some of her other gorgeous work, then went to bed. I had some strange and occasionally angsty dreams starring Crowley and Aziraphale, the four archangels, and various other angels and demons from various Good Omens fic, especially Crown of Stars. Then I woke up with two different stories writing themselves in my head. This is one of them.
Beta'ed for me by the lovely Jen aka Moczo!
Of Promises and Warmth
After the Almostacalypse, they fed the ducks and went to dine at the Ritz. Then they went to get drunk in the angel's back room. The familiar routine was comforting; they could almost pretend nothing had changed.
But Aziraphale and Crowley both knew that the world had changed, and no amount of Beaujolais could put it out of their minds. The end of the world hadn't been averted completely; it had simply been postponed to an indefinite date.
Aziraphale squinted; he hadn't drunk as much as Crowley, but he was still inebriated. "Are you alright, my dear?"
Crowley glanced up; his golden eyes were red-rimmed. "Yeah. Jusst wondering. The dresss rehearssal's over, but it'ss going to happen anyway, ssooner or later." He gestured vaguely, slopping wine over the rim of his glass. "Angel, I want you to promisse me something."
Aziraphale placed a cool hand over Crowley's warm one. "What is it?"
Crowley blinked blearily. "You're a good ssort, angel. The others… they're all ssmite-happy bastardss. If I met one of them they'd sslowly cut off my limbss and sstab me a few times. I'm not very popular Up There." He traced a lopsided apple in the spilt wine. "Sso I want you to promisse me, Azz'phale. You've got to kill me then. Make it painlesss."
Aziraphale's grip on his wine glass tightened; the glass shattered. Crowley glared.
"Wassting good wine. You've got to do it, Azza'phale. Don't want either outcome. Either I'll be sstuck in Hell for eternity, or I'll be desstroyed, or casst into the Void."
"My dear," Aziraphale said softly. "There's a spark of goodness in you. There's the Judgement -"
Crowley snorted. "'M a demon, 'Ziraphale. Ssparkss of good are eclapssed – ellipssed – covered by the blacknesss. Evil. I've helped damn ssoulss for thoussandss of yearss. And all that ssauntering crap was one big lie. I Fell, and it burned." He looked Aziraphale squarely in the eyes, and the angel shivered.
"Promisse me, angel. When the time comess, kill me. Make it painlesss."
Aziraphale sobered up. "I promise, Crowley, on one condition. If the need arises, you have to do the same for me."
Crowley sobered up too. "No."
"Then I can't make that promise, my dear. There's more than one possible outcome. You know that as well as I."
It seemed like eternity before Crowley finally nodded. "I promisse."
The promises of angels and those of their ilk are binding.
Aziraphale was tired. His armour was dented, he was bleeding in various places, and he was worried about Crowley. He himself had narrowly escaped so many times, and that was with Heaven winning; how was Crowley managing?
Promisse me, angel. When the time comess, kill me.
A cold wind blew, and he shivered. He still had a promise to keep, it seemed.
"Crowley, where are you?" he whispered.
They met in a corner of the battlefield, surrounded by fallen warriors from either side. Crowley looked no better than Aziraphale felt. It was strange, seeing the demon in armour instead of his usual suit. The last time Crowley had worn armour was when the Roman Empire had still been great, and even then he hadn't actually done much fighting...
"We're losing," Crowley said softly. "You have a promise to keep."
A single tear rolled down Aziraphale's cheek. Crowley caught the crystalline teardrop with a finger. Amazingly, it didn't burn his skin.
In the middle of the field, Michael and Lucifer fought. A hush spread across the field as Michael twisted his sword, knocking Lucifer's out of his hand.
"You promised, Aziraphale." Crowley's hand rested against Aziraphale's cheek. It was so warm. Aziraphale tried to think about the fires of Hell that lent Crowley's touch this heat, but all that came to mind was a memory of happier times.
The late afternoon sunlight is warm against their backs, caressing them softly. Aziraphale tosses the last bit of bread to the ducks and folds the bag carefully, putting it in his pocket before turning to Crowley.
The demon's smile is as soft and warm as the sunlight. He holds out a warm hand. "Shall we do the Ritz, angel?"
Aziraphale smiles back, taking it. "Of course, my dear."
Aziraphale's vision blurred and rippled. He opened his mouth. "Crowley, I -"
The demon's warm hand was covering his mouth. "No," Crowley said firmly. "No goodbyes."
Aziraphale nodded. "Right." He raised the flaming sword.
"Stabbing is still going to hurt for a while," Crowley said thoughtfully. "Chop off my head. And make it quick."
Aziraphale blinked furiously. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw another angel approaching – Raguel, possibly, or Oriel. It was now or never. He took a deep breath.
"Wait." Crowley grinned suddenly. "If I'm going to die, I might as well die with style." He gestured, and the armour changed into his usual black suit. There was a crimson gleam on his tie. A tie-pin, in the shape of an apple.
Crowley smiled. Not his Flash Bastard TM smirk, but a warm, genuine smile. Emotion swirled in his serpentine eyes. Aziraphale caught his breath; he could almost see the angel Crowley had been.
"It's been a good six thousand years, angel," Crowley smiled before a pair of sunglasses materialised over his eyes. His smile wavered, as a tear of blood raked his bruised cheek.
"Indeed it has, my dear."
Aziraphale swung his sword.