Raguel is walking through the bar in a kind of numb haze on the slow trek from the lake to the front door. There's no telling how long he's been outside, but he looks even more disheveled than usual. He notices Aziraphael only because of the energy he's exerting in order to keep everyone away.
He hesitates as he passes the table, but as much as he doesn't want to intrude, he's even more wary of returning to Los Angeles in this state. He shuffles over and leans in as quietly as he can.
"Is it - do you mind if I just sit here for a couple minutes?"
"Not at all."
The answer's reassuringly swift in coming; Aziraphael even manages to garner a small smile.
"You're looking... somewhat windswept?"
Politely inquiring voice, but his eyes are concerned.
"Oh." He looks down at his rumpled clothes and makes some ineffective attempts to straighten himself out as he sits. The edge of a twisted collar still pokes stubbornly out from the top of his coat, and the hand he scrubs through his hair is only successful in that it makes it all stand out a little more forcefully.
"Yeah. Been outside, looking at the lake." He leans back in his seat with a tired sigh, eyes nearly closing before he seems to realize that further explanation might be required.
"And, you know. Walking."
Aziraphael rolls his eyes and reaches over to straighten Raguel's collar.
"Any particular reason for this introspection? At least, I assume it was some sort of introspection, and not merely a tragic mourning of... oh, I don't know. Cricket scores, or some such."
He blinks down at Aziraphael's fingers but doesn't otherwise react.
"No, nothing like that. Actually, I met a friend of yours, I think. He was either an extremely energetic young kid or a muscle man in a cape. Either of those ring a bell?"
Aziraphael looks very shifty.
"That bar looked fine from the outside."
Raguel seems to wake up a little and focus on Aziraphael for the first time.
"Well, it was in this bar as far as I-- uh."
If you look carefully you can see a crack of amusement behind the grim exterior.
"Actually, I really don't need to know the rest of this story."
"I think you're right, you know."
He thinks through the excitable people of his acquaintance, and ventures a guess.
"Was it that Billy chap?"
"Billy. Yeah, that was it. One of his names, anyway."
He thinks the other was something along the lines of Captain, which is plenty, thanks.
"You gave him a hand, he said, after he was, um. Injured."
"It felt... well. No business in the bar, but it felt like more of a duty than usual."
He looks down at his tea, and smiles faintly.
"Couldn't have anyone besmirching your good name without doing something about it, after all."
He smiles slightly.
"It was good of you to do it. I doubt I could have, myself, even if I'd been around. Never was very well practiced at that kind of thing."
He looks up from his hands, which are scratching at the tabletop.
"So I guess he told you who hurt him?"
"A being that isn't you."
He nods, but it's slow and short-lived.
"He just used to be me."
"No. Not, wasn't, never will be."
His voice is firm.
"I'm not actually sure that I can avoid it."
Aziraphael looks... rocked. Absolutely. And he fumbles for Raguel's hand, because that's the only thing he can think to do.
"Don't say that."
At least it's stopped him scratching at the tabletop.
"I don't even want to think about it. Destroying everything, the kid said. Death and madness. I just kept thinking about Islington, the whole time he was talking." He shakes his head and leans back, sagging a little into his chair.
"And when it comes down to it, if I do, if it goes that far - who could stop me?"
That goes without saying.
This earns Aziraphael a rather hunted look.
"I know you would. That's part of what worries me."
His other hand trails halfheartedly over the grain of the wood.
"I'll just have to be careful. Watch out for signs that it's getting out of control. And then I can - I don't know. Do something. Find a safe place."
"Is there one?" His voice is gentle but implacable.
"Watch for signs that it's getting out of control, you said; what is this 'it' that's so separate from you?"
A flicker of surprise - he had perhaps expected something a little more reassuring. But the facts are the facts.
"I don't know if there's one. I know the cells here, for one, can contain a lot of power, but if it's permanent..."
"Well, I guess by 'it' I mean my function. And. Side effects."
"I think it's a mistake, Raguel, one that could cost you dear, to think of your function as separate from yourself."
His frown deepens a little.
"I don't-- oh."
He tilts his head, thinking.
"It's often something I can't control. That part of it, anyway. It feels separate."
And he hesitates before speaking again, because he has never been quite certain whether Aziraphael had known. And he should be strong enough to rid himself of those remnants of the Dark by now, but every time he thinks progress has been made, they rush to prove him wrong.
"Voices," he mutters, not meeting the other angel's eyes. "You know. From outside the City."
"Yes. I know them."
His fingers tighten on Raguel's hand unconsciously.
"I didn't know you - I didn't know."
This is harder to say than he'd expected, and he hates that, so he blurts it out in a tightly compressed rush.
"They don't really go away, for me. Ever since Adam. So it's kinda been on my mind for a while."
"Good - "
No. No, he catches himself; it's entirely too ironic.
"What can I - can I help, at all?"
He smiles very slightly.
"No, I don't think so - I wouldn't know what to tell you to do. Just, uh. Keep your eyes open, I guess. It's good that somebody else knows."
Somebody besides Lucifer, anyway.
Aziraphael smiles slightly.
"I'll... watch your back, is it?"
Raguel laughs quietly - it's weak, but genuine.
"Yeah. Though you're more likely to see trouble of this kind from the front. Something about the eyes, isn't that what they say?"
He glances out at the bar - a habitual move, but there's a question implied when he looks back at Aziraphael.
"Didn't mean to drop this on you tonight. Especially when you're not up for company. Don't suppose there's anyone in particular you're avoiding that I could help with?"
"Not particularly, no. It's just been one of those weeks, you know, and the weekends aren't quite the solace they once were. I'm just... not particularly inclined to make an effort, today. Which, of course, results in - " his gesture encompasses the small bubble of undisturbed space around them - "this effort. Life is not without its ironies."
"No," he agrees grimly. "It's hard to avoid doing business here when your business is what you are. But you're looking a little windswept, yourself."
He takes in the circles under Aziraphael's eyes, remembers the posture that wasn't quite a slump as he'd approached.
"What was it you had to do this week, that's worn you out so badly?"
"It's..." a gentle snort. "Business. I've been asked to look into something that's rather more draining than I'd like, and takes me away from here entirely too often; not to worry. I'll be right as rain, no doubt."
"Yeah," he says, not sounding particularly convinced.
"Me, too. No doubt."