Can we talk about Crowley’s statement under the bandstand though?
“How long have we been friends? 6,000 years!”
Can we assume just for fun that he isn’t exagerrating for dramatic effect or whatever? ‘Cause— heartbreaking responses aside— that shit is fucking hilarious and adorable.
'Cause, from Aziraphale’s perspective, they absolutely have not been friends for 6,000 years.
Not even in a “no, he’s a demon, by sheer coincidence we just happened to decide to have lunch in the same restaurant… at the same table…” way. I’m fully prepared to admit that they were friends by that stage, but that sort of thing did not start 6,000 years ago.
Personally, I’d argue that we probably don’t see them as proper friends until the Hamlet scene, the first time (if I remember correctly) we see them meeting up by previous arrangement rather than by lucky chance. The first time we get a look at those puppydog eyes of Aziraphale’s as well. The first time we see Aziraphale explicitly refer to his fears about Hell hurting Crowley as a reason to hide their relationship.
This would put their transition from 'good aquaintances who get on well’ to 'actual friends’ at somewhere in the middle ages. History fans may recognise that period as being not 6,000 years ago.
But fine, let’s go further back. Maybe you want to are that their friendship actualy started in Rome, the first time Aziraphale asked Crowley out to lunch (personally, I’d argue that the fact that they still seem pretty distance and estranged from each other in the knight scene conflicts with that, but all interpretations are valid and it’s not like this is the sort of thing you can measure with a ruler anyway). That does have the benefit of giving them ~2,000 years of friendship, which definitely isn’t to be sniffed at, but also definitely isn’t the 6,000 years that Crowley claimed.
What I’m saying here, is that for the past 6,000 years, as far as Aziraphale is concerned, he’s been basically living an extended version of When Harry Met Sally (with the 'falling in romantic love at the end’ bit being optional depending on how you interpret them). A series of random, unexpected encounters with someone that gradually grow into a stronger, more meaningful relationship.
Crowley, on the other hand?
If we believe Crowley, he took that one social interaction on the wall at Eden and absolutely ran with it.
“Goodbye, random, unusuall sociable demon,” Aziraphale might have thought as they went their separate ways.
“See you later, my new best friend!” Crowley would probably have been thinking.
And it does make a sort of sense as well. Crowley lives in Hell, and this angel just made small talk with him and sheltered him from the rain with his wings.
Everyone down below is too scary and too on edge all the time to be friendly. Everyone Upstairs thinks he’s scum. The last time God spoke to him, it was to tell him that he was going to have to crawl around on his belly and eat dust for all eternity. The two of the three other sentient beings on Earth, however nice they might have been to chat to in the early days, are now blaming him directly for their fall from grace.
Anyone who’s spent time without friendships, and without any obvious way of making them, knows what it’s like to latch on to any positive social interaction with someone like “look! I made a friend!” even though the other person might just see it as a kind gesture, and I feel like that’s what Crowley’s doing.
The whole time Aziraphale must have been agonising over how close he was growing to this… this demon, how this might affect them if word got back to their respective sides, whether angels and demons are even capable of forming friendships with each other, or whether instinct will out… there’s every chance that Crowley was just sitting there blithely thinking back on their 5,000 years of friendship.
I’m just saying, there’s more than one oblivious idiot in this relationship.