The bus ride back was quiet, as all bus rides past midnight are wont to be. Also, there was the little matter of an angel and a demon sitting next to each other for the first time in millennia. Neither of them were willing to acknowledge this, and if their knees or shoulders or hands brushed, that was simply ignored. Considering they had just averted the apocalypse, that should’ve been the last thing on their minds.
But supernatural priorities work surprisingly like human ones, at least in the case of Demon Crowley, Serpent and Tempter of Humanity. Also, traitor. He and Aziraphale both were, but anytime he thought of that, a sick feeling began to churn his gut. So he stayed silent and tried not to die of nerves before the bus even stopped.
It’s not a big deal , he told himself, like a liar. Just my flat.
Although it was more than that. It was Aziraphale going to see the place where Crowley spent his time when he wasn’t at the bookshop or wreaking mild havoc across London . He was going to see the plants and the throne and the answering machine where Crowley kept every single message Aziraphale had left. And he was going to see the bedroom. Which was, perhaps, the most terrifying thing Crowley could think of.
The entire thing had started in the Garden, like everything else had. As soon as Aziraphale said, with no small degree of embarrassment, that he had given away his flaming sword, Crowley was gone. Hook, line, and sinker. It only got worse from there. Centuries of quiet repressment and vague suggestions of temptation. Even fraternizing could be punishable by Falling. On Aziraphale’s side, anyways. Technically, Crowley wouldn’t be in trouble with the hosts of Hell if he and Aziraphale were involved , so to speak. But they weren’t—which was a crying shame, but wasn’t it always?
But now, with Armageddon successfully stopped, they weren’t on opposite sides of a drawn-out war. They were just two friends, stepping off the Oxford bus silently, walking side-by-side up to the door of Crowley’s flat. Clearing his throat, Crowley snapped himself out of his thoughts. He expected to find the door unlocked, so it opened as soon as he twisted the doorknob.
“Welcome to my den of iniquity and sin,” he hissed, opening the door for Aziraphale, who looked decidedly unimpressed. “The lair of an infernal creature, where I plot my evi —”
Aziraphale wrinkled his nose, looking past the doorway. “Is that a throne?”
Crowley sighed, stepping aside to let the angel in. “May as well do it in style.” And it had been on sale when he got it, some movie prop auction where Crowley was working a few minor temptations. He saw the throne and thought hey, may as well. It was embarrassing now that he remembered it, but he never really counted on anyone seeing it, much less Aziraphale.
“Not much furniture.” Aziraphale looked around. For Satan’s sake, was he just going to stand there and critique Crowley’s living space all night?
“Don’t really hang around here often,” Crowley muttered, locking the door behind him. Not that it would keep anyone out, but still. “Bedroom’s this way, angel.” As he strode past Aziraphale, he felt gratified by the deep blush he spotted on his friend’s cheeks. A benefit of sunglasses: nobody could catch you staring.
Aziraphale followed, only pausing for a moment to glance into the room of plants. Crowley sensed the incoming volley of questions and tried to subtly keep Aziraphale out, only to fail miserably and watch the leaves perk up towards the visitor.
“You all are so beautiful. Verdant, green. Not a spot on you. Absolutely stunning.” Aziraphale beamed at the plants, and Crowley couldn’t help but feel the most ridiculous spike of jealousy. Yes, he had worked hard on those plants. But the praise should be directed towards the gardener, not the gardened. Also, he wouldn’t exactly mind if he were to be called absolutely stunning by Aziraphale. Although he might discorporate out of sheer fluster.
“Yeah, yeah. Stop complimenting my plants,” he said, ushering Aziraphale from the room. “You can admire them later.”
“I didn’t know you gardened.” Something in the way Aziraphale said it foreshadowed more spiels about Crowley actually being a good person at heart or whatever. So he liked to grow things. That wasn’t a crime. And he yelled at them too, so really, he was still being perfectly diabolical. Even if he never did go through with his threats to kill the ones with leaf spots, instead depositing them in St. James’ Park for replanting.
“Don’t you dare call me nice.”
Aziraphale looked far too smug for an angel, his smile a bit too self-satisfied. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
Crowley reached the door to his bedroom, opened it without a second thought. It was mostly empty, except for a large bed with a shocking amount of pillows and a comforter the color of ink. There was also a broad, curtained window overlooking the street below, and a small nightstand where Crowley rarely put anything except a bottle of wine. Aziraphale quirked a lip at the black sheets but said nothing.
“I’ve never liked sleeping,” muttered Aziraphale. “Figured it was a waste of time.”
“Look, you’ve been doing nonstop miracles all day. And betrayed your side. And you’ve fought Satan. Rest.”
“ We did that. If I’m sleeping, so are you.”
Now, Crowley usually didn’t have a problem with sleeping. In fact, he loved indulging in it. But now he needed to stay awake. “Only one bed, angel. Feel like spooning?”
Aziraphale’s cheeks turned pink. “Pardon?”
“Nevermind. Get changed, I’ll join you later.”
Aziraphale snapped his fingers and his suit turned into a set of matching pajamas, a button up tartan shirt and loose pants. The look was so absurd that Crowley had to restrain a snort. He actually preferred to sleep naked, assuming he didn’t just fall asleep in his day clothes. But Aziraphale probably wouldn’t appreciate that, so Crowley just gazed on as Aziraphale slipped under the blanket. He looked good, white hair cast upon a black pillowcase. It was impossible not to stare.
Aziraphale burrowed into the bed, making a soft sound of contentment. “Smells like you. Will you sleep as well?”
“Yeah yeah, I’ll shimmy in soon.”
Crowley did not, in fact, shimmy in soon . Nor did he have any intention to.
Two hours later, Crowley sat by the window overlooking London, one leg against the windowsill, knee pressing into his bony chest, and the other hanging down off the ledge. It must’ve been past midnight already, although smoke and city lights had tainted the post-doomsday sky a muddled grey. He leaned back against the alcove and sighed, tracing the winding streets. Although he did usually like his sleep—a more human weakness he indulged in—tonight he had a much more important task.
If only he had some holy water left.
He started humming, if only as a method of distracting himself. Music had been a marvelous invention that only continued to grow better with the ages, despite Aziraphale insisting that quality music peaked in the nineteenth century. Although Crowley would’ve said he chose the song because the tune was melodic and slow, he knew that really, it reminded him of Aziraphale.
Watch out, the world's behind you. There's always someone around you who will call. It’s nothing at all...
On the other side of the empty room, from the bed, an angel stirred, soft voice cutting through the silence like a sword. “Sunday Morning, The Velvet Underground. Awfully, sentimental, my dear.”
Crowley startled at the sound of Aziraphale’s voice, almost plummeting off the windowsill and biting his tongue off in the process. He only just managed to stop himself from falling, instead catching himself on the blackout curtains he used when he wanted to take an afternoon nap. Instead of a graceful twist, he ended up more akin to a drug-addled contortionist, squinting through his glasses over his shoulder. Bugger.
“I, erm, didn’t think that was your style.”
Aziraphale beamed.“I decided to give it a listen after the bout in your car.” He straightened up, his cheek marked with a pillow crease. “Not bebop, then.”
Crowley couldn’t help himself; he laughed, gradually returning to his original post. “No, definitely not.” He tried not to think of how Aziraphale had gone out of his way to listen to his music, enough to even recognize the tune of the song.
“What...what are you doing awake?” Aziraphale shifted around to face Crowley’s perch. The comforter made a rustling noise.
“I thought you were sleeping.” Unlike Crowley, Aziraphale thought sleep useless and banal. But he seemed to be exhausted from a full day of stopping the apocalypse, because he was out cold as soon as he lay down.
Aziraphale chuckled softly. “Was. You think too much.”
Crowley couldn’t be sure if it was a joke, or if his thoughts somehow screamed loud enough to hear. He couldn’t be sure of anything anymore, really. “Lurking in the darkness, contemplating humanity’s downfall, normal demonic stuff.” He turned back to the window, not wanting to look at Aziraphale’s face.
“You’re sulking, aren’t you?” Aziraphale’s smile was almost audible.
“Keeping watch, actually. I don’t sulk.” Crowley was glad that he had turned himself away and kept his glasses on, because the expression he knew was plastered on his face was most definitely a pout. A long bout of silence passed.
“What are you keeping watch from?”
Crowley dodged the question rather neatly. “Oh, er, uh, you know. The, um, things.”
If Aziraphale was concerned, he didn’t show it. “Come here.”
It was with great reluctance that Crowley slid from the windowsill, moving to sit on the very edge of the bed. Still facing the window. He couldn’t let himself take his eyes off the vulnerable parts of his flat, knowing full well that if Hastur showed up again, he couldn’t risk using a door. Out of the corner of his eye, Crowley could see Aziraphale sitting up, hair mussed and pale tartan pajama shirt creased.
“It’s them, isn’t it?” Aziraphale nodded up towards the ceiling and then down to the floor. “You’re trying to see if they’ll come for us.”
After the whole Satan business had come and gone, a sick realization hit Crowley. They were both traitors to their respective sides, and if Heaven or Hell decided to track them down and...Crowley couldn’t even consider it. The point was, they were completely vulnerable, no insurance of any kind whatsoever. Which is exactly why he was keeping watch, ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice.
“You don’t have to worry, angel. I’ll protect you.”
Aziraphale laughed softly, reaching out to run his hand along Crowley's arm. Just that simple touch and Crowley was already so far gone, willing to do anything, anything at all, just to keep him safe. “I’m not worried about me. ”
Crowley stammered for a solid half minute, opening and closing his mouth like a fish. He turned around, legs folded as he stared at Aziraphale. “I, well, I—”
“Heaven is merciful. My punishment, whatever that may be, will fit the crime. Hell, however, would do far worse things, my dear.”
Crowley flinched. “Heaven already did the worst thing imaginable.”
“You mean casting you out?”
“No, no, I meant not flushing the toilet after they shit— yes I mean them casting me out.” When Aziraphale said nothing, Crowley continued. “Upstairs isn’t fluffy clouds and rainbows and love. ” He spat the word like poison. “They’re anything but fair.” Aziraphale had to understand, had to realize that he should run now, while he still could, and leave Crowley to deal with the future repercussions of their actions.
Aziraphale furrowed his eyebrows, a bit too dazed with sleep to be truly intimidating. “What are you talking about? I’m made from unconditional love. So were you, once.”
“There lies the contradiction.” Crowley spread his arms out and shrugged. “Unconditional means no conditions means not casting your child out when they start asking questions.” His voice had dropped into a hiss, the way it did when he was truly angry.
“You’re afraid,” Aziraphale whispered. “That’s alright, I’m afraid too. He reached out, and took the sunglasses off Crowley’s face, depositing them on the nightstand. “You don’t need to wear those when we’re alone. I like to see your eyes.” And then, as if that by itself wasn’t enough to make Crowley short-circuit, he continued on. “Is it truly that bad, to Fall?”
Crowley wasn’t upset, per se. He stopped grieving over Heaven a long time ago, even if the Fall still haunted him. But something in the way Aziraphale asked it made Crowley’s defenses break down completely. And since they were probably facing extinction tomorrow, one vaguely dramatic monologue about how it sucked not being angelic seemed permissible. So he let the dam break.
“My wings are numb,” Crowley gritted out after a while thinking. “I can’t feel them, they’re too charred. I look up at the stars and if I really concentrate then maybe I can remember hanging them, designing every pattern, every constellation. But I can’t touch them anymore. It hurts to even look at something holy and you must be the only damn exception. I see my reflection in a mirror and try to recall what my eyes were before I became a blasted serpent and—”
“Your eyes were green,” Aziraphale whispered, and it sounded like a benediction. Crowley isn’t sure how he knows, but he knows and that’s enough. He tried to open his mouth, to thank Aziraphale for the tiny scrap of knowledge that made everything a little less terrible. But no sound came out.
Aziraphale’s palm went to cup Crowley’s jaw, so unbearably tender that a wave of emotion seemed to overwhelm Crowley at the action. If angels really could sense love, then Aziraphale must’ve been drowning in it right now. At the very least, coughing from the sheer adoration coming from him like a broken air conditioner.
Aziraphale ran his thumb over Crowley’s skin, barely grazing the corner of his bottom lip. “If it all goes, how do you say it, pear-shaped tomorrow, then I just want you to know.” He looked down at the bedsheets and then back up to meet Crowley’s eyes. “I forgive you, Crowley.”
Anger wasn’t quite the right word for what flooded him in that moment. More like, disappointment coated with fury, in the same way a cheap jewelry charm is coated iron.
“I don’t need your angelic forgiveness, ” hissed Crowley, jerking his face away and squeezing his eyes shut. He felt naked without his sunglasses, even in the dark. Of course Aziraphale was only there to be an angel, to forgive and Love with a capital L and never a lowercase one. Crowley was just the cursed one, damned to be stuck in this cycle of pining and snark and fallouts.
But if that was the case, why was Aziraphale still looking at him like that? Slowly, tentatively, Aziraphale reached out and cradled Crowley’s face in both hands. They stayed that way until Crowley finally looked up to meet his eyes. “Then take my mortal one,” Aziraphale said, with wonderful, human conviction.
Crowley couldn’t describe what happened next, no matter how hard he would try to in the future. A flash of blinding light filled the room, brighter than anything on Earth, and a wave of cosmic proportions spread through the universe. The force shook him to his core, left him breathless and alive, Personally, it felt like Crowley’s entire body had been frozen solid and was now being set on fire as pins-and-needles pricked at his skin. Like his entire being was being seared clean, like icy water was being poured through his veins, like his blood was turned to molten gold. Everything all at once.
It felt like coming home.
When Crowley opened his eyes, he saw himself, equally dazed. After a couple of insistent blinks, he realized he wasn’t hallucinating and that, no, he was really looking at his own body. What in Satan’s Hell was this? He recoiled, trying to catch his breath, even if he didn’t technically need oxygen. The Not-Crowley seemed to be trying to do the same. His wings seemed to have appeared too, extending out like shadows.
It was then that Crowley saw his hands. Softer, nails more dull, pale beige sleeves instead of the usual black. And then he understood that, were he to look into a mirror, Aziraphale’s face would be staring back at him. And then he understood that he had just, if only for a millisecond, communed his soul with that of a literal, actual angel.
Although Crowley would deny this until the end, he screamed.
Now, when humans scream, it is mostly in fear or exhilaration. Crowley was a unique blend of both, with a little smidge of what the fuckery and the slightest hint of love sprinkled in. Could one even scream lovingly? Aziraphale just stared, lips parted in a silent gasp.
“You-you’re, you-re—” Crowley stammered,
“Me,” Aziraphale finished, his snake pupils as thin as could be. “You’re me. And I’m you. ”
“And now we’re—”
Crowley had nothing to say in response to that. It was strange, seeing yourself with someone else’s mannerisms. It was even stranger seeing white feathers in the corner of your vision instead of dark ones. He folded the wings back until they vanished, an invisible presence at his shoulder blades. Aziraphale did the same. There was only one word to properly sum up this situation now.
Aziraphale let out a sigh and fell back on his hands. “Fuck indeed.” Then, he took Crowley’s hand and it happened again.
Not quite so revolutionary this time, but Crowley still felt like he was being rendered down to the barest atom and rearranged. He tried to cling onto the feeling, to make his infernal aura stay together with Aziraphale’s angelic one. It might’ve worked for a moment, and the strange sensation that wasn’t quite pain nor pleasure nor anything else on Earth, remained. An instant later, Crowley was back in his own body, with only the lingering traces of angelic presence that burned at his skin.
“So that was a thing,” said Crowley, paralyzed with shock. He couldn’t stop staring at Aziraphale—which wasn’t anything new, really—trying to wrap his mind around the fact that their spirits had just switched. This wasn’t a possession or a quick telepathic brush. If he had proper control of his mental functions, Crowley would say it was maybe the most intimate thing a celestial being could do.
His fallen soul had just mixed with Aziraphale’s. Their very beings, the ones that transcended time and space, had melded together and then rearranged. For a sliver of a moment, they were one.
Crowley found it very difficult to breathe.
“The prophecy,” Aziraphale whispered. “Of course, of course .”
Crowley mumbled out a questioning sound, still dazed.
Aziraphale looked alight with energy, beaming as bright as the sun. “Choose your faces wisely. Crowley, how would a renegade angel be executed?”
Crowley was sickened at the words, but tried to gather himself regardless. He would tear Heaven apart with his bare hands before they could hurt Aziraphale. “Hellfire. But that means…”
“If your soul wasn’t your own, if it was really you inside me—” Aziraphale looked so excited that Crowley felt slightly guilty for the train of thought his mind decided to take. “—Then fire wouldn’t hurt me at all, would it? The same applies to holy water, I should think.”
This was insane. A thousand different levels of batshit. And yet… “So what, we switch bodies and then wait to get caught?”
“We won’t have to wait very long, not when there’s ten million angels and demons, respectively, wanting someone to blame for all of this.” Aziraphale was rambling now. “They’ll want to make examples out of us, you see, but when they can’t, when we withstand the only permanent punishment they could give us...well, there’s nothing they can do to us then, can they?”
Crowley’s mouth felt dry as cotton. “It’s risky,” was all he could say.
“Do you have a better idea? One single better idea?”
“You could run off to Alpha Centauri, or another place nobody would notice you. I’ll take credit for everything, my treat, and you get off scot-free. Easy.”
Aziraphale looked so appalled he may as well have been a priest at Confession. Crowley would know, his lot was responsible for most of those sins.
“Absolutely not, Crowley. How dare you imply that I would leave you to take the blame?”
“Not implying, suggesting.”
“Semantics. You’ve already risked your life too much for me.” When Crowley stayed silent, Aziraphale continued, words coming out in a rush. “If you dare try and put that idiotic plan into motion, I’ll summon the Metatron and tell God about the arrangement.”
“The Almighty already knows, angel. The only reason we haven’t been smited already is…” Crowley trailed off, fumbling. His eyes narrowed under his glasses. “Is…”
“You don’t know,” Aziraphale’s eyes went wide. “It’s ineffable.”
While Crowley might’ve been annoyed at that word popping up again, he only felt puzzled. “So we’re not supposed to know if we die or not?”
“Not know, choose. God already knows everything, even if Heaven and Hell don’t. We’re meant to survive this, Crowley, I know it.”
“And was our fraternizing part of the Ineffable Plan too?”
Aziraphale looked certain it was. “There isn’t another way we could’ve gotten to this point.” He took a deep breath. “If we do this correctly, we can fool everyone.”
“And if we do it wrong,” Crawley drawled, leaving the rest unspoken.
“I trust you,” Aziraphale brushed his fingers along Crowley’s shoulder. Against the black backdrop of the sheets, he looked truly ethereal. “Do you trust me?”
“I do,” said Crowley. He was suddenly struck by how intimate this all was, how close he was to Aziraphale, to shattering the house of cards he had built up over the years. One wrong move, and it was all over, fluttering to the ground like ash. If Aziraphale turned him away, Crowley didn’t think he could handle it. And if he didn’t, then that was just another thing that would be on the line tomorrow.
It had been so long since Crowley let himself hope.
“What are you thinking about?” Aziraphale’s voice was barely more than a whisper.
Crowley took a deep breath. Now or never, as they said. “You know, someone once said that a man on earth has two great loves. A place and a person.” He paused, for dramatic emphasis, just because he could. Also, his heart was beating so quickly he thought it might jump from his chest and begin a jig of sorts. “I’m lucky enough to be amongst both.” And then, slowly, he looked up to face Aziraphale.
The angel’s eyes were unreadable, but after a moment, he softened, lips curving into a smile. “Who said that?”
“I did. Just now. Real poetic, me.”
Aziraphale looked like someone had just taken his brain and shoved a revelation into it. His blue eyes began to shine. Before Crowley could react, Aziraphale had his fingers bunched in the fabric of Crowley’s jacket and was leaning forward far too quickly and then their lips were touching—no, crashing—together. Then they were kissing, properly, for the first time ever.
Crowley made a sound in the back of his throat that was equal parts surprise and...something else. He felt the urge to jump back, but their lips were only parted for a moment before he couldn’t bear it and bridged the gap between them once more. At first, they didn’t quite fit together. Their noses bumped, teeth clacked, and he didn’t know what to do with his hands. But then the rhythm changed from clumsy and uncomfortable into something more smooth.
At least, Crowley hoped it did; hoped he wasn’t a complete disaster at this. Aziraphale’s mouth kept pushing insistently at Crowley’s, a needy request for something Crowley didn’t know how to grant. Hesitantly, Crowley snaked an arm around the back of Aziraphale’s neck, letting his tongue draw over his bottom lip. The angel’s mouth fell open and Crowley surged forward. What the Heaven, he may as well try.
Crowley’s stomach started doing acrobatics and other things he wasn’t familiar with when Aziraphale made a muffled noise, trying to pull himself closer. He didn’t know what was happening, didn’t know what he was doing, didn’t know why everything felt so good . Somehow, Crowley forced himself to move away, head spinning and heart pounding.
He decided this was what being an angel was like, wonderfully floaty and full of ecstasy and life. And even if it wasn’t, who was going to stop him pretending? Certainly not Aziraphale, who looked like a perfect mess, eyes wide and cheeks flushed. While Crowley was completely sure he would never be able to form a coherent thought again, Aziraphale gathered himself fairly quickly.
“That was your first kiss, wasn’t it?”
It took Crowley a whole seven seconds to realize he was being spoken to. Absentmindedly, he ran his fingertips over his lips. It was a small miracle he didn’t stammer. “That bad, eh?”
Aziraphale smiled, shaking his head. “Quite the opposite.” His grip on Crowley’s clothes relaxed somewhat, just as Crowley decided where to put his hands. One on the small of Aziraphale’s back, the other resting on the spot just above his pajama shirt collar. They tried to find a way to shuffle closer, but just ended up with their knees bumping uncomfortably.
Crowley shifted around, unable to take his eyes off Aziraphale and dammit, he must’ve looked completely awestruck, staring at the angel like he had hung the moon. “So, erm, what happens now?” Shit shit shit shit he shouldn’t have asked that. It was just one—albeit very long and tongue-y—kiss. Probably didn’t mean anything. What did Crowley think was gonna happen, a marriage proposal?
“Whatever you’d like,” said Aziraphale. Oh.
Crowley didn’t even know what that was. Since the beginning of time, he supposed, he had wanted Aziraphale to be his, and for him to be Aziraphale’s in return. But he never stopped to understand what that meant. Until the bookshop burned. Until Aziraphale threatened to never talk to him again. Until now, still reeling from what just happened. Love me, love me, love me, chanted Crowley’s thoughts. He ignored them.
“I don’t,” he trailed off. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Both physical and romantic aspects were completely foreign to Crowley. “Or what I want.” A lie, he knew exactly. But how was he supposed to put that into words when every other attempt had ended in rejection? He was always the one that went too fast, asked for too much.
Aziraphale smoothed his hands over Crowley’s chest, feeling the heartbeat pounding there. “I’ll start then.” He shuffled nearer until he was close enough to make Crowley’s head spin. “We just saved the world. Our respective bosses are probably coming for us tomorrow, and there’s only the slightest chance we’ll survive, even with the body swap business. And I...I think I’ve always wanted this. I just didn’t know it then.”
“And now you do?” Crowley couldn’t believe this was happening, couldn’t believe he was actually hearing these words spoken. It seemed like one of those ridiculous, unattainable fantasies that your brain conjures while drunk. Not something that happened in real life.
Aziraphale pushed Crowley’s legs down so that he could climb into his lap. When he kissed Crowley, it was with such a novel urgency that longing hit Crowley like a dizzy wave. He’d waited thousands of years for this, but now that it was happening, he found it was all too much. “I don’t want to lose you. Not now, after all of this. Not ever. Not before you know how dear you are to me.” The words were spoken with quiet reverence against Crowley’s lips.
Crowley kissed him back, tilting his head slightly for a better angle. He ran his fingers through Aziraphale’s feather-soft hair, pulled him closer until they were pressed almost flush together. But it still wasn’t enough. Closer wasn’t close enough, it never would be. He made a frustrated sound that turned into something else when their tongues brushed.
When Aziraphale’s eyes dropped to Crowley’s neck, he gave about half a second of rest before his mouth was there as well, licking at the spot under his jaw. Crowley’s hands found Aziraphale’s hips and every breath presented another breathy, desperate noise. It was too much and not enough and he wanted this, so badly that his heart hurt with the feeling.
“Wait,” he murmured, trying to orient himself. This was too human, that was the problem. After so long waiting, he needed to do this right. Pulling away, he stroked Aziraphale’s jaw, running his thumb over his cheek. Beautiful. “Are you sure?”
Aziraphale tried to lean forward, but Crowley stopped him. “Of course I am. Are you ?”
“No, no, I am. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted this, angel.” Not necessarily this , even, just being close, being together . He wanted to give Aziraphale everything he had, and more. “But, how do I know this won’t hurt you?”
Aziraphale smiled. “Why do you think I asked about your Fall? I’m not scared anymore. You said it yourself, we’re on our own side. Heaven can do what it likes with that.” He must’ve seen how wide, disbelieving Crowley’s eyes were, because he leaned in to press their foreheads together. “I’m yours, forever, or as long as you’ll have me.”
“Forever,” Crowley whispered, and he sounded hoarse. He let his lips meet Aziraphale’s, reveling in the soft push and pull, the smell that was fresh and sweet, like a field of dandelions lit by a summer sun. A wonderful mix between angelic and human. Pouring his heart into every kiss, he pushed Aziraphale on the bed. He would figure this out or be discorporated trying. Aziraphale’s hands ran up Crowley’s sides and down his back, and when Crowley spoke, it sounded more like a growl.
“Tell me you love me,” he demanded in between kisses. He needed to hear it, needed to know—
“I love you. I love you so much.”
Crowley couldn’t believe it. “But like holy, general love or like…”
Aziraphale gave him an incredulous look, grinding his hips up until he found friction and they both dissolved into a moan. “Take a wild guess, dear.” Then, he made that same rough groan again, one that was quickly echoed by Crowley. He never knew he could sound like that, never knew how many overwhelming sensations his human body could feel.
“I love you too, angel. Always have. And I…” Crowley paused, then grinned. “Ah, fuck it. Let’s make this a night to remember.” Then, he moved to cover Aziraphale’s body with his own. Showtime .
Crowley tried his best not to shake. It was extremely unbecoming of a demon to show fear, especially when said demon had, fairly effectively, situated himself on top of an angel. But it was difficult not to, all things considered. He was approximately eighty percent sure he was going to burst into flames the first time he touched Aziraphale. Make that ninety.
He knew that he would spontaneously combust were he to be touched by Aziraphale. Even a casual brush of the shoulder was enough to unhinge him. So instead of risking permanent embarrassment, he laced his fingers through those of Aziraphale’s right hand and pressed it solidly against the bed. There.
Crowley leaned down to touch his lips to Aziraphale’s wrist, the skin as fragile as paper. He dragged his teeth along it, letting the pulse beat across his tongue. It was impossible not to feel smugly elated. After all, the two of them should’ve been sending cosmic ripples through the universe—an angel and a demon being so close together and whatnot.
Or maybe it was just the buried desire to have both sides know exactly what was happening on Earth. For Crowley’s money, it was most likely the latter, although he didn’t spend much time dwelling on it. Not when there were much more interesting things to dwell upon.
Aziraphale trailed his blunt fingertips along the back of Crowley’s neck and pulled him closer by the collar. The kiss was soft, despite everything. It felt like coming home.
“You taste like apples,” murmured Crowley, a slight hiss to his voice. That was more or less a lie for the whole dramatic irony of it, but Aziraphale was amused nonetheless.
A smile stretched across the angel’s face. “And I suppose you must taste like snakeskin and burning sulfur, yes?”
That was the thing with Aziraphale. He could be a real bastard when he wanted to. Good thing Crowley had come with all of his tricks up his sleeves. Well, metaphorically, since his actual sleeves were too slender to allow any tricks, real or otherwise. And truth be told, he didn’t actually have any tricks to speak of. Most of his efforts were being delegated to the task of not falling apart from being so close to Aziraphale after millennia not even touching.
But Crowley would be bloody blessed if he was going to admit that. So instead, he dropped his head down and licked a hot stripe—with an only slightly-forked-tongue—all the way up Aziraphale’s neck. The angel got all shivery, then, arching up, a little muffled sound vibrating out from his chest. His hand, the free one, went up to tangle in Crowley’s hair.
And then his fingers tightened, twisted, pulled, or did something to that effect, because now it was Crowley’s turn to go all shivery. Aziraphale seemed to catch on and realize that Crowley had made a sound like someone—maybe God—had punched all the air out of his lungs. He tugged on Crowley’s hair again, surging up to kiss him properly.
Crowley was moderately ashamed to say most of his self-control vanished, because he felt his wings extend out behind him with a great whoosh and a sound like a clap of thunder. Immediately, he felt his cheeks burn red. Which really shouldn’t have happened considering his body didn’t do that. But despite all laws of celestial beings to the contrary, Crowley was blushing. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he noticed Aziraphale freeing his hand from Crowley’s grasp. That was probably bad. Or, more accurately, good .
And Aziraphale seemed to have absolutely no shame , no regard for what he did to Crowley, because his first reaction was to bury his fingers in the soft downy feathers near the base. Crowley went rigid, a keening sound forcing its way from his throat. Everything was bright and sharp, every nerve in Crowley’s body singing as his wings flapped involuntarily. Ink-black shadows that shone as iridescent as the galaxies he helped create.
“ Angel,” Crowley gasped, barely recognizing his own voice. He tried desperately to regain his composure, to stop the little trembles traveling up and down his spine. “Easy there, easy.” When Aziraphale had stilled long enough for Crowley to manage conscious thought, and pulled away just enough to be making vague eye-contact, he continued. “They’re real...how to put this, sensitive. ” Of course, any other winged being should know that, but there was no harm in a reminder.
Aziraphale, prick that he was, grinned enough to be considered evil by demonic standards, and stroked right up against the spot where the feathers melded into skin. Crowley all but crumbled above Aziraphale, back arching and head dropping down so that he could muffle his open-mouthed moan in the crook of Aziraphale’s neck. Damn—er, bless him. The angel knew exactly what he was doing.
While Crowley was busy trying to catch his nonexistent breath, Aziraphale had the same smug look in his eyes. “I thought you said you didn’t feel anything when I touched them?”
“I lied,” Crowley panted out, wings twitching sporadically.
Aziraphale made a soft sound of faux-displeasure, leaning up to kiss Crowley. “ Demon, ” he purred against Crowley’s lips, and just the word itself was enough to draw another sound from Crowley. A wonderfully unholy one. Perfectly sinful, as it should be. He rolled his hips forward again, and was caught off-guard by the pleasure that surged within him like a wildfire. Soon enough, Aziraphale caught on and matched the easy rhythm, holding onto Crowley’s wings as he ground against him.
No wonder humans were willing to give up so much for this. They were both completely clothed, and yet Crowley couldn’t imagine feeling any better than he did now. A strange, unfamiliar feeling began to build in his gut, hot and desperate. Every moan was swallowed up by a kiss and every kiss was broken by a moan. Why had they never attempted this? All this time ruminating on Earth’s pleasures and they hadn’t even tried the most highly ranked.
Crowley lavished kisses on the column of Aziraphale’s throat. “Don’t stop,” he hissed, wings flapping, sending wind currents into the air.
Aziraphale smirked, and all Crowley could think was that his potential was wasted on Heaven, because he looked absolutely diabolical. “Actually, I figured we could try something else.”
“Something... oh. ” As Crowley was speaking, Aziraphale slipped his hand in the space between them and pressed the palm of his hand between Crowley’s legs. Fuck.
“Good?” Aziraphale asked, and what a stupid question . Crowley made a choked-off sound and swore, because right then, Aziraphale had gotten a vague grip through the fabric, and was currently using it to his full advantage, wringing out moans that shook Crowley’s chest with every movement of his hand.
Clothes, Crowley thought blearily, and maybe he spoke out loud, because Aziraphale seemed to hear him. He started to pull at Crowley’s jeans, popping the button open before tugging the zipper down. Although his hands were shaky, there was a certain confidence in the way he was undressing Crowley. A sneaking suspicion rose to the forefront of his mind.
“You’ve done this before, haven’t you?” Crowley squinted.
“Kissing, yes. Not much past a quick peck though, I’m afraid. But, uh, everything else… ” Aziraphale blushed fiercely, cheeks coloring scarlet. “Well, there’s literature for that.”
If he wasn’t otherwise occupied, Crowley would’ve proposed right then. Instead, he snapped his fingers and helped Aziraphale out. His pants vanished, right along with his underwear and, well, everything else. Aziraphale squeaked at that, and Crowley used that moment of surprise to his full advantage, waving a vague gesture and disappearing Aziraphale’s shirt.
Aziraphale frowned, all other pursuits forgotten. “Put it back. And then undress me properly.”
Crowley’s eyebrows shot up. “Pardon?” This was almost as bad as the flaming sword bit, on the ranked list of Ridiculous Things Aziraphale Said.
“No, I heard you the first time.” Crowley stammered for a response, but found none. Damn human customs of tradition that somehow rubbed off on Aziraphale. He sighed and Aziraphale’s shirt was back, not a thread out of place. Immediately, Crowley’s fingers found the buttons, popping each one open as fast as he could. With every new inch of skin exposed, Crowley’s mouth was there, tongue swirling patterns onto the flesh.
“Only two nipples,” he murmured once he reached Aziraphale’s chest. “Not a witch, then.” He silenced Aziraphale’s protests by flicking his tongue against each. He regretted having never tried this before, all because of some bullshit about opposite sides. It was ridiculous, how they had spent all this time not knowing, not touching, not loving.
When it was all unbuttoned, Crowley vanished Aziraphale’s shirt and trousers with a snap. That was good enough, right? Aziraphale rolled his eyes but said nothing, so Crowley figured it was. He was extremely aware that there was only one piece of thin, slightly-dampened fabric between him and Aziraphale. The thought made his mind go fuzzy around the edges.
“Touch me already,” whined Aziraphale, fussy as ever. Spent 6,000 years telling Crowley he went too fast and was now squirming underneath him. Figured.
Crowley, who was currently trying to figure out the best way to approach this without seeming like a total fool or getting smited, tried to come up with a good tease. “Woah there, angel,” Crowley chuckled. “Shouldn’t I buy you dinner first?” A human saying that had made him laugh to tears when he had first heard it.
Aziraphale laughed too, but there was a fierce spark of impatience in his eyes when he spoke. “How many more damn dinners do you need?” He took Crowley’s hand and guided it down, past the elastic band of his underwear, which was also miracled away fairly quickly, right to the skin beneath.
Crowley braced himself for impact, for the Hand of God descending from the heavens for the sole purpose of flipping him off and then squishing him down into Hell like an ant. But then Aziraphale gasped and neither of them were particularly smited yet, so Crowley took that as blanket permission from the Almighty to go to town. He wrapped his fingers around Aziraphale and gave one good stroke, just how he’d seen it in other people’s minds. Aziraphale’s jaw went slack, face scrunching up in pleasure. His legs spread a little more open.
“Oh dear, that feels heavenly.”
Crowley could excuse any utterance of Upstairs under certain circumstances. This was one of them. However, he was all too familiar with Aziraphale’s various other exclamations, and having no desire to hear them in this context, said: “If you say tickety-boo I’m stopping.”
Aziraphale laughed. And then, his hand was on Crowley again, and it occurred to Crowley that they were both naked. Crowley groaned, moving back up to crash his lips with Aziraphale’s. This was it. They were officially having sex. The way he’d seen humans do it had a fair bit more thrusting involved, but Crowley was sure they could figure out the logistics of that later. Right now, Crowley focused on Aziraphale’s body pressed up against his own, the feel of his skin beneath Crowley’s fingertips, every little gasp and needy sound he made.
And Aziraphale gave as good as he got, literally speaking. His mouth left kisses all over Crowley’s neck, and he murmured quiet endearments and praises that made Crowley’s heart beat even faster. It wasn’t long before Crowley was whimpering—this is what Aziraphale had reduced him to, whimpering —and chasing more with every roll of his hips into Aziraphale’s hand. In retaliation, he nibbled lightly on the angel’s ear while tightening his grip.
“Oh God, ” Aziraphale threw his head back, mouth falling open. He looked absolutely wrecked, a sheen of sweat gathered on his forehead, hair in disarray.
“Just me, angel,” Crowley quipped. “Although I can see where you’d get confused.”
Aziraphale’s responding glare was only softened by the fact that he was writhing underneath Crowley, making little ah ah ah noises as he dug the nails of his free hand into the spot between Crowley’s wings. Which made Crowley unfairly disoriented, heat coiling up inside him with the slightest movement. He wished he could see Aziraphale’s wings, brilliant white feathers created to contrast his own. Maybe he could.
Slowing his strokes, Crowley pressed a short kiss to Aziraphale’s lips. “Can I, mmph, see your wings?”
Not a moment later, they were unfurling against the sheets, beautifully pale, emitting a light that almost burned Crowley’s eyes. Forgetting everything for a moment, Crowley buried his hands in the soft feathers. They felt almost cool against his hot skin. Human anatomy was good, yes, but this was transcendent. Aziraphale didn’t seem to be complaining, wings fluttering under Crowley’s touch, as he strained to be closer.
Since neither of them were touching each other currently—not in the intimate way, anyways—Crowley had to deal with the tension that had been building in his body turning into an insistent ache. He wanted to kiss Aziraphale and he wanted to stroke his wings and he wanted to feel flushed, sweaty skin under his fingertips. Not for the first time, he regretted the limitations of humans.
Suddenly, Crowley felt his world shift, and for a second, he thought they had accidentally switched bodies again. But no, his was different. His desire-addled mind realized a second too late that Aziraphale had flipped them over, pinning Crowley to the bed with his body. Crowley might’ve been indignant if he wasn’t so impressed. Love might’ve factored a bit into it too. Aziraphale’s white wings extended behind him like clouds, blue eyes sparkling, chest heaving.
“Beautiful,” Crowley murmured, struck with wonder that the angel he was looking up at now was his. Hesitantly, he brought his hands up to pet Aziraphale’s feathers. Forever wouldn’t be enough. He could spend eternities by Aziraphale’s side and never tire.
Aziraphale lowered himself down so that he could touch noses with Crowley, reminiscent of another time. “Look at you, my dear.” He kissed with a surprising slowness, one that contradicted the constant shifting of his body. “Now, are you going to touch me or do I have to do it myself?”
Crowley didn’t want to extricate his fingers from Aziraphale’s feathers, nor did he want to grow a new pair of arms. So instead, he shifted around, positioning his legs and hips just so, until they were moaning in unison, hands free to roam. It was just like what they were doing earlier, only now there were no clothes involved. He felt rather smart, to say the least. Aziraphale certainly seemed to think so, mouth finding Crowley’s with passionate insistence as he rolled his hips forward and both of them were gasping for air they didn’t need.
Crowley’s hands caressed Aziraphale’s back, his sides, even pausing for a moment near his hair. But eventually, they found their way back to his wings with a sort of awe. Aziraphale was more targeted in his touches, seeking out Crowley’s hipbones, his nipples, then raking his fingers gently from the downy feathers to the long primaries. Crowley arched off the bed, holding onto Aziraphale as they ground against each other.
“I love you.” He couldn’t tell which one of them had said it, but he responded anyways, hoping he didn’t sound like a complete fool.
“I love you, ah , angel.”
He tried to groan out a warning, to give voice to the burning-hot tightening in his gut, but found that he could do nothing but roll his hips at an increasingly erratic pace. Every one of his movements was matched equally by Aziraphale. Their sounds were quieter now, but more frequent as they tumbled towards a precipice. Sometime during all of this, their wings had come together, feather tips brushing in a new level of intimacy.
Then, Aziraphale pressed his lips against Crowley’s and he was gone. Such a simple kiss shouldn’t have overwhelmed him, but he was already so close that even a small shift of Aziraphale’s hips pushed him over the edge. Pleasure washed over him, stronger than he ever could’ve known was possible. For a few seconds, every nerve was alight. Crowley broke the kiss when his mouth fell open in a silent gasp. Aziraphale’s body shuddered, then stilled above Crowley as he reached his own climax.
When Crowley would look back on this moment, he would admit that he was slightly disappointed. After all, the human version of becoming ‘ one flesh’ as they called it, was nothing compared to the feeling he got when their souls had united. There were no explosions, no starbursts, no natural disasters underneath his skin. When he would recall this moment, he would smile and say how limited humans were in their experience. But now, all he knew was ecstasy, and the weight of Aziraphale’s wings resting over his own.
White and black. Holy and damned. Angel and demon. Two things that should never be together, but against all odds, were.
Aziraphale collapsed next to Crowley, all the tension seeping out of his body. Crowley snapped his fingers and the mess disappeared, along with his wings. Aziraphale’s followed suit. What did regular people do, without miracles? Neither of them spoke for a while, trying to catch their breath and take in the magnitude of what just happened. On Crowley’s end, there was too much to process, and at the same time, not enough. He stared up at the ceiling, lost in thought.
A few hours ago, he thought the world was ending. A few days ago, he thought he and Aziraphale were going to run away to the stars. And a few years ago, they thought they knew who the Antichrist was. This development seemed inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. And yet...Aziraphale loved him. He said it out loud, multiple times. That was perhaps the biggest revelation Crowley would ever have in his entire immortal existence.
“Hey, uh, just checking,” he said, turning on his side to face Aziraphale when he could finally speak. “We’re together now, right?” Never hurt to ask. Well, unless you were in Heaven and you were asking things that could be grounds for treason. But this was all in the past.
Aziraphale blinked at him once, then twice, then burst into laughter. “What the...yes, Crowley, yes, we’re together now. I thought that was obvious by the ardent declarations of love”
“No foul in making sure.” After all, Crowley had been pining for 6,000 years. It would be just his cursed luck if everything went wrong at the very end. “I don’t suppose I can have another one?”
Aziraphale planted a sweet kiss to his lips. “I love you.” And then another. “I love you.” And then a final, third one. “I love you.”
“Okay, good,” chuckled Crowley. “Good to know.” He drew the blanket over them, eyes flickering towards the window. Surely nobody was watching for them, ready to kidnap at a moment’s notice? Maybe they could have one night of peace before everything dissolved into chaos again. “So, how was it?”
“How was what?”
“The couple-hour nap you took— the sex, Aziraphale. ”
Aziraphale laughed, wrapping an arm around Crowley’s waist and drawing him closer. So they did end up spooning after all. “Oh, that. I found it very enjoyable.”
“ Enjoyable? ”
“Well, yes. I’ll admit, I don’t know why humans fuss so much about it. But it is something I would like to do again. And you?”
Crowley grinned. “Absolutely tickety-boo. Jolly good, I should call it.”
Aziraphale nipped the back of Crowley’s neck in reproach, and Crowley squeaked. “Save the acting for tomorrow, my dear.”
“Please don’t remind me.” Crowley sounded a bit too harsh, but when he spoke again, it was tinged with nerves. “I don’t want to lose this. I mean, what kind of piss poor luck would it be to have everything I’ve ever wanted and then have it all get taken away?”
“ I’m everything you ever wanted?” Aziraphale sounded shocked, which was, frankly ridiculous.
“Of course, angel. Ever since the Garden, when you shielded me from the rain.”
“That long?” Aziraphale seemed torn between laughing and crying. “We’ve been a pair of old fools, haven’t we?”
“Well,” Crowley relaxed, comforted by Aziraphale’s familiar presence. “We have forever to make up for lost time. Tomorrow’s the first Sunday of the rest of our lives, after all.”
Aziraphale nuzzled closer. Their bodies fit together perfectly, like a puzzle that was only now completed. Maybe the Almighty had planned it like this. The failed Armageddon and the equally failed plan to stop it and everything that came after. An ineffable game for infinite stakes with a dealer who wouldn’t tell you the rules. For once, Crowley wasn’t going to complain about ineffability. Not when it had brought them here, like this.
“Maybe you’re right.”
The voice rang in Crowley’s ears, and when he murmured Aziraphale’s name to see if he was the one who had spoken, the angel was already sound asleep.