a_fell: (worried)
[personal profile] a_fell
I.

They arrive in Iceland in near-darkness concealing a dense, freezing fog that gives way to low clouds once outside of Reykjavik. It's a long drive to the tiny village of Laugarvatn, 70 miles in the blackness, and when they finally reach the place they're spending the night (to call it a hotel would imply there are more than six rooms), they're too tired to do more than kick their shoes off before falling into bed.

The next morning isn't much of a morning; it's lightening by the time Crowley is conscious enough to get out of bed with some prompting from the angel, fully daylight after he gets through the shower, and it doesn't take much longer than that to get the lay of the land. The town has 300 people, a post office, grocery store, restaurant, and not much tourism in the winter. It's hard to stay under the radar in such a place, so the few hours of daylight are spent asking quietly for the best sites to see the aurora and watching the cloudy skies, tense and dark. The sun, never far above the horizon, sinks slowly into a hesitant twilight. And then it's time to go.

The jeep-shaped vehicle they borrow from the nice gentleman at the (surprisingly open) tourist office bumps along over patches of rock and ice and who knows what else; Aziraphael is less than comfortable with what they might be rolling over with 'adventure' style suspension and no visible road. The headlamps illuminate a small patch of sameness directly in front, and the rest of the world around them is an unknowable black. All the ground that he can see is a grayish white dotted with darker patches of jutting rock. The heat blasting in the vehicle is just short of oppressive, but Crowley's face behind the wheel is grim and uncomfortable. Aziraphael tries moving one hand to the edge of Crowley's seat so that the side of his finger brushes the material of the demon's trousers, but he can't tell whether Crowley actually notices.

"I think the clouds might be lightening up," he says encouragingly. "I'm almost certain I saw a star or two over there."

Date: 2008-12-01 05:17 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (such eloquent graffiti)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
"Maybe," Crowley says. It comes out tauter than he'd like, and so he clears his throat and says it again, a little more gently.

The clouds might be lightening up.

For only having had four hours of true daylight, it's been a very long day. At least now, with the black pooling out in front of them, and the ground flowing past under their little island of light, he has something to keep his eyes on - a reason not to cast quick, sharp glances up at the sky every ten minutes.

The clouds might be -

He loosens his grip on the steering wheel, a little. It's neither leather, nor wood, and feels a little unpleasant underneath his fingers.

Date: 2008-12-01 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
For a few minutes, the only sounds are those of the heat blasting out of the vents and of the humming engine. It's punctuated by the squeaking of seats every time they hit a bump, which is fairly constantly so that it, too, fades into the general roar.

"How far can you see, beyond the headlamps?" he asks. He hopes it's farther than he can. For all he can tell, they might be about to drive at full tilt off of a cliff.

On the up side, that's almost certainly a star.

Date: 2008-12-02 12:51 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (baby it's cold outside)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
That pulls a slight grin out of him, quick and quiet.

"Far enough," he says.

(I have been one acquainted with the night)

It sounds like he's just answering Aziraphael's question, but after a few seconds more, he brings the jeep smoothly to a stop. It's an automatic, no gear shift, but Crowley's been driving the same car for the better part of a century; instinctively, he reaches down to put it into park, and jumps a little when he finds Aziraphael's hand instead.

They're miles away from anywhere (far beyond the furthest city light).

(Here, there is no light.)

Far enough.

Date: 2008-12-02 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Accidental or not, he takes Crowley's hand since it's fallen so neatly into his own. The jeep shifts smoothly into park anyway, but the engine still hums, the heat still roars out at them, and the headlamps still peer into a pitifully small area in front.

The angel gives Crowley's hand a small squeeze.

"Perhaps we could see more clearly if we, er. Turned those off?" He nods at the lights in front.

Date: 2008-12-02 01:17 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (baby it's cold outside)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
Crowley opens his mouth, and then says, " - If you like."

A wave of his hand (the other one), and the lights dim, flicker, and go out.
(Here
Shaking his head, he blinks away the afterimage.

Date: 2008-12-02 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Oh, yes," he breathes, staring out through the windscreen. There are many more than a single star in view, though most of the sky is still veiled by clouds. He hasn't seen stars like that since - well. For a very, very long time.

"It's incredible," he says, craning his neck to see them. He doesn't, however, let go of Crowley's hand.

Date: 2008-12-02 02:22 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (baby it's cold outside)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
"Mm," Crowley says, the sound almost lost under the low rumbling of the engine.

He's spent too long - much too recently - flying the length of Europe twice a week under the vast expanse of the night sky. He's not much moved by stars.

(But then, the stars aren't what he's looking at.)

Date: 2008-12-02 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Aziraphael blinks upward a moment longer before he glances down and catches the demon looking. His rapturous, rather distant expression dissolves into a smile.

"My dear, I. I don't quite know how to thank you for all this." It's fortunate that he's already holding Crowley's hand, or he'd have taken it.

"Coming out here in the middle of winter. Your doing these astounding things for me, it's not... unfamiliar."

He ducks his head hestitantly, then appears to come to a decision, leans in, and drops a gentle kiss on the corner of Crowley's mouth.

"Thank you."

Date: 2008-12-03 03:10 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
"I'm - " Crowley says, and his fingers tighten a little around Aziraphael's. "I didn't do it for you. I mean - I haven't seen it either."

Abruptly (and not, at all) he doesn't want to - wants to go back, and have a hot drink, and a hot shower, and fall asleep sated and comfortable with his feet warmed by Aziraphael's legs, and think: it doesn't matter. We have all the time in the world.

There's barely any light; only the faint luminescence of the stars cupping the horizon, and a few blinking pinpricks on the dashboard. The red one reflects off Crowley's sunglasses (on, off); it's the only colour, against black hair, and black coat, and pale skin.

Date: 2008-12-03 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"No?" he says, smile not fading at all. "I'm glad to have been another excuse, then. I doubt you'd have talked yourself into coming out here in midwinter, otherwise."

He looks down at their joined hands, though he can't make them out in the dark. He strokes one finger carefully over Crowley's thumb by touch, soothing. There's a tension running through the demon that he can't quite pinpoint, though he can do his best to ease it. Perhaps it's the cold.

Date: 2008-12-03 04:30 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
"No," he concedes, a queer, half-there unhappiness flitting across his face. "I wouldn't have thought of it."

It's his turn to lean in. The brush of his lips against Aziraphael's is dry, almost absent - but when his hand lifts to the angel's face, it's tentative and deliberate, thumb brushing Aziraphael's cheek and fingers curling into the hair behind his ear.

(It takes a moment, afterwards, for him to figure it out - to realise what it is that Aziraphael's eyes are reflecting so strangely. Very faintly, very slightly, the snow is glowing.)

Date: 2008-12-03 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
It takes a moment for Aziraphael's eyes to lift to Crowley's; they had drifted closed for a moment, but once opened, something behind Crowley has dragged his gaze away. He doesn't pull back, but he's staring, wide-eyed, at something just over the demon's shoulder.

He seems to be grasping for words, but nothing comes out; his hand tightens on Crowley's instead.

Date: 2008-12-03 05:17 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
The question sticks in his throat, and dies there.

It feels like being watched; the hair on the back of his neck stands up, and he keeps his eyes fixed on the front of Aziraphael's coat.


He wants -

He's out of the jeep before he can turn the keys and start the engine and bring them back, because there  was  never  any  question. It pulls at him, somewhere between throat and ribcage: Come and see.

He keeps his head down, closing the door behind him.

Date: 2008-12-03 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
He's still staring at the glowing sky when Crowley pulls away and opens the door, and then he's staring at the space where Crowley had been. The fact that he's outside is almost more astounding than what he can see of the aurora; the clouds are blowing ever more swiftly back, revealing ribbons of color--

There's a crunching sound of his shoes hitting the icy ground (sensible boots, once he took them out of the suitcase), the slam of the closing door, and then he's moving toward Crowley to gape alongside him at the heavens.

Date: 2008-12-04 04:25 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
He - can't

It's cold. It's viciously, tearingly cold, and when Crowley (all unthinking) takes a breath, it flows down into his lungs like ice.

(He hasn't turned around; his fingers are still closed around the door-handle, as though he's about to climb straight back in.)

If he makes a sound, a small, sharp sound, he doesn't hear it. His eyes are shut.
In the beginning, the Earth was formless and desolate. The floor might as well be slicked over with ice, it's so cold.

Date: 2008-12-04 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Aziraphael hears it, at least; it's enough to drag his gaze away from the slow revelation of the clouds and find Crowley hunched over, still clinging to the handle of the jeep.

"Crowley," he says, edging nearer. The landscape is eerily silent, save for a light wind echoing in his ears, and his voice carries. He puts one tentative hand on Crowley's side, allowing it to slide around to his front as Aziraphael's chest brushes the demon's back.

Date: 2008-12-04 05:24 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
He lets (his shoulders straighten, and - slowly, and then faster - the temperature around him begins to rise) go of the handle.
When the shivering is under control again, and he looks up, Crowley lets out a quiet moan of fear.
His eyes are still shut - but his sunglasses are still on. It can't be seen.
He can't see.
"Well?" he asks.
(This is not true; there is simply nothing left, in the vast and empty black, to look at.)
(After a moment, and ever so slightly, he leans back against Aziraphael.)
Crowley's alone.
The floor might as well be slicked over with ice, it's so cold.

Date: 2008-12-04 05:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Well?" he repeats, incredulity slipping through the smile in his voice. His other arm goes around Crowley's waist as well, so that they nearly overlap on his chest.

"It's... there aren't words. I never dreamed that anything like this existed; all my expressions are far too weak. The colours, the way it moves, the scope of it. I've never seen anything, ever, to equal it."

Date: 2008-12-05 04:32 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
"Oh."
here
His stomach knots.
there
He doesn't have to look. He could keep his eyes shut.
is
But it's so cold. It's so, so cold.
no
One gloved hand on Aziraphael's, Crowley takes off his sunglasses, and opens his eyes.
In the beginning, when God created the world, the Earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness. And then God commanded, Fiat lux.   Let   there   be

LIGHT

Date: 2008-12-05 04:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
He's looking over Crowley's shoulder at the shifting light, mesmerised, but his counterpart's lack of enthusiasm is rather striking.

"Oh?" he repeats, trying vainly to see Crowley's face. "You don't think so?"

Date: 2008-12-05 04:51 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (ice ice baby)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
It's green.

He'd seen it in the brochures, but it's really green. Leaf-green, grass-green, a glowing rain of vivid, living green.

Date: 2008-12-05 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Even you couldn't convince me that you see this sort of thing all the time," he rambles, still too much in awe for his tone to include any sound of reproach. In fact, despite the casual words, his voice is hushed.

Date: 2008-12-05 05:26 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (stop children what's that sound?)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley
And -

And over there, there's a shy shimmer of red, like the blush on an apple.

Date: 2008-12-05 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"I doubt one could even replicate it on a smaller scale. A screen certainly wouldn't do it justice. Even in colour," he adds after a moment.

He frowns slightly, confused, glancing between the lights in the sky and the back of Crowley's ear.

Date: 2008-12-05 06:05 am (UTC)
aj_crawley: (moving mountains)
From: [personal profile] aj_crawley

"It's green," Crowley says.

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