It was a day like any other, that being as normal as a day could be in the life of a Fallen angel. Crowley woke early to greet the dawn with his usual scowl, shrugged into tight-fitting pants and a suave leather jacket, and ran his fingers through his hair. Briefly, he considered growing it out again. He rather missed the long curls he'd been naturally Created with, and while he loathed to admit it, he wanted to feel Aziraphale's fingers running through them, pulling them into braids and… perhaps pulling them for entirely different reasons.
Shrugging off the notion, he lifted his glasses from his dressing table and pulled them over his face. He always felt like he could let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding whenever he covered his eyes. He'd never liked them - they were a symbol of his Falling, and he'd grown tired of the apprehensive stares they attracted.
He prowled into the next room over, not bothering to pick his discarded nightclothes off the floor or make his elegant bed, instead firmly telling himself that it made the apartment feel somewhat lived in. Should anyone choose to pay him a visit, he'd simply snap his fingers and it'd all go back to the way it was. He snatched the plant mister from its shelf and made his usual predatory rounds of his house plants, spraying them all down.
"Morning, pets," he growled. "Growing well, are we? I'd bloody well hope so, if I were you." The greenery began to tremble, as was the norm whenever he addressed his growing friends. He inspected each leaf with a narrowed eye, growling at those whom he felt could be performing with more vigour.
It was then that he started to feel... wrong. Somewhere deep in his chest, he felt cold, almost itchy. He reached up a hand to absent-mindedly scratch at his breast, unwilling to pay much attention as he finished making his rounds. He certainly noticed it, but it soon faded as he dumped down the mister and he shrugged it off as an after-effect of the previous night's drinking. He and Aziraphale had celebrated their six-month anniversary of the Not-Apocalypse, and had torn through a rather shocking amount of Zira's private stash of long-preserved alcohol.
Regardless, the feeling vanished, and as he grabbed his car keys and headed out to see his angel, he forgot all about it.
He next felt it during lunch out at the Ritz.
This time, the cold feeling seized his lungs, gripping them tightly for a moment and squeezing a surprised gasp from the demon. He coughed, lowering his eyes to try and shrug off the noise, but unfortunately, not much got past Aziraphale.
"Crowley?" The angel furrowed his brow, inspecting his friend. "Good lord, whatever's wrong?"
"Nothing," Crowley almost hissed, his lungs still tight. He managed to take a deep breath as he got control over the icy irritation in his chest. "All good here."
Aziraphale frowned, clearly not sold by Crowley's excuse. "Something's wrong here."
"No, no no, please, just enjoy your lunch, it's-"
"Crowley, no. Something wrong with you." His cool hand rested on Crowley's jaw, tilting his face up so the pair locked eyes. "Please, tell me."
Damned angel. He'd always had so much power over the demon, not that he'd ever said so - he'd certainly showed it enough, when he slept the entire 14th century away after they'd had an argument.
"Chest... feels tight," he admitted, his voice barely a whisper. Zira always managed to find the vulnerability within him. He wasn't sure how he felt about it.
Aziraphale lifted a hand and politely asked for the cheque. Crowley frowned.
"Angel, no, please, I don't want to-"
"You're coming home with me, dear. I want to keep an eye on you." The angel quickly paid for their food, and led Crowley outside before rushing them back to the bookshop with a wave of his hand. Crowley grunted as the ground beneath their feet shifted during the miracle, and sagged onto Zira's couch as soon as he was stable.
"Bit reckless, that, wasn't it?" he grumbled, taking deep breaths as he tried to force the tautness from his chest.
"Right," Aziraphale said, shifting into a professional mindset without any regard for Crowley's concerns for his carelessness. "Are you in pain?"
"Zira," Crowley murmured, pulling his sunglasses off and looking his angel dead in the eyes. He could only ever do this with Aziraphale. "What if someone saw?"
"Nobody did," the angel gently insisted. "Everyone in the area miraculously had something else to look at, shoes to tie..."
Crowley flashed him a gentle grin. Aziraphale might be a tad frivalent with his miracles, but he'd be damned if it didn't make him feel good to know the angel had his back.
"Are you in pain, Crowley?"
"...Yeah," Crowley admitted, his cheeks heating as he admitted it. "Yeah, I kinda am."
Crowley hesitated, before he shrugged out of his jacket. He guided Zira's hands to either side of his ribcage. "Right here..." The coldness only seemed to be spreading this time instead of quickly fading, but Aziraphale gently massaged the skin on his ribs. His touch was soothing, and Crowley sighed with some relief as the pain started to ease. He couldn't tell if Aziraphale was using another miracle to relax his muscles, or if it was just because it was Aziraphale touching him like this. Either way, it was working, slowly.
Over time, the coldness ebbed away, leaving Crowley gasping for breath and somewhat clammy. He found sweat beading at his brow, and as the clenching at his lungs faded, he let his jaw hang open to swallow as much air as possible. Of course, he didn't need to breathe, not really, but it was definitely far more comfortable.
Aziraphale brushed a stray lock of hair out of Crowley's eyes.
"You're staying here for the night, dear. You can take my room - I don't sleep often, anyway."
Finding himself worn out by the pain, the demon could only nod and allow Zira to lead him upstairs.
Crowley awoke the next morning in agony. His entire body was tense, his muscles cramping of their own volition.
"Shit," he gasped, doubling over. He tried to pull himself out of bed, but he ended up toppling to the floor and lay there, helpless as the pain continued. He heard footsteps clambering up the stairs, and soon soft hand rested on his shoulders, gently shaking him.
"Crowley! Crowley, love, can you hear me?"
"Az..z...zzira..." Crowley managed to choke out, before he felt himself being pulled out of his body and up into the sky. Out of the confines of his body the pain lessened somewhat, but he still felt constricted and chilled. Up, up, up he soared, shivering in what he swore to himself was just the cold, and not sheer terror. Demons don't feel fear, he told himself. Not this demon, anyway.
He found himself pulled into a vast expanse of white, stretching endlessly into the horizon. Tufts of what appeared to be clouds rimmed the horizon and floated past Crowley, while above he saw an expanse of glorious stars, unmarred by pollution. He found himself choking up as he saw the stars he'd helped to create untouched by man's poisoned skies for the first time in decades.
He was brought to his senses by a deep, calm voice, resonating deep within his chest.
"Demon Crowley," the voice murmured, female and unmistakably wise. He knew exactly who it was.
"Is... is that you, Lord?" he answered, hesitating. He was confused and hurt - hearing her voice again after millennia was bittersweet, when he had once loved her endlessly as his Creator.
"It is. I've been watching you," she spoke with endless grace, but it did nothing to reassure Crowley.
"I, eh... assume you're not entirely happy with me?" he guessed.
"What brings you to that assumption?" She sounded amused. Crowley didn't like this at all. He felt unease crawling up his spine.
"Considering I helped halt Armageddon and, eh... fraternised with your angel?"
"If I had a problem with your 'fraternising', as you choose to put it, I would have put a stop to it a long time ago, Crowley. No, I'm rather pleased with you."
"You... you're what?" Crowley was struck dumb. The last time he'd spoken with the Almighty, she'd cast him down into a pool of boiling sulphur to burn, and condemned him for the sin of open curiosity. Hearing what sounded like praise nearly shook him out of his skin - well, would have, had his soul not been pulled to the ethereal plane and out of his body already.
"I'm pleased with you, my Creation. You are a demon who learned to love, and fought for that love against your own forces. You protected and mourned my angel."
Crowley shuddered. Demons didn't love. They didn't feel love, weren't allowed to feel love... and yet he knew it was true. What else could he possibly feel for Aziraphale, for the world? His actions may have been overtly selfish as all demons' are, but he fought most vehemently when it was what he loved on the line.
"You've shown yourself worthy of redemption, Crowley."
"I - what?"
"You Fell by my word, and now I bring you home. You've found the light once more, my child. My Raphael."
Crowley was speechless, wracked with confusion and shock. He opened his mouth to speak, but even as time ticked by, he had nothing to say.
"Welcome back to Heaven, my love."
A flash of blinding light, and Crowley was gone.
Aziraphale heard the thump of a body hitting the ground, and immediately knew something was wrong. He shot up the stairs and saw Crowley's prone figure on the ground, trembling and gasping for air.
"Crowley!" he yelped, dashing over and kneeling beside his friend. He gently shook him by the shoulder, desperate for any response, any sign of awareness. "Crowley, love, can you hear me?"
Crowley twitched, groaning, drool bubbling at the corners of his mouth.
"Az..z...zzira..." he groaned, before he went completely still and silent. Aziraphale panicked, unsure what exactly to do in this situation. Having read almost every book in existence, he knew basic first aid, but he knew that nothing in that book would necessarily apply to occult beings. Regardless, he was desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures.
He shifted his friend into the recovery position, careful to tilt his head to clear his airway and make sure he couldn't hurt himself should he convulse. He paced the room, confused and frightened, unsure what to do. He kept an eagle eye on his friend, ready to jump in at the drop of a pin. He was gone for minutes, but it felt like hours.
He made a mental tally in his mind, counting all the possible outcomes of this situation that he could think of. He came up with dozens, but when Crowley finally moved, it happened in a way that Aziraphale hadn't predicted. A flash of blinding light filled the room, making Zira yelp and shield his eyes. A gentle, warm voice filled the room for a moment.
"Welcome back to Heaven, my love."
When the light subsided, Crowley was there, but... something was different. His scent was something Aziraphale wasn't used to - no longer did he carry the faint smell of smoke and ash, but instead he smelled of petrichor and pine. His wings had erupted from his back, but...
Dear, sweet Almighty.
His wings were stark white.
I hope you enjoyed this fic! I've had it in mind for a while since I've seen lots of fics of Aziraphale Falling, and it just got me thinking... what if? I hope to add another chapter to this, who knows where it'll go?
I'd love it if you could review this and let me know if you liked it!