Pick Your Battles @raichel
A London Alleyway, 1990s

Crowley strolled around the city, having nothing better to do, and admired the night scene. Well, as much as he could through his glasses. It wasn’t bad, a little drizzly, not too busy. There was a sort of peace to it. Maybe he would go get a drink.

He winced at the sound of a familiar voice. What the hell was Aziraphale doing anywhere near him? He knew how to find the angel if he wanted to, and he hadn’t wanted to. Still, he couldn’t very well ignore it.

Crowley traced the voice to a back alley, and the closer he got, the worse he felt about this. The angel sounded panicked, and as he rounded the corner he found him, his back to Crowley. A young man was sneering at him, backing him down the alley. A demon.

“Now, this needn’t get nasty,” Aziraphale stammered, “I would really rather not—“ Another demon slipped out of the shadows and zapped Aziraphale in the back, and the angel crumpled to the ground.

“Hey!” Crowley barked, striding down the alley. “What do you think you’re doing?” the two demons turned to face him. He didn’t recognize them. Were they young? Or was he out of the loop? More importantly: could he bluff his way out of this?

“Getting rid of the pesky angel,” the taller of the two explained. “He’s the only one on earth—“

“Do you want to attract their attention?!” Crowley snapped, tossing a gesture to the sky. “Because that’s how you get smited. Smitten? Smote,” that was it. “that’s how you get smote.”

“We succeed at this, we’ll have protection. We’ll have status,” the other one retorted.

“Oh, you think you’ll get enough ‘kudos’ to protect you from their wrath?”

“With him gone—“ the other one interjected,

“They’ll send others,” he told them. “they might send more! Do you want to be responsible for that? No.”

“Just because it’s not worth the risk to you doesn’t mean it’s not worth the risk,” the shadow demon said. These two were determined.

“Well you’re in no position to do him in,” Crowley retorted, “you’re on my turf, and if anyone’s getting that glory it’s me.”

“But—“ the taller one stepped forward, but Crowley threw the two back with a gesture.

“Back off,” he snarled, grabbing Aziraphale by the collar and dragging him off.

He walked three blocks that way, dragging the angel on the ground, then he glanced back over each shoulder. Finding no sign of the other demons, he hefted Aziraphale up in both arms and carried him properly the rest of the way to his apartment.

 

 

Laid out on the bed in Crowley’s apartment, Aziraphale certainly looked worse for wear. It looked like the demons had gotten a few hits in before knocking the angel out. He had a bruise forming around one eye and a cut across one cheekbone, and there was an impressive rip in his coat. He certainly wouldn’t be happy about that. But that wasn’t Crowley’s problem. None of this should be his problem. He needed a stiff drink.

But even after grabbing a bottle of whisky he wandered back to keep an eye on the angel. Still out cold. He sat down on the floor and just stared at him for a little bit, taking intermittent swigs. When the nagging voice in the back of his head wouldn’t quiet down he got up and walked over to Aziraphale. He waved a hand over the tear in the coat and it was repaired, good as new. With a gesture, the bruise around his eye was gone, and as he ran his thumb across the cut it disappeared.

“Oh, angel,” he muttered, placing a kiss on Aziraphale’s forehead, “what the hell have you done to me?” he shook his head in disgust and stood back up, throwing back more whisky as he left the room.


Aziraphale jolted awake, finding himself in a strange and dark room.

“Hello?” he asked, scrambling to his feet and looking around. “Anyone here?” he walked cautiously through the stark apartment, trying to orient himself. It seemed to be early morning, by the looks of the view out the windows. How could he have gotten here? Surely there wasn’t enough alcohol in the world… a fight! The last thing he remembered— he spun around, checking his coat, he could’ve sworn it was damaged! But all seemed to be in order, and he didn’t feel particularly in pain…

He found a room full of very nice plants, and stumbled, finally, upon Crowley: twisted up in his ornate desk chair, hand still clutched around the neck of the whisky bottle on his desk.

“Crowley?” he asked, taking a step closer. The demon appeared to be dead asleep, sunglasses askew, mouth hanging open. Aziraphale smiled at him, and ran a hand through his hair. “Thank you,” he said, quiet as he could, before leaving the apartment to return to his shop. He was supposed to open soon.

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