Aziraphale smiled at the picture on his laptop. He and Anathema’s latest client beamed out of picture, arms around each other and faces pressed close. Behind them, the Carribean sea spread wide and clear, the perfect backdrop for the happy couple. Aziraphale took a pleased sip of tea and closed the email, then got to his feet and headed to his boss’s office. They had a new client due any moment.
Anathema was sat behind her desk, glasses on the end of her nose and hair in a messy bun. The office around her was pleasantly cluttered, filled with samples and swatches and every other odd and end needed to run a wedding planning service.
“Did you see Daivd and Tom’s pictures?” he asked, smoothing his waistcoat.
Anathema nodded, eyes glued to her screen as she typed, “They looked happy,” she said, smiling at the screen.
“Another job well done then,” Aziphral said, with a little smile, patting his waistcoat.
“The wedding doesn’t make the marriage,” Anathema said, distractedly, not noticing Aziraphale ’s smile slip, “We just help with the one day.”
“Quite right then,” he said, looking at his shoes, fixing a smile back in place, then turning back to Anathema. “I have the notes on your new clients.”
“Excellent,” Anathema shut her laptop and sitting back, “Let me have it.”
Aziraphale took a seat in front of her desk and flipped open the file in his hands. All the information was on his laptop, but he much preferred paper notes and files. “Your next couple are Gabriel Evenly and Anthony Crowley. They’re thinking of an August wedding. No finalized date as yet, but they want it in a church. They’re interested in the full package.”
Azipheral smiled, the full package clients were the most fun. They were the ones who paid Anathema, and by extension him, for help with every single aspect of the wedding; from picking the band, to choosing the wedding suits. It was delightful.
Anathema returned his grin, “Excellent,” she rubbed her palms together, “Did they mention any preferences to you?”
“Mr. Everly seemed to lean toward a lighter colour scheme. Creams and whites.”
“Cream? At a wedding? Shocking,” Anathema deadpanned.
“Don’t knock tradition, my dear,” Aziraphale said primly, eyes twinkling.
Anathema winked at him and got to her feet. “Put the coffee on and I’ll meet you in the consulting room,” she said, moving to the mirror and smoothing her hair. “I’m putting you in charge of your favourites; coordinating the catering and the wedding outfits.”
Azirapheral grinned, “Of course.”
He headed to the tiny kitchen and set up the coffee tray. Excitement buzzed through him at the thought of days spent sampling cake and picking fabrics with a happy couple. Working for Anathema had been the right choice after he’d been forced to quit his last job. She saw his talents and appreciated it. Plus, she was kind, which was a blessing after his last boss.
As the coffee brewed, he checked over his appearance in the bathroom adjacent to the kitchen. It wouldn’t do to seem unkempt in front of clients. He straightened his bow tie and fluffed his hair, then turned this way and that to make sure the back of his trousers weren’t too creased. He tugged at his waistcoat again. The blasted thing was getting tight, which he blamed on the new cake from his favourtie bakery.
Satisfied with how he looked, he set the tray with cups, coffee pot and cookies and trotted over to the consulting room. Unlike Anathema’s office, this room was as neat as a pin. It was large, with one wall made entirely of glass, giving guests an impressive view of snowy Soho. The walls were covered with rich dark blue wallpaper bisected by thin stripes of gold. An impressive mahogany desk held center stage, empty save for a gold pot of pens in one corner. Trim, matching bookshelves held every wedding catalogue known to man, and a sleek flatscreen was mounted to the wall, ready to show clients a virtual walk through of their wedding. The room was a perfect blend of the modern and traditional which, in Azirapehl’s opinion, reflected Anathema’s business perfectly.
He set the tray on the corner of the desk and took a seat on the plush chair set at a right angle to Amathema’s. Two matching chairs sat in front of her desk ready for the clients to get comfortable. Anathema entered the room, eyes sweeping it to make sure everything was in place, then sank into her desk chair. Her hair was neat and a crisp jacket had been thrown over her blouse.
“Nice touch with the cookies,” she said, smiling at him and opening her laptop.
Just then the doorbell rang and they heard Tracy’s footsteps cross the floor to answer it. A few moments later, Tracy’s head ducked around the door.
“New couple waiting for you Miss.”
“Thank you Tracy. Aziraphale could you?”
He followed Tracy out into the waiting room, where she slid behind her desk and Aziraphale approached the new couple. The men sat looking away from each other, one stiffly upright in his seat, and the other sprawled out as if the chair couldn’t hold his long limbs. The next thing Aziraphale couldn’t help but notice was how handsome both men were.
“Mr Everly, Mr Crowley,” Aziraphale said, extending a hand. “Good to meet you both. I’m Aziraphale , Miss Device’s assistant.”
“Call me Gabriel please,” the first man said, smiling at Aziraphale with pretty purple eyes. “This is my fiance Anthony.”
Anthony, clad in clinging all black, complete with dark sunglasses, cringed and held out his own hand. “I prefer Crowley, actually.”
“Of course,” Aziraphale said, “Gabriel, Crowley, follow me please.”
They headed toward Anathema’s office and Aziraphale pretended not to notice Gabriel shrugging Crowley’s arm off when it was draped over his shoulders.
In the office introductions were made, use of first names were given the green light and the meeting took off. Aziraphale sat in his chair and made notes on his favourite cream colored pad that had tiny angel wings dotting the margins. Angel wings were his favourtie motif, something Anathema liked to tease him about.
Gabriel took charge of the meeting, leaving Crowley to lounge in his chair and gaze around the office. A few times Azirapherl could swear the man was staring at him, but with those shades it was impossible to tell.
Soon the big decision of the date was hammered out (3rd of August) and the meeting got down to the bigger details. Namely the flowers.
It was odd, usually at the first meeting Anathema guided clients into choosing a date, narrowing down venues and the style of food they wanted. The big three as Anathema liked to call it. Gabriel, however, brushed those questions aside and turned the talk to flowers, a choice that didn’t happen until at least the third appointment.
As he made a note about the types of flowers Gabriel favoured, Aziraphale couldn’t help but think these two were a perfect example of opposites attracting. While both men were handsome, Gabriel, with his perfectly cut suit and neat hair, cut a very different (and less striking in Aziraphale ’s opinion) figure than his soon to be husband. Crowley on the other hand, with his leather pants, perfectly rumpled hair and snake tattoo, reminded Aziraphale of the punks in school that he always ended up with a crush on.
“These would be perfect flowers to suspend from the ceiling,” Anathema suggested, “What do you think Crowley?”
Crowley turned to her humming in acknowledgement, “Well I-
“He’ll love it, of course, not that he knows anything about flowers,” Gaberial laughed and Anathema’s brow furrowed for the briefest of moments, before her professional face was back on.
“You decided on the cream?” Crowley said, sitting up suddenly and looking at the catalog in mild disgust. “I thought we both agreed it was boring.”
Gabriel laughed again and squeezed Crowley’s thigh. “No darling, you prattled on about cream being boring, I humored you.”
He caught Aziraphale ’s eye, and gave him a look that invited Aziraphale to join in laughing at Crowley. Swallowing, Aziraphale felt an uncomfortable smile stretch over his face.
“If cream feels too overdone, there are darker flower options that are perfectly lovely,” Anathema said, face serene. Aziraphale knew the set of her lips though, it meant she thought a client was a douche.
Anathema pulled an ipad, that held the entire catalogue library, from a desk draw. A few swipes later she was showing them an arrangement of rich red roses dotted with white lilies.
“Maybe something like this would be a good middle ground?” she focused on Crowley, “If you don’t like the red, I have a florist who can dye white roses any colour you’d like.”
For the first time since the meeting began Crowley seemed interested. He sat up out of his lazy sprawl and leaned toward the laptop as Anathema swiped through different options.
Just as Aziraphale was wondering how Crowley could see the colours properly with his shades, the man slid them off and folded them away. Anathema and Azipheral jumped as his eyes were revealed. They were snake eyes; yellow with a slit of pupil running down the center.
Gabriel, who’d been scowling at the dark flowers, groaned loudly. “ You wore those to meet the wedding planner!” he said, sounding like a put upon parent.
“I have to leave for work right after this, and, like I mentioned, I wouldn’t have had time to go home and get them!”
“You could have put them on in the car!”
Crowley scoffed, “That’s unsanitary .”
Contact lenses, of course they were contact lenses. Aziraphale chided himself for jumping, and found himself wondering where Crowley worked.
“Do you want them to think you’re a freak!” Gabriel asked, voice venomous.
Aziraphale winced. The situation was getting out of hand quickly and the last thing they needed were their clients storming off in a huff.
“I think they’re rather nifty,” he said, without thinking.
It wasn’t exactly a lie. The contacts suited Crowley in an odd way, giving him an other worldly edge that few would be able to pull off.
Fortunately his comment halted the argument, unfortunately it turned everyone’s focus onto him. Anathema was giving him a little sly smile behind her clients’ back, Gabriel’s scowl had turned into an outright frown and Crowley was staring at him in bewilderment.
“We’ll go with the cream,” Gabriel snapped, turning back to Anathema. “It’s appropriate for the venue.”
Crowley stared at Aziraphale a moment longer, eyes unreadable, then mouthed ‘thank you’, and turned back to the meeting.
“Yes, you said it was a church wedding,” Anathema said, “I have listings of all the church’s in the area and pictures if you’d like to chose-
“A church?” Crowley cut in, “I told you I didn’t want a church wedding.”
Gabriel sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“You specifically told me it wouldn’t be a church!” Crowley said, voice rising. “We discussed this ages ago!”
“And I told you-
“You told me we’d do it in a hall.”
“What kind of people don’t have a church wedding?” Gabrial said, rolling his eyes. “It’s only decent.”
“How the fuck is it indecent to-
Aziraphale winced. What sort of idiot would chide language during an argument was beyond him.
“We have many lovely halls you can take a look at.” Anathema cut in, “Some are adjacent to a church-
“No, we won’t have any halls. Show us the churches please.”
“Crowley darling, we’ll look at the churches and discuss it alright? Let’s not have the same argument all over again.” Without waiting for a reply he tugged the ipad out of Anathema’s hands and began swiping through listings.
Crowley opened his mouth to argue, then seemed to change his mind and slumped back in his chair.
The rest of the meeting was tense to say the least. Gabriel did all of the talking while Crowley fiddled with his shades and stared out the window. The venue was narrowed down to three churches, and then their time was up.
“How about the same time Wednesday to discuss the catering?” Anathema asked, “My assistant will be in charge of that.”
“Sounds good,” Gabriel said, shaking her hand.
Crowley followed suit and they left the office.
“Jesus Christ,” Anathema said, after they heard Tracy bid their clients good bye.
“Language,” Aziraphale said, in a deadpan imitation of Gabriel.
Anathema giggled. “I feel sorry for the man, yellow eyes and all. Imagine dealing with that all day.”
“It could be the stress of the wedding has them on edge,” Aziraphale said, clearing up the coffee things.
“That doesn’t make you bulldoze your partners opinions.”
Aziraphale hummed in agreement. “I wonder where Crowley works? What job could possibly require yellow contacts?”
Anathema shrugged, “No idea. Are the Winstons next?”
Aziraphale nodded, and pulled out his notes on the next couple. His mind however, was still full of long limbs and odd yellow eyes.
Aziraphale stood outside the cake shop almost bouncing on his heels with anticipation. Gabriel had come alone to Wednesday’s meeting, and they had settled on a traditional menu (chicken or steak with grilled vegetables and roasted potatoes). Today he was to met Crowley and Gabriel for a cake tasting.
A classic black Bentley pulled into a spot a little down the road, and Crowley and Gabriel slid out. Crowley slammed the door and headed toward him, leaving Gabriel a few paces behind. It would be easy for him to out pace anyone with those longs legs of his, Aziraphale thought, unable to help himself. Crowley cut quite a striking figure dressed in a tight black long sleeved top, matching pants and jacket and an interesting skinny silver scarf.
The man was upon him then and Aziraphale was quick to school his features, lest he be caught ogling. Crowley gave him a little smile and Aziraphale couldn’t help but notice how lovely his hair was; thick and auburn and carelessly styled. He must have been staring because Crowley gave him a sly look over the top of his shades. Aziraphale felt his cheeks heat despite his effort to keep a professional face on.
“Good morning Aziraphale,” Crowley said slowly, as if he was savoring every syllable of the name.
Aziraphale swallowed, “Good morning Crowley.”
“Good morning Aziraphale,” Gabriel said, giving him a tight smile.
“Ah, yes, Good morning,” Aziraphale said, tearing his eyes away from Crowley and returning the smile. “They’re all ready for us inside.”
Gabriel nodded and stepped into the bakery without waiting for them. Crowley, to Aziraphale’s surprise, held the door open for him after it swung shut behind Gabriel. While the gesture was nice, it had the unfortunate side effect of making Aziraphale notice just how wonderfully masculine Crowley’s hands where. He did not need reminders of how attractive Crowley was every five minutes.
Aziraphale was surprised at himself, he’d encountered loads of handsome men before, it was par for the course when you worked at a wedding planners’. But he’d never been so affected by a groom. Then again, he’d never met anyone who looked quite like Crowley either.
Inside, Gabriel was already at the counter talking to Anathema’s contact, Newt. He beckoned Aziraphale impatiently over.
“There you are! This person doesn’t want to show me anything unless you’re here.” He turned to Newt, “Stop delidaling and get to it then.”
“Yes, yes of course. Hello Newton,” Aziraphale said with forced cheer, hoping to smooth things over, “Could we see the samples for the Everly wedding I phoned you about?”
“Yes of course,” Newt gave Gabriel a nasty look when the man wasn’t looking and slipped into the back room.
“Are you sure this place will have what we want?” Gabriel asked loudly, looking around the small, slightly scruffy shop in disdain. “Do they even have customers?”
Crowley rolled his eyes behind Gabriel’s back and twisted his face into a parody of Gabriel’s scornful expression. To his horror Aziraphale found himself wanting to laugh. The things Crowley did to his behaviour!
“Oh yes, their cake is delightful!” Aziraphale said, careful not to look at Crowley, “Most of our clients order their cake here. They do wonderful variations of lemon cake, and their chocolate is absolutely scrumptious.”
“Yes, well you’d know all about cake wouldn’t you?” Gabriel said eyes lingering on Aziraphale’s stomach. “Where is that boy? How long does it take to get some samples?”
Any enjoyment Aziraphale would have gotten from the appointment died in that instant. He felt his face heat in mortification and he dropped his gaze to his shoes, suddenly unable to look at any of them.
“Gabriel!” he heard Crowley hiss, “What the fuck was-
“Finally!” Gabriel cut him off without acknowledgment as Newt returned with a tray of small cake slices.
“How much long-
His phone rang interrupting what was no doubt going to be a scathing insult.
“Yes!” he barked into it, stepping away from the counter.
Aziraphale kept his eyes fixed on the counter, lip between his teeth. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard snide comments about his weight, but it was the first time in a long time someone had been so blatantly rude about it.
“Listen, I’m sorry about him,” Crowley said, his voice closer than Azipraphale was expecting. “He’s a cock.”
It was on the tip of Aziraphale’s tongue to ask why Crowley was getting married to such a cock, but professionalism stopped him. No matter how rude Gabriel was, Aziraphale wouldn’t stoop to that level, it wasn’t in his nature, and he wasn’t about to change now.
He turned to Crowley then and couldn’t help but smile when he saw him. The man had his shades off and his eyes were covered in the same yellow contacts as the first meeting.
“Oh, work again after?”
Crowley gave him a bewildered look and Aziraphale gestured to his eyes.
“Oh no,” he said, realization dawning, “it's too early for my job. I just like the look honestly.”
Aziraphale smiled, “It suits you.”
“You’re the first person to say that,” Crowley said, with that same slow smirk that made Aziraphale’s face heat.
Aziraphale looked away, still smiling. “What is it that you do anyway? Are you a snake charmer trying to relate to the snakes better?”
Crowley barked a laugh next to him, “Well, that’s a new one. Most people just assume I’m a devil worshiper on my way to a meeting.”
It was Aziraphale’s turn to laugh. His eyes locked with Crowley’s as the man’s smirk turned into a grin.
“I’m a DJ actually. At a metal club. Well, it’s mostly rock actually. Nothing too heavy.”
“Ah, lovely,” Aziraphale said, unsure what else to say. He didn’t care for heavy metal himself.
“I guess it’s safe to assume that’s not your style?” Crowley asked, eyes trailing over Aziraphale.
Unlike Gabriel, Crowley’s gaze made him feel appreciated, dangerously appreciated.
“Quite right,” Aziraphale said, looking away again, suddenly hyper aware of how close they were standing.
“Let me guess, your more of a bebop man, yourself? Big band music, that sort of thing?”
Aziraphale rolled his eyes, “Honestly, bebop ? I’m not eighty you know!”
Crowley laughed, “So what do you like then?”
“I like Celine Dion, ABBA, and a bit of Queen when the mood strikes.”
“Now we’re talking! You can’t go wrong with Queen.”
“Most certainly not,” Aziraphale said.
Their eyes met again and they shared a smile.
“Anthony!” Gabriel called, and the moment shattered.
Crowley cringed, “I told you not to call me that.”
“Whatever. Listen, there’s a work emergency so I’ll need to leave. You’ll be okay to pick the cake?” His voice dripped with sarcasm, “Think you can handle that?”
“Of course darling, ” Crowley said, his own voice just as acidic. “Run along now!”
“Remember the lemon can’t be too tart and don’t even think about switching it to something idiotic like marble cake.”
“Sure thing, dear heart!”
Aziraphale heard Newt muffle a chuckle at the sarcasm in Crowley’s voice and gave him a reproachful look that went ignored.
Soon, the door was slamming behind Gabriel and he and Crowley were alone. The atmosphere in the shop perceptibly relaxed.
Crowley turned to Newt and eyed the slices of lemon cake set out for him to try. Hands in his pockets, he leaned down and gazed at the rows of chocolate slices on display in the glass fronted counter. A wicked smile spread over his face.
“Let me sample the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and fudge,” he said pointing to each one as he listed them.
Aziraphale’s eyes widened. Oh dear . “But-
“And bring another fork if you would,” Crowley called to Newt as the boy set out the requested slices. “My planner should have some input too.” He winked at Aziraphale.
Aziraphale knew he should say something . He should at least convince Crowley to try some of Gabriel’s choices. However, Crowley’s smirk and the slabs of moist cake were just too tempting. That, plus the memory of Gabriel’s rude remarks, had him taking the fork and giving Crowley a little smile as they dug into the first slice.
Forty-five minutes later Crowley had selected a dark chocolate cake, with a chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting. It was the total opposite of what Gabriel had wanted, and absolutely delicious .
Aziraphale patted the corners of his mouth with his napkin and set it down. Crowley sat opposite him at the tiny table in Newt’s bakery and watched him with a smile. The man had practically inhaled his slice, before sitting and contentedly watching Aziraphale finish his own cake.
“Scrumptious,” Aziraphale sighed.
“This is the one I think. Much better than lemon .”
Aziraphale smiled. As much as he agreed, it wouldn’t do to take sides between the grooms.
“Whatever you think is best Crowley.”
Crowley smiled and got to his feet, “Chocolate ganache it is then!”
“Excellent, shall I confirm it now? Or do you need to confer with your fiance.”
Crowley wrinkled his nose at the mention of Gabriel. “Confirm away, no need for him.”
Aziraphale nodded and headed to the counter to set it up with Newt. They’d still need to discuss the style of the cake, how many layers and such, but having the flavour picked was half the battle. He said as much to Crowley.
“Can we pick out the style now?” he asked, looking toward Newt.
“We’ll need to head back to the office for that, Anathema has the catalogs we’d need. Plus I believe Newton has another appointment.”
“Ah yes. Are you free now?” Crowley looked so eager that even if he’d had another appointment Aziraphale would have cancelled it.
“Of course we can.”
“Excellent, I’ll drive us.”
With that he fished his keys out of a (sinfully tight) pants pocket and headed toward the doors. Aziraphale waved goodbye at Newt and followed, trying not to puzzle over why he was so happy to spend more time with a man he’d just met.
Aziraphale held the door open this time and Crowley thanked him with a smile.
“Nice cuff links,” Crowley said, once they were in the car.
“Oh thank you,” Aziraphale said, beaming. He‘d worn his favourite pair today; small gold angel wings, elegantly carved and beautifully detailed.
“They suit you.”
Their eyes met and held again, and Aziraphale had to force himself to look away. What in heaven's sake was wrong with him! He couldn’t gawk at clients, no matter how handsome they were. It was unprofessional to say the least, and it was nothing like his usual behaviour.
Luckily, his thoughts were silenced when Crowley pulled off. The man drove like a maniac, weaving between cars, pushing the speed limit. Queen blared from the speakers and Aziraphale clung to the chicken strap for dear life, lips mashed together so he wouldn’t yelp.
Finally they were back at the office (in half the usual time it would have taken Aziraphale). Crowley switched off the engine and laughed softly at the look on Aziraphale’s face.
“Let me guess, you walk to work most of the time.”
Aziraphale scowled halfheartedly at him, “After that, I think it’ll become a permanent change.”
Crowley laughed, eyes crinkling and Aziraphale rolled his eyes, sliding out of the car after him.
“I’m sorry Aziraphale,” he said, giving his shoulder a playful squeeze. “I’ll let you pick the cake pattern to make it up to you.”
Aziraphale gave him a little smile that widened at Anathema when they entered the office.
“Cake tasting go well?” she asked with a smile of her own.
“Oh yes,” said Aziraphale.
“No,” said Crowley at the exact same time.
Anathema looked between them, then raised her eyebrows at Aziraphale for an explanation.
“Gabriel had to leave due to a work emergency, so Crowley picked a lovely chocolate ganache. Now we’re here to pick the pattern.”
“Ah, alright then,” Anathema said, and Aziraphale new he’d have to explain more later. “Carry on then, the office if free for you Aziraphale.”
“Thank you Anathema,” he said, ushering Crowley into the office and ignoring Anathema’s smug little smirk.
Clearly she had formed wrong opinions, and Aziraphale would have to set her straight as soon as Crowley left.
“Someone has a bit of a crush do they?” Anathema asked, after Crowley had left.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” Aziraphale said, tucking the cake catalogs back into their spaces. “He picked that one there,” he said, nodding to the open magazine on the desk and trying to change the subject.
Anathema picked the catalog up, looked at the choice and nodded to herself. Crowley had picked a five layer, square tiered cake. He’d forgone cream and white again, and chosen chocolate frosting with fondant red roses it accent the layers. An unusual, but still a pretty choice in Aziraphale’s opinion. He wondered how Gabriel would react to Crowley’s changes, and to his surprise he found his fists tightening at the thought of Gabriel shouting at Crowley.
“It’s fine you know,” she said peeking up at him, “You keep it well hidden and lord knows it’s bound to happen in our line of work, what with everyone we meet being flushed and full of romance.”
“Crowley doesn’t seem full of romance to me,” Aziraphale said without thinking, thoughts on how strained things between their two clients seemed.
“It’s in there though, I can tell,” Anathema said, “Besides you know how differently people express their excitement. Remember that one bride who wanted to vomit whenever she had to make a choice?”
“Do I!” Aziraphale shuddered as he thought of the disastrous dress appointment.
Anathema laughed. “Just keep your little yen under wraps and it’s fine.”
Aziraphale nodded, as if he would do anything different.
That night, Aziraphale returned to his flat bone tired and desperate for a cup of coco. He peeled off his coat and waistcoat, making a mental note to visit his tailor over the weekend. His flat stood over a used bookshop that kept the strangest hours. Aziraphale had visited it once, but the man behind the counter seemed hell bent on not selling any books, so that had been a one time occurrence.
Turning up the heat, he fixed his coco and then decided a warm bath was in order. He took his drink to the bathroom and put the tub to fill as he stripped. He sighed as he scrutinized himself in the full length mirror that decorated one wall. Turning this way and that he pinched at the excess fat over his stomach. Normally, he was perfectly comfortable with his body, normally he liked his body. Today Gabriel’s nasty comments played over and over in his mind, making him regret the cake he’d had earlier.
Switching off the taps he slid slowly into the tub and gave himself a mental shake. He was not going to let some abrasive, pompous man ruin his bath or his coco. He sank lower into the water, enjoying the mountain of peach scented bubbles that sloshed around him. His mind inexplicably turned to Crowley. He certainly looked like he didn’t mind the extra pounds on Aziraphale’s thighs and stomach.
Taking a tiny sip of coco, Aziraphale let his mind wander, thinking of those long, leather covered legs, broad shoulders and unruly red hair. Crowley did have the loveliest hair; thick and begging to be ruffled. Setting his cup down, he slid lower into the water as warmth pooled in his groin.
His hand trailed down his chest as he thought of the way Crowley sauntered, hip swinging in a way they really shouldn’t. Without thinking of it, Aziraphale’s hand wandered to his cock, wrapping around it and slowly stroking. His mind was full of Crowley’s little smirks and dangerous yellow eyes. Those eyes! They shouldn’t be as attractive as they were. They weren’t even the man’s real eyes for heaven’s sake! And yet the thought of them on him, running over his body, made him shiver.
He stroked faster, imaging those long, strong hands running over him, holding his hips, caressing his thighs. Those predatory eyes on him.
With a soft gasp and a grunt, Aziraphale came, splashing water over the side of the tub. He shivered through the aftershocks and squirmed as he slowed his strokes, teasing himself with over stimulation.
Blinking he sat up, guilt immediately crashing over him. He’d just masturbated over a client, a client who’s wedding he was planning . Huffing in annoyance, Aziraphale hauled himself out of the tub and pulled the plug. What was wrong with him? How was he going to look Crowley in the eye again?
Yanking on his robe, he strode into the bedroom and banged around for his pajamas, hunting for his favourite pair. By the time he was yanking on his angel wing print set, he’d managed to reason with himself a bit. No one knew what he’d done, that would stay between him and his bathroom. He’d just pretend it never happened and never to do it again.
He kept repeating this to himself firmly as he slid into bed and pulled the covers closer around him. Snow fell softly outside, making his blanket feel extra cosey.
Nothing would ever and could ever happen between them. It was just a passing fantasy after a hard day, and that’s how it would stay.
Five days later the cab dropped Aziraphale at Crowley’s flat. Things had been going well. He’d had meetings with two other couples they’d taken on and Aziraphale was comforted by the fact that both seemed much more in love than Crowley and Gabriel. His promise to himself had been a success so far, as well. He hadn’t thought about Crowley in that way since his bath, and he intended to keep it that way.
He paid the driver and slid out of the cab, opening his umbrella (white, with a pair of angel wings for the handle) against the thick snow fall. He managed to slip into the building behind someone and headed up to Crowley’s flat. They had a food tasting today with a new caterer who seemed quite promising, and Aziraphale was excited to meet her. Crowley had asked him to meet here so they could drive to the appointment together.
He headed down the corridor, his footsteps silent on the thick carpet, and knocked on Crowley’s door. Being a DJ must pay quite well, if the poshness of the building was anything to go by. An old lady entering the apartment across the corridor gave him a smile. Aziraphale smiled back, old ladies always smiled at him. Anathema said he ‘had one of those faces’, but since she’d also said he dressed like a comfortable sofa, he wasn’t sure if to take it as a compliment.
He knocked again and listened for movement inside the flat. There was nothing except the hum of the heat coming on. Sighing, he knocked a little louder and called Crowley’s name.
Sighing again, he pulled out his phone, fumbled with it a moment and called Crowley’s mobile.
The call connected and a groan came over the line.
“Hello?” Crowley mumbled.
“Crowley, it’s Aziraphale. I’m here for the-
“Fuck!” Crowley bellowed, making Aziraphale jump. “I’m so sorry Aziraphale, I’ll be right there!”
The call ended and there was the sound of running footsteps from the other side of the door. It swung open and a rumpled Crowley stood before him. Aziraphale couldn’t help but smile. The man looked down right adorable in a fluffy black robe, with his hair stuck up every which way and creases from his pillow decorating one cheek.
His eyes were brown, Aziraphale noticed. A lovely, warm, deep brown that suited him beautifully. It was odd to see him without the contacts. It was almost as if he was seeing Crowley without an important article of clothing. That though made his cheeks heat and he was quick to cover.
“Good morning!” Aziraphale chirped, hoping his read cheeks could be excused by the cold.
“Hi,” Crowley’s voice was hoarse with sleep, “Come in, come in! It’ll just take me a few minutes to get dressed.”
“Of course,” Aziraphale said, stepping inside.
Crowley gestured to a low black sofa then disappeared down a corridor.
“I’ll just call Lynn and tell her we’ll be a bit late,” he called after Crowley, fishing out his phone again.
Crowley shouted unintelligibly back, but whatever it was sounded thankful. After the call, Aziraphale looked around the flat. Crowley seemed to favour clean lines and ultra modern furniture in dark colours. Two huge potted plants stood on either side of the front door, lush and green despite the cold weather. An ornate, almost gaudy (in his opinion at least) chair stood at a right angle to the couch. Gold and black, with a high back and sturdy arms, it looked hideously uncomfortable.
Turning away from the chair, a sculpture in a lit alcove caught his eye. Aziraphale got to his feet to take a closer look. It was a beautifully carved, painted, statue with the sconce above it throwing every detail into vivid relief. Two angels, naked and perfectly muscled, held each other close. Their limbs were intimately twined together, with the dark haired angel pressing his-
Oh! Oh my!
Aziraphale’s cheeks heated as he noticed just exactly what the angels were doing. He took another step closer and leaned in to see better. Yes, they definitely were, and from the look on the blond angel’s face he was clearly enjoying it.
“It’s lovely, isn’t it?”
Aziraphale jumped a mile at the sound of Crowley’s voice right behind him. He spun around and crashed into the man’s chest. He had a moment to feel the soft material of Crowley’s shirt (and the hard chest underneath), before strong hands caught his shoulders and steadied him.
“It’s something huh?” Crowley said, grinning mischievously at him and wiggling his eyebrows.
They were still pressed together and Aziraphale swallowed hard. Crowley’s breath smelt of toothpaste and whatever cologne he wore was simply heavenly. He smiled as best he could and struggled for something to say. It was difficult to do so with Crowley’s hands still on his shoulders, those long thumbs rubbing gently over his collar. If Crowley were to move his hands an inch, his thumbs would be caressing Aziraphale’s neck.
“Yes, it’s quite lovely,” Aziraphale managed, clearing his throat.
Crowley took a step back and headed toward the kitchen, “I got it at an auction a few years ago,” he said as he filled a travel mug with coffee. “Would you like some?” he asked, holding up the pot, “It’s fresh, the coffee maker has a timer.”
“No thank you, I don’t like coffee,” Aziraphale said, fetching his umbrella and straightening his coat.
“Don’t like coffee?” Crowley said in mock horror, winking at him.
Cup in hand, he grabbed his jacket from the coat rack by the door and tugged it on. Aziraphale had a lovely view of Crowley’s shoulder blades flexing under his shirt as he shrugged into a much loved leather jacket.
“I prefer tea myself,” he said faintly, following Crowley out the door.
Crowley simply smiled and called the elevator. His eyes were covered by contacts again, and as dangerously sexy as the yellow was, Aziraphale oddly missed the brown.
“You like angel wings don’t you?” Crowley said, eyes on the handle of his umbrella.
“Oh yes, it was a birthday gift from Anathema.”
They stepped into the elevator just as an apartment door down the hall opened.
“Hold the lift!” a desperate voice called.
Crowley smiled and raised a hand in acknowledgement before pushing the button to shut the doors. He frowned exaggeratedly as they shut in the person’s face.
“Crowley!” Aziraphale said, shocked at the blatant rudeness.
“Relax Aziraphale,” Crowley said around a chuckle, “the building's only five floors, he’ll get another elevator in no time.”
“But still it’s-”
His words died in the face of Crowley’s wicked smile and he quickly turned away. That smile would get him into trouble.
Outside the snow was falling harder. Aziraphale opened his white umbrella and held it out to cover Crowley as well. The man smiled and ducked under it.
“It’s a good thing I put snow chains on the Bentley,” Crowley said as they reached the car, “Else we’d have had to call an uber.”
Aziraphale, who’d never taken an uber in his life, simply smiled and slid into the passenger seat. The prospect of being trapped in traffic with Crowley didn’t seem nearly as daunting as it should be.
They were indeed trapped in traffic. The snowfall had thickened and soon they were at a stand still on the way out of London. Aziraphale placed another call and managed to move their appointment to a later time. Luckily, the snow was holding up all of Lynn’s appointments so it wasn’t too much trouble to move things around.
“All squared away!” Aziraphale said when he hung up.
Crowley nodded and silence settled over the car. It was oddly awkward, and Aziraphale realized it was the first time they were alone with nothing to do; no cake testing or anything. Shifting in his seat he stared out the window. There was nothing to see there, just snow and angry drivers. Idly he opened the glove compartment. A pile of CDs slid forward and onto the floor.
“Oh I’m sorry!” Aziraphale said, scooping them up and onto his lap.
He looked at the titles; there was Queen, a band called Motionless in White, HIM and Theater of Tragedy. The ‘Motionless in White’ case lay on top. Curious, he cracked it open. Five young men in heavy makeup and black jackets stood together, glaring into the camera. The CD itself was missing.
“How about we give them a listen?” Crowley said, a mischievous look in his eyes.
The Bentley, though a classic, had a modern CD player installed. Aziraphale figured a DJ wouldn’t bear not being able to listen to music, so Crowley had made the change. Crowley switched on the deck and clicked through the tracks. He flicked his eyes to Aziraphale as heavy drums started and built in volume as guitars joined them. Then the lead singer’s voice blared through the speakers, making Aziraphale jump. The song was...loud to say the least. He couldn’t understand a word being sung, or screamed in this case, and the man singing seemed very angry.
Crowley’s chuckling broke through the music and Aziraphale turned to him, smiling weakly.
“Not to your taste I take it?” Crowley said, devilish smile still in place.
“Well, not quite,” Aziraphale searched for something complimentary to say, “Their make up skills are very good though.”
Crowley burst into laughter, head thrown back and shoulders shaking. “You are delightful, ” he said between laughs.
Aziraphale laughed along with him, shoulders relaxing as Crowley switched the music off. “Put on some Queen then. It’ll be a long drive if we both don’t like the music.”
Smiling, Aziraphale flipped through the CDs finally picking a greatest hits album. Crowley had called him delightful! He smothered a smile at the thought, marveling at the fact he’d somehow turned into a school boy who blushed at the barest compliment.
‘Somebody to Love’, filled the car as the traffic started to move and Aziraphale searched for something to say.
“So is that the kind of music you play at your club?” he asked, holding up the first CD.
“It’s not my club, I just work there. But yes, Motionless is pretty popular these days.”
“Ah, they’re certainly...loud.”
Crowley laughed again and he couldn’t help but stare. The man was stunning when he laughed.
Aziraphale’s eyes fell on the snake tattoo that decorated the man’s temple. It was intricately done and up close he could see it wasn’t solid black as he’d first thought. The edges were a rich red, as were the lines that striped the snake’s belly. He realized he’d been staring and quickly looked away.
“Did your tattoo hurt?” he asked, to cover up any awkwardness.
“Oh-um- the face tattoo,”
“Oh yes,” Crowley’s voice was a growl with a hint of glee, “It was horrendous .”
“Yet you sound like you enjoyed it.”
Crowley smirked at him knowingly and Aziraphale blushed.
“What else do you have? If you don’t mind me asking.”
Traffic had slowed to a crawl again. Up ahead, Aziraphale could see their turn off coming up, luckily it seemed clear.
“Buy me dinner and maybe you’ll get to see them,” Crowley said.
Aziraphale whipped around to face him and was met with a wink.
This man would be the death of him.
Aziraphale laughed nervously. As much as he enjoyed the banter he had to be careful it didn’t edge into flirting. Well, edge further into flirting.
“I have wings on my back and another snake on my hip,” Crowley said, eyes forward again.
“Wings?” Aziraphale perked up. “That sounds lovely!”
Crowley grinned. “Not quite your style of wings I’m afraid,” he said, eyeing the umbrella tucked next to Aziraphale’s seat.
“They’re black, a bit burned looking. No angelic white for me,” he let out a self deprecating laugh.
“I’m sure they suit you beautifully,” Aziraphale said quietly, forgetting his promise to himself.
Crowley smiled, eyes warm on Aziraphale’s face, “Angelic white would suit you.” His eyes trailed down Aziraphale’s body, “It does suit you.”
This was getting dangerous.
“So how did you and Gabriel meet?” he blurted without thinking.
Crowley’s face closed down. Without a word he merged onto the turn off lane and snapped his indicator on moments before he turned. A car horn sounded behind them and Crowley flipped the man off, accelerating down the clear road before them.
Aziraphale felt oddly like he’d put his foot in his mouth. He didn’t understand it, most couples wanted to talk about how they met. Then again, the way Crowley and Aziraphale sniped at each other wasn’t normal couple behaviour.
“I met him through friends years ago.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Yeah. His friends thought the whole opposites attract thing was...cute,” Crowley said the word cute the way others said bubonic plague.
“How long have you been together?”
Crowley’s hands tightened on the wheel, “We met at university, before I dropped out. We lost touch, met again two years ago.” Crowley hesitated, “He helped me out financially and then we got back together.”
“Ah, I see,” Aziraphale said again. Wasn’t he eloquent…
Silence fell and Aziraphale kicked himself for asking anything in the first place. ‘Don’t Stop me Now’ started, the peppy rhythm grating against the awkward atmosphere of the car.
The miles passed in silence, and Aziraphale breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the turn off for the caterer’s coming up. He pointed it out to Crowley and the man simply grunted in response. Aziraphale needed to smooth things over.
“I’m sorry if my questions were to forward,” he said, quietly, eyes dead ahead.
He felt Crowley turn to look at him.
“It’s fine Aziraphale,” he said after a pause.
Silence fell again, though it was a tiny bit less strained than before.
“I think you’ll love the caterer. Her food is delicious, especially the steak and potatoes-
“Oh we’re not having steak,” Crowley said, his sly smile back on his face, “Not at all.”
“Gabriel isn’t here.”
Aziraphale opened his mouth then shut it again. It was Crowley’s wedding too, therefore there was no reason why he shouldn’t choose the menu. Besides, he was reluctant to bring Gabriel up again after the tension it had caused earlier.
“Of course yes, it’s up to you. Lynn has a wide selection.”
Crowley smiled and pulled into a parking space. “Let's have some fun Ang- Aziraphale.”
Smiling Aziraphale followed him into the shop.
Lynn’s shop was toasty warm, which was a relief after the icy dash through the snow to the door. Aziraphale brushed the snow off his shoulders and jumped when a hand slid over his hair, dusting the snow from it. He twisted around to look at Crowley, who smiled, and carded his hand through his hair again. Aziraphale shivered as those long fingers slid through his curls and glided over his scalp. Their eyes met as Crowley’s fingers slowly slid to the back of his head, and Aziraphale swallowed hard.
“There you two are!” a voice behind them called, “I thought you’d never make it!”
Aziraphale turned and smiled at the woman behind the counter. She was black, with vivid green eyes and a kind smile.
“Afternoon Lynn, sorry to be late.”
“Not a problem, everyone’s late in this weather,” she gestured to the huge windows that covered one wall of the room. The view outside was almost solid white, and Aziraphale worried that the roads would be impassable.
“I have your sample meal all ready, steak and potatoes just as we planned,” Lynn continued.
Crowley opened his mouth but Aziraphale cut him off, walking toward Lynn. it wouldn’t do to just blurt out the change of plans that ruined all of Lynn’s prep.
“Actually Lynn, there’s been a change. Crowley here,” he gestured to the man behind him, “had a bit of a change of heart.”
Lynn’s face fell.
“He was thinking of something else from your menu, particularly the- um- well-,” his words trailed off as he realized he had no idea what Crowley wanted.
Crowley walked over, “Do you do Indian food?”
“Well, not me myself, but I have a chef who does. Authenticity too.”
“Wonderful, could we see a menu?” Aziraphale said, relieved Lynn wasn’t upset at the sudden alteration.
“Have a seat and I’ll be right with you.”
“So, Indian food?” Aziraphale asked, sitting down in the squishy booth tucked into a corner of the room.
“Yes, it’s my favourite. I’m thinking a lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka, paneer, and roti and rice to go with it. Those are pretty standard, so it should be available.”
“That sounds lovely,” Aziraphale said, licking his lips at the thought of the food. He hesitated a moment before his next question, but it needed to be asked. “Does Gabriel like Indian food as well?”
“No,” Crowley scoffed, “he hates it.”
“ But he left the choice to me .”
“Quiet right,” Aziraphale said, trying to quell his sense of dread.
Crowley was clearly using his choices to needle Gabriel, but he couldn’t very well accuse him of that. As unprofessional as it was, a part of him enjoyed the fact that Gabriel was having his choices ignored. The man was an arsehole after all.
“Here we are,” Lynn said, setting heavy menus before them opened to the Indian selection.
All of Crowley’s choices were there, just as he’d thought.
They chatted with Lynn for a while about Crowley’s choices and took her recommendation on a vegetable dish that would go well with the food.
“Our chef has a bit of the lamb and vegetable dishes you’ve chosen left over from a previous order, if you’d like to taste them.”
“Oh yes, that would be delightful!” Aziraphale said, pleased at the thought of food and how swimmingly the meeting had turned around.
Lynn smiled and headed back to the kitchen.
“Well, you’re enjoying yourself,” Crowley said, with his usual slow smile. His elbows were propped on the back of his seat, stretching his shirt over his chest and giving Aziraphale a lovely view.
“Indeed.” Aziraphale cleared his throat, “It’s going very well.”
“Especially since I changed everything at the last minute.”
“Ah, well, no matter. That’s what I’m here for, to get you what you want.”
Crowley sat forward, elbows now on the table in front of him, his chin cupped in one hand, “Whatever I want hum?”
“Um yes, whatever you want.”
Crowley stared at him, his gaze hot.
“I’d better go help Lynn!” Aziraphale crowed, lurching to his feet. “Be back in a tick!”
He sped off to the kitchen on his unnecessary errand, cheeks hot. Behind him he heard Crowley sigh softly.
In the kitchen, as he helped Lynn’s chef plate the food, he made up his mind. If anything flirtatious happened again he’d say something and out a stop to it. It would be awkward, but their behaviour couldn’t continue.
It just couldn’t (as much as his traitorous little heart might enjoy it).
Back at the table Crowley was sprawled over his seat, legs stretched out before him. Aziraphale set a steaming plate of lamb and vegetables in front of him.
“Here we are,” he said merrily, setting a fork and knife rolled in a napkin next to the plate.
“It smells divine,” Crowley purred, as Aziraphale slid into his seat across from him.
Aziraphale couldn’t help but stare at Crowley’s fingers as the man unrolled his silverware, and delicately cut a chunk of lamb in two. His fingers were lovely, long and tapered, with clean buffed nails.
When he looked up Crowley was staring at him, eyes dancing as he took a bite of food. His eyes shut as he chewed and he made an entirely inappropriate sound.
“Christ, Aziraphale, you have to try this.”
“Oh, it’s quite alright I-”
His words trailed off as Crowley spared another piece of lamb and held out the fork.
“Go on then, try some.”
Aziraphale smiled and reached for the fork, but Crowley batted his hand away and held it out again. Grasping the man’s intention, Aziraphale swallowed and opened his mouth, his earlier promise to say something about the flirting flying from his brain. Crowley delicately fed him the morsel off his fork, eyes on Aziraphale’s mouth the entire time.
Flavour exploded over his tongue and he inhaled sharply. My God, that was good!
“Told you,” Crowley softly, eyes lingering on Aziraphale’s lips.
“Yes you did,” he said softly, leaning closer.
Aziraphale shook himself. What was he doing!
“Listen, Crowley,” he said, voice louder than he intended. He cleared his throat and lowered his voice, “whatever this is- if in some way I lead you to believe that-” he huffed and shook his head, “We can’t keep doing this. I- we- you must see that this is inappropriate.”
Crowley sat back and crossed his arms, his face closing down. As much as he didn’t want to Aziraphale had to finish this.
“This flirting has to stop. I enjoy working with you Crowley, but as colleagues, nothing more.”
Crowley simply stared at him, and Aziraphale felt he’d just made a huge mess of things.
“We’re planning your wedding , Crowley,” he said desperately. As soon as the words left his mouth, he regretted them.
Silence stretched between them, and Aziraphale wished he’d never said anything at all.
“Understood Aziraphale,” Crowley said calmly. He sat up and pulled his shades on.
“Right.” Aziraphale cleared his throat, “since you finalized the food choices, we can set up a proper tasting with Lynn,” he said briskly.
Crowley stood up and tugged his jacket straight, “You can take it from here then, I’ll meet you in the car.”
Aziraphale nodded and sighed as the door shut behind Crowley. He’d done what he promised himself, a bit late, but at least he’d done it. Yet, he couldn’t help but wonder, if he was doing the right thing why did it feel so wrong?
I promise it'll work out...eventually.
The food tasting the next week was awkward to say the least. He’d met Crowley at Lynn’s to avoid any time alone in the car and possibly any unease between them. It didn’t help. The tasting took place in almost total silence, with Crowley merely nodding when he liked something and grunting when he didn’t. Aziraphale tried not to feel guilty. He’d done the right thing after all. Crowley was getting married for heaven’s sake, the flirting was not appropriate!
Yet, he still missed it.
The week after the food tasting was crawling by, with Aziraphale dreading the suit fitting coming up. It was only Tuesday, so he had three more days of waiting before the fitting Saturday. He was glad Gabriel had asked for a separate fitting from Crowley, having the two of them together made Aziraphale paranoid that Gabriel would notice something off between them. On the other hand, he dreaded being alone with the man.
He tried to comfort himself with the fact that the wedding would be over soon, and he and Crowley would part ways. The thought made Aziraphale’s chest heavy for a reason he would not think about.
He had just seen another couple out the door (a doctor and detective who wanted a simple celebration), when he saw Gabriel himself storming down the corridor. He swallowed and held the door open for the man.
“Good morning G-”
“Save it,” Gabriel barked, striding past him, “Where’s your boss?”
Without waiting for an answer he headed toward the consulting room, snapping his fingers for Aziraphale to follow. Tracey’s eyebrows shot up to her hairline at the gesture, and Aziraphale could only give her an awkward smile before he followed.
What if Gabriel had found something out?
“”-is this!” Gabriel was saying to Anathema when Aziraphale entered the consulting room.
Anathema’s face was the picture of professional calm. She looked passed Gabriel to Aziraphale. “Gabriel wants to know why the menu was changed,” she said, her voice smooth.
“Oh yes- erm- well you see-”
“Why was it changed to Indian food? I don’t want Indian food at my wedding!”
“Your fiance wanted to-” Aziraphale tried again, only to be interrupted once more.
“Why would you take his advice over mine!”
“I’m sure if you gave Aziraphale a chance to finish, he’d explain everything,” Anathema said, giving Aziraphale an encouraging look. Aziraphale nodded and swallowed, hoping Gabriel wasn’t about to fire them.
“Crowley expressed the desire for a different menu erm- something less traditional. I suggested Indian food, we sampled some of it, and he liked it.” Aziraphale said, trying to frame his answer so the blame wouldn’t fall directly on Crowley.
“Ah I see. You suggested it. In the same way you suggested that monstrosity of a cake.”
Aziraphale mashed his lips together. He didn’t know what to say, luckily Anathema saved him.
“If you and your husband have different ideas for the wedding, perhaps we can all sit down and discuss them,” she said, her lips tight at the corners the way they always were when she didn’t like a client. “I’m sure we can find a middle ground.”
“You know as well as I do the food and cake are already booked, there’s no way to change it now.”
“I can talk to-”
Gabriel held up a hand to silence Anathema and Aziraphale felt his jaw drop. Anathema’s expression remain professional, but all the warmth drained out of it.
“What’s done is done, he’ll just have to explain his shit to our guests. You,” he said, pointing at Aziraphale, “make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid at the fitting, like pick and orange suit or something.” He turned to Anathema, “I’ll see you next week for the flower viewing.”
Anathema nodded, and Gabriel turned and strode out of the office, slamming the door behind him. Aziraphale and Anathema just stared at each other for a moment, both trying to figure out what to say.
“God, what an arsehole,” Anathema said eventually, sinking into her chair and propping her feet on a corner of the desk.
“Indeed,” Aziraphale agreed, sitting opposite her, “I thought Crowley would mention the changes to him. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“It’s not your fault, Aziraphale, the man’s a control freak. I thought he’d have known about them too. He never asked about the food during our other meetings.”
“I guess Crowley knew how he would react.”
Anathema nodded, “As sorry as I am Crowley has to marry that , I can’t say I’m sorry they moved up the wedding. The sooner we’re done with Gabriel, the better.”
Aziraphale’s eyes snapped to Anathema in shock, “They moved it up!”
“Yeah, didn’t Crowley tell you at the second tasting? Gabriel said things were moving along so quickly they might as well do it sooner.”
“He didn’t mention anything, no,” Aziraphale’s throat felt like he’d swallowed sand, “When is it?”
“May third- that’s in eight weeks!”
“I know,” she sighed, “It was a bitch to move everything up, but it means we get the accelerated fee on top of the full package payment, so it was worth it.” She dropped her feet on the floor and stretched. “I contacted the vendors and squared it all away, so don’t worry. Just remember to have the tailor put a rush on the suit orders.”
“It’s a good thing you mentioned it,” Aziraphale was still shocked over the date change.
“I was planning on telling you over lunch, so no worries.”
“Oh I’m never worried when it comes to your planning, dear,” Aziraphale said, snapping out of it and smiling at her.
She smiled back and headed out of the consulting room, “How about we go out to lunch today? My treat.”
“That sounds lovely,” Aziraphale said, following her out of the room, “I’ll get my jacket.”
In his small office Aziraphale simply stood for a moment, holding his jacket. Eight weeks, only eight weeks and Crowley would be gone. Giving himself a shake, he slipped the jacket on and smoothed it out. It didn’t matter whether it was eight weeks or eight months, Crowley would have left his life anyway. Crowley was barely in his life to begin with. But as much as he repeated the thought to himself, it did nothing to ease the ache in his chest.
Once again, Aziraphale found himself in a cab outside an apartment building. Unlike Crowley’s place, Gabriel’s apartment was in one of those glass covered high rises that made Aziraphale dizzy when he looked up. Straightening his coat, he delicately pressed the buzzer. The door clicked open before him and he headed inside. The plan was to meet Crowley here and take him to his suit fitting. Gabriel’s fitting was next week and Aziraphale was infinitely less excited for that.
The building was done up in creams and dark browns, very tasteful and very un-Crowley-like. A young woman in a perfectly cut suit, red soled heels and a bag that cost more than Aziraphale’s rent for the year passed him in the hall, chatting away on her mobile. She even smelled expensive, and he was sure the stones at her ears and neck were real diamonds.
He couldn’t imagine Crowley living here, with his yellow contacts and motorcycle boots. He’d hate it.
Aziraphale gave himself a mental shake, it was not his place to think about what Crowley did and didn’t like. Unless it was wedding related, or made him sad, or- he sighed softly. He needed to get a grip.
In the elevator he pushed the button for the penthouse, of course Gabriel had the penthouse, and hummed to himself on the way up. The doors slid open silently, revealing one door at the end of a short hall. The walls were so white they were almost painful to look at. While Aziraphale preferred a pale colour pallet himself, the true white of Gabriel's walls were too cold for his liking.
He was raising his hand to knock when he heard the shouting.
“It’s just a cake, would you calm down!”
“It’s not just that, you’re-” the rest of Gabriel's response was to low for Aziraphale to hear.
“I made two choices! Two! Why is it such a big deal!”
“It’s like you’re trying to sabotage the wedding! You keep changing things to annoy me!”
“Because it’s all about you isn’t it! Did you ever stop to think that I like chocolate cake? Or that I like the food I chose for the reception? NO! Of course you didn’t!”
“And did you ever stop to think since I’m the one paying for it, you should check with me!”
Aziraphale winced on the other side of the door. He twisted his hands together wondering if it would be more awkward to knock and interrupt, or to stand in the hallway until they were done.
“Fuck you! You offered to pay for it!!” Crowley shouted.
“Oh right, as if you could have!” Gabriel said around a cruel laugh, “Tell me, how’s that five dollar wage increase? Making a dent in your debt?”
Waiting outside definitely seemed like the better idea.
“You know just as well as I do that without me you’d be in an alley somewhere,” Gabriel shouted, “Selling the only thing your good for!”
Aziraphale’s mouth fell open at the comment. How could Gabriel say that!
There was the sound of footsteps, then the door was wrenched open revealing a seething Crowley. His shades were off and his eyes were red around the contacts. He jumped a little when he saw Aziraphale standing there, then grabbed his upper arm and towed him toward the lift.
“Don’t you dare miss your suit fitting!” Gabriel shouted, “I swear to God Crowley if you-”
His words were cut off as the lift doors slid shut.
Crowley leaned against the corner of the elevator, a hand pressed over his eyes, breathing hard. Aziraphale had no idea what to say to him. All the things he wanted to say were too unprofessional and anything else just seemed stupid. Crowley made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a muffled sob, and Aziraphale’s resolve broke. Throwing caution to the wind, Aziraphale slowly approached him and squeezed his shoulder.
“We can skip the fitting if you’d like, and get a cup of tea instead,” he said softly.
Crowley sniffed and slid his shades out of a jacket pocket, “That wouldn’t do, now would it?” he said as he put them on. “We best get this over with.”
Aziraphale nodded and bit his lip to stop himself from asking why the hell Crowley didn’t call the wedding off and tell Gabriel to go fuck himself. It was so far out of the realm of his usual professionalism that it shocked him. Instead he followed Crowley out of the building and looked around for the Bentley.
“We’re not taking the Bentley today,” Crowley said, voice wooden, “Gabriel needs it.”
“Ah I see. No problem then,” Aziraphale replied, raising his hand for a cab. The thought of Gabriel driving the Bentley felt wrong somehow.
Soon they were in the back of a cab with Crowley sprawled over the seat and Aziraphale tucked next to him struggling with the urge to pull Crowley into his arms and comfort him.
By the time they got to the suit shop Crowley seemed almost back to normal. He slid silently out of the cab and held the door for Aziraphale.
“Thank you,” Aziraphale said, smiling at him.
Crowley gave him a tiny smile but remained silent.
“Aziraphale darling!” the man behind the counter called, smiling brightly.
Tall and handsome, Tom was the owner of the store and Aziraphale had known him for years. Tom rounded the counter and pulled him into a tight hug, lifting him slightly onto his toes. Aziraphale grinned and hugged him back, as usual Tom smelled delightful.
“Hello Tom,” he said, beaming, as he pulled away. “How are you?”
“I’m doing well,” Tom’s eyes were warm on his, and his hands were still on Aziraphale’s hips. “You look well yourself.”
A throat cleared behind them and Aziraphale snapped back to the purpose of their visit.
“This is Crowley, one of our grooms,” he said turning to Crowley with his smile still in place.
Crowley was scowling as he pulled his glasses off, his yellow eyes on Tom’s hands were they rested on Aziraphale’s hips. Behind him Aziraphale heard Tom gasp softly, most likely due to Crowley’s eyes. They were quiet shocking if you weren’t expecting them.
“Good morning,” Tom said, smile back in place as he held out a hand.
Crowley gave him a tight smile and shook his hand, still silent. Aziraphale sighed softly, he hoped he wouldn’t be mute for the entire appointment.
“We talked about setting aside some options?” Aziraphale said to Tom.
Tom nodded, “Of course, of course! Follow me gentlemen.”
He lead the way to the back of the shop, one hand on Aziraphale’s lower back, which he hated. Aziraphale sped up slightly, hoping to dislodge the hand but it followed, staying irritatingly pressed against him.
“Aziraphale,” Crowley said, his hand settling on Aziraphale’s shoulder and pulling him to a stop.
Tom stopped as well, his hand falling away, much to Aziraphale’s relief.
“Erm-nothing, never mind,” Crowley seemed at a loss for words now that he had their attention.
Tom’s brow furrowed and he walked on, thankfully with his hands at his sides.
“Better?” Crowley whispered, leaning in close.
He’d noticed . He’d noticed Aziraphale was uncomfortable and helped him. Aziraphale’s chest warmed and he grinned at Crowley, “Yes, thank you.”
Crowley nodded and scowled at Tom’s back, making Aziraphale giggle. The things Crowley did to his behaviour!
“Here we are!” Tom said.
They were in the back of the store, where the more formal suits were kept. There, three black as pitch suits hung on a rack before them. Crowley gasped next to Aziraphale, who grinned. He knew Crowley would love these.
Crowley walked over to them and stroked the sleeve of the first one.
“They’re lovely,” he said softly, smiling wide.
It was the first time Aziraphale had seen Crowley smile genuinely during the wedding planning, and it lit up his entire face.
“Aziraphale hand picked them for you,” Tom said.
“ Thank you , Ang- Aziraphale.”
Aziraphale grinned, the warmth in his chest spreading in the wake of Crowley’s smile, “Your welcome dear.”
“So Crowley, what’s your pleasure?” Tom asked, hands folded behind his back and eyes dancing with the thought of a sale.
“You’ll have to try them all, of course,” Aziraphale said quickly, wanting Crowley to have as much fun as possible.
“Ah, yes. Right as always Aziraphale,” Crowley said with a wink, and just like that the weeks of awkwardness between them vanished.
“Excellent, shall I help you? Or would you like Zira to?”
Aziraphale winced at the nickname. He hated it when people shortened his name. Crowley’s smile slipped from his face as he turned to Tom.
“I think Aziraphale and I will be fine.”
“Very good.” Tom said smoothly, “Call if you need anything.” With a nod to Aziraphale he headed back to the front of the shop.
“Thank you, Zira ,” Crowley said slyly as Aziraphale rolled the rack of suits toward the fitting area.
“Hush you, he means well,” Aziraphale said, a tiny smile on his face.
“If you don’t like the nickname just say so.”
Aziraphale shrugged and shut the curtain that separated the fitting area from the rest of the store. The fitting area itself was a fairly big room that held a changing room and a low platform that stood in front of three huge mirrors.
“So which one should we try first?” he said, turning to Crowley.
“Humm, how about we start with a bang ,” Crowley said, pulling the most elaborate suit off the rack.
“Excellent,” Aziraphale took the suit from him and headed to the change room to hang it up. He straightened it on the hanger and smoothed the fabric happily, then turned to Crowley.
He stopped dead.
Crowley was walking toward him, unbuttoning his shirt as he moved. He’d clearly taken off his jacket while Aziraphale’s back was turned and was now stripping before him. Aziraphale swallowed hard as more and more of Crowley’s chest was revealed. Crowley looked up and caught him staring.
“Enjoying the show?” he asked, smiling wickedly.
Aziraphale’s cheeks flamed and he busted away. “I-I’ll just wait- wait out here,” he pointed at the floor in front of him, “If you need help, just- erm- just call.”
He looked up and turned even redder at the sight of Crowley’s bare shoulders flexing, muscles bunching under smooth skin. The tattoo on his back was amazing. Perfectly rendered black and white wings covered him from shoulder blades to hips. At the top the feathers were delicately inked to look full and fluffy. Further down his back, they morphed into burned, tattered wings that made Aziraphale want to reach out and sooth the ragged feathers. It suited Crowley beautifully, especially they way the tattoo moved as his muscles shifted under his skin.
The man slid into the change room and turned around, giving Aziraphale a wonderful view of his slender chest and taught belly. A sleek snake tattoo decorated his left hip. The head pointed toward Crowley’s chest, while the coiled body curled over his hip bone, deliciously highlighting the definition there. Aziraphale pressed his lips together as his eyes followed the snake's body where it disappeared below the waistband of Crowley’s jeans. He tried desperately not to think about what the tattoo could be coiled around under there.
He failed, spectacularly .
When his eyes finally returned to Crowley’s face he was dismayed to find he’d been caught ogling.
“S-sorry,” Aziraphale stammered. If his cheeks got any hotter they’d start smoking he was sure.
Crowley simply winked at him and wrinkled his nose playfully, before pulling the curtain shut.
Aziraphale sighed and clutched at his chest. Oh, he was in trouble.
“What do you think?” Crowley said, pulling the curtain back with a flourish a few moments later.
The suit was very dramatic, consisting of a long, blood red coat, pitch black trousers and a matching ruffled shirt. It was lovely, and Crowley looked stunning but…
“You look amazing, but it’s a bit theatrical for a wedding,” Aziraphale said.
Crowley hummed and stepped onto the platform before the mirrors. He twisted this way and that, tugging the coat straight.
“It is a bit costumey, yes. Perfect for Halloween.” He did a little twirl and Aziraphale laughed. “With red contacts I’d make a pretty convincing vampire, hum?”
“Oh- oh yes,” Aziraphale said.
Great, now he was imagining a vampire Crowley stalking him and biting him, which it was not helping his situation.
“Oh you like that do you?” Crowley said slyly.
“L-let’s try the next one,” Aziraphale said, deciding the best course of action was to ignore the comment.
“On to the next one then!” Crowley breezed passed him and back into the change room.
The next suit was vetoed almost immediately.
“It reminds me too much of a suit I already own,” Crowley said, smoothing down the silky jacket. “Besides I love the red details on the other suit.” He nodded at the final suit on the rack.
“That’s the one I thought you’d go for.”.
“You know me so well,” Crowley said.
Their eyes met in the mirror and everything seemed to still. Aziraphale looked away first, clearing his throat. His cheeks would be permanently red after this appointment he was sure.
His gaze drifted back to the mirror as Crowley began unbuttoning his jacket and shirt. His eyes followed Crowley’s long fingers as they worked open each delicate shirt button. Their eyes met in the mirror and this time Aziraphale couldn’t look away. He wet his lips as Crowley slowly shrugged out of the shirt. He wanted to run his tongue over that snake tattoo and see how far down it really went.
The thought shocked him with its intensity and pulled him back to the present. He looked at the ground and swallowed hard. In his peripheral vision he could see Crowley step off the platform and head toward the change room, unzipping his trousers as he went.
Oh dear God.
He took a deep breath as the curtain rattled shut and sat on the edge of the platform, face propped in his hands. He hoped Crowley took ages with the final suit because he needed time to pull himself together.
He heard Crowley muttering to himself and the rustle of fabric as he changed. Getting to his feet, Aziraphale straightened his own clothes and prepared to access the next outfit. He could be professional even if it killed him. The curtain slid open and Crowley stood there, clad in a black suit with a deep red waistcoat and blood red trim. The fabric of the suit had a dull sheen that drew the eye and the cut emphasized his height and trimness of his figure.
“Oh my dear, you look wonderful ,” Aziraphale breathed.
Crowley stared at him, so utterly motionless that Aziraphale worried his tone had betrayed too much. Crowley strode towards him, hands clenched into fists. Aziraphale opened his mouth to apologize, for what he wasn’t exactly sure, then Crowley’s lips crashed against his and every thought flew from Aziraphale’s mind.
Crowley’s hands cradled his face and held him oh so gently as he tilted Aziraphale’s head the way he wanted. Aziraphale sighed in pleasure and wrapped his arms around Crowley’s shoulders. His tongue slid against the seam of Crowley’s lips and the other man opened for him eagerly. Crowley’s hands slid down his back, making Aziraphale arch even though the touch was through several layers of his clothing. Strong arms wrapped around Aziraphale’s waist and pulled him closer as his their tongues slid together. Aziraphale moaned against Crowley’s mouth, his hands clenching on Crowley's’ shoulders.
“Oh angel ,” Crowley growled against his mouth, pulling Aziraphale even closer.
God it felt so good . Crowley’s mouth was warm against his, and the long thin body pressed against him was fire hot and strong and-
A clatter from beyond the curtain had Aziraphale ripping away. Oh no...oh no no ! What had he done! He stared at the man in horror and hurriedly staggered two steps back.
“Oh Ang- Aziraphale, I’m- I’m sorry!” Crowley said, hands over his lips.
“You’re getting married ,” Aziraphale groaned, “Why did you- how could you-”
His words trailed off.
“I’m so sorry,” Crowley said again, “It’s just ever since we've met I-
“Don’t- don’t,” Aziraphale said, holding one hand out, “I can’t- you can’t say that.”
“You’re getting married ,” Aziraphale said again.
Crowley mashed his lips together and looked away.
“I need to go,” Aziraphale said, “I’ll get Tom to finish helping you.”
“You don’t have to leave,” Crowley said desperately, taking a step forward.
“No, no, I do.”
He hustled to the curtain that led to the rest of the store. Before pulling it back he turned to Crowley. The man was standing in the center of the room, clad in a beautiful suit and looking lost. Yellow eyes locked on his and pleaded with him, for what Aziraphale didn’t know. He opened his mouth, then shut it promptly. There was nothing he could say to make this mess better.
“I’m sorry,” Crowley said softly.
Aziraphale nodded and left, his heart in his shoes. As much as he enjoyed the kiss, it had been wrong. There was no grey area here; kissing an engaged man was horrible, and Aziraphale had to repent in whatever way he could. He couldn’t see Crowley any more, there was nothing for it.
I promise it will end well.
Here are Crowley's suits:
Suit 3 (the one he chooses):
“What do you mean you can’t work with him anymore?” Anathema's hands were on her hips, her face livid.
“I- I can’t he-”
“He what? Was he inappropriate?” her eyebrows rose.
“Well, no. He wasn’t-”
“So then why-”
Anathema blinked at him, “ What? ”
Aziraphale swallowed, hoping to God he wasn’t about to be fired, “We kissed.”
Anathema’s eyes widened in a way that would have been comical if his job wasn’t at stake, “How- why?” She sat down slowly, “Tell me what happened.”
Taking a deep breath, Aziraphale told her everything. When he was done Anathema just blinked at him. “Holy shit, Aziraphale.”
“I’m so sorry dear I-”
“But it wasn’t your fault. He kissed you .”
“Yes, well- but I wanted too!”
To his surprise Anathema let out a little laugh. “Yes, but you didn’t. You exhibited some control.”
“Crowley’s under a lot of stress,” Aziraphale said defensively. He couldn’t bare the thought of Anathema thinking badly of the man.
Anathema just gave him a look and Aziraphale’s cheeks heated. She sat back in her chair and crossed her legs.
“Alright here’s what will happen. I understand why working with Crowley would be...awkward...so I’ll take over as much as I can. However...that’ll mean you’ll have to work with Gabriel.”
Aziraphale took a deep breath, “My penance then.”
“ He kissed you .”
“But still, maybe I should-”
“No! Nope.” Anathema shook her head, “I know you Aziraphale. It’s up to him whether he tells Gabriel or not. No meddling, understand?”
Aziraphale sighed, but nodded, “Yes, I understand.”
“Good,” she smiled at him, “Back to work then.”
Aziraphale nodded and headed to his office, his chest heavy.
Working with Gabriel was...difficult to say the least. Oh who was he kidding, Aziraphale was certain he’d grind his teeth down to nubs by the time the planning was done. His respect for Anathema rose several notches when he realized she’d been dealing with this for weeks. He knew he deserved it though, after all he’d kissed the man’s fiance. He simply repeated that thought to himself whenever Gabriel got on his nerves, and his frustration immediately melted away. He’d done an awful thing, the least he could do was help the man he’d wronged pick a suit.
Tugging on his coat, Aziraphale headed to the door of the office. Today was a week since he’d seen (kissed) Crowley and the day of Gabriel’s suit fitting.
It was the fifth time they’d rescheduled and Aziraphale was sure Tom was ready to strangle them both. There was only so many times you could change an appointment before people began getting annoyed, a concept Gabriel seemed to have difficulty grasping.
On his way out, he ran into Anathema at the door. She’d just come from a meeting with Crowley, about picking the reception music if he remembered correctly.
“Hello dear. How’d it go?” Aziraphale said, trying to sound casual. The truth was he missed Crowley something dreadful.
“It went well! Certainly more fun than working with Gabriel, that’s for sure.” She grinned at him, “Crowley has an... eclectic taste in music. Wouldn’t you say?”
Aziraphale smiled fondly, “He wants Motionless in White at the reception doesn’t he?”
“Oh yeah, it took me ages to talk him into sticking to their softer stuff. Well, when I say ``soft…”
Aziraphale laughed at the thought of what Anathema’s face must have looked like when she heard Crowley’s music.
“And HIM has some pretty wedding appropriate songs, so we agreed on those,” Anathema continued.
“Ah, you know them,” an odd feeling swirled in Aziraphale’s stomach.
“Yeah, I was a huge HIM fan in high school,” Anathema smiled, “It was nice to rediscover them. In fact Crowley told me when they’d be on tour next. Perhaps we can go.”
“Ah yes, that’ll be..fun.”
“Anyway I gotta go.” Anathema didn’t notice his expression, “Good luck at the fitting.”
Aziraphale nodded and headed out the door. She and Crowley had just realized they liked a similar band, that was all. He of all people should not be feeling, what he suspected, was jealousy over that. God, what the hell was wrong with him!
He hailed a cab and climbed in, shoving all thoughts of Crowley, Anathema and rock bands from his mind. He had to prepare himself for dealing with Gabriel for an extended period of time.
Gabriel was late.
Aziraphale stood by the counter of Tom’s shop and resisted the urge to check his watch for the millionth time. He ground his back teeth and sighed, a headache building behind his eyes.
You kissed his fiance and now you’re annoyed he’s late...get a grip!
He gave Tom an apologetic smile. The smile he got in response was strained to say the least.
Finally, he saw Gabriel crossing the street and heading toward the store. He sighed in relief and felt his shoulders relax.
“There he is!” he said to Tom, wincing at how shrill his voice sounded.
Tom smoothed his suit and stood up, a muttered, “Finally,” reaching Aziraphale’s ears.
The door slammed behind Gabriel and he strode into the store, face set in a sneer.
“Ready to begin?” he said.
Hello and Good morning to you too.
You kissed his fiance!
Swallowing, Aziraphale nodded and gestured to Tom. “Of course! Tom pulled some things for you based on what we discussed. They’re right over-”
“Yes, alright then. Let’s go,” Gabriel cut in, and followed Tom to the back.
Gabriel looked around the fitting area with skepticism, before turning back to Tom and Aziraphale. “You can go,” he said, giving Tom a chilly smile, “Aziraphale will be more than enough help.”
“Very good, Sir,” Tom said, shooting Aziraphale an incredulous look when Gabriel’s back was turned.
Aziraphale shrugged in apology, then the curtain was pulled and they were alone. Without a word, Gabriel grabbed the first suit and headed to the change room. Aziraphale stood awkwardly as he changed and tried to think of something to say to break the silence. Every possibility made him wince.
“Lovely weather we're having,” he said inanely, cringing as the words left his mouth.
“I hate snow,” came Gabriel’s muffled replied.
Aziraphale mashed his lips together and willed the time to go faster.
Finally the curtain rattled open and Gabriel emerged. Aziraphale was forced to admit he looked good. The white suited him, although, much like the paint in Gabriel’s hallway, it was too cold for Aziraphale’s taste.
“This suits you well,” Aziraphale said with a smile, “No pun intended.”
Gabriel simply looked at him, eyes narrowed and calculating. “You have a lot of balls to act like nothing happened. I know what you did.”
Aziraphale felt the blood drain from his face. He sputtered as Gabriel stalked toward him, until he was in Aziraphale’s face.
“That little bitch came home mopey as shit, even though I’d spent a monstrous amount of money on some grotesque suit you picked. I finally dragged it out of him yesterday and you have the nerve to come here and make jokes. ”
Aziraphale’s heart was in his throat, “I- I’m sorry, I-”
“I bet you are, especially since you and your boss have a nice fat paycheck on the line,” he spat. “I took care of Crowley, now I’ll take care of you. Stay the fuck away from my fiance. He’s mine.”
He ‘took care’ of Crowley! Aziraphale’s mind raced over the ominous phrase as Gabriel turned back to the change room. What if Gabriel had hurt him! He frantically whipped out his phone, to do what he wasn’t sure. Before he could dial, Gabriel was out of the changing room and heading out of the fitting area.
“Wait!” Aziraphale called frantically, “Is Crowley alright?”
Gabriel whirled on him, eyes blazing. He pushed into Aziraphale’s personal space and grabbed him by the collar. With a rough yank, Aziraphale was on his toes, the fabric of his shirt digging into his neck.
“What part of ‘fuck off’ don’t you understand?” Gabriel snarled, “That stupid slut is no more of your concern. Stay. Away .”
With that Gabriel dropped him and stalked out of the shop, leaving Aziraphale and a confused Tom behind.
After explaining to Tom what happened without making himself look like a total idiot, a disheartened Aziraphale decided to walk home. It was cold and snowing heavier by the moment, but he needed time to think. Opening his umbrella against the snow, he hunched his shoulders against the cutting wind and headed toward the office. His mind was cluttered with worrying over Crowley, his job and what he was supposed to tell Anathema. He was ninety-nine percent sure Gabriel would fire them, and it was all his fault.
By the time he rounded the corner to the office he was frozen solid and his face was set in a deep frown. Looking up as he approached the door, he stopped in his tracks when he saw who was leaning against the wall.
It was Crowley.
Crowley must have felt Aziraphale’s gaze, for he looked up and immediately headed toward him. His clothes looked rumpled and his hair was even more mussed than usual.
“Aziraphale,” he said desperately, “look I’m sorry, really I am but-”
“Are you alright?” Aziraphale asked, Gabriel’s words coming back to him.
Crowley looked bewildered a moment, then guilty, before his face finally settled into a wary sort of discomfort.
“Yes, yes I’m fine. I need-”
“Then why are you here?” Aziraphale asked, licking his lips, hands tight on his umbrella handle.
“I needed to see you,” Crowley bit his lip, “No that’s not right, I wanted to see you.”
“You can’t!” Aziraphale cried, hating the way his voice cracked. “You can’t do that Crowley.”
Anger pooled over his pain, hot and molten in Aziraphale’s chest. “You’re getting married , in case it slipped your mind!”
“Believe me I’m well aware of that!”
“Really?” Aziraphale said, his voice rising, “If you’re so aware then why are you here? Why did you kiss me?”
“I COULDN’T HELP IT!” Crowley roared, making several passersby stop and stare and them. Crowley tore his shades off and his yellow gaze was hopeless. “I just- you were- you’re so perfect and kind and understanding and I hadn’t experienced that in so long. That I couldn’t-”
Crowley let out a ragged sigh and scrubbed a hand over his face. The fight seemed to drain right out of him just as suddenly as it had entered
Aziraphale swallowed and tried to process everything Crowley had just told him. He was touched, in an odd way, and saddened that a little kindness seemed so alien to the other man. But none of that changed one very important fact about their situation.
“You. Are. Getting. Married,” Aziraphale said around shaking lips, “That hasn’t changed, so why should our situation be any different?”
Crowley tipped his head back and groaned in frustration, fists tight in his hair. The reaction was so unfair that Aziraphale couldn’t believe it was directed at him. His early anger came back with a vengeance and the plastic of his umbrella handle creaked under his grip.
“Why are you marrying Gabriel for heaven’s sake? He’s awful! He came into the suit shop like some sort of demented bull and threatened me. He’s breathtakingly rude to Anathema. Not to mention he either treats you like garbage, or like some sort of shiny trophy! You’re so confident, why do you need to-”
“He threatened you?” Crowley’s voice was a low growl that halted Aziraphale in the middle of his tirade. Crowley bent forward so they were eye level and the look in his yellow eyes was dangerous.
“Well- erm- he just said that you were his-”
Crowley scoffed and rolled his eyes.
“And that I was to stay away.” Aziraphale continued, “He was very emphatic about that.” He tugged at his collar at the memory of Gabriel’s grip on him.
“He touched you?”
Aziraphale blinked at him a moment, then nodded. Crowley swore under his breath.
“Crowley,” Aziraphale said softly, “he doesn’t hurt you does he?”
Crowley blinked at him and straightened up. Avoiding eye contact, he put his shades back on and ran a hand through his hair.
Aziraphale’s stomach churned at the reaction, “Crowley please, if that’s true, I can help you. I-”
“No one can help me,” Crowley said quietly, his voice hard.
He turned as if to leave and Aziraphale grabbed his shoulder. “Please don’t go. Let’s go somewhere to talk! I’m done for the day anyway. We can go to the park, it’ll be deserted now.” If his voice sounded desperate he couldn’t be bothered. He was desperate.
Crowley stared at him for a moment and Aziraphale wished he’d kept his shades off.
“Alright, yes. I’d like that.”
“Wonderful!” Aziraphale smiled at him, and Crowley gave him a tiny smile in return.
Aziraphale linked their arms as if Crowley would float away if he didn’t. Crowley checked at the gesture, then settled into it, slowing his stride to match Aziraphale. Any earlier notion Aziraphale had about distancing himself from Crowley was blown away by his need to help.
They walked passed the office and around the corner to the park. As they got closer, Crowley reached up and pulled his shades off. His jacket sleeve slid down a little and Aziraphale tensed at the sight of a bruise on Crowley’s wrist. The man had obviously lied earlier. He swallowed and faced forward again, his hatred for Gabriel rising with every step forward.
The park was deserted, just as Aziraphale had predicted. By mutual, silent agreement they headed to a steel gazebo tucked off the main path and slightly sheltered from the wind by a copse of trees. Under the black metal, they stood facing each other, both at a loss at what to say now that they were alone.
Crowley pressed his lips together, glanced down at his feet then up at Aziraphale. The mood in the gazebo shifted and Aziraphale could only stare helplessly as Crowley traced his jaw with one long finger. Luckily, good sense prevailed and Aziraphale pressed one hand to Crowley’s chest, gently pushing him back. He took hold of Crowley wrist and peeled his sleeve back, baring finger shaped bruises.
“How often does this happen?” Aziraphale whispered. The mood between them felt fragile, as if one loud word would shatter it.
“This was the first time,” Crowley said. His long fingers wrapped around Aziraphale’s free hand, holding it as if he were afraid too. “He just grabbed me is all. I twisted free and hid out at a coffee shop.”
Aziraphale looked into yellow eyes. Crowley met his gaze steadily, eyes wide and very sad.
“It’s usually just insults,” he added, almost defensively.
“That’s just as damaging my dear,” Aziraphale said, giving Crowley’s hand a squeeze.
Crowley’s eyes filled and he clenched them shut, taking a deep breath. Aziraphale felt his heart break for the other man and cupped his cheek. He hoped his hands weren’t too cold.
“You can still walk away, it’s not too late. I’ll help you.”
Crowley blinked at him, eyes wet and lips parted. “He’s all I know. He- he helped me when I was evicted, he bought me a turntable after my old one crapped out, he fed me, clothed me-”
“That doesn’t mean he can treat you however he wants,” Aziraphale said, cutting off Crowley’s nervous babbling. “He bought you things yes, but that doesn’t mean gets to treat you like a consolation prize. You deserve better than that.”
Crowley took a shuddering breath and looked away, “No one’s ever said that to me before.”
Aziraphale’s brow furrowed, “What, that you should leave?”
“No,” Crowley turned to him, “That I deserved better.”
Aziraphale felt his own eyes prickle at the corners and inhaled steadily before he spoke again. “What about your friends?”
Crowley let out a nasty laugh, “Don’t have any. Gabriel has friends who I just happen to interact with. They think I’m just some freeloader who sucks his cock so he’ll buy me things.”
Aziraphale winced at the bald language. “Well, you have me, and Anathema likes you too. I promise we won’t judge whoever’s cock you want to suck.”
Crowley barked a laugh. It was wobbly and wet, but still a laugh, which is what Aziraphale had hoped for.
“There’s been only one cock on my mind lately,” Crowley said, eyes still staring out at the snow.
Aziraphale’s smile faded and he coughed, uncertain how to respond. He gave Crowley a feeble smile and turned the conversation back to the topic at hand.
“What are you going to do?”
Crowley sighed, “I don’t know. I can’t just leave.”
“Yes you can,” Aziraphale said, deciding a direct approach was best.
“I can’t make rent on my own, pay maintenance on the Bentley and all my bills on my salary,” Crowley said flatly. “He was right about that.”
“Then sell the Bentley,” Aziraphale said. Surely that would be better than being tied to Gabriel for the rest of his life.
Crowley gave him an incredulous look. “I can’t!”
“It’s better than marrying someone you hate.”
“I don’t hate…”
Crowley’s words trailed off at Aziraphale’s look. He tugged at his hair and dropped his gaze to his shoes.
“I don’t know who I am without him,” Crowley said very very quietly, his words almost swallowed by the snow.
Aziraphale stepped closer and wrapped Crowley in a hug, arms tight around the taller man’s shoulders.
“You can learn. You’re your own person Crowley, not just an extension of Gabriel.”
Crowley let out a strangled sound and wrapped his arms around Aziraphale’s waist, burying his face in Aziraphale’s shoulder. Aziraphale gently stroked his hair and made soothing sounds as Crowley shook in his arms. The urge to kiss away Crowley’s pain was strong, but he fought it. The man needed a friend right now, not a lover.
As the snow fell around them, Aziraphale found himself desperately wanting to be both.
Eventually, Crowley pulled away, wiped his eyes ran a hand through his hair.
“So,” he said, voice shaky, “How about that coffee?”
Aziraphale met Crowley’s shaky smile with one of his own.
“I know just the place,” he said, smile widening when Crowley took his arm.
“The office has a wonderful percolator and no noisy customers.”
Crowley bit his lip, clearly uncertain about continuing their conversation at Aziraphale’s work.
“I have my own office, don’t worry,” Aziraphale said, quick to reassure him, “Plus, Anathema will be waiting on an update about the suit fitting.”
He sighed when he thought about what a disaster that had been. To his surprise Crowley was smiling at him.
“Sneaky angel, you told me you were finished work for the day.”
Aziraphale nibbled at his lip, “Yes, well, there’s no harm in a little white lie every now and then.”
The look Crowley gave him was so drenched in fondness he had to look away.
They left the park and headed to the office, arm in arm and quiet as they thought about everything that had just happened. Aziraphale hoped Crowley would leave Gabriel for his own sake. The bastard’s behaviour was escalating, and Aziraphale would be lying if he said he wasn’t worried.
Perhaps they could get Newt to go with him when Crowley went to pack his things? Aziraphale would go himself, but that would just piss Gabriel off. His thoughts turned to Crowley’s financial situation. Maybe Anathema could put him on their list of wedding DJs, that would guarantee steady work. He’d have to ask Crowley if he was interested of course, but it was a start.
His musing took him all the way down the road to the office and only Crowley’s tug on his arm pulled him from his thoughts. They had reached all the way to the front door without Aziraphale noticing. He gave Crowley a sheepish smile and headed inside with the man close behind him.
Neither one of them noticed the tall man watching them from across the road, his fists clenched in anger
Please tell me what you think! I had a lot of uncertainty with this chapter, but in the end I think it came out alright. Up next: the confrontation with Gabriel.
“Aziraphale,” Anathema said as soon as he was through the door, “How’d it go? Was Gabriel his usual charming self…”
Her words trailed off when she saw Crowley coming in behind Aziraphale and her cheeks turned red. “Oh- um- Crowley hello! I didn’t know we had a meeting today.”
Aziraphale smiled at Anathema and ushered Crowley inside. “Crowley just wanted to discuss some of the details of his suit with me. So I invited him here for coffee.”
“Of course, of course,” Anathema gave him a searching look, she knew something was up. “When you get Crowley settled in your office come see me, please.”
Crowley raised his eyebrows at the expression and followed Aziraphale into his office. He looked around as if he was in a museum, a little smile on his face. The office was much like Aziraphale himself; warm, cozy, and just a tiny bit stuffy.
“It suits you,” Crowley said with a smirk, sinking into a squashy, beige armchair in the corner.
“Thank you,” Aziraphale said, eyes roaming over Crowley’s face. There was a certain rawness around his eyes and the edges of his lips were turned down. He looked like a man on the edge of a breakdown despite the attempts at bravado. Given what they had just been discussing in the park Aziraphale didn’t blame him one bit.
“I’ll put up the coffee and see to Anathema, be back in a tick.”
Crowley nodded and tipped his head back against the chair. Aziraphale tried not to let his eyes linger on the way his red hair spread over the fabric and failed spectacularly. Biting his lip and wondering what he would say to Crowley when he got back, Aziraphale headed into the kitchen. Anathema was there setting up the percolator for him.
“Oh thank you dear,” Aziraphale said with a smile.
He took down a tray and began laying it with coffee mugs and spoons.
“No problem. Now tell me, what happened at the suit fitting? You have that look about you Aziraphale.”
“The look you get when you think you’ve done something wrong. And,” she dropped her voice to a softer whisper, “I thought you weren’t working with Crowley anymore?”
Aziraphale sighed, he knew he had to tell her the truth. For one thing, he respected Anathema too much to lie to her about something so serious, and lying would only protect Gabriel which was something he certainly wasn’t going to do.
Filling the sugar bowl, he told her everything that happened at the suit fitting and in the park (leaving out only the more intimate details from the latter). By the time he was done Anathema’s eyes were wide, and her knuckles were white around the coffee pot.
“That son of a bitch,” she said, her voice quiet with shock.
Aziraphale nodded. Telling the story had made his throat unexpectedly tight. He tapped his fingers impatiently, willing the coffee to brew faster. He wanted to get back to Crowley.
“He obviously can’t marry him,” Anathema continued, folding napkins for the tray. “I like your plan of him becoming one of our DJs. It’s no problem to put him on the list.”
“I’ll tell him about it and hope he agrees. But I think leaving Gabriel will be harder than that.”
“Well, we’ll help him then!” Anathema said stoutly, “Gabriel doesn’t own him and we’ll do whatever it takes to show Crowley that!”
Aziraphale felt a surge of warmth toward her. Unable to help himself, he put down the spoon he’d been fiddling with and pulled her into a hug. Anathema froze for a moment, they didn’t often hug, then squeezed him back.
“Don’t worry Aziraphale, we’ll figure it out,” she said, her words slightly muffled by his collar.
Aziraphale could only squeeze her tighter in response. A beep from the coffee machine had them pulling apart, both feeling a touch awkward. Silently, he filled the coffee pot as he thought of what to say to Crowley. Hefting the tray, he gave Anathema a grateful smile and headed back to his office.
Crowley was in the same sprawl he’d left him in, with his eyes shut and arms folded across his chest. Aziraphale set the tray on his desk and wondered if the man had fallen asleep.
“Our bank accounts are all joint,” Crowley said, making Aziraphale start a little. Crowley opened his eyes and stretched his legs out. “Which means he can take what little money I have, or,” devilish yellow eyes turned to Aziraphale, “I can take all his millions. Just drain them right out and put them in another account.”
“Now, now,” Aziraphale said, nervously, “Lets not do anything rash.”
Crowley huffed and rolled his eyes.
Aziraphale handed him a cup of coffee and retrieved his notebook and pen from a drawer. The fact that Crowley had thought of separating his and Gabriel’s money was good (no matter how devious those thoughts were). It meant he was planning on actually leaving.
“Let’s make of list of what you need to do in order to- so you can- to help transition to being single,” Aziraphale finally settled on with a wince.
Crowley let out a dry chuckle, eyes on Aziraphale’s pen. It was silver, with tiny angel wings on the top and delicate curls carved throughout.
“Always so consistent, angel,” Crowley said, tapping the tip of Aziraphale’s pen playfully.
Aziraphale cleared his throat, refusing to be sidetracked.
“First things first,” he faltered for a moment, “do you know where you’ll stay?”
All the playfulness drained from Crowley’s expression, “I suppose a motel, until I can get a cheaper flat.” He sighed and turned away from Aziraphale, “It might just be simpler to carry on with the wedding. Less messy.”
Aziraphale struggled not to shout his disagreement. He had to handle this delicately. If Crowley felt confronted or attacked it could send him right back to Gabriel.
“Are you happy now?” he asked instead, setting down his notebook, “With Gabriel, are you happy?”
Crowley gave him an incredulous look as if he thought Aziraphale had just lost all his wits.
“Because,” Aziraphale continued, “If you go back to him, this is how you’ll feel, all the time. It won’t change, and it won’t get better.” He reached over and patted Crowley’s knee, “You know this Crowley, you wouldn’t have said what you did in the park if you didn’t.”
Crowley sighed, “It’s going to be so- so hard. Everything is going to change, and I don’t know where to start.”
“That’s why I’m here.” Aziraphale said, waving his notebook, “And I know of a lovely little bed and breakfast that has reasonable rates. Let’s look them up shall we? Then we’ll call the bank.”
Looking daunted, Crowley nodded and closed his eyes as Aziraphale reached for his laptop to look up the B&B. All he had to do was take things one step at a time, that should keep Crowley focused and stop him from feeling overwhelmed.
About an hour later, they had the B&B booked for a week and the bank had informed them Crowley could withdraw his money himself from the account.
“I guess we can head to the bank now,” Crowley said, swallowing.
“Of course! I’ll come with you, then we can get dinner! Or- um-” Aziraphale’s words fumbled to a stop when he realized how horribly inappropriate his enthusiasm was.
Crowley laughed quietly and smiled at him, “Don’t worry angel, a bit of over enthusiasm is what I need right now, else I’d just kneel right over.”
Aziraphale smiled weakly and got to his feet. “I’ll just let Anathema know what we’re up too, then we can go.”
Crowley nodded and stood up with a stretch, “Where’s your toilet, I need to get these out,” he gestured to his yellow eyes, “They’re starting to go dry.”
“Down the hall, on your left.”
Soon, Aziraphale was back from telling an ecstatic Anathema what Crowley’s plans were and a brown eyed Crowley was waiting for him at the door, wrapped up in pitch black coat.
“Anathema said she’ll put you on our DJ list, if you’d like,” Aziraphale said, reaching for his own coat.
To his surprise Crowley took it off the rack for him and held it open. Aziraphale slid his arms into it, and Crowley tugged the coat onto his shoulders, smoothing it down. His hands were delightfully warm through the fabric.
He was chatting to Crowley about the perks of DJing at weddings as Crowley opened the front door for him. Suddenly, Crowley froze, eyes on a figure standing outside the office.
It was Gabriel.
Time seemed to still around them as Gabriel strode over, face hard.
“I should have known you wouldn’t stop,” Gabriel said, “You’ll spread it for anyone who smiles at you, won’t you Anthony?”
Crowley pulled his arm from Aziraphale and took a step forward, pulling Aziraphale half behind him.
“Go home Gabriel,” Crowley’s voice shook “We’ll talk later.”
“What’s the matter Anthony?” Gabriel pulled his face into an exaggerated frown, “Are you going to cry? Need that stupid cow to hold your hand while you whine?”
Aziraphale opened his mouth to tell Gabriel just exactly what he thought of him, but a gesture from Crowley stopped him.
“I told you not to call me that,” Crowley’s hands were curled into shaking fists at his sides, but his voice was stronger now.
“Oh, I’m sorry... Anthony. ”
Gabriel sighed as if Crowley’s anger wasn’t worth being taken seriously. “I don’t need you making a scene in the road. Come on, I’ll deal with you at home.”
He gestured to the Bentley and beckoned Crowley forward. It took everything Aziraphale had not to immediately grab Crowley and run. Instead he wrapped a hand around the hem of Crowley’s coat, out of Gabriel’s sight.
“No,” Crowley’s voice echoed in the empty street, “I’m not coming with you.”
Gabriel’s eyes turned frighteningly cold and he took a step toward them. “I said. Get. In. The. Car.”
“And I said no, darling. You can leave my car here and take a cab home. I’ll talk to you later.”
“It wouldn’t be your car if it weren’t for me,” Gabriel said between clenched teeth, creeping closer to them. “Now get in.”
“He said no,” Aziraphale said, peering around Crowley’s shoulder.
Gabriel turned to him and Aziraphale swallowed hard at the terrifying expression on Gabriel’s face.
“No one is speaking to you fat ass, and you better believe my business with you and your boss is over. We’ll be finding another wedding planner.”
He felt Crowley tense in front of him, and clutched the back of his coat tighter. Crowley shifted to better hide Aziraphale and then stood tall, lifting his chin.
“I’m not marrying you,” Crowley said, his voice cutting through the air like a whip
Gabriel blinked at them a moment. The street was silent around them, devoid of people and the snow muffled the sounds of traffic from the main road in the distance.
“What did you say?” Gabriel said, voice devoid of emotion.
“I said,” Crowley took a deep breath, “I’m not marrying you.” He took a step toward Gabriel, eyes blazing, “You repel me in every way possible.”
Gabriel stared at Crowley, eyes as blank as a shark’s. His body tensed in a way Aziraphale didn’t like, and Aziraphale was moving before he thought about it. He shoved Crowley aside as Gabriel swung. A fist connected with his temple and Aziraphale went sprawling. He landed hard on the pavement, pain exploding in his head. Crowley was shouted above him and shoved Gabriel hard as the two began to scuffle. There was the sound of a fist hitting flesh and Gabriel shrieked in pain. Just then the office door banged open and Anathema’s voice joined the ruckus.
Aziraphale tired to focus around the pain in his head. The snow was cold against his face where he lay on the ground. Above him, he could see Crowley and Gabriel struggling with each other and Anathema running toward them. Suddenly, Gabriel’s foot was swinging toward his stomach and he curled into himself, bracing for impact. Crowley let out an enraged shout and rammed an elbow into Gabriel’s side. Gabriel’s feet slid in the snow and clipped Aziraphale in the chin. Spots exploded across Aziraphale’s vision and pain sliced across his lower lip as it was jammed against the edge of his teeth.
Gasping in pain, Aziraphale rolled into a sitting position, blood pouring down his chin. He looked up just in time to see Anathema bash Gabriel over the head with a heavy bridal book. Gabriel roared and clutched his head in pain. Anathema wasted no time, swinging her leg back and kicking him hard in the groin. Gabriel dropped like a stone and Crowley was on him in an instant, pinning him to the pavement.
“I’ve called the police!” a voice called, making them all look up, panting hard.
Tracey stood in the doorway of the office, the cordless phone clutched in her hand and face set with anger. She hurried over to Aziraphale and pressed a handkerchief to his mouth, mopping up the blood.
Gabriel was swearing a blue streak under Crowley, who simply dug his knee harder into the other man’s back. Anathema was panting as she sat on Gabriel's legs. Thankfully she seemed no worse for the wear. Crowley’s wild eyes found Aziraphale and darkened as they took in the damage to his face. Crowley fared no better than he did; blood was pouring from his nose and there was a bright red mark under one eye that Aziraphale was sure would darken into a bruise.
Aziraphale got heavily to his feet with Tracey’s help and fished out his own handkerchief. Crouching next to a wiggling Gabriel, he carefully pressed it to Crowley’s nose. The man's hands were full trying to hold Gabriel still.
“The police should be here soon,” Tracey said breathlessly. “I called them as soon as I heard the ruckus, something in me told me to. You know how I get my feelings on things.”
“Are you two alright?” Anathema cut in, breathing finally under control.
Crowley nodded and Aziraphale mirrored the gesture.
“We are, my dear,” Aziraphale said, eyes on Crowley. “We are now.”
Dealing with the police was a headache and a half in Aziraphale’s opinion, but luckily it was four of them against one. Soon, a raging Gabriel was put in the back of a black and white, while the rest of them stood in the snow giving their statements. Crowley was handed a card for victim’s services and advised to take out a restraining order. Both he and Aziraphale were advised to press charges (which they agreed to do) and seek medical attention (which they turned down).
Finally, after being told all four of them would need to come to the station for formal interviews, Gabriel was taken away and they trudged back into the office. Aziraphale wordlessly went to make tea, they were all half frozen after all, and Anathema rolled ice cubes into two tea towels for him and Crowley to use as ice packs.
“You certainly are handy with a catalog, dear,” Aziraphale said, trying to lighten the mood.
Anathema handed him a makeshift ice pack and smiled, “Well, needs must when the devil drives, or in this case, tires to beat up your friend.”
Aziraphale’s smile widened, making him wince where it pulled at his cut lip.
“That was some kick,” said Crowley, appearing in the doorway.
“I’m not ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Anathema said, tossing him the other icy towel.
“So did I,” Crowley said.
The three of them exchanged glances and then burst into giggles. Crowley wrapped an arm around Aziraphale’s shoulder and pulled him close as they laughed.
“Really now!” Tracey came into the kitchen and looked at them as if they were all quite mad. “What’s the matter with you three? Laughing after such a display!”
That just made them laugh harder, if not a tad more hysterically.
“If we don’t laugh we’ll cry,” Crowley said, “And I’m tired of the latter.”
Aziraphale gave him a little squeeze and Crowley smiled at him, eyes sad despite his words.
“Alright?” Crowley asked quietly, eyes lingering on Aziraphale’s bruised lip.
“I will be, and you?”
“Loads better,” Crowley said, false bravado firmly in place.
Silence fell as a sudden wariness came over them. Everyone looked anywhere but at each other, suddenly uncertain what to do.
“I for one,” Anathema said, breaking the somber mood, “Am sick of this office. How about we all go home, then go for a drink after the interviews tomorrow?”
There were rounds of tried agreement from everyone and the half brewed tea was forgotten as they headed out in a group.
Tracey and Anathema headed to the corner for a cab and Crowley fished the Bentley keys out of his pocket (the police officers had kindly fetched them from Gabriel’s coat for him).
“How about a ride home angel?”
Aziraphale nodded and they piled into the car. After giving Crowley directions, they sat in silence. Aziraphale felt drained and he couldn’t even begin to imagine how Crowley must be feeling.
“Where will you go?” Aziraphale asked eventually.
“The B&B,” he hesitated before adding “ As Gabriel doesn’t know about it.”
“He won’t get out tonight you know,” Aziraphale said softly, squeezing Crowley’s hand where it lay on the gearshift.
“I know, but I’ll sleep easier if I’m somewhere he won’t know to look.”
Aziraphale nodded and silence descended again. When they pulled up to the bookshop, a part of him wanted to crawl upstairs and sleep for a year, while another part was loath to leave Crowley alone.
“Will you be alright?” he asked, eyes on the other man.
Crowley nodded, staring ahead. Aziraphale made to open his door, then turned back to him.
“Still, I’d feel better if I had some way to contact you.”
Crowley turned to him and grinned weakly. “If you want my number angel, you could just ask.”
Aziraphale’s cheeks heated and Crowley chuckled. They swapped numbers and then there was nothing left for Aziraphale to do but get out of the car.
He did so slowly, reluctantly, and kept turning back to look at Crowley. At the door to his flat, he turned back a final time and waved. Crowley gave him a jaunty wave in return and waited until he’d gone inside before he pulled off.
Aziraphale sighed and rolled onto his side. He couldn’t sleep. Crowley had dropped him off five hours ago, and he’d been tossing and turning for the last three. Sitting up he glared at the clock, then grabbed his phone off the side table. Biting his lip, he opened a new message to Crowley. Texting the man now would be a bad idea. He was probably asleep and after the day he’d had Aziraphale wouldn’t want to wake him.
He set his phone down and rolled onto his side again. Almost immediately he rolled back over and picked up his phone, typing out a message before he could stop himself.
He tapped the phone against his forehead and waited for a reply. Less than a minute later the phone dinged against his forehead.
Ah. Uncertain what to do Aziraphale replied without quite thinking about it.
Would company help?
As soon as he sent the message he swore to himself at the double entendre it held. The last thing he wanted Crowley to think was that he was coming onto him the same day he’d dumped his fiance. He frantically tried to delete the message but the little ticks next to it turned blue before he could.
I’d like that
Aziraphale stared at the reply. The lack of euphemisms made his concern grow. Crowley must really be in a bad way of he didn’t even try to tease Aziraphale.
I’ll be right over.
Thank you angel
Worry growing, Aziraphale threw on the first clothes he could get his hands on and headed out.
Less than twenty minutes later he was knocking on Crowley’s door at the B&B, heart in his throat. The door opened a crack, chain in place, and tired brown eyes peered out at him.
“You came,” Crowley said so softly that Aziraphale nearly missed it. He unlocked the door and pulled it open, usual smirk in place, “Hello angel.”
Aziraphale ignored his attempts at being suave, stepped into the room and pulled Crowley into a tight hug. The man went still, then a long arm pushed the door shut and pulled Aziraphale close.
They stood there in the moonlit bedroom, holding each other tight. Aziraphale’s face found a natural resting spot in the crook of Crowley’s neck, and Crowley’s arms seemed made to perfectly fit around his waist.
Taking a deep breath, Crowley pulled back and cupped Aziraphale’s face in his long hands. Their eyes met, then Crowley leaned in and kissed him. Aziraphale’s hands tightened on Crowley’s shoulders as their lips pressed together. He knew he should stop, that he should pull away, but he didn’t. He couldn’t, not when Crowley lips felt so perfect against his.
One of Crowley’s arms wrapped around his waist and a slender hand slid up his spine to cradle the back of his head. Aziraphale sighed into Crowley’s mouth, then moaned as a tongue brushed his own. Crowley pulled their bodies firmly together and began walking backward, hands squeezing Aziraphale’s hips. Aziraphale let out a squeak as Crowley sat on the edge of the bed and pulled Aziraphale onto his lap.
“I’m- I’m too heavy,” Aziraphale panted, squirming.
“I’ll be the judge of that angel,” Crowley growled against against Aziraphale’s ear.
Aziraphale whimpered as sharp teeth nipped his ear lobe, then the delicate skin behind. Crowley’s tongue soothed the bite and sucked, making Aziraphale bare more of his throat to the other man.
“You’re perfect, angel,” Crowley whispered, laying soft kisses down the side of Aziraphale’s neck. “So soft and so sweet. The things I’m going to do to you...”
Crowley punctuated his last statement with a firm squeeze to Aziraphale’s arse. Aziraphale gasped and tangled his hands in that red hair, that was just as soft as it looked. He tugged gently on it, relishing in the moan Crowley let out. He was leaning down to kiss the man senseless when the reality of their situation caught up with him.
“Crowley, Crowley st-stop. We need to stop.”
“No we don’t,” Crowley mumbled, pulling at Aziraphale’s shirt to lick his collarbone.
“No we- oh dear ! We do. Stop, please.”
Crowley pulled back and looked at him, eyes weary, “Sorry angel,” he said, stroking Aziraphale’s sides. “I didn’t mean to push.”
“It’s not that,” Aziraphale hurried to clarify, “It’s just, after what happened today I think- well perhaps we should take it slow.”
Crowley nodded, looking disheartened.
“Oh Crowley no,” Aziraphale said, petting the back of Crowley’s head, “I want to, believe me I do, but not right now.” He delicately traced the bruise under Crowley’s eye, “At least we should heal first.”
Crowley ran one long finger over Aziraphale’s lip, tracing the scab there from the fight earlier, and sighed, “You’re right angel. As always,” he added with a wink.
Aziraphale smiled and made to get off Crowley’s lap, but strong hands held him in place. “Besides,” Crowley rumbled, “When I have you I want to be thinking of you, and only you. Nothing else.”
Aziraphale’s cheeks flamed and Crowley chuckled, “That blush,” he said, a long finger tracing one hot cheek, “I wonder how far down it goes.”
“Crowley!” Aziraphale groaned, laughing despite himself.
Crowley laughed and let him go, “Sorry angel, you’re just so fun to tease .”
Aziraphale blushed harder and slid off Crowley lap and onto the bed next to him.
Crowley scratched the back of his neck and fiddled with the comforter, “Would you keep my company?” He held up his hands, “No wandering hands I promise.”
Aziraphale smiled, “That’s why I’m here, darling.”
Crowley grinned and threw the covers back, slid under them and beckoned for Aziraphale. Aziraphale laughed joined him tucking the covers around them both. Crowley curled onto his side and snuggled against his pillow. Aziraphale mirrored the position and lay facing him, six inches of space between them.
“Thank you for coming angel,” Crowley said, eyes tracing Aziraphale’s face.
“Of course Crowley.”
“And um- sorry about the kissing.”
Aziraphale smiled, “I enjoyed it.”
“So did I angel.”
They settled further into bed, tucking the covers over their shoulders. Crowley shut his eyes and sighed, his shoulders relaxing.
“Why ‘angel’?” Aziraphale asked, feeling brave in the dark room.
“Hum?” Crowley opened his eyes, and blinked at him.
“Why do you call me angel?”
“Oh,” to Aziraphale’s surprise, Crowley’s cheeks reddened. “I can stop if you don’t like it.”
“No, I like it! Quite a lot actually,” Aziraphale said. He fiddled with a loose thread on the duvet, “I was just wondering why, is all.”
“It’s- you’re just so- so sweet .” Crowley said, sounding almost exasperated. “The first time I saw you in Anathema’s office you looked so soft, and you were all in white, so it just popped into my head. Then I got to know you, and you try so hard to do the right thing all the time, that ‘angel’ just seemed all the more fitting.” He curled a finger around one of Aziraphale’s blond curls and grinned at him, “Plus it doesn’t help that you’re angelically blond.”
Aziraphale smiled at the comforter, unable to look at the other man. “Thank you.”
A groan from Crowley had Aziraphale looking up.
“That blush will be the death of me, angel!”
Feeling warm and safe under the blanket, Aziraphale leaned forward and pressed a quick kiss to Crowley’s lips.
“Hey I thought you said no kissing!” Crowley said,eyebrows high in mock affront.
Aziraphale smirked primly and patted Crowley’s hand where it lay on the pillow. Crowley caught his hand and gave it a squeeze.
“Good night my dear.”
“Good night angel.”
Hands still entwined, both men shut their eyes and waited for sleep, feeling more content than they had in ages.
I hope you all liked it!
This was originally a much longer chapter, but it was getting far too long so I decided to split it in two, which means the next chapter is already underway!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Aziraphale woke up to warmth. The sun was warm on his legs through the rose printed blanket, and his pillow was toasty under his head, as was the body pressed up behind him. Smiling, he snuggled back against Crowley and sighed in content. The man’s arms were around his waist and his head was tucked between Aziraphale’s shoulders. How someone so tall could sleep in such a cramped position was a mystery to him. Crowley must be part snake.
He was just dozing back off when Crowley let out a soft sound and pulled him closer. Aziraphale’s cheeks reddened as he felt- well- just how happy Crowley was that morning. Crowley let out another, deeper sound and rocked his hips ever so slightly, before going still, his cock nestled in the crease under Aziraphale’s arse. A thin hand wormed its way under Aziraphale’s top and slid against the skin of his stomach. Swallowing, Aziraphale sucked in, hoping Crowley wouldn’t notice how pudgy he was.
Crowley hummed and spread his hand over Aziraphale’s round belly.
“Now now, don’t do that,” a sleep rough voice said, making Aziraphale jump.
The man was awake!
“I love how soft you are.” Long fingers squeezed then wiggled over his stomach making Aziraphale giggle and shove at Crowley’s hand.
He felt Crowley smile against his shoulder and another hand joined the first, tracing lightly over Aziraphale’s belly before digging in and tickling hard.
“Crowley! St-o-o-o-p!” Aziraphale gasped, trying to break free. Who knew someone so skinny could be so strong .
Crowley chuckled behind him and tickled him harder. Aziraphale squirmed, blushing and laughing as the motion made Crowley’s cock press further against his arse. His pleas increased in pitch and finally Crowley gave him one more hard tickle, then let go.
“You- you demon!” Aziraphale gasped around his laughs.
Crowley simply wrapped his arms around Aziraphale and gave him a hard hug. What felt suspiciously like a kiss was pressed to the back of Aziraphale’s head, right at his hairline. Before he could say anything, Crowley was throwing back the blankets and hopping out of bed. Aziraphale rolled onto his back and grabbed Crowley’s hand, pressing a quick kiss to the back. He yawned and stretched languidly in bed, letting Crowley’s fingers slide from his own.
“Where are you going?”
Crowley stared him a moment, eyes following the line of Aziraphale’s body through the blanket.
“I’m dying for a shower, also we’ll need to get going if you want to change before we head to the Yard.” He paused a moment and eyed Aziraphale again, ““I like the sight of you in my bed.”
Aziraphale preened, and Crowley laughed as he headed to the bathroom. He tugged his shirt off on the way, giving Aziraphale a magnificent view of his tattooed back. Once the door shut behind Crowley, Aziraphale flopped back onto the bed and let himself grin. He’d forgotten how nice it was to wake up in bed with someone.
The shower started and Aziraphale made his way over to the vanity. His hair was a mess and his clothes were horribly rumpled. He blinked down at his clothes in shock...he was wearing sweatpants. Last night he’d been so anxious to get to Crowley he hadn’t paid attention to what he’d put on. Now he saw and...ugh. Aziraphale was of the firm belief that sweatpants were for sleeping and nothing else. Certainly not running over to a potential lover’s room.
He sighed and morosely rubbed a hand over the accompanying t-shirt. There’d be plenty of other times for Crowley to see him when he was better dressed...and hopefully undressed too. He smiled at the wicked thought and he used his hands to fix his hair as best as possible. In the mirror he saw the bathroom door open, and Crowley emerged.
Aziraphale swallowed hard, clearly Crowley hadn’t bothered to dry off in the bathroom. His body was slick with water, a few wayward drops sliding down the contours of his body. A fluffy, white towel was wrapped low on his hips, and that wicked snake tattoo drew Aziraphale’s eyes to places they really shouldn’t go.
“Bathroom’s free,” Crowley said, walking passed, rubbing another towel over his hair. As he walked the ends of the towel flapped open, giving Aziraphale a look at streamlined, hairy thighs.
“Thank you!” Aziraphale managed to squeak, darting into the steamy bathroom and shutting the door. Through the wood he could hear Crowley’s laugh.
An hour later a freshly changed Aziraphale and Crowley pulled up in front of Scotland Yard. The playfulness from this morning evaporated as they entered the building. Anathema and Tracey were waiting for them in the reception area, both looked totally unsurprised that he and Crowley had arrived together.
“I spoke to an officer who said they’d send someone down for us soon,” Anathema said.
Crowley nodded and sat down, shades on and arms crossed. Aziraphale sat next to him and resisted the urge to take his hand.
Soon, Aziraphale found himself seated on a hard wooden chair next to an officer’s cluttered desk. It was one in a sea of the like that filled a huge room. To his right Anathema and Tracey were each in chair like his, while Crowley had been introduced to a senior officer and taken into a private office. Through the glass he could see the officer, a serious Indian woman, hand him a paper cup of water and gesture for him to sit. He hoped to God Crowley would be taken seriously. Cases of abuse between same-sex partners tended not be treated as such, especially between two men. It was something Aziraphale had had a taste of himself.
“Alright Aziraphale,” the officer he’d been assigned said. “Why don’t you tell me what happened outside your office yesterday.”
The man had very blue eyes and hair almost as blond as his own. It made him look as if he would float away at any given moment.
“Well, I- there was-” Aziraphale struggled to begin in a way that would be professional, but still explain just how awful Gabriel was.
The officer smiled, his eyes kind, “Just take your time and explain in your own words.”
Aziraphale nodded, took a deep breath and began.
An hour and a half later he was back in the reception area. He’d told the officer everything and was pleased at how seriously he’d been taken. His injuries had been photographed and he’d taken out a restraining order against Gabriel.
Anathema and Tracey were waiting for him, faces tense.
“Where’s Crowley?” Anathema said, getting to her feet.
“They need to ask him a few more questions and photograph his injuries. I’ll wait for him here.”
“We’ll wait with you,” Anathema said immediately.
“Of course, dear” Tracey said, patting the seat next to her.
Aziraphale sank down between them gratefully and tipped his head against the back of the bench, shutting his eyes. He felt Tracey slip something into his hand and cracked one eye open, smiling when he saw what it was. It was one of those sweets in the strawberry print wrapper that no one seemed to know the name of. He popped it into his mouth and sighed as the familiar taste spread over his tongue.
Time slowed to a crawl as they waited. The dim winter sun crawled across the sky, shifts changed over for lunch, and then Crowley was getting off the elevator. His hands were stuffed into his coat pockets, and his glasses were off, revealing tired brown eyes.
Aziraphale was on his feet in an instant.
“How are you, my dear?”
“Tired,” Crowley said with a little smile.
He stopped right in front of him and sagged. Aziraphale immediately wrapped him in a hug, lightly patting the back of Crowley’s hair. Crowley leaned his forehead against Aziraphale’s shoulder, hands still in his pockets.
“He’ll most likely be out on bail tomorrow,” Crowley mumbled.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, love.”
“I took out a restraining order and Detective Maharaj said I should collect my things and stay in a hotel for the time being,” Crowley said, his words jumbled. “They offered to have a police car pass-by every so often, but I turned it down. She recommended some good lawyers who’ll take my case pro-bono.”
Crowley pulled back and wiped his eyes. Aziraphale rubbed his hands up and down his arms, trying to soothe him. “We’ll help you Crowley, don’t you worry.”
Crowley nodded, “I can manage the B&B for now. The detective told me victim services would be able to help me find affordable housing. So...I made an appointment with them.” He said the last bit hesitantly, as if he wasn’t sure he’d done the correct thing.
“That’s wonderful,” Aziraphale said with a warm smile.
“Well done!” Anathema chimed in, smiling encouragingly.
“I’ll go with you if you like,” Aziraphale continued. “To the appointment, and to help you pack. That is if you’d like.”
Crowley smiled at him, tired but grateful.
Aziraphale’s next question spilled from his lips without him thinking. “Was the detective nice?”
Crowley looked at him, his eyes going soft. “Yes, yes she was very understanding.”
Aziraphale felt his shoulders relax and he pulled Crowley into another hug.
“How about we go by Crowley’s flat, then grab lunch?” Anathema said, standing up and stretching.
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Tracey said. She wrapped a motherly arm around Crowley’s back and gave him a squeeze.
Crowley smiled a touch awkwardly and nodded. “I guess now’s as good a time as any.” His smile turned wicked, “Plus is would be a shame if some of Gabriel’s things were to disappear .”
“We are not stealing!”
“Of course not angel,” Crowley said, not deterred in the slightest. “But we can mess up his tie index.”
“He has a tie index?” Anathema asked incredulously.
“Jesus, what kind of dick has a tie index?”
Crowley burst into laughter and Aziraphale gave her shoulder a squeeze.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself, Anathema,” Crowley said, eyes twinkling.
He threw an arm around Aziraphale shoulders and their little group headed towards the door, Crowley’s smile barely faltering on the way.
They made haste in Gabriel’s flat. Although it would be hours until his release, being there made Aziraphale feel on edge. He couldn’t even imagine how Crowley felt. The man barreled through the door and headed straight for the bedroom, barking for the others to follow. Soon, three suitcases were open on the bedroom floor and they were packing up Crowley’s clothes. It was easy; anything black, red and slinky belonged to Crowley. The man had no jewelry and his toiletries were basic.
“All my clutter is at my other flat, well the flat Gabriel put me up in,” Crowley said flatly, as he zipped the last suitcase. “He had me moving in...that’s why most of my clothes are here.”
Aziraphale squeezed his shoulder and they continued to pack. Crowley had a remarkable amount of shoes, and even more jackets.
“We should head to your flat next,” Anathema said, hefting a suitcase and pulling up the handle. “You’ll have to give it up and- oh sorry,” she winced at how insensitive her words had sounded.
Crowley waved it away and nodded, “You’re right, there are some things there I know Gabriel would take pleasure in destroying. Let’s go!”
They hit a stumbling block at the car. There was no way to fit the two full and one empty suitcase in the Bentley, plus the four of them.
“I suppose we’ll need an uber,” Anathema said, wiping out her phone. “A large should do to hold us all, plus the bags.”
“Thank you dear,” Aziraphale said, eyes on Crowley.
The man was staring morosely at his car, fiddling with the handle of his bag.
“I’ll need to leave it here anyway,” he said quietly. “It’s in Gabriel’s name and there’s no way I’ll be able to buy it from him.” He let out a dry laugh, “as if he’d sell it to me.”
Aziraphale struggled for something to say. It was difficult since he could quite grasp Crowley’s attachment to the car. But the point was that it mattered to Crowley. Stepping closer, he squeezed Crowley’s arm and said, “I’ll get your things from the car.”
He was scooping CDs out of the glove compartment when a black Escalade pulled up next to them. Anathema approached the window and chatted with the driver for a moment, then waved them over as the trunk popped open. They piled the bags, then themselves inside and headed over the Crowley’s flat.
Crowley’s flat was more...painful that Gabriel’s. The three of them hesitated behind Crowley in the foyer. There was a certain stillness to the place that felt fragile, breakable.
“Let’s get on with then,” Crowley said, tugging his jacket straight and striding into the living room.
The first thing to get packed was the angel statue. Crowley picked it up gently and wrapped it in layers of scarves, tucking the fabric around each dip and curve of the figures. They were finished here much faster than at Gabriel’s. Mainly because there were barely any clothes at Crowley’s, just one or two books, a couple trinkets and the plants.
“I guess these stay behind too,” Crowley said with a sigh, stroking a deep green leaf between a forefinger and thumb.
Aziraphale and Anathema exchange a glance behind Crowley’s back, there was no way they could move such huge plants into the B&B.
“You could grow others when you get a new place,” Anathema said, “That’ll be fun!”
“Yeah...fun,” Crowley said, eyes still on the plants.
“Righty-o!” Aziraphale said, clapping his hands with forced cheer, “Got everything you need Crowley?”
The man nodded, hefting his laptop bag onto his shoulder and carefully picking up the wrapped statue. Anathema picked up a duffel that held Crowley’s other odds and ends and they were ready to leave. Crowley pull out his phone and checked his messages.
“Officer Maharaj said she’ll message me when he got out,” he said by way of explanation.
Aziraphale opened his mouth to comment, when Tracey beat him to it.
“You’ll need a new phone, dear,” Tracey spoke up, “Won’t he be able to track the one have now?”
To Aziraphale’s horror Crowley’s eyes filled with tears, his fingers going white on the strap of his bag.
“Let’s go wait in the car, Tracey,” Anathema said quickly, taking Tracey by the elbow and hustling them out the door.
“Was it something I sa-” Tracey’s words were cut off as the door shut behind them.
Aziraphale was pulling Crowley into his arms before the door could close.
“Oh my dear, I’m so sorry. It’ll be alright,” he cooed, carding a hand through Crowley’s hair.
Crowley’s bag hit the ground with a thud and his arms wound tightly around Aziraphale’s waist, his head dropping onto the shorter man’s shoulder.
“I’m losing everything,” Crowley growled into Aziraphale’s shoulder. “I’m losing everything!” He shoved away from Aziraphale and tugged at his hair. “He gets to come home to his perfect flat and my car, while I have to squash everything I own into one stupid little room! He gets to go back to his job and friends and life and I have- I have NOTHING!”
“No it’s not! It’s NOT OKAY! None of this is okay! It’s not FAIR!”
He violently grabbed one of the plants and knocked it over. It fell with a crash, dirt spilling out of the pot and across the floor. Crowley brought his foot down viciously on the trunk, snapping it in half and sending leaves flying.
“No it’s not, it’s not fair at all,” Aziraphale said, letting Crowley rage.
Crowley made an angry noise and kept stamping until the plant was mulch and he was panting hard.
“I- I just wish,” Crowley took a shuddering breath, “I wish I hadn’t let myself be- be bought.”
“Oh my dear,” Aziraphale said, rushing over and pulling him back into his arms. “That’s not it at all! Gabriel took advantage of you. He knew the situation you were in and used that to make you feel like- like you’d owed him a relationship. You aren’t for sale Crowley.”
Crowley hugged him harder and and buried his face in Aziraphale’s shoulder sobbing hard. Aziraphale patted his hair and made soothing sounds, distress clawing up his throat. He let Crowley wail his pain into his sleeve and struggled not to let the wetness in his own eyes spill down his cheeks.
The ride back to the B&B was quiet. Crowley spent all of it staring out the window, brooding, not that Aziraphale could blame him. At the B&B he told them all he’d unpack alone and dragged his bags inside. Aziraphale tried to make eye contact, but Crowley avoided him, closing the door quietly as soon as he’d pulled the last suitcase through.
“He just needs time,” Anathema said, giving Aziraphale’s shoulder a squeeze.
Aziraphale nodded and followed them out, his heart in his shoes.
Aziraphale spent that night fretting and struggling not to call Crowley. Anathema was right, the man needed space, and the last thing Aziraphale wanted to do was make Crowley feel crowded.
He barely slept, and when he finally dragged himself out of bed the next morning he ended up staying in his kitchen worrying until mid-morning. He kept glancing at his phone and sighing every time he saw no messages. Aziraphale knew he was being ridiculous. He had to give Crowley time.
Finally, he forced himself to go down to the bookshop below his flat and browse for a bit of distraction. Then he made himself walk to his favourite cafe and buy a slice of vanilla cake and a cappuccino. There he texted Anathema to see how she was, purely because the phone was in his hand and he knew if he held it much longer he’d call Crowley. Anathema took pity on him and asked him to swing passed a florist close to the cafe to see if they had a particular flower a bride wanted. Aziraphale was happy to help and before he knew it he ended up helping the florist prepare sample bouquets. By the time he was done, night had fallen and he was back in his flat.
Deciding to indulge himself, Aziraphale drew a bath and stripped off. He had just tested the water with one toe when there was a knock at the door. Muttering and pulling on a fluffy white robe, he hustled to answer it.
“Coming, coming!” he called as the knocking came again, louder.
He yanked open the door and felt his eyes widen when he saw who it was. It was Crowley!
The man stood in the doorway, hands curled around the door frame as if he was holding himself up.
“Crowley! Are you alright? Did-”
Aziraphale’s words were cut of by Crowley taking a large step forward and kissing him. His hands were cold on Aziraphale’s jaw, while the rest of him was a long line of heat. Aziraphale’s eyes fluttered shut, his hands found Crowley’s hips and he let himself get lost in the moment.
For about five seconds.
Then reality came charging back in and his eyes snapped open.
He gentled the kiss and slowly pulled away. He needed to make sure Crowley was alright.
“Just look at you, angel,” Crowley said, before he could get a word out. “All wrapped up for me like a present .”
He backed Aziraphale further into the flat and reached for the sash of his robe.
“Are- are you alright my dear?” Aziraphale asked, blushing as long fingers slid his robe off one shoulder.
“Mmm, absolutely,” Crowley said, pressing tiny kisses to Aziraphale’s exposed shoulder. “Ah, there’s that blush,” he continued, lips dragging over skin. “I knew it would get lovelier the further down it went.”
Crowley flicked his eyes up to Aziraphale’s as licked over the curve of his shoulder. Aziraphale swallowed hard. He should stop this, but heaven help him, he didn’t want to. All the pinning and emotion from the day before broke free, and for once in his life, Aziraphale didn’t think over what he was about to do ten times before he did it.
He hooked his hands around Crowley hips and pulled the man back with him a few steps, until his back hit the wall.
“That’s it, angel,” Crowley hissed, bracing one hand on the wall next to Aziraphale’s head. His other hand went to the tie of Aziraphale’s robe and tugged it loose.
Aziraphale clutched at Crowley’s shoulders as his robe fell open, baring himself entirely to the other man. He jumped when long hands stroked over his naked sides and squeezed his round hips.
“You breathtaking, angel,” Crowley purred, eyes raking over Aziraphale.
Aziraphale wrapped an arm around Crowley’s neck and brought their lips together again. He felt Crowley smile against his mouth and licked his way into the other man’s mouth, humming in pleasure. One long finger trailed across Aziraphale’s shoulder, down his sternum and ever so gently around his belly button, making him shiver.
“That’s how far down it goes,” Crowley whispered.
He took Aziraphale’s chin in his hand and tilted his neck to the side, baring his throat. In a vampire-like motion that shouldn’t have been nearly as sexy as it was, Crowley pressed a hard kiss to his neck, letting his teeth drag over the skin. Aziraphale’s knees went loose and he slung his arms over Crowley’s shoulders and pulled the man against him.
It was absolutely delicious to be naked and so exposed while Crowley hadn’t even taken his jacket off.
“Well someone is enjoying themselves,” Crowley said a little breathlessly, rocking a thigh against Aziraphale’s hard cock. Aziraphale hissed at the friction of jeans over sensitive skin and bucked his hips to chase the sensation.
“I could say the- the same to you,” Aziraphale said, letting one hand glide over the bulge at the front of Crowley’s jeans.
Crowley bit him harder in retaliation and Aziraphale shivered, every reason why this was a bad idea flew out of his head and he pulled Crowley into another kiss. Crowley kissed him back hungrily and gave Aziraphale’s arse a squeeze.
“Fuck, you feel good,” he hissed between kisses. His hands wandered from Aziraphale’s arse to his hips and back again, as if he couldn’t get enough. Each motion pushed Aziraphale’s cock against Crowley's stomach, the silky slide of his shirt a relief after the rough jeans.
Aziraphale let his own hands roam under Crowley's shirt and stroke over sharp shoulder blades and down the groove of his back. Crowley shivered at the touch, making Aziraphale smile and do it again and again. He finally worked his fingers down to Crowley’s zipper and fumbled with it. Crowley’s hands wrapped around his wrists and pulled him off.
“Naughty angel. I get to make you come first.”
Aziraphale’s swallowed hard, the heat in his gut spreading at Crowley’s words. If Crowley could turn him into jelly just by talking, Aziraphale couldn’t imagine what would happen when Crowley touched him.
It turned out he’d make the most pornographic sound the man in the bookshop below had ever heard.
Crowley grinned at the noise and gave Aziraphale’s cock another slow stroke. Aziraphale’s head slumped forward as white hot pleasure coursed through him. Crowley wrapped a hand in his hair and tugged his head up so their eyes could meet.
“Just look at you,” Crowley growled, “fucking stunning, you are.”
He stroked faster and Aziraphale whimpered, looping his arms around Crowley’s waist to steady himself.
“That’s it angel, come on.”
Aziraphale panted hard as his pleasure bloomed in a distinctly southward fashion. He gasped against Crowley’s neck and squeezed his hips, fingers hooking onto his belt.
“One day,” Crowley said, lips at Aziraphale’s ear, “I’m going to spread you out on a fluffy white bed an angel like you deserves and eat you until you scream. Would you like that?”
The words were accompanied by a particularly talented twist of Crowley’s wrist and that was it. Aziraphale came hard over Crowley’s fingers and shirt, knees quaking and hips stuttering in pleasure. Crowley stroked him through it, whispering such filth into his ear that Aziraphale was almost convinced he could go for a second around.
When he was through, Aziraphale sank to the floor, his shoulders loose. Crowley followed him down, hands steadying him.
“That was amazing, my dear,” Aziraphale said, smiling weakly at the other man.
Crowley returned his smile and Aziraphale pulled him into a kiss, pulling Crowley close. His hands worked at Crowley’s zipper and freed his cock. Let it not be said Aziraphale didn’t know how to please his partners. He most certainly did.
What Aziraphale wanted more than ever, was to push Crowley onto his back and use his mouth on him. But the condoms were all the way in the bedroom and there was no way he was leaving Crowley now. Instead he settled for quick, firm strokes that had Crowley shaking and burying his face in Aziraphale’s neck.
“Faster,” Crowley panted, hips bucking, “Make me come, angel.”
Aziraphale pressed kisses to whatever part of Crowley he could reach, his hand speeding up. Crowley pulled back and kissed him, moaning into Aziraphale’s mouth as his thumb stroked over the slit.
Unlike Crowley, Aziraphale wasn’t much good at dirty talk. He was however incredibly tactile. He nuzzled Crowley’s temple, stroked his hair and licked over those glorious collar bones. Crowley's breaths came faster and faster, his hips rocking in time with Aziraphale’s hands.
“Faster, faster,” Crowley gasped, hips snapping forward.
Aziraphale followed his lead, slick sounds filling his ears as he gave Crowley what he wanted. Crowley arched, eyes squeezed shut and hips rocking obscenely. He let out a sharp gasp, eyes rolling back, and came, swearing like a sailor.
It was the most erotic thing Aziraphale had ever seen and he savored every moment.
Gasping, Crowley sprawled out on the floor, cock hanging out of pants and eyes glazed. Mind buzzing as the endorphins left his system, Aziraphale carefully tucked Crowley’s cock away and pulled his own robe shut. A part of him wanted to sprawl next to Crowley and cuddle him close, another part of him felt like he’d just taken advantage of a man who was going through massive emotional trauma.
“Don’t angel,” Crowley said, just as Aziraphale was opening his mouth. “You did nothing wrong. I came over here because I wanted you and I hoped you’d be willing.” He smirked, “and lucky, lucky me, you were.”
His eyes raked over Aziraphale’s body and the other man blushed. That didn’t stop him from asking what was on his mind, or at least trying to ask.
“But the timing is so-”
“Bad?” Crowley cut in, “I know,” he sighed and looked away. “Did you enjoy it?”
“Of course!” Aziraphale said, shocked at the question, “It was wonderful Crowley.” He patted his knee and smiled.
“Good,” Crowley gave Aziraphale a hesitant smile, “Then can we pretend, just for tonight, that the timing was perfect? My problems will still be here in the morning, but at least tonight I can..take a break.”
Aziraphale looked at him a moment, taking in how stated Crowley looked and how relaxed he seemed. Crowley was the one who was going through hell at the moment, and if he wanted tonight to forget and unwind, Aziraphale wouldn’t stop him. He certainly wouldn’t want to make Crowley feel guilty over the truly spectacular sex they’d just had.
“Certainly my dear,” he said, “If you’re certain...”
“Oh, I am.”
Aziraphale smiled, heaved himself off the floor and held out a hand to Crowley. “I slept in your bed last night, so it’s only proper I extend you the same courtesy.”
“Oh how lovely of you,” Crowley said in an overly plumy tone, taking Aziraphale’s hand and getting to his feet.
Aziraphale laughed and rolled his eyes.
“Do escort me to your boudoir, my sweetheart,” Crowley continued, bowing comically at the waist and gesturing for Aziraphale to lead the way.
Giggling, Aziraphale took his arm and conducted Crowley to the bed. He was happy, and deep down he hoped what had just happened wouldn’t blow up in their faces.
I hope you enjoyed it!
This is a bit shorter than usual, but it arrived at a natural stopping point. I hope you enjoy it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The next morning Aziraphale woke up alone. He rolled over and reached for Crowley only to be met with cold sheets. His eyes immediately snapped open and he sat up, looking around the room in the early morning light.
Worry pooling in his gut he scrambled out of bed, threw on a robe and hustled into his living room; no Crowley. He checked the bathroom, kitchen and even stuck his head out into the hall, but there was nothing. He headed back to the bedroom to find his phone, Crowley’s words from last night floating through his mind. The night was over, maybe Crowley had regretted their lesion and snuck out early, maybe Gabriel had called and they’d decided to work it out…
He shook his head at that last thought, it was far too ridiculous to even consider. He was hunting for his phone when a note propped on the side table caught his eye. Aziraphale felt his shoulders sag in relief and snatched it up, unfolding it so fast he nearly ripped the paper.
Sorry you have to wake up alone, but I thought fresh coffee would be appreciated. See you in a bit.
Aziraphale grinned and set the note back on the side table. Behind him he heard the door to his flat swing open and Crowley called his name. Feeling wicked, Aziraphale let the robe fall to the floor and draped himself over the bed, giving Crowley a lovely view to walk in to.
It had the desired effect as Crowley showed him just how much he enjoyed the view.
Multiple times over.
The next three days were bliss. He and Crowley barely left each other’s sides, in fact they rarely left the bed. The pillows soaked up Crowley’s smell, and Aziraphale finally got his wish to please Crowley with his tongue. The noise the man made when he came would be etched in Aziraphale’s mind forever, and Aziraphale became convinced Crowley’s hands were magic.
It wasn’t just sex though, in fact the sex didn’t gravitate away from their hands and lips. They spent hours talking, nibbling treats from the bakery across the road and generally being so domestic it made Aziraphale’s heart swell.
Then Monday came and reality kicked back in.
Aziraphale woke up and dressed for work, eyeing Crowley’s naked form under the blankets. After tugging on his jacket he leaned down and pressed a kiss to the little snake tattoo on Crowley’s temple. The man smiled and cracked an eye open.
“Morning angel,” he said, voice croaky with sleep.
“Good morning, my dear,” Aziraphale said, perching on the edge of the bed.
“All dressed I see. How unfortunate.” Crowley sat up and the sheet slid down his chest, revealing sharp collar bones and a pebbled nipple.
“Yes, I have work today,” Aziraphale sighed, “I wish I could stay with you, dear.”
Crowley pressed closer to him, smiling, “I wish the same.” He wrapped his arms around Aziraphale’s middle and squeezed. “Maybe one day we can run away to Paris and spend our days just eating cake...and each other.”
Aziraphale laughed and Crowley pressed a kiss to his shoulder, wiggling his eyebrows.
“I’d love to lick chocolate off of you,” Crowley said, “Now that I know what makes you squirm.”
Aziraphale leaned into him, smiling, “We don’t need to go to Paris for that you know.”
They kissed and Aziraphale lost himself in it. Suddenly the clock in the living room chimed and Aziraphale ripped away from Crowley. “I have to go!” he said, stepping out of Crowley’s reach. If they got started now, he’d never get to work.
Crowley gave him a slow smile and stretched in a way that was truly too tempting. “I should get going too, I have some job opportunities to look into.”
Aziraphale grinned, surprised, “That’s wonderful!”
Crowley dragged himself out of bed with a lazy groan, “You better get going angel. I tell you all about it tonight. We’ll have dinner.”
“Sounds delightful,” Aziraphale said, eyeing the sway of Crowley’s hips as the man made his way to the bathroom.
Shaking his head, smile still firmly in place, he called one final good-bye headed into the snow.
The day was long, to say the least. They saw three new couples, dealt with a groom having a melt down and one bride who had a nasty panic attack. Finally, there was just one meeting left and Anathema and Aziraphale had a moment to breath.
“Tea, my dear?” Aziraphale said, waving the box of tea bags at her.
“Yes, thank you,” Anathema said, slipping out of her shoes and slumping back into a kitchen chair. “What a day! I hope Karen is okay.”
“She seemed fine when she left. I think breathing into the bag helped.”
“I hope so.”
Aziraphale nodded and cracked his neck. He wondered how Crowley’s job interviews were going.
“So how’s Crowley?” Anathema asked, prying open a tin of biscuits and taking a huge bite of one.
“He’s doing well. He’s looking into a couple jobs today,” Aziraphale said with a pleased smile.
“Ah, his job at the club didn’t work out?”
“No, no, that's fine, but he needs more gi- jobs if he wants to find a new place.” Somehow the word ‘gig’ could never roll off his tongue the way it did Crowley’s.
“And, um, any word from Gabriel?”
Aziraphale poured hot water over the tea bags and nodded. “Not him directly. His lawyer called to inform Crowley that their joint accounts were closed and he no longer has access to any of Gabriel’s properties.”
Anathema made a disbelieving noise, “What an asshole.”
“At least it’s better than having to hear from Gabriel himself,” Aziraphale said, setting a cup before her.
“True,” Anathema took a sip and they sat in silence for a while. “Think he’ll give Crowley anymore trouble?”
“I hope not, but Crowley promised me he’d stick to bust streets and take cabs where he needs to go. At least for now. The restraining order is in effect too, not that it’ll do much good if Gabriel just shows up.”
Anathema nodded thoughtfully, “Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. At least the new job will give him a change of pace.”
Aziraphale took a sip of tea and made a noise of agreement, “Crowley said that once Gabriel is done with something he puts it all behind him, and pretends it never existed. So he doesn’t expect he and Gabriel will have any further communication.”
“But Crowley isn’t a thing ,” Anathema said, with a twist of her lips.
“He was to Gabriel.”
The two of them fell silent at that, sipping their tea. Finally, Anathema took a deep breath and gave her shoulders a little shake, as if dusting off the bad effects of their conversation.
“So who’s our next appointment?”
Glad for the subject change, Aziraphale launched into the details of their next client.
That night Aziraphale sat in the dimly lit restaurant of the Ritz and waited for Crowley. He’d dressed up for the occasion in his best cream suit and favourite waistcoat; beige and patterned with tiny cream angel wings. Tom had had it custom made for him, and he liked to think it flattered him quite well. Through the windows he saw a familiar head of red hair, and then Crowley was sauntering through the doors.
Aziraphale smiled and got to his feet, pulling out Crowley’s chair.
“Hello angel,” Crowley said, pressing a quick kiss to the corner of his lips and sliding into his seat.
“Hello Crowley,” Aziraphale said, pleased at a kiss in such a public setting.
They settled down at the table and a waiter bustled up. Their drink orders were placed and then they simply looked at each other, Crowley fiddling with his silverware.
“So how was the job hunt? Any leads?”
Crowley hesitated and looked away, “A few, nothing concrete. How was your day?”
Crowley’s tone made Aziraphale feel he was avoiding topic. Maybe the search hadn’t been as successful as Crowley had hoped and he was embarrassed. Deciding to let it rest for now, he told Crowley all about his day, from the groom throwing a tantrum to the poor bride who had to sit with her head between her knees for twenty minutes.
Aziraphale had forgotten how nice it was to have someone listen and seem truly interested in the day to day humdrums of his job. Crowley asked him questions, made him laugh and seemed to genuinely enjoy listening to him natter on. It was wonderful .
The conversation died down as the waiter set their main course before them. The beef tournedos for him and the dover stole for Crowley. Aziraphale smiled in delight, but Crowley seemed troubled as he shifted in his seat.
“Gabriel's selling the Bentley,” Crowley said quietly, looking down and fiddling with his fork.
“Crowley, I’m so sorry!” Aziraphale said, taking the man’s hand as the waiter bustled off.
Crowley nodded and curled his fingers around Aziraphale’s. “It’s better than him selling it for parts.”
“And there’s no way you can get it back?”
Crowley shook his head, turning his wine glass round and round. “No, not for the price he’s asking.”
Aziraphale sighed and tightened his hold on Crowley’s hand, “I wish I could get it for you, my dear. I know how much it meant to you.”
“Thank you, angel. At least I know someone’s out there enjoying it, instead of it going to rust somewhere.” Crowley’s words were robust, but his eyes were somber, even behind the yellow contacts.
“Let’s dig in shall we. Did I tell you Anathema is thinking of bringing Tom on as a permanent contractor?”
“Tom? The douche who owns the suit store?”
“He’s not a douche, but yes him.”
Crowley let out a little laugh and Aziraphale launched into another story, pleased to have lightened the mood somewhat.
Finally desert was eaten, or rather Aziraphale ate a rather scrumptious piece of chocolate cake while Crowley watched, and they were on the corner waiting for a cab.
“Did you manage to get a new phone?” Aziraphale asked, pulling his coat tighter around him and wishing he’d downloaded the uber app as Anathema had suggested.
“Yep, I should have it all set up tomorrow, then I can give you my new number.”
“Wonderful,” Aziraphale said with a smile.
Cowley smiled, eyes on an approaching cab. “You take this one, angel. I need to get back to the B&B.”
“Oh,” Aziraphale said, unable to keep the disappointment from his tone. He’d assumed Crowley was coming back to his.
“Don’t look like that angel.” Crowley said, cupping his cheeks and giving them a squeeze. “How about I take you to lunch tomorrow?”
“Yes, no, it’s fine! I’ve just...gotten used to having you around it all.” He hoped to God that didn’t sound as clingy out loud as it did in his head.
Crowley smiled and kissed him firmly on the lips. “I’ll see you tomorrow, so don’t pine too much.”
Aziraphale swatted him on the arm, rolling his eyes. Crowley grinned and opened the cab door for him. Giving the man one last quick kiss, Aziraphale ducked into the cab and watched Crowley turn and walk away as it pulled off.
The next day, Aziraphale entered the packed cafe and sighed at the warmth. Unwinding his scarf, he looked around and spotted Crowley in the corner, sprawled in a chair in his usual manner.
“Hello dear,” Aziraphale replied with a smile. His smile widened as Crowley pushed a cup in front of him.
“Hot cocoa with extra whip. Just the way you like it,” Crowley said. “I hope you know I lost massive amounts of intimidation points by ordering cocoa.”
“I’ll see if I can find a way to make it up to you,” Aziraphale said, taking the lid off the cup and blowing gently. He took a little sip and shut his eyes in delight. When he opened them, Crowley had his shades pushed onto his forehead and his eyes fixed on Aziraphale.
“I’m sure you will,” he said, his tone making Aziraphale blush.
“Anything you say, dear.”
Crowley sat forward and propped his chin in his hand, “Oh, I like the sound of that.”
“Hush you, I only have an hour for lunch,” Aziraphale said, taking another sip.
“I’ll need half an hour, tops.”
Aziraphale laughed, “And you find that something to brag about?” he said playfully.
Crowley’s eyebrows shot up and his smile turned sharp. “ Angel , are you sassing me?”
Aziraphale leaned in close, seductive reply at the ready, when his phone rang, shattering the moment. He sighed and fished it out, wincing when he saw it was their groom-zilla calling. He knew he shouldn’t have given the man his personal number.
“One moment, dear,” he said, swiping to answer the call.
The groom’s voice exploded over the line, and Aziraphale winced, holding the phone a little away from his ear. Crowley’s eyebrows rose again, this time in shock.
He took tiny sips of his cocoa as the groom launched into a tirade about the flowers and napkins not matching. It took Aziraphale twenty minutes to calm him down enough so he could explain that those two things didn’t have to match. It took another ten to go over Anathema’s colour scheme with him (for what felt like the fortieth time). To his disappointment, Crowley finished his coffee and stretched, then began putting on his coat.
“I have a work thing,” he mouthed at Aziraphale, regret painting his features.
“I’m so sorry about this,” Aziraphale mouthed back, frowning.
Crowley nodded in understanding and got to his feet. Aziraphale tipped his head up expectantly, waiting for a kiss. Crowley pressed his lips to Aziraphale’s forehead, gave him a little wave, and then sauntered out the door, glaring at a man staring at them as he went.
Aziraphale blinked, he’d been hoping for a proper kiss damn it. The groom’s voice rose two octaves and Aziraphale forced himself to pay attention, picking up his cocoa and heading back to the office.
For the next two days Aziraphale didn’t hear from Crowley. He texted the man the evening of their interrupted lunch date to no response. The next evening he messaged again, only to find himself left on read. It was then the concern became tinged with annoyance. Finally, on Friday morning, his phone buzzed as he was hanging up his coat in the office.
Faster than he would ever admit to he pulled it out of his pocket and checked the messages. It was Crowley! Feeling his worry (mixed with annoyance) vanish in an instant, he opened the message.
I’m so so sorry angel. Work meetings had me busy these past two days.
Aziraphale smiled and waited until he was seated behind his desk before he responded.
Not a problem my dear. How has the job hunt been going?
It’s been going well. Finding a storage unit in London that wasn’t priced through the roof was a bitch tho.
Aziraphale’s brow furrowed at the mention of a storage space.
Why do you need a storage unit?
How about I meet you after work and take you out? Is dinner and a movie too cliche?
Of course not! I’d like that.
Excellent! I’ll meet you at your office.
Aziraphale sent a row of smile emojis, then put the phone away so he could get to work. He could always ask about the unit when they met.
Blowing on his hands, Aziraphale wished he’d taken Anathema up on the offer to keep the office keys so he could wait inside. Crowley was forty minutes late and Aziraphale was freezing. He’d tried to call at the fifteen minute mark, then again at the half-hour mark, but Crowley didn’t answer.
With a sigh Aziraphale turned and began slowly walking away from the building, his annoyance grew with every step. He wasn’t going to wait in the cold any longer., instead he’d go home and lick his wounds in private.
He’d just rounded the corner when someone sprinting down the road crashed right into him. Aziraphale slid on the snow covered pavement and grabbed a familiar black jacket for balance.
“Angel! I’m so so sorry! Hell, you must be freezing!” Crowley had him by the upper arms and was rubbing vigorously. His eyes were huge and his hair was ruffled from running.
“Yes, I am. That’s why I was leaving,” Aziraphale said. He was annoyed, but tried to smother it. Crowley was still recovering from Gabriel after all.
Crowley winced, “I’m so sorry. My phone died and then I couldn’t get a cab and had to take the train.” He took Aziraphale’s hands and pulled him closer, eyes panicked, “Let me make it up to you?”
Aziraphale sighed and immediately regretted it when Crowley’s shoulders drooped. The man was recovering from an abusive relationship. No wonder he was so worried over being late even though he had a good explanation.
“Angel, please I’m-”
“It’s okay,” Aziraphale cut in, hating the pleading tone in Crowley’s voice. He was sure that was how the man sounded when he was trying to beg Gabriel for forgiveness. He didn’t want Crowley to have to beg him for anything.
“Really, Crowley. It’s okay. It was just a mistake. Don’t worry, my dear.”
“Thank you, angel!”
Aziraphale winced at the over eager gratitude for such a little thing. It was odd, Crowley never acted like this around him.
“How about we cancel the move and just have dinner?” he asked, smiling at the other man. He wanted to help Crowley relax if he could, and get to the bottom of what was bothering him.
“I- well, if you’re sure.”
Aziraphale turned to face him. There it was again, that uncertainty that was hanging over Crowley tonight for some reason.
“Crowley, is everything alright?”
“I-well..yes...but also... not.”
Aziraphale eyebrows furrowed further. “Have you been drinking, dear?”
“Me! No, not today. Sober as a judge, that’s me,” Crowley said, laughing nervously and scratching the back of his neck.
“Just tell me please, dear. I’m beginning to worry.”
Crowley sighed and tipped his head back, staring at the heavens, then dropping his gaze to his shoes, before finally settling on Aziraphale.
“I got a job,” he said so quietly Aziraphale had to step closer to hear.
“That wonderful!” Aziraphale thrilled, clapping his hands. “Congratulations! Where is it?”
Crowley smiled weakly, “It’s with a music festival.”
“That sounds fun!” Aziraphale said, trying to be cheerful. The tone of Crowley’s voice had him on edge.
“It’s a traveling festival.”
“Oh…” Dread pooled in Aziraphale’s stomach. “Different cities around England then,” he continued, hoping that what he feared most wasn’t about to happen. “Will you get to go to Scotland? I here it’s lovely. Never been myself but-”
“Angel, angel,” Crowley said quietly, taking Aziraphale’s hands. “It’s across Europe, then it’s heading to Japan and South Korea.”
Aziraphale swallowed, there it was.
“So that’s it then?”
Crowley’s brow folded in confusion. “Well, yes, that’s it. It’s a pretty big festival. I’m surprised I got a spot, but the organizers had heard of me and- angel? Angel, where are you going?”
Aziraphale had pulled his hand from Crowley’s and was walking away as quickly as he could over the snow. From the moment Crowley had mentioned traveling, Aziraphale knew it was over for them. But the fact that the man had told him so callously, as if what they had barely mattered, made Aziraphale’s heart shatter into bits.
Aziraphale tried to walk faster and skidded in the snow. Before he could escape, a long hand settled on his shoulder and clutched desperately at his coat. Crowley tried to turn him around to face him, but Aziraphale resisted, heart pounding in his chest and eyes wet.
There was a soft sigh and the crunch of snow under boots as Crowley walked around him. Then cold hands were cupping his face and tilting it upward. Aziraphale kept his gaze fixed on Crowley’s collar, refusing to let the man see the pain in his eyes.
“Oh angel, don’t. Please don’t,” Crowley said, swiping half frozen tears from Aziraphale’s cheeks.
His tone was so kind that more tears spilled down Aziraphale’s face. How the man leave him so cruelly in one moment, and then be so kind in the next?
“It’s just six months, I’ll be back before you know it.”
Aziraphale blinked and met Crowley’s eyes, confusion blooming.
“And then what?” he asked, trying not to sound half as bewildered as he felt. “Six months and then?”
“And then I come back,” Crowley said, thumbs still stroking Aziraphale’s face. “What did you- oh! No, Aziraphale. Oh angel, no .”
A seed of hope bloomed and Aziraphale wrapped his fingers around Crowley’s wrists, blinking the tears from his eyes. “I think I’ve misunderstood you, my dear.”
“I think you have yes,” Crowley said, wiping away the last of Aziraphale’s tears.
Aziraphale waited, he couldn’t ask. It seemed like tempting fate to ask. So he waited and hoped what Crowley said next was what he wanted to hear.
“I was hoping,” Crowley looked down and huffed, “Well, would you wait for me? Six months is a long time I know, but I think we have something good going here. You have to admit we do. So, will you wait for me?”
Aziraphale stared at him, his earlier sadness pouring out of him and a smile coming to his lips. “I think we have something special as well,” he said, licking his lips, “Of course I’ll wait for-”
His words were cut off with a kiss, Crowley’s long hands framing his face. Aziraphale kissed back happily, not caring that Crowley’s lips were chilly, or that they were slowly being covered with snow. They kissed and kissed until a drunken group of young people shouted encouragement from across the road, making them both burst into laughter.
“So you’ll wait?” Crowley asked again with a smile, as the twenty-somethings vanished around the corner.
“Of course! Six months will fly by, you’ll see,” Aziraphale said, grinning.
“There’s my cheerful angel,” Crowley said fondly.
Aziraphale pecked him on the tip of the nose, then laughed at Crowley’s incredulous expression.
“Think of all the sightseeing you’ll get to do!” Aziraphale continued, looping an arm through Crowley’s and walking along. “What countries are you going to exactly? Why Italy alone has-”
“Hours walking through tourist flooded streets? No thanks, angel. Though I do hear Tokyo has some interesting love hotels.”
He winked and Aziraphale smacked him lightly on the arm, “Don’t you dare.”
Crowley smirked at him and pressed a hand to his heart, “On my honor, I won’t. Besides I’m a one man, man, now it seems.”
Aziraphale gave him a playful look of contempt and Crowley barked a laugh. His insides felt full of bright, burning light and he couldn’t stop smiling.
They continued to the restaurant, cold forgotten, as Aziraphale told Crowley all about a famous sushi restaurant he’d heard about. As Aziraphale chatted, he was totally unaware of the looked drenched in love Crowley was giving him.
Oh my dear Aziraphale...those six months won't fly by at all.
The first two months.
I put pictures in this chapter! I hope you like it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“So this is it then,” Crowley said, taking Aziraphale’s hands.
Aziraphale nodded sadly and squeezed his fingers . “Yes. It is.”
They were stood in Crowley’s now empty room at the B&B. One suitcase and a laptop bag was set by the door, all ready for the cab that was coming much sooner than Aziraphale was ready for. The rest of Crowley’s things had been put in storage.
“I’m going to miss you,” Aziraphale said softly, eyes on the red tinged leather of Crowley’s shoes.
One long finger tipped his face up, and Crowley gently brushed his thumb along Aziraphale’s cheek. “I’ll miss you too, angel.”
Aziraphale leaned into the touch and sighed.
“We’ll video chat every day. I promise.”
Aziraphale smiled, but the truth was he wasn’t sure how that would work. Crowley would be working mostly nights, while Aziraphale worked days. That, added to the time differences, made Aziraphale wonder just when their free time would coincide. He wasn’t about to mention that to Crowley right before he left though, he didn’t want to step on their last moment together.
“So, as soon as I land in Korea I’ll call you,” Crowley said.
His eyes (their natural brown since contacts on a plane were torture) flicked between Aziraphale’s. He could tell something was wrong, Aziraphale was sure of it.
Instead of answering Aziraphale wrapped his arms around Crowley’s waist and pressed his cheek against the man’s chest. Crowley hugged him back, his chin digging into the top of Aziraphale’s head.
Crowley’s phone rang and Aziraphale tightened his hold, he wasn’t ready yet! Crowley answered, one hand petting the back of Aziraphale’s head.
“Yes, I’ll be down in ten minutes,” he said briskly, then hung up without saying goodbye.
Instead of moving to collect his bags, he pulled Aziraphale even tighter to him. Aziraphale squeezed his eyes shut willing himself not to cry. He would not cry. Crowley’s hands pulled at his shoulders, then he was leaning down and kissing Aziraphale fiercely, lips almost frantic.
“You’ll wait for me, won’t you angel?”
Aziraphale’s heart broke at the tiny note of desperation in Crowley’s voice.
“Of course I’ll wait,” he pressed a soft kiss to Crowley’s lips. “I made an instagram account just to follow you. If that isn’t a promise dear, then I don’t know what it is,” Aziraphale said, trying to lighten the mood.
Crowley laughed to Aziraphale’s delight and gave his hips a squeeze. The look in his eyes changed as those naughty hands drifted to Aziraphale’s arse, and then his thighs.
“I’ll think about these thighs when I’m lonely,” Crowley said, voice low. “I think about them and How much I wish a could bite them and bury my face between them.”
Aziraphale’s face flamed and he hid in the crook of Crowley’s neck. “And I’ll think about this neck, and how I wish I could cover it in kisses.”
Crowley pulled back and gave him a look of happy surprise, Aziraphale wasn’t usually one for dirty talk, and then scowled when his phone rang again.
“Yes, I’ll be down soon,” he said, words coated in irritation. “Just leave the meter running...Christ..”
Aziraphale smothered a smile. He really shouldn’t smile over Crowley’s rudeness, but the man had that effect on him.
“Time to leave then?” Aziraphale said, all his earlier playfulness dropping away.
Crowley nodded and scrubbed a hand through his hair. Their gazes locked for a moment and then without a word they both moved to the door. Crowley hefted the larger suitcase, and Aziraphale scooped up the laptop bag. Crowley had already checked out, so there was nothing left to do but walk him to the cab.
The driver, understandably grumpy, put Crowley’s bags in the trunk at a snail’s pace. Aziraphale was secretly pleased as it gave then more time together, no matter how short.
“Well, then!” Crowley said with false bravado. “Just one long ass flight and I’m there! I have to say, I’m excited. The sights I’ll see, and the food! I’ll be sure to send you pictures angel. Can’t keep all the fun to myself now can I-”
Aziraphale pulled him down by the collar and cut his words off with a kiss. Crowley made a noise of surprise and then happily kissed back.
“Do enjoy yourself, my dear, and yes send me all the food pictures you want.”
He winked and Crowley smiled at him. “I’ll be back before you can get annoyed by my obnoxious instagram posts, angel”
Aziraphale laughed, “I’m sure of it.”
With a little sigh, Crowley gave Aziraphale one last kiss and turned to the cab. A sharp wind blew, sending snowflakes dancing through the air as Crowley slid into the backseat and shut the door behind him. He waved jovially at Aziraphale as the driver waited for a chance to pull into the stream of traffic.
“Only six months,” Crowley mouthed at him through the glass.
“It’ll fly by,” Aziraphale mouthed back.
He waved until the cab rounded the corner, then turned and began walking down the road, hating that his and Crowley’s last words to each other had been a lie.
Landed and at the hotel. Gonna sleep for a year.
Sleep well my dear
About to try fried kitchen here for the 1st time. Apparently it’s a big deal.
I’ve heard it is. Do send pictures darling.
I knew you’d be a food pic man.
That looks scrumptious!
Speaking of scrumptious how abt a pic?
I’m not eating.
I meant of you, angel.
Oh! Of course. One moment.
Lovely as always angel.
Thank you darling
First gig tonight!
Thank you angel.
Then a few hours later:
It was sold out!
Aziraphale sighed softly and closed the conversation. Crowley would be asleep now, so messaging again would make no sense. The man had only been gone for two days and Aziraphale already missed him dearly.
“What do you think, Aziraphale?” the groom said, stepping out of the change room.
Aziraphale slid his phone into his pocket and smiled. The dark blue suit flattered the warm brown of his skin wonderfully, and the cut emphasized the lean lines of his body.
“That colour suits you beautifully, Sanjay,” Aziraphale said, walking over and smoothing the shoulders of the suit.
“I think Angeli will really like it,” he said, nervously straightening the jacket.
“She’ll love it,” Aziraphale said, “Most certainly.”
Sanjay smiled gratefully and turned this way and that in front of the mirror, “I like it. I think this is the one.”
“Excellent! I’ll get Tom and we can get your measurements.”
Twenty minutes later Aziraphale waved off a very happy Sanjay while Tom put away the sample suits.
“So how are you, Aziraphale?” Tom asked, hanging the last suit and turning to him with a smile.
“I’m doing well, and you?”
“I’m okay. Did everything work out with that wedding that got cancelled?”
Aziraphale went still a moment. He’d forgotten that the only thing Tom knew about that whole mess was that he’d had to cancel two orders.
“Ah, it’s going well. Better off for it I think.”
“But not for me,” Tom said with a laugh.
Aziraphale smiled awkwardly. Blurting out that Crowley was his boyfriend (promising to wait for each other qualified them as a couple, didn’t it?) felt like it would be too weird.
“So how about lunch?”
Well, Aziraphale knew that would be a bad idea. Boyfriend or not.
“I’ll need to take a rain check, Tom. Anathema needs me. See you later!” with a last over cheerful good- bye he darted out of the store.
How would you feel about seeing me with fangs?
Aziraphale blinked at the massage and rubbed his eyes. It was very late, or very early in this case, and it took his brain a minute to catch up after the initial excitement at seeing Crowley’s text.
Crowley with fangs….that sounded promising. Sharp incisors always tended to make people’s smiles more charming, and on Crowley, who already had an edge, it would make it impossible for Aziraphale to keep his hands off the man.
I think you’ll look absolutely charming, once they’re not half way down you’re chin.
He smiled at his reply, pleased at the joke he’d added, when Crowley’s next message came in.
Charming isn’t quite what I was going for….
And of course I won’t be able to keep my hands off you.
Aha! Does someone have a vampire kink?
Feeling coquettish he tapped out his reply.
Maybe...you’ll have to find out when you come back.
I can work with that :[
I made an appointment to have them fitted
Smiling Aziraphale yawned and set the phone down, he had work in just under three hours.
A little over a week later Aziraphale sighed (he seemed to be doing a lot of that lately) and shut his flat door behind him. His day had been shit, but he knew just what to do to remedy that. He stripped off, threw on his favourite fluffy robe and turned on the tap over the tub. As it filled, he made a cup of cocoa, his shoulders loosening as the smell of chocolate filled the flat.
Cup and phone in hand (it would be lovely to text Crowley from the tub) he moved into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. The cocoa and phone went onto the little wooden stool by the tub and then Aziraphale threw off his robe and sank gratefully into the water.
Mounds of bubbles rose up around him and he sighed in pleasure. That extra dash of bubble bath had been a fantastic idea. He shut his eyes and was contemplating which body scrub to use, when his phone rang.
Hoping to God it wasn’t a bride or groom having a melt down, he dried off one hand and picked up his mobile. When he saw who was calling his heart skipped a beat.
It was a video call from Crowley and he was naked in the tub.
Licking his lips he answered the call, settling back and trying to make an attractive picture as it connected.
Crowley’s smiling face filled the screen. His red hair was tousled, contacts in place and heaven help him, was that eyeliner? Clearly he'd just gotten back from a show and he looked absolutely delicious.
Crowley blinked at him, and Aziraphale could do nothing but blink back.
“Angel are you naked ?”
“Are you wearing eyeliner ?”
They asked at the same time.
Crowley smirked, “Is eyeliner part of the vampire kink?”
“Oh you!” Aziraphale blushed and held the phone a bit higher. “And yes I am naked, I’m in the bath.”
Crowley quirked an eyebrow and smiled. “Don’t be shy now angel, let me see you.”
“Are you alone?”
“Of course!” Crowley scoffed, “Let’s see then, come on.”
“Well...if you must .”
With an entirely fake put upon sigh, Aziraphale stretched his arm out and angled the phone downwards, giving Crowley a fairly decent view of his bubble filled tub. Feeling mischievous he bent his knees and let his thighs peek out of the water.
Crowley hummed in appreciation and licked his lips. “You can give a lonely man a bit more than that, can’t you?”
Aziraphale smirked and panned the phone down his bubble covered body. He knew Crowley wouldn’t see much through the thick foam, and it gave him a thrill to tease the man.
He heard Crowley groan over the line and his smile widened.
“I seem to be the only one sharing, my dear. How about a glimpse of those fangs?”
Crowley smiled bearing white teeth and longer than usual canines. He curled his tongue around one sharp fang and grinned and Aziraphale.
“Lovely,” Aziraphale said, swallowing.
Crowley let out a playful growl. “If I was there I’d drag these over those thighs of yours just to see you squirm.”
Aziraphale shifted and slid a hand over his thighs, shivering. “Would you?”
“Oh yesss, angel. Then I’d kiss my way up to that little hole of yours and lick.”
“I’d- I’d like that.”
“I’d like it even better if you’d take your cock in your hand and show me.”
Aziraphale bit his lips and eyed Crowley, wondering if he was teasing or not. The man was lying back in bed, one arm folded under his head and fangs on full display.
“Let me see you, gorgeous,” he said softly, licking his lips.
With his toes, Aziraphale pulled the plug of the bathtub and let the water drain around him. He knew from experience that the room would stay warm for ages thanks to the trapped steam and his heat being on full blast.
Eyes on Crowley, he dragged a hand down his chest and curled his fingers around his half hard cock. With a shaking finger he tapped the button to flip the camera, giving Crowley an unobstructed view of him fondling himself.
“Oh angel ,” Crowley pulled his arm out from under his head and let it drift over his chest. He tweaked a nipple through his shirt and Aziraphale bit his lip.
“It’s only fair if I see you as well, Crowley.”
Crowley grinned, then the screen went white and shuffling came over the speakers. Finally, Crowley came back into view. His shirt was gone, letting Aziraphale see his thin chest and broad shoulders. Unfortunately, the screen cut off right at Crowley’s sharp hip bones, hiding the best bits from Aziraphale’s eyes.
As if reading his mind, Crowley grinned and panned the camera down, giving Aziraphale a view of his his half hard cock and slender thighs.
“You look lovely my dear,” Aziraphale breathed, blood rushing to his prick.
“Let me see touch yourself, angel. Stroke that pretty cock for me.”
Aziraphale did as he was told, stroking himself slowly, the water from his bath slicking the way.
“Stunning thing,” Crowley purred over the line. “Nice and slow for me.”
Aziraphale beamed at the praise, although Crowley couldn't see him. The man’s eyes were half lidded and his own hand had vanished off screen, no doubt he was touching himself.
“If I was there,” Crowley said, his voice a whisper, “I’d hold those perfect thighs open so you couldn’t escape and lick you until you begged for mercy.”
Aziraphale squeaked and began moving his hand faster, his mind on how Crowley’s hands felt when they were squeezing his thighs.
“Let me see your face.”
Aziraphale flipped the camera, bringing his own red face back onto the screen.
“God, look at you,” Crowley said, sounding just as wrecked as Aziraphale felt. “I’d love to sink my teeth into that neck and bite you till you bruise. Nice and high so everyone would see…”
His words trailed off, his arm moving faster, his hips twitching.
“Crowley y-you look-” Aziraphale fumbled, he was shit at dirty talk.
“That’s alright angel,” Crowley’s was breathy, but sincere. “Just sit back and take it. Seeing you is more than enough.”
Aziraphale preened and Crowley smiled around his pleasure.
“Now, touch your hole for me”
Aziraphale slid his finger back, grazed over his entrance and moaned. Crowley’s hand sped up, mouth dropping open and baring those beautiful new accessories.
“Yes, that’s it. Just touch it ever so lightly. Tease yourself.”
“Y-yes Crowley. I am.”
Aziraphale moaned again and let the tip of his finger slid in. He toyed with himself a moment then brought his hand back to his cock. He stoked faster, chasing his pleasure. It had been a long day after all. Crowley seemed to be on the same page, his own hand moved faster and his breathing turned ragged.
“Come for me, angel. Let me see you come.”
Not bothering to fiddle with his camera he flipped the phone, so Crowley could see him his hand working his cock.
“Fuck yes . Faster.”
Aziraphale didn’t need telling twice. He gasped and tipped his head against the edge of the tub as he followed Crowley’s instructions. His hips snapped in time with his strokes and then he was crying out as he came, toes curling and slipping on the tub floor. On screen Crowley was breathing fast, eyes wide and lips wet. Then he was arching on white sheets, his face scrunching in pleasure and gasping Aziraphale’s name.
Aziraphale sighed and shut his eyes for a moment, enjoying the rush of endorphins. The image of Crowley coming was burned onto the inside of his eyelids and he relished in it. When he finally opened his eyes, Crowley was sprawled over the bed with a lazy smile on his face.
Languid yellow eyes met his and they both burst into giggles.
“Well...that was something,” Crowley said, still breathless.
“A good something.”
They burst into laughter again.
“Oh my dear, I miss you,” Aziraphale said, chest warm.
“I miss you too.”
Aziraphale stood up and grabbed his towel to clean off. Throwing on his robe, he grabbed his now cold cocoa and headed to the kitchen.
“So how was your last show?” he asked as he stuck the mug in the microwave.
“Excellent, the crowd was on their feet for my entire set.”
“How did that fitting go? Did he go with the blue?” Crowley asked, stretching.
Smiling Aziraphale settled against the counter and began to tell Crowley all about his day.
The Second Month
Aziraphale sighed at his phone (something that had become a common occurrence since Crowley had left). He was currently scrolling through Crowley’s instagram, something he did whenever he missed the man too much and texting wasn’t cutting it.
He scrolled passed a picture of a plate of sushi, another of a pair of new boots, and selfies of Crowley about to go on stage. With a smile Aziraphale stopped on his favourite picture from Crowley's last show in South Korea. It featured the man looking like a fallen angel with a pair of black wings strapped to his back. He remembered how Crowley had complained about the weight of the wings, and how he kept knocking over things (and another DJ) while he was wearing them. Despite all the complaining Crowley, had still sent him a picture from his hotel room, wearing the wings and nothing but the wings. There had been a very fun phone call after that.
Unfortunately there hadn’t been any such calls since.
Crowley’s last picture was a shot from the DJ booth of his first gig in Japan. The crowd was huge, drenched in purple light and seemed to be having a roaring good time. He’d texted Crowley that night, but hadn’t gotten a response until the next afternoon. The time difference was making things harder than Aziraphale had anticipated. It also didn’t help matters that Crowley worked long nights and then had to sleep it off during the day. There was often only a small window of time the two were awake together and Aziraphale was starting to feel the strain.
He sighed again and put the phone away. There was no sense worrying about that now.
“Finished insta-stalking?” Anathema asked playfully from the driver’s seat.
They were on their way to a wedding venue to make sure everything had been set up the way they wanted.
Aziraphale rolled his eyes and grinned, “It’s not stalking if you’re in a relationship.”
“Whatever you need to tell yourself.”
Aziraphale smiled and switched the radio station.
“So, how’s the long distance thing going?” Anathema asked tentatively.
Aziraphale opened his mouth to give his usual generic answer, then changed his mind. This was Anathema after all.
“It hasn’t been easy. Lately Crowley’s busier than we anticipated, and the time difference doesn’t help.”
“Ah, I could imagine it doesn’t.”
“Yes, but it’s not that bad! We talk when we can and there’s only a bit over four months left.”
Anathema was quiet for a bit as she changed lanes.
“Why don’t you come out with Newt and I tomorrow. His friend’s having a restaurant opening.” She wiggled her eyebrows at him, “Free food from an amazing chef!”
“Oh, I don’t know, I-”
“Come on Aziraphale! It’ll be fun, plus I’ll need company when Newt goes off to chat about boring shit with his friends.” She pouted as best as she could while keeping her eyes on the road and Aziraphale chuckled.
“Well...if you need me desperate, I suppose I could,” he said with a wink.
“Oh I need you, dahling .”
Aziraphale laughed outright, “Let me know when and where, and I’ll be there.”
The next night, Aziraphale dressed in his party best. Just before he headed out the door he shot off a quick text to Crowley, with a selfie attached. Anathema and Newt had kindly agreed to pick him up so he didn’t have to bother with a cab.
As he was getting into the backseat he felt his phone buzz in his pocket. Not wanting to be rude by getting on his phone as soon as he was in the car, he ignored it and greeted Anathema and Newt.
It was a busy Friday night so the traffic crawled along, giving him and Anathema plenty of time to chat. They talked about anything but work and Aziraphale forgot all about his text until his phone buzzed again.
He peeked at it as Newt and Anathema looked for a place to park in front of the crowded restaurant.
You look gorgeous angel.
Then just a few moments ago:
The show got rained out, wanna chat?
Aziraphale groaned softly. The one time he decided to go out Crowley was free. Murphy's law was accurate after all.
He was about to text his regrets when the car jerked to a stop. Stuffing his phone back into his pocket, he hopped out of the car after the others. He’d text Crowley once they were inside.
All of that was promptly forgotten when he saw the front of the restaurant.
“We’re not...walking the carpet are we?” Aziraphale asked in distress, eyeing the crowded area in front of the restaurant.
“Of course we are!” Anathema said, dragging him and Newt forward. “It’s the perfect place to get a little networking in. You look amazing so don’t worry about it.”
Aziraphale was very much worried about it. Anathema, who cut a sleek figure in a tight black gown, could say what she liked. She didn’t have to worry over the fact that she wasn't wearing her more slimming waist coat, or what angle to stand at so she looked better. Aziraphale did .
“You look great, don’t worry,” Newt said lowly.
Anathema turned and gave him a warm look, “Honestly, you do! You’ll easily be the best dressed here...well after Tom.”
“Tom’s here?” Aziraphale said, his worry momentarily forgotten.
“Yeah, he’s an investor in the place. I think his friend is the owner, I’m not really sure.”
“You didn’t tell me that.”
Anathema gave him an odd look, “I didn’t know I had to.”
Aziraphale blushed a little, ‘Well, no, it's just...never mind.”
The queue finally put them at the edge of the carpet and Aziraphale swallowed hard, there were actual press present. He wished more than ever he’d worn his nicer jacket.
Next to him Anathema had her game face on. In their world a game face was a confident smile and a posture that said ‘I can handle anything an overwrought couple can throw at me and stay within budget’. Aziraphale followed suit, sucking in a bit and squaring his shoulders. He offered Anathema his arm and they headed toward a woman who wrote for a popular magazine, with Newt trailing behind.
Cameras flashed and Aziraphale felt sweat break out along his hairline. He had no doubt Anathema would be photographed, she looked lovely and was becoming more and more known as the business expanded. He could only imagine what he looked like next to her. He sucked in a bit more and smiled as the woman began peppering Anathema with questions.
Thankfully, the interviewers seemed content to speak only to Anathema. All he had to do was smile and talk her up whenever he could, an easy task considering Anathema deserved all the praise she got. Unfortunately this meant everyone even remotely connected to the wedding business wanted to talk to her, which meant more time in front of those blasted cameras.
At least Newt seemed to be enjoying himself.
Aziraphale was just about to use the toilet as an excuse to go inside when a hand on his shoulder made him jump.
“Tom!” he said, automatically beaming at the man. He took a few steps away from Anathema’s next interview so they wouldn’t disturb them.
“Hello Az! I’m so glad you came,” Tom said with a grin, leaning in to press a kiss to Aziraphale’s cheek.
“Yes, I came with my boss,” Aziraphale said, glad to be out of the spotlight.
“Ah yes, Anathema’s coming up in the game.”
“She’s worked very hard for it,” Aziraphale said. Smiling at Anathema’s back. When he turned back to Tom, the man had his eyes on him.
“So have you.”
Aziraphale smiled, feeling his cheeks heat.
Just then, Anathema said her goodbyes to the journalist and looked around for Aziraphale. She smiled and made her way over to them.
“Hello Tom!” she said, leaning in for the usual kiss, her hand in Newt’s.
Greetings went around again and Aziraphale slowly felt his shoulders loosen. That is until someone beckoned Anathema over to another interview.
“Aziraphale can we-”
“Would it be alright if I steal Aziraphale away for a moment?” Tom cut in, placing a hand on Aziraphale’s shoulder. “I’d love his opinion on the decor before it’s filled with people.”
Anathema hesitated then shook herself. “Of course! Of course! Sorry Aziraphale, I’m treating this like a work thing. Go on and have fun.”
Aziraphale smiled, “It’s no trouble honestly I-”
“Nonsense! Go enjoy yourself! Newt will guard me just fine.”
Newt grinned and gave her a squeeze.
“Well if you’re sure-”
Before he could finish Tom had arm around his shoulder and was turning him away, towards the door of the restaurant. “I’ll be sure to gard this one!” he called back to Anathema, before she was swallowed up by the crowd.
Tom took the rest of the carpet at a fairly fast clip, smiling and sliding around groups of people.
“Don’t you have to mingle?” Aziraphale said, subtly stepping forward so Tom’s arm fell from around his shoulders.
“I’ve been mingling for ages. Besides, I really would like your opinion on the place,” he gave Aziraphale another of those looks. “You have a great eye.”
Aziraphale smiled and pushed open the door to the restaurant. As long as he kept the topic to the decor, he’d be okay. If the conversation drifted anywhere uncomfortable, he just lie about needing to check on Anathema and leave.
“Well, what do you think?” Tom said, gesturing to the huge dining room.
Aziraphale looked around at the room in awe. Two walls were painted a deep black with some kind of decal decorating it in a diamond pattern. Aziraphale wandered closer and, to his delight, found that there were small metal bees dotting the walls. The other walls were covered in mirrors in ornate metal frames, making the room look bigger and doubling the number of heavy wooden tables filling the space.
All in all the effect was glamorous, a bit edgy and Aziraphale loved it. He could see him and Crowley enjoying dinner here on winter nights.
“It’s magnificent!” Aziraphale thrilled, turning to Tom.
The man was at the bar collecting two glasses of champagne from the bartender.
“Thank you,” he said, walking over and handing Aziraphale a glass “Chloe decided on the bees. I think they’re a nice touch.”
“I think it’s lovely, and it’s unique so people will definitely remember it. A good thing for a restaurant in London.”
Tom grinned, “See, I knew you had a good eye.”
Aziraphale smiled and clinked their glasses together. Just then the doors to the restaurant opened and people came streaming in. Tom groaned softly and took a gulp of champagne.
“Time to be Mr Social again,” he gave Aziraphale a conspiratory smile, “Wish me luck.”
“Luck,” Aziraphale said, raising his glass.
With a wink Tom spun and strode toward the crowd. He raised his arms high, “Greetings everyone, and welcome to Mel!”
There was a roar of applause and cheers. Just as Tom was introducing the owner, Aziraphale’s phone began to buzz. Crowley’s name flashed across the screen and Aziraphale suddenly remembered he’d never texted the man back. He stepped back into a quietish corner of the room and swiped to answer. As the call connected he held the phone low, so he wouldn’t like one of those obnoxious people who filmed themselves as they went about their day.
“I’m sorry I didn’t return your messaged dear. I was in the car,” Aziraphale said as soon as Crowley’s face filled the screen.
Crowley took him in and grinned, “Out partying angel? Good for you!”
“Yes it’s-” his words were drowned out a cheer went up from the crowd. Aziraphale glanced up to see the owner taking the stage.
“What was that angel? I didn’t hear.”
“I said I’m at a restaurant opening. Anathema invited me.”
“ Fancy ,” Crowley said with a smirk, “What’s the nam-”
Another wave of sound from the crowd drowned him out, and Aziraphale sighed. Why did he and Crowley have such bad timing when it came to these calls?
“Perhaps we should talk later?”
“What?” Crowley said leaning closer to the screen.
“I said,” Music filled the room and Aziraphale struggled not to roll his eyes. This was ridiculous. “Maybe we should talk later!” he called, pressing the speaker close to his mouth and giving Crowley a view of the ceiling.
“It’s almost four in the morning here,” Crowley said petulantly, “Can’t you sneak off to the bathroom and chat for a bit?”
Aziraphale wrinkled his nose, “That sounds disgusting.”
“Come on, it’s new restaurant right? So-”
Just then Tom threw his arm around Aziraphale’s shoulders, “Why are hiding here Zira? Come back to the party!” The champagne had clearly started to take effect, and Aziraphale winced as Tom caught sight of Crowley on the screen. “Oh it’s you! The runaway groom!” he turned back to Aziraphale, “Why are you talking to him for?”
Up until this point in his life Aziraphale had never considered murder. He was now rethinking his choices.
Crowley’s face flushed with anger and he opened his mouth, no doubt to say something cutting. Aziraphale’s mind raced; if Crowley was too harsh it could damage his work relationship with Tom, one of the most sort after suit tailors in London. He’d worked too hard to create that relationship for it go up in smoke because Tom was an arsehole when he was drunk.
“I’m sorry Crowley, I’ll talk to you later!” Aziraphale said, voice thick with panic.
“Bye bye groomy!” Tom crowed, as Aziraphale swiped the bottom of the screen to end the call. The last thing he saw was Crowley’s enraged face.
Aziraphale stared at the phone, suddenly realizing he’d just made a massive mistake. Shaking Tom’s arm off and ignoring his questions, he hustled to the same bathroom he’d just berated and locked himself in a stall. Crowley was right, the bathroom was sparkling clean, something that should have been obvious given that it was a new restaurant.
Stomach in his shoes, he called Crowley back, a voice call this time. He couldn’t bare to see the anger on the man’s face, or worse, the hurt.
Crowley answered immediately. “What the hell was that?”
“I’m so sorry, my dear! Tom was drunk and I-”
“So you hung up on me?”
“I was worried about what you might say!” Aziraphale said desperately.
The line went silent and Aziraphale chewed his lip, hoping Crowley wouldn’t hang up on him.
“So,” Crowley said slowly, his voice low with anger. “Some arsehole insults me and he’s the one you’re worried about offending?”
“No, it’s not like that I-”
“Then what is it like , Aziraphale?” Crowley cut in sharply.
Aziraphale tramped down on a thread of annoyance. If Crowley would just let him explain, he could fix this. “It’s-it’s a work relationship and I didn’t want it ruined because of one stupid comment made by either of you!”
“Oh, so that’s the relationship you’re worried about? You and Tommy’s ?” Crowley’s voice was bitingly sarcastic.
“Now you’re just twisting my words!” Aziraphale said, annoyance growing.
“No, I‘m just cutting through your bullshit!”
“Well, did you want me to let you insult him? Would that have made you feel better?” Aziraphale said, struggling to keep his voice down and wishing he was anywhere but a public toilet.
“No I would have felt better if you’d at least tried to defend me!”
“It happened so fast! I panicked and-”
“Does he know we’re a couple?” Crowley cut in.
“What?” Aziraphale said, grinding his teeth at being cut off again , “Well, no he doesn’t but-”
“Oh you like it! Is that it Aziraphale?” Crowley said, a mean edge to his voice, “You like the attention now that I’m not there to fawn over you?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Aziraphale said, utterly baffled at the turn the conversation had taken.
“I’m talking about the fact that I’m a secret ,” Crowley said, over emphasizing his words as if he were speaking to an idiot.
“You’re not a secret. ” Aziraphale said, pinching the bridge of his nose and fighting to stay calm. “I just thought it would be awkward to bring you up with Tom since we had to cancel two large orders.”
“And of course that’s more important,” Crowley said flatly.
“That not what-”
“You know what, it’s after 4am here. Enjoy your party Zira. ”
“Would you stop interrupting me! Crowley? Crowley!” Aziraphale pulled the phone away from his ear and swore. The man had hung up on him.
Fury rising, he slammed his button over Crowley’s name to call him back. The phone rang until Crowley’s voicemail picked it up. He tried again and swore even louder. Fine, if Crowley wanted to act like a child, let him!
Unlocking the bathroom door, he stormed back into the main part of the restaurant and over to the bar. He needed more champagne.
I hope you enjoyed it!
Aziraphale woke up to pounding in his head and the taste of death in his mouth. With a groan he rolled onto his side and and cracked opened his eyes. The sun came through a crack in the window and made him scrunch them shut immediately. He pulled a pillow over his face and sighed into it, wincing at his breath.
Slowly memories from last night came back to him; he remembered the fight with Crowley, drinking far to much, dancing with Anathema and Tom.
He sat bolt upright, stomach lurching at the sudden movement. He remembered catching a cab with Tom and then...nothing.
Oh no. Oh no no no . Please, God tell him he didn’t.
Throwing the covers back Aziraphale saw he was dressed in the undershirt and underwear he’d worn last night. That could mean anything, it didn’t mean he slept with anyone. He crawled slowly out of bed and into the bathroom. There he found his clothes from last night in a crumpled pile on the floor. Tentatively, he picked up his waistcoat and winced at the streak of vomit down the front. Good God, had he really been that drunk?
Sighing, the let the waist coat drop to the floor, that was a problem for the future. Feeling slightly more human after he brushed his teeth, Aziraphale trudged towards the kitchen for painkillers and something to settle his stomach.
Aziraphale jumped a mile and winced. Tom was standing in his kitchen cooking eggs with a cup of tea at his elbow.
“What are you-”
Aziraphale’s words trailed off as the smell of eggs hit him and his stomach turned over. He turned and sprinted for the bathroom, barely making it before what little was left in his stomach made a reappearance. Groaning, he retched again.
Tom’s hand landed on his shoulder and he winced.
“Do you need anything?”
Shaking the hand off, Aziraphale pointed wordlessly to the door. The last thing he wanted was an audience while his vomit splattered into the bowl. Chest heaving Aziraphale leaned against the wall and swiped the sweat off his face. What had he done? He’d been angry at Crowley, but still...he hadn’t meant for this to happen. But did anything happen? He racked his brain, but the last thing he could remember was sliding into a cab with Tom, his stomach aching with laughter.
Well there was only one thing to do...
Scrubbing a hand over his face, he got to his feet, gargled and headed back out. Tom was leaning against the counter, drinking his tea. Two full plates of steaming breakfast sat on Aziraphale’s table.
Aziraphale hesitated in the doorway, worrying the tie of his robe between his fingers. He hated how comfortable Tom had made himself in his home. Then again, he couldn’t remember if he’d invited the man back or not.
“Did we,” Aziraphale cleared his throat. “Did we.. do anything last night?” He winced at how juvenile it sounded, but the words were already out.
Tom blinked at him and barked a laugh. “Had a bit too much to drink did we?”
Aziraphale forced a smile, Tom’s laugh made his head throb, and nodded. He wished the man would just answer the bloody question. Sinking into a kitchen chair, he shoved the plate away from him and waited for Tom’s answer.
“Worried you don’t remember all the fun?”
Aziraphale blanched and turned to Tom, he didn’t trust his voice to speak. Tom stared at him for a beat and sighed, rolling his eyes.
“Don’t worry, we didn’t do anything.”
“Oh thank God!” Aziraphale said, head in his hands.
“Well thanks for that,” Tom deadpanned, taking a slurp of tea.
“No, it’s not that,” Aziraphale said happily. The news he hadn’t done something horrible made him feel much more charitable towards Tom. “It’s just that I have a boyfriend, so I panicked for a moment.”
“Ah, I see. That’s probably who called last night.”
Aziraphale froze, all feelings of ease falling away. “What?”
“Yeah, you’d already fallen asleep so I answered in case it was Anathema looking for you. Whoever it was swore and hung up on me. It was a man’s voice.”
Aziraphale could do nothing but blink at Tom in horror. He lurched to his feet, knocking over the kitchen chair and scrambled to the bedroom. He tapped frantically at his mobile’s screen and swore when it didn’t react. The blasted thing was dead, which meant if Crowley had called back it would look like…. oh no .
He plugged it in and chewed his lip as the screen lit up. It would take at least ten minutes before he could use it.
Heading back to the kitchen, his mind raced. Maybe it had been Newt calling to check up on him, but Newt wouldn’t swear and hang up.
“Hey, I’m sorry if I caused any trouble,” Tom said, “I didn’t think it through..I was pretty pissed myself.”
“What happened last night?” Aziraphale asked, head throbbing worse than ever. He needed the truth so he could explain to Crowley. “Do you remember?”
Tom nodded, “I didn’t hit it as hard as you did,” he said with a laugh. At the look on Aziraphale’s face the laugh crumbled off his lips. “Sorry. Well, we drank a shit-ton of champagne, then you switched to whiskey.”
Aziraphale groaned, whiskey had always been his enemy.
“Yeah,” Tom continued. “We danced for a bit with Anathema and Newt. I think they were keeping an eye on you, actually.”
Great, his boss had seen him a drunken mess, that would do wonders for his career. “Then what happened?”
“Well, at one the party started to wind down, but you told me you weren’t ready to go home, so we went to a pub. Then, I think around three, we ended up back here. I was pretty badly off myself, so you said I could sleep on the couch.” Tom smiled, “You were sweet actually. You weren’t making a lot of sense, but you told me you didn’t want me staggering around for a cab at three in the morning. Then you went into your bedroom and shut the door.”
Well that wasn’t so terrible. If only Crowley would believe it.
“When did Crowley call?”
“ That’s who your dating?” Tom said, incredulously, “The runaway groom?”
Aziraphale glared and Tom had the grace to look sheepish.
“Sorry, sorry. He called just after I laid down on the couch. You’d left your phone in your coat. If I were less sloshed I wouldn’t have answered, but my mind went ‘phone ringing, must answer.”
“And what did you say ?” Aziraphale said, his leg bouncing under the table. He wanted to get the story out of Tom and Tom out of his flat so he could fix this.
“I don’t remember exactly...I guess I said hello? He said ‘fuck’ and the line went dead. I do remember saying ‘fuck you too’, to the dial tone.”
Aziraphale sighed and thumped his head onto the table top. This was a disaster.
“I think you should go, Tom,” he said, words muffled by the wood. “Thank you for seeing me home...I think..”
If Aziraphale was sober he would have been horrified at his own rudeness, but as things stood he couldn’t find the energy to care.
“Right yeah, see you.” Tom’s voice sounded clipped and Aziraphale couldn’t blame him.
The front door slammed, making his head zing with pain. Swearing under his breath, he headed back to the bedroom to check his phone.
There were no missed calls or messages, not that he expected any.
Taking a deep breath, he hit the call icon next to Crowley’s name and waited. His brain was too slow to work out what time it was in Japan, but he hoped the man was awake. Crowley’s voicemail picked up and Aziraphale sighed.
“Crowley, it’s me. Listen I’m so so sorry about last night, my dear. Nothing happened between Tom and I. He just made sure I got home, and- I’m so so sorry. I’ll call you, or you call me. I- listen dear, I’m sor-”
His words were cut off with a sharp beep as his time to leave a voicemail ran out. Sighing, he opened Crowley’s chat and taped out two paragraphs before deleting both. He wanted to talk to the man, not leave an essay for him to wake up to.
I’m sorry dearest.
Keeping it simple would be best. Besides, the blame wasn’t solely on his shoulders. Crowley had over reacted too. They needed to talk, that was the bottom line.
Chewing his lip, Aziraphale got to his feet and headed to the bathroom. He could do his worrying in the shower.
Crowley didn’t return his call. Aziraphale waited two hours, tried to call again, and then sent two more texts. Nothing got a response.
As his hangover receded, his annoyance began to grow. The fight hadn’t been that bad and if Crowley thought he’d sleep with someone after one small argument, then he really didn’t know Aziraphale at all. He decided to let things rest for the day, it wouldn’t do to call and just have another fight.
Aziraphale spent the day nursing his hangover. This involved water, dry toast and watching innumerable episodes of the Great British Bake Off. Since he’d woken up at noon, the sun was sinking before he knew it and a light summer rain began to fall. Curled under a thick fluffy blanket on the couch, Aziraphale pulled his phone out and flicked open Crowley’s chat. The blue tick next to his last message mocked him. He knew he was a masochist when he opened instagram next and went straight to Corwley’s profile. His heart dropped at what he saw.
Crowley had gone on a posting spree last night it seemed. Every single picture featured Crowley pressed close to someone else. Clicking on the first picture of the man with two beautiful women draped over his sides, he felt his earlier annoyance come back. Deciding to match Crowley’s passive aggressive act with one of his own, he double tapped the picture to like it. Let the man make of that what he would.
The rest of the dozen photos were similar; Crowley clearly having a ball with fans and other DJs, laughing and smirking into the camera while he pressed close to them. It was childish and taunting, and made Aziraphale’s annoyance turn to anger. If Crowley would rather do this than talk, well fine! Aziraphale was done with simpering apologetic messages. Let the man come to him now.
Huffing Aziraphale closed the app and tossed his phone aside. He had telly to watch.
Over the next few days, Aziraphale trampled his anger by throwing himself into his work. The days passed in a blur of working late and getting back to his clients so quickly he surprised them. Anathema (who he luckily hadn’t embarrassed himself in front of at the party) was impressed. Which is why his spirits rose for the first time that week when she called him in for a meeting on Friday.
“So Aziraphale, I assume you know why your here?”
“Well, I hope you’re not firing me,” Aziraphale said with a grin as he sat down.
Anathema laughed and shook her head, “No, of course not. You know,” Anathema took a deep breath and pulled her glasses off. “When you first came to work here I’d just started the business. I was struggling to make my mark and balance everything a wedding planner needed to do. Then you show up, after a long line of horrid interviews, and I knew you were something special. Something you’ve proved to me over and over since we’ve worked together.”
Aziraphale smiled, his eye feeling suspiciously wet.
“Which is why I think you’re wasted as an assistant,” Anathema continued, “Since you’ve been taking on so much more responsibility it’s time your position here reflected that. So, I’d like to make you a partner in the business.”
Aziraphale was stunned. He’d just been expecting compliments and perhaps a raise, not this .
“Oh, oh my dear I-”
Anathema laughed, “Unless that sappy speech I just made makes you want to run for the hills.”
“No! I mean, yes. I’d love to be a partner!”
Anathema grinned and slid a folder over the desk towards him.
“Here’s the new contract. Look it over and see if you have any questions, then we’ll need to see about hiring new assistants.”
“I’ll get an assistant?” Aziraphale said, face glowing.
“Yes, of course. Business has been booming so we’ll need the help. Speaking of which, we’ll need to look into expanding the office to fit everything I want to do.”
“Of course, of course!” Aziraphale pressed the folder between his hands and beamed.
Anathema grinned and stood up, Aziraphale following suit, “Take that home with you and look it over. If you agree to it, then you can start your first solo job with the new couple we have coming tomorrow.”
“A solo job,” Aziraphale said softly, heart swelling.
“You’ve been shadowing me for months and you’ve done beautifully. You’ll be a natural I’m sure.”
Aziraphale just stared at her for a moment and then pulled her into a hug. “Thank you, Anathema. It means the world to me!”
Anathema laughed against his shoulder and hugged him back. “You deserve it! You’ve been an excellent employee since you started.”
Aziraphale gave her a squeeze and stepped back. “Thank you.”
They shared a smile and headed out to the waiting room to get their coats.
“I have to meet Newt tonight, but how about tomorrow we get drinks after work to celebrate?”
“That sounds lovely!”
Aziraphale held the door for her and with a final wave, they parted ways. As he walked, Aziraphale pulled out his phone and had his thumb hovering over Crowley’s name before he caught himself.
He wanted to share the news with the man, but their stupid fight stopped him. If he was being honest with himself, he missed Crowley very much. He missed hearing Crowley’s voice, and listening to the antics he got up to in different countries, but most of all, he missed having someone to share his day with.
They hadn’t spoken in a little over a week and Aziraphale didn’t know how to bridge the gap. He couldn’t very well call after so much silence. Could he? Come to think of it, why hadn’t Crowley called him?
Sighing he stuffed his phone into his pocket and raised his hand for a cab. He wasn’t going to let this ruin his good mood. He would go home, order sushi and enjoy himself.
The next night Anathema and Aziraphale sat in a smokey lounge, or rather a vape filled lounge as things stood nowadays. Anathema had a champagne cocktail at her elbow and Aziraphale had ordered a mudslide. After that night with Tom he didn’t think he could stomach champagne for a long time. The music was low, the lights were dim and the tables were tiny, offering the perfect atmosphere for after work drinks.
“Here’s to you!” Anathema said, clinking her glass against his and grinning.
“Thank you, dear,” Aziraphale said, smiling and taking a whip creamed filled sip of his drink. It was delicious.
“So how are things with you?” Anathema asked, “Work’s been so busy we haven’t had time to talk.”
“It’s been alright.”
Anathema hummed and looked at him.
“Well, things with Crowley aren’t at their best….”
“Ah,” Anathema set down her glass and licked her lips, “well long distance relationships are always tricky. What happened?”
“We had a fight and well-”
Aziraphale gave up on being delicate and told her everything. It felt good to get the whole story out, especially when Anathema made a sound of disgust at Crowley’s instagram antics.
“So now I’m not sure what to do,” Aziraphale said, shoulders slumped, “I would like to speak to him again, but I feel I’m not the only one who needs to apologize.”
Anathema nodded, “You both do, but,” she took a sip of her drink. “You have to remember his last relationship is most likely colouring his reactions to things now.” At the look on Aziraphale’s face she hastened to continue, “I’m not saying that’s an excuse, it’s just something to think about. Maybe being passive aggressive was the safest way to get back at Gabriel, and now it’s his default reaction when things do south.”
Aziraphale hummed in thought, “He was very passive aggressive with Gabriel. I remember.”
Anathema nodded, “See. He has to see you aren’t Gabriel and he can talk to you.”
“I hate that he thinks I’ll react like that with him,” Aziraphale said with a sigh and a creeping feeling of guilt.
“It’s how he’s survived all those years he was with that man . It’ll be a hard habit to break, but with time it should get better.”
Aziraphale nodded morosely, “And we got to together so soon after. That couldn’t have helped.”
“Well, I wouldn’t go quiet so far,” Anathema said quickly, “I think you did help, but no relationship goes smoothly.”
Aziraphale sighed and propped his chin in his hand, “I’ll need to call him first, won’t I?”
“Well, I mean you could wait him out, but why not just call him and get everything off your chest? I hate letting things sit with Newt, even if they’re his fault,” she added with a wink.
Aziraphale sighed, “You’re right. I just hope I don’t sound too confrontational.”
Anathema looked at him over the rims of her glasses. “I don’t think you can be confrontational Aziraphale, especially when it’s someone you like.”
Aziraphale couldn’t help but chuckle, “You have a point there, my dear.”
Anathema wiggled her eyebrows at him and Aziraphale laughed. He wanted the night to be fun, which meant no more talk of idiotic boyfriends.
“So,” he took a sip of his drink, “My latest bride’s mother drank too much wine at the fitting and started telling me just how much she hated the man her daughter was marrying.”
“No! Did the daughter hear?”
“Oh yes.” Leaning in, Aziraphale launched into the tale, glad Anathema knew him well enough to let the matter between him and Crowley rest.
The next day swamped didn't even begin to cover how much work Aziraphale had to deal with. He had his first solo job which meant he had to take care of everything, from the catering to the wedding favours. It was hectic and dizzying and absolutely glorious .
The consequence of this was that he didn’t call Crowley that night, or the next, or the one after that.
Soon, another week had crawled passed and Aziraphale realized he needed to either call Crowley and hash things out, or let the best relationship of his adult life fade away over a stupid fight.
That night, when Aziraphale got home, he was dead tired. He loved his new job, but it really took it out of him. Luckily, the new assistants started Monday, which would help his workload considerably.
He had intended to call Crowley that evening, but he knew doing it when he was asleep on his feet would be a bad idea. After changing into his favourite angel wing pajamas, Aziraphale flopped onto the couch and let his mind wander, and as usual it wandered right to Crowley. He was just drifting off when his phone rang.
It was the man himself.
All Aziraphale’s tiredness fell away as adrenaline flooded his system. He swallowed hard and swiped to answer the call, his heart thudding away. It looked like he wouldn’t have to make the first move after all.
“Hello Aziraphale,” Crowley said, his voice rough.
“Crowley,” Aziraphale said, shocked. “I- hello.”
There was an awkward pause and everything Aziraphale had planned to say flew right out of his head.
“How have you-”
They both let out nervous little laughs as they talked over each other. Aziraphale licked his lips. He hated the tension between them, but wanted to see what Crowley would say unprompted.
“How are you ang- Aziraphale?”
Ah, he was going with small talk. Aziraphale could work with that for now.
“I’m alright, and you?”
Aziraphale waited. Crowley had called him, so he’d let the man take the lead.
“No, that’s a lie,” Crowley took a deep breath, “I miss you.”
“I miss you too,” Aziraphale said, heart pounding.
Another silence fell as Aziraphale worked out what to say.
“So wh-” Crowley started.
“Do you really think I slept with Tom?” Aziraphale blurted. As soon as it was out of his mouth he cursed himself internally. That was that he opened with!?
The silence over the line was charged and Aziraphale’s hand sweated around the phone. It was awful, but he needed to know.
“No, ang- Aziraphale, no. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t- I just assumed-” he sighed and Aziraphale could almost see Crowley scratching the back of his neck. “That wasn’t...right of me. I’m sorry.”
Aziraphale felt his shoulders loosen, but he had more to say.
“And you posted all those things on instagram because you wanted to get back at me?”
Crowley sighed again, but his voice was contrite. “Yes, It was horribly juvenile of me, I know.”
“If you knew I hadn’t done anything with Tom, why did you do that?” Aziraphale said, remembering how awful he’d felt when he saw the pictures, “I hated seeing those people draped all over you.”
“I was- I was angry. In that moment I wasn’t thinking straight. I had just heard another man answer your phone, and while I knew you would never do that, something in me just kept telling me I needed to do something to make you feel as badly as I did.”
Anathema was right, here was the remnants of Gabriel’s abuse rearing its head. He wanted so badly to tell Crowley it was alright and to forget everything, but they had to hash this out.
“You shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions like that,” Aziraphale said, not unkindly. “You know I would never do that to you. You can talk to me Crowley, I’m not-”
He swallowed and hoped what he was about to say wouldn’t blow up in his face, “I’m not Gabriel.”
There was an awful silence, and Aziraphale was sure his lip would have permanent teeth marks form how hard he was biting it.
When Crowley answered his voice was whisper soft, and very distressed, “I know, I’m sorry.”
“And you know I would never treat you the way he did.”
“I know,” Crowley sounded choked and it broke Aziraphale’s heart.
He hoped he wasn’t pushing too hard, and he wished Crowley was there with him, instead of having this conversation over the phone.
“Oh, my dear. We’ve been idiots, haven’t we?”
“I think we have,” Crowley said around a wet laugh. “I’m sorry Aziraphale, I don’t know why I reacted that way- no I do. It’s- it’s just how he- I’m sorry.”
“Be gentle with yourself my dear. It was just a misunderstanding,” Aziraphale said soothingly.
A part of him wanted to just soak up Crowley’s apologizes and let things rest, but he had his own explaining to do.
“I’m sorry too,” Aziraphale said, after a deep breath of his own. “I shouldn’t have hung up on you like that, and I should have told Tom we were together earlier. He knows now, but I’m sorry I made you feel like I was keeping it a secret.” His words were tripping over each other, but once he started he couldn’t stop. He needed Crowley to know how he felt. “I never want you to feel like that, Crowley. I’m proud to be with you, and I want everyone to know it.”
“It’s alright,” Crowley said after a beat, sounding shocked.
It was then Aziraphale realized...Crowley had probably never been apologized to in his entire relationship with Gabriel. The thought floored him enough that it took him a moment to realize Crowley was still talking.
“That’s nothing considering what followed.”
“But it was still rude of me,” Aziraphale said, wanting to be clear the blame wasn’t solely on Crowley’s shoulders. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright. I deser-”
“No!” Aziraphale cut in sharper than he intended. “I was rude and you deserve better than that.”
There was another beat of silence, and Aziraphale wished his tone had been gentler.
Aziraphale thought he could hear a bit of a smile in Crowley’s voice and felt his shoulders droop in relief.
“Next time talk to me,” Aziraphale continued, wanting to drive his point home.
“Well, I do like talking to you,” Crowley said, and there was definitely a smile there.
“And I’ll make it clear I’m taken,” Aziraphale said with a smile of his own.
They burst into laughter and Aziraphale’s shoulders unwound fully for the first time since their argument. He lay back on the couch and cradled the phone to his ear. He wanted to tell Crowley everything he’d missed, but wasn’t sure how to bridge the gap between ending a fight and going back to normal. That had always been the hard part for him in his past relationships.
“So, um, how have you been?” Crowley asked, sounding just as out of place as Aziraphale felt.
“I’ve been alright...I got a promotion. I’m a partner now,” Aziraphale said hesitantly.
“Angel that’s fantastic!”
And just like that, the unfiltered joy in Crowley’s voice made the last threads of awkwardness between them vanish like so much smoke.
“Say it again?” Aziraphale said, chest warm.
“What you called me, say it-”
“ Angel ,” Crowley said, his voice low.
Aziraphale grinned and wiggled happily on the sofa.
“I can practically hear your smile,” Crowley laughed, and Aziraphale wished he could see that fangy smile.
Now that everything was better, just how much he missed the man was hitting him hard.
“So tell me all about it, Angel,” Crowley said in a settled tone that meant he was no doubt lying back on his bed.
Aziraphale lay back on the couch and began to fill Crowley in on all he had missed.
He knew Gabriel’s abuse would have lingering effects. Effects that would show up again in time, but he and Crowley were taking again, and once they kept talking, they would be okay.
This is NOT the end of this fic! There's still more to come! Just a note, I'm moving in a week and a half, so updates will be a bit slower, but they'll still be coming so don't worry :D
The next week Aziraphale felt like he was walking on air. Things with Crowley were back to normal, he was enjoying a fabulous new position at work, and his new assistant was competent.
“You’re next couple is here, Mr Aziraphale,” the aforementioned assistant said, putting her head around the door.
“I told you, Sarah, you can call me Aziraphale,” he said with a smile.
Sarah nodded, her cheeks turning red. “Okay, well Aziraphale , you’re next clients are here.”
“Excellent, send them in please, and don’t forget the-”
“Coffee’s already brewing, the cookies are fresh and the file with their basic info is at the top of your pile.”
Aziraphale blinked and smiled, “Well done!”
Sarah turned a bit redder, thanked him and left to get his next couple.
Aziraphale fluffed his hair, straightened the picture of Crowley on his desk and pulled out a fresh notepad. So far his job as partner was spectacular; he was working on two weddings and was about to begin the early stages of another, his first wedding day was in three weeks...and he had a very handsome man returning to him in just a few (too long) months.
Life was spectacular.
He got to his feet as his next clients came in and greeted them with a smile.
When he got home, there was a row of messages waiting for him from Crowley. Ever since their fight both he and Crowley had been a bit excessive when it came to messaging. Aziraphale figured it was over compensation to avoid a further fallout, or maybe they just missed each other more since the fight had broken their contact for weeks. Something about the way Crowley messaged him these days was off, but Aziraphale couldn’t put his finger on what.
Good morning/night angel, about to board (another) plane -_-
Hello from Amsterdam!
Dare me to go to the red light district? I promise to only look ;)
That was a joke ofc
I went to a very interesting museum...
Any of these interest you angel?
Aziraphale grinned at the first two pictures and turned the tiniest bit red at the last, not that he’d ever let Crowley know that. Feeling devious he began typing.
All of them interest me darling....if they’re on you.
Seconds ticked bye and Aziraphale smiled wide at his phone when he saw Crowley’s response.
Naughty angel...and while I’m in public too.
You started it, dearest.
Aziraphale set his phone on the side table and went to fix himself dinner, a smile still on his face.
The next few days flew passed in a whirlwind of planning, buying out the empty offices next door and working on plans to expand their offices. It was also filled with a landslide of messages from Crowley. It seemed like the man was determined to let Aziraphale know everything that was happening to him as it happened.
None of this bothered Aziraphale. What did bother him though was how overly apologetic Crowley was if he was late in replying to a message. It had started slowly, but now Aziraphale knew something was wrong, and it needed to be addressed.
Angel I’m so so sorry I didn’t reply. I was busy with sound check i know it’s not a good excuse but my phone was in my bag pLease forgive me i’ll do better.
The message made his stomach twist. This was how Gabriel had conditioned him, and Aziraphale would be patient no matter how long it took for Crowley to relax. He didn’t want Crowley to feel stressed about simply texting him.
It’s a perfectly valid excuse, my dear. I mean that. It’s okay if you don’t reply immediately you know. :*
Yes, but I don’t want to leave you waiting.
I’m not left waiting lovely, I’m working. We’re both busy. Do you get annoyed if I don’t reply right away?
No, of course not!
Well then, why would I get annoyed with you?
There was a long pause and Aziraphale took a hearty sip of tea.
I guess you’re right
Of course I’m right! Now go have fun, and don’t smoke too much weed
Thank you angel
Of course darling I love y-
Aziraphale choked on the biscuit he’d been eating and hurriedly backspaced the last bit of his message. Cheeks aflame, he simply sent a kiss emoji and set his phone down.
He’d just been about to confess his love over a text message. A text message.
Feeling thoroughly disgusted with himself , he got to his feet and headed to the kitchen. Anathema was there, eating a slice of pizza and peering at a copy of cosmopolitan.
“Hey Aziraphale,” she said without looking up.
“I nearly told Crowley I loved him over a text message,” Aziraphale said by way of hello.
He and Anathema had gotten much more candid with each other over the last few weeks. They were certainly closer to friends than just coworkers now.
Anathema’s head snapped up, her eyes wide behind her glasses. “Please tell me you caught it before you hit send.”
“I did, but it gave me a shock nonetheless,” Aziraphale said, pouring a fresh cup of tea and grabbing a biscuit from the box on the counter.
Anathema set her magazine aside. “I thought you had said it to him already to be honest.”
“Not as yet, it was too soon after Gabriel. Then Crowley left and it’s not something I want to say over the phone.”
“You old romantic you,” Anathema said with a giggle. “I said it to Newt on the phone. The first time I mean.”
“ You said it first? I thought he would have said it the night you met,” Aziraphale said with a chuckle.
To his surprise Anathema turned a bit red.
“Yes, well...Newt’s shy. He was silent for an entire minute after I said it though. I thought I’d broken him.”
Aziraphale laughed, “Well I doubt I’ll break Crowley.”
Anathema raised her eyebrows, a challenging smile on her face, “Oh, so I guess you haven’t seen the way he looks at you then?”
Aziraphale’s own face heated, but he met her challenge with on of his own. “And I guess you didn’t see the way Newt’s jaw hit the floor when you walked into the room that day.”
Their eyes met, cheeks matching shades of pink, and they burst into laughter.
Over the next week, Crowley’s messaging went back to normal, and he seemed more relaxed when they spoke. There would still be times where he over compensated, but Aziraphale always made sure to reassure him. It seemed to be working, and slowly Crowley’s old swagger was coming back. It made Aziraphale heart warm.
One next night Aziraphale found himself working late. Anathema had gone home a little under an hour ago, bags under her eyes and hair a mess. Aziraphale knew he had at least two more hours of work ahead of him. He had invoices to look over and enter into the expense file, three seating charts to prep for approval and flowers to source for a bride who’d changed her mind again .
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Stretching his neck, he let out a groan when something popped and the tension eased a bit. God, he was tired, but this had to get done unless he wanted to come into work early tomorrow.
Aziraphale pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes until fireworks of colour exploded behind his lids. Exhaling sharply, he straightened back up and turned to his computer screen once again. He had just gotten to the last row of numbers when his phone rang.
It was a video call from Crowley.
Brightening, he fluffed his hair, wishing he’d had time to wash his face before Crowley called. Before he could get too anxious the call connected and Crowley’s face filled the screen.
“Hello angel!” Crowley sang, smiling wide. He was sitting next to a large window, clad in a black jumper with a large red snake on the front.
“Crowley! How are you, my dear?”
“I’m doing well, and you?” he squinted at the screen and his brow furrowed, “Are you still at work?”
Aziraphale sighed and nodded, “Lots to do now that I’m partner. At least I finished entering the expenses, so now I just need to source flowers.
“What time is it there?” Crowley asked, looking concerned.
“Just an hour behind you.”
“So it’s almost midnight! Angel go home .”
“No, I’m nearly done. Just about an hour of work left. Hopefully.”
Crowley peered at him a moment, then shrugged, “Well at least take a break and talk to me.”
“Oh, now that’s easy.”
Crowley smiled and sank low in his chair, “Ssssoo why don’t you show me around your new office? Where does the newest partner spend his days comforting panicking brides?”
Aziraphale laughed softly. “To be fair, they’re a few panicking grooms too.”
“Oh. believe me I know,” Crowley said with an ironic smile.
Aziraphale smiled back and got to his feet, flipping the camera to face forward he began taking Crowley around the room. He showed him the bookshelves, the view from his window, and the fresh flowers Tracey had brought that morning. He was back behind his desk, showing Crowley the chairs he had picked out for his clients to sit on, when the man interrupted.
“What’s that on your desk, angel?”
“Where?” Aziraphale asked, eyeing his cluttered table top.
“There in the frame,” Crowley said, squinting at the screen.
Aziraphale felt his cheeks heat and cursed himself for not hiding the picture before the tour.
“It’s- erm well- it’s just a-”
“Is that a picture of me angel?”
Aziraphale turned redder and scrambled for something to say. He hoped Crowley didn’t think it was weird that he had the picture on his desk. It was one Crowley had sent to him after all.
“Well, yes. It’s- um, it’s you, yes.”
“Let me see you your face, angel,” Crowley said, voice unreadable.
When he flipped the camera around Crowley’s eyes were dark.
“Just look at that blush,” Crowley said, voice low. “My my, angel. I must say I’m flattered .”
Aziraphale blushed harder and smiled. “So it’s not...weird?”
“Of course not,” Crowley said, flashing some fang, “Who do you think my lock screen is?”
Relief flooded through Aziraphale, along with a healthy dose of flattery. As juvenile as it was, the thought of being a picture Crowley wanted to see often enough to make it his lock screen gave him a thrill.
“Sit down, angel,” Crowley said, his tone snapping Aziraphale back to the present.
Aziraphale slowly sank into this chair, taking in the darkness of Crowley’s eyes and the loose hang of his posture. That usually meant one thing.
“I’m in the office I-”
“Take your cock out for me, angel.”
“ Crowley, I’m at work!”
“And is anyone there, my angel?” Crowley asked, smirking at the camera.
“Well, no but-”
“Then live a little! It’ll be fun,” Crowley winked and slid lower in his chair.
“Well…” Aziraphale bit his lip and looked around, as if he expected Anathema to suddenly jump out at him.
He was alone, and the chances of anyone suddenly realizing they forgot something and showing up after midnight to collect it were slim. Getting to his feet, Aziraphale locked the door then flopped into his desk chair. There was no way he was doing this where clients would sit tomorrow.
“I locked the door,” he said to Crowley, smiling and feeling incredibly wicked.
“Very good, angel. Now loosen that bow tie for me.”
Aziraphale did so and undid the top button of his shirt for good measure.
“Why don’t you take of that jumper for me?” he asked Crowley, hoping he sounded sexy.
“Oh no , this is about you, angel. Now, take your cock out and let me see .”
Aziraphale bit his lip and undid his fly, pulling his already interested cock out of the gap.
“No, keep the camera on your face,” Crowley said as Aziraphale began to pan the camera downward, “I’m in a romantic mood tonight.”
Aziraphale chuckled and gave himself a slow stroke. Crowley licked the edge of his teeth and brought the phone in closer.
“The things you do to me...and the things I would do to you if I was there,” Crowley said, his voice a whisper.
“Well, I’d bend you over that pretty desk for a start, so that arse of your would be nice and presented for me.”
Aziraphale’s hand sped up at the image, and he swallowed hard.
“I’d get on my knees, spread your cheeks and lick you right there.”
“Crowley!” Aziraphale gasped, cheeks hot.
Crowley grinned at him, thought it was more of a grimace. From the way his arm was moving, Aziraphale knew he was touching himself too.
“Oh yes angel, I’d lick you until you were pleading. Then I’d ever so slowly touch your cock. Would you like that?”
Aziraphale nodded and arched in his seat.
“Use words for me, pretty.”
“Yes! Y-yes I’d like that.”
Crowley’s own eyes fluttered shut for a moment and he pressed his lips together tightly. “I can’t wait until I can touch you again. Feel you skin, smell you, taste you.”
Aziraphale groaned, and was surprised at how close he was. Then again, it had been ages since their last call of such a nature.
“Don’t be bashful angel, it’s been a long time for me too. Just imagine me all over you, pressing you down, holding you close and making you come .”
Aziraphale groaned loudly and came, twisting in his chair and ruining his shirt. It was quick, fast and utterly obliterating, the way his orgasms always were after a while without.
On screen, Crowley’s hand sped up and his eyes were shut. Aziraphale was just about to open his mouth to attempt to say something, when Crowley shivered, made the most sinful noise and came. Aziraphale watched through a haze of his own endorphins and smiled lazily as Crowley slumped in his chair.
“Spectacular my dear,” Aziraphale said, smiling.
“I wish I could kiss you.”
Aziraphale’s smile turned a bit said, “I wish the same.”
Crowley gave him a sad smile of his own. “When I finally kiss you, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.”
“We should meet in private then,” Aziraphale said.
Crowley laughed and ran a hand through his hair, then winced.
“I think- I think I just got come in my hair,” he said, wide eyed. “Stop laughing angel!”
Aziraphale couldn’t help it, the look of horror on Crowley’s face was just too priceless. “Sorry, my dear. I’m sorry,” he wheezed around laughs.
“I have a show and now I’ll have to wash it all over again,” Crowley said plaintively.
“When’s the show?” Aziraphale asked, smothering his giggles.
“My set’s in an hour and a half. Luckily we got accommodation quiet close to the venue.”
“Oh dear, well I should let you get to it then.”
Crowley hummed, looking morose. “Message me when you get home. You are leaving now, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I’m useless now after what you’ve done to me.”
Crowley winked, “Just make sure you wipe the come off your keyboard.”
“Make sure you get it all out of your hair,” Aziraphale retorted.
They eyed each other and then burst into laughter.
“Good night, my dear.”
“Good night, angel.”
‘I love you’, Aziraphale thought to himself, watching the screen go blank.
Soon, Aziraphale realized there were only two months left until Crowley returned and his heart did a flip. Two months was so much better than six, but still stretched out far too long.
With a sigh Aziraphale trudged up to his apartment and was surprised to see a package waiting on his doorstep. Brow furrowed, he hefted it into his arms and entered his flat. Setting it on the table, he pulled off his coat then picked up a knife to open the parcel. Aziraphale never got packages he hadn’t ordered himself, so he was quite excited to open it.
Inside the boring cardboard was a creamy white box. Aziraphale gingerly pulled it out and stroked a finger over the embossed German on the lid. Assuming it was the name of the store, he slowly pulled the lid off and saw a small card sitting on top of white tissue paper.
To my angel.
These made me think of you.
Smiling wide, Aziraphale peeled the paper back and gasped at what he saw.
Four pristine, white, porcelain mugs sat in the box. Easing one out of the styrofoam packing, Aziraphale stroked a finger over the handles. They were shaped like angel wings; the wings that decorated his cuffs, and were inked over Crowley’s shoulders.
To his surprise, his eyes filled with tears. Crowley had seen this, thought of him, and made sure he got them.
Pulling all four out of the box, he lined them up on the table and admired them. They were the perfect size for cocoa and had a lovely weight for them.
Heart full, he pulled out his phone to call Crowley. He knew the man had a show, so voicemail would have to do for now.
“My dear, thank you so so much. I love them! I’ll call you tomorrow.” Resisting the urge to making kissing noises, Aziraphale hung up, and let out a happy smile.
It hit him then, the accumulation of the gift, the way he missed Crowley, they way he loved Crowley, that he needed to see the man. He needed to hold him, hug him and tell him that he loved him.
Heading to his desk, he pulled out his planner. He needed to figure out when his last wedding would be over. It was time for Aziraphale to take a vacation.
I hoped you all enjoyed! this was a difficult one to write for some reason.
I'm moving in five days (aahhh!) So there'll be a break in posting. But this will be finished, I promise!