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Another Soul to Cling to

Chapter Text

The first thing that the angel that would become to be known as Crowley remembered was, well, the concept of existence. Which was really rather boring, until God decided that she should add something or other to the mix. So technically, the first thing that any of Crowley’s sensory intaking processes experienced was God’s voice.

“Zazriel,” She murmured, sounding for all the world like a rather smug mother who was always ten seconds away from saying ‘i told you so’. This was a name that would not be used for long, but for the time being he was tagged and sorted by God as such.

Crowley made some sort of noise. Probably something like “Mraah” which was very satisfactory given the moment after the handful of other moments that he existed. God only chuckled at his complaint. A gentle wind blew, clearing the dust of creation away from Crowley’s eyes. He opened them, squinting at the light which was, frankly, a whole lot of nothing.

“I have big plans for you, Zazriel,” She cooed. Crowley squinted.

“What kind of plan?” He said. He touched his throat, startled. For someone who didn’t even have the process of thought kickstarted as of yet, speaking was a very exciting thing.

“You are going to be one of my little tests,” God said, humor lacing her words. Crowley blinked, feeling for all the world a bit like a white sheet of nothingness.

“No need to have a response, you’ll get acclimated to existence in time. When you are ready, I will tell you,” God said. Before Crowley could think to ask what exactly that meant, she was gone. Crowley felt like the first infant who had their parent hide behind their hands, except he had no knowledge of the peek-a-boo! to come. For all he knew, the voice in the sky was just a brief thing that happened to everyone.

For all he knew, everyone was going to be tested by God as well.

After a time, he figured out the whole business of walking, and in extension, flying. From wherever angels are born he glided down into the echoing halls of Heaven. He was surrounded by endless pillars of white, of other celestial beings who flitted between the pillars laughing and chasing one another.

“You’re new, aren’t you?” A voice broke in. Crowley whirled around, coming face to face with Gabriel. The tall angel smiled blandly, tilting his head a little as he waited for a response. Crowley just continued to stare.

“Ah. I see. Another silent one. I’m Gabriel, and you are?” Gabriel asked, pointing at first to his own chest and then to Crowley’s.

“Uh. I, er, this voice in the sky, really lovely person she is, said something about a Zazriel?” Crowley guessed.

“That person would be God, the creator of all of this surrounding us right now,” Gabriel explained, gesturing for Crowley to walk by his side as he started down the long echoing hallway.

“Right, and uh, what am I supposed to be doing?” Crowley asked, spinning in a little circle as he followed Gabriel a halfstep behind.

“Praise God, of course! Celestial harmonies, intricate ballads, you know, show God how great she is,” Gabriel said brightly.

“Ah. Right,” Crowley replied. He wondered what it meant to commit a ‘celestial harmony’. He hoped it didn’t hurt.

“Come along, allow me to show you the ropes, so to speak,” Gabriel said.

 

Crowley found the whole angel business to be...repetitive, to say the least. There were endless angelic beings who delighted in singing and delighted in enjoying what their existence was. Whatever that was. Crowley rested against a fountain as he watched the others joined in song. He was aware of one angel in particular, a rather portly fellow for an angel really, who was leading the choir. He was beaming nonstop, eyes bright as his arms flailed. Crowley knew his name was Aziraphale. Not that Aziraphale knew who he was. Not at all. In fact, Crowley’s chest did strange things when he found the other angel looking at him.

He figured that if he got too close to the other angel, he would stop existing. Not in a violent way, but maybe he would be sucked into his own chest like his soul was opened up like a blackhole. Crowley made a face. Maybe that wasn’t...an ideal way to stop doing this whole worshipping lifestyle at the moment.

“Zazriel,” God called. Crowley’s head snapped around. His cheeks felt hot, and he wondered why he felt so...so awful for being caught staring at another angel. Angels looked at each other all the time. They admired everything about God’s creation, so it only made sense that they look at all her marvelous talents.

“Zazriel, it is time,” She said.

“Just a..a moment, please,” Crowley muttered. He rose to his feet, leaving the area for a less secluded area. There was no secret hidey-holes in Heaven, but it was generally understood that direct conversation with God be more private.

“Yes?” He asked, tilting his head up in the direction that he figured was where God existed.

“Zazriel, you are the angel who will fall in love for the first and final time. This is my gift to you, for you are one of my favorite creations.” God said, “take care not to throw it all away.” And then she was gone.

Crowley stood there for quite a long time, if there was time in Heaven, with the same confused expression frozen on his face as he stared at where God may or may not of been.

The first issue, naturally, was the fact that he wasn’t supposed to love anyone but God. The second issue was that he was only allowed to fall in love once. If he loved God, then did that mean that this was a weird way of giving him a promotion? If this was a promotion, did this mean he was God’s confidant? But that was Michael. And anyways, he was just sorta here and there making noise with his mouth. That looked like that was more than enough for basically everyone.

Crowley decided the best course of action was wander about. And so he did, in that vague sort of way that led him through the legions of God’s angels until he found someone who sort of kind of knew what was going on in Crowley’s skull. Above all, he was just caught in the wrong place, the wrong time. Well. That’s what he told himself as he fought his angelic brethren, what he convinced himself of when his perfect mortal frame was contorted into that of a snake’s.

But most of all God’s voice remained silent throughout. And that was the death of Zazriel. A quiet one with a little bit of a yelp before the fall. Just as he was introduced, he was unkindly shown the door.

 

Crowley squinted in the shadows of Hell, watching the masses roam beneath him in their endless shuffling walks. He kept himself tightly coiled along the overarching rock beam that had been his roost for the past thousand years or so. There was nothing of interest to hear, yet again. He rested his chin on his coils, yawning. Perhaps another couple hundred year nap would be enough time for something to happen. That, or he’d become a part of the bedrock. At least he would be more useful to something that way. Eternity was...rather boring, to say the least. Especially when everyone smelled like they hadn’t showered after a millennium after kicking back in front of a dying star to work up a sweat.
Sun. That’s what he missed the most. Heat, the presence of light. Maybe if he could just have one more moment in the sun, he wouldn’t mind whatever came after.

“Crowley! Boss wants you,” A stick jabbed him in the sternum as Beelzebub interrupted his daydream.

“Hhhrmph. What now? I told you, there’s no spying to be done,” Crowley complained. Just because he was a snake didn’t mean he was better than any of the other demons. For Heaven’s sake, wasn’t there a Toby down the way who could become a wasp? At least that was a smaller target than himself.

“His orders. Your life if you don’t obey,” Beelzebub said, voice already fading through the masses of demons and their non stop shuffling.

“Fine, fine,” Crowley complained, slinking from his perch. He followed Beelzebub through the crowds, until they got to the throne room of Satan.

“Yes, boss?” Crowley hissed, lifting himself to his full snake height.

“I want you to go topside. There is a chance for you to cause an upset in favor of Hell, and Heaven and all of that infernal racket must know that we’re still about,” Satan growled.

“Yes sir, I’ll just shimmy on up and yknow, bite some things,” Crowley said. At least this would be better than simply napping until the world ended. If that were even possible.

 

Crowley found the whole process of coming topside to be rather degrading. There was so much soot and dirt and endless nothingness to sift through. He felt rather like a worm while he did it. He was so focused on his own suffering that he nearly ran into the foot of some creature as soon as he broke topside. He twisted in surprise, coming face to face with a lion. The lion batted at him with a massive paw, rumbling deep in its throat before darting off once more.

“Ssscaredy cat,” Crowley hissed after the lion. He turned his attention to his immediate surroundings. His torso rippled as he felt the sun bask on his scales for the first time. Crowley closed his eyes briefly, bliss overtaking him as he felt himself turn into liquid happiness.

The sound of a woman shrieking in laughter brought him to his senses.

He slithered through the trees, coming face to face with the view of Adam and Eve deep in conversation with one another. He tilted his head to the side, watching the couple closely. Crowley thought he was happy and content with just the feeling of the sun on him, the leaves rustling, even the wild noises of the birds in the air. And yet. Here were two intelligent primates having the time of their lives, acting as if none of paradise existed about them. Crowley rolled his eyes. Idiots. Then again, he too once had all the grace of God in his favor, and he flaunted it for...well, he didn’t know what for, exactly.

He turned away, delving into the thick undergrowth. For a time he watched the couple. Jealousy began to simmer in his throat. He hated the way they looked at each other, the way they held each other and even made love. It was positively disgusting. He decided that all of this happiness had to end. If he couldn’t retain happiness, no one else could either. And thus, he finally went in search for the fateful fruit upon the tree.

When he found it, the night sky had turned the leaves silver with the moon’s light. Cloaked in shadow, he found it all too easy to slip by the guard. The poor fellow had a flaming sword that prevented him from seeing into the depths of the forest, and therefore Crowley had finally reunited with Aziraphale. Not that he knew who the angel was as of yet. For now, it was just another holier-than-thou prick that had sent Crowley into an eternity of sleep and boredom.

Crowley did what he was best at. He coiled up on the highest branch and waited. Neither did he have to do much of that either. At dawn Gabriel came to relieve the angel below, and only then did he learn of the mysterious angel’s existence.

“Aziraphale, anything to report?” Gabriel called.

“Not that I know of, I mean, I heard something in the night, but I’m fairly certain it’s those silly old raccoons again,” Aziraphale replied brightly. Crowley tried not to roll his eyes.

“Ah. Yes. Their little grubby hands are so...so...inspiring,” Gabriel said brightly, making the hand motions as he stood beside the other angel.

“Well, it’s just that I heard about how the great plan is going to be set in motion soon, or something along those lines,” Aziraphale said. Crowley lifted his head a little, peering further down.

“Not to worry, then. Whatever must happen will allow our plan to go into full effect,” Gabriel reassured Aziraphale. Crowley was about to drop a fruit on Aziraphale’s head in order to end both of their miseries for a short time when a scream was heard.

“What was that?” Gabriel asked.

“Oh, ah, that would be Eve I believe. Hah, that rhymed! I’ll have to pencil in for--anyways, follow me,” The two angels took off in the direction of the scream.

Crowley uncoiled himself expertly, pausing just long enough to snag a fruit on his way down. He held it carefully at the end of his tail, slinking through the underbrush. He followed the angels at a distance until at last he reached the clearing.

“It’s quite alright my dear, it’s just a part of the whole expecting thing, you know,” Aziraphale said, patting Eve on the head. The poor woman looked nauseated, and no wonder. In front of her was the contents of her stomach, fresh for all the world to see. Gabriel looked on, similarly disgusted by the whole ordeal.

“I’m going to go guard the tree,” Gabriel said abruptly, and disappeared at once.

“Adam, help me up please,” Eve said, reaching for her husband. At once he was at her side, helping her and supporting her so she could sit in the perfect hollow of a tree.

“Will you be alright?” Aziraphale asked, hands fluttering nervously.

“Yes, yes I’ll be fine. Just some...morning sickness then, if that’s what Gabriel calls it,” Eve said lightly.

“I could retrieve some of your favorite blackberries in the foothills,” Adam offered, crouching beside her.

“That...that would be lovely,” Eve said, resting her head against the bark.

“I’ll go with him. That way, you’ll have twice the amount of your favorite fruit!” Aziraphale jumped in. Crowley grumbled. Always the pleaser of everyone, that Aziraphale. He couldn’t wait to ruin his entire life with his trick. And to set up the situation for him too? How kind of the angel, really. He made life so easy for Crowley it seemed.

In any case, man and angel were gone in a blink of an eye. Not wanting to waste anymore time, Crowley entered the clearing. He hissed in greeting, causing Eve to jump.

‘“Hello, I’m Eve,” She greeted, “I suppose you can’t understand what I’m saying, but it’s nice to have company.”

Eve reached out and Crowley raised his head, squinting contentedly when she patted his scales.

“Actually, I can understand you,” He said, leaning into the patting. Eve pulled her hand away, and he brought the end of his tail around to present her with the fruit.

“I couldn’t help but hear how miserable you sounded. I felt that if God allowed me to eat the fruit so I could understand human speech, it must be my destiny to give you the fruit to help with your ailment,” Crowley said coyly. He tilted the fruit forward and let it fall. Eve’s hand darted out and she caught it, studying it.

“But Adam told me God said not to eat this fruit,” Eve said, eyeing him suspiciously.

“Ah, but you’re not Adam now are you? Besides, it’s quite delicious,” Crowley said.

“Let me think of it, my husband should be back any moment now-” Eve began. She turned towards the sound of rustling leaves. Crowley took his chance and disappeared into the depths once again. He was pleased to see that Eve had expertly hidden the fruit behind her. Smart girl. Well, it was up to the humans now really. It wasn’t his final decision to make after all. He just had to do some of the tempting. Really, he was just giving them a choice. It wasn’t up to him what they would finally decide.

And decide they did.

Chapter Text

“It’s crowded and it’s hot and I really, really don’t want to be around all these salty humans,” Crowley grouched, kicking his legs blindly in the stupid water.

“You didn’t have to go with me to the Dead Sea Crawley, it’s a little vacation,” aziraphale said, head tilted back and looking for all the world like a lump of sand turned burnt in the middle of the ocean.

“What, and let you get a sunburn all on your own? Nonsense,” Crowley replied.

“The Dead Sea water along with its mud components is supposed to be excellent for your skin,” Aziraphale said imperiously. Crowley thought that if the pompous angel were to tilt his head back a little further, he’d drown in his own snootiness.

“Zira, Angel, you do realize that you’re an immortal, correct? Your skin will never, ever obtain any sort of blemish,” Crowley said. Unless he chose to. Not that Crowley got any say in the way his eyes looked when he fell from Grace. He still hoped there’d be some way to alter his eyesight in a few more thousand years. Given his last report to Hell, the humans were doing some sort of group architectural project. Not that he knew all that much about the tower. He was too drunk to really understand what Aziraphale was rambling about, and he didn’t want to set off another excitable lecture.

“Yes, well, perhaps humans have the right idea about relaxation that doesn’t require war,” Aziraphale said stiffly.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Crowley demanded, sitting up in the water. The fact that Aziraphale continued to float there immaculately filled him with such rage that he just had to splash him in the face.

“See! That is exactly what I mean, you demons can never keep control of your tempers,” Aziraphale sputtered, sitting up as he rubbed water out of his eyes.

“Oh puhlease, you can be as high as mighty as you wanna be, but at least I am capable of desire,” Crowley snapped.
Aziraphale sat up in the water, giving Crowley an incredulous look.

“Desire? That’s an entirely human emotion. I don’t know what they’re teaching you down there, but as an angel, we are completely without want,” Aziraphale said.

“Righto, so I take it that God herself hasn’t seen you thirsting after a rare scroll or two. Face it Aziraphale, you’re a little bit wrong in the head,” Crowley said.

“I am not wrong in the head. You’re just angry because you made the worst decision between the two of us,” Aziraphale said.

Crowley paused, taking the time to look Aziraphale straight in the eye before trailing his eyes down to the garment about his waist.

“I’m not the one who wore white into the Dead Sea,” Crowley said, raising an eyebrow at the rather translucent material.

“Hey! Don’t you dare look!” Aziraphale shouted, splashing Crowley in the face as he rushed past him.

“It’s only going to cling to you as you run out!” Crowley called helpfully, rubbing the water from his eyes. He squinted at the shore, catching an eyeful of Aziraphale’s ass before he was able to throw on his tunic in time. Crowley looked about for a moment, tempted to stay. But the water held no allure for him now that his friend had stormed off. Besides, it was more fun to pester than to relax anyways.

He took extra care to come out of the water slowly, even stretching before he bothered to pick up his tunic. Aziraphale, much to his credit, politely looked every which way until he saw that Crowley had picked up his own tunic.

“Should we be off, then?” Aziraphale asked, turning around. Crowley beamed at the blanched look on his face. What Aziraphale didn’t know, until that very moment in time, was that Crowley much preferred to not wear any sort of undergarment until it was dry, and such clothing was draped over his shoulder along with his tunic as he strode right on by.

“Crowley, could you please put something on?” Aziraphale pleaded, chasing after him.

“What? I thought that all of God’s creation wasn’t meant to have shame in what their mortal flesh looked like,” Crowley said, winking at Aziraphale.

“That may be so for...for humans, but you’re a demon Crowley, and we’re made of different stuff,” Aziraphale said, keeping his eyes up towards the clouds as he trotted beside Crowley.

“You might be a prude, but I’ve found that every bit of freedom has been...luxurious,” Crowley said.

“You’re impossible,” He retorted.

“I’m not the one still following,” Crowley said.

“Yes, well, didn’t you want to go see the tower of Babel anyhow? You have to be decent if I’m going to show my face around there with you,” Aziraphale said.

“You drive a hard bargain, angel.” Crowley sighed, and pulled the tunic at last over his head.

 

“So this is the tower?” Crowley asked, making a face as he craned his head all the way back. Even then he couldn’t see the top, for it disappeared into the clouds above.

“The very one. I’m uh, supposed to be here to check on how the building has come along,” Aziraphale said, already tugging away at a piece of rope that he had procured from some place or other. Crowley always found himself distracted by what he was doing with his hands. In fact, he really ought to ask about that weaving gig of his was going. He still regretted not sticking around to see the finished cloth from the last time.

“Hm. Well. It has a base, suffering humans and their even more suffering overlords--ah, you’d be happy to hear what Hell has planned for those bastards--and perhaps a top. Sounds good! Maybe we could slink on through and hit up a bar or two before parting ways?” Crowley suggested.

“That’s not going to work, Crowley. My people actually read my reports, unlike yours,” Aziraphale said, before sneezing loudly into his sleeve. “Eugh, I’m absolutely allergic to donkeys.”

“Cant be allergic to what you already are,” Crowley mumbled, focusing on driving the cart so he missed Aziraphale’s look of pure shock giving way to a brief moment of genuine hurt.

A foreman raced to the front of the cart, grabbing the halter of Crowley’s donkey.

“Hey, get your hands off of my lovely Gabriel,” Crowley shouted, catapulting off of his cart.

“No merchants,” The foreman said, rudely turning the donkey’s head aside to redirect it.

“Well that’s excellent news for both me and you, given that I’m not selling anything,” Crowley said curtly, drawing closer. The foreman at last seemed to recognize Crowley’s rather...different eyes.

“Ah, I love it when they open and close their mouths like half-drowned fish,” Crowley said delightedly over his shoulder to Aziraphale, who was still trying to hop off the cart without falling into the mud pit that Crowley had been stopped in. He turned back to the foreman and flicked his nose.

“May a thousand gnats feast upon your nostrils,” Crowley said. The foreman made a face, until the telltale sign of flies buzzing at last reached his ears. The foreman eyed something behind Crowley, before turning about and fleeing.

“Gross,” Aziraphale said, kicking mud off of his foot as he came to stand beside Crowley.

“Not special dead sea wettened dirt I take it?” Crowley snarked. The duo made their way up the steep embankment, passing an innumerable amount of slaves along the way. With little to no trouble, or, well, no miracles that Crowley got to perform, they were able to slip past those who would prevent access to the tower. Together, they climbed the endless steps.
After an eternity they finally reached the top, or at least what deigned to be the top. The bricks lay without a mortar foundation, free for the tossing. At least, that’s what went through Crowley’s head. He sauntered over the edge, eyeing the harrowing fall below. He felt his heart in his throat, his pulse quickening in excitement for what felt like the first time in forever. He felt a hand grab his shoulder and haul him back.

“Be careful, do you want to fall off the edge of this tower?” Aziraphale scolded. Crowley only shrugged.

“I mean, it’d be one way to go,” Crowley commented drily, attempting to peer off the edge again. Aziraphale made a frustrated noise, and before Crowley could quite catch on to what he was doing, he found himself being yanked away from the edge of eternity and slammed against the solid rock of the world he was trapped on.

“You. Will absolutely not do any sort of thing,” Aziraphale commanded. Crowley slunk to the right, escaping Aziraphale’s grip.

“I don’t know what you mean, I was only looking,” Crowley said lightly.

“Oh no. You’re not getting away with this sort of nonsense. Crowley, you are a lovely...well, an interesting character,” Aziraphale said. Crowley winced. Here he was, being exposed at the highest part of the known earth. What was worse was that he was probably closer to God’s holy ear. Damn, she was probably enjoying his suffering on top of everything else.

“Yeah, I know, don’t touch me or else you’ll catch leprosy,” He said. He kept trying to remind himself as to why he kept hanging around with someone who found him so physically and emotionally repulsive. He knew he was a glutton for punishment, but even he could go to far.

“Look, I just have to be careful, my side really wouldn’t want to find us hanging out here, especially when I’m supposed to be knocking down the Tower of Babel today,” Aziraphale said, a familiar cast of worry overtaking his features.

“Yeah yeah, and in the couple hundred years that we’ve been messing around on earth, how many times exactly have they checked up on us?” Crowley asked.

Aziraphale made that frustrated noise that Crowley loved so well, the kind that meant that he was about to eek himself just a little bit closer to being less-holier-than-thou.

“Crowley, I hate to say this, given that you are literally the polar opposite of who I am supposed to be, but you...you are my best friend, and when I asked you to come on this vacation with me to the Dead Sea, I wanted to...to check in on you. Because I’m worried,” Aziraphale said.

If Crowley was a slightly nicer person, he would have broken down right then and there and opened up about everything. But that wasn’t Crowley. Instead, he cackled.

“Aww, are you getting all soft over little ol’ me? Not to worry, I’ll make your life a living Hell while I’m here. Or should I say Heaven? Because you really tick me off with your pompous attitude,” Crowley said. And like any petulant toddler who did not like the block tower built by their favorite sibling, he gave it a mighty kick.

Perhaps it was fate that the pile of bricks was not put down with mortar. After all, it was late in the afternoon, and the slaves were far below finishing their meager rations. They were talking about how wonderful it would be to finally be done, and how they looked forward to the next inevitable stressor that their enslavers would put upon them. All in all, it was a pretty good afternoon for the humans that were used as free labor.

All that came to an end when the first brick fell into the soup pot. The slaves looked on in astonishment as the chef ran screaming from the area, speaking in what could only describe to be as tongues. But that was not all. Before long, the entire sky was raining brick upon brick. Everyone fled for their lives.

Especially the two immortals who did not prefer to be discorporated for a rather long period of time. They were currently half flying, half running down the stairs of the tower while also trying not to draw any attention to the hapless workers that decided to continue through their lunch hour.

“Crowley, you ruin everything that you have ever touched!” Aziraphale screamed.

“If only! Then your smug expression would be gone forever!” Crowley cackled, having the time of his life as he launched himself onto the shoulder of a poor gentleman who was immediately used as a springboard for Crowley’s own purposes. Aziraphale paused briefly to fix the poor gentleman’s collarbone before following his former best friend of approximately thirty seconds ago.

They spilled out from the steps into the inner area. Crowley did not have time to look up to see the massive chunk of wall caving in on them, but Aziraphale certainly was aware of all troubling things at a moment’s notice.

For the first time, and not for the last, Aziraphale saved Crowley.

One moment Crowley was striding towards the exit, towards chaos. The next he was pulled into the impossibly tight grip of Aziraphale. The angel tucked Crowley into his chest, making him stoop a little as he wrapped his arms about his head. Crowley listened to the crashing of the angel’s heart, so fragile in it’s desperate thuds. Despite himself, he wrapped his arms around his torso. For the first time in awhile, he prayed that they be safe. That he would be able to apologize for being a prick yet again.

Crowley was not aware of Aziraphale tapping him on the head for quite some time. It was only until he gently cupped his face in his hands did Crowley finally look up.

“It’s quite alright,” Aziraphale shouted, smiling grimly. Crowley nodded. He reluctantly let go, drawing away to look at all of the chaos.

“I did that?” He asked dazedly.

“Yes, you did,” Aziraphale sighed, sounding vaguely impressed despite himself.

“Wonder if Gabriel got outta the way,” Crowley muttered, craning his head around the bodies in search of his donkey.

“Of all the things to worry about,” Aziraphale scoffed, snapping his fingers. A moment later the donkey came screaming up the way, free of the cart.

“Baby!” Crowley cooed, catching the donkey about the neck in an embrace. He missed the look of fondness on Aziraphale’s face. He also missed the fact that the donkey most certainly did not survive the fall of the Tower of Babel. And for awhile after that, he figured that the humans just had a rather terrible ringing in their ears from the fall, and that was the reason as to why they couldn't understand his perfectly good speech.

Chapter Text

Aziraphale settled in on the stone seat of the amphitheater, nursing a cup of wine. He tried not to be overly conspicuous as he scanned the crowd. It had been a couple hundred years since he had seen Crowley, and it was nice to finally catch up. Of course, there was the whole Babel issue, that led to communication issues even between the two of them. Which was quite funny, really, given the whole--anyways, Aziraphale just wanted to catch up. That was all. And he was certain that Crowley would enjoy the new play by none other than Sophocles himself.

He even made sure to find out the details of the play. A good bit of heroics, futile in the end but still essential? That was pretty much the best fit he could find for both of their tastes.

“Heello angel, looking positively dashing as always,” Crowley said, plopping down next to Aziraphale.

“How have the years been treating you?” Aziraphale asked, turning to him. Crowley opened his eyes just a smidge, for the sole purpose of winking at him.

“I’d really like to stop pretending I’m blind, the miracles I have to make just to go to the market for some wine,” Crowley grumbled, swishing his own cup of wine.

“Ah, yes, that is rather unfortunate,” Aziraphale said, and took a nervous sip of his drink. Apparently he forgot the basics of swallowing, for he started to choke.

“Hey, hey, does my presence really drive you to self-inflicted harm?” Crowley asked, smacking him on the back. Aziraphale wiped at his eyes, trying to keep the wine from spilling onto himself.

“No,” he finally managed to gasp, “I’m just a bit nervous is all.”

“Aw, is it because of my good looks? Did I tell you I’m being strongly considered to be the face of these people’s ah, Dionysus I believe? He has a really fascinating tale, yknow--”

“I don’t agree with their idol worship,” Aziraphale cut in stiffly, “and leave it to a demon to want to be worshipped by the misled flock.”

“It’s good fun, really, plus I get free wine whenever I sneak in,” Crowley said brightly, bumping shoulders with Aziraphale. Aziraphale frowned at his now stained tunic, and with a wave it disappeared.

“Look, it’s starting,” Aziraphale said, relieved to drop the subject about Dionysus and Crowley and all of that uncouth nonsense.

Eighteen men in various dress wandered onto the stage, and began the tale of Antigone.

“Why are they wearing masks?” Crowley hissed. Aziraphale swatted him away with one hand, already riveted.

“I can’t focus,” Crowley whined a moment later, kicking his ridiculously long legs out to kick the person in front of him lightly in the back. The gentleman turned around, starting to give Crowley a dirty look until he saw his eyes. He quickly scooched away.

“You’re worse than a child, now behave,” Aziraphale scolded. Crowley only made a face at him, before tilting his head back to finish the rest of his drink.

Aziraphale got to have ten blissfully uninterrupted minutes of time with the play, only noticing a disturbance when Crowley plopped down into his seat with a miracled keg and a wine.

“I’m gonna need this to get through it all,” Crowley said confidentially, snagging Aziraphale’s half-finished cup to top it off.

“Whatever it takes for you to be quiet,” Aziraphale sighed, taking back his wine. Absently he took a sip, finding the oaky flavor to be quite enjoyable. He of course loved all things edible by humans, but the alcohol was more of Crowley’s forte. Of course, it helped that the only drinkable stuff was generally spirits as it were. While Aziraphale didn’t get dysentery, it was best to conform to the locals.

Again, Aziraphale remained blissfully unaware of Crowley beside him. Occasionally the demon would knock a knee into his on accident, or otherwise grumble commentary that, lord help him, made him laugh a little as well. Until, of course, Crowley’s already limited patience snapped with all of the wine in him.

“Oy, Creon! Get on with it!” He jeered loudly, cupping his hands over his mouth to really get the echo going. Around them, the crowd turned to look at the world’s very first rowdy audience member.

“Crowley, stop it,” Aziraphale scolded, leaning a little too far over for his own liking. He wondered how he missed the fact that his wine cup had never emptied the entire time.

“No, the people need to know that this is just appalling,” Crowley said, shifting away. Crowley dug into his toga for a moment, before pulling out a red fruit. Aziraphale could’ve sworn that if it were not for the fact he was an angel, his eyes would’ve popped out of his head. He did the only thing that he could do in this sort of situation.

He flung himself at Crowley. They fell into a tangle of limbs, Aziraphale getting elbowed in the eye, Crowley kneed in the hip as Aziraphale tried to pin him. Aziraphale grasped wildly for Crowley as he slipped away, raising to his full height just a moment later as his snake attributes shifted back to human ones.

“Lookie here Creon! I got a--” He was cut off with a yelp as Aziraphale put his full weight into yanking his arm down.

“Crowley that is a south american plant, tomatoes are not indigenous and you’ll. Ruin. The. Ecosystem.” Aziraphale said, grappling for the fruit desperately.

“Huh. Already destroyed one garden, didn’t I?” Crowley said, deadly serious as he switched the tomato from the hand Aziraphale had locked down to the other. “It’s time to liberate the people with another fruit, yes?”

And then he chucked the tomato. It sailed perfectly over the upturned faces of the crowd, until with a splat, it hit the poor Creon-actor straight on his mask. The man dropped the mask, yelling in fear.

“It is divine intervention! The gods are unpleased!” A man shouted. The crowd did what it always did best, and began to riot.

“Look at what you’ve done,” Aziraphale said, standing up unsteadily. He placed his hands on his hips in disappointment. Below the actor had been overrun by the enraged mob.

“Yiiikes, looksss like that fellow is gonna be chow for the gods,” Crowley said, wincing a little as the mob began to tear the man to pieces with a sheer force of will.

“It’s all your fault. Couldn’t you of tolerated one play for one singular evening?” Aziraphale said, miracling away the keg of wine as well as the tomato down below. Crowley may have thrown it, but there was no way Aziraphale was going to let any seeds escape his watch.

“But what’s the fun in that, angel?” Crowley cooed, turning to Aziraphale. Aziraphale glared at him for a long moment, mustering all the rage that should’ve been right there for the ready. But instead, he surprised himself by bursting into laughter.

“You do put on a good show, Crowley,” He conceded. Well, no harm was done really. Except for that actor fellow. But perhaps it would make Sophokles make a better play. One that would be remembered unlike this snoozefest.

“C’mon, let me make it up to you. I know this wonderful distillery that will knock your halo off your head,” Crowley said.

“Alright,” Aziraphale said, against his better judgement.

 

One drunken cart ride later that involved yet another Gabriel donkey(was this the Gabriel the 30th? Perhaps the 40th. Aziraphale could’ve sworn Crowley explained the lineage at some point, but he was also trying not to throw up into the street from his driving skills) they found themselves at the first excellent night scene in the BC.

Crowley and Aziraphale had found a nook in the converted stable, sitting on the straw as they both watched a drunken fistfight.

“So, what have you been up to?” Aziraphale asked, distracting Crowley from pouring his drink out onto the head of a scantily clad serverwoman.

“This and that. Mostly been coasting yknow. I’ve found that the humans are pretty good at causing their own problems,” Crowley said, gesturing wildly to the scene in front of them. “Lemme tell ya, the invention of alcohol really caused a uptick in torturee’s in Hell.”

“It’s unfortunate that moderation is such a hard thing to grasp,” Aziraphale said, downing his fiftieth drink of the night.

“Aw, give em a break Zira, they only have a second of time to ours, plus they need some sort of wicked fun before they inevitably die in childbirth or malaria or what have you,” Crowley said, leaning back onto the beam that supported the roof.

“I suppose,” Aziraphale said distractedly, eyeing a crying woman in the corner. He reminded himself that it was all the humans doing. But still. It was in his very nature to care for them.

“Tell me, how d’you not get in trouble for ‘fraternizing’ with the humans?” Crowley asked, cocking his head to the side. Aziraphale sighed.

“I don't fraternize with them. I just. I’m only meant to watch, you know?” Aziraphale said.

“Besides, after those angels, ahem, fell for loving humans, it didn’t seem like a good idea to get attached after that. Mostly I help where I can,” Aziraphale said.

“Wanna hear something absolutely bonkers?” Crowley asked. Aziraphale sighed. He figured that it was just another rhetorical question.

“Really, it’ll change your view of God maybe,” Crowley said, keeping his eyes on Aziraphale’s. Aziraphale wondered what it would be this time. Crowley was always trying to persuade him that he was on the wrong side the few times that they’ve run into each other through the millennia.

“When I was just an itty bitty angel flake, first created, God told me the stupidest thing ever,” Crowley began.

“She said something to you?” Aziraphale asked, leaning forward in interest. He couldn’t recall anyone having a personal conversation with God when they were first born, outside of the general ‘how do you do’s’ set in place.

“She said, get this, that I’m the only angel allowed to fall in love, and that it has great purpose,” Crowley said, flinging his arms out to encompass some vague notion in the air.

“That doesn’t make sense, there are angels who were punished for that very thing,” Aziraphale pointed out. He ignored his rapid heartbeat. It must be the heat inside, humans really liked too many torches to see. But that wasn’t true, not really. Deep down he was still fond of Crowley. He had been there at the start of everything, and he still was right now. It was Aziraphale that had reached out to him again after the whole Babel debacle, and it was true that he had missed Crowley’s shenanigans.

“That’s what I thought, maybe it’s to ensure that I fell. Someone has to do the tempting, and I’m just the right serpent for the job,” Crowley said, a bitter tint to the smile he made.

“Yes. I’m sure that’s what it was,” Aziraphale said, disappointed. He silently scolded himself. There was no need to be disappointed. He was just intrigued by what God had planned for Crowley. That was all.

“It’s all kind of fucked that I’m expected to fall,” Crowley said, words starting to slur together from the drink. Aziraphale stayed quiet, feeling that there was more that Crowley wanted to say.

“S’funny, now that I think about it, you’d be the original temptation,” Crowley mumbled, almost too low for Aziraphale to make out. A moment later he was snoring softly, slowly slumping over so that his head was resting on the straw beside him.

Aziraphale stared at his hands, trying to puzzle out what Crowley had said. There was no way that he was capable of temptation. Maybe it was just a joke? Aziraphale cast an anxious glance at Crowley. He had seemed so serious after all.

Chapter Text

Crowley danced around the flailing woman, wrinkling his nose at the state that she was in. He would technically have to thank God for an impeccable state of health, but that was just not the kind of thing he went around doing. It was part of his aesthetic. His moto. His one oh. Whatever. Things were gross and he hated all of it.

But Aziraphale had sent a letter, and he was a glutton for pestering. The only issue was that Aziraphale had only given a range of places to look, and Crowley was losing his patience. He could deal with the Black Death, as it were, on his own turf. But not here, not Paris, where every other human was oozing pus out of their fingernails and ears. It made him feel hopeless, if he was being honest with himself. Which he wasn’t.

On official terms, Hell thought Crowley had caused the Black Death. Unofficially, Crowley had nothing to do with it and really, it was God who created this new fucked strain of disease to be unleashed upon humanity. Realistically he was going to find Aziraphale and then they were going to get in an all out fight over which side did what. The angel could be remarkably ignorant when it came to how cruel God could be. But hey. He couldn’t even sway Aziraphale when it came to children and the whole ark situation.

Crowley noticed a sign above yet another door, the one that let others know that the doctor was officially in. He ducked into the entryway, waving away a terrified woman who stared open-mouthed at him. He knew how insane he looked--a perfectly healthy human would rather be caught dead than in a known plague house.

“S’alright, got bit already,” He said nonchalantly, heading up the rickety steps into the attic.

“Zira? Is that you?” Crowley called, eyeing the back of the dark form that was framed by the weak light coming through the window. The figure had a long stick that was poking into the side of an elderly man, causing the pus on his chest to ooze a little faster.

“Maybe...not? Yknow, it would be better if you just kinda, kinda smacked it down, pop it like a bad pimple,” Crowley suggested, craning his head to look at the unresponsive patient. He hoped it was because the patient was passed out, and not already dead by the horrid fashion his treatment was going.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale said, bustling past him in his own plague doctor outfit. Crowley waved jauntily, before pointing at the other doctor.

“Who’s this?” He asked.

“This is, well, really this is my idea, not up, yknow, above’s, but I thought I would start training Plague doctors to help the poor people of Paris,” Aziraphale said, taking his mask off. He looked utterly exhausted, sweat glistening on his face from the humid summer heat.

“How kind of you. Did your favorite pastry chef almost die?” Crowley asked, walking over to examine the gentleman.

“How assumptious you are. I’ll have you know that she was my favorite baker,” Aziraphale shot back, taking the other side to the plague doctor.

“I can’t seem to get it right,” The apprentice said, his voice pained as he tentatively smacked at yet another boil. It wobbled, unwilling to pop.

“Give it here,” Crowley snapped, yanking the stick away from the apprentice.

“You should be kinder, these are people you know. Not a dead rat on the side of the road,” Crowley grouched, before throwing his full weight into the stick. The boil burst fantastically, spraying the front of their clothes up to the knees.

“Now that’s how you do it. Give it a go,” Crowley said, shoving the stick back into the apprentices hands.

“Right. As he said,” Aziraphale said, looking a little green in the face as he put his mask back on.

“Let’s get lunch. Not soup, perhaps?” Crowley suggested as they tramped back down the stairs. Aziraphale paused long enough to wave away the meager payment that the woman was offering. While he wasn’t looking, Crowley snatched the money up. It’s what he deserved, given what he had to teach today.

“Eugh, please, no liquids,” Aziraphale agreed.

“So, what’s with the whole herb in the nose bit?” Crowley asked, gesturing to Aziraphale’s get-up.

“It’s honestly just to prevent the smell,” Aziraphale admitted, voice muffled behind the mask.

“Can’t you just, magic it away?” Crowley asked. A moment later he snapped his fingers, the bile that was on his pants disappearing in a flash.

“Yes. I could. But I’m trying to save my miracles for other things,” Aziraphale said.

“Right, can’t have your favorite cuisine hotspots going out like that,” Crowley said, switching directions towards a more isolated area of the city.

“Must you always be antagonizing me?” Aziraphale complained.

“It’s in the job description angel, it’s what I do best,” He said lightly, bumping his shoulder against Aziraphale’s as he opened the door to a hole-in-the-wall. Inside the ambiance was mostly unaffected by the plague around. Crowley took care not to notice the fresh vegetables and meat hanging from the ceiling. He knew Aziraphale would pick up on it, but there was nothing to be done about that.

“Master Crowley, oh, you should’ve sent a letter!” The middle-aged woman called, darting around the meager kitchen counter to clasp Crowley in a hug.

“Yeah, yeah. I just had a...coworker that needs some sort of pick me up, as it were,” Crowley said, gently disentangling himself from the woman.

“Of course, of course. I’ll get you both the best of the best. Excuse me,” She bustled away, disappearing around the corner. Crowley plopped into a chair, gesturing for Aziraphale to sit across from him.

“What is this?” Aziraphale asked, taking the mask off. Crowley shrugged, watching him dart his eyes about. He figured he would come to his own conclusions. Not that he would ever discover the truth of it all.

“Did you start an opium den?” Aziraphale asked, accusation twisting his features in shock and even a bit of shame. Crowley shook his head.

“Nope,” He said, popping the p.

“Well, then. It has to be something drug related. Perhaps you are giving plague sufferers a quick end?” Aziraphale asked.

“Nah. Really though, it would be a mercy,” Crowley said. The woman appeared again, quickly setting down two cups full to the brim with rich red wine.

“Thanks, Eloise. How is little Claudette?” Crowley asked.

“Much better sir, she was up playing with her toys this morning, at least that’s what Mrs. Brignac informed me of this morning,” Eloise smiled, and then turned to Aziraphale. Crowley started to lean forward to stop her, but it was too late.

“He creates true miracles, Master Crowley. Your order could learn a thing or two from him,” Eloise said, shaking her finger at Aziraphale before storming off. Aziraphale watched her go, his face going through a hundred different emotions as he pieced things together.

“Shut up,” Crowley said, just to jump the shark as it were.

“You’re curing peasants,” Aziraphale said, turning to Crowley in admiration. Crowley ignored the warm feeling in his chest. Gross. He definitely was not doing any of these things for praise from some uptight angelic ass.

“It’s purely selfish, you understand. Mrs. Brignac owns a fantastic grape vinery outside of Paris, and Eloise is able to smuggle in the best goddamn wine that this city has seen since the plague has swept through,” Crowley said, taking a sip of the wine.

“I’m sure, and Claudette is able to make your dark glasses with her own childlike hands?” Aziraphale teased.

“Yes actually,” Crowley snapped, glowering. Why was it that Aziraphale always had to turn everything into some sort of test that he had to pass? It wasn’t like he wanted his approval.

The truth was that Crowley had really known Eloise before the plague struck. Luckily enough she had not fallen ill. Her son, Augustin, had died on the other hand. Crowley had not been quick enough to save Augustin, but he made sure to connect her with all of the best vegetables in the county. It was the least he could do while she got over her grief.

But then her close friend Mrs. Brignac came running to the heart of the city against the wishes of her husband. It was true that she was mad to go right where the plague was strongest, but her youngest had caught the plague nevertheless. She came to Eloise because Eloise had been sending her produce discreetly. Thus, that was how Crowley had ended up miracling away the plague for poor little Claudette.

So now Mrs. Brignac sent Eloise plenty of wine to pay part of the eternal debt that she and her husband owed to a certain Master Crowley. They even promised to name their next born son after him. He hoped desperately that twelve children was all that Mrs. Brignac could muster. For the child’s sake.

“Alright, keep your secrets if you wish,” Aziraphale said, looking rather smug as he rested his hands in his lap. Crowley groaned, leaning his head back to stare at the beams of the ceiling.

“Why’d you call me here anyhow?” Crowley asked, hoping to change the subject.

“I was wondering about this so-called miracle worker, but it appears that I have already found him,” Aziraphale said.

“Aw, noo, I don’t wanna be a miracle worker,” Crowley whined. “I have purely selfish motives. Really.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Aziraphale said, shaking his head fondly at Crowley. Crowley made a face at him. They sat in a comfortable silence for half an hour, enjoying a piece of the city that was not falling into the maw of disease.

“Well, if you’d like, I want to show you my solution to the plague,” Aziraphale said finally, tapping the side of his cup absently.

“Ohh, handwritten apologies? Perhaps you’re paying out the wahoo to cover their taxes to the lordship?” Crowley asked.

“No. It’s...honestly not my usual route of work, but everyone deserves a proper...You’ll see,” Aziraphale stood up abruptly, downing the rest of the wine in one gulp. Crowley followed suit, a thousand and one ideas coursing through his head.

“Can I make guesses?” Crowley asked, striding beside Aziraphale as he led him through the streets.

“No. I mean, yes, but it’s kind of...morbid to wonder over,” Aziraphale said, his face troubled. Crowley darted ahead, cutting off Aziraphale just enough so he could walk backwards as he spoke.

“Are you cannibalizing the people?” Crowley asked, popping off his sunglasses to stare down Aziraphale. He knew he had a crush on Aziraphale, but damn, if that were the case…

“Oh dear lord, I told you not to guess,” Aziraphale groaned, grabbing Crowley’s arm and pulling him to the side before he could step on a plague victim corpse.

“So no cannibals, then,” Crowley said, disappointed. For all he knew it was just a hoity toity orphanage full to the brim with sad faced kids that had an equally sad-faced future ahead of them. He really didn’t envy the humans. Just a whole lot of screaming and futile attempts at making a difference.

“Why so glum?” Crowley asked, noticing that Aziraphale was still remaining unusually quiet. It was rare for Crowley to be able to think around the angel, given he was such a nervous chatterer.

“Besides the whole ‘worst epidemic in human memory’? I...am conflicted,” Aziraphale admitted. Crowley quirked an eyebrow. This was worth paying attention to

“I can’t say my side has any good benefits. Hell is really rather damp and crowded, better than here right now of course, but-”

“Would you stop tempting me for five seconds, you wily serpent?” Aziraphale snapped. He took a deep breath, holding out the raven mask in front of him. Crowley slowed his pace, knowing that Aziraphale would prefer to talk when it was just them around.

“I asked why we were allowing all this suffering,” Aziraphale confessed. He sighed, pulling at the sleeve of his robe to wipe at the glass lens of the mask.

“I was told, of course, that it’s part of the great plan, you know. I was told not to interfere, and just to keep monitoring your activities. Not even...lessen the suffering,” Aziraphale said, wiping away a tear.

“Angel, it’s not your fault, look, come here,” Crowley drew him into the doorway out of sight. He pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed at the angels face. Aziraphale sniffled, the mask forgotten at his side.

“I just want to know what I’m doing wrong,” he said plaintively.

“You’re not doing anything wrong at all, angel, it’s just out of our control,” Crowley coaxed. He pulled Aziraphale into a hug, squeezing as tight as he could. A part of him wanted to protect Aziraphale from all the wrath of kingdom come, another just wanted to never see him cry ever again.

“Look, I helped someone, is that a demonic thing to do?” Crowley said, pulling away. Aziraphale smiled weakly.

“We’re just bad at...being angels and demons. And that’s okay Zira, heaven only knows what I would do without you on this crazy rock,” Crowley said.

“Probably still be torturing people by smashing their boils with sticks,” Aziraphale said, managing a small laugh.

“Probably. But that’s not the point. I like knowing you Aziraphale, and while I would highly prefer you as rebellious as they come, what things you do do have always been in favor of humanity. No one else is on their side but us, you know,” Crowley pointed out.

“Not until you’ve seen what I’ve done. Blast it all, give me that,” Aziraphale said, snatching away Crowley’s handkerchief. Crowley scrunched his nose in annoyance at his rudeness, secretly relieved to see the fire back in his sky blue eyes.

“Alright then, when you see this you won’t think so highly of me anymore,” Aziraphale said. He hesitated for half a heartbeat, holding onto the handkerchief.

“Keep it,” Crowley said.

“I just wanted to keep it because of my snot, quite embarrassing-” Aziraphale began.

“Don’t care. Keep it,” Crowley said, diving back into the street before Aziraphale could question himself back into yet another mental corner.

“This way, why do you always charge ahead as if you know where we’re going?” Aziraphale scolded, grabbing Crowley’s arm and gently redirecting him towards a church.

“I know I saw you cry angel, but are you sure that warrants death by holy water?” Crowley asked, digging his feet into the street a little.

“It’s around the back, Crowley,” Aziraphale sighed, shooting him a look of exasperation.

“Can’t blame me for being worried,” Crowley grumbled, picking up his feet again.

Aziraphale led him around the grounds of the church, apologizing for the overflow of gravestones that threatened to trip them at every other turn. Crowley focused on stepping quick, not wanting to ruin whatever Aziraphale was showing him by complaining about the whole sacred ground situation.

Aziraphale led him down the steps, the earth swallowing them whole.

“Let there be light,” Aziraphale said, anxiety palpable in his voice.

Crowley stared in awe. Around them were the intricate murals of hundreds upon hundreds of skulls, each lovingly placed in just the perfect spot. Crowley whistled low in his throat, startled a second time when he heard the echo far off.

“So this is your art project?” Crowley asked, striding down a little ways.

“Not an art project. A...favor, to humanity,” Aziraphale explained.

“Definitely better than cannibals,” Crowley said, spinning around to beam at Aziraphale. The angel flushed, ducking his head as he fiddled with Crowley’s handkerchief in his hands.

“The graves are overflowing, and no one is really bothering anymore with the dead. So I’m doing what I can. Upstairs said I couldn’t mess with the living, but I can certainly clean up the streets so they don’t get any sicker,” Aziraphale said, a glint of defiance in his eye.

“I love it when you’re a rebel,” Crowley said fondly.

“Not a rebel,” Aziraphale said quickly “just a little bit bad at being an angel, that’s all.”

He waited half a heartbeat, letting the silence fill the empty sockets of all the eyes in the room as they watched on.

“You taught me how, you know,” Aziraphale said softly. Crowley ignored his fast beating heart, walking back to Aziraphale.

“Angel, it has always been you that has created such wonderful things,” He confessed. Aziraphale smiled a little indulgently.

“Do you promise to stay still if I turn out the lights?” Aziraphale asked.

“The dark is a demon’s favorite place to be,” Crowley joked, feeling the urge to make light of the situation. He rather felt like he was being taken on a jaunty little date, human skulls included just to woo a demon in the right sort of way.

“Quiet, foul fiend,” Aziraphale said, snapping his fingers again. They dove into darkness, and before Crowley could find some sort of clever quip, he felt Aziraphale’s arms about his waist. His brain turned to mush, the only thing he could think of being ‘oh, so this is love’ before he felt Aziraphale’s lips brush gently against the edge of his mouth.

“Thank you, my dear,” Aziraphale murmured, before pulling away. Crowley reached out blindly, coming up with nothing. He turned to the entrance, spotting the outline of Aziraphale as he ascended. Crowley leaned against a wall, hand resting against the forehead of a skull.

“Ah, quite poetic,” He said aloud to the skulls. Left in the dark in the depths of the earth, with the one he loved free to the skies above. He clenched his hand into a fist, bringing it up and down again. He heard a crack, and he looked down to see the skull broken. Of course it was destruction that he brought to this beautiful place that Aziraphale had created.

Chapter Text

Aziraphale tucked himself away behind the booth. He kicked his feet out nervously, clashing his shoes against Crowley’s shins.

 

“Ouch, what was that for?” Crowley grumbled.

 

“Sorry, I’m not used to sharing tables,” Aziraphale said, pulling his legs back. A part of him wanted to check if he had scuffed his shoes, but he knew that Crowley would only poke fun at him for it. He wanted to have a good dinner together, despite the fact that he was subjecting himself to english cuisine. During a grand war of all times as well.

 

“You look sick. Did you swallow holy stone dust during the explosion?” Crowley asked.

 

“No, just thinking about the lovely food I am about to subject myself to,” Aziraphale explained.

 

“I take it that in the past hundred years or so there wasn’t much to improve upon slop,” Crowley said.

 

“You missed the invention of the automobile,” Aziraphale said.

 

“Oh, delightful little buggers they are, automobiles. You ought to go joyriding with me sometime,” Crowley said brightly.

 

“No thanks, I had enough close calls for a century,” Aziraphale said, readjusting his tie.

 

“Aw, but I’ve been asleep for like a hundred years. We gotta have some fun before I get tired again,” Crowley said.

 

“I really don’t think it’s healthy to be sleeping that long,” Aziraphale pointed out. Sleep was definitely not his favorite aspect of existence on earth. Sure, he didn’t exactly need it, but there was so much more to perceive in life than snoozing away eight hours of it.

 

“I don’t make fun of you for eating steak tartare,” Crowley pointed out, throwing one arm over the back of the booth.

 

“Eugh, please,” Aziraphale waved a hand in front of him, as if that would erase the meal from existence all together.

 

“Gentlemen, it’s good to see that the Blitzcrieg has not ruined the appetite of the British,” The waiter said, breezing up with an air of self-importance.

 

“Yeah, I’ll take two bottles of wine, and he’ll have whatever it is that you pass for as food,” Crowley said, cocking his head to the side.

 

“I’m sorry about his behavior. He just found out that his house was destroyed by a bomb. I would love to try the house special please,” Aziraphale said with a smile, handing the menu away as a clear dismissal. The waiter looked peeved for half a second before walking off once more.

 

“Not my house, it was the good Lord's house,” Crowley said, shit eating grin plastered on his face.

 

“Some things must occur for the greater good,” Aziraphale shrugged, unfolding the napkin and placing it on his lap.

 

“So what else did I miss from my nap?” Crowley asked. He fiddled with the ends of his cufflinks, looking not quite comfortable just yet in the decade’s height of fashion.

 

“Well, America committed genocide against the Native Americans, I’m sure you’re aware of the whole world war two thing, meaning there was a world war one of course,” Aziraphale said.

 

“Same old, same old, I take it,” Crowley said, sitting up for the wine that was deftly delivered by the waiter. They waited in silence as the waiter poured their drinks before departing again, wine bottle left behind. Crowley pushed his glass towards Aziraphale and grabbed the bottle for himself. Aziraphale made a face at him, but let it go.

 

“I mean, there was this very lovely fellow, Oscar Wilde? He will truly be remembered as the greatest writer of his time,” Aziraphale said. Crowley scowled.

 

“And he wrote you into his masterpiece, the dutifully studious long-suffering best friend who is madly in love but unable to confess,” Crowley drawled.

 

“Jealousy does not become you, my dear,” Aziraphale said. He sniffed dramatically, before breaking into a smile.

 

“Not really, although I shall lend you one of his novels. You’ll really adore Dorian Grey, Mr. Wilde had some very sincere learning opportunities about that sort of character,” he said.

 

“You did not tell him about me, did you? Eugh, I hate it when humans try to interpret me,” Crowley sighed dramatically, sliding down further in the seat. Aziraphale wondered how he wasn’t managing to bump into him yet.

 

“Ever since that fiasco with the Dionysus statue, I’m done,” He waved his hand in the air dramatically, taking a drink of wine with the other. “They can't be trusted with such grand beauty.”

 

“I’m sure. Perhaps they really only conveyed the things that you like to ignore about yourself?” Aziraphale asked innocently. He was thankful for the appearance of the waiter, who quickly set the house special between the two of them. Aziraphale drew the plate to himself, picking up a fork to spear the sad looking salmon on the plate.

 

“You’re lucky you’re in public or I would’ve, would’ve, bitten you, or something,” Crowley said, his initial rage tapering off as he lost interest in the argument. Aziraphale took a bite, humming in contentment at the symphony of lemon zest and black pepper seasoned asparagus on his tongue.

 

“Crowley, I know you don’t like talking about yourself, but I’m honestly quite worried about you,” He confessed. What he wanted to talk about was the fact that they never really talked about anything. Instead they were endlessly dancing around the same idea for the past few thousand years. He wanted to ask him about that prophesy again, what it means for Crowley, what it meant for him. But that was not allowed. Maybe Crowley was supposed to find a human that would catch his eye. Aziraphale was not one to admit it, but he was always a little frustrated with how vague everything in his existence was. Just one, good solid answer about anything, that would be enough for him.

 

“Pah, dont worry about me,” Crowley waved him away.

 

“Unfortunately this is just about as unworried that I get,” Aziraphale said. He pushed the plate towards Crowley, saving the best parts of the meal for him. Crowley glanced at the plate, disgust crossing his features.

 

“You know the food just isn’t for me Angel,” Crowley said, looking at him with the entire definition of disappointed etched into his features.

 

“Alcohol is not the only thing that this world has to offer,” Aziraphale said.

 

“It’s the best thing it has, for sure,” Crowley quipped.

 

“My point is, is that you should not be sleeping away what time we are allowed to have on Earth,” Aziraphale continued.

 

“Ah, right. Somehow I have forgotten the whole ‘barred from eternity’ aspect of my existence,” Crowley said, tone sorrow.

 

“That’s not what I was inferring,” Aziraphale said.

 

“Yes it was. You get to spend forever hamming it up with the best of ‘em while I no longer have any shape or form except whenever you deign to remember me when telling a good joke to your celestial pals,” Crowley said, clinking the bottom of the wine bottle against the edge of the table.

 

“If that were the case, if by some divine miracle I felt guilty over your limited time, don’t you think I would be interested in you not sleeping it all away?” Aziraphale said.

 

“Why do you care? You’re out there being a sweet dandy to all the gentleman suitors,” Crowley said, before breaking the bottom of the bottle against the table. They both jumped as the wine gushed everywhere. Aziraphale tried to keep his temper under control. So what if he wore his best trousers for tonight. So what that  they were covered in wine and that would never come out unless he performed a miracle? The shattered glass seemed to shock Crowley out of his foul mood, at least enough to sit up from his pouting and wave away the wine. The bottle reverted to its former shape, filled once more with the wine that had spilled.

 

“I just have one question for you Zira. You didn’t want to help me out with both of our sides a hundred years ago, and that’s fine. But why did you kiss me in the catacombs?” He asked, leaning forward. Aziraphale swallowed nervously. He took a massive bite of salmon to stall for time. In response Crowley lowered his sunglasses to stare him down, eyes molting with something unexplainable behind them.

 

“If you must know, I was just attempting a traditional French greeting. I just missed the timing,” Aziraphale said. Even he knew that the excuse was poorly made. He didn’t miss the hurt flash in Crowley’s eyes before he could push his sunglasses back up.

 

“Right, can’t get enough practice in smooching the plague victims I take it,” Crowley said. He grabbed the wine bottle and tilted back, chugging half of the thing in one go. Aziraphale focused on his food, the flavors that he had enjoyed just a moment before turned to ash on his tongue.

 

“I want to show you my bookshop,” Aziraphale burst out.

 

“Naturally. Show me that Wilde fellow, will ya?” Crowley said, already shifting out of the booth. Aziraphale quickly put some cash on the table and followed him, pausing long enough to grab the unopened bottle of wine. He was definitely going to need it later.

 

They managed to get outside before Crowley really started to go sideways. Aziraphale sighed and reached out, taking his arm before he caused any more trouble for the two of them.

 

“I’m gonna, go sssnake, too many limbss,” Crowley hissed, flopping his arms explosively.

 

“That would be best, my dear,” Aziraphale managed.

 

A moment later Crowley had wound himself around Aziraphale’s waist and up along his back. He rested his head against the crook of Aziraphale’s neck, letting out a soft huff of contentment. Aziraphale patted a coil affectionately as he made his way through the empty streets.

 

“I dream of eden,” Crowley admitted, taking great care to pronounce each word.

 

“Oh? What about?” Aziraphale asked.

 

“I dream of you, I dream of Eve and Ad-” Crowley broke off, yawning loudly in Aziraphale’s ear.

 

“Dreaming of your best act of temptation?” Aziraphale asked, unable to keep the disappointment out of his voice. Crowley laughed.

 

“No, sssilly angel, I dream that I am guarding humanity with you,” Crowley responded.

 

“Ah,” Was all that Aziraphale could think to say.

 

“Do you dream? I can’t remember my dreams from before the fall,” Crowley said.

 

“Not particularly. I mean, I do sometimes, but mostly I’d prefer staying up reading than sleeping,” Aziraphale said.

 

“You and your bookss,” Crowley huffed, sounding for all the world like he was two shakes from nodding off.

 

“I quite like them, you should give them a try,” Aziraphale said.

 

“No, I’m sstill holding out for latin to make a comeback,” Crowley responded. Aziraphale felt Crowley’s coils tighten around him. He patted his coil again in reassurance.

 

“You’ll be waiting a long time, although my personal favorite has always been Sumarian,” He said. Crowley started to laugh again, making Aziraphale’s heart warm against his better judgement.

 

“I remember how’d you sspend so long making the perfect clay tablets to write on. You thought they were so smart for inventing writing,” Crowley said fondly.

 

“Convenient of you to forget that I hated getting my robes dirty, so I would use one of your old robes to shape the clay with,” Aziraphale said.

 

“Of coursse, that’s what friends are for,” Crowley said, nuzzling his snakehead into the little space between Aziraphale’s coat and sweater.

 

“S’warm,” Crowley said muffledly. Aziraphale shook his head in a show of tolerance, but quickened his step nevertheless to make it to the bookstore before Crowley truly got cold. He would rather not have a snake crawling underneath his clothes. Especially this one. That led to dangerous avenues of thought.

 

At last he came to his bookstore at the corner. He practically floated up the steps, his keys already in the slot as he opened the door.

 

“We’re here, my dear,” He announced, shutting the door softly behind him. Crowley grumbled, before slowly unwinding himself from Aziraphale. Still keen to stay away from too many limbs, he slithered his way towards the backroom. Aziraphale figured he would find the couch towards the back that had a rather lovely hand-knitted throw blanket given to him by a lovely Irish bookseller. He would have to tell Crowley that whenever he did choose to sober up, that he does not ruin the blanket.

 

Aziraphale spent some time in the front room of the shop, putting away the extra bottle of wine and lighting some candles to carry back with him. Crowley was resting on the couch, as he expected, but in human form this time. Crowley tilted his head lazily towards him, holding up his signed copy of A Picture of Dorian Grey.

 

“May your very own Lord Wotton wake soon,” Crowley quoted, his eyebrows knitted together quizzically.

 

“It was an inside joke,” Aziraphale said quickly, reaching out to snatch the book away.

 

“Hang on, I thought you wanted me to read it,” Crowley said, holding it out of reach.

 

“Not if you’re going to make a joke of Oscar Wilde,” Aziraphale said.

 

“Aw angel, I promise I won't talk lowly of your beau,” Crowley said, knocking his glasses off. He opened the book to the first page, his eyes scanning the words rapidly.

 

“He is not my beau,” Aziraphale grumbled, setting the candle by him so he could read better in the light. He puttered away, thinking about that new novel by Jane Austen that he just had to get his hands on and finally finish.

 

By the time he came back in with biscuits on a plate, Crowley was thoroughly engrossed with the novel. So much so in fact, that he absently took a biscuit from the plate and started to eat it messily on the couch. And the blanket. That he had thrown over himself. Aziraphale tried not to let it get to him. Crowley meant well.

 

“Move your long snake legs, fiend,” Aziraphale teased. Crowley obediently lifted his legs long enough for Aziraphale to sit down, before expertly crashing them back down again. Aziraphale sighed, patting Crowley’s ankle before opening up his own novel. He didn’t want to admit it, but yes, he did miss having Crowley here beside him. He glanced at Crowley, who was reading the words out silently to himself. If eternity was this, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad--

 

Aziraphale shook his head quickly. That was dangerous thinking. He went back to Jane Austen, determined not to be distracted anymore.

 

 

In a rare chance, Aziraphale had slipped off into sleep before Crowley saw fit to leave. When he awoke, he found that he was curled on the couch, the throw completely void of cookie crumbs. He sat up, scrubbing his face with one hand before looking around. In Crowley’s wake he left a messily scrawled note on the end table, over the book. He reached out, quickly scanning the words.

 

This Wotton gentleman sounds like a real tempestuous creature. He could learn a thing or two from me.    Regards, C

 

Aziraphale smiled, rubbing a finger over the ink. He knew that the note had been written hours before, but he wished that it hadn’t, so he could run out into the street and call him back. He flipped the piece of paper, excitement bubbling in his chest as he noticed that Crowley had also left his new address. In the area, as well.

 

Aziraphale tried not to look into it too much. But that wasn’t his forte. So what he did was tuck it away into his desk before shelving both books. Then, he put on his most unhelpful expression before opening up the bookshop for the day.



Chapter Text

“Are you sure we’re allowed?” Aziraphale asked, looking about the frathouse. The 1980’s weren’t nearly as fun as the seventies, but Crowley was personally relieved to no longer have to deal with the disco age.

“It’s an open invitation Angel, of course they won’t notice an extra pair of gent’s from some 101 uni course,” Crowley reassured Aziraphale.

“Right, right,” Aziraphale said worriedly, smiling wanly at anyone who gave them so much as a glance.

“Relax, we’re just here to have fun,” Crowley said, turning to him.

“Yes. Fun,” Aziraphale inhaled sharply, before letting out his breath slowly. Crowley put his arms around his shoulders, gyrating his hips to the time of the music. He was careful to watch Aziraphale’s expression, not wanting to ruin anything. To his surprise, and utter delight, Aziraphale pressed against him, sashaying just a little awkwardly. For a time they danced that way, Crowley discovering just how delightful it was to feel Aziraphale so close. At the end of the song Aziraphale pulled away, making some sort of motion to the keg across the room.

“You know, I always thought humans knew how to party the best,” Aziraphale said, cheeks red as he navigated the crowds. Crowley followed close behind, sneaking glances at Aziraphale’s ass.

“I take it that heavenly symphonies is not much to dance to,” Crowley said.

“Angels don’t dance,” Aziraphale explained.

“You weren’t that bad, passable if we’re being honest,” Crowley said, resting a hand on his shoulder as he reached for two solo cups on the counter.

“Just make sure not to let your side know, and mine will be none the wiser,” Aziraphale said imperiously.

“Yes, angel, secrets and all that,” Crowley said, pushing a cup full of cheap beer into his hand. “Lets just drink and have some fun, alright?”

“Alright, but I need to be back for services, it’s what’s right,” Aziraphale said.

“Don’t worry, you’ll make it home in one piece,” Crowley said, and sloshed his cup against Aziraphale’s.

“Last one done has to chug the next,” Crowley challenged.

They went back and forth just like that for a time. Sometimes losing unintentionally, sometimes on purpose. At some point they found themselves on the dance floor, feeling each other up. Crowley didn’t know when it happened, but suddenly they were in a bathroom upstairs, and he was kissing Aziraphale as if there was nothing better to do anywhere in the universe.

Crowley trembled as Aziraphale’s hands ran up his waist. The loud thudding of the music outside of the tiny bathroom was making him feel three different shades of something he couldn’t exactly place. Here he was, finally having Aziraphale right where he had him, and already he was pulling away, doubt in those gorgeous blue eyes of his.

“Is everything okay, dear?” Aziraphale asked huskily, withdrawing his hands from Crowley’s waist. His eyes scanned Crowley’s desperately, trying to puzzle him out before he could figure himself out first.

“Y-yeah, I’m fine. It’s just, ah,” Crowley shrugged uncomfortably under his faded Queen t-shirt. He never thought of them much anymore. In fact, he never thought about them until this very moment.

“If you don’t want to do this, ah, we shouldn’t even be here-” Aziraphale fretted, already drawing away.

“No! No, stop, just, stop.” Crowley ordered, leaning against the door so Aziraphale couldn’t dart out again.

“It’s not a big deal, and honestly perhaps it was divine intervention,” Aziraphale suggested. Crowley glared at him menacingly, enough to even make him flinch in surprise.

“I’m. Trying, to show you something,” Crowley snapped. He fiddled with the end of the t-shirt, warring with himself for several seconds. He shut his eyes tight, trying to muster the courage. Finally, with a huff, he turned around, taking off his shirt.

“Oh,” Aziraphale said, exhaling.

“Is that all you have to say?” Crowley snapped, clutching his shirt in one hand as he whirled around. Aziraphale only stared at him, face pale in shock.

“I-I, I didn’t know you were a seraphim, that’s all,” Aziraphale said, eyes darting every which way but at Crowley.

“They didn’t have the time to strip me of my last set of wings before throwing me in boiling sulphur, but yeah, they just dug in with red hot pincers and ripped ‘em right out,” Crowley said bitterly. He looked down, noticing that he was shaking, his knuckles white in the poor lighting of the bathroom. Outside, someone banged on the door. Crowley slammed the door right back, and he heard a stifled scream. Served them right.

“A-and you just have those big, ah, scars?” Aziraphale asked. Crowley jerked his head up and down, the best imitation of a nod that he could muster. He felt that he was about to shatter his own teeth in a second. The music pulsed all the louder, and he felt that he needed to get out of there.

“Wait, Crowley,” Aziraphale said, starting towards him. Crowley backed off, wrenching the door open. He raced past the man who had encountered them at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and for it had worms crawling into every orifice that he had.

“Ayyy, looks like the queers got in a fight!” Someone whooped. Crowley whirled on them, sizing up the poor soul who was too drunk to realize his mistake. Crowley waved his hand, and the man screamed as his teeth fell out. Crowley threw his shirt on, shoving past people that were rushing to see what all the screaming was about.

He spilled out into the night air, taking deep lungfuls of air as if he had nearly drowned. He snapped his fingers, his bentley already speeding a hundred miles an hour towards him.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale called. Crowley turned his head briefly, watching the angel bumble his way down the steps of the party house.

“I’m sorry angel, I shouldn’t of done that,” Crowley said, winking at him. He stepped into the street, practically launching himself into the car before Aziraphale could bustle his way down the sidewalk.

“Crowley, I--” Aziraphale began as Crowley leaned out the open window.

“Save it, angel. I know it when I’m not desired,” He said, flicking his sunglasses open before putting them on. He slammed the gas before Aziraphale could get in a word edgewise.

It was a good thing that he was able to get out of there in time. Whatever was wrong with him, this physical form, had finally snapped once he was away from the noise. Crowley rested his head on the steering wheel, not caring when the wheel spun to keep him from being crashed into. Crowley hugged himself, trying to control the shaking that couldn’t stop.

It was a mistake. All of it. He wasn’t supposed to be doing this with Aziraphale. His entire body was rioting against what he had done, how was he such a fool not to realize? His skin burned where Aziraphale had touched him, his hair, his hands, his chest, they weren’t his, they were an oasis of desire turned rancid.

He needed a shower. He needed a new life. What he really needed was not another goddamn prophecy that was going to end up destroying his withered grace in his chest. He wanted to reset the whole thing, go back and spit in God’s face. He’d still fall, yes. But he would never have to meet that goddamn Aziraphale again.

He stumbled out of the car, too stressed to worry about sobering up. He tumbled his way into his flat, knocking aside a pot full of the plant that was disappointing him the most at the moment. He crashed into his throne, holding his head. He began to scream, heart pounding.

Oh yes, he fucked things up royally this time. He barely registered his phone ringing, and he snatched it up.

“What the Heaven do you want? I swear to Satan if you’re trying to sell me some shit I will make shit come out of your eyeballs-” Crowley began.

“Crowley. It’s me,” Aziraphale said, sounding for all the world stone cold sober.

“Oh, great. Look, it’s over, the agreement, everything,” Crowley said.

“No. Crowley. I want to make this better. Let’s just...lets just miracle this memory, this night away. I would...I would do that for our friendship,” Aziraphale said. Crowley wiped at his eyes furiously, pissed that he was crying. He didn’t want this from Aziraphale. Fuck. He just wanted to tell him that he was fine the way he was, fallen bits and all.

“Sure, grand, I’ll be sure to erase the memory,” Crowley said flatly.

“Thanks, Crowley. Hey, would you like to eat dinner with me Tuesday?” Aziraphale offered.

“As long as it’s not English food. And there must be good liquor, or else I’ll infest the place with rats,” Crowley said.

“Of course my dear, take care, will you?” Aziraphale said, kindness flooding his voice.

“No problem Angel, see you,” Crowley set the phone down in its cradle. Then, he stood up violently, the throne crashing to the floor. He picked up the phone and hurled it at the wall. He looked around, chest heaving.

He knew he was not going to forget. Because he needed the reminder that Aziraphale found him revolting. Except he would be the only one who knew the truth.

Yes, Crowley was good at holding onto bitter truths. He waved his hand at the wrecked room, stalking to his bedroom as he went. Perhaps he would sleep so long he wouldn’t wake again until Armageddon was over their heads.

Chapter Text

Aziraphale picked at his cuticles nervously, side-eying the coffee that he had ordered. It had already ceased steaming, and he knew that in another ten minutes it would be room temperature at best. He had told Crowley the time, made him even grab a pen and paper while he waited on the phone. Of course Crowley could’ve just dawdled about in his apartment to give him the peace of mind, but he always chose to believe in the best in Crowley.

His head bobbed up automatically a the loud ring of the front door. A part of him knew that he had intentionally chosen a lower-standard place specifically for the front door chime. Also because the place was positively packed with obnoxious youths. It was his best attempt at showing Crowley that he meant to make peace between the two of them. He turned back to focusing on the laminated piece of paper, his appetite a big hollow of nothingness for the first time in centuries.

Aziraphale had meant to forget the memory. It was the first thing on his list of things to do as soon as he hung up. But...but. He needed to remember why they could not get any closer. Because of how foolish he had acted in the moment. If he hadn’t reacted in such shock, perhaps he wouldn’t of chased Crowley off. Perhaps if he had taken it in stride, they would be cuddled up in the bookshop right now, him reading poetry while Crowley made half-hearted jokes at the authors expense.

“Have you decided what you’d like?” The young waitress asked, resting her hand on her hip.

“Y-yes, I suppose I have,” Aziraphale said, offering a half-hearted smile. He barely paid enough attention to place an order for something he knew he was going to end up not eating. He was just glad to have her gone so he could ruminate on his thoughts without interruption.

It didn’t change anything that Crowley was a seraphim of course. Really, it made sense that he had grown bored faster of the whole harmonizing aspect of being an angel. And why he had never seen him before in Heaven. Before the fall, anyhow. He rested his chin in his hand, darting a look around the diner.

“Why so glum?” Crowley called, startling Aziraphale out of his reverie.

“Oh! Crowley my dear boy, I thought you were close to ditching me,” Aziraphale said brightly. Crowley psshed the worry away, collapsing into the seat across from him. Aziraphale swallowed hard, suddenly feeling the lie sticking to the roof of his mouth.

“So, how about that drinking?” Crowley asked, one eyebrow raised just above the shades.

“I didn’t think that angels were capable of blacking out, but I suppose there is a first for everything,” Aziraphale replied, relieved that Crowley was throwing him the bait. He just hoped that he was able to sell it perfectly.

“Tell me about it. You kept sidestepping all over the place on the way home,” Crowley shook his head, before reaching out and clinking the side of his glass of water.

“You promised alcohol,” He hinted heavily.

“Right, right,” Aziraphale focused on the drink, and in a moment it turned a bright reddish gold.

“Made after the best strawberry wine known to mankind,” Aziraphale said proudly.

“You and your fruity ways,” Crowley sighed, taking the drink nevertheless. He made an appreciative noise, not too high and mighty to turn his nose up at a free miracle drink.

“So. I think partying is definitely not something I would like to try again,” Aziraphale announced. He studied the shades that Crowley wore, desperate to find some sort of tic that would tell him exactly what Crowley was thinking. But then, it had been 6000 years. If he was going to have Crowley perfectly puzzled out, it would of happened ages ago. And how boring that would be!

“Yeah. I think I’m good for awhile too,” Crowley admitted.

“I never thought I’d hear the day. D’you remember the time that you lost the holy grail? I said ‘now Crowley, my dear, you can drink it for tonight, but we really ought to bring it back to King Arthur’?” Aziraphale said. Crowley snorted into his drink.

“Uh, yeah, the jury's still out on that one, sorry angel,” Crowley said, beaming at him with a shiteating grin. Aziraphale gave a long suffering sigh, although secretly he was practically in pieces from that wicked grin of his.

“Loook, I tried to find it yknow. Even went all snakey and searched the. The. wherever I lost it,” Crowley waved the whole situation away. Aziraphale shook his head.

He was saved just in time from an awkward silence by the waitress, who delivered a rather unappetizing plate of eggs, hash browns, and toast. He thanked her quickly, before she could judge what was in Crowley’s glass.

“That looks positively radioactive,” Crowley said, reaching across the table to poke at the sunny-side up egg yolk. Aziraphale smacked his hand away, glaring.

“Can I try?” Crowley asked. Aziraphale rolled his eyes indulgently, unrolling the napkin towards Crowley. Crowley snatched up the fork and knife, snatching the plate from Aziraphale. He set to work slicing and dicing the eggs, until the entire plate was doused in a yellow-y ichor. At last, Crowley took a dainty bite of the toast before pushing it back to Aziraphale.

“Not good,” Crowley said with finality.

“You didn’t have to ruin the whole plate,” Aziraphale complained. Secretly, he enjoyed the yolk soaked into everything, but it was about the principle of the matter.

“Aw, but that’s just in my nature,” Crowley replied, shifting so that he could rest against the wall, legs splayed out in the walkway. Just perfectly at that moment, a rather irate customer stormed by their table, just missing the additional set of legs in the walkway. He pitched forward, mid-curse.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale snapped.

“He was harassing the waiters,” Crowley replied, watching the man scuttle back to his feet ungracefully.

“Still. I have to reprimand you,” Aziraphale said, daintily stabbing at the heap of hashbrowns.

“That’s all you do, reprimand and tell me no,” Crowley said sorrowly. Aziraphale looked up, trying to judge if Crowley hadn’t erased the memory either. Crowley appeared not to be entirely focused on the conversation at hand. Instead, he was focusing on a small child across the way who was just about to spill his small cup of juice into his mother's purse. Crowley was silently mouthing ‘do it’ to the child, as if he could influence the toddler by sheer force of will.

“Yess,” Crowley hissed, punching the air when the apple juice toppled unceremoniously into the bag. The mother cried out in dismay, focusing on rescuing the innards of her purse while the child laughed gleefully.

“We should raise a child sometime, it would be our version of a dog or a cat, yknow,” Crowley said, glancing at Aziraphale. Aziraphale, tragically, was mid-swallow as soon as he said this, and began to choke violently.

“Woah woah woah angel, I was only joking!” Crowley said, sitting up in alarm. Aziraphale pounded his chest, making a face as soon as the toast dislodged and went down the right way.

“Crowley, seriously,” he gasped.

“Hey! I was just saying,” Crowley said defensively.

“We can’t just. Take in a kid. How would we explain to them that we never age? Not to mention the paperwork,” Aziraphale said.

“You and your paperwork,” Crowley grumbled, “tell me, what’s the point of living on Earth if you’re just gonna cower in fear of some stupid papers?”

“I live perfectly fine on Earth, I’ll have you know. At least I don’t sleep to pass the time and actually engage with others around me,” Aziraphale said. He really didn’t want to fight, but Crowley had started it.

“Oh, look at you, eating local food like some well-meaning tourist-y horisty. At least I try to do things that are worthwhile,” Crowley snapped.

“Causing minor inconveniences? You’re not even good at being a demon,” Aziraphale said, lowering his voice so the others around them couldn’t hear.

“You take that back!” Crowley said, slamming his hand on the table. Their silverware hopped, and the lights flickered above.

“I wont,” Aziraphale said.

“Fine. I’m going to go off and raise a human on my own, and you can die with your face full of crepes for all I care,” Crowley leapt up, pausing long enough to spill his drink directly into Aziraphale’s plate. Aziraphale sighed, looking at his now-ruined breakfast. He counted to five in his head before getting up, leaving a nice tip for the waitress for her trouble before slowly following Crowley out of the diner.
Crowley was exactly where he expected him to be. Behind the wheel of his Bentley and smacking his forehead gently onto the wheel. Aziraphale paused, warring with himself as to whether he should let him cool off or just talk it out. He made his way over, dragging his feet as he opened the side door.

“Crowley, what is it between the two of us that won’t work?” Aziraphale asked, sitting down carefully. He wasn’t entirely convinced that the Bentley wouldn’t eject him out of his seat like those delightful cartoons that the humans had created.

Aziraphale knew the answer. Crowley was hopelessly in love with him. The jury, as Crowley put it, was still out for Aziraphale. Some of him knew that he had grown fond of Crowley, but was there ever such a definitive term for what they had together? Humans only had sixty years together tops, maybe seventy in the most generous of cases. How would they know how to encapsulate a relationship such as theirs?

“Why do you dislike me so?” Crowley asked, just quiet enough that Aziraphale had to lean over a bit to hear him.

“Besides the whole serpent thing? You kind of ruined my first ever job Crowley. And kind of every one after that, now that I think of it,” Aziraphale said, trying in vain to lighten the whole situation.

“That’s not what I mean. Just, as a person, human being I guess,” Crowley said.

Aziraphale swallowed nervously. He really wasn’t going to let this go until he got back a definitive answer. He looked out the front of the Bentley, watching a little girl with her fathers, giggling as they headed into the diner. He wanted that. Really. But that could mean becoming like Crowley. Whatever that was. He thought of those wretched scars, wondered if he could live with a set of his own on his shoulder blades. Could he do that, for Crowley?

Terrified of the answer, he reached and popped open the glove department to look at the amount of sunglasses that Crowley had.

“You’re getting a bit outdated on the sunglasses, my dear,” Aziraphale said, picking one up and holding it to the sky. To spend an entire lifetime behind a dark vision of the world. He couldn’t even begin to imagine.

“Don’t change the subject,” Crowley said, reaching out and gently prying the sunglasses away. Aziraphale wanted to reach out and take his hands, kiss his knuckles, apologize for being an idiot.

“Sorry. Crowley, you’ve been my...for a lack of a better term, my accomplice for eons. I can’t imagine having any other sort of demon by my side,” Aziraphale said. Crowley grimaced, nodding in agreement.

“I am sort of the most hospitable of the bunch. Beelzebub has bugs in her ears,” Crowley confessed.

“Disgusting. See, that’s exactly why we’re a good fit. I’m afraid that Gabriel and you would’ve ended up killing each other right at the tree. And what fun would that be?” Aziraphale said. It was the closest he was ever going to get to telling Crowley that he was right for giving Eve the apple. He hoped that Crowley wouldn’t focus on that point too much.

“Right, right, and the crepes wouldn’t exist,” Crowley said, the teasing tone back in his voice.

“Let’s just say that, given Armageddon is what we’re looking for, if there is such a child, perhaps we can pay him some visits from time to time,” Aziraphale offered.

“I can teach him how to pickpocket,” Crowley said brightly.

“No. More like, pay your taxes, help the elderly across the street sort of thing,” Aziraphale shot back, smiling despite himself.

“To slow to cross? To slow to live,” Crowley quipped, turning the Bentley on. It roared to life, pulling into the road.

“Honestly Crowley, you’re intolerable,” Aziraphale sighed.

“Aw, but I am the best looking chauffeur around,” Crowley said, throwing the car into gear. They launched through the streets, back towards the bookshop. Aziraphale glanced at Crowley out of the corner of his eye. He would never quite forget what it was like to feel Crowley vulnerable against him. Never forget what Heaven had done to his...his Crowley. But he would make up for it. Give Crowley the softer ending that he deserved.

He reached out, and turned on the radio to some Queen.

Chapter Text

“Fireflies, I believe, are not indigineous to England,” Crowley said, plopping down on the lawn chair beside Aziraphale.

“Yes, I know, but they’re already dying off in droves in America. I figured that some should at least enjoy the good life before they drift off into the echoing halls of the extinct,” Aziraphale said.

“Hm, that’s not what I heard when I tried to chuck a tomato at that bastard,” Crowley said, kicking a heel off. He rubbed his foot, wincing dramatically. Even though, technically, he could easily of created a better fitting heel.

“That was different,” Aziraphale said.

“Uh huh, still think it’s wonderful that they love tomatoes so damn much in good ol’ Greece,” Crowley said, throwing a lopsided grin Aziraphale’s way.

“I know you had something to do with that and it is only a matter of time until I puzzle you out,” Aziraphale said. Crowley rolled his eyes.

“How was putting Warlock to sleep?” Aziraphale asked.

“Depends. Are you going to get all up in a tiffy if I tell you?” Crowley asked.

“Oh no. Did you hang him from his feet until he passed out from the blood rushing to his head?” Aziraphale asked, sitting up in his lawn chair to look back at the house.

“Of course not! Sheesh, you know my policy,” Crowley waved away his concern.

“Then what did you do?” Aziraphale asked.

“Uhm. After he had a tantrum over snapping his ds in half, I decided that I had had enough and by miracles of miracles he conked out,” Crowley said. Aziraphale snorted, and Crowley beamed at him toothily.

“I have to say, we raise a rather awful child,” Aziraphale said, settling back into his seat.

“Welcome to parenthood angel. Where everything is predetermined and the adults act like they know what the Heaven is going on all the time,” Crowley drawled.

“There is a little bit of influence. Warlock actually picked up the worms on the sidewalk today and tossed them into the grass,” Aziraphale said.

“Chuck is more like it. You forget that I am at the brat’s beck and call at any moment,” Crowley replied. He thought it sweet that Aziraphale was trying to find any sort of excuse for Warlock. The fact of the matter was that he was just going to be a gremlin no matter what either of them did.

“That would be your influence, Ms. Astoreth,” Aziraphale said.

“That’s MRs. Astertoth to you. The other day I spoke to Warlock about how one could go about becoming a gold digger,” Crowley said, picking at his nails lazily.

“Oh lord, I thought you would wait before I had to start in on the sanctity of marriage,” Aziraphale groaned.

“Sanctity of marriage,” Crowley snorted.

“It’s rather important. A union of man and woman or woman and woman or--”

“Yeah yeah yeah, marriage should not be taken lightly or else it is a mockery in the eyes of God,” Crowley responded. He was tired almost to death over their various bickerings over the concept of marriage.

“Now that I think about it, you and I may have the longest relationship known to anyone,” Aziraphale mused.

“Aw, and for six thousand big ones you skipped every single anniversary,” Crowley joked. He had decided long ago not to get his hopes up. Well, long ago for a human. Realistically he knew that he was just going to get his heart broken over and over again by Aziraphale. But it was better to break than not at all. Speaking of, why now of all times to bring up their relationship? He had carefully banished that night in the 1980’s to the very back corner of his brain. Along with the time that he had to suffer through one of Beezelbub’s song recitals. Something about a new form of torture. Crowley winced. It definitely was torturous for him.

“You don’t like material things,” Aziraphale said.

“I do too, just...modernist level material items,” Crowley said defensively.

“Dust bunnies and a plant or two. Speaking of, what happened to the rose bush I gave you fifty years ago?” Aziraphale asked.

The answer was that it didn’t cut it. Realistically that meant that the rose bush was growing beautifully on an absolutely impossible plant box just outside of Crowley’s bedroom window. Just the other day he had to prune the bush, and apologized to the plant the entire time he did it. For the record to all of the other plants in his home, the bush’s sticks hung ominously above their leafy heads as a dire warning against any brown spots.

Her name was Evanna. He was a big fan of second chances when it came to his plants.

“Died,” Crowley said shortly.

“It was a tiffany rose bush clipped directly from a bush of the queen of England’s,” Aziraphale said, looking stricken.

“Good. I hate monarchists,” Crowley grumbled. Damn. He was too attached now to get rid of Evanna. Why on earth had he not listened to Aziraphale when he was rambling about the plant? He was trying to keep his emotions in check, probably. Demon’s didn’t cry. At best they sneered and insulted the other person for being emotional.

“While their overall motives have been deemed unconventional by my higher ups, they did have a pretty solid sense of fashion about them,” Aziraphale said.

“You’re just a bootlicker,” Crowley said dismissively. A firefly flew too close to his face, and with a side-eye glance to make sure Aziraphale wasn’t looking, he gently ushered the bug away with a quick puff of air.

“I am not. They tried their best and when it failed, the people rose up,” Aziraphale said.

“Just like the demons,” Crowley mumbled quickly under his breath.

“I heard that and I’m not going to entertain you with a response,” Aziraphale replied.

“You never do when you know I’m right. Anyhow, it’s only a few more years until the end times. Any big plans? Big book spending sprees?” Crowley asked.

“I was wondering if you would mind popping over into this little bookshop in France, I think that’s where I left my first editions of Dangerous Liasons in safekeeping before being arrested, and the bookshop clerk did mention that they did have a set of copies that had A. Fell inscribed on the inside cover,” Aziraphale rambled.

“I dunno why you ever liked that gentleman. He’s one of ours after all,” Crowley said.

“He reminded me a bit of you. We weren’t talking at the time, remember?” Aziraphale prompted.

“Right, right. I think I went off to India for a bit of a break,” Crowley said.

“Yes, and then you saved me during that unfortunate period with the guillotine,” Aziraphale said, sounding for all the world like a very wistful teenage girl speaking of her first crush.

“What did I say about bringing that up?” Crowley said, blushing. He very much preferred that all of his good deeds were not spoken about. It wasn’t good for the whole demon angle he was going for. Also it made him embarrassed and he would rather just do things for the sake of doing them. No rewards necessary.

“It’s my favorite memory of the two of us. I was thinking, you know, maybe we should make some better use of our time. I know that realistically if either of our sides wins, it won’t be any stretch of the imagination to think that our friendship will be over. Just...in case things that we wanted to say or do together could be put out of the way,” Aziraphale said. Crowley gracefully ignored the nervous tic that was Aziraphale fiddling with his hands.

“Are you saying you want to...to ah…” Crowley gestured obscenely. Aziraphale turned beet red, which was definitely not a shade that Crowley had ever seen before.

“N-no! Of course not! I’m celibate and you’re...you’re--”

“A demon,” Crowley finished for him.

“No. You’re...my friend,” Aziraphale finished. Crowley got the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach that Aziraphale wasn’t saying exactly everything.

“Why not ruin our friendship, then?” Crowley pressed.

“Even if we did...did do that, it wouldn’t work. I’m celibate,” Aziraphale said, sounding just a little bit more confident.

“First time for everything, in my opinion,” Crowley said, signalling that he was willing to let it go. Aziraphale took a deep breath beside him.

“Crowley, I need to confess something to you. It’s been eating away at me for so long, and you know I never keep any secrets from you,” Aziraphale began.

“Look angel, if you’re not a virgin I’m not gonna care. Mary wasn’t either but you don’t see me trying to change every bible for that one little fact,” Crowley said.

“I still am celibate, like I said, marriage is very essential to me,” Aziraphale said.

“Saving yourself for marriage to the perfect author?” Crowley asked. “Unfortunately you’re a couple decades too late for your great love, Oscar Wilde.”

“For the last time, we didn’t do anything together. Don’t act so jealous,” Aziraphale said. He was silent for a heartbeat. A second to long, for Crowley’s tastes.

“Well, good, because I hate the concept of marriage and have slept with so many different people,” Crowley said. He rather felt like he was talking too big for himself. Truthfully, it had been one other gentleman in the fourteenth century. And then he had died and Crowley decided that the fourteenth century needed to go down the crapshoot anyhow. A pang of guilt hit him when he realized he couldn’t remember the bloke’s name, or even where they had met up. And they had spent twenty years together as well.

“That’s nice for you,” Aziraphale said stiffly and stood up. He stormed off. Crowley watched him go for a moment, wondering what he had done wrong. He sighed, yanking himself to his feet before he sauntered after Aziraphale.

“Zira, angel, I’m sorry for antagonizing you,” Crowley called. He really did want to get to the bottom of the conversation.

“Don’t be sorry, it’s your nature,” Aziraphale called back slowing down at the gate to wait for Crowley. He gave Crowley a smile, the kind that made his lovely blue eyes go all sad as a result. Crowley once again felt like the world’s biggest ass.

“What were you trying to tell me? Before I mouthed off,” Crowley said, taking his sunglasses off. Aziraphale was the only one that he allowed to be seen with them off. Speaking of, Aziraphale was also the only one who had seen the scars from having his wings ripped out. Crowley shooed the memory away before it could come into full bloom, but by then he was already beginning to suspect that perhaps Aziraphale had lied about deleting that memory.

“I was just going to say, that if I had to spend an eternity with anyone, I would prefer if it was you,” Aziraphale said, straightening his gardeners robe. Suddenly, the whole situation struck Crowley as hilarious. Here he was, dressed to the nines as a Mary Poppins look alike, and here was the love of his life in a poor gardeners get-up straight out of an illustration for Peter Rabbit. He tried his best to not burst into laughter, but the way Aziraphale looked at him made it all the worse.

“Why are you laughing? Stop it!” Aziraphale said, smacking Crowley’s arm. Crowley laughed all the harder, leaning against the gate and trying to stifle the giggles that wouldn’t stop coming. He wondered if the antichrist Warlock was in there right now dreaming of deadly laughing gas. That would be an excellent way to go.

“I’m never going to share anything serious with you ever again in my life,” Aziraphale said dramatically. Crowley sobered up, although the corner of his mouth threatened to turn upwards at any moment.
“I won’t laugh ever again,” Crowley said. Damn, there was the grin again. Aziraphale rolled his eyes.

“You are impossible, intolerable, dare I say it? Incapable of seriousness,” Aziraphale said, although even he smiled a little at Crowley’s antics.

“Aw, just say you love me and let’s go,” Crowley said, pushing against the gate. He waved jauntily at the secret serviceman who had definitely heard too much and was most likely now convinced that the nanny and the gardener were sleeping together. Crowley squinted at him, making the secret service man believe that he had hallucinated the whole thing. After all, the nanny didn’t have glowing snake eyes either.

“You always go to the next step when I’ve just arrived,” Aziraphale complained, already donning his usual get-up.

“I believe you said I go too fast for you?” Crowley clarified, taking Aziraphale’s cue to get out of the god-awful skirt. Pencil skirts. Never again. Now a nice broomskirt? That would be more his speed.

“Yes you do, but I was just going to say that I do love you. In the...in the human sense, but also I guess our sense of love,” Aziraphale said, talking quickly. Crowley supposed that if Aziraphale had said it any slower, he would’ve bailed mid sentence.

Crowley had two options when it came to responding. He could raise to the occasion and make a big deal of it, or he could just act as if it had always been something he had known in the back of his head. And as always he chose the latter.

“I love you too, angel,” He said brightly, heart beating rapidly.

“Strictly platonically of course, we can’t have any more reason to mess up so close to the end of things,” Aziraphale said, probably thinking along the same lines as Crowley. Crowley felt his hopes do a dive bomb and crash into a pit of glass shards and lemon juice. Ouch.

“Would there ever be another way of loving you?” Crowley said, half sarcastic. Aziraphale scrunched his face at him.

“I’m famished. Want to eat somewhere with a nice overnight bakery? I hate working overtime,” Aziraphale said, taking the lead as he charged the bentley. Crowley watched him go, allowing himself to hold onto the first time Aziraphale had told him ‘I love you’. It wasn’t what he wanted. Nothing it seemed to go that way. It was just a part of being a demon, or whatever.

“I hate bakery’s. Let’s go to this American barbecue joint, you’re gonna positively loathe it,” Crowley called, hurrying to catch up.

Chapter Text

Crowley didn’t really know what to do with himself now that the whole ordeal was over. That included the end of the world, and especially the end of Heaven or Hell meddling with him or his best friend. Best friend, what two bitter words they were on the back of his tongue. So he did what he did best. He slunk home, and he took care of his plants, and he pouted.

He was in the middle of considering a new stunt with his sleep cycle that would involve a disappearance act for a total of 200 years when his phone rang. He scrambled to get to it, half-remembering that he really needed a human hand to actually take hold.

“Hallo?” Crowley answered, rolling off the bed with a dull thump.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale said brightly.

“That would be me, what’s up angel?” Crowley asked, glaring at a set of dust bunnies. They went up in a puff of smoke.

“I was thinking, you know, after my bookshop was magically repaired and all that? I’m thinking that I need a change of pace,” Aziraphale said. Crowley scanned the ceiling of his room. He hadn’t attempted sleeping up there of late.

“Are you listening Crowley?” Aziraphale said. Crowley hummed something that vaguely sounded like agreement. Maybe the top left corner?

“I said, I wanted to see if you’d like to move in with me,” Aziraphale said.

“Oh,” Crowley said cleverly. He glanced at his window, where Evanna was gently tapping her branches against the pane. She seemed to be egging him into saying yes. He glared at her, and the tapping stopped.

“I mean, you don’t have to, but I feel like it would be nice to have a holiday cottage away from everything, and I have been meaning to reorganize my personal library, and you sort of need a personal library to do that anyhow and the bookstore just doesn’t feel right after whatever it was that our dear Adam did to it--”

“Fine, but I get to decorate the living room. Also, I have my plants and we will need a greenhouse,” Crowley interrupted.

“Of course my dear, hey, how about we get a bite to eat in the city and we can pick out a lovely cottage that may open up to a very specific sort of buyer very soon?” Aziraphale hinted.

“Sure, send me the address?” Crowley hung up before Aziraphale could prattle it off to him. Aziraphale had reluctantly purchased a flip phone at Adam’s insistence, so that they could keep in touch. A part of him enjoyed the torture Aziraphale went through just to type anything out on the ancient device.

There was the question of them, though. He knew that it was dangerous ground to be on. With all the things they have gone through. All the side-stepping each other through the centuries. Crowley felt the familiar old ache rise in his chest, and for once he didn’t beat it down with a stick like he usually did.

If they were going to live together, Aziraphale would need to know how Crowley really felt. It wouldn’t be fair to either of them if he was misleading Aziraphale. Plus, there was the whole issue regarding the fact that Crowley was very close to jumping Aziraphale’s bones at the drop of a hat. After confessing his undying love first, of course. Crowley groaned, wriggling further underneath his bed. When had he become such a sap?

His phone buzzed again, reminding him that he existed and therefore had to respond to the other powers at play in the universe. He blindly reached out, flailing an arm about until he finally collided with the phone.

The text was simple and contrite. An address. A smiley face with a nose, such as :^). Crowley made a face and threw the phone in the direction that was furthest from himself. How had he fallen this far. Was this the divine punishment that God had promised him all those years ago? Love was the world’s worst invention, a better torture than any demon could think up, a better ending than Heaven could even begin to offer.

And he was stupidly, horribly, in love. He rolled further underneath the bed, coiling up on himself so that he could be as small as possible. All he wanted was a nice sunny spot in the garden, perhaps Aziraphale could be there, muttering sweet things to the plants just as he had done at the very beginning. No flaming sword though. It had never really suited Aziraphale. He was too soft for that, but Crowley knew that Aziraphale could handle himself perfectly well on his own without the blade anyhow.

The phone buzzed faintly, the outside world knocking against the self-loathing snake’s head. He peered out. A moment later he slithered forth, shaking each limb out as he got to his feet. He scooped the phone up and pocketed it as he left the flat.

“Be good, Evanna,” He called, before entering the earshot of his other plants. Crowley took a second to look properly pissed before coming into their view. They shook violently as he stormed by, not even taking the time to mist them before he departed.

The drive took too short of a time for Crowley to get his thoughts together. More accurately, he would most likely need to drive around the world at least a dozen more times until he was ready. But the only thing keeping him from doing so was the time stamp that Aziraphale had given him. He hated to disappoint.

“Is this the right place?” He asked himself, squinting at the private looking sitting arrangement. A familiar anxious-to-please face appeared, and he groaned. Newton Pulsifer. He unfolded himself from the Bentley, waving him away before he even spoke.

“Mr. Crowley, I’ll be your chauffeur for tonight. I can just park your car…” Newt drifted off as the Bentley zipped off to find a suitable parking spot.

“My car is a testy one. Don’t take it personally,” Crowley said, clapping Newt on the shoulder as he passed him into the quaint little restaurant. Calling it a restaurant was being extremely generous. The logo was made out of magic markers in a child’s scrawl, and directly inside stood Pepper looking for all the world piffed that she was designated waitress.

“I will be your host for tonight,” Pepper said loudly, the unspoken challenge being that he had better not add -ess to anything or else.

“I would be honored,” Crowley said, not rising to the bait for once in his long, long life.

“Right this way, then. Mr. Fell has requested the best seat in the house,” Pepper said, hopping around the desk. She led the charge through a converted living room into a slap-dash diner and into the side garden that Crowley had spotted earlier. He spotted Aziraphale framed by a lovely set of sweet peas. A bee was sitting lightly on his lapel, most likely humming a melody only for the angel to hear. Aziraphale’s face brightened from its usual anxious demeanor into one of pure delight once he spotted Crowley. Crowley offered a jaunty wave.

“You will be served by the one and only Adam Young, who is also the head of...of house, or whatever it’s called,” Pepper said, breaking character for only a moment. Crowley sat down, picking up the sheet of notebook paper that served as their menu for the night.

“Thanks, Pepper. Let me know if Anathema needs help in the kitchen, alright?” Azirphale said. Pepper nodded before charging off.

“The Them are currently helping in the kitchen. Earlier I smelled smoke but, I think it’s under control,” Aziraphale said nervously. Crowley quirked an eyebrow, squinting at the pencil marks. One of the downsides of wearing shades everywhere he went was that the invention of graphite as a writing utensil was most definitely not his best friend.

“I should say that our options are limited to one thing apiece, so there’s ah, no point in reading the menu,” Aziraphale continued. Crowley nodded, and the notebook paper went up in a woosh of flame. He surveyed the table, noticing a little silver pouch. He held it up.

“Capri sun?” Crowley asked incredulously.

“Adam insists that it’s quite the drink,” Aziraphale said, blushing.

“I’m sure. What is all this for?” Crowley asked, stabbing the straw aggressively through. He took a sip of the sugary drink. A moment later, he had to grudgingly admit that perhaps Adam was right on that front.

“It’s for. Hm. Well, there’s no point in hiding it now,” Aziraphale took a deep breath. “I would like to-”

At that very moment, a very harried Adam and Anathema crashed onto the scene with a steaming pile of spaghetti and meatballs.

“Here we are! Bone appetit,” Anathema said loudly, setting one massive plate between the two of them.

“Aziraphale, it’s like that dog movie we watched. Lady and the tramp,” Adam hissed to Aziraphale, intending for Crowley not to hear.

“Thanks for the tip Adam,” Aziraphale said weakly. Crowley didn’t know what the movie was about, but he was pretty sure that he was being called a tramp right about now.

“I’m the tramp, eh?” Crowley said, as soon as Anathema and Adam disappeared. Crowley was irked that the Them (Newt and Anathema included) thought they could hide around the corner without being noticed.

“It’s a rather silly dog movie, I believe the two dogs kiss when they accidentally eat the same noodle,” Aziraphale said, picking up a fork. Crowley huffed a laugh, imagining all the dog fights he had witnessed over a scrap of food. Some movie that must be.

“So what’s with all the combined efforts of everyone in the area?” Crowley said loudly. He heard quiet swearing as the Them quickly tried to scramble away. He lowered his glasses long enough to wink at Aziraphale before pushing them up again. Aziraphale gave him a gratified smile.

“I did a little trick to make them think we’re talking about cottage decor,” Aziraphale whispered, before clearing his throat.

“And what do I have the pleasure of smelling bad Italian food for?” Crowley asked.

“I...I wanted to clear the air a little bit, between the two of us. The whole Armageddon thing, and the whole our own side bit made me really think about some hang ups that I’ve been having,” Aziraphale said.

“Just say the words and fall for me, angel,” Crowley said dramatically. Aziraphale turned another shade of red that Crowley hadn’t seen before. For the first time in a long time, which was to say that today was already full to the brim of them, Crowley had no idea what was going on.

“Crowley, I...I would like to date you,” Aziraphale said in a rush.

“Oh,” Crowley said, feeling very much like all of his physical form had turned into a puddle of goo.

“Of course I fully intend to court you, but Anathema said that was old fashioned and I want...I want to do you right, since you’ve done so much for me and you just look like you need a kinder future and I’m willing to give that to you--” Aziraphale prattled on.

“Okay,” Crowley said finally, voice thick. Aziraphale held up a hand, his expression looking even more overwhelmed than before.

“You may decide otherwise, after my confession,” Aziraphale said. Crowley had the urge to make a joke about how Aziraphale slept with some author or other, but his brain had ceased functioning about two minutes ago.

“I must confess that I lied to you about deleting that memory. I understand that I...I did not react appropriately,” Aziraphale said haltingly. Crowley, once again in his many moments of life, became acutely aware of the scars along his back. They seemed to fester underneath the truth of Aziraphale knowing about them. Crowley rolled his shoulders self-consciously. He focused back in on what Aziraphale was saying.

“The thing is, I found it beautiful. Well, what they did was wretched, but when I saw it, I thought that it was just another part of you, and I do find you beautiful, every inch,” Aziraphale said. Crowley cleared his throat, the only way he was able to get a word in edgewise.

“I think,” Crowley said cleverly, “that I’m going to be sick.”

And with that he darted to his feet. He swayed back into the living room, past the Them who were all scrambling to look busy (this upset over the upholstery? was the main takeaway of their thoughts) and into the street. Demon’s didn’t really throw up, neither did they feel like they were going to have their heart beat out of their chest and go on flopping down the street. He rested his hand against a streetlamp, focusing on his breath.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale called, tumbling out of the restaurant. Crowley whirled around, pressing a hand to his chest in an effort to settle his heart.

“Just give me a second,” Crowley said, waving him away. He glared at the door to the restaurant, slamming the door shut on the infinitely curious Them.

And then he did what he had thought of doing for thousands of years. He kissed a silly angel that he had wanted to kiss ever since he had first spotted him in Heaven all those years ago. For the first time Aziraphale melted against him, for the first time he knew what it really meant to love. Not that he hadn’t known before, of course. Crowley’s brain shorted out briefly as Aziraphale ran his fingers through his hair, and he let out a little moan when Aziraphale nipped his bottom lip.

“Why did we wait this long?” Aziraphale gasped, pulling away. Crowley rolled his eyes.

“I wasn’t the one waiting,” He accused. A moment later the door made a loud banging noise, as if someone were trying to break it open.

“Wanna get outta here?” Crowley suggested. Aziraphale beamed, reaching forward to kiss Crowley on the cheek as the Bentley roared around the corner.

 

While the Them did not appreciate the fact that they were ditched in the makeshift restaurant for another twenty minutes after they left, they were placated with the promise of being the first ones to be at the garden party that Aziraphale and Crowley would be hosting in their little cottage.

“Angel, we must have apple pie, it fits with the theme,” Crowley said, reaching around his boyfriend to steal a fingerful of batter from the mix.

“Stop that you fiend, or I shall smite you with flour,” Aziraphale scolded. Crowley quirked an eyebrow at him, sucking at his finger as he did so.

“I can’t even look at you, you wanton thing,” Aziraphale said, shaking his head.

“Aw, admit it, you just love me,” Crowley said, nuzzling his nose into the crook of Aziraphale’s neck.

“Against my better judgement, I suppose I do love you,” Aziraphale sighed dramatically.

“That’s all I needed to hear,” Crowley beamed. He sauntered his way into the front room, getting there just moments before the knock came. He whirled it open, greeting a rather flustered Newt and Anathema who were holding a toaster. Behind them, stood Shadwell and Madame Tracy who held an identical looking toaster.

“We can take it back,” Newt burst out.

“Aye, they’d better,” Shadwell demanded from behind them. A car full of clamoring kids pulled up just behind the two couples, and Adam tumbled out alongside Dog.

“Ah, the guests are here, my dear, would you mind helping me bring the refreshments around back?” Aziraphale said, resting his hand at the small of Crowley’s back. In a lower tone, he said something along the lines of Dog will ruin the carpet and I do not want to stain treat it. Crowley beamed toothily at him, before leading everyone tromping through the house and out the back door.
Yes, this was paradise, with all its gardening and yapping dogs and a godson and all of his friends. Plus, no one seemed especially apt to go after Aziraphale for loving him either. Mostly because of the stunt with the holy water and eternal hellfire he supposed. Oh, how he looked forward to another run-in with those bastards.