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Catch Me When I Fall

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Dr Fell makes all his Literature students feel protective of him. There's just something sweet, and somehow innocently angelic, about the way he looks and acts, from the old-fashioned jackets he wears to the way he gushes equally about his dear husband Anthony and his books. No one good, the general consensus runs, would ever dream of hurting dear Dr Fell.

Dr Crowley terrifies all his Botany students. He snarls equally at his plants and at them, with an ever-present sneer crooking his mouth below his dark glasses, and the insolent way he sprawls on his lecture chair. No one, the general consensus runs, would ever see anything good in him, and he's never said or done anything to make them think he cares about anyone either.

Some of the more marginalised students aren't so sure. Too many times, Dr Crowley "just happens" to be passing when things are about to get seriously nasty for them, and his patent glare sends the bigots and bullies fleeing instead. (No one's ever been brazen enough or brave enough to brush off that glare or protest it.) It isn't like he sticks around to make sure they're ok, either, like Dr Fell does when he absently interrupts trouble. (No one's ever been brave enough to turn on Dr Fell. They know the entire student body would rise up in protest against them.)

So when the rumour spreads that Dr Crowley attacked Dr Fell, their students are simultaneously appalled and unsurprised. Appalled that anyone would dare attack their beloved Dr Fell. Unsurprised that if anyone would it would be the evil Dr Crowley.

"Grabbed him by the jacket, slammed him into the wall, and snarled at him," an eyewitness confirms, "and Dr Fell was so brave about it. Just pushed him gently away!" They don't mention that they fled when Dr Crowley turned his glare on them. That's nothing new enough for gossip, after all.

***

It isn't until the students have fled that Crowley bends his head to drop a brief kiss on Aziraphale's pink cheek and lets his angel steady him back onto his cramping legs. "Thanks, angel," he hisses.

"It's nothing, my dear." A gleam of mischief softens Aziraphale's eyes. "You do realise how my students are going to take this? We won't have another moment alone on campus for weeks while they try to protect me."

"Just tell them your dear husband will protect you," Crowley retorts, a wicked glint in his own eye, and saunters away.

***

Later, at home, they laugh openly about it, and lay bets on how long it will be before this year's undergraduates catch on that they are married.

"Your turn to drop a clue next, angel," Crowley drawls from where he sprawls with his feet on Aziraphale's lap.

Aziraphale sips delicately from his teacup. "Oh, I do, my dear, all the time. It must be the wicked ways you have with me, for they never quite seem to grasp the point. Perhaps if you matched my anecdotes?"

"Not my style, angel. You know that." Crowley shifts his legs, wincing slightly.

"No, perhaps not. You always have preferred looks to words, my dear." Aziraphale sets down his cup and begins to massage Crowley's legs instead.

Crowley drains the last of his glass of wine, and lets his head fall back. "Didn't mean to topple onto you, either. Good catch you made. Appreciate you not letting me go flat on my face. I'd never have lived it down with this lot."

"My dear," Aziraphale responds, "you have always been the best catch I could possibly have. Why would I settle for anything less?"

"Wouldn't be the first time I've fallen." Crowley slithers carefully round until their heads are close together. "Come here, you. Kiss me and let me tempt you to a late dinner. My treat, s'long as we get delivery. I owe you one."

Aziraphale returns the kiss he got earlier, and fetches the phone. "Oh, Crowley, you old snake. Never change."