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Touched By The Hand Of God

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Aziraphale’s fingers are soft when they brush across Crowley’s knuckles, just a moment’s touch. They are soft like everything about the angel is, the curls of silvery-blond hair, the blue of his eyes, the way he looks at Crowley sometimes, when their conversation halts for just a moment, not uncomfortable, never that, just a second for both of them to breathe.

Aziraphale’s fingers are soft, leave a trail of warmth across the back of Crowley’s hand, and they mean nothing at all. Crowley knows that much, for after six millennia, Aziraphale would use his words to tell him if anything had changed, or if not, at least a gesture more substantial.
Crowley knows better, but Aziraphale’s fingers are soft and when they pull away, they have planted a seed of hope in Crowley’s foolish, loving heart.

 

He picks the angel up to get ice cream later that week. It’s a sunny day, almost too sunny for London, but Crowley has always enjoyed the sun, the warmth, so when it takes Aziraphale a few minutes to come out of his shop after he has arrived, Crowley uses the time to get out of his Bentley, close his eyes and bask in the golden light.
It paints his eyelids red and pink, something Crowley has always found as curious as lovely, the reminder that his useless heart is beating, blood is needlessly pulsing through his body, transporting the oxygen he doesn’t need to cells that don’t have to produce a thing. In some way it is an indulgence to breathe, to keep his heart beating and his blood rushing, but it’s one he enjoys too much to let go of, just like Aziraphale wouldn’t be able to deny himself the pleasure of macaroons and frothy milkshakes.

At the same time, though undoubtedly the only being Crowley knows to be even more prone to indulgence than himself, the angel is the last thing that made him forget about his heart, leave it unbeating for several minutes at least, until the weak muscle screamed at him when being made to work once more.
It had been a night like any other, spent with truffles Crowley had brought with him from Bruges, port wine Aziraphale had had for decades, the warmth of a fire neither of them had started. His hair had been longer then, falling in ginger waves just past his shoulders, and he’d been in the middle of a story about causing chaos during a bull fight in Sevilla when Aziraphale had leant in.

The light emanating from the fireplace had been soft, made the angel’s skin glow golden, the ring on his finger glisten as he’d reached out with one of his hands, as if to cup Crowley’s face. And Crowley, as foolish, as hopeful as ever, had thought, finally.
Finally, Aziraphale would kiss him, acknowledge the thing they both knew was between them, finally, they’d go at the same pace, their pace, finally, they’d be what they were meant to be from the very start.

Because Crowley might be a fool, might be too soft and too hopeful for a demon, but he’s not an idiot and he has seen love often enough to recognise it when it passed across Aziraphale’s face.
Felt it every time he looked at the angel, for millennia by now.

He had felt his lips part in anticipation, all his attention, his entire being focussed on the angel’s fingers, his smile, what couldn’t be anything but adoration shining from his bright, blue eyes.
And Crowley’s heart had stopped, utterly forgotten, while it seized up, ready to flood his body with love so overwhelming no one would expect a single organ to be able to hold it all.

Only that the second that Aziraphale’s fingers touched his cheek, something changed in the angel’s face, in the depths of his eyes, a sort of recognition sparking through them like a bolt of lightening through a calm night. His fingers veered off their path, upwards to clumsily brush a strand of hair from Crowley’s eyes, and the demon could watch something ache so fiercely in Aziraphale’s eyes that it had almost drowned out his own heart’s breaking.

Back in London, more than thirty years later, it’s the same hand that brings Crowley back to the present, again by touch.
Crowley’s eyes flutter open, leave behind crimson-tinted memories; Aziraphale is standing in front of him, the same blue eyes, shining with affection, a gentle smile on his lips, his hand on Crowley’s forearm, squeezing ever so slightly. He’s beautiful, but then again, he always is.

“I’m so sorry, dear”, Aziraphale says instead of a greeting, and he sounds it, too. “You seemed quite lost in thought, I didn’t want to disturb you at first, but then again, it has been half an hour, so…”
His voice trails off, his smile turning a little sheepish, and Crowley can’t help but chuckle, noting distantly that Aziraphale still hasn’t pulled away his hand.
“It’s quite alright, angel”, he tries to reassure, and watches Aziraphale’s smile brighten. “Nothing but old memories, nothing important.”
“Ah, well, that’s a relief”, Aziraphale breathes out, his hand lingering on Crowley’s arm until he takes a step back, presumably to get into the car. “I hope there were only nice ones, of course, but I was looking forward to that ice cream…”

He keeps talking as he rounds the car, gets into it, and Crowley tries to listen, but for another few moments the only thing his brain can focus on is that back then, after Aziraphale had pulled away, a faint dusting of pink across his cheeks and the blue of his eyes dulled, it had taken Crowley three tries to coax his heart into beating again.

 

Crowley can still remember the first time they touched, the sudden shock of warm skin pressed against his own, the tingling feeling Aziraphale's fingers left him with, even if back then, he hadn't been certain if the cause for it had been Aziraphale's angelic nature or the feelings that slowly and yet far too quickly developed in his own chest.

It feels the same still when the angel’s hand brushes his now, handing him a strawberry lolly, the very last one that the man behind the trolley could find, inexplicably hidden in the container for another flavour in which the man had definitely checked before.
A faint tingle, drowning out the vendor’s confused mumbling, the chirping of birds, the sun itself, because of how much Crowley needs this, even a touch this small, has needed it, and will need it for the rest of his eternal life.

 

A month passes, then another, then another, and it’s winter when they walk through Edinburgh’s steep streets, Aziraphale bundled up in layers upon layers of white and beige, Crowley’s only concession to the cold being a slightly thicker scarf.
“-and I am telling you, I need to take you to Salzburg sometime soon”, Aziraphale tells him, his cheeks rosy and excitement painted across his entire face. “Before Christmas, that is, as they have the most charming Advent market. Especially in the evening, when everything else is dark, just the glittering lights, the ornaments, the music… Ah, and the Glühwein, you would love it, I just know it. Let me take you, dear. My treat.”

There’s nothing Crowley could ever say but yes, and Aziraphale must know it; still, when Crowley nods, the angel’s face lights up as if he’s been given the moon for a gift.
“Oh, splendid. Maybe next Thursday, if you’re free? Or Wednesday, maybe?”, Aziraphale answers, immediately starts to plan their trip, his excitement infecting Crowley just a little, not because he cares about the delicacies Salzburg has to offer, but because he’ll be able to share them with Aziraphale.
And maybe it’s because of that that Crowley doesn’t notice Aziraphale shifting, changing his posture, his position, until a warm, soft hand slides into his, tangles their fingers together. It’s a shock unlike any other, making Crowley stop dead in his track, the entire universe, the universe he helped build, reduced to a few square inches of skin pressing against skin, warmth seeping from an angelic palm into his.

He looks down to their hands, then up at Aziraphale, whose cheeks are even pinker now, whose eyes are still bright, but hopeful, scared. Yet, his hand is holding onto Crowley’s, his thumb brushing across the demon’s knuckles, leaving a trail of warmth.
“Is this alright?”, Aziraphale asks like he really doesn’t know the answer, and the seed of hope he planted into Crowley’s heart months ago starts to grow a few vulnerable tendrils that latch onto his mind, ready to bud.
“Of course, it is”, he replies, surprised when he finds that he can speak, and squeezes Aziraphale’s hands in his. It feels right just where it is. “Just perfect.”

 

They go to Salzburg on Thursday, since the weather is just dreadful the day before.
It’s quite charming, Crowley admits it freely, covered in kitsch and fresh-fallen snow; Aziraphale buys them both cups of steaming Glühwein and chocolate-covered strawberries, and laughs so sweetly it almost causes Crowley physical pain when the demon presents him with a gingerbread heart that spells out Für meinen Engel in white frosting.
This time, when Aziraphale takes his hand in the midst of a bustling crowd and the scent of cinnamon, of cloves, he doesn’t have to ask for permission.

 

Winter comes and passes; Crowley hardly cares about it, spends almost a month in Sicily and brings back cannoli, cassata and sickly sweet limoncello as gifts. Whole bags of them, because there are almost as many versions of them as there are shops to buy them in, and Crowley doesn’t trust himself enough to pick the ones Aziraphale will like best, so instead, he gets them all.
They clutter the backseat of his Bentley, so Crowley forgoes driving to his apartment after he has miracled both him and the car back to London’s streets, instead goes straight back to the angel’s bookshop.

It’s been a month since he last saw it, just a short, inconsequential month, and yet his heart seizes up in his chest when he sees the familiar sign, the red-painted exterior. 
There’s no light pouring from the windows, but it doesn’t have to mean a thing, at least Crowley hopes it doesn’t. Aziraphale prefers reading by light, but neither he nor Crowley need it to see.

So, Crowley parks the Bentley, gets out with his arms full of boxes and plastic bags, a familiar tightness fighting to close off his throat, wrap around his chest. He could, should knock, and yet doesn’t, partly because his hands are clutching to all the sweet treats he brought, partly because just barging into the shop like he belongs there is a pleasure Crowley hasn’t been able to permit himself for very long yet.
The door flies open, maybe a little bit more forcefully than strictly necessary, because Crowley hopes for a small cry of oh, do be careful, dear! in a voice he has missed more than he likes to admit.
Nothing comes.

“Angel!”, he calls out, waits for a few moments, but there’s no answer, no Aziraphale.
It’s not only the lack of a reply that tells him as much, it’s the atmosphere in the shop, some key component of it missing. The angel’s warmth, his mirth, his kindness, and after having been deprived of it for weeks, Crowley feels the lack of it even more fiercely, even more so now that he is somewhere Aziraphale could be.

Gingerly, as not to damage the pastries, Crowley sets down the bags and boxes on a nearby chair, before he looks around a little, finding nothing much has changed. A few stacks of books seem to have increased in height, a thin layer of dust has joined the one he already had the chance to get acquainted with, and the gingerbread heart has moved from being propped up against a couple of books to hanging from a nail Aziraphale must have miracled into the wall for this sole purpose.
He likes the look of it, a single piece of Crowley to have found its way into Aziraphale’s refugium.

There is nothing to do without the angel here, so Crowley doesn’t pretend there is, just gets a fire started in the fireplace with a flick of his hand, lays down on the sofa in front of it.
It’s not enough to replace the warmth Aziraphale causes to bloom in his chest, but a good enough substitute for it; if he has made it a month without the angel’s touch, he’ll survive another few hours.

 

He wakes up and the fire is still burning, illuminating the room in gold and copper, and fingers slowly weaving themselves through his hair, tugging gently at the ginger strands. His head is still pillowed on his own arms, but Aziraphale is sitting next to him, warm and solid, and for a few minutes, Crowley allows himself to just enjoy the caresses, bask in the affection that seems to flow much more freely from Aziraphale nowadays.
Maybe his heart is not quite so foolish after all, maybe this is what he has been waiting for, a world in which Aziraphale takes his hand in the middle of the street, threads his beloved fingers into Crowley’s hair, has finally caught up to the demon’s speed.
And even if it isn’t, even if Crowley has to wait another millennium, he’ll take it.

Eventually, because he has missed Aziraphale, not just his touch, but the colour of his eyes, the tone of his voice, the sound of his laugh, Crowley turns onto his back, looks up at the angel. Aziraphale is holding a book in the hand he hasn’t still buried in Crowley’s hair, but he diverts his attention immediately, looking at Crowley with more warmth in his gaze than the fire could ever hope to possess.
“Oh, you’re awake”, he says softly, in lieu of a greeting, starts to tease his fingers through Crowley’s hair once more. It makes the demon’s heart skip a beat, maybe two.

He hums his answer, blinks up at Aziraphale slowly, too warm, too comfortable to find words for another few moments.
“How was Italy?”, Aziraphale asks, and scratches his fingernails gently across Crowley’s scalp, drawing a pleased noise from the demon. “Beautiful, I’m certain.”
“Was nice”, Crowley mumbles, just so keeping his eyes from slipping shut once more. “Very sunny. You’d have liked it. Spent a lot of time in Syracuse, remember that? They dug out all the old Greek stuff, was nice to see it again.”

A moment passes with Aziraphale thinking, his fingers pausing their ministration, until Crowley sees his eyes light up, a sunset in blue and gold.
“Oh, right! We met there once, didn’t we?”, he asks, and Crowley nods, amazed and pleased in same amounts that the angel remembers. “You took me to the theatre, didn’t you? Sophocles, if memory serves correctly. An absolutely dreadful performance though, of that I am certain.”
Crowley doesn’t bother correcting Aziraphale, telling him that it was Aeschylus’ Persians they saw, just like he doesn’t tell him he can remember almost every moment of that evening, from the colour of Aziraphale’s toga to the way he mispronounced several Greek words and almost sent Crowley into a laughing fit.
Instead, he says, “The main actor forgot half his words, it was a disaster. But we had figs, and those prickly pear things you liked so much, and afterwards more wine than we should have drunk.”

Something about that makes Aziraphale chuckle, his eyes glaze over for a moment with the intensity of a memory.
“Far more wine, you’re right”, Aziraphale says ever so softly, rubs his fingertips across the tattoo on Crowley’s cheek in a way that makes him almost purr with pleasure. “There was a moment after that, when we were walking alongside the coast, must have been almost morning, and you looked at me… it was just a second, but I almost thought you’d kiss me.”

The words steal the air right from Crowley’s lungs, make his heart stop for just a moment; the world seems to freeze, because Aziraphale might not remember the play they saw, but he remembers the important part. He remembers them.
It’s the same feeling as standing on too-thin ice, threatening to break with a single careless step, but Crowley can’t help but barge on, never could. Not when it’s Aziraphale and not when he loves the angel so much, he seems to burn up with the intensity of it, the feeling drowning out every other sensation, every other thought.
“I know”, he answers, and all but prays for the ice to support the weight of his words. “So did I.”

And it does.
For the world starts to move again, the clock next to the fireplace tentatively returning to ticking, the flames starting to dance once more, and Aziraphale smiles down at him with overwhelming tenderness in his gaze.
“Just in case you’re wondering, I think I would have let you.”

 

They spend the whole night talking, Crowley only sitting up when Aziraphale discovers his gifts and insists on sampling all of them immediately.
So, as the sun rises and London around them wakes, they feast on thoroughly terrified pastries and sip limoncello from ceramic mugs, because Aziraphale insists that the fine crystal glasses aren’t dishwasher safe.

And there is a moment, when the fire has just died, its glow been replaced by sunlight, and their eyes meet over the rim of Aziraphale’s mug, in which Crowley considers kissing the taste of sugar and lemons off the angel’s lips.
He doesn’t.

 

Saint James’s Park is prettier in spring than any other time of year, and so it’s no surprise they find themselves there more and more often as the seasons change.
Like today, a Tuesday with no particular significance, but with a sun that seems to shine a little bit more brightly than it did just a week ago, birds singing love songs from their branches.

Aziraphale has gotten a new coat just the week before, cream-coloured, the lapels a little bit sharper, the buttons on each side shining amber, and Crowley enjoys looking at it as much as Aziraphale seems to enjoy wearing it.
They’ve settled down on their usual bench, a small carton of strawberries between them, two paper cups filled with what Aziraphale deems the best espresso in town, and the angel’s smile so bright it rivals the sun.

“You know, I’ve been thinking, maybe we should visit Warlock”, Aziraphale says pensively, while he picks the leaves off a particularly luscious looking strawberry. “I know he isn’t the antichrist, but over the years I did grow fond of him. We could just pop by, have a cup of tea maybe. Dust off those old costumes, pretend we just happened to pass by and remembered our old charge. He must twelve by now, right? Or thirteen? Open up dear.”
Crowley obliges, parts his lips and lets Aziraphale feed him another strawberry, fingers just so brushing the corner of his mouth. It’s delicious, even if he isn’t as partial to food as the angel is, he could get used to it if it was Aziraphale feeding it to him.

“Don’t you think it would look a little strange, both his nanny and his gardener just happening to show up on the same day after having been gone for, oh, seven years?”, Crowley answers, still chewing, but Aziraphale just chuckles, start to work on another strawberry.
“I doubt it”, he replies, pops the fruit into his own mouth this time, but doesn’t give Crowley the time to miss the whispers of fingertips against his lips, because Aziraphale puts his hand over the demon’s, curling his fingers ever so slightly. “I’m relatively certain most of the staff and at least parts of the family were under the impression we were a couple.”

He gives Crowley a smile that could almost be mischievous, squeezes his hand before he starts to prepare another strawberry, apparently uncaring that the demon is staring at him from behind his glasses.
“What?”
“Oh, yes. You know, with all the secret meetings in at midnight, the frequent trips to London both of us took at the same time…” Aziraphale looks up from the strawberry, brows furrowing all of a sudden. “Why, it doesn’t bother you, does it, dear? Because if it does, if I’d known –“
“No, no”, Crowley interrupts the angel, gives him a smile he knows looks more hopeful than anything, more like how he feels. Light. Loving. “Not at all. I just assumed you wouldn’t much like the implications.”

The worry on Aziraphale’s face is replaced by kindness, by tender joy sparkling from his eyes.
“Oh, nonsense, darling. Not for a moment.” He holds up the strawberry, asks, “Do you want another one?”
When Crowley opens his mouth this time, Aziraphale’s fingertips brush across his lips in a way that couldn’t possibly have been an accident, and hope grows, just where the angel planted it in his chest.

 

With a glass of Bordeaux in his hand, the dark liquid sloshing around in it dangerously, Aziraphale leans in, alcohol having slowed down both the angel’s speech and Crowley’s thoughts.
“Y’know”, he slurs, reaches out to put a hand on Crowley’s shoulder but finds his neck instead, curls his fingers around the sensitive, cool skin. “I’m glad that the world didn’t end, I really am. Love it here, all the food, the books, even the people, but, if, you know, in case it had all gone south, I would’ve been happy on Alpha Centauri. With you.”

Crowley’s heart understands what he is hearing before his brain has; the seed of hope has long since grown into a little sapling, strong and new, soaking up the words, the honesty in Aziraphale’s eyes, the warmth of his touch as he drags his thumb across the sharp line of Crowley’s jaw.
“You din’ even want to go”, he reminds Aziraphale, even as he leans in slightly, just enough to feel the angel’s breath on his skin.
“No”, Aziraphale agrees, and for a moment, Crowley thinks the angel will kiss him. He doesn’t, and he’s glad for it; it will happen, but when it does, he wants to be sober, wants to soak up every little detail of it. “I didn’t. But I would’ve come t’ find you, if you’d left. Even up there. Always.”

 

Come late July, they go to visit Warlock.
It hardly lasts longer than half an hour of stilted small talk, but even Crowley has to admit that it’s nice seeing Warlock again, who must have grown three inches since she last saw him. Apart from that, though, it seems the boy has stayed much the same, interrupts them both, makes faces at his mother when he thinks she isn’t looking and tries to sneak away from the table to play some silly game on his phone the moment he’s finished his cake.
It’ll be a shame to watch him die.

But the part Crowley will remember comes when they are about to leave, and Aziraphale takes her hand, something they have both gotten so used to that Crowley hardly thinks about it anymore.
For a moment, Mrs. Dowling’s face changes, grows soft like she is remembering something she thought she had already forgotten, then she looks up from their joined hands up to Crowley’s face.
“I’m happy for you both”, she tells them, and for the first time since they walked through the door, she sounds sincere. “We always wondered – but that doesn’t matter. I’d tell you not to make the same mistakes as Tad and me, but I think I know you won’t.”

She looks down at her wedding ring, her own hand that maybe should be holding another, and Crowley feels a moment of ache seize her heart.
They won’t, they couldn’t, but still she wishes she knew how to tell Mrs. Dowling that sometimes, drifting apart is inevitable.

 

When they get back to the Bentley, Aziraphale turns to her, reassurance shining from his blue eyes as he squeezes Crowley’s hand.
“I couldn’t do much”, he tells Crowley, brushes his thumb across her knuckles. “But I gave her a bit of hope. Today when her husband comes home, she will at least feel that there’s worth in trying to fix what they have broken.”
And he’s right, it isn’t much, but maybe it’s enough.

 

It’s a warm night, the kind poets write whole books about, and they’re on the roof of Crowley’s apartment building, looking up at the stars above them. It’s somewhere Crowley has always felt comfortable, under a star-speckled sky, looking up at suns he can remember creating out of empty space.
And it’s better still with Aziraphale next to him, pressed against his side, his head resting on Crowley’s shoulder and their tangled hands in between their thighs.

“Tell me again which ones you helped build”, Aziraphale mumbles into the warm air around them, sounding soft, sounding just like Crowley feels.
In love.
Slowly, Crowley raises their joined hands, points them at a star, so far away that human eyes wouldn’t even be able to see its light. But he does, and he knows Aziraphale does, too.
“That one. And – “, he moves their hands a little bit upwards, slightly to the left, “And those two. Twin stars. They were always my favourites to make, two suns, circling each other until they go out together. It always seemed, I don’t know. Better, somehow.”
“Is that why you wanted to go to Alpha Centauri?”

Crowley pauses for a moment, lets their hands sink down back to his lap; it’s something he never considered, never thought about. He’d been desperate, close to mindless, scared, and yet there had been a million of places he could have picked and yet he chose a set of suns that revolve around each other.
“I don’t know”, he confesses, and Aziraphale next to him shifts slightly. “Maybe. I never thought about it.”
“Perhaps we can go someday. Not forever, but for a holiday. Or you could show me those other stars, the ones you made. I’d like to see them.”

Crowley smiles, even though he knows Aziraphale won’t be able to see it, rests his cheek atop the angel’s head before he looks back out into the vastness of space.
“Yeah, sounds good”, he tells Aziraphale. “Wherever you want to go, angel. I’ll give you a ride.”

 

It’s still the same night, if anything, the sky has gotten darker around them, and Aziraphale stirs slightly against Crowley’s side.
At first, the demon expects him to sit up, but Aziraphale doesn’t, even if he seems to hold his breath for a second before he speaks.
“Why haven’t you kissed me yet?”, Aziraphale asks into the silence, and Crowley expects his heart to skip, but it doesn’t. Maybe it’s because this whole night has been heavy with love, with affection, maybe because they have been building up to this for more than six thousand years now, because every touch Aziraphale has bestowed upon him in the last two has been a word in a silent confession. A confession Crowley has been waiting to hear ever since he can remember.

“I didn’t know you wanted me to do that already”, Crowley replies softly, gives himself another moment or two, before he sits up a little straighter, removing his cheek from where it has been resting on the angel’s head.
Aziraphale does the same, turns around to look at Crowley and it’s the look in his eyes that finally manages to take Crowley’s breath away.
He’s built stars that didn’t shine so brightly, has looked at God’s face and found her love not as overwhelming, has lived since the beginning of time and yet hasn’t seen anything looking so determined.

Their fingers are still intertwined, and Crowley tightens his hold on Aziraphale’s hand a little as he waits for the angel to speak.
For a long time, he doesn’t, just watches Crowley’s face, and the demon lets him, knows he will give Aziraphale all the time, all the answers he needs. And maybe it’s just that what Aziraphale needs, because whatever he finds in Crowley’s face seems to be enough.
Half a smile tugs on angelic lips, and when he speaks, his voice is softer than fresh fallen snow, than Banarasi Silk.
“Oh, darling”, Aziraphale says, “I’ve wanted you to for years.”

The world around them holds its breath, and yet Crowley seems to breathe freely for the first time in centuries, his eyes unable to tear their gaze away from the angel’s face.
“Oh”, Crowley murmurs; the hopeful sapling in his heart blossoming, blooming, stretching out tendrils that touch every molecule of his physical body, every particle of his eternal one. “I would have waited.”
“I know.” Aziraphale shifts again, and Crowley thinks he sees a hint of a halo around the angel’s head, illuminating the night just enough to make the rest of the world fall away. He raises the hand that isn’t clutching Crowley’s and cups the demon’s cheek, holding it like Crowley is precious, like he is something Aziraphale couldn’t bear to break. “I don’t want you to.”

He doesn’t know which one of them moves first, but it doesn’t matter, couldn’t matter, because their lips meet in the middle, Aziraphale’s as soft as his gaze was.
Crowley’s eyes flutter shut, block out everything that isn’t the angel’s touch, the slide of lips against lips that he has been waiting for his entire life. There is no hope necessary anymore, so it turns to devotion within the confines of Crowley’s body, turns to love as his heart beats faster, turns to tenderness as he holds onto Aziraphale’s hand to keep himself from being swept away.
The angel tilts his head sideways just enough to deepen the kiss, and Crowley parts his lips, lets Aziraphale take from him whatever it is the angel wants.

The hand that isn’t clutching Aziraphale’s comes to rest on the angel’s thigh, even while Crowley kisses his love onto Aziraphale’s lips, pushes it into his mouth, pains it across his skin with every single breath.
And Aziraphale responds in kind, thumb brushing across Crowley’s cheek as if to steady him, his tongue writing his confessions against the roof of Crowley’s mouth, promises love as it draws soft sounds from the demon.

It’s easy to lose himself in the sensation, in this one moment that seems to stretch forever, so Crowley does, clings to Aziraphale until the sun has risen, painted the clouds around them first pink, then orange, then gold. The city beneath them has been roused, started their day, without knowing that two immortal souls have become one above them, only finding themselves well-rested, more optimistic than they have felt in weeks at least.
Above them, feeling like they both have lost any connection to the ground, Crowley only pulls away once he knows he has committed every detail of Aziraphale’s lips to memory, has heard every of the angel’s sigh, tasted his love until it’s the only thing left on his tongue.

Aziraphale is the first thing he sees once he opens his eyes again, and the angel looks more beautiful than Crowley has ever seen him look before, his skin glowing with angelic light, his lips kissed red and his cheeks dusted pink, his eyes so blue, so clear that Crowley almost expects to see his own face mirrored back in them.
His hand is still resting on Crowley’s cheek, so the demon turns his head to press a kiss to the palm, to Aziraphale’s wrist.

“I’ve loved you for six thousand years”, he mutters against the angel’s skin, and Aziraphale curls his fingers just slightly, allows Crowley to bestow kisses to the tips, worshipping each one of them with his lips.
“I know”, Aziraphale responds, brushes his thumb across Crowley’s love-bruised mouth before he captures it in another kiss, shorter this time, but just as sweet. “I’ve loved you longer than I am even aware of now.”
“I’ll love you forever”, Crowley whispers back; neither of them has moved away, so he can feel the hitch of Aziraphale’s breath against his lips, can taste the love it carries with it.
“I know. And I will love you just as long.”