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Holy Matrimony

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Human weddings were silly things. Necessary, of course; humans couldn’t know which of their fellows were permanently pledged to each other without being told, and it was only right that such declarations be celebrated and recorded. All the same, those trappings were quite superfluous in the sight of Heaven. Angels could easily sense for themselves the love that made a marriage. An entirely different flavor than the love between friends, or a parent and child, or the love of a farmer for his fields, or the hundred other real and beautiful loves humanity was capable of—oh, weren’t humans magnificent? It always gave Aziraphale a particular thrill of delight to feel the blend of affection, acceptance, commitment, appreciation, and—usually—desire (the healthy, non-predatory sort that the angels considered distinct from lust) surrounding humans who were well and truly married. That love existed almost completely independent of human ceremonies, often beginning long before one was performed, if it was performed at all, and—in the desperately sad case of marriages that failed—it dissipated long before the law reflected the marriage’s dissolution.

When Aziraphale sat by the fire, a cup of cocoa in one hand, stroking Crowley’s hair in the other as they argued about music—or when they walked through St. James Park, tossing shredded lettuce to the ducks and laughing about young Pepper’s strong opinions on proper duck feed—or when he woke deep in the night, curled up next to Crowley, and realized his last memory was of sitting in bed reading, but someone had put away the book and taken off his glasses when he dozed off—Aziraphale always smiled to feel the bright, shimmering certainty of their marriage twining around them. It did not occur to him that Crowley, having Fallen, did not have the ability to sense it.

Until the day, at a lovely rooftop garden party in London, where Aziraphale was hoping to persuade the host to sell him a first edition of Leaves of Grass; not his usual sort of thing, but Anathema had gotten him reading some American poetry and he was developing a fondness for it.

“Oh, yes,” he said to the host, “this is Anthony J. Crowley, my husband"—

And Crowley stumbled right off the edge of the building.

Took three separate miracles to clean that mess up. Aziraphale was quite put out.

“You needn’t be so disgruntled about it,” he said on their way home, petting the first edition absently in his lap.

“Forgive me for being a little surprised,” Crowley said, gesturing expansively as usual, “to find that I’ve been married for a couple of years now without anyone mentioning it to me! Do we have any children I should know about? Have I signed a mortgage?”

“Don’t be silly,” Aziraphale said, and frowned. “What’s a mortgage?”

“I just can’t believe you didn’t tell me!”

“Obviously I would have told you if I’d realized you didn’t know! What does it matter? You know now!”

“But all this time we’ve been—I’ve been—I’ve been waiting and now it turns out I was waiting for nothing, and—”

“Waiting for what, my dear?”

Crowley, barely touching the wheel and looking entirely away from the road because he liked torturing Aziraphale, squirmed around in his seat, trying to get something out of his pocket.

“For heaven’s sake, let me,” Aziraphale said, and shoved Crowley’s hand aside to pry whatever-it-was out from the grip of the tight leather. And found himself holding a black velvet box.

“Good Lord,” Aziraphale said softly. Even he knew what this meant.

“Well,” Crowley said after a moment, looking straight ahead. “Don’t keep me in suspense, angel.”

Aziraphale thought he might literally be glowing. “You want to marry me?”

“I mean, apparently I already did. Nice to know I’m worth consulting on the matter.”

“Yes,” Aziraphale said, and it really was quite silly to get breathless and tearful about it, since, like Crowley said, the marriage was a fait accompli. But Aziraphale had always been a little silly. A little soft. “Yes. I will.”

“Hey, hey, now!” Crowley swatted at Aziraphale’s hands as he tried to put the ring on. “That’s for me to do!”

“Well, do it, then!”

He did, with some difficulty considering that neither of them had the steadiest hands at the moment. And after that it was up to the Bentley to get them home safe, as neither of them were watching the road at all.