Of all the parts his human form, Aziraphale found that he liked his mouth best. He liked to hum whatever tune came to him as he worked around the bookshop, the vibration of his closed lips producing a lovely and soothing sound. The warm feeling in his chest when he smiled a genuine smile, as all his smiles were, was unlike any experience to be had in his angelic form. He’d never tell, but if he found himself nervous and alone, he might bite his own fingernails to calm down. (When he did, it was easy enough to miracle them back to being neatly-trimmed, so no one would be the wiser.) And he liked nothing better than to experience new foods; it seemed to him that eating was truly the most decadent pleasure of life on earth.
If none of his fellow angels understood these pleasures of the flesh, at least Crowley had been won over. The two of them had surprisingly similar taste in food, it seemed, and at any restaurant Aziraphale suggested, Crowley could always find something to suit his own palate. Aziraphale, however, had just made an unsettling discovery about Crowley.
“How is it possible that you’ve never tried gelato?”
“Angel, you can’t expect me to have eaten as many foods as you have.” I only ever eat when you invite me out, he didn’t say.
“Well. Let’s go inside.” Aziraphale tipped his head toward the door of the gelateria that had prompted the conversation. “It’s on me.” He held the door open for Crowley, who sauntered in as if he’d done so a hundred times.
Aziraphale and Crowley left the shop with a cup of tiramisu flavor and a cone of stracciatella, respectively. As they walked, Aziraphale brought a spoonful of the gelato to his lips, first letting himself enjoy the smell before putting it in his mouth. He rolled the cream on his tongue and closed his eyes with a sigh as it melted away. When his eyes opened, he noticed that Crowley’s head had turned to face him, and that he seemed to be more interested in Aziraphale than in his own frozen treat. In fact, the gelato was starting to drip down the side of the cone, dangerously close to Crowley’s fingers.
Aziraphale watched Crowley flick his tongue lazily against the cream. It was so sensual yet casual, in that way that only Crowley could be. Having had several millennia to observe his friend’s expressions, he could tell that behind Crowley’s glasses, his friend was indeed enjoying the dessert. But Crowley was licking away at the top, even as the bottom melted further and further down the side, spilling over Crowley’s fingers where they held the cone.
The situation was urgent, and that urgency found its way into Aziraphale’s voice. “Crowley. Crowley, you need to eat faster.”
Crowley glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow. “Or what?”
“Or it will melt! More than it has already!” Aziraphale pursed his lips.
Crowley’s head tilted back, and Aziraphale knew that he must be rolling his eyes behind his glasses. “Oh, come on. The weather’s not that warm.”
“I know it doesn’t feel hot to you, but it does to the gelato.”
Crowley scoffed, “Food doesn’t feel anything. Even if it did, I imagine being eaten would be much more unpleasant than melting.”
“You know what I mean.” Aziraphale pouted. “It’s wasteful.”
“Well then, how shall I keep it from going to waste?” Crowley shrugged; he didn’t seem to care.
Aziraphale’s face was that of a confused puppy, an expression more common than he would like to admit (even if Crowley had told him in passing that he found it cute). His eyes glanced up and down between Crowley’s face and the fast-melting gelato, trying to decide what to do. Then, still a confused puppy, he leaned in and licked the dripping cream from the side of the cone. After licking it clean, his tongue moved on to Crowley’s fingers. He lapped against them, his tongue soft and wet and warm as it collected the sweet stickiness of the cream. Its tip traced around the outline of Crowley’s fingers, then ran firmly through the spaces between them, where the melted cream had pooled in the cracks.
One might assume that the sensation of Aziraphale’s tongue on Crowley’s fingers might feel ticklish or awkward, such that he would move or pull them away; but no, his hand was suddenly stock-still. Aziraphale thought nothing of it, and continued to lick them until all the melted cream was clean. He pulled away and smiled. “There! Nothing gone to waste, then.”
“You were right,” said Crowley abruptly. “Let’s get out of this heat. My place is nearby.” His typically languid voice sounded clipped, harsh.
Aziraphale noticed, but wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. He nodded, “All right.”
Crowley walked them toward his apartment at a brisk pace, and Aziraphale found himself having to walk much faster than was his wont. “It’s not going to melt that quickly,” Aziraphale said between breaths, “especially if you’d take the time to stop and eat some.” He heard Crowley grumble impatiently, but couldn’t quite make out what he said. He followed after, doing his best to keep pace with Crowley’s longer strides.
The inside of Crowley’s apartment was cool, just the right temperature for keeping his plants. Aziraphale followed Crowley into the living area, where Crowley promptly slid down onto the plush, dark leather of his sofa. Aziraphale felt hesitant to sit with a food that could get so messy, especially with how quickly it had seemed to melt earlier. Speaking of which, he glanced down and-- oh dear-- there it was, spilling down onto Crowley’s hand again. “Oh! Crowley, your gelato, it’s--!”
Crowley lifted the gelato in his hand, and held it up to his face. His eyebrows rose over his glasses. “It is, isn’t it?” His fingers pulled away from the cone until he was holding it delicately between forefinger and thumb, the drips threatening to fall onto the sofa. “D’you want to help me with it again?”
Aziraphale’s eyes widened for a moment, perhaps it was from surprise, perhaps it was from anticipation. Even he himself couldn’t be sure. He leant in without questioning it, without letting himself think too hard, lest the anticipation feel too much like temptation and change his mind. His tongue was a bit more tentative this time, more unsure than when they were there together in public. This felt more private and more intimate, somehow. But why? He was simply helping Crowley, stopping the gelato from dripping onto the couch, keeping it from going to waste. The thought flitted through Aziraphale’s mind that there was no reason that Crowley couldn’t clean his fingers himself, but he paid it no heed.
Aziraphale’s tongue traced across Crowley’s fingers. It started at the heel of the hand, then slid its way up to the tip of his pinky, then up the next finger, then the next, until finally he licked across the finger and thumb which still held the cone.
That dealt with the immediate concern of dripping, but there was still some gelato left on Crowley’s fingers. Without thinking, Aziraphale slipped a finger between his lips to clean up the rest. The sticky-sweetness came away in his mouth, but there was also something else. The taste of Crowley, perhaps, the salt of his sweat mixing with the sweetness of the cream. It reminded Aziraphale of a certain type expensive restaurant, where the taste of the food was only one part of the meal; where the lighting, the scent, the presentation of the food were all meticulously crafted to enhance the tasting experience. Maybe it was hyperbolic, but he felt the analogy was fair.
Aziraphale swallowed, his tongue making a soft, wet sound as he let the finger go. He moved on to taste each finger in turn, his tongue brushing firmly against the side, swirling around the tip, smacking as he pulled away. When he had finished licking the fingers clean to his own satisfaction, Aziraphale pulled away and glanced up at Crowley.
“There, dear. Now don’t let it drip anymore, you have to start at the bottom, closest to the cone. Goodness knows why you thought you’d prefer a cone to a cup.” Aziraphale went back to his own tiramisu gelato, savoring the taste as he spooned it out of his bowl. Once he’d finished, he looked over at Crowley, who was finally eating the gelato at a fair pace. It seemed, though, that Crowley’s was melting unusually fast, judging by how much had melted onto his fingers since the last time Aziraphale had looked up. If he’d been paying attention, he might have noticed the finger-sized indentations in the cream, but he was distracted by the mess. “Oh, look at you. Just look at you.” He tsked. “One would think you’re doing this on purpose.”
Aziraphale saw Crowley scowl, and his cheeks darken. Had he? But that was silly. Why would Crowley, why would anyone make a mess of himself intentionally?
“Here. You can use my cup, since you can’t seem to manage the cone.” Aziraphale again took hold of Crowley’s wrist and plucked the cone from his sticky hand, upending it into his own empty cup. Crowley grimaced. Aziraphale then brought the hand up to his mouth. This time, instead of starting with the pinky, he took Crowley’s first two fingers into his mouth at once.
Oh. This was nice. The taste was the same, the texture was the same, but there was something about the weight of both fingers in his mouth that felt different. Better, somehow. Oh, he didn’t want to let them go. He didn’t want to open his eyes; only now did he realize that he had closed them. He slid his mouth up and down along the fingers, sucking at them lightly. There was something sensual about it, similar and yet different from the way he felt about any other form of physical indulgence. Aziraphale pulled back, letting the two fingers slip out of his mouth, then lowered his mouth around three fingers at once. He ran his tongue up the underside of them, and sucked more firmly than before. Suddenly, Aziraphale heard a noise from deep in Crowley’s throat, and he pulled back. He opened his eyes and looked up at Crowley, concerned.
Crowley stared at Aziraphale for a long moment; well, as best Aziraphale could tell. Normally Aziraphale could read him perfectly even behind those dark glasses, but he was being particularly inscrutable at the moment. This wasn’t an expression Aziraphale had seen before.
“Won’t you take those off? We’re inside, after all, no sun. It’s just me.”
At first Crowley seemed as if he might protest, his mouth falling open, but the look on Aziraphale’s face must have convinced him. His face turned toward his hand, still frozen in the air where Aziraphale was holding his wrist, then back up to Aziraphale, as if to say well, I can’t take them off myself. There was something tense behind the nonchalance in Crowley’s voice as he agreed, “All right. You can take them off if you want to.”
Aziraphale let go of Crowley’s wrist, then brought his hand up to his face and removed the glasses. The slits of Crowley’s eyes were wide and dark; but no, Aziraphale reminded himself, a snake’s pupils didn’t respond to emotions in the way that a human’s might. They simply dilated in low light, and Crowley’s apartment fit the bill. His eyes, too, were wide, and were staring intently into Aziraphale’s, but Aziraphale thought nothing of it.
Crowley glanced back down at his hand, turning it over, scrutinizing it. “You can also-- erm. There’s still some of that gelato left. If you don’t want to waste any.”
Aziraphale gave a small smile and nodded, taking Crowley’s wrist in hand again. He took each finger into his mouth, cleaning them one by one with a firm brush of his tongue, his lips sliding off between each one with a soft, wet smack. He knew for certain now that there was a pleasure to be found in this. There was something soothing, it seemed, in having a thing in his mouth, regardless of what the thing might be. There wasn’t even any of the cream left, but Aziraphale didn’t care, didn’t want to stop. It felt good, it felt very good, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that his mouth was made for this, was made to suck on… something, he couldn’t quite place what it was. He only knew that he wanted to take it all in, as deeply as he could. Pleasant little sounds came up from the back of his throat as he sucked, needy sounds. But what did he need?
Humans used the word “hunger” to describe the sensation when their bodies required sustenance. Though he enjoyed food, this was not an experience Aziraphale was familiar with, and yet... Could he call this feeling “hunger”? Aziraphale wanted more. He needed more. More of what, he wasn’t sure. He lowered his mouth further, further, as far as he could, and swallowed Crowley’s fingers.
Aziraphale heard Crowley’s breathless gasp, felt Crowley’s hand move, and he choked on the fingers down his throat. Crowley pulled them away, dripping with thick spittle. He stared down at his hand, then at Aziraphale’s mouth, and slowly reached out to trace the tips of his wet fingers across Aziraphale’s bottom lip.
All at once, Aziraphale came back to himself, and the self-conscious feelings returned. He pulled away, flushed, and his tongue flicked out to gather some of the saliva left around his mouth. “Well. Your hand’s all clean. Perhaps in the future, a cone isn’t the best choice for you.”
Crowley just stared at him for a second, his eyes not meeting Aziraphale’s; they seemed to be focused just a bit lower, on Aziraphale’s mouth. When Crowley’s eyes finally met Aziraphale’s, he could feel his own eyes widen. He noticed that Crowley’s mouth, too, was open.
Crowley shook his head and made an unintelligible noise of frustration. “Mmngh.”
“I’ll take that as a thank you,” said Aziraphale, teasing. At least, he had meant to tease at first, but somewhere along the way he recognized the sound as one Crowley made when he was trying to hide something.
Crowley was focusing intently on his freshly-clean fingers, as though he didn’t want to or couldn’t meet Aziraphale’s eyes. “I owe you that much.”
Aziraphale smiled kindly. “You’re very welcome.” He had been complimented on his smile many times, but he’d never seen Crowley’s gaze darting so quickly between his eyes and his mouth. Self-conscious, Aziraphale licked the last bit of saliva from his flushed, wet lips.
“And they say I can do things with my tongue,” muttered Crowley.