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a treatise on your fingers in my hair

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If one had ever considered collecting all the thoughts Crowley ever had regarding Aziraphale’s hands, the tomes of poetry produced would outpace even the most ardent of antiquarian book dealers.

He could write volumes dedicated to just the faint sliver of flesh between the perfectly-lined proper fall of a proper sleeve and the edges of his palm—the place with still veins that shudder with the memory of a heartbeat Aziraphale frequently forgets to allow to slither through and pulsate through his body. A novella on just the four freckles that prick the tender flesh just below his thumb. How many nights did he lie awake, the phantom salt-sugar of fantasies on his tongue as he wondered what the sweet siren song of skin in the spaces between his freckles tasted like.

To the sweep of his palm, Crowley would dedicate sonnets. He’s memorized the warm creases, the maps and valleys of his skin that if he imagines, imagines with a wine-drunk tongue pressed to the roof of his mouth, what it feels like under his lips. Soft. Velvet-hot and whisper-gentle, a faint give as Crowley would kiss the length of his palm, bury affectionate touches into the skin Aziraphale uses to cradle his books, his cups—all the things he loves. The palms he uses to hold the very stone of Crowley’s vast-black, void-pocked heart.

In his mind, Aziraphale tastes like apples.

There are notes on the valleys between his knuckles, the nestled-in freckles where the sun saw fit to bestow her light. Verses dedicated to the tender-soft space that runs down the back of each finger, an epic in three parts whimpered into a pillow caught between clenched teeth regarding how those well-manicured nails could feel dancing, teasing, scratching, scraping, clawing down Crowley’s back.

The fingers compose the vast majority of these hypothetical works. Constantly working, constantly shifting, constantly fidgeting. Crowley blames the ceaseless torrent of movement on the reason he stared. Ever since Eden, where the blaze-white light of wings and sand and hair burned too-sensitive eyes that were too fresh and too new to be permitted such things as the way Aziraphale caught the sun.

He averted his eyes, away from the blinding angel, and found his fingers twisting nervously over themselves. Dexterous, deft—wicked thoughts claimed wicked minds and somewhere in the realm of 2.19 million nights, the time between the start of the world and the near-miss of its inevitable collapse, Crowley has imagined those fingers every which way he could.

For the longest time, he wondered if they tasted like the sea-salt oysters. If he could feel every ridge and bump and whorl on his tongue as, if Aziraphale’s fingers would twitch down against him, if they would taste as sweet as the desserts he holds. Maybe he would slide his fingers down, push them against his throat until Crowley lets himself gag around them, a promise for more, for a future Crowley never let himself imagine.

Even a hint of it, a curious tendril of a thought hitting his mind like ink to water, as to what Aziraphale would taste like—to what he would feel like, hot and heavy and velvet-smooth.

The stretch of lips, the spit-slick heat of skin and skin and skin—

Crowley bolts upright in his bed, bony fingers of one hand sprawled across the lower half of his face while the other spreads against his thin chest. His heart makes a valiant attempt to rattle free of its cage, throwing itself against the walls again and again, echoing the furious pound in the rushing of his ears.

His mouth tastes like wine and whiskey and skin and apples, sitting heavy under his tongue and between his teeth—the memory grits like sand as he presses the tips of his fingers against his lips. It was teetering on the edge of darkness, the sort of heavy-summer twilight that Crowley wasn’t sure promised another long stretch of a buzzing night or a sticky-hot morning under the oppressive weight of rolling cloud cover.

A brief glance to his clock implies the former. Another glance up towards the calendar that switches over regularly for him (if only because Crowley expects it to) suggests that he’s been asleep for at least two days now.

Aziraphale won’t be pleased by that. His stomach roils over, something uncomfortable gnawing deep in the wind-swept pit of himself. Crowley doesn’t need to get up and poke his head into the hall to see the angry red flashing of his ansaphone alerting him to a series of messages.

He can still taste the ghost of nothing. The hollowness where Aziraphale never was clings to his senses, overbearing and never there both at once.

Every part of him aches, the flayed-open burn of exposure and holy fire he won’t ever touch burrowed deep within his core. He swallows around dryness, letting it all stick in his throat and rot there for a moment while he gathers himself enough to stand. Dress.

Fix himself a drink. Something heavy, heady. Sharp fingers dance over the labels of wine bottles, past the reds and whites and rosés and right off the edge. He decides on whiskey, a gesture of his finger bringing a tumbler to a rattling stop on the cold marble table. Two ice cubes already waiting as he pours himself a double and settles into his chair.

There. Now all he needs to do is forget.

Forget last night ever happened. Forget the dreams, the wayward body parts pressed to his lips, the way he spread Aziraphale — no, no he was forgetting this. Forgetting this exactly. No dreams about him sprawled out, no curious thoughts about what hymns sound like when they’re Crowley’s name gasped from lips used so frequently for holy words.

What would it feel like to taste the holy-water sweetness of Aziraphale’s sweat off his chest? Would it burn? Would it sear on his tongue as he whispered confessions into the space between his throat and his collar? Would he burn up from the inside out, consumed by the collapsing-recreating-collapsing constant of a dying universe, if he gasped Aziraphale’s name, if he let it linger at the tip of his tongue, clinging like red wine until it washes down from his lips like a prayer.

Aziraphale.

His hand freezes on his glass, the deep liquid inside barely shivering at the touch.

Those hands, holding him open like a first edition manuscript—careful and reverent and like he could possibly be something he could love. Aziraphale.

Fuck.

He jolts enough when his phone rings to send half his glass sloshing up over his wrist, eliciting a snarl more frustrated than angry from deep in the recesses of his throat. It rings twice before he shakes the entire mess off at once and snatches his phone with a low-growl, “What.”

“Crowley! You’re awake, finally.”

The guilt (no, not guilt it has to be something else. Demons don’t feel guilty) rumbles around, roaring its way up through his esophagus, pouring into his lungs to fill them out solid. “Yeah, just woke up.”

He sniffs, intending it to be dismissive over the phone. Demons don’t feel guilty for sleeping two measly days. So what if angels worry in their bookshops, all angels do is worry. Ever since the end of days, angels worried. Angels worried their signets and worried their sleeves and worried the bald-worn patches of their waistcoats and worried their pocket watches. So what if demons hadn’t pulled themselves from angels for more than a few hours at a time since then, so what if when angels were in the back of the shop, leaving demons alone in the front for nearly an hour it felt like the slow-tortured crawl of a thousand years alone.

With nothing, with no one. The feet between the fireplace and the kitchenette, where Aziraphale was too far out of sight felt like the distance between himself and the ever-burning edge of time. Like the distance between stars and the distance between the sun and the blackness around it. Cosmically close and infuriatingly infinite. His skin ached

(Burned, blistered. It hurt less to Fall, he thought, than it hurt to be without him. Or maybe the same, there’s something to be said about light and love wrenched away. Being without Aziraphale, without touching without holding without knowing without him—it didn’t feel that different from being without Her. The same dull ache, the same piercing nights, the same wicked knowledge that you’ll never be permitted a thing. She’ll never want you back. He’ll never—he’ll never—you’ll never get to touch him that way, never feel the coarse hair of his chest under your cheek, never feel the uncomfortable stick of skin to skin, thighs draped over thighs, arms to arms. The insistent points of contact burning, burning, burning up like comets in the atmosphere, whipping down at impossible speeds until everything is torn away and rent apart and all you’re left with is dust. Particles scattering like feathers.)

Aziraphale half a dozen yards away might as well have been the distance between Heaven and Hell.

Guilt knotted in his throat. He doesn’t want to wonder what two days must’ve been.

“Luckily we didn’t make reservations anywhere, I suppose.” The sigh heaves through staticky and frustrated.

Two days must have felt like another six thousand years, like a lifetime caught up and tangled between them. Crowley hadn’t meant to sleep so long. He’d come home absolutely pissed, too far gone to sober up and too far gone to stop the rolling tide of embittered fantasies. Images of sea-salt-sick skin stretched before him and the taste of flesh-and-Heaven dripping from his lips.

Easier to sleep, to shuck off his conscious mind and pretend like he wasn’t overcome. Or, at the very least, if those thoughts came rolling through his mind when was asleep, there wasn’t much he could do to act on it.

Awake thinking those things is dangerous. Awake is a twitch of his fingers, a blink, a thought and he’d be at Aziraphale’s door, inside the bookshop, inside his space, breathing him in, lips a hairs breadth from the sugar-salt of him.

He stares at the whiskey in his hand, there’s no tendrils of melt off his ice to hypnotize himself with. Everything stays frozen in his ice swept fingers.

“Well? Don’t tell me you nodded off again.” Aziraphale’s voice is the sharp-edged prim that means he’s annoyed. Frustrated. Worried.

Worried. He’s always worried.

Worry fills him, it flows off him, an angelic-anxiety stench of Earth and electricity and the moments before and immediately after lightning strikes a power box.

Guilt festers, knowing that it’s Crowley he spends so much time worrying over. Worrying that Hell is after his heels, worrying about the ever-present gaze from above, worrying about them, about being caught, about being outed, about—about everything that happened to them. Aziraphale saw it coming six thousand miles away and now he’s spent so much time looking back on it.

“I didn’t,” he answers, once he hears the breath fill lungs on the other side of the phone. When he can feed the pinprick needling of Aziraphale’s worry from however far away. “‘M here, angel.”

Hesitation buzzes along the connection, twisting itself into Crowley’s blood. It pulls at his fingers, making him tap one nail restlessly against the side of the glass.

“Well.” Aziraphale, says, clearing his throat. “If you’d like to come over, I’ve a bottle of this new malbec and I can’t decide if I like it or not.”

Crowley doesn’t hear whatever it is Aziraphale says next, he’s too busy listening to the windrush of blood filling his ears at the idea of there and skin and the warm-cast light of the bookshop seeping and throwing shadows filled with nothing. Not like the sharpcold shadows of the Mayfair flat, the ones filled with waves of forbidden thoughts and the prickled sensation of being so constantly monitored.

He could have him here, could bring Aziraphale into this space, into the cold spots of his life.

It makes his stomach twist, like the idea of abandoning him in the middle of winter.

He stares down at the watered down whiskey in his hands. “Why don’t you come here?”

The offer hangs, neatly pressed and carefully laid out, right beside the throat-clenching silence on the other end of the phone.

(Maybe if he sees you like this, sees the world you live in he’ll know. He’ll realize how cold you are, how your skin never unfreezes. He’ll see how he’ll get stuck on you—freeze to you—you’re so cold, so empty inside. There’s nothing but sharp edges and coldness and discomfort inside you. He’ll see it, finally, he’ll put two and two together.

He’ll never want you like you want him, he’ll see the void spaces, the shadows, the cavernous pits of nothingness and the echohollow stretches of empty inside you, as obvious and unrepentant as scars.

Trace the blank walls of your flat (of your chest) and realize that everything is as empty as this. So much nothing that there’s no space for anything else.)

“I’ll be right there, then.”

Crowley can count on one hand the amount of times Aziraphale had been to his flat. The first time had been a few decades after Crowley had moved into this one (Aziraphale had been to his previous flat twice). He brought chocolates and wine.

Every once and a while between then, to collect something, to drop something usually lingering outside the doorway, peering in like something might unfurl from the overflowing shadows and snatch him. Like something might drag him under.

Then there was the night after Tadfield. They both knew, once they got off the bus, when they saw the Bentley glinting in the low moonlight waiting impatiently for him, that the bookshop was likely back to sorts. Neither of them said a word about it, just walked past.

They didn’t even pretend to want to talk about it.

A whole night, from the ashcold of the night to the rekindled dawn. It was longest Aziraphale had stayed in any of Crowley’s places, the longest he’d been there pressed into his space.

Everything felt so much emptier once he left.

Crowley counts the moments, air ice solid in his throat until the first tentative knocks sound. He could just appear right in, like Crowley does with the bookshop. But he doesn’t. Much too polite (much too tentative, much too nervous, much too wired, much too something)

Answering feels a bit like a play, like some sort of dance. The steps over to the door, hand on the knob, heart in his throat. The sort of movement it takes a corporeal body to answer the door, the contraction of muscles, the shift of bone and sinew and flesh just to reveal Aziraphale there, a bag slung over his shoulder and overflowing eyes rippling with something Crowley refuses to look at.

Don’t look for the bottom of the ocean, there are things you’ll never want to find there.

He steps aside (he’s leading, in this metaphor. He’s not used to leading. He tried once, he tried in the hot-wash neon lights, he tried holding a cup of poison, he tried in his car—the safety of it, the comfort of his own terrain that Aziraphale wrenched away with just a few words—it backfired and melted the wings of his own hubris)

Aziraphale steps inside (two back, two forward, right right back back left left forward forward)

“I see you’ve expanded your collections,” Aziraphale says, gesturing past Crowley, towards the freshly-potted plants. New, as of week or so ago. They’d been withering, wilting, under some careless woman’s gardens. Crowley had liberated them in the night.

Well on their road to recovery. He’d trim their rough edges later, give them space to grow anew. He doesn’t make it hurt, not when he’s just trying to help them. They’re too new, haven’t learned. Shouldn’t be punished yet.

Crowley sniffs and shrugs a whisper thin shoulder. “Stole them.”

“Of course you did.” Aziraphale adjusts the bag, glass inside clinking. “Shall we?”

They return to their dance, whatever soft waltz they’ve fallen into as Crowley shuts the door, as he steps around with careful feet, finding glasses, finding space, finding coasters and conjuring a cheese plate for Aziraphale to compliment the wine that, if it’s actually terrible, will be waved into something more appealing. A 1947 Château Cheval Blanc, like the case that has been collecting dust since Crowley remembered to pick it up after his nap.

Two steps to the right.

They end up on the couch, two glasses lasting two tastes before being miracles from wine to water back into something better.

Two steps back.

Crowley leans into the space between the arm and the back, legs thrown haphazardly over each other, his sharp edges and angles on display. Highlighted, he knows, by the too-bright lights. Let the shadows of himself join the shadows of everything else.

Aziraphale talks about the book shop. He sits an inch too close. He talks about the two days they were apart.

Two steps to the left.

Funny thing, they’re both so terrible at dancing.

Two steps forward.

Aziraphale’s hand rests on the back of the couch, close enough that Crowley can stare at them, can see the edge of something under his fingernail, can see the ridges and the softwhite hairs and the print of his skin. All the crevices and cracks, the way they flex and unfurl and refurl as Aziraphale talks, gesturing subtly as though anyone else notices. The way they twitch towards him.

His mouth tastes like salt and sand.

He drinks more.

“Why didn’t you inform me?” Aziraphale asks his glass, staring down at some middle point just beyond it. Crowley looks over, mouthful of red sticking to the back of his teeth. He swallows slowly, wine turning to vinegar somewhere between his tongue and his stomach.

“What about?”

“That you would be sleeping.”

I didn’t mean to, because calling you in that moment meant choking down all the words I need to say to you, because I can’t let you know what I want I can’t tell you what I need. I can’t tell you that you’re the softest part of me, that you’ve burrowed between my ribs and chiseled out a place for yourself from nothing.

I wanted to tell you that night.

I had to sleep instead.

“Didn’t think you’d care.” Is what he says, instead. Better a sweet lie than the bitter truth.

The noise Aziraphale makes is wretched, his glass hits the table with a sharp clap of holy thunder and overcharged electric sockets. “You didn’t think I’d care?”

Crowley shrinks back, re-coiling his limbs around himself as Aziraphale rounds back on him.

“What on—honestly, Crowley what makes you think I wouldn’t care if you vanished for—without telling me? After all this business with Heaven and Hell and our side, I was very much concerned. I thought they had—I thought they had—oh would you please fix your hair?”

Crowley blinks, twice, in quick succession.

The music stops and the dance is frozen in time. No backs no lefts, no forwards, no anything.

He stares between Aziraphale’s holy-fire expression and the twitch of his fingers. “My what?”

“Your hair, I am really rather cross with you right now and I cannot take you seriously like this.”

A bone thin hand raises to the top of Crowley’s head. Oh. Well. In his defense, he hadn’t really thought to fix it after he woke up.

If he found a mirror, he figures he’d probably find it everywhere, a mess, just mused and ruined by how much he’s been fussing with it. Running his fingers through it, tugging at the ends when he’s deep in thought. It’s haywire and wild.

“How’s that?” He asks, adjusting it himself.

An annoyed expression flits across his face. “Just—” the hand on the couch reaches out instead.

It all chokes out of him at once as Aziraphale’s fingers—those whisper-light, beautiful, tempting, addictive, sin-banishing-sin-laden, fingers card through his hair.

“I really can’t take you seriously looking like this,” he chides as if just the brush of them hasn’t already turned Crowley’s senses inside out. All he can hear is the rushing of air and blood and water and skin, everything and nothing at once as perfectly manicured nails bump gently against his scalp.

Aziraphale fixes his hair, a sensation as new as the exploding stars at the edges of the galaxy, as burning as their ice-hot cores, as sweet and dripping and addictive as fruit from a tree you’re not allowed to touch.

By the third pass, the third drag of Aziraphale’s fingers down the length of his scalp, he isn’t even pretending to breathe. Or think. Or do anything but stare, unblinking, at the side of Aziraphale’s face. They slide, one step, two step, right right back back left left forward forward, into place together. Crowley slinks down until he’s entirely reversed, his legs over the arm of his couch, his cheek pillowed on Aziraphale’s thigh.

They don’t speak.

Everything is on fire.

He swallows, throat bobbing around his pleas to never stop please stop never stop please stop. It’s all he can think, all he can do, all he can conjure from the pits of his being.

(Never stop) Please stop, please don’t ever touch me again. (Please keep touching me) I’ve been Falling for six thousand, I’ve Fallen a million and a half times, please, please, please, I’m so tired I can’t Fall again. Please stop, I can’t keep Falling, please stop I can’t keep doing this, please stop, I don’t want to do this anymore. Aziraphale stops running and scratches, right behind his ear dragging those picture-perfect nails and the pats of his sugar-sweet fingers up against his temple, wrenching thick-hearted shivers from Crowley’s body.

Every inch of him yearns, pleads, begs for mercy from the God that already long abandoned him—just let it be over, let it never be over.

Please stop, please don’t do this to me, I can’t keep falling in love with you.

I can’t keep falling in love with you.

He rubs a lock of fire-pitch hair between his thumb and forefinger, something like a miscontent hum low in the back of his throat as Crowley tries, tries, to hold himself together. Bony fingers claw into the couch, clinging to some semblance of reality as Aziraphale touches him again.

Please don’t ever stop, I’m so in love with you.

His hair must have been fixed by now, it must have been righted and sorted and no longer falling into his eyes. It’s no longer wildfire burning, uncontained and devastating—consuming world around him. Instead it’s back to sorts, it's in its right place, it's just where it belongs and he tries his best to swallow his rive-rock heart too.

White-water washed by the turbulence of the jagged-rock waterfall from grace. it sits heavy just at the pit of his throat as Aziraphale’s churning-sea-tide eyes turn back down to him.

“Is this alright?” He asks, with all the same need-want-need-heavy inflection from the neoncast-glow filled Bentley, when Crowley asked if he’d wanted a lift.

Yes, he wants to say. No. No, it’s not okay because it will never be okay—because this is exactly what we can’t do. Six thousand years, I’ve been so good, I’ve been—six thousand years.

His fingers freeze, pulling like they’re going to retreat, like they’re going to slide from flame-licked hair and Crowley’s tongue finds its way to knot around, no and yes and I love you all at once.

Addiction is a human trait. Crowley had dropped smoking off and on over the years (on, more often, if just because his tightwire fingers needed something to do, something to fiddle with and a reason to keep from talking outside the Scalia when his blood turned to slow-fire magma in his veins, lest he ask Aziraphale to just say fuck it come home with me, fuck Heaven and Hell and fuck you and I. Preferably fuck me, fuck me fuck me fuck me.

He’s never been addicted to anything.

With notable exception. The smell of Aziraphale’s cologne—sweet-spicy and warm and hot under the edge of his sleeve—sticks to skin he’s certain must taste like nutmeg and vanilla and the rocksalt-windswept-river-water-in-the-breeze-first-rainstorm bitter like sugar burned for just a touch too long. Bitter like the taste of hellfire on the back of Crowley’s tongue as he refuses to meet Aziraphale’s eyes.

Instead he turns them towards the small veins of his inside wrist.

Maybe he’s addicted to that. The need-want that thuds inside his brain chews away at reason and rationality and with serpent-sharp reflexes, he snaps a hand out the moment Aziraphale goes to pull his away.

It’s in the shell-shock silence that screams fuck it, I love you, that Crowley presses his lips to the sweet place between the freckles he’d memorized in the water-rot of days after the Flood.

“Crowley, what—” the sound chokes out of Aziraphale’s throat, rolling into a gasp as Crowley’s heart finds refuge somewhere between his throat and his tongue. He should stop, he should stop and drop Aziraphale’s hand and slink away and never speak to him again (he should keep going, he should drag his whiskey-numb lips back to the thundering pulse lurking just below the paperskin of Aziraphale’s wrist. He should taste him, he should worship him.)

His better (worse) demons win out as he drags his lips back, a brush against fever-pitch skin. Not a kiss, but a promise, a question, a fantasy whispered late into the nothing-freeze of an empty flat in Mayfair.

He should stop, he needs to stop, please someone let him stop.

Six thousand years of a slow-moving collision, six thousand years of speeding towards each other at a breakneck crawl finally colliding on a sleepy Saturday evening—he had been so careful. Not too many touches, not too many glances, not too many sharp words or sharp tongues. He meant to careen off into the trees once he got too close, let Aziraphale keep pressing forward as he wrapped himself around oblivion and let the stars collapse within him. He was supposed to fall upon the sword of self-damnation, supposed to love (wantneedneedneed) from afar—where Aziraphale would never darken under the river-deep shadows of Crowley’s wings.

He can’t open his eyes, he can’t see the streaks of cinder ash residue his lips leave behind, coal-black prints like lipstick. Another drag of his poison-apple lips, pushing up the sleeve until he can’t anymore. He can’t wrench himself away from the press of his lips—not so much kissing or tasting but being, being one with the hardline-softline press of his face against skin. Feel him, feel him, feel him.

Black nails dig into pale skin, holding Aziraphale fast. He doesn’t twitch away, doesn’t move, doesn’t breathe—or maybe it’s the rush of want and need flooding Crowley’s ears that drowns out the sound of it. He could be breathing, he could be panting, he could be screaming.

All Crowley can hear is the bloodrush roaring in his ears.

A ragged breath shudders from the space beneath his diaphragm as warm fingers slide between the strands of Crowley’s hair.

“Crowley—” it’s not admonishment, it’s not rage or wrath or the everburn of holy vengeance of fire on his tongue. It’s—it’s—Crowley pushes out another breath.

His nose brushes where it had once rubbed against the rough edges of his sleeve, but now it only finds skin once more. He won’t open his eyes, he can’t open his eyes if he opens them he will lose, the last dredges of willpower he has (not that there’s much there to work with anymore. Just the scent of skin and him and skin. He knows, by the miracletwitch of the air, that the sleeves have been rolled up.

There’s nothing above that, where Crowley kisses higher, and higher, and higher until he’s burying the murmured edges of his endless adoration into the crook of his elbow. Tendersoft skin that shivers under the touch, he kisses there again as Aziraphale bends his arm, as fingers come to rest in his hair again. Holding him close. Tight.

“Crowley, dear,” he tries again. “Please don’t stop.”

He doesn’t.

His eyes open, tentative newness of becoming, of reawakening and he’s worried, for a long moment, that when he opens them there will be nothing. That this was just another dream, that he’ll come too with his hips working over his mattress and his claws shredding his sheets and his teeth gripping the pillow.

Already soaked in his own shame, chasing another shuddering end.

Aziraphale is still there with he comes into focus, when he pulls himself away from his body, tears his hands off him like Aziraphale is made of saints bones. Burning, blistering, and ancient.

The hands don’t leave his hair, and he can feel them, relics throbbing under layers of fat and flesh and muscle and nerves. They twist between firelock hair and hold him in place.

“I need,” Crowley says, in the same moment that Aziraphale’s breath catches around a whimper in his throat.

“Yes, Crowley.” He says, and it’s a mess a tangled disaster of knotted hearts and caught up limbs too loose and long and coiled together to make any sense. It’s not a dance anymore, no grace, no care. Just need and want and desperation.

He needs, he needs like he needs—like he needs—like he needs Aziraphale.

It comes on a gasp, one that tastes like nutmeg and fear and the precipice of something new. He lands, hard, on his knees, halfway between plea and prayer as he finds himself looking up at Aziraphale. Settled between spread thighs, fingers tangled in his hair. Aziraphale there, no jacket, no waistcoat—just his button down and his slacks and blue eyes blown to slivers of lakewater and ocean depths.

Crowley had been to America a handful of times. He spent one winter, sometime on the edge of 1977, in Chicago. A half-frozen lake stretched out further than he could ever imagine lakes stretching (there were bigger ones, bigger ones close by, even. But he wasn’t near those, he was too busy watching the sun hit the ice and the edges of water-not-yet-ice. White and blue catching something different in the frozen dawnlight of another cold-lonely morning)

The blazing white of sun on snow and blue on ice—the goldcast of it all and the bustle of people, Crowley was supposed to stay stateside for another three weeks.

He was in the bookshop by the time the sun set over Soho.

Crowley isn’t sure why he remembers it, staring up at Aziraphale. He isn’t cold—at least not really. He’s always cold, he’s always a lake-winter, a frozen breeze shuddering from him with every breath. But Aziraphale is hot, he runs burning, the thighs on either side of him, caging him in with blistering fire. It melts the frostbite from his fingers as he rests trembling hands on either of them, thankful for the layers of cloth so he doesn’t have to touch Aziraphale yet.

He can’t handle that. Not yet.

The ice melts, it gives way, with the sun-caught blue of his eyes and the blaze-white of wings shivering beyond the mortal veil behind him.

He couldn’t stay away. He could never stay away. The moment something caught him, a bookshop, an enticing sweet, a flash of tartan and Crowley was always sprinting back home to wherever it was Aziraphale was at the moment.

“My dear,” Aziraphale breathes, stroking through his hair and making Crowley’s heart pound at the edges of his chest. “Do you want this?”

Yes. (I can’t)

“Do you?”

Fingers drop and Crowley’s eyes screw shut once more, blocking out the light and the frost-bitten burn of Aziraphale’s eyes on his own. He tries to memorize the feeling of fingers sliding down his cheek, of them tracing the line of his jaw, to his—dear someone. They find his lower lip, thumb running along the rise of it.

It would be so easy, so simply, to dart out a tongue and taste. To finally know what he’d spent so long dreaming of, to have closure and ending to the poems and books and volumes he’s written in his mind about Aziraphale’s touch. His hands.

His lips part and Aziraphale makes the decision for him. Thumb sliding between them, pushing past Crowley’s lips and over the edge of his teeth and finding the softness of his tongue.

Aziraphale tastes like salt and skin, like the oysters they had in Rome and the Aegean Sea. He tastes everything and nothing like Crowley had dreamed. He keeps his eyes shut, letting Aziraphale follow the split of his tongue, pushing both sides up around his finger, letting himself taste him from every angle. The edges of his forked tongue curl, like he could hold Aziraphale’s thumb pressed against him until he’s taken his fill.

His lips seal around them and he opens his eyes to watch Aziraphale as he gently sucks.

Aziraphale strokes where the two parts join, pushing just a touch further. Deeper. Harder. When he pulls back, he smears the saliva across Crowley’s lower lip, he rubs across them again—wet and hot and hot and wet.

“I’d say so, my dear.”

He combs back Crowley’s hair, eyes overflowing with burning ice and feeling and emotion and Crowley realizes that he wasn’t wearing sunglasses when Aziraphale came.

He looks down, at the space between Aziraphale’s trousers and the couch. He kisses the side of his covered knee, the top, his nose nuzzling into the roughsoft fabric. I love you, it says, as he switches to the other side, as his fingers press harder to the softness of his thighs, hoping to bury the sharpness of his edges against them.

Don’t cut yourself on me, he pleads, as he moves forward, as he kisses the spot on Aziraphale’s shirt that sits just above the line of his waistband. Let me hide my ragged parts against you, let me hide them in the softness of your self.

One hand peels up to push up Aziraphale’s shirt, to ghost his breath over a sliver of skin he’s never seen before. The promise of tasting him, of knowing what his stomach feels like caught beneath Crowley’s lips, it’s too much for a moment. Just a moment. One where Crowley can bear his teeth and clench his jaw around the strain in his muscles telling him that this would be it.

Do this and you can never come back.

Aziraphale’s fingers curl around the back of his skull, laced through his hair, and urge him closer. I don’t want you to stop, it says. Be here, live here, live in me. I will protect you.

He kisses his stomach once, then twice, then again and again and again, trailing spit-slick lips and tongue and teeth from the edge of his waist down to the rise of his hips. He sucks, he bites, he drags his tongue over marks he’s leaving behind.

Crowley’s never been addicted to anything before but he’s addicted to this. Immediately, it sinks into his bloodstream the taste and smell and taste of Aziraphale. The sound of pleased huffs and groans and whines whenever he digs his teeth in, whenever he sucks, whenever he presses his nose into the softness between his ribs and his hips and breathes him in.

Heaven and salt.

Like the windswept desert outside Eden.

Like home.

“Dear—” It’s panted, desperate, pleading.

Like a prayer.

Crowley gets the message, fingers moving with a surefire, driven, pace now, to Aziraphale’s fly. Fingers tense but don’t pull away. They don’t yank him around. Instead, he pins a strand between his pointer and his thumb and tugs.

The sounds that wrenches from Crowley’s throat isn’t so much his as it is theirs. It comes from the space between them, echoing and climbing from his lungs down into Aziraphale’s.

There are two things Crowley never let himself dream of. The skinvelvet smoothness of Azirapahle’s cock, of how he would feel heavy and hot and ready in his hands, in his mouth, pressed against his tongue. He never imagined how he would feel, how he would taste.

He never imagined what lips felt like pressed to his own.

Of the two, Crowley thinks he can handle the fleshsweet skin more than he ever could the taste of Aziraphale’s mouth.

“Fuck,” he hisses, as he pulls Aziraphale out, fingers flexing around his cock—somehow everything and nothing like what he refused to let himself imagine. He drags his lips over the ridge of the head, shuddering in the scent and taste of him. It comes at once, stronger than ever, as he follows the veins along his cock with his tongue. A press, just to split the fork again, to wrap around as much of him as he can.

Aziraphale echoes with his own shipwrecked, “Fuck.”

Crowley lips him again, dexterous tongue sliding wet and hot and heavy until he can’t handle it—until all he can manage is sliding to bury his nose down between the root of his cock and the softness of his body. He kisses him, reverent and blissful, burying his shuddering breath into him.

He strokes Aziraphale a few times, keeping his breathing hard and laced with every pleased groan that drives Crowley harder, that pushes his heart from his heels to his throat and back again.

I love you, he mouths along the shaft, slickwet tongue and lips sliding back up so Crowley can properly consume him.

Aziraphale gasps, sound wet and harsh and full of unabashed pleasure, as Crowley buries his nose back down to the soft flesh of his stomach.

That’s what snakes do, isn’t it? Swallow things whole.

It burns, a sweetfire sting like he’s breathed in the remains of a collapsing star. All he can feel, all he can smell, all he can taste is Aziraphale. Aziraphale. Aziraphale. The press of his cock in Crowley’s throat, the scent of sweat and sex and skin. His lips seal as he sucks on the upstroke, pulling off fully with a thin strand of saliva keeping them connected for as long as it takes Crowley to breathe.

It snaps and he’s back and another hand joins the first in Crowley’s hair, this time fighting when he goes to pull back. A touch of resistance, just enough to set a fire burning in his belly.

Fingers twist through oxidized strands and Crowley freezes, Aziraphale heavy and heady and perfect against his tongue. Crowley swallows, throat fluttering around him, wrenching another sound from Aziraphale.

“Dear—may I?”

Yes, yes use me. He wants to scream, use me, let me please you. All I need is this, all I need is your pleasure rolling through me. Please, angel, use me.

He tries to illustrate his pleasure with a soft, slow, languid, suck and the splitting wrap of his tongue around Aziraphale’s cock. Fingers stroke through his hair, his eyes drift shut. This is a dream, a nightmare.

A nightmare because he is going to wake up, he is going to wake up and Aziraphale won’t be there and Crowley will be alone in filthy boxers and sheets, with nothing but Aziraphale’s name tortured on his tongue.

“Is this a yes?”

Yes.

This time, it echoes around them, because like Hell—like Heaven—like the molten core of this Earth beneath their feet—Crowley is going to let go.

Yes, please, angel.

He slackens his jaw, opens his throat, and shifts so Aziraphale can fist his hands in Crowley’s hair and drag him up, and then back down again. His hips roll up to meet them, a slow slide of his heavy cock over his tongue, a bump of him against the back of his throat, again and again and again, saliva dripping down Crowley’s chin.

He could stop it, he could stop it with a blink, but he doesn’t want to. Not as Aziraphale gathers himself, guides them closer to the edge, guides them so he can push up harder, hands clambering for a better grip on Crowley’s head.

“Yes, dear,” he breathes. “Yes—you are so good, so brilliant—oh—so good, so wonderful, so beautiful. I always knew,” he breaks with a gasp, a low groan as Crowley groans around him, fingers digging into the fabric of his trousers. Clinging to him, claws and nails and desperation.

Please more, he wants to say, please tell me I’m good, tell me I’m okay, tell me I am what you want tell me I am what you need tell me I am everything to you.

“I always knew you were beautiful that you would be beautiful like this. You look incredible, you are incredible. my gorgeous creature, my beautiful thing, so good for me, so wonderful, so handsome and beautiful. My sweet dear, my love, my—Crowley.”

Yes, say my name, say it. Fuck my mouth and let my name fall from your tongue.

He feels himself start to go edgeless around the borders of himself, focusing on the insistent points of contact, of all the places he needs to feel. Flexing, working, thoughs beneath his hands as Aziraphale pushes and pulls and drags Crowley’s face forward with each rock of his hips. He fucks his mouth, his throat, with a torturous slowness, with reverence.

Crowley looks up, hoping his poison-cast eyes won’t ruin the moment, but Aziraphale is already staring down at him, the overflowing frozen-lake eyes brimming with adoration and incomprehensible love.

Aziraphale stops pulling and strokes through his hair instead, one hand on the back of his neck keeping them flush together as Aziraphale pushes faster against him, harder until he’s shuddering and spilling, pulling Crowley back enough to catch the taste of him on his tongue.

He swallows, wondering if now is when he wakes up.

He doesn’t. Not when Aziraphale pulls from his mouth, nor when he hunches them down low, bending Crowley back against the floor and following him down onto the cold concrete.

Not when he kisses him, a proper, real kiss. Tongue pushing past teeth and lips and fingers scrambling, one hand still on the back of his neck and the other wrapping around Crowley’s waist. Pulled together, flush body to body heat to heat and rolling together in a fervor of taste and tongue and lips.

This is when he wakes up, it must be. It must be because these aren’t the dances Crowley knows the steps to. When Aziraphale rolls him onto his back, and there’s a soft rug beneath him that Crowley doesn’t own. When a hand grapples for something to hold onto and finds pillows that don’t belong there instead.

A dream, it must be a dream, as Aziraphale’s fingers undo Crowley’s jeans. “Let me please you,” Aziraphale breathes, hot and heavy and wet against the space beneath Crowley’s ear. “I want you to feel as good as you’ve made me.”

Teeth clip at his earlobe and Crowley makes a low, pleasure-wrecked sound. It’s all fire, fire and movement and lips and teeth and wet and hot and the beautiful sanguinity of blissful perfection. Crowley kisses him.

He kisses him.

He kisses him.

Hands on either side of his jaw, pulling Aziraphale up from where he’d been trying to do something to Crowley’s throat. He kisses him and he kisses him and he kisses him. Tongue and teeth and lips and every single dream that Crowley never let himself have.

Six thousand years of wanting, six thousand years of wondering.

Aziraphale tastes like the wine they’d been drinking, sweet and rich. Crowley snaps and they’re both nude, sprawled over the borrowed rug, Crowley pinned beneath heat and heat, cock flushed and hard against his stomach and Aziraphale’s hands skating down his sides.

The part after a few moments. Aziraphale is gorgeous—fuckmused hair and lips kiss red and already reading and waiting again.

There’s just a moment, just a moment, before the pull back together again, before he’s wrapped around Aziraphale again, before there are slick fingers (perfect fingers, hot ready warm) teasing him.

He should’ve known Aziraphale would luxuriate in the processes. The sun is setting, a hotwash of red and gold burning through the no-longer-frozen wasteland of Crowley’s flat, by the time Aziraphale works up to three fingers, pushing and twisting and pumping, leaving Crowley a keening, whimpering mess.

“So good, my dear,” Aziraphale croons as Crowley tries, tries, tires to focus on anything but this. On anything but the hotslide of fingers inside him, anything but memorizing what those prints of his fingers feel like dragging along him, curling where he’s sensitive and wrenching whimpers and begs and moans from him.

Anything but Aziraphale’s arm, ironband firm around Crowley’s back, holding them so flush together so he can whisper sweet praise into his throat, the space beneath his ear, the edge of his lip. “Come on, love, that’s it. Be so good for me, you’re so wonderful, so lovely—so good. I can’t imagine anyone as wonderful as you, anyone as beautiful, as handsome, as good. No one takes me apart like you, no one puts me back together.”

His eyes screw shut, his entire spine alive and alight, like a snake trapped between his shoulder blades. He bites his moan into Aziraphale’s shoulder.

“Just like that,” Aziraphale croons, nipping softly against Crowley’s skin, tasting him. “Will you come for me like this?” He asks, twitching those fingers perfectly once more and pleasure surges over the boundaries of Crowley’s body, leaving him whimpering in its wake.

“Come on, dear. Be so good for me, so beautiful.” He works his fingers again, works them where Crowley needs them, where he wants them.

When he comes, it’s between them and Aziraphale’s neck is wet with something they won’t discuss. Crowley shakes, limbs coiled around Aziraphale’s body.

I love you, he pleads from every inch of his body.

Aziraphale’s fingers slide out of him, and he grasps to Crowley with everything he has. He pulls them together, limbs tangled and breath coming mingled and rough.

Clean fingers find his hair, and Aziraphale’s breath is hot, heavy, over Crowley’s lips and his eyes are lakewater and oceandeep and sunwarm and so filled with—I love you

“I love you too, dear.”