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Practical Application and Other Theories

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Aziraphale had his nose stuck deep in a papyrus scroll when it happened, so initially, he didn't notice anything amiss. The hieroglyphs on the page didn't change, neither did the paper, nor the sandstone terrace under his feet.

As the day went on, a shadow fell over him. Even this went ignored for a while, since Aziraphale was quite deep into his account of recent changes to the internship policies at the library of Alexandria. Or was it Athens?

It was only when he, perchance, looked up to shoot a quick glance at the sun to check what time it might be that he noticed the man-shaped being in front of him.

"Hello, Aziraphale."

With a shocked cry, the former guardian of the Eastern gate fell out of his chair.

"Now, Aziraphale. There's no need for that kind of reaction."

"Gabriel!"

"The one and only!"

Gabriel flapped his wings – huge, sprawling expanses of glowing feathers, blindingly white – once in the angelic equivalent of a nod.

Aziraphale picked himself off the ground and stood on shaking knees. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Most of the afternoon. I was waiting for you to notice me."

"W-what are you doing here?"

"Can I not drop by to say 'hello' to the most valiant angel on Earth?"

Aziraphale closed his scroll and placed it carefully on his now abandoned seat, peering up at the archangel with suspicion. "You can, but you certainly never do. Did... did something happen?"

His thoughts flashed to Crowley, who was also in the city, and he fiercely hoped the demon hadn't managed to get himself into trouble with the heavenly Host.

Gabriel's expression of geniality fell. He held up both hands. "Alright, alright, you've got me. I have, indeed, a reason to be here."

He picked up the scroll, turned it over once in his hands and chucked it over his shoulder. It vanished into the aether.

Aziraphale grimaced. "And what would that be?"

Gabriel sat down on the chair, smiling beatifically. "The time has come, my friend."

"The... the time?" Aziraphale blinked. It took him a moment to catch on. "What, already?"

"Oh, yes."

"And I –?"

Gabriel's eyebrows drew together. "You?"

"And I shall –?" Aziraphale gulped. He couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence.

Thankfully he didn't have to. "Oh!", exclaimed Gabriel. "No, of course not! This is a far too sensitive matter to be left to- to-"

Aziraphale lifted a brow. "To?"

"Field agents."

Sure.

"Well, thank you for the warning, I guess," said Aziraphale, held out a hand and wished his scroll back into existence. "I will make sure to be prepared. Now, I have very important miracling business to get to, you've probably seen my list of duties –"

"I need your help."

Aziraphale stared.

Gabriel looked back, his violet eyes startlingly radiant even in the paling glow of the sinking sun. Silence hung between them, only broken by the cries of the market vendors in the distance, beyond the walls of the yard, and the few, brave birds above.

Surprisingly enough, it was Gabriel who broke first. Just when Aziraphale, who was more than familiar with Crowley's cat-like attention and, moreover, persistence, was beginning to feel mildly uncomfortable.

"You see, it's not just any angel who's been tasked with... this sensitive matter. It's me."

Aziraphale stared harder. "You."

"Yes, me." Gabriel gazed off into the distance, where he would find nothing but a disturbingly high sandstone wall, since this was still a courtyard. "Her name is Mary, I think. She'll be around tomorrow, she knows the place."

"She knows... the place?"

Aziraphale had the distinct feeling that he was missing something rather important here. And it was not the scroll, because it had obediently re-materialized in the specially-shaped pouch on his belt.

"Yes, someone has let her know. Maybe the Almighty herself." Gabriel shrugged. "This is where you come in."

So he would be coming in. To the place, Aziraphale assumed. "I understand."

"Good!" Gabriel beamed at him. "So my predictions were correct. If there's anyone familiar with the human proceedings, it would be you!"

"Indeed," Aziraphale agreed. "I shall let her in, then, and I will serve tea, there's been a lovely mixture coming in from China, which no one here knows about, obviously. I am not even quite certain on how it got here..."

Crowley. It got here via Crowley.

"... but it is a lovely blend of jasmine with–"

"Great," Gabriel interrupted. "That sounds... great. Yes. It will probably be best to get to know her a little before we lie together."

Aziraphale abruptly choked on his own spit. He doubled over, wheezing for breath.

Gabriel rose from the chair and patted his back consolingly. "I know I have never made a show of my discontent for your, ahem, appreciation of human, err, customs, especially such carnal ones, but I see now that your expertise in such matters will come in handy."

"C-carnal ones?" Aziraphale shook off the other angel's hand. "You think me capable of, of –?"

He still couldn't say it.

Gabriel shot him a look that said, very plainly, that Aziraphale was asking the kind of stupid question that would get him the silent card were they at a heavenly board meeting right now. Not that he'd been to many of those – he'd been, unfortunately, rather busy pretending to be busy when he was still functioning as a principality.

Gabriel put the hand on his shoulder again. "You are doing outstanding work here, Aziraphale. I am glad to have you on our side and I am looking forward to your demonstration tomorrow. It shall be most educational."

And with that, he vanished into thin air.

Aziraphale rubbed a hand over his face, then dropped into the empty chair. Something that felt curiously like irritation stirred in his gut – had been since the archangel had shown up – and he was suddenly reminded why he'd so readily volunteered to stay on Earth.

The thing was... Aziraphale, Principality of Heaven and Guardian of the Eastern Gate of Eden, didn't actually get along all that well with the rest of the heavenly Host. Most of them didn't even like him – and the feeling was mutual.

And now word would make the rounds that he'd– that he'd fornicated in the way humans do! Aziraphale was mortified. Not at the statement itself, because he'd definitely fornicated, and done so with great joy. But to think they'd think he'd corrupt a human to ignore the Almighty's word and lie with him outside the marriage bed! Outrageous!

... and tomorrow he'd have to demonstrate his technique to his boss.

Aziraphale wished himself a goblet of the strongest wine he knew and downed it in one long, greedy swallow. There was rather more alcohol in it than there had been when it had been brewed.

To think that the day had started out so well.

Once Aziraphale had gotten rather spectacularly drunk, sobered up again and thought the matter through – as much as he could without recoiling with mortification – it was clear that he had to see Crowley.

Coincidentally, it was already morning, so Aziraphale miracled himself a clean set of clothes and hastened through the waking city to where the demon had set up his workshop.

Crowley had taken up a spot of fortune telling in recent years, because smoking questionable herbs and spouting nonsense vaguely related to the future and much more related to wishful thinking was apparently 'en vogue'. He'd advised many a man to bet too much on the street games and many a woman to follow her heart rather than her father's word, which, honestly, seemed like rather harmless fun compared to the things Hell usually had him doing. Aziraphale had let it slide, because he'd rather the demon do it where he could see than wreak havoc on a part of the world where he couldn't supervise. Also, Crowley was always willing to pay for their meals. And... well, it meant he was here.

Aziraphale stopped in front of the curtain that marked the entrance to the demon's shop: a gaudy thing, colored with what was left of various dyes when the aristocrat's cloths had had enough. A sign on the ground next to it advertised "Crowley Snakecharmer's Nice and Accurate Fortune Telling" in a nod to a woman that had not yet been born. She'd probably manage to find out about this, anyway, and, in true witch fashion, would be highly amused.

Shaking his head, Aziraphale drew back the curtain and stepped into the dingy cool of the house.

"Welcome, far-searching stranger! You have come to the right place. The future is at your dispos– oh, it's just you."

Aziraphale blinked a few times, trying to get his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He stood in a comparatively large foyer-slash-living room. Chairs lined the walls, for the waiting clientele, but right now, all of them were deserted. The center of the room was taken up by a tower of cushions that had Crowley's lanky form sprawled over it, clad in a short tunic that had slid rather far up his thighs during his sleep, and he was currently cuddling with two massive snakes. One of them, a yellow beauty with a light, cream colored pattern and piercing red eyes, lifted her head and stuck her tongue out at him.

"Good morning, Lisbeth," said Aziraphale, waving a hand. "And good morning, Ooze."

Ooze, the black snake, shot him a baleful look and promptly stuck his nose under Crowley's tunic. He didn't like being woken from his slumber – and he also didn't like Aziraphale in general.

Crowley stroked a hand down his back with a soothing hiss that was half a fond chuckle.

Aziraphale cleared his throat. "Crowley, I need your help."

The demon looked up. "Che?"

"Ah, scusami. Ho bisogno del tuo aiut-," Aziraphale's brain stuttered for a moment. "Crowley! That language doesn't even exist yet."

Crowley burst out laughing. Lisbeth, who'd curled herself around his neck, joined in with an amused hiss. "I just had to hear you say it again."

"That was not nice."

"Positively demonic, right?"

Crowley unwound himself from his snakes and slid off the cushion. His tunic finally fell into place again, covering his distractingly muscular, tanned thighs. He straightened his clothing, then spread his hands. "What brings you here at this time of the morning, angel? Unless you're here for me to tell you your future?" He stepped up to Aziraphale and placed a hand on his chest, over his all too human, beating heart. "I can see... bodies moving. A bed rocking. Lots of sweat."

He leaned in, nuzzling the angel's neck. Aziraphale shuddered. "That... hits rather too close to home."

Crowley hummed, pressing a kiss to where his pulse thudded. "Let me get the oil."

"Mmm..." Aziraphale's eyes flew open. "Wait! No!"

"Huh?"

The angel grabbed Crowley by the shoulders and pushed him off. "That's not what I'm here for." His feet twitched, like they wanted to start pacing. "Things are moving! They're moving very fast."

"Ah," said the demon. A plate of fruit appeared in his hand.

"He's coming tonight to set the ball rolling, so to speak, which is a godawful metaphor, considering what that will entail, and oh--," Aziraphale threw his arms up, feeling as frazzled as he'd had last night. "My dear, I have no idea what to do!"

Crowley popped a grape into his mouth. "Try having the whole conversation with me, not just the second half."

Aziraphale shot him a dirty look. "Gabriel came by this morning. He's been tasked with, with planting the Almighty's son – or daughter, I suppose – into a human woman's womb."

There. He couldn't have said it more frankly if he wanted to. It felt, overall, very satisfying to see Crowley choke on that blessed grape.

The demon doubled over, frantically punching his own chest to dislodge his mis-swallowed breakfast and came up wheezing for air, only to double over again – this time shaking with laughter. "Gabriel," he gasped, "Of all angels! Oh my anyone!"

"I really don't see what's so funny about this."

"That upstuck, desk-worshipping Leader of the Pencil Pushers! The Master of All Things Deadline! Head-virgin of the Untouchables! The one who couldn't even get some with Dagan, and she's done unspeakable things to files."

Aziraphale's lips twitched. "Okay, yes, I can see it now."

"And they're sending him to- to lie with a human?"

"Maybe the Almighty thinks he needs to get laid."

Crowley, gasping for breath, cradled his belly. "Stop, angel, stop!"

"Have I told you the most tragic thing yet? He's asked for a demonstration. By me."

If there was any hope to calm the demon down again, it was definitely gone with that one. Aziraphale waited until Crowley was well and truly quivering with mirth to drop the biggest news. "You're going to be my female partner."

Oh, yes, seeing the demon suffocate by swallowing his own tongue would never get old. It almost made the whole sordid affair worth it.

The flap behind Aziraphale quivered. "All right in there?", an uncertain voice asked and a young man stuck his head in.

Aziraphale nodded. "Just a matter of business. Move on, my good man."

He disappeared.

Crowley furiously wiped the tears off his face. He didn't look so merry any more. "W-w-what? You want me to what so Gabriel can WHAT?"

"Precisely," agreed Aziraphale. "I can't tempt or pay a human girl, being an entity of heavenly purity, you understand. Since for you it's already too late anyways, it makes you the ideal partner. Not to mention that we're obviously familiar with each other in that way."

"Angel." Crowley ran a hand through his hair and flopped onto his cushions again, uncaring that he sat right on Ooze's ill-tempered coils. "It's quite a jump from a little affable bed-sports between friends to voyeurism."

Aziraphale waved the protest away. "Don't tell me you're not a shameless exhibitionist."

"Gabriel will kill me on sight."

The demon's yellow gaze found his and, to his astonishment, Aziraphale saw genuine worry there. His own expression softened. "He won't."

"He's an angel. Isn't he also the one who asks you about my demise at every performance review?"

Yes, he was, and it was getting increasingly irritating. Aziraphale was not one for killing, especially not Crowley. Thinking about it, it was really time his superior dropped the matter. Aziraphale had had entirely too much of it. "If he tries to lay a hand on you," the angel said, unable to fully conceal the rumbling thunder of his Might, that had, once upon a time, shook the Heavens, "He'll wish I'd sent a strongly worded memo."

Crowley swallowed. His eyes had gone huge, swallowed by the bottomless depth of his irises. "Alright."

 

Aziraphale's feet got the better of him after he brewed the tea. He couldn't help it, he'd arrived too early.

Like most houses, the one he'd gotten the address of by the mythical means of ethereal memo, did not have a door, and did, instead, rely on a flap of cloth and the neighborhood watch to keep it safe. It had been clear that he'd have to rectify that problem. Not that the people here weren't used to hearing their neighbors going at it like irritated mules, but he, at least, preferred to enjoy such past times in private.

So Aziraphale had miracled a door and then two beds like the ones they had invented further north, and, for convenience, he had also added a stove. And firewood. And since by then he had been on a roll, he'd swapped the air in the room for a whiff of the continent that would one day come to be known as Antarctica, because cool rooms were so much nicer than hot rooms.

Then he'd boiled water and put on fresh sheets and once he was done with that, the sun had not creeped a slightest bit closer to the horizon.

Sometimes, Aziraphale really felt like the Almighty was mocking him. Which would absolutely be within Her rights, since she'd created him and he was so grateful for that he really shouldn't complain, but still. There was a point to this.

"Nice door."

Aziraphale jumped and whirled to face said door. "Crowley?"

The shadow in the door frame didn't look like the demon. Like a demon, certainly, with curly red hair cascading over slim shoulders, lips so scarlet the color could only have come from Egypt and a wrapped cloth dress that was so sinfully loose around the shoulders the woman-shaped being had to hold it up by wrapping her arms around her breasts. The only thing that hadn't changed were her eyes. Those were still blazing yellow, slit and twinkling with mirth.

Aziraphale blushed. "I got carried away."

"Haven't I heard that before."

Crowley stepped into the room and shut the door, which, unfortunately, meant she had to loosen her grip on her dress. One side slipped over her shoulder and down to her elbow, exposing a plump breast and light brown nipple that seemed half as big as Aziraphale's palm in the relaxed warmth of the day.

A rush of heat that was entirely human in nature shot through Aziraphale, gathering in his lower belly. His breath hitched.

Crowley's gaze shot up to him, lips curling in amusement. She sashayed over, tilting her hips with every step. "Is she even in the know about this?"

Aziraphale's gaze had a hard time detaching itself from the exposed nipple that was slowly tightening as the cooler air of the room brushed the naked skin. "Err. What?"

"The unfortunate woman chosen to carry the Almighty's offspring."

"She's not unfortunate, quite the opposite. She has been chosen," Aziraphale babbled, then pulled a face. "Uh, could you -?"

Crowley snorted and covered up her nipple.

"Thank you," said Aziraphale, feeling like he could breathe again if he just didn't let his thoughts linger too much on Crowley's sinfully curved form. "As I was saying, being chosen to play such a vital part in her Ineffable Plan is nothing but an honor, and I am sure the young lady will do nothing but agr -"

The door flew open and crashed into the wall.

"Where are you, you arrogant motherfucker?", a female voice yelled. "I am going to punch your angelic face so hard you're going to see stars for a week!"

Aziraphale's jaw dropped. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Crowley's do the same.

In the door stood a young woman, probably around twenty, dressed in the robes of a temple maiden awaiting marriage. Long dark hair poured from the edges of her headscarf, which sat looser than probably appropriate; she had her hands balled into fists, and her eyes were spewing fire.

What was more stunning than all of that, especially the attitude, was that Aziraphale knew her. As did Crowley.

This was not 'Mary', soft and sweet and devoted to Her, with all the makings of a good mother, this was Mary, the insolent tomboy that cared for Crowley's snakes when he was out on business or who played kick-the-flask with literally anything Aziraphale left lying around on his studying visits. Just two months ago, the priestess Eldest had complained about her inability to find a husband. And now she was here, staring at them with wide eyes.

Well, at Crowley.

Crowley waved. "Hello, dear."

The future mother of Christ stared. "I don't understand."

"You believe you've seen an angel, but not that a man can become a woman?"

Mary blinked. "Why would any man want to become a woman?"

"Good thinking." Crowley turned to Aziraphale, pointing at the temple maiden. "Please tell me it's not her."

Aziraphale winced. "I can't lie."

"Me not who?", asked Mary, stepping in and closing the door. "Do I smell tea?"

"No, she can't be," said Crowley.

Mary pursed her lips. "And why the hell not?"

"I'm afraid she is," said Aziraphale.

"Damn right I am!"

"Will you shut up for a moment, you don't even know what we're talking about!"

Mary lifted an eyebrow at Crowley. "Now I can believe you're really a man."

"Thank you," said the demon. "It's all it takes, you know. Believing. I, for example, believed that the Lord would go with someone untouched for this project. You know, a virgin."

"Oy!"

Mary's hand darted out to the scroll that still hung at Aziraphale's hip and, faster than he could react, she snatched it up and whacked Crowley over the head.

"OW!"

"I'll have you know that I am completely untouched," Mary declared haughtily. "Although I have been thinking about rectifying that. You know Joseph, right?"

"The carpenter?" Crowley inclined her head. "Oh, yeah. I heard he's a coming genius with hardwood."

Heat shot into Aziraphale's cheeks. "Crowley!"

"What? He did the chairs for my shop," said the demon and licked her lips, gaze suddenly far away. "Nothing better than a man who can work with his hands."

"Yeah, right? He can feed a family," Mary said dreamily. Then her expression turned sour. "Unlike your friend, Joseph would never waltz into my bedroom and demand I take my clothes off."

Joseph would probably not even get past the temple guards, not to mention the priestesses, whose rooms came before those of the maidens.

"He did what?!" shrieked Crowley.

"I know, right?!"

Aziraphale stepped between them, palms upturned. "If you're so set on marrying the carpenter," Aziraphale began, genuinely curious, "Why are you here?"

A shifty look settled onto Mary's face. She turned away. "I was called."

Crowley's gaze darted to Aziraphale. "Don't I know that feeling."

"I was called and I just thought it'd be a good opportunity to try things out. See if I'm really into the whole settling-down-with-a-man-thing. Except for the kid-part." Mary shuddered. "It's kinda freaky, thinking I'll be a mother within the year."

For the first time since she'd come in, the look in her eyes wasn't laced with steely defiance. It was the look of a girl who had been thrust into a greater destiny unexpectedly and had no idea what was coming for her. A girl who was nervous.

Crowley straightened immediately, resting a hand on her arm. "You'll be alright," she declared. "Won't she, angel?"

Aziraphale nodded. "She wi–"

"Aziraphale, my friend!"

Gabriel didn't even bother with the door. The bastard phased right through the wall.

One could say whatever one wanted – the archangel Gabriel did not know how to make an entrance. He'd come obviously straight from Upstairs, if the scorch marks on the wall were any indication. His wings were out, his white tunic was positively glowing and he was grinning, in that detached, serene way that always made him look slightly stoned. But that wasn't the weirdest thing. No, grotesquely, he was carrying a fruit basket. Filled with coconuts.

Aziraphale was so stunned, he didn't know what to say. Crowley seemed to be having the same problem – except that she'd jumped to hide behind Aziraphale's shoulder the second Gabriel's voice rang out.

Thus, Mary was the first to recover from her shock. "You!"

She brushed past Aziraphale, pushing up her sleeves. Her hands were once again balled into fists. "Do you have any idea into how much trouble I got when the priestess Eldest heard that a man had run from my room? Any idea at all?"

Gabriel smiled. "Pleasant surprise, I assume. This is a great honor for you."

"I am about to be married to a very, very good man," Mary seethed. "Who would dump me like a hot fig if he heard about it, child of Christ or no child of Christ. He is my chance of getting out of a vow of chastity and a life in service to this blasted community, and if you ruined it, I swear to fucking anyone, I will find you on the sun and punch your other eye, too."

"The Almighty could have chosen literally any female's reproductive organs to bear the savior of humanity, but she has picked yours!" Gabriel continued, as if Mary hadn't spoken.

Crowley nudged Aziraphale's shoulder. "He's about to get punched."

"Tell me something I don't know," Aziraphale hissed back.

Mary smiled sweetly. "Did you listen to a single word I just said? Because I said I'd find you and punch you in your other eye, too."

She raised her fist, drew back and–

Aziraphale lurched forward and caught her arm, which almost slipped through his fingers because wow, she was strong. "My dear, there's no need to resort to violence!"

"He took my chance, Aziraphale!" Mary's face contorted in naked desperation. "I'm an orphan, women like me don't get married to men like him. It was a one in a million opportunity!"

"You're not even supposed to have a concept of the word 'million'," Gabriel threw in. Then his violet eyes caught on something behind Aziraphale, their iris-flower patience turning to cold, hard amethyst.

"Shit," said Crowley. And then. "Hi."

Thunder rang out, but not from outside. It was in the room with them, shaking the walls. The temperature fell by about ten degrees and a spark of lightning fizzed to life between Gabriel's fingertips. He seemed bigger, all of a sudden, surrounded by heavenly Might. "What is that thing doing here?"

Aziraphale, already on edge from an entire day of nerves, had enough. He pushed Mary behind him, tumbling her right into Crowley's arms, and whirled to face his boss head on.

"Out of my way, Aziraphale," said Gabriel, reaching into his plumage to draw forth a sword. It was long and thin, forged of heavenly material that was twice as hard and sharp as steel, cooled in Holy Water. "I shall take care of this."

"You're going to take care of one thing and one thing only," said Aziraphale. His wings erupted from his back: massive, glowing white shields that blocked the human and the demon from the archangel's view; at least as big as Gabriel's in wingspan and every quill sparking with Might. He was unarmed, but his voice nonetheless carried the power of a storm. "And that is the young lady that has so graciously offered herself to serve as the centerpiece of the Almighty's plan."

Gabriel looked stunned. And annoyed. "Azira-," he began, but the angel cut him off.

"You will care for her properly, as any man who lies with a woman should. The human way. That includes, first of all, not telling her she's been picked for her reproductive organs. Who even does that?"

"Yeah, dude, rude! I'm a maiden."

"Ssshut up, for the love of Ssss."

Gabriel bared his teeth. "What is the demon doing here, Aziraphale?"

"That demon has a name," Aziraphale shot back coldly. "His name is Crowley, and while you're here, you will refer to him as Crowley."

"Feel free to choose a pronoun, though," Crowley threw in from somewhere behind Aziraphale's quivering primaries.

"Not helping," said Aziraphale. His attention returned to the thoroughly flabbergasted Gabriel. "Crowley is here because I am an angel of the Lord and I will not make false vows to an innocent human woman in order to demonstrate to you what you asked."

Gabriel's eyes widened in understanding. "You cannot be serious!"

"I am absolutely serious." Aziraphale took a deep breath, feeling raw, elemental power surge through his mind and body. He didn't want to know what his eyes looked like right now – probably blinding white, like supernovas, or something equally embarrassing. "You asked for my help yesterday, this is my answer. Now, you can either choose to sit down and be a student, or you may return to Heaven with your task unfulfilled."

"You think so, do you?" Gabriel tilted his nose up. "You would do better to remember your place, Aziraphale. If I tell you to smite the infernal serpent back to the pit he came from–"

Aziraphale turned up his palm, where white-hot power was pooling. "If I hear another insult out of your mouth, we're leaving. How long will it take you to find us, do you think? Across the thousands of stars we helped create?"

Gabriel gasped in outrage. "You cannot keep the girl from me."

"Oh, yes, I can."

"She has been chosen!"

Gabriel's eyes were boring into his, but unlike last evening, Aziraphale didn't feel the need to look away.

"If I were you, I wouldn't take that chance," Crowley piped up.

The archangel switched tactics. "Aziraphale, see reason. I'm not doing this because I particularly want to and I now see that you don't either, so why don't we all calm down and get it over with quicker?"

His sword vanished from his hands, as if he wanted to prove he meant it. But the thing with weapons that didn't really, materially exist in the first place was that de-materializing them after one had previously materialized them made for a very unconvincing 'I am unarmed'.

Nonetheless, Aziraphale lowered his wings a little. Now that the outright threat wasn't aimed at Crowley any more, his need to play the living shield diminished somewhat.

He'd think about that need and his rash actions here later, when the– the thing here and the fallout were dealt with.

Gabriel was back to beaming brightly. "See? I knew you'd come around. Now, here's my idea: I believe it will make things much smoother and quicker if you demonstrate the human mechanics directly on the human, so the demon can go." He clapped his hands together. "Brilliant, easy solution!"

"Did he actually listen?", Mary asked dryly.

Crowley shook his head. "He's always been one, but it bears saying again: what a fucking knob."

Gabriel's eyebrows drew together. "I am not a door. Be silent, serpent, you have no right to speak."

Aziraphale felt the sudden, urgent need to lie down and sleep off his oncoming migraine. "Okay, this is not working."

He snapped his fingers and the papyrus scroll jumped into his hands. But when he unrolled it, it wasn't filled with the terms of use of the library of Athens – Alexandria? – but instead with something that looked like a contract.

Gabriel eyed it suspiciously. "What is that?"

"A contract," said Aziraphale. "What else does it look like?"

"What for?"

"Rules of conduct." Aziraphale unrolled the scroll without using his hands. "First of all: while we're here you will treat all of us with respect and refer to us neutrally, even the demon."

"Oy, I have a name," Crowley parroted.

"Shut up, Crowley. There will be no killing, smiting, or strongly-worded memo-ing. Second, you will defer to me, Crowley or Mary in human matters, since you have absolutely no experience in interacting with her creation. It's horribly embarrassing."

Gabriel looked surprised.

"Third, you will do your best to not cause harm to Mary and if you do, she gets to punch you in the face."

Mary snorted. "I'm gonna do that anyway, just wait."

"Sign the contract."

"Aziraphale –"

"Sign it or leave." He shook the paper. "Use your real name."

Gabriel pressed his lips together. But he had a job to do, he knew it as well as Aziraphale, and he couldn't risk Her wrath by putting his pride before the Ineffable Plan. So he licked his finger and quickly scribbled his symbol onto the dotted line. It erupted in blue fire, swirling around them, binding them all to the words.

Gabriel stepped back. His light dimmed and with a soft rustling, his wings slipped out of reality. He didn't look quite like an ordinary, put-out man – the eyes, for example – but it was close. "There. I signed. Happy now?"

"There is one last thing," Aziraphale said icily. "If you hurt so much as a single hair – or scale, I suppose – on Crowley, I'm going to be the one who punches you in the face. And I will file a complaint against you."

Gabriel staggered backwards. "No!"

"Yes!"

"NO!"

Mary's gaze flickered from Gabriel to Aziraphale and then to Crowley's stunned face. "You have no idea how much I envy you right now."

The demon could only gape.

With a wave, Aziraphale made his wings and the papyrus disappear. "Shall we, then?"

 

 

To calm down, Aziraphale made them all have tea. The water was, of course, still hot. They sat on cushions around a low table, with Aziraphale next to Gabriel next to Mary next to Crowley, so the archangel wouldn't get any ideas. He might not be able to smite Crowley, but he could still rile him up – and no contract could forbid an angel from defending himself from evil.

There was no conversation. The small room seemed to have turned into a library, except with less books and more fornication about to happen. The tension that hung between them was so thick it could be cut with a knife.

When Crowley stuck her feet out to push her toes under Aziraphale's bum, the angel almost jumped out of his skin. Which would have been a very messy affair.

Once the tea was gone – much sooner than Aziraphale had hoped – there was really no way to postpone it any longer.

Aziraphale rubbed his sweaty palms together. "Alright, then. Time for the show, eh?"

He laughed nervously.

Silence.

"Uh. Well. Why don't you two, Mary and Gabriel, make yourselves comfortable on that nice red bed there, so you can watch me and my associate here." He stood, offering his hand to Crowley.

The demon raised a brow. "Associate?"

But she took Aziraphale's hand and let the angel pull her to her feet – and right into his chest. Aziraphale draped an arm over her shoulder, pulling her close so he could whisper while the other two were busy shuffling around behind them.

"Are you alright?"

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the demon's lips curl. One single, sharp fang glinted in the dark. "Are you kidding?," she whispered back. "I get to show the office-virgin things no archangel has ever seen before and he doesn't even get to smite me for it. This is great."

Aziraphale winced. "He could have masked the eyes, at least. Mary seems frightened."

They had reached the other bed. The smallness of the room didn't really make for long, stealthy conversations.

Crowley turned to him, reaching so she could wrap both arms around the angel's neck. "Healthy case of nerves. You had them, too."

Despite the words, she sounded... sad? Concerned, Aziraphale decided. Crowley liked Mary and, who was he kidding, he did, too. Despite her brash, forward manner, she was a good girl. A believer, devoted and loyal to any cause she found passion for. An innocent apple thief, a man who had done wrong onto a woman, a pair of lovers unfairly kept from each other? She didn't rest until they got justice. A man who denied his feelings for another because they had to be on opposite sides? She brought them together. Mountains moved before the force of her conviction.

Had the Almighty known all this?, Aziraphale wondered. How much of what had happened had actually been their choice? And how much would it sting to figure out the wrong answer?

He breathed the smell of Crowley's hair: desert stone, fresh grass and warmed mud, with a hint of grapes. "I can just miracle any pain away," he said softy. "But I get the feeling that in this case, it'd be dangerous to... interfere."

"So you'll just have to make it good for her the human way." Crowley drew back to look at him, a very familiar, seductive expression on her face. "And for me."

And with that, she leaned backwards, using her weight to topple them onto the mattress.

 

 

With Crowley under him, everything suddenly felt very familiar. She could change her body as much as she wanted – bigger breasts, or a bigger cock, or some unfamiliar genitalia entirely – but she couldn't change everything else. The way she squirmed under him, excited and impatient, the way her legs came up to wrap around Aziraphale's hips. The lack of hesitation in her touch and her unmistakable, seductive smell.

Aziraphale wanted to sink into it, sink into her, and just rest there, surrounded by the cool fire of all that was Crowley.

But he couldn't. That was where the illusion fell apart. Because they weren't alone, weren't safe and when it occurred to him what he'd have to do now that he had her here, he wondered whether enlisting her help had been such a good idea after all.

Aziraphale's fingers shook against her bare shoulder. He wanted to pull the dress down and close his mouth over her nipple. He wanted to lick and bite them until they stood tight and flushed in the cool air of the room.

Crowley nuzzled his collarbone. They hadn't even kissed. 'You're tearing yourself up over this, aren't you, angel?'

Aziraphale winced. 'How did you know?'

'Because I know you,' Crowley replied loftily. Then her lips twitched and she rolled her hips. 'You'd be all over me by now if we were alone.'

Her thoughts carried more than a hint of tease.

Aziraphale shook his head, warm inside. He had been starting to think he was alone in this, but he wasn't. Of course he wasn't. His best friend was right here.

He hooked his fingers into the neckline of the dress and pulled it down. The much too loose fabric slipped over Crowley's breasts, pooling around her flat belly. Her white, soft skin rose and fell under Aziraphale's gaze, goosebumps chasing each other across her chest.

Her nipples were already hardening without the angel's help. But they weren't yet red, so Aziraphale shot Crowley a smirk by way of warning, and leaned in. As soon as his lips made contact, the demon jumped, tensing up from her fingertips to her toes. "Angel!"

'Mmm,' he drew a hardening bud between his teeth. 'Do you like that, Crowley?'

"Nggh," said Crowley. Her hips jerked, rubbing against the angel's crotch.

Aziraphale let the nipple fall from his mouth and kissed the warm, dark valley between the demon's round, soft breasts. Then he moved on to the other side. 'Have I told you recently that you're beautiful?'

Crowley shuddered.

Aziraphale smiled, licking the other nipple while using his thumb to tease the one he'd gone to town on just a moment ago.

Moaning, Crowley's hand found its way into the angel's hair. Her hips were rolling now, seeking friction she couldn't quite acquire through the thick, rough layer of the dress.

Just to see what she would do, Aziraphale met her thrust, aligning their hips in a way that he, too, would find some friction.

Crowley's eyes flew open, brilliant shining yellow. Her mouth curved. "That's quite the package you have there, angel."

She sounded breathless. Good.

Aziraphale cupped her breast, stroking it for a moment, before sliding his hand over her belly. She was even softer here, squishy, where her male form only sported fat-less abs. His fingers encountered the dress again and, fed up with the layers between them, he made a wish. The fabric disappeared, leaving nothing but quivering, aroused-smelling demon.

"Looks like Eve," Gabriel commented from the sidelines. "I was expecting something more demonic."

"We don't all have snake-penises and a vagina dentata," Crowley sniped back, brows furrowing.

"What's a vagina dentata?", asked Mary.

"Oh, it's when you have teeth on the inside of–"

"Gabriel," Aziraphale said. "Shut up."

His arousal had, sadly, quieted somewhat. He couldn't help it – he'd always been easy to distract during sex. Not as easy as Crowley, who was skittish by nature and rarely gave herself – or himself, in whatever form – over to purely physical sensations. She liked being in control. Aziraphale would forever be grateful that she'd agreed to do this at all, and he would not have anyone make it harder on her than absolutely necessary.

The shifty look in her eyes told him enough to know that he had to move on now. He snaked a hand between her thighs, finding, unerringly, the entrance to her soft, slick core. A very, very slick core. Positively drenched. And swollen, so thick she must be aching with need.

Surprised, Aziraphale drew back. He hadn't been aware of any miracles or wishful thinking, and with how close he was to her, he would definitely have felt it. So why... "Crowley?"

The demon looked away. "I can't help it."

"Can't help what?"

"It." She gave a squeeze with her thighs. "Come on, angel, don't make me wait."

A shudder ran down Aziraphale's spine. "You need to dry up a little."

"Excuse me?" Crowley blinked. "Why on Earth should I do that?"

"Because," Aziraphale's gaze flickered to their audience. "We have an educational mission here."

"I'd rather take some educational missionary."

"Crowley."

"Yeah, okay, fine." She pushed a strand of hair out of her face with fine fingertips and concentrated.

The moisture disappeared under Aziraphale's digits, the blood receding from the outer, engorged parts.

"And," Crowley added, "Just to make it more authentic."

Aziraphale felt the tug of power, but this time, there was no outward change. He furrowed his brow. "What did you do?"

The demon shrugged. "Mary is a virgin, as she clarified so helpfully earlier."

Aziraphale blinked. Comprehension dawning, he stared down at Crowley. "You didn't."

"I did." Crowley shot him a somewhat unsure smile. 'Be... gentle?'

"Of course," Aziraphale said immediately. "May I...?"

Crowley nodded. "Yeah, go ahead. Has to be visual, after all."

That spark of mischief was back in her eyes and Aziraphale felt a little more at ease. He couldn't begrudge Crowley for being kind of all over the place right now – this was a situation neither of them had ever expected to find themselves in.

Aziraphale moved out of the embrace of the demon's thighs – his favorite place in the world – with great reluctance. Grabbing Crowley by the hips, he moved them around so Gabriel and Mary could see right between her thighs. He himself settled down beside her, still fully clothed, and faced their audience.

Mary was staring, wide-eyed. Gabriel looked slightly disgusted. But at least both of them were looking.

"This," Aziraphale said, "as I am sure both of you are more or less aware, is a vagina."

"Less aware," said Crowley. "Probably. At least the bureaucratic prick."

"Why does he get to denounce me whereas I in return–" Gabriel broke off, huffing.

The demon snickered. "Because it's in the contract."

Aziraphale nodded. "It's in the contract. Let's start from the top, shall we? Who can tell me what this is."

Crowley raised his hand.

"Not you, you're not part of the class."

Crowley lowered his hand.

"What, umm," said Mary. "Do you mean by 'this'?"

"This." Aziraphale slid two fingers between Crowley's folds and then up a little, drawing the skin apart to reveal a tiny, roundish bump.

"Ah," said Mary, nodding. "I have no idea."

"I have," said Gabriel. He straightened. "It is a piece of human."

Crowley made a choking noise. It would be quite entertaining, if Aziraphale weren't starting to feel a trickle of embarrassment. He'd been trying so hard to suppress it, too.

He brought his fingers to his mouth and licked them, absentmindedly, before returning them to Crowley's sweet little clit. He started circling the bump, thinking about an appropriate explanation. "While that is technically correct," he eventually said, "it's more than that. It's an organ that, when manipulated correctly, can cause human women to feel a lot of pleasure."

Aziraphale traced his finger around Crowley's clit, noting with satisfaction that it was beginning to swell again. As were her fleshy pink labia.

It wasn't enough to have Crowley squirming quite yet, but she was breathing a litter faster than just a moment before. Aziraphale wondered if the demon had miracled away her arousal together with the evidence of it. Probably not.

The thought that the heat was still coiling inside her, the flames only fanned by his gentle touches, made something twist hard and urgent in the angel's belly. He wanted to push her down, crawl between her thighs and worship her like she deserved. If only they were alone.

At least, from the way they were positioned – namely, Crowley's cunt turned towards the other bed – neither Gabriel nor Mary would be able to see Crowley's flushed face.

'Angel?'

Aziraphale interrupted his train of thoughts and looked up. 'Yes?'

Crowley was scowling a little, the color high on her beautiful cheeks. She looked uncomfortable – or rather, very aware of their situation. 'Get the fuck on with it.'

"Noted."

Aziraphale exhaled. He couldn't even begin to imagine what it felt like to suddenly inhabit a body that had been tricked into thinking it had never been touched before. All the nervous expectation, all the brutal first sparks of lust and desire.

Crowley must be feeling as if he were touching a live wire.

Aziraphale circled her clit again, intending it to be the last time, before sliding his fingertips lower. It hadn't been too long since he'd started, but already he was greeted by wetness again. It slicked the entrance, glistening on the folds. Aziraphale used his fingers to part them and show even more of the moisture. He swallowed. "Look at this, this... wetness. It's supposed to be very, very wet."

'Smooth', commented Crowley.

'Do you want to switch places with me?'

'No?'

Aziraphale pushed a blunt fingertip against the dip in the skin, where the entrance was hidden, and eased a finger into the tight, warm, wet channel. 'Then shut up and be aroused.'

Crowley's chuckle was swallowed by a moan. "Noted," she parroted. Her hips gave a tiny little jerk, then another, and she hissed.

Aziraphale withdrew his finger. It was shining, even in the retreating light of the day, but certainly not wet enough.

The angel, making a split-second decision, took both Crowley's thighs in hand and pushed them up, up, enough to tilt her pelvis and reveal the seductive roundness of her arse, the crack in between. He himself slid to the floor, onto his knees, and before Crowley had even time to react Aziraphale had already lowered his head.

He gathered a bit of saliva in his mouth and flattened his tongue against Crowley's labia, making the demon squirm.

"A-azirapha-ah!"

Oh, how he loved it when she got like this. Crowley was a glutton for cunnilingus, as this act would one day come to be called; he could make her squirm almost out of her skin with it. Like right now, when her hands flew to grab his hair and press him down.

Aziraphale went willingly, rolling his tongue so he could prod at her entrance. Her thick, feminine smell hit his nose, and her intoxicating taste spread over his tongue. It sent a shiver down his spine – a rush of heat that pooled low in his belly, that made his already hard cock twitch and leak a little in his pants.

He almost missed the voice piping up behind them. "What the hell are they doing?"

Gabriel hissed. "Don't say that word!"

"What word?"

"Go wash your mouth."

"It's called licking," Crowley threw in, voice a little strained. She drew her legs up higher, knees almost pressed to her breasts – as if she could give Aziraphale any more access.

Still, it was a nice gesture, so Aziraphale drew back for a moment to flick his tongue against her clit. She convulsed under him, a profanity hissing out between her clenched teeth.

The angel sat up, very aware of the wetness clinging to his lips and chin. "It's when a man – or woman – puts their mouth to a woman's outer sexual organs," he explained. "It is very pleasurable to many women. I... well, I heard."

He didn't have any experience with 'many women', of course. They were pretty much limited to Crowley when she got in the mood – sometimes exclusively for this act – or his own female body. It never seemed to do as much for him as it did for Crowley, however.

She was panting, her chest rising and falling with breaths harsh enough to make her ample bosom jiggle. Her nipples were still hard. She was pinching one of them between her fingers, while the other worked on her mound, pressing and rubbing red curls of pubic hair. Sweat was gathering on her forehead and she smelled deliciously of sex.

"When–," he cleared his throat, thinking, vaguely, that he should have taken the time to plan this out when he'd been pacing earlier. But he'd been too preoccupied thinking up ways Gabriel's meeting with Crowley could have gone very, very wrong. Well, it almost had. "When there's enough wetness, we can move on to the stretching."

Aziraphale sucked two of his fingers into his mouth to wet them before shoving them into Crowley's melting heat.

The demon whined, trying to twist away despite the way her body opened. She clenched her fingers in the sheets. "Oh, oh, ohfuck."

Usually, putting his fingers in like that wouldn't bother her. Usually, she craved it. But right now was not usually, and Aziraphale had almost forgotten. "Sorry," he whispered. "You alright?"

She made a choked sound, but nodded, blinking one eye open. It seemed very dark, hazy with lust. But she nodded. 'Don't make me miracle it away again.'

Aziraphale smiled, relieved. "I won't."

He turned a quick look towards Gabriel and Mary, who seemed to sit a little closer to each other than before. She had her hands clasped in her lap, he had his clenched around the edge of their own mattress. Both were leaning forward, wide eyed and slack-jawed – although Mary did that a little more gracefully than Gabriel.

"Now, there are a few important points to keep in mind here," Aziraphale said in his most teacherly voice. "The channel is wet enough now, and penetrating it should feel good to the woman. To help that along, you can curl your fingers just –"

'Fffuck, angel.'

"-so," Aziraphale finished, amused by Crowley's tense anticipation, which he could feel in his mind.

He curled his fingers, pressing them against the slightly differently textured patch of slick inner wall and felt the rapid thrum of Crowley's heartbeat in one of the less deeply running veins.

Crowley cried out, twitching, which only rubbed Aziraphale's fingertips harder into his g-spot – which would also not be called by this name for a very long time. She threw her head back, panting out her delight, and squeezed a nipple between her fingertips. "D-do that again, angel," she hissed.

Aziraphale, ever one to please, pushed his fingers in again, and curved them while drawing out, so he could finger the entire length of the channel. "This might take a while to work out with a partner you're not familiar with," he said, over Crowley's soft whines, "Take your time. Patience is a virtue."

Probably the only good thing about Mary having to do this with an angel.

Gabriel cleared his throat. "How do you know it so well, then?"

Aziraphale looked up. "Excuse me?"

"The way to touch her," the archangel elaborated. "It barely took you a minute to figure out how... the demon likes it."

Aziraphale nearly choked on air. Heat shot into his cheeks. Under him, Crowley tensed, which Aziraphale mostly felt because her cunt squeezed his fingers.

"Some, er, well, sometimes people are just compatible. Yes, that's it." Aziraphale cleared his throat. "My long acquaintance with this demon allows me to know this."

Crowley snorted. 'Sure. Took you only ten months to figure it out.'

'Oh, hush.'

"Let's. Uh. Let's move on."

'And don't even get me started on my prostate,' the demon chortled. 'Although with your fat hammer you barely had to search for it.'

Aziraphale blushed. 'Keep those filthy thoughts to yourself.'

'You love my filthy thoughts, angel.'

'Not when someone's watching.'

Crowley's eyes sparked. 'Just wait until we're alone again. The things my tongue will do to you – verbally and otherwise.'

Aziraphale swallowed, fingers twitching. 'Crowley.'

'Oh, you like that idea.' Crowley wiggled, making herself a little more comfortable on Aziraphale's fingers. Or maybe she'd just found a spot she wanted rubbed more thoroughly. 'You like it a lot. Remember how sensitive your ears are, angel?'

Aziraphale had to bite his lip to swallow a moan. Crowley loved tracing his tongue around the shell of his ear while he whispered utter filth – 'Your arse, angel, fuck, how tight you are around my cock, take it, take it all -'.

It took quite a bit of effort to shove the thoughts away again.

Judging by the smirk on Crowley's lips, she knew exactly what he was thinking about.

In revenge, Aziraphale curled his fingers viciously, disrupting their rhythm.

The demon's eyes flew open, as did her mouth, forming a beautifully stunned 'Oh!', breath stuck in her throat as her cunt fluttered around his fingers, spasming and clenching.

Both of them held completely still until the rhythmic squeezing subsided, and then the demon melted into the mattress.

Crowley looked lovely in post-coital bliss. More than lovely. Aziraphale could spend hours just watching her trembling limbs sprawled all over the place, the fine tremors in her muscles slowly subsiding. He could touch himself watching her. It never took more than a few minutes. She let him spill himself on her when she was like this: her stomach, her breasts, her neck, her arse, her hands, her face. Everywhere. If it was within reach, she'd lick it up after, curling her wicked tongue around the drops clinging to her fingers in a way that never failed to stir the fire in his loins anew.

But seeing her blissed-out wasn't the only reason Aziraphale preferred to bring her off with his tongue and hands the first time. The second, bigger reason was that she always got so slick when she had her orgasm, wetness glistened all over her folds, all around her entrance. It was practically dripping from her.

This extra gush of slick was it that spurred Aziraphale on. It made everything so much wetter, so much softer, when he felt it along his cock.

He patted Crowley's hip. "Move over a little. This is best observed from the side."

Not to mention that he didn't really want to show his own arse to his superior.

Crowley wiggled around on the bed until he was lying on it properly again. He waved at their audience. "Like the show, Mary?"

The maiden blushed. "It's very... educational."

"And you, Desk Job?"

"I don't see what it is to you," Gabriel sniped back.

Crowley shrugged. "Nothing. Just being the politer extraterrestrial being here."

A curl of amused fondness tugged at Aziraphale's lips. He'd have laughed outright, but his own safety hadn't been specified in the contract, so he didn't take the risk.

Instead, he snapped his fingers and miracled himself naked. His clothes appeared, folded, on the tea table.

With the hand that was still slick from Crowley's cunt, he rubbed his cock, spreading the wetness, before lining himself up.

"You ready?"

"Sssooo ready," she hissed, spreading her legs wide.

"Wait."

Aziraphale tensed. "Excuse me?"

"I have a question," said Gabriel. He waved a hand at the angel's nether region. "My equipment doesn't look like that. Have I requested the wrong one from Assets Management?"

Aziraphale's brow furrowed. "What do you mean, different?"

"Well, it's... see here." Before any of them had time to stop him, Gabriel had thrown open his robe, exposing to everyone that he was wearing absolutely nothing underneath.

"Oh damn, my eyes," Crowley hissed, slapped a hand over his face and turned away.

"What?" Mary shrieked. "What the hell is wrong with it?"

"Don't say that word!"

"It's normal," Aziraphale said before Mary could reply. "It's perfectly normal. The human penis only stiffens with arousal," – apart from when it didn't, and he'd had quite a few discussions about the 'Why NOW, for fuck's sake?' with Crowley that, he felt, hadn't come to a mutually satisfying conclusion in the scientific sense – "You'll have to make an effort to engage with it, but other than that, you'll be fine."

And then Aziraphale used a carefully controlled thought to pull Gabriel's robe shut again. 'I just saw more than I ever wanted to.'

'My eyes', Crowley whimpered.

Aziraphale gave his cock a squeeze, faintly glad for it's persistence. Then he lined himself up once again. "Ready?"

Crowley nodded. "Yeah."

The angel hooked a hand under Crowley's knee – the one on their audience's side – pulled it up roughly to get it out of the way and pushed in. Gently, this time. Anything else would have required a lot of force, because Crowley was a lot tighter than she usually was. And a lot wetter, which was probably –

Aziraphale spread a hand over Crowley's mound and send a pulse of warmth down, easing the sting of the first entry.

Crowley sighed, relaxing into the mattress, and let her eyes fall shut. "Thanks, angel."

'You're welcome.' Aziraphale brushed a strand of red hair out of her face before – to hell with it all – leaning in to press a soft kiss to her mouth.

Crowley's eyes flew open. "Ang-"

Aziraphale kissed her quiet.

Crowley was frozen in shock for several moments after Aziraphale drew back. Her tongue darted out, pointed and quick, to lick her now saliva slick lips. As if she needed to chase the lingering taste of Aziraphale to be sure it had really happened; that she'd really just been kissed by him in front of an angel of the Host.

Aziraphale held very still, allowing her to get used to his intrusion. Her lovely cunt was tense around him: a warm, slick grip that worked him over in heavenly ripples. It felt... different than before. Not tighter, per se, but perhaps more tentative. Even with the pain magically gone, her carelessly re-virginized channel had never been stretched this far.

He wished they were alone right now. Crowley was so much more relaxed when she wasn't trying to keep her every move carefully in check lest the other angel in the room take offense, contract or no contract. A relaxed demon, in turn, was a lot easier to read. Right now, all Aziraphale could gather from her behavior – and the way her thighs were quivering – was that she was uncomfortable, but committed.

The realization kindled the urge to comfort Crowley and he curled a hand into her russet locks, thumbing the soft skin beneath the shell of her ear. 'Remember that we can stop whenever you want to. You're calling the shots.'

Crowley's wide yellow gaze turned baleful. 'I am perfectly fine, angel.'

'You weren't a virgin when we first slept together.'

The demon's thighs clenched around him. 'I was a man when we first slept together.'

'When we first slept together in this form, I meant. Obviously', thought Aziraphale and, because it was perfectly within reach, pinched one of her sweet nipples.

Crowley gasped. 'How do you make it sound so condescending even in your head?'

'You're a demon, everything I say to you is condescending by geography alone.'

Aziraphale could feel her outrage in the way she clenched around him.

Her nails dug into his shoulders. 'Give me one reassson not to flip you over right now. And leave you hanging.'

'Because it's not something Mary would do?'

Crowley's eyes widened and she turned to stare at the only actual human in the room.

Sensing his chance, Aziraphale gave a slow, careful roll of his hips. She felt even slicker inside than she'd been a moment before, fitting him like a well-oiled sheath.

Despite the fact that it couldn't have hurt, Crowley's attention snapped back to him in an instant. She looked uncertain. 'Be...'

She didn't finish the thought. A hint of pink stained her softly tanned skin.

'Oh, my dear', Aziraphale thought, cupping her cheek. 'I'd –'

"I'm sorry, is all of this really necessary?"

The angel and the demon exchanged an irritated look before simultaneously turning to face an archangel who looked rather hot in the face.

"I mean," Gabriel continued, waving a hand at the tangle of their bodies for emphasis, "You haven't been moving for a full five minutes, surely human coupling can't be this –"

"No."

Gabriel blinked. "What?"

Mindful of his weight and the vulnerable position his, well, position put Crowley in, Aziraphale braced one hand on the mattress and squared his shoulders.

"Five minutes is nothing. It may take ten, twenty, or however long. Your only concern during this time is to make your partner feel comfortable and safe."

"And pleasant," said Crowley.

"And pleasant," Aziraphale agreed. "Nothing else matters. Not where you come from, or who you are, or who you have bedded before. This –", he twirled a finger to encompass him and Crowley, "Is the highest form of emotion two beings can engage in."

"It does matter," said Gabriel, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

Aziraphale felt something hot surge inside him; the very thing he had been trying hard not to acknowledge since last night, when the archangel had so unexpectedly turned up in his backyard. It made his hands first and his temples throb. He wanted to hurl himself at Gabriel and challenge him to a duel, he wanted to reach into his essence and pull out his own weapon – even if that wasn't a flaming sword. But most of all he wanted to cover Crowley with his body and shield her from the astonishing ignorance of his people.

He did none of that. "If it does, you're not doing it right," he said instead and then bared his teeth in a snarl. "And if it really does, I pity you."

He wasn't able to keep his Might fully out of that last one. He couldn't help it: so shortly after his last outburst, the power was right there, boiling under the surface. He had a feeling his eyes flashed for a brief moment there.

Thankfully, the display had the desired effect of shutting Gabriel up. The archangel might even have looked a little sheepish.

Aziraphale didn't get any time to overthink it, because suddenly there was an arm around his neck and a hand in his hair, its grip tearing at his scalp, and Crowley was kissing him. Not the tentative, somewhat romantic kisses they had shared before – this time, she was mauling him with her mouth. Her tongue was curled around his before the first gasp left his lips. She pumped her hips, keeping him in place with her legs locked around his waist. Her squishy, warm breasts got squashed against his chest with every one of her soft gasps.

Crowley, Aziraphale thought frantically, feeling his own arousal roil in response to hers. It wasn't strong enough to consume him right away, because releasing one's Might had a habit of distracting from all bodily sensations, but the heat rekindled with a vengeance. Crowley, what –

She cried out in his arms, head lolling to the side, face all scrunched up. Her cunt clenched wildly around his stiff cock, fluttering like a bird's wing.

"Oh," Aziraphale said softly, understanding.

Crowley trembled in his arms, eyes squeezed shut. 'Fuck, angel –'

Her mind was open, so beautifully open, in the aftermath. Aziraphale caught the tails of her swimming thoughts and the sleepy lull of her lingering release, and swelled a little in pride.

She curled into him, her bare shoulder so pale and fragile in the moonlight, and something in Aziraphale twisted and throbbed. Seeing her so wrecked underneath him did things to him... he leaned down to capture her lips again, lest he forgot himself.

Crowley's mouth fell open without resistance, receptive to his need. 'Switch position', she whispered into his mind. 'Put me in your lap.'

Aziraphale sat up, curling an arm around her waist to draw her with him. Her knees gripped his torso tighter, and the weight of her body was enough to make her sink into his lap, forcing his cock even deeper. She gasped, pressing her forehead to his collarbone.

"There are many positions available," Aziraphale explained, without looking at anyone but Crowley. "Some feel better than others, but you can only figure that out by trial and error. Do not attempt to repeat the 'error' parts."

The demon snorted, half-amused. She still felt a little shaky in his lap, but her gaze was sharp once more. 'Come on, angel. Don't keep me waiting.'

'You're not ready', Aziraphale warned.

She smirked. 'As ready as I need to be.'

Aziraphale kept track of her mind against his as he adjusted his grip and helped her lift herself off his lap, before dropping down again. She let out a little squeal that softened into a sob, which, in turn, morphed into a moan. Wetness glistened around the corners of her eyes.

Emboldened, Aziraphale repeated the motion, adding a little roll of his hips this time. The noise Crowley made was one of pure delight.

And suddenly, their minds were in sync. It always felt a little like falling; or at least like that echo of it that Aziraphale had experienced when he'd first joined Crowley like this.

Pleasure flowed between them. His own searing need, writhing under his skin, combined with the violent sparks of 'too-much' shaking her smaller body, her breathless laughter ringing in his ears.

He should stop this, Aziraphale thought vaguely. They had a purpose here, this wasn't for fun. He shouldn't give Mary the wrong ideas – and, moreover, he should make sure Gabriel understood what he was supposed to do.

'She'd love it', Crowley thought at him, though it was more a jumbled mess of impressions with meaning than actual words. Luckily, Aziraphale had spend enough time in the demon's head to decipher the feelings – although the fingers twisting in his hair and pulling at the roots were mighty distracting.

Flames rushed through his veins. Liquid fire. His own lust, all tangled up with her smell and sweat and the wet glide of her skin, her soft hisses against his hair and her forehead pressed to his, her wordless pleasure coming in little puffs against his face.

Aziraphale, finally forgetting that they weren't alone, curled even tighter around her. He clutched her as close as he could, buried himself deep in her heat; the feel of her breasts maddening against his skin.

'Come on, angel', Crowley thought. 'Give it to me. Show yourself.'

Aziraphale cried out, spine taut as a bowstring as his whole body locked up; overflowing. He filled her with his warmth; the sensation of her cunt growing even hotter, even slicker, enough to make him shudder anew.

Crowley slumped in his arms, boneless. When Aziraphale carefully loosened his hold on her, she flopped back onto the bed and off his softening cock.

The angel wasn't quick enough to catch her, too light-headed himself.

She didn't seem to mind. "That," Crowley breathed, "Was an excellent performance."

Her legs, propped up by Aziraphale, fell open when he scooted back, giving him an excellent view of her red, gaping hole. Fluid trickled from her, wetting her thighs and glistening in her pubic hair.

Heat shot into the angel's cheeks. He waved a hand, miracling his own post-coital fatigue away – and slowing his heart, while he was at it – before he got her dress to cover her.

She blinked sleepily at him. 'Angel?'

'Go to sleep', Aziraphale said gently.

'No.'

He got a fleeting impression of 'being watched' and ran a soothing hand up her calf. 'I'll be within touching distance at all times', he promised. 'No one's getting to you.'

Crowley hissed, tongue darting out. 'I know that.'

She turned over, seeming petulant – and then suddenly the demon was a man again, his cock limp and pale, glistening with the slick his cunt had produced. He shot the angel a speculative look. 'I want you in my ass later. You better be up for that.'

Aziraphale shuddered.

Crowley closed his eyes. Apparently, the moment's entertainment was over for him.

The angel turned to Mary and Gabriel, finding himself uncharacteristically tongue-tied all of a sudden. "Umm," he began. "Does either of you have, uhh, any questions?"

Mary turned a lovely shade of salmon.

Gabriel looked no less embarrassed. To Aziraphale's surprise, he looked to Mary for help.

The temple maiden swallowed, reached out and tentatively took the archangel's hand. "I... I think we'll do fine."

Aziraphale gaped. "Are you... are you sure?"

"What you just did was the weirdest, most confusing thing I – we – have ever witnessed," she said, nodding for emphasis. "It was a, a... uh..."

"Harrowing experience?", Gabriel offered.

"No, more like..."

"Trauma?"

Mary smacked his arm. "No."

Aziraphale raised a brow.

She caught it and blushed deeper. "Actually. Um. Kinda" She cleared her throat. "But anyway, having someone as clueless as me around helped."

"Not that your little show cleared anything up. Like, at all," said Gabriel.

If Aziraphale had a protruding vein on his forehead, he got the feeling it would be twitching now. "Alright," he said, clapping his hands together in false cheerfulness, suppressing the rising irritation. "We'll leave you alone, then, shall we?"

"Very well," said Gabriel, straightening into a less relaxed sitting posture. "I shall find you when the deed is done."

Aziraphale really rather he'd not, but he bit his lip before he could say it. "Gabriel."

"Yes, Aziraphale?"

"Remember the contract. If you cause her pain –," he broke off and turned to Mary. "If he hurts you, just punch him. Face, other parts, anything goes."

She smirked.

Aziraphale looked from one to the other, but this time, found none of the trepidation in their eyes that he'd seen before. The color had returned to Mary's face, the spirit into her smirk. She was ready.

And Gabriel... well, he better not hurt her, Aziraphale thought as he placed a hand on Crowley's thigh, closed his eyes and called up one last miracle for the night.

The world spun around them. The cold room became a warm night's breeze, the shifting of clothes the gentle waves of a river nearby. They were in Aziraphale's house, on his bed, surrounded by his bookcases – except all of it had been relocated to Egypt. Because like hell he'd give Gabriel a chance to find Crowley.

Speaking of. The demon in question rolled back around, awake again, yet sleepy and disoriented. His hair was tousled and damp with sweat, sticking to his temples. And, despite him being a man again, his body seemed so soft, so weak, so willing...

"Azssiraphale."

The angel looked away. "You need sleep."

"Yeah." Crowley hummed. "But you don't."

He rolled over, exposing his long, elegant back. And then, as if him spread out like a banquet wasn't enough, he let his wings drop into existence. He spread them, pressing the leading edge into the mattress in blatant invitation. It was the hottest thing Aziraphale had ever seen.

"Alright," he said, adjusting himself in his pants – which he'd miracled on again for the transport, silly him. "If you insist."

A vial of oil appeared in his hand.

Crowley stretched, raising his hips a little. "Absssolutely. Oh, and Azsss?"

"Hm?"

A smirk. "Make your eyes flash again. I like it when you go all power-y."

The angel burst out laughing. His Might bubbled up, tinting the sound; thunderous around the edges. Just a little. Not a real threat.

Crowley still came the moment Aziraphale pushed a finger into him. And that was just the third time of the night...

 

 

Back in the tiny, now noticeably warmer room, Mary and Gabriel panted at each other. They were both naked. Sweat glistened on their skin.

The insides of her thighs were suspiciously wet. On his collarbone, a huge red splotch was growing where she'd bitten him.

Gabriel found his breath first. "That was... satisfactory."

Mary nodded. "Maybe even pleasant."

He turned violet eyes on her. "Do you think it worked?"

"Too early to tell." She shrugged. "But just to be sure, we should do it again. You know, to avoid the hassle later."

"That sounds... sound."

Gabriel opened his arms.

Mary shook her head. "I think you should try the mouth-thing on me."

"Oh. Really?" The archangel sat up, interested. "You'd let me?"

Mary pushed one arm under her head, wriggling into a more comfortable position, and spread her legs. She was sure now: the marriage bed was definitely for her. First thing tomorrow, she'd find Joseph.

And until then, she'd make good use of the night with her fellow 'student'. "Yeah, it looked like fun."

Gabriel pounced.