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Try Again (and Again)

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It has been less than 24 hours since the world didn't end when Crowley ends up in Aziraphale's lap.

They're in the bookshop after lunch at the Ritz, barely one glass each into a vintage of Côte-Rôtie which Aziraphale is fairly certainly hadn't been there a few days ago. Crowley was telling his tale of the trial in Heaven, but Aziraphale had been distracted by how happy he was, alive and in one piece, in the only place on Earth that he truly feels at home, with the only being in the whole of existence whose company he truly enjoys. He had been thinking, absently, about how handsome his adversary-but-not-anymore looked in the dim light, and had felt a twinge of something--something not quite friendship and not quite Lust, something he had felt many times since--well. Since the Garden, if he's being totally honest. He normally would bat it away, tell it to calm itself. But this time, he let it creep in like a fog on a chilly morning.

His moment of quiet contemplation is interrupted when Crowley, who had been attempting to demonstrate his fire-breathing, trips over the carpet and topples into the armchair, his hands landing on Aziraphale's thighs.

"Sorry," Crowley says, but does not move. He has been in the fog for a long, long time, and seems startled to have Aziraphale in there with him.

Aziraphale knows that Crowley is looking at him in that way that he does--the way that he did in ancient Rome and terrorized France and the bombed-out church. He can see it in the way Crowley's lips are pressed together, in the way that his eyebrows are soft. Aziraphale suddenly wants--needs--the barrier of Crowley's sunglasses to be gone. He reaches up. "May I?"

Crowley swallows, and nods.

Aziraphale has seen Crowley's eyes before, of course, many many times, and when he removes the glasses he finds them, as expected, looking at him Like That. But this mixture of concern, excitement, and nervousness--that is new. The spots where Crowley's hands are on him all of a sudden feel warm and soft and electric, and he wants to press their bodies together, to feel that electricity in every part of him, to let it fill up every small corner and crevice of his being. But the mere thought of that is overwhelming, so he decides to start small. He places the glasses on the end table and cups Crowley's jaw in his hand. Crowley closes his eyes and practically melts into it, making a small noise: something between a hum and a sigh. Aziraphale, somehow, feels happier than before.

"Go on then," he says, almost before he really knows what he's saying, "give us a kiss."

Crowley goes a funny sort of slightly gray color, and stares, wide-eyed, almost like his brain has shut down. "What?"

Aziraphale smiles, pleased that his impulsivity has, for once, had a good result. "A kiss, dear. On the lips, if you please."

Crowley gathers himself, and repositions his body so they are face-to-face, his knees straddling Aziraphale's legs. He leans in close, and he smells like burnt sugar, like an overdone crème brûlée. He stays there for a long, heavy moment.

"Before I change my mind," Aziraphale whispers, and then Crowley kisses him.

Aziraphale has kissed and been kissed before, of course--by begrudging angels and overzealous humans--but this is something entirely different. Their lips are pressed together, chastely but firmly, and the jolt of sensation that goes through his body is better than the feeling of eating the finest pastry, or taking the warmest bubble bath, or even reading the rarest book. It is simultaneously terrifying and wonderful.

Crowley pulls away but lingers.

Aziraphale's eyes flit up and down Crowley's face. What exactly does one say after a kiss you didn't even know you were anticipating for several centuries except--


Crowley's face relaxes slightly. He grins, and kisses him a little more solidly.

"And again?"

Slightly parted lips, one hand coming to rest on the side of Aziraphale's neck. Oh yes.


"You know you don't have to ask for each one individually, right?"

"Shush. Again?"

A little longer, and a cautious peek of tongue, sliding briefly along Aziraphale's bottom lip. Goodness.

They pull apart, and neither of them moves for a few seconds, and then Crowley starts pressing small kisses along Aziraphale's jawline, to his neck, on the soft spot under his ear.

To his dismay, Aziraphale's immediate reaction is a hollow, sinking feeling in his chest. He was so pleased with the kissing that he hadn't even considered what would come after. It's not that he's naïve; he's been around humans for as long as there's been humans and he certainly knows what the courtship ritual known as foreplay looks like. But Crowley has probably been dreaming about this for millennia, planning out the roadmap of Their First Night Together, and Aziraphale has only really allowed himself to have those kinds of thoughts for a few hours, perhaps a day or two if he's being generous. He has no idea what he wants, or what he's ready for, or if those things even line up.

He places a hand on Crowley's chest. "Wait."

Crowley, obediently, pulls away. His cheeks are flushed pink and there is the hint of a bruise forming on his bottom lip. He looks slightly panicked. "What's wrong?"

Why can't I just be happy? Aziraphale thinks. "I--I'm just not sure I can give you what you want," he says.

Crowley raises an eyebrow. "What I want?"

Aziraphale splutters a bit. Why is this so difficult? "You know. Ah--you know."

Crowley thinks for a few seconds and then says, in the smallest voice, "Sex?" His face breaks, and he laughs, fondly. "Angel, it took you six thousand years to even suggest holding my hand as a joke."

"And that's my point," Aziraphale continues, trying not to let panic come through in his voice. "You've been so dreadfully patient with me already and I don't want to string you along." Ah, there it is.

Crowley takes Aziraphale's hand off of his chest, and holds it between them, lacing their fingers together. He sighs the sigh of someone who is about to explain that water is wet, and starts to speak.

"You're not stringing me along. Do you want to know what the one thing I want more than anything else is? It's to be with you. I want to be with you. Whatever that means, whatever that looks like. You..." He squeezes Aziraphale's hand, just a little. "You're the important part."

"So even if we never--"

"Even if we never. Honestly, I'm shocked you asked me to kiss you today."

Aziraphale relaxes, anxiety leaving his body like air being slowly let out of a balloon. He purses his lips, thoughtfully. "The kissing is quite nice."

Crowley is looking at him as fondly as ever, and it is possibly the loveliest thing that Aziraphale has seen in a very long time.

Aziraphale smirks, and lifts his chin slightly. "I don't suppose we could...try it again?"

Crowley smirks back, shakes his head with a small chuckle. "Cheeky bastard." He leans in, then stops a few centimeters away. "If I go too fast, just, you know, say so."

"Yes, all right," Aziraphale says a bit more impatiently than he had intended, and closes the distance between them by pulling Crowley to him with a hand on his back. He kisses him, deeply, tasting wine and coffee and something like under-ripe strawberries, and he feels that warm, soft electricity spread through him like a wildfire.

"Mmph," Crowley says, and kisses him back.