In the Beginning, several rules had yet to be laid down. Being corporeal was squishy and new. Sex had only very recently been deemed dubious, and the particulars were still up in the air.
Also, it was raining.
The Almighty was going all out with the storm. She particularly liked the small clear rivulets that ran across the ground, whisking along leaves and turning into rushing streams. Next She was going to try thunder.
Angel wings, and by extension demon wings, make good umbrellas for a short while, but quite swiftly become waterlogged. Waterlogged wings are useless, and heavy. After a quarter hour or so of staring out into the desert, shielding Crawly from the deluge, Aziraphale dropped his wing and shook it vigorously, muscles twinging and unbalanced.
He had never been wet before. He'd expected it to be refreshing, like a cool drink turned into a full body experience. It wasn't like that. It was clingy, and chilly, and the impact of the raindrops made him flinch whenever there was a big one. And there was a smell — a curl of ozone from where stray droplets hit Crawly's hair, and an animal mustiness that rose off of Aziraphale's pinions.
"The mortals won't be using their resting place," Crawly suggested. "Since they're, you know, out there. Not in here. Should be drier."
Aziraphale nodded. He poised to take off — the garden walls didn't have stairs; anyone who was meant to be up there could fly — and the air slipped through his wet feathers, all the barbs stuck to each other in messy points. "Ah. That's a bit of a pickle, it's it," said Aziraphale.
"Come here," said Crawly, beckoning. "I'll give you a lift."
"Really?" Aziraphale asked, brightening. "That would be wonderful — you're too kind."
"Don't say that."
"Oh, of course — um — I'm sure you're very dastardly, forcing an angel to be indebted to you."
Crawly looked Aziraphale up and down. He hadn't been thinking of favors. He'd been more preoccupied by how Aziraphale's sodden robes clung to his chest and back, the white fabric turned translucent by the rain.
Aziraphale's arms went over Crawly's shoulders; Crawly gripped him with one arm around his waist and one hand under his thigh to bear his weight. It was ungainly, chest-to-chest, hips slotted together, but it was enough for a scrambling flutter down to the ground, Aziraphale reflexively stroking the air with waterlogged pinions while Crawly's drier wings did most of the work.
They landed hard enough that Crawly dropped Aziraphale, who staggered to lean against the wall.
"Bracing," said Aziraphale, and Crawly agreed.
Adam and Eve's shelter was warm and softly lit. It still smelled like them: earth and musk and sweet fruits. Two small vessels of shaped stone sat on the ground, of equal size and filled with herbs steeped in water. The first ever tea had gone cold.
"Do you think She loved them?" Aziraphale asked, reheating the cups of tea with a wave of his hand. "Sending them away with nothing."
"Of course She loved them. You have to love someone, to do a thing like that," Crawly replied instantly, without pausing to think. A person has to have thought about something a lot, to have an answer that fast. It has to have become calcified, so obviously true that you can't help snapping at whoever's ignorant enough to ask. It's the same impulse that leads to yelling, "Not eight minutes!" during the General Ignorance segment of QI, even at moments that may be inappropriate.
Crawly hissed a little at himself — showing your cards, demon, the angel isn't stupid, he'll see the places you're touchy about and who knows what he'll do with that information — and took one of the cups from Aziraphale. The tea inside was bitter on his tongue, oversteeped and stale.
Aziraphale furrowed his brow, not certain he had wanted that much of an answer to his question. He'd been expecting a soothingly noncommittal response, an empty shrug, another ineffable one, you know how She is, and instead gotten something with bite. Crawly climbed in his regard from pleasant enough to interesting.
Aziraphale was wickedly intelligent. His mind was sharper than a beach of shattered oyster shells on a day that you forgot your flip flops. Intellect like that cracks open puzzles, sucks out the marrow, and stalks forward, still hungry, hunting for something actually challenging, my dear, the only thing wrong with this is pedestrian spotty provenance and poor penmanship; a well-trained parrot could perform this translation.
Crawly being interesting, even if it was in uncomfortable directions, was a good sign for their nascent relationship. Maybe he would say more unsettling, difficult things later. Aziraphale sipped his bad tea and made a face at the quality, glancing up at Crawly for a bit of shared commiseration.
"It's warm, at least," said Crawly, wrapping his long fingers around the cup.
Aziraphale nodded. He was still wet, and beginning to be cold as well. It wasn't very nice. He shivered and stored his wings away, folding them up into one of the many blind spots in the universe.
"Hey, don't do that," Crawly scolded.
"Put them away wet. Next time you take your wings out they'll be all musty, and knowing you lot, you'll leave them to mildew."
"Oh," said Aziraphale. "I didn't realize." He pulled his wings out from the spaces between photons and winced at the staticky tingle. Snapping one's limbs in and out of the perceivable universe prickles when you do it too many times in a row, like getting a faceful of smoke after tossing green wood on the fire. Aziraphale blinked several times in quick succession to clear the sting.
"Give those over here," Crawly said, and watched in awe as the trusting idiot presented him with his back.
Aziraphale's wings, at that point, weren't yet impregnated with bookish dust. They didn't smell like Latakia tobacco and vanilla. Instead the scent that hit Crawly's sensitive nose was of hot metal, faint chlorine, and skin.
Crawly carded his fingers through Aziraphale's wet primaries and secondaries.
"That feels lovely," Aziraphale cooed.
"You should try laying on a warm rock sometime," said Crawly. Then he imagined a blow dryer, and one appeared.
It didn't come out quite like a modern hair dryer. Instead it was something like a bellows with bit of tubing stuck on. The apparatus lacked any kind of heating element; it blew hot air because Crawly wanted it to. Crawly spread Aziraphale's feathers and passed the nozzle of the hair dryer he'd made up and down their lengths. Hot air ran in eddies up the feather shafts to flutter Aziraphale's culverts and caress his skin.
Aziraphale uttered a positively indecent groan of pleasure.
"Ngh," said Crawly under his breath. The angel stretched into his touch and sighed again, loudly. Crawly thought of several other things that could evoke that noise in quick succession. Most of them were soon to be banned as filthy, impure acts. At least two remained illegal in several parts of the United States until 2003. At the dawn of creation, however, the rules were still fuzzy. Bodies hadn't existed for very long. There were still a lot of things to try on for size.
He smoothed and dried and groomed — somehow Aziraphale had dragged his wings through a patch of burrs, how — until Aziraphale was sleek enough to pass for a demon. Satisfied, Crawly flattened down one last errant feather and leaned back.
"Are you finished? Is that it?" Aziraphale asked plaintively.
Crawly could have retorted that it had taken the better part of an hour to sort Aziraphale's wings out, and told him where he could shove his is that it. Or. Or.
He could keep on touching. He crowded up against Aziraphale's back once more. Aziraphale's skin was smooth and hot from blow drying. Almost as good as a nice flat rock in the sun.
"Doesn't have to be," said Crawly. His breath ghosted over the back of Aziraphale's neck; Crawly could feel the sharp little inhale Aziraphale took in response, his ribcage expanding against Crawly's skin. He spread his legs and snugged Aziraphale into the vee of them with a tug of hands on hips. Aziraphale reached back with one hand and pushed his fingers into Crawly's hair, then tugged him forward until Crawly's lips brushed the short hairs at the nape of his neck. Crawly nipped him, just to have a taste, and Aziraphale made another one of those decadent moans and wriggled himself more flush with Crawly. His wings vanished with a snap of feathers against electrons so his entire back could press against Crawly's chest.
"Have you taken the equipment for a spin?" asked Crawly, gesturing towards Aziraphale's lap.
Crawly huffed in exasperation and squeezed the soft flesh of Aziraphale's thighs, rucking up the fabric of the angel's robes so they draped more obviously over the region in question. "The — you know — the stuff. That came with your body. All those fun dangly bits."
"Oh, my penis and testicles?"
Crawly almost choked on his tongue. He made a sound indistinguishable from the noise made when a butcher, knowing it will delight the child in front of the counter and horrify the adult with her, demonstrates how to make the carcass of the Christmas goose honk before he whacks off its head.
"Did I say it wrong?" asked Aziraphale.
"No, no," said Crawly, strangled but soldiering on. "Technically, that is the correct vocabulary."
"I thought they were a sort of odd decoration," said Aziraphale. "Like the crest of that funny bird — cockatiel, is that the name Adam picked out? They're so creative, humans."
"To the first point, it can do a lot more than decoration. To the second, how about we let Adam take the lead and call what you have down there a cock, yeah?"
"As you wish," said Aziraphale, pursing his lips to indicate that he was being awfully accommodating, indulging in all of Crawly's idiosyncrasies.
Terminology negotiated to Crawly's satisfaction, he turned his attention back to the matter at hand. Specifically, the matter literally in his hands, which was a lapful of damp, slightly squirmy angel. Crawly rolled his hips forward; he discovered that Aziraphale had a truly wonderful arse.
Aziraphale made an interested hum, the same little sound he would utter when coming across a fascinating little annotation in one of his first edition quartos.
Crawly insinuated a hand between the folds of Aziraphale's robe and found the delicate, yielding skin of his inner thigh. Aziraphale took an aborted breath, instantly transported from academic engagement to a much more visceral focus. Having someone else touch him in such a soft, vulnerable spot felt close and new; Crawly had landed on the shore of an unexplored territory and was taking his first steps up the beach. This was an access point Aziraphale didn't know he had, an unassuming door marked "For Staff Only" tucked into the back of a shop, and Crawly was stroking up and down his thigh, fingers so light they almost tickled, so Aziraphale let his legs fall farther open, urgently curious what it would be like when Crawly crossed the threshold he was poised upon.
On the other end of the equation (as it were) Crawly was discovering that this activity was very different when enjoyed with a companion compared to doing it alone. For one, his cock was already making itself known and informing him that it was ready to be involved in the proceedings and he hadn't even touched it yet.
Crawly turned Aziraphale's head with hand against his jaw and bent carefully forward to kiss him. Aziraphale let him, lightly bemused. Then Crawly slid his hand the last few inches upwards to fondle the flesh at the junction of Aziraphale's thighs. There was his cock, mmm, lovely, apparently Heaven liked its angels hung.
Aziraphale's mouth opened in shocked pleasure exactly as Crawly had hoped, and he ran his tongue across the bow of Aziraphale's parted lips, drinking in the angel's reaction. He wanted to know every detail of the angel's response. Crawly would greedily hoard every scrap of Aziraphale's first go at wanking. He wanted to hear the click of Aziraphale's throat as he stifled sounds of rapture, to feel the contours of his body, to record whatever thoughts darted behind Aziraphale's sumptuous expression.
Aziraphale was, in fact, thinking, what a lovely perk to corporeal form! It was very thoughtful of the Creator to put in a way to make oneself feel good as compensation for all the trials of physicality, such as being rained on. I could get into the habit of doing this quite often.
Aziraphale's cock filled out nicely under Crawly's palm, and he kept making encouraging wiggles, so Crawly slicked his hand with a thought and wrapped his fingers around it in a way he knew was particularly nice. He stroked languidly up and down. No rush, he thought. The rain wasn't going to end anytime soon.
"How did you learn that?" Aziraphale gasped.
Crawly grinned and added a twist over the head to each stroke. "Extensive personal experimentation."
Aziraphale hadn't been thinking much about the fact that Crawly also had a cock. He'd been focused on the raw, intoxicating sensation of pleasure, centered on Crawly's hand moving steadily beneath his robe. Now he realized that Crawly was pressed against his backside in a distinctly hard fashion. And Crawly had practiced this on himself, with the same cock that Aziraphale could feel pressing against him. Maybe Crawly had lain out on the velvety grass that grew by the southern gate, the gentle earth conforming to the shape of his body, and slipped his hand under his robes. He would have closed his eyes and tipped his head back, the movement of his hand covered but unmistakable as he whined and sighed over the new sensations, lonely and unskilled, venturing into the unknown. Or beside the highest waterfall, the sound of water over stone loud and rushing, as loud as the roar of blood pounding through Aziraphale's head, Crawly leaning loose and languid against a boulder while he touched himself everywhere. Nude, perhaps, with the spray from the waterfall dusting his hair with stars and making it frizz around the edges the same way it had dried after that day's rainfall. Or at night, sitting on the top of the garden wall, kicking his heels, biting his lip in concentration as he tried to find the spot that would feel just so.
Crawly had, in fact, done all of those things, and more. Paradise was boring when there were only two people to work with. If he lurked around Adam and Eve for more than an hour or so per day, Eve would make it abundantly clear that if Crawly wasn't willing to help with naming things, he could go be useless somewhere else, and Adam would want to weave him a flower crown or something equally insipid. In what would soon enough become a universal response to boredom among humans, Crawly turned to self-abuse. He was now quite good at it — likely best wanker on earth, given the limited pool of competitors — and if he concentrated, he could even go several times back to back. He now lavished all this skill on Aziraphale, who was swiftly approaching incoherence.
"Sometime you must let me watch," said Aziraphale. Then he added, unconvincingly, "For educational purposes, of course."
"Of course," Crawly said. "I'm certain you'd be a wonderful pupil."
"Ah, yes, ah — and you a lovely teacher."
With his free hand Crawly pulled at Aziraphale's pale robe until the linen bunched bulkily around his hips, baring his hand where it worked over Aziraphale's cock and giving Aziraphale and unobstructed view of Crawly's demonstration. "A good instructor provides visual aids," he said slyly, and hooked one ankle over Aziraphale's knee, urging him to spread his legs wider.
Aziraphale stared down in fascination. Crawly had him by an ever-so-delicate bit, and he might have been afraid, so vulnerable under Crawly's fingers, but Crawly was wrapped all around him, protecting his back, so absorbed in his ministrations he couldn't possibly have had any attention to spare for trickery. Aziraphale stroked lightly down Crawly's forearm, tickling over his arm hairs, until he could trace the shape of Crawly's knuckles, feel the way they moved, what tendons and muscles pulled to perform that fluid, maddening stroke, memorizing it all. With an angel's powers of recollection, Aziraphale would be able to duplicate Crawly's motions perfectly — even millennia later — and give himself this exact same handjob.
Crawly's fist was slippery and quick, and he was absolutely not getting a cramp in his wrist, not with Aziraphale openly groaning as his pleasure built stroke by stroke like a Dutch-Indonesian thousand layer cake.
When Aziraphale came, it was with a surprised little gasp, and then a frown at the mess.
"Is it supposed to do that?" he asked, poking at a drop on his stomach.
"Every time so far," said Crawly. "Haven't worked out how to keep it from happening yet."
He clicked his fingers, and Aziraphale was spick and span again. Aziraphale shuffled round on his knees to face Crawly, beaming. "Thank you," he said.
"‘S nothing," Crawly said, more affected by the angel's warm, sated smile than he cared to let on.
"It was very nice," Aziraphale insisted.
Crawly scoffed. "Don't push it, angel. Gratitude doesn't suit me, gives me a rash."
"Then let me do the same for you, at least. That way we're even. Can't have a member of the heavenly host owing one of the damned a favor, you know," said Aziraphale, who, despite appearances, was quite canny when it came to getting what he wanted.
"You don't have to," said Crawly, soft and earnest. "It's no skin off my back."
"I insist," Aziraphale said, and palmed Crawly through his robe. This served the dual purpose of demonstrating the seriousness of Aziraphale's offer and reminding Crawly of the rather urgent matter between his legs.
"Ohhhh, Heaven," Crawly groaned.
Aziraphale glanced up at him, smug as a swan making off with an entire slice of sourdough. Crawly thought he could get used to that expression. He immediately started imagining more ways to get Aziraphale to look like that, sated and pleased with himself and a little wicked. Maybe Crawly would hang around a bit closer to the competition than was entirely wise and spread around some wiles that begged to be thwarted. He could let a few of the more gossipy secrets of Hell slip — Ligur's lizard was named Pebbles, that was a good one — and maybe Aziraphale would slyly air out a bit of Heaven's dirty laundry in return. Or, Crowley mentally amended, as Aziraphale licked his lips and squeezed his cock through dark fabric, they could just do this again. A lot of times. That would work too.
"You know," said Aziraphale, tugging Crawly's robe open, "while you were experimenting with all this, I did manage to try something new myself. Did you know that eating is absolutely divine? Figs, especially, the way they feel in your mouth, it's incredible."
Crawly raised an eyebrow, not certain how this applied to the situation at hand. He'd given fruit a try, found it overwhelmingly sweet and full of seeds that got stuck in his teeth, and not bothered with it again.
"So, I think I'd like to try…"
While Crawly was still trying to connect the dots between figs and fooling around, Aziraphale bent down and carefully slid his lips over the head of his cock.
Crawly stared down at Aziraphale with his mouth on his dick and saw that it was Good. He came closer to worship than he had in a large chunk of eternity before he got a grip on himself. Aziraphale, mouth very full and already watering, shifted his tongue around, testing the mechanics of this new activity.
"Wow, yeah, alright," Crawly croaked. "That's — " his head thunked back against the smooth stone wall of the cave — "that's...you hedonistic bastard, you genius, keep doing that."
Aziraphale was happy to oblige.
1Re: How long does it take for light to travel to Earth from the center of the sun? [return]
2If you expected the universe to be made any more intelligently than the human retina, you would be wrong. There's a certain amount of ineffable eyeballing involved in Creation, and occasionally the physics bits don't quite line up. Luckily, the limited perceptual abilities of mortals hide a multitude of sins. [return]
3Not a familiar state for Aziraphale. He was often flustered, occasionally indecisive, and at times willfully blind, but his head was, as a general rule, accurate, clear, and exacting. [return]
4The construction of a thousand layer cake — called Bacon Cake in the Netherlands because apparently narrow stripes make the Dutch think of pork belly and not something more palatable as a desert — involves spreading batter very thin in the bottom of a pan, cooking it until golden brown, spreading more batter atop that, cooking until golden brown, and repeating until the cake reaches the top of the pan. It generally has about thirty layers, not a thousand, but if you are the person standing in the kitchen, watching the oven for eight minutes as the top of your cake slowly takes on color for the twentieth time in a row, the name certainly feels accurate. [return]
5Crawly had suggested that maybe it would be fun to name everyone's head-critter and Ligur, with a classic lack of imagination, picked the first thing he saw, which was a pile of small rocks. [return]