You Should Know That: No one seems to be looking at the video for this fic :( I'm insulted. I mean, I know my singing is awful but the pics from deviantart are worthy it ;P
Disclaimer: Still not mine.
Author's Note: And this is it, guys. Like it or not, there's nothing I can do about it. Either way, please do tell me what you think. In case you're wondering, the last one is supposed to be from Aziraphale's PoV more than mine since I'm quite unreligious. Well... enjoy.
Inner Angels and Guardian Demons
# 41 Power
Thunder claps and suddenly the power is out in the neighborhood. Crowley's TV flicks and dies along with the lights. He contemplates using his own powers to turn it back on but decides against it. He's only been surfing channels anyway. He moves to the window and looks out into the rainy night.
Total and complete darkness. The clouds are obscuring the moon and stars. He can see well in the dark though. He's delighted at the waves of irritation washing over him. His neighbors are stumbling, cursing in the dark. He narrows his eyes in an attempt to see trough the windows of the block opposite his.
Suddenly, one window lights up. Then another one… and another…
And in spite of himself, Crowley smiles.
People are lighting candles.
# 42 Bother
"Crowley, stop that, please!"
"Does it bother you?"
The demon stops for about two minutes but then he starts swinging on the back legs of his chair again. The chair is creaking terribly. The angel rolls his eyes and does his best to ignore him.
Aziraphale sighs. There's no one to bother him in Heaven. And no one bothers with him either. He focuses on the archives again.
# 43 God
They won't let him see God.
Aziraphale has never imagined this would happen to him. At least not while he is still an angel. But now, when he most needs it, they won't let him see God. They say he is unworthy because of his doubts and has to 'cleanse his soul from the darkness that has taken root there' before he can meet his Creator again.
Aziraphale is both furious and heartbroken. He needs to talk to God. He needs to explain. He needs to ask for advice. Nobody else here understands. After ages of reading them, he has finally understood that it's what he can't find in the archive that's important. Nowhere does it say that he isn't supposed to love a demon. And love him he does. And it's not something that is going to go away. He needs to see God and tell him and hope that he will turn out to be the loving father Aziraphale has known him as and help him. What is he supposed to do now that they won't let him see Him?
But isn't he the one who has always tried to convince humans that God hears them wherever they are and they don't need to see him to talk to him?
Fine. Fine then.
Casting a last glare at the angels who guard the Throne, he kneels and closes his eyes, like humans do.
"Dear God, I know you are listening. I would like to talk to you about Crowley. You see, the thing is, I'm sure you already know this, but he is my friend. And recently I have discovered that I… love him. And if you think I should Fall in order for us to be together then… then… so be it! I mean no disrespect but I can't stand this anymore! I can't pretend to hate him. I can't stay here. I need to go back to Earth. I feel more at home there. I know you'll understand…"
"You ungrateful creature! You do deserve to Fall!"
Aziraphale's eyes snap open and he looks up at the angel pointing an accusatory finger at him.
"Are you saying you love this demon more than you love God?"
"I didn't say that!" Aziraphale answers, noticing that he is now surrounded by a growing crowd.
"Then if God wants you to stop loving that… that… scum, you must do as he commands!"
Aziraphale rises to his feet. He is shaking all over but not in fear. Okay, maybe part of it is from nerves and fear but most of it he attributes to the throbbing, burning ball of rage inside him.
"Then we have different perceptions of God," he says trough gritted teeth. "The God I believe in would never force me to stop loving someone. He would never want to make me miserable. Heaven may do that but not God! And Heaven can go to Hell. What am I talking about? Half of it already has! Have you forgotten? They are like us. We are the same thing! And maybe some of us are white and some are black but most of us are just shades of gray! And my love for Crowley cannot be compared to my love for God. But I wouldn't call either lesser!"
His voice keeps getting louder until he is shouting to the gathered angels.
"The God I believe in doesn't need to hand ultimatums to assert himself! That's why He is great and that's why I love Him. If God was what you seem to think he is, which I don't accept even for a moment, if he really wanted me to choose between Him and Crowley… Then all I believe in would have been a lie! And then I would choose Crowley! Do you hear me?! I would choose to be with Crowley regardless of anything else! Because it's right! Because he is my friend and he has proven it time and time again! Because I love him and love cannot be wrong! Because we need each other! Because Good and Evil are just words!"
Then he abruptly stopped shouting and said the last words in a very calm voice.
"But I know I won't have to choose between them. Because I know that God is great and he understands. Even if none of you do…"
With that, Aziraphale walks trough the gates and out of Heaven.
# 44 Wall
He had known there might be trouble but they had caught him unprepared when a TV commercial was interrupted by the face of Hastur - ugly and distorted in a feral grin – appearing on the screen.
"You have been doing good deeds, Crowley. We know. You have been seen. You will pay dearly this time."
Crowley jumped in alarm as the wall in front of him started moving forward.
"Not bothering to come and pick me up yourself this time? Scared?" he choked out, although it was quite obvious which one of them was scared and it wasn't Hastur. "Aren't horror movie techniques too complicated and costly?" he asked, indicating the moving wall.
"We'll make an exception this time," the Duke laughed unpleasantly.
The wall was getting nearer. He ran to the door but it was locked as expected and he couldn't open it. Same with the windows. He was praying to whoever could hear him for some annoying marketer to ring his number right then so he could escape trough the phone. But the call didn't come. He stood with his back pressed to the other side of the room, trying to buy some time, trying desperately to formulate some kind of plan as the Duke of Hell's laughing face was coming nearer and nearer on the screen, pushed by the moving wall. Potted plants were being knocked to the floor and crashed by furniture. He moved out of the way and to the corner, watching as his sofa and TV, along with everything else in the living room, were being squeezed with agonizing creaking. It was only seconds before he too was facing the white paint only inches away. He squeezed his eyes shut, turning his head to the side. The pain and panic were unbearable as his body was crushed mercilessly. It seemed to last forever.
And then he was in Hell.
# 45 Naked
It was nothing short of a miracle that he had managed to escape. Miracle. Could Aziraphale have anything to do with that? No, that was just wishful thinking. But he had been incredibly lucky they had decided to give him a new corporeal form before torturing him. After all, there were some very interesting things you could do to a human body. He shuddered at the memory. He was also shuddering at the cold. He had materialized in St. James Park in the middle of the duck pond. It was night. It was November. It was snowing. And he was naked. He was too weak to summon his suit.
He stumbled out of the water. What was he supposed to do now? He couldn't go back to his apartment. They would find him there. There was just one other place he could go. It probably wouldn't be much safer but he had no choice. He limped in the direction of Aziraphale's empty shop.
# 46 Drive
Aziraphale didn't want to believe his eyes as he observed the wreckage in Crowley's apartment and the bloodied corpse on the floor. This was Hell's job. His heart hurt terribly. If Crowley had been dragged down to Hell in such a vicious way, they must have been really angry. Would they let him come back? No, no, it wasn't possible that just when the angel had finally come back the demon would be taken away from him. No. He would go Down There and take him back if he had to!
There was just one problem. Aziraphale had never been to Hell in his existence. He had no idea how to get there.
Unable to stand the sight anymore, he ran out on the street. The Bentley was parked in front of the building. He didn't know what made him do it but he got in the car and fumbled with the key clumsily before giving up and starting it with a miracle. Aziraphale had never been taught to drive but that hardly mattered. He sped trough the streets of London in a hopeless act of rebellion, breaking even Crowley's speed record. (He did however miraculously avoid harming anyone because, even in the depths of despair, Aziraphale was still Aziraphale.) He hadn't picked a particular direction but he was in Soho in what seemed like seconds.
He was home.
And as the car stopped abruptly in front of what had been his shop, he slumped over the steering wheel, golden locks hiding his face. He couldn't cry anymore, he was out of tears. In 6000 years things had never gone as bad as in the last decade. He lifted his shaking hand and stroked the side of the car as if the demon, who was so bonded to his Bentley, could somehow feel the touch.
"Damn it, Crowley, I'll go trough Hell and back, just tell me how to find you!"
The only answer was the wind blowing leaves in the windshield.
# 47 Harm
Aziraphale lifted his head when he heard it. Something like a muffled scream. Only his angelic hearing could have detected it. It had come from the shop. The windows were boarded but the door was ajar and the scream came again from the inside. His heart froze when he recognized Crowley's voice. Could he be back already? Could he have escaped? Had Hell found him again? Aziraphale got out of the car at lightening speed but slowed down when he realized he couldn't just face the forces of Hell with no weapon. He opened the trunk of the car. Out of the items there the only thing that gave him an idea was the old bucket Crowley had used to wash the car with water from some pond when they went for picnics in the country. He quickly filled it with snow, melted it, blessed it and ran into the shop. But when he came inside, the first thing he saw was the divine circle of light. And when he reached the back room it was not a demon he saw standing over the wounded form of his friend. It was Michael with his flaming sword raised. It was obvious Crowley had put up a fight as he always did. The Archangel had a few cuts and bruises that had probably been caused by the broken lamp rolling in the corner. But the demon (for some reason dressed only in underwear and one of Aziraphale's shirts) was bleeding a lot worse and didn't seem able to get up from the floor. Michael hadn't managed to deliver a fatal blow yet but it was a matter of seconds. Aziraphale barely managed to put the bucket on the floor without spilling it all over the room before the sword came down and he leapt forward to grab Michael's hand.
"No! Don't you dare touch him again! You've done enough harm already!"
Michael stared at him incredulously. Then he lowered his eyes to Aziraphale's hands grasping his. Then to the demon at his feet. Then he looked back at Aziraphale with anger evident on his face.
"What do you know of harm, you dumb, naïve Principality? How can you not see what he has been doing all of this time? Don't you realize you were demoted because of him? You used to be a cherub, one of my cherubs! You used to have a sword like this one and you used to follow orders before he started filling your head with doubts back in Eden! Your orders were to guard the Gate and the tree of knowledge and use your sword to keep the humans away. Not give it to them! You never used to question before you met him! And ever since, he has been driving you further and further away from God! I am merely trying to get you back and save you from Falling. You will never be free of his spell until he is destroyed!"
There was now a small tornado forming around the two angels as they struggled.
"He has been driving me closer to God, you moron!" Aziraphale shouted over the wind, "If it wasn't for him I would have hated the humans! I don't know who I am without him! And without the likes of him you wouldn't know who you were either!"
He finally managed to overpower Michael and take the sword, mainly because the Archangel was honestly trying not to hurt him. The wind quieted down, replaced by silence.
Aziraphale pointed the weapon at his superior, forcing him to walk back towards the door of the room.
"Go away," he said shakily, "Go away and leave us alone! What did either of us ever do to you?"
Michael shook his head sadly.
"You know, I was one of the few who defended you this last time when you left. Many angels wanted you to Fall. But I don't think you've become a demon, Aziraphale. You are just misguided and it is my duty to do everything in my power to save you. I mean you no harm. But he does."
Aziraphale didn't have time to react as the Archangel grabbed the forgotten bucket from the floor and threw it across the room. Aziraphale's scream blended with Crowley's as the holy water hit the demon.
"We smite demons. It's our job. You'll remember how to be an angel eventually and you'll be back with us. No harm done."
Those were Michael's final words before he disappeared. Aziraphale didn't even hear him. He had thrown himself at Crowley's side, disbelief and horror gripping his throat. No demon could survive this amount of holy water. It was what Crowley had feared above all else, it was the kind of death he had had nightmares about and Aziraphale couldn't believe it was happening.
As a burning, blackening hand grasped his sleeve, he wrapped his arms around the body which was quickly turning to ashes and buried his face in the smoking hair. All he could do was repeat 'I love you, I love you, I love you' over and over in a choked, broken whisper, not even sure if Crowley could hear him over his own screams.
He wanted it to end for Crowley's sake and at the same time he was clinging to every agonizing second because when it was over, he would be gone forever. Aziraphale just couldn't face that. He knew that a bucket of holy water should kill a demon in about half a minute but time had seemingly slowed down, allowing him one last look into those golden eyes. He was afraid to look but he knew he had to.
And as he opened his own eyes and drew back to tell his demon face to face that he would always love him no matter how many birds in spaceships wore down how many mountains, he saw something that should not have been there. The skin on Crowley's face was almost untouched which was impossible because it was wet with water.
A small white circle was glowing faintly on the demon's temple.
In Aziraphale's head something clicked and when he saw a similar circle where he had pressed his lips to Crowley's hair, he knew for sure. It was the kiss. The one kiss he had given the demon while he had been asleep, seemingly so long ago. That was the reason it was happening so slow. An angel's kiss given to a demon. Had that ever happened before? This little token of love was now fighting death. It was slowing the process down but it couldn't stop it.
"Oh, God!" Aziraphale whispered and without even thinking, caught Crowley's cracked lips in a desperate kiss. He prayed with all his might that it would work because otherwise he would just have caused his friend more suffering.
He forgot to breathe and didn't break the kiss until he felt the writhing subside and the screams that were stifled in his mouth turn to whimpers. Then he pulled away, opening his eyes. The decay had stopped, some of it reversed. The clothes had been burned and he could see Crowley's body was whole again but covered in wounds and burns. Aziraphale didn't dare feel relieved yet. He picked his friend up and placed him on the couch.
"Crowley?" he whispered, hoarsely.
His only answer was a pained whimper. The angel bent down again and pressed soft kisses to his forehead, then his neck and chest, every bit of unburned skin he could find. Each kiss spread its power over a small area, healing the damage around.
"If I had known it would protect you, I would have kissed every inch of your body long ago," Aziraphale whispered, returning to the demon's face which had relaxed a tiny bit. The whimpers had stopped. Crowley took a deeper breath and coughed out some ashes. The burns from the holy water were now gone but the wounds from the flaming sword remained and Aziraphale felt himself panicking again. Those were serious enough by themselves and they would be fatal if not taken care of fast. Could he really save Crowley's life or had he just bought them a few more minutes? He had never tried to heal the demon with his powers before. Crowley had taken care of himself in the past but now it was out of the question. Aziraphale closed his eyes again in fervent prayer.
Dear God, if you can hear me, please, I beg of you, give me the power to save him. I believe in you and your endless mercy and compassion. Please, help us!
And then he felt it in his heart and his head. Not a voice - something older than words. But it felt like encouragement, like reassurance.
You're doing fine, just keep going and it will be all right.
Aziraphale concentrated and summoned every ounce of power he had, feeling the cuts start to close beneath his hands. He could do this. He had come this far. He had walked out of Heaven, attacked an Archangel and questioned everything he had ever known. He would do this even if it took forever.
In the end, it took half the night. When finally the skin beneath his fingertips was unmarred again he was so exhausted that he was afraid he would faint any moment.
The quiet voice pulled his mind out of the fog it was lost in. The angel looked down at the owner of the voice.
"Did I witness you calling Michael a moron and pointing a sword at him?" Crowley asked with the ghost of a smirk, "Not very angelic of you, angel."
Aziraphale stared at him for a full minute, as if he couldn't get enough of Crowley's eyes looking back at him. Then he collapsed in dry sobs on the demon's chest.
"I- I thought-"
Crowley wrapped his arms around him and even mastered the strength to summon a blanket to cover them both.
"Shh, it's all right. I'm still here. Aziraphale…"
"Love you too."
From somewhere else, two beings watched the angel and the demon.
"So what now? They live happily ever after?"
"As happily as before, I suppose. But not more unhappily."
"Did you know how it would end?"
"I had… forgotten."
"If we knew everything, we would go crazy with boredom."
"But it's not really over yet. Michael and Hastur…"
"Oh, I think we can help there."
"Help? We didn't move a finger to help until now."
"Oh, but now it won't really change anything. Based on what we've seen so far, they would probably find a way to deal with Michael and Hastur anyway."
"So you only help those who probably don't need it."
"I'm afraid so. Unfortunately the world becomes horribly unbalanced otherwise. You have heard the saying: Help yourself so…"
"Yeah, yeah. So what? Are you going to make Michael Fall?"
"Don't even think of it! Michael as a demon would be worse than anything you could imagine. No. He will simply… forget. It will be for the best. And I hope you will take care of things on your end."
"Hmm… All right but only because I owe you a favor or two."
"Splendid. And now… Chess, my dear?"
Which was why when Crowley and Aziraphale woke up the next morning there was a note on the table, written in the language of Heaven and Hell.
Things have been taken care of. Just go back to your duties.
Which they did with heart-melting relief.
# 48 Precious
"Aziraphale, what the Manchester has gotten into you?! We haven't left the shop in three days and the reason you go out now is to buy a camera?"
"Well, yeah, I thought it might be fun. Consider it an early Christmas present for us both. Look, we even got an album as a bonus."
"'Precious moments'?? And kittens on the cover? Spare me!"
"Besides, we really should go out. It's a lovely weather outside."
"It's bloody November! Aziraphale, you're an angel, have mercy! I was kicked around by demons and almost killed by an Archangel; I do not want to freeze!"
Aziraphale blatantly ignored him.
"I also went to your apartment to, erm, clean up a bit. It's fixed now."
Crowley sighed and jumped down from Aziraphale's antique desk where he had been sitting.
"All right, all right. I got the hint. I'm out of here."
"What? Wait, no, that's not what I meant!"
To the demon's surprise, Aziraphale was upon him in an instant, practically toppling him over the surface of the desk.
"You're not going anywhere! Or at least not without me! And if we do go to your apartment…"
There was a pause.
"It will be because it has a bed," the angel finished.
Crowley's jaw dropped and Aziraphale used the opportunity to kiss him. After a second the demon shrugged inwardly and responded. A sudden realization hit him. This wasn't amateur stuff.
"You know exactly what you're doing, don't you?" he muttered against the angel's lips, eyes wide "You pervert!"
"Now, now, sex is just an expression of love, dear," Aziraphale mock-admonished him, "And I'm supposed to be familiar with all of its expressions."
"You bloody bastard, how come you never told me?"
"You mean 'Hello, Crowley, dear, let's meet at the Ritz for dinner. And by the way, I had sex today because if I do get you in bed at some point I don't want to feel awkward'? Imagine that."
"Not in bed. You've gotten me on top of a desk."
"Yes, well, I knew it would come in handy."
"You've achieved your goal, I see. You're either a great actor or you're really not feeling awkward at all."
"Just trying to make some 'precious moments'. Although I don't think we should catch these on camera."
Crowley finally got his wits about him and grinned.
"Well, you're getting a run for your money, mister 'I've done it before'!"
And precious moments they were, even if they made the kittens on the album cover blush.
# 49 Hunger
"Ah, the Ritz!" Aziraphale sighed, sinking gratefully into the comfortable chair. "It's still the same."
Crowley was surprised himself. With the gloomy state all England was still in (they had a lot of work ahead of them), the restaurant managed to look quite cheerful. Or maybe it just depended on the company. He grinned at his companion.
"Oh, you bet! I haven't tasted food in ages! I'm officially going native too because I could swear I really do feel hungry."
Crowley laughed and ordered every favorite food he could come up with at the moment.
And everything was right with the world again.
# 50 Believe
I believe in sunshine.
I believe in old books with dusty covers.
I believe in ducks.
I believe in humans.
I believe in traffic jams. In miracles. In smiles. In chocolate éclairs. In angels and demons and the Antichrist. In sunflowers and butterflies and rain.
I believe in you.
I believe in us.
I believe in happiness and trouble and how the two don't negate each other.
Among all of this, I also believe in God. But even if I didn't…
It doesn't matter what you believe in. It's only important that you do.
Author's Note: Please, push the little Review button on the left. Last chance! Pretty please?