A Promise Kept
@sawa18 had the most AMAZING headcanon that, after figuring out the prophecy, Aziraphale and Crowley would spend the night in Crowley’s apartment, trying to learn how to act like each other. I love this idea so much, so I sincerely hope I was able to do it justice!
A Promise Kept
“Dearest Gabriel, it was lovely seeing-”
“Crowley,” Aziraphale interrupted. “You cannot sneer when you say ‘lovely’. It makes you seem completely disingenuous.”
“That would be because I am completely disingenuous,” Crowley said, raking his fingers through his hair. “Obviously, interacting with a damned - er, blessed - Archangel is going to be about as far from lovely as you can get.”
In fact, it would be Hell.
And Crowley had experienced more than enough of Hell to know the comparison was no hyperbole. Righteously sure of their divine right, and confident in their inherent superiority, Archangels were a cruel breed.
“Well you’re going to have to pretend,” Aziraphale demanded.
“What do you think I’m trying to do?”
And he was trying. Crowley had certainly spent enough time around Aziraphale to know his mannerisms. Now it was only a matter of mastering the minutia.
Unfortunately, in this case - the minutia happened to matter a whole lot.
Aziraphale’s lips pressed in a thin, flat line. “Pretend better.”
“Gah- I’m trying, angel,” Crowley hissed, and stood.
Shoving his hands deep in his pockets, he paced an anxious circle around the chair. His body felt wound up - like a rubber band pulled taut, inches from snapping. His clothes reeked of smoke, and when crossing his eyes, he could still see the remnants of a dark smudge on the side of his nose. Just hours ago they’d averted the apocalypse, and they already had a new obstacle looming before them.
And the stakes were high.
Not that the apocalypse hadn’t been a pressing issue.
But this was different.
Sure, the world might be saved - but if they managed to botch their body swapping plan tomorrow, Aziraphale could very well die. And then the world didn’t really matter anymore, did it?
Crowley never claimed to be anything but a selfish bastard.
A gentle touch broke him from his spiraling thoughts.
Aziraphale held him, soft hands cradling Crowley’s forearms.
Looking down, Crowley blinked at the touch. His movement stilled.
“Let’s try it again.” Aziraphale said, calm and commanding.
How could he be so calm?
Drawing a breath, Crowley closed his eyes. When he opened them, he straightened and pushed back his shoulders.
“Gabriel! It was lovely seeing you,” Crowley tried.
Aziraphale’s sharp blue eyes watched him closely, and as Crowley finished, Aziraphale nodded once, stepping closer. He lifted a hand, and then careful fingers brushed the edge of Crowley’s lips.
Crowley’s breath shuddered and stopped as an agonizingly soft touch pressed at the corner of his mouth.
“Here,” Aziraphale breathed - and he was close enough that Crowley felt it against his skin. “You tend to quirk your lips - right here.” The fingers pressed, a featherlight kiss. “Mine don’t do that.”
At the touch, Crowley burned. If this was death, he welcomed it.
Swallowing roughly, he managed a weak, “I see.”
“This performance, it’s got to be perfect Crowley,” Aziraphale said, voice going sharp as his calm facade slipped.
This, Crowley knew. If their plan was to work, there was little room for error.
“I won’t stop practicing until I’ve got it right - you know I won’t,” Crowley said, low. “I’ll make damn sure they don’t discover the ruse and come looking for you, Aziraphale.”
“Come looking for-” Aziraphale’s brows drew together, and he gaped, wordless for a moment. “Crowley, I’m worried about you! What if you’re taken to Heaven - and they discover your true identity there?”
And then Aziraphale was shifting, his hands brushing Crowley’s face - the touch cradling, reverent.
“Crowley, if you are discovered, it would take no more than a splash of holy water -” His hands trembled. “Just a splash and you’d be - you’d be -”
Crowley, a being of Hell, unfortunately knew a good bit about torture. Hearing the hitch in Aziraphale’s voice, feeling the terrified tremble in his hands - was a torture worse than any Crowley had previously endured.
Leaning into his angel, Crowley ran his fingers up and over Aziraphale’s arms. Pressing his hands over Aziraphale’s, he twisted their fingers together.
“Angel,” Crowley murmured, dipping down to look Aziraphale in the eye. “Have I ever let you down?”
Closing his eyes, Aziraphale sighed and then slumped, leaning into the touch. “No. Not when it counts. You do always seem to come through.”
“Besides, I’d never let a bunch of stupid angels get the best of me,” Crowley huffed.
Aziraphale’s lips twitched up and he sighed. “I suppose you wouldn’t.”
“I absolutely wouldn’t.”
For a long moment they stood, pressed together in Crowley’s cold, quiet flat.
“I’m worried about you too, angel,” Crowley at last said, gaze tracing the soft lines of Aziraphale’s face. “You face the same danger as me. And I-” he swallowed, “I really don’t like the idea of you going down there.”
“I’m not afraid, Crowley.”
Crowley looked from his furrowed brows, to his bright eyes, and finally down to his set mouth.
“That - or you’re a better actor than me.”
“Both,” Aziraphale concluded with a small smile.
“Well,” Aziraphale said with a breath, “I suppose we’d best get back to-”
Crowley dipped down, and before he could think better of it, pressed a careful kiss against Aziraphale’s lips.
It was slow, gentle - worshiping.
Crowley eased back, and saw Aziraphale had gone pink.
He cleared his throat. “That was - er - just in case.”
Aziraphale opened and closed his mouth, and finally managed, “Just in case? You just said you weren’t going to let me down, Crowley. Was that a lie?”
“I want a second kiss. Just like that one-” Aziraphale hesitated, and added, “-maybe a bit longer. And I want it this time tomorrow.”
“Can you promise me that kiss, Crowley?” His voice was firm, and his eyes had gone hard.
Crowley at last nodded, and said, voice rough. “Yes - yeah. Alright. I promise.”
“You won’t break it?” And for a horrible second, Aziraphale sounded desperately fragile.
Aziraphale’s hands squeezed his, then released. His gaze was painfully tender.
“Good,” he said, quiet.
At that, Crowley straightened. “I’m ready to try again. Watch me?”
Drawing back his shoulders, Crowley mentally prepared for a night of practice. Every part of their respective acts would have to be perfect - and he wouldn’t rest until his met Aziraphale’s standards.
He’d made his angel a promise, and he intended to keep it.
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I’ve been on a Discworld re-read for about a year now, and it just struck me how Pterry gets progressively angrier and less subtle about it throughout the series.
Like, we start out nice and easy with Rincewind who’s on some wacky adventures and ha ha ha oh golly that Twoflower sure is silly and the Luggage is epic, where can I get one. Meanwhile Rincewind just wants to live out his boring days as a boring Librarian but is dragged along against his will by an annoying little tourist guy and honestly? Fuck this.
We get the first view of Sam Vimes, and he’s just a drunken beaten down sod who wants to spend his last days as a copper in some dive but oh fuck now he has to fight a dragon and honestly? Fuck this.
The first time we see Granny Weatherwax, she’s just a cranky old woman who has never set foot outside her village but oh fuck now she has to guide this weird girl who should be a witch but is apparently a wizard all the way down to Ankh Morpork and honestly? Fuck this.
Like, these books deal with grumpy, cranky people. But mostly, the early books are a lot of fun. Sure, they have messages about good and evil and the weirdness of the world, and they’re good messages too, but mostly they are just wacky romps through a world that’s just different enough that we can have a good laugh about it without taking things too much to heart.
But then you get to Small Gods, in which organized religion is eviscerated so thorouhgly that if it was human, even the Quisition would say it’s gone a bit too far while at the same time not condemning people having faith which is kind of an important distinction.
You get to Men at Arms and I encourage everybody with an opinion on the Second Amendment to read that one.
You get to Jingo, Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal (featuring an evil CEO who is squeezing his own company dry to get to every last penny, not caring one lick about his product or his workers or his customers or anything else and who, coincidentally, works out of Tump Tower. I’m not making this up).
And just when you think, whew, this is getting a bit much but hey, look, he wrote YA as well! And it’s about this cute little girl who wants to be a witch and has help from a lot of rowdy blue little men, this will be fun! A bit of a break from all the anger!
The Tiffany Aching books are the angriest of all. But you know what the great thing is?
The great thing is that Pterry’s anger is the kind of fury that makes you want to get up and do something about it. It upsets you, sure. But it also says It’s up to you to change all of this. And you can change all of this, and even if you can’t. Do it anyway. Because magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.
It’s the kind of anger that gives you purpose, and it gives you hope. And that concludes my essay about why the Discworld series is so gloriously cathartic to read when it seems like all the world is going to shit.
So go. Read them, get angry and then get up and fight. Fight for truth. Justice. Freedom. Reasonably priced love and, most importantly, a hard-boiled egg.
GNU Terry Pratchett.
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I just think. That modern AU LQR is exactly the Asian parent that was always like "HMPH no pets allowed! No dirty animals in my house!" and then once LXC and LWJ go off to college he gets one of those little white dogs (you know the ones) and whenever his nephews come back the dog is coddled more than they ever were as children and they're just like :|
sldkfjsdklj okay anon but you recognize where that comes from and why it’s so hilarious right
parents get pets when their kids go off to college precisely because they miss their kids, so they find something else to take care of
and because pets don’t have to like, become productive members of society or make a living or otherwise carry the responsibilities of existing as beings with thought and feeling and aspirations and dreams and expectations and obligation, you can ruthlessly coddle a pet the way you maaaaybe shouldn’t spoil children
so like, modern AU single uncle Lan Qiren raising the Twin Jades is like, Constantly Stressed out of his mind, of course he’s not going to get a dog, he already has two boys (very good boys, mind you) to take care of and send to after school lessons and attend parent-teacher conferences for while working a full-time job, he doesn’t have the temporal or emotional bandwidth to take on a dog as well
but after the Twin Jades go off to college, he comes home every day to a thickening layer of silence settling in the halls like dust, and, well sue him, maybe he does miss being stressed out of his mind picking Xichen up from soccer practice and dropping Wangji off at his violin lessons while on the phone to his team at work
(maybe he misses his nephews)
so he does it! he gets a dog. it’s small and white and fluffy and everyone kind of looks at him oddly for it but she runs to greet him at the door whenever he comes home and settles down on the couch next to him while he reads and goes quiet and thoughtful whenever he puts a record on in a way that reminds him a lot of a certain nephew
(modern AU Lans have one of those fancy record players that can also link to Bluetooth and radio, and a collection of records that consist almost exclusively of classical music and like, some John Cage if they’re feeling spicy, you cannot change my mind about this)
(look, I simply wish for us to contemplate: single uncle Lan Qiren taking baby Twin Jades downtown to poke through the bins at a record shop when the weather is nice and before their lives get too busy)
anyways Twin Jades home from school on break, opening the front door to be greeted with the smallest fluffiest little white dog, and Lan Wangji is so surprised that his eyebrows move almost half a centimeter
Lan Xichen, of course, immediately starts cooing over the puppy-- “what’s her name, shufu?” “Migao” “...........”--but Lan Wangji’s face settles into something stonier than usual
over dinner Lan Qiren asks why, and Lan Wangji says something passive-aggressive like “if uncle did not approve of my boyfriend, he could have told Wangji directly”
and Lan Qiren is just “??? you leave for one semester and you have a boyfriend???”
and Lan Wangji is like “yes, it’s Wei Ying, who you disapproved of in middle school”
Lan Xichen watching from the side with his popcorn-eating smile
anyway Lan Wangji has made up his mind to dislike this dog on principle but then after dinner they are sitting on the couch with some gentle Ludovico Einaudi on, and the dog creeps its way into his lap and looks up at him like:
Lan Wangji fucking melts, you can see it in the microscopic softening around his eyes, and Lan Xichen is internally losing it over how cute this whole picture is
(Lan Wangji says that he merely respects Migao for her impeccable taste in music, since she, like him, appears to prefer Rachmaninoff over Tchaikovsky, but Lan Xichen is onto him)
tl;dr Lan Qiren gets a dog, Lan Wangji joins Jin Ling on the reconcile-Wei Wuxian-with-dogs agenda, and Lan Xichen wins everything
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