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What Freddie Said

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What Freddie Said

 

 

 

The Bentley is acting strange.

Well, stranger than normal.

What used to be normal is that Crowley would get in the Bentley, start it with a snap, and the Bentley would come to life with a luxurious hum, followed by one of several select songs by Queen blasting through the speakers that aren’t actually there.

What’s normal after the Apocalypse-that-Wasn’t is this: Crowley gets in the Bentley, starts it with the turn of a key, and the Bentley will come to life with a luxurious hum, followed by one of several new songs by Queen blasting through the speakers that actually are there.

It’s not ideal, these little changes, but he has the Bentley, Armageddon didn’t happen, and he and Aziraphale are free. Crowley isn’t going to complain; it’s simply an adjustment.

What doesn’t require an adjustment is his relationship with the angel. Things have certainly changed, but they’re small, subtle, and for the better. For a start, they see each other more, and for no other reason than they simply want to see each other. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to Crowley that Aziraphale so eagerly agrees to his every suggested outing, but it does. It causes the space where his heart should be to flare up with a strange warmth that’s comforting but alarming. It’s a feeling he hasn’t felt in a long time, since before he Fell.

He thinks it feels like hope.

This particular day, thirteen days after the end of the world, Crowley calls up Aziraphale to see if the angel would like to join him for lunch at the Ritz.

“Of course, my dear! Give me twenty minutes to run off this pesky customer and I’m all yours.”

Crowley flusters at that, then ends the call. Upon hanging up the phone, Crowley tosses it into the passenger seat and feels an uncharacteristic smile tug at his lips.

It’s funny, he thinks as he drives, a bit slower than normal. He’s not in a rush, not anymore. Barely two weeks ago they were facing their supposed doom (and thank God- Satan- Somebody!- that Aziraphale had salvaged that last prophecy!) and today they’re free, free in a way they’ve neither one been. Free to simply exist. It’s a liberating thought, that neither he nor Aziraphale have a side anymore, not really. They have each other, and they have today. And tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after-

Funny, funny, funny

Funny how love is the end of lies when the truth begins

Tomorrow comes tomorrow brings

Tomorrow brings love in the shape of things

That's what love is, that's what love is- [1]

Crowley glares down at the tape deck of the Bentley- mercifully restored and not a heaping mess of flame and regret. Adam truly had done a great thing by resetting the world, though Crowley still isn’t certain if maybe this new little quirk of the Bentley’s couldn’t have been left out somehow. The keys are bad enough. But the incessant playing of random parts of distinctly different Queen songs at a near-deafening volume at seemingly random moments is getting to be quite frustrating.

“Shut up,” he says to the Bentley, as he switches off the player. He rubs his other hand over the steering wheel in apology for his sharp reprimand, and instead focuses on getting to the bookshop.

< >

Crowley enters the bookshop with his usual swagger, looking around momentarily before calling out, “Aziraphale?”

A moment later he hears a dull thud and the sound of a chair scraping against the floor. “Yes, dear boy, coming now!” He hears the angel say from the other room. In the moments of silence that follows, Crowley glances around, taking stock of all the books piled in what he likes to call “organized chaos”. He tries his best to forget how not so long ago these very books had been ablaze, burning into ruins. Crowley tries not to think of how he’d been knocked off his feet and sat amidst fire and ash, mourning the loss of his angel.

After a moment, Aziraphale appears, unhurt and untouched by flame, man made, holy, or demonic. That space in Crowley’s chest that always feels warm in Aziraphale’s presence flutters anew at the sight of the angel smiling at him. Crowley turns away from the angel and calls over his shoulder. “Ready to go?”

“Absolutely,” Aziraphale says pleasantly, and they leave the shop.

They settle in the car and Crowley starts up the Bentley. Both angel and demon jerk slightly at the blaring that erupts from the speakers:

You're the best friend

That I ever had

I've been with you such a long time

You're my sunshine

And I want you to know- [2]

Crowley switches off the tape deck with a muffled growl. “Damned thing has a mind of its own,” he grumbles.

“But at least it’s Queen,” Aziraphale says as he gently pats the dash of the car as if to soothe it from Crowley’s anger. “And not that Velvet bebop-“

“I told you, angel. The Velvet Underground are not bebop. Bebop hasn’t been a thing in… in- ages!”

“Well, whatever you want to call it,” Aziraphale remarks idly, clearly disinterested in arguing about when the decline of bebop occurred. He motions toward the street. “Shall we?”

Oooooh, you’re my best friend [2]

< >

Lunch is a typical affair. They drink expensive wine and eat remarkable food and talk and debate (i.e., flirt) with each other for an expanse of time that would leave the waitstaff annoyed if it weren’t for the fact that Aziraphale tips them generously.

Eventually time passes to the point that their luncheon has nearly butted up against dinner time, and the two leave the Ritz and head back to the Bentley. Once settled inside, Crowley tilts his head to look at Aziraphale. “What now?”

“Well,” Aziraphale begins thoughtfully, “I thought-“

Just take me back to yours that will be fine

(come on and get-) [3]

“That’s enough out of you,” Crowley hisses to the tape deck, switching it off yet again. “Damned Antichrist buggered the whole thing when he restored it, I’ll wager. Hasn’t worked right sense.”

The engine of the Bentley sputters as if it takes offense to that remark. Crowley ignores the Bentley and turns back to acknowledge Aziraphale. He notices the angel’s cheeks are a little pinker than they were a moment before, but doesn’t choose to linger on that. “Anyway,” he sighs, “You were saying?”

“Oh!” Aziraphale sputters, “Oh, well. I thought we might go feed the ducks, is all.”

“Ducks it is,” Crowley says and they drive on.

< >

“Oh, I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you agreed to see this new production of Romeo and Juliet with me, Crowley! Wasn’t it just lovely?” Aziraphale asks as they exit the theatre and walk towards Crowley’s car.

It’s been a little over a month since they were released from their heavenly and demonic obligations. Time has been a strange, wobbling thing of somehow too fast and too slow, and they neither of them seem to know what to do with their new normal. The only constant from before is their companionship, and so they cling to each other and try to figure out what to do with themselves now that they are, for all intents and purposes, unemployed.

“I mean,” Crowley drawls, “I suppose if you consider lovely to be two teenagers driven to suicide because their families hate each other.”

“Well, when you put it like that,” Aziraphale huffs. “I think it’s romantic. Tragic. Beautiful. They are so completely in love that they are willing to sacrifice everything to be together.”

They reach the Bentley and settle in. Crowley grips the steering wheel, pensive about Aziraphale’s description. Something about it doesn’t sit right on his stomach, like eating sushi from a gas station. It feels too oddly familiar, like a sweater that’s well-worn, but one that was also made from the itchiest wool known to man.

Crowley can think of nothing to add to Aziraphale’s commentary, and so he falls back on his tried and true murmur of, “Still prefer the funny ones.”

“I’ll make it up to you, then,” Aziraphale offers. “Drinks on me. You choose the place. Anywhere at all.” Aziraphale pauses, considers. Amends. “Within reason.”

Crowley considers for a moment. “I know a shady little bar not far from here that serves absolute swill and we can drink and debate Shakespeare until dawn. We can leave the Bentley and walk.”

“That sounds lo-“

We'll go walking in the moonlight

Walking in the moonlight- [4]

“I really don’t remember this happening nearly as much before,” Aziraphale muses. “Didn’t it used to just play the same songs over and over? Many of these seem newer. Perhaps Adam did mess something up.”

The Bentley backfires in annoyance.

Time don't mean a thing

When you're by my side

Please stay a while [4]

Crowley shuts the car off with more force than is necessary. “Right, then. Let’s go.”

< >

They drink and talk and argue playfully until they are the only patrons left. The barkeep doesn’t seem to care one way or the other, but Aziraphale can’t help but feel a strong sense of guilt at keeping the poor girl out any later and so they close their tab and leave.

Despite their drunken state, Aziraphale silently miracles it so that the girl gets home safely and has a pleasant sleep.

They stagger back to the Bentley, and collapse inside, giggly and ridiculous.

“Oh dear,” Aziraphale remarks as he presses his palms to his eyes. “I rather think this is the most ineb- in..eb- in… drunk- I have ever been.”

“Nah,” Crowley slurs as he tips over, resting his head in Aziraphale’s lap. “There was that time in… where was’t? Um. The place with the- the-“ Crowley waves his hand as he tries to think of the location in question. “The place with the… what’s it? The… lots o’ stone-"

“The wall?”

“Yeah!” Crowley exclaims. “Which wall… it starts with a… a letter…”

“Berlin?”

“Thas’it!” Crowley slurs. “We watched them knock it down and then we got shit-drunked.”

“Faced,” Aziraphale corrects questioningly with a slur of his own. His hands have found their way to Crowley’s hair, and are absently playing with the auburn strands.

“Same thing.”

They grow quiet for a moment, Aziraphale still gently stroking Crowley’s hair. After a moment, the demon shivers and curls into the angel. “Feels good.”

“Mmmm."

You got red lips snakes in your eyes

Long legs great thighs

You got the cutest ass I've ever seen

Knock me down for a six any time [5]

At the sound of such suggestive ideas playing through the Bentley’s stereo, Aziraphale jerks his hand away. “Let’s… sober up,” he slurs, all but pushing Crowley off him and into a sitting position. Crowley goes unwillingly but without fuss and sits back up, the world swirling and spinning before his eyes. With a grunt he sobers up, then glances at Aziraphale whose cheeks are stained a bright pink. It’s quite a lovely shade on him.

Must be remnants from the alcohol, Crowley muses. He can't help but wonder how far down that flush might go.

“Come on,” Crowley mutters as he shuts off the tape and shakes his head. “I’ll take you home.”

< >

“That was incredible!”

“Was it?” Crowley asks as he settles in the Bentley, adjusting his attire as he tries to get comfortable. He hasn’t worn anything like this in hundreds of years, but he knows he’d willingly do it again if only to see the bright gleam of happiness that seems to radiate off Aziraphale.

“It was,” he declares with that soft, sentimental tone of his. “It’s not that I miss the old days, but I suppose nostalgia is something to be expected when you’ve lived as long as we have.”

“I suppose,” Crowley muses, using a bit of demonic magic to transform his costume back into his normal, modern clothing. He glances at Aziraphale, who is still in tights and tunic and looks utterly ridiculous and completely perfect. “You enjoyed the Ren Faire, then?”

“I did,” he says in that way that suggests he’s glad to have succumbed to a small indulgence. It’s the tone that tells Crowley he wants to do it again, but can’t bring himself to ask for more. He’s an angel, after all. He’s not supposed to want.

“Well, the Faire is here tomorrow and the next weekend. Perhaps we can-“

I feel so romantic. Can we do it again?

Can we do it again sometime? (ooh I like)- [6]

Crowley growls and smacks the tape deck, then frowns and gently pats it in silent apology

Aziraphale glances at the tape deck, then to Crowley, then back to the tape deck. “Yes,” he says slowly, thoughtfully. “I think it might be fun to go back again. What’s say you pick me up at nine o’clock tomorrow?”

< >

Crowley sits in the Bentley, still parked outside the bookshop. His arms are crossed indignantly as he stares down at the dashboard of his car. His brow is furrowed in deep thought as he glares, mind whirling as he tries to figure out what the heaven is going on.

“We’ve been through a lot, you and me,” he says at length, cautious of his tone. “Armageddon is no small thing to go through. I know I lost you-“ he takes a moment to let the pang of grief pass. When he dreams at night, it’s typically about the Bentley being on fire. (The rest of the time he dreams of an endless maze of flame, and despite his frantic shouting for Aziraphale, he never can find him).

“But even still, I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately. The whole business of turning tapes into the Best of Queen is- well, frankly it’s weird, but I can live with it. What I don’t get is this…” he waves his hand vaguely as he searches for the right words, “This obsession with playing random bits of love songs any time Aziraphale is aroun-“ Crowley’s mouth snaps shut with a click of sharp teeth. His eyes widen in realization, and he stares down at the tape deck in a mix of horror and betrayal.

“For heaven’s sake,” he breathes in disbelief, “You can’t be-“

I live my life for you

Think all my thoughts with you and only you

Anything you ask I do, for you

I touch your lips with mine [7]

Crowley groans and drops his head back against the headrest. “You have got to be kidding,” he mutters, astonished. “Are you bloody trying to set me up? With Aziraphale?!”

The tape squeaks as it jumps forward.

No more questions now

Let's enjoy tonight

Just you and I

Just you and I [4]

“Oh, no. No, no, no,” Crowley says as he reaches forward and shuts the tape deck off. “You’re mad.”

I'm going slightly mad

I'm going slightly mad

It finally happened, happened- [8]

“Ah, ha ha,” Crowley says dryly, switching the tape deck off again. “Funny one, aren’t you? Well forget it. There’s nothing for it. Not gonna happen, okay? It’s just not possible. He doesn’t feel that way for me,” Crowley says, feeling a pang in his chest that he knows he shouldn’t feel. Never mind that he’s felt it for years, though he knows it’s only been in recent weeks that he’s actually allowed the feeling to take root. He wishes he could berate it into submission like his plants at home, but it seems this feeling that he knows but is reluctant to name has not only taken root, but has sprouted and flourished and grown like weeds in his chest. No matter how much he plucks them out, they grow back tenfold.

Crowley growls. “He doesn’t feel that way for me,” he repeats, then adds harshly, “And I don’t feel that way for him either.”

Now, demons are professional liars. They are well-versed in the art of lying, and a lie can slip off a demon’s tongue with supernatural ease. And throughout the millennia, Crowley has uttered his fair share of lies without so much as a thought. He has honed his ability to lie to the point that he can lie to his former employers with the same ease and grace as he can lie to a human to tempt them into some little sin or other.

But the lie that just fell out of Crowley’s mouth makes him choke. It tastes distinctly sour, like spoiled milk. He grimaces as the words fall, and smacks his lips together in disgust. It’s an unfortunately familiar taste:  one he feels every time he denies how he feels for the angel.

Liar time after time

Liar you're lying to me

Liar you're lying to me [9]

“Oh shut up,” Crowley huffs, shutting the car off as he gets out. “You know what?” He says in the same tone one might use when attempting to get the final word in during a lover’s spat, “I think I’ll walk today.”

< >

“Your point is-“

“I made my point!” 

“I don’t think you have, actually.”

“Well, I would if you would stop interrupting me, my dear.”

“But then you wouldn’t get flustered.”

Aziraphale holds onto the ceiling of the Bentley in the same manner he does when Crowley frightens him with his insane driving, which he is currently doing. Rather than just fear, however, he’s also experiencing exasperation at their discussion, if it could even be called such a thing. “I’m not trying to get flustered; I’m trying to prove a point-“

“And I’m trying to get you flustered so you can’t prove your point, that’s my point.”

Aziraphale huffs and looks out the passenger side window, partially to observe his horrifically blurry surroundings and partially to conceal his amused smile.

“You are positively maddening,” Aziraphale remarks, but the accusation is so endearingly sweet that it might as well have not been an accusation at all. He glances at Crowley to watch his reaction.

“Well if I’m so maddening then I suppose I’ll just drop you off at the bookshop and be on my way,” he says with a lazy and indulgent smile that Aziraphale understands to mean he’s lying and will absolutely not be on his way.

“If you insist,” Aziraphale replies with an affectionate look of his own before glancing away.

Unfortunately for the two of them, the Bentley, being a car, does not quite understand the nuances of language and expression, and so it sputters, engine backfiring in protest.

“Oh, come off it,” Crowley hisses at the Bentley.

“Everything all right?” Aziraphale asks as he removes his hand from the ceiling to rub over the dashboard comfortingly, reaching out to see if he can sense anything wrong. In all the time Crowley has owned the Bentley, Aziraphale has always been able to feel two distinct things when inside the car. The first, is the absolute love and loyalty that Crowley and the car have for one another.

The second is fear for his own safety and the safety of everyone else out on the road at the same time as Crowley, but that goes without saying.

He can still feel love, the unnatural but somehow normal bond between demon and machine. But he can also sense annoyance. Strong, palpable, pointed annoyance. Old annoyance, settled into the cracks and creases as if it’s been lingering for some time and has decided to stick around for good.

The problem is, Aziraphale has no idea which one it’s coming from. Or more importantly, why he feels it at all.

Eventually they arrive back at the bookshop. Crowley turns the car off and tilts his head lazily toward Aziraphale. “So, What wine will you use to tempt me inside today?”

“I don’t tempt,” Aziraphale says with an indignant sniff. “That’s your job.”

“We’re unemployed, angel,” Crowley reminds him gently. “You can tempt me if you so wish. I can’t resist a good tempting.”

Aziraphale flushes at that and looks away. “You are horrible,” he replies, but the word is uttered like a caress, and Crowley laughs.

“Well?”

Aziraphale goes to open the door as he answers. “Well, I do have a lovely- Crowley, dear, the door won’t open.”

Tilting his head in confusion, Crowley reaches over Aziraphale and tugs on the handle a couple times, frowning when it won’t budge. “Odd,” he remarks, glancing at Aziraphale from where he’s draped over him, then quickly sits up. “Hang on, I’ll come around-“

He tugs on his own handle, but it won’t open either.

“Bloody hell-“ he murmurs, at a loss.

Look into my eyes and you'll see

I'm the only one

You've captured my love

Stolen my heart

Changed my life

Every time you make a move

You destroy my mind

And the way you touch

I lose control and shiver deep inside

You take my breath away [10]

“Crowley?” Aziraphale asks, worry etching his voice. “What’s going on?”

“Damned car,” Crowley mutters as he shuts off the tape. “Listen here, I will have you for scraps if you don’t-“

The tape makes a shuffling sound like it’s skipping through songs.

 

You are the one for me

I am the man for you

You were made for me

You're my ecstasy

If I was given every opportunity

I'd kill for your love [11]

 

“Aaaggh, that’s enough,” Crowley growls as he flips off the tape deck. “I told you no.”

“Crowley?” Aziraphale asks, watching with concern as Crowley fusses at his car.

“It’s nothing, angel,” Crowley remarks before he pokes the dashboard. “Unlock the doors now and I’ll forget this ever happened.”

The only sound is the smooth churning of the engine, which Crowley swears he can only hear out of spite.

“Listen,” Crowley hisses to the Bentley, no longer trying to hide his irritation, “I’ve had enough of this. Let. Us. Out!”

 

Everytime I get hot

You wanna cool down

Everytime I get high

You say you wanna come down

You say it's enough

In fact it's too much

Everytime I get a - Get down, get down

Make love - [12]

“Ugh!” Crowley snaps his fingers and with a sheer force of will the car unlocks and he flings the door open and slams it shut with far more force than necessary.

“Come on,” he snaps at Aziraphale, who hurries out of the car and shuts his door much more gently, patting the top of the car sympathetically before following Crowley into the shop.

“That was… something,” Aziraphale remarks once inside. Crowley is already near the back, and he pauses, glances over his shoulder to regard the angel and shakes his head.

“Don’t. Let’s just get drunk.”

Aziraphale glances out the window toward the Bentley, and he swears that if a vehicle could look forlorn, the Bentley has managed to accomplish it. His gaze moves back to where he can hear Crowley rummaging around for alcohol, and decides he’ll let the matter drop for the moment.

They drink, Aziraphale much more slowly than Crowley. Crowley quickly gets drunk and begins going off on a tangent about how terribly uncultured modern cinema is, and Aziraphale plays along, grumbling about the last film he’d seen and how it indeed was not quite up to par with Shakespeare and the performances of long ago.

Eventually, Crowley reaches the point in his drunkenness when he gets sleepy, and without any further preamble, curls up on the couch, as content as a cat and coiled up like a snake.

Aziraphale watches for a long moment, ensuring Crowley has truly given himself over to sleep. Once he’s certain the demon is out, he stands, then snaps his fingers. The keys to the Bentley appear in his hand, and despite the horrible guilt in his chest that Aziraphale suspects humans would relate to heartburn, he slips out of the shop and toward the Bentley.

Once inside he sticks the keys in the ignition, feeling decidedly out of place in the driver’s seat. He hesitates, but after a moment of debating the pros and cons of his actions, he holds his breath and turns the key. The engine comes to life, purring happily at the gentle, angelic touch.

“Um,” Aziraphale says, unsure of what to do now. “Hello, there.” He smiles that polite grin where one is clearly uncomfortable with the situation in which they’ve found themself, but are determined to make the best of it.

“It seems you and Crowley have had a falling out of some sort,” Aziraphale says, feeling decidedly stupid talking to a car. “He won’t tell me a thing. Perhaps you could… um… shed some… light… onto the problem?”

The tape deck makes a noise. Then:

 

This thing called love

I just can't handle it

This thing called love

I must get round to it

I ain't ready

Crazy little thing called love [13]

“Love…” Aziraphale mutters. “Love is the problem?”

 

This thing called love [13]

 

“Alright,” Aziraphale says as he rests his hands on the steering wheel, is if to encourage the Bentley to continue. “So. Love. Are… you in love?”

He feels stupid the moment the words leave his lips. Apparently the Bentley thinks it’s stupid too, for it goes completely quiet.

“Is… Crowley… in love?” Aziraphale ventures.

The horn honks twice, startling a pedestrian who gives Aziraphale a choice glare. He offers an apologetic look to the young man and absently miracles it so the lad will find some extra money on the ground a block or so away.

“Crowley is in love,” Aziraphale mutters, and he isn’t sure how to feel about such a fact. “Well then,” Aziraphale says, swallowing down any emotion that might give him away, “What do we do about that?”

Action this day action this night

Oh we've gotta learn to love to live

You can't say it ain't right

Action this day action this night

Oh you've got the power you've got the power

You've got the power to love to live

You can't say it ain't right [14]

Aziraphale listens as the section of song plays, screeches to a stop, rewinds, and plays again. He focuses on the words, on what the Bentley is trying to tell him through Freddie Mercury’s voice, and after the fifth time the section repeats, Aziraphale is mouthing along to the words, studying them carefully until the Bentley apparently becomes frustrated and shortens the message until over and over it plays

You've got the power

You've got the power

You've got the power

You've got the power [14]

Finally, it clicks.

“Wha- me?”

 

You've got the power to love [14]

“I think you’re quite mistaken,” Aziraphale says, voice cracking with nerves and hope and fear. “Crowley does not feel that way about me! I’m certain of it. You’re… I’m sorry, my dear, but you are a car and I don’t think it’s possible for a car to understand-“

The squeak of a tape shuffling about interrupts him.

I'm having a hard time

I'm walking a fine line

Between hope and despair

You may think that I don't care -

But I traveled a long road to

Get a hold of my sorrow

I tried to catch a dream

But nothing's what it seems

Love is saying baby it's all right

When deep inside you're really petrified- [15]

Any further argument dies on Aziraphale’s lips. He listens to the song, to the Bentley, feeling absolutely insane as he does so, but maybe…

He thinks back over the last several weeks. All the instances when the Bentley had started playing pieces of love songs and how increasingly flustered Crowley had been over the whole ordeal. Originally, Aziraphale had assumed that it was mere irritation over the Bentley acting out; that it was a new and mildly exaggerated quirk Adam had not gotten quite right when he reset reality.

But no. It seems something else entirely had been going on right in front of him, spoken in a language he’s not been able to comprehend.

“Oh…” Aziraphale breathes, and something light and soft blooms in his chest, lovely and bright and fluttering on feather-soft wings. It’s an understanding that’s been there for years, but one he’s held captive under lock and key. Now, however, he lets it out, tests the feeling of it as it settles within him, comfortable like a favorite blanket-

Or the passenger seat of a Bentley.

“I’ve been a fool, haven’t I,” Aziraphale says to no one in particular.

See what a fool I've been.

Oh, Lord.

What a fool I've been. [16]

Aziraphale gives a sharp look to the tape deck and switches it off. “There’s no need to rub it in,” he huffs. “Right,” he sighs as his hands fall onto his lap. “Well. Thank you for your… um… efforts,” he says to the Bentley. “Perhaps you can allow me to take it from here? You don’t want our dear boy to burst a blood vessel getting so worked up over your… subtle hints.”

The car remains silent. Aziraphale takes that as a yes.

“Right,” he mutters, not sure what to make of the situation at all. He shuts off the engine and heads back inside.

< >

When Crowley wakes, he awakens to a dusty shop full of books, a hankering for Chinese take-away, and none the wiser to anything that might have occurred while he was asleep. Aziraphale is not within eyesight but is within earshot, and the demon can hear the sounds of Aziraphale moving about, lightly humming to himself as he putters about.

Crowley takes a moment to simply listen and soak up the moment. Enjoys how simply domestic it is, to wake up from a nap to the sound of the person one cares for most moving about, both comfortable in their own space; comfortable enough to orbit around one another and not worry about crashing and burning.

Though, the Bentley has come dangerously close to ruining that.

Crowley has loved Aziraphale for nearly as long as he’s known him. He hasn’t always known that was the feeling- being cast out of Heaven messes with one's ability to recognize certain emotions that appear to be contrary to the nature of a demon, and love had definitely been at the top of that list.

It had taken the bookshop being on fire, thinking Aziraphale was gone, for Crowley to finally allow himself to accept the feeling for what it was. Nevermind that he’d spent over five thousand years wooing the angel, now he has a full understanding of what it is he wants.

He’s not supposed to love. But then again cars aren’t supposed to be able to communicate through Queen lyrics and the Armageddon wasn’t supposed to not happen. Everything is flipped in this new world, and maybe a demon in love is just another piece of new normal.

Crowley isn’t certain an angel loving a demon will make as much sense. Angels love everything, but in a vague, detached way that shows angels truly have no idea just how vast and imaginative love can be. Its like enjoying a strawberry lolly but never having a fresh strawberry. One has an idea of the taste, a vague notion and perhaps even an appreciation, but there’s no direct connection, no feeling the burst of sweetness on one’s tongue.

No, Crowley thinks, He doesn’t love me. Not like that.

Aziraphale appears a few moments later, pulling off his gloves from where he’d apparently been going through one of his rarer books. He smiles upon seeing Crowley and places his gloves on a nearby table. “Ah, my dear. You’re awake.”

“Yeah,” Crowley grumbles as he sits up and rubs his eyes and sobers up quickly. “Sorry about earlier; not sure what’s gotten into the Bentley.”

“About that,” Aziraphale mentions, moving to sit down across from Crowley. “I was wondering if perhaps maybe the Bentley is still… coming to terms with what happened to it and is simply… lashing out?”

“Angel,” Crowley drawls with an amused smirk, “Are you suggesting my car has PTSD?”

“Are you suggesting it isn’t possible?” Aziraphale rebuttals pointedly.

They stare at one another for a long moment before he sighs in defeat. “A couple months ago? Yeah, I’d say no. But now?” He gestures vaguely around him. “Sure. A car with PTSD. Weirder things have happened.”

“Indeed they have,” Aziraphale agrees, glancing to the collection of books on his desk that definitely had not been there prior to the end of the world.

“Anyway,” Crowley says as he stands to his feet. “I’ve a hankering for Chinese. Shall I bring back some for you?”

“Oh, I’ll go with you,” Aziraphale says as he stands, adjusting his suit absently and following Crowley.

“You sure?”

“Of course.”

Crowley shrugs and opens the door for his angel.

< >

Nohing happens when they go get Chinese.

Oh, Queen plays, but it’s just a song. No starting in the middle of a track or jumping around to pointed lyrics. Just Don’t Stop Me Now playing somehow even more merrily than normal between them.

Nothing happens the next day, when they go to the Ritz for lunch.

Not when for the next three weeks.

For his part, Crowley is about to go absolutely insane. He knows, he knows the car is up to something. Weeks of having pointed lyrics blasting in his ear, like his own personal demon on his shoulder trying to convince him to do something he knows he shouldn’t do are followed up with nothing. The car is as normal as it was before and Crowley is about ready to pull his hair out in frustration.

He says nothing however, and Aziraphale seems none the wiser, and so Crowley thinks perhaps things are settling back to the way they were.

It’s a special sort of hell, wanting more but knowing it can never be. The world hasn’t ended, he has his car, and he has Aziraphale. He knows he doesn’t deserve anything more, so he doesn’t wish for what he doesn’t have.

< >

They’re going to the theatre to see a Shakespeare performance- a funny one this time. It’s all Aziraphale’s idea: dinner at the Ritz- a much classier affair- then the play. There is talk of drinks and dessert afterward to discuss the show. Crowley has to admit it feels somehow different than their normal outings, but he can’t quite figure out how.

They’re dressed to the nines, and Crowley can’t help but appreciate the suit that Aziraphale is wearing. It’s unlike any of this others- oh, it’s still tan, but this one is a shade darker than normal. His shirt is a slightly deeper blue, and his bow tie is a mix of tans and blues and even a line or two of purple. It’s the most colorful Crowley has seen the angel in some time, and he has to admit that he really rather likes it.

They park and begin to make their way toward the theatre. A few steps in Aziraphale freezes. “Oh, blast. I left something in the car. You go on in, I’ll catch up.”

He moves back to the Bentley before Crowley can comment, and the demon watches the angel for a long moment before shrugging and takes a few slow steps toward the theatre, meandering so as to not leave him behind.

Once in the car, Aziraphale bends down to make a show of grabbing something. He miracles a small flask of liquor into his pocket with a shrug and murmurs to the car. “On the way home, a few minutes before we arrive at the bookshop, I have a song I’d like you to play.”

< >

The play ends and they leave arm in arm as they argue over the modern interpretation of the play. It’s all in good fun, and they argue all the way to the bar where they continue to argue through three glasses of mediocre wine and a slice of dessert.

They make their way back to the car, their argument having drifted from Midsummer Night’s Dream to other works. The banter is light and cheerful and playful. Crowley making Aziraphale flustered because it’s fun and Aziraphale getting flustered because it makes Crowley happy.

They’re wrapped up in each other, bickering back and forth contentedly. Eventually, they near the bookshop, and Aziraphale pats the ceiling of the car.

When love breaks up

When the dawn light wakes up

A new life is born

Somehow I have to make this final breakthru... Now! [17]

Crowley glares down at the tape deck, and with a growl moves to turn it off. Before he can reach the button, his hand comes into contact with something soft. He glances over to see that Aziraphale, who is decidedly not looking at him, is holding his hand. In the faint glow of the street lights, Crowley can see a deep blush coating the angel’s cheeks.

I wake up

Feel just fine,

Your face

Fills my mind

I get religion quick

'Cos you're looking divine

Honey you're touching something, you're touchin' me,

I'm under your thumb, under your spell, can't you see,

If I could only reach you,

If I could make you smile,

If I could only reach you,

That would really be a breakthru - oh yeah. [17]

“Aziraphale-?”

“Hmm?”

His gaze remains steadfastly on the road in front of them, leaving Crowley to gape in confusion as the Bentley deftly dodges around cars and pedestrians

“Are… are you behind this?”

They reach the bookshop and the car comes to a halt.

Breakthru, these barriers of pain,

Breakthru, to the sunshine from the rain,

Make my feelings known towards you

Turn my heart inside and out for you now

Somehow,

I have to make this final breakthru.

Now! [17]

“Just this one,” Aziraphale remarks quietly. “I asked the Bentley to play it.”

Your smile,

Speaks books to me,

I break up,

With each and every one of your looks at me,

Honey you're starting something deep inside of me,

Honey you're sparking something, this fire in me,

I'm outta control, I wanna rush headlong into this ecstasy [17]

“You asked the Bentley?”

“Well, yes,” Aziraphale says, stammering nervously. His grip in Crowley’s hand tightens but it isn’t out of affection. It’s from pure panic, and Crowley can’t help but find it utterly endearing. “I thought- dear,” he turns to address the car, “You can stop now. I think we made our point.”

The song softens considerably, but continues playing.

“Well, if you must know, I talked to the Bentley a couple weeks ago and… figured out… what it was trying to tell us.”

“A couple weeks ago?”

“Yes,” Aziraphale nods. “After you got blackout drunk.” He says it with a touch of annoyance. Crowley ignores it in favor of other pressing matters.

“And what,” Crowley swallows thickly, feeling slightly nauseous, “Did you discover?”

Aziraphale clears his throat. “Well-“

Honey you're starting something deep inside of me,

Honey you're sparking something, this fire in me, [17]

Aziraphale huffs out a laugh and shrugs. “Well, what Freddie said, I suppose.”

Crowley isn't sure what to think. His mind is a whirl of conflicting thoughts, and his hand is warm in Aziraphale’s and he’s simply staring at the angel in absolute shock and confusion.

“Perhaps we should go inside,” Aziraphale suggests.

“Yeah,” Crowley agrees absently, and with a flick of his wrist the car shuts off and they exit the car for the bookshop. He doesn’t even realize the keys are still in the ignition.

Once inside, Aziraphale busies himself pouring some wine as Crowley sprawls out on the couch. Aziraphale brings him his wine, then surprises them both when he settles on the sofa at Crowley’s feet. The demon moves his feet to the floor to make room.

“So,” he murmurs as he idly swirls the wine in his glass. “Starting something deep inside, eh?”

“Oh do hush,” Aziraphale huffs.

They sit silently for some time, Aziraphale as prom and rigid as ever. Crowley is leaned forward, elbows pressing into knees as he studied the deep red of his wine.

“So I guess we ought to address it,” he says at last.

“I suppose so,” Aziraphale agrees. “Your car thinks we are in love and wants us to do something about it.”

“Are you?” Crowley asks softly, making a point of looking everywhere but at the angel. “In love. With me?”

“Well,” Aziraphale mutters softly, pausing for a moment before answering, “Yes, I am.”

Crowley looks up, eyes wide and mouth agape. The warmth in his chest spreads like wildfire, consuming him from within with the most magnificent feeling of joy and relief and wonder. The roaring of that flame thunders in his hears so loudly he nearly misses the next thing Aziraphale says.

“Are you in love with me?”

Crowley blinks. Does he really not know?

“Have been for a while,” Crowley remarks simply, shrugging before he downs the wine in his glass, barely tasting it. He sits back, more like a cat sprawled out in comfort than a snake, and removes his sunglasses. “Never really thought you’d go for it, so I never said anything; honestly thought I was more than obvious.”

“I’m sorry to say you most likely would have been right,” Aziraphale admits softly, and something in the way he says it tells Crowley that he loathes the confession, wishes that it weren’t true. After a moment, Aziraphale blinks. “Wait. Obvious?”

Crowley shrugs. “Yeah.”

Aziraphale looks away, clearly sifting through thousands of years of interactions. Suddenly he looks up; gasps. “You asked me to run away with you!” 

“I did.”

Aziraphale’s still full glass of wine is set aside and he closes the distance between them, taking Crowley’s glass and then clasping Crowley’s hand in his.

“Twice.”

“Yep.”

“And all those times you rescued me,” Aziraphale says, as if suddenly putting two and two together. “And the little miracles. And-“ he cuts off, looking at Crowley with a look of genuine horror and displeasure, “You’ve been telling me for years! And I never realized. Oh,” he pulls away, burying his head in his hands, “What you must think of me!”

Aziraphale feels one hand being tugged away and into Crowley’s grasp.”I never expected anything in return,” Crowley remarks with perhaps a little more bite than he means to, “You stuck around with me for six thousand years. There were even times when it seemed like you were happy to see me. It was enough. It had to be. I went too fast for you.”

“I am ashamed of some of the things I’ve said to you over the years,” Aziraphale whispers. “However true they might have been at one time.”

“Armageddon certainly puts things into perspective,” Crowley muses. “Once I’d have been content with… what we’ve been doing for the past hundred years. But I lost you, Aziraphale. I didn’t know you were… okay… and so for a good couple hours I was without you. And it made me realize that I’m not content. Not anymore.”

“I find I feel the same,” Aziraphale confesses, “Facing Armageddon certainly puts things into perspective. But I’ve spent six thousand years denying myself the one thing I’ve most wanted; I fear that it will be a hard habit to break.” He squeezes Crowley’s hand. “But I want to try.”

Crowley looks up. Meets the angel’s eyes. “You do?”

“Well,” Aziraphale reasons, “We’ve already turned our backs on our respective sides. We chose each other, in some capacity, over them. And that was before we knew how we felt. Now we know. It seems silly to go on denying ourselves something we both clearly want, now that we know we both want it.”

“You want to fraternize with a demon?” He inches closer, hopeful, teasing. He feels lighter than he’s felt in centuries.

“Fraternize, consort, hobnob-“

Crowley stops. “Hobnob?”

“Or whatever you want to call it,” Aziraphale huffs, cheeks flushing pink.

“Certainly not hobnob!”

They fall back into silence, more thoughtful than tense. Aziraphale adjusts his hold on Crowley’s hand, entwining their fingers together and squeezing affectionately. Crowley returns the gesture and they inch closer until their sides are pressed together. As if of one mind, they lean closer, resting together as they stare down at their joined hands.

“Just think,” Aziraphale muses softly, “It only took six thousand years, Armageddon, and a meddling Bentley to get us here.”

“Only,” Crowley scoffs affectionately.

“I am sorry for taking so long,” Aziraphale says. “And for being so dreadfully stubborn.”

“’S’alright,” Crowley remarks, “You’re just enough of a bastard to be worth loving.”

They lean back from one another just enough to meet each other’s gaze. Then, as if of one mind, they close the distance between them, lips meeting in a kiss six thousand years in the making.

It starts off soft, but quickly heats up, and before long they find themselves reclined on the sofa making up for quite a bit of lost time.

“Will you stay the night?” Aziraphale asks as Crowley’s lips trail down the angel’s throat.

“Depends. Are you trying to seduce me, angel?”

“Perhaps.”

“Then yesss.”

< >

The next morning an angel and a demon exit the bookshop hand in hand intent on going to a nearby bakery for breakfast. It’s raining just enough to make walking a nuisance and so they rush to the Bentley and topple inside, laughing as they miracle themselves dry.

“So, what’ll it be, angel?”

“Crepes sound lovely,” Aziraphale says after a moment of consideration.

“Of course they do,” Crowley mutters as he leans over and gives Aziraphale a kiss, which the angel happily reciprocates.

They linger there, giddy and in love, before Crowley pulls away and starts the car.

Ooh love, ooh loverboy

What're you doin' tonight, hey, boy?

Set my alarm, turn on my charm

That's because I'm a good old-fashioned loverboy [3]

Crowley snorts. “Yes, yes. You’ve made your point,” he addresses the Bentley, holding up his and Aziraphale’s joined hands. “Look, see?”

In these days of cool reflection

You come to me and everything seems alright

In these days of cold affections

You sit by me and everything's fine [18]

Aziraphale squeezes Crowley’s hand. “I think he’s happy for us.”

The Bentley honks twice in confirmation, and then Crowley pulls out into the street. The Bentley zooms along happily, the sound of Freddie Mercury drowning out the screams of terrified pedestrians.