Crowley strolled into Aziraphale's bookshop carrying a bag of scones and two cups of coffee. One black, one sugar, the other a caramel cappuccino.
"Hey, Angel!" Crowley said, cheerfully. "Guess who miracled the barista to give us free scones?"
Aziraphale, who was absorbed in a book, startled. "Oh hello!" His voice was hoarse. Crowley leaned forward to take a closer look at his friend.
"Are you alright?" the demon asked. "You haven't been crying, have you?"
Aziraphale coughed and pulled out his kerchief. He wiped his eyes down. "Such a silly thing," he admitted. "Crying over a book."
Crowley frowned. Aziraphale loved to get misty-eyed over books. He set down his prizes and gently tugged the book from the angel's grasp.
"Dante's 'Inferno'?" Crowley asked. "Stupid man, getting Hell so wrong. It always makes me cry, usually with laughter, but you know a bit of the other sometimes, too." Aziraphale nodded. "But why is it making you cry?"
Aziraphale let out a little sob. "I'm afraid."
Crowley sat down in the chair next to him. "Of what?"
Aziraphale twisted his handkerchief into knots. "Heaven and Hell tried to kill us because we were friends–"
"Angel," Crowley said, cutting him off, "they tried to kill us because we stopped the apocalypse. Us being friends was merely the last nail in the coffin, as it were."
Aziraphale looked down at his hands, more tears streaming down his face.
"But that's not what's upsetting you, is it?" Crowley asked after a moment.
"I just can't help but think of all the horrible things that they would do to you if we were..." He trailed off as he was choked by more sobs.
Crowley tilted his head to the side. "If we were what?"
Aziraphale opened and closed his mouth, but no sounds came out. He let out a wail. "I–I can't say it!"
"Yes you can," Crowley teased.
Aziraphale looked around him, hoping for something he could use to distract the demon from this line of questioning.
Crowley snapped his fingers and the sign to the shop turned from open to closed, the windows snapped shut, and the door locked. "There. Nothing to distract us."
"You know me too well, my dear," Aziraphale said. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I worry that they would torture you if we were...more."
"More than what?" Crowley pressed.
"You know what I mean!" Aziraphale protested. "I can't! I don't have the words."
Crowley got down on his knees and knelt between the V of the angel's legs. Aziraphale looked away and bit down hard on the second knuckle of his forefinger.
"Yes, you do," Crowley said. "You are the cleverest being I have ever met. You do have the words; you're just too frightened to say them."
Aziraphale closed his eyes. "Of course I am! How are you not?" He looked down at Crowley, who was looking up at him with such adoration.
"You already know how I feel," Crowley told him. "You asked me to let you set the speed of this and this is me letting you. You don't have to say it now, but, Angel?"
"Yes?" Aziraphale whimpered.
"If not now, when?" he asked, gently.
Aziraphale let out a huff of a laugh. "Why are you always right? Since the day we've met, everything I did was wrong and everything you did was right and I would really like to know how that's fair."
Crowley chuckled. "I've been wrong my fair share, Angel," he whispered. "I wanted to run off to Alpha Centari after all."
Aziraphale let out a little giggle. "You have me there." Crowley smiled up at him. "All right, you win. I just worry that if we take the final step, the one we've been dancing around for ages, that they'll find another way to kill us."
"It's closer, but no cigar, Angel."
"I want to be your angel," Aziraphale muttered. "I want us to be more then friends. I want it all. I love you."
Crowley grabbed the arms of the chair to steady himself. There it was, what he had been hoping for, millennia after millennia. "For how long?"
Aziraphale looked away. "I know it's nowhere near as long as you. Not even close."
Crowley tilted his head again. "Why does that matter?"
"I told you you were going too fast after six millennia, of course it matters!" Aziraphale wailed. "I hurt you for hundreds if not thousands of years and I only realized I was in love with you in 1941!"
"Oh," Crowley said. That wasn't very long, considering how long they've know each other. Mere minutes in the scheme of things.
"Yes, 'oh'," Aziraphale said, turning away.
"Aziraphale," Crowley said softly.
Aziraphale melted. His heart went faster when Crowley called him 'angel', but the way he said his name never ceased to melt it. He turned and looked at the being that had claimed him, body and soul.
"There you are," the demon whispered.
"My darling," Aziraphale sighed.
"What made you fall in love with me that day?" Crowley begged.
"I saved us, but you saved my books, and no one has cared about my interests before," he blurted. "If it had been another angel that had come to my rescue they would have told me to stop worrying about something so fleeting as books. But not you; you saved them. For me. And I–" He shut his eyes again to stop more tears from coming down his cheeks. He thought he had cried himself out, but apparently even his tears were limitless.
"I loved you from the little blunder over oysters," Crowley said.
Aziraphale looked up and he fought to keep the smile off his face. "Then? Why?"
"Angel, not only did you use the word 'tempt', oysters were known aphrodisiacs," Crowley explained.
Aziraphale's eyebrows shot up. "Oh!"
"Now, I knew that you didn't know that, and that you were just being sweet, but that's why I fell in love with you," he said, leaning in.
"May I–may I remove your sunglasses?" Aziraphale asked.
Crowley rocked back on his heels and glared at the angel. "What have you got against my sunglasses?"
Aziraphale wiggled back and forth and tore at his handkerchief again. "Because they hide your eyes!"
Crowley took them off to look at them and then back up at Aziraphale. "That's the point. That's their point," he hissed. "I know I could miracle them so that people don't notice, or that they see something else, but that's not me. I don't want to change who I am, but it unnerves them. It unnerves you."
Aziraphale opened his mouth to protest, but Crowley cut him off. "Besides, they make me look cool. Don't you think?"
The angel deflated a bit. "You look very handsome, but your eyes don't unnerve me."
"But you get twitchy," Crowley defended.
Aziraphale huffed out a little sigh. "I'm nervous, not unnerved."
"What's the difference?" Crowley asked, now more confused then angry.
"The difference, my dear, is I'm nervous that you'll catch me staring at them," Aziraphale explained. "Not because I don't like them, but because I do. Like them. Very much."
Crowley's mouth formed the "O" shape, but no sound came out of his mouth. "Nah...no one likes them. Not even other demons; certainly not angels."
Aziraphale took the glasses and set them aside. "All right, so I don't like them."
Crowley flashed a little "see I told you" smile before he caught the expression on his angel's face. It was complete adoration.
"Because I love them," Aziraphale murmured.
And that's when something clicked for Crowley. All the times in the last few years when Crowley said that Aziraphale denied that they friends. This is what he meant. They weren't friends, they didn't like each other. They were partners, they loved each other. It wasn't a lie. It was a half-truth.
Suddenly he felt a lot more respect for his angel.
Crowley miracled his glasses back to the Bentley with a snap of his fingers. "There."
Aziraphale sighed happily. "Thank you." But there was one more fear tugging at his heart.
"You do know that with that little stunt with the holy water and demonic fire, they aren't going to be bothering us for a really long time, right?" Crowley said.
"I know, it's not that," Aziraphale admitted. He had confessed everything else, why not this? "I'm afraid of touching you."
"We touch all the time," Crowley protested.
"And you can't tell me it doesn't hurt you," Aziraphale cried. "I saw the burn on your hand before you miracled it away after we shook hands when we changed back. Your mouth burned when you even spoke the word 'heaven'."
It was Crowley's turn to look away. He had been hoping that the angel hadn't noticed that. He looked down at the hand that had been burnt by Aziraphale's touch. It had glowed bright red.
"It was the most exquisite pain I'd ever felt," Crowley admitted.
"I don't understand," Aziraphale whispered, pained.
"It didn't hurt, Angel," Crowley tried to explain. Because thinking back on it now, it hadn't hurt. "It was marvelous and warm."
Aziraphale reached out with his fingertips and lightly touched the wrinkles near those beautiful eyes he loved so much. Crowley's eyes slid shut like a benediction.
"This doesn't hurt you?" Aziraphale asked softly.
"Feels wonderful," Crowley slurred. "Warm."
Aziraphale cupped both cheeks with his hands and brushed their noses together. "You are the most beautiful thing in all creation."
"I wanted this for so long," Crowley murmured and slid his hands up Aziraphale's thighs. The angel slipped off the chair and they were both kneeling. Crowley's hands followed the movement and glided up Aziraphale's sides.
Aziraphale closed his eyes and lobbed one last protest against what was surely inevitable at this point. "If we do this, what happens to us if–when they find out?"
"We'll figure out something," Crowley whispered. "We survived before. Because you are clever."
Aziraphale opened his eyes and they fell naturally to Crowley's lips. "As I recall you also thought I was stupid."
Crowley cocked his head; it took him a moment to remember. "I keep forgetting that you are sensitive to that sort of thing. Heaven must have felt like Hell to you."
"I learned very recently that I only felt happy around you. And if that's not the definition of Heaven, I don't know what is," Aziraphale sighed. He brushed his nose against Crowley's again. "I wanted you to kiss me."
Crowley smiled. "If Sister Mary Loquacious hadn't interrupted us, I probably would have."
They pressed their lips together. Aziraphale half expected one or both of them to spontaneously combust, but all that happened was that Crowley cupped his cheeks and Aziraphale ran his fingers through those beautiful red locks.
And they both thought, finally.
Once they broke apart Aziraphale pressed his forehead against Crowley's. "I thought some very unangelic things toward that nun," he confessed shyly.
Crowley chuckled. "I invented new swear words."
And suddenly they were both giggling. They fell to the floor and their giggles turned into full-on pelts of laughter. They lay side by side and looked up at the ceiling of the bookshop.
Aziraphale turned his head and openly looked lovingly at Crowley for the first time. Crowley turned to him and smiled with his whole being.
"May I tempt you to some oysters?" Aziraphale teased.
Crowley laughed. "You absolutely can. I might actually eat more than one this time." He got up and then helped Aziraphale stand.
Crowley looked over at the now cold coffees and hard scones mournfully.
Aziraphale followed his gaze. "Oh, dear." They had completely forgotten the treat Crowley had brought. "I'm sorry, my dear fellow," he continued softly.
He brought his free hand up to snap his fingers to miracle them warm and fresh once more, but Crowley shook his head gently.
"It's not important," he whispered and gave the angel's hand a squeeze.
Aziraphale looked at their joined hands and smiled softly. They walked out of the shop and didn't let go of each other's hand until they were forced to, getting into the Bentley. Just before Crowley let go he brought Aziraphale's fingers to his lips and gently pressed a kiss to them.
Aziraphale blushed and smiled. Crowley got in on the other side and turned to his angel.
"Where to?" he asked.
Aziraphale started happily chatting away about this new restaurant he'd heard of that had the most marvelous oysters and how delightful it was that he was going to share it with the one person that meant the most.
Crowley just smiled and let the angel prattle along, steering them toward the restaurant, having just gleaned the details from the vague bits Aziraphale had said. He reached out and touched Aziraphale's hand, expecting a rebuke to keep his hands on the wheel.
Aziraphale's prattle trailed off as he looked at the outstretched hand. He looked at the hand and then up at Crowley. Seeing the apprehension in the tight corners of the eyes he loved so much, he took the offered hand.
Crowley let out a small huff that he would deny was a sigh of relief, but the sheer fact that his body released out all the pent up tension that had been building for the last six thousand years belied that thought.
When they got to the restaurant, Crowley opened the car door and was stopped by a gentle hand on his elbow.
"Angel?" he asked.
Aziraphale twisted something in his hands nervously. Crowley touched the top of the twitching fingers to still them and was surprised to see a pair of his sunglasses in the soft hands of his lover.
"I love your eyes so much," Aziraphale muttered, "but I don't want to hurt you. If you need these to go out among humans I don't mind. Just as long as when we are alone, you go without them." He looked up and blushed when he saw the fondest smile on Crowley's face.
"Oh, Aziraphale," he said, taking the glasses from his angel. "I love you so much." He put them on and grinned his big goofy smile. "The only one that gets to see these beauties is you!"
Aziraphale giggled and got out of the Bentley. They immediately linked hands again once he got to the other side of the car. Crowley smiled down at their joined hands.
"I could get used to this," he said fondly.
Aziraphale grinned up at him and swayed back and forth. "I know for certain that I will." He got up on tip toes and pressed a kiss to Crowley's mouth. The demon hummed happily.
"Are you sure dinner is all that's on the menu, Angel?"
They both laughed and went to go eat their oysters. If the known aphrodisiac did anything to help their afternoon along, they would certainly never tell.