Crowley is a demon. He has no use for endearments.
It is, as Aziraphale might put it, down to his basic, you know, general nature. There is a matter of object (whom would he possibly address that way?) and of intent (and why?), and both of these matters are very simple for a demon, and can be summed up as zilch, nada, null. A demon may mock, tease and condescend, but he does not feel the need to be close, nor the desire to express that emotion. He does not feel affection.
And so, he has no use for endearments.
It had felt perfectly proper, for that reason, to call Aziraphale an angel when they'd first met, before he'd had a name – an angel is what he is, after all, and the word had not yet meant anything else. It had been a useful label for something that was true, simple and unadorned; so distant and impersonal as to nearly be insulting. That had been his intent back then, after the Garden and their deployment to Earth, when they'd first found each other – no, not like that, not back then, but that's just how mushy human brains work, tinting everything with rose-coloured glasses.
Crowley had, by that point, resolved on a new name to celebrate the change of scene, and found nothing more irritating than those who ignored him having a name altogether. Him and the angel had been new, and so very territorial about it - and so, in a rare show of offensive empathy, he'd taken to calling Aziraphale – as he blessed well knew – by the fact of what he is, just to see how he'd take it.
Six thousand years, and not a complaint. He is beginning to doubt the integrity of that particular scheme.
It did not matter how venomously he hissed it, how much contempt for all that is good and holy he'd tried to pour into it, back in the day – and precisely that, in retrospect, might have been the problem. It is awfully hard to pull off 'insultingly impersonal' when you're all but jumping out of your skin trying to be personal about it.
Not that he has any use for endearments.
But affection is much like its darker siblings - anger, pride, envy – emotions all, not to mention Sins, thank you very much, and the line between one emotion and another can grow so awfully thin.
As thin as the ephemeral boundary between Sin and Virtue.
The angel would disagree – or perhaps even not, not anymore, come to that – but nothing in the world would be as it is were it otherwise. That is, after all, what the whole phrase about pavements and good intentions is all about – how easy it is to start on one path, and end up on another. As if, perhaps, the paths were not so different after all. As if they were, if you wanted to be crass about it, just names for sides.
Different sides – not of the same coin, because nothing is ever that two-sided – but of the complicated, tangled yarn of human feeling.
He supposes it doesn't matter all that much, then, if what he's feeling is affection, and possibly even the desire to express it.
(Not that he has any use for endearments.)
What does matter is that in six thousand years, he's never called another angel what he calls Aziraphale - facts and unadorned reality be damned, that epithet is his angel's alone.
What matters is that they have, in all other things, shifted and adapted and gone with the flow as human culture surged in around them like a flood, higher and higher until the angel and demon were nowhere to be seen (good thing they do not need to breathe). What matters is that human language, too, has crept up to engulf them, the word angel branching out to new spheres of meaning, complicated and simple all at once, and yet Crowley has never, not once, found it anything less than fitting.
What matters is dolphins , and warm yellow electric lighting, the cheery clink of bottles and clear eyes watching him from across the table.
And Crowley wishes, sometimes, that he could have that simplicity, that he could use that word and have it mean that and only that , unsullied and uncomplicated by millennia of history and everything else the word has ever meant, in the grand, cosmic scheme of things.
(Then he usually remembers, thinks back on those six thousand years, flushes the alcohol from his body and gives himself a kick for being a sodding idiot. Humans can do what they want with their language – the word belongs to him. It always has.)
What matters is that Aziraphale may not always answer his phone or respond when you're talking to him but is always there, one way or another; that he may get lost in his books for days at a time but it is oh so easy to get lost alongside him. That he may have a positively unangelic contempt for the modern, the un-tested by time, but a marvelous taste nonetheless, and it's not so bad if Crowley hasn't met all of these people when they were alive, because the stories they've written are still them and still ripe for the picking.
What matters is warmth, and the contrast between the scratchy wool of a jumper against one side of his face and the smooth fingers cradling the other, even in the rustle of turning pages, and how he can and has spent days asleep in that position. Forget days - what matters is that he could stay like that forever, pressing himself as close as he wanted, and never want for anything again.
What matters is coming out of the rain, through doors that are always open to him, and the creak of floorboards under his feet as he smells cocoa.
What matters is ducks, blast them, and how 'Sorry, forgot myself for a moment' can mean a thousand different things depending on when and where he is – standing in mud with crumbs in his hands or pressed flat against the door, the raindrops on him vaporising out of sheer embarrassment.
Crowley has no use for endearments.
But sometimes he forgets himself just so, and is forced to conclude that he really doesn't mind books but would much prefer not to share, not when the angel's hands are both free to tangle in his hair and deftly pick loose the stubborn little buttons of his shirt and cheat quite shamelessly when they get impatient. What matters is that he's taken to wearing the most complicated outfits imaginable just to tempt the angel to frustration that little bit further. He is, after all, a demon – one who possibly enjoys hands plucking at his clothes just a little too much, especially when his own are making much swifter progress.
What matters is tartan, and the skin beneath.
Crowley has no use for endearments, but sometimes he forgets himself, as he worms, snake-like, into a warm embrace and a soft afterglow.
And then, all excuses be damned, he breathes the word angel in every way it has ever been meant.