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Crowley attends speech therapy, not by choice mind you but because several months ago his father cornered him in the car after school saying something along the lines of “Really, Anthony, a 15-year-old shouldn’t still have a speech impediment, this is humiliating” then, instead of driving them home, dropped him off to the dreadful office without even a magazine rack to peruse where he has to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half for the person ahead of him to finish up[1], only to then be subjected to more torture in the form of a series of exercises no doubt designed for 6-year-olds, and he has the honour of suffering through this twice a week for however long it takes pronounce S’s correctly[2].

Having nothing to do while he waits[3] he’s taken to observing the waiting room, taking it all in. On this particular day there are 3 potted plants in desperate need of attention, 2 receptionists one is an older lady who refuses to look him in the eye or even acknowledge he’s there while the other, is a much younger girl not much older than himself[4], Mary he thought her name was, always greets him with a very cheerful “Good day, Mr. Crowley!!”[5] Crowley isn’t quite sure which treatment makes him more uncomfortable, and 1 other person in the waiting room.


This newcomer, who has been there for every session for at least a month, is there before Crowley arrives every time and he always has a book[6]. He appears quite proper with his fresh-pressed slacks and a pristine button-down with a sweater vest and some sort of winged emblem over the left breast, perhaps he attends a private school? Regardless it’s rather drab for someone who appears to be a high schooler himself. His perfect blonde curls bounce as he nods his head whenever he agrees with the author and, on the rare occasion when he looked up from his book to check the time, Crowley gets to see his stunning blue eyes; somehow still radiant despite the dungeon-like lighting of the waiting room.


The person whose appointment is before his own is always the same, a short girl black hair, my chemical romance vibes, never smiles. She storms past the receptionist desk ignoring Mary’s up-beat call of “see you next time, miss”. Occasionally she’ll bark a quick, “We’ll leave without you, Zira” at the boy reading, pushing through the doors without waiting for him. Zira, what an odd name odd but intriguing something he could get used to hearing. Crowley is torn between laughing at Zira scramble to gather his things, and feeling mildly annoyed by the aggression directed at the poor guy.


After witnessing this many times now, Crowley has decided he hopes they aren’t dating. Only because it’d be an unfair relationship, of course, and not because the boy is gorgeous and he wouldn’t mind having a go himself. Maybe they were siblings? Crowley doesn’t care, really, but thinking about it does make the wait feel shorter, so on his next visit rather than re-count the number of scuff marks and dents in the ceramic flooring, he slides into the seat next to Zira instead of giving him the usual 3 chair gap to avoid conversation. “Zira, is it?, Crowley attempts to sound suave but the waiting room’s narrow chairs force his gangly limbs into an awkward position, and the ‘is’ gets far too drawn out making it sound more like “Zira, issss it?” Crowley curses his apparent serpentine ancestors.


Aziraphale visibly jumps engrossed with his book and not expecting an interruptions so soon, stumbles over his reply, “Yes uh rather, Azriaphale actually, I don’t quite like my name shortened[7],” he pauses momentarily gently placing today’s book[8] in his lap using his thumb as his makeshift bookmark his face now baring an adorable frown, “how did you know my name, good fellow?”


‘Good fellow’ Crowley can’t help but smirk a little, “Apologies, that’s what your sister calls you after her appointments so I just assumed, bit tetchy isn’t she?” he curses his speech impediment more and more as each word leaves his mouth; any microscopic hope that Aziraphale would find him cool enough to talk, maybe even exchange numbers, was completely dead.


“Goodness no! She’s not my sister.” Aziraphale almost looks offended.


Crowley’s heart buckles a little of course she’s his girlfriend and he even called her “tetchy”, what an idiot. He tries to swallow his grimace before speaking once more, “ah yes, girlfriend then? Sorry about the tetchy comment she-”


Aziraphale nearly retches at the implication, “Dear boy, you really must stop assuming things.” He adjusts his tartan bow tie[9] and continues, “if you must know Beelz is my brother’s girlfriend and I am only here because he refuses to wait and promises to stop driving me home from school if I’m not here when she gets out.” He lets out a small sigh, indicating irritation, but from the look he gives the door, it’s directed more at the girl behind it than his new companion.

“Right, she doesn’t seem like the type who’d need a babysitter though” Aziraphale smiles at the babysitter comment, a truly angelic sight; something Crowley hopes to see more of in the future.

“If left unattended she, well, doesn’t attend, says it’s far too childish for someone her age,” Aziraphale grimaces[10], “I don’t mind though it gives me plenty of time to read.” and there it is again; the beautiful smile.

Before Crowley can even consider replying, the slam of the speech therapist’s heavy door echos off the nearly empty waiting room and a mass of black is shifting quickly in then out of his line of sight, indicating the end of the girl Crowley now knows as Beelz’s session.

“Come on, Zira, you can talk to your boyfriend on Friday,” the girl shouts, already halfway through the door as eager as ever to leave.

“Right, yes,” Aziraphale is quickly but kindly shoving his book into his messenger bag, “I do suppose I will be seeing you on Friday then, Mr. Crowley, I quite enjoyed our talk."

The tables are reversed for Crowley is now the one confused as to when the other acquired his name, Aziraphale catches on to this and quickly adds, "Miss Mary greets you every time you come, that’s how I knew” blessing him with one final radiant smile, before making his usual quick exit.

Crowley sinks deep in his chair[11]. Friday, he can’t help but think how soon yet far away it is all at once. For the first time since starting Crowley is glad his father drops him off early; and is even a bit excited for his next session, despite the current one not even beginning yet.



[1] His father couldn’t be bothered to drop him off at the time of his actual appointment he’s a busy man of course.

[2] Or until his father stops being embarrassed by him which is far less likely to happen.

[3] There is only so much you can do on your phone before it gets boring.

[4] This is probably just an after school job for her.

[5] She tried for several weeks to start conversations with him upon his arrival but eventually decided he mustn’t be the talkative type and now leaves it at the greeting.

[6] A new one each visit, thick and old but well-loved; not a page out of place.

[7] His brother and everyone associated with him insist on calling Aziraphale various nicknames to annoy him.

[8] The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

[9] An item of clothing Crowley has yet to see him wear before today and plans on teasing Aziraphale about his old-fashionedness should the other choose to continue speaking to him after making such a fool of himself.

[10] Possibly recalling the incident which resulted in his new position of ‘babysitter’, which consisted of Beelz not going to her session at all and choosing to instead smoke a pack of cigarettes in the parking lot, and flick the butts at her therapist’s car.

[11] He refuses to get up until the therapist specifically asks for him.