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don't you know you're everything i have?

Chapter Text

Guardian angels don't die, but they can Fall. Steve's first angel Fell in the arms of a mortal girl named after a song, leaving little Steve alone and unprotected for the most infinitesimal flash of time, detectable only to beings like demons or God Himself, before he was assigned a brand new angel.

 

And this angel was brand new, had just been hatched, but it had been urgent to give this vulnerable human child the protection of being an angel's charge, so they picked the first available angel.

 

An older angel, invisible to the humans around them, held Dustin out to look at Steve, who was sitting by the foot of the couch in his living room, hugging a teddy bear.

 

"This is Steve, little putto," the elder said with a fond smile, subtly eager to see their first meeting.

 

The littlest angel, not able to flap his downy little wings yet, but already able to smile, grinned at Steve with pure joy, and held out his arms, wanting to touch the friendly-looking human.

 

The elder smiled tranquilly and knelt beside Steve, holding Dustin closer to the little boy. Dustin put a small, gentle hand on Steve's cheek, and the young boy paused in petting the bear he was clutching. Steve looked happier now, reassured, not sensing a difference in this touch from the one he had sometimes received from Tommy when he was sad and alone.

 

🕊

 

Dustin wasn't forced to focus on Steve for the first few years of his life, as his mind hadn't even grown enough to be able to communicate verbally, let alone have the resources to protect Steve. Other angels in Steve's vicinity kept an extra eye on him while they waited for Dustin to grow. Steve wasn't their responsibility, but angels are helpful and good by nature of being angels.

 

Dustin mainly fluttered around the Heavenly Gardens, following butterflies and smelling flowers and taking naps on clouds, occasionally being brought down to see Steve again, to renew that connection with Steve; more for Steve's sake than Dustin's, because even baby angels have good memories for those they love (and angels are creatures of love).

 

When the down on Dustin's wings was replaced by rich brown feathers, and the little angel was given his first white robe, he was ready to go down to Earth and watch over Steve!

 

The older angels looked at this very young angel; bouncing a little on the white marble of the atrium, halo tilted, sleeves a little too long for him, flyaway curls falling into his determined eyes; and hesitated.

 

"...Steve could be his burden now," one tired angel suggested wryly.

 

The others thought about it.

 

"Remember what we have taught you," they said, and ushered Dustin down.

 

🕊

 

All Dustin had to do was keep Steve from dying, and help Steve feel encouraged when he was sad or scared. And it was mostly easy, the not dying part (a few heavy things nearly fell on Steve here and there and once he almost tripped over a large rock in the park chasing a ball, but for the most part Steve lived a peril-free life), but Steve wasn't... very happy.

 

Dustin watched Steve try and fail to get the attention of his parents, holding up drawings, asking them to watch him sing, to just hug him really quick; but they're on the phone, they're busy, they're talking to each other right now, why don't you go play in your room?

 

"That's nice, Steve," Mrs Harrington said, turning back to her magazine, and Steve wilted. He hadn't even finished the second sentence of his story yet.

 

He climbed back up the stairs and walked into his room, closing the door quietly behind him, and climbed onto his bed.

 

Dustin knelt in front of Steve on the bed, feeling for him. Steve's eyes were starting to water, and he wrapped his arms around himself.

 

"Oh, no, Steve," Dustin murmured sadly. This was really the first time he felt he should Intervene for a non-physical-danger reason. He was unsure what to do. He bowed his head, clasping his little hands together just below his chin, and closed his eyes solemnly.

 

Dustin prayed.

 

And then he reached out with diminutive umber wings, spreading them over Steve, careful not to jostle him.

 

Steve, tears drying, surrounded by a sudden feeling of reassurance, got the urge to thank someone as he felt happiness grow swiftly in his chest. It was silly, but he didn't know what else to do with this foreign exhilaration. When he was sad, he cried; when he was tired, he went to sleep. What can you do with happiness?

 

"Thank you," he whispered, unable to stop the wide grin on his face, feeling a bit silly, but no one was really there to see, right?

 

"You are welcome," Dustin said, confused by this extreme reaction, but definitely pleased.

 

🕊

 

Whenever Steve felt sad, Dustin would wrap his wings around him again, projecting all of his love and pride for Steve in that little bubble, maybe spoiling Steve a little because it was really only for emergencies, but Steve was so sad all the time...

 

🕊

 

Steve went back to school and hid in the bathroom and the back of the library frequently, even though he had many friends, because he just had to catch his breath. Dustin followed him, of course, and wasn't sure what was wrong at first, but could see that Steve was obviously feeling dejected, so he stayed as close as possible to his soul without touching his body.

 

🕊

 

Steve fell in the park (non-fatal, so Dustin allowed it) and scraped his knee, and nearly threw up at the sight of his blood leaking out in scary-looking slits.

 

He didn't really need it, but Dustin couldn't bear to see him so distraught, hunched over on the ground covering his pained face. He touched Steve's knee, letting just a little bit of healing warmth radiate.

 

Steve uncovered his eyes when he felt a hand on his knee, but no one was there. And his knee didn't sting as much anymore, the blood already turned into scabs (he didn't yet appreciate how fast that had happened, though). He thought maybe an angel had been there.

 

Dustin asked an angel nearby, looming protectively over a young girl, to watch Steve too for a minute, and then he flew speedily across the street to Mrs Harrington.

 

It took quite a lot of Conscience, but she finally got the idea to check on her boy.

 

Steve's mom actually hugged her son, and Steve smiled, slow, but chuffed, and Dustin felt better.

 

🕊

 

Dustin watched over Steve at night as well, because he lived in a big, well-secured house, but anything could happen.

 

Steve slept so peacefully, Dustin didn't have to do anything, so he just curled up beside him and watched him be carefree.

 

🕊

 

When Steve got sick, Dustin would sometimes touch his forehead, when Steve was at his most deliriously feverish, and watch Steve's face relax.

 

Steve didn't know why he felt coolness on his face quite immediately, but he appreciated it a lot and felt very lucky.

 

🕊

 

Steve was popular at school, but he was still oddly sad all the time. Dustin saw him make and keep many friends, and Dustin was confused, but then he realised that Steve was pretending to be someone else. And he didn't know how to help Steve with that.

 

He noticed Steve's friends make fun of things that Dustin knew Steve loved, and Steve would laugh, too, after a split second of hesitation. And then Steve would look subdued for the next few hours, and Dustin wanted to tell Steve's friends how boring they were.

 

But he couldn't, and their angels couldn't, either, because Free Will, or whatever. And it was frustrating.

 

🕊

 

And then Steve started doing things that were bad for his body.

 

Dustin was losing his mind trying to apply all of the power of Influence to get the feeling of "NO" out when Steve was about to smoke for the first time. And then peer pressure won Steve over, and Steve put the cigarette to his lips, and Dustin's head was falling into the wall.

 

The same thing happened with beer, Dustin sitting next to Steve rubbing his palms into his eyes, thinking, "why me", while Steve took a long, resolute sip from the can.

 

Other angels; hardened by life, used to humans doing stupid things; just thought it was cute; in a sad way, of course, but still cute; to see this small angel looking like an exasperated adult, sitting next to a boy trying to be a man.

 

Then high school happened, and Steve started dating. And that was a whole new source of heartache.

 

He put his heart into every relationship, but when they ended, Steve would be all sad and moody, wondering what went wrong, and Dustin was glued to his side to keep him from crashing.

 

There was also the homework, harder than ever, and the letters swam in front of Steve's eyes when he tried his best to focus, and he cried a lot, frustrated with himself, and it was harder to get through to Steve when he was feeling angry, but Dustin did his best.

 

Steve started getting self-conscious about his body, and his face, and he obsessed over his hair a little bit, staring in front of the mirror at himself for dozens of minutes, frowning, and Dustin didn't understand the displeasure. He thought Steve was cute, ESPECIALLY his smile (why did Steve's eyes always flit away when he saw a picture of himself smiling?), and his nose, and his big, pretty eyes. He wished someone would tell him directly to his face how nice he was to look at.

 

Steve started learning how to drive, and this was normal, and healthy, and good, but Dustin was having angelic heart palpitations. Steve was good at driving, actually, but Dustin had his work cut out for him keeping other cars from crashing into Steve. Whenever Steve finally parked somewhere, Dustin would slump over in relief, but then remember that anything could happened to Steve at any time, anywhere, and Dustin would force himself back up, tiredly resolved.

 

🕊

 

And then Steve met Nancy.

 

And Nancy was AWFUL.

 

She was always subtly letting Steve know how stupid she thought he was, how clingy he was, how he would never be good enough for her or for anyone or anything else.

 

Dustin touched Steve's shoulder after one small but stabbing comment, trying to let him know his best was good enough, but Steve needed Nancy's validation.

 

Dustin had to close his eyes when Steve and Nancy did things angels aren't meant to think about, but it was hard, because what if Steve got stabbed, what if the ceiling fell on him and Nancy, what if a fire started - but Dustin was not meant to watch.

 

And then Dustin would open his eyes in the afterglow, and Steve would look unsatisfied, and try to reach out for a hug, and Nancy would say she was tired and wanted to sleep, and Steve would look sad, and Dustin wanted to cry.

 

🕊

 

Jonathan was beating Steve up, and Dustin kept it from going too far, but Steve's face was all bloody and bruised and Dustin wanted to scream.

 

🕊

 

And then Billy was beating Steve up, and he was determined to kill Steve, and that was very hard to fight against. Steve took a lot of damage from that, and he actually, nearly died.

 

When Billy finally got knocked out, the others left an also unconscious Steve there with him, too busy to tend to their protector.

 

Dustin watched Billy in his peripheral while he healed Steve as best he could, keeping a brightly glowing hand on his forehead for several minutes, bent over him protectively, stroking his hair and feeling his pulse with his other hands; it was a matter of life or death, it was okay if he was a little closer to Steve than usual.

 

Steve was so close to death that he saw Dustin for a second - a flash of unfamiliar blue eyes and a halo of short, dark hair.

 

And then Steve closed his eyes and he passed back out.

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When Steve woke up, there were people in the house again, taking him and Billy into separate rooms, asking him questions, and his head ached, and he asked who the kid with blue eyes and dark hair was, where they'd come from, where they'd gone; and everyone just stared at him and couldn't answer his questions.

 

Steve wondered briefly if his brain had combined Mike and Max's faces, but he somehow guessed neither of them had stuck around to see if he lived or died.

 

Dustin was glad Steve couldn't see him anymore, because Steve wasn't on death's doorstep anymore; but he also ached a little. It was nice to have been looked at by the person he'd been guarding for more than a decade.

 

🕊

 

Steve never did go to the hospital, and his vision went blurry a lot after that, and his head felt like it was going to split open from time to time, and he felt slow and foggy more often than not, words sometimes slurring, and Dustin was not an angel of vengeance, but he wished he was.

 

🕊

 

Dustin finally hit full angel puberty, and his wings grew, and he began using them far more often, shielding Steve from any negative look or word thrown his way, keeping Steve's body temperature extra regulated, subtly dimming the light and muffling the sounds in Steve's personal bubble when he started to get a migraine.

 

The angels were pleased with Dustin's growth, but they were also worried about how dedicated he was to Steve.

 

Steve started trying to draw Dustin. He wasn't a skilled artist, but Dustin recognised himself immediately, and he lit up every time he saw a picture of his face, giddy that Steve wasn't forgetting him.

 

Steve started attending college, getting reading glasses that made him look arrestingly wise, and he was back to studying, having a hard time, and Dustin enfolded him in his wings when he started getting frustrated. Focusing on his own well-being, and how things were somehow easier for him now, sensitive to Dustin's sway, he let himself fall into the suggestion of calming down and trying again.

 

Dustin hadn't realised he was falling in love until it was pointed out to him by a flock of concerned angels coming to Check On Him.

 

They warned him that he had to stop that train of feeling.

 

And he was HORRIBLY embarrassed.

 

And then he was panicking.

 

Steve was too old to get another guardian angel if Dustin left him.

 

So Dustin tried his hardest to curb his feelings.

 

🕊

 

But Steve kept remembering Dustin, and then he dreamed about him.

 

🕊

 

It wasn't a normal dream taking place in a figment of imagination.

 

Steve was just on his bed in his dorm and suddenly Dustin was there.

 

The being with curly brown hair like a halo, and round blue eyes, prettier than Steve remembered them... him, his chest was flat, and, he was wearing white robes-?

 

Dustin realised Steve was staring directly at where Dustin's eyes were, and Steve looked startled, and, was Steve looking at him? "...Steve?"

 

"Who are you?" Steve sat up, and took note of Dustin's wings, and actual halo, and extra arms, which vanished as soon as Dustin followed Steve's eyes to his inhuman appendages.

 

Dustin watched Steve's gaze start to dart all over Dustin's body after that, and Dustin smiled in amusement, and also joy, because Steve could see him and wasn't dying. "My name is Dustin. I'm watching over you."

 

"Are you, like... an angel?" Steve asked, already thinking, SCORE, whatever this is, it's pretty.

 

"Yeah," Dustin said. "I'm your guardian angel."

 

And Dustin could feel that Steve was attracted to him, and Dustin wasn't sure what to do with that information; it definitely made him happy, but also, this was not legal, which was scary,

 

But Steve kept talking to him, asking him if he could fly, what Heaven was like, what God was like, if demons were real, and Dustin couldn't just not answer his questions, kind of delighted by Steve's curiosity.

 

And Dustin told Steve that he wasn't sure why Steve could see him, because people can usually only see angels when they're about to die.

 

And Steve asked if he'd been dying before.

 

And Dustin just nodded, soberly, hating that memory so, so much.

 

Steve said, "I should have died..." As in, "Why didn't I die? That was weird" and Dustin knew what he meant, but Dustin also heard "I deserved to die".

 

"You deserve to live more than anyone," Dustin said, more fiercely than he intended.

 

Steve wondered if all guardian angels were this biased.

 

(More or less.)

 

But he did kind of need to hear someone say that. Not necessarily "more than anyone", but that he deserved to be alive.

 

Dustin could feel Steve's heart lighten, and he started pouring compliments and validation over Steve, gentle but insistent, telling Steve he had been doing a good job, and Dustin was proud of him.

 

And Steve started crying, overwhelmed, but his chest was full of a feeling Steve could only think to describe as "Light", full and fizzy and effervescent.

 

Dustin softly wiped his tears away (and Steve was hit with a small physical wave of devotion when Dustin touched his face) and told him to get some sleep, a loving command, and Steve settled back down, drained in a good way.

 

Dustin tucked Steve back in, gazing at him tenderly, and lay a lenient palm on Steve's forehead.

 

Steve fell asleep quite instantly.

 

🕊

 

When Steve woke up, he thought it was definitely just a dream, but he felt really good.

 

Maybe it was a dream, but did that make his angel imaginary? Lots of people were visited by special people in their dreams, and it was always significant and important to them and no one put them down for it.

 

Dustin was over the moon to see Steve still happy from last night, smiling as he got dressed and carrying that happiness and strength with him into the day.

 

Steve sat in the bus, looking out the window, thinking about how he really had a guardian angel who was always there for him. He felt a little self conscious for the next few days, but also... protected and safe.

 

🕊

 

Steve sometimes spoke to Dustin out loud, and it was therapeutic for Steve, and Dustin was excited to hear Steve's thoughts, because Dustin could empathise with Steve, but never knew exactly what he was thinking about.

 

And Dustin started touching Steve more often, when no other angels were around, to let him know he really was there; just a soft touch on his shoulder or hand, with a gentle squeeze when Steve noticed the touch and looked down to try to see who it was. A smile would spread on Steve's face, and Dustin felt really really good.

 

But Dustin had the worst time whenever Steve took a shower. He was very aware that he wanted to see Steve's whole body, incredibly curious in a not-so-innocent way (although it really was very innocent), but he couldn't afford to look away from Steve when Steve was in such a vulnerable space, so Dustin would just try very hard to focus on his eyes until Steve had a towel wrapped around him and Dustin could relax again.

 

Dustin was aware of how much Steve trusted him; in awe of him; and Dustin felt like he had the biggest responsibility ever, and he was determined not to mess it up. But it was hard to not want Steve, since he was never apart from him, always thinking about him, because he was always right in front of him.

 

Angels are not usually capable of feeling this much devotion for anyone but God.

 

When angels love humanity more than God, bad things happen to them, things like having their wings stripped away from them, or being cast into Hell. Falling.

 

Dustin struggled so much with these strange, alien feelings for Steve, worrying about being found out, and just wanting to keep Steve safe.

 

Dustin tried so hard to ignore how he felt, but it was hard, when Steve stopped flirting with people.

 

Steve was acting like he was taken. (And he certainly was taken with someone.)

 

Steve never spoke of how he was feeling about Dustin, but Dustin had the worst feeling that Steve was maybe thinking about him a lot, in ways you don't usually think about your guardian angel.

Chapter Text

Steve spent so much time being aware of Dustin's presence that he began to see Dustin again.

 

More and more, blurry flares of hickory curls or bright blue eyes, slowly becoming longer lasting images of the whole personage.

 

Steve's face would light up when he saw Dustin, and Dustin would smile guiltily, and talk to Steve.

 

They talked about their day, and Steve would end up asking Dustin questions about angel life, and Dustin would tell Steve a little more than he needed to or was allowed to know, and they became friends.

 

They had inside jokes and Steve would start chuckling out of "nowhere" in public and try to hide it and Dustin wouldn't help at all, staring at him with a knowing grin, watching him try to keep a straight face.

 

Dustin stopped touching Steve now that he could see him, but he knew how touch starved Steve was. He wished Steve would find a girlfriend or something, even though the idea was painful.

 

Steve kept leaning closer to Dustin, and then stopping himself, looking so needy.

 

Dustin finally gave in, waiting until Steve fell asleep one night, and petted Steve's hand with a feather-light touch, lying on his stomach watching Steve's eyelashes move with his REM cycle.

 

Steve woke up feeling a little bit better than when he had gone to sleep, which was unusual for him, and he looked curiously at Dustin, wondering if he'd blessed him in his sleep or something.

 

Dustin just smiled innocently at him, the picture of a rule follower.

 

Steve didn't know why Dustin always kept at least a few inches distance from him, but he remembered from church years ago how dangerous holy power can be, and assumed it had something to do with that.

 

Nothing to do with an angel losing complete respect for authority and backpedaling as hard as they could.

 

🕊

 

One day, Steve did touch Dustin.

 

Steve had been having a hard day, stress making a headache even worse, so Dustin was sitting next to him on the bus rather than hovering above him, keeping strangers from wanting to sit next to Steve, keeping his wings spread around himself and Steve.

 

Steve slowly reached out a trembling hand and stroked the metacarpal of Dustin's left wing, to see if it was as soft as it looked, in contrast to the harsh plastic of the bus around them and the sharp noises of the cars outside; even the colour of Dustin's feathers soothing, warmly dark.

 

Dustin's wings were very soft.

 

Dustin twitched in surprise and then he shivered, face turning red, because that felt really good.

 

Steve watched his reaction eagerly, lost in the comforting texture on his fingertips, running his fingers up the ridge of Dustin's wing, and then pulled his hand back because the bus had stopped and it was time to get out.

 

 

 

"Sorry," Steve apologised after he closed his door behind them. "Your feathers just looked so soft and plush, like a quilt, or something, and it was so bright in there..." Steve blushed, rubbing his forehead gingerly, not sure how to have phrased that, brain starting to fog again. He looked away from Dustin to lock the door.

 

"It's alright, I touched you all the time, before," Dustin assured him, "but I wasn't expecting you to touch me? It's not typical... But it felt... really nice." His wings fluttered at the new memory.

 

"You always make me feel better, and I can see you now. Can I return the favor?" Steve asked, genuinely wanting to know if it was okay, even possible - maybe Dustin didn't need physical contact to stay healthy and sane.

 

Dustin looked out the window. No angels on the street. "You can touch me whenever you want; not just my wings," he whispered.

 

Steve looked down at Dustin's hands; elegant tan fingers coming out the end of Dustin's loose white sleeves like celestial sweater paws; and Steve took one.

 

Dustin's hand felt like silk, but also strong, and warm, and Steve laced their fingers together and looked back up at Dustin. "Is this good?"

 

Dustin smiled softly. "Yeah."

 

 

 

They kept holding hands while Steve worked on homework, and made dinner, and then just sat on the couch, talking about the usual friendly things with Dustin.

 

Steve fell asleep, grip loosening, and Dustin left the room to get a blanket to cover him with.

 

He tucked the blanket tightly around Steve and kissed his forehead, and Steve stirred a little, because his face felt kind of hot but in a nice, sleepy way, like the summer sun.

 

Dustin stepped back and looked at the shining mark on Steve's forehead that only angels could see.

 

Steve smiled in his sleep, and Dustin's heart soared with fondness.

 

🕊

 

The Kiss would last Steve for the rest of his time on Earth, as long as Dustin had Grace, keeping Steve safe from any kind of physical harm when Dustin wasn't there - from minor sickness to people trying to hurt him. Its power was only activated in Dustin's absence, though, like autopilot, letting Steve continue to live a Normal life if Dustin was right there with him.

 

Most people weren't really meant to be given this gift, because it made humans too powerful and gave angels an excuse to slack off, and Dustin would have some explaining to do if any angels questioned him. They just didn't understand how important Steve was.

 

 

 

But now Dustin could get some fresh air.

 

He spent some time on his own for the first time since he was allowed to wander the Heavenly Gardens.

 

He tried to think about something that wasn't Steve, but it didn't work.

 

He didn't want to think about anything else.

 

Dustin was in love.

Chapter Text

When Dustin came back to him, Steve reached out for a hug, and Dustin couldn't say no, wrapping Steve tightly in four arms and two wings.

 

Steve fell asleep with his head in Dustin's lap, feeling surrounded and safe.

 

🕊

 

Steve and Dustin were joined at the hip, literally, Steve always asking for physical affection, pulling Dustin over to him until they bumped into each other and grinned.

 

Steve would look odd holding no one's hand in public, so they settled for Dustin keeping his hand on Steve's shoulder, gently kneading when Steve waited for traffic lights or stopped to talk to someone.

 

Steve needed reassurance so bad, and Dustin couldn't deny him this loving contact after Steve had been untouched for so long.

 

🕊

 

Dustin didn't need to rest, but Steve enjoyed pulling Dustin down on the couch and petting him like an angelic eight-limbed cat, stroking his hair and scratching his scalp... and watching him make a small droning sound and glow, dimly, in gratification, Dustin's entire body lighting up with a soft golden glister, barely noticeable but there, really soothing in a dark room.

 

Dustin didn't know purr-glowing was a thing, and was kind of unsettled at first, but Steve looked so delighted by Dustin's involuntary reaction. Dustin could feel Steve self-comforting this way, so it was Good.

 

"Are angels related to light bulbs?" Steve asked him, combing his fingers through Dustin's hair and admiring his glow stick friend's shining skin.

 

Dustin frowned up at him. "Are you about to tell me a bad joke?"

 

"No. You just remind me of a light bulb right now." Steve smiled sleepily and tapped Dustin's nose. "You're buzzing or something."

 

"Sorry," Dustin mumbled, closing his eyes. Steve's sleepiness was contagious.

 

"No, it's cute- cool."

 

Dustin's wings came up to cover his face. "Thank you..."

 

Steve hadn't meant to embarrass Dustin, but, fuck. He was so cute.

 

"You're cute," Dustin said insistently from beneath his feathers.

 

Dustin uncovered his eyes to see Steve blushing now. Aww. Dustin sat up and slipped off of the couch, fluttering a few feet up in the air. "I-"

 

"Stay right there!" Steve bolted off the couch.

 

Dustin nearly fell down from surprise, but froze obediently (as frozen as he could be while rapidly flapping his wings to stay aloft), warily following Steve across the room with his eyes. "What?"

 

Steve grabbed a pen and a piece of paper. "I want to draw that."

 

Dustin relaxed. "Draw what?"

 

"You," Steve said, excited, "flying! It's so cool!"

 

Steve wished he could just take a picture of Dustin, his art skills leaving much to be desired, but Dustin probably wouldn't be comfortable with that even if he could be caught on film.

 

Dustin thought about how blurry his wings probably looked right now, violent flapping fanning Steve's hair back. "You can get a better view of my wings if we go out and I glide," he suggested.

 

"Yeah! Let'sgolet'sgo!" Steve ran off to the door. Dustin followed him grinning, beyond endeared.

 

 

 

Steve sat cross-legged on the roof, leaning back against the wall, gazing at Dustin.

 

Dustin smiled at Steve, and then lifted off; higher and higher, until he was drifting in the blue sky, wings propped in the air.

 

Dustin looked down at Steve.

 

Steve had forgotten about the paper in his lap, staring at Dustin's wings.

 

Lit up by the sun, his feathers were golden brown, and his wings were so large and strong and majestic, and Steve kind of wanted Dustin to smite him or something.

 

Steve urgently beckoned Dustin back down.

 

Dustin landed, kneeling in front of Steve, concerned. "You alright?"

 

Steve took a long, agonising minute to speak, looking away from Dustin's probing eyes to the soft outline of Dustin's thighs under his robe. "Um..."

 

"Steve?"

 

Steve finally spat it out, "Can you carry me up?", looking hopeful and abashed.

 

Dustin was struck by how dark and soulful Steve's eyes were, looking right into his own, and Dustin deliquesced.

 

This is not necessary for Steve's well-being, but also, yes. "Certainly."

 

So Dustin took Steve in his arms, and Steve was like, oh, arms strong, and rested his head on Dustin's shoulder, studying the plane of Dustin's elegant, bare neck up close, and Dustin hovered up in the air, slowly, watching to be sure Steve wasn't scared.

 

"Is this good?"

 

Steve nodded, and then, "Can we go higher? This is, like, my childhood dream." Flying, not being held by a beautiful supernatural being.

 

"You're not afraid of heights?" Dustin asked.

 

"...I trust you," Steve answered. Maybe his dream was more about being held by a beautiful supernatural being.

 

Dustin knew Steve trusted him, and felt, about that, like he was being entrusted with the most precious, fragile treasure. "OK."

 

Dustin flew Steve up into the clouds, and set him down on a particularly soft one, which Steve felt the otherworldly firmness of underneath him before he had time to worry about the fact that Dustin was suddenly dropping him.

 

Steve patted the cloud. "Um... HOLY SHIT?"

 

Dustin giggled at the blasphemous swearing before realising it probably seemed like he found Steve's astonishment funny. "Angels can walk on clouds."

 

"Of course... Why can I sit on one?"

 

"Because I want you to." Dustin sat beside him, stretching out his wings.

 

"Am I heavy?" Steve asked, watching Dustin's wings.

 

"No, but you were becoming anxious, so..."

 

Steve felt warm and soft at the angel's care, and settled against Dustin's side, watching the sun move lower in the horizon.

 

 

 

Steve wanted to explore when the sky had turned crimson. He stood up carefully, trusting Dustin to stop him before he even thought of doing something life-threatening.

 

It was like walking on a soft rug. Steve slipped out of his shoes and dropped them on the cloud floor. (They didn't plummet to the ocean below.)

 

Dustin watched Steve walk around the huge field of clouds looking fascinated by every shadowy white puff of ignored physics he passed by.

 

Steve turned back to Dustin, beaming, looking thrilled. "This is awesome!"

 

 

 

Dustin followed a very excited Steve through a mile of sky, chest fluttering like it was filled with doves just learning how to fly.

 

He hadn't seen Steve this animated in a long time, looking like his energy and enthusiasm was boundless.

 

The stars were out now, and Steve's hair was shining.

 

Steve turned to Dustin again, and then stood very still.

 

And Dustin was hit like a truck with Steve's desire.

 

"You look like a star," Steve said, little incandescent Dustins reflected in his eyes, voice painfully soft.

 

It was a confusing read, one large nimbus of hunger directed at him, but Dustin was pretty sure Steve just wanted to kiss him, because now Steve was standing very close to him and his lips were centimetres away from Dustin's.

 

Dustin wanted to kiss Steve, too.

 

"I love you," Dustin said, to start with, unable to keep looking at Steve, "but we can't touch like this."

 

"Why?" without a beat.

 

"If I cross into unholy behaviour like, this, for just one second, I will Fall, and you will be unprotected and alone."

 

Dustin loved him, and his first priority was Steve's safety, when the way he said the word "fall" made him sound terrified, and Steve didn't think he'd ever felt this much torturous longing and love before in his life.

 

Steve stepped back and took Dustin's hand, brotherly. "I love you, too."

Chapter Text

The rule was technically just "no touching". Temptation by itself went unpunished, for angels and man alike.

 

The angels wouldn't approve of this, but God wasn't raining mighty vengeance down right now or anything.

 

Dustin watched Steve touch himself.

 

Steve pulled off his shirt, maintaining eye contact; and this wasn't anything Dustin hadn't seen before, but knowing he had permission to look at Steve put this in a different light, put him at ease.

 

Steve lay back on his bed and Dustin's eyes darkened, following Steve's hands as he ran them slowly up his own skin.

 

Steve closed his eyes, shy, to stroke his nipples. Dustin watched enraptured as they hardened beneath his touch and Steve made a small pleased noise.

 

"How does that feel?" Dustin asked, unable to stem his curiosity.

 

Eyes still closed, Steve searched for an answer. "Uh... Really good? Like... when I touched your wings..."

 

Dustin blushed.

 

"...But that feeling going straight to my dick."

 

"Oh..." Dustin looked at the growing bulge in Steve's pants.

 

Dustin had a dick. But it wasn't out right now. He thought it felt weird, honestly. And angels weren't really supposed to use them, they were there because angels were human prototypes. Humans really got to do everything. Also, Steve thought Dustin's "extra" arms looked odd, yes? That's how Dustin felt about dicks. Except Dustin really wanted to see Steve's right now.

 

"Can I see?"

 

"Yeah," Steve said, carefully not stammering. He opened his eyes, looking up briefly at Dustin, and unzipped his jeans, shimmied out of them, and tugged his underwear down.

 

That was definitely a dick. A large one. Angels were lucky theirs weren't that big, because, imagine having that hanging out under thin robes. At least, Dustin was assuming all humans were this well-endowed. He had no way of knowing.

 

Dustin lay on his stomach to look more closely.

 

Steve wasn't sure what reaction he was honestly expecting there, but Dustin didn't look disgusted, so that was good?

 

"It feels good to touch?" Dustin finally asked, looking up at Steve's face.

 

Steve's dick twitched at Dustin saying "it feels good" so close by. Dustin's eyes flew back down. "...Yeah..."

 

"Can you touch it?" It sounded like begging, but more from intellectual curiosity than the kind of thirst Steve was used to.

 

"Sure." Steve covered his smile with one hand, and wrapped his other hand around his dick, giving a gentle, experimental jerk.

 

"Mm." Steve was glad his hand was over his mouth, because he was more sensitive than he thought tonight; Dustin's proximity, sort-of-innocent as it was, doing things to him.

 

Dustin felt a sudden burning sensation low in his belly at Steve's reaction to the touch.

 

Dustin found that he preferred watching Steve's face during this.

 

Steve was very expressive, and beautiful noises came from his mouth as he dragged his fingers over himself, watching Dustin watch him.

 

Dustin wanted to touch him, just to stroke his cheek, but got the sense that even a platonic touch wouldn't be appropriate while someone was jerking themself off. "You're so pretty."

 

Steve was already quite worked up, and that seemed to do it for him. He came hard into his hand, moans sounding like a melody to Dustin.

 

 

 

Dustin cleaned Steve up while he lay there limply, protests cut off by a quiet "I want to take care of you."

 

 

 

Steve pulled Dustin down when he came back, and Dustin curled up next to Steve, and they fell asleep, foreheads brushing.

 

🕊

 

Dustin ran a gentle thumb down the back of Steve's neck.

 

Steve tried not to looked turned on standing in line to order a burrito.

 

Dustin moved his hands to Steve's shoulders, rubbing more firmly.

 

This line was very slow. Steve looked around the crowded, cramped building, then down at his shoulder to catch a glimpse of Dustin's hand, before Dustin moved down to Steve's lower back.

 

"Dustin..." Steve mumbled, trying to lean back into Dustin's body, but Dustin moved away before Steve's ass could bump into his crotch. "Please."

 

Steve readjusted himself as inconspicuously as possible when Dustin put his hands up Steve's shirt, and let out a sound only describable as "hhhhh".

 

Dustin rubbed little circles into Steve's waist. "You're alright, my love," he whispered into Steve's ear.

 

 

 

Dustin held Steve's spot in line when Steve ran into the bathroom.

 

🕊

 

His hands held down on the mattress above his head, Steve lay underneath Dustin, and they gazed at each other, fighting the urge to kiss, or move hips inappropriately closer.

 

"I love you," Dustin said.

 

Steve bit his lip and groaned. "I love you, too." He pulled one hand away and snaked it into his sweatpants, and Dustin pushed himself up farther away from Steve, letting go of Steve's other hand, watching fondly as Steve got himself off in the shelter of Dustin's body and spread wings.

 

"Can't you feel... anything?" Steve asked with a small stutter; prepared to be more explicit if Dustin didn't understand, but also not sure what terms to use, himself.

 

"Yes," Dustin said, voice controlled, because he couldn't let himself be breathless. "But I don't think I can do anything about it without... uh... sinning."

 

Steve stopped moving. "Oh, my god..."

 

"It's okay. I don't even know what I'm missing." Dustin just knew that sometimes he wanted to get relief from this built-up feeling so bad that he started sobbing after Steve fell asleep (but it felt good, like the anticipation before a hug, lasting forever). But absolutely no one needed to know about that. "It's not even that bad." It wasn't a lie, because it was true.

 

Steve slipped his hand back out of his pants, forcing his hips not to buck, so he could cup Dustin's cheek with his other hand. "That's awful... Come here." He pulled Dustin down to lie next to him.

 

Dustin snuggled into Steve, nuzzling his chest. "I really don't mind."

 

"That's not right, though." Steve absently stroked Dustin's wing.

 

Dustin felt his unwarranted dick materialise at the touch to the part of his body he'd realised was erogenous, but luckily, Steve didn't realise, so this was Innocent, but also, kind of a problem- "Uh..."

 

"What?" Steve paused.

 

Angels weren't punished for being forced to feel good.

 

But Dustin knew Steve would feel really bad if he ever found out what he was doing to Dustin without Dustin's "consent".

 

But Dustin really wanted this pent-up feeling to go away.

 

Hhhh.

 

"Just. Look," Dustin scooted away, gesturing to his nether regions.

 

Steve stared. "Oh. Oh my god. I'm so sorry-"

 

"Nonono, it's okay!" Dustin patted Steve's back, because Steve was looking stressed out, and that was not okay. "I think it's my wings."

 

"God, that really sucks."

 

"...Yeah."

 

"Oh, Dusty." Steve hugged Dustin again, careful not to bump his wings.

 

🕊

 

Dustin told Steve that they had to be careful not to be caught together like that because it would be taken, well, the way it was, and the angels would be incensed.

 

🕊

 

Steve wondered what would happen when he died. If he would still have to be separate from Dustin.

 

Dustin could feel Steve's separation anxiety, although Dustin was right there, and he thought he could guess what Steve was thinking about.

 

Dustin felt the same. When Steve died, inevitably went to Heaven, Dustin would no longer need to watch over him. Dustin would be assigned to a new child.

 

🕊

 

Steve started crying like he'd just lost a family member, or been broken up with.

 

People on the street would ask Steve if he was okay, and Steve would dry his tears and smile at them and say everything was fine, and Dustin would hurt for Steve.

 

And Steve was already weeping a lot on his own, lamenting how unfair this was, but sometimes he would think he would be okay.

 

And then he'd wake up to see Dustin crying quietly, and it was like an arrow shooting through Steve's heart. A crying angel? Heartbreaking enough to see.

 

Even worse when it was an angel you loved.

Chapter Text

Dustin said he wouldn't mind Falling for Steve.

 

Steve didn't want Dustin to Fall.

 

🕊

 

They went to a hiking trail, far away from the nearest angel.

 

Dustin flew a couple of yards above Steve the whole way, focusing on the wind in his wings.

 

Steve went off the path about halfway up the mountain.

 

They ended up by a stream.

 

It was dark.

 

Dustin was glowing from head to toe. Steve imagined him with two bleeding slits in his back, with no halo.

 

Steve tried to imagine never seeing Dustin again, for eternity.

 

"Please, Steve," Dustin urged as soon as he felt Steve's hesitation sway in their favour.

 

Steve pulled Dustin down and kissed him.

 

Light flooded into Steve for a minute, and it felt really good for Steve, in a painful burning way, this intimate contiguity to a celestial being only full of love for Steve.

 

It really hurt Dustin, touching a human like this, even though it felt like coming home, but he didn't pull away.

 

Dustin's halo went out like a candle flame and his robes faded away at the same time as his wings started deteriorating. He started to fall to the ground, and Steve caught him, dropping slowly to his knees after Dustin's head landed on Steve's shoulder.

 

Steve watched Dustin's wings crumble into particles.

 

Steve held him tightly and prayed that the rest of Dustin wouldn't die or vanish.

 

Dustin curled into Steve for one excruciating minute, unable to talk.

 

Steve told him fervently that he would be okay.

 

Dustin fell asleep, chest rising and falling, breathing. Steve kissed his hair and cradled his head.

Chapter Text

The sun rose.

 

The fallen angel opened his eyes, all power gone. All that was left was Dustin, and Steve loved him.

 

Dustin saw Steve, and Steve was there, and they were together, and Steve was holding onto him, solid and real and tearing up, not looking at Dustin's face anymore, looking to the side...

 

Dustin felt lighter than he was supposed to.

 

Dustin sat up and remembered, when he only felt pain as he tried to move his wings, and saw no movement in his peripheral, that he didn't have wings anymore. Or all of his arms. He'd lost four limbs.

 

Steve watched Dustin cry hard.

 

Steve was sure he'd done something unforgivably wrong, but was also just filled with relief that Dustin was fucking alive.

 

"I can't do anything," Dustin said, voice breaking. "I'm useless. I..."

 

"You still have a halo," Steve said, touching Dustin's hair.

 

Dustin smiled and fell into Steve's chest, letting the last of his sobs die there, a little hysterical. Steve stroked his back, careful not to touch the angry-looking scabs.

 

After a while of Steve quietly telling Dustin how amazing and wonderful and beautiful he was, how he loved him so much, Dustin pulled himself up and kissed Steve, and they tried to keep kissing after they started laughing, overwhelmingly in shock and in love, and Steve wiped the tears away from Dustin's face.

 

🕊

 

They went back to Steve's room and Steve bandaged Dustin up, because his wounds had started bleeding again, and kissed his back, and then Dustin rested on top of Steve on the couch with a soft blanket covering them both up while Steve wondered if he could take Dustin to a hospital, if Dustin's anatomy would be a problem.

 

And Dustin interrupted Steve's thoughts for more kissing, and Steve couldn't deny either of them that.

Chapter Text

Dustin's back soon healed enough for him to be able to lie down on it comfortably.

 

Steve pressed him down into the mattress and kissed his lips, his jaw, his throat, worshiping his angel, thanking him for his sacrifice, running his hands down Dustin's chest, kissing his breast above his heart.

 

"Can I just-" Dustin made grabby hands for Steve's whole body, wanting to worship him, too.

 

"Please let me do this for you first," Steve said, soft and a little sad, puppy eyes boring into Dustin's soul.

 

"...Okay." Dustin settled down, and then Steve's hand was on his dick, and Dustin gasped and pressed his head back hard against the pillow. "Holyshityes."

 

Dustin quieted after that, focused on the amazing feeling of immediate succor from the sweet torment he was used to doing nothing about.

 

When Dustin squeezed his eyes shut, knees coming up and bumping against Steve's sides, trying to fold himself up, Steve kissed him adoringly, wanting to know what was going on in Dustin's mind, but also okay with the possibility that maybe his boyfriend was just quiet during sex. And he'd been through a lot. Steve wouldn't try to pry Dustin out of himself tonight.

 

But Dustin kissed him back with zeal, breath coming out hot in his mouth, and Steve delighted in this expressiveness.

 

And then, "I think I'm gonna come."

 

"Go on," Steve ushered, petting his cheek, voice low and eager.

 

"..Okay." Dustin felt his body unwind in a split second, letting out a tearless sob, positive he would be disappearing into this white void if Steve wasn't there holding onto him, overwhelmed, but finally free.

 

Steve kissed Dustin's neck while he worked him through his first orgasm. "You're okay, baby."

 

Dustin stilled after another few seconds, and opened his eyes blearily. "I love you," he said, because he wasn't sure he could stay awake any longer to show Steve properly how much he loved him.

 

"I love you, too."

 

Dustin shut his eyes back closed and pulled up one of Steve's hands to hug his arm, not caring if it was the clean one or not.

 

Steve kissed his forehead and cuddled up beside him, mission accomplished.