Three Months Since the New World Began
Aziraphale felt the burn of bite marks along his chest and a lovely weightlessness. He wondered, briefly, if Crowley felt him. The stretch of him inside still. It had wrung from Crowley the most delightful noises.
Though they had bathed, they laid naked in bed, facing one another. Aziraphale was reluctant to burst that golden bubble which had enveloped them last night. As though nothing else existed. He could laugh. Six thousand years. If he’d known they’d enjoy it this much, he would have suggested they had sex much sooner.
“What have you got planned for today?” Crowley asked, serpentine eyes wide and unblinking and beautiful.
“Grocery shopping,” Aziraphale said.
Crowley flopped on his back and blew a raspberry.
“That’s so tedious,” he said.
Then turned and looked Aziraphale up and down, like he was a six course meal.
“Does someone want sevenths?” Crowley queried.
He kissed Aziraphale, which Aziraphale did not mind at all. Crowley began pinching his nipples and he reminded himself: grocery. It had to be done, just like all human things which delighted him.
“No sevenths right now, I’m afraid,” he said when they parted.
“Aah, I could keep you busy. All day. What do we have but time?”
“I really must go grocery shopping,” Aziraphale said.
He liked structure, it gave him a sense of centeredness, of purpose. Especially now that his life had been uprooted and he was neither of Heaven nor Hell. He was something else.
But at least he had Crowley.
He got up and began dressing.
Crowley sighed. Sitting in bed, he started pulling on clothes.
“Might as well join you. Though, I do need to water the plants --”
“Really?” Aziraphale said, clutching his bow-tie. “You’ll come with me?”
“Uh, duh,” Crowley said, dipping into that American vernacular he’d heard when they’d visited some years ago. “It’ll be a lark.”
“You must promise to behave,” Aziraphale said, knowing that was exactly what Crowley would not do.
“If you behave yourself there will be sevenths,” Aziraphale said slyly.
“Are you tempting me?”
Aziraphale ducked down to kiss Crowley, and not at all chastely.
He knew Crowley’s nature. But he also believed in the spark of ineffable goodness within him. And he believed he could influence him for the better. Even if that meant a little tempting of his own. Carnal pleasures could be quite useful.
Besides, he enjoyed being a bit naughty. It was like breathing again, after so long of being told by heaven This and That, and now understanding that heaven didn’t care . Not for this beautiful world, or its billions of odd, wonderful creatures. Not for even one fallen angel whose lips were warm and pliant against his.
Aziraphale ended the kiss.
“Let’s go,” he said, running his fingers over Crowley’s sideburns before righting himself.
He snatched his grocery list from the dinner table, items divided by sections and aisles, and his cloth bags. Then he clambered down the stairs from the little flat atop his bookshop. Crowley donned his sunglasses and followed, slouchingly.
“I’ll drive,” Crowley said.
“Oh, that’s . . . lovely,” Aziraphale said, not sure how to turn down his new lover’s offer, terrifying as Crowley’s driving was.
He spent the ride, as was customary, bracing, while Crowley sang rather loudly to “I Want to Break Free”. He pulled right up to Glasshouse Street, half parking on the curb.
“You can’t park here!” Aziraphale said.
“Why not? Who’s gonna stop me?”
“Oh come on, it’s not like after last night you’d refuse me.”
“Maybe not, but I am very patient. It could be another six thousand years for all you know.”
“Fine,” he said. “Where do we -- park?”
He said this last word as though he were wringing every inch of condescension from him.
They found the car park, after some screeching of tyres and weaving between other vehicles. Safely parked, they began their sojourn to Glasshouse Street again.
“We’ll be walking forever,” Crowley said.
“I wonder who said we had nothing but time?”
“And how are we carrying all your stuff back?” he asked.
“With our arms, I expect.”
“I’ve changed my mind, I am going home to water my plants --”
Aziraphale surprised himself by pinching Crowley in the ass and eliciting a hiss.
“Sevenths,” Aziraphale reminded primly.
“You’re a right old bastard,” Crowley grinned.
Aziraphale preened, just a little. Yes, he was growing into that, wasn’t he? Being a bit of a bastard. Crowley’s bastard.
They were quiet the rest of the way. They did bump shoulders now and again, and Aziraphale felt the promise, rather than the threat, of sevenths.
At last they arrived at Glasshouse Street. A chalky day, making the white and glass buildings seem washed out. But this place, with emerald awnings and sliding door, would never be dull to Aziraphale.
WE <3 LOCAL the front sign read, next to an advertisement for soups.
“I hate Whole Foods,” Crowley muttered.
Aziraphale wasn’t bothered by Crowley being, well, Crowley. He was at Whole Foods now, and, as he put in a pound coin to release a shopping trolley, he thought: this was Nirvana. Exactly as the Buddhists had described it. A state of being so free, so complete, that passion, aversion, and ignorance were shed and he was left with only coconut water and organic bunny grahams.
A cascade of flowers shuddered when Crowley passed. But he was docile as they perused the produce. He didn’t even comment on the cucumbers.
Aziraphale was in seafood, contemplating the Sustainable Wild-Caught Lobster Tails, and waiting for Crowley’s sarcastic comments about the little tubs of salmon spread stuck in ice, when he noticed: Crowley wasn’t there.
“Oh shit,” he said.
He did not have to search far, simply because of the ruckus in the second aisle.
“Almost, almost,” he heard Crowley grunting.
He was stretched on his snake skinned tip toes, arm jammed up one of the chutes for “Bulk Candy”. The clear chute, mounted high, was empty, save for one sad chocolate raisin. The rest were on the floor, and he was trying not to trip on them.
“What are you doing?!”
“I wanted some chocolate raisins.”
“This is the bulk candy, you don’t just take a handful and go on your way. It’s weighed.”
Crowley contorted his shoulder and wrested himself free, along with the lone raisin. It fell with a pitiful clack .
As Aziraphale watched a little roiling sea of chocolate raisins, he felt a white heat building in his temples. He knew this kind of thing would happen, and he had no one else to blame. Still, he was angry. Angry at Crowley, angry at himself.
He miracled the chocolate raisins off the floor before turning his cart back down the aisle, towards the dairy and juice.
Crowley joined him, sullenly.
“Have a little fun. Like last night.”
Crowley then proceeded to pop open a carton of Orange Strawberry Banana Juice and guzzle it. Having finished, he flicked his tongue at Aziraphale, as though there was no one else in the shop.
“How do I even love you?” he asked.
Aziraphale pushed his trolley down the next aisle, seeking laundry detergent.
“Those detergent pods do smell delicious,” Crowley murmured, reaching upwards.
Shortly before the averted Armageddon, the Tide pods debacle had been his handiwork.
“Don’t,” Aziraphale said testily.
“Well someone’s cross.”
“I wonder why.”
“Oh darling, don’t be mad.”
Aziraphale's head clanged from the endearment, long enough that it allowed Crowley to swan around him. He grabbed a gauzy scarf off an end cap and wrapped it around his neck.
“Do I look pretty?” Crowley asked, vogueing.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, you always look good!”
It wasn’t something Aziraphale wanted to admit right now, and it only made him angrier at himself for doing so.
Meanwhile, Crowley crowded his personal space. Crowley, all scalding heat and that sensuous way about him.
“We could go to the loo,” Crowley whispered. “Get in our sevenths there. Make you feel better.”
“No,” Aziraphale said when their lips were a mere centimeter apart.
He would die on the hill that was sevenths, because Crowley had not been good at all. Most of all, he had not kept Crowley in check.
Aziraphale trollied to the tea and water.
Selecting his favorite tin of organic loose leaf Earl Grey, he noticed Crowley at the end of the aisle. There, next to the loo, was a literal boat of handmade soap. Crowley lapped at the bars, face puckering. Abandoning his trolley, Aziraphale raced down the aisle.
And then, to both their shock, Aziraphale grabbed Crowley by the wrist, dragged him into the loo, and one of the stalls.
Crowley licked his lips.
“I had no idea you liked public sex.”
While Aziraphale did like public sex, this was not his intention. Crowded nearly nose to nose with Crowley, he pulled his silver pen out of his pocket -- click! -- and a notepad out of another. He scribbled in the notepad, then ripped the page out and gave it to Crowley.
Crowley squinted, the bridge of his nose wrinkling.
“What is this, exactly?”
Aziraphale, who had wiggled past Crowley and out of the stall, shrugged. He returned to his trolley and resumed shopping, this time in the biscuits aisle. Crowley eventually showed up and lingered, scratching his head and pursing his lips at the piece of paper. And leaving the store otherwise unscathed.
Before the aisle ended, Aziraphale paused to write in his notepad again, and tear out another page for Crowley.
“Now that’s just unfair,” Crowley groused, glaring at both pages.
They meandered into the deli with a wall of sandwiches and wraps, and delicatessen stands. Crowley stuck the pages in his pockets and plunged his hand in the olives, finding one for each finger. Aziraphale wrote furiously in his notebook and held the cleaved page up. Crowley made a face. Aziraphale stuck the page in Crowley’s pocket, next to the others, while Crowley sulkily ate the olives.
They ghosted by the frozen foods, and Crowley snarked about the “Meat Alternatives”, before becoming diverted by watermelon agave popsicles. He was on the verge of tearing into a box when Aziraphale presented him with a new page.
Crowley sighed, pausing to read, and placed the box in the trolley.
“You really are bad for my image,” he said.
Aziraphale kissed him on the cheek as they headed to the queue. Crowley even helped bag, though he was terrible at it, and more or less just threw things thither hither.
As they lugged everything to Crowley’s car, Aziraphale stopped and put his groceries down to write a fifth note.
“Oh come on!” Crowley complained.
But Aziraphale just smiled.
It was only at home, the groceries being stowed by Aziraphale, that Crowley, lounging in bed, pages spread all around, laughed.
“You actually used Akkadian with the Montrose Cipher.”
“I knew you’d figure it out,” he said.
“You sly devil.”
“Well, not exactly a devil.”
Aziraphale was about to object but then: “Partially. Just like you’re partially an angel now.”
“Let’s not go too far,” Crowley warned.
But he had behaved himself for almost half the shopping.
Aziraphale sat down on the bed next to Crowley, enjoying his heat. Crowley took off his sunglasses and read.
“These are filthy, angel. I love it.”
Crowley initiated the kiss, hot and slick. Crawling into Aziraphale’s lap, his cock half hard. Aziraphale stroked the outline of that cock through his trousers.
“You’ve given us everything up to elevenths,” Crowley purred, nipping Aziraphale’s neck.
Aziraphale pressed his palm against Crowley’s cock, just to hear him gasp, watch him squirm.
“Let’s get to it then,” he said.