An angel and a demon stood on a wall. They stood there quite a long time, actually, and there came the point where not talking became awkward.
"Aziraphale," Crawly said, deliberately pronouncing every syllable. "Bit long, isn't it?"
"It's perfectly fine, thank you," the angel said primly.
There was silence for another few moments.
"What's your nickname?" Crawly asked, breaking it.
"I don't have one," he said. "My name is Aziraphale, and that is how I am addressed."
"Well, what do your friends call you?" Crawly said.
Aziraphale snorted. "Angels don't need friends."
"Surely you don't think that," Crawly said.
"Why wouldn't I?" Aziraphale said. "Demons don't have friends either."
Crawly looked out into the desert. "Humans might do."
"I think that would be nice," Aziraphale said, his voice sounding soft, which wasn't very angelic of him. "I do hope they're alright."
"Cheer up, Az," Crawly said, as he shifted his form. "I'm sure the rain won't last long."
"It's Aziraphale," he said, but Crawly was already slithering away.
It was still Classical Antiquity, not that anyone knew it was yet, and Crowley was hammered, not that anyone used that word yet. Everyone he was with was also hammered, a cavalcade of people partying like the night would never end. Crowley did not have the power to make that happen, but maybe dawn would miraculously be hard to see from inside the hall.
Crowley was too drunk to be anything but delighted when Aziraphale walked in. "Hey!" he said waving.
"Crowley, whatever are you doing here?" Aziraphale asked when he came over.
"This is my good friend Zira," Crowley said to the general crowd, clapping Aziraphale on the back. "Someone get him a drink."
Aziraphale looked very confused, but accepted the goblet somebody pressed into his hand. People shifted over to let him sit and then went right back to partying, largely ignoring the two of them.
"How the devil have you been?" Crowley asked. "Haven't seen you in ages."
"What did you call me earlier?" Aziraphale asked warily.
"Zira," Crowley said. He nudged Aziraphale. "It suits you."
"Where are you even getting that from?" Aziraphale said, making a face as he lifted his glass.
"A-Zira-phale," Crowley said. "Simple." He sighed, putting his fingers on the bottom of Aziraphale's goblet and tipping it up. "Drink up, there's a good angel. Have a couple of glasses of wine and see if it suits you any better."
Crowley once inspired a monk to add an angel to the edge of a manuscript, one with a flaming sword and a slight paunch, but in an endearing way. Under the angel the monk wrote Ажи, though the monk didn't really know why. Aziraphale would never end up seeing this manuscript, it being destroyed in a fire, but it was the thought that counted.
The monk drew the angel fighting a penis with wings, which was not Crowley's doing, but just because most people who became monks were weird to start with.
Crowley almost never sent Aziraphale letters; they were both cognizant of the paper trail, and also it was fun to just turn up and make Aziraphale get all flustered. But Crowley was embroiled in this whole intrigue thing that was going okay but not great, and he was being carefully watched, with the definite inclusion of interlopers opening his mail.
But he had to talk to Aziraphale, so he carefully crafted a document that wouldn't make any sense at all to anyone who hadn't been alive since the Beginning. He addressed it to "Dear A." and signed it "Yours always, C." It wouldn't make any sense without knowing who the sender was, but, y'know, people were opening his mail.
He received a letter back the next week, and the lack of skill with which the seal had been detached and reaffixed told him the jig was almost up. In his response, Aziraphale signed as "Your obedient servant, Aziraphale", which Crowley, by that point, didn't find surprising. It did mean he had to burn the letter, which was unfortunate. Aziraphale had such nice handwriting.
It was 1923, and Crowley was on thin ice already. He was trying to convince Aziraphale to do some light tempting, really nothing major, but he'd caught Aziraphale when he was in a mood. He'd thought it would be the kind of mood Aziraphale could be brought out of, but he was rapidly rethinking that conclusion.
"Look, Azzy-" Crowley started, trying to sound placating.
Aziraphale pointed a finger at the door. "Out of my shop."
Crowley turned up the next week with these pastries that you could only get from this one place in Bordeaux, and Aziraphale forgave him. For a servant of the Almighty God, he was surprisingly weak against baked goods.
The world didn't end, but the shop did burn down, so they were in Crowley's flat. There weren't enough chairs, so they were sitting on Crowley's bed, their backs against the headboard, passing a third bottle of wine back and forth. Aziraphale seemed a million miles away, which Crowley couldn't blame him for.
"Should I call you L?" Crowley asked.
"What?" Aziraphale said after a beat, frowning in confusion.
"It's the only other thing I can think of that you can make out of the name Aziraphale," Crowley said. "Aziraph-L."
"Why are you so hung up on giving me a nickname?" Aziraphale asked. "I would have thought the joke had worn thin."
"Because that's what friends do, isn't it?" Crowley said. He gestured with the bottle. "Friends do friend things. They have stupid jokes together and they call each other things for reasons only they understand and they look out for each other. That's how you're supposed to be friends." He looked down at the bottle. "I thought we were supposed to be friends."
Crowley was surprised when Aziraphale hesitantly put his hand over Crowley's. "I dare say we might be more than friends, at this point," he said. "But that doesn't mean we're not friends too. You've been my friend for ages, even when I didn't want to say so."
"But you don't want a nickname?" Crowley said.
"I really don't," Aziraphale said gently. "I don't think you want me to go around calling you Crow."
"Point taken," Crowley said, and he turned his hand beneath Aziraphale's, lacing their fingers together. "I guess we'll just be Aziraphale and Crowley."
"Friends," Aziraphale said. He sighed. "And soon we'll be Crowley and Aziraphale, so we should really make sure we're on the same page about that."
"Yeah," Crowley said. He took another swig from the bottle. "I think the main thing is just remembering not to slouch."
"That's very self-aware of you," Aziraphale said, and Crowley shrugged. It's not like he could have missed it.
Crowley panted, his fingers clawing at the sheets as Aziraphale thrust into him. He didn't know how Aziraphale was still going, still pushing on, when Crowley felt he might dissolve into nothing, melt entirely under the heat of it, unable to think about anything outside this bed, anything other than Aziraphale moving inside him. He had this way of doing it reverently, like Crowley was something precious, and it broke Crowley into pieces every time.
"Aziraphale-" he gasped, right there on the edge but needing more, so much more, just enough.
"Say it again," Aziraphale said breathlessly.
"Aziraphale, please," Crowley begged. "Aziraphale, Aziraphale-" He groaned as Aziraphale finally wrapped a hand around his cock, stroking it quickly as he sped up his movements.
"Let go for me, my dear," Aziraphale said, low and soft. Crowley couldn't have refused if he tried; he moaned as he came, feeling Aziraphale follow him moments later, as deep inside Crowley as he could get.
Perhaps Aziraphale's name had a certain ring to it, he thought in his loose, post-coital daze, the thought drifting in, the way these things did sometimes, as Aziraphale bent over him, kissing the back of his neck. It certainly had a good mouthfeel.