He nearly forgot about Emma. She’d come in only a few days before Warlock (and Adam)’s 11th birthday, and with how little he’d thought of their encounter at the time, and how much had happened, she slipped his mind entirely. So, when she walked in, a week after the end-times-that-weren’t, he almost didn’t notice. She didn’t fully gain his attention until she was leaning on the counter, saying,
“Hey, love expert!” in a particularly smug tone.
“Oh! Hello. Emma, wasn’t it?”
“Oh! Hello. Emma, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah! I wanted you to meet Jodie,” she said, gesturing to the girl with her. He’d never been approached by a group so young, but if Emma was anything like her mother and grandmother, she would be recommending his advice to others and— “my girlfriend,” she added very pointedly.
“Oh! Lovely!” he perked up. Love was such a wonderful thing, after all.
“I just talked to her, like you said, and it went, like, super well?”
“Yeah, thanks for giving her a nudge,” Jodie said, a little hesitant, “I’d just been sort of stewing in vague emotions for a while.”
“Thank god one of us fessed up, right?” Emma grinned, and he had to admit they were lovely together. This sweet girl deserved such luck. “That does mean, though, maybe you should keep up your end of the deal?” she added nonchalantly.
Aziraphale flinched. Perhaps she wasn’t so sweet (though she still deserved the luck).
“Come on, it worked for me! It might work for you,” she pointed out.
Aziraphale pulled a face. She had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. There were heaven and hell to consider, and— well, on second thought, heaven and hell weren’t really interested in them anymore, were they? But, surely there had been other reasons?
“I doubt he would have much interest in me,” Aziraphale offered as a half-hearted protest.
“It’s worth a try, right?” Emma said, and Jodie nodded encouragingly.
“Maybe,” was the best reply Aziraphale had, and it was a very hesitant reply at that.
“Good luck,” Emma said, and she and Jodie turned to leave. Crowley stepped past them in the doorway.
“How’s the old shop?” he asked, casual. Over his shoulder the two teenage girls gave Aziraphale very enthusiastic thumbs up. He looked away from such a ridiculous display.
“Quite alright,” he told the demon, discovering a book that conveniently needed re-shelving (then again he reorganized the shop every year or two, so there was almost always something in need of re-shelving).
“That’s good,” Crowley said, pocketing a candle on the windowsill. He’d been steadily stealing the candles, Aziraphale had noticed, and he wasn’t going to press him on why. "Care for some lunch?" he asked, leaning on the counter.
“It’s past four in the afternoon!” Aziraphale chuckled.
“A very early dinner, then,” Crowley course-corrected.
Aziraphale watched the demon for a brief moment. It couldn't hurt to be honest, could it? Well, yes it could, he quickly reasoned; honesty could be very uncomfortable, and reactions to honesty could be even worse. And yet…
“Or are you busy?” Crowley asked.
“No, not at all,” Aziraphale assured him, “but perhaps we could just stay here for a bit?”
“I suppose,” he said, dropping down into the nearest chair and promptly sprawling his limbs around into a position that looked only barely comfortable.
In the meantime Aziraphale’s corporeal form was quickly turning against him. His heart was getting faster with every beat, and his bowtie was becoming uncharacteristically uncomfortable. He hadn’t expected the mere idea of speaking frankly with Crowley to have such an effect.
The angel settled himself into his favorite chair with the book he was supposed to be reading, and tried, briefly, to get some more reading done. That quickly devolved into simply staring at the pages while thinking it all over and panicking slightly. Heaven wanted nothing to do with him now, and hell wanted nothing to do with Crowley. There were no superiors to anger, and, good lord, they’d saved the world. What was holding him back? Anything?! That was a terrifying thought; Aziraphale had never been unrestrained, ever, in any way, in over 6,000 years. But what would he even say?
“You alright, Angel?” Crowley asked, “I know you like to read thoroughly, but you’ve been reading those two pages for nearly fifteen minutes.”
He’d thought this over far too long now. There was no time like the present.
Aziraphale snapped the book shut and turned to Crowley, whose eyebrows had shot up at the quick reaction.
“Crowley, can I talk to you about something?” Aziraphale began. Almighty help him, there was no going back now.
“Shoot,” Crowley nodded, ‘where the hell is this going?’ painted all across his face.
“We’ve been…” he had to choose his words wisely, “friends for a long time now,”
“Six thousand years, if you’re generous,” Crowley agreed.
“Exactly. We’ve been through a lot together, and after this whole armageddon business—“
“I prefer to think of it as armageddoff, myself,” Crowley interjected.
“Yes, that,” Crowley wasn’t really making this any easier. “well, there’s something that’s been on my mind now, on and off, for centuries, really, and it seems only right to speak frankly about it with you, as it were,” he expected the demon to come up with some witty quip, but he kept his mouth shut. This was it. If everything went horribly wrong he could always try and play it off as his ‘love for all god’s creation’ and such, but he had to say it. He’d come too far. “Crowley, I believe I’m in love with you.”
The demon’s jaw went slack; it was subtle, but his lips drifted apart, and it was the only movement he made.
“Perhaps it’s silly,” Aziraphale quickly backtracked, “but of course I’d become fond of the only other immortal on earth—“
“Are you serious?” Crowley finally managed. Aziraphale tried to read him, gauge if such a reaction was negative or positive. All he could get off of him was shock, so Aziraphale had to commit, for better or worse.
“Very,” he told him, “but please understand, if it makes you uncomf—“
Crowley laughed in short, hesitant bursts, and Aziraphale’s whole body tensed. Of course, he found it ludicrous. Why had he thought the demon would have any reaction that wasn’t callous? (Because he wasn’t just a demon, he was Crowley, just nice enough to care for.)
“Oh, Angel,” Crowley gasped, grin spread across his face, “I can’t believe it,” christ, was he going to start mocking him now? “I never thought I’d be so lucky.”
“What?” Aziraphale asked, and in a moment it all shifted; was that sarcasm really true joy? Crowley flipped off his glasses.
“All this time, I thought you’d never— I mean, you’re an angel!” he spluttered, “You’re sure?” he asked, mouth agape.
“Yes!” Aziraphale chuckled, “I wouldn’t tell you if I wasn’t, would I? Certainly after thinking it over for ages?”
Crowley laughed again, such a genuine sound Aziraphale had rarely, if ever, heard. It was as enthusiastic as when some idiot fell on his face, but different, somehow.
“Wow!” the demon gasped, “I can’t believe it!”
Azirapahle fidgeted slightly. This was all very positive, so, he assumed he knew the answer, but he had to ask,
“D-do you, er—“
“Oh!” Crowley leapt up from his chair at the worried look on Aziraphale’s face and grabbed his hands, glasses tossed aside and forgotten. “I love you too, angel,” he told him, kneeling to be able to look up at him, “I’ve loved you since, well,” he thought it over a moment, “since near the beginning, really.”
“Oh dear,” Aziraphale flushed, “So long?”
“You’re very lovable,” Crowley replied, wearing the softest smile Aziraphale had ever seen on his face.
“So are you,” Aziraphale said, placing a hand on the side of Crowley’s face, and the demon’s face lit up anew with awe, “though that’s caused me a lot of trouble all these years.”
“I just sort of resigned myself to nothing ever happening,” Crowley admitted with a shrug. “But now…!” he added, breathless.
“Now there’s really nothing stopping us,” Aziraphale said, “all things considered.”
“Then, could I—?” Crowley hesitantly crept up until their faces were perhaps an inch or two apart. Aziraphale closed the gap between them in answer, and as their lips connected, sweet lord almighty, he wished he’d done this sooner.
Emma appeared again the next day. Aziraphale found her peeking in the windows, though the store was closed.
“Can I help you?” he asked, opening the door.
“Just wanted to see how you were doing!” she said, “On my way to see Jodie.”
“Quite well, thank you. You really needn’t check up on—
“Who’s that, Angel?” Crowley called from across the room.
“Nothing, dear, don’t worry,” Aziraphale replied, and Emma burst into the most enthusiastic grin. “Oh, no, it’s not—“ he started to try and explain himself, that nothing so lewd as what she was clearly thinking had happened, but Emma was already holding up a hand for a high five. Aziraphale hesitated. He covered his face with one hand and accepted the gesture with the other. Emma high-fived him and said,