It was a normal day. As normal as it could be, after Armaged-off (which he loved to refer to it as, much to Aziraphale's displeasure). Crowley lounged on a plush chair in the back of the bookshop while Aziraphale gently (sometimes firmly) persuaded customers to leave without purchasing any of his precious books. They were going to lunch later, as they did often (almost every day) since the End didn't happen. Sometimes they went to dinner too, which sometimes turned to drinks late at night, into the morning, into breakfast. Crowley was living his best life, spending all possible time with the newly-freed angel.
Apparently, said angel was having trouble with one particularly stubborn woman, who really wanted to buy his signed first printing of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. (Aziraphale actually hadn’t heard of it before Crowley gifted it to him, some author from the United States, but liked the story quite a lot once he read it... once he got past the horror of burning books.) Crowley, amused, listened in. Sometimes the angel’s excuses were absolutely hilarious, and made for good teasing material later. Seeing him huff and pout and flush and try to defend his actions was the highlight of any day.
“I don’t understand! I’m telling you I’ll pay double, triple whatever you want!” The woman almost screeched, her sharp voice easily carried to the back room where Crowley laid. Clearly, this woman was not good at bartering. “Do you have any idea how much this means to-”
“You are being terribly rude, I simply cannot sell this to you,” Aziraphale interrupted stiffly. Crowley could easily imagine how he would clutch the book to his chest like he was being asked to give away a child.
“Give me a reason, then!”
“Well- because I- Because this wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place! It’s- my husband gave me this book for our anniversary, he’d be distraught to learn that I sold it!”
Crowley blanched, everything else fading away into the background as his brain repeated that word like an echo in his head. Husband. Husband. Husband. He knew for a fact that he was the one who gave Aziraphale that book. Was the angel calling him…? No, no way, they aren’t even together! (Crowley would be the first to know if his 6,000 year dream finally came true. Not that he’s been dreaming of marrying Aziraphale since Eden- marriage hadn’t been invented then, after all.) It must have been something Aziraphale just came up with on the spot. But does that mean he’s thought about it before? Getting married? Specifically to Crowley? Celebrating their anniversary? Did he think about what their wedding would be like?
They don’t know many people, so probably something small. They could invite witch-girl and her maybe-boyfriend (they were working it out, having a relationship start from an ancestor's prediction is kinda weird after all). Of course, Adam could come (if he could explain to his parents how he knows these two random 'men') and bring his group of friends (and probably their parents too). Madame Tracy was amazing, she could definitely come. Shadwell was on thin ice for discorperating Aziraphale, but if his angel was fine with it (which he probably would be) then whatever.
Obviously there would be no black or white decorations. It would just remind them of Heaven and Hell (also, black was more for funerals, he found out). Aziraphale looks good in light blue, brings out his eyes. Crowley could wear… well, he’d wear anything if it made his angel happy. Probably a dress, Crowley liked those. He could get a soft, stylish wedding dress. Or maybe a suit, those weren't bad either, in whatever colour goes well with what Aziraphale wears. Ah, it didn't matter what he wore as long as Aziraphale was happy.
Aziraphale would probably get him one of those carved golden rings in the shape of angel wings, just to be a bastard. (Crowley would secretly love it.) To retaliate he would give Aziraphale one that was in the shape of a silver snake. It would be a bit strange to humans, but it's who they are. And in the end they don't really care what others think.
They could have the ceremony in a garden. Like Eden, where they first met. Good catering, that's a given. Lots of plants and flowers and cake and Aziraphale in a pastel blue suit waiting at the end of the aisle with that beautifully soft smile directed at Crowley- oh, he needs to stop thinking about this.
Crowley didn’t know how long he laid there in pure dreamy euphoria, but it had to have been a while. He finally snapped out of it when Aziraphale appeared before him.
“Alright, I've just closed shop and- Crowley? Are you alright?” Aziraphale asked, eyebrows furrowed in concern.
“Ngk,” Crowley’s remaining brain cell managed to release some kind of noise before the rest of him rebooted. “Wh- I mean, yeah, yeah I’m good, angel. Finally ready for lunch?”
Aziraphale looked skeptical, but seemed to let it go. “Yes, alright... Oh! There's a lovely little restaurant that opened up a few blocks away, it's supposed to be delightful!”
Now that Crowley allowed himself to think about marrying Aziraphale once, he couldn't stop. Every little thing reminded him of it. That certain shade of blue, a couple walking past them, the angel's happy grins, even looking in a mirror launched him into a fantasy of himself with his long, curly hair standing next to Aziraphale under a wedding arch. (After that last one happened this morning he snapped out of it to find his hair had grown longer, down to his shoulders. He kept it.) Honestly, he was driving himself insane. And it had only been a day.
"My, that was wonderful. How about a walk, dear?"
Ah, yes. Aziraphale would call him 'dear' more often after the ceremony, maybe even 'dearest' or 'my love'. Sweetheart, honey, love, husband, pet, oh the possibilities are endless. Of course, he'd just stick with 'angel'. Maybe 'star,' or 'starlight,' if the moment was right, but mostly 'angel'. Aziraphale would always be his angel, the only real angel. The best, most perfect, gorgeous, soft, kind, absolute bastard of an angel.
Right, right, what about their last names? Would they change them? His human name is Anthony J Crowley. They could hyphenate? No, it'd be weird if Aziraphale's name had 'Crowley' in it. Oh, technically Aziraphale's name is actually Ezra Fell. Anthony Fell sounds good. He didn't mind getting rid of 'Crowley' completely, for the sake of their names. (Thankfully he didn't make Crowley his first name. Crowley Fell would be a bit too on the nose.)
Crowley jerked sharply at Aziraphale's shout, immediately fixing his eyes on the concerned angel. The plates in front of Aziraphale were empty. He must have finished eating at some point while Crowley was lost in his head. Oops. "Sorry, what?"
"I asked if you wanted to go on a walk, my dear. Are you quite alright? You've been… strange lately."
"Ah, I'm fine. Don't worry about it." Crowley waved him off as he willed his cheeks to not heat up, damnit . "Walk sounds good. St. James?"
Aziraphale squinted at him, eyes scrutinising. After a moment he sighed and nodded before moving to get up. "Very well, let's go."
They paid (blessed their far-too-stressed waitress) and left. At the park, they walked around for a bit before easily finding their usual bench and sitting down to watch the ducks. It was an average day in London, thankfully not raining. The ducks were eager for food. Unfortunately they didn't have anything for them today (especially since Aziraphale found out bread was bad for them), so their noisy quacking was in vain.
A shriek of happiness rang through the park. Crowley turned to look, and immediately spotted two young women near the water. One was on one knee, the other weeping tears of joy as she frantically nodded. She threw her arms around her new fiancé and applause broke out from the people around them.
"That's sweet. Don't you think, dear?" Aziraphale smiled, tone wistful as he gazed at the happy couple.
Crowley made some kind of noncommittal noise, eyes firmly locked on the two women as they hugged and spun each other around.
Would Aziraphale like that kind of proposal? Or would he prefer one in private, just the two of them? Would his hazel eyes get wet with tears of happiness? Would he hug Crowley like that? Have they ever hugged before? Crowley would certainly like a hug.
Maybe Aziraphale would be the one to propose. (The thought that the angel would even want to do that nearly made him blush, not that he'd admit it). Crowley wouldn't care where they are, if that was the case. In public, in private, in a dirty alleyway with a feral cat as a witness… it didn't matter as long as he could stay with his angel forever.
"Marriage is a beautiful thing," Aziraphale continued once he saw Crowley wasn't going to say anything. "At least, now that it's less about owning someone and more about love."
"You like marriage, then?" Crowley asked, not thinking.
Aziraphale squirmed a bit on the bench, then nodded slowly. "Yes, I suppose I do. Quite human, isn't it?"
"You called me your husband yesterday."
Crowley tore his eyes away from the couple, instead fixing it on the ducks. He absolutely refused to look at Aziraphale. If he did, he was afraid he'd blurt out everything. Don't tell him you loved it. Don't tell him you want it to be real. Don't tell him you haven't stopped thinking about it since then. Don't. Dont. Dont. "Yesterday, when that woman was bothering you before we went to lunch. You said the book was a gift from your husband. I gave you that book."
"O-oh," Aziraphale quieted for a moment before stuttering out, "I-I just wanted her to leave, and I- I saw she had a ring on her finger, and it was the first good reason I thought of. I didn't mean to imply… I'm sorry if it made you uncomfortable."
Oh, angel, he was far from uncomfortable.
"Eh, 's fine."
They watched the ducks in only mildly awkward silence until the sun began to set.
The next day, Crowley gave in and went to see a jeweler (using a miracle for this would seem… cheap). Another few days later, he held in his hand a silver ring shaped like a slithering snake with a small, gleaming sapphire between its tiny fangs. He got it only to satiate his mind. Not for use, of course. He could never get the nerve to do that. (Too fast, much too fast.) But that didn't stop him from thinking about it. He thought about what it would look like on Aziraphale's ring finger. How nice it would feel for the angel to have a piece of him wherever he went. The knowledge that others would see it and know. It made him far too happy to think about.
The metal was cool, soothing on a warm day. It had a nice safe spot in his pocket, which he occasionally reached a hand to rub at it with his thumb. Which was exactly what he did whenever he could: gazed off into the distance while his mind was dreaming of perfectly-grown (possibly terrified) wedding flowers and angelic smiles.
"My dear, you've hardly touched your wine. Really, I've let this go on long enough." Aziraphale huffed and set his angel-wing mug of tea down before standing up. He was actually a bit intimidating (not to mention hot… seriously, no one mention that), the way he loomed over Crowley as the demon lounged on the couch, giving him that look . "Tell me what's bothering you."
"Ngh, uh." Crowley stared up at him, trying his best to come up with something so he doesn't blurt out the truth. He knew Aziraphale knew he was kind of dazed lately, but he thought he'd have a bit more time to think before he was confronted. "I- er… it's quite warm in here."
Aziraphale looked unamused.
Crowley would've been fairly disappointed in the angel later if that had worked, but at the moment he was still at a loss for words. He gripped the ring in his pocket and swallowed tightly. "I… I want…"
"Go on, dear," Aziraphale encouraged gently.
"I want to know if… if you want to get lunch?"
Aziraphale blinked incredulously, then frowned. After another moment of silence annoyance flared in his eyes. "Do you think I'm an idiot, Crowley?"
"No! I just-I," Crowley floundered, unsure of what to say to de-escalate the situation. An angry angel was never a good thing to deal with (not unless- NO, nope). "I do want to know. About lunch, that is..."
"Yes! Erm, how about sushi?"
That, evidently, was the wrong thing to say.
"For fuck's sake! You've been sulking around for weeks staring off into space like a- a buffoon and I let you because I thought, for once , you'd tell me. After everything, surely you'd tell me in your own time. But no! You lie to me like you always do! Do you really not trust me?"
Crowley took it in. Absorbed the anger, the accusations. The only thing he could find to say was a disbelieving, "... Trust you?"
Aziraphale huffed, puffed up like a puffer fish. It might have been funny in a different situation. "Of course you don't! I should have known, even after everything you're still a demon. Demons don't trust anyone."
The metal of the ring was suddenly so cold it burned. He had to let go. As he pulled his hand from his pocket, his heart felt as empty as Aziraphale apparently thought it was. He spoke quietly, "I am a demon, you're right. Will be forever. But I have always trusted you. Always . Can you say the same?"
Aziraphale was shocked into silence, eyes wide.
"Aziraphale, will I ever be anything more than just a demon to you?"
If Aziraphale was shocked before, now he looked absolutely flabbergasted. If Crowley was in a better mood he might've laughed. Well, at least he didn't seem angry anymore. "What? My dear , I- of course you're more than just a demon to me. How could you ever think otherwise?"
Crowley sniffed indignantly, glad his dark glasses were there to hide behind. "Oh, I don't know. Maybe it was the fact that you never fail to remind me what I am. I'm a demon , you're an angel , all that. Maybe because it took you over six millenia to admit- actually, no, you've never admitted we were friends. Never. Most of the time you couldn't even admit that you knew me." Now that he started, he couldn't stop. "Maybe it was the ' You're a demon, it's what you do' or ' I don't even like you' or ' It's over' or ' You go to fast for me' or ' Fraternizing' or- or one of the thousands of other times I was nothing but an evil serpent crawling around at your feet."
"...Oh, oh my, Crowley, I'm-"
"Or maybe," Crowley interrupted, his filter thrown out the window along with his dignity. His eyes stung and he instinctively wiped at them with his sleeve, leaving wet marks. "Maybe it's just that I know, even after all this, if Heaven called you, you'd answer. If they asked you to come back, you'd go to them. You'd choose them, even after everything they did, because you're forgiving, that's just who you are. And that's- it's fine, ya know? You're good , and I love you for it. But you choose them, over and over, even though all they do is hurt you, and I feel like no matter what I do, you'll never choose me instead. And if that's true- I mean, why should I even try? What’s the point ?"
" Crowley," Aziraphale breathed out, a strange mix of disbelief and despair sparkling in his tear-filled eyes.
"What?" Crowley huffed back defensively, shoving his hands in his pockets. It took a moment, but after he realised exactly what he let slip he froze in horror.
Fuck, I just told Aziraphale I love him . Fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck- His eyes wide, mind reeling, he took a step backwards, away from the angel. "I-I didn't mean-"
Aziraphale opened his mouth to say something. Pure terror filled his head, soaked into his bones, and Crowley did the only thing he could think to do in that moment.
Crowley drove as fast as he could, truly using the Bentley's whole speedometer. It had been a few minutes and honestly he had no idea where he was. The city had long since disappeared from his windows. Green hills and the occasional sheep were the only scenery. Still, he kept going, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy by Queen blasting from the radio like it was mocking him.
Of course, he couldn't run forever. He knew that. Eventually he'd go back and have to face the inevitable rejection. He just couldn't do that, not now. Later, maybe in a few days, weeks, months. Fuck, he'd never be ready. Hopefully Aziraphale would at least keep being his friend… ish. He'd take that over never seeing him again, he always has.
Crowley had no idea how long he had driven before the Bentley decided enough was enough and promptly turned itself off. The car rolled to a stop on the side of the road, but instead of getting mad, Crowley just rested his forehead against the steering wheel with a sigh.
"I messed up big this time. I don't want to-" Crowley sniffed and raised his head back up to take off his glasses. His yellow irises had taken over completely, and were glossy with tears. "What do I do? What can I do? Too fasssst. Maybe I'll alwaysss be too fasssst. Too bloody fasssst."
The Bentley said nothing, because it was a car. A strangely sentient car, but a car nonetheless.
Crowley opened the door and slid out of the driver's seat. There wasn't much around him. He could see green hills, what looked like a small cottage in the distance, and the shoreline. After looking around for a few moments Crowley sauntered up a cliff overlooking the sea. The salty breeze ruffled his hair and stung at his eyes, making his tears fall.
The sun had gone down a while ago, but there was enough light from the moon and stars to reflect on the water. It was beautiful. Crowley always loved the stars, mostly because he made most of them. And it was the only thing he got to do as an angel that made a difference.
Crowley let out a deep, unnecessary exhale. After a quick glance around, he let his wings out, let them arch upwards in a satisfying stretch. His inky feathers rustled in the wind and he shivered before turning his gaze to the sky.
Since the Fall, Crowley hadn't flown. He wasn't even sure if he could, to be honest. He didn't forget how. How could he? It was always fun before. Although now, the mere idea of trying made his wings itch with the memory of being caught aflame. Fuck it, maybe it'll help keep his mind off of his stupid mistakes.
With a deep inhale, he took a step towards the edge of the cliff.
"Crowley!" A heavy mass tackled him to the ground before he could spread his wings.
Crowley landed hard on the grass, sputtering from shock and the white feathers suddenly pressing against his face. He flailed for a few seconds, strong hands trying to hold him still, before he recognised who it was. "Aziraphale? What the-"
"What in Heaven's name were you thinking‽" Aziraphale interrupted, fear and fury burning in his eyes. "If you get discorporated- what are you doing here?"
Crowley blinked slowly up at him. His wings were squished in a mildly uncomfortable position underneath him. However, he didn't really notice. Aziraphale's own fluffy white wings practically cocooned around them. He felt awed. He felt safe. From what, he didn't know, but it was (as loathe as he was to admit it) nice.
In the next moment everything came crashing back to him and he scowled, avoiding the angel’s eyes. "None of your damn businessssss. What are you doing here?"
Aziraphale made a soft sound and shifted to kneel on the ground next to Crowley. Then, the angel gently, but firmly, took the demon's hands in his own after he sat up. "My dear, I came to apologise."
"For so long, I was afraid. Of Heaven, and of Falling, and of… well, basically everything. But that's no excuse for how I treated you." Aziraphale gave a mildly self-deprecating smile, squeezing his hands lightly. "I never thought about what the things I said and did would make you feel. I was blind, and stupid. You were always there for me when no one else ever was, and I was an utter buffoon for not seeing you sooner. And now, I fear I may have ruined things beyond repair. It's a little late for me to say this, but Crowley, my love, I choose you. Now and forever, no matter what. Do you think you could ever forgive me?"
An angel asking forgiveness from a demon. If he wasn't so overwhelmed, Crowley would find it quite amusing- wait, did he call him his love? Love? "Ngh. I- ye- yeah, 'course."
Aziraphale's smile turned more genuine before he seemed to remember something. Letting go of Crowley's hands, he reached into one of his coat pockets and pulled out-
Crowley's eyes widened and he quickly checked his own pockets. The ring. It must have fallen out and Aziraphale found it. Fuck his life.
"You dropped this back at my bookshop, before you fled. I've never seen you wear it, my dear. Why is that? If you don't mind me asking." Aziraphale gently spun the silver snake between his fingers, admiring it, before Crowley snatched it from him. The angel just gave him an amused look.
"It, erm, it's not… for me," Crowley responded after a panicked second, turning almost as red as his hair as he slid the ring back in his jacket.
Aziraphale blinked, confused, before his expression cleared in clarity. A light blush found its way onto his round cheeks. “Oh.”
“Yeah, um, I can get rid of it if-”
“No!” Aziraphale practically yelled, then smiled sheepishly in embarrassment. “Apologies. Don’t get rid of it. I am not… opposed.”
Crowley felt his heart skip. “Really?”
“Really, love. Actually, if you don’t mind-” Aziraphale slowly twisted the golden-winged ring off his pinky finger. “I can get you a special one at a later time, but for now… Will this suffice?”
“It’s- nfhg.” Perfect. It’s perfect. There's no need to get a different one. It’s literally exactly what he imagined, but better, because this was real . Unfortunately, Crowley was unable to form good sentences at the moment. “You haven't even- I just- what- we…”
“Oh! Of course.” Aziraphale stood up, then pulled Crowley to his feet. If he noticed Crowley’s legs shaking slightly, he didn’t say anything. The angel cleared his throat, fluffed his wings, then dropped to one knee in front of the demon and gently held his left hand before smiling up at him. “Crowley, my dearest demon, I love you more than anything else in the universe. You have always been there for me, even when I refused to see it. We have spent six thousand years on this Earth together, we have watched humans come and go, watched them make new inventions and traditions. And now, since we are stuck on this Earth for the next eternity, would you please allow me to take your hand in marriage, in the human way?”
Throughout all of this, Crowley was frozen, staring at Aziraphale with wide eyes. At the end of his little speech, Crowley slowly sunk to his knees, meeting Aziraphale at the same level. He opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally remembering how vocal cords work. “Angel…”
“Oh, dear, did I go too fast?” Aziraphale asked, concerned.
Crowley felt a laugh bubble out of him, eyes leaking fresh tears. The irony of the situation finally pulled him out of his shock. “I mean, kind of. You haven’t even kissed me yet and you’re proposing.”
Aziraphale smiled. Well, it was more of a smirk, really. He looked entirely too smug, and Crowley loved it. “Well. If I kiss you, will you say yes?”
“ Yes .”
Aziraphale pulled Crowley’s hand up to his lips and pressed a soft, lingering kiss to his knuckles. For one disappointing moment, Crowley thought that was all the bastard was going to do. Then, Aziraphale let go of him and rested his own hands on Crowley’s cheek and side before leaning in slowly. Crowley let out a breath and met him in the middle, closing his eyes at the feeling of the angel’s lips against his own. They kept it chaste, slow and soft. Crowley gently slid his fingers through Aziraphale’s hair and relished in the breathy sigh he let out in response.
All too soon, Aziraphale pulled away, eyes sparkling. “So-”
“Yes, yes, yes yes yes, now shut up and kiss me again.” Crowley leaned in again, only to pout as the angel moved away with a smug grin.
“Wait a moment, dearest. Allow me to do this first.” Aziraphale pulled Crowley’s left hand from his hair and carefully slid the gold ring onto his finger. “There. Lovely.”
Crowley stared for a while before a smile slowly made its way onto his face. This was happening. This was real . He lunged forward, wrapping his arms around Aziraphale’s shoulders and peppering quick, gentle kisses all over his face.
“Oh, my! Crowley !” Aziraphale giggled, resting his own hands on Crowley’s back as he sat back on the grass.
“Shut up,” Crowley mumbled against his cheek as he stopped his onslaught of kisses, leaning fully against the warm angel. Their wings curled around them, a cocoon of black and white, feathers sliding together in a way that was almost electrifying. “I love you, I’ve loved you for six thousand fucking years, and I’m not going to stop. You’re never getting rid of me now.”
Aziraphale slid one hand up to rest between his shoulder blades, a smile in his trembling voice. “I would never dream of it.”
Their little cottage was decorated in soft blues and golds, a few tables and chairs across the backyard, along with an entire buffet from around the world (only the best for his angel, of course). Madame Tracy stood sipping a glass of champagne, watching Shadwell try to explain his profession to Wensleydale’s (concerned) parents with an amused smile. Anathema and Newt helped themselves to the apple crisp while the Them chased Dog around, laughing loudly. Even a demon could feel the love in the air.
"Hey, angel." Crowley said as he approached his angel, who was, of course, halfway through a plate of crepes. “Happy with everything?”
"My dearest husband," Aziraphale smiled softly, eyes shining. He took Crowley's hand and pressed a kiss to the golden wings on his ring finger, the silver snake on his own sparkling in the sunlight. "It's better than I ever imagined."