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“Apoca-wasn’t.”

 

“The not-so-end of times.”

 

“The Unpocolypse.”

 

“Armage-didn’t.”

 

Aziraphale tittered.  “The Great Wasn’t.”

 

Crowley giggled.  “Almost-alypse!”

 

They stumbled into Crowley’s flat, hanging on each other to stay upright, laughing drunkenly at the game they’d been playing the whole bus ride back to London.  

 

It had started when Aziraphale's drink-clumsy tongue had attempted - and failed - to pronounce the word ‘apocalypse.’  It had come out (and Aziraphale has no idea quite how) as ‘apoca-flop.’

 

Crowley had found this outrageously funny.

 

Aziraphale found anything that put so delighted a smile on Crowley’s face to be quite worthwhile.  And their little game had been borne.

 

They were bordering on hysterical, if truth be told, but no one would have dared hold it against them.  After all, it wasn’t every day that a disillusioned angel and a demon with a conscience thwarted all the forces of heaven and hell at once.  In fact, it never happened. It wasn’t supposed to ever happen.  And yet. Here they were, stumbling into Crowley’s ridiculously posh flat, both relatively upright.

 

“D’you know,” Crowley began, speech slightly slurred, “I think I’m…” he trailed off, searching for the word, then forgetting what he’d been trying to think of.

 

“Drunk,” Aziraphale supplied.

 

Crowley giggled again.  “Yes. That too. Butcha know, tha’s okay.  Because there are still gorillas. Out there, sleepin’ in nests.  They do that, ya’know. Someone told me that..."

 

“Birds,” Aziraphale corrected with a slight frown, his eyes catching on the statue in Crowley’s front room.  “Is that-”

 

“Them too,” Crowley agreed with a negligent wave of his hand.  “And us.”

 

Aziraphale looked away from the statue in favor of staring wide eyed at his companion.  “Us?”

 

“Ye p.” The p smacked loudly.  “Us. You’n me. Still here.”

 

“In-” Aziraphale hiccuped loudly, “-deed.”

 

Crowley turned, arms in the air as though he was about to make a grand statement, and tripped backwards over his coffee table.  Aziraphale just barely caught him by the front of his shirt and pulled him back up. Startled serpentine eyes jumped up to Aziraphale's.

 

For a long moment, neither of them spoke.  They were barely a breath apart, Aziraphale's fingers still curled into the fabric of Crowley’s button-up.  Crowley’s tongue darted out to wet his lips, then his eyes flicked down to see Aziraphale's mouth. Something in him throbbed and he suddenly stepped back, clearing his throat.

 

“Too drunk,” he declared.  “Far too drunk.”

 

Aziraphale slowly unclenched his fingers, releasing Crowley’s shirt.  “Time to sober up?”

 

“No,” Crowley said emphatically.  “At least, not entirely. I think we’ve earned a bit of a hangover tomorrow, don’t you?”  He concentrated, then felt himself saunter vaguely towards sobriety, but not really get close enough to lose his buzz.

 

“What with failing miserably as an angel and a demon, attempting to fight Satan himself with nothing but a tyre iron and a sword, and stopping a war that would have destroyed the Earth?”  Aziraphale gave Crowley an arch smile. Crowley grinned back.

 

“Yeah.  That.” He kicked off his boots and shed his jacket.  “And I also think we’ve earned a damn good night’s sleep.”

 

“You know, I never did quite get into the habit of that-” Aziraphale began, but Crowley was steadily tugging him towards the bedroom anyways.

 

“Angel, this is the first time in almost six thousand years that you’ve got the night off.  We faced certain and permanent death. We unarmed-mageddon.  If there was ever a time to get a good bloody night’s sleep, this is it.”

 

Aziraphale fought to smother his smile and failed spectacularly.  “Unarmed-mageddon,” he repeated with a still-tipsy laugh. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.  Well then. Lead on, good man.”

 

Crowley grinned wickedly and pulled Aziraphale into the bedroom.

 

***

 

Aziraphale was fairly certain he was considerably more sober than Crowley was.  For one thing, the demon was still listing sideways as he walked. For another, he was still holding Aziraphale's hand.  Not that hand holding was, as a general rule, a drunken or even particularly unusual thing to do. After all, throughout the course of six millennia of human history, there had been thousands of different forms of physical contact that were socially required.  A simple hand holding was honestly one of the least intimate things they’d done under the guise of following human custom. Compared to Rome…  But this wasn’t Rome, and Crowley wasn’t just holding his hand, he was doing it while pulling Aziraphale down to his bedroom.  

 

That was certainly something they hadn’t done.

 

Not in this century, at least.

 

The problem, Aziraphale thought as Crowley managed to make it to the bedroom - which had only one bed - was that things were decidedly different now.  Everything they’d been for the last six thousand some-odd years was null and void. If they weren’t on opposite sides, they weren’t enemies, there wasn’t a need for the Arrangement, and that left them as… what?

 

We’re on our own side, angel.

 

Well, maybe they just needed a new Arrangement.  No longer enemies-with-benefits. More like… partners.  They could even be friends, in a more vocal, less love-thy-enemy way.  Crowley had already claimed they were friends. A knot of guilt settled in Aziraphale's stomach as he remembered categorically denying the accusation.

 

I don’t even like you, he’d said.

 

You do, Crowley had replied.

 

Crowley had been right.

 

Of course he had been.  Aziraphale liked to think that he was always right, but if his time with Crowley had shown him anything, it was that he wasn’t nearly as perfect as an angel ought to be.  Sometimes he made mistakes. Sometimes he was wrong. Sometimes he lied, even to himself. Funny that it should be a demon who told the truth of the matter.  Then again, Crowley was no ordinary demon.

 

A warm blanket of affection slipped around Aziraphale as he watched Crowley rip the covers off the immaculately made bed.  He really did like Crowley. Now that he was free to say it, he could admit that they’d been friends all along. He recalled the limp dove from Warlock’s birthday party, and the way Crowley had casually plucked it up, breathed life back into it, and sent it on its way.

 

A single dead bird wasn’t enough to cause most humans even passing distress, let alone a demon.  But Aziraphale had been distressed.  And that had been enough for Crowley, demon of hell, to preform the miracle of resurrection.  A minor resurrection, but even still.

 

Angels were beings of love.  Some were more of a love-them-to-death-and-let-god-sort-them-out kind, but all of them felt love for God’s creations.  So of course Aziraphale loved Crowley. There had never been any doubt about that. But watching that dove fly away, it had struck Aziraphale that he loved Crowley less in the detached, all-things-in-general kind of way and more in the individual way.  He’d wondered idly, as they’d fretted about the missing hell hound, if angels were supposed to love in the individual way.  But then, he reasoned, love was never a bad thing.  And he’d filed the knowledge away without another thought.

 

He wondered now, as Crowley waved his hand and his somewhat charred suit changed into outrageously luxurious pyjamas, if Crowley felt the same way.

 

Demons weren’t supposed to feel love, of course.  Lust, certainly. Obsession, absolutely. But real, selfless love - never.  Aziraphale thought of miraculously unharmed books after a bomb drop. He thought of a single, inconsequential dove.

 

He smiled.

 

Well, Crowley never had been a typical demon.

 

***

 

Crowley decided that he ought to have brought the bottle of wine with him.  Or he ought to have sobered up less. Because the lovely distracting, numbing buzz that had carried him this far was still fading, and he was Not Happy about it.  He considered summoning the bottle from the other room, but his eyes handed on Aziraphale, and he decided against it. He wasn’t a particularly prudent being, but perhaps being totally smashed while getting into bed with an angel wasn’t a brilliant idea.  Especially when said angel was looking at him with such an infernally fond expression.

 

“I don’t suggest sleeping in that,” Crowley said to distract himself.  He waved a finger down at Aziraphale's prim, decades out of style suit.  That much wool couldn’t be comfortable.  Sheep were such awful creatures.

 

“Oh, well I don’t seem to have any-”

 

Before Aziraphale could start to fret about lacking proper nightclothes - because of course the angel wouldn’t consider sleeping in just undergarments, oh no - Crowley snapped his fingers and a long tartan nightgown replaced the offending suit.  Aziraphale startled slightly, then looked down to inspect the garment. When he looked back up, he was smiling in a way that made Crowley feel warm and a little like squirming.

 

“Oh thank you, dear.  It’s lovely.”

 

If Crowley hadn’t had such impeccable control over his cardiovascular system, he would have blushed.

 

The problem, he decided, as he waved away the gratitude with a grumble, was that it had been one hell of a day.  He’d melted a duke of hell with holy water.  He’d run into a burning book shop only to realize that his best friend - his only friend - had been discorporated and he had no way of knowing if or when said friend would ever return.  He’d held almost two tons of burning metal and rubber together with sheer willpower. He’d attempted to face down Satan himself with nothing but a bit of steel and an angel at his side.

 

He was fucking exhausted.

 

And now he was realizing, as he sprawled elegantly on the bed and Aziraphale sat daintily next to him, that it wasn’t just the can’t-keep-your-eyes-open-another-second kind of way.  It was the soul deep kind that made him want to be all open and mushy.  If he wasn’t careful, he was going to say some very un-demonic things.  Things like-

 

“‘M glad you’re here.”  

 

Well fuck.

 

Aziraphale turned on his side and patted Crowley’s hand where it was splayed on his chest.  “Me too, dear boy. Me too.”

 

Crowley let out a relieved, hissing breath.  He wriggled infinitesimally closer. He supposed, all things considered, it didn’t really matter if he wasn’t acting properly demonic.  On their own side and all that. Well, in for a penny…

 

“Thanks.  For everything.  You’re…” He tried to think of the right word, but none of them really encompassed the depth of it.  “Important,” he finally added, a little lamely. It really didn’t convey things properly. “To me.” Unbeknownst to him, he was again wiggling a little closer to the very comforting warmth beside him.

 

Aziraphale himself wasn’t aware of the fact that the heat radiating from his core was increasing, though he was most definitely aware of Crowley slithering not-so-covertly closer.  Aziraphale had never felt important before. Useful, righteous, accomplished. But never important.  He rather liked the feeling.  And the fact that he was important, not to humanity, not to the heavenly host, not to God herself, but rather to one single demon, somehow made that feeling more special instead of less.

 

“I love you, too,” Aziraphale whispered.

 

Crowley hissed at him with unconvincing indignation, then gave up any pretense of keeping space between them and tangled their legs together beneath the covers.  When he closed his eyes, he dropped into sleep almost immediately, but there was still the slight curl of a smile on his lips.

 

***

 

If, when they woke, Crowley was curled around Aziraphale like a big spoon butted up to an ever so slightly smaller one, neither of them deigned to comment on it.  The fact that Crowley’s leg might have been thrown possessively over Aziraphale's hip wasn’t mentioned. Anything that occurred, in those early morning hours, when the world was quiet and still, that might have been construed as cuddling, was entirely ignored - though very significantly, not forgotten - by either party.

 

Though it would have been far preferable to lounge about, indulging in a battle won and the morning of unmentioned cuddles, there was unfortunately no more time to rest.  There was Agnes’ last prophecy to decipher, and then to act upon. There was also miraculously revived property to discover, though those weren’t properly appreciated until later.  And then there was a moment, just before the big switch, before they headed back out into the world to face possible extermination, when everything else fell away.

 

Aziraphale turned, hands fluttering at his sides.  “Crowley… If- if this should go contrary to plan-”

 

“It won’t,” Crowley insisted vehemently.

 

“But if it does - then I should… I should like to say-”  He paused, trying to find the words, drawing in a fortifying breath, and then-

 

And then a hand, deft, sure, firm, was on the back of his neck, long fingers threaded through the short hairs at his nape, and oh, that was lovely, but Aziraphale didn’t really have time to appreciate the sensation because half a second later, Crowley was kissing him.

 

Now, it should be said that they’ve kissed before.  Throughout history, kissing in various forms has been greeting, farewell, comfort, agreement, and in a few very significant instances, betrayal.  But all the kisses that they’d shared before had gone the way of Judas and Jesus - minus the betrayal and subsequent crucifixion. Short. Soft. Mere brushes of flesh against flesh.

 

This kiss was significantly different.

 

Crowley’s lips were moulded to Aziraphale's own, warm and insistent, and they stayed there, longer than the aforementioned customary half second.  They stayed there, pressed firmly, until Aziraphale found his body reacting quite of its own accord, shifting ever so slightly, his head tilting, mouth softening, and then Crowley’s lips moved in kind, slotting together.  And oh, no kiss had ever felt like this.

 

It should have felt like lust.  Crowley was a demon, after all. And while Aziraphale was quite versed in, and indeed, had a particular fondness for, romantic affection, he’d never given nor received sexual affection, which this decidedly was.  He, like all angels since that nasty business with the Nephilim, kept his carnality firmly off.  In six thousand plus years, there had never been a tingle.  Nary a twitch. But now, despite his extremely firm control over his corporation, the switch was fairly bursting with the desire to be on.  And that should have been frightening.  It should have been terrifying. Would have been.  If it had felt like lust.

 

Except it didn’t.

 

Not hardly at all.  In fact, really, if felt very much like… love.  And that Aziraphale understood perfectly.  A kiss could be an expression of love.  Real love. Of course it could. He’d seen it in humans thousands of times.  Hundreds of thousands of times. It was a sexual expression of love, but love all the same.  And it felt… nice. It felt incredible, actually. Aziraphale's heart was pounding, there was a curious ringing in his ears, his lips were tingling.  Tentatively, he raised his arms and wrapped them around Crowley. There was a slight groan, and the kiss deepened.

 

This couldn’t be wrong, Aziraphale thought, pressing their bodies closer.  It couldn’t.  Not with this much warmth.  Not with this much love. He found his metaphoric switch and gave it a tiny nudge toward on.

 

Electricity shot through Aziraphale - or that’s what it felt like.  Like a livewire connected from Crowley’s lips to his own, sending a current coursing through him.  And for one, brief moment, he fell into utter abandon. His lips opened as though he could drink in the kiss, his hips pressed closer to Crowley’s, seeking friction, even his vocal cords betrayed him and a sound somewhere between a whimper and a moan escaped him.  Crowley met him with equal vigor, his thigh thrusting between Aziraphale's legs and coming into contact with a newly awakened part of the angel’s anatomy. His tongue snaked - in absolutely every sense of the word - into Aziraphale's mouth and tasted him.

 

It was heaven.

 

No, it was better than heaven, because Crowley was here, Crowley was holding him in a bruising grip, as though he never wanted to let go, as though Aziraphale was the very definition of desire incarnate instead of a sexually inexperienced, slightly pudgy, rather sorry excuse for an angel.  And that was better than heaven had ever made him feel.

 

It seemed to somehow last ages and only a second at the same time - though the latter was actually the case - and then Crowley broke away, with obvious reluctance.

 

“Did you- was that-”

 

Apparently having abandoned all control over his body, Aziraphale blushed crimson.  “It, er… seemed like an opportune moment to give it a try.”

 

Crowley gaped at him for a moment, then a devilish grin spread over his face.  “Oh, angel, there is no way in heaven or hell we aren’t surviving this. Because nothing in this whole godforsaken universe could keep me from coming back for that.”

 

Aziraphale's heart fluttered.  “Oh?”

 

“Assuming it’s something you want more of…?”

 

“Yes!  I mean-” He tried for a negligent shrug and failed spectacularly.  “I mean I rather think I do.”

 

“Well then.  Let’s get this over with.”  Crowley let his hands slide down Aziraphale's arms until their fingers were brushing.  Then he lifted one of Aziraphale’s hands and kissed his knuckles. Aziraphale very sternly ordered his knees not to buckle.  “C’mon angel.”

 

“After you,” Aziraphale squeaked.  

 

***

 

Crowley didn’t consider himself a vicious person, despite his demonic inclinations.  Frankly, he’d been a bloody awful demon right from the very start. Cruelty simply wasn’t in his nature.

 

Having said that, he’d taken absolutely malicious glee in blowing hellfire at Gabriel.  Despite the fact that they’d agreed just to get the point across and not to cause any unnecessary ruckus, Crowley wished he could’ve singed the bastard.

 

The idea that it might really have been Aziraphale up there, listening to those fucking angels - and they sure as hell didn’t deserve the term, not the way his angel did - spew such ugly words to someone so gentle, so good, right before sending him into extermination, made Crowley’s blood boil.

 

Shut your stupid mouth and die already!

 

In that moment, Crowley was glad he’d fallen.  He was glad he was exactly what he was, so that he could stand between Aziraphale and these bastards.  Aziraphale deserved so much better than a bunch of callous, sanctimonious, shit eating-

 

“Are you quite alright, dear?”

 

Crowley blinked.  He realized his hands had been balled into fists and relaxed them.  Thinking about it was moot. It was over, they had both gotten off without a scratch, and Aziraphale hadn’t had to hear just how terrible his own people had been to him.

 

“Fine.”  He pushed his dessert closer to Aziraphale.  “Go on, then. Finish it off.”

 

Aziraphale looked doubtfully, but hopefully down at the tart, then back up to Crowley.  “Are you sure?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Well alright then.”  He took a bite, moaning in pleasure at the taste and licking the spoon clean in ways that were practically sinful.  Crowley’s mind turned sharply to other matters.

 

Of all the unexpected things that had happened in the past week, from realizing they were raising the wrong antichrist, to fish raining on the M25, to an impending confrontation with Satan turning into an exasperated conversation with a middle aged father with a moustache, the oddest by far had been kissing Aziraphale and the angel getting a hard-on.

 

In all the millennia that Crowley had known him, Aziraphale had been sexless.  Well, he had a sex.  Hard to blend in as a human without genitalia, especially back when nudity had been par for the course.  But he didn’t use it.  And he certainly didn’t have any inclinations toward his resident demon.  Crowley would’ve known.

 

His own feelings on sex were far from human, but he absolutely would have noticed - and been willing to engage - if Aziraphale had ever been interested.  This sudden development was new and unexpected and… a little terrifying, if Crowley was being honest. It was going to require talking, and expressing feelings, and all kinds of other uncomfortable things.  And even if everything was aces, and they both decided to go for the whole shebang, that was a lot of pressure on Crowley.

 

Obviously Aziraphale wasn’t ignorant about sex.  There had been a whole lotta hanky panky happening back in the beginning, when there hadn’t been much else for the humans to do.  And they’d gotten up to it right out there in the open for any passing occult or ethereal entity to witness. As representatives whose sole purpose was to blend in with and influence humanity, they’d both gotten a very thorough education in all the many, many forms of sex.

 

But to the best of Crowley’s knowledge - and he had made quite a study of the angel - Aziraphale had never experienced any of it.  So while Crowley’s own experience was limited... well, in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king.

 

Crowley had never wanted to be king of anything.

 

Then again, there was a part of him that felt a purr of satisfaction about the whole situation.  Aziraphale, a sexless, ethereal, angel had decided to experience carnality - and he’d decided to experience it with Crowley.  If that wasn’t enough to put the wind in a demon’s sails, nothing was.  And the wind was definitely in Crowley’s sails. In fact, he was going full steam ahead, and had to remind himself to put on the breaks.

 

He remembered what Aziraphale had said to him one night after Crowley had offered him a ride home.   You go too fast for me, Crowley.  They had both known he wasn’t talking about the car.  Aziraphale had experienced all of one single erection and Crowley was already thinking up a veritable font of sin for them to engage in.

 

It was entirely possible that all Aziraphale wanted to do was kiss.  Or that, even if he did want more, it wouldn’t be any time soon. After all, it had taken them six thousand years to get to first base.  It might well take another six thousand to get to second. Or - and Crowley didn’t even want to think it - Aziraphale might’ve had enough with that one kiss and decide to give it up as a lost cause.

 

Crowley might have gone all of eternity without ever experiencing a single sexual situation with Aziraphale.  He would’ve done it without complaint, too. They were a pair, the two of them. A matched set. Especially in light of recent events, and their cautious revealing of affection.  Crowley would’ve happily sauntered into the rest of their lives without sex. They were together, in more ways than any romantically connected humans had ever been, and that was enough.

 

Or it had been.

 

Now that he’d experienced more, Crowley was desperate to have it again.  Perhaps he had more in common with Eve than he’d ever imagined, because just one little taste and he would never be the same again.

 

It only remained to be seen what Aziraphale thought of the whole situation.  Of course, the dining room at the Ritz was hardly the place to bring up the matter.  But then Aziraphale, angel that he was, solved the problem for him.

 

“Why don’t you come back to the shop with me, dear boy?  I can show you the new additions Adam made.  I was quite put out at first, but you know, there are some surprisingly lovely volumes.  Unless-” He peeked over at Crowley as if half expecting rejection. “Unless you’ve got pressing matters to attend to, of course.”

 

Crowley smirked.  “Angel, we both just emphatically retired.  My whole eternity is open.”

 

“Well,” Aziraphale smiled in that bright, soft way of his.  “Well in that case, shall we?” He stood and held out his arm chivalrously.  Crowley laughed and took it.

 

***

 

Crowley stopped dead after taking a single step into the book shop.  It was ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Even as panic and dread started to steal over him, he was cursing himself for having such a ridiculous reaction.  Because Aziraphale was right there.  Standing two steps ahead of him, whole and healthy, and starting to look at him strangely because Crowley had stopped right in the entry way like some bloody idiot having a panic attack.

 

Which wasn’t what this was.  At all.

 

Except that it was a little.

 

The last time Crowley had gone into the book shop, it had been in flames.  He’d run into the inferno seeking any sign of Aziraphale, only to realize that he’d been killed.  And no, not extinguished entirely, but discorporated with no certainty - or even likelihood - that he would ever return.  Crowley had stood in the flames facing the end of the world and the fear that he would never see his best friend again. It hadn’t been a pleasant moment.

 

Aziraphale touched his arm lightly.  “Are you-” He stopped, brow furrowing, then his eyes went wide.  “Oh- oh Crowley, I’m so sorry. I hadn’t even considered-”

 

“It’s fine,” Crowley choked out, trying to wave Aziraphale away.  The angel didn’t budge. “It’s nothing.  Really.  Stop fretting like an old hen.”

 

“You came here while it was burning.”

 

“Angel-”

 

“And I was gone.”

 

“You weren’t gone gone.  Just- discorporated.”

 

“And you thought you’d never see me again.”

 

“But I did.”

 

Aziraphale was standing very close now, the heat from his body warming Crowley’s still clammy skin.  “You didn’t know that you would. It was the end of the world and my shop was burning down around you and I was gone.”

 

Crowley tried to snarl.  This asinine fretting was infuriating.  He was a demon for hell’s sake!  He didn’t need comforted.

 

“Oh Crowley,” Aziraphale breathed.  He said the name with such gentleness, such empathy, such love, that Crowley couldn’t help but press into the embrace Aziraphale had suddenly wrapped him up in.

 

It was all rather unbecoming of a representative of hell, but since neither of them represented anything any more, Crowley supposed he could allow it just this once.

 

Aziraphale tilted Crowley’s head down and placed a chaste kiss on his forehead.  “Next time,” he promised, Crowley’s face cupped in his hands, “whatever we do, we do it together.”

 

“Alpha Centauri?”

 

“Or facing down Lucifer himself.  Together.”

 

Crowley nodded in agreement, surprised at just how much relief he felt with their promise.  “But let’s not go up against him again any time soon, eh?”

 

“Deal.”  Aziraphale grinned, and suddenly Crowley found that he could move again.

 

A moment later, Aziraphale was showing Crowley his new books, and neither of them mentioned the incident again.

 

***

 

Books made Aziraphale happy, and Aziraphale being happy made Crowley happy, so Crowley listened to the angel natter on about the volumes that had been added to his collection for far longer than any normal human would have been able to.  Still, there was only so much Crowley could take. Eventually, he sprawled out on the somewhat more comfortable than it used to be couch in Aziraphale's back room.

 

They’d done this dance so many times that Aziraphale started to make them drinks automatically.  It wasn’t until he had Crowley’s tea and his own cocoa prepared that he realized perhaps there were other things they could be discussing.

 

Like kisses.  And more than kisses.

 

But how in heaven was he supposed to bring it up?  It wasn’t as though he could just ask about sex outright.

 

“So,” Crowley started, taking a sip of perfectly prepared tea, “sex.”

 

Aziraphale choked on his cocoa.

 

After several thumps on the back by a snickering Crowley, and half a dozen napkins to clean the sloshed cocoa, Aziraphale finally got his breath back.  “You do these things on purpose,” he accused.

 

Crowley didn’t even bother to deny it.  He smirked, spreading his arms. “It’s the little joys in life.”

 

“Ha. Ha.  Very amusing.”  Aziraphale waited, unwilling to give Crowley the satisfaction of having to repeat the word back.

 

It didn’t take long for Crowley to get impatient.  “Sex,” he said again.

 

“What about it?”

 

“You’re… able.”

 

Aziraphale raised his brows heavenward as if asking for patience.  “I’ve been able since I first took an earthly corporation.”

 

“You know what I mean.  Interested. Willing. Actively seeking.”  He paused. “You are actively seeking, right?”

 

“I- I’m intrigued by the idea.  I think it would be… pleasant, to try.  With you.”

 

“Only me?”

 

“Of course!” Aziraphale looked scandalized.  Crowley’s smile grew to cat-that-got-the-canary proportions.  “If you’re interested, that is.”

 

“Oh, I’m interested.”

 

Aziraphale squinted doubtfully at him.  “Are you quite certain? You could have anyone, you know.  It’s practically in your job description.”

 

“Former job description.  And there’s only one being in all of god’s creation that I’m interested in taking to bed.”

 

The doubt remained.  Aziraphale knew that Crowley cared for him.  More than that, even. But he also knew that it was possible to love someone and not want them - just as easy as it was to want someone and not love them.  “Really? Because-”

 

Crowley groaned and put his hand over Aziraphale's mouth to shush him.  “You’re gonna make me bloody say it, aren’t you.” There was a pause. Aziraphale didn’t try to speak behind the hand still pressed to his lips.  “Fine,” Crowley huffed.

 

He glared at Aziraphale without any real heat, making a show of being put out.  “I may… possibly… like you. A bit.”

 

“I should hope so, after all this time.”

 

“In a more than casual way.  In a more than platonic way.”

 

“As in…?”

 

“As in attracted to you.  As in bend you over that desk and make you scream in pleasure.  As in break the bed frame from pounding you too hard into the mattressss.”  He’d begun to hiss in exasperation, but Crowley didn’t even notice. He was watching realization steal over Aziraphale's face.  

 

“Oh-” Aziraphale's lips were in a small ‘o’ of shock.  “I- r-really? Me? Like this?” He gestured down to himself.

 

Crowley barked out a laugh.  “Presumably with less clothes, but yeah, that’s the general idea.”

 

“Oh.”

 

There it was again.  Obviously Crowley had shocked the angel.  Probably put him off the idea entirely. Couldn’t he have found a less crude way to phrase it?  Or started out by saying that while he wanted those things, they didn’t have to do any of them?

 

You go too fast for me, Crowley.

 

Blast it all to hell.  Now he’d fucked it all up, and Aziraphale would-

 

“Well- well that’s… good, then.”

 

“...good?”

 

“Yes.  Yes, after all, I want- er,” he gestured between them.  “All those things you just said, too. That would be… nice.”

 

Crowley was too flabbergasted to form full sentences.   “Nice?”

 

Aziraphale coughed delicately.  “Or rather, more than nice.”

 

“So-”  Crowley shook his head to clear it of the shock and very distracting arousal.  “So, just to clarify here, you’re interested in sex.  With me. In all the ways I’m interested in sex with you.”

 

“Precisely.”

 

There was a pause, then Crowley shifted on the couch and asked, “now?”

 

“Are you-”

 

“Oh yes, angel.  No doubt about it.”

 

“Me too.”

 

Crowley grinned wickedly.  “I can see that.”

 

Aziraphale blushed crimson again and used the book he’d been holding to shield his bulging placket.  Crowley just laughed. “You know, I’m gonna see rather more than that, if we plan to act on any of this.”

 

“Yes, but you’ll be naked too.  That will make things much less undignified.”

 

“I could take mine off right now-” Crowley raised his hand as if he was about to snap his fingers and Aziraphale lunged forward to stop him.

 

“Someone could walk in!”  He was clearly scandalized.  Oh, Crowley was enjoying this.

 

“Does that mean you’re not ready for me to bend you over the desk yet?”

 

Aziraphale's eyes dropped to the desk, and his blush deepened, but his cock throbbed visibly through his trousers.  “Um…”

 

“Go lock up, angel.”  Crowley decided he’d done enough teasing.  “Meet me upstairs.”

 

***

 

When Aziraphale returned from closing and locking the shop, he made it only a single step into the usually disused bedroom before he stopped in his tracks.

 

Crowley was stretched out on the bed, completely naked, and utterly unabashed of that fact.

 

Aziraphale stared.

 

It had been a long time since he’d seen Crowley naked.  And that wasn’t the only long thing.  And this specific long thing had never been in Aziraphale's bed looking like that.  Because it was certainly much… fuller.  Grander, really, if he was being honest.  His mouth felt dry.

 

“At some point, you’re going to have to stop staring and join me.  Unless you’ve changed your mind, that is,” Crowley drawled, one brow raised.  He shifted slightly, propping his head against his hand and drawing one knee up.  Aziraphale swallowed hard.

 

“Yes.  I mean- no!  I mean, I’ll just…” He fumbled with his jacket, trying to remove it and not understanding why it suddenly seemed three sizes too small.  The appendage he was fixated on pulsed.  He felt his own do the same in response.

 

When he tugged the wrong way on his tie and mangled it into a knot, Crowley rose to his knees on the bed and beckoned Aziraphale closer.  Aziraphale took two steps and suddenly their bodies were oh so very close. With steady, deft fingers, Crowley untangled the knot and pulled the tie free.

 

“Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way, hm?”  He went to work on Aziraphale's buttons, slipping them free one at a time.  “From one kiss straight to getting naked… seems like we skipped a few steps.”

 

“Oh?” Aziraphale's voice was comically high pitched.

 

“Mm.”  Crowley nudged Aziraphale's head to the side and nuzzled his jaw.  Hot breath ghosted across Aziraphale's skin, and then lips were making a trail down his neck.  Lips and a hint of tongue and oh good lord was that teeth?  He moaned and slapped a hand to his mouth, appalled at the lewd noise.  Crowley’s arm snapped up, yanking Aziraphale's hand away. “No you don’t.  I want to hear every sound, angel. Every single gasp. Every moan. Those are mine.  Understand?”

 

Aziraphale could only nod.  Crowley hummed in acknowledgement, and then the lips were back, distracting him from his shirt being pulled open, pushed off his shoulders, undershirt being tugged loose, belt unbuckled…

 

Crowley kissed and licked and nibbled, driving Aziraphale crazy.  It was sensation overload. Every time he felt he could acclimate to the caresses, Crowley would move to some newly exposed stretch of skin and start all over again.  It wasn’t until Crowley shuffled back and looked him over from head to toe that Aziraphale realized he’d been divested of every stitch of clothing.

 

The roaring arousal that had been clouding his thoughts receded.  He looked at Crowley’s serpentine form, all long limbs and coiled muscle, and then down at his own starkly pale, somewhat soft body.  Gabriel’s dismissive words rang in his ears. Such a petty thing, to fret over the attractiveness of his corporation, but he couldn’t help but want to cover himself up again.

 

Crowley saw Aziraphale's eagerness wane.  Saw the moment something else stole in. Something almost as old as time.   Shame .  Disobedience might have been the original sin, but the second followed sharply on its heels.  As soon as Eve took that first bite, she’d looked down, realized she was naked, and shame had been borne into the world.  And shame had been plaguing humanity ever since. It was an insidious little sin - and yet some of the world’s worst atrocities had shame at their roots.

 

It wasn’t something Crowley had ever been troubled with, but he could see it taking hold in Aziraphale.

 

Quick as only a snake can strike, he sprang up, pushed Aziraphale back onto the bed, and then crawled up his prone form.  He took his time, nuzzling and nipping every crevice that intrigued him - which was most of them.

 

“Crow- what- oh!”  

 

Though he could have a honied tongue when he wanted to tempt a soul, Crowley had no intention of showering Aziraphale in pretty words.  They would have sounded hollow, insincere - like Aziraphale was just another human Crowley was manipulating. No, Crowley’s true praise wouldn’t come as words.  Instead, he showed Aziraphale how he felt.

 

“Have you any idea,” he growled, swirling his tongue across Aziraphale's hip, “how long I’ve dreamed of doing this?”

 

“Unh-”

 

He slid his hands reverently up Aziraphale's flawless skin, across his chest and through the white-blonde hair there.  “How many times I fantasized about ripping those antiquated suits off you and spreading you out like a feast?”

 

Aziraphale could only let out another garbled moan.  Now his thoughts weren’t on the inadequacies of his corporation.  They were on the way Crowley was touching him, stroking him, kissing him, as though Aziraphale was the most desirable being in the universe.  Slowly, one caress at a time, Aziraphale's self-doubt fell away.

 

It didn’t matter what Gabriel, or all the angels in heaven, thought about Aziraphale's body.   Crowley was the only one Aziraphale wanted to share this part of himself with.  Crowley, who was constantly tempting Aziraphale with a second helping of dessert.  Crowley, who despised jogging more than he despised mobile phone customer service operators - and that was saying something.  Crowley, who could have tempted any creature on the entire earth, but was in bed with Aziraphale, plying his body with ravenous attentions.

 

As if Crowley could tell the change in Aziraphale's thoughts, he finally brought their bodies flush.  Aziraphale’s breath choked off as fevered, turgid flesh came into contact with its like. Crowley rocked his hips sinuously, making them rub together.  It was like fireworks exploding beneath Aziraphale's skin. Like all the pleasures of earth condensed down to one small - well, only when compared to the general size of the entire universe - space.

 

His eyes had automatically squeezed shut at the onslaught of pleasure, but Aziraphale made a conscious effort to open them.  Crowley was staring down at him, topaz eyes blazing.  Aziraphale's stomach fluttered, both with nerves and anticipation.  He could see in the depth of that gaze all the wicked and delightful things Crowley wanted to do to him.  He only hoped he could keep up.

 

“Here-” With a small miracle, a small tube of very clinical KY jelly appeared in Aziraphale's hand.  “I assume you could, you know-” he mimicked snapping his fingers, “the whole preparation part, but perhaps the more human way would be less… startling, for me.  This first time, at least?”

 

A truly wicked part of Crowley was already imagining the things he could do with that prim little bottle of lubricant, and he hungered for them - but another part of him, a part that had been nurtured by lazy afternoons at St Regents park and long dinners at the Ritz, was far more moved by the trepidation he heard in Aziraphale's voice.

 

You go too fast for me, Crowley.

 

Already, Aziraphale had shown incredible trust in Crowley, with his body and his heart.  Crowley couldn’t meet that trust with anything less than the reverence it deserved.

 

He shifted his weight to one elbow, took the bottle from Aziraphale's hand, and popped the cap open with his thumb.  Aziraphale’s pale eyes stared up at him, wide, anxious, trusting.

 

“We’re definitely going to do that the human way, Aziraphale,” Crowley murmured, slowly running a line of the viscous substance up Aziraphale's erection, “when we get there.  But we aren’t there yet.”

 

“We-” Aziraphale squeaked, “aren’t?”

 

“Oh no, angel.  I’ve got a whole world of carnal delights to show you.  Why would I skip right to the Coq au Vin and miss the croque-monsieur,”  he flicked his tongue against Aziraphale's nipple,  “the Chateau Lafitte,” he bit down on the lobe of Aziraphale's ear, “the brandade de morue?”  He rubbed his cock along Aziraphale's, spreading the moisture between them.

 

“That- ah! - would be a sh-shame.”

 

“An absolute sssin.”  Crowley had carelessly discarded the little bottle and was now using his hand to stroke them both with a single fist.  Aziraphale's hips bucked helplessly. Crowley moved his hand faster. “I plan to show you every ounce of pleasure your body can experience,” he promised darkly.  “I’m going to wring it from you till you can’t take any more.  Till you’re drunk on it. Till just the sight of me makes you hard and aching.”

 

Aziraphale was writhing beneath him, shaking under the onslaught.  “Crowley, Crowley, Crowley!”

 

“That’s it,” Crowley purred, power and satisfaction unlike anything he’d ever known coursing through him.  “Just let go,” he urged. His hand moved faster, gripping, stroking, twisting. “Let go, angel. I’ve got you.”

 

Aziraphale shuddered, release tearing through him.   “Cro-”  His voice garbled, hoarse and breathless.  His lips were still parted in mute exclamation when a moment later, Crowley pressed a kiss to them, deep and wild.  There was a harsh groan, and then Crowley collapsed atop him. The pressure sent a jolt of pleasure through Aziraphale's over-sensitive cock.

 

For long, glorious moments, they laid there, practically glued together by their emissions.  The only sound in the room was their panting as they regained their breath. Aziraphale's body was deliciously exhausted.  He realized there was pressure at the nape of his neck where Crowley had a grip on the short hairs there, and as he relaxed his fingers, Aziraphale hummed at the exquisite sensation.

 

“Alright?” Crowley asked, voice muffled against the top of Aziraphale's head.

 

Such a simple query - but coming from the demon who’d just debauched him, it made Aziraphale's heart flutter.

 

“Quite.”  He wiggled a little, enjoying the sensation of overstimulated flesh against warm slickness.  “More than, in fact.”

 

Crowley pulled back so he could look at Azeriphale’s face.  “Yeah?”

 

“That was… well, rather marvelous if I do say so myself.  And for you…?”

 

The devilish grin was back on Crowley’s face. “Oh, I enjoyed myself.  Obviously.” He pulled back a little further and gestured at the mess between them.  Aziraphale blushed. “Hang on. Back in a tick.” He rose, graceful as ever - while Aziraphale’s legs felt like jelly - and returned a moment later with a damp flannel.  Without comment, he carefully cleaned Aziraphale up, gave himself a cursory wipe, then tossed the soiled cloth away.

 

When he sprawled back onto the bed, Aziraphale had no qualms about curling up to his side, resting his head on Crowley’s shoulder.  Crowley gave a half-hearted huff, but wrapped his arms around Aziraphale.

 

“Thank you.”

 

Crowley craned his neck to look down incredulously.  “I finally get you into bed, and you’re thanking me?”

 

“Well, yes!  That could’ve gone… that is to say, I’m sure there were things you wanted-”

 

“You mean you’re thanking me for not throwing you down and ravishing you like some marauding heathen.”

 

“Stop twisting my words around, you wily serpent.  I’m thanking you for being you, in all that entails.  Which, as it turns out, is rather perfect… for me.”

 

“Oh.”  If a nearly indiscernible amount of color rose to Crowley’s cheeks, it was certainly from exertion, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the rather lovely sentiments the angel in his arms was expressing.  “In that case, you’re welcome.” There was a pause, and then safely under the cover of the gathering darkness, Crowley heard himself say, “You are too, you know. For me.”

 

Aziraphale smiled and kissed him.

 

***

 

Waking up curled around a soft, warm angel was quickly becoming an addiction for Crowley.  Just having his arms wrapped around the one being in the entirety of existence that he truly cared about was incredible.  And that was to say nothing of having his cock pillowed against Aziraphale’s rather phenomenal ass. It was the most comfortable he’d ever felt.  And there were other, decidedly un-demonic perks too. Like how Aziraphale made little humming noises in his sleep and pressed back against him and it made Crowley’s chest feel warm and full.  Or the sense of security he got from having the angel there, because he could trust Aziraphale with his life. Or the tiny (not so tiny), unimportant (very important), irritating (Aziraphale would disagree) urge it soothed, to have Aziraphale there so that Crowley could protect him from anything heaven, hell, or Earth might throw at them.

 

It was all rather disgustingly sentimental.

 

Though Crowley was finding that even the mushy rubbish was coming easier now.  For so long, he’d thought it was against his nature to care.  But over the centuries, Aziraphale had shown him otherwise.  Then, he’d clung to his reputation because it wouldn’t have been a good idea for Hell to hear a rumor that he’d gone soft.  He didn’t even want to think about what they would've done to him if that had happened. But now… now there was no head office to report to.  After their last encounters with heaven and hell, it was pretty clear they would have a while yet before anyone was looking in on them. Which left Crowley free to do and say whatever he damn well pleased.  And he was finding that while he would never be a particularly sappy guy, it did please him to be a little demonstrative in his affection.

 

He pressed a light kiss to Aziraphale’s hair just because he could.

 

Aziraphale stirred, snuggling back against Crowley - unintentionally providing delicious friction against his cock - and yawned.  “Good morning.”

 

“Mmm, you keep that up and it’s going to be a great morning,” Crowley purred in his ear.  Aziraphale started a little, realizing what, exactly, was pressing so insistently against his behind.  Then he started again when he glanced down and realized his own anatomy was in a similar state.

 

“Goodness gracious, how often are they like this?”

 

Crowley laughed.  “You’ve been watching humans as long as I have.  You know how often they want sex.”

 

“Well, yes, but-” Aziraphale sputtered, heat warming his cheeks, “I thought they were just… indulging.  Thinking about arousing things. I didn’t think it happened on its own!”

 

“Maybe you were dreaming about me,” Crowley whispered.  Aziraphale shivered and fought the urge to moan.

 

“You’re awfully- ah - confident in yourself.”  Aziraphale was starting to pant as Crowley’s hand snaked over his hip, long fingers brushing along the length of his stubborn erection.

 

“Do I have any reason not to be?”  The brushes became outright caresses.  Azirpahale whimpered.

 

“No.”

 

“Good.”  Crowley gave up all pretense of teasing and gripped Aziraphale’s cock.  “Lift your leg a little.” He waited for Aziraphale to comply, then slipped his cock into the space between those thick thighs.  When Aziraphale dropped his leg back down, Crowley was encased in perfect heat and pressure. He groaned. “Have I ever told you how much I love every curve of your body?”

 

“N-no.”

 

“Then let me show you.”  He waited only long enough for Aziraphale to moan his agreement, then started to thrust, stroking Aziraphale’s cock in time with every snap of his hips.

 

When they both came spectacularly, Crowley decided it was the best morning he’d ever had.

 

***

 

“Last night, you said…”  Aziraphale trailed off, toying with the edge of the sheet that Crowley had pulled up over them.

 

“I said a lot of things.  You’re going to need to specify which one you’re referring to.”  Crowley was sprawled with his usual grace across most of the bed, one arm curled under Aziraphale’s neck.  He’d never felt more relaxed. All that was missing was a good Cuban cigar, but he knew Aziraphale didn’t care for the smoke.

 

Aziraphale cleared his throat and tried again.  “You said, ‘do you know how long I’ve wanted to-’”  He stopped again, not quite able to bring himself to repeat the exact words.

 

“Ah.  Yes. I could say all of it again if you wanted.”  He flashed Aziraphale a lascivious smile.

 

“I- well, not that I’d protest!  But, I was actually wondering-” he resumed worrying the edge of the sheet, “ how long, exactly.”

 

“Oh, I see.”  Crowley stilled Aziraphale’s fidgeting by threading their fingers together.  “Well if you’d offered, I’d have been willing to try it the first time we saw the humans doing it.  Looked like fun.”

 

“The first - but that was-” Aziraphale shook his head.  “You could just do it?  Without even knowing me or being attracted to me?”

 

“Knowing you and being attracted to you are two entirely different things.”

 

“You mean you- really?”

 

Crowley scoffed.  “Don’t pretend to be so shocked.  You know you’re attractive.”

 

“I- I know that all angels are beautiful, in their way.”

 

“Beautiful and attractive are definitely different things.  I’m certainly not lusting after any other angels.”

 

“I should think not!”

 

There was just enough outrage in Aziraphale’s voice to make Crowley smirk.  He liked that the angel was a little possessive. “But yeah, I’d have been down to get horizontal behind a fig leaf.  Or vertical. Or-”

 

“So you’ve been wanting sex all this time?”

 

Well now, that just made him sound pathetic.  “I’d have been willing to.  I wasn’t panting after you or something.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“That didn’t come till after we were… friends.”

 

Aziraphale visibly brightened.  “Really? When?”

 

“I dunno exactly.”  Crowley waved his hand negligently.  “Early nineteen hundreds maybe? Things were different after I woke up from the nineteenth century, yeah?”

 

“They were,” Aziraphale admitted.  “I- I missed you, while you were sleeping.”  He went on before Crowley could say something smug.  “But whyever didn’t you say anything, my dear?”

 

Crowley shrugged - or as much as he could with one arm still around Aziraphale.  “Just figured you weren’t interested. You’d always been sexless from what I could tell,” - what he didn’t say was that he’d been very carefully watching for any sign of change on that front - “so it seemed like a moot point.”

 

“And it never crossed your mind to try and… tempt me?”

 

“Neither of our head offices would’ve liked that.”

 

“Surely tempting an angel to-”

 

“They wouldn’t have liked it the way it would have ended up,” Crowley interrupted.  “I’ve tempted you to many things over our time together. A second helping of dessert.  One more glass of wine. A little sloth on a particularly fine day. But I’ve never wanted you to Fall, Aziraphale.  If I’d tried to get you into my bed, it wouldn’t have been temptation.  It would have been seduction.”

 

Aziraphale thought about that.  Really, he’d known, even before the Arrangement, that Crowley wasn’t that kind of demon.  They might’ve been wileing and thwarting each other, but not themselves.  It hadn’t ever been an issue.  Of course Crowley wouldn’t have tried to use debauching Aziraphale to get in his bosses’ good graces.  But it did fill him with a warm kind of satisfaction to know that if they could’ve bedded each other, there would have been love involved even back then.

 

“If we hadn’t been on opposite sides, so to speak… I would’ve let you.”

 

“Yeah?  When? When did it start for you?”

 

“Well technically, only a few days ago.  But physical allowances aside-” he blew out a sigh as he thought.  “Mid century? That business with the church bombing might’ve given me some ideas.  I could’ve kissed you when you pulled that case out of the rubble unscathed. Or maybe when I finally agreed to get you that Holy Water.  Realizing that you might be putting yourself in real danger for it sort of… woke me up. Made me think about what life would be like without you.  It wasn’t a pleasant thought.”

 

“And that related to sex how?”

 

Aziraphale squirmed a little.  “It also made me realize… all the things I hadn’t done and said.  It was just an idea though. Obviously I couldn’t act on it. Though I’ll admit, there were times, when we were raising Warlock…”

 

“Wha- The female nanny is what did it for you?  Really?”

 

“No!  Of course not!”

 

Just when Crowley was starting to relax, Aziraphale added, “What you look like doesn’t make any difference to me at all.”

 

Crowley scowled.  “What do you mean?”

 

“...what?”

 

Crowley turned so that he could look Aziraphale in the eye, his face somber.  “Aziraphale, are you actually attracted to me?”

 

“Of course!”

 

“What about me, then?”

 

“Well, the way you do this soft little half smile when you think no one is looking.  The way you touch my lower back when ushering me through a door. How funny you are - you really are so clever-”

 

“No, angel, those are things you like about me.  And while that’s all well and good, that’s not the same thing as attraction.  Attraction is a pull. A physical desire for someone else's body.”

 

“I do thoroughly enjoy your corporation.”

 

“But?”

 

“But… but I would love you even if you didn’t look like this any more.  It really doesn’t matter to me. Is- is that a bad thing?”

 

Crowley sighed.  In a rare display of open affection, he cupped Aziraphale’s face and kissed his forehead.  “No. It’s not.” There was a beat of silence, and then he asked quietly, “is there anything you’ve got particular preference to?  I can’t do a full body overhaul without paperwork, but I could make a few changes here and there if there are any traits you-”

 

“No.” Aziraphale looked ill at just the suggestion.  “I don’t want you to change anything about yourself for me.”

 

He sounded so earnest, so sincere, that Crowley could only nod and press another kiss to his forehead.  It seemed obvious to Crowley, in hindsight, that of course his angel’s attraction would be based almost solely on his romantic feelings.  It certainly wasn’t a new notion. The humans had even come up with a name for it when categorizing everyone’s orientation had come into fashion.  It made perfect sense that Aziraphale would fall into that group.

 

What had made Crowley panic, had rendered him momentarily stupid enough to forget that such a thing as demisexuality existed, was the sudden fear that Aziraphale might not have wanted him at all.  That his feelings might have been totally platonic, or even romantic, but not sexual at all.  That maybe he’d stopped being sexless, that he’d taken Crowley to bed, only because he thought Crowley wanted it.

 

Crowley prided himself on being a bastard, but the thought that Aziraphale might have been anything less than enthusiastically consenting to what they’d done had petrified him.

 

“Do you think,” Aziraphale asked softly, interrupting Crowley’s thoughts, “if I hadn’t… turned on, on my own, you ever would’ve asked?”

 

Crowley made another stilted shrug.  “Probably not.”

 

“You’d have just gone on like we were forever?”

 

“I mean, obviously I prefer this, but yeah, I’d have been happy to-” He stopped, realizing the words his brain had supplied next were absolute romantic twaddle.  No way he was going to say that. He looked down at Aziraphale, who was looking up at him with those wide, guileless eyes. Damnit. “HappyToHaveYouInMyLifeAnyWayICouldHaveYou,” he spat in one long rush.

 

Aziraphale put a hand to his mouth and stifled a soft gasp.  “Oh Crowley.”

 

Crowley glared at him venomously.  “Not. Another. Word,” he warned. Aziraphale mimed zipping his lips, which did nothing to hide his grin, and laid his head on Crowley’s chest.  A moment later, his finger was tracing softly across Crowley’s abdomen. Letters, Crowley realized.

 

I L O V E Y O U T O O

 

Damn sappy angel.

 

***

 

Later on that afternoon, Crowley left to water - and by that he meant terrorize - his plants.  When he returned, he found Aziraphale at his desk, looking curiously at an envelope.

 

“What’s that?” he asked, checking his fingernails for lingering dirt.

 

“I- I’m not sure.”  Aziraphale showed him the envelope, which was addressed to Mr Aziraphale and Crowley in atrociously sloppy writing.  “The postman delivered it a moment ago, but there’s no postage.”

 

“You don’t think it's-”

 

“They don’t usually go through the mail, parcels of the apocalypse excepting.”

 

“Open it,” Crowley urged.

 

With somewhat unsteady fingers, Aziraphale cut open the envelope.  Inside was a single sheet of cheap notebook paper.

 

Mr Aziraphale and Crowley,

 

I had a dream that you two ran into some trouble.  I thought maybe it was just a dream, because you were in the wrong bodies, but then I realized it was a trick.  A good one, too. Anyways, that wasn’t really ‘leaving people alone’ like I asked, so I’ve taken care of things.  You won’t be bothered again. Not while I’m around, anyways. No idea what’ll happen after that. Just thought you’d like to know.

 

Adam

 

Crowley let out a low whistle.

 

“What do you think he means, taken care of things ?”

 

“No idea,” Crowley answered truthfully.  “But I certainly wouldn’t want to be the ones that were on the other end of it.”

 

“Quite,” Aziraphale agreed.  “So, not entirely a human life for him after all.”

 

“So it would seem.  Guess the little scamp kept a few tricks up his sleeve.”

 

“Indeed.”  He sighed, setting aside the letter carefully.  “While a wholly human existence might’ve been easier for Adam, I’ll admit I’m grateful he chose otherwise.  As successful as our little trick was, this,” he gestured to the letter, “is a relief. We’ve really got it.”

 

“Got what?”

 

“Free will.  A chance at a life on our own terms.”

 

“Well then,” Crowley said, drawing close and brushing his fingers down Aziraphale’s jaw.  “Let’s make the most of it.”

 

***

 

Crowley was fairly certain that he wasn’t capable of having a heart attack.  His corporation was built of sterner stuff than that, and plaque wouldn’t dare stick to his arteries.  Still, he was increasingly convinced the angel was trying to give him one.

 

Not even a full day after their reassuring letter from the former antichrist, Crowley had been once again terrorizing his plants when he got a call from Aziraphale.  A few weeks ago, that wouldn’t have given him pause. But considering he’d only left the book shop an hour before, it seemed odd. He’d answered, planning to ask flippantly if Aziraphale already missed him, but had instead been met with a tense, nearly panicked voice.

 

“Crowley!  Oh, it’s terrible!  You must come-”

 

That was all the more Crowley heard, because he was already disintegrating into a string of electrons, racing through the phone line to Aziraphale’s side.  He didn’t have time to think about what exactly might be wrong, or what he was going to do. His only thought was that Aziraphale was in danger and Crowley needed to be there.

 

He materialized on the other end of Aziraphale’s phone with a crackle of static and, curiously enough, a tyre iron in his hand.  Then again, if a tyre iron had been weapon enough against the King of Hell, he supposed it was as good a choice as any. He dropped into a fighting stance with his back to Aziraphale and looked around for the danger.

 

“Oh my word!  What on earth?”

 

“What’s the problem?” Crowley demanded, still searching for trouble.  “What’s going on?”

 

Aziraphale huffed, holding his mangled phone at arms length.  “I could very well ask you the same thing!”

 

Sensing that he’d misread the situation, Crowley straightened.  “You’re not in danger?”

 

“I’m in danger all right!  The whole shop’s in danger!  My way of life is in danger! But that certainly doesn’t explain this!”  He gestured with the phone.

 

Crowley’s evaporating fear turned to frustration.  “You,” he seethed, pointing at Aziraphale accusingly, “called me, after I’d only been gone an hour, claiming something terrible was happening, and you don’t understand why I popped half a dozen telephone transformers to get here as fast as I could?!”

 

“Oh.”  Aziraphale suddenly looked abashed.

 

“Don’t you oh me!  Is your life in immediate danger?” Crowley demanded.

 

“No.”

 

“Is the world about to end?”

 

“...no.”

 

“Then maybe,” he fumed, “consider a different phone tactic when calling a demon who has been through hellfire and holy water the past week and is idiot enough to want to keep you alive!”

 

“Oh my dear, I’m so very sorry.  Please, sit down.” He took Crowley’s arm and ushered him to the couch.  Though usually Aziraphale turned his nose up at miracled tea, he materialized two cups and set them on the table.  “I apologize. That was terribly thoughtless of me. Truly.” With gentle hands, he pried the tyre iron out of Crowley’s numb fingers.  He was considerate enough not to even ask why Crowley had thought it an appropriate weapon. “I didn’t mean to give you such an awful fright.  And you so gallantly came to my rescue. I’m touched, Crowley. I really am.”

 

Crowley grunted, uninterested in apologies.  Now that the fear and anger had evaporated, he was left feeling quite foolish for his mad dash to Aziraphale’s side.  “Should have left you to your fate.”

 

Aziraphale knew better than to take offense.  He only smiled and kissed Crowley’s brow affectionately.  Crowley maintained his scowl and tried to regain his composure by draining both cups of tea.  “So, what was it that had you all aflutter, if not imminent discorporation?”

 

“Oh, it truly is awful, Crowley!  The lovely old building across the street has just been bought.  And- and-”

 

“And what?”

 

“And they’re putting a Starbucks in it!”  Aziraphale collapsed dramatically back against the couch.

 

“Bloody hell!   That’s all this fiasco has been over?  So there’s one more soulless coffee shop in London.  I’ve already apologized for outrageously overpriced coffee.  It was years ago, and I had no idea how far the humans were going to run with the idea!”

 

“No, no, no!  It’s going right there!”  He pointed out the dusty front windows, across the street.  “It’s going to draw scads of people!”

 

“So?”

 

“So?  So, what do people do in chain coffee shops like that?”

 

“Uh, drink coffee?”

 

“They read, Crowley!  I have a hard enough time finding creative ways to keep customers out of my shop as it is!  They’re going to pop over here looking for something to flip through while they sip their frappa-whipped- whatevers.  And my books are not meant to be coffee stained on cheap vinyl counter tops!”  He was practically vibrating with tension, eyes wild. Crowley reconsidered what constituted an emergency.  Clearly, this was a serious issue.

 

“Alright, calm down angel.  Deep breaths.” He took one of Aziraphale’s hands in his own and used the other to dramatically mimic inhaling and exhaling.  “That’s it. In and out. Good.” After a few moments, Aziraphale relaxed. Crowley smiled. “There now. Much better. Let’s take this from the top, shall we?  You’re worried that a coffee shop moving in across the street will draw in customers.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Setting aside the fact that most business owners think customers are a good thing, I fail to see the problem.  Miracle them away.”

 

“Every customer?”

 

“The coffee shop people!  Wouldn’t be the first time you sent someone on their way and they didn’t come back.”

 

“But I can’t!”

 

Crowley raised a brow.  “Can’t?”

 

“I shouldn’t.  They’re not trying to hurt anyone, heartless as they are.  And, well… I’m trying not to do that any more.”

 

“Vanish people?”

 

“Big miracles.  Not if I can help it.  After everything we’ve been through…  I know we fooled them, and there’s whatever Adam did, but I just don’t see the point in drawing any undo attention to ourselves.  We really should refrain from kicking the bee hive.”

 

Crowley wanted to argue - but if his jaunt through the phone line and the tyre iron at Aziraphale’s feet were any indication, he wasn’t one hundred percent sure they were out of hot water, either.  He sighed.

 

“Alright.  Give me an hour.  I’ll see what I can do.”

 

Aziraphale brightened, but he remained cautious.  “Without any big miracles?”

 

“Pinky promise.”

 

“I’ll hold you to that.”  Aziraphale smiled, obviously relieved.  “Thank you, Crowley.” He pulled the demon in for a hug.  Crowley grumbled and disentangled himself.

 

“Yeah, yeah.”  Still grumbling, he pulled his mobile out of his pocket and walked outside to start making calls.

 

***

 

In fifty eight minutes, Crowley walked back into the book shop.  “There,” he said, giving his phone a satisfied tap. “Problem solved.”

 

Aziraphale looked hopeful.  “No major miracles?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“No, er- nasty mishaps for any of the humans?”

 

“None.  I think one of them might even get a promotion.”

 

Aziraphale grinned and kissed Crowley soundly on both cheeks.  Crowley’s insides absolutely did not flutter.  “However did you accomplish it?”

 

Crowley shrugged, feigning nonchalance despite the fact that he was still focused on the not-fluttering.  “Easy. I bought the building.”

 

“You- you bought the building?”

 

Another shrug.  “Any problems that can’t be solved with miracles, can be solved with money.”

 

“But it must have cost a fortune!”

 

“A few thousand years of well placed investments tends to make a demon fabulously wealthy.  Don’t tell me you don’t have a small fortune by now.”

 

“Well yes, but I’m frugal!”

 

Crowley barked out a laugh.  “Oh don’t you talk to me about frugality.  How much did you spend on that first edition of Les Misérables?”

 

“I was the one that bought it when it first printed!  Victor signed it for me! I was only buying it back after an unfortunate misplacement.”  Despite Aziraphale’s best effort, Crowley did not look as though he was buying the excuses.  “It had sentimental value!”

 

“Ah, well of course you had to spend enough to buy a small island on it then.”  Crowley smirked. “Then think of this as a sentimental purchase. I certainly do.”

 

Aziraphale had no argument to that, nor indeed did he really want one.  Not only had his problem been effectively solved, but Crowley had made a touchingly romantic gesture.  It was all rather perfect.

 

“Thank you, darling.”

 

Crowley made a strangled sound and his outrageously high cheekbones blossomed with color.  Before Aziraphale had a chance to appreciate the sight, Crowley was dragging him up the stairs to bed.  Aziraphale grinned the whole way.

 

***

 

“So what are you going to do with it?” Aziraphale asked the next morning.  He was sipping strong tea and looking out the dingy shop windows to the empty building across the street.

 

“Hm?”  Crowley didn’t even look up from the magazine he was idly flipping through.

 

“Your new acquisition.”  He pointed with his mug.

 

“Oh that?  Dunno. Let it sit vacant for a few decades?  It’ll be a great attraction for vandals.” Crowley glanced up in time to catch Aziraphale’s appalled expression.  He laughed. Aziraphale snatched the magazine out of his hand and smacked him with it.

 

“You rogue.”  The insult came out sounding fond, and Crowley preened as if it had been praise.  With an indulgent sigh, Aziraphale started to hand the magazine back. He paused, however, when he saw the cover.   Planters Paradise.  Crowley did have an impressive number of house plants.  Of course, Aziraphale had never been so tactless as to comment on the veritable Eden that the demon had created for himself in his flat.  Still, it did give Aziraphale an idea.

 

Crowley noticed Aziraphale staring at the magazine.  “If you’re looking for decent botanical magazine, don’t bother with that one.”  He waved at the offending periodical dismissively. “A shameful display. To think they put that lackluster frangipani on the cover.”

 

“Crowley,” Aziraphale said slowly, savoring the words the way only someone who is absolutely delighted by what they’re about to say can, “you should open a flower shop!”

 

Crowley stared, uncomprehending.  He twitched. His eyebrows drew together.  Then he laughed. And laughed. Aziraphale was starting to get perturbed by the time Crowley wiped his eyes and caught his breath.

 

“Well?”

 

“Well what?”

 

“Well,” Aziraphale said testily, “uproarious laughter is not actually an answer.”

 

“Oh angel, you can’t be serious.”  He blinked, and realized that Aziraphale really was serious.  “Come on, me, as a shop owner?  Its ridiculous. And a flower shop?  I don’t even like the damn things.”

 

Aziraphale’s eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline.  His you do was both silent and very pointed.

 

“Ridiculous,” Crowley repeated, though less vehemently.  “A demon running a flower shop. What an idea.”

 

Aziraphale’s silence grew even louder.

 

“Besides, if I were to take the time and energy to grow decent plants, and mine wouldn’t dare be anything but, I wouldn’t just sell them to any idiot human who came in off the street!”

 

“And you think I sell my books to anyone who comes in off the street?”

 

“You almost never sell books!”

 

Aziraphale smiled.  “Precisely.”

 

Well, that did change things a bit.  Crowley was already envisioning an entire building dedicated to his glossy foliage.  Rows and rows of beautiful plants terrorized into perfection. And if any of them underperformed, he could let them be bought by some moron who would likely over water them, under sun them, and let them be chewed on by housecats.  A fitting punishment.

 

He shook his head to clear it.  “No! Absolutely not. Besides, if we aren’t doing any big miracles, we can’t stay here for more than a few decades longer.  The humans are dense, but they’d eventually notice we don’t age. All that work setting up a shop that we’d just have to leave.”

 

“We’ll find trustworthy stewards and go away for a few decades,” Aziraphale explained.  He’d already been giving thought to his own shop. Though admittedly, the idea of entrusting his books to some human did unnerve him.  “Then we come back as descendants of the original owner. Problem solved.”

 

Crowley did not look convinced.  “Go away where? It’s not as though we haven’t seen the entire world.”

 

“You know as well as I do that the Earth is ever changing.  We could go round it entirely and by the time we returned, our starting point would have become a completely different place.”  He began preparing another cup of tea, considering possibilities. “Though I rather prefer a different idea.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Well, we are retired now.  I think it might be nice to actually experience retired life.  For a while, anyways. We could get a little cottage somewhere.  Play cards. Drink too much wine. Read books in large print.”

 

“And that would be different from now in what way?”

 

“Well we’d be at the sea-side.”

 

“Ah.”  Sarcasm aside, Crowley could admit that he did like the idea of being holed up in a little cottage with Aziraphale for a few decades.  Just to clarify, he asked, “One cottage?”

 

“Er, I would- or rather, we could- Really, it makes the most sense, financially.”  He latched on to the excuse as though it was a life raft. “Cozy little cottages can be so expensive, after all.  And one never knows how the world market will go.  Wouldn’t do to put all our financial eggs in one basket, so to speak.”

 

“Sage advice.”

 

Aziraphale smiled, warming to the outrageous excuse.  “You know, if we were being smart, we would move in together now.”

 

Crowley tipped his head to the side innocently, trying to hide exactly how much he was enjoying this.  “Oh?”

 

“Sort of a test run, you know, to make sure we’ll do well in the cottage together.  And think of the rent money you’d save. And less mileage on the Bentley, not having to go back and forth.  Practical is what it would be. Very-” he trailed off as he watched Crowley rise slowly from the couch. “Very-” Crowley stalked over, his eyes heated.  “Really…”

 

Crowley stopped with only a hair’s breadth between them and brought his hands up to frame Aziraphale’s face.  “Angel, are you asking me to move in with you?”

 

“...yes?”

 

To answer, Crowley kissed him.  And kissed him. And didn’t stop kissing him till they’d made it upstairs, and by then his mouth became occupied with another part of Aziraphale’s anatomy entirely.

 

***

 

After much deliberation, Aziraphale convinced Crowley that poofing all this belongings into the book shop would be one of the big miracles they were trying to avoid.  Because of this, Crowley was taking his sweet time moving things. He was a creature unused to manual labor of any kind, and refused to exert himself for more than a few minutes a day.  Two plants - which Crowley would have brought across town in person anyways, he wouldn’t risk poofing his prized collection - a nightstand, and his bed had thus far been transferred into the flat above the shop.

 

Aziraphale had thought the bed unnecessary, as he already had his own, but Crowley insisted.  When he’d mentioned ‘special features,’ Aziraphale had gone scarlet and agreed without further comment.

 

Crowley hung a suit in the closet - Aziraphale had also talked him into buying a few rather than creating them all - and then collapsed dramatically back onto the bed.

 

“Now, now, it wasn’t as tiring as all of that.”  Aziraphale stood back and looked proudly at the now shared closet.  It really said something about their relationship, he thought. A shared closet was serious.  Even if one of them hadn’t before even used one.

 

“The work itself wasn’t tiring, no, but it was mind numbingly boring, and that was exhausting.”

 

Aziraphale pouted.  Crowley resolutely ignored it.  Aziraphale changed tack.

 

“Well then, why don’t we find a way to… spice the evening up?”

 

Crowley’s head rose.  One eye opened. “Oh?”

 

“We could, perhaps, try something new?”  Aziraphale called upon every ounce of his newly emboldened sexuality to keep from blushing.  “Something that, unless I’m very much mistaken, we have been working towards for some time now?”

 

“It wasn’t-” Crowley cleared his throat, his voice having gone curiously high.  “It wasn’t an inevitable conclusion or anything.”

 

“But if it’s what I wanted?”

 

“I’m sure as hell not saying no,” Crowley exclaimed.

 

“Well, then.”  Aziraphale smiled, emboldened by how flustered Crowley seemed.  It was a refreshing change of pace. “Shall we?”

 

“Oh, angel, I’m going to wipe that satisfied little smirk off your face and replace it with something else entirely.”

 

“I look forward to it.”

 

Thirty minutes later, Aziraphale’s eyes were squeezed shut, his mouth was slack, and his skin was glistening with sweat.  Crowley flicked his tongue and curled his fingers at the same time, and Aziraphale arched off the bed with a hoarse cry of pleasure.  It was only Crowley’s hand wrapped tightly at the base of his cock that kept Aziraphale from coming.

 

When Crowley’s touch gentled and Aziraphale had his breath back, he resorted to mindlessly begging.  “Crowley- Crowley, please… please-”

 

“Not yet,” Crowley hissed softly.  He had three fingers in him, and Aziraphale was more than ready, but there was a decidedly demonic part of Crowley that was roaring with satisfaction at having the angel blinded with pleasure and begging him for more.  His own throbbing erection was practically an afterthought to the way Aziraphale submitted to him so beautifully.

 

Of course he’d wanted to fuck Aziraphale right from the beginning.  The moment he’d felt Aziraphale’s cock pressed against him, a thousand sexual scenarios had gone through his mind, and at least half of them had involved his cock buried inside Aziraphale.  But he’d meant it when he said that he hadn’t wanted to skip over anything. There wasn’t any need to rush Aziraphale into what was only one of many kinds of sex.  The fact that it happened to be the one that Crowley was most looking forward to was beside the point.

 

He knew he was possessive by nature, and the idea of possessing Aziraphale…  He curled his fingers again and moaned in pleasure while Aziraphale writhed beneath him.

 

“Please, please,” Aziraphale was whispering raggedly.  “I need you.  Please-”

 

“Tell me you’re mine,” Crowley demanded.

 

“Yes!  Yours!  Yours, Crowley, I’m yours, I’m your-” he cut off with a gasp as Crowley finally released his cock and pulled his fingers out.  All he could do was whimper.

 

Every instinct in him was demanding that Crowley mount Aziraphale and ravage him - but there was time for that later.  This time, it was about making the angel feel every moment of this.  Making him so overwhelmed with pleasure that he would want this every night.  Making him feel how much Crowley adored him, even if he didn’t say the words.

 

He positioned himself, let the head of his cock rub tantalizingly along the slick trail his fingers had left, and then slowly, carefully, pressed forward.

 

It was in-fucking-credible.

 

Aziraphale was already clamping rhythmically around him, greedy for as much as Crowley could give him.  He leaned down, careful not to let his abdomen touch Aziraphale’s straining erection, and pressed their lips together.  Aziraphale clung to him like a port in the storm. He breathed in Crowley’s exhalations as though they were the only thing keeping him alive.  His hips bucked, driving Crowley deeper into him.

 

Finally, Crowley’s hips were pressed against the cradle of Aziraphale’s thighs, and it seemed as though time stood still.  All that existed was an angel and a demon and a sea of pleasure that they were both lost on. Hearts thundered. Breath stopped.  Nerve endings caught fire.

 

And then everything rushed forward at an impossible speed.  They moved together, bodies straining towards completion unlike anything they’d ever known.  Every thrust drove them closer, every kiss-stifled moan lifting them higher and higher. Then in one explosion of sensation, the world dissolved around them.

 

When Aziraphale came back to himself, his body was quaking with aftershocks and Crowley was still inside him.  The pleasure was still a sweet ache lingering in his core. It was more than physical, though. Aziraphale was a being of love.  He said it with absolute sincerity on a regular basis. Crowley, though… He wasn’t any ordinary demon, but words of adoration still weren’t his style.  No, he might not have said the words, but he showed Aziraphale how he felt.  Every caress, every kiss, was a declaration of love.  Every time Crowley took him to bed (or anywhere else for that matter) Aziraphale felt the adoration being painted on his skin.  Etched into his heart.

 

In that moment, any reservations that might’ve been lingering about Crowley’s sexual appetites dissolved.  There was nothing Crowley could want that Aziraphale wouldn’t want to share with him. Nothing Crowley could suggest that Aziraphale wouldn’t gladly consent to.  Every part of him, body and soul, belonged to Crowley. And it was a gift he’d given gladly, because he’d gotten so much more in return. Crowley was his, too.

 

He groaned a little as Crowley gently untangled their bodies, from the sudden emptiness rather than any pain.  Still, Crowley kissed away the sound and then settled them under the covers. Aziraphale laced their fingers together.

 

“I love you,” he sighed, nuzzling closer.  Crowley threw a leg possessively over Aziraphale’s hip and rested his head against Aziraphale’s wildly mussed curls.

 

“Go to sleep, angel.”

 

Aziraphale smiled, and did just that.

 

***

 

Two weeks later, Crowley was officially moved into Aziraphale’s little flat above the shop.  Most of his plants were in his own shop across the street (because Aziraphale had the terrible habit of coddling them) but one lone fern decorated the bedside table.

 

It had heard things no decent plant should hear.

 

It was currently trying very hard not to listen to the argument taking place between its master and the rather kindly angel that always overwatered it behind Crowley’s back.

 

“What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?” Crowley demanded.

 

“There’s no call for that tone,” Aziraphale chided.  “I think you know exactly what it means.”

 

“No, no, you spell it out for me.  I want to hear you say it.”

 

Aziraphale sighed.  Really, this was turning out to be far more difficult than he’d thought.  “I’ve known you for more than six millennia, Crowley. I can certainly tell when you’re holding something back.”

 

“And what, just because I’m a demon, I must be secretly into BDSM or S&M?”

 

“That isn’t what I said-”

 

“Oh shut up, you don’t even know what those are!”

 

“I beg to differ,” Aziraphale shot back.  “I’m quite informed on the matter.”

 

Crowley scoffed.  “What, have you been hiding voyeuristic tendencies all this time?  Or are you going to tell me you read about it in some informative antique erotica?”

 

“If you must know, there were far more lessons at my gentleman’s club than just how to dance.”

 

Crowley gaped at him.  “No!”

 

Aziraphale blushed and hurried to clarify.  “I didn’t participate, you understand, but I’m always keen to acquire new knowledge, and- and-” He fidgeted under Crowley’s still-shocked stare.  “It’s not as though back then they called it by those acronyms specifically,” he mumbled. “But one got the gist anyways.”

 

“You dirty, dirty boy,” Crowley purred.  Already, all the offence he’d taken at Aziraphale assuming he’d want rough sex had melted away.  The fact that the angel had been right in no way affected his reaction.  But if Aziraphale had brought it up because he was interested… well that was something else all together.  He stepped closer and walked his fingers slowly up the front of Aziraphale’s shirt.  “And during these… lessons, were you intrigued by what you learned?”

 

Aziraphale swallowed hard.  Crowley’s proximity seemed to make it difficult for him to think straight, especially when he had that look in his eyes.  “At the time, it was just- idle curiosity.  But now-”

 

“But now?”

 

“Well now everything that I’ve ever heard about sex is something that I’d try with you.  Even things I haven’t ever heard of, I’d want to try with you.  If you wanted to slather me in peanut butter and put me between two slices of bread I’d ask if you preferred rye or pumpernickel!”  He sighed. “You must know by now that, immediate physical sensations aside, the thing that gives me the most pleasure with sex is giving myself over to you.  It’s letting you have your way with me, it’s acting out every scenario you come up with, it’s giving myself to you unconditionally because my pleasure is yours and your pleasure is mine.  And there is so much faith, and trust, and love in that- that even if it comes with pain and possession and giving up every ounce of control, there is an exquisite beauty in it.  And that is what I want to share with you.”

 

Again, all Crowley could do was stare, but this time he wasn’t just shocked.  He was rocked to his very core. When Aziraphale had first brought up ‘rough sex,’ Crowley had bristled.  He’d been offended, he’d denied it. Because, despite what he truly did want, he had been so sure Aziraphale wouldn’t see it the right way.  “I… I thought you wouldn’t understand,” he admitted quietly. “I thought you’d think it was just about hurting someone. And I’ve never - in all this time, I swear to you angel - I’ve never wanted to truly hurt you.”

 

“I know that, my darling.”  Aziraphale cupped Crowley’s face in his hands.  “Do you see, now?”

 

The corner of Crowley’s mouth quirked up and he chuckled.  “Don’t try and convince me that me having my wicked - and I do mean wicked - way with you is some act of true love.”

 

“I don’t have to convince you,” Aziraphale whispered, bringing their foreheads together.  “You already believe it.”

 

They shared that moment, quiet and still, and then Crowley growled.  “On the bed, angel. Now.”

 

***

 

Aziraphale now knew, first hand, what some of the special features Crowley’s bed had.  Well first hand and second hand, because they were both currently attached to velvet lined cuffs that had been built into the headboard.  His ankles too had been cuffed, and he was spread-eagle on the silk sheets.

 

At first he’d thought the position would be too restrictive for any real sexual activity, but Crowley quickly proved him wrong.  Being tied down like that left him helpless (assuming he didn’t perform any miracles, and he had no intention to) and made him feel vulnerable in a way that was more arousing than frightening.  Also, having his movement so restricted highlighted just how much he wanted to move.  Every twitch, every jerk, every arch, was cut short.  There was no room to edge away from the ever increasing pleasure.  All he could do was lie there and take it.

 

It was incredible.

 

And of course, he knew that the main event hadn’t even begun.

 

As if he’d heard Aziraphale’s thoughts, Crowley snapped his fingers, and the cuffs suddenly came untethered from the bedframe.  Before Aziraphale could react, Crowley flipped him onto his stomach. Aziraphale started to rise, and Crowley shoved him back down with one hand pressed between his shoulder blades.  With another snap, the wrist cuffs bound themselves together and then attached to the middle of the headboard. Crowley pushed Aziraphale’s knees up under him, then parted them roughly.

 

Aziraphale’s face flamed, but he moaned in arousal.  The ankle cuffs tightened again, keeping him locked into place.  He thought he knew what the new position meant… but Crowley proved him wrong again.  Instead of slick fingers or even the blunt head of a cock, it was something hot and wet and agile Aziraphale felt slide along the curve of his arse.  He yelped as it flicked against ultra-sensitive skin, then moaned as it started to lap at him.

 

Crowley’s tongue.

 

There wasn’t even time for Aziraphale to be shocked, because all he could do was feel.  It was sliding over him, twisting, lapping, then slipping inside him-  And then Crowley’s hand was tight around Aziraphale’s cock, urging him on even while preventing him from coming.  It was a delicious torment.

 

He whimpered when Crowley’s mouth moved down, leaving biting kisses along his inner thighs.  He was going to have a bouquet of marks on his skin, and the thought only made him more aroused.  The idea of Crowley leaving his literal mark on Aziraphale… a crimson brand of ownership on his body… He moaned as he felt another one blossom under Crowley’s lips and tongue.

 

Finally, one of Crowley’s long, dexterous fingers slid inside him.  It was slick, but there hadn’t been any of the teasing that Crowley usually did.  Aziraphale jolted at the sensation of it. With almost no pause, a second one pushed in.  He cried out as he felt the first burn of stretching.

 

“That’s it, love.  You can take it.” Crowley’s voice was darker than Aziraphale had ever heard it.  “Just think of how much more my cock is going to open you up.” He curled his fingers and Aziraphale saw stars.  He was still clenching from the pleasure of that when another finger was thrust in. Now the burn was dancing on the edge of outright pain, juxtaposed with the incredible pleasure of those fingers manipulating his prostate.  It made the pleasure sharper, his every sense heightened. “I’m going to stuff you full,” Crowley promised in a whisper. “Ride you until you’re sobbing my name and then pump you full of my come.” He curled his fingers again, scissoring and twisting them at the same time.  “That’s what you want, isn’t it, angel? For me to use this body of yours, to slake my lust on it, to show you that you belong to me?”

 

It was a question, but they both already knew the answer.  Still, Aziraphale moaned, “yes.”

 

Crowley stroked his prostate again as if in reward, then pulled out.  Before Aziraphale could lament the loss, the head of Crowley’s cock was there, just barely breaching him, a threat and a promise. Aziraphale shivered in anticipation.  Crowley splayed one hand high on Aziraphale’s back, keeping him pinned down, and held his hip in a bruising grip with the other. He couldn’t move. Could only breathe, and wait.  Then, in one thrust, Crowley buried himself deep.

 

From there, everything was sharp, bright, biting sensation.  Crowley’s hips slamming against his arse, the building pressure inside him, beads of sweat gathering on his skin-  And then oh, Crowley’s hand slid up and fisted in Aziraphale’s hair.  He tugged sharply, making Aziraphale’s head snap up, his spine arching, his arse turning up so that it could take Crowley even deeper, and Aziraphale thought he would come right that moment.

 

He didn’t want to orgasm - not yet.  He didn’t want this ever to end.

 

“Are you going to come for me?”

 

Aziraphale tried to answer, but he couldn’t produce more than moans.  “I know you can, angel. I know all it takes to make you spill is having my cock up this greedy arse of yours.  Show me how much you love this. Come for me, Aziraphale.”

 

There was no denying the command.  Aziraphale felt release crash through him like a hurricane.  Pleasure stole his every thought. He knew his lips were moving, but it wasn’t until several moments later that he realized he was sobbing Crowley’s name.

 

He was still quaking with aftershocks when the cuffs dropped away.  Crowley maneuvered Aziraphale flat on his stomach… but hadn’t pulled out.  When he had Aziraphale prone beneath him, he started thrusting again.

 

Aziraphale whimpered from the overstimulation.  It was almost more than he could take. Crowley ran his hands up Aziraphale’s back, along his outstretched arms, and threaded their fingers together.  His hips continued their sinuous roll. “That’s it, love,” he murmured. “Just a little more.” Aziraphale felt sore and wrung out and exhausted. This was nothing like the earlier volcanic ascent to climax.  It was like he’d entered another plane of thought entirely. As though his whole purpose was to receive Crowley, to drink in the sounds of his pleasure, to be nothing but the vessel of his desire. It was bliss.

 

Then Crowley sank his teeth into the crook of Aziraphale’s shoulder, his hips slammed home, and warmth pulsed between them.  Nothing had ever felt more right.

 

Aziraphale was half dazed as Crowley carefully withdrew and oh-so-gently cleaned them up.  He let himself be put under the covers and pulled into the circle of Crowley’s arms.

 

“You alright?” Crowley’s voice was gruff, but Aziraphale heard the concern in it.  He found the energy to smile.

 

“More than.”  Heavens, was that really him?  He sounded drunk.  Oh well.  This was better.

 

There was a long silence, and Aziraphale was just about to drift off when Crowley spoke again, his voice barely more than a whisper.

 

“It’s been an eternity since I last worshipped.  Nothing, since my fall, has ever even tempted me.”  He stroked his fingers lightly down Aziraphale’s arm, a ghost of a touch that made him shiver.  “But I will worship at the temple of your body every night for the rest of my existence, if you’ll let me.”

 

Aziraphale had no words to reply.  What could he say? There was no praise higher, no phrase of adoration more meaningful.  It wasn’t enough- it would never be enough- but eventually, Aziraphale said, “I love you.”

 

And he thought, just as he was dropping into an exhausted sleep, that he heard Crowley whisper it back.

 

***

 

Two days after the love bites had faded from the inside of Aziraphale’s thighs, Crowley stormed into the book shop with murder in his eyes.

 

“That’s it, I give up on humanity.  Call Adam, tell him we’re done with this place.  Pack your bags, angel. Alpha Centauri here we come.”

 

“What on Earth-  Crowley, now what’s all this about?”

 

“Human beings suck, and they deserve whatever fate Heaven and Hell have in store for them.”

 

“Crowley, you can’t mean th-” Aziraphale stopped, looking more closely at the upturned collar of Crowley’s jacket.  It was wiggling. “What is that?”  Before Crowley could answer, he pushed aside the rakishly flipped material to reveal a tiny ball of fur nestled against Crowley’s jaw.  He touched it gently. The ball of fluff hissed at him. “Is that a kitten?”

 

“According to the people driving in front of me on the M25, it’s a bit of refuse good for tossing out the fucking window at a hundred kilometers per hour!”

 

Aziraphale gasped in horror.  “No! Oh you poor little thing!”  He peered closer at the still hissing black mass, searching for injuries.  “Was it terribly hurt?”

 

“It certainly wasn’t a pretty sight.”  Crowley didn’t go into detail - it would only upset Aziraphale, and one of them needed to remain calm.  “I definitely used a noticeable amount of power handling the situation.”

 

“Of course you did what you had to do.  I just hope you also used some on the brutes who did such a terrible thing!”

 

Crowley’s smile was all demon.  “Oh, I did.”

 

“Good.”  Aziraphale kissed him.  “Now, let’s see if we can make this little survivor more comfortable.”  He reached for the kitten only to have it try and rake him with miniscule claws.  “Ah, feisty little thing.”

 

“Behave,” Crowley ordered, glaring down at it as best he could.  The effect was more comical than threatening. The kitten mewled at him.  “You’d better play nice with him, because he’s the only one that’ll offer you anything.  I already did my good deed for the century by rescuing you. Once you get off my shoulder you’re dead to me.”

 

“Crowley!”

 

Crowley ignored him and scooped the kitten up with a gentleness that belied his harsh words.  He set it into Aziraphale’s hand and leaned to give it a mock glare. “Now don’t get too cozy, little beast.  You’re off to torment some other couple as soon as you’re sorted out. Do you understand me?”

 

The kitten licked Crowley’s nose with a tiny pink tongue.  “Absolutely no shame,” Crowley declared, straightening up. “You’ll handle this won’t you, angel?”  The kitten was wiggling in Aziraphale’s fingers, obviously trying to get back to Crowley.

 

“I- I suppose.  What shall I-” He held up the cat.

 

“I don’t know!  Whatever convenient method of disposal comes to mind that doesn’t start with a flying lesson and end with eating asphalt.”

 

Aziraphale pursed his lips.  “Yes, thank you for all your input.  So helpful.”

 

Crowley took that as his cue to leave.  He gave a mocking bow to both angel and feline, then turned on his heel and left the shop.  He spent the rest of the afternoon nextdoor terrorizing his plants, both for their own good and to make himself feel better.

 

When he came home several hours later, he found Aziraphale already undressed and in bed.  There was a suspicious lump under the covers at his feet. He had little scratches on his hands.

 

“Please tell me the flat has been suddenly infested with enormous bedbugs, and that you lost a fight with a thorn bush.”

 

“Uh… yes?”

 

Crowley flipped up the blanket.  The kitten blinked up at him, then trilled happily when it recognized him.  Crowley swore in a way that would have made a sailor blush. The kitten scampered closer and immediately began to climb up Crowley’s arm.  He growled threateningly. The kitten curled up on his shoulder and began to purr.

 

“This,” he hissed at Aziraphale, “is your fault.”

 

Aziraphale noticed that despite his bluster, Crowley hadn’t removed the kitten from his shoulder.  He stifled his smile. “Oh?”

 

“You were supposed to get rid of it!”

 

“...whoopsie.”

 

He didn’t even attempt to sound contrite.

 

Crowley glared harder.  The kitten purred contentedly.  Aziraphale batted his eyes innocently.  “Fine!” Crowley snapped. “But if you think I’m cleaning a litter box, you’ve got another thing coming!”

 

“Of course, darling.”

 

“It’s going to be your cat.  You name it, you feed it, you-” he waved his hand, “do whatever mushy bonding shite pets need.”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“The things I put up with for you,” Crowley muttered exasperatedly as he stalked out of the room, kitten still happily snuggled under his chin.

 

Aziraphale smiled smugly.  He estimated that in six months, Blossom - which he’d already decided to name her - would be as terrifying as any hellhound, slinking among Crowley’s plants and keeping them properly afraid for their leaves, and still inseparable from the demon who had saved her.

 

Crowley would love it.

 

***

 

Aziraphale was, of course, right.

 

***

 

By years end, Crowley was amazed at how many ‘firsts’ he and Aziraphale still had.  Six milenia was a long time to spend with someone. You’d think things would get dull.  But for whatever reason, life with a stuffy, prim, ever-so-slightly wicked angel was never boring.

 

The sexual aspect of their relationship, which was wholly new, seemed like there was a never-ending string of things for them to try.  There was the first time he’d cut off Aziraphale’s air supply during sex, which had made the angel spout like a geyser. The first time they’d had sex outdoors - with the gentleman’s agreement that neither of them would miracle themselves out of sight, so that they could really enjoy the thrill of it, which Crowley ignored completely not only because he was no gentleman but also because no one was allowed to see Aziraphale in the throes of passion but him.  The first time Aziraphale had topped, which once he’d stopped fussing and fretting and just gone at it, he’d been in-fucking-credible, and opened the door to a thousand more first times yet to come.

 

Crowley thought it safe to guess they’d still be fucking like rabbits by the time the second apocalypse came.

 

There were other new things, too.  The first time Crowley sold a plant - which he’d done with exceeding reluctance and only because the human had been far too pathetic not to take care of the damn thing.  The first time they’d worn wedding rings - Aziraphale’s suggestion during a trip to look at cottages to buy, presumably to raise fewer questions about their personal lives - and if Crowley just happened to never take his off again, well that was pure sloth and had nothing to do with making a show of commitment to the angel.  The first time they took a trip together, just for the joy of it and not to do any tempting or thwarting.

 

And Crowley didn’t need to be a prophet to know that there would be many more first times.  The first time they left their shops and went to live in a little cottage by the sea, with too many plants and books, and a cat far too agile for its age.  The first time they returned to London, shocked and appalled at the state of things, and set about putting things back to order while the cat, who seemed to be living out its nine lives consecutively, dozed in a spot of sunshine.  

 

And even when that cycle began to repeat, decades spent here and there, and certain things became eternally unchanging, like a book and flower shop across the street from each other that never sold books or flowers, and a cat who was ageless, and a love that had existed secretly for thousands of years and would exist for thousands more openly and proudly…  Even then, there would still be more new things to discover, things to learn, things to experience. An eternity of life ahead of them that would never get boring, because they would experience it all side by side.