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1955

 

Aziraphale is late. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem—Crowley is used to biding his time, watching the ducks as they bob up and down, breaking the lake’s surface with endless ripples.

But then, it starts to rain. Nothing dramatic, just a drizzle. It’s uncomfortably cold, though, water trickling down the nape of Crowley’s neck. He shivers. The bench suddenly does not feel like a refuge. He feels an uneasiness that he can’t shake, that insists he stand up and walk.

He’s doesn’t believe in signs from… fate, not really. He’s never liked the idea of it, if he’s honest. What’s the point in choosing anything when it’s already been mapped out for you? But, Crowley can’t deny that as he heads decisively into the underground station, he is following—well, an intuition, of sorts.

In the end, how Crowley spots him is simple: he isn’t wearing his coat.

Aziraphale is straining, reaching up to grasp one of the handles near the top of the doors, his knuckles white. He sways along with the motion of the train, his gaze fixed and glassy.

Crowley abruptly persuades every human in the carriage that they’re on the wrong train. There’s a collective gasp of realisation, and when the next stop is called, the doors opening, they all hurry out.

Aziraphale startles slightly at the change. He looks up, bewildered, and it takes him one moment too long to sigh.

“Crowley…”

“What?” He gestures at their now private compartment. “S’proper demonic work, that. The circle line’s going to be hell.”

Aziraphale shakes his head. It seems like he’s about to make a good go of just tutting like normal. But then, the train screeches, jolts into motion again, and his hand slips from the pole.

Crowley quickly holds onto his shoulders to steady him. “Let’s sit down, eh? Maybe you can tell me why you’ve abandoned your poor coat while you’re at it.”

Aziraphale gives a very faint smile. “Oh, nothing very exciting, I can assure you. I’m afraid I just dashed out. Forget my own head next.” He breathes out a quiet laugh, as if acknowledging a joke that isn’t at all funny. His smile fades.

“Aziraphale,” Crowley says. He pauses so they’re not cut off by the announcement of the next stop. “What is it?”

“They’re back,” Aziraphale says.

 

41 A.D.

 

“Let me tempt you,” Crowley snorts, pitching his voice higher as Aziraphale giggles breathlessly. “I’ve heard it all now, angel.”

“Oh, hush,” Aziraphale says. He looks positively giddy, his eyes sparkling with clear uninhibited joy. His hands make quick work of his own toga, and then he’s hurrying over, pressing ardent kisses along Crowley’s jaw, neck, shoulders…

 In between kisses, he murmurs, “Crowley, I have to tell you something.”

“Hmm? Oh, keep going.”

“We can say whatever we like. We can do whatever we like.” 

“Mm, what…?” Crowley shakes his head, drunk a little on the feeling of Aziraphale’s sun-kissed skin, how his lips are warm and sweet with wine. He shrugs his own toga off, pulls Aziraphale’s hands to his chest. “Not that I’m complaining, but what d’you—?”

“I mean,” Aziraphale says, and he looks up once, very deliberately, no skittish glances. “They’re not watching. I checked.”

“You…” Crowley leans in for a kiss of his own. He realises, now, why it feels like they’re stealing moments of bliss. It’s because, they are. This is only temporary. “Are you sure?”

Aziraphale nods, beaming. “Oh, my dear,” he whispers, and his hand reaches up, stroking Crowley’s hair so tenderly. His eyes have darkened, reflecting unselfconscious, heady desire. “Let’s have some fun.”

 

1955

 

“Bit late, aren’t they?” Crowley says. He knows that he must be nonchalant about this, give Aziraphale enough distance to work out exactly what he wants to say.

“Yes, rather.” Aziraphale shakes his head. “A decade too late. Do you know, they didn’t once mention my… mishap in the church?”

“Lucky you.”

“But, they made their… position quite clear.” Aziraphale’s mouth curls in a rare show of contempt. “No interference from above, as ever.” His voice lowers. “Sandalphon seemed particularly pleased with it all.” Under the repetitive clunks of the train, Crowley is sure he hears Aziraphale hiss, “Bastard.”

They wait in silence. The train stops. Doors open. Close. And, they’re off again.

“It’ll be alright,” Crowley says. “Swings and roundabouts, y’know? They’ll be off your back soon enough.”

It’s paltry words really, but what else can he say? Aziraphale already knows all of this. It feels like their whole lives have been a bloody waiting game.

“Yes,” Aziraphale says. “Only I—I wish—” He sniffs sharply, tilting his head back and blinking rapidly. “Fuck,” he breathes.

“Look, it’s okay—”

“No, it isn’t, it’s not remotely fair on you—”

“Aziraphale. Hey, what’s more time between us? I’ll wait with you.” I always will.

Aziraphale smiles properly, even if it’s a little teary at the edges. He nods towards the tube map. “Even if we have to stop at every single blasted station?”

“’Fraid you’re stuck with me.”

The train slows to a stop once more. In the fraction of a second before the doors open, Aziraphale moves forward and presses a fierce kiss to the corner of Crowley’s mouth.

Beneath the hiss of the engine, Crowley can almost pretend the next words are not said:

“You are so kind.” And then: “I do love you so.”