There is a very common and well-used human phrase that goes as such: "Love is blind". The sentiment aims to convey the concept that an individual in love often fails to see even the most miniscule flaw or fault in the object of their affection. The strength of their love is so bright that it has blinded them to any negative.
There is another saying, not as common and quite rarely used, that posits further consideration. That is, that love is in fact, "blind, deaf, and dumb". The sentiment here is much the same as the previous, with the addendum that the lovesick individual is not only blinded by their feelings, but also deaf to the fact that the object of their affection loves them just as much, while also being too dumb to put all the signs and clues together.
The addended phrase was coined, somewhat miraculously, by multiple separate parties who did not consult in one another in any way, but had each had the pleasure of witnessing the love between two of the most blind, deaf, and dumb beings to ever grace the surface of the planet Earth.
It had been several months since the Apocalypse-that-Wasn't, and while the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley were closer than they had ever been, they were still playing their millennia-old game of cat-and-mouse. It was a game in which neither of them had realized that someone had to be the cat .
"Careful now, ca- oh, bugger it all."
" Language , angel!" Crowley barked with laughter, but a moment later he joined Aziraphale on the walk outside the bookshop as the angel scrambled around on his hands and knees, searching for the keys he'd dropped while attempting to unlock the door.
They'd gone out to dinner and for a late-night stroll that had ended up in a visit to a posh new pub they'd happened upon, and were both extremely drunk.
"Got 'em!" Crowley cried, ony to follow up with. "Oh, nope. Nope.... 's a rock. Pretty rock though," he added, holding it between two long fingers to spin it in the moonlight.
"There you are, you lil' scamp," Aziraphale held up the ornate key with a big stupid grin on his face. "Maybe you sh' do it," he decided, and shoved the key at Crowley, who promptly dropped it again.
It was another several minutes before they tumbled through the door in a fit of inebriated laughter, having finally remembered that either one of them could simply finger-snap the door open at any time.
"Now you jus'...jus' lay right over there," Aziraphale said, pointing to the usual brown leather sofa that Crowley was already in. "Hav' a nap 'f y'like."
Crowley stretched out langoriousy and let out a deep sigh of contentment. "Sleep later," he promised. "Fo' now, more wine!"
Aziraphale had already disappeared into the back room and come out with two tumblers and a bottle of good brandy.
"Oooh, whasss this then?" Crowley perked up at the sight of the bottle.
Aziraphale's grin was contagious. "Just a little something I've had milling around for a few decades," he said with a wink. Then he placed the tumblers on the table and, concentrating as hard as his current state would allow, worked on getting the precious liquid into the glasses.
Speaking of glasses, Crowley had removed his, tossing them on the table so he could watch with wide (albeit a bit bloodshot) serpentine eyes. He had a silly, sappy, lovestruck smile on his face as he watched the angel struggle with his Herculean task, a tip of pink tongue sticking out from between his teeth. For the approximately one-hundred-and-thirty-fourth time that evening (not that anyone was keeping count) Crowley imagined what it would be like to have that tongue run gently along his lips. How would it feel to take Aziraphale's soft, flushed cheeks in his hands? To gently press their lips together and run his fingers through the angel's hair?
It was a fantasy Crowley had imagined often and with great exuberance. However, no matter how many times he visualized it in his mind, and no matter how completely soused he got, he was never able to gather the courage to put any kind of an attempt into motion. After all, he thought with a sad smile, how could an angel ever love a demon?
"Ha!" Aziraphale exclaimed. "Got it! Mos'ly." He wiggled an annoyed finger at the few drops that had managed to escape his perfect pouring technique and they abashedly leaped back into the bottle. "Here y' go, my dear!" he said with a grin, sliding a tumbler toward Crowley. "G'on then! Have a nip!"
The demon obliged, taking a generous pull from his glass. His yellow eyes immediately lit up. "It tastes like someone bottled fire with strawberries!" He took another large mouthful and groaned in pleasure. " Please tell me y' have more o' this!"
Aziraphale winked as he leaned over the table to refill Crowley's glass. "I may've liberated some from America during that nasty prohibition period."
"You are literally my favorite being in this, or any other, universe."
Aziraphale took it as the ramblings of an exceptionally happy lush, but his face grew hot all the same. He watched the demon enjoy his treat and found himself smiling fondly as he slipped into a familiar and well-worn daydream. He imagined getting up and joining Crowley, sprawled on the couch. He'd wrap his arms around the demon's waist and their legs would twine together. They'd lay and listen to the other breathing, until eventually Crowley reached down and tilted Aziraphale's chin up in order to press soft lips to his waiting mouth…
Aziraphale sighed with both desire and sadness before taking a long pull of his own drink. It was silly to even think about. How could a demon ever love an angel?
So they spent the night laughing and drinking and occasionally ogling one another with their eyes, ears, and brains all firmly switched in the OFF position.
They were two mice, running from a cat that they'd envisioned entirely within their own stubborn minds.
But somewhere nearby, some other entity had decided that it was about time to lay a trap.
The first thing Crowley noticed upon waking was that he had a monster of a headache. He'd drifted off on the couch without bothering to sober up first and was now paying for it dearly.
The second thing he noticed, through the bleary haze covering his eye, was that the angel had apparently done the same, as he was currently snoring away, slouched down low in his armchair. An uncommon (and probably unintentional) show of solidarity. It made the demon smile.
The third thing, he realized with a frown, was that either the bookshop had expanded exponentially around him, or he'd shrunk.
Crowley twisted in surprised circles as the morning haze cleared enough for him to realize that he'd apparently gone snake in his sleep.
Well that's new…
Crowley was, of course, the famous Serpent of Eden, and could become a snake at will whenever he felt the urge. Said urge, however, was not one that came over him all that often, and even when it did he was usually a bloody huge thing, large enough to easily squeeze a full-grown man to death. Not one for subtle, was this demon.
Right at this moment he'd hazard a guess that he was less than two feet long. Small enough to be mistaken for a child's pet. Shiny black scales, a soft red underbelly, and jaws barely large enough to wrap around an adult's big toe. How humiliating.
Must've been having a weird dream to conjure this body in my sleep.
Frankly grateful that the angel was still asleep ( He'd probably tell me how 'precious' I look...ugh. ) Crowley went about changing himself back to his more common human form.
Mentally, the demon cleared his throat.
Hmm...must be the headache throwing me off. I'll just get rid of- Ah...that's much better. Okay, take two.
Okay, now Crowley was starting to squirm. He twisted himself in knots as though searching for the switch that would change him back to normal.
What in Heaven is going on here?!
He tried again. And again. And again . He squeezed his eyes shut and concentrated harder than he ever had before, picturing flaming red hair, long lanky body, and stylish black clothes, and he willed himself to become that person again.
Fuck. This can't be good.
With a mental cringe he decided it was time to swallow his pride and wake Aziraphale. Clearly another, significantly calmer, head was required for this particular issue. Unfortunately, when he opened his mouth to call out to the angel, nothing came out except for an antagonized-sounding hiss.
Oh you've got to be fucking kidding me.
He'd always been able to speak (albeit in a slithering, hissing kind of way) in his snake form before! He tried a few more times, but there was nothing for it. He was going to have to wake the angel manually.
It was like riding a bicycle, moving like a snake: you never really forgot how. But being so much smaller than he was used to, that was definitely a bother. The chair where Aziraphale slept was not that far away, but by the time Crowley had wriggled down from the couch, across the floor, up the chair, and onto the angel's chest he was beginning to feel like maybe he'd just take another nap instead.
My...Aziraphale's chest was so warm and cozy...the gentle rise and fall of his breathing as he slept was so soothing...maybe Crowley would just…
No! Stupid snake body, wake up!
He shook his little head and tried to ignore how wonderful the prospect had sounded. Instead, he wriggled around madly, hissed as loud as he could, and forcefully booped the angel's face with his snout. To his chagrin, Aziraphale just went on sleeping.
Dammit, angel, you don't even like sleep! Wake up!
Impatience and the anxiety of his situation were getting the better of him. Crowley drew back, clenched his jaw, and struck forward with a snap, and headbutted Aziraphale's nose with all his strength.
Aziraphale not only woke, but woke with a start, jerking forward and sending Crowley flying off him and down to the floor.
Ah! Easy, easy! Thank fuck for a lack of bones!
Immediately after springing awake, Aziraphale had collapsed back to this chair with a horrid groan and a hand to his head. "Ugh, Crowley…" he grumbled. "Why do you ever allow yourself to fall asleep drunk? This hangover thing is pure nonsense." A moment later he'd snapped his fingers and was sighing contentedly. "That's much better. Fancy a spot of breakfast, de-" He'd lowered his hand and stopped when he saw that the couch across from him was uninhabited. "Oh! That's strange. I'm quite certain I felt his presence just then."
Crowley quickly recovered himself and slithered up onto the table where he could stand as straight and tall as possible. Over here! he shouted in his head even though he knew Aziraphale couldn't hear him.
The angel did, however, here the hiss and see the wiggling, and after a brief moment of confusion he broke out into an absolutely adorable smile that almost made Crowley's tiny reptile heart explode.
"Oh there you are, dear! What a surprise! I haven't seen you in snake form in, oh it must be a few centuries now, and never so small! You look absolutely-"
Don't fucking say it!
(Yes, in this particular instance, Crowley thought the hiss, such was the extent of his frustration and embarrassment.)
Either Aziraphale didn't notice the hiss or thought that it too was precious, because he just smiled all the wider. "Any particular reason for the change this morning?" he asked. "Or were you just feeling a little snakey today?"
Eager to get to the point, Crowley opened his mouth before he remembered that he couldn't speak. He dropped his head to the table in frustration and groaned internally.
Aziraphale's smile finally faltered. "Are you okay, dear? Is there something wrong?"
Antagonized to no end, Crowley wriggled and slithered in circles, hissing and flicking his tongue while, in his own mind, screaming profanities in every language he'd ever known.
"Oh dear…" Aziraphale was fretting now, writing his hands together in that nervous way of his. "There is something wrong, isn't there? Oh Crowley, dear, is it something I did? Something I said? I-I must admit that the events of last night are a bit hazy after the brandy, but-"
Crowley was hissing in exasperation.
Stupid angel, stop assuming everything is always your fault! You're so self-deprecating and it's ridiculous because you're so bloody perfect in every conceivable way and-
"Hold on," Aziraphale said sudden, with a frown. "Can you- Can you not speak?"
Crowley's little reptile head bobbed up and down enthusiastically.
Aziraphale cocked his head to one side. "Why not?"
Crowley's eyes narrowed. Really, angel?
"Oh, I suppose you're not going to be able to answer, huh?"
Angel, I love you, but I swear I'm going to bite you any second now. For someone who surrounds himself with books how can you be so-
The idea struck him like a cartoon light bulb smashing him over the head.
He slithered over to the end of the table where Aziraphale had left a book of poems he'd been reading the morning before. With some difficulty - and the perplexed angel watching - he nosed it open to a random page, gave the options a quick glance, and then jabbed the tip of his tail at the page while looking expectantly at Aziraphale.
Blinking in confusion, the angel leaned over the table and examined the page. "Elicit?" he read the whole word aloud.
Crowley smacked his head against the book, vaguely wondered what the hell this particular poem was about, and jabbed his tail again, emphasizing the specific letter he was pointing at.
"C?" Aziraphale guessed. Crowley nodded with enthusiasm. The angel made a happy little noise and clapped his hands together once, finally understanding the game as Crowley jabbed at another letter.
Aziraphale called out each letter as Crowley pointed, a childlike excitement taking over as he slowly decoded the message.
Then his face dropped.
Crowley shook his little head up and down and let himself slump on top of the books.
Obviously the first thing Aziraphale tried was to miracle Crowley back to human form, but several tries and a fair bit of growing panic later and he had to accept that it just wasn't going to work.
So he'd asked Crowley for more information, hoping to reveal a hint as to what to try next. Painstakingly, Crowley repeated his trick with the book to communicate the words: 'Woke up like this. HELP!'
(He'd used only capital letters for the last word in order to properly convey the level of panic he was experiencing.)
Aziraphale spent the entire morning and a good portion of the afternoon fluttering around the bookshop in his own panic, wringing his hands and glaring at bookshelves as if expecting one of them to shout the answer at him. He tossed around books indiscriminately (which, Crowley had to admit, was positively shocking), more for something to do with his hands than any belief that there would be something useful in one of them. This was a demon problem, after all. How much information was he bound to find in human literature about a demon trapped in a beastly form?
"You say you woke up like this, so it's unlikely to have been something you unknowingly caused yourself," the angel rambled as he paced through the shelves. "I shouldn't think that it's something Hell has inflicted upon you because surely anything caused by demonic power would be reversible by one or the other of us, ourselves, not to mention they probably would have attacked by now." He snapped his fingers and looked both thoughtful and concerned. "It must have been some kind of spell...a human spell maybe? Some witchcraft that incorporates an aspect that arrests celestial interference. Which means that whoever did this to you definitely knew what they were doing."
Crowley followed the pacing angel with his eyes as he lay on the poetry book, silently begging his friend to think of something before the bloody winter came.
Aziraphale pulled book after book about witchcraft from his shelves, but in this topic his collection was sorely lacking. Most of the more famous tomes had, after all, been burned along with the witches who had owned them.
He flipped through what he did have with anxious fingers, scanning the pages for something - anything - of relevance.
"Oh, these are all useless!" he shouted after a time. "It's all astral projection and reading the tarot and how to use toad's gizzards for clearer skin, which is just ghastly if you ask me." He flipped the books closed with as much vitriol as he could muster and resumed his flustered pacing.
From his place on the coffee table, snake-Crowley was tapping insistently on the pages of the poetry book.
"What is it, dear?" Aziraphale asked, hopeful of a suggestion.
A-D-A-M , Crowley spelled out.
Aziraphale's eyes widened. "Do you think the boy might have something to do with this?" he gasped.
If Crowley could have shrugged, he would have. Instead he flicked out his tongue, which was Crowley-snake language for: For the love of Sa- Call and ask him, angel!
Luckily it seemed Aziraphale's brain was working on the same frequency now, because he'd almost immediately rushed over to his desk and snatched up his antique rotary phone.
"Oh, Adam! Just the boy I was looking for!" the angel exclaimed.
"Mr Aziraphale? Is that you?" The young antichrist sounded genuinely pleased to hear from the angel, which warmed Aziraphale's heart.
"Yes, my boy, it's me. Listen-" The angel didn't want to be rude, but this really rather was an extenuating circumstance. "-I don't mean to make any implications, but I rather have a bit of a situation happening, and I was just wondering, that is to say, have you been performing any sorts of magic recently?"
He'd been expecting (and even hoping for) an admission of guilt or a surprised realization, but what Aziraphale got instead was a thoughtful hum.
"Nah, nothing lately," the boy told him. "It's been harder to pull anything major off the further we get from the Apocalypse, you know? I c'n barely muster up enough strength lately to keep Dog from digging up mum's petunias."
Aziraphale's shoulders sagged. "So you haven't performed any...transformations?"
Adam's furrowed brow was practically audible over the phone line. "Transformations? Uh, no sir. Why?"
Aziraphale sighed. So no accidental magic from the antichrist, and no help from him either, if he could barely control a mid-sized mutt. "It's...it's nothing dear, no worries."
"You sure? You sound upset about something."
"It's lovely that you're concerned, my boy, but it's nothing you need to worry yourself over. Crowley and I will come visit you and your lovely friends sometime soon, okay?"
"Okay Mr Aziraphale! See you then! Good luck with your problem."
Aziraphale was ringing his hands again before the phone was even properly hung up, but Crowley was already tapping his tail on the table insistently.
A-N-A-T-H-E-M-A , he spelled out, causing the angel to clap his hands excitedly.
"Yes, of course, my dear!" Aziraphale exclaimed, snatching up the phone receiver once more. "Why didn't I think of her myself? If this is witchcraft, surely she'll have some kind of knowledge on the matter!" He shot Crowley a positively beatific smile as he dialled. "Brilliant idea, you clever boy!"
The phone rang once, twice...four and five times, and finally clicked over to an answering machine. Aziraphale sighed and hung up, uncertain he could convey the extent of the problem at hand in the short length of time those foolish machines allowed for a message to be recorded. "They seem to be out at the moment," he told an agitated Crowley. "I suppose we could wait for them to return, but… Oh, I just hate waiting around doing nothing when you're in such a state." He began fiddling with his signet ring, and after a moment a thoughtful look crossed his face. "But you know, I'm certain Anathema will need to see you in order to properly diagnose the issue, so we really ought to just head there now rather than waiting around…" In the next moment a positively un-angelic smile crept over the angel's face.
Oh no...no, don't you bloody dare, Aziraphale!
Crowley was wriggling and spitting like something with rabies as Aziraphale climbed into the driver's seat of the Bentley and placed the hissing demon on the passenger side.
"Oh hush, you," the angel said with a grin. "I'm doing this for you, you know!" His voice was far too impish for it to have been the entire truth.
No, no, no! Crowley screamed in his head as he hissed and snapped his jaw open and shut. No one drives the Bentley but me! You don't even know how to drive! You probably don't even know how to turn her own! Wait, what are you-?!
Crowley's fit came to a stone-cold halt as Aziraphale began lovingly caressing the Bentley's steering wheel. "Now, darling," the angel crooned. "I'm sure you're probably quite confused as to why I'm in your driver's seat, but as you can see, Crowley is rather unable to drive at the moment."
If snakes could have blushed, Crowley would have been red from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, but whether the cause would have been his predicament or the way Aziraphale's soft fingers were stroking the steering wheel, well...that would have been anyone's guess.
"Now, we really need to get to Tadfield in order to figure out how to help our dear Crowley, so can I ask you to be an absolute sweetheart and help us out since I've ever driven before?"
Guh...angel, I really don't think that's gonna-
The Bentley's engine roared to life and 'Under Pressure' began flowing through the radio speakers. Aziraphale made a little noise of delight and lovingly patted the dashboard. "Oh, thank you darling!" he praised. "I just knew you'd understand! Such a sweet car!"
The radio crackled with static and then Freddie's voice crooned out with 'Good Old Fashioned Loverboy'.
Thin fucking ice, Bentley.
Almost as if it could hear him thinking at it, the Bentley revved twice, reminiscent of a chuckle.
Somehow, with Aziraphale copying things he'd seen Crowley do and the Bentley doing most of the driving itself, they slowly ( oh so slowly ) made their way into Tadfield and up to the lovely little Jasmine Cottage that they hadn't seen in weeks.
After their adventures together, Anathema and Newt had decided to stay in the sleepy little town, partly to keep an eye out on Adam, and partly because it was such a lovely place to be for a young couple in love. Aziraphale and (a reluctant) Crowley had been by to visit the pair a few times and had been assured that they were always welcome, which is why Aziraphale felt quite confident in coming directly here without waiting for a return call and an invitation. That open invite, however, didn't stop Newt's jaw dropping when he spied the Bentley puttering around the corner with Aziraphale in the driver's seat.
Newt had been in the garden (he'd been banned from being anywhere near the kitchen while Anathema was cooking, given the appliances' habit of catching aflame whenever the former witchfinder was near). Anathema had just stepped out to bring her banished boyfriend a cup of tea just as the Bentley was parking itself rather neatly in front of the cottage.
"Well that's something you don't see every day," the witch said with raised eyebrows.
The couple approached as Aziraphale was exiting the vehicle, giving it a good rub behind the mirrors for being good.
"Uh, hey Aziraphale," Newt greeted in that perpetually nervous way of his. "Does, uh...does Crowley know that you're driving his car? You know he once threatened to pour sulfur over my head if I left fingerprints on the hood, right?"
Aziraphale let out a long-suffering sigh. "Yes, that does sound like him," he admitted. "I had little choice, however, as we seem to be in a bit of a quandry." With this he lifted his arm, around which was woven a particularly agitated red-and-black snake.
"Oh!" Anathema cooed with a bright smile. "Who's this little cutie?"
The snake hissed furiously. Aziraphale answered with a further sigh that was coated in concern. "It's Crowley."
Newt's eyebrows nearly rose above his hairline. He and Anathema shared a look.
"You'd better come inside," Anathema suggested.
"Are you certain it's him?" Newt asked. He was crouched down low in front of the kitchen table where Aziraphale had placed Crowley, staring in curious disbelief. Without warning the snake lunged forward and snapped its fangs, missing the young man's nose by scarcely a couple of millimeters. Newt stumbled back with a yelp and landed on the floor on his backside.
"I'm quite certain," Aziraphale said between sips of the tea Anathema had served him. "Unless you two know of any other breed of snake that can communicate by picking out letters to spell English words?"
Newt shook his head as he rose, and relocated himself to the wall furthest from the table.
"So you say he just woke up like this?" asked Anathema.
"Quite," replied Aziraphale.
"And he has no idea how it could have happened?"
"Not that he's chosen to communicate." (Crowley shook his head to agree with the angel's assessment.)
"Has he ingested anything odd?"
"Well, we did go to dinner last night, and for a few drinks afterward…" Aziraphale thought for a moment. "But...no…. We both ate and drank the same things all night, and I haven't been affected."
"But you say that neither demon or angel powers will do anything," Anathema pointed out. "So it's possible that this is some kind of curse that was devised especially for Crowley."
The angel let out a little gasp at that, though he'd already surmised as much on his own. "Is there anything you can do?" he begged.
"Well, I can't promise anything, but we can definitely try some things. Newt, darling, grab my spellbooks, would you?"
Five hours later Crowley was resigning himself to life as a snake and wondering if Aziraphale would build him a nest in the bookshop.
Anathema had tried what seemed like a hundred different spells and potions. Some had made him very sick to his stomach. Others had turned his skin a rainbow of different colors. One had caused him to temporarily break out in puffy, fuzzy, red fur that made him look like a giant caterpillar. Most had done nothing at all other than make him more and more depressed until he eventually lay down flat on the table, refusing to move.
Aziraphale was beside himself. "Oh, Crowley, dear, we'll think of something . I promise!" But his quavering voice betrayed his diminishing confidence.
"That's it," Anathema sighed, slamming a spellbook closed. "I've exhausted my options." She looked genuinely regretful. "I'm so sorry, Aziraphale. I just don't think there's anything I can do to help. Whatever this is, it's beyond me to repair."
"I've got an old aquarium back at my mum's," Newt offered. Anathema elbowed him, but at this point Crowley didn't care to do so much as hiss at the implication. He didn't even twitch when Aziraphale reached down to gently stroke his head.
"We'll think of something, my dear," he promised, and it was more of a plea to the world in general than anything else. "There's got to be something else we can try…"
Anathema's eyebrows knitted together curiously. "Well," she said slowly, "I mean, there's always- But, no…" She trailed off, but both the angel's and the demon's heads had lifted.
"What?" Aziraphale demanded. "What is it? Please! I'll try anything to help him!"
Crowley felt his little reptile heart flutter.
Anathema frowned, considering. "Well, there is one type of magic...a powerful spellbreaker that's supposed to be stronger than any other known to man."
Aziraphale's eyes lit up with hope. "What is it?" he begged. "What do I have to do?"
Anathema looked deep into Aziraphale's eyes, unblinking, before she answered. "True Love's Kiss."
If it had been possible, Crowley's black-and-red scales would have gone stark white. As it was (though the snake didn't notice, being caught up in his own breakdown), Aziraphale's face had blanched to a sickly color.
"True Love's Kiss?" Newt repeated. "You mean like in all the fairy tales?"
Anathema nodded. "All stories contain a grain of truth," she explained. "True Love's Kiss is a magic so powerful that it's been recorded by storytellers relentlessly throughout the ages. The tales are exaggerated and fancified, of course, but the spellbreaker is that grain of truth. I mean, supposedly. I've never seen it in action myself."
Aziraphale was pale as a ghost. It took an immense bit of willpower to work the words up out of his throat. "S-so...does Crowley need to be k-kissed by someone he loves?" he gulped out. "Or by s-someone who loves him ?
"Both," Anathema replied immediately. "The magic only works if it the two parties involved love each other ."
Both angel and demon visibly deflated, though they were currently blind to each other's anxiety.
"And when you say 'love'," Aziraphale continued, one tiny note of hope left in his voice, "is that...familial love, or...the love that good friends share, or…?"
"Romantic love," Anathema broke in, and her tone broached no argument. "Deep, messy, passionate, die-for-each-other romantic love."
Crowley slumped back down to the table and Aziraphale's shoulders drooped.
It's important, at this time to understand that the pained disappointment that was evident in each of the two celestial beings was stemming from two completely different trains of thought.
Crowley was thinking, Well, that's it. I'm stuck like this forever because the only one I'll ever love doesn't love me and never will.
While Aziraphale was thinking, I could get him back to normal if only he loved me the way I love him.
Blind. Deaf. Dumb.
Luckily, Newton Pulsifer was there to say something that, for him, was quite astoundingly profound. "Well, I know that if it were me, whichever side of the curse I was on, I'd try it even if I didn't think the feeling was mutual. I mean, I know I'd never be able to forgive myself if I let fear and uncertainty keep me from the possibility of a cure."
Crowley, being rather more self-deprecating than he could have ever accused Aziraphale of being, listened to Newt's words and only coiled himself into a miserable little bundle. I'm not scared, stupid human… I'm just staunchly certain of the validity of my pessimism.
Aziraphale, fortunately, was somewhat more susceptible to optimistic coercion. Or, at any rate, Heaven's past actions had him rather tired of being called a coward, even in an extremely roundabout way.
Much to his surprise, snake-Crowley felt himself being gently lifted up from the table. His small, yellow eyes blinked in confusion as Aziraphale held him up close to his face. The angel's composure was crumbling fast, but he pressed through his words as quickly as he could before he lost the nerve.
"Crowley, dear… Newt is right. I have to try, even if I'm certain this isn't going to work because there's surely no way someone as amazing as you would ever love some doddering fool like me… I have to at least try or I'll never be able to forgive myself. And I suppose, if it's not going to work anyway, well...I won't have to deal with the fallout and the worst embarrassment of my existence because, well, you'll still be a snake, so- Oh bugger it all, here goes nothing!"
He said it all, quite miraculously, in a single breath, which left Crowley's poor, scrambled brain no time to compute.
Aziraphale took a deep breath, squeezed his eyes tight, and pressed his lips to the top of a terrified snake's head.
Barely a breath and a heartbeat passed to differentiate the moment from the rest of the passage of time. Then, suddenly, the kitchen of Jasmine Cottage was flooded with a brilliant puff of white smoke that made them all cough and sputter and cry out in surprise and alarm.
And when that smoke cleared, a very Crowley-shaped demon was standing there in front of a shocked angel. The only snaky features remaining were his brilliant amber eyes, which were as wide as they could physically be.
Aziraphale's eyes widened to match.
They both stared at each other in blind, deaf, dumb amazement.
Anathema broke the silence with a violent cough that sounded suspiciously like the words "true love".
Crowley was the first to speak. His throat was hoarse and his voice almost painfully vulnerable. "D'you- I mean… D'you really-?"
Aziraphale's voice was breathy with awe. "Well of course I do! I just never thought that you- "
"Since the bloody flaming sword, angel!" Crowley exclaimed. His face had gone the same shade as his hair.
The confession made Aziraphale draw in a sharp breath. There were tears in his eyes, but he was also smiling more brilliantly than he ever had before. "Oh, Crowley!"
Never in all his existence could the demon have expected his name to come out of the angel's mouth with that tone. He decided not to think (in truth, his brain had not finished rebooting yet, and so he couldn't have thought even if he'd wanted to). Instead he quickly closed the gap between them in one stride, took Aziraphale's face in his hands, and pressed their lips together in a proper kiss.
It was soft, tender, but oh...so raw , and it triggered twin whimpers of pure happiness. A moment or an hour later when they pulled apart, it was only to gaze into each other's eyes as though neither of them had ever truly seen anything so heartbreakingly beautiful.
Someone cleared their throat. Crowley and Aziraphale, having quite forgotten where they were, turned bright red when they noticed their hosts grinning at them like idiots. Newt lifted a hand to waggle his fingers at them.
"Y-yes, well," Aziraphale stuttered out. "T-that is to say, um, t-thank you ever so much for your help and-"
Crowley snapped a finger, and suddenly every inch of the kitchen table was covered in flowers, fruit, sweets, wine, and replacement ingredients for all the spells and potions Anathema had tried. Then he gave the human couple a thumbs up and an overwhelmingly embarrassed grin before linking his fingers through Aziraphale's and pulling him hurriedly out the cottage door.
"Come on, angel," he prompted, sounding far too giddy to be reasonably allowed. "We've got some lost time to make up for."
Aziraphale's face flushed a brilliant but extraordinarily happy pink. "Good-bye!" he called back as he was hauled down the walk.
The humans watched out the kitchen window as the two breathlessly overjoyed celestial beings hopped into their proper seats in the Bentley and took off like a bat out of Hell (and/or a dove out of Heaven).
Newt counted to twenty and nodded to Anathema, who called, "Okay, you can come out now."
With a pop-click of an inner latch, Adam-the-former-christ (and current champion of the 'Little White Lies Committee') strolled out from where he'd been hiding in the downstairs loo. He was grinning ear-to-ear.
"I think that went rather well, don't you?" asked the boy.
"Yes, and excellent timing on the reversal," replied Anathema. "Couldn't have been better! The smoke was a nice touch too."
Adam gave a theatrical bow before pouncing on a bag of lemon drops from among the goodies Crowley had conjured.
Newt chuckled, still somehow managing to sound like he's perpetually nervous self, and helped himself to a tin of biscuits. "So," he asked, "are we ever going to tell them the truth?"
"Nah," said Anathema. "What they don't know won't hurt them. And besides-" She popped a truffle in her mouth with a grin. "-I have a feeling we're not going to hear from those two again for quite some time."
She wasn't wrong.