Cars were likely one of humanity’s simplest, but most ingenious inventions. Aziraphale had always been put off by the rugged jolting of carriages, the sickening bobbing of sea travel, and especially the rather offensive odor that horses carried around with them. This is why the angel was most inclined to the incredibly popular mode of travel. Well, actually, it wasn’t entirely why. But when had he ever let himself face the whole truth for as long as Aziraphale had lived on God’s green Earth?
That argument and justification, in a constant battle of one-upping one another, grew and transformed into things that were positively beastly. It was the thrum of the Bentley that loosened the tension in Aziraphale’s shoulders, certainly not the comforting presence in the seat next to him. The subtle smell of leather that brought a touch of a smile to his lips, not the all-too-familiar cologne. And when he looked ahead at the darkened road stretching and bending into eternity ahead of himself, it was just that. Not a visual onslaught of the years to come blurring together and whipping past him before he had a chance to process what he’d seen. Faster they wrapped around him, and left him reeling, facing yet another and another and another.
The angel had never been one for change.
So why did such an intimidating process as an unrelenting and entirely unprecedented future, not following anyone’s plan, make him feel so content?
He knew the answer, of course. Or at least, a part of him did. And it’d been shouting at Aziraphale for thousands of years. Well perhaps it was more of a whisper at the start- sparked by the uncertain, but undeniably soft, yellow eyes he saw a flash of on a lucky century. But with every shared dinner, secret, inside joke, and night of alcohol-tinged commiseration, it gained confidence. And boy, could that thing be loud.
“You alright over there angel? You’ve been staring at the dashboard like you want to smite it.” Crowley asked in a teasing tone, peeking out from beneath his dark glasses (entirely unnecessary at night, but he committed to his aesthetic), and most certainly not paying attention to the road. Aziraphale stiffened up a bit and, in a skittish tone, replied.
“Of course! Absolutely tippity-top shape! Just, erm...ah you see…”, He floundered for an explanation for his behavior, to which he could give none truthfully without quite possibly setting himself aflame after. “Still reminiscing on how delightful that tarte tatin was! Just truly good craftsmanship, wish I had thanked the chef myself.” Aziraphale settled on saying. Crowley gave a snort.
“You say that at about every new place we go to- I swear, you’re too easy on them. Thousands of years of experience to sharpen your skills of refinement and taste, and you’d still gush over a fruit cake, I bet.” He said with a sportingly mocking tone. To this, Aziraphale sputtered indignantly,
“Well, if it were well-made of course, maybe I would! Not everything needs so much judgement, I just like to enjoy things, alright?!” Crowley burst into laughter, sharply taking their exit off the highway. His smile crinkled around his eyes, and soon Aziraphale was chuckling along with him, though not even entirely certain of why.
Taking a few deep breaths as they sped down London, Crowley gave a sigh, and mumbled affectionately,
“That’s just like you to say.”
Ages of bickering. Centuries of laughing. The rise and fall of great civilizations the ambience to the creation of their bond. Forged, cracked, reformed an innumerable amount of times. And unbeknownst to heaven and hell, to earth and humanity, and most of all to the dense pair themselves- it ran so much deeper than they imagined. The almost-apocalypse had grabbed the countless layers of denial and fear and ripped it away; there it lay in the air between them, raw and vulnerable like a wound. The comfortable familiarity of their dialogue, the world embroiled in change and on the edge of something supernaturally unprecedented, they sat in pleasant quiet.
Peace. There it was. Everywhere around them, for the first time since they’d met in that garden. Now what were they to do with it?
Crowley took the long way to the bookshop, and Aziraphale made no mention or objection. The angel cast his eyes every so often to the driver’s side, unable to quell the feeling in his chest. And the demon stole glances, emboldened by the coverage of his glasses, towards his passenger. Something like acid, yet not unpleasant, sat in his stomach.
Neither spoke, just gazed at the years that blurred ahead of them. In the peace, they felt contentment. And though neither could bare to form the words yet, so much more.