Crowley had something to say, he’d been trying for nearly two weeks now and it was beginning to wear him a bit thin. It wasn’t anything big, no proclamation or anything, but elements of it skirted that line and his attempts so far had mainly taken the form of his heartbeat raising so dramatically that he backed out before even hinting.
If he did it right it would barely even stand out, it would just be another gentle extension of adoration which Aziraphale would ignore and then they would move on. He just needed to be good at it.
It had been quiet for a few minutes now, although these few minutes were more like forty-five than three and Crowley’s repeat glances at Aziraphale were beginning to be responded to with increasingly high eyebrow arches from the angel. Crowley had to say something and all that was on his mind was what was on his mind.
“Hey, ah, bit awkward,” he apologised.
Aziraphale cringed mightily, causing Crowley to do the same. “Oh, I'm sorry,” Aziraphale apologised.
Crowley tried to make that response make sense, but he couldn’t manage it. “What?” Crowley asked
“I didn't- “ Aziraphale began, but then Crowley’s brain did a quick kick flip and he put it together.
“Not you!” Crowley interrupted loudly.
“Oh, okay,” Aziraphale agreed just as loudly. He looked at Crowley curiously for a moment, his eyes taken with a similarly confounding calculation to the one Crowley had been doing a second ago. “I don't understand,” Aziraphale finally admitted.
Crowley threw his hands out. “I haven't said it yet!”
Aziraphale nodded, relieved, and gave Crowley some silence in which to talk. “I didn't mean to interrupt, please,” he invited when Crowley continued to not speak.
“Right,” Crowley said, trying to feel his frustration, but unfortunately it was slipping hastily through his fingers and leaving only nervousness behind.
“Um,” he tried again. No words summoned themselves to make this easier, so he thought them up himself.
“I just wanted to say,” Crowley said reluctantly. “You know, your body doesn't- “ He regretted this. “I’m sure you know,” he said, but Aziraphale gave no sign of comprehension, so he continued with great effort.
“But,” he said, drawing the word out far longer than it was made for. “Your appearance doesn't matter to me, but it’s- it’s good.” There was a beat of silence as Crowley obviously avoided looking at Aziraphale, then more subtly glanced at him. “You know that?”
Aziraphale nodded slowly once, his expression tight and somewhat sad. “I see,” he muttered.
“Right, good,” Crowley said hastily. There. Done. Maybe he could take a fucking nap now. He realised he’d sat up taut as he’d spoken, so he reslouched his body in the chair.
“I am rather soft,” Aziraphale muttered, looking down at his love-worn vest.
Crowley smiled fondly, following his gaze. “You are,” he said, unfortunately recognising how adoring his tone was. He cleared his throat, trying to play his admiration off as a cough.
“I've been wondering how to best get in shape,” Aziraphale continued. “I really don't like running, though.”
“Get- get in shape?” Crowley repeated, completely dumbfounded. “Angel, what- ?”
Aziraphale shifted uncomfortably and Crowley began to feel a small slice of dread. Aziraphale glanced at him, his expression mild but still staggeringly sad to someone who knew the angel as well as Crowley did. Crowley frowned, paying as close attention as he could, which was very close.
“Gabriel pointed out,” Aziraphale said with a transparent bluster, “and quite rightly, too-”
Crowley did his best to not interrupt Aziraphale, but failed mightily. “That asshole has never said anything worth listening to.”
Aziraphale gave him a small, thankful smile and Crowley was hurt by it.
“Well, I mean- if you agree, then just this once- he did say that perhaps I'm rather too, well- you know,” Aziraphale said vaguely.
Crowley shook his head. That slice of dread was an entire cake now. “I don't,” he said.
“Fat, dear,” Aziraphale said shortly. “Soft. For an angel, at least. Perhaps I ought to work on it.”
Crowley closed his eyes for a moment, he couldn’t bear the brave sadness on Aziraphale’s face. “I don’t agree with him,” Crowley said through gritted teeth.
Aziraphale chuckled and if Crowley hadn’t seen the pull of his frown a moment ago he might’ve been convinced that Aziraphale was honestly fondly amused. “Now, don't take sides simply because you wish to be against him,” Aziraphale said. Crowley opened his eyes to watch him again. “It's petty and you're smarter than that.” Aziraphale admonished him with a smile, then his eyes flickered to his stomach again, where his fingers played uncomfortably with a button of his vest.
“I am hardly a- a lean, mean fighting machine,” Aziraphale joked poorly.
Crowley’s muscles were growing taut again. He needed to try again, say it better this time, get it right. Fix this sadness. He spoke slowly, carefully. “What I was trying to say is that I don't care what corporeal form you take, it's just some old flesh, but- ” He felt more than heard the furious clip of his tone and forced it back, think about what he wanted to say, not who he wanted to punish. “But, angel, I was trying to say that I’m glad to have this back. That colourful woman, I'm pleased she was available for you to possess, but she was- “ He paused, not sure how to finish this. “I didn’t like- “ No, wrong direction. He shut his eyes, Aziraphale’s open and confused expression being entirely unhelpful to his brainstorming. “I was surprised,” Crowley said, “by how disconcerting it was seeing you in another body. I like this one, I'm relieved it's back.”
“Oh,” Aziraphale breathed. Crowley faced him again and was hit by how grateful Aziraphale looked. He wanted to apologise. He wanted to punch Gabriel. He wanted- he just wanted. “I misunderstood,” Aziraphale said quietly.
“Gabriel is not- “ Crowley stopped, Aziraphale didn’t need to hear his simmering violence, it would do no good. Crowley had already threatened Gabriel sufficiently to keep him off Aziraphale, anything more would be suspicious. And he didn't want Aziraphale asking after the details of his execution, because Crowley would be honest and then Aziraphale would be sad. Crowley snarled, his face contorting in a fierce fury before he returned to the moment. “He is not worth your attention, Aziraphale,” Crowley said.
Aziraphale smirked, but it was hollow. “Well,” he agreed with a hint of self-deprecating sarcasm.
Crowley had thought he was done, but his mouth had other ideas and he spoke. “He isn't worthy of looking upon you, let alone passing judgement,” he hissed. “You are beautiful, and you are good, and you're- “ he stopped, catching where he was going, desperately trying to backpedal, to keep it appropriate. But he tumbled regardless. “You’re very handsome, if you don't mind my saying,” he said warily.
Aziraphale was blushing now, which was a much more pleasant sight than the quiver his lips had held earlier. “Oh, I'm hardly handsome,” Aziraphale deflected modestly, although he seemed very pleased.
Crowley crossed his arms, trying to keep it casual, keep it a friendly compliment not a heart felt admission. “You are,” he shot back reproachfully.
Aziraphale sighed, but his smile began to reach his eyes and Crowley felt himself relaxing, his anger simmering down to something he could pay attention to later rather than actively bat away now. “My dear boy,” Aziraphale said, “ you're handsome, you are designed to be appealing, and you are the opposite of me, you are sharp, and fascinating, and thin- “
Crowley could feel himself heating up badly, he wanted, how he wanted. But Aziraphale didn't mean it, he was just trying to avoid accepting a compliment. You're handsome. He tucked the moment away into his memory to enjoy later, then returned to the actual topic, forcing his good opinion into the room despite the artful dodging of one disbelieving angel.
“You’re attractive, angel, if I had you’re body I’d’ve made a killing in the temptations unit, but I wouldn't want to wear you, angel," he rambled interrupting Aziraphale without thinking about where he was going to take this sentence. "If I were you then I wouldn't see you and fuck how I like to look at y- “ he stopped, his blood running so suddenly cold he felt disoriented and lost. Unfamiliar waters, bad waters, dangerous. “I mean-” he tried, looking for a way to unsay it. “I mean- it suits you,” he finally mangled.
Now Aziraphale was really watching him. The sadness was gone, but also the happiness, all replaced with concentration. “You look at me?” He asked.
Crowley should've bailed. Aziraphale had returned the compliment and he should've taken it and bailed, not kept up with this fool headed effort to make him feel better. It was reckless.
Crowley’s calf muscle began to twitch, threatening a cramp if he held it so tightly stressed for any longer. Crowley shifted, climbing into his seat like it was a life raft that might keep him safe from this sinking shitshow of a conversation. “Not- in that- well- there's nothing to read into there- I just- I see you around sometimes,” he said with an overly forced casualness.
“I see,” Aziraphale said keenly.
Crowley needed to stop talking. “And I like it,” he continued because really, no matter how Hell tried, he was his own worst enemy. “You know, it's a good body. Good pick.” He looked at Aziraphale and tried to grin like it was all a big joke, but he felt vaguely sick and his calf was still complaining so he wasn’t sure he pulled it off.
“I see,” Aziraphale repeated and Crowley got the distinct impression that he did, in fact, see.
“Enough of that, then,” Crowley said weakly.
Aziraphale nodded. “Very well,” he agreed. Crowley was inclined to kiss him for allowing an end to the train wreck, but he felt like that so often that it was easy to ignore.
Crowley waved his hand vaguely. “Gabriel- just- ignore him, angel, he's horrible,” he said vaguely, trying to get back on home turf. Shift the focus.
"I like your body too, Crowley,” Aziraphale said after a pause. He spoke uncomfortably, with clear effort. Crowley sighed, half surprised at what Aziraphale had said, half exasperated that he hadn’t accepted the change of topic. “Seeing you is like- “ he stopped, swallowing loudly in the quiet room. “It's like home,’ he finished tentatively.
“Home,” Crowley repeated gently, understanding the word but struggling to make it fit.
Aziraphale chuckled self consciously. “All very gauche, isn’t it?” he said conspiratorially.
The tension broke. Crowley threw his head back and laughed. They were a well matched pair, both bumbling and inept enough to support the other. It was all very gauche. “It's good to have you back, angel,” he said fondly, glad they were back in the realms of friendship.
Aziraphale grinned at him. “It is, rather,” he agreed happily.
Silence fell anew, which surprised Crowley when he noticed it. He would have imagined they’d fall into some new conversation, some meaningless and meandering topic, but nothing came to mind for him and after a minute he saw Aziraphale biting his lower lip in inexplicable worry. Crowley watched curiously, trying to figure it out.
Suddenly, Aziraphale spoke, loudly, quickly, inelegantly. “I'm attracted to you,” he blurted out.
Crowley froze, then dissolved for a second only to come back to awareness as he continued to stare, open mouthed at the angel across from him.
Aziraphale went bright red and slinked low into the couch. “I- oh, God,” he moaned quietly. He covered his face with his hands and groaned. “I don't mean anything by it,” he said regretfully. “I mean, well, I am, but it hardly matters.”
“You- “ Crowley couldn’t speak.
“Oh!” Aziraphale threw his hands down and looked around almost angrily. “I'm sorry dear, please, forget about it,” he entreated.
Crowley hadn’t fully understood yet, he needed more. “In what way?” He asked.
Aziraphale huffed. “Any way you like, just forget it.”
Crowley felt rather like he was watching this conversation from outside it, yelling at himself to realise something he couldn’t yet. He rephrased, determined to know. “In what way are you attracted to me?”
Aziraphale stood up and stalked across the room, fixing and refixing how his vest sat as he went. “Must you torture me with this, dear fellow?” He snapped.
Crowley watched him quietly, trying not to be so badly hurt. As Aziraphale moved about the shop he began to return fully to his body, the shock wearing off. “Is it a torture?” He asked. The To want me? Is that so bad? Do you want me? he left unspoken.
Aziraphale picked up a free roaming mug from a shelf and faced Crowley, the mug immediately steaming as it filled with hot tea. “To discuss it is!” He said harshly, then he saw Crowley and his expression withered. He stepped towards Crowley haltingly. He spoke gently now. “To bear it, well, some decades are challenging but, oh dear, I weather it willingly,” he said, his voice growing quieter as he came closer.
"Aziraphale- " Crowley gasped.
"Oh, damn!" Aziraphale said tightly to himself. Then, louder, "Blast!"
Crowley stood shakily. "Hey- "
"Perhaps you’d best come back when I have myself under better restraint, I am so sorry," Aziraphale said.
Crowley shook his head. "I don’t want to go- why are you sorry?"
Aziraphale had a drink of his tea, closing his eyes as he did, then released a long breath. "I don’t mean to wreck our friendship," he said, "especially now that it can be truly ours."
Crowley stepped towards him, they were still many feet from each other. "We could be more, if you- if you want," he said hurriedly. “If you want,” he repeated quietly.
Aziraphale stared, utterly frozen.
Crowley moved closer, watching him warily for signs of refusal. Aziraphale didn’t stop him. A few steps later Crowley reached him and simply stood before him, staring.
"I don’t want to ask anything more of you," Aziraphale whispered. “You’ve given me so much already, Crowley.”
Crowley reached forward slowly, giving Aziraphale plenty of time to skitter away if he chose. However Aziraphale did not, Aziraphale stood and let him touch his forehead gently, run his hand down the side of his face to cup his jaw. "In what way are you attracted to me?" Crowley asked.
Aziraphale closed his eyes and leaned into Crowley's hand. Crowley's thumb slipped and dragged down Aziraphale's cheek intimately, stopping close to the corner of his mouth.
"In this- yes- like this- this- " Aziraphale sighed, his eyes still closed.
Crowley swallowed heavily. "You’re so ashamed," he pointed out sadly.
Aziraphale's eyes flew open. "Not of you, it’s just- " he said quickly, them sighed, slowing down. "It’s so unbearably selfish of me."
Crowley ran his thumb to Aziraphale’s cheekbone, caressing him lovingly. "Can I kiss you?" He asked.
Aziraphale's eyes flashed to meet his. "Do you want to?" He asked quietly, his voice on the brink of broken.
"Angel," Crowley sighed. "Every minute of every day I can remember I have wanted to kiss you. And more relevantly, yes, I want to right now.”
Aziraphale opened his mouth to speak, but no words came. After a moment, he closed it and just nodded. So Crowley kissed him.
His other hand raised to join his first, cupping Aziraphale’s face gently, holding him close and tenderly as he simply pressed his lips to Aziraphale’s. Crowley’s perception of the world around him tilted dramatically as all his focus poured into kissing the angel, his angel. It was a touch more than chaste, but not lascivious. They kissed and it was wet and wanton, but restrained.
One of Aziraphale’s hands wrapped around his wrist, keeping his hand in place on Aziraphale’s cheek. The other snaked carefully around his back and pulled him in, pressing their chests together. Aziraphale deepened the kiss, flicking his tongue against Crowley’s lip and leaning into him. Crowley held back a whimper.
“Are you sure?” Aziraphale murmured against his mouth. A good feeling, that, Crowley decided. Feeling the rumble of Aziraphale’s voice as much as he heard it. Catching his out-breath on his lips as he spoke. Crowley liked that feeling.
“Am I sure?” Crowley repeated hoarsely. He leaned back, looking at Aziraphale warmly. “Angel, are you?” He asked. Aziraphale was smiling, nearly grinning. His eyes had filled with tears. He looked at Crowley and nodded. Crowley could feel his cheeks complain over the speed at which he smiled in return. “I am, yes, absolutely,” he said quickly. “Whatever you want, anything, all of it, yours.”
“What if I want quite a lot?” Aziraphale asked. The arm that had wrapped around Crowley’s back eased as he moved his hand to rest lightly, barely touching, on Crowley’s hipbone.
“I’m there.” Crowley said. He shuffled back and glanced around almost self consciously, making sure they still stood in a bookshop and not in some dream of his. His hands slid from their intimate position wrapped around the back of Aziraphale’s neck to rest on the lapels of his vest. He noticed that off to the side sat Aziraphale’s cup of tea, confidently floating in mid air like Aziraphale had absentmindedly placed it on a bench top that quite simply was not there, and like a good mug it had remained. Crowley smiled at it and returned his attention to Aziraphale. “What do you want?” He asked.
Aziraphale’s hand around his wrist dropped, leaving Crowley’s wrist feeling quite comparatively cold. Aziraphale swallowed nervously. “It’s selfish,” he dodged.
“Oh,” Crowley sighed luxuriously. “Be selfish with me, angel, do.”
Aziraphale would not take his eyes off him, Crowley knew because he too wasn’t looking away. He could feel an impending panic hovering behind him like a wall of fog and knew that if he slipped too far out of this warm glow it would descend, but he was determined not to let that happen. Aziraphale wanted to kiss him, he wanted to make sure Aziraphale knew that he could as freely as he wanted. That he could indulge in Crowley as much as he might desire, without restraint. Crowley would give him anything.
“Where do I start,” Aziraphale said more to himself than to the demon in his arms. “Sit by me,” Aziraphale said, his voice barely above a whisper. “When we spend a night, sit by me, not across the room.”
Crowley’s smile grew as the warmth he needed to keep him calm and present flooded him again. “Okay,” he said.
Aziraphale flushed. “You don’t have to agree.”
Crowley ignored that. “Ask me for something else,” he requested.
Aziraphale stepped back and picked Crowley’s hands off his chest, holding them carefully in his own. He moved backwards slowly, pulling Crowley along with him. As they walked, Crowley withdrew one hand from Aziraphale’s and snatched the cup out of the air, bringing it with them to the couch.
They sat, facing each other. Aziraphale politely turned to him, Crowley with one leg on the couch, sitting almost sideways along it so that his whole body was pointed at Aziraphale. He leaned past the angel to leave his tea on the table by him, should he want it. He wasn’t touching Aziraphale now and he started to worry.
“Ask me for something else, angel,” he repeated.
Aziraphale laughed silently and shook his head, but followed it up by taking Crowley’s hand. Crowley filled with a rush of determination. He wasn’t going to miss this, he wouldn’t mess it up. He needed to know what Aziraphale wanted from him so that he could give it . He leaned in to whisper to Aziraphale, close to his ear. “I want to know what you want, I want to give it to you. I can guess, but I want you to say it.” Crowley pulled one hand out of Aziraphale’s now quite tight grasp and wrapped his fingers around Aziraphale’s wrist warmly. He ran his thumb indulgently along the hard edge of Aziraphale’s shirt cuff. “Say it for me,” he asked.
Aziraphale shivered. Crowley leaned away slightly and saw that his eyes were closed. “Sleep here, when you’re moved to sleep,” Aziraphale murmured. He opened his eyes to meet Crowley’s. “I miss you,” Aziraphale said, “I would like to look in on you, to know you’re safe and will come back.”
“Of course,” Crowley said breathlessly. His thumb ran slightly more roughly along the starched cuff. “I’m sorry I made you miss me, I didn’t know- I didn’t think-”
Aziraphale put a hand over Crowley’s and smiled gently, a hint of nervousness still about him. He leaned in and said, in an almost embarrassed voice, “There’s a bed upstairs for you.”
Crowley’s throat felt tight. He was feeling very wanted and it was a mightily unfamiliar feeling. “What else?” He asked, egging Aziraphale on almost desperately.
Aziraphale pursed his lips and glanced at the roof. “I- there’s a dresser and a little- “
“No,” Crowley interrupted, “what more do you want from me?”
“Oh,” Aziraphale sighed. He paused, but Crowley could tell he was going to speak, he could feel the response building between them. He slipped his thumb beneath Aziraphale’s cuff, feeling his quick pulse. “Touch me more,” Aziraphale whispered. “If it strikes you to want to, then touch me.”
That was more than Crowley had expected by far, he hadn’t chased his own liberty, but he would enjoy it. Crowley raised Aziraphale’s arm just off their legs and, slowly so that he could be easily interrupted, began working on the cuff link. He glanced at Aziraphale between efforts, both checking for continued permission and enjoying the keen, open expression on his face.
The cuff links put up a fight, however, and Crowley found to his dismay he was losing.
“They’re the old toggle design from the 40's,” Aziraphale muttered.
“Practically new,” Crowley grumbled as he picked Aziraphale’s arm up properly, studying the back of the cuff link to get a clue.
“Well, I lost my first pair,” Aziraphale said. “Would you like me to, dear?” He offered as Crowley hissed threateningly at his wrist.
“I’ll get it,” Crowley snapped. And then he did, no miracle required. Or at least, none by him; Aziraphale seemed unsurprised that he suddenly succeeded. Crowley let go of Aziraphale’s arm and laughed a touch sourly to himself. “Some seduction, huh?” He reproached. He’d hoped fervently that he wasn’t blushing, but he wasn’t sure he had any real impact on that.
“Dear boy,” Aziraphale said tenderly, reaching to run a hand through Crowley’s hair. Crowley shivered at the contact, the confident touch against his scalp. “You have already seduced me, you really needn’t try.”
Crowley opened his eyes sharply, having closed them to better feel Aziraphale’s fingers in his hair. “I’m not- I’m not trying to seduce you, angel, that was a joke. This isn’t- s’not some demon thing, I promise- I-”
“I know,” Aziraphale interrupted. “I know, my dear, it’s okay.”
“I won’t- I won’t ask you for anything, okay? Just- whatever you want to do, the ball’s in your court, as they say.”
Aziraphale’s hand trailed from his hair to his jaw, holding his face gently. “You can ask for things, Crowley. What do you want, dear, tell me.”
Crowley opened his mouth to refuse or to ask or to explain why not, he wasn’t sure which, but regardless no words came out. He just choked silently on his exhale and looked at Aziraphale with wide eyes, hoping for help.
Aziraphale’s hand slipped behind his neck to the short hairs his style wore and held him, his other hand landing on Crowley’s thigh warmly. “One thing, darling, ask me for one small thing,” he muttered.
“Oh,” Crowley sighed shakily. He felt his lip tremble and knew his uncontrollable fear was approaching again. He asked. “Can I kiss you again?” His heart rate spiked as he said this, the fear of rejection, refusal, of overstepping and messing it all up was still far too potent. The fog reached the edge of him.
But, “always, dear,” came the gentle reply, so Crowley closed the distance and did so. Aziraphale held him and encouraged him and kissed him harder than Crowley had the bravery to match.
“What else can I give you?” Crowley said into Aziraphale’s mouth, his voice wrecked with want and relief. His fear left, dissipating more with every moment they touched, replaced with contentment and love. “What do you want?”
“Crowley,” Aziraphale sighed reluctantly. “I want so much, too much.”
Crowley moved, trailing kisses across Aziraphale’s face, to his ear, his jaw, the small stretches of neck available to him. “It’s not too much,” Crowley muttered. He pulled away, meaning to follow up with further reasoning for Aziraphale to volunteer his desires, but Aziraphale didn’t let him, he pulled him back in, not to kiss, but to hold close.
Crowley left a kiss where he could as Aziraphale touched him, his hands possessive and strong. He found himself pulled most of the way onto Aziraphale’s lap, kneeling on the couch more than sitting now and curled over Aziraphale’s body like it was the best thing in the world. It was.
Crowley’s kisses landed in Aziraphale’s hair, on his cheek, his shoulder, his collar, his mouth. Finally Aziraphale spoke, his voice overwhelmed, croaking, wanton.
“Live with me,” Aziraphale gasped.
Crowley grinned and settled into his new seat, straddling Aziraphale as he kissed his pale eyebrows. “Sure,” he agreed.
Aziraphale looked up at him, his eyes wide. “Really?” He asked.
Crowley was still grinning and he felt no inclination to stop it. “Yes,” he said easily.
Aziraphale’s eyes flashed over him, taking him in anew. He blushed, then quickly asked, “Sex?”
Crowley laughed. “Yes.”
Aziraphale’s hands ran up his abdomen, touching and exploring over the top of his shirt. Aziraphale's self conscious attitude seemed to dissolve, his smile growing more confident, more greedy. He fiddled briefly with the seam at Crowley’s shoulder, then said, “Grow your hair out.”
This was less of a profession or request, this was almost an order. Crowley flushed happily and pushed his body further towards Aziraphale, pressing down onto his thighs. “Alright,” he agreed.
Aziraphale's eyes wandered over Crowley’s face, his gaze full of adoration and amazement. “Kiss me.”
Crowley did, immediately taking the angel’s curls in his hands and kissing him deep from the first touch of their lips. He was giddy with it all, laughing warmly into Aziraphale’s mouth as they kissed, enjoying the freedom to touch, the opportunity to take some of what he’d wanted for so long. His walls fell and his bravery spiked.
“I love you,” Crowley murmured. Then he froze, his lips still millimeters from Aziraphale’s lips, as he realised what he’d said. He began to lean away, his eyes wide. No time had passed, he wasn’t afraid or regretful yet, he was just filled with dread.
Aziraphale’s fingers tightened in his shirt, forcing him to stay close. “Say that again,” he ordered, begged.
Crowley was beginning to pant, but his mind hadn’t caught up enough to stop himself from doing exactly what Aziraphale asked. “I love you,” Crowley repeated. Aziraphale pulled him closer and held him there, his expression hungry, demanding more. “I’ve loved you forever, angel, I have,” Crowley said with a tone that was both pained and relieved at the same time.
Aziraphale’s lip wobbled. "What do you want?" Aziraphale asked.
Crowley shook his head. "What could I possibly want for now?" The dread faded. The longer he sat, Aziraphale’s hands in his shirt, holding him in place, the calmer he felt. He’d said it, he hadn’t thought he would today, tomorrow, this year. He’d hoped he’d say it eventually, before time gave out, but not soon. Not now.
But he had, and Aziraphale held him still. He relaxed, settling in his seat on Aziraphale’s thighs again, no longer trying to bolt.
Aziraphale kissed his neck. "Tell me something you want, please," he murmured.
Crowley fished for something, grabbing randomly at his desires. Aziraphale asked, Crowley supplied, always, so he found something to say. "I want to touch you," he said.
Crowley felt Aziraphale smirk, his lips still on his neck, closer to his collarbone than his jaw now. "I've already asked you to do that, doesn't count," Aziraphale said smartly.
Aziraphale was being a sarcastic bastard. He must know Crowley was scared shitless and was trying to calm him. Crowley would let him, he could play this game. "I want you to fuck me," Crowley said.
As he'd expected, Aziraphale blushed, the tops of his ears turning red. Then he leaned back against the couch and looked up at Crowley with a smile. No, a smirk. "I believe I covered that one, too, my dear" Aziraphale said. Crowley gaped.
"I was more specific," Crowley managed to point out.
Aziraphale ran a hand through Crowley's hair. "Come, you must have an original thought in there, you're so very bright," he said.
Crowley liked a challenge. He began to brainstorm. His lips were dry, turns out kissing did that. He licked them. Aziraphale's eyes followed the tips of his tongue as he did, then the angel pulled him in to kiss him again.
Crowley's mind finally supplied an original thought, as requested. "Kiss my hand, when me meet," he muttered against Aziraphale's lips.
"Without fail," came the muffled reply.
"Kiss me," Crowley sighed.
Crowley smirked and, with enough sarcasm to make it seem like it wasn’t a real request, he said, "Never stop."
Aziraphale chuckled. "I may pause for dinner eventually, but I promise to get right back to it," he said.
Crowley grinned. "Well, that'll have to do," he said jokingly.
"I love you," Aziraphale sighed.
Crowley’s heart stuttered and his stomach quickly threw itself to the next suburb.
Crowley could feel his lip wobbling and furiously told it to stop. "Are you okay?" Aziraphale asked gently. He was playing with the short ends of Crowley's hair, the touch too intimate to help Crowley find his feet again.
"Yeah, yeah," Crowley gasped. "Just. You do?"
"Love you?" Aziraphale checked. Crowley gave a half aborted nod. "Of course I do," Aziraphale said easily. His lips returned to Crowley's neck, leaving small kisses on his skin.
"Wh- ah- " Crowley couldn't speak. His skin was tight and burning and everywhere Aziraphale was touching him felt like electricity. "I don't- you're- hm." He was starting to crumble, his fingers lost in Aziraphale’s hair, slipping past the boundary of his shirt’s collar, touching forbidden skin. The lips on his neck were driving him to a desperate distraction.
"Of course I love you, Crowley, I've been in love with you for centuries, millennium," Aziraphale continued. His fingers continued the exploration that his lips had stopped in order to speak. He touched Crowley’s collarbone curiously, then traveled down, pressing into his ribs.
Crowley made a sound that can only be compared to the last gasp of a strangled man.
"And I should have said it yonks ago, but I was rather afraid of everything. I still am somewhat, but now, oh now, nothing has ever felt so right, so perfect." His hands wandered around Crowley's body with a confidence that Crowley found too appealing. Aziraphale pressed his thumbs into Crowley's hips, then one hand traveled down to Crowley's thigh, and the other back up to where his ribs ended. "You're sure you want all this, Crowley? You want me?" Aziraphale asked quietly, his tone at odds with his very forward touch.
Crowley groaned and rushed forwards, kissing Aziraphale absolutely.
Time passed very pleasantly for a while before Crowley’s brain began to work again.
He broke the kiss. “Listen- listen to me for a minute,” he gasped.
Aziraphale looked at him curiously. “Go ahead, love,” he invited.
Crowley’s preparations failed for a moment. “For- you can’t call me that and expect- I can’t think with that!” He exclaimed.
Aziraphale just raised an eyebrow at him cheekily and began pulling his tie loose. Crowley shut his eyes, he couldn’t face that either. “Listen,” Crowley said, “just to get back to what you were saying-”
“That I want to have sex?” Aziraphale supplied.
Crowley’s eyes flew open despite how entirely the sight of Aziraphale promised to send him spinning off topic. He’d undone his bow tie and the first button of his collar, revealing skin Crowley rarely got a chance to see. Crowley stared as Aziraphale caught his breath.
“Not quite that,” Crowley croaked. He could see Aziraphale’s pulse fluttering in his throat. “What Gabriel said-”
“Oh, really, Crowley?” Aziraphale asked, admonishing. He glanced to the side in frustration.
“No, just, let me say-”
Aziraphale glared at him. “You’re in my lap like this and you wish to discuss my old boss?”
Crowley felt a small laugh building. “Let me talk, angel! You make everything so difficult.”
Aziraphale gave him a very condescending look, but his amusement was apparent enough that Crowley just chuckled.
“Listen, Gabriel is worthless,” Crowley began, only to be interrupted as he paused for effect.
“He’s an archangel!” Aziraphale disagreed.
Crowley pulled a face. “A useless one-”
“Fucked up there-”
Aziraphale scoffed loudly. “Oh, come now.”
Crowley grinned, deciding not to admit to wanting to take that literally. “My point is; you’re hot,” he said after he shook off the brief wave of lust. “You’re sexy.”
“I’m-” Aziraphale’s shoulders lowered in a hint of defeat or exasperation. “Crowley,” he admonished, like Crowley was a kindergartner who’d brought a worm inside.
Crowley laughed, his body wild with the movement. Aziraphale grabbed his hips quickly, holding him down in case he fell. “Shush, angel,” he suggested once his laugh passed. Aziraphale wasn’t interrupting anymore, though, his attention was focused oddly on his throat, “You’re strong and handsome and you’ve got fat and it’s fucking gorgeous, don’t change.”
Aziraphale smiled and kissed his adam’s apple gently, taking the last of Crowley’s breath. He leaned back soon, looking up at him innocently, as if he hadn’t just pressed his lips to Crowley’s neck.
“D’you remember a few summers ago you rolled your sleeves up for an afternoon?” Crowley asked. Aziraphale had a tan line where his collar usually sat and it was driving Crowley insane.
“Well, I do,” Crowley said, “it’s seared into my memory. It was so unbearably sexy, angel, I about discorporated on the spot.”
Aziraphale grinned at him.
“And now, you’ve gone and- your collar- I don’t think I’ve breathed for two minutes because I’m having to focus far too damned much on not finishing what you started there-”
“Oh, don’t stop yourself, dear,” Aziraphale interrupted gently.
Crowley hesitated for a beat, but decided in the end to take Aziraphale’s word for it. He reached for Aziraphale’s second button and began undoing it. “Aziraphale, I love you regardless of form, but I am into this body, believe me,” he muttered as he undid him. There was a freckle on his collarbone, so Crowley kissed it.
“Well, my tastes differ slightly,” Aziraphale said as Crowley continued to mouth at his neck.
Aziraphale’s fingers tightened on his hip bone. “I like slim hips that move so much when they walk that they simply scream for attention,” he said quietly, whispering the words into Crowley’s ear. “I like hands that promise clever, strong fingers, that itch to touch me. I like hair red enough to go to battle over, begging for me to run my hands through. Eyes, yellow and piercing that seem to see through everything I say, who know me better than I do. A smart mouth that offends me as it compliment, with lips I think about when night falls, that I imagine on me-”
Crowley was going to simply die if he let Aziraphale continue. “Shh, shh, angel,’ he interrupted, kissing him to stop him.
Aziraphale kissed him back. “I’m sorry dear, too forward?” He asked.
“Just- I can’t-”
Crowley slipped forward, getting as close to Aziraphale as he could, then sensation shot through him as his dick hit Aziraphale’s belly and Crowley discovered he was quite hard already. “Shit,” Crowley spat, pulling back. “Sorry,” he whispered.
But Aziraphale caught him as he moved away, first holding him still, then pulling him closer again, slowly but with confidence. Crowley’s knees hit the back of the couch, but Aziraphale didn’t stop. As Crowley shifted his way down Aziraphale’s thighs his legs were pushed open, giving no chance in heaven, hell, or earth to hide his effort’s response. Crowley would have faded from existence in embarrassment if he weren’t so unbearably caught in Aziraphale’s steady gaze.
He finally pressed up against Aziraphale, dizzy from the control laid on him, he felt the undemanding but insistent pressure of Aziraphale’s effort beneath him and groaned, his restrained disappearing as he immediately, without through, ground down against him.
Aziraphale was speaking, Crowley had to force himself back to more general awareness to hear him. “...touch you, stroke you, please,” Aziraphale muttered into his ear.
Crowley tried to agree, but he could only moan. He nodded, almost frantic with it.
Aziraphale touched him, the palm of his hand resting entirely against his dick, not holding him - his pants made that impossible - but curling to squeeze him. “Sure?” Aziraphale asked as he ran his thumb up the side of Crowley’s shaft.
“Fuck, angel,” Crowley gasped, “yeah, yeah, m’sure.” Aziraphale’s thumb reached his head and Crowley bucked, grinding against Aziraphale’s confidently hard dick.
Aziraphale’s other hand cupped his jaw, tilting his face to face him. “There’s those eyes,” Aziraphale muttered, his expression nigh rapturous. Crowley couldn’t imagine his eyes were anything other than full yellow now, and if that was wanted, well, that was lucky because he had little control over them.
Aziraphale pressed his fingers along Crowley’s length and shifted the pressure, rubbing him gently through his pants. Crowley gasped and clutched Aziraphale’s collar, curling his fingers around his undone bow tie. A quiet moan slipped out of Crowley's lips. Aziraphale touched him with a confidence that implied that he was either naturally talented or had done this before. Crowley’s suspicions leaned towards the latter with amusement.
As one of Crowley’s hands stayed caught on Aziraphale’s collar the other dropped, skating down the angel’s shirt and vest to rest on his hip bone hesitantly. Aziraphale wrapped his arm around Crowley’s lower back and tugged him in, closer still, and Crowley felt the pressure of Aziraphale’s effort- his dick- his- Crowley groaned, tipping his head to kiss Aziraphale desperately.
Aziraphale touched him and it made Crowley moan and mutter and want so much, so much. They kissed and Crowley focused on that for a moment until a particularly clever quirk of Aziraphale’s fingers made him buck and whimper into Aziraphale’s mouth. Crowley wanted to touch him too, he could feel him but he didn’t know how to start.
“Hey, I-” Crowley muttered into Aziraphale’s mouth. Aziraphale turned his head to let him speak easily, instead kissing his cheek, his jaw, his neck. Crowley swallowed and spoke somehow. “I’ve never done this before, can you tell me- give me a hint, maybe?”
Aziraphale paused. “What, never?” He asked with a disbelief that was a touch impolite. He returned to face Crowley, his hand stilling between them. “Not with a human, even?”
Crowley grinned and shifted his hips, trying to let Aziraphale know that he could continue if he wanted. He did not take the hint. “Have you?” Crowley asked, deeply amused by the concept of a secretively consorting angel.
Aziraphale went very red very quickly and pulled his hand from Crowley. He glanced to the side, avoiding meeting Crowley’s eyes. “W- well, I-”
Crowley laughed quietly, breathlessly. He kissed Aziraphale’s eyebrows, then his temple, and felt the angel’s tenseness dissipate as he continued down to his jaw. Crowley kissed his lips and it was returned gently, then interrupted as Aziraphale bit his own lip nervously. He caught Crowley’s eyes. “If you’re-” Aziraphale began to whisper.
Crowley didn’t mean to interrupt, but he did mean to kiss Aziraphale’s nervous pout and unfortunately Aziraphale couldn’t talk and be kissed in the way Crowley kissed him, so Crowley did end up interrupting him.
“You’re the most interesting thing in the cosmos, Aziraphale,” Crowley muttered. Then, because he found the whole thing fairly hysterical, he asked, “Who’d you fuck?” With a giant grin.
Any chance Aziraphale had at calming his blush faded from hope. “I’m not going to discuss previous flings with you, Crowley, that’s hardly romantic,” he snapped snappishly.
Crowley swayed with silent laughter. “That poet guy, what was his name? Would or something?”
“Wilde,” Aziraphale corrected automatically.
“Oh, do shush, Crowley.”
Crowley kissed Aziraphale’s eyebrow again, in an apology that his next words undid. “And there was that bloke in Rome looking at you funny all night, what was-”
Aziraphale gripped his waist and pushed him away. A spark of fear shot through Crowley as he thought with absolutely certainty that he’d fucked it up, but it passed as Aziraphale held him surely in place, barely a few inches further away than he had been, and glared at him in intentionally obvious amusement. “You told me Hell had how-to-sex classes as part of induction, didn’t you?” He pointed out. His hands relaxed and began to roam, gently exploring his abdomen.
“Yeah, that’s true,” Crowley said. He swayed, absolutely adoring the sensation of Aziraphale’s strong fingers crawling up his rib cage. Crowley dropped his arms and caught Aziraphale’s elbows, holding him gently, encouraging his touch.
Aziraphale paused and Crowley looked at him. He raised a curious eyebrow and Crowley accepted his point and answered the unasked question. “I called in sick,” he explained.
His answer was rewarded as Aziraphale’s hands strolled down to his thighs, fingers pressing into the dent where his ass began. “I’ve seen you tempt lust, you’re good at it,” Aziraphale muttered.
Crowley hummed happily. “Yeah, thing about lust is you don’t follow through, that’s kind of the point,” he said vaguely as he ran his hands to feel Aziraphale’s forearms, to feel the muscles move within him. The name he’d been trying to conjure earlier flitted through his distracted mind. “Hadrian?”
Aziraphale’s fingers slackened and rested on Crowley’s thighs. “I never slept with Hadrian, no,” he said with a great deal of exasperation. Crowley peeked at him curiously, still entertained. “Dear, I’m happy to discuss this but I will insist on doing my shirt back up and moving you off my lap to do so,” Aziraphale said sternly.
Crowley grinned. “I’ll drop it then,” he promised, although he intended to bring it up later.
Aziraphale’s hand raised to cup Crowley’s cheek warmly, stopping him as he leaned in for another kiss. “I’ve never loved anyone else, Crowley,” Aziraphale said seriously. “I’ve enjoyed humans, but never as I- as I feel for you.”
Crowley studied him for a moment, the tense tilt of his mouth, the slight worry in his eyes. “I’m not jealous,” Crowley said gently.
Aziraphale’s thumb ran along his skin, brushing the corner of his mouth. “Not even a little?” Aziraphale checked.
Crowley tilted his head. They had been talking about what they wanted, was that what this was? “You want me jealous?”
Aziraphale drew in a dismayed breath. “Oh no, no, dear, no,” he said quickly.
“I can be jealous,” Crowley offered. Shouldn’t be too hard, it was one of the sins after all. He was predestined to succumb to the sins. He hadn’t tasted Envy with any interest, but he’d give it a go.
Aziraphale’s hand slipped to the back of his neck and tightened. “Don’t you dare fake a thing, Crowley,” he said seriously. Crowley frowned and straightened, beginning to pay proper attention as the fog of lust finally left his body. Aziraphale’s upset tone cleared the last of Crowley’s distraction. “Oh, Crowley, are you sure you want this? The romance, the physicality of it all?”
“Yeah, I-” Crowley said quietly, but he was interrupted as Aziraphale let go of him, then in the same second grabbed his hips and lifted him half a foot, swinging him easily and depositing him gently, carefully to the side. Crowley landed comfortably, but amidst great confusion. He scrambled to sit up, to face Aziraphale again, to clamber back onto him, but Aziraphale was already facing him, already reaching out to touch him. Crowley stilled and let Aziraphale take his hand with care.
Aziraphale drew a breath, then continued speaking like he hadn’t just thrown Crowley off. “Because I don’t think you’ve ever denied me something when I asked for it, dear, and I want this, I truly do, but not if you’re giving yourself to me just because I asked.” He paused and looked at Crowley’s hand in his. He ran his thumb over Crowley’s knuckles. “Perhaps we should pause and- and think about it all,” Aziraphale suggested quietly. “I don’t need it, I want it, but if you want to just share a drink and talk I’ll be happy, I promise I will.”
Crowley nodded, then spoke slowly, giving himself the chance to correct his words as he went if he needed to. “If you want to think, then sure, but I-” He took a breath. “Angel, I’ve been dreaming about you since I started to sleep, I know what I want.”
Aziraphale was still watching their joined hands, so Crowley put his other hand over theirs. Aziraphale raised his gaze at last, meeting Crowley’s eyes. “I think,” Aziraphale croaked, “maybe you should take the lead tonight, rather than me. I don’t want to-
“I’m not some delicate flower, Aziraphale,” Crowley entreated, “I’m a demon. I can take it.”
Aziraphale rushed forwards, knocking one of Crowley’s legs up and over his two as he moved closer. He stopped close to Crowley, very close, a breath away. The hand not caught between Crowley’s raised and hovered before Crowley’s face, trembling as he reverently pressed two fingers to Crowley’s snake sigil. “Delicate,” Aziraphale repeated to himself in a whisper. Crowley closed his eyes at the touch, the intimacy of it utterly overwhelming. Aziraphale’s fingers slid lightly along his cheek and came to rest on his lower lip. “I refuse to hurt you,” Aziraphale breathed, close enough that Crowley felt the out-breath pass his ear.
“I don’t think you could, angel.”
“I have hurt you before, I know I have, I’ve seen it.”
Crowley opened his eyes at last. Aziraphale lowered his fingers, dragging his lip for a moment as he did. His fingers crawled, feeling the curves of Crowley’s jaw, pressing into his pulse point, then the dip of his collarbone. “You never meant to,” Crowley said.
Aziraphale’s eyes welled up at once. “I wouldn’t mean to now, either. Let me be careful, please,” he begged.
“Okay,” Crowley agreed immediately. “Hey, yeah, sure, okay,” he said as gently as he could. His hands still held one of Aziraphale’s, so he pulled them close, one hand travelling up the angel’s forearm, the other tightening his squeeze on his fingers. He couldn’t see him cry, not now, not ever. “Angel. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t’ve pushed.”
Aziraphale pushed his chest carefully, but certainly with some force. Crowley hit the couch’s arm, but Aziraphale followed him so he wasn’t upset by it. “You’ve nothing to apologise for, darling Crowley, really- oh!” Aziraphale’s entire expression changed in one moment, his eyebrows flew up in shock and his mouth fell open.
“What?” Crowley asked.
Aziraphale looked down at him in amazement and some… Disgust? Regret? Crowley’s heart thudded in burgeoning panic. “I asked you to move in!” Aziraphale exclaimed.
“Yeah,” Crowley said warily.
Aziraphale sat back. “That was terribly manipulative, I’m sorry, the timing!” He sounded near outraged at himself. He slipped his hands out of Crowley’s grasp, almost entirely disengaging from touching Crowley, except that Crowley still had a leg flung over his lap and had no interest in moving it. “You don’t have to, I won’t be- oh, don’t give me what you don’t want, dear, pl-”
“Aziraphale!” Crowley said loudly, interrupting him. Aziraphale stopped and looked at him, his eyes still wide. “Shush,” Crowley ordered fondly. Crowley waited a moment and it seemed that Aziraphale had, in fact, shushed. Crowley closed his eyes to take a breath, then let out a shaky laugh of relief. “Okay,” he said, more to stabalise himself than anything else.
Crowley shifted towards Aziraphale, not returning to straddling him, but sitting so that the leg not over his lap had to rest fully folded to let him sit so close. “When did you realise you- you love me?” Crowley asked, pleased that he’d only stuttered over it once.
Aziraphale had raised his hands gingerly as Crowley had crowded him, and he did not relax them. Rather than let them fall and touch Crowley he just sat with them hovering awkwardly in the air. “Why?” He asked.
Crowley smiled. “Because I want to tell you when I did, but I’m a coward,” he said.
Slowly, Aziraphale’s hands lowered. They rested gently on Crowley’s let, just above and below his knee, and stayed there. “The crucifixion,” Aziraphale said quietly. “There was so much of you in him, how could I not? I was checking in Rome, I’ve been helpless since.”
Crowley breathed a quiet laugh. He put one hand over Aziraphale’s, the other on the back of Aziraphale’s elbow. Not inappropriate places to touch someone, not too forward, but still warm, still intimate. “I wasn’t at my best in Rome,” Crowley said.
“Yes,” Aziraphale said faintly. “I was rather entirely in love with you because of that, dear.” He smiled to himself and glanced at their hands, then back to Crowley. “I knew I was going to end up telling you in the 40's, in the church. Because of the books. I knew that the next time I felt like that I was not going to be able to keep quiet.” He breathed out and relaxed, his smile becoming tinged with humour again. “I did hope I’d be slightly more graceful about it than I have today.”
Crowley leaned forward with a large smile. “I’ve got you beat,” he teased.
Aziraphale pursed his lips and threw him a light glare, all show, no substance. “It’s not a competition,” he said.
Crowley grinned. “It is and I win,” he said lushly. Then he threw his head back and cried with a gravitas and a theatricality that stood out starkly in the intimate moment, “On the wall of Eden an angel told me he gave his sword to a pregnant human just because it was a kind thing to do!” He looked back at Aziraphale warmly. “And I have never recovered.”
Aziraphale looked deeply confused. “Y- you didn’t love me then, though, you couldn’t’ve,” he doubted.
Crowley laughed to himself. “Oh, instantly,” he said happily. “I gave it away!” He mocked with infinite fondness. Then he looked at Aziraphale, adoring him. “Wonderful,” he sighed.
“You didn’t even know my name!” Aziraphale exclaimed. “Which I- I should have introduced myself then, it was rude.”
Crowley laughed again. He moved his hand from Aziraphale’s arm to his hair, gently feeling the texture behind his ear. “It was a little,” he allowed. He’d loved that failing of politeness. “Everything you did was just- oh, I had it bad from the start, angel, so bad.”
“Bad?” Aziraphale repeated with a quirk of his eyebrow.
“Good, great!” Crowley corrected. “True,” he added. Then he rolled his eyes, hearing himself, hearing how gentle he was being, but not stopping it. “Deep. I’ve loved you so much, and it’s- more than ever now, more than ever.”
Aziraphale reached for him and pulled him close, his hand around the back of his neck. They kissed, kindly, and Crowley shifted himself comfortably closer.
“And I won’t if you think it’s too much,” Crowley muttered against Aziraphale’s lips, still kissing him between words. “But I do want to move in,” he said, “and I do want to have sex.” Aziraphale began to push him down again, holding the small of his back close to keep him stable. Crowley spoke as he was lowered, his hands in Aziraphale’s hair and his heart in his words. “And I want to take you to every little restaurant this world can come up with, and I want you to tell me off for speeding - as if I’d ever actually put you at risk!”
Aziraphale laughed and kissed him. Crowley kept talking, the words muffled and often interrupted as he returned the kiss. “And I don’t want to have to dream to convince myself that you might actually want me.”
Aziraphale kissed him hard, so hard he couldn’t speak again for some time. They settled into position, Aziraphale above Crowley and between his legs. He held his weight aloft, resting on his elbows to save Crowley from being crushed, but Crowley didn’t let that last for long. They kissed and Crowley tugged at him, pulling him closer, asking to be touched, then demanding it. They were close, so close, bodies pressed together, clutching each other desperately.
At least an hour passed. Hands roamed but did not roam too far. Crowley didn’t know how to initiate and Aziraphale wasn’t willing to tonight, so that would happen later (second thing in the morning, in fact, but they didn’t know that yet). Crowley began to relax into the ideas of later and again and didn’t worry about it. They just kissed.
After some time they began to ease, peppers of conversation interrupted their lips. Conversation had sustained their friendship these millennia, they both loved to talk to the other so much, so they did. They kissed occasionally, sometimes interrupting the other, but they mostly talked. And touched. Crowley roamed, sitting differently on the couch and Aziraphale as the day turned into night.
It was all exceedingly comfortable. They told each other truths they hadn’t shared before, observations they had found too vulnerable or intimate to volunteer. Aziraphale owned his previous trysts with pride, and some blushes. Crowley enjoyed the tales greatly and shared a few more private moments he’d spent through his existence to make up for his extensive questioning. Night fell and a bottle of wine was opened with a common agreement to not have sex when drunk tonight.
They kept to that, although there were some close calls. Crowley eventually fell asleep on Aziraphale’s lap, and Aziraphale simply tipped his head back and enjoyed the sound of some music for a few hours. When Crowley awoke and Aziraphale perked up, they both sobered and realised they wore quite a bit less clothing than they had when they’d started to drink. So they had a cup of tea then Crowley argued that seeing as it was so very difficult to undo 18th century buttons - and cuff links were nigh impossible - it seemed a shame to waste such an opportunity. Aziraphale agreed wholeheartedly.