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Where Heaven Begins

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Aziraphale bleeds.  Is bleeding.  He’s wearing human skin, after all.

They’re in Crowley’s kitchen.  Aziraphale preparing sashimi in paper-thin slices, when he lets out a little “Oh!” of surprise, drops the knife, clattering onto the granite countertop.  Crowley looks up, sees the look on his face, shocked, and a little pale, and the ooze of dark red squeezing between the fingers he’s wrapped tightly around his left pointer finger, and he’s on his feet and at his side in less than a heartbeat. 

“Let me see it.”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s quite fine.  Silly me.  Not watching what I was doing.”

“Give it!”  Crowley insists.

“Oh dear me.  I think I’m going to…”  Aziraphale weaves a little, and Crowley reaches out and grabs him by both arms, reaching behind himself with one foot, to hook chair and yank it toward them.

“Sit.”  He says a little more gently, easing the Angel down.  “Show me.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing.  I can just…”  Aziraphale’s usually pink lips are going pale.

“Just pass out, by the looks of it.  Now, let me see, Angel.”

Aziraphale lets go of his injured finger and pushes it out into the space between them.  Blood dribbles all over the floor, and Aziraphale’s eyes go wide, and his lips go whiter, and then he begins to tilt precariously to the side.

“Nope.”  Crowley kneels on the floor, kneels in the warm wet, takes up Aziraphale’s bloody finger (pad of the fingertip sliced clean off, the clumsy bastard), and presses it to his lips.  It’s not strictly necessary, that bit.  He could have worked this healing magick with the slightest of touches, but it’s—intimate, and he likes the copper tang of Aziraphale’s blood on his tongue, and the warmth of his flesh against his lips, and the way colour returns to Aziraphale’s cheeks in a rush, and his eyes spread wide in surprise as he realises what Crowley is doing.

Truth be told it’s been millennia.  Other planets.  Other beings.  Another him.  Before the questions.  Before the Fall.  It’s been a very long time, and he wasn’t even sure if he still could, but as he feels flesh mend and regenerate beneath his lips, as he sucks the Angel’s finger gently into his mouth, swirling his tongue around it, until it’s clean and whole again, he feels a sort of rightness settle into his atoms.  It feels strange.  Like a homecoming.

Aziraphale is looking at him in a way he’s never seen before.  Crowley eases the angel’s finger from between his lips, and sets his hand gently atop the other one in his lap.

“Did you, just…?”

Crowley gets to his feet and miracles the blood from the knees of his trousers.  “Finish making your supper, Angel.”


 

Several hours later, Crowley is wakened by a dip in the mattress.

He cracks one eye open.  Aziraphale is sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at the floor.

“I didn’t know you could heal?”

“Hmm?”  Crowley feigns a sleep-drunkeness he doesn’t feel.  Truth is, he’s wide awake, just like that, hyper aware of Aziraphale, of the scent of him in the room; warm kitchen smells: vanilla, honey, cocoa, the sharp, ozone-like tang of his ethereal body, the mild salt of fresh sweat and soy sauce, the peach notes of his shampoo, and something else, something a little sharp, a little chemical.  Crowley’s lips part to get a better taste. 

It’s desire.

“My finger.  You healed it.”  He still sounds surprised, and maybe a little awed.  Crowley isn’t sure if he should be gratified or hurt.

“Did.  Yeah.”

Aziraphale turns his hand over, against his own thigh, and stares down at the whole and unmarred digit which just a few hours ago had been nestled in the warm, wet heat of Crowley’s mouth, wrapped ‘round in the miracle of healing energy that hadn’t gone stale, not after all those millennia, that had maybe just been lying dormant, waiting… 

Crowley can sense the unspoken hanging in the air.  Demons aren’t supposed to heal.  Demons can’t, can they?  There are a million things running through Aziraphale’s mind, at the moment, but to his credit he doesn’t voice them.  They don’t talk about those things anymore—Heaven, Hell.  They don’t talk about any of it.

“It was…”  Aziraphale’s cheeks are pinking.  He reaches over and strokes a finger over the newly healed one, looks up to meet Crowley’s curious gaze.  “It felt wonderful.”  He sounds slightly breathless, and Crowley’s mouth goes dry; suddenly thirsty, craving, wanting, needing.

“It felt wonderful,” Aziraphale whispers, turns, lies down, draws in, and Crowley doesn’t know what to do, it’s so unexpected.  They don’t do this.  They’ve never done this.

Aziraphale stretches out beside, him, reaches out, pulls him in, tangles their limbs, tucks his head beneath Crowley’s chin and sighs against his chest with contentment. 

Crowley’s throat feels tight.

“How old are you?”  It’s an odd, and ridiculous question.  Aziraphale has known Crowley since the Earth’s inception.  Over six millennia.  Before that there were other worlds, their births and their deaths.  There were other beings, celestial, biological—helpless things, sometimes.  Others fierce, brave, stubborn.  But they all came and went in a blink of celestial time.  Crowley remembers them all, and tries not to.

Aziraphale is a baby angel, by cosmic standards, a Principality set over the affairs of one planet in particular, its inhabitants only.  He sparkles and shines with that newness, and the Apocalyptic affair a few months prior had managed to dim that light but a little.  He still glows with a joy, and love, and a purity Crowley is sure he never had, not even in the beginning.  He was never as Aziraphale had been the evening he had slithered up behind him on the garden wall.  He was never so good, so kind, so unjaded and endearingly naive.

He tilts his chin down and buries his nose in Aziraphale’s pale blond curls.  “Silly question.”

“Mm.  Perhaps.  But I’m interested.”

His breath tickles the hairs on Crowley’s chest, and sends little sparks of hunger skittering over his very human skin.

“Why?”

“Because—that magick earlier…  It felt very old.”

“Mm, was I suppose.  Hadn’t used it in 8000 years.  Wasn’t sure I still had it in me, to be honest.  But I suppose proper motivation and all that…”

“Motivation?”  Aziraphale tilts his chin up, blinks at Crowley with those pale eyes that seem to change colour with his every mood.

Crowley aches with what he feels for him.  But he merely shrugs.  “Oh—you know.”  He doesn’t finish.  Can’t somehow.  But Aziraphale smiles the sweet smile that never fails to fill Crowley up and make him forget everything, all of it, ten thousand empty, lonely years of waiting.

“Oh.”  He says, looking exceedingly pleased with himself.  “Well...  That’s awfully nice.”  His arms tighten around Crowley’s waist.  “You’re awfully nice.  Did you know?”

Crowley rolls his eyes for effect.  “Oh, shut up.”  But there’s no real venom behind it.

Aziraphale grins again and tucks his head back up under Crowley’s chin.  “So, you existed before this world was created?”

“Did.”

“Did you see the stars hung?  The galaxies woven into existence?”

“A few.”

“Good heavens, you must be ancient!”

“Oi!  Watch it, Angel, or I’ll toss you out on that cheeky little arse.”

This seems to have the opposite effect Crowley was hoping for.  Aziraphale positively beams, and then goes distractingly coy.  “Oh, you do say the loveliest things.”

And Crowley wants to kiss him, he thinks.  Not to wipe the smirk off his face, but to taste it.  To taste the sour sweet of that saucy, naughty tongue.  He wonders how he managed to get so lucky, a demon like him, how after all these thousands of years he’s managed to find himself here, with an armful of sweet and sinful angel.  Not fallen, not irredeemable, but strangely human, flawed and perfect.

He slides a hand up Aziraphale’s nape, presses his fingers into soft curls, lifts the other to cup his cheek, looks into those eyes, bright, and curious, and just a little hopeful, and he kisses him.

It’s everything he’s been holding his breath for, holding his hope for, holding his heart for since the moment he’d found himself bruised, and singed, and lying in the damp, cold dark.  It’s warm.  It’s home.  It’s hope.

He’s being more careful than he needs to, he thinks, but that’s the way with precious things, isn’t it?  Handle with care.  Wouldn’t do to break the spell, break a heart, but Aziraphale is melting against him, pressing in, giving as sweetly as Crowley has given him, and he’s tangling their limbs, and holding on tight, and glowing like the first star-rise at the dawn of the universe, and Crowley wonders momentarily if all this perfection might destroy him, pull him apart atom-by-atom, annihilate him in a flash of blinding light.

Let it.

He realises.

Let it.

Aziraphale is whispering things against his lips he can’t quite catch, the angel’s wings unfurl, extend, and where there was fabric between them a moment ago, there is nothing.  He’s surrounded by flesh, and heat, and pure, unadulterated love, and suddenly all he wants is to let go.

He does.

He falls.

He plunges headlong into the heady, heated, healing hands of heaven. 

A heaven they are building themselves.

It had started with a minor healing, and now…

LOVE.

It’s everywhere.

He wants to be taken, to be taken apart and reassembled, to be knit together anew beneath Aziraphale’s fingers, fingers that twitch to stroke the pages of old books, to plunge knuckle-deep into pots de crème, to soothe, and tease, to reprimand and pleasure.  Crowley shivers, tries not to moan in ecstasy at the thought of the perfect Eden Aziraphale could create (has created) between them.

“Touch me.”  He somehow manages.  “God, please touch me, Angel.”

He doesn’t know why he mentions God, what she has to do with any of it, but he’s not thinking straight anymore, and Aziraphale takes pity on him, of course he does, because it’s what he’s like, his Angel—always merciful.  Finding little ways to give, even if it’s fucking, half self-serving, even if it’s in some backhanded way, Aziraphale has always risen to the challenge, even if it sometimes takes him ages, he always loves. 

But now, he is unfettered at last, freed from the constraints of his own making, a wild and beautiful thing.  And Aziraphale does it.  He touches him.  He touches Crowley everywhere, no inch neglected until Crowley’s atoms vibrate and sing with the old songs, the songs of creation, the songs of the stars, before the universe began, and he rolls onto his back, wings thrown wide, arms and legs spread, belly exposed, and he surrenders to it.

Aziraphale settles into the cradle between Crowley’s hips and stares down at him like he’s the most beautiful thing in all of creation.  His hands tremble as backs of fingers whisper over ribs, over muscle, hair and flesh, all the little human bits that aren’t Crowley, and yet somehow are—indivisible from his ethereal body after all this time.  He’s had his current body for a good, long while, now.  He’s fond of it.  Aziraphale seems to agree.  His lids are heavy, his eyes a soft, fog grey, his lips parted.

He leans down, he covers Crowley over, he presses their mouths together—soft, so soft.  He kisses him again.  He kisses him, and Crowley forgets everything for a while.  There is only Aziraphale, the taste, the slide, the scent of him.  There is only the sounds he makes, high and hungry in the back of his throat, and his fingers in Crowley’s hair, and his body moving like the sea.  It’s primal.  It’s almost human.  It takes Crowley’s breath away, resets his heart, sets him to rights.

And when Aziraphale’s wings dip down to brush his, the burst of pleasure is so sublime he wonders if he might not discorporate, return to his original form, light and heat, pure, blissful, creative energy.  He seeks out that touch, curling his own wings inward, upward, needing more, needing everything the angel will give him.  And that is a thing you can rely upon with Aziraphale, the hedonist in him won’t allow pleasure to be experienced by halves.  And as Aziraphale’s wings dip down, whisper over his, curl and cocoon around them, for the first time in more millennia than he dare count, Crowley feels wholly, and completely loved.

Breath mingles, wings brush and twine, bodies surge and swell together like a rising tide.  And Crowley can feel himself tipping over the edge, the light, the heat, the ache in him building, cresting, breaking.  And Aziraphale wraps him up in arm and wing, pulls him next to the steady, even beat of his heart and whispers, “It’s alright.  I’m here.  I’m here.” 

It crashes over him, washes through him, strips him bare, and when the last of the pleasure has wrung itself through his nerves and atoms, Crowley lets himself go and sobs with relief against Aziraphale’s neck.

They lie quietly afterwards, wings draped over one another.  Aziraphale strokes his hair, and presses his lips now-and-again to Crowley’s forehead, and Crowley wonders what it might mean now.

“Angel?” 

“Mm?”

“Stay.”

The word hangs in the quiet, pregnant space between them.  He feels Aziraphale freeze.

It’s not so much to ask, he thinks.  They spend almost every moment together as it is, since the Apocalypse, but it’s nice this, knowing where Aziraphale is, knowing he’s safe, having the physical proof right here, curled around him, and it aches when they’re apart.  I always has, for 6000 years his heart has borne this burden.  He yearns to set it down.

Aziraphale’s arm stirs at his waist.  He lifts a hand to trace a line over Crowleys hip, down the length of his thigh, as far as he can reach, back up again.  “Your flat is terribly bleak, Crowley.”

And Crowley laughs, half sobs at the statement.  Because isn’t that just Aziraphale all over.  “I’ll sell it.  We can go anywhere you want.  Just say the word.”  But his stomach is already churning, sour with disappointment and rage at his own stupidity.  To think that anything would be different, could be different.  To think that any of it had meant…

“The South Downs.”  Aziraphale’s warm hand, slides over his ribs, fingers settling in to trace the length of his spine.

“What?”

Lips press into his hair.  “A nice brick cottage.  A garden.  With your skill we will have the loveliest roses in the village.  And I think, perhaps, I will try my hand at keeping bees.”

Crowley pulls back and blinks up at Aziraphale stupidly, but the Angel just blinks back.  “Well you did say anywhere, Dear?”

And Crowley thinks he must look as stupid and dumbfounded as he feels because Aziraphale’s face does something sweet, and lovely, and then he is kissing him again, and Crowley can’t help but think that if their rebuilding Heaven starts anywhere, it’s here.