Alexandria 48 B.C.
Crowley had a bad feeling. It wasn’t terribly unusual, but the nagging feeling wouldn’t leave him alone until he’d done something about it, so he was off to Alexandria. He’d known something was going on, but he certainly didn’t expect the harbour and parts of the city to be on fire when he arrived. He quickened his pace and found himself hurrying to see if anyone needed help.
People were running and screaming in the streets. He could see the great library in flames with a huge pillar of smoke blacking out the sky. A momentary thought caught Crowley off-guard. Azirafell hoarded knowledge. Without even thinking he found himself running towards the library.
Once the angel reached the library, he reached out with his Grace, searching desperately for a demonic presence. There! The angel took a deep breath, not eager to be jumping into the flames, but he wasn’t going to let his only, friend? Companion? Didn’t matter. Couldn’t let the fiend get discorporated.
The angel snapped and the doorway cleared of debris and let him in. He ran throughout the halls, yelling and screaming Azirafell’s name. He passed by a blur of black and found himself slipping and skidding down the hall, in his haste to turn back around. There in front of one of the bookcases was Azirafell, large black wings out and protecting a treasure hoard of scrolls and books from the cinders falling from the ceiling.
He was scrabbling to get as much precious knowledge he can get his claws on. He either didn’t hear, or didn’t care for Crowley calling his bloody name, focused only on gathering up scrolls. Crowley grabbed Azirafell by the shoulder to get his attention, and instead got buffeted and knocked over by a wing.
“What are you doing here?” Azirafell had the nerve to be shocked. He helped Crowley up, but immediately went back to his hoard, scooping it up and hiding scrolls in the folds of his toga and a large sack he had with him. He was about to go to the next bookcase, but he was stopped by Crowley.
“You’re so bloody clever, so why are you being so stupid?!” Crowley cried above the sound of flames and building collapsing around them. “You’re going to get discorporated!” Crowley hissed as a wooden beam fell down with much of the ceiling, blocking their exit.
“Fine, fine, let’s go this way, out through the garden,” Azirafell huffed, leading a dazed Crowley out of the hallway.
“Garden?” His voice was so quiet, Azirafell almost didn’t hear it. He glanced over and almost rolled his eyes, seeing the horror on Crowley’s face.
“Come on then, it’s this way,” Azirafell grumbled. He grabbed Crowley roughly by the arm and put his wing over him, to prevent more cinders from falling on the dear boy. He led them to the garden, thankfully free of ceiling, but not free of fire.
Crowley reached out longingly to some of the plants, but quickly pulled his hand away and swallowed hard. “We best get on then.”
Azirafell really did roll his eyes this time, “Come on, pick some out. Quick now, my dear fellow.” He forcibly pulled Crowley towards the plants.
Crowley’s fingers twitched, and whatever resolve he had melted in the flames surrounding the plants. He quickly made his way over, carefully collecting some of the rare flowers. Azirafell meanwhile, had disappeared again down a hallway. When he came back, he had several small seed bags in his mitts. Crowley had his toga all bunched up, using it to cradle the plants he’d rescued.
“Come now, best we can do,” Azirafell shuffled Crowley away. He couldn’t help wondering how this happened. Crowley came in to get him and here he is with the rescue reversed. Azirafell gathered him into arms, careful of the plants he was cradling and took to the air. The smoke thankfully hiding their escape.
Azirafell touched down well out of the city, away from people. He set Crowley down and checked over his own ill-gotten gains. Crowley gently set the plants down, tutting at the burnt leaves. A small flash of Grace and the leaves were growing and healing.
“Here, nabbed these while I was in there,” Azirafell offered the seed bags he’d taken. He floundered a little under the bright golden eyes, gazing up at him in wonder. The hands that took the seeds from him were startingly cold, considering they were just in a fire.
“Thank you-“ Crowley began, before he was cut off by Azirafell clicking irritably.
“Don’t say that! I didn’t do it for you!” Azirafell shuffled his feet and looked away. “Was quite an evil thing, stealing from a library.”
“Of course, you absolute fiend.” Crowley agreed magnanimously. Trying to be subtle, Crowley looked his companion over. “Are you hurt?”
“Oh, don’t you worry about me. I’m a demon, fire doesn’t really do much.” Azirafell placated, it wasn’t entirely true, hellfire certainly wouldn’t hurt him, but normal fire could. Given enough time.
“I see,” Crowley said, humming. “Well, I’ve got to transfer these poor darlings to a proper planter. Do be careful, in the future.” Crowley looked up at him, through his lashes, as he tended to the poor plants on the ground.
“I’ll keep it in mind, my dear.” Azirafell left Crowley there, with a large flap of his wings, and flew off to his hoard, where he’d deposit his new treasures.
Rome 64 A.D.
When he had heard about the fire, Azirafell rushed back to Rome. It had already been burning for more than two days, so surely the angel had gotten out. Yet, when he arrived, he could still feel Crowley’s Grace in the city. People were rushing past him as the fires continued to spread, and it only took a small miracle to make sure no one bumped into him in their haste.
The fires raged around him as he bustled from building to building looking for Crowley, checking through open doors. The blasted angel was here somewhere, he could feel it. The roads were twisting and narrow, and it was a bloody nuisance that he couldn’t just walk straight to Crowley.
As he got closer, he could hear people’s screams and smell burning flesh. He couldn’t be bothered though; the angel was in one of these apartment buildings. He kicked in a door and brought his arms up against the flames that rose up. “Crowley!” Azirafell called out, “Where are you dear boy?”
“Azirafell?” Relief filled the demon at the sound of the angel’s voice. Crowley’s voice was hoarse from the choking smoke as he called out, “In here!”
Azirafell followed the sound of Crowley’s voice. He found the angel crouching over some humans: a pregnant mother and her two children. The woman was doubled over hacking painfully, as Crowley fretted over her. The family was covered in soot, but appeared to be unharmed, Crowley on the other hand was covered in small burns and his glasses were cracked.
A rage filled Azirafell and before he could really even think about it, he snapped his fingers and sent the family well outside the city. Crowley looked up at him with wide eyes and mouth opened. “Oh, don’t worry. I sent them outside the city. Now what are you doing here you bloody idiot?” Azirafell huffed. He was about to grab the angel when the ceiling above them gave a shudder.
Azirafell’s large black wings flickered into existence and covered them both as bits of the ceiling rained down on them. When the debris stopped for the moment, Azirafell grabbed Crowley by his robe and with a great flap of his wings, dragged him out of the building.
Crowley coughed and hacked, “had to help. ‘s my fault.” The building they just came out of began to collapse and kicked up a large amount of smoke and ash.
Azirafell grabbed Crowley’s wrist and half-led, half-dragged him through the winding streets and out of the city. His wings ushered Crowley under their protection from the flames. He glanced over and to see Crowley with tears in his eyes from the smoke. Once they finally were well away from the fires, Azirafell whirled back onto the angel. “Now what are you talking about, dear boy? How’s this your fault?”
“Nero.” The angel said miserably, with a flick of his hands his burns healed, his glasses mended, and the soot disappeared as well. “Nero set the fires, and I was supposed to steer him towards good.” He looked up and gasped, “Oh my, your poor wings. Here, let me help.” Crowley turned the demon around and fussed over the large black wings, cleaning them of dust and healing any hurts.
“No helping it, my dear.” Azirafell rolled his eyes fondly, but greedily soaked in the angel’s attentions. “Humans are quite something: capable of greatness—both good and evil.” His wings fluttered and twitched as Crowley ran his deft, lithe fingers ran through his feathers. Azirafell turned his head to regard Crowley with a teasing smirk, “Heard him playing the fiddle on my way in, was quite good at it.”
Crowley looked at him then, and without really meaning to he snorted out a laugh. “Well, glad something stuck I suppose. Come, let’s get out of here. City should be well and cleared by now.”
Azirafell folded his wings away and offered, “lets get something to eat. I know a place that does great things with olives, you’ve got to try, dear boy.”
Crowley smiled, big and wide, “that sounds lovely.”
Anthony didn’t believe he had many vices. As an angel, he probably shouldn’t have any, but he wasn’t a very good angel, was he? Sleeping, however, was something he regularly indulged in. There had been times where he was so tired, so burned out by the horror’s humans were capable of, that he found himself sleeping for weeks, months, and even on occasion, years.
This was probably the worst way he’d ever woken up. He’d been having a lovely dream about the Garden when something large and heavy fell on him. He’d woken in a panic as his ceiling was now on top of him. He’d been lucky he wasn’t discorporated. Fire had overtaken his flat, and as he’d later find out a good part of London.
Azirafell was minding his own damned business when he felt a spike of panic lance through him. The magical tag, for lack of a better word, that he’d placed on Anthony (when he was still going by Crowley) decades ago, rang loudly in his mind. The fool had gotten himself in trouble again it appears. Azirafell left his shop and thought it was awful dark for the time of day.
The sun was positively blocked out by all the smoke. Azirafell hurried towards where he knew Anthony’s flat was, only to be stopped by the London bridge. It’d caught fire on both sides, trapping him on the wrong side of London. With but a thought his wings freed themselves and he flew across the river, a minor miracle preventing anyone from seeing.
Anthony struggled under the weight of the timbers on him. He tried to free his hands enough for a snap, but the fire and choking smoke was clouding his mind. He shoved and pushed with all the strength he could, but he’d never been a physically strong angel. After a moment he gave up his struggle and laid his head back.
He tried to calm himself with a deep breath through his nose, but that was a mistake. The smell of burnt flesh hit him, and he heaved, but luckily for him, his stomach was empty. Ash and smoke entered his mouth when he tried once more to take a deep breath. As he coughed and hacked, he decided that breathing was clearly out.
The heat was getting to him. The fire licking up his arms and chest. He closed his eyes and tried his best to focus on healing the damage as it was happening. His focus was interrupted at the sound of Azirafell’s voice, screaming his name.
“Under here!” Anthony wheezed, as loud as he could. It was only a moment before the weight and heat on top of him disappeared. Anthony was then being helped up by a frantic demon.
“What the hell happened to you?!” Azirafell was looking him over, tutting and fretting at the burns on his exposed chest and arms.
“Woke up to the building collapsing on me,” Anthony choked. He waved a hand over himself and healed his wounds and dressed himself in one go. “What the deuce is happening?”
“Big fire, London bridge is burning down, going to have to fly to get out of here,” Azirafell’s large wings blew cinders away from the pair. “Come on, dear boy.” Azrafell made to grab Anthony, but the idiot dodged his hands.
“We’ve got to help! There will be people trapped,” Anthony ran off, before Azirafell could catch him. The demon cursed under his breath and chased after his dear friend. He didn’t have to go far, however, as Anthony was standing in the streets, staring in horror at the bridge burning before him.
“Don’t be stupid, there’s no helping them,” Azirafell didn’t wait, just grabbed Anthony and took off. They blended in with the smoke, not that it mattered, people weren’t looking up at the skies at the moment. Anthony was limp in his arms, which would’ve worried Azirafell, if he didn’t know the boy was at least physically okay.
They set down just outside the demon’s pawnshop. The angel just stood there, unseeing. At Azirafell’s nudge, he looked over.
“Come on, dear boy. I’ve got some lovely vintages stored up,” Azirafell looped their arms together and bodily moved Anthony into the shop.
“Sounds nice,” Anthony said, sounding terribly detached at the moment. “Think I’d like to get sloshed.”
In which these two are idiots and made for each other.
Anthony was watching one of Shakespeare’s plays. All is True (also known as Henry VIII) was managing to hold his attention. It was a shame Azirafell was missing it, but then they had watched the first showing together earlier. Or, at least, Azirafell had. Anthony had fallen asleep the first time, so he was here trying again. The theatre was packed, Anthony noticed with some pride. The success of Shakespeare was of course thanks to him making Hamlet a success, after all.
The cannons firing near the end of Act 1 surprised him. He didn’t realize he’d fallen asleep so quickly the previous showing. Within minutes after the canons firing, however, he smelt something burning. When he tore his gaze from the stage, he saw the roof had started on fire. Standing up suddenly, irritating the people sitting next to him, he yelled, “Fire!”
The effect was instant. People looked around, saw the fire, and began panicking. Anthony almost rolled his eyes before using a minor miracle to get people to calm down enough to begin evacuating. Even still the all-wooden structure was getting eaten by flames rather quickly.
Anthony stayed behind as people ran to the exit, leaving their coats, glasses, and purses behind. Everyone was getting out with enough haste, it seemed that things might be fine.
He really shouldn’t have had that thought. A man had managed to catch fire, and it took a minor miracle to prevent the man burning long enough for him to douse himself with his bottle of ale and put the fire out. As Anthony watched, he pushed his essence out, searching for any stragglers as the building around him began to blaze in earnest.
It was a good thing he did, because there was a child, hiding under some of the seating. Anthony ran over to the poor boy and had to get on his hands and knees. It took coaxing and using some angelic charm to get the terrified boy to come out of hiding.
He picked up the child with ease and hid the boy’s face in his shirt. Unfortunately, it wasn’t looking good. The entire building had already been completely lit up. He rubbed the boy’s back soothingly and stretched his essence out once more, just verifying everyone had escaped, and they had. It was just him and the child left.
He gingerly stepped over burning debris and fallen rafters. He kept the boy’s head pressed to his chest and made gentle reassurances as he carefully made his way to where the exit had been. It wasn’t much of an exit anymore as it had been blocked by parts of the ceiling and wall. Anthony braced the child and counted to three in his head. On the count he bashed his shoulder into the debris, using a small miracle to clear it out. His shoulder still caught fire, but he managed to shake it out without too much harm.
A loud cry caught his attention and he set the boy down to go run to his mother. He smiled gently before turning to leave, when he saw Azirafell. He meant to say hi, but before he could he was being grabbed and was hit by a wave of disorientation. He blinked to clear his vision and found himself in Azirafell’s pawnshop.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Azirafell grabbed Anthony’s shirt and slammed him none too gently into the wall. He was snarling now, “Just use a bloody miracle for once in your life!”
“I was doing the right thing. No one got hurt, no one died, everything is fine!” Anthony was getting more anxious and it was starting to bleed into his voice. He’d never seen Azirafell this angry, at least, not with him. Had his teeth always been so sharp? He didn’t know the demon had fangs.
“Everything is NOT fine!” Azirafell really didn’t need to yell, he was still pressing him against the wall. He grabbed Anthony’s burnt arm roughly, reminding him of the pain he’d been distracted from. He let out a pained hiss and closed his eyes tight. He gingerly raised a hand to his arm, holding it just below the punishing grip of Azirafell. It was healed in seconds, only the lingering memory of pain remaining.
“It is fine. I can heal, it doesn’t really matter if I’m hurt—”
He never got to finish the thought because he was interrupted by a loud and harsh bark, “IT DOES MATTER!” Azirafell let go and walked away, his nervous energy translating into pacing.
“Azirafell,” Anthony tried but was interrupted once again.
“No!” Large black wings lifted high over Azirafell’s head, intimidating in their size and darkness. Azirafell bared his teeth and kept shouting, “You just don’t get it! Stop throwing yourself into the fire!”
Anthony was tired, and his frustration was beginning to show. He stood tall and clenched his fists. He glowered, “I’m not going to do that! I’m an angel! I’ll always help when I can.”
“I know that,” Azirafell grumbled, “I’m not asking that of you.” He lowered his wings, but it took real effort to convince them.
“You are!” Anthony was the one yelling now. He was tired, he was frustrated, and damnit he just wanted to go back to his flat and sleep. “You’re a demon!”
Azirafell’s gaze darkened, and he bit out tersely, “Yea I am. So, what are you still doing here? Going to smite me?”
Anthony was scandalized. He made several aborted attempts at making a sentence before he heaved a sigh that made his whole body slump. His voice was quiet and hurt when he said, “No. No I don’t think I will. Think I’ll just go home.” With that he turned and left the shop. He didn’t once look back. If he had, he’d have seen the hurt and fear on Azirafell’s face as he reached out to stop the angel, before deciding it was for the best, and going into the back room of his shop.
Azirafell hadn’t left his shop much the previous year or this year. The plague had been sweeping through and it was a rather ghastly affair. He’d gotten a commendation for it, but he hadn’t even done anything. The only reason he deigned to leave his shop today, was because of the smoke he could see in the sky.
He’s had bad luck in the past with fires after all, best to keep an eye on it. When he left his shop, he noticed the entire area was deserted. People must’ve already fled, he reasoned.
The fires were dangerously close to his shop, but he wasn’t about to let them take it up. He was about to go back inside when he felt a familiar Grace. He closed his eyes and chewed the inside of his lip, before muttering out a curse.
He bitterly decided to take his time walking towards the angel, which of course means he bustled right along. As he looked around, he realized that there really was no one around, so why was the angel in the middle of this blaze?
As he got deeper into the heart of the fire, he realized the area going up was all slums. The place had been a breeding place for the plague, probably for the best it was going up. The fire was getting to be quite intense, almost unbearably, even for a demon.
He turned and nearly overlooked an ethereal brightness coming from down the street, mistaking it for more of the inferno around him. The holy aura burned more than the flames themselves, but he persevered and continued towards the source. Azirafell yelled, “Anthony! Turn it off!”
The light blinked out in the next second, and he could finally see Anthony ahead of him, his hands clasped together as he was just in prayer. His outfit was cause for concern, as it was pure black. At a closer look, it was white and pastel, just absolutely covered in soot and ash.
“What are you doing here?” Anthony had the gall to ask and look at him like he was crazy.
“Me?!” Azirafell huffed indignantly, “You’re the one standing in the middle of a blaze!” Azirafell rounded on the angel, his chest puffing up.
Anthony looked at him like he was trying to puzzle the demon out, and maybe he was. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, looking more like a fish than a snake. “I’m in the middle of the fire, because I’m containing it,” he explained slowly, “or, at least I was, till you interrupted.”
Suddenly things were starting to add up for Azirafell. The plague, the slums, the fire. “Did you start the fire?!” He couldn’t help but exclaim, shocked that the angel could possibly do such a thing.
Anthony flushed and sputtered. “No! The fire was an accident, but I had nothing to do with it. I’m merely,” he paused, licking the soot from his lips, then making a face at the taste. His nose scrunched and he continued his train of thought, “taking advantage. Cleansing fire. Purifying the city of the worst of the plague.”
The fire was pressing on them now, but Azirafell was hotter with rage. “You’ll discorporate out here! Standing in the middle of the biggest fire London’s seen since—"
“1212.” Crowley said, solemnly. “I made sure no one was around for this one. If anyone died, it was before I took over.” And there was that sad pout, the one that weakened Azirafell’s anger, if only slightly.
“You know the fire’s heading toward my shop,” Azirafell said, softer this time, deep and pleading.
“I would. Never. Allow. That.” It was spoken harshly, teeth flashing in the warm light, but it was so strangely endearing. Anthony grabbed Azirafell’s lapels and looked straight in his eyes at that. The rich gold, unhidden by glasses for once, was turned a deep amber from the flames around them. The gaze was a bit too much for Azirafell. Anthony looked from eye to eye, as if searching, making sure Azirafell knew he wouldn’t allow any harm to come to the things he loved.
Pity the angel didn’t realize he was also loved by said demon. The thought sobered Azirafell up and he found himself about to affirm that he knew full well that his shop was in no danger, only for an explosion to shake the earth next to him.
When he next blinked, he found Anthony in his arms, forced into a crouch below him. His wings were up and covering the two of them. He could feel the flames sticking to his wings. Whatever it was must’ve been the cause of the explosion. He shook his wings out, but it didn’t seem to help. Instead, he put his arm around Anthony’s back and pushed him along.
“Let’s go.” Azirafell tried to leave, but Anthony stood strong. He turned back to his… friend. Damn it all, his friend. Best friend even. The frown was on his face before he could stop it, and the anger was rising again.
“Go, fiend.” Anthony hissed, but it still came out more endearing than he probably meant. “I’ll corral the fire, then follow along.” He bit his lip before he bit out, “I don’t want to hurt you. Go.”
Azirafell contemplated it for a few precious seconds, before nodding. “My dear boy, you best hurry.” It didn’t sound nearly as threatening as he meant it to.
The smile he was graced with was worth it though. He turned and left, muttering under his breath all the while. After he got a good enough distance away, he could feel the pulse of Grace, and stopped in his tracks. He probably should’ve kept moving, but he waited for Anthony. He fidgeted with his hands and waited. Just kept waiting. Waiting. Any minute. Anthony would be along. Soon enough.
Suddenly there was no Grace in the air. Azirafell tensed, every muscle was tense, he’d never been so still in his life. The flames seemed to quiet down, which was probably a good sign, but all he could do was watch the street.
When he saw Anthony’s lanky form running down the street, he could physically feel his heartbeat start back up. All his muscles finally relaxed, and a relieved sigh escaped before he could straighten back up. When Anthony caught up, they continued out of the path of the fire together.
Once they were back at Azirafell’s shop, Anthony immediately began fussing. “Oh, you dreadful, dreadful fiend. What were you thinking?!” He cleaned them both up with a small miracle. His hands ghosted over the dreadful burns on his wings, healing them with the slightest touch. Azirafell’s wings twitched on their own accord. “Oh, that didn’t hurt did it?”
“No, no,” Azirafell choked, before clearing his throat. “I’m fine, dear boy.” He still felt warm. He blamed it on running straight into the holy aura the angel had been exuding, even though that burn had long since faded. He sighed, “If you must know, I was thinking you were going to get discorporated like a bloody fool.” He tried his best disappointed look, but it fell a bit when he looked at the dear boy.
“I’ll make it up to you,” Anthony said, a little too quickly, perhaps thinking about the last time he’d seen the demon some 50 years ago, “Come on, let’s get dinner. Anywhere you want to go.” And really, how was it fair that an angel could be so tempting.
London, The Second Day of the Rest of Their Lives
Anthony was putting around his nursery, checking on all the plants, and playing special attention to the apple tree in the centre. He was so grateful that Adam had given his shop back after it had burned down. The plants didn’t seem to remember, and he hadn’t seen the damage, but just the knowledge that they burnt down hurt. The door chimed and he turned to tell the person they weren’t actually open today but stopped when he saw his demon. Er. Friend. Best friend, even.
“What are you doing here, you fiend?” Anthony couldn’t help the teasing laugh as walked over to greet him. A skip in his step, still high on the joy of out witting both heaven and hell.
“Brought a treat!” The demon smiled bright, offering up a box. With a delicate sniff Anthony immediately sussed out his favourite food—devil’s food cake. The joy must’ve shown on his face because Azirafell was laughing.
“You didn’t have to,” Anthony said, not fooling anyone. His lips quirked of their own accord and he was smiling again before he could really help it. “I’ve got a new tea blend I’ve been working on. I’ll get the kettle started, and you’ll have to tell me how it is.”
Azirafell reached up and grabbed an apple from the tree and bit into it eagerly. Still as sweet as he remembered. He could still see, when he closed his eyes, the fire in the shop. He remembered running in and screaming for his dear boy. Remembers the horrible certainty that it was hellfire, and that he was alone. So horribly alone.
“You be gentle with my apple tree, fiend. I just got her back!” Anthony called from the kitchen. It made Azirafell smile, and he bit into the apple again as obnoxiously as he could.
“Oh, she’s fine, dear. You’ve never minded before.” He sat down on the stool behind the counter and set the cake out. Anthony came back with two cups of tea in one hand and plates and forks in the other. Azirafell helped him set up and graciously took his tea. With a tentative sip he noticed it was made just how he liked it, and in his favourite mug. It seemed it didn’t matter how many times he stole the thing, it always ended up back here. “It’s delicious.” Oh dear, that came out much softer than he’d been intending.
Anthony hummed happily and served the two of them cake. He gave Azirafell a much more generous portion, after all, he did enjoy eating much more. “I’m glad you like it. I made it for you.” The second part was spoken as if it was a secret, but to Azirafell, it really wasn’t.
The demon started in on his cake, eating delicate bites, always savouring. His eyes closed and he really focused on the taste, density, and richness of the sweet. After he swallowed, he looked to his companion. He licked his lips. He took a deep breath, fortifying himself, before finally asking what he’d been wanting to ask for the past two days. “So, you’re an Archangel.”
Anthony froze, and his face flushed beautifully. He looked up, fear clear in his eyes. He opened his mouth and for a long time nothing came out. He looked sad, scared, so many emotions flicking through his eyes. He licked his lips and began telling his story. How he’d been the Archangel Raphael. Still was technically, not like he fell or anything. He told the story of a strange demon in the garden. One who wasn’t like other demons. And his strong desire not to scare the being away. Why he lied, why he hid his second pair of wings under his first at that first meeting, and never brought his wings out since.
Honestly, it was more than Azirafell expected, but he listened. He didn’t interrupt, just let Anthony clear the air. It’d clearly been weighing on him for some time. He supposed it made sense. A bloody Archangel. He could probably smite Azirafell with an ill placed thought. He wasn’t expecting the tears in Anthony’s eyes though. He reached out and removed the tinted glasses Anthony always wore. When he caught that gaze, that beautiful gaze, he gave his best reassuring smile.
“You’re not mad? You don’t…” Anthony couldn’t voice the thought. Could only beg and pray that Azirafell didn’t hate or fear him.
“Oh, my dear boy,” Azirafell purred, deep and sultry, “My dear, sweet boy. I’m not mad.” Azirafell reached over and cupped his face. Anthony leaned into the embrace as if he were a drowning man and this was his air. His eyes fluttered closed, as if he wanted to better focus on the feel of Azirafell’s warm, soft hands on his face. His thumb started rubbing on its own accord, a soft and soothing thing.
“Yernot?” Anthony sounded positively drunk, slurring his words together. His face was flushed sweetly, and his mouth was slightly opened.
“Anthony,” Azirafell hummed, and his dear boy’s eyes fluttered, but didn’t fully open. “Open your eyes, my dear. Look at me.” When his eyes finally opened, they were mostly black. “Can I see your wings?” It hadn’t been what he meant to say, but he couldn’t find himself taking it back either.
Anthony shuddered and leaned into Azirafell’s hand hard, before pulling away, as if it physically pained him to do so, and shook out his wings. His three pairs of wings stretched out as much as they could. They were a brilliant white, so white the shadows cast were more blue than grey. They almost hurt for Azirafell to look at.
“It’s been a long time since they’ve been out,” Anthony mumbled quietly.
“It was two days ago,” Azirafell laughed.
“Oh, that doesn’t really count,” Anthony pursed his lips in a pout. Azirafell wanted to kiss that pout away. A feeling he’d had for far too long now but had never managed to act on. It was too dangerous. Or, at least, it used to be.
“Can I touch them?” Azirafell inclined his head. He tried his best pleading voice and the puppy dog eyes that usually got him what he wanted from Anthony, “It’s only fair. You’ve touched mine before.”
Anthony groaned and let his head fall back. He opened his wings invitingly, his protests were weak and completely disingenuous, “I was healing them. Doesn’t count.”
“Are you asking to touch mine again?” Azirafell teased, but he did jump off the stool to card his fingers through the soft white feathers. They were downright silky.
“Azirafell,” The harsh whisper caused the demon’s fingers to stop their ministrations. “I don’t—I can’t—” Anthony rested his head on Azirafell’s shoulder, his arms hovering a moment, before wrapping around the demon’s soft middle.
“Come now, my dear,” He reached up and cupped the back of his angel’s head. “Look at me a moment, please, dear?” And how could Anthony refuse such a sweet request. He pulled back, only enough to look into Azirafell’s eyes. The clear, almost glowing blue, drawing him in. “I’ve wanted to say this for some time, but it was always so dangerous, my dear. If anyone found out, they’d come for you and I couldn’t have that. But then, I lost you. I came to your shop to find it in flames, and I couldn’t find you, dear. I’ve always been able to find you, but you were gone from my senses.” Anthony made some quiet noise, dangerously close to a whine, but Azirafell pushed through. “My point, dear boy, the thing I’m trying to say, I can’t go on without you knowing. I need you to believe me, my dear, do you trust me?”
“Of course,” Anthony hissed. He pressed his forehead against the demon’s, just a brief touch, as if he didn’t mean to, but he definitely did.
“I—I,” Azirafell took a deep, fortifying breath, and all he could smell, and taste was Anthony, “You’ve got to understand how hard this is, especially for a demon to admit.”
“Not like other demons,” Anthony mumbled, encouragingly. He didn’t realize it, but Anthony’s large wings were encircling the two, making their own little private bubble.
“I love you, dear boy.” And now that it was out, it was like a flood—a torrent of words spilled out of Azirafell’s mouth without control, “I’ve loved you for millennia, my dear sweet boy. My darling, dear, I know you love, in the broad sense of the term, but dear this goes so much deeper than that. I need you to understand, please, I’m in love with you. So madly in love, my dear.” Oh dear, he was babbling. Thought he had gotten that under control.
“Oh, thank Go—Sa—Somebody,” Anthony pressed his forehead against the demon’s once more, his arms squeezing tightly. “Oh, you silly, wily fiend. I love you too. None of that angelic bollocks, promise. In love with you too, been for some time as well.”
Azirafell found his hand gripping the angel’s hair and pulling him in for a kiss. Probably should’ve asked first, but he was always good at taking what he wants. Besides he didn’t hear any complaints. Anthony absolutely melted in his embrace, mouth opening slightly. Azirafell, the cheeky bastard, took the opportunity to bite at Anthony’s bottom lip. Anthony whimpered and at that, Azirafell pulled back.
Anthony’s eyes fluttered open, when had he closed them? “Azirafell?” Anthony slurred, deep and love-drunk. And really, Azirafell would have to keep him like that. He liked hearing his name in that voice.
“Come, dear,” Azirafell crooned, grabbing the angel’s hands, and leading him back to the counter, “We’ve cake to finish. And the rest of eternity together.”