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Serenade for Two

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Crowley made a point of never talking about the past. And by the past, he exclusively meant the time before the Fall. He was all for goading Aziraphale about all the times he had saved his arse, but anything before Eden was strictly off limits. Early on he had trained Aziraphale out of bringing up the topic, though occasionally something would inadvertently slip through the cracks. One example of this is the time he had figured out that Crowley used to sing, what he would very much later refer to in a scathingly sarcastic manner as, celestial harmonies.

“Come to think of it, I had always thought your voice sounded familiar!” an over excited Aziraphale exclaimed.

“Well we’ve known each other for how many centuries now? I should hope that you know what my voice sounds like,” Crowley deliberately shifted his gaze away from the angel so that he wouldn’t let out any more fun facts, or worse, blush at Aziraphale’s gushing over him. The last thing he needed on his mind was the angel and music and serenades altogether in the same place at the same time. What he did need was more alcohol. He took another swig of wine and gestured to the barkeep to bring them some more.

“You know very well that’s not what I meant!” Aziraphale huffed.

“Well, angel, how many times have I talked about the person I was before they shoved me off the edge of Upstairs and let me plummet toward Oblivion? It’s not exactly a time I like to think about.” Aziraphale quieted at that, which immediately made a small spurt of guilt start gnawing at Crowley’s stomach. The demon sighed and rubbed a temple.

“Besides, that’s not who I am anymore, angel. This,” he gestured to himself,” is who I am now. No point in pretending otherwise.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Aziraphale’s voice was muted. The pair remained quiet for several moments before the angel broke the awkward silence.

“I know things are different now,” he said hesitantly, “but do you still sing?” Crowley blinked. That was an unexpected question.

“No,” he glanced away, focusing on a point behind Aziraphale’s head. The angel’s face fell. Cowley hated seeing him unsmiling, but Aziraphale did not need to know the truth, that he still sang, and the reason he sang. Hopefully the curt answer would dissuade him from broaching the topic any further.

“That’s a pity. I remember listening to you, before… You had the most beautiful voice, the best in all the choir, I thought...” Aziraphale’s voice trailed off, lost in memories no doubt. Crowley felt his face heat and blamed it on the wine.

“Thanks. Angel,” he definitely did not stutter like some lovesick fool, thank you very much. Aziraphale looked back up to meet his eyes, another question burning in them.

“Would you, perhaps...sing for me , sometime?” Crowley let out a huge breath.

“Angel, I told you, I don’t sing anymore. I’m sorry.” And he was, deep down. Despite how unreasonable the angel might be at times, he hated disappointing him. But singing was out of the question, at least where Aziraphale was concerned. It was the only outlet he had and he didn’t want to give away his true feelings. Not yet, at least.

“I understand. Forgive me if I made you uncomfortable,” Aziraphale’s face was almost sorrowful, and Crowley wanted to kick himself.

“Don’t mention it,” he grumbled.

After a few moments of silence, Aziraphale, like always, jump started the conversation once more. “Though things may be different now, for completely understandable reasons, there is one thing about you that hasn’t changed.”

Crowley raised a brow. Aziraphale smiled softly at him.

“You have retained your love of music.”

“Demons don’t exactly love anything,” he replied, hoping Aziraphale didn’t see through the lie while the angel rolled his eyes at Crowley’s attempt to bicker. Before he could put a word in edgewise, the demon looked into his chalice and murmured, “But yeah. I guess I have.”

~          ~          ~

The Bentley purred warmly as its owner drove it with surprising gentleness. While Crowley was always one for speed, today felt different. Like the kind of day you wanted to slow down, smell the flowers, that sort of thing. Not that he was trying to wax poetic about it. He glanced sideways at his passenger, the one and only person he (very) willingly let into his car. Said passenger was looking out the window, watching the countryside pass them by. He had a soft, gentle smile on his face as he gazed at the verdant fields and trees flashing past. 

“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” Aziraphale glanced toward Crowley as he asked. The demon smirked.

“I told you it was a surprise, angel. You’ll see when we get there.”

“Brighton?”

“Nope.”

“Southampton?”

“Ever heard the saying ‘Patience is a virtue?’”

“Why, yes! In fact I-”

The radio suddenly piped up with a very familiar song, cutting the angel off. Gentle guitar and tambourine emitted from the speakers, followed by a soft voice.

 

Sometimes I feel so happy

Sometimes I feel so sad

Sometimes I feel so happy

But mostly you just make me mad

Baby, you just make me mad

 

Aziraphale tutted. “Crowley, if you wanted to listen to some music, you could’ve just pressed the button. I know we’re on holiday, but you still shouldn’t perform such frivolous miracles. It could draw attention.”

Crowley opened his mouth to inform the angel he hadn’t done a thing when he stopped himself. He swore the Bentley had a mind of its own sometimes. And of all songs for it to pick, it had to be this one. All the fight in him drained away at the soothing melody.

 

Linger on your pale blue eyes

Linger on your pale blue eyes

 

“Right. Sorry,” he muttered. Aziraphale let out a fond, lightly-exasperated sigh and continued watching out the window. The tune continued to torment Crowley.

 

Thought of you as my mountaintop

Thought of you as my peak

Thought of you as everything

I've had, but couldn't keep

I've had, but couldn't keep

 

“This is a nice song,” Aziraphale spoke up after a few moments.

“Yeah, it is,” Crowley hummed. He refrained from mentioning the band to the angel. It would certainly turn him off of wanting to explore more of their work, since much of their music was “bebop.” Over the years, Crowley had been trying to slowly broaden the angel’s musical tastes. It was almost tedious, as Aziraphale was a very strict creature of habit, but he was opening up little by little. Before he could stop himself, the demon said, “I helped write this one, you know.”

“Did you really?” Aziraphale sounded impressed and more than a little awed.

“Yeah. Just a few minor cosmetic changes though,” he quickly shrugged it off. The angel didn’t need to know that he put the idea of changing the song from ‘Hazel Eyes’ to ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ into Lou Reed’s head. Or that he did so because the song made him ache for the angel’s touch. That would remain a secret. Aziraphale’s smile grew a bit wider.

“It is a very lovely song indeed.”

“Indeed…” Crowley murmured, gripping the steering wheel tighter.

~          ~          ~

Crowley didn’t often listen to music while he was tending his plants. It usually put him in a better mood, and made the flora far less wary and afraid then it should’ve been. Despite that, it was a refreshing change of pace to put on the radio every now and again as he watered, misted, and scanned his plants for any imperfections.

Today was a good day. Nobody had any spotting or yellowing, the soil conditions were pristine, and his spider plant had a few new shoots coming up. When he finished his rounds, Crowley opened the window to let in some of the cool morning air.

The sun was still rising, but it promised to be a beautiful Sunday. The sky was pale and a little washed out from the watery sunlight, and reminded him of a similar shade of blue. One that belonged in the eyes of a frumpy little angel who was no doubt dusting off his vast collection of antique books right now. The demon snapped his fingers and cushioned chair and an ottoman appeared out of thin air, along with a book.

He got about ten pages in before he let out an exasperated groan. He had been trying to start reading for Aziraphale’s sake, he really was, but it was just so dull . He’d much rather watch movie adaptations. He could still discuss the stories with the angel then, he’d just have a little less information. Which would mean that he could listen to Aziraphale talk more. It was a win-win situation, really.

He tossed the book on the ottoman and languidly stretched out, crossing his arms behind his head and closing his eyes. A little sunbathing sounded like a nice idea. Besides, he was still technically a snake and may or may not have retained a few of his more reptilian traits. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. The sun was slowly warming up the room as it steadily rose in the sky and Crowley’s breaths grew deeper and more relaxed. After a little while, he started to get drowsy. Without really thinking about it, he began quietly singing along to the radio.

 

“Do you hear me,

I'm talking to you

Across the water across the deep blue ocean

Under the open sky, oh my, baby I'm trying

Boy I hear you in my dreams

I feel your whisper across the sea

I keep you with me in my heart

You make it easier when life gets hard

 

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend

Lucky to have been where I have been

Lucky to be coming home again~”

 

If Aziraphale had caught him singing these kinds of songs-Heaven, even just listening to them-he would have discorporated out of sheer embarrassment. Not only did they completely ruin his carefully-cultivated punky bad-boy image, but they, well, to be perfectly frank, reflected his soul. If he still had one, that was. If he couldn’t tell Aziraphale how he felt, singing about it like this was the next best thing. He always felt a little lighter afterwards. A little more hopeful. Maybe someday he would be able to tell him. Though he’d been repeating that mantra to himself for six millennia…

 

“They don't know how long it takes

Waiting for a love like this

Every time we say goodbye

I wish we had one more kiss

I'll wait for you I promise you, I will

 

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend

Lucky to have been where I have been

Lucky to be coming home again~”

 

Crowley was about to carry on with the chorus when he suddenly felt something. Not a physical touch, but a presence in the room. Only two kinds of people would’ve been able to enter his flat unannounced, and neither of them were ideal company at the moment.

Crowley bolted upright, whipping around to look over at whoever had come in uninvited. After a second, he relaxed ever so slightly. At least he wouldn’t have to deal with all of Hell knowing that the great serpent Crowley sang pop-y love songs to himself in his spare time. But he wasn’t totally in the clear.

Aziraphale stood in the entryway to his arboretum, frozen in what appeared to be shock. His eyes were comically wide, glued to Crowley’s face, and his jaw hung slightly open. The demon mentally cussed himself out and forced himself to speak first.

“How long have you been standing there?” Crowley held his breath. It seemed to take Aziraphale a moment to remember how to speak.

“Not long. You weren’t answering the door. Otherwise I wouldn’t have…”

“Right,” the demon scowled at the floor.

“You-I… I thought you said you didn’t-”

“I wasn’t! What d’you want, angel?!” The question came out far more biting than Crowley intended. His face was no doubt as red as his hair and he prayed to Someone that Aziraphale wouldn’t put two and two together. His heart raced as he waited for an answer.

“I, um-right. Well, I-I just wanted to see if you would be up for a little stroll today. Maybe through Kensington, or the Botanic Gardens? It’s been a while since we last did that.”

“Right. Lemme grab the keys and we can go.”

“Yes, we should get a move on before it gets crow-is that what I think it is?!” Aziraphale all but ran over to the ottoman to examine the demon’s abandoned novel.

“Don’t make such a fuss, angel, I haven’t really been reading it,” Crowley ran a hand through his already-mussed hair, feeling more than a little self-conscious. Though the distraction the book provided was very welcome.

“You never read! But-Crowley, I swear!” The angel sounded almost exasperated with him.

“What? I thought you’d be pleased.”

“Of all the books to start reading, you chose A Prisoner of Birth , really?”

Crowley shrugged. The angel rolled his eyes and waved a hand. The book disappeared and was replaced with a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo .

“Never read that...that... heinous book ever again! The original is much better anyways,” he huffed. Crowley raised a brow.

“For a book-loving angel, I never thought you’d be so averse to one. And don’t you have about a dozen copies of it in your shop?”

“Only because it was requested!”

“Alright, alright,” Crowley raised his hands defensively, trying to placate a very-ruffled Aziraphale. To be honest, his little outburst had really been quite entertaining. Perhaps he ought to find more books like that to leave around the flat, so he could keep teasing Aziraphale. He might’ve loved teasing him just as much as he loved the angel himself, but it was hard to say.

“Anyways,” the angel started, “we best get-”

“If you say ‘a wiggle on’ I will shut off all the fountains in Kensington for a week,” he said, voice full of mirth.

Aziraphale pouted and Crowley just about discorporated on the spot. How the Heaven could he be so adorable ? It just wasn’t fair. How on earth was he not supposed to fall in love with this sweet, bumbling, slightly fussy and definitely more-than-a-little gluttonous angel? There’d been no chance really, not for him. Crowley tried to call back his inner snarky playboy to hide just how breathless Aziraphale had made him.

“I’m kidding, angel,” he winked and nudged the angel with his shoulder as he walked into the sitting room, grabbing the Bentley’s keys off the table. “Let’s go!”

Maybe Aziraphale would forget his accidental concert after spending a day in the Gardens. Then again, he had the memory of an elephant. Hopefully he wouldn’t bring up the singing again. Crowley didn’t know how much longer he could last. Forbidden friendship was hard enough, but this...

~          ~          ~

Crowley was browsing the local gardening shop, looking for a new ficus, when a song came on the radio.

 

Heart beats fast

Colors and promises

How to be brave?

How can I love when I'm afraid to fall

But watching you stand alone?

All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

 

Crowley scoffed softly to himself. None of these would do. Some of the plants had spotting, others were droopy. His flat was not some rehab for sad-looking flora. Nothing but perfection would be allowed to cross his threshold (including, but not limited to a certain bookish angel). No, he would have to come back when they got a fresh shipment in.

 

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you

Darling don't be afraid I have loved you

For a thousand years

I'll love you for a thousand more

 

Oh, for the love of Go-Somebody, humans could be so dramatic with their music sometimes. Crowley found himself rolling his eyes at the melodramatic lyrics, scanning the shop for any other plants he could add to his little green menagerie.

 

Time stands still

Beauty in all she is

I will be brave

I will not let anything take away

What's standing in front of me

Every breath

Every hour has come to this

One step closer

 

On the other hand… For an immortal who has been hopelessly pining for his oblivious-as-all-Heaven adversary for six millennia, the lyrics were very appropriate. And perhaps this song was a sign. After all, the Antichrist had been on Earth for three years now, which meant that Crowley could very well have little time left with Aziraphale. Maybe it was time for him to give the angel the blunt confession he clearly needed (seriously, how could someone so clever, not to mention empathic , be so blind!?). He just needed to be brave, like the woman in the song was saying. He would tell Aziraphale soon. Just-not quite yet.

 

As Crowley drove the Bentley back to his flat, he found himself humming the song from the shop. How could that woman be so in tune to his thoughts? Humans never ceased to amaze him. If there was one thing they understood well, it was love.

~          ~          ~

It was dark on the street in front of the bus stop. Crowley tried not to linger on the fact that they even had to use the bus at all, and more on the idea that they suddenly had all the time in the world. He glanced at Aziraphale and felt the tension ease out of him little by little. After they figured out what Agnes’ final prophecy meant, they should be in the clear. And then Crowley could tell him. For the first time in his long, long life, he didn’t feel scared of the prospect. The demon’s lips quirked up and he took a sip of wine to hide it.

“Oh. there it is,” Aziraphale pointed at the bus now coming toward them. “It says Oxford on the front,” he sounded slightly confused. Crowley took another drink, watching their ride come down the hill.

“Yeah, but he’ll drive to London anyway,” he sniffed. “He just won’t know why.”

“I suppose I should get him to drop me off at the bookshop.” Crowley looked over at Aziraphale. There was no way in Heaven he ever wanted to think about that time he thought he’d lost Aziraphale, yet the angel managed to unwittingly shove it right in his face.

He clenched his fist tighter around the wine bottle. Images of flame and ash permeated his mind. A gaping chasm of emptiness and loss. He couldn’t feel his angel anymore. He had always been able to find him in the past, but now he was gone. He was gone and he was alone and nothing meant anything anymore. The planet could go to Hell for all he cared. What was any of it for if Aziraphale wasn’t there with him?

He took in a deep breath. But that was in the past. He was here next to him, alive and breathing and, unfortunately, about to have his kind and beautiful heart shattered.

Crowley took in another breath to steady himself before softly saying, “It burned down, remember?” Aziraphale’s eyes grew glassy and his brows twitched as he looked away from Crowley. He felt an ache in his heart for the angel. Aziraphale's books meant the world to him. They were a part of him, Crowley knew, and now they were just...gone. Pieces of his soul burnt to a crisp. Crowley bit his lip and steeled himself. Whatever the angel needed, he would provide. He wouldn’t let him face this alone. They were a team, after all. “You can stay at my place, if you like.”

Aziraphale looked back to him and, despite the heavy sorrow lingering in his eyes, they illuminated with something brighter than his unshed tears. Something Crowley couldn’t quite name. Hope, perhaps?

“I don't-I don't think my side would like that,” he smiled sadly as he replied. He looked as if the dam were about to break. Crowley had never seen the angel cry before. He wasn't quite sure what to do if that happened.

After a moment, the demon frowned. His angel was so stubborn. Even after everything that happened over the past week, he still thought there were only two teams, and that they cared at all about them.

“You don’t have a side anymore. Neither of us do,” he took a breath. This was about as close as he could get to telling Aziraphale how he felt, at least before they were out of trouble for good and could concern themselves with other matters. “We’re on our own side. Like Agnes said, we are going to have to choose our faces wisely.” 

Crowley held out an arm as the bus pulled up, and it came to a stop. He flopped into the window seat and happily noted that, for the first time ever, Aziraphale sat directly beside him. His lip twitched. Their shoulders were nearly touching and it was almost painful to not take the angel’s hand in his own. They sat in silence for a while, music playing quietly in the background. The song that started playing just as they were leaving Tadfield made Crowley chuckle.

 

I'm only one call away

I'll be there to save the day

Superman got nothing on me

I'm only one call away

 

Call me, baby, if you need a friend

I just wanna give you love

Come on, come on, come on

Reaching out to you, so take a chance

 

“Hey, angel?”

“Yes?”

“Remember Paris?”

“Of course. How could I forget? We had crepes with caramelized pears,” his face lit up.

“You were about to get discorporated, and I came in right at the nick of time to save you.”

Aziraphale huffed out a breath and his face reddened. “Yes, I remember. There’s no need to tease.” Crowley cracked a smile at the put-off angel. “Why, what brought that up?”

“The song.”

“Ah.”

Neither of them remarked on the fact that it was a love song, and that it very obviously suited their many misadventures. After another verse, Crowley spoke again.

“And the church, during the War?”

“You got me out of quite a lot of trouble then too, and...you saved all of my books…” Aziraphale’s voice softened.

“And then there was the time you-”

“Yes, I quite understand your point!” Aziraphale was looking very flustered by now.

Cackling, Crowley crossed his arms and slouched down in the seat. The movement brought him closer to Aziraphale and suddenly their shoulders were pressed together. The demon froze, but neither of them made any attempt to move. Crowley looked down and smiled to himself.

Little did Crowley know that when he looked away, Aziraphale covertly gazed down at the demon to catch that small, soft smile spreading across his face. The angel’s expression grew very tender and he sighed, relaxing into his seat. If only he had the courage to take Crowley’s hand right then and there. His Superman indeed.

~          ~          ~

A cork was popped, champagne was poured, and Crowley was struggling against his inner demons. He was riding high off their recent success in averting the Apocalypse as well as tricking their Head Offices into leaving them alone. He still wanted to smack Gabriel for how he had treated Aziraphale, but that was for another time. For now, he just wanted to relish in the feeling of having saved the world and the fact that he and his angel would get to stay together for, well, eternity. Crowley liked the sound of that.

Aziraphale turned to him, lips curled upward. There was a twinkle in his pale blue eyes, or was it just the lighting? “I like to think none of this would’ve worked out if you weren’t, at heart, just a little bit a good person.” He smiled at Crowley who, for once, wasn’t worried about being called good. No one from Downstairs would come for him. No one would come after them ever again. They could just be .

“And if you weren't, deep down, just enough of a bastard to be worth knowing,” he gave Aziraphale a slight, smug smile. The angel’s eyes flashed down and up and down again in quick succession, his face reddening. Crowley smirked to himself. 

“Cheers,” he lifted his glass, never looking away from Aziraphale. “To the world.” To my world , he didn’t say. But he would, soon enough.

Aziraphale’s smile grew even larger. “To the world ,” he said emphatically, clinking his glass against Crowley’s. They each took a pull from their glasses and Aziraphale immediately leaned in, enthusiastically going on about something or other. All Crowley could think about, as he rested his chin in his hand, was how beautiful and bright and good his angel was. He never felt quite sure that he deserved Aziraphale, but he was indescribably glad that, for whatever reason, the Almighty deemed him fit to be by the angel’s side.

They ended up indulging in numerous decadent sweets, to which Aziraphale was very fond of. And, much to Crowley’s chagrin, the angel had insisted on spoon-feeding him bits of his various desserts. Had they been at the bookshop, Crowley would have loved it, but in public it was a bit embarrassing. Crowley did note, however, that Aziraphale was being more openly affectionate than usual, which he took as a good sign.

By the time they finished, both angel and demon were little more than a shade past tipsy. Aziraphale had put his hand over Crowley’s some time ago, and it seemed neither of them had any intention of acknowledging nor changing that.

“Well, dear, are you ready to go?” the now red-faced angel queried.

“Yeah. Mind if I come to the bookshop with you?”

“Not at all! In fact, I was going to suggest that we have a little after-dessert celebration!” The angel beamed at him and Go-Sa- Somebody give him strength.

“Come along then, I have this lovely Chateau Margaux from 1900 you simply must try!” Hands still joined, Aziraphale pulled him up and led him out of the Ritz, past the garden, and back through the bustling streets to his bookshop. Crowley didn’t know what to say to Aziraphale’s sudden show of assertiveness and simply let himself be dragged through the city. All the while, he kept thinking about the warm hand still held securely in his grasp, and if it was possible that Aziraphale had meant more by the gesture than he let on.

 

Aziraphale only let go of his hand to draw all the curtains and pillage his enormous collection of wine. Before doing so, however, he gently sat Crowley down on his favorite sofa and pulled off his glasses, setting them down on the coffee table. 

“There you are, my dear,” he looked into Crowley’s eyes for a moment, and Crowley, ironically, felt like a mouse caught in the gaze of a snake. He couldn’t look away, even if he wanted to. “I’ll be back in a jiffy,” Aziraphale murmured, affection burning in his bright blue gaze. Or was Crowley just reading too deep into it?

Anyhow, the angel reappeared after several moments, with their favorite wine glasses in hand, brandishing the century-old bottle with a slight flourish. The cork was popped, multitudinous toasts were made, the wine flowed endlessly, and Crowley very soon forgot what exactly it was that he needed to tell Aziraphale. As night came on and the moon crawled up the sky, his vision grew fuzzier and fuzzier and somehow he and Aziraphale ended up quite close together on the couch (which he didn’t mind in the least). They chattered on about anything and everything, bickering and laughing all the while, and eventually, Crowley found himself leaning into Aziraphale’s shoulder, unable to keep his eyes open and drifted off to sleep.

 

When Crowley opened his eyes, it wasn’t to blinding sunlight streaming through the shop windows. The clock told him it was midmorning, and Crowley found himself lying horizontal on the sofa with a soft (tartan, of course) blanket draped over his frame. He slowly sat up in the empty room, feeling a headache coming on.

“Angel!” he called. “Azir-”

On the table, next to his glasses, he found a note tucked under a glass of water, along with some aspirin. Silly angel. He could’ve just miracled away the headache, but that Aziraphale was thinking of him like that… It was nice, having someone looking after him. He swallowed the medicine and looked at the note.

My dear Crowley~ 

I have an appointment with a rare dealer today. I shouldn't be gone for more than a couple hours, but I shall endeavor to hurry back. Please watch over the shop for me while im gone. I will see you soon. 

~Aziraphale

Crowley sighed and rubbed a hand on the back of his neck. Naturally, when he was finally going to confess, the love of his life had gone and buggered off. He’d never catch a break, would he? Well, it could be worse. Waiting for Aziraphale in his shop would be better than waiting for Aziraphale in the flat. The angel had spent so long here that his presence clung to the building, his scent hung in the air... It would hold him over until Aziraphale returned. Till then…

He wandered toward the back room, where the phonograph was sitting. Crowley let his hand wander along the shelf behind it, scanning the endless amount of records Aziraphale had collected over the years. It was mostly classical, and nothing modern, despite Crowley’s continued efforts. Old habits died hard, especially for his angel. He never seemed to be able to adapt to their ever-changing world, and clung stubbornly to his old ways. Aziraphale had only just begun to gain any sort of competence with the dusty old computer crammed onto the small desk in the back, and it was exclusively for inventory purposes.

Crowley cracked a mischievous grin and let his gaze slide up to a higher shelf, one that was out of Aziraphale’s direct line of sight that would have required a step ladder for him to reach. All Crowley had to do was merely reach up and pluck the album from its hiding spot.

Moments later, the melodies of Queen pulsed throughout the bookshop. Crowley found himself dancing around the shop to the beat, looking at just how many books Aziraphale had. He knew the shop and its contents like the back of his hand, but she sheer volume of books still amazed him. He came across a small pile of Jeffrey Archer books at the front of the store and chuckled to himself.

The demon sauntered back to the sofa once more and collapsed onto it, gazing up at the ceiling for a moment before closing his eyes. Where was that bloody angel? It had already been a good while, and who knew what ungodly hour Aziraphale had woken up at for his meeting? And really, the day after the Apocalypse? The angel really needed to learn how to take a break. Crowley leaned his head back and miracled a new album onto the phonograph.

How would he react when he confessed? Crowley didn’t think he would be terribly put off, judging by his recent behavior, but still, he worried. You never really knew how one would take these things till they happened.

Would he be angry, or upset, or avoid him? Crowley wouldn’t be able to bear that... The unwanted thought surged up and engulfed his brain for a few moments before he was able to shove it back down. Aziraphale wouldn’t do that. Sure, his angel may be a tad skittish at times, but he wasn’t the kind of person to abandon him like that. Even when they viewed each other as adversaries, they could never quite stay away from one another. Like magnets, they were always drawn together in a way that was quite...ineffable.

Oh, he missed his angel. And this next song on the album wasn’t helping, but maybe belting it out would. It was a song he always gravitated toward when he thought about Aziraphale. He began singing it softly, like a hymn to his beloved, but he soon found himself getting carried away as he belted out the lyrics like his old friend did.

 

“Just one year of love

Is better than a lifetime alone

One sentimental moment in your arms

Is like a shooting star right through my heart

It's always a rainy day without you

I'm a prisoner of love inside you

I'm falling apart all around you, yeah

My heart cries out to your heart”

 

Crowley’s voice almost broke. Leave it to Freddie to write him a song that pierced his soul. He was always able to see through him in that way, though Crowley never knew how.

 

“I'm lonely but you can save me

My hand reaches for your hand

I'm cold but you light the fire in me

My lips search for your lips

I'm hungry for your touch

There's so much left unspoken

And all I can do is surrender

To the moment just surrender”

 

There was a muted thud and soft gasp behind him and Crowley whipped around. Oh no. Not again.

Azriaphale was standing behind him, eyes shining, biting his lip, hands fidgeting in front of him.

Crowley prided himself on being able to read Aziraphale like, well, a book. The skill had taken time to develop, and he was very pleased with himself for being able to interpret Aziraphale so well. In fact, he could’ve written The Nice and Accurate Behaviors of Aziraphale, Principality but right now.. Was he anxious? Upset? He swallowed past the lump in his throat and forced himself to speak.

“How-how long have you been standing there?”

“Oh, since the beginning of the song.”

What?! ” Crowley flipped around so that he was fully facing Aziraphale. The angel had the nerve to giggle at him! But oh, he looked so adorable when he did that… His face grew more serious. Oh dear. Did he realize…?

“Crowley,” Aziraphale looked down at his hands and back up to meet his eyes. The demon gulped, waiting for Aziraphale to continue.

“That song… You weren’t, by any chance, singing about us , were you?” He was fidgeting again, and seemed almost nervous. Crowley groaned and cursed his luck. Of course Aziraphale would come back and see straight through him right before he had decided to finally tell the angel himself! God was probably cackling at him right now. He rubbed his face with both hands and peeked out from behind his fingers before mumbling, with no small degree of chagrin,

“Yeah. I was,” he pulled a hand down so that it was covering his mouth, and lifted his eyes to catch Aziraphale’s reaction. A smile passed over the angel’s face, one that was pure elation, with a touch of bashfulness. Crowley waited for a reply, but instead Aziraphale, not breaking eye contact, made his way to the sofa and sat down, facing him. Maybe he needed to be more direct? Aziraphale was never one for connecting the dots when it came to these kinds of things.

“Angel, there’s something I-”

“Oh, Crowley,” he brought his hand up to touch the demon’s face, eyes dancing with wonder and love. “Is that how you really feel?” Crowley smiled at his enthusiasm. Silly angel. Crowley never had to worry at all, did he? Aziraphale always met him halfway, after all. Crowley’s answer was simple.

“Yes.” He leaned his hand into the angel’s touch. “I-”

“Oh, that’s right!” He bolted up and all but ran to the front of the shop, calling out behind him, “I have something for you!” All Crowley could do was blink, dumbfounded. That angel really could be a whirlwind at times...  Aziraphale returned a moment later, hands behind his back. The demon looked up at him expectantly. What was he planning now? When Aziraphale brought the gift out from behind his back, Crowley’s jaw dropped.

“Is that what I think it is?!” His eyes flashed rapidly between the potted plant and Aziraphale. It was a small clipping of a bush, with dark, smooth leaves and several vibrant coral-colored blossoms.

“Yes,” Aziraphale’s face lit up at his excitement. “It was quite difficult to acquire, and may have required a few minor miracles and several hours of coaxing to get the head caretaker to part with a clipping, but-”

“Angel, you got me a Middlemist Red Camellia! There’s only two of those plants left in the world and you got me one!” Crowley could’ve jumped up and down like a child, but he was able to retain his dignity and only grinned idiotically. Aziraphale put the pot down on the coffee table and smiled at him.

“Well, part of one. I doubt I could’ve gotten the entire plant, and luckily we live fairly close to the Chiswick House and-”

“Angel,” Crowley stood up and cupped the angel’s face between his hands, “thank you.” Aziraphale smiled sweetly. Oh, what did he do to deserve his angel? Whatever it was, Crowley was glad he did it. He leaned down to press their foreheads together.

“You’re very welcome,” murmured. “The original plan, though, was give you the flower and confess. I had a speech all written out and everything,” he pouted. Crowley cackled and rubbed a thumb under Aziraphale’s eye.

“Of course you did, angel. And I had to go and cock it all up, didn’t I?”

“Well, it has been your job to thwart me at every turn for the last six thousand years, hasn’t it?” Crowley’s smile grew a little bigger.

“That it has,” he willed away his nerves and pressed a gentle kiss to Aziraphale’s forehead. The angel sucked in a breath and glanced away shyly.

“You ruined my plan too, you know,” Crowley smirked at the surprised look Aziraphale gave him.

“What? What plan?!”

“Well,” Crowley shrugged nonchalantly, moving his hands down to the angel’s shoulders. “I was just going to wait for you to get back, then tell you that I love you…” Somehow Aziraphale’s smile grew even brighter.

“That doesn’t sound like a terribly elaborate plan,” his voice was bemused.

“Wasn’t exactly thinking about the how, with the Apocalypse and all that looming.”

“You could have serenaded me,” the angel said softly. Crowley’s face grew red.

“You thought of that awfully fast,” he glanced away in embarrassment.

“Not really, no. It’s just something I’ve daydreamed about for quite some time,” Aziraphale’s eyes were soft. Crowley’s brows raised. His angel...had been daydreaming about being serenaded by him?! 

“I, uh-”

“You have such a beautiful voice, my dear,” the angel tilted his head and looked up at him, and Crowley found himself becoming lost in those eyes. “And you’re not out of practice at all. Have you been singing all along?” His voice was merely curious, not accusing. And Crowley would always be grateful for his endless degree of understanding.

“Yeah…”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he stroked his face gently. Crowley closed his eyes for a moment, savoring the touch he had so longed for. He sucked in a breath before saying,

“Because I always sang about you.” Aziraphale’s eyes widened.

“All this time?”

“Since the beginning.” The angel smiled and pulled him closer.

“You silly, sentimental old serpent,” he murmured fondly.

“Can you blame me?” Crowley’s voice was husky as he leaned in and pressed their foreheads together again, grinning softly.

“No,” he chuckled. “In fact I’ve rather been in the same predicament.” Crowley smirked.

“Is that so?”

Aziraphale merely hummed as an answer, closing his eyes. The angel pulled away slightly, to cup his face like Crowley had done earlier, looking into his eyes, six thousand years of love and trust and fondness brewing in them.

“Beautiful,” he whispered as he pulled Crowley’s chin toward him. Crowley couldn’t quite comprehend what he was doing until the last second and oh , his angel was kissing him. He let his eyes fall shut at the sensation of Aziraphale’s lips on him, soft and smooth and warm and absolutely perfect. It was everything he had imagined it to be. They fit together like two perfect jigsaw pieces, as they always had done.

Aziraphale was the one to pull back first. Crowley was almost glad he did, not realizing how hard he started panting when they separated. But God did he want to do that again. For all eternity, if he was allowed.

“I don’t think I’ve properly said it yet,” the angel started, “so-I love you. I love you, Crowley. Always have, and always will.” Crowley bit his lip to fight his grin, his cheeks hurt so much, but he couldn’t help it. His angel really love him. He loved him back. After all this time, after all this pining-

“I love you too, angel,” he murmured, pulling Aziraphale into an embrace and burying his face in his neck. The angel returned the hug with fervor. For a while they merely stood there wrapped around the other, simply relishing in the feeling of holding each other so close. This time, it was Crowley who pulled himself away first, albeit only slightly, to softly murmur,

“Dance with me?” Aziraphale looked up at him and smiled.

“Of course, love.”

 

In a bookshop located in the heart of Soho, London, an angel and a demon held each other in a close embrace. A record had miraculously started to play. The angel’s hands slid to his partner’s waist, while the demon’s moved down to his shoulders. They started swaying to the music, slowly at first, before melting into a full on dance. All the while, the demon was singing along to the music, singing songs that were telling the angel how he felt, both of them grinning at each other so brightly that they put the most brilliant, dazzling stars to shame.