It had been a month since the apocalypse hadn’t happened and Aziraphale was enjoying a warm spring day in his bookshop. He had just convinced one of his customers, very politely, that no, she didn’t want to buy any of his books and that maybe another shop had what she was looking for, and was reshelving the book when Crowley walked in.
Crowley walking into Aziraphale’s bookstore was usually an unremarkable experience. It all depended on how he walked in, though. Generally, he would swagger or strut, walking like he had nearly forgotten what joints were for. Occasionally he would stride with steps that were slightly too long – though anyone who remarked on it would forget immediately afterward. Very rarely would he actually walk.
Today, he was walking.
“Good morning,” Aziraphale greeted him.
“Morning, angel,” Crowley replied, both hands shoved into his pockets. “Care to go for lunch?”
It wasn’t lunch time and yet and both of them knew it, but Aziraphale was hardly about to contradict the suggestion so they ended up at a new café that he’d been eager to try. It specialized in crepes, and Aziraphale was secretly hoping they’d be as good as the ones in France. Specifically, the ones in France that he had eaten with Crowley in the 18th century.
“So,” he asked, after they’d placed their orders. “What did you want to talk about?”
“How’d you know I wanted to talk?” Crowley asked, slumping back in his seat.
There were more than a few things Aziraphale could have said, but none of them seemed right so he took the path of least resistance – and least explanation – and said nothing.
“Fine,” Crowley sighed after a very long moment had gone by. “I wanted to ask about,” he paused for a much shorter moment, “upstairs. Have they been in touch with you?”
“No,” Aziraphale answered. “Now that you mention it, however, it does seem a bit suspicious. What about, you know,” he paused meaningfully, “down there?”
Crowley shook his head. “Nothing. Not one single word. Seems a bit suspicious, don’t you think?”
“Perhaps,” Aziraphale admitted. He had been trying not to think about what would happen to him, Crowley, or the Arrangement since they’d stopped Armageddon. Now that Crowley had brought it up, it was staring him in the face rather uncomfortably. “Maybe they’ll just leave us alone.”
Crowley sat up so fast Aziraphale almost swore he could hear the demon’s spine cracking. “Leave us alone? Do you really think so?” His tone was equal parts shocked and angry but Aziraphale had a suspicion that underneath his glasses Crowley’s eyes were hopeful.
Aziraphale shrugged. “Adam changed a lot of things,” he said. He didn’t have any more of an idea than Crowley how things would turn out, but he was choosing to be optimistic. After all, what good was having time left if you didn’t enjoy what you could while you had it?
The crepes came to their table just then, interrupting the conversation. They didn’t taste as good as the ones in France, but Aziraphale wasn’t terribly disappointed. There were some things, he had learned, that could never be remade.
Crowley dropped Aziraphale off at the bookstore, eyes fixed on the road the whole way back. It was strange, and almost unnerving but Aziraphale didn’t comment on it. Some things, he knew, were better left unmentioned.
They arrived at the bookstore and Aziraphale got out. He stopped for a moment, half-out of the Bentley trying to find something to say. Crowley beat him to it.
“Do you think they’ll really leave us alone?” There was a desperate edge to the words.
Aziraphale let out a breath. “I think so,” he answered. There was another long pause and then he said, “See you tomorrow?”
Crowley nodded once, sharply, eyes still fixed on the road. “Tomorrow.”
As soon as Aziraphale was safely on the pavement, the Bentley took off. Watching it go, Aziraphale sighed to himself. For some reason, the day seemed a little more grey than it had before. He turned and headed back into the bookstore, resolving not to sell another book for the rest of the week.
Crowley paced back and forth in his flat. He hadn’t heard anything from downstairs in a while and it was making him edgy. Punishment could come in any number of forms, least of all making him come down there for good. The thought of being stuck in Hell permanently made his skin crawl – no room to breathe, nowhere to even spread his wings if he wanted to, nowhere to go to look at the stars. Worst of all, there’d be no Aziraphale. He’d never see his angel again.
It was the worst thing he could think of, never being able to spend time with the one being he loved. Because of course he loved Aziraphale. Even if the angel didn’t love him back, or at least had never told him one way or the other, the fact still remained. Crowley loved Aziraphale, and he would do anything, absolutely anything, to stay by his angel.
“I just wish there was someone,” he muttered to himself, ignoring the plants that were quaking in fear of his every footstep, “who could tell me the bloody future.”
Of course, there was such a person, only a short car ride away. It took Crowley less than a minute to realize it and another thirty seconds to be sitting in his car, leaving his flat silent except for the rustling of dozens of leaves.
Aziraphale was slightly worried. Afternoon light was slanting through the bookstore windows and Crowley hadn’t shown up yet. Usually, he showed up in the morning or early afternoon, but today there had been no sign of him.
Aziraphale was trying his hardest not to stand at the window and wait when the door swung open and a shadow fell across the threshold. “Hello, angel.”
Crowley’s voice sounded positively joyful, and Aziraphale crossed the shop to meet him faster than was strictly necessary. “Where were you, my dear?” he asked, looking the demon over subtly, or at least in a way that passed for subtle in Aziraphale’s mind.
“I took a jaunt over to Tadfield,” Crowley answered with a shrug. “According to a very reliable source, Heaven and Hell won’t be bothering us any time soon.” His smile was almost as large as Aziraphale’s when he was done speaking, which was saying something for Crowley.
“Excellent news, my dear,” Aziraphale said. “Why don’t I open a bottle to celebrate?”
There ended up being several bottles opened when all was said and done, and two very drunk celestial beings.
“You know,” Crowley mumbled, trying to sit up and failing miserably, “y’know someone told me something.”
“What – what was it?” Aziraphale wondered, listing severely to one side in his armchair. He was holding a half-empty bottle in his hand and concentrating very hard on not dropping it.
“Ana – Anthea – Anathm – Bicycle Girl told me,” Crowley answered, body finally in an approximately vertical position, “that the reason she couldn’t – couldn’t see Adam’s aura – “
“It was too much?” Aziraphale interrupted, having nearly lost the conversation and also the bottle.
“Close!” Crowley proclaimed. “It was too, too damn big.” He spread his arms as far as they would go, duly ignoring anatomy. “It’s like, like the reason you can’t see London when you’re standing in Soho, y’know?”
Aziraphale did know. The bottle he was holding crashed to the floor as a very important thought asserted itself. He set about sobering up as quickly as he could. “Crowley,” he said after a moment, “could you sober up?”
“Uh-oh,” Crowley mumbled, who could sense something important was going on, even entirely sloshed. He opened his eyes after a few moments of hard concentration and adjusted his sunglasses. “What is it, angel?”
Aziraphale met his eyes and Crowley was shocked to see tears forming in the corners of the angel’s eyes. “What if,” Aziraphale whispered, “the reason I can’t sense your love is the same reason Anathema couldn’t sense Adam’s aura?”
“You love me?” was what came out of Crowley’s mouth several seconds later.
Aziraphale paled. He had been so focused on confessing his feelings to Crowley, he hadn’t considered what would happen if the sentiment wasn’t returned. “I – I do,” he said after a beat. “I have for a very long time.”
“Well,” Crowley answered, “I suppose that makes two of us.”
Standing up, Aziraphale moved over to the couch and sat down. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I never thought – well, that was the problem, I suppose. I never thought.”
Crowley shrugged. “S’fine, angel. It’s not like I sssaid anything either.”
He hadn’t, in fact, said anything, but now that Aziraphale was concentrating, he wondered how he could have possibly missed the love radiating from Crowley. It was strong and powerful and familiar. It was, Aziraphale realized, the same thing he’d been feeling for millennia.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Aziraphale murmured, placing a hand on Crowley’s shoulder.
Crowley shrugged. “Lots of reasons, I ssupose,” he muttered. He turned to look at Aziraphale. “Does this mean – “ he stopped, unsure of how he wanted to finish his sentence.
Luckily for him, Aziraphale understood. “I think it does,” he said softly, placing one hand on Crowley’s face and sliding the demon’s glasses off with the other.
Crowley’s eyes were big and dark, and Aziraphale wanted nothing more than to fall into them and be lost forever. He kept his eyes open as he drew closer to Crowley, their breath mingling and lips brushing feather-soft against each other. “I love you,” he whispered against Crowley’s lips, feeling the demon shudder as he said it. He had said it far too little over the centuries and he promised to himself in that moment to never stop saying it. “I love you; I love you, I love – “
The rest of his sentence was swallowed by Crowley pushing him onto the sofa, climbing into his lap, and sliding his mouth fully over Aziraphale’s. His tongue darted into the angel’s mouth, more snake than human, and his hands tightened on the angel’s shoulders as the kiss deepened.
Finally, old habits took over and Crowley broke apart enough to breathe. “I love you, too,” he whispered. “Always have, I think.”
The rest of the night was spent in suitable fashion between two people who have loved each other for longer than anything else on Earth and have finally gotten around to admitting it.