"I saw you once," Crowley says, in a tone which might be interpreted, by anyone other than Aziraphale, as casual, "with a Fusilier."
He's half-cut on whisky, at the cusp of moving from the garrulous stage into the outright silly one, long legs slug over the arm of Aziraphale's favourite chair and dark glasses long since discarded. A crystal tumbler, mostly empty, is tilted at an alarming angle in the cradle of his left palm. The curve of his mouth is dangerous; Aziraphale deliberately searches out his most placid and unmoved tone when he says, heart skipping at the unexpected observation, "What's that, dear?"
He won't pretend not to know what Crowley means -- he's chosen his words obliquely, but the meaning is obvious: Aziraphale spent much of the latter part of the nineteenth century as a member of a discreet gentleman's club in Portland Place, where equally discreet liaisons with members of Her Majesty's Army were part of the fabric. It's no surprise to Aziraphale that Crowley knows this. What he doesn't know is what Crowley means by bringing it up.
"I saw you," Crowley repeats, and this time waves the tumbler, as if this might clarify matters. Aziraphale suppresses the clucking urge to reach out and protect the glass (some 400 years old, and of beautiful craftsmanship).
"Yes, dear, you said." A splash more whisky, he thinks, and reaches for the bottle. Evidently Crowley is longing to be difficult.
"Well!" The long arm waves again. "I just thought I'd drop in, you know, been asleep for a while, wondered how you'd been -- thought I might swap you a couple of little temptations for a nice miracle. Heard you'd joined that club. And then I saw you. D'you know what he was doing? The Fusilier?"
"I'm quite certain you're about to tell me," says Aziraphale mildly. "I've a broad strokes idea, but not the particulars."
"Oh, not the particulars," Crowley sneers, in the voice he does which Aziraphale knows is meant to be an imitation of him but which sounds rather more like Noel Coward circa 1930 (when Aziraphale had known him quite well). "I came in looking for you, and a Fusilier was sucking your cock, angel."
Crowley narrows his eyes; the whisky sloshes madly back and forth in the tumbler. "So don't even try and deny it --"
"I haven't," Aziraphale points out. "I'm not sure what you're getting at, Crowley."
A long pause follows, during which Crowley's face is apparently frozen in an expression of irate righteousness. Eventually this gives way to a sort of confusion, then suspicion, and then Crowley says, "and that's all right for your lot, is it? Fornication?"
Aziraphale blinks at him. “My lot?” He’s rather taken aback. Then he says, “I suppose I saw it as a little indulgence like any other, really. Other angels don’t seem very interested, but then they aren’t very interested in sushi or the opera or massages from those little Thai ladies who know exactly how to press the tension out, you know. Manicures. Gabriel thinks eating is despoiling the temple; I imagine I am a bit of a bad angel, but it isn’t as if it was adultery. There were never going to be children.”
“Hmm,” says Crowley, but his face says you what? “No more little nephilim the real concern then, is it? Cocksucking’s all fine and dandy?”
Aziraphale, finally, can no longer restrain a bit of a blush. “Do stop saying that, please.”
“All right, angel,” says Crowley, free hand upraised. “Learn something new every day, that’s all I’m saying.”
As it turns out, this is by no means all Crowley has to say on the matter. Three days later, Aziraphale is embroiled in the arduous process of doing his bookkeeping (he could employ a frivolous miracle, or better yet, Crowley says, use Quickbooks, but Aziraphale can't be doing with apps ) when Crowley looms up behind him and says: "Know a lot of soldiers, then, did you?"
Aziraphale startles, and a stack of receipts flutter to the floor. They're mainly receipts for books Aziraphale has bought, rather than sold, but that doesn't make them any less important, and Aziraphale clicks his tongue and shoots Crowley an outraged look. "I do wish you wouldn't lurk, Crowley."
"Sorry." Crowley doesn't look sorry at all. "Demon."
Aziraphale frowns and stoops to collect the various bits of scattered paper from the floor. "A very single-minded demon, lately, it seems. What do you want to know about the Hundred Guineas for?" He's surprised, to say the least, that Crowley has reopened the topic while apparently entirely sober; evidently this is not, as Aziraphale had thought, a passing drunken whim. "Really. Out with it."
He's doing his best to sound authoritative, and it seems to be working, or at least Crowley's face softens somewhat. He says, "I suppose it's -- bothered me. For a while."
"Bothered you?" Aziraphale resettles himself in his desk chair and pushes up his spectacles. "What do you mean, bothered you?"
A strange look crosses Crowley's face. After a second, Aziraphale realises it's vulnerability, of a sort; anxiousness of a type he wouldn't associate with Crowley. "Well, you know. The thought of you mixed up in all that human stuff. Sex. With them."
Ah. Aziraphale's features tighten. "Look, I know it's not something that interests you," he says curtly. "We're all here to push humans towards it or direct them away from it, mainly, depending on circumstances; I know the thought of being involved seems odd to you; but you don't like moisturising, either, do you; or, or Bounty Bars or the gavotte; but none of those things seem to upset you as this does. I don't see that it's anything to do with you -- it wasn't a personal attack."
"Nothing to do with me?" Crowley explodes, and then his face seems to shut off and Aziraphale has the very distinct impression of him packing all the scattered evidence of his having feelings about this back inside himself, as one might stuff the contents back into an inadvertently opened suitcase. "Nothing to do with me. Obviously. You're right, angel. I mean, you've got completely the wrong end of the stick, but no no, of course, you're right, absolutely. Nothing to do with me."
The sarcasm isn't lost on Aziraphale. Nor is the fact that Crowley doesn't look judgmental or disgusted so much as he looks upset, and this is something Aziraphale cannot abide. In the months since the world almost ended, Crowley has rarely been out of Aziraphale's company. Freed from the self-imposed obligation to do as, and only as, Heaven might expect him to, Aziraphale has let himself embrace the fact that wherever Crowley is, that's where he wants to be. For Crowley to storm off now because Aziraphale has the wrong end of the stick would be unthinkable.
He puts a hand on Crowley's arm, squeezing a little. "My dear. I've misstepped somewhere. Please let me fix it."
He doesn't expect the words to make Crowley dissolve like an aspirin in a glass of water, but that, nevertheless, is the result. Crowley's face transforms into a pained sort of sneer as he says, "I don't care if you fuck, Aziraphale; I just wondered what it was they had that I didn't, that's all." He pauses, a muscle twitching in his jaw. "Stupid, really."
For a moment, it's all Aziraphale can do to stare at him. The words don't seem to make sense: singly, yes, but as a collective he's sure he's parsing it all wrong. "You --" He opens his mouth, then closes it again, trying to express himself accurately. "You've never been one to Make that kind of Effort, Crowley. I know you. You drop in on orgies, create your mischief and then leave to take me to dinner when they all start misbehaving. The only thing any human ever had that you didn't was, I thought, an interest."
Crowley is shaking his head slowly, and there's a faint smile on his face now, but it isn't because he's pleased, that's for sure and certain. "Yeah, an interest in orgies, maybe. Shoving all their squishy intimate bits in strangers' mouths. Course I'd rather sit and watch you eat than be part of any of that, angel. You're right, I've never wanted to Make an Effort for them, but I've been making one for you for -- oh -- "
"Oh, Crowley," Aziraphale interrupts, faintly. "I didn't know. I wanted -- but I thought I was the only one who --"
"You needn't feel obligated," Crowley tells him quickly. "Just because I'm -- whatever -- doesn't mean you owe me anything, obviously. Just wanted to explain my interest."
"Obligated?" Aziraphale's hand slides from Crowley's arm to his hand, fingers curling into the palm. He's always loved Crowley's hands, his slender fingers, his curiously delicate wrists. "My dear. Darling. I've loved you a very long time; I didn't know it in the heyday of the Hundred Guineas but I've understood for a while, now. And I know you love me -- don't say demons can't; I know you do. But I never thought it could be like that, with you. And I didn't…"
"Angel," Crowley says, in some impatience, "Please, stop talking. I'm begging you, it's just making you sound stupider and stupider, and of bloody course I love you, so will you just --"
"At once," Aziraphale says breathlessly, nodding, and takes Crowley's face between both his hands.
Unprompted, Crowley's eyes flutter closed. There's a look on his face Aziraphale has never seen there before, something that's at once soft and guarded, hopeful and afraid. Carefully, Aziraphale touches his thumb to the curve of Crowley's lower lip and Crowley draws a tight breath, mouth opening.
"My darling," Aziraphale says reverently, and kisses him.
It's evident from the very first that Crowley has never done this before. The thought swells in Aziraphale's chest as he kisses Crowley's lower lip, and then the curve of his upper; it's a sweet pressure building to an ache, the idea of being the first to touch him like this -- Crowley, whom he's loved so long and thought beyond reach. Crowley's mouth moves tentatively against his, and then more confidently when Aziraphale cups his jaw and rubs their open mouths together. When, carefully, he tongues the corner of Crowley's mouth and then sucks there, Crowley shivers fiercely against him and gathers Aziraphale up in both arms, clinging.
"Lie down with me," Aziraphale says, emboldened, and Crowley's eyes open, liquid amber, pupils going wide.
Aziraphale's bed is little-used, even dusty, but it accommodates them both well enough when they tumble onto it, Crowley's beautiful hair like a fall of dark red beech leaves against the white pillow. By accident or design, Aziraphale is atop him, and Crowley gasps for breath when Aziraphale kisses him this time with tongue and intent, pushing Crowley down and writhing against him until they're both of them flushed and tingling. Crowley's hips are lifting slightly, his cock a clear line of heat against Aziraphale's thigh, and Crowley says raggedly, "Tell me what to do, angel. Tell me how to make it perfect for you."
You're perfect as you are, Aziraphale thinks, dizzy with the heat of Crowley's hands on him, his wiry body pinned between Aziraphale's thighs. Crowley's mouth shifts to the curve of Aziraphale's neck, seeking, and Aziraphale wonders if he's thought all this time that he was imperfect in Aziraphale's eyes, too: if he's thought Aziraphale favoured humans because he believed Crowley unclean. His throat feels thick, and he pushes a hand into Crowley's hair, arching his neck against the hot press of his mouth.
"Love me," Aziraphale gets out, tremulous: "none of them loved me, Crowley; it was never like that, but you --"
"Angel," Crowley growls against his skin, "I love you so much I've been going out of my head with it for bloody centuries." His tone is rough, possessive; Aziraphale feels it in every atom of his body. "And I want to make you come till you forget anyone else has ever touched you but me, so will you -- show me --"
"Crowley," Aziraphale hisses, and kisses him hard and biting, until their jaws go wide against each other and Crowley's tongue is in his mouth, curving against his soft palate and the insides of his teeth. Crowley's hands find the buttons of Aziraphale's shirt and Aziraphale lets him fumble with them, something primal inside him wanting the struggle of it. Next time, perhaps (next time, he thinks giddily) he will miracle it all away, but for now it's dizzying to feel Crowley wrestle with hooks and eyes and mother of pearl buttons, desperate for Aziraphale's skin.
Crowley is going to make no such allowances for Aziraphale, it seems -- one moment, Aziraphale is pushing his fingers up beneath Crowley's t-shirt where the fabric is clinging damply to his sweat-damp back, and the next the shirt has gone and their naked bodies are flush together, these fragile little human forms that seem inadequate, suddenly, to contain the hugeness of what they are to one another. Aziraphale moans, feeling the slick head of Crowley's cock kissing his stomach, and Crowley says into his mouth, "I know. I know."
Like this, as Crowley's hands map Aziraphale's flanks and thighs, Aziraphale is acutely conscious of the contrast between them, Crowley narrow and sharp and himself softer, but the look on Crowley's face says he has no complaints at all. He palms Aziraphale's hips, then his arse, and Aziraphale presses into the touch, mouth opening as Crowley's fingers seek out the humid space between his legs, rubbing curiously at his perineum.
"You're gorgeous, angel," Crowley says wonderingly. One slender hand finds Aziraphale's cock, encircling it, and Aziraphale fucks into the touch on pure instinct, shivering when Crowley's thumb rubs over the head of him where he's slick and oversensitive. "What do you want? Tell me what you want."
"I --" He's never been asked before -- never been treated like this, as if his desires were of paramount importance. Beneath him, Crowley looks rapt, waiting for instruction, and the sight of him banks fires in Aziraphale's gut, makes him tremble, cock pulsing in Crowley's hand. His hips work slowly, rhythmically, almost despite himself, and Crowley looks as if he wants to devour him but is reluctant, like a very polite dinner guest, to begin without permission. Aziraphale sits back on Crowley's hips, closes his eyes, and says, "Touch me -- like that, darling." He wraps his hand over Crowley's and pulls until they're both stroking at the pace Aziraphale prefers, Crowley's thumb making passes against the place just below the foreskin that makes Aziraphale half-mad with want. With his eyes closed, it's easier to give in to it, to hear Crowley's little hitches of breath and tell him the full truth of things. "Oh, Crowley, that's it, that's so good. Darling."
"Aziraphale," Crowley says. His voice is very dark, and very raw. Aziraphale can feel his prick, fiercely hard and slick with want, but Crowley is barely moving, only his hand working as Aziraphale has asked him to, committed to repeating the motion exactly. His left hand is on Aziraphale's thigh, and Aziraphale presses his lips together, brows creasing with pleasure, and gathers a breath.
"You can," he manages, faintly, and then, "you can put your fingers in me, if you -- if you like. If you'd like to fuck me."
The sound Crowley makes at this is broken, unearthly. Aziraphale lets himself sink into it, lets it envelop him. Like this -- as Crowley shifts at last beneath him, searching him out with his fingers -- Aziraphale fancies he can feel the trembling of their wings electrifying the air around them, a hummingbird pulse like a heartbeat. He concentrates, and Crowley slips inside him easily, the hands that once worked in Eden now occupied with Aziraphale's body with no less focus or skill.
"Crowley," Aziraphale chokes out. Between Crowley's two hands, he is beautifully pinned, held; the pleasure surges up into his throat as Crowley's fingers push in and out of him, rubbing at his inner walls. He feels worshipped, idolised; he can only imagine how it will feel when he has Crowley's cock inside him at last, and all the coiled tension in Crowley's body is released. "Darling, now, please, you can -- will you -- "
"Anything," Crowley says hectically, shiveringly. His hands withdraw, and when Aziraphale opens his eyes, he sees his own flushed desperation reflected twofold on Crowley's face, eyes gone dark and a flush spreading all down his pale throat. Crowley's cock is stiff and straining and when Aziraphale takes hold of it, Crowley takes a deep breath and then stops breathing entirely, like he doesn't trust himself.
"You're perfect," Aziraphale tells him, "you're so good to me, darling." I'm sorry I didn't know.
He pushes down, pushes until Crowley is entirely inside him, and Crowley's mouth opens, soundless, as if there are no words left in him.
When Aziraphale moves, reality splinters a bit. He's done this before, in this position; he knows how it's done: how to plant his hands on his partner's chest and move, gently at first; how it lets Aziraphale maintain control. Now, though, he doesn't know where control has gone, but he doesn't think it's with him. Judging by the look on Crowley's face, he hasn't been gifted it either. Aziraphale rolls his hips, and Crowley trembles beneath him, pushing up into him instinctively, and Aziraphale feels it everywhere.
Crowley's hands are on his hips, bruise-tight, but the dull pressure of it is steadying, reminding him that Crowley is there; that Crowley has him, even as the tangle of want and urgency inside him threatens to choke him. Aziraphale touches Crowley's nipples, his sides, the spurs of his hipbones; presses a hand to his throat to feel the thunder of his pulse there, and Crowley's eyes close. Aziraphale rides him until he can't any longer, and then Crowley takes firm hold of him and begins fucking up into him, and that's good, that's better; Aziraphale hears himself chanting Crowley's name like a prayer.
When he comes, it's a bright soaring thing. Aziraphale's throat is raw with panting and the sound he makes is painful as it escapes him, crowleycrowleycrowley, and then something inchoate and wordless. Beneath him, Crowley is flame-hot and sweating, and Aziraphale grips him tightly, presses his thumb to the notch of Crowley's collarbone and says "now, my darling, you can -- come on --"
Crowley surrenders at Aziraphale's word, with a sound like dying.
The quiet in the little room seems especially deep afterwards, when Aziraphale has carefully unseated himself and (carefully, carefully) folded himself down into Crowley's arms. Crowley's heart is a drumbeat beneath his ear, this indefatigable little engine fuelling the body Aziraphale has known for so long and yet not known -- not like this. He wants, he thinks now, to know it in every way possible, now that it's possible at all. Crowley's breathing is shallow, and his fingers are in Aziraphale's hair, toying with it.
"You're the only one, you know," Aziraphale says, after a long moment.
Crowley shifts slightly, half-raising his head. Without even looking at him, Aziraphale can picture the expression on his face. "What?" There's something caustic in the tone, as if Crowley is trying to restore his dignity, but it's too late; Aziraphale has seen through it. He smiles.
"The only one I've loved," he clarifies. "All these years. The only one I've ever been in love with. Or ever could be."
"You go to the opera too much, angel," Crowley drawls. "Nonsense like this."
But his hand slides down out of Aziraphale's hair to settle on the back of his neck, squeezing there. Aziraphale has known Crowley long enough now to understand what the grip means: that it's thank you and thank God Herself and yes.
He presses a kiss to Crowley's chest, over his heart, and smiles.