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Per aspera ad Astra

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The years passed, that was sure, and an immortal being as he could tell that.

He had seen civilizations and empires be born and die, great inventions to be created to later become obsolete years later, all this because of time, not for nothing the Roman poet Ovid said: tempus edax rerum, time is the devourer of all things.

Even time has affected him in some way, had made him wiser, had given him knowledge. But not that knowledge, worthy of a celestial being like him, but that gained from experience, after knowing the truth of heaven, humanity, life, and death, it was obvious that wisdom had become a faithful his companion.

Although people could consider him someone judicious and prudent, he did not consider himself that way at all, he had committed nonsense after nonsense, disrupting his life and entire happiness in the process, perhaps his greatest stupidity was that, that which had made his world colder and had denied him the possibility of loving: rejecting the love of his life.

Yes, driven by his foolishness, he refused to love Crowley, not because he didn't feel the love in his heart with the mere mention of the demon, but because he knew how dire his love would have been and because both sides had considered him something worthy of ruin.

So, with such intense pain to be described and with all the sorrow that a heart can resist, he rejected the demon, took him away from his life and did not allow himself to seek him, because he knew that Crowley's simple presence was enough for an endless fall towards destruction.

But for some reason, he knew that the demon had not abandoned him completely, he always felt him around him, like a shadow. And although that hurt, he knew it was the only way to be with Crowley, always close but never together.

Until one day, 6 years after that frustrating statement and shortly after Armageddon't, an absolute truth hit him in the face, as a pitiful revelation:

Crowley had left him.

At first, he had refused to believe it, he hoped that Crowley would appear at some point and declare his love again; and this time he would say yes, they would both go to a new world, one where loving each other was not a sin and wasn't something worthy of a death sentence.

But that never happened.

Sometimes he sat and imagined what his life would have been like if he had said yes, at that moment Crowley would come through the door and invite him to dinner at the Ritz or take a walk to St. James's Park. Instead, he felt great loneliness that was becoming painfully more familiar.

Wounded and without opposing that destiny, he let himself be carried away by that overwhelming grief that means the loss of a loved one, condemning himself to an eternal melancholy and sadness.

He was alone, defeated and with a broken soul, resigned to live an eternity without Crowley, only longing for a small light in the darkness.

[...]

His life was so monotonous for a long time that it was frustrating, he had a long life ahead but little desire to live it.

"Ugh ... that's enough!" He exclaimed, trying to silence the thoughts that crossed his mind, the hardest part of loneliness was fighting himself.

At this point in his life, someone else would have totally turned to drink, but even drinking some wine was extremely sad, reminded him of Crowley and those moments in his bookstore where they both got drunk putting aside their responsibilities and obligations, focusing only on themselves.

He started, like every night, to taste a cup of hot chocolate and immerse himself a little in the reading, the only activity that still was not hurtfully depressing, that was the way he tried to push away all the tormenting thoughts that appeared in his mind promptly every day.

A small noise made him startle, that sound would have gone unnoticed for anyone but for someone like him, whom the melancholy and loneliness seemed to have trained to detect any strange action that disturbed the serenity in which he lived, that sound did nothing but draw his attention.

He was preparing to look for what had produced that sound when he saw a small card being slipped under his door. He quickly walked to the door and opened it, ready to discover that he had been responsible for interrupting his reading night.

He did not find it. The street was empty in complete darkness. It was as if that person had mixed with the gloom of the night, fading away as if it were a ghost.

Somewhat frustrated, Aziraphale dragged his feet until reentering bookstore and picked up the card lying on the ground. It was color indigo, which reminded him of the color that the sky took on at dusk and written in gold ink with beautiful calligraphy was a simple but mysterious message: per Aspera ad Astra.

"Per Aspera ad Astra" he repeated in a murmur, of course, he knew the meaning of that phrase, but he didn't understand the reason why that card had ended up in his bookstore.

He brought the card a little closer to his face, trying to read that message carefully when he perceived a heady smell, it was a cologne, that was certain, but that smell had awakened several of his happiest memories, it was as if that smell was the trigger of nostalgia in his being.

He smelled the card a little more, feeling like an idiot doing it, but that didn't matter. After a few seconds, he put the card into a pocket of his jacket and walked away while his mind tried to decipher the meaning of that message.

[...]

One would think that this was an isolated incident but did not.

Every day he received a new message on a card of the same color with the same handwriting, all that remained unchanged was still an anonymous sender.

Aziraphale had dedicated himself to examine each card coming, trying to analyze the letter of the card and identify the author of those messages, but as the days passed he resigned, the response would remain unknown for some time.

The days went by until these became weeks and those weeks became months. It had been 2 months since those cards appeared in his bookstore mysteriously, sometimes he found them under his door, but other days he had found them under his books and between the pages of these and were counted the occasions in which some unknown approaching him to hand the card and flee quickly, without having the opportunity to ask him something.

The messages had become part of his routine, and to be honest, that was the only thing that brightened the day and gave him a reason to continue.

A day like any other a new card arrived, but the message was different from the others. It was a date, time and address; that removed his stomach, although he had longed for it, he did not expect to meet the author of those messages, that caused him nervousness and although all his common sense told him that he should not attend that meeting, but a hunch told him that it was important to go.

And so he would.

[...]

He arrived at the unknown building at the agreed time, when the stars appeared in the night sky. Although nerves were shaking from head to toe, indescribable energy was pushing inward, almost guiding him.

He came to a terrace where he could see the sky and the stars at its best. Dumbfounded by the spectacle before his eyes, he did not pay attention to the figure sitting a few meters away from him, turning his back.

A cough made him wake up from his amazement, taking him by surprise.

In front of him stood a tall, regal and dark figure, it was really imposing and that made his legs tremble.

The instinct told Aziraphale to approach and although reason advised him to turn around and flee from there, for the first time, he decided to listen to his heart that was beating strongly at that moment.

Doubt and uncertainty dominate completely but still took a few small steps, timidly heading for the character. A lump had formed in his throat and he felt that his legs would fail at any moment, but still, he approached with such fortitude that even the bravest being had admired.

The faint rays of the moon dimly illuminated the grim figure, giving it an ethereal appearance and making his heart jump. That silhouette was strangely familiar and the warmth it emitted made him feel safe, made him feel at peace.

Unconsciously, his lips move faster than his thoughts and he says that word he had hoped to say without feeling afflicted for a long time:

"Crowley?" He almost didn't recognize his voice; it had come out too hoarse due to the lump in his throat.

The subject moved for the first time, so fast that it seemed he was eager to do so. The light illuminated him more strongly, making his eyes shine with a glow that seemed to outshine the stars themselves. Those attractive eyes that I remembered perfectly because I had dreamed them every night.

The figure approached, with that ride so seductive that made him blush at the sight of him. The moon illuminated him completely and Aziraphale had to resist the desire and throw himself into his arms and give him the most passionate kiss he could give.

"Hello sweetie" he said hoarsely, in a way that looked more like a casual meeting than a reunion after years of not seeing each other.

Aziraphale could only remember the last time he saw him, as his black silhouette disappeared between the streets of London leaving behind a feeling of bitterness and affliction. Watching him leave without knowing that it would be the last time he would see a sensual walk, his attractive look or his seductive voice and that from that day on he would spend every moment of his life overwhelmed by the nostalgia and longing of his memory.

"Oh Aziraphale, so dear, so dearest, so..." The following words died drowned in his mouth, Aziraphale had pounced on him, kissing him in despair, clinging to him as one who clings to his only chance of life.

Crowley kissed him fiercely, it was like coming home, it was like returning to find that half that had been lost for a long time. Aziraphale's warm, soft lips made him feel in the seventh heaven and he was willing to stay that way, showing him all that love that had remained confined in the depths of his being.

They kissed the need to touch each other everywhere, with the urgency of feeling each other. Aziraphale wrapped his arms around the demon's neck, feeling the world tremble beneath his feet.

Aziraphale could die kissing Crowley's lips, but he still separated from him, enough to look him in the eye, those beautiful eyes he had longed to see for so long.

The next thing the demon felt was a direct hit is his cheek, strong enough to knock him down.

"Crowley! Where have you been?!" Exclaimed Aziraphale, he totally burdened and martyred by guilt and Crowley at anywhere being so proud and calm as usual

"Far enough from you" Crowley replied in a murmur, still on the floor, while rubbing his cheek where he had received the blow, that was going to leave a bruise, that was certain.

That response was pitiful to the angel, he felt all the hatred and resentment of the devil towards him for having rejected him a long time ago. He looked down at the ground, ashamed, not only for the blow but for all the mistakes he had made for his obstinacy and blind loyalty to heaven.

Crowley rose from the ground as he could and staggered toward his angel, the one who wanted to touch, hug and kiss until he fainted and could not even see for so long, that being an ordeal for him. That was the bad thing about distance, not knowing if he was missing him or forgetting him

He took his angel's face in his hands and studied each of his features, nothing seemed to have changed, except for his gaze, it had a sad and melancholic air as if his angel had been martyred for a long time.

Aziraphale began to sob, causing small convulsions in his being.

"Angel, what's happen to you?" Crowley questioned, frightened by his angel's reaction.

Aziraphale let go of all the frustration and pain he had suffered during all those years, exploding like a bomb.

"I've been years, several years feeling a void inside me, lost aimlessly. And you are here! You have the nerve to show you here, but you didn't call, you didn't write, you didn't do anything..." He felt how the words fail, drowned in a pitiful groan as he felt the tears flow down his face.

Crowley cursed himself internally. He had spent centuries acting like his knight in shining armor, protecting his angel, keeping him from suffering and keeping his naivety and sincerity intact that seeing the martyrdom that reflected his gaze made him feel that he had failed miserably.

Aziraphale feels the demon's penetrating gaze on him and felt helpless, without thinking about it he even curled up in Crowley's chest, letting himself be covered by the warmth that emanated from his body.

They stayed a few minutes like that, Aziraphale resting his head on Crowley's chest, sucking his scent and recognizing the smell of the cards impregnated in the redhead's clothes and Crowley gently caressing those white curls he always wanted to feel between his fingers.

Aziraphale felt the cold of the night and an instinctive shiver was present. Almost as if he could read his mind, the demon quickly removed his jacket by gently placing it on the angel's shoulders.

"I have a lot to explain" the redhead agreed. "And I swear I'll tell you everything, every detail, I promise you we will recover all the lost time."

"We have all the time in the world, my dear" Aziraphale managed to pronounce while stroking Crowley's face gently, even without believing that he was present and tangible in front of him.

The demon guided him and sat him on the bench where he had been before, taking care of him almost with devotion until the moment he sat down.

They were silent for a long period, but there was no discomfort between them; in the air, it felt the love between them, as accurate as life itself and almost as palpable as reality.

"I thought you were dead" the angel admitted in a broken voice, throughout his life he had spent several years without Crowley's company, but even the separations that had happened for so long could be compared to losing the demon forever, just the thought of that always made his soul feel crumble.

"And so it was" the demon released in a hoarse whisper.

That confession completely astonished the angel, who did not know what to answer to that.

"I was dead, without you" the redhead continued, stroking one of his arms making him feel the electricity running through his body.

"Promise me you won't leave again," he said, pleading as if he were a small child asking his mother not to leave him alone.

"I promise you," said the demon, holding his hand tightly. Crowley felt that he was holding the entire universe, his universe.

Both merged into a big hug, a scene where the words were left over, it was only the two of them and the world could go to hell.

"Go on, ask what you want," said the redhead, ready to answer any questions his angel asked him.

"Oh, Crowley ..." Aziraphale gently stroked his cheek before continuing. "Where had you been all this time?"

The demon subtly kissed the angel's cheek before continuing. "I told you, angel, far enough from you."

Aziraphale was about to say something when Crowley interrupted him.

"You were right" he admitted. "It was dangerous that we were together, I walked away to protect you, I knew that if I took a wrong step, everything would go to hell so I left, to keep you safe until we could be together.

Aziraphale felt like an overwhelming calm invaded him, that explanation was all he needed, Crowley did not leave him, circumstances made it difficult for him to return, but he never abandoned him or stopped loving him, that brought peace to his heart.

"Don't think that didn't hurt me. I've been carrying this pain inside me for so long, torturing me every minute..." the demon continued.

"Oh Crowley..." Aziraphale consoled him, but even so, Crowley continued speaking, unloading all those feelings that had remained inside him, locked up for a long time.

 

"And despite the distance, I never stopped loving you, you know?" I loved you as you love the stars, looking at them from afar, without expecting them to admire you back" he said.

Tears reappear from the blue eyes of Aziraphale and Crowley cleans them affectionately, delighted to feel the touch of his angel after a long time.

He remained admiring his angel fascinated, recalling every detail on his face, from the blue celestial of his gaze to his gentle smile and tender smile, passing through the purity and warmth of his aura, those he remembered perfectly because he had worshiped them every second of its existence. He had finally recovered his Aziraphale, they will finally have the opportunity to be together, the stars would no longer have to be looked sad and sad when he finally had his own star by his side.

"What are you looking at? Crowley?" Asked smiling Aziraphale

"At you" Crowley admitted shameless, making Aziraphale blush.

Aziraphale laughed as he hadn't done in so long. His love, his best friend, his home had returned to him. Every anguish and grief he felt had completely dissipated, but now he felt optimism and hope he thought he had lost a long time ago. Loneliness and resignation were over, now there was only love, warm nights, complicit glances, understanding. A Home.

"You were the one who wrote the card" he observed after a moment of silence. Crowley nodded. "But what did you mean by Per Aspera ad Astra?" He questioned.

"Per Aspera ad Astra" the demon explained with a wise air. "It means through hardships to the stars, I would always come back to you, no matter what. I didn't need to rewrite the stars because you are my star."

A lonely tear fell down Aziraphale's cheek as he heaved a sigh. "I needed you, I still need you." He held his breath, Crowley shut up. "You are all I need, you were my desire, someone to protect, that will save me from myself and my torments ... and you arrived."

"Angel, I..."

"No, Crowley, just thanks, thanks for coming back to me."

"I would have liked to arrive before." He took the blonde's hand and kissed his knuckles softly. "But I promise to be here."

Under the light of the stars and the moon, Crowley cradled his face as he kissed him slowly and languidly. Full of promises.

"It's going to be difficult, but I know we can build something beautiful," he said after separating to recover air.

"I think this is the perfect ending" Aziraphale commented with a laughing laugh.

"No" Crowley denied, "this is the perfect beginning." He leaned down to kiss him again, this time with sweetness and delicacy such that it seemed he could break him at any moment.

The rest didn't matter, just the two of them.