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the french 'permanence' & the saint james 'agreement' of 1862

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PARIS

1793

 

Cheering sounded from outside the small, dingy, damp and dark jail cell he was thrown in. Crowley, the poor angel, was sat on a rickety, creaking, wooden stool, with the sun beating down upon him from outside, seeping through the bars attached to the empty hole like window. There was a sound, one that sounded like something sharp cutting through meaty, wet flesh echoed the cell, then there was a dull thud. His wrists were bound in front of him by iron, and metal, as he stared at the wall in front of him with a slouch, back to the guillotine, and to be fair, he deserved it. He was the idiot angel who dropped into Paris during a Revolution, looking like the most British person alive in a white suit, and blazer like jacket, frills at the neck, and tight pants. His red hair was styled though, long again, but curled up into three rolls.

He looked out the hole and through the bars, and saw the guillotine fall, it sliced through something wet, and fleshy again, and there was a dull thud soon after, ending with cheering. He stretched his bound wrists as far as he could, which was barely anything. The clattering of keys came from just outside the bars of the cell, and he shuffled on the seat to face them, as the key lock squeaked and the cell gate was opened with a creak.

A guard in black who unlocked the cell, but another man walked in. He was rather large, and chubby, with an unruly beard and wore all red clothing, with white socks, and a red piece of fabric atop of his head, with a badge and sash of colours. He began speaking French, and Crowley stared at him lost, confused. The man moved forward with a smile, nodding and talking still, he moved over to Crowley to touch the frills on his neck.

Immediately, Crowley flinched back and held up his hands up in a surrender, and began speaking French as well, poorly, might I add. "... mistake— Uh, erreur." He sighed, wincing, "out of practice for French." He admitted, rather embarrassed, "um..." He again tried to speak French.

The man held up a finger, shushing him, "I speak English." He assured, and Crowley nodded.

The guillotine outside slid down, and cut off another head, and cheering sounded the area again, as well as a scream. The two looked to the hole, the angel in not too well hidden fear, and the man in disappointment.

"Listen to that." He said, hand raised as he looked to Crowley. "The fall of the guillotine blade." He grumbled out, "is it not terrible?!"

Crowley had a feeling the man hadn't meant it as; 'oh the death is terrible', but he jumped to it anyway. "Yeah. Yeah, cuttin' off that poor woman's head. Terrible!" He agreed, eyes wide in terror. That poor woman! He felt guilt for being unable to help them, and he was annoyed at being captured himself. Maybe, he could change this mans views, and morals, though of course he couldn't miracle it, how could he? He's already in trouble for doing too many miracles...

"It is Pierre. An amateur." Scoffed the man, shaking his head. "Always he let go of the rope too soon." He explained, and again Crowley lost all hope, feeling sick and looked rather annoyed. "You are lucky that it is I, Jean-Claude," he waved his hand in bow like motion. "Who will remove your traitorous head from your shoulders."

"Listen, this's a mistake!" Crowley explained, sighing as he shook his head. "I don't think y'know—"

Jean-Claude, as he was now known, cut the angel off, "I have good news for you!" Crowley sagged in his chair again. "You are the 999th aristo to die at the guillotine by my hand!" He seemed rather cheerful of this, as if this was a big honour, and Crowley sighed, tense. "But the first English." He said, impressed and shocked, his voice sounded like Crowley should be proud to be the first.

Instead, with sarcasm and annoyance Crowley said, "wahoo." He waved a clenched fist as if cheering, the chains jingling.

"Now..." Jean-Claude moved to Crowley with a smile, and went to untie the scarf of frills at his neck, but Crowley stood and slunk away.

"No!" Crowley yelled, annoyed. "A big goof up, discorporatin' me!" Jean-Claude just looked confused and shocked that someone dared to rush away from him. Crowley groaned thinking of all the stupid, godforsaken paperwork, "a nightmare..." He felt sick, and already felt his eyes dry out, and head throb and hurt from looking at said paperwork.

Another sound of the guillotine slicing against flesh sounded, as did cheering. Jean-Claude smiled, and he turned, laughing slightly with his hands raised, but then froze, everything seemed to stop.

"Animalssss." Crowley scoffed with a hiss, a disgruntled frown on his face, unknowing of what was happening.

"Animals don't slaughter each other with clever machines, dear boy. Only humans do that." A British voice said, calm and smooth, yet slightly cocky.

A warm smile stretched over Crowley's sharp lips, eyes sparkling in delight and joy, "Azirafell..." He turned with the clatter of the chain to see the demon; leaning against the bench, one foot up, and an arm draped over his knee. He wore dark clothes, and a dark brown jacket, his hair not spiked but waved up, and wore black glasses. The angel scrunched up his nose slightly, and looked away, "oh, good Lord."

"What in the Nine Circles of Hell, are you doing caged up in the Bastille?" Azirafell asked, confused and slightly horrified. "I was under the impression you were opening a florist shop, combined with a greenhouse?"

"Well, I was... am." Crowley agreed, assuring him that that is still his original plan. "I got thirsty."

With a raised eyebrow, Azirafell repeated, "'thirsty'?" He sounded as if he was done with the angel, his face blank.

"It's the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon... y'can't get bottles an'where but Paris!" He defended, as he shuffled over, sitting down on the stool annoyed, looking down. "And the crepes... I know you like crepes!"

Azirafell shook his head, eyebrows raised in dumbfounded amazement, "so, you decided to pap across the Channel in the midst of a Revolution, because you fancied something to sip?" He looked over the red heads white, clearly British clothing style, "attired like that?" He asked, though behind his glasses, he was devouring the angel. He really did look scrumptious with those shackles, and he licked his lips.

"Pop, Azirafell, pop." Crowley sighed, "and, I have standards!" He reasoned, face full of disbelief. The poor demon, while not as behind on the times as one might think, he never knew idioms very well, and got them mixed up. "I'd heard they were gettin' carried away over here but—"

With a hummed 'baa', the demon said, "yes, this is not exactly 'getting carried away'. This is decapitating people's heads very efficiently, with a monstrous head-cutting machine known as a guillotine." He frowned, "my dear boy, why don't you perform another miracle and travel home?" He asked, confused, with a heaved sigh.

Crowley shuffled in his seat, swallowing and he admitted, "I was told off last month. Said I did too many foolish miracles." He sighed, as if hurt by the suggestion, as if the miracles he was preforming were useless, "gotta rude worded note from Gabriel."

Azirafell scoffed, "I really do wish I could punch his face." He looked to the angel, "and, why not metamorphose into your snake form?"

"D'you wan' me in trouble with the Archangels?" Asked Crowley with a scoff. He refused to change into a snake again, what if someone was watching? "Angels aren't supposed to be able to change into animals!"

"But, you are also an Archangel..." Reasoned Azirafell, "and you believe everything She does is for a reason."

Crowley looked down, "yeah, but... she... I've been able to do this for a while, and... I wish She hadn't done this to me..." He sighed, if he could change into a snake, he would and he'd get out of there, however he can't. Who knows who's watching?

Sighing, the demon dropped the topic, knowing how Crowley felt with his correct 'Purpose' of an Archangel, and said, "well, you're lucky I was in the area."

"Yeah, I am." Crowley agreed, "why're you here?"

"My department gave me a commendation for outstanding job performance." Azirafell said, shrugging as he looked to the frozen guillotine.

Crowley's hazel-golden eyes widened in realisation, and he stood up in anger and horror, "this's your demonic work?"

"No!" Denied Azirafell, shaking his head slightly in horror. "The humans conjured this up themselves. It has nothing to do with me."

Crowley didn't look sure though, but he had no reason to disbelieve the demon, as backwards as that sounds. Azirafell sighed, and snapped his fingers, and the chains around his wrists came loose, falling to the ground in a loud, metal clatter. The angel rubbed his slightly red and raw wrists, "ngk, I should thank you for the rescue."

Horrified, Azirafell elegantly stood up, yet still with a slight wobble, "don't do that." He was holding back a growl, as he moved over to the angel. "If my department hear I rescued an angel, I will baa-e the one in a predicament. And my department do not send strongly worded notes." He was tense in fear, and worry, as if this was something that has happened before.

Crowley sniffed, and reworded his thanks to calm the demon, "I'm still grateful." He nodded, "I'll buy you lunch?" He offered, face soft and fond.

With a frown, and a quick glance over Crowley's outfit, Azirafell asked, "looking like that?"

Sighing, swallowing his insults of disgust, the angel waved his hand over his suit, and he went from his white suit, into a red suit, and he brought his hand up again. Specifically the suit Jean-Claude was wearing, the one who was about to kill him, cap and all. Azirafell raised an eyebrow in judgement at the miracle, which Crowley saw. "Well, barely a miracle, really." The angel insulted, standing next to the demon and watching the mortal.

Azirafell smirked, and clicked his fingers, waving his hands up and pointed his index fingers to the human.

Time started all over again.

Jean-Claude turned around, still speaking and laughing, but suddenly was confused, looking around, no longer seeing the traitor. The cell, to him, was empty. He noticed he was wearing the traitors white clothing, and he patted himself frantically. The cell opened with a squeak, and he began stuttering and stumbling over words as two guards in black grabbed him and dragged him out to his death.

The angel and demon watched silently, rocking on their heals, (the demon swaying).

Azirafell looked to the not too bothered Crowley, "dressed like that, he really was bound to get into trouble." He joked, and watched the man disappear, as did the angel. He turned to Crowley, "so, what is for lunch?"

"How about crepes?" Crowley asked with playful eyes, and in thought, knowing that the demon loved food.

The two looked to each other, Azirafell's face right in front of Crowley now, their hot breath mingling together. "Lead the way, angel..."

The guillotine sliced into something meaty, wet and flesh like.

 

 

ST JAMES'S PARK

LONDON 1862

 

The sun was shinning and twinkling off the clear water, as ducks paddled and swam around the lake. Saint James's Park was filled with people, talking and chattering, taking romantic strolls on the cobble path, as horse and carriages trotted on past.

In a white suit, walking with a white cane with a serpent handle, and white leather gloves, grown out red sideburns, and a lovely white top hat, with a grey toned tie. Crowley walked down the cobble pathway. He saw Azirafell already stood in front of the gate, in a black open suit, an light grey waistcoat, a dark grey bow tie, and white sideburns, with black glasses, his black top hat was off, as he threw breadcrumbs into the pond for the ducks. He looked tired though, not sick, but rather on edge, he has done for a while now... at least a year...

Crowley sighed, he was going to ask Azirafell for a favour, one he's been meaning to ask for a while, and he would, so long as it didn't clash or undermined what Azirafell wanted to talk about. The lovely demon had sent a letter, filled with cursive lettering and ash, sulphur smelling paper, he wanted a favour, yet was worried someone would see. It's the reason they were here today, to talk without fear of their letters being read.

The angel slunk next to the demon, as the man in black kept feeding the ducks. "Look, I've been thinking." Crowley said, "what if it all goes wrong?" He asked, as Azirafell flicked another crumb into the water. "We have a lot in common, you and me."

"I don't know." Sighed Azirafell, looking down as he twirled a piece of bread between his thumb and index finger. "Trust me," he said, shoulders sagging as he swayed. "I have been thinking about this too, angel."

"We both started off as angels,"  Crowley said, looking to Azirafell softly and worriedly. "And, you may be Fallen, but—"

"I didn't exactly Fall." Corrected the demon, scrunching up his nose. "I just strolled vaguely downwards." He shrugged, as he threw another piece of bread into the pond.

A horse and carriage drove behind them, wheels and hooves clattering against the stone flooring.

"I need a favour." They said at the same time, and Azirafell paused mid-bread-throw.

"We already have The Agreement, Crowley." The demon said, unsure what the angel would want. What could he want? There was nothing he could want, right? "Stay out of each other's way. Lend a hand when needed." (At this point The Arrangement was simple, so simple it didn't deserve the capitalisation of the first letter, it was just a formality.) He was tense, as he kept feeding the ducks. What else could he offer the Archangel? I mean, there was that time, back in 1860, that they had gotten a bit too drunk and... Crowley indulged in a few of Azirafell's sinfully, pleasurable activities, in the bed of his plant shop. Maybe, he was... he wanted to forget it all, or stop dancing around their... something-ship?

"This is something else, I mean... what if this goes pear-shaped?" Crowley asked.

Desperately trying to stall wherever this conversation was going, Azirafell let his hand fall to his side, and placing his top hat back on his head. His hand brushed against Crowley's white, leather gloved hand, and their fingers lacing together. Crowley's face turned a bright red, and Azirafell gave a gentle squeeze.

"I like pears." Azirafell said, voice fond. Mouth now near watering, pears really are some of the best of fruits, and he was now wearing a small pout on his lips.

Crowley sighed, "I wrote it down." He continued with his conversation, much to the disappointment of Azirafell. "Walls have ears." He said, handing over a crumpled piece of paper. "Well, not walls. Trees have ears." He said, looking around.

"Seems we have similar ideas, angel..." Sighed Azirafell, looking at the scrunched paper, and he snatched it. He fished out his own neatly folded, and slightly singed piece of paper. "And, I do believe you mean ducks have ears, dear boy." He paused as Crowley hesitantly took Azirafell's paper, "do ducks have ears?" He looked to the pond of ducks, as he placed his hat on top of his head, that paddled around happily unaware of the conversation so it seemed.

"They must do. That's how they hear other ducks." Crowley reasoned, looking to the folded paper, "this is your favour?" He asked, holding the piece of paper up.

With a shrug, the demon said, "if this all fails, goes astray, I want insurance."

Opening their respective papers carefully, and reading the contents of the paper, their eyes turned to one of horror, the world narrowing on the paper and ground shook under their feet. They snatched their hands from each others grasps.

Crowley's head snapped to the demon, "out of the question!" He hissed, his sharp, serpent teeth bared.

Azirafell just stared at Crowley in shock, his fingers digging into the paper, "I beg your pardon?!"

"It would destroy you!" Snapped Crowley, his teeth gritted together in anger, leaning down to the demon. "I'm not bringin' you a suicide pill, Azirafell!" He shoved the paper back to Azirafell's hands.

Shaking his head, and shoving the paper back, the demon snapped, "that is not what I want it for. It's just insurance!" He held up the crinkled paper, "and this? You are so ungrateful! How dare you even think of this, how dare you even ask me to be involved! Why would you you think I would help?! Do you really want to get rid of Her grace, Her warmth, Her—"

"I'm supposed to take this from a suicidal, Strolled Angel?" Crowley asked, angrily, glaring at the demon.

"It is investment!" Snapped Azirafell, glaring back.

"I'm not an idiot, Azirafell! I'm an Archangel of Healing, this is totally against my Purpose!" Crowley snapped, looking to the demon.

Azirafell scoffed, "you won't be an Archangel of Healing, and a Star Maker for long if you want your fucking favour!" He cursed.

Crowley scoffed back, "d'you know what trouble I'd be in if..." He looked up to the sky nervously and cautiously, "if they knew I'd been fraternising?" He asked, this would get him into trouble, and it would kill his... Partner, or friend, or... Whatever they are at this point! "Out of the question!"

"Fraternising..." Azirafell baa-ed out, his teeth clenched, his eyes sad and broken behind his glasses. "Is that what we've been doing?" Is that all he was, an enemy? How stupid of him to think that they were something more then friends... this has been in his damn imagination! It was a drunken mistake, Goddamn it! I bet She's laughing at him now, huh? Dangle an apple in front of his face, and then snatch it away from him!

"Well, whatever you wanna call it." Sighed Crowley with a tense shrug, looking forward again. "It won't matter if you just—"

"No!" Snapped the demon. "You wouldn't last a day, it's too painful! You're so fucking ungrateful, Crowley!" Azirafell baa-ed out, glaring behind his glasses.

Crowley looked down to the paper in his hands. He sighed, "y'know there's no point discussing this." He said, tense and he swallowed. He gripped the paper. He could see where the demon was coming from, arguing against his favour, it was a terrible ask... he should apologise, but later, not now... right now, they're... well, he's not too sure what they are now, this has severely dampened whatever form of friendship, or something-ship, was being built up between them...

"I have a copious amount of individuals to fraternise with, angel!" Snapped the demon, glaring at the paper in front of him. It was a lie, a big lie...

Hurt, Crowley scowled recoiling from the demon, as if he was stung, "of course you do." He ignored the sinking feeling in his stomach, he ignored what felt like tar and cement fill his insides, and held back the golden tears that rimmed his eyes.

"I don't need you!" Azirafell lied, his eyes brimming up with red, bloody tears, his lips pulled into a frown. He held back his sobs, and kept his shoulders as still as he could, as his heart fell to his stomach.

"The feelin' is mutual, obviously." Crowley scowled, and threw the paper into the water. He stormed off, pushing past people, apologising each time. He clenched his hand, stretching and curling his fingers, missing Azirafell's hand in his.

Azirafell looked down to the paper in his hands again, and snapped out, mockingly, "obviously." He threw the paper into the water as well, sniffing sadly, as a single red tear rolled down his pale cheek, and he watched the paper flutter to the wet surface.

The paper landed on the water, next to the other, and the paper from Hell set on fire, the scruffy yet neat writing smearing, vaguely reading; Holy Water. It caught the other paper on fire, the neat cursive now barely visible writing, (though it wasn't that visible to begin with as it was gold), reading; Damn Me.