Chapter 1: The Angel and the Wedding Planner
Interviewed with a new client today; sweet middle-aged man who introduced himself as Aziraphale. No last name, not sure what the deal is there. I was so relieved when he mentioned his fiancé was named “Anthony”, man looked about as straight as my last girlfriend. I’ve done the whole gay-person-making-an-expensive-mistake wedding before, and it’s just heartbreaking to watch. Aziraphale seems like a real angel, I’m so glad he’s found someone special.
Trying not to get too excited, but I really want this one. Aziraphale would be so easy to work with, and I’ve already got ideas for making their day special. Plus, when I brought up budget, he sort of waved it away and said it “wouldn’t be a problem”. Adorable, gay wedding with a laid-back client and infinite money? Friggin dream job.
Gonna draw up a mood board tonight, meeting the two of them next week to show them my ideas and, hopefully, sign a contract. Only problem with Aziraphale as a client is he’s maybe too laid back, with that kinda “oh anything’s fine” attitude, but I drew out a few details I can use. He used to own a bookshop, and apparently Anthony really likes vintage cars, so I’m thinking of a sweet, old-fashioned sort of look with creams and browns. Not too frilly, but something romantic. I get the feeling these two have been dating for just about forever, they deserve a little romance.
I got the job! Met with Aziraphale again, gonna call him and his fiancé the A-couple for my notes. Crowley (that’s Anthony, but Aziraphale always uses his last name so I’m going to do the same) couldn’t make it, he had some sort of work thing. I got the impression he works in finance. Tricky, cutthroat business with a difficult boss, but I think he’s trying to retire? Aziraphale sort of dodged all my questions on the topic, I guess it’s a bit of a sore spot.
Anyway, mood board proposal was enough to get me the job, and Aziraphale was so sweet about how much he liked my work. We talked a bit about guest lists so I could get started scouting venues, and it looks like it’s going to be a small wedding. Neither of them have family in the picture (sad, but not uncommon with queer couples) so it’s just friends being invited. They have a teenaged godson, Adam, who they’re close with, so I’m going to find a role for him in the wedding party. Probably not doing traditional groomsmen. All together we’re expecting a list of 20-40, so I’ll be scouting for someplace beautiful and intimate. I know a few queer-friendly village churches that might work, and some lovely gardens. We’re aiming for a summer wedding, so I’ll have to find something quick or use that infinite budget to encourage places to become available.
Aziraphale got a call from Crowley midway through the meeting, and I left the room to let him take it in private. I couldn’t help but overhear a bit of it, though, when Aziraphale raised his voice in alarm. It sounded a lot like “what do you mean they’re trying to kill him? He’s not even a threat!”
Hey, new job theory: Crowley’s a spy, and Aziraphale is his handler.
Jokes aside, it sounded pretty serious, but Aziraphale called me back in a few moments later and only seemed slightly rattled. He and Crowley have clearly been together for ages, they’ve got that private language full of in-jokes that old couples who are really close always seem to develop. I’m guessing “kill him” was another of those code words, or just an exaggeration.
Meeting wrapped up smoothly, I’ve got another one booked for next month to go over venues and the guest list. I sent Aziraphale off with the homework of drafting that list up, just so we get a better idea of numbers. Can’t do much more until we have the venue, but I’m going to pull together some vendors that might work in the meantime. There’s that suit guy in London who does these great matched sets for grooms, I’ll get him to pencil in a fitting date for May-ish.
Met the A-couple again today, and finally got a look at Aziraphale’s other half. I’ve been picturing Crowley as being a lot like his fiancé, maybe a bit more masc. Dignified, gentlemanly, maybe some clean-cut facial hair just starting to go grey, or little reading glasses. What I got was an aging rockstar in a crumpled shirt, thin-lapelled jacket, and friggin snakeskin shoes. His hair is bad-dye-job red, except his roots looked perfect so I think it’s his real colour. He did have glasses, but they were sunglasses, and he never took them off.
Since I finally had the two together, I asked for their meetcute, and got back the weirdest, most garbled story ever. The two of them kept falling over each-other to make corrections or add details, few of which followed logically. By the time Crowley got to “yeah, and that’s about it really” I was completely confused. I got that they met at some sort of garden, and then worked at rival companies for awhile? Crowley asked Aziraphale out first, and it took them awhile to start dating.
After the story is when things got difficult: the two of them have incredibly different tastes. Anything Aziraphale liked was “too froo-froo”, everything Crowley got excited about was “a bit much, don’t you think?”. I was worried at first that Crowley was the type who’d walk all over sweet Aziraphale to get his way, but he ended up giving into his fiancé’s preferences at every turn. I absolutely didn’t expect to have to stop Aziraphale, of all clients, from taking over a wedding.
Crowley did speak up to absolutely veto a church wedding, even when I explained they’d done secular queer weddings before with no problem. Fair enough, I’m not going to fault a gay man for having issues with religion. For once, both of them agreed a garden venue sounded lovely, and we’ve narrowed it down to three places to visit before making a decision.
Oh, we more-or-less nailed down the invite list to twenty six, with plans for thirty with some late additions. Which is great, because one of our venues only seats thirty. Neither of them has a huge social circle, so at least that part was easy. I suggested making Adam the ring-bearer for the ceremony, he’s a bit old for it but they seemed to like the idea, and Aziraphale asked to have their godson’s friends included as pages. Crowley looked a little concerned about the plan, but Aziraphale said something to him I couldn’t make out that seemed to soothe any worries. We’re not having anyone else in the wedding party, so I only have four kids to wrangle, and I can hire some assistants for the big day. I’m not gonna say this wedding will be easy, because that’ll jinx it, but I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be one for the portfolio.
Chapter 2: Probably Spies
Thank you everyone who has left a comment, kind words about my writing always make my day :)
I've finished the writing for this fic, barring a few tweaks, so expect an update every 1-2 days.
Scouted venues with the A-couple today, I was able to get them all lined up in one afternoon. It’s amazing how free with their time people get when you explain you’re planning for a very busy, very well-to-do couple.
The two of them are legit adorable together, despite being very different people. Or maybe because of that. They kept sneaking chances to hold hands or give each-other a quick peck on the cheek, like a new couple afraid of getting caught. It’s a little sad, too; I don’t know how old they are exactly, but homosexuality might still have been illegal when they started dating. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been, especially for Aziraphale, who looks like he might faint at the idea of breaking the law.
Crowley is a little strange. Maybe it’s because I’ve talked more with his husband-to-be than him, but I think I’ve picked up some protective instincts from Aziraphale. Crowley doesn’t like being thanked, and goes out of his way to not look like he cares about stuff. You just want to give him a hug and ask “who hurt you?” so you can go exact revenge. I mean, I won’t, because he’s my client and twice my age and engaged and that would be super creepy, but that’s the vibe.
Still haven’t seen him without his sunglasses.
Anyway, venue viewing went great. We settled on a pretty country garden with an attached tea shop that will seat a comfortable thirty. They allow outside catering, which is good because Aziraphale brought along a list of seventeen bakers he wants to try. He’s added a couple of names to the invite list, some people from his book club, but we’ve still got plenty of wiggle room.
Oh, another weird thing: we booked the exact date and time we wanted. Weird, because the owner told us right up that she was already booked solid in July, so we’d have to settle for one of our back-up dates, but after the tour she came back with news that the couple in our exact preferred time slot had canceled! Aziraphale gave Crowley this Look, as if he’d just done something wrong, and Crowley just shrugged and said something like “oh, they probably canceled for something better, like a free honeymoon in Paris.” After that, Aziraphale said they’d take the date, and we put down the deposit.
The weirdest bit was, the owner took me aside after to ask how they’d heard, the couple that canceled really had won some sort of sweepstakes to visit Paris for free over that weekend. I have zero idea how Crowley could have known, and I am legitimately starting to take my spy theory seriously.
But a job’s a job, and I guess even spies need to get married.
I have been to twenty three cake tastings in four days, and I feel sick.
Aziraphale has narrowed it down to his top four bakers. Crowley, who looked about as green as me by the end, helped me look through floral arrangements while his fiancé sampled strawberry shortcakes and triple chocolate cakes and lemon cream cakes, calling us both over to try his favourites.
A-couple flirted for fifteen straight minutes over some joke about angel’s and devil’s food cake that I didn’t get. Was almost as saccharine as the cakes. Crowley calls Aziraphale “angel” as a pet name, which is fucking perfect and I need to work that into the wedding somehow.
Crowley is a little awkward when you get him alone, like he’s not used to having calm, civil conversations. Great eye for colour, though, and it turns out he gardens. Our palette is based on what will be in bloom at our venue, so lots of greens, rose-reds and -pinks, and some soft blues. Crowley found some photos of this gorgeous centrepiece arrangement built around cut apple blossom branches, and I’m going to look around for a florist who can duplicate it. Might have to ask Molly: yeah we broke up, but she still owes me a favour, and her uncle owns an apple orchard.
Anyway, Aziraphale says he’ll call on Monday with a final decision on the cake. He bought something from every single bakery we visited; cupcakes, pastries, bread, even full cakes from two of them. My trunk was full up with boxes and neatly folded paper bags at the end of every day when I dropped them off at their (adorable, picturesque) cottage, and it took all three of us to get everything inside today.
One other reason I feel sick: I nearly ran into someone on the way home. It was a close fucking thing: I swear, one second I was driving down an empty country road, the next there was this man standing right in the middle of it, looking right at me and not moving a muscle. I slammed on the breaks, and just barely bumped him as I stopped. He didn’t budge at the impact, but slowly walked over to my door.
I rolled down the window because, you know, I’d just hit the guy. I only opened it halfway because he was seriously creepy. He looked like he’d just rolled out of a ditch, with scraggly blond hair and an old trench coat that might once have been light grey. And his eyes… they were black, like all black. Stoned or high or something, I don’t know, but it was seriously unnerving. On top of all that, he smelled like shit.
The first thing he said to me, before I could even apologize, was “where’s the boy?”. I’m not sure what I said back, something along the lines of ‘what the fuck are you talking about?’ but marginally more polite. He just asked again, more urgently:
“Where. Is. The. Boy?”
I am not ashamed to say: I fucking panicked. I slammed my foot down on the pedal just as creepy-guy reached for the door, and by some miracle my car gunned to life faster than he could grab it. I took the road home at way over the speed limit, and ran from the car to my door faster than I’ve ever run before.
So yeah, that was terrifying. I’m going to spend the rest of the night eating leftover stew and calling my mum, which I hope will calm me down enough to get a decent night’s sleep. Lots to do tomorrow, I’m going to need it.
Chapter 3: New York to London
Thank you, again, to everyone who's taken the time to leave a comment. Hearing people enjoy a story, or speculate on what's coming next, is one of the highlights of being a writer :)
Today was really weird. I feel like, if I don’t write it down while it’s fresh, I’m not going to believe myself later.
First, plan updates on the A-couple: string quartet booked for the ceremony, burned a mix CD instead of hiring a live DJ during the reception to save space. Aziraphale has taken charge of catering, and somehow convinced the head chef at the fucking Ritz in London to plan and prepare a custom six-course tasting menu for the event ($$$$$?!). Talked to Molly about flowers, it was awkward but she’ll do it. She still looks so beautiful when she’s working, surrounded by flowers and wearing one of her pretty sundresses...
Okay, weirdness log:
I was running late for an appointment at the A-couple’s cottage to talk wedding invites, since I’d misplaced one of the samples (I know, unprofessional. Must tidy up file system this autumn). When I got there, the door had their little “we’re out enjoying the garden” sign up, so I walked ‘round to the back gate. I stopped short when I heard an unfamiliar voice with an American accent talking from inside the garden.
I’m going to write down what they said, as best I can remember:
“-can’t just let him run around down here, he’s a public menace. Even you have to see that.” The American sounded like he thought of himself as too important to be wrong about things.
“He’s not any sort of menace.” That was Aziraphale. “And how would you know, you’ve never even met him!”
The American laughed. “I don’t think I need to meet the Antichrist to know he’s a problem. Even downstairs agrees with us on this one, Aziraphale. This is too unprecedented to ignore.”
I was getting the feeling that Aziraphale would appreciate an interruption, so I knocked on the gate and let myself in. The American looked… well, American. Short hair, business suit, bit arrogant. Like some fancy New York stockbroker straight out of the movies. He was standing by the rose bushes with Aziraphale, while Crowley lounged on a deck chair at the other end of the garden, reading the paper.
“Sorry to interrupt,” I lied, “I’m here about the invitations?”
The American turned to stare at me, then back at Aziraphale. “Why is there a human in your garden?”
(He definitely used the phrases “the Antichrist” and “a human”, I did not mis-hear them. American slang? Spy slang? Remember: google this.)
Aziraphale straightened up to his full height. “This is Miss Jones, she’s my wedding planner.”
The American laughed again, now with an edge of meanness. “Why would you need a weddi-“ he stopped mid-sentence and looked over his shoulder at Crowley. “Oh, oh that’s just gross.”
I stiffened, preparing to launch into my love-is-love speech, but Crowley beat me to it by yelling “you’re not invited!” at the American, without even bothering to look up from his paper.
The American wrinkled his nose, then straightened out his already-straight suit. “We’re going to find the boy, Aziraphale. You can’t keep hiding him forever.”
Something happened next that I can’t really explain. I got this… sense, in my mind, telling me not to be afraid. Not words exactly, more like a very sudden, very specific emotion. A second later, something about Aziraphale changed, and he became terrifying. Not creepy, like the man in the road, but awe-ful, in the original sense. Like an eagle coming right for your face, or an erupting volcano. I heard him speak with a voice like a thousand trumpets:
“Get out of my garden.”
The next thing I knew, the American was gone, and Aziraphale was back to normal, offering me tea and cress sandwiches. The rest of the appointment went completely smoothly, we picked out some classic hand-calligraphed invitations and settled some future appointment dates. Neither Aziraphale nor Crowley brought up the American, and something in my gut told me I shouldn’t ask.
My gut also said I should forget the whole thing ever happened, but I guess I’m a bit stubborn, and curious. What the hell have I gotten wrapped up in with these two?
Aziraphale has invited the rest of his book club, and his local grocer, bringing us up to twenty nine guests. He asked for some extra blank invitations, I am getting worried. Gonna go ahead and book a tent and extra table, just in case.
Went into London today to coordinate with some vendors and supervise suit fittings for the A-couple. Aziraphale is wearing this lovely classic-cut tailcoat in a pale cream silk, and we found Crowley a much more modern-cut suit in black. I’m tying it together with reverse-matched cravat scarves: black with white and vice-versa.
I was able to catch Crowley alone during his fitting to show him one of the surprises I’ve been working on: a custom carved cake topper featuring the two of them, with angel wings and a little halo on Aziraphale. I wanted Crowley to feel involved by giving input on the design, and he was grinning while he made a few changes to the artist’s sketch. We’re ditching the halo, and giving Crowley black wings to match Aziraphale’s white ones. I think Crowley is warming up to me, he told me the cake topper was a brilliant idea, the most praise I’ve ever gotten out of the man.
Speaking of Crowley, a weird thing happened with the photographer today. We’re going with a really high-end package that includes a pre-wedding portrait session to help him calibrate colours and lighting during the event. Aziraphale sat through his just fine, but when Crowley was up, he refused to take off his sunglasses, saying he plans to wear them at the ceremony anyway. Eccentric, but fine, whatever. The weird bit was, as soon as the photographer took his first picture, his camera burst into flames.
Chaos ensued. I panicked, Aziraphale panicked, the photographer panicked, Crowley sat there nonplussed and said something like “oh yeah, that happens sometimes”. Someone put the fire out, and Aziraphale and I calmed down enough to help the photographer, who was starting to hyperventilate.
When he could finally talk properly again, Aziraphale somehow convinced the photographer to try the picture one more time. By some absolute miracle, his camera still worked perfectly. This did not even make my top three list of weirdest things to happen around this couple.
What might make that list is seeing the man from the middle of the road again. We were all three walking back to our cars - we’d driven down separately, but parked in the same lot - when I spotted him across the street, lurking right in our path. I must have made some kind of reaction, because both of them stopped talking and followed my gaze.
Aziraphale put a hand on my shoulder, exchanged a look with his fiancé, and Crowley stalked purposely towards the man from the road. I explained to Aziraphale what had happened the first time while Crowley approached the man, exchanging angry words I couldn’t hear.
I thought they were going to come to blows, until Crowley pulled something neon orange out from under his jacket. I’m pretty sure it was a water gun, but the man looked at it like it was an AK-47. Crowley said one more thing, and the man took off running, disappearing around a bend after a block.
(Gun-hidden-as-a-toy lends weight to the spy theory, but how the hell do you explain the camera fire?)
Aziraphale apologized profusely, as if it was somehow their fault the man had been there, and Crowley insisted on giving me a ride home and having someone get my car back to me by morning. In hindsight, I’m not sure which would have been more frightening: driving alone and seeing that man again, or being in a car with Crowley at the wheel. Never. Again.
Oh, and to end a weird day on a sour note, I went and forgot my briefcase in the back seat of their car! It was mostly wedding samples and some phone numbers I have backups for, but it’s going to be annoying to work without it. Oh, and that reception music CD that I keep meaning to put elsewhere (reminder: clean briefcase!) I’ve already texted Crowley (Aziraphale is not tech-savvy) that I can pick it up at our next appointment, so I’ll just have to plan around that for the next week or two.
Aziraphale has invited his local librarian, her two boyfriends, and their kids. We are up to thirty eight guests plus children. I am approaching a state of zen-like calm about the situation, like floating in the eye of the storm. I have ordered more tables.
(Reminder: reserve double-wide parking spot for grooms at event and rehearsal dinner. Crowley plans to drive them both in himself in that Car From Hell.)
Aziraphale vehemently vetoed Crowley’s idea of toffee apples as wedding favours. We’re going with little potted plants instead. Sourced those today, they come in next week. Bought sixty, just in case. Hand-delivered a rehearsal invitation to a Ms. Loquacious after lunch, her first one got lost in the mail.
No more weirdness since last entry, and only two weeks til the wedding. Hope we’ve seen the last of it.
Knock on wood.
Chapter 4: The Rehersal
I ended up adding several extra paragraphs to this chapter, largely thanks to some lovely comments (and also because, upon rereading it, the pacing felt a little off). Enjoy!
Attempted to explain to Aziraphale that you can’t invite more people to a wedding a week before it happens and expect your caterers and rental companies and venue to keep up. He apologizes profusely for any inconvenience he had caused me, and promised he’d speak to everyone, then handed me four more names for the list.
I am a professional. I am going to make this work and it is going to be fabulous.
At least we’ve somehow had a 100% rate of RSVPs/with regrets, all delivered promptly a day or two after each invitation. I don’t know whether to attribute this to more inexplicable strangeness, or to no one wanting to disappoint Aziraphale when he asks them to reply promptly.
The last few days have been weird, but good-weird. We’ve had all the usual pre-wedding hiccups: cutlery rental double-booked, sour cream shortage at our bakery, Molly having trouble with the fresh apple blossoms. Thing is, every time I mention a problem to the A-couple, it’s gone the next day. Other people cancel, sour cream turns up in fridges, apple trees blossom overnight. When Aziraphale first told me “not to worry” about his expanding guest list (we’re up to 44) I just thought he was being optimistic. Now, I’m pretty sure that everyone will just somehow, magically fit in the tearoom. Crowley even told me not to bother making bad weather plans, and I’m taking him up on that.
I’m looking ahead to the rehearsal now, and everything seems clear. We don’t have much of a wedding party, so the couple has invited just a few close friends to the rehearsal and dinner. One of those friends, a woman named Anathema (weird names follow these two everywhere, I swear), is acting as their officiant. We’re emailing back and forth on the ceremony script, and I think we’ve settled on the final version.
Oh, and the cake topper showed up this afternoon! I think they’re really going to like it, the artist really captured their likenesses (with added wings, obviously) and the pose is so sweet. It helped me remember why I do this job in the first place: because people fall in love, and that’s worth celebrating.
(Now if only I could do something about my own love life. Seeing these two together has really driven home what an idiot I was with Molly. They’ve been dating for like a billion years, but they’re still showing each-other their love every day: holding doors, remembering favourite desserts, giving little gifts. Time to face the facts: I took Molly for granted.)
Yesterday I got my hair done, organized a rehearsal dinner, and nearly died.
Where do I fucking start?
Okay, first I’ll pat myself on the back: the rehearsal went off without a hitch. Adam and his three friends proved easy to wrangle, Anathema is a confident speaker, and the couple themselves remembered every step flawlessly.
Then, we got to the rehearsal dinner, and things started going wrong.
First problem: one of the guests, a Sergeant Shadwell, got drunk on the way to the restaurant. His wife, Tracy, was holding him up, and trying to pull him away while he asked about my nipples. Gross, but I’ve dealt with worse.
Second problem: I put the wedding reception mix CD in to play for background music, and I guess I mixed up my files because it started blaring Bohemian Rhapsody at full volume. I swear I played it back fine at home, but I’ve had that thing in my briefcase for months now, so who knows. I got my phone hooked up to the speakers instead, thank God for Spotify.
Third problem: after the appetizers went ‘round, half the restaurant exploded.
Yeah, maybe I should have just led with that.
I’m going to write down my best guess at what happened, but things got hectic and very, very weird, so some of this might be wrong. The first thing I remember was a high-pitched screech, followed by the sound of breaking glass. Everyone turned to look, obviously, and then that whole wall of the restaurant just, exploded. I was standing pretty close, so it threw me right back, and one of the (gorgeous, original Edwardian) flying bricks clipped my left arm pretty good (I am writing this in a cast, so, yeah).
Somewhere between four and eight people walked through the hole. The American from the garden was there, and the man from the road, and others I didn’t recognize. The American was brandishing a rehearsal invitation (I spent six hours sourcing parchment in that exact shade of red to match the restaurant bricks, I would have recognized one of those invitations anywhere). He said something to the others, along the lines of “the boy has to be here somewhere!”
Anathema had already rushed over to the children by the time I remembered they could be in trouble. All of them but Adam stayed put, while he started walking towards the invaders. Aziraphale and Crowley… I swear it looked like they had wings. Like the cake topper.
The perv sergeant screamed and charged, Crowley brandished his water gun again. The man from the road went after Anathema, who started chanting words I couldn’t understand. The American pulled out an honest-to-God broadsword, and Aziraphale squared off to face him with a butter knife.
I think I recovered enough to stand up and say something at that point. Because I’ve been through a lot over this wedding and I’m the one writing this down, I’m going to say it was “leave my clients alone, you ruffians, or you’ll have Alisha Jones: Wedding Planner to answer to! I’ve kicked out drunk uncles and cleaned up vomit and squeezed brides into dresses half their size, bring it the fuck on!” Or something equally brave.
The American was, like, four feet away. He hit me with the butt of his broadsword. The last thing I remember seeing before I passed out was Adam, the thirteen year old kid, rising into the air and starting to glow.
July 22nd, continued
I clearly need a holiday, because apparently my first words when I woke up at the hospital were “what time is it?! I have to be at a wedding!” The doctors made me rest all night, and I know that Aziraphale and Crowley stayed too because I heard them arguing when I woke up sometime at butt o’clock in the dark. Aziraphale was talking about canceling the wedding, saying Adam was still in danger. Crowley was talking him out of it.
It must have worked, because when I woke up next, the wedding was still on. I’ve only been awake for half an hour, but so far I feel amazing, except for the whole broken arm thing, and even that doesn’t hurt. I want to say it’s like a miracle, but… I know it seems crazy, but that’s feeling too close to reality right now.
Luckily, I hired two assistants for the big day, so one of them is bringing me my outfit while the other double-checks preparations at the venue. The doctors won’t let Anathema out just yet, they say she’ll be fine but needs another day of rest, so I do need to find a last-minute officiant.
Compared to yesterday, that’s not even making my worry radar.
Okay, assistant just came in with my stuff. Gonna change and do makeup real quick, I have a wedding to supervise for two men who quite possibly just saved my life.
It’s a bit past 1am now, the guests are still drinking and dancing, and I’m hiding away in the bathroom to write this down before I forget any of the details.
Today (technically yesterday now) I ran a wedding. It was a really beautiful wedding, actually. Molly came through with the flowers, and my combination of white tablecloths and black vase centrepieces really tied the eclectic flower colour palette together. The guests (final count: 48 and six kids, plus the Them) admired the cake and enjoyed the signature cocktails and some amazing wine at the pre-ceremony reception, and Anathema’s boyfriend neatly stepped into the role of host in her absence. I even found an easy last-minute officiant: turned out Tracy got ordained online a few years ago for a different wedding, and she was happy to help.
The ceremony went… strangely. The couple had decided to have Crowley walk down the aisle to meet Aziraphale at the garden altar, a square-trimmed bush we decorated with cut roses. Both of them had that perfect lovestruck look when they saw one-another, and Aziraphale was beaming like the sun by the time Crowley got to him. The string quartet played flawlessly, the traditional wedding march wrapping up at precisely the right moment.
An anticipatory hush fell over the garden, as we all held our breath until Tracy spoke. Except, the voice that came out of her mouth wasn’t hers. It was still a woman’s voice, but a little deeper, and with a slight North American accent. Aziraphale, and then Crowley, looked absolutely stunned as she got started, and they seemed to recognize the voice that was speaking.
I can remember every single word she said, even though none of it was on-script. I’m going to write it all down, in case that changes, but I don’t think it ever will.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today because two beings did something that no one expected. Well, no one but me, anyway. While everyone they knew was telling them to fight at every turn, they went ahead and fell in love instead. It didn’t take a miracle, it didn’t take perfect good or pure evil, all it took was two people making the decision over and over to care about the world, and eventually, to care about each other.
“Love isn’t perfect, because the world isn’t perfect. The universe already had one perfect thing, making another one would have been pretty pointless, now wouldn’t it? Love can be fickle, and petty, and selfish, it can be founded in lust or gluttony, and it can hurt just as much as it heals. But choosing to care, choosing to love, is the only thing that keeps this world spinning.
“Oh, and before you ask: Crowley, your answers are yes, no, they’d never believe you, and yes. Aziraphale, your answer is also yes, but I’m not going to make a habit of it. Free will is there for a reason. Adam will be safe, consider it a wedding gift.
“Now, Principality Aziraphale, do you take the demon Crowley, serpent of Eden, to be your wedded spouse, from now until eternity?”
Aziraphale, looking at Tracy with an expression he usually reserved for his now-husband, said a quiet “yes, yes of course.”
“Crowley? Same question.”
Having not yet gotten past ‘stunned’, Crowley eventually stammered out an “uuum, yeah, yeah. Obviously.” He took off his sunglasses, fidgeting with the ends. His eyes were… six months ago I would have said he was wearing contacts, but now?
“Then by the power of me,” Tracy continued, “I now pronounce you bound in holy matrimony. You may kiss.”
And they did.
The next bit got rather drowned out by applause, but Tracy snapped back to her usual self, and Aziraphale quietly told her the ceremony was over and she could go sit down again. I ran on ahead to do my job, double-checking the arrangement of sixty chairs in a room that, six months ago, could only hold thirty.
People ate, and drank, and Aziraphale and Crowley danced the first dance with reckless abandon and zero skill. I never did get a chance to replace that CD, so the music was all Queen, but no one really seemed to mind. The Them created some sort of game by the dessert table, turning over chairs to create a makeshift battlement, and the other children joined in under Adam’s command. There was a lot of laughing, and only one skinned knee.
During the third course, I overheard Aziraphale whispering to Crowley, something like “you know, this could change everything! If Gabriel and Michael and all the rest know that She doesn’t mind, that we’re all supposed to make choices-“
“Thought of that already, angel,” Crowley replied. “Already got the answer: they’d never believe us.”
“Oh, right. I suppose… they’ll just have to figure it out on their own, same as us.”
“Now, that I can drink to.” Crowley raised his flute of champagne.
“To world peace and harmony built on mutual love and understanding between historical enemies?”
“No. To us.”
Aziraphale smiled, and raised his own glass to clink against his husband’s.
So that’s the story of how I planned the weirdest, most expensive, most important wedding of my life. The world is a strange place, more than I ever gave it credit for, but it’s also filled with fresh sour cream cake and flowers and people who follow their hearts even when the whole world tells them it’s wrong. Men who love men, women who love women, and maybe even, if I let myself believe it, one angel and one demon who are making it work. Love is love, no matter how it shows itself, and it’s more powerful than I ever could have imagined.
Oh, and there was one more little surprise for me. Aziraphale took me aside between dinner and dessert to give me a thank-you gift, from both of them of course. It’s a round-trip vacation package for two to Hawaii, all expenses paid. I think I’m going to ask Molly if she wants to come with me.
After all, I have it on pretty good authority that love is what keeps the world spinning. It’s time I gave myself another shot at getting it right.
With special thanks to Ivy, who keeps my world spinning, and who helped beta read this despite not reading much fanfiction.
And another thank-you to everyone who's left kudos and comments, especially the latter. Again, seeing people react to my writing always makes my day :)
If you'd like to see more of my fannish nonsense, my personal tumblr blog is myrastuff. Expect a lot of tabletop RPG stuff and very mixed fandom content. You can find my professional work, art and writing, as sweetingenuity on a variety of platforms (a google search turns up most of them.)
Chapter 6: Epilogue
I continue to be blown away by the kind comments left on this fic, from the one-sentence nods of appreciation to the multiple paragraphs of feedback that I've legitimately read and reread several times each to cheer myself up. I'm rubbish at keeping up on replies, so I thought I'd say thank you the best way I know how: more content. Enjoy the brief epilogue!
On a sunny day in Hawaii, a blond and a redhead walked hand-in-hand along the dirt road adjacent to a white sand beach. They could hardly have looked more different, next to one another. The redhead, all skin and bones and pointy bits, wore nothing but black swim trunks, snakeskin sandals, and novelty palm tree sunglasses. The blond, who was shorter and more comfortably round, wore a bathing suit that had fallen out of fashion before the turn of the previous century, and a pair of antique sunglasses he had dug out of a crumpled old box at the back of their cottage shed just in time for the trip. The only thing that matched between the two was their wedding rings.
“-still say we shouldn’t be doing this on our honeymoon” said the redhead, finishing an earlier thought.
“I know it’s a bit unorthodox,” the blond replied, “I just want to make sure she’s alright. She did so much for us, after all.”
“Going to take up playing Cupid in your retirement, angel?”
“A lot of people have a second career these days. Keeps you busy. Besides, the romantic trip for two was your idea.”
“Only way to stop her making moony eyes at that florist,” said the redhead, unconvincing.
Further along, the beach was owned by one of the many five-star resorts that dotted the island. A brown-skinned young lady, her hair tied up in a ponytail quite accidentally reminiscent of the surrounding palm trees, was returning to her cabana with a pair of drinks. Already lying in the cabana was another young woman, her freckled complexion currently concealed beneath sixteen layers of strong sunscreen.
“There you go, I told you they’d be fine,” said the redhead, from much too far away for a human to get a proper view at all.
“I suppose. It’s just… hard to see if our Miss Jones has worked up the courage to say something. Properly, you know, about how she feels.”
With an exaggerated, long-suffering sigh, the redhead stretched one hand over the blond’s shoulder, casually snapping his spindly fingers towards the beach. At the cabana, a waiter approached, offering the two women a bottle of rather nice champagne ‘on the house, for the lovely couple’.
“Oh,” Alisha objected, “we-we’re not a couple. Just, just friends.”
“Well,” said Molly, from underneath a truly gigantic sun hat, “we could be a couple. If you want to try again, that is.”
Alisha’s heart skipped a beat. “I want to. I mean, yes, I’d like that.”
The waiter vanished back to wherever he came from, leaving the two to share a long-overdue kiss.
Back on the road, the blond smiled. “You old serpent,” he said fondly.
“You can thank me by letting me choose lunch.”
“Oh dear Lord, not that awful canned ham business again.”
“It’s the only food they serve downstairs, you develop a taste for it.” The redhead shrugged an unconvincing apology. “Besides, you’ll like this, here in Hawaii they put it on top of sushi.”
The blond sighed, relented. “Fine, but I choose dinner once we land in San Francisco.”
“And I get to find us some proper street food in New York.”
Though he made a great show of huffing at that, the blond squeezed his hand a little tighter around his husband’s. When you’ve been in love for long enough, expressed it to each-other in every conceivable way, a little hand squeeze is all it takes to say it one more time.