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the 'ignoring' of head office & things gone 'right'

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MAYFAIR, LONDON

THURSDAY

TWO DAYS TO THE END OF THE WORLD

 

The streets were busy, and loud, bustling with people unaware of what was just around the corner. Two Archangels walked down the busy street, one in pale purple, nearing grey and the other in a pastel brown, they were walking to an open and rather busy plant shop, owned by one of their angels. - Gabriel and Sandalphon.

Gabriel pushed the door open, and the bell to the shop rang quietly, and Sandalphon followed close behind. The two looked around, and Gabriel picked up a basket full of seeds.

Crowley looked up with a smile, but soon turned tense seeing his brother and sibling. Quickly, he tucked his goat necklace away. He looked down at the woman he was helping, and reached up taking the plant from the top shelf and handed it over to her, "I'm so sorry Ms., but I have to go check on those customers."

The old withering lady smiled, and patted his cheek with her frail hand, "oh don't worry, deary."

Crowley smiled softly, and sauntered over to Gabriel and Sandalphon, patting down his pale pink leather apron, "can I help you?" He asked, with a formal, yet tense smile.

Gabriel looked up, with a rigid with a wide mouthed smile, as if he knew what was going on around him, "I would like to purchase one of your material objects." He patted the handle on the basket as emphasis.

"Planting equipment." Sandalphon said quickly.

Gabriel hit it's shoulder in thanks, "planting equipment."

Crowley sighed, and noticed a man in a suit give the two new costumers a confused look, thrown off with how strange they were acting, and Crowley gave them an apologetic smile, miming out 'so sorry'. The man smiled, nodding to him and went back to looking at the pink flowers.

"Let us discuss my purchase in a private place," Gabriel said, "because I am buying, uh..." He waved his hand, as if expecting Crowley to jump in, and help.

Crowley did not jump in and help, he really wanted to see where Gabriel was going with this, what was the plan? How much had his brother planned?

"Plant dildo?" Offered Sandalphon.

It fell silent for a second.

"Plant dildo!" Gabriel smiled, pointing to Sandalphon appreciatively.

The same customer looked over confused, and Crowley frowned, confused and mortified. Plant dildo? (It should be noted, a Sarracenia Purpurea uses that dubbed of a plant dildo, and it helps the plant focus on reproduction...) Crowley looked to the customer and smiled nervously, "a Sarracenia Purpurea, sorry for the crude term." He gestured to the back room, a little away from the customers, "Gabriel, come into the back room." He all but begged.

Gabriel waved the basket around, as if showing off the evidence of this plant dildo. Sandalphon spoke up in a whiny voice, as if backing Gabriel up, "we humans are extremely easily embarrassed. We must buy our plant dildo's secretively."

Crowley nodded nervously, and lowered his arm as the two vanished around the corner. He smiled at everyone apologetically, "sorry everyone! They're uh... friends being funny." He smiled, noticing the confused looks people were giving. Quickly, he followed the two, annoyed. Unlike Azirafell, he enjoyed customers! Kids came all the time to learn how to garden, and to grow plants, they take them home and keep them alive, and adults came to buy plants, and sometimes sell plants.

"Human beings are so simple..." Gabriel laughed, carelessly slamming down the basket full of seeds, "and so easily fooled."

Nobody was buying that performance, but Crowley smiled and nervously lied, "yeah!" He laughed out a cough, "well done! Totally fooled!" He grinned, slithering in a way, looking between Sandalphon and Gabriel.

"You remember Sandalphon?" Asked Gabriel, a friendly smile on his face, gesturing to the Archangel behind Crowley. (The reason he asks is because Raphael spent most of his time in the Upper Atmosphere, and when he came to Heaven, he mainly visited Michael and Gabriel, staying away from Sandalphon and Uriel.)

Crowley turned to see the sleezeball of a sibling smiling at him, and said, "Sodom and Gomorrah. You were doin' a lot-a smiting, and turnin' folk into salt." He said, disgusted by it's proud smile. "Easy to remember, very cool." He lied, giving a tense smile, hoping it looked like he was starstruck by amazement.

Sandalphon sniffed the air, nose stuck up, "something smells... evil." It said with a sneer. Gabriel began sniffing too, a confused frown on his face.

Crowley sniffed, and stuck his tongue out slightly to get a proper sniff, and his eyes flashed in panic, suddenly, he slipped on his sunglasses. He smiled easily, the pink tint of the glasses covering his scared eyes, "yeah. That'd be Titan Arum, gives the smell of rottin' meat. Sorry." He completely forgot demons smelt of evil, Azirafell had spent the night, and it was rather... eventful, to say the least. At this point, his entire shop and apartment smelt of Azirafell, as did his clothing at times, and his bed, all the time.

Gabriel raised his arms in a shrugging motion, as if that made sense. (It would have made sense if Crowley owned such a plant, but they grow for such a short time. He's grew one once, but it smelt too bad to keep.) In a motion that resembled a 'what can you do motion?' "Well, we just wanted to stop by and check on the status of the Antichrist."

Immediately, panic set into the angels now thundering heart, chest slamming into his ribs, and asked, "why? What's wrong? Ngk, ah, uh, I-I mean, if there's somethin' wrong, not that there is last I checked! Which wasn't too long ago, nothin's wrong! Why would there be anything wrong? But, if there is I could put my people onto it!" He stumbled out.

"Nothing's wrong." Assured Gabriel with a confused hum. "Everything's going perfectly. There's a lot happening. All good."

"A-all good?" Asked Crowley, nodding his head with a nervous smile.

"Well, all going according to the Divine Plan." Gabriel said, leaning forward slightly, hands held in front of him. "The Hell Hound has been set loose, and now the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are being summoned. Death, Pollution, Famine, War." He listed, hands up slightly, and nodding his head with each name. He sounded tired, as if this was just a minor chip on his shoulder.

"Yeah. Who summons 'em?" Asked Crowley, swallowing, masking his worry as curiosity.

Letting out a deep breath of air, puffing it past his lips, Gabriel shook his head, "not my department. I believe we outsource that sort of thing..."

"About time, that's what I say." Sandalphon said, in a snooty voice. "You can't have a War without War."

Crowley scowled in complete confusion, and slowly turned to look at him. He may not be fond of reading or books, but good Lord that was awful! Azirafell would have been insulted! Gabriel looked taken aback, "Sandalphon, that is very good!" He smiled, pointing to his right-hand being. Crowley stared at it as if it last its mind. Gabriel continued to gush, "you can't have a War without War!" He gestured his hand, face utterly impressed. "I might use that. Huh?"

Sandalphon nodded, as if it was impressed with itself, and so Crowley gave a tight smile, nodding along with weak support.

"Anyway..." Continued Gabriel with an overly friendly smile. "No problems? How was the Hell Hound?" He asked rather excitedly, practically skipping over to former Archangel in joy.

Crowley frowned, panic on his face for a second, and backed up slightly, his brother sliding past him, "I-I didn't stay." He answered, putting on a strained smile.

Gabriel poked his head out to the main building, and placed his hand to his cheek to allow his voice to travel, "thank you for my plant dildo!" He yelled out.

'Does he know that plant dildo is an actual thing?' Crowley thought in wonder, as Gabriel carelessly yelled it out.

Gabriel laughed, and so Crowley smiled, while Sandalphon continued to nod with a smile. Gabriel pointed to Crowley, "excellent job." He looked to Sandalphon, still pointing, "'you can't have a War without War.'" He looked between the two, hands out palms up and his face looked mind blown and amazed. He then punched it's shoulder, "clever."

Sandalphon gave a snooty, nasally laugh and followed it's boss.

Crowley smiled, and watched to the two leave. He frowned and fished out his goat necklace from beneath his scarf, and held it close, swallowing.

 

 

Strolling through to the main area of his book shop that was currently closed, as usual, Azirafell moved to his old, rickety desk. He picked up his old Desk Top Cradle Telephone, but paused. He was going to call Crowley, and ask if he... no, not yet... at some point yes, but... no... he slammed his phone down with a defeated sigh, and snapped his fingers.

Pam & Sam was on his small, old, black and white television. Usually, he's listen to music on his old gramophone, but he knew it would just play Queen, and he did not want that right now. He took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, and snapped his fingers, a cupcake appearing on his desk.

"Welcome back." Pam greeted, and she was in a rather lovely dress. The camera panned in on the pair, "now, the government's foreign affairs spokesman will be here to comment on the recent increase in international tensions."

Azirafell snapped his fingers, as he sat down on his new summoned chair. Usually, he'd sit in his old wooden desk chair, but not today. Today, he sat on his golden chair, it seemed like a throne, with a red, velvet cushion on the chair seat, and up the back. He sat straight, and ran a hand through his hair, the other traced the serpent charm on his necklace.

He picked the cupcake up, and took a big, well needed bite of fluffy, vanilla sponge and jam, and cream filling.

"But first, do you know what's in your fridge?" Asked Pam, a friendly smile on her face.

The television made a static noise, as if changing channels.

"Morning, Azirafell." Came a rough voice, and Azirafell sneered while they couldn't see, and then looked over. There in the Pam & Sam set was Hastur and Ligur, sat in chairs and on the television.

"Just checking in." Ligur waved off, and pointed to the chair Azirafell sat on, "nice chair."

"'Uck 'ake..." Grumbled Azirafell mouth full, as he swallowed his cupcake, and subtly hid his necklace beneath his waistcoat. He was tense, and looked like he was going to be sick suddenly, now put off from his dessert. He breathed out, "salutations gentlemen."

"It's about the Antichrist." Ligur said, arms on his knees.

"Yes." Azirafell looked away, and down to his muffin, "magnificent child. He takes after his father." He looked back, tense.

"Our operatives in the State Department have arranged for the child's family to be flown to the Middle East." Hastur said, leaning back in the chair, back straight.

Ligur was zoomed in on now, "there, he and the Hell Hound will be taken to the Valley of Megiddo."

Azirafell rolled his head, and clenched his eyes closed, realising he really fucked up. It was going to happen, obviously, and it's going to be evident that there's no dog, no Hell Hound and therefore, no Antichrist. And then, it would be clear that Azirafell messed up, and had done something wrong. That alone scares him.

"The Four Horsemen will begin their final ride." Hastur said.

"Yay." Azirafell cheered out, sounding choked up, quietly and pathetically, giving a weak, tiny, sad clap.

There was a close up on Hastur's bacteria and maggot infested face, as Azirafell closed his goat eyes in dread, slamming hsi head back slightly. "Armageddon will begin." Said the frog demon. "The final combat. It's what we've been working towards since we rebelled. We are the Fallen." Azirafell turned to the small box, and stared at Hastur with a dead eyed stare, but Hastur gave an equally dead eyed stare back. "Never forget that."

"It's not the type of contrivance to forget." Assured Azirafell, annoyed. He knows he's Fallen, it's not something he can omit from his memory! Anytime he looks to Crowley, he's reminded he is a demon, and the male presenting being in front of him with red hair in an angel... a beautiful angel, (technically Archangel, but Crowley hates it, so Azirafell calls him 'angel'). Crowley is an angel, one he must have a 'star-crossed' (as Shakespeare had put it) relationship with, one he must have in secret, with worried and fearful glances, afraid of prying eyes and keen ears.

"I don't trust you, Azira." Glared Hastur.

Really, he shouldn't. Azirafell couldn't lie, that was the smartest thing Hastur has ever said or done. However, it didn't escape him that Hastur used 'Azira', a name he hates, he's really not as trusted as he used to be. "Everything is going according to plan." He lied, with a weak smile.

He snapped his fingers, the small television turning off, and he dropped his arm.

He looked down to his cake, "I didn't mean to Fall." He admitted, looking down and sighed out like a teenager, "the food wasn't the best..." He reasoned, then Azirafell sighed, and rubbed his eyes. He looked sad, and depressed, confessing, "I just befriend the wrong people."

 

 

Azirafell sat there for hours. He just stared at either his old phone, or his quill that he used religiously, or his now long forgotten cupcake that he didn't eat, feeling sick from the conversation he just had with the Duke's. He found himself slouching, sinking into his large, golden chair in defeat and fear. "Easy job." He sighed out, "deliver the Antichrist. Watch over him. A fine, straightforward job." He was beginning to breath rather harshly, finding himself on the edge of a mad panic, his non-existent heart was in his stomach, acid burning away at it. "Not the sort of task a demon is going to muck up, right?" He asked the air, and clumsily got up, and out of his seat.

He picked up his black feather duster, and strolled out to the main store, beginning to clean a few shelves filled with old books.

 

The only things in the bookshop Azirafell devotes any personal attention to are his books. He had heard of collecting books as an intellectual investment in the early years of the world, and thought it an excellent idea. Although 'collecting' is perhaps the wrong word for what Azirafell does.

 

His feather duster paused in it's work, seeing an older book to do with Flowering Witchcraft seemingly off. He gently ran his pale, rough finger down the spine, and pulled it out of the shelf, he looked to the pages, and frowned. He moved his face closer to the spine again and glared, "is that a cracked spine?" Sure enough, there on the spine were white lines from how many times the book was opened, going up and down the length of the book. He got no response, and so his blue goat eyes looked around the room, "is it?" He baa-ed out, angrily, white eyebrows furrowed in rage.

Books began quivering, shaking the shelves and lightly bashed on the wood in fear with quiet thundering noises. They were terrified.

"I have warned you about cracked spines." Azirafell said, his voice stern, getting angrier and angrier by the second, "I will not tolerate it!" He yelled out, looking around the library, eyes moving from one book to another. His voice was now more goat-like than human.

The shaking and trembling was more vigorous now, pages quivered in fear.

He looked down to the trembling book in his hand, "you know what you've done." He said, "you've disappointed me." He shook his head with a sigh, "oh, dear. Oh, dear."

"Everyone!" He called out, holding the book up for all the others to see, strolling the room, showing it off. "Say goodbye to your friend! He just couldn't cut it."

He strolled off, down the hall to his very, very back room. He looked down to the book in his hands, "this is going to hurt you so much more than it will hurt me." He smirked, maliciously. He suddenly turned, and leaned in, looking to the rest of his now quivering library, "and you fellows, look better!" He screeched out with a 'baa', his voice echoing off the walls, before he strolled off into the room.

The room the poor books feared.

 

What he does is put the fear of God into them. More precisely, the fear of Azirafell. The books are the most extensive collection, and well kept in London.

 

The sound of a shredder went off from the back room, it echoed the quiet building. (It should be noted, he just presses a button on the shredding machine. The books that don't look as nice, are put in his personal, private library away from prying eyes.)

 

Also, the most terrified.

 

If books could cry, they'd be in tears. Azirafell casually walked back to the library, and so they stopped shaking, not wanting to displeasure him more. He looked at them all, and suddenly, blew a confetti of paper out of his hand and onto the floor.

 

 

"The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter?" Asked Crowley, his Trimline Telephone pressed against his ear and shoulder. He was watering his Peace Lilly. "I'm so sorry, but I'm not A. Z. Fell & Co., I'm a plant shop." He apologised, and paused as the customer said something on the other end of the phone, "I'm so sorry, I can't help you."

He paused again, and said with a smile, "course I know who she was! Born 1600, exploded 1656."

Again he paused, and sighed out, "for the last time. I'm a plant shop, phone up Mr. Fell." He went to pull the phone away, but paused, "but there're no copies of her book available, and therefor no plant." He sighed, "I can't name a price. I'm not a bookshop, and I don't have the plant. Nobody has..."

He scowled in disgust, "watch your language."

He slammed the phone down, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Crowley sighed, he's not a bookshop! And, there are no copies of Ms. Nutters book, if there was, he'd have the plant she used to use. He rested his chin on the palm of his hand with a dreamy smile; what he would give to have her plant, and even read that book... might even have something to do with the end of the world in there...

 

 

The phone rang, and Crowley sauntered over to his desk. There was his answering machine; 'Hey, this is Anthony Crowley. You know what to do. Do it with style.' He stood over the phone, listening in.

"No leads yet my end." Came Azirafell's annoyed voice, as he tapped and clicked away at something. (Possibly his own answering machine he never used.) "Anything at your end? Listen, I have sort of an idea."

Crowley picked up the phone, "yeah, darling?"

"Ah, hello angel. When I did the baby swap eleven years ago, I think something must have gone wrong..." Azirafell said, obviously.

"Duh..." Chuckled Crowley, tense and annoyed.

"Well, the Nun's were my people... Satanists. I didn't see how they could have messed it up," Azirafell said, and his voice held a tone of guilt. "I mean, two babies, It's not exactly taxing, is it...?"

"Azirafell, get on with it." Sighed Crowley, rubbing his nose, sniffing. He was rather exasperated, and tapped his foot, needing the demon to continue his story, and not ramble like he usually would.

"There must have been a third baby..."

Crowley's eyes widened, and he grumbled out, "wot?"

 

 

The two zoomed down the street in Azirafell's black 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK car, weaving through traffic and cars. Azirafell was gripping the wheel in anger, sunglasses on and next to him was Crowley, who was clinging to the seats in terror.

"You've lost the boy." Crowley said, glancing to the demon.

"We've lost him." Azirafell corrected, swallowing.

Crowley raised his hands in a dismissive manner, "a kid 'as been lost. But you still know his age—"

"We know." Azirafell insisted, teeth gritted together and chewing nothing.

"His birthday. He's eleven." Crowley continued.

Azirafell sighed, "you're making it sound elementary."

"Come on, it can't be hard." Sighed Crowley, fiddling with his fingers. "I hope nothing's happened to him." He frowned, eyes sad and face full of worry.

"Happened?" Azirafell asked, incredulously, eyebrows up his forehead, voice full of disbelief. He gave out a dull laugh, "nothing has happened to him. He happens to everything." He turned the wheel, barely missing a car. "Trust me, he's alive."

"How do we know?"

"If he had turned up Down There again, do you really think I'd still be sitting here?"

Crowley tensed up at that, feeling sick at the thought of Azirafell gone, "good point." He let out a shaky breath, "we need to find his birth records."

"Yes, correct... go through the hospital files." Azirafell frowned, having just thought of something. "And then what?" He asked.

"We find the child." Said Crowley, swallowing. He was smiling, nervously, hoping the demon didn't crash, and hoped he didn't ask for further explanation, but of course, luck was not on his side.

Azirafell frowned and shook his head. He looked to the angel, "and then what?"

"Good grief, I don't know!" Crowley admitted, rubbing his eyes tiredly. The demon was right - then what? Neither really thought about this plan much, huh? He was just throwing out ideas and plans!

"I suppose — get off the road you clown! — your people wouldn't consider — and the scooter you rode in on! — giving me asylum?" Azirafell asked, yelling to idiots on the road as he talked, voice thick with worry, yet his face held a bitter, playful smile.

Crowley let out a bitter laugh, clinging to the edge of his seat, "I was gonna ask you the same thing — watch out for that pedestrian!"

Azirafell turned the wheel harshly, swerving the car out of the way, and the pedestrian screamed, dodging. Azirafell looked to Crowley, "she's on the street. She knows of the risk she's taking!"

"Just watch the-watch the road!" Called Crowley, in terror pointing forward as Azirafell looked to him. The demon sighed and looked forward for the sake of the male presenting being next to him. With a shaky breath, and tense muscles, Crowley asked, "wh-where is this hospital?"

"A village near the south of Oxford, Tadfield." Azirafell answered, it was eleven years ago, he's not that certain anymore...

"Azirafell darling," Crowley said, pointing to the dial on Azirafell's dashboard, "you can't do ninety miles per hour in Central London!" He said, eyes fearful.

"Why not?" Asked Azirafell, in genuine confusion, looking to the angel. His hands were off the steering wheel held up in bewilderment.

"You'll kill us!" Crowley reasoned, but then paused, realising what he had just said.

Azirafell sighed, and went to slow down, "right, well..." He too paused, his hand no longer moving to the gear stick.

They slowly looked to each other, and blinked. Six thousand years on Earth, living as humans, they forget they aren't human at times, life would be much simpler, being a human, rather than an angel and a demon. Crowley reached over, and gently took Azirafell's hand, who squeezed his hand gently.

"Well, troublesomely discorporated." Crowley reasoned, softly. He looked down, looking to the music Azirafell had in his car, "music. Why don't I put on a little music?" He reached over, and put on 'Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonien 1-9' but then frowned. "Velvet Underground?" He asked, confused, "you don't like this!" He likes Velvet Underground...

"Is it bebop?" Asked the demon, confused, turning down the music, but keeping it on. "It's been in here for over a fortnight..." Azirafell  sighed, looking to the angel with soft blue eyes, peaking out from under his glasses.

"Yet you kept it 'ere?" Asked Crowley, and turned to the demon. He paused, staring at Azirafell's eyes, as lyrics began playing; "linger on your pale blue eyes. Linger on your pale blue eyes."

Azirafell raised a eyebrow to a blushing Crowley, and turned the wheel, distracting Crowley who yell in shock.

 

 

"This is the Tadfield area." Crowley said, as Azirafell drove down the long, winding roads of the village. There were tall, green trees on each side of the road, that went on for miles and miles, and unlike the last time Azirafell was here, it was daytime. "Does it look familiar?"

"Yes, it does. I believe there's an air base around here." Azirafell said, looking around outside his window.

Crowley frowned and leaned forward, also looking, "air base?"

"Surely, you don't imagine American diplomats' wives typically give birth in religious hospitals in the middle of nowhere, do you?" Asked Azirafell, glancing between the angel and the road.

Crowley frowned in thought at that, it was a rather good point...

"No of course not, it had to seem natural, so there's an air base at Lower Tadfield." Explained Azirafell, waving his hand that was pressed against the car wheel. He looked out the window. He looked to Crowley, "things started to happen, and the base hospital isn't ready. 'Oh', our man there said. 'There's a birthing hospital just down the road.' And there we were." Azirafell explained, as Crowley nodded. "It was a rather flawless organisation."

Crowley scoffed, and mumbled out sarcastically, "good."

"It should have worked." Azirafell defended with a sigh.

Crowley let out a sigh, "evil always holds the seeds of its own destruction. No matter how well-planned, or foolproof an evil plan, no matter how seemingly successful it may be on the way. It will crash on the rocks of sin and disappear."

"Alright War and Peace, relax." Scoffed Azirafell. He sighed, "for my money it was just an average incompetence."

Crowley gave Azirafell an annoyed look. Or, at least that's what he hoped it looked like, and not a stupidly fond smile, as Queen's 'We Will Rock You' guitar riff played.

 

 

The building seemed old in a way, yet not in others. Clustered and cluttered, and looked to be steaming. The two got out the car, and Crowley respectfully sauntered along the cobble path, while Azirafell strolled over the grass (every little helps). The two looked up to the building. It was the same, yet somehow so incredibly different then what the demon remembered.

"Y'sure this's the place?" Crowley asked, as he looked behind himself. He looked forward, as Azirafell walked next to him now. The building ground had... tires, and boxes, and it was surrounded by cars. Not Nun type of cars mind you, just cars that were less than a year old. It took everything in the demon to not steal a few radios, or let down a few tyres.

"This doesn't look like a hospital." Reasoned Crowley as the two made it to the stone entrance. Crowley paused, "and..." He gasped, his hand on Azirafell's upper arm, his fingers running over the smooth black material. Azirafell looked to Crowley confused and worried, as the angel smiled, "... it feels loved."

Azirafell frowned, and looked around the area confused, as if to sense anything out of the ordinary, or strange. "I don't feel anything... no, this is definitely the place, I remember the stone lions." Azirafell assured, pointing to the stone lions on the gatepost. They were a little run down now, what with time and all, but still... they were the lions he saw years ago. "What do you mean 'loved'?" Asked Azirafell, a sneer on his face as he turned to the angel. Please, don't let that be him giving off the love... even though demon's can't feel love... totally can't feel love...

"Y'know... the opposite of when y'say, 'I don't like this place. It feels spooky'." Crowley said, his hand over his warmed heart.

"I have never uttered that. I relish spooky." Azirafell said, "I'm a stupendous spooky enthusiast. Now, lets negotiate with some Satanic Nuns." He declared, and the two walked forward into the grounds.

The next thing they knew, thirty seconds later, someone shot both of them. With incredible accuracy.