“To the world.”
Crowley grinned, still giddy with the success of the body swap. He didn’t want to think about what his life would be like if it hadn’t worked. That is, if he even still had one. But that was fine, save those thoughts for his nightmares. For now, things were bright and hopeful as he watched his angelic company polish off his dessert.
Once his plate had been emptied, he waved the waiter over for the bill and payed it without a thought.
“Thank you, my dear, that was very kind of you.” Aziraphale said.
Crowley felt his face heat up. “Don’t mention it,” he mumbled.
They walked out together, Crowley found himself wishing he could take Aziraphale’s hand as they made their way to the Bentley. Instead, he opened the door for the angel and slid himself heavily into the driver seat, clenching the wheel perhaps harder than necessary.
The ride back to the bookshop was easy, filled with relaxed, happy conversation. Aziraphale only chided Crowley for his speed twice. They arrived and Crowley walked Aziraphale to the door of his bookshop, silently hoping to be invited in.
“See you around, angel.” He winced at the casualness of his words and was turning to go back to the Bentley before Aziraphale spoke.
“Oh do come in, dear boy,” he said. Crowley spun back around. “That is, if you want to,” he added, nervously glancing between Crowley and the floor.
“’Course I do.” He hoped the relief and eagerness he was feeling didn’t show in his voice. “Got anything good to drink?”
Aziraphale lit up. “Yes, I still have a case of something scrummy I bought in the fifties. I’ve been saving it for a special occasion, and we did save the world.”
Crowley followed him through the door and into the back room. “We did, didn’t we?” he said, sitting haphazardly on his couch. Well, it was practically his couch.
Aziraphale poured the wine, and to Crowley’s surprise and delight, sat next to him. Crowley quirked an eyebrow questioningly, but he’d be damned if the angel moved away. Their thighs were inches apart now. Crowley could spread his legs a little wider and they’d be touching. Oh, how he wanted to touch those thighs, sink his fingers into their plush softness and squeeze.
“No one watching us. Why shouldn’t I sit next to you, Crowley?” said Aziraphale, jerking him back into reality.
“Mm? Oh, I don’t mind.” he said, taking a sip of his wine. Closer, he thought. I want you closer.
“So, anyways, what ‘m sayin’ is tha’ form shapes nature. ‘S why he didn’t do much but yap a’ Adam.” Crowley slurred several hours and bottles of wine later.
“But he’s a hellhound, Crowley. Should’ve been evil ‘n danger- dan-d... scary.”
“Yeah! Should’ve been. But Adam liter’lly named ‘im Dog, so he was jus’ a dog. Clever boy.” Crowley mused.
“So you’re saying that he’s just a dog because that’s his name?”
“I am. If Adam’ve named him somethin’ like... I dunno, Skull-Crusher, then the hellhound would go aroun’ crushin’ skulls, and we prob’ly wouldn’t be here.”
“Huh,” said Aziraphale wisely. “’M glad we’re here.”
“Yeah. Me too.”
“And ‘m glad the body swap worked.”
“Same here, angel.” He paused. Aziraphale wasn’t making this whole “don’t think about what would happen if it hadn’t worked” thing any easier. Time to change the subject, anyway. “What’re you going to do with your eternity, now that we’ve got it?” he asked.
“Dunno. This I ‘spose.”
“What’d you mean?” he asked hurriedly, quashing down the flow of love and the thing humans called hope (Crowley called it bullshit) that surged through him.
“I like drinking with you, Crowley,” said Aziraphale, almost pouting.
“Yeah angel, me too.” Crowley grinned then. “So you’re sayin’ all you wanna do for your eternity is get sloshed with me?”
“Wouldn’t mind it.”
The heart Crowley had but didn’t need positively swelled. The angel he’d been following around for millennium still wanted his company. Still wanted it, when there was no Arrangement to force them to see each other. When they could finally do whatever they wanted. And Aziraphale wanted him. Perhaps not as carnally as Crowley wanted the angel, but he’d take it. Six thousand times, he’d take it.
“Me neither, angel.” He said at last. The air in the bookshop felt heavy and warm.
“But I do think we should do other things besides—ah—get ‘sloshed’, as you say.”
“Mm? And what other things are those?” hummed Crowely.
“Dunno.” said Aziraphale. He must be pretty drunk, Crowley thought, since his face was starting to flush from the alcohol. Crowley also thought it looked very pretty on him.
“Very descript- des...” Crowley concentrated hard. “Descriptive!” he said at last, rather proud of himself.
Aziraphale winced. “Well, ‘s hardly fair to ask that in the first place.”
“Don’t even remember what I asked.” That was true. He couldn’t remember much at all just then. He began bouncing his leg as if it would help jog his memory.
“You asked what else I’d do besides drink with you, Crowley,” he sighed dramatically, “and I really don’t know how to answer that.”
Crowley’s heart thudded. “Should we be as drunk as we are, angel? I can sober up, if you’d like.”
“No. Don’t want to be sober.” Aziraphale paused for a moment then said, “Wouldn’t have the courage.”
Crowley stilled. He knew that whatever was said next would change things. He just wished he knew how.
“Crowley I—” Aziraphale took a deep breath, preparing himself for something, glancing over his shoulders like he was making sure they weren’t being watched. At last, he spoke again in a voice barely above a whisper. “Crowley, my dear, I love you.”
Those last three words sobered Crowley up immediately, sans-miracle.
“You love everyone.” he rasped, deflecting.
“I do, Crowley, I do! But I don’t just love you. I’m in love with you.” Aziraphale was a picture then, eyes shining and face flushed. He smiled, and it lit up the world.
Crowley nearly fainted. Then he nearly puked, and after that he nearly sobbed. A few tears did brim behind his dark glasses, but he willed them not to fall. Like he did.
“You can’t love me, angel. I’m a demon. Can’t be loved, by definition.”
“Oh my dear, sweet Crowley.” He took his hand clumsily, as he still hadn’t sobered up. Crowley stared at his demonic hand in the angel’s gorgeous soft one, something dark surfacing in his thoughts. “I love you. So much,” he continued, leaning in close enough for a kiss, and at once Crowley jerked back.
“Angel, ssstop it. You’re drunk. You don’t know what you’re ssaying.” Crowley hissed. Aziraphale needed to sober up. Now. Then they could forget that ever happened, and Crowley would never mention it if it meant he got to keep his friendship.
Aziraphale looked hurt, but he nodded. He concentrated, shuddering as the alcohol left his body.
He cleared his throat, freshly sober. “Well. Cat's out of the bag, I suppose.”
Crowley gaped at him. “You mean you weren’t just saying that?”
Aziraphale’s brow furrowed. "Of course not, my dear. I’m really, truly in love with you.” He gave him a watery smile, which Crowley felt was more than he deserved.
“I—” Crowley began, not knowing where to begin. Did he tell Aziraphale how he’d loved him since Eden? How he desired him in the wee hours of the night, alone in his bed with its dark sheets, soaked in his own sweat as he cried out the angel’s name? Did he tell him how much it’d hurt, how empty he’d felt after the bookshop fire, when he though his love—the only being that had ever shown him kindness—had died? Crowley couldn’t think of how to say any of those things, and he doubted it was wise to mention the lustful one. So, instead, he tried to pour all his feelings of love and adoration and devotion into a single word. It’d take a miracle for him to manage anything more in his current state.
Aziraphale smiled beautifully at him. Reaching up, he gently pinched the temple of Crowley’s glasses between his fingers. “May I?”
Crowley nodded jerkily, allowing his glasses to be lifted from his face and placed on a nearby table.
“There. Now I can see your pretty eyes.”
A strangled sound came out of Crowley then. He’d always wished he could miracle them into something more normal, more human. But the fondness pouring from Aziraphale suggested that perhaps they were something to cherish rather than hide.
He didn’t know what to say to the wonderful, confusing angel before him. The one that had called his most demonic feature pretty. He hoped his gratitude and perhaps some affection showed on his face.
It must have, because suddenly Aziraphale surged forward, and they were kissing. And, oh, that was magnificent. Aziraphale brought his hands up to Crowley’s face, cupping his jaw and cheeks like he was something precious. Crowley wasn’t sure if he’d started kissing back yet and was about to mentally kick himself when he realized that he was, that his hands were moving to his angel’s neck and hair, their lips brushing each other in a perfect rhythm.
Crowley’s heart was pounding. He briefly wondered if Aziraphale could feel it before realizing that even if he could feel it, he didn’t care, since now he was tugging Crowley’s bottom lip all the way into his mouth and running his tongue over it.
Crowley liked that.
He decided to return the favour, licking a long, wet stripe across Aziraphale’s top lip. He tasted mostly of wine, but also of tea and cocoa and the champagne they’d shared at the Ritz, and all of the wonderful things this world had to offer.
Aziraphale kissed him harder then, pressing his tongue deep into Crowley’s mouth, licking along his back teeth and sliding their tongues against each other. Humans, Crowley thought, had been exactly right when they associated kissing with so much pleasure and intimacy. It was very intimate. Angelic hands still held Crowley close as he licked into his mouth. Of course Aziraphale kissed like he ate, chasing the taste of Crowley’s wine as he ran his tongue over every crevice, savouring.
At once Crowley panicked, tensing in every muscle of his corporation, including the slightly forked one currently licking Aziraphale’s molars, who noticed the change and drew back, concerned.
“What’s wrong, love?” he asked.
Crowley blinked at the endearment. “It’s not—” He gulped, heart close to breaking. “It’s not too fast, is it?” he finished in a whisper.
Aziraphale held his face in his hands, painfully gently. Crowley found himself nuzzling into his touch before he caught himself. A warm thumb brushed across his cheekbone as Aziraphale spoke, “Oh, darling. You don’t know why I said that, do you?”
Crowley shook his head, hardly daring to breathe.
“It was to protect you, my dear. If—if heaven and hell found out about us, I’d be whisked away to some far corner of heaven never to be seen again. But hell, they’d destroy you, and I couldn’t—” he took a steadying breath, “I couldn’t risk losing you.”
Once again, Crowley found himself capable of only one word. “Angel.”
He was pulled close, a kiss placed on the tip of his nose. “So no, darling, this isn’t too fast. It’s perfect.”
They kissed again, lip meeting fervently, all previous reservations melted away as passion and pure enthusiasm took their place. Aziraphale’s hands slipped down, one settling on Crowley’s waist and the other sliding underneath his thigh. Much to his delight, he was pulled into his angel’s lap. Those wonderful soft thighs were beneath him, their stomachs were pressing together as they kissed harder, sucking hot tongues into hotter mouths with reckless abandon.
Deeply, Crowley kissed Aziraphale, his new angle allowing him to push his tongue in even farther, taste more. He loved it. Loved twining his long fingers in pale curls. Loved the feel of their tongues moving in tandem, lips pressing hotly, over and over again. Loved the warm hands roaming as they searched for more contact, flitting between his waist, back, shoulders, and face, as if he were trying to hold all those pieces of Crowley at once.
And of course, what Crowley loved the most was sitting underneath him in his cozy bookshop sofa, moaning softly as his demon did something funny with his tongue.
That low sound had Crowley completely undone, “I love you,” he whispered hotly into Aziraphale’s mouth.
At once he was pushed away, off the warm plush lap and onto the sofa cushions. Fear filled him. Was he not supposed to say that? Did Aziraphale hate being spoken to while snogging? Or something worse? Disgust at being loved by a demon? Had he changed his mind?
Several panic-filled moments passed before realization dawned on him. That angelic bastard.
He hadn’t been pushed away. He’d merely been pushed. Aziraphale was leaning into him, farther and farther until his back pressed flat against the seat of the sofa. He was clambering over Crowley now to straddle his hips, stealing his lips hungrily. Crowley kissed back gratefully, drinking in his angel. He shuffled down the cushions a bit to allow Aziraphale to comfortably lay on top of him. Settling over Crowley, he kissed him thoroughly, taking great care to run his tongue across every part of his demon’s mouth. Crowley moaned low as he settled deeper into the sofa, the warm weight of Aziraphale pushing him lower, and lower still when he rocked his broad hips into Crowley’s lithe ones.
He hissed, embarrassed by how hard he was already. It didn’t matter, however. He could feel Aziraphale’s effort through their layers, and unlike the rest of him, it wasn’t soft.
Hands wove themselves into Crowley’s hair, tugging lightly. He whined, a high and needy sound he swore to himself that he’d never make again in his life, that is, until Aziraphale pushed his glorious thigh between Crowley’s and he made it again.
A groan escaped him as his senses overloaded. Aziraphale’s heady scent engulfed him, a mix of tea, old books, vintage cologne, and something else that could only be described as ethereal. The thigh between his legs pressed hotly, his hair pulled gently by strong, soft hands. And oh, the sounds. The wet press of their mouths together, the dry fabric slide of their clothes, and the occasional noises Aziraphale made when Crowley’s tongue did something particularly filthy had the demon undone.
Bloody wonderful angel, he thought. Who loves me.
Undisguised bliss surged through him, as his mind finally caught up with the rest of him. He held Aziraphale tighter, trying not to ruin their kiss by smiling. But Aziraphale felt it and smiled too, and they kissed each other’s open grinning mouths like the lovesick fools they were.
Aziraphale pulled away, carding his hand through Crowley’s hair. “You know, darling, I do have a bed upstairs. Haven’t used it much, I’m afraid, but—”
He didn’t finish, as Crowley had attacked him in a barrage of happy kisses. He laughed and pulled his demon to his feet, leading him to the bookshop stairs.
Crowley lay there, panting and more content than he’d been in a long time. He gazed at the gorgeous angel beside him, wanting to curl up next to him and wrap his arms around that plush stomach, realizing with a grin that he could do exactly that. So he did, throwing a leg over him for good measure.
Aziraphale chuckled. “I should have known that the serpent of Eden would be a cuddler.”
“Mm.” Crowley hummed into his neck. “You’re warm. Soft. ‘S nice,” he added, giving his angel a gentle squeeze.
“Thank you, dear.” He started petting Crowley’s hair, who gave a happy sigh at that. “You’re so pretty, my love. Your hair and eyes and that adorable face, not to mention the rest of you.” Aziraphale glanced knowingly down at their bodies tangled together beneath the blankets.
Crowley looked up, spluttering, “You think I’m pretty? You should see yourself on a daily basis. And don’t get me started on how you looked all blissed-out when we, you know. Bloody beautiful.”
“You’re too kind, darling.” But he accepted the praise and was met with little resistance on Crowley’s part for calling him a four-letter word.
“Move in with me,” said Crowley suddenly. “I mean, you don’t have to, but I was thinking it could be nice to get a place out of the city. I dunno, ‘s a dumb idea.”
Aziraphale kissed him. “I think it’s a fantastic idea. Did you have anywhere in mind?”
“A little cottage somewhere, with lots of room for all your books and a big yard for a garden.”
“Oh, that does sound lovely. I wonder, do you already have the place picked out?”
“Guilty.” Crowley admitted. “It’s a nice little house in the South Downs. Bought it years ago when the Antichrist was first born. I figured if our plan was to work and we survived the whole thing, it was good to have options.”
Aziraphale smiled. “My handsome, clever demon. I love you.”
“Love you too, angel.”
“Shall we go see this place in the morning? We could bring a picnic.”
Crowley barked a laugh. “First the Ritz, now a picnic?”
“I’m a man of my word, Crowley, and I think we should look at our new house and have a picnic.”
“You’re not a man at all.” muttered Crowley.
“No, I suppose not.”
Conversation slowed, until it had ebbed away entirely. Crowley closed his eyes, nestling into the angelic warmth he was now allowed to hold. They would go visit the cottage tomorrow, Aziraphale would ooh and ah at the built-in mahogany bookshelves and the quaint yard that would make a lovely garden. They would move in, and fill the place with books and plants, tea and wine, tenderness and love.
There would be gentle mornings of waking up in each other’s arms, and soft nights where they made love beneath downy comforters. There would be candlelit dinners in the local restaurants, where humans would look at the couple, one with several plates in front of him, the other just a glass of wine and they would smile because they, too could feel just how in love they were. And other things. Slow dances in the kitchen where they really just swayed together, cuddles on the couch because Crowley had wanted to watch the new movie the humans kept going on about, snogging against the front door because they could barely make it out of the grocery store without touching each other and couldn’t be bothered to actually go inside and kiss properly, not when their mouths felt this lovely together, and it’d be far too much of a hassle to unlock the door, especially when the hand that held the keys was busy slipping into Aziraphale’s back pocket.
Crowley sighed, shuffling impossibly nearer, winding himself tighter around his angel, who in turn hugged him closer. He felt warm, safe, and loved. It’d been millennium since he last felt that way. But as he lay there in his Aziraphale’s arms, he couldn’t help but think that was where he belonged. Not in hell, where he was too kind, too good to really fit in. After all, he’d only ever asked questions. Nor did he belong in heaven, where he wove the night sky and hung stars. He was never truly happy in either of those places.
But he was happy now, and would remain so for an eternity as he and his angel built their lives unafraid with their newfound freedom. When they could finally be what they wanted.