"I'm s- damn it. You can do this. Just say it. I'm sor-ugh. Whatever."
So, Crowley couldn't physically push an apology past his forked tongue. So what? There were other ways to make it up to his only friend.
It was never pleasant fighting with the angel but they'd made it back from worse before. They'd be fine. He just needed to grab a little something first.
The artist was muttering to himself and his drawing with more curse words than the church they were in had probably ever seen.
"They want me to paint the ceiling. These assholes don't know what I'm going to do with it! I'm going to turn it into a farce!"
Crowley grit his teeth against the sting of sacred ground, his feet burning where they touched the floor. He gestured to the scattered notes in front of them. "You know I would make the sacrilege a little more subtle that way they won't notice until it's too late. They'll pray under it without even knowing what it really means. And add more penises and maybe some snakes biting testicles and so forth. For colour."
Michelangelo frowned at him and his slightly smouldering form. "Good idea. Who are you?"
Crowley waved a hand, shoving it behind his back when he noticed the blisters popping on the backs of his fingers. Gross.
"It doesn't matter. All I need is an autograph for a friend of mine. He's a big fan of yours. For some reason."
Michelangelo shrugged and scribbled on his paper before frowning and tossing it away.
Crowley almost hissed at him. "I needed that."
"No. If your friend is a fan of mine I cannot simply scribble my name down! I shall paint your likeness and you will live forever through art."
Crowley rolled his eyes and followed him as he went to grab his supplies. "We're going to live forever, anyway but whatever."
Fun fact. Paintings take a really long time. Unfun fact. Demons can't remain on holy ground or sacred spaces without burning really, really badly.
Crowley tried to push through, I mean, he'd really screwed the pooch with old Aziraphale and it was going to take something really nice to make up for it. But it burned really, really bad.
Crowley squirmed in his seat, skin peeling on the inside of his shirt and making it very uncomfortable to sit inside it. "How much longer is this going to take exactly? I may be immortal but I do have things to do."
Michelangelo raised an eyebrow at the immortal comment but flicked an uninterested hand towards him. "I have what I need for now. You may go."
Aziraphale hadn't heard from Crowley in a few days and while that wasn't unusual it wasn't how he usually behaved after a fight.
Usually, Crowley would have come up with a way of making up for it by now and it would be something overly elaborate and personal in order to get out of actually apologising.
He wasn't good at feelings and vulnerability but he knew Aziraphale better than anybody and despite that, he stayed. He was more than a little uncomfortable with feelings and prefered to avoid them at any cost but...
Aziraphale was getting worried.
Crowley had a little place downtown that he liked to hole himself up in and although he didn't usually take well to Aziraphale just popping in, the angel couldn't help it. He needed to make sure he was okay.
"Crowley? I know you don't like me coming here but I haven't heard from you in a while and...look our tiff was silly. I shouldn't have gotten so defensive and…" his knock on the door went unanswered and his call was met with silence. Was he even home?
He shouldn't just open the door and let himself in. That was rude and if Crowley was home he'd yell. But he might not be home at all.
Aziraphale pushed the door open even as he chastised himself for his lack of manners but his thoughts quickly turned to other matters as he took in the space before him.
Feathers, Crowley's beautiful black feathers, littered the floor with tiny drops of blood following their trail to the bedroom and Aziraphale pulled in a gasp as he followed them.
"Crowley! Where are you? Answer me, please!"
Sounds met his ears as he got closer to the bedroom, little pained gasps and grunts that made his wings flutter with worry behind him. Crowley was hurt! What had happened? What had he done?
His hands pushed the bedroom doors open, his wings flapping anxiously behind him and almost lifting his feet from the floor as he hurried to Crowley's aid. He found him on his bed, writhing in pain, hands clenched into fists in the sweat dampened sheets.
His eyes opened a crack, his slittled irises tired and hazy but his tense muscles softened just a little at the sight of him. "Angel." He sighed the name, sending Aziraphales heart into a frenzy of excited beats at the relief dripping from the word.
"What happened to you! Are you-are those burns?"
He made his way to the bedside and fought the urge to reach out, not wanting to hurt him further.
Crowley winced, trying to hide his pain and failing, offering a weak smile. "Thought I'd pop in for a Sunday service. One of the idiot altar boys dropped a jug of holy water. It splashed."
Aziraphale gasped, looking over the damage again. "Oh Crowley! You went into a church? Why?!"
His skin was covered in red blisters and weeping burns, blood smeared in desperate handprints across his sheets. His poor wings were curled and twitching, feathers sticking to the fabric beneath them.
He winced, his mouth twisting into a scowl as he grew grumpy at being so vulnerable. "It doesn't matter, now does it? Just get out and leave me alone!"
Aziraphale planted his hands on his hips, almost insulted that he thought he would obey. "I'm not just going to leave you here! You're hurt! I'll run a bath, I'll be back in just a moment."
He hurried off to the bathroom, ignoring Crowley's angry huffs and grumbles about having had enough water for one day. He didn't have time to wait for the water to heat and he simply waved a hand, hoping that no one would notice just a small miracle.
"Aziraphale, just go! I don't need your help!"
He ignored that too and set about collecting the herbs he'd need, pouring milk, honey and oils into the bath to make it soft and to help prevent infections.
"Alright, let's get you up. Oh, Crowley. Your wings."
The poor demon was trying to get up but the weeping wounds stuck to his sheets and pulled at his damaged skin with each shift.
"Ah. Shit that hurts."
Aziraphale hurried to his side and pressed a hand to the back of his neck, fingers firm and warm. He looked away, focussing on his wounds so that Crowley wouldn't feel so embarrassed for the small sigh that he'd let slip at the angels touch.
"I'll have to pull it away. It's going to hurt."
Crowley nodded, turning his face to Aziraphale's wrist and closing his eyes, allowing himself the small mercy of the angel's soft, sweet skin pressing to his.
Each pull of the sheets tore at the demon's skin, taking pieces of the burnt flesh with it and Aziraphale apologised for each and every whimper and growl.
"I'm sorry, Crowley. Just a little longer."
The sheet was damp with sweat and blood which at least eased its grip on the wounds some but there were far too many feathers coming loose and too much tearing at burns for the endeavour to be called successful.
Aziraphale sniffed delicately, hand shifting on Crowley's neck to press his fingers to the hair at the nape of his neck, brushing at it as he apologised over and over.
"I'm sorry, I'm almost done. I'm so sorry."
Crowley bit down, jaw clenching as he reigned himself in. He was only making Aziraphale feel worse.
Aziraphale pulled the last piece free and looked down at the demon confused, fingers still moving through his hair.
"For what? I've pulled half your feathers free and they were so beautiful, I-"
Crowley pulled in a slow, even breath, exhausted from the pain. He didn't move from where his face was pressed to the angels arm and his eyes remained closed.
"For worrying about me. For caring."
Aziraphale dropped the ruined sheet and used his now free hand to run his fingers through Crowley's hair, brushing it back to his neck before pressing his palm to his cheek.
"Of course, I care. You're my oldest friend, Crowley. Who else would I be worrying about?"
It wasn't easy to make friends with humans. They aged so fast and expired so easily that forming any connections with them just left Aziraphale morose and Crowley had long ago told him to avoid getting attached. So, really Crowley was Aziraphales only friend.
But there was also that beautiful white cat that came to visit him on his windowsill every morning that Aziraphale had very proudly introduced him to once. Because he just couldn't help it. So, Crowley wouldn't say it. He wouldn't be cruel when his angel was being so kind.
Aziraphale tutted about something behind him and hummed, unhappily. "It's not good to let you sit with your open wounds like this. Let's get you into that bath, shall we?"
Crowley abhorred needing help from anyone but he was in pain and weak and deep down he really didn't want his angel to leave. His angel. When had he started saying that?
Azirapahle lifted him to his feet as gently as he could, hushing Crowley's noises of pain and soothing them with whispered words of comfort that the demon hated and wanted more of all at once.
The sweet, honey scent of the bath warmed Crowley the minute they stepped into the bathroom and it looked so nice that he didn't care that Aziaphale was helping him undress, he just wanted to sit down.
"Careful now. Mind your wings. Oh, you poor thing."
Crowley let out an embarrassingly loud moan of pleasure as he sat in the bath, his burns soothed by the milk and whatever other herbs Aziraphale had added. "I'm not a poor thing. I'm not one of your cats, Angel."
Aziraphale knelt on a pillow next to the bath and picked up a bottle of oils as Crowley flicked a flower floating on the water with sharp fingers. That's how Aziraphale knew he liked them, he wouldn't have made a fuss otherwise. "What are these for?"
Crowly rolled his eyes but the angel didn't miss the lingering look he'd given them as they floated across the milk white surface of the water.
Aziraphale was relieved to see the demon relaxing, muscles melting in the warm water as it eased his pain. He laid on his side, leaning on one hip as he draped an arm on the edge of the bathtub to rest his chin on, Aziraphale taking one of his wings in his careful hands.
Crowley flinched a little at first, the muscles across his back tensing as he arched away before Aziraphale began to hum and he relaxed, melting into the gentle touches across his wing.
His fingers held him so carefully, like he was something holy rather than a damned thing burned by something holy and Crowley distantly wondered how someone as divine as Aziraphale could be the only thing to make him feel whole.
The angel smoothed oils over the feathers, patting them back into place and massaging the abused tendons and muscles.
It had been so long since anyone had touched him so kindly, or at all. He didn't think anyone had patted his wings before but he liked it. He liked the warm water and milk soothing his skin and the fingers tending to his wings and he liked hearing Aziraphales soft humming from behind him.
Crowley didn't remember what heaven looked like but he was sure it must have felt a little something like that. Like being loved.
Aziraphale pulled his eyes away from the small burn he was tending to and watched as Crowley slipped further and further towards sleep. The few drops of a very powerful sedative he'd added to the bath was certainly helping him relax and Crowley soon started humming with him, quite happy.
"You know, Angel. I don't think I've ever liked being around anyone as much as I like being around you."
Aziraphale sat up straighter at the praise, face practically glowing as he smiled. "Oh, really?"
Crowley nodded before frowning and leaning backwards to look at him, almost falling back before he righted himself with a hand at the bathtub's rim. "Well, don't get too excited. The bars pretty low. I don't like being around anyone really. There's nowhere to go but up from nothing."
The angel rolled his eyes but he knew that Crowley was just trying to pretend he hadn't admitted that he liked him. "Of course."
Aziraphale however, had no issues sharing his feelings. He felt it was very important to let the people that you love know that you love them, Especially since he only had one.
Crowley was the one person that Aziraphale always knew would be there. Maybe not right beside him or even in the same country but no matter what he knew that Crowley was the one thing that would never change.
"Well, I am very glad to know you. Demon or not I am grateful to have you with me, Crowley. I know a lot of angels but none of them are even half as kind to me as you are. And that means the world. I hope you know that."
Crowley was half asleep already, eyes drooping closed as he sagged against the side of the tub.
"I do, Angel. And the truth is I'd do anything to make you happy."
Aziraphales hands froze at that, eyes growing wet as Crowley mumbled, voice sweet and quiet.
"I'd do anything for my Angel."
Aziraphale's wings fluttered behind him as he blushed, too excited to calm himself down. "Your angel? Oh Crowley you're the sweetest demon I've ever known!"
The demon smiled a little in his sleep as Aziraphale took a deep breath and stilled his wings. He didn't want to wake him after finally getting him to relax. Perhaps he'd put a little too much sleeping drought in the bath and that was why Crowley was talking. Whatever the cause he didn't want him to stop.
"Let's get you to bed. You need your rest if you're going to heal."
Crowley didn't move as Aziraphale gently sat him up and slipped his arms around him, eyes staying closed as he hummed against the angels shoulder, hand coming up to lightly play with his hair. He'd be mortified if he was cognisant enough to realise what he was doing but for now he enjoyed the gentle weight of his head on his shoulder.
"Hmm you're strong."
Aziraphale rolled his eyes at the praise and carried the demon to his bed, using a small miracle to replace the sheets before setting him down.
"Of course I am, Crowley. You are too, we are superior beings."
He laid him down as gently as he could and lifted the blankets over him, helping to lay out his wings where they wouldn't get so squashed.
"There. All settled. Do you need anything else?"
Crowley sighed, face pressed to his pillow, already dreaming. "Stay with me. Please."
A plea was very rare from a demon but Aziraphale barely noticed it amongst the mumbled requests for him to stay. One of Crowley's hands was wandering across his sheets, searching and Aziraphale all but melted when he realised what he was searching for.
He took his hand, fingers tangling together and Crowley sighed happily and pulled him closer.
Aziraphale slipped under the covers and laid next to the demon, brushing a hand through his hair as his eyes slowly opened.
"Why did you go into that church Crowley? Tell me you weren't going to-"
His eyes blinked lazily, heavy and tired but he kept them glued to Aziraphale.
"Of course not. I didn't know how to make up for our fight. I shouldn't have told you to stop interfering with humans. It wasn't my business to tell you what to do and I love that you help them. I love that you can't help but care and make their pathetic little lives a little easier when you can."
Aziraphale's eyes pricked at the kind words despite him having called humans pathetic. It was a give and take with Crowley and mostly you took what you were given.
"But why the church? Were you trying to help someone to make up for it?"
Crowley paused, shocked that the thought hadn't crossed his mind. "I didn't even think of that. Might have been easier. No, I was going to make it up to you by getting you a present but the holy ground was burning me and making me weak and then that idiot alter boy dropped the water and...I'm so glad you found me. There's no one else in the entire universe that would have known or noticed that I needed help."
Aziraphale leaned down, he couldn't help himself. He pressed a kiss to Crowley's forehead, watching as the demon smiled, cheeks warming as his kiss accelerated his healing without even meaning to.
"Aw Crowley. After all these centuries you should know by now that you are the one person I'll never have to lose. And that goes both ways."
The demon's eyes were shut, his hand curled tightly around Aziraphale's and he gave one last sigh as he fell asleep.
"I love you, Angel."
Aziraphale's heart could have burst from such a confession but really he'd known it the moment they'd stood on that wall in the garden. Crowley was always meant to be a part of his universe.
It was too strange to be believed, for the love between an angel and a demon to be a part of the grand plan. But Gabriel has always said that the father worked in mysterious ways. But ineffable worked just fine for Aziraphale.
"I love you too."
Crowley rolled over, pulling his still healing wings over his head as the morning light streamed in through the windows.
"Oh would you look at it! It's beautiful!"
Aziraphale was near tears judging by the sound of his voice and Crowley groaned. "How many sunrises do you have to see before you get bored of them?"
The Angel grunted quietly, almost offended. He loved sunrises. "A billion more. But no, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about this!"
Crowley lowered his wing, squinting through the too bright light at the painting Aziraphale had unwrapped. So Michelangelo had finished. Finally.
Aziraphale sat it up so they could see it from their bed. Huh, their bed. After three days it was still so strange to hear. Crowley loved it.
The Angel raced over and practically bounced onto the bed, pressing to Crowley's side. "It's perfect!"
Crowley smiled. The idiot painter had really done a good job, no wonder the Aziraphale liked him so much. He was smiling in the painting, a soft thing that warmed his face, his eyes fixed on his Angel beside them. They were walking together in an ever stretching garden that grew all around them and yet their eyes were on each other, hands joining them in the middle.
"Huh. He really got you right. I only described you to him and he nailed it. I also love that."
Aziraphale rolled his eyes at the blurry image of Archangel Gabriel suffering a rather unfortunate bite from a snake in the background. "Yes, very funny. I suppose that was your idea."
Crowley sniggered, enjoying it far too much to do by himself and Aziraphale stifled a laugh of his own. "Of course it was. It was all my idea. Do you really like it?"
Aziraphale looked down at his most favourite demon and nodded. "I'll keep it forever."
Crowley smiled and pressed forward, capturing his angels lips in a kiss for the thousandth time and loving it just as much as the first.
Aziraphale let out a soft breath as he pulled away and blushed furiously. "You've got to stop making me so dizzy. I'm supposed to be taking care of you not feeling faint every time you kiss me."
Crowley wrapped a wing around his love and pulled him closer, pressing a gentle bite to his warm neck. "Maybe you just need to practice."
Aziraphale could live for a million years and never tire of the face above him. "Kiss me again?"
"I'll give you a million more."
"We certainly have the time."