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Sunrise, Sunset

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Sunrise, Winter Solstice

The sun was rising. Not up yet, slow in coming, but on its way.

Aziraphale, tucked up in bed next to his sleeping demon, put down his book as he always did at dawn, and smiled, and prepared for light.

(Living in cloud-haunted England for much of the last millennium, he had long since adjusted his expectation for the amount of light which came with daybreak. It wasn't its intensity, anyway, but its very presence which mattered.)

His Crowley muttered something indistinguishable and slithered around so that his back was to Aziraphale and to the bedroom window. His eyeshade slipped down over his nose, and, still mostly asleep, he readjusted it so that the sun wouldn't bother him.

Crowley, the dear heart, was not a fan of sunrise, but he and Aziraphale had compromised, by which Aziraphale meant he had won the argument about the joyous necessity of greeting the day but had provided his darling demon with accessories (this particular eyeshade embroidered with a serpent and in a black silk which matched his pyjama trousers) to let him sleep longer if he wished.

Aziraphale didn't actually sleep much, even now, but in the months since he and Crowley had moved into this domicile on the South Downs, he very much enjoyed spending the night cozily tucked up in bed, spooning and/or being spooned, and reading by the small light affixed to the headboard. And his side of the bed was the window side, just right for –

A snap of the fingers, and the curtains slid open on indigo going pink around the edges, and on their east garden whitened by frost. Clouds, heavy and cold, touched the edge of the view, but here (without miracle, even) was the clear horizon.

It was going to be a beautiful day, Aziraphale knew. A full day, even on the shortest day of the year.

He would spend the morning doing his volunteer shift at the local library – so delightful to help people, and to give out books with the almost certain knowledge that the books would return! (The library director had already found that sending out Mr Fell to remind patrons to return overdue books was insanely effective, although Aziraphale never explained how he achieved his excellent results, which usually involved gentle remonstrance, inducing guilt, pouting as a fallback, and the occasional small miracle.) Then he would come home to lunch, which Crowley would pick up on his way back from Tadfield with the Them, who were on winter holiday and coming to spend the afternoon with their "uncles." Pepper and Crowley would work in the greenhouse – Crowley encouraging Pepper to ask the most awful difficult questions about life and love and social injustice, dear me – and Wensleydale and Aziraphale would bake scones, and Adam and Brian and Dog would run about the fields and do whatever Adam thought up to do. They would all have tea, and then Crowley would drive the Them back to Tadfield, and Aziraphale would put on his Bach as loud as he liked and drink his tea and… well, appreciate the gift of the day.

And then his Crowley would come home to him, and that was a greater gift than any of the rest.

"Mnggh," Crowley said into the pillow. "Is it over yet?"

"It's only just started, dear," Aziraphale said, and found Crowley's hand and linked their fingers.

"Great," Crowley said into the pillow.

"Yes, darling, that is the exact word."

Aziraphale watched the sky bloom orange and pink. When the sun rose above the horizon, he lifted their joined hands and kissed Crowley's wrist.

"Mmmm," said Crowley, and pushed the eyeshade over his bright hair, and blinked amber eyes at Aziraphale. There he was, his darling boy, and here was home.

"Good morning, my dear. It's going to be a glorious day."

Sunset, Summer Solstice

On this longest evening of the longest day of the year, Crowley sprawled on their bench in the west garden and waited for the light to fall.

Stupid expression, that. The sun was always there, set in its appointed place; it was the earth and whoever was on it that spun, and rose, and fell.

Crowley often felt his own fall keenly at sunset, but he took a perverse pleasure in his pain at the coming of night. It was not wholly deserved, but it was his.

Sitting in his garden, the one he had planned and organized and (sort of) worked, in a warm English summer, he could luxuriate in the ache, stretch his wings out into the approaching dark, and –

"Care for company, sweetheart?" Aziraphale said from behind the bench, and his hands reached through black wings, found Crowley's shoulders, and squeezed at the tight muscles just below his neck.

"Mnnng," Crowley said, enjoying that pleasure-pain so much that the words didn't come right away, then managed, "Yes, angel. Your company, at least."

He didn't have to look around to see Aziraphale's beaming smile at that. He felt it through his whole miserable corporation, like a shock of heaven in hell-blasted earth, like water in a thirsty, sandy land. By this point he was almost used to it.

"Budge over, dear," Aziraphale said. When Crowley scooted over a few inches, his angel took his place beside him. Unlike the six thousand years before, however, now Aziraphale was right there, thigh to thigh, hand to hand. After a glance over his shoulder, Aziraphale let his own wings free as well, and light and dark brushed against each other, intermingled.

"A lovely day," Aziraphale said, all but humming with happiness.

Anathema and Newt had come by for lunch, after a morning solstice gathering at a standing circle in Oxfordshire. While Anathama and Aziraphale had washed up and chatted of prophecies and publishing, Crowley and Newt took a walk – during which Newt said that their move to Tadfield was complete, and he had started his classwork in history, with a view to becoming a teacher. "Like you, I guess?" he had said, and pushed at his glasses.

Crowley was not a teacher, thank you very much. But he was the unofficial adviser of the Astronomy Club at the local primary school, and took enormous enjoyment from stirring up the little buggers' curiosity and sending them home with a million questions about the universe. Once the head teacher had started to ask how Crowley was able to show the children the stars through his telescope in the daytime, but Crowley had put a little demonic edge in his voice and told him he used special glass, and the head teacher had made a choking sound and gone off to her private office, where Crowley knew she would find some top-shelf Scotch in her bottom drawer. He might do the odd bit of tempting and mischief now and again, but he wasn't a monster.

He had felt like one sometimes. Often. Sometimes. Looking at the bloody mess humans had made and were making in the world, however, he knew that there were all sorts of ways of being a monster.

The light was falling faster, or the earth was rising faster, and dark was coming. But in the dark were stars.

Aziraphale's wing brushed Crowley's. "Beautiful, my dear," he said, and when Crowley turned his head to look at his angel, Aziraphale was gazing at his mouth. "May I?"

"Of course," Crowley said, "of course, of course—"

And then all words ended when Aziraphale's mouth took his, and it was pleasure with just an edge of pain, and while it wasn't what he deserved, it was all his.