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Moonbeams Kiss the Sea

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If Aziraphale were to say he’d never thought about kissing Crowley, he would be telling a lie, and Aziraphale is not a liar. 

He loves Crowley. He loves Crowley more than almost anything in the universe, and in his thousands of years in the universe, Aziraphale has encountered most things. Nothing compares to the absolute tranquility found in the burning passion of loving this particular demon. 

Kissing, though? Kissing is something that’s reserved for human beings with human body parts and human emotions and human lips. 

Still, however, there comes a moment from time to time, when he thinks that perhaps Crowley is thinking about it, too. And when the room grows still and silent, and an invisible electricity crackles between the two of them, Aziraphale thinks that maybe, just maybe, they’re both thinking about it at the same time.

This terrifies Aziraphale just as much as it thrills him. 

But it all finally comes to fruition three years post apocalypse, after a young felis catus named Marie Antoinette wanders into the bookshop. It’s a dark and stormy night, as many stories begin. Through the pitter-patter of rain, Aziraphale hears a few diminutive mew mews coming from the crack beneath the entryway door. 

He isn’t going to leave a helpless kitten outdoors in a storm—so he lets her in, only until the rain comes to a stop, ignoring the fact that it never stops raining in London. As he towels off her slick white coat, she looks up at him with her bright yellow eyes, and it reminds him of someone he loves.  

“Just don’t urinate on the books, I beg of you,” he says ambivalently, and Marie Antoinette yawns and stretches her legs.

“Especially the section on the Ming Dynasty. I paid a pretty penny for them, and they’re centuries old. I doubt urine stains could be removed, so I’d very much appreciate it if you’d steer clear of those ones.”

Marie Antoinette curls up into a tiny, furry ball at his feet, closes her eyes to nap, and Aziraphale goes to move the Ming Dynasty books to the highest shelves. 

***

Crowley peers at Aziraphale over his dark glasses, completely befuddled. “You adopted a cat?” he says, his voice on the edge of laughter. 

Aziraphale twiddles his thumbs and shifts his eyes away and back before attempting to explain. “She really belongs more to the bookshop, you see--”

Both of Crowley’s eyebrows spring upwards, and he regards Aziraphale with fond amusement. “I’d honestly have pegged you for a dog person.” He pauses. “With you, you know. Being you.” 

Aziraphale huffs, feigning offence. “What exactly do you mean?”

“Loyal, loving, and good,” Crowley says, his expression growing suddenly tender, and Aziraphale can feel his own cheeks and neck burning with the intimacy of those words. 

As the room falls still and silent, that invisible electricity crackles, and Aziraphale’s eyes fall to Crowley’s lips. He’s thinking about kissing him, in this moment that feels suspended in time, and he thinks, perhaps, if he were to do that, Crowley might just kiss him back.

“The devil himself is a cat person, actually,” Crowley blurts out. “You know. Creatures of the night, loners, bad luck, death, all that.” 

Aziraphale swallows thickly and nods, pursing his lips. “Well then,” he says. “I suppose Satan and I have more in common than I thought.” 

Crowley beams at him and chuckles, and with that, the squeezing pressure in Aziraphale’s chest fades away, and he breathes. 

Marie Antoinette appears out of the shadows, truly a creature of the night, and rubs her furry torso against Aziraphale’s legs.

“Hello, love!” Aziraphale coos, leaning down to pick her up and pulling her against him, and she nuzzles her face into his. “Such a pretty girl, you are,” he says, nuzzling back.

It takes mere seconds before Crowley groans disapprovingly. “Look at you two,” he sneers. “It’s been less than a day and you’re already...snuggling?”

Aziraphale raises his head to look at him. “Marie Antoinette is very affectionate,” he says. “What am I supposed to do? Turn her away?”

Crowley bursts into laughter, and Aziraphale can see his eyes widening behind his shades. “You named her Marie Antoinette?”

“Well,” Aziraphale mumbles, stroking the top of Marie Antoinette’s head. Her whiskers twitch, and she purrs. “She fell asleep immediately on the book about France just before the Revolution, so I assumed it would be fitting.” 

Crowley shakes his head and laughs beneath his breath. “Alright,” he waves. “I’m out of here, angel. Have fun with your…” he gives one last look of disgust and throws a tiny nod in the general direction of Marie Antoinette. “...whatever,” he concludes, and he turns to go, leaving Aziraphale to watch him exit the bookshop in silence.

As he tries to make sense of what just happened, Aziraphale pulls his furry new friend in closer, and he tells himself he’ll think about it tomorrow. 

Chapter Text

As the days come and go, it becomes increasingly apparent that Crowley isn’t particularly fond of Marie Antoinette; and Marie Antoinette, in true feline fashion, isn’t particularly fond of much at all. Except, it would seem, for Aziraphale, and sleeping, and brightly-coloured balls of yarn.    

Each time Marie Antoinette is in the presence of Crowley, in fact, the demon folds his arms tightly across his chest, grows silent, and scowls. Aziraphale can’t figure out why—all Marie Antoinette ever seems to do is sleep, and eat, and shower Aziraphale with endless amounts of affection. And of course, Aziraphale repays her in kind: with treats. Hugs. Naps. Cuddles. Soft kisses on the tip of the nose.

One chilly autumn evening, as Aziraphale reads Schopenhauer at his table, Marie Antoinette plops onto her back over the open book, sprawling her legs as far as they will possibly go. 

Aziraphale laughs. “You want a belly rub, is that it? After going and interrupting my reading?”

Marie Antoinette yawns, baring her tiny, sharp teeth and bright pink tongue, and she mew mew mews until Aziraphale gives in. “Oh, alright. You’ve won this time, but don’t even think about letting this become a habit...”

“Bollocks,” Crowley pipes up from behind Aziraphale, startling him. “She clearly does whatever she wants.”

“Crowley!” Aziraphale steadies his breaths and sets a hand onto his chest. “I didn’t hear you come in!” He turns to face him, ready to argue. “And that’s not true at all.” He presses his lips together into a thin smile, his eyes shifting thoughtfully. “Marie Antoinette does as I say—always.” 

Marie Antoinette purrs and purrs and purrs, louder than the motor of an automobile. Aziraphale looks back down at her affectionately, setting his hand onto her and smoothing down her silky white coat. 

“Is so,” Crowley huffs, and if Aziraphale didn’t know better, he’d say his friend is actually pouting. “I don’t understand exactly what’s so charming about this feral creature,” he says as he regards Marie Antoinette warily. “Cats are so...standoffish...and...badly behaved...and ill-mannered and...and—” he scrunches his face together disapprovingly—“And they smell terrible!” 

“Hmm, perhaps,” Aziraphale concedes. But I rather think she’s just lonely, and simply wants to be adored. And although she may seem badly behaved—” he pauses, lifting his gaze to Crowley and smiling at him pointedly. “—She’s actually brilliant, and beautiful, and utterly and completely lovable. Sort of like someone else I know,” he adds with a wink of his eye. 

The expression of annoyance on Crowley’s face instantly softens, his cheeks growing a rosey-pink shade. He makes a noise of disgust, crossing his arms and tapping his left foot against the wooden floor impatiently. “I hope you aren’t implying what I think you’re implying, angel,” he says through half-gritted teeth. 

Aziraphale beams, feigning cluelessness. “I can’t imagine what you mean.”

“You!” Crowley points a finger towards Marie Antoinette pseudo-aggressively.

She ignores him, licking her paws clean. 

“I smell much better than you,” Crowley growls, and Marie Antoinette pauses her bathtime to stare up blankly at Crowley. 

“Yes, erm, you smell fantastic,” Aziraphale says nervously. “Though you see, I wasn’t at all implying—“

“Of course not,” Crowley responds as he makes for the door. But at that moment, he takes a very ill-timed step into a fresh, very smelly pile of “something” Marie Antoinette had earlier left behind. He lets out a blood curdling scream, and it takes the self-control of an angel for Aziraphale not to burst into laughter.

***

Some days later, Crowley storms into the bookshop. “I need a book, angel,” he hurriedly states.

“Well, you’ve, erm, come to the right place,” Aziraphale says as Crowley brushes past him towards the section on foreign languages. “What are you in the mood for?”

“Need to learn to read, write, and speak Portuguese in less than twenty-four hours,” Crowley says casually as he takes a book off the shelf and flips through its pages. 

“Oh.” Aziraphale watches him curiously. “...Why?”

“Very long story,” Crowley calls over from the shelves. 

“Er, alright then,” Aziraphale mumbles. “Boa sorte.”

“Yeah, Hakuna Matata to you, too.”

Aziraphale gets the tiniest inkling that Crowley may still be unhappy with him, so he decides to do something kind to win him back over.

“You know,” he says, “I actually became fluent in Portuguese during the summer of twenty sixteen, and I’d be happy to help you out.” 

Crowley emerges gracefully from the shadows next to the bookshelves, peering at Aziraphale over his dark glasses. “Sure, thanks. I’ll take all the help I can get.” He saunters towards one of the tables, pulls out a chair, and sits down to open the book. 

Aziraphale simply stares at him quietly and nervously, shifting his weight back and forth between both feet. He feels oddly afraid to approach Crowley, because he knows Crowley very well, and he knows Crowley is even grumpier than usual. 

“You gonna join me or not, angel?” Crowley calls over his shoulder, his invitation cutting through the tense atmosphere.

Aziraphale releases a sigh of relief. “Absolutamente!” he says, stepping towards the table.

As he approaches Crowley, he inhales. And he smells something new—something deliciously masculine—something sweet and musky, something different and yet familiar.

“Crowley, are you wearing cologne?” Aziraphale inquires bluntly.

Crowley shifts uncomfortably in his chair. “Not sure what you mean,” he mumbles. 

Aziraphale inhales deeply to breathe it in. “Oh, oh! I recognise this scent. It’s Giorgio’s Acqua di Gio Absolu, is it not? Yes, I remember telling you that I loved it. That time we were dining in Tuscany at that wonderful cafe with the stuffed gnocchi! Our server was wearing it, and I told him how heavenly it smelled, and—“

He pauses and smiles as he’s hit with a realisation. “Oh! Did you wear this cologne because you thought I was implying you and Marie Antoinette have...similar scents?” His voice is brimming with an endearing satisfaction as he sits down besides his friend. 

“Ha! Not likely,” Crowley snaps back in a clipped tone, keeping his eyes glued to the book in front of him. 

Aziraphale knows he’s fibbing, but—Crowley seems so small and vulnerable in this moment. Aziraphale thinks, again, that he might want to kiss him. It would be perfect, wouldn’t it? Right here in the bookshop, on this peaceful autumn night, firewood crackling in the background. And perhaps Crowley may even curl up next to him—sighing that happy sigh he sighs on rare occasions—smelling like something Aziraphale would like to put his lips on. 

He utters his friend’s name softly and turns to face him. He reaches a hand out, placing it onto Crowley’s shoulder and squeezing. 

Crowley pauses and finally looks up from his book; he looks down at Aziraphale’s hand on his shoulder; he looks over to Aziraphale, locking his eyes with his. 

Aziraphale gazes at Crowley, his heart in his eyes, and Crowley gazes openly back.

But suddenly, Aziraphale feels Marie Antoinette’s soft fur as she rubs against his knees. It startles him so much that his foot lunges forwards, kicking Crowley square in the shin. 

Crowley hisses loudly in pain. Marie Antoinette wholeheartedly does not approve of this reaction, arches her back, hissing even more loudly. She swipes her claws at Crowley, ripping several tiny holes in his overpriced trousers. 

As she scampers away, Crowley spits out a plethora of profanities. Aziraphale is mildly impressed that two or three of the words are Portuguese.

“Oh, Crowley!” he cries as he bolts upwards from his chair. “Are you alright?”

“Just... keep her away from me!” Crowley growls, dusting off his trousers. 

Fine,” Aziraphale says. “She’s run off now, and I think she’s spooked enough that she’ll stay away for the evening.“ He slides his hand down Crowley’s arm to his elbow, squeezing it tenderly. “We can study now, if you’d like.”

Crowley sighs deeply and looks at Aziraphale’s hand on him. “I’m just… It’s late, angel. The shop is closed. Perhaps you ought to go home, so I can actually concentrate.”

Aziraphale’s heart flutters as it sinks to his stomach. “Right,” he says. “I...I suppose I’ll be going, then. See you tomorrow.”

“Yeah.” Crowley abruptly pulls away and sits back down at the table. “See you tomorrow, angel,” he says, not taking his eyes away from the pages of the book.

Aziraphale turns to collect his items, heart firmly in his stomach and head firmly in the clouds. But although Crowley’s brusqueness makes him feel regret for what happened with Marie Antoinette, he’ll soon let go of that regret for good.

Because although he doesn’t yet know it, tomorrow morning, the sun will rise over the Thames, and he will return to the bookshop with his morning tea in hand, and he and Crowley will kiss for the very first time. 

Chapter Text

In the morning, Aziraphale returns to the bookshop, not allowing himself to hope that Crowley's still there.

He’s fine. He really is. Besides, Crowley can’t stay mad at him for long—the longest, after all, had been the entirety of the fourteenth century, and after most people died of the plague, Crowley got bored.

The bookshop is dark and silent, other than the purring of a content, sleeping kitten. Aziraphale draws the curtains to let the sunlight in, bidding Marie Antoinette good morning. 

What lies before him, however, is so much more than he'd let himself hope for. It's the most heartwarming thing he's ever seen, and in his thousands of years, he’s seen most things. 

On the floor, Crowley is sprawled onto his back, sleeping atop a makeshift bed of pillows. An open book is set over his chest. And on his stomach, curled up and looking as content as she's ever been, is Marie Antoinette. 

Aziraphale makes a valiant effort not to dissolve into happy noises. He tiptoes towards his two loves, hoping not to awaken them, his heart all aflutter. 

Once he reaches them, he stares for a moment, watching their bodies rise and fall with peaceful, slumbering breaths. He's grinning like a madman.

Sometimes, it's so very easy to forget that Crowley is one who's fallen. 

“I suppose we have that much in common,” Aziraphale murmurs, kneeling down next to his sleeping friend. "After all, it seems I've fallen, too."

He reaches over to remove the book from Crowley’s chest, placing it aside—and so, so carefully, he tucks away an auburn strand of hair that hangs down over his forehead. Runs his fingers down the side of his face. Caresses his smooth, cool skin. He doesn't even question it: it feels so very right to be touching Crowley, and now that he's started, he can't stop himself for anything. Ah, well. If he's doing it, it must be inherently good, right?

Crowley’s eyelids flutter open, and he bolts upright. Marie Antoinette falls into his lap with a discontented mew mew mew. 

“Angel,” Crowley says blearily. “Where are we?"

Aziraphale chuckles warmly as Crowley’s long, thin pupils dilate, slowly coming into focus. “Bookshop. You fell asleep while studying.” He nods towards Marie Antoinette. “And it seems you also made a new friend.” 

Crowley blinks a few more times and looks down into his lap. “Bugger,” he says roughly. “Yeah, er, it got a bit chilly in here last night, and before I knew it, she’d come over here and plopped herself down over me, and I wasn’t gonna turn her away, even after she’d ruined my trousers, because it really was quite cold…"

Marie Antoinette nudges her head against Crowley's knee, and he sighs with defeat, affectionately scratching behind her ears. 

“You’re so soft,” Aziraphale teases, and he sets his hand over Crowley’s. “Just look at her, darling. She adores you.” 

Crowley doesn’t argue. He doesn’t even flinch at Aziraphale's touch. He only smiles, as though this is something he’s been waiting for. “Angel,” he says breathlessly and without apprehension. He turns his hand to face his palm upwards, weaving their fingers together. 

Aziraphale’s heart is filled to the brim, though the two of them have only touched for mere seconds. “Crowley,” he rasps, lifting his other hand and carding his fingers through his hair. 

Marie Antoinette grows bored. She hops off and trots daintily over to her food bowl.

Crowley doesn't notice. Aziraphale continues to skim his fingers over his scalp, and his eyes fall closed again, and he audibly exhales with a shiver. He becomes putty in Aziraphale's hands, and Aziraphale feels as if he's ascending.

Oh, the sensual way Crowley's body moves, how his breath comes in tiny puffs of pleasure—Aziraphale yearns to touch more of his skin. 

“Hell, angel." Crowley's voice is a low purr. "That feels amazing.”

Aziraphale hums in agreement. “Yes. It's quite nice.”

“Mmm, yes, nice," Crowley exhales. "And a bit naughty, too, eh?” 

"Oh." Aziraphale pauses, pulling his hands away. "Should I stop? It wasn't my intention to—”

“No,” Crowley interjects. “No, angel. You're doing nothing wrong. This is all so very human. It's as sinful as it is beautiful, because not everything is always black or white.”

Aziraphale smiles at him, and simply says: “Yes.”

Crowley bites softly at his bottom lip. “Lie down next to me, Aziraphale," he says, and the sound of his name on his friend's lips sends tiny jolts of electricity through Aziraphale’s body. 

He doesn’t hesitate. He doesn't ask questions; he doesn't think twice about whether this is wrong or right. Because it’s him, and it’s Crowley, and when it's the two of them, it always feels right.

So he lowers his body, aligning it with Crowley’s until they’re so close, he can feel his warmth. He lays his head onto the pillow next to him, and Crowley grins, his eyes glowing brighter than the sun peeking into the room.

Oh, how Aziraphale loves him.

Crowley reaches out a hand carefully, massaging Aziraphale’s scalp, just as Aziraphale had done before. He then rubs the back of his neck, and next, his shoulders. In all, it's one of the most amazing sensations Aziraphale has ever felt, and in his thousands of years, he’s felt most things. 

“That's remarkable," he murmurs, his eyes drifting shut. “Heavenly. No—" He laughs. "Better than heaven.”

Crowley chuckles softly. "Yeah."

The two of them lie together for several quiet moments. Aziraphale enjoys the pure bliss of Crowley’s hands on him. It’s like an out of body experience. He’s on another plane. He’s been discorporated, in the best way possible. And it’s all Crowley’s fault.

And that, quite obviously, is how the next few words pour out of Aziraphale’s mouth, unbidden: “Sometimes, I think about kissing you.” 

Crowley goes still. 

Aziraphale’s eyes fly wide open, and panic sets in. "Oh, my." He fumbles, he's flustered, and his cheeks are aflame. “Did I say that out loud?” 

The expression on Crowley’s face is warm, however, and he sighs that happy sigh that he sighs on rare occasions. “I think about the exact same thing, you know,” he whispers, cupping Aziraphale’s face in his hands. 

Relief washes over Aziraphale like a warm summer rain. "I know," he says, his gaze flitting to Crowley's mouth, and it's clear what the both of them are thinking. "So tell me, then—why have you not?”

Crowley smiles, but it's bittersweet. “A thing like that is one of the fastest ways to end a six thousand year friendship. Truth be told, angel—if I lost you, I don’t think I could bear it. For me? It would be end of the world.” 

“Oh, my love.” Aziraphale feels a joy so pure that he blinks back tears. “Time has proven that neither hell, nor heaven, can tear us apart." He tilts his chin and brushes his lips over the top of Crowley’s head. “We belong together," he murmurs. "I’m yours. I have been yours for over six thousand years, and will gladly be yours for six thousand more." He places a soft kiss on Crowley’s forehead, tranquil as moonbeams kissing the sea. "So kiss me, my darling," he says. "Kiss me, for the love of—"

God.

Crowley surges upwards, sealing their mouths together so soundly that Aziraphale can barely breathe. Breathing is much less of a priority, however, now that Crowley’s lips are on his; now that there are tiny explosions all over his body; now that he’s feeling goosebumps on his skin for the first time. Now that, against all apparent laws of gravity, he's floating and flying and falling all at once.

Crowley's lips are soft and delicious as they caress his own, and it’s wet, and it's warm, and it's more exquisite than every star in every galaxy. And Aziraphale's stomach is turning flips, and his ears are ringing, and his body yearns for more. So he wraps his limbs around Crowley, pulling his body in roughly.

"Oh," Crowley breathes against his mouth, and the warmth between them burns even hotter. Crowley melts into him, his hands trailing up over his spine, to the nape of his neck. He presses in firmly to deepen their kiss. It's unexpected and passionate, and Aziraphale's mouth falls open with a gasp, and Crowley's tongue darts in to slide against his own. 

As they embrace one another tightly, Aziraphale allows himself to become utterly lost. He's lost his senses, and he's lost track of time. He's no longer sure what day it is, or where the two of them even are, or which one of them is breathing heavy, happy sighs. 

But of one thing, Aziraphale is absolutely sure: his heart is beating faster than it's ever beaten before, and it’s been beating for a very, very long time.