It was on a whim, like most things Crowley did. Not that he needed a reason to swing by the bookshop of one A.Z. Fell. But he always felt better having a reason, other than desperation to speak with his angel.
The tiny shop was empty shy of Aziraphale himself and the rather extensive collection of vintage books he'd collected over the centuries.
Crowley's fingers ran along the spine of a book before turning his attention to the smiling angel.
"Aziraphale, how are you?" Crowley threw his hands up in a gesture that said he was pleased to see the angel.
"I'm jolly good, thank you."
"I was just passing through and thought maybe we might have spot of wine or something alcoholic, if you've got the time of course," Crowley gave a disinterested wave as if the idea had just occurred to him and he hadn't been practicing the mini speech the whole drive over.
The soft look Aziraphale gave him made Crowley's stomach knot. Certain looks from Aziraphale always did that but it never ceased to surprise the demon. You would think after centuries he'd be used to the looks the angel tossed his way.
Aziraphale walked over, flipping the sign on the door to closed and latching the lock, "For you, I always have time, Crowley."
Crowley was thankful for the sunglasses that hid the fond in his eyes, because he couldn't help it. He'd been having a shit day and Aziraphale always knew exactly how to make him feel better. The main office had interrupted a nice nap to moan about the lack of numbers or something, he hadn't really been listening.
"You know I was just thinking about how long we've known each other," Aziraphale started, as he pulled out two wine glasses and a bottle of Brunello.
"Oh?" Crowley raised a curious brow at the angel. They didn't talk about that often, if ever, really.
"Yes, that day on the wall, we met at the garden," Aziraphale smiled fondly as if recalling the memory.
Crowley frowned. He would never admit to Aziraphale that they had known each other before then.
Before the fall of Lucifer, he had once been an angel as well. Not a good one hence the falling episode, but still an angel none the less. His wings were once as bright and radiant as Aziraphale's. His now serpent eyes were once just a gold hue. He'd known of Aziraphale and he'd looked up to the angel in a way. Always such a good little soldier. Never questioned authority. Never made a wrong step. His smile could light up a room, even now. Crowley had of course gone by a different name then and spoken to Aziraphale only the once.
Crowley often worried he was the reason Aziraphale was now more or less human. He enjoyed things no other angel did. When Crowley found out that Aziraphale was the angel in charge of watching over the garden's eastern gate, he'd begged to be the allowed to tempt Eve.
Hell didn't much care who did the tempting so long as it got done, but it gave Crowley the chance to see his favorite angel one last time.
He recalled the sight of seeing the stark white wings billowing behind the angel and the way his stomach knotted. It was different though. After falling he felt things he never had as an angel. Jealousy, envy, pride. And standing, or rather laying as he was in serpent form, on the edge of the garden and seeing the angel he'd admired for so long, he felt lonely.
Once he did his tempting, he decided to speak to the angel, just real quick, before he left again.
That was when Crowley knew his feelings were far beyond just admiration now and letting go wasn't something he'd been able to do easily. Or at all for that matter. Now here he was six thousand years later and still madly in love with his angel.
"Crowley, dear, are you alright?" The angel was frowning at him, holding out a glass.
Crowley took the glass and waved a dismissive hand, "Yes, yes, fine, what about the garden?"
"Well I was just thinking what if you hadn't been the one to tempt Eve? You know? What if it was someone else?"
Crowley frowned at the image of Hastur sitting across from Aziraphale at the ritz instead of him. There it was, jealousy.
"Why would you be thinking of that?" Crowley spat.
"Well, I wouldn't be having wine with them, that's for sure," Aziraphale pressed his lips together as if holding back a smile.
Crowley's lip pulled up into a half smirk.
"It just makes me wonder if we would still be friends. You know, if you hadn't fallen," Aziraphale gave a nervous smile, his eyes shooting down to his glass of wine.
"No, I don't think so," Crowley spoke simply. Aziraphale hadn't even known of Crowley's existence prior to his fall.
"Why not?" Aziraphale frowned. He seemed rather offended by that prospect.
"We'd only barely met the once, we didn't click then," Crowley downed the rest of his glass, reaching once again for the bottle.
"We met?" Aziraphale asked in exasperation. He looked horrified.
"I said barely," Crowley gave another dismissive wave. He shouldn't have said anything.
"I don't remember," the frown was back on Aziraphale's face. He looked distressed by his lack of memory of Crowley.
"Well you wouldn't know me by name now," Crowley shrugged.
"We didn't keep our names, we got new ones."
"I had no idea," Aziraphale looked shocked.
"You really think there was an angel named beezlebub?" Crowley snorted. For someone so clever, Aziraphale could be quite stupid.
"I suppose not," the angel nodded. "To be honest, I never considered that I might have known you before."
"What's the big deal? It hardly counts. Besides I'm pretty sure they wiped us from history up there. Other than Lucifer, but he started it, so..." Crowley gave a flourish of his hand before pouring himself another glass of wine.
"But you remember?" Aziraphale frowned.
"Well yeah, it's our curse right?" Crowley shrugged. He would never admit that it was hard to talk about his prior falling status. He had six thousand plus years to get used to being a demon but he still remembered heaven. Though his much preferred earth to either. Hell was too hot and dirty. Heaven was too clean and stiff. Earth was warm and had good music.
"Oh, that's terrible," Aziraphale frowned.
"Don't worry about it, angel. I'm right where I want to be," Crowley slurred. He was going through the wine quickly, but then that shouldn't have been a surprise, as thinking about heaven and hell often made him drink.
Aziraphale gave a shy smile. One only Crowley was able to elicit from the angel.
"I wanted to stay part angel for a long time," Crowley slurred as he grabbed for another bottle of wine.
"How do you mean?" Aziraphale frowned at his friend. How did one stay part angel?
"Not like physically or what, but for you."
Crowley probably should have stopped talking then, but he didn't.
"I thought if I was still part angel, you'd like me. That's where the J came from right? But I never could get the guts to admit it. What demon wants to be an angel after all? And if my side ever found out..." Crowley gave a sneer and a flick of his wrist.
"When you asked me, I was gonna tell you it stood for Jareriel but...I realized I'm no angel. I'm a demon and adding a letter to my name wasn't going to change that. And you were just gonna have to like me for who I was," Crowley hiccupped before taking a swig straight from the bottle.
"Oh, Crowley," Aziraphale gave him a fond smile, "You don't have to be an angel for me to like you. I like you just the way you are,"
"Wickedness and all?" Crowley asked hopefully.
"Wickedness and all," Aziraphale agreed softly.
Crowley would come to regret telling Aziraphale this in the morning, but Aziraphale wouldn't mention it again and he would never tell a soul what the J in Crowley's name stood for. It didn't matter, that's not who he was anymore and Aziraphale was okay with that.