Actions

Work Header

the yet unknowing world

Work Text:

London, 1601

 

The swell of the crowd carries them out of the Globe and all the way through Southwark. Everyone’s a-chatter, and it’s hard not to be caught up in the enthusiasm—Hamlet is set to be an instant classic. Those who witnessed its triumph are conscious of standing on a stepping stone of history. At Aziraphale’s side, Crowley looks quite pleased with himself.

Aziraphale supposes he’s more than earned it. All he expected of Crowley was enough of a little miracle to give the play some positive word-of-mouth for the season. But Crowley has outdone his past theatrical efforts, getting involved with the production and generating excitement that will see it performed for at least a decade.

Aziraphale is also pleased.

It isn’t every day that a bargain between them is carried off so flawlessly, and he feels abuzz with the intoxicating after-effects of a glorious performance—really, Crowley took this one to the limits.

They are intoxicated, also, from the bottles of fortified wine shared back and forth throughout the play’s considerable run-time, yet by the time they reach their inn Aziraphale is aware that he has not had nearly enough. The yawning in his belly that drives him to eat, to drink, to satiate himself, has been growing as they walk until it threatens to become a void.

He wants, and his fingers flex at his side as he imagines reaching with both hands.

He cannot recall whose idea it was to engage an inn on this side of the river for the night, only that the plans were longstanding and now feel prescient. In the inn’s quiet little courtyard Aziraphale’s appetite is too great to be held at bay. He knows, Lord knows he shouldn’t, he swore he wouldn’t, not again, but—he feels too big for his human vessel tonight, barely contained, blurred at the edges, edges fraying.

A half-step is all it takes to get him close enough to murmur into Crowley’s ear, “Put the light out when you go to bed, and I’ll come to you.”

There was a time when this would have prompted an attempt at conversation about it, or an attempt at a witty rejoinder, but Crowley has learned. In the torch-split dark of the courtyard Aziraphale watches a muscle jump under Crowley’s cheek, and behind the screen of his glasses, Crowley’s eyes flash sideways once. Then he nods, a tiny dip of the head.

Satisfaction, and the anticipation of satisfaction, begin to pool in Aziraphale’s belly. He turns to meet the next door, says for the benefit of a passing stable-lad, “Sleep well, old boy. See you at breakfast.”

“Yes,” says Crowley’s voice, smooth enough as he marches on to his door across the yard. “Good night.”

In his room, Aziraphale flings back the window shutters and stares into the gloam until a candle is lit in Crowley’s room. A candle, or Crowley’s finger, it does not matter—what matters is that the light goes out mere seconds after it is lit.

Aziraphale smiles. He knows he is all but assured of a welcome, but the haste of the light’s brief life spurs him on. Outside all is quiet, and he is in no mood for further subterfuge. He blinks across the space between them and opens his eyes in Crowley’s room.

It is pitch-black. Aziraphale clears his throat. “Crowley?”

“Here, angel,” comes the reply at once from the massed shadows that comprise the bed. Excellent. No dawdling about with pleasantries—perhaps Crowley truly is capable of some improvement in this.

Aziraphale follows the sound of Crowley’s voice, willing his eyes to become more adept at seeing with only a sliver of moonlight to illuminate them. When he does so, Crowley comes into focus, lying naked on the straw mattress with the quilt kicked down.

His long, supple limbs are in a conceived pose meant to appear relaxed, his hair combed out and spilled across the pillow. His cock stirs against his thigh at Aziraphale’s approach; it is difficult to witness that and not grin as indulgently as Aziraphale himself wishes to indulge.

Crowley’s glasses are gone, his yellow eyes the brightest thing in the room; his skin is smooth and pale, bone-white; his lip is red, as though he has been biting it. Aziraphale could eat him up, head to toe, without sauce.

Yes, this cannot be said to be so off-course a pursuit of pleasure after such a miraculous show. He might have stayed out until dawn in some riverside tavern, toasting to Hamlet’s majesty, feasting and stuffing himself with food and ale, or—

Aziraphale shrugs away from the confinement of his clothing with a gesture and climbs directly over Crowley on the bed. He’s already hard, and the spirit of the evening has called for artistic license. He’s given himself a cock far bigger than any he’s worn before, a cock that reflects the enormity of how much he wants just then. He presses the thick length of it against Crowley’s belly as he moves over him, sucking a first hungry kiss into the skin of Crowley’s neck, and he feels Crowley’s sharp intake of breath.

“Do you like it, my dear?” asks Aziraphale, who already knows the answer. Crowley has not been shy about mentioning certain preferences in the past.

“I—”

“I designed it with you in mind,” hums Aziraphale, this time letting his lips lay in a bruise. “I believe it is just the length and girth that you’ll be able to receive without being split open entirely.”

Crowley makes a cut-off choking sound and arcs up under Aziraphale. He tries to put their bodies flush, but Aziraphale draws back, sits on his heels.

“Have you been good for me?” Aziraphale asks, and Crowley shudders as though Aziraphale has shoved him out onto thin cracking ice, thrust him into frozen water.

Crowley has a visceral reaction to being associated with soft words—he’ll scowl, and protest, yet there’s always a hunted look in those yellow eyes that seems to say call me good again. Since Crowley won’t answer to it, what he does is part his thighs so that Aziraphale can find out for himself.

Aziraphale rests one hand on the gooseflesh skin of Crowley’s taut thigh and slides it down, down, until his fingers encounter what they’re looking for: Crowley is already wet-slick and open, just as Aziraphale prefers but hesitates to invoke. Such a pointed miracle might, in a formal review, raise eyebrows from Aziraphale’s superiors, but Crowley’s surely do not question it.

“Ah,” says Aziraphale with approval, as he pushes one finger into Crowley, soon joined by two of its fellows, “ah, yes. You did very well for me indeed.” The noise that comes from Crowley is muffled, a chewed-on mangled word that was once Aziraphale; when Aziraphale works in a fourth finger Crowley makes no noise at all, but he spreads his legs as far as they can go and tries to make more space to draw Aziraphale’s fingers deeper.

This, too, is excellently done, so Aziraphale rewards him by crooking his fingers and letting them begin to preview just what he intends to with his cock. It’s delicious watching Crowley squirm and sweat and attempt to keep still—delicious.

He leans forward and lets his teeth skim over the rise of Crowley’s hipbone, sinking in for a bite that makes Crowley jerk beneath him. Crowley’s now achingly hard cock leaks a pearly bead of precome for Aziraphale to taste, and when he does so, laving at the head, Crowley can’t keep back his stunned exhale.

“Angel,” Crowley starts, shaky. Aziraphale considers swallowing him down whole—the hunger in him then is frightening in its force. He’s quite sure, for all the things they’ve done, and for all the times he’s enjoyed watching Crowley choke on his cock, that they haven’t done this. But he’s too impatient for the main course. Such as it were.

He glances up Crowley’s body—up, up, up, he’s so extended—and twists his fingers with deliberate intent. “Ready, aren’t you,” says Aziraphale. “Yet still so tight. Am I to believe you haven’t been dabbling between our little games of sport?”

“The—” Crowley’s swallow breaks up his words before they come tumbling out. “The last time was seventy-three years ago. And you know—you know I haven’t. You know I’m—”

“Yes, quite enough of that,” says Aziraphale with pointed pleasantry, pulling loose his fingers and pretending that they are discussing said digits. Despite his best-laid plans—or his best-improvised ones—even he forgets that the rules of their engagement should dictate as little engagement on certain topics as possible.

Give Crowley an inch and he’ll run with it for miles, and Aziraphale has no intention of repeating some of Crowley’s verbal disasters of the past. Ancient Egypt: You know I’m yours. In Babylon: You know I’m in love with— Up against a wall in, well, Cornwall: You know I’m here whenever you choose to reach for me, angel. Angel. Angel.

He runs his hand up the inside of Crowley’s thigh, then taps his flank, urging him over. “Go to,” says Aziraphale, more steely control in his tone than there’d been a moment ago.

Only the briefest hesitation. “But—”

“All in good time,” Aziraphale says, which gets Crowley scrambling to comply fast enough. That’s as much of a promise as Aziraphale will give that he hardly plans to stop after his first glut of pleasure. Aziraphale is well enough acquainted with Crowley’s preference to be able to see his face while they fuck; but the fierce need singing in his blood doesn’t call for that kind of distraction yet.

Crowley turns onto his hands and knees, unable to resist an artful toss of his hair over his shoulder, and Aziraphale watches the dark red curls flood like wine across his skin. What rises in him then is the wish that he could lower his head and drink Crowley dry—he wants to consume all of him, all.

When he grabs Crowley by the hips and hauls him back, he is near shaking with eagerness. The head of his newly too-large cock looks obscene against Crowley’s furled little hole. It should give him pause, but he’s left with an urge to seize and possess that leaves him breathless.

“Just—just let me—” Crowley reaches back with a fumbling hand, gets a grip on the base of Aziraphale’s cock (even Crowley’s long-fingered hand looks small), and coats the length with demonically inspired oil. All the air sighs out of Crowley. “Oh, angel. I can’t tell if you mean to use this as a punishment or a reward.”

“Shall we see how you take it?” asks Aziraphale, and then they’re both guiding his cock into Crowley with what feels like matched eagerness.

It really has been nearly three-quarters of a century, but Aziraphale never forgets what it is like to breach Crowley’s body with his own and come to exist inside of him. Crowley is, he thinks, preternaturally hot within, due to what he is; Aziraphale lacks experience by which to compare, but there’s no other explanation for the unreal heat of Crowley on his cock.

There are times when entry is a relatively simple operation, but not so tonight, as Crowley moans low in his throat when they have scarcely begun. Crowley’s hands claw at the mattress, and he presses up and back, his pert ass a magnificent sight as he tries to bear down on Aziraphale’s cock and fit more of him in.

Aziraphale’s grip on his hips tightens dangerously, threatens bruises. He wills his unraveling self-control to hold. His human body’s instinct is shouting to simply drag Crowley further onto him—or he should piston forward and bury this whole enormous cock with one uncompromising thrust. He’s holding onto restraint with the fingernails dug into Crowley’s skin. He decides to mention it, lest he go mad.

“I’ve half a mind to fuck you until you’re screaming,” he tells Crowley’s hips, conversational.

“That so?” Crowley’s voice is strained. “And what’s the other half concerned with?”

“Our fellow patrons of the inn,” Aziraphale admits, sinking in another inch, then another. “It seems impolite at this time of night.”

“I—ah—I see,” says Crowley. There’s an extended pause, and then he says, “Right, then, I’ve made the room silent to their hearing. You do as you like.”

“Have you really, my dear,” says Aziraphale, pleased, warmth rising in his chest that has nothing to do with the encompassing heat of Crowley’s body being stretched to take him. “That’s very thoughtful.”

“Yes, well—”

Aziraphale gives an indelicate, insistent thrust, managing to reach halfway, and Crowley’s exclamation sounds punched out of him.

“God—Satan—fuck,” Crowley pants. “Do that again.”

Aziraphale pulls back, and this time, he yields to the desire to yank Crowley’s hips towards him as he fucks in. Crowley makes the most scrumptious sounds of encouragement, curses and pleas and groans that vibrate all the way down to Aziraphale’s toes, which are curled. Together they work Crowley open, work Aziraphale’s big cock deeper and deeper until at last—

“All of the bloody angels,” says Crowley, ragged-voiced. “Aziraphale. Aziraphale.

Aziraphale savors the exquisite feeling of being sheathed entirely, his balls snug against Crowley’s sweat-damp skin, Crowley tight as a vise. “Dear boy,” he says, and has the presence of mind to pet a soothing hand down Crowely’s quivering thighs, all the way around to find Crowley’s cock still hard for him, so hard. “Now, about what I mentioned earlier, the screaming—”

It’s a common misconception—a mischaracterization, really—of recent centuries that angels are gentle creatures to be called upon for acts of beneficence.

In actuality they were, of course, made to be fearsome warriors, soldiers and defenders of the Lord. Some of them were, generally speaking, four wheels on fire with a hundred eyes always vigilantly watching, or a six-winged thing made to swoop around the Almighty’s throne for eternity shouting HOLY HOLY HOLY for all the good it did them.

The takeaway here is that angels are built hot-blooded and rather ruthless. For as long as he can recall, Aziraphale never delighted in destruction and wrath as many of his brethren did, but there is a resounding fervor and insatiability for conquest that is natural to him, that is his nature.

Oh, certainly, Aziraphale is good. He knows that the base of him, the soul, is good. Why, he won’t step on an ant if he can prevent it, and just last week helped move a whole family of ants from impending doom on a dockyard by the Thames. But he’s been around long enough to know that goodness does not preclude angels, and demons, and people, from astonishing acts of questionable morality.

Wars fought in the Lord’s name are the most brutal events he’s witnessed, and the cold, pleased smiles he’s seen on Gabriel or Michael or any of the archangel’s lips as they go off to deliver a nasty plague or the message that a fourteen-year-old girl is pregnant with the Lord’s Son who is set to die most horribly—anyway, the point is that no one is perfect.

Aziraphale is particularly given over to the pursuit of pleasure. The desire to be comfortable and sated is always in him, the need to elevate this state to the extreme even more so. Hence his indulgence in the endless array of wonders that humans have cooked up to eat; hence days and nights spent drinking to the bottom of their cups.

He’s sampled every intoxicating fare the Lord saw fit to let grow and humans cultivate; he lost a century after wandering from Odysseus' crew to live amongst the Lotus-Eaters before Crowley found him. In truth he had been loath to leave, and sometimes he can still taste the flower’s tang on the back of his tongue.

Strictly speaking, there are no rules for angels about pursuing the pleasures of the flesh. Most of them who have spent little time on Earth will proclaim that they don’t see what all the fuss is about, because they haven’t watched and learned. But it’s not barred to them. Humans are the ones who conceived all of the ideas associated with wickedness and carnality, and so it is the humans who consign themselves to Hell when they get all bent out of shape about it.

Crowley once said that the concept of sin where bodies were concerned was the single greatest recruitment tool to fill the ranks of Hell, and they hadn’t even had to lay any of the groundwork or file any paperwork. It really has been an unmitigated win for them.

Like every other indulgence, Aziraphale enjoys sex very much. He has no qualms about it, save one: it is most unfortunate and worrisome that he is never motivated to the act or the Effort unless he is around the demon Crowley. He could have a hundred mortal men or women in quick succession should he like, and neither Heaven nor Aziraphale would care in the slightest.

But Crowley. Crowley! Not only a demon, his hereditary enemy, but worse than a mere demon: Crowley, once an angel, cast out from the grace of God. Crowley, hurled from the sky to Earth and below it, wings burned to black as he Fell.

Crowley, with his lithe limbs and his insouciant sprawl and his hair like flame and his knowing yellow eyes and the way he smiles every single time he spots Aziraphale, without fail—

Aziraphale knows it must be a test, his unique trial, to want Crowley the way that he does. And so he resists the pull of him for years and years, decades, sometimes a century or two, until the hunger grows too great and he is moved as he was tonight.

But if it is strange and likely a little joke on the Almighty’s part that Aziraphale should lust unerringly after a demon, surely the affliction is just as odd for Crowley, if not more so.

Before Aziraphale can stop him, Crowley will often speak of love. Crowley will say that he loves him—Crowley has been saying it for so long that Aziraphale forgets its first iteration. Lust is one thing, even considering what they are, but love is quite another.

By all accounts demons should be incapable of it, yet it haunts and spurs on Crowley so that Aziraphale does not doubt that he speaks true. Perhaps the fact of love is Crowley’s trial to be borne; it puzzles Aziraphale to no end, so that normally he assures himself it is better for them both not to proceed in this—only he slips up sometimes.

This is all to say that Aziraphale can be reckless and needful, and Crowley is ever ready for anything that Aziraphale should like to take or have of him. It’s a neat little Arrangement on top of their other Arrangement, excepting the times when it can get a bit messy.

Aziraphale is startled from his reverie by a plaintive plea, and fast reminded that he is balls-deep in Crowley, has Crowley pressed to his limits on a truly massive cock.

“Make me scream or don’t, but if you don’t move I’m going to discorporate,” Crowley says, the words ground to gritty dust between his teeth.

“Apologies,” says Aziraphale, and means it, though that is perhaps not enough of a balm for what he does next: pulls almost entirely out only to thrust back home so hard that Crowley goes forward with the momentum of it, and follows that with identical thrusts in quick succession. He feels his fraying hold on self-control snap, and he gives over to seventy years of wanting.

Seventy years since he had Crowley last. They’d passed a fine time of it in a little town in Portugal where Crowley was taking credit for introducing the Inquisition. Crowley was, in point of fact, helping a local family turn their vineyard back from a nasty blight; he had a room that looked out onto a sea of grape vines, and a bed that creaked badly until they miracled it right.

It had been a perfectly enjoyable evening, wine and Crowley eager for him in every which way, only as they lay tangled in the aftermath Crowley, as usual, couldn’t help himself. He’d tilted Aziraphale’s face up toward him and said, “Angel, I can hardly stand how much I love—” so that Aziraphale was forced to put his mouth to other use lest the whole night be cocked up.

At least now Crowley is saying nothing of the kind except “Oh God, Oh God, Aziraphale,” forgoing Satan entirely, which makes Aziraphale pick up the pace even more enthusiastically, and “Oh, fuck, fuck,” and finally just one ceaseless high-pitched wail of ecstasy that is even better than a scream.

Aziraphale wants to feel it down to his marrow, so he pitches across Crowley’s back, scrapes his teeth over the fine flex of muscles there. Crowley’s skin is salt-sweet with sweat, and Aziraphale finds that he craves the taste. He sets about chasing after all he can find with his tongue while he slams into Crowley with a speed and strength that some tiny still-functioning still-thinking part of his brain knows would eviscerate a human partner. Not that he’s ever had a human partner to test the theory on, but—

He can feel the first glorious spark of pleasure being banked into a firestorm in his belly, just waiting to be released, when it comes to his attention that Crowley has gone silent beneath him.

A flash of worry that he has pushed even Crowley too far—but as Aziraphale gathers thoughts through his decadent haze, he realizes that he has been mouthing and licking at the precise junctures just below Crowley’s shoulder blades where, on another plane, his wings burst forth in a canopy of black.

Aziraphale pauses, and Crowley whispers, only half-heard, “Please.” A beat. “Please, don’t stop.”

It’s rare enough for Crowley to ask for anything more than to see Aziraphale’s face when they are like this, and he has done so well thus far that Aziraphale cannot find any reason to deny him. He tightens his hold on Crowley’s hips—twin columns chiseled directly from the original marble of temptation—and maintains a fierce driving rhythm with his cock. But he lets his lips and tongue trace circles delicate as lace along the base of Crowley’s wings.

There is nothing there, and everything there; Aziraphale can and cannot taste feathers once charred. When he curls his tongue around the idea of a plume, Crowley cries out and comes otherwise untouched. His body clenches up all along Aziraphale’s cock, tugging Aziraphale along with him like a tide receding.

Aziraphale’s fingers dig half-moon bruises into the skin that borders Crowley’s hipbones and he delivers one more punctuating thrust and then he’s filling Crowley up with his own heat. His cock spills deep, so deep that Aziraphale knows he will be fucking his own seed back into Crowley before it has time to slip free of him. He comes still starving and unassuaged, only the edge of his gnawing hunger sanded down. The kick of pleasure is intense, spectacular, even—it’s just that he is so very ravenous.

He licks a last line up Crowley’s spine, letting no salt go to waste, and then he eases free. Amongst the benefits given to angels, he needs no time to recover, and has only to consider the sight of his cock sliding out of Crowley’s ass before he’s hard again in the process of it.

Crowley gives a short laugh, halfway merged between thrilled and hysterical. “So you enjoyed the play, I take it?”

Aziraphale leans down, bites one smooth, firm buttock until Crowley keens. Then he soothes the impression he made with the flat of his tongue, sets his hands in motion at Crowley’s waist, has him turn over once more. Crowley drops onto his back with a grateful sigh. He’s being so good, really, all things considered—and in the scheme of what Aziraphale wants to do with him, it’s such a small thing to give back, so—

Aziraphale sends up a little halo of light to hover over them on the bed, pushing back the dark so that their faces are limned with enough soft glow to see each other by. Crowley’s expression as this happens registers as though Aziraphale has just lain gold and frankincense at his feet.

Aziraphale can’t engage with that directly, so he simply proceeds as he intended, bends over Crowley with his hungry mouth and continues scenting after salt and sweet on this side. Crowley has striped wet all across his belly, and Aziraphale takes his time savoring the bold flavor of him; seventy years since he sampled Crowley last. Last time, he’d brought his own hand to his mouth, and licked free Crowley’s seed from his palm, but tonight the table is set differently.

He finds every scattered drop of musk, greedy for it, licking Crowley’s spent cock clean also, and the auburn hair at its base, and his balls and underneath them. He can hear Crowley’s harsh, uneven breathing as he tries to stay still, lest any movement jar Aziraphale into realizing that he’s never done this before—Aziraphale is quite aware, thank you, but he has simply tipped over into no longer caring.

Why shouldn’t he have his fill of Crowley, once their line is crossed? Is he preserving some Heavenly edict and not another by fucking him and then enjoying the fruits of Crowley’s body? How far is too far, how much too much?

The problem at the moment—the problem, always—is that Aziraphale cannot get enough. Perhaps if there were two or three Crowleys here right now, it might help to curb his appetite. Yes, one Crowley to fuck; one Crowley with a hard cock for Aziraphale’s mouth to suck; one Crowley to crouch behind Aziraphale, to apply his tongue to Aziraphale in all of the ways that made Aziraphale feel like sunlight bursting through the trees; perhaps even an additional Crowley to—

—he makes himself lift his head and stop, at last, considering it, because it’s too damnably tempting, this thought must be damned. If he mentioned it to Crowley, he’s certain his demonic counterpart would smile coyly and find some way to make it possible. Why yes of course I can duplicate myself if that’s what you’d like, angel, or did you say triplicate? Anything you ask, because I am in love with you, after all—

Aziraphale crawls up Crowley’s body to distract himself, focuses on something a bit more mundane—he takes one of Crowley’s flat nipples between his lips and teeth, flicks his tongue until the sensitive skin peaks and Crowley shivers beneath him. Then he lifts his head and declares, “I didn’t love it.”

Crowley has been watching this advance with his brows knit and his lips parted, a picture of blissed-out confusion as to what, exactly, is happening and what will happen next. Now that confusion deepens and his eyes lid defensively, as though, snakelike, he might recoil. “Wh—what?”

“The play,” says Aziraphale, moving on to Crowley’s other nipple. “Oh, you did an excellent job making it the talk of the town, dear, and cutting out the worst purple bits. Everyone who ever has a chance to see it can’t help but be moved. But the subject matter—I’m afraid not. Bit of a navel-gazing slog, isn’t it? It’s no Twelfth Night.”

Crowley’s relieved breath of laughter tingles all the way down Aziraphale’s spine. “I agree entirely.”

Pleased, Aziraphale moves into place within the cradle Crowley’s made of his thighs. Crowley, too, has no limits on biology, and has been hard again since the first touch of Aziraphale’s tongue to his cock. Aziraphale raises an eyebrow, and Crowley nods, and that’s all it takes before Aziraphale is lined up and pressing back inside of him.

Crowley is exceptionally wet, a mix of miracled oil and Aziraphale’s own spill, well-stretched by his first fucking, and it’s much easier to slide all the way in now. Crowley’s breath hitches just a little, and then he wraps his limitless legs around Aziraphale’s lower back as though afraid without that anchor Aziraphale might vanish.

Well enough aware by now of what Crowley prefers in this, Aziraphale takes hold of a slim wrist in each hand and draws them up and over Crowley’s head, where he keeps them pinned beneath his doubled grip. They’ve never fully tested their strength one against the other, perhaps preferring not to know the result. But Aziraphale is more than strong enough to keep Crowley down as Crowley flexes underneath him, like he might, for a heartbeat, try and break free.

He knows well enough what Crowley likes—and what he likes also. “Look at you,” Aziraphale says honey-toned, dripping syrup into Crowley’s ear, as his tongue traces the shell of it. “Caught and pinned by an angel. Why, if Hell could see you now you’d be a laughingstock for all eternity.”

Crowley struggles further, to no avail, and Aziraphale smiles and rolls his hips in a slow, concerted thrust, then stays buried deep, unmoving. “Such a pathetic excuse for a demon,” he chides. “Consorting with the enemy. Rolling over to let yourself be fucked by them. Next, I expect, you’ll be begging for it.”

Crowley is flushed scarlet all the way down to his chest, his cock twitching with intense interest against Aziraphale’s belly. He tries once more to break Aziraphale’s hold on his wrists, then, defeated, tries to shift his body to get friction from Aziraphale’s cock, then, thwarted again, bites his lip and shakes his head.

Aziraphale is dizzy with the force of his renewed wanting and the heady power of having Crowley writhing desperate beneath him. As much as Crowley enjoys castigation, however, there are other words, as Aziraphale explored earlier, that are even more effective when deployed upon him.

He nibbles the bud of flesh at Crowley’s ear, which elicits a full-body shiver from Crowley, then says, “The truth is that you enjoy being a terrible demon. You so like to be good for me, and soft, and sweet, and spread your legs to take my cock.” He does not pull back, but rocks in further in minute circles, and Crowley tightens up all around him.

“Angel,” Crowley starts, licking dry lips, “angel—”

“Yes, spreading your legs for an angel,” Aziraphale agrees. “You are surely the worst demon in history, through sheer ineptitude.” He kisses around Crowley’s jaw and across his throat to address the other ear. “I’ll let you go, should you but say the word,” Aziraphale pronounces lazily. “But you don’t want that, do you. Do you.”

“No,” Crowley gasps out.

“What do you want, Crowley?”

The answer is inevitable. Written long ago. “You.”

“And who am I?” Aziraphale is careful to keep the subtle push-pull of his cock teasing Crowley in the best and worst of ways—just enough to elicit a bite of satisfaction, not enough to maintain it.

Angel—

“An angel indeed,” prompts Aziraphale. He firms his grip on Crowley’s wrists, more than a hint of the hand that had once held a flaming sword. “Name me.”

“A—Aziraphale—”

“Good,” says Aziraphale, and relents into a single, exceptionally aimed thrust, then another. “Go on.”

“Aziraphale—G—Guardian of the Eastern—the Eastern Gate—”

“Well spoken,” says Aziraphale, the mixed praise and pressure turning Crowley all manner of fascinatingly flushed colors. “You may continue.”

“Aziraphale, Guardian of the Eastern Gate—oh, fuck, angel—Princip—Principality—”

“There,” coos Aziraphale. “You did that splendidly. Now put it all together, and tell me what you need.”

“Aziraphale, Guardian of the Eastern Gate, Principality, angel, please—please fuck me—”

“Who might you be?” Aziraphale asks, cheerful about it.

“An—an awfully piss-poor demon,” Crowley admits at last, working the words out of his throat.

And then—just when it is going to smoothly, so delightfully, Crowley cannot seem to help himself, and the words shake loose: “An awfully sad bastard of a demon who—”

Aziraphale kisses him, swallowing down the words who loves you where they settle with unsettling warmth in his chest.

He kisses Crowley some more, which more than does its job of distracting Crowley from the way he’d almost just spoiled their game. He gives Crowley his tongue to silence him from trying to say it again, and then he starts to fuck him in steady, achingly thorough strokes to try and distract them both.

The thing is that kissing is impossibly rare—it has, in fact, never occurred between them, by Aziraphale’s design. It is their first kiss.

While it succeeds in diverting Crowley, it also goes through his body like a shockwave. He pushes up under Aziraphale, then pulls Aziraphale back down and even deeper into him. Pulls free the wrists that Aziraphale forgot he was holding and tangles the fingers of one hand in Aziraphale’s hair to hold him steady, while the other arm loops around Aziraphale’s neck, because he cannot know that Aziraphale has no intention of going anywhere.

No, if Aziraphale is famished, and he is, here is Crowley’s mouth like it was made for him to devour. Crowley’s lips are thin but agile, ardent as they move against Aziraphale’s, and his tongue has been a thing of wonder since the world was made—sly and crafty and maybe the only truly wicked part of Crowley.

He tastes like—he tastes like Crowley, like red wine, like laughter in a quiet room, like the wind that whips by in a speeding chariot, like rain and wings that remember smoke. Once Aziraphale has kissed him he has no concept of how to stop, and so he doesn’t, and so they keep on kissing.

They’ve never kissed before, and they’ve obviously never kissed while Aziraphale thrusts into Crowley with an unparalleled rhythm that Crowley matches, meeting him halfway every time with those hips of his—if Eve had seen those hips first thing, she’d have dropped the apple—and something in Aziraphale feels as though it’s coming unhinged. A gate, a gate. A gate swings open and there’s no one there to guard it.

No one ever told him, none of the literature, that kissing actually makes fucking feel even better, immeasurably better, like being joined in two places at once creates the kind of electrified circuit that won’t be invented for another two hundred-odd years.

It’s like nothing else, to have his cock inside Crowley while Crowley’s tongue is inside Aziraphale’s mouth, and now both of Crowley’s hands are in his hair; Aziraphale’s hand has worked its way between them, seemingly of its own accord, to fill his palm with Crowley’s cock; Crowley’s eyes are open and watching him, and Aziraphale is watching him right back; and with their mouths so occupied they needn’t say a word, but Aziraphale has the strong and unnerving impression that they are in complete understanding at the moment, and that if they were to speak it would be with one voice.

How long it goes on Aziraphale cannot say. It might be seconds or centuries or the entire sequence between the birth and death of the universe. The howling hunger in him is quite startled by all of this delectable activity, and it recedes. But if he lacks in tooth and claw, he finds that he still desires Crowley no less. He has it in his capacity, they have it in theirs, to stay just like this for days and days, weeks, longer still. And Aziraphale wants that. He wants nothing more nor less than that.

The humans could knock the inn down around them to make way for the Tesco Express it will be one day and Aziraphale might still be here in bed with Crowley, discovering all the ways there are to kiss him.

It should be a horrifying, blood-curdling revelation. It should send Aziraphale tearing away, cursing his demonic counterpart, swearing to never see him again, damning his name. That’s what any angel should rightfully feel about wanting to kiss a demon into modernity; that’s what every angel Aziraphale knows would do.

That’s why Aziraphale doesn’t, why he won’t.

All that Aziraphale feels is unspeakable relief. This—this thing between them—his trial. It isn’t illicit. It isn’t painful. It makes him feel wonderful—beautiful and capable and powerful and admired, admiring. He, who often cringed and wondered and made mistakes, here he is wanting and being wanted with the same certainty.

Crowley adores him, Crowley has structured all of his years around Aziraphale’s, and Aziraphale—Aziraphale has felt the same way, and allowed himself to act it sparingly, without ever letting himself speak the words of what they are. Crowley is all that he looks forward to, all he can look back upon; Crowley belongs to him, belongs with him.

Crowley is the only constant he’s ever had.

He’s been going about this horribly wrong, hasn’t he? He approached from the erroneous side, his perception wildly askew. What if what had seemed like a penalty was in actuality a trophy all along? What if the trial a reprieve? The affliction really its cure? What he and Crowley are together is a miracle, existing beyond the bounds of what should be feasible. What kind of angel failed to see that?

Here is a demon, supposedly his opposite in absolutely everything, here is a demon who says he loves him, who has said so since Aziraphale spread one white wing out to shield Crowley from the rain. That was the first time. Aziraphale hasn’t forgotten. Why, thank you, Crowley had said, laughing. I think I’m in love.

The Almighty gave him a flaming sword, which he lost, and She must have given him Crowley, which he’s only just managed to hold onto. Crowley is the foundation of everything Aziraphale enjoys on Earth, and Aziraphale has tried to stay away from him, tried to deny him. How could he have been so wrong? Why had he not understood? How did he not know that they were meant to be like this?

Crowley draws out of kissing with a nip to Aziraphale’s lower lip that sends him spinning back to the present. The first streaks of pale dawn are starting to show on the windowsill, and Crowley says in a cracked voice, “Angel, I’m not complaining—trust me, I’m not—but I’m not as young as I once was. Maybe we could consider—”

Crowley’s lips are kiss-swollen, and his eyes are almost wholly black. Aziraphale drags himself back to awareness, aware now of the dull ache of his body’s unceasing momentum despite the divinity powering it. Crowley, who has apparently been kissed and fucked for some time while Aziraphale’s mind spiralled into itself, appears exhausted and exultant and elated, and he is entirely Aziraphale’s. He is Aziraphale’s.

Aziraphale, despite everything they’ve done tonight, despite everything, feels suddenly something like shy. The new realization—the acceptance, really—of what Crowley means to him has him flustered, as though he hasn’t just had Crowley six ways from Sunday and back again.

He licks his lips, finds them also swollen and tender to the touch. Says, “My dear, I really must apologize—I—I quite lost track of—”

“Don’t,” says Crowley. “No complaints from me. None. Best night of my life.”

“Ah,” says Aziraphale. He’s at a loss as to how to proceed from here. Letting himself experience and name the surge of raw tenderness and vast affection he’s long kept locked up almost renders him speechless. He tries to translate some of it into words. “Can I—I want to come in you again. Mark you,” breathes Aziraphale. “You’re—you’re mine. Aren’t you?”

Crowley’s eyes shift into round coins of minted gold. He blinks, slowly. “I believe I’ve—I’ve made it clear that was the case.” Unsaid is but you never seemed to listen; unsaid is but you always turned away.

“Forgive me,” says Aziraphale. He touches his forehead to Crowley’s, who startles at the gesture like a spooked horse.

“For what possibly?”

For everything. “For—for not kissing you until now,” Aziraphale manages.

“Oh,” says Crowley, all at once pink-cheeked. “That. Not half bad, that.”

“Not half bad!” Aziraphale‘s laughter is uproarious. He doesn’t even pretend to play at outrage or offense; he won’t be goaded, even if he well enough deserves it. Thankfully, instead of deflecting further, Crowley pulls his knees up, levering Aziraphale down and even closer; along the way Aziraphale turns his head and kisses one rather adorably knobbly knee as it goes past. He moves in Crowley, rocking into him like sinking into the mossy grasses of the Garden, and then Aziraphale says, to echo it, “My darling, the Earth moved.”

“Oh,” says Crowley again. He swallows. “That, too.”

“You felt it also,” says Aziraphale, suddenly eager, now that it’s out in the open. He’s close. He’s standing on the edge of the world. He’s ready to step over the precipice, whether that means falling or flight. He’s so close.

Crowley puts his arms around Aziraphale. “Did. Always do,” he agrees, face pressed to Aziraphale’s neck so as not to have to gaze into his eyes for the rest of what he has to tell. “I’m with you, it’s like I can see all the stars I ever made above your shoulder. You bring them back.”

Aziraphale goes over, gives over, starts to spill out his essence, and he’s caught—Crowley kisses him again as it happens, guides him in for the softest of landings. Aziraphale is eager to match him now in every way, to share everything he can, so he fists his hand around Crowley’s cock and strokes with just the right pressure that has made Crowley moan for five and a half thousand years.

“Come with me,” says Aziraphale into Crowley’s mouth, “you can’t imagine how much I want to make you come with me.” Crowley moans for him then, comes for him then, his whole body tight around Aziraphale, his teeth closing over Aziraphale’s lower lip as he paints their merged skin with wet heat. He scratches sharp nails down Aziraphale’s back, the delicious scrape of them a focus-point for Aziraphale to hold onto as he seems to flood out of himself and into Crowley. Then his hold slips.

He’s flooding out of himself and into Crowley.

There’s a wildly disorienting space of breaths where Aziraphale has left his body behind, and then he’s in Crowley’s somehow, looking out of yellow eyes up at his own face. A distant halo casts a glow across them both. He looks with Crowley’s eyes, and spread out in the darkness over Aziraphale’s shoulder, stars are wheeling. He, Aziraphale, is the brightest constellation that Crowley’s eyes can see.

Aziraphale’s gasp snaps them from it, and he rushes back into his own shape all at once. Beneath him Crowley blinks, dazed, clicks his jaw back and forth as though to test that it’s his again.

Aziraphale disengages carefully as he can, focuses on the bodily process of it so that his hands don’t tremble. He isn’t ashamed to admit that he rather collapses at Crowley’s side.

“The fuck was that?” Crowley turns to face him.

“I’m sure I haven’t the faintest idea,” says Aziraphale. “Were you also—were you, ah, in me—?”

“Sure was,” says Crowley. With some of the surprise of it abating, he pulls a wolfish smile, impressive for an old snake. Aziraphale bats at his shoulder, and Crowley stops smiling. His eyebrows draw together. “Angel, do you really? Do you, that is—”

Aziraphale watches him with quick-rising caution. What had Crowley felt in Aziraphale’s body, what had he seen when he gazed down at himself through Aziraphale’s eyes? Despite his sense of relief and release and newfound understanding, all of this is moving terribly fast. He’s suddenly frightened to hear Crowley speak it before Aziraphale has puzzled through the words for himself.

“Whatever you felt is true,” Aziraphale hastens to say. That’s neutral enough—he need not confirm or deny specifics.

Now Crowley’s elegant eyebrows lift in tandem. He looks set to tease, then blows out a kept breath instead. “You want me,” he says. “You want me. It’s not out of boredom, or as a favor, or friendliness, or eneminess, or humoring me, or convenience since we’re the only ones around, or as leverage, or curiosity, or ennui, or—did I say boredom already? You actually want me.”

“Why, yes,” says Aziraphale, relieved, and softening at the shocky tone of Crowley’s voice. “Yes, of course I do. That’s rather been the problem as I saw it. I never don’t want you, my dear.”

“Well,” says Crowley. His voice sounds tight, like if he lets it go he will say too much. “I guess your famous standards don’t apply in everything. Can’t be tasteful across the board.”

“Bite your forked tongue,” says Aziraphale, but he’s smiling. He considers whether he should try and say it presently. Crowley deserves to hear it said, and Aziraphale’s heart beats hard even considering how it might feel to speak the words he’s dodged and weaved away from since Eden.

“Crowley,” he starts, stops, hesitates—oh, this is a frightfully quick turnaround time, isn’t it? “There’s something that I ought to tell you.”

“Ought you,” says Crowley. “I can’t stop thinking about what a sod that Hamlet is, either. Who’d want him running Denmark anyway?”

“What? No, be serious, I—” Aziraphale studies him, sees Crowley’s patient, plaintive face, meets his eyes that understand Aziraphale too well. It’s all right, angel, Crowley’s eyes seem to say. I’ve waited this long, I can wait a little longer. Take your time. Mean it the way I do.

“You may be a paragon of sleeplessness, but I’d like to get some rest,” says Crowley around an exaggerated stretch. “If you—if you stayed a while, you could tell me in the morning, erm, afternoon, evening, whenever I wake up again. Or not. Tell me later. Or don’t. But stay anyway.”

This Aziraphale can do with ease and, he thinks, a little grace. One new thing at a time. One foot in front of the other. “Yes,” he says, relaxing back into the pillows. “Would you like to—?”

He puts out an arm, lacking the right descriptives, and Crowley curls up against him without pause to think about it. Curling is rather Crowley’s natural state, but his head lands on Aziraphale’s shoulder, which is another new thing. Aziraphale combs fingers through Crowley’s cornsilk hair. That’s also new, though the desire to do so is very old.

“Give me your notes, then,” says Crowley. “I’m not done with our good Master Shakespeare yet. What would you change, angel?”

“Oh, lots and lots,” says Aziraphale, his mind already running on the play. This—this is familiar, sacred ground for them, spinning the arts out in speculation. “I have to admit, I rather found myself siding with King Claudius? Of course, poisoning your brother is dreadful, but it was the fashion amongst royalty at the time, you’ll remember. In other respects he seemed quite capable.”

With his head on Aziraphale’s shoulder, Crowley’s laughter vibrates all along Aziraphale’s skin. “Right, so apart from the double regicide and fratricide, Claudius isn’t so bad.”

“I only meant,” says Aziraphale, “that if you look at it from any other perspective than Hamlet’s, everything changes. Everything was going just fine before he started meddling. It started off with one little poisoning, and by the end absolutely everyone is dead except that darling friend of his. Horace.”

“Horatio,” Crowley says gently. “I expanded his part just for you, you know. And I suppose you have a point.”

This bolsters Aziraphale’s analysis. “Consider how Gertrude or Ophelia might see it. What they’d say if the play was theirs.”

“All these men are daft as the devil,” supplies Crowley.

“Yes. Exactly. What I mean to say is—we really only saw Hamlet’s side, and he’s an awful brat, isn’t he? Can’t see the forest for the trees. He shouldn’t get to dictate the way of things. Everyone has their own piece of the story to tell. Until you get run through with a poisoned sword, I suppose.”

“More for the ladies to do, less poisoned swords,” Crowley says, sweeping a finger through the air as though taking this all down with a quill. “Hamlet to stay in Wittenberg.”

“Well, you did ask!”

“I did indeed. I’m ordering rewrites as soon as possible.”

“Don’t make fun,” says Aziraphale, hiding his grin. “My dear friend Sophocles used to say I had quite the knack for drama.”

“And don’t you dare trot him out. My dear friend Euripides could write circles around him, and you know it. How you pushed that tragic sop into winning so many competitions, I’ll never know, but come to think of it you still owe me thirty drachma for—”

“Crowley?”

“What? You’ve a penchant for forgetting tavern bills. ‘My dear, you know, money is such an earthly chore, I’ve plum decided not to keep a wallet during this dynasty.’ That’s a known fact.”

“I love you,” says Aziraphale.

“Sure you do. I’ve been paying your tabs since the Upper Paleolithic era.” But at Aziraphale’s side Crowley goes quiet after that. Then he uncurls just enough to fling an arm across Aziraphale, tugging him close, then closer still.

Aziraphale says it, and the Earth doesn’t tremble. Stars don’t fall from the sky. The Heavens don’t open up, nor does Hell yawn beneath their feet.

He says it, and nothing changes beyond the confines of the bed, because it’s been true for so long that the world first got used to the idea when Aziraphale, against all of his better judgement, lifted one white wing over Crowley, who was laughing in the rain, and thought, Oh, I think I’m in love.

Within the confines of the bed, however, everything changes. Crowley kisses him, and they don’t stop kissing, not ever, not even after the inn becomes a Tesco Express.