The world almost ends. Near thing, really. What happens next, after bloody everything and Adam snapping existence back into working order, is that Crowley takes Aziraphale home to his flat and pours them both about three or thirteen fingers of scotch. The house plants positively beam about it, showering in the angel’s presence like flowers turned toward the sun. The pothos plant even tries to reach a tendril of vine out to touch him from behind until Crowley swats it away, mumbling something under his breath as he gives it a warning glare.
He can’t begrudge them, really. He feels the same around Aziraphale a lot of the time.
What happens after that, even, is that Crowley pulls back the blankets on his bed for what is perhaps the first time in this flat, ever, internally cursing himself for having gone so soft. He beckons the angel over and they kiss, and kiss, and kiss some more until he’s not cross about unmaking the bed anymore, because they both sink onto it together and Crowley can’t imagine a better way to cap off the almost-end of the whole world.
The day has turned an unusual shade of burnt dusk outside, a fiery wash of orange and pink staining the sky like hibiscus tea. Their clothes come off in a rush and Crowley forgets to miracle his sunglasses away until Aziraphale’s soft, pleasantly cool fingers are at his temples, pulling them off and carefully setting them on the nightstand.
He looks down into Crowley’s eyes with so much tenderness and pure affection that it makes the demon want to crawl out of his own skin, but that feeling is only secondary to how much he wants this, and Aziraphale, and goddamn everything so long as they’re side by side. If his eyes burn some when Aziraphale kisses his brow before sinking into him with such a blissful slide and stretch, well, neither one of them have to mention it.
“My dear,” the angel says, just those two words whispered in a prayer against Crowley’s lips as they begin to rock together, bathed over in the last dregs of twilight before the sky outside turns dark with the promise of another day beyond it. Crowley hisses and swears as he paws at Aziraphale’s back and urges him along with his hips and thighs, but it’s far too grateful to be anything done with any venom, and eventually he can only make the softest sounds of pleasure as golden warmth courses through him in cresting waves. He doesn’t deserve this, but he’ll drink every ounce of it up until there’s nothing left.
“Fuck, angel,” he moans, overcome and trembling with whatever This is. “Aziraphale.”
“Shh, darling,” Aziraphale tells him, still thrusting into Crowley like the steady roll of some ancient tide, holding him close as he falls apart. “I’m here.”
There’s the most peculiar feeling when the angel comes inside him—their bodies intertwined, mouths crushed together, Crowley’s fingers twisting in Aziraphale’s soft curls, really a most indecent and horrific sight to behold. But it breaks through him like a shattered piece of altar crystal, somewhere deep in his belly, unfurling like a bright star gone nova.
“Angel,” he says afterward, when Aziraphale is nuzzling at his throat and petting his sides, cock going soft in Crowley’s body. “Did you feel anything—out of place, or?”
“When we made love just now?” Aziraphale murmurs, kissing under Crowley’s ear.
“Demons don’t make love, angel,” Crowley grouses, tossing a hand over his eyes in indignity. He still doesn’t make any move to push Aziraphale off or stop the sweet, heavenly kisses feathered along his jaw, though.
“No,” Aziraphale concedes, punctuating his answer with another ardent press of his lips. The moon rises outside, visible for once through the sparse wisps of clouds. “But you’ve always been a bit of a rule breaker, haven’t you my dear?”
Crowley is dying.
Well, that’s nearly impossible given the specific set of circumstances he operates under in this terrestrial realm of existence, and unless a nasty bout of indigestion and nausea is going to off his corporeal form this go around—it’s got to be something else.
The bottle of milk of magnesia he chugs outside a Superdrug doesn’t help as much as he’d hoped, because within a few moments he’s spewing the viscous pink liquid up into a bush in Soho and having to miracle the residual splatter off his shoes. The walk to Aziraphale’s shop feels like a march to crucifixion, and by the time he staggers through the front door he’s sweating and miserable.
“Angel,” he calls out into the quiet shop, not even able to admire the newly acquired stacks of books already reaching for the ceiling in some places. “I’m dying.”
Aziraphale comes out of the back room in his tartan dressing gown carrying a cup of tea and a tin of chocolate biscuits with one sticking out of his mouth. He pulls it from between his teeth, looks Crowley up and down over the rims of his gold glasses, and says, “You do look a bit peaky, dear. Don’t tell me you got buggered into the minsters’ wives knitting circle again. They bless the wool beforehand, you know.”
Crowley blinks at him from behind his sunglasses, jaw hanging open, and then reaches up to press a fist against his mouth as another wave of nausea surges through him. He’s panting by the time it passes, and Aziraphale has somehow steered him over to the settee and gently pushed him down onto it before draping an afghan around his shoulders.
“You really aren’t feeling well, are you,” the angel tuts, pressing a cool palm to Crowley’s forehead. “Not feverish, though. How long have you been off?”
“Started early this morning,” Crowley says between grit teeth, now slumped back into the soft cushions. “I haven’t made any point of eating since our date on Friday.”
Aziraphale’s brow furrows a bit. “And you can’t make it go away?”
“You think I haven’t tried?” Crowley hisses, but Aziraphale is already waving him off and performing a small miracle. There’s a moment of silence and then he clears his throat, giving Crowley a perplexed stare when his slumped and pale position on the couch doesn’t immediately rectify itself.
“Well?” Crowley asks, wretchedly pulling his sunglasses from his face. “Why isn’t your angelic juju doing me one better and nipping whatever this is in the arse?”
The fact that Aziraphale has paled some himself and reached up to clutch at the front of his dressing gown doesn’t seem to bode well.
“You—you’re with child, Crowley,” he says, just like that, in the messy parlor of this once-scourged effing bookshop in Soho where Crowley thought he’d lost the one thing he ever really cared about, the car be damned, since they unraveled into existence and millennia began.
“I’m with WHAT?” he says in a strangled shout, fighting the afghan off his shoulders and finding he’s far too nauseated to even think about standing.
Aziraphale’s eyes are wet and shining, now, and Crowley feels panic begin to rise like a tsunami in his chest.
“A babe,” the angel says, sniffling. “In your belly. Still very small yet, but it’s there.”
Crowley looks down at his flat stomach and then gapes back up at Aziraphale. “Whose?” he sputters. “I haven’t shagged anybody but you since—since—oh. Oh.”
They stare at each other for a beat, Crowley still crumpled with malaise, Aziraphale wiping around his eyes now as he sinks down next to him on the settee.
“How is this possible?” Crowley asks. “When I’m—“ he flaps his hands for effect, “and you’re…?” Another dubious hand signal in his companion’s direction. When Aziraphale doesn’t start or do anything beyond smile, Crowley barks, “What’s this? You’re not even bothered!”
“Well,” Aziraphale says, gripping his knees and sighing deeply, “I must admit I’m a touch surprised, but we’re both no stranger to more, er, immaculate conceptions. When two bodies are brought together in passionate union, Crowley, these things can happen.”
Crowley scoffs. “Right then,” he says. “You tell me why none of our other passionate unions have put a little hybrid bastard in my belly, hm? It’s not like the would-be Apocalypse was the first time I let you come inside my tw—”
Aziraphale cuts him off with a look. “You don’t have to be so indelicate about it,” he says. “We both know the Lord works in mysterious ways. Now,” he adds after a moment, taking a sobering sip of his reheated tea after waving a palm over it, “the important thing is that you’re comfortable with whatever decision you make about the pregnancy. I wouldn’t push you either way, of course, you know. It’s ultimately your choice.”
Crowley blinks, confused. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
When Aziraphale bites his bottom lip and gives him a pained pointed look, Crowley understands.
“Ah.” He looks down at his shoes, briefly, and then at Aziraphale’s hands still holding his cup and saucer of steaming English breakfast. “If we couldn’t miracle away this thin—this child,” he croaks, “I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
“You intend to keep it?” Aziraphale asks. Crowley despises how much his heart pounds when he hears that undercurrent of hopefulness ringing through the angel’s voice like a note plucked on a harp string. He feels consumed from the inside out with—something. It’s making him both positively terrified and full of the most undignified yearning all at the same time.
“Yes,” he decides, and that one word in itself nearly makes him wilt with relief, though he doesn’t fully yet understand why.
“Oh Lord, angel,” Crowley swears a moment later. “You’ve put a miracle in me.”
Aziraphale positively beams at that, reaching over to gently draw Crowley’s hands into his own as the sun rises higher in the window behind his curly head. “Splendid irony, isn’t it?” he says. “Given our respective track records.”
That shakes a tiny, strangled laugh from Crowley. “You, of all bloody people.”
“My dear,” Aziraphale says, kissing Crowley’s cheek. “I’m just that damn good.”
At first, when he’s still stunned with the sheer ineffability of it all, Crowley buys about a dozen of those boxed pharmacy kits with the little plastic stick inside and uses each test just to be sure. He usually miracles away the urge to piss, but lately he’s found it’s there a lot more often than it ever used to be, and when the checkout clerk at the pharmacy is giving him odd looks from behind the till as he drops an armload of kits on the counter and asks if he can return them if they’re defective—well. How all four of her car tires unequivocally decided to flatten themselves with no known cause or reason that day while parked out in the lot out back, there’s no real telling, the poor soul.
Without fail, every single one of the pregnancy tests comes out positive. Agnes Nutter may not have foreseen this, but Crowley finds his fortune told right there in tiny blue lines.
Aziraphale declares them honorary pillars of sobriety for the time being, which really chafes Crowley’s bottom to no end when you get right down to it, but he’s able to peaceably drink his decaffeinated tea and green smoothies up until the week his trousers stop fitting around the middle.
“How is anybody meant to take me seriously like this, angel?” he hisses, demonstrating from in front of his floor-length mirror how his slacks won’t zip or button even when he strains to pull them together. “Eventually I’ll be the size of a blessed house and what then? You can’t expect me to inflict wiles and temptation while wearing Topshop’s latest maternity line!”
Aziraphale puts on a brave face and silently lets out the waistline of every pair of trousers in Crowley’s closet with a wave of his hand. “Perhaps you should take a brief sabbatical from all your tempting and wiling, dear,” he says. “A paternity leave, if you will.”
“And do what, exactly?” Crowley scoffs. “Sit around buttering crumpets and knitting baby booties until I pop? It’s unbecoming.”
Aziraphale wrinkles his nose up while he thinks, then taps a forefinger against his lips as the idea gradually comes to him. “We could travel,” he suggests. “It wasn’t ever written in scripture that you have to be confined to greater London while carrying a pregnancy.”
“I’ll daresay there’s a whole hell of a lot about this situation that wasn’t written in the scripture, thank you,” Crowley grumbles, but then tugs his shirt down over the tiny swell of his stomach and stares at both of their reflections in the mirror until he grunts, “Have you ever been to Maldives?”
“No,” Aziraphale says, smiling almost impishly. “When would you like to leave?”
Once he’s sitting on a sandy beach overlooking the Arabian Sea wearing nothing but a swimsuit bottom and an oversized shirt made of soft linen, Crowley doesn’t feel so poorly about his trousers not fitting like they used to.
Aziraphale is down at the surf, looking entirely too English in his trunks and straw hat, pointing out shells and sea stars to a small child of about four or five while they wade in the clear blue water. The boy’s parents keep watch from further up the beach, and why two sentient adults would ever think to bring their offspring to the Maldives, Crowley doesn’t rightly know—but he is enjoying seeing his companion interact with a tow-headed child with dimples that’s not the Antichrist, for once in their blessed lives.
“You know the scientific name for these little fellows is Asteroidea,” Aziraphale says, carefully holding one of the live sea stars in his palm for the child to see. “Quite literally, of ‘star form.’ I remember when dear Henry de Blainville classified them in 1830.”
The child blinks up at Aziraphale but smiles shyly, watching as he slowly lowers the pinkish creature back into the water. “We have to keep them safe and happy where they belong in the sea,” the angel says. “So if you see any live sand dollars or sea stars for sale anywhere as interior decor, don’t buy them, dear boy. It’s oceanic genocide at the hands of capitalism.”
Crowley hasn’t even realized his hand has strayed to rest over his belly until the boy runs off with a bucketful of shells and Aziraphale trudges back up through the golden sand to sit beside him. He feels weirdly self-conscious about it and shifts as if to move until Aziraphale reaches over and touches Crowley’s abdomen himself, leaving an instantaneous glimmer of warmth and light to course through him like a third steady heartbeat.
“Are you hungry, dear?” Aziraphale asks, digging his toes into the dry sand. “I thought we’d try one of the more casual restaurants this evening, perhaps sit out by the water and enjoy the breeze.”
“That’s fine, angel,” Crowley murmurs, eyes lulling some under the weight of the blessing Aziraphale passed on to him. Now that his morning sickness has passed, he’s been nigh on eating them out of house and home for the past several weeks. It’s easy to think one is capable of living off nothing but miracle’d coffee, fine liqueur, and the occasional cigarette until you find yourself eating for two.
“You’re good with the little ones, you know,” Crowley says, thinking of the small blond boy and his shells. “More than you give yourself credit for.”
Aziraphale colors some at that, the pinkness in his cheeks having nothing to do with the sun. “Not as good as you, I’d wager,” he says. “I seem to recall your fondness for them as early as, oh, several millennia ago.”
“Yes, well,” Crowley mutters, clearing his throat. “It’s always different when they’re your own responsibility, isn’t it? What we’ve gotten ourselves into isn’t any one-night babysitting job.”
Aziraphale smiles, watching Crowley from the corner of his eye. “I never said it was,” he says gently, and then steeples his fingers across his chest. “I’m curious to know if you’ve given all this—“ he gestures between them and at Crowley’s stomach in the same moment, “—any more particular thought.”
Crowley blinks behind his sunglasses and plucks at the front of his shirt. “About what, exactly?” he asks. “You knocked me up, I’m carrying a child or some other hideous creature that’s borne of the illicit fraternization between an angel and demon, nobody’s come to smite either of us yet for sleeping behind enemy lines—not that I think they would give a toss at this point, frankly, but you never know what direction a flaming sword’s gonna swing in next, eh?”
A few passing seagulls cry and Aziraphale draws in a deep breath before muttering a silent prayer under his breath. “Lord be with this child,” he says more loudly than before, and when Crowley pretends to contort in pain the angel shoots him a reproachful look. “Oh, stop that,” he snorts. “I was mostly asking in the interest of the baby and what our plans are for—the future, I suppose.”
“I’ve got to squeeze the little bugger out, first,” Crowley says, though Aziraphale doesn’t miss the tiniest echo of fondness there. “I was under the impression it’s a bit intuitive from there, like riding a bicycle y’know—we’ll figure it out as we go. It’s not like I fell yesterday, angel, I swear.”
Crowley incredulously watches Aziraphale gnaw his bottom lip—rife with some inner turmoil—and waits, at long last, for his companion to murmur, “I meant, my dear, do you think we should get married before the baby arrives.”
“Married!” Crowley yelps, loudly enough that the family further along the beach looks up and stares for a moment before going back to their sand castle. His eyebrows have shot up so high on his forehead that his sunglasses have fallen down his nose, exposing two brilliant golden irises. “Do you—why would—I don’t—really angel, you and me? Tying the old knot?”
Aziraphale’s expression has turned morose. “If I’d known you were going to carry on, I wouldn’t have asked,” he says, looking out toward the water. “I thought it was a sincere enough question, considering.”
“Yes, well,” Crowley says, struggling to grasp at words that don’t come to him. “You—you startled me, is all.” A peculiar silence falls between them after that, and though it makes Crowley itch and squirm he lets it lie for now. What’s surprising to him is that Aziraphale does the same.
As the sun begins to sink in the sky they leave the calm shore behind, silently walking along the wooden dock that will lead them back to their room. They’ve already been here six nights but—miraculously—there was a mix-up with Mr. A. Fell’s reservation and their stay is being extended for another week free of charge, if you could imagine such a fortuitous thing.
Truly, Crowley’s grateful to sit back and let Aziraphale handle things for once. This can be their neutral ground of sorts, he supposes, where nothing needs to hang in the great cosmic balance. Not that the angel has done much thwarting when it comes to Crowley’s wiles as of late, but that’s a bridge to cross some other time. Crowley doesn’t want to think about it, or their little tiff down on the beach, but it’s all that runs through his mind throughout the otherwise delightful dinner they have while the sun sets across the darkened sapphire water.
Aziraphale seems to have mostly forgotten the incident from earlier in the day, pink-cheeked and smiling as he lets the breeze ripple through his curls and tease the collar of his shirt. Not for the first time in a few thousand years, Crowley marvels at how handsome he is—the kind of handsome that turns beautiful and otherworldly at times, sexless and ethereal. Others don’t see it anymore because they don’t take the time to really look, but Crowley knows. If he takes his sunglasses off he can see the faint aura of light spread out behind the angel’s head, how it twinkles golden like the first ray of sunshine that He cast into the Garden. There’s starlight in the crow’s feet at the corners of Aziraphale’s eyes, celestial song in his laughter.
“Perhaps I don’t deserve you,” Crowley blurts out, which makes Aziraphale’s eyes widen across the table. “Marriage is meant to be built on equal footing, yeah? Sickness and health and all that, a union of holy matrimony. But we’re glossing over the fact that nothing about me is exactly holy anymore.”
Aziraphale’s expression briefly darkens while he thinks, mouth pressed into a thin line. “Crowley,” he says at last. “I can’t think of somebody else on this earth whose footing is more equatorial to my own than yours.”
“I’m a demon, angel,” Crowley says, and for a moment he can’t tell if he’s trying to convince himself or Aziraphale more. “I’ve fallen from grace and rolled around in the bloody depths of hell. I have been strapped to the rack and had every ounce of holiness peeled from my body like strips of flesh. I fail to understand how this baby wound up in my belly, and can hardly begin to fathom why you’d want to be strapped with me for whatever blesss-ed eternity it takes until the next sodding Apocalypse comes knocking on our door.”
If Aziraphale looks pained, he only sighs and snaps his fingers so the couples around them forget everything they just heard. “Do you feel quite better now?” he asks.
“No,” Crowley murmurs, sinking back in his chair to sulk. “I’m confused as anything and I think I’ve got heartburn.”
Aziraphale stands and touches two fingers to Crowley’s sternum, willing the discomfort away. “Come along, then,” he says, opening his billfold to lay a few bills out on the table before Crowley can do it himself. “I don’t want either of us putting any strain on the baby.”
Irritation begins to broil in Crowley’s stomach but he stands and walks with Aziraphale anyway. It’s full dark now, their steps falling alongside the gentle wash of waves on the dock.
Aziraphale’s profile is just barely visible in the lights guiding their path back to the room. “I don’t know if this ever occurred to you,” he says, blinking somewhat rapidly, “but there’s a good chance that child is in your belly because of the bond we share. Out of love, Crowley.”
When Crowley stays quiet, Aziraphale draws in an uneven breath and says, “You are not as unholy as you think, my dear. Far from it anymore.” He abruptly stops walking, and for one gut-wrenching second Crowley thinks he’s going to pull out a ring, but there’s only Aziraphale, and him, and the tiny baby growing inside him between them.
“Demon or not,” Aziraphale says, “you can see that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to spend my time with you—nor would it stop me from wanting to share a life with you.”
The ocean sighs for a few moments. Crowley closes his eyes and listens to it as he says, “You really mean that, angel.”
“Yes,” Aziraphale answers, close enough that Crowley can feel the grace radiating off him. “Very much so.”
When they kiss, there out in the open in front of God and Satan and the stars and everybody, Crowley only leans into it and knows that he wants—needs—more. All of it. Everything. For the whole bloody fucking eternity.
“You win this time, angel,” he rasps, swaying some on his feet. The admission of what he wants, with Aziraphale—this odd little thing they’ve made, the bond they share, thousands of years into what started as a foiled game of cat and mouse. He reaches up to cover his face with his hands, and if they’re shaking it’s for nobody else to know.
“I’ll marry you, you tosser,” Crowley says as he presses himself into his angel’s arms, “but only if you take me to bed this instant and shag me senseless.”
Aziraphale’s lips curve into a smile at the delicate skin by Crowley’s eye. “I think that can be arranged.”
Later, when Aziraphale’s lying on white sheets in the cool darkness of their room and Crowley’s looming above him, head tossed back, rolling his hips like the ceaseless sea outside, he’ll feel the warmth of a familiar hand cupping his belly. The touch alone makes pleasure bloom through him until he cries out from the fill of it, grinding down on Aziraphale’s cock as his body clenches and flutters around it.
“Tell me again, angel,” Crowley whispers once he’s collapsed into Aziraphale’s arms, shivering as the angel’s fine fingers wander back over the curve of his arse and then lower to press into the satin-hot slickness of his hole. “How this miraculous child of ours came to be.”
“The pure light of love, my darling,” Aziraphale says, smiling as Crowley sobs and shakes apart on his heavenly fingers. “Nothing but the pure light of love.”