Crowley could describe Hell down to the smallest detail. He could drone on for hours about the sickly sulphur smell, or how there never seemed to be enough room for everyone, or how the mould spread from the walls to your clothes and then onto your very skin if you stayed there long enough. It was a horrible, dark place that just felt wrong and Crowley hated it. Hell wasn't meant to be liked though.

But this, this felt like a Hell that had been tailor made for him and he hated it even more than he hated every single circle of Hell.

Aziraphale had been to London that morning to deliver a book he'd recently restored to its rightful owner. He'd insisted that Crowley stay at the cottage by the fire because they both knew that he'd be bored and cold if he went to London; it was winter. The first winter in their new cottage. Aziraphale had expected to be back by late afternoon but he returned early and decided to fly the remaining distance from the town to the cottage, hiding his appearance with a small miracle.

Aziraphale was a good flyer but what neither of them had expected that evening, was for the storm of the century to hit the South Downs. With gale force winds, hail and torrential rain which caused flash floods as well as thunder and lightning, the angel's wings had taken a beating. If he'd gone out of the storm as soon as it had hit, he'd probably have been fine, or at least not as bad. But because he was such an angel, he'd been helping people, holding back flooding and directing winds not to damage homes and things like that. And of course, making sure that his favourite places scattered around the Downs weren't too badly damaged. Three hours outside, working constant miracles and fighting against the force of nature took its toll, both on his body and his wings.

Celestial wings were far more robust than those of a bird but they could still be damaged and when they were, it was important to tend to them as soon as possible. Which was what Crowley was doing.

Aziraphale was lying on his stomach on the floor in front of the fire, on a pile of soft blankets and cushions with Crowley straddling him, leaning over his limp, aching wings.

"It's...bad...isn't it?" the angel asked, biting his lip to hold back his pitiful whimpering sounds.

"It's...not good," Crowley admitted, sadly.

The angel let out a shaky sigh and shuddered and then moaned when his wings moved. It was the sound that Crowley knew he'd be hearing in his nightmares when this was all over. He never particularly wanted to see anyone in pain, but it was easy to ignore it usually. He could usually shut out the internal voice that was vocal about it. But Aziraphale's pain was different. Azirapahle's pain was impossible to ignore.

"Looks like...some of 'em are broken. They're gonna have to come out, angel," Crowley stated with a reassuring hand on his lover's back. He felt the angel shaking beneath him and he stroked his hand down Aziraphale's back, careful not to touch his wings.

" many?" Aziraphale whimpered.

"Enough," Crowley replied. "Feels a bit swollen at the joint here too," he said with his hand hovering over where the limp wings met the angel's back.

"I was...o...out f...for t...too long...the wind was...too strong."

"You'll be okay, angel," the demon tried his best to reassure Aziraphale. "We'll get you fixed up in no time, you'll see," he said.

The angel sniffled and said nothing but he gave a weak nod.

Crowley's hand hovered over one wing but it was difficult to know where to start. Not only that but pulling so many damaged feathers was going to hurt and he really didn't want to do it. But he had to. So he did. He started with the smallest feathers that were barely hanging on and would be likely to hurt the least when they were removed. He left them in a pile out of the way but that small pile soon grew.

"Angel?" Crowley said.

"Hmmm?" Aziraphale muttered as he bit his lip.

"Tell me a story," the demon requested. He hoped it would keep the injured angel distracted so that when he came to remove some of the larger feathers, maybe it wouldn't hurt as much.


"Just...a story, angel, any story."

"W...well...alright," Aziraphale grimaced again. "T...there's...t...'T...the Selfish Giant''s by Oscar Wilde..." he said.

"Of course you'd pick him," Crowley rolled his eyes. "D'you ever have a thing for him or was it the other way round?" he asked, curiously.

"T...there's no need to be jealous, love," the angel briefly craned his neck around to look at him.

"I'm not," Crowley snapped, haughtily.

"Please don't be jealous, my dear," Aziraphale reiterated. "Oscar and I had a mutual understanding of certain things and while it's true that he did...proposition me...more than once, I declined," he said.

"Wait, what? He did? More than once?" the demon asked and he stopped his gentle preening. "The git," he grumbled, angrily.

"What was done to him was monstrous, please be a little sympathetic to the poor man. He was far from a saint, but he deserved a better end than he received. And honestly, on my word as an angel, my dear, you've no reason to be jealous. Although, I have to is rather flattering."

"Humph," Crowley scoffed.

"Would you like to hear the story or not, my love?" Aziraphale asked.

"Yeah, yeah, tell me," the demon nodded, "And turn back over. This is gonna get worse before it gets better."

Unfortunately, Crowley's hope of distracting the angel was in vain and even though Aziraphale persisted in recounting the short story verbatim, as well as several others from varying points in human history, it didn't stop him from crying out and weeping as he lost some of his larger feathers which were prised out, dripping in blood.

"I'm...sorry, 'Zira," Crowley said as he held a towel close to the angel's left wing which was now bleeding from having a large, broken feather removed.

"I know," the angel sighed, shakily.

"I'm sorry for this...I'm sorry for not being there...I didn't know you were...I thought you were in London..." the demon stammered quickly, "I just got caught up with your books..."

"Well, I was in London. But I came back early. I missed you. Then the s...storm hit," Aziraphale replied.

"I should've been there...I should've known. I could've done something," Crowley grimaced.

In the past, though he'd never told Aziraphale, Crowley had had the angel under watch. Aziraphale attracted trouble like a magnet, so the demon had rationalised it perfectly in his mind. But he hadn't thought it was necessary for a long time now. He had no way of knowing if Aziraphale was in trouble but they spent every moment together so why would he need to? Clearly, he'd gotten complacent.

"You couldn't have known. T...this isn't your fault, it's mine," Aziraphale told him.


"Of all the things we can do, telepathy isn't one of them, dear. You've no way of knowing if I'm in danger. Although I do have to admit, sometimes you have an uncanny knack for it."

"Guess I just got lucky," Crowley shrugged, not wanting to admit that he'd had Aziraphale followed at several times through history.

"Devilishly lucky," the angel smiled, "Not that I'm complaining. Now, please stop thinking that you could have somehow prevented this. We both know that it was my own fault for staying out there for so long."

"Just...don't do something so stupid ever again, y'got that?" the demon sighed.

"I can't promise, but I'll try," Aziraphale replied, sitting up slowly and kissing Crowley's cheek. He winced when his wings were forced to move with him but that didn't stop him.

"Stop moving, angel, geez, if I didn't know better I'd say you were a masochist," Crowley fretted and eased him back down onto the floor.

"I'm nothing of the kind," Aziraphale insisted, primly.

"Then stop acting like it and let me finish," he replied, holding his hands over a wing again for a moment before he resumed his taste of sifting through the broken feathers.

"Thank you for helping me, dear," the angel said, honestly through his discomfort and pain.

"Don't...don't thank me, not for this," Crowley muttered. He doubted he'd get any sleep that night.

That proved to be unfortunately correct. Crowley didn't sleep that night, but thankfully, Aziraphale did. He fell into an exhausted sleep when the demon was finally finished with his wings. They were looking rather thin in the feathers now, but they'd grow back quickly. Probably by the next morning actually. Angelic healing of wings was an odd thing. They could heal wounds in their glorious wings but they couldn't heal muscle exhaustion and wings were just like any other limb. Muscles had to heal on their own so the poor angel's wings would likely be sore for a week or so. The feathers would take time to regrow as well because he'd lost so many. It would likely be an uncomfortable and itchy process so Aziraphale would probably be a little tetchy in the meantime.

"You awake this time, angel?" Crowley asked when Aziraphale showed signs of waking again after a whole twelve hours in bed.

"Mmmm," the angel hummed. He ruffled his wings a little and then winced afterwards, letting them fall limply onto the bed again. It felt like extreme muscle soreness and would take several days to do away. " they look?" he asked, without opening his eyes.

"The feathers've started regrowing," Crowley answered, "Still probably sore though, right?"

Aziraphale nodded slightly, "I fear it means I'm somewhat out of practice when it comes to flying."

"Well, you were out in a storm for hours. But if you want, we can start flying more," the demon replied, "Every night if you want. After your wings have healed properly."

"I'd like that."

"Maybe we could fly through Alpha Centuri," Crowley suggested.

"You could show me your stars up close," Aziraphale smiled, "Oh that sounds lovely."

"Yeah, sure, angel. Alpha Centuri here we come...errr...soon."

"Hmm mmm," the angel agreed.