Headlong * * *
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: Me no own. You no sue. That's the way it goes.

AN: This popped out of nowhere. Short, angsty, and decidedly slashy.

* * *

The phone rang.

Aziraphale stared at it.

It rang again.

He kept staring.

The ringing was dissolving into an annoying drone, and it wasn't helping the headache that kept buzzing behind his eyes. He didn't bother banishing it. It fit his mood.

Another loud, discordant jangle.

Two more rings and the answering machine would pick up.

He let it ring.

A long moment passed in the dusty silence of his personal library.

Ring number five.

Aziraphale closed his eyes and braced himself. This was it.

A muffled click, then the answering machine droned out its message.

Then, as expected, the frantic tones took over, just as they had at least a dozen times before. Involuntarily, he flinched.

"'Zira? 'Zira, please pick up, I know you're there angel, I do! Please? 'Zira, talk to me! Aziraphale, will you just pick up the phone? Please? You don't have to do it for me - I know I'm not worth it, but 'Zira, please, we need to talk! I know it wasn't supposed to be this way, and I'm sorry - I'm so sorry I can't even think straight! 'Zira, please! Please talk to me! I'll do anything just so long as you speak to me! Angel, come on! I have to explain - well... I mean... Oh, angel, just pick up the phone! You know I'd do anything for you, don't you? 'Zira, even if you tell me to go jump off a pier in cement boots, I'll do it gladly, you know I would! 'Zira! Talk to me angel, please! I-"

The machine clicked off, abrubtly cutting short Crowley's desperate pleading.

Aziraphale got up wearily, shuffled across the room, and paused, fingers hovering over the 'delete' button. He bit his lip, considering, then erased the message. Just as he had all the others.

Then he walked slowly back to his stool and curled up on it, knees pulled up to his chin. He blinked away the stinging in his eyes as it began to ring again.

It shouldn't have happened. But it had, and look at him now.

The machine picked up again, and so did Crowley's voice, thick with despair. "'Zira? Angel, please..."

He was supposed to forgive. He was kindness made flesh, compassion given a vaguely human shape. He couldn't *not* love. Or perhaps he had loved too much. Was that it? It used to be so simple...

"Aziraphale, you know I... that we..."

But then, he wasn't who he had been, was he?

"I'm so sorry, my angel. You have no idea how horrible-"

Aziraphale wrapped his wings around him as tightly as he could and closed his eyes. It shouldn't have happened. He knew that. He should have known better. He *had* known better.

"I honestly didn't mean for it to go that far, I just-"

He couldn't listen to this. He shouldn't. It was wrong, it was awful, and it was over and done with and there was nothing he could do about it except try and erase the memories.

In the background, the machine kept recording. "I'm sorry, Aziraphale. I love you."

Aziraphale buried his face in his hands and wept.

* * *

AN: Wasn't that fun? Feedback please, if you bothered to read.

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