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Darkness.

Firelight.

Darkness.

Pain.

“Angel?”

They were in battle, he thinks. He remembers noise, and the echo of pain.

More than an echo, actually. The darkness seems rife with pain.

“Angel,” someone says again.

Oh, good. Crowley is here. Perhaps he can sink back into that darkness, where the pain can't reach him.

“No no, stay with me. Need you to wake up.”

Something smacks him, pain blooming brightly in his cheek, and he forces his eyes open into flickering firelight. “Ow.”

“Wake up, angel. I've done all I can, but I can't heal this. Need you for it.”

Alarmed, he struggles to see, looking Crowley over. The demon's bare torso is blood- and sweat-streaked, but seems whole--

"Not me, you great pigeon. You. I need you to heal you."

Oh. Well, that rather explains some things. "...happened?"

"What happened, he asks. You took a chest full of arrows, that's what. I barely held you together this long. Now fix it!"

He looks down--he’s lost his armor, wrapped in just tunic and trousers and--

"Your shirt," he says, looking at the black fabric tied around his bloodied whites.

"Yeah, it’s holding you together. Fix it."

There are three, he realizes, shafts roughly broken a hand-span out from his chest. "Excellent marksmanship."

"Quit complimenting their grouping, angel. Fix it."

"They'll have to come out."

Crowley goggles at him. "You want me to yank ‘em?"

His arm is slow to work, but he touches one of them. “This... this one first.”

Crowley wraps blood-hot hands around his cold, fumbling ones. Tucks his fingertips against the chill of his skin. “There. Right there. You heal this the instant it's out, yeah?”

He nods, with confidence he doesn’t feel.

“On three. One two--!”

Pain explodes in his chest. Crowley's hand covers his. "Fix it."

He knows this. He's done this before. Healing energy, flowing through his fingertips, into his own wound.

The pain fades, but Crowley is weeping. "Crowley?"

"Fine. Again. This one." His fingers are moved to the next arrow, set on the skin next to it.

Another flower of fire blooms, Crowley holding his hand down through the flow of grace. Someone screams.

“A--again,” Crowley says. “Last one.”

“...rest.”

“No, no rest. Just one more. You can do it.”

He closes his eyes to avoid that golden, earnest gaze, and then can't reopen them.

“Stay with me.” His fingers are moved again, pressed into his chest by the splintered shaft. “Last one, yeah? On three.”

‘Three’ brings a burst of agony. He funnels grace through his fingers, one more time, before everything fades.

***

Firelight.

His head pounds with the flame-flickers. “Ow.”

Crowley appears, eyes blown wide. “Angel!”

“...loud.”

“Rest,” Crowley says, more softly. “Thought I’d lost you, there.”

“...no paperwork?”

Ragged laughter. “No paperwork. Not this time.”

“Good.” His eyes drift closed again. “Not sure what I’d write.”

“‘Got discorporated saving a demon’ wouldn’t look good,” Crowley huffs. “Much better if you just survive.”

“Crowley?”

“Yeah?”

It's dangerous, but just this once.... “Thank you.”