Note: Please make sure you read chapter 4, which was uploaded shortly before this chapter!
Aziraphale watched with horror as Michael swung the sword down towards Crowley's beautiful wings, groaning with the sheer force of wielding such a weapon. Time seemed to move in slow motion as the angel watched the blade crawl downwards, until a flash of blinding light filled the room and all five of them let out a groan of pain as they were temporarily blinded. The sharp thud of the sword hitting its mark sounded, and Crowley yelled in pain.
No! Oh, my dear, no! Aziraphale wailed through his gag. He closed his eyes tightly, unable to witness the horrible sight that he knew must be unfolding. He couldn't comprehend what had happened. Never again would he and Crowley sit facing each other by Aziraphale's fireplace cocooned in each other's wings, gently preening each other, taking romantic flights over the clouds to admire Crowley's stars... Oh, Crowley, I'm so sorry... I brought you here...
As time dragged on, however, he began to grow confused. He'd expected the sounds of Michael heaving up the sword and slicing off Crowley's other beautiful wing, maybe the sound of blood spilling onto the elegant marble of Heaven's floors, maybe pained sobs... but there was nothing but complete silence. He refused to open his eyes, not ready to see Crowley's gorgeous feathers limp on the floor, but his bones were chilled as a deep, familiar voice rumbled through the room, unmistakably furious.
"What is the meaning of this?" the voice thundered.
Finally, Aziraphale opened his eyes. Crowley was on his knees, trembling in complete shock, his wings wonderfully intact. Several feathers were dislodged and had floated to the floor, but he appeared to be unhurt. Michael clutched the hilt of her sword, the rest completely shattered to pieces - the Almighty must have destroyed it the second it touched Crowley's wing. Gabriel fell to his knees beside Crowley, clutching his hands together.
"Lord..." he whispered, in total adoration and very real fear.
"Answer my question, Gabriel."
"L-Lord, a demon entered Heaven and impersonated an angel. We were unveiling his trickery."
"What trickery? My angels Aziraphale and Crowley spoke the truth. I restored his Light."
Gabriel's eyes boggled out of his skull. Aziraphale would have found it hilarious, were he not quite so terrified.
"And as for the angel Aziraphale? You have my most loyal Principality bound and fixed to the floor of your office."
Gabriel's face was white as a sheet. He looked like a ghost.
"M-my Lord, we felt that... that if Crowley had been lying, and... and tricking Aziraphale, he would have..."
"Would have tried to stop you from needlessly mutilating another angel? From clipping his wings - not even that, cutting them off at the base? You disappoint me, Gabriel. You should have seen that it was no lie, when so many feathers lie detached on the floor."
None of the Archangels could say a word. Gabriel looked around the lost feathers scattered around the room, his face blank with panic as he noticed that they'd remained as white as snow. Michael shakily got to her feet and approcahed Aziraphale, releasing him from his binds and from the seal to the floor. Immediately, Aziraphale scrambled to his feet and rushed to Crowley's side, pulling him close to his chest. He felt Crowley's trembling arms weakly wrap around Aziraphale in return, and he buried his face in Zira's chest. The angel pressed soft kisses to Crowley's curly hair, holding him close and refusing to let go.
"Thank you, Michael," the Almighty sounded pleased by her obedience. Gabriel was still pale and speechless. He dropped down, touching his forehead to the floor.
"F-forgive me, Lord..."
"Convince me to," the Almighty responded, her voice stern. "You riled up all of Heaven, just as Hell riled up their forces, and almost started a war that would destroy my entire Earthly creation. When Aziraphale helped put a stop to that war, you attempted to destroy him, too. You repeatedly worked against my will."
"I'm sorry!" Gabriel wept. He looked pathetic, Aziraphale thought to himself cynically as he regarded the pitiful Archangel on the floor.
"Sorry doesn't always cut it, Archangel."
"Wh-what can I do? To make it up to you?" Gabriel begged, looking up.
"Take Crowley back with open arms. Pardon both him and Aziraphale, and punish your fellows accordingly should they choose to punish them for their love."
Aziraphale blushed and nuzzled Crowley's hair gently. He could barely believe what he was hearing. Crowley was a dead weight on his chest, completely still save for his slight trembling.
"Respect their wishes to live on Earth and allow them to continue working there. They need not be disturbed as I trust them to fulfil their duties. I will take it upon myself to supervise them should they need it, although I doubt they will. Disobey me again, Gabriel, and I will have you Fallen."
Gabriel swayed, completely shaken. "Y-yes, Lord... of course."
"Don't disappoint me."
The light ebbed out of the room and the Almighty was gone. The Archangels all looked over at Crowley, still huddled with his face buried in Aziraphale's chest.
"I..." Michael began, and Uriel cut her off.
"We should apologise. We were... brash."
"You've been brash many times over the past 6000 years, Archangel," Aziraphale muttered sourly. "But nothing will ever compare to what you just did."
He stood, gently guiding Crowley to his feet as well. "We're going home. If you're going to do any announcements regarding this, you can do it without us."
The Archangels, all looking highly uncomfortable, shuffled their feet and nodded. Without waiting for any further response, Aziraphale snapped his fingers, and in a moment both he and Crowley were back in the back room of his bookshop.
As soon as his feet touched familiar ground, Crowley sagged to the floor. He released a choked sob, shaking his head.
"Hush, my love," Zira whispered, kneeling beside Crowley and brushing his hair away from his forehead. "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have brought you there. I should have gone myself, with a message..."
"They would have tried to kill you," Crowley hoarsely whispered. "Maybe succeeded." He gently clutched Aziraphale's lapels and pulled him down, pressing their lips together with almost feverish urgency. "I would take torture... losing my wings, my eyes, anything... over losing you."
Aziraphale's heart melted. He pulled Crowley closer, kissing him again, matching the ex-demon's urgency from before.
"I'm still sorry," he whispered, pressing his forehead against Crowley's. "If they'd hurt you... I'd never forgive myself. Your poor wings..."
Crowley let out another shaky sob. Finally, tears began to escape his eyes as his adrenaline began to bottom out, leaving him exhausted. Aziraphale cradled him against his chest once more, letting him cry himself out.
Hours later, Aziraphale lay in bed, Crowley fast asleep in his arms. His cheeks were still stained with newly dried tears, and he'd hidden his wings, fearful to let anyone touch them - as much as it clearly ashamed him, not even Aziraphale. Zira understood it perfectly. Of course it hurt; any lapse in trust would, but he understood fully why it had happened. No matter of understanding the situation could make him stop blaming himself, however.
He pressed gentle kisses to Crowley's head as the clock ticked by, watching his shoulders move as he breathed, feeling his lover's heartbeat against his own chest. He desperately wanted to know how he could help, but all Crowley had been able to ask was to stay close. Of course, that would never be a problem. Crowley was all Zira had ever wanted.
oKAY sorry for the cliffhanger last chapter! I really enjoyed writing the angsty stuff oops, I'm such a sucker for torture writing. Maybe someday I'll write an alternate fic where the sword doesn't shatter and Crowley has to live life without wings?
Until then I hope you enjoy! I'd love to read your reviews if you liked it!