Pick Your Battles @raichel
A Bar in London, 1970s

Aziraphale had only stepped away for a moment, having spotted an acquaintance across the bar. He had been talking to him for perhaps five minutes when people started shouting. The commotion was back across the bar, right about where he had come from.

Shuffling his way back through the mix of bar patrons he found a crowd forming around a fight, and, right in the middle, a shock of dark red hair.

Crowley.

Aziriphale forced his way up to the edge of the fight just as Crowley was punched across the face, the momentum flinging him around to face Aziraphale. The demon grinned, lip bleeding, and shot a finger-gun at him before turning back to the fight.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale snapped. Crowley threw a punch, hitting the other guy almost as squarely in the face.

“Little busy at the moment, hang on!” Crowley replied, barely dodging one punch, only to get nailed in the gut.

“You know him?” his acquaintance from across the bar asked.

“Unfortunately,” Aziraphale grumbled.

Crowley tried to get in a few more hits, but soon enough his opponent socked him hard enough to send him stumbling back, falling right back into Aziraphale. The angel caught him, but when he tried to get back up, Aziraphale wouldn’t let go. Instead, he started dragging him backwards out of the bar.

“Hey!” Crowley barked.

“We are leaving,” Azirapahle stated, between apologies to the people he was walking past.

“Yeah, run off with your friend, coward!” Crowley’s opponent sneered, and Crowley flipped him two very emphatic birds.

 

 

“I can’t believe you!” Aziraphale said, walking down the London streets, Crowley’s arm slung over his shoulder (in part to support the demon, but also to keep him from sauntering off). “I walk away for minutes. Minutes! And you get into a fight?”

“Gotta sew some evil,” Crowley retorted, “it’s my job.”

“You can’t just have a simple drink without causing chaos?!”

“Where are we going?” Crowley asked, looking around.

“You’re staying with me. Lord knows what kind of trouble you’d get into if I left you alone.”

“Ooh, am I ineffable, too?” Crowley grinned.

“Shut up.”

 

 

Crowley lounged in Aziraphale’s study, surrounded by books, as the angel puttered around.

“I think my glasses are broken,” Crowley noted.

“What?!” Aziraphale yelped, whirling around to look at him. Sure enough, there was a large crack down one of the lenses, and even a small piece missing. “Good lord! Get those off!” Aziraphale removed the glasses himself, putting them aside.

“Eugh, I’ll have to get a new pair, I suppose. That’s always a pain. Do I keep the look? or mix it up? I can never decide.”

“Did you get any glass in your eye?” Aziriphale asked, examining one of the demon’s slitted pupils.

“Think I would’ve noticed that, don’t you?"

"I suppose so," he grudgingly admitted. “you need to heal yourself, you’re a mess.”

“I, uh, sort of used up most of my juice,” Crowley admitted.

“What?”

“I may’ve… cursed him. Just a little.”

“You what?! What are you, 1100?”

“A fun one, too: every time he’s an ass his dick gets just a little smaller. Soon enough he won’t have one left!” Crowley snickered at the thought, but Aziraphale scoffed, rolling his eyes.

“You’re a child.”

“I was never a child,” Crowley retorted.

“Why were you even fighting him?” Aziraphale asked.

“He insulted me,” Crowley said, “called my glasses ugly.”

“Then you deserved what you got. So ridiculous,”

“I thought I was quite justified,” Crowley replied.

“Just go to sleep, get your energy back,” Aziraphale said, gesturing vaguely at him and sitting down with a book. “you’ve caused quite enough trouble for one night.”

“You can never cause enough chaos,” Crowley retorted.

“Sleep,” Aziraphale ordered.

Crowley rolled his eyes, and sprawled out on the couch.

 

 

Aziraphale looked up from his book sometime later. Crowley had been impressively quiet. Sure enough, the demon was out cold, spread as haphazardly across the couch as possible. Thank god, he couldn’t be such a nuisance this way.

As he continued reading he kept glancing over at Crowley, seeing that he was still there, still asleep. Though he wasn’t likely to go anywhere. When he finished the chapter he shut the book (quietly, of course, wouldn’t want to disturb him) and turned to properly look at Crowley. He was rarely so peaceful. Well, sort of peaceful. All the injuries sort of broke the illusion.

They were small enough cuts and bruises. Only a small handful on his face, though maybe there was worse damage under the surface. Still, it wouldn’t, hypothetically, take much power to heal them, would it? Surely no one would notice if he just…

Aziraphale stepped over to Crowley, and, for a moment hesitated. This was ridiculous. Crowley was a perfectly capable demon who could fix his own injuries. He got himself into this mess, he could face the consequences.

Aziraphale took two steps back toward his chair before turning right back around and returning to Crowley’s side. He just looked so worn out, fast asleep on the sofa! Even demons deserved the occasional break, didn’t they?

With a few short gestures all the minor injuries disappeared. No one would be any the wiser. He had no reason to keep lingering here. But he did, and for a moment, his common sense escaped him, and Aziraphale ran a hand through Crowley’s mess of hair. It’d gotten all over the place in the fight, so clearly it had to be fixed.

Crowley leaned into the touch, and Aziraphale flinched. He was still entirely unconscious, that was obvious, but Crowley’s hand, supporting his head, curled, every so slightly, around Aziraphale’s. For a second, the angel just stood there, frozen. After that one panicked second, however, he carefully pulled his and out of the demon’s grasp.

He shook it off, as though it’d been injured. What an odd unconscious reflex. Absolutely opposed to who the demon was. Crowley would never stand for such a thing in his waking hours.


An hour or two earlier, at the bar:

Crowley considered his drink. He was certainly enjoying himself. Cultivating a nice buzz was always an excellent way to spend an evening. Aziraphale had just stepped away, noticing someone he knew across the bar, when the man sitting next to Crowley snorted.

“Better look out, mate,” the man said, “looks like that poof’s got an eye on you. Granted, he seems about as smart as a stump.”

Crowley slowly turned to face him, a very skeptical eyebrow raised.

“Pretentious, though. Christ!” his new drinking “buddy” went on, “Figures a pansy would be so pompous. Maybe a good hit to the face would scare some of the sissy out of him.” the man took a swig of his drink.

“You want to say that again?” Crowley asked.

“He just needs some fear of god put in him,” the man continued, unabated. “suppose he’ll burn in hell, anyways, though.”

“I’m going to tell you once,” Crowley growled, standing up to loom, if only slightly, over the man, “don’t insult my friend again. I’m sure you enjoy having an unbroken nose.”

The man considered him a moment, and laughed.

“You couldn’t do a thing to me!” he crowed, “What, are you like him? A pair of f—“ Crowley’s fist connected with his face, and so did a curse.

1. A Bar in London, 1970s 1261 0 0 2. A London Alleyway, 1990s 861 0 0