Pairing/Rating: Aziraphale/Crowley, PG
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Feedback: Worshipped and adored.
Summary: Falling in love is a lot like being struck by lightning.
By Alena Fryin
On the Monday after the world should have ended, Crowley is convinced he has better to be doing than watching Aziraphale meticulously go the paper backed occupants of his cramped back room.
Unfortunately, he can't think of any at the moment.
"Why are you doing this again?" the demon asks, slumping against a somewhat warped bookcase. Judging from the state of it, Crowley suspects that the angel has been hanging onto this particular piece of furniture since Charles Dickens's heyday in the publishing world. Doesn't he ever get anything new? he wonders.
Behind his sunglasses world is almost entirely composed of grays and blacks save for the angel, who is standing in a puddle of sunlight streaming in through the lone window towards the rear of the shop. Bits of dust expelled from the pages of his precious books crowd around him like fairies, collect in the gentle waves of his hair. Crowley fights back the almost irresistible urge to cross the room and smooth one of the errant coils. Not that he wants to touch the angel or anything; it's simply been bothering him and there isn't exactly a lot to look at in this cupboard of a storage area unless you've got a kink for furnishings that predate the invention of the wheel.
"I'm just making sure everything is still in place," says Aziraphale, removing a hefty volume from the top shelf of the bookcase he is inspecting. "You know, making sure Adam put everything back in order."
"And what if he didn't?" Crowley says. "Are you going to go all the way to Lower Tadfield and demand that the Anti-Christ bring some molding old book from oblivion?"
Aziraphale's cheeks darkened and the angel hastily returns to skimming the pages of the book resting in his hands. "Well no," he admits, "but I'd still like to know."
Crowley snorts. "I think you need a better hobby," he says. "Something more exciting. Something less…dusty."
"Really, we don't have time for hobbies," Aziraphale says. He crouches down and begins to pick through a crate full of novels that, much to Crowley's relief, look like they were published after the First World War.
"What do you call this?" the demon says, flinging out his arms to indicate the shop at large.
"I earn my living with this shop!" Aziraphale insists, tearing his gaze off the box long enough to pin Crowley with a glare.
"How many books have you sold since you bought it?" asks Crowley casually, feigning utmost disinterest in the subject. The angel's mouth drops open to issue a retort, but snaps closed almost immediately. Grumbling, he continues to sort through the titles in the bin. Smirking, the demon says: "I thought so."
Silence reigns for several minutes although, Crowley notes, the silence is not all together uncomfortable. It has been centuries since Aziraphale was actually offended by the demon's more sardonic comments.
"Ah ha!" Aziraphale cries suddenly, the exclamation laced with triumph. "I was looking for this!" Grinning, he hoists the box off the floor and pads over to Crowley. His glasses are smudged with streaks of grim, as are his hands, but the smile he wears is bright enough that the demon barely notices the ruffled state the angel is in.
As far as Crowley can tell from watching humans do it in dozens of different and excruciating ways, falling in love is rather like being struck by lightning. Falling in love, like having a blast of Heaven set electricity sent through your nervous system, takes you by complete surprise. One moment you are walking along on a country lane (or in this case, the musty holding pen for an angel's collection of rare volumes that would make any antique dealer drown in a puddle of his own drool) minding your own business, hands at your sides and the next, your world has tumbled off its axis, leaving you with a thrilling yet highly disconcerting sense of vertigo.
Crowley used to simply assume this from all the talk overheard in clubs and cafes about the meaning and nature of love, but now, staring at Aziraphale holding the crate of books, he realizes that the rumors were true.
Well, I'll be blessed. I'm in love with the idiot.
"Be a dear and take this up front, would you?" Aziraphale says, still beaming.
Crowley has to engage in difficult and somewhat epic battle with his own voice to keep it from breaking. After a beat, he manages a terse: "Fine" and turns slowly, keeping his eyes locked on the angel until he has no choice but to look away and stumble out of the back room, dazed and confused in the most glorious of ways.
The door creaks closed behind him and he is alone in the proper shop, staring out onto the street where a million insignificant people are doing a million insignificant things, oblivious that the Universe is crashing down around Crowley's head. He dumps the books on the nearest counter and lets his hand sink into his hands. "Shit," he hisses.
If anyone ever finds out about this, Management is going to break out the whips and chains and possibly the musicals staring wholesome blond children to make me regreat the day I ever slithered out of the Garden, Crowley thinks with an inward groan.
In the process of making this all too true observation however, the demon discovers another interesting side effect to this whole being in love business; for a split second, a fate as terrible as spending the rest of the millennium being forced to sit through Curley Top while having his body contorted into new and unnatural positions doesn't particularly bother him.
In fact, at the moment, nothing much does.