There are, Aziraphale knows, human words for the particulars as to how he feels about sex. (It’s one of those delightfully earthly traits: that insatiable interest in mapping and diagramming all possible shades of an idea or experience, that boundless creativity, that deep faith in the power of nomenclature. Sometimes, when work is especially slow at the shop—say, a few days straight of having no customers to chase out—Aziraphale will leaf through dictionaries and grin to himself.) The words don’t entirely apply, of course, since Aziraphale isn’t a human, but in some obscure way it is comforting to know the vocabulary exists.
The term for it, in English, is asexual . Aziraphale is asexual.
It makes sense, he has mused from time to time. Angels don’t have to worry about reproduction, so on an entirely functional level, there’s no need for him to have that set of instincts.
Angels, to put it simply, were not meant to fuck.
Then again, angels weren’t meant to eat, either.
Aziraphale has certainly dabbled in the world of carnal delights over the years, most notably in the late nineteenth century, when a certain infernal adversary was enjoying a century-long nap and seemingly the only way to pass the time had been to develop some hobbies.
What Aziraphale had discovered during those explorations was that he liked sex—the closeness, the affection, the sweat-slick drag of body against body—but he didn’t need it. There was no sharpness to his physical appetites, no urgency, little direction. He certainly didn’t experience anything like the drunkening haze of lust that he saw in his bed partners sometimes. It seemed like quite a nice state to be in; still, Aziraphale felt no real loss. He’d never understood the full appeal of risotto either, but there were plenty of other dishes to be enjoyed.
On the rare occasion that the right sort offered, Aziraphale continued to go to bed with someone every now and then, but frankly there were easier, more convenient sensual pleasures to be had: sitting in front of a crackling fireplace with a book and a mug of cocoa, for instance. Strolling through a park in the sunshine. Devouring a plate of tapas at a new outdoor cafe while Crowley watched with apparent amusement.
If pressed on the topic, Aziraphale would have guessed that Crowley’s own desires functioned in a similar manner. Crowley had begun life as an angel, after all, and for all that he moved, well, like that, he had never shown much interest in corrupting humans beyond the strictly professional, and even then, he clearly preferred a more banal, blanket approach; sin via minor inconvenience, not seduction.
(If pressed a considerable amount, Aziraphale would have admitted this was something he liked about Crowley: the reluctance to make any one person a target. It had a whiff of mercy about it, although Aziraphale usually had the decency not to bring that up.)
All of which is to say, the first time they kissed, shortly after that fateful lunch at the Ritz, Aziraphale thought: well, this is nice. The soft press of lips, and, maybe more than anything else, the sheer symbolism of the act. The kissing went on for quite some time, which was nice, too, because it was an excuse to grab the lapels of Crowley’s jacket and pull him closer, to run still-shaking hands over Crowley’s shoulder blades and finally allow the thought to sink in that they had done it, they had won, and the world was still standing.
When Aziraphale broke off for air, Crowley allowed him maybe five breaths before reaching out to bring their mouths together once more—apparently, Crowley really appreciated symbolism—and Aziraphale realized with sudden clarity that if he was to spend his whole night craning up to kiss Crowley, there would probably be, well, not Hell to pay in the morning, but certainly a sore neck and achey calves.
“Bed?” Aziraphale said. The thought of doing this under blankets held a certain cozy appeal, and anyway, his poor muscles.
Something about the way Crowley breathed, “Yes,” caught Aziraphale’s attention, and when Aziraphale pulled back to study Crowley’s face, there was something familiar about his dilated pupils, the slightly unfocused quality to his gaze.
Aziraphale levered his thigh between Crowley’s legs and given an experimental press, and Crowley gasped and pushed back, hips moving seemingly without volition. Aziraphale’s hips had never moved without volition in his entire existence.
Interesting, Aziraphale thought, and then he pressed forward again, to hear that sound again. It was a good sound.
“Bed,” Crowley managed eventually, “please .”
“So you’ve done this before, then?” Aziraphale asked as he loosened his tie. They could have both been naked in a heartbeat, of course, but Aziraphale appreciated the ritual, the intimacy of stripping down together.
Crowley shook his head, hands hovering at the waistband of his jeans, golden eyes on Aziraphale’s throat. Aziraphale undid the top button of his shirt, deliberately slow, and watched Crowley swallow hard. The attention made Aziraphale’s head swim pleasantly.
“Wait,” said Aziraphale, shaking himself, “really? But you actually want—”
“Do you,” said Crowley, “not— ” His face flickered from hurt to stoic so quickly that Aziraphale had to swallow down a pang of hurt of his own.
“In my own way, yes, but not like you,” Aziraphale said in a rush. He held up his hands. “There’s no reason to be offended, my dear; I’ve never wanted anyone in that way, with bodies and lust and all-consuming sexual urges. It simply isn’t how I’m put together.”
“Oh,” said Crowley quietly. He nodded to himself. His bare chest rose and fell. He seemed to be gathering the courage to say something stark and unwelcome. “I’ve never wanted anyone but you.”
The words burned, like a strong cocktail. Something with blackberries in it, maybe. Aziraphale’s eyes felt warm.
“Crowley,” he said. “Come here.”
“No thanks, think I’ll be leaving now,” said Crowley tightly. He began to pick through the clutter of Aziraphale’s floor, no doubt looking for his shirt.
Thankfully, Aziraphale’s floor was a mess.
“Crowley,” Aziraphale said again.
“Don’t,” Crowley bit out. He located the shirt faster than was really fair and started to tug it on again. “Appreciate the pity, angel, really I do,” he muttered through the cotton, “but a fucking— teaspoon of dignity would go down so smooth right now, and—”
“Crowley,” said Aziraphale, “it’s not pity or—or kindness. I mean, I don’t want you to be unhappy either, but in this particular moment, I am trying to sleep with you.”
Crowley’s face re-emerged. His hair was sticking up in funny directions, his mouth was red from all the kissing, and there was just a flicker of hope in his eyes. Aziraphale identified the fierce ache in the pit of his stomach as longing.
“You just said—” Crowley started.
“I said I want you differently,” Aziraphale reminded him, with considerable patience, he thought. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Take off your shirt.”
“How many ways are there to want someone?” said Crowley.
“Infinite, I’d imagine,” said Aziraphale. “Your shirt, take it off.”
Crowley’s fingers tangled at the hem, then stilled. “Why?” .
This was no time for equivocation. “I won’t get aroused looking at your chest,” Aziraphale said plainly. “I have a certain aesthetic appreciation for your hipbones, but it is aesthetic for me. If that bothers you, I understand, but—”
“It doesn’t, it doesn’t bother me, I just don’t see what you—”
Aziraphale took a step closer, considering his next words carefully. “What I want, mostly, is to run my hands over your naked back—all of that warm smooth skin, you know—and then learn how sensitive your nipples are, maybe mouth at your collarbone a little, see what that does to you, and then we can start in on the rest of your clothes.”
Crowley’s mouth was hanging open. He shut it with a snap. “Again,” he said, “why?”
“Do you mean, what’s in it for me?” Aziraphale tilted his head to one side. “Firstly, I like things that feel nice. Second, I don’t think you’ve been touched enough, and I’d like to be the one who resolves that. Not out of pity, but if we’re being honest, something closer to…” He let out a long breath. Well, this was embarrassing.
“Something closer to…?” Crowley prompted, eyes wide.
“Possessiveness, I suppose?” Aziraphale made a face. “Doesn’t reflect too well on me, but there we are. On some level, if someone is going to touch you, or kiss you, or fuck you or—whatever you want, it feels like it should be me.”
At that, Crowley visibly shivered, which could either be a good sign or a very bad one.
“You’re shaking,” said Aziraphale, leaving nothing up to chance, “is that good or bad?”
“Uh,” said Crowley. His voice was rough. “Good?”
Aziraphale beamed at him. And then, because he had difficulty being interrupted in the middle of a list, “Reason the third, and I do apologize if this sounds arrogant, but I’m beginning to think I could bring you to a point where you’d be all sweet pleading incoherence, and I would like to see that very much.”
“Would you,” breathed Crowley.
“Only if you’re amenable,” said Aziraphale. Then, “Sorry, was that too much? I can never tell; it all feels equally transgressive to me. I’d like to cuddle after, too.”
Crowley’s shirt landed on the floor in a heap.
Perhaps some part of Aziraphale had thought that sex with Crowley might feel a little different. It did and it didn’t; the sensations were entirely familiar, enjoyable on a skin-deep level but in much the same way as putting on a favorite coat. Nothing transporting. His mind felt as present and aware as it always did.
On the other hand, this was Crowley writhing beneath him, Crowley digging his heels into Aziraphale’s back and urging him greedily forward, again and again, and there was something dear about that.
Aziraphale grasped Crowley’s hand where it lay on the mattress, twined their fingers together. He liked how hard Crowley squeezed back, white-knuckled, without irony. Much moreso than the physical pleasure, it was extremely satisfying to be able to give Crowley something he wanted, and to give it to him at some length without objection.
Crowley arched his back and made a noise that could have, very, very charitably, been the word please. Fortunately for him, Aziraphale was feeling charitable.
“Do you know,” said Aziraphale, with a hard, deliberate thrust of his hips, “I think I’m beginning to understand your enthusiasm for taking me to the best restaurants, even when you don’t feel like partaking yourself?”
It was his everyday voice. He didn’t really have another. He would have felt self-conscious, to be so unaffected during the act, but the past hour had taught him that Crowley didn’t seem to mind. In fact, judging from his reactions, Crowley relished the prospect of being fucked breathless by an Aziraphale who was not even in danger getting his hair mussed. Which worked out well for them.
Aziraphale gave another good thrust, fond. “You’re lovely like this,” he said. Crowley’s eyes fluttered shut, as if savoring. “Lovely,” Aziraphale repeated. The utter lack of resistance, of prickliness or deflection, was its own delight. “You’re much better at taking a compliment with a cock in you,” Aziraphale observed with a flick of his hips. “We’ll have to do this again.”
Crowley gave a full-body shudder, choked out a ragged laugh, and managed on his second try to string together, “If eating—oysters or whatever-the-fuck-ever feels like this for you, angel—”
“That,” said Aziraphale, “was extremely coherent.” He dragged a palm down Crowley’s chest, wrapped his hand around Crowley’s stiff, leaking cock. “Should I suck you off for a while? You’re adorable all babbling and helpless.”
Crowley came. It certainly looked transporting. Aziraphale watched him twitch and squirm with vague interest, then pulled out carefully, not wanting to hurt him. He rolled onto his back and gave his own cock a few quick pumps. He hadn’t done this in some time, but the details hadn’t changed.
“Can you,” said Crowley, cracking one eye open to watch. For the first time, Aziraphale felt exposed. His own pleasure wasn’t much to look at.
“Yes?” said Aziraphale politely, hand stilling.
“Can you, on me?” Crowley gestured down at his body.
“Of course, my dear,” said Aziraphale.
Orgasm arrived in its usual underwhelming fizz, but when Crowley touched wondering fingers to the resulting mess on his stomach, Aziraphale couldn’t help but smile.
Cuddling naked with Crowley did not disappoint. Aziraphale had sometimes gone through the whole rigamarole of sex with strangers just for naked cuddling at the end, and as Crowley wrapped long limbs around him and tucked his face into Aziraphale’s neck, Aziraphale realized there were certain benefits to being affectionate with someone who had once been a snake.
He was not usually one for sleeping, but then, it had been a trying decade. Aziraphale drifted off warm and sated in Crowley’s arms.
He woke up shivering to the realization that Crowley had somehow in his sleep, managed to steal every sheet, quilt, and duvet on the bed and likely in the surrounding local postal codes. Crowley lay in the middle of his impossible cocoon, looking very snug indeed.
Aziraphale prodded him in the side. No response; too much padding. He poked Crowley gently in the cheek.
“At least give me the coverlet, you miserable serpent,” he said.
When his eyes opened, Crowley did not look the least bit sorry. “Cold-blooded,” he replied, not moving. “It’s in my nature.”
“Honestly, is our whole marriage going to be like this?” Aziraphale muttered to himself.
Crowley gave a shout and rolled right off the bed.
“Marriage,” Crowley echoed from the floor.
“Well,” said Aziraphale, miracling himself up some nice soft pajamas and a dressing gown, since apparently the blankets would not be returning any time soon, “not if you don’t want to, of course.”
“I didn’t say—” protested Crowley, “but no priest on earth would agree to it.”
This was, Aziraphale noted with a certain eagerness, not precisely a no.
“Yes, but there is such a thing as a justice of the peace,” said Aziraphale, waving a hand. “And if you were attached to a church wedding, we could probably find a Unitarian minister somewhere; they tend to support, ah, cross-cultural unions, as it were.”
“Cross-cultural,” Crowley sputtered. He reached up, and Aziraphale tugged him back onto the bed. “Cross-cultural, I’m an agent of Hell.”
“Not anymore,” said Aziraphale. “Anyway, from what I could find, I honestly don’t think the Unitarians would mind either way? They’re very inclusive.” He draped an arm over Crowley. It was like hugging a pillow.
“When did you research this,” said Crowley. “Just now? Shortly before the end of the world?”
Aziraphale coughed delicately, eyes tracing the juncture between the wall and the ceiling.
Crowley’s face underwent a wave of rapture. “When?” he repeated.
“In, ah, the late nineteen-seventies,” Aziraphale admitted.
“So,” said Crowley, eyes shining, “when you had absolutely no reason to think we could ever conceivably have been on the same side—”
“It was a slow day at the book shop!” said Aziraphale.
“It’s always a slow day at the book shop!” said Crowley. “You don’t even know how to open the till!”
“This was all,” said Aziraphale with a sniff, “deeply hypothetical--”
“Hypothetical, my arse!” Crowley crowed. “You wanted to get married in the seventies! Not ten years after you said too fast when I dared offer you a lift home! You wanted to marry me!”
“I took issue with the speed, not the direction,” said Aziraphale, and Crowley went silent. “So to speak. I’m not saying we have to.”
“No,” said Crowley, “no, no, no, we are getting married. We are getting married, angel.”
“If you—” At some point, Crowley had unwound from his blanket nest enough to sneak his hands under Aziraphale’s shirt. Aziraphale yelped. “How are you so cold ?”
“Because I’m a great bloody reptile,” said Crowley. “You’re the idiot who wants to marry me.”
“I am,” said Aziraphale, forehead wrinkling. “I do.”
“About what you said before,” said Crowley, once they were well and truly settled on the bed again. The bedclothes had been properly redistributed, though already Aziraphale had a bleary sense that wouldn’t last.
“Which bit?” said Aziraphale, patting Crowley’s hand where it rested comfortable on his belly. “I’m afraid I went on for quite some time.”
Aziraphale blinked. “Yes? What about them?”
“Let me take you someplace nice tomorrow,” Crowley’s voice rumbled in his ear. “Seems only fair, given—”
“Once again,” said Aziraphale, “it isn’t that I don’t like—I had a superb time. You owe me nothing.”
“I mean,” said Crowley, “that it’s my turn. To watch you.”
Oh. Well, then.
“I should probably tell you,” Aziraphale said, “that I might not be up for—” he gestured at their bodies lying together, “all of the time.”
Crowley huffed a laugh. “That’s probably for the better. Not sure I’d be able to take it, every night.”
Aziraphale raised Crowley’s hand to his lips, pressed a light kiss on the knuckles. “How did I get so lucky?” he murmured.
“You did arguably help avert the apocalypse,” Crowley pointed out, sounding strained. Right. Awkward about praise again. Aziraphale made a mental note to bring it up the next time they fucked and Crowley was a little more receptive.
“We could go to the place that has the warm little breads?” Aziraphale said now.
“More than one place with bread,” said Crowley.
“And the existentially terrifying wall art? Ooh, maybe they could cater the wedding!”
“You know,” said Crowley, “you didn’t even propose.”
“I did all the legwork!” Aziraphale protested. “You propose!”
“Fine, I think I will,” Crowley said. “A great big outdoor affair, in the park. Did I ever tell you I was the one to invent public proposals? It’ll inconvenience everyone for blocks around, not to mention, completely embarrassing. There’ll be roses, and doves, and onlookers, and—and—ducks—”
“If you wanted a duck-free proposal, you could have initiated it,” Crowley fired back. “I hope you don’t think I’m wearing white.”
“You can wear whatever you like,” said Aziraphale. Then, with perhaps a little smugness, “Husband.”
Crowley fell off the bed again. He took all the blankets with him. Aziraphale didn’t even mind.