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let me feel your heartbeat (grow faster, faster)

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In the beginning, Crowley spun the constellations into being.

He had another name, then—one that Aziraphale murmured to himself, the sounds bright and clear as a bell on his tongue. Crowley was a highly ranked member of the Choir of Thrones, and trusted with star design and development. Aziraphale saw him sometimes in all-staff meetings, sitting toward the front but off to the side, lounging against a wall. Even then, he’d had style—wings tipped in gold and face painted with gold flakes in the pattern of the first constellation he designed. He was amazing, and eye-catching, and it was no exaggeration to say that he did not know Aziraphale even existed.

And why should he? Aziraphale was created a Principality, whose duties would be to tend to nations of humans. Humans who didn’t even exist yet, although the Almighty said She was going to get around to it, don’t rush Her, go get Her a sakura matcha frappuccino, there’s a dear.

Aziraphale invented the sakura matcha frappuccino before the Earth was made; he fretted about it during the process, but apparently he’d done well enough.

Crowley-that-was seemed to be brimming with so much personality, so many questions—next to him, Aziraphale felt bland, undistinguished, utterly unremarkable. He could barely remember his fellow Principalities; back then, they all seemed like they were just waiting for the Almighty to finally make use of them.

Once, Crowley-that-was ducked into a large meeting late. “What did I miss?” he asked Aziraphale.

Aziraphale looked behind him, because surely this Throne was not addressing him, but there was no one else nearby. “Erm,” he said, feeling utterly flustered. “Gabriel was just saying—we’re, um—”

“Yes?” the angel prompted. His hair was dark, and his eyes—Aziraphale hadn’t been close enough to see before, but his eyes were blue like the hottest of the stars he’d hung in the galaxies.

“We’re on—on schedule,” Aziraphale finished, and he could almost physically feel the angel lose interest in him.

It was the last he saw Crowley-that-was up close until the day he stood up behind the Morning Star, and Aziraphale felt his breath catch. Surely he wasn’t—he wouldn’t—

But he’d always hung around them, those who finally Rebelled. He’d always slouched off to the side, offering witty comments here and there, jokes that Aziraphale didn’t understand but smiled at anyway. He was always there, unreachable, untouchable, and now—

Aziraphale found himself face to face with him, for what he thought was the last time. Aziraphale had been issued a sword—just a standard one, not the flaming kind. He supposed he knew how to use it, but he didn’t like it, and he wasn’t very good. His hands shook as he pointed it at the angel.

The angel’s eyes were wild, full of confusion and despair. He bore a shield and a flaming sword, and dispatched Aziraphale’s sword in short order.

Fat lot of good the sword had done him, Aziraphale thought, tears gathering in his eyes. He hadn’t even had a chance to become useful yet—he hadn’t done anything yet, nothing at all. “Please,” he said, and lowered his head.

He waited for the sword to strike his neck, but instead he heard two sounds—the angel’s sword and shield clattering to the ground.

“This is madness,” the angel said hoarsely. “I won’t—”

All around them, angels were dying and Falling.

“You have to,” Aziraphale said uncertainly. “Don’t you?”

The angel, whose name Aziraphale held close as his dearest secret, closed his eyes in grief. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I didn’t think—”

“I know,” Aziraphale said.

The angel’s eyes opened again. “How can you?”

Aziraphale wetted his lips. “I’ve watched you. I’ve always, always—and I know you didn’t think it would be like this.”

The angel reached out and brushed a fingertip across Aziraphale’s cheek, and his eyes were still that brightly burning blue like the star Rigel that he’d hung in Orion’s belt, because even then, he’d cared about aesthetics.

And then, without looking back at Aziraphale, he walked away, took a swan dive—

—and Fell.

An eternity passed, seemingly in an instant, and then Aziraphale was finally permitted to be useful. He was stationed at the Eastern Gate of the Garden, and also on apple tree duty. It was all very nerve-wracking, finally having two charges and a thing he was meant to keep them away from. It was his first real job and he didn’t want to make a hash of it.

He watched the humans closely, and the apple tree closely. Not that the humans seemed enormously interested in the apple tree at all; they’d just discovered that their—parts—fit together in an apparently quite pleasurable way and were, as such, occupied.

Truth be told, it was a bit lonely in the Garden. There were no other angels stationed there—which, he supposed, made sense, since there were as of yet only two humans to watch. The days were all lovely, and Her Creation was lovelier still, but his assignment was to watch the humans, not talk to them.

So when a large serpent slithered up and hissed a greeting, Aziraphale was rather less on his guard than perhaps he should have been. How was he to know that snakes weren’t supposed to talk? And all right, perhaps he ought to have smelled the brimstone and put two and two together, but instead, he just said, “Oh, hello, what a handsome fellow you are!”

The serpent froze, and then said uncertainly, “Thank you.” It wasn’t incredibly clear, given that a snake’s ability for verbal communication was limited, and then the serpent made a sinuous wiggle that conveyed frustration as well as a bit of you don’t mind if I—

Aziraphale said, “Oh, please, go right ahead,” without at all knowing what he was agreeing to.

And then the serpent shifted form, and Aziraphale gasped, because it—he?—was a demon, and not just that, he was—

The angel who spared Aziraphale’s life shook out his long red hair and his soot-black wings, and settled on the rock next to Aziraphale. “Better,” he said, and cracked his neck. “Nice form for a snooze in the sun, but not great for a chat, yeah?”

“Oh,” Aziraphale said. He couldn’t stop staring—the demon’s eyes were Rigel-bright no longer, but yellow and slitted. And yes, there was that scent of brimstone, impossible to ignore now that he’d properly noticed it.

The demon cleared his throat. “So,” he said. “How’s it going with the, er. Human-watching.”

They both looked across the Garden, where the humans were making those noises again that meant they were in the middle of—well.

“They seem busy,” Aziraphale said delicately.

The demon snorted. “One way of putting it.”

Aziraphale was still staring, which he had an idea was actually quite rude, but he couldn’t help it. He’d spent so long watching him; he wasn’t at all prepared for casual conversation. He fumbled for a return volley. “And, um, how is it going with—with whatever you’re meant to be doing?”

The demon shrugged. “Early days,” he said. He leaned back on the rock, propped up on his elbows, and lifted his face to the sun. “Have you tried those grapes on the western wall?” he said after a moment.

“You mean, eaten them?” Aziraphale said, a little scandalized.

“Well I wasn’t talking about doing anything else with them,” the demon said sardonically.

Aziraphale tried to imagine for a moment what the demon meant, and gave it up as a bad job. “It’s food for the humans and the rest of Her creatures.”

“Seems like you ought to experience some things from their perspective,” the demon said, all too reasonably. “Would help with the watching, I expect, if you knew more about why they do what they do.”

Aziraphale thought about it. “I suppose,” he said slowly. “Why those grapes, in particular?”

A corner of the demon’s mouth crooked up into a half-smile that Aziraphale knew, oh, very well indeed. “Something a bit odd’s happening to them. Something to do with the sun and tiny tiny fungus.”

“I’m not sure I see the appeal,” Aziraphale said, wrinkling his nose.

“Better to try it before the humans do,” the demon said. “That way, you can keep them out of trouble.”

That was how he found himself lying in the soft grass along the western wall with a demon, eating grapes that seemed like they might be a bit off, somehow? But they made him feel rather floaty, and well, giggly. The demon was likewise affected, and they talked a great deal of nonsense, until the sun set and they invented being extremely, extremely drunk.

“Ahh,” the demon said, as they looked up at the constellation Orion. “It came out pretty well, didn’t it?”

“It’s beautiful,” Aziraphale said, and turned his head a bit to look at him. “You remember it, then?” he asked cautiously.

The demon shrugged. “A bit, yeah. Broad strokes, but the details are fuzzy.” He was silent for a long beat. “I can’t remember my name.”

It was on the tip of Aziraphale’s tongue, and he wanted so badly to say it, but there was so much pain in the demon’s eyes that he thought he’d better not.

“Can’t remember yours, either,” the demon said.

“That’s okay. You didn’t know it, to begin with.”

“I didn’t?” the demon said. “Must have done.”

“You didn’t, trust me,” Aziraphale said, wistful.

“But I know your eyes,” the demon said, and Aziraphale’s breath caught. “What’s your name, angel?”

“Aziraphale,” he said, and swallowed hard.

“Aziraphale,” the demon said slowly, as though tasting every syllable. He would have given anything to hear his name from those lips before, and even now, it sent a thrill down his spine. “Another grape, Aziraphale?”

“We shouldn’t—”

“They’re asleep,” the demon said, and held up a grape to Aziraphale’s lips.

“One more,” Aziraphale conceded, and allowed the demon to feed him the grape, and licked the fermented juice from his lips.

So, all right then: they invented getting drunk. They then invented getting hungover, which they both agreed was terrible and best avoided in the future. And he was still so flummoxed that the demon was, after all this, the angel he’d watched for so long, that he rather forgot about the whole demon thing. The thing was—the demon didn’t seem all that demonic. He spent most of his time in serpent form, napping in the sun. The rest of it, he spent engaged in what Aziraphale thought was mild blasphemy.

“It’s constructive criticism,” the demon insisted. “Take that, for example.” He pointed at the duck-billed platypus. “What, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the fuck.”

“Ineffable,” Aziraphale said, because he was likewise befuddled but unwilling to admit it.

And then Aziraphale took his eyes off him for one minute—one damned minute—and suddenly the humans were eating apples and there was such a fuss, and Aziraphale gave the humans his flaming sword as they fled the Garden, and oh —

He’d really messed everything up, hadn’t he?

And the angel he’d watched for so long was a demon, one who was calling himself Crawley and had forgotten his beautiful, beautiful name. He was still just as eye-catching as before, but there was a sorrow that sung through him now, a grief that made Aziraphale’s eyes well up just to think about it.

And perhaps Crawley was right—perhaps he’d done the right thing, and Aziraphale had done the wrong thing.

“What will we do now?” Aziraphale said, as the storm subsided. He was all wet and didn’t think he cared for it.

“No way out but through,” Crawley said prosaically. He was perfectly dry from sheltering under Aziraphale’s wing. “Coming, angel?”

He followed Crawley out into the desert, leaving the Garden behind.

Suddenly, there were rather a lot more than two humans, and Aziraphale started receiving more specific assignments.

Evidently, Crawley—now calling himself Crowley, and Aziraphale would never have imagined that one could just change one’s name—was receiving specific assignments, too.

Even with more humans, it hadn’t become any less lonely. Other angels popped in and out, mostly to deliver messages to the humans, even though Aziraphale had told them time and again that appearing in angelic form frightened the humans terribly. He himself had learned to tuck his wings out of this plane of existence, to try to blend in. It had been Crowley who had the idea, but he’d always been clever, and Aziraphale wasn’t too proud to follow his lead in this particular matter.

He watched Crowley when he could—it was part of his official duties now, he reckoned—but it didn’t lessen his desire for Crowley’s company, now that he’d had a taste.

It didn’t lessen his desire to have Crowley look at him, and he knew what hunger was, now—surely that was what he felt, every time Crowley turned his remarkable gaze upon him, as though Aziraphale were something worth noticing.

It was when he happened upon Crowley in Rome that he stopped looking for hints of the angel he had been, and began to love him just as he was. And oh—it was heady and terrifying and he shuddered to think what would happen if anyone from Above found out, but he couldn’t stop.

It wasn’t that he forgot that Crowley was Fallen, but in moments like these, it didn’t seem to matter very much.

“Last one?” Crowley said, nodding at the remaining oyster on the platter.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” Aziraphale demurred, having already had more than his fair share.

Crowley picked up the oyster, and lifted it to Aziraphale’s lips, and Aziraphale couldn’t look away from his yellow-slitted eyes as he swallowed the oyster down.

Crowley didn’t look away, either, and oh, was this temptation?

No wonder humans were so easily swayed. But Aziraphale was made of sterner stuff—specifically, made of love, and he had faith his side would prevail.

Crowley finally knew Aziraphale’s name, but he rarely used it.

He preferred, instead, to call him angel. He said it left and right, peppering conversations with it, putting the final punctuation on a point he was making in an argument that wasn’t really an argument, but a meandering dance they both knew the steps to and disregarded at will.

“You know, for someone who is such a proponent of fitting in, you seem happy enough to announce what I am to the world,” Aziraphale groused once.

Crowley lifted an eyebrow. “Is that what you think?”

“Well, aren’t you?” Aziraphale said, suddenly less certain.

“When I call you angel, that’s not what humans hear,” Crowley said.

“What, then?”

Crowley leaned close, so that his lips were almost at Aziraphale’s ear. “They hear honey. Darling. Sssweetheart.”

Aziraphale went very, very still, and he felt like his body’s traitorous heart might beat out of his chest. “Oh,” he managed, finally. “That’s all right, then.”

“It is?” Crowley asked, and it was his turn to sound uncertain.

“Humans could do with hearing more expressions of love,” Aziraphale said firmly, and then wetted his lips as he turned to look Crowley in the eye. “Even though it’s not your intention.”

Crowley stared at him. “So I’ll just—keep on, then.”

“If you like,” Aziraphale said, when he really meant, call me that always, mean it like the humans hear it.

“Anything is less conspicuous than your name, angel,” Crowley said, rolling his eyes, but it sounded just the slightest bit fond, and Aziraphale could and would content himself with that.

Crowley hated it when Aziraphale mentioned it, but he could be really kind. Aziraphale would be tempted to assign it to Crowley’s former ethereal nature, except he didn’t encounter much kindness when he reported to the head office, if he was being scrupulously honest.

He crumpled the reprimand from Gabriel for too many frivolous miracles, and honestly—what counted as frivolous, anyway?

“I’m starting to sound like him,” he said out loud to himself.

He hadn’t seen Crowley in a month or so—he’d been rather occupied with opening up a bookshop, an endeavor to which Crowley had been politely skeptical.

“Let me see if I have the right of it,” he said, during the intermission of a rather bawdy opera. “You want to—engage in commerce?”

“Heavens no,” Aziraphale said immediately.

“You know that’s what a bookshop is, don’t you? A place where people go to buy books?”

“Of course I know what a bookshop is,” Aziraphale said. “I’m surprised you do, in point of fact.”

Crowley made a face at him. “What I’m getting at is—you want to put all your books in one place and then—” he walked his fingers up Aziraphale’s arm— “let people touch them and take them home?”

“Stop making it sound so tawdry. It’s exactly what I want.” He nodded to himself decisively. “To share knowledge and literature with humans.”

“So you’re thinking you’ll sell, what, one book a month?” Crowley said.

Aziraphale couldn’t help his expression of horror, and Crowley laughed, long and low.

“Oh, angel,” he said, wiping a faux tear from his eye. “Tell you what, if I find anything worthwhile on my trip, I’ll bring it back so you can put it in your new shop and let the humans get their grubby fingers all over it.”

“Really,” Aziraphale bristled, but allowed Crowley to fetch him another glass of wine.

But it had been nearly a month since the opera, and not a word from Crowley. He hadn’t said where he was going, but then they hardly lived in each other’s pockets. It was a very fine line to walk: abiding by the Arrangement while not being discovered by either head office, and seeing Crowley just as much as he wanted. Which, he admitted to himself, was quite a lot—things made him think of Crowley now, and he thought wistfully of some crepes they’d shared in Paris a half-century earlier.

And now that he’d thought of it, all he wanted were crepes. And brioche. And ideally Crowley to share them with, but who knew where he was.

Strangely, Crowley knew exactly where to find him when he was locked up in the Bastille after an apparently ill-advised jaunt to Paris. And over crepes afterward, Crowley pushed a volume across the table, not at all meeting Aziraphale’s eyes.

“Oh,” Aziraphale breathed. “Oh—my dear.”

“Not another word,” Crowley said, sounding pained. “I just happened across it, that’s all.”

There was absolutely no way that had been the case. Aziraphale had been making inquiries for months with no luck, and he had the actual connections.

Crowley really could be so terribly kind.

He settled for patting Crowley’s hand, in lieu of thanks, and Crowley swallowed the last of his wine in one indecorous gulp.

They had a row about holy water, and Aziraphale stormed off afterward and then felt quite wretched about the whole affair.

The thing was—he’d never forgotten the sense of devastating loss he felt when Crowley Fell. At least he’d been able to take some comfort in the knowledge that somewhere—somewhere not in Heaven—Crowley still existed.

He couldn’t bear the thought of Crowley being gone, for good, and having only himself to blame. It was too terrible to contemplate, and how dare Crowley—how dare he, when Aziraphale loved him, specifically, and not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Desperately.

On his way out of the park, the heavens opened up; odd, that, given there had been absolutely clear blue skies not a moment before. He took shelter under a weeping willow and looked at the downpour in dismay; he hadn’t enjoyed his first experience getting rained on, back in the Garden, and he hadn’t come to like it any better.

And suddenly he stopped being spattered by the raindrops that made their way through the canopy of the tree. When he looked up, he saw an umbrella held over his head, and then immediately after, who was holding the handle.

“No thank you,” Aziraphale said sharply, and prepared himself to walk out into the rain.

“Angel,” Crowley said. He sounded tired, and still upset. “Please let me walk you back to the shop.”

“I’m so angry with you,” Aziraphale said quietly, his throat tight.

“I know,” Crowley said.

“You don’t! You don’t, or else you’d never—you’d never ask that of me!” he said, and was rather alarmed to discover he’d raised his voice and that his eyes were welling up.

And Crowley just looked at him, confused and so clearly hurt, and Aziraphale didn’t know what to do, besides throw his arms around Crowley’s shoulders and embrace him as tightly as he could.

“Angel,” Crowley said, sounding strangled.

“Shut up,” Aziraphale said. “Just—stop talking for one damned minute.”

So, so slowly, Crowley’s arms came up, and he clutched Aziraphale tightly, and didn’t say a word.

Eventually, Aziraphale pulled back, but not far, since the umbrella was only so big. He wiped at his eyes—of all the days to have forgotten his handkerchief, honestly.

Crowley cleared his throat and pressed something into Aziraphale’s hand: a black handkerchief with what he realized were little snakes embroidered on the edge. He was about to protest, but one look at Crowley’s expression—sad, contrite—and he obediently dabbed at his eyes.

And then, without further discussion of any sort, he allowed Crowley to walk him back to Soho. At the bookshop door, he attempted to hand the handkerchief back to Crowley.

Crowley instead folded one hand over Aziraphale’s. “Keep it,” he said.

“Oh, I couldn’t—”

“Angel, please,” Crowley said.

So Aziraphale carefully folded it and tucked it in his pocket. Crowley drew in a breath, as if to say something, and instead tipped his hat to Aziraphale and strode off into the rain, not a drop daring to touch him under his black umbrella.

Aziraphale really did mean to give the handkerchief back after laundering it, but somehow it never seemed the right time. The embroidered snakes were really quite sweet and they made him smile, so he just carried it in his pocket for safekeeping, and to look at, occasionally.

And anyway, Crowley never asked for it back, although he did catch sight of it once. He just gave Aziraphale a tiny smile, as though he were helpless to do otherwise.

Sometime later, after a demonic miracle involving books of prophecy, and a thermos of holy water, Aziraphale bought a plant.

Specifically, a black orchid he saw in passing in a florist’s window. Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t truly black, but so heavily pigmented that it appeared as such. It put him in mind of Crowley’s scales, and without very much more thought, he popped in and purchased it.

“Have you raised orchids before, sir?” the florist asked him doubtfully.

“It’s not for me,” Aziraphale assured him. “It’s a gift.”

Crowley had become somewhat obsessed with houseplants over the last decade and talked about them as though they were his very disobedient, jam-faced children.

He plainly loved them. Well, loved them in a rather severe way, not unlike how the Almighty had apparently felt about humanity around Noah’s time. But he must love them, or else why go to all the trouble to keep them alive?

Potted plant in hand, he decided to take himself on over to Crowley’s flat in Mayfair. He hadn’t been often, and certainly had never turned up unannounced before.

Crowley answered the door in somewhat disreputable black denim trousers and a leather jacket he had been breaking in for a good two decades. “What’s wrong?” he asked immediately.

“Your trousers have holes in them,” Aziraphale said politely.

“It’s fashion, angel, I’d get a commendation for it if anyone down below could grasp irony.” Crowley braced himself in the door frame. “What’s that?”

“Oh!” Aziraphale said, and thrust out the plant at him. “Housewarming gift, if you’d like.”

Crowley raised an eyebrow. “You know those are meant to be given when you move into a place, yeah?” But he took the orchid carefully from Aziraphale, and led the way to his room with all the lovely plants. He walked around the room, pot in hand, occasionally pausing and looking contemplative.

Finally, he miracled up a new plant stand, and carefully set the orchid on it. “Don’t let it go to your head,” he said to the orchid, a bit of a hiss behind his words. “I have expectations you’d do well to meet.”

He touched one of the orchid’s petals, just once, but oh so gently. Then he turned to Aziraphale and said, “Care for a drink?”

Crowley came over to the bookshop later that week to complain about the orchid, which he named Hamlet, on the grounds that it, too, was a maudlin wanker with a short life expectancy, if it kept this up.

“I’m sure it’s doing its best,” Aziraphale said soothingly.

“Three of its leaves yellowed overnight. Much more of this and I’m going to put it all the way in the back,” he said, in the manner that some might threaten to send their child to boarding school.

It wasn’t the last Aziraphale heard about it. In fact, Crowley seemed to come over to the shop on a regular basis to rail about the orchid’s many short-comings.

“You remember the orchid craze in the 1800’s?” Crowley asked one afternoon from his sprawl on the backroom sofa, after impugning Hamlet’s mild tendencies in the direction of root rot.

Aziraphale was sitting at his desk, sipping cocoa and inspecting a book he’d recently acquired. “Hmm?”

“Not so easy to transport in those days. People went mad for them—tripped the old collecting impulse, apparently.” Crowley was silent for a beat, but Aziraphale could just hear his wicked smile behind him. “Not that you would know anything about that.”

Aziraphale sniffed in response.

“All that coveting, thievery—good times,” Crowley said with an air of nostalgia. And then, moments later, he said, “Why did you buy it, anyway?”

“I just thought—I thought you might like it, that’s all,” Aziraphale said softly.

He heard Crowley get up behind him. “No hidden messages in the language of flowers, hmm?”

It honestly hadn’t crossed Aziraphale’s mind, but now that Crowley mentioned it—well. He felt his face warm.

“I see it and I think of you,” Crowley said, voice low, one cool hand coming to rest on Aziraphale’s shoulder. “Fussy, troublesome.”

Aziraphale made a face.

And then Crowley touched his cheek gently, as gently as he’d touched the orchid’s petals, as gently as he’d touched Aziraphale’s face an eternity ago. “Worth it,” he said, and Aziraphale’s heart clenched.

Aziraphale drew in one unsteady breath. “So you’ll be keeping it?”

“Never in question, angel,” Crowley said, and the moment lingered between them, soft and sweet and actually perfect.

After the Apocalypse that wasn’t, after they switched bodies and switched back again, the Bentley was waiting for them after they dined at the Ritz.

“Hello again, darling,” Crowley crooned at the car, smoothing a hand over the bonnet.

“Seems all in one piece,” Aziraphale said as he got in.

“Just as it was,” Crowley said, and if Aziraphale hadn’t been there, he suspected Crowley would be whispering more sweet nothings to his car. As it was, he stroked the steering wheel before turning the car in the direction of Soho.

The ride back was quiet by mutual, unspoken agreement, as they watched the world around them pass by, safe and sound.

“Here you are, angel,” Crowley said, pulling up to the bookstore and stopping the engine. “Books are all there. Maybe with an addition or two,” he said, the corner of his mouth quirked up in amusement.

Aziraphale stared at his bookshop, which was just as he’d remembered it, and the relief he felt—well, he could hardly put it into words.

“I’ll see you to the door,” Crowley said suddenly, which was unexpected and very kind but completely unnecessary. Aziraphale opened his mouth to say as much, but one look at Crowley and he thought better of it.

“Thank you,” he said instead, and allowed Crowley to accompany him to the door. His key still turned in the lock, and though the interior was dark, he had a sense that all was as it should be.

And then he looked at Crowley, who was turning away as if to leave him to it.

“Wait!” Aziraphale yelped.

Crowley stopped and turned back, raising an eyebrow in question.

Aziraphale mentally flailed around for words, customs that would convey what he wanted, and what came out of his mouth was, “Will you call on me? Tomorrow.”

Crowley lowered his sunglasses. “Call on you,” he repeated.

“Yes,” Aziraphale said. “At your earliest convenience,” he added nervously.

“I don’t keep calling cards on me anymore, angel,” Crowley said, and he leaned closer.

“I don’t mind,” Aziraphale said. “Just—say you will, Anthony?”

For the first time in six thousand years, he saw Crowley’s cheeks go pink.

“Anything you want,” Crowley said, his voice unsteady and achingly sincere. “Anything at all.”

Satisfied, Aziraphale went up on his toes to press a kiss to Crowley’s cheek.

Crowley actually touched his face where Aziraphale has kissed him, as though he could hardly believe it.

“Tomorrow?” Aziraphale prompted.

“Tomorrow,” Crowley agreed, in something of a croak. “Earliest convenience.”

“I’ll be waiting,” Aziraphale said, probably too eager by far and not caring one bit.

Crowley settled his sunglasses back into place, and backed up a few steps before turning and walking back to his car as though nothing at all out of the ordinary had occurred.

The illusion was abruptly broken by Crowley exultantly pumping his fist once in the air before climbing into the Bentley.

Aziraphale smiled helplessly and watched him drive off. Crowley would call tomorrow, and who knew—perhaps they’d go on that picnic. Perhaps they’d stroll through a park, hand in hand. The future brimmed with possibilities, and Aziraphale intended for them to make the most of it.

They had world enough, and time, after all.