Title; Shattered Glass
Author; Snowballjane
Disclaimer; Crowley and Aziraphale are both the property of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Summary; When Aziraphale is injured, Crowley has to take drastic action

Crowley shoved the door of the shop open with his shoulder and half- carried, half-dragged the bundle of scorched wings and broken angel inside. The smell of burned feathers made his stomach turn.

He staggered across the shop and into the back room where he dropped his burden onto a worn sofa and took a needless deep breath.

"Wake up Aziraphale!" he shouted. "You have to wake up." The angel on the sofa remained absolutely still.



"Get him into trauma room two, stat!"

"Please doctor, your have to save him!"

The telephone rang. Crowley raised a hand from where he lay slumped on his couch and Chicago's finest fictional doctors and nurses froze on the screen.

He picked up the phone. "Crowley, can you meet me at the British Museum in 15 minutes?" There was a note of pleading in the angel's voice, the sort of note that told Crowley he was about to be dragged into doing something Hell really wouldn't like.

"I thought we'd given up on that place after the new roof debacle," he said.

It was true. The new café in the Great Court was a dreadful place, selling overpriced cakes and tea made by dunking bags directly into lukewarm water in the cup, then adding disgusting UHT milk. There were certainly no devilled eggs any more. Despite both being rather impressed with the immense glass roof, both demon and angel had been heartily disappointed to find such a decline in tea-room standards. Eventually they had decamped to the Refreshment Room at the V&A - as had most of the other agents in London who needed cosy anonymous tea-rooms to meet in.

"Not for tea Crowley. It's just, er, I think I might need a hand with something."

Crowley sighed. "What is it this time?"

"There's really no need to be like that, especially when it's actually your lot's fault. Apparently a group of teenagers are about to summon a hellbeast of some kind in the Central American galleries."

"And?" asked Crowley.

"And I'm supposed to get over there and stop it wreaking too much havoc and destruction."

"That's just daft," said Crowley. "Teenagers will never manage to summon a hellbeast - and even if they do, the creatures deserve letting out for a bit of exercise now and then."

"But all those books and treasures of ancient civilisations," whined Aziraphale. "---Er, and the people, obviously."

"Sorry Angel, things to do. I'm sure you can handle the beastie." Crowley put the phone down.

The staff of Chicago County General sprang back to life on his screen and he settled lazily back onto the couch. Crowley liked ER. He'd started to watch the daytime repeats as inspiration - to keep up to date with some of the really gruesome things people were doing to damage each other these days, but had ended up finding it rather addictive. He was especially enjoying the current plotline involving the young doctor and the nurse with the unbelievably screwed up family.

Half an hour later several fictional patients had died in really unpleasant ways and most of the hospital staff's lives were even more messed up than they had been at the start of the show. A satisfactory episode all in all.

But something was niggling at Crowley. Hellbeast. Aziraphale. Hellbeast.

Oh, for whatever's sake.


The Bentley screeched to a halt in Great Russell Street and Crowley abandoned it on a single yellow line. Screaming tourists were pouring out of the museum.

Crowley ran up the museum steps, past the shops in the foyer and into the Great Court. He was just in time to see the last few moments of the battle.

The beast was enormous, seeming to fill the vast space. It had several heads, at least two of which were breathing fire and a long scaly tale that thrashed from side to side. Glass from the ceiling lay shattered on the ground, as did broken lumps of statuary that had lasted 3,000 years in human form.

The last few terrified tourists ran past Crowley, leaving just one man sitting in the café, calmly drinking a glass of fruit juice.

Aziraphale, not the tweedy bookshop-keeper, but a radiant white-winged Aziraphale, danced in the air just out of the beast's reach. He was armed with some kind of lance, which looked more archaeological than angelic and had probably been lifted from an exhibit case. He seemed to be enticing the monster towards the café area. "Here beastie, beastie, beastie," cooed the angel.

Then, just as a massive head lashed into tables, Aziraphale plunged downward with the lance, sinking it deep into the scaly flesh. The beast groaned and sank to the ground looking frightened and deflated, its writhing death throes shattering a fridge unit filled with expensive and slightly dried out sandwiches.

Crowley applauded, his clapping ringing out across the space. "See, I told you, you could handle it," he shouted. Arizaphale, still hovering in the air, turned to look towards him with a slightly manic grin. At the same instant, one of the beast's heads flicked upward. A jet of hellfire spurted forth, engulfing the angel.

Aziraphale fell in flames. Racing across the indoor courtyard, Crowley heard the sickening crunch as the angel hit the ground shoulder first.

The man who had remained sitting in the cafe - who was, in fact, an MI7 agent visiting the museum for old time's sake - helped Crowley extinguish the flaming feathers. There was little left of the wings. There was little, it seemed, left of Aziraphale at all. His angelic form lay frighteningly still on the cold stone floor, his skin deathly pale wherever it was not red raw or blackened.

"He's not breathing," said the spy.

"He doesn't need to," snapped Crowley.

"Ah," said the spy. "Will he be alright?"

"Oh yes," said Crowley, sounding far more confident than he felt. "As soon as he comes round he'll be able to heal himself."

"Must be useful. But can't you do the healing thing?"

"Not angelic bodies, no."

"Oh, sorry, I just assumed.." An awkward silence fell.

Between the two of them they carried the angel out to the car.

"Well, that was one of the stranger things I've seen," commented the spy as they laid Aziraphale onto the back seat of the Bentley.

"Um, thanks for the help," said Crowley.

"Don't mention it," said the spy before strolling off in the direction of Tottenham Court Road.


Back at the shop.

Hellfire. It was to angels what holy water was to demons.

"Come on Angel," said Crowley, selecting one of the more painful looking areas of blistered angel flesh and giving it a firm poke with his outstretched finger. Aziraphale winced and whimpered faintly.

The elation was almost dizzying. It was the first sound the angel had made since hitting the museum floor. Any minute now he would be wide-awake and healing himself. Crowley prodded again. Nothing. He prodded elsewhere. Again, nothing.

Aziraphale's presence was fading. The tingly sensation that 'warned' Crowley of an angel in the vicinity was dwindling to practically nothing. Panic and misery fought a fierce battle in Crowley's stomach, which, however uncomfortable, did at least leave his head clear for thinking.

Losing a human body was one thing. There'd be a lot of paperwork and huffing and puffing bureaucrats, but in the end, they'd give you a new one just so you'd stop hassling them. But Crowley wasn't even certain what happened if you lost your real body. Surely Aziraphale's people wouldn't leave him like this, although there weren't exactly heavenly hosts beating the door down to help right now.

There was one possibility left, and the very thought of it made him feel sick.


Well, to he- to heck with the consequences. Crowley knelt by the side of the sofa, clasped his hands and closed his eyes.

"Um, God?" he began. "I know this is a bit odd, me contacting you like this but please, please help Aziraphale."

The silence wasn't just the silence that so often meets human prayer. It was a deafening, crashing silence, a palpable not-being-listened-to, like the concentrated essence of having the phone put down on you. It was the silence that meets demon prayers, the silence of really being cut off from heaven.

Crowley began to babble. "He's an excellent angel really, always thwarting me or running off to kill some giant hellbeast. He doesn't deserve this. Please help."

More silence. Crowley opened his eyes and looked at the battered, blistered body on the sofa.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, and even Crowley wasn't certain whether it was an apology to Aziraphale or a prayer of confession.

What he was certain of was that it hadn't been heard.


He was wrong.

The shop's bell jingled, the unexpected sound making Crowley almost jump out of his skin.

"Shop's closed, go away," he shouted.

Angelic presence was suddenly everywhere. For a gleeful moment Crowley stared at the unconscious form on the sofa, expecting the bright blue eyes to flicker open, then he realised it wasn't the familiar, comfortable presence of Aziraphale he could feel.

"Who's there?" he asked, stepping out of the back room into the shop. The figure standing in the shop, looked like a tall middle-aged man, staring at the books in a slightly dazed fashion. He was dressed in the green overalls of a paramedic's uniform. Crowley wasn't certain if it was a heavenly power or the effect of the uniform, but he felt his own panic subside at the sight.

"Where is he Crawly?" asked the angelic paramedic.

"It'ssss Crowley. He'ssss through here," said Crowley, confusion making him hiss as his mind raced with nervous hope. He led the way into the back room.

The green-clad angel stopped in his tracks as he saw the tattered Aziraphale. "Oh,dear," he said vehemently, the air around him actually turning slightly blue with unspoken profanities. He knelt down by the side of the sofa, turning his back on Crowley and muttering to himself.

"C-can you ---? Is he ---? Who are---?" And was it really possible that his prayers had been answered? If so then the entire world and everything he knew was topsy-turvy, but it didn't really matter, did it, if this angel could save Aziraphale?

The angel turned infinitely kind eyes on the demon and let his human disguise waver for a moment.

Crowley had to think back 6,000 years to recognise features he had last seen in Eden, before the angel had ascended into heaven after having a cosy chat with Adam. "Raphael?" asked Crowley.

The angel nodded. "I can help him," he said, then quickly, "Whoa! Steady Crowley lad, sit down before you fall down."

Somewhere in Crowley's by now utterly muddled mind, he took offence that Raphael was patronising him, and reasoned that he ought not to obey him. Unfortunately for his injured dignity, his treacherous shaking knees gave way and he flopped inelegantly onto Aziraphale's best Persian rug.

The room finally stopped spinning and Crowley was able to watch Raphael at work.

Wherever Raphael's fingers lightly brushed Aziraphale's body, livid wounds closed, blisters shrank and skin smoothed. Where scorched shreds of raiment were seared into the flesh, the angel delicately lifted them away. Angry red and black cooled to soft white. The twisted and clearly shattered shoulder reshaped itself.

After a few moments, Crowley turned his head away and stared instead at the pattern on the rug. There was something about the slow, gentle, exploration of the angel's body that was almost too intimate to watch.

A knife-twist of envy in his stomach. This angel, who had probably barely spoken to Aziraphale in 6,000 years of existence, could heal him with barely an effort, was currently bonded with him in a manner so intense it made the air around the two angels fuzzy.

Surely, thought Crowley, he could just miracle the whole lot better in one go. Unless, of course, he just wanted to rub it in, remind Crowley of the unbridgeable difference between them, remind him that he had been unwilling to help, had been unable to heal.

He didn't realise that he was snarling until Raphael interrupted his thoughts.

"I can't heal him all at once, the shock would be too much. We almost lost him altogether Crowley," the angel spoke aloud.

'Get out of my head,' snapped Crowley in thought.

'Sorry,' thought back the angel, then tried to send vague soothing thoughts to Crowley, which only had the effect of making him angrier.

"There," said the angel, reaching a fingertip and standing back to admire his work. Aziraphale lay naked on the sofa, his body once again whole and beautiful - in a way that really hurt the eyes if you looked at it too long. It was much easier to look at the angel in his human form with all of its familiar imperfections, thought Crowley.

The wings were still in ruins and Raphael knelt again and began combing into shape what was left.

"This could take some time," said the angel. "And we need to have a little chat."

"Yeah? What about?" asked Crowley.

"You prayed Crowley. Knocked directly on heaven's gate. Demons just don't do that. They call up to rail angrily about divine judgement occasionally, but they don't pray for help for their enemies."

"Oh, that, er, well, um. I'm not sure enemies is strictly fair."

"The thing is Crowley, you knocked. So you can come back in. Redemption. Be an angel again."

Crowley knew the answer to that one. "What would you do if offered redemption?" It was one of the topics that frequently came up during the fourth or fifth bottle of wine.

"No thanks," he said. "I like being a demon."

Raphael raised an angelic eyebrow, then added several rows of feathers to the wing he was working on.

"Really," insisted Crowley.

Raphael glanced from angel to demon and a small puzzled frown appeared on his brow. "I don't understand," he said. "Surely it would be easier for both of you---"


The angel blushed celestial rosy red, as he once had when Adam asked him to explain how heavenly spirits expressed their love. "Um, you know, union of pure with pure desiring," he muttered. "You're not pure. So you're immiscible."

Crowley didn't know the answer to that one. They'd never, ever got through enough wine to get onto that topic. He stared pointedly at the frayed edges of the rug, feeling his ears turning a demonic beet red.

"Um, ah," he said.

The angel finished off the wing and stretched it out to admire it, before moving on to the other one.

Obviously just as lost for words as Crowley, he took refuge in a speech he had made 6,000 years earlier. "Without love, no happiness, you know and all that."

The rug was really, really interesting.

"Sorry Raphael," he finally began. "I know you're an old romantic, but I couldn't stick to heaven's rules. Imagine the mess if I fell all over again. And I would you know. And it wouldn't be fair." He looked up from the rug and fixed his eyes on his old adversary and best friend. "It works, somehow, like this Raphael. It's not perfect happiness, but sometimes it's sort of better."

Raphael stretched out the other mended wing and nodded in satisfaction. Then he bent over the still motionless angel and planted a soft kiss on his brow. Aziraphale fidgeted and made a small sleepy complaining sound.

"He'll sleep for an hour or so yet. Look after him Crowley." Then, to Crowley's surprise the angel stooped to where he was sitting on the rug and kissed his brow too.

"No-one who knocks is turned away Crowley. If you change your mind the offer will stand." The uniformed angel left the room. The shop bell didn't ring, but Raphael's presence faded anyway.

When he was sure they were alone, Crowley struggled to his knees and knelt beside the sofa. He buried his face in the nearest of Aziraphale's great white wings, breathing in the warm softness, the newness, the pureness, the sheer Aziraphaleness of it. The feathers tickled his nose.

The angel shifted a little in his sleep and twisted onto his side. The other wing furled down over Crowley like a big feathery blanket.

"Thank you," whispered Crowley. The silence was still there and he knew this was likely to be his last prayer for a very long time. He hoped it was heard.

The End

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