|Alternative name(s):||Ineffable Husbands, Consenting Bicycle Repairmen, A/C, Air Conditioning, azicrow, crowzira, Ineffable Wives, Ineffable Spouses, Ineffable Partners|
|Gender category:||M/M, F/F, Other, nebulous|
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In the early days of the fandom, based solely on the book, ship names included A/C or "Air Conditioning" (more common on Livejournal), and "Consenting Bicycle Repairmen" (a description of the two taken from the novel). Later, on Tumblr, fans took to calling the ship "Ineffable Husbands," in reference to God's ineffable plan. This name was partially chosen because "Air Conditioning" caused problems with unrelated posts turning up in Tumblr searches. Ineffable Husbands became the most commonly accepted ship name as the fandom grew post-show.
Aziraphale is an angel of Heaven and Crowley is a demon of Hell. They met after Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden and have met up throughout human history. The fact that they are supposed to be enemies is a source of tension throughout their relationship. Good Omens follows them as they attempt to thwart the coming of the Anti-Christ and the apocalypse.
Aziraphale/Crowley is the main ship in GO fandom. Many stories take advantage of the fact that the two have been around throughout the entirety of human history
Fans summing up the differences between Book and TV series Aziraphale/Crowley as:
I see TV!Crowley as pining for Aziraphale and Book!Crowley already in a marital status Aziraphale.
i really do like the book boys’ relationship better tho like they’re just happier. crowley’s a lot further along in his healing process from falling and shit, aziraphale is a grouchy hedonist who chooses going apeshit a lot more often than he tries to be nice, and at worst they bicker and make up in that comfortable way you can do with someone you already share mutual trust with. maybe that’s harder for some folks to engage with as far as making fandom content, conflict opens up a lot of things to explore, but goddamn for me it’s just a nice fictional space to live in
the chill vibe of the book husbands’ relationship versus the chaos of the romantic tension in the show is more appealing to me personally. they feel settled, they feel comfortable, it reminds me of my own relationship with my partner. whether you read book A/C as “we’ve been married for like a thousand years and just happen to leave separately for convenience reasons” or as “we’re in love and we know it but it would be gauche to talk about it because of the politics involved,” there’s just this deep sense of comfort and trust between them.
But Aziraphale and Crowley can argue with each other. And they can do it safely. They can challenge each other, and question each other, and call each other out without the risk of dire consequences - without even the risk of the other saying well fuck you then, I’m leaving.
This is worth so much. It is so important. They can talk. They can hash out ideas and differences and things that don’t make sense. They can take philosophical an ideological risks, and can test them against each other. They can use each other as a sound board to figure out the universe. The fact that they are different, that they disagree, that they have different backgrounds and different beliefs and different attitudes to things, that’s why they are able to figure so much out. That’s how they are able to move away from the dogmatic extremes of Heaven and Hell and meet each other in the grey areas where most of the universe actually exists. And they are able to do this because they trust each other, and they respect each other, and they know that they are solid. They love each other. They understand each other. And they understand themselves better because of that relationship existing....I feel like that aspect of their relationship is missing a bit, in the show. Not completely, but a lot. It’s too dangerous for Show!A&C to have proper discussions like that, Heaven and Hell are too close, too involved in their lives. And Aziraphale and Crowley haven’t even able to get close enough to each other for that to happen safely.
Since airing, the series and the original novel, have been referred to as a "6000 year slow burn", and this tag has also begun appearing on works pairing Aziraphale/Crowley.
Common Tropes and Storylines in Fanworks
- Historical Settings: focusing on them meeting and interacting over the centuries, crossovers with Historical RPF and Literary RPF are somewhat common; with characters like Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde sometimes appearing in fics, it is also common for them to witness major historical events
- Post Apocalypse that Wasn't: stories that take place after the prevented Apocalypse, these vary from taking place directly afterwards to a more distant future. These fics also often include a love confession, because they are free from their respective roles, and being observed by their head offices. Many works depict the two sharing a home together, either in the flat above Aziraphale's bookshop, or a cottage on the South Downs.
- Ineffable Wives: both Aziraphale and Crowley presenting as women
- Wings: fanworks where Aziraphale or Crowley brings their wings into the physical realm. Grooming each other's wings is common, this may lead to wing kink, but not always. There was a lot of wingfic in Good Omens fandom, and some fans credit the excessive amount of wingfic with giving fandom a brand new trope; wingless fic. It involves a character suddenly and unexpectedly losing their wings. This trope originated in Good Omens fandom and has appeared in other fandoms with angels or winged characters.
- First Kiss: very popular, showing the lead up, and aftermath, of their first kiss together
- First Time: often exploring the circumstances around their first sexual experience together
- Virgin Aziraphale or Virgin Crowley: a smaller trope, but not too uncommon, is to have either Aziraphale or Crowley, or sometimes both, be a virgin in the realm of human sexual relations. This sometimes leads to the more experienced partner taking the lead, or if they are both virgins, them trying to figure it out together
- True Forms: Azirphale and Crowley being able to see each other's truly angelic or demonic forms, or revealing their true forms to each other. True Form Sex is also common, where Aziraphale and Crowley connect beyond the mere physical. These works may also contain elements of Monster Fucking.
- Top/Bottom Dynamics: although fans have their preferences, the ratio of fics tends to be fairly evenly split between Top Crowley or Top Aziraphale
- Secret Relationship: in canon they had to keep their arrangement and friendship a secret, but some fics take this a step further and have them begin a romantic relationship earlier in canon that has to be concealed. These stories sometimes have a bittersweet feel to them, because they have to steal small moments of time to be together. Some stories end post apocalypse where Aziraphale and Crowley are finally able to love each other freely.
- You can stay at my place, if you like: many fics take place during the period of time when, off camera, Aziraphale and Crowley spent the night together at Crowley's flat. Many of these stories made include tearful confessions, a reveal of feelings, their first kiss, their first time, or some combination of any of these (This is a TV series only trope)
- Human AUs: fics where Aziraphale and Crowley have always been human, the most common being modern AUs where usually Aziraphale still owns a bookshop and Crowley often has a career that concerns plants, sometimes owning a flower shop. Human AUs that take place in historical or fantasy settings are also fairly common. There are also stories where Aziraphale and/or Crowley are somehow turned into humans.
- Pining: most commonly mutual pining, them longing for each other, but they can't reveal their feelings because of their circumstances. However, when the pining is one-sided it tends to be Crowley that is more often chosen by creators to be doing the pining
- Asexuality: having either Aziraphale or Crowley, or both, be asexual, this may be because of their angelic or demonic natures, or just be their sexual orientations
- Snake Crowley: Crowley in his snake form, in fanworks he often rests himself on Aziraphale's shoulders or wraps himself around him. Finding Crowley resting in a sunny spot in the bookshop is also common. Naga!Crowley, where Crowley is half man and half snake, can also be found.
- Hurt/Comfort: fanworks seem to be fairly evenly split between either Crowley or Aziraphale receiving the hurt, and the other providing the comfort. Because they are supernatural beings fans sometimes have to come up with inventive ways to hurt them, some common ones are, being hurt/tortured by other angels/demons, coming in contact with a cursed/blessed object, spells, being hurt by humans, among many other ways.
Before the TV show, Gaiman did not personally want to be exposed to fanfiction, but he was aware and tolerant that it existed.
And this has less to do with prudery than with my own comfort levels. I can just about get my head around the concept of Crowley-Aziraphale slash, and would rather not read it thanks. Out beyond that, I don't actually want to know...
However, Gaiman's responses seemed to change after the TV series. He commented a number of times on Twitter that he was open to or supported interpretations of the relationship as romantic, but maintained that they are not human males and do not fit into the human conception of a gay male relationship. In one interaction in 2019, he confirmed Aziraphale and Crowley love each other:
[Twitter user Beckminster Abbey @hatpire]
So, @neilhimself, they're gay, right? :D
In another Twitter interaction around the same time in 2019, he expressed support for various headcanons about their relationship:
[Twitter user @helenefosse]
I don’t really like this notion that the main protagonists are “above” using labels like gay. @neilhimself, you probably wouldn’t have a problem saying bad angel and demon would call themselves friends?
- The Sacred and the Profane (Good Omens story) by afrai – Role Swap AU in which Crowley is an angel and Aziraphale is a demon. (2002)
- Flights of Angels by Daegaer, an early example of a Wingless Fic (2003)
- A Diamond Sky Above Titanic by SeaBlueEyes, The year is 1912, and one angel and one demon's lives are about to change forever as they embark on the fateful maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic - and a relationship utterly forbidden by both Heaven and Hell. Once again, I apologise to the fandom for reading a comedy and writing a tragedy. (2011)
- Your Own Side, a 350,000+ word series by NotASpaceAlien. (2016-19)
- Repossession (Good Omens story) by dreamsofspike (2019)
- Slow Show by mia_ugly (2019)
- If We've Got Nothing (We've Got Us) by Kedreeva, "Two months after the failed apocalypse Aziraphale finds the first dark feather growing in his wings. A story about middle grounds, ineffable plans, and what happens when the world doesn't end."
- Something Wanting in My Nature by mugatu, "I saw this tumblr prompt and my hand slipped. `Okay which one of you is going to write the Ineffable Husbands college professor AU with the extremely sweet and over-sharing professor fawning over their spouse and the standoff-ish secretive professor who reveals absolutely nothing about their private life who turned out to be married?´"
- Inappropriate Goings-On... by danny-sama
- Good Omens_2 by Fishik
- Nap Time by xxsymmetryxx
- Pointless fluff by lord-october
- "How long have we been friends? 6000 years!", Archived version by madvalgo (June 2019)
- the knight and the serpent 🌿 ⚔️, Archived version by seancefemme (June 2020)
- Aziraphale and Crowley in Kew Gardens by toastedbuckwheat
- Ineffable, Archived version, a Ship Manifesto essay by jennaria (2005)
- Ineffable Husbands Rule Good Omens - Aziraphale & Crowley a video essay about the ship, and some differences between book and TV fandoms
Inspired by the Book
Good Omens: winter by Linnpuzzle (2004)
Good Omens by rhianimated (2007)
Friends.3 by noxcape (2009)
Ineffable by danny-sama (2009)
Crowley Grooms Aziraphale by StephanieLamb (2011)
.Kiss. by Candra (2012)
Crowley and Azriphale kissing by tio-trile (2014)
Aziraphale and Crowley by Ememchan08 (2015)
some good omens fan art by merildae (2016)
Inspired by the TV Series
Good Omens by IrenHorrors (2019)
Untitled piece by Johanna the Mad (2020)
Interior art by mittiepaul, from the zine Somebody To Love (2019)
Archives & Fannish Links
- Aziraphale/Crowley (Good Omens) works at Ao3
- (Aziraphale, Crowley) pairing on Fanfiction.net
- Posts tagged ineffable husbands on tumblr.
- Comment on the art GO: U Do by 10yrsy
- "Comment by Elite_Wiess on The differences between book!Crowley and show!Crowley and it's impact on his and Aziraphale's relationship, posted to r/goodomens on August 1, 2019". Archived from the original on 2022-05-22.
- "May 13, 2020 tumblr post". Archived from the original on 2022-05-22.
- Where the South Downs thing comes from a Tumblr post by irisbleufic, 2013, accessed 14 June 2019.
- As of September 2021 search of AO3
- As of September 2021 search of AO3 resulting in 339 works tagged Pining Crowley vs 133 works tagged Pining Aziraphale
- 3.9.2003, In which it is decided there are Some Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know by Neil Gaiman, accessed 13.10.2011
- tweet by Neil Gaiman. (Accessed 11 June 2022, but transcribed from screenshot because one of the tweets is private)
- tweet by Neil Gaiman. He followed up shortly with a tweet correcting his typo: ‘(Male humans. Not “make”.)’. (Both accessed 10 June 2022, but primarily transcribed from screenshot because some of the tweets have been deleted)