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Suntne Angeli?

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"How many flavours of ice cream d'you reckon they've got in heaven?" Asked Brian.

"Don't be silly," said Wenselydale, "they haven't got ice cream in heaven. It's not a corp-o-real place. They don't need to eat anything at all."

Brian looked mortally offended. "That's terrible! How's it supposed to be heaven if there's no food?"

"I s'pect you don't need to eat but you can choose to eat and drink if you want to." Said Adam reassuringly.

"Angels don't eat." Wensely insisted.

"Do too!" Adam said. "I thought everyone knew angels like to eat and drink sometimes."

"Well," said Pepper, trying to get to the bottom of things, "if they eat and drink, where's it go? They'd have to use the loo. Do beings of light really have to use the loo like us?"

"Well, obviously they do." Adam answered. "That just makes sense."

Now, this wasn't true before he said it, but he was Adam Young.

And so he spoke and so it was.


 

Angels are sexless. This teaching has been interpreted many ways by many scholars. Some take it to mean that angels do not experience sexual desire or attraction. Some take it to mean that they are androgynous in appearance; one mystic has described them as being "beautiful like woman and strong like men." (A description which has rightfully irked beautiful men and strong women for centuries.) Some take it to mean that angels lack a concept of gender.

These interpretations come close to the mark, yet do not hit it. The real answer is simpler than all of these. Angels are sexless because they lack a physical sex. In other words, there is nothing in their pants, though they sometimes adopt other secondary sex characteristics to blend in with humans on earth.

Actually, let me clarify. Angels were sexless. Angels were sexless up until quite recently. Until this morning, to be precise.


 

Aziraphale woke up screaming. Or rather, he woke up and promptly gave a shout of alarm after he noticed Certain Changes. For starters, there was the odd sensation of having an extra body part. Secondly, there was the extra body part. It was definitely there. It wasn't supposed to be there. It wan't supposed to be anywhere.

Naturally, he knew what it was. After millennia of living among humans, one gets to observe human art. And after millennia of observing human art, one gets to observe depictions of nude humans, sometimes nude humans themselves. So one knows that genitals are perfectly natural for humans. But when one is not a human, they are cause for alarm.

This had to be some form of punishment, didn't it? Upstairs had finally gotten around to retribution for standing in the way of the intended apocalypse. Oh, good lord. Oh, rather cruel lord. They'd gone and made him human.

Grimly contemplating his own mortality, he did what anyone in that situation would do. He kept a stiff upper lip and went down to the kitchen to make tea.


 

It was a Saturday, and Saturday was the day that he and Crowley met for brunch, which usually started at ten and lasted all day. This meant that Crowley was due to drop by in exactly twelve minutes. He knew because he kept looking at his watch.

Well, the door wouldn't open if he kept looking at it, would it?

He made himself a third pot of tea while he waited.


 

Crowley arrived three minutes late and found the angel picking at his nails, surrounded by at least a dozen empty mugs on the couch.

Aziraphale glared at him, to his surprise.

"Has something gone wrong?" Crowley asked.

"Has it not happened to you?"

"Has what not happened to me? Aziraphale, what's happened? And what's with all these mugs?"

"I've been drinking." Aziraphale responded.

Crowley looked tremendously offended. "Wine out of mugs?"

"Tea." Snapped Aziraphale. He had heard that caffeine did something for anxiety. What it did was increase it. Aziraphale hadn't heard that far. "Oh, it's no use," Aziraphale wailed, "Crowley, my dear, I'm going to die."

Crowley darted over to Aziraphale and seized his arms, knocking some mugs onto the floor in the process.

"Die? No! Tell me that's not possible!"

"It is now. They've made me a human, Crowley. I'll age till this body stops. And before I die, I have to tell you how I fee–" He made a face. "Hang on a second, I've got to go."

"Go where?" Asked Crowley, panicking.

"To the loo." Aziraphale sniffed. "It's all that damned tea."

They kept talking through the closed door.

"When did they make you human?"

"This morning."

"Why didn't you call me?"

"I thought it best to tell you in person. I didn't know how to explain it over the phone. It was horrible, Crowley. I woke up and I looked like a human."

"Wait." Said Crowley. "What do you mean? You look the same."

There was a flush and the sound of the sink running while Aziraphale washed his hands. Aziraphale sighed. "It's a bit awkward to explain, but the difference* is covered by clothes, and I hardly want to make you uncomfortable by indecently exposing myself."

"You mean you've got genitals?"

"Yes."

Crowley gave a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank G- somebody. I thought that was just me."

"Have you been turned human too?"

"What? No. I flew here today, look."

Aziraphale opened the bathroom door to see Crowley spread his glossy pigeon-gray wings.

"See? I haven't been turned into a human. Are you sure that's what's happened to you?"

Aziraphale tried spreading his own wings. They knocked the bottles of soap and hand lotion off the edge of the sink.

"Oh." He said.

"You nearly gave me a heart attack," Crowley reproached him, "telling me you'd turned human and all that!"

"We don't get heart attacks, Crowley. We're not human."

Crowley turned and stared meaningfully at one of the shelves, as if for reassurance that he wasn't the only one who'd heard that.

The shelf did not make eye contact.


*And what a difference.

 


 

"Do you, er, think that this has happened to anybody else?" Asked Crowley over a glass of wine.

"Best not to find out, really." Aziraphale answered. "It's an odd question to pose. I can't just ask 'O Michael, commander of the heavenly hosts, is there anything in your pants of late?'"

Crowley did not look amused. Actually, he looked rather frightened

"As a matter of fact, there is." Quoth the Archangel Michael, who had appeared on the spot.

Crowley fled the scene instantly.

"There you are, Aziraphale" continued the Archangel. "We tried ringing your house this morning and you didn't pick up. We've been looking for you all day."

"Er," said Aziraphale, as politely as he could manage, "what exactly is it that you need me for, sir?"

"We're going to do battle against the forces of hell, in retribution for their mean trick."

"Not again," Aziraphale groaned to himself.


 

Lo, the Heavenly armies mustered and were gathering over the plains of Tadfield, creating a tremendous uproar with the mighty beating of many enormous wings. Likewise, the armies of Hell had convened in the air, in battle lines, facing the angels.

"You have szzzzummoned uszz to combat!" Called Beelzebub. "Zzstate your reazons ere we fight!"

Wordlessly, the front line of angels dropped their tunics to the ground far below, though many angels behind them, Aziraphale included, kept their clothing on and tried to pretend that they didn't know the naked angels.

Michael remained at the front of the formation, his furious eyes gleaming and his body naked as the day he was... well, not born.

Beelzebub cackled. 'What are thooozzze?"

"I'll tell you what they are," roared Michael, "they're tactically disadvantageous sacs and surely the work of damnation's forces. How dare you? You were forbidden to intervene in our corporations."

"Um," said a richly-clad demon, Adramelech, "this might be a bit of an awkward misunderstanding, but we're not the ones responsible for everyone having functional digestive tracts and genitals."

"Liar and confederate of the prince of lies!" Shouted Kemuel. "That's exactly what you would say if you were the ones responsible."

"How do we know you're not the ones responsible?" asked Adramelech. "After all, it's happened to us too."

"What?" Asked the Archangel Michael. "Surely this spawn of Hell lies. This is a ruse."

"Unfortunately, it'zz real." Said Beelzebub.

"I don't believe it." Said Michael.

Hell's forces sighed and dropped trou too.

"We will not tolerate thizzz meddling of Heaven." Quoth Beelzebub, unsheathing his sword. He had kept his belt on and thought to himself it was an impressive style.

"Stop trying to pin this act of sabotage on us!" shouted Kemuel, drawing an arrow from his quiver, which was likewise the only garment he had on.

"Er, listen," said Aziraphale, elbowing his way out to the front line, "I'm sure we can talk it out peacefully and figure out why this is happening."

"Last one who skewers this feather pillow is a rotten egg!" Cried Moloch, brandishing a spear.

Crowley arrived in the nick of time, fifteen minutes late, with Adam.

"Easy there! Whoa!" Said Crowley, darting between a charging Moloch and Aziraphale. "I can explain. Put on clothes first, though, I've got a kid here."

Hundreds of kilts and trousers obediently rose from the ground hundreds of feet below, rejoining their proper owners, and then hundreds of eyes expectantly fixed themselves on Crowley.

"Er, I mean, squirt here can explain."

There was a dead silence as the hundreds of eyes fixed themselves on Adam instead

"Was an accident," Adam muttered softly, "with th' fabric of reality."

"Can you fix it, my lord?" Asked Moloch patiently.

"Er." Said Adam. "I dunno."

Both crowds began to murmur and grumble. If Crowley had had his hands free, i.e., not carrying the antichrist while hundreds of feet up in the air, he would have done a facepalm.

"Listen!" Said the Archangel Uriel, who still had his clothes on, in a strident tone. "It's not that bad. You all need to stop acting like this is 'a great plague on all men who eat bread' or something."

"We're not men." Muttered Kemuel.

Uriel rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean."

"It izzz a great plague on all men who eat bread." Interrupted Beelzebub. "Or vindaloo. I could have done withzzout a functioning digeszztive szzystem for that."

This surprised Crowley, who did not know that his bosses liked to eat at all. He made a mental note of it.

"Look, I can try to reverse everything." Said Adam.

"Um." Said the demon Adramelech. "I actually don't mind it that much. Personally, I'd rather stay like this."

Beelzebub glared at him. Crowley raised a quizzical eyebrow.

"I'll let individuals choose." Amended Adam.

"Good." Muttered Michael. "Because I'd prefer a different set."


 

After dropping Adam at his house, or rather, gently putting him back down, Crowley retrieved his car and drove Aziraphale back to the bookshop, where they both proceeded to get completely sozzled in order to forget the whole sordid affair.

"I was wond'ring..." began Crowley cautiously, "what was that– that whatsit you were going to tell me when y' thought you'd got turned human? That y' hadta tell me before dying?"

"Umm." Said Aziraphale, blushing. "S'sappy stuff. I'll tell you when we're sober."


 

The next day, while they were at St. James' feeding the ducks, Aziraphale surprised Crowley by asking whether or not he'd chosen to keep the recent changes to his human shape.

"Um." Said Crowley, blushing. "I'll tell you when we're drunk."