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Honour

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“Of all the dashed stupid things, Crowley,” Aziraphale hissed, and Crowley let out a piteous groan of pain as Aziraphale carried him up the stairs, unheeding of Mrs Bradley, who lived in 4B, and looked after Crowley with some concern. Then again, Mrs Bradley thought, he was an awfully queer sort, was Mr Crowley, and it wasn’t that surprising for that Mr Fell to be carrying him home after a night out. “Honestly!”

“It wasn’t stupid,” Crowley said hoarsely, and then coughed hard. “It was a calculated risk.”

“Calculated! Calculated!” Aziraphale repeated hysterically. Crowley’s flat door, rightly uncertain of this much hysterical angel, jumped open before one of them could open it. Crowley shifted slightly: Aziraphale was carrying him bridal style, and Crowley pressed his face more into Aziraphale’s chest, even as he tried not to cough again. “You don’t even know how to use a calculator, Crowley! You can’t even use an abacus!”

“I can,” Crowley protested, and then dissolved into hard coughs again.

“An abacus would stump you,” Aziraphale said spitefully, but he clutched at Crowley with tender arms, even as he kicked the door closed so hard that it rattled in its frame. Nauseous and dizzy, his head lolled back slightly, and he heard Aziraphale coo as he brought Crowley into his bedroom, setting him down on the bed.

“Saved you, didn’t I?” Crowley demanded.

“No, not really, Crowley. For one, I didn’t need saving, and in the second instance, I don’t see how you appearing, embarrassing yourself, and then running away was supposed to help me whatsoever,” Aziraphale muttered, busying himself with unlacing Crowley’s shoes.

“Distraction.”

Betting that you knew which one was the sacred water, as if you—”

“Michael switched them!” Crowley yowled his protest, and then coughed once more, only able to stop when Aziraphale shoved a glass of (unholy) water into his hand, that he could take a drink from it.

“Of course he switched them, you idiot, you’re a demon! He wanted to see you choke!”

“But where’s the honour in that?” Crowley asked. He felt very ill. It hadn’t been holy water, no, but it had been from some consecrated well or other, and it really didn’t agree with him. With that said, however, Aziraphale had most certainly been pulled away from the whole thing, and now, they were at home, and it was fine, it was fine—

“Honour is a human invention, Crowley,” Aziraphale said impatiently, as if explaining to a child for the umpteenth time why he couldn’t pour his milk on the ground and still drink it after. He was undoing Crowley’s tie, now, and drawing the silk gently away from his neck. “Angels don’t have any.”

“Demons do,” Crowley muttered, as mulishly as he dared.

“Yes, well,” Aziraphale replied in dark tones, even as he vanished the rest of Crowley’s clothes and drew the blankets over him. Crowley’s black silk sheets, he noted, had been done away with, in favour of an astonishingly ugly – but very warm – eiderdown quilt. “He would say that’s all the more reason for us to do without.”

Crowley coughed, and then groaned, because it hurt.

Aziraphale sighed, reaching out, and Crowley leaned into his hand as Aziraphale drew his fingers through Crowley’s hair, his neatly-manicured fingernails dragging over Crowley’s scalp.

“You’re very warm,” Aziraphale murmured. “And you’re shivering.”

“I feel sick.”

“Yes, well, you will do,” Aziraphale said. “Stupid, foolish, wicked thing.” There was very little rancour in it. “It was your own fault.” There was even less rancour in that, and when Crowley let his lips downturn at their edges, looking up at Aziraphale pleadingly[1]. Aziraphale sighed, dragging back the quilt and sliding into the bed beside him, drawing Crowley to lay his head on Aziraphale’s chest, which Crowley did gladly.

He coughed again.

He felt like he’d been gargling glass, and when Aziraphale’s fingers came up to run soothing lines up and down his throat, Crowley sighed.

“This isn’t a reward,” Aziraphale said hurriedly. “I’m just— I’m looking after you.”

“I know,” Crowley mumbled.

“It was very stupid of you, Crowley, they could have done something much worse to you than that. I don’t know what I would have done, if…” Aziraphale trailed off, and then his lips pressed against the top of Crowley’s hair, again, and again, and again. “You fool.”

“Sorry.”

“Yes, well,” Aziraphale said, “I imagine you are.” His body was very warm against Crowley’s, soft and pillowy, and Crowley pressed closer, pressing his face in against the heavy cushion of Aziraphale’s belly. “Your nose is very sharp, you know.”

“I know.”

Aziraphale laughed. It was a soft sound, breathless, and Crowley swallowed down more pain as Aziraphale began to gently rub his back. He would feel better in a few days. And in the mean time? Well. He’d said it, hadn’t he? Aziraphale would take care of him.

“You fool,” Aziraphale said again, softly. Crowley knew what it meant, of course. It meant, “I love you.”

Crowley closed his eyes, and let himself drift.

 

[1] He’d dropped his sunglasses on the way home, and Aziraphale had already stepped on them before Crowley could ask to pick them up. Crowley didn’t mind: Aziraphale had hugged him very tightly in apology.