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And All the Stars In All the Heavens Say Hello

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It's a quarter past two in the afternoon on a lovely Wednesday afternoon when Crowley shows up in his bookshop, looking like an ink stain that wound up in the wrong place. He makes a show of browsing through the stacks, but only until Aziraphale takes care of the customer who is very interested in his glass display case. The young man leaves, the Angel sighs, and the Demon speaks.

"New regular?" He prompts, jerking his chin toward the door as he melts against a bookcase and only just stays standing.

"Yes, a student at University--very nice boy. History lover, actually. Looking for a present."

"A present?"

"For his father," Aziraphale doesn't look at the sliver of chest he can see past Crowley's gaping shirt collar. He doesn't look at the hint of stomach that peeks at him from where his shirt has ridden up as he's put his hands in his pockets. He doesn't look. "So, what brings you here?"

"I have a favor to ask."

Surprisingly direct, today. And not even a proper greeting.

"Anything, dear, what is it?"

"I need some... Well, the last thing I asked you for. And you said no."

Oh.

"Insurance, still?"

"Something like that."

"Don't think our trick worked?"

"Well, I wouldn't say that...just a precaution."

"I see," His heart did strange things to the inside of his ribs that would likely leave a bruise, and he glanced from the Demon's bare ankles to the trail of hair at his belt, to the hollow of his throat, up into his dark glasses. "Dear, you know I can't do that."

"Can't?" He lolled his head to the side and back, the muscles in his neck like chiseled stone. "Or won't?"

"Can't, actually," he admitted softly, looking back to his empty hands. He pulled his mug to him, and frowned when he found it was also empty. "I don't think I could get it if I tried."

"Well, if you put your mind to it, angel, you can do anything."

"Not this, Crowley."

He hissed and peeled himself away from the bookshelf by the shoulders, "It's for protection, Aziraphale, for us."

Aziraphale froze, gaze on his mug.

Something about the statement was too real, too truthful, too much said too suddenly. Crowley popped and crackled into an upright position, Aziraphale's eyes slowly lifting to not look at this ankles, his waist, his throat, his eyes.

"Fine then, you won't get me any Holy Water, I'll make my own."

His tongue traced the outline of his lips, and Aziraphale's eyes followed it with a breath he sucked in so quick he could taste the brimstone in the air.

"H-how?" He managed, voice wavering in the suddenly too-thin atmosphere.

"I'll boil the hell out of it!" He bellowed, spinning and stalking away into the shelves.

Aziraphale blinked, took a breath of fresh, book-tinged air, and cleared his throat.

"Well, that could have gone better."


Aziraphale finds him upstairs, glaring at a tea kettle so hard the Angel thinks it might pop. His glasses are missing, something that only happens when he's angry or focused (or both), and as the bottom of the kettle starts to glow red hot, Aziraphale realizes the stove isn't on.

"You'll burn my shop down, going on like that."

"That isn't funny."

He doesn't look at the Angel when he speaks, another bad sign.

"Dear, please, you're a flight risk--"

"Flight risk?" He does turn then, and Aziraphale feels the wave of heat wash over him like a harsh summer wind. "I've been a flight risk since I first slithered into this world, a day old and already over it."

"Crowley, you're scaring me."

"Good."

It's a lie, they both know it, but neither admits it. Crowley turns his gaze back on the kettle and it starts whistling. Aziraphale wishes he could join in.

He fusses with the buttons on his cuffs just to give his hands something to do. The kettle keens high and sharp, a scream in the silent kitchen, and Crowley picks it up and pours it into a white, winged mug that Aziraphale hadn't seen beside the stove.

"What are you doing?" His mouth says, against his better judgment.

"Making you cocoa."

"Why?"

"Because I'm mad."

"That's not a good reason." He really needed to see to this problem his mouth had about just saying things.

"Only reason I need."

"Crowley I don't understand--"

"Just drink your damned cocoa."

And the mug is in his hand, perfectly hot, sweet steam that smells of vanilla and nutmeg curling around him as he stares down into the mug, the bubbles formed in a perfect halo of froth.

"Why do you do this?"

"Do what?"

"Do...do things. Like this. For me."

"Thought it would be obvious, angel," and he's there in Aziraphale's periphery, a smoldering coal of heat, close enough their shoulders brush through their respective coats, a tiny prickle dancing up the Angel's arm from the contact. "So one day you'll owe me."

Another lie.

"Crowley, dear," and his wings unfurl, filling the little kitchen with light, stopping the demon dead in his tracks as he stares at them, mouth parted as he sucks in a breath of heavenly air. "Won't you please do me the courtesy of telling the truth?"

And he has to, now, confronted with the Angel's wings spilling heavenly light into the room--he is compelled to tell the truth in the Presence, even diluted as it is through Aziraphale's wings.
He hisses, his own wings expanding, brushing against Aziraphale's nose like a flint on a stone, sharp and hot, before the Demon turns to look at him, eyes narrowed and scowl pasted on.

His wings seem to suck up all the light in the room, and give off an oppressive heat that Aziraphale can feel beyond his corporeal form--he feels it deeper than that, more keenly, like a torch to his soul, a heat that threatens to burn him out from the inside. Like a comet falling to earth.

"Please," he adds, unable to stop himself. "Crowley, please. I just...I want to know you're...alright."

He can't lie either, but he can certainly choose his words with care; so he does. He needs to know they're alright. That whatever tiny little thing has finally, finally, finally sprung up between them hasn't already withered. He needs to know more Nightingales will sing in the park.

"Everything," Crowley says after another long pause and a stretch of his wings. "Every action, every miracle, every breathe I have ever made or shaped or drawn has been for you. Only you. The moment I met you down in that bloody garden, I knew. I knew you'd ruin me, and I did it all for you anyway."

Aziraphale feels the heat turn less oppressive by degrees, softening, melting, turning from a blazing comet to a planet's liquid core.

"I'm not nice, angel,” and his tone is one of a warrior who has won every battle, and must now admit defeat. “I'm a demon gone mad with wanting you. Every atom, every curve and layer, every blessed curl on your thick skulled head. I'm greedy and I'm scared and I'm tired of trying to stop it."

He's not sure what to say for a moment, so he sips his cocoa, looks at something over Crowley's shoulder, tries to suppress the tiny wriggle of delight the cocoa causes, catches the tiniest flash of something soft on the Demon's face before it's gone again, and the heat that comes from him now is as a gentle spring breeze.

"That doesn't explain the cocoa," he manages after another sip of it, knowing full well it's not what either of them want his mouth to say.

"I would pull the stars down, if you asked me," his voice is a hiss but there's no venom--its sinuous and (dare he think it) sinful. "Pluck each one I helped design down from the heavens just...just to please you. I'd set them in a crown for you, call you my king."

"That's blasphemy." Damn his mouth.

"Not for me," the admission is easy, calm, and that soft look makes another appearance before it melds into something more...complicated. A jigsaw that has mismatched pieces. "Not when...not when I love you the way I do."

There's silence in the kitchen again. The world has left them, alone, staring at one another as the words hang heavy in the air between them.

"They... They say you're not capable of love--your lot, I mean. They say the love was burned out of you with the Fall."

"Where've they been the last 6000 years? I'm not exactly subtle."

He wasn't, really, Aziraphale knew that. He'd known that since...since 1943. Since the Blitz Incident and the miracled books and the tap-dance-across-sacred-ground. He'd known then he didn't have the full picture. He'd known he loved Crowley too, deep down under layers of obedience and denial, but didn't know what to do with it.

"Sorry if this is all too fast for you," there's a sneer in his voice, but it's born of hurt and they both know it. "But you're the blighter who pulled out the wings first."

"And...and the cocoa?" God help him, he had to know.

"The cocoa?" An arched eyebrow, another sneer. "Bloody hell, Aziraphale, its just cocoa."

"But its not just cocoa, is it?" He pressed, running his thumb across the lip of his cup. "It...it tastes like more than that."

And suddenly the cup is gone from his hand, and Crowley is drinking it, and Aziraphale wants to object (that's his cocoa, excuse you!), but all he can do is watch as Crowley's tongue traces his lips a moment later, a low hum making his feathers vibrate and ruffle.

"Good Go--someone," he blinks at the cup. "The fuck is that?"

"Love, Crowley," Aziraphale says with the patience born of centuries watching humanity learn. "It tastes like love."

"It was meant to taste like nutmeg."

The frown he's wearing is so adorable, so absolutely offended as if the cocoa had done this to him on purpose, broken some sacred pact they had, that Aziraphale can do nothing but laugh.

And then his lips are on the corner of Crowley's mouth and he doesn't recall telling them to go there.

"Angel?"

His voice is so soft, so fragile, so hopeful, that Aziraphale rocks back onto his heels at once, and sees that soft look turn hard before he can say anything.

"I don't need your pity."

"Well good thing you don't have it, then," he steals the mug back, drinking deeply, licking his lips, and he swears the Demon flushes pink. "You do, however, have me."

There's more silence, unsure and paper-frail, and what was his mouth doing??

"Uhh. That is, err, if...if you'd like--"

"There's nothing I'd like more," Crowley interrupts, the quirk in his lips fond and full of unspoken things. "Or did you miss my speech about the stars?"

"There's no need for that," he huffs, a blush creeping up his neck at the thought of Crowley on his knees, face alight just for him. "No crowns, please."

"What about a ring?" He teases, all the swagger he'd lost over the teakettle rushing back in to fill the cracks in his armor. "Or is that too fast, too?"

"Are you still on about that?"

"You broke my heart, angel, and I didn't even know I'd had one."

He should have put his wings away. He shouldn't have made Crowley say truths he didn't want to.

He folded his wings at once, staring at the ground, but Crowley's remained open, pulling in all the light in the room, the shadows slithering closer.

"I'm sorry," he apologized reflexively, realized it hardly did justice to communicate how deeply contrite he actually was, and tried again. "For--for a lot of things, really, but for hurting you like that, and for using my wings to get an answer out of you, I...I am very sorry, Crowley."

"I forgive you, Aziraphale."

And he could tell he meant it; knew in the core of his being that he was forgiven, even for a few things he hadn't apologized for.

He looked up and Crowley's wings had vanished, the shadows stilled and slinked back to where they belonged.

"I'm sorry I kissed you so badly, as well," he peeked up at Crowley, and this time he was sure the Demon looked flushed. "May I...may I try again?"

"You can try as much as you like," his voice was a desert wind--dry and desperate. "Or as little."

"Oh, I think it'll take a few tries to get it right," wait, was he flirting? How did he know how to do that? "Probably centuries to perfect the art."

"You'll never perfect anything if you just keep prattling on like that," his voice was back to snake oil (which he had invented, so really, it was quite fitting), and his eyes were bleeding to green at the edges, eating up the white. "I thought you were going to do some lip-locking."

And even though he could feel the want, the hunger, rolling off Crowley in waves, the Demon made no move, no advance, no hint that he would take something not openly offered or freely given. He would only take what Aziraphale gave him, and that was a revelation all on its own.

"I have a question, first," and oh, what a look--like a starved man watching another eat--gone in the same second it appeared, so quick the Angel would have missed it if he weren't looking him dead in the eye.

"What's your question, angel?"

"Why did--why do you do things for me? The food, the cocoa, you even gave me this mug, if memory serves--what... What do you get out of it?"

He remembered the paintball and the smirk his companion had worn as he'd miracled it away, easy as breathing. There had been bottles of wine and fruit from exotic locales. There had been scrolls plucked from the library of Alexandria before it vanished forever.

There had been so many things over the years--he'd just never really counted them all till just now.

"Was my confession not answer enough?"

"No," Aziraphale took another sip of cocoa, tasted the love in it, wondered why he'd never felt it on Crowley, and promptly realized he always had. Since the Garden. Since the first look, first smile, since the moment Crowley had said his name. "You do them because you...feel the way you do, but you didn't explain why. You didn't have to do them, you never had to do any of them. So...why?"

"What, no wing trick?"

"I trust you."

He saw something brittle and fragile break behind the Demon's eyes.

Aziraphale wondered if this was why he always wore those ridiculous glasses around him, to hide how he was feeling.

"Because it makes you happy, angel," Crowley whispered, and it brushed over Aziraphale's skin like a physical caress--when had he gotten so close?--"And I adore seeing you happy. All the drugs in the world, and you're the only one I'll ever need. The only one I'll never get enough of. That's why."

The silence came back and made itself at home at the kitchen table, made itself a cup of tea.
Aziraphale blinked first.

"Well, that sounds like a suitable answer," he managed, running his thumb over the wings on his mug. "Thank you for telling me."

"Thank you for asking."

"May I, uh," he made a point of looking at Crowley's lips, wetting his own, and returning his gaze to Crowley's. "May I?"

His eyes were fully gold, now. "As often as you like, Aziraphale."

And, oh, oh! What music he put into the name. No wonder he rarely used it, Aziraphale would have never been able to hear anyone else ever use his name again. Not when he said it like that. Like a prayer, like a wish, like a word of power from God herself.

"Would you start?" The silence at the table had taken out a paper and was thumbing through the entertainment section. "I...I'm afraid I've only ever read what to do, but, well..."

He trailed off and he swore the silence laughed at him.

Crowley's skin was cool as a hand trailed over his face, knuckles just barely brushing before his palm cupped Aziraphale's cheek. He filled up the Angel's vision, and Aziraphale had to tilt head back to look him in the eye now.

The pupils were dagger blades of black that rent through molten gold, and a shudder passed through him as he realized all Crowley's focus was on him. Wholly, and complete.

"I'd be delighted, Aziraphale."

There was the music again, sweet enough the Angel's breath hitched.

Crowley moved tortuously slow, a hand on Aziraphale's waist as he moved closer, placed his forehead to Aziraphale's, let their noses brush in a spark of contact before he leaned down and in, closing the distance in a soft, sweet, unfathomably gentle kiss.

Aziraphale would go so far as to call it chaste, which was both a delight and a surprise all at once.

It was also suddenly apparent to the both of them that it was hardly enough.

Stars were born behind Aziraphale's eyelids as he closed them instinctively, his mug vanished to a safe spot on the counter as his hands clutched to Crowley's hips, just trying to keep himself from floating up and off through the roof of his flat. Electric sparks were trilling down his spine and through his cells and everything felt both too real and yet nonexistent as the moment--the perfect moment it had taken them so long to have--stretched on into eternity.

And it wasn't enough. Not nearly.

But Crowley did nothing to further it, nothing more than pull back slowly, smug as he looked over Aziraphale's face, clearly pleased with whatever expression he found there.

"How was that, angel?"

In all the books Aziraphale had read, in all the languages of earth and heaven and hell, he found only one word that properly, succinctly, accurately summed up his feelings on the matter.

"Fuck."

"Mm, if you like," Crowley winked at him, and he felt his cheeks burn.

"Crowley!" He squeaked, trying to extricate himself from the Demon's space and finding he was incapable of doing so.

Crowley wasn't even holding him in place, just cradling him gently, comfortably, ready to let go at a moment's notice.

The moment never gave it's notice; it came and went with no one the wiser.

Aziraphale cleared his throat and tried again. "That was....very nice."

"Yes, it was."

And he's wearing that smile that does fluttery things to the pit of Aziraphale's stomach, eyes back to being ringed in white as they rake over him.

"You taste like nutmeg," Crowley continues, eyes fixed on Aziraphale's lips as his tongue slowly traces his own. "I like it."

"Yes, well," he does escape that time, and Crowley's hands go into his pockets obediently, the Demon shifting his weight to put some distance between them. "More of that later."

"Oh?" His eyebrows rise, kissing his hair line, and suddenly all his gravity seems to shift, a snake barely contained in human skin as he leans against the wall and watches Aziraphale retrieve his cocoa. "Careful, that sounds like a temptation."

"Good, it was meant to," he looks Crowley over, swallows urges he doesn't know what to do with, sips his cocoa and tastes love. "Best close the shop first."

"A few days?"

It's a suggestion, only, but a good one, and Aziraphale feels a stab of rebellious pride as he smiles.

"It's the nearly weekend...why not? We can...have a few days in."

Crowley's smile is a million constellations, "We've been waiting this long...a few days sounds nice."

"It does, doesn't it?" Aziraphale sipped more cocoa, closed his shop from where he stood, smiled soft and shy at the Demon lounging against his wall. "Well then. More practice?"

"If you like."

"I think I'll always like kissing you, Crowley."

He grinned, sauntering across the kitchen to pin Aziraphale against the counter, still not touching, not taking, just making his desires very clear.

"I was about to say the same, Aziraphale."

And there it is again. Pure music.

Aziraphale kisses him, and its just as perfect the second time.

 

Chapter Text

Although sleep was a concept not unknown to Aziraphale, it was not something he did. His whole time on earth he had only slept once, and only because he had wanted to try it to check off his list (it was an extensive list, comprised of all the things he had read that humans loved to do, and sleep had seemed an easy way to dip his toe, so to speak).

So, at 10 past 4 in the morning, when someone entered the shop uninvited, Aziraphale was awake and thumbing through a diary of a French aristocrat that was filled with imaginative and lurid depictions of the things she had gotten up to with her maid.

For research, he claimed later when pressed for reasons why.

He felt the shift in his surroundings, the sudden presence that made everything in the still air of the shop shift a few inches to the left. He closed the book gently, picked up a cricket bat he kept in the back room ("For thieves, Crowley!"), and poked his head around the door frame to peek into the shop proper.

The dust was still milling about the space, recently disturbed from footsteps on the ancient carpet, and the Angel felt a sting of pride that he had been right to not get it as immaculate as he could have. Better than a hair across a door frame, a dusty carpet.

"Hello?" He called out, just to see what would happen, and had the satisfaction of hearing a tiny hiss from someone in the stacks. "May I help you? Its terribly late to be browsing, you know!"

"The bloody hell are you doing awake?"

Aziraphale lowered the bat as a familiar ginger head poked around the closest bookcase, eyebrows raised.

"I could very well ask you the same thing, dear," the Angel huffed, tucking the bat back into its hiding place in the backroom. "What are you doing out and about at this hour?"

"Oh. Uhh," the rest of his body followed his head around the bookshelf, shoulder connecting with the wood and keeping him fairly upright. "Just...browsing."

They were both disappointed with the quality of that lie.

"You're drunk," Aziraphale realized with another breath in, the scent of liquor nearly knocking him back a step. How had he missed it before? "Go home, Crowley, you're in no state to be out."

"I'm in a fine state," he wobbled upright, pouting. "You're...you're the one in no state."

"Darling, please," he sighed, stepping forward. "What's the matter?"

Crowley shrugged a shoulder, not looking at him, and Aziraphale was having absolutely none of that. A week ago he had confessed his deepest, most secret feelings, the least he could do was tell him what was wrong. He closed the distance between them, forcing Crowley to either look at him or move, and remarkably, he chose the former.

"I really was just doing research," he mumbled, hands twitching in his pockets like he wanted to use them. "Promise."

He was being honest, although slippery, and Aziraphale decided that was probably all he was going to get out of him in this state.

"Well, you've come to the right Angel!" He smiled, folding his hands behind his back so they couldn't do anything to Crowley's clothing. "What are you researching?"

"Oh, no, I wouldn't want to bother you," he tried to wave it off, caught Aziraphale's lapel with his knuckles, froze. "You...just go back to reading, angel."

He smoothed his hand over the offended lapel, squashed a tiny smile, pulled his hand back and sniffed.

His chest was warm from the touch, and he swallowed hard, "I'd much rather help you, darling."

"Bloody decent of you," he made another motion that grazed his hand up Aziraphale's arm, and the Angel wondered if he was doing it on purpose. "But I can handle it."

"I'm sure you can handle lots of things, darling," Crowley's throat bobs and Aziraphale wonders if the French Aristocrat is giving him ideas. "But, well, they are my books, in my bookshop... It seems only fitting I help you find things."

"Well, I mean," Crowley expels a breath like a hurricane, sobering as he sniffs and straightens. "Alright."

"Oh, now that's not fair," Aziraphale frowns, folding his arms in front of him now, purposefully catching the front of Crowley's shirt with his knuckles as he does so. "I was going to get drunk with you... You're much more... Pliable, when you're drunk."

Crowley lifts an eyebrow, his mouth doing a complicated little dance that ends in a smirk.

"Pliable, am I?"

"One of a million words I would use to describe you, darling, yes," Aziraphale gives in, lets his hands move to the front of Crowley's shirt, tugs it straight and gets a glimpse of pale chest and a smattering of scales that dust over the Demon's collarbone like freckles. "But now you're sober. And so am I."

"Oh, we can fix that," he pulls a bottle of wine from somewhere behind his back and smiles. "Its 4pm somewhere, angel."

"Well, since you're here, why not? Just a little. To...help with the research."

They're not fooling anyone, let alone themselves, but they'll pretend it's working for now--for the research.


"So what did you need to look up?" Aziraphale has lost count of how many glasses of wine he's technically had, given that his has never dropped past half full. He wonders if Crowley is trying to drink him into a compromising position, but he waves the idea away with his glass.


Crowley would never do that, Demon or otherwise.

"I was trying to see," the redhead answers with a swirl of his glass as it refills for the umpteenth time. "If I could find any reference to sacred objects."

"Sacred objects?" Some of the wine clears from his head as he sits up, smiling, heart aflutter at the prospect of doing research on one of his favorite topics with his favorite person. "Elaborate, dear boy, I have an entire aisle on sacred objects."

"Uhm," Crowley drains his glass, fills it, does it again. "Angelic vessels?"

Aziraphale stares at him, blinks, scrunches up his face and tries to force himself to think. A lightbulb goes off and he gapes instead.

"Me?!" He yelps, as if stung. "You're doing research on me?!"

"Yes, alright, keep your wings on," Crowley hikes himself higher in his chair--when had his feet ended up in Aziraphale's lap, anyway?--and takes off his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose. "I just... Wanted to know...if..."

"If?" Aziraphale presses, a hand on Crowley's ankle that he doesn't remember putting there, rubbing small circles against the skin. "If what, darling?"

"If we can have sex."

The silence from the kitchen table is back, laughing into the shop as she drinks their wine and Aziraphale wishes he knew what to do with her.

"O-oh." He blinks, swallows hard, looking into his glass. "Do...do you want to?"

Crowley's expression tells him more clearly than words what a stupid question that is.

"Oh," he repeats, unable to find something else to say. "Well... That... Sounds... Complicated."

"No shit, angel, that's why I wanted to do research."

And suddenly, Aziraphale is in love all over again, smitten with the idea that Crowley, king of flying by his pants, has taken it upon himself to plan this. Because it's important. Because Aziraphale is important. Because he doesn't want to mess this up.

"I'm touched."

"In the head, maybe."

Aziraphale smiles and keeps rubbing Crowley's feet.

"So, what, you wanted to know if a sacred vessel could...harm you?"

He's in full research mode now, deeply curious about the logistics of such a thing. No wonder Crowley wanted to be drunk, if they were sober Aziraphale would be too embarrassed to even discuss this.

Maybe the French Aristocrat was rubbing off on him after all.

"But we kissed, and...and you weren't hurt?"

"Well, yeah, but that was," he made a vague circular motion with his feet that made Aziraphale giggle. "That was surface stuff. You know? Like putting too coins together. That's fine. But if you're going to melt down two coins and combine them, then you need to know they're... Compatible."

"How long have you been thinking about this, exactly?"

"Thinking about it? Since France and your little show of being offended I had shown up."

Aziraphale refused to acknowledge any such behavior.

"Researching? Since you kissed me."

At least Crowley did him the courtesy of not saying it was outright his fault, even though he implied it.

"And, err, how would...we go about this?"

"The research, or the sex?"

Crowley is trying to hide a grin behind his wine glass, and failing miserably. Aziraphale can feel his cheeks starting to warm and he blames the wine.

"Both, I suppose?"

"Carefully and thoroughly, I imagine," he hummed, gaze raking up over Aziraphale as the Angel continued absently rubbing his feet. "Unless you had a better idea?"

"Than sex with you? No, I can't think of a single better thing."

Oh damn his mouth!

Crowley licked his lips for no apparent reason, and Aziraphale cleared his throat.

"I don't, I mean, I'm not very...familiar."

"Angel, we don't have to go fast," Crowley's still grinning, but his eyes are all soft and round and wobbling in a way that that gives him away. "We have all the time in the world. I'm not suggesting we have a shag right now."

Aziraphale's face burns another 100 degrees hotter with the vulgar phrase and he wonders how long he can keep having this conversation before he combusts on the spot.

"I mean, you've been inside me once already, it shouldn't be hard for you to do it again."

Aziraphale stares at him as his entire body goes red, hand stilling against Crowley's ankle as he blinks at him, mouth open and no sound coming out.

"What?"

"I-I thought you would be..." He can't say it, even though he wants to. It's too honest, too much information even to share with Crowley, too personal to say out loud that in the flashes he had let himself imagine, he always imagined Crowley being the one to...

"Oh," the grin is back, sharper and hungrier. "I mean, I can do both, if you like."

And that shouldn't be a surprise but somehow he's still shocked to hear it.

"I need more wine," he blurts, standing, Crowley pulling his feet away to let him up.

"Let me--"

"No, I'll go get a bottle."

It's an excuse to leave the suddenly too-hot and too-close air of the little office, a chance to look at something that isn't the Demon, a chance to clear his head.

He's upstairs before he realizes he'd thought to go there, and he hears a soft whisper of his name, a plea and a question at the same time, and he swallows a response as he forces himself to the pantry.

It'll only take a moment. And then they can continue this conversation like rational beings.

That's what he tells himself as he fiddles with the bottle in his hands, popping the cork out with a flick of his thumb, letting it breathe as he does the same. He leans against the wall, realizes it doesn't help--he can only think of having Crowley in front of him, over him, hungry and wanting and so ready to give--and stands up straight again.

His bow tie is suddenly too tight, so he takes it off, stuffs it in his jacket pocket, and send his jacket to his room to join the rest of his clothes, hung neatly in his wardrobe.

He rolls up his sleeves and grabs another bottle, taking the stairs back down to the main shop, making a show of looking them over and smiling.

"More Red, darling? Or would you prefer--" he stops as Crowley spits what seems to be his entire glass of wine out onto the rug. "Making a mess?" He finishes instead.

"Bloody hell give a Demon some warning!" Crowley squirms around in his chair and can't seem to get comfortable, like a snake in a corner. "Where the hell's your jacket? Where's your tie?"

"Upstairs?"

He doesn't understand--Crowley just suggested they have sex, and suddenly he's offended by some skin? The man walks around with his chest very visible and in clothes that fit like a second skin, of the two of them—

And then Aziraphale realizes that it's a very different matter entirely, because its his skin. He always wears layers and layers and he can't quite remember the last time he was so naked in front of Crowley. The Garden, perhaps? Just a robe and wings, then.

"Darling, you're adorable."

"Piss off."

"I will not, this is my shop!"

"Then put some bloody clothes on."

"For someone who supposedly goes about tempting humanity, you certainly can't handle any tempting yourself."

"You think so?" Crowley's eyes narrowed, an eyebrow arching, finally settling into a position that left an arm over the back of the chair, his legs over the arm, looking Aziraphale over long and slow.

He squirmed under the attention, filling his glass, and then leaned forward to to offer Crowley some, and those golden eyes snapped to his open collar.

"More wine, darling?"

Crowley wordlessly held out his glass, and Aziraphale refilled it, smiling. He felt a swell of pride as he bustled to his chair and sat again, stacks of books appearing beside him.

"Now then, Angelic Vessels. Shall we?"

"I won't be able to concentrate."

"Not to worry, I can," he hummed and picked up a book. "You just lounge there and be...alluring."

Crowley shifted, legs splaying just so as he relaxed into the chair, humming low and deep as he took a long drink.

"Is that all I can do, angel?"

It was a trap.

Aziraphale had read lots of books about lots of different sorts of traps, and he was intimately familiar with two kinds. The first being the kind where he went along with a plan only to find out he was being tricked from the start, and the second being answering Crowley's questions when he asked them like that.

Aziraphale was familiar with these sorts of traps, but his curiosity got the better of him before he could stop himself.

"Did you have something else in mind?"

Crowley was on his knees, nestled between Aziraphale's legs before the Angel even stopped speaking. His chin was on one knee, a hand on the other, as he smirked up at him.

"I could always encourage you," he offered.

Aziraphale shifted delicately, desperate to not dislodge Crowley from his perch.

"How so, darling?"

"Well," his shoulders gave a languid roll as he tipped his head to the side, glancing up at Aziraphale from under his lashes. "I could always give you a reward for each little helpful tidbit you find."

Oh.

Oh!

"And what kind if reward would that be?"

Crowley inched up onto his knees, nose brushing along Aziraphale's, lips hovering over the Angel's as he whispered into the space between them.

"Anything you want, angel. Just say it, and it's yours."

Aziraphale squirmed internally, only keeping his physical form still by sheer determination and a vicious refusal to let Crowley have any sort of upper hand.

"You might remind me why I'm doing all this," he managed after another bout of laughter from the silence in the stacks.

"Oh, well, I can do that," he grinned, sliding his free hand up the Angel's leg, fingers dancing over the crisp fabric of his trousers before the settled firmly on his thigh.

Aziraphale stopped breathing.

Crowley leaned up and in the last tiny stretch to kiss him, and it was somehow even gentler than the first time. Under that, though, buried so deep the Angel almost didn't feel it, was the tiniest hint of desperation.

"Crowley, darling," Aziraphale managed once the Demon had leaned back, their lips still close enough to touch as he spoke. "Kiss me the way you need to."

His eyes went sharp again, and Aziraphale sucked in a breath that was dripping with desire and thick, sweet love like a heady nectar.

The book suddenly left his hand as Crowley surged up to catch his lips, hands in his hair and squeezing into the meat of his thigh, hard enough it would have bruised a lesser being. There was a hint of teeth, of desperation, as a sound bubbled up out of Crowley that made Aziraphale's head spin.

As suddenly as it had started, it stopped, and Crowley was back in his chair, lounging, sipping his wine.

"Keep reading, angel," he purred, looking Aziraphale over with evident relish. "Maybe I'll let you have another."

It was an empty threat, they both knew, because Crowley never would have been able to deny Aziraphale anything, let alone a kiss like that.

"Right," Aziraphale forced his mouth to work. "I'll just... Be here... Reading."

"Did I distract you too much?" His tone was playful, but his eyes told he was genuinely concerned he'd taken it too far, his whole body going rigid with the reflex to fix, if necessary. To run.

"Just... Giving me plenty of inspiration," Aziraphale managed, smiling brightly as he picked his book back up. "Could you make me some cocoa, love? I think I should sober up some before I try to do anymore, ah, research."

Crowley stood, stooping to kiss his cheek, just once--giving Aziraphale a very nice view down his shirt--and then sauntered off to the stairs.

"Anything for you, angel."

 

Chapter Text

When Crowley awoke it was the the sound of distant Chopin and the smell of bacon. There's a knitted afghan draped over him, and a pillow has somehow found its way under his neck. His glasses are on again, which is a blessing, because he feels like he drank three liquor stores and then went in for seconds.

He shifts and pops and cracks all his bits back to where they're meant to be and tries to sit up, feels the world wobble dangerously around him, and does not make a second attempt.

"Angel?"

It's more of a croak then Crowley would, ideally, like to admit, but he's sure Aziraphale will hear him, and if he doesn't, he'll tease him about it later.

He's about to call again when he feels fingers card through his hair and something like cinnamon scents the air.

"You called, darling?"

"What day is it?"

"Friday morning, just after 8."

"Which means?"

"You've been comatose about a week and a half."

"Brilliant."

"I'm making breakfast?"

And that was enough to make Crowley crack an eye open to stare up at the Angel.

He had a smudge of flour on one cheek and a (miraculously) clean baby blue apron tied round his middle. His sleeves were rolled up again, and he was holding a spatula in the hand not currently ruining Crowley's carefully-coiffed-but-with-no-apparent-effort hairstyle.

"Making it? What do you mean, making it?"

"As in cooking, darling."

"But you never cook."

"Yes, well... I wanted to try something new."

Crowley's arguments all died in his throat as something warm and gooey welled up to drown them. How dare his angel stand there looking so perfectly domestic and have the gall to say he wanted to try something new. The nerve.

"What did you make, then?"

"Well, I was going to try crepes, but, well, it was a bit of a rush job and I couldn't get the handle of it, so I switched to a rather... Well, shall we say, the common cousin of the crepe."

Crowley's eyebrows rose in silent question.

"Pancakes, darling," Aziraphale elaborated. "With whipped cream and strawberries? And there's bacon, and that coffee you like so much from down the street, and--why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like you're about to do something."

"It's just my face, angel."

Aziraphale gave a tiny snort of disbelief, but said nothing else, paying Crowley's hair all of his attention for a few moments before he cleared his throat, seemed to realize what he was doing, and straightened up.

"Are you well enough to move? Or should I bring food to you?"

The idea of breakfast in bed with his angel, was, frankly, too sickeningly wonderful to spend more than a few seconds day dreaming about before Crowley realized that would ruin any plan he had to have breakfast in an after glow, so he hauled himself to his feet with the grace and dignity of a newborn giraffe, and then froze when he went to check his pocket for his phone.

"Angel, where are my pants?"

"They looked so tight, I didn't want them to cut off anything important," Aziraphale coughed, waving his hand, and the pants wrapped themselves back around Crowley's legs. "Sorry, meant to have them back to you before you woke up..."

"No, I mean, thanks." He retrieved the phone from the pocket and frowned at it till it charged and sprang to life.

It was more to give him something to do besides imagine what other lengths Aziraphale would go to in order to make him comfortable.

"Coffee?" He managed with a quick bounce of his eyebrows.

"Oh, yes, right!"

Aziraphale led the way upstairs, humming to himself, and Crowley sauntered after him, trying to undo the damage to his hair.

"So what brought on the cooking spree?" Crowley asked, trying to distract himself from the way Aziraphale walked up stairs.

"Just... Thought I'd give it a try."

"Is that all?" Crowley knows it isn't--hes spent 6000 years ensuring he knows everything he can about Aziraphale, and it includes his behavior when he's dodging a question.

"Well...no..." He pauses at the top of the stairs, fiddles with the spatula, smiles that tiny, shy, devastating smile and nods to the kitchen table. "I found you something."

The "something" is a mug, all black, with a handle shaped like a tail, spade end included.

Crowley stares at it for what would likely be considered far too long before he sucks in a breath, turns, and plants a kiss on Aziraphale's forehead.

He means to aim for the Angel's lips, but the poor thing has ducked his head to stare at the floor, and Crowley can't wait for him to look back up.

"I love you, you're such a sap." He grins, bouncing to the table to scoop up the mug and turn it over in his hands. On further inspection, the inside is a dark red, shimmering like scales. "It's perfect, Aziraphale."

"Well, I'm glad you like it," he clears his throat and goes back to the frozen scene in the kitchen, the whole thing coming back to life, sizzling bacon and whistling kettle. "I thought you could...keep it here? For when you visit?"

"Oh," Crowley had lifted his glasses to get a better look at the mug, and very promptly drops them again as he tries to act cool and casual about what Aziraphale has just implied. "Well, I mean... Shouldn't you leave yours at my place, then? For when you visit?"

"Oh."

Its not quite an even trade, and they both know it. Aziraphale uses his mug far more than Crowley will use his, but maybe...

"That sounds lovely, actually," the Angel smiles. "It'll give me a reason to come visit more often."

"Never mind, on second thought you can keep it," Crowley frowns at the mug, like this was all its fault. "You wouldn't like my place."

"You don't know that," Aziraphale flips a pancake onto the awaiting stack and gives a self-satisfied bounce onto the balls of his feet. "I might love it."

"Well its nothing like this place."

It's best he knows, now, before he sees it. The dark stone, the jewel toned colors, the throne.

"I should certainly hope it isn't," Aziraphale starts putting dishes on the table, Crowley's mug suddenly full of piping hot coffee. "If you secretly had a bookshop lurking in your flat, I'd be very put out you hadn't invited me over sooner."

Crowley slouches into a seat only after making a motion to help Aziraphale set the table and having his hands swatted away. He buries himself in the coffee and finishes the cup before the Angel joins him at the table, his cup refilling as Aziraphale motions to the spread.

"Well, help yourself!" He beams, carefully removing his apron and folding it before dropping a napkin into his lap. "Do be honest about the taste, too, won't you? If it's inedible, I do not want you forcing it down."

There's a lazy sort of smugness to the smile he send Aziraphale, but he leans forward and starts filling his plate.

"I'm sure anything you make will taste divine, angel."

Aziraphale blushes, and a soft halo of light seems to fill the air around him for a moment before he starts to serve himself, his own mug filling with tea.

"I suppose we should discuss when my mug will come over to your place, then," he begins after a moment's silence.

"I can take it back with me today, if you like," Crowley stabs a strawberry and runs it through the whipped cream before he adds a bite of pancake and pops the whole thing in his mouth.

He's not the foodie that Aziraphale is, but he can comfortably say, bias aside, that the food is good. Maybe not the best he's ever had, but certainly good. In, unfortunately, more ways than one. Ugh. It'll probably give him indigestion, but it's worth, so he keeps eating.

"Oh," his angel looks crestfallen, and he makes a noise of interest to encourage him to continue. "Well I just thought... I could bring it over myself."

"Oh, well," his hand shakes as he picks up his coffee and drinks. "We could... Go to dinner, if you like? Swing by my place?"

Good Go--someone it's like they're planning a date. Crowley's skin itches like its too tight, too warm. Like he needs to shed it and start again. He tells himself its perfectly reasonable to plan a date with the person you've loved for the better part of human history, especially when that person loves you too.

"Oh, that sounds nice!" Aziraphale is tucking into his eggs with a fairly contented expression, which means even he has to admit the food tastes good.

"Right then," Crowley allows himself a smirk as he leans into Aziraphale across the table, inching his glasses down to look at him. "When should I pick you up?"

"Oh, you're going to drive?"

"Or we can get a taxi?" His line is now ruined, and he's very put out about it.

"Oh, no, you..." Aziraphale finishes his mouthful of food, dabs the corners of his mouth, tries again. "Darling, you should absolutely drive. I'll...I'll be fine."

"I'll go slow," he promises.

Aziraphale's eyes soften around the edges, glancing from his eyes to his mouth, to his plate, back the same way.

"I...thank you, Crowley."

"Anything for you, angel."

"So what is your place like, of it's not like this?"

"That," he intones, gesturing with a strawberry on the end of his fork. "Would ruin the surprise."

There's mischief in the Angel's eyes as he smiles. "Oh, very well, keep your secrets. But I warn you, if there's a portrait of me in there, I'll never come over again."

"Well there certainly isn't one now," Crowley smirked, earning an eyeroll for the effort. "Why can't I have a picture of you? It might brighten the place up."

"Oh, please," his ears are pink and he's not making eye contact. "Don't be absurd."

"I'm not being absurd, I'm being honest," he huffs into his mug and fogs up his glasses. "It would greatly improve the view."

Aziraphale glances at him from the corner of his eye and he smiles fondly, earning a similar smile in return.

"I'll only have a picture done if you're in it," he almost whispers into the comfortable stillness of the morning. "If--if you wanted that, I mean."

"There's a kid down by the river who does lovely little watercolors," Crowley is going to argue, past death and into whatever afterlife awaits him, that he simply knows this information offhand, and has never thought of having said kid do a picture of them before ever, even without Aziraphale's knowledge. "Might be a bit much, though, a painting. Very old-school."

"Well I can keep the painting, then," Aziraphale smiles. "And you can have the photograph."

"I'll have to visit the painting now and then," Crowley manages to bite back a grin. "Make sure you're treating it well."

"And darling Photo can't be left in your sole care--might become infected! I'll pop over now and again to look in on it."

His grin breaks free, dragging with it a chuckle, and he can't seem to be bothered by it.


"Is this how its going to be, now?"

Crowley is leaning on the counter with his fifth (yes, he counted) cup of coffee, and its the first one he hasn't just wolfed down. He's making it last, as, in his logic, the longer he makes this last cup last while Aziraphale does dishes, the longer he'll have a reason to stay within easy reach of the Angel.

The blond's question, however, throws a wrench in his otherwise flawless scheme. Small-talk.

Or, in the case of the topic at hand, not-so-small-talk.

"What, the world not ending and humans going on about their business?" He misunderstands on purpose, just in case. "I should think so, yeah."

"No, darling, I mean us," and he's being given a look that makes it very clear his Angel doesn't like him dodging the question. "Or do...do you not want to call... Well, I mean, if there is, uh, us."

Crowley was fully willing to pretend he had no idea whatsoever what his Angel was talking about, and then he saw the flicker of uncertainty, Aziraphale giving everything he was thinking away in a glance to him, his lips, away, and a tiny breath he sucked in and held.

"Course there's an us," and it sounded harsher than he meant, all teeth and burning fury, but the vehemence seemed to do the trick, as the hard line went out of his Angel's shoulders and his eyelashes gave a little flustered flutter. "I wouldn't ride your ass to head office for anything less than an us, angel."

He means it sincerely, but red creeps up the back of Aziraphale's neck and he has to give himself some credit for both making a touching declaration and an innuendo in one fell swoop.

"Well then don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about," he sniffed, scrubbing at the plates some more. "Because we both know this entire thing is your fault."

"Oh, I'm sorry I made you fall in love with me," he gave a mocking little bow. "I won't do it again, your Principalitiness."

"I didn't fall in love with you," and Crowley feels his heart stop, his whole world stop, until Aziraphale shoots him a cat-with-a-canary smile. "You tripped me."

Crowley stares at him, blinks once, slowly, and has the satisfaction of watching Aziraphale's throat bob in trepidation.

"Your timing could be better."

Confusion flits to horror as Aziraphale puts together what he means.

"Oh, darling, no," his hands are still wet as the touch Crowley's face, his hair, his chest (just barely, through the opening of his shirt, but enough they both realize). "Don't be absurd, Crowley, of course I love you."

It's a very different experience, to hear a thing you thought you already knew. Like having someone you know so well you can guess what they're going to say, and then they do, in fact, say it, and suddenly there's a swelling in your chest and a certain sort of pride that comes from a) knowing you were right, and b) hearing the person you love say it back.

Crowley was kissing Aziraphale before he could think to stop himself, to hold back and wait for permission. He'd been holding back most of his life (on earth and not), and giving in for just a moment, for just a second to press himself up against his Angel, shoulder to hip, holding his face as he kissed the breath from him was something Crowley firmly believed he would never regret doing.

"Y-you never answered my question."

Oh. Right.

"This," and he looks Aziraphale in the eye, takes his hand and gives it a squeeze. "Can be however you want, angel."

"Then I think I'd like to have sex with you."

Of all the things Aziraphale could have said, that was the last thing Crowley expected to come out of his mouth (more accurately, third to last, but those other two don't bear mentioning).

"I'm sorry, you want to what?"

"Well, I mean, not now, obviously, that... That would be a bit messy, and we just cleaned up the kitchen, besides, I don't think our first time should be on a full stomach, that doesn't seem--"

"Aziraphale," Crowley interrupted him. "Where did that come from?"

"Well while you were sleeping off your bender I actually did a lot of research," he looks so proud of himself it does bubbly things to Crowley's chest. "And, for your information, there should be no, uh, ill effects to us...copulating."

"Oh for fuck's sake, don't call it that," Crowley gags at the word and shudders. "There's so many better euphemisms, I'm begging you, never call it that again, please."

"Well alright, there should be no problem with us..." He made a vague motion with his hand and looked embarrassed about it. "In fact, I did...another sort of research as well, and I think I found some... Things to try."

"Oh," and he means to sound cool, confident and curious, but he comes off as raw and a little breathless. "Well I mean...sure.”

“Good, then you pick me up at 6:30, and I'll tell you where to drive us,” Aziraphale steals his mug and starts washing it, much to Crowley's dismay.

“I had plans for that,” he grumbles.

“Your plan was to keep nursing it until I made you hand it to me, don't think I don't know what you were doing,” the Angel's glare is so soft it barely counts. “Now shoo! I have lots of things to do before tonight—oh, and wear something you can actually move in, would you?”

“I can move in this,” he defends, doing a turn just to prove it. “What, are we going dancing?”

Something in Aziraphale's eyes lights up, and it occurs to Crowley then that maybe he should have kept his mouth shut, because he's seen Aziraphale's dance, and he will die before he deigns to join him.

“That,” he says instead, schooling his expression and returning his gaze to the sink. “Would ruin the surprise.”

Crowley gives in and kisses him, a tiny peck, just behind the ear, and earns a soft, surprised, almost sinful noise in return. He's still there, at the spot behind Aziraphale's ear as he hums in the back of his throat.

“See you at 6:30, then.”

 

Chapter Text

Crowley decides not to go home, because then he'll think too much about how it looks and probably panic, so he spends the rest of the day making sure the world is mostly back to normal.

He stops by the park and counts the ducks (there's two more than usual, but he lets it slide), he pops into his usual haunts, checks in on the humans, does a little tempting (nothing major, he knows full well Aziraphale will give him hell if he goes overboard), and finds himself splayed in the back of the Bentley outside his flat at a quarter past 6.

It'll only take 15 minutes to get to the bookshop if he drives like a rational, sane individual, and he knows that won't be happening before his Angel is sitting in his car, ready to go where ever it is they're going to go.

Queen starts whispering from the car speakers and he shoots them a look, "Oi. Knock it off."

The music gets louder and he head thunks against the seat, defeated.

"Somebody to-ooo-oooo love~"

That's just not fair, he decides, pushing his glasses up to rub his eyes, and then maneuvering himself into the driver's seat.

The radio continues, but softer, and he makes a face at it as he turns the ignition and pulls away from the curb. He drives slowly (still 5 over the limit, but at least he's trying), and even goes the long way to the bookshop just so he's not there too early.

He's practically vibrating out of his skin as he stops in front of the shop, and the music swells and then fades and he glares at the radio.

"Look, no funny business, alright?"

The radio shuts off and he gives it a curt nod.

He clambers out of the car and leans against it, only a minute or two early (he literally slammed on the breaks for a yellow light just to buy himself some more time), and waits in the fading light for Aziraphale to appear.

He does, a moment later, beaming at Crowley as he shuts and locks the door behind him, a basket over one arm that Crowley is immediately suspicious of.

"Evening dear," he greets. "Mind getting--"

Crowley has already opened the passenger side door and is holding out his hand for the basket.

"I'd be delighted, angel," he finishes, and even he's impressed with how suave he manages to sound.

It's practically a miracle.

They pack themselves into the car (which keeps its radio off, thankfully), and Crowley looks expectantly to Aziraphale.

The Angel looks confused by the scrutiny for a moment before he laughs, "Oh, right, I'm navigating. Head toward Tadfield, would you?"

"That's not a short drive."

"I'm sure it will be with you driving."

He looks ruffled and put out, and Crowley will not have that, so he puts the car into gear and pulls smoothly from the curb, pointing the Bentley toward Tadfield.

"All you had to do was ask, angel," he mutters, trying to stay calm in the slow moving vehicle. He thrives on speed, on going and going and never looking back.

“I believe I have asked, previously.”

“No, no, you yelled at me for going 90, you did not, in fact, ask me to slow down. You demanded that I do. And you know how I hate when people demand things, never sat well with me.”

“Very well, next time I'll ask.”

“Worked this time, didn't it?”

"Good Lord, are you going the limit?" Aziraphale exclaims, practically clambering over to look at the dial.

"You don't like it when I drive my way, so I'm...driving your way, I suppose."

"The legal way, you mean?"

He makes a noise of derision and sneers, all teeth, waving a hand to dismiss the entire concept of road safety and legality.

"Where are we going, exactly?" He asks instead, the hand not occupied with the wheel twitching against his leg as he tries to find something to do with it beside snake over and hold Aziraphale's.

"I'll tell you when we get there."

"Angel."

"Demon?"

He throws caution to the wind, puts his hand on the seat between them, nearly hits a pedestrian as Aziraphale puts his hand over top of Crowley's, gives the tiniest little squeeze, no more than a flex of his fingers, and then Crowley's foot is punishing the gas pedal and Aziraphale yelps as he grabs both the door handle and Crowley's hand.

"Steady on, dear boy!"

Crowley clears his throat and pays more attention to the road.

"Sorry. Got excited."

"If that's how you react when I hold your hand, I hate to think what you'll do when..." He stops, clears his throat, looks out the window. "Well, anyway, you'll take the next left, soon as you're out of London."

"Angel, I know you don't drive, but there are a lot of lefts outside London."

Aziraphale huffs out a little breath, half relief that Crowley didn't tease him about his slip, and half frustrated at his alternative nagging.

"Yes, I know, darling, but it won't matter which left you take, just be sure you take one."

Crowley shrugs, gives the hand holding his a little squeeze of his own, and remembers not to floor it.

As soon as they escape London, Crowley turns left, and finds himself on a desert road that leads toward an endless horizon.

"Where the hell are we?" He squints out the windows, retrieving his hand to grip the wheel.

"Well, if you'd slow down, you'd see."

Crowley does, and is very thankful for the warning, because suddenly there's a wall of stone rising into heaven and he has to slam on the brakes.

"Right then, that should do it," Aziraphale glances at him, and smiles. "Come on, out of the car. Just a little further to go."

Aziraphale retrieves the basket from the backseat, and Crowley grumps out of the car only to find he knows exactly where they are.

The stone wall towers above them, curving at the edges to contain the lush garden Crowley knows is on the other side.

"Angel?" His voice is as dry and cracked as the stone, as weary and old.

Aziraphale is at his side, smiling softly, "I thought we could have that picnic, finally."

"Hell of a garden to have a picnic in."

"Well, actually, we can't go in," he frowns. "I tried, but they revoked my access--but the wall is still fair game--and honestly, well, I... I just wanted to go back to the place we first met."

Crowley is the closest to tears he's ever been for the third time in his existence, and for the second time, it's Aziraphale's fault.

"Race you to the top!" He grins, padding to the wall, and Crowley has to take a moment to remember how his limbs all work before he can follow.

"Come on, we'll miss the sunset if we dawdle."

"Is anyone watching?"

"No one that matters."

It's good enough of an answer that Crowley pulls him into a crushing kiss, pushing his angel into the wall as he pours out his heart into the motion. His wings unfurl, unbidden, to shield them further as Aziraphale makes a noise Crowley immediately gobbles up.

A hand on his chest, pushing just barely, is what stops him, makes him back up, makes his wings close, makes his whole being recede from his angel.

"Oh, no, don't--" he's pulled back in by two fingers tucked into his belt-loop. "There's a bloody big boulder jammed in my back, darling, I didn't want you to stop."

"Oh." He sounds sullen and he knows it, and he doesn't care.

They were having a moment, dammit.

"Come on, the view's better from up there."

"The view's perfect from where I'm standing."

Aziraphale smiles, but only just, before it devolves into a blush and a quiet whisper of "oh please", and he's tugging Crowley in closer before they both find themselves atop the wall.

The view is better up here, but only because he can see the sunset reflected in his angel's eyes.

"You'd barely know the world is different, from here," Aziraphale whispers, glancing down into the verdant ocean of Eden. "Everything out here has changed, but... It's till the same."

Crowley glances down, sees the withered skeleton of a once-great tree at the center of the garden, and snorts.

"What's in the basket, angel?"

"Oh, right!" He smiles, handing it to Crowley to hold as he unpacks it.

There's a flannel blanket (Crowley snorts again and is given a "don't get me started on how fashionable flannel is" look), and far more food than should actually have fit into the small basket.

There's grapes from Rome, crepes from France, wine from 1943.

"Angel,"

"No, no, don't you say a word," Aziraphale interrupts him. "I worked very hard on this and--"

"But that's not fair," he interjects. "Spoiling you with gifts is my thing! You cant just steal it. Don't use my wiles against me!"

"I'll use your wiles however I please, thank you," he sniffed primly, plopping onto the top of the wall. "Now sit down and open the wine, you're missing the sunset."

"You're missing the point," he grumbles, but does as he's told.

He settles in next to Aziraphale as the Angel gives a little roll of his shoulders and his wings extend, a contented sigh snatched to the winds as he turns to look a Crowley.

Unconsciously, the Demon has inched in under his left wing and is currently trying to keep his hands to himself, his black wings hunched in close around him as he feels the wind against his feathers and remembers what flying felt like.

"I've been meaning to thank you, actually."

"What?"

"For...for coming back," Aziraphale folds his hands into his lap, crosses his ankles, fiddles with his cuff as he continues. "You...you could have gone off to Alpha Centauri, or...or the moon, or any of the countless other places you could have run off to, but... But you came back. You came back to me, and... I wanted to say thank you."

"Is that what this is?"

He told himself it would be fine if it were, he would let it only be that, because somewhere down very deep and under layers of alcohol and fall-burned feeling, he still had a heart, and it loved Aziraphale, Principality and Angel of the Eastern Gate very, very much. And if loving him like that meant letting go, he would try very, very hard to let this be enough.

"Oh, no, this is what the locals call a "date"," he used air-quotes and looked very pleased with himself for it. "No, this... This is for you. For us. I just... Thought I should also say thank you, since we're here and you're not currently comatose."

"Oi," he hides his feelings again, covers them back up with ash, but he can still feel them smoldering; live coals ready to begin an inferno.

"I'm just saying," he poured the wine and offered a glass to Crowley. "I would have said it the night you came to do research, but you kept right on drinking and then I couldn't."

He grumbled into his glass, but made no sincere arguments to the contrary, settling instead for giving the Angel's shoulder a nudge with his own.

"I never could have left you, Aziraphale," he whispered into the dying light. "You're my best friend."

"You're mine, Crowley."

Crowley grinned, ready to tease him, but there was no bashful realization on Aziraphale's face. He meant it.

He really meant it.

"Oh am I?"

"I was under the impression this," he waved his glass between them. "Could be however I wanted, and I want it to be that."

It was so honest and genuine and forward, that for a moment Crowley was the one who was flustered, downing his whole glass of wine before he managed a tiny nod.

"I'd like that."

"Well, that's settled, then," Aziraphale kicked his legs, sipping his wine, and looked back at the sunset.

"You know," Crowley popped a grape in his mouth as he took off his glasses. "This isn't actually the first place we met."

"What? Of course it is." Aziraphale frowned. "What do you mean its not where we met?"

"We met before," Crowley smiled, shrugging. "I'm not surprised you don't remember, it was so long ago... I had a different name, then, and wings like starlight."

"You mean--" Aziraphale stopped, frowned harder. "You mean in Head Office?"

"Yup," he popped the last letter as he popped another grape onto his mouth. "You were adorable, by the way. Little Fledgling, all starry eyed and full of light."

Aziraphale smacked his arm, coloring up, and Crowley laughed.

"Eat your grapes, villain."

"Villain?" He made a face, nose scrunching in disapproval. "That's not very nice."

"Neither was your dig about my fledgling stage."

"It wasn't a dig! Wings out, I can't lie! You were the cutest one out there, with your... Undying optimism and limitless faith in Her. Adorable."

"I am not adorable," he groused. "Adorable means worthy of adoration and that is--"

"Exactly what you are; I know what words I'm using."

"You couldn't remember what ducks were a few days ago."

"Oh, alright, yes, thank you," Crowley hissed faintly. "It had been a very long day, alright."

"That brings up my other point," and he's looking him in the eye now, determined and just a little shy, worry hiding behind his eyes way back in a corner that Crowley can barely make out. "Would you like it to be a long night?"

"Pardon?"

"With me," he clarifies nothing.

"With you what?"

He is, in his head, perfectly aware of what Aziraphale is likely implying, but with the Angel's wings wrapped around them, he needs to be sure before he answers. He wants to say yes, to mean it, but he needs to be completely positive he knows exactly what Aziraphale is asking, because he thought he knew once, and the bandstand could tell the story of how wrong he'd been.

"You're so...so difficult!"

"Part of my charm," he purrs.

Aziraphale takes a sip of wine and savors it for a moment (for strength, Crowley fancies) before he looks him in the eye again and says, slower than is strictly necessary;

"Would you like to spend the night with me, darling?"

"In a biblical sense?"

"In as biblical a sense as you like."

"I'd love to."

Aziraphale positively glows, toasting him with his glass. "To...trying new things, then."

"To trying new things," Crowley toasts back, smirking fondly at the Angel. "So what else did you stuff into that basket, angel?"

"Probably more than I should have," he admits with a little giggle, shrugging. "I sort of...panicked."

"You? Panic? Perish the thought," Crowley chuckled into his wine as Aziraphale stole the grapes back.

The Angel gave a little sigh of delight that Crowley wished he could taste, and then reminded himself that he could, later, in a place less surreal to be.

"Thank you, Aziraphale, for all of this," he gestured to their general surroundings and between them. "For you."

"Oh, well," he glanced from the grapes up to Crowley and smiled softly. "Anytime, darling."

 

Chapter Text

It's raining when they get back to London, a gentle sort of wet fog that settles over the city like a soft gray shawl, turning all the edges gentle and the colors dim. It's cold, even for early September, and Aziraphale finds himself gravitating toward Crowley as they stop by the bookshop to deposit the basket ("You're not infecting my flat with flannel.") and collect what Aziraphale refers to only as "the essentials".

They are not, technically speaking, actually essential, but he doesn't need to tell Crowley that, so he doesn't.

He packs them all into another bag and flits back downstairs to see Crowley slouching against the front door, hands in his pockets, the rain steaming off him in little streams that drift toward the ceiling.

"How do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Steam, like that. You aren't warm enough to steam when I touch you."

"Cause I don't want to be that warm when you touch me."

Oh. Well that would explain it, then.

"Can you teach me that trick?"

"I don't know if you can learn it," he shrugs, but there's the tiniest hint of a smile behind it. "But I can try."

"Oh, wonderful! It would be so much easier to keep my clothes nice if I didn't have to worry about the London weather."

Crowley seems to roll his whole body, not just his eyes, and Aziraphale ignores him in favor of opening the shop door and ushering him through.

"After you."

The ride to the flat is surprisingly long, due to everyone, everywhere, suddenly needing to get somewhere, and the silence in the backseat is only kept from making comment by Queen leaking out of the speakers so softly Aziraphale almost can't hear it over the rain and traffic.

"I almost went up, before," Aziraphale admits as Crowley hisses angrily at another traffic jam. "When I was you, I mean."

"Why didn't you?"

"It didn't seem... Right, I suppose," his shoulders give a little hop of uncertainty. "You hadn't invited me up before then, and it felt... Well, it felt like spying, to be perfectly honest."

Crowley's giving him that smile, the one Aziraphale has come to associate with him being both morally upright and somehow endearing at the same time, and he pointedly looks out the window.

"I don't know that I would call it spying, exactly, but... Thank you."

"You're very welcome."

"And, technically, I did invite you."

"You invited me over to join you, not to invade your flat while you weren't there, it was a very different thing."

"Right. Right. Very different."

Crowley's hands are both busy with the steering wheel, so Aziraphale's hand brushes up his thigh, barely a touch at all, and he catches Crowley shiver from the corner of his eye.

He keeps his hand there, just a solid, soft weight, until he thinks Crowley has adjusted enough for him to inch it toward his waist.

Another tiny shiver, a glance from the corner of his eye, a hard swallow and a tiny hitch in his breathing.

"Don't worry, darling, I'm not going to start something here in the car."

"You'd start a collision is what you'd start," he mutters, letting out a breath Aziraphale is fairly certain he's been holding for the better part of a mile.

"Just thinking about what to do when we get back to your place."

"Oh?"

His tone is light, but his knuckles have gone white on the wheel.

"Well you did seem to have a rather...violent reaction to seeing me without a tie," he glances at the Demon and chuckles. "I'd hate for you to ruin your flat if I sprung myself on you, au naturel ."

The steering wheel creaks ominously and Crowley clears his throat, dodging around the car in front of them to turn down a side street, suddenly depositing them outside his flat.

"Crowley," Aziraphale admonishes. "That's cheating."

"Cheating how? We were headed here, now we're here."

"But I had more teasing to do!"

Crowley smirks, "well there's nothing stopping you from doing that now."

"Don't be absurd," he takes his hand back, earns a pout. "We're here now, we should go up."

"Only if you still want to."

Aziraphale stares at him, eyebrows scrunching and then rising as he lets out a breathy little laugh, "I'm quite sure, darling. But thank you for asking."

Crowley gives a quick nod, slithers from the car, and as Aziraphale tries to follow him he finds the door won't open.

"Oh, honestly," he huffs before Crowley opens it for him, giving a little bow as he motions him toward the building.

"You're ridiculous."

"Oh, you love it," his hand is on Aziraphale's lower back, the other jammed in a pocket as he leads them toward the main door. "Come on."

Aziraphale clutches his bag to his chest and follows his Demon's lead.


Aziraphale isn't entirely sure what he's expecting when he steps into Crowley's flat, probably something not unlike the inside of a dungeon he'd seen once in the 14th century, but he's pleasantly surprised (although instantly flustered by the large statue in the entrance of two winged beings...fighting) and when he spies the plants, his face lights up.

"Oh!" He immediately walks over to the tallest tree, smiling up at it. "How lovely!"

Crowley leans against the wall and watches him greet each of the plants in turn, each one leaning and stretching to get close to him.

"Yeah, alright, don't get used to it," he hisses to them as he follows to the end of the entryway. "He's only visiting."

"What? What's wrong with them getting used to me?" He reaches out to touch one of the leaves, and Crowley grabs his hand.

"You won't like what you find," he warns.

"Don't be absurd," he touches the leaf and then immediately recoils. "Oh! What have you been doing to these poor things?"

"Growing them," he responds blandly, moving past Aziraphale to push open the revolving door, leaving it cracked behind him as invitation.

"You're all beautiful," he whispers, rubbing away the beginnings of a brown spot from a tender new leaf. "Don't let him fool you; I'm sure he's very proud of how big and strong you've all grown."

The leaves rustle and he swears he hears a sigh of relief.

"Are you being nice to them?" Crowley calls from the other room. "Stop it! Don't be nice!! I can smell it from here!"

Aziraphale puts his finger to his lips and winks at the plants before he slips through the doorway and stops again.

The window gives a sweeping view of London, hazy through the rain, but Aziraphale is more interested in the throne that sits at the desk, an absolute relic, the only truly colorful thing in the room.

"Good Lord," he blurts, walking around it. "Where did you get this?"

"Took it when I moved out," Crowley's vest and jacket have mysteriously vanished, along with his glasses, and he's watching Aziraphale with an expression the Angel can only describe as hungry.

"Moved out?" He blinks, then points upward. "You mean...?"

"Yes, angel, that's what I mean."

"Oh," he grazes his fingers over the nearest spire, flinches only just from the heat of it, the eternal burning trapped in the throne. "It's...well, it's beautiful."

"I thought so," he smiles, and its only a little sad. "It's why I nicked it on my way out."

Aziraphale gives him a look before glancing around the room, doing a double take as he sees the picture hanging behind the throne.

"Is that..?"

"An original, yes," he's smug now, posture more relaxed. "I posed for him a few times. He let me keep it as a souvenir."

"How many souvenirs do you have, anyway?"

"A whole room full, why?"

Its not the time or the place for this sort of distraction, but Aziraphale has to say it, because he cant keep it in a moment longer.

"I've always been curious and now I'm dying to see them--but that can wait, of course, I mean, I don't have to see them now..."

"Why not?" He pushes away from the wall, holding out a hand for the bag. "I'll give you the full tour."

He starts to hold out the bag, then pauses, gaze flicking from the offered hand to Crowley's eyes (down just a fraction to his mouth, captivated, then back to his eyes), "The full tour? Promise?"

"I wouldn't lie to you, angel."

It's such a soft admission, practically a whisper in the already quiet space, and Aziraphale gulps as he hands over the bag.

"Lead on then, darling."

There's an eyebrow arched at him, a comment on the tip of the Demon's tongue before he shakes his head, "Wait here."

Aziraphale folds his hands behind his back, giving a nod, and Crowley saunters through another revolving wall into a side room, gone only a moment before he reappears, sans bag, and looks Aziraphale over.

"Can I...take your coat?"

"Oh," he tugs his vest straight and clears his throat. "Best not. Still a bit chilly."

"Not because of me, I hope."

He laughs, but only because its such an absurd idea, "Don't be ridiculous, darling."

And to prove his point he takes Crowley's hand, laces their fingers together, watches his eyes widen and eyebrows rise.

"Now, about that tour?"

"Err--right," he's staring at their hands. "Tour."

Aziraphale laughs again, squeezing his hand, "Oh, I'm sorry, did I distract you?"

"No."

It's a lie, and a petulant one at that.

"Thought you said you wouldn't lie to me?"

"Not about things that matter, angel. Besides, you can tell."

He can, but that's not the point.

"I suppose I can let it slide this time," he leans up to press a quick kiss to the corner of Crowley's mouth. "Just don't make a habit out of it."

"I'll do my best."

That's all he would ever ask for, really. He knows, of the two of them, Crowley's always been more honest about his feelings, about his thoughts and emotions and beliefs.

He wonders if you get torn open when you Fall, and things just spill out forever after.

He doesn't ask.

"So, tour," there's a bounce in his step as he leads Aziraphale toward another revolving wall, kicking it open.

The room is lit with little flickering sconces that pop into life as they enter, the walls are lined with shelves, and there's a big, plush arm chair in crimson velvet at the far end by a stained-glass window Aziraphale is sure is from the Vatican.

The shelves have glass display cases on them, in differing shapes and sizes, each with a little brass label detailing what they are and where they came from.

"Here's the trophy room," Crowley smirks. "Go on, have a look."

Aziraphale only goes as far as he can into the room without letting go of Crowley's hand, peering at a set of nails that are crusted with a dried blood and spotted with age.

"Good Lord, how did you get these?"

"Stuck around after the funeral."

Aziraphale snaps his head around, mouth agape, staring at him.

"What? I was there. I wanted a souvenir."

"But that's... Those..." He's at a loss for words to properly describe his feelings on the matter, given that he was also there and had no such inclination.

"What? I almost took the crown, too, but--well, hard to transport," he shrugs. "Anyway, go on--have your gawk."

"Will you tell me about them?"

Crowley looks genuinely surprised by the question, but his smile is amused and soft as he gives a nod.

And he does. He tells Aziraphale about the broken sword he kept from his time as a knight, the blade blackened and jagged. He tells him about the set of dice (“Very cursed.”) from a long stint as a dealer at a casino. He tells him about all the different sets of glasses, each newer and flashier and better at hiding his eyes than the last. He tells him about the shackles from Paris and Aziraphale blushes.

"Hardly appropriate."

"Says the divine creature that looked at me like I was a 1793 pinup."

"You practically were."

"Oh, so you remember?"

Aziraphale clears his throat and looks to the next case, a battered book that's seen better days.

"That...well, you sort of gave me that--I--well, I guess technically I stole it, but, ehh."

"Stole it? When did you steal it?"

"When your bookshop burned down."

"Why didn't it get replaced?"

"Wasn't in the shop at the time, I suppose?"

Aziraphale peers closer and reads the title, "American Gods? Are you sure that's one of mine?"

"Got it from your shop."

"I thought you said Agnes Nutter was your souvenir?"

"Well--" he shrugged. "Might have tried to grab as many as possible."

“I could kiss you.”

“You most certainly could.”

He does, pulling Crowley in by the hand to kiss him deeply, his other hand catching at his shoulder. He holds him there, close and warm and clutching onto one another like the world is ending all over again until he pulls back, Crowley chasing for just a brief moment before he lets him retreat.

“You still haven't shown me the rest of your flat.”

“There's just the bedroom left.”

“No kitchen?”

“Do I look like I cook?”

“Well, I wouldn't know, really, but, uhm, I sort of expected...something.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, then.”

“You could never do that, darling.”

His eyes go soft again, and he leans in for another kiss, deep and slow and sinfully good. One of Crowley's hands runs up his arm to cradle his face, a rumble vibrating its way between them like thunder as he hums into the kiss. It ripples through Aziraphale as he backs up into the book case, pulling Crowley along with him. Crowley pulls back before they collided into the shelves, catching Aziraphale with a chuckle.

“Sorry; just got carried away.”

“Oh, no, no, never apologize for kissing me...especially like that.”

“Oh, well in that case,” and he stole another.

Aziraphale laughed, pushing him back, but only barely, “Show me that bedroom?”

He grins, pulling him gently by the hand back through the door, past the throne (later, Aziraphale decided), and through the other door into the bedroom. Aziraphale made a soft sound of surprise as he took in the plush, scarlet carpet, the enormous bed already turned down, and the soft, white light that seemed to glow from every distant corner in an imitation of gentle moonlight.

“This is...this is very nice.”

“Glad you like it,” he smirked. “I put your bag in the corner, make yourself at home.”

“Would you mind taking my coat, then?”

“I'll take whatever you want to give me, angel.”

Aziraphale colors, wetting his lips and turning around so Crowley can help him with his coat, peppering kisses to his cheek as he slides it off him, chuckling when Aziraphale swats at him.

He undoes his bow tie and tucks that into his vest pocket before he takes that off as well, handing it over with great care into Crowley's waiting arms. His fingers flit to his shirt buttons, and Crowley makes a soft sound of protest.

“Am I moving too fast for you, darling?” He teases.

“Well, no, I mean, I'm never one to turn down a show, but I thought, possibly...it would be more fun to help you out of them personally.”

“Oh,” and what a thought. “Well, yes, that does sound rather nice.”

And Crowley is in his space, fingers slowly and deftly sliding buttons free as he smiles down at the Angel, eyes all soft and open.

“I love you, Aziraphale.”

He colors, swallows the lump in his throat, smiles back as bright as the sun, “And I love you, Crowley.”

 

Chapter Text

It starts in little flutters, first, and it takes a moment before Crowley fully knows what to do with himself, let alone what to do with his angel, but he catches on quick and Aziraphale is so endlessly patient with him that he doesn't feel the need to rush seep up under his skin like before. Now he feels calm, at ease, like he can take his time--so he does.

He undoes the buttons down Aziraphale's shirt one at a time, sharing his space and moving so slowly, it feels like time is winding backward. When he finishes he rests a hand over Aziraphale's heart, feels it beat warm and steady against him palm, smiles and leans in to kiss him, warm and steady.

Aziraphale makes a little noise somewhere in the back of his throat, and Crowley wonders what those sorts of noises will taste like.

Aziraphale has managed to get his fingers between the hem of Crowley's shirt and the waistband of his pants, just barely touching in little caresses that make shivers dance along Crowley's spine. He fights to keep his hands on his angel even as Aziraphale tries to get his tie off, fingers dancing along the knot to unpluck it.

He finally succeeded, and it slides from Crowley's neck onto the floor in a fluid motion so perfect it almost felt practiced.

Aziraphale's hands went to his belt next, fingers fluttering over it for a moment before he glanced up into Crowley's face, smiling.

"Shirt?"

And it was off, up and over his head and abandoned to the floor like the rest. No undershirt, this time, and Crowley smirked at Aziraphale as the Angel cleared his throat and looked him over.

He was all hard lines and sharp angles, a juxtaposition to Aziraphale, who has nothing but soft curves and gentle lines, whose entire being could be quantified as 'soft' but only in all the best ways.

"See something you like, angel?" He teases before he could think better of it, smug.

"Several things, actually," Aziraphale smiles. "But first, darling, I'd love to see your wings."

"My what?"

"Your wings."

"Oh."

"Please?"

It's close enough to a prayer that Crowley feels it well up inside him like sudden breeze of cool air, his wings spreading and stretching and reaching toward the sky before they settled, curved in around them, ruffled and smoothed.

"They are glorious, you know," Aziraphale is staring at them like they're filled with starlight again, but Crowley knows they aren't. "You...You're glorious."

He swallows everything he wants to scream and smiles instead, reaching to lace their fingers. He can't argue with his angel, he can't fight the rising tide of bile at the back of his throat as he lets Aziraphale touch him, gently, with reverence, so softly it almost burns.

He turns his head into a touch to his cheek, kisses Aziraphale's palm, catches it and holds it in his.

It takes everything in him not to break.

Aziraphale must be able to tell, somehow, because he smiles that soft smile that's full to the brim with love, and leans up and in to press their lips together.

He crumbles, reduced to rubble in Aziraphale's hands as he's guided to the edge of the bed and sat down, still connected with a kiss. He feels himself let go, give out, give in to every little whim and wish and desire he's wanted to share with Aziraphale since he met him. Since he fell for a second time.

"Aziraphale," he gets out with a gasp, the angel pulling back to pepper kisses down his neck, unsure but insistent. "Angel, please--"

The kisses stop, but the hands are still there in his hair, on his neck, holding him together.

"Did I do something wrong, sweetheart?"

It shouldn't make him flush with color, but it does--it's not one of the usual pet-names and it's spoken with such care, such reverence, that it breaks him just a little more.

"No, no, you're perfect, just," he gets his head back from the clouds. "Show me yours too?"

"I thought that was the plan?"

He sounds playful and embarrassed and Crowley has to hold himself together by sheer force of will.

"Your wings," he hisses. "Please."

"Oh!"

Crowley feels them open even before he sees them, a light that almost burns but feels so good he doesn't mind.

"Won't you open your eyes, sweetheart?"

He does, and it's like looking at a star being born.

"Breathtaking," he whispers. "The most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Aziraphale almost preens with the compliment, feathers ruffling before he clears his throat and looks pointedly at Crowley's lap.

"I didn't think about how to get your trousers off once you were on the bed."

"Oh, that's easy," he leans back on his elbows and lifts his hips, sliding sinuously from them in a motion only made so easy by a minor miracle. "Done."

Aziraphale looks like he might implode, his face is so red.

"Oh, sorry, angel, I thought you knew," and his smirk is back to cover all the cracks Aziraphale made in his armor. "I don't usually wear anything underneath."

"You could have warned me!" He blurts, suddenly looking away. "And I even wore underclothes to hell, oh, you are so lucky they don't know you down there."

"Thought you knew better."

"I--" he stops, frowns, and casts his eyes skyward in a tiny motion of prayer. "I love you, you utter scoundrel."

"Feeling's mutual, angel."

Before Crowley can do more than laugh, Aziraphale is in his lap, and he's glowing, and it's all just this side of too much for him.

But his wings are soft and full of light and he touches them without thinking, earning a hum from his angel.

“You're incredible,” he breathes, the words almost ripped from his throat with the need to say them. “I couldn't love you more if I tried, angel.”

“Hush,” and he's laughing, pressing a finger to Crowley's lips to quiet him before he seals his lips with a kiss, chuckles and wraps his arms around Crowley's shoulders.

“I won't,” he gets out between kisses, grinning now. “I'll shout it from rooftops, angel, I'll scream it into space, let the stars know how much I love you.”

“Oh, stop it,” he's still chuckling quietly, embarrassed, kissing his way over Crowley's collarbone, as his hands find where his wings connect and rub circles into the down that have Crowley practically purring. “I love you too, Crowley; endlessly, breathlessly, till the stars die and we all retire, I—”

He stops, pulls back and looks him in the eye, smiles so bright the sun and moon and all the stars look dim in comparison.

“I love you, Anthony J. Crowley, until the end of the world.”

“You've loved me through it.”

“Well,” and he's grinning, mischievous. “Hard part's over then, isn't it?

"Oh, yes, alright, ha-ha, very funny," he sneers, hissing, and Aziraphale giggles in his ear and that should be a sin.

"Of course, cupcake,"

"Cupca—?!"

"Because you look so scrummy," he answers before Crowley can properly articulate his question and what a fucking cheater.

"Get over here," it's a growl, low and hungry and edging toward feral, and Aziraphale rises gracefully to the challenge, drawing himself up, smiling, all light and goodness and love. "Kiss me like you need to."

He thinks it like a command, but it comes out a prayer, and for a moment Aziraphale's eyes are pure Divine Light, luminous and unearthly. And then his lips are against Crowley's, and the world falls away as he pours all his love, all his light, like the water of life into Crowley's hollow chest.

It burns him and he loves it. It crackles through him like lightning and leaves a numbness in his digits he can't explain.

He hears a desperate little whimper fill the room and only realizes he was the one to make it when Aziraphale pulls back to look at him.

"Darling?"

"Perfect," he gasps. "Perfect: you, me, that kiss, whole bloody thing. Perfect."

"Oh," it's less a word and more of a delighted, breathless sigh against his pulse.

He might combust on the spot if his angel isn't careful.

"What's not perfect is where your bloody trousers are," he continues, trying his best to get himself back under some semblance of control. "Seriously, can you do something about those?"

"What, don't you like them?"

And he sounds so hurt, so offended, that for a moment Crowley thinks he means it, and then he catches the twinkle in his eyes, the tiny quirk in his lip, and he shoves Aziraphale off his lap with another hiss.

"Oh, so rude!" He laughs. "Shunned by my lover! Well then! I suppose, when in...the enemy's territory..."

He trails off, and for a moment Crowley is about to launch into a lecture about how they don't even resemble enemies now, nor did they ever, but Aziraphale merely makes a quick motion with his hand and suddenly he's naked as well and oh—

"Fuck," Crowley manages.

"I was under the impression that was the plan, yes?" Aziraphale is teasing him, but there's a hint of unease, of hopeful insecurity that tickles something buried so deep in Crowley's chest he wonders if it's the remains of his soul.

Must be; only Aziraphale could do that to him. Do this to him.

"Come here and we'll make it a reality."

He pauses, takes another long look at Crowley splayed out on the bed, then climbs back into his lap, smiling, settling his cock against Crowley's and letting out a soft groan.

"Oh—oh that is nice," he moves his hips experimentally, little thrusts and shifts, getting comfortable, before he kisses Crowley again. "Dearest, would you mind?"

He doesn't get to ask what he might mind, because a gentle tug to his hair and a guiding hand on his shoulder tumble him back onto the bed and oh—

"Hello," Aziraphale is glowing again, wings spreading and stretching and filling the room with light.

Crowley gulps and suddenly it's too much.

"Aziraphale--" his voice is cracked and raw and bleeding out emotion he didn't intend, but in an instant they're both dressed and Aziraphale is holding him, whispering over and over that he's alright and they're alright and everything everywhere is alright.

"I-I'm sorry if I...if I did anything wrong."

He wants to tell him he's not to blame, but he promised not to lie.

"Maybe...maybe wings were a bad idea," he drains the glass of wine he finds in his hand and doesn't question it. "Or just...just being..."

"I didn't even think of that," he whispers, kissing Crowley's temple, hands touching and soothing everywhere they can reach. "Come on, let's move back to the other room, we can--"

"No, no, I'm not leaving this room until I have gotten to see you have a goddamn orgasm because it has been too long thinking about it and I will not stand for waiting--"

He yelps as he finds himself suddenly straddling Aziraphale's hips, his Angel once more undressed as he lays back on the bed and peaks shyly up.

"Maybe—maybe this is better?"

And Crowley drowns in the emotions that fill his chest, the scorching heat of them enough to warm the air around him, his wings expanding and sucking the light from the room.

"Are you sure?"

"My love, I have never been more sure of anything in my entire existence."

His clothes end up somewhere adjacent to his bed, and he leans back to look Aziraphale over, his angel squirming faintly under the scrutiny.

"You had the right idea, you know," he hums, kissing down Aziraphale's neck, chests brushing, cocks twitching with hints of friction. "Always a good way to start, just to tease."

He licks his hand and has the satisfaction of seeing Aziraphale bite his lips shut.

Better yet, however, is the sound he makes as he gasps, Crowley's hand wrapped tenderly around them both.

He starts slow, barely moving, giving his angel time to adjust before he starts moving his hips, thrusting into his hand and against Aziraphale.

His angel says something that might be his name, but he's too busy gobbling the sound up to pay it much mind.

He's hungry for more—more sounds, more kisses, more of Aziraphale in his mouth, on his tongue—starving even, but moves tortuously slow for his angel.

He's sucking a mark onto his Angel's shoulder as he strokes them both, sure and steady, eyes open as he watches every twitch and tiny expression Aziraphale makes.

"Talk to me, angel," he pleads. "Tell me how it feels."

“There aren't words,” his nails are leaving little dents in Crowley's shoulder that he plans to keep there for days. “Crowley, please, I—I had a plan.”

And it's so soft, so desperate, so close to begging that Crowley decides to take mercy on him—he kisses the mark on his shoulder, kisses up, up, up to his ear and chuckles.

“Did you now? And what was your plan, angel?”

Aziraphale squirms, Crowley's hand going still as he lets him have his moment to explain, to share his plan and let Crowley follow it.

“I wanted you in my mouth,” and his voice is so soft and quiet and shy that Crowley never would have heard it if it weren't whispered into his ear. “To taste you, Crowley—I—I've wanted to know what you taste like for such a long time.”

“Oh, angel,” and he's grinning, sharp and hungry and wild. “All you had to do was ask.”

Aziraphale guides them to the edge of the bed, settles onto his knees between Crowley's legs, wets his lips and chuckles, "you looked so...enticing on your knees, before."

"Well you're not too bad yourself," he manages, a hand straying into Aziraphale's hair as his angel drops a kiss to the head of his cock. "Just—mmm—just don't hurt yourself."

"My darling boy," he smirks. "Whatever makes you think I would be so careless?"

And he's right—Crowley should know better than to question it, at this point. Of course Aziraphale will be careful—not just for his own sake, but for Crowley's too.

And he's perfect. He's soft and slow and meticulous as he uses his mouth to pull Crowley apart a piece at a time, finally taking him fully into his mouth with a delighted little sound that makes Crowley clench his teeth and force himself to keep his hips still.

Instead he pets Aziraphale's hair, encouraging, making tiny little noises that he'll deny later as Aziraphale starts to move his head, still slow, still careful and gentle and loving.

There's a writhing, coiling, ravenous heat pooling in Crowley's stomach and he knows he can't ask but—

"Aziraphale, I want you inside me."

Apparently he can ask.

"But my plan!" He complains once he pulls away and Crowley can't look anywhere but his red, glistening, kiss-swollen lips. "I had it all worked out, Crowley!"

He uses his nails to scratch at the base of Aziraphale's skull and he delights in seeing his angel's eyes flutter for a moment before he pulls himself back to the present and clears his throat.

"I had a plan," he reaffirms, sounding only a little put out. "I was planning to...well, to sit in your lap while you...uh, you...let me ride you."

"Oh," what a marvelous thought. "Well round two I call dibs on being fucked."

Aziraphale smirks and it doesn't do anything to lessen the heat in Crowley's stomach.

"Maybe by then I'll have learned your secrets."

"You know all my secrets, angel."

He doesn't mean to say it, but he doesn't regret it once it's past his lips.

Aziraphale pulls him into a kiss and Crowley groans into it, his angel slipping up into his lap with a rather smug expression.

"I meant in reference to your technique," he teases.

And suddenly, uncomfortably, Crowley realizes that somewhere, sometime, Aziraphale has gotten a very wrong impression of him.

"Angel," and he smiles as soft and gentle as he can. "You'll be my first."

Aziraphale's face does a complicated sort of dance before his expression settles and he's looking both confused and something resembling relieved.

"Oh," and it's breathless, electric, curious and shy. "Well then, I...I suppose this will be a learning experience for us both."

"I'd hope so," Crowley chuckles, pulling him into another kiss as he lets his fingers paint their way down Aziraphale's body. "Now, about that plan of yours..."

And oh, what a good plan it is, having Aziraphale in his lap, smiling down at him, happy and glowing and moaning the moment Crowley touches him again.

He strokes them both together, again, with a chuckle that starts in the back of his throat and ends up kissed into Aziraphale's. His other hand is preoccupied preparing Aziraphale, because he'll be blessed if he lets his angel get hurt their first time.

Aziraphale is babbling something soft and shy into Crowley's mouth as he opens him up, slow and careful and teasing as he gobbles up all the little noises and moans aloud with every little shiver and thrust his angel makes.

It's better than he ever imagined, and he imagined it a lot.

"Please," Aziraphale pants against his neck. "Crowley, sweeting, please."

"Tell me what you want, angel," he looks him in the eye, sees them shine with a billion stars. "Anything, just say it, tell me what you want."

"Could—any chance..." He stops, laughs at himself a little, laces his fingers behind Crowley's head and shifts down onto his fingers with a little gasp. "Any chance we could hurry this ah, along?"

"Greedy," Crowley smirks, waving his hand to make room for himself, and watches Aziraphale gasp and buck forward as it happens. "But I did say anything."

And then Aziraphale is lowering himself down, so slowly Crowley feels frozen, and he can't say anything, so he kisses all the curves he can reach and eases his way into his angel, biting back curses and prayers and everything in between until Aziraphale is fully seated, shivering faintly and humming something that sounds like Handel's Messiah.

"Crowley," and his voice is certain, sound as stone. "Fuck me like you need to."

There are only about 4 things Crowley would ever deny his angel, and an orgasm so good he feels it later is absolutely not one of them, so he does as instructed.

He doesn't hold back this time, instead holding onto Aziraphale as he guides him up, nearly off, and then back down, setting a quick pace that goes deeper with every thrust, breathing in his scent—that new cologne really is so damn good—and letting himself get lost in the sensation, a hand snaking between them to take up Aziraphale's neglected length and match his strokes to the timing of his thrusts, and he pries his eyes open because he refuses to miss a second of this.

"Crowley--!" Aziraphale sucks in a breath, holds it, lets his head fall back and his mouth falls open as a sound like shattering glass, musical and destructive and so damn beautiful, fills the room and he's spilling all over Crowley's chest.

It does burn, but only a little, and Crowley loves every searing second of it.

He stills, breathes, tries to remember what planet he's on and what day it is.

"Aziraphale?"

The hand on his shoulder gives a tiny twitch of recognition before he panics, and he smooths his hands down Aziraphale's sides and chest and just keeps petting him until his angel tips his head back up, wearing a look of pure bliss.

"Good Lord," he pants, voice rough around the edges and raw. "Is that—no wonder humans enjoy that so much."

Crowley is smiling up at him, enamored and endlessly fond.

"You—you're still...?"

He tightens around Crowley and the Demon groans, thrusting up out of reflex.

"No, I—yes, I'm still—" he growls and Aziraphale grins. "Fuck you."

"Thought you just did," he counters with a smirk. "Doesn't that mean its your turn?"

Crowley blinks at him, looking for words and coming up empty.

"May I?"

He nods before he realizes what his head is doing and then gulps as Aziraphale laughs.

He slides off him, slowly, before pushing Crowley back onto the bed.

"Should I—clean you up?"

"Don't you dare."

It still burns and he still loves it.

"Then I won't."

Aziraphale kisses him as he maneuvers them on the bed, pulling back only to look him in the eye.

"Are you alright on your back, this time?"

"Just no wings."

"Promise."

Aziraphale kisses his forehead, and he pulls him close again, desperate for the contact.

"You're beautiful," his angel kisses the sentiment into his skin.

"Aziraphale," it's not even a word, anymore, its a plea.

"I know, darling," he kisses his neck, over his chest, settles between his legs and looks him in the eye as he presses forward, Crowley's body opening up for him.

He screams, and it sounds like his angel's name, but he can't be sure because he's so full and everything's blacking out at the edges, turning to oblivion as Aziraphale settles over him with a moan.

"Beautiful," he reaffirms with a hum. "My beautiful Demon."

His moan turns to a hiss as Aziraphale pulls slowly back before thrusting in again, sure and steady, setting a punishing pace that has Crowley creaking and crackling and bending back on the bed as he scrambles for something to hold and finally finds it in Aziraphale's shoulders, gasping as his angel nibbles along his neck.

"You taste positively scrumptious, by the way," he whispers, voice ragged, and it does something to Crowley to hear him like that. "All the treats in all the worlds, and you are my favorite by far."

He tries to laugh, but the sound is thunder and lightning and crackling fire.

"Won't you let me see it? See the way you feel with me like this," Aziraphale shifts angles, hits something that makes Crowley's vision go white. "Let me come with you, this time, darling. Show me how it feels."

And all the stars in all the heavens say hello as he tumbles over the edge of ecstasy and into eternity. His core quakes like Jericho as he comes apart at every seam, torn asunder with a scream of his angel's name.

All is quiet and still.

And then he feels lips at his pulse and the world starts to spin again, air rushing to fill his lungs.

"Darling?"

He nods. He's not even sure what the question is, but it's Aziraphale asking, so whatever it is, the answer is probably yes. He would never tell his angel no.

"Easy does it, dear boy," and he's hollow again, Aziraphale shifting away, and his hands follow, a whimper out before he thinks to stop it. "I'm here! Right here, darling, just...grabbing...ah!"

He joins Crowley on the bed, curling into and around him, something soft and warm draping over them.

"Thought you might be cold."

"Never felt so warm."

Aziraphale makes a small noise and he knows his angel understands.

"And sticky," he frowns suddenly. "Did you—"

"Well you...you were so..." He clears his throat and gives up. "Yes."

"Good," he tucks himself against Aziraphale, humming as lazy touches linger on his face and hands. "Now you owe me one."

"Do you think that would count as a frivolous miracle?"

"Getting me hard again?" He cracks an eye open to see Aziraphale munching on raspberries and pulls an offended face because where are his raspberries?? "Serves them right if they go snooping."

Aziraphale snorts, kissing him.

He tastes like berries and sunlight.

"Gimme," Crowley opens his mouth expectantly.

Aziraphale rolls his eyes, but dutifully gives him a berry, smiling, "how are feeling?"

"Tired."

"Do you want to sleep?"

He thinks it over, wonders if Aziraphale will leave if he says yes.

"I might have a bit of a lie down myself," he's looking a bit too pointedly at a raspberry. "If you...wouldn't mind the company."

"Angel, we just had sex," and it was fantastic. "Of course you can stay. Wasn't that part of your plan?"

"Well technically, I suppose, I did ask if you wanted to have a long night, but, well, I really only thought through the first bit..."

Crowley does laugh, then, waving a hand and cleaning them both up. He does Aziraphale the kindness of miracleing up a robe for each of them—satin, of course, his angel has standards, after all—and crawls under the covers.

“I love you, Crowley,” Aziraphale whispers as he gets comfortable, settling in beside him, a warm, soft, weight to fill the other side of the bed.

“And I love you, angel,” he smirks up at him, eyes already drooping as he hums low and lazy. “Even past the end of the world.”