After things went sideways and the Ineffable Plan overtook the Great Plan, things were supposed to go back to normal. They went back to exactly how Adam had viewed them before. No horsemen, no Gabriel, and no antichrist involved.
Some things were different, admittedly, and Crowley was pretty sure he was the first person to notice.
He was sitting in the back seat of Mr. Young’s car, five minutes past the “end” of the world, after he’d begrudgingly agreed to give him and Aziraphale a ride back away from the air base. There was a faint buzz of the car as he looked out the window towards the darkening fields around them.
“My. To think what would have happened if the young boy really had been Warlock,” Aziraphale said. Crowley took a sharp intake of breath at that. Well. That certainly was a thought. He pulled his hand up, going to grab the bridge of his nose, when his reflection in the car mirror caught his eye.
His eyes. Specifically his eyes. They were blinking, his usually snake-shaped golden eyes, and yet the pupils were more… round. More human-like. They had the same color irises, and the pupils were still kind of slits, in a way, but rounder than they were meant to be. His head tilted in the reflection. Well. That's awful strange, isn't it?
Some things, like the Bentley and the Bookshop, were a Godsend. Their own little slices of home were returned to where they were meant to be. Some things, though, weren't quite so black and white.
The people killed by the Kraken were still dead, but the government was trying to cover that up as a “mass illusion.” Probably cell phones, insisted the Prime Minister. Aziraphale had been certain she had to be having a laugh at that, but then again. Who could tell these days. Heaven and Hell weren't quite as clear cut as they used to be.
It was Crowley who had suggested the body-swap idea to bring back some more normality, and frankly, Aziraphale couldn't be happier that he did. The whole matter was rather stressful, but that didn't mean it didn't spruce up the day a little. He was very proud of his performance, actually. He did do a mean Crowley impression. In fact, there was no one he knew better.
So, finally, things were going to be okay. He could return to the bookshop, left alone by angels and demons alike, just him and Crowley. Finally. As it was always written.
Aziraphale shut the door behind him, leaving the streets of Soho and the Bentley behind. A few weeks had passed already, and he and Crowley had just gone for some truly scrumptious pastries in Greece. He rather missed Greece sometimes. True, Rome was where he made his home most of the time during that era, but the ancient Greeks? They were quite a people.
There was a certain smell the bookshop possessed. Aziraphale took a moment, letting it wash over him as he walked past the doorway. He couldn't help but smile at his new books Adam had made appear. Prophecy books were always his favorite. It was rather sweet of him, really, to think of him like that. Perhaps it was an oversight, but Aziraphale saw it as a thank you of sorts. A way of saying he was valued.
He gently removed his coat, placing it on the back of his chair. Oh, dear, he'd left his cocoa out again. He really should learn to clean up after himself. After all, it had been over 200 years since he'd been living here, and it was about time he began to act like it! He grabbed the mug by its porcelain wings. In the next second, it nearly went falling towards the ground.
Above the desk, there, by the window, hung a lively and ornately drawn ketubah. The only problem with that was… well. He didn't really remember getting married.
It is of note that Adam Young was indeed raised Jewish. His father, of course, with a surname like Young, was a Jewish man. His mother was not, and that technically made him goyishe, or legally “not Jewish.” That said, he grew up in the Temple in Tadfield, and he was raised like any other Jewish boy in the town. Wensleydale in particular would get confused, sometimes, when he spoke about things like a mezuzah, or Hanukkah, or specifically the Ketubah. Adam didn't mind explaining. He thought it was kind of cool, in a way.
His mom and dad had theirs proudly displayed in the kitchen. It's a handwritten document, all the way from Israel, stating the true and faithful nature of his parents’ marriage. As far as eleven-year-old Adam was concerned, every married couple had one.
This, coupled with the fact that he was entirely certain that Crowley and Aziraphale were his godfathers, lead to a fairly simple conclusion: They, of course, were married, and as such had a ketubah in their living room.
Truth be told, it was a lovely ketubah. Adam’s imagination must really be something. Not that surprising, considering he was the antichrist and all. But really, it was something beautiful. A large black oak tree stood on one side, a silver-white birch on the other. They intertwined together, the Hebrew text on either side. There were ruby red leaves on both trees.
And underneath, in his very own handwriting, Aziraphale recognized his own signature.
On top of that? He recognized Crowley’s.
His phone was in his hand before he even had taken off his shoes. It rang once, twice, before Crowley picked up. “Miss me already, angel?”
“Not… quite. You, erm, may want to see this.” With that, he hung up, eyes still lingering on the wall. If Hell found out about this-- if Heaven found out about this-- there was no way the bodyswap trick would work twice. They were doomed.
So they wouldn't find out, then.
Crowley opened the door to find Aziraphale pacing in the front of the bookstore, several books on religious lore scattered around his feet. He was holding one open in his hands as he walked, nervously scanning over the words.
“My, angel. What's got your panties all in a twist?” Crowley asked. Truly, the little store looked like a construction zone.
Aziraphale’s head jerked up. “Crowley. You are a Sheyd, correct?”
“Well, I suppose. I mean, most people use the blanket term demon for all of us at some point, but I am one of the sh--”
“But you are experienced in Judaism, yes?” Crowley narrowed his eyes.
“Right. Good. Right and good. Now, um, how does one cancel a ketubah?”
Crowley paused. His confused expression grew to rather incredulous. “I'm sorry, cancel a ketubah? It’s not an Amazon order, dear, you can’t just—“
Aziraphale shut the book in his hands with a sigh. Well, if he couldn’t tell Crowley, he couldn’t tell anyone. That person could read him quite like a book, if he had ever read.
“I, um. Funny story, really, we, heh. You know about the whole apocalypse?”
“Yeees?” Crowley raised an eyebrow. Of course he knew about the bloody apocalypse. It had only been last week, for Satan’s sake.
“Well, as Adam arranged things, it seems he sort of, hm, bridged a gap of logic? I suppose? And he… well, he sort of--”
“Spit it out, angel.”
“Crowley, we’re married.”
Wait. Married. Married? Oh, come on, Adam. Crowley had at least wanted to break a glass and throw a party at his wedding. Then again, considering who his and Aziraphale’s in-laws were, it was probably best they didn't.
A courthouse wedding suited him anyways. He always wanted to run off and do something wild and rebellious, but now, during their “lay low” period, probably wasn't the best time.
“Well, I suppose it is a long time coming,” Crowley said with a shrug. “I mean, I would've assumed it would happened ages ago.”
“You what? Crowley, we are not in a-- in a relationship of any sorts! That's preposterous!”
“Is it though?” Crowley asked, giving Aziraphale a moment to think. Well. There was no one else he could really trust or relate to, and the humans lived such tiny lives, and Crowley was his best friend, and he had been madly in love with him since the early 1940s. So… wow. Maybe he did have a point.
“Well what will we tell Heaven and Hell? Surely they would disapprove.”
“Oh, angel, please tell me you don't care what they think. They’ve revealed their true colors, who cares if we reveal ours?”
Aziraphale looked slowly around the mess the room had turned into. His glance meandered up to Crowley with a sigh. “Say. How's about we get drunk?”
A smile cracked over Crowley’s face. “Oh, my dear, I thought you'd never ask.”
Two hours had passed, and they had made their way over to Crowley’s home in attempts to find more alcohol. Of course, being a demon of sorts, he was loaded with the stuff. Amber scotch bottles sat empty around them, and knowing the situation, it was a minor miracle they weren't numbering in the double digits.
“And don't get me started on Gabriel. He's such a shvantz… a schmuck. A putz. A…” Aziraphale trailed off, a giggle falling into his voice. “A penis .”
“Wow. You sure showed him, huh? Is that the best insult you've got?” Crowley asked. He casually threw a leg on the table, taking another sip of his whiskey.
“Yes, I rather think it is,” Aziraphale said with a smile. “At this rate, I could be a proper demon, even!”
“Sure you could, Zira,” Crowley remarked. “Y’know, I'm fairly certain two demons can't get married, so then we'd be in even more of a ruddy mess. Can you believe the Duke of Hell trying to fill out paperwork on that one? I think Hastur would gouge my eyes out.” Aziraphale nodded solemnly, his smile slipping just a little. Crowley, who was convinced he knew everything about the angel, noticed straight away.
“You alright, dearest?”
Aziraphale shrugged, his eyes set rather steadily on his glass of scotch. “‘M fine.”
“Ah-ah, angels can't lie darling. Tell me what's the matter.”
Aziraphale momentarily met his gaze before his eyes sunk down again to the drink at hand. “I just wish we could have done this differently.”
Crowley paused, lowering his foot off the table. Oh, shit. This was going to be serious, wasn't it?
“You know, the whole marriage thing. It's supposed to be special, isn't it? A ceremony, a bouquet, a lovely gown. Seven circles, a father walking a betrothed down the aisle. Not just… I don't know, my best friend and me framing a marriage certificate. I wanted to--!” Aziraphale trailed off. He set his glass down with a start. “I wanted to kiss you, Crowley! On my own terms! I wanted to be the one to confess to you, and I wanted a lovely little honeymoon down in New York, and maybe a nice little stop in Vienna. I wanted things to play out slowly, nicely, not… so fast. Why is everything so fast ?” Aziraphale’s voice was cracking now, his gaze steadily on his drink. He didn't think he could say any of this looking Crowley in the eye. He thought he just might break.
Crowley slowly reached for his sunglasses, pulling them down off of his nose. He put his other hand on Aziraphale’s shoulder, giving a small smile. “Hey. Hey, there. It's alright, I promise you.” Aziraphale looked up slowly, their eyes finally meeting.
“Your eyes. They're… they're human,” he muttered, looking at the round pupils, the amber irises.
“Aziraphale,” Crowley continued, glossing over the comment. “You and me. We have an eternity to figure this out. We don't have to take it my speed, doll. I'd slow down time for you.” Aziraphale nodded, his fear all but melting out of him.
“You know,” Crowley said, “you're the bravest, the most interesting person I've ever met.”
All of a sudden, Aziraphale couldn't take it anymore. He leaned forward, firmly pressing Crowley’s lips to his. Crowley floundered for just a second, surprise and astonishment taking over. But then he pressed back, eyelashes fluttering closed and heart leaping in his chest.
They'd take things slow. One step at a time, always, until they're both as happy and content as any married couple.
And maybe one day, Crowley would dawn a long black dress and watch as Aziraphale walked down the aisle in a suit of white. Maybe he'd circle his husband seven times, before a glass is broken and they're both hoisted up on chairs among friends. Well, they'd need friends first for that, but maybe. Only the future would tell. And ever since Anathema burned the new ones, no prophecy could predict what would happen next.
But as Crowley leaned forward to kiss Aziraphale again, his strange and ineffable husband, nothing that far ahead mattered. What mattered was this very second.
Crowley was done moving too fast. For Aziraphale, he'd slow down time.