There was something different in the bookshop. It wasn't that the sign said closed, that was almost normal, and Crowley never paid any attention to the sign anyway. It wasn't the dust, or the faint light and boxes piling up everywhere. No, Crowley couldn't say exactly what it was different this time, and that was bothering him.
It took him a few seconds to realize that it was the voices. Usually, when the shop was closed, the only thing he could hear was the faint sound of pages being turned. This time, he could hear voices in the back of the shop. Aziraphale wasn't used to entertain customers in the back, and the rare occasions someone had been there usually meant trouble.
There wasn't trouble this time. At least not in the End-of-the-World way he was expecting, but the scene that greeted him unnerved him nonetheless.
Aziraphale was entertaining a customer. In his back room. He appeared to be sharing a cup of tea with a young man and smiling while they poured over some dusty book or another.
Crowley felt like a voyeur witnessing an intimate scene. There was also another feeling in the back of his mind he couldn't name, but he didn't like it.
Aziraphale choose that moment to raise his eyes and look at him, his smile widening.
"Oh, Crowley, come in, come in my dear." He said excitedly.
He managed to uproot himself from the spot he was frozen in and move inside the room. The other man also looked up at him, and Crowley was startled to realize how good looking he was. He had dark hair, clear hazel eyes that looked almost yellow in the dim light, and high cheekbones. He was nicely dressed, and on the whole he looked like a human version of Crowley, which was even more unnerving.
"Mr. Jameson is an old customer of mine, and he found this rare book in a fair last week," Aziraphale continued, oblivious to everything in the room but the book. "This is Anthony Crowley, Mr. Jameson, an old associate."
Crowley bristled at that; an associate, an old associate. That bothered him for some reason. Not that he would introduce the angel in any other way, but he was a demon after all, he wouldn't be the one to use the word friend.
Mr. Jameson nodded politely and then he turned back at the book and Aziraphale, his expression one of rapt attention.
For the first time in six thousand years Crowley felt uncomfortable in the angel's presence; not even before the Arrangement he had felt so utterly ignored and superfluous. It was as if Aziraphale didn't realize he was in the room, apart from politely introducing him to the object of his current fascination. He didn't even seem to remember that they had agreed to go out for lunch.
Suddenly furious, Crowley gritted his teeth and glared at the two heads bent over the book. "Don't worry, angel," he snapped after a minute, turning to leave. "I can see you're busy, I'll cancel the reservation at the Ritz." Not that there was any reservation, those were the things other people did, Crowley always had a table available for him, whether they knew it or not.
He slammed the bookshop door on his way out with more force than it was necessary, and stormed to his Bentley needing to be as far away from there as possible.
He caused several accidents on his way back home, but he hardly noticed that, and even when an ambulance almost crashed against a double Decker bus just in front of him, Crowley didn't feel cheered in the slightest. Never before in his blessed life had he felt so ignored and insignificant.
Aziraphale had ignored him for a book. Not that it was something new, if there was something to make Aziraphale forget everything around him, it was a book. But he wasn't ignoring that bastard who brought him the book. No, he was smiling and paying attention to that poor imitation of Crowley.
Knowing that the rest of his plans for the day were ruined, Crowley decided to get thoroughly plastered.
Two days later Crowley wasn't feeling much better. He hadn't heard from Aziraphale since that ruined lunch, not even a false start in his ansaphone. I was as if the angel had forgotten about him.
Crowley tried to keep himself from going to the bookshop in any way he could imagine. He orchestrated a tube strike, a power failure on The City, hundreds of little inconveniences for Londoners, from broken streetlights to ruining teenager's first dates, but he was still angry and annoyed. And the fact that he hadn't heard from Aziraphale only made his mood worse.
It was on the fourth day he found himself going back to Soho. It was all good to be angry, but he decided that it didn't make any good if he couldn't vent his anger on the intended recipient. And if the angel wasn't going to look for him, well, Crowley knew exactly where to find him.
The fact that he could be missing Aziraphale's company didn't even cross his mind.
Only, Aziraphale wasn't in the bookshop. Nothing, not even a note telling him where he could possibly be.
Feeling even more annoyed and a bit worried, even if he wouldn't admit that to anyone, Crowley left and headed to the Ritz. A good lunch and some wine was what he needed, even if the angel wasn't there to share them. He didn't need Aziraphale to have a good time, not at all.
Somehow getting drunk alone wasn't half as fun when he didn't have someone to keep up with his alcohol intake, and was unbearably boring without someone to have drunken conversations with. Two bottles of wine latter Crowley was again staring at the closed and empty bookshop, somewhat unsteadily on his feet and feeling a bit lonely and depressed. Where the fuck was the angel?
A crumpled piece of paper on the counter caught his attention, it wasn't a note so he hadn't paid any mind to it before, but now he picked it interested. It was a leaflet for a book fair somewhere in the country. So that answered his question, the only reason Aziraphale usually left his books was to get more. Not that he didn't have enough. There were some words scribbled on the leaflet, and Crowley squinted to read the unfamiliar scrawl.
I hope to see you in the fair, there will be some interesting books.
The paper went up in flames before Crowley realized that he had ignited it. That Jameson bastard. Showing up from nowhere and taking the angel to book fairs and being invited to the back room and making Aziraphale forget about Crowley, tempting him with books.
That niggling feeling on the back of his mind was back with a vengeance, but still Crowley refused to name it or even acknowledge its existence. He had to refrain himself from setting the whole bookshop on fire, there were things that not even the most forgiving of angels would forgive. And in Aziraphale's case, that was the one thing.
Furious with himself and suddenly sober, Crowley realized he missed Aziraphale. He was the only other being that had been a constant presence in his life right from the beginning, and he always assumed the angel would be there when needed. Every time Crowley had felt like going out, or every time he had been bored, he could always count on going to the bookshop and find Aziraphale there, ready to go out or just to listen patiently to his rants. It was his angel to annoy.
That thought made him stop short. Where the he-hea-wherever had that come from? Aziraphale was certainly not his anything. They were enemies under truce, kind of associates and in occasion drinking buddies. But nothing more. Or were they?
Hundreds of scenes and remembered conversations clogged his mind in a second, fighting with Aziraphale before the Arrangement, always fighting half-heartedly before calling it a day and going to get plastered somewhere, the first tentative years after the truce, lunches at the Ritz, feeding the ducks at St James' Park, the whole Armageddon affair, Warlock's party and the cake and the dove. When had Aziraphale turned into someone so important to him?
Without knowing exactly what he was doing, Crowley left the shop and drove, faster than was possible, to his flat. Where he ensconced himself with a dozen bottles of hard liquor and only his thoughts for company.
He was having an epiphany and he wasn't ready for it.
It was only three days later that he emerged from his house. He wasn't used to that level of self examination, and the results weren't to his linking. Apparently, without his permission, he had done something no demon worth his title would ever do. If that was to be known, his existence in hell or any other place was over.
He knew what he had to do. He had to put as much distance as possible between the angel and himself. It would take some time, maybe a couple of centuries, but he was going to get over this phase.
Everything was planned; he would find a new place to work from and, abiding the Arrangement, notify Aziraphale that he was to be relocated somewhere else. As far from London as possible.
That was what he had to do.
He wasn't feeling angry anymore, he was scared and worried, but he wasn't angry. Crowley didn't like feeling scared, but that was nothing compared to the feelings that had been plaguing him since the day he found Aziraphale with that Jameson bastard. And he was only going to Soho to tell the angel because of the Arrangement. He would go to the bookshop, tell him that hell had relocated him to Japan or Australia, and then move out of there. See you someday and all that shit.
He never made it to the bookshop.
There, sitting under the sun in the middle of the street were Aziraphale and Mr. Jameson, sharing a cup of coffee in the Café Nero in front of the bookshop. Jameson leaned to say something to Aziraphale, and he laughed. Crowley saw red.
That unnamed feeling jumped to the front of his mind waving a banner saying Jealousy, and this time he couldn't ignore it.
He was jealous, dammit, and when Jameson put his hand on Aziraphale's arm, Crowley lost it.
Human eyes aren't trained to see faster than the speed of light, so the only thing Mr. Jameson realized was that Mr. Fell was sitting beside him one moment and the next he was alone.
Non-human eyes can see movement that is that fast, so Aziraphale wasn't as surprised when he found himself suddenly inside his bookshop, slammed against the counter with a fuming demon glaring daggers at him.
"What the fuck do you suppose you're doing with that human, angel?" Crowley snarled.
"What are you talking about, dear? And would you mind letting go of me?"
Crowley ignored him, and pressed himself more closely against the angel, his entire body radiating menace and jealousy. "I asked you a question, angel." he said through gritted teeth.
Aziraphale pushed him off, but Crowley refused to move. There was nothing short of starting a fight that he could do to get away from the demon. So he settled for glaring at him. "What I do is not your business, Crowley," he said coldly. "As I remember, I am not obligated to inform you of my acquaintances or what I do with my time."
"You stood me for that human last week," Crowley was getting more and more furious. "And you've been out, with him, the whole week. You haven't contact me even once."
Aziraphale was looking at him curiously, and Crowley realized for the first time how very close they were. He could feel the angel's warmth through his clothes, and his body was starting to react. Blessed human bodies. He took a tentative step back, hating to let go of the angel but not wanting him to realize the funny things his body was doing.
"You were the one who left, Crowley." Aziraphale said calmly, "If you had waited for just five minutes we would have gone on our lunch, as planned. I don't see a reason why I should chase after you."
"You were ignoring me!" Crowley grated out. "And right now you were outside with that man, who looks like a cheap imitation of me, acting like the gayest couple in the whole bloody Soho and letting him feel you up!"
Aziraphale didn't say anything for a moment, just looked at him with an amazed expression, and then he smiled. "Crowley, you're jealous."
That was it. He needed to get out of there now. He took another step back and turned to flee, but the angel was fast when he wanted to be, and before he could move Aziraphale had grabbed his arm and was turning him around.
Something like panic writhed in his chest, he had to get out of there or he would do something that both of them would regret. Crowley struggled to free his arm, but the angel wouldn't let go and admitting defeat he turned to look at him. Aziraphale was smiling at him, a big happy smile Crowley had only ever seen directed at very rare books. "Oh shit." He said, and before he could stop himself he had closed the distance between the two of them and was kissing Aziraphale with all the frustration and pent up passion of the last week.
Aziraphale didn't seem upset, not in the slightest if the way he was kissing back was any indication. None of the paid any attention to the polite knock on the closed door, and they didn't see Mr. Jameson's face peering inside from the window, or his satisfied smile at what he saw. They were too busy with each other.
After a few minutes, Crowley broke the kiss and looked at Aziraphale. The angel was looking flushed and was panting heavily, forgetting he didn't need to breathe. "Angel," he croaked, not sure of what to do next.
"Upstairs." Aziraphale said his voice husky and low. And pressed himself against Crowley, and he could feel that the angel was definitely making an effort. He nodded dumbly and followed him up the stairs to the room Aziraphale used as a bedroom. There wasn't much of a bed there, but that was not the time to worry about those things. Not with the way Aziraphale was turning to kiss him again, his hands roaming all over Crowley's body and making his clothes disappear quickly.
Soon both of them were naked, kissing on the small and uncomfortable bed with hardly any space the manoeuvre. Crowley found himself under a very enthusiastic Aziraphale, gasping for air while the angel mapped his whole body with hands and mouth, tasting, biting, stroking, and finally, finally there. In the place he wanted the most, that place that was throbbing with need and want and seemed to have a mind of its own. A hand closed over his cock, stroking lightly and freeing the moans stuck on his throat.
"Is this all right, my dear?" Crowley heard, his mind too foggy to process the words, reduced to dumb nodding and faint moans.
"Yesssss" he hissed when a hard body settled over his, rocking them both slowly, sparkling the need inside him and turning it to a roaring fire. He took Aziraphale's mouth in a hungry kiss, tasting his mouth thoroughly while their bodies moved together, faster and faster until the only thing he was conscious of was the angel's moans and the delicious friction. "Yessssss."
And he was there; he could feel the wetness against his belly for a second, before Aziraphale slumped against him trying to catch his breath. And then it was gone.
It was a few seconds before his mind returned to him, and he panicked. "Oh shit." He said, trying to move from underneath Aziraphale and not having much luck.
"Crowley, my dear, stop panicking." Aziraphale's voice sounded annoyed and sated at the same time.
"What do you mean stop panicking? Now is the perfect time to panic." He managed to move the angel and he stood from the bed, earning an irritated glare for his efforts. "Don't you realize what we have done?"
"Honestly, Crowley, we haven't done anything wrong. We just made love." Crowley winced at the word, but he didn't deny it. He was in so much trouble.
He was entirely clothed with just a thought, and looking for an escape route. The whole scene seemed surreal. He had seen Aziraphale with that human, and he had been so furious and jealous that he had dragged the angel to the shop and then… then, Aziraphale had responded to him.
He turned slowly to look at the angel, who was still sprawled on the small bed glaring at him. "You wanted this?" he asked suspiciously.
"Oh Crowley, must you be so thick all the time?" Aziraphale got up from the bed and stood beside Crowley. "Do you think any of this would have happened if I didn't want it?" He put his arms around Crowley and nuzzled his neck. "I saw your face when you found Mark and me the other day; I knew it was just a question of time. You had to realize sooner or later."
"Mark?" Crowley's mind was spinning, and that was the only question he could think of.
"Jameson." Aziraphale said, and Crowley tensed. "Don't worry, my dear. He is just a good customer."
"He does remind me of you, just a bit, but I prefer the original." Aziraphale moved until they were face to face again, and pressed his lips lightly against his.
Crowley surrendered. There was no point fighting it now that the angel knew, and somehow he didn't want to. He kissed back.
Sometime later Aziraphale watched Crowley sleep. It had been a difficult week, since the moment he had seen Crowley's reaction at Mark's presence he had known. The time had already come for Crowley to realize what he had known for a long time. He was an angel, and he could feel those things.
Keeping himself from contacting the demon, trying to spend time with Jameson and making sure that Crowley knew. He had felt bad at the time, but he had been waiting almost a century for Crowley to realize and he wasn't above using dirty tricks to get him. He was, after all, a bit of a bastard.
Smiling, he closed his eyes and snuggled closed to Crowley's warm body.
He would make sure to send one of his books to Mark Jameson as a thank you present.