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i will live in thy heart

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On the 73rd day of the rest of their lives, Crowley stepped into A.Z. Fell & Co. with a box of chocolates and a VHS copy (Aziraphale still had the VCR Crowley’d gotten him two decades back, and he refused to upgrade to a DVD player) of Ghostbusters II tucked under one arm. The bell over the door rang as he shut it and he heard someone in the back of the shop say, “Oh, speak of the devil.”

It was Anathema, sitting at the table with Aziraphale, two cups of tea upon it between them, and as Crowley rounded the corner to be presented with this sight she suddenly became flustered, putting two hands up in front of herself and saying, “Not that I think you’re the devil, I mean, The Devil with a capital-D.”

Aziraphale huffed a laugh into his teacup and said to her, “That’s quite alright, dear, I’m sure he doesn’t take offense.” He turned to Crowley with a sly grin, eyes sparkling, and added, “After all, it’s not entirely inaccurate, is it?” 

Crowley had been looking suspiciously between the two of them, evidently gossiping like old hens before he’d walked in, but now he mumbled, “Lowercase, maybe,” and presented the chocolates to Aziraphale, who seized the box with great delight. 

Anathema took this for the cue that it was, standing hurriedly and saying, “Well, Mr. Crowley,” (a title at which Aziraphale laughed outright) “I’ll get out of your hair now, but as I told your-- uh-- Aziraphale, I just dropped by to say that Newt and I are getting married and you’re both invited. We’ll be sending out written invitations, of course, with the date and everything on them, but I wanted to let you two know in person.”

When she was done speaking, she beamed. Crowley didn’t say anything, because he thought being silent made him seem rather mysterious and cool. Aziraphale set the chocolates on the table and stood, then nudged Crowley out of the way with a few back-handed whacks to his abdomen, and, setting a hand gently on Anathema’s upper arm, said, “Let me show you to the door, dear. Did you take the bus? Another one should be coming by in a few moments.”

As they walked to the door, Crowley went over to the television and slid Ghostbusters II into the VCR. Aziraphale came back in as the Coca-Cola advertisement was winding down. He laughed a triumphant, “Ha, ha!” and said, “Isn’t it wonderful! Not only did they help prevent the world ending, but they fell in love.” He sighed dreamily. 

Crowley grunted in reply.

 

---

 

“Can you believe it?” Anathema said, throwing a pillow down onto the mattress, only just missing her fiancé’s head. “For ancient beings they really are stupid.”

“They’ve been around for thousands of years, and known each other for pretty much that entire time,” Newton said, scooting over slightly to give her room to climb into bed. “Maybe they’re just… not into each other.”

Anathema took that same pillow out from under her head and swung it in an arc over her body, smacking Newton in the head and eliciting a muffled, “Ow.” She replaced the pillow under her head before saying, “No, I talked to Aziraphale today. About Crowley. I mean, I didn’t even have to bring him up! Aziraphale just… talks about him, unprompted.”

Newton threw his arm over Anathema’s waist and said, “What’d he say about him?” 

Anathema sighed loudly. “He kept going on and on about how great Crowley is, how he acts cool and mysterious but he’s secretly a big sap. Basically, anyway. He didn’t say those exact words but that was definitely what he was thinking.” She wrinkled her nose, “It’s kind of embarrassing, actually.”

They laid in silence for a moment before Newton mumbled against the back of her neck, “What if they’re together, really together, but they’re just really private about it?”

“No,” Anathema said confidently. “No, they’re in love and too stupid to realize the other one feels the same way. We have to do something about it.”

Newton didn’t respond, because he’d fallen asleep.

 

---

 

Three weeks later, Crowley parked the Bentley outside Anathema’s cottage in Tadfield, Aziraphale buzzing in the passenger seat.

“Don’t forget the gifts, my dear,” Aziraphale began, “they’re tucked under the backseat and you mustn’t--”

“--Let anyone see them, yeah, I know, angel, they’re top secret,” Crowley finished for him. “Not as though they can see through the wrapping paper, though,” Crowley mumbled as he exited the car; meanwhile, Aziraphale rambled about if they might let him do a few magic tricks.

They’d gotten in a couple days before the ceremony to help set up, turning down Anathema’s offer of the spare room since they don’t need to sleep.

Crowley carried the various items that Aziraphale had packed into the Bentley rather than just miracle into existence once they’d arrived, for some reason, up to the front door and, finding it unlocked, entered the cottage. When he set the bags onto the kitchen island, the first notes of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” suddenly erupted from what he assumed was the main bedroom.

It wasn’t quite to his taste, but hey, as long as the bride and groom were happy. His hips swayed to the music regardless. He unloaded the items from the bags and organized them on the counter until the music stopped and so did he, because someone was talking.

He heard Anathema say, “Say, Newt, you remember what I was telling you about earlier?”

Newton replied, overly loud, “Oh, you mean about Aziraphale? About how he’s in love? With Crowley?”

Crowley knocked over a bottle of rainbow glitter -- why did Aziraphale bring glitter -- and it busted open on the floor. He bent down to clean up the mess, too stunned to remember he could simply wave it away.

“Yes!” Anathema said, and laughed. “It’s very funny, I think, that all this time I thought he was so smart and the whole time he’s been pining over a demon!

Crowley clapped a glitter-encrusted hand over his mouth and whimpered.

Newton laughed too. “Do you think we should tell him?”

“Crowley?”

“Yeah.”

“No,” Anathema said. “I don’t know. He said he feels like he’ll die if Crowley doesn’t love him back, and he’d rather die than tell him himself. He said he’s afraid it’d change their relationship too much, you know, all the teasing and insults they throw at each other.”

“Maybe he’s right,” Newton said. “He’s a demon, after all. Who knows if he’s even capable of love? Aziraphale could confess his love and Crowley might just mock him for it.”

“Well,” Anathema said, “maybe he’ll get over it eventually. I mean, it’s been 6,000 years.” They both laugh.

Crowley most decidedly did not laugh. This must have been what Aziraphale and Anathema had been talking about, that time at the bookshop. Speak of the devil, she had said, and he knew that should’ve set off some warning bells at the time but he’d been too eager to settle in and watch a film with Aziraphale to notice. He let out a long, unnecessary breath. They’d been talking as if he were incapable of love! Crowley! He who helped stave off Armageddon! He might have had some selfish reasons for doing that, but a lot of it was simply because Aziraphale had asked him to. And if that ain’t love, well. Well. Crowley looked down and realized he was covered in rainbow glitter. He cursed.

He cursed again when he heard the front door open behind him.

“My dear, have you seen the newlyweds-to-be? I have the-- oh, dear.”

Crowley turned and leaned his hip into the side of the island counter, which, not actually being fastened to the floor, scooted over the tile a few inches before coming to an abrupt stop.

“Crowley--” Aziraphale stopped himself with a hand over his mouth, but Crowley could still see his eyes crinkling. “Oh, where’s the parade?” He began cackling.

Crowley rolled his eyes. “Very funny. Why’d you bring rainbow glitter, anyway?"

“Well,” Aziraphale said, finally stepping into the kitchen, “I thought the children might want it for making decorations. Although,” he cocked his head, “it was white when I put it in the car.”

Aziraphale looked at him a while longer. “What?” Crowley said, and almost continued, Do I have something on my face? before realizing that he did, in fact, have something on his face.

“Oh, nothing,” Aziraphale waved a hand, “only you do look quite,” he hesitated for a split-second, “dashing in all that glitter.”

Crowley’s metaphorical heart skipped a beat.

“I mean,” Aziraphale continued, breaking out into a wide grin, “you’re practically glowing!”

Crowley groaned and shoved him away.

“Oh! Now I’ve got glitter on me,” Aziraphale complained, but he was smiling.

 

---

 

Anathema queued up some songs so they could talk without being overheard.

“Okay,” she said, then hit play. “Okay, I know our plan kinda got derailed when they turned down the spare room, but I think we might be able to do this after all.”

Newton nodded rapidly.

Anathema continued: “Did you hear him knock something over right after you said, you know. Hopefully it wasn’t something important.” Her smile faltered as she trailed off, then abruptly returned. “Newt, honey, I think after we do the same thing with Aziraphale, they’ll…” She brought her hands together in an indescribable gesture.

“Stop,” he said, grabbing her hands, “I really don’t want to think about that.”

“Sorry,” she said, not the least bit apologetic.

“How are we going to get Aziraphale alone, though?”

“Didn’t you hear? They brought stuff for the kids to make decorations…” She waited for him to pick up what she put down.

“That doesn’t get him alone, though. He’ll be surrounded by kids.”

“No, we ask Crowley to work on the decorations with the kids, and send Aziraphale off to the gazebo or something. There’s a hedge right next to it we can talk behind, close enough that he’ll have no trouble overhearing.”

Newton didn’t look convinced. “You want Crowley to help the kids with making decorations.”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure Crowley will agree to that?”

She waved a dismissive hand, “No problem.”

 

---

 

“You want me to babysit?”

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No,” Anathema showed Crowley to the craft station she’d set up on a large table. The Them were already picking through the supplies; Pepper was eyeing the glitter with a little too much mischief in her eyes and Crowley warily kept an eye on her.

“Are you sure you don’t want Aziraphale to do this?” Crowley asked, and Aziraphale saw Crowley briefly glance at him behind his sunglasses.

“Oh, no. I have another job for Aziraphale,” Anathema said.

So, off Aziraphale went to the gazebo, carrying in his arms a stepladder, a dozen rolls of streamers in white and baby blue, a Scotch tape dispenser, and a bottle of glitter which Crowley had surreptitiously slipped to him on his way out.

He’d just stepped onto the ladder and stuck the first length of streamer up when he heard footsteps approaching behind the hedge.

“But are you sure?” Anathema said. “Are you sure Crowley loves Aziraphale so much?”

Aziraphale dropped the Scotch tape dispenser.

“Yes!” replied Newton.”He told me.”

Aziraphale wobbled on the stepladder.

“Well,” Anathema said, “should we tell him?”

“Aziraphale?”

“Yeah.”

Newton hummed, “Better not. I’m sure he’ll get over it eventually.”

“Even after 6,000 years?” Anathema sounded skeptical.

“Better than having his feelings revealed and being mocked for them,” Newton said. “Not that I think Aziraphale would mock him outright, but, well…”

“He can be pretty tactless sometimes,” Anathema agreed.

Tactless! Aziraphale thought, one hand on the column to steady himself. If they believed that he’d trample on Crowley’s feelings without a thought then he’d just have to show them otherwise, wouldn’t he? Later, though; he had a gazebo to decorate. He picked up the Scotch tape dispenser and set back to work.

 

---

 

Newton and Anathema’s families--each consisting only of a mother--arrived on the morning of the wedding along with Sergeant Shadwell and Madame Tracy.

Crowley and Aziraphale had been putting up the finishing touches all night, but only as everyone was filing in to the garden to be seated did they run into each other, both dressed in the finest attire they could imagine to miracle up.

“Hello, angel,” Crowley said, and spotted some color in Aziraphale’s cheeks. Aziraphale smiled, and they took their seats.

The ceremony proceeded without a hitch, mostly. Anathema, resplendent in a white gown, walked down the aisle and up the gazebo steps; the officiant--it was a civil ceremony--asked Newton the usual questions; and, well, that’s where it broke down. Rather than answer, Newton stood stock still, a cold sweat broke out over his face, and he placed one hand over his abdomen. “Euuurgh,” he said.

“Newt?” Anathema said.

“Uuurrfgh,” Newton replied. He placed a hand over his mouth and dashed into the cottage.

Various guests began groaning as well, and Aziraphale whipped his head around and then settled his gaze on Crowley.

Crowley shook his head and shrugged. “This looks not like a nuptial,” he said, aside.

Anathema clutched her abdomen and groaned painfully and Aziraphale managed to dart up and catch her just as she began collapsing. He laid her gently on the ground and muttered, “Oh, dear,” repeatedly.

Crowley stood and began sniffing about for evil. The closest thing he found was Dog, pawing at Adam’s leg and whining; nothing evil here, he supposed, and then his eyes found the canapés sitting on a table at the far end of the aisle. He walked briskly over and picked one up, holding it up in front of his face and then, quickly, he licked it. He recoiled immediately, dropping the canapé on the ground. He snapped his fingers and everyone stopped groaning. Down the aisle, Anathema sat up under her own power, and Aziraphale left her side to join Crowley by the catering table.

“Food poisoning,” Crowley said simply.

Aziraphale’s eyes widened. “The canapés? I thought they tasted a little off, but assumed it was a unique spice, or--”

“You ate some?”

“Of course! I’m not going to go to a wedding and not eat. What am I?”

“An angel!” Crowley threw his hands in the air.

“Yes, thanks for noticing, and I appreciate good food. Not that that’s what this was, obviously.” Aziraphale pushed some of the canapés around with his finger a bit. Crowley snorted at the way he said good food, considering the angel had no qualms about washing down deviled eggs with coffee.

“If you noticed they tasted off, why didn’t you tell someone?”

“Well, I didn’t see you until just before the ceremony and by then I’d forgotten all about it.” Aziraphale wrung his hands.

Crowley looked at him for a moment. “There were other people around,” he said.

“Yes, but I wasn’t about to complain about the food to the people who paid for it, or their families! There’s Sergeant Shadwell and Madame Tracy, who, if we’re being honest, I feel a tad strange talking to since inhabiting her body and all that, and he still tries to ask me about my--” he lowered his voice “--nipples. That only leaves the children. And you.”

Crowley looked around and saw that everyone else had gone inside to recover from their ordeal. “Angel,” he said, and inclined his head. “Aziraphale.”

Aziraphale opened his mouth as if to speak, but no words came out until, several moments later, they did. “Wait,” he said.

Crowley blinked.

“Earlier, when all hell was breaking loose--if you’ll pardon the expression--you said, ‘This looks not like a nuptial,’ did you not?”

“Er, yeah.”

“By the Almighty, they’ve fooled us!”

“What? You mean the…” Crowley gestured at the rather sinister-looking canapés.

“No, no.” Aziraphale shook his head. “I’m sure that wasn’t intentional. I mean, at any point during our visit, did you happen to... overhear anything?”

Crowley felt his face burn as if lit by hellfire. He nodded and hummed in the affirmative.

Aziraphale smacked his forehead with his palm. “I can’t believe it! We’ve been Much Ado About Nothing-ed!”

“Was that the one with the, uh.” Crowley searched his memory for any trace of Shakespeare that didn’t involve getting people to go watch Hamlet. “The storm?” he finished lamely.

“No! It’s the one where they try to get, uh, that is--” His face was burning now too. “Two people are led to believe the other is, uh, in love with them, and they, well, they fall in love,” he said the last four words very rapidly.

“Well, is it true?”

“Is what--” He looked up into Crowley’s shaded eyes. “Oh, well, I’m not sure what all they said about me but I suppose the-- the important thing is true.”

“Oh,” Crowley breathed. “Me too.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale said. “We should...probably find out why the canapés are off.”

Crowley gave himself a mental shaking. “Right, yeah, let’s do that.”

Their investigation uncovered a string of corruption that went right up to the top of the little local catering business, including cost-cutting measures that meant stored foodstuffs weren’t kept at sufficiently low temperatures. They found this out in a matter of minutes simply by asking the minimum-wage caterers present at the event. Crowley sped off to find the owner and, despite Aziraphale’s protests (“Well, maybe just rough him up a little.”), ensured that proper food safety protocols would be followed in the future.

The wedding guests were alright after some time to rest, Crowley’s little demonic miracle having worked as well as any angelic one.

So, once more, with feeling, Crowley and Aziraphale took their seats in the garden before the gazebo and watched as Anathema walked down the aisle and up the steps to her soon-to-be-husband.

As the vows were being said, Crowley noticed Aziraphale practically vibrating beside him. At any other time he might have rolled his eyes, but, well, even he could feel some tears forming, and he grasped Aziraphale’s hand with his own. Aziraphale turned to him, grinning ear to ear, and then turned back to watch as Anathema dipped Newton in a scorching kiss. The guests cheered and then, suddenly, a loud pop! sounded and a great cloud of rainbow glitter descended over Anathema, Newton, and the hapless officiant.

Crowley did not need to wonder where this glitter bomb came from, since the culprit, sitting next to him, let out a hearty guffaw at the sight. The breeze carried glitter over the guests and Crowley, staring at Aziraphale’s hair peppered with sparkling rainbows, thought his angel looked quite heavenly.

“Aziraphale,” Crowley said softly after they’d congratulated the newlyweds, “how’d you like to be married?”

“To whom, dear boy?” Aziraphale replied, his grin turned sly.

Crowley inclined his head and huffed.

“Oh, of course.” Aziraphale reached up to take off Crowley’s sunglasses and tuck them into his breast pocket, then left his hand there. “It’s gauche to propose at a wedding, you know.”

“Wh-- I--” Crowley stuttered, “I’m not proposing, angel, just. Y’know. Asking.”

Aziraphale laughed. “Peace, Crowley. I will stop your mouth.” And he kissed him.