Actions

Work Header

Unexpected, But Long-Awaited

Work Text:

As long as Aziraphale had known the sly serpentine demon who now went by Crowley, he’d noticed their association had progressed in stages. First there had been The Meeting, on the wall of the Garden. Then came The Tension, spanning the millennia of debating their philosophical differences, even as Aziraphale began to take comfort in his hellish counterpart’s presence. After which he’d agreed to The Arrangement, as he realized that sharing his workload with a demon—and performing some of the minor temptations assigned to said demon—was a small price to pay for seeing Crowley more often. By 1941, Aziraphale had given this stage another name: The Friendship.

But preventing Armageddon—and saving each other’s lives the next day—had brought them to another stage. Or at least, to the cusp of one. Their friendship had deepened, and they both knew it. But certain steps were required to arrive at this next stage properly. Steps that Aziraphale, upon later reflection, had longed to take for six thousand years—even if he hadn’t realized it before.

xxx

The first step happened a few months after they’d escaped their executions. They’d been seeing each other every day, spending more time together than apart. It was sinking in that they didn’t have to conjure up excuses to meet. No Arrangement, no Antichrist-Thwarting, no Armageddon-Averting. It could just be because they wanted to.

They’d had dinner at a small restaurant in Chinatown, then headed to St. James’ Park for a nighttime stroll. The sun had just set, which might’ve deterred the average human. But Aziraphale outshone the dark, and Crowley melted into it like a well-used cloak. They had nothing to fear here.

They ambled along as they always did: Aziraphale upright, his hands clasped behind his back; Crowley slouching, his hands shoved into the pockets of his too-tight jeans. An odd pairing they must’ve seemed to any passersby, if anyone else had been in the park. Not that Aziraphale would have noticed anyone else, so engrossed was he in his usual banter with Crowley.

But it soon became clear that they weren’t actually the only ones in the park. Their quiet conversation was suddenly overtaken by a commotion a dozen yards away: four youths were accosting a homeless man.

Before Aziraphale could react, Crowley snapped his fingers. The youths suddenly shrieked and started slapping at their clothes. Judging by the shapes wiggling under their T-shirts, Crowley had set a few dozen snakes on them. The boys raced off, either to mummy’s or to hospital, screaming all the way.

Aziraphale knew Crowley would later deny the real reason why he’d done it. They were disturbing my evening, he would say. But Aziraphale knew better. Just as he knew by now not to press Crowley too hard about how, deep down, he had a bigger heart than any human, angel, or demon Aziraphale had ever met.

So instead, Aziraphale brought about his own intervention: he checked if the poor man was alright (healing any injuries he found), gave him some money (conjured from the air), and suggested a local shelter he could stay the night in (while miracling an available bed in said shelter, just in case).

As the man shuffled away, Aziraphale could feel the gently chiding look Crowley was giving him behind his sunglasses. “That was a lot of miracles in a row, angel.”

“I hardly think Heaven would begrudge me any of them,” Aziraphale replied. “The homeless and downtrodden are often the most in need of miracles.”

Crowley chuckled, shaking his head. It prompted a surge of righteous indignation from Aziraphale. “They are! That you could argue otherwise is—”

“It’s not that,” said Crowley. He still sounded so amused at some joke Aziraphale wasn’t in on. “Just remembering what you told me that one angel said to you, after you were discorporated. That you’re ‘a pathetic excuse for an angel.’”

Aziraphale flushed. Hearing that from Crowley stung more than from anyone else. “I…well, I try my best, I—”

“Yeah, that’s my point,” said Crowley. Aziraphale turned, and was surprised to see nothing but gentle warmth in Crowley’s expression. “You’re what an angel should be.”

Aziraphale couldn’t speak for a few seconds. In all his eons of soldiering in Heaven before he was sent to Eden, no angel had ever told him that. But here was a demon, his dearest companion, giving him the highest praise he could’ve offered. For a moment, Aziraphale was so overcome with validation, with pride, and with a rush of affection for his friend.

But he quickly composed himself, clearing his throat. “I don’t think the Archangels would agree with that assessment.”

“Fuck them all in their self-righteous arses,” said Crowley. “Gabriel could use some of that, anyway.” Aziraphale couldn’t suppress his giggles at that notion.

They fell into companionable silence for a few moments, as they came to the path circling the pond. The ducks had all tucked themselves away in their hidden roosts on the banks. The water lay motionless under the half-moon. All was calm.

“You know,” Aziraphale said into the stillness, “you’re what a demon should be, too.”

“Wha?” replied Crowley, sounding like he’d been snapped out of a wandering thought. “Me? Shutting down phone networks and designing motorways to be shaped like occult symbols?”

“You cause some chaos, yes,” said Aziraphale, “and you tempt people into…less savory actions.” He could sense Crowley’s raised brow without seeing it. “But it’s never for the sake of pure evil. You just…invite mischief.”

Crowley scoffed. “That’s like saying someone’s a good guitar player because they can play the same three chords over and over again.”

“You once told me some of the best songs of the last century are built on three chords,” Aziraphale pointed out. He saw a corner of Crowley’s mouth twitch in a quickly-suppressed smile—perhaps surprised that Aziraphale remembered him saying that. “Besides, I think the longer I’ve stayed on Earth, the more I’ve realized that the world needs chaos. Well, some chaos. Without it, there would be no variety, no wonderful music, no desserts so delectable that they must be made of sin.” He shrugged. “After all, there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence.”

Crowley laughed at that. “You’re really embracing this whole ‘being a bit of a bastard’ thing, aren’t you?”

“Just as you’re embracing being a good person at times,” Aziraphale replied smoothly. Crowley gave him an admonishing look, but didn’t protest it any more than that. On they walked, the angel and demon that God had intended, cast out from both Heaven and Hell.

“Do you think that’s why the Almighty sent us to Earth?” Aziraphale asked after a moment. “Because we invite both kindness and indulgence, regardless of the rules?”

Crowley pulled a face. “Who the Heaven knows why She does what She does.”

Aziraphale had to agree. After all he had seen, all the so-called plans of the Almighty that he had struggled to understand, he wasn’t sure if it was possible to make sense of it all. All he or anyone else could do was see its results after the fact.

Right now, the result was this moment: walking through a moonlit park with his most cherished companion of the last six thousand years. Whatever the Almighty’s plans were, Aziraphale found himself thinking that his and Crowley’s side didn’t just belong to the two of them. Perhaps She was on their side, too.

As they continued on in silence, their hands brushed together. Aziraphale’s stomach fluttered, as it always did when he and Crowley shared accidental contact. Amazing how human bodies could react so strongly to those they loved.

Yes, loved. He loved Crowley, and Crowley loved him. Aziraphale was sure of that. They rarely spoke of it, but their actions did all the talking for them: kindnesses, rescues, little gifts, making time for each other. Crowley taking Aziraphale to restaurants where he never ate a bite. Aziraphale keeping 1970s vinyls he didn’t care for in his bookshop, for Crowley to play whenever he liked. Fond looks reserved only for each other, especially when they thought the other wasn’t looking. But they knew it was there nonetheless.

Aziraphale had marveled at the human theory of the five love languages when it was published in 1992. All of them had applied to him and Crowley, save one: physical affection. Not out of any aversion to physical contact—at least, not for Aziraphale. Perhaps because it made the unspoken become much more tangible. Literally tangible.

But after helping save the world together, saving each other’s lives, and divorcing themselves from their previous employers to start their own business of ‘Our Own Side,’ what point was there in keeping this relationship intangible?

So, when their hands inadvertently brushed together on their walk, Aziraphale caught Crowley’s hand. He held it gently as they continued on.

Crowley didn’t say anything about it. Neither did Aziraphale. They went on their way, bickering and bantering as they always did. Nothing had changed.

And yet, everything had changed. Everything that had lain between them all along was now brought to the surface. There was physical proof now, a human connection between two supernatural beings, in the form of them holding hands.

They kept holding hands all the way back to Soho. It felt both familiar and brand new, comforting and exhilarating. A song lyric from that one band Crowley had described as ‘groundbreaking’ came to Aziraphale’s mind: I want to hold your hand. Aziraphale was starting to understand why humans sang with such fervor and delight about such a simple act.

When the bookshop was in sight, Aziraphale made his usual offer. “Nightcap?”

Crowley grunted his assent, such a rehearsed ritual it had lost all meaning at this point. They didn’t need a reason to stay at each other’s places anymore; Crowley could stay over, drinks or no. (Even if they would be drinking anyway.)

But something different happened tonight. As they approached the bookshop door, Aziraphale felt Crowley squeeze his hand. He looked up, to see Crowley eyeing their joined hands, before raising his eyebrows at Aziraphale.

“This is new,” Crowley said, softer than his usual biting drawl.

Aziraphale smiled warmly. “Is it?”

Crowley smirked. They went into the bookshop together, and proceeded to drink the night away. They paced themselves more nowadays, luxuriating in the lack of a deadline to their current meeting. They talked, and laughed, and argued, and reminisced.

And if they happened to catch each other’s hands, or lean into each other’s sides on the sofa closer than usual, it didn’t bother Aziraphale one bit.

xxx

The second step happened nearly two months later. Much sooner than Aziraphale could’ve anticipated—but whether he was anticipating it at all was a question he would never be able to answer. This destination was both unexpected and long-awaited. Like coming home without realizing he’d been lost in the first place.

As it happened, they were in Aziraphale’s residence. It was just past two in the afternoon, and Aziraphale had decided to close up the shop early to have some peace and quiet. The fact that Crowley had wandered in ten minutes earlier had no bearing on that plan. Nope. None at all.

Crowley held up a BluRay box set in front of Aziraphale’s face. “We’re starting it. Today. No arguing.”

Aziraphale, of course, started to argue. “Crowley, it’s eleven hours long, I can just as easily read the books in that time! Professor Tolkien gave me that completed set over there in 1954—”

“Oh, so you’re all for variety and indulgence, but only when it’s delivered in your preferred medium?”

Aziraphale huffed over the first edition of Walden he was dusting off. Crowley cocked his head, in that familiar expression of We’re fucking doing this, you insufferable bastard. “I’m miracling my TV into your sitting room.”

“Crowley—”

Said demon snapped his fingers, making good on his promise. “They’re really good. I’ve been telling you this for fifteen years, and you’ve never listened. You’ll thank me for this later.”

Aziraphale shot him a most unangelic glare. But with a sigh, he relented. “Fine. But only the first one today, I have some books to repair this evening.”

At the word ‘fine,’ Crowley smiled so smugly it would’ve tempted anyone to try and punch it off him. But as he sauntered past Aziraphale to head to the sitting room, he smoothed his hand over the angel’s arm. “You’re gonna love it.”

Some of Aziraphale’s annoyance faded at the words, and the touch made him melt into ethereal goo inside. Ever since The First Hand-Holding Incident of a week ago, they’d been sharing small touches: leaning in closer, finding each other’s hands, brushing each other’s arms as they passed. They hadn’t felt the need to discuss it further after the first night; it seemed like the natural progression of things. It fit.

It also made Aziraphale more amenable to things Crowley wanted him to do. But, he’d also learned that it had the same effect on Crowley. Apparently, physical affection was a double-edged bargaining tactic.

“C’mon, angel,” Crowley called from the top of the staircase leading to the flat above the shop.

“One moment, dear,” Aziraphale called back. That was a new thing, too: no longer was it dear boy, but dear. Darling had also made it into the mix from time to time. Crowley, as ever, stuck to angel. It still had the same heartwarming effect on Aziraphale as it had when Crowley had first called him that at the Gate of Eden.

Just to be contrary, Aziraphale started wiping off the smudges of Walden’s cover much more slowly. Maybe Leaves of Grass needed a polish, too.

“Angellllll.”

“I’ll be right up!” Aziraphale said, with more annoyance. Then, with less annoyance: “Oh, could you bring me my tea mug? It should be on the table—”

“Next to your chair, got it.”

Within moments, Crowley was at his side, setting his angel-winged mug on the stack of Mary Shelley novels by Aziraphale’s elbow. “Careful!” Aziraphale exclaimed, setting the mug on the counter space next to the stack. “They were signed by the author, first editions too!”

Crowley breathed an irritated sigh. “Are you coming up?”

Aziraphale stopped wiping off the now-flawless cover of Leaves of Grass. A small coil of steam rose out of his tea mug. Not only had Crowley promptly brought it to him, he’d miracled it to the exact temperature Aziraphale preferred.

“Thank you, dear,” Aziraphale said softly.

“Yeah, yeah,” said Crowley, brushing away the thanks like the totally-not-nice demon he was. He kissed Aziraphale’s cheek. “C’mon, Middle Earth’s waiting for us.”

He started to walk back toward the stairs. At least, that was probably his intent. Aziraphale couldn’t be sure, because Crowley only prepared to take the first step before he stopped cold. He and Aziraphale both froze in place, as they realized what Crowley had just done.

He’d kissed Aziraphale’s cheek.

At the same moment, they both snapped out of the shock. Crowley smiled nervously, his laugh too self-conscious to play this off. “Sorry,” he mumbled. Flashed a smile again. It came out like a grimace.

He started to walk away again, but he was stopped this time by Aziraphale’s hand on his arm. “Crowley,” Aziraphale said softly.

Crowley turned to him. Even with his glasses still on, Aziraphale could see how unsure he was, even slightly afraid. Not Crowley’s style at all.

Aziraphale, on the other hand, felt like his heart was going to burst with all the love it contained. If he was nervous, the joy was crowding it out. He cupped Crowley cheek in his hand. “You missed."

Crowley’s face contorted into confusion almost comically. “I wha—”

Aziraphale cut off his question with his mouth, pressed to Crowley’s lips.

The kiss was chaste, and lasted perhaps a few seconds. But by the time Aziraphale pulled away, the blood in his human body felt like molten gold in his veins, pouring all his affection for Crowley through his whole being.

Crowley, meanwhile, looked as dumbstruck as if someone had told him Hastur was giving out lap dances. “I…wha…ngk—”

Aziraphale chuckled. His thumb traced Crowley’s cheekbone in a feather-light caress. “My darling, I believe it’s common practice for kisses to involve both people’s participation.”

Crowley made a choking noise in the back of his throat. He just stared at Aziraphale for a few seconds, before he reached up to take off his sunglasses. He wasn’t looking when he set them down on the Mary Shelley books, so they both heard them clatter to the floor a second later. Neither of them looked to see.

Now that Aziraphale could see Crowley’s eyes (his beautiful golden eyes, absolutely breathtaking), he could see the warmth in them, how his slit pupils were slightly dilated. Slowly, that warmth spread to Crowley’s whole face, as he started to smile. Realizing that yes, this was happening.

This time, when Aziraphale kissed him, Crowley kissed back. One hand found the back of Aziraphale’s head, holding him close. It was slow, and sweet, and oh, how Aziraphale loved this demon in his arms!

When they broke apart, Aziraphale was out of breath. Crowley’s breath fanned his face, as well. Somehow that felt just as intimate as kissing.

“So,” Aziraphale said to the inch of space between them, “that was new.”

Crowley laughed. “You could say that.”

Aziraphale hummed a laugh in return, and quickly kissed Crowley again. “Now then,” he said primly, “you were saying, about Middle Earth?”

He continued to lay soft kisses down Crowley’s chin, all the way to his neck. He could feel the vibrations in Crowley’s throat as he rasped out, “Middle what?”

xxx

The third step happened three days later.

God’s only Son had taken three days to rise from the grave. Jonah had spent three days in the whale’s belly (Aziraphale had spent most of that time trying to convince the whale to spit him out).

And three days after their first kiss, Aziraphale was on his sofa with Crowley in his lap, making out like the world was (once again) ending.

Aziraphale had one hand on Crowley’s back, the other in his hair. Crowley was clutching at Aziraphale’s face, panting, breathless, needing him close. It was all Aziraphale could do to respond to that need, kissing him deeper, trying to convey every loving word he could say through touch alone.

And oh, what that touch—and what Crowley’s touch—was doing to him. His heart was in a frenzy. His skin felt on fire. Between the exhilaration and Crowley’s tongue shoved down his throat, he couldn’t catch his breath. If he’d been more detached from the situation, he would’ve catalogued each reaction, noting how it compared to the descriptions of physical love he’d read about. But right now, he hadn’t a single coherent thought in his head except Crowley and dearest and—perhaps most sinfully—mine.

Oh yes, there was also one more noticeable reaction of his body: the insistent throbbing of his groin.

He’d felt it a handful of times during his tenure on Earth. Sometimes it happened just from witnessing the act of human congress (the Bacchanalian rites being a notable example). But most of the time, it happened around Crowley. A particular look, a smile, a smirk, a glimpse of those golden eyes, and Aziraphale would be reminded that the body he’d been issued was male.

Usually, it was just a twinge, and quickly faded. But now, with a lapful of Crowley writhing in his arms, it was quickly becoming apparent to Aziraphale that this was here to stay.

He wasn’t sure what that meant for the rest of their evening. All he was sure of was that he wanted this heat, this touch, this closeness with Crowley to continue. He would rather cut off his own wings than disengage now.

Crowley seemed to be of the same mind. He wiggled closer to Aziraphale, pushing him deeper into the couch cushions, pressing their chests together. His arms wrapped around Aziraphale’s shoulders. Aziraphale’s hands wandered near Crowley’s shoulder blades, right where his wings would manifest.

Crowley shivered. “Aziraphale,” he whispered between their lips. Aziraphale caught him up in another kiss, humming with delight at the love Crowley had poured into his name.

He slid his hands down to Crowley’s waist. He’d intended the gesture to anchor himself while trading softer kisses with Crowley, but the demon had other ideas. At least, some part of him did.

Specifically, the part that ground his hips forward, rolling them against Aziraphale’s. Reminding Aziraphale loud and clear that Crowley’s assigned body was also male. Definitely male.

An electric bolt shot through Aziraphale at the contact, startling a sharp moan out of him. Crowley did the same. They broke apart a few inches, chests heaving, eyes wide and staring in shock.

When Aziraphale had regathered some of his wits, he saw in Crowley’s dilated eyes exactly what he was feeling himself: want.

“Crowley,” he said softly, “are you…do you intend to…for us to…?”

Crowley’s eyes widened further. He blinked once, twice. “I…um, well…uh, ye—I mean, if…if you want—if you want to—”

Aziraphale had to think about that. Hand-holding and kissing was one thing; what they were now considering was far beyond that. Like comparing a stovetop to a volcano.

(At least, from what Aziraphale had read and observed; he’d never experienced it for himself. Hopefully Crowley wouldn’t mind that, if they were to do this.)

But since thinking was rather difficult when his brain wasn’t working on much of his blood supply, Aziraphale switched over to feeling. He felt Crowley’s weight on his thighs, Crowley’s breath under his hands. As he saw the heaving triangle of bare chest that Crowley’s shirt revealed, he felt the urge to press kisses there and inhale the scent of his sweat. As he looked back up to Crowley’s searching golden eyes, he felt the desire to see them roll back in Crowley’s head.

Well. That probably answered the question of whether Aziraphale wanted this.

“F’you don’t,” said Crowley, “it’s…s’alright—”

“No,” said Aziraphale, “no, darling, I…I rather think I do.”

Crowley froze. Apparently his brain wasn’t fully functional, either. It took him a few seconds to give his anticlimactic reply: “Oh.”

“Do you? Want to, that is?”

“I—I, uh—mm—ngk—yeah—”

The last word finally allowed Aziraphale to release his held breath. With a smile, he cupped Crowley’s face in both hands, silencing the (admittedly adorable) flustered stammering. “Well, then.”

Crowley exhaled. Aziraphale felt him relax some, swaying forward to lean against him more. It was quiet for a few seconds, save for their unnecessary but often-used breaths.

Warmth took over Crowley’s expression. “So.”

Aziraphale braved the distance to kiss him again. The dance of their lips was softer now, slower, more careful. Yet it felt even more sensual and intimate than earlier, because now, they were kissing under the knowledge that they would soon be doing even more.

“Is there anything specific you want to do?” Crowley murmured between kisses.

“I…ah…” Aziraphale’s train of thought quickly derailed as Crowley started layering kisses along his cheek, heading toward his right ear. “I…I hadn’t really thought of that. Though—” He gasped as Crowley kissed a sensitive spot between his ear and neck. His next words were much higher pitched: “I’m afraid you’ll have to show me the ropes for this.”

Crowley’s lips stopped. “Wait, are you…” He raised his head slightly, peering up at Aziraphale’s eyes. “Are you saying you’ve never done this before?”

Aziraphale looked away, then back with an embarrassed smile and a slight laugh. “Who else would I have done it with?”

Crowley pulled back to sit up again, eyeing Aziraphale with soft curiosity. “With humans?”

“Angels don’t have carnal relations with humans!”

“Angels don’t make friends with demons, either.”

Aziraphale gave Crowley a Look. “Engaging in such acts with a human was not a taboo I was willing to break. It was different with you.”

Crowley arched a brow. “I’m flattered.”

“I mean, I’ve seen humans doing all sorts of things,” Aziraphale rushed to say. “But I’ve never participated. Heaven is not as permissive as Hell about that sort of thing.”

Crowley rolled his eyes. “If a demon has sex with a human, it means you own their soul even before they die. Do you know how much paperwork that involves? Even if I wanted to, it wouldn’t be worth it.”

The phrase ‘even if I wanted to’ gave Aziraphale pause. It lit a new spark low in his belly. “So, you haven’t either, with a human?” When Crowley shook his head, Aziraphale’s heart did a funny little dance in his chest. Still, he couldn’t assume anything yet. “But, surely with another demon—”

“Angel, you went to Hell wearing my face. Of all the demons there, could you imagine me wanting to do the tango for two with any of them?”

That started up a projector reel of disturbing images flitting through Aziraphale’s mind. Beelzebub. Hastur. Dagon. Any of the shuffling, snarling demons in the trial room’s gallery. The thought of any one of them pressing their decaying, maggot-ridden flesh against Crowley…it made Aziraphale’s stomach turn.

“Besides,” said Crowley, “when two demons go at it, one of them usually ends up discorporating the other before it’s finished.”

Aziraphale grimaced. “Not very romantic,” he said lightly. But as he turned this information over in his mind, he suddenly realized what Crowley was telling him. “So…you’ve never done this before, either?”

Crowley shrugged—all the answer he needed to give. “Is that alright?”

Aziraphale grinned broadly. He leaned in closer to Crowley, nose-to-nose. “Of course it is,” he whispered. “We can learn together.”

Crowley pulled back from the closeness with a groan. “You just had to ruin it.”

“What do you—”

“That was. The single. Most disgustingly sentimental thing I have ever. Heard you say.”

Aziraphale sighed with the exasperated fondness he always reserved for the demon in his lap. “Do you want to come to bed with me or not?”

He saw Crowley’s annoyance marginally fade, his expression soften, even as he sighed. “Well, yeah. Figuratively, I s’pose, since you don’t have a bed.”

“Oh, but I do.”

Crowley reeled back. “You what? Since—since when?”

“Since I had the shop built. I just don’t use it. It may have some books on it, but that’s easily remedied.”

“But—” Crowley spluttered, “but…you don’t sleep!”

“No, but you do,” Aziraphale said simply. “In case you ever wanted to sleep over here, I wanted to be prepared.”

Crowley’s face went through a somersault of emotions in response to that: wide-eyed shock, withering to overwhelming fondness, morphing into an eye-roll, complete with a thrown-back head and a groan. “Forget what I said earlier. That is the most sentimental thing you’ve ever said.”

Aziraphale grinned. He quickly kissed Crowley’s upturned chin. “Shall I show you to the bed?”

Crowley lowered his head back down to look Aziraphale in the eye. As he smirked, his dramatic annoyance resigned itself to the affection hidden underneath. “Lead the way, angel.”

xxx

The bed was tucked away in a corner of a room long since devoted to storage. Stacks of books and five centuries’ worth of knickknacks cluttered the mattress, all coated in a good half-inch of dust.

Aziraphale hardly noticed the state of the room; he was too busy trying to maneuver him and Crowley out of their clothes while keeping their mouths locked together. A difficult enough task without seeing where buttons and buckles were. It wasn’t made easier by how his and Crowley’s hands fumbled around with both inexperience and heated haste.

Somehow, he got Crowley’s blazer and vest off. He apologized profusely for how they dropped to the floor, before Crowley cut him off with a growl of “Leave it” and another surging kiss. Crowley had more success with wiggling Aziraphale out of his waistcoat, to reveal the shirt underneath.

The bowtie gave Crowley more trouble. He fidgeted with the ties for a solid minute before he snarled in frustration. “Why do you wear so many bloody clothes?”

“It’s never been a problem before,” was Aziraphale’s curt reply. “Here.” He undid the tie with practiced ease. It joined the other garments on the floor.

Crowley’s hands quickly reached Aziraphale's top shirt buttons. His undershirt got in the way of revealing his chest, so Crowley settled for sucking kisses onto Aziraphale’s now-accessible collarbone. Aziraphale gasped, holding Crowley’s head close, urging him on.

Now that Aziraphale was staring into the room, he saw the state of the place. A snap of his fingers cleared all the dust, and teleported the books into stacks in the sitting room. He’d put them back later. Or maybe he’d sell them, if it meant the bed could be free for more consistent use.

“Come,” he murmured to Crowley, and started walking the demon backward toward the bed. Crowley followed. He always had. Wherever you are, I’ll come to you.

At the first touch of the mattress on the back of Crowley’s knees, he sat down on it willingly, legs splayed wide for Aziraphale to stand between them. For a second, Aziraphale could only stare at him. Here was this lanky, fiery-haired, soft-hearted demon, who had become an anchorpoint in Aziraphale’s existence. Who had strengthened his courage, prodded him with questions, and always gone out of his way to help and protect Aziraphale whenever he needed it. Who loved him so well, and who now received all the love this Principality was capable of giving.

Aziraphale must’ve had a certain look on his face, for Crowley cocked his head with a smirk. “Am I tempting you?”

Aziraphale smiled. He lowered himself to sit in Crowley’s lap this time. Along the way, one hand had found that triangle of Crowley’s bare chest. “You, my dearest,” he murmured, “are temptation incarnate.”

Crowley chuckled. “You should see yourself, angel.”

Their lips met again, kindly, playfully. Aziraphale leaned forward, taking Crowley along with him, until he was pressing the demon’s body onto the mattress. Crowley hummed into the kiss at the change in position. “Some animal has sex like this,” he murmured.

“Like what?”

“Like this. All…” He waved a hand around as he searched for the right descriptor. “…Playful-like.”

“Mm,” was Aziraphale’s eloquent reply. Back to kissing. They must’ve spent a solid ten minutes there, grasping each other close, filling the air with nothing but the little smacks of their lips and their contented sighs.

Crowley had asked Aziraphale earlier if there was anything specific he wanted to try. But as Aziraphale settled into this, enveloped in Crowley’s arms, tracing aimless patterns on his chest, trading easy, languid kisses between them…he realized he didn’t have a destination in mind. He wanted to treat this as he would a five-course meal. He wanted to sample every delight, to savor every taste and texture, to spend hours immersing himself in the experience.

The only difference was, this pleasure would be directly shared with his feasting partner. And this feast spread out before him was in the shape of his best friend, the only person he’d ever really wanted to savor like this. Sexualité du Crowley.

After a few minutes, he felt it right to move onto the next course.

He stopped his caresses to Crowley’s chest, instead reaching between them to undo his shirt buttons. Crowley started reciprocating once he got the hint. Soon they were shrugging their shirts off, peeling off undershirts, removing jewelry, kicking off boots, loafers, and socks, reaching to belt buckles—

“Y’know,” Crowley said as he pulled his belt free from his jeans, “if you’d told me even fifty years ago that this was how we’d be doing this…”

Aziraphale paused. He wasn’t sure which implication from that comment surprised him more: that Crowley had expected they would do this, or that he’d had an idea of how they’d do it. He decided to address the latter: “How did you think we would?”

Crowley shrugged one shoulder as he struggled with his own fly (between the skinny jeans and the bulging hard-on, it took a demonic miracle to release the zipper’s clenched teeth). “Oh, I dunno. More like a quickie in a dark alleyway or something. Bit seedier, more suited to an illicit friendship.”

Aziraphale heard the unspoken truth in there. Treating any part of this—the sex, the friendship, the Arrangement—as a shameful secret belonging to a one-night stand in an alley? That was what Aziraphale would’ve done. Fifty years ago, he wouldn’t have been able to handle anything more. He’d needed to protect them both from Heaven and Hell, while still trying to cling to Heaven’s ideology.

Fortunately, both those burdens were now lifted. Aziraphale smiled, and ran his fingers through the sparse hair on Crowley’s bare chest, before sliding his hands down to Crowley’s hips to help him shimmy out of his jeans and boxers. “Well, I for one am glad it happened like this instead. Much more…” Intimate. Sweet. Fun. Loving. “...Hygienic.”

Crowley glared at him. “Really? Hygienic?”

“Would you rather I said something more romantic?”

Crowley rolled his eyes. No would take the wind out of his argument, while yes would catch him being too saccharine for his tastes. “Bastard,” he hissed. But his subsequent kiss gave Aziraphale all the answer he needed, making him grin as they maneuvered themselves out of their remaining clothes.

xxx

Thus began the most enjoyable evening of Aziraphale’s existence.

Though the pace remained as easygoing as it had thus far, it was still dizzying just how many new things were happening. Specifically, how many new discoveries were to be had between him and Crowley.

He learned that Crowley had the loveliest cock, proud and long and rosy-pink at the head. Seeing it with the rest of Crowley’s lithe, angular body, with those miles of naked skin littered with patches of dark red hair…Aziraphale couldn’t help but whisper, “Oh, Crowley, darling, just gorgeous.”

He learned a new, hushed voice Crowley was capable of when he murmured, “Look at you.” Every unspoken word in between—angel, you’re so beautiful, I want you all to myself, I love you so fucking much—dripped from the awed, affectionate tone of those three words. He sealed the sentiment with how he kissed Aziraphale’s knee, how he curled his fingers into a broad thigh.

Aziraphale learned that Crowley’s hands on the curve of his belly sent sparks of pleasure through his whole body. Crowley’s lips on it felt even better.

He learned that tangling his fingers in Crowley’s hair to pull him up to his lips made Crowley moan so beautifully. Hair-pulling was definitely something he’d be trying in the future. But he wasn’t going to latch onto any particular fetish tonight; this first time, he wanted to savor everything on the menu.

He learned Crowley had the same idea when, in response to him asking what he wanted tonight, Crowley just said, “Anything you’d like. Anything at all.”

Aziraphale grinned. “I’m of the same mind. Although, you will tell me if you don’t want something, or if I should stop—”

“I know how consent works, Aziraphale,” Crowley said dryly. (Aziraphale was glad to learn that.) “Now…” He settled between Aziraphale’s thighs, drifting a hand down a curved belly. “…Shall we?”

Aziraphale reached between them, as well. “Allow me, my dear.”

Thus, he and Crowley started learning even more. They learned the feel of each other’s cocks in their hands, the weight and girth, how they throbbed and drooled in their palms. They learned which strokes and pulls made Crowley gasp, which pace made Aziraphale cry out between tightly-pressed lips.

Aziraphale learned that rubbing his thumb over the head sent Crowley into a tailspin: he shouted, his eyes rolled back, his cock jumped, all at the same time. He buried his face in Aziraphale’s shoulder, muttering, “Fucking Heaven, angel.” He then proceeded to literally do just that: undulating his hips into Aziraphale’s fist, slowly fucking an angel’s heavenly hand.

With his free hand, Aziraphale clutched Crowley closer, tracing the sharp juts of his shoulder blades. Unfortunately, he was also learning just how utterly evil Crowley was, twisting his hand around Aziraphale’s cock just so! Aziraphale was breathing so hard he might’ve become lightheaded if he’d relied on it for living.

Crowley was faring only marginally better, if his stuttered breath against Aziraphale’s ear was anything to go by. Still, he at least managed to say: “I think we’ve been missing out all this time.”

Aziraphale laughed loudly. Crowley joined him, the vibrations of it thrumming through Aziraphale’s hand on his back. “Yes,” Aziraphale managed after a while, “I rather think we have.”

Crowley hummed, though it was halfway toward becoming a growl. He nibbled on Aziraphale’s ear. His breath against it made Aziraphale’s limbs break out in goosebumps, made him shiver all over.

He shivered again when Crowley’s hands traveled up his sides in barely-there touches. Then the shivering became squirming. Then the squirming became writhing in helpless, panicked laughter.

Ah. Yet another thing Aziraphale had learned this evening.

He was ticklish.

But he wasn’t the only one who learned that little tidbit. Crowley learned it, too. He drew back enough, raising an intrigued brow. Soon he was smirking, with a gleam in his golden eyes which Aziraphale had seen many times before. It was the gleam that preceded Crowley making mischief.

“Crowley, darling,” Aziraphale warned.

Crowley’s smirk widened.

“If you have a single merciful bone in your body—”

His lip curled in a sneer.

“You evil serpent, I’m begging you—”

But it was too late. The demon began his horrific torture of the angel in his grasp, tickling him within an inch of discorporation. He cackled with glee as Aziraphale squirmed and squawked, desperately trying to bat his hands away while laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe.

“Crowley—” he wheezed. “Crowley—!” But that was all he could get out between Crowley’s fingers doing their devilish work. Somehow, some part of Aziraphale’s mind recognized that his intervention would need to be more physical. He lunged forward, grabbed Crowley, and reversed their positions to throw him down on the mattress beneath him, securing Crowley’s wrists above his head.

And the bastard was still breathlessly laughing at the little stunt he’d pulled.

“I know you’re a demon,” said Aziraphale, trying to keep the humor out of his voice, “but really…”

Crowley still wheezed with laughter. “If you think…I’m not gonna use that every time you’re being stubborn…you’ve got another thi—ACK!”

It seemed he’d failed to notice his wrists were only being held in one of Aziraphale’s hands. The other hand had traveled to Crowley’s ribs, which were conveniently vulnerable with no arms to shield them.

And, well. It turned out Crowley was ticklish, too.

Before Crowley could finish shouting out, “Don’t you dare!”, Aziraphale pounced. He used both hands, which allowed Crowley to launch a counterattack. They rolled around on the bed, wrapped up together, trying to get better positions to torment each other.

And in all of his celestial existence, Aziraphale had never laughed so hard! Nor had he ever heard Crowley laugh so hard, throwing his head back on the sheets as he howled!

Soon they stopped trying to tickle each other, and just held each other close in their tangled-up limbs, drowning in laughter until their sides hurt. Even when it died down, Aziraphale still felt weightless, buoyed up by this jubilant love that had permeated the whole room.

Well, not just the room; his celestial senses told him it had saturated the entire street. At least he was still carrying out angelic deeds while he lost his virginity.

Aziraphale looked up from where he’d laid his head on Crowley’s shoulder. Crowley was looking back at him, with those breathtaking golden eyes and a gentle smile. Aziraphale had seen him give fond looks before, but this was on another level. He couldn’t recall the last time Crowley had looked so relaxed, so undisputedly at ease. Aziraphale distantly realized that he probably looked the same.

Crowley gently stroked his fingers across Aziraphale’s cheek. For a second, it shocked Aziraphale how unbelievably tender the gesture was.

“We are ridiculous,” Crowley said softly.

Aziraphale chuckled. It hurt a little after laughing so hard, but he didn’t care. “We certainly are.”

Crowley kissed him. Aziraphale lost himself in it. Their erections had flagged a little during their tickle fight, but as Aziraphale started gently grinding on Crowley, and Crowley started rolling his hips in kind as he quietly hummed, they were quickly reaching full mast again.

Maybe it should’ve felt more awkward than it was, lying naked with his best friend. And it was a little bit, when Aziraphale stopped to think about it like that. But mostly, it was just sweet and loving and…fun.

He came up for air after a few minutes. He didn’t need to, of course; he just wanted an excuse to look at Crowley’s face. Crowley was breathing hard, his eyes alight with contentment, his lips kiss-swollen and shining. Oh, Aziraphale could look at him forever.

“So,” Aziraphale said quietly, “what are you in the mood for now?”

Crowley blew out a breath of a laugh. Aziraphale had asked him that very question many times before, but the context of this iteration was a bit different than asking if he wanted to go get drunk or feed the ducks.

Crowley looked down the length of their entwined bodies. Aziraphale liked the direction this was going. Was he imagining the possibilities, perhaps?

“Here’s what I’m thinking,” Crowley said. “These bodies we’ve been given, their default setting is male, right?”

“Yes. Why, would you rather something else tonight?”

“Nah, s’good. But my point is, I’m wondering…” He slid his eyes back up to Aziraphale’s, sly as the serpent he was. “…Do they have prostates?”

Aziraphale’s eyes widened. But the next second, his smile grew at the same rate that Crowley’s did. “Well, I suppose there’s one way to find out.”

Crowley’s cheeky grin could’ve outshone the sun.

xxx

If Aziraphale had thought he’d made discoveries before, he was a regular Sir Francis Drake now.

He learned that Heaven really wasn’t keeping track of the miracles he used anymore. Although it did make him laugh when, after he’d miracled some lubricant onto his fingers, Crowley said to him, “Imagine the look on Michael’s face when she reads that memo.”

“I’m more interested in the look on your face right now,” Aziraphale replied. When he gently pushed his first finger into Crowley, his interest was rewarded: Crowley’s eyes rolled back in his head, his face strained with pleasure. He gasped, then gave a low groan from deep in his chest.

“Alright?” Aziraphale asked.

Crowley nodded, breathless. “Yeah, yeah, it’s…weird, but good. Like that…ah…like that musical…with the cat people.”

Aziraphale wrinkled his nose, partly because of the absurd comparison, partly because he wasn’t the biggest fan of Cats. “You’d better not be thinking of that dreadful show the whole time I try to pleasure you.”

“I’ll start singing it if you don’t get on with i—AH, FFFFUCK!”

Oh. That’s where it was. That spongy little bundle of nerves a few inches in.

Turned out Crowley did, in fact, have a prostate.

As much as Aziraphale enjoyed hearing the stab of pleasure it obviously gave Crowley, he didn’t want to err on the wrong side of overwhelming. After all, this was Crowley’s first time with all this, too. Besides, Aziraphale was in the mood for some experimentation in his approach.

So he went slowly. He tried all kinds of movements: swiveling, plunging, stroking, pressing, making love to Crowley with his finger. He took careful note of what made Crowley gasp, what made him sigh, what made him groan and shiver. Especially what made his cock twitch and leak more fluid onto his stomach.

“You’re—mmm—you’re sure you’ve never done this before?” Crowley rasped out.

Aziraphale grinned, preening inside at the compliment. “Not once. Why, am I doing something right?”

“Doing a lot of things right,” said Crowley. His voice sounded closer to a moan than it had all evening. “Keep doing them.”

Aziraphale kissed Crowley’s right knee where it was propped up near his face. “Of course, dear. Would you like another?”

In answer, Crowley reached to Aziraphale’s wrist, guiding the second lubed finger inside himself along with the first. When it slid inside, Crowley blew out a labored breath at the stretch.

Aziraphale waited. “Good?”

Crowley nodded. Instead of a verbal command, he started moving Aziraphale’s hand by the wrist, guiding him in the slow, steady rhythm at which he wanted those fingers to fuck him. Aziraphale followed his lead, enthralled.

Instead of focusing on the pace or technique of his fingers’ movements, Aziraphale found himself torn between so many transfixing sights. Looking at where his fingers pumped in and out of Crowley was near-intoxicating. Feasting on Crowley’s sweat-slicked skin, his heaving chest, the way his free hand grasped the bedsheets, all sent a delightful shiver through Aziraphale’s whole body.

But Crowley’s eyes were the most entrancing. He was alternating between closing them and staring at the ceiling, but Aziraphale tried to look at them when they were open. The pupils were blown so wide they almost resembled a normal human’s eyes. Aziraphale could see the pleasure in them, in his entire face, the way his jaw hung slack and allowed gasps and groans to escape unhindered.

Crowley had always been beautiful to Aziraphale, with every changing appearance he’d worn through the millennia. But Aziraphale couldn’t recall a moment where Crowley had looked more beautiful than right now, writhing and sighing in absolute bliss.

“You’ve gotta try this sometime, angel,” Crowley slurred out.

Aziraphale chuckled, and kissed Crowley’s knee again. “I would love to. But there are plenty of other things I’d like to try first.”

“Oh, yeah?”

Aziraphale kept kissing his knee, working his way up the thigh. He felt around for Crowley’s prostate again, pleased when he heard a loud groan as he found his mark. He kept the presses light, though; no need to overdo it just yet.

When his lips had made it halfway up Crowley’s inner thigh, he applied some more pressure with his fingers. Crowley hissed in a breath, whispering “Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckyesss…” A symphony to Aziraphale’s ears as he worked up to his planned crescendo. With one last kiss, he pressed firmer still with his fingers.

And at the same time, he wrapped his mouth around Crowley’s cock.

It caused quite the crescendo. Literally: Crowley’s back arched as he bellowed the loudest “FUCK!” Aziraphale had heard in three centuries. The sheets audibly ripped under Crowley’s clenched fingers.

Aziraphale hummed in satisfaction around his mouthful. It was warm and weighty on his tongue, salty with the taste of musk and sweat. There was something so primal and pleasing about the act! He hadn’t anticipated he’d enjoy this so much, but now he didn’t ever want to do anything else.

But before he pressed on, he stilled his fingers and released Crowley’s cock. “Is this alright?”

For a few seconds, all Crowley did was gasp in air, interspersed with the occasional “fuck” muttered under his breath. At last he croaked out, “Are you trying to discorporate me?”

Aziraphale chuckled. “Not quite. I’m trying to pleasure you, my darling.”

Crowley’s next huff of breath probably counted as a laugh. “Yeah. Yeah, that’s…fuck…”

Aziraphale reached his free hand to cup Crowley’s face. When he managed to get Crowley to look at him with dazed, dreamy eyes, Aziraphale was overtaken by an odd combination of tenderness and pride. He’d done this to Crowley. He’d made him feel good.

“Shall I continue like this?” he asked.

Crowley nodded. His eyes almost looked like they were silently laughing at the whole thing. Like he found it absurd that he would ever say no to such a question.

So, Aziraphale obliged him.

It took him a little while to coordinate his fingers and mouth to work in tandem. He finegled with the technique of his fingers, till he settled on circling them in and out with firm presses to Crowley’s prostate.

His mouth was an entirely new matter. He learned he could swallow down almost all of Crowley’s cock, save for an inch or two, without it entering his throat. It went in there a few times by accident, when Crowley lost control of his hips for a second and shoved it in. Some gagging and coughing and hurried apologies later, Aziraphale decided to leave deepthroating off the table for tonight. He could perfect that technique another time.

Tonight, however, was for other pleasures—Crowley’s pleasure, to be precise. And from the sound of it, he was succeeding on that front.

Soon he felt hands in his hair—not controlling his movements, just petting and encouraging as he bobbed his head up and down. Between the deep, guttural moans, Crowley was also swearing six ways to Doomsday under his breath, layering in profanities in Aramaic, Latin, Russian, and Old Welsh. He was a demon talking in tongues, cursing an angel for making him feel this good.

Then Crowley’s stomach quivered, his thighs started to shake, his whispered curses turned into a hoarse “Please, angel, please, right there, almost, right…angel!…” Aziraphale doubled his efforts, pushing faster, sucking harder. He knew what was coming. (Or rather, who.)

But before Crowley did, he yanked Aziraphale’s head off his cock, and grabbed his wrist to still the fingers inside him. Aziraphale immediately stopped. Crowley was flushed from neck to chest, heaving in air, eyes squeezed shut.

“Crowley?” Aziraphale asked quietly. “Are you alright? I thought you were about to—”

Crowley nodded. He blew out a few long, calming breaths before he said, “Yeah, I was. Don’t want to yet.”

Aziraphale’s eyes shifted in confusion. “Why not?”

“Because,” Crowley drawled, coming back to himself a bit more, “I’d rather have something else of yours inside me before that happens.”

If Aziraphale had been drinking something at the time, he would’ve sprayed it everywhere. As it was, all he did was widen his eyes and gasp.

He hadn’t thought that was something they’d end up doing this first time! But now that it was on the table, and Crowley was outright asking for it…

And Crowley. Darling Crowley. He was lying there beneath Aziraphale, legs still open, chest still flushed and heaving. Looking up at Aziraphale with warm, trusting eyes and a slanted smile. It jumped up as he shrugged one shoulder. “F’you’d like.”

“Oh, yes,” Aziraphale breathed. He’d probably answered too quickly to maintain propriety, but now that he had, he might as well double down. He leaned back over Crowley to shower him in kisses, whispering “Yes, yes, yes,” in between.

Crowley huffed a laugh against his lips. “Glad you’re so eager, angel.”

The comment made Aziraphale pause. Perhaps he was a bit too eager? After all, what they were talking about did put himself in the more…intuitively pleasurable role? “I’ll be careful, of course,” he said, “I wouldn’t want to hurt you—”

“You won’t,” said Crowley, his eyes bright. “Humans have been doing this for thousands of years, they’ve figured out how to do it right. And you’ve done a lot of the work already.”

Aziraphale glanced down, in the direction of where he’d been ‘working.' “I suppose. Would you like me to finish it?”

“Nah, it’ll take too long,” said Crowley. He snapped his fingers, and made a strained noise while his eyes bulged.

“Did you just—?”

Crowley nodded, his brow raised as he took in what must’ve been quite the strange sensation. Aziraphale drifted his fingers down there to investigate, and…oh, he was not prepared for the wet, supple give of those muscles. “Now who’s concerning their Head Office with their use of miracles?” he chided.

Crowley scoffed. “Hastur’s been telling me to go fuck myself for the last few thousand years, I don't think he’ll mind that you’ll be doing the honors instead.”

Aziraphale had to bite back a laugh. “No need to be vulgar.”

Crowley proceeded to yank him down for quite the vulgar kiss, which Aziraphale ended up returning with just as much fervor. “C’mon, you love it,” Crowley teased between their lips.

Aziraphale huffed into the next kiss. “I may love you, but that doesn’t mean—”

They froze.

All they could hear was their breath, and the echo in their heads of the first part of Aziraphale’s sentence.

Aziraphale pulled back some. “Oh,” he said softly. “Oh, my dear…”

Crowley’s eyes were darting around everywhere, before he settled on looking up at Aziraphale, more curious than anything else. Aziraphale breathed a nervous laugh. “I’ve never told you that before, have I?”

Crowley shrugged. “There was the holy water. And the Arrangement. And the first rainstorm at the Garden. And the whole saving-my-life-by-pretending-to-be-me-in-Hell thing.” He glanced between them. “And our dicks are literally touching right now.” He ignored Aziraphale’s admonishing look at the vulgarity in favor of giving a tight smile. “I think I got the hint.”

Aziraphale gently kissed him again, brushing the sweat-damp sweep of Crowley’s hair back from his forehead. “I’m glad you’ve known,” he murmured, “but I still think it’s important to say it out loud, yes?”

Crowley just “mmpph”ed, kissing harder, hooking one leg over Aziraphale’s hip to prompt the specific love-expressing act they’d just talked about.

Aziraphale indulged the kissing—he was indulging himself too, after all. But as much as he didn’t want to be rude by coming right out and asking for this, he also wanted to hear those words from Crowley so much he could hardly stand it. An unselfish angel he could be, but not in all things. Not with this.

So, he broke off the kiss and asked, “Well, aren’t you going to say it back?”

“Say what?”

“That you love me!”

“Are you seriously refusing to fuck me until I tell you that I love you?”

Aziraphale was going to argue, but all coherent thought left his head once he heard those last three words. Exactly what he’d wanted. Words he’d never heard from Crowley before, even if he’d shown it in every possible way for thousands of years.

Crowley must’ve realized what he’d just said, too: his mouth and eyes all snapped shut as he winced. “That…that wasn’t how I wanted to…C’mere.”

“I’m already here.”

Crowley sighed through his nose in exasperation. “Fine, just…” He took Aziraphale’s face in both hands, looking right into his eyes again. “I hope I’ve made it clear in all the years we’ve known each other, but if it really means that much to you to hear me say it, then here it is.”

The look in his eyes shrank in a little. The pretense that he couldn’t believe he was being made to do this was quickly fading. Instead, there was just a slightly-vexed, mostly-vulnerable look in his golden eyes. His lips made a slight smack as they parted, before he quietly said, “I love you, Aziraphale. Have for a long time. Stubborn angel that you are, and God or Satan or whoever the fuck help me, but you’re my best friend, and I love y—mmpphh!”

Aziraphale smothered him in more kisses, gratitude and reciprocating love pouring forth from every atom of this assigned body. Crowley quickly followed suit, enveloping Aziraphale in all four bony limbs as they breathed each other in. Yes, Aziraphale knew it. But to hear it said, to hear Crowley say those words…

“I love you too, you infuriating old serpent,” he murmured back.

“Glad to hear it,” said Crowley. “Now, do I have to get on my knees and actually beg you to get your cock in me, or—”

“What did I just say about vulgarity?”

Crowley hummed a laugh. “What did you just say about you loving me?”

Aziraphale drew back with a Look. “I also said you’re infuriating. But yes, I will. Keep your legs open.”

As they shuffled their bodies into the best alignment for what was next, Crowley did his best to challenge the fact that snakes couldn’t purr.

xxx

Six thousand and twenty-three years ago, Aziraphale had first seen a demon transform from a serpent to a man. He’d first seen the spread of raven-black wings; the golden, slit-pupiled eyes; the tumbling curls of red hair. He’d first heard that low, slippery voice making friendly conversation with him: asking him questions, gently reassuring him, gliding the word angel across that tongue.

Back then, he’d had no idea how prominent this demon would feature in his existence. How he would start solving problems by thinking about how Crowley would look at them. How he would look forward to seeing a demon again more than seeing any other angel. How he would love Crowley above all else, in this world or in any other.

He certainly couldn’t have predicted how, one day, he would have Crowley in his bed, in his arms, and bury himself deep in the hot, tight clench of his body like he belonged there. Let alone how mind-shatteringly perfect it would feel.

Crowley was panting hard underneath him. He was clutching onto Aziraphale’s back so tightly he’d probably draw blood soon. And oh, he was trembling, he was quivering and flexing around Aziraphale…

“Crowley…” Aziraphale whispered into the long column of neck he’d buried his face against. “Oh, you’re…do you feel…are you…”

“M’fine,” Crowley gritted out. “It’s…yeah, it’s…” He groaned again.

“Should I stop?”

“No, no. That’s something you should not do.”

Aziraphale was glad to hear that. If he could pick one thing to do for the rest of eternity, it would be to stay right here, sheathed inside his best friend. The only thing that could stop him would be if Crowley told him to.

He kissed the nearest patch of Crowley’s skin he could reach, where his neck met his jawline. Crowley shivered. Good God, Aziraphale could feel every little move Crowley made, he could feel it where they were joined…

“‘Ziraphale…” Crowley slurred. The last time Aziraphale had heard his name said so tenderly, it had been when he’d appeared as an apparition to Crowley in that pub. But instead of devastating Crowley with his apparent death, now he was wrecking Crowley’s voice with pleasure.

Or at least, Aziraphale hoped it was pleasure. Again, his role was the more intuitive in that regard; Crowley’s was not.

He raised himself on one elbow to look at Crowley’s face properly (dear God in Heaven, every time he moved he could feel Crowley’s body shift around him, every time). Crowley’s eyes were bulging at the ceiling, his face stuttering as he adjusted to all this. It looked like pleasure, but Aziraphale wanted to be sure. “Dearest,” he whispered.

Crowley’s eyes darted to his. He’d never seen them so wide and vulnerable before, so filled with naked need. And pleasure, oh yes, there was pleasure, so much that it sent more heat pooling in Aziraphale’s core to meet it…

“Alright?” Aziraphale asked.

Crowley blew a breath out as he nodded. “Yeah,” he murmured. “Yeah.”

Aziraphale kissed him again, as gently as he knew how. Crowley melted against his lips. Aziraphale could feel him relax around him even more, heard his breathing slow even as he still gasped in air through his nose.

Crowley broke the kiss, lowering his chin to look down the length of their bodies. Aziraphale stole a glance, himself. Their chests were heaving in tandem. Crowley’s cock was still hard—a good sign, by all accounts. And Lord, their hips were pressed flush together where they were joined. What a sight.

Crowley breathed a laugh. Surprised, Aziraphale looked back at him, to see Crowley laugh again, and again, and again. Soon he was flat-out giggling. It was infectious; Aziraphale joined in, more amused at Crowley than anything else.

“We’re really doing this, aren’t we?” Crowley laughed. Aziraphale would’ve thought him half-drunk if he hadn’t known better.

As it was, he did know better: Crowley was just giddy with how good and slightly-absurd this all was. He and Aziraphale were best friends, and they loved each other, and they were fucking.

And it was amazing.

Aziraphale laughed more as he thought about it. He snatched up Crowley’s lips with his own, stifling the giggles. “It’s wonderful, isn’t it?”

“So good,” said Crowley.

“And it’s with you.” The kisses turned softer, sweeter. “I’m so glad it’s with you,” Aziraphale whispered.

Crowley pulled Aziraphale closer, and hooked a leg around Aziraphale’s hip to press him further inside. Silently agreeing with Aziraphale’s sentiment.

The words he did say when they broke apart were: “Alright, you can move, go on.”

So Aziraphale did. Perched up on one elbow, he reached with his other hand to hold onto Crowley’s hip for leverage. He looked Crowley straight in the eye as he rolled his hips forward.

Oh. Oh, that was good. The slide of his cock, the fluttering of his heart, the contortion of Crowley’s face as he choked back a moan…

Aziraphale went slowly at first. Not just out of consideration for Crowley’s comfort; he also knew he wouldn’t last much longer if he moved too fast. Each slide in and out sent electricity arcing through his limbs, made heat lick across his shoulder blades and at the base of his spine. Sometimes his vision nearly whited out, it was so intense.

But what might be his undoing was watching Crowley’s face. The first few thrusts had his eyes rolling back in his head. His jaw was clenched as he grunted and sighed with each movement. A well-placed thrust made his mouth fall open, with a moan so loud and erotic that Aziraphale nearly lost it right then.

“Right there?” Aziraphale panted.

Crowley nodded, just as breathless. “Yeah, just like that, just like—’Zirapha—agh—keep going, don’t you fucking stop—”

Aziraphale heeded the instructions. He settled into a steady pace, making sure to keep to the angle that made Crowley moan like that. It was probably his prostate that he was hitting? Handy, that.

Their motions were still languid enough that Aziraphale could brush his hand against Crowley’s cheek. Crowley leaned into the caress, even as he looked up to Aziraphale’s eyes. They held each other’s gaze through their gasps, their soft moans, and the rustle of their bodies against the sheets as they made love.

“You feel divine, Crowley,” Aziraphale breathed.

Crowley smirked, even as another well-aimed thrust stole his breath. “Interesting word choice,” he managed, his voice shaking in the throes of pleasure.

Aziraphale proceeded to kiss the smirk off Crowley’s face. When Crowley squeezed a hand at his hip, and whispered, “C’mon, angel,” between their lips, Aziraphale started moving within him more urgently. Crowley writhed with him, rocking his hips to meet Aziraphale’s, working toward their shared pleasure.

The bedframe shook against the wall with their movements. Aziraphale’s mouth ended up next to Crowley’s ear, kissing and sucking and whispering, “Crowley, my dearest, my darling love, you feel so good, you’re perfect…” Crowley’s breath was hitching on moans and cries with each shove inside him. He’d hooked both his legs around Aziraphale’s hips to better move with him. When Aziraphale clutched one thigh, he could feel it trembling from both the pleasure and the exertion.

Aziraphale could feel the heat coiling like a tight spring in his lower belly, a sharp tension gathering in his groin. He didn’t want this to end, but its impending arrival felt so good he didn’t want to stop its build, either. “Crowley,” he groaned, “Crowley, I—I’m close, what do you need—”

Crowley reached between them. The wet sounds that followed told Aziraphale exactly what he was doing. Next time, Aziraphale would think to do it for Crowley himself. But right now, when he was so close—

He moved more firmly still, chasing his end while hitting the exact spot Crowley needed. Crowley’s moans were sounding more like sobs now, shoved out of his throat in time with each strong thrust inside him. Listening to this would probably finish Aziraphale off by itself.

But then Crowley started chanting in a breathy voice, higher-pitched than usual. Like he was begging. Pleading. Praying.

The only word that fell from his lips, over and over, was “Angel, angel, angel, angel, angel, ANGEL—”

Then with a loud cry, Crowley threw back his head and came. His first shot of come landed as far up as his chin. The rest splattered on his chest and stomach, as he rolled his eyes back in his head and groaned hoarsely through it.

Aziraphale watched the whole thing. He saw Crowley’s cock shoot out his come, how the drop on his chin rolled down to his neck. He saw the ecstasy on Crowley’s face: all the strain, the wide mouth, the yellow of his rolled-back eyes. And he felt Crowley shaking underneath him, he felt him spasming around him—

As it tapered off for Crowley, his shouts became a few low, drawn-out groans as his muscles released all their tension. He was pliant under Aziraphale’s movements now, jerked back and forth as Aziraphale sought his own end.

It didn’t take much. A few frantic, sharp snaps of his hips, a loud gasp, and Aziraphale was coming into Crowley with a sudden shout. He pressed his hips as close to Crowley’s as they would go, as his vision whited out and he spilled inside him.

Then it was over. And Aziraphale felt like he was floating, even when he collapsed onto Crowley’s heaving chest. They both panted hard, entwined in each other’s arms, minds delightfully blank in the wake of their orgasms.

It was the first orgasm Aziraphale had ever experienced. He’d had the faint urge to chase it by himself over the years, but he’d ignored it in favor of other pleasures. Perhaps he should regret not doing so earlier, because it was as devastatingly good as he’d heard tell.

But in this moment, he couldn’t dredge up an ounce of regret. If he’d done this by himself, he would’ve been alone afterward. But tonight, he’d collapsed in Crowley’s arms, being held as tenderly as he was holding the demon himself. As safe and cherished as he could possibly be.

He knew right then that he would never settle for anything less in this arena. After all, he had standards. He wanted the best foods, the finest clothes, the rarest wines.

And now, he wanted the most sublime lovemaking, with the person he loved more than any other. He would have Crowley, or none at all.

xxx

It took several minutes of basking in the afterglow for either of them to say something. “So,” Crowley croaked, still hoarse from what they’d just done. Aziraphale shifted his head to indicate he was listening. “That was new.”

That sent Aziraphale into a weak fit of giggles. He could feel more than hear Crowley’s answering laughter. “It was, rather,” said Aziraphale. “New in a good way, I hope?”

“Oh no, getting an earth-shattering orgasm from my best friend is a horrific ordeal,” Crowley deadpanned. “Zero out of ten stars, never opening my legs for him again.” Of course, the way he stroked through Aziraphale’s hair was closer to how he really felt about it all. Aziraphale pressed a kiss to his chest with a smile. He understood. “You enjoyed yourself, I take it?”

Aziraphale nuzzled into Crowley’s chest. “Of course I did, darling. It was wonderful.”

Crowley chuckled. “I thought you were gonna say ‘ob-vious-ly.’”

“I don’t say it like that.”

“Yes, you do.”

Aziraphale closed his eyes and heaved a contented sigh. Crowley still held his head close, carding fingers through his hair. His ear was right over Crowley’s heartbeat. As the silence settled between them, he could hear the rapid rhythm slow to a steady thud-thud…thud-thud…thud-thud. He was glad Crowley usually let his heart beat like a human’s; it had quite the soporific effect on Aziraphale to hear it in the wake of lovemaking.

Crowley eventually shifted under him. “Sticky,” he murmured. Aziraphale reluctantly rose up, but only enough for his cock to slip out of Crowley. A snap of his fingers cleaned away the mess they’d made.

“To be clear,” he said, settling half-on top of Crowley again, “we are doing this again, yes?”

Crowley snorted. “Give me about thirty minutes.”

“I didn’t mean—not right this second, of course!”

“How was I supposed to know? When you find something you enjoy, you’re like a shark smelling blood in the water.”

Aziraphale clicked his tongue at Crowley. Just because it was true didn’t mean he would acknowledge it as such. “Well,” he said, nestling his head against Crowley’s neck, “I’m rather enjoying this, too.”

“Good,” said Crowley. Aziraphale’s heart squeezed at that one word, it made him feel so loved. It wasn’t just Good, because I’m not ready for round two just yet. It was Good, I’m glad you’re enjoying this with me. It was Good, I’m so happy I can make you feel good. It was Good, because this makes me feel good, too.

The following silence was full of nothing but small caresses and sated breaths—even breathing felt good after sex. It was the sweetest silence Aziraphale had ever known.

That is, until Crowley interrupted it forty seconds later: “Dolphins.”

Aziraphale glanced up at him. Crowley’s eyes, while still hazy with the afterglow, were staring at the ceiling with some sudden epiphany. “What?” Aziraphale asked.

They’re the ones who have playful sex.”

Aziraphale made a vague noise of acknowledgement. Until it hit him just where this was coming from: when Crowley had remarked upon it earlier this evening. Before they’d even taken their clothes off.

Aziraphale shot him an incredulous look, bordering on a glare. “Were you trying to think of that this whole time?”

“No!” Crowley exclaimed, affronted. “It only popped into my head just now!”

Aziraphale gave him a Look, though he grudgingly returned to Crowley’s shoulder. “That had better be the case, because if you were thinking about dolphins all this time…wait, I thought it was rabbits?”

“Nah, they’re more…”—Crowley’s nose wrinkled as he searched for the right word—“…Frenzied? I think?”

“Mm.” It was quiet for a beat, when a thought occurred to Aziraphale. “How is it snakes do it?”

Crowley slid his serpent’s eyes over to him, clearly following the line of Aziraphale’s interest in this. He shrugged. “Depends on the snake. Sometimes they’re both tangled up like…a bunch of phone chargers?” (Aziraphale wasn’t too familiar with such contraptions, but the comparison gave him a vague mental image.) “Some of them just clone themselves. Either way, they’ll lay the eggs after and be done with it.”

“Ah. So, wait…have you, ever…?”

He trailed off, leaving the ensuing silence dangling in the air. Crowley turned to him. Aziraphale knew the exact moment it dawned on Crowley what he was asking, as a horrified look spread over his face. “No, I have never laid eggs before! What—what kind of question is that?!”

“An innocent, curious one?”

“More like a personal, invasive one!”

“My dearest, I was just inside you not ten minutes ago, how is this question more personal than that?”

Crowley rolled his eyes so hard, one might think Aziraphale was fucking him again. Aziraphale had to bite his lips shut to keep from pointing this out—but it didn’t stop his burgeoning grin. Crowley, meanwhile, threw his head back on the pillows with a tired groan (not helping the case that he wasn’t currently being fucked). “You’re a real prick sometimes, you know that?”

There wasn’t much bite in the comment, so Aziraphale knew he could get away with snuggling closer to Crowley. The answering arm slung around his waist confirmed it. “Yes, but you love me, remember?” he teased. “I have it on record now. No getting out of it.”

Crowley turned to look at him again. It started off as a glare, but quickly morphed into something much softer. It was as soft as his voice when he asked, “Why would you possibly think I’d ever want to get out of this?”

Aziraphale stopped breathing for a second. All teasing vanished from his face.

Crowley shrugged. “It has been six thousand years. You’re stuck with me.”

The words triggered a sense-memory for Aziraphale, of a slightly-drunker version of Crowley using that same tone of voice to gently tell him harsh truths at a bus stop. You don’t have a side anymore, he’d said. We’re on our own side. Those words had grounded and comforted Aziraphale in the uncertainty of that night. Tonight’s words were no different.

He hadn’t said anything in reply then. But he was more relaxed tonight—and perhaps braver. So he smiled. “Well, you’re stuck with me, too. It took me long enough, but now that I’m here, I’m not leaving, either.”

A gentle warmth stirred in Crowley’s eyes. “For the record,” he said, still so softly, “you were there, the whole time. Just because Heaven wouldn’t let you get too close, doesn’t mean you weren’t there.”

Aziraphale beamed. “Well, Heaven doesn’t have a say anymore, nor does Hell.” He kissed Crowley again. “So as I see it, we can be as close as we’d like.”

Crowley pulled him over for more slow, deep kisses, rolling them on their sides, tangling their limbs together in the sheets. They were all lips and tongues and breath and naked skin-on-skin. That was how close Crowley must want them to be. What a happy coincidence that his apparent preferences lined up perfectly with Aziraphale’s.

“So,” Crowley murmured between their lips, “in thirty minutes…any particular ‘closeness’ you want to get up to?”

Aziraphale grinned. “I’ve a few ideas. I’d like to have you inside me at some point. Perhaps I could ride you? But I’d also like to feel you finish in my mouth, I didn’t get the chance to taste you just now. And of course, if you would like to do the same with me, I’d be happy to oblige. Oh, and maybe—”

He cut himself off as he noticed Crowley’s eyes and lips squeezed shut in silent laughter, his face as red as his hair. When he opened his eyes, they were almost glowing with fond amusement. “You’re gonna be the death of me,” he laughed.

“I certainly hope not,” said Aziraphale, “for I intend to make love to you as often as you will have me, and I can’t very well do that if you’re discorporated.” He kissed Crowley’s jaw, right near the corner of his still-smirking mouth. “Do any of those options sound appealing to you?”

Crowley shifted to kiss between Aziraphale’s brows. “Yeah, angel,” he murmured. “Whatever you’d like.”

Aziraphale smiled so hard into Crowley’s neck, his mouth started to ache with the stretch of it. It was a wonder they’d arrived here the way they had. Their relationship had progressed in stages, yes, but the movement from Meeting to Tension to Arrangement to Friendship had often been fraught with vexations. There’d been fear of discovery, frustration with their differences, and a longing (from Aziraphale, anyway) for something simpler, where they could just be.

But maybe that was why he and Crowley had moved to this next stage—The Romance—so easily in the last few months post-Apocalypse-That-Wasn’t. They’d already been discovered. They each knew and accepted all that the other person was. And with no demands or limits on how they should relate to each other, they could finally just be together.

Yes, this was a new expression of their love. But the love itself wasn’t new. It had always been there, like the finest vintage locked up in the wine cellar for six thousand years, labeled Eden, 4004 BC. But at long last, they could carry it up to the bedroom, uncork it with a pop, and let it breathe in the open for the first time. Knowing that they’d be savoring it for the rest of eternity.

Aziraphale wrapped his arms more tightly around Crowley’s back. Crowley did the same. They sighed deeply at the same time, making Aziraphale breathe a laugh at their synchronous contentment.

Yes, there were plenty of things Aziraphale wanted to try. But cuddling could easily be penciled in at the top of the list.