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Double or Nothing

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It was fascinating - and horrible – to look into the yellow eyes, to peer at the high cheekbones and slender form. That was, if Crowley was in any way honest (something he tried to avoid), more of a nervy skinniness in the demon facing him. It was more existential horror than he'd imagined facing on a mid-week evening, and that included being in the same room as Aziraphale's unrestrained sense of home décor.

"Can you help me?" Crawleigh said, winding his skinny fingers together and gazing imploringly into Crowley's horrified sun glasses. "I'm in such trouble. Oh dear. I really can't believe I lost the Boss's son."

"Oh, I can," Crowley snapped, ignoring the angel's oh-so-helpful yell of Have you tried Oxfordshire villages? from the kitchenette. "What the hell are you wearing? Anyone who wear that loses everything."

Crawleigh huddled deeper into his frayed sports jacket with the leather patches on the elbows and looked like he was trying to somehow hide in the non-existent depths of the upright chair he was sitting on uneasily. He pushed his neatly-cut dark hair into even stricter order, somehow giving the impression that he was a well-behaved ten year old, not an immortal being.

"It's comfortable," he whispered. "It makes people trust me."

"Uh-huh. And you find they want to make deals with Open University lecturers who drive crap alleged cars, do you?"

"Well, no, but old ladies let me carry their groceries, and give them lifts home – "

Crowley sat back on the sofa he was monopolizing, pinching the bridge of his nose. He could feel the universe shifting, showing him a terrible uncaring world where he genuinely felt he might say, There but for the grace of God -

"Look," he snapped. "You're a demon, for Satan's sake. Just have some infernal dignity, would you? No more old ladies. No more taxi service. And dress either much, much better or much, much worse. Go for excellent style or deliberately terrible style just not no blessed style. Capiche?"

"I can't afford new clothes," Crawleigh said in a little, meek voice. "I'm on a very small monthly budget, you know."

"What? Just make some."

The other demon looked down, shuffling his feet in a bashful, timid manner and winding his legs around the chair legs. Crowley felt highly irritated and vaguely alarmed. If he had ever looked like that, even when extremely drunk and even if only in front of Aziraphale - especially if in front of Aziraphale – he'd never be able to exist with himself.

"I can't," Crawleigh said in a tiny, shamed voice. "I can't do anything."

Crowley just Looked at him. It was the Look that got Aziraphale gabbling out all the juicy secrets, like what Heaven was up to this decade, which angel had once looked saucily at another and spent the next thousand years repenting, and where exactly he'd hidden the Jaffa Cakes. It got Crawleigh flinging himself forward off the chair and wrapping his arms around Crowley's knees whilst sobbing hysterically. It was not, Crowley decided, a good result.

"You must be able to do something," Crowley said, trying to prise open his doppelganger's vice-like grip on his legs. "Come on, when was the last time you updated your sun glasses?"

"Why would I wear sun glasses inside?" Crawleigh sniffled into his stylish trousers, making them damp in an extremely unstylish way and then wiping his blessed nose on Crowley's thigh.

Crowley fought down the urge to just annihilate the fucker.

"Let's try something simple," he said, making it sound like Unhand me or die. "A pair of classic Ray-Bans. See?" He produced the desired item from raw firmament, sighed as Crawleigh's eyes went round in amazed wonder, and dropped them onto the other demon's face. "Now you. Go on. Any style you like. Copy those."

"But I can't. Don't you understand?" Crawleigh lowered his voice to a shamed whisper. "When they made me an earthbound demon they made me human." He squawked in alarm as Crowley poked him hard. "Stop! No claws, no claws!"

"You don't feel human."

"Well, I can't be killed, but I can be hurt. Oh, I can certainly be hurt – you wouldn't believe how rude some people are – "

Crowley held up a hand. "You can't conjure things up."


"You can't just – make the world do what you want."


"Anticipate humans' thoughts?"

"Oh. That's a thing?"

"Keep the Ray-Bans. They're a start. How'd you ever get to be a demon anyway? If you even are one."

Crawleigh shuffled back a little, fiddling with his new shades. At least he had let go of the knees, Crowley reflected.

"Well, I. I, um. Fell. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. I was hanging around with the wrong people."

Crowley snorted with dry laughter. "Tell me about it. Actually, wait. Really, tell me about it. What do you mean, hanging around with the wrong people?"

"I saw these angels all looking at something so I went over to see what it was," Crawleigh said. "I'd never seen any of them before. They were listening to a speech by some guy: tall, imposing, real way with words. The next thing I knew there was fighting everywhere. And the next time I saw the guy giving the speech he was giving another one about it being better to reign in Hell."

"Aziraphale!" Crowley yelled. "This guy literally just hung around with the wrong people! Can you believe it?"

"Isn't that what you always say?" Aziraphale called from the kitchenette.

"Yeah, it's what I say," Crowley muttered, who had never wanted to be seen trying too hard at anything.

"Help me be a better demon! I mean a worse one! How did you make the sun glasses?"

"I dunno, I just did."

Crawleigh looked distinctly dissatisfied. It was a more familiar expression than the helpless pleading at least. "You must know! Did you have to imagine them down to their last molecule or something?"

"What the hell's a molecule?" Crowley said. "Hey, Aziraphale!"

"I'm trying to make sandwiches!"

"How do you do miracles?"

"What? I, well I suppose I call on the infinite majesty of God. Or something. Not the infinite majesty of something, definitely of God. I don't know, I just do it."

"Soooo," Crawleigh said, and Crowley wondered if the wheels turning in his mind were quite as obvious when he was the one doing the thinking, "Should I call on the infinite majesty of God?"

"No!" Crowley and Aziraphale both said.

"Seriously," Crowley said, "I really just, you know, do things." He illustrated by turning one of Aziraphale's overly-squashy ancient cushions into a less-offensive jacket and throwing it at Crawleigh. "It's not like I reach deep within myself, remember the moment I Fell and call on the infernal power of Stygian Pit Number 7500B."

Crawleigh looked up at him from his kneeling position on the floor, a tragic expression on his face. "My wings didn't work," he said hollowly. "Just thinking about it makes me want to call on Stygian Pit 7500B myself."

His eyes suddenly glowed and a massive lava-like gout of hellfire erupted, blasting Crowley off the sofa and incinerating the frankly insipid print of sailing ships Aziraphale had on the wall.

"Fuck!" Crowley yelled, extinguishing the fire as quickly as he could.

"Oh, wow!" Crawleigh said, clapping his hands together in glee.

"My sitting room!" Aziraphale shrieked, coming back in with a tray laden with mugs of tea and a plate of cheese and Branston pickle sandwiches. "Bloody demons!"