When the world had settled again, it was just a little bit different. The changes were nearly imperceptible. Indeed, the humans had not noticed, but all the same, the shifts were there, and they were all too noticeable for an angel and a demon.
Several months had passed by when, over a delicious array of Thai food, Aziraphale looked up at Crowley and wondered aloud if maybe it was time to move on from London. Crowley agreed easily.
They never discussed the particulars of their living arrangement — it just seemed natural. They settled on Brighton and went in together on a lovely little terrace house. There were two bedrooms, one for each of them. Natural light flooded the home, and the walls were painted in splashes of color throughout. The fireplace in the bedroom Crowley claimed was a deep blue and a wall stretching from the kitchen into the dining nook was a bright teal. The window seat in the sitting room and it’s adjoining wall was a cool mauve. Aziraphale was particularly fond of the bedroom he had chosen, for it had built-in shelves painted mossy green.
Moving in brought with it the delightful task of making everything their own, something neither had done since settling into London centuries back. Aziraphale quickly ran out of space on his built-in bookshelf and then, even quicker, ran out of space on the three other bookshelves he had crammed into his room. There was another shelf in the sitting room, but Aziraphale left it open for Crowley to set his plants. Instead, he began stacking books along walls wherever he could and let them pile up to the ceilings.
Crowley, meanwhile, had the mirror taken down from over the fireplace in the sitting room. In its place, he had a large television installed with surround sound speakers mounted into the corners of the room. He then turned his attention to the kitchen where he had sleek new appliances put in.
It was home. It was their home.
Presently, Crowley was in the kitchen, fussing with the coffeemaker. The angel preferred tea himself, but he never turned down coffee if Crowley was making some. Aziraphale was sitting at the table in their dining nook, newspaper in hand (a human paper, instead of The Celestial Observer — he had made the switch after, well, you know).
He glanced up as Crowley slammed about the kitchen. There was no apparent reason for the demon to be so especially loud this morning. Aziraphale suspected he just wanted a bit of attention.
“All right, dear?” he murmured.
Crowley turned to the table, grabbing up a plate of avocado toast as he went, and deposited it in front of the angel. A nice reward, Aziraphale thought, fond and amused.
“Coffee will be out soon,” the demon announced, sauntering back into the kitchen.
Aziraphale grabbed up the slice of toast and chewed happily, focus returning to the column he had been reading. Moments later, the coffeemaker gave a dying gurgle followed by Crowley appearing at his elbow and placing a mug gently down in front of the angel.
“Splash of milk, four lumps of sugar,” he recited, as he turned to the back door, his own mug of black coffee lifting to his lips.
Aziraphale hummed appreciatively after him and traded his toast for the coffee.
Dishes were miraculously cleared by the time Crowley stomped back inside. Aziraphale raised his eyebrows at him in a silent question.
“Need to head out for a bit, get some gardening supplies,” Crowley answered. “Want me to pick up lunch on my way back?”
“Would you? That would be lovely,” said Aziraphale, folding his newspaper and leaving it stacked neatly on the edge of the table.
Crowley nodded and made his way to the front door, grabbing up his keys and wallet as he went. He gave low, hissing threats to the plants in the sitting room on his way out. Aziraphale trailed him lightly, opting to settle into his armchair as Crowley slipped out the door. He patted the pot of the plant nearest him comfortingly, then scooped up a book off the coffee table and began to read.
Hours later, the front door open, slammed shut again. Crowley dropped several large bags onto the coffee table, flinging his keys and wallet in unison onto the side table by the sofa.
“Hey,” he said, scooping up the brown paper bag nearest him, which smelled wonderfully of Indian food. He carried it off to the kitchen. An angel followed closely at his heels.
“Curry?” Crowley nudged a container into Aziraphale’s waiting arms.
“Rice?” The question had barely left Aziraphale’s mouth when another container slid into his arms. “Thank you, my dear.”
“Sure,” Crowley waved him off and joined him at the table.
They were eating in companionable silence when Aziraphale paused, a forkful of curry and rice hovering in front of his mouth.
“Crowley,” he started slowly, “have you been wearing that all day?”
Crowley glanced down. His leather jacket had fallen open. He was wearing his usual tight, dark jeans paired with (and this was what Aziraphale was asking about) a soft, cream-colored, cashmere sweater. It hung a bit loosely about the demon, but it looked very comfortable.
“I suppose I have,” Crowley said and took an indelicate bite of his curry.
“Stop stealing my clothes,” the angel grumbled, going back to his meal as well.
“I’m not stealing anything. Probably got mixed up in the laundry.” Eyebrows raised in the angel’s direction, daring him to say the thing they both knew; they never did laundry.
Aziraphale gave an exasperated sigh but said nothing, tearing off a piece of naan. Triumphantly, the demon took another bite of curry, his lips curled in a smug smile around his fork.
Crowley’s phone rang then, and he abandoned his food to answer it. It was Sunday, just after two in the afternoon, Aziraphale noted as he glanced at the clock above the back door. That meant it was Anathema, making her weekly call. It was the first real relationship either had made with a human in decades. Crowley, Aziraphale knew, was particularly fond of Anathema. She was quick-witted, sly in her own way. A good match for the demon. Warmth caught Aziraphale in the chest, and he smiled; Crowley was feeling friendship. He felt it every time the occultist called, but it still always gave him a bit of a rush to realize it was coming from the demon.
Aziraphale finished his lunch and made himself a cup of tea, retiring to his room to read some more. He could hear Crowley’s voice floating up from downstairs for a little over an hour after he had settled in the bed, propped up against the headboard with his book. Then the house drifted into a peaceful silence.
The angel hadn’t noticed it had grown dark outside until he heard footsteps clambering up the stairs and down the hall. He could hear Crowley shuffling around in his own room. It was comforting, hearing his friend so close.
He tucked his book away and crossed the hall to their bathroom. Among his many indulgences in human habits, baths were one of his favorites. Warm, sweetly scented, and so relaxing; Aziraphale was beginning to take them almost nightly despite not actually needing to bathe. He changed into silken pajamas afterward and slipped into bed. This was another indulgence he had begun to favor, one that Crowley had nudged him towards after they moved in together.
He was dozing off when a soft knock came from his door. He rolled over, facing the door as it creaked open gently, Crowley’s face poking in through the crack. His hair looked like flames, the way the hallway light framed it.
“All right?” asked the demon.
Aziraphale patted the space next to him. Crowley, still in the angel’s sweater but wearing dark grey sweatpants now, slipped into the room and settled next to him under the covers. Since the first night they moved in, Crowley has appeared in the angel's doorway, night after night. He always asks first, but Aziraphale has never turned him away.
“I want that sweater back,” Aziraphale warned.
“Okay,” said Crowley, shifting under the covers, plumping up his pillow.
Aziraphale rolled his eyes. If he wanted the sweater back, he knew he would have to steal it back.
The room was quiet for several long minutes. Then Aziraphale whispered, “Why?”
“Why what?” Crowley’s reply was groggy, already half asleep.
“Why do you wear my clothes and why do you sleep in my bed and why…” Aziraphale trailed off. Crowley’s eyes were shut, his breathing slow and even. He was asleep.
“Well,” Aziraphale sighed. Then he sunk into the pillows, pulled the covers tighter around his shoulders and fell asleep too.
His last thought, as he drifted off, was that Crowley looked very nice in his sweater.
Aziraphale liked bread. Loved it, really. White bread, wheat bread, rye bread; all three types of loaves shoved into an overlarge bread box on the counter. Challah bread, ciabatta rolls, and a bag of mini brioche framed it. The house was old, and their kitchen was tiny, and Aziraphale’s bread collection took up the only real usable counter space they had.
Crowley feigned annoyance at it every time he went to make a pot of coffee — “There’s no room to put my mug, angel!” — but he always slipped away with a full cup of coffee and a brioche bun gripped in his teeth.
They only had two mugs; Aziraphale’s white angel-winged one with a minute chip on the left wing and Crowley’s matte black oversized one that looked as though it belonged in a chic cafe. They also only had two plates, two bowls, and two sets of eating utensils. Their cookware was a similar affair: one skillet pan, one pot, one baking dish, and one set of cooking utensils. A large dish drying rack next to the sink was used to store them all. This freed up plenty of shelf and cabinet space in their kitchen for their extensive wine and liquor collection — the glassware for which they owned a respectable amount.
Wine bottles were clustered around Aziraphale at this exact moment, circling him on the floor as though he were partaking in an ancient ritual. He was taking inventory. Mondays were always slow when he ran the bookshop (if it wasn’t closed) and he took to doing inventory those days. The habit stayed with him when they moved.
Rising with the sun, he would spend all Monday flitting around the house, taking stock of the wines, the liquor, his books, and even the plants. He was reorganizing the red wine shelf when Crowley appeared at the kitchen threshold. His hair was tousled every which way, eyes squinted in grudging awakeness.
“Good morning,” said Aziraphale. He was in good cheer this morning.
Crowley grunted in reply and stretched out his arm, palm turned upwards, awaiting. Aziraphale wordlessly grabbed up the plate sitting atop the stove and plopped it in his hand. A warmed and buttered brioche bun sat in the center of it. From beside the stove, a matte black mug, full to the brim with black coffee, drifted lazily passed the angel and hovered in the demon’s reach. Crowley’s free hand settled around the handle, and he raised it in thanks to the angel before turning for the sitting room.
“I was thinking,” Aziraphale paused to settle a couple of bottles back onto the shelf, “we should go out for dinner tonight.”
“Mrmph,” came Crowley’s response.
“I’ve been craving French, and I just keep thinking about that lovely little spot we went to a couple month’s back. You remember the one, right?”
Crowl made a noncommittal grunt. Aziraphale smiled despite himself and decided he was done with the kitchen today. He joined Crowley in the sitting room, where he started taking note of the plants. All looked the same at first glance, but then the angel caught sight of a new pot tucked into the corner of the bay window.
“Oh! What’s this?” he asked, crowding over the plant.
“Hmm.” Crowley didn’t answer right away. He took a bite out of the brioche bun, chewed thoughtfully, swallowed. Finally, he said, “It’s called a Pink Angel.”
Aziraphale paused in tracing over the soft pink veins painted through deep green leaves. Then he gave the side of the pot a gentle, loving pat.
“French sounds good, by the way.”
Aziraphale turned to smile at the demon. Crowley’s face, he noticed, was just a little pink itself.
“Wonderful,” the angel murmured. Then he returned to the task of home inventory.
Summer was well and truly gone. Aziraphale could feel it in the wind; wind which was currently ruffling Crowley’s shoulder-length hair. He was growing it out again, and the angel rather liked the way it looked. He was wearing another one of Aziraphale’s sweaters. (“I found it in my dresser. You don’t mind, right?”) Pale, baby blue in a lovely Irish cable knit. It was paired with the usual tight black pants and snakeskin boots. There was a collar peaking over the sweater from the black button-up he was wearing underneath.
Crowley pulled the door open and gave a dramatic sweeping bow.
“After you,” he drawled.
“Don’t tease.” Aziraphale swatted at him lightly as he passed, but amusement danced and sparkled in his voice, and all he got for his efforts was a smug, toothy grin.
They were seated at a table by the window nearest a corner of the restaurant. Crowley flopped dramatically into the chair facing the door. Aziraphale was already ordering as he took his seat.
“Let’s get the breadbasket to start and a bottle of the syrah, please,” Aziraphale rattled off to the waitress.
When she departed, he turned his gaze to the demon. Yellow eyes peeked briefly over the rim of dark sunglasses, eyebrows raised (as though to say, “well aren’t you bossy”) before he pushed them back up the bridge of his nose.
Aziraphale forced back his own smug grin and pulled the menu to himself.
“What will you have, my dear?” he asked.
“Order whatever you like, angel,” Crowley replied, voice warm and relaxed.
“I think I’m going to have the quail. How does duck sound to you?”
“Sure,” the demon answered quickly. They both knew Aziraphale would be eating half his meal anyway.
Aziraphale ordered for them when the waitress returned. Once their food arrived, he took his time savoring each bite. Crowley picked slowly through his food and traded their plates with a grace that came from practice and familiarity once Aziraphale had finished the quail.
The demon watched him as he ate, head resting in his hand, weight pitched across the table like he was a magnet being drawn in by the angel’s magnetic field. Aziraphale was nearly finished with Crowley’s dinner when the demon leaned back, taking slow sips from his wine glass. He stretched out, and his foot brushed up Aziraphale’s leg lightly.
Aziraphale, to his credit, gave no outward reaction. He took his final bite and met Crowley’s gaze head-on.
“That was scrumptious. Dessert?”
As they were leaving the restaurant, walking back to the Bentley, Crowley leaned into his space again and knocked their shoulders together.
“Life has gotten good, hasn’t it?” he asked, pressing close to whisper it in the angel’s ear, as though they were sharing in some grand conspiracy (they were, in a way, when Aziraphale thought about it).
The angel beamed at him.
They stopped at a bakery on their way home at the angel’s insistence and arrived back laden with no less than three boxes of sweets. Once inside, Aziraphale carefully arranged their collection in the fridge. Crowley followed behind him, cracking open the window above the sink as Aziraphale shut the refrigerator. Crisp night air wafted in, and it beckoned to the angel.
“How about I grab us a couple of glasses of wine, and you grab a couple of throws, and we meet in the garden?” He was already reaching for the red wine shelf as he said it.
Crowley hummed his assent and shuffled off to the main room. Aziraphale fixed their glasses and ducked out the backdoor. They had a wooden swing in the small garden behind their house. He settled into it and looked out over Crowley’s carefully cared for herbs and vegetables. Houseplants were not a new interest for the demon, gardening was, however. Aziraphale took a languid sip of his wine as he recalled telling Crowley how nice it would be to cook with fresh ingredients. The garden had appeared the next day.
He was brought back to the present by the sound of the door rattling open. Crowley dropped onto the free space beside him, took a glass from the angel’s hands and draped a large tartan blanket over both their legs. Aziraphale carefully did not point out that he had suggested getting a separate blanket for each of them; he sipped his wine gingerly instead.
The sole of Crowley’s shoe dug into the ground and then pushed against it, setting the swing in a slow rocking motion. Aziraphale matched his movements, kept the swing going at a steady pace.
Aziraphale drifted again as they sat there, swaying against the cool autumn air. He remembered that day, watching the ground crack open before them, the smell of sulfur heavy in the air. He remembered, too, the dank, black halls of Hell. The tub of holy water. A shiver passed through him, and Crowley pressed their shoulders together in response.
The demon was warm and solid beside him, lost in thought as well. Aziraphale wondered what he was thinking about.
Soft light could be seen in the distance coming from the pier. It lit up Aziraphale as well, making him glow just slightly from how completely and wholly content he felt. This was one of the things he loved best about their home, seeing the lights from the pier. Without thinking, he reached over and took Crowley’s free hand in his own.
Crowley shifted gently beside him, and Aziraphale felt warm breath against his face before a gentle press of lips touched his cheek.
Aziraphale had a moment to realize he was surprised to not be surprised by the sweet display of affection. They had been drifting steadily towards this moment for six thousand years.
“All right?” Crowley whispered against his ear. Aziraphale turned his head just slightly, pressed his forehead to Crowley’s. It was comfortable. He belonged here, had always belonged here.
The hand he was holding slipped free so that Crowley could settle his arm around the angel. He held Aziraphale close to him, and the angel swore he could feel the demon bury a smile into his hair.
Empty wine glasses signaled that it was time for them to turn inside. In the kitchen, Crowley grabbed one of the pastry boxes out of the fridge and deposited the sweets and himself at the table. A few moments later, Aziraphale joined him, holding steaming cups of tea and a jar of honey, which Crowley generously scooped into his mug.
They ate miracle-warmed coffee cake and sipped at their tea. Thoughts of tasting the cake on Crowley’s lips burned in Aziraphale’s mind, and he wondered if the demon would kiss him again. The demon returned his gaze with a mischevious grin and a look in his eyes that made Aziraphale think he probably would.
As they were finishing their late-night snack, Crowley reached across the table and brushed crumbs from the corner of Aziraphale’s mouth. Warmth blossomed in the angel’s chest, and he inhaled sharply. Crowley leered a little at that and then gathered up the dishes and settled them into their designated spots on the drying rack, clean as though the pair had not just been eating off them.
Suddenly feeling very self-conscious, Aziraphale cleared his throat and announced, “I think I’ll head to bed now.” He winced inwardly at how loud and clipped his voice sounded. Crowley’s lips quirked upwards, but his eyes gave away nothing. Aziraphale watched him settle in front of the television as the angel made his way upstairs.
He took a long shower. Fiendish smiles and bright yellow eyes danced through his thoughts, though he tried very hard not to think of them. Back in his bedroom, he turned on a single lamp, filling the room with a faint but cozy glow. He picked a book off one of his shelves and laid down on the bed to read. Several minutes passed, and his eyes remained fixed on the same page.
At last, a faint knock came from the door. Aziraphale’s throat felt tight. Then the door opened, and Crowley’s eyes locked with his.
Before Crowley could even say anything, Aziraphale patted the empty space beside himself. The demon looked suddenly and shockingly shy. His steps were jerky and hesitant as he crossed the room. Gingerly, he took a seat at the edge of the bed.
“What are you reading?” he asked, voice so tender that Aziraphale wondered how he never noticed this before.
Then he realized he didn’t actually know what book he was holding. He glanced down quickly to check then looked back up. “Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer.”
“It’s nice.” Aziraphale closed the book gently and set it aside. He didn’t need to save his place. He had the book memorized.
When he turned back, Crowley had leaned so far towards him that their noses brushed. He pressed a kiss to the corner of Aziraphale’s mouth, and the angel turned into it, pressed their lips fully together for the first time. It was gentle, barely touching, and it felt so familiar. It felt like something he had done many years ago, maybe in a dream once. It felt like something he should have been doing all along, and he just had not known it yet.
Pulling back, he opened his eyes to see Crowley watching him raptly, awed.
“All right, my dear?” he breathed. Crowley nodded quickly.
The demon was leaning over him then, and Aziraphale let him guide them so that the angel’s back was flush with the mattress, Crowley poised above him. Arms encircled the demon’s waist and dragged him closer. The next kiss was slow and deep, Crowley’s fingers brushing through his hair, over his ear, stopping to cup the angel’s jaw. Aziraphale sighed into it; why had they never done this before?
Of course, he knew why. And, really, it seemed natural that they would come to this moment here, now. Now, when the moment was right.
“You taste like honey,” whispered Aziraphale, absently. (He really had expected Crowley to taste like coffee cake). Crowley smiled.
Kissing was quickly becoming a new favorite for Aziraphale on his list of the best things human pleasure had to offer. They kissed and kissed and kissed, hands exploring each other slowly and thoroughly. He never wanted to stop kissing Crowley. Armageddon could start again, the world could burn down, and he would still be here kissing Crowley, being kissed by him.
Pleasure was coiling deep inside him, warming him from the inside out. Crowley broke away, slid down just enough to nuzzle under Aziraphale’s jaw. Small, feathery kisses trailed from that spot to the hollow of the angel’s neck. Aziraphale gasped, softly, when teeth bit gently on his collarbone. Crowley rose up at the sound and pulled the angel into a slow, melting kiss.
A knee nudged between Aziraphale’s thighs and they fell open easily for the demon, letting him press in closer. He slid his hands up under the pale, blue sweater Crowley was still wearing. His skin was warm, and the angel groaned quietly at the feel of it. Crowley broke away to grin down at him, Aziraphale surged up to kiss him again.
The sweater came off easily. Aziraphale’s followed. Then they pressed together again, skin against skin. Crowley’s knee pressed against his crotch and Aziraphale broke away from another searing kiss to look up at him.
“Do you want to?” Crowley panted, somehow breathless even though he didn’t need to breathe.
“Yes,” Aziraphale whispered back, hips angling up to grind against Crowley’s leg.
A desperate sound tore from the demon’s throat and then he was kissing Aziraphale again. Deep, slow kisses and long caresses following the beat of sharp thrusting movements that made the angel whine and tremble. It dragged on so long he was beginning to feel overwhelmed when, at last, Crowley reached down, cupped him through his pajamas and gave a gentle squeeze.
Jeans and pajama bottoms were tossed to the floor quickly after that, scattered with the rest of their clothes. Crowley leaned back then, and Aziraphale followed him, leaning up to trace the tattoo at Crowley’s ear. The demon shivered at his touch.
“C’mere,” Crowley whispered and wrapped his hand around Aziraphale’s cock.
Aziraphale moaned at the touch, his head coming to rest against the demon’s chest. Crowley fell into a rhythm, Aziraphale closing his eyes and arching into the touch, pleasure pulsing through him. It was good. It was so good, and before long he was gasping out a ragged, “Crowley,” as he came.
He fell back on the bed, pulling Crowley done with, and turned them so that they were side by side, pressed against each other. Reaching down, he took Crowley in his hand and found a new rhythm, one that pulled soft sighs from the demon’s mouth. Pressing kisses everywhere — neck and shoulders and arms and chest — Aziraphale led Crowley to his release, stroked him through it.
They laid against each other for a moment, then Crowley snapped his fingers, so the mess was gone. Stretching past him, Aziraphale fished his pajamas off the floor, handing Crowley his own boxers and that damned sweater on his way back up. Crowley caught him up in his arms when they were dressed again and buried his face in Aziraphale’s neck.
“That was lovely,” Aziraphale whispered, pushing past the embarrassment creeping up his shoulders, “You were so good, my love.”
Crowley hummed against his throat, pressed a kiss there. “You,” Aziraphale heard mumbled into his skin, and he grinned.
Quiet filled the room for so long that Aziraphale thought the demon had drifted off.
“Mind if sleep here?”
Aziraphale blinked, looked down to see yellow eyes peering up at him.
“Crowley,” he said, “you always sleep here.
Aziraphale woke hours before Crowley, always had. He was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper and enjoying buttered toast with fig jam, sipping tea, when he heard footsteps coming from the stairs. Crowley appeared soon after, heading straight for the coffeemaker. It groaned to life, and he left it to grab an apple from the fridge.
Admiring the sight in front of him, Aziraphale noticed Crowley was wearing one of the angel’s white button-ups and a pair of snug grey-washed jeans.
“Good morning,” he said brightly.
Crowley glanced at him and bit into the apple, chewed and swallowed. He slipped over to the table, wordlessly held the apple out to Aziraphale. The angel rolled his eyes.
“Come here, you silly demon,” he said in fake exasperation and pulled Crowley down for a kiss. They only pulled apart when the coffeemaker gave a final, dying hiss.
Crowley joined him at the table once more, his mug of coffee in hand.
“I see you’re wearing one of my shirts today,” Aziraphale murmured, and he couldn’t keep the delight out of his voice.
“It makes me feel close to you,” Crowley admitted softly, eyes trained just passed the angel’s ear. He was silent for a beat, then allowed their gaze to meet. “You don’t mind, right?”
“No, my darling, not at all.”