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Saccharine (not even a whisper)

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I love you.

Those words formed the universe. The Almighty breathed them into existence and from them, the light of creation was born.

Three little words, full of sentiment and promise. An expression of devotion, of faith.

When the Fallen were cast out, she took the light of creation from them and with it, the words, leaving only darkness in their wake.

Crowley didn’t notice their absence, at first, so great was the void where he had once felt Her love. It took meeting an angel for him to realize what else he had lost.

It started with a fluttering in his chest, a familiar feeling from his days as an angel, but different in the way that it only reacted to Aziraphale, this beautiful, brilliant, bastard of an angel who had given away his flaming sword and then sheltered him, a demon , with his wing. He hadn't even known if he still could feel in that way until then and the relief of it all was enough to make him want to say something, want to sing this revelation from the highest point of the wall of Eden.

So, when the rain stopped and they were about to go their separate ways, he decided he'd just go for it.

"Hey, Aziraphale!" He shouted at the retreating figure, grinning widely.

Aziraphale turned, still seeming unsure as to whether or not he should regard the demon with wariness.

But Crowley didn't care. The warm feeling in his chest bolstered his courage, and he cupped his hands around his mouth to shout, "I think I-" love you.

He never did get to finish the sentence.

Crowley gagged as he felt something thick like phlegm forming in his throat. He dissolved into a coughing fit and nearly doubled over as the spasms shook his body. 

"Crawly?" He hadn't even noticed Aziraphale run up to him until he felt his hand on his back, rubbing soothing circles. "Goodness, are you alright?"

Crowley straightened up and cleared his throat as he nodded. "Yeah," he rasped out, his voice worn and hoarse. "I just wanted to say that I think I might-"

It happened again. This time, he could actually taste the words changing as they formed on his tongue. Their sweetness became cloying as they grew thick and heavy, like syrup. 

He opted to swallow it down, rather than let Aziraphale see the hideous mess his harmless sentiment had turned into. It coated his throat as it passed, leaving him feeling like he was suffocating even though he didn't need to breathe. 

"I'm fine," he eventually managed to choke out. "I should go."

Aziraphale seemed hesitant to let him leave, apparently having some internal debate as he tried to figure out whether or not it was really safe to let Crowley go off on his own in this state. Finally, he slowly withdrew his hand from where it had been resting on Crowley's back and gave him a single nod.

"Take care of yourself," Aziraphale said and the fluttering un Crowley's chest grew tenfold at the concern blanketing the angel's words. 

He had to bite his tongue to refrain from giving a voice to that feeling. "You, too," he said instead.

As he turned and walked away it took all of his willpower to keep from looking over his shoulder.

Once he felt that he had put sufficient distance between the two them, he collapsed to his knees in the endless desert, retching and spitting as a pitch black, viscous substance like tar or oil dripped from his lips. When he finished, he stared down at the mess he had made in the sand with mixed horror and disgust.

Was this the form a demon's love took? Surely not.

He exhaled slowly, his voice barely a whisper as he said, "I lo-"

More of the saccharine filth spilled onto the sand.

So, it was.

This new realization hit him like a tidal wave, and he wanted to scream, he wanted cry, he wanted to shout up to the heavens, cursing her name. How cruel. How terribly cruel to leave him with the ability to love but no way to say it.

But instead of falling into a violent rage, as he wanted, he staggered to his feet, kicking sand to hide the pitiful byproduct of his broken heart.

It was fine, he told himself. He wasn't even sure if he lived the angel, anyway. It was just a thought, probably a reaction to the first display of kindness he had seen since his fall. It was nothing. It would pass.

He continued on into the desert, repeating those words in his head, even as that feeling in his chest fell into a different rhythm, one it would hold steady for thousands of years.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Chapter Text

It quickly became clear that this… crush, or fixation, or whatever it was he had on Aziraphale wasn't something that was going to simply 'pass.' Every meeting, every conversation, every damned look the angel threw his way turned the fluttering in his chest, into a bubbly feeling in his gut, and the bubbly feeling to a warmth that radiated from limb to limb and it was all so entirely undemonic to be going weak in the knees just because Aziraphale happened to smile at him, that beautiful, radiant, perfect smile-- and bless it all, he was doing it again. Every glance, every laugh, every touch that he won from Aziraphale got catalogued away in his mind as a moment that would replay over and over whenever he and Aziraphale were apart, which was more often than not. He even took up sleeping in an attempt to get a break from it all, but even then Aziraphale just haunted his dreams. How much longer was he expected to live like this?

A long time, apparently, as history moved them from Eden to Golgotha to Rome.

Crowley had tried every imaginable way to tell Aziraphale, speaking it left him choking on that same vile slick every time, writing it left his fingers burning and blistered. What was worse, Aziraphale seemed to know something was up, that there was something that Crowley was keeping close and hidden. Fortunately, he hadn’t seemed to link Crowley’s coughing fits with whatever his secret was and Crowley had never let him see the oil that replaced the words he wanted to say. He couldn't bear to see the look of disgust that would undoubtedly claim Aziraphale’s sweet features. It would only be a matter of time, though, if he kept this up, so it was with great reluctance that Crowley resigned himself to giving up even trying to say it.

But what had once been 'I think I might kind of, sort of love you' turned into 'I am so deeply, hopelessly, undeniably in love with you that I've forgotten what it was like to not love at all.' What was he even supposed to do with that? With no outlet, no way to express it?

He was, admittedly, sulking over that very thought and drowning his sorrows in alcohol when Aziraphale found him in the tavern in Rome. And when the angel proceeded to invite him to lunch, what else could he do but accept, worries about digging himself even deeper into this hole be damned?

They reclined together at the table in the restaurant, conversing easily with each other (easy, easy , and so right , and his love grew stronger, stronger ) until Aziraphale cut himself off with a delighted little ‘oh!’ and a happy wiggle as he spotted their food arriving. Crowley gazed skeptically at the plate that had been set before him, not quite sure what to make of these slimy little morsels still resting in their shells, but Aziraphale seemed to be enjoying them well-enough. He slurped them down with contented noises, his tongue darting out every so often to chase at the juice that dripped from his mouth and Crowley hurriedly picked up an oyster if for no other reason than to stop himself from thinking about how lovely, pink, and delectable that mouth looked.

He threw the shellfish back in the same way he would a shot of liquor and instantly regretted it. He didn’t like oysters, as it turned out, he found them far too salty and fishy for his tastes (he blamed the ark. He’d had enough of seafood then to last him a few millennia and then some. He hadn’t even touched a single fish since disembarking.) Then he made the mistake of chewing and the flavor only got worse.

Aziraphale must have noticed his disdain, because his brow furrowed and he asked in a concerned voice, “Crowley, what’s wrong?”

Crowley shook his head. “‘M sorry, I can’t,” he said with his mouth full, and he opened wide and stuck out his tongue, letting the half-chewed oyster fall back onto the plate.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale admonished, his lips curling up in disgust, and Crowley filed that face away for why he should never, ever, ever let the angel see the horrid love his lips produced.

“Sorry,” Crowley muttered, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “Here, you can have mine.” He picked up one of the oysters and extended it towards Aziraphale.

Aziraphale looked between the oyster and Crowley, clearly torn between whether or not he should stay cross at the demon or accept the offering. His appetite seemed to win out, as it always did, and he parted his lips and let Crowley carefully tilt the delicacy into his waiting mouth. If Aziraphale found it odd that Crowley was feeding him by hand, he didn’t say so, his eyes fluttering shut as he savored the taste inside his mouth. So, Crowley picked up another oyster.

It was like a revelation. He may not have been able say ‘I love you,’ but this felt the same, gently pressing the rough shells to soft lips with all the care and devotion that Aziraphale showed to his scrolls and books. When some juice slipped out of the corner of Aziraphale’s mouth, he automatically raised his thumb to swipe it away. He froze, wondering where such sudden boldness had come from and Aziraphale took the opportunity to take his thumb into his mouth, licking the juice off of it with a pleased little hum.

Crowley surged to his feet so quickly that he nearly upended the entire table. “Well, that was nice!” he said hurriedly, slowly backing towards the entryway. “Thank you for inviting me, I had a great time, but oh, my! Look at the sundial, is that the time already? I really should be going, places to do, things to be, you know how it is, bye!” And then he was all but running out the door, cursing the way his heart thumped loudly in his chest and his thumb still tingled from where Aziraphale’s lips had been.

Whatever it was that was causing the words to die on his tongue, he needed to find a workaround, and fast.

---

He was in Hell, of all places, when he heard it, two demons howling in raucous laughter as one showed the other some new method they had devised to torment human souls. 

The other clapped their companion on the back in congratulations and said, “You did it, you brilliant bastard, you did it! Ah, this will make our jobs so much more fun, I fuckin’ love ya, ya beautiful son of a bitch! Ha ha!”

None of the other demons in the room paid the exchange any mind.

Crowley was no stranger to hearing the words thrown about casually; humans did it all the time. But the idea that a demon could do it, could even say the words, when he couldn't…? His blood ran cold. Maybe being a demon wasn't the problem. Maybe it was just him. Just another way in which he was flawed.

The moment he opened that door, it became impossible to close. Hateful thoughts swirled in his mind, berating him for everything he had ever done and everything he ever was. He was broken and useless. It was just him, it was his fault he couldn't tell Aziraphale. No, wait, not his fault, She made him like this. It wasn't fair, it wasn't fair! How dare She, how dare She?

He ran through the crowded halls, his sanity spiraling further and further away from him with every step. He didn't even realize where he was going until he found himself standing outside the door to Beelzebub's office.

Yes . A thought broke through the fog of his brain with sudden clarity. It was petty, it was spiteful, it was sadistic… it was the most properly demonic thought he'd had since his imagination had become plagued with reruns and play-by-plays of his time with Aziraphale.

If he was going to self-destruct, he wasn't going down alone. He would report what those demons had said to Beelzebub, he would make them pay, make them suffer for even daring to utter the words Crowley had so long needed to speak. His mind made up, he twisted the cold steel handle and burst through the door. On any other day, even considering such an action would have left him overcome with terror, but at the moment, his mind was too addled with fury to even try to be afraid.

The room was dark, with just a single desk lamp illuminating one of the few wide spaces that Hell had to offer. A steady shhhk, shhhk, shhhk echoed around the room, drowning out the ever-present background hum that always followed Beelzebub around.

Slowly, the winged back chair behind the desk swiveled around to reveal Beelzebub repeatedly dragging a blade over what appeared to be human femur to sharpen it. No, not sharpen it, Crowley realized. They were dulling it, so it would rip and tear at flesh instead of cleanly slicing through, and suddenly Crowley remembered just who he had barged in on completely unannounced and swallowed thickly, the anger that had been bolstering his confidence evaporating like water splashed into a hot pan.

If he had found anyone else using a bone as a blunting tool, he would have mocked them for being so cliche, but this was Beelzebub, Prince of Hell, a demon who would just as easily destroy him as look at him, depending on their mood.

“Crowley,” they said, drawing the name out slowly and giving the blade one last slow, pointed pass over the bone before setting them both down. “To what do I owe this… pleasure? ” Their lips twisted into a snarl and they spat the last word out like it had no business being in their mouth.

“Err…” Crowley’s frightened mind struggled to remember what had brought him here. Beelzebub’s expression was growing darker by the second, if he didn’t remember soon… “There are demons out there saying things they shouldn’t!” Ah. That was it.

Beelzebub slowly raised an eyebrow. “What things?” 

“You know…” Well, it wasn’t like he could say it. “Things!”

Beelzebub was scowling now. “ Crowley. ” It came out harsh, a warning.

“They said ‘I love you, you beautiful bastard,’ or something like that,” Crowley said hurriedly in an attempt to alleviate Beelzebub’s wrath. Then he blinked. The words. He had said the words. But how? It was impossible!

"Is that all?" they asked, apathetic to the internal upheaval currently mapping itself out across Crowley's features.

"Er…" Crowley swallowed. "Yes?"

Beelzebub sighed. "You're wasting my time," they said picking the knife back up, and for a brief, horrific moment, Crowley assumed it was meant for him.

But, apparently, Beelzebub was in one of their rare merciful moods, as they simply returned to the task of swiping the blade along the bone.

Unfortunately, Crowley had a nasty habit of pushing his luck. "B-but-" he stammered, "Demons aren't supposed to say that!"

"Oh? Is that so?" Now they just sounded bored. "And what kind of place would Hell be if we punished demons for the things they said?"

Crowley's eyes automatically drifted upwards. They both knew what kind of place.

"If that's all…" Beelzebub spun their chair back around leaving Crowley with more questions than answers. Not that he had expected Beelzebub of all people to provide any. He just counted his lucky stars that he was able to escape unscathed.

Or so he thought.

He was turning to leave when Beelzebub spoke again. “It’s not the words.”

A chill ran down Crowley's spine, and he looked over his shoulder to find that they still had their back to him. “What?”

“It’s not the words,” they repeated. “It’s the sentiment.” They finally turned back to face him and set down the knife and bone once again. Their gaze, when it landed on him, was stoic and uncaring at first glance, but upon closer inspection revealed something deeper lurking just below the surface. Crowley remembered the rumors that had floated around shortly after the Fall, the rumors that Beelzebub themself had been quick to squash with violence and fire and threats. Crowley hadn’t given the gossip any stock, then, but now, as he looked at them, really looked at them and saw something broken and clumsily put back together just beneath the surface, he began to rethink his stance

They had been involved with someone in heaven, long before the war. They had had someone special, someone they adored… someone who remained Up There while they plummeted into pits of sulphur.

“The idiots out there,” they began to explain with a slight nod toward the door, “They can say that shit because to them, it’s just meaningless, empty words. But when it’s no longer ‘ just words, ’ when the sentiment is true, they will curdle in your throat until you’re left choking on bile. You will not be able to express it, no matter how hard you try.”

The corner of their lip quirked up in a smirk, but there was no humor in that expression, just the tired embers of the fire of a fight that had long since gone out.

“Contrary to popular belief, demons can feel love,” they said, their tone becoming bitter and mocking as they rose for their chair and began to take slow, calculated steps around Crowley, like a beast circling their prey. “They just can’t tell.”

Crowley swallowed thickly, fear rising in his throat as Beelzebub’s eyes narrowed, scrutinizing him. The low hum of the room grew in intensity, until Crowley suddenly realized that it wasn’t in the room at all, but somehow in his own head.

“Of course,” they continued, their lips stretching and twisting impossibly in a mask of maliciousness as their eyes grew cold and faceted like a fly’s, making Crowley feel uncomfortably exposed and studied from every angle. “For a demon to even feel love would be a complete disgrace.” They grew closer and the hum in Crowley's head shifted in frequency until it finally focused and became clear so that it wasn’t a hum at all-- it was a buzz, shrill and constant, like a swarm of a thousand flies. Beelzebub’s head cocked to the side, just a bit too far to be natural as they inspected him. “You’re not implying that you feel love... are you, Crowley?”

Crowley shook his head, not trusting his voice not to break. 

Suddenly, Beelzebub stopped their circling and in two quick strides, they were in front of Crowley. He squeaked in surprise and it took all of his willpower not to take a step back as they leaned in close, pressing into his personal space, their breath hot and putrid with the smell of decay as it hit his face. The buzzing in his ears grew to a deafening roar, a shrieking cacophony that echoed around his skull, drowning out all sense of coherent thought. Though Crowley practically towered over them in height, there was no question as to the power dynamic at play here as Crowley shrunk in on his own body, feeling completely helpless.

For a moment Crowley was afraid they would keep questioning him, poking and prodding at his faults until he broke, but instead they gave him a slow, knowing smile and raised a cold hand to pat his cheek, their touch holding the threat of pain despite its lightness. 

“Very good,” they said, their tone once again bored as they stalked back to their desk and settled into their winged-back chair, the buzzing in Crowley's head diminishing with their retreat. “I would so hate for you to be a problem .” 

They set back to work dulling their knife, giving it a few long strokes against the bone before looking up at Crowley from under the shadow of their brow. “ Why are you still here? ” they asked through gritted teeth, voice low and seething.

Crowley didn’t need to be told twice. He bolted out of the room. Later, once the bone chilling terror stopped seizing his chest, he would contemplate their words and realize the futility of his situation. As long as his feelings were real, he wouldn't be able to tell the angel.

Which meant he never could because God, yes , God help him , he loved Aziraphale with his whole wretched heart.

---

In light of this new information, his efforts to make Aziraphale understand that he loved him increased tenfold. His thoughts kept drifting back to that time with the oysters, to how nice it had felt to act out his affections, and he thought that maybe, just maybe , if he did it enough Aziraphale might begin to take notice.

He started off with just a few small gestures here and there, bringing delicious treats when he met with the angel, a miracle for Hamlet, longing stares that he wasn't even sure Aziraphale noticed.

When they dined together, Crowley would watch Aziraphale intently, making note of every pleased look, every happy sound and pretending they were all for him. But he did more than that. He had learned to read the tiny, nuanced expressions on the angel’s face and strove to provide whatever Aziraphale wanted before he even realized he wanted it. He’d flag down the waiter for a dessert menu as Aziraphale was still scraping up the last bites of his meal, he’d have them coming with more drinks the moment Aziraphale even looked thirsty. He was always at the ready with a napkin, conjured from who-knows-where and presented with a flourish whenever Aziraphale made that slightly puckered look that indicated he wanted to delicately dab the crumbs away from his lips. Aziraphale would always smile at him and accept the favor with a grateful 'thank you, dear boy' and Crowley would add another grain of sand to the steadily growing pile that was his displays of love, and just hope that Aziraphale was adding them all up, too, so he could eventually see the elegant castle of his devotion that Crowley was slowly but diligently building him.

Over time, these gestures became grander and grander, until he was pulling off daring rescues, saving Aziraphale's books from a bombing, suggesting that they stop the bloody apocalypse together, just so they could stay here, together in their cozy little world. His heart, which had only started beating for Aziraphale in the first place, pumped pure adoration through his veins in place of blood.

But, still, Aziraphale never seemed to see, too strong was his commitment to heaven.

When Aziraphale refuted the existence of 'their side' at the bandstand, Crowley wanted to scream, he wanted to grab Aziraphale by the shoulders and shake him. If he weren't such a coward he would have yelled the words, crying out 'I love you, you idiot, I love you,' paying no mind to the crap that would drip from his tongue as he struggled to say them until Aziraphale understood or until his throat was burned raw from the effort.

But he didn't. He just walked away in defeat. A decision he would regret when he ran into a burning bookshop to find Aziraphale gone, he thought, for good.

With nothing left for him, what else could he do but give in to despair?

But then Aziraphale returned to him and soon enough, things went back to normal. Their plans to avert armageddon had, well, not succeeded , really, they had mostly just been there when the apocalypse hadn't happened, but still-- the world kept turning and that was good enough for them.

Except things weren't quite back to the way they had been, and Crowley didn't realize it until he was walking back to his flat after leaving Aziraphale at his bookshop after their lunch at the Ritz. At first, he shrugged it off, chalking it up to shock that everything had worked out well for them, for once, but the feeling lingered, long after the celebration of their triumph over their trials had ended.

There was a kind of stillness that hung around whenever they were together, like they were each holding their breath, just waiting to see what happened next. And it wasn't because they were waiting for heaven or hell to make a move, as the longer it dragged on, the clearer it became that it wasn't going to happen, yet the feeling persisted and Crowley realized that the air also hummed with expectation or possibility.

One of them was waiting for the other to make a move.

But it couldn't be Crowley. That simply wasn't possible. He'd just have to wait until Aziraphale figured things out for himself, which could take a while, as the angel probably hadn't even realized what he was doing in the first place. But that was okay. Crowley had already waited six thousand years, he could, and would , wait six thousand years more if necessary. They had nothing but time on their side, after all.

Luckily, he didn’t have to wait that long.

"Crowley!" He wasn't surprised in the least to hear Aziraphale's voice when he picked up the phone. Who else ever called him? "Thank goodness I caught you!"

"Nowhere else I'd be, Angel," Crowley pointed out. "Not really receiving assignments anymore."

"Ah. No. I mean yes! Of course! You're absolutely right, how silly of me!" Aziraphale sounded nervous, which in itself wasn't unusual as one tended to be nervous when they had a higher power aleays looking over their shoulder. But Crowley had never made Aziraphale nervous before. His proximity under the eyes of heaven had, sure, but never Crowley himself.

"Everything alright, Angel?" he asked with concern.

"Oh, no! I mean yes! Yes, everything's absolutely tickety-boo! Tip-top! Jolly good!" 

Well, that was clearly a lie, but he didn't sound like he was in danger, so Crowley decided not to press any further, at least for now. "Oookaaayyy… Did you need something, or-"

"Ah! Right! Yes! I was wondering if you might stop by the shop sometime today?"

He had been planning to anyway, but now that he had been invited, he decided not to reveal that fact. "Yeah, sure," he drawled with just a hair too much forced casualness. "When were you thinking?"

He could practically hear Aziraphale fretting on the other side of the phone. "Er, I was thinking maybe… now?"

That caught Crowley off-guard. " Now ?" he repeated.

"If- if that doesn't work, then of course whenever is good for you would be fine-"

"No, no, no," Crowley rushed to reassure him. "Now's good. I'll just, er- I'll see you in a bit, yeah?"

"Oh, marvelous !" Aziraphale gushed happily. "I'll see you soon, then. Ta!"

The line was dead before Crowley even had a chance to say goodbye, leaving him staring at the receiver in his hand in utter bafflement.

---

When he arrived at the bookshop, the sign showed it was closed, not that it had ever mattered to Crowley. He was still reaching for the handle when the door swung open and Aziraphale pulled him inside before shutting and locking it again. He was quickly ushered into the backroom, where Aziraphale gestured for him to sit on the couch. 

Aziraphale himself remained standing while Crowley made himself comfortable. He was wringing his hands together, which only made Crowley grow more concerned.

"I- I have something to tell you," Aziraphale declared finally, but didn't elaborate further.

"....Yes?" Crowley urged.

"Er… Oh, dear. Crowley, do you think you could perhaps- I- I mean, er, if you wouldn't mind terribly might you possibly be willing to- ah- take them off?"

Crowley looked at him in confusion and was about to ask for clarification, but Aziraphale beat him to it.

"You- your sunglasses, that is. Could you- could you please remove them?"

Crowley shrugged casually and complied, folding them and holding them in his lap.

"Oh, heavens." Aziraphale regarded him while leaning his face into his hand thoughtfully. "Oh, you are dreadfully expressive, aren't you, dear? I can practically see your every thought, it's so distracting. Put them back on, please."

Crowley raised an eyebrow, but, again, did as he was asked.

Aziraphale let out a soft, disappointed whine. "Oh, bother, but now I can't see your lovely eyes. Off it is, then."

Crowley sighed, growing annoyed with the proceedings. "Do you want them on or off, Angel? Decide now."

Aziraphale hemmed and hawed to himself for a solid seven minutes before he finally spoke again. "Off? Off. Definitely off."

Crowley once again removed the glasses, this time setting them far away from him on the coffee table to indicate he wouldn't be picking them up again.

Aziraphale stared at him for a good, long moment. "On second thought-"

" Aziraphale! "

"Right, right! I'm so sorry, I'm just so terribly nervous. It's just, what I have to tell you is awfully important and I'm not really sure how to go about- well, I guess I should just come out and say it, shouldn't I?"

Aziraphale sat next to Crowley on the couch. He regarded the space between them thoughtfully, then scooched just a little bit closer. Then closer still, and again, until he was satisfied. He looked up at Crowley and took a deep breath, his hands still wringing together in his lap. "Crowley," he began, his voice heavy with determination, "I love you."

Crowley could do nothing else but stare at him.

When Aziraphale said the words-- when Aziraphale said the blessed words -- he made it look so easy. They floated off his tongue like flower petals in the breeze, twirling and dancing through the air between them, their presence seeming to fill the room with warmth and light. Crowley breathed them in and he could feel them featherlight on his tongue, their taste sweet like honey. He wanted to breathe them out, to send them back into the world towards Aziraphale, just as he had watched him do so effortlessly, but the moment he even considered it, the words turned, becoming rancid and awful. 

His lips remained firmly closed, keeping the acrid flavor in his mouth contained as he swallowed it down.

But Aziraphale was still staring at him uncertainly, waiting for a response.

Crowley tried for a simple 'me, too' but he hadn't even gotten the words halfway out before they soured on his tongue, and he recalled Beelzebub's words as he swallowed them down. It's the sentiment.

He sat there miserably, wondering how he was going to give Aziraphale the answer that he needed.

Luckily, by some act of mercy, Aziraphale seemed to sense his difficulties and began speaking for him. "I hope- I mean, I believe if the past six thousand years have been any indication that the feeling is mutual, and I just thought, perhaps, now that our head offices are no longer checking in, we could finally be… together? Properly?"

In that moment, he forgot all about his curse, all about the things he could never say. His heart was too full. This was everything he had ever wanted.

"Or…" Aziraphale faltered. "Or have I entirely misjudged the situation?"

Crowley shook his head frantically. No, no there was no misjudgment 

Aziraphale's face brightened. "Then you do love me?" he asked hopefully.

Crowley nodded, nearly sobbing in relief when he was allowed this basic gesture, this small expression of his feelings.

"Oh!" Aziraphale's face broke into a delighted smile. "Oh, darling, I'm so glad!"

Crowley's heart soared. Darling !

"Oh, sweetheart!" Aziraphale was just overflowing with affection now, and Crowley was more than happy to soak it up.

Sweetheart!

"My dear Crowley!" Aziraphale grabbed his hand.

His dear Crowley!

"I love you so much!"

Crowley instantly came crashing down from his new high as he suddenly remembered.

Aziraphale noticed the change in his expression and his brow furrowed in concern. "Is that alright? Is it too much?"

No. No, it was never too much, would never be too much. "I- I can't." His voice came out raw and broken with emotion. "I can't-"

He couldn't say it. He couldn't .

Fuck it, he would try.

Maybe Aziraphale would leave, too repulsed with the wicked creature before him who couldn't speak such holy words. Regardless, Aziraphale needed to know. He needed to know that it wasn't that Crowley wouldn't say it, but that he couldn't and desperately wanted to.

"I lo-" That familiar cloying taste coated his tongue. He let the tainted words run past his lips, let Aziraphale see what Crowley had kept hidden for so long. He needed him to know, and even if he couldn't accept it, he needed him to understand. 

Aziraphale gasped, but it held none of the horror that Crowley had expected. Instead of pulling away, he drew closer, cupping Crowley's face with his hand. "Oh, heavens, Crowley, what's happening?! What's wrong, are you alright?"

Encouraged that Aziraphale hadn't fled yet, Crowley tried again. "I lov-" More of that overwhelmingly saccharine tar came bubbling up. It rolled down Crowley's chin and onto his neck. Oh, what a wretched sight he must have made.

"Oh, darling, here." Aziraphale miracled up a small metal basin and passed it to Crowley.

He took it gratefully and turned away to spit into it, determined not to let Aziraphale see this, at least. "Thanks," he muttered when he was finished. He turned back to Aziraphale, his hand trembling as he lowered the basin.

Aziraphale returned his hand to Crowley's face, rubbing his thumb over Crowley's cheek in slow, soothing circles. "Crowley, what is this? Talk to me, please."

Crowley cleared his throat. "Demons can't-" He struggled to find the right way to explain it. "We can't-" He needed to spit again and moved to turn away again, but Aziraphale refused to move the hand that was cradling his face.

"Crowley, it's fine! You can do it in front of me, I don't mind."

Warily, Crowley spit into the basin again, a string of that black filth stretching from his lips before landing with a plunk. Aziraphale gave him a small encouraging smile, and Crowley's lips tilted automatically upward in response.

"I can't say it," he said at last. "I can't say those words. Demons aren't-" He cleared his throat again. "It turns into this." He gestured at his face.

"Oh, Crowley." Aziraphale's face was anguished. "Crowley, that's alright, you don't need to say them. I already know."

"But, I want to!" Crowley cried, squeezing his eyes shut. They immediately flew open again as he felt a warm thumb swipe across his sticky lips, clearing some of the mess away. 

Crowley blinked. Aziraphale didn't seem disgusted at all .

"I know you do, dearest," Aziraphale said, miracling up a warm, wet cloth to begin cleaning Crowley's face in earnest. "Oh, you've been trying to tell me all this time, haven't you?" His eyes widened in realization. "All those coughing fits. Were they-"

Crowley nodded weakly. "Yeah," he admitted. "Well, no," he added thoughtfully. "There was that one time when I was just choking on my wine. But, in my defense, you did say the word 'cock,' so-"

" Crowley !" Aziraphale looked like he didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He placed a gentle kiss to the corner of his lips, even though Crowley was fairly certain they weren't entirely clean yet, then pulled back to look him in the eye. "Oh, my darling Crowley. Please don't worry yourself over this."

Crowley opened his mouth to object. "But-"

"I know you want to tell me, dearest, and I appreciate that, I really do," Aziraphale interrupted. "But I won't have you suffering for it, so promise me, please?"

Crowley nodded slowly. "Okay."

"And Crowley, I simply must tell you, I love you because of what you are, not in spite of it, so please don't go beating yourself up over it, okay?"

Crowley could have chuckled. Aziraphale knew him so well. "I'll try."

Aziraphale smiled and set the basin on the coffee table so that he could pull Crowley into an embrace. "You are enough, Crowley, please don't ever doubt that."

Crowley was thankful that Aziraphale didn't mention it when he began crying into his shoulder.

Chapter Text

Truth be told, Crowley had thought that dealing with his affliction would be easier once Aziraphale was aware of his feelings and he was free to act on them. He thought wrong.

At first, everything was fine. No, it was better than fine. It was like a dream. Crowley hadn't returned to his flat since he had received that strange call from Aziraphale, and he intended not to go back there for at least a month, if Aziraphale would let him. His plants knew better than to wilt, anyway.

That night, Aziraphale sat at his desk while Crowley poked around the shop. Searching through Aziraphale's record collection yielded the same, familiar results, and Crowley finally settled on a relatively new Best of Fred Astaire album he had gotten for Aziraphale just a few years ago on a whim. In a few short moments the bookshop was filled with upbeat music and Astaire's crooning.

Heaven, I'm in heaven. 

Crowley offered his hand out to Aziraphale, who readily took it with a warm smile.

And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.

As Aziraphale began to stand, Crowley gave his hand a quick tug, sending the angel laughing and stumbling into his arms.

And I seem to find the happiness I seek.

Crowley rested his chin on Aziraphae's shoulder and began leading him in large circles around the room, keeping mindful of the precarious stacks of books laid out about the floor.

When we're out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

The dance was not agile or graceful, the two of them trying to match completely different tempos to the one playing and Crowley's hips moving around far too much for a dance of this type, but it was also so them. They laughed as they stumbled around the room, tripping over each other's feet. The simplicity of just being here in this moment, together, felt so right, so perfect and Crowley's heart swelled to overflowing. He spun Aziraphale around in a quick, clumsy circle and Aziraphale gave a startled little yelp and gripped him tighter.

"Crowley!" Aziraphale said between chuckles as Crowley lowered him into a dip. "If you drop me, I swear-!" But his wide smile indicated his confidence that Crowley would never do such a thing.

"Don't worry, Angel," Crowley said, pulling him upright again. "I've got you."

"Two left feet is what you've got," Aziraphale replied, any possible sting from the words washed away by angel-soft lips pressing to Crowley's cheek. "You know," he said, casually changing the subject, "I knew Fred Astaire."

"Mmm?" Crowley intoned, not really all that interested. Astaire had been famous while he was still asleep. But the way Aziraphale was pressed against him, letting him feel every soft curve and the rumble of his voice within his chest made him desperate to keep him talking. They had slowed considerably, simply swaying together in a way that no longer even attempted to match the speed of the song.

"Mmhmm," Aziraphale hummed. "I taught him how to dance."

"How ni-" Wait . Crowley pulled back just enough to see twinkling eyes crinkled in mischief, and his favorite sweet-bastard grin playing on pink lips. Oh , how he loved this angel in his arms. "That is a bald-faced lie," he said with an air of faked sternness. 

Aziraphale's smile widened, making his cheeks perfectly round. "You almost believed it."

"Hmph," Crowley grunted, resting his chin back on Aziraphale's shoulder and tilting his head to press their cheeks together, as Astaire kept suggesting. "I did not."

"You did," Aziraphale, the First Liar, said gleefully. "You really did!"

"I did not," Crowley insisted. "You can't even dance." With their faces pressed so close, he could feel Aziraphale's mouth opening to protest. "The Gavotte doesn't count, it's out of style."

"Well, my dear…" Aziraphale adjusted the way he held him and before Crowley even knew what was happening, he was being lowered in a dramatic dip. "I can do this." 

It was nothing like the dip Crowley had done, where Aziraphale would have been able to catch himself if he should have fallen. Aziraphale held Crowley less than a foot off the ground, with no way to get his feet back under him. It was exhilarating. His arms, which had been clinging tightly to Aziraphale's neck at the sudden change in position, relaxed and he brought his hands around to smooth along the front of Aziraphale's waistcoat. This gesture of trust did not go unnoticed by Aziraphale, who smiled warmly.

He leaned down, blue eyes wide and full of excitement before fluttering shut as Crowley lifted his head and met him halfway, fingers tangled gently in Aziraphale's lapels. Their first kiss, and it was absolutely perfect.

Crowley's heart beat madly in his chest, so much love, so full. They broke apart, their lungs drawing in breaths out of need for the first time in their many millennia on earth. A slow smile spread across Crowley's face as Aziraphale lifted him with absolutely no effort and set him back on his feet. How wonderful. He felt warm and light, filled with so much love he felt he might burst.

He didn't even mean to say it, but, well… all that feeling had to go somewhere . He was looking at Aziraphale's brilliant smile, at his gorgeous eyes filled with an adoration that was entirely directed at Crowley and it bubbled up inside him, light and airy in his chest, a deceiving semblance of the thick, saccharine mess it would become.

He leapt away from Aziraphale as the twisted words erupted from his throat, making a distinct splat as they landed on the hardwood floor. 

Crowley stared at the mess he made, at the black sludge creeping slowly across the floorboards. His body moved on autopilot, backing him further and further away until he collided with one of Aziraphale's bookshelves. Some of the books jostled each other on the shelf, but luckily, none fell. 

Still, Aziraphale winced, more out of reflex than any actual fear for his books.

Crap. "I…" Two days, six hours. He hadn't even made it three whole days without breaking his promise to his angel, and then he had made a mess of his floor, he had made a mess of his bookshelves, he had made a mess of- Crap, crap, crap . He had made a mess of Aziraphale's waistcoat. Aziraphale' beloved waistcoat that he had worn since… since… Well, it hardly mattered now. It was destroyed. Just a single drop of corruption, small, yes, but unforgivable in Crowley's mind, marred the front of it, just below the breast pocket. 

"I… I'm so sorry," he croaked out. "I didn't mean to."

"Crowley, it's okay," Aziraphale said, stepping carefully around the puddle on the floor to approach him.

Crowley cringed. He hadn't noticed it, yet, then.  He inched slowly along the bookshelf. "I… I should…" He bolted, making his way out of the bookshop, hardly even hearing the little bell as it jingled upon his exit. He was a coward, but he couldn't bear to see Aziraphale's face once he realized what had happened.

The Bentley was parked outside the shop, and he scrambled inside, peeling away from the curb just as Aziraphale rushed out of the bookshop to try and stop him. A brief glance showed Aziraphale standing out on the pavement, looking upset.

"Idiot!" he shouted, hitting his hand on the top of the steering wheel. How stupid he had been to actually think he could make this work? A demon being allowed to love an angel? What a joke.

Before he even realized where he was going, he found himself pulled up along the curb outside his flat. He couldn't get out of the car, though, as he recalled his hope that he wouldn't return for a month and hating how absolutely silly it sounded now.

He didn't know how long he sat out there before a gentle tapping sounded against the passenger window. He looked up to see Aziraphale patiently waiting to be let in.Briefly, he considered just driving away again, but he did t want to spend the rest of his life hiding from Aziraphale. He leaned over and pulled up the lock.

Aziraphale climbed in and closed the door behind him.

There was silence for a few long minutes and eventually Crowley sighed and started the car. "Come on, Angel, I'll get you home."

The drive back to the book shop was silent, with out any of Azuraphale's usual anxious cries as Crowley sped through the streets. Soon enough, he parked outside the bookshop, staring at his steering wheel as he waited for Aziraphale to get out of the car.

Aziraphale didn't budge. "Please come back inside, Crowley."

Crowley squeezed his eyes shut. He still hadn't noticed then.

"You don't know what I did," Crowley whispered "I ruined your-"

"Crowley, I'm well aware of what happened to the waistcoat," Aziraphale said gently. With an easy wave of his hand, the drop disappeared. "Is that better? Will you come in, now?"

It might have been. But Crowley remembered the paint ball. "But you'll always know it's there."

Aziraphale let out a huff of breath. "I hardly care about that. I'm not upset, Crowley. I promise. Come inside?"

Crowley looked at the bookshop in consideration. "You sure?" he mumbled. "Things spilling out of me, might mess up your books."

Aziraphale pretended to think about it.

"Then I'll simply have to egg your car so we'll be even," he answered with a smile that was not resting on his lips, but was dancing in his eyes and playing with his tone.

Ah . Right.

For all that Aziraphale was sweet and loving and good and kind, he was also a bastard.

Crowley’s bastard.

And this was the bastard he had fallen in love with.

Crowley’s lips quirked into a fragile smile. “You’re awful,” he said fondly as he climbed out of the car.

Aziraphale smirked. “You’re too kind, my darling.”

---

Crowley was more careful after that. The words still slipped out every once in a while, but he managed to keep them from spilling past his lips, keeping them contained in his mouth until he either swallowed them down or spat them out.

He was close to reaching his goal of staying away from his own flat for a month, and Aziraphale seemed more than happy to have him around, doting on him in a way Crowley had never received before.

It was everything Crowley could have ever hoped for and more.

Towards the end of the month, Crowley found himself on Aziraphale's bed (which he knew hadn't existed until roughly ten minutes ago,) with an eager angel straddling his lap.

Crowley gasped as Aziraphale focused his attention on his clavicle while deftly working the buttons of his shirt open with the hand that wasn't tangled in Crowley's hair. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you've done this before."

Aziraphale chuckled against him. "I'll try not to take offense to that, dearest. And while I think it should go without saying, I assure you that I never felt for any of my past lovers the way I do for you."

After six thousand years, it did go without saying, but it was still nice to hear, and… wait.

"You have done this before?" He didn't know why he was surprised. Aziraphale always did have an unquenchable curiosity when it came to earthly pleasures.

Aziraphale pulled back warily. "Is that a problem?"

"Oh." Crowley would have been lying if he had said that he wasn't a little jealous. But that didn't mean he ever wanted to make Aziraphale feel bad about enjoying himself. "No!" he rushed to reassure. "No, Angel, of course not. It was just… unexpected, is all."

Aziraphale sniffed primly. "I don't see why."

Crowley let out a huff of laughter. "Well, yes, in hindsight it seems like it should have been obvious, given what you like and how you look."

Aziraphale raised his brows skeptically. "And what is that supposed to mean?"

Crowley leaned in to give Aziraphale a small peck on his pouting lips. "Only that you've never been shy about your indulgences and that it's unsurprising that you've had offers, given how handsome you look."

Aziraphale blushed. "You think I'm handsome?"

"Of course," Crowley responded easily. "I've got eyes, don't I?"

Aziraphale smiled gently and reached up to gently brush his fingers across the slightly swollen mark he had left at the dip in Crowley's collarbone. "You hopeless romantic," he said idly, merely laughing at Crowley's sputters of protest before apparently deciding that Crowley's neck needed more attention and reapplying his lips to the love bite to put more work into it. "And what about you?"

"Wh-" How was he meant to hold a conversation when Aziraphale was doing that with his teeth? "What 'bout me?"

Aziraphale let out an exasperatedly fond huff of breath against Crowley's neck, causing  the demon to shiver. “We need to get these clothes off,” he said decisively, as he worked open the last button on Crowley’s shirt and pushed it off his shoulders. Removing his pants, however, proved to be quite a bit more difficult, and a few seconds of useless tugging, Aziraphale snapped his fingers and they were both completely naked. He never was one to wait for his cocoa to cool before taking a sip.

“Fuck, Angel!” Crowley cried, completely overwhelmed at this new sensation of being skin to skin in their most intimate areas.

Aziraphale gently lay Crowley on his back as he mouthed along Crowley shoulder. “I assume you’ve done this before?"

“Done what?” Crowley gasped out, finding it incredibly unfair that Aziraphale could apparently maintain a conversation while he, meanwhile, was hopelessly lost to all these sensations.

Aziraphale pulled back to look down at him with an amused smile. “Good heavens, dear, but you’re dense when you're aroused.”

Crowley gave only a token cry of protest, trying to tug Aziraphale back down to meet his lips. When the angel didn’t budge he let out a helpless whine.

This! I’m asking if you’ve done this before,” Aziraphale explained getsuring between them.

Aziraphale still wasn’t kissing him and there was something so wrong about that. “With you?” Crowley asked in confusion.

Aziraphale gave him a flat look. “No, sweetheart, I should think I wouldn’t need to ask if I’ve done it with you. With anyone.” 

Aziraphale’s fingers began idly playing with Crowley’s nipples as he waited for a response, and judging by the glint in his eye, he was well aware that he wasn’t making Crowley’s task of answering any easier. He gave one a small pinch when he began to take too long and Crowley keened.

“N-no,” Crowley gasped out. “Would’ve been no point without you.”

Aziraphale’s attention to Crowley’s chest stilled.

"You mean-" Aziraphale swallowed and licked his lips as his cheeks grew flaming red. "You mean I'm the first one to have the privilege of having you…" His eyes roamed up and down Crowley's body hungrily and Crowley's cock twitched at the the attention, a fact that definitely did not go unnoticed by Aziraphale whose eyes instantly snapped to it with a sharp inhale. "...Having you like this?"

How absolutely ridiculous that he could look so embarrassed while simultaneously looking at Crowley like he was the last pastry in the case and he was willing to beat the woman in line in front of them with her own handbag if she even thought about ordering it (a true story, one that Crowley would never let him live down,) but that was Aziraphale for you.

Crowley nodded against the mattress. 

Aziraphale’s eyes burned as he licked his lips again. “Well,” he said, leaning down to finally recapture Crowley’s mouth. “We’ll start simple, then.”

“Sssimple?”

Aziraphale nodded. “If it’s alright with you, I should very much like to taste you.”

Crowley’s brain short circuited at that. “Uh…”

“Is that okay?” Aziraphale asked, angling his head to look Crowley in the eyes.

“Yep!” Crowley squeaked. “That would be…” Language was very hard with Aziraphale looking at him from under his gorgeous blond eyelashes like that. “Tickety… boo…?”

Aziraphale smiled, and began kissing his way down Crowley’s body without any further preamble before taking Crowley entirely in his mouth with one smooth motion.

It was an embarrassingly short amount of time before Crowley was a mewling mess.

"A-Aziraphale," he whimpered. "Aziraphale."

Aziraphale slipped Crowley out of his mouth and took him in his hand. "It's okay," he said,l grinding down against the bed. "It's okay, you can come." He gasped. "I'm close, too.

"N-no, that's not- fuck- that's not it." He flat out refused to come until, "C-can you- Az-Aziraphale, ca-can you- nghh- inside m-me?"

Aziraphale let out a long moan at that. "Are you sure?"

Crowley let out a broken 'fuck' at the desperation in Aziraphale's voice. "Yes! Inside me, please, p-please, please." He whined deep in his throat as Aziraphale reached down and rubbed a slick finger around his hole. “Just miracle it!”

Aziraphale chuckled. “My, my. You’re usually much more patient than this.”

Aziraphale!

Crowley thought he might explode if Aziraphale wasn’t inside him within the next minute. Lucking, Aziraphale was apparently lacking in patience, too and with a snap of his fingers Crowley found himself wet and much more relaxed in a place that had never been before.

Aziraphale lifted Crowley by the hips and very carefully lowered him onto his lap so that he was sitting on his cock while still facing him. “J-Just-” Aziraphale moaned. “Just give me a minute.” 

It was seeing Aziraphale like this that did it. Crowley stared at Aziraphale, at his eyelids gently closed in pleasure, at his parted lips red from use, at the sweat coating his brow and clinging to disheveled curls. He looked completely undone.

It fell out in a whispered moan, the slick oily substance escaping past his lips instead of the words he wanted to say. It splashed down his front, dripping from his chin to his chest and onto the sheets. Onto Aziraphale, too, he realized, who was already stroking his cheek and telling him it was alright. 

Shame boiled up hot within his gut as his dick softened. He at least had the presence of mind to be careful as he slid Aziraphale out of him before he crossed the room to the bathroom and shut the door, ignoring Aziraphale’s desperate ‘Crowley, wait!’ as he went. 

He pressed his back to the wood and slid to the floor, the tile a cold shock on his bare, flushed skin. He pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes, even as more of his hideous love dripped past his lips and down his front. 

He wouldn’t cry. Somebody-damn-it-all, but he wouldn’t cry.

A gentle knock sounded from the other side of the door, followed by Aziraphale’s voice. “Crowley? Can I come in?”

Of course. He’d made a mess of his angel, spat his hideous feelings all over him, and then selfishly barricaded himself in the bathroom. Aziraphale probably wanted to get that crap off of him as quickly as possible, and here he was feeling sorry for himself in the room with the washing facilities.

When Aziraphale got no answer right away, he tried again. “Crowley?”

Crowley wiped at his eyes with the back of his hands in a futile attempt to hide his tears. He scooted to the side so that he was no longer blocking the door and cleared his throat. “It’s open.”

Aziraphale opened the door slowly, his eyes casting round the room until he finally looked behind where the door opened and found him. He stepped into the small room still completely nude and shut the door behind him with a soft click. Instead of going straight for the sink or the bath as Crowley had expected, he just stood his hands half-extended as if he couldn’t decide whether to reach for Crowley or wring them together in his typical way.

Now that Crowley had a good look, he realized that he had gotten more of the slick substance on Aziraphale than he had thought. It was smeared down his chest, across that gorgeous round belly, besmirching his beautiful form. The pained sound that escaped him was involuntary, and he slapped a hand over his mouth in an attempt to contain it. 

Aziraphale’s face crumpled. “Oh, Crowley.” He knelt down in front of him. 

Crowley couldn’t even look him in the eye, and his gaze drifted down, accidentally landing on Aziraphale’s Effort which he was surprised to find was still mostly hard. How was that even possible after what had just happened?

Aziraphale noticed him looking and cleared his throat awkwardly, pulling a hand towel down from the counter to cover himself.

"How are you not disgusted?" Crowley asked miserably.

"Why would I be?" Aziraphale asked.

"Because!" Crowley cried out raising his hand to his head and burying his face in his knees. "Because- because i-it's hideous! It's- it's- it's filthy, it's grotesque, it's-"

"Don't say that!" Aziraphale said it so sharply that Crowley couldn't help but look up. Aziraphale looked furious, angry tears falling down his cheeks. "It's your love , Crowley!" Aziraphale wiped the back of his hand across his face to get rid of the tears, then raised his fingers to Crowley's cheek to begin wiping those away, too. "It's your love, and it doesn't matter how it comes out looking, it's still your love. How could I possibly be disgusted by that?"

Oh. "Well, when you put it that way…" Crowley mumbled, then trailed off.

Aziraphale placed a lingering kiss to his forehead. "Come on. Let's get you cleaned up," he said, climbing to his feet and pulling Crowley up with him. 

"What about you?" Crowley asked, still not quite able to make eye contact.

"Oh, I'll happily join you, my dear," Aziraphale said as he began to fill the bathtub. Crowley's eyes finally snapped to Aziraphale's to find the angel smirking seductively at him. "If that's what you want, that is."

" Yesss ," Crowley hissed out, suddenly desperate for it as he felt his blood once again rushing down. "Yes, I want."

Aziraphale chuckled merrily as he suddenly found himself with a very eager demon pressed to his side. "Just a second. Let me-" Aziraphale snapped his fingers and the tub was filled. He finally dropped the hand towel he was covering himself with, revealing a completely different set of genitals.

"Now that's a magic trick I can agree with." Crowley looked down at himself. "Should I switch, too?" he asked.

"Only if you want to, darling," Aziraphale replied easily as he settled in the tub.

It took a little more concentration than usual, and Crowley wasn't sure that he'd done it exactly right, but pretty soon he was climbing into the tub with Aziraphale, letting the angel arrange them so that his back was pressed against Aziraphale's chest.

Crowley groaned in frustration when Aziraphale actually started washing them, using a soft sponge to rub soap all over their bodies instead of just the places covered with Crowley's love. 

"Patience, my dear," Aziraphale said teasingly, gently massaging the soap into Crowley's skin until he was satisfied. 

It did feel nice, so Crowley calmly waited until Aziraphale rinsed them both off before he tried to turn in the Angel's lap to get to the good part. However, Aziraphale's arm around his waist unexpectedly held him still. "Ah, ah, dearest," he chided gently. "Allow me." And finally, finally Crowley let out a hushed moan as Aziraphale's fingers gently ran through his folds.

Soon enough, he was able to slide one finger in while his thumb worked at Crowley's clitoris. Behind him, Crowley could feel Aziraphale doing the same to himself as he moved slowly against him.

"See?" Aziraphale said huskily into his ear as some of the water sloshed over the side of the tub. "I don't mind making a mess."

"Oh, my God," Crowley moaned out, both mortified by the joke and excited by the implications.

"Hmm," Aziraphale intoned with a bit of disappointment. "I would have hoped that it should be 'oh, my Angel.'"

"Ffffu-" Crowley let out a broken cry that was half-sob and Aziraphale shushed him comfortingly, offering words of reassurance that were made that much sweeter when they broke with sounds of pleasure. “Shh, you’re okay, d- ahh -arling. I-I’ve got you. Just let yo- ohh -urself relax and feel. Can you- oh! Can you do that for me?”

His hand continued to move at that same unhurried, steady pace and Crowley nodded, melting even further in Aziraphale’s embrace as he let himself be brought slowly but surely closer and closer towards some still-distant peak. He closed his eyes and Aziraphale’s gentle and constant rocking against him carried him into a serene, pleasure-filled haze, the angel’s sweet little ‘mm’s and ‘ahh’s the only thing grounding him in reality. 

A few more minutes in, his legs began to shake just so, and Crowley could tell that he was almost there, until Aziraphale started trembling behind him, gasping as he curled against his back. Aziraphale's hand stilled as he cried out, but it hardly mattered. Just hearing Aziraphale fall apart sent Crowley's arousal surging so that he followed Aziraphale right to that edge.

When he came, clenching around Aziraphale's fingers with rhythmic spasms, it was to the sound of Aziraphale's voice in his ear, sweeter than any heavenly choir.

---

It was soon decided that they should move in together, to their own place. After months of searching, they finally settled on a sweet little cottage along the coast that included several built-in bookshelves and a large garden area just waiting for someone to come along and put it to good use.

But as they unpacked their boxes, something changed. Aziraphale stopped saying the words. It was especially strange because he introduced Crowley to all their neighbors as his spouse, giving off a little happy wiggle and pleased grin as he did so.

But still. Everytime he looked like he wanted to tell Crowley that he loved him, he would change the subject instead. His eyes still held the same warmth and live, but his lips said a different story.

He'd lean in like he wanted to kiss him but divert at the last second, placing it on Crowley's cheek instead.

Crowley didn't know what to do.

One evening, as Aziraphale was leaning in to place yet another kiss on his cheek, Crowley turned his head and captured Aziraphale's lips in a searing kiss. "Is this-" He landed another kiss that Aziraphale leaned into desperately. "-Okay?"

This time, it was Aziraphale who initiated,  grabbing the back of Crowley's head to slip his fingers through his hair and pull him forward. "Yes," he breathed out on a sigh of relief.

Crowley melted under Aziraphale's touch. His angel did still want him, then. That was okay. They could figure this out. But first…

He broke away with a gasp that turned to a soft whimper when Aziraphale instead preoccupied his mouth with Crowley's neck. "Bedroom?"

Aziraphale paused, and for a brief, horrifying moment, Crowley thought he would say 'no,' but Aziraphale nodded and begin tugging him towards the stairs while kissing along Crowley's jaw and down his throat.

As soon as they made it upstairs (Crowley's shirt somehow having gotten lost somewhere along the way,) and inside their shared bedroom, Crowley took charge and gently wrapped his fingers around Aziraphale's upper arms and carefully maneuvered him to the bed. When his knees hit the mattress, Aziraphale's eyes shot open and a surprised sound escaped him as he sat down heavily. Despite the change in position, Crowley refused to relinquish his claim on Aziraphale's lips, moving with him so that he was leaning over him, his hands braced on either side of him on the bed.

He stayed there a moment, just revelling in the movement of Aziraphale’s lips against his own and the sweet musical notes of delight that spilled from Aziraphale’s mouth into his. With his leg between Aziraphale’s knees he could feel the angel’s erection straining through his pants. Crowley shifted slightly, providing some barely-there friction to the place Aziraphale wanted it most and Aziraphale raised his hips to grind against him desperately. 

If Crowley could not pray his devotion to Aziraphale out loud, he would worship him on his knees, instead. He gave Aziraphale one last kiss, tugging his bottom lip gently between his teeth before he slithered to the floor.

“Crowley,” Aziraphale whispered as Crowley nuzzled Aziraphale’s still-clothed cock with his nose, and, oh, that was the sound he wanted to hear, even though it didn’t come with the words. It was a balm to his aching soul, a sweet sense of relief and Crowley would take what he could get.

He had wanted to take his time, unwrap Aziraphale slowly like a present, but he needed to hear more of that love, want, and adoration spilling from angel lips, and at that moment, his desire-addled brain could come up with only one surefire way to make that happen.

His fingers moved to the buttons of Aziraphale’s pants, floundering in his eagerness. Aziraphale’s hands came to rest over his own, stilling them. Crowley looked up to find Aziraphale looking down at him, the most beautiful flush spread across his face.

“Dearest,” he said gently. “You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to pleasure me to show me how much you care, I already know.”

“But, I want to,” Crowley said, and he did. This was about more than needing to show Aziraphale that he loved him, this was about making Aziraphale feel as happy as he made Crowley every day. Crowley needed, wanted desperately to give that to him, to try to convey to Aziraphale that his love for him was not dependent on Aziraphale loving him back. That it would be given freely, without expectation of reciprocation, just like this pleasure he was about to give him. "Please let me, I want to."

If it came with Aziraphale’s whispered words of affection, that was merely a bonus.

Finally, after what felt like ages to Crowley’s anxious mind, Aziraphale nodded, giving him permission to continue, and Crowley resumed his efforts at opening Aziraphale’s trousers. After a few more moments of Crowley fumbling with the buttons, Aziraphale gently moved his hands away and opened them himself. The angel’s eyes were shining with anticipation as he adjusted himself in his boxers and pulled out his swollen and flushed cock without even lowering his pants. Crowley hadn't gotten a good look at it before, their lovemaking sessions usually going fast and needy before he inevitably ruined them, and he rectified that now, taking a moment to just admire how round and thick and perfect it was, just like his angel.

There was something about this level of dress, with only Aziraphale’s desire fully exposed while the rest of him remained perfectly prim and proper that made Crowley tremble with need. But this was not about him. This was about his angel.

Crowley took in a deep breath to steady himself, and when he exhaled, Aziraphale let out a soft whimper as Crowley’s breath ghosted over his bare flesh and a bit of pre-cum beaded at the tip. Seeing Aziraphale react to something so simple as a breath sent a bolt of desire directly to his groin and he formed a delicate ‘o’ with his lips and gently blew on the head of Aziraphale’s member, deliberately this time. A low moan grew deep in Aziraphale’s chest, rising to a throaty hum as Crowley followed it up with a slow, deliberate lick from base to tip. Oh, what a sound. Crowley would gladly die for that sound.

He placed a delicate kiss on the shaft where it met Aziraphale’s curls, then another right above it. He pressed all of the things he felt but couldn’t say into soft, velvety skin, and Aziraphale shuddered above him, his hands moving to tangle in Crowley’s hair as he finally, mercifully placed a kiss on the tip before enveloping it with his mouth.

Aziraphale sang.

Crowley tried to remember what all Aziraphale had done to him, and folded his lips over his teeth as he took Aziraphale’s cock deeper in his mouth, hoping he was doing it right.

He seemed to be doing well enough, if the noises Aziraphale was making were any indication, and as he bobbed his head up and down, take Aziraphale deeper each time, he put his lips and tongue to work trying to discover what made Aziraphale make the sweetest sounds.

“Crowley,” Aziraphale gasped as Crowley hollowed his cheeks. His eyes fluttered shut as he tipped his head back and let the praises fall from his tongue without abandon. “Oh, Crowley. Ohh, you’re amazing, my dearest, so, so good to me,” Aziraphale was becoming less coherent, babbling in disjointed sentences, and Crowley adored it. Aziraphale was close, Crowley could tell, and he swallowed, letting the muscles in his throat push Aziraphale farther along. “Oh- heavens, Crowley. I-I love you.”

And there it was. That was what Crowley needed, those words falling from those lips, and oh, but it was even more perfect than he remembered. Crowley moaned happily and moved his head back and forth in shallow thrusts, getting in one, two, three, until suddenly he felt hands pushing at his head and he pulled off of Aziraphale with an audible ‘pop.’ 

“I'm sorry,” Aziraphale wailed, burying his face in his hands as Crowley sat up. “I didn't mean to!”

“Wh-” Crowley coughed. His throat hurt. “Wha-What’s wrong?”

“I didn’t mean to say it, my darling, I’m so sorry.” Aziraphale lowered his hands, looking absolutely ashamed. "Please forgive me."

Crowley was still lost. “Didn’t mean-” Oh. The words. “...You didn’t?” So Aziraphale had been avoiding them. “...Why-" His voice cracked. Was he crying? Fuck, he was crying. "Why won’t you say them?”

Aziraphale looked confused. “I… You can’t say them, so I thought- I- I thought-”

“You thought what?!” Crowley said, his voice coming out high and hysterical.

“I thought you didn't want me to, either,” Aziraphale answered weakly. “Whenever I said it, you looked like you were in so much pain.”

He had been in pain. Crowley remembered each time he had wanted to say 'I love you, too,' but had to bite his tongue to stem the words. It had hurt so much. How was he supposed to know that not hearing them at all would be even worse?

But that was it? That was the only reason? Did that mean that Aziraphale still… That he still… “I- I thought- I thought you- I thought you didn’t-” He squeezed his eyes shut, cursing the few errant tears that slipped through until he felt soft, warm hands on his face, wiping them away.

“Oh, Crowley-” Aziraphale’s face was anguished when he opened his eyes again. “Crowley, no! Of course I still love you. How could I do anything but love you? Oh, I've made an awful mess of this, haven't I?"

"And the kissing?"

Aziraphale pressed his lips gently to Crowley's. "You have a tendency to say it after we kiss, darling. I just didn't want to upset you. I'm sorry."

"Then you still…?"

"I still love you, Crowley. So , so much."

“Please say it?” Crowley was ashamed to realize he was begging. “You don’t have to say it a lot, just every once and awhile, please .”

“Oh, Crowley, I-”

“I know it’s not fair for me to ask, I know it’s selfish, I know I don’t deserve to hear it when I can’t even repeat it, but-”

“Crowley, Crowley, Crowley!” Aziraphale cut him off and held Crowley’s face between his hands. “Crowley, dearest, no! It’s not selfish to ask for things you want, it’s not unfair to want to hear it. This isn’t your fault, Crowley, and I promise you, that you deserve to be loved, you deserve to feel loved, and Crowley, I love you, I do, and I will say it as many times as you want me to.”

“But I can’t-”

Aziraphale placed a finger on his lips. “You make me feel loved, Crowley. You’ve made me feel loved since Eden, with everything you do, everything you are.”

Crowley let out a deep breath. “Then…?"

Aziraphale smiled. “Crowley, I love you.”

Crowley surged forward to pepper kiss after kiss after kiss on Aziraphale's cheeks, his forehead, his hair, his nose, his chin until Aziraphale was laughing, joyful, bright, and beautiful. 

"Are we okay, then?" Aziraphale asked, grabbing Crowley's face to still it so he could return the favor.

Of course they were okay. They were always okay. "On one condition," Crowley said.

"Anything," Aziraphale breathed out.

"Let me finish what I started." When Aziraphale pulled back in confusion, Crowley gave a pointed look down at his groin.

Aziraphale blushed. "O-oh!"

"Only if you want to," Crowley hurried to add. He didn't want Aziraphale to feel pressured to accept.

"Oh, my love," Aziraphale sighed, his voice barely above a whisper. " Please ."

A low noise filled the room, which Crowley realized was coming from him. Aziraphale begging. That was something he had never even thought about. "Say it again."

"I love you," Aziraphale said with a gentle smile. "I love you so much."

Crowley shook his head. "I mean yes, that, but also…"

"Please?" Aziraphale clarified and then moaned as Crowley slipped back to his knees. "Please." It only took a few swipes of his tongue before Aziraphale was fully hard again. "Please, Crowley, please, I love you, please," he continued to beg, dissolving into a long drawn out moan as Crowley swallowed him down.

“I love you, I love you, Crowley! I love you, ” Aziraphale chanted, making up for all the times in the past week and a half that he hadn’t said it, and then, once that was settled, every time in the past six thousand years.

As he pulled his head back, pressing his tongue against the underside of the shaft, Aziraphale bucked his hips, shoving himself deep into Crowley's throat. He immediately pulled back with half a dozen apologies already forming on his lips, but Crowley grabbed him by the hips to pull him back forward, indicating what he wanted Aziraphale to do.

Aziraphale hesitated, then slowly thrust into his mouth again. Crowley's deep moan of pleasure seemed to decide it for him, and he carefully held Crowley's head in place. "Tap my hip twice if you want to stop. Promise me."

Crowley managed an earnest nod, and Aziraphale's fingers curled into his hair as he began moving.

Aziraphale fucked his face hard and fast but cradled Crowley's head in his hands with the utmost gentleness, like Crowley was something precious. Crowley knew he could probably finish like this, with Aziraphale taking his pleasure from him while also managing to make him feel cherished, but his cock was straining too tight in his jeans and needed to be released. Once he got one hand around himself, he moaned deeply and didn't want to let go. 

Aziraphale let out a string of unintelligible syllables as Crowley's voice rumbled around him, and seeing Aziraphale so unhinged (while still fully dressed, and fuck that was hot,) made Crowley thrust inelegantly into his own fist.

Suddenly, Aziraphale stopped. Crowley looked up to find him staring down, not at his face, but at his cock hanging flushed and full between his legs. Aziraphale gave an involuntary outwards flex of his fingers and Crowley realized that, no, he wasn't looking at his cock. He was looking at the hand wrapped around it. Crowley tested this theory by giving himself a languid, twisting pull, maintaining eye contact with Aziraphale all the while. 

Aziraphale let out a suppressed whimper, and the next thing Crowley knew he was being tugged to his feet and into Aziraphale's lap. Aziraphale wrapped one miraculously slick hand around them both, pumping his fist up and down with just the right precision to make Crowley see stars.

Just as Crowley was beginning to worry that he might say the words, Aziraphale kissed him hard, greedily drinking down all sounds before they passed Crowley's lips. With Aziraphale holding his mouth's attention there was no chance of any accidental love confessions, and the full-body wave of relief that washed through Crowley was enough to make him come.

Aziraphale followed shortly after, and Crowley felt oddly pleased as both of their releases dropped down his stomach.

After a few long moments of being slumped together trying to catch their breath, Aziraphale pressed a cool glass to Crowley's lip. "Drink."

As he swallowed the cold water down gratefully, it didn't escape his notice that Aziraphale's outfit remained spotless. He snorted. "Nice use of a miracle, there," he croaked.

'Well, it's hardly like I'm audited on them anymore," Aziraphale said defensively.

Crowley grimaced. "I hope not. I'd really hate for some kind of 'loosened the demon Crowley's butthole with a miracle' memo to pass across the 'Archangel fucking Gabriel's' desk.

Aziraphale looked suspiciously thoughtful. "I don't know. I think I should quite like to see the look on his face."

Crowley snickered. "How about 'miracled angel jizz off of the demon Crowley?'"

"Please don't call it that," Aziraphale said primly. He waved a hand and sent the entire mess away.

"'Love juice?'" Crowley offered.

Aziraphale hit him with a pillow.

Crowley laughed, even as his eyelids grew heavy and he tucked the pillow beneath his head. "Stay with me?" he mumbled with a yawn.

He needn't have asked though, as Aziraphale, now clad in tartan pajamas, was already settling in next to him. Throwing an arm over Crowley's waist, he pulled the demon closer so that he could whisper into his ear. "Always, my dear. I love you."

Chapter Text

As the days began to grow hotter, it occurred to Crowley that a freedom from Hell also translated to a freedom of dress code. Which was why, on a particularly hot day, he decided to forego his typical black palette entirely. He was deciding between a pastel floral and a vivid floral sundress, trying to figure out which one Aziraphale would like best when his brain stumbled on a third option.

He cursed under his breath and threw both dresses on the bed. What an awful idea. It was ridiculous.

...Aziraphale would love it.

Crowley knew that Aziraphale knew that he loved him (or, at least he hoped he did, because if he didn’t know by now then saying the words wouldn’t help anyway,) but he never tired of finding new ways to show him. And this, as terribly foolish of an idea as it probably was, and as silly as it would make him feel, was something that he knew would delight Aziraphale, and thought of Aziraphale’s smile was enough to make him want to do it. 

With a face red as red as those plastic cups that the media liked to portray students drinking alcohol from (he'd been watching a lot of teen movies lately,) he snapped his fingers to dress himself and headed out of the bedroom before he could change his mind.

As he descended the stairs in his new sundress, Aziraphale took no notice, too absorbed in some book. Crowley was a little offended. Here he was, wearing a completely tartan sundress (in Aziraphale's own personal tartan, no less,) and the angel couldn't even be bothered to look up. In his mind, he had imagined this going differently. In his mind, he was the leading lady of aforementioned teen movies coming down the stairs while her date waited, starstruck, below. A regular Cinderella at the ball moment. Except Aziraphale wasn’t playing his part. He cleared his throat loudly and pointedly when he reached the bottom of the stairs and finally got the desired result.

--And instantly regretted every single decision he had ever made while Aziraphale stared at him soundlessly.

He was about to go running back up the stairs when Aziraphale stood and tossed (yes, tossed) his book aside before crossing the room in just a handful of quick strides. For the first time in the six thousand plus years that they had known each other, it was Aziraphale who shoved Crowley up against a wall. Crowley didn’t even have time to get a word in before Aziraphale had grabbed his face with both hands and began kissing him soundly enough that Crowley forgot his own name.

“Ehhh… Yooooouuuuu...” Crowley droned when they broke apart.

Aziraphale raised an eyebrow. “Yes, dear?”

“Yooouuu… ehhhh… youuu- you- you-” He cleared his throat. “You threw your book.”

Aziraphale looked back to where the book had landed, miraculously unharmed, on the couch. “It landed on the couch,” he stated obviously and more than just a little defensively.

Crowley chuckled. “Still.”

“...Perhaps I should go check to see if it’s okay.”

“You know it is, Angel, as if I’d ever let anything bad happen to your books.”

Aziraphale’s eyes crinkled knowingly. “Of course not,” he said fondly.

“Although, I do have to wonder…” Crowley grinned mischievously. “Say there was a trolley and its brakes were out.”

Aziraphale looked at him warily. “Yes?”

“The trolley is going to crash, but the track splits in two, and you are standing by the little lever thing, yeah? And on one track was your entire book collection, and on the other track was me-”

“Why wouldn’t you just step off the tracks?”

“That’s not really the point, Angel, and- mph!”

Aziraphale had put a finger to his lips. “Is now really the time for outlandish moral dilemmas and thought experiments?” he asked, before once again kissing Crowley quite thoroughly, and the demon decided that no, it was not.

Finally, they broke apart, gasping and panting into each other’s open mouths.

"You.” Aziraphale’s voice was rough as he breathed harshly against Crowley’s neck. “It’s not even a question. I’d save you, every time.”

“Aziraphale-” Crowley choked out. 

“But as soon as you’re safe, I’m dragging you around the world to help me build a new collection.”

Crowley needed to express just how mutual the sentiment was, but Aziraphale had slid to his knees and began languidly placing kisses up his thigh and he found that language was only just barely in his grasp.

“I would-” he choked out trying to make his mouth cooperate. “You. You over- oh, fuck- my plants. The-th-the Da Vinci sketchesss- shit! Even the- even the Bentley- ngh- I swear it! Oh, Angel! Please!”

“My dear,” Aziraphale said conversationally as he hiked up Crowley’s dress. “You are sounding far too coherent.” And that was all the warning Crowley got before Aziraphale swallowed him down to the base on the first go.

It was embarrassing how quickly Crowley fell apart after that.

As he came down from his orgasm, he felt Aziraphale shaking against his leg and thought he must be right at his own edge. A quick look, however, proved that assumption to be false.

"Oi!" he cried. "Are you laughing down there?!"

Aziraphale looked up to reveal that yes, he was , and Crowley scowled.

“What’s so bloody funny?!”

“Darling.” Aziraphale said, leaning his cheek against Crowley’s thigh as a smile spread across his face. “You’re wearing tartan.” He laughed again.

Crowley couldn’t help chuckling in response. “Yeah, well,” he said awkwardly, casting his gaze to the side as he felt his face heat up. “I thought you’d like it,” he mumbled softly.

“Oh, Crowley.” Aziraphale stood, dabbing gently at his lips with a handkerchief as though he had just finished a fine meal and not successfully sucked Crowley’s brain out through his dick. “I very much do . ” He stood and brushed his hands over a few wrinkles that had appeared in Crowley’s sundress. “And though it goes without saying, I love you, too.”

Crowley blushed even deeper. “Cool,” he choked out, eloquent as ever.

If Aziraphale continued to look at him as though he had placed the stars in the sky (and, to be fair, he done several) then Crowley was certain he might discorporate. Or explode. Whichever love struck fools in a teen movie might be more wont to do.

Thankfully, Aziraphale seemed to sense his discomfort and decide to take pity on him. “Now, go get yourself cleaned, up my love, I’m afraid we have some errands to run.”

Crowley’s nose scrunched in confusion. “Errands?” Just last night, Aziraphale had talked about how much he had been looking forward to spending the entire day reading a new book he had just acquired.

“Yes, dear,” Aziraphale said with a smile. “The errand of strolling around town so that all of our neighbors may see my lovely partner.”

“Angel,” Crowley groaned in exasperation.

“Please?” Aziraphale asked, fixing him with that look that Crowley couldn’t say no to.

“...Fine,” Crowley relented. “But only because-“

“Only because you love me, dear, I know.” Aziraphale smiled smugly, and Crowley wondered how it could be that he was still falling deeper and deeper in love with this angel even after six thousand years.


As they were passing by the bakery, Crowley made a discovery. It was as he was looking at Aziraphale fondly and wiping some pastry filling off of his nose. Aziraphale looked back at him with such love that Crowley could feel it warming his very core and he realized that this— this was what Aziraphale meant when he told Crowley that he was certain of his love, regardless of whether or not he could speak it.

He wondered if this was how Aziraphale felt with every miracle that Crowley threw his way, every last minute dinner reservation the Crowley managed to snag, every indulgence that Crowley offered him. If so, then Aziraphale was right— the words were unnecessary.

“Aziraphale?” Crowley said.

Aziraphale finished licking the crumbs off of his fingers, doing little to mask his disappointment over the disappearance of his treat (even if the place that it had disappeared to was his own stomach) and looked up at Crowley. “Yes, dear?”

Crowley, who had come to expect Aziraphale’s moods even better than he could expect his own, pulled the fruit tart he had asked the baker to box up separately while Aziraphale was distracted trying to choose between a danish and an eclair, and opened it proudly as he presented it to his angel. “Got this for ya.”

Aziraphale’s face lit up as he accepted the tart. “Crowley!” he gushed. “You didn’t have to do that.”

Crowley smiled, warmth continuing to expand in his chest. “ I know.”


Nothing much changed. Crowley did as he had always done, performing little acts of devotion just for the sake of seeing Aziraphale smile.Only now, he did it with the confidence that the message got through, loud, clear, and with no room for interpretation.

But still, it did little to ease his desperation to give voice to the feeling.

Even when he wasn’t speaking, the syllables lingered on his lips, waiting, just waiting , to be breathed into existence. To show their devotion.

And, then, one day, they just… slipped through. Unhindered. Unsullied. Unbroken.

“I love you, Angel.”

He didn’t even realize it at first. It felt so natural, so easy. Standing at the bottom of the mountain, surmounting it had seemed an impossible task. But the final step to the top was just that— one more step.

And when he did realize it, when he looked over to see his angel beaming at him proudly, he also realized that, for as much as he had thought it would matter, it actually felt just like every other time that he conveyed his love for Aziraphale.

Love wasn’t about grand declarations, or statements shouted from the rooftops. Love was an understanding between two people, an emotion given and received freely without fear, without judgement. 

That was what their love had always been.

They never did figure out what happened. Why Crowley had been unable to say the words one day, and then let them slip out so effortlessly the next. Aziraphale would eventually come to describe it as 'ineffable,' to which Crowley would wrinkle his nose and promise to stop saying the words again-- a ludicrously empty threat since it had never been Aziraphale who needed to hear the words, but rather Crowley who needed to say them.

Secretly, Crowley had his suspicions. The black whatever-it-was was born from the void where Her love had been. For it to be gone must have meant that the hole had been filled. How lucky was he, then, to be loved by the only angel who could replace God's love?

If Aziraphale had known that Crowley thought that way, he would have insisted that it was the opposite. That it was Crowley's infinite capacity to love that had flooded the abyss.

Perhaps it was a little bit of both.

In the end, though, it wasn’t really about speaking the words. Sure, he could tell Aziraphale that he loved him when he got up in the morning, however, he found that he much preferred to bring Aziraphale a warm cup of tea at just the perfect temperature, made exactly to Aziraphale's liking while he read one of his books in the morning, treasuring the delighted look and grateful kiss it earned him.

But for the times when it did slip out, urged by a great swell of affection and adoration, it was nice to not have the words turn to rot on his tongue. Like when he was lying, drunk, across Aziraphale’s lap, debating (entirely with himself) the nuances of living, and matters of the heart. “What even is love, anyway? Like, what is it? What isss it? What. Is. Love?”

And Aziraphale, equally drunk and without missing a beat replied, “Baby don’t hurt me,” not even understanding the reference he was making but having spent enough time around his demon to have heard it so many times that he could parrot it back.

Crowley just stared up at Aziraphale, his eyes shining both from the alcohol and realization of ‘ oh my Somebody, I love this silly angel so fucking much ’ that had the tendency to slam into him like a truck when he was least expecting it. All he could do then was whisper out a stunned ‘I love you,’ his fingers gently lifting to prod the angel in the face as though making sure he was real, until Aziraphale, laughing, swatted his hand away.

But whether either of them said it or not, they knew.

After all, there is an endless list of ways to say 'I love you.’