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don’t want it to last if the glass is gonna break

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The bus ride back to London is quiet, at least where a certain angel and demon are concerned. Partially because it had been the sort of day that was hard to put into words, but mostly because Crowley was asleep on Aziraphale’s shoulder within roughly a minute of the bus rumbling on its way.

Aziraphale can’t fault him for it. Holding a flaming car together for 40-some miles through sheer willpower (and, Aziraphale suspects, no small amount of loyalty; nothing could spend so much time around the supernatural and remain entirely inanimate, and the Bentley had always known she was loved). Stopping time. Teleporting three people to the astral plane. Teleporting them back. Restarting time. Aziraphale wanted to sleep for a year just thinking about it, and it wasn’t even a habit he had adopted.

So yes, suffice to say, Aziraphale lets him sleep, at least until the bus eventually pulls to a halt at their stop. Technically speaking, there isn’t a bus stop directly in front of Crowley’s building, but that’s where the bus stops regardless. It’s not as if it’s supposed to be there anyway, so it’s not such a huge thing, really.

Crowley is…some semblance of awake as they both make their way off the bus, though it took a bit of prodding to get him there, and he has to be led by the hand to get him up to the flat. By the time they reach the proper floor, he is at least functional enough to wave at the proper door, though he doesn’t protest when Aziraphale simply miracles it open.

The flat is…spartan, and none of the furniture that is there looks comfortable. That doesn’t stop Crowley from tumbling down onto the only couch and going unconscious as if someone has flipped an off switch. He’s in a heap, limbs curled awkwardly and sort of bunched into a corner of the couch. It’s as close to coiling as he can get without changing his shape. Aziraphale leaves him be.

He makes tea and pokes around, the mug clenched in his hands. He cleans up the mess by the door, spares an admittedly soppy smile for the statue from the church, has a private giggle at a very different statue, and coos at the plants for a bit, before he runs out of things to do and has no choice but to let his thoughts start spinning.

Crowley sleeps for perhaps an hour, and Aziraphale hears him halfheartedly swearing himself awake from where he is sitting on the floor of the plant room. The mug is empty, but still clutched in his hands, just to keep from fidgeting. Ostensibly, he’s admiring the plants, but mostly they’re just keeping him company as he devolves into an existential crisis. Mostly it’s him trying to puzzle out how one can be too benign to be a proper angel. He hasn’t been making a lot of headway, so he’s rather looking forward to a distraction, truth be told.

Crowley melts beside him, sans glasses and jacket. They’re pressed together for a moment, shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm. And then he plucks the mug from Aziraphale’s hands and sets it aside on the floor, and melts further until he’s draped over the angel’s lap.

“Going back to sleep, my dear?” Aziraphale asks, and he means for it to be wry, but it’s mostly fond.

Crowley ponders the question for a moment before he decides, “Nah. Still gotta put together…well, something at least a bit plan-shaped.” He squirms like a serpent until he’s on his back, spine arched over Aziraphale’s crossed legs so his head is nearly on the floor. Were he literally anyone else, it wouldn’t be remotely comfortable (and…possibly rather damaging?). “Not sure anything'll work, but. Well.”

“We didn’t utterly botch raising the Antichrist just to go gently into that good night,” the angel translates dryly.

“Right,” the demon snorts. “We’ll give ‘em hel–” He pauses, mouth twisting, before he shrugs against Aziraphale’s lap. “Well, we’ll give 'em something.”

“A terrifying prospect,” Aziraphale assures him, just a touch too earnest to take at face value.

They lapse into silence after that, or at least as silent as London allows it to be. The plants regard them warily, before cautiously relaxing for the time being. Eventually, one of Aziraphale’s hands finds Crowley’s hair, and Crowley gives up on keeping his eyes open shortly afterwards.

It’s not so much that there have been any huge revelations. Or there have, rather, just not with regards to each other. Despite what recent events might say about them, neither of them has ever been stupid, and they’ve known each other long enough to pick up on every tell. They know.

Aziraphale loves Crowley. Has for…well, for some amount of time, at any rate, even if he didn’t put the pieces together until Crowley first asked for holy water. He suspects Crowley has known since Aziraphale gave him the holy water.

Crowley loves Aziraphale. Has for longer than the angel really wants to contemplate, and Aziraphale figured it out with a case of books that by all rights should have been blown to smithereens, but were spared for no other reason than because they would make Aziraphale happy.

They know this. But they’ve also always known that it’s a bit of a tightrope walk, keeping their respective head offices at arm’s length. So they, too, have remained at arm’s length, until the near miss of the end of the world and the knowledge they would likely be dead in a day meant they no longer had to worry about plausible deniability.

Crowley proves he’s still awake when he muses, wistful, “She was a good car.” His shoulders shift as he heaves a sigh.

“It was a good shop,” Aziraphale commiserates quietly. “Almost poetic, that they…both…”

He doesn’t realize his fingers have stilled until Crowley squirms like a sulky kitten. Aziraphale gives him another scritch. “Crowley,” he begins, slowly, musingly, “what’s the most easily accessible method to kill an angel? The proper way, not the inconvenient way.”

Crowley cracks an eye open. “Hellfire, most likely,” he answers carefully. “Why?”

“And for a demon?”

“Well, that’s an easy one,” the demon scoffs, eyes darting briefly back towards the front room. “Holy water.”

Aziraphale hums a distracted affirmation. “And, at a guess, what’s the approximate effect of hellfire on a demon?” he wonders.

Crowley is looking at him properly by now, eyes wide as he catches up with Aziraphale’s thought process. Slowly, he grins, broad enough that his fangs are on display, and maybe a little bit manic. “It wouldn’t do a damn thing,” he answers gleefully, before abruptly flailing his way upright, still partially sitting on Aziraphale’s lap once it happens. “But will it work?”

“You have the boniest–” The angel stops before he finishes the statement and clears his throat. “Does either head office really know enough to spot the difference?” he asks airily, because that’s better than the disappointment that would otherwise take its place.

Crowley cocks his head to one side, and he’s quiet for a moment, before he offers a distantly contemplative, “…Huh.”