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Sweater Weather

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Aziraphale is a warm being.

Of course, Crowley is biased--not being able to produce his own body heat means that anything that can feels automatically warm, but Aziraphale is especially so. It's something Crowley remembers hesitating with, in the earlier stages of their Arrangement, shifting and pulling his coat closer around himself until Aziraphale closed the distance, just as tentatively slipping an arm around him. There is none of that now, not after a few thousand years of neither really falling in love, not exactly, but still drifting closer and closer until they found themselves sharing a bed for convenience and curling up together because each thought the other was just...comfortable. It’s a sort of sub-Arrangement, working in tandem with the professional Arrangement. It is something that means Crowley can wake up on an unusually cold November morning, decide that he absolutely cannot deal with having a human body, and slither a little closer to the angel. Aziraphale, half-awake, pulls the covers a little closer around them, so as to better trap the heat.

“Cold today, m’dear?” he says, words tacked on to the end of a yawn. It’s still mostly dark outside, the grayish light of London dawn just barely seeping into the crack in the tartan curtains. (Crowley still can’t understand why Aziraphale loves it so much, or why the angel protects it so fiercely when Crowley suggests redecorating.)

Crowley answers in an affirmative hiss before burrowing further into the covers.

___

It does not get better as the day goes on. Crowley has to force himself out of bed when he wakes for the second time to check the weather, and decides that he would almost rather take temporary discorporation than three degrees Celsius all day, rain included.

At least Aziraphale takes pity on him, even though neither the higher nor lower powers do not. The angel helps him into what he thinks used to be one of a pair of leg warmers, but fits perfectly as a sweater when he doesn’t feel like taking a human form. It has its drawbacks, namely, it makes slithering along a bit harder because there isn’t as much traction, but Aziraphale helps with that, too, gently lifting Crowley up to his shoulders and letting him coil around his neck like a loosely wound scarf.

“How do you not get cold? Or need to heat your place?” Crowley’s asked this before, but it never ceases to amaze him that Aziraphale has never once set up a heating system in the little flat he has above the bookshop.

“Inherent Heavenly warmth,” says Aziraphale, gently running a finger down Crowley’s scaly head. “It’s alright, dear boy, there’s more than enough for you.”

Crowley hums his approval and leans into the warm touch. “Opening the shop today?” he says with a glance out the window, wondering how determined to get a book someone would have to be to leave the house in such awful weather.

“Of course,” says Aziraphale, hardly paying the weather any mind. “Don’t think there would be much business today, but it won’t stay long if it does come, anyway,” he goes on. His words are nonchalant, but there is an undertone of protective worry to them.

Crowley flicks his tongue out, tasting the not-so-early morning air. It’s slightly dusty, and the smell of aging paper floats up from the shop below. “Calm down, angel, nobody’s going to separate you from your precious books.” His words are ever so slightly distorted when he’s like this, hisses trailing off of the ends of words. It was the kind of tone that made people’s skin crawl. Crowley nudged the other’s cheek gently with the top of his head and smiles the way only a snake can when the corners of Aziraphale’s lips curve upwards in response.

___

Aziraphale’s shoulders are shaking. “I’m sorry, dear, I just can’t…” he trails off, dissolving into another fit of giggles. Crowley sways with the movement, having learned a century ago that trying to stay still is exactly what will end him up writhing on the floor.

“You've had that book for two hundred years, it can’t still be this funny,” Crowley hisses softly. He’s warmer now, the sweater helping trap the Inherent Heavenly Warmth radiating from the angel, so his voice trembles a lot less than it had before.

“...this mowldey odle By-Our-Lady Workeshoppe…” reads Aziraphale, little errant bubbles of laughter punctuating the words.

Crowley shakes his head in resigned, halfhearted disapproval and lets it drop gently into the golden cushion of Aziraphale’s hair. His eyelids, heavy with comfortably accumulating warmth, start to droop, and he thinks vaguely that yes. He could spend the rest of his day drifting in and out of consciousness on his angel’s shoulders while said angel watches the door of the bookshop from the register and makes sure it stays closed. He can feel Aziraphale’s finger pass over the scales on the top of his head, and it only makes him more pliant around the other’s neck.

“No, the third book was the best, what are you talking about?”

Crowley’s eyes snap open, and the finger on the top of his head disappears with the soft movement of Aziraphale’s occasional chuckle beneath him. The door to the bookshop is open, and through it come two teenage girls, both clearly cold and wet and engaging in a serious argument about one book series or another.

Aziraphale shuts the Buggre Alle This Bible carefully, the pages not allowed to flutter in the slightest. “Good afternoon, ladies,” he says, a small smile pulling up the corners of his lips as he stands and makes his way to take up a position in front of the counter.

Crowley pulls himself up to hover congenially next to Aziraphale’s face, dropping one eyelid in a salutary wink.

The two girls stop in their tracks. One of them lets the open umbrella in her hand drop the floor in wide-eyed surprise. “There’s a…” the girl with the umbrella can’t tear her eyes away from Crowley’s. She clears her throat, pushes damp fringe out of her eyes. “There’s a snake on your shoulders.”

“And it’s wearing a sweater,” adds her friend, finally doing something with the jaw that had dropped the second she’d entered the shop.

Aziraphale’s smile only widens and he glances over at Crowley. “Nothing to worry about,” he says, and Crowley, right on cue, flicks his tongue out and leans into the softness of Aziraphale’s cheek.

“The sweater’s really comfortable, by the way,” Crowley says, and maybe the hissing is more exaggerated than it has to be, but one of the girls is already wrapping a hand around the other’s wrist. She tugs at her friend’s arm with the one hand and takes the dripping umbrella with the other.

It’s not long before one of them mutters something about getting coffee and they've ducked out, eyes like saucers. The one with the fringe shakes her head repeatedly the way out, a gesture at which Crowley winks again as they leave.

Aziraphale lets out a long sigh of relief as the door clicks closed behind them.

“What happens if you actually sell a book one day?” asks Crowley, resuming his position in Aziraphale’s hair and getting as close as a snake can to actually purring when Aziraphale resumes gently stroking the top of his head.

“We’ll never find out, will we, dear boy?” Aziraphale reaches over with his free hand and pulls the Buggre Alle This Bible close, cradling it against his chest like a parent would an infant.

“No, we won’t,” answers the demon, digging his nose under Aziraphale’s golden curls as if they were blankets. “Bless it, but those girls let out a good five degrees’ worth of heat,” he says, the sound muffled by the angel’s hair.

“You’ll warm up in no time,” says the angel, and Crowley responds in a hiss that could have been a whine if he were possessed of a little less pride. He’s not sure, but it feels like the Inherent Heavenly Warmth has been increased by a degree or two, and he gratefully shuts his eyes in favor of concentrating on accumulating as much warmth as he can.