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The Affairs of Angels

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                “He doesn’t look like a demon,” a human remarked softly. Crowley twitched, his leather jacket pulling, hot and stuck, against the flesh of his arms that were pinned beneath himself. He kept his eyes shut, almost curious who was speaking. “He looks like any old bloke.”

                Last he remembered, Crowley had been Aziraphale’s shop. Of course he had been. It was where he spent nearly all of free time. He’d felt content – tired in more sense than one – and satisfied. The world was safe. Aziraphale was alive, with him, and smiling that goofy, lopsided smile that he wore often when he was either drunk or giddy with lazy endearment.

                “Come in for a drink, dear?” His angel had asked, all but buzzing with excitement to enter his renewed bookshop. It wasn’t a question, though. Crowley knew that from thousands of years of listening to Aziraphale talk. It was more beckoning.

                What he had really said was: “Come in for a drink, dear.”

                Crowley remembered smiling. He was tempted… by an angel, no less. His words were tart like wine, smooth and going down just as easy. Sharp like gin. Hot and sticky like rum.

                “Come in, dear.”

                He would. He did. Stepped over the threshold with a smug saunter, stalking after Aziraphale like a carnivorous animal hunting its prey. And, oh, how Crowley could just devour his angel. After what they had been through, the fear and the shaking and the doubt… he knew Aziraphale would let him.

                “Come, dear.”

                And he did; he followed his angel right to the plush sofa and wine glasses. He’d sat back, watching Aziraphale pour them a drink. He watched lazily, his eyes dragging from the tips of Aziraphale’s white, curled hair and down to the smooth leather of his loafers. Ah, the angle of his shoulders, lax and calm under his coat. Crowley could just tear that perfect buttoned-down shirt from him. Throw it across the room while Aziraphale scolded him with that damn, motherly voice of his. Crowley had sighed, low and content, and closed his eyes.

                Now he was here, stuck to his leather jacket, trapped by a nonsensical sigil, unwillingly sober… and without his angel. He wanted to howl. To rip someone apart. To put the fear of Crowley so deeply in these misguided humans, they’d never draw a summoning circle ever again.

                He wanted Aziraphale, wherever he was.

                Frustrated, he pushed into his mind to feel for his power… but, sadly, he couldn’t. When he reached for magic, he was met by a dull thud that resembled a dead body hitting the floor. It echoed around his mind like a gunshot in a canyon, ricocheting off uncooperative, magic-resistant seals. He snarled at the concrete.

                The summoning circle was suppressing his unholy power.

                The humans around him – three blind mice, Crowley thought – shifted uneasily. “He’s awake,” one said shakily. Very observant.

                Another once shivered where he stood along the wall, far to Crowley’s right. He could feel the quiver in the air. “And… and the seal?” They asked, their voice shaking just as much.

                “Still intact,” the first said again. It seemed the third player was staying silent. Not that Crowley minded. This little ring-leader of theirs seemed confident, despite the quiet, disbelieving whisper of his voice. “He’s not going anywhere. Trust me.”

                He’s not going anywhere. Famous last words. Even if Crowley couldn’t break through the circle himself, Aziraphale was sure to throw a fit when he noticed Crowley’s absence. Heaven hath no fury like an Aziraphale spurned and denied.

                Perhaps, Crowley supposed, he would show up in a blaze of fire, holding his sword high as he shouted biblical reprimands. Crowley arched a skeptical eyebrow; that wasn’t much Aziraphale’s style. He wasn’t that kind of showy. That was Gabriel, all celestial light and thousands of eyes, burning the light of Heaven into a human they’d go blind for hours afterwards. No, no… Aziraphale was softer. Gentle to a fault. He would find Crowley, release him, and give his dimwitted summoners a stern, motherly scolding.

                Rolling over onto his back – he could feel the pressure of the circles’ boundary pressing against his hip – Crowley glowered at the ceiling.

                “Okay,” he sighed, feeling the air in the room shift, uncertain and afraid as Crowley folded his hands under his head. “Okay,” he dragged the word slow and dramatic through his teeth with a hiss under his breath. “Let me go now, and I might be gentle when I skin you alive.”

                It was a lie. Crowley would never physically harm a human. That just wasn’t his style.

                The humans didn’t respond beyond grouping together and whispering in hushed, hurried tones. Crowley didn’t bother to look at them. Seeing into their souls, into their sinful desires and plans… it would be more of a chore than anything. Instead, he crossed his legs languidly at the ankle and thought of Aziraphale.

                He’d been gone all of, what, ten minutes? Perhaps his angel was still circling his bookshop, startled and confused. Crowley cracked a smile at that; the thought of Aziraphale, prim and proper, frittering to himself as he searched under tables and in closets, was highly amusing. At the same time, it gave a painful tug at Crowley’s heart strings. He wanted to be there, in that cramped, cozy shop. He wanted to sleep off the stress of saving the world. He wanted to lie in Aziraphale’s arms and hold him. Make sure he was alive, real and warm and soft under his fingertips. He wanted to kiss the fear and uncertainty from his angel’s face, make him gasp foul things, and laugh when he blushed and apologized.

                The humans continued to deliberate, and Crowley sighed; he wanted Aziraphale. He knew that Aziraphale wanted him. And now, to be interrupted by clueless humans?

                How dare the world? After all the bloody effort he’d gone to saving it – despite the fact that he didn’t even have to.

                “Demon Crawly,” one of the humans – the ring leader – said in an oddly commanding tone. Crowley rolled his eyes; he didn’t much care for that name anymore. He'd changed it so long ago... apparently, Humanity hadn't gotten the message. But, with nothing better to do, he listened. “You have been summoned here to do our bidding.”

                Oh, Aziraphale would have giggled at that. He would’ve probably made a quip about Crowley’s work ethic, too, the damn perfect twit.

                Sniffing haughtily, Crowley didn’t move from his reclined, uncomfortable spot. Even if it was uncomfortable, it was more of a matter of pride. If he moved, it would look like he cared. He didn’t. He was a distant, angry demon. An angry, horny demon who had been unceremoniously yanked away from the one and only love of his eternity. He wanted to trottle someone. But that would include moving. So, despite all desire to do otherwise, he held still.

                “Yeah, okay... no, I don’t think so,” Crowley said, keeping his tone casually bitter. “Good try, though. Good star, ya damn twats.”

                Silence. Good. Crowley didn’t want to talk to them. Then, there was more deliberate whispering. Crowley rolled his eyes; where was a fiery angel when you needed him?

+++++

                Aziraphale had hardly turned around to hand Crowley his drink when a sickening, sinking feeling settled into his stomach. The air shifted, like an aura bending and warping with its first sin. Like losing a life that was held in his hands. The brief flicker of a flame before darkness.

                Aziraphale turned sharply on his heel. So hard, in fact, he knocked the glasses from the table in his hurry to see Crowley lying back against his sofa. The glass hit the ground hard. It shattered, spilling sweet, smooth wine across the old, creaky floorboards as Aziraphale felt his heart seize.

                Distantly, Aziraphale Mulled the impact of having a human heart. His human vessel was, in so many ways, so very, very delicate. It was something that was a blessing and a curse. When he drank too much, the world was slow and hazy and blurred together like running watercolors. When he ate too much, he felt full beyond measure and heavy and lazy. All physical reactions and perfectly natural. But Crowley? Oh, Crowley…

                Crowley made his chest tight when he smiled. Crowley made him feel a flutter in his stomach when he laughed that cocky, grating laugh. When he called him ‘angel,’ Aziraphale felt his face flush. A very human, very physical reaction. Something that betrayed him time after time, century after century. Crowley made his heart soar. His spirit lift. It was love in its most intoxicating form… love in a way that Aziraphale had yet to experience with anyone else.

                Aziraphale was an angel… he knew this. He loved everything. He loved and loved and… it almost became monotonous. Loving everything and everyone. Wanting to heal and touch and comfort until the feeling didn’t mean anything anymore. Like repeating a word so many times, it didn’t sound like a word at all. It was a concept. A shape in his mouth. A sound on the edge of his tongue. Love, love, love… and then, Crowley. Crowley had changed everything.

                Love and Crowley. Crowley and love. Oh, it sounded divine. Divine in a way that sounded beautifully sinful. Perfect and delicious and Aziraphale wanted to drink him up like a glass of zinfandel. He would drink him down, that infuriatingly intoxicating man that left him drunk with excitement.

                Aziraphale turned, the glasses shattered, the wine spilled, and Crowley… was gone.

                And just like so many times before, Aziraphale felt his human heart betray him. He felt like he was suffocating as he breathed, “Cr… Crowley?” He turned on his heel again, turning in a tight circle as he looked for his demon. He was nowhere. Simply gone. Like a hot wind before a storm, he’d been there, so warm and so real… and now, gone? Startled by the sudden, maddening race of his heart, Aziraphale started to tear through his bookshop.

                “Crowley!”

                He shouted without reason. He wasn’t sure why he was shouting for him. He was gone. Wasn’t he? Must’ve slipped out for a reason. Must’ve left because… what? Because it was a bad idea to come in at all? Aziraphale tripped over a stack of books, barely managing to catch himself before he embraced the floor face-first.

                “Crowley, darling,” he said, “Please…” Please what? Reappear? Come back to me? Tell me that inviting you inside wasn’t a mistake? Come back and snog me senseless because I love, love, love, loving you? Aziraphale felt himself choke on air as he made a full round of his bookshop. “Please!”

                Feeling his legs buckle under him, Aziraphale gasped and hiccuped as hysterics overcame him; after everything they’d been through, the struggles and the fear… didn’t they deserve a bit of peace? Didn’t they deserve a moment of rest? The word decided, despite all they had done, that no, Crowley and Aziraphale were still as deserving of heart-tearing, gut-wrenching upset as anyone else.

                And goodness, Aziraphale didn’t like crying. It was messy and unbecoming, and he felt terrible. Like he was making a mess of his human vessel that was just supposed to take him from place to place and not get into any trouble. But there he was, prostrate on the floor and crying over two crystal glasses that had shattered into nothing but shards of glass scattered along the floor.

                It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair. After everything, this was their moment of respite. Their epilogue. Their ‘happily ever after’ until Heaven and Hell got a sudden case of leg cramps and decided to have their war. Aziraphale had waited. Waited and longed and stuffed down his emotions and desires and fears… and Crowley. Oh, sweet, patient Crowley. He had watched him with those damn, beautiful eyes, smiling at all the right moments, saying everything with the correct lilt in his voice… he’d waited even longer. Hundreds of years. Maybe even thousands.

                Aziraphale cried, but his body had nothing left to give. No sympathy for an angel who was without the object of his affections. No, it left Aziraphale with a dark, twisting feeling in his gut. Like anger, but worse. Like hate, but more definite. Burning, fitful and dangerous. Aziraphale, against all angelic protocol, wanted to burn something.

                Rage, you ask? In an angel? You think: What could possibly go wrong?

                With a shaking hand, Aziraphale took out his handkerchief and wiped his tears. He wanted Crowley back. He wanted their moment of peace and by golly, they were going to have it. Even if he had to rip Crowley from the grips of the Unholy Prince and all of Hell on his own.

                Pulling himself back onto his feet, Aziraphale’s eyes landed on the sofa that Crowley loved to lounge on. The cushions had a permanent dent where Crowley liked to kick up his feet and pontificate on the wonders of fine liquors. The armrest was sagging from the weight of Crowley’s arm where he draped himself over the edge – despite Aziraphale’s request not to – and his new, crisp cologne was still smudged on the fabric. Aziraphale narrowed his eyes. It was a good a place to start as any.

                Closing his eyes, Aziraphale let out a long, calming breath. “Steady now, darling,” he said, like Crowley could hear him wherever he was. “Steady on. I’m going to find you.”

                He reached out. He reached through the city of London, feeling for him. For Crowley. For Love. He could feel it all around him, sparks of Love between a mother and her child. A young man and his best friend. A woman and her husband. It was all heartwarming, but not what Aziraphale wanted. He wanted Crowley. Crowley. He stretched out, reaching deeper into the heart of the city, further until he felt his vessel waning, tearing at the seams as celestial light started to soak through his pores.

                He didn’t mind the strain or the stress… it was discomforting, but not in a way that would damage him. It was a means to an end. He let his Grace seep past the city, into the countryside. He felt along powerlines and beyond the veil of the sleepy farms. He felt flickers of love in the forest, in the trees, in the air… love and love… but not Crowley.

                Aziraphale felt his heart pounding, racing at an irregular rhythm as his brow furrowed and body blurred at the edges. It almost felt like his body was fading away, reverting to his true form as his power surged and heavenly light tore through him. He almost felt like tissue paper, thin and flimsy and oh-so-ready to tear. Even still, he reached.

                He reached and reached… until he felt it. That familiar flame. That burn that was so distinctly Crowley, Aziraphale felt his heart flutter with relief. He was in countryside. A small house on a little hill. Surrounded by humans that were practically vibrating with abject sin. Distant from everything and everyone… the perfect place to hide a demon. At least, a perfect place to hide a demon from everyone but Aziraphale. He could feel him there, his love still burning, still hot and flickering and dangerous… and he felt so incredibly fond of his demon. His dear, dear, Crowley was nearly beside himself with murderous intent… and Aziraphale was still hopelessly in love with him.

                “Easy, my dear,” Aziraphale said softly, hoping his words could reach Crowley through the distance and barriers between them. “I’m coming for you.”

                He marched out the front door and to Crowley’s recently renewed Bentley. Surely, seeing as this was an extenuating circumstance, he would be allowed to drive it. The car itself normally had a certain attitude towards those who weren’t Crowley. But, as he climbed in, the leather seats welcomed him like an old friend. The wheel was firm under his hands, and even without a key, the engine growled to life. Aziraphale winced when Queen’s Somebody To Love came blaring through the radio, a chorus screaming at Aziraphale with such conviction, he felt himself blush.

                “Charming, thank you,” he said as he delicately turned down the volume. A little uneasy with himself – he had yet to properly earn a driver’s license – Aziraphale licked his lips and shifted the car into drive. “Alright. He’s north in the countryside… let’s go find him, shall we?”

                He didn’t even touch the gas. The car sped into traffic, and Aziraphale, an angel of the Lord, singer of hymns, keeper of a flaming sword, screamed in abject terror. The radio perked up again, turning the volume full blast as Aziraphale tried to slam his foot down on an unwilling brake. They sped through a red light, and Aziraphale almost felt himself discorporate out of sheer fear.

                The damned car was going to kill him whilst blaring Don’t Stop Me Now.

+++++

                Crowley, by nature, wasn’t one for sleeping. It wasn’t that his body didn’t desire it. There was an underlying ache for it. Like a disparate hum beneath his natural tune, telling him to ‘stop a moment’ and ‘lay your bloody head down, you’ve had a long day.’ Not that Crowley really listened to it.

                The last time he slept – he remembered it perfectly, his memory was impeccable – it had been next to Aziraphale in the Roman Era. After tempting the angel into a good bit of wine, they had laid down in the tall, tall grasses. They had looked up at the sky. Aziraphale had been saying some nonsense about an Athenian delegate and how Crowley should not be tempting him into taking bribes – which he did – and how Crowley should stop pestering humans – which he didn’t.

                It had been a soft, spring day. Sunny, to Crowley’s memory. And with the wine teasing his brain, the soft grass beneath him, and Aziraphale murmuring something gentle and amused… Crowley had let his eyes drift shut. Just for a moment. Just a spell to rest his eyes from the bright blue sky.

                When he had opened them many hours later, Aziraphale still sat over him, a steady guardian as Crowley slept for the first time since leaving Eden. He’d sat up, flustered and trying to hide it, and Aziraphale… he’d looked at him, and smiled.

                “How human of you,” he had said, because of course Crowley remembered it perfectly. From the lilt in his voice to the light beige of his robes, Crowley remembered. He remembered the breeze that ruffled Aziraphale’s much longer, much curlier hair. He remembered the smile on his lips, and the fond glimmer in his eyes. The words were lighthearted and friendly. Two things that Crowley both loved and despaired. The softness of his words wasn’t lost on him. Not then, and not now. “How human of you,” he had murmured again, “To sleep away such a lovely day.”

                He hadn’t slept since then. Maybe it was a matter of pride. Maybe it was a matter of, frankly, not feeling safe when he closed his eyes and surrendered to human vulnerability. Maybe, if Aziraphale were to offer, he would sleep again. If Aziraphale were there with him, of course. If not, Crowley could manage just fine. He’d been doing it for thousands of years, after all.

                The downside to this, however, was the fact that he was awake and aware while his human summoners tried to wrestle some kind of demands out of him.

                “We desire riches!” One of them had stated boldly.

                Crowley had actually arched an eyebrow and looked at him – these were children, by all accounts. Hardly fresh out of school and already stumbling into the occult. It was almost amusing. If not for the fact that he, of all demons, had been summoned. He would deny any fault of course, despite that it was this fault for having his name transcribed and kept on human record for years and years.

                But that was beside the point. The one that stated their first command was redheaded and speckled with freckles, almost like someone had taken a paintbrush covered in brown paint and simply waved it at him frantically. He caught his gaze, and within a moment, Crowley could see into his deepest fears, desires, and hopes.

                His most pressing guilt was that of masturbation – a common one among young men – and cheating on his GCSE exams. Boring. He was also deeply in love with the only female human in the room. He wanted to have her. To possess her. Keep her away from the ring leader of the group. Also boring. He wanted money. Power. Also common, if Crowley were honest. And sex. Of course sex. So human, so trite, Crowley almost wanted to yawn. If he were tired. Which he wasn’t, of course, because he was a demon. Not to circle topics, but Crowley held a certain level of disdain for his human urges.

                Pursing his lips, Crowley shrugged tiredly. “I can’t just conjure money, you daft twit,” he snapped. That was a lie. Crowley loved lying when it served a purpose, especially if that purpose was pissing off humans. He folded his arms under his head again. “I’m a demon, not a trust fund.”

                The girl, for the first time, spoke. “He’s lying.”

                Crowley gave her a sharp look; how dare she be the voice of reason? She glanced at him, and Crowley saw everything. She was in love with her Chemistry teacher, a lovely blonde woman. She wanted to do, in her own terms, ‘unspeakable things to her.’ Understandable. Crowley saw the teacher in her thoughts and she was, in fact, a delectable sight. The girl wanted fame and recognition. She wanted the world in the palm of her hand and the human race at her feet. A woman with a goal, it would seem. Crowley looked away and sighed.

                “Crawly,” she said sharply as she held up a magic book that was filled primarily with hogwash. He winced at the old name and looked away. “You are to obey our commands. Our sigil says –”

                “It’s Crowley, and your sigil just has me pinned,” Crowley shot back as he inspected his fingernails lazily. “You can’t make me do anything. You have no idea how you managed to summon me in the first place.”

                There were several heartbeats of silence, then the group leaned together to commune again. Crowley rolled his eyes. He, despite all attempts to deny it, was tired. Exhausted, really. As much as he wanted Aziraphale – in him, on him, beneath him, around him, it didn’t matter – now, he simply wanted to wrap himself around the angel and drown in that mountain of feathery pillows Aziraphale called a bed.

                Finally, the ring leader broke their whispering with a sharp snap of, “We didn’t do all of this research for nothing, Charlie!”

                Charlie, obviously frightened, hissed back, “Nice going, Jack! Now that he knows my name he’ll… he’ll probably possess me or, or…”

                “Shut up!” the girl said, her tone relieved and jittery now that she was the only anonymous summoner. Crowley could practically feel her superiority oozing from her as she said, “Enough! Let’s focus on the commands…”

                Crowley quirked an eyebrow as he listened to the group bicker. Was possession still a thing with demons? He’d become so out of touch lately. Not that he minded it. Distance was good. Distance meant freedom. Distance meant fun. Most importantly, though, distance meant Aziraphale.

                Jack snapped Crowley from his reverie with a sharp shout of: “Demon! We know your name! We summoned you!”

                “Three bloody cheers,” Crowley deadpanned. “Hurrah, hurrah, hu-fucking-rah.”

                Aziraphale would have said “Language, my dear!” But he wasn’t there. Crowley felt another unhappy tug in his chest. Damn sentimentality. Damn heart falling for a damn angel and his damn perfect, twitchy, giggly personality. Damn, Crowley loved him.

                Jack wasn’t deterred by the response, either. That was unfortunate. Instead, he held his summoning book – all balderdash and Anathema herself would confirm it – aloft as he shouted, “You will do our bidding as the runes command!”

                Crowley pursed his lips, glanced at the ancient Nordic runes – which had been drawn terribly, Charlie. Really, you should try harder to be accurate – and tutted with mock thought. “Sure. Kinda. Maybe… you gonna give me your mortal soul or whatever?” Jack and his group nodded eagerly, and Crowley couldn't stop his eyebrows from raising in genuine surprise. “Damn. Pretty rare to have eager little sacrifices. We don’t normally do this thing anymore. Well, mostly. Mostly because you lot have forgotten the traces of magic we left behind.”

                It was nice to talk. To fill the air. But it wasn’t the same as talking to Aziraphale. With Aziraphale, it was playful banter and laughter and ruminating the succession of the vast universe. This… this was like talking to a brick wall. Jack and the others indicated to their books and sigils.

                “We found your traces,” the girl insisted, sounding so sure of herself that Crowley almost pitied her. “We summoned you.”

                Crowley shook his head and relaxed where he lay on the concrete. “Oh, yeah. Well… yeah, sure, got a couple of scribbles right. But do you know what all this means together?” Silence. Crowley closed his eyes and sighed. “Probably some harvest blessing or something. Maybe some of it was for a safe voyage overseas. You don’t know. You can’t read it.”

                Charlie glanced between Crowley and Jack uneasily. “What… what do we do now?”

                “Stick to the plan,” the girl said sharply. Charlie shuffled uneasily.

                “But… but, Sarah, he says –”

                “Shut up!” Sarah snapped now that she had a name. Crowley smiled wryly at their bickering. Humans made it so easy. Sarah went on, “He’s a demon! Demons lie! We just… just have to wear him down, I guess. Wait long enough and he’ll give in.”

                Crowley’s smile dropped. Wait long enough? Part of Crowley hoped he could just dismiss them and burn down the house. Now she was saying they would, what, just wait until he granted their commands? Crowley shifted where he lay, suddenly very aware of how uncomfortable the stone was under him. How long would it take for Aziraphale to find him? Could be minutes, could be years. Would the humans wait that long? To grant all of those desires, they might.

                “We desire riches,” Jack said again. Crowley ignored him. This time, Jack stepped as close to the summoning ring as he could without stepping on it or smudging it, shouting, “We wish for money!”

                “Do I look like a damn genie?” Crowley growled, his tone low and dangerous as he glared at the group of children. They all shrunk back, glancing at his sharpening teeth and glowing eyes. “I’m not granting your fucking wishes. Piss off before I break out of this sigil and rip your eyes from your skull.” An empty threat, but he would use whatever it took to get free.

                Jack lifted his chin, defiant, but Crowley could see the horror that lingered there. “He can’t,” he said confidently. “He can’t break it, or he would have already. Sarah’s right; he’ll break sooner or later. We just have to wait.”

                Crowley narrowed his eyes and settled back against the floor. Despite his inability to conjure any connection between himself and his angel, he knew that ‘sooner’ was fast approaching. But Crowley would not be the one to break.

                Aziraphale would see to that.

+++++

                Turning down the radio for the umpteenth time, Aziraphale marveled at the way Crowley’s Bentley weaved through traffic with all the knowledge and skill of a seasoned racer. Hopefully, Crowley hadn’t bestowed an unwitting racecar drivers’ soul onto the car. He couldn’t, could he? No, of course not. Aziraphale gave the car a suspicious look; could he?

                “Does Crowley even have to drive you?” He asked the car personably, seeing the light on the radio flicker giddily. Aziraphale smiled at that. “You liked being talked to, hmm? A shame he doesn’t compliment you. You are a lovely car.” The engine revved and the car lurched a little faster before settling back into a still-illegal speed. Aziraphale held a hand to the door anxiously nonetheless. “A little haphazard, I’ll admit… do you get it from Crowley, or does he get it from you?”

                The car didn’t respond to that beyond a flick of the windshield wipers. It was almost like the car had gone shy as it turned up the radio once more. Not defeating this time, just a soft hum of Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  Aziraphale smiled fondly as he tapped the self-moving steering wheel. “Very well, keep your secrets.”

                He wasn’t a motorist, not really. He hadn’t been long before, when motorcars had started appearing on the road. He hadn’t been when carriages – oh, how he missed carriages and their lovely horses – started to disappear. He had been a passenger and nothing more. Even the flaming chariot of Gabriel and Michael hadn’t been enticing. He would rather fly than take the reins.

                And now, he sat behind the wheel of Crowley’s Bentley with a nervous smile on his face and his heart pounding in his chest. He swallowed thickly when the car veered to the side of the road, rocked unhappily, and got back on the smooth road. The radio flickered, like it couldn’t make up its mind, and then, strangely, went quiet. Aziraphale gave the dashboard a strange look.

                “What is it, old boy? Missing Crowley?” The car stayed quiet. No flick of the wipers, no thrum of the radio. There was only the steady rumble of the engine as they sped across the country roads. Taking a moment, Aziraphale shifted in his seat and tugged at his bowtie.

                The skies above them had gone gray and nervous. The weatherman would chock it up to a sudden stormfront moving in from the sea; Aziraphale knew better. He was still frustrated with the world, and his Grace was showing it in the manipulation of the clouds and wind. Maybe the Bentley could feel the atmospheric pressure shifting around them. Maybe the Bentley was growing more irritated as they drove. Maybe it was neither, maybe it was both.

                Swallowing again, Aziraphale took a calming breath as he struggled to smother his anger. He wasn’t good with bitter feelings. They left a sticky feeling on his tongue, like he’d been drinking some of Crowley’s Spanish rum. He felt his shoulders flex and his spine arch away from the seats; divine wings wanted to let loose and simply fly him to Crowley. To shelter him in pearl-white feathers and warm, comforting arms. Aziraphale let out a long, shaky exhale.

                The Bentley, to its credit, revved and went a little faster. Aziraphale smiled and gave a strangled chuckle.

                “Truly sorry about the weather,” he said uneasily as he pat the steering wheel again. The radio sputtered back to the life, resuming its looping replay of Crazy Little Thing Called Love as Aziraphale gave the darkening storm clouds a hard look. “I… I really hadn’t meant to set the skies off-kilter.”

                Once more, he tried to oppress his Grace, smothering down the desire to set the skies ablaze and boil the seas. It didn’t work. Thunder rumbled like a bass drum in the distance, low and foretelling, like it was trying to announce his approach.

                Inhale… exhale. Air he didn’t need. Lungs that served no true purpose. Inhale, exhale. Lightning flashed in the sky on the horizon. Lightning that illuminated Crowley’s location. The Bentley growled like a spurned animal, and Aziraphale hummed in agreement. Inhale… and a long, shaking exhale. The radio whined, a little confused, before settling on Another One Bites the Dust, faster and more frantic than Aziraphale dared to remember.

                “Steady on, old chap,” Aziraphale cooed as the bass of the radio thumped in the seats. He kept his eyes on the lightning, giving the steering wheel a comforting tap.

                He reached out with his Grace, feeling the flutter of Crowley’s heart, kilometers away and subdued by frustration, still brimming with Love. He was there, waiting for him, most likely. He wasn’t in the middle of nowhere for no reason. Something had happened. But he would fix it. Yes, of course he would fix it. He would gather up his Crowley in his arms and hold him so tight, the troubles of the past week would seem like nothing more than a bad dream.

                Aziraphale gripped the steering wheel just to give his hands something to do. The Bentley didn’t mind. It continued to drive without his help, jerking his hands back and forth as it steered wildly. Aziraphale glowered at the horizon and the skies opened up, a torrential downpour coming down on them as the Bentley frantically tried to clear the windshield.

                The radio suddenly turned up, trying to outplay the rain as the windows rattled with the bass. For the first time in so many years, Aziraphale didn’t mind the noise. He was still angry. Still bitter and longing for Crowley. He wanted him. He wanted Crowley, and by Heaven, he would have him.

                “Hang on, my dear,” he promised, his voice drowning under the music. He felt his Grace burn in him, too much and too bright for his human vessel. He felt his eyes glow, his hands burn, and his chest tighten with pressure. The Bentley gave a concerning rumble, and Aziraphale gripped the wheel harder. “Hang on. We’re on our way.”

+++++

                Kicking his legs to and fro, Crowley was humming an old, old hymn under his breath as Charlie, Jack, and Sarah watched him. He remembered Aziraphale singing hymns in old churches, back in the sixteenth century. Something about praising in the highest or some nonsense. He had a good voice, Crowley could admit that. One of those lyrical, musical tones that made even the most despicable man feel redeemable. One song from Aziraphale’s lips, and the skies lit up with warmth and burned Crowley with so much Love and kindness, it almost hurt.

                But he listened, of course. He lingered outside the open windows of churches and grinned at Aziraphale’s glimmering smile and fluttering hands. He’d looked ridiculous, playing pretend with humans as he sang. Even so, Crowley watched. Crowley listened, but he didn’t care about the words. Didn’t care about the rest of the choir. He listened to Aziraphale, and for a brief, agonizing moment, he could pretend he hadn’t Fallen. He listened to Aziraphale sing hymns, praising in the highest with such earnestness, Crowley felt himself ascend, if only a little. Freedom and salvation played on Aziraphale’s lips… he’d just been too frightened to reach out and taste it.

                “What… what is it doing?” Charlie asked, a little jittery as he shifted on his feet awkwardly. There was a pause, and his hands wrung in the air fretfully. “You don’t think he’s summoning help, do you?”

                Jack gave him a sharp look. “He can’t, you daft pillock. He’s in the seal.”

                Crowley ignored them as he kept humming Nearer, My God, to Thee. He wondered if Aziraphale could feel him humming hymns. Surely, Heaven would hear it and have a hissy fit. A demon singing a hymn. Now that was a laugh. Not that Crowley cared. After everything that had transpired between him, Heaven, Hell, and everything in-between, pissing off the Almighty was an added bonus.

                Sarah stepped forward, leaning over the chalk sigils with a fiery expression playing in her green eyes. “You aren’t getting out of there, Crawly. You might as well just give in.”

                Crowley quirked an eyebrow and looked over the edge of his sunglasses at her. “It’s Crowley. And you do realize, girly, that you are offering me your mortal souls? Riches won’t do much good for those empty husks of vessels you’re leaving behind.”

                Sarah blinked, genuinely surprised. “You… you can’t seriously be trying to talk us out of this?”

                Crowley opened his mouth to say something when thunder cracked in the air above them. They were in the cellar of the house, so hearing the thunder from three meters underground was almost impressive. Crowley smiled; no natural thunder would sound like that. Like a wild animal thrashing in the sky, like an angel tearing the skies asunder to get what he wanted. This wasn’t a freak trick of the weather.

                It was Aziraphale. And he knew exactly where they were.

                Settling back on the floor, Crowley shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m just sayin’… let me out now, and you’ll be saving yourself a lot of trouble.” Jack and the others didn’t move, and Crowley shrugged. “Got a mate comin’ to find me, you know. You won’t want to get in his way.”

                Charlie was shaking so hard, he was about to trigger an earthquake in the cellar. “Wha—Jack, you never said anything about other demons. You said this would be easy!”

                Jack was quickly flicking through his summoning manual – really, the damn thing really should be burned – and muttering to himself. “He can’t… he can’t be calling for help.”

                “He’s bluffing,” Sarah said with an air of finality. The tremor in her hands betrayed her, and Crowley grinned at the sight of her shifty eyes. She wanted to be in charge, but oh, poor girl, this was far out of her hands. “He’s just trying to scare us.” She stepped forward again, nearly smudging a symbol but missing by an inch. Crowley wrinkled his nose as she glared down at him. “Give us what we want, and we’ll set you free.”

                “Set me free,” Crowley shot back casually, “And I’ll consider leaving you alive.”

                Huffing irritably, Sarah turned away and stalked across the room, snatching the book from Jack’s hands. “Give me that,” she growled as she tore through the book. “There has to be something we can do… some kind of… I don’t know… torture or something.”

                Charlie’s eyes went wide – Crowley could feel horrified arousal emanating from his every pore – and he sputtered, “T… torture? Sarah, he’s a demon, what if –”

                “Shut up!” Sarah shouted, sending Charlie and Jack stumbling back. The hierarchy of their group drastically shifted; Sarah was in charge now. She stopped on a particular page, her hands sliding over the paper as she muttered aloud, “We need holy water.”

                Thunder cracked through the air, so close and real that Crowley could feel the air snap with the tension. Crowley smiled a little wider. Holy water wouldn’t save them now. They wouldn’t make it in time. Aziraphale was there, in the air, in the skies, in everything. He could feel him, his frittering anxiety fueling each whip-crack of thunder, loud and trembling in the air.

                “Aziraphale,” he whispered, wondering if his angel could hear him. If he closed his eyes, he could imagine that Aziraphale was reaching for him. Feeling for him. Trying to reach through the messy sigils and nonsense symbols with angelic Grace that Crowley had felt seldom before. Again, he said, “Aziraphale.”

                “Crowley,” came a thundering, echoing reply. There was a rumble beneath it, like pistons through cylinders and the hot combustion of an engine. Crowley blinked; it sounded like his Bentley. Though, he knew the voice better than anything. Aziraphale in all his Divine glory, all Heaven light and warped voices that bent around tones and echoes, hot and ethereal as he drew closer. “Crowley,” he said in that commanding, rare tone. Crowley remembered the last time he’d heard it; World War II. When he’d been shot by that machine gunner. Aziraphale had descended from the skies, against all directive sent by heaven, and pulled him close, sheltering him from the Blitz. Crowley closed his eyes, feeling the cellar of the small home growing warmer with each passing second. “Crowley.

                The tremor in the ground took root, echoing the thunder outside, and the group of summoners stumbled and twittered nervously. Crowley pushed himself up into a sitting position, smoothing back his hair as he said, “Sorry, lads. Looks like my ride is here.”

                An explosion – maybe lightning striking the house, maybe something far, far worse – tore through the air. The ceiling above them buckled and splintered, like the wood itself was afraid of Aziraphale’s presence. It wouldn’t surprise Crowley. Angels were terrifyingly unimaginable to the human eye. Reality warped around them. They were more than the human would could understand.

                He smiled when the support beams of the ceiling caught fire; Aziraphale was furious.

                “Run!” Jack cried desperately, though there was nowhere to run. They were trapped in the cellar. The only way out was up, and surely, Aziraphale wasn’t going to let them scamper away that easily. Still, they scattered like rats running from a brush fire. “Run, go, go!

                The cellar door flew open and cracked beneath the pressure of Aziraphale’s hand. Crowley raised an eyebrow; his angel did not slam doors. He was too polite for that. He was trying very hard to intimate these children. Which, sadly, was a waste of effort because they were already terrified.

                Crowley had to squint and shield his eyes when Aziraphale descended the stairs in a blaze of holy light. His outline no longer existed. He was light incarnate, Heaven fire in all its pure glory. Righteousness and fury balled into one vaguely human-shaped entity as he stepped down the stairs slowly. Each step left a dancing, quivering flame on the stairs, like permanent, fiery tracks.

                Aziraphale caught sight of Crowley – who squinted and gave him a half-hearted salute – and his form quivered. Maybe with excitement… but probably with relief. He saw the humans – summoners? No, no, they were innocent bystanders, right? Anyone would vouch for it. – and he narrowed his eyes.

                “How dare you,” he said, his voice echoing in a strange, warbling reverberations of voices that were more angel than human. Crowley grinned at the shivering children, showing too many sharp teeth as Aziraphale approached them in all his Holy light. “To meddle with the affairs of Angels… this is a most egregious act.”

                Jack’s eyes were watering – was that blood, or just tears? It was hard to tell with that white, white light highlighting him – as he struggled to look at Aziraphale. Charlie had already fainted. Sarah’s eyes were glazed over; she was probably blind. Crowley wondered if it was permanent or simply a temporary punishment.

                “Look upon me, Jack Bennent,” Aziraphale said in that same commanding tone that reminded Crowley of Eden. ‘Be not afraid’ Gabriel used to say. High and mighty arsehole. He only showed humans his true form to muck with their view of the Almighty. Aziraphale wasn’t nearly so pretentious. He was simply trying ward off future incidents. Very practical, if Crowley had to admit it. “Look upon me and feel my light burned into your very soul. When your body is gone, the light will remain. I will remain. Trifle with this act no longer, boy. You toy with things you dare not understand.”

                Crowley cleared his throat, mostly because he was getting a little toasty from all the Holy light in the room. Almost like being put in an oven to crisp, or a slow cooker set on low. He covered his eyes when Aziraphale turned back to him. “No offense, angel, but I think they’re done.”

                With a sound that resembled a ball being sucked up into a vacuum cleaner – a quick shh-whump! – Aziraphale’s mortal vessel came back into corporality, and he stumbled a bit as he regained his footing. He looked a little frazzled, blinking once, twice, and then a third time as he tugged at his bowtie anxiously.

                “Well,” he said, like there needed to be a summary of their current predicament. He glanced at the young ‘summoners’ who were still crowded in the corner. Jack was giving off a faint, hissing smoke, like Aziraphale had burned him deep beneath the skin. Sarah’s eyes had gone white and her jaw was slack. Charlie… Charlie was ass-end up where he landed on the cement floor. Aziraphale took a deep breath, glanced at Crowley and repeated, “Well.”

                Crowley shrugged, gesturing to the circle blandly. “Do y’ mind? I’d like to get the Heaven out of ‘ere.”

                Aziraphale stalled, sputtered, and twirled into motion, his long, white jacket fluttering at his knees as he rounded the summoning circle. “Yes. Yes! Yes, of course, my dear. How silly of me,” he said, his eyes scanning the symbols scribbled on the floor. He stopped short, making a strange, exasperated noise in the back of his throat. “This… none of this makes sense. Incorrect Latin, broken Babylonian…” he stopped, pointing at a few scribbly runes. “And these ‘runes’ aren’t even words!”

                “You don’t say,” Crowley drawled with a tired grin. Aziraphale continued to grumble about the inaccuracies of magic study and the lost art of studying long-dead languages while he found some water to wash the chalk symbols away.

                By Someone, he was happy to see Aziraphale in all his twittering, fluttering glory. It was like old times. Times before the end of the world that wasn’t, like they were just wandering around, wasting time across the world with little care for their respective offices. This, however, was immeasurably better, because they really didn’t have to care anymore. They didn’t even have to pretend.

                “Babylonians,” Crowley said with a purse of his lips. Aziraphale didn’t look up from where he was searching for the key symbol that locked Crowley inside the circle. Crowley wiggled his fingers idly. “I think they were one of mine.”

                “The fall of the Babylonians was yours, my dear,” Aziraphale said with a hint of dissatisfaction in his voice. He was nearly bent over double, squinting at a messy scribble of a Latin root. He poured his cup of water on the sigil, glanced at Crowley, and frowned when he wasn’t released. He went back to searching. “You lead the Persians straight through their defenses.”

                Crowley held a hand to his chest in mock surprise. “What? Me? Angel, I would never.” There was as significant pause where Aziraphale simply stared at him. Crowley conceded with, “I just told them how they might… possibly… find a way through the Babylonians’ walls.”

                “You cursed old serpent,” sighed Aziraphale as he shook his head. The words were tired and irritated, but Crowley saw the fond smile playing on his lips as he stood up a little straighter with a soft ‘aha!’ and poured water on a broken string of Latin that trailed off into nonsense.

                Immediately, Crowley felt something like a veil lifting from his skin. Like scrubbing oil off of his skin until he felt clean, fresh, and a little raw. It had settled so completely on him, he hadn’t even noticed. He took a breath, coughed a bit, and stretched his arms up above his head, feeling for all intents and purposes like he’d just shaken shackles off of his entire body.

                “’bout bloody time. Damn circle was going to suffocate me,” he said as he pushed himself up onto his feet. Aziraphale offered him a hand, but he declined as he pushed his hair back, styling it casually as Aziraphale’s eyes flickered over him, checking for any sign of injury. Crowley pivoted his hips and grinned smugly. “Fuckin’ kids, angel. Why can’t they all be as easy the antichrist?”

                He expected Aziraphale to laugh. Or maybe swat him and scold him for blasphemy – if such a thing applied to the antichrist. But he didn’t. He reached forward, took Crowley’s face in his book-worn hands and pulled him roughly forward for a kiss that was nothing short of spectacularly uncoordinated.

                Their noses bumped and Crowley’s sunglasses knocked askew, but he couldn’t care. It was Aziraphale, for Heaven’s sake. Real and warm and kissing him senseless and Crowley was sure that if he wasn’t careful, his legs would buckle under him and he’d fall to his knees, praising the damn ground that Aziraphale walked upon. He’d do it, too.

                “Crowley,” Aziraphale said, his voice shaking in a way that betrayed his anxiety. Crowley opened his eyes a bit, seeing the uncertain furrow of Aziraphale’s brow as he kissed him again. Once, twice… harder, longer, desperate like he had to kiss Crowley as many times as he could before he disappeared once more. Like a gameshow, but with less confetti and prizes. Aziraphale shivered in front of him, like he wasn’t sure of himself, and Crowley couldn’t help but smile at the sight. “Crowley,” he said again.

                “I’m here, angel,” Crowley hummed calmly as he stepped forward and slotted himself in the few inches that separated them. His body, thin and lithe, fit into the soft curves of Aziraphale, and he soaked in that Heavenly warmth that seemed to linger in every bit of his angel. He smiled and let his eyes flutter shut contentedly. “I’ve got you. ‘s alright… you’re alright, angel.”

                For a few brief seconds, Aziraphale’s lips simply brushed his, like he wanted to say something, but wasn’t quite sure how to word it. His eyes were closed, trying to commit something to memory. Crowley didn’t mind, he nudged his nose against Aziraphale’s soft cheek, breathing in the scent of mahogany bookshelves and old, expensive wines. He kissed the corner of Aziraphale’s jaw as his hands slid up and over the soft, warm crest of his hips. He held him there, flush against his body, cozy and real and so, so perfect. If he had to, he’d Fall all over just to be with him.

                “Crowley, my dear… oh, Heaven above, I… I almost thought,” he stopped short, his breath caught in his lungs, and he wrapped his arms around Crowley’s neck, pulling him into a torrid, trembling embrace. “Darling, my dear, dear boy… don’t frighten me again.”

                Crowley chuckled into Aziraphale’s white, white hair. “Wasn’t planning on getting summoned by a bunch of idiots, Aziraphale. If I was, I would’ve given some fair warning.”

                “Crowley,” Aziraphale said in that no-nonsense, crisp tone. Crowley huffed.

                “Yeah. Fine, right, sorry. No more getting summoned, alright.”

                Aziraphale hummed contentedly but didn’t pull away. He kept his arms wrapped around Crowley in something that almost resembled a vice grip. He breathed deep, and Crowley smiled at the gentle sway that Aziraphale rocked them with. He was almost so soft, so sentimental… it was nice to slow down and breathe with him. Angels loved so damn much, it was nice to feel that love cast his way for once.

                Angelic Love was so comforting, Crowley would let himself discorporate after experiencing it full-throttle. It felt like the world narrowed down to them, shrinking, shrinking, and shrinking down until it was just Aziraphale’s grip on his shoulder blades, digging into the joints where his wings would sprout if he let them. His breath, real and hot, on the nape of his neck where his collar didn’t quite cover the skin, and Aziraphale’s heartbeat, heavy and thrumming, thudding steadily against Crowley’s chest as he breathed, deep and shakily. It felt like Aziraphale… but human. The light of his Grace, but more physical. Like Aziraphale was undone in his hands, a loose tangle of string that Crowley was twisting into a cats-cradle. And Aziraphale let him.

                He let Crowley’s hands slide up from his waist and behind the folds of his coat. He let those thing hands slide up along his back, fingertips digging into his shoulder blades before they dragged back down to his small of his back. Aziraphale shivered at the touch, and the air around them rippled and shivered – Crowley could feel the flicker of Grace as Aziraphale tried to keep his wings incorporeal. He smiled and kissed his jaw again.

                “Take me home, angel,” he whispered into Aziraphale’s ear, and Aziraphale shivered again, a full-body shudder that Crowley felt all the way down. He grasped Aziraphale’s hips, holding him flush against his body as he repeated, “I’ve been waiting for this. Take me home. Please, for Somebody’s sake, don’t make me wait another thousand years.”

                “Oh, my dear,” Aziraphale breathed as he stood back and cupped Crowley's cheeks. His blue eyes saw through him, deep into Crowley and into every anxious, frantic worry hat he wouldn’t be enough. He must’ve seen something good in the dark, twisted roots of his soul, because he smiled and murmured, “I couldn’t possibly wait that long myself.”

                And with that, Crowley was dragging Aziraphale back in for another kiss. It was hot, this time, like Aziraphale had unleashed the fire of his Grace once more, burning Crowley’s lips, his cheeks, his tongue… he licked at Aziraphale’s bottom lip anyway. He was a demon. Pain came with the job. And with the way Aziraphale gasped and opened up for him, he didn’t mind a little burn.

                He delved in, taking hold of Aziraphale’s face and kissing him until the angel was trembling in his grasp. “Crowley,” he gasped between those frantic, wet kisses, “Crowley, I – you…!” He paused, and Crowley pulled back to see his angel gasp breathlessly, “Damn.”

                “Damn right, angel,” Crowley growled as he knotted his fingers in Aziraphale’s mussed curls. They tangled lovingly around his fingers; those curls had just been waiting for Crowley to latch on and never let go. He tilted Aziraphale’s head back and let his tongue slide along the angels’ – too hot to be human, but too wet to be fire – it burned, and it burned good.

                Without warning, Aziraphale lurched away from him. Crowley took the opportunity to swallow down the whine that rose in his throat. He was not desperate. He wasn’t going to push Aziraphale if he wanted to go slower. But, with the way his blue eyes were wide, and his face was flushed so beautifully, Crowley was almost delirious with carnal hunger. His hands shook idly at his sides as he licked his lips, Aziraphale’s eyes followed the movement, his pupils blown so wide, the blue of his iris was nearly lost in them.

                Aziraphale swallowed, his eyes darting around the cellar anxiously. “N-not… not here, darling, I… we can’t possibly,” he glanced at the humans in the corner, all unconscious and unaware, and then looked back to Crowley. “Come. Come home, Crowley.”

                Crowley didn’t say anything. If he did, they would come out as broken, whining Latin about how much he wanted Aziraphale. How much had had needed him all those years. Those centuries. Those thousands of moments where he’d wanted Aziraphale with him, holding him, whispering to him in the dead of night, filling his bed and drinking his wine.

                He simply took Aziraphale’s hand when he offered it, following him up the stairs and through a house that was, surprisingly, unscorched by Heavenly fire. Aziraphale had undone all of the damage, it seemed. It was more than Crowley would’ve done. He’d have let the damn place burn. Not that it mattered. His Bentley was waiting outside. He blinked, stopping short in the doorway of the house while Aziraphale gave him a curious look.

                “You,” he started, a little guff as he swallowed down his desires. He glanced at Aziraphale, seeing the anxious flick of his eyes between him and the Bentley. Crowley pointed a finger at the spotless vehicle, arching a single, manicured eyebrow. “You drove my car?”

                “Yes. Well, actually,” Aziraphale fluttered his hands together, looking a little more embarrassed than anything. “Really, it drove me.” Crowley was silent, staring at him, and Aziraphale shrugged haplessly. “It wanted to see you again, it seems. You really should be nicer to it. It’s a handsome car and it loves you so much and –”

                “You drove my car,” Crowley repeated, not a question this time. Aziraphale glanced at him, uneasy, and Crowley broke into a wide, sharp smile. Aziraphale flushed prettily, and the gray skies instantly cleared. Sun shone down on them, glittering in the rain puddles that were quickly evaporating. Crowley sauntered forward, backing Aziraphale up until he hit the car. He swallowed thickly, a little unsure, before Crowley’s arms came to bracket him against the car. “You drove my car.”

                “Yes,” Aziraphale said after a moment, his eyes darting back and forth between Crowley’s. The light must have reflected on the lenses perfectly, because he smiled when Crowley’s pupils dilated giddily. “I do hope you don’t mind, my dear.”

                Crowley’s hand slipped down to the door handle, pressing himself against Aziraphale so roughly, he felt the angel let out a breathless grunt. His blue eyes fluttered shut. His brow furrowed. And he blushed, oh, how pretty he blushed. Crowley grinned and growled, “Take me home, angel.”

+++++

                Aziraphale managed to shoulder his way into his bookshop before Crowley was grabbing at his coat and pulling it down over his shoulders. He kissed Aziraphale soundly, swallowing up any complaint he might have had about slamming him against a hard, dusty bookcase. He’d have to put back the books that fell… later. Much, much later.

                His arms caught in the sleeves of his jacket, and he heard the seams give when Crowley growled, “Damn old coat,” and threw it across the shop. Laughing breathlessly, Aziraphale kissed him, pulling him close and marveling at his sincere desperation to please.

                They’d been aching for each other, just lingering out of orbit for so many years, Aziraphale felt tipsy with excitement as he dragged Crowley toward the stairs that led to his flat above the shop. Crowley made it difficult, growling and hissing and yanking at his waistcoat, his bowtie, his hips. He kissed at his jaw, nipped at his ear, hissed the most lewd and sinful things against his skin… and Aziraphale ate it up like pudding.

                “Damn you’re soft,” Crowley sat where he had Aziraphale pinned against the wall of the stairwell. Aziraphale let out a sheepish sound, and Crowley pinched his side fondly, laughing when Aziraphale jumped and swatted his hand away. “So soft, angel… damn, I love it.”

                “Enough of that,” Aziraphale scolded as he caught Crowley in another kiss, he pulled him up the stairs and to the only piece of furniture in the flat: his large, pillow-adorned bed. Crowley saw it, melted a little at the sight, and Aziraphale smiled at the relief in his expression. “You didn’t think I’d let you have me on the floor of my shop, did you, dear boy?”

                With a bit of a flourish, Crowley removed his glasses and gave Aziraphale a wink that made his knees go rubbery. “Maybe, angel.” He let his eyes drag down Aziraphale’s ruffled and disheveled appearance, slow and deliberate in his exploration. “If we were impatient enough.”

                Closing his eyes, Aziraphale shook his head as he tried to will the heat from his cheeks. Crowley had that way about him, managing to make him fall apart at the simplest statements. He was an angel, not an entertainer at a gentleman’s club. If they were going to have each other, it would be done properly, on a bed, and by their own rules.

                Before he was able to remove his shoes, Crowley fell face-first into the cushions and blankets, letting out a long, moaning sigh. Aziraphale sat next to him, incredibly fond of the demon that was grasping blindly at his blankets. If he didn’t know better, Crowley would revert to the form of a long, black serpent and simply hide under his pillows until morning.

                He cocked his head to the side, carding a hand through Crowley’s flaming hair as he asked, “Would you rather sleep than tumble, dearest?”

                Crowley let out an odd noise. “Nah. No, no. ‘m not tired.” Aziraphale wasn’t convinced, but Crowley rolled over to give him one of those devious, dark smiles. “Come down here and I’ll prove it.”

                Leaning down a bit, Aziraphale kissed him. Slower, this time. Gentle and unhurried as Crowley reached up and scratched his fingernails down the back of Aziraphale’s waistcoat. Slowly. Languidly. Like they had all the time in the world. And, in all honesty, they did. The world was safe. The universe was speechless. And now, he had Crowley, content and humming beneath him.

                This was what Aziraphale enjoyed. Feeling the Love that came off of Crowley in rolls and swells like the tide. They were even cascades of emotion coming through his aura that he didn’t dare voice. It was intoxicating from the moment they met.

                And Aziraphale had been drunk on him ever since.

                “Crowley,” Aziraphale breath, his voice bordering desperate as he peppered Crowley’s face in kisses. His cheeks, his chin, his lips, his eyelids. Oh, his eyelashes fluttered as he moaned wordlessly, arching and sighing beneath Aziraphale so pleasantly, Aziraphale nearly cried with joy. He kissed Crowley again, harder, more desperate as he keened, “Crowley, my dear, my darling...”

                Beneath him, Crowley chuckled lazily, that low, growly laugh that made devious heat pool in Aziraphale’s stomach. He shivered at the sound, and Crowley laughed a little harder when he could catch his breath.

                “Angel,” he said against Aziraphale's lips. So reverent, it might’ve sounded like prayer. He arched into the softness of Aziraphale’s body, all sharp angles and bones and rolling hips as he moaned, “Angel.”

                Aziraphale captured his lips again, kissing him so deeply, so wantonly, he was sure he’d suffocate if he’d been human. But they weren’t. They were so much more, twisting and writhing together in a sea of blankets, pulling into each other until celestial lines blurred with murky shadows. Aziraphale felt Crowley’s hands slide down his back, so gentle and light, Aziraphale could hardly feel it. Those thin hands, those long fingers, they traced down the seams of Aziraphale’s waistcoat, outlining him, committing his every angle and curve to memory.

                It made Aziraphale hot under the collar, but not the same way anger did. It was molten. Smooth. It smelled of Crowley’s spicy cologne and cigarette ash soaked into his leather jacket. Each breathless, aching kiss left Arizaphel dizzy with sin and trembling with divine Grace. Crowley was a monster — naughty and he knew it — as he nipped at Aziraphale’s neck, his tongue — hot, wet, perfectly slick — slid over his jugular. Aziraphale swallowed thickly and Crowley hissed in response. He pulled Aziraphale in, dragged him down not into fire and brimstone, but into soft, down blankets and breathless, heaving laughter.

                How long had they waited? A century. Two. Thousands of years. Eden was under their heels as Aziraphale wondered, all that time ago, what it would be like to kiss Crowley. Now he had him. Laid out in the blankets so nicely, wriggling and grinning as Aziraphale kissed him senseless. Crowley’s hands went slack on him, sliding down until they hit the blankets. Aziraphale kissed him regardless, and Crowley moaned contently.

                It wasn’t that Aziraphale was selfish; he was used to smothering his desires, earthly or otherwise. But looming over Crowley, finally having him comfortable and malleable on a bed he rarely used, he was feeling a little put-out.

                There they were, Earth saved, disaster thwarted, Heaven and Hell silent for the time being, free to indulge in each other and touch and feel and have whatever they wished, and Crowley wasn’t touching him. It was so demonic just lying there, enjoying Aziraphale’s affections, and not touching him. He could. He had the most wonderfully draft hands. And yet, and yet... they were just lying on the blankets. It would’ve been irritating if Aziraphale wasn’t more desperate than impatient.

                “Crowley,” he whined against Crowley’s soft lips. Crowley hummed, lazy and content while Aziraphale cupped his cheeks and kissed the corners of his mouth. Crowley hummed again, the kisses he returned hardly more than a touch of skin. Aziraphale sighed and kissed him with more urgency. “Crowley, dearest, why won’t you hold me?”

                He was met with a rather loud snore.

                Blinking hard, Aziraphale sat back on Crowley’s thighs, staring down at his demon with a trembling, bemused smile. Crowley had fallen asleep. With his hair a mess from Aziraphale carding his fingers through it, his shirt splayed open and undone three buttons down, his eyes were shut as he snored softly. Aziraphale couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight.

                Fatigue as wearing them both down, and it was almost impressive that Crowley had succumb to it first. The nose-pieces of his glasses had left little dents on his nose, and Aziraphale could only chuckle at the sight. Brushing his hair from his forehead, Aziraphale leaned forward to press a kiss to Crowley's temple.

                “Sleep well, my dear,” he said softly, waving away their clothing and replacing it with comfortable pajamas. Immediately, Crowley sighed happily, like he knew Aziraphale was doting on him, even in his sleep. Sneaky serpent probably did know. He was just too lazy to actually say anything.

                Slowly, carefully, Aziraphale lifted himself off Crowley and laid down next to him. He was long and thin and lithe and Aziraphale had dreamed of lying next to him, of touching him, of wrapping himself in Crowley and drowning in him. For so long, he’d wanted to have him there, safe and unguarded next to him. And now, after the end of the world that never came, he was there, content and sleeping next to him like he had all those years ago in Rome.

                Finally, after all they’d been through, he pressed his nose into Crowley’s hair — the scent of expensive hair product and Crowley’s musk mingling together — and sighed happily. They were safe. Wrapped in each other and hopelessly ridiculous. After all this time, it was almost inevitable. In his sleep, Crowley shifted, leaning into Aziraphale’s angelic warmth.

                “Angel?” He murmured sleepily, like a man only half-aware that he was awake. Aziraphale kissed the top of his head.

                “Yes, dear boy. I’m here.”

                Crowley probably hadn’t meant to say his next words out loud — he was much too proud for his own good — but he murmured, “Don’t... don’t go.”

                Love washed over Aziraphale so strongly he felt almost dizzy with it. Crowley loved intensely for a demon, and Aziraphale loved him all the more for it. He smiled as his eyes fluttered shut. “Oh, darling... neither Heaven nor Hell could pull me away.”

+ END +