"You love me," Crowley declared, striding across the bookshop. It was curious and unfathomable, just like its owner.
Why he had chosen now to do this, even he did not know. Maybe it was the approach of Armageddon, maybe it was the vast quantity of alcohol he had consumed, who knows? He had caught the angel gazing adoringly at him countless times over the centuries. The only thing that was different this time was that he didn't pretend not to see it.
The book Aziraphale was perusing slipped from his hands. He grabbed it by the cover, looked horrified with himself, and quickly grasped it properly and gave it a loving pat. "No no no. You've got it all wrong. Of course not. Where did that come from? How silly!"
Crowley smirked. A simple denial might have indicated that he was wrong. But such protestations? "Oh come on now, it's pretty obvious. And besides, love is good, right? That's what you lot are all about, love and peace or else, yeah?"
"Yes! That is true. We are!" Aziraphale enthused, clutching the book to his chest. "I love you, you hate me. It's the natural order of things, nothing to remark upon." He let out a forced laugh and put his book on a pile next to him.
The book fell off onto the floor, taking half a dozen others with it.
"Except I never did." Crowley took off his dark glasses and swung them around.
"Hate you. Sure, I always hated your magic tricks and some of the stupid, stupid words you say. But I could never hate you." Crowley hopped over the pile of fallen books and landed close to Aziraphale. There was a flicker of apprehension in the angel's eyes, perhaps from the realisation that he was literally backed into a corner.
"If you could just, shimmy sideways a bit, I need to pick up those books."
"No," Crowley growled, cringing at 'shimmy'.
"But I could have customers at any minute!"
Crowley let out an annoyed sigh, and clicked his fingers. The books floated back up to arrange themselves in a pile far neater and less likely to tumble than before.
"Oh. Thank you."
Crowley reached up and placed his glasses on a shelf above Aziraphale's head. Then demon snaked his arms around the angel. Only a split second went by before Aziraphale was clutching him back tightly.
"But this isn't right, is it?" Aziraphale's voice came muffled by the black velvet of Crowley's jacket.
"As if I give a damn about what's right," Crowley said.
"But I do!" Aziraphale said, lifting up his head and moving away from him. The book case behind him wobbled. Crowley was gratified by the fact that he did not let go of him. "If it were to become known that I... felt that way about a demon... my lot would assume you'd tempted me over to your side. We'd both be in a lot of trouble."
Crowley snorted. "We're already working together. They've not caught onto that yet."
"You are right. But-"
"So what difference does it make if we're honest the way we feel?"
Aziraphale looked surprised. "We?" He said. "But as you just said, love is good. You're a demon. Demons aren't supposed to love."
Crowley leaned closer to him so their faces were inches apart. He lowered his voice "Well this one does. Has done for a long time."
Aziraphale swallowed. Crowley could feel his breathing become increasingly erratic. They stared at each other.
"Really?" Aziraphale squeaked.
Crowley rolled his eyes. "Through all of this, all I've ever done was so I could stand by your side." He let go of Aziraphale, picked up his glasses and put them back on. "Don't tell me you didn't notice? I shouldn't have bothered."
"Oh well I did start to get the littlest sneaking suspicion after the first thousand years," the angel said, avoiding eye contact by unnecessarily smoothing the demon's jacket. "I used to think you'd disappear in a puff of black smoke if I ever touched you."
"Well that would be a bit of a design flaw, wouldn't it? Nil poix to the demonic designers." Crowley took hold of Aziraphale's hands, which had been busying themselves trying to even up the ends of his scarf. "Nope, no smoke."
"Well, what now?" Aziraphale said breathlessly.
Crowley took hold of the angel's bow tie, pulling it askew. "Don't pretend. You've seen weddings. Don't pretend you don't love them."
"Well, yes, I do. But what do you mean?"
"Well what do humans do at weddings?"
Aziraphale considered the question for a moment. "Make small talk with family members they don't like?"
Crowley narrowed his eyes. "I didn't mean that."
"Throw a bouquet?"
"Well yes but-"
"No, I know what you mean." The angel smiled. "They make eternal vows to each other."
"I think we're a little past that stage now."
Aziraphale was smiling, but Crowley still looked deadly serious.
Crowley took off his glasses and flung them across the room. There was a smash. That was another pair gone.
"This." The demon leaned forward and their noses bumped together. Crowley frowned. That didn't work. Aziraphale blinked. Crowley tilted his head and tried again. This time their lips touched. It felt odd, but not unpleasant.
"Was that right?"
Aziraphale had a silly look on his face. "I think somebody hasn't been watching the humans closely enough." He poked the demon on the nose.
"What? How dare you. Of course I have. Your lot made mobile phones, but it was me who came up with smartphones. Me! They're all obsessed with them. Top notch observation skills, that's what Beelzebub said."
Aziraphale had just been standing there with a barely suppressed smirk, waiting for him to finish. He moved his hand to the back of Crowley's neck and kissed him again. Crowley closed his eyes. This time it felt like falling into the abyss. This was heaven, but not the boring place with altogether too many harps and flying infants.
They looked into one another's eyes. Crowley had to resist the urge to say something more about smartphones. They stood there in the corner of the bookshop for a long time, angel and demon entwined in each other's arms.
I just love writing about these two! So help me, Good Omens has taken over my life.
GNU Terry Pratchett. His words have always been a comfort and inspiration to me, and always will be.