Outside, it is raining and cold.
Inside, it is raining and cold.
Well, not raining as such, but the roof is leaking into a strategically placed bucket. A bucket that Crowley is currently scowling at. The bucket remains annoyingly unperturbed.
Crowley throws some more wood onto the fire and sighs as the flare of heat washes over him. It probably isn’t cold inside either, at least by a normal being’s standards, but he not a normal being and he can’t help his cold blooded nature. He sits down and ignores the leak, rubs his hands together to absorb the heat quicker. He’s listening.
Aziraphale was not in the bed this morning, which isn’t unusual. He didn’t leave a note though, which is more so, but Crowley is certain that it just slipped his mind. Today is Saturday, which means that Aziraphale will be in the village, buying the usual weekend breakfast of almond croissants. The idea that he might be doing anything else - be anywhere else - well, Crowley is trying to be more zen these days.
It doesn’t always work.
So he warms his hands and inches closer to the fire and all the while, he is listening, and if when he eventually hears Aziraphale open the gate he’s up a bit too quickly, well no one but the plants need to know. And they keep their mouths shut because they know what’s good for them.
"Good morning, my dear!" Aziraphale bursts through the door in a shower of raindrops. "I forgot to take an umbrella. Very silly of me."
He’s soaked, his hair plastered to his head, plastic bag clutched in his hand and he’s grinning as though rain is the most lovely thing in the world.
Crowley grins back and shakes his head. Aziraphale is going to be unbearably cold to the touch, just after he got warm too, but needs must. He wraps his arms around his ridiculous husband and presses a kiss to his forehead.
"Good morning," he murmurs. "Stand by the fire. I’ll fetch you a towel."
When Crowley comes back, Aziraphale is not by the fire. He’s in the kitchen, filling the kettle and whispering to the fern on the windowsill.
"I didn’t leave a note," Crowley hears him say. "I should have, I always do. Now he’ll be anxious."
Crowley’s heart twinges and he twists the towel in his hands. He can’t stand that Aziraphale has to be so careful with him, like he is one wrong turn away from breaking. He will have to get over the fear eventually, of a bookshop on fire and an angel missing.
"Angel!" he calls. "You’re supposed to be warming up."
Just popping the kettle on, Aziraphale appears, and gives him that sheepish smile. It’s Saturday, Crowley thinks, and it will be a nice one. It will be.
Aziraphale holds out his hand, but Crowley gently pushes it away.
"Let me," he says, rubbing at Aziraphale’s hair with the towel. The angel makes a happy sound, and leans into Crowley.
"Oh my darling, that feels lovely," he says, as Crowley combs through the damp strands with his fingers, trying to tame them and failing as the angel’s curls spring up around his ears. His hair has grown since the Fakopalypse, and Crowley suspects it is because Aziraphale particularly enjoys this, the feeling of fingers in his hair.
"Who needs miracles, huh?" Crowley asks, and Aziraphale nods. They’ve been avoiding miracles as much as possible since they moved out of London, in an attempt to stop drawing any attention to themselves. Not that Heaven or Hell has come knocking - and they probably won’t - but there’s something nice about doing things the human way, especially now that they have time.
That being said - Crowley really doesn’t fancy getting up on the roof to find the leak. Luckily, Aziraphale agrees, and stops the offending waterfall with a click of his fingers on his way upstairs to get changed.
Crowley takes the bucket into the kitchen to empty it, and begins to make Aziraphale’s tea. He brews some coffee too, and tips the croissants out onto a plate. There’s sausage rolls and pork pies in the bag too, and a new bottle of milk. With any luck, they might not need to leave the cottage again this weekend.
Crowley takes the plate into the lounge and drags the table over to the fire. He puts his chair directly in front of the fire, and angles Aziraphale’s so that he can look out into the garden. In the angel’s inside coat pocket he finds three folded newspapers and piles them up on the table, then goes back for the tray with the tea and coffee. He settles into his chair, wriggling in the warmth of the fire.
Aziraphale is not far behind him, but he bypasses his chair and stands close to the fire. Crowley snakes out an arm and puts it around his waist, pulling him close. Aziraphale is wearing a cosy jumper, one that Crowley got for him when it became clear that the angel would be shirking his angelic uniform for something more casual and comfortable. Crowley remembers standing in the shop, before they had got round to defining their new normal, agonising over whether the purchase would be too forward, if Aziraphale would get the wrong idea or, more terrifyingly, the right one. But the wool was so soft and a pale pink that he just knew would suit his angel and in the end, he’d thrown caution to wind and bought the bloody thing. Burying his face in it now, he is pleased that he did, as he always is when Aziraphale wears it.
Aziraphale takes a deep breath, and Crowley waits.
"I’m sorry I forgot to tell you where I was going, Crowley. It was thoughtless of me."
Crowley shakes his head.
"It’s alright, angel. Let’s forget it now."
And with that, the air is cleared.
Aziraphale sits down with a grin as Crowley pours him the first cup of tea, and picks up a croissant.
"You’ll never guess who I saw in the newspaper shop this morning," Aziraphale says, and as he launches into a story, Crowley smiles and takes a bite of his own croissant. It is going to be a nice Saturday.
Later, after a long breakfast and an even longer read of the newspapers - and a friendly disagreement about the crossword - Crowley ventures out into the garden. The rain has eased off for a few minutes and he wants to check up on the seedlings in the greenhouse. It is still a surprise to him that he is a person who owns a greenhouse, and that he uses it to tend to plants so young that he doesn’t feel as though he can bully them. It’s one thing to tell off an adult plant, but Crowley has always liked children and he will never yell at his little ones. The greenhouse is the perfect cover for it - the adult plants don’t need to hear him speaking quietly to the kids, or else they’ll get ideas.
"Doing good, guys," he says. "Got some fresh rainwater for you today, how lucky are you? It’s filled the barrel up too, but you know it’s tastiest right out of the sky."
The little plants lean towards the sound of his voice as he walks amongst them, reaching out their leaves like small hands and he touches each of them gently as he gives them a good spray of the water. They’re all growing well, and some of them will be ready to move out to the garden soon, and there’s a nice looking fern he has pegged to keep the one in the kitchen company. So far, all of the ones he’s grown from scratch have been very well behaved, even when they move out of the nursery, and he’s barely needed to yell at them at all. Aziraphale says it’s because they love him, but Crowley doesn’t know about that. They respect him though, and that’s good enough.
He gets back inside before it starts raining again, and finds a freshly made cup of coffee on the counter by the sink as he washes his hands, and half a sausage roll on a plate. He eats standing up, giving the kitchen fern a bit of the leftover rain water in the mister, then goes to find Aziraphale, coffee in hand.
The angel is on the sofa, feet propped up on the footstool, and he’s reading. There’s a notebook on the armrest and he’s twirling a pen absently in his right hand as he turns book pages with his left. He’s also muttering under his breath.
"What is it today?" Crowley asks, sprawling in the armchair. "Korean?"
"Hindi," Aziraphale frowns as he compares a page of the book with his notebook. Between them, they speak seventeen languages, but most of them are ancient and aren’t used to print many books these days. Aziraphale has been using his retirement to teach himself a few of the ones that have passed them by, simply so he can be able to read even more books, should the fancy take him.
"Sanskrit’s got to help with that one."
"You’d think, but not today."
Aziraphale shakes his head, then reaches up and removes his glasses. He closes the books with a snap and stacks them on the floor, picks up his tea and sips it. Crowley takes a gulp of his coffee and goes to the record player in the corner. The last thing Aziraphale was listening to is still in here, and he just puts it on. It’s something classical, maybe an opera, but Crowley has more tolerance for those things these days. When he turns back, gulping down the last of his coffee, Aziraphale is watching him, a small smile playing over his lips. He glances meaningfully at the empty space on the sofa, then raises an eyebrow. Crowley doesn’t need telling twice.
He slips off his shoes and his jacket, takes his place at Aziraphale’s side. The angel pulls him down and Crowley twists, until he’s got his feet dangling off the end and his head on Aziraphale’s lap.
It’s Saturday, and this is how Saturday afternoons tend to go.
"How are the children?" Aziraphale asks, threading his fingers into Crowley’s hair. Crowley shivers, let’s the tingling feeling wash over him. Aziraphale pauses, his fingers still, until Crowley shivers again, then nods. Sometimes, it takes a moment. Aziraphale resumes his stroking and Crowley speaks.
"They’re alright. It’s a bit cold out there so I put the heater on."
"You’re spoiling them."
There’s only humour in the angel’s voice, but Crowley bites anyway.
"If it makes them appreciate what they have and do as they’re told, they can have the warmth."
Aziraphale’s movements are even and smooth, fingernails running gently from Crowley’s forehead to the crown of his head, and Crowley closes his eyes. The soft wool of Aziraphale’s jumper feels good against his cheek, and he rubs his face against it.
"I don’t think you bought this for me, darling," Aziraphale chuckles. "If you wanted the jumper, why don’t you wear it?"
"Not my colour," Crowley mumbles. "Anyway, I like it when you wear it. If it was just a jumper, I wouldn’t give a toss."
He knows, rather than sees, that Aziraphale is blushing, but he doesn’t open his eyes. The angel is warm, always warm, a ball of glowing heat, and the snake in Crowley can’t help but bask. Maybe not just the snake, but it’s a good excuse. Not that he needs an excuse. His angel enjoys their weekend afternoons as much as he does.
After a while, as the music plays on, and Crowley is almost asleep, Aziraphale slides his spare hand up Crowley’s chest and undoes his top button. Pauses, then undoes another one. And another. He slips his hand into Crowley’s open collar and just rests his hand there, on his throat, skin against skin. There’s no pressure except for the weight of his hand but Crowley feels his entire body relax, like all of his bones have been miracled away. He doesn’t have a word for this, how the trust he has for his angel leads to this and this leads to - a gentle burn somewhere deep inside him, down in the deepest places that he barely knew existed before Aziraphale touched him like this. But the angel knows, somehow, that they are there and he knows what Crowley needs, and it’s this, on a Saturday afternoon. Just this. All the worries, all the anxieties of the week, just melt away.
Crowley must fall asleep then, because the next thing he knows he is waking up. He’s shifted in his sleep, onto his side, legs drawn up and face buried in Aziraphale’s jumper once more. He opens one eye, glances up to see Aziraphale is also resting his head on the back of the sofa, eyes closed. The angel doesn’t really sleep, so he’s probably not doing so now, but Crowley sits up carefully anyway, just in case.
The rain has stopped and it is almost dark outside, and Crowley stretches. At his side, Aziraphale opens his eyes and smiles, reaching out a hand and snagging Crowley’s shirt. He pulls him close, kisses him soundly, then gets to his feet.
"What would you say to those pork pies for dinner, with a side of chips and another of those bottles of wine?"
"Sounds great," Crowley says, going over to the record player, selecting something a bit less gentle for the evening soundtrack. "Elton John?"
"It’s a Saturday," Aziraphale says, disappearing into the kitchen. "You know what works best, my darling."