They’d stood at the brink of it all, alongside the Antichrist, facing Heaven, Hell and Satan himself, to preserve the big blue marble they’d come to love so dearly. They’d been put on trial by their own kind. Death had seemed like a certainty. But somehow, against all odds, they’d survived. And this was their reward. Peace.
The first week was awkward. Both Crowley and Aziraphale were paranoid, expecting recompense from their former comrades, but when it became clear they were going to be left to their own devices, they relaxed a little. Although there was no harm in being cautious.
Crowley had adapted to this new free lifestyle with relative ease, but Aziraphale took a little longer. Sometimes he still took offence at something Crowley said about “their side” or panicked if he saw a human passer-by who resembled Michael or Gabriel’s corporations. He’d mostly stopped the “holier-than-thou” act and hadn’t called Crowley “infernal”, a “fiend” or his “enemy” for a few months now. The times he had slipped up, okay, they’d hurt. Not that Crowley would ever dream of telling him that. No, no, it wasn’t like Crowley thought that they’d be skipping through fields together or holidaying in Hawaii when they were shunned by their former associates, but he’d thought something would change. He knew Aziraphale was his best friend and although the angel had never verbally confirmed it, Crowley knew he was Aziraphale’s as well. But he’d be lying if he said his feelings were strictly platonic. It was Crowley’s fault, it had to be. Demonic urges and all that. Lust, coveting. The urge to rip off Aziraphale’s clothes and make sweet, passionate love to him. Yup, had to be a demon thing. Perhaps they felt more humanly urges than angels. Angels don’t even dance. How weird is that? Oh, but Aziraphale was so clever. And designed to sense love, inspire love. How could he not sense the love rolling off Crowley in waves? Feel Crowley’s cold, dead heart leap when Aziraphale flashed that beautiful little smile.
Even such a smile was so reserved. Closed-lipped, very correct. But Crowley’s dirty mind had to make it into something more. Poor Aziraphale - he couldn’t win. If he smiled with those perfect pink lips closed, Crowley would imagine them, wrapped around something that...hadn’t been wrapped for a while. And if Aziraphale smiled with those sparkling white teeth, Crowley would picture them nibbling at his ear, or his neck, or raking down Crowley’s chest. Love is a great nuisance, an infection, more potent and debilitating than anything that Pestilence had unleashed on the world. He was sick and the longer he spent in Aziraphale’s company, the sicker he got. He could hardly begrudge Aziraphale that, though.
They sat, now, in Aziraphale’s bookshop, and Aziraphale was telling him about when Seargent Shadwell stormed into that very shop, labouring under the impression that Aziraphale was a witch. Crowley laughed until he cried, and then sobered up as it brought back memories of walking through the burning bookshop, seeing only charred pages and leaping flames and no sign of the only being that mattered to him. He knew Aziraphale was getting to the part about how he’d come to be discorporated; Crowley was anxious to hear it. In the months they’d been adjusting to this new normal, Aziraphale had avoided talking about it, but sitting in his new and improved bookshop, he seemed ready now.
“And I was trying to usher him out of the shop, but then he pointed and I felt the energy charge around me, and I swore as I realised I was standing i n the portal and I could feel myself disintegrate-”
Normally, Crowley would listen, rapt, as Aziraphale spoke, especially when he was recounting events where Crowley had not been present. He would commit every word to memory and savour it later. But this insignificant little footnote struck him as odd. Nothing to worry about. Just new. “When you say you swore, do you mean you said Oh heavens or something?”
Aziraphale blushed. “Actually, I said an actual swear word. One the humans are very fond of. The, the F word.”
“What!?” Crowley said, roaring with laughter. “You did not!”
“It’s not funny! I was stressed and upset, I thought it was all over. I think the Lord can forgive me for having colourful language at such a troubling time. Everyone knows it’s excusable to swear if the world is going to end.”
Crowley smirked, shaking his head in disbelief and tried to picture it. That silly, prissy little voice barking out a hard word, those lovely big lips that bloomed like petals, thinned with annoyance. Crowley had always had an excellent imagination but this was something difficult to conceptualise. He had no frame of reference. In all the time he’d known him, the angel had never sworn in his company. He wanted to see it, he realised. Wanted to hear it. Didn’t matter which word it was, so long as it was filthy. The problem was, Aziraphale seemed unwilling to slip up again, and Crowley didn’t feel like causing Armageddon anytime soon. Oh well, no matter. One last temptation, then. Tempting the Principality Aziraphale of the Eastern Gate to swear. Should be simple enough.