Before the beginning, angels had a lot of work to do. God, who decided to create humanity, did not want to get Her hands dirty, so the job was now to be done by her disciples. They worked incessantly, every one of them excited to what was about to be done. One of the most lively cheered of the angels was called Aziraphale. He was meant to guard the gate of Eden when the First Day came, but that was still seven days away.
He helped with everything he could, or, what the other angels would let him do. Aziraphale was unintentionally very clumsy and sloppy. He tried his best, he cared so much that would let things slip away from his hands. The first time it happened Aziraphale and Michael were creating bees, which eventually led to honey, and Aziraphale, being the curious and persistent angel, decided to give it a try. He stepped in, reaching for the honeycomb. After he got out, no one was able to touch him for months (Although time hadn’t been invented yet, they guessed that would be a rough estimate. Later on, they found out that it only lasted 17 minutes and 35 seconds. ). Aziraphale was sticky, sweet and and utterly nauseating. He couldn’t get rid of all that honey, so the other angels figured that it would be best for beehives to stay up on trees, where Aziraphale couldn’t grab them.
It happened again, again and again. He tried to help with the creation of animals and ended up making an uncanny creature that he later named The Platypus and a earth monster called The Giraffe. ( He also created The Blobfish, but that became taboo. They never spoke of the Blobfish ever again. ) Aziraphale decided to give architecture and landscaping a try, resulting in a massive separation of the humans-to-be land. The angels called the catastrophic accident “Pangea”. He remembered Sandalphon laughing at him when he said he wanted to put “shiny things” in the sky. He did not gain permission to do so, the others angels were afraid he would burn down the planet.
Aziraphale pretended he didn’t care. But he did. He only ever wanted to help, to do what was best for all of them, he even suspected God playing tricks with him. It was impossible for him to do anything without ruining it. Tears were about to be invented.
He sat down, alone, on top of a cloud. His wings were messy, his body was dirty and the only thing that was making him happy was sucking the leftover honey from his fingers. Aziraphale felt like his excitement being drained from his ethereal form. He didn’t even feel ethereal anymore. So lost and helpless, he covered his face with his hands, figuring how could he make this right.
He did, eventually, but not on his own.
When he was mourning his mistakes, another angel sat beside him. He did recall his name was Raphael, but hadn’t talked to him that much. Gabriel had told him to stay away from him, but did not give a reason why. In that moment, Aziraphale felt so lonely and so betrayed by Gabriel, that he completely forgot his warning. Which, later on, Aziraphale wish he hadn’t.
“I like what you did with the Giraffe. I think it was cute.”
Aziraphale looked up to see his face. Their ethereal forms sometimes were not perfectly figured, but he could see his fire-colored hair curling down to his waist and his bright golden eyes. His halo was so lustrous, so fitting on top of his head, making all of his body glow in the holiest way. Aziraphale had never payed attention to him, but after this day, it was all that came to his mind.
“Cute, really?”It was inspiring seeing an angel like that, knowingly and accurately doing what he was supposed to, being nice and kind, beautiful and sublime. The white robe complimented his fair complexion, bringing even more light to his sun-eyes. “I’m afraid it was my biggest failure.”
“I don’t believe it was a failure.” Aziraphale smiled. After so long ( two days ) of trying so hard to please everyone, he finally got the tiniest bit of compliment. “They are too close-minded to see how creative and exotic that was.”
“Do you really think so?”
“Of course! And your “shiny things” idea? That was brilliant.” Raphael was smiling, which made Aziraphale smile too. They were both smiling, looking at each other as if they were a new and amazing creation, never seen before but hopefully seen forever.
“They won’t let me do it, you know.” Aziraphale looked down, disappointed with himself.
“Maybe I could put them up for you, if you’d like.”
“ Are you serious? I… I…” Aziraphale’s eyes were large and gleaming with hope. “That would be too much to ask of you.”
“Of course not. Tell me how you want them.”
Raphael asked for Gabriel’s help. He was Her favorite, so it was sure She would approve of it if Gabriel was involved.
“Why are you doing this?” Gabriel asked, not knowing what was his purpose.
“It gets too dark at night.” Raphael mentioned, as a sloppy excuse. He wanted to put them up because Aziraphale thought they were pretty, that was the only reason why. If it would make Aziraphale happy, it would make Raphael happy too. “The humans are going to need some guidance. They will be able to find themselves.” That was definitely a better excuse.
“You understand that I’m only helping you because I love you, right? I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“I do and I love you too. Thank you very much for that.” Raphael said, creating an asterisk with one of his fingers, just like Aziraphale had shown him. He made them bigger, brighter and better.
“What are you calling them?”
“Everyone of them is going to have a different name. But overall, they will be called stars.”
“Stars? How did you come up with that?” He did, Raphael wanted to say, Aziraphale did.
“Does it matter?”
Raphael made so many of them he couldn’t count anymore. There were some that were huge, some that were tiny, some that shined brighter and some that would soon fade away. He wanted them to last a really long time, so he and Gabriel put them very far away. That way, it would take years for their lights to reach Earth. Humans would be able to see them even after the stars died.
After the laborious work, Gabriel held Raphael’s hand.
“It looks beautiful.”
“I know.” Raphael said. Aziraphale is capable of creating the most beautiful things.
“But it is also sad.”
“Why do you say so?”
Gabriel looked at him, now holding both of his soft hands. His purple eyes looked deep into Raphael’s golden ones. “Look at me. Look at them. They’re so beautiful. I can spend so much time admiring them, but I can’t expect them to admire me back.”
“Look!” Raphael pointed at the night sky. There were so many stars and so many constellations filling it up, ornamenting it like a Christmas tree (Which, as matter of fact, would be accidentally created 2 thousand years later by Aziraphale, but that was a another story.). “That big one is Ursa. There is also another part of it, but I think I misplaced it.”
“Raphael, it is… beautiful.” There were tears in his eyes, what inspired Crowley to create the first waterfall. So dangerous and untouchable, yet so precious and desirable. “I don’t know how to thank you.”
“You’re thanking me by being here with me, now.” They were both laying on their backs, stargazing for the first time ever. Raphael carefully grabbed one of Aziraphale’s hands and rubbed his thumb in a circular motion against his palm. He wished they could stay like that forever. “To the left is Sagittarius. And then Draco, Cassiopeia and oh, that’s the other Ursa part.” Aziraphale wasn’t looking at the sky anymore, he was looking at Raphael. “Can you see that long one, with two legs?”
“Camelopardalis.” He smiled, glancing at the other angel, so excited about his little accomplishment. “Also known as Giraffe.”
“You didn’t!” They were both laughing, without planning on stopping it anytime soon.
“I had to. It’s your signature mark. It’s your creation, afterall.”
“Yeah.” Raphael liked how it sounded. They forgot about the sky, they forgot about Earth, they forgot about Her. Raphael and Aziraphale, at that precious little moment, each other was all they needed and it was all they could wish for. Raphael’s head laid on Aziraphale’s chest, whose hand started ruffling the copper and silky hair. “It’s ours.”
On the 6th day, Camael, Jophiel, Zadkiel and other three angels talked to Raphael. “We are only asking questions.” they said, “Nothing more.”
It took him a brief minute to be convinced.
His first thought was Aziraphale. Why do they have to treat him so unfairly? Why isn’t he given the same opportunities as everyone else? Why does She allow the other angels treat him with such loathing? Why isn’t She here with us, helping? Why do we have to do everything?
When Raphale told Aziraphale about it, the angel got scared.
“But… they could do something bad. Something could happen to you. I can’t let anything happen to you.” He hugged him tight. “I love you, Raphael. Please promise me you’ll be okay.”
“I promise.” He hugged him back. “I’ll always be right beside you. I’ll always take care of you, Aziraphale. I love you too.”
Love was one of the first things ever invented. Angels were made of love, to be loved and to love others. However, love-love was still not a thing. It was made when Raphael promised something he couldn’t keep. When he asked Her, when they all did. When his first and last thoughts were of Aziraphale. Love-love was made well Raphael fell. Love-love was made when Raphael fell in love.
He first started feeling his wings being burned, and then he got new feeling. He was hurt, so he got angry. He got sad, furious, and vengeful. Raphael met pain and suffering, agony and despair. He felt betrayed by God, and he was betraying Aziraphale. Ambiguity, ignorance and hopelessness.
Raphael’s whole body burned. It did not hurt, not even close, as much when he started falling, when his feet left the clouds and he saw Aziraphale’s eyes, so blue and so flooded, drowning. “You pro-promised me.” He yelled. “ You b-bas... you promised you’d stay here with me.” Raphael’s hands reached for Aziraphale’s. Their fingers barely touched, slipped away from each other. Raphael started falling. It was too fast. “Raphael, please. Please. I need you here with me. I beg you.” The angel was sobbing. He couldn’t see Raphael anymore. He was gone. “Please.”
When it all started, Crowley saw Aziraphale guarding Eden’s Eastern Gate. He still looked the same: curly golden hair and translucent blue eyes. His uplifting and cheerful smile was still on his face, like it had never left. They gave him a chance, in the end. Or better, in the beginning. Crowley was the first, and only, volunteer to unsettle Eden. He didn’t even think about it twice.
His first and impulsive thought was to tell Eve to eat an apple. That should do some good harm, right? Crowley just wanted for it to be over so he could run away for a second and talk to Aziraphale, who was just observing everything from the top of the gates. He didn’t expect Aziraphale to recognize him at first, as he was presenting as a serpent, so he quickly changed into his corporeal form.
“Well, that went down like a lead balloon.” Crowley said, looking at Aziraphale, who chuckled. This precious beautiful smile, he thought, I missed it so much.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” He stopped laughing. Aziraphale was now serious, avoiding to look at Crowley.
“I said: That went down like a lead balloon.”
That was when Crowley realised.
“Yes, yes. It did, rather.”
Aziraphale didn’t recognized him. Aziraphale didn’t know him anymore. Aziraphale had forgotten about him. “A bit of an overreaction if you ask me.” Crowley said, and started talking and talking, trying to get the faintest reaction from the angel, a look that would reciprocate what he was feeling, a hug as he did before it all happen. Just a glimpse, that’s all he needed, just a look that would tell him that he knew who he was.
Of course, Crowley was now a demon. He did look different, but he was recognizable. Maybe Aziraphale was pretending not to know him so he could stay out of trouble, or maybe he was avoiding him. Or, the worst of all, Aziraphale couldn’t remember him at all.
Crowley felt his chest burn, his throat hurt and his eyes wet. Every agonizing second he had spent in Hell, every minute of his miserable life he was thinking of him. Of his little smile, and how his eyes would get wider and brighter when he was happy. He kept Aziraphale of his mind all the time, it was the only thing that brought hope to him. He broke his promise, but he was trying the best he could to mend it back. He couldn’t have known, it wasn’t his fault. But now, Crowley felt like he was gone. Invisible, completely unperceivable. Aziraphale was by his side, but Crowley wasn’t Raphael anymore. Aziraphale didn’t love him any longer, but Crowley never stopped.
It couldn’t take too long for Aziraphale to remember him, right? It shouldn’t take too long for him to love Crowley back again. It couldn’t.
He tried dropping hints. He talked sometimes about the stars, hoping it would spark Aziraphale’s memories back to him. It didn’t. Crowley still wanted to protect him and take care of his angel, so he kept him out of trouble. He stayed by his side, as he had promised, never leaving him out of sight. Whenever Aziraphale needed, Crowley would show up and help.
In the beginning, Aziraphale refused. He was too scared to have a demon by his side, but soon after he gave in. They would have lunch together sometimes. Other days they would have picnics. However, most times they would just get drunk together. Crowley would only drink alone to forget Aziraphale, but it would only make him remember the angel even more. He couldn’t stand the pain anymore. He loved someone who didn’t know who he was.
He can’t love me for Raphael anymore, he kept thinking, but maybe he can love me for being Crowley now. His mind kept remembering him how he was a demon and no one could love him anymore, but Aziraphale was different, he had always been.
Crowley would sometimes lay in bed, hug a pillow and cry. He would sleep for decades, just to try to keep his mind from wandering, just so he could stop thinking about Aziraphale. He would look at the angel through the bookshop’s window for hours. His little blond curls on top of his head, his eyes hypnotized by the books he couldn’t stop reading. It was probably very creepy, but Crowley couldn’t help it. He had promised.
Crowley took Aziraphale to a zoo once. The angel wouldn’t shut up about it being cruel to keep animals locked up in cages and how they must be suffering. All Crowley wanted to do was to show him the giraffes. The demon gave him a huge honeycomb for his angel to eat. Aziraphale didn’t question him, not even once.
After the German Blitz, Crowley’s hope that kept falling all those years finally stopped. He knew the way Aziraphale looked at him after he gave him the books, it was the same look from when Crowley talked to him for the first time. When he was sad, he gave the angel what he was missing: hope. When Aziraphale gave him the holy water, the demon’s hope started climbing up again. He didn’t want to lie to himself, but also didn’t wanted to fill his mind with fake hope. However, it was all he had, all he could hold himself to before he fell again.
That day, he climbed up to the roof of his flat, just so he could see the stars. He laid down on the hard floor, but he couldn’t see much. He was in London, he was never going to be able to see a clear sky from there. But, for now, it was enough. He could see some of the “shiny things”, as Aziraphale once called them, hanging up in the sky. Some of them has faded already, but some were still as powerful as he remembered, even though they were probably dead.
He remembered Gabriel’s words: “They’re so beautiful. I can spend so much time admiring them, but I can’t expect them to admire me back.”
Maybe that was why Gabriel hated Aziraphale, and maybe that's why Crowley hated himself. He was expecting something he couldn’t have, but he didn’t, he would be hopeless. If he was hopeless, he wouldn’t be able to keep his promise.
“We are not friends.” Aziraphale said. “ We are an angel and demon.”
The angel grabbed the demon’s heart, threw it on the floor and stepped on it. Crowley could feel it crushing, shattering, until there was nothing left. “We can run away.” He begged. “Alpha centauri. That was one of ours, remember? Ours.”
It was useless. Aziraphale wouldn’t go away with Crowley, but would he run if it was Raphael?
The day he saw the bookshop burn to the ground the thought there was nothing left for him. I don’t care anymore. I hope Armageddon happens and I hope I die. I hope I’ll be the first one to die. Maybe, after I do so, I’ll meet Aziraphale in the after-afterlife. Maybe then he will remember me.
After the non-apocalypse, Aziraphale seemed to have relaxed. He didn’t worry too much about Crowley being a demon anymore. They started spending so much more time together. Crowley would take Aziraphale to the Ritz whenever was possible. They stopped meeting at St. James’ Park and started meeting at the bookshop. Crowley wouldn’t just “stay overnight” anymore, he would stay a whole week. They would laugh together, smile and they even danced to Queen once, as the demon insisted. He made sure that picture of Aziraphale swaying his hips in front of him would be saved in his brain forever.
One day, London’s sky stopped being enough.
Crowley brought Aziraphale to, what he called, south downs cottage. A perfectly cozy home and free from light and air pollution. Crowley would cook for Aziraphale. They would both lay down together on the couch, the angel would read and Crowley would watch TV. One of the many days, the demon laid his head on the angel’s chest. Aziraphale was hesitant first, but after a few minutes his hands started ruffling Crowley’s dark ginger hair, just like he did on their last day together in Heaven.
Maybe he remembers me. Crowley thought. Just maybe. But maybe is enough for me now.
After a few months, when the weather started getting warmer again, Crowley planned a huge picnic with everything Aziraphale liked. He put a plaid towel on their backyard, where they could sit together.
“Angel!” He said, loudly. “I did something. Come here.”
Aziraphale rushed himself to their yard. He smiled when he saw all the food. He passed straight through Crowley and kneeled on the floor, taking all the food from the basket. The demon laughed. It was adorable how Aziraphale cared about food more than anything. “Crowley you… Strawberries, cakes, chocolate pastries, macarons, oh I love those! Did you also make the ice cream? Woah, that’s a lot of wine for us two. Good wine. Very good wine.”
“Yes, angel. Everything is for you. You can have as much as you want.”
The sun started setting. The sky was purple and orange, the colors mixing like a watercolor painting.
“Oh, my dear, how can I thank you?”
“You’re thanking me by being here with me now.”
They laid down together to watch the sky go dark. One by one, the stars staring showing up in the sky. They both ate a lot, even Crowley, who wasn’t used to eating. Maybe he was nervous, but didn’t even know why. He let the alcohol warm his body and make his head slightly dizzy, letting his tension slip away.
He was scared, but he took Aziraphale’s left hand and delicately put it in between his. The angel looked at him, curious but also excited. His eyes were very wide and his mouth curled to a smile. The demon put the angel’s hand against his chest, and with his other hand, he pointed at the sky.
“Can you see that one up there, that is zigzagging, making tiny squares?”
“I think so.”
“That one is called Lacerta. It was name after a reptile I don’t really know why.” Yes I do. It was because right after they were created you told me they were funny. “You can’t really see it, but to the right, a little bit downwards, it’s Cassiopeia. To the other side there is Lynx.” Aziraphale pushed himself closer to Crowley, hiding his face on the demon’s neck. “Then there is Auriga and Perseus.” Crowley’s neck started getting warm. He looked at Aziraphale, none of them weren’t looking at the sky anymore. The angel grabbed the demon’s arms and sunk his fingers into his pale skin. Crowley thought maybe he was just tired, so he kept talking. “And right in the middle of it, that long one, that one is called Ca...” His neck was now wet. He looked at his angel again, clueless. “Aziraphale? Is there something wrong?”
“I’m sorry.” He whispered. “ I’m sorry, Crowley, I’m so sorry.” The angel was crying.
“Hey, angel it’s okay.”
“It is not okay.” He said, and started bawling even more. His voice got up one octave because of all he was feeling inside. It was mainly agony, but also yearning. “I’m so stupid, so fucking stupid. I’m an idiot.” Crowley has never heard Aziraphale curse before, it was not a good sign. In another situation, it could’ve even been funny, but it was sad. So sad it was starting to hurt Crowley.
“Shh… You’re not stupid, don’t say that.” The demon felt guilty for once calling him stupid, maybe that was from where the angel had got such idea. “Not at all. You’re so clever. So, so clever.” Crowley didn’t know if it was okay, but in a desperate attempt to cosole him, he pressed his hand against the angel’s neck. “What happened, angel?”
“It’s stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I’m so stupid I-” He didn’t finish his sentence, the tears invaded all of his face. He groaned, trying to stop them. He felt so vulnerable and weak.
“It’s okay. You can cry as much as you want, everything will be okay.” He caressed the base of the angel’s neck with his fingers, almost as he was petting a wounded animal, trying to help but not knowing how. He kissed the top of his head, very slowly and with all the love that was left in him. “You’ll be okay.”
“I… Tried so hard Crowley, so hard. I looked everywhere. When I-I went to Hell, as yo-you, I looked at every corner of that horrible place. I tried, Crowley, I tried. I’ve been trying for six thousand years, and I have found nothing.”
Maybe he remembers me. He remembers me.
“For him, for… He’s a… I hate him so much. He could’ve come after me. He promised me.” He remembers me. He remembers me. He remembers me. “He told me he’d always be by his side, but he was so selfish. He had to fall, that ignorant bastard, he had to destroy everything.” Crowley smiled at the same time he started crying. “And they took him away from him. They took his face away from my memories and I keep looking but I don’t know what I’m looking for because I’m stupid, Crowley, I’m so stupid. They took his face but let his name stay in my head so they could haunt me forever, so I would fear Her. Just so they could torture me to never do the same thing. It’s unfair, it’s so unfair.” The demon held the angel tightly in his arms. He squeezed him as hard as he could and his hand gently grabbed his hair. Aziraphale’s hands were grabbing Crowley’s clothes closer to him. “He will never come looking for me. I was so lonely and so helpless. I’ll never find him. He’s probably doing whatever he wants and not giving a damn about be! But I’m fine! I’m fine with that. I’m fine because I’m stupid enough to be in love with him. But I do. I love him so much that it doesn’t matter anymore” Aziraphale now had to stop mid sentence because he had hiccups from crying. His face was red, his eyes were darker than usual. Crowley could look at them even with Aziraphale trying to hide his face. The angel sounded mad, but not at him, at himself. “I’ll never find him.”
“You know, angel,” Crowley said, trying not to let any tears out of his eyes, but it was impossible. Physically impossible. He couldn’t contain himself anymore, his throat hurt every time he saw Aziraphale’s eyelids press hard against the other and his lips crumble. He could see his pain, and he was now feeling it too. “when you think you lost your glasses, so you look everywhere for them. You can’t find them, and you get really desperate thinking you lost them forever, but then you realise they’ve been on your face for the whole time?” They had both been desperate for six thousand years, trying to find each other. They both had suffered, but differently.
“Ye-Yes, Crowley, but what does that have to do with anything? Is it a moral lesson? A joke?” They seperated from the hug, but they were still touching. Crowley’s hand was playing with Aziraphale’s hair and Aziraphale’s hand was laying on Crowley’s waist. The demon smiled, looking directly into the angel’s eye. “Why are you smiling? Is this supposed to be funny? Crowley?”
“That last one I was talking about, the constellation, you know what is it called?”
“Camelopardalis.” He smiled again. Aziraphale looked at him, puzzled, like he had a math problem to solve but didn’t even know how to start. He smiled for a brief second, but went back to being serious and confused. “It’s the giraffe constellation, angel.”
Aziraphale tightened the grip of his hands, pulling Crowley closer. “No.” He simply denied, without any argument. He wanted to smile so hard, but couldn’t let himself just slip away.
“Yes.” Crowley said. His hands travelled until his cheeks, his thumb rubbing his soft and smooth skin, feeling him shiver under his touch.
“Yes.” Aziraphale bit his lips, tasting something terrible invade his mouth. He was probably hurting Crowley because of how hard he was grabbing his waist.
“Raphael...” The way his voice left his throat was still holy, so pure and so beautiful.
Aziraphale finally smiled, seeing that made Crowley feel his body being filled with happiness. All that hope he had been looking for, he had found it. “But Crowley… You… Why?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He was mad, but so happly mad.
“I thought you forgot about me.”
“How could I forget? How could I possibly forget about you? You idiot. I hate you, I hate you so much.” Aziraphale pushed himself closer to the demon until there was no space left between them. He hugged him tight and softly kissed his neck. “I missed you so much. So much.” He was crying even more than before, so was Crowley. “You promised to never leave me, you stupid demon.”
“A-and I didn’t. I was always here, angel. I never left you.”
“I missed you so much. I missed you and your stupid hair and your stupid eyes and your stupid laugh and your stupid stars…” He couldn’t finish his sentences anymore, he was sobbing. The tears wouldn’t let his words come out.
“Our stars, angel.” He grabbed the angel and pulled him as closer as he possibly could. His hands grabbed his hair and he kissed his forehead. They were both trembling, their hands so shaky and their breaths so uncompassed. Crowley was sure Aziraphale could hear his heartbeat, pounding violently against his chest. “Ours.” They had never been that close, but being apart for such a long time needed compensation. “I’m here and I’ll always be. I’ll never let you go.”
“Do you promise?”
“I promise, angel.” He gave Aziraphale another kiss, this time, on his lips. “I promise.”