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Worth a Thousand Words

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It's a funny thing, the spoken word. A method of speed communication, provided you can get it right. String the words together properly, pronounce them correctly, and pray you're not misunderstood. Thousands of languages and subsequent dialects, each with their own unique slang and inflections.

 

In his six millennia on Earth, Aziraphale has mastered nearly all of them. He has learned how to wield his pen in place of a sword, and it's served him well over the years. However, words can hurt just as much as any weapon if you're not careful, so Aziraphale keeps his locked away. He cages them on paper, locked behind bars of ink and graphite. Paper cells for the words he will never say aloud, no matter how much he aches, yearns to cradle a certain demon's head in his hands and croon to him, promises whispered against tender lips and sealed with a kiss.

 

Yes, it would be better for all parties involved if those particular words never saw the light of day.

 

These are the things he ponders, in those days following the Armageddon-that-wasn't, the things he thinks about late at night with Crowley sprawled out on the sofa across from him, and early in the morning long after he's gone, but the pillows still carry the scent of woodsmoke and cinnamon. These are the thoughts he tucks away, between the pages of books he knows Crowley will never read, and tries to forget about.

 

Six thousand years is an awfully long time to keep such feelings bottled up, though, so is it any wonder that the bottle breaks one night, and spills all the words Aziraphale had so carefully squeezed into it?

 

"Crowley," he starts, hairline fractures creating a spiderweb in the glass. He swallows, throat suddenly dry and tight with ancient emotion. "I'm afraid I'm quite terribly in love with you."

 

The glass shatters, and the demon stretched out on the sofa in front of him shoots upright, golden eyes wide, glasses askance.

 

"Sober up, angel," He hisses, whipping the lenses off his face. “ You don’t know what you’re saying.”

 

There is heartache in those beautiful golden eyes of his, and Aziraphale wants nothing more than to sweep him up in his arms and keep him there until that despondency is nothing but a bitter memory.

 

“We haven’t had anything to drink dear. I am perfectly aware of what I’m saying,” the angel quips, and it’s true; a bottle of wine remains unopened on the table separating the two beings. 

 

“No, you don’t. You don’t know, Aziraphale,” Crowley grinds out, and somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, he’s aware that he’s leapt off the couch, is now pacing in the limited space of Aziraphale’s cramped backroom.

 

“You don’t know, because I’ve loved you since the beginning -” His voice cracks, and he swallows hard, breathing heavily. He takes a moment to compose himself, pinching the bridge of his nose.

 

“Because I’ve loved you for six thousand years, angel,” he whispers, and it’s a broken, pitiful thing, his voice. “And I can’t go another six thousand knowing you love me back and that I can’t do anything about it because I go too fast.”

 

The silence hangs heavy between them. Fat, salty tears stream down the demon’s face, and Aziraphale thinks briefly that it’s ridiculous he should be at a loss for words when he’s spent the entirety of human history studying them.

 

So, he doesn’t try to summon words from the void, but surges forward, seizing the lapel’s of Crowley’s jacket and kissing him with a passion that millenia’s worth of words could never accurately portray.

 

Actions speak louder than words, after all.

 

Crowley whimpers under the intensity of it, his hands coming up to cup his angel’s face, and Aziraphale melts like so much wax under infernal flame. When they pull back, both gasping for air they don’t need, Aziraphale rests his forehead against Crowley’s.

 

“Darling,” he grins, breathless. “I do believe I can keep up.”