Word count: 1697
Rating: PG / Teen and Up
Tags: love, separation, loss, loneliness, pining, Gabriel and Michael are nice – no I’m not even kidding – they’re actually nice, memory loss, reunion, happy ending
Summary: Not all angels were pair-bonded, but many of those who were bonded suffered greatly after Lucifer began the rebellion against the Great Plan. When those who followed him fell, many pairs were separated, never to be together again.
One particular angel cannot allow himself to forget his lost love, and Gabriel and Michael have no choice but to take action.
Centuries later, Michael takes further action to remedy what she and Gabriel did all that time ago.
Loosely based around the lyrics of ‘Memory’ from “Cats.”
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
“He’s still there?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“He hasn’t left at all?”
“Not since the war ended. He sits there all the time, looking over the edge of Heaven and mourning the loss of his Other Half.”
“Michael, many angels lost their Other Half during the war. Those who questioned the Great Plan and fought the rest of us were cast out. They’re unforgivable; they cannot be redeemed. They’re demons now, and they’re our enemies. Surely Aziraphale understands that?”
“He does understand.” Michael looked towards where the lonely principality sat gazing into the void beyond Heaven. “But he can’t forget.”
Gabriel sighed. “Have you spoken with him?” he asked.
She nodded. “I’ve sat with him frequently; begged him to come away from the edge. I’ve reminded him that many Halves fell after the war and that we regret their loss and wish they could have been saved.” She grimaced. “It’s unfortunate that Lucifer didn’t have an Other Half; he might have understood then what the consequences could be of his rebellion. It’s so rare that both Halves fell, or both Halves kept to the True Path. So many Halves were separated by the war.”
“And what does Aziraphale say to you?” Gabriel asked.
“He smiles. He talks fondly about his lost Half. He remembers how beautiful they were together, how happy they were together. He wishes he had persuaded him to stay away from Lucifer. He regrets that he couldn’t discourage him from asking questions.”
Gabriel frowned, concerned. “Does he ask questions when you talk with him?”
“Never,” Michael said. “He accepts that his Other Half forgot about him as soon as he fell, but he himself cannot stop thinking about him. I can’t help feeling that it’s unfortunate that we didn’t also forget.”
Gabriel turned and looked at her curiously. She met his gaze.
“Do you miss your Half?” he asked.
“Of course I do,” she replied. “I remember everything about him, and I’m not complete without him.” She looked away, automatically calling up a mental image of her lost Half and remembering everything about him which she loved: his affection, his devotion, his beautiful face, his contagious easy laugh, his unique ability to change the colour of his wings to match whatever surrounded him at the time. It still hurt to know that if she should ever meet him again he wouldn't know her and – far worse – he would despise her and would not hesitate to destroy her if given the opportunity. She turned back to Gabriel. “Can you tell me that you do not miss ...”
“I would rather not speak of it,” Gabriel interrupted stiffly. “And obviously this must be what Mother wanted. It is not for us to wonder about Her decision. We must continue our work on the Great Plan and tolerate our losses for Her sake.”
Michael nodded respectfully and looked back towards Aziraphale. “I’m not sure that he will ever cope with his loss,” she said.
“I know,” Gabriel concurred sympathetically. “But there is work to do. The Earth will soon be ready to be inhabited by the humans, and their purpose will be to tend the planet until it’s ready for the next war; the war to end all wars. We must prepare, and Aziraphale is needed.”
He looked across to the lonely angel sitting on the edge of Heaven, his legs hanging over the side, idly kicking his feet while he gazed off into the void. “Reluctant as I am to suggest it, I think we have no other choice. Do you agree?”
Michael nodded. “We must wipe all memory of his Other Half,” she said. “And then give him a task which will concentrate his mind on the work and prevent him from noticing the gap in his memories. Do you have anything in mind?”
Gabriel smiled. “I think I have just the job for him.”
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
The Guardian of the Eastern Gate stood on the wall of Eden and watched Adam and Eve walking away from the Garden hand in hand. He thought about how happy they had been in the Garden and about how beautiful they were together, especially whenever they looked into each others’ eyes, and he regretted that they had to leave. ‘But at least they’re together,’ he thought to himself. ‘They wouldn’t be able to bear it if they were separated.’
It would be a long while until they were out of sight across the desert but he couldn't bring himself to look away. He contemplated sitting down on the wall and dangling his legs over the side while he watched them, but his knees locked at the very thought and a feeling of pain and sadness suddenly overwhelmed him. He remained standing.
He wondered whether he might have been a different angel if he had had a life partner (Other Half, a voice seemed to whisper inside his head). He continued to watch the humans wistfully, but didn't have much time to think about it further before he was interrupted by the arrival of the serpent demon.
It was strange – when he lifted his wing to protect his new acquaintance from the rain, he felt an odd mixture of both rightness and loneliness, combined with a distant feeling of sunshine, happiness and beauty.
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is
Two days after the Great Plan was derailed by a renegade angel and demon, Michael felt a surge of power, and then shock and amazement, and then overwhelming joy and love from down on Earth. She smiled. Only yesterday she was assisting in the attempt to destroy the demon, but she couldn't feel any regrets at what she had done since then. Demons – most of them, anyway – didn't feel happiness or affection; all they knew was that they were evil and miserable and they must make humans evil and miserable. But there had always been something special about the demon who was supposed to be Aziraphale’s adversary but somehow overcame his nature and became something different and unusual, something almost ... beautiful.
All those centuries ago when she was wiping Aziraphale’s memory of his Other Half, it hadn’t been that difficult to take those memories and compress them into a tiny ball of power and then enclose that power in a gold ring for safe keeping. She hadn't even been sure why she was doing it. Maybe it was a sense of sympathy that he had to lose those memories; much as she missed her own Other Half, she never wanted to forget him. So she had made the ring and hidden it away and rarely thought about it until earlier today, when some inexplicable inner urging sent her down to Earth to look through the windows of the bookshop which had been so miraculously restored. It was late evening; a perfect night with a clear sky and a full moon beaming in through the window of the shop to shine on the two beings who had stood side by side against everything they had previously believed in and had saved the Earth from its foretold ending.
That morning Heaven and Hell had tried to destroy the traitors and had failed dismally. Clearly the two of them were now different from all other demons and angels. There was something special about them, and about their relationship with each other. Even Gabriel had admitted it to her. Even though he would have been content if they had been destroyed, he couldn't help being confused at how they had walked away unscathed, and he had commented privately to her that he was also impressed – if a little nervous – at their survival.
Now, the two of them were slumped side by side on a sofa, almost asleep by the looks of it. Aziraphale’s head was nodding lower and lower onto his chest. His right hand rested on the sofa beside him. Unusually, Crowley was sitting to his right. Michael had seen enough surveillance photographs of the two of them to know how they usually arranged themselves when they were side by side. It was almost unheard of them to sit this way round. Why, it was almost as if it was meant to be ...
Crowley’s eyes were closed but he was clearly awake and, as Michael watched, he slowly put his left hand onto the sofa a short distance from the angel’s hand. After a few moments, he hesitantly stretched out his little finger towards Aziraphale’s, the finger wearing the ring he had been given when he had been made a Guardian of Eden.
It was time.
Outside the bookshop it took a careful miracle from Michael to replace the ring on Aziraphale’s finger with the one containing his memories of his Other Half. It looked and felt identical; Aziraphale wouldn’t ever know that it was a different ring. If, as she now firmly believed, Crowley was Aziraphale’s Other Half, all it would take was for both of them to be in contact with the ring simultaneously and it would immediately release its memories not only to Aziraphale but to Crowley as well.
A second careful miracle planted a suggestion into Crowley’s mind that he really ought to pluck up the courage to reach out just a little ... bit ... further.
She had done all that she could, and Michael returned to Heaven with a slight sense of nervousness, but also a feeling that she had done a very good thing.
A new day has begun
And now, as the surge of joy and reunion and love increased and reached all the way up into Heaven, Michael breathed deeply and had no regrets. It felt right. It felt ... beautiful.
If other angels found out what she had done, they might think that Michael had misbehaved.
But all things considered, she was pretty sure that Mother wouldn’t mind.
Apologies if reading this has set up an annoying earworm in your head. If it makes you feel any better (which it probably won’t), I’ve been haunted by the song for days!