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(Restricted) stalwart sun, wily moon
(Restricted) 坚强的太阳,狡猾的月亮

Chapter 30  第30章

Summary: 概括:

In Scotland, two paths converge once again.

Notes: 笔记:

Slightly late to post this week, mostly because I recently did something I've wanted to do for almost a decade, which is get my very own motorcycle! Not the same model as Crowley's, but my love for cafe racer style Triumphs is definitely the reason I gave him a vintage Bonneville in this story ;u; I'm spending a lot of my free time learning and practicing, so I was slow to edit this chapter. Sorry about that!!
这周发帖有点晚了,主要是因为我最近做了一件我近十年来一直想做的事情,那就是拥有我自己的摩托车!与 Crowley 的型号不同,但我对咖啡馆赛车风格 Triumphs 的热爱绝对是我在这个故事中给他一把复古 Bonneville 的原因;u;我花了很多空闲时间学习和练习,所以我编辑这一章的速度很慢。对于那个很抱歉!!

As always, thanks to Eileen for beta'ing!
一如既往,感谢 Eileen 的测试!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text 章节正文

Present Day - Arkleston Cemetery, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
现在 - 阿克斯顿公墓,佩斯利,伦弗鲁郡,苏格兰

Arkleston Cemetery could best be described as, in a word, modest. It was an unremarkable size, neither miniature nor enormous, but unassuming in the sense that it was surrounded merely by low stone walls and the kind of short black fences that were really more of a polite rebuff rather than any firm denial of trespassing. It was bordered on one side by a sprawling open field, flat plains as far as the eye could see, and on the other by a small farm that sold a small variety of lawn care and building supplies. Across the street was a suburb dotted with trees and humble two-story houses. Occasionally, a whoosh of tyres would sound as a car drove past.

It had been quite some time since Crowley had been in a place that neither bustled nor glittered. Most of the time, cities did both. London, for example, was full of lights, sounds, and people. A new restaurant or attraction or experience to discover in every direction one looked. And yet, Crowley had always felt lonely there.

Right now though, he was actually alone, boots scraping against dew-damp grass underneath an open, overcast sky, with not another soul in sight or earshot.

It didn’t take long for him to reach his destination. A plot, of course-- not too close and not too far from the entrance; not too crowded by others but not too bare either. All in all, quite average. The headstone itself wasn’t anything special either, just a flat limestone slab with a curved top sitting on a slightly wider base, both worn by the telltale effects of weather and time. Etched on its face, in elegant copperplate type with a simple flowering border, was, simply:

Antonia Jay
1945 - 1982

Crowley sighed.

He’d woken up that morning in his safehouse (read: a tiny, rather sparsely furnished studio flat) in Glasgow, finally somewhat functioning after having spent most of the two days previous alternating between states of vomiting, migraine-inducing vertigo, and unconsciousness as his abused liver struggled to work through the entire bottle of scotch he’d downed on an empty stomach right before leaving London. If it weren’t for Asmodeus’ letter, he doubted he would’ve been able to remember what he’d been doing or even how he’d gotten to Scotland, but one look at the hastily-scribbled, now slightly-rumpled piece of paper, and it’d all come rushing back. Asmodeus, Prince, the forgeries-- the whole shebang. Crowley’s day of reckoning, finally coming to pass. Now, of all damn times.

Well. He supposed there was never a convenient time for this kind of thing.

The main thing on his mind was that, above all else, the kids were the number one priority. Whether or not he himself took a fall was inconsequential if it meant making sure they were safe. That was why yesterday, despite still feeling like someone was delivering a continuous roundhouse kick straight to his skull, he’d mustered up the strength and composure to dial the Doomsday Hotline-- because the hard truth was that the pickle he, and by extension they, were now in was extremely dangerous.

He could take a little bit of solace in knowing that Warlock and The Them were at least aware of the situation-- they’d pinged him back through the Hotline with their own status and confirmed that all five of them would soon be making their way to the South Downs safehouse. There at least, they would be safe for the time being. It was only a temporary solution-- besides the fact that it was unsustainable for Warlock to disappear from work for more than a few weeks (falsified proof of death of a family member or whatever else excuse Brian or Wensley had no doubt come up with for him), the kids being at the safehouse didn’t do anything to actually solve the Prince problem. That was down to Crowley-- how had he been made? What had changed, after years of unnoticed double-crossing? And most importantly-- what, exactly, did Prince now know? Before he could even consider a plan of action, Crowley desperately needed information.

Convenient, then, that he was currently short of both of his phones.

Asmodeus had (rightfully) taken his work phone-- Crowley had no doubt that Lucille would’ve found him by now if that hadn’t been the case. And given his state for the past two days, he wouldn’t have stood a chance at putting up any kind of fight. In his infinite stupidity, Crowley had also accidentally destroyed his personal phone, so he was now both off the grid and in the dark. Obtaining a burner was simple, but what exactly he did with it? Not so much.

The one thing Crowley did know was that he needed to get in touch with Asmodeus.

Crowley wasn’t naive enough to think that Asmodeus’ loyalty was limitless, but the man had willingly withheld information from Lucille to protect Crowley, and that was a show of faith that no one else from Prince could measure up to. At the current juncture, where being ill-informed could be the difference between life and death, leaning on that faith was really his only option.

Instinct told Crowley to stay in Glasgow, to distance himself as much as possible from the kids while he dealt with the situation. But he’d known Warlock and the Them for far too long to believe that they would just accept him disappearing into the wind while they sat in a safehouse in the dark. At the very least, Crowley owed them transparency and a rendezvous. To do that, he would need to return to England.

First, though, a special occasion.

He’d cleaned himself up in the morning for this, changing out of his days-old, embarrassingly mismatched and alcohol-soaked clothes, now sporting an old suede moto jacket, a pair of sturdy tactical trousers, and some worn lace-up boots he’d dug out of the tiny closet in his safehouse. The clothes weren’t as svelte as he usually wore, but they were clean, dark, and still well-fitting enough to reinforce his preferred vibe of ‘clean-cut, but do-not-approach’. They were Crowley.

But right now, in this moment, he wasn’t.

“Hi, Mum,” he murmured softly, unzipping his jacket despite the chilled winter air. “It’s me, Anthony.”

And it was. He shrugged the jacket off to reveal a loose long-sleeved henley underneath, airy and pale in textured, off-white linen. It was the fabric he most closely associated with long summer days working in the garden with his mother. The fabric that he allowed himself, once every few years, as his single concession to his former identity.

He took off his sunglasses, folding them away into his jacket in exchange for a single, perfect amaryllis flower, snow-white with delicate flushes of reddish-pink emanating from its center.

“Happy 75th. I got you your favourite,” he said as he gently placed the cut flower in front of his mother’s grave, a thin coating of frost crackling as the bloom settled in the stiff grass. “I remember how guilty you were when you first told me that. ‘A proper woman of faith favouring a flower that symbolises pride-- imagine that.’” He smiled at the memory. Never mind the fact that the amaryllis also stood for determination, strength, and beauty-- leave it to a Catholic to focus on the one interpretation that spoke of perceived sin.

Crowley drew a flask from his back pocket. It was silver, slightly tarnished and etched with the faint outline of a raven holding a scroll in its talons, bordered by delicate flourishes. The Crowley clan crest.

Technically, their branch of the Crowley family tree had ended with his mother, because she was an only child and hadn’t actually passed her surname down to him. But fuck the technicalities. The version of him that still believed he was Kieran Jay’s son had died a long time ago, long before the night his father tried to kill him. Legality be damned-- he was a Crowley, as his mother was before him. If he had the authority, he would have her headstone redone, to remove the name of the man who’d murdered her in cold blood. The man who tried to murder him, too.

Crowley didn’t believe in absolution. He’d moved on, yes. He’d put his father’s sins behind him so that he could make something, anything, out of the life that the Universe had apparently deemed him worthy of keeping, but he would never, ever forgive his father for what he’d done. Sometimes, on darker days, he wished that his father hadn’t taken the coward’s way out, that he’d run away or tried to start a new life, that he’d kept on living after believing he’d killed his wife and son, just so Crowley could’ve had the satisfaction of hunting him down. Of standing above him and watching as the life drained from his eyes.

It likely wasn’t what his mother would’ve wanted, but it was what Crowley would’ve done. And he would’ve enjoyed it, too.

Crowley pressed a shaking hand to his abdomen as he clutched the flask, suddenly overwhelmed with a flood of emotion. His scar ached, heavy with remembrance of that day thirty-eight years ago, simultaneously so distant and as fresh as if it were just yesterday. Just being here in Scotland, in front of his mother’s grave, amplified the memory tenfold, the image of the obituary and the front page of the Observer flashing across his mind. He remembered the experience of reading it for the first time in searing detail, bleary-eyed and weak as he lay in a hospital bed at Royal Alexandra, stuck full of tubes and surrounded by sickly green cloth and the cloying smell of rubbing alcohol. He remembered one line in particular: ‘Doctors are calling his survival a one-in-a-million stroke of luck’. He remembered reading that, and not feeling lucky at all.

Despite everything, he had survived.

But why?

For what purpose had God chosen to shackle him to his mortal coil instead of relinquishing him to the void, where he would’ve at least been able to join his mother? Where he would’ve at least have had a chance, at the Heaven that he still believed in back then?

Because if Heaven and Hell did exist, Crowley knew which one he was bound for now.

“I only ever asked questions,” he started, a tremor in his voice as he slumped against his mother’s headstone with his head tilted up to the sky. The slick metal frames of his glasses slipped from his jacket pocket and landed in the cold frost covering the ground, forgotten. He watched the clouds move up above, slow and sure and none the wiser. “I never asked to be a thief. It was just-- the incident, a few bad foster homes, and hey, one day, there was someone willing to feed me more than a day-old bagel from the dumpster behind Pret A Manger, and let me sleep in an actual bed in exchange for helping nick a few old things, and before I knew it, that was it, right? Who I was. Who I’d become. That’s all it took to walk down the path of no return in those days.”

He felt the pinprick of tears welling up at the corners of his eyes, and swiped a white-clad arm across his face with an undignified sniff.

What right did he have to even be here, to take claim of his mother’s name, when all he had done after her death was sin? Were his mother still alive today, would she even recognise him as her son? Or would she reject him on account of all the wicked deeds he’d done?

“Who am I?” he asked out loud, as the first tear streaked down his face. “I--I...I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life. Swindled and stolen and cheated. My-- my best friend,” he said hesitantly, even the thought of still referring to Aziraphale as such feeling like a transgression in his throat, “doesn’t even know I’m a criminal. Or was, I s’pose. Seems like I can’t even do that right these days. What’m I supposed to do now? What else can I do? Walk into a café and say ‘hey, here’s my CV’, I’ve been a pickpocket since I was twelve and a professional art thief for the last thirty-three years, might I apply to be a barista? Fat chance.” He spit the last line out with marked bitterness, as he lowered his head into one tense hand.

He was no longer Raphael or Anthony Jay, the different but innocent child who loved helping his mum in the garden and spending afternoons at the record shop the next town over. His old neighbours back in Bishopton, if any of them were still alive so many decades later, would be hard pressed to even recognise him now. He’d never been back, after all.

He was no longer the Serpent of Eden, the suave, confident thief who could charm the underworld’s elite and make priceless antiquities vanish on command. There was zero chance that Lucille would welcome him back into the company after his betrayal, and honestly, considering the net value of everything he’d technically stolen from her, even escaping with his life would be getting off easy.

Those were the only two lives he’d ever lived, and without them, he had no idea what he was going to do.

He couldn’t see an end where he would be able to maintain a relationship with Warlock and the Them. They weren’t his kids, anyway, and after this, the farther they stayed from him, the better.

He’d finally been starting to feel good about his relationship with Bee, but she probably hated him now, too. Even if she didn’t want to kill him, Dagon definitely did.

And Aziraphale…

Well. Their relationship had been unsustainable from the start. Crowley had been a fool to ever think otherwise. The sooner they parted ways permanently, the safer for Aziraphale.

That was it, then. No one to comfort him. No one to guide him. No one to tell him what to do, or who to be. Everyone he looked to or cared for, lost. Again.

He was alone.


“Mum,” he lamented, his bottom lip quivering as he tried to keep it together, his back pressed up against the side of the headstone. “I don’t know what to do.” He turned to lean his cheek against it, to feel the cold, unyielding limestone against his face as if that would bring him closer to her. “I don’t know what to do,” he repeated, choking back tears. “Please help me. You’re all I have left-- all I ever had. No matter what happened, you always knew what to do. So please. I’m begging you-- tell me what to do.”

The headstone just sat there, solid and cold and silent.

Quietly, Crowley pressed his forehead against it, and began to weep.


“This one’s gonna be juicy, mate,” Hastur said eagerly as he deposited the grimy black laptop onto the desk. “All that work, finally payin’ off.”

Ligur nodded as he flipped open the laptop and hooked it up to the projector in the vacant office they were currently in. “I reckon even Dagon can’t badmouth us after this. S’ the jackpot.”

“You got the drive?” Hastur asked as he thumped gracelessly into a nearby chair.

“What d’you take me for, an idiot?” Ligur scoffed. “‘Course I do.” He pulled a beat-up old flash drive from the pocket of his leather coat, blowing on the end of it before plugging it into the laptop.

“Alright, morons,” came Dagon’s annoyed, authoritative voice as she swept into the office, closing and locking the door behind her and drawing the shade on the glass window. “I’m busy as all hell today, so you two better make it quick. Not that I’m expecting much, considering your less-than-impressive track record so far.” She sat down in the chair right in front of the projection screen, and raised an eyebrow at Ligur expectantly. “Well? What do you have for me?”

Hastur and Ligur grinned at each other. This was going to be great.

“I think you’ll be pleased, boss,” Hastur said conspiratorially. “Real tabloid-quality material this time ‘round.”

Dagon scoffed. “I’ll be the judge of that. Now spit it out.”

“Crowley’s got a boyfriend,” Ligur said triumphantly.

“Helluva fairy by the looks of ‘im, too,” Hastur smirked from his seat. “Shoulda known the damned snake would go for a mouse.”

Dagon leaned forward in her seat, her attention suddenly captured. “Go on,” she said, steepling her fingers together.

“We tailed him to the Ritz on New Year’s Eve,” Ligur explained. “He took a cab, which means he planned on drinking-- went in alone, but came out with a little friend.

“That he was holding hands with,” Hastur added in disgust, completely ignoring the fact that in the privacy of their own flat, he and Ligur often enjoyed a little hand-holding themselves.

“He took a bloke to the Ritz on New Year’s Eve?” Dagon mused, her eyes alighting with malice. “How romantic.”

“And expensive,” Ligur corrected. “We checked. Those seats’re 1500 quid a pop.”

Dagon whistled appreciatively. “That’s no small price tag, even for Crowley. That can’t have been their first date.”

“Might’ve been their last, though,” Hastur said, curling his lip into a sneer. “Tell ‘er, Ligur.”

“Bloke went home with Crowley after,” Ligur said. “Stayed the night. We set up a stakeout on the roof ‘cross the way. Flash bastard had his blinds open the whole time, romantic vision o’ London in the snow or some shite, I’m sure. Point is, come midnight, snake goes in for a kiss. But the fairy rejected ‘im.”

“The look on his ugly face--” Hastur said with unadulterated glee.

“Okay, stop--” Dagon interrupted, holding up a commanding hand. “I’m all for a bit of schadenfreude, but you do understand that if this bloke broke up with Crowley, we might not be able to use him as leverage, right?”

“Oh, we’ll be able to use him as leverage, alright,” Ligur said. “The fairy still stayed the night. We had to come into work early New Year’s Day, so we didn’t catch ‘im leaving, but we picked up Crowley’s tail again a few days later.”


“Well, for a couple days it was nothin’,” Hastur said, shrugging. “Snake must’ve had a job, so’s he was in n’ out of the office mostly.”

“Yeah, that lines up,” Dagon agreed. According to the reports she’d gone over with Lucille and Bee, Crowley had executed the Mortenson job just two days before he went AWOL. He would’ve been busy in the week leading up to that.

“A week ago, though, he left his flat to take a walk,” Hastur continued.

“A walk?” Dagon said, wrinkling her nose. “Doesn’t sound like him.”

“No,” Hastur agreed. “Didn’t think so either. But he did, with a bottle ‘o wine in hand, too. We tailed him all the way to Soho, and get this-- he went to see the fairy.

“After a week of no contact, no less,” Ligur said. “Went to beg for ‘im back, I reckon. We kept our distance, didn’t want 'im noticing, but it was clear enough-- Crowley tried to talk to ‘im, and he got rejected again.”

“This time, arse straight to pavement,” Hastur added with a hoot of laughter. “Seems the mouse’s got an arm on ‘im. Storm rolled in right after, and Crowley just sat there, looking at the bloke’s door like a pathetic, lost puppy.”

“Best day ever,” Ligur snorted. “Got photos of it, too. Of Crowley and his little paramour.”

“Pull up the photos,” Dagon demanded. “I want to see this guy. If Crowley’s really that smitten, we’ve got our leverage after all. This was outside his flat?”

“No, some old shop,” Ligur said as he opened up the folder on the flash drive. “Antiques or somethin’. What was the name, again…ah, here we go.” He found the photo he was looking for and blew it up on the projection screen. “A.Z. Fell & Co.

“Wait a second,” Dagon said, the alarm bells in her head instantly going off. “Fell?” No, it couldn’t be...

“Here’re the shots of him and Crowley together,” Ligur continued, his back turned as he scrolled through the photos. “We looked into the shop, turns out he’s the owner, s’got some weird name--”

Aziraphale Fell,” Dagon said, her eyes widening in shock as Ligur finally pulled up a clear image of the man, with his white-blond curls and fussy off-white clothing.

A beat of silence fell in the room as Hastur and Ligur stared at her. “Boss?” Hastur said finally.

You--” Dagon shouted as she burst out of her seat . “Why didn’t you two idiots tell me about this as soon as you found out?! Do you have any idea who this is?!”

“Well, no--” Hastur stuttered, desperately looking at Ligur for help as they both flinched at the outburst. “That’s, uh, why we wanted to find out a bit more before reporting back--”

How could you not know?!” Dagon exclaimed, getting dangerously close to Hastur’s face as she threw her arms up in frustration. Satan, this was why she hated working with lower-ranking lackeys-- all they did was follow orders, they didn’t know shit about the actual people or circumstances they were dealing with--

“Pack up your shit,” she said between gritted teeth, gesturing to the laptop and the photos, “and come with me. Now.”

“W--where’re we going?” Hastur stuttered as Ligur scrambled to unplug the laptop.

“The boss,” Dagon said simply, her expression grim as she opened the door and held it open for the two of them to pass.

Her mother was not going to be happy.


“You have got to be kidding me,” Gabriel said incredulously. “Are you being serious right now? I swear to God, if this is some kind of elaborate prank--”

“Shut up,” Bee said, rolling her eyes. “There’s photo evidence right there, you dumb wall of muscle.” Gabriel shot her an annoyed glare, which she merely returned with a powerful one of her own.

As soon as Dagon had discovered the spoils of Hastur and Ligur’s slightly less-than-sporting surveillance of Crowley, she’d called an emergency meeting in her mother’s office, complete with the top brass of the Royal Museum. The room was starting to feel mighty crowded now-- Lucille, Bee, Dagon, Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, and Sandalphon-- plus the new addition of Hastur and Ligur, who were both shuffling around near the projection screen looking extremely outranked and out of their depth..

Bee honestly didn’t much care about the reactions of most of the people in the room, but her mother had yet to say a word since the reveal. She was merely sitting behind her desk, silently twirling a silver fountain pen between her perfectly-manicured fingers and looking, on the surface, to be thinking intently about something. But Bee knew better. She was angry. And that didn’t bode well for anyone involved.

“Er--” Michael began from her seat next to Gabriel.

“So you’re telling me that my little brother is fucking your Agent Crowley--” Gabriel interrupted rudely, before being cut off by a cacophony of groans and noises of disgust from the rest of the room.

“No one said anything about fucking, Prince Charming,” Dagon snapped, to another annoyed glare from Gabriel. Behind him, Sandalphon looked like he was a hair away from having to stifle a snort of laughter at the nicknames, but he was smart enough to keep it in check. “Don’t be gross.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Bee cut in harshly. “What matters is that your brother-- Aziraphale Fell, frequent contract employee of the Royal Museum and former Head Conservator of the British Museum-- and Crowley obviously have a close personal relationship. One they deliberately kept from both of our sides.” One that Crowley deliberately kept from me, she thought to herself wanly. Never mind that Hastur and Ligur had photos of the two of them coming out of the Ritz together (after using the reservations that she had gotten for them)-- all Bee needed to see was the devastated expression on Crowley’s face as he sat on the sidewalk in front of A.Z. Fell & Co. in the pouring rain to know that Aziraphale Fell was the man her brother was in love with. The man her brother loved even more than he had Lilith when they were teenagers.

Crowley had lied to her about his date not being in the business. But honestly, it made perfect sense. She probably would’ve done the same.

She’d been planning to do the same.

“You think Aziraphale has something to do with the forgeries?” Gabriel asked, narrowing his eyes.

“It’s not one-to-one, but he has the experience,” Michael mused, a finger on her chin in thought. “He’s extremely well-read and meticulous to a fault. It’s possible that he could be Agent Crowley’s mystery authenticator.”

“His shop is out of the way and low-profile,” Dagon pointed out. “It’s technically not part of any high-end art or museum circles, but at the same time, no one would give Crowley a second glance if he stopped by every month or so with a painting or an antique. Especially not if it was wrapped up.”

“But-- Aziraphale wouldn’t have the balls to do something like that--” Gabriel spluttered. “I mean, something illegal. He’s always been a goody-two-shoes, right?” he asked, looking at Michael.

“It’s certainly not like him to break the law,” she agreed. “Say what you will about Aziraphale’s mild-mannered personality, but I’m not sure his resolve is so weak that a mere...pretty face,” she said, raising a dismissive eyebrow at the photo of Crowley outside the shop, “would be enough to sway him into such activities. And our brother has never been motivated by monetary greed or ambitions of power, either.”

“It is possible,” Uriel suddenly piped up from the back of the room, causing Gabriel and the rest of the Museum group to startle slightly, “that he doesn’t know.”

“What do you--” Gabriel began. “You mean that he’s been doing the authentications for Agent Crowley without knowing that the pieces were stolen?”

“No, that’s a good point,” Bee said. “Like Beehive Hairdo here said before, Fell’s experience as a conservator doesn’t match up one-to-one with that of appraisers, or forgery detectors, or fraud investigators, et cetera. Unless he’s very deliberately keeping track of art thefts, he’d be hard-pressed to recognise a piece as stolen. I mean, unless it was something famous enough to catch the attention of the general public-- like a Renoir or a Van Gogh or something. But Crowley hasn’t stolen anything like that for years.”

“You really think this Crowley bloke of yours is crafty enough to pull a con like that with Fell? To fake a friendship or a romantic connection or whatever for months, years on end?” Sandalphon asked skeptically.

“He conned you at the Gala, didn’t he?” Dagon said drily. That shut Sandalphon up.

Gabriel made a noise of disgust as he glanced at the photo on the screen again. “How could my brother be so stupid as to go all starry-eyed for a guy like that? I mean, we all knew Aziraphale was gay, but I didn’t realize his type was miscreants with face tattoos.”
加百列再次看了眼屏幕上的照片,发出厌恶的声音。 “我哥怎么会傻到为了这样的人而盲目乐观呢?我的意思是,我们都知道亚茨拉斐尔是同性恋,但我没有意识到他的类型是脸上有纹身的恶棍。”

“I mean,” Bee said, bristling indignantly, “the authentication part could’ve been a con, but the romantic connection could be real.”
“我的意思是,”Bee 愤怒地说道,“认证部分可能是骗局,但浪漫的联系可能是真实的。”

What?” Dagon and Gabriel both scoffed at the same time.

“I’m just saying!” Bee cried, throwing her hands up in irritation. “It’s a possibility.
“我只是说!”蜜蜂愤怒地举起双手,哭了。 “这是有可能的。”

Enough,” Lucille suddenly said, slamming her hand onto the desk. It was the first time she’d spoken since the meeting began, and her voice was low and dangerous. The rest of the room jumped and all focussed their attention on her with bated breath.

“We are wasting time,” Lucille decreed icily. “Our mission remains the same. Whatever Agent Crowley has or hasn’t done or felt for Aziraphale Fell, at the very least, these photos prove that he has an attachment to him. And attachment means leverage that we can use to draw Anthony out of the woodwork. Once we have him, it will only be a matter of time before we can get all the answers your little hearts desire. Yes?” All around the room, people nodded nervously.
“我们在浪费时间。”露西尔冷冷地说道。 “我们的使命保持不变。无论克劳利特工对亚茨拉菲尔·菲尔做了或没有做过或有什么感受,至少,这些照片证明了他对亚茨拉菲尔·菲尔有一种依恋。依恋意味着我们可以利用它来吸引安东尼。一旦我们找到了他,我们就能得到你们幼小的心灵所渴望的所有答案,这只是时间问题。是的?”房间里的人都紧张地点点头。

“Good. Normally, there would be consequences for the clearly petty reasons you initiated this surveillance on Anthony-- and taking two of our enforcers away from their work in the process, no less,” she said in a calm, but cold voice to Dagon, who froze in her chair, “but it’s given us a lead, so today, I’ll show you mercy.” Dagon visibly deflated, trying her best to avert her mother’s eyes, but Lucille was already moving on. “You two,” she commanded, snapping her fingers at Hastur and Ligur, who immediately stood to attention. “Have you tailed Fell any further since you took these photos?”
“好的。通常情况下,你对安东尼发起监视的明显是微不足道的原因,并且在这个过程中让我们的两名执法人员离开了他们的工作,同样会产生后果,”她用平静但冷酷的声音对达贡说。僵在椅子上,“但它给了我们领先,所以今天,我就对你手下留情。”达贡明显泄气了,尽力避开母亲的目光,但露西尔已经继续前进。 “你们两个,”她命令道,对哈斯塔和利古尔打了个响指,后者立即立正。 “自从你拍了这些照片之后,你还进一步跟踪过菲尔吗?”

“No, we--” Ligur paused, glancing anxiously at Hastur. “We didn’t know Crowley was missing, we was tryin’ to tail him still. But--”
“不,我们——”利古尔停顿了一下,焦急地看了哈斯塔一眼。 “我们不知道克劳利失踪了,我们仍在试图追踪他。但 - ”

“You--” Dagon began. “你——”达衮开口说道。

“Quiet,” Lucille snapped. “That information was only privy to this group and select members of the Ninth Circle. Of course they didn’t know. Continue,” she said, gesturing to Ligur.
“安静。”露西尔厉声说道。 “这些信息只有这个团体和第九圈的选定成员知道。他们当然不知道。继续,”她指着利古尔说道。

“Well, two days ago, we did get the idea to stake out the shop,” Ligur added. “At night.”
“嗯,两天前,我们确实有了监视这家商店的想法,”利古尔补充道。 “晚上。”

“Watched it for a few hours,” Hastur said, nodding. “Was thinkin’ Crowley might turn up; he didn’t, but something did happen ‘round 3am.”
“看了几个小时,”哈斯塔点点头说道。 “我以为克劳利可能会出现;他没有,但凌晨 3 点左右确实发生了一些事情。”

“Yes?”  “是的?”

“Fell left.” “向左摔倒了。”

“He left?” Lucille questioned, raising an eyebrow. “At 3 in the morning?”
“他离开了?”露西尔挑眉问道。 “凌晨三点?”

“Yeah,” Hastur confirmed. “Walked ‘round back, got in this shitty old van, an’ just drove off.”
“是的,”哈斯塔证实。 “绕回来,坐进这辆破旧的货车,然后就开走了。”

“And did you follow?”

“No, we--” Ligur began, pausing when he saw Lucille’s displeased expression. “We only had the one car, and we actually went there that night for something specific-- to bug the shop.”
“不,我们——”利古尔开口说道,看到露希尔不高兴的表情,他停了下来。 “我们只有一辆车,那天晚上我们实际上去那里是为了一些特定的事情——窃听商店。”

“Huh,” Bee said. Actually a pretty smart next move for Prince’s two resident idiots, she thought to herself.

“As soon as Fell left, we cracked the lock and set up shop. Bloke doesn’t have security cameras, alarms-- nuthin’. Haven’t heard anything so far, though-- seems like wherever Fell went, he hasn’t come back yet. ”
“菲尔一走,我们就打开了锁,开起了商店。这家伙没有安全摄像头、警报器——什么都没有。不过,到目前为止还没有听到任何消息——似乎菲尔去了哪里,都还没有回来。 ”

“Hmm,” Lucille said, looking intrigued. “Departure time aside, not an unusual length of time to be gone just yet. What kind of bugs were these? Audio, video, both?”
“嗯,”露西尔说道,看上去很感兴趣。 “撇开出发时间不谈,离开的时间还不算不寻常。这些是什么类型的错误?音频、视频,两者都可以吗?”

“Audio-only, m’afraid,” Ligur admitted. “S’just what we had on hand. Woulda had to req the hardware for a video feed, probably woulda taken too long to set up b’fore sunrise.”
“恐怕只有音频,”利古尔承认。 “这正是我们手头上的东西。必须要求硬件提供视频源,可能会在日出之前花费太长时间来设置。”

“Audio is certainly more difficult to notice,” Lucille agreed. “Anthony might be sharp enough to notice cameras, especially if he’s been inside the shop frequently in the past few years. As long as he’s unaware, audio should be more than sufficient to clue us in on how much Mr. Fell knows. Good work, you two.” Hastur and Ligur let out relieved sighs, and shuffled back to their places next to the screen.
“音频肯定更难被注意到,”露西尔表示同意。 “安东尼可能足够敏锐,能够注意到摄像机,特别是如果他过去几年经常进店的话。只要他不知道,音频就足以让我们了解菲尔先生知道多少。干得好,你们两个。”哈斯塔和利古尔松了口气,拖着脚步回到了屏幕旁边的位置。

Lucille turned to Gabriel and the others. “I imagine you might be curious as to what these bugs reveal about your brother as well,” she said. Gabriel nodded, his face pinched into a scowl. “Dagon, work with one of the Erics to set up a surveillance station so that we know as soon as Fell returns. Hastur and Ligur, you two are to disregard all of your other tasks and focus all of your efforts on staking out A.Z. Fell & Co. In the meantime, Director St. Claire and his employees are welcome to stay here and monitor the situation.”
露希尔转向加百列等人。 “我想你可能会好奇这些虫子也揭示了你弟弟的哪些信息,”她说。加百列点点头,脸色皱起。 “达衮,和埃里克家族的一个人合作建立一个监视站,以便我们一等菲尔回来就知道。哈斯塔和利古尔,你们两个要无视所有其他任务,集中精力监视 A.Z.与此同时,欢迎圣克莱尔总监和他的员工留在这里并监督情况。”

Dagon stood, and gestured to all the others. Gabriel gave Lucille one last apprehensive look before being led out of the room. Soon, Bee was the only one left.

“In the meantime, Beatrice, dear--” Lucille said as Bee stood and faced her. “Call a meeting of the Ninth Circle, and inform them of the new developments. I want us to expand our search to include Mr. Fell. We don’t know just how involved he is just yet, but he’ll be a valuable bargaining chip for Anthony. The order is to secure him, just the same as Anthony-- alive, but he needn’t be hale or whole.”
“与此同时,比阿特丽斯,亲爱的——”当比站起来面对她时,露西尔说道。 “召开第九圈会议,向他们通报新的进展。我希望我们扩大搜索范围,将菲尔先生也包括在内。我们还不知道他的参与程度如何,但他将成为安东尼的宝贵筹码。命令是确保他的安全,就像安东尼一样——活着,但他不必是健康的或完整的。”

Bee’s eyes widened just a fraction. Kidnapping aside, her mother was willing to risk maiming Fell before she even knew how deeply he was involved?

“Beatrice,” Lucille snapped, bringing her attention back. “Did you hear me?”
“比阿特丽斯。”露西尔厉声说道,把她的注意力拉了回来。 “你听到我说话了吗?”

“Oh--” Bee said quickly. “Yeah. I’ll call the meeting now.”
“噢——”小蜜蜂连忙说道。 “是的。我现在就召集会议。”

Without giving her mother a chance to reply, she simply nodded curtly, turned around, and left the room as quickly as she could.


Crowley lost track of how long he’d been sitting there in the freezing cold, his head pressed up against his mother’s grave as the frost on the ground threatened to breach the thin canvas of his trousers. At some point, he must’ve either completely dissociated or accidentally fallen asleep, because the next thing he registered was a voice calling out to him in the distance.

“Crowley?” the voice said.

“Bugger off,” Crowley groaned, his voice muffled by his sleeve. He had to be either hallucinating or dreaming; after all, no one knew he was here--

“Crowley,” the voice repeated, this time sounding...closer somehow. “Crowley, is that you? Goodness, are you alright?” The clear concern, the fussy, archaic wording, that-- that sounded like-- that could only be--
“克劳利,”那个声音重复道,这一次听起来……不知怎的更近了。 “克劳利,是你吗?天哪,你没事吧?”明显的关切,繁琐、过时的措辞,那——听起来像是——那只能是——

Crowley jerked his head up, his limbs flying every which way from their awkward, slumped position, and suddenly, he found himself only inches away from--

Aziraphale?” “亚茨拉斐尔?”

“Oh good, he lives,” the voice said, almost haughtily, and yeah, that could only be Aziraphale, and it was-- Aziraphale was crouched down in front of him, all stormy blue eyes and wild white-blond curls, clad in a--
“哦,太好了,他活下来了,”那个声音几乎是傲慢地说道,是的,那只能是亚茨拉菲尔,而且是——亚茨拉菲尔蹲在他面前,一双暴风雨般的蓝眼睛和狂野的白金色卷发,穿着衣服在一个 -

“What are you wearing?” Crowley blurted out before he could stop himself, because Aziraphale was sporting a pair of light-wash denims, a shawl-collar cardigan in a charcoal grey that was way too dark for him, and the ugliest pair of white trainers Crowley had ever seen, all topped off with a tartan scarf and the light brown RAF jacket that he’d seen once before but still looked totally out of place without the context of riding a motorbike to anchor it down.

“What am I--” Aziraphale said, sounding offended as he looked down at himself. “What are you wearing?” he fired back, gesturing at Crowley’s conspicuously light-coloured shirt and uncharacteristically loose trousers. “Is that linen?”
“我是什么——”亚茨拉斐尔说道,低头看着自己,听起来很生气。 “你将如何穿着?”他还击,指着克劳利明显的浅色衬衫和一反常态的宽松裤子。 “那是亚麻布吗?”

They stared at each other for a charged moment, before Crowley finally relented with a sigh.

“It’’s kind of a long story,” he said unhelpfully. He was having trouble stringing coherent thoughts together at the moment; he was cold and tired, and his eyes were sore from crying. “How did you-- how are you even here?”
“这……这是一个很长的故事,”他无助地说道。此刻他很难将连贯的思绪串联起来。他又冷又累,眼睛哭得酸痛。 “你怎么——你怎么在这里?”

“I drove,” Aziraphale said, equally unhelpfully.

“Wh--” Crowley stammered, letting out a series of confused noises. He was starting to think he’d been on the money with his hallucination theory. “You’ve never-- you don’t drive.”
“什——”克鲁利结结巴巴地发出一连串混乱的声音。他开始认为他的幻觉理论赚了钱。 “你从来没有——你不开车。”

“I haven’t driven us,” Aziraphale corrected. “I never said I couldn’t.”
“我没有开车送我们。”亚茨拉斐尔纠正道。 “我从来没有说过我不能。”

Crowley baulked at him. “D’you-- d’you have a car I don’t know about, then?”
克劳利对他犹豫不决。 “那你——你有一辆我不知道的车吗?”

“No,” Aziraphale sniffed, turning his nose up pridefully. “But I happen to have a very sprightly 1998 Ford Transit van that I occasionally use for shop deliveries.”
“不,”亚茨拉斐尔吸了吸鼻子,骄傲地扬起鼻子。 “但我碰巧有一辆非常活泼的 1998 年福特全顺货车,我偶尔用它来商店送货。”

“You drove over four hundred miles in a van from 1998 to get here?” Crowley asked in disbelief.
“你从 1998 年就开着一辆货车,开了四百多英里才来到这里?”克劳利难以置信地问道。

“I’m not terribly fond of flying,” Aziraphale said, shrugging.

“You were a pilot,” Crowley said incredulously, gesturing at the RAF patch on the other man’s jacket.

“‘Were’ being the key word,” Aziraphale said simply.

Silence fell between the two of them again as Crowley gaped, open-mouthed and confused, at Aziraphale.

“I think perhaps we ought to start over,” Aziraphale said finally, the corner of his mouth seemingly fighting an urge to lift into a wry smile.

“Ngk-- yeah,” Crowley said weakly. “Uh, so-- how-- how on Earth did you find me?”
“恩克——是的,”克劳利虚弱地说。 “呃,那么——你到底是怎么找到我的?”

Well,” Aziraphale said with a deep exhale. “That is a long story. I’m happy to tell it if you’ve the time, but--”
“好吧,”亚茨拉斐尔深深地呼了一口气。 “这是一个很长的故事。如果你有时间的话我很乐意告诉你,但是——”

“But?” Crowley asked. “但?”克劳利问道。

“Only if you put your jacket back on,” Aziraphale said disapprovingly. “Look at the state of your fingers, you stupid man.”
“除非你把夹克重新穿上,”亚茨拉斐尔不以为然地说。 “看看你的手指,你这个笨蛋。”

Crowley looked at his fingers. They were pale as death, the fingertips starting to turn a sickly blue. He hadn’t even noticed. He looked back up at Aziraphale, who had an eyebrow raised at him expectantly.

Fine,” Crowley grumbled. He set his flask down next to where his glasses had fallen in the grass, and shrugged back into his suede jacket, hissing irritably when Aziraphale refused to budge until he zipped it up.

“Happy now?” he seethed as he gestured to the jacket, now zipped all the way up with the collar turned up snug against his neck.

“Very,” Aziraphale said, beaming. “So, I suppose it all began when I received a lunch invitation from an old friend…”
“非常好,”亚茨拉斐尔微笑着说道。 “所以,我想这一切都是从我收到一位老朋友的午餐邀请开始的……”


“That’s completely mental,” Crowley said finally after Aziraphale had finished his story.

“It is, rather,” Aziraphale admitted. And it was-- for one thing, just telling the story had taken over an hour, and morning had now slipped into early afternoon. Crowley was now sitting cross-legged next to his mother’s headstone, and Aziraphale primly in front of it.

“So your ex just happens to be the lead detective investigating the Mezzoli theft?”

“That’s right.” “这是正确的。”

“You sent a PI after me? Really?”
“你派了一名 PI 来追踪我?真的吗?”

“Could you blame me?!”  “你能怪我吗?!”

“And then Warlock and the Them broke into your shop on some kamikaze tell-all mission?”

“Mmhmm.” “嗯嗯。”

“And you deduced exactly when and where I would be in Scotland with the help of Anathema’s great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, a clairvoyant witch from the 17th century?”
“你在阿纳塞玛的曾曾曾曾曾祖母(一位 17 世纪的千里眼女巫)的帮助下准确地推断出我会在苏格兰的时间和地点?”

Aziraphale paused. “One more great, I believe,” he said finally.
亚茨拉斐尔停了下来。 “我相信,还有一个伟大的,”他最后说道。

“Oh,” Crowley breathed out, flopping onto his back in the cold grass. “Is that all?”
“噢,”克劳利呼出一口气,仰面朝天地倒在冰冷的草地上。 “这就是全部?”

“You seem to be taking this rather well,” Aziraphale commented.

I’m taking this well? What about you?” Crowley asked, putting an arm over his eyes. “You just found out that the man who tried to kiss you on New Year’s is a grade-A thief with a completely fucked past who lied to you for months and had you unknowingly become an accessory to a number of felonies, and for some reason, your reaction was to ditch your shop, drive to Scotland in a van, and go full-on Da Vinci Code to find him.” He swung his torso up from his prone position, propping his hands back on the ground behind him and levelling Aziraphale with a serious, uncovered stare. “Not to sound ungrateful, ‘Ziraphale, but why are you here? Because you of all people should know that I don’t want pity.”
“我接受得很好吗?你呢?”克劳利用一只手臂遮住眼睛问道。 “你刚刚发现,那个在新年试图亲吻你的男人是一个有着完全操蛋过去的一流小偷,他对你撒了几个月的谎,让你在不知不觉中成为了许多重罪的同谋,并且出于某种原因,你的反应是放弃你的商店,开一辆面包车去苏格兰,然后全力以赴地寻找他。”他从俯卧的位置上摆起躯干,双手撑在身后的地面上,严肃而毫无遮挡地凝视着亚茨拉斐尔。 “我不想显得忘恩负义,‘齐拉斐尔,但你为什么在这里?因为你们最应该知道我不想要怜悯。”

“I’m not here to show you pity,” Aziraphale said in agreement. “Rather...I suppose my mind couldn’t rest without knowing the truth. The Observer article, I mean. To see it from a source other than Warlock’s word of mouth. He was so worried, by the way, about not being able to get in touch with you this past week. I was just about to offer my help in the search when Anathema called about the prophecy-- the fact that I was in the area was merely luck. I wanted--” he continued, seeming to hesitate for a moment as he worried his fingers together in his lap, “I just wanted to make sure that you were alright.”
“我来这里不是为了向你表示怜悯,”亚茨拉斐尔同意道。 “相反……我想,如果不知道真相,我的心就无法平静。我的意思是《观察家报》的文章。从术士的口口相传之外的其他来源来看。顺便说一句,他非常担心过去一周无法与您取得联系。我正要帮忙寻找,这时阿纳塞玛打来电话询问这个预言——我在这个地区只是运气好而已。我想——”他继续说道,手指放在腿上,似乎犹豫了一会儿,“我只是想确保你没事。”

Why, though?” Crowley asked, a lump in his throat. “Now that you know everything I’ve done, everything I did to you-- why would it even matter to you if I was alright or not?”
“可是为什么呢?”克鲁利喉咙哽住了问道。 “既然你知道我所做的一切,我对你所做的一切——为什么我过得好不好对你来说还重要呢?”

“I…” Aziraphale said, swallowing nervously. “I suppose, despite everything, I still care for you.”
“我……”亚茨拉菲尔说道,紧张地吞咽口水。 “我想,尽管发生了这一切,我仍然关心你。”

Crowley’s breath caught in his throat.

“I--I cannot deny that I felt shocked and betrayed, even angry, after first uncovering your secret,” Aziraphale admitted, fussing at his scarf in an effort to calm his fidgeting fingers. “I certainly did not appreciate being kept in the dark during all of our time together. But I also realised that the way I treated you the last time we spoke was-- it was harsh, and it must have been confusing for you. For that, I am sorry.”
“我——我不能否认,在第一次揭露你的秘密后,我感到震惊和背叛,甚至愤怒,”亚茨拉斐尔承认,一边忙着抚摸他的围巾,努力让他烦躁的手指平静下来。 “我当然不喜欢在我们在一起的所有时间里一直被蒙在鼓里。但我也意识到,上次我们谈话时我对待你的方式是——很严厉,而且一定让你感到困惑。为此,我很抱歉。”

“You’re--” Crowley started, shocked. “You’re sorry? Ang--” he caught himself, almost throwing a hand over his mouth at the slip, “--Aziraphale. You did what anyone would’ve done. I’m lucky you didn’t call the cops. Granted, I thought you were just kicking me to the curb because the kiss was too much, that you’d had enough of me after New Year’s--”
“你——”克鲁利震惊地开口说道。 “你很抱歉吗?昂——”他惊住了自己,差点儿用手捂住嘴,“——亚茨拉斐尔。你做了任何人都会做的事情。我很幸运你没有报警。当然,我以为你只是把我踢到路边,因为这个吻太多了,新年过后你已经受够了我——”

“No!” Aziraphale exclaimed. “I-- you know how busy I was during those few weeks with the show, I--I barely had time to look after myself, let alone process everything I was feeling, but the last thing I wanted to do was to reject you. I...well-- if you must know, quite literally right before Juliet reached out to me for lunch, I was actually drafting a letter to you.”
“不!”亚茨拉菲尔惊呼道。 “我——你知道我在演出的那几周有多忙,我——我几乎没有时间照顾自己,更不用说处理我的感受了,但我最不想做的就是拒绝你。我……好吧——如果你一定知道的话,毫不夸张地说,就在朱丽叶跟我共进午餐之前,我实际上正在起草一封给你的信。”

“A letter?” Crowley asked incredulously, although he didn’t really know why he was surprised. Of course a letter was how Aziraphale dealt with things like this. He wouldn’t have been surprised if in a parallel universe, he’d gotten the thing in the mail, complete with a stamped wax seal.

Aziraphale nodded. “A letter practically begging you to take me back. I-- oh, well, this is embarrassing, but I actually have it on me--” he started to fumble around in his jacket pockets.
亚茨拉斐尔点点头。 “这封信实际上是在恳求你带我回去。我——哦,好吧,这很尴尬,但我确实带着它——”他开始在夹克口袋里摸索。

“You don’t-- you don’t have to show me if you don’t want to,” Crowley said quickly.

“No, I--I rather think you deserve to know,” Aziraphale insisted. “After all, I now know a great deal about you. It seems only fair for me to return the favour.” Despite his words, Crowley could see the hesitation on Aziraphale’s face as he held out a battered little notepad, folded back to a page covered in his elegant, looping script. He took it gingerly, noting the way Aziraphale looked away in embarrassment.
“不,我——我宁愿认为你应该知道,”亚茨拉斐尔坚持道。 “毕竟,我现在对你了解很多了。对我来说,回报这个人情似乎是公平的。”尽管他这么说,克劳利还是能看到亚茨拉斐尔脸上的犹豫,他拿出一本破旧的小记事本,折回一页,上面写满了他优雅的循环字体。他小心翼翼地接过它,注意到亚茨拉菲尔尴尬地移开视线的样子。

Crowley read the letter. (It spanned several pages, because the notepad was small but also because this was Aziraphale they were talking about). When he was done, he flipped back to the beginning and read it again. Finally, he found himself staring, unmoving and silent, at the postscript in equal measures of awe and disbelief.
克劳利读了这封信。 (它跨越了好几页,因为记事本很小,但也因为这是他们正在谈论的亚茨拉斐尔)。读完后,他又翻到开头,又读了一遍。最后,他发现自己一动不动地盯着附言,既敬畏又难以置信。

“...Crowley?” Aziraphale said next to him with a nervous chuckle. “Are you-- are you alright?”
“……克劳利?”亚茨拉斐尔在他旁边紧张地笑道。 “你——你还好吗?”

“No, Aziraphale, I’m not bloody alright,” Crowley groaned in frustration, forcefully rubbing his face with his free hand. “How could I be alright after reading this-- this Elizabethan missive of a letter--”
“不,亚茨拉斐尔,我他妈的不行,”克鲁利沮丧地呻吟着,用空着的那只手用力地擦着脸。 “读完这封信——这封伊丽莎白时代的信——之后我怎么会没事呢——”

“How linguistically erudite of you,” Aziraphale commented. Crowley wasn’t looking at him, but he could hear the amused smirk in his voice, the cherubic bastard--

“Shut up,” Crowley grumbled, only to get a stifled giggle in return. “M’not...blast, why do I even try with you?”
“闭嘴,”克劳利咕哝道,却换来一阵压抑的笑声。 “我不……该死,我为什么要和你一起尝试呢?”

“I...don’t know,” Aziraphale admitted. Crowley finally looked up at him, to see a rather complicated expression on his angel’s-- Aziraphale’s-- face. It was a mixture of sadness and regret, but also...longing?

“Aziraphale?” he asked gently. “Are you alright?”
“亚茨拉斐尔?”他温柔地问道。 “你还好吗?”

Aziraphale sighed. “You know that I’m not.”
亚茨拉斐尔叹了口气。 “你知道我不是。”

Crowley blew a defeated raspberry. “...Yeah, I s’pose neither of us would be. Why else would you show me the courtship letter you wrote me right before our little house of cards came crashing down?” Crowley was aiming for joking, but it came out a lot more, well, depressing, than he would’ve hoped. He winced.
克劳利吹掉了失败的覆盆子。 “……是的,我想我们都不会。要不然你为什么要给我看你在我们的小纸牌屋倒塌之前写给我的求婚信呢?”克劳利本来是想开玩笑,但结果比他希望的要糟糕得多。他皱起了眉头。

“Er, well…” Aziraphale hesitated, looking away again.

Crowley raised an eyebrow at him. “I know that look. What’s on your mind?”
克鲁利对他扬起一边眉毛。 “我知道那种表情。你在想什么?”

“Ah, well--” Aziraphale began, fidgeting with his scarf again. “What would you say if I told you that...well, that I’ve had some time to contemplate things, and...despite everything, I find that I still believe much of what I wrote to be true?”
“啊,好吧——”亚茨拉斐尔开始说道,同时又摆弄着他的围巾。 “如果我告诉你……好吧,我已经花了一些时间思考事情,而且……尽管如此,我发现我仍然相信我写的大部分内容都是真实的,你会怎么说?”

There was a beat of silence. “...Excuse me?” Crowley finally said. He sat up more properly, crossing his legs again and leaning forward to look Aziraphale in the eye. “If this is your idea of a joke, it isn’t funny. Because I’m not in the mood to--”
一阵沉默。 “...打扰一下?”克劳利终于说道。他坐得更正了,再次交叉双腿,身体前倾直视亚茨拉斐尔的眼睛。 “如果这是你的笑话,那就不好笑了。因为我没有心情——”

“It’s not a joke!” Aziraphale cried out, throwing his hands in the air. “I-- I’ll be the first to admit that this situation is completely out of my purview; more has happened in the past week than probably my entire life, and my head is still spinning. There are no books or manuals on how to deal with something like this; the only thing I know for certain is that I still want you in my life, Crowley.”
“这可不是说笑!”亚茨拉菲尔大声喊道,双手举向空中。 “我——我会第一个承认,这种情况完全超出了我的职权范围;过去一周发生的事情可能比我一生还要多,但我的头仍然在旋转。没有任何书籍或手册说明如何处理此类问题;我唯一确定的是,我的生活中仍然需要你,克劳利。”

Crowley baulked at the outburst. There was no way this was happening. Hope and dread welled up in his chest in equal, overwhelming measure, but the part of him that wanted to keep his angel away, to keep his angel safe, clawed its way to the forefront.

“Aziraphale-- you-- you can’t mean that. You don’t know what you’re saying--”

“I should think I do,” he huffed.

“You can’t--” Crowley said desperately. “Listen-- it was a mistake for me to ever have-- to have come to your shop, lied to you, made you authenticate those pieces. And then I selfishly wined-and-dined you-- I-- I was weak, I couldn’t resist even though I knew it would put you in danger, that it might drag you into my shitty world. I don’t know what you think you feel, but I’m not good for you-- being around me will only bring you a world of trouble; I’m fucked up, I’m damaged goods--”
“你不能——”克劳利绝望地说。 “听着——对我来说这是一个错误——来到你的商店,对你撒了谎,让你鉴定这些作品。然后我自私地请你吃饭——我——我很弱,我无法抗拒,尽管我知道这会让你陷入危险,可能会把你拖进我的狗屎世界。我不知道你的感受如何,但我对你没有好处——在我身边只会给你带来麻烦;我完蛋了,我是损坏的货物——”

“Anthony J. Crowley,” Aziraphale interrupted, in a tone so firm and unshakeable that Crowley’s mind flashed once more to the stern nuns from St. Jude’s, “please, if I may be so direct, shut up.”

Crowley shut up. 克劳利闭嘴了。

“I cannot claim to fully understand everything you’ve been through,” Aziraphale began. “It’s clear that you’ve dealt with a lot of pain in your life-- your father’s neglect, your mother’s death-- but that pain does not define you. Neither does Lucille Prince’s decision to use it against you-- to take advantage of a vulnerable child purely for her own gain. Because that is what happened to you, and I sincerely hope you see that.”
“我不能声称完全理解你所经历的一切,”亚茨拉斐尔开始说道。 “很明显,你一生中经历了很多痛苦——你父亲的忽视,你母亲的去世——但这些痛苦并不能定义你。露西尔·普林斯(Lucille Prince)决定用它来对付你——纯粹为了自己的利益而利用脆弱的孩子。因为这就是发生在你身上的事情,我真诚地希望你能看到这一点。”

“I-- but I stayed of my own volition,” Crowley said, a lump forming in his throat. “When Lucille took me in, I didn’t try to run or fight back--”
“我——但我自愿留下来,”克劳利说道,喉咙里哽住了。 “当露西尔收留我时,我没有试图逃跑或反击——”

“You were sixteen,” Aziraphale chided. “You had just lost both of your parents and survived what should have, for all intents and purposes, been a life-threatening injury-- only to be forced to deal with a hostile community and a less-than-supportive Church. You had to go through puberty and come to terms with your sexual identity with no support network and a string of abusive foster homes to boot, and then, after finally escaping that, you had to struggle just to survive. How could anyone blame a child for seeking relief from all of that-- for seeking a place where he could feel safe, and allowed, to just live?”
“你才十六岁,”亚茨拉斐尔斥责道。 “你刚刚失去了双亲,并且从所有的意图和目的都应该是危及生命的伤害中幸存下来 - 只是被迫与敌对的社区和不太支持的教会打交道。你必须经历青春期,在没有支持网络和一系列虐待性寄养家庭的情况下接受自己的性身份,然后,在最终逃脱之后,你不得不为生存而奋斗。谁能责怪一个孩子寻求摆脱这一切的解脱——寻找一个让他感到安全、被允许生活的地方?”

“People did, though,” Crowley mumbled. He thought about all the looks of disgust pedestrians gave him during his time on the streets. Before the sunglasses, for his eyes. After the glasses, just for existing, for daring to ask for pennies in his tattered clothes and taking up space they didn’t feel like he deserved. He thought of Hastur and Dagon and everyone at work like them, who sneered at him in the halls and called him ‘the orphan’ behind his back when they thought he couldn’t hear. Of people on the street now who eyed his tattoos and his dark, expensive clothes and thought him pretentious and unscrupulous. An outcast in every corner of society. “They always have,” he finished, trying and failing to keep his lips from trembling. He reached one hand up to try and rub away the telltale feeling of moisture forming at the corners of his eyes again.
“不过人们确实这么做了,”克劳利咕哝道。他想起了他在街上时行人对他投来的所有厌恶的目光。在太阳镜之前,为了他的眼睛。戴上眼镜之后,只是为了存在,为了敢于穿着破烂的衣服索要便士并占据空间,但他们觉得他不值得。他想起了哈斯塔和达贡,以及像他们一样工作的每个人,他们在大厅里嘲笑他,当他们认为他听不见时,他们在背后称他为“孤儿”。现在街上的人们看到他的纹身和他深色、昂贵的衣服,认为他自命不凡、不择手段。社会各个角落的弃儿。 “他们一直都是这样,”他最后说道,试图控制住嘴唇,但没能控制住颤抖。他抬起一只手,试图再次擦去眼角泛起的湿漉漉的感觉。

“Oh, my dear…” Aziraphale said sympathetically, and kindly, and it was the kind bit that really got to Crowley, his efforts to keep his emotions in check failing as the first tears started to fall. No, fuck, not again, not in front of Aziraphale, you great bloody idiot-- he thought to himself, but it was useless. The tears kept coming.

Aziraphale reached a gentle hand towards Crowley’s to comfort him, but Crowley couldn’t help but recoil at the sight of it. A deluge of images suddenly flooded his mind-- his father’s fearful blue eyes and searing grip; blooming crimson and the feeling of his mother’s sweat-slick hand on his cheek; a dark-haired boy’s timid embrace and the awkward but tender sensation of someone’s lips on his for the first time; rough fingers pinning his hands behind his back and the drip of holy water down through his eyelashes; Lilith’s teasing grin as she hugged him tight before disappearing into the international departure terminal at Heathrow. It was so overwhelming, so much--

Crowley’s panic must’ve been obvious, because Aziraphale quickly pulled back, pressing his hand to his own chest. “I’m sorry,” he said, his face awash with guilt.
克劳利的惊慌一定是显而易见的,因为亚茨拉斐尔迅速后退,把手按在自己的胸口上。 “我很抱歉,”他说道,脸上写满了愧疚。

“Why are you sorry?” Crowley said, sniffling as he continued to wipe at his eyes, smearing the sleeve of his jacket with dark spots of moisture. “I’m the-- I’m the one who has issues; can’t even hold someone’s hand without dredging up past trauma or whatever shit, never mind how much I want to--” he stopped abruptly, at the feeling of something fluttering down over the hand he still had in his lap. He looked up to see that Aziraphale was suddenly sans scarf, the tartan-patterned wool now laid over Crowley’s fingers. It was soft, still warm from Aziraphale’s body heat, and it smelled like hot cocoa and sawdust...
“你为什么觉得抱歉?”克劳利抽着鼻子说道,继续擦拭眼睛,夹克袖子上沾满了黑点的水渍。 “我是——我是那个有问题的人;甚至无法握住某人的手,而不去挖掘过去的创伤或其他什么狗屎,不管我多么想——”他突然停了下来,感觉有什么东西从他仍然放在腿上的手上飘落下来。他抬起头,发现亚茨拉斐尔突然没有围巾了,格子呢图案的羊毛现在盖在了克劳利的手指上。它很柔软,仍然因亚茨拉斐尔的体温而温暖,闻起来像热可可和锯末……

“...Angel?” Crowley said, puzzled.

“So you’re not comfortable being touched directly right now, but you’d like to hold hands,” Aziraphale deduced. “I was wondering, then-- if you might be amenable to…” He gestured at the scarf, his eyes filled with uncertainty as to the validity of what he was suggesting--
“所以你现在不舒服被直接触摸,但你想牵手,”亚茨拉斐尔推断道。 “那么我想知道——你是否愿意……”他指着围巾,眼里充满了不确定性,不知道自己的建议是否有效——

“Yeah,” Crowley said almost desperately as he caught on to what Aziraphale was getting at. “Yes. Please.”
“是啊,”克劳利几乎绝望地说,他明白了亚茨拉斐尔的意思。 “是的。请。”

Aziraphale didn’t need to be told twice. Immediately, he grasped Crowley’s wool-covered hand in his own, wrapping the scarf around it a few times for good measure before orienting their hands properly and squeezing tight. The warmth from his skin was completely imperceivable by virtue of the chilled air and the thick layers of fabric between them, but Crowley could still feel the shifting motion of Aziraphale’s broad, strong fingers beneath his. He was there, he was alive, and they were holding hands.

“Is this alright?” Aziraphale asked softly.

Crowley took a slow, deep breath, and shakily let it back out. The panic still thrummed beneath the surface of his skin like a stalking beast, as if just waiting for his composure to slip so it could overtake his senses again. But now, there was a fortification-- the steadiness of Aziraphale’s grasp, solid and present but not so intimate as to immediately trigger flashbacks in his memory. It grounded him in a way that he’d never experienced before.

(How strange, that for him, touch could apparently both hurt and heal. He wondered what a therapist would have to say about that.)

“Yeah, angel,” he finally said. “M’alright. It’s...nice. Feels nice.”
“是的,天使,”他最后说道。 “好吧。”这真好。感觉不错。”

“I seem to recall that word being an insult in your book,” Aziraphale said playfully, though his smile obviously showed he understood Crowley’s meaning.

Crowley sighed again. “Not for you, angel. Never for you.”
克鲁利再次叹了口气。 “不适合你,天使。永远不适合你。”

Aziraphale gave him a wry grin. “You’re being remarkably well-behaved today, dear.”
亚茨拉斐尔苦笑着对他说。 “亲爱的,你今天表现得非常好。”

“Yeah, well,” Crowley said, looking at him sheepishly. “You have cleverly invited yourself to meet my mum, on her birthday no less. Gotta make a good first impression, right?”
“是啊,好吧,”克鲁利羞涩地看着他说道。 “你很聪明地邀请自己去见我妈妈,在她生日那天。一定要给人留下良好的第一印象,对吧?”

“Ah,” Aziraphale said, his face falling slightly as he looked at the headstone next to Crowley. “I do apologise for interrupting, I didn’t know when else I would be able to find you--”
“啊,”亚茨拉斐尔说道,他的脸色微微低垂,看着克劳利旁边的墓碑。 “我很抱歉打扰了,我不知道什么时候才能找到你——”

“Stop apologising, Aziraphale,” Crowley interrupted. “Just...stop. You’ve done nothing wrong. I-- I’m glad you found me. And I, well--” he glanced at the headstone, at his mother’s name engraved in the worn grey surface. “I think she would’ve liked you.”
“别再道歉了,亚茨拉斐尔,”克劳利打断道。 “停下来。你没有做错任何事。我——我很高兴你找到了我。而我,呃——”他看了一眼墓碑,看到刻在磨损的灰色表面上的他母亲的名字。 “我想她会喜欢你的。”

They kept their hands together, but shifted slightly so they could both face the headstone as they sat. The amaryllis flower was knocked astray from the movement, and Crowley reached out with his free hand to reposition it.

“I saw her photo in the Observer article,” Aziraphale commented quietly. “She was beautiful."
“我在《观察家报》的文章中看到了她的照片,”亚茨拉斐尔轻声评论道。 “她很漂亮。”

“Yeah,” Crowley agreed. “She was also brave, smart as a whip, and one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever known. She put up with little ol’ me, embraced all my weird quirks and dumb questions. She taught me everything I know about plants and poetry and astronomy, and she made a mean cranachan. That was always one of my favourite summer treats-- capping off a long day in the garden by picking a few handfuls of raspberries and making a mess in the kitchen with the cream.”
“是的,”克劳利同意道。 “她也很勇敢、聪明,是我所认识的最勤奋的人之一。她容忍了小我,接受了我所有奇怪的怪癖和愚蠢的问题。她教了我关于植物、诗歌和天文学的一切,她还做了一个卑鄙的克拉纳坎。这一直是我最喜欢的夏日美食之一——摘几把覆盆子,用奶油把厨房弄得一团糟,结束在花园里漫长的一天。”

“You have a favourite dessert, and a wholesome boyhood memory to go with it?” Aziraphale said in wonder. “Who are you, and what have you done with Crowley?”
“你有最喜欢的甜点,还有一段美好的童年记忆吗?”亚茨拉斐尔惊奇地说。 “你是谁,你对克劳利做了什么?”

“Yeah, yeah, poke your fun,” Crowley said, rolling his eyes. “It wasn’t all wholesome. We kept the entire thing from my dad-- made sure to clean it all up before he got home from the ministry.”
“是啊,是啊,开玩笑吧,”克劳利翻着白眼说道。 “这并不都是有益健康的。我们对我父亲隐瞒了整件事——确保在他从事工回家之前把这一切都清理干净。”

“Oh, goodness. That changes everything, then. How awfully dastardly of you and your mother,” Aziraphale said teasingly.

“You really are the worst, you know that?” Crowley said, even as his heart grew fonder. Aziraphale merely smiled, and gave his hand a gentle squeeze.

“I idolised my own mother in much the same way, you know,” Aziraphale began. Crowley could feel Aziraphale starting to stroke a thumb over the back of his hand, the sensation dulled by the scarf but still soothing in its gentle, repetitive motion. “Everyone said I took after her-- inherited her blond hair, her...erm, fuller figure,” he said hesitantly, aware of Crowley’s disapproving glare, “her penchant for travelling and food and old-fashioned things. For a while, I think my father was frightened I would follow in her footsteps and become a cartographer,” he said, laughing.
“你知道,我也以同样的方式崇拜我自己的母亲,”亚茨拉斐尔开始说道。克劳利能感觉到亚茨拉斐尔开始用拇指抚摸他的手背,这种感觉被围巾减弱了,但其温柔、重复的动作仍然令人感到舒缓。 “每个人都说我继承了她——继承了她的金发,她……嗯,更丰满的身材,”他意识到克劳利不以为然的目光,犹豫着说道,“她对旅行、食物和老式事物的嗜好。有一段时间,我想我父亲害怕我会追随她的脚步,成为一名制图师,”他笑着说道。

“Did you consider it?” Crowley asked, curious.

“, not particularly. It sounds rather romantic, doesn’t it? To travel the world and commit all those winding roads and locales to paper-- but I think I was a bit too much of a homebody for such a thing. I wanted to...put down roots, to find a place where I could carve out a home, a community, a family-- in the metaphorical sense, of course. I loved my mother dearly, certainly, but as the years got on, she always felt so far away, off on one of her adventures around the globe. I realised later that for much of my life, she just...wasn’t there. I wouldn’t call it neglect-- her love was well-intentioned and pure, but it was like a rare treasure. My own mother, and she was more of a mythical figure than a parent. A fleeting presence that only appeared every few months or sometimes even years. And what little time she did spend with us would have to be split between three children.”

Crowley did soften at that. As little time as he’d had, he’d spent nearly every day of his childhood with his mother. And as an only child, he really had been spoiled with her undivided attention.

“Conversely, my father was strict and rather hard to please. Perhaps he was slightly misguided, but his demands did stem from what he believed was the best for the three of us,” Aziraphale continued. “He didn’t want us to have to struggle our way to success from nothing like he had, but he also never learned how to let go-- to trust in us and let us pave our own paths. He wasn’t a very affectionate man, and his approach may have come off as slightly zealous, but I do think he cared for us.”
“相反,我的父亲很严厉,很难取悦。也许他有点被误导了,但他的要求确实源于他认为对我们三个人来说最好的,”亚茨拉斐尔继续说道。 “他不希望我们像他一样从一无所有走向成功,但他也从来没有学会如何放手——信任我们,让我们开辟自己的道路。他不是一个很有感情的人,他的态度可能有点热心,但我确实认为他关心我们。”

“If that’s the case though, how did your brother turn out like that?” Crowley asked completely seriously.

Aziraphale laughed. “All the expensive private schooling in America, I imagine.”
亚茨拉菲尔笑了。 “我想,美国的私立学校都很昂贵。”

“Ah,” Crowley said.  “啊,”克劳利说。

The two of them looked at the headstone together in solemn silence then, at the barebones carved name and dates. At the time, with Crowley in hospital and no remaining family, no one had really been around to arrange anything too fancy after her death. The Church had done a small ceremony for his father while Crowley was in his coma, but he wouldn’t have wanted to go, anyway.

“I think I’d like to thank your mother,” Aziraphale said finally.

Crowley looked at him and raised a questioning eyebrow. “What for?”
克鲁利看着他,疑惑地扬起了眉毛。 “做什么的?”

“She must have been an extraordinary role model for you,” he replied. “After all, you’ve been through so much. It would have been so understandable, so easy, for you to become numb to it all. To lash out, to lose faith in others, to become bitter and vindictive and destructive. But you didn’t. I look at you, and I still see a man filled with spirit and compassion and kindness.”
“她一定是你的非凡榜样,”他回答道。 “毕竟你经历了这么多。对你来说,对这一切变得麻木是可以理解的、很容易的。猛烈抨击,对他人失去信心,变得痛苦、报复和具有破坏性。但你没有。我看着你,我仍然看到一个充满精神、同情心和仁慈的人。”

“Oh, angel, come off it,” Crowley scoffed. “I’m not cranky enough for you?”
“哦,天使,别再这样了,”克劳利嘲笑道。 “我对你来说还不够暴躁吗?”

“You’re very cranky,” Aziraphale assured him with a playful squeeze of the hand, which only elicited a scowl and a grumpy hmph. “Positively the crankiest good man I’ve ever met.”
“你脾气暴躁,”亚茨拉斐尔开玩笑地握了握他的手,向他保证,这只引起了他的皱眉和脾气暴躁的哼哼。 “绝对是我见过的最脾气暴躁的好人。”

“I’m not a good man, Aziraphale,” Crowley objected with a tired sigh. “I don’t see how I could be, after nearly thirty-five years at Prince.”
“我不是一个好人,亚茨拉斐尔,”克劳利疲惫地叹了一口气,反对道。 “在 Prince 工作了近三十五年之后,我不明白自己怎么会变成这样。”

“You said it yourself, though,” Aziraphale argued. “That people don’t-- can’t-- just leave an organisation like Prince.
“不过,这是你自己说的,”亚茨拉斐尔争辩道。 “人们不会——不能——就离开像普林斯这样的组织。

“S’a nice excuse, angel,” Crowley said dejectedly. “But it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been a crook for my entire life. It might not’ve been my choice at the start, but that’s who I am. Who I’ve always been. Worse than that, I’ve enjoyed the thrill and luxury that the job’s given me. Travelling the world. Designer clothes. Posh flat. More money than any one bloke ought to have.”
“这是一个很好的借口,天使,”克劳利沮丧地说。 “但这并不能改变我一生都是骗子的事实。这可能不是我一开始的选择,但这就是我。我一直是谁。更糟糕的是,我很享受这份工作给我带来的刺激和奢侈。环游世界。名牌服装。豪华公寓。比任何一个人应该拥有的钱都多。”

“Do you think people like Gabriel are so much more justified, then?” Aziraphale asked. “In enabling-- perpetuating-- a system inherently rooted in the often violent stripping of artefacts from indigenous communities ravaged by imperialism, just because he does it from behind a desk? The very same way I complicitly did for ten years before I left the British Museum, and still occasionally do in a freelance capacity? The way Anathema does it even now, because she loves the work and needs to pay the rent, even as she spends her weekends organising grassroots campaigns to dismantle that very system?”
“那么你认为像加百列这样的人更有道理吗?”亚茨拉斐尔问道。 “仅仅因为他在办公桌后面做这件事,就使一个本质上植根于经常暴力地从遭受帝国主义蹂躏的土著社区掠夺文物的制度得以实现——永久化?就像我在离开大英博物馆之前共谋十年一样,现在仍然偶尔以自由职业者的身份做这件事?即使现在,Anathema 也是这样做的,因为她热爱这份工作,需要支付房租,尽管她利用周末组织草根运动来拆除这个制度?”

“That’s-- that’s different, though--” Crowley argued, only to be shushed quite forcefully.

“We’re bound by the structures we feel indebted to, Crowley. To break free is difficult for most, impossible for many, and in your case, quite literally paired with the threat of mortal peril. Your life outside the law has amassed you quite the fortune, yes, but instead of buying a whole fleet of Bentleys and a vacation home in the Maldives, you used the money to pay one ostracised teenager’s university tuition, save four others from certain danger, and fund a highly risky and, if I may be so blunt, loss-making operation to return the artworks you stole to the people who rightfully deserve them. Those are not the actions of a morally corrupt man.”

”When Warlock first pitched the plan to me, I didn’t want to do it,” Crowley mumbled. “I still kind of don’t. I didn’t want to put them at risk. For them to someday fall into Prince’s clutches and end up like me. They don’t deserve that.”
“当术士第一次向我提出这个计划时,我并不想这么做,”克劳利咕哝道。 “我还是不这么认为。我不想让他们面临危险。让他们有一天落入普林斯的手中,最终像我一样。他们不值得这样。”

“But neither did you, my dear,” Aziraphale said patiently, looking at him intently. “You were only a teenager when Lucille Prince took you--”
“但你也没有,亲爱的,”亚茨拉菲尔耐心地说,专注地看着他。 “当露西尔·普林斯带你去的时候,你才十几岁——”

“But I’m not a teenager anymore, Aziraphale,” Crowley said heatedly. “Warlock and the Them are still young. They’ve still got a chance. But me? I’m far past the point of no return, angel. Redemption’s not even in the cards for me.”
“但我已经不再是青少年了,亚茨拉斐尔,”克劳利激动地说。 “术士和他们还年轻。他们还有机会。除了我?我已经无法回头了,天使。对我来说,救赎根本不可能。”

“Crowley, can’t you see? You don’t need redemption,” Aziraphale pleaded. “You need help. Maybe I could help--”
“克劳利,你看不出来吗?你不需要救赎,”亚茨拉斐尔恳求道。 “你需要帮助。也许可以帮忙——”

“No,” Crowley growled, suddenly hyper-aware of the fact that they were still holding hands. This...this was a mistake. Crowley never should’ve agreed to this, to letting Aziraphale stay and talk and steer the conversation in this direction--

“You don’t even know what I was going to say!”

“It doesn’t matter!” Crowley exclaimed. “This isn’t a fun little hunt for a rare book or rescuing an old typewriter from the grave. This is an international criminal organisation we’re talking about. If Lucille finds out that you know about me, about her, you’ll be in her sights, too. I won’t let that happen. I won’t have you risking your life for me. It’s not worth it.” He tried to shake his hand free from the scarf, from Aziraphale’s hold--
“没关系!”克劳利惊呼道。 “这不是一次有趣的寻找一本稀有书籍或从坟墓中拯救一台旧打字机的小游戏。我们正在谈论的是一个国际犯罪组织。如果露西尔发现你了解我、了解她,你也会出现在她的视线中。我不会让这种事发生。我不会让你为我冒生命危险。这不值得。”他试图甩开围巾、甩开亚茨拉斐尔的手——

“It’s worth it to me!” Aziraphale stated heatedly, tightening his grip so that Crowley couldn’t escape. Crowley let out a grunt of surprise, trying again to yank his hand free, but in a battle of sheer strength, he was frustrated to find that Aziraphale was the clear victor. He scrambled to his feet to try and increase his leverage, but Aziraphale only followed in kind, once again putting them at an impasse. Crowley looked up indignantly to glare at Aziraphale, only to find that Aziraphale was glaring back with an expression that was, for the first time since they’d met, legitimately angry.

“Let go, Aziraphale,” Crowley growled in a low, dangerous tone.

“No,” Aziraphale shot back hotly.

“Aziraphale,” Crowley warned, clenching the hand that wasn’t locked in Aziraphale’s vice-like grip into a fist . “You don’t want to do this.”
“亚茨拉斐尔,”克鲁利警告道,将那只没有被亚茨拉斐尔虎钳式握紧的手握成拳头。 “你不想这样做。”

“I should think that that’s my decision to make.”

“You have no idea what Prince is capable of.”

“I suppose you’ll just have to fill me in, then.”

“You have no idea what I’m capable of,” Crowley gritted out, deciding to try a different tack. Maybe-- maybe if he played up the criminal angle, he could scare Aziraphale off and get him to run, to stay away. “I still have a free hand, and you know I always carry a knife on me.”
“你不知道我能做什么,”克劳利咬牙切齿地说,决定尝试不同的策略。也许——也许如果他表现出犯罪的角度,他就能吓跑亚茨拉斐尔并让他逃跑,远离他。 “我仍然有空闲的手,你知道我身上总是带着一把刀。”

“Use it, then,” Aziraphale retorted.

Crowley drew his trusty switchblade from his trouser pocket with his left hand and flicked the dark, matte-finish blade open.

“I’ve been in much more dangerous situations than this, Aziraphale,” he said, carefully holding the knife out at his side in what he hoped was a threatening gesture.

“I’m sure you have,” Aziraphale replied testily. To Crowley’s absolute chagrin, he didn’t look scared at all.

“I’ve been in fights-- I can and have hurt people, angel,” Crowley continued. This was true, but Aziraphale didn’t need to know about the existential crises that often followed.

“Oh, I have no doubt,” Aziraphale sniffed.

“This blade’s seen blood,” Crowley egged on, adding a harsh edge to his voice.

“Someone else’s, or your own?” Aziraphale said sarcastically, which annoyed Crowley to no end. Aziraphale was probably just trying to get a rise out of him, but he was right. Technically, his switchblade had been used to cut people before, quite grievously even, but mostly when it’d been handled by Lilith, its previous owner. The most noteworthy time Crowley had drawn blood with it was one time when he’d tried to open a wine bottle while already half-drunk, misjudged his aim, and accidentally sliced his other hand open.

(Crowley knew his way around knife fights, he reasoned to himself. He did. The fact that his technique was always to only use his blade to create an opening, then disarm or restrain his opponent with barehanded manoeuvres, was neither here nor there.)
(克劳利对自己说,他知道自己用刀打斗的方式。他知道。事实上,他的技术总是只用他的刀刃创造一个空档,然后徒手地解除对手的武装或限制他的对手,这一点既不存在也不存在。 )

Frustrated, Crowley played his last card. “I’ve killed people,” he hissed.
克劳利沮丧地打出了最后一张牌。 “我杀过人,”他嘶嘶地说。

“You’re a bad liar, dear.”

“I lied to you for months, didn’t I?”

“And that worked out perfectly, did it?”

Crowley let out a string of infuriated, high-pitched noises, then collapsed back down on the ground in defeat, sheathing his knife and angrily stuffing it back into his pocket. Aziraphale followed, kneeling primly next to him and patiently waiting for him to finish his tantrum. Their hands were still linked, but Aziraphale loosened his hold, smiling softly when Crowley didn’t pull away.

Why?” Crowley said in vexation, his voice cracking. “Why are you doing this? Why would you put yourself at risk for something like this? Go so far, for someone like me?"
“为什么?”克劳利用沙哑的声音恼怒地说。 “你为什么做这个?为什么你要把自己置于这样的危险之中呢?为了我这样的人,要走这么远吗?”

“Because I care about you,” Aziraphale said simply. “And you of all people should know how stubborn I am when it comes to the things I care about. I’m afraid, my dear boy,” he said, giving Crowley a wistful smile, “that you’re stuck with me.”
“因为我关心你,”亚茨拉斐尔简单地说。 “你们应该知道,当涉及到我关心的事情时,我是多么固执。我亲爱的孩子,我担心,”他说道,对克劳利露出渴望的微笑,“你已经被我困住了。”

Crowley looked at Aziraphale. The man that he’d lied to, misled, wronged. The man that he’d subjected to all of his anxious tics and sour moods and shitty past and emotional issues, and despite all of it, he still persisted. He was still here. Crowley couldn’t help but think it was some kind of trick, a dream-- that at any moment, he would wake up and Aziraphale would be gone, just like the others-- because that’s how it went, that’s how it’d always been, and--

“Dear,” Aziraphale nudged gently, knocking Crowley out of his spiraling thoughts.

“Nngh?” he sounded stupidly in response.

“Would it be...ah, that is-- er, would you perhaps be receptive to a hug?”

“I just threatened you with a knife,” Crowley said irritably.

“Did you really, though?”

Crowley finally looked up at Aziraphale to see an annoyingly patient expression plastered across his face, and sighed deeply. “People don’t usually ask for permission before a hug, angel."
克鲁利终于抬头看着亚茨拉斐尔,看到他脸上挂满了烦人的耐心表情,然后深深地叹了口气。 “人们在拥抱之前通常不会征求许可,天使。”

“Maybe not,” Aziraphale agreed, “but you don’t like being touched.”

“I usually don’t like being touched skin-to-skin,” Crowley clarified. “But I already gave you permission to hold my hand.”
“我通常不喜欢被肌肤接触,”克劳利澄清道。 “但我已经允许你握住我的手了。”

Aziraphale just shrugged. “Permission for one thing never equates to that of another.”
亚茨拉斐尔只是耸耸肩。 “对一件事的许可永远不等于对另一件事的许可。”

Crowley stared at him incredulously.

“Permission to hug?” Aziraphale pressed again.

“...Granted,” Crowley finally said, as casually as he could muster in his current emotional state.

Even with Crowley’s proverbial blessing (eugh, that was a disgusting thought), Aziraphale didn’t move forward and wrap his arms around Crowley like he expected. Instead, he finally released his hand from around the now much-wringed tartan scarf, opened his arms, and sat slightly back.

He was waiting-- for Crowley to make the deliberate choice to approach when he was ready. Leaving the terms of the contact to him. Unbelievable, Crowley thought as he felt a flood of emotion well up in his chest again.

Crowley leaned slightly into Aziraphale’s space, and then suddenly, like a dam had broken somewhere deep in his heart, he collapsed bodily into Aziraphale’s arms and began to cry, again, for the third time that day. This was ridiculous. Probably his all-time record, and nobody, at all, would ever know about it if he could help it. Especially not how this round was going-- it was messy, loud, and raw, Crowley clutching white-knuckled at the thick knit of Aziraphale’s cardigan as hot tears spilled down his cheeks.

by Dory Whynot 作者:多莉·怀诺特

“It’s alright,” he heard Aziraphale say, from above where Crowley had his face practically smashed into Aziraphale’s chest as he held on for dear life. “I’ve got you, my dear. I’m here.” Aziraphale rubbed soothing circles across his back, his strong, broad fingers doing wonders to ease the coiled tension in Crowley’s shoulders.
“没关系,”他听到亚茨拉斐尔在上方说道,克劳利的脸几乎撞到了亚茨拉斐尔的胸口,他拼命地坚持着。 “我有你,亲爱的。我在这。”亚茨拉斐尔在他的背上画圈抚慰着他,他有力而宽阔的手指奇迹般地缓解了克劳利肩膀上盘绕的紧张感。

Angel,” Crowley choked out, his voice half-muffled by fabric. “I’m so afraid. I’ve lost every person I’ve ever held close like this. Every person I’ve ever cherished. And I don’t think I’d be able to take it, if we took this step, and I ended up losing you, too.”
天使,”克劳利哽咽着说道,他的声音被布料遮住了。 “我很害怕。我已经失去了每一个我曾经如此亲近的人。每一个我曾经珍惜过的人。如果我们迈出了这一步,我想我将无法承受,最终我也会失去你。”

“You won’t,” Aziraphale reassured him.

“How-- how can you be sure?”

“We’re an angel and a demon, facing the world, together,” he said, grinning. “A dynamic duo, if I do say so myself. What could possibly go wrong?”
“我们是天使和恶魔,一起面对世界,”他笑着说。 “如果我自己这么说的话,这是一个充满活力的二人组。可能会出什么问题吗?”

Crowley laughed, even in the middle of another sob, at the ridiculous statement. They stayed there like that for a while, Crowley crying until he couldn’t cry anymore (this, admittedly, didn’t take that long, because his tear ducts quickly decided that they’d had quite enough of a workout for the day, and refused to produce any more waterworks). His dramatic tears soon quieted to sniffles and he loosened his grip, content to just stay where he was with his head on Aziraphale’s chest and be held. He was so warm and soft and comfortable, the rounded forms of his body seemingly perfectly shaped to fit Crowley’s slender, angular form in the spaces between. Like a two-piece jigsaw puzzle, made to slot together.

“What did I ever do to deserve you, angel?” Crowley murmured, as he breathed in the scent of Aziraphale’s clothes. A bit different today, with the worn leather of the RAF jacket, but still undercut with the same familiar smell of well-loved books, sawdust, and hot cocoa.

“You only ever needed to be you,” Aziraphale replied in kind.

Crowley sighed deeply. “I adore you, you know that?” he said, looking up at his angel with unabashed affection.
克劳利深深地叹了口气。 “我喜欢你,你知道吗?”他说道,抬头看着他的天使,充满了毫不掩饰的爱意。

“The feeling is quite mutual,” Aziraphale replied in turn, smiling one of his too-bright smiles as he looked down at Crowley’s no-doubt blotchy, tear-stained face. Their faces were barely centimetres apart, but he could tell that Aziraphale was taking care to avoid letting their skin actually touch. “Although I must say, you look an awful fright right now. Your hair in particular has seen much better days.”
“这种感觉是相互的,”亚茨拉斐尔依次回答道,低头看着克劳利那张毫无疑问布满斑点、泪痕累累的脸,他露出了一个过于灿烂的笑容。他们的脸相距只有几厘米,但他看得出来亚茨拉菲尔正在小心翼翼地避免让他们的皮肤真正接触到。 “尽管我必须说,你现在看起来很可怕。尤其是你的头发已经好多了。”

Crowley groaned and buried his face back into Aziraphale’s cardigan with a soft fwump, only to elicit a wave of laughter. “In front of Mum, too,” he mumbled.
克劳利呻吟着,轻轻地将脸埋进亚茨拉斐尔的羊毛衫里,结果引来一阵笑声。 “也在妈妈面前。”他咕哝道。

“Well, we certainly can’t have that,” Aziraphale said teasingly. Before Crowley knew what was happening, Aziraphale had picked up his scarf from where it’d fallen on the ground, and started using it to carefully brush back the pieces of Crowley’s hair that were sticking every which way from the pressure of being crushed against Aziraphale’s body. When he was finished, he even attempted to give it a few ruffles to get it back to the carefully tousled state it was usually in, although Crowley’s current lack of access to hair products meant that this didn’t completely work.

“Well, it’s better,” Aziraphale conceded once he gave up.

“Mum’s seen worse,” Crowley said with a wry smile as he stood up to straighten his jacket and dust himself off. “In the late 90s, I had frosted tips.”
“妈妈的情况更糟。”克劳利苦笑着说,他站起来整理夹克,掸掉身上的灰尘。 “在 90 年代末,我的笔尖是磨砂的。”

No,” Aziraphale gasped, as he followed suit, smoothing out his scarf and wrapping it around his neck again.

“Mmhm.”   “嗯。”

“I suppose even Anthony J. Crowley can’t be cool in every era,” Aziraphale commented.

“Pretty sure after today, I can’t claim to be cool ever again,” Crowley said, deadpan.

“Your embarrassing secret is safe with me,” Aziraphale said, grinning. “And Ms. Crowley, of course.” It didn’t escape Crowley’s notice that Aziraphale pointedly didn’t use his father’s surname.
“你那令人尴尬的秘密对我来说是安全的,”亚茨拉斐尔笑着说道。 “当然还有克劳利女士。”克劳利注意到亚茨拉菲尔特意没有使用他父亲的姓氏。

“Some birthday this was, huh, Mum?” Crowley mumbled, turning to the headstone. “Didn’t mean to derail your big day. This one distracted me,” he said, side-eying Aziraphale. “He’s bad news, I’m telling you. A real spanner in the works.”
“这是某个生日,嗯,妈妈?”克劳利低声说道,转向墓碑。 “并不是故意要破坏你的大喜之日。这个让我分心了,”他一边说,一边侧视着亚茨拉斐尔。 “我告诉你,他是个坏消息。真正的扳手正在开发中。”

He looked at Aziraphale again. He was smiling encouragingly, and had taken a few steps back from the grave. Giving him space, to do whatever he’d been planning to do before he accidentally drifted off earlier. Crowley couldn’t help but smile softly back, before stooping down to pick up the crested silver flask that he’d taken out before being so rudely interrupted.

“Angel...why don’t you come join me?”

“Are-- are you sure?” Aziraphale said in surprise.

Crowley shuffled his feet a little. “...Yeah. Come on-- let me introduce you to Mum.”
克鲁利稍微挪动了一下脚。 “...是的。来吧——让我把你介绍给妈妈。”

Aziraphale approached slowly, picking his way through the grass until he was standing next to Crowley in front of the headstone, his hands folded primly in front of him in respect.

“Aziraphale Fell, this is my mother-- my North Star, the one and only Antonia Crowley,” Crowley said, daring to float his free hand a hair's-breadth away from Aziraphale’s lower back, the leather of his jacket creaking slightly in the cool afternoon air. “Mum, this is Aziraphale, my…” he paused, looking at Aziraphale hesitantly, “.........partner.” He saw Aziraphale’s eyes widen in surprise but not objection, and was suddenly overcome with the desire to actually, truly, slot their fingers together, bare skin be damned. But, priorities.
“亚茨拉斐尔·菲尔,这是我的母亲——我的北极星,唯一的安东尼娅·克劳利,”克劳利大胆地将空着的那只手从亚茨拉斐尔的后背上移开,距离亚茨拉斐尔的下背部只有一根头发丝的距离,夹克的皮革在阳光下轻微地吱吱作响。午后的空气凉爽。 “妈妈,这是亚茨拉菲尔,我的……”他停了下来,犹豫地看着亚茨拉菲尔,“……伙伴。”他看到亚茨拉斐尔惊讶地睁大了眼睛,但并没有反对,突然他被一种想要真正地、真正地把他们的手指插在一起的欲望所征服,裸露的皮肤该死。但是,优先事项。

Aziraphale seemed to understand. “It’s an honour to finally meet you, Ms. Crowley,” he said, bowing slightly and pressing one hand to his chest. “I confess that I’m quite taken with your son, and I shall do my best to be the...partner that he wholly deserves.”
亚茨拉菲尔似乎明白了。 “很荣幸终于见到您,克劳利女士,”他微微鞠躬,一只手按在胸前说道。 “我承认我很喜欢你的儿子,我会尽我所能成为他完全值得的……合作伙伴。”

Crowley felt his face flush a deep scarlet upon hearing that word reciprocated, and once again, he wanted to pinch himself to make sure this was real. That he wasn’t dreaming, that Aziraphale was here and somehow now his in a way that he never could’ve imagined to be possible. He wanted to profess the gravity of everything he felt for the perfect, luminous man next to him, put all of his sweeping emotions into the three simple words he’d been repeating to himself for months now, but he held back for now, because he wanted, truly, to do it right this time.

“I don’t know what he’s talking about either, Mum,” Crowley murmured to the headstone, laughing a little. “Don’t know what I ever did to deserve an angel like him. S’got a bit of a mischievous streak, though-- you’d love it. Speaking of mischief--” he said, turning his attention back to the flask in his hand, “your other guilty favourite, same as always.” He popped the cap on the flask, and held it out in front of him in a toast.
“我也不知道他在说什么,妈妈,”克劳利笑着对着墓碑低声说道。 “我不知道我做了什么才能配得上像他这样的天使。不过,他有点顽皮——你会喜欢的。说到恶作剧——”他说着,把注意力转回到手里的烧瓶上,“你的另一个有罪的最爱,一如既往。”他打开烧瓶的盖子,把它举到面前敬酒。

“Cheers, Mum,” he said, before tipping the flask and pouring a measure of honey-gold liquid down into the frozen earth in front of the headstone. Afterwards, he brought it up to his lips and took a swig, relishing the powerful, sultry burn of the alcohol as it slid down his throat. The finish was long and soothing, sending a wave of warmth through his chilled body.

When he recovered, he held the flask out to Aziraphale. “Care to join?”
当他恢复过来后,他把瓶子递给亚茨拉斐尔。 “愿意加入吗?”

“Oh, certainly,” Aziraphale said agreeably, taking it from him. “What is it?” he asked, but didn’t wait for an answer before lifting the flask and taking a sip.
“哦,当然,”亚茨拉斐尔愉快地说,从他手中接过它。 “它是什么?”他问道,但不等回答就拿起酒瓶喝了一口。

“Macallan Gran Reserva 1982,” Crowley said, to the sound of Aziraphale almost doing a spit-take with a mouthful of scotch. He managed to swallow, before staring at Crowley incredulously.
“Macallan Gran Reserva 1982,”克劳利说道,亚茨拉菲尔几乎要吐一口苏格兰威士忌。他勉强咽了口口水,然后不可置信地看着克劳利。

“That’s-- this is worth thousands of pounds, Crowley!”

“It was Mum’s favourite when I was growing up,” Crowley said, shrugging. “Besides, aren’t you the one who said that valuable things are most properly cherished when used as intended?” He made a vague waving gesture in front of his face to reference the antique sunglasses from New Year’s.
“在我成长的过程中,这是妈妈最喜欢的,”克劳利耸耸肩说道。 “而且,你不是说过,值钱的东西,用得其所,才是最珍惜的吗?”他在面前做了一个含糊的挥手手势,指的是新年时戴的古董太阳镜。

Aziraphale conceded with a huff, caught by his own philosophy. He replaced the cap on the flask, which was held in place with a leather band trimmed with lambswool, soft cream atop thick, intersecting strips of pale olive green and a deep berry red. His eyes widened. “Is this--”
亚茨拉斐尔因自己的哲学而愤怒地承认了。他重新盖上烧瓶的盖子,用一条饰有羊羔绒的皮带固定住,上面覆盖着浅橄榄绿和深浆果红色的厚厚交叉条带,上面覆盖着柔软的奶油。他的眼睛睁大了。 “这是 - ”

“Yeah, alright, yes,” Crowley interrupted, rolling his eyes obnoxiously and stuffing his hands into his pockets. “It’s the Crowley family tartan. My tartan. Don’t start.”
“是啊,好吧,是啊,”克劳利打断道,讨厌地翻了个白眼,把手插进口袋里。 “这是克劳利家族的格子呢。我的格子呢。别开始。”

Aziraphale actually laughed at him, the bastard, and for a moment Crowley wanted to swear off everything that’d happened in the past few hours. Maybe Aziraphale could tell he was still on a bit of a short fuse though, because he refrained from any further teasing and simply handed the flask back before changing the subject.

“How are you feeling, dear?” he asked softly once Crowley had shuffled the flask away and once again stuffed his hands into his pockets.

“Ngk,” Crowley voiced, a little caught off guard. “Nn...could be worse, I s’pose-- considering. The whole...well, the past few days, week really, have kinda been a moment, y’know?”
“NGK,”克劳利有点措手不及地说道。 “嗯……可能会更糟,我想——考虑到。整个……嗯,过去几天,真的是一周,有点像一个时刻,你知道吗?”

“I rather think I know what you mean,” Aziraphale agreed. “It’s been quite the journey-- a lot to process.”
“我想我明白你的意思,”亚茨拉斐尔表示同意。 “这是一段相当漫长的旅程——有很多事情需要处理。”

“A lot still,” Crowley voiced. “I’ve-- I dunno, I’ve kept a lot of secrets in my life, kinda how it’s always been, y’know? All of it, bottling up over all this time, like-- what’s a good comparison? Like a nuclear reactor, slowly but surely edging towards critical.”
“还有很多,”克劳利说道。 “我——我不知道,我的生活中保守了很多秘密,一直都是这样,你知道吗?所有这一切,一直被压抑着,就像——什么是一个好的比较?就像核反应堆一样,缓慢但坚定地走向临界点。”

“It weighs on you,” Aziraphale said, nodding. “You want catharsis.”
“这对你来说很沉重,”亚茨拉斐尔点点头说道。 “你想要宣泄。”

Crowley sighed. “Yeah.”   克劳利叹了口气。 “是的。”

“Well, I might just have a coping method for that.”

Crowley raised an eyebrow at him.

“It’s something I used to do when I was a boy. Before Gabriel had gone off to America, when we were still growing up at home with our father. As you might be able to guess, Gabriel’s always been a somewhat...forceful personality, and that was certainly no exception when we were children. To make matters worse, I was much more timid when I was younger than I am now, and endured quite a bit of bullying both at home and at school-- frustrations that, similar to what you said, started to bottle up as the years went by. Sometimes though, when Father was out running an errand and Gabriel and Michael were both off at some extracurricular activity or another, both of them being a few years my elder, I would have the house to myself. And that’s when I came up with this particular coping strategy which I called ‘auditory catharsis’.”

“Hang on, exactly how old were you when you named this strategy of yours ‘auditory catharsis’?” Crowley said in a faux-mocking tone, bringing his hands up to form air quotes.

Aziraphale frowned. “Perhaps around eleven?”
亚茨拉斐尔皱起了眉头。 “大概十一点左右吧?”

“Right...” Crowley said slowly. Honestly, he didn’t know what he was expecting. Of course Aziraphale was going around using words like that when he was eleven.

“Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s a bit silly, but I found it to be quite effective,” Aziraphale said, putting on a sly smile that Crowley didn’t like the look of.

“Well, what is it?” he asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes. “Auditory, so...what, like listening to classical music?”
“嗯,那是什么?”他眯起眼睛疑惑地问道。 “听觉,那……怎么样,比如听古典音乐?”

“No,” Aziraphale said, shaking his head. “It may be easier to just show you.”
“不,”亚茨拉斐尔摇摇头说道。 “直接给你看可能会更容易。”

Crowley was just about to voice his confusion at that mysterious statement when he nearly fell over at the sudden sound of Aziraphale taking in a deep lungful of air and then letting it all out at once in a deafening, completely unrestrained scream.

“Angel, what the absolute fuck,” he blurted. “You almost gave me a bloody heart attack!”
“天使,这他妈的到底是什么?”他脱口而出。 “你差点让我心脏病发作!”

“You should try it,” Aziraphale said, smiling innocently.

“I am not going to shriek like a bloody banshee in the middle of a cemetery in bumfuck Scotland!”

“It’ll make you feel better, though.”

“You’re insane.”   “你疯了。”

“And you, quote, adore me, so what does that make you?”

“An idiot, apparently--” Crowley began, only to jump in surprise when Aziraphale screamed again. “For the love of-- what if somebody hears?!”
“显然是个白痴——”克劳利开口说道,但当亚茨拉斐尔再次尖叫时,他惊讶地跳了起来。 “看在——如果有人听到怎么办?!”

“Since when does Anthony J. Crowley care what other people think?” Aziraphale challenged, the corner of his mouth curling into what Crowley could’ve sworn was the beginning of a smirk.

“Oh, don’t you dare start--”

“I dare you.”  “我赌你。”

‘Scuse me?”  “‘对不起?’”

“I dare you to do it,” Aziraphale repeated. “Just once. Just one scream, and you can redeem yourself as the demonic half in this relationship. Otherwise, I’m going to go around telling every person I see that you’re nice.”
“我敢说你敢这么做,”亚茨拉斐尔重复道。 “就一次。只要一声尖叫,你就可以救赎自己,成为这段关系中恶魔的一半。否则,我会到处告诉我见到的每一个人,你很好。”

You wouldn’t dare.”  “你不敢。”

“The ball’s in your court, dear,” Aziraphale said in his most innocuous voice, and Christ, Crowley was gone on him. He looked surreptitiously around them, and saw no one. He hadn’t seen anyone in the vicinity of the place for the entire day, and he’d been here for going on something ridiculous like six hours at this point. It wouldn’t be too disruptive, right?

“...Alright,” he finally said, to the sheer blinding sight of Aziraphale beaming like a Christmas beacon, “one scream. But only if we do it together.”

“I’d be honoured,” Aziraphale said. “On three, perhaps?”
“我会很荣幸,”亚茨拉斐尔说道。 “也许是三点?”

“On three,” Crowley agreed. “One...two...three.”
“三点,”克劳利同意道。 “一二三。”

Both of them drew in huge breaths, puffing up their chests as far as they would go, then let them out in a matched pair of ear-splitting screams. Crowley was genuinely surprised to find that Aziraphale was right, it was cathartic, the feeling of the air escaping his lungs all at once a tangible, billowing release of all the tension coiled up in his body from the past few days, a much more explosive dissipation of his anxiety than the slow, meditative coping method Crowley had found in the shaving routine he had with his straight razor (which he couldn’t even do right now, all circumstances considered).

The scream felt good. When it was over, they looked at each other simultaneously, and as if the same thought crossed their minds at once, both immediately went back in for another, and soon the two of them were standing there, bellowing into the winter sky over and over like a pair of idiots, completely over the fear of anyone hearing them in the empty cemetery stationed smack dab in the middle of two barren fields and a wide, not-often-travelled street.

That is, until--   也就是说,直到——

Hey!!!!” came a shrill shout from the direction of the small mausoleum near the central forked path of the cemetery.

They both snapped to attention and saw, in the distance, the figure of a man in what looked like a set of coveralls and a uniform cap making a beeline towards them, one hand holding a dirty spade and the other held up in a reprimanding fist. “What in the absolute blazes are ye two wallopers doin’, screamin’ bloody murder like that?!” he yelled in a thick Scottish brogue, shaking his fist at them with resolute ire. “Are ye aff yer heid?! Unless one o’ ye is actually gettin’ murdered over there, I’ve half a mind to come over an’ finish the job meself!”
他们都猛地立正,看到远处有一个穿着工作服、戴着制服帽子的男人径直向他们走来,一手拿着一把肮脏的铲子,另一只手握着斥责的拳头。 。 “你们两个暴徒到底在做什么,像那样尖叫着血腥谋杀?!”他用浓重的苏格兰方言大喊,坚决地愤怒地向他们挥舞着拳头。 “你确定了吗?!”除非那边真的有人被杀了,否则我有点想亲自过来完成这项工作!”

“Come and try it, you bloody tosser!” Crowley shouted gleefully, his own Scottish lilt slipping out in the wake of his soaring adrenaline high from the screaming and having thrown his final fuck clear into the stratosphere.

“Oh dear, “Aziraphale said in turn. “I believe that’s our cue.”
“哦天哪,”亚茨拉斐尔接着说道。 “我相信这就是我们的暗示。”

“To?”   “到?”

“Exit, pursued by a care-- taker,” Aziraphale said, tacking on the ‘taker’ at the last second and then promptly dissolving into a fit of giggles. Crowley barely had the time to scoop his forgotten sunglasses up from the ground before Aziraphale grabbed him by the sleeve and the two of them took off running, as fast as their legs could carry them, away from the man and out towards the street.

They stumbled into Aziraphale’s beat-up old van five minutes later clutching their chests, out of breath as much from laughing as from the running. Crowley tossed his glasses onto the dash in order to wipe a stream of happy tears from his face, and Aziraphale followed suit.

“You’re insane,” Crowley repeated between wheezes. “Absolutely, certifiably off your rocker.”
“你疯了,”克劳利喘息着重复道。 “绝对,绝对是你的疯子。”

“Do you feel better, though?” Aziraphale contested, settling into the driver’s seat and smoothing down his rumpled clothes, not that making them neater distracted Crowley any from how hideously clashing the ensemble still was. Still, Aziraphale looked positively radiant-- his face flushed a soft pink from exertion, stormy blue eyes still sparkling with laughter, and white-blond curls wild from being whipped about by the wind. Crowley didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone so beautiful.

“I might just,” he conceded, breathless, and the two of them smiled at each other in tandem, letting out breathy laughs as they both simmered down from the excitement. There was a brief moment of quiet as Crowley unzipped his jacket in the warmth of the van and sagged backwards into the battered old passenger seat, Aziraphale preoccupied with the task of rummaging around in his pockets for his van keys.

“S’not over, y’know,” Crowley finally said, having closed his eyes and angled his neck back onto the headrest of his seat. “Far from, actually. It’s all good and well that we’ve gotten past our little spat or whatever, that we’re on our own side now, but as far as Prince goes, this is only the tip of the iceberg. You do understand that, right?”
“还没有结束,你知道,”克劳利闭上眼睛,把脖子靠在座位的头枕上,最后说道。 “事实上,还很远。一切都很好,我们已经克服了我们的小口角或其他什么,我们现在站在我们自己一边,但就普林斯而言,这只是冰山一角。你确实明白这一点,对吧?”

“...I do,” Aziraphale admitted with a somewhat melancholy expression as he finally fished out his keys. “I...I know that the particulars of your...situation...must be complex, and that my involvement only adds to the storm. The last thing I want is to become a burden to you, but if my understanding is correct, with or without me, you’ve become-- how shall I say-- a bit unsatisfied with the status quo, correct? That is, as far as your ‘work’ with Prince is concerned?”
“……我愿意,”亚茨拉斐尔终于掏出钥匙,表情有些忧郁地承认。 “我……我知道你的……情况……一定很复杂,而我的介入只会雪上加霜。我最不想的就是成为你的负担,但如果我的理解是正确的话,无论有没有我,你都变得——怎么说——对现状有点不满意,对吧?也就是说,就你和普林斯的‘工作’而言?”

“Uh...yeah...” Crowley said. It had taken them so long to reconcile the basic concept of what he did for a living, but now, in the aftermath of Aziraphale’s sudden reappearance, Crowley was being violently reminded of the fact that his immediate problem was still the matter of having to deal with the fact that he was now technically a fugitive from his own employer. How do I even begin to explain that clusterfuck?

“Well, I’m not certain, but I think something might be happening. Something that will shift the status quo regardless- it may or may not involve Prince, but it almost definitely involves the two of us.”

Crowley looked up sharply. “What d’you mean?” There was no way Aziraphale could know that he’d been made. Technically, Crowley wasn’t even supposed to know.
克鲁利猛地抬起头。 “你什么意思?”亚茨拉菲尔不可能知道他是被创造出来的。从技术上讲,克劳利甚至不应该知道。

“Well,” Aziraphale said hesitantly, “you remember Anathema’s prophecy? The one that I used to find you? There was more-- bits and pieces that I couldn’t decode. Pieces that hinted at something calamitous, something big.”

“Big how?” Crowley asked, dread growing inside him.

I don’t know,” Aziraphale admitted. “I’ll admit that I got so caught up in seeing you again, in reconciling us, that I nearly forgot that the other main reason why I came to find you is because of this, for lack of a better term, ill omen. Anathema and I theorised that the reason it was contained in the same prophecy that held the clues to your location was because the only way to make sense of the situation is for the two of us to put our heads together. That perhaps what has no meaning to me might read differently to you-- as someone who’s ‘on the inside’, so to speak. I mean, that is, if the prophecy refers to Prince. But I for one have a strong suspicion that it does.”
我不知道,”亚茨拉菲尔承认。 “我承认,我太着迷于再次见到你,想要让我们和解,以至于我几乎忘记了我来找你的另一个主要原因是因为这个,因为没有更好的术语,不祥之兆。阿纳塞玛和我推测,它之所以包含在同一个预言中,而该预言中包含了你所在位置的线索,是因为理解这种情况的唯一方法是我们两个人齐心协力。也许对我来说毫无意义的东西对你来说可能会有不同的解读——可以这么说,作为一个“内心深处”的人。我的意思是,也就是说,如果预言指的是王子的话。但我个人强烈怀疑确实如此。”

“You never did show me the actual prophecy,” Crowley said gravely. “Let’s see it.”
“你从来没有向我展示过真正的预言,”克劳利严肃地说。 “让我们来看看它。”

Aziraphale complied, taking his notepad back out of his jacket pocket and flipping to the page where he’d transcribed Anathema’s words. Crowley took it, muttering under his breath as he read it through.

“Obviously the last two sentences are what Anathema and I decoded to find you,” Aziraphale said. “It’s the first that still eludes me-- particularly the ‘Heaven and Hell bringeth forth Armageddon’ bit. I thought that Hell might be Prince, because of the Lucifer sculpture on the building downtown--”
“显然最后两句话是阿纳塞玛和我解码来找到你的,”亚茨拉斐尔说道。 “这是我仍然无法理解的第一个问题——尤其是‘天堂与地狱带来世界末日’的部分。我认为地狱可能是王子,因为市中心大楼上的路西法雕塑——”

“You’re right,” Crowley confirmed. “Hell’s us.”
“你是对的,”克劳利证实道。 “我们就是地狱。”

Aziraphale laced his fingers together nervously and looked at him. “Are you sure? I wasn’t certain the connection was strong enough--”
亚茨拉斐尔紧张地握紧手指,看着他。 “你确定吗?我不确定这种联系是否足够牢固——”

“A hundred percent,” Crowley asserted, several trains of thought now running through his head. If his theory was even remotely accurate, things were about to get even stickier than he’d originally thought. “It’s, well-- the Hell thing’s simple really, and I’ll explain it to you, but it’s the rest that gets a little murky.”
“百分之一百,”克劳利断言,他的脑海里闪过好几条思路。如果他的理论有一点点准确,事情就会变得比他最初想象的更加棘手。 “这,嗯——地狱的事情真的很简单,我会向你解释它,但其余的事情就变得有点模糊了。”

“What are you thinking?”

“I have a hunch, but I want to marinate on it for a bit,” Crowley replied, looking very serious all of a sudden. “Let’s get out of here first-- there’s a couple places I think we should stop by. Start the car, angel.”
“我有预感,但我想再腌制一下。”克劳利回答道,表情突然变得很严肃。 “我们先离开这里吧——我认为我们应该顺便去几个地方。启动汽车吧,天使。”

Aziraphale did so, the old van rumbling to life beneath them with a worn-out but hardy splutter. “Where to?”
亚茨拉斐尔照做了,那辆旧货车在他们脚下隆隆作响,发出一种破旧但坚韧的噼啪声。 “去哪儿?”

“First, petrol station. I need a phone, one that can’t be traced. Oh, and while I’m on the topic, turn yours off, and keep it that way. Second, I’m hungry, which means you must be starving, so let’s pick up some dinner. Last but not least, uh-- not to be dramatic, but for several different reasons, I don’t really want to let you out of my sight tonight. I’ve been staying in a safehouse in Glasgow, and if we’re-- if we’re really coming clean with all our cards here-- I think it might be high time you saw it.” He fidgeted self-consciously in his seat. “What d’you say?”
“首先,加油站。我需要一部电话,一部无法追踪的电话。哦,当我谈论这个话题时,请关掉你的电源,并保持这种状态。第二,我饿了,那你肯定也饿了,我们去吃点晚饭吧。最后但并非最不重要的一点是,呃——不是为了戏剧化,但出于几个不同的原因,我今晚真的不想让你离开我的视线。我一直待在格拉斯哥的一个安全屋里,如果我们——如果我们真的把这里所有的底牌都交出来的话——我想你可能是时候看到它了。”他在座位上不自觉地坐立不安。 “你说什么?”

Aziraphale smiled.   亚茨拉斐尔微笑着。

“Just show me the way.”

Notes: 笔记:

Now's a good time to share this playlist that I made! It's very much a character study on what SS/WM Crowley thinks of himself at different points of his life.
现在是分享我制作的播放列表的好时机!这在很大程度上是对 SS/WM 克劳利在人生不同阶段对自己的看法的性格研究。

I hope you enjoyed our angel and demon's reunion after all that angst <3

As always, come chat with me on Twitter and Tumblr!
一如既往,请在 Twitter 和 Tumblr 上与我聊天!