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A Sweet and Careful Threat

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The bus ride back to London was quiet. The driver steered the vehicle calmly through the increasing traffic as they approached the city, and Crowley grumbled a bit about how, if they had been in the Bentley, they would have been home an hour ago.

Aziraphale had given him a half-hearted smile and went back to staring out the front window. The closer they got to London, the deeper the pit in his stomach grew.

The angel couldn’t help but think about the soft, sad turn Crowley’s mouth had taken when he had reminded him that the book shop was gone. It was sweet, in a way. Crowley was sweet. In a way. The demon would hate for him to say it and so he never had – had never gotten closer than “you’re quite a nice-” with the wall suddenly against his back and Crowley pressed up against his front, a threat, yes, but certainly not the kind of threat the demon no doubt thought he was supposed to be presenting.

Crowley had never been that kind of threat. He had never been violence, or anger. Not even right after, in Eden. No, the threat he presented to Aziraphale was entirely different, and not something the angel had cared to think on all that much over the years, lest it grow more immediate. More difficult to ignore. More… tempting.

But the way Crowley had reminded Aziraphale about the bookshop. Gentle, and sad. Careful. Crowley had always been careful, as well. Sweet, and careful, and a threat.

It left no doubt in the angel’s mind that there really was no going back, after the events of the past few days. He meant the bookshop, of course. Crowley’s arm brushed against his, warm and close, and Aziraphale breathed deeply. Yes. The bookshop.

His stomach gave another anxious, deeply sad pang. It was silly, really, to be so upset. But he was, and when the bus eventually made its way into the city and turned from SoHo to drive calmly towards Mayfair, Aziraphale couldn’t help but try and swallow the sudden tightness in his throat.

It was just a building. Just books. Just things.

He shouldn’t be so upset. He should be beyond such material goods. They were alive, all of them, and the world was no longer ending. In the great scheme of things, one little old bookshop was nothing.

‘But it wasn’t nothing to me’, Aziraphale thought sadly as he stepped off the bus, nodding his gratitude to the slightly confused bus driver. Aziraphale stood on the street as Crowley patted the old man on the shoulder, casually suggesting he get back to his normal route. The demon turned to step down from the bus and paused in the open doorway, staring at Aziraphale as the angel looked up at him from the curb. Crowley’s mouth did that thing again, where it went soft and turned down at the corner; he stepped off the bus and moved to put a (sweet/careful/threatening) hand at the small of Aziraphale’s back, guiding him gently forward.

“Come on angel. Let’s get you inside.”

 


 

Crowley’s flat was all sleek lines, and cool contrasts of light and dark. Modern, sharp. Sparse, and so clean as to appear almost unlived in.

“Come on in, mind the puddle, haven’t had a chance to clean up.” Crowley said, guiding the angel into the room with a distracted gesture at a stain of holy water and demonic essence sitting just within the doorway. Aziraphale was almost grateful for the one spot, the one less-than-perfect part of the apartment. He tried desperately not to think of his own home and shop; tea cups left forgotten, dusty old books piled high on any available surface, warm and soft and cluttered. Utterly different to the room he was standing in, and utterly gone.


“Well,” said Crowley turning to look at the angel as they reached the centre of the room, gesturing with a careless sweep of his hand. “Mi casa e- your place. Or something.”

There was a throne, and in front of it, an officious looking desk. A huge television graced the wall to their right, and the room itself was decorated with artwork that any curator would kill to have. Crowley was still staring at Aziraphale, waiting for a response, and the angel intended to smile and say, “thank you, this is very kind”. What happened instead was that he met Crowley’s eyes and said, “this is your home?!”

The demon froze for a moment before crossing his arms, huffing a little bit. “Well that was a bit rude, angel – obviously this is my flat.”

“You always say ‘flat’, or ‘apartment’,” Aziraphale said quietly, slowly, trying to parse out why the chilled colours and straight edged room put him so on edge. “You never call it ‘home’. It- this place. It doesn’t feel like you. It’s too-”

“Flash?” Crowley asked with a smirk, leaning back to sit against the oversized desk, removing his sunglasses and tossing them aside with a clatter. Aziraphale shrugged.

“I was going to say ‘empty’, but- yes. It’s like you’re trying to- oh. Oh.

“The Da Vinci isn’t the only showpiece here, Aziraphale.”

The angel looked around the room with new understanding. “You’ve designed it this way. It’s a front.”

“Mostly. I like the artwork; well, some of it. I like my plants, disobedient little shits though they are. But yes; there’s a certain… aesthetic that goes well with how I want my colleagues to think of me. And when there’s a chance that a Duke of Hell might pop by for a visit, social or otherwise-” and here Crowley nodded back over to the puddle by the door. “Well, it seemed sensible to play to that image. The back rooms are a little more my speed. I mean, I don’t dislike it. It’s just- not where I’m most comfortable.”

“But you do have somewhere you’re comfortable, then?” Aziraphale asked, concerned. “Even a demon needs a refuge, my dear.”

Crowley’s mouth turned down once more and his golden eyes looked away, not meeting the angel’s gaze. “I had a refuge,” he said shortly. “It went up in flames.”

Aziraphale winced slightly – he’d forgotten that Crowley, too, had lost something important to him. “Oh, my dear boy, I am sorry. It was such a lovely car.”

Crowley turned back and stared at him for a long moment before huffing a weak laugh and shaking his head. He hopped down from his seat on the desk and gestured to his right. “Come on angel. Come meet the plants,” the demon said, and Aziraphale chose not to comment on the sudden change in conversation. “They’re the best in London – and if they’re not, then I’LL KNOW WHY!” Crowley yelled this last in the direction of the shrubbery in the room next door, making Aziraphale jump.

There was a strange rustling sound coming from nearby and as the two walked through the industrial corridor and into the other room, Aziraphale could see that each and every one of the plants was trembling.

“Oh, now really,” Aziraphale said quietly, moving forward to stroke the deep green foliage of one particularly scared looking Snake Plant (Aziraphale rolled his eyes inwardly – Crowley would have a Snake Plant). “It’s not as bad as all that – he might act the big mean demon, but he’s a bit of a dear, honestly.”

Aziraphale smiled to himself, listening to Crowley grumble quietly and graciously ignoring that the demon’s ears had flushed a rather fetching shade of red, almost hiding themselves against his fiery hair. Aziraphale made his way around the room, uttering soft words and gentle praise for every plant there until not a leaf trembled.

“Now look what you’ve done,” Crowley finally said, exasperated. “They’ll never listen to me now.”

“Oh, well,” smiled Aziraphale. “If they’re too disobedient you know you can always just leave them with me at the sh-” The angel stops mid-sentence and his face falls, a shaky breath escaping from him. That hollow, gnawing sadness is back in full force. It’s overwhelming this time, and Aziraphale suddenly feels tears bite at the corner of his eyes.

“Oh, angel.” Crowley murmurs, taking a step towards him, his hands lifting as though to reach for Aziraphale before halting, uncertain.

It’s that uncertainty that sets Aziraphale off, in the end. Six thousand years they’ve known each other. Six thousand years, and still Crowley hesitates, uncertain if he’s allowed to comfort the angel – if it would even be welcome. Crowley is being careful, again. Careful, when he so clearly wants to be sweet, and Aziraphale looks at Crowley’s almost outstretched hands and thinks that, maybe, he has kept his distance too well. Thinks that, actually, he’s rather tired of feeling threatened by this thing between them.

It’s only ever been a threat – been a danger – because he doesn’t know what to do with it. Doesn’t know how to feel things like this, doesn’t know how to give in to this kind of temptation, if he’s even allowed to. He doesn’t know what it would mean; for heaven, for hell, for him, or for Crowley. This uncertainty terrifies him, but really, it’s not like it matters anymore because they rebelled, both of them, they’re on their own side now and honestly, they probably have been for as long as he’s been scared of this thing growing between them and isn’t that a horrible thought, all that time wasted, and- and-

And then he really is crying. It’s just all too much.

So Aziraphale stands amidst Crowley’s plants, surrounded by foliage and concrete, and he weeps, one trembling hand lifting to try and muffle the sob that breaks unexpectedly free. Without warning, he’s engulfed; Crowley has squashed whatever hesitancy he felt and has taken Aziraphale into his arms.

“I’m sorry,” Aziraphale says, and he doesn’t think he’s apologising for crying, though Crowley of course doesn’t know that. Tears are starting to drip down the angel’s face, and oh he hates this, this body does carry on so when he cries, full on blubs really and it isn’t dignified in the slightest.

Crowley doesn’t seem to mind. He doesn’t say anything, just wraps his arms tighter around Aziraphale and the angel can sense the grip and strength of the snake in Crowley, the perfect weight of his limbs wrapped tight and all-encompassing around him. It should feel dangerous; threatening. It isn’t. It’s wonderful. Crowley tenses slightly when Aziraphale moves his own hands and wraps them around Crowley’s waist in return, but after a moment the angel feels a shuddering breath against his temple and the demon relaxes.

“I told myself on the bus,” Aziraphale says into Crowley’s shoulder, muffled, his breath catching and breaking in his throat, “I told myself, it’s only books. Just a building, just things. I shouldn’t be so upset. We’re alive, Crowley, we did it. But here I am, blubbing away over a silly old book shop.” Aziraphale can’t help but let loose another small, hiccupping sob, and one of Crowley’s hands starts to rub in gentle circles against his back, right where his wings meet his body when they’re manifested.

“It was your home, angel,” the demon says quietly. “Of course you’re upset – you loved that dusty old place. I did, too, come to think of it.”

“Did you really?” Aziraphale asks with a sniffle, leaning back slightly to look up at his friend. Crowley gifts him with a grin that is somehow sad and fond all at once.

“What? Books, and clutter, and cups of tea lying about? Bottles of wine and old wood and the world’s most comfortable sofa adorned with ridiculous tartan cushions? That whole place was you all over, angel. Of course I loved it.”

Aziraphale’s breath catches in his throat, though this time it has nothing to do with his tears. Crowley doesn’t seem to notice. Instead, he’s started rubbing Aziraphale’s upper arms briskly, as though to force some warmth into the angel.

Aziraphale does feel quite warm suddenly, but he doesn’t think it’s to do with the temperature of the flat or even necessarily Crowley’s hands on his arms, though that is rather lovely. He can’t stop staring at the demon, who is still looking at him with a small smile. Utterly unaware of how Aziraphale’s world has – once again – been turned on its head. It’s not unexpected, exactly. He knew, after all. But this is the first time it’s come close to being acknowledged – and Crowley doesn’t even seem to realise he’s done it.

‘It was me all over,’ Aziraphale thought wondrously, ‘and you loved it. Oh, Crowley.’

The angel closes his eyes for a moment. This has moved beyond sweetness, or care. Moved even beyond a threat. It’s overwhelming and he wants to bask in it, take it in, glut on it – but Crowley is still talking and Aziraphale opens his eyes again, his stomach swooping and fizzing as he stares at his demon.

“-saw me in the pub! You were dead, the shop was gone, the world was ending. Of course I was upset. Devastated, really, though if you tell anyone I’ll deny it. And then – poof! There you were. All wobbly and non-corporeal.”

Crowley’s golden eyes are serpentine and sincere and lovely, and he still has a comforting grip on Aziraphale’s upper arms, so the angel brings his own pudgy hands up to cup the demon’s elbows. Sharp and warm, like the rest of him.

“I am sorry my dear,” the angel apologises, voice steady once again. “I’m afraid what I said at the pub was right. I had rather made a mess of things.”

“Well, it could have been worse,” Crowley teases. “You could have instinctively tried to share my body – that would have ended messy, for sure.”

Aziraphale winced at the thought, but something else was there, skimming along his subconscious. “Yes, I think that would have been rather a disaster.”

The thought was almost there; just beyond his reach.

Crowley laughed suddenly. “And even if it hadn’t been a mess, explosion and body parts wise – just imagine it angel. You, in this body! Hah!”

Oh. Oh.

“Crowley that’s it!” Aziraphale said, eyes wide as he grasped for Crowley’s hand, squeezing it for emphasis. “‘For soon enough you will be playing with fire!’ Agnes Nutter! She means hellfire; she means for us to- to swap!” 

Crowley’s eyebrows had risen, and he glanced briefly down at their entangled palms, his expression softening as he squeezed Aziraphale’s hand in return before suddenly dropping it, like a child caught stealing a cookie. The demon looks away from the angel, determinedly not meeting his gaze. His ears had gone red again, Aziraphale noticed.

And that breath was caught in his throat, again. Troublesome thing.

“Right then,” Crowley said briskly, nodding decisively. “We need tea, maybe alcohol. We definitely need a plan. And then I, at least, need some sleep. It’s been a long day. Week. Eleven years.”

Aziraphale is led once more through the stark corridors until the two beings reach another room. This one is a kitchen attached to a small open plan living area – there’s a door on the far side that appears to lead to a bedroom. There’s yet another television here, but there’s also a plush leather couch, and a tall wooden bookshelf that seems to hold more records and CDs than it does books (though Aziraphale’s keen eye does spot a few novels tucked away, almost out of sight). There is some art on the walls, and though it’s lovely it’s not by anyone Aziraphale immediately recognises.

The kitchen is glorious, and the angel’s hands immediately itch to try cooking at all of the gleaming appliances. Crowley ushers him towards one of the stools at the kitchen island, and Aziraphale sits, and watches, tear trails now drying on his cheeks even as his heart skips and does foolish things in his chest. He flexes his hand, the warmth of Crowley’s palm a phantom in his.

He’s lucky he didn’t lose more than the shop. He had told himself that before, but Aziraphale feels it more keenly, now, as he watches Crowley putter around the overlarge kitchen making two cups of tea and scrounging through the cupboards until he finds an unopened pack of gingernut biscuits.

Aziraphale dunks his biscuit in his tea, and his hand trembles ever so slightly. Crowley isn’t fond of gingernuts, the angel knows. Which means he has them specifically in case Aziraphale comes to visit.

He’s been such a fool. A wilfully blind, cowardly, fool. But a fortunate one. He was so lucky, not to have lost this. Lost his best friend – lost this thing that has been building between them, for so long now.

Crowley was never a threat. Aziraphale knows that now. He knows this is more than a temptation, is more than he could bare to lose – especially before it’s truly begun. The only threat now comes from Above, and from Below. Agnes Nutter has given them warning, has given them advice, and between the two of them they’ll find a way to deal with it all.

The unconsciously sweet, careful smile that Crowley shoots Aziraphale as they sip at their tea only strengthens the angel’s resolve. He has lost his shop and his home. He has lost heaven’s goodwill.

He will not lose this, too.

 

 

Chapter Text

A few days later, after planning and swapping and feeling rather too lanky and after going to Hell (and more importantly, leaving it) and after they switch back, after a wonderful meal and after a songbird goes unheard –


After it all, they return to the shop. It seems… right, somehow, to return here. The fact that they even can return here is a blessing in itself, and Aziraphale feels something cold and sad leave him as he hears the tingle of the doorbell, and he looks around his shop once again. He feels light. He feels at home.

“Told you. Not a smudge,” Crowley grins, moving past the angel and picking up a book from the nearest shelf and brandishing it at him. The demon, clearly, is so very pleased – so very relieved – for him that Aziraphale can’t help but beam back, even as he steps forward and takes the offered hardback; it’s brightly coloured and, judging by the cover, features dinosaurs and robots.

Crowley, who is now just a few feet away, is currently pulling the other colourful books out of the shelf and inspecting them, tipping them back by the spine one by one to look at the covers. Aziraphale’s heart does that silly thing where it skips a beat and doubles in size all at once.

“Well you didn’t believe me that your car was in tip-top shape until you were sitting behind the wheel again, either.” Aziraphale puts the dinosaur book back on the shelf, and he can see Crowley at the side of his vision. 

The demon shrugs. “Fair. It’s just- hard to believe it’s all over with. Everything back to normal.”

“Not quite the same as it was before, though, is it?” the angel says, carefully not looking at Crowley. He means the children’s books, of course. Except- well, he doesn’t, really. And it’s obvious, immediately, that Aziraphale is speaking of something other than the new literature now adorning his shop. His voice has gone too sweet. Too careful.

And the way Crowley freezes beside him as he peruses the shelf. Aziraphale thinks, for just a moment, that maybe, in this, for Crowley – maybe he’s the threat. Maybe he’s been the threat all along. He’s abruptly worried that Crowley will do what he himself has done so many times. That the demon will ignore what is happening – or worse, that he’ll run from it.

But no; Crowley isn’t that kind of demon. He takes a moment. Carefully pushes the book in his hand back into place on the shelf. His fingers linger slightly on the golden lettering along the spine, and Aziraphale can’t seem to tear his eyes away. Imagines them trailing down his own spine. The angel shivers and immediately calls himself six kinds of ridiculous. His eyes are still caught on Crowley’s hands when the demon starts speaking.

“No angel. It’s not quite the same. Or– it could be. If you- we could stay the same. I could try to- if that’s what you wanted. But I- I’m not sure that I- that is. I don’t think I want to-” Crowley growls slightly and removes his glasses, running a frustrated hand down his face. His ears have flushed, and Crowley doesn’t look at the angel when he speaks again. “I want you to be happy, Aziraphale. Safe, and happy. More than anything else, I- I just want that.”

Still so sweet, after everything.

“You love me very much, don’t you?” Aziraphale says, the words tumbling from him before he can think to stop them. Oh well; it’s a relief, really. To finally be addressing it all.

Crowley winces slightly, laid bare, but nods. “Yes. I’m- I’m in love with you, angel. Stupidly, desperately, impossibly in love with you.

The demon looks almost pained by his confession, and his expression is one of earnest, intense longing, underpinned by just a dash of fear. He’s fiddling with his glasses still in his hands. Aziraphale takes pity and steps forward, stopping the demon from returning the sunglasses to their customary spot, hiding those yellow eyes. He takes the shaded spectacles in his hands, folds them carefully, and places them on the bookshelf. Aziraphale is aware of the space between them, magnetic and present. He’s aware that his heart is thundering in his chest. He’s aware that Crowley is now staring down at him, serpentine eyes visible and desperately trying to read the situation. Hope and caution fighting for a foothold across the demon’s face.

But the time for care – for caution – has passed.

“Let’s not go backwards, darling.” Aziraphale says quietly, finally looking up to meet Crowley’s gaze. “I know I’ve been- daft, about this whole thing. I know that I’ve pushed you away, that I’ve- I’ve been unkind. That I’ve hurt you. And I’m more sorry for that than you’ll ever know. But, if you are amenable, I should- I should very much like to move forward. With you.”

“Aziraphale,” Crowley whispers, and the angel places one soft hand at the demon’s waist; it is his turn to guide, and he pulls gently until the two are pressed front to front, sharing the same space and air. They hold there, a moment. Staring at each other, breath mingling. Standing on the precipice of something huge. Something important. The moment builds- builds-

Breaks.

And then there are lips, softly brushing together, testing. They come together again, closer now, hungry. Aziraphale sighs happily, and his free hand finds Crowley’s jaw, holding him just there, just so. He flicks his tongue against the demon’s bottom lip and the gasp it earns heats him from the inside through. It’s warmth and closeness, sweetness and Temptation all in one. Crowley’s hand reaches up and holds the back of his head, fingers losing themselves within pale curls; they tug gently and Aziraphale moans weakly, sparks skittering along his skull and down his spine. Crowley presses even closer at the sound, determined to draw another like it from his angel.

They kiss. They kiss, and they kiss, and they kiss.

Time passes, and still they sway towards one another, pressed close, tongues and mouths and breath all coming together softly; it’s almost rhythmic. They lose themselves in the feel of each other.

The city outside is distant, muffled. The last of the sun’s rays have turned the shop gold and pink. The new books sit and collect the dust on the air as it dances through the newly created store. It is just dust. There is no ash, no soot.

The only thing burning here is the distance between the angel and the demon, and the places where increasingly desperate hands alight, and the look they share – heads pressed together and chests heaving – when they do eventually part. It’s been six thousand years and there is no physical flame but Aziraphale feels the heat inside him, banked and fuelled for so long, and he thinks he will likely burn with it all anyway.

The angel can’t help but thrill at the picture Crowley makes. His hair is – somehow – more tousled than usual. The demon’s eyes are liquid gold, fire and heat and, yes, temptation. His lips are pink and slick with their kissing, and the angel can’t stop the swell of heat in his gut and he can feel other areas of his body reacting similarly.

An aside: Angels and Demons, though sexless, are able to make an Effort, if they wish. Gender roles are very much a human hang-up, and Crowley had very early on proclaimed the whole concept a ‘con’, though he never attempted to claim it as one of Hell’s. Throughout the years the demon had instead been quite happy swapping things around as he pleased, and he hadn’t ever seemed to care if his Effort matched cultural fashion norms or not. As far as Aziraphale was aware, Crowley had kept the same Effort for the past few decades (outside of his stint as Nanny Ashtoreth) – or at least, the demon had stopped bemoaning the “monthly joys of femininity” sometime back in the 1940s, and the frankly uncomfortable looking jeans Crowley had favoured over the past few years made it quite clear that, yes, a decidedly masculine Effort was still in effect.

Aziraphale on the other hand, though also technically sexless (and also slightly dubious of the way gender had so long influenced human society), had always felt most comfortable presenting as masculine (if slightly effeminately so). Not long after fitted breeches became popular and his interest in human fashions had begun to develop in earnest, Aziraphale had decided to make an Effort. It made the pants fit better, you see, and - well. It was difficult explaining to a tailor asking whether he dressed left or right that he simply didn’t. So. He had made an Effort. And, currently, that Effort was making itself known.

Aziraphale let out a small moan as Crowley nipped at the hinge of his jaw, feeling slightly woozy. Blood was being directed to places it usually wasn’t, and even with his heart working overtime, the angel was lightheaded with sensation. Crowley’s breath skittering against his neck, the demon’s body pressed tight against his and, oh, oh-

Aziraphale can’t help it; his hips jerk slightly, the demon’s answering hardness pressing against his own, causing a sharp jolt of pleasure to spark through him. Crowley groans at the sensation, pressing his forehead to the angel’s shoulder, his eyes squeezed shut tight.

“Aziraphale,” Crowley says, rough and low, and the angel shivers. He does not think himself ridiculous this time. There’s no other sensible reaction to Crowley voice sounding like that, after all.

“Aziraphale,” Crowley says again, lifting his head and pressing the angel’s name against the curls at his temple. “Please, love.”

Aziraphale takes a breath. Releases it. Thinks for a moment to try and steady himself against the tide rising inside him. Relaxes – delights, even – as he realises he no longer has to.

“Upstairs, I think?” he asks, and Crowley hisses “Yessss” against his mouth, an elegant hand beneath the angel’s chin tipping it up to meet his kiss, demanding and growing more desperate by the second.

After breaking apart, they make their way up the stairs to Aziraphale’s flat. It is slow going – now that he’s started, Aziraphale can’t seem to stop touching. His hands itch to be on Crowley; they trace his waist and cup his neck, reckless and greedy. They pull the demon back to him, every two steps halted by the two coming together again and again, trading kisses and smiles. Aziraphale eventually manages to pull back and just takes Crowley’s hand, pulling him up the last few steps, through the flat and towards the bedroom. The angel sends a quick miracle ahead of them, clearing the dust and freshening the sheets of his bed, and pretends he doesn’t hear Crowley’s low chuckle as the demon senses the celestial magic at work.

The angel stops suddenly, once in the middle of the bedroom, dropping Crowley’s hand. He stares at the bed in front of them, and his heart threatens to break from his chest. He is, suddenly – perhaps ridiculously – anxious. The door clicks closed behind him, and he takes a shuddering breath, something not unlike panic settling in his bones as so many old doubts fill his mind.

What if it’s wrong? What if he’s wrong? What if he falls? What if he can’t- if Crowley doesn’t-

Two firm arms snake their way around his waist, and Aziraphale sighs, the tension falling from him as Crowley presses a gentle kiss to the base of his neck. They stand together, silent, for a moment. Aziraphale takes the demon’s arms in his, holding Crowley holding him.

“I wasn’t lying, angel.” Crowley says after a moment, his voice quiet in the hush of the room. “I love you. And if this isn’t something you want- I don’t need it, Aziraphale. I know you think; oh, he’s, he’s a demon. Lust is part of the package. And it can be. I’m not going to pretend I don’t want you. Desperately. But I’ve been dealing with wanting you for over four thousand years, darling, I can manage if you decide you don’t want- if you’d prefer something less… carnal. It’s not something I need, exactly. Not like I need you, angel. I want to have you, even if I don’t have you. That – dammit, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, I just- I mean-”

Aziraphale closes his eyes as Crowley speaks. It’s overwhelming, the love he feels for the demon. It’s all encompassing, and it’s beautiful, and he knows – he knows – nothing this good, this pure could be a sin, no matter what Heaven or Hell would say. He turns in Crowley’s arms and cuts the demon off, pressing their lips together again, quickly, before pulling back and staring up at those beautifully unusual eyes once more.

“You would be fine if this is all we were. Just this; kissing and holding each other. Loving each other.”

Crowley nods, relieved. “Exactly. I don’t need sex, Aziraphale. I just need you.”

The angel smiles, and tucks his head under Crowley’s chin, pressing his head against the demon’s chest. The too-quick thud of his heart makes Aziraphale’s smile widen, and he presses closer. He realises Crowley is still hard against him – and as he recognises this, the angel feels himself regain some of his own interest that had been lost in his moment of panic.

“This may surprise you, my dear, but- I think I might need it.”

Crowley startles slightly, looking down at the angel, his mouth dry.

“Need…?”

“Sex. With you, specifically. Obviously.”

“O-oh?”

The angel hums and closes his eyes.

“I know this is more than lust, Crowley. And I know that, now that I’ve felt you under my hands – now that I’ve kissed you, and felt you pressed against me like this… Well. I try to stay on the virtuous side of gluttony-” the demon snorts lightly and Aziraphale pointedly ignores him. “But, I’m not perfect. I know, too often, I want more.”

“And… do you? Want more?”

 “Oh darling. I want you so much it terrifies me. I don’t know what to do with all the ways I want you.”

“Tell me?” Crowley’s voice is low and ragged again, and the demon’s desire seems to only be outweighed by his curiosity.

Always the curiosity, with Crowley. But Aziraphale is fonder of this trait of Crowley’s than others have been in the past. The angel keeps his eyes closed, still tucked up against the demon’s chest, and he allows half imagined thoughts long and stubbornly buried to rise in his mind’s eye.

“I want to lay you out before me and cover every inch of you in kisses. I want to swallow your cries of pleasure down and hold them within me, always. I want you inside me and to be inside you – because I think we already are, in most ways, and I want it to be in every way – and… and I want- I want- Lord save me, Crowley, but I think I just want you.”

“I’m yours, angel,” Crowley says, voice rough. “You can have me any way you want me.” The demon leans down this time and when they break from this kiss Aziraphale is determined and beginning to get just a little desperate. He pushes Crowley back and there’s a split second where the demon’s face drops, thinking Aziraphale is rejecting him. But the angel keeps his hand on Crowley’s chest as he pushes him back, and when the demon’s knees hit the edge of the bed and he finds himself sitting on the plush duvet staring up at the angel, his expression clears. Anticipation and desire are now writ clear across Crowley’s face, and Aziraphale savours it, savours the lack of sunglasses, savours the clarity and depth of the looks the demon is giving him.

Crowley scoots back on the bed, and Aziraphale follows until they are both laying on their sides in the centre of the bed, facing each other. They come together, kissing again, and Aziraphale finds himself being pressed down into the mattress by the demon, who has all but rolled atop of him. Crowley’s hips are doing things that send sparks of pleasure pulsating through him, and Aziraphale can’t help but gasp with every sinuous press. He’s hard again, harder than he has ever been in all of his existence, and it’s just all too good.

He has to close his eyes against the onslaught of sensation, and so he doesn’t see the frantic, delighted grin spread across Crowley’s face as the demon grinds against him, nor the mischievous lilt to his mouth as he leans down over the angel to nip at his ear.

 “How ‘bout it, angel? How do you want me?” Crowley whispers, and the Principality can’t help but groan. The demon’s eyes widen in surprise as suddenly he is flipped, and Aziraphale stares down at Crowley, a smile tugging at his well-used lips.

“Like this, I should think. Except- perhaps…” and here Aziraphale brings a hand to start tugging at Crowley’s jacket.

“Just miracle them away, for G- S- for fuck’s sake, Aziraphale!” Crowley whines, and the angel tuts softly.

“Patience is a virtue, my dear.”

Crowley snarls suddenly, his fangs visible. “Six thousand years I have been wanting you, waiting for you. You don’t get to lecture me about patience, angel.”

The demon then lifts a hand and clicks his own fingers, banishing their clothing to some other place. Aziraphale bites his lip, closing his eyes against the sudden onslaught of sensation of skin against skin. They’re fully hard now, the both of them, and without thinking he rolls his hips down against Crowley’s.

The demon bucks up against him, his not-quite-clawed hands grasping desperately at Aziraphale’s arse, the fingers digging in and kneading, pulling them tighter together. The roll together like that awhile, their breath coming in sharp bursts – each keeps forgetting to exhale – and pleasure washing over them like a tide. Aziraphale leans forward to take advantage of a bare-chested Crowley and takes one of the demon’s nipples in his mouth, which earns him a moan followed closely by a yelp as he bites gently. Sensitive, Aziraphale notes with something approaching glee.

Crowley meanwhile, thinks distantly that, actually, he probably doesn’t need both his hands grasping at Aziraphale’s plush arse – so instead he shoves one magically slicked hand between them and wraps it around both of their cocks at once. Aziraphale abandons Crowley’s now slightly abused nipples and whines, once again closing his eyes against the rising pleasure, his pale eyelashes fluttering.

“Oh, Crowley,” Aziraphale chokes out, and the demon’s grin is almost vicious.

“That it sweetheart? Can you feel me against you? Feel how hard you make me?”

Crowley does a twisting motion with his wrist and Aziraphale shivers; he can feel something ballooning inside him, the sharp edge of sensation sending pleasure skittering throughout his body. Crowley is still muttering filth in his ear, his hand stroking the two of them in tandem and Aziraphale brings his own – also conveniently slicked – hand down to help.

Fuck, oh please, Aziraphale,” Crowley cries out at the touch of the angel’s manicured hand. The demon grits his teeth (which are still looking just slightly too sharp) and Aziraphale can’t help but lean down to kiss him once again, swallowing his love’s pleading and dipping his tongue in to ever so carefully trace Crowley’s mouth.

The pressure – the pleasure – is building. Quickly.

“I think- Crowley, I think I might- oh,” Aziraphale gasps, and Crowley’s hand remaining on his arse shifts and dips in slightly, the tips of his fingers just brushing against the furled, hidden entrance there. A shockingly bright jolt of pleasure shoots up Aziraphale’s spine, and-

“Oh, fuck,” the angel cries out, hips snapping forward into Crowley’s hand, his orgasm ripping through him. It’s overwhelming and all-encompassing and it’s all Aziraphale can do to keep hold of his mortal form.

At hearing the angel curse, Crowley’s face becomes strangely reminiscent of that moment on Eden’s wall all those millennia ago – Aziraphale can still hear the surprised delight in the way Crowley had gasped “you what?”. Right now, that same shocked glee is quickly overcome by helpless lust. Crowley throws his head back with a shout, his body writhing desperately underneath Aziraphale’s as he cums.

 

When they eventually drift back to themselves, the white-hot pleasure fading to a gentle warmth, Aziraphale has collapsed down onto Crowley’s chest, cocooning the lithe demon’s body beneath his own. He has a brief moment of concern – he might be soft, but he is also heavy – but Crowley has settled happily beneath the angel’s weight, sighing softly as he slowly ran a hand up and down Aziraphale’s back.

Aziraphale lets himself rest a moment, head cushioned on Crowley’s thin – but surprisingly well defined – chest. He can hear the rapid thunder of the demon’s heartbeat, and it is this simple but wonderful thing that pushes the angel to lift up, so that he might look at Crowley’s face.

The demon is staring down at him with such undisguised affection – with unrestrained, unapologetic love – that Aziraphale feels the bite of tears in his eyes, his throat constricting slightly.

“How could I ever have thought to be without you?” he asks quietly, a hand lifting to stroke Crowley’s cheek. “How could I ever have tried to deny this? Deny how I feel for you?”

Crowley doesn’t answer him immediately, and instead lifts Aziraphale’s hand to his mouth and presses a kiss against his wrist, right over the pulse.

“It’s okay, angel. We got there. That’s all I care about.”

Aziraphale stretches up, pressing a kiss to the corner of Crowley’s softly upturned mouth. He settles back down, and the demon resumes stroking his back. They’re quiet for a few minutes more, almost but not quite dozing, when Aziraphale is brought back to himself by a poorly muffled snicker.

“What?” the angel asks, and now he can feel Crowley’s chest vibrating with mirth beneath his cheek.

“Angel. You swore when you came. You said ‘fuck’!”

Aziraphale feels himself blushing – one bodily reaction he can never quite seem to control, dash it all – and he pinches Crowley’s stomach lightly.

“Oh hush. If you’re allowed to be sweet then I’m allowed to swear, if only this once.”

Crowley snorts, and sleepily mutters something like “Sweet? Urgh. ‘m not sweet.”

Aziraphale doesn’t respond. He knows better.