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The Troubles of Cohabitation

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The night an angel and demon decided to cohabitate was not one for the history books.*

*unless you count this one. The author does not.

It had been a typical day with typical inconveniences mildly thrown off balance by a group of demons who chose that exact typical day to come to Earth and gain prestige Below by torturing the demon, Crowley, who had recently been involved in the scandal involving the-apocalypse-that-almost-was.

Unfortunately for said demons, a white-clothed man had opened the door to the apartment just as they had restrained the excommunicated demon.

“Oh dear,” the white-clothed man had said before banishing them with a snap of his manicured fingers.

Aziraphale looked down at Crowley who was tied to the coffee table and clucked his tongue. “That’s no good, my dear.”

With no demons restraining him, Crowley ripped through the ropes they had used to tie him down and sat up, his long limbs nearly tangling as he threw himself into a standing position. He growled and marched past Aziraphale. “C’mon, angel, let’s go get drunk.”

Aziraphale traveled after him awkwardly, making sure to lock the door with a small miracle. Banishing those demons had taken a lot out of him. Aziraphale always hated using so much power before 2 pm.

They started their drinking in the pub on the corner. The one where no one looked at them twice and where Crowley could yell for more bottles of scotch whenever he felt like it.

One bottle down and when he hollered for a second, the barman scuttled over to replace it.

Aziraphale cleared his throat, still working on his first glass. He was much more of wine man.

“Are you quite alright, Crowley?” he asked, shuffling in his seat. He’d gone over to the demon’s flat because he had been running late for tea at the cafe by the bookshop and while Crowley was always slightly late, an hour really was out of character.

“Am I alright?” Crowley spat. “I just had my body tied down by holy rope,” he lifted his wrist to show Aziraphale the burns and the angel hissed in sympathy, “was screamed at by a group of demons so young they were practically children. They called me ‘a servant of good.’ Where did you banish them to? I hope it was someplace full of joy. Oh! Maybe a church. That would have been perfect.”

Aziraphale shook his head with a bit of regret. “I was in quite a hurry, my dear. I’m afraid I only sent them back where they came from.”

Crowley frowned deeply and then tossed back the rest of his drink.

“Why don’t we go back to mine? I’ll open a lovely red I’ve been saving. We can order Thai from that place you love so much—”

Crowley’s head swiveled on his neck and stuttered for a moment as if the movement made him dizzy. “You hate Thai food.”

“I like the crab rangoons. And besides, you like it and I imagine you could use a little comfort right now.”

And so with that, they found themselves in Aziraphale’s back room surrounded by the dusty smell of books, the air scented with curry and coconut as Aziraphale sloshed wine into both their cups. Crowley was much further gone than he was but he was doing his best to catch up.

When Aziraphale scolded Crowley for setting his takeout container on a stack of books, the demon groaned.

“They’re just books , angel,” Crowley said as he smacked his lips and laid out on the cushions of Aziraphale’s couch, looking for all the world at home.

Aziraphale blinked at the sense of rightness that flooded through him. He was drunk and feeling overly fond of the demon. It happened occasionally.*

*At least once a day.

“You waste—what? At least two hours a day digging through catalogs for old dusty tomes. And for what? Another flammable brick for the stack,” he continued as he poked one of the towers of books next to the couch. It wobbled precariously.

Aziraphale hurried to right the leaning tower and looked at Crowley with reproach. “Might I remind you that we are immortal and as such, we have plenty of time to waste on matters that others might consider frivolous. Or should we discuss your plants?”

“My plants serve a purpose,” Crowley growled, sitting up with a frown.

“And my books don’t?” the angel countered, folding himself into the overstuffed armchair a little clumsily.

Crowley waved his hand and sunk back into the sofa. “Fine, fine. You win. Dirty pool using my plants against me.”

Aziraphale regarded Crowley, that feeling of warmth and rightness growing inside him. How many nights had they spent like this, across from each other surrounded by the dusty smell of old books and the warm smell of freshly brewed tea. Aziraphale didn’t know. But he liked to think it could be all of them for the foreseeable future. If Crowley fancied it.

“Why don’t we live together?” Aziraphale asked, struck by the potential of it. They could live together. They should live together.

Crowley shot up straight as if someone had pinched him. Aziraphale continued thoughtfully, the more he thought, the more it made sense, “We spend all of our time together as it is. If any other demons come sniffing, it would be good to have each other’s backs, hmm?”

Crowley’s face wrinkled up in that way it did before he was about to say something biting* but instead, he worked his jaw.

*or when he was about to sneeze

“I suppose I like having you here,” Aziraphale said, thinking out loud. “And, oh,” he breathed, “wouldn’t it be nice to have someone around?”

Angels weren’t supposed to be lonely , per se. They weren’t made that way. But sometimes Aziraphale wondered if his distance from heaven was what made his chest ache in the evenings after Crowley left and he found himself alone. If it was that distance that made him pause over the stove in the morning and wish for something he couldn’t quite name.

“There’s no place to park the car,” Crowley replied.

“There’s a garage down the street,” Aziraphale said, perking up when the demon didn’t outright refuse.

Crowley scrubbed at his chin. “It would never work. We’d kill each other.”

“We haven’t killed each other yet,” Aziraphale pointed out.

“Well, we haven’t lived in each other’s pockets.”

Aziraphale huffed. “At this point we see each other nearly every day.”*

*sometimes twice and even as much a three times a day depending on the weather

“I suppose it would be useful to keep an eye on each other.”

Aziraphale nodded triumphantly. He hadn’t exactly anticipated Crowley agreeing, but he was overjoyed when he did.

“Oh my dear, then it’s decided! How delightful!” he declared, standing and rushing to the back room for champagne.

When he returned, he poured them two hasty glasses and raised one as Crowley took the other tentatively. “To a successful* cohabitation!” Aziraphale said. His chest felt warm and his whole body was tingling.

*wherein they do not kill each other

Crowley grumbled something in response but when they clinked their glasses together, Aziraphale could tell he was smiling.

--

Crowley was taking advantage. He knew he was. But it wasn’t his fault that Aziraphale was so eager to accommodate him.

The angel scooched the spider plant a little closer to the railing of the porch and looked up at Crowley expectantly. “How about this?”

Crowley raised his eyebrows behind the lenses of his formal* sunglasses and waved his hand in what he thought of as a lordly, dismissive manner. “Acceptable.”

*he had misplaced his casual ones during the move

They had spent the majority of the day transporting all of Crowley’s belongings into what had once been Aziraphale’s study. The angel had rarely used it, much preferring working in the book-filled interior of his shop. Something about the smell, or so he said.

Some items had come via miracle and others were moved with good old-fashioned elbow grease. Crowley had finagled it so Aziraphale ended up on the working end of moving boxes and plants up the stairs. He watched the angel huff and puff his way up the steps, turning slightly red from exertion.

It was quite a pleasing sight when all was said and done. Crowley felt a particular warmth and satisfaction at how he had done—or rather not done—something to make the angel turn that particular color. It was all in good fun.

For the last twenty minutes, Crowley had been complaining that the new plant arrangement would be detrimental to leaf growth, so, in an effort to help, Aziraphale and been moving all the pots around based on Crowley’s whims.

Aziraphale stood and put his hands on his hips, clearly forgetting they were smeared in dirt that quickly transferred to his light colored clothes. “You’re teasing me, aren’t you?” he said, his lips twisting in consternation.*

*it was really affection, but Crowley had difficulty recognizing the warmer emotions and therefore read the expression incorrectly

Crowley grinned, baring all his teeth. “What if I am?”

Aziraphale marched up to where he was lounging on the chaise he had miracled into existence early in the moving process and poked the demon in the chest. “I’m trying to help you.”

“And you have.”

Aziraphale huffed and rolled his eyes. “You are insufferable.”

“I’m not the one who asked you to move in,” Crowley said, sticking out his tongue between his teeth, momentarily considering returning it to it’s forked, serpentine glory, just so he could watch Aziraphale’s eyebrows draw together into that one particular horrified expression that always delighted Crowley.

Instead he just looked up at the angel, tongue poking out and watched Aziraphale’s expression soften. Crowley’s stomach cramped uncomfortably and he wondered if he’d perhaps eaten some bad sausage that morning. He miracled the food from his body but felt no relief.

Aziraphale dragged him inside, forcing him to help unpack the boxes and make the bed. The angel held the silky black sheets in his hands, running his now clean hands over the slick surface before handing them to Crowley.

“Those are lovely,” Aziraphale said. “Perhaps I should consider an upgrade.”

“I thought you’d think it all too hedonistic,” Crowley said. He snapped the sheets letting them air out. Aziraphale picked up the opposing corners and helped him pull it over the flat expanse of the large mattress.

“I’m not sure heaven cares either way at this point,” Aziraphale replied. With the prim efficiency that Crowley now expected from him, Aziraphale buzzed around the bed tucking the sheet in with hospital corners and standing back as Crowley spread his deep red duvet over the bed.

“Well, that’s very nice. Very you ,” Aziraphale said with a clap of his hands. Crowley raised an eyebrow at him but couldn’t disagree. The bed had been placed where the desk used to be, centered between two dark and arching bookshelves set into the wall. It created a very...ominous atmosphere that Crowley found he enjoyed.

“So, how would you like to christen the place?”

Crowley hissed, simultaneously refusing the angel’s use of the word and the image it conjured up; how humans christened bedrooms. It was absolutely not what Aziraphale had meant.

Aziraphale was seemingly distracted, not even responding to Crowley’s disturbed noise as he flipped open the lid to one of Crowley’s boxes, huffing in disappointment before moving on to another one. That one seemed to do the trick because Aziraphale looked up at Crowley excitedly.

“Tchotchkes!”

Crowley did not call any of his possessions tchotchkes. They were assorted statuettes.* But instead of correcting the angel, he just mutely took the proffered items and began the slow process of placing them on the shelves behind the bed. He was certain he’d have to rearrange them later as he mindlessly placed them on the shelves.

*they were tchotchkes

Aziraphale stood back with a bright smile and said, “That will do. Much more homey.”

Crowley glared at him but was aware that his sunglasses ruined the effect when the angel just kept smiling at him.

A few moments passed in silence as they stared at each other—angel grinning and demon frowning—and then Aziraphale startled. “Oh! My apologies. I suppose you’d want to be settling in yourself. I’ll leave you to it. Let me know if you need anything! Though I suppose you know your way around the place.”

The angel bustled out of the room and Crowley watched him go, a feeling of unease and want rising in him.

--

Aziraphale was in his reading chair, a book splayed open in one hand when Crowley appeared in the doorway, limbs loose in that sauntering way of his. Aziraphale put down the port he was drinking and sat up. “Everything going well?” he asked.

Crowley grunted and then threw himself on the sofa, tossing a hand to his forehead dramatically. “I’ve finished.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale said, not sure how to reply to that.

Crowley waved his hand. “Keep reading. I’m going to lounge .”

The demon said the word as if it contained multitudes of definitions, each one filthier than the last. Aziraphale felt himself turn pink. What a thought.

The hours ticked by and Aziraphale began to feel his corporation’s eyes grow tired from overuse. He could miracle away the strain but over the years he had found that he liked it. It reminded him to take breaks and in this case, that it was time to rest. Aziraphale did not need to sleep, but several millennia on Earth had shown him that maybe the humans were on to something, what with all this sleeping. It was a uniquely peaceful way to pass the time.

He shut off the lamp next to his chair and set the book down on the end table, a bookmark carefully tucked between its pages. Aziraphale tried to exit the room quietly so as not to disturb Crowley’s—well, Crowley’s lounging, but when he reached the door the demon spoke up, “Where are you going?”

“Oh,” Aziraphale said, whirling around, his housecoat shifting around his hips, “I thought you were asleep.”

“I was resting my eyes,” Crowley said from somewhere in the dark.

Aziraphale scowled minutely. “I’m going to bed, Crowley. Stay down here if you like.”

The demon hummed as Aziraphale left the room and for once, the angel went to bed realising that the feeling of something missing, that the ache in his chest, was gone.

He wasn’t lonely anymore.

--

Crowley woke up as the sun streamed in through the skylights in Aziraphale’s reading room. He blinked against the awful brightness until he realized his sunglasses had tipped off his face at some point during the night. The stupid formal ones were not nearly as reliable as his casual ones. He would need to make a point of tracking those down.

A humming from the far room drew his attention. In between the little bursts of noise an off key voice sang snatches of a melody that Crowley couldn’t place.

The demon shuffled himself off the couch and followed the sound of Aziraphale’s voice into the kitchen where he came to an abrupt stop.

The angel was standing by the stove, one burner heating a kettle and the other being used to fry up eggs. His singing was quiet but he was moving slightly to the imaginary rhythm, a smile quirking his lips, and in that moment Crowley fell.*

*Metaphorically**

**not Fell as in from heaven, but rather fell as in love

Crowley had known about love. It was in all the good books written by the worst people. It was one of those human things that he had never bothered to understand beyond the fact that it could be useful in the temptation process, though that was usually lust which Crowley preferred when it came to the tools in his proverbial toolkit.

But knowing was an entirely different thing than feeling. And when Crowley felt it he realized it had always been there, nestled in his breast, and something—the apocalypse-that-almost-was or the cohabitation, who knows?—had shaken it loose.

For the last two millennia they had been friends, and for the four millennia before that they had been casual enemies. What was existence without Aziraphale? Crowley did not want to know. Aziraphale was the most important being in his hellish life and now he was somehow more .

And as the something jangled in Crowley’s chest, Aziraphale turned, his smile growing brighter. “How was your first night?”

Crowley tried his best not to choke. How absolutely puerile. Love. He was pathetic. He’d get his demonhood revoked.

If it hadn’t been already.

“I’ve slept on your couch before, angel,” Crowley said. See, that was fine. Situation normal.

“Yes, but you haven’t slept on the couch when you lived here,” Aziraphale pointed out turning back to the eggs.

Did the angel always wake up and wander around in his undershirt, boxers, and housecoat? Crowley liked the way the white cotton shirt hugged the curve of Aziraphale’s belly, how the housecoat made him look soft .

The demon snarled.*

*Sneezed.

“God bless you,” Aziraphale chirped and Crowley did snarl.

“You take that back!” he demanded and Aziraphale gave him a surprised look.

“Slip of the tongue?” he said, chagrined but not nearly chagrined enough if Crowley had anything to say about it.

“You did that on purpose,” Crowley replied darkly but Aziraphale went back to humming as he scooped the fried eggs onto a plate and poured them each a cup of tea.

“I slept wonderfully, thanks for asking,” Aziraphale said, placidly stirring the cream into his tea.

--

Crowley was acting strange. Aziraphale wondered if it was the sudden change in living situation. It was hard to believe that since Crowley had lived among crowds, and hordes, and in all sorts of conditions throughout the millennia. Living in a bookshop with his best friend should not be such a hardship.

The demon would come and go as he pleased, usually returning with some trinket or treat. The other day it had been delightful truffles from a chocolate shop in Bristol that Aziraphale had devoured within twenty four hours. Shortly after the chocolates, it was a book of Whitman poetry. Signed!

Aziraphale had demanded to know where Crowley had gotten it but the demon was tight lipped on the subject and Aziraphale had trouble turning down a book.

It wasn’t that the trinkets and treats were all that strange. When they had been in Japan at the same time in the early 1900s Crowley would appear every few months with another food that he demanded Aziraphale try—the mochi had been particularly memorable, quite chewy—or a book in the beautiful script Aziraphale had tried and failed to teach himself.

He still kept the books though. It was the thought that counted.

And Crowley was like that—thoughtful. Not that he’d ever admit to it but Aziraphale knew. It was part of their friendship, Crowley loved the world and wanted to share it with someone and Aziraphale was a convenient option considering the whole immortality thing. But they were also friends and that suited Aziraphale just fine.

No, what was strange about Crowley was how jittery he seemed. It reminded Aziraphale of the time that Crowley had drank something called a ‘five-hour energy shot’ and then nearly a dozen more just to “see what would happen.”*

*What happened was a half naked demon trying to climb onto the roof of Aziraphale’s bookshop so he could stretch his wings because he could “feel them crawling inside”

Now, Crowley was jittery and skittish. Jumping at small things and generally taking up less space than Aziraphale was used to. No more lounging on the couch. Only sitting. No more kicking at his legs under their table at the Ritz. Only eating and mild chatter.

It was all very boring . And all very not-Crowley .

So, one evening, in an old-fashioned effort to get into the demon’s head, Aziraphale tracked down several bottles of very good scotch and cornered Crowley in his bedroom. Crowley lurched back against the bookshelves when Aziraphale banged open the door, a bottle of scotch in one hand and two tumblers in the other, a deck of cards secure in his breast pocket.

The cards were his backup plan.

“My dear, did I startle you?” Aziraphale asked, ignoring the way Crowley scuttled closer to the bed and ultimately the door. Rain began to plink on the french doors that led to the patio and Aziraphale shook his head. “Pity, a drink on the balcony sounded nice. This will do though.”

Aziraphale miracled a chair into existence beside Crowley’s desk, pulling the ornate chair the demon used so they could sit next to each other.

Crowley eyed him, reminding Aziraphale—as he sometimes did—of a snake with the way he tilted his head on his neck. Aziraphale looked at him expectantly and the demon huffed before throwing himself down into the chair at his side. Aziraphale poured several fingers of scotch into one of the glasses and pushed it towards the demon who just raised one eyebrow before taking it.

He sniffed the liquid hesitantly.

“Oh very nice,” Crowley said, a smile overtaking his face. Aziraphale thought it was very nice to finally see his friend smiling.

The demon slugged back the liquid and smacked his lips. “Burns just right.”

Aziraphale refilled his cup and then drank some of his own. He tried to hide his grimace behind the rim of his glass and must have succeeded since Crowley made no comment.

When Aziraphale refilled Crowley’s cup again, the demon scowled at him. “You trying to get me drunk, angel?”

Something about the word—Crowley had been calling him angel for centuries —sounded more like a pet name than an epithet. Aziraphale blinked and replied, all innocence, “I would do no such thing, my dear.”

Crowley’s lips became a thin line but he finished another drink, the sway of his body becoming more evident, more serpentine. “Do you ever have feelingsss ?”

The demon said it like a dirty word. Feelings .

Aziraphale’s whole body was far too warm so he set his glass down. Perhaps the drink was affecting him more than he had anticipated. “Are you referring to physical sensation or, er, a more metaphorical—”

“Metaphorical,” Crowley said. “Emotion.”

Aziraphale hummed and said, “Yes, I suppose I do. It’s all very human though. I know I felt a great deal of distress during the apocalypse for one.”

“No, not general feelings. I mean of course we have feelingsss. I mean deeper feeling. Romantic feeling. Do you think we can?”

That gave Aziraphale pause. What did he know about romance? About love? Not very much if he were being honest with himself. Of course he knew things. He’d read books* after all and knew the very human expectations. Happily ever after and all that.

*Aziraphale had a fair number of romance novels in his collection. He had enjoyed every single one.

Unfortunately Aziraphale had never related to the descriptions of romance he had read. It was all about closeness and affection and really he had all of that with Crowley and they were best friends which had nothing to do with romance .

“I’m not sure. Have you?” Aziraphale’s tongue felt too big in his mouth, like he could swallow it.

Crowley grumbled incomprehensibly and Aziraphale felt like the floor was dropping beneath him. Too much alcohol he was sure.

“What has you getting so philosophical?” Aziraphale asked, digging his fingers into the armrests of the desk chair to steady himself.

Crowley didn’t respond, just stared into his cup despondently, so Aziraphale continued, “For something we’ve been working towards our entire existences, I suppose the apocalypse was rather anticlimactic. It would make sense if you felt a bit...unmoored, my dear boy. I, too, have been feeling a little...well, lonely.”

Crowley nodded but he still looked queasy. Aziraphale pulled out his deck of cards and forced the demon to play several rounds of gin which at some point in the last century they had developed into a sort of drinking game*. Finishing the bottle(s) of scotch, they found themselves seated on the ground, backs against the end of the bed, Crowley gesticulating wildly as he explained how important yogurt was in a particularly complex plan to bring about evil in Greece.

*It consisted of drinking every time they put down a card and was extremely effective

Aziraphale tilted his head back so it thumped into the mattress, his neck pressed at an uncomfortable angle but it was the best angle at which to regard Crowley. At some point, the demon had removed his ever present jacket, his black shirt had become unbuttoned and his tie loosened so it hung awkwardly about his neck. For a brief moment, 6 millennia of history overlaid with the ridiculousness of the moment blurred into a static that swirled through Aziraphale’s body. And as he buzzed, something inside him shook loose.

Beautiful was the word that overtook the static and echoed through his drunken mind.

And when Crowley’s hands fell into his lap and he turned to look at the angel expectantly, Aziraphale felt a resounding “oh” of understanding.

“You’re drunk,” the demon announced, poking Aziraphale in the stomach.

He slapped Crowley’s hand away. “So are you!”

“Yesss, I am,” Crowley said, a pleased smile taking over his face and just like that Aziraphale realized he loved Crowley. Was in love with Crowley.

In love with a demon! His mortal enemy!

His...best friend.

He was going to get his angelhood revoked.

If it hadn’t been already.

Aziraphale was suddenly considering the variable meanings of best friend. Crowley had called him that many times, to the point where Aziraphale had adopted it as the definition of their relationship. Best friends. It suited them. He could have human friends but none of them could compare with Crowley who understood him in a way no one ever had or ever would.

Now he was discovering that the human definition of friendship was woefully inadequate in describing his relationship with Crowley. They were best friends because they were more than friends.

Aziraphale realized he was staring at Crowley who was staring back. The angel shut his mouth, clicking his teeth together. “Alrighty, time for bed then.”

Crowley stared up at him as he hauled himself to his feet, swaying slightly.

“Goodnight, my de—Crowley. Goodnight, Crowley,” Aziraphale said, shutting the door hurriedly behind him.

When he collapsed in bed, his mind still whirling, he realised that the loneliness was back.

--

How did one woo an angel that one had known for as long as the existence of the Earth? It turned out that figuring out you were in love with your best friend made things incredibly uncomfortable between you and said best friend.

Especially when the realization was accompanied by a freight train of memories that screamed YOU HAVE BEEN AN IDIOT. HOW DID YOU NOT KNOW? IDIOT.

Oh, Crowley knew Aziraphale loved him. Loved him in the way that angels loved all things. And perhaps that love was tinged with the affection of a long acquaintance but it wasn’t—it couldn’t be the way Crowley wanted it to be.

But as with everything, Crowley was certain he could bend this truth to his will.

So he started with gifts.

The chocolates had gone over well. He’d known they would. Books of poetry could only go so far before Aziraphale started accusing him of stealing. And accusations of wrongdoing were not a good way to seed affection.*

*it was, however, a great way to seed discord

Aziraphale had called him unmoored and that was how he felt. Perhaps not how Aziraphale had suggested—with the thwarted apocalypse making him question the meaning of the universe. Rather, Crowley found himself floundering.

Despite the floundering, Crowley had a plan.

Woo the angel, tell the angel, and then…???

Things got a bit fuzzy after Crowley imagined telling Aziraphale about his...feelings. He’d mistakenly brought it up when whiskey loosened his tongue and Aziraphale’s response had been dreadfully discouraging. He could only imagine it going two* ways.

*He preferred not to entertain the third option. It was far too hopeful and made his stomach squirm.

Crowley: I’m in love with you.

Aziraphale: Oh my dear boy, that’s very flattering, however angel’s don’t really do love. Not in the way you’re implying.

OR

Crowley: I’m in love with you.

Aziraphale: You are disgusting to me, thinking an angel would sully themselves with a demon.

So Crowley was doing work . He didn’t exactly have much else to do these days with no assignments or reports to write and send to the office, his time was his own.

He made sure to spend his free evenings in the living room where Aziraphale did his reading and his researching, hoping that sheer proximity might turn things in his favor. Whenever he entered the room, Aziraphale looked up and smiled at him. It was the same smile Aziraphale always gave him.

But it wasn’t enough .

So Crowley started planning outings for the two of them. Aziraphale loved classical music, and good food, and books, and long conversations, and wine. Crowley knew everything Aziraphale liked.

And he was plying the angel with all of them

“Tickets to the symphony!” he declared one afternoon when he slammed open the shop door. Aziraphale appeared between two bookshelves and made a high pitched keening noise like he couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Tonight?” he asked.

“Tonight,” Crowley confirmed.

The demon put on his best fitting suit and yelled at his plants until he felt slightly calmer.

Aziraphale was waiting for him downstairs, a red bow tie perched in the collar of his pale blue and yellow plaid shirt. The entire thing would have been quite dashing if not for the lumpy sweater vest that covered the plush parts of his body that Crowley sometimes felt like he wanted to eat .

Crowley swallowed. “That’s a very nice tie,” he said and Aziraphale narrowed his eyes. Crowley held up his hands. “Not mocking. Just suits you.”

The suspicion in Aziraphale’s eyes faded and he patted the garment affectionately. “I am rather fond of it.”

Crowley grinned and tried to make it look less predatory than normal.

When they sat at the theater, Crowley made sure to sit as close to Aziraphale as possible, occasionally pressing a hand into his thigh and whispering into his ear. He barely got any reaction and Crowley flailed as they left.

“That was quite lovely. Thank you for getting the tickets,” Aziraphale said, wringing his hands as if he were nervous.

“It makes me happy to see you happy,” Crowley said before he could think better of it and Aziraphale beamed at him.

“That is a very kind thing to say,” Aziraphale said, eyes shining and Crowley groaned.

He was being kind and it was disgusting.

He tried to remind himself of that as his stomach flipped.

When the two of them returned to the shop and retired to their separate rooms, Crowley laid awake and made a decision. It was time.

--


If discovering your long repressed feelings for your mortal enemy wasn’t bad enough, having said mortal enemy constantly shower you with affection was absolute hell.

Not that Aziraphale would know.

Crowley had always been casually affectionate, gift giving and occasional kind words couched in disdain. But now this behavior was constant.

Taking Aziraphale to dinner, going on picnics, attending the opera, complimenting him. The world must be ending.*

*Don’t worry, it wasn’t

So the angel smiled and accepted Crowley’s kindness as some manifestation of grief surrounding what he believed to be the angel’s death when the bookshop burned down. Aziraphale thanked him every time he came home with pastries or cakes and he thanked him when he miracled a picnic during a particularly nice day at the park.

It would all be very nice and before they had moved in together, Aziraphale would have said that the warmth running through him was caused only by the joy of seeing Crowley’s little defections to the side of good.

Now he knew better. And now that he knew better he couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed before. The brightness he felt in Crowley’s presence, like everything was good and right in the world. The subtle happiness that suffused him knowing that the demon was nearby. It was all very overwhelming and it made his chest hurt.

And so Aziraphale decided that it was best if nothing changed.

Pining over your archenemy for several millennia and only discovering two weeks after the apocalypse was just embarrassing.

At first Aziraphale had considered going to Crowley with his dilemma, certain his friend would be understanding even if he didn’t reciprocate, but as he thought through the possibilities such a conversation posed, he began to realize it was not the best course of action.

Aziraphale: I’m in love with you.

Crowley: What? Really? Love? We discussed this. Love isn’t for beings like us.

OR

Aziraphale: I’m in love with you.

Crowley: You disgust me. I can’t even look at you.

And so Aziraphale kept his mouth shut even as he continued to play through memory after memory of the two of them together and increasingly realized that he had been an idiot.

He was in his overstuffed reading chair, absorbed in his latest novel* when Crowley stormed into the room and stared at him. Aziraphale calmly finished the sentence he was reading and placed his bookmark between the pages. “Yes?” he asked.

*he had been reading quite a bit of romance since his untimely realization

“I have something I would like to discuss with you,” Crowley said  and even though Aziraphale couldn’t see his eyes, he was certain they were blazing behind the lenses of his sunglasses.

“Is it the tea cups? I know I leave them about and I can try to do better—”

“It’s not the bloody tea cups, angel,” Crowley said, his voice raising in pitch.

“Oh. Well then is this related to the housing situation or…”

“It’s related to us,” Crowley said, still towering over him and Aziraphale felt a flash of fear. He didn’t want things to change. Did Crowley know about the warm feelings? The romantic feelings?

“It has come to my attention that I am in love with you,” Crowley announced. He titled his chin back defiantly.

Aziraphale blustered in his chair, too many possible responses jumbling together in his mouth like a train wreck.

“Given our...situation, I will move out,” Crowley said tightly.

Crowley turned on his heel to stomp back out of the room and Aziraphale was on his feet in a moment, grasping at the demon’s wrist. “No.”

Thankfully, Crowley stopped, lazily turning back to look at him and even with the dismissive angle of his eyebrows, Aziraphale could see the nervousness etched around his mouth. “My dear...you see...it’s come to my attention that I’m in love with you .”

Crowley emitted a hiss like a kettle releasing steam. “No.”

Aziraphale felt a fluttering in his body, reminiscent of the butterflies he had read about in his novels. “Yes.”

“Well, what do we do about it?” Crowley said, turning back to face him fully.

Aziraphale released his wrist and rubbed at his chin. “I suppose we kiss now? That’s what the literature says on the subject of romantic declarations.”

Crowley hummed as he pulled the angel closer. “You’ll have to work with me on this.”

Aziraphale gulped but nodded. Crowley hesitated, tilting his head back and forth like he was aiming and Aziraphale stood stock still, waiting for him.

“Ah fuck it,” Crowley said and pushed their mouths together.

In all his reading, Aziraphale had thought the idea of kissing quite strange. What was the point of sliding lips across each other? It sounded very warm and wet and altogether unpleasant. But for some reason, Crowley’s mouth on his was not unpleasant. It was warm and it was wet, but it felt right and made his heart jump. Their noses bumped and Aziraphale emitted a surprised ‘eep’ when Crowley’s glasses dug into his face.

Crowley pulled back and took them off. “I think that was alright.”

“Quite alright,” Aziraphale said, a little breathless and very glad to see Crowley’s eyes unobscured by the mirror of his glasses.

--

Crowley was unimaginably thrilled to have Aziraphale’s warm and soft body pressing him into the couch he so often laid on as they kissed, experimenting with angles and tongues.

With the possibility of kissing—which was very good—and the potential of other things—all of which, based on his understanding, were even better—Crowley began to think he and his angel would never get anything done.*

*this worked out fine since they really had nothing to do anyway