Sighing, the angel watched while the humans frantically tried to cover themselves with whatever they could quickly create from leaves and vines. They should have left by now, but he could not bring himself to cruelly shove them out. The poor things had not yet grasped the whole graveness of their situation. But change alone was enough for them to be scared. They suddenly felt shame for their bodies, had to leave the garden and were no longer on speaking terms with God. It felt wrong to not let them do something about the one thing they could do something about.
Change vibrated through the air. The vast sea of sand surrounding Eden, usually lying in windless peace, was in motion due to the first light presages of the upcoming storm.
The animals of Eden were feeling it, too, and part of them acted out of character. So Corael at first paid no mind to the fluffy black cat, suddenly balancing along the walls. Even when it jumped to his side, the plumb belly jiggling with the impact, blue-green eyes fixed on the angel, he just raised a brow.
But suddenly Corael felt the air shifting and a surge of not quite angelic power coming from the cat’s direction. Immediately, he took a step back and watched the cat transforming into a man-shaped creature, elegant black wings unfurling at his back.
“Ah. Hello,” he said, almost sheepishly.
A demon! Most likely the one responsible for the whole mess. The rules told Corael to attack him on the spot, but... his instincts really did not. There stood a cute chubby blond, wringing his hands, aquamarine eyes clouded with worry, looking down at the humans. It seemed not particularly angelic to slay the fussing creature.
“Ehm, hello?” Corael returned the greeting instead.
He was still contemplating what to do or say when the demon spoke again.
“You know,” he said carefully with a soft voice. “I was wondering... couldn’t you have a word with God?”
“Excuse me?” Corael asked, confused. “About what? The humans?”
“Yes,” the demon nodded hopefully. “It is a bit of an overreaction, don’t you think? It’s the first offense and it’s not that knowing the difference between good and evil is soooo bad, is it?”
“I don’t know,... ehm...” Corael looked inquiring at the demon.
“Aziraphale,” the demon introduced himself with a polite bow and a soft smile.
”Aziraphale,” Corael repeated. “Shouldn’t you, I don’t know, be happy about the whole thing? You started it after all.”
Could demons feel guilt? Corael pondered that question because that one certainly looked like it.
“Oh, but I didn’t mean to,” Aziraphale exclaimed miserably.
“You didn’t?” Corael asked dryly. “Then what did you mean to do, kitten?”
“Oh, Beezy... ehm Lord Beelzebub told me to get up here and make some trouble.”
“Obviously,” Corael stated. “And?”
“Well, I didn‘t really have an idea yet,” he admitted. “So I took a stroll through the garden.”
“You what?” Corael could not help the amused smirk. “How evil. A demonic flânerie.”
“Well, it is such a nice garden and I needed inspiration,” Aziraphale pouted. “Anyway, I was wandering around and got peckish.”
“Yes, and there was this beautiful tree with such delicious looking fruits,” Aziraphale said. “So I took one and continued my walk. Then I met this lovely human, the one without a penis.”
“Yeah, that’s Eve.”
“Right, she asked me what I was eating and I told her about the tree,” Aziraphale continued. “I said that the fruit is scrumptious and suggested she tries one.”
Corael stared at the demon with his mouth wide open.
“I didn’t know they were forbidden to eat from the tree,” Aziraphale finished his story.
Inwardly, Corael prayed that nobody would find out about this. In his head he was already spinning a colorful report about his fierce battle against a vile and cunning agent of Hell in predatory shape that he lost in the end, enabling the fiend to trick poor Eve into eating the apple. He was sure “a cute fussy blond demon who can turn into a fluffy cat accidentally caused the Fall of Humanity while I thought about the weird fish I saw the other day” would not go over well with Gabriel.
“Well, it was good while it lasted,” Corael sighed. “And about your question: I did ask God about a second chance for them. No such luck.”
“Ah, I see,” Aziraphale said disappointed. “But it was very kind of you to try.”
“Yeah, well, I‘m an angel, kitten,” Corael stated matter-of-factly and still felt his face heat up at the praise. “Of course I‘m kind.”
That was what he thought. Angels should be kind. And yet, he had been the only angel actually speaking up for the humans. Most others did not care while the Archangels had been outright annoyed. Gabriel had faked sympathy, but he was bad at it. Ironic, that it was a demon understanding his position.
“Oh dear, the humans know nothing about this world,” Aziraphale‘s soft voice sounded again, drawing Corael out of his thoughts. “There are vicious animals, it‘s gonna be cold and she is expecting already.”
“Hmm,” Crowley hummed in agreement. “But there is nothing I can do.”
He turned to the demon with a sad smile and was met with Aziraphale‘s huge eyes, looking at him inquiringly.
“Say,” Aziraphale spoke. “Don’t you have a flaming sword?”
“Huh? Ehm, yes.” Corael lifted his hand and summoned his weapon. “But what does that have to do with...”
Aziraphale pointedly looked at the sword and then directed his gaze at Adam. He repeated it several times until Corael understood.
“What?” he laughed incredulously. “You can’t be ser...”
His words were lost somewhere in his throat when Aziraphale raised his brows pleadingly, opened his beautiful eyes even wider and pushed his lower lip forward a tiny bit. Corael lost himself in the fascinating pools of green and blue that were Aziraphale‘s eyes and about an hour later an angel and a demon watched Adam and Eve leave Eden eastwards, the man fearlessly facing a lion with the help of a divine weapon.
“I think you did the right thing,” Aziraphale spoke softly.
“I‘m an angel,” Corael said once again. “I don’t think I can do the wrong thing.”
“Oh, yes, of course.”
“What? You disagree, kitten?”
“Oh no, dear, absolutely not,” Aziraphale answered with a sad smile. “I just don’t like what that implies about me.”
Not quite knowing what came over him, Corael put a comforting hand on the demon‘s shoulder.
“Hey,” he said with a smirk and a wink. “Things are changing. We are witnessing the beginning of something new. Nothing is written in stone. Not for me and not for you.”
“You think?” Aziraphale asked with what might have been a hopeful expression.
“Absolutely,” Corael confirmed. “You can make your own decisions. Wrong. Or right.”
Just as Corael would never forget the smile Aziraphale gave him then, Aziraphale would never forget these words. And when about 6000 years later, Corael asked him if he knew about the Antichrist, Aziraphale did the right thing and told him the truth. Then they saved the world together - with a little help from humanity.