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First Feast

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The angel was new. Not new to Earth, as they were both technically new to Earth, and not new to the Garden, as they were both new to the Garden as well. But rather the angel was new like Earth and the Garden were new. He was recently made and Crawly could smell it on him.  

Aziraphale reeked of the newly divine; he still had Her fingerprints all over him, as invisible as they might be. It was distracting and alluring by halves, and very confusing. Crawly wasn’t sure what to do about it. He also wasn’t sure what to do about the angel himself, who was staring forlornly out into the desert while the humans ate roasted lion meat and huddled together for warmth. The angel’s flaming sword lay at their feet, nestled in the sand like a supernatural campfire and undeterred by the steadily falling rain.   

The angel sighed.  

Crawly, who was far less soaked thanks to the lovely white wing overhead, patted him on the shoulder. “Come on,” he said. “No point in hanging about in this.”  

Aziraphale nodded, his lips pursed. He spared one last glance at the humans, emanating worry, practically radiating it. It made something in Crawly seize up, something he hadn’t felt before. Something he never wanted to feel again.

The rain continued as they made their way into newly vacated Eden. The angel was making noises about whether they were even allowed to be there.  

“Doesn’t seem right,” he fretted. He was rapidly becoming an expert fretter. “Oughtn’t we—oh, I don’t know, follow them?”  

“Follow them where?” Crawly ignored the implications of we.   

Aziraphale frowned, the appealing contours of his face twisting up. “Out there.” He flapped his hand in the direction of the wall.  

“Ehhh, they’re not gonna go far. Lots of desert out there and not much else. Surely it can wait ‘til morning.”  

“But what if we shouldn’t be here at all? This garden isn’t for us.”  

“It’s free real estate, isn’t it?” said Crawly. He was trying to decide if he’d prefer being damp as a snake or damp as a person-shaped thing. He was also trying to figure out how best to cheer up the angel, which was probably not in his job description.  

In his defense, the hellish employment contract had been awfully hard to read as a snake. [1]

By the time they reached the inner sanctum of the Garden, near the Tree, the sky was clearing. In the distance, there was a low rumble of thunder. Which wasn’t ominous at all.  

Aziraphale settled himself at the dry, mossy base of a large willow with another long sigh. He shifted, making himself comfortable, and in the process of crossing his legs he hiked up his robes, revealing pale, soft calves. Crawly swallowed. He watched Aziraphale rest his back against the tree trunk and he watched as  moonlight caught on the bright, unblemished interior of one plush-looking thigh.  

Crawly decided to stay person-shaped.

“You know,” he said conversationally, feeling like he ought to be leaning louchely up against something with his arms crossed over his chest, “moping isn’t very angelic.”

“What would you know about angelic?” Aziraphale huffed.  

“I—”  

“Oh, no. I’m—I wasn’t thinking. You must think I’m—“

“It’s fine.” Crawly couldn’t bear an apology. “It’s — well, nothing to be done for it now.”  

“I’m tetchy, [2] aren’t I?” Aziraphale looked miserable. “This is tetchiness.”  

“A bit,” allowed Crawly. In a way, he almost liked it. Made the angel a little more approachable and a little less celestial. It made him feel like he could sit down beside him, so he did. He resisted the sudden, clenching urge to put his hand on the angel’s bare thigh. It was a demonic urge, surely. Something hardwired into him after his Fall regarding temptation and leading the Good to ruin. But, and this was the strange part, he didn’t want to ruin the angel. He only wanted to comfort him.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into me,” Aziraphale muttered. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite—quite so hopeless.” 

Crawly made a considering sound. “Have heard that a bit of a kip can help. Bright new day to follow and all that.”  

“A kip?” Aziraphale tilted his head.  

“You know. A nap, a nice sleep. Wake up refreshed and renewed and ready for, ah, another day of righteous whatevering.”  

“I don’t think we’re supposed to sleep,” Aziraphale said, but he was clearly thinking about it. “And what kind of idiot would I be to sleep with an unaccounted-for demon right nearby?”  

“A cranky idiot of an angel who could clearly use a lie down lest he do or say something he might regret?” Crawly ventured.

“You shouldn’t talk to me like that; we hardly know each other!”

“Oh, please.”

Aziraphale tsked. He rolled his eyes. [3] It was the first of many times that this particular  combination would be directed at Crawly but neither one of them knew that yet.  

“Look,” said Crawly. “There’s nothing in this walled-up fortress of a garden aside from fluffy little animals of the sort that can’t hurt you, and oodles of fruit and the like. Nothing bad is going to happen if you take a bloody nap, demon beside you or not.”

“Fruit?” said Aziraphale, brightening.

Crawly heard the angel’s stomach rumble. He hadn’t realized they had stomachs at all. He certainly hadn’t used his.

“Well, yeah. Loads of it. What did you think they were eating?”

“I—“ Aziraphale paused. “I hadn’t really thought about it. I suppose I thought they didn’t have to eat. Like us. And they were busy most of the time." 

Crawly gave him an incredulous look. You’d think a Principality would come with a fair amount more information about his assignment. The angel really was very new. It was refreshing. Intriguing.

“Here’s an idea,” said Crawly. “You take that little nap and I’ll find some fruit. No demon lurking while you rest your celestial head, and something nice to look forward to when you wake up. How’s that?” He was well aware that he sounded placating and far too sweet for a demon, but it was practice, wasn’t it? Temptation was often sweet, he’d been told, and as humans were just getting started, he’d yet to give it a go.

Aziraphale gave him a timid, trusting smile. He tested the ground with his palms, assessing its suitability as a resting place. “That would be very ki….” His forehead creased. “That would be fine, yes. First time for everything, right?”

“Right,” said Crawly, feeling devilish. He winked.

Then he went off and hid behind a large shrubbery, because he was mildly deceitful as a general rule and couldn’t help himself. [4]

He looked on while the angel rearranged himself on the mossy ground, tugging his robes this way and that, scratching absently at his rounded belly, and eventually, when Crawly felt on the verge of losing control and curling up right along with him, the angel put his palms together and tucked them beneath his head. His eyelids drooped. Moonlight caught on the apples of his cheeks, on his mouth, it lit up his white garments and his equally white curls. He was the most radiant thing Crawly had seen since his Fall. He had to turn away.

Crawly picked his way through Eden. He had made a promise, after all, and keeping promises was Hell’s calling card.

He gathered peaches, pears, nectarines, berries of all kinds, oranges, and great, pendulous clusters of grapes. He found figs and braved a pomegranate tree for its thick-skinned yield. There were quince and dragon fruit, cherries, bananas, mangoes, and kiwi. Crawly collected his bounty in the long, black fabric of his robes, held close to his stomach, held fast. He made his way back to Aziraphale as the sky was slowly lightening. His steps were plodding and careful.

After some deliberation, he plucked a single apple from the Tree and added it to his abundance.

Aziraphale was still asleep when he got back. His chest rose and fell gently, which was odd given that they didn’t need to breathe. But even a few weeks on Earth would change you; that seemed painfully obvious to Crawly now. He had become something else in a matter of days; a different kind of creature with a different kind of longing that found itself personified in Aziraphale’s soft sleep sounds, the unbearably erotic arcs of his feet. Crawly suffered, but it was an ambrosial kind of suffering, not the sulphuric nightmare of the Fallen.

He arranged the fruit around Aziraphale’s unconscious earthly form. He made it into piles. He summoned more of each kind to ensure that the right impression was made.

Was it a temptation or an offering? Crawly couldn’t be sure. Perhaps it was both.

He sat, and he waited.

When the birdsong began, Aziraphale stirred. Crawly was mesmerized. Light filtered down through the forest canopy in ethereal columns. This was a Godly place. He was loath to admit it, but Aziraphale captured in the glow of early morning sun made that truth too obvious to deny.

Crawly watched the angel gradually awaken. He watched the languid stretch of limbs and torso, the way Aziraphale’s mouth opened and closed, teeth drawing over his lower lip. He yawned, and Crawly thought he might combust on the spot.

“Craw—Crawly?” mumbled Aziraphale in the most delightful of searching, needy tones. “I say, are you here?”

His eyes weren’t fully open yet. Then they were. Crawly held the breath he also didn’t have to take.

“Oh— oh, heavens above.”

“I’m a demon of my word,” drawled Crawly.

Aziraphale’s eyes widened. “So much,” he said. “I don’t even know the words. For half of this.”

“Are you hungry?”

“I—“

“This is a peach,” Crawly said. He held up the fruit between thumb and forefinger. “I hear they’re scrumptious.”

Aziraphale took the soft fruit from Crawly’s hand. He was rumpled, delectable, sleep-mussed. His countenance was greedy and his mouth—Crawly would have fought a war for it, and that was definitely not in his job description. He watched Aziraphale devour, and then—

“Grapes?”

“Dear Lord, yes,” said Aziraphale, dropping the peach pit to the ground. His chin was glistening. His eyes looked damp and pleasure-struck.

Crawly passed him a bunch of grapes and relished in the way Aziraphale gave each bobble the whole of his attention. All of his angelic being was focused on the singular act of consumption in a state of complete bliss. He asked for more and Crawly tore a pomegranate in half with his bare hands and scooped the seeds into the angel’s palms. He watched Aziraphale squeeze an orange directly into his mouth.

He was going to die. This display was going to discorporate him. He had done the Right thing, giving the humans the apple. He was sure of that now, because this could only be punishment: this gnawing, growing, insatiable ache in the place Aziraphale was avidly filling.

And Aziraphale—his innocent, his newly minted angel—abandoned the kiwi and the berries and the bananas and picked up the only apple in the mix.

Crawly’s whole interior did somersaults.

“Share this one with me?” Aziraphale sounded coy. There was a heavenly edge to his voice that spoke of smiting and dogmatism and what Crawly’s lot called lust. [5]

“Perhaps that’s not...the best idea,” he said, the verbal equivalent of backing away slowly, and wished for something to cover his eyes. They were always too revealing; even before his Fall.

“We already know the difference between good and evil. I can’t imagine there’ll be any unexpected consequences.” Aziraphale held the apple up between them, eyeing it speculatively. “Don’t you want to know? What you made them do? How it tasted?”  

“I didn’t make them do anything. I merely suggested.”  

Aziraphale raised one golden eyebrow at him. His mouth was tinged red from the berries, or perhaps from the pomegranate seeds. His tunic was stained. He looked immeasurably more edible than the apple or anything else Crawly had watched him eat up until this point.

He licked his lips, it was the most snake-like he’d felt in nearly a whole day. Maybe he’d keep this body; maybe he liked it.  

“Okay,” he said. “But I’m still not sure about ‘food.’”  

“It’s lovely.” Aziraphale’s pale eyelashes fluttered.  

You’re lovely, Crawly wanted to say. He watched Aziraphale take a bite, his teeth digging into the red skin. Crawly could hear that bite, the snap of it. None of the other fruit had sounded like that.  

“Mmmm,” Aziraphale hummed. He handed the apple to Crawly while he was still chewing.  

“How is it?”  

Aziraphale made a pleased noise. His eyes were closed. He savored everything; he worshiped everything—each of Her creations. Crawly felt gobsmacked [6] by it. He took a bite.  

“Do you feel different?” Aziraphale asked. His gaze was intent, flicking between Crawly’s mouth and eyes. He was twisting his plump, fruit-reddened fingers in the folds of his robe like he couldn’t manage to keep still. He was squirming . “Give us another taste,” he whispered.

Crawly dropped the forbidden fruit. Crawly lunged for him.

He barely knew what to do once he had Aziraphale on his back, but he also Knew. “A tassssssste,” he hissed, looking down at the angel’s frantic, panting, desperate little face. “The angel wants a tasssssste?”

Aziraphale was wide-eyed and prone, but his thighs had fallen open and Crawly was firmly between them. Crawly dragged his fingers through the wreckage of fruit around them, the evidence of his angel’s unrepentant exultation. “Like this?” He asked, holding a thick, dark blackberry just above Aziraphale’s lips, then dragging the pebbled morsel over Aziraphale’s mouth, begging for entrance.

“Yessss?”

Aziraphale nodded and stuck out his tongue for it. Crawly could see the hot, wet, red interior of his mouth. He wanted in. He wanted—he hadn’t words for what he wanted. Hell knew nothing of this. The host, when he’d been a part of Her, was equally ignorant. This was his own pleasure. His for the taking. He rubbed the berry over Aziraphale’s tongue, leaving red in its wake. He pressed it against the angel’s teeth. He teasingly withdrew.

“Oh, goodness,” Aziraphale moaned. His whole body shook. It was exquisite. “Please. Please let me have it.”

“Open up.”

Crawly gave him the berry; he followed it with his tongue. He had seen them kiss, the humans, but it hadn’t been like this (so far as he could tell). There hadn’t been fruit, there hadn’t been finesse.

There hadn’t been them: two opposing forces, bound indelibly together.

Aziraphale’s mouth was sweet. At first he just let Crawly have at him. He whimpered, and it set the Crawly on fire from his toes to his blessed ears. Then, something changed, as though Aziraphale had come to a heretofore unknown conclusion, and he kissed Crawly back. He wove his sticky fingers into Crawly’s long auburn curls and gave his mouth the same attention he’d given the peaches, plums, and pears.

As it turned out, the angel was a ferocious, sloppy kisser, but Crawly didn’t exactly have a point of comparison, and what’s more: he didn’t care.

“We shouldn’t,” Aziraphale said, between kisses.

“Shouldn’t what?”

Aziraphale’s eyebrows drew together. He looked distraught, like someone who should have done the reading before asking a foolish question in front of the whole class. “I don’t—I don’t know—“ he said, trailing off.

Crawly touched his cheek. He ran his thumb over Aziraphale’s bottom lip. He wasn’t going to let this—whatever they were doing—get run off the rails.

“That’s okay,” he said. “Who really knows anything anymore? Certainly not me.”

“True.” Aziraphale petted Crawly’s hair thoughtfully. It made him shiver. The way their corporeal forms were pressed together made him shiver, too, in an altogether different way. “I don’t have a list, exactly,” Aziraphale went on. “Of what an angel should and shouldn’t do. Or maybe I did and I—“

“Shhhh.” Crawly nuzzled at his ear. “Just—“

“I am absolutely rubbish with paperwork,” Aziraphale declared, going slightly breathless.

“No paperwork here,” Crawly mumbled against his lips. “None at all.”

Aziraphale sighed, his whole body moving with it. But he let the kissing continue and Crawly was grateful, overflowing.

“I want to eat you whole,” he said, and Aziraphale wrapped one of his heavy, wonderful thighs around his waist.

“Oh, do.

“I could.” Crawly nipped at his ear, he sucked at what would be a pulse point on a human and found Aziraphale had come equipped with a heart. And based upon their continued writhing, he’d come equipped with other, more important of the moment, bits as well. “I’m a snake. It’s what we do.”

“Tosh,” said Aziraphale, rolling his hips. “You don’t even like food.”

“Nothing looks as delicious as you.” It was straight from a telenovela and Hell hadn’t even come up with those yet. He peeked up at Aziraphale from somewhere around his chest and found his cheeks were flushed even brighter and his lower lip was caught between his very white teeth. Crawly’s clothing felt unexpectedly too constricting. He snapped.

“Dear me,” Aziraphale gasped. His hands landed on Crawly's now bare shoulders. He squeezed. He trailed his palms down Crawly’s back. The contact felt both sharp and soothing: it was the feeling of a very good stretch in the morning, or wonderfully cold water on a hot day. Tingly, indescribable, ineffable.

Crawly found himself pulling up Aziraphale’s robes before he consciously decided to do so. There was fruit under his knees, he felt himself crushing it. Everything was somehow very wet and thick: the morning air, their bodies, the earth itself. Crawly’s hands found Aziraphale’s soft waist, they found his buttocks, they found the space between the rounded flesh, which was also damp with sweat and hot. He faltered for a moment, unsure how to proceed and suddenly aware that what he wanted would very likely hurt. He gazed down at Aziraphale, who seemed to radiate patient understanding before one of his own hands found Crawly’s between his thighs and Crawly was astonished to find that the angel’s palm was slick, a little pool of oil held there.

Aziraphale dropped his eyes.

It was easy from there. Human bodies were meant for this sort of thing. Crawly pressed inside. Aziraphale cried out and clung to him. He was babbling about something, or nothing, or possibly everything. Crawly couldn’t tell. He could only kiss Aziraphale’s soft mouth and move in him. He could only make soothing noises until those gave way to much more carnal ones. Aziraphale’s cock, which Crawly had paid woefully little attention to, was caught between them, rubbing against his stomach with each delectable thrust, and Crawly was enraptured, held fast and tight. He was rapidly losing his ability to do anything other than hurtle towards his release and then—

“Crawly, I’m—“ Aziraphale seized up, his whole body going taut, and along with it his entrance.

Fuck,” [7] Crawly said, and came. 

For a little while, there was nothing but birdsong and the sound of two supernatural entities who didn’t need to breathe breathing very harshly.

“I hope that wasn’t, erm, too terribly forward,” said Aziraphale, finally.

“Bzzzhuh?” Crawly was still inside him, cradled in his arms, and limp all over.

“The bit—ah, the bit with the heavenly oil. I hope it didn’t burn you.”

“Hmm, no.” He had collapsed on Aziraphale’s chest, but managed to lift his head up and make eye contact. “Actually rather genius.”

Aziraphale’s lips shifted into a self-satisfied, toothless smile. He stroked Crawly’s hair. “Shall we blame the apple then,” he said airily, as though commenting on the weather. “If anyone should ask?”

Crawly snorted. He held Aziraphale tight, and even tighter when the angel’s body released its hold on him. He had no idea what would happen next, but neither of them did. He thought back on that casual we the day before and smiled.

“Yes, I think we shall.” 

--- 

Later, privately, and much much later to Aziraphale, Crowley confessed that he did think eating the apple had affected them. It was just the opposite effect.

Instead of enlightening them further to their inherent differences, its flesh had blurred the line and brought them that much closer together; an infinitesimal but absolutely monumental step toward grey (and thus each other) when God had intended them to be black and white.

“I love when you philosophize,” Aziraphale  sighed, all those years later. “But Crowley, dear, wouldn’t that have been Her plan all along then?” He covered Crowley’s hand with one of his own. “Wouldn’t that make us—“

“Meant to be?” Crowley raised a slinky eyebrow. Aziraphale was blushing. “I imagine so, angel.”

A smile formed between Aziraphale’s rosy cheeks. It was slightly wine drunk, and just as alluring as it had been in the first few days.

Crowley loved him.

“Good,” his angel said. Aziraphale’s shoulders did something that could only be described as a pleased wiggle. “I quite agree.”

 

_______

FOOTNOTES

[1] Unsurprisingly, Hell is entirely responsible for employment contracts across the board. And doubly responsible for freelance work. 

[2] Being tetchy wasn't allowed in Heaven. 

[3] Little did he know, Aziraphale had just invented bitch face.

[4] Demons, like good drug dealers, actually have remarkable self-control. Crawly just had very little self-control around Aziraphale and it would take him about 1000 years to realize that. 

[5] First instance of lust ever. Mark it down. 

[6] 1980s: from gob + smack, with reference to being shocked by a blow to the mouth, or to clapping a hand to one's mouth in astonishment. Don't ask me. 

[7] Contrary to popular belief, fuck has always meant exactly what you think it does.