Crowley glared down at his phone with the air of a man who felt the immediate need to watch something break, but was currently restraining himself because the average salary of a nanny, while suitably plush if one happened to be nannying the son of an American diplomat, didn't allow for countless replacement phones.*
*Most of Crowley's salary went into his genuine 1920s Bentley, and another good bit into flash suits and sharp dresses.
(Crowley believed in doing things with style, and style, regrettably, did not come cheap.)
"It's lots of fun, Nanny." Crowley groused at his phone. "Best game in the world, best waste of time more like!"
Crowley did not normally play games, even less ones with cute little things bobbing virtually about and waiting to be caught; but Warlock, after his initial glowing recommendation, had voiced something along the lines of "well, maybe you're too old for it, bet you couldn't even catch a Magikarp", which Crowley naturally took as a declaration of war.
And that was why he was currently traipsing around St. James's park, jaw set in icy determination and getting increasingly frustrated with the Ekans* continuously evading him.
*Not that Crowley knew it was called an Ekans. He had acquired exactly enough knowledge to stumble through the gameplay, and not a whit more; this was merely a question of principle, and Crowley didn't intend to get fully invested just to show up his little brat of a ward.
It was in this already rather incensed state, focused entirely on his phone screen, that Crowley collided with a soft, warm mass that rather reminded him of a marshmallow, down to the faint aroma of cocoa.
(It was a collision with quite some force, too, so Crowley went down less like a lead balloon and more like a spider suddenly realising it cannot stand on only two legs, phone tumbling from his hands as they shot out to save himself from a faceful of gravel.)
"Oi!" Crowley snarled, quite ready to lynch if there was even a hint of abrasion to the knees of his trousers.* "Watch where you're-"
*Clothing with this particular level of skinniness was not easy to come by, and, as previously mentioned, bloody expensive, too!
"Oh, goodness gracious..." The soft mass fretted, and a hand came up to uneasily flit at Crowley's elbow. "Are you quite alright, dear fellow?"
Crowley wanted to rage. Crowley wanted to snarl, to shout, and altogether rip a new one.
"Uh," Crowley ended up saying.
Now, we would like to make it very clear to the Esteemed Reader at this point that Crowley did not have any kind of hot librarian kink, nor did he feel particularly attracted to people who behaved like they belonged into the House of Lords and the 19th century.
Nevertheless, Crowley's mouth went dry, and he was quite glad he wasn't standing, what with how weak his knees were suddenly getting.
It had never occured to Crowley that "posh nerd angels" might be a close approximation of his "type" but Satan, it was occurring to him now, and quite forcefully, too.
"M'great." Crowley muttered.*
*Rather than, say, "take me, take me now, you sexy wannabe Victorian", which really was more second date material.
"Oh, I'm glad." The manifestation of all of Crowley's wet dreams and romantic fantasies taken together huffed a little sigh of relief.
Crowley let out a weak little whimper that sounded a bit like "kissme".
"Well, up you get!" The literal angel pulled him to his feet, hands fluttering and dusting Crowley's jacket off, still visibly frazzled . "I do apologise, ever so sorry, Aziraphale Z. Fell, pleased to meet you?"
"Ngk." Crowley responded smoothly. "Crowley."
"Oh, and your phone..."
"Hah?" Crowley's thoughts were very much not on his phone, but rather on the shapely stranger - Aziraphale* - bending over.
*Crowley's emotions suffered from terrible whiplash as he simultaneously imagined gasping that name during, er, physical exertions, and whispering it tenderly under a starry night sky.
"What's this then?" Aziraphale peered at the - mercifully crack-less - screen of Crowley's phone. "Gosh, is this one of those vee-de-o* games!? Do they put them in phones now? Why, technology does produce ever newer marvels!"
*He enunciated the word like one very careful to get the pronunciation of a foreign language quite right.
"Hnng. Yeah." Crowley saw an in to strike up conversation, and scrambled not to let a golden opportunity slip past. "It's Pokémon."
"Hm! I think my godson may have mentioned it once or twice!" Aziraphale beamed, and the warmth of it left Crowley a little faint. "How does it work then, this poh-key-mon? I'm sure you must be quite the expert!"
Crowley opened his mouth, and closed it again.
How were you supposed to explain to a being of pure light and love and cotton candy that you had only picked up a game so you could be better at it than the little brat you were nannying? (and loved like your own son, but potayto potahto)
You didn't, that's how.*
*If he had, Aziraphale might've smiled conspiratorially and produced the tamagotchi keychain he had been keeping alive since the early 2000s, with the sole purpose of lording it over his insufferable little cousin Uriel.
(As it was, Crowley would not find out about this charming little factoid until the first time he met Aziraphale's extended family at the engagement party, but we are rather getting ahead of the story here...)
Aziraphale reacted to the extended silence by flushing lightly, and beginning to fidget. "If. Er. You don't mind wasting your day explaining this to little old me, oh dear, naturally you've no time, how mortifying, I'll just-"
"Nah. Nah. S'good, good." Crowley hurried to reassure. "You. Um. You look for these little pets here, on the screen."
He pointed unnecessarily at the phone. Aziraphale made an interested noise, and gingerly reached out to poke very deliberately at where Crowley was pointing.
"And then you. You move it around until you see, yeah, like that-"
"Oh!" Aziraphale gasped delightedly. "Crowley, Crowley, look! There's a twee little birdie by the ducks!"
Having said that, he proceeded to nearly press himself into Crowley's side to proudly show him the screen, featuring the aforementioned... bird. Pigeon. Thing.
Look, Crowley really was only playing it to get back at Warlock, okay!?
"It's called a... uh... an eternimon." Crowley said expertly like an expert who had expertise in these matters.* "It... it only sharpens its beak once every thousand years."
*Really, he was fibbing as if it was going out of style, but the Esteemed Reader is surely already well aware of that.
"Hng. Yeah. On a mountain. At the end of the universe. Flies there with a spaceship, for all of eternity."
"Fascinating! And that you remember it, just from the top of your head... you must be quite the expert!" Aziraphale marveled, suitably impressed, and Crowley preened.
"Ngk. I am. Actually." He puffed up his chest. "Local highscore holder in Pokémon. Champion, that's me."
"No!" Aziraphale gasped. Crowley's preening intensified. "What an honour!"
"I know the... the pokydox by heart." He boasted proudly, and reveled in the adoring looks Aziraphale was throwing him.*
*He had the nagging feeling that this might come back to bite him.
"I'll have to tell my godson I met you!" Aziraphale exclaimed brightly.*
*Yup, there it was.
"Oh. Um. I mean, yeah, but. I like to stay incognito." Crowley blundered and flustered. "So maybe. Not?"
"Oh! Perfectly understandable, my dear fellow!" Aziraphale assured him quickly.
"I won't tell a soul." He added in a low whisper, leaning in close and winking. His eyes were a startlingly bright blue, and framed by delicate lashes that one could spend a tender hour counting.
Crowley's heart skipped a beat, and then proceeded to engage in a little tap dance number.
"Gah." He said, and nearly added a marriage proposal.
"Now, tell me, what else do you do with this... eternimon, was it?"
"You. You catch it." Crowley stuttered out, still a little lost in Aziraphale's eyes. "Throw a ball at it."
Aziraphale looked suitably fascinated, and Crowley had a brilliant idea.
"If you'd like..." He said, in a manner that he desperately hoped was smooth and suave. "...you could try?"
"Me!?" Aziraphale gasped. "But, oh, my dear boy, what if I don't manage? I would hate to have you lose your hai-score!"*
*Even if he pronounced it nearly correctly, one could most certainly hear the misspelling in it.
"Bah. No chance." Crowley scoffed with all due bravado. "I'm much too far ahead, of course."
"Of course!" Aziraphale nodded eagerly.
"So have as many goes as you like." Crowley said magnanimously.
"So I simply... oh, I see, here's the ball, and... swipe? Swipe up? Oh, dearie me, that went into the pond, I'm ever so sorry..."
"S'okay." Crowley couldn't help a smile tugging insistently at his features. He'd never seen a man in - at least - his forties so genuinely enthusiastic about something. "Try again."
Aziraphale did... with little success.*
*It was very much a waste of good pokeballs, seeing as the Pidgey in question was hardly worth catching even on the first try, and Crowley didn't have all that many balls to start with.
(Though, frankly, he'd gladly see them all wasted for just a glimpse of another of Aziraphale's radiant smiles.)
"Oh, bother..." he murmured.
"Like this." Crowley swallowed, steeled himself, and guided Aziraphale's hand along the screen.
A happy little chime sounded.
Neither of them was looking at the screen.
"Hng." Crowley choked out.
"Ah." Aziraphale breathed.
And then his eyes slid back down, and their hands disentangled with the air of two appendages which have just been caught canoodling on company time, and fear a stern reprimand from HQ.*
*Not that the respective CEBs (Chief Executive Braincells) had any time for reprimands during the sudden flood of oxytocin memos, leaving them quite swamped with feelings of the tender love - and desperate lust - variety.
"We caught it!" Aziraphale exclaimed, proudly presenting the screen to Crowley, almost vibrating out of his skin over something as simple as a Pidgey. "And, ah..."
He squinted at the screen. Produced some hilariously outdated spectacles. Squinted again.
"What do these ix-puh numbers represent, my dear?"
"Xprnce." Crowley stammered.
"Oh!" Aziraphale's eyes lit with understanding. "Ex-Perience, I see! Gosh, I would not understand a word of this without you..."
"Happy to help!" Crowley croaked, and hurried to regale him with more "expertise"*
*Framed by an abundance of quotation marks and deserving of many additional footnotes thoroughly debunking Crowley's claim of anything even resembling expertise.
"Er. You can tap this thing here. It's a pokeshhh..." Crowley racked his brain for the correct term. His brain, floating blissfully through a haze of hormones, lazily shrugged. "A pokesh. You get stuff like. Balls and."
"Is that an egg?" Aziraphale piped up.
"Yes." Crowley said immediately, and then found it was indeed an egg, fancy that.
"Very rare, eggs." He continued, and then, because satanblessit he was already half in love with this man, might at least flirt: "You must be my lucky charm, a-angel."*
*Look. A name like Aziraphale was long and complicated, alright!? And Crowley wasn't operating at anything even approaching full mental capacity.
"Hm. I might well be, dear boy." Aziraphale winked, and Crowley, who had not anticipated being flirted at right back, swallowed hard.
"Now, tell me, how do we hatch the little chap?"
"Walking. A few miles. Er." Crowley solemnly collected all his eggs, and bravely put them in one basket.* "We could. Together. That is."
*He also put the newly-acquired egg in an incubator, but the metaphorical happenings were far more relevant.
"A few miles!?"
Oh no. Was Aziraphale going to say that was too much exercise for him? Would they part ways and never see each other again? Oh, woe! Woe was Crowley, to find his one true love and then never ever-
(Crowley, the Esteemed Reader might notice, was prone to the occasional overreaction, and even more so when he was desperately enamoured.)
"Well then." Aziraphale linked his arm with Crowley's, and tugged him along. "We better ought to get started then, ought'nt we?"
"Ngk. Sure, angel." Crowley agreed, stumbling after him, and mentally composing wedding vows.*
*He planned to build one around a Wilde quote, Aziraphale struck him as the kind of man to appreciate it.
"When the little dear hatches," Aziraphale babbled cheerfully as they ambled along the waterfront, "I insist we name it... what was your first name again? Anthony? Oh, how lovely! Anthony Fell, for the both of us. And it might play with the darling little bird we caught before, like a family, wouldn't that be lovely, dear boy?"
It would. Extremely lovely. Warlock would love Aziraphale, and Crowley would adore that godson of his, and they might be ever so happy.
Aziraphale smiled, and Crowley smiled back.
"...and that," Aziraphale concluded, "is how we two first met and fell in love, right there and then."
He glanced lovingly down at Crowley, who was lounging in his chair and studiously pretending he wasn't blushing fiercely.
The guests all cooed and clapped dutifully - it was Aziraphale and Crowley's second wedding anniversary, after all, so it was only courteous to pretend they hadn't heard the story a dozen times before.*
*"Well, in the beginning, he was a silly dear man not looking up from his phone, and I was just walking along after feeding the ducks..."
"I still can't believe my luck sometimes!" Aziraphale continued, swirling his champagne in one hand, and beaming as if he was determined to put the sun out of business. "He was ever so sweet, always ready to explain, and so knowledgeable!"*
*Crowley winced a little at that bit, as he always did.
Aziraphale, as he always did, took no notice.
"I would now like to ask you all to drink a toast with me..." Aziraphale raised his glass. "To Poh-key-mon! Imagine, if I'd known even the least littlest bit about that game, Crowley and I might never even have met, and wouldn't that have been tragic?"
"Hear hear!" The assembled friends and family shouted, and drained their glasses.
(Great-auntie Agnes even drained that of her seat neighbour too, making Great-uncle Pulsifer - never addressed by his first name, ever - very cross indeed.)
Crowley gave exploding from sheer love and embarrassment a valiant try, raised his glass to his lips...
"Angel..." Crowley began, slowly. "After that first meeting..."
"Yes, dear heart?"
"...when you asked me out for sushi..."
"Oh, what about it?"
"You said your instincts told you I would say yes. And then you winked."
"But the thing is, is the thing..." Crowley continued, a dreadful suspicion taking shape in his mind. "I definitely never explained the teams to you. I know I didn't."*
*He knew it for a fact, mostly because he'd been convinced he was on "Team Yellow" until he'd spent the weekend before his second date with Aziraphale panic-googling.
"So..." Crowley concluded. "How did you know to make a Team Instinct joke?"
A moment of tense silence.*
*Newt dropped his fork, whispered a quick sorry, then dropped it again, but aside from that it was dead quiet.
Crowley expected a lot of reactions, from confused tittering to a frown and a "don't be silly, my dear".
What he had NOT expected was for Aziraphale to set down his glass, fold his hands, and, say, quietly, "ah. So the cat is out of the bag now."
"What." Crowley croaked.
"Well. Seeing as this is our anniversary, this is as good a time to come clean as any." Aziraphale studiously inspected his meticulously manicured fingernails, avoiding to look at anyone in the room, and especially Crowley. "Friends, family members, my dear, beloved husband Crowley who should please remember what a dreadful kerfuffle divorce can be, I. Er. May or may not. Be guilty of. Er. Misrepresenting the amount of Pokémon* knowledge I actually have."
*Pronounced as flawlessly as could be expected of a man who had studied Japanese solely to order sushi correctly.
"No!" Madame Tracy gasped.
Cousin Sandalphon shushed her.
"However, ah, in my defence!" Aziraphale wrung his hands. "What else could I have done to strike up conversation with the handsome fellow at the park? Go up and say 'toodle-pip, I do believe you may be my future husband, we should go for coffee and wedding ring shopping sometime'!? I think not!"*
*Little did Aziraphale know that Crowley would have readily complied, no further questions asked.
"And, well, people do so love to share their passions, I supposed it could not hurt, a tiny bit of fibbing-"
"How much." Crowley interrupted tonelessly. "Did you know."
"Er." Aziraphale flushed. "Everything."
"Adam was playing it, Crowley! I try to engage in the hobbies of my godson, and the Parental Observer had a series of very informative articles-"
"YOU KNEW EVERYTHING!" Crowley screeched. "You knew - oh Satan, you knew I was making it all up, the eternimon and..."
"I found it sweet." Aziraphale admitted. "You were trying ever so hard to impress me, most, er, darling."
"Darling" Crowley repeated glumly, and eyed his champagne glass as if he was seriously contemplating ending it all in its depths.
"It was a bloody in, Crowley, I needed an in!" Aziraphale snapped. "Do you have any idea how intimidating it is, to strike up conversation with a dashing young thing in a sharp suit when one has been called frumpy and grandpa since one hit puberty!?"
"Oi, no, you're gorgeous." Crowley countered reflexively.
"Oh, Crowley..." Aziraphale clearly wanted to soften at that, but carefully preserved his incensed temper.
"I was NOT going to let the love of my life run off without at least a conversation, oh no sir!" He huffed pointedly. "And after. Well. After, I naturally needed to perpetuate the myth of our romantic first, purely coincidental encounter."
"Yeah- no, wait." Crowley flailed more than he gestured. "This, this doesn't add up. You didn't come to me, I ran into you because I wasn't looking where I was-"
"You did." Aziraphale said wryly. "Ran right into me. On my third try, good lord Crowley, you've got fantastic reflexes!"*
*Aziraphale had attempted to just inch himself into Crowley's line of sight first; and when that failed, ran straight into his path with the firm conviction of one committing insurance fraud.
(And even that had taken a few attempts, due to Crowley's nannying-honed subconscious dodging skills.)
Crowley stared up at Aziraphale, who was bristling with indignation in a way he had only seen glimpses of before, and honestly considered rather hot; and saw a whole new side of his husband of two years.
(He had the feeling he didn't really know this man, but rather wanted to get closer acquainted.
With handcuffs involved.)
"You told that story a hundred times with a straight face!" Crowley whined.
"Darling, nothing about me is straight." Aziraphale corrected primly. "But I had to praise your "expertise" with that face, it was and is a testament to my acting talent."
"Bloody Hell you're such a bastard!"
"Oh, finally catching on about that, are we?"
("I hope you kids are filming this." Anathema whispered to Warlock.
"From multiple angles." Warlock didn't even glance up from his own phone, carefully trained on the bickering couple. "Pepper is over there behind the dessert trolley, trying to get Nanny's good side, and Adam is recording audio."
"I love you guys so much." Anathema smiled and leant back in her chair again.)
"My marriage is built on a lie." Crowley muttered glumly, and buried his face in his hands.
"So's mine, and you don't hear me bellyaching about it..." Aziraphale huffed, and knocked back another glass of champagne.
"...Pippin Galadriel Moonchild, are you recording this!?"
We may reassure the Esteemed Reader that, ultimately, no divorce was had, and Aziraphale and Crowley settled their differences amicably throughout a good, hard shag; after which they went out to see if they would finally be able to catch that Arbok that had been evading them.
The Them and Warlock cut their footage together to a lovely short movie, which was only handed over to Aziraphale after a hefty bribe in sweets.
(Futilely, we must sadly add. The entire thing was uploaded to YouTube by a relative whose identity is still uncertain - their account name being NuttyProphecies - and Crowley was never ever going to tell Aziraphale that their anniversary spat went viral.*
*Not that he had to. Aziraphale, in retrospect quite proud of how he had handled the situation, personally, had long since seen and liked the video.)
All in all, there was an ever after lived as happily as can be, and what else could you ask for, really?