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A Home at the Beginning of the World

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It starts with the plant. More specifically, it starts on Wednesday, at forty minutes past ten in the morning, when Crowley comes swaggering into the bookshop holding a potted plant. It's remarkably sunny out for London, so the bookshop is a bit empty, except for the one customer Aziraphale is ringing out with the Oscar Wilde text, only because it's a fifth edition reprint and only because she's going through such a hard time. Crowley leans against a bookshelf and peers down like he can see up and over the lenses of his sunglasses. As soon as the customer is out the door, he shoves the plant in Aziraphale's face.

"Take it," he says.

"And good morning to you, too," Aziraphale says. He pushes the till shut. "You're a bit early for lunch."

"Yes, but this had to be taken care of."

Crowley looks ready to drop the plant. Aziraphale finally takes a good gander at the thing. It's small, with deep green leaves that are flecked with bright yellow splotches he is sure are intentional, unless the thing has somehow gotten sick in Crowley's flat. But Crowley's plants know the consequences of that, so. So. Aziraphale smacks his lips.

"You didn't bring this all the way here to—"

"No!" Crowley says. "No. Does this plant look sick to you?"

Aziraphale blushes. "Well, the leaves—"

"It's an Aucuba japonica, angel. Gold dust plant. It's meant to have spotted leaves."

Aziraphale wants to say something smart, like how he doesn't run a bloody nursery, does he? What are they standing in, right here and now? A bookshop. How was he to know? As it were, he's in a really lovely mood, sunny day and all, and Crowley is here, and the kettle is still hot. Aziraphale adjusts his waistcoat. Finally takes the plant from Crowley's hand.

"Why have you brought it here, then?"

"You've got to take it. My other plants are bullying it—"


"Yes," Crowley says. "Better you take it now before it jumps into the garbage disposal itself."

Aziraphale smiles before he can help himself. "That's very nice of you, Crowley."

Crowley gets a pinched look about the face and Aziraphale tries to look apologetic with his eyes but he's not sure he does a good job of it. Instead he looks around for what might be a good spot for the gold dust plant—by the south-facing window? Or perhaps near the desk there. Of course, everywhere he moves to Crowley shrieks is the wrong area ("It's an indoor plant, don't drown it in light."), until Aziraphale finally places it next to the globe by the till and Crowley doesn't have an absolute fit about it.

Aziraphale sighs and admires the pop of green in an otherwise brown-toned place. The thing about being on their own side, after stopping Armageddon and all that—which was not too long ago if Aziraphale is keeping count and he is—the thing about all that is now he and Crowley pretty much have explicit permission to just. Fraternize. Hang out. Be friends. Do whatever they want. And they have been. Late movie nights, lunches, dinners, musical theater (just once, at Aziraphale's insistence, but of course Crowley obliged), walks in the park, and that's been in a weeks' time alone. It's like they're making up for six thousand years of lost time.

Distantly, Aziraphale can hear Crowley giving him instructions on how to care for the plant, and smiles because the demon is there nearly every day anyway. Aziraphale will not point out that Crowley could surely scare his own plants into just leaving the gold dust plant alone. He likes having this bit of Crowley in his bookshop.

"Well now," he says. "What do you say to French for lunch?"

"I say allons-y, mon ange," says Crowley.


It actually didn't start with the plant. It started days earlier, after they thwarted Armageddon, just after they dined at the Ritz.

They went back to the bookshop and got roaring, celebratory drunk. After all, they were their own head offices now. Earth was saved. They were together. And they were a good four bottles deep in champagne when Crowley suddenly wheeled around on his heels and stared at Aziraphale, who was sunk in his chair, like he was trying to puzzle something together.

"Would you really not have run away with me?" he said, sans nothing.

Aziraphale blinked. "What?"

"To Alpha—to Alpha Centauri." Crowley gestured with his wine glass as if it were right there and some liquid sloshed out, though he just managed to catch it. "You really wouldn't have come?"

And he sounded a touch vulnerable underneath the slurring, a little hurt, and it hurt Aziraphale to hear it. Because surely Crowley knew by now, after six thousand years, that he was more important to Aziraphale than anything else? On earth and in Heaven? Aziraphale twisted the stem of his wine glass between his fingers. Even drunk that seemed an impossible thing to say.

So he said, "Well there's really no good food on Alpha Centauri."

Crowley slid his sunglasses off and just, looked at him. His eyes were yellow gold in the light. Snake eyes. But over the years they'd come to remind Aziraphale more of cat eyes, not that he'd ever say that out loud. Crowley was more cat than anything—aloof and prickly, prone to the dramatic when things weren't going as planned, silently showing up by Aziraphale's side for attention. Sometimes Aziraphale came up from closing the bookshop and Crowley was lounging in a chair just waiting for him, those long legs stretched out, and yes, that was what Aziraphale liked.

He cleared his throat and tried again.

"I'm sorry about Alpha Centauri," he said. "It isn't that I didn't want to go—"

He was far too drunk and sort of wished Crowley would put his sunglasses back up.

"But now there's no need to run off at all. And I like you here. Just…right here. With me. So stay with me."

Instead of sobering himself up, Aziraphale drained the rest of his wine. When he looked back up, Crowley was smiling at him. A secret, open sort of smile, that perhaps sober he wouldn't have allowed Aziraphale to see. Then he spilled wine on himself.

The plant came five days later.


Anyway, Aziraphale turns out to have a bit of a green thumb. The plant thrives, actually needs a bigger pot just a week after he's had it, so Aziraphale repots the plant and speaks to it gently, tells it how well it's growing, what a lovely little plant it is. Crowley is over at the end of the week, watching Netflix with him, when he asks about it.

"How's the plant?"

"Oh, Rupert," Aziraphale says. "It's doing rather well."

He's in the kitchen preparing a charcuterie board while Crowley has draped himself over the couch, hand dangling over the back of it. When Aziraphale says Rupert, he twists upright.

"Sorry, Rupert?"

"Yes, that's what I named it."

Aziraphale delicately places the prosciutto on the board and waits for Crowley's snarky reply. Instead Crowley just mutters, "Rupert," and keeps scrolling through Netflix, as indecisive as always on what he wants to watch.

They finally decide on a cooking show, well, Crowley decides on a cooking show. Aziraphale doesn't watch TV. He wouldn't even have one if it weren't for Crowley. He does enjoy the cooking show, though, which they binge entirely too much of, because it's well past midnight when they decide they can't stand to watch any more television. Crowley shuts the TV off, and, rather than saunter off to his Bentley, just sort of arranges himself on the couch. Aziraphale holds the empty charcuterie board, scandalized.

"Think I'll just rest here tonight," Crowley says.

Aziraphale opens his mouth to tell him that neither of their sides will like that very much before he remembers they don't really have opposite sides anymore. He shuts his mouth. Then he opens it again to tell Crowley that it's probably not a good idea anyway before he realizes that he can't think of why. At any rate, he wants Crowley to stay. Aziraphale shuts his mouth.

So Crowley stays the night. And in the morning he gets up and looks as if he's spent the last thousand years free diving into a boiling pit.

"That is the most uncomfortable couch I've ever laid on," he says. "Do you lay on this?"

"Occasionally," Aziraphale says, affronted. "It's perfectly acceptable. You're just bony."

"Bony," says Crowley. "What's this made out of—the slab your lot put the Ten Commandments on?"

He stretches up and his shirt untucks, reveals a long column of skin that is, in fact, very bony. Aziraphale stares. The sunlight coming through the window that morning is sharp and Crowley's hair is a sandy sort of fire, traps his eyes a moment.

"It's really too early for blasphemy," Aziraphale tells him.

Crowley grunts and they get breakfast down the street before Crowley speeds off through Central London to get up to whatever it is he gets up to when he's not with Aziraphale. Customers come and go from the bookshop, there's a rain shower, the sun on wet buildings in the early evening, and Aziraphale sits on his couch and, no, it's not comfortable really. But then he never really does sit on it much unless Crowley's around.

He forgets about the whole thing until three days later when two deliverymen show up at the shop with a new couch for him.

"Oh," Aziraphale says.

"There must be some mistake," he says.

The couch is just…there. Right at the door. Wrapped and all, but there. And it's beautiful—dark brown leather, lightly distressed. It looks ridiculously plush and totally lavish. Color-wise it matches Aziraphale's flat perfectly, only it's so outlandish it's as if Crowley himself had picked it out.

"Ah," says Aziraphale. "Just...would you give me just one moment."

He darts inside and dials Crowley's number. The demon picks up on the first ring.


"Did you—" Aziraphale starts.


"You have too much free time on your wings. And I'm perfectly capable of getting my own couch, if I wanted—"

"Angel," Crowley says. "It's just a couch. If I'm going to spend the night I'm not going to lay on that cardboard you call a sofa."

Aziraphale sputters into the receiver. Is Crowley staying over again? Well, of course he would occasionally, they're friends. Best friends, in fact. Aziraphale hasn't forgotten that broken look on Crowley's face when he told him that in the pub, how he'd lost him. How they'd lost each other. And it is a nice couch…certainly it would be more comfortable for both of them…

"Well if you plan on changing any more of my furniture, you ought to check with me first," Aziraphale says, and has no idea why he says that, because Crowley is absolutely not allowed to do anything of the kind.

He hangs up before Crowley can reply and has the deliverymen take the couch upstairs. It is unbelievably comfortable and when Crowley comes round that night he sinks right into it, bones and all.


Crowley brings him another one of his plants a week later after he sees how well the gold dust plant is doing. This one is bigger, and very lush. A rubber plant, Aziraphale learns.

"Surely this isn't being bullied, too," he says.

Crowley holds it against his chest, the fat leaves cradling his chin.

"I'm running out of room," is all he says.

It's a bit too big for the shop, so they put it upstairs in the flat, by the TV. Aziraphale waits patiently for Crowley to give him the care instructions, but Crowley just squints about, measuring the sunlight the plant is getting in that angle, before wiping his hands on his trousers.

"I'll just come by and mist it," he says.

"Please don't yell at it," Aziraphale says.

"I'll let you name it if it makes you feel any better."

Which, sort of, that does.


A few days later, Crowley comes by to mist the plant, which Aziraphale has named Sasha, and stays the night again.

In the morning they have breakfast (toast, sausage, runny eggs). Crowley screams at poor Sasha and complains about the sheer multitude of young people moving into his building.

"Oh I do love young couples," Aziraphale says, just as Crowley grabs a lush leaf of Sasha's and yells, "YOU ARE A TERRIBLE DISAPPOINTMENT!"

Aziraphale watches him fondly over the rim of his teacup.

"I think it's going to be a rather lovely day," he says, more to the room than Crowley.

When Crowley leaves, he forgets his jacket. Aziraphale phones him up to let him know, and Crowley tells him to just hold onto it—he'll get the jacket back soon enough.

Only he doesn't.

Actually, he leaves another jacket at Aziraphale's two days later. Then a shirt. Then some socks. Then some trousers after Aziraphale decides they must absolutely go to a fancy dinner and Crowley changes last minute. For a while they'd been draped over the couch, but that was driving Aziraphale absolutely mad, so he's hung them up in his closet.

Exactly one month after the plant incident, Aziraphale walks into his kitchen and sees Crowley's tumblers are in his sink. Crowley himself is on the couch, which at this point is basically molded to his shape, flipping through Rolling Stone magazine. Aziraphale points down into the sink.

"These are your tumblers," he says.

"Mm," Crowley says to the magazine.

"When did these get here?"

"Well you didn't have any," says Crowley, as if Aziraphale has asked a profoundly stupid question.

That wasn't what I asked, Aziraphale thinks, but he doesn't say as much. He just clears space for them in the cupboard. Crowley is all over the bookshop these days. Last week, a pile of Queen CDs were stacked on top of the bookshelf in his bedroom that Aziraphale definitely didn't put there ("I don't even have a CD player," he'd said. "You really are a relic," Crowley said, and the next day there was a CD player in the flat).

Crowley slaps the magazine shut and walks into the kitchen so he can lean against the countertop. Puts the full weight of himself onto his palms so that Aziraphale can see down his shirt, not that he is explicitly looking. He can just see.

"Is there still curry in the fridge?" Crowley asks.

"I never bought curry," Aziraphale tells him.

"I did."

Crowley brushes past him to open the fridge, where, sure enough, there is a container of leftover curry takeaway.

"Now," Aziraphale says. "When did that happen? And don't say because I didn't have any."

"You were drinking cocoa in the backroom while pretending to do inventory."

Crowley grabs a spoon from the drawer and digs into the curry without even heating it up, grinning behind his sunglasses, as if it's some big secret that Aziraphale pretends to do inventory on Sundays.

"My dear," Arizaphale says. "I do do inventory. It just goes very quickly."

Crowley laughs with a mouthful of a curry and Aziraphale has to step to the side to avoid a bit of rice from flying onto his jacket.

He reminds himself to make sure Crowley takes back the other magazines he left last week, but he forgets, and honestly isn't trying that hard to remember. After all, he has a shop full of books he doesn't even like to sell, what are some of Crowley's things lying about? He'll get them back eventually. They have all the time in the universe.


They visit Anathema and Newton on a rainy Saturday in Tadfield. Crowley gets them out to village in half the time it should actually take them to get there, Aziraphale slamming his foot down like there's an invisible brake there and asking Crowley to please, please not go out of his way to pretend to hit the police this time, because it wasn't funny last time and it never will be funny. Crowley still refers to Anathema as "the girl who hit his car with her bicycle," but he goes. They all had a hand in stopping Armageddon, and there's this strange bond between them now, and besides, Aziraphale wants to see Adam as well, see how he's doing. He wants to see all of them.

"Oh just look at that," Crowley says as they pull into the village. "It's bloody raining."

He takes both hands off the wheel as he says it, still doing 90, and Aziraphale nearly miracles the Bentley into a flying car to stop himself from having a panic attack.

"Would you just—get us there in one piece. Please. I can't imagine what would happen if one of us were to be discorporated now."

"I didn't bring an umbrella!" says Crowley.

But he puts his hands back on the wheel and gets them to the cottage safely. Aziraphale steps out of the Bentley, brandishes an umbrella, walks to the driver's side, and waits for Crowley to step out of the car. He gets out, a little sheepish, the way Crowley always looks after he's had a dramatic fit for no reason, and walks under Aziraphale's umbrella to the door of the cottage.

Turns out Anathema is no longer renting the cottage, she's owning it. And Newton is living there with her.

"He's just stepped out to pick up lunch," she says. "Make yourselves comfortable. Tea?"

"Oh yes, thank you," Aziraphale says.

Newton just moved in a few days ago she tells them, and that's obvious from the boxes, the general clutter, but Aziraphale can sense the feeling of love in the cottage, the way it's a home. It's familiar in a way he can't place quite yet.

"How's the bicycle?" Crowley asks Anathema, not altogether unkindly.

Aziraphale pinches his thigh.

Newton comes back with sandwiches and they eat and Armageddon naturally comes up, so does Agnes Nutter. And Anathema is happy to report that Adam is basically a normal boy again, no longer grounded, and his dog is just the sweetest thing.

"That was once a hell hound," Crowley says.

Newton chokes on his sandwich.

"It's fine now," Aziraphale says, patting his back. "Just fine."

He helps Anathema clean up after, drying while she washes the dishes. It'd be much easier to miracle them clean but Aziraphale is trying not to be frivolous and it is sort of charming, this washing and drying thing. He holds his hand out for another plate and gets nothing, turns to find Anathema holding a glass that has a superhero on it.

"Huh," she says. "When did this get here? Guess this is Newt's."

She hands the glass to Aziraphale. The superhero is holding a shield with a star on it, another charming little human quirk. Humans really are so funny.

"Ah, I know what you mean," he says. "Last week I found out Crowley had stashed his whisky reserve in the backroom."

Which explained the tumblers. And Crowley did share, so Aziraphale couldn't be too put out about it.

"I didn't know you lived together," Anathema says.

"We don't," Aziraphale says, then nearly drops the glass.

He stares unfocused at the drain board and tries to remember the last time Crowley stayed at his own flat. The other night? No. Tuesday? He isn't sure. Nearly all of Crowley's things are in his flat, some things they've acquired together. But they don't…they don't live together. Crowley hasn't moved in. Surely that's something they would have discussed. Surely Aziraphale would know if that had happened.

"We don't," Aziraphale says again, more to himself than anything.

Anathema isn't paying attention. She hands him another plate.

The next morning, Aziraphale walks into his kitchen and just feels it. Love. And not the usual love he has for his shop, for all his books and things he's collected over the centuries. This is different, changed, the sort of love he felt at Anathema and Newt's yesterday. That's why it had been so damned familiar. Suddenly his flat isn't just a musty little flat, it's a home, and Crowley is all over it—the couch, the kitchen, the actual shop, even the bloody bedroom. Crowley may not physically be there right now, but it doesn't matter.

He has no idea how he didn't notice earlier. But then, Aziraphale is very good at not noticing things when he doesn't want to.

"Oh," Aziraphale says to Sasha. "I think Crowley might have moved in with me."

Sasha's leaves shake in response.

He spends the rest of the day in a real daze, doesn't even open the shop to pretend like he's going to actually sell anything. It takes Aziraphale exactly zero time at all to understand that he wants Crowley to live with him. He wants him here in the morning, the afternoon, the evening, the odd hours of the night when humans are sleeping and the bookshop is too silent. He loves Crowley. He's loved him for a long time, probably since the beginning, though he knew it for sure when Crowley rescued those books for him in the '40s. And how Crowley tried not to look at him directly as they stumbled out of the crumbled church. Because Crowley loves too.

So it's that easy then. Aziraphale will just ask Crowley, officially, to finish moving in.

They're going to the opera that evening, seeing Tosca, so Aziraphale figures he'll ask him then.

"Or perhaps that's too direct," he says to Rupert.

The plant doesn't move.

"You don't think I've misread?" Aziraphale asks it.

Rupert remains still. Aziraphale clicks his tongue at it.

"I, too, have a garbage disposal," he says, and the plant rustles.

He shouldn't be talking to a plant about this anyway.

Crowley picks him up at seven. Aziraphale is perspiring under his jacket. He has no earthly idea why this body perspires, because he's never noticed Crowley to ever be perspiring, and oh has he looked. He's not even going to try and deny it anymore. He likes watching Crowley. He knows what Crowley smells like, the angles of his body when he sits, how his eyes dilate when he's drunk or nervous. Aziraphale knows how the sun is going to catch the sandy red of his hair, knows what food Crowley likes best from every century, that it is so, so difficult for Crowley to say things. That he will do anything for Aziraphale. That he asked him to run away with him.

So, yes. Aziraphale is sweating under his jacket and oddly silent, even while Crowley is creeping over one hundred in the Bentley.

They go into the theater and take their seats. Aziraphale holds his program so tightly he just about tears it in half. Crowley has his sunglasses on, of course, but he's wearing an actual suit tonight, all black, fits him just right, looks so beautiful that Aziraphale could fall in love with him all over again. He could do it every day for eternity. He wants Crowley to live with him.

"I told you that I saw Puccini in Rome while he was writing this, didn't I?" Crowley says, which he has.

Aziraphale clears his throat.

"I think Sasha is a bit lonely," he says, which is actually not what he meant to say. "Do you have another plant to spare?"

Crowley turns to him slowly, and damn him for wearing those sunglasses, because Aziraphale cannot read his expression at all. He feels this rush of adrenaline in him when Crowley doesn't answer immediately.

"I…suppose I do," he says, finally, suddenly twitchy.

"Excellent!" Aziraphale says. "Bring it over. Why not two?"

He sounds too eager. He can't help it. Crowley looks ready to bolt over the seats and slither away, and that…Aziraphale isn't quite sure why. He's been the one slowly inserting himself into the flat, bit by bit by bit. Aziraphale is just trying to give him the go ahead. Any idiot could see that.

"I…well…all right," Crowley says, sounding flustered of all things.

Aziraphale exhales, both relieved and confused, which shouldn't be possible, just as the house lights dim.


Only, Crowley doesn't bring the plants. He doesn't even bring one. He's still at the bookshop nearly every day, his things are still there—the CDs, the tumblers, the clothes. But he doesn't bring the plants. Aziraphale doesn't say anything at first because he doesn't know what to say. Instead he lets a week pass, and one night they order very greasy pizza and watch a western, because Crowley loves westerns, because he says he was too busy elsewhere to do much tempting in the American west, and they didn't need the help anyway. He really feels like he missed out. He would've done good in chaps.

It's hard for Aziraphale to pay much attention. Instead he keeps noticing Sasha in the corner, alone. If he didn't know Crowley better, he'd say he's misread the whole situation. But after six thousand years, Aziraphale knows that he knows that demon pretty damn well. He picks up the remote and pauses the film just as Crowley is swallowing the crust of his third slice.


"You haven't brought the plants," Aziraphale says.

Crowley stares at him with his mouth parted.

"That's why you paused the film?" he says. "The Wild Bunch is about to blow up the bridge. Angel, I'll bring the plants. Relax."

Crowley always looks confident, with the glasses and the clothes and the sauntering, but Aziraphale can tell when it's an act and when it's real, and right now, Crowley is the complete opposite of confident. He's fidgeting with the fabric of his trousers on his right knee, his most obvious tell. Aziraphale breathes, calm. Somehow he's absolutely calm.

"Crowley," he says. "You've been moving in for the past month."

Crowley, who was in the process of grabbing the remote to continue the film, goes so still Aziraphale wonders a moment if either of them has stopped time. But he can see the hammering pulse under Crowley's sharp jawline. Watches him swallow. Carefully, Aziraphale leans forward and slides Crowley's sunglasses from his face. Crowley's eyes are dilated. Aziraphale's hands themselves feel a little sweaty.

"Isn't that what you're doing?" he says.

Crowley nods.

"My dear boy," Aziraphale says. "You could have said something."

"But we never do that," Crowley says.

He's back to worrying at the fabric of his trousers.

"Besides," he says. "Didn't want to go too fast for you."

Aziraphale feels something swell in his chest, and it feels all encompassing. Like love and heartbreak at the same time. Like being back at the Eastern Gate watching Crowley slither up to him for the first time, question everything while Aziraphale himself was trying not to. He's spent so long, too long, telling himself he could never be ready for this. He reaches out and grabs Crowley's hand, stops him from worrying at his trousers any further.

Aziraphale has a thousand things he feels like he could say to Crowley at this moment. A thousand moments he let linger in silence.

He says nothing.

He just kisses him.

Considering he's never actually kissed anyone or anything before, Aziraphale doesn't do anything but press his lips firmly to Crowley's, but that feels like enough to get him to understand, to know. When he pulls back, Crowley's eyes have dilated impossibly more. Aziraphale licks his lips.

"Oh," Crowley says. "Oh that's—I wasn't sure if you—wow, that was—"

"You taste wonderful," Aziraphale tells him, and kisses him again, this time with his lips parted, this time Crowley is quick to kiss back, slim fingers caught up in Aziraphale's hair.

Crowley's tongue does this thing and Aziraphale doesn't know really what it is but it's in his mouth and that's lovely and he has no idea why they haven't been doing this for six thousand years. He pulls back.

"You should move in," he says.

"Yeah," Crowley says, breathless, nodding, and does that thing with his tongue once more.

Aziraphale pulls back again.

"By the way, I know about that ridiculous statue of us 'wrestling' in your flat and that is not allowed anywhere near this bookshop."

"It's art," Crowley says. Then, "Fine, fine, just kiss me, please. Please."

Aziraphale does, soundly, for a good five minutes before pulling back again. Crowley whines.

"I've been thinking," he says. "If it had all gone bad—Armageddon and the war and everything—if it had really come to that—I would have left with you. I would have."

He traces the sharp bones of Crowley's cheeks, watches his lashes flutter after his touch.

"Aziraphale," Crowley says.

Aziraphale drags him forward and kisses him again, again, again. He's never done this before. He has no idea if Crowley has, but the way he's squirming about when Aziraphale kisses his neck tells him that maybe he hasn't, and that's, well, delightful, actually.

"I want you to just," Crowley starts, then breaks off into a noise so open that Aziraphale would do anything to hear it again.

"Do what?" Aziraphale asks.

Crowley has a tight grip on his upper arms, tight enough to bruise, one long leg slung over Aziraphale's hips and now Aziraphale can feel him, the hardness of him, and how Crowley is shaking. It's funny, Aziraphale thinks, because they've been this close to each other before, but never like this, not with these bodies like this.

"Anything," Crowley manages.

Aziraphale pushes him down into the cushions of the couch, the ones that have molded so beautifully to Crowley's body, because Crowley lives with him. Crowley has always lived with him. Had a home in him.

"Crowley," Aziraphale says.

He bites at his newly exposed hip bones once they're naked and tries to take time, but then Crowley wraps both legs around him and they're both lost for it. Aziraphale threads his fingers through Crowley's, squeezes, then presses their foreheads together, watches Crowley close even though Crowley's eyes are screwed shut in pleasure. He kisses him everywhere he can, and finally reaches his hand between them. Crowley makes that noise again and Aziraphale feels something desperate build up in his gut.

"I think I'd like to—inside if that's—" Aziraphale nods between them. "I'd like to be inside you."

"Please," is all Crowley says.

It doesn't take long. Crowley opens so easy for his fingers. Aziraphale feels the heat of him and cannot get over the way his body responds to it—he's shaking, he's hard, absolutely aching to get inside, and Crowley is flushed down to his chest, hands running all up and down Aziraphale's back, squeezing the soft flesh of his hips.

"Oh," Aziraphale says, once he's started to push in. "Oh, Crowley, you feel…you feel just lovely inside."

He hasn't moved. He's not sure he can. Crowley has slung an arm over his face and is sort of just nodding, chest heaving.

"Good to know," he says.

He gives an encouraging push up with his hips and Aziraphale slides deeper, groans, realizes that he absolutely has to kiss Crowley this instant and so pushes the demon's arm out of the way and does so. Crowley's fingers work into his hair again and Aziraphale starts to shift, figure out the whole rhythm business, but it all feels natural, when it comes down to it. Sex with Crowley feels so natural.

Aziraphale breaks the kiss only so he can really drive into Crowley properly. Grabs hold of his hips and presses his thumbs into the space between the bones there, one foot planted on the floor and he just goes for it, hears the sweat slick sound of Crowley's back sliding against the leather and Crowley makes that noise again, the open one. Aziraphale could stay inside him for eternity just to pull that sound out once more. And they just can't stop touching each other. It's as if they've never been touched in their existence. Aziraphale had no idea anything could feel this good. He's in awe of it, of Crowley. He slides a hand up over Crowley's belly, then down again so he can wrap that hand around his cock. Crowley throws his head back.

"Too fast?" Aziraphale asks.

Crowley laughs, or tries to laugh. This hysterical noise comes bubbling up his throat and spills over between them.

"You're really quite good at this," Crowley tells him. He's looking at him like Aziraphale is the only thing worth looking at in the whole of existence.

Aziraphale flushes. Feels it in the tips of his ears.

"You really think so?"

"Angel, I've no point of comparison, but trust me—fuck—"

Crowley proves his own point by spilling between them, his body a shivering wreck. He looks stunned by it, and Aziraphale understands why a moment later when his own orgasm hits and he stutters forward, wrung straight to his toes with the feeling of it all. He folds forward onto Crowley, poleaxed by the enormity of what just happened. They lay there, a collection of panting bodies.

"Well, that was wonderful," he says a moment later, after he's gotten his breath back.

Crowley grabs him by the face and kisses him.


Crowley does not stay on the couch that night. He stays in Aziraphale's bed, using Aziraphale's chest for a pillow, while Aziraphale cards his fingers through Crowley's hair until it's soft in a way no demon's should be.


In hindsight, Crowley's flat is bigger, more modern and far more stylish than Aziraphale's, something Aziraphale brings up exactly a day later after closing the bookshop at two in the afternoon just because he can. He reads Robert Louis Stevenson while Crowley rests his head on his thigh.

"Well, yes," says Crowley. "But if I moved you in there you might have noticed right away."

"Possibly," Aziraphale says. "Though, were you ever even going to tell me that you were moving in here or just continue to slowly occupy the entire bookshop?"

"I knew you'd figure it out eventually, you're pretty clever."

Aziraphale licks his thumb and turns the page loudly.

"I'm very clever, thank you."

Crowley lapses into silence and Aziraphale continues reading. He reaches blindly for his cocoa and finds the mug pushed gently into his hand. His sips the liquid and traces Crowley's hairline, down to where he knows the snake tattoo is.

"You said you liked me right here," Crowley says.

Aziraphale stops reading. Crowley's voice vibrates against his thigh. He puts the book on the desk and looks at Crowley, content and quiet against him, and remembers all at once their conversation from a month ago. How Crowley is not a demon of words where it counts, but of gestures. Aziraphale smiles at him, terribly in love, smiles harder when Crowley turns to look up at him. He's not wearing his sunglasses, so it's just his eyes, open and earnest.

"I did, didn't I?" Aziraphale says. "And I meant every word."

Crowley brings the rest of his plants that evening.