Crowley is an optimistic thing, rather unbefitting of a Demon sent up from Hell to foment evil and despair.
Crowley is an optimistic thing, because one cannot not be what they are, even when one pretends to be something else. Something wicked.
Which is why he nurses, along with a glass of the finest red the Ritz has to offer, a simmering sense of hope as his victory lunch with Aziraphale finally draws to a close.
He nurses the hope because six thousand years is enough to recognise optimism as an inherent part of him - but he doesn’t expect anything because six thousand years is enough to accept where he stands with Aziraphale.
He hopes to take Aziraphale back with him to - the bookshop, his flat, all the same really - and show him, in any and every way that he pleases, what he means to Crowley.
He expects them to part ways - Aziraphale to his restored books, and Crowley to his reincarnated Bentley - before they ring one another up a few days later for drinks.
But, in a world now on an ineffable journey post an Armageddon that never passed, perhaps Crowley ought not to be so surprised when, for once, his hopes with regards to Aziraphale finally become reality.
On the steps of the Ritz, under bright sunshine, Aziraphale draws Crowley close and kisses him.
With one hand on his shoulder and the other around his neck, Aziraphale kisses and kisses and kisses him, his mouth soft and sweet, but open and hungry. Demanding.*
(* Crowley knows that demand. It is the one Aziraphale has made of Crowley, century after century, during clandestine meetings in dark places without names.
But not like this. Never like this.)
He is breathing hard when Aziraphale pulls away, relinquishing Crowley’s bottom lip from between his teeth with a slow deliberateness that sends a fetching blush creeping up Crowley’s neck. Aziraphale doesn’t retreat further than a few inches, his breath hot on Crowley’s lips, chest pressed to Crowley’s. His blue eyes are blazing as they hold his gaze.
‘A-angel, I … ’ Crowley trails off, speechless.
The hand Aziraphale left on his shoulder comes up to caress his jawbone, the fingertips grazing over Crowley’s lips.
‘We don’t have to hide anymore, do we, my dear?’ Aziraphale murmurs, and the staggering implication of those words leaves Crowley stunned.
When he doesn’t reply, Aziraphale smiles and presses on, voice almost a whisper, ‘We’re free now. Free from danger. Free from … repercussions. We can stop hiding.’
Crowley finally finds his voice. ‘Perhaps, but people are staring.’
Aziraphale laughs breathlessly, looking delighted. ‘I suppose they are. We should probably leave. It would be a shame to be banned from the Ritz for indecency.’
‘A shame,’ Crowley agrees. His hands, which unbeknownst to him have found their way to Aziraphale’s waist, are trembling. ‘Where do you want to go?’
Aziraphale gazes at him. ‘Take me back to yours.’
The answer surprises Crowley, who had been expecting to hear the bookshop, but he nods.
‘Alright. And…’ Crowley resists the urge to lick his lips, his heart pounding with nerves. ‘What do you want to do when we get there?’
‘I want us to make love. For as long as we like.’
If Crowley takes a second too long to respond, Aziraphale doesn’t comment on it.*
(* He does smirk, bastard that he is.)
Aziraphale in all his naked beauty, with his generous curves and soft roundness, is no stranger to Crowley.
He has centuries worth of memories with Aziraphale in this regard. He has mapped every inch of his skin with tongue, mouth, and hands; committed to memory the sight of him, the sound of him, when Crowley has him writhing in pleasure and ever demanding for more.
But this, right now, is strange.
It’s strange to stand in his bedroom, kissing Aziraphale with wild abandon and just breathing each other in for what feels like hours, instead of quickly groping their way to bed.
It’s strange to undress each other slowly, pulling off an article of clothing at a time and gouging on the skin that is sensually revealed, little by little, instead of desperately vanishing their garments.
It’s strange to hear the breathy string of ‘yes, yes, ohh, don’t stop’ Aziraphale moans into his ear, instead of ‘no, no, we can’t’.
It’s strange to make love to Aziraphale, instead of fucking him.
‘You’ve never called it that before,’ Crowley mutters, sitting back on his knees and staring down at him.
Aziraphale gives a dissatisfied groan at the sudden interruption in having his neck ravished. He turns to look up at Crowley kneeling between his legs.
He is such a vision. He is always a vision to Crowley, who treasures every moment he has had Aziraphale like this, beautiful and needy and deliciously debauched. But none of his memories can hold a candle to this - of Aziraphale laid out for him on Crowley’s own bed, pale skin marked by Crowley’s mouth and glowing against the pitch dark of his sheets.
‘Called what what?’ He asks, breathless with desire, and quivers when Crowley runs his palms up the insides of his spread thighs.
‘Making love,’ Crowley clarifies. ‘You’ve never said that before.’
Aziraphale manages to raise an eyebrow, even as he shivers again under Crowley’s fingers which come to rest on his pelvis, achingly close to where he wants to be touched the most.
(* He is stiff and leaking already, but Crowley won’t touch. Not until Aziraphale says so aloud. That, at least, is a thing that has not changed.)
‘We never called it anything before,’ Aziraphale says with characteristic frankness.
It is true, Crowley muses. They called the business side of their millennia-old liaison the Arrangement, but they never addressed going to bed with each other in words. It was just not done.
It had simply been implicit that they were ‘fucking’. A wicked game to be played with a wicked thing.
Because Crowley was not allowed to ‘make love’ to Aziraphale.
But … he is now, isn’t he?
Crowley looks at Aziraphale, at the blue eyes full of that familiar desire and the emotion neither has ever dared to name. One that has burned inside him as well, for as long as he can remember.
He can name it now, can’t he?
‘Crowley,’ Aziraphale begins, reaching out to him when he doesn’t respond, but Crowley swiftly leans back over him before Aziraphale can say another word.
Aziraphale sucks in a breath in surprise, but then shudders when Crowley bites into his neck. Laving his tongue over the spot, Crowley sucks harshly on the bruising skin, heartened by the approving whine he gets in response.
Aziraphale clutches at his shoulder with one hand, the other sliding down the graceful arc of Crowley’s back to grab at his arse. Crowley hisses into his neck, and then groans when Aziraphale arches up, desperately rubbing up against him.
‘Oh, you’re a wicked tease, like always,’ Aziraphale gasps, half-protesting when Crowley pins his hips down, preventing Aziraphale from grinding up into him again.
‘I want to hear you say it again,’ says Crowley.
‘What, a wicked tease?’ His voice is strained with desire and Crowley is sorely tempted to give in and pleasure him unceasingly until he comes.
‘No,’ he says instead, with an effort. ‘What we’re doing.’
Aziraphale stares up at him, confusion bleeding through the haze.
‘We didn’t call it anything before. But we no longer have to hide, right? That’s what you said.’ Crowley leans down, grazing his lips over Aziraphale’s just so. ‘So, say it. Say what we’re doing.’
Understanding dawns on him and Aziraphale sighs, ‘Oh, Crowley…’
He touches Crowley’s face, brushing the backs of his fingers down his cheek in the most tender touch Crowley has ever received from him.
‘Oh, darling, I…’
Crowley’s arms almost buckle out from under him at the unexpected endearment, but he holds Aziraphale’s gaze, open and earnest, as the Angel smiles wistfully up at him.
‘I love you. I have loved you for longer than I can say. You know that. Oh, my dear,’ Aziraphale takes his face in both hands, shushing the helpless noise Crowley makes at the confession, ‘you know that as well as I know how you have loved me all these long years, despite everything that kept us from each other.’
Aziraphale pulls Crowley down gently, leaning up to meet him halfway in a soft kiss. When they part, Crowley leans down again, chasing Aziraphale’s mouth and kissing him soundly, and wedges his left arm under Aziraphale’s body to crush the Angel against him.
Aziraphale gasps at the renewed contact between them. He cants his hips and Crowley gives in this time, grinding down with slow, undulating movements that has Aziraphale moaning into his mouth.
‘Oh, oh, Crowley!’ Aziraphale cries. ‘Oh, please, darling, oh -!’
‘You still haven’t said,’ Crowley says, his breath stuttering, as he moves against Aziraphale, slow and deliberate, ‘what we’re doing.’
‘Oh, you are -!’
‘A wicked tease? Yes, we’ve established that,’ says Crowley, quite proud of his coherency, though it will definitely not last long.
‘Say it, angel.’ Crowley trails wet, open-mouthed kisses along Aziraphale’s jaw. ‘I want to hear you.’
Aziraphale clutches at his shoulders. ‘M-make - ohh - oh, make, make love to me!’ He gasps when Crowley nips at his ear. ‘Make l-love … for, ah, for as long as - Crowley!’
Crowley pushes up off him, grinning when Aziraphale growls in protest again. ‘Good. Let’s make love, then.’
‘You’re insufferable,’ Aziraphale says but his next words are lost when Crowley reaches down to wrap a hand around him.
‘What do you want, angel?’ Crowley asks, pitching his voice low.
He gives a light tug and Aziraphale whines, a lovely flush creeping over his face and neck as he squeezes his eyes shut.
‘Tell me what you want. Anything you want. It’s yours.’
Aziraphale’s eyes fly open and he gapes up at Crowley, at the words Crowley has never offered before.
But Aziraphale has always known, hasn’t he?
‘Do you want me to finish you like this?’ Crowley twists his hand and Aziraphale gasps again. ‘Or my mouth on you? Bend you over and take you? Or do you want me to ride you like this? Turn over for you?’
‘Anything you want, angel,’ Crowley repeats, gazing down at Aziraphale with feverish promise. ‘Just say it.’
Aziraphale takes in a shaky breath. ‘I want your mouth on me. But not,’ he adds when Crowley begins to slide down over him, ‘not there.’
Crowley crocks an eyebrow and Aziraphale blushes.
‘I … I like your tongue. That thing you do, I…’ Aziraphale doesn’t finish, but red as he is, he doesn’t look away from Crowley, who finds himself so aroused he’s afraid one touch can finish him off now.
‘Understood,’ he whispers.
He slithers down, nipping lovingly at the inside of Aziraphale’s thigh before hauling his legs over Crowley’s shoulders. He pauses for a moment, taking in Aziraphale appreciatively with his eyes. He wets his lips, suddenly hungry; it has been far too long since he’s had Aziraphale like this.
Before he can so much as have a taste, Aziraphale says suddenly, almost ending Crowley right then and there, ‘Don’t make me come. Just get me ready with your mouth, darling. And then I want you.’
‘Ngk. You’ll be the death of me, angel,’ he groans, burying his face in Aziraphale’s thigh.
Aziraphale gives a breathy laugh. ‘The little death would surely be a marvellous way to go, wouldn’t you agree, my dear?’
‘And you call me insufferable.’
‘Well, you - ohhh!’ Aziraphale keens when Crowley breaches him with his tongue. He reaches down a hand, winding his fingers through Crowley’s hair, and for an undefinable period of time that follows, Crowley makes sure to leave Aziraphale incoherent until they reach their little death together.
That Sunday marks the first time, in their long, long lives, that Crowley presses loving kisses to Aziraphale’s mouth afterwards.
He holds Aziraphale close, boneless and satiated, and Aziraphale smiles as Crowley, at long last, whispers against his lips, ‘I love you.’
And this time, neither of them leaves.