He should’ve known something stupid like this would happen. Humans and disease don’t partner well together, the diseases mutate and become weirder and more dangerous each minute. Angels or demons and diseases? It was unheard of.
Demons were putid ungodly creatures, they had every illness known to man down in hell quite clearly visible on many of the demons that are its occupants. Weird warts or symptoms of something that could be life-threatening to humans were commonplace.
Angels? The epitome of cleanliness There was not a speck of dirt or bacteria in heaven. Some angels chose to show their rank in the way they looked but no one ever got dirty and no one was ever too colourful. No diseases or illness up there, and there never would be.
On earth? No one knew what it would be like for heaven and hell’s sole occupants of the planet down below. Crowley and Aziraphale were immune to all known and documented human illness and even if they fell sick they could simply miracle it away, well at least to the best of Crowley’s knowledge his stupid angel had never caught a damn cold.
Or something worse… Like a virus or one of those shitty plagues that went around. Black plague was bad. He took credit for it, I mean who wouldn’t it wiped out so much a population and it’s so-called “cures” and the sheer number of people falling victim to pride and greed in ignoring the masses dying. He kind of had to. Some rats climbing on to the wrong ship at the wrong time was hardly planned though.
Crowley, had seemed to manage the impossible, however. He had been feeling a strange and disconcerting feeling in this throat for weeks, it flared up most times he went out. He hadn’t actually drawn any specific connected actions yet. Often when he let his thoughts wander to sadder topics his throat would suddenly… Tickle or close up more and he’d… Well, he’d feel the urge to cough.
Which was definitely not normal! In fact, recently he had begun coughing. It only got worse however because then he was coughing up blood like they were back in the 1800s when lots of other awful illness spread around.
That wasn’t the absolute kicker though. One day he was all alone in his flat, as usual, shouting at his plants when a coughing fit came on. Something had sparked it must’ve. It went on for so long he felt tears in his eyes, actual involuntary tears! Blood was all over his hands and his stupid jacket and he felt worse than he ever had. Like there was something tightening on his useless lungs and squeezing his un-beating heart of all the love he should feel if he were human.
And at the end of it? His fucking mortal useless body had the audacity to cough up a fucking flower! Not even a whole one! Several blood speckled pure white petals were in his hand. Crowley felt like he was going to be sick all over again.
What the hell? Who the hell was he going to talk about this to? Aziraphale might know something, his angel knew eveythi-
He was coughing again, very violently. More flower petals worked their way up and up his throat and into his still open and blood-splattered hand.
“Fuck.” He muttered in a rather horse voice. He really needed to see Aziraphale about this. Maybe he could try reading up about it on his own? But that would be rather counter-productive. Aziraphale did have a hell of a collection of books on just about anything. Maybe he knew about angel and or demon sickness. One that involves coughing up stupid white flowers.
Looking down at the flowers in his hand and then when he had washed his hands just at the flowers, they were just white. Huh. He had no idea how to tell what flowers were what though. He did keep plants, not flowery colourful ones though. They’re boring, and far too… good.
Speaking of good he really had to get these to his ang- oh fuck! “No no no.” Crowley huffed out between coughs as he walked towards the exit to his flat, he shouldn’t drive like this. It was common sense. He could just miracle himself to the bookshop. He took one look at the Bently and decided he was driving anyway.
Aziraphale was in at the bookshop, unsurprising overall. He never seemed to leave in Crowley’s eyes. What Crowley didn’t know was that on the days that he felt most alone and bored, Aziraphale had a little ritual of trying to find a completely new café somewhere around London. Mostly by walking, although if the walk was too far he’d simply stop in a park and read. Often one of his old first-hand editions, in fact, he was quite sure he’d been through everything at the shop at least five times over.
Crowley was coughing up a storm when he, without looking up from the mess in his hands, clicked open the doors of Aziraphale’s bookshop. Even though the sign clearly stated it was closed mind you.
“Crowley, could you clos- Oh my dear boy what’s wrong?” Aziraphale almost spilled his freshly miracled cup of cocoa on his rush to come to his dear friend’s aid, which seemed to amplify the coughing even more. ‘Huh, its weird this disgusting cough amplifies anytime I think, hear or talk about Aziraphale.’ Crowley’s mind said, not really connecting that it wasn’t just weird and it was actually related.
Aziraphale was over by his side immediately, gently prying his hand open and gasping at the flowers and a fresh coating of blood that laid within. “What happened Crowley? Did hell curse you? Are you ill with a human sickness?”
Crowley spluttered a few more times before taking a deep and all-round probably unnecessary breath, a final quick cough and while his throat sounded like he’d swallowed sandpaper which had destroyed his vocal cords, he could talk. “I was hoping you’d know angel, Ive been coughing up flowers for satan’s sake!” He croaked out.
Aziraphale began rubbing circles on his back and hummed for a moment, probably a nervous tick he’d picked up from humanity. “Well, I’ve read about magical sicknesses, ones humans had made up as cautionary tales. Strange things. There is one that involved coughing up flowers actually! Wait here my boy,” Aziraphale bolted to the back of the shop, a large and seemingly reasonably old book was what he returned with. The dust had gathered through years of being ignored.
Aziraphale, with great effort, opened it to page 74. A beautifully designed image of a hand-drawn flower decorated the “picture” section of the page, it almost looked real, even with the blood dripping down its sides. Further down there was an old fashioned drawing of a lady with fancy old times clothes that Crowley had no idea which century they were from. There was a vine growing out her mouth in quite a grotesque way. A short quote and a list of mentions, along with a description of a sickness.
“It was first heard of many centuries ago, it was meant as a terribly sad story about unrequited love. Many believed it was simply a local myth from one place or another until people couldn’t pinpoint where exactly it was from, and it kept popping up everywhere. Each with a similar tale of woe and tragedy.” Aziraphale murmured running his finger down the page with care.
“These days it's known as the Hanahaki disease. Although each version of the story goes differently, from how its cured to how the flowers genuinely work, to whether it affects magical creatures like elves, goblins, fairies and well… Angels and demons.” Aziraphale continued looking up at his friend who was frowning at him with his face all scrunched up in an adorable confusion and disgust.
“You’re telling me I have a fake disease with no cure?”
“A real disease as it seems, Although the information known about it is scarce. There are many claims of one cure of another and each with dire consequences that may not be worth it. One thing is for certain if you were mortal. This would kill you. However, we don’t know what it might do to an immortal. Or for your case, what the devil is causing it to begin with.” Aziraphale finished with a look of concern and fear in his eyes, Crowley raised an eyebrow. “Causing it? You don’t just catch it then?”
“Oh goodness no!” He laughed nervously, “I uh, it comes, you catch it…” Aziraphale cut off in a rather annoying way which made Crowley roll his eyes and glare, “What is it angel?”
“Unrequited love, well perceived unrequited love at very least. If someones love is strong enough and not returned, even without the lover or lovee knowing it, it can cause this disease. It's heartbreaking. There have even been recorded or written cases in which the love was returned, yet if it is not known or believed it can turn out to be just as deadly and tragic.”
Crowley’s brain came to a jarring halt. Oh no, it is Aziraphale causing it. On the bright side, it doesn’t eliminate that he does actually love Crowley back as earlier stated, on the downside it does mean Crowley does truly believe he doesn’t. On the even worse side now Aziraphale will most certainly want to know who Crowley’s supposed unrequited love is.
Crowley dumbed the gross flowers on the floor and promptly then sat down on the floor, staring at the floor like it may just hold the answers to his questions. Like what the hell do I do now?
Aziraphale, despite really rather not wanting to, sat down next to Crowley on the floor in the middle of his shop despite some really quite lovely chairs laying around. “I take it from that that the description was not only correct but also you really don’t know who or you really don’t want to tell me,” Aziraphale whispered in what Crowley believed to be far too lighthearted of a tone.
“Oh no I know who it is, I also know they are way too stupid to know it's them.”
Aziraphale genuinely laughed, “So you’re worried not because they may not love you but because they’re stupid?”
“Yes! A complete dumbass!” Crowley looked up from the floor and directly into Aziraphale's eyes, ones who slowly seemed to become joyful and then- they both burst out laughing.
“Oh sweet hell I hate this-” Crowley laughed, Aziraphale practically snorted, “Its completely and utterly awful my dear,” That didn’t seem to stop their laughter however as it didn’t die down for quite some time.
What Crowley didn’t know is Aziraphale was really quite sure Crowley had no one else to really be in love with, and hence had narrowed down his list significantly to two people. One a demon he didn’t know about or two, himself. Considering the meaning of the flower Crowley had begun to cough up, white rose petals not yet in bloom, meant “A heart of innocent love,” “You’re heavenly,” “secrecy and silence” he truly did believe it may be him. He didn’t mention the flowers had meaning to each person’s type of love but he didn’t think Crowley need to know.
Well, at least now he could cure his demon.