Aziraphale doesn’t need sleep. He has enough energy in his body to stay awake for as long as he wants, and doesn’t abuse that power to do so.
Crowley needs sleep. Badly. He does have the same amount of energy in his body as much as Aziraphale does, but he uses it up to almost an unhealthy level.
Speeding Driving his Bently through London, wasting his vocal chords on screaming at his plants, using up his miracles for the smallest of things, anything, really. It didn’t really look like it was bothering him, though. Maybe because he sleeps on his wall and it’s too uncomfortable for him.
Either way, it sure was bothering Aziraphale that Crowley constantly just looks so tired all the time. The angel occasionally wondered how in the world the demon was able to function somewhat properly every day and night. At least Aziraphale knows how and when to rest if he needs to, but he doesn’t necessarily sleep. But Crowley… Aziraphale isn’t so sure what he does to rest, if he does rest at all.
The two shared a plan where one would go over to the other’s place for the night, once, each and every week. Crowley has been the one going over to his angel’s, mostly. Aziraphale didn’t want to press any questions as to why Crowley has been doing it so much… but dammit, he was worried and curious. And there was one particular day where Crowley was extra nonchalant and Aziraphale was extra worried. He knew that something was wrong with Crowley the moment he opened the door to see him at his front steps… again.
The demon’s fingers were fiddling on his sides, and his hair looked very ruffled. And even though he had his sunglasses on, Aziraphale could definitely spot an extra eye bag or two underneath. Both of them exchanged worried, tired, fake smiles.
“Morning, angel,” Crowley’s voice was more gruff and mumbly than all the other times he’s visited Aziraphale. The angel stepped away, letting Crowley in his bookshop. His feet were almost dragging across the floor. Aziraphale shut the door and turned his sign to “We’re closed!” as he anxiously followed Crowley around the store. “It’s the afternoon, Crowley. The clock just struck 2:30.”
“Right,” the demon replied, almost bumping into one of the bookshelves. “Ope- pardon me.”
Aziraphale’s brows drew together lightly. Crowley adjusted his sunglasses down his nose as he turned over to him. “What’s that look for?”
“Oh, n- nothing,” Aziraphale’s fingers stretched out and fidgeted as he spoke. “Are you, uh… Are you alright today, Crowley?”
“Of course I am, Aziraphale,” Crowley swaggered, trying to raise his voice. He glanced down to a small table that holds a tilting pile of books. Two of his fingers gently tapped multiple times on the top. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Uh,” Aziraphale was trying to be careful with his words. He didn’t want to look obvious that he was worrying about Crowley’s well-being of sleep. “It’s just that you’ve seemed a little bit more, um… fatigue… lately.”
The demon raised an eyebrow, almost judgingly. Aziraphale pursed his lips, expecting Crowley to say something like his usual smartass snarkiness. “’m fine, angel.”
Aziraphale didn’t believe him, but went on with it anyway. Crowley plopped on Aziraphale’s couch, with a leg hanging out. “Anyway, how’ve you been? Last week feels like ages ago.”
Aziraphale softly chuckled at that little comment, sitting down on his chair in front of Crowley. “I’ve been alright. I’m catching up on a new book series, so that’s… nice.”
Crowley almost rolled his eyes at the last word, but shrugged it off. “What is it?”
The angel grinned slowly, chuckling again. “It’s the book that Adam wrote and gave to me. The one about the pirate that’s a detective? Very creative boy, Adam is. He said he’s continuing it as a series the last time he visited!”
Crowley was nodding along to Aziraphale’s words. It didn’t look like he was paying much attention like usual, but it was nice of him to have some kind of physical response anyway.
“Neat,” Crowley tried to sound as awake and supportive over Adam’s imagination as best as he could, and Aziraphale could sense it clear as day. “That’s real neat. A bit rude of him not to give me a copy though.”
“You said you don’t read.”
“I could keep it on a shelf or something, at least,” Crowley added, clearing his throat. “Anyway. What’re we doing today? Bus ride? Ritz? Picnic? Feeding ducks? Queen in the Bently?”
Aziraphale pursed his lips again, knowing that just by looking at Crowley, he looks and acts far too tired to do any of those things he just suggested. Especially when he’s out in the sun in such dark clothes, even though Aziraphale is fairly certain that Crowley really likes the heat and a demon won’t die of heat stroke. And Crowley doesn’t eat much, when of course he doesn’t need to. But still…
“I was actually thinking that we could, um,” Aziraphale looked around his surroundings, trying to think of something for he and Crowley to do that doesn’t give him too much. As soon as Aziraphale looked back at Crowley to suggest something small and simple, he almost jumped out of his seat. Huge black wings were suddenly sprawled out from Crowley’s back. Multiple messy feathers were poking out. Some feathers were already landing on the floor. Aziraphale recoiled a hand, and slowly stood up from his chair. “Crowley, your uh… your wings…”
“Mmm?” Crowley blinked slowly, looking up to his wings and feathers all over the place. “Oh! Didn’t know I was gonna be molting again today. Heh.”
“You… want me to help?” Aziraphale asked gently. Crowley shook his head, fiddling with some loose feathers. “Nah, it’ll be fine. This has been happening a lot lately.”
Maybe because you’re TIRED AS ALL HELL, Aziraphale wanted to say, but he let the demon finish with “These things will go away later.”
Aziraphale sighed lightly, sitting back down in his chair. “Alright, then.”
The two sat in silence for a good few minutes. Aziraphale’s thumbs were fidgeting. Crowley’s head was nodding multiple times as he forced himself to stay awake. The angel was looking at him worriedly the entire time they were quiet. Crowley’s sunglasses were closed up on his chest, as he tried to force his poor snake eyes open. It looked like he was going to keep that up all day. Aziraphale sighed sadly, and had a small idea to snap his fingers.
The time on his clock changed, and there was no daylight outside. Crowley’s eyes flashed open, peeking out the nearest window he could find. “Did the day just go by super quickly, or is that just me?”
It didn’t look like Crowley even heard his angel’s miracle snap.
Aziraphale shrugged. “I have no idea. Maybe both.”
Crowley said nothing, closing his eyes. Aziraphale wants his demon to get as much sleep as possible, so miracling time to skip to night was a start.
“Ah,” he looked over at his clock (9:36 PM) and got up from his chair again. “Crowley, I’ll be… right back. I have to fix something in my room.”
Crowley’s eyes peeped open. “You want me to help?”
“No-!” the angel replied quickly, then toned his voice down a bit. “I- no. I’ll be fine, thank you. I’ll shout for you if I need you.”
Crowley nodded again, wings twitching. “‘right.”
As soon as Aziraphale left the room, Crowley sighed, and felt his wings vanish. No molted off feathers in sight. Crowley’s eyes were shut after a few seconds, and had vivid memories and images of fire all over the place. “SOMEBODY KILLED MY BEST FRIEND! BASTARDS! ALL OF YOU! ”
The demon flinched harshly and pried his eyes open by staring up at the ceiling. He’s failing, but he’d hate to admit it.
Aziraphale gently shuts his door behind him, and slapped his hand on the center of his head. “Ugh, he’s miserable, I can just feel it.”
He rubbed his face as he stared at his bed. The mattress is only used up on one side (which is basically where Aziraphale reads in the middle of the night), while the rest is still completely stiff. Aziraphale went over to his right desk and turned his lamp on so he could tidy up his comforter blanket for Crowley. He isn’t entirely sure how Crowley sleeps because he uses his wall, but from what he’s obviously known and seen is that Crowley never sleeps, so he would have to see how this would go.
As soon as he finished, Aziraphale sat down on his side of his bed. “Crowley! You can come in if you’d like!”
He immediately heard some shuffling from outside of his room, and the sound of Crowley’s feet dragging across the floor became slightly louder as he came closer. The door opened, and Crowley peaked inside, seeing Aziraphale sitting on his bed with his legs and arms crossed. The demon was a bit confused. “Angel, what’s up?”
Guess Aziraphale didn’t really have a choice but to say what’s been bothering him this entire time. The angel sighed again. “Crowley… you need sleep. A lot of it. It’s been bothering me for a while.”
Crowley had his hands in his pockets. “... Aziraphale, you do know that we don’t really need sleep, right?”
“Just hear me out, please?” Aziraphale rolled his eyes. “I know we don’t need to, but you’ve been using up almost all of your energy for almost everything you do! You need to have some kind of resting mechanism, or an actual bed, or… something! I’ve been worried about you for weeks!”
The growing desperation in Aziraphale’s voice almost hurt Crowley, but he tried not to show it. He slowly strolled over to the opposite side of his angel’s bed, staring at the comforter. He sighed, and the two locked eyes for a moment. “I don’t care if you don’t want to, but trust me, you need to sleep. It’s unhealthy for a demon like you to abuse your energy to the point where you’re like this.”
“It’s not because I do a bunch of shit, Aziraphale,” Crowley muttered. Aziraphale blinked. He was already almost blushing for making assumptions. “What? Oh- Well, should I ask what it really is?”
“Bad dreams,” the demon flatly stated. Aziraphale’s eyebrows lifted, and he opened his mouth to say something, but after a quiet pause, “Oh…” only came out.
“I didn’t know that demons could even have bad dreams…” the angel’s voice went quiet, mostly of embarrassment.
“Neither did I until a few months ago,” Crowley said. “They got real bad so I just, y’know…”
Aziraphale’s head shot back up to him. “You mean to tell me you haven’t slept in months?! ”
Crowley inhaled through his teeth, making a small hissing noise. “Yeeeeaaaahhhh…”
Aziraphale’s leg hung at the edge of his bed. “Crowley, why didn’t you tell me sooner?? I should have known so I’d do something to help you!”
“It’s fine, angel-”
“No it’s not! What were the dreams? Did something happen?” Aziraphale stood up and stomped over to Crowley, holding onto his arm.
“Just a bunch of PTSD shit I went through from the Apocalypse that didn’t happen,” Crowley shook Aziraphale’s hands off. “It’s alright now. I’m over it.”
“Then why are you not sleeping?”
“Because I don’t need to-”
“I’m not an idiot, Crowley!”
Crowley flinched. Same sentence from a long time ago, but a much more different inflection and meaning behind it. He let his angel continue. “I want to help you get over these dreams! I’m staying here with you until you go to sleep tonight!”
“It won’t change a thing, Aziraphale.”
“I want to help you anyway. Look, I miracled time to skip just so you could sleep for at least a little bit. Please?”
Does it really matter that it would have to be nighttime to go to sleep? Humans take naps all the time when it’s day. Oh well.
Aziraphale was giving Crowley the puppy begging eyes, but it was unintentional. It wasn’t the usual playful “Help me so I don’t have to do it myself” kind of look, this one was real and desperate.
This angel is too selfless, Crowley always thought. But he’s too selfless to refuse getting help from.
Crowley sighed, looking at Aziraphale’s bed again. He took his sunglasses off, tossed them on the left desk, and fell face flat on the mattress. Aziraphale heard a defeated muffled “Okay”, and sighed in relief. “Thank you, Crowley.”
“Mmhmmm.” Crowley stuck out a thumb as Aziraphale took off his trench coat and shoes, and sat back down on his bed. “Wouldn’t you be a bit hot dressed in black in bed like that?”
Crowley groaned as he lazily took off his tie, blazer, shoes, and pants, only for Aziraphale to see that he’s still wearing a black tank top, shorts, and socks. Crowley sat on the bed next to him with his legs crossed. “Good enough?”
Aziraphale reached over to his left desk to grab his glasses and Adam’s book. “Good enough.”
“Cool.” Without moving too much, Crowley got himself under the gold comforter. He had his face towards Aziraphale and noticed his adorable, circular, dumb little reading glasses. “You’re an angel, you don’t need glasses to read.”
“I like to think they make me look nifty,” the angel smiled, making Crowley let out a small “Heheheh.”
Aziraphale had his legs covered up and he felt Crowley scoot a bit closer to him as he got himself situated. “Are you going to sleep, Crowley?”
“Maybe.” Crowley’s real answer was “No.”
“Close your eyes, Crowley,” Aziraphale replied, patting the demon’s fluffy, dirty crimson hair. “If anything happens, I’ll be here to help.”
Crowley said nothing. He closes his eyes and actually falls asleep rather quickly. The angel hummed softly, starting to continue reading Adam’s book.
Everything in the bookshop is burning.
“ Aziraphale, where are you, you idiot, I can’t find you! For God’s- for Satan’s- AGH! For SOMEBODY’S SAKE, WHERE ARE YOU?! ”
“ Crowley!! ” Finally, a call for help!
“ Aziraphale?! ”
“ Crowley, help! I’m burning!! ”
“ I’m coming, angel! Stay where you are! ”
“ Please Crowley, help me! Everything hurts!! ”
“ I know, Aziraphale, I’m coming! Hold on! Gah, angel! Where ARE you?! Shout or something! AZIRAPHALE! ”
“ CROWLEY! HELP! SOMETHING’S AFTER ME! ”
“ WHAT?! ”
“HURRY! PLEASE, CROWLEY! SAVE ME!!!” The angel’s voice was changing.
The demon busts open his friend’s bedroom door.
“ AZIRAPHALE! I’M HERE-! ”
“ Oh Crowley~ You’re a bit too late, aren’t you? ”
“ What-?! ”
“ Heheheheheheh. ”
“ What the deuce did you do? Where’s Aziraphale, you bastard?? ”
“Where do you think he is? ” He gestures the fire. The fallen angel almost felt his heart sink. “ No- No, you fucking didn’t-”
The demon laughs. “ What if I tell you I did? ”
The fallen angel’s heart was doing a number of things. He didn’t like it. Before he knew it, he was launching himself on the demon, punching and screaming. “HOW COULD YOU?! YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME!!!”
The demon was laughing maniacally, and whistled loudly. “ MICHAEL! THE HOLY WATER! ”
“ Yes, Mister Hastur~ ” The archangel was probably wearing a hellfire safe suit.
The fallen angel wasn’t paying any attention. The last thing he felt was a steaming hot splash on his back, losing his grip on the demon he was wrestling. Black was taking over his vision, and the sounds of fire, crying, and maniacal laughter filled in his ears.
Then he woke up.
Crowley was sitting in the corner, hiding his face behind his legs, and was yanking at his hair. He was crying harshly, cocooning himself with his black wings, with molted off feathers that were all over the bedroom. A faint, familiar gentle voice was calling his name multiple times, but he couldn’t hear it over the sounds of him crying. And because of his big thick wings blocking anything away that could possibly be a threat to him. When he tried to open his eyes, everything was pitch black. Eventually, a finger or two hesitantly took hold of Crowley’s wings, slowly moving it away to give him some light. The gentle voice became a bit more clear, but Crowley’s crying was still very loud and shaky. Hell, his entire body was trembling.
“...ley? ...owley? Crowley…?”
His name was being repeated so many times, it could almost make him kill something.
“WHAT?! ” he snapped.
His wings spread out, both hitting the walls with more and more feathers poking out. His eyes were wide and blurred with big tears and his teeth were bared and gritted together. His fingers were pulling out multiple little chunks of hair as they almost looked like the form of claws.
Aziraphale backed away from Crowley with his hands recoiled up to his chest. He almost had small tears in his eyes himself as if he felt he was being helpless. “Crowley, it- it’s just me…”
The angel slowly knelt down to his knees in front of the shivering demon, holding out his hand. Crowley stared at the angel and his hand many times. He didn’t know whether to trust his sense of reality or not after… whatever the hell just happened. Oh, fuck it.
His fingertips shakily reached out to touch the palm of Aziraphale’s hand. It felt very warm. Crowley likes warm. His wings and feathers vanished. He was still trembling like a leaf, and he felt more tears having a race down his cheeks. He couldn’t help but notice a small mess in the room. The angel saw Crowley’s eyes travel around, and back to him again.
“I, uhm…” Aziraphale swallowed a lump in his throat. “I guess this is what happens when a demon has bad dreams… right?”
Ignoring the question, Crowley suddenly leapt onto Aziraphale, crying uncontrollably. The angel’s body froze up almost completely. In a few seconds though, he gained some kind of selfless instinct to gently wrap his arms around Crowley, with his own white wings surrounding and the both of them. A bit the opposite of how they wanted to happen, as Aziraphale was rubbing Crowley’s back and shushing him quietly, that only made the demon cry harder. The two had no idea why. It might be because Crowley never had such real physical comfort? Seems the most possible.
Now, the two had no idea how long they stayed on the floor, but as soon as Crowley stopped crying, he fell right back to sleep, with Aziraphale still holding him. The angel was careful to try not to move around too much, but he eventually gave in, and let himself stay on the floor with Crowley for the rest of the night in case something happened again.