That hamlet scene.
They walk away from it, and Crowley can't seem to stop bringing it up again, so finally aziraphale goes
"WHAT dyou think you coulda done better than the poor sod?"
Crowley turns with flames in his eyes.
"!!!!!!....no let's talk about something else"
Later in history, after the French revolution thing, they go drinking. They're fairly tipsy and joking around.
Laughter dies down...Aziraphale feels loose and bold and he's been thinking about that and also reading hamlet lately. So he asks about it.
"Why were you so touchy with that hamlet fellow back then"
"I wasn't.. I wasn't touchy, the bloke just couldn't bring the lines to life for shite"
He expects a reprimand for the profanity, a harsh look or something, but it doesn't come. Aziraphale tries to hold back a grin and like he looks down at his glass to feign casualty, Crowley can feel excitement buzzing off of him. He downs half a bottle in response.
"What I think..-
he shoots a quick look up at Crowley
-well I think you might have given it a sho-"
"Oh bugger off!"
"No really! I think you'd be quite decent as an actor, what with your.. ykno, propensity for flare and bolster"
Crowley takes another long swig. He knows what the angel is doing, but he doesn't particularly care. His pride has been sore about that incident for over a hundred years for lucifer's sake.
They go quiet for a minute. Aziraphale doesn't push, he just quietly sips his wine, occasionally glancing at Crowley's profile: he sits with his legs crossed, one arm sprawled over the backrest of his chair, the other resting on the table, his fingers tracing the neck of the dark green glass bottle.
In the quiet of the room, Crowley's voice pours out like clean water from a barely open tap: discrete, clear.
It's the monologue.
Aziraphale doesn't dare breathing too hard, schooling his human body to be as quiet as physically possible. lifting only his eyes and not his head, he looks at Crowley while he speaks every line carefully, but effortlessly. It's obvious he knows the monologue by heart.. And by heart really is the right figure of speech.
The demon keeps his eyes down, occasionally glancing around the room, at the ceiling, in the general direction of Aziraphale's hands on the table, but never at him directly.
The angel sits dumbfounded, every beat of his figurative heart focused around Crowley's voice: he's not just declaring the words out loud. Every single one of them he utters.. It sounds like he's chewing them up inside his mind, savoring them carefully before he spits them out into the dim light of the room. But he's not spitting them out, no...it's more like the letters that make up every word he says are an amorphous block of clay, and he's molding them with his hands inside his head and baking them up in his throat and his mouth is the furnace and when they come out they're these individual, unique little sculptures, every single one of them, and Aziraphale can feel the...the care and truth Crowley puts into each one, like...like he really knows what he's talking about.
This is not the performance of someone who just feels very akin to the author, this is not an admirer who's speaking. Crowley knows every single one of these words personally. He's lived them on his skin.
Aziraphale knows what the monologue is about. Life or death. An extremely human, painfully divisive matter. Being face to face with the most fundamental choice: you can stay on this earth, live, let all the pain and struggle bend your spine and scrunch up your knees like thin paper, or you can rebel, give up the fight, go gently into that good night. With all of the respective consequences.
Canonically, it's not a demon's dilemma. Nor an angel's, really. Angels and demons were created simple: their nature is extremely in tune with their purpose.
And still Crowley wrote this. His fiery eyes trained on a piece of parchment, alone, in the dark of some solitary room, somewhere. How long ago? How long has he felt like this?
Did they wander among humans for too long? Are they forever tainted?
Crowley speaks melodious and low: the words come alive, react to him like sunflowers to the summer sun. Every once in a while, his lips curl into the faintest smile. It's not smugness, he doesn't revel in his performance...or maybe he does, but it's not purely out of ego. If Aziraphale didn't know better, he would say it's the genuine pleasure of doing justice to his own art. Expressing his feelings, if you will.
But demons don't have feelings. Nor do angels.
That's right, Aziraphale doesn't have feelings, just the most gigantic, gargantuan lump of pressure inside his chest.
He's been slowly sobering up while Crowley spoke, so as to be in full control of his faculty, to remember this moment as clearly as angelly possible, and now that his friend is breathlessly coming to an end, Aziraphale realizes he might be in trouble.
Maybe they really are tainted after all: Crowley with his newfound existentialism, and him...With his lump.
Crowley takes a breath and looks up at the angel, who looks like he's about to collapse in on himself, his aura dizzingly intense to Crowley's sinuses.
"...come on Aziraphale say something or I'm gonna strangle it out of you"
So it's still him then.
"I'm pondering Crowley I don't want to just blurt something out! This deserves some care in the choice of words"
Crowley mumbles an "alright then don't get your drawers all twisted up" and sloshes the content of the bottle around, frowning at the weight of it.
"YOU bastard! You un-drunked yourself so you could remember this and tease me about it in the future! Oooh you are EVIL Azirapha-"
"Would you shut up you knob, I'm trying to muster up enough dialectic so that I can tell you how bloody beautiful that was! Lord almighty, with YOUR kind I swear on all the seraphins.."
Crowley pauses, then chuckles, taking a swig, glancing at the frowning angel in front of him.
"...aaaah it's alright, don't fuss about it, really it's just-"
"NO! No I wanted to tell you how..."
Here's where Aziraphale trips over himself: how to convey the general meaning of this heavy, shiny lump of his, if he can't deliver its core intentions?
Because Aziraphale might be a pure, unscathed celestial marble soul, made of energy and godly intentions and purpose and holy rightful pride, but he knows love when he feels it. And he knows a demon when he sees one sitting right before his eyes.
So this is what all those poems and songs meant, isn't it. Huh.
Both party leave the encounter feeling heavy, haunted: the angel from all the words he hasn't spoken, the demon from the ones he has.
Crowley had never, since he wrote those lines, felt like they were his to deliver. He did, however, feel this...inexplicable push to release them among the humans, something he couldn't really explain if not with a fundamental admission to his charred, crispy demonic heart: he wanted to share his experience in the mortal world...With them, with the mortals. Almost like he was some sort of peer to them, like he shared some of their anguish. That particular weight behind his material sternum...hamlet DID come mostly from that, but where did THAT come from?
Crowley avoided the question as much as he could. But the way the angel had looked at him after he recited that monologue...it zapped Crowley like a slightly shy bolt of lightning.
Aziraphale really didn't need to elaborate, not cause Crowley felt it wasn't something important, but because he could clearly see it written across that angelic bloody forehead that the words had touched him. Deep. A lot deeper than that time they had heard them together delivered so poorly.
Crowley finds himself smirking and this time he zapps himself.
What's bugging him is that he had NEVER felt like he wanted to be the one performing his piece. But that day, hearing his own words uttered with such devoidance of meaning, of torment, of FIRE and seeing Aziraphale applaud such a disgraceful performance-
A small fire erupts on the side of the road Crowley's walking along, and it snaps him out of his demonic outrage. He puts it out with a snap of his fingers in turn, and walks faster towards whatever'll take his mind off of all of this.