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We're on Opposite Sides!

Chapter Text

"Darling, darling! Please, don't go so slow through the turns! You're gonna cause an accident!"

"Oh, relax. I know what I'm doing," he said while stabbing his fork into his salad and then shoving said salad into his face.

"Would it hurt you to have at least one hand on the wheel?!"

"Well, if I do that, then how do you suppose I am to finish this? I can't hold the plate and the fork in the same hand, that would be simply pointless!" he lamented before taking another bite.

"Here's a novel idea: how about you try eating it when you're not driving."

"Well, Crowley, it's called multitasking—"

"STOP THE CAR, IT'S A RED LIGHT!"

Aziraphale brought the car to a halt, which was not hard as he had only been going about five miles per hour (er, about eightish kilometers per hour?) Aziraphale had always been a slow driver; which, Crowley supposed, made complete sense— he was a snail, after all. Still, that wasn't really justification for all of the distracted driving his companion was wont to do.

"Light's green."

"Oh! Right, that one means go. On it," he said, going barely faster than he had been when he stopped.

"You should know stuff like that by now."

"Would I be a real demon if I paid attention to the rules?"

"You're barely a 'real demon' anymore."

He slammed the breaks, causing the people behind them to swerve a bit and honk. His salad miraculously stayed in tact. "Crowley! How dare you!"

"What? It's true, isn't it? How many miracles have you performed for Heaven?"

"I didn't do those for Heaven. I… well I did them for you, I guess. That is not the same thing." The people behind them continued to honk as Aziraphale started the car up again.

"But I'm of Heaven, so if you did them for me then you did them for Heaven."

"Well then, I could certainly flip that back on you. How many temptations have you done for Hell?"

"I'm not the one claiming to be good at my job."

"Really? So Gabriel knows that you're not actually the one responsible for the polio vaccine?"

"...I'm not the one claiming to be good at my job right in this moment."

"Well... as much as it pains me to say it, old sport, I fear your assessment may be correct. I can hardly claim to be a good demon if I've lost the Antichrist."

"Hey, now, we've lost him. Don't beat up on yourself— Oh, shop's on the right."

"I know where the shop is!"

"I know you know where it is; however, it might be difficult to find it if you don't look at the road!"

"Pish posh!" He exclaimed finishing his salad as he parked.

Crowley had always had a love of music, and when the record had first been invented he took up the hobby of collecting them immediately. He finally decided to open up his own little record shop in the early 1900s, and while he often found it difficult to sell anything (strangely, every day it felt as though his stock in Queen vinyls has been increasing), he has been able to snag many a collector's item through people making generous offers to the store. His shop, much like himself, often changed its appearance to be fashionable with the times. To be honest, rearranging the interior design of it had become a minor hobby of his, and this time he was particularly fond of the new floor plan.

"Oh my, you have really outdone yourself, dear! This is splendidly refreshing!" Aziraphale said as he shuffled in through the revolving door. Crowley had decided to liven up the place by incorporating his cavalcade of plant life into the decor, giving it a very airy, natural feel.

"It's a thing the millennials are real into these days. Very hipstery."

"How do you get them so green? They look delicious."

"I just talk to the— that better have been a joke."

"Oh, yes, of course, haha! ...but they do really—"

"Oh, no, no, no, mister! I work hard to make sure that none of these plants get any spots or bug bites or tears or anything like that on them!"

"I'm not going to eat them, Crowley! I do have some self restraint."

"Right, sure you do. I feel like we've been over this whole 'demons and self restraint don't exactly go hand in hand' thing before."

Crowley knew that on a technical level, Aziraphale could not physically roll his eyes. This did not stop him from rolling his eyes on all levels except the physical one. "Why did we stop here again?"

"Mostly because I wanted to not be in the car for four consecutive hours fearin' for my life while we tried frantically to make up a plan to find little baby Antichrist. But also because I needed to clear my head with some music," he said, nonchalantly loading one of his apparently many Queen's Greatest Hits vinyls into the record player. This one was particularly... Worn down is such a mean way to say it, isn't it? How about 'well loved.' He was an angel, after all, and angels are supposed to be all about love and all that.

"What's wrong with my music?! I thought you liked the classics!"

"Darling, you don't have music in your car. I've told you a thousand times, those are called audiobooks. They're different. There's a difference between classic literature and classic rock." Crowley let a deep breath out as the music started. "Besides, even if they were the same, that wouldn't make your driving any better."

"At least I know how to drive."

"I know how, I just...  don't... Let's get on with finding the boy." Aziraphale smiled in victory, absolutely pleased with himself; he could tell that Crowley's changing of the topic was caused only in part by necessity and mostly out of embarrassment. "Where was he born?... Or... Traded or... Whatever."

"A small hospital in a village called 'Tadfield,' I do believe. Run by a very charming chapter of satanic nuns."

Chapter Text

Of course, it was a snail of all things, to tempt humans into eating the forbidden fruit. After all, one couldn't keep the damn things from eating holes into all the leaves in the garden. Still, it had come, somehow, as a surprise to him. Well, at least, more of a surprise than it probably should've; in hindsight, a suspiciously large snail that could talk probably should've been a red flag. Still, it saddened him to watch the humans leave. He couldn't interfere with their decision to eat the fruit, God's orders, but that didn't mean he wasn't thoroughly disappointed that they had failed Her test.

The sun had begun to hide itself amongst the clouds, and with it hid the halo of light that reflected off of his short, strawberry blonde hair. As the guardian angel watched over humanity playing with fire, a certain slug had inched its way up the wall, and slowly took on a more humanoid form— well, humanoid aside from the eye stalks and the thick, black wings.

"I must say, I didn't think She would actually… you know, kick them out."

The angel looked confused. "What else would She have done?"

"I don't know, give them a stern talking to? Just seems like a little much, is all."

"Well, er…"

"Aziraphale."

"...Really? That's a little ironic."

"Whatever do you mean?"

"It's just. Y'know, demon. Your name sounds like 'Azira- fell.' Like, y'know, a fallen angel—"

"Yes, yes, it's all very humorous and ironic. You were saying?"

"Oh, yeah, er, well, Aziraphale, I would expect a demon to understand better than anyone just exactly how willing God is to punish those who disobey Her."

"I'm sure that's why you've gone against Her wishes and have given them your flaming shield."

"Oh, that's not even fair! Look out there, it's a dessert! With lions! "

"I'm sure it's probably what She wanted you to do anyways."

"...You think so?"

"Oh, yes! She probably knew that's what you would do if you were the one guarding the gate. Probably all part of that ineffable plan everyone's always jabbering on about."

He let out a sigh of relief. He hadn't even realized how much that had been eating at him. "...Thank you, Aziraphale."

"Don't say that too loudly, now! Just because it's a part of the plan doesn't mean we won't get into hot water."

"Still, it's… nice to hear I guess. Even if it's coming from… well, you."

"I suppose we all need comfort in our decisions from time to time. I'm still wondering if this whole eat the fruit business was really the right call. If they know the difference between good and evil, won't it just... be more likely for them to be good? If you know doing something is evil, why do it?"

"Oh, I'm certain it was a bad deed. At the very least, now they have to live through punishment and exile." 

"I suppose you're right, er— oh, where are my manners, what is your name, dear?"

"Raphael, it's nice to meet y—"

"EXCUSE ME?!" Though he would never have admitted it, Aziraphale looked completely starstruck. He had only ever heard of the Archangel Raphael.

"I said Rapha—"

"Pardon me, I— I heard you, dear, it's just. I suppose I didn't expect Raphael to be the one they sent all the way down to Earth. Just thought you'd be busy with the stars and such."

"I was looking for a change, some fresh air, y'know? New scenery."

"I… well, I guess I can understand that."

The angel's smile and the first stroke of lightning cracked in unison. "Figured you would."

Rain began to fall, and the two celestial beings found themselves silently looking on towards the future. Despite the disobedience displayed by the humans, they could somehow tell that this was not the end, but rather, a new beginning. They were in for the long haul, as it were, and they were in it together. God opened up the sky and breathed life into the world surrounding Eden with Her cruel rains, and a newfound softness had tempted a demon into offering up one of his wings to help shield a guardian from the downpour.

 

Chapter Text

The angel and the demon, often accidentally on purpose, continued to encounter each other throughout their shared time on Earth.

The first time after the first time they had met was probably the most accidental in that regard. After all, it was difficult to avoid each other when the human population of the world was still so small. Albeit there were more than two humans by this point— what with the creation of fully formed adults like Steve, or through Adam and Eve's own procreative efforts as with Cain and Abel— but that did not mean there were exactly the billions that the Earth would eventually know. Perhaps these years would be the ones that would later make it so unnatural for the supernatural pair to not settle down in any one place for a particularly long period of time; perhaps these were the years that would make it so unnatural for them to not be only a stone's throw away from each other. Or perhaps, these are only the speculations and musings of tired author. Either way, there weren't terribly many other places to do their jobs in that time, so it only made sense that they would run into each other once again eventually.

Who knew eventually would be so soon.

Crowley, who at that point had still been known as Raphael, had been horribly shaken up about the whole affair. They were such nice kids, after all, and he had had such a soft spot for them. A little rivalry, he supposed, was okay from time to time; kept life a little interesting now and again. But… to end in this way… he wouldn't've— he couldn't've— ever imagined it would have gone so far. And when he saw a nearby slimey little snail, he became quite livid as his mind prematurely connected dots.

"Hello, Aziraphale," he said, trying to maintain his composure. Aziraphale shifted his form to great the angel properly before returning the gesture.

"Raphael! What a pleasure."

"They were only kids."

"Yes, a real tragedy," he said with a genuine melancholy in his tone.

The angel gave the demon a foul look, which was met with confusion. "As if you get to be sad about it."

"Why… not?" Aziraphale looked at him cautiously, as though he were walking into a trap.

"Because it was your doing!" He hissed out, his words biting as he lost hold of the restraint he was clinging onto.

"I'm afraid you are terribly mistaken, Raphael. This wasn't my doing at all…"

"...Then… why are you here?"

"I presume the same reason you are."

His malice towards the demon was dropped almost immediately. Immediately his soul softened. "You were mourning..."

"Yes, I'm afraid. Don't go around telling announcing it to the world or anything, but I'm quite… torn up about it, I suppose."

Raphael's sadness once again replaced his anger. "They just wanted to be loved by Her…"

"Don't we all?" It was a question that took the angel by surprise.

"Well, not your lot, surely."

Aziraphale looked quizzically at his companion before speaking. "What do you mean? I suppose maybe not anymore but… well, that's at the very least why many of us fell in the first place."

That thought hadn't crossed the angel's mind— but he supposed that was the truth, wasn't it? Lucifer wasn't able to love the humans more than he loved God, and so he had defied Her. And when he had been cast out, he had swore to henceforth make the humans pay the price for it. Could the fate of these boys— could it really have been the same situation?

"And what about you?"

"Hm?"

"What about your fall?"

"Oh... I'm afraid we don't know each other well enough to discuss such matters as that, Raphael," he gave a gentle smile. "Besides, you really shouldn't weigh your head down with such matters. It's in the past, I was certainly a far different person then."

"You're not a person at all."

"Yes, that is true. Neither are you, my dear." For some reason, that made Raphael feel a pit in his stomach. Something felt wrong about that statement, but he wasn't quite sure as to why. "I ought to get going. No use just staring at the scene and getting worked up over it. I reckon I'm going to drink it off with some nice wine. Tah-tah—"

"Wait! You… you have to consume?"

"Well, no, I don't have to. I just really like to. Are you telling me you've never considered eating or drinking before?"

"Well, I've considered it but…"

"Oh! Then let me treat you to— er, or I suppose, tempt you to some wine."

Raphael smiled. This was weird, but he decided he was going to go along with it anyway. For the first time all day, he had had a good feeling about something, and, being a being of goodness, having a good feeling was a feeling that he felt it was quite good for him to have.

And with that, the two beings went off to share a meal together, beginning their journey of becoming just ever so slightly more and more human with the passing years.

Chapter Text

Though the human population grew (and shrank, and then grew again, and then shrank once more, and then continued to grow and shrink and shrink and grow), the angel and the demon continued to accidentally on purpose bump into each other (and, at a certain point, started bumping into each other completely on purpose, with no accidentality to it at all). They were there to see off Noah's ark, they lived through Arthurian legends, they saw the Reign of Terror, and watched as Christ was hung on the cross. Certainly, these were rather significant moments in their lives; in fact, they'd probably make a pretty cool montage were they in, say, some sort of episodic televised program. However, as they are not, for now they shall be omitted from this recounting. After all, no spoilers for the day when such a televised program may arise! 

Over the years, there had been many other moments to explore, anyhow. Ones that lent themselves much nicer to the confines of prose, one may reckon, and ones that were perhaps a little bit easier to explain with some sense of brevity. 

One such occasion, for example, would be sometime after the whole business with the ark. 

"You'd think that the worst thing about being kicked out of heaven," the snail-eyed entity said from behind the angel, startling him, "would be things like, oh, I don't know, the dreadful smell of hell or how dark it is or the fall or something similar," he took a seat beside him, the two watching as the river turned to blood, "but, really, the worst part about it, as far as I can wager, is just how dreadfully out of the loop it makes you." 

The angel nodded. "I suppose that's not really the kind of thing you think of when you decide to fall."

The demon laughs— er, well, perhaps phrasing it like that is a tad misleading… 

Aziraphale laughs. 

Yes, that feels much more appropriate. 

"'Decided' to fall is a very strange way of putting it, my dear boy. Not to mention, I do reckon many of us were thinking rather much about how out of the loop we had been. I guess we were never really 'in' the loop, as it were—"

"You're wondering about the blood water thing, right?"

"Yes, I'm wondering about the blood water… thing." 

"Pharaoh's been pretty… how do I put this… dickish, lately…"

"As people with too much power are wont to do."

"Right. Anyway, God's got some plagues lined up for the Egyptians if they… y'know… don't stop being wankers." 

"Fair enough. What kind of plagues? Or have they not told you that yet."

"Oh, well, we got the whole blood river, some frogs—"

"Frogs? That doesn't seem so ba—"

"No, no, you don't understand. We've got frogs up the wazoo."

"Up the wazoo, you say?"

"All the way up the wazoo, m'afraid. Then some lice, gnats, flies n such—"

"Well, the frogs should take care of that, surely. If they really are up the wazoo."

"I think they're getting rid of the frogs before they do all the bugs and stuff. I also know locusts are in the line up."

Aziraphale gives a low whistle and shudders, "Nasty little buggers."

"Pestilence of the livestock."

"Oh, that's a shame. It wasn't their fault. They don't even know what's going on." 

"Boils, all kinds of terrible weather, darkness, and, uhm… well, it shouldn't get to this one, but…"

Aziraphale raised his eyebrow and tilted his head a little.

"Killing all the firstborns…."

He gasped, "No…"

"Yeah. Not ideal."

"What about all the slaves?"

"Oh, they'll be fine… as long as they follow God's rules…"

"What if they don't? I mean, surely they shouldn't be punished like that regardless…"

"Well…"

"Don't you 'well' me! This is not a 'well' situation. And… and what about the… the whole promise… with the 'rain bow' or whatever it was called?"

"This isn't really the same thing as flooding the whole world, exactly. Besides, don't look at me, I've got no say in the matter. And it's only a last ditch effort type of thing. I'm sure Pharoh will give up on it. I can't imagine him making it past the locusts. They're going to be literally everywhere."

"Locusts up the wazoo?"

"Even more than that."

Aziraphale grimaced. "If that's the case, then I reckon I should get out of town."

"Really? Thought you'd like it. All the human suffering and all that. Although I suppose seeing God's punishments may hit a little close to home for you…"

Aziraphale smiled. He began walking away, only turning slightly to address his companion. "You're rather perplexing to me, Raphael," he turned away again, "you always seem to know the answers to the questions you never ask." 

And with that, the angel was alone

 

 

He wasn't Raphael for much longer after that. It didn't feel right for him to be. He volunteered to come to Earth because he truly had a deep, deep desire for change. How could things change if they stayed the same? Not to mention, the humans had already catalogued Raphael in their scrolls. He was truly nothing if not completely and totally unsubtle, which really wasn't very uncommon for an angel; he figured it was only a matter of time before they found him out. Yes, he definitely needed this change. 

"Ra— Crowley, fancy meeting you here," a familiar voice had said to him. A voice he had not heard since… well, the crucifixion.

What, he had to wonder, had compelled them both to come back to Egypt?

As for Crowley, he was back because his bullshit-ometer was binging. Pesky little thing, that bullshit-ometer. Always told you where the bullshit was but never what the bullshit was. 

"I must say, dear, I never really took you for the bookish sort."

"Thanks. "

"Sorry, I truly didn't mean that as an insult. If I were to insult you I should hope by now that I would be more upfront about it."

"I suppose I could say the same about you; don't tell me you read."

"Oh, yes I do! You must remember that I was the one who tempted them with knowledge in the first place. It really worked out in a quite lovely way, I think. Writing itself is quite beautiful and not to mention paper is delicious—"

"I don't think you're supposed to eat the paper, darling."

Aziraphale looked at him quizzically for a moment, but it quickly passed. "Really, I'm not supposed to eat anything. Nor am I supposed to do what you think people are supposed to do. We are on opposite sides, after all."

For some reason that he could not explain himself, Crowley frowned. Something about what Aziraphale had said had stung just a little bit, but he wasn't quite sure as to what. Perhaps it was all the jeering?

He didn't have much time to introspectively dwell on it, however. As, before he could even realize what was going on around them, he felt a hot stinging sensation. He was overcome with heaviness, he couldn't move on his own, he couldn't definitely see anything, just feel a sting. It wasn't until he had landed with a harsh thud that he realized that he had been frantically lifted and nearly thrown out of the building by a certain demonic influence. He blinked out of his thoughts and realized that he had been staring at a fire, and that his mind had just completely shut down. He was, to put it mildly, incredibly confused. Then, he started getting pelted by scrolls, which didn't really help make things any clearer, to be completely honest.

"Try to catch them if you can, please! There's a dear," A surprisingly calm Aziraphale said as he tossed scrolls from the blazing building.

Crowley was likely not any less confused than he had been but five seconds prior in that moment. In fact, if he were a human, he'd probably suspect that he was in like, shock or something. Even still, he gave a soft smile. His demon was doing good deeds. 

Chapter Text

"Didn't we already talk about this? No, Crowley."

"I'm just saying, you do a miracle here, I do a temptation there, it'll be cake."

"Oh, I did so enjoy when cake was in fashion. I hope it makes a comeback when all this plague nonsense is over with."

They were interrupted by a particularly loud moaning coming from the body cart.

"That's not the point, darling. Listen, I know you can be nice and like, not explode or whatever, and God knows that I've had to allow some heinous shit in my time. I mean, just as long as we're not too too uncomfortable with whatever the task is, then it should be fine! It's not like it'll be every time."

"You really—" Aziraphale lowered his voice and leaned in a little closer, "you really shouldn't say things like that, you know. At least not so loudly. What if—" he looks up, and then looks back at Crowley, " they can hear you being all… moderately blasphemous—"

"I am not being blasphemous! I'm just… er, stating observations."

"Well, you at the very least shouldn't say it around humans."

"Wha— who, them? Oh, darling, trust me, they haven't the foggiest clue what's going on."

Aziraphale lets out an exasperated sigh and led them away from the cart in a huff. Drama queen.

"I don't want you getting hurt, Crowley," he said after a small pause. Though by this point Aziraphale had been wearing tinted glasses to obscure his eye stalks for hundreds of years (you really do not want to see how he fits them under there), he was still rubbish when it came to having a solid poker face. His concern was evident, and, even worse for Crowley's guilt's sake, completely genuine. 

"I won't get hurt, darling, I pinky promise." It was a silly human thing. He figured it would lift the demon's spirits, as silly human things were wont to do. 

His companion reluctantly smiled and extended his own pinky finger.

When their hands touched, it burned. It stung real bad for just a moment before it started to gently fizzle out. 

It was exhilarating.

 

 

Crowley had quite enjoyed the Renaissance. Lots of art (although the biblical stuff was horribly inaccurate as far as appearances go), lots of creation, lots of an overly excitable companion who was absolutely exhilarated by the theatre. The Renaissance, looking back on it now, was probably the reason that they never really went to the theatre in the modern era, nor the cinema unless it was for some cult classic like Rocky Horror where they let you chuck things across the room and yell things at the screen. The audience participation was part of the fun of it all! Nowadays, people get mad when you talk through movies , let alone a play. 

The Renaissance had been the only time Crowley had tried out facial hair, and in a move of either solidarity or coincidence, Aziraphale had tried it out with him. Aziraphale would keep his mustache for some years after that, something about the snail aesthetic. Crowley, on the other hand, decided to never sport facial hair again .

He had known DaVinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, and yes , Raphael. All four of the Ninja turtles, he was pretty proud of that one. He was pretty confident Aziraphale only knew three of them personally. Though, to be fair, Crowley had never gotten the chance to meet Kit Marlowe or Sir Philip Sidney (the latter he was particularly remiss about, as Astrophil and Stella was the work that finally got him to see what Aziraphale was talking about when it came to all this "reading" stuff.)

This was also when he first started really loving music. Now that was the kind of poetry he could get behind. It was basically the only thing that had gotten him through the Enlightenment and it's never-ending list of prats. 

Well, that, and meeting up with Aziraphale for the Arrangement. It was comforting to him, for some reason.

To know that the demon was still capable of the occasional miracle or two.

 

 

Perhaps, in some alternative universe to this one, these two would have had a falling out in St. James park sometime in, say, the late 1800s. This had not been the case. It, in fact, occurred in an entirely different place and time altogether. 

They were just asking for trouble, going to America.

The modern era had brought an entirely new aesthetic for Crowley. He had not cut his hair once since existing on Earth. He quite liked having longer hair, he felt it looked more like his current self rather than like… well, like Raphael. So, when long hair went out of fashion for men, he had decided, actually, to say fuck it. He'd be damned (metaphorically, of course) if he was gonna cut it (it took quite an absurd amount of time to grow on it's own), and he'd be damned if he committed a fashion faux pas— so, he decided for quite some period of time to simply dress in a more traditionally feminine manner. It was quite the logical decision, he had concluded, as humans were, quite frankly, less than discerning about these matters, and it's not like he was human anyways. He enjoyed all manners of fashion well enough, and he was typically incredibly on trend.

Meanwhile, Aziraphale had worn the same exact outfit since the mid 1800s with the occasional change in accessory. Crowley had originally considered this not only wildly unfair and lacking in dignity, but also to be a taunt of sorts. Some kind of spite. An annoying way of announcing to him just how frivolous he had found the desire to keep up with human fashion.

Later he would think back and find it endearing, but at this particular moment in time, it would greatly piss him off, though he never said as much. 

It was sometime right in the 1930s. They had both disliked going to America (as they continue to to this very day), and thus neither one of them felt proper making the other do both the tempting and the blessing and have to go there alone . There was a difference between the Arrangement and just being rude. 

"Another change in style I see."

"Yes, it's a new century, darling, you're allowed to change it up every now and again." He laughed before frowning a bit, "Why, you don't like it?"

"No, no, I didn't say that." Instant relief. "I'll just have to get used to it, is all. It's quite… er, what's the term… spiffy!"

"Why thank you."

"Oh, there's no need for that. Anyhow, what's the plan after we get this done, then? I know all you can feel is the love and… such that surrounds the area but this 'Great Depression' is rather… er, depressing for the rest of us." 

"I was thinking Central Park, perhaps? Maybe Coney Island?" 

"Central Park sounds a little more my speed."

"See you there!" 

"It's a date, old chap."

The one time he said it, the one time it wasn't true.

"Crowley," he had said after a prolonged silence between the two that occurred immediately upon them entering the park after their particularly rough cases, "do you reckon this is safe."

"What do you mean?"

"This whole thing. The… the Arrangement."

"Don't back out on me now, darling."

"I'm not, I'm not. I'm just... concerned. I know what falling feels like. I know you… don't deserve to be in hell."

"What?"

"I just—"

"You can't seriously be implying what I think you're implying."

"I wouldn't be able to stand myself if you—"

"This was your big plan, wasn't it? To make me feel bad so you could get out of this?! Or was it just your big plan to make me feel guilty and tempt me to sin just so that you could back out later?!" 

"Please don't yell, Crowley, the walls have ears!" 

"I'm not yelling!" he yelled, "and no they don't! Trees have ears… er, ducks have ears. Do ducks have ears?"

"Of course ducks have ears, that's how they hear other du—"

"Whatever! That's besides the point! The point is, you're a right bloody arsehole , darling," he hissed out. "Leadin' me on just to cut it off cause you claim to 'care' about if I get 'hurt.' You are a demon, you don't ca—"

"But I do care! And I'm not just going to sit around and wait for Heaven to find out that you've been fraternizing with this ' demon.'

"Fraternizing?!"

"Yes! Fraternizing!" 

"I don't need you, you know."

"Fine! The feeling is mutual!" 

After that, they didn't speak for roughly 50 terrible, no good, very bad years. 

Chapter Text

Perhaps in some alternative universe, they would've made up at some point during the second World War, or even late one evening in the 1960s. However, this was not the case in this particular universe. Their reconciliation did not come until late one night in 1987. 

"Figured I'd find you here," a voice said, its owner's excitement betraying him as his smile seeps in through it's tone.

"Oh. Hello, darling." Crowley spat out without looking up from the cart of medical supplies he was pushing.

"It's not very intimidating when you call me that, no matter how pissy you are."

"That's rather bold language."

"Pardon my manners, dear, but was I wrong in my assessment?'

"Did you come here just to insult me? To laugh at me for being a good samaritan?" 

"No, I didn't come to do either of those things. I came to apologise." There was that damn genuineness again. He made it so hard to be mad at him. "I understand that, technically, I'm by definition quite unforgivable, but—" he was cut off by the door to a hospital room being quite abruptly slammed in his face. "Oh… alright… then…"

Inside the room, a sickly man laid on the bed. He was unsettlingly underweight, but his deep set eyes seemed to light up when Crowley entered the room, even if the angel was clearly steaming.

"And who was that?" The patient asked his nurse with a tad bit of teasing to his intonation.

"A slimeball."

He gave a sympathetic whistle. "Rough break up?"

"Kinda… something like that..." 

"How long's it been since you last talked? Sounded like there was some unresolved tensions."

"It's… it's been a minute…"

"Then maybe hear him out? Though I guess if he's a real slimeball, maybe not," he gave a slight chuckle. The patient smiled for the first time since Crowley had met him, giving him a reminder as to why he was even in this hospital in the first place. "Sorry, I guess I really got nothing better to do in here than play matchmaker."

Crowley smiled back. "It's not a problem, Park. When you're right, you're bloody right." He gave the patient his… y'know, human medicine, food and such, and miricaled him up more T-cells for the day. He had been trying so desperately to keep pace with pestilence. They joked around for a bit, and he made the patient's dim time there just a little bit brighter. Some miracles you couldn't do with magic alone.

When he finally left the hospital for the day, quite some considerable amount of time later, there was a grey mini cooper waiting for him on the other side of the street.

 

 

"What took you so long." The statement came from the person who had kept him waiting outside in the rain for five hours rather than from his own mouth.

He figured, based on the lack of inquisitive inflection in his friend's voice, that it would be better to not try and provide any kind of justification for giving him the silent treatment for half a century. "When did you go to medical school?" 

"Never, I just miracled up a certificate so I could help out around here a little bit easier." 

Aziraphale's grin widened, straddling the line between overjoyed and demonic, as it often did. "So you lied to them?" 

"Oh, that doesn't count. I'm doing it to help the sick and the poor. Plus it's not like I'm unqualified to give someone a bloody IV or something."

"They really believe you're a real nurse? Dressed like that?" Crowley had hopped on the punk rock trend immediately. Though he wasn't really one for all the black, he did enjoy a good amount of studded denim. He was very excited about the hair trends; while he didn't participate in any of the headshaving, he was currently sporting a spikey, messy mop of Kool Aid dyed, pink hair. While this appearance fit well into the current aesthetic of his record shop, it was, admittably, not really convincing in regards to making him look like a hospital worker. 

"It's a modern age. Besides, they're taking anyone they can get these days. The workload and all that."

"I don't understand this whole AIDS business. I thought pestilence retired?"

"Don't ask me, man. I thought so too. But, the world keeps turning." Talking to Crowley about anything felt so easy, even after all this time apart. Well, talking to Crowley about almost anything, that is. Anything except the thing he wanted to talk about, at any rate. Oh, and the thing that he never, ever wanted to talk about. That pesky little thing that he was hoping would've gone away by this point. 

But that was a matter for another time. Or, preferably, a matter for no time at all.

"I've been so worried." 

"Have you? 'Sthat why you never rang?"

"Figured you didn't want to talk to me, to be truthful."

"What made you think that?"

"I can sense emotional distress, Crowley. I know when you're upset. It… it washed over me completely every time I tried to approach you."

The smugness left Crowley's face as it felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off of Aziraphale's shoulders. It had been quickly replaced, however, by a similar but different weight. A piano for an anvil.

"I was worried about you too, darling," he had said after awhile of silence, all malice gone from his tone. "Good Lord, I was so worried about you I—" a lightbulb went off in his brain as he quickly began to rummage through a bag he had brought. He pulled out a plant mister. "I thought you might need some… er… insurance…"

Aziraphale's eyes went wide when he realized what was in that bottle. "That's not—"

"It is."

"Crowley! That could… that could destroy m—"

"Destroy any demon, yes. That's what I told them it was for. Don't go turning the child lock off." 

Aziraphale gingerly took the bottle. It was hot in his hands. "You don't think that I'll… I'll need this…"

"I hope you won't, but I want to be sure."

"Have you just been carrying this around with you? In case—"

"In case I ran into you. I could tell that you were still in London but, well… I figured that you didn't want to speak to me. If I ever ran into you… I didn't want to miss my chance. I was actually pretty pissed at myself a couple of hours ago. For telling you off like that and letting you leave without it. I'm… I'm sorry." He put his hand on Aziraphale's shoulder. And, as Aziraphale had been fearing would happen for quite some time now, the sting was completely absent in his touch. It was tender and that was terrifying.

"Best not do that, old boy…" he said retracting away from his hand. He had instantly felt that that was the wrong response when he saw the betrayed look on Crowley's face. "But it… it was very kind of you, to think of me. I would've never come up with something like this on my own. Should I say thank you?" 

"Best not…" 

"Let me drive you home then. Or, if you'd like, somewhere else. Anywhere you would like to go."

"Sorry, Aziraphale but… you just… you go too slow for me."

"Oh… uhm. Okay…"

"Don't look so sad, please," the other begged.

"No, it's alright. I understand, really." He defied his better judgement and continued speaking. "Maybe someday we could… I don't know, dine at the Ritz, or have a nice picnic, then?" 

Crowley smiled faintly, but sincerely this time, "Maybe." 

And with that, his guardian angel was gone.

 

Chapter Text

They had come up with the little arrangement (not to be confused with the big Arrangement) shortly after Aziraphale delivered the Antichrist. Looking back, it felt like a fool's errand now that they knew the truth of the child's identity. It had been Crowley's idea to intervene, to have both good and bad influences in the kid's life and just have him be normal. He had this idea whilst technically sober. It had been Aziraphale's idea, on the other hand, to get a little more involved. He had this idea whilst very much drunk.

"What do you mean I can't be the gardener!" Aziraphale whined.

"I cannot, in good conscience, leave those poor plants in your hands, darling."

"What?! Listen, just because you're the botni— the botonys— the baton— the plant man who does the plant things doesn't mean I can't have a green thumb too!"

"It's like you don't... even REMEMBER Eden."

Aziraphale gasped.

"My dear! I would never forget Eden! I can't believe you would imply such a thing!"

"Well then… you should certainly remember ruining all of those beautiful leaves!" 

"I think I have enough self restraint to not eat up a family garden! Besides, you're way better with kids than I am. You're all nice and good and sweet, that's all good stuff for kids." 

"You can't resist temptation! It's like, your thing! You'd eat up all the plants and then… well, there'd be no more to garden! You can't have a gardener without a garden! S'ludicrous!" 

Throughout the conversation, Aziraphale had been gradually shifting closer to Crowley. By now, they were side by side on the couch.

"You'd have so much fun as the Nanny!"

"Fun?"

"Yeah, fun! You'd get to dress up and do your hair all nice, you like that stuff! And you'd get to play games and read and stuff. Right up your alley."

"You just want to see me dress up!"

"Maybe I do," Aziraphale grumbled, leaning against Crowley's shoulder and finishing off his glass.

It always struck him like lightning, crashing over him in a sudden downpour. The sensation flooded his senses, it washed out everything in its way. Its cool rains tamped down the blaze that would normally occur from such contact.

Love. So much love. It was so cathartic. Crowley let himself be drenched in it. It was so overwhelming, for a moment he couldn't even see or hear anything. It was beautiful. He wanted to bask in it forever, but he had to snap back to reality. 

There were many things he wanted to do in that moment. Hug him. Kiss him. Tell him he loved him more than he could ever truly explain. But he did none of those things. He had to remind himself of his companion's usual pace. It was frustrating, but he knew that he couldn't be the one to make the first move, it just wouldn't feel right. He had tried to say as much before, but it always came out wrong. Too similar to a rejection. 

Anyhow, there were more pressing matters that needed to be discussed right now— oh goodness, he's asleep. Crowley looked down at the demon on his shoulder, whose snoring was slowly getting louder. He smiled. Usually Aziraphale didn't like sleeping. Something about having too many demons chasing him. Crowley then decided to be a little bold. 

He ran his hand through Aziraphale's thick, curly hair and whispered, "Tonight, you'll have dreams about whatever you like most, darling, and you won't be hungover when you wake." He snapped his fingers, and suddenly all the tension in his companion's body disappeared. 

There were many ways to say I love you.