The kitchen in their cottage faced east, towards the sea. The morning light filled the space each day with an unearthly glow, warming the tabletop, the tile floor. Spring turned to summer turned to fall, and with little discussion they picked up each other’s daily patterns.
Crowley always rose first, made tea. Each morning Aziraphale would offer to do it, to put the fire on and warm the house if it was needed, and Crowley would insist. “Don’t you dare. I’ve got this.” He blossomed while performing these small acts. With the weight of the world off his shoulders, he existed in a state of joyous freedom. It made Aziraphale ache with happiness, if there even was such a thing.
Aziraphale would get up from bed eventually, and join Crowley in the kitchen. Taking his perfectly prepared cup of tea, he would approach the seated Crowley from behind and rake his fingers through the now long red hair, flecks of grey settling in at the temples. ( “I’ll cut it if you like.” “No, don’t. I love it. I love you.” ) Drawing Crowley’s face back Aziraphale would place a kiss on his forehead, let his hand caress Crowley’s neck, slip under his shirt to feel his bare chest. Every morning, this quiet vignette. They basked in each others warmth, unhindered.
It wasn’t all perfect. On occasion Aziraphale would hear Crowley sigh loudly from the kitchen, followed by the sound of cabinets snapping shut. “You never close these doors,” he would call out, annoyed. “One of these days I’m going to walk into one in the dark and break my nose and you’re going to feel terrible.” Aziraphale would stifle a laugh, yell out an apology from wherever he was in the house.
Similarly, more than once he had searched Crowley out, looking for some item or other that Crowley had put in a mystery location in a fit of tidying. “Really, my dear. I don’t know why you’re so obsessive about this. It’s not like we have company.”
But he had never had these before. These minor domestic tiffs. And as they happened, behind his vexation was a thrill. They could bicker because Crowley was his, belonged to him.
On an early evening, when the house was still empty but for the bare essentials, Crowley played a song from his phone as he cleaned up after dinner.
“What’s that?” Aziraphale called from the other room where he thumbed through a book picked up from the nearby thrift shop.
“Velvet Underground. Come here a sec’!” Crowley called back, drying his hands on a dishtowel, turning to face the former reverend as he wandered in. “Dance with me,” he said, arms outstretched.
Aziraphale blushed, shook his head. “Oh Crowley, I’ve never been much of a dancer.”
“Like hell you’re not.” Crowley slipped his arm around Aziraphale with confidence, took the shorter man’s hand in his and led.
Aziraphale pressed his face into Crowley’s shoulder, still flushing, as much from Crowley’s touch now as being pulled into a dance. They swayed to the tinny music emanating from the phone speaker, pressed together, breathless.
Crowley ghosted a kiss over Aziraphale’s ear, whispered, “Suppose we got married.”
Aziraphale didn’t flinch, didn’t break away. Just smiled into the soft fabric of Crowley’s shirt. “I didn’t think you were the type, my darling.”
“You’re my type.”
They pulled back to look at one another, coming to stillness. Aziraphale kissed Crowley, holding tight to him, lips searching for any sign of reluctance or second thoughts and finding none.
Years later, he will watch from the window as Crowley putters in the garden, hair tied back, dirt under his fingernails, and Aziraphale will ache in want of him. He is in wonder at the fact that after all this time that he still feels as certain as he does. That his love of Crowley feels like, has always felt like, this celestial thing, bigger than them and this cottage and this country. Expansive and endless.
Crowley will look up and see Aziraphale watching him. Will smile in a way that cracks open Aziraphale’s ribs as if for the first time.
Ah, there it is, Aziraphale thinks, as he does nearly every time he looks at his husband. The face of God.