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look into that storm and shout as you did in rome

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Crowley hated many things. It was in his nature just as it was in Aziraphale’s to love.

Crowley hated self-righteousness. Crowley hated door to door salesmen. Crowley hated paperwork. Crowley hated the smell of scorching earth and cold rain. Crowley hated the 14th century. 

Crowley hated Crowley.

Crowley also rather enjoyed being himself, but he could never truly admit that. He’d chalk it up to a sin: Pride came with the territory. Defiance at his lot when he was supposed to crawl under self loathing for eternity. And he did loathe a very healthy amount. But he also allowed himself the luxury of unabashed egotism, which he became quite good at. Confidence, self-assuredness, cockiness; whatever you called it, if you asked him, it was one of his greatest assets. He could smooth any ruffled feathers, force rain to start falling upwards, just because he believed he was capable of it. It'd gotten him out of many a scrape before.

 

Strutting into a room like you owned the place was incredibly important when it came to matters such as life and death of the eternal soul.

 

“Christ alive, angel, walk like you mean it!”

“Anymore and I’d feel like a rather insulting parody. I don’t know how you get anywhere wiggling like you do.” The angel paused in his pacing, leveling his own face with a withering glare. Crowley was unphased.

“First of all, pushing yourself to the point of parody means that you’re doing it right. Secondly, The Almighty gave me hips and I will bloody well use them; and for third, I don’t wiggle,” Here the demon gave a mocking demonstration of a wiggle in Aziraphale’s body, “I prowl.”

“Yes, whatever you want to call this vertical slither.”

“You have no idea, you should see me horizontal.”

“Don’t say those things with my mouth. And you’re not even trying with the voice, you can’t lecture me!” The angel scowled, the expression totally at home on Crowley’s face.

“Of course, my dear boy. Ahem. You should see me horizontal.” Crowley mimicked, punctuating it with a near-imperceptible pull in his cheeks and a slight bounce on the balls of his feet. Aziraphale’s jaw worked for a moment before he turned and took several sprawling steps, spindly knees almost threatening to collapse with the weight of his saunter.

“That’s much better.” Crowley piped up, nothing but sincerity on his angelic face.

Aziraphale stopped walking with a sigh and began to examine himself from a distance.

“Remember to keep your arms at your side or behind your back while you’re up there.”

“I know, angel.”

“If you absolutely need something to do, just adjust my bow-tie. No prowling, no hissing, no gesturing-“

“Angel, I think I know how you act by now. Especially how you act when you’re pissed but don’t want to make a scene. I’ll be disgustingly pleasant.” 

Aziraphale sniffed, his gaunt face a careful mask of not-giving-a-fuck, before returning to stalking around the flat with renewed vigour. Crowley turned the tables, just a bit.

“... And you remember all the names I told you?”

Aziraphale answered without breaking pace,

“Beelzebub has flies practically laying eggs in zir face, you can’t miss 'im. Dagon’s got the scales and terrible teeth; Hastur is, well, Hastur, and everyone else is either dead or an irrelevant sonofabitch.” He recited, “Really, Crowley, you’ve only been complaining about them for millennia.”

“Alright, alright.”

“Please don’t ask me to quiz you on the angels-“

“Oh no, don’t worry, I’m a creature who’s genetic makeup is 66% uncompromising grudges. I remember every pus-winged taint-roach that ever tried to hurt you.”

Aziraphale blinked several times in rapid succession behind his dark glasses, but didn’t break character.

“Well. Likewise, I suppose.”

Crowley smirked, an expression that quickly fell flat on the angel’s face.

“I’m... still sorry you have to go there. Hate it, actually. Not a place I ever wanted you to see."

"Crowley, -"

"I mean, you can handle it, obviously, you’re a big boy-"

"Crowley, I'm glad to have your confidence-" Aziraphale spoke firmly, and Crowley obediently clamped his jaw shut. "But I don't need you working yourself into a tizzy."

Crowley gaped. "A tizzy? Really?"

"A fit, even. Oh, the part about your confidence was sarcasm, because you're very obviously catastrophizing and I'd rather nip that in the bud right quick." 

Crowley did what he did best: Deflecting. "... it’s still a fucking shithole.” 

“Language, dear boy.” The chastisement was halfhearted at best and almost comical in the demon’s -his- raspy voice, and Aziraphale abandoned his slinking in favour of leaning heavily on the cold grey wall. Crowley stared from across the room. He- or, just his body- was a perfect imitation now, down to the nervous flex of his long fingers and the mindless fiddling with a leather belt-loop. He took a moment to look down at ‘his’ plump, strong hands, feeling his spirit squirm to be in a vessel so... good.

Thank Anyone, you’re really not anything like me.

“What are you thinking?”

Crowley blinked, chasing any lingering thoughts away.

That I hate this? That I am, honest to Someone, afraid? That I-"  He beat those rather persistent ones back with a broom and a harsh clearing of his throat before they could sneak out.

“I was just thinking about how blessed sexy I still am- I mean, after all this time. Don't quite get this perspective in the mirror. Put your hand on my hip- I mean, blast it, your hip again and there may begin to be natural disasters.”

Aziraphale laughed, a sound that came out pinched and only slightly unhinged. Crowley watched as his own face helplessly devolved into a fit of laughter, his body losing its brace on the wall and sliding down until Aziraphale was almost doubled over on the floor in hysterical giggling. He couldn’t join in, not able to force any more sounds out over the sudden tightening in his chest. So he fiddled with his bow-tie and waited until Aziraphale regained his composure before walking forward and extending a hand. He breathed deeply, flashing a positively cherubic smile. Aziraphale gave a final sigh before grabbing the proffered hand and hauling himself to his feet, nearly teetering over in his new and alien sense of lightness. The two kept holding hands for longer than was strictly necessary, but Aziraphale was the first to drop it.

"Now, will you tell me what you're really thinking?" Aziraphale gave him an undeniable Look from behind his dark glasses and for some reason, Crowley felt his confidence swell, for real. 

"I'll tell you tonight, once we're both back and have had a lovely dinner and an extraordinary amount of wine. Come on now, I do think a walk in the park would settle us, don’t you, angel?” 

"I ought to be the one calling you that, given the circumstances."

"Those are some complicated emotions, angel." Crowley made his way to the door, plucking a key up from exactly where it was supposed to be before gesturing for Aziraphale to lead the way.

"You know exactly what I mean, angel. Let's get this over with."