Under Pressure * * *
Under Pressure
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer:  I own neither demon nor angel.  I make no money off of this.  How depressing can you get?  See below for details.  Slashiness and angstiness.

* * *

He wasn't answering.

Crowley had gotten used to the sound of his own voice, rambling on and on until all the words blurred together.  And then the pause as the machine cut off, the instantaneous redial, and he picked up right where he had left off.

He wasn't quite certain exactly how long he'd been doing this.  He wasn't quite sure what he was saying.

Aziraphale wasn't answering, and that was all that mattered.

By the time the sun rose, he was exhausted, and his voice had long since gone hoarse.

Fuck it.

If Aziraphale wouldn't answer the phone, he'd just go and pester him until he gave in.

If Aziraphale told him to go drown himself in holy water, Crowley would fling himself into the nearest baptismal font.  After all, if his angel would never speak to him again, there was no point to living anyway.

Crowley hauled himself unsteadily to his feet and staggered out the door.

* * *

The door.

It was just a door.  A simple, ordinary, boring door.  He had never been afraid of a door before.

It took him a full hour to get up enough courage to knock.

When the door finally opened and revealed a pale, beautiful face, soft hair matted and tangled, and shimmering eyes rimmed with red, he completely forgot what he was going to say.

Aziraphale stared at him, lips trembling.

Crowley unwillingly remembered how soft and yielding they were, and it hit him like a slap in the face that unless he did something now there was no chance in hell or heaven that he would ever get to taste them again.

He tried to force a smile onto his face, but all he could manage was a warped grimace.  "'Zira?" he questioned weakly, stomach tied in knots.

The delicate face crumpled, the bright eyes welling with tears.  No, he hadn't meant to injure this precious thing - the one thing he would never hurt, didn't his sweet angel realize that?  Didn't he know?

Crowley leaned forward through the doorway, one hand raised in supplication.  No sinner had ever been so repentant.  The irony did not escape him.

"'Zira?" he questioned, voice trembling.  "Angel, will you-?"

Aziraphale choked down a sob and shut the door in his face.

* * *

He wasn't going to leave.  No matter what, he wasn't going to leave until 'Zira opened the door and let him explain.

Explain what?  He knew full well demons weren't supposed to love.  Well, too late for that.  He was long gone for the angel  - and had been for ages.  Did it matter what they were supposed to do?  It happened.  And he would just have to live with it that way.

Crowley leaned back against the doorway, staring moodily at the passers-by.

All who saw him had the sudden urge to be somewhere else, preferably somewhere antipodal to the demon's presence, surrounded by all their most dearly loved ones.

Fucking humans had loved ones.

Crowley forced down the tears.  He could wait.

He would wait forever if he had to.

* * *

The day passed, gave way to the shadows of twilight, which seemed to linger, enshrouding the city in muted shadow.

Crowley sat and watched through unseeing eyes as the streetlights turned on and the rushing mass of humanity faded to a mere trickle.

It was quiet.

So was Aziraphale.

What could he do?  Had his angel fled for the heavens?  Cautiously, he reached, and yes, he was there, soft and grief-stricken and confused, burning with a pale radiance that was soft and cool and velvet to the touch.

Could that perfectly flammable ice skewer him?  He was willing to risk it.

Crowley sent his greetings and a soft hint of his adoration, tangled around a desperate apology.

Aziraphale didn't reply, but he knew he had heard.

But he hadn't run away yet.  Perhaps he had a chance.  What more harm could he do, anyway?

"I'm sorry, my angel," he whispered into the coolness of the fading dusk.  "I can't help it."

The angel finally answered.  And the reply hurt.  Overwhelming sadness, an endless ocean of grief that poured through him - he was going to drown!

This time, the tears overflowed.  "I'm so sorry, so sorry, so sorry!"

Confusion and betrayal hit him like a punch to the stomach.  Crowley doubled over, pressing both hands roughly to his head.  "Sorry, sorry, so very sorry..."

Holy indignation seared across his senses.  How dare he be sorry?  Did he have any idea of what he had done?  How could he try and tempt his friend into falling?  How could he?

Crowley shook his head in vehement denial.  "No!  Aziraphale, you know... you have to!  It wasn't like that!"

He slid down the wall, blinded by pain.  Whose, he wasn't certain.  "I'm sorry, my angel.  But I just can't stop myself," he swallowed a sob, "I'll always love you, no matter what."

Demons cannot love.

But he did.

And it was killing him.

* * *

Inside, Aziraphale sat quietly on the floor, arms and wings wrapped tightly around himself.  He was rocking back and forth, but he didn't know it.  He didn't know anything.

It was quiet in the bookshop, but inside he was screaming.

And God help him, he didn't know why.

* * *

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