Sometimes Aziraphale felt as if he didn’t know Crowley at all.
The whole thing was rather ridiculous— he knew Crowley better than he knew anyone else in the world. Sometimes, he felt he knew Crowley better than he knew himself. Sometimes, if he was being honest (and as an angel, he certainly tried to be), he felt Crowley knew him better than he knew himself.
But when the dust settled after the Apocactually-what-if-we-didn’t, when they were back at Aziraphale’s newly reformed bookshop with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and the angel saw the way the demon’s lips were pressed into a thin line, the way his brows were furrowed together, when he looked and he knew that, should Crowley have removed his eyeglasses at that moment, Aziraphale would’ve seen something akin to sorrow, something akin to longing in those golden eyes, he wondered if he actually knew Crowley, or if he'd only fooled himself into thinking he did.
Plans changed. I lost my best friend.
“I never did ask,” Aziraphale said softly, placing his glass on the table next to him. “Your friend… did they come back, after Adam reset everything?”
“What?” Crowley asked, his face scrunching up. “What friend?”
“The one you… the one you lost, Crowley,” Aziraphale said, trying his best not to push too hard, not to overstep. “You mentioned them in the pub? You said they were the reason you weren’t going to Alpha Centauri?”
Crowley stared at him for a moment. “For heav— for hell— for fuck’s sake, angel,” he said. “You— you really are the biggest moron I’ve ever met.”
Aziraphale huffed and crossed his arms. “Well there’s no need to be rude about it,” he muttered, picking up his glass and taking a sip. “I was simply curious —”
“Oh, pff- gah- u, ah-you- you were curious ?” Crowley sputtered.
“Yes! I would hate for us to have gone through all of that unpleasantness only for you to still— for them to still be— oh, you know what I mean,” Aziraphale finally said, eyes fixed firmly on the glass in his hand.
Crowley sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. A moment later, he took off his glasses, carefully folded them up, and hung them from the collar of his shirt as he leaned forward. His hands were clasped, hanging in front of him as he propped his elbows upon his knees.
For a moment, he simply stared at the angel, his head tilted just barely to the side, before his confusion melted in disbelief.
“You really don’t know,” he said quietly.
“I really, really don’t,” Aziraphale confirmed. He felt as if he and Crowley were having two separate conversations.
“Angel,” Crowley said in that same tone of voice that he’d used on that park bench to remind Aziraphale that the bookshop had burned. “Angel, I was talking about you .”
“Oh,” Aziraphale replied, and then a moment later, “Oh!”
“Yes, oh, you absolute— fucking heaven, Aziraphale,” Crowley ran a hand through his hair, looking about two seconds away from pulling it out. “You’re so bloody thick sometimes, you know that? Been around for six millennia and you’re still a blessed idiot.”
Aziraphale knew that wasn’t the sort description of one’s character that people usually smiled at, but he did so anyway. “You’re mine too, you know,” he said.
“My best friend,” Aziraphale replied.
Crowley rolled his eyes. “I’m your only friend, angel.”
Aziraphale huffed and rolled his eyes. “Yes, well, even if I did have other friends— and I have! I’ve had plenty of friends— you’d still be the best,” he stated.
Crowley blinked at him a few times. "Fucking bless it all ," he swore. "This is ridiculous."
"What? What's ridiculous? Is it really so hard to believe that after 6,000 years , you're my best—"
Aziraphale's words were cut short as a pair of lips were suddenly pressed against his own.
Crowley had slipped a hand under his chin, his thumb resting against Aziraphale's cheek as his fingers lingered in the hair behind his ear, and had tipped the angel's face down so that their lips would meet.
For a moment, Aziraphale was frozen in shock, before relaxing into the kiss, one hand moving up into the demon's hair as the other came up to rest on his chest.
It wasn't heaven. Heaven was empty and sterile, so bright it hurt the eyes, righteous and impersonal and harsh and cold.
Heaven had never felt anything like this.
This felt like something that was purely their own.
After what felt like somehow both an eternity and no time at all, Crowley pulled away, his forehead resting against Aziraphale's as he sucked in oxygen he didn't need.
"My goodness," Aziraphale said after a moment. "That really was quite something. You know, I'd never really understood the practice, before, but I think I get it now."
Crowley huffed and rolled his eyes. This close up, Aziraphale could see the flecks of orange in those golden eyes, the way those slitted pupils would expand ever so slightly.
"Do you…" Aziraphale continued carefully, his fingers still carding through Crowley's hair, "Do you think we could maybe try it again?"
Crowley grinned. "Need a bit more practice, angel?"
"Well, it does make perfect—”
Crowley cut him off again, which seemed to be quite rapidly becoming a habit.
Any fears Aziraphale may have had about kissing being less extraordinary the second time were wiped away.
That time it was Aziraphale who broke the kiss, and he chuckled when Crowley scowled.
"Only for a moment, love," he said. "It mustn't be comfortable for you to be sitting like that." Crowley was, in fact, on his knees, jammed between the sofa and the coffee table. "There's plenty of room on the sofa for two. You needn't stay on the floor like some—”
"What did you say?" Crowley interrupted, pulling back, eyes wide.
Aziraphale tried to hide his mounting concern. "I simply thought it'd be more comfortable for you if you weren't on the floor— surely it can't be good for your knees—"
"Not that ," Crowley snapped. "You— I'm a demon, we don't have bad knees —”
"Well apologies for being concerned —"
"What did you call me , angel?" Crowley insisted.
“Love?” Aziraphale repeated, his eyebrows furrowing together.
Crowley started choking on his tongue.
"You— I— ack— fff— psshhhh— you—”
“Crowley, dear, are you alright?” Aziraphale asked, leaning forward, his head tilted to the side. “Was it something I said?”
“You— love ?” Crowley sputtered.
“Well, yes,” Aziraphale said. “Is that… I thought the whole kissing business had made that clear.”
Something dawned on him.
“Although, if you don’t—well, I shouldn’t have assumed, what with you being a—” It seemed as if Crowley's stammer was contagious, “Well, you know, and I certainly understand if, well—”
Crowley kissed him again. “Angel,” he muttered, “I have loved you since the bloody Garden.”
Aziraphale stared at him with wide eyes. “That—the whole time?”
" Yes . You know, for a being who can sense love , you're pretty shit at noticing it—”
" Everything feels a bit like love. There's always some around, Crowley. I'll admit, things around you do tend to get a bit… fuzzy, but I always assumed it was because of you being, you know, a demon and all—” Crowley raised an eyebrow and Aziraphale felt himself blush. "I suppose I have been rather silly, haven't I?" he asked quietly.
"Maybe just a bit," Crowley agreed.
"You could've said something!"
"Oh, you mean something like ' we could go off together' ? Something like that?"
Aziraphale huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Yes, alright," he admitted. "Fine."
Crowley laughed and finally moved so that he was sitting next to the angel on the sofa.
They sat like that for a moment, knees touching, Crowley's arm lying atop the sofa behind Aziraphale's back, before the demon rolled his eyes again. "This is— we've done enough of this, don't you think? You don't— we're past this, aren't we?"
"Past what ?" Aziraphale asked, looking genuinely confused.
"Just— come here , you— bloody insufferable, honestly angel," Crowley grumbled. "As if— as if we weren't just—"
"Oh, so now I'm the insufferable one, yes, of course, that makes sense—"
"Are you going to kiss me again or not?"
Aziraphale answered without words.