Chapter 1: Prologue
Gabriel said no. This was something Aziraphale learnt very quickly in their relationship. Well, if one could call it a relationship. His family certainly wanted it to be a relationship, and the one and only time Gabriel did say yes to anything was to a question asked by Aziraphale’s mother of will you please marry him and save us from turning into demons!
Gabriel had said yes because despite the failing wealth of the family he knew they had connections, and if he built them back up again those connections would be his. All it took was to marry the son the family didn’t want. The son was an angel certainly, a lower one but still an angel, although often didn’t act as such. He was the one that had thoughts and opinions of his own that didn’t match with his status, very disgraceful really. But Aziraphale was all the family had to ensure their survival, and marrying him off to anyone that could save them was all they cared about, whether Aziraphale was happy about that or not.
Which he wasn’t.
Gabriel said no. To everything after that. No, they couldn’t stay in England, he had to travel to live with Gabriel in his native America, but he promised to send monies back to the family. No, he couldn’t take his books, they took up too much space and Gabriel needed space for his own belongings. No, he dressed too old fashioned, the majority of his clothes would be left behind and new ones purchased once they reached New York. No, he couldn’t have his own life, he was to be a simple clerk in Gabriel’s business where he could keep an eye on him. No, he had to do what Gabriel told him. No, he couldn’t have that dessert. No, don’t speak.
No, don’t be happy.
But, Aziraphale being who he was, took it all in his stride. Every time Gabriel said no, he’d tell himself, this is for my family, this will save them, you don’t want them ruined, poor and helpless, becoming demons, that would be terribly…awful.
He loved his family......he did. They may not think much of him but if this is all he could do to make them happy then he supposed it was meant to be. He supposed this would be his life, soon-to-be-married to a man where the only time he looked at him was to berate him about something.
Aziraphale sighed deeply and miserably, looking out to the tiny distant shoreline of his beloved England, disappearing into the distance like any dreams of his own. He leant on the railings on the top deck of the Titanic, a ship designed by clever angels and built by wily demons, both declaring proudly it was unsinkable and had every luxury possible. Not for the demons though of course. That lot were wandering around the lower decks far out of the reach of any angel. Most were still outside, walking and talking amongst those they’d be spending the next seven days with.
As his home finally disappeared entirely, Aziraphale let his eyes drop downwards to the demons as he rested his chin in his hands. He idly watched the many bodies, voices floating high up towards him, thoughts far away and unfocused. And then, it was a sudden flash of red that shot his depressive thoughts far from his mind and his eyes immediately focused on one singular demon. He was standing with two others, shaking hands, apparently just met. It was the demons very red hair which had caught the sunlight that had distracted Aziraphale, and he found himself leaning a little further over the railing to get a better look. Even from way up here that demon stood out, what with the general dark and manky state of most of them, no colour at all.
Aziraphale felt the tiniest pull at the corner of his lips, and for the first time since he was forcibly held by the arm and unwillingly guided onto the ship did he feel himself relax. He visibly melted into his hands where he was leaning, watching as the red head laughed at something, wishing he could be in on that joke, to have something to laugh at. He liked to laugh.
Gabriel had said no.
“Aziraphale, there you are.”
Aziraphale let out a small high pitched “Oh!” at being interrupted so out of the blue, and quickly turned to see his fiancé, that usual fake smile plastered on the American’s face.
“What are you doing out here? Didn’t I tell you to wait in the cabin?”
“Oh, yes, I’m sorry I just, I-I needed some fresh air, that’s all.”
“Hmm,” Gabriel peered over the edge of the railings, “Well, its certainly fresher than down there huh?”
He smiled at Aziraphale in a way that he was expecting an agreement back, so Aziraphale just flashed him a quick smile to keep him happy.
Gabriel looked over the nervous angel, eyes raking up and down his form like he was viewing a particularly sub-standard side of beef. Gabriel sighed, disappointed, before gripping Aziraphale’s upper arm much like he did when taking him on board, “Come on, I hear there’s a great gym on board, gotta lose that gut before our wedding right?” he grinned, patting Aziraphale’s round stomach with his other hand.
“Oh, yes…quite.” He answered, very quietly.
Aziraphale begrudgingly let himself be pulled along, but not without taking one quick longing glance back to the red headed demon who was now looking up at him!
His angel heart skipped the biggest beat, but before he could even register anything about the face peering up at him he was pulled away, and the demon was out of sight.
“No chance,” said the red headed demons new friend, patting a little frog he kept in his pocket, “You’re more likely to turn into an angel yourself then get with the likes of him.”
“Leave him Hastur, can’t you see he’s not listening?” grinned the other, his eyes a mysterious shade of everything depending on the light.
They both looked to the demon who was still staring up at the now empty top deck, absently running his tongue over the ends of his top row of teeth, and looking as enamoured and heart-struck he apparently felt, if the way his fellow demons were now snickering beside him.
“Hello Angel.” He whispered, as a white feather rushed by him in the breeze.
Chapter 2: “You can’t fall, angel.”
Crowley was rubbish at cards. It didn’t matter the game, it didn’t matter that he thought he knew the rules, somewhere in the middle of whatever was being played his brain would decide to take a holiday and leave him staring at his hand thinking am I winning or losing?
“How the fuck did you manage to get a ticket for the Titanic?” a nearby demon asked.
Crowley reorganised his hand hoping it would help, it didn’t.
Another demon toyed fondly with the edge of the Titanic ticket that was now on top of the pile of money in the middle of the table. “Won it didn’t I?” he replied “In that raffle. And I know damn well no ones beating my cards so show ‘em! All of ya! I’m getting my ticket back for damn sure!”
“Shit, yeah, nothing.”
Crowley scratched his chin, but didn’t say anything.
“I’m taking that as a no, read ‘em and weep boys!”
The smug demon placed down his Straight Flush while the others groaned in defeat. With a delightful cackle he began to horde the money and his winning Titanic ticket back towards him when Crowley sighed, equally defeated.
“I really hate this game.” he stated, throwing his cards face up on the table and leaning back on his chair, pulling his dark glasses back over his nose where they’d been up on top of his head.
What followed was an almighty ear crash of shouts and swearing and a; “For fucks sake Crowley that’s a Royal Flush you moron!!”
He may suck at remembering the rules, but he made up for it in luck.
This was how he now came to be running through the tightly packed crowds towards the Titanic, two minutes on the clock before it set sail. He ran up the nearest gantry, out of breath and waving his lucky ticket at the surprised attendant the other end, who was just about to remove the clamps.
“I’m…here…let me on…” he panted, leaning back against the railings for a moment to get his breath back.
The attendant eyed him suspiciously, “This is the Angel Gateway, your lot gets let in down the other end of the ship.”
“Look I’ll go where I’m supposed to go after just let me on board, I got a ticket.”
The attendant let out a frustrated click with his tongue, summarising in his head which would be worse, letting a demon on at the angel entrance, or being personally responsible for making the Titanic late while this idiot stood on the gantry holding everything up.
“Fine, get on, quick.”
Crowley leapt on board and didn’t even look back as was shouted at to just keep heading down till he found his lot. Crowley wanted to see the ship set sail so legged it down whatever stairs he came across, passing some wildly surprised Angels in all their splendour, including one in a smart grey suit that he caught the middle of a conversation of; “-phale you’ll stay there until I say otherwi-“
Eventually he sprang out onto the lower deck and squeezed his way through up to the edge. The energy of the cheers and tearful goodbyes washed over him, and even though he knew no one out there, at least no one worth saying goodbye to, Crowley joined in with the crowds of demons around him and waved down to those below on the shore.
As the horns blew indicating the Titanic was about to set sail, Crowley whipped out a large notebook he carried in a frayed bag under his arm, and turned his back to those on land. Slipping out a piece of charcoal, and pushing his glasses up onto his head, he began to draw those around him. This is what he wanted to see. The expressions, the tears, the hopes and fears surrounding the crowd like an aura. Where were their lives heading? Who may they be leaving behind? So many lives all starting a new and it all began right here, on the deck of the Titanic. His hand moved furiously over the paper, and when he finished one he began another, flipping the page over to a fresh sheet.
There were two things Crowley knew he was good at without any luck required. Drawing was one, raising plants was another. Before his parents had their shop bought out from under them by some angel realter, Crowley had always imagined he’d take over their flower shop. He had a secret to making them grow spectacularly well, but it wasn’t one he was allowed to tell the customers about. But with the shop gone and debts piling up, one day his parents disappeared. He never did find out what happened to them, though he did remember a lot of suspicious angels hanging around outside the day before. One could only put two and two together and come up with something a child didn’t want to think about.
So Crowley was forced to begin a new life, one of pick pocketing his way through the streets, and occasionally selling a drawing or two to get somewhere to sleep for the night. That had been his life for many years now, and in a way he enjoyed it. He had the freedom to do whatever he wanted, even if most of the time that was dodging the law. No one day was the same, this morning he woke up in a tiny room above a pub, now he was staring across the sea aboard the most luxurious ship made by angel or demon.
England was rapidly disappearing in the white wake of the ship, so Crowley closed his notebook, placed it back inside his bag, and decided he’d better find out where his cabin was and who he was sharing it with. He sauntered slowly through the dispersing crowd, in no rush, and paused when he saw a young boy walking a dog.
“Come on Adam!” came a sharp, well spoken voice some yards ahead, and the boy told his dog to do its business, which it did, before trotting along behind him.
“Well that’s typical isn’t?” said a voice next to Crowley, “They’ve been on board for 10 minutes and those bloody angels are already letting their pets shit on us.”
Crowley turned to the demon, who had a small green frog sitting on his shoulder, “Well they’ve got to remind us every now and then of where we are in the Great Plan of things.”
The demon nodded, “Name’s Hastur.” he said, holding out his hand which Crowley shook.
“Crowley. What’s with the frog?”
“He’s my friend, that’s whats with the frog. Oh, and this one too I s’pose.”
“I really wish you’d stop comparing your friendship with me to that of a frogs.” Said another deeper voice, as a dark-skinned demon appeared silently beside him, also holding his hand out to Crowley, “Ligur.”
“Well you are a frog,” Hastur said with a grin, “You’re slippery and slimy and won’t leave me the hell alone.”
Ligur punched him hard in the arm, and Crowley laughed as the frog jumped from Hastor’s shoulder to Ligur’s head, something the demon was obviously well used to as he just stood there dead-panning his friend who was practically squeaking in complaint and rubbing his arm.
If there was one other talent Crowley could attach to himself, it was sensing when he was being watched. So many years running the streets gave you a third eye, so to speak, and he turned away from the two now arguing demons and looked up. There were two angels standing on the very top deck, difficult to make out any specific details about them that far away, but he could see one was definitely more plump than the other, with short curls so radiantly platinum it almost hurt to look at him with the bright sun shining down.
He saw the other one look down, making some comment that the other appeared to have no reaction to that he could see, and suddenly the blond ones arm was being gripped and they were moving away. The blond one turned at the last minute and looked down, and Crowley’s heart flatly stopped in his chest. But the moment was gone as quickly as it began, for the angel was now out of sight, and Crowley was left with nothing but a pounding in his ears as his heart tried to restart. His glasses suddenly slipped from his head onto his nose all on their own. It didn’t stop him from staring.
Hastur and Ligur shared a small smirk between them (it never took many moments for them to make up again). “No chance,” Hastur said, patting his little frog who was now in his pocket, its little head sticking out to view the world, “You’re more likely to turn into an angel yourself then get with the likes of him.”
“Leave him Hastur, can’t you see he’s not listening?” Ligur grinned, poking Crowley in the back and getting no reaction whatsoever.
Crowley still stared upwards, finding himself absently running his tongue over the ends of his top row of teeth as his new friends began to snicker to themselves. He had never felt a jolt like that before, he was sure he felt it right through his soul, and as corny as that sounded he knew that it was the only way he could describe it. Like he’d just been shot with cupids arrow.
Who was that? He wanted to know.
“Hello Angel.” He whispered, who are you, he thought, as a white feather rushed by him in the breeze.
Crowley lay out on a deck chair. It was past 1am, and there was no one on the lower deck apart from himself, a bright full moon, and far too many stars to count. He’d always lived in cities, street lamps and noise and dirt, and he’d never seen the sky like this before. It stretched out before him, more colours and streams of lights than he knew was up there. He’d left his dark glasses in his cabin so he could see the stars better, but he wished he’d owned a scarf instead. His breath came out in a chilly fog, and he pulled his black jacket around himself a bit tighter before reaching upwards and pointing towards one star, closing one eye, and moving his hand up and around forming pictures in the sky. It was so peaceful, nothing but the soft rumbling of the engines and the occasional laughing voice somewhere far in the distance.
He had no idea what he was going to do once he got to America, but then it was the land of opportunity, and as he already spent every day of his life not knowing what the next day would bring why not try out America’s options?. Being as run down on money as he was (he’d gotten so excited that he’d won the Titanic ticket after the card game that he’d run out of the pub with only the ticket, leaving the money and some very happy demons behind), he’d never pictured that he’d ever leave England let alone cross a gigantic ocean. Or find his thoughts constantly being interrupted by the briefest of flashes of the sweetest face he’d ever seen.
He sighed and dropped his hand back across his stomach. He’d spent all day thinking of that angel, and to be honest it was annoying as fuck. He’d never see him again, and really in fact barely saw him in the first place. A flash of a face, a heartbeat of eyes connecting, and it was over.
He’d never given much thought towards angels. Most demons hated them, for obvious reasons. They ran around in the muck while the angels ruled from on high. A demon would barely be able to scrape enough money together to feed their family and keep a roof over their head while angels would be throwing elegant parties and throwing away perfectly good food just because it had been slightly warm on display for fifteen minutes. The angels had it all, the demons had their scraps, but that’s how it had always been. Despite that, and what he guessed happened to his parents, Crowley still didn’t really hold it against all of them. He’d known a few angels who had their hearts in the right places, some who’d given him shelter as a child for a night or two, given him food on the streets. Most ignored him, some didn’t. They weren’t all bad. Though it was certainly rare to find one who didn’t want to tread on you.
But that angel, he wanted…something. To see him again. A brief flash wasn’t enough, and he looked like he could be one of the nice ones. He wanted…eurgh, he wanted to sleep to be honest. He closed his eyes against the cold night, hugging himself where he lay, the flash of an angel face still behind his eyelids.
Suddenly there were hurried footsteps that rushed past somewhere behind him, along with a terrified upset muttering. Startled, Crowley tried to swing his legs over the deck chair in such a hurry that he got tangled in his own legs and fell flatly onto the floor. He looked up quickly, blowing his hair out of his eyes to see the heals of some perfectly white, slightly healed shoes running towards the back of the ship, heading round a wall and out of sight.
And the platinum blond hair of their owner he recognised immediately.
His heart racing, it took him only a few seconds to decide to spring up from the floor and follow him. Slowly of course, he didn’t want to him think that he was…well, following him. He casually sauntered around the corner, hands in the shallow pockets of his trousers, his mind conjuring up ridiculous images of oh, I didn’t know you were here, fancy meeting an angel, oh no please you don’t have to say anything this was fate this was….
Crowley stopped. Both physically and mentally. It had taken him that long to process the fact that it was a very distressed muttering that he’d heard, and now he knew why. The angel was at the very back of the ship just ahead of him, standing the other side of the safety railings and leaning right over the edge of the ship. He was holding onto the railings with both hands behind him, his whole form was shaking, and there was nothing between him and the dark black churning sea beneath him.
“Wha…” Crowley began, shocked into silence, before without thinking of any consequences of, say perhaps, scaring the poor angel so much he lets go without thinking, Crowley is shouting at him and storming over there, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”
Aziraphale’s head turns so quickly to his left he genuinely really does nearly let go in shock at seeing someone, a demon….the demon, he thinks, as his tearful eyes widen, standing a good body length away from him and glaring at him so harshly you’d think he’d just stolen the demons last precious possession.
“Oh, oh no, n-no p-please go away,” Aziraphale begs. His voice was cracking under the strain of his tightening throat, desperately trying to keep back the tears that were still falling anyway.
At the absolute distraught look on the angels face any anger in Crowley vanished instantly, and he was left feeling rather awkward and distressed himself.
“P-please…” Aziraphale repeats, screwing his eyes tightly shut and turning away, “Please just, j-just leave me alone.” He takes in a deep unstable breath, his shoulders shaking, and a heart-breaking sob escapes his lips.
Crowley stands as still as a statue, staring terrified as the angels hands alternate between gripping the rail tightly and then seeming to loosen, before panicking and gripping them again. He swallows hard.
“You really don’t want to jump into that water.” He says quietly, and despite his distressed state Aziraphale scoffs, choking out a very joyless laugh.
“I don’t believe you know what I want my dear.”
Crowley raised an eyebrow at the term but didn’t elaborate on it, mainly because the angel was suddenly weeping out words one after the other as though he’d been desperately wanting to release every single one of them.
“I just can’t do this anymore, I can’t…” his voice is breaking under the pressure, “Please I…I can’t escape him….I can’t say no…I cannot be who any of them want me to be.” The tears were falling from his cheeks and disappearing into the blankness below “I’m trapped here…I feel so helpless, I’m so….so soft…. nothing I do is ever right and, a-and I feel… I feel like I’m falling, s-so I might as well just fall!”
He leans even further over, and Crowley jumps so suddenly to his side it was like he was spring loaded, but he immediately steps back again with his hands raised in front of him in a gesture of stop, just stop, please.
He’s barely breathing, “You can’t fall, angel.”
And then the most ridiculous idea entered his head, and before he knows it he’s bending down to remove his boots, then slipping off his jacket letting it drop to the floor, and suddenly Aziraphale’s tears have completely stopped as he finds himself doing a double take and staring wide eyed at this demon apparently undressing himself right next to him.
“What in heavens name are you- AH stop!” Aziraphale suddenly exclaims as Crowley goes for his belt.
Crowley just looks up at him quite innocently, before a surge of confidence takes him at the fact Aziraphale has stopped crying so easily just because he’s undressing, and he pulls loose a few buttons of his shirt by his neck. In fact, despite everything going on, was the angel blushing?
“What I’m doing angel is undressing, because I don’t want freezing wet clothes clinging to me when I jump in after you, which I will do, cos I’m involved now and I’m not gonna be able to live with myself if I just watch you jump knowing I couldn’t stop you.”
He then starts climbing over the other side of the railings next to him, and Aziraphale is stuttering wildly as he watches.
“B-but you c-can’t! W-what on earth you’re…y-you mustn’t, you’re… you are crazy get back immediately!!”
Crowley settles himself right next to him, holding onto the rails behind him just like the angel. Although outwardly he was the embodiment of cool, inwardly he was screaming down at the abyss right beneath him wondering what kind of besotted moron he was to be doing this because of an angel that got him all flustered over 0.0001 seconds worth of eye contact earlier this afternoon.
“I really don’t wanna jump in there.” He risks releasing one hand from the railing and points down to the sounds of churning water from the turbines, a dark trail of crushed water heading off into the murky distance, before quickly holding on again. “I mean don’t get me wrong I love the ocean, full of fish, dolphins, maybe a kraken or two, but that water is barely above freezing down there and even if we survived the fall itself and managed not to get sliced to death in the propellers, I don’t fancy freezing to death, because that’s what is gonna happen when you hit that water. Like a thousand knives just, stabbing you, all over your body, and it’s gonna hurt so much your not gonna be able to breath, or think, at least about nothing except the pain. And none of that is really how I was planning to go.”
By this point, Aziraphale had paled considerably. He had been staring at the crazy red headed demon not believing what he was doing, risking his own life just for his, but why? He was a demon, why should he care about an angel? Why was he doing this? And then the conversation of sliced by propellers and stabbing knives came up and Aziraphale suddenly felt quite ill. And suddenly a lot more aware of where he was currently standing.
He took one fretful look down at the water, “…a thousand knives, you say?”
“Yeah. Stabbing. Just, lots of stabbing. Very painful way to go.” Aziraphale slowly leant back against the railing away from leaning over, and looked to the demon out the corner of his eyes. Crowley was looking right at him. “So, you know, just…come back over the rails?” Crowley pleaded gently, “Dying was not on my to-do list today. You don’t really want to kill me, right?”
Even in this situation of hanging over the back of a ship Aziraphale had the affront to look offended, “I’ve never killed anything in my life!” he said, glaring right back at him now.
Totally not grasping what was important here, but Crowley over looked that. Just like the my dear comment, which he had also not forgotten. Instead Crowley just raised his eyebrows at him, nodding back towards the deck.
Aziraphale sighed. Almost annoyed. “Oh alright.”
Relief. That’s all there is. Crowley’s entire body relaxes so much he almost catches himself slipping. He smiles at the angel, but the angel still seemed to just be irritated that his plans had been thwarted, but so long as they were thwarted Crowley could take a frown. He carefully turned around, then hopped back over the railing, his long legs useful for some things. But as he turned back to give the angel a hand there’s a moment of utter horror when that perfectly white shoe slips on one of the bars. The angel cries out, goes down, and in a flash Crowley grabs his flailing arm just before it falls out of reach.
“Hold on!” he yells out, without need as Aziraphale was definitely holding desperately onto him.
“Help me!! Oh heavens no I don’t want to die I don’t I’m sorry!!!”
Aziraphale was not light, and Crowley found himself being pulled down, but he placed a foot against one of the railings and pulled hard, Aziraphale trying and failing to find a footing. It was a real effort to haul him back up, but he did, and the two collapsed onto their backs side by side on the deck, panting heavily. Neither moved for some time save for their gasping breaths, both staring up at the stars, waiting for their hearts to calm.
As their breaths did slowly quiet down, there were just two little words that softly fall from the angels lips.
“Thank you...” Aziraphale said, so quietly Crowley wasn’t sure if he’d heard.
But he did, and he smiled.
Crowley propped himself up on one elbow, shuffling a little closer so he could lean over the angel, and peered down at him. He could finally take in that face he’d only had a glimpse of. Those sky blue eyes, and the kindness in them, and the little crinkles at the edges. Those adorable chubby cheeks, the tiniest freckles, the way his hair curled over his forehead, oh boy, calm down, this angel has just tried to kill himself get a grip!!
“Crowley.” He said, trying to hide the sly little curl to his lips.
Aziraphale pressed his lips together in a small shy smile of his own, glancing away quickly and then just as quickly back to him again. The demons eyes looked golden in the moonlight.
“Aziraphale.” He answered in reply.
Aziraphale was still unsure on how any of this had happened, if anything his mind was probably still processing what he’d just tried to do to himself, but Crowleys soft smile at hearing his name made his heart flutter, that much he did know. The night sea air was blowing gently through Crowley’s red locks that hung down framing his face, and Aziraphale could do nothing but stare up at him, a wonderful silent moment growing exponentially between them as…as the distance between them was suddenly growing less…
A breath caught in Aziraphale’s throat. Those piercingly beautiful eyes were getting closer. Crowley’s internal battle felt like two headless chicken pitted against each other. Aziraphale could feel the warm breath of the demon in the cold air, he could now see the truly golden flecks in his eyes, the way his adams apple bobbed when he suddenly swallowed nervously. They both closed their eyes.
Aziraphale sat up so fast he butted heads with Crowley who went sprawling out onto the deck again.
“Ow that hurt," he complained, rubbing his forehead as though it hadn't been his own fault. But the pain could only last for a second whether he wanted it to or not, for otherwise he was up and standing as fast as he could, facing his very curious looking fiancé and his entourage of angels that had just walked around the corner and found Aziraphale on his back with a demon closing down on him.
“Gabriel! Oh, oh yes thank goodness it’s you yes I was just…I-I was taking a midnight walk when a-a…a sudden gust of wind nearly blew me right off the ship! Yes, yes and if it wasn’t for this…this very quick-thinking demon here I would have fallen and, a-and be gone.”
Crowley had to admit, he was impressed with the quick lies (even if they weren’t overly convincing), and as he slowly got back to his feet (also rubbing his forehead) he gave the angel a quick impressed smile.
“You?” Gabriel stated with an amused snicker, pointing at Aziraphale, “It’s going to take a lot more than wind to blow you off the ship now isn’t it.” he states, pointing his finger up and down Aziraphale’s body.
Aziraphale’s whole demeanour instantly changed. He did nothing but clear his throat, eyes downcast to the floor, looking anywhere but at his husband-to-be. That lovely sweet smile that Crowley had been staring at so contently was gone completely.
And now Crowley was fuming.
“Now you know I want you to lose weight but you just won’t obey me will you? You won’t even stay in our room, do you honestly think you can just gallivant around the ship whenever you please?”
Absolutely fucking rage fuming.
“And you,” Gabriel now turned his snarky comments to Crowley, who was barely hiding that he was gritting his teeth, “Funny how if he fell so suddenly that you were able to first take off both your boots and jacket huh?”
Crowley just glowered dangerously at him, “Like he said, I’m quick.” He growled.
Oh how he wanted to snap that angels neck. He had no idea who he was he didn’t care, but neck. Snapping.
“Hmph,” Gabriel sassed him, before one of the angels behind him whispered something in his ear, and whatever it was had Gabriel smiling widely. “Yes of course Sandalphon, that’s an excellent idea where are my manners?” Gabriel turned back to Crowley, “You have saved my fiancé's life, demon." He said demon like it was a piece of shit he'd just scraped off his shoe. "I insist you come to dinner with us tomorrow night at seven. Dress for the occasion…if it’s possible.” He looked Crowley up and down the same way he did Aziraphale, taking in the skin tight frayed black trousers and the half open necked shirt, and the boots and jacket still on the ground, “Best not to dress like a slut for a dinner, yes?”
He gave Crowley a flat smile, a smile as grey as his suit, before he leaned over to Sandalphon as they turned to walk away, “This should be entertaining.” he whispered, grinning, before shouting behind him, “Come on Aziraphale!”
“Oh, y-yes.” Aziraphale bumbled, so different to how he’d just been, hands fidgeting in front of him and heading out after the angels without even looking at Crowley. That is until he got to the corner where he’d lose sight, and it was only then that he turned, giving one last guilty look back at him, and the most unhappy smile. With that he turned and left, and once again he was gone.
Crowley watched him go, slowly realising he was freezing cold, and certainly and suddenly understanding why the angel was trying to jump off the back of the ship.
It would take him an hour or two more to realise the neck snapping angel had used the word fiancé.
Chapter 3: "You wouldn't have jumped."
Saying Aziraphale’s cabin was a room was not doing it justice. It was not a room, it was seven rooms. And a balcony. An entire house built into a ship where he and Gabriel were to live for the week long trip. Thankfully, as per the angel code, as they were not yet married Aziraphale got to have one of the bedrooms all to himself. There was no bed sharing with those still unmarried. Though Aziraphale suspected that wouldn’t change even after they were married. Thankfully indeed.
His room though was only called his because this is where Gabriel had put him. Nothing else about the room gave any indication it belonged to Aziraphale. He’d only been allowed to take the bare minimum with him from home, Gabriel not liking any hobby that had made Aziraphale happy. His books were gone, his gramophone was gone, even the paintings he loved Gabriel didn’t like, so they were gone. The room was practically bare.
Aziraphale found himself shivering as he sat down on the edge of his opulent bed. He wasn’t sure if it was because he’d gotten cold or because the adrenaline had worn off and he’d now frightened himself as to what he’d nearly done tonight. He’d nearly killed himself. Killed himself. What had happened? He barely even remembered what had thrown him over the edge. All he remembered was feeling utterly miserable as Gabriel berated him yet again for something that he’d completely tuned out to. He’d been standing there feeling like he was falling and falling and falling, down into a deep never-ending hole and a suffocating darkness. He couldn’t breathe, tears were burning his eyes and then suddenly he found himself running, a terrifying need to escape gripping his very soul. He was utterly horribly depressed and frightened and trapped and take this life away please this isn’t my life!! And then there really was a darkness beneath him, a swirling mass of freezing water, and a demon, standing beside him telling him to come back.
Maybe it wasn’t shivering. Maybe it was nervous excitement toward what had nearly happened with that demon instead, that Crowley…that, almost kiss….
It was too much to think about. He didn’t want to think about any of it not even Crowley, it was just all too much. And now Gabriel had invited the demon to dinner. It was all for show of course, he was going to make a mockery out of him he just knew it, it was Gabriel’s favourite pastime after all, looking down at demons. Did Gabriel realise what Aziraphale had been trying to do tonight? Would he even care if he did? Whatever the reason behind his shaking, Gabriel had ruined the moment as per usual and now all he felt once again was so very alone…and cold, yes he was cold too.
For once it was a gentle say of his name, and Aziraphale looked up to see Gabriel standing in the doorway between their two bedrooms, looking at him with an expression that was very rare on his face. He did actually look concerned.
Without waiting for permission to enter Gabriel walked over and sat down on the bed next to him, placing a small box he'd brought with him beside him. He released a loud sigh and took one of Aziraphale's hands and clasped it between both of his own. Aziraphale raised one eyebrow at the contact but didn’t say anything, just stared down at their hands.
“I know you’ve been despondent of late,” Gabriel began, “I can’t imagine why.”
Can’t you. Aziraphale thought sarcastically.
“But life with me doesn’t have to be so bad. You’ll live in the lap of luxury, the very best. We’ll go to social events, promote my business, I can give you anything you want. Well, of course what I deem is in your best interest, you’ve been living far too close to becoming a demon in recent years and you’ve got to get yourself back up to the top, I’d be too embarrassed to be seen with you otherwise.”
And there was that miserable feeling again.
“And your family will be risen up from the edge of demon-hood like was agreed. All I ask in return, after giving you and your family all that,” he said, patting his hand, “is just obedience. Not exactly a hard price to pay now is it? Hmm?” he grinned, elbowing him in the side.
A short, tight smile was all Gabriel got in response.
“I know you’ll come round, and to help the process, I'm giving you this.” Gabriel let go of his hand to take out a large pocket watch out of the small box.. He laid it out on Aziraphale's knee.
Aziraphale couldn’t help himself, his eyes lit up at it. It was ancient looking, but well taken care of, and his fingers itched to pick it up.
“Go on, take it.” Gabriel said, and Aziraphale did without hesitation. It was a beautiful bronze, intricate details around the edges, “It’s a family heirloom, my great great great something grandfather,” Gabriel waved with a dismissive hand, “Not exactly my thing, but I know how much you love all things old and as you’re going to be family I thought you might like it.”
Aziraphale cradled the watch, barely wanting to breath on it. It was gorgeous.
“Gabriel…” he began, extremely surprised at the gesture as he gently thumbed over the perfectly unscratched glass of the watch face, “it’s wonderful, thank you ever so much.” He turned to smile at him, a true smile for once.
Gabriel hadn’t given him anything at all since their first meeting a few months ago when his mother had told him out of the blue he was going to marry him. He’d flustered and disapproved and tried to talk his way out of it, but his mother was having none of it. He was going to be useful for once and help the family instead of lounging around eating and reading.
Gabriel patted him on the shoulder and smiled back, before standing up and stretching, “Well, I was going to throw it away anyway, I really don't see the need on keeping old things like that around. Oh and er, don’t wear it or anything yeah? Would not want people actually seeing that, just keep it in the box where it can gain dust.”
And there he went again, ruining the moment.
Shortly after he left with a quick goodnight, Aziraphale deliberately placed the pocket watch actually in his pocket. Its weight there would be a little reminder of a little defiance.
The following day found Crowley once again on the lower deck, at the front of the ship this time, leaning against the short wall of the side of the ship and drawing a boy and his dog in his sketchpad. They were the same ones from yesterday, and today the father was sitting on a bench further away smoking a pipe, watching his young angel run around with his pet. Crowley would never get tired of seeing angels down here, just because he knew inwardly that man must be screaming for his child to hurry and get the dog walked and played with so they could go back up to the top decks, back up with their own kind. The boy didn’t seem to care though, he was having too much fun chasing the dog around, annoying other demons by running around their legs.
It was a nice sunny day, and the deck was loud and boisterous, the centre of steerage life. Plenty of demon families were walking the deck, children running, men playing cards, women in little groups cackling with laughter, and the ever judging watchful eye of any angel who happened to be looking down on them from above. Not that anyone else probably noticed that, but Crowley did, and sometimes he liked to look up to flash one a winning grin of a smile, just so he could see their noses scrunch up in disgust at being looked at and so turning away.
Hastur and Ligur were nearby, leaning over the edge pointing out dolphins that were swimming beside the ship. Hastur had mocked Crowley for a full 10 minutes at spending all his time drawing, but then had actually decided he was very good at it and could you draw my frog?
Crowley did, Hastur was ecstatic.
He was drawing more as a distraction anyway, and a way to keep himself awake, as there was very little sleep involved once he’d got back to his cabin last night. He shared it with three other men, two sets of bunk beds in one tiny little room, and despite the loud snoring from all of them (and the flies that seemed to be constantly buzzing around one of the smaller ones), he obviously had a lot going through his mind. Underneath his current drawing there was a few small sketches of the angel he’d stopped from falling. The angel he nearly kissed. The angel who was apparently engaged to be married to Mr neck-that-needed-to-be-snapped.
A part of him still felt a little guilty for nearly taking advantage of the situation. The angel was probably in who knows what sort of head mess after that, and there Crowley was, leaning down to kiss him. But even that guilt still didn’t stop him from imagining what would have happened if they hadn’t been interrupted. How he would have kissed him. How it would have been so slow and perfect under the moonlight. How he’d softly brush his fingers against his cheek, before cupping the back of his neck, depending the kiss. The angel’s lips would part and he’d moan into his mouth…
Crowley let out a long, long breath, realising he’d stopped drawing some minutes ago and was just staring at nothing. His eyes glanced back down to his sketchpad, and he picked up the corner of the page, peaking underneath to the little sketches of the angel. He smiled so warmly.
Crowley had never stuffed his sketchbook back inside his bag so fast, definitely not wanting the owner of that voice to see what he’d been staring so lovingly at. He whipped around to see Aziraphale standing behind him, very much in shock at seeing the angel on the lower deck during the day.
“Hi.” Crowley said, his mouth feeling like it was full of cotton wool which he tried to swallow away.
“Do you erm…perhaps have a moment to talk?”
The angel looked nervous, and Crowley nodded, “Sure.”
Aziraphale raised his arm in a gesture that they should walk the promenade together, “After you.”
After him. After a demon. Crowley could feel that little tug of a smile on his lips again as he walked past the angel, hands back in his shallow pockets, Aziraphale falling into step beside him. They walked in silence for a short while, Crowley very aware of all the stares they were getting. Sure the occasional angel was seen around here, but they’d be alone or with other angels and always looking like they wanted to be somewhere else. Never was there a demon and angel walking together, they must have made for a very odd-looking couple. Aziraphale was too preoccupied with his own thoughts to notice.
“Crowley I…well really I feel like such an idiot.” Aziraphale sighed, “It’s taken me all morning to find the courage to come and speak with you. Such a silly thing.”
“Well, you found me. What do you want to talk about?”
There was another long pause, a demon actually gasping as she noticed them walk by. Well Aziraphale did stand out all in white and cream, his short-tailed coat doing nothing to hide who he was. He couldn’t have looked more angel-like if he'd tried.
“I wanted to thank you for what you did. Not just saving my life but…for your discretion. You didn’t tell Gabriel what I was actually doing and I’m very grateful for that.”
Crowley noticed the angels hands fidgeting with each other in front of himself, just like he was doing last night when Gabriel caught them. It was a nervous gesture.
“Look I know what you must be thinking!” Aziraphale suddenly exclaimed, looking at him with such an apprehensive expression as they walked, “Poor little rich angel, what must he know about misery. You demons have it far worse than I could ever imagine and yet there I was trying to…well, trying to do what I was doing.”
Aziraphale had spent most of the night realising how much of a fool he must have looked to that demon, and in a way it was almost a worse feeling than anything Gabriel could ever say to him.
“I wasn’t thinking that.” Crowley replied, and he really wasn’t. “What I was thinking though is what could have happened to that angel to make him think there was no other way out.”
Crowley watched him carefully as they walked.
“Oh I don’t know,” Aziraphale sighed deeply, feeling even more pathetic that he couldn’t even vocalise what was wrong, “just…everything, everything’s changed so fast, my whole future has been decided for me and forever will be for the rest of my life. I just felt so trapped. Like an insect in amber, it’s all a gilded cage, all of it, the whole lifestyle.” He looked to his hands, still fidgeting with each other, “I just wanted to run,” he said quietly, “but then I ran out of ship, and there was no other way to go but down.” He sighed once more, stopped walking, and closed his eyes. “I am such an utter fool.”
Crowley had taken a few more steps before he realised he’d stopped walking, so he turned around to face him. The angel really did look extremely sad, and it absolutely tugged on Crowleys heart. He had no clue what kind of life angels lived, but he like all the other demons had always presumed it was such a life of luxury how could any of them ever have an excuse to be sad. To complain. To want to kill themselves.
“This Gabriel,” Crowley started softly, “that’s the one from last night right? The one who called you his fiancé?”
Aziraphale nodded dejectedly.
“Is he the reason why you feel like this?”
Another dejected nod.
“So don’t marry him. Ditch him.”
Crowley really didn’t see what the big deal was if that was the main cause of his unhappiness.
A short, sharp laughed escaped the angel, “If only it was that simple.”
“It’s not that simple?”
“No it’s not.” Aziraphale turned to face out towards the ocean, leaning his arms on top of the wall, his short curls gently catching in the wind from the moving ship. “He’s marrying me to save my family. We’ve lost a lot of our finances this year and were being threatened to be downgraded to demons. My mother managed to get one last deal done with Gabriel. Marry me and he could have the families last remaining connections so long as he brought our status back up. It’s really all a huge favour. I suppose they, I mean we, do owe a lot to Gabriel for doing this.”
Crowley had been frowning more and more the more Aziraphale explained the situation, “Wait…he’s marrying you…as a favour?”
“Yes, it's all perfectly normal.”
Crowley stared out to the sea too, if only in confusion trying to process what he was hearing, before he quickly turned back to the angel, “So he doesn’t love you? And you don’t love him? But you’re marrying each other anyway?”
Aziraphale looked a little offended and awkward, “Well I hardly think that’s any of your business but marriage isn’t about love in my world Crowley, it’s all business deals.”
“But you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t care about you?”
“As most marriages are I’m afraid, it’s very rare you get to choose the person you’re married to.”
“But- but that’s ridiculous!” Crowley couldn’t believe how angry he was actually getting at this, “My parents loved each other, other parents love each other, no one marries for fucking business deals is this what it’s really like for you angels?”
Aziraphale just glanced at him solemnly.
“No wonder you’re trying to jump off the bloody ship!” Crowley exclaimed, to which Aziraphale quickly placed his hand on his arm to shush him.
Crowley’s anger evaporated as he looked at it.
“Please!” Aziraphale exclaimed in an urgent whisper, glancing around them, but no one would care down here if an angel was trying to kill themselves. No one except Crowley. “You’ll see tonight what I mean, my world is…well just don’t judge me by it.”
Ah, the dinner, yes because that certainly wasn’t the other thing that had kept Crowley awake all night as well. He was going to be the only demon in a room of snooty angels. He honestly couldn’t decide which he was more, worried or expecting hilarity.
“Still, I am quite excited that you’re coming.” Aziraphale beamed at him, “Although at the same time, dreading it.” His face fell just as quickly, “Gabriel will absolutely mock you I’m so sorry in advance.”
But Crowley just grinned, “I’d like to see him try. Besides if you think a few sarcastic little comments from an angel is gonna get me down then you don’t know my world Aziraphale.”
“No,” the angel said softly, a fond smile directed at his new friend, “I suppose I don’t.”
Aziraphale felt so calm. It was so nice talking to this demon. He listened, he didn’t complain or tell him to stop. He just stood there, getting angry at Aziraphale’s situation on his behalf, and it made an unfamiliar warmness rise in his chest. He liked this demon. But being distracted by his own musing thoughts of Crowley meant he only just now noticed that the demon was smiling back at him, leaning his forearm on the wall making him lean down just that bit closer. He could just about see those golden eyes through his dark glasses this close, and they weren’t looking anywhere else but to his own. Aziraphale could feel that warmness rise all the way to his cheeks.
“So um,” Aziraphale coughed slightly, “W-what is this that you’re carrying around with you everywhere?”
He plucked out the sketchbook from the bag, and all Crowley’s brain could think to do in that time was to string out some nonsensical noises before Aziraphale had opened the book and was staring down thankfully not at his own face. It was the pictures he had drawn yesterday of the crowd waving to loved ones they were leaving behind.
“You’re an artist?!” Aziraphale exclaimed excitedly.
“N-not really,” Crowley stuttered, knowing what lay underneath a few more pages, “they’re just sketches. I like doing it.”
Aziraphale turned over the page in the opposite direction. Crowley visibly relaxed, though still tried to not look like he’d been moments away from a panic attack.
“These are beautiful.”
The look of awe on Aziraphale’s face made Crowley smile, a bit of pride showing through it, “Thank you. They’re not much, but I sell a few every now and then to get me through a meal.”
Aziraphale glanced up at him as he turned to another page, this one of a young demon couple kissing under a street lamp, “You need to sell them? Why?”
Crowley just smiled at his ignorance, “Because I’m a drifter. One day is never the same as the next, these are how I get my money mostly. I don’t have a thing like a job or home, my life is out there, everywhere.”
The next page was a demon child sitting on a curb and crying.
“Sounds wonderful.” Aziraphale said softly, and there wasn’t a hint of sarcasm or humour. He meant it. Crowley was reminded of what he’d said earlier, a gilded cage. “These are truly exquisite. Every face is so luminous and alive.”
Crowley was starting to feel embarrassed at the constant awe in the angels voice, but he still couldn’t help smiling at the compliments. The next page was an angel in all her finery, sitting alone at a bar.
“Who was this?” Aziraphale asked.
“No idea, but she would sit there every night wearing every piece of jewellery she had. I think she’d become a demon, but it didn’t stop her from trying to look the part of what she knew, what she was comfortable with. She was going to be an angel whether the world wanted her to be one or not.”
Aziraphale‘s gaze was so soft, “You have a gift Crowley, you do. You see people.”
“I see you.”
Aziraphale looked up at him, a small expectant smirk rising at the corner of his lips, “Oh? And?”
Crowley reached up to his own dark glasses, and pulled them just a little bit down his nose. His golden eyes peaked over the top, and he fixed the angel with a deep, meaningful gaze.
“You wouldn’t have jumped.”
Aziraphale felt his heart racing.
The late morning became early afternoon, the early afternoon became late afternoon, and Crowley and Aziraphale must have slowly walked miles around the ship. They had talked all this time, laughing and joking and generally relishing in each other’s company. Crowley told the angel of his past, of the places he’d been and people he’d known, and Aziraphale listened intently to every word. It was another thing Crowley found himself liking about this angel. He didn’t judge. Not one reaction to any story had been one of uptight disgust. Aziraphale was looking at him like he’d hung the stars, enjoying every word he was saying, and it made Crowley inwardly blush right down to his toes. He’d never met an angel like this, Aziraphale was…different.
Aziraphale in turn told him of his upbringing, Crowley unable to not tease at certain parts of oh how awful that must have been when your family butler retired, and Aziraphale would just playful hit him on his arm and giggle with him.
Crowley adored his giggle.
They’d made their way up onto the top deck with the angels. The attendant between levels did not like letting them pass but had no choice when Aziraphale told him he was with him. The looks and comments the angels were giving them were even more hilarious than the demon ones.
“Who let that up here?”
That comment had made Aziraphale stop mid-conversation and just stare at the older man and his wife. An unblinking, cold stare that had them moving away rather quickly without another word.
Oh, he definitely liked this angel.
“Why can’t I be like you Crowley?” Aziraphale said as they walked under the sheltered section of the upper promenade, “Just head out for the horizon whenever I feel like it. It sounds so wonderful. Truly.”
“Well,” Crowley began, a slow grin forming, “lets say we go somewhere together, even if we only ever just talk about it. Where would we go?”
Aziraphale thought about it, “A pub.”
Crowley laughed, “A pub? That’s it?”
Aziraphale pretended to look offended, “My dear I have never been into a pub before it would be nothing short of a scandal. But I’d want to, I’d want to get drunk together, play darts, you know, meet people whoever they may be, angel or demon, just…live.”
“I’d like that.” Crowley smiled sweetly at him, and anyone who may have gazed upon him at that moment would have called it besotted, "Then afterwards we could stagger merrily down the street before annoying some police and having them chase us down as we ran away laughing.”
Aziraphale beamed at him, “Excellent plan.”
Crowley shook his head absolutely fondly, “You are a crazy angel, Aziraphale.”
How badly he wanted to kiss him right now. This day had been absolutely brilliant, and every word out of Aziraphale's mouth had him just wanting to hear more. He loved the way he talked, it was just so angel but there was a hidden cheekiness to him too. There was no point in denying it, he absolutely fancied this angel to bits.
“You know Crowley, you really are a very nice demon, listening to me talk on like this.”
“Yeah, well don’t let that get around, I have a reputation to upkeep you know.” he teased, placing a hand at the small of Aziraphale's back steering him out the way of an angel who'd just walked out of a door to the side. He quickly realised what he was doing though and snapped it back, hoping he hadn't been too obvious. He took a glance down at the angel who was beaming up at him.
“Ohhh? A bit of bad boy are you?” Aziraphale grinned, his whole body doing a little wiggle at the idea.
Crowley's whole brain stopped.
He could have taken him right there and then for that wiggle alone.
“Errrr, something like that.”
Crowley's heart was pounding, he didn't know if he could take something like that again. Was Aziraphale flirting with him or was this just Aziraphale? Was this just what he was like once he'd broken down past his wall of depression? Because if it was, Crowley liked it. But this angel was getting married, for whatever the reasoning. He was out of bounds.
Neither of them had even mentioned the nearly kiss.
Another group of angels came out of another door further ahead, along with a gloomy cloud that immediately fell over Aziraphale when they both saw it was Gabriel and his gaggle of angels, including a new one that hadn’t been there last night.
“Gabriel.” Aziraphale said flatly, that cheekiness immediately disappeared.
“Aziraphale. Been keeping our guest company have you?”
“Yes, I have. I, I thought it was the right thing to do."
Gabriel just cocked his head to one side to look at him, “Did I tell you to do that?” Knowing full well he hadn’t.
“No,” Aziraphale stated, and there was a slight annoyance in his tone, “but I thought it only polite after he saved my life.”
Gabriel eyed him quietly, just as a round of trumpets sounded.
“Ah, dinner!” Gabriel exclaimed happily, his entire demeanour changed, clapping his hands together in front of him, “Lets go get ready Aziraphale, I’m sure the demon still needs to find some decent clothes to change into before he joins us. Unless of course, that is what he’s wearing to a spectacular enriched dinner with the finest angels the Titanic has to offer?”
That neck snapping urge was back again.
“Oh I’m sure I’ll find something that won’t cause your mind to implode at the sight of me.” Crowley grinned through closed teeth, and Aziraphale just quickly hid his own smirking smile as Gabriel took his arm.
“See you at dinner then.” He said softly to him, the little smile still on his face even as he was taken away.
The gaggle of angels followed after them, all but one, the new face to the group. She was a young woman, and Crowley honestly couldn’t tell if she was demon or angel. Her hair was almost down to her waist, and the big round glasses she wore made her eyes look very big and beautiful.
“I know, I don’t know why they have to announce dinner like a cavalry charge, I’m still getting used to it myself. Anathema Device.” She held out her hand for Crowley to take, which he did, though still eyeing her suspiciously, “I’m a newly ranked angel, so I know how daunting this dinner is going to be, plus I wanted to see for myself the demon who saved Aziraphale. Sounds like you’re a handy one to have around. And I have to ask, do you have the slightest comprehension of what you’re doing here?”
Crowley shrugged, “Not really.”
“Well it’s a viper nest in there. Do you have anything else to wear?”
“I’m wearing everything I own.”
“I thought so. Come with me, I think my husband Newton is roughly your size, you can borrow some of his clothes.”
“Why are you helping me?” Crowley enquired, following her anyway.
Anathema turned to smile at him, “Because Aziraphale has the only decent aura of any angel on this ship. And I like yours too. Your colours match."
Aziraphale stood by the golden adorned entrance to the dining hall. It came off the main grand entryway where a huge and equally golden grand staircase headed up to the higher floors. Overhead was an enormous glass dome letting in the natural light, with a crystal chandelier at its centre. Aziraphale wasn’t looking up the stairs though, he was looking over to the side where he knew there was a tiny staircase up from the lower floors, where he was expecting Crowley to emerge from. Dozens of other angels descended the staircase and past Aziraphale, and he smiled awkwardly and nodded politely at them.
He was very nervous. He didn’t know what to expect from tonight, and yet there was a part of him, a part being pushed way way down deep, that was happily saying to itself that this was like a date. A date with the lovely demon who listened to him and laughed with him and made him feel like a person and not an object to be placed where other people wanted. But that really was being squashed down deep. This was a formal dinner where Crowley would be the butt of every joke Gabriel could possibly think of. Gabriel knew Crowley would be out of his depth here, this wasn’t a thank you dinner this was a laugh at the demon dinner. Aziraphale fingered the watch in his pocket, and felt that small surge of defiance. He shook the nerves off himself and continued to wait.
But then he did a double take. There was someone walking down the top of the grand staircase, someone who couldn't be who he thought it was. Someone with red hair. Someone who without the dark glasses had those golden eyes free for all the world to see. Aziraphale couldn’t stop his jaw from dropping. Crowley casually sauntered his way down, grinning from ear to ear at the look on Aziraphale’s face.
Anathema’s husbands clothes had fitted perfectly, and as it turned out it was absolutely worth the effort for Aziraphale’s reaction alone. Crowley had no idea how expensive this all was, but the jet black neatly pressed trousers and the sparkling clean white shirt were things he’d never thought he ever get to wear. Over the shirt he wore a black waistcoat with deep red trim, one that absolutely accented his small waist and narrow hips. His shoes were the shiniest he’d even seen, and his belt buckle glittered with silver. Anathema had tied back the hair that fell about his face into a bun at the back, leaving the rest of his hair still around his shoulders.
“Ohhhhhh…my…..” Aziraphale audibly moaned, and Crowley made a note to himself to one day get Aziraphale to make that noise again. “You look….you look…" he raked through his hypnotised mind trying to finding a word, "……...delicious.”
Both of Crowley’s eyebrows shot up at that, “Delicious?!”
“I-mean-delightful!” Aziraphale quickly, although not quickly enough, corrected. But the words had been said, they were out there, and Aziraphale tried to push down the blush on his cheeks and ignore the look of pure delight on Crowley’s face. He cleared this throat, “You look very nice.” He ended up stating.
Oh, Crowley enjoyed that far too much.
"Shall we join the others for dinner then?" Aziraphale asked matter of factly, trying to sound professional and not like he'd just moaned out the equivalent of a fashion orgasm.
"Well you certainly look like you want to eat someone right now."
"Ohh..." Aziraphale just tutted and glanced away and back again, "Hush you."
There was no denying the blush that time.
Chapter 4: "To the world."
Crowley was in awe. And slightly terrified.
There was a reception area before the main dining hall, and it was where the angels came together before their meal to socialise and decide who was the most opportune person to have dinner with that day. It was the most opulent room he’d ever seen. Comfortable sofas and intricately carved chairs were dotted around everywhere, dazzling chandeliers littered the ceiling, waiters carried trays of hors d’oeuvres on silver platters, beautiful marble statues that were ignored by those walking around them, and the soft strings of a violinist in the corner just about finished off a room that said yes, we’re extremely rich angels and we’re going to show it off. Hundreds of angels were in the room already, all talking in loud, stuffy voices, and Crowley felt like a mouse that had just walked into a lions den.
Aziraphale however, was very much in his element. He’d hooked his arm around Crowley’s and was smiling graciously at those around him, making polite conversation with those who approached as they slowly walked through the room. Crowley felt like he was Aziraphale’s prized pet demon being shown off, for every time they walked past any angel their eyes would slide across Aziraphale to Crowley, and then those eyes would widen every time. Possibly because the story had been gossiped around as to who Crowley was and it was a surprise the demon had actually turned up. Or possibly because he looked so spectacular in his angel get-up they were overwhelmingly shocked by how (and Crowley would never let Aziraphale live this one down) delicious he looked.
And to be honest, he didn’t mind feeling like Aziraphale’s pet demon, because Aziraphale was absolutely beaming at anyone who enquired about him. He was taking every opportunity to tell anyone who would listen about how they met (the lie version anyhow) and it was so freaking adorable Crowley just let him. Aziraphale must have told at least a dozen people the same story, and no retelling was any less enthusiastic. Most angels seemed to be politely interested in the story, a few even telling Crowley what a splendid demon he was to care about his superior. They were actually being sincere, even if it sounded like the typical angel stomping on a demon terminology.
Crowley was also getting to the know details on the other angels, as Aziraphale would lean in close and talk in excited whispers about those he could see around them. It was like he’d been desperate all this time to gossip himself to someone who would listen to him for a change.
“The thin man in the corner there is Dr Raven Sable, a leading food specialist. His company is catering the Titanic, though I must say I do find the portions a little minuscule for my liking.” Dr Sable was talking to his equally thin assistant, and looked to be complaining to her that the hors d’oeuvres were too big.
Aziraphale then pointed to a woman with bright red hair flowing around her shoulders, “Oh, and the woman in the red dress that’s Carmine Zuigiber, also known as Scarlett. She’s a foremost war correspondent, been in some frightfully dangerous situations that woman, I know I certainly couldn’t do what she does.” Scarlett was sitting and talking to three very enamoured older male angels, ensuring that her long crossed legs could be seen through the thigh high slit in her dress.
“Oh and look!” Aziraphale almost squealed with adoration towards an older couple who appeared to be bickering affectionately on one of the sofas, “That’s Mr Shadwell and Madame Tracey. Mr Shadwell’s wife died some years ago and he found comfort with her, but they’re not actually married. Mr Shadwell has gone a bit…” Aziraphale tried to find the polite word, “…well, a bit do-laly in his old age, keeps thinking people are trying to steal her away from him. But she’s very patient with him, always ensures him she’s still there and gives him a lovely smile, he soon calms down. Though I have to admit she is a bit of a flirt, it really is quite amusing.”
As he talked Crowley just watched him and nodded along, an amused and patient smile of his own growing ever brighter as he chatted away. He’d already forgotten all of those names.
Aziraphale looked around the room for someone else to introduce, “Oh, and the young couple there, that’s Newton and Anathema Device. Some say she’s a witch and magicked her way into Newton’s heart to get at his wealth.” Aziraphale wiggled his fingers in front of him in an attempt at looking mystical, “Poor boy though, he’s old money but everyone still treats him as new. He’s a bit clumsy.”
As if on cue Newton knocked over a tray of drinks on a table, fumbled awkwardly for a moment before looking around and swiftly walking away hoping no one had seen.
Quite a few people had seen.
Crowley nodded curtly towards Anathema who’d seen him watching them, and she smiled back courteously. Anathema certainly was a witch, but all for good, and Crowley had been right in his suspicious that she used to be a demon. She’d told him a bit about her life while she was dressing him, getting him to try on different shirts and jackets and finally settling on the waistcoat. She loved Newton very much, and certainly hadn’t tricked him. Her family had been on the higher end of the demon scale, managing to hold on to a moderately successful and growing business and were in fact petitioning to becoming angels right around the time the two of them met. Petitions hardly ever went through though, because for angels to accept demons as one of their own was extremely rare. Newton had fallen for her hard, but his parents wouldn’t allow him to marry her until, or more likely if, the petition went through. Thankfully it did, and Anathema and her family became official angels and they could officially marry her to Newton. This meant it was a scandal the angels could accept so long as they got to gossip about her behind her back. She’d never be a true angel to them no matter what a bit of paper said, but she was still part of the club now.
Crowley was very much on the bottom of the demon pile. Though as he'd stood there in his borrowed finery looking at himself in a long mirror, it didn't stop him from imagining what his life would be like if he became an angel. He'd pictured himself hand in hand with Aziraphale, asking permission from his family to marry him, and they'd say yes and welcome him with open arms because that's what happened when you were respected. He was well aware at how much his imagination was running away from him, but it hadn't stopped the grin as he did up his cuff-links, straightened his waistcoat and simply looked at his reflection thinking, oh yeah.
Anathema had also explained to Crowley about the aura’s she could sense, and said that she knew she was to be with Newton because she could see a reflection of her own aura in his.
“Didn’t err…didn’t you say something about Aziraphale’s aura matching mine?” Crowley had said nonchalantly.
“I did.” She said, “And it does.” She did not elaborate any further, but gave a warm smile to herself that Crowley saw in the reflection of the mirror.
“Oh that reminds me, I should show you my magic act one day!” Aziraphale exclaimed happily, grasping his arm tighter in excitement.
“You have a magic act?”
“Oh yes, I’m rather good.” Aziraphale said proudly, “Although I’ve not been allowed to practise for some time…” he trailed off, both of them knowing what that meant.
“Aziraphale is that you?” The two turned to see Madame Tracey standing behind them smiling cheerily at them, who then gasped immediately when she looked at Crowley. “My my, you must be Crowley, what an absolute pleasure to meet you.”
She held out her hand for him to take. Crowley took it, and saw out the corner of his eye that Aziraphale was making subtle kissing gestures with his lips. Half his brain went into overload staring at him, but the other half did catch on quickly that he meant for him to kiss her hand. He bought her fingers to his lips and kissed them, “It’s a pleasure to meet you too Madame.” He purred at her, and she immediately went into a giggly meltdown.
“Oh how charming you are. Oh just look at you, I could eat you up, if only I wasn’t already spoken for.” She giggled again, batting her eyelids and giving him the hungriest teasing smile.
Aziraphale hadn’t been exaggerating, she was a flirtatious one indeed.
“Speak for yourself.” came another female voice, low and lustful. The Lady Scarlet suddenly came gliding over to them, immediately standing directly in front of Crowley so close he had to take a step back, which she matched again. She was half a head taller than him and in the shock of having his personal space invaded so quickly in such succession he didn’t even move when she suddenly cupped his chin with her long fingers, tilted it upwards, and whispered so close that her breath tingled against his lips, “I’m not shy towards a bit of rough and ready tumbling with demon.” She then grabbed his arse, squeezed hard, winked, and floated off towards the dining hall.
Crowley looked stunned.
Aziraphale however was hiding his mouth behind the back of his hand trying very hard to stifle the laughter that so desperately wanted to escape. He really wanted to know if Crowley realised he’d made that squeaky yelp when she’d grabbed his behind.
“Do not, leave me alone in a room with her.” Crowley stated, eyes still wide, Madame Tracey running off after Scarlett demanding she apologise for being so rude before realising she’d forgotten her dear Shadwell and hurried back over to the sofa where he’d fallen asleep.
“Why, think your virtue might be in danger my dear?” Aziraphale teased, trying so hard not show the grin that would split his face in two if allowed.
“Yes!” Crowley half shouted, before he realised what he was saying, “I mean, not that there’s a virtue to be in danger. I mean it’s not like, I mean I have, I mean not that it’s…“ he stopped groping for words as Aziraphale’s giggles started to show through, so he just glared at him playfully, “Delicious.” He stated blankly, and Aziraphale very nearly rolled his eyes, the giggles subsiding. The smile didn’t leave him though. In fact it grew sweeter as they gazed at each other.
Aziraphale slowly circled his arm around Crowley’s again.
“Aziraphale, the demon not joining us then?” Gabriel suddenly said as way of announcing his arrival, having appeared with his usual entourage, looking straight at Aziraphale and giving the unknown red headed angel next to him a curt nod.
“Umm…” Aziraphale glanced to Crowley then back to Gabriel, “this is Crowley, Gabriel.”
Gabriel did a double take, looking completely caught off guard as he stared back at the demon he’d just mistaken for one of their own.
“My god…” he whispered, taking in how smart and clean Crowley looked, “Didn't recognize you at all. Huh. Amazing! Look at that.” He said to his group, who all peered at Crowley with a mixture of confusion and surprise. “Who would have guessed you were a filthy unkempt demon not even an hour ago. You could almost pass for an angel.”
Crowley just clicked his tongue, “Almost.”
“Heh.” Gabriel just continued to grin in amazement at him, “Well, Aziraphale I’ll be joining you shortly, just need to make the rounds before we take our seats, you get the demon settled at the table so he doesn’t embarrass us.”
“Yes Gabriel.” Aziraphale stated with an irritated sigh, one Gabriel didn’t notice as he was already walking away and shaking hands with the angels behind them.
Gabriel may not have noticed, but one of his little group did. The angel hung back for a moment, eyeing Aziraphale cautiously, glancing at Crowley and then making it plainly obvious to them both that she was taking a good long look at the way Aziraphale had his hand curled around Crowleys arm. Crowley could feel the tension, could feel the grip on his arm loosen in a panic, but then felt a burst of pride when the grip re-tightened again and did not let go.
The angel didn’t say a word, just walked by them, watching them till the very last second.
“Who was that?” Crowley asked, for none of the other angels gave him the creeps as much as that one just did.
“That’s Michael.” Aziraphale said darkly, “All of the angels Gabriel keeps around him are useful to him for something. Sandalphon is usually just a lackey to agree with him on things. Uriel, that one there, she’s his bodyguard. And Michael, well…” Aziraphale moved a little closer to Crowley, “Michael gets things done, as Gabriel likes to phrase it.”
“Gets things done?”
The grip on Crowley’s arm tightened again, “Things no decent angel would talk about in public.”
It was at times like these that Crowley wished he had his dark glasses on. He didn’t like feeling that exposed to eyes that were watching him like hers had been. He’d started wearing them as a teenager, they made him feel safer. He could watch those around him without them ever knowing he was planning on stealing their wallets, for no one knew where he was looking. Although he didn’t steal anywhere near as much as he used to, he’d gotten so used to having them he just never stopped wearing them. They were a familiar comfort, one he would have to do without tonight.
“Come on, lets go find our seats.” said Aziraphale.
Once the angels had arranged themselves with who they wanted to dine with, Aziraphale and Crowley found themselves on a large round table in the middle of the dining hall. Many an angel had wanted to hear the story of how Aziraphale’s life was saved by a demon and had insisted they sit with them, and this table was the only one big enough to accommodate them all. Most of the angels Aziraphale had introduced him too were with them, plus a few others he didn’t know. Crowley was becoming quite the little celebrity.
“For those unaware,” Gabriel had begun once everyone had settled, “Crowley here is a demon, joining us from the lower decks as a thank you for saving my fiancés life last night.” There was an excited murmur that went around the table, a few claps, a few tell us the story! It seemed angels were desperate for something a little different to gossip about.
Crowley was sitting with Aziraphale on his left, and Anathema on his right, who had thankfully managed to slip onto the seat just as Scarlett was about to close in on it.
“Not much to tell really,” Crowley said, trying to act like it was nothing at all, and also very aware of every single pair of eyes being on him and really wanting his glasses, “Strong gust of wind, must have ripped up right from the speed of the ship, and suddenly I saw an angel falling over the railing. Managed to catch his hand and bring him back to safety.”
“Oh bravo!” cooed Madame Tracey, clapping exuberantly, the others murmuring their approval along with another short round of claps. Scarlett was staring at him from across the table with her index finger ghosting across her lips. All but Gabriel and his entourage were impressed.
“That must have been quite a fright Aziraphale.” Newton said kindly.
“It was. I was very lucky indeed that he was passing by.” Aziraphale chimed in, smiling brightly at Crowley. Crowley couldn’t decide what he loved more, the smile or the blatant lies the angel was telling so easily.
“Very lucky.” He replied quietly, and Aziraphale’s smile softened.
Gabriel however was definitely not happy. He’d expected people to be disgusted that a demon was sitting with them, expected Crowley to crash and burn, but apart from a few wary looking ones all the rest of them were just fawning over him.
“Tell us of the accommodations in the lower decks, demon.” He said, determined to steer the conversation to a destination that showed Crowley up for who he was, “I hear they're rather good on this ship.” He sipped a glass of champagne that the waiters around the table were pouring for each of them.
“The best I’ve seen,” Crowley replied looking to him, and deliberately holding his smirking gaze, “Clean sheets every day and hardly any rats.”
“HA! Rats, nasty blighters.” said Mr Shadwell, as a titter of laughter went around the table.
“How do you take your caviar sir?”
A waiter had appeared behind Crowley, offering a large dish of black caviar and a spoon.
“Err…” Crowley had no clue whatsoever what the answer to that question was supposed to be, “…on the plate?” and evidently that was the wrong one as the tittering of laughter grew louder but now at Crowley’s expense.
Gabriel allowed himself a satisfied smile, but it was Aziraphale who smiled at Crowley adoringly and placed a hand on the waiters arm.
“Just a soupcon of lemon, for both of us please.” The waiter nodded and began to dish out the tiny amount of caviar starting on Aziraphale's plate, along with a small spoonful of lemon juice drizzled over the top. Aziraphale's hand had dropped from the waiters arm and fell upon Crowley's hand on the table, purely by accident. They looked at each other, and with a tiny embarrassed smile Aziraphale reluctantly moved it away. “It-it improves the flavour with the champagne.” He stuttered, avoiding anyones gaze in case it was possible for them to see how that one tiny little touch had affected him.
“No caviar for me, thanks.” Crowley said to the waiter, though he was still gazing at Aziraphale. “Never did like it much.”
“You’ve had caviar before?” Sandalphon inquired with such an amused, mocking tone.
Crowley just blinked and smiled at him, “That was called a joke.”
The table laughed again, back on Crowley's side. Gabriel's stare grew colder. Aziraphale's smile grew fonder.
Salad was being placed onto everyone’s plates now, and Crowley glanced down at the layout before him with what seemed like a dozen knives and forks laying either side of his plate. Aziraphale leaned over to him while everyone’s attention was drawn to their food for a moment.
“Just start from the outside and work your way in.” he whispered at the utterly confused look on his face, one he found absolutely endearing, “You’re doing extremely well.”
Crowley flashed him a winning smile.
Aziraphale was very proud of him, he must not have had a clue what to except but he’d been charming everyone who spoke to him and absolutely charming Aziraphale at the same time. It felt so wonderful to have him by his side walking around talking to the other angels, going along with the lie, he’d made it all feel so easy. With Crowley on his arm, everything felt right. He felt warm and happy.
“And where exactly do you live? Crawly, wasn’t it?” said Uriel, the first time she’d spoken to any of them.
“Crowley,” he corrected, knowing full well she’d said that on purpose, “And right now my address is right here on the Titanic. After that, who knows.”
“And you find that kind of rootless existence appealing, do you?” she continued
“I do actually.” he replied, taking a big bite out of the bread roll that had appeared on his plate, not noticing that no one else had touched anything on their's yet, or noticing the few glances amongst some of the angels at his behaviour, “Every day is something new,” he said with his mouth full, chewing a bit longer then swallowing, “you get to meet new people and experience new things, travel wherever you want whenever you want. The world is an amazing place full of amazing surprises. Yesterday morning I had no plans to travel to America and yet here I am now, eating fine food with you fine angels.”
“Here here!” said Mr Shadwell, raising his glass of champagne.
“Well said.” stated Scarlett, also raising hers, and still staring at Crowley like she wanted to jump him.
“To the world!” added Anathema, another raised glass, indicating to all the others to raise theirs in a toast.
They did, Gabriel and his group out of politeness than actually agreeing, but Crowley didn’t care about any of them apart from one. Aziraphale raised his glass, looked at Crowley with the most adoring expression, and said in the softest, most passionate filled voice;
“To the world.”
Crowley’s heart thumped madly against his chest as he clinked his champagne glass with Aziraphale's. Somehow those three words felt like they had an entirely different meaning, and he couldn’t help the besotted little smile he gave him as they gazed at each other. Around them the other angels clinked their glasses, but for that one moment it could have just been the two of them, sharing a meal at a fancy restaurant, the whole world enclosed in each other’s gaze.
To the world, he said, to us, he heard.
Crowley wanted to drown in those blue eyes.
The starters came and went, as did the mains, and now the dessert cart was being wheeled around the table as the angels selected what they would like. Throughout the meal Gabriel and his angels had tried every possible down-turned comment they could think of to get Crowley embarrassed or to show up how demon he was, and every one of them Crowley brushed off him like water off a ducks back. He had to admit it took a lot of effort, he wasn’t normally this quick witted and was rather impressed with himself, though he suspected it was partly because he wanted to impress Aziraphale. He knew how much his angel had been worrying about this dinner and wanted it to go as smoothly as he could make it, and he liked to think he hadn’t done a bad job.
Now he’d been sitting having actual conversations with these angels he also had to admit he was actually liking a select few of them. Anathema of course was a given, and her sweet husband. The loud Mr Shadwell appeared to annoy the other angels so much he got to automatically join Crowleys liked list, as did Madame Tracey. Scarlett still terrified him, and was fairly sure she’d just deliberately dropped a bit of cream on the top of her breasts so she could sensually wipe it away with her finger and then slowly lick it off, all the while staring right at Crowley. The rest of them still had that slightly up-turned-nose look about them when the conversation was turned towards him, and of course it was plainly obvious how unhappy Gabriel and his gang were. That made Crowley very happy.
“No thanks,” Crowley said to the waiter with the dessert cart, “don’t really have a sweet tooth.”
Lastly the cart came to Aziraphale, who’d been eyeing it hungrily the entire way around. Crowley had found it absolutely adorable when he’d heard the tiniest whimper coming from Aziraphale when the cart hadn’t started with himself, and had to stifle his quiet snort of laughter with another sip of champagne. He might have been a bit tipsy by now.
“Oh they all look so scrumptious.” Aziraphale beamed at the waiter, hands clasped together as his eyes racked over the many displays of cakes and buns and glass dishes of puddings, “Oh I think I’ll have the Victoria sponge please.” He said delightfully, as the waiter picked it up for him.
There was a small ahem that came from Gabriel.
“Aziraphale we’ve discussed this, you know you’re not allowed to have desserts they’re only going to make you fatter than you already are.”
There might as well have been an ice-cold bucket of water poured over everyone at the table. There was utter silence as Aziraphale froze with one hand on the small plate the waiter was passing to him. He didn’t look at anyone, hardly even breathed, he couldn’t bear to see the reactions on their faces at the heat that was rising to his cheeks.
“Oh…yes…” he swallowed hard, let go of the plate, gave the waiter a very quick apologetic smile and then stared down at the place mat in front of him like a scolded child, painfully embarrassed.
A heat was rising to Crowley's cheeks too, but for a very, very different reason.
“Excuse me!” Crowley called out to the waiter, cutting through the silence, “You know what I’ve changed my mind, I quite fancy that Victoria sponge it does look good.”
The waiter nodded and returned the cart to him, placing the cake in front of him. Crowley took up a fork, not giving a shit if it was the right fork for eating cake, ate one small bite and then put the fork back down.
“Yeah, er, actually I’ve changed my mind again, I’ve just eaten so much I don’t think I could finish this. Aziraphale, you wouldn’t finish it for me would you? It’d be very rude to waste it and I’d hate to be rude to my wonderful hosts.”
Aziraphale’s whole face lit up like the sun as Crowley held the plate out for him to take.
“Oh! O-oh well, yes! Of course! It would be terribly rude to leave it of course I’ll finish it for you.”
Aziraphale took the plate with the biggest smile, picked up the tiny, correct fork, and began to take small sumptuous bites, savouring every flavour with the purest look on his face. He seemed genuinely surprised and grateful, and Crowley wasn’t entirely sure if he got that he was doing this deliberately for him, but whether he knew or not didn’t stop the happiness that now radiated off him in waves.
Crowley leant back in his chair with his champagne glass, and with the smarmiest smirk tilted it towards Gabriel in a gesture, then downed the whole thing. Gabriel’s face was unreadable, but he drummed his fingers on the table a few times before turning and starting up a conversation with the unknown angel next to him, still glancing towards Crowley. Other conversations began to rise amongst the others as the uncomfortable silence finally ended.
Aziraphale seemed clueless to the whole thing, his eyes closed and humming appreciatively at a particularly jammy filled bit of cake.
Desserts had ended, as had the cheese selection, and now the angels were relaxing in their chairs, evening conversations turning to thoughts of a nighttime stroll across the top deck or heading off early to bed. Crowley could be seen handing Anathema something secretly under the table with a whispered thanks.
“Well,” chimed Gabriel, with all the fake pleasantries he could muster, “I invite anyone to join me for a drink in the bar before we go our separate ways for the evening. Well, except you of course Crowley, we’ve given you a nice meal but obviously we can’t expect to socialise any further with you.”
“Obviously.” Crowley agreed, all too heartily.
“Oh what a pity.” Madame Tracey pouted.
A scrapping of chairs sounded as the angels rose from the table, saying goodnight to each other and beginning to head off in pairs or towards Gabriel for an evening drink.
“Must you go?” Aziraphale pouted, placing his hand on Crowley's arm as they also stood up together.
“My time as an angel has ended.” He smiled bitter-sweetly, before copying what he’d learnt earlier and lifted Aziraphale’s hand to his mouth, brushing the lightest of kisses across his perfectly manicured fingers.
An equally perfectly sweet blush rose to Aziraphale's cheeks, but it was quickly replaced by a look of surprise when he felt Crowley pressing something to his fingers where he held them, a small bit of folded paper.
“Thank you for a lovely evening.” Crowley said softly, before nodding his goodbyes to Anathema and a few others, taking one last look to Aziraphale, and taking his leave.
Across the room, Michael watched him go. As did Scarlett.
Aziraphale was trying his very best to look as casual as possible as he surreptitiously opened the tiny piece of paper with his back to the table.
‘To the world. Meet me at the stairs.’
He looked up just in time to see Crowley disappear through the dining hall doors to the reception area. He glanced around him, Gabriel and his angels were already talking with others across the room, only Anathema was still at the table. She looked up at him, smiled knowingly, and placed a small pen back in her purse.
Realising her part in this Aziraphale beamed gratefully at her, before walking swiftly off towards the doors after Crowley before Gabriel noticed. He felt exhilarated, almost rather naughty. He found Crowley at the stairs just as the note said, looking up at the glass dome ceiling, hands in his pockets, still looking just as dapper as when he’d sauntered down those stairs earlier. Crowley turned to face him, and smiled.
“How would you like to go to a real party?”
"What would exactly constitute a real party?" Aziraphale enquired excitedly.
Crowley took his hand, "Come on." he grinned, and took him not up the grand staircase, but down the small one Aziraphale had expected him to come out of earlier, "We're going to have some fun, demon style."
Chapter 5: “Something I can't have.”
It's brilliant if you listen to this on a loop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBz_mMeSR7Y while they're at the party in this chapter, because its the exact music playing in the film.
The room was alive with music, raucous laughter, and the stench of sweat and beer. A band that appeared to be made up of whoever happened to have a random instrument on them was gathered around an upright piano on a raised platform, honking out lively, stomping music surrounded by demons clapping and dancing. Clouds of smoke filled the air from cheap cigarettes, there was an arm-wrestling match going on in one corner with boisterous shouts and swearing, and there was even a fight going on in another. The floor was sticky with spilt alcohol, and there was a couple up against the wall very obviously having very frantic sex, the woman’s skirt hitched high up over her thighs as the man pounded up into her.
He’d never seen anything like this in his life and he absolutely clung to Crowley’s arm as Crowley steered them through the crowds towards Ligur and Hastur, who he’d spotted drinking and laughing together at a table. Aziraphale just didn’t know where to look, there was so much happening everywhere and he felt half terrified half unquestionably exhilarated.
“Oh good lord!” he suddenly exclaimed, cuddling up to Crowley even closer as a drunk man clipped his arm as he fell backwards onto the floor, laughing his arse off as his friends helped him up.
“Wait here I’ll be right back!” Crowley shouted over the top of all the noise as he spun the shocked Aziraphale round and down onto a seat in front of his two friends, “Hastur, Ligur, you’ve seen Aziraphale. Aziraphale, these two.” He pointed at them, before hurrying over to the crowded bar holding up four fingers and yelling, “FOUR BEERS!”
Hastur said something, but the noise was so great Aziraphale didn’t hear, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t quite catch that!” he shouted polity, his hands resting on his lap looking entirely out of place, like a glowing patch of white amongst a mass of dirt and grime.
“I said what the hell are you doing down here?!” Hastur shouted back, both of them were staring at Aziraphale like he’d suddenly manifested out of thin air.
“Oh! I was err-“ Aziraphale paused with wide eyes as a woman danced by with her breasts hanging out, “……..I-I err, umm, C-Crowley is showing me what a real party is!” He finally finished.
“That I am!” said Crowley, plonking down four pints of beer on the table between them before squishing himself down right inbetween Hastur and Ligur so he could face Aziraphale. The two demons grumbled at him but otherwise didn’t really move. He pushed one pint glass over to Aziraphale, a bit of beer spilling out over the edge. “And the first rule of a real party is alcohol, quite extraordinary amounts of alcohol.”
Aziraphale picked up his pint glass and cautiously eyed the brown contents inside. The glass itself was covered in fingerprints. He took one sniff of the beer and scrunched up his nose.
“Urgh. You err, haven’t got any wine have you? Maybe a Chateau Lafite?”
“Not down here!” Crowley laughed, still tipsy from the champagne at the dinner, “You wanted to experience a pub well this is as close as you’re gonna get on this ship. Come on angel!” He held out his pint glass to Aziraphale, nodding at it as in indication to clink them together.
Aziraphale looked from his glass to the joyous shine in Crowley’s eyes, “Oh very well.” he gave in with a sigh, “Bottoms up then fellows!”
The three demons and the one angel bashed their glasses together, and while Crowley went to gulp down a few mouthfuls he found himself pausing before the glass even touched his lips. He stared, and stared, as did Hastur and Ligur, as Aziraphale meticulously took down long large gulps, tipping the glass further and further back until the last bit of foam slipped through between his lips and he had downed the entire pint in one go.
All three of them gaped at him as Aziraphale placed the empty glass back on the table, “Eurgh, that’s foul!” he complained, taking a handkerchief out of his top pocket and dabbing his mouth with it, “Another!” he then grinned enthusiastically. He blinked though when he saw the three demons still frozen still staring at him, “What?” he asked innocently, “You think an angel can’t drink?”
Hastur leaned over to Crowley’s ear, “You got a catch here.” He said, unheard to Aziraphale over the top of the crowd noise, as Crowley passed Aziraphale his own untouched pint without taking his eyes off him for a second.
On top of a respectable amount of champagne, and now followed by very unrespectable four and half pints of cheap beer, Aziraphale was getting very, very giggly. A pristine angel amongst these demons had begun to draw attention, but he wasn’t so much of a pristine one anymore. His dinner jacket had been hanging on the back of his chair but was now long since lost to the floor, his bowtie was askew and his waistcoat had somehow lost its top button. He’d rolled his sleeves up to his elbows and was currently boasting to the group of demons that had surrounded him about how he had been a fencing champion when he was younger.
“I may not-“ he paused as he seemed to think about burping for a moment, but then hiccupped instead, “I may not have done it in yeeeears my friends, but I can promise you if-if I had one now, I could take any one of you down quicker than a brawl, oh yes indeedy, I am the master…” he raised his hand and stared at it intensely, “...the master of wielding…hard, stiff objects in my hand.”
Across the table Crowley spluttered into his pint, “You what?” he coughed, the demons around them bursting into laughter.
“Stiff! Hard! Crowley!” Aziraphale pronounced as though talking to a child, “You know…you hold them, they’re…they’re long, they can come in different sizes,” howls of laughter continued from the demons, Hastur and Ligur doubled over where they sat, “they have a pointy bit at the end!!” he finally shouted over the music, getting annoyed with himself.
Crowley stared at him with a stunned grin, “Swords you idiot!” He then laughed so hard.
“YES! Thank you! Swords!” Aziraphale exclaimed loudly, diving back into what was left of his fifth pint.
Crowley hadn’t laughed so much in ages, and was grinning so much at his angel and just shaking his head at him absolutely smitten. His own state of borrowed clothing was not doing much better than Aziraphale’s. His waistcoat was entirely undone and hanging loose and half of his shirt was unbuttoned, as he now lounged there slowly getting more and more intoxicated. And not just on the alcohol.
“Okay, I think it’s time we worked off a bit of this drink, don’thca think?” He sprung up from his chair surprisingly steadily, and held out his hand to Aziraphale, “Let’s dance.” He grinned.
Aziraphale blinked uncoordinatedly up at him and leant back in his chair, only for it to nearly topple over if not for the demon standing directly behind him, “Oh no, thank you, no no I don’t dance, defan…defititly…definitally….no dance.”
“Aw come on angel,” Crowley grinned, grabbing his hand and pulling him up out the chair, “time to dance like a demon.”
Aziraphale had not been ready for that sudden pull upwards and fell like a floppy jellyfish into Crowley’s arms. The music was just as fast paced and boisterous as it had been when they walked in, and Crowley was already bouncing with energy on the spot even as Aziraphale placed his hands on his chest to push himself back up and steady himself where he stood.
“Come on!” Crowley grabbed his hand again, ignoring the slurred;
“Nooo I can’t dance this Crowley…”
Aziraphale was in rather a daze as he let himself be dragged over to the dance floor, for he’d realised one of his hands had been pressed against the bare skin of Crowley’s chest where his shirt was open. Crowley was too happy and exuberant to have noticed, and Aziraphale was really too drunk to do anything about noticing it. All he knew was that Crowley was grinning at him and they were suddenly surrounded by other couples dancing ferociously, laughing and clapping and having the time of their lives.
“R-Really Crowley I don’t know the steps-“
“Neither do I,” Crowley grinned, “Just roll with it! But we are gonna have to get a lot closer than this.”
With that he took Aziraphale’s hand in his own, and then placed his other at the small of his back pulling him very close. Aziraphale’s round stomach pressed right up against Crowley’s slender form, their noses nearly bumped together, and Aziraphale blushed even through his drunken haze at how suddenly everything around him was Crowley. The demons eyes were sparkling with mischief, and they were so, so close.
“C-Crowley…-OH goodness!” And suddenly they were off, Crowley leading him through the fast-paced crazy mess of so-called dancing, twirling around the other couples and holding onto each other tight.
Soon any complaints Aziraphale had were lost in his own laughter, grinning up at Crowley with the occasional exclamation of, “I cannot believe I’m doing this!” He was rather awkward at first, but once he got into the rhythm he was swinging around with Crowley in his arms and loving every moment. He knew he was probably dancing terribly, but he didn’t care at all. He really couldn’t believe this was happening. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine he’d be here, dancing some crazy dance with a demon in the bowels of a ship, merrily drunk and high on the addictive atmosphere and the warmth, oh the warmth radiating from that demon. In every sense of the word. Crowley treated him with such warmth in his voice, in his eyes, in his touch, Aziraphale felt like an entirely different person around him.
Actually no, that wasn’t right. He didn’t feel like a different person, his everyday life he lived as a different person. With Crowley he was himself, and being allowed to be himself around someone was the greatest feeling he had ever had. His whole life everyone he’d met wanted him to be someone he wasn’t, never liking who he was, but Crowley not only liked him for himself he encouraged it more! Anyone else would say the demon was a terribly bad influence on him. For Aziraphale, he was the greatest person he had ever met.
And he was falling for him, he could feel it.
He denied it of course, because it couldn’t happen. It could never happen. He was getting married to Gabriel, and this…this wonderful demon, he’d be gone out of his life by the end of the week. They’d arrive in New York and Aziraphale would be stepping off the ship arm in arm with Gabriel, and he’d never see Crowley again. So he denied it, denied how exhilarating it felt to have Crowley’s arm around him, denied how delightful it was to hear him laugh, denied how being this close to him made his heart race so fast. This was all a dream that would be gone by morning.
He especially denied thinking that Crowley looked at him the same way he looked at him back.
They laughed their way around the dance floor, and by the time this particular piece of music came to an end they were still laughing, Aziraphale out of breath and clutching onto Crowley like a life raft.
“Oh I feel so-so…demonic!” Aziraphale panted, feeling like he was saying a dirty word but loving that he could say it with no repercussions as he beamed from ear to ear.
Crowley chucked so fondly at how happy he looked. “See, it’s not that bad once you get used to it.” he said with a wink.
The band was already counting in to another song but Aziraphale and Crowley were still in each other’s arms, just grinning and panting, until something changed. It was just a small thing, the fact that Crowley gently let go of Aziraphale’s hand and rested it on his hip instead, drawing him that little bit closer. Aziraphale already had one arm around Crowley’s waist from where they’d been dancing, and his free hand now lay on his chest, his fingers curled against the warm fabric so close to the bare skin. Their grinning smiles both gently faded, still softly panting. They did nothing but gaze at each other, hearts racing from the dance and from something else that was drawing closer.
“Crowley…” Aziraphale found himself saying, ever so gently.
Crowley snaked his arm further round his back, drawing him even closer. They just stared at each other, breath ghosting on each other’s lips, Crowley’s eyes darting between his lips and his eyes. Aziraphale’s mind was racing, this was all happening so fast, and it shouldn’t be happening at all! Deny it, deny it deny all of it. I’m getting married!!
His fingers curled tightly around the shirt fabric, drawing Crowley closer as his head tilted just that little bit-
“Hey you two I got us another round in!” yelled an excited Hastur, and just like that the moment was gone.
Aziraphale snapped his head back so fast it was like he’d been electrocuted, “O-oh, oh yes, that’s splendid thank you!” he shouted over to him, far too enthusiastically relieved, as Hastur and Ligur waved them back over to their table and the large array of drinks laid out there.
Crowley could have murdered Hastur for this. Violently and viciously causing as much pain as possible.
Two times now. Twice he had nearly kissed Aziraphale and both times they were interrupted by idiots! He practically hissed at them over the top of Aziraphale’s head, and had the two demons been looking at them anymore they would have run from the room screaming at the vehement glare in his eyes.
Aziraphale however just quietly peered back up at Crowley, smiling shyly and glancing to and away from him a couple of times before releasing his arms from around him.
“That was very much fun.” He said, everything a lot shyer than it had been.
“You’re welcome.” Crowley replied softly, smiling sweetly at him as he turned away back to the table.
The second he’d turned though Crowley was glaring daggers back at Hastur again. That bastard was going to pay for that interruption. The moment had been perfect, Aziraphale was all warm and compliant in his arms and damn Hastur to hell!!
But it was another couple of pints later that had Aziraphale in the middle of the dance floor by himself asking very loudly if any demon knew how to dance something called the Gavotte. When a few demons murmured that the angels they worked for had danced that at social gatherings sometimes and had picked up the routine, Crowley found himself watching both mortifyingly embarrassed and heart-warmingly endearing at a bunch of demons arm in arm with his angel kicking their feet up into the air dancing the most ridiculous dance he had ever seen. The music didn’t even match, the band didn’t have a clue what the Gavotte was they just continued playing the same crazy music they’d been doing all night, but it didn’t stop Aziraphale.
The angel had the biggest grin on his face, looking around at all the demons he’d managed to vaguely teach the only dance that he was any good at it. He didn’t mind Crowley sitting there watching at first, but he wasn’t going to get away with not dancing it at all. The demon had been far too embarrassed when he saw Aziraphale doing an example of the dance moves at the beginning and managed to convince him that he just wanted to watch (which he did, because it was adorable). But not any longer.
“Come on Crowley,” Aziraphale beckoned with his finger, grinning the stupidest drunk grin, “you had me dancing like a demon now you have to dance like an angel, it’s only fair wouldn’t you say?”
“That is not angel dancing.” Crowley laughed, “I’ve seen angels dancing and it is boring as hell, that is insane.”
The demons around him all groaned at him, telling him to get up there and make a prat out himself like they all were, and Aziraphale just looked utterly pleased with himself at them.
Crowley bit his lip, suppressing a grin, before rolling his eyes and letting out a dramatic over the top sigh, “Fine!” he then downed his drink and ran up to the large dancing group. “How you’ve managed to persuade a group of drunk crazed demons into dancing the Gavotte I will never know.”
He hooked one arm around Aziraphale’s elbow as a demon hooked their arm around his other, and Aziraphale beamed at him absolutely delighted before counting in, and then it all began again, the crazy unmatched fast stepped stomping music still blaring out over them all. Crowley would never live down his own memory as he found himself kicking up his feet high and being led around in circles arm in arm with his angel and- Hastur?! Hastur was laughing and stumbling next to him.
“Your angel is scream!” he said, his little frog sitting on top of his head seeming to hold on to his hair for dear life as they went dancing round.
By the time the wild music stopped and the dance came to an end, all the demons were clinging onto each other and laughing their arses off. Aziraphale’s embarrassing dance had been a total success, and there was still a small group of them going round and round in circles making themselves dizzy.
“Alright don’t forgot the kisses!” Aziraphale was shouting over them like a drill sergeant, “Remember you must kiss everyone you’ve danced with it’s all part of the fun, all part of the dance!”
The demons did just that, some just pecks on the cheek, some using it as an excuse to get their tongues down the throats of whoever they’d had their eye on that night. It was a mass of laughter and blushing and screams of delight (and a few slaps). Aziraphale kissed everyone he’d danced with on the cheek, including a beaming Hastur and Ligur, to which Hastur then shoved his frog in Ligur’s face demanding he kiss it.
“Fuck off!” He was not going to kiss it.
Crowley indulged a few kisses on the cheeks, but did not take his eyes off Aziraphale for one second. Too embarrassed to do the dance straight away he must have missed the instructions about kissing people at the end, and now his heart was pounding in his ears. Twice now he’d nearly kissed this angel, and now he had to, it was the rules, there was no way this was going to go wrong!
“Do I get a kiss then angel?” he asked, trying to hold back his ever so excited grin as Aziraphale had turned from kissing a demon on the cheek to see who was next, only to see Crowley behind him. The big happy grin on his face had immediately fallen into that shy, awkward little smile, and Crowley loved it.
“Of course you do,” Aziraphale said softly, “You danced it very well.”
He danced it moronically, but that wasn’t the issue to focus on here. They stood facing each other, and Crowley knew he was probably looking so immensely pleased with himself but that didn’t matter. His eyes scanned over Aziraphale’s whole face, taking in every detail, and then the angel was leaning up on his toes. A breath caught in Crowley’s throat as…as wouldn’t you know it, Aziraphale kissed him on the cheek.
But it was a kiss that lasted a lot longer than the others. This was not a peck on the cheek. Aziraphale stayed there, eyes closed, lips pressed to Crowley’s cheek as his hands held onto his forearms. Even when the kiss ended, Aziraphale stayed there, cheek to cheek, bodies pressed together unmoving and comfortable. Crowley’s lips parted and his eyes fluttered closed. Ever so slightly he rubbed his cheek against Aziraphale’s, just a touch, like a cat begging for attention from its owner. His heart was racing, Aziraphale had to be able to hear it surely. He didn’t know what to do with his arms. Aziraphale smelt so good, and by the time the angel slowly pulled back Crowley was blushing like a fool in love. He opened his eyes slowly, not wanting the moment to end. Aziraphale hadn’t stepped away, he was still so close.
“You have to kiss me now, remember?” Aziraphale whispered, in a tone that felt much huskier than it had all night.
Crowley’s arms suddenly knew what to do with themselves, and they both gently cupped the back of the angels neck, slipping up from his shoulders and just holding him there. Aziraphale drew in a breath, heart in his throat, but Crowley just smiled softly, almost wistfully.
He had to get a hold of himself. No matter how he felt about this angel, Aziraphale was getting married, and he had to keep reminding himself of that he had to. Even if the other angel he was marrying was a total bastard. Aziraphale was so wonderful, so unlike any angel there had ever been, and that Gabriel would never be able to do anything in is whole life to deserve Aziraphale. He wanted to take Aziraphale’s hand and run off the ship with them when it docked. He wanted give him everything he was being denied, give him all the love and attention he deserved. He wanted to give him the world.
But he couldn’t. This was all a fantasy that would always end with them going their separate ways.
So, he figured if Aziraphale had wanted to kiss him properly, he would have. Crowley’s eyes softened, and he placed a small, sweet kiss to Aziraphale’s forehead instead, lingering there just as long. When he pulled back, Aziraphale’s cheeks were pink, and the angel was smiling so bittersweetly it made Crowley want to gather him in his arms and just fly away.
“How about some more drinks?” Aziraphale suggested quietly, and as he slowly moved away he didn’t drop his hand from Crowley’s arm until the very last moment.
At the doorway to the large room, Michael stood watching as Crowley wandered after him, joining them at the table and punching Hastur hard on the arm without giving an explanation.
She turned and let the door fall shut behind her.
Crowley and Aziraphale were so very drunk. They clung to each other while they stumbled along the lower deck, Crowley trying to remember a song but could only remember half the words, so was making most of the lyrics up as he sang drunkenly out of tune. Aziraphale just laughed and laughed, and any time he tried to say how ridiculous Crowley sounded he just ended up laughing some more.
Above them the stars blazed, so clear and bright you could see the Milky Way and all its wonders. They made their way towards the entrance to the top decks, the evening drawing to an end, and where Crowley would no longer be allowed to go. Aziraphale caught the display of stars above him just before they reached the door and gasped, holding a hand out to Crowley to stop him from staggering on.
“Look at that!” he gasped, pointing upwards, “Isn't it magnificent? So grand and endless.”
Crowley blinked upwards and grinned, wobbling over to the railings so he could lean on them to keep a better balance. Aziraphale joined him at his side.
“You know my dad once told me that every time I smiled a new star was born.” Crowley began, a far off smile in his voice, “It was a great way to get a kid to smile cos I loved the stars. I’d stand out in the street just grinning inanely at the sky. Fairly sure the neighbours thought there was something wrong with me.”
Aziraphale pressed his lips together in an adoring smile, “Oh that is ever so sweet.”
“Yeah, I guess it was.” He smiled, evidently remembering that long time ago, “I was pretty upset when I found out that wasn’t true though.” He gave a small chuckle, “But I guess you have to grow up, have to deal with crap that’s put in front of you, whether it be finding out stars don’t arrive when you smile or having your parents……...” he trailed off.
He felt Aziraphale’s warm hand place itself on top of his own on the railing, and he looked down to it.
“I’m sorry, that you’ve had such a hard life. Because of angels.” Aziraphale said so quietly.
Crowley had told him about his parents in their long talk this morning. And really, he supposed, they hadn’t stopped talking with each other all day.
Crowley smiled, “You're not one of them, you know. There's been a mistake.”
“Uh huh. You got mailed to the wrong address.”
Aziraphale’s laugh was joyous and heart-warming.
“I did, didn't I?” but then his laugh and smile faded, “Oh but they're such small people, Crowley. The angels, I mean. They think they're giants on this earth, but they’re no better than anyone else. They live inside this tiny little champagne bubble and one day it will burst.” Aziraphale looked out to the black horizon, “I don’t know what I am now. All I know is that I don’t fit in with them, not anymore. Or have I ever?”
A gentle breeze swept through Crowley’s long hair, “You fit in with me.”
Aziraphale looked to him, hands still together on the railing. Crowley wondered if he should take that back, rephrase it, that he fitted in with demons yes just demons in general. But no, he didn’t want to take it back. Aziraphale did fit in with him. So perfectly.
Stay with me tonight…stay with me always…
It was very hard to read what Aziraphale was thinking as he gazed at him. There was a softness there, oh for sure, he knew he fitted in with him too he must, but…hesitation. There was a small ounce of something that was telling him no. Most likely the same thing that was preventing Crowley from acting on anything, no matter how much he wanted to. Aziraphale was not his, and never would be. Aziraphale was getting married.
He needed to stop fantasising about kissing him.
“Y-your, um…” Aziraphale stuttered, before raising his hand from Crowley’s and reaching round his head instead, “…your bun is falling out.” He said so ridiculously quietly.
Aziraphale hooked the last tattered bit of band loose from his hair, and the red came cascading down around his face again.
“Aziraphale…” Crowley began, suddenly feeling very sober and trying to take the angels hand as it came back from around his head.
“Oh look! A shooting star!” Aziraphale suddenly exclaimed excitedly, his hand pointing out towards it before Crowley got a chance to grasp it.
Crowley just sighed fondly, and looked out towards the long streak of white cutting through the twinkling sky.
“Aren't we supposed to wish on it?” Aziraphale asked.
“That’s the idea.” Crowley said, and still drunk, still wanting what he shouldn’t have, Crowley turned to look at him again. He watched his profile, the sparkle in his eyes as he gazed at the falling star, and without thinking he reached out and lightly ran his fingers through those platinum curls. Just a bit, just teasing the softness from his temple down just past his ear.
“What would you wish for?” he asked gently.
Aziraphale turned at the touch and the question, and like the star that was falling so did his bright smile. Crowley’s hand lingered at the base of Aziraphale’s hair line, and he turned to face him better, closer, reaching out his other hand to clasp Aziraphale’s shoulder.
He could see Aziraphale swallow, and then step back, Crowley’s hands dropping away.
“Something I can't have.” the angel whispered, and he gave him the tiniest, saddest smile. “Thank you for a wonderful evening, Crowley.”
He then nodded, and Crowley began to panic wait is that it? as Aziraphale turned to hurry past him towards the entrance to the upper decks without another word.
“Aziraphale!” In a rush of movement Crowley grabbed his arm as he walked past.
The one name was said with such sorrow, such stricken eyes, sending a silent message telling him, pleading with him, no. Just no. He can’t.
Crowley did the hardest thing. He let him go.
“Aziraphale.” He said again anyway, the angel ignoring him, quickly walking through the doors to the attendant keeping guard inside. “Angel, wait!” he called out one desperate last time, but he was gone, back to his world that Crowley could never be a part of.
Aziraphale had the worst hangover he’d ever had. But he couldn’t let Gabriel see. They sat together taking breakfast on the balcony of their cabin rooms, overlooking the far too bright sun sparkling off the sea. Aziraphale felt like someone was hammering on the inside of his skull, and for the first time ever he couldn’t stand to even look at the array of delicious breakfast foods laid out for them. Instead every now and then he took a sip of his tea, spending all of his energy pretending like he didn’t want to run to the edge of the balcony and hurl the alcohol soaked contents of his stomach over the side.
The ill feeling was not helped by the palpable tension between the two angels.
“I’d hoped you were going to join me for drinks after dinner last night, it would have been the expected thing to do.” Gabriel said, finally breaking the silence they’d been sitting in since the breakfast began, “But you left.”
“I was tired.” Aziraphale replied, too hungover to think up some elaborate excuse, and hoping his voice didn’t sound as hoarse as it felt.
“Yeah I’m not surprised, your exertions with the demons below decks were no doubt exhausting.”
Aziraphale stiffened in his chair. He carefully placed his tea cup back on the saucer on the table.
“I suppose it was Michael you had follow me.”
He should have known. He should have been more careful. Oh this wasn’t going to be pleasant conversation. He could feel the anxiety rising in his chest.
“You will never behave like that again.” Gabriel said, in a voice low and threatening, “Do you understand?”
It was a voice he’d not used before, and Aziraphale risked a quick glance at him. His stare was ice cold, and for the first time Aziraphale felt a jolt of fear. Gabriel was cruel, but only with words. He wasn’t a violent man, but sitting here with him now felt like a bear trap ready to spring.
“You’ve never trusted me, have you.” Aziraphale said cautiously, and it was a statement, not a question.
“And I never will again. It’s a good thing I did send her after you, especially after she raised some rather worrying concerns with me over the way you were acting around that…Crawley, at dinner.”
“His name is Crowl-“
Aziraphale couldn’t even finish the name, for the trap had sprung. In a sudden violent move Gabriel swept the breakfast china off the table with an almighty crash. He threw the dainty table to one side and in one shocking movement he was gripping the sides of Aziraphale’s chair, trapping him between his arms and glaring the most hateful stare down at him.
Aziraphale shrunk in his chair, a small wimper escaping him at the sudden explosion of aggressive strength as he stared up at Gabriel with terrified eyes. His hands were shaking in front of him, half raised as though to protect himself.
“Don’t think me a fool Aziraphale, I am not blind!” he screamed at him, Aziraphale swallowing hard and opening his mouth to say something, anything, but Gabriel continuing to shout at him, “You and that demon have been getting far too friendly! You are an angel, and you are my husband, in practise if not yet by law and you will act as such! I will not be disrespected like this one more time and I forbid you to ever, EVER, see that disgusting demon again! Now is that in anyway unclear?!”
Aziraphale could barely breathe through the terror gripping his whole body, and he shook his head in tiny quick successions.
And just like that, just like a balloon deflating, Gabriel suddenly calmed. He smiled at Aziraphale, his usual cynical smile. He then stood up straight, releasing Aziraphale from the cage of his arms, and straightened his shirt.
“Good. I’m glad we’re finally communicating.” He then patted Aziraphale on the shoulder, in a way that would be comforting if it was anyone else doing it, “I didn’t like doing that Aziraphale, you must understand. So don’t make me do it again.”
Aziraphale just nodded, quivering breaths still barely audible.
“Now, I’m going to be in a meeting for a few hours, I think I’ve managed to make an excellent new contact at dinner last night,” he said happily, picking up his jacket from the back of his own chair, “and when I return I expect you to be here dressed in suitable attire for taking the decks with me. Understood?”
Another small nod.
Gabriel grinned at him, “Great! Now clean this up while you’re here would you? Wouldn’t want the servants to see what you’d made me do, last thing they need is more gossip, am I right?” he laughed, and without waiting for any other form of reply he walked through the glass doors to the balcony, closing them behind him and leaving Aziraphale entirely alone.
The second he was gone Aziraphale let out a string of hard, shaking breaths, his entire body trembling, “Oh my….” he chocked, “…oh dear.” He put his palms together and placed them over his nose and mouth, eyes closing tightly trying to get the panic coursing through him to calm. Hangover or not he now felt very sick, and he slipped off the chair to his knees on the floor, beginning to shakily pick up the shattered plates and cups while his eyes began to sting with tears.
He could feel it, that same feeling, that darkness that washed over him before when he suddenly found himself staring down at a churning black sea, nothing standing between his own death other than his own hands gripping the rails.
And a demon.
Aziraphale breathed in a wavering gasp at the thought of Crowley. That sweet, caring demon, who wanted nothing more than to see Aziraphale have a good time. To laugh and to dance and to eat desserts and to talk about the stars and the wishes one would make on them.
And that’s when the tears fell.
“Crowley…” he sobbed, his tears dripping down his cheeks onto his waistcoat as he slumped against his chair, the chair scraping a few inches across the floor at his weight.
He needed to see him, desperately needed to see him. He wanted to feel everything Crowley was trying to give him, he wanted to feel wanted, he wanted to know, just once, just once in his life before this, this became his life.
“Crowley...” he said again, but his voice was a little stronger, and he pushed himself up from the floor, wiping his tears on the back of his sleeve, before turning back to the glass doors, “His name…is Crowley.”
If Aziraphale had one talent to his name, it was doing the exact opposite of whatever Gabriel had ordered.
Chapter 6: “You should be with me.”
Sorry about the long delay in this chapter, multiple sickness at work had me working three 16 hour shifts in a row followed by a night shift. I HAVEN'T SLEPT IN 5 DAYS T_T. Anyway, it's here now. Plus it's double the length of the other chapters so far. You'll soon see why I couldn't split it ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The alcohol Crowley had drunk meant he’d gone out like a light when his head had hit his pillow. That was probably a good thing, considering as he’d staggered his way back down to his shared cabin his mind had been racing with all the things he should have said and done to make Aziraphale stay, marriage or no marriage. But he was instantly asleep the second he was horizontal. Sometimes, as part of that strange luck that followed him like the luck that got him the Titanic ticket, alcohol didn’t usually affect him too badly the following mornings. So, when waking up today with only a mild headache, a vague distant feeling of ill, and his mouth feeling like he’d eaten something that had since died, at least it was something he could cope with without feeling like he wanted to hibernate for a week.
After a long time refreshing himself in the communal bathing area down the hallway, he felt much more alive and was now alone in his cabin, his old clothes washed and dried and currently half way into dressing back into them, pulling his trousers up to his hips. Anathema’s borrowed clothing was still in a pile in the corner where he’d dumped them last night before collapsing into bed. The three he shared the room with had left at a reasonable time this morning while Crowley was still fast asleep and drooling. They hadn’t been partying all night. Or having romantic dilemmas to deal with.
Crowley absently rubbed one side of his head with a towel, his hair still dripping wet. His mind was completely distracted by thoughts of Aziraphale. He was still having an inner battle with himself over things that never happened last night. He kept replaying the whole night over and over, picturing himself kissing Aziraphale at a dozen different moments. Up on the deck, when Aziraphale had said he would wish for something he couldn’t have, Crowley was sweeping the angel into his arms and whispering back you can have me and kissing him passionately under the starlight.
He never realised he was such a romantic, and it made him grin to himself like an idiot.
But again, that battle. He could picture himself with Aziraphale as much as he wanted it didn’t change the fact the angel was getting married, that he was an angel and Crowley was a very lowly demon, and if they started something they’d be forced to finish…well, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to finish it. There was something so special about Aziraphale, he just wanted to spend more and more time with him.
There was a knock on the cabin door.
“’s open!” Crowley called out, picking up his shirt, before realising that no one was ever polite enough to knock down here.
The door opened very slowly, and blue eyes peeked around the corner.
Crowley dropped his shirt, “Aziraphale?!”
There was a very long delayed reaction from the angel. Aziraphale’s eyes dropped down over Crowley’s semi-naked form, taking in the fact that he was wearing nothing but his tight black trousers, low on the hip, and that water was still dripping from his long, red hair onto his bare chest. Crowley glanced down at himself when Aziraphale continued to just stare at him, the angels cheeks slowly reddening. Crowley couldn’t help but smirk.
“You can come in angel.” He said, and it was as though someone had turned the lights back on in Aziraphale’s brain and the angel blinked and opened the door further to walk through.
He coughed awkwardly, “I am sorry to intrude.”
Crowley was still smirking to himself as the door closed, “You’re not intruding. How did you know where I was?”
Aziraphale took a moment to look around the tiny room, the two sets of bunk beds and the fact there wasn’t even a porthole. There was barely enough room for two people to walk side by side. “Oh I erm, wandered around for a bit and then ran into Ligur, he said this was your…cabin. Is this really all they give you? And you have to share it with others?”
Crowley shrugged, “I wasn’t lying when I said it was the best I’d ever seen. Crowded sure but, clean.”
Aziraphale gave him a quick smile before looking away to the floor, that tell-tale sign of nervousness beginning as he worried his hands together in front of himself just like before.
When he didn't say anything further, Crowley began the conversation a new, “It’s err, good to see you again,” he said cautiously, “After the way we parted last night I thought maybe…” maybe that was it, I’d never see you again.
“I needed to ask you something,” Aziraphale said, the nervousness practically radiating off him, “something that is…well it’s very selfish on my part, and it’s not something that I have done before so please don’t think less of me, but…but I know I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try.” There was a pinkness rising to his cheeks again that was very noticeable.
“What is it?” Crowley asked quietly when it appeared Aziraphale was having trouble continuing.
The angel took one small, anxious step towards him, “Gabriel…he sai- forbad, for me to see you again.”
Another long pause. “And yet here you are.” Crowley said softly, again to break the silence as Aziraphale still struggled to get out what he wanted to say.
“Yes, here I am.” Aziraphale murmured, “He also said he wasn’t blind to…t-to…to…” he licked his lips, “you know this is very distracting.” he gestured vaguely to all of Crowley, a frowning pout on his lips that made a slow grin form on Crowley’s.
“Do you want me to finish getting dressed first?” he asked, gesturing to his shirt that had fallen onto his lower bunk bed.
Aziraphale looked from the bed to Crowley’s eyes, visibly swallowed, and then slowly shook his head, “No.”
It came out like a cracked whisper, and the sudden change in atmosphere at that one little word made Crowley’s heart beat faster. His grin faded as he looked at Aziraphale in a new, cautiously optimistic way.
“I wanted to ask you…” Aziraphale tried to start again, but sighed, closing his eyes at how difficult this was, “I’m getting married, that can’t change. But I’m marrying someone who…well who cannot stand me for who I am. I wanted…just once, I mean…I know- I hope, that you would want to do this and…” he took a deep breath and took another step closer, very close in front of Crowley now and looking right into his eyes.
Crowley was barely breathing.
“Crowley, I’m not blind either,” he said so softly, “and I don’t think you are. Yesterday was the best day I’d ever had. I have never been treated as nicely in my whole life than with you. I know that…I know that I look at you and, a-and I want…”
Crowley watched him, inching closer himself. Every micro expression every nervous stutter, the shallow breaths, those bright blue eyes yearning for the thing he was trying to articulate, “What are you trying to say Aziraphale?”
Oh he was hoping, he was yearning too…
“I’m saying that…that Gabriel will be back in a few hours and I must be there when he returns, but…if you want…b-because I want to…just, just right now, just with someone who actually… maybe, m-maybe the only time someone would want…me…….oh for heavens sake,” he berated himself, before standing tall and just simply stating as though closing a business deal; “I want to have an affair with you Crowley. Just once, just…right now. I-if you want…” he faltered at the end, and gazed up at Crowley with extraordinarily fearful eyes, not even breathing as he waited for Crowley’s response.
But Crowley had no response.
Crowley’s brain had shut down.
He stared at him. Wide, astonished eyes, hair still dripping, fingers twitching at his side. Did he…hear that correctly? Did Aziraphale just ask to…right now? Was he dreaming? He had to be, this had to be a drunken fantasy from last night he had to still be in bed, drooling away through this apparent dream of Aziraphale coming to his cabin and just blurting out that he wanted to…to…to have an affair with him?
His brain would just not restart, and he still did nothing but stare at him, not saying a word. The more silence went by the more Aziraphale started to falter, and those nervous hands resumed in front of him.
“I mean…w-well, perhaps I was wrong. Heh.” he dragged his eyes away from him, looking to the side, anywhere else, flushing now in embarrassment. He took a step back, and as he did a strange gurgle emitted from Crowley’s throat. “Silly really, I’m so sorry for embarrassing you I-I’ll just-hmpf!”
And Crowley was kissing him, deeply and powerfully, both hands grasping the back of the angels neck keeping his head tilted up as he ravished the lips he’d been so desperate to get at. Breathless moans escaped through his nose, so desperate and needy as he backed Aziraphale up against the door. Aziraphale had been caught so off guard he hadn’t reacted at all at first, just stared with huge shocked eyes at the blurry features of Crowley’s closed eyes as the demon attacked his lips. It didn’t take long though for his entire soul to be overcome with such joy he closed his eyes and opened himself completely to him. When he let Crowley’s tongue slide across his own Crowley could not control the involuntary snap of his hips against him and another desperate moan escaping at their bodies now tightly pressed together. One of Aziraphale’s hands wound its way into Crowley’s hair, grabbing handfuls of it frantically, his other arm wrapping around his back holding him as close as possible.
Aziraphale whimpered at the amazing kiss as they drew breath for just a second, and then he was being kissed again. And again, and again and again. Crowley’s tongue was like a wild beast all by itself, and everything it was doing was making Aziraphale’s own hardening want press against Crowley’s, which in turn made a deep moan vibrate up his throat at the feeling. That tongue would lick hungrily across his lips, then delve back in twirling around his own tongue and making Aziraphale undeniably weak at the knees. He clasped that red hair so tightly it must have been painful, but Crowley either didn’t care or was absolutely into it.
Incidentally, he was absolutely into it.
Aziraphale was being completely swept away and was in absolute heaven. He’d been planning and muttering to himself all the way down here exactly how he was going to ask Crowley to do this, but when it came down to it he hadn’t actually said anything he’d planned. Gabriel forbidding him to see him was just the clincher, that just once, just once in his life he wanted to feel loved, be loved, before he’d spend the rest of his life un-loved and un-touched. Un-wanted. He knew it was selfish, he knew it could only happen the once and then they’d have to part ways no matter what. But just for a little while, just for one fleeting moment in time, he wanted to pretend. He wanted know what it felt like so he could remember, he just wanted to feel.
He just wanted Crowley.
Crowley continued to kiss him senseless, his hands now releasing from his neck to tear away the angels bowtie and begin to fumble with the buttons of his waistcoat, not wanting to stop kissing him to see what he was doing. So Aziraphale helped. He hurriedly, if nervously, undid his own buttons, melting against the wall as Crowley now swiftly pulled out his shirt from where it was tucked into his trousers, finally releasing his lips and beginning to attack his neck. That devilish tongue licked hurriedly up the contours of his neck, then across his jaw line and finally curling around the lobe of his ear. Aziraphale was utterly helpless beneath him, murmuring something unintelligible and arching his neck, his head hitting back against the door as he arced his whole body into Crowley’s. He absently ran one hand down Crowley’s bare chest. One manicured nail just caught down over a nipple, and Crowley’s head dropped back down to his neck as he growled something feral against his skin.
Crowley was lost, utterly and completely lost. He was sure he didn’t have a brain cell left. He’d never imagined how ridiculously soft Aziraphale’s skin would be, but then what would one except from an elegant angel? He tasted so good, he smelt so good, Crowley was drunk and intoxicated all over again and not with alcohol. If Aziraphale wanted to have an affair then who was he to deny him? He knew he hadn’t been seeing things he knew the angel felt something between them. He wanted this, hell it’s all he’d wanted since he first saw him up on the top deck that day. To hold him, to love him, to ravish his entire body until he was a whimpering mess, heavens yes he wanted to do that. He wanted to make him cry out his name, he wanted to hear him growl it into his ear, he wanted to see his angel succumb to everything that made him feel good, to everything he deserved to have.
To everything he’d never get again.
Aziraphale shrugged out of his waistcoat and Crowley helped push his shirt over his shoulders, and suddenly it was Aziraphale who was tugging at the waistband of Crowley’s now quite uncomfortable trousers. It made Crowley let out another feral growl against his neck, before capturing those soft lips again and burying his hands into those curls. This angel made him crazy, everything he did just made Crowley want to kiss every inch of him. And now given the chance, that was exactly what he was going to do.
Aziraphale was now struggling with just how bloody tight Crowley’s trousers really were, and he found himself giggling into their kiss, “I can’t…” he managed to get out, tugging fruitlessly at the hem, before he felt Crowley grin against his lips and move to take them down himself.
“How did you even get into those?” Aziraphale teased breathlessly, but the question was put out of his mind as Crowley kicked them aside, and now stood there before him completely naked.
Crowley knew that sometimes, in the past with the few lovers he’d had, that the first time was always a little nervous for him. He never knew who to trust, if he’d wake up with his few meagre possessions stolen, or if he was just being used, to be the dirty little demon secret to the one and only other angel he’d ever slept with. Both of those things had happened before. But this time it was weird how this didn’t feel strange at all. There was no nervousness, no unsure thoughts. The only thought in his head was how right this felt, how he wanted this more than anything, and how even standing here completely naked in front of an angel he’d not even known for two full days felt more right than anything in his life. All he wanted was to take Aziraphale back in his arms and kiss him until he made those delectable little noises again.
Aziraphale had already been blushing at all the attention, but he blushed even deeper now seeing the demon naked before him. He didn’t know where to look, eyes flickering everywhere, almost his entire face going red when he made himself pay attention to exactly how much Crowley appeared to be attracted to him. It was difficult, after hearing so many times from Gabriel and his own mother, that he was too fat, needed to lose weight, get in that gym. He was so used to be undesirable and unwanted, to be made a mockery of by those who should care for him, so to be standing here like this even with his trousers still on, it felt so open, and it was taking every effort not run. He had more clothes on than Crowley but it felt like he was the one who was naked. Crowley’s eyes looked over him, his chest with the light dusting of platinum hair, and his cake-loving belly that protruded a bit down over his belt. That golden stare made his hands twitch wanting to hold each other in nerves again. But he resisted. He wanted this, he’d come here for this. Crowley wouldn’t make a mockery of him. Crowley wasn’t like that. Crowley had tried to kiss him several times already it's not like he hadn't noticed.
Crowley was absolutely gorgeous and it was making his mouth water, though he didn’t show that.
With the sudden nervous skittish look on Aziraphale’s face though it was plainly obvious to Crowley that it was just hitting Aziraphale exactly what they were doing. So Crowley reached out and gently cupped his cheek with one hand, his thumb rubbing lightly over his skin.
“You absolutely sure you want to do this?” he asked softly.
Aziraphale gazed at him, really watching his eyes, and then nodded.
“Just the once.” He whispered, “Just…” he blushed, but suddenly looked so sad, “…love me. Please.”
All the hope and want poured into that one little please made Crowley feel as though his entire heart was both breaking and swelling simultaneously. He cradled Aziraphale’s head in his hands so gently before kissing him so tenderly, one hand trailing down his arm to cup his elbow. Aziraphale let out one tiny delicious moan, kissing him back slowly, his hands not knowing what to do before both coming to rest on Crowley’s hips, his fingertips pressing into his skin.
“I’ll love you as much as you want.” Crowley whispered against his lips, and Aziraphale had to swallow down the emotion that rose in his throat at hearing that.
So Crowley did as he said. He took his hand and guided him over to his lower bunk, Aziraphale laying on his back while Crowley carefully crawled on top of him. He lay between Aziraphale’s legs, which just made the angel flush prettily at having to open them for him to lie between, before capturing his lips once more. Crowley melted on top of him. Aziraphale was just so warm and comfortable. He began to kiss across his cheek, feather light touches down his jaw and neck again, flicking his tongue out to leave wet trails as he moved down across his chest. Aziraphale had his eyes closed, breathing shallow, one hand just resting on Crowley’s shoulder letting himself be whisked away in pleasure. Crowley flicked his tongue against one soft little pink nipple, and the restrained little gasp Aziraphale let out made Crowley moan around it. He sucked on it lightly as one hand palmed its way across his shoulder, down his chest and over the other nipple, Aziraphale practically mewling beneath him.
The angel was so sensitive, and it was only then Crowley remembered something he had said yesterday. Something about an angel code, basically no sex before marriage. Was this going to be his first time? Had he even been kissed before!? Had that been his first kiss too? Somehow he didn't believe that was his first kiss, after all something about Aziraphale did say rebellion quite alot. But those were the thoughts that ran through Crowley’s mind as he kissed his way further down, onto that lovely belly where he placed another small kiss just above his navel then peered up to his angel, placing his cheek down on the soft mound.
“You’re adorable, Aziraphale.” Crowley breathed against his stomach, smiling so sweetly up at him.
He knew he was totally besotted and didn’t care.
Aziraphale was obviously lost to these little pleasures already, but he managed to peer down at him and give him a small bashful smile, and it made Crowley’s heart jump. He leaned up to kiss him again, slow but hungry, stroking his fingers down the side of his face before repeating all those travelling kisses again, roaming back down his neck and his chest and Aziraphale just letting out shaky breaths and tiny little gasping moans. Aziraphale’s hands drifted over Crowley’s back, running through his hair, a small scrape of fingernails when Crowley nipped at his other nipple, a groan rising up deep from his chest.
Crowley then knelt back, and Aziraphale peered down at him again and watched with an ever growing blush as the demon slowly undid the belt of his trousers, slid them apart, and hooked his fingers under the hem of the trousers to pull them down. Aziraphale swallowed hard and couldn’t watch anymore, but raised his own hips a little to help Crowley pull them down and off him entirely. Crowley couldn’t hide the grin at the sock suspenders, and pulled them off too.
Aziraphale was now completely naked below him, and how anyone could want him to change Crowley just didn’t understand.
“Mmm?” came the strangle sound, for Aziraphale was now covering his face with his hands, knowing he was so hard already and now extremely embarrassed. Crowley grinned at him. He’d let him hide for now if that’s what he wanted, but Crowley was going to tear his senses apart, he promised.
“You’re perfect, angel.”
“Ohh,” came that hidden sound again, “Crowley…” He still didn’t move his hands, but Crowley could hear the emotion in his voice, so he leant back down to place a kiss on his belly again before once more moving further down.
One hand palmed across a thick thigh while he kissed down the other, nipping softly at the sensitive skin there and deliberately avoiding that one area that wanted to be touched. They may not have long to do this but Aziraphale wanted to be loved, so he was going to make him feel it, everywhere.
Crowley kissed and touched and loved every part of him, working over his body like one of his drawings, meticulous attention paid to every detail, from his forehead right down to his toes. Aziraphale flushed with embarrassment the whole time, but the more Crowley loved him the less embarrassed he became, and the more wanton and aching his moans came to be. Crowley continuously murmured words of adoration against his skin, and it was absolute blissful ecstasy. He massaged across every muscle, across every soft bit of flesh, lacing his fingers with Aziraphale’s at one point and bringing them to his lips, kissing each finger.
All this attention was turning maddening for Aziraphale. His whole body was aflame, his hands alternated between gripping the bed sheets beneath him, hiding his face and running them through his demons hair. Crowley was now licking agonising slowly back up his inner thigh again, nose just parting the very edges of the hoarse curls at his groin, but never ever touching the now full aching cock that so desperately wanted just as much attention.
Those short gasps and groans were starting to fall from Aziraphale’s lips constantly now.
“Please what?” Crowley teased, licking up around his navel.
Aziraphale swallowed heavily, “Please.” He emphasised, but wouldn’t say the words.
Crowley felt Aziraphale’s hands in his hair again, and couldn’t help but grin against his soft skin at the not so subtle little tug to try and get him to go down further again.
“Oh, that. “ Crowley said, feigning ignorance, and tried very hard to hold back the laugh at Aziraphale’s blushing glare.
“You demon you.” Aziraphale breathed, but the fast rise and fall of his chest and the fact the blue of his eyes were now only a ring, blown wide by the constant pleasure said demon was giving him, there wasn’t the slightly bit of malice in those words.
Aziraphale's head soon fell back against the pillow anyway, accompanied with an unashamedly loud groan when Crowley finally, finally, wrapped his hand around Aziraphale’s now dripping cock, and gave it one long lick from root to tip. Crowley closed his eyes and licked and kissed around it, a part of him somewhere still believing this had to be a dream. He held the base of it as his lips pushed down over the top, taking him in, his tongue flat and warm and wet against the underside. Aziraphale’s hand tightened so much in Crowley’s hair he actually winced.
“Gggguuh, uh…ohh, Crowwwley…”
Oh god what a groan that was! Crowley could feel his own aching, untouched hardness twitch desperately at the sound of his name being said like that. He couldn’t help his own groan at hearing it, but with his mouth still around Aziraphale’s cock the vibration went right through it and Aziraphale’s hips snapped upwards. Crowley had to hold them down with his other hand as the angel bit the back of his hand to try and stop the gurgling gasp of pleasure that escaped him. Crowley took him in again, lavishly slow, then again and again, and now Aziraphale’s whole body was trembling. The back of his arm was now thrown across his eyes, panting heavily, so embarrassed at the blissed out state he’d been reduced to.
Aziraphale was so beautiful, but Crowley knew he just didn’t seem to realise it. Crowley wanted to show him how amazing he was, wanted to prove to every bit of skin that it was worthy of love. If this was all Aziraphale would be allowed to have, he was going to make sure he remembered it.
Which is why he now stopped paying attention to his cock. He didn’t want this to end too soon, despite Aziraphale’s despairing adorable whine when he placed one last kiss on the tip and moved back up his body instead. Aziraphale found himself blushing deeply at the taste of himself on Crowley’s tongue as they kissed once again, and as they did Crowley realised that his cock was aligned with Aziraphale’s. He let out a deep groan into the kiss as he thrust forward just a little bit, feeling the glorious friction between them. Aziraphale gasped into the kiss, and then delved his tongue into Crowley's mouth so deeply, kissing him like he was starving, wrapping his arms around his shoulders keeping him close and absently widening his legs just that little bit more. Crowley did it again, and this time the moan from Aziraphale was accompanied by a very courageous hand that flew down Crowley’s back and grabbed one cheek of his arse, digging his fingers in and pulling his groin towards him even more. It seemed Aziraphale liked this. Crowley let out an almost aggressive growl at the bold move and mashed their lips together, finding themselves rocking against each other faster.
“ ’ziraphale…” Crowley panted against his lips, and despite what he’d just said about slowing things down and making it last, he found his hand going down between them, grasping their cocks together and sliding his hand up and down them both.
Aziraphale threw his head back with a gasping moan, his legs bending and raising up either side of Crowley, sandwiching him between them.
“Uhhhh Crowley, I wah…w-want you.”
The second he said it his hand flew up to cover his mouth, as if to try and hide the naughty admitted desire from view. He blushed furiously all the way down to his chest, but was also so turned on it made the way he was looking up at Crowley through dark, heavy lidded eyes the most erotic thing Crowley had ever seen or heard. It was such a normal thing for someone to say while having sex, but coming from Aziraphale…
“Oh God angel,” Crowley breathed desperately, quickly removing Aziraphale’s hand and kissing him hard, pouring into him every bit of adoration he could, “I want you too, so much.”
He didn’t need to be told twice. Crowley reached down over the edge of the bed to his bag underneath. Somewhere in there he kept a little tub of petroleum jelly for sores from walking the streets so much, and of course for this current other use for it. By the time he found it Aziraphale was panting at the anticipation, watching through those dark eyes as Crowley dipped his fingers into the small pot. Crowley then leant back down, capturing the angels lips in a slow, sensual kiss as his hand disappeared between them.
Aziraphale gasped almost daintily at the first touch. Crowley encircled his entrance softly, teasing it, making sure Aziraphale really was ready for this. He began to place soft little kisses across Aziraphale’s cheeks to distract him, and then took his lips again to swallow that first moan as he pushed one finger inside. He moved it slowly, Aziraphale still blushing so much and only more, and it was both the most adorable and hottest expression Crowley had seen on his face. Crowley’s name kept falling from the angels lips in tiny little mewls as he wriggled underneath him, getting used to the wonderful if strange sensation.
“You okay?” Crowley asked, his voice beginning to sound hoarse and lustful.
“Mmmhmm.” Aziraphale replied, eyes tightly closed.
Crowley wanted to give him all the pleasure, and as he felt Aziraphale begin to relax he added a second finger, and suddenly Aziraphale’s arms flew around his neck and was kissing his demon hard, his legs falling wider still at the touch. The kiss was sloppy and wet and absolutely delicious, and then while panting against Crowley’s lips Aziraphale bravely kept eye contact as he reached down between them to cautiously grasp Crowley’s own cock. Crowley shuddered and growled deeply at the touch, the first touch from his angel. Aziraphale was looking at him like he wanted approval, that doing this sinful thing was right, and Crowley gave him a warm, breathless smile, before licking across Aziraphale’s lips and melting into another kiss.
He trailed equally wet and sloppy kisses down his neck as he added a third finger, moving them as one gently stretching and preparing. As he did Aziraphale’s light touch on his cock tightened considerably. He began to pump it, nervous but determined, and Crowley could feel his own blush spreading across his face as he moaned his angels name into his neck.
He began curling his fingers inside him, reaching for the sweet spot that he knew was there, and deliberately looked up at the reaction on Aziraphale’s face as he brushed against those nerves. Aziraphale’s eyes rolled, fluttering closed as his head fell back, the tiniest guarded moan escaping him. He did it again, and this time both Aziraphale’s hands flew to grab onto Crowley’s upper arm, gripping them tightly.
“How does that feel, angel?”
He did it again.
“Ohh, uh, hgn, Cro-…”
He then just panted erratically. It seemed he’d been reduced to one syllable nonsense, which was a very good sign.
“You ready?” Crowley breathed against his lips, his own golden eyes dark and shameless, kissing the side of his mouth as he brushed that spot once last time.
Aziraphale’s hips now bucked up into him, and incapable of words due to both overwhelming pleasure and ridiculous embarrassment, Aziraphale just nodded. Vigorously. Crowley’s own breaths were becoming erratic at the prospect of what was happening, and he hurriedly sat back on his knees, ducking slightly from the low bunk bed above him, pulling the back of Aziraphale’s thighs on top of his own to get a good angle. Aziraphale let himself be manhandled, head turned to one side, watching through the corners of his eyes as Crowley dipped his fingers back into the pot to slide down over his own cock.
“Crowley?” the name barely came out as a whisper, and Crowley looked up at him, “I…” his chest was heaving, “I do want you. Very much. I want to do this with you.” This time he didn’t try to hide his mouth. This time he fought back the embarrassment. This time he remained gazing, unbroken, at the demon that was making love to him.
And Crowley’s entire body flooded with heat at that loving stare.
He was suddenly at a loss for words. He couldn’t think what to say to that, but inwardly he was screaming yes, yes yes a thousand times I want to do this with you, a thousand times I want to be with you, for a thousand years I want to love you. They hadn't even had sex yet but Crowley had never felt this way before and in his heart, in his heart he knew he'd never find anyone better than Aziraphale. He wanted to be with him, in every sense of the phrase, so much so that it made him physically ache to not be kissing him.
“Angel…” was all he could manage, then without hesitating for a moment longer Crowley tore his gaze away from that beautiful face and positioned himself carefully.
The head of his cock pushed gently at the entrance, testing, looking back to that pleasure filled face to make sure one last time that Aziraphale really was okay. He moved carefully back over him, wanting to be closer, bringing Aziraphale’s legs with him bent at the knees, before very slowly pushing forward. As he slid inside Aziraphale’s eyes fluttered closed again, head back against the pillow, a long, drawn out continuous groan as Crowley carefully slid all the way in. Crowley had to rest his forehead against Aziraphale’s shoulder, suddenly panting so much, the heat and the tightness and the fact this was even just happening with his angel just….overwhelming him.
“Are you okay my dear?” he heard his angel ask breathlessly, and he couldn’t help the adoring grin against his shoulder.
“Am I okay?” Crowley repeated, raising his head, one hand brushing through those pearl coloured curls, “I am far better than okay.” He then kissed him. So softly. So tenderly.
So much in love.
He began to move. Slowly at first, finding a rhythm that made the best little adorable grunts and gasps escape Aziraphale. His head was still thrown back, which gave Crowley access to that delectable neck. He suckled at patches of skin there wanting nothing more than to bite down, to leave his mark, show the world this angel didn’t belong with his peers. But he didn't. He didn't want to get his angel in trouble.
He rocked gently back and forth, sliding so softly but so deeply inside him, again and again.
“Uh…ohh… oh Crowley…oh Crowley…” Aziraphale’s arms wrapped around his shoulders, keeping him in kissing distance as their tongues lapped at each other, so much longing and need between them, swallowing each other’s passionate moans.
The longer they moved together, the more desperate those noises became. Aziraphale was blushing so deeply every time Crowley’s cock moved against his prostrate. Most words were no longer part of his vocabulary, and he clasped onto Crowley like his life depended on it. He could hear himself pleading, frantic pleas for more, and he was so lost to it all he couldn’t even register the embarrassment of them. He just wanted Crowley so much. His body was being torn apart by pleasure and there was nothing he wanted to do than just succumb to even more of it.
The speed was quickening. Crowley bent his own knees wider to get a better angle, thrusting deeper inside him, faster and more erratic, spurred on by Aziraphale’s pleas. He murmured angel into their kisses over and over again, each time more and more frantic. His long hair fell around them like a curtain of red, their whole world comprising of just each other. Aziraphale was helpless beneath him, letting his demon fuck him completely, because that’s what this was. He was being fucked, maddeningly so, and by heavens he never wanted him to stop. His fingernails scrapped down his back, his own cock was trapped between them feeling every thrust and every bit of heat, the unashamed drawn out groans grew more and more desperate, his whole body was saturated with sensation!
He couldn’t take it, it felt so good, so good.
Suddenly he cradled the back of Crowley’s head, pushing it down so Crowley’s face was buried at his shoulder, keeping him there as Crowley groaned deeply fucking him harder, Aziraphale clasping to him so tightly.
Aziraphale needed to keep him there so he couldn’t see, couldn’t see the tears that were suddenly leaking from his eyes. He was so overcome with pleasure, so overcome with feeling so loved and wanted and then suddenly one tiny little unwanted thought had come to the surface. That this was it. This was the only time he’d ever feel this way. That never would he feel this heat, this pure unadulterated want from this gorgeous demon ever again.
He’d be alone, forever, after this. With a man who’d rather frighten him into submission than say a kind word to him.
With his emotions so high he’d just started crying without even realising, tears falling from the corners of his eyes as he whimpered, almost sobbed, so full of desire and love, so desperate to keep this demon close to him, and so desperately turned on all at once. It was every kind of emotion all rising up in him together and it was ripping through him like tidal wave. Crowley was oblivious to all of it, just as Aziraphale wanted. Feeling those lovely hands grasping at his hair, keeping him pressed in against his neck, it was a forceful, erotic move, and he could feel that pulsing heat inside him building up fast.
“Angel,” he panted urgently against his neck, “I’m com-…I’m coming. I can’t…I want you so much…”
“Yes…” Aziraphale gasped, biting the shell of Crowley's ear and clawing at the back of his neck and into his hair.
“Uhhhhh uhh ohhh!” Crowley pounded into him, letting himself go completely, the bed creaking like crazy. One hand was buried in Aziraphale’s curls, the other hooked up around his knee pining it back further, his eyes rolling behind closed eyelids at how fucking fantastic this felt.
Aziraphale was crying out in ecstasy on almost every thrust, letting himself be taken so hard, so greedily, wanting to feel possessed by this demon. He then pulled Crowley’s head back up, because tears or no tears he wanted to kiss him like he’d never get to kiss him again.
Which he wouldn’t.
He didn’t give him time to see the tears, he just pulled his head down, their lips meeting, more frenzied grunting moans than actual kissing. Crowley’s eyes then screwed up tight as he began panting incoherently, capturing Aziraphale’s lips letting out a deep, long frantic groan into his mouth as he felt that coiled heat finally release and he came hard, still pumping deep inside him. Without skipping a beat took hold of Aziraphale’s cock between them and began to pump it to help him reach the edge, but Aziraphale was already there. He could feel Crowley’s cock pulsing inside him and oh god that was it, and barely two strokes in and Aziraphale was clutching onto his demon, head thrown back and mouth agape in a silent cry as he shuddered his release between them, taking in deep desperate gasps for air.
Crowley’s head dropped back down to Aziraphale’s neck, hot breath panting against his skin. He stayed there for a moment, relishing in the heat and the afterglow, before pressing a kiss to his shoulder as he carefully pulled out, his racing heart trying to slow to normal. He began to kiss back up his jawline, Aziraphale’s own panting breaths gradually slowing, but found his lips were pressing against something wet as he kissed up across his cheek to the side of his eye. He looked down at him properly, and carefully wiped away a stray tear with his thumb.
“You alright?” he asked with the most charming smile, thinking the tear was just a by-product of what they were doing, like it was for other people.
Aziraphale just nodded, a bashful little smile returning to his lips. He wasn’t going to tell Crowley what had overcome him, just like he’d never tell him what Gabriel had done this morning. Some things would ruin a moment, and this moment was perfect.
Crowley smiled at him, and kissed him again so sweetly, savouring the moment of come down. After a while, when the kisses became lazy and soft and they were still entangled in each other’s bodies, Crowley reached over to the towel he’d been using to dry his hair with and wiped themselves down. He then bundled Aziraphale in his arms pulling him over to him as he lay on his back, clutching onto him tightly. Aziraphale’s head rested against his shoulder tucked under his chin, and Crowley nosed through his platinum curls and placed a kiss to his temple.
Just as he imagined, Aziraphale was so perfect to cuddle with. His whole body melded against Crowley’s like it was meant to be there, and Crowley found his heart fluttering in his chest. He could hold him here just like this forever.
Aziraphale’s hand was resting on Crowley’s chest, and he curled his fingers against it, “That was amazing, Crowley.” He whispered, before placing a kiss of his own against his chest, which was so cute it wasn’t helping to calm Crowley’s heart rate at all. “Thank you.”
And then there was the thank you. How could two such normal polite words sound so…final. Thank you. Thank you for loving me for no one else ever will again. No, no it wasn’t time to be thinking about that, Crowley didn’t like the direction that thank you was taking them already it was far too soon, he was still breathing heavily from the best sex with the best person he’d ever had.
You’re welcome. You’re welcome?!?!! What was wrong with him?! He needed to change the subject fast, he was too contented and spent and cuddly to deal with any of the reality that was rapidly approaching them.
“So err…” Crowley tried again, breaking into the silence keeping that reality at bay for a little bit longer, “…where did you learn to dance the gavotte anyway?”
A small chuckle vibrated on his chest.
“At a gentlemen’s dancing club in Portland Place.”
Crowley blinked, “Portland Place? London’s Portland Place?”
Crowley was then quickly shuffling down, still holding Aziraphale in his arms but making it so they were lying face to face. Aziraphale didn’t know why he was suddenly moving but smiled at him anyway, his hand now coming to rest on Crowley’s cheek instead, stroking it softly.
“You’re kidding!” Crowley exclaimed delightfully, “Every demon in London knew what that place was all about, and it certainly wasn’t dancing!” He had such a grin on his face, eyes sparkling with this sudden amusing little titbit of news.
“It was a dancing club!” Aziraphale argued, still smiling though.
“It wasn’t just a dancing club though was it? Come on it was the only place in London demons got to make fun of angels for not being so angelic after all. We all knew what you got up to in there.”
Aziraphale blinked at him, looking all too innocent, before Crowley was sure he saw a small smirk suddenly and desperately trying not to show itself on the angels lips, “Okay, well… perhaps it wasn’t only a dancing club.” Aziraphale admitted with a little sparkle of his own in his eyes, the smirk making its way through, “So perhaps there were some…back rooms, shall we say. But I did never anything you’re thinking of, there’s a strict angel code remember? No intimate relations before marriage. And besides a little bit of harmless flirting never hurt anyone.”
Crowley wasn’t going to point out they were both naked still recovering from what would most definitely be considered intimate relations.
“Yeah but, you didn’t just flirt did you? Not you.”
He loved how well he knew Aziraphale already, and the angel succumbed to another hidden smile, “One never tells.”
“Oh doesn’t one?” Crowley grinned, before leaning over and kissing him, the grin still on his lips, “I think you were a naughty angel.” He teased.
“I’m never naughty I just…bend the rules a little.” He teased right back.
Crowley knew Aziraphale wasn’t anywhere close to being as innocent as he seemed. That’s what he loved about him, there was always a surprise hiding under the surface of this well spoken, dessert loving angel. He wasn’t like the others, he really had been mailed to the wrong address. There was a delightful spark about him that made Crowley crave his attention constantly.
But the moment was coming to an end. Reality was catching up fast. The wonderful mischievous smile on Aziraphale’s lips was fading, and his hand brushed back a few strands of red hair that had fallen over Crowley’s eyes. He looked at him so solemnly, and released a small sigh.
“I should go.” He whispered.
No. Crowley wasn’t ready. He wanted longer. He needed longer.
“Do you have to?” he whispered back, his throat tightening already.
“Gabriel will be back soon, I must be there.” He leant forward and placed a small, chaste kiss to Crowley’s lips, “I’m sorry my dear.”
As though it was the hardest thing to do Aziraphale pushed himself away from Crowley’s safe, warm embrace, and with the world on his shoulders he stood up from the bed, bending down to pick up his clothes that were piled against the door where they’d been torn off him in that hurried frenzy of sexual need. His legs ached a lot, they hadn’t been used to being in that position.
“Don’t marry him.” The words were out of Crowley’s mouth before he could stop them. Not that he would have. He sat at the edge of the bed watching Aziraphale dress, his expression so forlorn. This wasn’t enough, he didn’t want to let him go already he didn’t want to watch him walk away. Not again, and not after this.
Aziraphale just gazed back at him just as dejectedly, having already dressed in his trousers and now making his way into his shirt, “I have to Crowley.”
“But it’s not fair.” Crowley stated, standing up and coming up behind Aziraphale as he fixed his bowtie back around his neck, wrapping his arms around him and holding him close, “You should be with me.” He whispered timidly against his ear.
Aziraphale closed his eyes tight, feeling that overwhelming emotion riding up in him again. He swallowed it down. “But I can’t. No matter how much…” He didn’t finish his sentence, and he took a calming breath instead, placing his hand over Crowley’s before turning where he stood to face him. “You’ve been so wonderful to me Crowley. You’ll be my happy memory, one I can look back on and… and always know there was someone out there who cared for me.”
“Don’t go.” Crowley said quietly. It was all he could think to say, he was panicking, and his mind wouldn’t work to think up anything convincing to get Aziraphale to change the entire course of his life, “I don’t want to just be a memory. Don’t go angel, please.”
“I must. You know this was only to be the once.” Aziraphale said so miserably, his heart on his sleeve, cupping Crowley’s cheek and hating to see the sadness reflected in those golden eyes.
“I know but...” Crowley placed his hand over Aziraphale’s, turning it down to his lips where he kissed his palm, “What if I don’t want it to be just once? What if I want it for always?” he whispered against it.
“Oh Crowley.” Aziraphale said so sorrowfully, unable to fight the little blush at the romantic gesture despite the overwhelming sadness that was raining down on them both, “Please don’t make this harder than it already is. This can never happen again I can’t…I can’t see you again. This was it, nothing more. We can’t see each other again it’d be too hard to give you up.”
“Then don’t give me up!”
“Crowley…” It was a desperate exasperated tone, Aziraphale backing away from him, torn between his desire to be with him and the knowledge that he couldn’t. He quickly picked up his waistcoat from the floor and held it to his chest with both hands like a barrier, “We have to say goodbye.” His voice was constricted, sounding on the verge of tears, and all Crowley could think to do was reach out for him, but Aziraphale flinched away. He looked up at him with a heart broken expression, his blue eyes wide and tearful and bottom lip trembling, “Goodbye Crowley, I’m sorry.”
“No…” Crowley whispered, his own golden eyes beginning to sparkle with tears, “Angel no, please…I can’t say goodbye.”
Aziraphale tore his gaze away, unable to trust himself to say anything else and quickly opened the door. “I’m sorry!” he repeated, his voice cracking as he ran out into the corridor.
Crowley ran through the door after him but didn’t follow, just watched him hurriedly pushing past the people down the bustling corridor. He knew they'd be no point in following, not yet, everything was too raw and painful and besides, Gabriel would be there.
“I’ll come and find you again!” Crowley called out after him. He didn’t know if he’d heard or not though, for the crowd was noisy and Aziraphale was disappearing around a corner.
And suddenly he was gone again, just like last night.
"I'm not giving up on you." he whispered to himself.
Crowley had his answer now, about what he was thinking about this morning. If they started something they would be forced to give up, would he really be able to?
The answer was a resounding no.
He would never give up on Aziraphale.
Just then Beelzebub, the tiny little young man that had a fly or two always buzzing around him, walked up to Crowley. He looked him up and down with no expression whatsoever.
“You know you’re naked right?” He stated, before pushing past him into their shared cabin.
This chapter had me looking up at what point petroleum jelly was invented. Turns out it was 1872. You can take that information and run with it my little ficlings.
Also for those who have seen the film (cos i know some of you haven't), you will realise I deviated ALOT from the film in this chapter, but hey if i stuck to it exactly they'd only have sex the once and pfft, that ain't gonna happen in this fic! ;)
The guard on the deck was holding his duty fast. No one was getting past him. The one on the lower entrance up towards the grand golden staircase however was currently very distracted, trying to deal with a crying demon who couldn’t find her child. Crowley took advantage of the situation and slipped through the barred gate between the angel and demon decks, and was now hurrying along up the thin staircase with the plan of getting to the dining hall.
Crowley’s initial thought of not following Aziraphale because it was all too soon, and that so much had happened between them in such a short period of time that the angel would need to process what he really wanted…well, that had lasted till lunch. Beelzebub had kicked him out of their room after only ten minutes, having been driving the little demon up the wall simply saying to him I can hear your brain!! So Crowley had grabbed his bag (after finally getting dressed) and found a secluded little section on the deck at the very front of the ship. No one else was around, so he settled down with his back to the bow and took out his sketch pad. His fingers itched, his brain itched, he needed to sort out his own emotions before tackling Aziraphale’s, and the best way for him to do that was to draw.
His hands didn’t stop for a second. He drew and drew and drew, pages flipping over and over for a fresh picture. There was only one certain angel he was drawing. His mind raced with all questions, all scenarios, and eventually a little plan began to unfold. It wasn’t necessarily a good plan, in fact…it might scare Aziraphale away, but…desperate times and all. He paid particular detail to the final picture, wrote the short few words he’d just thought of in the corner (all part of the plan), and then ripped out all the other drawings he’d done yesterday and before that and threw them overboard the ship. They fluttered in the wind, spreading out for quite a distance as the ship steamed through them, before slowly falling to the water and getting lost in the waves. Crowley them dumped what remained of his sketchbook back in his bag and headed for the angel deck.
It really was happening all so quickly, but Crowley had been around long enough to realise that what he felt for Aziraphale, even after only two days, was something magnificent, something precious. He did not want to lose it, and he was not giving up on him. He had to tell Aziraphale how he felt, truly how he felt. He needed him to know so he could decide properly, not a hurried guilty rush like it was this morning.
That had been a fearful goodbye. Crowley would not accept a fearful goodbye.
Which was how he now found himself running up to the glass doored entranceway to the reception area before the dining hall. He figured the angels must have lunch here as well as dinner so hoped if he could corner Aziraphale away from Gabriel just for a few moments, get out what he wanted to say…
As he went to hurry through the doors however the two stewards standing either side turned to block him, placing their arms out in front of them to stop him.
“Hey you’re not supposed to be here demon. How did you even get up here?”
“I was here last night, don’t you remember?” Crowley said, distracted, trying to see past them to the reception area inside, a few angels mingling together. “Look just let me in I need to speak to one of them.” He couldn’t see Aziraphale, but he could be in the dining hall already.
“You’re not getting in here get back!” One of the stewards pushed back against his shoulder, and Crowley finally looked to him, glaring.
“Hey, don’t touch the jacket! I was here last night! You were here last night you held the door open as I walked through!”
The stewards shared a laugh with each other, “Yeah right, no demon gets in here now back off before I call security!”
Crowley stared at them. His borrowed angel clothing must have been really good that he wasn’t recognisable at all! But this was going to be a pain now. He continued to argue with them for a moment longer until he saw one of Gabriel’s little gang walking past some distance behind them. He tried to remember the name Aziraphale had told him, and he pointed him out to the stewards. It was a long shot, but it was all he had.
“Look he’ll tell you…Ssssandelwood?”
Sandalphon was running an errand for Gabriel when he saw the commotion at the doors. When he saw who was making the commotion, a devious, unattractive smile grew on his lips, and he walked over to them.
The stewards stepped aside to let him talk to him face to face.
“Crowley, and look I just need to-“
“Gabriel continues to be most appreciative of your assistance in saving his fiancés life, and asked me to give you this in further gratitude.”
He reached into his pocket and brought out one twenty dollar bill, waving it in front of Crowley’s face in a childish manner that would suggest he’d rip it away and laugh if Crowley actually went to take it.
Crowley’s glare deepened, and he batted his hand away, “I don’t want your money I just-“
“Gabriel would also like to remind you that you are a demon, and your presence here amongst your betters is no longer appropriate. You got a free meal, what more could you possibly want?”
Crowley gritted his teeth, trying to remain calm, “I want, to speak, to Aziraphale. Would you please be so kind as to point out where he is?”
Sandalphon just grinned that horrible grin, and leaned in closer to whisper, “Aziraphale is an angel. And you? You’re nothing.” He stepped back, and without taking his eyes off Crowley handed the twenty dollar bill to one of the stewards, “Gentlemen, please see that this demon gets back to the filth where he belongs.”
“Yes sir!” they said in unison, before each grabbing one of Crowley’s arms and forcing him backwards.
“Hey fuck off let go of me!!” he struggled against them, but their grip was firm.
“If we see you here again I’ll have you arrested!” Sandalphon delightfully called out to him as he was dragged away.
Aziraphale slowly sipped a glass of water, staring down pitifully at the tiny salad on his plate that Gabriel had chosen for him. He’d managed to get back to their cabin in time before Gabriel had returned, and had been feeling a wonderful sense of rebellion for a little while, knowing what he’d just done with Crowley and Gabriel having no idea about it. It didn’t last very long though. Gabriel had the amazing talent of sucking the life out of him, and he soon found himself zoning out again as Gabriel started going on and on about…well, Aziraphale honestly wasn’t listening. Something about convincing the Captain to light the final boilers to get the ship moving faster, so they could get to New York quicker. Great. That meant they’d get married quicker. Gabriel must really want his families contacts.
His mind began to wander back to Crowley, and he could feel his face relaxing into a little far off smile, and if Gabriel noticed any change he didn’t say anything, just continued to rattle on. He smiled but, he hated, hated how he’d left this morning. He’d been so scared of what he was feeling, so scared of what would happen if he wasn’t there when Gabriel returned, so scared at how easy it would have been to stay right there in that bed, curled against his demon, happy and contented and never wanting to leave.
Aziraphale made himself snap out of it. He needed to stop thinking about Crowley. It was one time only, a little mutiny against Gabriel, and no matter how amazing it had been, no matter how much he’d wanted to cling to Crowley and never let go, no matter how much the demon had made him feel like the most important person in the world…he had no choice but to run.
It would have been too easy to stay.
Crowley made him feel everything he’d ever wanted to feel, and everything he was denied to feel. He was like an ice cream being waved in his face, the most delicious, mouth-watering, favourite flavour ice cream there ever was, but it was Gabriel that was making him say no to it. It isn’t what he felt, it isn’t what he wanted to say. Crowley needed to find someone else, someone better, someone without all this baggage, someone…Aziraphale sighed to himself, someone with a backbone.
He looked over to Gabriel where they sat having lunch in the dining hall, watching as Sandalphon approached him, whispering something in his ear. Whatever was said made Gabriel smile, that cold smile that made Aziraphale shrink whenever it was directed at himself. Gabriel glanced over to at Aziraphale, the smile remaining, and thanked Sandalphon.
“So, Aziraphale,” Gabriel began, setting up a nice mouthful of the beef wellington in front of him on his fork, “that demon of yours has just tried to get in here to see you.” He ate the food on his fork, chewing slowly, still staring at him calmly. He didn’t say another word.
He didn’t have to.
“I’m sure it was an honest mistake.” Aziraphale said quietly, forcing a small smile on his face.
“It’s a demon,” said Gabriel with a small chuckle “it wouldn’t know honest if it was slapped in the face with it.”
The angels around the table laughed, and Aziraphale looked back down to his salad, not wanting a single bite of it. No one he knew was at the table. It seemed after last nights dinner Gabriel made sure that Aziraphale had no friends nearby.
“I find demons are very much like dogs,” said an angel sitting beside Gabriel, who Aziraphale now knew was named Mr Dowling, and was the one Gabriel had made business connections with yesterday, “give them a bone and they’ll be yapping at your heals forever.” He’d been here last night and had met Crowley with the others, but he was one of the ones who’d had their nose turned up at him the entire night.
“Couldn’t agree more.” Said Gabriel.
On his other side, Michael smiled coldly, “Dogs like that should be put down.”
Aziraphale stared harder at his plate, his face paling considerably.
What are you doing Crowley? he thought to himself, leave me be, you don’t know what they’re capable of.
Crowley walked with determination down the lower deck, Hastur and Ligur following on behind him.
“But where are we going?!” Hastur had asked for the third time.
Crowley stopped behind a wall and peered out to the guard standing by the barred barrier gate between the angel and demon decks, the sunlight reflecting off his dark glasses, “You two are going to distract the guard so I can get back up there.”
“You’re not still trying to get up to that angel are you?” Ligur whispered, watching the guard with him, “Is he really worth all this trouble? He’s in a different world Crowley.” Ligur had caught Crowley half an hour ago trying and failing to physically climb up a wall towards the angel deck.
Crowley turned to him, “He’s in the wrong world.”
No threat of being arrested was going to stop him from finding Aziraphale, though perhaps trying to climb up a wall to get over the upper deck from beneath wasn’t such a great idea. He’d nearly broken his neck.
He turned back to the guard, “Just distract him for me okay?”
“How?” asked Hastur.
“I don’t know, have a fight with each other, throw your frog at him, anything just get him away from the barrier.”
Ligur’s eye lit up, “Oh that’s a good idea.” And without another word grabbed the frog out of Hastur’s pocket and ran, Hastur squealing indignantly and running after him.
Crowley watched, rather amused actually, as Ligur did an overdramatic trip in front of the guard, the frog flying out of his hands and landing directly on the guard’s face. The guard freaked out, swiped the frog off his face and was then left having to deal with the two demons who were now fighting each other. No one handled Hastur’s frog but Hastur, and he’d jumped on Ligur from behind wrapping his legs around him and screaming at him. Crowley grinned at them. They were both idiots, but it had worked. The guard was trying to break up the fight and had left his post, enough for Crowley to sneak by the wall and right through the gate.
Emerging out on the top angel deck, he peered around. Angels were everywhere, mingling socially, a few holding up parasols to shield their delicate skin from the sunlight. He saw a group of male angels discussing something very intently. Crowley recognised one of them. He couldn’t remember the name, but he remembered Aziraphale saying he was the one whose company was catering the Titanic. And that Aziraphale didn’t like his small food portions.
Crowley’s heart swelled fondly at the memory.
He was a doctor though he remembered that, and his smart tailcoat was on a deck chair close behind where he was talking. Crowley eyed up the situation, and then casually sauntered by the group. Ensuring the angel or his associates weren’t looking, he expertly snatched up the coat. He walked away just as calmly, slipping on the coat and tying his hair back with a band he kept around his wrist. It was an impeccably make tailcoat, a deep, dark red, almost black, the two splits at the back going down to the back of his knees. He then took his glasses off and put them in one of the coats pockets. At a distance he could just about pass as an angel, so long as no one looked too closely. It was amazing how narrow minded these angels could be. So long as you wore something ridiculously expensive you were considered one of them.
He needed to look as angel like as possible if he was going to get away with walking amongst them as he searched for Aziraphale. Had he not have had both an amazing and upsetting morning he would have washed Anathema’s borrowed clothing, but they were still in a pile on the floor not even making it into today’s thoughts. The problem was, he had absolutely no idea where anything was on this deck, apart from the dining hall. He didn’t know where Aziraphale’s cabin was and he didn’t want to ask anyone as that would draw attention to himself, and would probably look very suspicious. He went inside and wandered a few corridors, and couldn’t believe his luck when he ran into Anathema who was just entering her own cabin.
“Anathema!” he called out to her, and she startled at the voice but smiled when she saw who it was.
“Hello again, what are you doing up here?”
“I need to find Aziraphale, do you have any idea where he might be?” he asked desperately.
Anathema thought for a moment, “Well he was in the dining hall a little while ago. I’m fairly sure I overheard Gabriel saying he wanted him to walk the deck with him, but he had been talking business a lot with another angel, so it’s more than likely they’ll all head out to the deck together. Which means,” she said with a small twinkling smile, “if you’re hoping to get Aziraphale away from him I expect you’ll have a good chance, Gabriel will be distracted.” She winked at him, and Crowley grinned.
“Thank you.” He said gatefully, and went to turn back the way he came before he remembered something, “Oh, and about the clothes I borrowed-“
“Keep them.” Anathema interrupted, “They looked better on you anyway.”
Crowley gave her another grin, “You’re too good for these angels!” he said over his shoulder as he ran back the other way.
“I know!” she called after him with a grin of her own.
Once back up on the deck it thankfully didn’t take long to spot Gabriel and his groupies slowly strolling down. Their superior expressions were delighted with the company they were keeping, as they talked with the extremely well-off Mr Dowling, his wife and young son walking next to him. Crowley stood to one side, half hiding behind a lifeboat tied to the edge of the deck. He peered through a gap in the rigging and finally spotted Aziraphale, his heart automatically leaping at the sight of him. But his angel was walking so far behind the others you’d think they weren’t even together. Gabriel was outright ignoring him, why bother telling him to come with him in the first place? Crowley didn’t understand Gabriel at all. If he lived in their world and had been told he had to marry Aziraphale he’d be all over that angel like a rash!
Aziraphale’s eyes were cast down as he walked, watching the floor in front of him as he took one step after another, looking more like he was walking to his death than enjoying the lovely weather or enjoying the company that…wasn’t actually keeping him company. He looked utterly miserable. Miserable and bored.
Crowley stayed hidden as Gabriel’s group walked past him. He waited for Aziraphale to catch up, and then tapped his shoulder as he walked behind him. Aziraphale turned to look where he was tapped, and then a voice whispered in his other ear, “Aziraphale.”
Aziraphale gasped and turned quickly. His hand reached out to nothing as if to steady himself, but before he could react further Crowley took his hand and lead him through a door opposite them, quickly and quietly closing it behind them. Crowley peered out through the ripple-glass effect of the window to see the blurred shadowed outlines of Gabriel and his gang continuing to move forward, unaware of Aziraphale not even with them anymore.
Crowley was absolutely making this up as he went along, and turned to see they’d walked into a gymnasium. The only other people here though were what looked like an instructor chatting up an angel riding one of the bikes at the far end of the room, far out of hearing distance for them.
“Crowley what in heavens name are you doing you can’t be here I can’t see you!” Aziraphale was whispering urgently at him, “If Gabriel catches you-!”
Crowley just took him by the shoulders, making him stop.
“Angel listen to me please. In my whole life I have never felt about anyone the way I feel about you. You’re amazing. You have the sweetest heart and this wonderful rebellious little spark about you-“
“No please let me get this out.” He interrupted desperately. “You’re perfect to me angel you’re…you deserve every bit of happiness, every bit of pleasure every bit of…of love, and affection that you could possibly ever want, but you won’t get any of that if you stay with Gabriel. You say we can’t be together but we can! When this ship docks we can go off together!”
“Go off…together?” Aziraphale said in a tiny voice.
“Yes! You have that choice Aziraphale! You can stay with Gabriel and be miserable for the rest of your life, or you can run away with me! I can’t…” he paused, sighing and releasing his shoulders, “I can’t give you the luxury you’re used to. I can’t give you the fine foods and the stability, at least not at first, but I would work hard to! We’d get there eventually! It would be a completely different life for you and I know that must be a terrifying thought but we could go anywhere, do anything, and if you wanted to open up that bookshop you told me about then we’ll do that!”
Aziraphale had told him about his dream of opening up a book shop yesterday when they were walking together. All the luxury this angel grew up with and all he wanted was to be surrounded by books. It had been such a charming image.
“Anything you want Aziraphale! I’d give you everything I possibly could! All I know is that I would love you, every day, for the rest of your life.” His hands moved to cup Aziraphale’s stunned face gently, and he took in a small, nervous breath, “Because I do love you angel, helplessly so. You’ve taken over my life completely.”
There, that’s what he wanted to say. He loved him. It was crazy and instant but he loved him so much he just wanted to give him anything he wanted. But his angel was in that gilded cage and refusing to leave, he had to offer him everything he could, he had to show him he’d have a better life with himself than with Gabriel. Yes he wouldn’t have as many possessions or indulgences, but he’d be loved, and surely that was more important wasn’t it?
Aziraphale was staring at him, “Love me?” he whispered so quietly, in a tone that suggested no one had ever said that to him before. His eyes were wide and shocked, and he slowly raised his hands to take Crowley’s away from his face, and then took a step back, “Crowley! You’re-….listen to yourself you’re being ridiculous!”
“What sounds more ridiculous?” Crowley asked, trying not to let that not ideal reaction to his love confession get to him, “Me being in love with you? Or you choosing to be chained down your entire life? You asked me to love you for one night well I can’t, I’m sorry but I can’t. I can’t just love you for one, I want to love you for all the nights, every single one of them. You are so full of sunshine Aziraphale but you will be kept in the dark with him. I love you, I would do everything in my power to keep you smiling every day I promise.”
But Aziraphale was getting flustered, his hands back in front of him locking his fingers together, his eyes looking anywhere but at the demon, “Stop it. You’re going too fast for me Crowley.”
He stepped away again, but Crowley stepped forward to match and took his shoulders once more to make him look at him.
“Of course I am! This ship is going to dock in five days and then we’ll never see each other again! Ever! Fast is all we have.”
“Crowley you don’t understand I don’t have that choice.”
“I don’t!” Aziraphale’s eyes were pleading with him to understand, “I keep telling you that! I have to marry Gabriel, you know I have to or my family will go into poverty! They’ll lose everything they’ll become-…”
Aziraphale suddenly stared at him, stunned at himself, realising exactly the word he was going to use. He had the grace to look away, ashamed.
“Demons?” Crowley said quietly, a long pause in silence between them as Crowley let go of his shoulders, “Is being a demon really that bad?” he whispered.
Aziraphale’s gaze snapped back to him, his expression so soft yet so sad.
“Oh my dear Crowley,” he said so very gently, reaching up to cup one cheek, his thumb softly stroking across it, “you know I didn’t mean it like that. You are far more wonderful than any angel I’ve ever met. But…what I feel for you it…” he lowered his hand, looking away again, and Crowley’s cheek tingled from the warmth, “…it frightens me. Because I’m not allowed to feel it. So I’m trying not to feel it but you’re making it very difficult, saying all this.” He reached out for one of Crowley’s hands, holding it between both of his own, “You must know that if I did have that choice, if there were no consequences then I’d…” he blushed, swallowing his nerves as he peered up at his demon, “I’d run away with you in a heartbeat.”
He said it so quietly, barely above a whisper, and for Crowley it was far better than any love confession. He wanted to be with him. He wanted to run away with him! He was just…stuck.
“Angel…” Crowley breathed, and moved as if to kiss him but Aziraphale put his hands up between them onto Crowley’s chest, keeping him at bay.
“But my family,” Aziraphale continued, suddenly sombre again, “they won’t know how to survive. It’ll all be completely foreign to them they’ll…they’ll be torn apart by it. I couldn’t let that happen. I could never forgive myself.”
“You’re too nice for your own good,” Crowley whispered, half in awe, half in annoyance, “But they would survive!” he desperately had to get him to see, and he took his hands in his own, “They’d have to work for a living but they’d learn and they’d still be together! It’d take some getting used to sure but they’d live, and frankly all I can hear in this is how they’re perfectly happy in selling you off just so they can keep their money! They don’t care about you Aziraphale that is plain to see, so don’t do it. They’ll be fine, don’t marry Gabriel, don’t let them do this to you, please! This isn’t what you want!”
“What I want doesn’t matter-“
“What you want matters most of all!”
“I have to marry him Crowley!” Aziraphale finally snapped at him, not in anger but in frustration, ripping his hands away, “You have no idea how hard it is to say no to you!” His voice was beginning to crack, and he just looked so horribly unhappy, “But I’m an angel, and you’re a demon, we have nothing whatsoever in common! And no matter what you say or, or how much you…love me…” he whispered dismally, “it won’t change anything. We’re on opposite sides and that’s how it’s staying. I’m sorry. Its over Crowley.”
Crowley finally stilled, and just stood there, looking at him. Was this really over before it had barely begun? There was so many things he wanted to say to all of that, but the look on Aziraphale’s face, the tears glistening in his eyes, he couldn’t do it. All Crowley was doing was making him suffer. He didn’t want to be responsible for making him suffer more than he already was. But…please…he had to see, he had to choose, I’m sorry angel but I can’t leave this alone…
He took in a deep breath, “Fine. But first you have to look me in the eyes and tell me you’ll be happy. You fall I fall remember? There’s no way I can turn my back on you without knowing you’re going to be okay.”
Every word felt like ash in his mouth.
Aziraphale’s fingers fidgeted in front of himself again, “I’ll be fine, really.” He tried to smile, “I’m sure once I get used to being who Gabriel wants me to be I’ll be very happy.”
Crowley just slowly shook his head, “That whole sentence is messed up. And you’re lying. You marry him and that spark in you that I love so much will go out, and you’ll end up at the equivalent of the back of this ship again, and I won’t be there to stop you this time. I can’t let that happen Aziraphale.”
Aziraphale swallowed hard, “It's not up to you to save me, Crowley.”
“You're right. Only you can do that. Because you do have that choice Aziraphale, no matter what you say. We could be on our side. Don’t sacrifice your life for people who don’t care about you.” He paused, watching him, watching his eyes waver at his words. “Look, all I ask is that you think about it. I’ll wait for you, alright? At the front of the ship right by the bow, when the sun sets tonight. If you turn up…” he placed his hands over Aziraphale’s, bringing one to his lips to kiss the back of it just like he did after their dinner, “I promise I will cherish you for the rest of your life. And although a life with me would be very different to what you’re used to I would give you everything I could, and you’d be free, to do anything you wanted. I’d never order you to do anything, I’d never threatened you or frighten you. I’d just love you.”
He could feel a warm wetness beginning to form in his own eyes. He meant every word of it. He wanted to love him so much, he wanted to hold these hands, kiss those lips, to wake up every morning to that face. He wanted to give him the world. He wanted to be allowed to love him.
“If you don’t turn up,” he continued, voice quiet as he tried to get out the next words that he did not want to say, “then…then I promise I won’t come after you again. I’ll leave you alone, to live your life with Gabriel.”
His eyes were pleading with him to make the right choice, to choose love, to choose happiness. Choose him.
Aziraphale was softly shaking his head, looking as though it was the hardest thing in the world to do, “I won’t change my mind Crowley. And I have to get back to Gabriel now, he’ll notice I’m missing. Please, for both our sakes, just leave me be.”
Before he changed his mind he quickly turned to leave, heading past Crowley towards the door.
He stopped, looked back up at Crowley with sorrowful blue eyes, and was immediately swept into his arms. Crowley had one arm around his waist, one hand cradling the back of his head, and had captured those soft lips. The kiss was slow, romantic, Crowley pouring every ounce of feeling into it, every ounce of this is what you could have, every day, my angel. Aziraphale couldn’t help but respond, his mouth falling open to him, letting out a long, breathy moan as Crowley lapped at his tongue, his body completely melting against him.
When Crowley softly pulled away, Aziraphale let out a small whimper and leant forward towards him chasing after the kiss. His face was flushed and his eyes remained closed, completely lost to bliss in the moment.
“I love you.” Crowley whispered, resting his forehead against his angels, “I’ll be waiting.”
Aziraphale still hadn’t opened his eyes, and somewhere along the line his arms had wrapped themselves around Crowley’s waist, his hands clinging to the fabric of the stolen coat. When his eyes did eventually flutter open his pupils were blown, and he looked very dazed. He blinked himself back into reality and then stumbled back away from him, constantly glancing up at him, still blushing and slightly out of breath.
He shook his head at him, and then quickly looked away and headed out the door before his legs forgot how to walk.
By the time he caught up with Gabriel, none of them had even noticed he hadn’t been there.
Crowley stood at the bow of the ship, staring out at the setting sun. He hadn’t been here very long, and really it was still early, the sun only just starting to change the blue of the sky into a yellowy orange as it slowly began to sink.
After Aziraphale had left, a sudden realisation had struck Crowley and he’d spent the next few minutes storming around in a circle shouting to himself that he didn’t give Aziraphale his sketchbook! It had all been part of the plan, and he’d been so caught up in how that conversation had gone he’d totally forgotten!
After checking the deck was clear of anything Gabriel related, Crowley had headed back out the gym and back down to Anathema’s cabin, hoping she’d still be there. She was, and so had given her the sketchbook asking if she could give it to Aziraphale when she saw him next, and not in front of Gabriel. She’d said yes of course, and went to open it, until Crowley quickly put his hand over the front, stopping her.
“Don’t’…don’t look, okay?”
He was blushing slightly as he said it, so of course as soon as he was gone she’d opened it to have a look. What she saw there made a very warm smile appear on her lips, and she placed the book next to the door so she remembered to pick it up when she left.
In retrospect, Crowley realised it had been a stupid thought to give Aziraphale the sketchbook in the first place. How was he supposed to have hidden it from Gabriel while walking around the deck together? Still, it had worked out, at least he hoped it did, he hoped Anathema had been able to give it to him secretly.
He hoped it would tip the scales in his favour.
Over the years of wandering the streets he’d learnt to be very patient, but he didn’t feel very patient right now. Every person who happened to walk into view his head would snap round to look at, heart rate elevated, and then deflate like a balloon when it wasn’t Aziraphale. He’d never felt so nervous, he’d never felt so…afraid. This was going to be it, one way or another. Aziraphale would either stay or go, and he could do nothing but wait to see if he showed up. He found himself pacing, and upon telling himself again that it was still too early he made himself sit down, knees drawn up to his chest, and stared out to the ship behind him, watching. Waiting.
And trying not to have a panic attack.
Still he waited.
He was still wearing the doctor’s tailcoat that he’d stolen. It was immaculate, fitted him very nicely and he had to admit he looked down right dapper in it, and didn’t want give it back. Still he wished it had deeper pockets, something to stuff his hands into as the night chill began to creep in. He watched by the railings as the last tiny rounded lump of sun disappeared beneath the horizon, leaving the sky empty but for a few twinkling stars peeking out behind the soft purples and pinks the sun was still leaving behind.
He looked back down the ship. There were fewer people now, those that were here starting to head back inside after they’d watched the sunset together. None of them had platinum hair. He took a deep breath, calmed his nerves, and sat back down again. He wouldn’t panic, not yet, he could still turn up, there was still colour in the sky it was fine. He’d be here. He’d choose him.
He had to.
Please…don’t suffer for them.
The Milky Way twinkled brightly above him, but for the first time ever Crowley wasn’t interested in the stars. He just stood there, looking like a lost puppy, staring down at the empty deck before him. There was no one here. The sun had set over an hour ago.
Aziraphale hadn’t come.
Crowley’s head drooped, staring down at the floor, hot tears stinging his eyes. He’d told himself, over and over again, just a few more minutes. Just stay for a bit longer he’ll be here, he will, he wants to be with you, just stay. A bit longer.
Just a bit…longer…
Minutes had turned into hours, and now he was alone, with an ache so bad in his chest he felt like he had to be dying, because there was no way that pain could be normal.
“You stupid angel…” he choked, slipping down the rail wall to the floor, a few tears falling down over his cheeks, “I would have loved you so much.” He cradled his head in his hands, his shoulders beginning to shake with sobs, “S-so…much…”
So this is what heartbreak felt like. Like someone had just reached down deep inside you and pulled out your one reason for staying alive. The tears wouldn’t stop falling, he didn’t know what to do. He’d never felt like this before, never wanted someone so much, never cared enough about someone to want to love them. Aziraphale was resigning himself to a life in a cage to keep people who were now hundreds of miles away in a nice easy life of their own. He was so stupid! How could someone so intelligent be so stupid?!
He was angry at him, so angry, but so desperately in love with him he didn’t want to think that he was now going to be so unhappy for the rest of his life. Aziraphale deserved everything he’d been denied. It wasn’t fair, for Aziraphale, for both of them. Everything was keeping them apart, and now everything had succeeded.
He’d never see him again.
“ Oh angel…” he sobbed, the tears dripping down onto his legs where he’d curled in on himself. He’d never felt so alone. He’d lost him.
Crowley’s head snapped up so fast he could have given himself whiplash. He scrambled to his feet so fast he did give himself a head rush and he wavered on the spot, holding onto the railing until Aziraphale, the most wonderful sight he’d ever seen, came back into focus.
“Aziraphale!” he exclaimed, shining eyes wide and disbelieving, “You’re here! You came!”
Aziraphale gave him a tiny, shy smile, and a little shrug, “I changed my mind.”
Crowley stared at him, his tear-stained cheeks rising in a grin before he crossed the short distance between them and engulfed him in the biggest hug. He clung to him, so close, taking in his scent and his warmth and the soft skin under his lips as he kissed his temple. He wasn’t a hallucination he was here he was real he’d come back to him!!
“I’m sorry for taking so long,” Aziraphale was saying, returning the hug, wrapping his arms around him tightly, “I wasn’t even sure you’d still be here.”
“I’d wait forever for you.” Crowley whispered into his hair, his eyes closed in heaven, any tears long since gone and nothing but waves of relief washing over him. “What made you change your mind?”
“Well,” Aziraphale began quietly “I reasoned that no matter what I chose, I’d be regretting something. If I chose you, I’d be regretting letting down my family. If I chose them, I’d be regretting…well, that I didn’t choose you.” He nuzzled against Crowley’s neck, “So in the end, I surmised there had to be another mitigating factor to help me decide.”
"And what was it?”
“That although I’d regret something no matter what I chose, there was only one option…where I’d actually be happy. So I chose you.” He pulled back from Crowley’s hug, peering up at him with a surprising worried expression, “Does that make me horribly selfish?”
It was a genuine question, and Crowley just shook his head, smiling at him, “No. No it doesn’t angel.” He was unable to stop smiling really, and he gave him a quick, sweet kiss on the lips, “It means you’re looking after yourself. Your family will be fine, and you’ll get to be happy! And I get to imagine that git ex-fiancé of yours having a meltdown when he realises you’ve gone.” He grinned cheekily.
“He may very well have a meltdown when he discovers what I left for him.”
A rather cheeky smile of his own appeared on Aziraphale’s lips, “Well, earlier on Anathema came to my cabin…with your sketchbook.”
Crowley bit his lip as he grinned, a little blush on his cheeks, “Did you like it?”
“Oh yes,” Aziraphale nodded, “and it’s what helped change my mind.”
Aziraphale had had an argument with Gabriel, right in front of everyone at the dinner table. He’d never felt so confident before, it had been Crowley’s doing he knew it was, he made him feel like himself, like someone who wanted to fight back. Gabriel had made another snide remark about Aziraphale’s weight to Uriel at dinner, making the rest of the group laugh, talking about him like he wasn’t there, and it finally tipped him over the edge. He’d thrown his napkin off him, stood up, and clenching his fists had shouted at all of them:
Okay, so it had been less of an argument and more of an understated one-off statement, but it was the angriest Aziraphale had ever let himself get and it thrilled him to see the astounded look on Gabriel’s face as he stormed off.
Going back to their cabin he knew Gabriel wouldn’t follow him, he’d be too embarrassed in front of the other diners to chase after him. Aziraphale had paced angrily around the rooms, muttering to himself, planning words he’d wished he said, telling Gabriel to just…just…f*** off! Even in his own mind the swear was bleeped out, and his anger faded into a depressed realisation of what Gabriel would say, or do, when he did return.
“I really am soft.” He sighed to himself, and then there had been a knock on the door.
Anathema had been the other side, seeing him run off from the table she’d been dining at.
“I have a gift from Crowley.” She’d said with a knowing glint in her eyes, handing him the sketchbook.
Aziraphale had sat down in a golden-adorned armchair next to the fireplace, the sketchbook in his lap. What was Crowley doing now? How many times did he have to say no until he understood this wasn’t going to happen? He wasn’t going to meet him at sunset, he wasn’t going to spend his life with him. It didn’t matter that he wanted to, it didn’t matter that by the end of their meeting earlier Aziraphale had wanted to throw himself at him and cling to him, and tell him to never stop saying he loved him because no one had ever told him that, not even his own mother. None of it mattered. He was marrying Gabriel. Gabriel was his future. Gabriel secured his families future. He cared about them…even if Crowley was right that they didn’t care about him in return. In the great plan of things, what Aziraphale wanted…well, he just didn’t matter.
He opened the sketchbook, and everything he’d just thought flew out of the window.
Most pages had been torn out, the lovely drawings he’d seen before were gone, and all that was left were pages of sketches of himself, his own face looking back at him. Some appeared be done quickly, a few facial sketches, and then as he turned more pages over they became more detailed. Aziraphale looked at himself that had a beaming smile, looked at his hand holding another, Crowley’s he recognised. Blushed, as he looked at a sketch of his head and naked torso asleep on a pillow. Crowley hadn’t even seen him sleep, and had certainly never been drawing at any time they met. This was all his memory and imagination. There was so many more, Aziraphale staring off into a starry sky, Crowley kissing his grinning cheek, Aziraphale looking rather adorably drunk holding a beer, the two of them dancing, it went on and on.
Every spare moment Crowley had he must have been drawing him, and every page he turned had Aziraphale’s deeply hidden want for all this attention screaming up at him, telling him to choose Crowley, to please, please choose to be happy, to have all of this love, to have all of this affection. Crowley was in love with him, he’d said it aloud and it was plain for anyone to see in these drawings. Aziraphale’s heart was beating so fast, emotions he didn’t know he had rising within him, panic, love, want, guilt, and as he turned to the last page he stopped, blinking back tears as he stared down at the final picture.
It was so simple. It was just Aziraphale reading a book, his soft facial features lost in whatever world Crowley was imagining him reading. There was a roughly sketched bookcase behind him, and in the bottom corner there was a few written words:
We could have the world, my angel. I love you. C.
Aziraphale’s heart had completely melted, and that had been it. That had been the start. That had been what had Aziraphale pacing the rooms again, not in anger this time, but in a growing excitement of could this happen? Could it? Could he really have everything he’d ever wanted, all wrapped up in a lovely red-headed demon shaped package? What about his family…was Crowley right? Would they be okay? What about his own life on the streets? Would he himself survive that? He was sure Crowley would teach him the tricks of the trade but, would he be alright?
It took him a while, a fierce battle between guilt and love taking place inside him, but eventually he did decide, even if it wasn’t an overly strong decision at the time. Guilt still nibbled away at him. It was way past sunset now, and he dreaded to think what his poor demon must be thinking. But at least he had finally made his decision.
They’d be on their own side.
Aziraphale chose love.
So now here he was facing Crowley, facing the demon who had already given him more than he’d ever had, and was only offering even more.
“I hope you don’t mind,” said Aziraphale, “but I left your sketches in the safe in my cabin, for Gabriel to find when we dock in New York.” That cheeky smile turned rather adorably devious, “I like to imagine the look on his face when sees what love actually looks like, because it’s something he’s never going to get. I even left a note with it saying exactly that.”
Crowley’s eyebrows raised high at that, and he grinned again, “There’s a little bit of a bastard in you isn’t there?”
Aziraphale wiggled, wiggled, at that, “Well, maybe. I hope you know what you’re getting involved with here.” He teased, and there it was, that was the care-free, flirting Aziraphale Crowley had had a taste of before when they’d been walking the decks together. This is who Aziraphale really was, and it was so, so wonderful to have it set free.
“I’m sure I’ll find out,” Crowley licked his lips, still unable to stop grinning, “And I can’t think of better use for those drawings. Besides, now I get to draw you whenever I like.” He said, taking his arms and drawing him closer, “And I don’t have to just imagine you anymore.”
He leaned down to kiss him, a tender kiss that Aziraphale eagerly responded to, his tongue pushing through into Crowley’s mouth as he wrapped his arms around his neck. Crowley blushed deeply at the sudden quick intrusion. His angel really was a flirt. They kissed each other hungrily, wrapped up in each other’s arms, the wind from the bow of the ship whipping through Crowley’s hair. Crowley held him so tight, and couldn’t help the moan into the kiss as he thought about their whole lives together, and suddenly he was grinning into the kiss, having to pull away suddenly so ridiculously excited.
“Ohhhh you are going to have a wonderful life angel I promise you! Now I get to treat you to everything! We’ll go everywhere!” he exclaimed, throwing his arm out wide and taking Aziraphale’s hand with his other, “We’ll travel America, Europe, anywhere, I’d take you to the stars if you wanted!” He then came in close, taking Aziraphale’s beaming face in his hands and kissing him again, so thrilled, so outrageously happy he couldn’t contain himself, “I’m gonna give you everything.” He whispered excitedly against his lips.
Any worry or regret Aziraphale had been feeling was impossible to maintain, what with Crowley acting like an overly enthusiastic child. He was a man hopelessly in love, and Aziraphale didn’t think he’d ever get used to it, he’d been so long without it. But seeing that sunny smile shining through those golden eyes, it told him everything he needed to know about what the rest of his life was going to be like. Love just radiated off Crowley and it was engulfing Aziraphale, soaking into him like he was sponge. It made that one regret of letting down his family feel as though it was complaining to him from a million miles away. It made all the repressed feelings he’d been trying to hide from himself bubble to the surface. He felt so loved.
He felt so…in love.
Aziraphale raised his hands and took Crowley’s face, leaning up to him with a smile that held all the affection in the word, “You already have, my dear. And I love you too.”
He kissed his demon, and this time, it was Crowley who melted against him.
Sometimes I think to myself: Is this too cornily romantic? And then I think to myself: Fuck it.
By the way I made a little tumblr gifset to go with this fic, so if anyone would like to share this fic please do so by reblogging this: https://starrose17.tumblr.com/post/186173560839/to-the-stars-a-multi-chapter-happy-ending-titanic
Chapter 8: "To the stars."
Technically the Bentley was invented in 1919. For the sake of Good Omens plot, we are ignoring this fact. They are already invented here.
Gabriel stood with a small group of angels in the smoking room, enjoying a celebratory cigar with Mr Dowling as they began plans to merge their companies once they reached New York. Gabriel was gently swirling his glass of brandy when Michael walked up behind him, and he excused himself from the conversation.
“I’ve asked around, no one’s seen him.” Michael told him discreetly.
Gabriel looked very irritated, “This is ridiculous, he has to be here somewhere. Find him.”
Gabriel had waited until dinner had ended and the drinks were being served before he subtly sent Michael to ensure Aziraphale was in their cabin, and to tell him to remain there. There were to be some serious stern words exchanged, and if Aziraphale was going to force him to lock him in their cabin for the rest of the trip then so be it. But he hadn’t been there, and now it seemed he had disappeared. This irksome angel almost wasn’t worth the trouble, if not for those family contacts through marriage that Gabriel would gain.
Aziraphale would learn to behave, one way or another.
Aziraphale was wildly misbehaving, and it was invigorating,
Leaving his fiancé, turning his back on the life of angels, running away with a demon, having no money and no idea what tomorrow would bring but knowing it would be wonderful so long as Crowley was beside him. Gabriel was going to be mad, and yes he’d probably send Michael after him like before but he didn’t care. Send Michael. Send all of them. Aziraphale felt enough confidence and power running through him to send all of them packing back to their employer with Gabriel’s favourite word tattooed on their foreheads: NO! No to the marriage, no to being ordered around, and no to anymore blasted salads!!
Everything was now a yes. Yes to Crowley, yes to freedom, and yes to all the cakes he could eat!
He and Crowley had been wandering the ship together, both the demon decks below and the angel ones above. It was to help lose track of anyone who may be looking for him. After all it was a sensible guess that Gabriel would assume (and correctly so) that Aziraphale had gone back to Crowley, and would therefore have the demon decks searched too.
They weren’t going anywhere specific, just walking, talking, ducking into rooms and hallways to steal kisses and whisper about all the things they were going to do once they got to America. Even if they were discovered by one of Gabriel’s lackies, Aziraphale would refuse to return and gladly say it, but he also did not want to have the evening ruined by a run in with any of them. He wanted Crowley all to himself with no interruptions, and then they’d hide for the rest of voyage (Crowley had already suggested swapping his cabin with Hastur’s and Ligur’s so they couldn’t track him down), and then begin a new, exciting and unknown life in the new world.
Now that it had begun to actually sink in just what he’d done, Aziraphale was becoming just as excited as Crowley. The empowerment he felt, released within him because of Crowley. The love he felt, all given from Crowley. Everything was because of Crowley and he felt so daring and it was all so thrilling and he wanted to do something but he didn’t know what!
Whatever it was, it made Aziraphale pull Crowley into what turned out to be a small storage room along one of the angel cabin corridors they were walking, latching his lips onto his and squeezing that lithe demon frame so tightly against himself. This new found confidence was just pouring out of him, and it was all being directed at Crowley.
“A-Angel-“ Crowley laughed into the kiss, eyes still open and highly amused at the surprise assertiveness. He was loving that this was his true angel coming through.
Aziraphale pulled back but only to practically bounce on the spot with excitement, “Oh Crowley I could just…just!...cover you in chocolate sauce and eat you up!” he grinned, and for a few seconds Crowley’s brain completely short-circuited as that image made its way slowly through every brain cell.
“W-well, ngggk, let’s um, let’s put that on the to-do-list shall we?” he somehow managed to articulate, with is voice somehow ending a few octaves higher than it should do.
Aziraphale just nodded fiercely, still beaming from ear to ear, and then grabbed him by his lapels and pulled him in for another eager kiss. Aziraphale moaned so damned loudly, his hands moving to wrap around him, running them up and down his back, and Crowley felt very off balance at being attacked from all sides and had to put his hand out behind Aziraphale to steady himself on a shelving unit there.
His ever growing-in-confidence angel had some kinks he was going to seriously investigate as soon as possible. How his angel could be so outrageously adorable and trouser-tighteningly hot all at the same time he couldn’t understand, but he honestly didn’t care. Aziraphale was both of these things, and he was going to spend the rest of their lives finding out all the pleasurable things he could share with him. Chocolate sauce included.
And surely, surely those moans had to be deliberate? Surely Aziraphale must know what he was doing right? They’d already established he was not as innocent as he seemed and- whoa! Those soft hands were hurriedly undoing Crowley’s belt.
“Why don’t I show you exactly the sort of naughty things I got up to while learning the Gavotte?” Aziraphale whispered hotly against his lips.
Crowley suddenly couldn’t breathe. Or function in any way. “Ah…I… gughh…I-I thought one didn’t tell?”
Aziraphale slowly licked his lips, a very cheeky smirk pulling them up at the corner, “I don’t recall saying anything about telling you, my dear.”
In the hottest way Crowley had ever seen, Aziraphale pulled Crowley’s belt off him entirely in one fluid motion, and then, without taking his eyes off him, dropped to his knees. Crowley could barely take in one shuddering breath, his blood flow split between his now bright red face and the sudden very hard lump in his skin-tight trousers.
Suddenly the door flew open beside them.
“You monster! Seducing my woman to do your evil will!”
The pair looked like two deer caught in headlights. Aziraphale paused with his hands undoing the button fly on Crowley’s trousers, and Crowley…well, he just stood there, unable to motorise any other function. Aziraphale blinked up at Mr Shadwell who’d come bursting in, looked up at Crowley, who gave him a look that clearly said I’m not his woman, and then turned back to their intruder.
“Oh I think perhaps you’ve got the wrong room.”
Mr Shadwell looked rather disappointed and confused, “Oh...oh yes, right.” He apparently had no recognition of what was going on though.
Another voice was suddenly heard getting closer coming down the corridor, “Now now dear I’m right here, no one has been seducing m-OH!” Madame Tracy appeared in the doorway and stopped, mouth open in a pleasant surprise at the scene before her. “Oh!” she repeated in a sound of realisation, her bright red coloured lips grinning, “Oh my…”
Perhaps it was because she was an older woman whom he respected, but Aziraphale suddenly came to his senses and shot up as fast as he could from the floor, brushing invisible dirt off his knees and blushing at being caught by the ever flirtatious Madame.
“M-madame Tracy! N-now I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here we were just-“
“Oh I know what you were just doing sweetie. Don’t worry, we’ll leave you two lovebirds alone, your secrets safe with us.” She winked at them, “Come along Mr Shadwell, time to get you tucked up into bed.” She guided the old man out of the way into the corridor, and as she turned back to close the door behind her said, “You know I could see it a mile off.” She pointed at them both, and with an affectionate little giggle closed the door.
Crowley released a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding, and was about to make a comical remark that at least that hadn’t been Gabriel walking in on them, when he felt Aziraphale’s arms snake around his neck, and those lovely blue eyes were suddenly so close again.
“Shall I continue?” the angel asked with a flirtatious smile of his own.
Crowley grinned, but before he had a chance to say hell yes continue, Madame Tracy’s voice could be heard further down the corridor, seeming to talk overly and deliberately loudly.
“Oh! No Michael! I haven’t seen Aziraphale! I have no idea where he might be! He’s certainly not down this corridor! Absolutely not here!”
Crowley and Aziraphale shared a sudden worried glance, and Aziraphale reluctantly released Crowley and very quietly pressed his ear against the door. He could hear two sets of footsteps walking away, and one set walking towards them. Crowley held that breath again, he could hear them too, the sharp loud footsteps of someone on a mission. Neither of them moved a muscle. The footsteps stopped near the door, there was a shuffling sound, as though the person was turning on the spot to look around, then the steps carried on past the door. They waited a little longer.
“Is she gone?” Crowley whispered so very very quietly.
Aziraphale looked to him, pressed his lips together and shrugged, and then very, very slowly opened the door just a crack. He peered outside, down where the single set of footsteps had gone. There was no one there. He checked the other direction. No one there either.
“I believe she’s gone.” Aziraphale said with relieved sigh.
Crowley peered down the empty corridor too, before stepping out and holding out his arm for Aziraphale to walk out in front of him. It was a very protective stance, putting himself between Aziraphale and wherever Michael had gone, “Let’s get out of here before she comes back.”
“Very good idea.”
They’d only taken a few steps however when the sound of a door opening behind them made them turn around. Michael emerged from a room she’d gone in to search, and froze for a moment when she saw her prey standing with that demon just a little ways down the corridor.
“I knew it.” She said to herself, before suddenly bolting down the corridor towards them like a bloodhound.
Crowley grabbed Aziraphale’s hand, “Run!”
“Oh dear, run?”
Crowley half dragged him for the first few steps before Aziraphale got going, but really Aziraphale was only half complaining. He didn’t want to run obviously, he hated doing that, but Michael was not ruining this. Even though he’d still gladly stand his ground and tell her exactly where she could go, this was more…fun. This was rebellious, and the more chaos he could cause his former associates the better. In fact, for the first time in his life he was smiling while running.
They could hear her fast footsteps behind them but they had a head start. “This way!” Aziraphale exclaimed, his turn to pull ahead of Crowley knowing where he was going now.
They’d reached the end of the corridor out into an open foyer, surprising a few angels who were talking there. He led Crowley right to the back where an operator was letting out a few people from the metal grated elevator he was assigned to. They both ran inside it, the gate rattling and Aziraphale already out of breath.
“T-take us down, right down, quickly please!” Aziraphale gasped at the shocked operator as he scrambled to comply, Crowley helping him pull the gate closed.
Michael ran up to them, “Aziraphale!!” but it was too late, the elevator was already beginning to descend. She slammed her hand hard on the bars of the gate glaring down to them. Aziraphale looked up at her, smiled an all too sweet smile, and then raised his middle finger at her. Crowley burst into laughter, soon followed by Aziraphale too, both of laughing hard as Michael slowly disappeared above them. While the operator gaped at this un-angel like behaviour, Crowley was just even more in love at every passing second. This angel never failed to surprise him, and he had to say, it was a bit of a turn on every time he did something he shouldn’t.
Michael turned to find the stairs down, running down them two at a time. But by the time she reached the final floor, the operator was already closing the gate to his empty elevator. She scanned the foyer, four different doors to choose from. She picked one at random and kept going. Down a different corridor though, through a door she didn’t take, and hidden safely in a room full of large boiler uptakes and fans, Crowley and Aziraphale were leaning against a wall and still laughing.
“She’s a determined woman!” Crowley breathlessly laughed.
“I’m fairly sure she’s an ex-spy.” Aziraphale panted, his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath, “Even though Gabriel has Uriel as a bodyguard to protect him physically, it was his father who hired Michael, to keep his reputation safe. She does all his dirty work for him.” A few more panting breaths, and then Aziraphale was beaming at himself, still giddy with unruly excitement. “And I can’t believe I just did that to her!”
“You’re turning into a bad little angel aren’t you?” Crowley grinned, nudging him in his side.
Aziraphale smoothed down his waistcoat, pretending to look offended, “Not a bad angel Crowley…a free one.” He smiled astutely.
Crowley only had time to flash him another quick grin before, “Oh no.” He had looked to a door at the other end of the room where Michael’s face had just appeared in the round window. She then ripped the door open and charged towards them, “Here we go again.”
He grabbed Aziraphale’s hand, who moaned at having to run again so soon, and headed back out the door they came in. Further down the corridor was a door mark CREW ONLY, and Crowley flung it open dragging Aziraphale inside. The noise from the heavy machinery inside the room was unbearable, and Aziraphale slammed his hands over his ears. There was no other exit out except a ladder going down.
Crowley noticed a deadbolt on the door, “Yes!” he laughed, and slammed it closed. Just in time too, as a body thumped against it from the other side, rattling the handle and banging on it repeatedly.
Unable to hear anything but the deafening machines, Crowley nodded down to the ladder, shouting loudly, “AFTER YOU ANGEL!”
Aziraphale couldn’t help but let out a sharp laugh at how absurd and brilliant this all was, and held out his hand for Crowley to take so he could help him down the first few steps. As they both descended, they came out in the very bowels of the ship, the heat hitting them like wave. Surrounding them were giant roaring flame-lit boilers, huge stacks of coal and the smell of fire and ash. Regardless of race all the worker demons here were jet black in colour, the coal and ash making them practically indistinguishable from each other, all of them moving through the smoky glow around them as they shovelled coal into the boilers.
“Oi! You two can’t be down here!” shouted one of the workers, their name badge of “Dagon” that could just barely be seen through the dirt.
“Carry on, don’t mind us!” Crowley yelled, giving Dagon a quick salute, before taking Aziraphale’s hand once again and breaking into another run right down the length of the large room, dodging shocked workers moving wheelbarrows of coal.
“You’re all doing marvellous work!” Aziraphale called back, grinning polity at all the startled stokers as they flew by, Aziraphale one streak of white moving through the blackness.
They ran through a watertight door at the end to find another ladder, this one going up. Crowley opened the hatch and once again let his angel go up first. It was another room full of boiler uptakes and fans, and they opened the one and only door there to find themselves in the cargo hold. Aziraphale was breathless from all the running but he still couldn’t stop smiling. This was such an adventure. It was so different, so wild, he was loving every moment and he gripped Crowley’s hand so happily tightly as they hurried between the rows of stacked cargo.
“Oh it’s cold in here!” Aziraphale said, his breath misting before him, now missing the suffocating heat of the boiler room, “Surely we must have lost Michael by now.”
“I dunno,” Crowley said, looking around, “She seems pretty good at her job-OH WOW!”
Something caught Crowley’s rapt attention, so much so that he let go of Aziraphale’s hand. When Aziraphale followed him around a corner of crates he found his demon staring through the windows of a car, lashed down to a large wooden pallet. It looked like something from a fairy tale, sleek and black and immaculately shiny, and the stunned amazement on Crowley’s face made Aziraphale give him a fetching smile.
“Do you know what this is?!” Crowley exclaimed, and Aziraphale resisted the temptation to say a car, “This is a Bentley! This is a brand new type of car! I saw them advertised before I left London. Hell I’d do anything to have one of these!” he ran his hands across the bonnet, touching it as though it were made of glass. He’d seen one on a poster, and had spent a good fifteen minutes just staring at it, wishing he could afford to get one. He wasn’t one for material possessions by oh, oh he wanted that.
Aziraphale found it adorable.
“It’s a very pretty car.” He said, not having the first clue about cars in the slightest.
He then had a lovely little thought, something that Crowley would probably like just for a bit of fun. This may be the only chance he’d see one of these cars. He walked up to the passenger door, putting his hands behind his back and standing there looking of utmost importance. He coughed to get Crowley’s attention, the demon prying his eyes away from the car and looking to him. Aziraphale nodded towards the door handle. Crowley grinned.
“Oh so sorry sir, of course I shall get the door for you sir.” Crowley mocked affectionately, opening the door and stealing a kiss on the cheek as he helped Aziraphale inside, closing the door behind him.
Aziraphale made himself comfortable on the plush black upholstery, acting very royal as Crowley clambered into the front seat. Aziraphale noticed two small cut crystal bud vases on the walls by the front headrests, each containing a crystal red rose. He smiled at them, so warmly, an overwhelming feeling of romance sweeping over him.
“Where to, angel?” Crowley asked playfully, hands on the steering wheel as though ready to take them whenever his angel wanted.
Aziraphale leant far forward between the two front seats, and wrapped his arms around Crowley’s shoulders, “To the stars.” He whispered against his ear, “Because you love the stars.”
Crowley turned to the side so his lips were very nearly brushing Aziraphale’s, and looked over that loveable face, “I think I love something else even more now.”
Aziraphale blushed faintly at the line, and then suddenly pulled Crowley towards him, really towards him, Crowley laughing and limbs flailing as Aziraphale pulled his demon right through the centre of the car and onto the back seat with him. Crowley landed on his back with a hmpf, Aziraphale on top of him and immediately capturing his lips in a long, drawn out kiss. Aziraphale’s weight was heavy above him, but not in an unpleasant way, in a way that made Crowley feel utterly surrounded by him, warm and content and wanted. The kiss was passionate, full of longing and desire and when Aziraphale softly pulled back, giving Crowley another tender kiss for good measure, his faint blush had deepened.
“Let’s make love again Crowley.” He said quietly, still continuing to grow in confidence, “This time knowing it’s not just going to be the once.”
A slow smile formed on Crowley’s lips, and he tucked a small stray curl behind Aziraphale’s ear.
“Right here? In the Bentley?”
Aziraphale looked so eager but so cute and perhaps still slightly nervous with that blush.
Crowley licked his lips, “I think you’re about to fulfil a fantasy of mine.”
Aziraphale beamed at him, and then a little spark shone in those blue eyes, “Good, because I want to continue where I left off.”
Crowley swallowed hard, a crooked grin on his lips as he watched Aziraphale unbutton Crowley’s tailcoat, pushing it open but not off him, and then did the same with his shirt. Aziraphale leant down and began to pepper kisses across Crowley’s chest, and that touch alone had Crowley letting his head drop back to the seat, his hair pooling around him, eyes closed and a lovely breathy sigh escaping his lips. He buried his hands in those platinum curls and let sensation take over, hardly believing that this was happening again.
This felt so different from this morning, knowing this would not be the last time. It felt so much more free, less constricted with time and worry, knowing he wouldn’t have to let his angel go afterwards. He was staying with him, for always, and that feeling more than anything was making him hard. He’d found the love of this life, and he was staying with him.
Crowley let out a startled gasp, eyes still closed, as Aziraphale gently nipped at one hard nipple, copying what Crowley had done to him this morning knowing it had felt so good and wanting him to feel it too. Aziraphale’s hot, wet tongue lapped around it, and he peered up at Crowley to watch as he pinched his other nipple really quite hard. Crowley practically bucked beneath him, a sharp moan of half pain, half pleasure filling into the car.
“Oh you are definitely not innocent.” Crowley groaned breathlessly, feeling a smug little smile around his nipple.
Aziraphale palmed across his chest as he left wet kisses down over the flat stomach and sharp hip bones of his demon lover, just passing across the faint trail of red hairs that were currently disappearing down underneath those tight trousers. It made goosebumps rise on Crowley’s skin. There was no shy feeble tugging at the impossible body-hugging item of clothing this time. This time, Aziraphale undid that fly (realising he’d left Crowley’s belt in that storage room on the floor) and tugged them hard down to get them off him, Crowley’s long legs doing another bit of flailing in the confined space to get them gone. Crowley chuckled to himself as Aziraphale finally got them off him and dropped them to the floor, but then that smile turned to a look of longing and barely kept back excitement as Aziraphale slowly licked his lips.
“I do hope you enjoy it.” he said, impossibly polite as always, “This is the only area I am…quite practised in.” He smiled a rather shy though eye-twinkling smile, and before Crowley could say anything in response to that Aziraphale’s head dipped between his legs and any conscious thoughts were gone from Crowley’s mind in an instant.
One hand gripped the edge of the seat, the other back in Aziraphale’s curls as that angel’s hot mouth descended over Crowley’s already hard cock, for it didn’t take much for him to be turned on around Aziraphale. The angel had gone right down to the hilt in one swallow, a move that proved the practise part of that sentence, and was causing nothing but an endless array of random noises to gurgle their up from Crowley’s throat. The sudden wet heat around his cock was almost too much, knowing who it was that was doing it to him, and when Aziraphale pressed his apparently talented tongue against the underside and deliberately hummed as he very slowly pulled back up…well, Crowley’s eyes rolled and his head hit back against the car seat again.
This was unbelievable, and oh god he was doing it again, all the way down, all the way up, humming and lavishing it all over like it was his favourite food to eat. Aziraphale appeared to have no gag relax at all. So this is what he was “practising” while learning the Gavotte was it? Yeah, just a bit more than harmless flirting. Crowley didn’t have a single functioning brain cell now, moaning continuously, the hand holding onto Aziraphale’s hair releasing and grabbing onto his own, scrunching up his own hair. His hips rolled upwards towards that heavenly mouth, and Aziraphale let him, which just drove Crowley even more crazy, his moans turning into desperate grunts.
Aziraphale’s hands had been massaging into Crowley’s hips as he took him down, but now one moved, brushing against his skin across his stomach and chest until it reached what he was looking for. Crowley was blushing deeply now, mouth parted continuously at the assault, but his eyes flew open and somehow blushed even deeper when he felt two of Aziraphale’s fingers press into his mouth, sliding over his tongue gathering up saliva. It only took a second for the shock to fade as Crowley realised the one and only reason for why Aziraphale would be doing this. It made Crowley moan even louder, golden eyes rapidly darkening as he all too enthusiastically licked around those glorious chubby fingers, staring down at Aziraphale still giving him the best head he’d ever had in his life. His excitement grew even more now, and even more still when Aziraphale hooked one of Crowley’s legs over the back of the seat so he could gain better access to what he wanted to touch next.
Without stopping those gloriously filthy wet sounds coming from his current activity for even a moment, Aziraphale pushed back a little on the thigh of the leg over the seat, which raised Crowley’s hips. He then removed his fingers from Crowley’s mouth, moved his hand down and immediately began to gently tease those wet fingers around his back entrance.
Crowley was utterly lost already. He’d had his fair share of sexual experiences throughout his life, and he’d never stuck to one specific way or another with a partner, but he certainly hadn’t expected Aziraphale to take control quite like this. But then, it was all part of this new self-assuredness that was starting to shine through. Trapped in his gilded cage only this morning and Aziraphale had been shy and unsure, compliant yes but, such a desperate need to be loved. Crowley had made love to him the best he could, telling him how wonderful he was, taking his body and showing it how good it could feel with someone who cared for him.
Now though, free from the cage, Aziraphale was flirtatious, cheeky even, wanting to explore and wanting to be in charge of his own life for the first time ever. If Aziraphale wanted to have Crowley, then Crowley he would have, and if any time he wanted Crowley to make love to him instead, then Crowley would be more than happy to oblige. It didn’t matter to the demon how they did it, whatever his angel wanted he’d want too.
He was made to love him, he knew he was. Nothing had ever felt so right.
Right now however, absolutely nothing was going through his mind except a continuous stream of ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod as Aziraphale’s fingers worked their way inside him, moving, curling, while still sucking down on his cock like his life depended on it. Crowley was lost and scattered to the winds already, although he had to ask, even through all of this, “W…what is that?” as he felt Aziraphale’s fingers leave him but return feeling much more lubricated than with just saliva.
For the first time since he actually began Aziraphale released Crowley’s cock from his mouth to answer. He was breathing heavily, face flushed, his lips red and shining, and in the name of all things good and pure in this world he looked…sinfully attractive.
“Hand lotion. I just remembered I keep a little pot in my pocket. Thought it might be useful.” Aziraphale replied, voice much raspier than it had been which just made him even more sinfully attractive, and Crowley was already painfully turned on as it was.
“You carry hand lotion with you?” Crowley panted.
“Obviously!” Aziraphale replied, as though it was the strangest question he’d ever been asked, “One must look after their hands, they’re used every day.”
Crowley just stared at him, still panting, and then began to chuckle heavily to himself, letting his head fall back against the seat again, “Obviously. You are such an angel.” He said, with unbounding affection.
“Do you want me to stop?” Aziraphale playfully glared at him, and Crowley’s head snapped back up again.
“NO! No no, don’t stop, definitely don’t stop!”
They smiled at each other for a moment. No awkwardness, no unsureness, just trust and want and need.
It didn’t take long for Crowley to be back to his endless stream of nonsense sounds as Aziraphale stretched him and teased him, grazing across that ball of nerves inside him and still licking around his cock, at one point blowing cool air across the wet tip making Crowley buck beneath him. Four very lubricated fingers were in him now, he was so ready ,so SO ready but he couldn’t articulate it, there was just so much pleasure he couldn’t focus. Both hands were in his own hair now, pulling on it, gasping and groaning and wriggling on the seat like a snake as wave after wave of intense sexual desire just crashed into him over and over again.
Aziraphale was so good, so fucking good but if he didn’t stop, if he didn’t stop he was going to…
“Azirrr…ggguh….sto…ahhhhh, I ca….” Crowley bit his lip hard, eyes screwed up tight as he arced his whole body, the deepest savage growl rumbling up from his throat as a violent orgasm took him completely.
One hand flew up behind him to the window of the passenger seat, his palm leaving a dripping wet print from the amount of condensation that had gathered from the coldness outside and the fiery heat that was now inside. His whole body convulsed, those stars he loved so much exploding in front of his closed eyes as he came deeply and powerfully right down Aziraphale’s throat, who still hadn’t moved away and was just drinking him in, riding through every desperate uncontrollable jerking thrust up into his mouth.
Coming down from his extreme high had left Crowley completely boneless where he lay. His breathing was erratic, his eyes still closed, and not that he wanted to but he had no possible chance of stopping Aziraphale as he felt himself being lifted up, being moved like his own personal doll until he was straddling his angel where he now sat back on the seat.
He could feel his face being cradled, “Are you alright my dear?” There was genuine concern in his voice.
Crowley blearily peered at him, panting, and just nodded, not having the brain function to tell him that was the most intensely unforgettable amazing orgasm he’d had in his entire life. He’d save that compliment for later.
“Am I alright to…carry on then? Don’t worry I don’t think I’m going to last long after witnessing that.”
Crowley barely registered the very hard cock that was running up the cleft of his arse, waiting for him to say yes. He nodded again, managing to get out a little grin this time.
“’m all yours angel...” He moaned dozily, before letting himself melt against his Aziraphale’s chest, who was still fully clothed, and kissing him sloppily.
He moaned at the taste of himself on Aziraphale’s tongue.
Aziraphale carefully helped lift Crowley’s hips, and then slowly sank him down onto himself, Crowley letting out another delicious moan at the feel of that hardness heading right up deep inside him. There wasn’t a lot of head space in this position, and with the Bentley’s low ceiling Crowley couldn’t throw his head back without hitting it, so instead whenever Aziraphale’s cock slid past his now sensitive prostrate Crowley just let his head fall to Aziraphale’s shoulder as he moaned deeply and wantonly. Aziraphale pressed kisses into his neck, before cradling his head back upright again so he could kiss him as he thrust slowly up into him. Crowley was so blissed out, barely able to function anything other than the primal instinct to wrap his arms around the one making him feel so good and just kiss him back, tongues lazy and hot and Crowley’s being completely dominated by Aziraphale’s, whose desire hadn’t yet been fulfilled.
Aziraphale was right, he didn’t last long. The slow, loving thrusts that had Crowley moaning deliciously into his neck were now replaced with hard, deep plunges upward, Crowley now gasping and groaning deliriously instead. Aziraphale was overwhelmed by what they’d been doing, what he’d done to Crowley, making the demon so completely helpless. Aziraphale knew he was good from what the other gentleman had told him but heavens above, he didn’t know he could do that to someone! And Crowley felt so good like this, so good, the heat, the tightness, oh no wonder people liked doing it this way. Though to be honest, he didn’t know which way he preferred now he’d tried both. They both felt incredible whichever way, or maybe it was just because both times were with Crowley, and it was Crowley who was incredible either way.
Aziraphale’s own breathless moans were intermingling with Crowley’s, the demon practically bouncing on Aziraphale’s comfy, thick thighs. He could feel it, could feel the heat and Aziraphale wrapped his arms around Crowley’s slender waist and just fucked up into him, raw and forceful and so unlike the person he had been told to be and it felt so brilliant!
He bit down onto Crowley’s neck as that heat exploded, and he shuddered up into him as he came, Crowley flinching in his lap and hissing at the bite which did actually hurt, but in this situation it was only good pain. Crowley held onto him, riding out his orgasm, kissing his hair as he felt that hot melting heat inside him.
As Aziraphale began to come down from his own high, they found themselves slipping sideways onto the seats, and they ended up back where they’d began, only this time it was Crowley on top of Aziraphale. Aziraphale held onto him so tightly, still recovering, and Crowley scattered kisses all over his face, tasting the sweat from everything they’d just done. His handprint was still above them.
“You’re trembling.” Aziraphale panted, finally looking up at him with an adorable little smile.
“So are you.” Crowley replied, his own little grin making Aziraphale release a lovely little laugh, before he cradled Crowley’s head down onto his chest, and Crowley closed his eyes, so sated and comfortable on top of his snuggly love.
“I love you.” Crowley whispered, and could feel a kiss being pressed to his head.
“And I you, my darling Crowley.”
Michael had told every possible attendant, steward and guard that she’d seen Aziraphale with Crowley, and had sent them off like her own personal army to search the lower decks, the last place she’d seen them before Crowley had locked that door. She herself had returned to Gabriel to tell him that it won’t be long before they had Aziraphale back, and that she’d seen him with Crowley.
As it happened, she didn’t need to tell him about that part. She’d found Gabriel in his cabin, standing next to his open safe, holding a sketchbook. In the time she’d known him it took a lot for Gabriel to get angry, he tended to use sarcasm as his way of fighting back against such things. But right now, his face was clenched with fury. She walked up to him, peering down at the drawing he was holding of Aziraphale reading a book, the note at the bottom, We could have the world, my angel. I love you. C. along with another note on a separate piece of paper, in Aziraphale’s handwriting;
This is love Gabriel, something you will never have. Now you can keep it locked away just like you were doing to me. Incidentally, I’m wearing the pocket watch you gave me. Never again will you tell me what to do. Aziraphale. P.s This does mean I’m not marrying you, just to make that clear.
Michael looked to Gabriel again, who was crumpling the edge of the picture, and who moved to hold it with two hands as if to tear it in half. But he tensed, and stopped. Instead, he turned to Michael.
“I have a better idea.” He said, looking back to his safe to a small velvet black box, a small title card sitting a top it reading; The Heart of the Ocean.
It was Sandalphon who entered the cargo hold, having joined the chase after Michael returned. He was flagged by two stewards, all of them with flashlights as they shone the beams around them and into any hiding spaces. Turning a corner he stopped, that horrible smile returning to his lips at seeing a handprint on the fogged windows of a Bentley. He whistled sharply to the other two to get their attention, pointing to the car and motioning for them to go around it to block the doors. He approached it slowly, making no noise, placing his hand carefully on the door handle. Gabriel was going to be so pleased.
He whipped it open.
But the car was empty.
Back on the demon deck at the very front of the ship, Crowley and Aziraphale burst through another crew only door. They were laughing so hard once again, barely able to stand and out of breath again from running.
“This is the best day of my life!” Aziraphale exclaimed loudly, out to the black night and black sea ahead of him.
“I thought yesterday was the best day of your life?” Crowley laughed at him, pulling his arm to spin him around to face him, Aziraphale clinging onto him immediately, so ridiculously happy. This is where they’d been standing earlier when Crowley was waiting for him.
“Well, I suppose every day is going to be even better than the last now, isn’t it?” he beamed, their breath coming out in clouds around them, but neither of them could feel the cold now, not after the excursion down the lower floors and the other excursion inside the Bentley.
“I can guarantee it.” Crowley grinned back at him, both of them going in for a kiss at the same time, their lips meeting hungrily. They stood in each other’s warm arms, oblivious to the world around them.
The rest of the world didn’t matter anymore, only their own.
It was distant shouting however that distracted Crowley from their kiss. Annoyed, he looked up to the angel deck above them, to where the bridge of the ship was. He could see frantic people through the large windows hurrying around, shouting words he couldn’t quite make out.
“Wonder what’s going on.” Crowley said, but it was the colour draining from Aziraphale’s face that got his attention back again, “What’s wrong?”
“Crowley…” Aziraphale was staring at something behind him, but they were at the front of the ship there was nothing behind him but sea. Aziraphale pointed, and Crowley followed, turning around, “What is that?” Aziraphale whispered, though he knew the answer.
The giant iceberg, barely seen through the darkness, was looming up fast.
Aziraphale reached for Crowley’s hand, clasping it tightly. Before either of them could think to react, to move, to do something other than stare in disbelief, suddenly the ship swayed and knocked them both off balance. Aziraphale fell into Crowley’s arms, Crowley steadying them both on the railings as the ship began to turn.
“Come on we’ve gotta move!” Crowley finally shouted, his brain kicking into action as the two of them moved as fast as they could away from the front of the ship.
Aziraphale kept looking behind him, the berg so close now. The ship was turning, but it wasn’t going to be enough, desperate shouting still going on overhead as Crowley pulled them down by some piping and shielded Aziraphale with his own arms, just as the berg hit. It wasn’t a direct hit, the ship had turned enough for it to just scrap by it, the loud crunching of ice on metal going past them. It sounded like someone scraping chalk down a black board, and the pair gritted their teeth at the noise, feeling large vibrations shuddering through the ship.
They looked up, watching the berg go past, so close they could have touched it if they reached over the railing. Crowley shielded Aziraphale again as a few large chunks of ice fell off the berg landing on the deck beside them, but thankfully nothing hit them. As the berg passed entirely, they both got up and leant over the rail looking down the ship, watching the berg melt back into the darkness from whence it came as the ship sailed on.
“Well,” breathed Aziraphale, eyes still wide at what he’d just witnessed, and so close as well, “That was close.” He then looked down, unable to see from this angle if there was any damage, “I do hope there isn’t a leak.”
Chapter 9: “Compliments from Gabriel.”
“MOVE! MOVE NOW!”
Dagon was screaming at her workers. The ice cold water was already waist high and was rushing over them, pouring into the boilers causing so much steam they could barely see where they were going. She was trying to get them through the watertight door and up the ladder at the end before some angel up top gave the order to seal it, but her demons were beginning to get washed away. Someone was calling for help. She couldn’t see! Suddenly the grinding mechanics of the door began to whir, and it began to lower down.
She grabbed the two struggling demons closest to her and practically threw them through the shrinking gap, turning to another one behind her.
“COME ON MOVE!”
She helped him duck down under the water to get through, pushing him out against the torrent of water, and then there was a heavy bang as the door sealed itself shut. She was trapped on the wrong side, water rushing up to her shoulders, and she turned back to the voices still crying for help.
She’d saved as many as she could.
Lady Scarlett opened her cabin door, wrapped in a silky red dressing gown. She caught the attention of the one of the stewards rushing down the corridor.
“Why have the engines stopped? What was that shudder?” she asked.
“I shouldn't worry, miss.” The steward assured her, “We've likely thrown a propeller blade, that's the shudder you felt. May I bring you anything?”
She eyed him carefully, “A propeller blade.” She watched as two more stewards hurried off past them, “No, thank you.” She closed the door. Something was going on, something that had the stewards worried. She went to get dressed. She was a journalist after all, wherever chaos was she needed to be there.
The same steward began to have the same trouble getting other curious angels to understand there was nothing wrong and to remain in their cabins. More and more were coming out in their pyjamas and nightgowns.
“There's no cause for alarm!” he was trying to insist to them, “Please, go back to your rooms.”
“You!” Gabriel walked up behind him from down the corridor, Michael, Uriel and Sandalphon following. Uriel grabbed the poor steward by the shoulders making him turn to face them.
“Please, sirs. There's no emergency—”
“Yes there is, I have been robbed!” Gabriel exclaimed, “Now go and fetch the Master at Arms. Now you moron!”
Out on the angel deck, Mr Dowling and his family were peering over the edge, watching some demons play football with the chunks of ice that had fallen onto the deck below. The demons were laughing, roughing around, and evidently not in the slightest bit concerned.
“Can I go play?” his young son asked.
“Don’t be ridiculous Warlock they’re demons. Obviously nothing is seriously wrong, let’s go back inside where it’s warm.”
Just below where they were standing, under the shelter from the angel deck, Aziraphale and Crowley stood watching the demons playing too. They’d been very concerned at first when the ship stopped moving, but when no one came out to tell them what was wrong or if they needed to get to life boats, Crowley had voiced his opinion that perhaps they’d stopped just so the staff could assess any damage the iceberg may have caused, before the ship continued onwards. The ship was after all unsinkable.
So, they’d relaxed, and taking a break from running from Michael they’d stayed hidden underneath the upper deck. Aziraphale was hugging Crowley for warmth from the chilly night air, his head on his shoulder, watching as those demons emerged from inside and began to mess around with the fallen ice. He’d press the occasional kiss to his neck, and Crowley would hug him tighter, both happily lost in each other’s arms.
“This is nice.” Crowley said dreamily, nosing through those platinum curls. Aziraphale was the perfect shape to cuddle, and he’d happily stand right here with him for the rest of the voyage.
Suddenly they heard footsteps coming down from an outside flight of stairs that came down from the bridge. The Captain, his officers, and Lady Scarlett, were hurrying down them, appearing to be arguing. At the sight of Scarlett Crowley instinctively pushed himself against the wall with Aziraphale in front of him like a shield, clinging to him. Aziraphale chuckled.
“I know for a fact there is no virtue for you to lose now Crowley dear.”
“Shut up.” Crowley smiled affectionately.
As the group reached the bottom of the stairs, Scarlett turned and blocked the officers from continuing.
“Captain, you are going to tell me right now what is going on!”
The Captain was flustered and clearly annoyed, but she was standing her ground, so he let out a very frustrated sigh.
“Very well. There was water fourteen feet above the keel within the first ten minutes in all four holds, and in boiler room six.”
“I take it that’s bad?”
“That’s five compartments. The ship can stay afloat with the first four compartments breached, but not five. As she goes down by the head the water will spill over the tops of the bulkheads, from one to the next, back and back. There's no stopping it.”
“But what about the pumps—"
“The pumps buy us time Miss Scarlett, but minutes only. From this moment, no matter what we do…the Titanic will founder.”
Scarlett stared at him, “But this ship can't sink! It’s main advertising point was that it’s unsinkable!”
"She is made of iron, Miss, I assure you she can, and she will. We have one, maybe two hours at the most. And because of that ridiculous advertising they only allowed us enough lifeboats for the angels. Every single demon on this ship will die! I suggest you get yourself to a lifeboat as soon as possible, now let me through so I can do my job!”
He pushed her aside, easy to do now with how stunned she was. She stood there, her long fur coat billowing in the wind, before she turned and quickly ran back up the stairs. The Captain and his officers stormed past Crowley and Aziraphale, going through the same Crew Only door they had come out of earlier. The Captain paused before he went in, and looked back at the two of them. The terrified and shocked looks on their faces told him they’d overheard every word.
“I’m sorry.” He said quietly, more towards Crowley, then disappeared through the door.
The two of them were silent, processing every word they’d just heard. The Titanic was sinking. In two hours. And the lifeboats…the demons…
Aziraphale looked to Crowley, a terrible fear in his eyes that he was trying to cover with a smile, “It’ll be fine Crowley, it will. I’m still an angel I could get you on a lifeboat with me, I would never leave you behind. I’m sure they put in extra seats anyway, they always do with these things.”
“But the others…” Crowley trailed off.
All colour had drained from his face. There were hundreds of demons on this ship. Hastur, Ligur, all of them were going to…to die? What the fuck were these angels thinking when they designed the ship?! Huh, well he had his answer there didn’t he? Angels designed the ship. Why would they think of the safety of demons? It was almost funny how he’d never noticed the fact that there weren’t any lifeboats on the demon deck, but plenty on the angel one. He’d even hidden behind one when he’d cornered Aziraphale in the gym. And what about himself? If he wasn’t allowed on a lifeboat, regardless of what Aziraphale said…was he going to die too? Was this it? Oh god he could feel the panic rising up in him, he didn’t want to die! Especially not now he'd found Aziraphale, he wanted to live! He wanted to have a life with him this would be too cruel to have it cut short so early!
Somehow Aziraphale must have been sensing what he was thinking, because suddenly the angel was gripping his shoulders and making him look at him, “Crowley look at me!” Crowley’s frightened golden eyes did as they were told, “We will get off this ship together! You will get on a lifeboat with me, I won’t let them say no! Understand? Please Crowley, don’t think of anything else. I love you my dear, and we’re both going to get to New York together, I promise. Alright?”
Crowley took a few deep, shaking breaths to calm his nerves, and then nodded, “Alright. Okay but…but angel this is bad.”
He looked around at all the demons who were ignorant of the immediate danger they were facing. He wanted to tell them, tell them to run, but where? All it would do is cause a mass panic with no where for them to go. That child kicking the ice around was going to drown in two hours, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He knew what no one else did and could do nothing to help them. They were all going to be washed away, everyone, the kids…
“Crowley I want to warn the others what’s happening.” Aziraphale said, “Miss Device, Madame Tracy, even…even Gabriel.”
Crowley turned to gape at him, “Okay now it’s worse. Why do we have to tell Gabriel?”
“Because it’s the right thing to do Crowley! If the ship is sinking then…well, Gabriel may be a...a…”
“A conceited angel with a stick of his own righteousness stuck so far up his own arse he spouts nothing but shit?” Crowley offered, angry and afraid, and immediately regretting snapping at his angel.
Aziraphale blinked at him, and without acknowledging the tone simply gently stroked down his arm, feeling the fear in his voice and not blaming him at all. Crowley looked immediately guilty.
“Well…yes, that.” Aziraphale did agree though, “But that doesn’t mean I wish him harm. I just want him to leave me alone that’s all. Besides, all this running away is fun and games and all but…” he sighed deeply, “I should tell him. About us, about the wedding being off. To his face I mean. Maybe then he’ll stop chasing us. Maybe then we can get to a lifeboat without having to worry about what he may do.”
Crowley just looked at him, his head slightly shaking, but his gaze now full of affection, “Your niceness is going to get us into trouble.” He then placed his hand over the one on his arm and squeezed it, “I just hope you know what you’re doing.”
Aziraphale smiled thankfully at him, “You’ll come with me though, yes?”
“Are you kidding?! I’m not letting you out of my sight!”
Aziraphale beamed at him. He then clasped both his hands over Crowley’s and brought it to his lips, kissing it softly, “Thank you.”
A small blush appeared on Crowley’s cheeks, despite being very disgruntled and burying down his fear. Like he could ever say no to his angel. He pulled out his dark glasses from his pocket, placing them back on his nose. He didn’t like facing those angels without them. Or the threat of death from that freezing ocean either.
“Right, let’s get this over with then.”
As they stepped out of the elevator on the level where Aziraphale’s cabin was, they found Michael waiting in the foyer. She’d been standing guard at the one entrance to the corridor, just waiting for her army of stewards to find them. She hadn’t expected them to arrive of their own free will though.
“Aziraphale,” she smiled, one that held no happiness in her eyes, “we’ve been looking for you. It’s so good to have you back.”
She hugged him. Hugged him! Crowley’s face was a mixture of shock and disgust. Aziraphale just stood there frozen like a statue, his arms stiff at his side.
“Um…thank you, Michael. That’s very…very kind of you.” He said awkwardly.
“I believe Gabriel would like a word with you.” She said, pulling away, neither of them noticing her sleight of hand as she took the pocket watch out of Aziraphale’s waistcoat.
Aziraphale coughed awkwardly, those nervous hands coming back in front of himself again, “A-and I would like a word with him, also.”
Crowley looked at those hands. He reached out to take one, holding it firmly by his side so it stopped shaking. Aziraphale threw him a quick smile, and when Michael turned to look at him Crowley just raised an eyebrow that clearly said, yes? what?
“After you.” She motioned to Aziraphale, holding her hand out towards the corridor, ignoring Crowley entirely.
The two walked past her, Crowley eyeing her till the very last second. It felt like they were being marched towards prison and did not like it one little bit. His brain was heightened now, running a mile a minute thinking of every possible scenario, every word he could possibly say to defend his and Aziraphale’s relationship. He highly doubted Gabriel was just going to accept this. But whatever happened, he was walking out of here with Aziraphale by his side and they were getting on a lifeboat. Oh he really hoped his angel wasn’t going to regret this. Stupid angel. So nice. So wonderful.
Unseen by them both, Michael followed closely behind them, slipping the pocket watch, and a second item, into Crowley’s tailcoat pocket.
When they arrived at the cabin, Michael opened the door for them, and they were greeted by Gabriel and his group all standing around talking with…the Master at Arms? The Master was flanked by two law officers, both with batons and handcuffs hanging from their sides. Aziraphale eyed them cautiously, wondering, but didn’t engage with them. Instead he turned straight to Gabriel, who was already looking overly pleased with himself.
“Aziraphale! My heavens I was so very worried about you, and I’m sure you have a perfectly innocent explanation prepared as to why you’ve walked in here hand in hand with that.”
Crowley gave him a fickle little sarcastic smile.
Aziraphale took a calming breath, gripping Crowley’s hand even tighter. He would not rise. “Gabriel, something serious has happened, and I thought it was best that-“
“You’re right,” Gabriel interrupted again, “something serious has happened. Two things important to me have disappeared this evening. Now that one is back...” he looked over Aziraphale, then to Crowley, and badly concealed his satisfied smile, “I have a pretty good idea where to find the other.” He turned to the Master at Arms, “Search him.”
Suddenly Crowley was ripped away from Aziraphale, “Crowley!” Aziraphale yelled, reaching out to him as Uriel grabbed his arm to keep him where he stood.
“What the fuck!! Let go of me get off!” Crowley yelled, struggling wildly, the two officers shoving the tailcoat off him as the Master began to pat him down, one officer holding him back while the other searched the pockets of the coat.
Aziraphale shrugged out of Uriel’s grip and turned crossly to Gabriel, “You cannot be serious Gabriel! We're in the middle of an emergency and you—"
“Is this it, Sir?” said one of the officers, pulling out a necklace with a huge purple diamond on the end in the shape of a heart. Mixed up in the chain was the smaller chain that was attached to the pocket watch. He handed them both to Gabriel.
“Yes, yes this is it, my mothers’ necklace, stolen from this very room. And look,” he turned to Aziraphale, “the pocket watch you so proudly claimed in your little note that you were wearing, despite me telling you not to. Looks like your little demon got a hold of that too.”
Aziraphale was stunned silent. Needless to say, so was Crowley.
Gabriel took Aziraphale’s hand and placed both items on his palm, and Aziraphale stared at them. Crowley was gaping in shock from the items, to Aziraphale, to Gabriel’s smug face.
“Wait…wait I didn’t take either of those!”
“A likely story.” Uriel chided.
“Right then.” Said the Master at Arms, nodding to the officer behind to take out the handcuffs, “You’re under arrest. Now don’t make a fuss.”
“No wait I didn’t do this!” Crowley shouted at them all, his hands being forced behind his back as the cuffs clicked into place around his wrists. Aziraphale was still staring at the items in his hand, and the fact he hadn’t reacted yet was terrifying Crowley. “Aziraphale! Aziraphale I didn’t do this I don’t know how they got there!! You have to believe me! Aziraphale!”
Aziraphale was swallowing away the rising panic in his throat, “He…he couldn't have…”
He knew that necklace did indeed belong to Gabriel’s mother. It was called The Heart of the Ocean, a diamond supposedly worth such a fortune it had been declared one of the most sought after pieces of jewellery in the world. And his pocket watch…why would Crowley take his pocket watch? It was very old perhaps it was worth something sure but, but Crowley…well he did say he’d stolen things in the past but…he wouldn’t steal from him.
“But…he didn’t even know where our cabin was. How could he have gotten the necklace?” Aziraphale was desperately trying to come up with excuses, because the alternative didn’t bear thinking about.
“Oh please,” Gabriel scoffed, “he’s been running around passing himself off as an angel, he could have gotten his grubby little hands on anything, anywhere. This is just the sort of thing they do.”
“Aziraphale!! Look at me, please! You know I wouldn’t have done this!” Crowley was desperately leaning forward from his captor towards his angel. Why wouldn’t Aziraphale look at him? Surely he didn’t believe these blatant lies?? He couldn’t! “Please!”
But Aziraphale…he couldn’t look at him. He suddenly felt so cold, so…sick. Would Crowley really have done this? He can’t. Not after everything…these last few days…
“No…no it can’t be…he…” Aziraphale swallowed heavily again, “he loves me…”
“Yes!” Crowley exclaimed with a desperate smile, “Yes I do angel I love you I didn’t take them!!”
Gabriel turned, picking up the sketchbook he’d placed ready on the side.
“Oh sweet, naive Aziraphale. This is not love, look at it.” He said, opening the sketchbook in front of him and flipping through the pages, all the wondrously drawn images of himself flicking back at him, “This is infatuation, an obsession, a passing phase. No one does something like this after only knowing you for a few days, if anything this is disturbing behaviour.”
“Don’t listen to him! I drew those because I love you, you know that! They’re all the things that we can do together, away from him!” he shouted the final word towards Gabriel, but Gabriel ignored him.
“All you are to him is someone to use until he’s either bored or robbed you of all your possessions, and by the looks of it that would have been the second option had he not been caught!”
“Aziraphale please look at me!! I didn’t steal them they put them in my pocket they must have! They’re framing me!”
He was fighting so hard to get close to him, but now the other officer helped in holding him back. This was so hideously painful to watch happen, he had to get him to believe him but they were all ganging up on him! This couldn’t be happening it just couldn’t, please angel don’t believe them! Please!
“It's not even your pocket though is it?” said Michael, who took the coat out of the officers hands when she noticed a name on the label inside the collar, “Property of Dr Raven Sable.” She read aloud, passing it to the Master at Arms.
He looked it over, “Indeed this was reported stolen this morning.”
Crowley gaped like a fish out of water.
“Wah...but...I-I was going to return that! I was just borrowing it!” Well technically he didn’t have any intention of returning it, it was a nice coat, but that wasn’t something to mention now.
“Yes,” said Gabriel, “to disguise yourself so you can walk around here unnoticed stealing whatever you came across. I’d recommend searching his cabin, who knows what else he’s taken from other poor unsuspecting angels. This has all been nothing but a scam.”
“No!” Crowley’s voice was shaking now, he could feel hot tears stinging his eyes, “Aziraphale please! The time we've spent together you know me better than anyone ever has! Please you have to believe me! Please! Why won’t you look at me?!”
“I thought that was obvious.” Gabriel snipped, standing beside Aziraphale and placing a possessive arm around his shoulder.
Aziraphale he… he just couldn’t look at Crowley. His mind was stuck on the items he was holding, on the chilling question that had all of this been a lie? Had he been fool enough to fall for a demons trick? Was this what Crowley had wanted to do all along? Had he made him fall in love with him for…for a scam? Anger was boiling up inside him, but he didn't know who he was angry with. Did that mean Gabriel had been right all along? But…how could that be? These last few days had been brilliant, better than brilliant, they had meant everything to Aziraphale and now here he was, holding two stolen items that were shattering everything that had been built up between them.
He didn’t want to believe it, but…but his bottom lip was trembling…he felt so sick…
“Angel…” Crowley whispered, the look on Aziraphale’s face destroying him. He made a sudden stronger lunge forward to try to get to him, the officers pulling him back again but not before everyone saw Aziraphale flinch away from him into Gabriel’s arms.
That move alone had Crowley's heart shattering, and he stared at him in horror.
Sandalphon leant over to whisper in Uriel’s ear, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Well isn’t this precious.”
“No…” Crowley pleaded desperately, no longer shouting, in fact barely above a whisper, “no don’t do this. Aziraphale this is all part of their plan it must be.”
Aziraphale could feel his throat tightening. He didn’t know what to think, he didn’t know what was right or real, all he knew was that he felt so hurt, so betrayed, and so very, very confused. The Master at Arms nodded to his men, and they began to drag Crowley away, Gabriel nodding towards Michael to follow them. Crowley shouted back one last time, one last frantic attempt to get Aziraphale to see.
“Don’t listen to them! I didn’t do this! You know I didn’t you know it! I love you! Angel!!”
As they approached the door Sandalphon ripped the dark glasses off Crowley’s face, dropped them to the floor, and delightfully crushed them under his foot, “You’re not going to be needing these where you’re going.”
Crowley growled, furiously angry, tears burning down his cheeks, “FUCK YOU! FUCK ALL OF YOU!!! AZIRAPHALE PLEAS-“
The door was slammed shut behind them. Crowley’s voice was still shouting as he was forcibly led away, his voice getting quieter and quieter as they went.
Left in silence, Gabriel turned to Aziraphale.
“I know it must hurt Aziraphale, to be played like that. But don’t fret,” Gabriel raised his arms, pulling him into an awkward embrace, “I’m here to take care of you. As your husband.”
Aziraphale was devastated. He was shaking. He still wanted to throw up. He couldn’t let it sink in that this was happening, that he’d loved someone who had…used him….no, no it can't be true. A small whimper escaped him. He was trying so hard not to cry, not in front of Gabriel, not like this. This couldn’t be real.
Gabriel gently took the necklace and watch out of Aziraphale’s hand, giving the necklace to Sandalphon, “Guard that with your life.”
Sandalphon nodded, and placed it in his jacket pocket. Gabriel then carefully placed the watch back into Aziraphale’s waistcoat pocket, before embracing him once again.
“I suppose I can let you wear the watch, but in return, are you going to apologise for putting me through all this?”
Aziraphale was staring, wide eyed, at nothing. He heard Gabriel speak, he heard the words, but all that was going through his head was everything Crowley had said to him, everything they had done together, everything that had made Aziraphale feel like the most important angel in the world to that demon.
And it was all a lie?
He nodded faintly, “I’m sorry.” He whispered, his voice sounding so very far away, so very not like himself.
“And now you’ve got this little rebellion out of your system, will you obey me now?”
He nodded again, “Yes.” And two tears fell onto Gabriel’s jacket, soaking into the fabric.
Despite himself, despite the small and pathetic way Gabriel always made him feel, Aziraphale found his arms coming up to hold him, to hold something, anything. He gripped fistfuls of Gabriel’s jacket as he buried his head against his chest, hiding his face as he quietly sobbed, tears falling for the perfect love he’d found and lost so quickly.
Gabriel was all he had to comfort him, and that just made him feel even worse.
Gabriel turned to smirk over at Sandalphon and Uriel, “Good.”
The ground felt weird. Like it was leaning. Beelzebub sleepily opened his cabin door to see what was going on only to find dozens of rats running past him as fast as their little legs could go. He yelped, startled, jumping out of their way, then looked down from where they were running. Water was slowly rising and coming down the corridor. Someone further down opened their door too, stepping out into freezing cold water. It was Ligur.
“What the fuck is going!? Hastur! Get up!”
There was a splash and another rude exclamation as Hastur stepped out into the corridor, watching the rushing water rising further and further up their feet where they stood. They looked to each other.
“Well this can’t be good.” Hastur said, and Ligur ran past him back into their slowly flooding cabin, grabbing his soaking wet bag from underneath his bunk bed, and the two life jackets that hung on the wall.
“Come on, if the rats are going that way that’s good enough for me!”
There was an urgent knock on the door, and Sandalphon opened it. A steward was there holding a selection of life jackets.
"Sirs, I've been told to ask you to please put on your life jackets and come up to the deck.”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous.” Said Gabriel.
The steward pushed past Sandalphon and put the jackets on a table “I'm sorry about the inconvenience but it's Captain's orders. I’m sure it’s just a precaution though. Do please dress warmly, it's quite cold tonight.” He then left as quickly as he came.
“What an idiot.” Sandalphon said, poking the life jackets but not moving to put any on, “We should complain about the interruption.”
Aziraphale, who looked quite dead in the eyes, was just staring at the floor, “Can’t you feel it? The ships sinking Gabriel.” He said quietly, before slowly looking up at them all, “It’s what I came here to tell you all. I overheard the Captain. In less than two hours all this will be under water.”
They all stared at him, “…my god…” Gabriel finally whispered, “If you’re lying Aziraphal-“
“I’m not lying.” Aziraphale interrupted, in no mood to be talked down to, “I suggest we do what the steward says.”
Suddenly, Sandalphon was grabbing a life jacket.
It was now chaos below. Demons were pushing over each other down the flooding corridors, trying to get up the stairs to the higher floors. Some had life jackets on, others didn’t, some carried luggage, others carried crying children. Ligur and Hastur pushed past up the stairs through a huge crowd, only to find a steel gate had been drawn across the top of the stairs, preventing them from getting out. Several attendants and stewards were the other side, trying and failing to get the demons to remain calm.
“Hey!” called Ligur, grabbing the gate, “You can’t keep us locked down here! Let us up to the boats!”
“Stay calm, please. It's not time to go up to the boats yet!”
“Not time?! It’s fucking flooding down here!!”
“As soon as the angels are safely off the ship we’ll start with all of you.”
Hastur shielded his frog in his pocket from being bashed around by the crowd, “Well that’s bloody typical.”
None of the demons noticed the glances the stewards were giving each other, knowing full well what they were saying was a blatant lie. By the time the angels had gone, there'd be no boats left for these demons.
There was a crowd of angels out on the deck, all in various states of dress, life jackets thrown over evening dresses and kimonos. Some were laden down with all the jewellery they could carry, and a familiar dog was barking somewhere, being held back by its young boy owner. Most were complaining about the cold, one even telling her attendant to go back to her cabin and put the fire on so it would be warm when she returned.
Mr Dowling and his family appeared from inside, joining the crowd, “You watch.” He was complaining to his wife loudly, “They'll put us off in these silly little boats to freeze, and we'll all be back on board by breakfast. Typical of the English, doing things by the book. They’ll be a stern letter of complaint going their way when we get home.”
"Okay, we’d better get this started.” Said an officer, waving across to his men down the ship to start getting the life boats released. He then turned back to the crowd and shouted so they could all hear, “Everyone please form an orderly queue! We will get you all on a boat as quickly and professionally as possible. Please all remain calm!”
The violinist who had been playing during dinner the other night stood to one side and began to play a lively, elegant tune. The officer nodded towards her in gratitude, for anything that would keep the angels calm would be greatly appreciated. The boat behind him was now ready, and he stood to one side, holding out his hand for the first passenger to take. It was Lady Scarlett, having done exactly what the Captain had said and gone right to the lifeboats before anyone else.
“Please mind the gap.” The officer said politely, but she refused his hand, and got on the boat perfectly fine by herself. She looked back at all the fools complaining. She was going to survive this, even if most of them didn’t, and reporting on this when she got to land was going to be the highlight of her career.
As the boat began to fill, the officer looked it over and nodded to his men, “Right, this ones ready! Lower away! Left and right together, steady lads!”
The boat lurched violently, the passengers screaming, and it took a few goes for the men to get the rhythm, left and right together as they’d been told. Eventually the boat began to lower, swaying and jerking, but getting there. As the boat passed the demon deck below, the demons that were also being locked away from heading up to the angel deck started to lean out to the boat to try and grab it. A few tried to jump but missed, landing in the freezing sea beneath. One managed to grab a hold, but Scarlett hit his hands hard, the demon letting go in pain and plummeting to the water with a yell. No one was risking her escape.
“Sir!” An out of breath crewman suddenly came running into the brig, and the Master at Arms turned to him, “There’s a riot going on out on the demon deck, you’re needed urgently!”
They had only just got there, dragging the constantly struggling Crowley down the depths of the ship.
“Go,” said Michael, “I’ll keep an eye on him.”
Out of her inner jacket pocket she pulled out a gun, a pearl handled colt .45 automatic. The Master nodded at her and tossed her the handcuff keys, before exiting with the crewman. He had been looking for the keys for the small barred prison on one side of the room before the crewman had interrupted, but unable to find them in time had Michael now handcuffing Crowley to a large, thick water pipe that ran horizontally through the middle of the brig.
Crowley watched as she pulled out a chair from a desk so it would face him, then sat down in it. She eyed him with a smirk, tossing the keys into the air then catching them again. She did this several times, eyeing the porthole behind Crowley that was already halfway beneath the ocean.
“You know... I believe this ship may sink.” She stated quite calmly, before getting up and crossing the room to stand in front of him.
Crowley didn’t say a word. He just glared at her, his teeth clenching in a vile hatred towards this woman and everything that had just happened. He felt furious, and useless, and his whole soul felt like it had shattered along with his heart at knowing Aziraphale had thought he’d stolen from him. Nothing could be as bad as that. It had destroyed him that his angel hadn’t believed him, and if he wasn’t so mind-numbingly furious at this little scheme they’d pulled off to frame him, he be curled up on the floor in tears right now. Aziraphale had been the love of his life, and these fucking bastards had torn them apart!
"What?” Crowley demanded as she stared at him.
Without a word, Michael held the barrel of her gun and swiped the handle of it hard across Crowley’s face. Crowley cried out sharply, his head smashing to one side at the force, his red hair flying over his face.
Michael smiled down at him as he groaned in pain, “Compliments from Gabriel.” She said, flipping the keys up in the air one last time, and then putting them in her pocket.
“Eurgghh…wait…” Crowley managed to groan out, peering at her through one eye as she headed towards the door, “You can’t just leave me here.” He hissed out through gritted teeth, a nasty red mark on his right cheek which throbbed horribly in pain.
Michael turned back to him at the door, “Can’t I?”
And then she was gone, leaving Crowley alone, the room creaking ominously around him.
“Lower away! Lower away!” an officer was shouting, another lifeboat heading down over the side of the ship.
Gabriel and Aziraphale appeared out on the deck, Uriel and Sandalphon following behind. As soon as Sandalphon saw the huge crowd he pushed past them all right to the front, Gabriel dragging Aziraphale along behind him in his wake. Sandalphon tried to push past the officer to get to the next boat, but the officer pulled him back, yelling at him.
“Get out of the way, you fool!”
Sandalphon looked appalled, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who this angel is here!?” he said, gesturing to Gabriel as though he was a monarch of some great country.
“I don’t know and I don’t care, you're all passengers and I'm a ship's bloody officer. Now do what you're told and wait your turn like everyone else! Get back in line!!”
Numbly, Sandalphon backed away to Gabriel, “What do we do?”
Suddenly a rocket shot up into the sky, bursting into a thousand lights far above them and lighting up the crowd. It was a warning flare, a desperate cry for help. The crowd gasped, and startled faces turned to look, some now finally getting that this was serious. Fear was beginning to creep up on their faces. Gabriel looked down the deck, there were crowds everywhere, more and more people making it outside. No boat looked to have less of a queue than another.
“We wait.” Gabriel said, though as they did he made sure to tut and sigh at every given opportunity at how long this was taking.
Aziraphale still felt numb. He didn’t feel like he was walking or really there at all. He wasn’t looking at anything that was going on, he just waited, standing next to Gabriel like an obedient little fiancé. He could hear the violinist still playing, and far beneath them on the deck below the cries and screams of demons.
Demons. They were all going to die.
He looked up at his name, and saw Newton and Anathema next in line for the boat. His face brightened. “Oh thank goodness you both made it out here! I was going to come and warn you what was happening but…” he trailed off, “…but, something came up.”
“I’m glad you’re safe too,” Anathema said, as Newton held her hand and helped her into the boat, “You’re not with Crowley?” she asked over her shoulder.
Aziraphale’s face fell, and he shook his head politely, “N-no, I’m not.”
“And aren’t you glad of that.” Gabriel stated on his behalf, “Who would want to be sitting with demons anyway? At least we get our own boats."
Aziraphale found himself frowning in annoyance, the demons continuing to cry out below, “Crowley will…” every demon was going to die, “…there aren’t any lifeboats for the demons. None of them are going to survive.”
Aziraphale felt wrong, and he clenched his fists at his sides. Everything about this was wrong. Crowley wasn’t with him that felt…wrong. He’d promised him he wouldn’t leave him behind, and yet here he was, back with Gabriel queuing up to be rescued while all those screaming voices below would perish. Crowley…he wouldn’t have…stolen those things…
“No lifeboats for the demons?” Gabriel repeated brightly, “Huh, well at least that’s one good thing that will come out of today.”
The realisation hit Aziraphale like a thunderbolt. Crowley was going to die if he didn’t go back for him. Crowley, the one who had stopped him from killing himself. The one who by simply giving him a piece of cake had made him so happy. The one who had shown him what a real party was, what real fun was. The one who had kissed his forehead when he obviously wanted to kiss his lips. The one who listened to his dreams and told him to follow them. The one that had told him to be free, who he’d made love with, twice, and who whispered that he loved him and kissed him whenever he could.
The one who’d promised him the stars.
And here he was standing, leaving with an angel who was wishing death on all the helpless souls beneath them, and who obviously, so obviously, somehow, had set Crowley up with those stolen items. He knew it in his heart, and he’d been so taken under by Gabriel, so pushed down so many times that he couldn’t think his own thoughts around him. Gabriel’s thoughts had become his own, and had ended up believing him so easily that Crowley was guilty.
Aziraphale felt horrible.
He touched the watch in his pocket, the one he knew Crowley would not have taken. With Crowley he had his own mind, it wasn’t owned like it was with Gabriel. He flexed his fingers and clenched them into fists once more and turned, glaring up at Gabriel.
“You unimaginable bastard.”
Gabriel blinked down at him, “Excuse me?”
Anathema held out her hand across the gap for Aziraphale to take, “Your turn Aziraphale, let’s get out of here.”
But Aziraphale shook his head, stepping back, looking as though he was about to make the biggest decision of his life. Which he was.
“Aziraphale we’ll talk about that little outburst later, but for now just get on the boat.” Gabriel said, grabbing his arm, but Aziraphale yanked it away hard. Gabriel glared at him, “Don’t be stupid, I’m ordering you to get on that boat!”
Aziraphale looked to Anathema, concern and confusion on her face, and then turned to his ex-fiancé.
“Goodbye Gabriel.” He stated simply, and then turned and quickly pushed himself back through the crowd.
Sandalphon was ignoring the whole situation and trying to take Anathema’s hand, who quickly snapped it back saying not you.
Gabriel took a moment to comprehend what had just happened, before he ground his teeth together and pushed through the crowd after Aziraphale. He caught up easily enough, as Aziraphale was being too polite in asking people to move for him. He grabbed him roughly, shaking him.
“What the hell are you doing? I need those contacts Aziraphale you are mine! You are getting on that boat and we are getting married whether you like it or not!”
Aziraphale tried to struggle away from him but Gabriel was gripping his arms tightly, so instead he stood his ground and poured every ounce of anger he could muster into his furious stare.
“You know what Gabriel? I am disgusted with myself for believing you over Crowley! I thought I was feeling sick because of what he’d done but no, it’s because for some insane reason I was believing you! I am the luckiest angel alive to have found a love like he’s giving me! And I know in my heart that he would never have stolen those things. You on the other hand, I can very easily believe would frame him to get what you want! I just pray that he will forgive me.”
“So that’s it?!” Gabriel yelled at him, “You’re going to run to him? Lose your angel status? Become a demon for that…that gutter rat?”
Aziraphale leaned in close, ensuring Gabriel got every word of what he was about to say, “I’d rather become his demon than your husband.” His face was trembling in held back fury, and he felt a great wave of relief wash over him for the first time ever as he finally articulated exactly what he’d wanted to say to Gabriel for a very long time;
“So just…FUCK OFF GABRIEL!”
He then kneed him sharply right in the groin, turned on his heel and hurried past the last few people and back through a door inside. In the distance, having seen what had happened through the legs of the crowd as her boat was lowered, Anathema laughed and laughed at the sight of Gabriel on his knees clutching his groin.
“You go get your demon Aziraphale.” She said, grinning to herself. But her smile faded as her boat went down past the demons trapped on the deck below, all of them crying out to her and the others on board, pleading to be rescued. “And both of you, please get to a boat in time.” she whispered so sadly, Newton wrapping his arm around her and placing a kiss to her temple.
Chapter 10: “Get in the boat Aziraphale.”
Crowley pulled with all his strength at the pipe, teeth gritting in the effort, but it was welded together, top, bottom, and all the sections in between. It wasn’t budging.
He turned to the door that Michael had left half open, “HELLO!” he shouted as loud as he could, “CAN ANYONE HEAR ME? HELLO!”
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been here, but it was long enough for him to feel the floor tilting more and more at an angle. The room was creaking constantly, and he looked to the porthole that was now completely under water. There was a dark shape that suddenly splashed down up on the surface. It was a lifeboat hitting the water. This was not good. He’d tried pulling at the pipes, kicking them, leaning against it and pushing with all his strength. Nothing. Suddenly he turned back to the door, there was a wet gurgling sound coming from it and now he could see water beginning to pour in from underneath, rapidly spreading across the floor.
Oh this was definitely not good!
He pulled harshly at the handcuffs, trying to wriggle out one hand. He twisted it back and forth as hard as he could, but he accomplished nothing except making the skin red raw and broken. It was no good.
“HELP! SOMEBODY! CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?!”
There was no answer. The water continued to rush in.
“Shit shit shit shit shit shit, why me?!”
He tried to wrench his hand out again, clenching his jaw at the pain as he pulled at it so hard it finally ripped the skin, drops of blood beginning to drip slowly down his wrist. He let go with a few panting breaths. That just wasn’t happening. He desperately looked around the room for anything he could perhaps hook with his foot and bring closer to help him escape, but there was nothing. The room was sparse. He swallowed heavily, panic rising as fast as the water gushing in.
He was going to die here. Alone.
“Angel,” he whispered to himself, said as though a prayer, “you promised.”
“Anyone in here?”
A steward was going through rooms calling out ensuring everyone had left. Aziraphale spotted him down the corridor and hurried up to him.
“Oh! Excuse me!” he said breathlessly, for he’d been running around not knowing where he was going, “Where might the Master at Arms take someone under arrest?”
“What? Sir you have to get to a boat right away! Please follow me!”
The steward took Aziraphale’s arm and tried to hurry him along back the way he came, but Aziraphale snapped his arm away from him.
“No! I'm doing this with or without your help but without will take longer. There is someone trapped down there I must know where it is! Please!”
The steward stared at him like he’d gone crazy. He didn’t have time for this. “Alright fine. Take the elevator at the end of this corridor and go to the very bottom, take the second left, down the crewman's passage, then make a right. The brig will be down there.”
Aziraphale nodded along, memorising his words, then ran back down the corridor shouting back, “Thank you!” as he went.
“You must hurry Sir!” the steward called after him.
As Aziraphale got to the foyer he found a young operator standing outside the elevator, just about to pull the gate in front of it to lock it.
“Wait! Please I must go down!” Aziraphale puffed out, running up to him and now really out of breath.
“I’m sorry sir but the lifts are closed,” the operator went to take his arm, “you need to make your way to a lifebo-“
Aziraphale’s expression changed instantly, and he glared quite darkly for him. Without thinking he grabbed the poor boy by his shoulders and pushed him past the gate into the elevator and up against the wall.
“Bugger it all I am through with being polite! I am not going to stand around while the demon I love drowns! Now take me down!!”
The adrenaline from telling Gabriel to fuck off and then kneeing him in the groin was still coursing through his veins. He’d never been violent in his life before that and it was putting him in the mood for not being refused! People were going to do as he told them for once! And if one more person grabbed his arm told him to get to a lifeboat he may be forced to swear again!
In the shock at seeing an angel lose it like that, the operator quickly pulled the grate across and pulled the lever to take them both down. With them moving Aziraphale calmed and regained some composure, straightening his bowtie, but keeping a stern glare on the poor little operator.
Anathema’s lifeboat had made it a hundred or so feet away from the Titanic. She and Newton held each other for warmth, staring back at the spectacle of the once great liner. It was angled down into the water, the front rail on the bow barely six foot above the water line. The lights coming from the portholes were still on, creating an eerie slant into the black mirror of the Atlantic. Distant screams were still making their way to them, and there was nothing else around them but blackness and the odd lifeboat floating in the distance.
The rowers on the boat had stilled for a moment, watching the chaos they were escaping from, everyone on the small boat in a silent shock.
“I’m sure everyone will be alright.” Newton said, his voice very unconvincing despite the nicety behind the attempt. Anathema clutched her husbands hand tightly.
She hadn’t seen any lifeboats on the demon deck.
Through the wrought iron gate of the elevator Aziraphale watched the decks go by one after the other. As they came down to the final one, he suddenly found himself letting out the most undignified scream as a rush of ice-cold water unexpectedly engulfed him to his knees, swirling around his legs, the operator screaming just as loudly at the sudden shock. The final elevator floor was already flooding quickly, but nothing was going to stop Aziraphale from getting to Crowley. He let the moments fear at what he was facing take him for just a second, then he pushed it deep, deep down, and pulled hard at the gate to get it open.
As he stepped out into the flood, the operator was panicking behind him, “I’m going back up! I’m going back up!!” he yelled, quickly closing the gate and making it rise again, water pouring from it as it ascended.
It mattered not, there were bound to be stairs here somewhere.
“Second left, crew passage…” Aziraphale mumbled to himself, taking large underwater steps to get through the churning water.
Going through the second left door, he was almost immediately met by a cross corridor. Was this it? Was this where he went right? Wasn’t there supposed to be a crew passage? The water still poured around his legs, and not wanting to waste any more seconds than he needed he took the right. It was a short corridor with only a few doors, all of which did not have Crowley in them, and which ended in a short stairway down to the next corridor. Water was pouring down the stairs. Aziraphale looked back. Was he supposed to go down? The steward hadn’t mentioned anything about stairs, but he’d checked every room down the right. Not knowing what else to do he looked down the stairs to the corridor below, but the water here was much higher. So high in fact he knew if he went in he’d have to hold onto the pipes in the ceiling to make his way down, it would easily come up to his shoulders. Oh this was going to be very, very cold.
But he had to get Crowley.
Taking a deep breath, Aziraphale plunged into the water. He let out a huge shuddering gasp as the freezing water engulfed his body, and he clung to the pipework above him to keep him afloat against the strong current. Crowley hadn’t been kidding, this really did feel like a thousand knives stabbing you all over everywhere. He was already shivering, his muscles ceasing, he could barely take breaths it was so cold. He’d never felt anything like it.
There were electrical wires above him by the staircase that were sparking ominously, so with Crowley in mind he hauled himself down the flooded corridor, teeth chattering. He gradually caught up with the angle of the sinking ship and the water level dropped enough for him to wade through. He was met with another cross corridor. Aziraphale turned one way then the another, looking straight ahead and then behind from whence he’d come.
He was lost, and now he began to panic.
“CROWLEY!” he called out down one corridor, “CROWLEY WHERE ARE YOU?” he called down another. Panic and awful guilt was now running through him. If he didn’t find him, if he was left to die down here all because Aziraphale hadn’t believed him… “Oh my dear please let me find you! CROWLEY!”
Further down one of the corridors, a very afraid and loosing hope Crowley shot his head up at the voice coming from outside.
“Aziraphale?” It was Aziraphale, he’d recognise that voice anywhere! Suddenly hope was surging back through him like wildfire, “AZIRAPHALE! DOWN HERE!”
Aziraphale whipped around, the voice behind him, and he hurriedly waded as fast as he could down the opposite corridor that he’d just taken to continue his search.
“ANGEL! IN HERE!”
Eventually getting to the door that had BRIG in big capital letters above it, Aziraphale pushed it open fully, creating a little wave in the water. Upon seeing Crowley standing there, handcuffed but alive, Aziraphale let out a loud, shuddering cry of relief, with the most grateful smile on his face.
“Ohhhhhh Crowley!” he waded up to him as fast as he could and wrapped his arms around him, never wanting to let go, “Oh I’m so sorry my dear I’m so sorry!”
Crowley almost couldn’t believe it. Aziraphale had come back! Even though he thought he’d stolen from him, he’d come back for him! Oh how he wanted to hold him in return, to hug him to him and know this was real. His hands pulled desperately against the handcuffs towards him, but obviously to no avail.
“I didn’t take them I didn’t take them!” He had to get him to see right away that he was innocent, he needed Aziraphale to know that before anything else happened, please just believe, “They put them in my pocket they must have!”
“I know!” Aziraphale exclaimed, leaning back from the hug, “I know you didn’t do it I know and I’m so sorry.” He then kissed him all over his face, just so relieved to have found him.
“You know?! Did…did you find out?! Did they admit it?!” Crowley asked, eyes closed and leaning in blissfully to all the little kisses. Yes they were in a very dangerous situation but how could anyone not lean into Aziraphale kissing them like that?
“No. I just…” Aziraphale looked at him, cupping his face and gazing at him like he was the most precious star in the universe, “I just I know you didn’t do it.” He gave him a weak, guilty smile, “Can you ever forgive me?”
“Angel…” Crowley whispered, his own sappy little smile on his face, “you came back. There’s nothing to forgive. You could never do anything wrong.”
Aziraphale let out such a relieved, overwhelmingly happy sigh at hearing that, and then he kissed him so hard, pouring every ounce of love and apologies into it, wrapping himself completely around him. Crowley kissed him back, a kiss so eager, a kiss that was saying I thought I’d never get to do this again. His whole body was reaching for him but was still trapped by those damned handcuffs. When they parted, Crowley felt so alive again.
“Oh, and I told Gabriel to…well, to eff off, as they say.” Aziraphale said excitedly, “Oh and I kicked him between the legs for good measure.”
Crowley stared at him, and then this very surprising information had him throwing his head back in the biggest laugh.
“Oh my g-…Aziraphale I would have paid anything to have seen that! You really are full of surprises aren’t you?”
Aziraphale grinned at him, feeling so stupidly happy, “I must admit, it felt very liberating.”
“I bet.” Crowley grinned, but soon began to come down quickly from the laughter and happy feelings as the icy water creeping higher was becoming an unwelcome reminder of the danger they were in, “Okay, but now you’ve got to get me out of these cuffs.”
“Right, yes. Where are the keys?”
“Michael has them.”
“Oh. Well, I’m sure they must keep a spare.” Aziraphale suggested, and he reluctantly let go of Crowley and waded over to the desk, hurriedly pulling out drawers and rummaging through them, but there was nothing helpful there.
“How about that cabinet?” Crowley nodded over to one on the wall.
Aziraphale looked at it, trying to pull it open, but it was locked. Through the glass panels all he could see were spare batons and a few hand guns. He looked around the small room in a growing panic.
“There’s nothing, there’s no key Crowley!” he practically shouted, standing there breathing hard.
“Then…you’re gonna have to go for help.” Crowley reluctantly said. Maybe someone else had spare keys or…or something.
“There’s no one down here Crowley. I’ve been shouting and seen no one, the corridor down there is flooded up to my shoul-OH!” he suddenly stopped mid-sentence, eyes bright, “Hold on I’ll be right back!”
Crowley watched him as he hurriedly waded out the door and disappeared around the corner.
“….I'll just wait here then shall I?”
Aziraphale splashed out into the corridor, heading back where he’d come from before, and a short distance down on the wall was an emergency fire axe behind a glass panel. He took off his soaking wet dinner jacket and wrapped it around his fist, then smashed it against the glass, which shattered. Quickly pulling out the axe he dropped his jacket to the water and waded back down the corridor.
“Will this work?” he asked, the water already up to his waist as he entered the brig again.
Crowley stared at it, having not expected the answer to this little problem to be an axe, “Guess we'll find out.
Crowley moved to the side, spreading out his hands as far as the cuffs would allow him, exposing the small chain taut over the steel pipe. The chain was of course very short, and his exposed wrists were either side. Crowley stared at the tiny gap Aziraphale needed to aim for, and then looked rather terrified to his angel, who seemed to be having the same terrifying thought.
If he missed, Crowley was going to lose a hand.
“W-why don’t you try a couple of practice swings first.” Crowley nervously suggested.
Nodding thoroughly in agreement, Aziraphale hefted the axe over his shoulder and turned to the wall, slamming down onto it with a big swing and a large THUNK into the plaster.
“Now try to hit the same mark again.” Crowley said behind him.
Aziraphale aimed the axe head at the hole he’d made, lifted it again, swung it down, and hit the wall. Four inches from the where it had hit before. Aziraphale slowly turned to look at him with a horrified expression.
Crowley just stared wide eyed at the two marks, “Okay, that's enough practice.” He squeaked, the water swirling over their waists and nearly coming up over the pipe.
“I’m sorry!” Aziraphale said, wading back over to him.
“Don’t be sorry, just do it.” He pulled the cuffs taut again, exposing the barely one-inch long chain that Aziraphale had to hit, “Just hit it as hard as you can. Don’t think about it, just do it. I trust you, I do, you can do it.” He was talking more to convince himself let alone Aziraphale.
Aziraphale did not look so convinced, and let out a small whimper as he aimed the head at the chain. Crowley braced himself, wincing as Aziraphale then raised the axe, both his hands holding the handle up high.
“Do it!” Crowley yelled, looking away and scrunching up his eyes.
Aziraphale did the same. He couldn’t look.
The axe came down with an almighty clang. When there was no curdled scream of pain, Aziraphale gingerly opened one eye. He found himself peering at a grinning Crowley with two separate handcuffs hanging from his wrists.
“You did it!!” Crowley yelled ecstatically happy at him. And extremely relieved.
Seeing his demon safe and free and all in one piece, all the strength drained out of Aziraphale and he dropped the axe, suddenly feeling very faint.
“Oh my…” he whispered, and Crowley quickly clambered over the pipe and engulfed him in a tight hug.
“Easy there angel.” He chuckled, as Aziraphale swayed on the spot for a second, grabbing him tightly in return.
“Please don’t make me do that again.” Aziraphale said, all too seriously, but Crowley just grinned at him and kissed him, still holding him close.
“Come on,” Crowley said, cupping the back of his neck and quickly kissing him one more time, “let’s get out of here.”
They waded out into the corridor hand in hand. “This way.” said Aziraphale, intent on going out the way he knew.
As they waded down and turned the corner to the corridor where the small stairs up were, they found the water now up to their chests, and the corridor further down now completely flooded. There was barely half a head’s gap from the water to the stairway, the strong current pushing against them, and that electrical wiring sparking dangerously into the water right by the entrance.
There was no way they could go that way now.
They turned to look at each other, “We’re just going to have to find another way back up.” Crowley said.
Suddenly, the hull gonged with terrifying echoing thuds, creaking and cracking, and in an instant the lights flickered and went out. In total darkness Crowley grabbed Aziraphale under the water, holding him tightly against himself as he stood back against the wall, heart hammering in his chest.
“C-Crowley!” Aziraphale cried out, the noises more terrifying in the dark, the ship struggling to hold together as the freezing water rushed by them.
It was so cold, so dark, and the sounds that rattled around them were like something out of a nightmare. Aziraphale was breathing quickly against him, almost hyperventilating, the water hitting his neck being shorter than Crowley. He was barely able to keep his head above the water line.
In reality, it had only been a few seconds of darkness before the lights struggled and flickered back on again, but for that short time Aziraphale had never been more terrified. And neither had Crowley.
“Come on.” Crowley said, helping him through the deep water, back towards the brig and whatever was further along that corridor, “We’re really at the wrong end of the ship.”
The huge proud title of TITANIC, once fifty feet above the water line on the side of the bow, now sunk quietly below the surface. Another flare took off, exploding overhead and illuminating the ship and the lifeboats spreading outwards. Water had begun to seep over the bow railings, slowly flooding up the demon deck, demons screaming and running for their lives upwards towards the back of the ship.
From one of the lifeboats, Mr Dowling looked on in horror.
“I don’t think we’re getting back on for breakfast dad.” Said Warlock.
Something was banging heavily against a locked wooden door. Again, and again, and then with a crash and a mass of splinters Aziraphale and Crowley came tumbling through it straight into a family of demons. The family screamed in surprise.
“Oh I’m so terribly sorry are you all alright?” Aziraphale asked, apologising profusely as they both got to their feet, but Crowley immediately grabbed his hand and began pushing through the tightly packed crowd down the corridor. He didn’t want to stop for apologies, he wanted to get Aziraphale as far away from that flooding as possible.
“Wait!” He suddenly stopped though, looking around, “My cabin’s down here this is my corridor!”
He could see Beelzebub up ahead, who seemed to be getting a piggyback ride from another demon so he could see over the crowd. Crowley looked back down the corridor the other end where he knew his cabin was, only to see a slowly rising level of water that other demons were running from.
His cabin was gone.
“I’m sorry.” Aziraphale said, but Crowley just shook his head.
“I haven’t lost anything worthwhile, you’re the only thing I care about.”
He’d said it offhandedly, looking back ahead still dragging Aziraphale through the crowd away from the water. But Aziraphale’s face, despite the fear and urgency of the situation, had softened. So much.
He really had been a fool, a complete fool, to think that Crowley hadn’t meant everything he’d said and done over the past few days. Crowley loved him, it was plainly obvious for the world to see, and Aziraphale promised himself that after they got off the ship and were rescued and made it to New York (because that was going to happen), he was going to do something very special for Crowley to make it up to him. He didn’t know what exactly, but he let himself get lost in a smiling little fantasy for a moment of that chocolate sauce idea that had gotten Crowley so flustered.
Aziraphale snapped out of his day dream when he heard Crowley calling out to his friend up ahead, who was standing at the bottom of a staircase in the crowd. Hastur turned, his frog sitting on his head now after just getting bumped around too much in his pocket.
“Crowley! Where have you been?!”
Crowley nodded to Aziraphale, who waved kindly at him.
“You’re both soaking wet!” Hastur exclaimed.
"Yeah, it’s bad. What’s going on here why isn’t everyone on deck?”
“They’ve locked us down here.”
Both Crowley and Aziraphale stared at him, “WHAT?” they exclaimed together.
Hastur pointed up the stairs, and up the top was Ligur, his hands on the steel gate blocking the head of the stairwell, shaking it and shouting at the stewards the other side. Crowley was about to go storming up there himself in a rage, when an idea hit him. He turned to Aziraphale.
“Aziraphale, you’re an angel, they won’t let you get stuck down here they’ll have to open the gate for you. When they do we can rush the gate and all get out.”
Aziraphale nodded enthusiastically, “Good idea.”
“Play it up.” he whispered as Aziraphale pushed past him up the stairs, Crowley following behind.
Aziraphale cleared his throat, “You! You there!” he shouted over the crowd as he got to the top of the stairs, one of the stewards seeing him and nudging to the other steward beside him, “These ghastly demons have me trapped here, you simply must open the gate so I may pass!”
The other demons roared in response, but the stewards stepped back at the raucous behaviour, “I…I don’t think we can do that sir, they’ll all get out.”
“You would let me, an angel, die, because you can’t do your jobs and keep these ruffians at bay? I could have you fired for that you know!” He just thought of the sort of things Gabriel would say, and suddenly being a dick came quite easily to him.
Oh, he had such naughty thoughts these days.
The stewards glanced at each other, “Y-you won’t die, sir, you’ll all be let out once the other angels are all in lifeboats.”
Crowley grit his teeth. He’d heard enough of this false excuse, of treating demons like they were nothing but vermin to drown along with all the rats. He pushed to the front, pressing his face against the bars, “But that’s not true is it?” He said dangerously low, “I know the truth about these lifeboats, do you really want me to tell every demon here? Do you want even more of a riot on your hands?”
One of the stewards hesitated for a moment, but the other glared, coming in close to whisper right back at Crowley, “And do you want to be responsible for destroying any hope these demons have left? Do you want them trampling over each other? Spending their last moments in terror? I’m trying to keep them calm and ignorant; I’m just doing my job! It’s a shit one but there it is.”
Crowley practically growled at him, teeth gritted, furious and pissed off at the fact that what he was saying was…well, right. He couldn’t say anything, not without destroying everyone’s hope, and what was the point in doing that if they couldn’t get out? But at least on the deck they had a chance, even if it was just treading water until hopefully another ship came for them. He assumed an SOS signal would have been sent out. He didn’t know what he should do, but he did have to get Aziraphale out of here. All the demons if possible, of course, but Aziraphale had to be safe first.
Slamming the bars with his hands in a frustrated fury, he turned back, “It’s hopeless this way.” He said to Aziraphale, Aziraphale holding onto his arm as they pushed their way back down the stairs. Crowley grabbed onto Ligur on the way who’d been pushed back against the wall by the crowd, “Ligur! Hastur! We’re trying somewhere else come on!”
Gabriel was back in his cabin, Uriel and Sandalphon still up on deck keeping an eye on how many lifeboats were left. Michael had re-joined Gabriel, and had told him the very satisfactory tale of leaving the demon to drown in the brig. Gabriel had grinned a lot at hearing that. Right now however he was by his safe, taking out two large stacks of bills, still banded in the banks wrapping. He looked to Michael, a smug curl to his lips.
“If Aziraphale is going to run off and get himself drowned, then at least there are some assets of mine I can prevent that from happening to.” He put the bills in his jacket, then eyed the sketchbook on the table, still sitting there from when he’d waved it unsuccessfully in Aziraphale’s face. He picked it up, gritting his teeth at Aziraphale’s note still a top it, and threw it all back into the safe, “He wanted me to lock him up, fine, he can stay in there and drown along with the real thing.” He turned to Michael, glaring, “And if that dog happens to escape and show itself…”
Michael smiled coldly, and opened up her jacket to show him her gun in the pocket there, “Then the dog gets put down.”
Gabriel beamed at her, “You know me so well.”
Aziraphale, Crowley, Ligur and Haster had all made their way much further down the corridors away from the water, but had been greeted by locked steel gates every time they tried to go up. This was the fifth one they’d tried, more demons yelling at the stewards the other side, all repeating the same words back at them;
“The angels will be sorted out first then you’ll all be let out to get the lifeboats!”
Crowley had had enough of hearing that.
“For fucks sake that’s it! Give me a hand with this.” He said to Ligur and Hastur, gesturing for them to follow him back down the stairs.
There was a metal bench bolted to the floor at the bottom of this particular stairwell, the demons sitting on it jumping off as the three grabbed a hold of it and pulled with all their might. Seeing what they were planning, Aziraphale began to polity ask people to move away from the stairs, clearing a path, the steward also realising what was going on and shouting down at them to stop.
Working it back and forth, the bolts eventually sheered, and the three of them lifted it awkwardly up the top of the stairs.
“Now now! No, stop this!” The steward had his arms raised out in front of him, backing away.
“Ready? One, two, heave!” Crowley shouted, and the three of them rammed the bench at full force into the gate.
The gate ripped loose from its own bolts and fell forward, narrowly missing the steward who fell back against the wall and now cowered from the stream of demons that came pouring through. The bench was thrown to the side, and Crowley grabbed Aziraphale’s hand again as the four of them ran onwards.
Aziraphale looked down to the steward as they hurried past, “Sorry about that…well, not really!” he shouted back at him with a bright smile.
The steward just watched them all go unable to do a thing to stop them. Oh he was so going to be fired.
“We should go back.” Anathema was trying to get the officer in charge of their lifeboat to see reason, “None of these boats coming out having any demons on them, they don’t seem to have their own life boats! We can still fit more people on in here we need to go back!”
The officer glared at her, “To what end? We go back we’ll be overrun by those trying to get on board and we’ll all capsize. Now I’m in charge here, you wanna drown go ahead and jump in, but this boat stays right here!”
Another flare went up, this one illuminating the fact that the entire front of the ship up to the bridge was now underwater. The rear of the ship was now tipping quite high into the air, the edges of the propellers being seen on the surface of the water.
“Don’t you have any compassion?! They’re all going to die out there!”
“Then they’ll die!!”
Riots were happening everywhere. With the demons let loose from one gate they overwhelmed the stewards guarding the demon deck, and the ones trapped there ran up to the angel deck shoving past the angels desperate to get to the boats. True terrifying panic had set in, angels and demons alike were screaming, some demons jumping onto boats that were already on their way down. One cracked the pully, and the boat lost its momentum dropping onto the boat beneath like a stone as they all crashed into the water, agonised screams cut short.
Gabriel and his group watched, turning to the one remaining boat that was already full and being lowered.
“We’re too late.” Said Uriel.
“Not yet,” said Michael, “There are still some boats the other side.”
They all turned as they heard gun shots coming from the port side, and Sandalphon was now beginning to look panicked, “It’s starting to fall apart. We don't have much time.”
“You there!” Gabriel called out to an officer, who he’d been watching gather his men to head over to the port side to help with the remaining boats. He ran up to him, falling in step beside him. “You don’t know me but I am an angel who could very well make your day. I have a little business proposition for you.”
Aziraphale and his group of three demons burst out onto the angel deck from another Crew Only passage. But they immediately found themselves looking at empty davits, all the occupied lifeboats rowing off into the distance and the deck empty but for a few wandering lost souls.
“The boats are gone!” Aziraphale exclaimed obviously, still clutching Crowley’s hand and refusing to let go in this madness.
“Maybe the other side?” Ligur suggested, and the group headed round the deck buildings to find a way to cross. They ran past a single violinist, playing her sad tune as she tried to stay upright at the slant of the deck.
Hastur stared at her as they ran past, “Music to drown by. Now I know I'm with the angels.”
Most of the crowd had moved as far away from the bow of the ship as possible, gathering at the stern and its accompanying sides to get the last remaining lifeboats. Gabriel slipped a wad of the bills he’d collected from his safe into the pocket of the officer he’d just made a deal with.
“So we have an understanding then?”
The officer nodded curtly, “Follow me.”
Satisfied, he smiled smugly back at his companions as the officer pushed past the crowd, allowing Gabriel and the others to follow behind him, jumping the queue, the other angels complaining loudly.
Suddenly a very out of breath steward then ran up to Michael, “Ma’am, I’ve found him, Aziraphale, he’s just further up the deck trying to get a boat. With the demon.”
This was one very dedicated steward to still be doing as he was told while the ship sank, and Michael thanked him, handing him her own little wad of bills. Michael looked to Gabriel, who’d been just about ready to get on board the lifeboat he’d just bribed his way onto, but now stood staring down the deck.
The officer glanced to Gabriel “Anyone else, then?”
Gabriel looked longingly at the boat, looked to the officer, to Michael, and then grit his teeth, “God damn it to hell! We’re going after him! You!” he said, pointing to the officer, “Change of deal, you’ll not let the last boat go without me on it!”
Not waiting to see if the officer even agreed, just assuming he would as he’d already taken the money, Gabriel ran off down the deck, his companions following him. Sandalphon, who now had almost got onto two boats only to be taken away from them, was beginning to get rather annoyed, and whispered over to Uriel beside him.
“Why is he so obsessed with getting Aziraphale back? I know it was for those contacts but are they really this important?”
Uriel didn’t answer, but she’d had her own suspicions for some time. Suspicions that put Gabriel in the centre of not such a successful business as he was telling everyone.
Further up on the port side, one of the few remaining boats was being filled. Below them a little distance on, the horrendous sound of smashing glass could be heard as water poured into regular windows and balcony doors, a deep roaring as it cascaded into the ship filling it up even faster. A few screams began and died away as demons trying to swim away were sucked down back into the ship.
"Angels first please!”
An officer who had been firing his gun in the air to keep the peace had managed to regain some control, and the demons were waiting their turn, being deliberately kept back against deck buildings so they couldn’t see the fact there would not be enough boats. Hastur and Ligur had gone on a bit further to try their luck with a different boat.
Aziraphale stood near the front of this particular queue with Crowley’s arms around him from behind. Out in the freezing air they were both now extremely cold and shivering, still soaking wet from before. But despite the cold Aziraphale was relishing being held like this. They were nearly at the front of the boat, and he had his determined speech all ready to give to get Crowley on the boat with him should the officer say no. He wasn’t going anywhere without Crowley. They were nearly safe, they’d both be fine. They’d made it. And oh the life he was going to have with Crowley, the excitement of it all! It was going to be a harder life for sure, but with this demons arms around him, anything they needed to face together would be a millions times better than a life of luxury with Gabriel.
Crowley on the other hand, did not look so confident. He saw the way the other demons were being forced against the walls of the buildings, the threat of a gun keeping them at bay as one by one the angels got on the last few boats. He held Aziraphale tightly, and he knew, he knew the chilling truth that this was it. He wasn’t getting on that boat. He’d only been allowed this far because he was holding Aziraphale, and even then he was only left alone because the officers had seen how content Aziraphale was with a demon hanging off him, and had concluded it must be deliberate for some strange reason. But the officer with the gun was eyeing him, and he knew if he tried to get on a boat one of those bullets would be for him. He swallowed down his fear. The important thing was that Aziraphale got on a boat. He had to be safe. He had to live.
Even…even if it was without him.
It was their turn next, and the officer by the boat looked to Aziraphale, “Sir, please let the demon go and get on the boat, he cannot get on.”
Aziraphale puffed up his chest all ready to give his speech, “No, not without Crowley, he’s coming too I won’t accept otherwise. I’m an angel and he-” But before he could continue on, he could feel Crowley’s arms release him, and he turned around on the spot. “Crowley?” he asked, his voice sounding so small.
“Get in the boat Aziraphale.” Crowley said calmly. Too calmly.
“What? No! Not without you! Absolutely not!”
What was he talking about? They’d already discussed this he was going to get Crowley on the boat no matter what! Leaving without him was not an option why was he suddenly not even trying?!
The answer was ahead of him, but Aziraphale had not noticed the officer with the gun who was taking a step towards them. And to make matters worse out of nowhere Gabriel suddenly ran up beside Crowley. Crowley flinched so hard at the surprise he very nearly did an impression of a startled cat
“Yes, get in the boat Aziraphale.” Gabriel insisted, coming in mid-way through the conversation like he’d been standing there the whole time.
They both stared at him, completely gobsmacked. Aziraphale was in absolute shock that he was still coming after him, especially after how it had been left, with Gabriel on the ground clutching himself in pain. Crowley just clenched his fists, but it was Gabriel’s insistent words that stopped him from actually punching him on the spot. For whatever his own selfish reason was, Gabriel wanted Aziraphale to get on the boat, and it would be the one and only thing Crowley wouldn’t argue with him about.
“My God…” Gabriel said, looking over Aziraphale, whose clothes clung to him with freezing water, jacket lost, drying curled hair becoming a fluffy mess, “Look at you. Here.” He tugged Sandalphon behind him, whispering, “Give him your dinner jacket.”
“My what? Why?” Sandalphon grumpily whispered back.
“Because my jacket won’t fit him but yours will, now take it off!”
Sandalphon was a similar size to Aziraphale, something which had always annoyed Aziraphale to no end that Sandalphon never got to be the butt of Gabriel’s never-ending fat jokes. With a very annoyed sigh Sandalphon took off his life jacket and roughly handed Gabriel his dinner jacket. He was the only one out of any of them who was actually wearing a life jacket, Gabriel hadn’t wanted to ruin his suit aesthetic and at the time Aziraphale had been too depressed to care.
“Here.” Gabriel said rather oddly kindly, and despite the gesture coming from Gabriel Aziraphale was very cold, so he rather sourly let him put the jacket on him.
“Thank you.” Aziraphale stated starkly, “Now go away please.”
The officer was getting restless, “Step into the boat. Hurry, please!”
“Go on,” Crowley said softly, trying to keep smiling, but by heavens it was the hardest thing to do.
“No! Not without you!” Aziraphale insisted, almost angrily, taking a step towards him and grabbing one of his hands, holding it tightly between both his own.
Gabriel looked between the two of them. They didn’t even care that he was standing right here! His jaw clenched, but then he leant in close to both of them, “There are boats further up the deck that are allowing demons in. Crowley can get on one of those.” He tried to smile at Aziraphale reassuringly, but it really did not suit his face. He needed him to get on that boat though. If he was going to force him down the aisle he had to be alive first.
Crowley nodded, knowing for a fact that wasn’t true, but if Gabriel was trying to get Aziraphale onto a boat then this would be the only lie he would ever tell him.
“See? I'll be alright. I’ll meet you out there somewhere. It’s time to leave the ship angel.”
Aziraphale just gazed at him, eyes wide, dread filling him from head to toe. He shook his head in a mixture of refusal and disbelief. This wasn’t right, they were supposed to leave together. Were there really boats letting demons on? Even if that was true, he didn’t want to leave him not for a second! What if he got trapped or, or they ran out of boats? He wouldn’t leave him here to die not after everything they’d been through together.
But by now the officer was getting pissed off, and he suddenly grabbed Aziraphale’s arm and pulled him towards the boat. Aziraphale’s hands were forced from Crowley’s at the movement.
Crowley’s hand reached out to him to keep contact for as long as possible as he was ripped away, but made no attempt to follow after him. He made himself not respond to Aziraphale’s cry out, he had to remain calm, swallowing away the emotion that was rising in his throat. This was for the best, Aziraphale had to be safe. He had to.
Aziraphale found himself stepping down into the boat, but he didn’t feel like himself. He felt numb. This wasn’t right. This was same feeling from before when he’d believed Gabriel’s lie. He felt sick. Was he believing Gabriel again when he shouldn’t? He couldn’t leave Crowley behind what if something happened no they were supposed to leave together!!
“Lower away!” the officer called, and the boat jerked lightly before setting on going down.
Aziraphale quickly stared up at Crowley, not believing this was happening, this was every kind of wrong!
Gabriel and Crowley stood together, watching the boat slowly descend. “You're a good liar.” Gabriel said quietly.
“Almost as good as you.” Crowley responded, not taking his eyes off Aziraphale for one second.
“I always win, Crawley. One way or another.” He looked to Crowley, giving him the chilliest of smiles, “Pity I didn't keep those drawings, they’re going to be worth a lot more by morning.”
Crowley wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of a response. He kept looking at Aziraphale. He’d watch him to the very last second, burning his image into his brain so it would be the last thing he remembered when the water took him. All that effort to get him out of the brig, and he was going to die anyway. He knew he was screwed, he knew he was terrified, he knew hot tears were burning the corners of his eyes but still he watched. He’d never look away.
The world seemed to disappear around them, the movement of the boat slow and the orders from the officer unheard. The only thing Aziraphale could hear was the blood pounding in his ears as he stared upwards at the demon he loved being left behind. No. No. No, please, this isn’t right. Another rocket burst high above them, the golden explosion outlining Crowley in a halo of light, his red hair gently blowing in the cold breeze as he slowly grew further and further away as the boat descended further and further down. Aziraphale could see Crowley’s hands trembling, the tears in his eyes, and an unbearable pain suddenly began coursing through Aziraphale’s whole body like a poison.
“No…” he whispered, his own hot tears now streaming down his face, his heart crying out in grief. His breaths quickened, and he clenched his fists tightly, “NO!”
Suddenly he was moving. The boat rocked dangerously as the other passengers loudly complained, Aziraphale reaching out to the demon deck they’d just passed. He lunged forward with a jump, the passengers now screaming as the boat nearly tipped entirely, a couple of demons on the deck grabbing a hold of this stupid angel and helping to haul him up onto the deck, scrambling over the rail.
“AZIRAPHALE! NO!” Crowley screamed out above him, leaning right over the edge, before spinning from the rail and running, leaving Gabriel to stare flabbergasted at the empty seat on the boat.
Aziraphale was willing to die for this demon. This gutter scum, worthless, penniless creature! Gabriel’s mind couldn’t comprehend it, couldn’t even begin to understand what it was about Crowley that was worth all this attention, and the frustration of it all suddenly had an all-consuming rage beating down on him. Overwhelmed by it, he harshly shoved Sandalphon and Uriel out the way and ran after Crowley, Michael following on behind him.
Crowley had already run far ahead into one of the deck buildings. He was heading towards the grand golden staircase, for he knew from before that the only way up to the angel deck at this end of the ship was up the small staircase at the bottom of the grand one. He just had to pray the barred gate had been overrun like so many others now.
Flying across the upper foyer, Crowley looked down the golden railings to see Aziraphale just appearing at the top of the small staircase below. He dashed around the top of the grand staircase and ran down it, Aziraphale spotting him, the two of them colliding in an embrace at the bottom in a foot of water that now spread over the once majestic marble flooring.
“What the hell were you thinking Aziraphale?!” Crowley shouted at him, furious and yet so relieved he was okay, kissing him again and again and holding him as tight as he could, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again how can you be so stupid Aziraphale?! Why?! Why did you do that?! You were safe!!”
“I couldn’t, not without you!” Aziraphale kissed him hard, his fingers scrunching the fabric of Crowley’s shirt where he clung to him so fiercely tight, “I fall you fall, remember? We’re leaving this ship together or not at all. I can’t leave you behind my dear I just can’t, it’s too painful.”
Crowley was looking at him like he still wanted to shout at him, to fight him, to shove him back on that boat and scream at him to go, go away, be safe and alive please…but he couldn’t. Instead he let out a heavy, frustrated, adoring sigh, and pulled his angel towards him again, kissing his cheek and holding him so close.
“I love such a stupid angel.”
He could feel Aziraphale smile against his neck. His angel was right of course, he wouldn’t have been able to leave him either had their roles been reversed. This all made no sense to do, but it was also the only thing they could do. He loved him, so, so much. Perhaps there would still be a way. They just needed to stay on the ship as long possible, stay out of the water as much as they could until a rescue arrived. It was the only thing to do now.
Above them, Gabriel came to a halt at the golden railings, staring down at the two of them, together and happy and refusing to have it any other way. Michael slowly walked up beside him, peering down at the couple.
“I think we’ve lost, Gabriel.” She said, finding her own enthusiasm for resolving this matter finally fading in the face of a mostly sunken ship. She put her hand on Gabriel’s shoulder to try and lead him away back to the boats.
Gabriel turned, as if to give up and follow her, but only for a moment. That rage was still fuelling on inside him. This was insulting, this was degrading, and he didn’t lose! Without a word and as quick as a cobra strike, he suddenly flung open Michael’s jacket and grabbed her gun, whipping round and running to the beginning of the grand staircase. He let out a furious cry of rage, pointed the gun towards them, and fired.
One of the marble bannister ornaments a foot from Crowley’s head exploded, and both Crowley and Aziraphale ducked fast, the sound frightening the life out of them. Crowley looked up to see a furious Gabriel sprinting down the stairs. He drew in a surprised gasp and pulled Aziraphale to one side as Gabriel fired again, the bullet ricocheting off the wall behind them.
“Gabriel!!” Aziraphale exclaimed, in a tone of an astonished teacher scolding a child, but Crowley just grabbed him.
Ducking down, they both swiftly splashed through the water towards the doors of the reception area to the dining hall, where only yesterday they had been walking arm in arm, Crowley dressed as an angel and Aziraphale stuttering out how delicious he looked. It felt like a different lifetime.
Another gunshot went off behind them, blowing a divet out the oak panelling behind Crowley’s head as he rushed through the doors with Aziraphale. As Gabriel reached the last step not yet covered by water, his foot landed on a piece of the broken statue he’d destroyed. His foot went out from under him, he reeled and then fell forward, landing very undignified with a splash in the water, the gun flying from his hand and landing with a splash of its own. Spluttering and flailing in the water, he sat upright, his hair dripping, his suit soaked, looking at the two retreating figures through the doors.
“WELL I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR SHORT TIME TOGETHER!” he yelled after them, Michael leisurely walking down the stairs, coming to a halt at the waters edge staring down at Gabriel as he stood up, angrily kicking the water like a child.
Suddenly, Gabriel remembered something, something that had a deep, almost hysterical laugh bubbling up from his chest. He held onto the end of the broken bannister to steady himself as Michael just stared at him like he’d lost his mind, which by this point was more than likely.
“What could possibly be so funny?” she asked.
Gabriel continued to laugh, wiping the tears from his eyes, before he finally calmed enough to face her. “I gave the Heart of the Ocean to Sandalphon, who put it in his jacket pocket.” He then turned with a flare, the laughter gone, and pointing to where the two of them had run he screamed in anger, “AND I PUT THE JACKET ON AZIRAPHALE!”
The gun shots had stopped, but they didn’t dare stop to look back. Aziraphale and Crowley flew hand in hand through one room into the next; the reception area, the dining hall, the smoking room, just moving as far away as possible from the crazy angel trying to kill them. They’d run back above the water line, the angle of the ship becoming steeper at every moment.
Aziraphale was in shock, more because of the fact that Gabriel had actually begun what he’d always threatened. With Gabriel it was normal for him to throw around empty if dangerous threats, used as a scare tactic mostly, so for him to actually snap and try and kill someone, not even letting Michael do the dirty work…even by angel standards, especially by angel standards, murder tended to be frowned upon.
Or at least, Aziraphale thought it was.
He had begun to wonder exactly what angel standards were. He thought of Crowley and the mysterious disappearance of his parents, a scenario that pointed strongly towards dark angels skulking around the night picking off a hardworking demon family for their own monetary gain. After everything he had witnessed on this ship, the way demons were treated, the way angels looked so down upon them…he never realised how ignorant he’d been of the world. He didn’t want to be angel if it meant associating with people like that. The demons he’d met at the party that night were joyful, spirted, loving life as much as they could despite having so little. They cared about each other. They loved each other. Angels only loved money and status.
Crowley had been right, Aziraphale been mailed to the wrong address, and like he’d already said to Gabriel he supposed technically he was a demon now anyway. Or would be once his family went under and disowned him for it. He’d lose any wealth he had left, he’d lose the privileges and the fine everything, but…surprisingly none of that scared him. Not really. Not so long as he had Crowley. Crowley made him feel like he had all those things just by the way he looked at him. Crowley made him feel like he held the world in his hands, a world Crowley had passed to him, a world that just had the two of them and the concept of angels and demons didn’t exist. They were just themselves. Together. On their own side.
He’d always wanted to fall in love. He loved lots of little superficial things, but he’d always known at some point in his life he’d probably get married through a business deal and that the person he’d end up with probably wouldn’t love him, so he’d kind of…given up. It was the way of the angels. But he’d always wanted to know, to know what it felt like to feel so full of light at just the thought of someone, to know what it was like to be cared for so deeply, to not be judged for ones appearance. He’d had his bit of rebellious fun at the gentlemens club but that wasn’t love, that was only a distraction, a way of pushing down just how awfully lonely he was. He’d always had so much love to give, but no one had ever wanted it. Not until now. Not until Crowley.
He would happily become a demon if it meant feeling this love forever.
But for that to happen they had to get off the ship first. As they ran into a foyer with two sets of stairs, Crowley went to head up one, but Aziraphale pulled him back.
“Down this one.”
As they went downwards, Crowley instantly understood why. If they were still being chased Gabriel wouldn’t think they would be stupid enough to go down further into a sinking ship, so would hopefully head up the stairs and they’d lose him. Aziraphale pulled him around a corner once they got to the bottom and then stood with their backs flat against the wall, listening for Gabriel. They both tried to keep their rapid breathing as quiet as possible, poor Aziraphale red in the face at all this sudden excursion.
“Oh I am not used to this.” He muttered to himself.
Crowley felt like his ears were on fire as he listened to any footsteps or more gun shots or shouts or anything that proved the nutjob with the gun was still trying to kill him. Not that he’d had any doubts before, but now he knew for certain that convincing Aziraphale to run away from this marriage was the best thing he’d ever done. He could never have left him in Gabriel’s hands. He knew he had promised that if Aziraphale had chosen to remain with Gabriel that he would give up, not chase him…but he honestly didn’t know if he’d have been able to.
It was so ridiculous really. If people knew of their story they would laugh. Two nights almost to the hour he’d saved an angel from jumping off a ship. Two nights later, they had run away together, destroyed a marriage, changed the angels life forever, and were now running to save their lives from either a gun or the ocean creeping upon them like an inescapable black hole. All it took was two days to fall so madly in love with each other that neither could leave the other behind. Relationships just didn’t work like that, not in two days, it was laughable.
And to anyone who would laugh, Crowley intended to do what his angel did and give them a sturdy middle finger. He’d never loved anyone so hard, and he wanted to live long enough to be able to tell their ridiculous story to anyone who would want to know what brought an angel and a demon together.
And Gabriel certainly wasn’t going to be the one to cut that short.
He clasped Aziraphale’s hand tightly, still listening. When the only sounds they could hear were a distant rushing water, faded screams and ominous creaks, they relaxed, though it was an odd collection of sounds to relax to.
“So, does your ex-fiancé normally go around trying to shoot people?” Crowley asked light heartily, in an effort to release this uncomfortable shock around them.
“Apparently only those taking away what he wants.”
“He must really want you then. Not for the right reasons though.” He added.
Aziraphale turned to him, still panting out of breath, but smiling so sweetly at that. “Well, he did finally get one thing he wanted. I’m finally exercising.” He joked, and Crowley let out a sharp bark of a laugh, immediately shutting his mouth in case Gabriel was close by, Aziraphale just giggling beside him.
“Alright angel, so what’s the plan? Neither of us are getting on a lifeboat without the other so that screws up that idea.”
“You probably shouldn’t call me angel anymore.” Aziraphale muttered quietly.
“Well…I’m not really an angel anymore am I?”
A smile curled Crowley’s lips. He took him in his arms, gently rubbing his hands up and down Aziraphale’s upper arms and looking him over with such a warm expression, “Oh yes you are. Regardless of what society says you’re always going to be an angel, you like your little pleasures too much.” He teased, and Aziraphale let out a huffy little sigh, but with a knowing smile on his face. It was true after all. “And anyway, you embody what angels should be, all the goodness they ought to have. Plus a little bit of a bastard to make it interesting.” Crowley winked, grinning at him.
“Oh thank you.” Aziraphale pursed his lips together in a very bad and obviously faked affronted pout, for the tug of his smirk was not making it convincing.
He let Crowley tilt his chin up, his eyes fluttering closed as his lips were captured in a slow, meaningful kiss. His arms slipped up around Crowley’s back, holding him close and kissing him back just as leisurely, tongues lazy against each other. A little moan escaped him as Crowley’s fingers ran up through the curls at the base of his neck, and for just a moment in this terrible time there was just the two of them again, the world around them not falling apart. Not sinking. Not dying.
“You’re always gonna be my angel.” Crowley whispered against his lips as they parted, and Aziraphale let out a little chuckling sigh, lost in the sweetness of the moment.
“We’re doing the right thing aren’t we?” Aziraphale asked quietly, nuzzling his jawline and burying his face at the crook of his neck, just breathing in the love he didn’t want to ever lose.
Crowley kissed his hair and held him close, one arm wrapped tightly around his shoulders, the other around his soft waist, “We’ve just got to stay together. We need to get to the back of the ship, stay out of the water for as long as possible that would give us the better chance.” He could already feel Aziraphale shuddering at that thought.
“Oh it’s going to be ever so cold out there.”
“Well we’ve already had a taste of that, we’re prepared for what’s to come.” Crowley said positively, and Aziraphale squeezed him tighter.
They stood there for a moment, just letting the warmth of their bodies pass to each other, feeling like an age that either of them actually felt any warmth. But when Crowley had to take a step back to balance himself at the sinking angle of the ship, Aziraphale let go of him and stood with a determined expression.
“Right.” he stated, voice sounding stronger, “Well, if we’re going to make it we’d better get a wiggle on.” He turned to peer around the corner up the stairs.
Crowley blinked, “Sorry, a what?”
“A move on.” Aziraphale explained, reaching for his hand and pulling him back up the stairs to check for Gabriel around the corner at the top, finding it awkward to walk up stairs that were slanting to one side.
“No I understood it was just the wiggle on.”
Unfortunately, Crowley wasn’t allowed the time to process that adorable and so-typically Aziraphale phrase, for the moment they reached the top of the stairs he could hear a voice. It was a child. A crying child. He looked back down the stairs.
“Mmm? Looks like Gabriel isn’t following us.” Aziraphale said, his head peering around the corner to the empty foyer.
It was then he heard the same crying noise, and he too turned to look back down the stairs. They stood there listening, the crying awful and petrified. Crowley turned to his angel with a pleading look.
“We can’t leave a kid down here to die alone.”
That had almost happened to Crowley. The prospect had been beyond terrifying, and for a child who maybe didn’t understand what was happening must be a hundred times worse. Crowley’s heart tugged painfully at the thought, but of course he should have known that Aziraphale would have understood. The angel was already stepping down the stairs beside him, taking his arm.
“I would never suggest to my dear, let’s go and find the child.”
Up on the angel deck, the chaos had turned to mayhem. It had become obvious there were only a few boats left, and what seemed like hundreds of demons and a handful of angels were still crowding onto the slanting deck, all crowded together pushing forward, screaming and shouting at the officers. The demons were trying to rush the remaining boats, the pressure from the others behind pushing them forward, one even falling with a scream off the edge of the ship into the icy water. Ligur and Hastur were at the front near the officers, both of them trying at the same time to yell and hold back the crowd before they got pushed off too. The officer with the gun was threatening the whole crowd again, telling the angels to come forward and pushing back any demon that got too close.
“Give us a chance to live, you fucking bastards!” Hastur was screaming at both the officers and the angels.
Gabriel suddenly stepped out of the crowd, pushing past a family of angels to get to the front with his companions behind him. He’d had enough of chasing Aziraphale. He was beyond furious, he’d lost the contacts and the diamond, but the slant of the ship was getting serious and finally his own life took precedence over the money. While Uriel did her job as bodyguard and pushed a few overzealous demons back, even punching a few screaming at them to back off, Gabriel walked up to the officer with the gun, the same one he’d bribed earlier. But the officer pointed the gun right at him.
“You will get in line sir!” he shouted at him, “Behind the angels you have just pushed past!”
Gabriel just looked at the gun barrel, then back to the officer, eyes wide and appalled, “We had a deal, damn you.”
“To hell with your deal!” He took out the wad of money from his pocket and threw it in Gabriel’s face, the bills slipping out and flying through the air, “Get in line or I’ll shoot you myself.”
He then pushed him back hard, Gabriel stumbling backwards, but the moment he did Michael stepped forward. She punched the officer square on the jaw, wrestling the gun out of his hand, finally elbowing him in the face making him sprawl across the deck. She pointed the gun at the crowd, the crowd gasping and stepping back.
“Gabriel, get on, all of you.” She held the crowd back, Gabriel skulking past with a small pleased smile, stepping onto the boat followed by Uriel and a smirking Sandalphon, who was finally getting on a boat for the third time.
What happened next however, made a few shocked screams echo from the crowd, followed by a silent shock.
The crowd had still been pushing forward. One demon in particular rushed forward in a panic and bumped into Hastur, harshly shoving him out towards the boat. Taking it as an attack Michael aimed the gun right at him, a single gunshot echoing into the night air.
Hastur just stood there, a strange, shocked expression on his face. He stared at her, before looking down at himself and seeing the red that was slowly seeping out from underneath his lifejacket, a hole blasted through it into his chest.
Ligur’s lips parted in a terrifying horror, the shock of it making him unable to speak but for a frightful whisper, “No…”
Hastur staggered backwards, Ligur suddenly running behind to catch him as his legs gave out and collapsed beneath him, falling to the deck.
Ligur held him upright in his arms, Hastur now looking terrified at his own shaking hands as they tried to hold the wound, blood seeping between his fingers.
Ligur moved fast, ripping the life jacket open to see how bad it was, but the gaping hole in Hastur’s chest was pouring blood, dripping from him onto the deck, pooling into the wooden slats.
“No, no no no no Hastur don’t die don’t come on!”
Ligur held his head upright, looking frantically between the wound and his face, not knowing what to do. It was too serious, he was bleeding so badly. Hastur’s frog peeked its head out from his pocket. It looked around before jumping up onto his owners arm to see what was going on. Hastur’s trembling hand grabbed it, holding it up to his friend, his eyes shining with painful tears.
“T-take care of… frog…he doesn’t…doesn’t like the…c-cold…………………..…..”
His eyes slowly glassed over, then he softly went limp in Ligur’s arms. The little frog jumped from his falling palm onto his bloody chest as his hand fell down dead to the deck.
Ligur stared at him. Just stared.
“Hastur?” his voice cracked, shaking him, Hastur’s head lolling back unsupported, his eyes staring unseeing at the star-filled sky above them.
The frog was slipping on the blood. Something clicked in Ligur’s brain and he gently picked it up, holding it for a moment as he gazed down at his dead best friend. It took a moment for him to comprehend what had just happened, but as it sank in, as Hastur’s blood still poured across the deck, he began to shake. Not with tears, despite the ones that fell down his cheeks. He shook in anger. He carefully placed the frog in his pocket, and then turned to Michael, who was looking at the scene with an air of someone who had dropped a glass of water.
An annoying accident, but it didn’t really matter.
The glare on Ligur’s tear streaked face could have cut through glass. With a long, pain filled scream he ran forward towards her, the movement catching her off guard. She tried to shoot him but missed, Ligur still screaming as he tackled her, shoving her with all his strength right off the edge of the ship. The gun fell from her hand, spinning across the deck, and as she fell backwards she hit her head with an almighty crack against the divet lowering the boat. She fell into the water below, face down, unmoving, slowly sinking into a whirlpool of water taking the ship under.
Ligur breathed heavily as he stared down at her. The crowd was still in shock, and the officer who Michael had punched was reaching out for the gun. Ligur spotted him and rushed forward, grabbing it before he could get it.
“I’M GETTING ON THE BOAT!” He screamed at them, at all of them, brandishing the gun in his shaking hands and pointing it at the officer, the crowd, and then to Gabriel as he turned to get on the boat.
Gabriel just raised his hands in a gesture of surrender and looked away, not making eye contact. He peered down at the spot of water where Michael had fallen, and had now disappeared. Well, that was unfortunate. She’d been very good at her job, and this would be yet another annoyance he’d have to rectify once he got home. The other angels didn’t dare say a word as Ligur sat down with them, even Uriel and Sandalphon remained quiet. The officer on the deck glared at him, but then nodded in submission, and looked to his men.
As the boat began to move down, Ligur still holding the gun threateningly to any angel who had a problem with him being there, he reached into his pocket to take out the frog. He tucked it between his shirt and his life jacket, just enough so it could still see out.
“I have to keep you warm.” He said, and somehow the frog knew, for it didn’t move, aside to blink up at the deck as Hastur’s motionless body went out of sight.
They’d found the child. They’d had to go down a floor, past a barrier gate hanging off its hinges, but there he was. He was a demon, only small, maybe three years old, standing in a corridor all alone and crying. There was water in the corridor here, just enough to make a splash.
“Hey.” Crowley said softly, squatting down to his level and trying to be as non-threatening as possible, “Where are your parents?”
The child just cried more and reached out for him, so Crowley wrapped his arms around him and held him to his chest, little hands clasping at the fabric of his shirt. Aziraphale walked past behind them, looking curiously to a set of closed double doors at the end of the corridor.
"Come on,” Crowley said softly, picking the scared demon up and resting him on his hip, “We’ll find your parents.”
“Umm…Crowley…” Aziraphale tried to get his attention, waving his arm out behind him but not taking his eyes off the doors. There was an awful lot of water spraying out from behind them, through the hinges and the tiny gap between the doors, all the way to the ceiling.
Suddenly there were fast running splashes behind them as a demon ran up to them, shouting something in a different language. Looking angry and frightened and not understanding that Crowley had been trying to help, he wrestled the child out of Crowley’s arms. Crowley tried to talk to him, to assure him that he only wanted to get him up to the deck, but the demon shoved him away and took the child, running with him back up the stairs.
But they were all too late.
There was a thunderous roar, and suddenly the demon and the child came crashing back down in a torrent of water that flooded down the stairs, washing away down the corridor. Crowley only had to panic and wonder for a moment how there could be water above them but not much here, when he heard Aziraphale shout behind him.
Crowley turned, just in time to see Aziraphale running up to him, past him, grabbing his hand making him run with him as the double doors at the end of the corridor suddenly burst open wide, a tidal wave of water up to the ceiling rushing through. The water coming down the stairs was too much and too strong to get past. It was the only escape route they knew but they had no choice. They made a right turn down another corridor just before the flooded stairs, the water thundering down after them. They ran and ran, turning down another corridor and up a small set of stairs at the end, both of them immediately relieved to have found stairs going up that didn’t already have water pouring down them.
But they were unable to rectify their mistake before it was too late.
The water came crashing in behind them, filling up the staircase and blocking their only exit, leaving them facing the locked barred doors of another barrier gate, one that hadn’t been overcome and still held strong. The water poured out into the corridor ahead of them, the corridor going across horizontally with another staircase directly in front of them, teasing an escape they couldn’t reach.
“Crowley!! We’re trapped!! What are we going to do?!” Aziraphale shouted in a panic, the water already rising to their knees.
Crowley spun around on the spot, trying to see anything they could use to force the gate off its hinges like he’d done before. But it was such a small stairwell, there wasn’t even anything on the walls, they were blocked in on every side with the water rising rapidly.
He turned to the gate, “We’re just going to have to try and get it open ourselves.”
He began pulling at it hard, gesturing for Aziraphale to do the same. They pulled it, pushed it, heaved against it, both of them taking a very short running leap against it, but it wasn’t moving. The water was to their thighs now. Suddenly a steward appeared in front of them, having been wading as fast as he could down the corridor to try and escape the water, turning to head up the set of stairs in front of them.
“HEY WAIT!” Crowley called out, and the steward stopped and looked back, “LET US OUT!”
The steward stared at them, the water coming up to all their waists now.
“Please!” Aziraphale begged, grabbing the bars of the gate and pleading with his eyes, “Please open the gate! Don’t leave us here!”
The steward looked back up the stairs to safety, swore under his breath, and then turned back. He hurriedly pulled a set of keys from his belt, dozens of them on there, and panicking he tried to put one of the keys in the lock. The lock was under the water now, and when he couldn’t feel if it was the right key or not he accidently dropped the whole lot, the set sinking like a rock to the bottom. The water was rushing, rising and swirling around him, and he looked to them.
“I’m sorry.” He said, truly sorry, and then turned and ran up the stairs terrified for his life.
“NO DON’T! COME BACK!” Crowley yelled after him, but he was gone.
“Crowley!!” Aziraphale was really panicking now, the water up to their chests, and he looked to his demon with fear obvious in his eyes.
“I’ll get the keys.” Crowley said quickly, and taking a quick deep breath he ducked under the water.
He reached out for the bars, holding onto one to keep him centred under the water, and then reached out through the bars with the other. The current of the water had pushed the keys further away, and he had to reach so, so far, his face pressed against the gate, eyes squeezed shut reaching and reaching. His fingers were just brushing the edges of the keyring. He stretched as far as he could, his fingers strained out straight, nudging, teasing the edge of their means of escape. Suddenly another rush of freezing water came down the corridor, and the current pushed the keys into Crowley’s hand. Grabbing them, he pulled himself up from the water.
By the time he got back to the top, breathing in needed oxygen, the water level was up to Aziraphale’s chin.
“Oh Crowley oh you’re alright I thought-I couldn’t see, the water’s so strong I…you’re…”
Crowley pressed an incredibly quick kiss to his lips, water spraying up between them at the rush. The kiss said everything, that he was ok, that he loved him, that he had the keys, and with a quick wave of them to him to prove it he ducked back under the water. He had no idea which key it was, he just pushed his hands through the bars to the lock and awkwardly tried each one. After five uncoordinated and unsuccessful attempts, he needed air again, and this time when he came up he hit his head on the ceiling. He had to make his face turn upwards to gasp the air left in the tiny gap.
He could see Aziraphale, splashing in the small space, trying to stay afloat, face terrified, “C-Crow…” he gurgled under the water, and Crowley’s face dropped in terror.
Aziraphale was drowning.
He had to do this now.
Taking what would be his final breath if this didn’t work, he dived back under the water. The keys slipped from his hand, he caught them with the other, he curled his wrists around the lock and continued to try, one key after another. After another. After another. He couldn’t see if he was just trying the same keys again. His hair kept getting in the way, he needed to breathe, his lungs were constricting tightly, precious air bubbles escaping his mouth as he cried out in frustration under the water.
The gate swung open under the force of the water, pushing the two of them straight out ahead to the opposite stairs. Crowley reached for Aziraphale under the water, grabbing onto some part of him, he didn’t know what, and just holding on for dear life as they were pushed upwards. They both breached the water at the top of the second set of stairs with an almighty gasping breath, lungs heaving in oxygen by the ton. They crawled out together onto the landing, only an inch of water here, and collapsed side by side coughing and spluttering.
“Ah….Angel…” Crowley gasped the second he had enough oxygen, grabbing Aziraphale’s shoulder as Aziraphale coughed and gulped for air beside him. Aziraphale turned to him, dripping wet and freezing, but most importantly, smiling.
“I’m alright.” He heaved in a few more breaths, reaching out to rest his palm against Crowley’s cheek as they lay there, “That’s …the second time…you’ve saved my life.”
Crowley grinned, exhausted, but so relieved, “Third really…if you count…getting you away… from Gabriel.”
Aziraphale chuckled despite everything, “I do….third it is.”
“Shush, quiet down Dog.”
The boy Adam, the one that Crowley had been drawing on the first day on the Titanic, sat with his dog on his lap in a lifeboat. The dog had been barking at those in the water who were trying to grab onto the sides of the boats, the rowers trying to get the boat away from the main body of the disaster before they were overrun. Adam’s father sat beside him lighting up a cigar, watching quite astonished as the very last lifeboat hit the water, and seeing just how many hundreds of demons were still on board the ship.
“I say,” he muttered, taking in a deep gulping breath of his cigar, feeling very overwhelmed at what he was witnessing, “this isn’t something you see every day.”
Dog let out one solitary bark again, before putting his paws on the edge of the boat and looking back at the dying ship, whining.
“Crowley wait stop!”
Once they had caught their breath again, Aziraphale and Crowley had headed up a corridor back in angel territory, trying to find a way up to the deck. The angle of the ship was getting steeper by the second, and as they ran past an open cabin door Aziraphale recognised the voices coming from inside. Pulling Crowley back, Aziraphale stood in the open doorway looking inside.
His eyes went wide in shock, “Madame Tracey! Mr Shadwell! Goodness what are you doing in here you should be getting to a lifeboat there aren’t many left!”
The couple were sitting up against the headboard of their bed, dressed in their finest, holding hands and reminiscing together of old times. Madame Tracey turned to the voice in her doorway and looked equally as shocked, swinging her legs over the bed and holding onto the wall to be able to stand up against the tilt of the floor.
“Aziraphale! I can say the same to you young angel, why aren’t you on a boat?” Crowley appeared behind him, peering over his shoulder, and Madame Tracey smiled, “Oh. Oh young love.” She cooed, before bending down to pick up the two life jackets that were theirs and handing them to Aziraphale, “Take them my sweethearts, they’ll have a lot more use to you than to us.”
Aziraphale just gazed her, still in shock that she was still here, “Won’t you even try?” he asked so forlornly, but Madame Tracey just gave him a calm smile, looking back to Mr Shadwell who was still talking away to her as though she hadn’t moved, unaware that they had guests.
“He doesn’t understand what’s happening the poor dear, he just wants to go to sleep. And besides, it’s too cold out there for both of us, and he’s happy here, with me. We’ve had a good life, and I couldn’t leave him now. You can take our places on the boats.”
Aziraphale wanted to argue, to tell her to go, save herself, but he knew…he knew exactly what she was feeling. After all, he’d jumped off a lifeboat back onto a sinking ship for Crowley. He couldn’t leave him to die alone. She couldn’t leave Shadwell to die alone. He could feel tears in the corners of his eyes, and not knowing what to say he reached out to her and pulled her into an embrace.
She smiled cheerily and patted his back, though fighting strongly against her own tears, “Now now, you both get up on deck to a life boat. Live long lives and be happy together, for me.”
Aziraphale nodded as he pulled back, sniffing, and clutched the life jackets to his chest, “Goodbye, then. And good luck.” He said miserably, and Madame Tracey just smiled sweetly at him.
“And to you.”
“There’s nothing we can say to make you come with us?” Crowley asked, not liking this anymore than Aziraphale.
She seemed to be one of the good angels, supportive of the things he’d been saying in that dinner he’d shared with them all. She was nice, and he didn’t like the thought that she and her Mr Shadwell were going to stay behind when other not so deserving angels were already on those lifeboats.
Madame Tracey turned to him, but ignored his question, for it was too painful to argue. Instead, through the fear of the creaking ship around them, she put on her best flirtatious smile.
“Could an old woman get a last little peck on the cheek from the handsome demon?”
Despite everything, Crowley rolled his eyes, and smiling kindly he leant down to her. He pressed his lips to her rouged cheek, and she giggled like a school girl, waving her hand like a fan in front of her face when he pulled back.
“Now that’s a nice feeling to go out on.” she beamed at him.
“Goodbye Madame Tracey.” Crowley said despondently, and she quickly wiped at her eyes.
“Oh now look you’re going to ruin my makeup, off with you, both of you go on, shoo!” She hurried them out the door before they could say anything else, giving them one last smile before her kind face and orange hair disappeared forever behind the closed door.
Aziraphale didn’t want to move. He didn’t want just leave them here, it wasn’t right.
“It's going fast...” Crowley said, leaning forward to keep upright with the gravity, “we've got to keep moving. I’m sorry angel.”
Crowley held Aziraphale’s wrist, rubbing his fingers across it gently in a form of sympathy. The simple, sweet touch was all it took for Aziraphale to look to him. He looked so terribly sad, but he appeared to reluctantly resign to their choice, before handing him one of the life jackets.
Aziraphale sighed deeply, “Let’s go.”
On the deck, the remaining demons could find no lifeboats, no way safe way off the ship, and were now running and screaming to the stern. Some simply gave up, huddling with their families as the water rushed up to them, splashes in the ocean everywhere around the ship from those swimming helplessly into the black. The single violinist who’d been trying to keep everyone calm with soothing music finally put down her violin, the rising water tickling her feet where she stood. Up on the Bridge, the Captain stood alone, every door leaking dangerously around the edges, the entire Bridge almost entirely underwater as he waited for the inevitable. He looked at his watch, 2.12am, and he stood straight and proud, ready to go down with his ship.
Aziraphale and Crowley ran past them all, having finally found their way onto the deck and now both clad in Madame Tracey’s white lifejackets. They were both exhausted, Aziraphale especially, he could barely run anymore.
“I…I can’t…” Aziraphale panted, but Crowley was having none of it. He gripped his hand tightly and pulled him forward, practically dragging him up the steep ship, becoming more of a climb than a run.
“Come on angel, to the back, we can get there come on.”
In what was once Aziraphale’s and Gabriel’s cabin, the water rushed in, rising high, slowly beginning to engulf the safe where Crowley’s sketchbook was still locked away. All over the ship plates and cups came crashing down out of pantry’s, furniture began sliding across the floors, and under the bed in another cabin water roared in as two elderly figures held each other. Madame Tracey felt safe and warm in the arms of her beloved Mr Shadwell. They were talking about the day they first met, wanting to end on a pleasant memory, and she didn’t even flinch when she felt the freezing water rise above the bed and around their bodies.
She closed her eyes, holding him tightly, not a single regret in the world.
Above them Crowley continued pushing through the screaming crowds with one hand, whilst pulling Aziraphale along behind him with the other. They’d reached the end of the angel deck, the demon deck practically right out in front of them. Crowley helped Aziraphale climb over the rail and they both slid down the angled wall onto the lower deck. They joined a rush of demons clawing and scrambling over each other to get to the back of the ship, which was groaning and shuddering as the pressure on it built to breaking point, the rear of the ship so far into the air. Walls were beginning to splinter like kindling, glass windows shattering at the pressure, floors opening up like earthquakes, and everywhere water poured into every crack and hole.
One of the cables holding down the huge forward funnel suddenly snapped, followed by another, lashing down like steel whips into the water. The funnel fell like a temple pillar, crashing down into the ocean, the demons swimming underneath it disappearing in an instant. The huge glass dome above the once grand golden staircase exploded, ocean water cascading into it like a rapid, thundering down the stairs taking demons with it, gurgled screams fading amongst the swallowing sea.
Aziraphale and Crowley were really struggling now, many demons simply grabbing onto whatever surface had now become horizontal and staying there, waiting for the water to catch up with them. But still they struggled on. The railings at the far end of the ship weren’t far now, but the deck was wet and now so steep demons ahead of them were slipping over and then sliding back down the deck, crashing into others still trying to make the climb. They passed a preacher trying to comfort a small crowd of sobbing demons, and Crowley hauled Aziraphale up again when he felt his weight get heavier as he lost his footing, panting with exhaustion.
“Keep going, angel. We can't expect God to do all the work for us, she’s too busy drowning everyone.” He said bitterly and deliberately loudly towards the preacher, who only glanced at him as he continued his sermon.
Crowley watched as another demon slid down the deck into a struggling family, all of them crashing into the water so far below, children screaming everywhere. He closed his eyes just briefly against the abysmal noise. This was worse than hell.
Aziraphale was trying so hard to keep up, but his legs were straining, and his heart beat so fast in his chest it felt like it was going to jump right out. He desperately needed to stop, to catch his breath, but he like everyone else was terrified and knew he had to move or die. He clutched Crowley’s hand so tightly, he wanted to be quicker, he wanted to not be a burden, but he was so close to collapsing.
“Crowley…just…go on without me… please…” he panted desperately.
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that!” Crowley shouted, not angrily exactly, but definitely worried, and definitely just continuing to haul him up the deck ignoring the comment.
Eventually, finally, they reached the rails, and Crowley grabbed one with the most relieved sigh. “Come on angel…grab the railings…I’m not …not leaving you behind.” he panted with fatigue, Aziraphale doing that just and then both of them huddling down together.
“I’m sorry Crowley.” Aziraphale felt so guilty for saying what he did, he knew it would only have hurt Crowley to hear it. After everything they’d been through tonight, Crowley would never let him go and he knew it. But he just wanted him to be safe too.
“Shh.” Crowley kissed him quickly and wrapped his arm around him, the other hooked around the railing, “We’re gonna be alright.”
The lights all over the ship began to flicker, threatening to go out. The propellers were now 120 feet above the water line and still rising, a huge terrifying sight for those below. From over Crowley’s shoulder, Aziraphale watched as a demon he recognised from the party last night tried to cradle his loved one in his arms just like Crowley was doing. They made eye contact just briefly, before the pull of gravity took them and they went crashing down, Aziraphale squeezing his eyes tightly shut and looking away at the sickening crunch as they hit the side of a deck building.
His voice was so small, he was so scared, more than he’d been all night. He found himself shaking in Crowley’s arms. It was as though he’d only really just realised what was happening. The night had been so busy, and it was only now up top with distant lifeboats floating away and the awful sobbing from everyone around them that really made it hit home. They could die here. Once they were in that water it wouldn’t take long for them to freeze to death, if they didn’t drown first. He clung to Crowley so tightly, his hand going up underneath the life jacket to grab onto his shirt. He didn’t want to die. Not anymore. Not now he had Crowley. He couldn’t lose the one thing he’d ever wanted, not after only two days. It wasn’t enough. He wanted more. He wanted to live for Crowley, and he wanted Crowley to be there with him everyday for the rest of his life. He wanted to love him. They had to stay alive.
Crowley was staring at the demon next to him. Beelzebub was holding onto the rails for dear life, looking back at Crowley in a way that made him seem like a frightened little girl…and something finally hit Crowley about that.
He smiled at him gently.
The lights flickered again, and with more screams over the ship every single one of them went out. The Titanic was now a vast black silhouette against the stars. No one could see anything, they were trapped in darkness with nothing but the sound of a watery grave creeping ever closer and unable to do a thing to save themselves from it.
There was a sudden loud crack, and halfway down the ship the decks began to split in half. There was a thunder of breaking steel and wood that echoed out across the black ocean, those in the lifeboats watching in horror as the ship ripped apart. A huge widening chasm appeared, gas igniting causing explosions of fire to shoot up from the floors and corridors now exposed, the unfortunate demons who had been clinging onto life there tumbling inside.
Crowley and Aziraphale also watched in horror as their surroundings began to shake. Suddenly they could feel themselves plummeting backwards as the huge stern dropped back into the water, causing a huge tidal wave that drowned the demons trying to swim away. They both clung to the railing and to each other, terrified of losing their grip. For a moment, the ship seemed to have righted itself. The decks were flat again, and demons looked out from where they’d been cowering thinking it was a miracle.
But it wasn’t.
Pulled down by the awesome weight of the flooded bow, the buoyant stern began to tilt back up again rapidly, but now also beginning to sink at the same time.
“Okay this is it!” Crowley shouted over the chaos of noise and thundering water, “We have to move!”
Aziraphale nodded, and Crowley hauled his frightened angel back up and helped him climb over the rails, the ship becoming almost vertical as they now settled awkwardly along the back of the rails that now pointed straight up into the air.
“Crowley, whatever happens, I-…” he paused, looking around, and even now couldn’t help the smile on his face when he realised where they were, “Crowley, my dear this is where we first met.”
Crowley looked around him, and indeed, this was the very rail where two nights ago he’d found his tearful angel trying to jump off the ship. He smiled at him affectionately, shifting over to put a protective arm around him, holding him fiercely close.
“At least you’re trying to stay on the ship this time.” He quipped, and Aziraphale let out a short breath of a laugh, short-lived as they both stared down at the nightmare beneath them.
The sea seemed to boil at the base, the ship gradually disappearing down into it, more demons falling and screaming. It was like staring into an abyss. Crowley peered over to Beelzebub, who’d copied what they’d done and lay on the railings beside them. He’d been a very quiet roommate, and even now he was silent, knuckles white as he gripped the rails.
He had no one with him.
Suddenly the final relentless plunge began, the ship now so full of water it began to drop like an elevator. Aziraphale scrambled in fear beneath Crowley’s arms, finding Crowley’s hand on the rail to grip tightly.
“Crowley don’t let go of me.”
“We must take a deep breath just before we get to the water.”
“Just keep kicking to surface, keep kicking and hold your breath just make it back up-”
“-Angel.” Aziraphale looked to him, panicked and petrified, and Crowley kissed him where they lay huddled. It was a fierce kiss, a loving kiss, every kind of kiss possible, memorising those beautifully soft lips on the off chance this was the last time he got to kiss them. “I know.” He whispered again when they parted, and he snuggled him close, staring down at the rapidly disappearing deck below them. “Hold on.”
From the lifeboats floating in the distance, Anathema watched in despair. Her hand was over her mouth, tears streaming down her face as the last few feet of the Titanic disappeared under the water, the blackness around them descending into a sudden silence.
Where the magnificent liner once stood, there was now only stars twinkling on the horizon.
Wow this story has gone from sappily romantic to, well...THAT ^^;
The silence that accompanied the ending of the Titanic didn’t last long. The demons that had been dragged underwater by the giant vortex of the ship began to bob back up to the surface, their cries and screams echoing all across the black emptiness around them. The angels in the lifeboats floated at the far edge of the disaster, a safe distance away from the drowning demons, sitting in mortified silence and clinging to each other in the chill. Gabriel looked towards the splashing figures in the distance, viewable only because of the bright moon and starlight above them. They looked like disgusting creatures rising from the depths, something to be revolted by and frightened of.
His hands clutched around the one remaining wad of bills in his pocket, the only thing of importance he had left to cling onto.
Aziraphale couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, and could feel nothing but the pressure of water sucking him down and down and down into the darkness. He felt Crowley’s hand get ripped away from him, seeing him disappear into the dark in an instant, the huge ghostly form of the sinking Titanic disappearing below him. He tried to call out, air bubbles rising from his mouth, panic consuming him, and he tried to swim down but got tossed around like rag doll in the currents. It didn’t take long for his instincts to take over, and with his heart reaching down towards Crowley he began to swim up towards air, kicking as hard as he could against the current as his lungs compressed desperate for oxygen. He kicked and kicked and kicked until finally he breached the surface, the awful silence of the underwater ocean replaced by sobbing screams.
“CROWLEY!!” he screamed as loud as he could, the first word out of his mouth as he spun around in the water desperately looking for his demon.
Perhaps the sea water inside the ship had risen a degree or two in the time it had inside, and even though being submerged in that several times already had been a cold like he’d never felt before, it was this that was a cold that surely couldn’t be allowed to be real. Amongst the thrashing bodies of the demons sheets of ice floated by, and the freezing water was penetrating Aziraphale’s body so quickly it felt like his whole form was seizing up already. Forget a thousand knives, this was a million knives, stabbing over and over again into every cell. Every breath he took felt like agony, for it was forcing his lungs to expand into a body that was almost frozen solid in a second. It was a cold so far below what anyone could possibly handle it felt indistinguishable from being covered in flame. It was just a different kind of burning.
But he had to focus, and like everyone else he had to keep moving.
“CROWLEY! CROWLEY!!!” he continued to scream out, his voice barely audible above the noise from all the rest.
The others were calling out for loved ones too. Some calling for the lifeboats to come back, some in prayer. Some just let out wails of such despair at knowing their fate was sealed and this was how they were going to die. Not all were moving, some were already dead, being kept afloat by their life jacket as they drifted along amongst the living in a horrid reminder of what was to become them all. The sense of isolation and hopelessness was overwhelming, nothing but a chorus of tormented souls, and beyond that nothing but black water.
There was no hope here.
“CROWLEY! PLEASE OH CROWLEY!!”
He couldn’t see him, there were just so many hundreds of demons here and so much splashing and moving and he couldn’t see him!!! If he was dead, if he was lost down with the Titanic…no, no Aziraphale couldn’t even think it no he had to be here he had to, or all of this was for nothing. He could feel tears in his eyes as he desperately scanned the waters around him.
Suddenly a hand dropped heavily onto Aziraphale’s head and pushed him under the water. He barely had time to take a breath, feeling someone trying to climb on top of him, someone so mind-numbingly desperate to get out of the water. Aziraphale struggled underneath, trying to push him off but had nothing to push up with. The demon on top of him was scrambling in a panic, keeping Aziraphale’s head underwater, and somewhere above him in the distortion of the water he could hear the demon screaming how sorry he was.
Almost just as quickly the demon appeared to fall off him, and as Aziraphale broke the surface yet again with another desperate gasp he saw Crowley, Crowley, punching the demon in the face and shoving him through the water away from them.
Aziraphale had never felt so relieved in his life, “Crowley! I thought you’d-” he barely had time to acknowledge how happy he was before more demons were clawing at them, clawing at each other, just a mass orgy of fear and desperation.
“SWIM ANGEL! SWIM!”
Even though it made swimming more difficult, Crowley grabbed Aziraphale’s arm as they swam together. He’d tried to hold on underwater, but it was the current that had ripped them apart, and by the time he managed to get to the surface he was lost amongst the thrashing crowd. He, like Aziraphale, had not wanted to think about his angel being dead, and had forced his way through all the bodies until he’d spotted him. He was not letting go again.
They swam as fast as they could, pushing past the flailing demons until they finally broke out from the clot of panic. “We need something to climb on there has to be debris around can you see anything?” Crowley asked quickly, voice not needing to be so loud now they were a little away.
Aziraphale shook his head but looked around with him. They had to find something, anything, for even if there was a rescue ship on the way they would die of exposure far sooner if they didn’t get out of the water.
“Keep swimming. Keep moving. Come on Aziraphale!”
It was so cold. So. Cold. Crowley could barely feel any part of himself already but still he swam with his one arm out in front, the other gripping Aziraphale. He had to get his angel onto something dry.
“It’s s-so cold.” Aziraphale said weakly, teeth chattering already.
“I know angel, just keep going.”
Crowley’s words kept him focused, kept him from just giving up, but Aziraphale was exhausted before the ship even sank, and now slowly freezing to death he had no energy left. He was struggling the best he could, but his muscles were seizing in the cold. He had to move. Move. Swim. Keeping moving. Don’t let the cold drag you under Aziraphale, he tried to tell himself, but even that thought felt like it had frozen halfway through.
There was so little debris. Everything had been pulled under with the ship, unable to kick to the surface like the demons. There was a boot floating by, a childs teddy bear, all small things that were of no use. They continued to swim out into the blackness, when something suddenly glinted and caught Crowley’s eye.
“Angel look, there!”
Ahead of them was…well, Crowley wasn’t sure what it was. But it was flat, looked to be made of metal, and was large enough to hopefully get at least one of them on. With nothing else around them that looked useful Crowley practically dragged Aziraphale through the water towards it. His own arms and legs were seizing too, but he was going to get Aziraphale on this thing if it was the last thing he did. The angel had already jumped off the lifeboat he’d got him onto he wasn’t getting off this!
“Crowley…” The name was said with such exhaustion, Aziraphale barely keeping his head above the water.
Crowley kept them going before with a huge relief his hands finally gripped the freezing piece of debris. It was indeed metal, which meant it was retaining the cold, but it was all they had. Crowley took Aziraphale’s hands and placed them on it.
“We made it angel, we’re gonna be okay. N-now come on one last bit of strength, w-we’ve got to get on this thing.”
Crowley hauled himself halfway on it, belly down, pulling Aziraphale up by hooking his hand around the life jacket section over the shoulder and pulling as hard as he could. Aziraphale tried to grab the other edge, slipping on the wet surface, not even able to feel his fingers anymore. He slipped back into the water. But he tried again, Crowley holding onto him again and hauling with what tiny ability he had left. Aziraphale scrambled in a panic when the thing nearly toppled over, tilting and half submerging from his weight, so he let go and fell back into the water again. As it fell flat it made Crowley slide further onto it.
“Come on Aziraphale!”
But Aziraphale just looked at him, panting with fatigue, a knowing hopeless realisation in his eyes. “I c-can’t…” he said, his voice broken with fear and cold, “I haven’t got the strength. Y-you stay there.”
“Fuck that! GET ON!” Crowley shouted angrily at him. Furiously, really. He was not having this conversation with him again they’d already decided one couldn’t leave the other behind he was getting on this damn thing now!! They were both going to dry out and yes it’d be bloody freezing but nowhere near as bad as in that death water.
He looked to move off the debris back into the water to help Aziraphale again, even if he pulled him inch by inch onto it himself, but Aziraphale reached out and grabbed his forearms, pining him down to the debris and forcing him to stay there.
“No! No you sh-shh-should stay on it Crowley. I have more….well, l-let’s face it, I have more padding shall we say…I-I’m much more likely t-to survive in the water than you, y-you need to stay on it.”
Crowley glared at him, the stutters in his voice from the cold breaking his heart, “Aziraphale I’m not gonna let you stay in the wa-“
“I’M NOT ARGUING CROWLEY!!”
The sudden sharp desperate shout made Crowley flinch and stop, eyes wide, gazing at his angel in both anger and distress.
“I d-don’t have the energy to argue.” Aziraphale continued, “It’s clearly only…big enough…t-to support one….sss-so just stay there….p-please…”
It was becoming difficult to say a full sentence at once, and Aziraphale kept a hold of Crowley’s arms and hauled himself up so at least his own forearms were resting along the debris, his shoulders out of the water.
“NO! Nnn-now do as your told, d-dear boy, just…k-keep …my hands warm, Crowley………I c-can’t fff-feel them.”
Crowley felt a horrid gut-wrenching despair surge through his veins. He wanted to kick and scream and throw a rightly needed tantrum and swear all the swears there were to Aziraphale’s face but….shit. Shit shit shit this stupid righteous angel no! He felt despicable, he wasn’t worth this, he didn’t want this to happen Aziraphale should be up here…they should both be on it.
“Angel…p-please…” he whispered desperately, clutching his hands tightly as instructed and blowing onto them, though his breath rose like an ice cloud in the air, “J-just try one more…one more t-time.” He was beginning to stutter from the cold himself now.
Aziraphale shook his head, his face so pale, “I fear if I… if I t-try again…I’m going to sink to the bottom…I’m so tired. I’ll be f-fine and…oh!” he suddenly exclaimed brightly, “C-Crowley…look!”
Aziraphale was looking down at the debris they were holding onto, finally realising what they were clinging to. An edge of it went down further one side into the water, like a small wall, looking as though it had been ripped off something, ripped off…a vehicle. There was a glistening crystal rose under the water still attached to it.
“Crowley….t-this is the…r-roof of…of the Bentley.”
Crowley looked around himself, keeping steady on the floating roof. At some point later on when they were warm and rescued and safe he’d smile at this knowledge, grin in fact, that the very car he’d always wanted and the one he had made love with Aziraphale in had ended up saving their lives. Right now though, there were no spare smiles to be had. He blew on Aziraphale’s hands again, rubbing them together with his own, glaring at him sorrowfully for trying to change the subject.
“Y-you’d better live then angel. I-I’ll never…for…g-give you…if you don’t.”
Aziraphale smiled, though it turned into a grimace, “I…promise…”
Crowley pulled Aziraphale’s hand to his lips and kissed it. It was already so horribly cold.
A steward was floating nearby, blowing hard on a bosun’s whistle he had on him, hoping the lifeboats would hear. There was another demon near too, a woman, begging for the boats to come back, screaming out that she knew they could hear them, come back for Gods sake come back!
Crowley looked around himself to the horizon, the tiny black blobs of the lifeboats seemed so far away.
“Am I the only one who can hear those screams?? There are demons out there calling for the lifeboats to come back we have got to go back!!”
“They’ll over run us.” The officer said through gritted teeth, having had enough of saying this same thing over and over again.
Anathema glared at him, before getting up and scrambling over towards him, over the other quiet occupants who were not joining in her battle cry. “There is plenty of room for more on this boat.” she glared at him angrily, “Row towards some other boats, we’ll get everyone off this one onto others and then we’ll take this empty boat back to the demons.”
The officer spoke right to her face, “I am not risking my life and my rowers lives to save demons. We will go back, but we will wait for them all to calm down out there!”
“Calm down means being dead! They will not survive for long in this water!”
“I’ll row the boat!” They both looked behind them. Newton had his hand raised like he was in a classroom, “I’m quite good at rowing. I’ve taken Anathema out on the river near our house quite often.”
Anathema’s anger melted off her face as she gazed are her delightful little husband, before it returned to glare back at the officer, “See? You and your rowers can get on the other boats too if you’re too cowardly to help, my husband and I will go and get the demons.”
The officer seemed to consider it for a moment, despite the glare remaining on his face at the insult. He looked back to the distant dying figures, their cries for help echoing all around. He watched them, then looked to the empty seats on his boat.
He let out a furious sigh of defeat.
“My rowers will get off, but I’m in charge of this boat. If you two want to row fine, but I’m staying on.” He sighed again at the hopeful look on her face, “I’ll help.”
Anathema beamed at him, “Thank you.”
“Alright, let’s get to the nearest boat, and you Miss please sit down.”
“T-the boats…w-will come back for us, angel. Hold on…j-just a little…longer. They had to row away…f-for the suction…annnn-and nnnow t-they'll be coming back.”
Crowley was shivering uncontrollably, his eyes tightly closed. He’d only been out of the water for a few minutes but it was well below freezing in the air as it was in the water, and frost was already beginning to form over his cold wet clothes. He’d remained laying on his belly, one hand now around Aziraphale’s neck, holding their heads close together and helping Aziraphale stay afloat. He held one of Aziraphale’s hands tightly with the other, close to their lips, their icy breath mingling together as it drifted into the air.
Aziraphale nodded jerkily at Crowley’s words. His body was shaking too, but it was such tiny little spasms now, as though even shivering was taking up too much energy to do. He just floated there, eyes barely open, gazing at Crowley. He squeezed his hand a little tighter in one tiny little attempt to make his demon feel warmer.
Aziraphale’s lips were blue, and the frost in his platinum hair was making it sparkle like the stars above them.
“You there! We’re going to help the demons!”
The officer on Anathema’s boat was calling out to another one on the boat they’d just joined, one that had already rowed towards a couple of others just to keep everyone together.
“We need to get everyone off my boat to empty it out, now everyone please listen carefully, I don’t want anyone falling into the water.”
Lady Scarlett immediately stood up from her boat, and called across to them as they got closer, “I’ll help!”
Anathema glared at her, “You? Why would you help?”
“I’m a journalist don’t forget, I have to be in the thick of things to get a good story.”
“That’s your reason for helping??” she yelled back at her as the boats pulled up alongside each other, the officers beginning to sort out ropes to tie them together with to make them steady enough for the angels to cross.
Scarlett just gave her a smirking little smile, “Do you see any other angel offering to help?” She waved her arms out to the others, all of them trying to avoid their gaze, keeping themselves wrapped up warm in their shawls and sparkling jewellery.
Anathema didn’t have much choice, “Fine.” She said, thoroughly annoyed, “But you’re helping my Newton to row the boat.”
Aziraphale and Crowley drifted silently under the stars. The still ocean was like glass, reflecting all above. It was incredibly beautiful, but neither of them were inclined to notice. The screams had all but gone. There were still a few cries, the odd shout for help, but mostly there were just low moans cutting into the silence. The steward that had been blowing the whistle had stopped, the whistle frozen to his unmoving lips.
Life was seeping away.
“It’s getting…quiet.” Aziraphale whispered, so silently it was barely audible.
Crowley prised his eyes open, looking at the frost that had formed on Aziraphale’s eyelashes, “J-just a …f-few more minutes. It'll...t-take them a while…to get the boats…organised...”
He didn’t believe a word he was saying.
They would have come back by now. The pull of the sinking ship was long gone, and they weren’t coming back. They were demons. No one gave a shit about demons. But there was an angel here, the best angel out of all of them. If they knew how brilliant and perfect this angel was they’d be back in a heartbeat, because this angel out of all them needed to live. Aziraphale had to live, he had to….come back for him….just him…save him….
Crowley pressed his lips to the hand he was holding again, but this time he couldn’t feel it, his own lips were too cold. He then realised he could no longer feel Aziraphale’s hand at all. He could see he was holding it, he even just about barely managed to move his thumb across Aziraphale’s icy skin, but he couldn’t feel it.
Out of the corner of his eye he spotted a demon floating by, slumped in their lifejacket, dead from exposure already. Their eyes shone like they were frozen over, which they probably were, staring out blankly to nothing.
It was Beelzebub.
Crowley could feel the last bit of hope drain out of him.
“I l-love you…C-Crowley.” Aziraphale blearily opened his eyes, frost falling off his lashes, finding Crowley’s eyes in the dim light, “I don’t…rrrr-regret anything. Mmm-me-meeting you…w-was…the best…best thing thhh-that ever ha..h-appened to me.”
Crowley stared at him in horror, “Ngk…d-don’t you dare.” He whispered, holding him tighter around the neck making them even closer, “D-don’t you dare s-say your goodbyes…I’m not…I’m not gonna say it back… I’mmm, ngn…nnnot gonna say I love y-you I’m not…you can’t mm-make me s-say it…”
Aziraphale smiled. It was a such a weak smile. A single tear dropped from his frozen eyelashes, slowly rolling its way down his cheek before it stilled, freezing halfway down.
“S-silly demon…I al-already know th-that you do. Its…s-so cold I…I can’t…fff-feel any…mmm...part of me…” His body was freezing from the outside in. He could feel it, he could feel it creeping around his heart, its tendrils reaching in. Nothing felt right inside, nothing felt like it was working. He was just frozen.
Crowley let out a wavering cry, “Nooo, no, nnnn…don’t….don’t give up…you h-have to l-live..mmmy…angel…”
“I love you.” Aziraphale whispered again, his eyes closing, too tired and frozen to keep them open any longer.
Tears splashed down from Crowley’s eyes, running too fast to freeze down his cheeks but certainly freezing when they hit the frosted roof. He continued to hold him close, and he pressed their unfeeling lips together.
“Ngnnn…oh….s-stupid angel….of course I…l-love you…but don’t…d-don’t give up…not yet…p-please… you promised.”
Aziraphale let out a small hum in acknowledgement, but could manage nothing else.
If Aziraphale died here in the water, Crowley would sink down with him. That is what he promised. There would be nothing in this world he would want to see without Aziraphale by his side, not anymore. He clung to his hand, even though he couldn’t feel it, he could at least see it. He could see they were still together. He would never, ever let go of that hand.
The angels had moved across from Anathema’s lifeboat. It took some doing, many of them not wanting to move, either afraid of falling in or not wanting to contribute to the rescue of demons. Having a crazy ex-demon-now-angel screaming at you though tended to ruin ones evening, so eventually they all got moved across whether they wanted to or not. Now all that was left was Anathema, Newton, Scarlett and the officer.
“Wait! Take Dog with you!” Adam, who had been on one of the other boats, held up his small dog, “He was barking at demons in the water earlier, he might be able to sense them if they’re alive, he could help!”
Anathema wasn’t sure what she was impressed and shocked with most, that a little angel boy had been raised well enough to want to help demons, or that he understood so readily that a lot of whom they might find out in the water would be dead already.
She nodded, and held out her arms, taking the dog from the other boat.
“I’ll bring him back.” She said kindly.
Adam gave her a quick kind smile in return, “Now you behave Dog, you help them find the demons okay?” The dog barked and wagged its tail, before jumping down into the empty boat and up the front, looking out over the bow all ready to go.
The officer was digging around in a compartment under the flooring of the boat, bringing out a few blankets and a large search light, which he reached out over Dog and hung it over the bow of the boat on a hook especially made for it. When he switched it on, a strong beam of light pierced through the darkness across the ocean.
“Alright. Let’s go back. Man the oars.”
Newton and Scarlett took their places, and the boat began to move back towards the ominously quiet sight of the sinking. Anathema watched out ahead next to Dog, eyes already scanning the flat water.
Crowley was humming. He wasn’t sure of the tune. He thought it was the music that played at the party last night, for it felt inappropriately upbeat for the circumstance right now. His body felt very strange, or rather…didn’t feel anything at all. He didn’t even feel cold anymore, just...nothing. It was like his body wasn’t his. There was a layer of frost over the hands together in front of him. Were fingers supposed to be that blue? Some of his long hair floated in the water, other strands were frozen solid to the roof, the water lapping at his body. He felt so sleepy, he just wanted to close his eyes, just drift off. He needed sleep, it must be very late by now, he felt so at peace. He just wanted to…to sleep….
He knew he was dying. A part of him did anyway, somewhere deep inside, some part not losing itself in a whisper of music, a tune to play as the lights go out. He didn’t move. He was so still. Everything around them was so still. No one was crying anymore. There was nothing. They could have been floating in space. In fact, it felt like he was floating in space, up with the stars that surrounded him above and below. The endless Milky Way was stretched from one horizon to the other and back again, reflected along the mirror of water. He was surrounded by stars from all angles.
“Are these all my smiles dad?” he breathed so quietly, the processes of a working mind beginning to stop, beginning to freeze, beginning to replay happy memories from the past.
He closed his eyes and nuzzled gently against the frozen face in front of him. The icy clouds of breath escaping his lips were so infrequent. So few. Breathing was becoming…too much of an effort…
Suddenly something shone brightly in his eyes, then disappeared again. Somewhere in the far distance there was noise, but his mind wasn’t working right, he couldn’t figure out what it was. The light passed over his eyes again, and he prised one open, looking out over the water and the many dead demons floating there. The noise happened again. It was like… a sharp, loud…yap…a bark? Crowley almost felt himself laughing. Now he was hallucinating a dog in the ocean. He closed his eyes again, keeping his angel close.
“Is anyone alive out there?!”
Was that a voice? Or was he hallucinating that as well? He opened one eye again.
“Hello! Can anyone hear me?!”
The light flashed across his eyes again, and he squinted as it passed. Something was nagging at him, something that was very slowly making its way through the distorted haze that was his mind. Both eyes were open now, and he carefully lifted his head from where it rest on the arms he couldn’t feel, his hair ripping up from where it was frozen.
“Hello out there! Is there anyone alive?!”
The voice was getting stronger, and the blur of his eyes finally came into focus. There, quite a distance away but definitely there, was a lifeboat!!
“Answer me if you can! Hello!”
Crowley blinked rapidly, his mind suddenly coming into sharp focus, “…a boat…it’s……sssssss a boat…!!!”
But the boat was some fifty feet away and was going past them, missing them. He had to get their attention, he had to get Aziraphale moving again they had to get to them.
Crowley turned to his angel, “Azzzz….ziraphale. T-there’s a boat, I t-told you we’d be alright! W-we’ve got to mmm-m-move.”
Aziraphale didn’t answer.
Crowley looked at him, and gently shook the hand that his own was frozen to, “A-angel…we’ve got t-to go…” Aziraphale floated there, his eyelashes frozen to his cheeks, and gave no indication he’d heard.
It was then Crowley noticed, with a sinking knowledge far worse than drowning, that it was only his own icy breath that was rising into the air. If he felt cold before, it was nothing compared to the shard of ice that must have just pierced his heart, for nothing else could have caused this pain.
Crowley stared at his still face, stared and stared and stared, horrified eyes unable to look away. He shook him again, harder this time, “Angel!! Wake up!! T-there’s a boat…”
His eyes darted all over the pale, pure white, unmoving face. He could feel tears gathering, blurring his vision. He shook him again, and again, “M-move!…There’s a boat….’zira...pha…….”
His voice shuddered with emotion, the tears beginning to roll down his cheeks again only this time, they did freeze. Tiny little drops of ice decorated Crowley’s equally white cheeks as he reached to caress the frozen cheeks of his angel.
“Nnn…no………….p-please……angel…….open your eyes….”
Some tears managed to splash down onto Aziraphale’s hand, freezing there instead. Not able to bear the pain Crowley let out one tiny but utterly heart-breaking sob, before letting his head fall gently to that hand, kissing it, and resting it there, for the first time stopping his fight against the cold. He could feel it washing over him, the ice penetrating him everywhere as he stared up at the blue lips and frosted face of the one angel he had loved more than his own life…more than the stars. He wouldn’t let him die alone. He would stay, to be with him.
One, small, infinitesimally tiny breath escaped Aziraphale’s lips, and Crowley’s eyes shot open wide at the minuscule ice cloud that disappeared in front of them.
He was….he was alive!!!
And now so was Crowley. He struggled, in every possible sense of the word, to wake himself, to fight again, to push out how frozen he was and to look up to that lifeboat that now seemed so far away again. He moved, somehow, moved up, raised his head, the hair that was frozen to the roof now cracking free or snapping in half.
“Come back….” He found himself whispering, not to Aziraphale, but to the boat, “Come back!” he croaked out, but his voice was barely audible, too cold and too near death, “C-come…COME BACK!!”
He felt like he must have been shouting, but it still didn’t seem very loud, and the boat and its comforting light was going in the wrong direction. “Come back!! Please!!” He couldn’t let go of Aziraphale, if he did he’d sink, he couldn’t swim there, all he could do was yell.
So he did, he lay there screaming as loud as he could, even though every breath felt like he was breathing in more ice. He screamed, and shouted, and pleaded for the boat to come back. He gripped his barely alive angel as tight as possible, he had to get him out of the water right now, right now or he’d lose him forever. He screamed and shouted until his throat was raw, when suddenly he heard the barking again, a bark that yapped over and over again, the excited bark of a dog that had found something.
A distant voice was yelling.
“COME BACK!! COME BACK!!!!!!” Crowley screamed with every last breath, and suddenly that beam of light shone directly on him and this time didn’t move, the barking getting louder and louder, closer and closer.
“COME BAck….back…..” his voice was leaving him, the ice was all over him, inside him, the light from the boat was fading but not because it was leaving him, it was his own eyes that were glassing over, “Get…zira…ale…out…………”
He could feel himself drifting, his mind wavering, and he looked up and saw an angel. Not the one he loved, this was an angel he recognised as a lovely woman from a life that seemed long ago, with a dog beside her, wagging its tail furiously. The last thing he saw before he fell unconscious, the freeze finally getting too far inside him, was a hand coming down from the boat bobbing beside them, reaching out and taking Aziraphale’s arm.
Crowley didn't know how long they were in the lifeboat for. He regained consciousness here and there, but mostly it was a blur of slipping in and out of it. One time he found a blanket wrapped tightly around him. Another time a dog was licking his face. Another time he managed to move his head, looking across at Aziraphale, wrapped up equally as tightly but definitely still unconscious. Anathema, he remembered her now, was cuddling him, trying to keep him warm. He had a vague recollection of trying to move before, over to his angel, to do exactly that and cuddle him himself, but a kind-sounding male voice had held him back down, saying Crowley was still too cold to do any good. He needed to lay still, wrapped up and slowly thawing. He'd realise later it had been Newton's voice, and that it was also him that had his arms wrapped around him, sharing his warmth for Crowley.
"Azira..." He managed to croak out this time, and Anathema smiled at him from where she lay across his angel, sharing her warmth.
"He'll be alright." she said softly.
Crowley had no idea if any medical expertise she may have had would qualify for this situation, but it was all he wanted to hear, and he let unconsciousness take him again.
When he awoke hours later, a huge liner was on the horizon, heading towards them through the early morning sunrise.
I nearly had you going there didn't I? ;)
Not finished yet still more to come!
The Carpathia had come to the Titanic’s rescue, the closest ship nearby. After hearing the SOS distress call sent out by morse code it had taken four hours for it to get to the site, and was greeted with only lifeboats and the odd dead body still not yet sunk under the claiming water. Some boats floated in groups, others singled out, all waiting to be rescued or to slowly die. No one knew what would happen to them, not until the sight of the Carpathia was seen and relieved cheers rose up from everywhere.
The crew on board had motioned for the boats to row closer, and one by one they were emptied, the angels climbing on board and being greeted with hot tea and more blankets. Only Anathema’s boat was re-attached to the divets and hauled upwards, as a few of the occupants were unable to climb up the rope ladders, Aziraphale being one of them as he still hadn’t woken up.
They would find out later, that the five demons, plus one angel, that Anathema had rescued that night, were the only ones to come out of the water alive.
Out of fifteen hundred that had fallen to the water.
Once on board, and although still very wobbly on his feet, Crowley had managed to stand and follow where they were taking the more serious patients, his blanket still wrapped tightly around him. The four demons still unconscious were set up in an angels cabin. The Carpathia was nowhere near as dramatically luxurious as the Titanic had been, but they still split the angel and demon decks. Thankfully there was a nice angel on board who offered up his large and many roomed cabin so the demons could recover safely in the warm, the huge and elaborately decorated fireplaces in each room now lit and constantly re-fed.
The ships doctor set about examining each one. Crowley, being the only one who hadn’t been submerged in water the entire time and was conscious, was told to sit in the armchair by the fireplace and stay there to get warm. Being the only angel amongst the survivors Aziraphale had been placed on the huge canopied bed that belonged to the rooms owner, some attendants having hauled it over next to the fireplace. The other survivors were in other adjoining rooms, on sofas or smaller made up beds, so this room they had to themselves.
Crowley’s head lay comfortably in the nook of the armchair’s headrest, watching blearily as Aziraphale was fussed over by the doctor. He dozed in the armchair, not unconscious this time, just dozing on and off, his body tingling with the heat from the fire and feeling just a little bit more alive every time he opened his eyes. Several hours later when he felt well enough to move properly again, he began to walk around Aziraphale’s bed, asking the doctor questions, asking if he could cuddle with him yet, and basically constantly getting in the way until he was told to sit down or leave!
He’d been about to reluctantly sit back down when the door to the room had opened and the Carpathia’s Master at Arms beckoned Crowley to see him outside, two officers flanking his sides. It turned out they were concerned about several things. Firstly, they were concerned a demon was showing so much interest in an angel and was worried he was trying to take advantage of the situation and was trying to steal from him. The second, and much more obvious factor, was Crowley still had handcuffs dangling from his wrists. They’d been waiting for him to get better enough for them to interrogate him.
It was an hour of frustrated arguing until they at least gave up about the handcuffs. Crowley insisted he’d been falsely accused of a crime, and with no evidence to the contrary they had to believe him. They even managed to remove the cuffs for him using a master key to the brand, though they still looked reluctant to do so. But they didn’t give up about him being so close around Aziraphale, and it took another hour, Crowley nearly tearing his hair out, before the doctor opened the door to the cabin.
“Do you mind, I have patients in here trying to sleep. Crowley, he’s awake and asking for you.”
Without waiting for any permission Crowley legged it back inside the room, the officers looking to each other. Well, if he was being asked for by name…
Slamming the door behind them all Crowley ran as fast as his still recovering legs could manage and leapt on the bed, crawling over to the middle where Aziraphale was wrapped up in so many blankets that just his face and a few fluffy dry curls were peeking out, all underneath a thick duvet that was pulled up to his chin. But most importantly, his eyes were open, and Crowley never thought he’d get to see that shade of blue again.
Without even pausing to say hello Crowley fell atop him and kissed, his arms wrapping around all the many blankets and squeezing his angel firmly. He kissed his lips, his cheeks, his forehead, his eyelids, just every bit of skin he could see, to the point that Aziraphale began to giggle underneath him.
It was the best sound Crowley had ever heard.
“Crowley! Goodness my dear I’m alright you know.”
“Are you? Are you really alright?!”
Crowley continued to kiss him, but his face still felt too cold for his liking, and his voice still sounded very weak and raspy. Aziraphale tried to wiggle his arms out from underneath the blankets to push against his chest to stop, but he didn’t have any strength, so just let Crowley get it out of his system, kisses everywhere. “Oh...Crow-Crowley!” he stuttered throughout the attention, the most affectionate smile on his face, “Yes, Crowley I’m alright!” Crowley finally stopped enough to look at him, “At least I’m told I will be. I still feel quite cold, and very, very tired, but I’m warming up all the time.”
“Can I get underneath there with you now?” Crowley pleaded, “They wouldn’t let me before.”
Aziraphale beamed at him, and Crowley quickly drew back the duvet and the many blankets and slid in next to his angel, wrapping them both back up again so it looked like they were sharing a cocoon. They lay on their sides, Crowley pressing himself as close as possible, Aziraphale having been changed into a long white cotton night shirt. He draped one leg over Aziraphale’s, one arm over his neck, and just buried his hand in those fluffy curls. He held their foreheads together, breathing as one. They both closed their eyes, letting their glorious warmth be shared between them, engulfing them.
“Why wouldn’t they let you do this before?” Aziraphale quietly enquired, his back to the fire, his body enveloped by blankets and Crowley’s arms and legs, squishing him so tightly and warmly.
“I was too cold before, I wouldn’t have helped.”
“You feel very warm to me.” Aziraphale said, snuggling against him.
Crowley didn’t want to point out that absolutely anything probably felt warm to Aziraphale right now. He really was still very cold. He took Aziraphale’s hand that was squished between them and kissed his fingers. It was so good to be able to feel them again, even if they were cold at least they weren’t like icicles anymore.
The moment Aziraphale had opened his eyes earlier to see only a doctor and no Crowley, his first immediate and terrified thought had been that Crowley hadn’t survived, and in the middle of the doctor asking him how he felt he’d blurted out where’s Crowley!? The doctor had smiled and told him he was outside the room, and that he was being a pain. Aziraphale smiled at that, and only then could he concentrate on how he himself felt and answered the doctor’s question.
“Are you alright Crowley?”
Crowley opened his eyes, so close to Aziraphale’s but he could see the concern in those blue orbs. He smiled. “I’m fine. I recovered quickly once I started getting warm, they got to me just in time. You on the other hand…” he trailed off, and not really wanting to finish that sentence he leant forward and kissed him. It was a kiss that was soft but so urgent, pouring every bit of love and desperate feeling of what he thought he’d lost through it. But Aziraphale’s lips were still so pale, no longer blue, but still so cold. It was so wrong, his angel was always warm. “I thought I’d lost you.”
He didn’t mean for it to sound so sorrowful, but then, he supposed it was. He couldn’t look him in the eyes as he said it, he just clutched him as close as possible. He could feel Aziraphale’s arm now move and wrap itself around his back, squeezing him closely.
“I’m here Crowley. I promised I’d live didn’t I?”
Crowley opened his eyes again. Aziraphale was smiling so sweetly. It was such a perfect sight, his smiling angel, all wrapped up, a roaring fire bringing back life to them both. They were both safe, and suddenly Crowley could feel his bottom lip trembling.
“You were barely breathing…” his voice was instantly cracking, barely able to contain the wave of emotion that was suddenly rushing over him, “I gave up at one point…I thought you were dead……” he shakily ran his hand down Aziraphale’s cold neck, gently caressing the skin with his thumb, and oh god now he was crying, the tears dripping down onto the pillow beneath him, “…I didn’t wanna leave you alone….” He whispered so painfully.
Aziraphale looked so panicked, so desperately wanting to comfort his distraught demon, “Oh Crowley…Crowley my darling it’s alright, I’m okay, we’re okay, we’re going to be just fine. I didn’t die I’m right here.”
Crowley sniffed loudly, his lips still trembling, and without a word he brought Aziraphale’s head towards him, tucking him near his chin, those trembling lips pressing against those curls and keeping them there.
“I love you.” He whispered into them, gripping him so tightly.
Aziraphale could hear Crowley’s heartbeat, could feel how his body shook just a little bit with everything he was trying to hold back. He clutched him, burying himself against him, and just breathed. Breathed with him. They were okay.
“I love you too. So very much my dear.”
Aziraphale closed his eyes, nuzzling him so softly. It wasn’t long before the physical and emotional exhaustion of everything they had just been though took them both, and cuddled together so closely they drifted off into a dreamless sleep, both safe in each other’s arms and getting warmer every minute. The last thought Crowley remembered having before sleep took him was making a new promise to himself; not to die with Aziraphale in the water, but to love and cherish him for the rest of time.
It took three days for Aziraphale to nearly fully recover. He stayed in that bed the entire time, with Crowley wrapped around him like some possessive creature, all arms and legs and kisses and soft words. It was the first time they’d had fallen asleep together and woken up together, and seeing his angel safe in his arms each time he opened his eyes just made Crowley’s heart soar. He was afraid it was all a dream, that Aziraphale had really died, so seeing those sleepy eyes meet his as they woke up was a blessing each and every time.
Aziraphale had barely eaten anything during that time, just not hungry (which was a worry in itself), and had been forced by the doctor to eat small amounts of hot soup to keep him going. Or rather, forced by Crowley, who insisted on feeding him the soup himself.
“This is very silly.” Aziraphale had said, forcing down a grin, “I can hold the spoon.”
Only just, admittedly, but he could. His fingers were one of the last things to start feeling warm and normal again.
“Shh.” Crowley just shushed him abruptly, holding out the spoon of steaming soup to his angels lips with a very adorably determined look on his face. He wanted to take care of him.
With an equally adoring smile Aziraphale let him, but still didn’t eat much of it, which was why on the third day when Aziraphale awoke from his sleep and mumbled against Crowley’s chest the words:
“Do you think they could make me some crepes?”
Crowley laughed. And laughed. For quite a while. He was now safe in the knowledge that his angel was well on the mend. And of course because he was an angel they did indeed cater to his request, and as Crowley sat on the edge of the bed watching Aziraphale sitting up with a beaming face and a pile of crepes in front of him, well, it made everything right with the world again. Crowley could watch him eat for eternity, food just made his angel so happy and anything that made Aziraphale happy was the best thing there could be. Aziraphale had a bit of colour returning to his cheeks, was talking animatedly, and was generally much more like his enthusiastic, happy self. He still wasn’t entirely as warm as he should be, but he was miles better.
Anathema had come to visit them too, so happy herself to see them both recovering. Crowley had taken her to one side and thanked her, so much, for coming back for them. He hugged her and wouldn’t let go, and Anathema just let him, her arms resting around his hips. She herself was struggling with the knowledge that she had only managed to rescue six souls out of the water, but Crowley has assured her that six lives was far better than none, and she ought to be given some award for doing what she did.
They wouldn’t of course, you didn’t get awards for rescuing demons.
The doctor gave Aziraphale another once over, and ensuring that they both continued to keep blankets around themselves to keep in the warm he allowed Crowley to take Aziraphale out onto the deck for some fresh air. They had been refused entry to the angel deck because of Crowley, Aziraphale rolling his eyes and huffing, but they were both welcomed onto the demon deck. It was probably a better place to be anyway, as the angel deck was extremely crowded with all the angels from the Titanic lifeboats up there too.
It was a sunny if chilly day, and the two of them sat on a bench that overlooked the bow of the ship, halfway between the front and the deck building behind them. You couldn’t quite view the sea from here, which was fine for both of them. They had no interest in watching the ocean ever again. Their blankets were wrapped around them as instructed, over the tops of their heads and down, keeping in the warmth. Aziraphale had his head rested on Crowley’s shoulder, their hands intertwined between them, looking out at the demons wandering around in front of them on the deck.
They hadn’t really broached the subject of what they went through, and it felt like there was an odd empty hole inside them whenever they tried. But there were so many demons around them, busily getting on with their day, that it felt so similar to the Titanic it was hard to believe that anything had changed, that it was a different ship. Perhaps it was all just a dream, and this was still the Titanic, and all the demons around them hadn’t drowned or frozen to death.
“It’s almost hard to believe what’s happened, isn’t it?” Aziraphale said softly.
At the same time, they suddenly spotted Ligur, walking up to the bow in front of them and looking out to the ocean. Hastur’s frog peaked its head out of his pocket, and Ligur’s hand came down to pat its head, before picking it up and holding it so it could see out ahead of them. Crowley grinned, extremely happy that he’d survived, but his grin soon turned to a frown. Hastur never let Ligur hold his frog despite their friendship, and concerned he looked around the deck to spot him, the two of them never far apart, before he was forced to conclude the horrible truth.
“Yeah…” he replied sadly, “almost.”
As Ligur turned to leave he spotted them. He stood there for a moment, before he smiled at them, seeing them alive, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. Crowley nodded at him in acknowledgement, that emptiness rising inside again, before Ligur put the frog back in his pocket and slowly wandered away.
It was too painful to speak to each other, recovering from this experience would take a long time for all of them.
“Do you know how many survived after it sank? The ones in the water, I mean.” Aziraphale asked, having realised the same thing about Hastur, and Crowley’s gaze dropped to the floor.
“Yeah. Including us, six.”
“Six…..” Aziraphale breathed, closing his eyes in remorse and gripping Crowley’s hand tighter, “Oh Crowley.”
All those demons, all but four others, dead. Oh it was such a horrible nightmare, it was so unfair to all of them, why should angel lives be more important, why?! Money didn’t mean you were a good person, Aziraphale had learnt that the hard way with Gabriel. And the fun way, with Crowley, proving what he’d been taught his whole life was wrong. Demons should be just as valued as anyone else, and it wasn’t fair that they weren’t.
Someone needed to do something about that.
It was an odd silence that fell between them. Not uncomfortable, just… a moment where talking wasn’t needed, where sitting together but alone with your thoughts is what felt right. Aziraphale still had his head resting on Crowley’s shoulder. He closed his eyes against the world, still a little tired, and listened to the movement and voices around them, letting the life of the ship try to sooth his terribly sad thoughts.
Crowley on the other hand suddenly felt that sense he had when he was being watched. He slowly turned his head to try and look behind him, before quickly but subtly turning it back again.
Gabriel was behind him, trying to get passed a guard.
“Sir I can assure you there won’t be any of your sort here, its all demons here.”
“It’s demons I’m looking for.” Gabriel said bitterly, pushing past him, eyes scanning the deck through the busy crowds.
Crowley carefully pulled the blanket further down over his head, ensuring his noticeable red hair was hidden, pulling it halfway over his face too for good measure. He heard Gabriel’s footsteps behind him, and his breath caught in his throat. The angel looked out over them, passing over them like they were invisible, for even he couldn’t fathom that the angel he once knew as his fiancé would be sitting there under some sort of horrid itchy brown blanket. Even Aziraphale had better taste than that.
Crowley listened intently, following the footsteps as they walked on by. He turned his head again to watch the back of that light grey suit walk away.
That would be the last time Gabriel ever entered their lives. They would discover a few years later, while reading an obituary in the newspaper, that Gabriel had put a pistol to his mouth to end his life. It would turn out that Uriel’s suspicions had been right, and Gabriel’s marriage to Aziraphale hadn’t just been to gain a nice new contact, it was a contact that was going to save his slowly failing business. Coupled with the loss of half of his remaining money and the Heart of the Ocean in the sinking of the Titanic, something he had been planning to sell against his mother’s wishes when they reached New York, he had been faced with losing everything and becoming a demon.
To Gabriel, ending his own life was far preferable to being a demon.
The following day they spent in their room again, really having no interest in being outside, they’d had enough of the ocean to last a lifetime. But Aziraphale was feeling much better, so instead of staying all day in bed they did other things.
There were some books on a shelf, and Aziraphale had happily found one he liked the sound of and had sat in the armchair by the fire to read it. Crowley sat up against the headboard and sneakily drew him on the inside cover of another book with a pencil he’d found in a draw. Aziraphale looked exactly as he had imagined in that drawing he’d done before, so peaceful and happy, lost in the words, not even noticing what Crowley was doing. It was adorable, and he hoped one day they’d be able to set up the bookshop Aziraphale wanted so badly.
Later on Crowley would find himself in hysterical laughter as he tried to teach Aziraphale how to play poker with a pack of cards he also found while snooping around the room. Aziraphale’s “poker” face was so blatantly obvious he made him promise to never to play for real money, for whatever they had would be taken from them in an instant. Aziraphale couldn’t decide if he was insulted or agreeing with Crowley that perhaps that was for the best.
Crowley didn’t mention to him he only ever won himself through sheer luck.
“Are you absolutely sure you’re ready for a life with me?” Crowley had asked afterwards, “It won’t be glamorous, it won’t be as tasty, it’ll be hard, so…are you really sure?”
Crowley really wanted to make sure Aziraphale understood just how different this was going to be, but Aziraphale just glared at him.
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
He then smiled afterwards, knowing he’d copied what Crowley had said to him on the ship. Crowley just hung his head and let out a short laugh.
“Sorry. Just wanted to make sure one last time.”
Aziraphale had reached out across the table they were sitting at, the cards scattered, placing his hand over Crowley’s, “Don’t worry about me my dear, the only thing I need is you.”
Crowley’s heart did a little somersault at that.
The rest of the day they talked about what they would do when they got to New York. They would have to find a job first, to get some money before travelling onwards. Aziraphale was surprised at just how excited he was about the unknown. The problem was though he’d never worked a day in his life, he had no idea what skills he had, if any, to contribute to a workplace. But Crowley had said he’d worked countless short time jobs in every field you could possibly imagine and would be able to work for them both. He wanted to provide for Aziraphale, he didn’t like the idea of him working. It would be a harder life for Aziraphale but he wanted to make it as easy as possible, he wanted his angel to still be treated like an angel. He wanted to give him treats and take him out to dinner in nice restaurants, he wanted them to have a proper bed each night, a safe warm place, he didn’t want him to know hardship. Any extra work he had to do would be worth it to watch the smile on Aziraphale’s face.
Wow, he really had it bad didn’t he?
But it was true. A happy Aziraphale meant a happy Crowley, and he would work every hour of every day if it meant giving Aziraphale everything he wanted.
After dinner, which had been brought to their room for them as the doctor still didn’t want Aziraphale staying out of the warm for too long, Crowley had stood up and held out his hand.
“Dance with me angel?”
Aziraphale blinked up at him, “But there’s no music.”
The softest smile grew on Aziraphale’s cheeks, and he took Crowley’s hand, letting him help him up from his chair. They stood together, hand in hand, hand around waists, and just moved together, swayed together, gazing at each other as though they were the only things left in existence. Crowley brushed his lips gently against Aziraphale’s, and at that slight touch alone Aziraphale melted against him, just so in love with him, and he moaned softly as he kissed him back.
“Oh Crowley…” he sighed lovingly, pressing their cheeks together and nuzzling him there, “you make me feel so wonderful.” He then dropped his head to Crowley’s shoulder, kissing his neck as still they swayed gently to silent music.
“Yet another of my many talents.” Crowley quipped, Aziraphale only halfway through a little giggle at that before Crowley suddenly twirled him on the spot.
“Oh goodness!” Aziraphale exclaimed, losing his balance and stumbling into Crowley’s arms, both of them laughing, “I did tell you before that I can’t dance.” Aziraphale reprimanded him, only half serious and still grinning.
“Couldn’t resist.” Crowley grinned back at him, and he kissed those laughing lips.
“See what I mean?” Aziraphale said as they parted, such an adoring look on his face, “So wonderful.” They held each other, both unable to stop smiling, when Aziraphale’s smile suddenly turned rather…sly. “You know Crowley, the doctor still wants me to stay warm and, well…” he looked up at him through lowered eyelids, “there are other ways than just a fireplace to keep me warm.”
It was a downright sultry look, and Crowley was immediately half turned on, half still wanting to laugh.
“Oh? You have the energy for that do you?” He said it jokingly, but he meant it seriously.
If he was honest with himself there had been more than one occasion over the last day or so, when Aziraphale had been feel better, that Crowley had wanted to use that huge canopied bed to its fullest potential, but hadn’t mentioned his desires to Aziraphale in case he didn’t feel up to it. He had nearly died after all, and it had taken at least two days for him to stop shivering. Crowley hadn’t wanted to be the cause of any more discomfort for Aziraphale by sapping his energy just because he was horny. And he was only that because…well, because Aziraphale had nearly died. He’d wanted to make love to him again so much, to be as close as he physically could after being so close to losing him forever. It was a desperate need to love him, not just a hormonal want, he needed to feel him alive in his arms. But he wouldn’t, not until Aziraphale had the stamina for it.
Which, it would seem, he had now.
Aziraphale bit his own lip, that sultry little grin still on his face, “Oh I can handle anything you can throw at me, demon.”
Crowley just raised his eyebrows. This little flirty side of Aziraphale was always a pleasant surprise, “Well, the only thing I plan on throwing is you. On the bed.”
It was such ridiculous flirting, and with an equally ridiculously adorable giggle Aziraphale suddenly hurried away from him, back towards the bed and stripping himself quickly as he went. Caught up in the moment Crowley gave a huge grin and followed suit, clothes flying everywhere as Aziraphale jumped onto the bed.
“Under the duvet please angel,” Crowley playfully ordered, “I’m not having you getting cold.”
Aziraphale beamed at him and got underneath, both of them now naked as Crowley slipped in beside him and Aziraphale clung to him and kissed him, fiercely hard.
“Mppff, easy there angel!” Crowley gasped into their kiss, his body barely hitting the sheets before Aziraphale was on him, “You really up for this? I don’t want you wearing yourself out.”
“Oh I’m fine Crowley, I’ve wanted you for days I don’t want to hold back any longer.” He kissed him again, even harder, pulling Crowley over him and ensuring he could feel that he was most definitely “up” for this.
Crowley just grinned down at him, so stupidly happy, “Days huh? Alright then.” But before he did anything else he grabbed Aziraphale’s hurriedly wandering hands and pined them down by his head. “On one condition though.”
Aziraphale was already panting slightly in anticipation, and he blinked up at him, “And what might that be?”
Crowley smiled softly, and slowly leant down to capture those warmer lips in a gentle, sweetly slow kiss. His tongue slid softly against his angels, nothing hurried here, just taking his time to kiss him so sensually, so intimately. It was a long kiss, and he licked over those lips as they parted, a beautiful blush to Aziraphale’s cheeks.
That looked much better already.
“That we do this for the whole night. The whole night I want to make love to you, for hours. We get to New York tomorrow, and I wanna feel you all warm in my arms for all of tonight.” He then kissed him again, trailing more kisses up his cheek, “I want to feel us alive together.”
Aziraphale felt like his heart was exploding in his chest at the amount of love and affection he felt at that moment, and he had to swallow all of it back before it overtook him.
“Oh my darling Crowley,” he moaned sweetly, raising his arms and cupping Crowley’s cheeks, brushing his hair out of his eyes, “make it forever and we have a deal.”
Crowley grinned stupidly at him, and they both met each other as they went in for another kiss, Aziraphale wrapping his arms around Crowley’s shoulders and holding him so tightly.
And so Crowley did just that, and made love to him for the whole night, touching every part of him just like their first time together. Only this time there was no hidden rush, no hidden knowledge that it would never happen again, nothing but pure open love, the only knowledge being that it would be happening every night onwards. Aziraphale was completely lost in all this love, to have so much of it after never having any for his whole life, it was an entirely different kind of drowning, one he’d gladly drown in all the time. Crowley absolutely worshipped him, in every possible way, Aziraphale’s body and soul completely aflame with soft touches, firm caresses, words whispered against blushing skin promising more and more oh were they sure they hadn’t died? Surely this is what heaven was.
They moved together for hours as promised, and when exhaustion was closing on Aziraphale they still didn’t stop, they just changed how they lay together. After already coming twice and with his legs shaking and falling from around Crowley’s waist, Aziraphale just let himself be moved by his demon, onto his side facing the blazing fireplace as Crowley slid in behind him, wrapping himself over him and kissing the back off his neck. Aziraphale could barely see the world around him, could barely hear a thing but Crowley’s breath by his ear and his own exhaustive moans as he was fucked into gently, gripping onto Crowley’s arm wrapped around his chest. He’d just about manage to move his head, tilt it upwards so Crowley could kiss him, skin so hot against skin as it slid against each other, tongues so hot in each other’s mouths. Aziraphale would move one leg, bend it at the knee out across the bed so Crowley could move in even deeper and faster, and oh…oh this was not allowed to end.
Twice. Twice Aziraphale had come already and yet still he could feel it building again, so many hours of pleasure, Crowley’s hand so lazy along his cock, drawing out every bit of pleasure making it slow and lasting and maddening. Crowley wasn’t going to stop until every inch of his angels skin was flushed and hot to the touch, not a single cell of it left to the coldness of that ocean.
He was going to reclaim it all.
With the heat from the fire in front of him and the heat from Crowley behind him, Aziraphale was flushing red from his forehead all the way down to his chest. He felt like he was going to burst into flame any second, smothered with love and just pure raw sex, so much pleasure he wasn’t sure how much more he could take.
When he finally came for a third time, it hit him so hard, not just the orgasm but the overwhelming feeling of love and want that radiated from Crowley. Everything hit him all at once and he clutched onto the pillow, biting into it and crying out, shaking violently in Crowley’s arms and pushing back against him, wanting him deeper and more and please heavens more!!
Crowley held him tightly, riding him through it, coming intensely himself at the sight and biting into Aziraphale’s neck with a feral groan, leaving a mark to match the one Aziraphale had left on him that night in the Bentley. He pumped into him, again and again until he could move no more, panting heavily against his neck and utterly blissed out at how much pleasure he found with his angel. Aziraphale was a boneless mass beneath him, so red in the face and so beautiful.
Neither of them could form the brain power to talk. Their chests just heaved together as one, Aziraphale still gripping Crowley’s arm tightly and refusing to let go. They were together, and most definitely alive, and neither wanted to move from where they lay ever again.
As their heartbeats finally began to calm, and desperately needed sleep was about to claim them both, Aziraphale managed to utter just a few happily sleepy words.
Crowley was already half asleep, and he gave Aziraphale a tired little squeeze, “Wha’ is?” he murmured.
He could feel Crowley’s serene little smile against his neck.
All was right with the world.
No it's still not finished yet.
Also I like Cambridge's definition of ineffable most of all: "Causing so much emotion, especially pleasure, that it cannot be described."
Upon waking on the final morning of their voyage, Aziraphale found he was still wrapped up in Crowley’s arms. That long thin body of his lover was pressed right up against his back, one arm wrapped possessively around his chest which Aziraphale was still holding. They hadn’t moved at all for the entire night. Even though the fireplace held nothing now but faintly glowing embers, Aziraphale had never felt warmer in his life. Those frozen tendrils that had been so close to stopping his heart were long gone, and if anything his heart now felt like it radiated heat, pulsated with it, making it feel like there was a furnace inside him now.
He snuggled backwards in Crowley’s arms, the happiest, sleepiest smile on his face as he threaded his fingers through the still sleeping demon’s ones. He ached absolutely everywhere, but it was a wonderful ache. Crowley really had reclaimed every part of him that had still felt cold, and even the parts that had warmed up Crowley still loved equally as much last night. Aziraphale found himself blushing at the memory. Oh Crowley was so good at that. True Aziraphale didn’t have anyone else to compare to, but it always felt like Crowley spoiled him rotten and he loved it, loved how his body tingled just at the thought of his touch let alone having those long fingers caressing his skin and those lips marking their territory. Because he was his, body and soul Aziraphale absolutely knew he belonged to Crowley.
He wanted to look at him, so Aziraphale slowly and carefully wiggled round in the bed to face him, Crowley completely fast asleep, exhausted himself after the hours they’d had together in this very bed. Aziraphale watched him sleep, the slow breathing, the fact that even after Aziraphale had moved Crowley’s arm still remained around him, his fingers still curling lightly against the skin on his back. He was so beautiful, and nice, and kind, and loved his angel so openly it made Aziraphale’s heart flutter. He wanted to wake up to this sight every morning, wanted to wake up so wanted, and never criticized, never feeling like he was unwanted like he’d always felt before. He’d wake up knowing everyone he knew didn’t want to see him. Now there was just one who did, and it was the only one who mattered.
“Oh my darling.” Aziraphale whispered so full of overflowing affection, twiddling a lock of Crowley’s red hair between his fingers, “You really have given me the world.”
He snuggled closer, closing his eyes and kissing his nose, smiling cutely to himself at the gesture. He then found himself kissing his cheek, his sleeping eyelids, his forehead, and finally pressing his lips to his demons, kissing him with a small moan as Crowley’s golden eyes fluttered blearily open. It was impossible to sleep through the sudden barrage of kisses he could feel all over his face. Without saying a word, not wanting to ruin the moment, Crowley just parted his lips and let Aziraphale’s moan grow louder at the response. It was a slow, deeply sleepy kiss, but one that eventually had Aziraphale rolling on top of him, Crowley’s arms coming up around his shoulders to cling to him close, still just kissing lazily.
Aziraphale’s chest was going to burst at the warmth he felt.
“We don’t have to…go anywhere…right now….do we?” Aziraphale practically pleaded between kisses.
Crowley grinned against his lips, “Wanna make it all morning as well as all night?”
Aziraphale stopped kissing him, but only to grin back, a beautiful delighted grin that made him look and feel as happy as he always should have been. He kissed him even harder in response, before trailing a few firm kisses down Crowley’s neck and then with another incredibly cheeky grin threw the duvet covers over his own head as he disappeared down underneath.
Crowley just laughed adorably at the lump making its way down his body, “AziraPHAle!” He suddenly gasped, and then melted like butter into the mattress, his eyes fluttering closed and his grin completely lopsided. “I see you’re feeling much better….” He trailed off, before biting his lip to try and quieten another gasp. His own hands stretched down blindly under the duvet to bury themselves in those platinum curls, as a wet, talented, and most importantly very hot tongue slid around his cock, awakening it for more morning attention.
Crowley sighed blissfully. The master was at work.
It was pouring with rain. The sunset was somewhere out there, but there was nothing but black cloud obscuring any colour all the way to the horizon. Crowley stood with his fingers slipped into his trouser pockets, thumbs over the edges, staring up at the looming figure of the statue of Liberty as the Carpathia slowly made its way past it heading to port. The rain fell heavily onto his face, dripping down his cheeks and neck, disappearing into his equally soaked shirt. His hair hung limply, drenched with the torrent that was creating puddles on the deck.
Crowley didn’t think he’d ever appreciated rain as much as he did now. It was water that wasn’t trying to kill him.
Aziraphale suddenly hurried up next to him. He had a white umbrella with him, one he’d got from a steward who was handing a few out to the demons on a first come first served basis. It was too late really, they were both soaked through already, but still he smiled, watching as Aziraphale struggled to get it open.
“Oh open you damned thing.” Aziraphale cursed mildly, getting more wet by the second.
He shook it in annoyance and it finally popped open, and quickly pushing it up and out he held it above both their heads, finally obscuring the rain. Crowley shuffled a little closer and wrapped one arm around Aziraphale’s waist, holding him close. Aziraphale joined him in staring up at the statue, blowing up at his own nose so a droplet of water flew off it.
“We actually made it to America.” Aziraphale stated quietly, and Crowley squeezed him tighter.
“Yeah.” He then paused, “I hope there are easier ways of getting here for anyone else.”
Despite everything Aziraphale couldn’t help a small short laugh, “Heavens I hope so.”
When Aziraphale had seen the statue in the distance it was almost like a dream, and he’d pulled on Crowley’s sleeve where they’d been sheltering just inside a doorframe from the rain. They’d both run out onto the wet deck without even thinking, watching as one by one through the heavy rain as the twinkling lights of Manhattan island began to shine in the distance.
They looked like stars.
It was land. Actual land. For a while neither of them thought they’d ever see that again, and it took a moment for them to really comprehend that they really had made it. It wasn’t home, it was a new foreign country, but it was land.
Around them the officers and crew were getting ready for arrival, telling the demons to go and get their belongings and to begin forming orderly queues behind the demon gangway entrance at the back of the ship. Crowley and Aziraphale were wearing everything they owned, so remained in the rain as the deck slowly emptied of demons.
“Marry me Crowley.”
Crowley’s heart jumped in his chest. He had still been looking at the statue as it disappeared into the condensed line of raindrops, but now, carefully, barely breathing, he slowly turned to Aziraphale. His heart now practically stopped entirely in anticipation.
Aziraphale was still looking out at the twinkling lights, and hadn’t stopped talking yet, “Spend forever with me.”
Crowley stared at his profile, watching a raindrop that was in his hair drip onto his cheek, rolling down it like a tear. But it wasn’t a tear, for Aziraphale didn’t get sad anymore. Aziraphale was smiling, a wistful, distant smile, but a very contented one. Even when Crowley didn’t answer at first, his mind now feeling as frozen for words as his body had been while floating on that roof, Aziraphale’s smile still didn’t waver. He just turned to look at him.
“Take your time, my dear.”
It was a smile that knew he would have to wait for Crowley’s brain to realign itself. It was a patient smile, and just knowing that Aziraphale knew that about him already was the catalyst needed to get his mind working again.
“Ngnn…f-forever isn’t long enough.” Crowley finally answered, and they both ended up grinning at his stutter. If only to cover his embarrassment he leant over and kissed his angel’s forehead, Aziraphale’s smile becoming even wider, “But I’ll do it anyway.”
Still keeping the umbrella above their heads Aziraphale moved in front of him, placing his one spare hand against Crowley’s shoulder and just looking up at him, so comfortable and relaxed. This demon had saved him, in every way a person could be saved, and their experience in surviving the sinking of the unsinkable ship proved to Aziraphale they absolutely belonged together, that nothing was going to tear them apart. Most people may go through something like that and never want to see that person again. The horrid, terrifying memories that came when looking at them being too much to bear. But not here.
Not with Crowley.
Out of all the horror that happened to them, the only thing Aziraphale could recall was the love and protectiveness from Crowley all the way through. He never gave up on him, no matter how often Aziraphale had nearly given up himself. The times Crowley had literally dragged him to safety, whether it was away from suicide, away from Gabriel, out from behind a gate nearly trapping and drowning them in water, up an almost vertical ship, or screaming until his throat was raw for a lifeboat to come back to save him. Crowley’s hand didn’t leave him, his words never hurt him, and Aziraphale thought to himself that if he did have to go through all that sinking again in order to keep Crowley with him…he would. Again and again if that’s what it took. So long as he could look up into those gorgeous golden eyes, feel the gentle caress of his hand, and know for an absolute fact that Crowley didn’t want anyone else but him.
“You’re my absolute world, Crowley.” Aziraphale said softly into the rain, “And you’re right. Forever isn’t anywhere close to being long enough.”
Looking up at him as though he’d hung the world, which for Aziraphale he had, he leant up and kissed him. It was a kiss so tender it had Crowley melting into him for change, his hand around his waist just pulling him closer, the other cupping his neck always loving the feel of those curls tickling his fingers. The pitter patter of rain fell all around them as they kissed, the stars of America glittering closer behind them.
They stood there for ages, sharing sweet kisses, ignoring the steady bustle of crewman around them, throwing ropes to each other and listening to their officers organising the arrival.
“So,” Crowley began, grinning against his angels lips as they parted, looking down at him with a soul fit to burst of love, “let’s see. We meet, fall in love, make love, with you coming to my cabin first I might add,” he waggled his finger between them at Aziraphale’s chest, “and then get engaged within the first week of meeting each other, with you asking me.” His grin then grew wider as he got to the punchline of his little recap, looking absolutely smug, “And you say I go too fast for you.”
Aziraphale let out that adorable huffy laugh that he did, and Crowley continued to grin at him as Aziraphale rolled his eyes, blushing from the embarrassing truth.
“Oh, do be quiet you.” He pouted back at him so affectionately, hitting his arm just gently.
“Well it’s true, should I be worried?” Crowley continued to quip, Aziraphale just chuckling at him as he hooked his arm around Crowley’s and stood beside him again, holding the umbrella out in front of himself towards the middle to keep them both dry, “I mean you get on one ship engaged to one angel, get off another one engaged to a demon, what is it about ships and marriage? I need to keep you away from ships it seems.”
“Alright dear alright you’ve made your point.” Aziraphale said, trying to seem affronted in his response, but the smirking smile on his face at how delighted Crowley looked with himself gave away the fact that he was hardly insulted.
Oh that smug little demon.
“Well you don’t have to worry about that.” He continued, “I think it’s going to be a while before I’d want to be on a ship again. Although…perhaps one day…”
He trailed off as thoughts he didn’t realise he had made their way to the surface. They were thoughts made for a different conversation, at a different time, but Crowley already knew what he was going to say because they already knew each other’s minds so well. After all, Aziraphale had been brought to America against his will. It was only because of Gabriel that he was even here.
Crowley knew that at some point, even if it was some years down the line, that they’d be back on a ship again, sailing back to England. It was Aziraphale’s home, and although Crowley didn’t really care where he was so long as Aziraphale was with him, he knew his angel liked his comfort, and he liked England. Perhaps they’d travel for some years around the Americas, letting Aziraphale live a fun and exciting life that he’d been denied up until this point, and then settle down. Crowley rather liked the idea of waking up in the same place every day, a place that was his, a place that was secure.
It was something he hadn’t had for a very, very long time, and he’d like to make one with Aziraphale.
“We’ll go back one day.” Crowley finished his thought for him, “maybe that’s when we’ll open up your bookshop.”
Aziraphale beamed at him, absolutely delighted with that idea, “With a flower shop next door, don’t you think?”
Crowley grinned back at him, so tenderly in Aziraphale’s excitement, “Sounds perfect angel.”
They were getting close enough to the shore now that the tugboat came out to guide them back in. They could see people on the docks, tiny as ants, but they were there, waving towards the ship. Voices carried out across the water, shouts and screams of joy, crowds of families gathering to hope it was their loved ones that stepped off the ship. Waiting to rejoice, waiting to cry, either way there was about to be a media circus out there.
“You know Crowley, you never did tell me what this super special secret thing was that you do to get flowers to grow really well.” Aziraphale said, putting his hand into his jacket pocket as it was getting cold in this wet weather, but still keeping Crowley’s arm hooked around his elbow.
“Oh you’ll find out soon enough angel.” Crowley smiled knowingly, before letting out a small, worried sigh. Getting those specific dreams to come true was going to be daunting task for a demon and an ex-angel, “It’s gonna take quite a bit of money to get all this happening you know.”
Payment for another voyage, payment for buying property, both home and retail, this was a lot of stuff Crowley had never thought of before. He lived from one day to the next, never did he have to plan to for his future. Until now. It may be daunting, but with Aziraphale beside him it made planning for a secure future an exciting thing to work towards. It was possible. It would be hard, and it would take a lot of savings, but they had their whole life together, and that was a long, wonderful time to be had.
As they both waited to head back onto land, other demons now crowding around them with their families and luggage, Aziraphale suddenly blinked. He could feel something cold and hard in his pocket. It was the first time he’d put his hand in there since they were still on board the Titanic, though he had noticed that the pocket watch Gabriel had given him was gone. It must have been lost in the water, and he did feel rather sad about that for it had played a big part of his life for those few short days, giving him the courage to face up to Gabriel. Still, he took a quick glance around. As the Carpathia came to a halt, and the crew began to open the gates to the gangway and to dry land, he clasped the item…the chain, and pulled it out.
He let out a tiny gasp at what he held.
“I…I don’t think money is going to be a problem, my dear.”
The Heart of the Ocean, the most fought over diamond for jewellers anywhere in the world, worth more than his brand new demon fiancé could probably ever comprehend, sparkled promisingly in his hand.
Many, many decades later…
There was a shop, on a corner in Soho in London, where if you actually found the book you were looking for the owner would happily sell it to you more as a reward for actually being able to find it in the first place. Or at least that had been the case some years ago, before the owner had retired. Rumour had it he and his husband, the one who had run the extravagantly beautiful flower shop next door, had gone to live in a cottage in the south downs, surrounded by their own books they had kept and with a garden that had won Best Garden of the Year in their little village every year since they moved in.
Although both shops were still in their owner’s name, they had others to run them for them, only popping in every now and then to ensure that not too many books were being sold, and to ensure that the staff were still yelling at the plants. A young demon named Pepper ran both shops now, with her own hirlings working under her. She shouted at customers. She shouted at plants. She was good at shouting. Not just shouting, but for creating good social arguments of the benefits of growing better that the plants would be complete fools for not following.
Currently there was an angel running from the book shop, Pepper’s voice shouting out after him as she ran and stood in the doorway, “THIS IS A BOOK SHOP NOT A LIBRARY! WASTING MY TIME IS AN INEFFICIENT USE OF YOUR DAY SO FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO STAND!”
She then turned to the flower shop, and waved quite happily at the young angel Wensleydale, who was on work experience there and currently busily watering the plants on show outside. He was a hard little worker. The demon Brian was in charge of the shop today. He was okay at yelling at the plants, but he still needed to learn. She was happily teaching him, just like the owner had taught her.
As she went back inside her now empty bookshop, she returned to the back office to continue on her hunt for rare books. The owner had finally given in to her pleas to buy a computer, a new technology that everyone was raving about. She’d convinced him by trying to tell him what this new thing called the internet was, and that it would probably help in their search for rare books. The office was obviously not hers though, as there was nothing personal to show. In fact, none of the photos that dotted heavily against the walls and shelves had her in them at all.
It was Aziraphale’s and Crowley’s faces that peered at her from all sorts of different places.
Most photographs were in black and white, only some in colour as the couple slowly caught up with the modern age. In every single one of them there was nothing but smiles, photos of their travels from when they were young. Holding hands on a ferris wheel, winning a darts tournament while obviously both drunk, standing on a bridge in the wind, Aziraphale sunbathing in what could only be described as a god-awful stripy bathing suit that no one would be seen dead in these days. There was one of Crowley draping himself like a whore over a brand new Bentley with the keys to it in one hand, Aziraphale and the biggest birthday cake anyone had ever seen, Crowley arriving with flowers and chocolates on the day the bookshop opened. Quite a few of the photos were just of them kissing or looking at each other adoringly, dictating various anniversary’s as their bodies grew older but their smiles remained the same.
There were even some rather serious ones, a march, equal rights for demons along with Anathema and Newton, the four of them appearing together in quite a few moments of history. A celebration, a change in the law where it was no longer required to ask on an application for work if the applicant was an angel or a demon, wages evening out, status slowly becoming a thing of the past. Oh there were still what people would call angels and demons, but fewer and fewer people cared, fewer and fewer people asked, and more and more people found it politically incorrect to refer to someone through a term once used for the status of ones monies.
It was a brand new time that had been helped brought forward by an angel, a demon, an ex-demon, and an ex-angel.
Although they didn’t spend anywhere near as much time at the shops as they used to, age being a large factor in their lives now, they had equally hundreds of photos covering their walls in their cottage at home. They wanted to keep some here too so they had happy memories absolutely everywhere they went.
The phone rang, and Pepper answered.
“We’re closed so make it quick.”
They weren’t closed, at the moment, but it was the standard greeting she’d been told to make.
“Pepper my dear, how’s things?”
“Oh! Aziraphale, hi! I’ve sold two books and thrown out fourteen customers, so doing very well!”
She knew the owners didn’t really care for profits, they had enough money to live on and pay her wages without the need for much selling. It was why Aziraphale came back to the shop once in a while, to take back home more books to save them from being sold in his own shop.
On the other end of the phone, Aziraphale was sitting in his armchair in the living room, the phone connected by a curled cord to the main unit sitting on the table beside him. Like the office the cottage was indeed covered in more photos, dispersed amongst bright flowers in vases that littered almost every surface. The television was on quietly in front of him, the news showing, not that anyone had been watching it when Aziraphale came in to sit down, which was rather an effort these days to use his walking cane and carry a cup of tea at the same time. Crowley had been fast asleep in the armchair next to his, snoring lightly, as he often did in his old age, his grey hair waving gently in the summer breeze from the open patio doors.
“Good show my girl, any luck on finding any of those books on the list I gave you?” Aziraphale’s voice had aged like the rest of him, but it still held that spark of joy that made anyone who talked to him just want to smile.
“Not yet, but I’m getting close, this computers helping a lot.”
Pepper continued to say something about that internet thing again, Aziraphale not really understanding but it kept her happy, when something on the television caught his eye. He didn’t hear at all what Pepper told him next, as his gaze was now fixed on the images of what looked like ancient items being displayed, items that were rusted or covered in barnacles. There was a set of plates in surprisingly good condition, only a few cracks, the words TITANIC around the edges.
“I’m so sorry Pepper but I’ve got to go, I’ll talk to you later. Toodle pip dear!”
He put the phone down, very distracted, and instead picked up the remote control and turned the sound on the television up, also adjusting the edge of the hearing aid in his ear.
“-zing discovery, the first manned voyage down to the resting place of the once great liner, the famous Titanic, and all these items have been brought back to the surface in amazing condition-“
Aziraphale’s eyes went wide.
“Crowley! Crowley my darling look!!” Crowley continued to snore, and Aziraphale glared over at him. “Crowley!! Oh for…” Aziraphale picked up his walking stick and awkwardly turned it so he could whack his husband across the chest with it, “Crowley wake up!!”
With a loud snort as the stick hit him, Crowley woke up with start and looked around, “Ngk, ngnn…wha….?”
“Crowley put your glasses on, look!”
He could just about see Aziraphale pointing excitedly to the television, but everything around him was a blur, so he picked up his glasses on his own side table and put them on. They looked ridiculous. Crowley had gone practically half blind so needed hugely thick lenses to see anything. Aziraphale loved them though, because they made his eyes look three times as big, magnifying how golden they still were. Crowley blinked through them, squinting at the television.
“Just look at what we found this morning.” said the interviewee, beckoning the camera to pan down to a tray of water, “Found in the safe of an angel, this drawing has been underwater for the past 80 years.”
Now Crowley was leaning forward in absolute shock, mouth dropping open as the camera showed someone very carefully cleaning a piece of paper, keeping it under the water so it didn’t tear. The gentle water spray was removing the dirt, and a drawing was forming behind it, one that was of a bookcase, and a plump little angel sitting in a chair reading. Crowley couldn’t believe his aging eyes as his own handwriting began to emerge.
We could have the world, my angel. I love you. C.
He barely heard the news report continue on, speculating who the angel in the picture was or who this C was, but he did suddenly hear his husband on the phone.
“Hello? Yes, I’ve just seen the report on those findings from the Titanic on the news. You had a phone number at the bottom of the screen asking if anyone knew who any of those items may have belonged to?”
“You have some information for us?” said the bored voice at the other end.
“Yes, my husband and I were on the Titanic, and I’m wondering if you’d like to know who that angel is in the picture you uncovered?”
There was a pause, “Forgive me, but for you or your husband to have been on the Titanic you would both have to be over a hundred years old.”
“I’m 102 next month.” Aziraphale stated cheerily.
Another pause. “….alright, you have my attention. Do you know who the angel is in that drawing?”
“Oh yes,” Aziraphale smiled, looking over at the love of his life, “the angel in that drawing is me, and my husband drew it.”
It was a long journey by helicopter, but not as long as had been the first time they took this route. The ocean spread out before them, never ending from one horizon to the next, and yet somehow Crowley was still asleep beside him where they sat. Aziraphale just held his hand as he stared out of the window, looking to the far smaller vessel that awaited for them to land on it. It was a scientific vessel, and he could see the nearly all glass diving capsule on the deck, the one that had gone down to where the Titanic lay two and a half miles beneath it, and how they had brought back up so many items.
He turned to shake Crowley awake again, the noise inside far too loud to say anything. Crowley jolted awake as he always did, and Aziraphale pointed down out the window. Crowley squeezed his hand when he realised where they were.
They were back again. 80 years later, and here they were at sight of the sinking of the Titanic. The place where they’d met, the place where they’d nearly died, and the place where their lives began.
When they landed a wheelchair was brought out, a few crewmen helping Crowley down into. He could walk, sort of, it was just his spindly old legs found it rather difficult now. Aziraphale still managed to shuffle along beside him using only a walking stick, ensuring Crowley was tucked in safely and that his own foldable walking stick was hanging on the back for when he got out.
When they got inside, the young crew that had gone down to collect the items were all there, and all of them were looking at their guests with absolute fascination. They sat them through what they believed had happened to the Titanic, asking for any discrepancies or change of information. Crowley and Aziraphale didn’t mind being asked, after all it was a very long time ago, but they still held hands as they were interviewed, an occasional squeeze passing between them as something was said that brought back an old memory of ice cold water and an unescapable feeling of dread.
After a while, and although understanding the fascination, Crowley interrupted them, “I’d like to see my drawing now please.”
The crew looked to each other, one obviously itching for more information, but giving in.
They brought them to another room, trinkets and pieces of ornate wood and all sorts, all in trays or laying on cloths, drying or still being cleaned by workers. Aziraphale looked through them all, a small smile to his lips. He didn’t personally know anything here, but it made a warmness come to his heart that after all these years and here these things were again, once more up top and being appreciated. Any antiques dealer would have a field day here.
Suddenly though he gasped, and Crowley looked to him immediately worried, holding out a hand to his arm as Aziraphale’s hand flew to his own chest as he stared at something he’d seen.
“Oh…oh my heavens is that…?”
Very carefully, and with shaking fingers both from age and shock, he slowly and extremely gently picked up a pocket watch. The chain was rusted away, and what was left of the watch itself was also covered in rust, but it was still holding together, the hands still visible through the cracked glass.
He took it over to Crowley, absolute awe on his face, “Look…it’s Gabriel pocket watch. I’d recognise it anywhere!”
Crowley peered at it through his thick lenses, before smiling up at his angel. He knew how important that watch was to Aziraphale, for he had mentioned several times how he wished he’d still had it. This had been a symbol of his resistance against the angels, and now here he was holding it 80 years later. It was incredible. Everything here was incredible. Modern science had brought all of this back, everything thought to be lost was being found.
Aziraphale turned to the crew watching them “May I keep this? It was given to me a very long time ago and…and I never thought…”
Heavens there were tears in his eyes. Why was he crying? It had been a gift from Gabriel, of all angels, but the memory of holding it in his hands, of feeling the strength it gave him, oh… he never realised just how much he had wished it had never been lost.
“It’s yours. We don’t have the right to take it away.”
Aziraphale beamed at them, and carefully opening up the small pocket on his old and tattered waistcoat that he loved, he placed it back where it belonged. The feel of it sitting there was such a comfort, even after all these years, and he smiled so joyfully at Crowley, the corners of his eyes so wrinkled in happiness.
“Sir?” said a young woman to Crowley, and he looked over at her, “Here’s your drawing.”
Crowley was pushed towards the next table. On a small stand, and framed in a glass panel now dry and looking almost exactly as it had 80 years ago, was the drawing he had made of Aziraphale reading. It was the one that had changed his angels mind, convincing him to change his life, and choosing Crowley.
His trembling fingers reached out to touch the glass, gently running down over the words he’d written so long ago. He could feel Aziraphale’s hand squeeze his shoulder.
“It’s you Aziraphale.” Crowley said, turning to give his husband a crooked grin.
Aziraphale was looking at it in wonder, before he smiled down at him, “Changed a bit though haven’t I?”
Crowley just took Aziraphale’s wrinkly hand in his own, and kissed the back of it, “Not to me you haven’t angel.”
“Oh,” Aziraphale blushed and tutted, “you old flirt you.”
Despite the change of the times, Crowley had never stopped calling him angel. Even though other people around them frowned, whispers of how could he call his own husband an angel, but angel meant far more to Crowley than what the world dictated. Angel meant love. Angel meant happiness. Angel meant holding this hand for a million times and waking up to those blue eyes every morning.
Angel meant life. Aziraphale was his life.
The others around them exchanged grinning glances at the two old survivors still making goo-goo eyes at each other all these married years later.
“I’m afraid it was the only drawing to survive,” the woman said, “but it looked like you had others in the sketchbook.”
Crowley nodded, “I did. But that’s okay. Never thought I’d see any of them again, but I’m glad this one survived.”
“This was found in a safe,” said an older man, the one who’d been itching to ask them more questions, “belonging to an angel named Gabriel, the one you’ve just mentioned. I’m assuming you must have known him.”
“Oh yes,” Aziraphale replied, “he was my fiancé. Only for a short time though. Such a stupid angel to have taken his own life. Becoming a demon was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Talking of angels and demons made the others squirm, but Crowley just smiled up at him. It had been a shock when they’d read about Gabriel’s death. In his own way, Aziraphale had actually felt rather sad. Just for the circumstance more than anything, that becoming a demon had been so terrifying that Gabriel couldn’t bear to face it. Crowley had always thought that deep down, Aziraphale had always hoped for a little bit of goodness in Gabriel. He believed that perhaps that was why Aziraphale always wished he hadn’t lost the pocket watch. It was the one kind gesture Gabriel had done for him in their time together, and Aziraphale always believed in the best in people. Even after everything, Aziraphale…had forgiven Gabriel.
“So would you have known…about a piece of jewellery, named the Heart of the Ocean?” the man continued cautiously, “We were expecting it to be in the safe, it was reported to be in here at the time of the sinking.”
Aziraphale just pursed his lips and shook his head, looking disappointed on his behalf, “Oh I’m very sorry, I don’t remember anything about that.”
The man looked very disappointed indeed, and hung his head.
Crowley looked to his drawing, “May I keep this as well?”
The woman who’d been cleaning it before smiled at him, but bit her lip in nervousness, “Well, you drew it so of course its yours if you want, but…I was hoping that perhaps we could keep it, for the museum? For history? I-I mean, if you don’t mind…” She wrung her hands together in hope, her smile pleading.
Crowley looked to his drawing once more, the edges slightly torn and yellow, but otherwise looking like he could have drawn it yesterday. He closed his eyes, remembering sitting at the bow of the Titanic, formulating his plan on getting Aziraphale to choose him, sketching drawing after drawing, all of them of his angel. He’d been so innocent back then really, never knowing what would happen that very night, that they’d be running for their lives. Never knowing in a week’s time he’d be engaged. Never knowing that 80 years later he’d be on another ship in the exact same place, looking at his past with nothing but a smile.
“You can keep it.” He decided, looking up at Aziraphale, “I have the real thing.”
Aziraphale stood at the back of the ship, staring out at the horizon he hadn’t seen for so many years. The sun was setting and the sky was clear, so the deep purples and pinks were reflecting beautifully along the water. Crowley came wobbling up beside him, having left his wheelchair at the door and using his walking stick instead.
“This certainly does look different from when we last saw it.” He said as he stood beside his husband, taking in a big deep breath of that fresh air.
The ocean was just as calm as it had been all that time ago, only this time there was no bodies, no lifeboats floating in the distance, just a deep blue as far as the eye could see. A few dolphins broke the surface a little way ahead of them, curious about the ship in their water.
“Indeed,” Aziraphale agreed, placing his hand over Crowley’s where he’d rested it on the rail, “And here we are at the back of a ship again.” He turned to him, a wonderful smile on his face.
He always smiled. He forever smiled.
Crowley watched him for a moment, before leaning over to kiss his cheek, Aziraphale’s smile not leaving him.
“You brought it with you, didn’t you?” It wasn’t a question really, for Crowley already knew the answer.
Aziraphale’s smile turned rather sneaky as he brought his hand out of his pocket, the Heart of Ocean sitting in his palm.
“You always have known me so well.” The two of them looked to the diamond, sparkling prettily in the sunset, “All these years, and we never gave in.”
He remembered, 80 years ago when he’d found this in his pocket, that Crowley had nearly had a heart attack when Aziraphale had told him to look. He remembered saying to him while laughing, “Crowley dear, you’re drooling.”
Crowley had not wanted to sound like a stereotypical money-grabbing demon but holy hell selling that would solve all their problems! Aziraphale would want for nothing, they could live the easy life of angels, great food great places, the very best of all for the very best angel in the world. Crowley couldn’t stop grinning in excitement as the demons around them gradually stepped up onto the gangway to leave the Carpathia, but Aziraphale just stared down at the diamond, a distant smile on his face.
He had turned to Crowley, “But where would the fun be in that?”
Now, as he held that same diamond in his aged hand, they both remembered back to the photos on their walls at home during their time in America. Aziraphale stacking hay for the horses in a stable they’d worked at, picking apples on a fruit farm, dirt on his smiling face as he helped dig a new road into a distant town. They always worked together, whatever they could take, and their current wealth all came from hard work and knowing they had earned it. Aziraphale hadn’t wanted his life to be handed to him on a silver platter, not anymore, he wanted a life worth living, a life with experience and memories. And, of course, the occasional delightful evening out where Crowley would watch him eat expensive cakes with a dreamy look on his face. They had worked hard and loved hard, spending every moment of everyday experiencing new things together, the entire time that diamond kept close. It was there should the worst happen, but they never gave in. It was kept as a reminder for Aziraphale of where he came from, of how far the gap between angel and demon stood, and what encouraged him to work hard for the rights of those he loved.
Crowley put one slender arm around Aziraphale’s still ample waist, “What are you going to do with it?”
Aziraphale closed his fist around it. He seemed to think for a moment, before a tiny smile grew on his lips.
He held his hand out over the railing, and opened his fist, “Whoops!” The Heart of the Ocean dropped down right into the dark water with a tiny little plop. It sunk quickly, disappearing into the darkness.
Miles below, it would land on the stern of the sunken Titanic, right at the spot where Crowley had once come running up to an angel trying to take his own life, talking about dolphins and krakens and climbing over the rail to be beside him, you can’t fall, angel.
Aziraphale had such a pleased look on his face as the diamond returned to where it came from. It was like closing a chapter of a book, one near the end perhaps, but there was still a few pages to go yet. He closed his eyes happily as Crowley squeezed him gently and kissed his grey curls.
“Dance with me, angel.”
Aziraphale giggled, turning to his demon who could barely stand without leaning on something. But he still had his hand stretched out to him, and looking at him with such fondness Aziraphale took that hand. Crowley let go of the railing and let his weight lean against Aziraphale, who wrapped his arms around him keeping each other steady. They didn’t move really, only swayed on the spot, warm and loved and always together. They both suffered with joint pain, both unsteady in the hips and the back and everything else that diminished with age, but never once did they stop being madly in love with each other.
“My dearest Crowley." Aziraphale sighed happily, "Was never cold again, you know.” he said, his head resting against Crowley’s shoulder, his lips brushing his neck as he pressed one small little kiss there.
Slowly and carefully, Crowley released his arms around Aziraphale to be able to look at him. He reached up to straighten the bowtie on his husbands neck, before quickly steadying himself by holding onto his shoulder. He gazed at him, always in awe at the life full of love he had with his angel, before he moved one hand to cup Aziraphale’s cheek. He stroked his thumb down it gently, before carefully leaning over to kiss his lips.
It was just a simple, gentle kiss, dry lips against dry lips, so softly pressed together but still somehow just as passionate and wanting as their kisses had been right here all those years ago. As they parted, they beamed at each other, for a moment feeling young again.
Crowley kissed Aziraphale’s nose, “I’d forgotten what cold was long ago.”
A black feather suddenly drifted by them, caught on the wind as it floated out past the back of the ship before gently landing on the ocean’s surface. As it did the last rays of sunlight sparked out of view, leaving two old lovers silhouetted in twilight and still lost in each other’s arms.
The feather marked where so many had lost their lives, and where the lives of an angel and a demon had truly begun.
Oh god I've loved writing this story I didn't want it to end T_T If you've enjoyed this please do leave a review and let me know your thoughts!
And don't forget, if you'd like to share this story on your tumblr you can reblog this post and gifset I made for it here on my own tumblr: https://starrose17.tumblr.com/post/186173560839.
Thank you all for your lovely comments so far! Always makes me grin! See you all soon hopefully! You never know what might be next!