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An Arrangement of Convenience

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In all his life on earth Aziraphale had never been one for following the fashion of the day, beyond the need to blend in. Humans changed their mind rather quickly about what was and wasn’t considered beautiful, inventing new garments and fabrics every other decade going too fast to keep up. Not to mention how different each corner of the world was in their garments. To Aziraphale a general appearance and the comfort of familiar and well loved items was more important than the fickle movements of progress and the (too him at least) breakneck speed of changes from one century to the other. More than once Crowley would point out that he was about a hundred years behind, but how was it Aziraphale’s fault that humans moved faster by the century?

It was a rare occurrence that when the 18th century rolled around, Aziraphale’s personal preferences lined up with what humans considered well and good for once. Beautiful silks and brocades, lavish decorations, lace and ruffles and layers upon layers of the softest nicest fabrics. Especially the women! Decorated like the loveliest little cakes, pastel colours and vibrant hues of fabrics, feathers and gems and fine gloves and petticoats that created the most wonderful sound of fabric shifting against fabric. And they looked so soft and delicate, deliberately presenting themselves so much more fragile than Aziraphale knew them to be.

Was it a surprise then, that Aziraphale could very much identify with such an elegant appearance?

I was rare that the angel known as Aziraphale kept up an appearance humans would generally recognize as woman shaped for more than a few years at a time. But for those dresses? Oh, Aziraphale absolutely was willing to change his habits for nearly the entirety of the 18th century for those!

The changes were subtle enough. Softer hips and an adjustment to how his waist curved, exaggerated by a corset, a bosom to fill out the tailored bodices, and hair falling down over his shoulders to be pinned up carefully. Everything else was subtle, more a suggestion of change than a true shift in shape.

And then Aziraphale could wear all those lovely skirts and petticoats he’d fallen in love with as much as he pleased. People treated him politely and as if he were a delicate little thing, and the air of familiarity and trustworthiness Aziraphale projected made him seem like a very respectable lady without anyone really knowing him that well. They just believed that surely this was the case and Aziraphale did nothing to dissuade them from this impression.

It was the autumn of 1799, the leaves had just started to turn red and gold outside, and a crisp wind picked up to chill the air on even the sunniest of days. Aziraphale hadn’t left the British Isles since an unfortunate trip to France that had at least ended in a lovely lunch. Aziraphale had lost his favourite tailored suit in the process, a small price to pay to avoid discorporation, but painful enough that Aziraphale hadn’t worn one since out of spite. Dresses took centre stage in his wardrobe after that day, and he doubted this would change for a while.

With trips out of London being relatively rare at the moment, the angel threw his full attention into planning for the opening of his very own bookshop. A dream for a century or two now, he found that the time was right to finally get on with it. His book collection had grown massive, with the little flat he currently inhabited being chock full of manuscripts and tomes. He had small stashes all over the place, some in Wales, and then several all over Europe and northern Africa. There were simply too many to keep in one place comfortably, a problem that a bookshop hopefully would fix.

Aziraphale inquired about business practices, took notes on how other people arranged their bookshops. He looked into commissioning furniture and selected the wood he wanted used, found craftspeople and paid them in advance, to have his bookshelves delivered once he had somewhere to put them. He even kept an eye out on potential locations, though he didn’t want to use a miracle to create a sudden opening or convince somebody to sell a good spot. He wanted this to happen natural, buy and open the shop the human way. It would be no fun otherwise.

As Aziraphale had no idea how to best go about finding locations himself, he wrote down exactly what he needed, and found himself a solicitor to take over that part instead. Unsure of how long he would need to wait for results, Aziraphale was delighted when just a few days after his request was made he received a letter from his human contact. There were a number of suitable places, and he could collect a list of those at his earliest convenience. As nothing else was so important to Aziraphale at the moment, this happened to be just after breakfast that very day.

That was how Aziraphale found himself in the foyer of Shillsworth and Sons, his gloved hands folded over his lap. It had been an adjustment to learn how to move through rooms and navigate furniture with the mass of his skirts, but it also provided a small bubble of personal space he couldn’t say he minded. Humans considered it impolite to touch him beyond a handshake at most now, so Aziraphale didn’t have to mingle more than he wanted. A cream coloured little cloud of unapproachability, and humans generally wouldn’t crowd too close to him now either. It would be highly inappropriate after all. Even sitting on furniture had been a minor adjustment. Aziraphale liked the feeling of corsets, the comforting pressure against his sides when laced correctly a sensation that soothed him. He already was used to sitting all prim and proper, so at least the limited range of movement didn’t bother him.

He very nearly wiggled where he sat in his excitement. There were so few steps left in getting himself a bookshop after all. To distract himself Aziraphale observed the room around him. Lighted poured in through the window and illuminated the wooden floor panels. Several chairs stood by the walls, through there was a small table in a corner as well, with crystal bottles filled with amber liquid on them. For evening meetings and drinking to a deal well finished, Aziraphale supposed.

Mr Shillsworth sr. entered very soon after Aziraphale had finished admiring the tasteful landscape paintings in the room, shuffling slightly as his leg ached from an old injury. He would soon find, to his surprise, that his leg was much better than it had ever been since a riding accident in his youth.

“My apologies for the delay, Miss Fell,” he said as Aziraphale rose to his feet with a sweet smile. “I did not mean to keep you waiting for so long.”

“Oh, it was no hardship at all,” Aziraphale reassured him with a soft smile. Mr Shillsworth returned it, and carefully handed him a small stack of envelopes.

“I took a look at suitable locations such as the one you described. There are quite a few with the right size for the kind of shop you wish to open, Miss. Perhaps there are more, I will let you know if I hear of anyone else selling property like this.”

Aziraphale’s eyes shone as he quickly shifted through the envelopes with addresses noted outside and more information folded into them.

“Oh! This is more than enough, thank you, my dear!”

Mr Shillsworth smiled and cleared his throat.

“Anything that looks like you might be interested?”

“Yes, I believe so. I think this Soho location will do just nicely.”

The poor man paled a little, though Aziraphale ignored him as he carefully opened the envelope in question and pulled out a sheet with the information. On the corner of two streets and with several floors as well as space for a small flat, even if that one would be just for show? That did sound rather marvellous.

“Forgive me for intruding into your business,” Mr Shillsworth started helplessly. “I only included that one to do a thorough job. Perhaps Soho is not the best location for a shop of antique books.”

“Nonsense, it was quite a lovely area back in the day,” Aziraphale said with a tut, eyes still on the details.

“Miss Fell, that was decades ago,” Mr Shillsworth protested. “Nowadays it’s. Ah. How should I describe it…”

Aziraphale glanced up expectantly at the visibly uncomfortable man. He shot an apologetic look at the angel and lowered his voice.

“It is an area of ill repute, Miss Fell. There is quite a few ruffians about and. Ah. Ladies of the night. I could not in good conscience suggest that a woman of such good standing as you open a business in that part of the city. It might put a stain on your impeccable reputation.”

Aziraphale’s smile widened in delight at the sound of how the area was regarded.

“I thank you for your concern, my dear man,” he said and took Mr Shillsworth’s hands in his for a moment. “But I am quite set on this.”

“Are you sure?” the poor man tried again. “Perhaps Fleet Street?”

“I am afraid that my mind is quite made up. Have a good day, sir.”

With that Aziraphale tried his hardest not to whistle as he sailed out of the room with the envelopes clutched to his chest.

Time to fulfil an earthly dream of his.

 

*

 

Crowley, much to Aziraphale’s delight, still wore red even six years after first doing so. His coat was a lovely deep burgundy with a pattern so subtle it was only visible if the light caught just right. The rest of his outfit was still black, but Aziraphale did like it when the demon changed it up just a little. It suited his hair so well.

They walked through St James park at a leisurely pace, with Crowley offering his arm politely and Aziraphale’s hand placed at the crook of his elbow. It was the only point of contact between them, and even such a small touch was skirting the edge of immodesty, if any observers were to recognize them. If Aziraphale’s corporation looked to be younger, it would be seen as terribly indecent.

“This the place you want, angel?” Crowley asked him, peering at the sheet of paper Aziraphale had given him through his smoked glasses. “You sure about that, don’t want to look at all of them first?”

Aziraphale smiled, barely containing his delight.

“Yes! It sounds exactly like what I was imagining!”

They passed over a small bridge and stopped to observe the ducks, as Crowley still read through the details of the property Aziraphale had an eye on. Their reflections were distorted in the water below, as different as two people could be, with Crowley a rakish dandy in dark colours, and Aziraphale with white blonde hair and dressed in grey and the palest blue today. The only pop of colour on him were the pink and white orchids in his otherwise unadorned hair, vibrant and bringing out the faint blush in his cheeks all the better.

Crowley had recently picked up a new pastime in growing plants, after visiting a beautiful greenhouse exhibition a few years prior and taking an interest in exotic flowers displayed there. Being a demon it wasn’t any trouble for him to create the kinds of conditions for any sort of flower to thrive, and orchids were all the rage after all. Every time they saw each other he would bring Aziraphale freshly cut flowers to round up his outfits, and they would always stay fresh for longer than any other.

“They’re useless otherwise,” Crowley had said the first time he handed Aziraphale purple and yellow violets. Since it had only become a habit.

“It’s in Soho,” Crowley said after a while as Aziraphale reached into his pocket to find a biscuit that had previously not been there to throw crumbs to the waterfowl below. “Lots of tempting to be done in Soho, quite proud of the work I do there. You sure you’ll like it? Would have thought you’d like to live in a fancier part of town.”

“That’s exactly it,” Aziraphale informed him cheerfully. “People will have so many vices to distract them from wanting to buy my books! Less will even pop in at all.”

“Not very angelic of you,” Crowley said with a smirk. “Wanting people to get distracted by the opportunity to sin.”

Aziraphale rolled his eyes.

“I’ll spread an aura of virtue and divine inspiration while I’m there. No, this really is a perfect location for me to not sell my book collection.”

Crowley was staring at him now, lips twitching in a fond little smile. It was a rare expression to catch, and Aziraphale cherished each and every one with a heart fluttering like wings.

“Defeats the point of having a bookshop.”

Aziraphale tilted his head in a shrug. The last of the biscuit was fed to the ducks and together the two made their way to the nearest exit out of the park. Crowley flexed his hands and gave him a look.

“I’ve got some business to take care of today. Send me a card next time you have something to discuss.”

He waved over a small carriage and helped Aziraphale into it after tossing the driver a shilling.

“See you around, my dear” Aziraphale said before closing the door, just in time to see Crowley bow to him with another smirk.

“Good day, Miss Fell.”

The ride went over quick as Aziraphale wiggled slightly in excitement over seeing the place he would hopefully own soon. There had never been a place Aziraphale inhabited for its own sake. It was always a nice little flat or hut somewhere he was needed, chosen out of convenience more than anything else. This, for the first time in his existence on earth, would be something to keep and make completely his own.

The excitement tied him over his usual dislike of bumpy carriage rides, and soon Aziraphale stepped into the streets of Soho, with pretty and colourful albeit slightly old facades all around him. He didn’t need to check the address to spot the place he was looking for immediately. It was right on the corner, the walls a dark brown and red with slightly dusty windows and an empty room visible through them. The door wasn’t locked, and as Aziraphale pushed through he could just imagine how perfect a light little bell would be for this place.

Dust was disturbed by his entrance, and dirt had gathered in the corners of the empty shop, though none of it dared settle on his dress. Aziraphale stepped through the space, imagining rugs and tables and beautiful wooden bookshelves filled to bursting with his precious possessions. There were pillars here and there and as he walked into the middle of it he saw a round skylight and a balustrade of the second floor right beneath. Light flooded in and Aziraphale felt as if he was looking right up at the heavens for a moment.

It was perfect!

As Aziraphale marvelled at the simple beauty of the location a human approached from deeper in the building. He was in his late thirties, just a little taller than the angel, even with the slight heel of his boots, wore fine clothes and his dark brown hair was well styled though slightly messy as if he’d run his hands through it a few times.

He paused as he spotted Aziraphale, glancing up from an expensive pocket watch. For a moment he looked surprised, and then a wide smile spread across his face.

“Ah, a curious onlooker. Have you mistaken the door?”

“No, this is the place,” Aziraphale said with a smile, stepping towards him. “I have been informed that this location is up for sale. I hope I’m not too late, Mr…?”

He trailed off expectantly but the man laughed and shook his head.

“It’s for sale, sure. With some interested parties lined up. Who’re you inquiring for?”

Aziraphale was briefly taken aback at the breach of etiquette and tried not to stammer.

“Ah, for- for myself. You see, I wish to open a bookshop, with a focus on antiques and books of prophecy, and this location would be perfect for what I had in mind-”

“Opening a bookshop?” the man laughed again, and by now Aziraphale was certain that there was no actual friendliness attached to it. He looked him up and down in a way that made Aziraphale feel uncomfortably scrutinised and he struggled not to make himself appear smaller under his stare.

“Don’t think you’re the type who’d like having a shop in Soho,” the man said and took his pocket watch in hand again. “Not the right place for a silly business venture like that, missy. You better find some other way to pass the time, don’t go round spending the kind of money this property would cost ya on a whim.”

Aziraphale snapped his mouth open in anger, bristling at his words.

“This is not a whim, I can assure you! I have dedicated a lot of time to collecting books and looking into how to do this properly!”

“I’m sure you did. Not, if you’ll excuse me, missy.”

The man stalked past him towards the door and Aziraphale was too shocked to know what to say to him at all.

“How can you be so rude to a potential buyer?” he cried instead, taken aback by the man’s behaviour. Weren’t humans dealing in business meant to be on top of their game in etiquette?

“Because I’m not selling to you, am I?” the man said, winked, and was out the door.

Aziraphale was left standing alone in the light of the round window above, seething quietly and working his jaw as he shifted through potential insults he could use. With most being far too crass for a woman shaped being of the time, let alone an angel, he settled on quietly whispering ‘rude’ under his breath yet again.

It wasn’t quite as satisfying as he hoped it could be.

 

*

 

Crowley had a lovely little house in Camden with half the furniture on the first floor covered by white sheets, so as not to give any human who might drop by ideas about wanting to play host. Really, the only person who was permitted to spend prolonged stretches of time there was Aziraphale, and then the two would retreat to the salon upstairs.

Crowley had gotten the house towards the end of the 18th century, while Aziraphale was wearing fine suits (though he would not give up on the delicate lace and pretty cream colours). When Aziraphale had first visited in a big dress and hair made up Crowley had grinned and opened the door with a flourish.

“An unmarried woman visiting the house of a known scoundrel like me? My, angel, you really are becoming less and less of a picture of holy virtue!”

“Oh don’t be silly, Crowley, it’s just a human habit anyway,” Aziraphale had shot back. “And there is nothing untoward happening here at all.”

While it really shouldn’t matter what shape Aziraphale was in when visiting an acquaintance, it did give him a secret little thrill of the forbidden to be with Crowley when even humans would see it as something they ought not do. Heaven and Hell might demand they be on opposite sides, and the consequences of discovery would be drastic. But for a presumably human Miss Fell to visit the also presumably human Mr Crowley was a transgression that would merely result in scandal, which didn’t matter to Aziraphale as such but also was terribly exciting to risk.

Now the two sat on Crowley’s comfortable couches he’d gotten from some noble in Turkey, Aziraphale reclining with his feet up on the cushions and sipping the excellent brandy the demon had brought angrily. His cheeks were flushed and he was well beyond tipsy at this point.

“I still can’t believe how rude that man was,” he complained for the tenth time that evening.

Crowley poured more drink for him when he reached out the empty glass, slightly unsteady as he’d been matching Aziraphale’s drinking but not spilling a single drop.

“’d be easier if you just let me take care of it, angel,” he said.

“Don’t, I still need to buy that shop,” Aziraphale whined with a pout and sipped more of the drink. It had stopped burning in his throat a while back. “Wanted to buy it all fair and square. ‘S supposed to be my proper little bookshop.”

Crowley shrugged and leaned back, one leg thrown over the armrest.

“They’re all rude cause of-”

He made a wide motion with his arms to indicate, presumably, “the entire social construct of gender and cultural misogyny,” nearly sloshing his own drink all over himself. The shape he was creating looked suspiciously like a horse, but Aziraphale was too drunk to really pay attention.

“Well, they shouldn’t!” he cried, looking down at his beautiful dress. It made him look like a little cloud as he moved through the street. “They should be chivalrous and kind and polite! You can’t just be rude to a lady!”

“Would be easier if you put on that get up you had in- Uh.”

Crowley snapped his fingers trying to remember whatever occasion he’d seen Aziraphale wear whatever it was he couldn’t recall. It was clear he meant a suit though.

“I don’t want to,” Aziraphale said with his pout becoming more pronounced. “I like this dress. And I won’t go round changing just because some human was rude to me! Ah, he didn’t even introduce himself, can you believe it?”

With a hum Crowley drained the rest of his drink and set it down to reach for the bottle instead. He peered at it and took a swig straight from it.

“Then write him a letter pretending to be yourself. Your- uh. You know. Mr Fell. Brother. Dad. Whatever. He’ll do business with them.”

Aziraphale looked into his cup sadly, wondering if it really could work that way. Perhaps if he pretended that he wasn’t in the country and had sent himself to look into the location and still wished to buy despite the rude behaviour? Ah. But that would be so annoyingly complicated, and he really didn’t want to make his own life harder to accommodate some horrible man’s perception of him. He so liked being treated like a delicate little lady, but to not be taken seriously? That was just a little too far. It was infuriating.

It wasn’t as if he was the only one with that predicamanet either. He’d befriended the wife on an antique book collector recently, Jeannette, who had quite an eye for pretty first editions and the value of rare books. She was clever and sharp, and had once confided in Aziraphale with an eye roll on how she sometimes would send her husband to do business just to avoid being talked down to. Her husband did what she asked on these occasions, and Aziraphale had commiserated with her over tea.

If only he had somebody like that.

“Oh!” Aziraphale said with a flash of inspiration crossing his mind. He pulled his knees up and sat up with an excited look towards Crowley.

“You could be my husband!”

Crowley choked on his brandy and nearly dropped the fragile crystal bottle. Aziraphale waited patiently as he hacked and coughed and beat his fist against his chest.

“I what?” Crowley finally rasped out.

“The owner doesn’t know my name. I could introduce you as my husband and myself as Mrs Crowley. That way you could… you know. Convince him to be much more polite and take over as I settle the deal!”

Crowley stared at Aziraphale with his mouth hanging open for a few seconds. Then he leaned back and settled his bottle against his hip.

“He’d regret being rude to my… my wife I guess,” he said thoughtfully. “Could make him reconsider his life choices.”

“Exactly!” Aziraphale said with an excited clap of his hands. He pressed his clasped fingertips to his chin and glanced at Crowley from underneath his lashes. “My dear, I know it would be an inconvenience to your schedule, but perhaps…?”

“No, what, of course,” Crowley stammered out, rolling his eyes and leaning his entire head into the action. “Not that busy, angel. Just… tell me what you want me to say. Craft the lie and all.”

“I wouldn’t call it a lie,” Aziraphale said with a huff. “Angels really ought not lie.”

Crowley smiled that little fond smile of his again, and this time Aziraphale was blessed with a full view of his beautiful yellow eyes narrowing with it.

“That’s why I’ll do the lying, angel. Don’t worry your feathery little head about a thing.”

Aziraphale’s lips split into a smile and he knew he was shining a little. Thankfully no humans were around to wonder if this was a trick of the light.

“Thank you.”

Another snap of his fingers and Crowley made a bottle relocate itself from the cabinet to his table. He poured Aziraphale more from it and then raised his own glass with a smirk.

“To our marriage, angel,” he joked and Aziraphale clinked their cups together.

“May it be a lovely one, serpent,” he said with a smile and a flutter in his chest that meant nothing significant at all.

 

*

 

It took a few days to arrange everything just so to make their marital bliss seem real. Aziraphale abandoned his small flat for now, leaving his collection of books mostly stashed away but taking all a woman should have access to Crowley’s house. Crowley found rings that were the prettiest pale gold and matched Aziraphale’s wardrobe while still standing out with its inlaid gems. They agreed on a story quickly, though Aziraphale insisted on Crowley being the one to explain it to people.

Afterwards it was a quick thing to figure out who the owner of the property in Soho was, and where he could be found. He was one Mr Edward Hales, businessman and mostly dealing in buying up old properties to rent or sell for a nice profit after cleaning them up a little. He was always on the move and a brisk man who didn’t much care for seeming a polite gentleman. He also was acquainted with one or two investors Crowley had dealt with before. As a human, not in his role as the adversary on Earth, so he was well liked enough in those circles.

“We’ll be able to get an invite to somewhere Hales is at too,” Crowley said with a thoughtful glance to a small list before him.

They were sitting in a nice little teahouse, where Aziraphale enjoyed a dainty little raspberry tart as Crowley scribbled something on paper with a graphite pencil. His writing was messy and tiny as he rushed to get thoughts down as they came to him, and Aziraphale had given up on trying to read what he put down upside down.

“Oh, a party would be marvellous,” Aziraphale mused as he licked a little bit of clotted cream from his spoon. “I haven’t been to one of those in quite a while. I usually go out to have tea these days.”

Crowley frowned and tapped the pencil on the paper.

“We need a party that’s big enough for people not to pay too much attention, but one where we can still talk. So not a dinner party. Or a ball.”

He looked up at Aziraphale expectantly, who was the one to pay more attention to social events than Crowley. Aziraphale paused with a thoughtful hum, then brightened as one upcoming event crossed his mind.

“The Everleighs! They have quite a beautiful house, you know, such a lovely piece of architecture. I believe you are acquainted with them? I have mutual friends who mentioned some kind of celebration coming up, though I did not have the pleasure to meet them myself yet.”

Crowley stared off into the distance for a moment, lips pressed together, before he nodded.

“Huh, yeah I know that one. We were investing in some merchant’s ship together about, uh, two years ago? Nice fellow. Could maybe get invited there.”

Aziraphale smiled sweetly at him and returned his attention to the raspberry tart in front of him.

“Do you think there will be dancing? I have no talent for it at all, but it is such great fun. Ah, but I will need a dress for it!”

Crowley smiled indulgently.

“This isn’t about dancing, it’s about getting some guy to agree to sell to you. Or even just talk about it seriously. Isn’t that the whole point of the exercise?”

Aziraphale covered his mouth with a napkin and narrowed his eyes with a pout. The effect was ruined by the frantic chewing of pastry.

“Nobody said we can’t have fun while we do that.”

Crowley raised his hands in defeat.

“Alright, angel, you’ll get a pretty new dress just for the occasion. What kind of husband would I be if I didn’t indulge my wife every now and then?”

“Thank you, my dear,” Aziraphale said with that little flutter in his heart and a smile that nearly hurt his cheeks.

It was all for business, but hearing Crowley say those words… oh it was just delightful! It made something warm spread through Aziraphale’s body, completely overshadowing the joy of a perfect little dessert. It wasn’t often that Crowley just openly said something that made Aziraphale feel like this.

His solution for the business predicament had more benefits than initially assumed.

Their tea was soon done and after Aziraphale finished the slice of his own pie Crowley had slid over they left into the busy street. They were arm in arm, touching shoulder to elbow and with Aziraphale placing both his hands on the crook of Crowley’s arm. They were married after all, no need for any remaining modesty distance anymore.

Crowley focused for a few moments and led Aziraphale through the streets with purpose.

“They’re out here somewhere,” he muttered after subtly sniffing the air to find the humans in question.

Aziraphale hummed with a beatific smile and watched the people around them. It was just after midday and most around them were out to do their shopping. Pretty displays in shop windows tempted him to pause and take his time to look at everything. But Crowley had a goal in mind, and really Aziraphale would have time for this later. Part of playing at being married meant to take walks together after all.

Soon enough Crowley’s steps paused and Aziraphale’s attention was drawn by a woman’s voice speaking close to them.

“Mr Crowley! What a surprise.”

Crowley tipped his hat at the pair that had stopped as they spotted him. They were older, in their late 50s perhaps, the man sporting a white and well kept beard and his wife an elegantly simple dress and coat.

“Mrs Everleigh. Mr Everleigh. Good to see you two.”

“Same to you, old chap,” Mr Everleigh said and shook his hand. “I haven’t seen you in years!”

“I haven’t been in England for a while,” Crowley said with a smile. He looked at ease, just another human having a conversation with acquaintances. It was always lovely to see him act like that, just going about his day without the need for demonic wiles. “Been in the east for some time. Trade, you know.”

Mr Everleigh nodded as if Crowley had offered more than the vaguest of information. Then he and his wife turned to look at Aziraphale curiously and Crowley squeezed his hand with a bright smile.

“Ah, but allow me to introduce my wife, Mrs Angelina Crowley. Dearest, these are my friends, the Everleighs. I’m sure I must have mentioned them.”

“Charmed,” Aziraphale said with a sweet smile.

“I didn’t know you were married!” Mrs Everleigh cried with delight. She seemed genuinely happy about the news, not just glad for a piece of gossip.

“It hasn’t been very long,” Aziraphale said, glancing up at Crowley expectantly.

“We’ve been sweet on each other since childhood,” Crowley said easily, the lie slipping off his tongue with sincerity. “Wrote each other letters and hoped for things to fall into place, but things were never quite right. And then on my recent travels I thought, if not now, then when? I’m lucky my angel waited for me all this time.”

Aziraphale averted his eyes with a pleased smile and a blush. He caught the starry eyed look on Mrs Everleigh’s face though. A woman with a heart for romance, it seemed.

“If love is meant to be it will find a way, won’t it,” Mr Everleigh laughed. “We should spend time together soon, us and our wives. Before you have to travel once more for so long.”

“I won’t leave anytime soon,” Crowley said earnestly and squeezed Aziraphale’s hand, their wedding bands brushing together. “Not when I have this lovely creature to come home to.”

The men laughed and Aziraphale felt his heart race. Crowley was laying it on thick now, but oh did it work to make that warm ache in Aziraphale’s core spread. He wanted very much for Crowley to go on speaking about him like this.

“We are hosting a party very soon,” Mrs Everleigh proclaimed then, looking up at her husband. “Wouldn’t it be a good opportunity to meet again?”

“Indeed,” Mr Everleigh agreed, perking up at the idea. Then he turned to Crowley. “Do you still live at the same address? I will send you a formal invitation in this case.”

“I do,” Crowley confirmed. “And we would be delighted to accept.”

“Then we will get to know each other much better then,” Mrs Everleigh said with a smile, looking towards Aziraphale. “I’m sure we could find something to talk about while the men talk business.”

“I would love to meet more of my dear husband’s friends,” Aziraphale said sincerely, smiling cheerfully at her.

With that settled both pairs said their goodbyes, and Crowley strode on with a satisfied smirk.

“That’s done,” he said then. He was walking as fast as Aziraphale could keep up with comfortably, their arms still linked.

“I do look forward to spend time with them. They seem lovely.”

“I mean getting invited to deal with your bookshop hostage holder, angel.”

Aziraphale huffed.

“Of course, dearest.”

They arrived home soon, and Crowley took Aziraphale’s coat and gloves to put away neatly. Aziraphale moved over to the most comfortable couch that he’d claimed as his own, slipped out of his shoes, and lay down on it. The most recent book he started reading was already on hand, so he glanced at Crowley expectantly.

“Come over here, my dear,” Aziraphale said. “It’s normal for a husband to be close to his wife in the comfort of their home.”

Crowley didn’t protest as he moved over and sat down at the end of the couch, letting Aziraphale place his feet on Crowley’s lap. That there was nobody to observe whether they acted as husband and wife in private was neither here nor there.

Aziraphale flexed his toes a little and delighted in the warmth of Crowley’s thigh against him. It only took a few moments for Crowley to place his hand on Aziraphale’s feet and lean back to make himself comfortable too. It was such a beautifully intimate gesture, even with his stockings preventing skin to skin contact, that Aziraphale had trouble focusing on his book.

Crowley looked as if he was dozing very soon, but still Aziraphale hid his face behind his pages. He could feel the ring on Crowley’s finger against his foot, and he couldn’t help but imagine that hand drifting up just a little, cupping his ankles and maybe brushing up to rest against his shins…

He didn’t allow himself to think further about where this would go, not with Crowley right there. Instead Aziraphale tried to reason with his heart that it didn’t need to race like that, and focused all his attention on reading and not making any efforts whatsoever.

 

*

 

The day of the party approached quickly and true to his word Crowley purchased an ensemble for the both of them to wear. Aziraphale’s new dress was a lavish gold and cream coloured number with expensive lace attached to the sleeves. The lace was another gift from Crowley, something he’d gotten Aziraphale on a whim a few decades prior after taking care of some miracles in France for him, and Aziraphale had taken good care of the material. It had flowers and birds depicted on it with careful knots, and was quite a lovely thing to behold. If Aziraphale were so inclined he knew he could use it to wake envy in every lady of his social circle.

Crowley’s own clothes were a fine dark red, with black trousers and stockings. While the colour didn’t match Aziraphale at all, the pattern subtly woven into the material matched the embroidery on the dress, so they still undoubtedly looked like they belonged together. It was rare that they matched like this, so the occasion was made all the more special.

Crowley insisted they arrive late, but Aziraphale didn’t wish to be rude (or to miss the refreshments that surely would be provided), so they settled on arriving just a little after the first guests started flocking to the Everleigh estate. They arrived in a beautiful black and gold carriage that Crowley had hired somewhere on short notice, and he helped Aziraphale out and up the steps to the doors.

Inside lamps and candles flooded the house with light and cast everyone in a golden glow. They were greeted by people Aziraphale didn’t know and Crowley probably was only pretending to recognize. Music played through the entire house from a strategically placed band though Aziraphale couldn’t spot the musicians right away. It didn’t take long for their hostess to find them, and Aziraphale was kissed on both cheeks by Mrs Everleigh.

“Mrs Crowley, I am delighted that you could make it!” she proclaimed and Aziraphale smiled.

“Thank you, my dearest. What a wonderful house you have. You really did a marvellous job with these decorations.”

There was small talk and Crowley stayed at Aziraphale’s side though he didn’t intrude in the conversations as he was introduced to other women. Instead Crowley looked over the heads of the people around them. Aziraphale did his best to pay attention to what Mrs Everleigh was telling him and to remember the names of everyone he was introduced to, but he did glance at the demon occasionally to see what he was doing.

No proper dinner was served today, but servants with platters of beautiful little morsels walked through some of the rooms, and occasionally Crowley would easily pluck something up and offer it to Aziraphale, who took off his gloves and tasted everything he was handed with neat little bites. There were tiny sweetmeats and pies that he could hold between two fingers and crisp little pastries filled with fish, and everything Crowley picked was simply divine.

The sky outside turned fully dark soon and the final guests arrived. Mrs Everleigh had moved on to greet them, so Crowley placed a gentle hand on Aziraphale’s waist and guided him towards one of the quieter rooms, a salon with a yellow and white colour scheme. Aziraphale sat down on a very comfortable couch and Crowley handed him champagne and settled to stand just at his side, still waiting and watching.

Sometimes a woman Aziraphale happened to know would sit by his side for a little while to talk to him before moving on. Occasionally somebody he knew would approach and Crowley spoke to the men with a quiet self-assured tone. He declined any invitation to leave Aziraphale’s side to play cards or go smoke with them, and each time there would be a knowing smile and a glance towards the angel. It seemed that nobody begrudged Crowley a desire to stay close to his new wife at all. Anyone who looked at them would see an attentive husband hovering by his beloved’s side, making sure she had a drink and the tastiest treats, would see the gorgeous lace and the flowers in her hair, and know that he doted on her.

Aziraphale had to try very hard not to start up an angelic glow. It pleased him to no end that Crowley was taking care of him so openly, that everyone could see how pampered he was. It was only the demon who’d ever truly take care of him like this, despite knowing how strong Aziraphale was, and how easily he could get all those tiny inconsequential desires fulfilled all by himself. That Crowley still wished to do those little things for him was such a sweet touch.

He was enjoying himself so much that he quite lost track of time until Crowley shifted and leaned down to whisper into his ear.

“Hales just entered the dining hall. Lets go.”

Aziraphale finished taking a sip from his champagne and quickly set it down. Crowley offered him a hand and together they moved towards where he’d seen the property owner disappear.

The dining hall was a grand thing, clearly meant to entertain several guests and house a large table. The furniture had been moved to give more space to the guests and allowing everyone to mingle freely. A chandelier hung above and musicians had set up in a corner, playing a beautiful tune on string instruments.

Aziraphale quickly spotted Hales by the fireplace, drinking and observing the people around him. He looked content and had just finished talking to a business partner, now taking a break. He didn’t look up until Crowley and Aziraphale were quite close, and immediately smiled.

“Ah! You’re Everleigh’s friend who’d been abroad, aren’t you? Crowley? Hard to miss a man as striking as you.”

His eyes moved on to land on Aziraphale so he missed the too wide grin Crowley gave him.

“And the eccentric bookshop lady! Didn’t know we had mutual acquaintances.”

“Yes, Mr Hales, I believe,” Crowley said and stepped close to the human, blocking Aziraphale from view slightly. “And you’ve met my wife already, I hear.”

Mr Hales raised his eyebrows in amusement as his eyes moved between the two of them. He didn’t seem taken aback by Crowley yet, though Aziraphale could feel the demonic aura near him take on a vaguely intimidating tinge. It would start hitting the human in a strange inexplicable shiver down his back very soon.

“Your wife? Hah, yes I did. Hard to forget a soft little lady like that barging into property I’m selling. A specialized bookshop right in the middle of Soho? Not really what I’d imagine for the exact location of that spot, but we all need our fancies, don’t we?”

Crowley placed his elbow on the fire sill, hand close to Hales. His hand was quite unremarkable, very pretty and elegant but very human looking. Something about it had the suggestion of claws now, and Crowley leaned closer, looming over Hales very slightly with the few inches in height he held over the human.

“True, everyone needs a hobby. I don’t suppose you’re interested in selling to my dear wife, are you? You were quite brash about your opinion before, from what I hear.”

Aziraphale held his breath as he noticed Hales drawing up his shoulders in discomfort slightly, his hand clenching around his glass a little.

“I did not plan to, sir. You see, I’ve got other interested parties and while I really couldn’t care less how anyone blows their money after I sell my property, I also don’t want to go around being responsible for a woman ruining her savings and reputation in a silly little business venture.”

His voice didn’t waver, which Aziraphale couldn’t help to find admirable. Crowley was now bleeding demonic suggestion into the air, making a few of the other guests around them shift and move away unconsciously. Aziraphale was not susceptible to it, but even so he could see Crowley’s loose posture, not unlike a snake readying itself to strike, and the way his expression shifted to a dangerous little smile. Heat spread through his body again, and he shifted where he stood, unable to take his eyes off the demon.

“Really?” Crowley asked, his voice low and grin spreading a little. “Are you insulting my dear wife to my face?”

“What?” Hales paled a little, bristling at the accusation. “I would not, who do you take me for! I merely pointed out how ill-advised such a purchase would be for a woman like-”

“See, I don’t think that’s of your concern at all,” Crowley pointed out with a tone that was very nearly kind. “And I don’t think you’d treat any other potential buyer like this. Potential buyers who don’t exist, as you and I both know.”

There really hadn’t been anyone to bid for the property yet, and based on Crowley’s expectations nobody else would want to do so anymore.

Hales shifted away a little, aware of this as well.

“So how about you sell your space to my angel over here,” Crowley went on. “Without haggling or trying to drive up the price past what’s a reasonable amount to ask for. And I won’t expose your insult towards my wife. And in turn your insult against me.”

The last words came out as a hiss as Crowley’s grin turned into a baring of teeth. Mr Hales shrunk under the demon’s stare, sharp even with the smoked glasses hiding his eyes.

“I believe I can have a contract drawn up and sent to you by tomorrow,” he said. Gone was the self-assured boom of a businessman’s voice, replaced by a timid mumble.

“Excuse me,” Mr Hales bowed his head and nodded towards Aziraphale, who barely spared him a glance. Then he rushed past them, drink forgotten; presumably to leave the party early and flee with his tail between his legs.

Crowley watched him for a few moments, before turning to Aziraphale with a wide smile.

“See that, angel? Barely five minutes of work and you’ve got the first step towards your very own bookshop.”

A mildly confused servant found himself at their side suddenly. Crowley took two champagne glasses from him and sent him off, offering one to Aziraphale.

“Lets cheer to that!”

Aziraphale took a deep breath, staring up at Crowley. He felt hot all over, the skin exposed by his low cut collar practically burning and his entire body feeling slightly unbalanced and weightless. This close he could smell Crowley’s burned sugar and wood smell, made all the stronger by the demonic wiles he’d just used, could practically taste it in the air. And all to defend Aziraphale’s honour and give him exactly the earthly indulgence he wanted more than anything else.

Well, nearly anything else.

“Crowley,” Aziraphale said, his voice rough.

Crowley’s grin faded a little, his eyebrows drawing together.

“Angel?” he asked, uncertainly.

Aziraphale grabbed his wrist, hands trembling slightly and stared up at Crowley imploringly.

“Find us somewhere private. Now.”

Crowley looked a little lost for a few moments, then he went rigid. He pulled his arm from Aziraphale’s hold, but only to put down the glasses he held, and then he grabbed his hand.

“Lets go.”

They made their way through the house quickly, pushing past people and up stairs and Aziraphale wasn’t sure which one of them made it so that nobody paid any attention or even happened to look their way. It didn’t matter anyway. Down a hallway and away from the chatter of humans Crowley pulled him along until they reached what was clearly a private part of the house, not meant for guests. There were no servants around that moment, and Aziraphale was glad for it.

A door was pushed open and Crowley pulled Aziraphale into a small study. It had a desk with a neat writing set and empty sheets of paper, as well as several bookshelves filled with heavy tomes. A single lamp stood on the desk and illuminated the room, the curtains drawn and not letting in light from the streetlamps outside. The door shut behind them and at Aziraphale’s suggestion the lock clicked shut, the noise loud in the quiet room.

Crowley looked at Aziraphale, his breath coming out harsh and nervous, and Aziraphale tasted the air. The scent of burning grew stronger, filling the room pleasantly.

“Crowley,” he said again, barely a whisper.

“I did well there, right?” Crowley asked, looking at Aziraphale with a hopeful expression. “Wasn’t laying it on too thick with the powers, yeah? I know you wanted everything done the human way.”

Aziraphale pushed against him, hands on his lapels, bodies pressed together, and kissed Crowley hard.

Crowley startled, but only for a moment. His hands flew to Aziraphale’s waist, digging in through the thick material and lighting the angel’s skin aflame all over. His lips tasted of champagne, but he opened his mouth at Aziraphale’s harsh onslaught, and Aziraphale could finally taste the sugar and fire he had yearned for much too long.

A whine rouse in Crowley’s throat and Aziraphale answered with a moan of his own, melting against Crowley. He threw his arms around his neck, trying to get closer, and Crowley responded by crowding him back against the wall, making Aziraphale hit it hard with his back, though a hand was wrapped around the back of his head to keep him from hitting it too.

“Oh lord, Crowley,” Aziraphale gasped out, kissing along Crowley’s cheek and towards his ear. “The way you just did- for me. All evening you’ve been so very good to me, and then the way you made sure he- You don’t know what it does to me when you do things for me like-”

At a loss for words he licked along Crowley’s skin, tasting the demonic serpent mark by his ear.

Crowley let out a choked sound, stuttering as Aziraphale pushed his hips up against Crowley’s, trying to get as much friction as the ridiculous layers of skirts and petticoats would permit.

“Angel, hrgh- of course I- what a- you sure? Of course I’ll do these things. You’re mu- my wife right now, remember? Of course I’ll be good to you.”

“Then be good to me one more time now,” Aziraphale insisted, reaching for Crowley’s pants, reluctant to let go but also very eager to get his hands on more of Crowley. In his lust hazed brain he struggled to remember how to get rid of the current fashionably tight pants, let alone how to open them from the wrong side.

Crowley caught Aziraphale’s hand in his.

“Oh, I’ll show you a demon’s version of good.”

Gone was the nervous energy from before, and back was the sure and confident demon who’d so easily frightened a man into giving Aziraphale just what he wanted. He pulled off his glasses, revealing the burning stare of yellow eyes. Crowley tossed the glasses behind his back; Aziraphale couldn’t hear the impact of them landing anywhere, but didn’t much care for what Crowley had done to them anyway.

Without breaking eye contact Crowley reached down and pulled at Aziraphale’s skirts, hiking them up as much as he could. Aziraphale quickly took hold of the fabric, holding it out of the way with shaking hands as Crowley pushed at the layers underneath, fingers sliding over stockings and reaching the bare skin of his thigh. His breath quickened, chest heaving as Crowley’s hand pushed past his shift.

At that, so very close to were Aziraphale desperately wanted his touch, Crowley paused and his smile became just a little gentler.

“You sure about this, angel?” he asked in a low murmur close to Aziraphale’s ear. “Last chance to tell me to stop if you want nothing to happen here.”

Aziraphale shook his head vehemently.

“Don’t you dare stop now, you fiend!”

Crowley’s free hand slid over the exposed skin at Aziraphale’s throat, whisper soft and hot, and he leaned in for a deep kiss. Aziraphale’s eyes fluttered shut, lost in the heat of his own lust and Crowley’s body so close, his hand burning against his skin. With the skirts hitched up he barely noticed when Crowley’s arm began to move again, and he cried out as fingertips brushed against his sex.

“No underwear?” Crowley asked, hissing in delight. “I thought you were a modern woman, angel.”

“What do you take me for,” Aziraphale snapped back. Undergarments hadn’t been in style for a while, and for once he actually felt confident about being timely in his clothing choices.

Crowley had no complaints left when he reached his goal, and Aziraphale couldn’t be cross at all when his thumb nudged his clit gently. He cried out as Crowley rubbed his fingers over slick skin, humming in delight.

“You’re so wet for me already? I barely did anything at all.”

His fingers parted his outer lips, thumb circling his clit as Aziraphale cried out and threw back his head.

“Is it from watching me serve you? Use my powers to get you what you want? Does that excite you, angel?”

Crowley gathered some slick between his fingers and moved his fore and middle finger to join his thumb, massaging Aziraphale much too gently to do more than tease. His eyes were blazing, too intense for Aziraphale to look at him.

“Then let me serve you more, my dear wife.”

Aziraphale whimpered as Crowley picked up his pace, hands scrambling for purchase and legs going weak. He hitched up one leg to rest against Crowley’s hip, foot finding a chair to lean against and give him more access. One hand scraped against the wall uselessly and the other found the fabric of Crowley’s sleeve and clawed against it. Whether to push him away to catch some reprieve from the sensations or to pull him deeper, Aziraphale wasn’t sure. He felt dizzy from pleasure, wanting more, wanting something-

“Crowley, Crowley,” he whined, writhing against the demon’s hold as Crowley’s hand sped up. “More, please, I beg you, more-”

“You shouldn’t have to beg for your pleasure,” Crowley said sweetly, and caught Aziraphale’s scream with his mouth as he pushed two fingers inside, filling Aziraphale up just as he wanted and yet not nearly enough.

“You should always get exactly what you want, my sweet angel,” he whispered, kissing along Aziraphale’s cheek and behind his ear, nuzzling against the artfully arranged loose curls there. “There should be nothing you wish for that you don’t receive.”

A forked tongue licked along Aziraphale’s throat, tasting him as Crowley started to thrust his hand deeper, back out and in, never stopping the movement of his thumb over Aziraphale’s clit.

“You should be treated like the angel you are, revered and worshipped.”

His free hand slid down to pull at the fabric of Aziraphale’s dress, exposing a shoulder and more of his breasts. Aziraphale was sure he’d faint from all the sensations when Crowley’s lips moved over his newly revealed skin, peppering kisses along his collarbones and right at the edge of his dress, enough to drive Aziraphale mad but not enough to leave even the faintest of traces. Only Aziraphale’s flush of pleasure marred his fashionably pale appearance.

“You should be adored.”

Aziraphale thrust his hips against Crowley’s hand as much as he could, no longer able to tell how many fingers were in him or what Crowley’s mouth was doing. There was only pleasure and the full stretch of his hand and far too soon he felt his release push against the weakening damn of his composure. He had to push his hand against his mouth to keep from screaming out his pleasure, afraid to be overheard even so far from the party.

“I’m, Crowley, I’m about to-”

“I’ve got you, angel.”

Aziraphale’s hand was pulled away from his mouth and Crowley kissed him again, muffling his moans as Aziraphale felt his entire body convulse in the safe hold of his demon. He lost all awareness for a few moments, feeling nothing but the burning core of his demonic partner and heat of his pleasure. His hand clenched against Crowley’s arm hard enough to stop all thrusts, and then Aziraphale felt his legs wobble and go weak.

He was caught gently and kisses were pressed to his cheek as his breath slowly slowed down to normal. Through half lidded eyes Aziraphale watched as Crowley pulled back his hand and very gently placed Aziraphale’s leg back to the ground. He licked his fingers clean quickly, and then started to put Aziraphale back together. His hair was straightened, and the dress was pulled back in place gently.

Then Crowley sank to his knees and adjusted Aziraphale’s stockings where they had slipped a little, straightened each layer of shift and skirts until Aziraphale looked loose and tired, but not at all as if he’d just been thoroughly debauched by a demon. Only the waves of pleasure still washing over his entire body and the sensation of something slick running down his inner thighs were left for Aziraphale to be sure that this hadn’t been some wistful dream, no outward evidence left at all.

Crowley looked up at Aziraphale nearly shyly, as if his fingers hadn’t just breached his body mere moments ago and as if his tongue hadn’t gotten a good taste of angelic skin.

“Was that good, angel?” he asked, as if Aziraphale’s reactions weren’t enough of a clue.

He reached out to cup Crowley’s cheek, thumb running over his tattoo.

“Oh my dearest, you always are so wonderful to me,” Aziraphale sighed happily.

Crowley caught his hand and pressed a chaste kiss to his palm before rising to his feet.

“Now,” Aziraphale said and cleared his throat. “Am I presentable?”

“A little flushed,” Crowley said with a happy smile. “Give it a moment.”

Aziraphale hummed in agreement and looked down at himself. His dress was just as it was before, the bodice hadn’t shifted at all and his sleeves-

“Look at this!” he cried, raising his arm to show where the lace had ripped off from the sleeve. He must have caught it on something and not heard the thread snap.

Crowley examined it for a few moments.

“It’s not damaged, angel. You can sew that back on.”

“But I can’t be seen with ripped off lace,” Aziraphale cried. “Everyone will think I can’t even take care of my own dresses!”

With a soft look Crowley took Aziraphale’s hand in his and kissed his knuckles right over where the wedding ring rested. With a soft wave of warmth the thread reconnected the torn off piece, and Aziraphale’s lace was once more impeccably attached.

“Thank you, my dear,” Aziraphale said and linked their arms together, that little gesture somehow flustering him more than Crowley’s hand between his legs.

They rejoined the party as if nothing had happened, and nobody seemed to notice anything amiss. Crowley had returned his glasses to his face, and his expression was as always difficult to read, while Aziraphale looked just as delighted as before, if not more so. They picked up champagne again, and this time Aziraphale clinked his glass against Crowley’s.

“To being good to each other,” Aziraphale said with a mirthful smile. Crowley returned it.

“To your bookshop.”

 

*

 

It took two days for the contract to be finalized and Aziraphale could barely think of anything else in his excitement. He had to struggle not to use miracles to speed everything up and have letters arrive sooner, but in the end the wait was well worth it.

Crowley accompanied Aziraphale to Mr Hales’ lawyer, where the document about transferring the property’s ownership was shown. He stood back as Aziraphale went over everything himself, and produced the exact amount of money in banknotes. If anyone was surprised by this the humans didn’t let anything on. Mr Hales was far more timid than his usual demeanour, and he occasionally threw uneasy glances towards Crowley, who merely returned the look with a sharp grin.

Within half an hour Aziraphale held the keys to his new home in his hands, vibrating with excitement. They left arm in arm, and Aziraphale nearly felt guilty for barely paying attention to Crowley at all, but he just couldn’t be happier. The second they were out in the street Aziraphale started chatting about what he would have changed, and how the bookshelves and furniture he had commissioned a while back could finally be shipped in, or where he planned to place which book.

Crowley, thankfully, didn’t seem to mind. He listened indulgently as Aziraphale prattled on, and when Aziraphale sheepishly asked if he could go about his business himself he didn’t protest.

“Have fun, angel,” he said, and left Aziraphale to his own devices.

Aziraphale dedicated as much time as was humanly reasonable for a mortal to do in the next few weeks. He picked the remaining furniture needed and selected wallpapers and rugs. As the shop’s space hadn’t been used in quite some time everything needed to be renovated and cleaned up, and Aziraphale commissioned a compass to be drawn right under the skylight. He moved easily between the workers and paid handsomely for the services, slipping in a blessing here and there when he just couldn’t help himself.

Nearly every night he would return to Crowley’s house quite late, and most of the time Crowley was either already in bed drooling on a pillow (or once, notably, asleep plastered to the ceiling). Aziraphale would enter quietly and read a book or look through the plans for his bookshop then, sitting at a small desk by the bed to let the demon sleep undisturbed. Sometimes Crowley would wake when he entered, smile blearily, and go right back to sleep. They barely saw each other, but the demon didn’t complain about Aziraphale’s pet project taking up all his time.

And then, finally, it was done.

The bookshop was completed, and all that was left to do was to send for all the various stashes of books Aziraphale had created over the centuries. It would take quite some time, shipping them over from all across the continents he’d inhabited lately, and Aziraphale still needed to have a sign for the shop painted. So while the grand opening would still have to wait, he finally felt like he had the beginnings of his very own space.

The day the last workers had left Aziraphale invited Crowley over to show him what he had created for himself.

“Look at this, isn’t it just wonderful?” he asked as he opened the door for Crowley.

The shop was mostly filled with empty bookshelves and heavy crates they had to walk between to see everything. Very few books had been taken from them yet, and so far only the books Aziraphale kept near London had made their way into his new residence.

Crowley looked around and he seemed impressed enough.

“Looks good. Fashionable colours you’ve got here, angel.”

“I couldn’t have done any of this without you, my dear,” Aziraphale said, taking Crowley’s hands.

They were standing right under the skylight now, a comfortable rug under their feet. Crowley smirked.

“Just a little bit of intimidation, angel. You’d have gotten everything settled without me.”

Aziraphale pouted.

“Nonsense! I like it when my husband does all these little things for me.”

Crowley’s cheeks flushed red.

“You know we can drop the act of being husband and wife, right? You’ve got your shop, there’s nothing else this is good for.”

Aziraphale stepped closer then, swaying his hips and wrapping his arms around Crowley’s shoulders with a mischievous smile. Immediately his hands were on the angel’s hips, warm and secure and Crowley’s mouth dropping open in surprise.

“Well, there’s some other enjoyable activities for married life,” Aziraphale purred. “You’ve been so good to me, dearest. But you didn’t get to have fun yourself at all.”

“Mh- ‘ve had plenty of fun angel,” Crowley said roughly.

“Perhaps. But wouldn’t it be more fun to enjoy ourselves together? Without any chance of people wanting to walk in? Think of how you could ruin me.”

The locks of the door turned closed, and the one window with a view at the proceedings found itself with brand new shutters. Crowley looked around, breath hitching.

“If you’re sure, angel?” he said, hands moving up Aziraphale’s sides in a soft caress.

Aziraphale reached up to pluck the glasses from his face and made them disappear before kissing his lips sweetly.

“Plenty sure, my dearest. This bookshop needs breaking in, if it is to be my home.”

Crowley didn’t need to be told twice. At once his arms were wrapped around Aziraphale’s waist, and he kissed him deeply. Aziraphale let out a delighted moan, hands digging into Crowley’s hair. He’d barely gotten to touch Crowley at all last time, and he itched to get his hands on skin. Without breaking the kiss Crowley dropped to his knees, lowering Aziraphale down gently until he was stretched out on the soft rug.

“Get your clothes off, dear,” Aziraphale gasped when their lips parted for just a moment, tugging at Crowley’s coat.

With quick and clumsy motions Crowley tossed the narrow coat aside and undid his waistcoat, throwing it behind him as well. Aziraphale tore at his shirt impatiently, pulling it out of Crowley’s waistband until he could slip his hands underneath and finally finally touch Crowley’s skin.

Crowley groaned as soft fingers stroked over his stomach and ribs, feeling his skin there. He kissed Aziraphale again, deeply and practically devouring him as Aziraphale let the demon do as he pleased. He ran his hands over Aziraphale’s neck, making him shiver in anticipation, and then quickly undoing as much of his bodice as he could.

“I want to tassste you, angel,” Crowley hissed as he groped at Aziraphale’s chest, tugging down the fabric of the dress and cupping his breasts as they were freed from their confines. “Everywhere.”

“Yes!” Aziraphale cried out as Crowley’s forked tongue slid over skin and found his nipple.

He usually neglected that part of his body, when he had private moments of pleasure, but Crowley could truly do the most interesting things with his tongue. Aziraphale arched up from the floor with a cry as Crowley bit and sucked, one hand palming Aziraphale’s unoccupied breast gently. His hips arched and his hands slipped from Crowley’s shirt to cling to his hair instead.

“You’re so very soft, angel,” Crowley whined against Aziraphale’s chest after a while, nuzzling against his skin and wrapping his arms around him, holding him close in an embrace. His weight was heavenly against Aziraphale’s body, and the angel had to twist a little to be able to kiss the top of Crowley’s head.

“You’re so good to me, my love,” he sighed against fiery hair.

Crowley looked up, eyes filled with emotions. They were entirely yellow now, and Aziraphale shivered with delight at the thought that so little had done this to Crowley.

“I love you,” the demon whispered as Aziraphale cupped his cheeks. “Sssso much. Would give you a hundred bookshops if it would make you happy.”

“I love you, too, my darling,” Aziraphale replied, kissing him sweetly and innocently, if it weren’t for their current positions.

Crowley looked torn for a few moments, deepening the kiss until he reluctantly pulled away and slid down Aziraphale’s body. His hands found the hem of Aziraphale’s dress and pulled it up, exposing his legs and settling between them.

“Let me see you, angel,” Crowley said, making quick work of exposing Aziraphale entirely. “I didn’t get to see the lovely effort you made last time.”

The sheer volume of fabric made it difficult to look down properly, and Aziraphale felt his cheeks heat up at the thought of Crowley examining him closely. He felt cool air against his heated sex, legs trembling with need as he felt Crowley’s stare on him.

“How beautiful,” Crowley commented. “And all for me.”

He didn’t seem to have the patience to wait any longer as he dove in eagerly, kissing his way down Aziraphale’s thighs and then lapping at him eagerly. If his hands had been skilled then his tongue was simply a masterwork.

Aziraphale lost all sense of language for a few seconds as he felt Crowley’s mouth work on him, his hot tongue tasting him everywhere. He toyed with his chest as Crowley warmed up, moaning just as the angel as if he was the one being pleasured so nicely. When Crowley moved on to suck Aziraphale’s clit into his mouth and brushed fingers against him Aziraphale tensed and propped himself up on his elbows, one hand flattening his skirts as much as he could to not miss the sight of his demon going down on him like that.

Crowley glanced up for a moment, before his eyes fluttered shut and he focused on his task fully once more. He was beautiful like that, his nose resting against Aziraphale’s curls and jaw working as he licked and kissed and focused on repeating anything that had Aziraphale cry out especially loudly.

“Oh my dearest, my darling,” Aziraphale got out between moans. “You’re so good at this.”

Crowley hummed against him and began fingering Aziraphale in earnest. There was no way an angel could last for very long with such treatment, and soon Aziraphale was grabbing at Crowley’s hair again, crying out with his climax. Crowley rode it out with gentle licks and only rose to prop himself up on his hands when Aziraphale sunk back against the floor, satisfied and still catching his breath.

Under Aziraphale’s hands Crowley’s hair had slipped from its queue, now falling around his face in messy red curls. He looked pleased with himself as he took in Aziraphale’s state, and Aziraphale tugged at his collar to make him come close enough for a kiss.

“I think you’ve quite earned yourself something out of this, too, my love,” he told Crowley after a peck on the lips. “And don’t tell me you’re getting enough from just seeing me come apart, dear. I want you to ravish me.”

Crowley let out an incoherent sputter and quickly set to opening up his trousers. He was hard already, and Aziraphale’s eyes widened in delight as he saw what Crowley had in store this time, reaching for his cock.

When Aziraphale wrapped his hand around it and gave it a gentle stroke Crowley shivered and his mouth opened in a soft “oh”. His fingers clenched and he sank down to rest his body against Aziraphale as he looked up with wide eyes.

“Is this good?” he asked, as if any part of his corporation could possibly displease Aziraphale.

“Simply perfect, my love.”

Aziraphale placed his feet on either side of Crowley’s legs for purchase, and guided his cock to his entrance. He nearly felt nervous with excitement at finally having his demon like that, and both tilted their hips up as Crowley slid in fully with a groan, going easy as Aziraphale was completely boneless and relaxed, willing his body to let the demon in as closely as possible.

They froze as Crowley’s hips pushed against Aziraphale’s, both overwhelmed by the sensations. Aziraphale felt full in every possible way, his body was stretched deliciously, his heart felt like it might burst from how much love it held for Crowley, and somewhere, in a plane of reality just a step to the side their celestial an occult bodies pushed against one another, touching and very nearly mingling into one.

An eternity might have passed and Aziraphale wouldn’t have complained, but it was probably only a few seconds before Crowley started to thrust slowly and deeply, pulling back and pushing back in deliciously, each thrust punching a soft moan from Aziraphale’s lips. Crowley slid his body against Aziraphale, fabric rustling against fabric as Aziraphale wrapped his legs around Crowley’s hips, heels resting against the rest of his thighs and his arms wrapping around Crowley’s waist under his shirt.

He was so wonderfully hellishly hot against Aziraphale’s palms, it felt like bathing in a lake of fire and not feeling any pain from the flames at all. Crowley whined softly at the angel’s touches, and cupped his neck with his hand. His hand cushioned Aziraphale’s head a little as he was pushed against the rug with each thrust of Crowley’s hips, and when the demon kissed up his neck and nuzzled against his ear he threw his head back to offer him more access.

His lips and tongue were soft against Aziraphale’s skin, kissing along his ear and the sensitive spot right behind his jaw, nose buried in Aziraphale’s hair. Crowley was shaking apart in his arms, and Aziraphale knew he was saying something soothing to his demon in between moans, but he wasn’t even sure of what exactly himself.

Crowley’s hair fell over Aziraphale’s exposed breasts, a silky caress that had Aziraphale shiver, his nail nudged against his cheek, a pin prick of pleasure that had the angel wonder if he’d like them against the rest of his body. The hand that rested against Aziraphale’s waist to hold him in place was a weight that nearly drove him mad with a desire to feel it against his naked skin there. But to do so he would have to untangle from Crowley to get the dress off, and then Crowley would have to let go for even just a second and that simply wouldn’t do.

Aziraphale felt when Crowley was close to his release, the demon’s soft moans growing more frantic and the steady pace of his thrusts faltered. Aziraphale was close too, still overly sensitive from Crowley’s tongue. He pulled his hands away from Crowley’s back to grab fistfuls of red hair instead.

“Crowley, darling,” he gasped, “just a little more! Oh! Like this!”

His second orgasm was both more gentle and more intense than the first. It was a steadier and slower build up, like being swallowed by a rising tide rather than the breaking of a dam, and intense as he could feel Crowley against him in every possible way. He tensed up from the ground with a soft near soundless cry, his entire body holding Crowley in a vice grip.

Crowley didn’t seem to be able to hold on much longer after that. He groaned and his hips stuttered as his own climax hit him. His arms tightened around Aziraphale, clinging to the angel as if he was a lifeline.

Aziraphale’s eyes flew open as he stared up, feeling Crowley come in him with a choked off sob. For a few moments he wasn’t sure if his vision had whited out in pleasure or if he was blinded by the light pouring down from the skylight above him.

Hot puffs of air brushed against Aziraphale’s neck and he tried to let go of Crowley, resulting in his legs falling to the side boneless. Somehow he doubted that he would be able to stand right now, if he tried. Crowley seemed to be in the same state, his breath coming heavy and his body resting against Aziraphale, all sharp angles and long limbs. He must have fallen against him as he found his release, though Aziraphale couldn’t say he minded.

“Thank you my dearest,” he whispered and kissed Crowley’s damp temple.

Crowley looked up at him, the yellow of his eyes slowly retreating back to their usual iris size. He seemed dazed, and vulnerable, and when Aziraphale pulled him in for a kiss he came with no resistance, mouth slack and his entire body loose and relaxed.

They kissed, embracing gently and waiting for their heart rates to calm down a little. It was nice, and Aziraphale was glad that they were in private and didn’t have to rush this part. He quite liked it.

“’s good,” Crowley mumbled after they finally broke apart. He rolled off Aziraphale with a wince, though he didn’t go far.

Just as last time he started adjusting Aziraphale’s dress back into place, kissing the spots on his chest where he’d bitten and sucked bright pink marks into skin, as if to soothe them. Their hair was too much of a mess to do anything about anyway, and Aziraphale just enjoyed lying back and watching Crowley take care of him.

When Crowley went to adjust his skirts back into place he pulled out a handkerchief, and Aziraphale pushed him away.

“Leave it,” he said. “I’m too sensitive for that.”

Crowley looked worried for a moment, but Aziraphale just smiled indulgently. He could feel their combined slick on his thighs, and he very much wanted to keep feeling it until he went to take a bath this evening, an occasion for which he hoped Crowley would join him as well. It didn’t occur to him that this might become uncomfortable once the haze of lust had ebbed, so the discomfort never manifested.

Once Crowley’s pants were back in place and Aziraphale’s skirts adjusted he slid back up to lie next to Aziraphale, one arm thrown around his waist. His face was flushed and Crowley looked quite pleased with himself, looking up at Aziraphale as if waiting for approval.

“This was lovely,” Aziraphale said, rolling over to hold him as well. They kissed softly, hands stroking over each other’s sides gently, with no intent other than to touch and hold and feel the other there.

“Glad to hear angels can enjoy the sins of the flesh and all that,” Crowley grinned, his voice much too rough to let him sound casual.

“Nonsense my dear. There is nothing sinful about two beings sharing such an experience,” Aziraphale replied. “And anyone who says lovemaking is a bad thing is very foolish indeed.”

Crowley smiled at that, despite himself and Aziraphale cupped his face in his hands.

“You know, love, I think we should update the Arrangement to include this.”

“What, sex?”

“No, dear,” Aziraphale said with an eye roll. “At least not just that. I mean lending a hand if one of us takes an appearance that puts us at a disadvantage in human matters one way or another. You must admit, it is convenient to claim you as my husband when I walk around like this.”

Aziraphale waved his hand to indicate his dress.

“And you are quite fond of walking about like this as well, aren’t you my dear? I can help you out next time things align that way.”

Crowley sneered.

“The only way I’m putting on a dress is if these blessed silhouettes go back to being reasonable. Look at how big your skirts are, angel. I still have no idea how you can walk with something so massive around you. I could never sneak around and spread demonic influence wearing something like that.”

“Not all of us started out as a serpent with no legs,” Aziraphale pointed out.

Crowley snorted and tucked his face against Aziraphale’s neck again.

“That amendment to the Arrangement sounds fine to me,” he said, and Aziraphale beamed down at him.

“I have a flat upstairs,” he said slowly. “With a bed.”

“Whatever for? You don’t like sleeping.”

“Just for show my dear. But I was thinking…” Aziraphale trailed off and gave Crowley a meaningful look.

“That bed needs some breaking in, too.”

Crowley stared for a few seconds, and then he was already on his knees and pulled Aziraphale up to sit.

“Then let’s not waste any time, wife of mine!” he said eagerly.

“Wait,” Aziraphale giggled when his hands were grasped in an attempt to pull him up. “Show some mercy, you fiend! I can barely stand yet!”

Crowley had paused at Aziraphale’s cry, and he frowned for a few seconds. Then he slid his arm under Aziraphale’s knees and the other behind his back, hoisting him up and marching towards the stairs.

Aziraphale let out a shriek and clung to Crowley, equally delighted and amused, as he knew Crowley must be using a miracle to be able to walk up like this with the angel in his arms while making it appear easy.

But it wasn’t something Aziraphale could fault him for. It was, after all, just for the sake of convenience.