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The Sun and The Moon

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Though the sky had existed for less than a fortnight, day and night for even less, Aziraphale, while guarding the Eastern gate, had found himself watching the stars. He took in the beauty of the night sky, the countless points of light, the swirling nebulae, the vast tapestry She had hung over Her creation.

 

Later, perhaps, he would think that he should have been watching his human charges more closely instead, but at the time Aziraphale couldn’t help but be drawn to the beauty of the new world around him. If pressed, he might later admit that maybe, just maybe, he had been shirking his duty just the tiniest amount.

 

To Aziraphale, Crowley’s eyes had always reminded him of that night sky, newly born in the throes of creation; glowing galaxies swirling with flecks of light, bordering on the edge of an impenetrable, inscrutable, ineffable blackness.

 

He was drawn to those eyes from the first.

 

He was standing on the wall, watching as the two humans ran off, flaming sword in hand, when he had appeared next to him. Crowley - then Crawley - had spoken to him about good and evil, right and wrong, about choice.

 

“You’re an angel. I don’t think you can do the wrong thing.” Crawley had said.

 

And Aziraphale turned to look at him, to really look at him for the first time and found himself captivated, caught in those eyes.

 

What he saw there was kindness. Curiousity. Warmth. All things that a demon shouldn’t be able to feel. And yet, there they were.

 

Realizing that he’d been staring, Aziraphale shook himself, instead choosing to look back towards the humans in the distance.

 

“Oh. Thank you. It’s been bothering me.”

 

He shouldn’t feel so reassured by the words of a demon, and yet, there was no denying the honesty he felt. But if it was not an attempt to deceive, then surely there must be some ulterior motive? Some hidden wiles at play? At least, that is what Aziraphale had been told to expect from a demon.

 

However, as they stood on the wall, watching as the clouds overtook the sky, Aziraphale couldn’t possibly puzzle out what the reason could be.

 

Naturally, it just had to be some part of a larger scheme that Aziraphale couldn’t see at the moment. Of course. He had been told by Heaven that demons couldn’t be kind. There was no room for doubt.

 

Obviously, when he lifted his wing to shield Crawley from the first rain, it was only out of Heavenly love for all creatures. Not gratitude. Or caring about the kindness shown to him by a demon. Or from the slightest hint of doubt that maybe what he’d been told might be just the tiniest bit mistaken.

 

Obviously Aziraphale did not appreciate the demon Crawley in the least. And if he happened to glance over at those starlit eyes and hair red like the setting sun, it was just to keep an eye on a wily adversary.

 

————

 

Though the sky hadn’t come into existence when he had been among the Heavenly Host, Crowley - then Crawley - the Serpent of Eden, couldn’t help but look upon the daylight sky and be reminded of Above. Still, the beauty of the sky at noon was undeniable the shining, radiant warmth of the sun, the gentle clouds, the bright, unbroken blue dome She had hung over Her creation.

 

Later, perhaps, he would think that if he were a better[1] demon, he would have cared more about ‘making some trouble’ like he’d been ordered, but as it was , Crawley had been just so comfortable basking in the sunlight of the new world, he couldn’t be arsed. If asked, he would later gloat that he had practically invented Sloth, lazing around the Garden like he had.

 

To Crowley, Aziraphale’s eyes had always reminded him of the daytime sky, shining high above the new world; a graceful, pure blue expanse gentled by the grey of clouds, an embracing, welcoming light at its core.

 

Though he would never say it, Crawley was drawn to those eyes from the beginning.

 

Crawley slithered up beside Aziraphale where he stood atop the wall. Slowly, he transformed until he stood on two legs next to the angel, and did what he did best - he asked questions. He asked about God and the Great Plan. And then he asked about the flaming sword.

 

“I gave it away!"

 

For the first time, perhaps in all of history, Crawley was surprised. He turned to look at the angel, caught his worried gaze, and was struck.

 

He saw a desperate sort of unease. Worry. Kindness. And something almost like hope. All things he had never seen in an angel in all his time in the Heavenly Host.

 

He had been unable to keep himself from staring for a moment, but forced himself to blink and look away.

 

“You’re an angel. I don’t think you can do the wrong thing.” he found himself saying.

 

He didn’t know why he had suddenly felt the need to reassure the angel, but there was no denying the relief he saw wash over Aziraphale’s face at his words. The angel had done a kind thing. Not the right thing, as Crawley would expect from any soldier of Heaven, but the kind one.

 

As they stood on the wall, watching the clouds darken the sky, Crawley let that stew within him, felt it like a flutter settle within his chest. This angel was someone different.

 

Aziraphale had acted out of a genuine worry and compassion towards the humans, even though it had been against his angelic nature of obedience and Grace. It had left him in a panic, so desperate for reassurance that he would take even a demon’s words to heart. Crawley couldn’t deny kind words to such a gentle soul, though he would eviscerate anyone who would claim as such.

 

When the first rain began to fall , and Aziraphale lifted his wing in offer, Crawley was again struck. It was not just the humans, but a demon to whom he was extending his kindness. This would be unheard of in any angelic circles, and yet…

 

The flutter returned in Crawley’s chest, a feeling so akin to Falling that he had to take care of his steps. Crawley moved, stilted and awkward, to the offered shelter of a white wing.

 

Crawley knew, logically, that he could find better shelter as a snake beneath a rock or some such. His feet and the edges of his robe were getting wet, but he couldn’t bring himself to care when he looked at those blue eyes, now unclouded even as the sky opened up around them.

 

———

 

Perhaps because his eyes held a piece of the night sky, over the many centuries, Aziraphale came to see Crowley as much like the moon.

 

It wasn’t just his eyes though.

 

It had started as an errant thought - that Crowley was the brightest light amongst the denizens of Hell - but had soon taken root in Aziraphale’s mind.

 

Crowley was a constant in his life. While not always literally at his side, he was Aziraphale’s one companion on earth. Just as the moon hid its face as it waned, even if he couldn’t see it, he knew it was always there. He was the one that was always there.

 

His moon would show up when it was darkest to light the way.

 

In a prison awaiting execution. In a church at gunpoint. He would appear to light his darkest hour.

 

Aziraphale cherished that light.

 

Even when the moon played with shadows, it was the humans who saw monsters in the darkness and chose to run into the woods. The moon never caused the madness, merely played with the light , and left the outcome to the human imagination.

 

He would push and pull the tides of the world, spurring the development of this science or that art, but never caused the surges that would drown and overwhelm. Those were always earthly in origin.

 

It was never very demonic, but it was very fitting. People could stare into the night and make many assumptions about what resided therein. Hell looked at the moon and saw a grand trickster, when all he had done was provide a play of shadows. Hell looked at the tsunamis and praised the moon for altering the tides when the waves had come from the earth itself.

 

Though he put on airs of mystery, he was a gentle, guiding light. Aziraphale had seen it time and time again. He would question, he would wonder, and would show him the way when the shadows began to loom in Aziraphale’s mind. War. Murder. Destruction. Death. The Great Plan. Always his moon would be by his side. Lunches. Dinners. Drinks. Walks in the park. He would toss a little light to disturb the shadows. And, walking between moonbeams, Aziraphale could continue forward in the night.

 

If he found himself gazing upon the moon hanging in the night sky, and thought of Crowley, he could hardly be blamed.

 

And if Crowley was the gentle moon, hovering close to the humans, then it only followed that Aziraphale was the distantly shining sun. They were the two guardians of Earth, after all, opposite sides of the same coin.

 

He was to create light, to guide humans down the path of Good.

 

He would perform his duties as decreed to him by Heaven, always shining as a beacon to follow, always in the unreachable distance.

 

At least, that was how he was meant to be. In this way, Aziraphale was a failure of a sun.

 

Other angels would not sully the temples of their forms, would not indulge or explore touch and taste and sound. Food, music, physical pleasure - all these things were beneath them. Aziraphale was a deviant, a hedonist sun, lowering himself to Earth.

 

He would rationalize, say that getting close to the humans helped to better understand them, to better guide them. However, he knew these were self-justifications to cover his lingering feeling of weakness, of disappointment.

 

He would try. He would go weeks or months or even years acting as a perfect light. And always he would be drawn out of the sky, back to Earth to indulge his base desires. And every time, he felt a little more imperfect, a bit farther from what he was meant to be.

 

Oh , he would still try. He would use his proximity to guide those humans he could reach at ground level. He would provide food for the hungry, heal the sick, give shelter to the homeless. And every time, he would be reprimanded: too many frivolous miracles.

 

He felt constrained, chained to his distant overlook. Only those actions as decreed by Heaven were necessary. Anything else, just like Aziraphale himself, was frivolous, extraneous, unwelcome.

 

He could only sit and watch, an observer, as the light would cast deeper and darker shadows. The light would sear the eyes of any who looked too closely, who attempted to see beyond the veil, who asked questions. The light - his light, his side - would ravage lands, dry the crops, leave them barren and lifeless, while all he could do was watch.

 

He watched during the Great Flood, at Sodom and Gomorrah, during the Plagues, a distant and uncaring sun. However affected he may have been, did it matter when he stood aside and allowed the cruelty wrought in the name of light? To Aziraphale, he may as well have turned humans into salt himself, pushed their heads beneath the rising floodwaters.

 

He was a failure in Heaven, and yet too distant from Earth. He could only hang uselessly in orbit and cast what light he can.

 

In this way, he longed to draw close like the moon, to move among the humans.

 

Though he would partake in their culture, enjoy all the pleasures the world had to offer, Aziraphale always felt a measure of separation, the sting of the Other. He was aware how he appeared, always a little outdated, a little too proper. People were friendly enough to be certain, but he never truly felt he belonged.

 

The distance was always just too great to cross.

 

———

 

It may have started at the beginning, when he saw the daytime sky in the angel’s eyes, but Crowley soon began to see Aziraphale as being like the sun.

 

He lit up from within.

 

When Crowley first saw Aziraphale smile, all the way back on the wall of Eden, it was the first thing he noticed. Aziraphale smiled , and it was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. Crowley had never been able to think otherwise.

 

Heaven had always glowed, but it was a clinical, sterile light. It was devoid of warmth. Heaven loved the humans because they had been told to love them. They shone because they were told to shine.

 

Aziraphale radiated a warmth Crowley had never seen in Heaven’s white halls. He felt passionately, he enjoyed the pleasures of the world, he Loved not just in theory, but in practice. He was a light that had come down from on high, a sun that did not just shine, but provided warmth freely and unconditionally.

 

Crowley treasured that warmth.

 

It would seep down deep into his heart, find the places he tried to keep barren and frigid, and light them from within. As much as it pained him to have his shadows thrown into sharp contrast, he wouldn’t give up a single shred of that warmth for anything.

 

Everything was more beautiful in his radiance. Just having him nearby brought the world’s smallest details to light. The scent of a Spring breeze, the feel of sand beneath their feet, the taste of a delicious meal, nothing went unnoticed. He would drink in every sensation, imbibe in the heady nectar of life like it was ambrosia. He Loved to the point where Crowley was content to just revel in his enjoyment, satisfied just watching him.

 

His light radiated through the ages, bringing forth truth and beauty. The world bloomed and flourished, thrived wherever he turned his gaze. Arts and writing. Food and music. Culture in all its forms. Things that make the world worth protecting. Basking in the sun, civilizations would grow and unfurl like leaves on treetops.

 

Heaven would look at the sun and see something lesser - somehow flawed for its warmth, tainted for its association with Earth. Every time its light touched him, Crowley couldn’t think they were more wrong.

 

Even when the skies were overcast and shadows played across the land, his sun would seek every gap, however small, to spread what light it could. He would continue shining, even as the lone beacon of warmth in a desolate world. Through wars and plagues, disasters and famines.

 

It wasn’t very angelic – indeed , no other angels would ever come to his aid - it was lonesome and noble and kind. A sun that would keep shining without thanks or reward.

 

It might be selfish - no, it was definitely selfish. Crowley couldn’t bear to lose his light, his warmth. He made every excuse to continue to bask in his presence, a sun that would shine a little more brightly just for him.

 

Naturally, it followed that if Aziraphale was the bright sun, Crowley would be the pale, fickle moon. They were a pair of opposites, after all, twin binary stars destined to circle each other for all of time.

 

It was his fate to reside amidst the darkness, his task to entice humans towards Evil.

 

He was told to tempt and trick, to wile and beguile, to nurture the seeds of Sin present within every human, to make them stray from the path.

 

He knew, at heart, that he was a terrible demon.

 

The moon was thought to be a great occult power, the source of witchcraft, a font of dark magic, when in reality it was a plain hunk of rock, hanging uselessly in the sky. It really did suit him.

 

He had no propensity for evil, he couldn’t bring himself to monstrous acts, but there was no denying his nature. However ineffectual, he was a demon. By definition he was unforgivable, cast out from the light of Her Love.

 

And what had he done, truly, to deserve this? He had asked questions.

 

If questions were enough to make one a demon, then surely that was proper demonic activity. And so, that was what he did. He was tasked to cause trouble, and orders were orders. All he had to do was present a choice, a question, and humans would come up with their own answers. If they chose Evil, then that choice was their own.

 

He had not been given that choice.

 

So, he would consign himself to the night, play with his shadows and illusions. Both Hell and the humans could see what they want, see influence and power where there was naught but artifice. It was convenient for him, and there was no lie if they just happened to make assumptions.

 

The humans did his job for him, and far better than he ever could. The greatest disasters were always terrestrial in origin - tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes. If they were believed to be the result of the moon’s draw on the tides, then the fault lay with the observer, not with him.

 

And still, he would long to shine, to be like the sun. Yet any brightness he let off was a pale, reflected light, a pathetic imitation of its source.

 

He could never shine during the day - nor did he want to - the blue sky at noon was not for one such as him. He could only collect what sunbeams he’d find and cast them into the night, trying to return even a fraction of the light he was given.

 

Humans would wonder why the moon glowed. It was only because the sun lit him from within, the gifted light spilling over until he could no longer contain it. Even then, he would fail. The moon would go dark, he would hide away, unable to bear the burden of observing the world.

 

He was a dead, lifeless, wretched thing, only able to chase eternally after his sun. He was nothing on his own, the sun being the only reason he kept shining.

 

———

 

Humans would say that the sun and the moon were in love.[2]

 

They would say that the sun had a mysterious lover. She smeared him with ash to discover his identity, and ever since the moon has been spotted and hides his face out of embarrassment.

 

They would say the sun and moon were husband and wife, forced to climb into the sky. They had invited Water and its family into their house, but had to ascend when the house was filled , and they lost their perch on the roof.

 

They would say the sun and moon were brothers. That the moon once shone more brightly than the sun until he was cast into mud during a fight between them. Thus, when God separated them, the muddied moon was made to shine at night.[3]

 

They would say the moon bore the sun many children, which were the stars. The sun would eat those children he found, so the moon could only take the stars out to play at night. Sometimes, she would hide her face in mourning for those children she could not save. [4]

 

What the humans said was, of course, wrong. However, one thing that each and every myth would get right was that the sun and the moon were inextricably bound to one another, two halves of the same whole, locked in an eternal dance. [5] Both the literal and figurative suns and moons were placed on Earth by God, destined to circle each other for the rest of time.

 

From the beginning, the sun and moon were drawn to each other. They would chase after glimpses of one another, brief moments at sunrise and sunset, the instances where they could meet.

 

They were trapped within day and night, held there by their respective ‘sides’. They would steal away for what time they could, for meals and drinks, walks in the park , or evenings in the bookshop. Always brief, always finite, fleeting, cherished moments.

 

It was a precarious dance - their pull towards each other like gravity, against the danger of discovery. Were the sun and moon to both light the day and night, it could not go unnoticed. Should the blood red rays of sunset stretch into the night, or the orange of sunrise last into the day, it would inevitably draw attention. And indeed, their liaisons were only safe so long as all appeared to be running smoothly, the heavens shifting as they were intended.

 

Dawn and twilight were ‘thwarting’ or ‘monitoring’ - their proximity needed an explanation, nothing needed to be said about the true nature of their geographical closeness.

 

So long as nothing appeared out of the ordinary, many other things flew under the radar. The sun would sometimes throw shadows at night, the moon would occasionally light the day. As long as the day was brightened and the night fraught with trickery, it mattered little which heavenly body was doing the casting. If all appeared as it should, if the intended result occurred as planned, then there was no need to examine the particulars.

 

Thus, the Arrangement was formed, and continued throughout the ages.

 

It was almost astounding how little the sky cared about the earth. Both Day and Night followed their predetermined courses, giving so little care to the lives that lay within their paths. Indeed , the sun and moon lay closer to the land and its inhabitants than either the day or night skies, so far away they were nigh unreachable. If some lives were saved, whisked away from the tracks of the heavens,[6] they went completely unnoticed. From on high, those lives were mere dust motes compared to the cosmic scale on which they worked.

 

For many years the sun and moon continued this way, taking solace in the brief moments they could spend together. The sun would always keep a careful distance, unwilling to risk scorching the moon by coming too close. The moon would always find a way, appearing unwarranted in the daytime sky.

 

The moon once rose at noon. “You go too fast for me Crowley” the sun had said. Anything to keep him from being burned in the harsh light of day.

 

There were slips, of course, points where they would get too close and have to veer back onto their original courses. A prison in France, a bomb dropped on a church. They would meet, eclipse, shine so brightly human eyes could not look at the sky.

 

Even these abnormalities would go unnoticed, an odd crossing of paths inconsequential in the movement of things far greater than the sun or moon.

 

———

 

And then it came, the portent. The beginning of the end of all things. The first chink in the chain, the grind in the infinite machinations that bound them. Land and sea and sky. All would return to the void.

 

It was incontrovertible, unstoppable. It was part of the Plan. Things had always moved according to the Plan. Or so they said.

 

Beneath the Plan, the sun and moon had always moved in ways unintended. The Plan overlaid all, but what lay below was unknowable, some would say ineffable. Indeed, God played dice with the Universe, a game of poker in a dark room where even the greatest of beings could see only the final hands. And it was in this way the sun and moon had always acted. So long as the result did not deviate, the process bore no scrutiny.

 

Day and Night were equal and opposite. Creation and Destruction. Dark and Light. These forces worked counter to each other, always ending in a draw. It was in this schism that humanity existed, tempted and thwarted by opposing forces that ultimately accomplished nothing. A tie game. A net result of zero. Humanity would then determine its own course, with the free will and Choice they had been given since the beginning.

 

This was how the Arrangement had always functioned , and it would be the very premise that would avert the End. At least supposedly.

 

The sun and the moon came to Earth, bearers of dark and light, good and evil. A microcosm of the Universe, centred not on humanity, but on a single boy. [7]

 

Were these opposing forces to negate one another as they always did, then perhaps the fate of the World would not occur as written in some Great Plan, but instead rest on the self-determination of humanity, as it always had.

 

And so, they interfered. They thwarted.

 

But truly, they were unprepared. Not for the End Times - they believed themselves to have that well in hand - but for the proximity. For so long they had made do with brief meetings, fleeting touches, stolen moments.

 

Never had they expected to orbit at this proximity.

 

Every day was a struggle against gravity, against the pull threatening them to crash into one another, to burn up and explode like a neutron star. It was torture to deny this force, this draw, this pull to come together and remake themselves in a brilliant flash of blinding light. But it was something they could never allow. The one thing they could never grant themselves. It was the sort of altering event that could not be taken back, and would certainly not go unnoticed. Even the most distant of watchers would not be unaware of such a cosmic event occurring at such close proximity to the Plan.

 

And so, they forced themselves to continue the steps of their infinite dance. Though now they were no longer across the room, they were close enough to feel the heat of their partner, close enough to feel their breath. They could not touch. Yet they were so close, so close. It was torment.

 

However, their tiny universe was centred on the wrong star. It was shattered in an instant.

 

Sun and moon were torn apart. The End Times were written. Day and Night would have them play their assigned roles.

 

Still, they tried, fought against fate.

 

Day and Night were set on their Plan. Equal and opposite forces would collide and annihilate everything. The collapse of the sky would consume the Earth.

 

Though he cherished the Earth, the sun was the one thing most beloved to the moon. They could leave. They could leave the atmosphere and orbit each other in some distant galaxy.[8] Amidst the destruction, they would hardly be noticed. The sun, however, could not abandon the Earth. And so, the moon remained.

 

The sun had always believed in the Goodness of Light. It was how he was created. Surely the Light could be made to realize that destruction was born of Darkness, and could - should be averted. Surely the Right thing would be done. He had spent so long believing, touting to reject darkness, he could not bring himself to believe anything else. Good couldn’t do Wrong. It just couldn’t. Until it did.

 

Good was complicit in destruction - in War, in Famine, in Pollution, in Death. They saw it as desirable. The sun was awash in that cold, sterile, uncaring light. The Light called him to take his place in the sky, to be complicit in darkness, in the End of All. But he couldn’t stop the burning heat inside himself, the warmth he felt towards existence, the ties that bound him to Earth, the Love he felt for -

 

He turned to the moon, the only light he could truly rely on in this darkness.

 

Night had tried to consume the moon, to darken and extinguish his light, to snuff it out and stop him from shining. The moon knew he was a traitor to the Night - he was a traitor from the first, when he had fallen for the sun. So, he was not surprised when they came for him. He’d been preparing for this day for some time. He was not prepared, however, for a burning bookshop, a missing angel, the loss of the one thing keeping him tied to the world.[9]

 

Suddenly, nothing mattered. Not the Earth. Not the Sky, preparing for war. Nothing. His guiding light was gone, and for a moment, the moon was adrift. Then, his sun found him again, and once more, he was lit from within.

 

So, the sun and moon defied the sky, and came to Earth.

 

In the End, things happened as they always had. Good and Evil, equal and opposite, cancelled out, and the way forward was left to humanity. And indeed, the great Power, the end of all, was not of Heaven or Hell, but Human incarnate. And, as they always had, the sun and the moon watched over the Humans. Watched as they made their Choice. This time, however, they stood with them on the Earth, rejected the sky, the dichotomy that had kept them apart. Like humanity, they were of the Earth now and they would stand to protect it.

 

And so it Ended, not with a Bang, but with a small, doddering, moustached man. Humanity had rejected its Heavenly and Hellish forbearers, and it would instead be humans[10] that would determine the path forward. They would choose every time to leave the Garden, to reject what had been set out for them, to turn away from ignorance and see everything for themselves.

 

The sun and moon were cast out, but the Sky was not finished with them just yet. And, once again, humanity showed them the way forward.

 

It really was like it had always been. If things appeared as expected on the surface, then there was never a need to look beyond. They never had pulled back the curtain, never bothered to peer into the ineffable, never tried to see anything apart from what they wanted to see.

 

The vessels were correct. Surely the essences must be congruent. It was never worth Questioning, in their minds, which is why it always worked.

 

And indeed, it worked this time as well. The moon met Hellfire in the sun’s stead, and the sun bathed in Holy water in lieu of the moon.[11] They were of Earth. They had gone Native. They were beyond beings of the Day or Night. There was no telling what else they could do. It was best for them to be left alone. And so they were.

 

The sun and the moon had chosen their side. Their own side, now. They had chosen the Earth. They toasted to the World. And maybe, finally, they could choose each other…

 

———

 

The day after the First day of the Rest of their Lives

 

……………..

……….

……

 

“Angel…”

 

“Angel.”

 

“Angel!”

 

“Aziraphale!”

 

Aziraphale blinked, haze clearing from his eyes, finally acknowledging the demon shaking his shoulders.

 

“Oh, Crowley,” A smile spread across his face like the sun breaking through clouds, as if nothing was out of the ordinary. “When did you get here?”

 

“I’ve been trying to get your attention for a couple minutes now.” Crowley hissed, grip on the angel’s shoulders going from gentle to tense. “Angel, what the he- hea- What on earth was that just now?”

 

It wasn’t every day - or ever, for that matter - that he found his best friend[12] sitting motionless on the sofa in his bookshop, staring seemingly at nothing and completely unresponsive to anything he said.

 

“Oh , it was nothing really, just a bit lost in my thoughts is all.” Aziraphale’s hands fluttered in his lap. He made no move to leave Crowley’s grasp, but his nervous tension was obvious in the way his shoulders bunched beneath Crowley’s hands

 

“I don’t buy that for a bloody second, angel. You looked like you were a thousand miles away.”

 

“It really is nothing, just a minor distraction, really.”

 

Crowley’s jaw tensed as he watched Aziraphale from behind his sunglasses, hands still pressing on his shoulders. That seemed to be the only thing keeping him in place. Crowley felt that if he let go, Aziraphale would go back to fretting and flitting about in that way he does when he wants to talk about anything except the topic at hand. He would veer back into orbit and remain distant for who-knows-how-long. If he was going to get whatever the hell that was out of him, it would have to be now.

 

Crowley sighed long and hard, the tension draining out of him as his shoulders slumped. He kept his hands in place, moving to sit next to Aziraphale on the sofa.

 

They never talked about things. It was just the way things were done. The way they were always done. One of them would be upset about something, and they would drink until they were smashed and talk about unrelated things until it passed. Or one of them would leave and they wouldn’t see each other for years. One or the other.

 

But it couldn’t be like that now, after everything. They had averted the Apocalypse and avoided their executions. Now all they really had left was each other.

 

Certainly, it would be easier to say nothing, to fall back into the same old patterns , and do the same old song and dance, to continue orbiting each other ad infinitum. But, if nothing else, putting the kibosh on the Apocalypse and everything that’d followed had planted a seed of hope in Crowley’s heart. When they sat next to each other on the bus back from Tadfield. The night Aziraphale had stayed at Crowley’s flat. The dinner at the Ritz. All of these had Crowley hoping against all hope, that maybe, finally, something between them could change.[13]

 

His heart was a traitor, really.

 

But if anything was going to change, it would have to come from them. There were no more prophecies telling them what to do, no more Apocalypse to force their hands. And if Crowley just let Aziraphale go, let him deflect and bear his burdens alone, then he would be settling right back into their patterns and nothing would change. And Go- Sat- whoever knows how many years it would be before this chance came again.

 

Crowley hissed internally at his renegade heart for making him hope. Things hadn’t changed in six thousand years - why should they now? What if they really were like the sun and the moon, destined to be opposites, never truly on the same side?

 

Nothing will ever change if you don’t at least try, his heart supplied.

 

Fuck it. He was doing this.

 

“Look, angel.” His voice was soft, head bowed. He looked at Aziraphale over the rim of his sunglasses, yellow eyes exposed. “I come in and see you sitting there like you saw a ghost or something and you weren’t answering me. We’re on our own side now, you don’t have to hide things from me.” Not anymore. Not unless you really don’t trust me after all.

 

“Crowley…” Aziraphale’s eyes softened around the edges, a fond smile coming to his lips. His hands settled in his lap, folded, resisting the impulse to reach up and caress the demon’s cheek, lest he scare him off. His heart swelled at Crowley’s worry. Despite what he would say, he was always gentle, kind, a light in the darkness. “It really is nothing to worry about, my dear boy. I just got a little distracted by the singing.”

 

“The… singing?” Crowley stared at him, uncomprehending. Was there singing? Certainly he would have heard it if there was.

 

“You know, the music of the Heavenly Host? The Holy Communion? Surely you remember it, my dear.”

 

Ah. That singing. Wait…

 

Crowley shot up off the couch, hands finally leaving Aziraphale’s shoulders to wring through his own hair as he started to pace in front of the angel.

 

“Wait. You mean to tell me that after everything, after they tried to kill you, you’re still communing with the bloody Heavenly Host? That’s a long fall from nothing, angel!” There was anger in his voice, accusations flashing from behind his sunglasses.

 

Aziraphale righted himself as if struck, his back going ramrod straight, hands clasped in front of him like a ward.

 

Footsteps of old patterns echoed softly in the halls.

 

“Well it isn’t as though I can just stop hearing it!” he countered indignantly. “It’s not as though I’ve Fallen!”

 

Aziraphale realized his mistake immediately.

 

Crowley’s earlier anger immediately fled, replaced by hurt and the rage that came to protect his wounds.

 

Nothing had changed after all. Just like every other time, he had reached out, had offered up his heart, only to have it dashed from his hands. This really was how Aziraphale thought of him -a wretched, pale pathetic thing. Even after all that had happened, after Heaven had tried to execute him, he still…

 

“Crowley…”

 

In the time it took him to blink the angel was in front of him.

 

Aziraphale knew. He had always known. He’d always seen how Crowley would reach out to him. Always could tell how much pain he caused with his words every time he turned him away, each time he relegated Crowley to the night and kept on turning in the day.

 

And here he was again, reacting the same way. Playing the righteously indignant angel, a cruel and uncaring sun like he was in the hands of Heaven.

 

But no more. They were of Earth now. They no longer had to move as the sky demanded.

 

These orbits keeping them apart, he would have to tear them down with his own hands, or he might lose the thing most important to him.

 

He grabbed Crowley’s hands.

 

“Crowley, I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry, my dear.” His voice was soft and trembling, like the scattering of light through treetops.

 

Crowley said nothing. He had to go. He couldn’t let this revive his hope. He had to leave before he said anything else. Before he just made it worse. Before he said anything they would both regret. Before he spilled everything. Before Aziraphale mangled his heart any further.

 

But his hands were soft and his grip was like iron. Crowley was frozen. Time stopped. There was no movement in the sky when the sun held the moon in hand.

 

“Please Crowley, please just give me a chance to explain. After… you can leave or scream at me… whatever you’d like. Just please, give me this chance.” His blue eyes searched for something, anything in Crowley’s face. His eyes were completely obscured by his glasses at this angle, their bright light overshadowed, the moon hiding its face.

 

Anything. Anything for you. Crowley’s traitor heart supplied.

 

Really he knew, he was weak. He never could say no to Aziraphale. He could rage and bluster, but it was nothing, he was nothing in front of one heartfelt request.

 

He wouldn’t let himself think, he wouldn’t let himself hope, but he could listen. Not trusting his voice, Crowley nodded.

 

Aziraphale let their hands drop, turning them to instead interlace their fingers. He gave a small squeeze, looking down at their intertwined hands as if they would give him courage.

 

He took a shaky, deep breath. There really was no going back now. He straightened his back, blue eyes gazing into Crowley’s shrouded ones, putting them almost on the same level.

 

“My dear boy, I fear I have done many things to wrong you.”

 

Another shuddering breath, a small self-derisive chuckle.

 

It was too much already. So much more than Crowley had expected. More than he deserved. It was wrong. It was going against the laws of nature, against the movement of the heavens. The sun should not have to apologize when it had been what brought the moon to glow at all.

 

“Well, I suppose that much is obvious. What I mean - what I want to say, is that I am so very sorry for all of it. We were meant to be enemies, but you’ve always treated me with such kindness -” He quickly shook his head when Crowley moved to retort out of habit. [14] “None of that now, dear. I will hear none of it.”

 

He took a long pause, another deep breath to recenter himself. It was his turn to be brave, to give back even a little of the light Crowley had shown him in his deepest nights.

 

“I was trying to do what I thought I should, trying to be what I thought I should be,” Distant. Brilliant. Bright and uncaring. “And I didn’t even realize that it was all wrong until it was almost too late.”

 

“I have been-” Trapped in orbit. Always circling. So, so far away. “-stuck that way for so very long. But it’s no excuse. I have been cruel to you, dear heart, and you deserve so much more.”

 

Crowley could do nothing but stare, hanging on his every word, ‘dear heart’ rattling around in his brain. He was very aware of the growing feeling in his chest, ready to burst. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. He knew if he did, he might just break, dissolve, shatter apart like the moon’s reflection on disturbed water. He was aware of something changing, a great shifting on a cosmic scale. It felt like the grinding of gears coming to a halt, the last tortured groan of an incomparably large machine moving its last. The last tick of a grand clock. It felt, perhaps, like the sun refusing to rise in the morning.

 

Aziraphale gave Crowley’s hands another squeeze, their palms pressing together, palm to palm in holy Palmer’s kiss, Crowley’s brain supplied.

 

Aziraphale continued, his voice soft, barely above a whisper.

 

“We’re on our side now, and I can’t bear to remain this way. I want to do better, I want to be better. I want…” Another shaky inhale. His voice cracked a little, thick with emotion. “I realized… I don’t want to be apart from you.”

 

Aziraphale choked out a laugh, eyes bright with unshed tears.

 

Crowley trembled. He wanted to raise their held hands to brush those tears away. He wanted to pull him close and never let go. He wanted. He wanted…

 

“I’ve been a very bad angel, haven’t I?” Another teary laugh. “I’m selfish and covetous. My hedonism would put demons to shame. I’m meant to be apologizing, but here I am burdening you with all these frivolous -”

 

“It’s not frivolous.” Crowley interrupted, finding his voice. He bowed his head, face intense, unable to look at Aziraphale as he spoke. “Nothing about you is frivolous.” Not to me.

 

“My dear…” Aziraphale breathed, face lighting up with wonder. What had he done to deserve this lovely, beautiful creature?

 

He sniffed, released one of Crowley’s hands to wipe away his own tears. He stopped, an aborted movement, when he found long fingers suddenly on his face, Crowley’s thumb brushing gently at the corners of his eyes. Those eyes softened, crinkled at the corners when he smiled, really like the sun had come out.

 

“I promise you dear, no more lies. No more secrets.” I want to be worthy of you.

 

He reached up, splaying his own fingers across Crowley’s cheek, a mirror to Crowley’s that had yet to leave his own.

 

Crowley’s heart thundered. He was sure Aziraphale could feel the blood thrumming beneath his skin, grateful for the final barrier of his sunglasses still between them, saving the last shreds of his dignity.

 

“I want you to know I wasn’t communicating with Heaven. I was trying my best to ignore the call, actually. But you know the Host, with all the trumpets and such, very difficult to ignore.” A real laugh this time, one not tinged with tears. “Before, well, all this, I would always check in. I’d just pop a quick prayer up there, and it would stop. But now that I’m not- Now that we’re on our side, I don’t exactly want to give them the benefit of knowing where I am at all times. Not to mention I don’t much feel like praying now, after…”

 

“Angel,” Crowley interjected. “You don’t have to say it.”

 

“No, I feel as though I must. I’m really quite put out with the lot of them and don’t feel us to be on speaking terms at the present.” He finished with a little huff that had Crowley grinning from ear to ear. His angel was always just enough of a bastard to keep him on his toes.

 

“Angel, only you could just up and ‘harrumph’ at Heaven.” Crowley said, sounding far more fond than he intended. He was a demon. He shouldn’t be able to do fond.

 

“Well I do feel very much like they deserve a good harrumph!”

 

“That they do.” The fondness was oozing out now. There was no stopping it.

 

Screw it. He was damned anyways, couldn’t bugger himself any more even if he tried.

 

Crowley was suddenly overcome by the urge to get a proper look at his angel’s eyes. His sunglasses obliged by suddenly vanishing themselves to sit politely on an end table should he need them later. He leaned forward, bringing his forehead to rest against Aziraphale’s. Sky blue eyes met starlit yellow, the colour having bled across their entire expanse. He let out a shaky breath.

 

“Look, angel.”

 

He was close. Too close. A proximity at which the sun and the moon should never be. At this range he would be scorched, lifeless rocky surface covered in ash and cinders. But he couldn’t resist the pull. He was trapped in the sun’s gravity now. Surely he would be blinded, burnt entirely away, but he just couldn’t look away.

 

He picked up the small, scarred mess he called his heart and held it out once again.

 

“You don’t have to deal with Them on your own. Not anymore. No matter how far away you go, I’ll always be here to bring you back.” As long as you’ll let me.

 

Crowley swallowed dryly around the emotions in his throat, his body not daring even to breathe, to risk disturbing the fragile silence that followed his words.

 

Aziraphale breathed enough for the both of them, hot short breaths filling the space between them, stinging like solar flares against Crowley’s cheek.

 

He was struck in wonder at the beautiful, broken thing Crowley offered him. It was marked and imperfect, scarred by so many things both big and small. The darkness was vast, the wounds bled and oozed, but it was still made of wondrous, soft things. It was words like kindness and sentiment, caring and commitment, fondness and love. So many things that could have so easily turned cold and hard. Indeed , there was a chill there, but only for it having not found a warm place to call home. Yes, it was broken, but it was a precious, beautiful heart.

 

His own heart thudded against his chest, wanting to wrench itself free of its confines, to fly to Crowley and envelop him in its warmth. To cherish him. To protect him so nothing would ever be able to hurt him again, not even himself.

 

“Always?” he breathed into the silence. Please let this be real.

 

“If you’ll have me.” Yes. Please, take me. Take all that I am.

 

He did the only thing he could, the only thing he ever could. He took Crowley’s dear, precious heart in hand, brought it to his chest and vowed to never let it go. Not for eternity.

 

They could feel the change in the air. Sunset bled red into the bookshop, illuminating the pair where they stood, wrapped in each other. The sun and the moon finally, properly met. And alighted upon the Earth.

 

“I love you.” The words flew out of him, as naturally as breathing, and nothing before had ever felt so right.

 

“Aziraphale…” Crowley’s voice cracked and broke, overcome by the wave of love flooding through him.

 

“I’m sorry it took me so long to catch up, dearest.” His hand, once still on Crowley’s face, now a caress, moving to cup his cheek. “Please, let me make it up to you.”

 

A shaky nod, breaking the contact of their foreheads. Aziraphale smiled.

 

“Darling.” A kiss to the corner of his moonlit eye, where tears were forming.

 

“My dear heart.” Another kiss, to the other eye.

 

“Beautiful.” A gentle kiss, to the tip of his nose.

 

“Dearest.” A brush of lips to the snake tattoo under his ear.

 

“Love.” A gentle press to his lips.

 

Crowley broke then, collapsed into Aziraphale like a dying star. An explosion of feeling as sun met moon, a universe unmade and created anew, a realignment of the stars now left to circle alone.

 

He surged forward into the press of lips, hand reaching around to tangle in Aziraphale’s cloud-wisp hair. It was chaste, but forceful. A meeting of souls, trying to convey six thousand years of emotion without need for words.

 

The rush abated, the tide pulling out, leaving both of them trembling in its wake. They stood, pressed chest to chest, lip to lip, breaths mingling like the light at dusk.

 

“I love you.” Crowley murmured into Aziraphale’s lips, drank in the pleased sigh that left them. “I’ve loved you for six thousand years.”

 

The admission crumbled away the last of his walls, nothing left to hide, his entire being bared for judgement.

 

“Oh, Crowley…”

 

He was no God. He was no judge. No king. Yet Crowley offered him his whole self. He could do nothing in the face of such devotion but offer himself in return.

 

“I love you too. I love you in every way there is to love, my dearest heart.” I love you more than words can express. No verse, no lines can contain the depths of my devotion. “I love you more than Heaven itself. I love you more than Love. More than Light. More than-”

 

“Don’t say it, angel.”

 

“No. I love you more than God. And I don’t care about the consequences. She created me to love, and if that love is wrong then I’ll gladly Fall.”

 

A beat. He didn’t.

 

Crowley let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He let his head fall into Aziraphale’s shoulder.

 

“You’re crazy, angel.” he mumbled into the collar of Aziraphale’s shirt, tension draining out of him.

 

“Hmm,” Aziraphale made a noise as if he was considering this for a moment. He pulled Crowley close, hands rubbing soothing circles into his back. “Yes, I suppose I am. I daresay I’m quite crazy about you, dear.”

 

Crowley groaned, a token sound of mortified protest, muffled by Aziraphale’s shoulder. “You’re ridiculous.”

 

“But you love me anyways.” A smiling kiss was pressed into nebula-stranded red hair.

 

Crowley was silent for a long moment as the reality of what had just happened finally, properly sunk in. This was real. He brought his hands up, grabbing fistfuls of Aziraphale’s overcoat, breathing in his scent, head buried in his neck. He smelled like sunlight, like old books and growing things, like fine wine and dry earth and ozone.

 

Aziraphale was content to hold his moonbeam in his arms, feeling the bunched muscles in his back relax and his breathing slow. One hand traced the origin of where a wing would be, the other ran through the soft strands of hair that had escaped their styling at the nape of his neck.

 

“You know,” Crowley began, clenching the garment in his hands imperceptibly tighter. “There’s no just throwing me back once you have me. If you want me, you’re stuck with me, no changing your mind later.”

 

There it was. His last insecurity given air. One last chance for Aziraphale to get out of this. Though he was unsure if he could survive being turned down at this point, he was doubly sure that he would absolutely perish if Aziraphale should cast him aside later.

 

“My dear…” Aziraphale’s hands stilled, pulling Crowley impossibly closer to him. If he could, he would pull Crowley inside him, wrap himself entirely around his darling love.

 

“I have known you for all time, and there is nothing now in Heaven or Hell, or here on Earth that could make me let you go. I intend to stay with you forever, and even beyond that, if possible. I’m with you ‘till nonexistence do us part’, darling.”

 

That final anxiety evaporated like fog in the light of dawn. Crowley felt as though every corner of his being was suffused with light.

 

“Sounds a bit like marriage there, angel,” he croaked, his traitor voice cracking as he sniffed into Aziraphale’s shoulder. He wasn’t crying. Nope. His tear ducts were just malfunctioning a little.

 

“Oh, are you proposing to me darling? These things are typically done with a ring, you know.” The light, teasing words were murmured fondly into red hair. “Though, there is nothing quite traditional about us.”

 

“W-well, we can do whatever we want now.” Curse his damn corporation for blushing and stammering like a schoolgirl with her first crush. He was going for sexy, but landed far short and just came off as hopelessly smitten.[15]

 

“Yes, I do suppose we can.” Soft lips pressed thoughtfully to the top of his head. The angel pulled back a bit, hands returning to cup Crowley’s cheeks.[16]

 

Those beautiful eyes were still entirely encompassed by the starlight yellow. As Aziraphale watched, the slit pupils dilated, a lovely flush decorating his demon’s cheeks. He couldn’t suppress his fond smile, his thumbs gently stroking along sharp cheekbones.

 

Crowley certainly thought that he would have to school his skin into submission later - he couldn’t just have it blushing without his permission like that. But if it made his angel look at him like that - like a waitress had cut him an extra large slice of his favourite gateau au chocolat, but better - then he supposed he could let it slide just this one time.

 

He was sure his face looked ridiculous right now, but he couldn’t bring himself to mind when his beloved sun was right there, his hands cradling his face like something precious, blue eyes embracing like the vast dome of the sky. He was just leaning in to kiss him again when Aziraphale spoke.

 

“Tell me dear, what is it you want?”

 

Crowley’s eyes, having just begun to flutter closed, opened immediately, now completely focused. His heart flipped in his chest and went into overdrive.

 

What did that mean?

 

Crowley was a demon of very simple wants - namely whatever Aziraphale wanted. He had been so far gone on him for so many millennia, that really, all he wanted to do was to make Aziraphale happy. If that was nothing more than this - gentle touches and holding and kissing - then Crowley would be over the moon, having already gotten more than he’d ever thought possible. Certain parts of his anatomy had something to say about this, for sure, but he would ultimately never want something that would make his angel unhappy. If Aziraphale /wanted/ something more physical, however, then Crowley would enthusiastically comply. He was sure that even if Aziraphale wanted something extremely kinky or esoteric, Crowley would somehow be into it as long as it involved his angel.

 

He wanted very much to express this, to put words to his undying devotion. However, his brain had overheated at the sheer implications, and only managed to produce an extremely eloquent “Ngk.”

 

“That’s not an answer, dearest.” Aziraphale’s words were lilting, teasing, the tiniest bastard glint present in his eyes.

 

Crowley had to squeeze his eyes shut to forcibly reboot his brain, lest Aziraphale’s eyes cause it to short-circuit. When he opened them again, Aziraphale was still waiting for him with infinite patience, fingers tracing abstract patterns on his cheeks.

 

“Whatever you want, angel, that’s what I want.”

 

Aziraphale gave a considering hum as he tilted his head to the side as if in thought. Crowley, worried that he’d somehow said the wrong thing, forced himself to stammer on.

 

“I’m serious, angel. If all you want is this,” He leaned forward and pecked Aziraphale on the lips for emphasis. Gah. This was mortifyingly mushy and embarrassing. This was why he never talked about feelings. Nonetheless, he pressed onwards. “Then that’s all I want. But if you want more. Or less. Or whatever, then I’m up for it. Or down. Or whatever it involves.” Yes. Very smooth.

 

He wasn’t sure what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t the lascivious smile he got in return, and it most definitely was not the open press of lips to his slightly parted ones, the flicker of tongue dipping, tasting into his mouth as he groaned. The angel’s arms came up to wrap around his neck, his own hands finding purchase on Aziraphale’s waist. When they broke apart, they were both panting despite their lack of need for breath, and Aziraphale’s eyes were blown wide, a sliver of blue showing around the black.

 

“You are too good to me, my dear boy.” Aziraphale couldn’t miss the full body shudder that went through Crowley at that. So he continued, punctuating his words with short, open-mouthed kisses. “So kind.” Kiss. “So generous.” Kiss. “So accommodating for me.” Another kiss. A pause for breath. “I want to do a great deal many things with you, if you are amenable.”

 

Crowley could only nod enthusiastically before he was pulled in for another kiss, tilting his head to deepen the angle.

 

Yes. he thought, as Aziraphale did something wonderful with his tongue that made it very difficult to do so. I am so very amenable to this. There’s been no one more amenable in the history of amenabilities, as a matter of fact.

 

Any further thoughts were promptly ejected from his head when Aziraphale moaned into the kiss and grabbed a fistful of Crowley’s hair. He felt himself go wobbly in the knees and it was suddenly very hard to stand. It was very hard in certain other places too, but that was for later.

 

Crowley was so precious, so trusting and open to him. Aziraphale couldn’t help but take his time, savouring every noise, every touch, every taste, giving each the attention it deserved. Crowley was so responsive, a banquet of sensation in just kissing that was all for Aziraphale to sample at his leisure. And he would take all the time in the world later, should he be allowed to this feast again. He would take him apart with just his mouth, watch him come undone from just his kisses. But that would have to wait for another time. For now, he wanted, no he /needed/ to show Crowley just how much this meant, that he wanted Crowley as much as the demon had been wanting him.

 

With great difficulty, like interrupting the orbiting of the planet, Aziraphale pulled away from the kiss, and Crowley made to chase after his lips, seeking them out blindly like a plant to sunlight. Slowly his eyes blinked open, a question there as to why they’d stopped.

 

Aziraphale ran his fingers gently through the sunset hair, cataloguing the small shudder that elicited. He pressed a soft kiss to Crowley’s temple, watching as those moonlit eyes fluttered shut again.

 

“While I certainly would not mind continuing things here, dearest, I do think we would be a touch more comfortable elsewhere.”

 

“Elsewhere?” Crowley’s voice was unsteady, swollen lips parted disbelievingly. He raised an eyebrow, trying his best to look seductive, but betrayed once more by that damned flush on his cheeks.

 

“Yes. Er, well. I do have a bed upstairs, if that suits you?” There was indeed a bed in the flat above the bookshop, however the state of it, as he recalled… Better, actually, to remedy that.

 

The aforementioned bed would find itself rather surprised to be suddenly clear of books and dust, and dressed in new sheets that did not at all smell, as the old ones had, like they hadn’t been changed since the bed’s purchase. Frivolous miracles, yes, but the angel was betrayed by his own enthusiasm. And besides, it wasn’t like there was anyone keeping score, not anymore.

 

Crowley’s face went impossibly more red. It suited him. It suited him like… well, like a suit. One that he’d miracled to fit perfectly, not a store bought one. His voice had stopped working, so he settled for nodding his assent.

 

Aziraphale gave him another one of those smiles, the ones that lit up his face and beamed from his eyes. The sort of smile that made Crowley feel like basking, curling up and just existing in the presence of his radiance for hours, like a snake on a sun baked rock.

 

Aziraphale felt the overwhelming tide of his own affection, brought to the surface by the pull of his very own moon. Indeed, he couldn’t resist the pull of that tide, letting it carry him to kiss Crowley deeply once more, before parting, taking his hands to lead the way upstairs.

 

*********

 

Crowley couldn’t bring himself to move beyond the doorway. Even as Aziraphale moved into the room to sit upon the edge of the bed, he found himself frozen.

 

Even in his wildest fantasies, he had never allowed himself to properly imagine what Aziraphale’s bedroom would be like. And, indeed, it was both everything and nothing like he expected.

 

Yes, there were stacks of books across the floor, and yet more books in the dark oak bookshelves lining the walls. This much was unsurprising - if Aziraphale was to have a bathroom, Crowley would imagine there would be books filling the unused bathtub.

 

What was unexpected was the giant four-poster bed taking up the majority of the space. The frame was lavish, done in the same dark wood as the bookshelves, and adorned with carvings very reminiscent of the illuminated manuscripts Aziraphale so loved. The duvet was, naturally, cream tartan and the sheets looked to have a thread count that would make billionaires weep. A lavish number of pillows were piled high against the headboard, past which a curtained window looked out over the street below. The mattress looked so soft one could sink into it and never leave.

 

None of this should really have come as any surprise to Crowley, given his longstanding familiarity with the angel’s hedonistic tendencies. If the angel were to have a bed, it would only follow that it would be the most luxurious and comfortable bed that money could afford.[17] No, what had really caught Crowley off guard were the implications.

 

He knew for certain that the angel had never slept - their corporations did not require sleep, and he had never seen the appeal. Aziraphale had expressed, on many occasions throughout six thousand years, that he had never understood Crowley’s love for sleep. If there was a bed here, in a room that might have otherwise been used for a nice study, or to just store more books, then it was there because Aziraphale had wanted it there. And the only reason he would have wanted it would be the possibility that it might one day be… used. And certainly not for sleeping.

 

It was this insinuation that had Crowley pausing in the doorway, all the blood in his body having seemingly divided its efforts to rush simultaneously to his face and to, well, down lower.

 

Aziraphale smiled knowingly, well aware of what this looked like, a dusting of red coming across his own pale features. He patted the bed next to him, beckoning to Crowley.

 

“Won’t you come join me, dear?”

 

He looked positively radiant, awash in the last rays of the setting sun, pale strands of hair dyed golden, a halo around his face. Crowley felt certain that he would do anything Aziraphale asked in that moment.

 

If he spoke, poetry would pour forth,[18] confessions of undying love, the lines of a pathetic pining Romeo.

 

Indeed, Crowley was the inconstant moon, the envious moon, sick and pale with grief. Aziraphale was the light through which yonder window breaks. It is the east, and Aziraphale the sun who would kill this envious moon. The brightness of Aziraphale’s cheek would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp.

 

Though, he could now touch that cheek without having to wish himself a glove upon the angel’s hand as he had wished so many times in the past. And so he did, crossing the scant feet between them with more bravery than he felt, reaching out his hand to cup Aziraphale’s face, and the smile he received did indeed put the sunset to shame with its beauty.

 

Aziraphale reached up and covered Crowley’s hand with his own, turning his face to press a kiss to the palm.

 

“Won’t you join me?” Aziraphale asked again, and Crowley didn’t need there to be a third time.

 

Crowley wasn’t sure if he leaned down or Aziraphale stretched up, but they met in the middle, lips capturing lips in a passionate kiss.

 

Aziraphale’s hands came back up to tangle in red hair, making Crowley groan. He brought his knee up onto the bed, pressing the angel backwards into the soft mattress.

 

Aziraphale made a soft noise as if remembering something, putting a hand on Crowley’s chest before he could be pushed down.

 

“Wait, dearest,” Aziraphale said breathlessly.

 

“What’s wrong angel?” Crowley froze in place - had he done something wrong?

 

“Nothing, just. Shoes, dear.”

 

It was so simple, so obvious, so Aziraphale that Crowley groaned, rolling off the angel and instead flopping down onto the bed on his back.

 

“You’re gonna be the death of me angel.”

 

Aziraphale, on the other hand, sat back up to unlace his brogues, tucking the shoes carefully under the bed. He looked over at the reclining demon and shook his head fondly.

 

“You’ll thank me later when we don’t have to miracle dirt out of the sheets.” Nonetheless, he leaned over and removed the demon’s snakeskin shoes, tucking them alongside his own. The angle was a little awkward, but he was rewarded with a full-body shudder when he caressed along the soles of Crowley’s feet as he removed each shoe.

 

Now, it was his turn to lean over the demon, one hand planted beside his upturned face. He looked so delectable like this, open and vulnerable without his glasses, hair mussed, lips parted and swollen from kissing. The fingers of his other hand trailed down the demon’s cheek, over his neck, feeling as Crowley swallowed thickly, Adam’s apple bobbing.

 

He dipped his fingers into the deep vee of Crowley’s shirt, running them over his sternum. Crowley inhaled shakily, arching up into the touch.

 

“Angel…” Crowley’s voice was desperate, wanting. Aziraphale toyed with the low neckline of  his shirt, fingers dipping below to brush at hidden skin.

 

“Take this off for me, would you dearest?” A flurry of limbs and the shirt was removed in a flash, tossed somewhere off the bed, and Crowley returned to lying still beneath him.

 

Aziraphale took a long moment to admire the sight before him. Skin pale as moonlight. A whipcord lean body, all bones and sharp angles. His precious heart, fluttering like a bird against the prominent ribcage, which rose and fell with every sharp intake of breath. His beautiful eyes, slit pupils blown wide with wanting.

 

“You are so beautiful, my dear.”

 

Crowley made a strangled noise in his throat, sounding like protest. But he would do anything, be anything, if the angel would keep looking at him like that. He was pinned beneath Aziraphale’s eyes, unable to move even if he’d wanted to. If Aziraphale asked him to, he could get off just like this, just from Aziraphale gazing at his body.

 

“Please, may I touch you? I would very much like to kiss you.” Aziraphale wanted to kiss every inch of his skin, to worship him, to make him know just how beautiful and beloved he was. But more than that, he needed to know that Crowley wanted it too.

 

“Please…” Crowley echoed in answer, a broken word, pleading, begging with his eyes.

 

“You’re too good to me, darling.”

 

Aziraphale pressed a long, heated kiss to Crowley’s lips, another quick peck to the tattoo by his ear, before kissing down his sharp jaw.

 

Crowley let out a broken moan, hands flying up to find purchase at Aziraphale’s shoulders. He arched his neck, baring his throat to the angel.

 

The kisses down his neck burned like sunspots, his skin lighting up wherever Aziraphale touched. The angel’s hands were at his waist, not grabbing, just resting, holding, anchoring him. Aziraphale was entirely on top of him now, their clothed groins pressing just enough for some friction, but not enough for any satisfaction. Crowley tried to roll his hips, but was rendered helpless by the angel’s gentle touches.

 

Aziraphale laved at the juncture between his neck and shoulder, writing love there with his tongue and teeth, not marking, not claiming. Just making a declaration with lips and skin and breath.

 

Crowley choked back a moan when Aziraphale moved down to kiss towards his chest, suppressed a whine when the touches stopped.

 

“Don’t hold back, dearest.” Aziraphale panted, hot breath raising goosebumps in cooling saliva where he’d kissed. “I want to hear you.”

 

How could Crowley deny him anything when he asked like that? He must have seen something in his face, because Aziraphale lowered his head back to Crowley’s chest, kissed at a nipple. Crowley keened.

 

“Do you like that darling?” Aziraphale lapped at the pink bud before taking it into his mouth, sucking gently. He lavished attention there with his lips and tongue as Crowley arched beneath him and moaned.

 

“Fuck, shit, fuck, Aziraphale…” A desperate groan of his name when he switched sides, giving the other nipple the same care.

 

Crowley was panting now, writhing and clinging to Aziraphale’s clothed back. It was too much, and not enough.

 

His touches burned like consecrated ground, like light, like love. It was so lovely it made him ache, his entire body a live wire under Aziraphale’s hands. He was so hard it was painful, cock pressed like a brand against his zipper.

 

Aziraphale’s hands drifted lower to the waistband of his tight black jeans, mouth following to press gentle kisses to his thin stomach, feeling the muscles there jump under his lips.

 

“So good, so beautiful for me, dearest. You’ve been so patient.” Aziraphale’s voice overflowed with love. His hands traced the snakehead belt buckle, asking permission once more at that final barrier. “Tell me love, may I take these off? I would like so very much to see all of you.”

 

“Aziraphale, please…

 

Aziraphale would, at another time, unwrap Crowley like a present, peel him out of those skin-tight pants ever so slowly, kiss every inch of his long legs as they were revealed. As it was, his love sounded so far gone, so wrecked, that he just couldn’t bear it. With a snap, pants and belt vanished, reappearing nicely folded on the floor.

 

And there he was, the entire expanse of him bare for Aziraphale to take in.

 

“Oh, my dear…” His voice was soft, reverent, struck by the sheer beauty of the body before him. Those long, slender legs, trembling as his thighs parted in a plea. His cock, long and flushed, pressing against his stomach, descending into a thatch of neatly trimmed red hair. He was completely open to him, completely bare, completely desperate.

 

Aziraphale could do nothing put pull him in for a bruising kiss, plundering the noises from his lips as he finally took Crowley’s cock in hand.

 

He felt the softness of the skin, the hot, silky weight of him in his hand. He traced a finger up the vein on the underside, Crowley’s hips canting up in search of more friction, before finally giving him what he needed.

 

Aziraphale’s fingers were like the rest of him, gentle, yet firm, soft but unyielding. They gripped Crowley and pumped, just on the right side of too tight. Neither of them was sure who did it, but the glide of Aziraphale’s hand was eased by a sudden slickness, allowing him to pick up speed.

 

Crowley was undone, breath coming in gasps and pants, his entire body burned open for Aziraphale to see inside, scorched though by the sun’s rays. He could look through him, see the blood and bone and viscera of him. He could open up his chest and kiss his still-beating heart. Crowley would bare it all willingly to that purifying light.

 

It was too much. It was not enough. It was a freefall into a pit of boiling sulphur. It was divine ecstasy. He was Falling. He was Rising.

 

There were tears in his eyes, and Aziraphale held him all through it, his touch keeping him from flying apart at the seams.

 

“You’re so good. So good.”

 

A forehead pressed to his. He hadn’t even realized his eyes were shut. He was so close, so close.

 

“Look at me, darling, dearest. Please look at me.”

 

Night sky eyes flew open and met with daybreak. He was Icarus on wings of wax, flying closer, ever closer.

 

“Won’t you come for me my love, my dear, my heart?”

 

Yes. Anything. Anything you ask.

 

He touched the sun. He fell. Not into the sea, but over the edge, cresting into divine light. Crowley screamed.

 

Aziraphale stroked him through it, holding him close. He showered him with praise, with words of love, soft kisses to his lips and face. His spend coated Aziraphale’s hand, his clothes,[19] Crowley’s own stomach.

 

He continued to touch him until he was spent, to the point of oversensitivity. Crowley whimpered and shuddered, collapsing into the bed. Aziraphale rolled onto his side, gathering his dear demon in his arms, collecting the scattered shards of moonlight and holding him together, stroking skin and flame red hair.

 

Crowley tucked his face into a shoulder and just breathed. Breathed in the scent of sunlight until it was all he could smell. Until his breathing calmed and his heart slowed. The tension drained out of him. He felt awash in gentle light. It was safe here. He let it carry him, he didn’t know for how long. The entire time, he was held.

 

“Angel,” he mumbled after what seemed an eternity, or maybe just ten minutes, muffled into a shoulder.

 

“Yes, my love?”

 

“I love you,” he said. What he meant was thank you, thank you for loving me, I’ll continue to love you forever as long as you love me back. Aziraphale heard everything he didn’t say - his heart spoke loud enough to fill the silence.

 

“I love you too,” was all he needed to say back. And Crowley understood.

 

He felt the love all around him, moving within him. He was a demon, it should be impossible for him, cut off as he was from Her love. But through their connection, through Aziraphale’s heart he felt it.

 

The connection had been there for a very long time. At first it was faint , but always able to sense vaguely where the other was, to feel echoes of powerful emotions like fear and panic and joy. That connection had started as the thinnest of spider’s threads, growing stronger over time. With the opening of doors that had long remained closed, it had bloomed into something grand and cosmic, flowing around them and binding them both.

 

And it no longer burned, no longer questioned, it was simply a fact, undeniable like the passage of time, like the coming of Spring. He would ask ‘do you love me?’ and the answer was and would always be ‘yes.’

 

………

 

He didn’t know how long they lay there, only that his spend had dried on his skin and was steadily becoming uncomfortable. He shifted, felt Aziraphale’s, well, interest still present against his leg.

 

“Lemme just…” With a thought, they were both clean, the incriminating stains vanishing from Aziraphale’s waistcoat, the sticky feeling gone from his skin.

 

He shifted again, then, pressing his bare thigh to Aziraphale’s clothed erection. The hiss the angel let out would haunt him in all his sweetest dreams.

 

“You’re wearing too many clothes…” he grumbled, hands pushing at the lapels of Aziraphale’s overcoat.

 

“Dearest, are you sure?” It was Aziraphale’s turn to be embarrassed. He really did intend to be satisfied taking care of Crowley, he didn’t want to ask too much. His demon had just been moaning and writhing so sweetly, his corporation had taken matters into its own hands, as it were. Crowley was already so giving, he didn’t want to overstep, to take too much.

 

“Fuck, sunshine. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to get my hands on you?”

 

He let that question go unanswered, it would be just embarrassing to admit that he’d wanted to jump the angel right there on the wall six thousand years ago. He’d been so pent up for so long that he’d come like a teenager who’d never been touched before.[20]

 

“And besides, I wanna show you how I feel. I wanna make you feel as good as you did to me.” Crowley felt his traitorous face heating up again, certain he was now a ridiculous shade of red. But seeing the responding flush on the angel’s cheeks made it worth it. Fuck. He would endure an eternity of mortification if the angel would just keep looking at him like that.

 

Aziraphale’s heart did a series of little flips that had him in a tizzy. Crowley was so very precious, so kind and dear and wonderful. He couldn’t deny him anything when he asked like that.

 

He had felt the beginnings of it when they had swapped bodies, the barest brushing of their essences. The connection had always been there, as far back as he could remember, but never that open. And now it flowed, free and clear, like a pristine natural spring, anything that would have hindered it now washed downstream. Like water, it found its way into all the cracks and crevices of them, smoothing their roughest spots, filling them until they overflowed. His love flowed out of him, and was returned in equal measure.

 

The moon glowed brighter than would be possible on borrowed light, a veritable sun in the night. It wrapped around him, swept him up in its glow, no longer a distant thing separated by a vast expanse of sky. It entwined the both of them, this flow, this light, this love.

 

Aziraphale heard the singing again, faintly , distantly, the call to the sky. But he focused on amber eyes and felt it go silent. His moon was here on Earth - he had no need for the sky.

 

Still he whispered “Yes, please” and “I want you.” His voice was faint.

 

Crowley had sensed his angel had heard the call, had felt when he’d immediately returned.  A flash of anger and worry, then relief. Crowley reaffirmed his earlier determination - those bastards wouldn’t have a hold on Aziraphale, not as long as he was around.

 

“Don’t look away, angel. Let me keep you here.”

 

A snap and the angel’s layers vanished, finding themselves hung neatly in the closet.

 

Crowley moved to hover over his angel, losing himself in looking. Odes to creamy expanses of skin leapt unbidden to his mind, a sonnet on his soft stomach, a limerick to full thighs. A haiku was composed to the: trail of pale blond hair, leading down to his flushed cock, a feast for the eyes.[21] He wanted to cringe in embarrassment at his own thoughts, but this was Aziraphale, after all. And wasn’t it him that always said that works of art were to be given due praise?

 

He must have gaped for too long, because Aziraphale’s flush deepened, shifting self-consciously beneath him, echoing his earlier sentiment.

 

“Please…”

 

The way those golden eyes bore into him, taking him all in, taking him apart… It was so intense, so personal, so loving, it had Aziraphale flushed and a little desperate, his arousal spiking.

 

He let out a soft sigh of appreciation when Crowley pressed against him, capturing his lips. Crowley was hard again[22], their erections pressing together when their hips met. Aziraphale rolled his hips up, a small keening sound lost in their kiss turned to one of disappointment when Crowley pulled away.

 

He wasn’t to be disappointed for long, however, when clever fingers trailed down his sides, grabbing at his hips as soft lips mouthed at his neck. He squirmed as Crowley lapped at his pulse, hands going to his red hair, not pulling, just for somewhere to rest, to center himself.

 

Crowley groaned in want against Aziraphale’s neck, his hands digging crescent moon marks into those soft hips, Aziraphale’s erection pressed into his stomach. He wanted… He wanted…

 

He wanted to worship Aziraphale, the way beings of light were meant to be worshipped. He wanted to pour out all the longing and reverence he held in his heart and lay it at Aziraphale’s feet.

 

He looked up and met Aziraphale’s Heaven-blue eyes. Please, his eyes asked, no begged of him. Don’t look away. Let me show you my love.

 

Pulling away from those hips and neck was a sin - no part of Aziraphale should remain untouched - so he slithered down like the serpent he was, down to Aziraphale’s feet.

 

Aziraphale wanted to pull him back up, to kiss him and tell him to never lower himself before him. But Crowley had told him not to look away, had asked him again with his eyes. So he wouldn’t. He would bear witness to what Crowley needed him to see.

 

Crowley rested at Aziraphale’s feet for a moment before lifting one foot in gentle hands, hearing the catch of breath above him, pressing his bowed head to the instep. I would serve you.

 

He wished his hair were longer, wished he knelt on a cold stone floor instead of a soft bed, wished he could take perfume and wash his feet with his hair, show him the depths of his servitude.

 

He moved, Aziraphale’s toes curling under his touches, breathing across the instep for a few long moments before pressing a reverent kiss to the skin there. I would worship you.

 

He kissed up the foot, lapped at the delicate skin of an ankle, lips trailed up the calf through fine white-blond hair. He drank in the hitched breaths and gentle sighs, stopping just before the knee, finally turning up his face to meet Aziraphale’s eyes.

 

Aziraphale was wrecked, overwhelmed by the depth of Crowley’s feelings. He was undeserving, a false idol, yet this beautiful creature worshipped at his feet like he was God incarnate. He was swept up in a torrent of feelings, his own love growing to meet the tirade of devotion being shown to him.

 

When Crowley turned up his head, tears leapt unbidden to Aziraphale’s eyes. When he went back down to repeat the process with his other foot, Aziraphale keened. He wept.

 

Do you see? This is how I love you.

 

Yes. Yes, I see you. I see everything you are.

 

Kisses returned to knees, and hands moved to part soft thighs. Aziraphale went willingly, letting Crowley in, exposing himself completely to him.

 

Crowley exhaled long and hot against the side of the angel’s knee, took a moment to calm his racing heart. He looked up at the angel, the picture of debauchery above him, face flushed and thighs spread, cock hard and dripping. It was a view he would try to imagine in his most lustful fantasies, yet even imagining pales in comparison to the real thing.

 

Unable to resist any longer, Crowley kissed and licked up the inside of one thigh. He paused, teeth barely pressing into the meat of it, eyes flicking up to the angel’s in an unspoken question. Aziraphale nodded, a small jerky motion. Crowley bit down. Aziraphale wailed.

 

It was so overwhelming, not just the sensations, but the implications of the act. Crowley wanted to mark him, to claim him. And Aziraphale in turn, wanted to be claimed by him, wanted to show on his skin who he belonged to.

 

Crowley littered marks and bruises the rest of the way up his thigh, sucking kisses into the flesh that left Aziraphale’s legs trembling around Crowley’s head. He paused once more in the crook of his hip, kissing and nosing at the sensitive spot where thigh met groin, inhaling the scent there and tasting the arousal on his tongue.

 

Aziraphale’s hands wanted to fly to Crowley’s hair, wanted to grab and pull him to where he really wanted him. But he hesitated, hands hovering in an aborted motion. He didn’t want to push, didn’t want to force, didn’t want to ask too much.

 

Crowley must have noticed, because he reached up, grabbing Aziraphale’s hands and settling them in his hair.

 

“Angel, if you don’t grab my hair right now, I’m gonna discorporate on the spot here, I swear to fuck.” He had seen the motion, seen Aziraphale stop. At that very moment, he had a sudden rush of yes and please and I’ve never wanted anything more in my entire existence.

 

Aziraphale gripped at the fiery red hair, lightly at first, feeling more than hearing Crowley’s hum of approval. His heart was thudding in his chest and he couldn’t tear his eyes away. He watched as Crowley bent back towards his cock, felt the hot breaths. Felt himself leak, saw Crowley’s forked tongue peek out from his lips. He lapped at the head, and Aziraphale’s vision went white.

 

“Ah, Crowley!” He shuddered, his grip going taut, yanking on the strands of Crowley’s hair. He heard a groan, and when his sight returned to him, he was met with a vision that he would never allow himself to forget. Crowley, red-faced and utterly undone, panting against his cock, tongue lapping at the head like a man dying of thirst. Aziraphale moaned filthily, pulling once again on the flame red hair.

 

If Crowley wasn’t completely hard before, he certainly was now when Aziraphale pulled at his hair without reservations. He wanted more, wanted to see him come apart, wanted to hear every noise he could pull out of the angel. He parted his lips and wrapped them around the head, sucking hard. Aziraphale screamed, hands grabbing harder at his hair, not pushing or pulling, but held in a vice grip.

 

Aziraphale wasn’t particularly long, at least, as far as Crowley was aware,[23] but he made up for it in girth. Crowley felt a pleasant ache in his jaw when he stretched his lips to take more of him in.

 

Aziraphale felt himself unravelling at the wet heat of Crowley’s mouth. His thighs shook, wanting to close tight around Crowley’s head, to keep him right where he was. Crowley’s hand came up to grip his unmarked thigh, hoisting it up over his shoulder to get a better angle, blunt nails digging marks into the pale flesh.

 

Aziraphale babbled a litany of praise, little ohs and ahs interspersed with my dear and my love and you’re so good, so good to me. This devolved into a loud moan as Crowley took him further into his mouth.

 

Crowley hadn’t done this before, but Go- someone did he want to. He was fortunate enough to have a snake-like ability to unhinge his jaw. This, coupled with his ability to suppress this corporation’s gag reflex, allowed him to take Aziraphale all the way until he hit the back of his throat. His tongue, already serpentine, twined around Aziraphale’s cock in impossible ways.

 

Aziraphale could feel himself building, hurtling towards an edge that he would gladly throw himself off, knowing Crowley would be there to catch him. It was too much, his bruised lips parted wide, the searing heat of his throat, the motion of his tongue, those yellow eyes now almost entirely overtaken by the black slit pupils.

 

He tugged frantically at Crowley’s hair in warning, giving him a chance to get off his cock before he came. But Crowley just pushed himself down further, nose buried in the blond curls at the base of him. He inhaled through his nose, moaning around him, then swallowed.

 

Aziraphale was soaring, he was flying, he was falling. He was falling into the sky, or maybe into the sea, fingertips stretching out to touch the moon, or maybe just its reflection on the water. He was breathing, he was drowning. It was too dark, it was too bright. He could see every star that was ever made or would come into being. He was everywhere. He was nowhere. He was all and nothing at once.

 

Aziraphale continued to babble, coming completely undone, unravelling into ribbons of sunlight even as he went over the edge, spilling himself into Crowley’s waiting mouth and throat.

 

“Crowley, my dear, my love, so good, so good, Ah, Crowley, I’m going to - fuck!”

 

Crowley felt the first splash of Aziraphale’s come hit the back of his throat, and went to swallow it down. But then he heard that bitten off curse, and he was coming, completely untouched, that one word enough to have him following Aziraphale over the edge.

 

He had meant to swallow, but now he was choking, Aziraphale’s spend filling his throat and mouth, and he was coming, moaning around the twitching cock, a Herculean effort made to stop himself from biting down as he came.

 

Aziraphale’s cock slid out of his mouth even as his own was still spurting onto the bedspread. He coughed and choked, semen and saliva pouring from his mouth, as he came down from his high.

 

Aziraphale came to his senses first and immediately released his hair, seeing Crowley coughing and sputtering between his legs. His hands went to his face, wiping at tears and semen and saliva.

 

“Oh, my dear, I’m so sorry. Breathe for me dear, just breathe. I’m so, so sorry. I should have given you more warning, I should have -”

 

“Hey, angel?” Crowley’s voice was hoarse and wrecked when he finally managed to speak. One last cough cleared his airways, and he released his grip on the angel’s thigh to wipe at his lips. “Shut up.”

 

“But Crowley, I… I didn’t mean, I…” Oh dear. He was crying, blubbering even. He’d done something so terribly rude when Crowley had been so kind to him. “I’m so sorry, my dear.”

 

Now that the events had caught up to him, Crowley was mortified. He had come. Just because he’d heard the angel swear.[24] And now the angel was crying because he thought he was at fault. Fuck indeed.

 

Crowley slithered up the angel’s body, ridding both themselves and the sheets of various fluids with just a thought. He pulled the angel into a passionate kiss, hushing him and trying to impress that everything was alright. He felt Aziraphale’s panic recede beneath his touches, tears sliding down his cheeks with naught but a little moisture left beading at his eyes. He pulled back to pillow his head on the angel’s shoulder, looking up at him as gentle arms wrapped around him in an embrace, pulling all his hard angles into softness.

 

“Everything’s okay, angel. No harm, no foul.” He tried to sound calm and reassuring despite the embarrassment running rampant inside him.

 

“But Crowley, I…” Those eyes were getting wetter again, and Crowley couldn’t bear that. Not now. Fuck. He’d have to swallow his pride and just say it.

 

“It’s not your fault. I was gonna swallow. But you. Fuck. And then I. I just.”

 

“Crowley.” Aziraphale cut off his messy stuttering. The worry in his eyes had morphed into a gooey fondness, and Crowley could just tell that whatever he said next would embarrass him into the next century. No, the next millennium.

 

“Crowley, my dear, did you perchance… Did my cussing, set you off?”

 

Yep. There it was. Face feeling like it was going to combust on the spot, Crowley nodded, turning to hide himself in the cool skin of Aziraphale’s shoulder.

 

That was certainly not what Aziraphale had expected. Not at all. He’d been so worried that he’d done the wrong thing, that he’d hurt Crowley somehow, that he wouldn’t want to be intimate with him again. When really. Really, he’d just. It was so cute. So precious. So lovely. So Crowley.

 

He couldn’t contain his joy and relief, shoulders shaking with barely suppressed chuckles. He felt Crowley curl into him, and held him more tightly in response.

 

“Oh, my dear. Don’t you worry, I’ll take it as a compliment.”

 

“Ngkkk…” Crowley groaned, mortified, into his angel’s shoulder. Aziraphale simply kissed the crown of his head, his silent laughter dying down.

 

*********

 

They lay together for a long while, basking in the closeness. The sun had long since disappeared behind the horizon, making way for a calm, cool night. The silence was peaceful and unbroken save for the sounds of their breathing and the occasional car driving past on the street.

 

At some point, Azriaphale had pulled the duvet up to cover the both of them, but had since been content just to hold his demon. He could tell that Crowley hadn’t fallen asleep, but seemed similarly happy to just lie pillowed on Aziraphale’s chest. The demon probably had as much to think about as he did.

 

So many things had happened, and so very quickly. The world had almost ended not even forty-eight hours ago, and now here they were, making their own world together, within this brand new reality.

 

He had seen what it would be to lose Crowley, and knew that was the one thing he could never bear. He couldn’t be apart from him, not without losing half of what he was. And he was certain that Crowley felt the same. Their two hearts were beating as one, now. They would have to tease that out later, figure out what exactly they’d done with their essences that resulted in this, but that was for another time. They were linked now, inexorably, and neither of them would have it any other way.

 

The cloudy skies parted, and moonbeams danced their way through the window panes, casting them in an ethereal light, dust motes sparkling in the air.

 

Aziraphale shifted, canted his neck to look out the window at the night sky. There were so many things to be said between them, but right now he could think of only one.

 

“This may sound strange, love,” he began, voice wistful. Crowley let out a small ‘hm’ and tilted his head to follow Aziraphale’s gaze - he really hadn’t been asleep. “You’re free to laugh, it is really quite foolish. But I have always thought of you when I looked at the moon.”

 

Crowley did indeed laugh, a soft, short chuckle like the unearthing of something long thought lost, and not at all for the reasons Aziraphale assumed.

 

“See, I knew it was a silly notion.”

 

“Nah, ’s not silly. It’s just ironic, is all.” When Aziraphale moved to look down at him, Crowley was suddenly very interested in the wall, looking anywhere but his angel, red once more staining his face. “You’ve always kinda been my personal sun.”

 

Now it was Aziraphale’s turn to laugh, a bright peal of unfiltered joy and /love/ that had Crowley smiling in spite of himself.

 

“I guess we’re both a couple’a space cases then, huh?”

 

“Not any more, my dear. I think we both prefer it right here on Earth, after all.”

 

And they did.

 

———

 

Humans would say that the sun and the moon were in love. They would be right, of course, though not at all in the way that they thought.

 

 -----------------------

1 worse?[return to text]

They would be right, of course, but not at all in the way that they thought.  [return to text]

3The part about the moon having once shone more brightly was at least correct in this case. [return to text]

This one was actually correct on a couple of counts. Our ‘moon’ had, in fact, given birth to stars at some point. He also endeavoured to protect children on numerous occasions - though not from the sun. [return to text]

Another thing they would unintentionally get right would be the typical disregard of the sun and moon towards the gender binary - the sun and moon were each cast alternately as male and female in these tales, after all. [return to text]

By gentle hands squirrelling them away in the back corner of an Ark, or a miraculous recovery from an accidental injury, to name a few examples. [return to text]

Little did they know, they had the wrong child entirely, but it was the premise of the thing that mattered. It would also be remiss not to note the appropriateness of the name Ashtoreth, the Phoenician moon goddess, as the chosen name for the Nanny guise. [return to text]

Alpha Centauri was particularly appropriate, a galaxy comprised of two binary stars locked in eternal orbit. [return to text]

With bitter sadness, lyrics would come to mind, begging someone, anyone to Please not take his Sunshine away. He would never know how much he loved him. [return to text]

10 Or at least one very cross father. [return to text]

11 There is great irony in burning a sun or drowning a moon in the first place, but life is full of such contradictions. [return to text]

12 He could say that now. [return to text]

13 After 6000 years, it was high time. [return to text]

14 Surely, something about how there was no way he was kind, that was a four letter word. [return to text]

15 Which he was, but he wouldn’t just say that. [return to text]

16 A small errant thought would have him thinking that he currently ‘had the whole world in his hands’, to paraphrase a certain religious song. [return to text]

17 Not that money mattered at all to either of them, but I digress. [return to text]

18 If it had, Crowley might have discorporated himself on the spot, and Aziraphale would never let him live it down. [return to text]

19 Aziraphale didn’t even mind, not this time. [return to text]

20 Not that he had been touched that way by anyone other than himself, and now Aziraphale, but that was a conversation for another time. [return to text]

21 Fuck. If Aziraphale ever found out he’d thought that, he’d never live it down. He could never know. [return to text]

22 Refractory periods were for mortals, anyways. [return to text]

23 He didn’t have much reference to compare it to except his own, but you couldn’t live as long as he had without seeing a few things. [return to text]

24 Mind you, he’d known him for six thousand years and he’d never heard him cuss, not even once. So really, it was quite a surprise. Though this fact did little for Crowley’s embarrassment. [return to text]