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G, het, crossover (Good Omens/His Dark Materials). Aziraphale tries to recapture the past.
In the depth and delicacy of the anbaric light, Aziraphale could
make out his reflection in a pane of glass. The lights flickered and rippled out
of the depths, so the image spread and distorted and changed until his real
reflection stared out at him.
His beauty was unchanged. He ran a delicate fingertip down the outline of a perfectly defined feather, but felt only air; the spreading wings existed only in the glass. They lingered only a few seconds before the image mutated back into that of a human. Now more than before, Aziraphale stared.
Under the starlight of another world, his human form was different. Vestiges of the Soho bookseller remained – the eyes, the hair, the angelic tendency towards perfection – but the clothes were no longer perfectly tailored, the hands no longer perfectly manicured. Even the aristocracy were different here.
And he had a daemon. It had happened without conscious effort on his part – human form in this world implied a daemon with the same degree of inevitability as a falling rock; it was one of the natural laws. The creature had at first unsettled him, then intrigued him, and then the steady weight had become a comfort. Religion must come easily in this world, he thought, and wondered at himself. The lights were hurting his eyes.
The daemon stirred. Aziraphale took it as a signal to move. It purred into his ear: “She’s here.”
She was. “Marissa,” he stated, uncomfortably aware that she had been able to catch him off guard.
“Aziraphale.” She was looking at him with the clear insolence he had grown accustomed to. She held out a slender white hand. “Come, my dear.”
The golden monkey started forwards, but Aziraphale’s daemon hissed and spat from its perch, and the angel proceeded at his own pace. The grass was silver in the moonlight and soft underneath his feet as he followed her. Around them, the night hush was broken by the soft chirruping of nocturnal animals and, close at hand, the sound of running water. The air was scented with white-flower fragrance, and the jasmine reminded Aziraphale of nights a little like this, in the celestial gardens before Eden.
She stopped beneath the shadow of a spreading oak, and he stayed by her side and followed her pointing finger.
“There,” she said. “My daughter, Lyra.”
Aziraphale peered through the darkness at the girl, whom he could just see as a dark-haired sylph, small face startlingly white against the night. Her daemon was curled around her neck as Aziraphale’s was around his. At length, he spoke. “She doesn’t bear your name.”
“No, indeed. She isn’t even aware of who her mother is. Nor her father – Asriel has made sure of that.” She laughed, a tinkling bitter laugh. “One might say she ceased being my daughter the moment she was born.”
Or before that, Aziraphale thought but did not say. He was still trying his best to see through the darkness. He tried to make out the features of the woman to whom he had surrendered his flaming sword at the dawn of time, but the night was too thick to let him remember.
“You didn’t come here tonight just to see a scruffy girl,” her mother said definitely, turning to leave. Aziraphale had to step quickly to keep up. “Why are you here?”
He avoided the question with more than his usual tact. “I’m led to believe the church is powerful here,” he said evenly.
“And I’m powerful in it,” she said, smiling a small, dangerous smile. They were leaving the gardens and moving back towards the quiet streets. “What of it?”
“I’m interested, that’s all,” he told her, knowing she didn’t believe him for a moment. “I have some... ah... connections with the church.”
She ignored that. Her attention wavered, and Aziraphale, aware that she was close to stumbling to the truth, encouraged it with the quietest flick of his intrinsic powers. Even under his influence, she was unpredictable. Her thoughts fired along new pathways, and an effect was created that he hadn’t anticipated.
She was staring at him in the moonlight, her eyes wide and lustrous. Her fingers were idly caressing the fur of the golden monkey. Her voice, when she spoke, was lazy and clear. “Aziraphale, you are quite beautiful.” She reached out and deliberately stroked the other daemon. “Almost too perfect, in fact. And such an unusual daemon… one would think you weren’t quite of this world.”
“I’m not,” Aziraphale said, because he couldn’t lie, and besides she was touching his daemon, his soul...
He had to remember to stop himself at that thought. Angels don’t have human souls.
“I would kiss you,” she said thoughtfully, and Aziraphale didn’t rise to the bait and ask why not, because it was getting too late in the day for this kind of thing and the steady purring in his ears was a warning.
She did kiss him as she let him go – a brief, chaste kiss on the lips – and he turned to watch her as she walked, perfect and elegant on her heels, away from him.
When dawn came, he whispered, “Goodbye, my dear,” as he stepped through the gap to his own world and his own form and his own Oxford. But whether he was talking to Marissa Coulter, the lady Eve or the daemon Crowley was not immediately apparent and he would not say.
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