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Fire on the Skin

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Ostrogothic Kingdom
512 AD

Crowley hadn't meant to frighten him, Aziraphale is quite certain of that. Even so, having a rather large snake suddenly come slithering out of the shadows and onto one's desk would startle even the most passive and composed limner1. The angel's knee smashes against the underside of his desk, rattling it hard enough to splatter ink across the vellum and knock his candle askew.

"Crowley!" Aziraphale chides, reaching to set the candle upright before it sets the whole manuscript ablaze. With a quick miracle he sends the spilled ink back into its cup, then frowns down at his work. Even miracled away he can still see subtle traces of the spill. "Really, my dear, you must warn me when you're going to come wiggling out of the dark."

He expects a witty retort or an murmured apology, some sort of reply from his demonic counterpart. When none is forthcoming he turns his gaze from his work toward the old serpent. Crowley rests on the far side of his desk, wiggling in a way Aziraphale has never seen him do before, in any form, and when Aziraphale moves the light closer he sees a splattering of slowly cooling wax over Crowley's smooth scales.

"Good Heavens." Aziraphale passes a hand over the affected area, carefully miracling away the wax. "Are you all right?"

Crowley squirms for a few more moments, his tongue flicking rapidly at the air as he settles. His pupils are wider than Aziraphale's ever seen them before, but it is rather dark in the room even with the candlelight.

"Sss'fine, Angel." Crowley's voice sounds thick, honeyed. It sends a strange, but not unpleasant, twinge down the length of Aziraphale's spine. "No harm done."

Kingdom of Aragon
1198 AD

Aziraphale hovers at the edge of the crowd, keeping his presence unremarkable, one that will easily slide away from human minds and evaporate from memory like the morning dew. He isn't here officially, he just couldn't help checking in on the progress of such a distasteful and horrifying practice. He knows it will only get worse before going out of vogue, but there wis a long road ahead before humanity comes to its senses on immolation as a method of punishment.

This particular accused heretic2 had caught Aziraphale's interest. If the talk of hair like flame and eyes of gold weren't telling enough, the discovery that the man's signet was a twisting serpent had convinced the angel of exactly who was stirring the pot in Iberia.

The flames bloom suddenly across the kindling once the torch makes contact, the upward rush of heat whipping that long red hair about the man's tensed shoulders. Even from this distance Aziraphale has to raise a hand to shield his face against the intensity of the blaze, blinking tears from eyes stung by the smoke.

Crowley - and it is undoubtedly Crowley, Aziraphale is certain of that fact now - seems unbothered by the fires drawing near him, singeing the cloth of his tunic and causing the hide of his trousers to crack. There's a look of passivity on the demon's human face, a look that gradually blooms into a wicked smile. He squirms against the stake he's bound to, arms twisted back around the gnarled wood. The increasing rate and depth of his breathing makes his clavicle - visible above his collar where the tunic has been stretched tight across his chest - stand out sharply with each exhale.

Aziraphale waits as long as he can stand, until the flames have risen so high he can barely see even the top of Crowley's head. The fires haven't claimed Crowley's corporation, the angel has made sure of that, and now, with a aggravated snap, he whisks them both away from the horrific scene.

He supposes the Nile was a bit of an old reflex, as far as destinations go. He wasn't being picky with his miracle, just intent on translocating them into a body of water far from the religious zealots of Europe. Crowley writhes against him for a few long moments, clutching at any part of Aziraphale's clothing his fingers can get a grip on. His heavy breaths are grey with smoke, his eyes wide, unblinking, pupils so expanded his eyes have almost gone black.

"You didn't need to do that." He gasps out roughly against Aziraphale's throat, still squirming in the current, his hips rocking back and forth a hand's distance from Aziraphale's waist. "I had everything well under control."

"Of course." Aziraphale smooths one hand through the demon's singed and soggy hair, his fingers absolutely not trembling. "You will have to forgive me, my dear, for being unwilling to watch your corporation immolate."

日本
1549 AD

The thermal heat of the spring sinks deep into the tired muscles of Aziraphale's corporation, making him feel more relaxed than he has in decades. He closes his eyes and breathes in the steamy air, catching the trace scents of blooming trees, grilling meats, and the curious scent of humanity that he finds both pleasant and not, depending on its context.

There's another scent underneath all of that, like the alcohol vapors that accompany any fermented drink no matter how cloying the rest of its bouquet may be. It's something humans wouldn't detect, but it sings through the air for anyone of angelic origin to pick up on. A curious blend of disturbed earth, volcanic ash, and just a whisper of brimstone.

Aziraphale doesn't need to open his eyes to know that Crowley is nearby, he does simply on reflex. He smiles as he meets those yellow eyes, glowing faintly as they reflect the light spilling from the inn behind the angel. Aziraphale remembers to temper some of his excitement at the last moment, keeping the smile from blooming too wide across his face. "Good evening, my dear."

The water's surface is gently disturbed as Crowley slithers into the pool, the long length of him sliding from the rocks with all the stiffness of an over-cooked noodle. He disappears beneath the surface for a long moment, then a soppy mess of flaming hair slowly rises, one of Crowley's hands coming up to brush dripping bangs out of his eyes. "Hey, Angel. Wasn't expecting to see you in this part of the world."

"The Catholics will be arriving soon. Missionaries." Aziraphale says with a distasteful sigh he hopes doesn't give away too many of his personal opinions on such aggressive forms of proselytizing. "I am charged with easing their arrival in the hearts of the locals."

A loose chuckle ripples across the surface of the water more than it sounds through the air, Crowley's head tipped back to rest on the stone behind him. Aziraphale tries not to stare too openly at the long, elegant lines of his neck. "'n I'm here to confuse3 the locals about their missionary-ing."

"Well," Aziraphale starts to lift himself out of the water, turning slightly in a show of casual modesty. "We may as well have dinner before we get to thwarting one another. Coming?"

Crowley blinks at the angel a few times, slow and languid, like he's having trouble processing his words. His pupils are blown wide, and there's a deep flush spread across his face and over each of his cheeks. "Sssure, Angel. I'll, uh, I'll be along in a few minutes. You go on ahead."

Aziraphale watches him curiously for a few heartbeats. "Very well. I'll make sure to save you some rice wine."

New York City
1969 AD

It's nearly impossible to not get swept up and carried away by the angry demonstrators, the atmosphere around the rioting thick with righteous indignation and the unwavering human survival instinct. For once Crowley and Aziraphale had not been working against one another, the goals of Heaven and Hell in unprecedented alignment. Crowley was to tempt the crowd toward violent retaliation against authority figures, while Aziraphale was meant to bolster their spirits and grant them the courage to overcome their oppressors.

Truthfully, neither of them had really been needed at the scene4, humanity was more than capable of both rising up and exploding with rage without needing any extra push from the powers above or below. They may even have been better off without them, if Aziraphale was being completely honest.

They rendezvous in the park as planned, Crowley leaned against a tree with an unlit cigarette between his lips when the angel arrives. Aziraphale is mildly out of breath, adrenaline humming through his corporation, and he takes a moment to calm his breathing before addressing the demon.

"Well," he begins, trying to sound casual, and not at all overwhelmed by the furror they'd just removed themselves from. "That went… better than expected."

Crowley chuckles around his cigarette, eyes glinting briefly over the rims of his dark glasses. He hold his gaze on Aziraphale for a moment that threatens to become uncomfortable, then clears his throat and murmurs. "Lost my matches, think you could..?"

"Oh yes, of course." Aziraphale says with a startled little jump, digging around in his pocket and retrieving the vesta box he continues to keeps on his person, despite Crowley's teasing. He's still shaking somewhat from the rush of the rioting as he strikes a match and moves it close to Crowley's cigarette.

Before Aziraphale can cup his hand to shield the flame from the breeze, Crowley's hand is there, close to Aziraphale's own and even closer to the match. Almost close enough to burn, Aziraphale thinks, as Crowley draws the flame in against the cigarette with a few small puffs.

With the cigarette lit, Aziraphale intends to pull his hand back and flick the flame out, but Crowley's free hand quickly moves to stop him with a firm curl of fingers around the angel's wrist. Once certain Aziraphale isn't going to move, he takes the cigarette from his lips, exhaling the smoke away from Aziraphale's face, and then glides his unoccupied fingers through the match's flame.

Aziraphale finds his breath caught in his throat, willing his limbs to stop their vibrations so as not to accidently extinguish the match before its burned its way out. He's not watching the match, nor Crowley's fingers as he glides them through the fire at a speed that has to be burning them. No, he's fixated on Crowley's eyes, slightly more visible now as Crowley's glasses slip down the narrow length of his nose. They're the color of pale honey just now, softened by the urban darkness. His pupils are so wide they're almost round, and the combination of color and shape has stolen Aziraphale's breath away.

"Crowley?" He speaks airlessly, not wanting to blow out the fragile fire.

"Feels good." Crowley's voice is thick, it sticks to the back of Aziraphale's throat like syrup.

The match burns out and Aziraphale finds his breath again, his lungs stinging from the brief denial. He tosses the remainder of the match into a nearby bin, smoothing his hands down his front and trying to keep a flush from completely taking over his face. His hands flounder in the space between them, fingers pinching in a vague gesture. Luckily Crowley understands, and with a small hum he presses his cigarette between Aziraphale's fingers.

"Thank you, my dear."

London's Soho
present day

Crowley squirms between Aziraphale's thighs, held down by both physical weight and angelic will. His face is rosey, flushed to a shade quickly approaching the same as his hair. Aziraphale can feel the firm press of his demon's arousal against his rear, hot and thick, sending delightful waves of satisfied pleasure through Aziraphale's every nerve.

"Angel." Crowley gasps, eyes closing tight as his back bows in an almost graceful arch off the bed.

Aziraphale hushes him, his tone soft, a counterpoint to the sharp drag of his manicured nails down Crowley's chest. The red lines left in their wake are inhuman, almost glowing with the heat Aziraphale can feel rising from them. The scent that catches in his throat is a mix of Crowley's ash and brimstone and Aziraphale's incense and ozone.

Just enough heavenly Smite to burn the skin, to heat the demon in ways Aziraphale knows he's never felt before. A heat so hot it's white, hotter than fire, grazed over Crowley's skin with a love that burns him almost as much.

"Open your eyes, my dear." Aziraphale murmurs, and Crowley immediately obeys. His eyes are yellow all the way to the corners, not a whisper of white. His pupils are wide, rounded in a way Aziraphale now understands. The angel smiles once, sweet and full of adoration.

Then he leans forward, imbuing his lips with Divinity, and feels Crowley's crack against them as he comes completely undone.