Serpent of Eden, sinfully divine,
Forget Hell and Heaven, will you be mine?
Oh Serpent of Eden, erase the divide.
I’ll love you regardless of God’s design
Angel of Heaven, purer than starlight,
Shrug off their rules, stay the night?
Oh Angel of Heaven, we can take flight.
Trust me when I say our love is right.
“You can stay at my place, if you like?”
Aziraphale's eyes widen, holding his companion's gaze behind the sunglasses before darting to the side. Dozens of thoughts run through his mind. Does he mean it? Could I? But this isn't allowed. The sound of the bus grows louder as it approaches them.
"I don't- I don't think my side would like that."
Even to him his disapproval sounds unsure and weak, lacking his usual conviction. His side? Heaven? After everything that happened?
Crowley echoes that sentiment, voice low and gentle, and ringing with truth like it always did. "You don't have a side anymore. Neither of us do. We're on our own side."
He turns away to wave for the bus, leaving Aziraphale to consider the demon's statement. He didn't have anywhere else he could go. And… he was tired, fatigue settling in the strongest it has ever been in his existence. One night wouldn't hurt. It wasn't like Heaven or Hell would even care about such fraternizing after everything they did.
The bus stops in front of them. With an exhale and a creak, the door opens.
"I… I suppose you're right."
Crowley smiles. He stands up and enters the bus with Aziraphale following close behind.
Neither one knew who reached out first, but as their fingers brushed together, their eyes met and everything stilled in the face of this new offer, uncertain but not unwanted. It was Aziraphale who offered a comforting squeeze, a little courage, and the nervous tension eased. Hands intertwined, they make their way to a seat, content to let the event of the day wash past them, listening to the rumble of the engine and the occasional vehicles passing by into the nightly scene as they headed to Mayfield.
They remained in their comfortable silence even when they reached Crowley's flat. With a snap, the door opens and the light turns on.
As they enter the main room, Crowley withdraws his hands from Aziraphale (who immediately misses the warmth) and throws his glasses onto the dark wood table before plopping himself on the throne-like chair, rubbing his eyes in exhaustion and mumbling something about needing to sleep for a century or so. Meanwhile, Aziraphale observes his temporary home, taking in the tall ceiling and large windows, the room bare other than the Mona Lisa sketch and two vases tucked in the corners, before settling his attention onto the green flora in the other room. He makes his way towards them, delighted.
“These are lovely, Crowley. They are growing so well.” The plants ruffle from Aziraphale’s praise, tilting towards him as he leans closer in.
“Don’t say that,” Crowley grumbles, glaring at them. Even with the distance, the leaves immediately began shaking, though his effect did not last long as Aziraphale continued to dote on them. “You’re going to spoil them.”
“Oh hush. A little love won’t hurt. I was the gardener for the Dowlings.”
“Hah! Gardener? More like a murderer, angel. The atrocity! Don’t get me started on the pests crawling arou-!” Seeing Aziraphale’s crestfallen expression, Crowley pauses. “But it wasn’t too bad, really. Nothing a little demonic miracle couldn’t fix up.”
That was a lie. He had to spend several long days and nights tending to them the miracle-less way, all the while viciously cursing the slugs and frightening the rose bushes until guests had complimented the Dowlings on their beautiful, bright flowers and well kept lawn.
Aziraphale merely chuckles. "My dear, I know when it comes to this," he gestures to the plants, "my abilities are less than adequate, but it was very sweet of you to take care of them."
"I just needed to make sure you didn't get fired, that's all."
That only earns him an affectionate smile from Aziraphale and a warm feeling he wasn’t entirely ready to accept yet.
He clears his throat. "Right. Let's discuss what we need to do." The second chair against the wall materializes to the other side of the table as Aziraphale makes his way back, settling into it with a solemn expression and takes out the scrap of paper containing their fate.
"Choose your faces wisely, for soon enough you will be playing with fire…" He glances up to Crowley, “I bet Agnes Nutter means for us to do a switcheroo."
The other leans back against his chair, nodding in agreement. Aziraphale continues on.
"Hell and Heaven will want their revenge, and I'm sure it won't just be a reprimand we will be facing."
“Hell would definitely, but are you certain Heaven will? They’re - aren’t you lot supposed to be the good guys? Sure, Heaven’s been involved with some messed up things but…” Crowley trails off at Aziraphale’s expression.
Aziraphale stays silent, mind combing through centuries of doubts that he knew no loyal angel would consider, before replying. “I thought so, too, but now… I’m not too sure. After everything that transpired… They wanted the war Crowley, despite knowing the devastation it would cause, the death of every human. They don’t care about Earth. They never did and never will. Maybe they aren’t so different from demons.” Crowley’s eyes widened at that statement. Aziraphale takes a breath. “And I don’t think Agnes only meant ‘fire’ in the figurative sense either.”
“Hell fire.” Crowley hisses, his hands clenching into a fist on the table, his brilliant yellow eyes flashing. Seeing his anger, Aziraphale places a hand over one of Crowley’s.
“Yes. And holy water for you.” A surge of protectiveness rises in his chest, fierce and unrestrained. No. He cannot and will not allow it to happen.
The night carries on as their conversation dwindles down, eventually ending with Aziraphale stifling his fifth yawn as the weariness from before returns, eyes unconsciously closing. A hand on his shoulders forces them to open.
“Come on, angel. It’s late.”
They make their way to a bedroom. Against the center of the wall is a low platform bed with black sheets and pillows, and a dark rug underneath. A simple black, circular nightstand, with a bright lamp on it, flanks each side; a few small art pieces in gold frames hang on the walls. Crowley waves his hand towards the bed. "You can rest up here. Make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back." He leaves before the other can reply.
Azirapahale glances around the room, and as he takes it in, it occurrs to him that this was Crowley's bedroom; he flusters at the obvious, but intimate notion.
He takes off his shoes at the edge of the rug, changing into a simple tartan pajama before sinking into the edge of the bed, fingers threading through the soft fabric.
A moment later, Crowley reappears at the door. “I hope this is alright.”
He sits up. “It’s perfect. Thank you, Crowley.”
“Er- glad to hear. Good night then.”
The bed shifts. "Wait. Where will you sleep?"
"Don't worry about it. I’m not - "
"Would you like to stay?"
Crowley stills, examining Aziraphale with a guarded expression that melts into one the angel was all too painfully aware of. It was full of hesitancy and longing, for something neither were prepared to rush into after centuries of burying it for the sake of secrecy and safety. But that didn't mean they couldn’t start slow.
Aziraphale moves to the side, leaving a space which Crowley soon occupies (having changed into black pajamas), and lies back down. The lights turn off.
They remained there, letting the darkness envelop them.
There's a sharp intake of breath from Crowley. "What for?"
"All the things I said about - about us not being friends." He turns to look at the demon. "That I didn't trust you. That wasn't fair to you."
The bed dips as Crowley moves in closer, now laying on his side. "Angel, it's alright. I know you didn't mean it. You were afraid."
"I still shouldn't have. And- and- oh, there is so much-"
"Hey. It's okay. We'll be okay." Crowley pulls Aziraphale against him, chin resting on his shoulder. "We're tired, and tomorrow will be a long day. We can talk about it afterwards. Take all the time you need. But for now, rest."
"Thank you, Crowley," Azirphale responds, his voice hushed. A gentle kiss on his forehead followed, and he is reminded of the strong pull of love he felt at the old church grounds.
With this closeness, he could further revel in Crowley's presence. He did not know what the other angels smelled, but the demon always carried a distinct scent of charred wood, the decay of leaves and flowers scattered amongst the rich, dark soil of the Earth, and a hint of sweet, red apples that shone prominently amongst the fiery autumn foliage.
Even the nature of Crowley was reflected in his flat: clean, yes, and spacious, but not barren. Not like Heaven is. Art pieces and plants and sculptures (he's sure there was a bird sculpture from the church where they encountered the Nazis, and two angels… wrestling?), little pieces of Crowley that complete him in a way Heaven never could in all it’s etherealness. And though the dark gray walls certainly were meant to maintain the macabre, hellish aesthetic, there was nothing intimidating nor demonic about them. Not quite Hell either, then.
He thinks about his bookshop. It, too, was vastly different from Heaven's image, and he remembers how Crowley, in a drunken stupor, mentioned offhandedly it would have resembled Hell were it not for the twinkling lights and the angelic smell that permeated every inch of the place.
As Aziraphale drifts to sleep, he feels as if he's finally home.
A soft pressure near his temple wakes Aziraphale to small rays of sunlight pouring through the windows from the hall, basking the bedroom and the two of them in a gentle, golden glow.
"Good morning, angel."
Azirapahle hums in response, placing a reciprocal kiss onto Crowley's cheek before curling tighter against him.
The two stayed there, with Crowley stroking the angel's curls and Aziraphale tracing shapes and patterns on the demon's free hand, until the sun rose higher in the sky and they, reluctantly, untangled themselves from the comfort of each other.
The demon left first, and by the time Aziraphale entered the main room (but not without saying hello to the plants as he passed by), a small breakfast crepe from his favorite bakery and a hot cup of tea were laid out on the table.
("Mmm, delicious. Did you order these for me, Crowley?” "Who else would it be for? The plants?” The former harrumphs, taking another bite.)
When Aziraphale finished the last piece of strawberry, with Crowley staring at him like he always does, there was only one last business to take care of.
"Ready?" Aziraphale asks.
"I'm not looking forward to this," says Crowley, looking disgruntled but resolved.
"We'll stick with the plan and, well, hopefully it goes without a hitch."
"Agreed. Be careful."
“You, too, Crowley.”
Hands joined, the angel and the demon fulfill Agnes Nutter's prophecy once more before parting, for the time being, to face the inevitable and the rest of their lives.