They're lying in bed on a lazy Saturday afternoon when Crowley notices.
Technically only Crowley is lying; Aziraphale is sitting up against the headboard to read, one knee bent to support the book propped on his thigh, the other leg stretched out to support the demon whose head is pillowed on it. Crowley likes to sleep, and Aziraphale likes to read, so it works out well for them. In this nest of pillows, blankets, and books, he's quite satisfied. And quite naked, as is Crowley, because angels aren't modest as a rule, demons practically revel in nudity, and anyway, why bother? Given what he has planned for when Crowley wakes up, dressing would be a waste of time.
It's been months since they prevented the apocalypse. It wouldn't be accurate to say Aziraphale came home with Crowley and simply never left; he goes to the bookshop every day. But most evenings -- well, from the bookshop it's a three minute walk to cross the invisible border between Soho and Mayfair, and Crowley's flat is two minutes more. He's gone further for a decent cup of coffee, and Crowley is much better than a decent cup of coffee. And there's a place between the two that does a decent cup of coffee as well, so it's all worked out marvelously.
Crowley snuffles sleepily into his skin, eyes drifting open, but it'll take him a while to be fully conscious. Aziraphale turns the page, entranced by the true story of Eadweard Muybridge, who he now regrets never meeting.
Crowley nuzzles him, one hand idly petting up and down his thigh, which banks a low heat in Aziraphale's body --
At least until Crowley's hand seems to catch on something, some invisible crease in reality, and a twinge of pain bolts from Aziraphale's knee up through thigh and hip. It dies down almost immediately, like a quick cramp, but Crowley notices his flinch. He's a very noticing fellow, Crowley.
Aziraphale, startled into stillness, keeps his head bent over the book but watches from the corner of his eye as Crowley frowns, pulls his hand away, and tentatively feels for it again. This time when he finds the strange, invisible ridge, his touch is too soft to hurt.
"Angel," he says muzzily. "What's happened to your leg?"
Aziraphale pets Crowley's hair with one hand, setting the book aside with the other.
"Nothing to this body, and nothing recent," he says.
"There was pain," Crowley insists. "I felt you feel it."
"Yes, that's a little surprising," Aziraphale admits, though perhaps it shouldn't be. Their spirits have been encircling each other slowly for thousands of years, faster and closer lately; with two beings like them, some...celestial bleed was bound to occur sooner or later. Intense emotion or sudden pain would be enough, perhaps, to link them briefly. Something to explore later.
"Have I hurt you?" Crowley asks, one hand still brushing up against the spiritual scar, fingertips hovering just over the unblemished skin of Aziraphale's thigh.
"Not you, my own," Aziraphale assures him, fingers still combing back Crowley's hair. "It's a very old wound. From before mortal form."
"When were you wounded before -- " Crowley begins, and then his eyes open enough to show their lovely gold irises. "Oh, angel. No."
"It never bothers me in this form," Aziraphale says, which is mostly true. The odd twinge in the presence of other angels hardly counts, especially since he can't imagine he'll see any of them for quite a while to come.
Crowley lifts his hand carefully away from the unseen scar and shuffles upwards, leaning into Aziraphale, burying his face in his neck. It's one of Crowley's favorite places, the hollow of his throat, and Aziraphale certainly doesn't mind.
"Why fret, darling?" Aziraphale asks, as if he doesn't know what a continuous and unending fretter Crowley is under all that bravado. "We all fought in the celestial war. You on the other side, naturally, but you must have scars too."
"I was in intelligence," Crowley mumbles. "You were in combat."
"Ah." How else to respond? "I'm glad you weren't hurt. Beyond the evident," he adds, tugging gently on Crowley's hair. Crowley leans back, clearly confused, and Aziraphale strokes the skin just below his left eye. "You Fell, dearest," he reminds him. "Nobody escaped the war unscathed, even wily serpents working occult intelligence."
"Can I?" Crowley hovers a hand over his thigh, ignoring the remark.
"Mind the pressure," Aziraphale tells him. Crowley nods, concentrating, and the scar shimmers, visible now.
Angels in ethereal form don't have bodies, let alone thighs, but in this level of reality, that's how the scar manifests -- an obviously targeted blow meant to impede his ability to move, a long raised line diagonal across his thigh where a sword cut deep, the edges wide and skin around it spiderwebbed with old burns. It's massive and brutal, but under Crowley's hand it doesn't hurt — and anyway he can't imagine Crowley cares about the look of the thing. Aziraphale's never been ashamed of it; some angels from the war think their scars are ugly, but he hasn't really any feeling about it one way or another. Fairly won and all.
Crowley, however, looks crushed.
"Who?" he asks, eyes searching Aziraphale's face. "Which one of them did it?"
"Oh, Crowley, after all this time. What does it matter?"
"Who?" Crowley asks, and Crowley is always a dog with a bone; he won't rest until he knows, so Aziraphale gives in.
"Larethuiel that was," he says.
"Dagon," Crowley breathes venomously.
"Yes. She was at your trial."
"I'll bring you her heart in an ebony box," Crowley promises, intense and honestly rather silly.
"You'll do nothing of the kind," Aziraphale replies.
"Obsidian," Crowley hisses. "Her heart and her liver -- "
"Crowley! No box, ebony or otherwise!" Aziraphale scolds. "Leave her organs where they are. I don't want a box full of someone's insides. Where would I even put it?* The war was aeons ago, let it lie."
* Aziraphale well knows that Crowley could offer suggestions on how to adorn his bookshop with the entrails of their enemies, but having seen Crowley's flat, he has forbidden him from any further interior design. Crowley isn't even allowed control of his own bedroom; on entering it, Aziraphale declared the bedroom an angelic embassy, sovereign property of AZ Fell & Co., and began redecorating. Crowley has not complained. At least, not about that.
"She hurt you!" Crowley argues.
"Yes, because it was a war. I was a soldier," Aziraphale says. "You were in that war, even if you weren't in combat. If I can forgive you, and you can accept me -- I mean honestly, Crowley, look at us," he blurts, gesturing between them. Crowley blinks. "We were enemies. If I'd met you then, I'd have tried to kill you, and you'd have tried to kill me. But it was stupid. We know now it was stupid. It was a stupid war. We were stupid, all of us, and it doesn't matter. I won't have you going near Hell, let alone into it to pick a fight, because of a scar I don't even care about."
Crowley looks rebellious*. He is capable of holding a grudge with the grudgiest of angels, even now, so this could become an issue.
* Admittedly a good look on him, and more or less perpetual.
"She hurt you," he insists, like a child. Aziraphale sighs, resting a hand on the back of Crowley's neck, pulling him back against his throat. The scar shimmers again, vanishing. "I don't care that it was a war," Crowley continues. "I never cared, I always thought it was stupid. I just got so fucking trapped in it -- "
"We were all trapped. That's the thing about wars," Aziraphale murmurs.
"But I never -- " Crowley falls silent. Aziraphale waits, because Crowley doesn't answer well to prompting, but he'll fill silence eventually. "I'm sure what I did hurt angels. Other angels," he corrects, because that's what he was, then. An angel against other angels. "But I didn't want to kill them. I didn't even want to hurt them. I just wanted to stop what was happening, and I didn't know any other way. I never struck anyone. If we'd have met I'd have run away. I'd have laid a trap. I wouldn't have gone for blood."
"Then why would you now?" Aziraphale asks. Crowley makes a soft noise, maybe protest, maybe sadness, hard to say with his mouth muffled against Aziraphale's skin. "Everyone hurt everyone in the war, whether we wanted to or not, and the only thing it makes me feel is sad. Don't risk yourself just to avenge something I don't want avenged."
Crowley exhales, and Aziraphale wills him to let it go; whether it's the result of angelic influence or just Crowley's inherent and never-admitted good nature, he can feel the moment it happens. Crowley's body goes lax, and the anger almost visibly evaporates.
Crowley is very bad at being a demon, Aziraphale thinks, but because of that, very good at being his beloved.
"I would rather have you here and safe," he tells Crowley, wanting to offer him...something, some kind of reward for admitting so much, "than any revenge in millions of years of existence."
"Fine," Crowley mumbles into his neck. "But if she manifests on Earth I can't be held responsible for instinct."
"If it means you'll let this go, I promise if she manifests on Earth I will allow you to present me one -- one -- organ in an ebony box," Aziraphale groans.
"It'll be ever so decorative," Crowley promises him. "Embroidered velvet lining. Eldritch etching on the lid. Shiny brass fittings."
"I really wish you wouldn't."
"Sandalwood inlay. It'll cover the smell of blood."
"Foul creature," Aziraphale says, kissing the top of his head. Crowley's hand is warm on his thigh now, the one in this reality, and he'd had very specific plans for when Crowley woke, after all. "Now. The war is long over, and I think it's clear the two of us won it. Shall we celebrate?"