Crowley sauntered into Aziraphale’s bookshop the next day. It’s not as though he had many other places to go, and it certainly didn’t have a thing to do with how they’d parted ways. Well, maybe a little bit, but not much. He probably would have been here no matter what.
He glanced over the shelves, searching for the subtle differences in the selection since the rebooting of the universe. This may have been a fairly effective way to put off facing Aziraphale, if he had been trying to do that. Which he wasn’t.
At the sound of the angel’s voice Crowley spun on his heel to face him (and avoid flinching.)
“Oh, hello,” he replied. He’d been staring so intently at the books he hadn’t realized how close he was to Aziraphale’s study.
“How lovely to see you!” Aziraphale beamed.
“Well, I was around,” Crowley shrugged.
“Listen, about… yesterday,” Aziraphale said, lowering his voice.
“Oh, yes,” Crowley responded, “wanted to talk to you about that.”
“I’m very sorry,” Aziraphale went on, "I clearly made you uncomfortable, and that’s the last thing I would ever want to do. I promise, it won’t happen again.”
“Ah,” Crowley said, “right.”
“But what did you want to say?” Aziraphale prompted. Crowley hesitated.
“Nothing,” he said, shaking his head. “Same sort of stuff, really.”
“Right,” Aziraphale said.
“Right,” Crowley echoed, looking anywhere but the angel’s eyes.
“I suppose I should get back to work, such as it is,” Aziraphale concluded. Crowley nodded and headed for the door.
He hesitated, a step away from the door. He shuffled there for a moment, then wound back around the room to Aziraphale’s study. But he wasn’t there. Crowley wound deeper into the bookshop, and found Aziraphale even a few rooms further removed from the nearly empty main shop floor. His back was to Crowley.
Aziraphale jolted and turned to face him.
“I try not to lie to you. Most of the time.” staring very intently at a book on the floor, Crowley lost track of all his words. “But if I don’t say anything, I’m not lying,” he concluded, turning back to leave.
“Wait, Crowley!” Aziraphale called, rushing forward to grab the demon’s arm. “What’s wrong?” he asked as Crowley turned to face him. “You seem… out of sorts. I haven’t seen you so tense since your Bentley was towed in ’84.”
Crowley hoped to hell that his glasses obscured his eyes, jumping between Aziraphale’s face and the hand on his arm. He swallowed hard.
“It’s nothing,” he insisted, shaking his head. He’d gone without naming these feelings for millennia, no need to go getting attached now.
Aziraphale scoffed, “It’s not nothing,” he said, “I’ve known you long enough to know that.”
“I don’t want to lie to you,” Crowley said again. But he’d had so much practice lying to himself. Aziraphale watched him, trying to read him. “But I have,” Crowley admitted to fill the silence.
“What about?” Aziraphale prompted.
“I- I didn’t hate… didn’t even particularly dislike… that thing you did, yesterda—“
Aziraphale took Crowley’s head in both hands and kissed him, and Crowley melted all over again. He was absolutely overwhelmed by, presumably, love? Awful. It was a warmth distinctly different from hellfire, but at least as all-consuming. He wanted to stay like this as long as possible, but there was no Bentley to support his weight this time, and he had lost all sense, let alone that of his legs. When his knees buckled there was nothing to catch him.
Crowley came to lying flat on his back. The world was too bright. His head was throbbing, and cold. He squinted at the world around him.
“Glasses,” he muttered, groping around as it dawned on him, “where—?”
“Here you are, sorry,” Aziraphale said, stumbling over from the other side of the room, Crowley’s sunglasses in hand.
“What happened?” Crowley asked, wincing as he sat up.
“Well, you sort of fell over. And hit a shelf. And cracked your head open,” Aziraphale explained as Crowley took back his glasses.
“No miracles to spare for my poor head, though?”
“I had to put you on an ice pack first,” Aziraphale insisted, “You only hit your head a minute or two ago.”
“Ah,” Crowley acknowledged, glancing over at the ice pack his head had been resting on. It had some blood on it. “Oh, that can’t be good,” he muttered.
“Oh dear,” Aziraphale muttered, “that is quite bad. Your head did bounce,” he noted. He reached down to Crowley’s face. For a split second the demon recoiled, but he leaned into the touch as Aziraphale reached back and the pain dissolved. He turned his gaze up to Aziraphale, glasses forgotten in his hand.
“What have you done to me?” he mumbled.
“Well, I fixed up the cut—“
“No, no,” Crowley interjected, pulling away from the angel’s touch. “I know that.” he shook his head, trying to regain his senses. It didn’t work. “It’s just—“ he shook his head. He’d lost the words.
“Yes?” Aziraphale prompted.
“Is this… real?” Crowley asked, looking back up at Aziraphale, trying desperately to read his face.
“Is what real?” Aziraphale asked, “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“I’m not going to blink and look away and you’ll be gone?” Crowley asked, “They didn’t catch up to us already and put me in my own personal hell?” he went on, getting to his feet, “I won’t just wake up and find out you… died in a fire or something?”
“Why would I die in a fire?” Aziraphale chuckled. Crowley shrugged,
“I don’t know,” he muttered. “just what popped into my head.”
“No, it’s alright,” Aziraphale assured him. “I’m here. I don’t know why you’re so worried all of a sudden!”
Crowley shook his head again, half-laughing.
“It’s been a very long week,” he told Aziraphale.
“I know, dear,” Aziraphale replied, hand resting on the side of Crowley’s face.
Crowley ran a hand through the angel’s hair, and, after a moment’s hesitation, pulled him into a kiss. He wondered if this was what human hunger felt like. The desperation, the greed. He couldn’t be close enough to Aziraphale, no matter how hard he tried, and he was most certainly trying. But after a moment he pulled away, only just far enough to separate their lips.
“Sorry,” he breathed, “was that too muc—“ Aziraphale’s hands found their way into Crowley’s hair, and he returned the demon’s kisses with enthusiasm. Crowley held tight to him as he was overwhelmed all over again; this time, if he fell, he’d fall into Aziraphale, and he’d already fallen for him a long time ago.
It was a while before they pulled apart again, if only a few inches. Crowley’s hand stayed resting on the back of Azirapale’s head. Now that he actually held the angel in his hands he wasn’t going to let go easy. For a moment they just stared at each other.
“I love you,” Aziraphale told him, wearing that same adoring smile, and Crowley’s breath caught. He buried his face in Aziraphale’s shoulder and shook his head.
“You have to stop doing these things to me, Angel,” he insisted. “my angel…” he breathed, the realization sinking in further.
“I’m sorry,” Aziraphale said, but as Crowley looked up at him he was absolutely grinning.
“You don’t look very sorry,” Crowley pointed out.
“I’m a little bit sorry,” his angel insisted, “if not entirely.”
Crowley pulled him into another kiss, but a few moments later he pulled away again to ask, “How long have you known?”
“How you felt?! I couldn’t be sure—“
“No, no, how you felt,” Crowley said.
“Oh!” Aziraphale chirped, “Perhaps a century? Maybe more. You?”
Crowley hesitated, frowning as if thinking it over. “Oh, you know. Just one or two, or three… thousand years.”