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Everything started with a mistake in delivery.

 

Since the first time Aziraphale opened his bookshop, Crowley had always known his propensity to do everything in “proper human way”, as he always insisted on. This included regularly ordering custom letter paper with his bookshop’s header, pristine white business cards with elegant letterings, and embossed envelopes. The store Aziraphale ordered his regular stationery from had been open for business for almost 40 years, and the owner’s reliable service matched Aziraphale’s preference toward consistency.

 

That is, until the store changed owner.

 

The previous owner, an elderly man with a genial smile, had come to Aziraphale’s bookshop to personally say goodbye to “his best customer”. He said that he was about to move to France and enjoy his retirement there, assuring the angel that the new owner would keep tab to his regular order of custom stationery. Aziraphale accepted his parting gift, somewhat sad that he would no longer have the pleasure of his amiable conversation, and quietly blessed the old man so he would never forget his stuff even when he was in a hurry. (Crowley gave a gruff “bye” and a nonchalant wave behind Aziraphale’s back, but the nice old man just laughed. He, like Aziraphale, just knew better.)

 

Afterward, things went back to normal. Or so Aziraphale thought.

 

He had no idea what caused it. Perhaps a confusion over the system or an honest mistake when the new owner finally ran the stationery shop, but Aziraphale’s next custom order did not come as he had expected. Crowley had dropped the package onto Aziraphale’s desk when he came with their usual wine bottle to share. However, when Aziraphale opened the box, all he saw was a bunch of plain white paper and envelopes.

 

“Huh,” Crowley leaned slightly from his standing position behind Aziraphale’s chair, his frown matched the angel’s albeit half-covered with his sunglasses. “That’s not like what you usually have.”

 

“I know,” Aziraphale huffed in frustration. “The new owner made a mistake. I guess it is expected, but this will throw all my scheduled plans into chaos.”

 

Crowley snorted. “Only because you are too stubborn to stick with handwritten letters for every correspondence, angel! And what’s that deal with the cease-and-desist letter you sent to that poor bookshop owner? That their presence drove MORE customers to your shop?”

 

Aziraphale turned on his chair toward Crowley, face indignant. “You know how I feel about those rare book collections, Crowley! Why did they feel the need to place the sign ‘bookseller’ so prominently near my shop? I have no intention to attract codex-starved bibliophiles from far and wide, but for some reasons, many people think that this bookshop and THEIR bookshop are the same.”

 

“And your response was, of course, painstakingly crafting that ominously polite letter with the type of handwriting no one has ever used in correspondence since decades ago. Ever wondered why they thought all that thing was a joke and did not take it seriously? Not to mention making me deliver it personally…”

 

“Alright, alright, for heaven’s sake.” Aziraphale huffed. “But mind you, Crowley, there are people out there who appreciate beautifully-written letters with proper handwriting. Make it more personal, make the one who receives it feel special and appreciated, unlike those electronic mails.”

 

“The electronic mails that you still need, obviously,” Crowley chuckled, not for the first time, when Aziraphale threw an almost offended gaze to his old, clunky computer, which now only worked because of a certain angelic miracle. “Now, what are you going to do with those?”

 

Aziraphale looked at the box, with the white paper and envelopes still inside, and sighed. “Well, I guess I have to make a phone call. I am sorry you have to wait for me, dear. It won’t be long.”

 

Several minutes later, Aziraphale plopped on the sofa next to Crowley, who was fiddling with one of the wine glasses he had grabbed from the angel’s cabinet.

 

“Well?”

 

“Well, I just relayed my complaint to the new shop owner. Very nice man. He apologized profusely, and he let me keep these papers and envelopes while he is sending me the correct batch of stationery.”

 

“And what are you going to do with a bunch of plain white paper and envelopes? Miracle them so you can have extra?”

 

“Oh, no, no. I can’t perform small miracles all the time, Crowley. You know I prefer doing things, er, in a more traditional way.”

 

“You mean the human way. Come now, angel, we’re no longer under Heaven and Hell’s watch, remember?”

 

Aziraphale sighed as Crowley popped open the wine bottle. “Still, I don’t feel like performing miracles for this, Crowley. It’s an honest mistake, the shop owner admitted it and promised to send the new ones. I just feel like I have to respect that.”

 

Crowley shrugged. “Suit yourself, then.”

 

He was about to pour wine into Aziraphale's glass when the angel’s eyes suddenly glistened. “Unless…”

*****************************************

When Crowley opened his eyes on Aziraphale’s sofa (with a tartan blanket draped over him), the first thing he noticed was: there was no Aziraphale nearby.

 

A wine bottle plus several more from Aziraphale’s own cabinet were on the table. All of them were half full, which meant Aziraphale had woken up and got rid of his hangover before Crowley. The demon blinked and closed his eyes, doing the same for his own hangover before standing, trying to locate Aziraphale.

 

He found the angel sitting on his desk, writing something. A pile of plain white paper and envelopes from yesterday was on his right, and there was a smaller pile of envelopes on his left. He was so focused he didn’t realize that Crowley had stood behind him.

 

“Ah! Good morning, dear. How are you feeling? Want some tea?”

 

Crowley shook his head. “Nah. What are you writing? Some complaining letters? I thought you were okay with this mistake in the delivery thing?”

 

“On, no, no, dear. I am alright with it, that’s true. I will simply wait for the good man to send me the correct order. No, I am going to make good use of these, er, wrong delivery.”

 

Crowley leaned forward, seeing what Aziraphale was writing. He was silent for a moment, but a small smile crept between the corners of his mouth.

 

“That’s lovely, but what are you going to do with it?”

 

“Why, I will send these letters to those who need it, of course!”

 

“Those…you mean, all these letters have the same content? And you wrote the same one over and over? All these?”

 

“Oh, Crowley, you made this sound like a bad thing. I told you I like personal letters, right?”

 

“Yeah, but…all the letters have the same content! Why don’t you write one and photocopy the rest or something if you don’t want to use miracles? Why write them down one by one if they have the same wordings?”

 

“Well, to make each of them special, of course! I have to make sure that everyone gets the same letter, in my handwriting. They come from my heart, and I want that to translate well. And speaking of special ....”

 ************************************************************

Hours after Aziraphale had finished his pile of letters, Crowley returned to the angel’s bookshop. The box in his hand, previously filled to the brim with Aziraphale’s handwritten letters, was now empty.

 

Crowley plopped himself onto Aziraphale’s couch, gratefully accepted a glass of wine from the angel, sighing with almost exaggerated sound that made Aziraphale chuckle before placing a gentle hand on his arm. Crowley might act all bothered, but Aziraphale knew Crowley would never waste his demonic miracle just for doing the angel’s wishes half-heartedly.

 

True to Aziraphale’s belief toward Crowley’s success, the letters found their way to many hands who might need them that day.

 

A young man about to have his first swim with his top surgery scars visible found the letter between his towel while he was nervously fiddling with his bag’s contents.

 

A nurse whose bright cherry blossom-patterned head scarf clashed with her tear-stained eyes found the letter in her locker after a patient had yelled racial slur at her and refused her touch.

 

A single parent unsure if they could be a good parent to their newborn baby found the letter in the drawer when they were looking for a fresh diaper.

 

A sixty-year-old trans woman found the letter in her shopping bag when she was standing longingly in front of a boutique, about to buy a dress for the very first time in her life.

 

A middle-aged pastor about to come out to his congregants found the letter inside his bible, which he flipped open nervously when he was composing his sermon.

 

A drag queen crying backstage after a bar patron hurled bigoted slurs during their first performance found the letter in their purse when they reached for a pack of tissues.

 

An elderly man who just had a bunch of people commented on his foster cat account that “people of your country eat cats” found the letter under the floral fabric he was about to turn into a cat bed.

 

A young woman returning from grocery shopping, frustrated after some people pushed her wheelchair out of their way without permission, found the letter inside her bag, slipped between the bread loaf and pasta box.

 

Everyone who received Aziraphale’s letter found it under different circumstances, but Crowley made sure that Aziraphale’s wish was fulfilled: that each letter would come to anyone who needed it the most, at that particular moment.

 

My dear,

 

You are probably tired.

 

You are probably confused, unsure about yourself.

 

You probably wonder if you made the right options.

 

You probably feel like you are a stranger, that you don’t belong anywhere, no matter how hard you try and how sincere you are.

 

You probably feel that everything is too much, that every bad thing seems to happen endlessly and never give you a chance to breathe.

 

You probably think that everything and everyone makes you see yourself in a horrible way, and for some reasons, you feel like it’s your fault.

 

For that, dear darling, I am sorry.

 

I am sorry you have to feel that way.

 

I am sorry people refuse to get to know your true self, to see beyond your outer appearance.

 

I am sorry the world acts so cruelly toward you, while all you want is to live and be left in peace.

 

I am sorry that there are people who think you don’t deserve happiness.

 

But, my dear, please know this.

 

You might be afraid, but you stay strong.

 

You might be tired, but you keep going.

 

You might be struggling, but you keep doing it anyway.

 

You might be hurt, but you keep hope in your heart.

 

You might face hate, but there is love you are willing to share in your heart, be it for someone or many people at once.

 

For that, I say: thank you.

 

Thank you, my dear, for staying.

 

Thank you for choosing to stay alive.

 

Thank you for choosing to be your true self.

 

Thank you for trying to get to know yourself, even if it’s hard and scary sometimes.

 

Thank you for taking that brave step, any kind of step, no matter how little.

 

Thank you for taking a chance to love, to be compassionate, to open your heart.

 

Thank you for learning to accept love.

 

Thank you for being here.

 

My dear, you might be different, struggling, confused, afraid, or questioning.

 

And I swear, it is alright.

 

You are here, with all the good, the bad, and the confusing swirling inside you, becoming colorful pieces that compose ‘You’.

 

You are here, with all the layers and parts of your identity, which sometimes clash and make you question and that’s okay, because you are just that complicated.

 

You are here, which means every trace you made is always the part of this world.

 

You are here, with everyone else in this Pale Blue Dot, drifting in the universe together because you are a part of it too.

 

You are here, and that’s enough reason.