Crowley is a pragmatist at his root. When he started his undergrad degree he was placed in a suite with two other random people who, Crowley assumed, were no more excited about sharing their space with him as he was with them. It was both the best and worst case scenarios. Crowley disliked both roommates immediately but found that they were content to disclude him from most of the in-suite goings on so sharing space with them was, if not nice, definitely tolerable. Preferring to smother his chaos-inducing nature (for once), Crowley decided that hassling the housing department for a new room assignment was an exercise in futility to fix, when it came down to it, a non-issue. Hastur and Ligur seemed to agree that, while not ideal, the flexible living dynamic and non-interference was forgiving enough to go through four years of schooling without changing anything. When Crowley graduated, a couple of years later than he should have (although ranking Summa Cum Laude, but he'd never tell a soul) he couldn't say that he'd miss his living situation, but he hoped that any co-living situations he found himself thrown into in the future would be at least as non-confrontational.
He refused to go to his commencement. If asked why, he'd say that didn't want the pomp and circumstance, or that anyone with half a brain cell and some time could've done what he did. He'd say that it wouldn't make a difference if he were there or not so why go? While feigning nonchalance, the ugly voice in the back of Crowley's head would've been reminding him that there wouldn't be anyone for Crowley to invite anyway.
Due to his rather disastrous history of getting close to people and, almost universally, being left out, shut out, sent away to boarding school and, on the more memorable of the occasions, physically thrown out of his home with nowhere to go; Crowley doesn't really do friends and any family ties he had in the past have been well and truly severed beyond any hope of reconciliation (not that Crowley would be interested in reconciling anything, thank you very much). Mostly, he counts this as a positive. Without ties he's protected himself, learned to be self-sufficient and self-reliant in all the ways that count. The challenging bit that Crowley wouldn't admit upon threat of physical injury or death, is that he has a desperate, unquenchable, and innate thirst for affection, for validation and, currently, has a gaping hole in his chest where love and connection used to reside. The aching, searching pain he feels in his chest every so often, when his mind isn't otherwise occupied and his senses aren't dulled, is a reminder of what you can lose when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Crowley has worked hard to cultivate his aloof, uninterested persona and it's served him well, mostly. And he's fine. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
So, when deciding what to do next with his life, Crowley mostly focuses on what he wants right now. Studying pre-law had not inspired him to go to law school and he's not sure what he wants to do long term yet. He figures getting his MBA couldn't hurt and left him some time to specialize later. He applies to a few different schools, his alma mater included, and is accepted easily. Now, Crowley finds himself right back where he was the year before, moving into a dorm. Well, on-campus apartment actually. Being a returning student (and charming when necessary), he was given somewhat of a priority when picking where to live, eventually choosing a small, two-bedroom apartment on the main campus. The negative is that he'd need to share with a roommate again. The positive was that it'd only be one person this time, and the apartment was large enough that you'd actually have to put effort into interacting. Once a month they could discuss rent and they'd stick to a chore agreement, limiting the necessary interactions. It'd be perfect and uncomplicated, allowing Crowley to come and go as he pleased as he figured out who he wanted to be.
He's just putting the last few boxes of this belongings into the room he claimed as his own when he hears a key turn in the lock. The door creaks open and Crowley peers around the door frame to scope out his new roommate. The guy's clothes look prim and proper, dressed in a light blue button-up, cream colored sweater, and khaki chinos. His hair is a shock of white-blonde curls seated above what may be the most beautiful eyes Crowley's ever seen. They're kind eyes, the type that can make you do things just to put a certain look in them. They're dangerous, dangerous, very off-limit, eyes Crowley's inner voice reminds him. Finally noticing Crowley's rather obvious (and honestly, just a bit creepy) appraisal of him, the roommate turns around to face him directly.
"Hi, erm, Anthony is it? I do hope I have the right room." He says, clearly flustered.
"Yes, I'm Anthony. I mean Crowley. Well, I'm Anthony Crowley. That's the whole name. Aziraphale, right? Did I say that right? Unique name, can't say I've ever met another Aziraphale. Or however I'm supposed to say it." Crowley trails off. His inner voice is acting up again, cackling and wondering how exactly the smooth-talking (perhaps overconfident, in light of recent developments) guy who managed to get one of the more exclusive living spaces on campus, despite a lack of funds or name recognition, flubbed his first conversation with a man who looks like he stepped out of a preparatory school in 1955. Honestly, why is he so nervous all of a sudden?
"Quite right. I'm afraid my parents fancied biblical names for their children. Unfortunately they couldn't be bothered to go with Joseph or John or even Adam, and instead got stuck on angels. By the time I came around they'd run out of archangels and the more well-known angels and went right on to principalities. And thus saddled me with Aziraphale." He'd joked in response, not calling Crowley out on his less-than-eloquent initial introduction. He was taken aback by the conversational tone. People didn't tend to just talk to Crowley. He put off a finite air of "Do Not Fuck With Me" (which he'd put a lot of energy into) and most people didn't extend their interactions with him beyond the necessities. Aziraphale did not seem phased by the imposing figure he tried to cut and was instead chatting to him as if he were anyone else. He supposes that, to Aziraphale he must just be anyone else and, having never met before, why would it be otherwise? Crowley chalks it up to his propensity for hubris and moves on. Aziraphale is bending down to pick up a box and, before Crowley knows it, he's offering to help.
"Why don't I get that other one? That way you can get settled faster." Crowley feels disconnected to his own mouth. He has never once helped someone move. He's not the help someone to move kind of guy.
"Oh, thank you!" Aziraphale exclaims. As it turns out, when Aziraphale's happy, his whole face lights up like the beginning of the cosmos. Crowley's suddently intensely grateful for his perpetual use of sunglasses. He's not sure if he could stand to look at Aziraphale's expression with his naked eyes. He's also not entirely sure what his face is doing. It feels an awful lot like smiling. A traitorous part of Crowley's heart, one that he usually, savagely fights down (one that feels an awful lot like belonging and affection), starts to think that maybe he could make a friend. Maybe this was the start of something good. Maybe he could finally have something good.
In the future, Crowley will go back to this moment and relive it as the moment he started his Unmitigated Slide into Emotional Ruin (title will be subject to revision in the future).
It's September 21st at 5:14 in the evening and Crowley has a paper due in one hour and forty minutes. He usually has a steadfast, and to many quite alarming, level of control over his concentration. He's gotten by in his college career by being generally intelligent and able to hone his skills into producing A-quality papers with very little preparation. Crowley is distracted. This is alarming enough in-and-of itself to set Crowley on edge, but the fact that he has one hour and forty-six, actually forty-four by this point, minutes and has nothing at all of consequence written is taking a front seat in this show of anxious energy. Other than a few times during his Freshman year when he hadn't learned the delicate art of procrastination yet, Crowley has never really struggled with writer's block. This time, however, every time he looks at the blinking cursor he has exactly fuck-all of any idea what to write. He'd needed to take a writing course to tie up a loose end in his entrance credits and had chosen Creative Writing thinking it'd be little more than a lark. Crowley loved reading, loved stories; why wouldn't creative writing come easily?
Crowley growls in frustration and throws his sunglasses across his room. They hit the wall, right next to his Sex Pistols poster, and fall to the floor with a groaning crack. He hears some rustling in the room next door followed by footsteps heading to his door and hesitating. He catches himself smiling again (another concern to table for later) at how ridiculous his roommate is. Aziraphale is surprisingly interesting. He's so prim and proper and he sometimes blushes and stutters when Crowley uses foul language, but will get into heated discussions with Crowley about philosphy, theology, and literature leading to tirades that feature Aziraphale's clipped tone peppering frankly shocking curses into otherwise well-spoken arguments. If Crowley's begun goading him into a few discussions such as these purposely he can hardly be blamed.
At the present, Aziraphale lightly knocks at Crowley's bedroom door and stutters, "Hello Anthony, I hate to bother you but I heard a crash and wanted to be sure you were alright."
"M'fine, Aziraphale. You can come in if you want." Crowley drawls out from where he's reclining on his bed, laptop laid on his crossed legs. When he opens the door Crowley is momentarily shocked and instantly regretting having chucked his eye wear across the room if a fit of pique.
Aziraphale is clearly dressed for comfort, which is an odd occurrence as he always seems to be dressed to the nines (if you're living in 1959, or 1859. Crowley never is sure exactly what era Aziraphale looks like he belongs in). He's in a pair of soft-looking grey sweatpants and a cream colored v-neck t-shirt that looks well-work and just a little out of shape at the collar. Something about seeing him so casual, so comfortable, makes Crowley's brain grind to a screeching halt and pay attention. He should make an appointment with a doctor. It's been a long time and there is definitely something up with him. Maybe encephalitis. He read somewhere that one was a real doozy.
Aziraphale gives him a small (adorable) wave from the door and Crowley can't totally repress the smirk that graces his face.
"I got annoyed that I've been sitting here faffing about instead of getting my shit together to write a stupid paper so I threw my stupid sunglasses against the wall because evidently I'm stupid now." Crowley cannot believe what he sounds like. He swears he's not 15 years old, but sometimes he thinks maybe he only partially matured from there. That his base setting with "edge-lord teen". His black nail polish and smudged eyeliner he sometimes wears mock him from the dresser.
Aziraphale chuckles and picks up the broken glasses. "I'm afraid only a real miracle would save these, unfortunately." he sighs as he inspects the, completely fucked, glasses. Crowley's going to have to use his back-up pair, which means he has to buy a new back-up pair, which means he has to go to that horrible kiosks, and ugh. He's spiraling.
Aziraphale shuffles over to the bed and peers over at Crowley's screen. "Oh, you're writing about Oscar Wilde! I do love his work. I received a first edition of his last Christmas and it might just be my most prized possession!" He's oozing interest and sincerity. Crowley wouldn't have expected this from Aziraphale, honestly. He seems a bit, well, reserved to put it diplomatically. Aziraphale reads what little Crowley's written in a few moments and makes a 'hmm'ing sound that puts Crowley on edge. Before long, Aziraphale is breaking down a few of his pieces and explaining how they read to him. He doesn't even have to consult a text. Crowley's read Wilde's work enough to have a good memory of the pieces; Aziraphale does not make one error. In about forty-three minutes, his paper is completed and he's sharing leftover pizza with his roommate on his bedroom floor.
When Aziraphale excuses himself to return to bed an hour later Crowley tries to do the same. The only problem is that he can't stop thinking about Aziraphale's eyes, or how they look when he's passionate, or his messy blonde hair, or the way he'd gotten a far-away look in his eye talking about Wilde's works. If he takes himself in hand that night it's just to relieve tension. He's had a long day and there's nothing else to it.
Much to Crowley's surprise, the apartment becomes their apartment rather swiftly after that. Prior, Crowley had stuck to being in his room at all hours, avoiding common spaces or anywhere someone may come across him. He's never been comfortable just being around people. All previous attempts at crowds, parties, get-togethers, and the like have proven a waste of time unless Crowley's completely out of his mind, either drunk or high or, on some more precarious occasions, both.
Being around Aziraphale, Crowley finds, is as easy as breathing. Crowley's quiet, but he doesn't mind listening to Aziraphale wax poetic about old literature, about a new documentary he watched, or hum appreciatively while consuming any nature of sweet or baked good that's found it's way into the kitchen. Crowley realized early in their shared living experiment that Aziraphale loves good food. Being somewhat financially restricted, Crowley can't indulge them often. That being said, he's friendly enough with the barista at his favorite coffee shop and she frequently, after some significant eye contact and charming quips, gives him a couple of pastries on the house. If he seems to always forget to eat them and, instead, brings them home for Aziraphale later on it doesn't mean anything. Aziraphale appreciates it more so isn't it the neighborly, nay, roommate-ly thing to do to let him have it? That same, blasted, inner voice of his corrects that there is no reason that he should care what Aziraphale likes.
Never mind that he brings them home almost daily now. Never mind that he knows Aziraphale's favorite flavors already and can pick out just the right flavor profile so that he makes that damned humming sound; the one that haunts Crowley's mind when he's trying to concentrate on, well, anything. Never mind that he sometimes sips his customary black coffee wondering what it'd be like to lick the taste of strawberries and whipped cream out of his roommate's mouth.
It's nearing Christmas and the school is getting ready for it's winter recess. Despite the promise of respite from coursework, it's one of Crowley's least favorite times of year. The constant noise, people everywhere always in a rush, generally forced cheeriness in the air, and bloody Christmas music put Crowley on edge. It doesn't help that the season is another stark reminder that he doesn't have anyone close to pull close on cold nights or go home to see. Looking at his and Aziraphale's apartment, he realizes it's as close to a real home as he privately thinks he'll ever have. The thought is promptly locked away in a chained metal box marked "Do Not Open".
Aziraphale, on the other hand, loves Christmas because of course he would. He loves the people, and the messages, and the good will and, worst of all, the bloody, horrible, unrepentant music. Not that Crowley has a problem with music. He loves music. He has Spotify Premium, he has an antique record player in his bedroom and pristine copies of Queen's Greatest Hits and The Velvet Underground & Nico, among others, and is rarely found without his headphones in. It's that he can't stand the constant barrage of picture-perfect imagery in typical Christmas songs. He can't relate and it makes him furious. He's coming to realize, however, that he'll go to quite an extent to make Aziraphale happy with quite a bit less grumbling than one would think. The feeling is unfamiliar and uncomfortable so Crowley does his damnedest to avoid it completely. It's working for the time-being, even though he hears "All I Want for Christmas is You" so many times he's sure the radio is actually mocking him. It has nothing to do with the thematic nature of the song and you can take that to the bank (if the bank you're looking for has no money in it, or anything to cover up a bold-faced lie).
He usually does his level best to avoid leaving home during the season. Luckily, most students go home over break and he's left with the campus being little more than a ghost town for five weeks, making errands more tolerable. This year he's landed himself a part time job monitoring the school's computer lab. It's boring work, but it pays alright and what else was he going to do with himself?
It's late on a Thursday afternoon when Aziraphale comes home from his classes looking a little worse for the wear.
"It looks like I won't be going home for the holiday after all." Aziraphale mutters. "I'm sorry if you had plans for the place while I was to be gone. I can try to find somewhere else to stay if you need me to make myself scare..." He trails off, wringing his hands in front of him. Crowley is struck again by how young and old Aziraphale seems at the same time. He's Crowley's age, but sometimes he carries himself in a way that seems like he carries the whole burden of the universe on his shoulders and all of the knowledge of time in his head.
"Nonsense. I don't have any plans. We can just be here." Crowley says while making a sweeping gesture to the room. What he wants to say is, "Yes, fuck, please stay. Stay home with me." but that's not the kind of thing one says to their friend. He isn't even sure why he thinks it, or why when he thinks of the concept of spending the holiday home, here, with Aziraphale and his sweaters and affinity for good red wine, he is almost excited for it. That same traitorous part of his heart threatens to roar to life.
"Oh, that's great. Thank you, Anthony, I appreciate your understanding." Aziraphale sighs out. The trace of disappointment that was present on his face a few moments ago melts away and he almost looks happy. Crowley has no idea what to do with that, but he feels woefully unprepared to find himself smiling brightly at Aziraphale. They lock eyes for a moment longer than necessary before Aziraphale goes to make them tea. Crowley remains rooted to his chair wondering when exactly he started to be the type to provide comfort and reassuring smiles.
That night is the first time (of many, many, many times to come) that they get startlingly, viciously, drunk together. Aziraphale had produced a bottle of red wine that was slightly more passable than Crowley's typical fare and they pretty quickly demolished it. They moved onto a half-empty bottle of Chardonnay that Crowley had in the refrigerator, and finished by cracking open a couple of glasses worth of Crowley's brand new bottle of Makers Mark.
Aziraphale is a surprisingly competent drinking companion, both in alcohol choice, demeanor, and amount of alcohol consumption, and by the end of the night Crowley is sitting on the floor with his head resting on Aziraphale's knee while his friend sings softly to the Christmas music on the radio. He should hate it, he thinks. He should be annoyed that he has to share his stash of alcohol. He should be annoyed that he's listening to more cursed Christmas music. All he really is, he finds, is comfortable. That's how he falls asleep that night, warm and comfortable and not at all aware that Aziraphale is looking at him as if he just might have hung the stars himself.
Crowley is surprising himself a lot these days. After finding out Aziraphale would be home for the holiday a couple of weeks ago (and he has to stop calling it home, he just has to), Crowley finds himself at the dollar store on Christmas Eve of all times buying, for the first time in his nearly three decades on this Earth, decorations. It's nothing much; his budget won't allow for much at all, but he finds a few strands of fairy lights, one multicolored and one yellow, a couple of spools of garland, a small plastic, pre-lit table tree, and, his favorite items, a couple of sarcastic Christmas stockings. At least he thinks they're sarcastic. It's tough to say if they're just poorly executed or just a very niche Christmas item exclusive to shitty dollar stores. One stocking is black with the word "Demon" on it in a cheery red, and one is red with the word "Angel" in black. When he sees them he just has to get them; they're ridiculous and they're $3.00 and why not? He knows that Aziraphale, studying both history and theology, won't be exactly enthused. He's confident, though, that it'll get at least a small rise out of his roommate. It's become a hobby, as of late, to see how often he can make Aziraphale make that (adorable) pinched look before he hands Crowley his arse about whatever he's been prodding Aziraphale about. As it turns out, he doesn't get to see Aziraphale's initial response (which is probably for the best, considering Crowley's ability to deal with his roommate's facial expressions).
When Aziraphale comes home that night after a long shift at the coffee shop where he works, he finds the apartment shoddily decorated with fairy lights, and a plastic tree, and two strange stockings hanging from their mantlepiece. Crowley's asleep on the couch with his legs haphazardly thrown over the armrest and chair back, surrounded by glitter and decoration detritus. He looks ridiculous and Aziraphale could not be more endeared if his sentimental heart tried. He knows of Crowley's aversion to the holidays and although curious, has never pressed about Crowley's lack of holiday plans. He's touched, deeply, by Crowley's effort in making his holiday fun. If he spends a couple of extra minutes dragging his softest, cleanest, and most well-loved blanket into the living room to cover Crowley up it's only because it's drafty and he wouldn't want his roommate to get cold. Tomorrow is Christmas, for Heaven's sake. He doesn't have as good an excuse for why he tucks a stray strand of hellfire hair behind Crowley's ear or why he stands there, admiring the way sleep smooths Crowley's constantly furrowed browline. With a quiet sigh Aziraphale realizes that he is, perhaps, in over his head here.
When Aziraphale wakes in the morning, it's to the sounds of clinking and clattering in the kitchen. He throws on his tartan dressing gown and pads out to the kitchen where he's bowled over with shock. Their kitchen, to date, has been used to make tea for Aziraphale, coffee for Crowley, and house empy takeout containers. He wasn't even entirely sure, up until that moment, if the appliances worked. What he finds is Anthony J. Crowley covered almost head-to-toe in flour, the black of his lounge pants and t-shirt only exacerbating the contrast. He's muttering to himself while looking at a bowl of pancake mix that looks suspiciously watery. Crowley turns and looks at Aziraphale in shock.
"I was. This is. I was going to make pancakes. I hear people eat pancakes here on Christmas morning so I figured that it can't be too hard." Crowley defends looking at the wreck of their kitchen. "It's supposed to be easy", he finishes not whining even a little bit. Not at all.
After a beat Aziraphale lets out a laugh. Actually, it's a giggle. A high pitched, tinkling noise that rivaled the bloody silver bells outside. After a moment, Crowley's lower pitched chuckle joins the cacophony as they both descend into something akin to cackling. They're both doubled over looking at what a riotous mess Crowley's made when Aziraphale looks up at Crowley and realizes that he isn't wearing his customary sunglasses. His eyes are unique, they're not quite brown and not quite green. When the light catches them they almost look yellow, of all things. They look otherworldly and Aziraphale wishes he'd never cover them. As if sensing his exposure, Crowley's hand twitches up to his face realizing it's entirely exposed.
"I'm going to, uh, get cleaned up. Then I'll figure out," Crowley gestures offhandedly at the kitchen, "all of that."
They make eye contact again before Crowley begs a hasty retreat to his room. He returns after a shower to see the kitchen pretty much cleaned and that Aziraphale is stirring the bowl with the pancake mix.
"You just needed a little bit more mix to even out the water, my dear." he says. Aziraphale goes about pouring the mix into circles in the pan and flipping them, eventually producing a plate of, somewhat lopsided, pancakes. They sit down to eat and are mid way through breakfast before Crowley can get the sound of Aziraphale calling him "my dear" out of his head. The air of possession and affection in that term is something that hasn't been directly at Crowley in over a decade.
They exchange presents from their respective stockings (Aziraphale claiming "Angel" and Crowley claiming "Demon" because of course). Although they couldn't afford much, Crowley got Aziraphale a tea-infusing travel thermos and Aziraphale got Crowley a thick, soft, black scarf. Scratch that, Crowley realizes as he inspects the garmet closer. Aziraphale made him a thick, soft, black scarf that he can wind around his neck several times. Because he complained about being cold. Because Aziraphale listened when Crowley said he was cold. The scarf smells like Aziraphale's cologne and Crowley is overwhelmed. No one has ever, ever taken the time to make him something.
"I'm sorry if it isn't your taste," Aziraphale says haltingly, "I was a bit short for the month but I noticed that your neck and ears are always red after you get home and you'd mentioned that it's always 'just too bloody cold in this infernal place' and oof-".
He doesn't get to finish the thought because he suddenly has two armfuls of Crowley. He feels Crowley turn his head into his neck and he brings his arms up around his roommate. Crowley mumbles something that sounds a lot like "thank you" into Aziraphale's neck and remains unmoving for a few moments. Aziraphale drags one hand up Crowley's back, eventually letting it rest just under his shoulder blades while the other is at this lower back. He uses all of his available brain power to ignore how close the hand lower on Crowley's back is to another part of Crowley's anatomy that Aziraphale would very much like to be introduced to. But that isn't what this is. His friend is giving him a friendly hug as thanks for a gift. He isn't looking for more. He squeezes Crowley a bit tighter and makes to let go. Crowley grabs one of his arms as he sits up, mutters another quick thank you, and an excuse before getting up and abruptly going to his bedroom. As soon as Aziraphale catches up, Crowley's door is steadfastly closed.
Aziraphale looks at the space Crowley once occupied and sighs. He crosses the living room to pick up another sqaure box wrapped in garrish gold and red paper. He walks over to Crowley's door, knocks, and places the gift on the floor outside of the door. After closing himself in his room he hears Crowley open his bedroom door, pause for a minute, and then close it again. He thinks now may be a good a time as any for him to take a short walk. He throws on his loafers and makes a quick exit.
Crowley is holding onto a mix tape (well, actually a CD but who really cares). Aziraphale made him a mix. Aziraphale's taste in music is similar to what Crowley assumes his grandfather would have if he knew his grandfather at all, so he can't imagine what's on it. He turns it over and sees a few song names written down in Aziraphale's formal, swirly handwriting. They'd had a small row a few weeks after moving in regarding Crowley's "ridiculous bebop" always playing in his room. He'd barked a loud laugh insisting that not a soul on the planet would hear "Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground and think bebop. Aziraphale had mentioned that it wouldn't kill Crowley to play something softer, like Benny Goodman, every once in a while. Crowley had made a dismissive hand gesture and told Aziraphale that if he could produce softer music that had the same passion and emotion that Lou Reed had, he'd be happy to change things up. It would appear that Aziraphale did his homework. He read the songs individually, there were only a handful:
- The Night We Met - Lord Huron
- Two Hungry Blackbirds - Iron & Wine
- If I Go, I'm Goin - Gregry Alan Isakov
- Collapse - Vancouver Sleep Clinic
- Landlocked Blues - Bright Eyes
- Fix You - Coldplay
- Pale Blue Eyes - The Velvet Underground
Most of the artists were ones he'd heard of but never taken the time to listen to. The last track makes him smile; remembering the argument they had while that very song had been playing. There was a short note at the end that said, "I hope these meet you standard for musical talent, heartbreaking lyrics, and emotional front men. - A.Z."
He immediately puts the CD on (after taking a few minutes to even find anything he had that'd play a CD). The first six tracks are slow and, true to Aziraphale's word, heartbreaking. They're slow, painfully so, but the lyrics hit like a kick to the gut. Crowley hates them. The last track is a rare live version of "Pale Blue Eyes". Lou Reed sounds utterly broken and Crowley can feel everything. He hates that too. He listens to the tracks over and over until he falls asleep.
If he takes to calling Aziraphale "Angel" sometimes as a nod to their first holiday together (in the same space, of course. Not together in any other way. Nope, not that.) he can hardly be blamed considering the lovely blush he gets in response each and every time.
It's well-known that Crowley does not like company. It's also well-known that Crowley loves a good rowdy party and a chance to indulge himself in the best intoxicants his meager budget can buy. It's April and the world is blooming. The sun is out and Crowley is roused from his bedroom by the promise of the warm rays beating on his body. It's one day before his spring break starts and he has a riot of a party to go to tomorrow. He rarely participates in big college parties, but he's feeling alive and envigorated and, honestly, a little lonely in the biblical sense if you catch his drift. He's looking forward to drinking, maybe smoking a little weed, and finding someone like-minded to share the evening with. He's been on his best behavior for months (he purposefully does not think about the timing of he and Aziraphale's...acquaintanceship...and the decrease in the notches on his bedpost therein, or how many nights he's spent pulling on himself decidedly not thinking about his roommate) and he's itching to feel someone's body under his own. Or on top of his own. Crowley's not picky.
As he walks past the kitchenette, he sees Aziraphale in the breakfast nook reading an ancient copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel. He smiles to himself (hopefully) at just how Aziraphale that is. He must've cleared his throat or made a noise unconsciously because Aziraphale looks up and catches his gaze.
"Heading out?" Aziraphale inquires.
"Yeah. Yes. Ahem, just. It's such a nice day, you know?" Crowley kicks himself for the 350th time (it's tough to say if that measure was for that month or that week, or possibly even that day). He swears that the first interaction he has on any given day is determined to be a shitshow. Surely that means that there's something wrong with him, right? He's brought back to the present by Aziraphale's voice.
"Yes, it does appear to be quite lovely. I hope I wouldn't impose, but do you mind some company? I was thinking that it may be nice to get out for a bit." He looks at Crowley nervously. Before he knows it (or what's good for him), he's responding.
"Sure, that'd be nice. Or fine. It's fine." Crowley finishes lamely. He swears he remembers being charming at one point. He'd talked himself out of a fair share of trouble over the years and just can't imagine that he completely lost his edge. Alas, it seems that his wiles only work on most of the population (he did say he was prone to hubris), specifically excluding frumpy, sweet, infuriating, bookworms who smile like a sunrise, have ocean eyes that you could get just lost in, and an arse that you've love to just get your -
Crowley amasses a herculean force of willpower to get his thoughts under control and stop that image from turning into a full-blown wank scenario that'd make a midday stroll excruciating.
Since Christmas and the whole Mixed Tape Incident, as he's taken to referring to it in the safety of his own head, Crowley's been having an alarming number of invasive thoughts about his roommate. Just this past Tuesday he came out of this bedroom to grab coffee before dashing to class when he saw Aziraphale bend over to tie his shoe. A whole PornHub query's worth of imagery flashed across his mind, unbidden, and he had to turn around abruptly and hide in his bedroom until the coast was clear and he could pull on himself roughly a few times prior to heading out in the world to be A Person. He's getting used to it, figuring that his uncharacteristic several months of abstinence were catching up with him. After he has some fun this weekend everything will go back to normal and he'll stop having to keep such a short leash on his imagination.
"Crowley, are you alright?" Aziraphale has his shoes on and is walking back over to him from the door. Evidently, he'd just stopped dead in the middle of the room and stared. Crowley wondered if, maybe, he was suffering from those mini-strokes he'd heard about on a late night program. Maybe that's why he was always a disaster around Aziraphale. He'll be the first confirmed case of brain damage due to arousal, he just knows it.
"Yes, fine. Just thought I forgot something." Crowley quickly corrected. He walks past Aziraphale and opens the door. He lets him walk by first with a flourish meaning "after you" so that he can lock up. When he turns around, checking the door one last time, he notices that Aziraphale was looking at him. There's a light flush on the apples of his cheeks. It gives his face a lovely honeyed appearance and Crowley viciously stuffs down the fluttery feeling he gets in his chest. He's not a fluttery feeling kind of guy.
Besides, people shouldn't look at him the way Aziraphale was looking at him, Crowley thinks. It's best not to dwell on it. He's not the type to put down roots and looking at that moon-in-his-eyes gaze Aziraphale shoots him makes him feel like maybe he wants to be tied to just one someone.
They walk to a local park and end up sitting on a bench feeding ducks. Well, Aziraphale is feeding ducks. Crowley is pretending to feed ducks so he can indiscreetly (he thinks, anyway) stare at Aziraphale's besotted expression as he coos at the ducks and ducklings. The sun is so bright here and it's glinting off of Aziraphale's mess of curly blonde hair in a way that almost reminds him of a halo. They're sitting so closely that Crowley can feel Aziraphale's thigh pressed against his own and he can smell the sweet, masculine-but-floral scent of Aziraphale's cologne wafting in his direction with the breeze. The comforting smell and halo glint from the sun reminds Crowley of their ridiculous Christmas stockings and how he'd intended to throw them out after their first use but Aziraphale had balked and said they should keep them to use the following year. Crowley doesn't think he stopped fighting a smile off of his face for the rest of the day after that comment. He gets a rush of warm, soft feelings in his gut remembering Aziraphale's face from that day and stops cold. Lust he can deal with. Coming up with increasingly vivid sexual images of your roommate was lust and it was fine and he was handling it. It was something that he'd get out of his system. He had a plan to get it out of his system. This feeling was much, much worse. It echoes a long lost feeling, also beginning with "L" if Crowley remembers correctly, that spells the beginning of the end.
He must be breathing erratically, because Aziraphale turns to him with an alarmed expression and asks if he's feeling quite alright.
"It's alright Angel, I'm just thinking." He responds. His voice sounds rough.
"Are you sure? You look very pale." Aziraphale reaches out his hand and lays it against Crowley's cheek. He's so overwhelmed by the sudden contact, and the electric jolt of actually having Aziraphale's hand on him, Crowley's overtaxed brain goes completely offline. Without his permission, he leans into the hand and, to his absolute horror, sighs audibly and rests his lips against the smooth inside of Aziraphale's wrist. It takes exactly 4.5 seconds for Crowley to, for lack of better terminology, completely freak out.
He knows that Aziraphale says something but Crowley can't make it out through roaring of the blood in his ears, and gently moves his hand from Crowley's face to place it on Crowley's forearm. He feels like an electric bolt went through him, just at that simple touch, and jumps up. He mumbles something along the lines of, "I forgot something. I have to go." before power walking as fast as his long legs will take him in the opposite direction of their apartment. He doesn't turn around and take one last look in Aziraphale's direction like he wants to. He's terrified of what he'd fine.
If he had turned around he would've seen Aziraphale's look of alarm go through a complicated series of evolutions before landing on something that looked very much like loneliness. When he walks back to their apartment, alone, he lets himself in to find it devoid of his roommate. He walks to Crowley's room to knock on the door to be sure. When no response is forthcoming, Aziraphale slinks off to his own room. He leaves the door cracked so that he'll hear when Crowley comes home. He thinks they may need to talk. He needs to talk, he needs to find out why Crowley is so conflicted. They've spent months in each other's pockets. Crowley's body language, his forced aloof persona, his Acts of Service; he's screaming for love and attention. Aziraphale wants to give it to him. He wants to tell him how cared for he is, how brilliant he is, how incandescently beautiful he is. Aziraphale resolves to have the conversation that night, as soon as Crowley comes home. He falls asleep well into the early hours of the morning, alone. He wakes the morning, alone.
Crowley is hot. At the moment he's referring to his physical temperature, but the part of him that preens like a peacock when he turns someone's head makes a saucy wink at the multiple implications. As it stands, he's sandwiched between two (or is it three now?) writhing bodies while loud music pounds into his ears and rattles his head. His whole body feels like it's singing and he's fine. Yes, he slept in his car last night. Yes, he went out and spent what little extra money he had today on new clothes for tonight because he didn't want to go home, and yes, he took a couple of hits off of the bong in the basement and maybe just a couple more because it was a party after all.
He briefly wonders how many drinks he's had, but the effort of thinking about anything other than how fucking good it feels to be touched is abhorrent suddenly. He opens his eyes, unencumbered by sunglasses as he'd lost them at least an hour ago, and looks at the man in front of him. He's on the shorter side, but has a pleasingly sturdy build with strong arms that are pulling Crowley close by his hips. He's a medical student, if Crowley remembers correctly. He has dirty blonde hair that's close cropped and he's wearing a ridiculous sweater that looks at least 20 years out of style. He doesn't think too hard about why that look was so appealing to him. The man, whose name he can't even hope to remember with any accuracy but he thinks might be John, is moving his hips against Crowley's in a dirty grind that has him half out of his mind with lust. It feels like he's pulling Crowley in closer by the minute and it's driving him insane. He leans down to run his lips over the side of Possibly John's neck and takes the opportunity to whisper in his ear, "Any interest in going back to my place?".
While he doesn't want to temp Probably John into something he doesn't want, Crowley isn't above purring the question in the deepest rumble he can manage. He also isn't above running his tongue along the shell of Most Likely John's ear to give him a taste of what Crowley could bring to the evening. It Has to Be John let's out a low moan and grabs the front of Crowley's shirt to bring him closer. He whispers back, "Yes. God, yes. Let's."
Crowley grabs He's Sure It's John Now's hand and drags him out onto the front porch. He quickly calls for an Uber and drags John up against him nosing at his neck and lightly biting under his ear. John is pressing against him so sweetly and so eagerly that Crowley's begging any entity listening to get the car here faster so that they could relocate to somewhere decidedly more horizontal. Crowley lamented how unfair it is that he can't just snap and will them to a more convenient location. Like his bed, or his couch, or his front yard even. That'd be a miracle. As it stands, no such power is available to him so they keep pressing up against one another, breathing each other's air, before stumbling into the car when it arrives. Crowley knows that the air must be tense enough for the driver to feel the waves radiating off the both of them. Blessedly, he doesn't mention anything, or try to talk to them, during the whole, horrible, eight-minute ride to the apartment. As soon as they're out of the car (a 5-star rating secured for the driver who had to sat steeped in that much sexual tension), they're all over one another on the way up to the apartment. As Crowley's trying to unlock the door, John's reaching around his waist and petting from just below is navel to just before the waistband of his jeans in a maddening repetitive gesture. He's almost growling at his clumsy drunk fingers when the door opens as if by miracle. Crowley stumbles inside in a bluster, dragging John behind him, and is face-to-face with Aziraphale for the first time in 24-hours. That shouldn't seem significant, but it does and Crowley doesn't bother to think about why. In a panic, Crowley tries to turn on his (extremely theoretical at this point) swagger to just get him past this hurdle where he can get to the bedroom and get this awful thing out of his system before he fucks this friendship up irreparably.
"Hello Aziraphale! Nice to see you. Lovely dressing gown. It suits you." He says with bravado and John chuckling good naturedly behind him. He thinks, in a different world, that he and John really may have really hit it off. As it stands in this one, Crowley is decidedly unavailable for anything other than what he's offering; a night of fun, no strings attached.
"Crowley," Aziraphale says and his voice is uncharacteristically icy. "I wasn't sure when I'd see you back. Glad to see that you're well." He's looking pointedly at Crowley's hand where it's joined with John's. "I'll leave you to, whatever it is that you're going to be doing." he says finally, and turns to walk back to his room.
"What are you still doing up?" Crowley blurts out quite a bit louder than he intended. Especially because he had intended to say nothing at all.
Aziraphale turns and fixes him with an pinched, frustrated look. Crowley loves that look. It's the look his friend gets before he launches into a righteous tirade about people who don't recycle, or people who don't pull their weight in a group project but get equal credit, or anyone who listens to audio books instead of enjoying the experience of a real book (other than the visually impaired, of course). Normally, this conversation devolves into Crowley mocking Aziraphale more and more dramatically until he realizes how worked up he's gotten and they both end up giggling like mad. Unfortunately, Crowley would bet all of the change in his pocket that he won't be rewarded by one of Aziraphale's sunshine smiles this time.
"I called you." Aziraphale says. His voice is soft, and hurt, and Crowley hates it. More accurately, he's currently hating himself for having put that tone in his friend's voice. "I called you twelve times, Crowley." Aziraphale continues. "I texted you a number of times as well. I wasn't sure if you were okay or if I had done something to hurt you. I was worried sick Crowley." Aziraphale is close to him now. John is still holding his hand and Crowley thinks he might fly apart from how fast his mind is spinning. Aziraphale lowers his voice another fraction and finshes, "I thought I'd crossed a line and I didn't know if I'd get a chance to apologize."
Crowley is stares dumbfounded. How can someone as clever as Aziraphale be so stupid? He was sure he'd been found out at the park. He was sure of it. That Aziraphale could tell that he'd been staring and fantasizing, and that he must've heard the stop-start of Crowley's heart when he realized that this was more...something...than he'd thought. All he manages to say is, "Nothing's wrong Angel. It's tickety-boo." He immediately regrets both using the endearment "Angel"at such an inopportune moment and the disaster area of word like "tickety-boo". He immediately reevaluates how anyone has ever considered him charming. He hears Aziraphale make an undignified scoff behind him, turn on his heel, and go directly into his bedroom. The door closes with an almighty thunk.
Crowley hears a throat clear behind him. "Was that your roommate?" John asks, "The one you were telling me about?" Crowley halts. How drunk is he? What did he say about Aziraphale? He has a sudden suspicion that this whole night is going to turn out to be one cock up after another ending in a big ol' disaster. But, if you're going to have a big disaster night, go big or go home, right? He pulls John close again and lets his hands wander down to John's lower back. Just high enough not to be indecent, but low enough to speak to what's to come if John's still interested.
"Yeah, real nice guy. My bedroom's this way, if you're still amenable." Crowley rumbles against John's ear. He hears John's breath hitch in his throat and smiles.
"Yes, of course. Lead the way." John says pressing himself up against Crowley's back as the fumble through the hallway. The heat isn't what it was before they were interrupted, but it's good and Crowley isn't ready to give up yet. They get to Crowley's bedroom and he slams the door behind them, advancing on John until John's knees hit the mattress. Crowley's mind is a mess. He's horny, he's mad, he's confused, he's so, so,so lonely. He just wants the feeling back that he had at the party; reveling in being touched and touching. Loving the feeling of being wanted. But seeing Aziraphale so affected by Crowley's absence and his bringing someone home has his mind reeling. Why would he react that way? Why would he border on rude to a complete stranger when it was so out of character for his generally genial friend? Why was he thinking about any of this when he's got a very lovely, very enthusiastic almost-lover underneath him?
In a show of strength (while Crowley is inwardly focused on his best friend), John flips them over and quickly divests Crowley of his shirt, belt, and trousers. He stands and takes off his own sweater revealing a truly lovely chest. He's not built by any means, but there's definite muscle under soft, welcoming layer of give. There's sparse blonde hair leading to a lovely trail beneath his navel. Crowley's fingers trace it of their own accord, and he receives a low groan from John in return. John grabs Crowley's hands and pins them to the bed on either side of his head. He hovers over Crowley for a moment before kissing his jaw, his neck, and his chest. He pauses to run his tongue over Crowley's nipple and he whimpers despite himself. He's present in his body, but he isn't. He wants this but he doesn't. John is moving lower and kissing across Crowley's lower stomach to run his teeth over a jutting hip bone. Crowley groans and arches his back. His body and his mind are at odds. His mind screaming to slow down and think and his body racing to feel something good. To feel anything good.
It comes to a head when John makes to remove Crowley's tight, black, box briefs. He should be thrilled; he's been achingly hard for the better part of an hour and a nice, normal guy is about to give him what promises to be a very enthusiastic blow job. He'll gladly return the favor. They'll go another round in a bit and Crowley will fall asleep sated and sore in all the right ways. It would be the perfect way to scratch this itch before he does even more damage to his relationship with Aziraphale. But he can't. The alcohol feels like it's receding from his bloodstream and all he wants is a hot shower so he can start to process what he's feeling.
"St-, Stop", Crowley finally grinds out. John immediately sits up and looks Crowley in the eye. "I'm so sorry, but I can't do this. I just, I'm sorry, I thought I-" he rambles but John puts a placating hand up.
"It's fine. Really, it's okay. I know what it's like, you know. Wanting someone you can't have." John gets off of him slowly and starts to look around for his discarded sweater, awkwardly tucking himself back in his jeans..
"Wha, what do you mean?" Crowley questions, slurring more than he expected. He's confused. He wishes he was less drunk. He's probably making a good decision right now.
"It's not obvious if you don't know what to look for." John replies simply. "But when you talk about him it's like the sun comes out for you."
"I'm really so sorr-" Crowley goes to apologize. John pulls him close for a quick but heated kiss. Crowley belatedly realizes it was their first. His lizard brain kicks him for not taking this opportunity.
"Don't be." John says, "but, for what it's worth, you should talk to him. I don't think this is as hopeless as you think."
With that John leaves. A few moments later Crowley hears his front door close. He wanders out to lock up and then immediately heads to the bathroom for a shower. While sitting under the hot spray, willing himself sober, Crowley thinks about how it's only been eight months but his life already feels inexplicably intertwined with Aziraphale's. He feels like, if he were the type of person to be given to flights of fancy, maybe some people are just meant to meet. They'll slot into each other's lives perfectly. Someone to smooth your edges, someone for you to give an edge to where needed.
He's spent the better part of the last decade trying to make himself an island, but when he thinks of the approaching end of the semester he gets a wash of anxiety imagining is day-to-day life without his friend. What if he chooses to leave? What if Crowley's been too successful at keeping him at arms length and he wants to be around someone who's warm and inviting like himself? Even worse, what if he gives himself over to this thing and loses it? If Crowley were the betting kind, and someone were to offer him the bet, he would take a fair set of odds against himself being the long-term relationship type. He hasn't been able to keep a relationship with his own bloody parents, never mind romantic partners. It's not for lack of trying. Oh, he's tried. There had been Gabriel when he was in high school. Gabriel who lit up his boring structured life, who had made him feel seen and understood, who he thought he'd run away with after school far away from home. As soon as the school year had ended, Gabriel broke it off abruptly saying he wanted to start college with a clean slate. Crowley still remembers the almost violet hue of his eyes when they'd parted ways.
Then there was Anathema in college, who's the only person Crowley every thought he might even want to settle down and have a family with. Unfortunately for him, she'd gotten sick of his temper and his flakiness and his inability to share his feelings, and broke it off after two years. He tried so hard to explain to her what she meant to him. How much she made him feel. Unfortunately for him (and very fortunately for her), Anathema was (is) a headstrong, self-possessed woman (part of why he loved her) and wasn't going to wait around for Crowley to process what his therapist had referred to as an "exhausting fear of abandonment" and "self-destructive tendencies bordering on the compulsive". A few months after they split, she had hunkered down with a Computer Science major (interesting choice for him, considering his habit of irreparably damaging technology) named Newt after the fact. They got married last year, if Crowley remembers correctly. They actually make quite a nice couple. Long story short, Crowley has a bad track record, and it seems like the problem is always him. He wants too much. He wants to give too little. He's a gamble.
He feels so much for Aziraphale; he feels friendship. A deep abiding concern for his friend that bears no expectation of anything in return. He feels lust. The tempting bow of Aziraphale's lip, his ice blonde hair that looks so soft that Crowley wants to rub his face all over it. The welcoming softness he hides behind sweaters and vests and sweater vests when Crowley is very unlucky. His truly, unforgettably, delectable arse which Crowley can't emphasize enough how much how he'd like to acquaint himself with. He feels romantic...something. He's found himself dreaming about what it'd be like if Aziraphale touched him. Not even sexually (although he wouldn't object at all), just any touch. Like if he handed Crowley a cup of coffee and took his hand to wrap it around the mug. Just to be sure it was secure. Or what it would've been like the other night, when they had been running home when caught off guard in a rainstorm, if he'd reached out for Aziraphale's hand and pulled him into a rain drenched kiss. How would his lips feel? Would he really push Crowley away, or would he sigh and pull Crowley closer? He really is drunk, he muses realizing that he's wildly penduluming between crushing self-loathing and Hallmark Movie-quality fantasies of him and his best friend. What it boils down to is that this isn't a garden variety crush for Crowley and he knows that it's a gamble. And he's a gamble. He just isn't sure if he's crazy about the odds. That is a problem for Future Crowley to ponder (the poor bastard), Drunk Crowley decides.
He gets out of the shower and dries himself off. He flops on his bed naked and thinks about how the night could've gone in a different direction. What if he hadn't come home with John? What if he just came home alone, drunk and impulsive? What if he'd backed Aziraphale up against the wall across from the front door and pressed against him? Would he have pressed back or pushed Crowley away? Up until the last hour, he would've sworn that the latter was the only possibility. Now, he isn't so sure.
He takes himself in hand and dispels of the last traces of tension in his body with a pathetic few strokes. He spares half a moment to wipe himself off before turning over and falling into a deep, deep sleep. Crowley dreams of steel blue eyes, tartan robes, and halos.
The Day After ( or Day One, if you Prefer):
Crowley wakes with a blinding headache and an overwhelming feeling that he's forgetting something terribly important. Pushing aside his reeling thoughts, he throws on his black silk robe and stumbles to the bathroom in just enough time to make it to the toilet before last night's libations make their grand reentry. He's curled around the bowl tightly waiting for the heaving to stop when the memories of the night before hit him. Another wave of nausea hits him and he feebly heaves into the bowl one last time. He cleans it off, turns on the water, and brushes his teeth to get the taste of bile and stale alcohol away as fast as possible. He gets under the spray and reorients his entire world view. Pouring the shampoo in his hand he quickly gives his hair a wash, rinsing and applying conditioner, and thinks about how in fuck he's going to strike up a conversation with his friend.
He can't very well just waltz into the living room and say, "Good morning! Sorry I was a cock last night, I got drunk because I couldn't stop thinking about you and I couldn't have you so I brought home a guy who's name is probably, definitely, John and proceeded to have a mini-existential crisis about how I might, definitely, be very, deeply, irrevocably in love with you. Want to grab a spot of lunch?"
He finishes rinsing the soap off himself. He entertains the thought of a courage-inducing wank but is quickly reminded that the last time he indulged he was thinking about Aziraphale. Not feeling a need to confuse himself more, he shuts off the water and wraps himself in a warm, dry towel. Before leaving the bathroom, Crowley takes a long, hard look at himself. His hair is a complete wreck and he just can't be arsed to fix it. He has dark circles under his eyes and he looks pale and vaguely ill. He looks exactly as he feels. He puts his dressing gown back on and opens the door ready to throw himself back onto his bed and sleep for about a century when he runs, quite literally, right into Aziraphale.
His roommate looks shocked and winces at what Crowley realizes is the remnants of a hot cup of tea now splashed on his white pajama shirt. The wet fabric makes the shirt cling to Aziraphale's chest. Crowley's surprised to see both the softness he knew would be there as well as the light definition of a pectoral muscle. He also realizes that he's only seen Aziraphale in short sleeves a few times. While again seeing softness (very distracting softness that he's sure he could bite) he also sees some definition as well. The idea that there's hidden strength under Aziraphale's soft appearance is so...so...Aziraphale that Crowley almost starts laughing. He also realizes that his mouth is dry and he's starting at Aziraphale like a maniac. His sunglasses are God knows where, discarded last night without a moment's thought, and he's utterly vulnerable. Laid bare. His eyes have always been his downfall; the only part of his face that he couldn't school at his will.
Aziraphale's hand is on Crowley's shoulder and he can hear the click in Aziraphale's throat when he tries to swallow. Heat is radiating from that hand and Crowley wants desperately to lean into the touch, to feel that same touch he had on the bench (which feels like years ago at this point). Suddenly, that hand is moving upward; slowly, painstakingly slowly. Crowley's having an aneurysm. He's sure of it. He once read about a student having an aneurysm during their thesis defense. At least this would be a better way to go out, Crowley thinks.
He's brought back to the present when he hand cups the side of his neck, Aziraphale's other hand releases the mug and lets it drop to the floor. That's what kicks Crowley into action. He grabs Aziraphale's other hand and brings it to his chest. He can feel the heat there, too, through the thin silk layer.
"Aziraphale," Crowley lets out on a somewhat desperate sigh. "What are you doing? Please, please tell me that you know what you're doing right now." he pleads. He's staring at this hand wrapped around Aziraphale's wrist. His lips were right there such a short time ago. Unbidden, his thumb begins running a smooth, back and forth motion around the place he'd wanted to kiss, to suck, to run his teeth and tongue over just to see what sounds he could coax out of his roommate. He sees Aziraphale's breath catch and loses a little more of his tether to reality.
In response, Aziraphale uses the hand that's on Crowley's neck to tilt his head up so that they can lock eyes. Azure meets amber and time might damn well stop as far as Crowley is concerned.
"I don't know what I'm doing." Aziraphale says and Crowley's stomach drops out for the fourth (maybe fifth) time that day. "But I know what I want. I want you Crowley, and I'm so, so sorry if that's inconvenient for you." He gives Crowley such an apologetic smile that he can't help but bark out a laugh.
Bolstered, or shocked into speech, by Crowley's outburst Aziraphale continues. "I've been trying so hard not to tell you because you're just so. You're stunning and brilliant. You're the brightest light in the room and I couldn't imagine for a moment that you'd want me. But then, sometimes, I see you stare when you think I don't see it. And you decorated for Christmas just because I liked it and wasn't going to be able to go home, and then at the park - Then last night. I was so angry and worried. And you brought someone home with you and my heart just- I was ready to give you a piece of my mind, but you were beautiful and messy and you called me Angel. When you say that it- I can't be expected to -" Aziraphale's breath seems to have run out on that last syllable. "Am I alone in this?" he says finally.
"Fuck Aziraphale, no you're not alone. I've been gone on you since you yelled at me about my bebop." Crowley breathes out. "I want you so bad I don't know what to do with myself. Please tell me I can touch you. Really touch you."
Aziraphale makes a desperate noise in the back of his throat and all but throws himself at Crowley (at least the scant few inches between them) and Crowley, suddenly, has Aziraphale in his arms. He reaches out and grabs Aziraphale's face and drags it to his, finally slotting their lips together. Crowley mentally revises every kiss he's ever had. They don't matter. Nothing matters except for this. He's going to drop out of school and do nothing but this for at least an eternity. Then maybe, maybe, he could be convinced to take a break.
Aziraphale is moaning loudly and Crowley is drinking those sounds right out of his mouth, and he is positively melting against Crowley. It's driving him insane. If he thought he felt good last night he had no Earthly clue. Crowley's alight from the inside out; like Aziraphale is pouring every single ounce of his good-natured, kind, soul into Crowley's damned chest. He wasn't built to hold that kind of love or devotion but he's pretty sure that he'll spend every day for the rest of his life trying to be worthy of it if he's allowed to do this again.
There are far too many clothes on Aziraphale's body, but they're in the hallway and Crowley really needs to check in to see how far Aziraphale wants this to go. For Crowley, it may never be enough, but from context clues (and the way even the simplest of touches seems to completely undo his friend), he thinks Aziraphale may be on the less experienced side of the equation. It's fine. It's brilliant actually, because Crowley is possessive. It's not his best trait (probably not his worst either, if you take the anger, and the nihilism, and temper into consideration), but the thought that he might be the first person to lay their hands on Aziraphale this way sends liquid heat right to his cock. But he'll wait if Aziraphale needs it. He'll wait as long as it takes; months, years, millennia. He's finding that there isn't much he wouldn't do for him.
"Aziraphale, oh God, Angel, please. How far do you want this to go?" He groans out as Aziraphale acquaints himself with Crowley's neck. "I need to know what you want, Angel, fuck I'm going to lose my mind if you keep doing that." He knows there will be a bruise on his neck where Aziraphale's mouth is, he just knows it.
"Mmm. It's probably obvious but I haven't quite- Well. I haven't really done this before. The kissing bit, yes, but beyond that I'm afraid I don't have much by the way of notches on my belt. Or anything. At all really." Aziraphale mumbles, hiding his face in Crowley's neck. "But I want whatever you're willing to give me. I'd be happy with anything, anything you can bring yourself to-"
His words are cut off by a growl from Crowley when he crashes his lips back to Aziraphale's. "You listen, I won't be 'bringing myself' to do anything." He takes one of Aziraphale's hands and brings it down between his legs, only marginally covered by his dressing gown. "Does this feel unsure to you? You wreck me just by being you. I could get off listening to you rant about damned ocean life. Whatever you want I'll give you."
Aziraphale is shaking. His whole body is leaning into Crowley and he looks like he's about to shake to pieces in the hallway. His eyes are wet and Crowley feels panic rise.
"Oh no, Angel, what is it? What did I say? I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you at all. I know I can move too fast." It all rushes out of his mouth so fast and his head is spinning. He's moving his hands to Aziraphale's face to force him to make eye contact.
"I'm so sorry, I'm being so foolish. No one has ever wanted me this way. And I get it, I do. But you do and that's just, so much. It's absolutely more than I ever thought I'd get." It's said so earnestly and it draws into relief how Aziraphale feels about himself. All of those slight, almost self-deprecating jokes he makes are because no one could see how obviously gorgeous, and smart, and fucking kind he is. Crowley rages at the world for treating his friend, his Angel, so dismissively.
"You make me better. I know that's a lot, but- Look. I'm not good at relationships. I don't do relationships. Of any kind. But then you move in with your voice, and your fretting, and your absolutely horrendous taste in music and clothes, and your quiet support and here I am. I keep thinking about how to ask you to stay next semester. How to ask you to spend every holiday with me because that's the only one I had that's ever meant anything. It's been what, eight or nine months and I feel like you're vital to me at this point. You're beautiful, mind, body, even soul probably if that's a thing. I pretty sure I love you. I just don't have anything to compare it to, in order to be sure." Crowley's been speaking for an awfully long time and saying and awful lot of things and he'd really like to get back to what they were doing before. He's not so good with words. He' very good at what they were doing before.
Aziraphale looks about ready to pass out, which Crowley thinks is fair considering he's been on the receiving end of Crowley's rambling feelings and Crowley himself feels like he might keel over from shock.
Finally, he starts to smile. It's that one that makes Crowley think about galaxy and how it pales in comparison to the vision in front of him. "I love you. I haven't loved anyone before, but I'm certain. I love you, Anthony Crowley." He strokes Crowley's cheek and Crowley gives himself up to this. Whatever it'll be.
He drags Aziraphale to his bedroom and puts his hands under his stained shirt. A look of self-consciousness passes over his features, but he eventually nods, closing his eyes. Crowley is going to make him scream. He drags the shirt up and immediately drops to his knees. He pushes his face into Aziraphale's soft stomach and moans long and loud at how warm, soft, and bitable that flesh is. Aziraphale makes a sound of his own and winds both hands into Crowley's hair. He looks up at Aziraphale and puts his hand on the waistband of his tartan pajama bottoms. "Can I taste you, Angel?" he purrs, low and seductive.
"Oh-yes. God yes." He moans out; so loud and wanton that it makes Crowley physically preen. He hopes his neighbors hear them. He hopes people on the street hear Aziraphale's beautiful sounds and he hopes they know that Crowley's the one giving him that pleasure. He yanks down Aziraphale's pants without finesse and is shocked to come face-to-face with his cock. The fact that he hasn't had underwear on during this whole exchange makes Crowley desperate.
The second thing he realizes, upon seeing Aziraphale's cock, is that it's, well. There's definitely more to love on more than one part of Aziraphale's anatomy if you catch his drift. His mouth waters at the about average length, but thick cock in front of him.
"I can't believe you hid this from me." He says nuzzling the length. Aziraphale groans and tightens one hand in Crowley's hair. The pain eggs him on and he runs his tongue over his cock, from root to tip, adding a little swirl at the top. He's able to lick into Aziraphale's slit and taste the pre-cum dribbling out. It's sharp, and it doesn't taste great (it never does), but the fact that it's Aziraphale? Well that might just make it Crowley's favorite flavor in the world. He wraps his lips around the head and runs his tongue around the soft head. Aziraphale is out and out panting now, just from what Crowley's done so far and he's giddy with the knowledge that it gets so much better. He sucks in earnest, earning a full, broken moan, and slides the rest of the way down his cock so that his nose is sitting nestled in the thatch of blonde hair at it's base. Aziraphale makes another gorgeous noise and then, to Crowley's suprise, just starts begging-
"Anthony, I didn't know. Oh, I didn't know it would feel like this. Please don't stop, I need you. Please, fuck, please Anthony." And Crowley is lost to it. He's pulling out all of the stop; wrapping his tongue around as much of Aziraphale's cock as he can, paying special attention to the vein running along the underside, letting his fingers trail back and press against his perineum. Suddenly, both hands in his hair tighten and start to yank him off. "I'm goin- Oh! I'm going to come" Aziraphale moans and Crowley forces himself back down onto Azirphale's cock. With a chocked off moan, Aziraphale comes down Crowley's throat muttering a litany of, "I love you, I love you, I love you".
Crowley gives a final suck and pulls of, resting his head against Aziraphale's plush hip and panting. He's pressing his palm to the base of his cock to stop from coming immediately thinking about Aziraphale in the throes of his orgasm. It's the most erotic, most beautiful, most mind-melting thing Crowley's ever seen and he's pretty sure he ever will see.
He feels strong hands under his arms and he's being hauled to his feel, turned, and deposited on his mattress. The change in dynamic throws Crowley off and it takes a moment before he feels Aziraphale start to pull his dressing gown off of his shoulders.
"Your turn, dearest. Now let me see you." Aziraphale steps back and takes a long, indulgent look at Crowley's naked form. Then he walks to the edge of the bed an picks up Crowley's right leg. "Tell me if I do something you don't like." He says before he places a kiss on the side of Crowley's ankle.
He knows that Aziraphale is smart. He's a quick study in just about everything and he seems to have an endless vault of knowledge of almost all topics. Of course he'd catch onto sensuality in such a short period of time that Crowley barely got to bask in the results of his own ministrations before he's outdone. No one. None of Crowley's lovers (not that there have been a lot, but there also hasn't been not a lot) have ever worshipped his body like Aziraphale is doing. He's placing sweet, wet, dragging kisses up Crowley's leg and, just when he gets so damned close to where Crowley really wants him, he moves to land a bit on one of Crowley's sharp hip bones. He jolts and moans and it seems to spur Aziraphale on. He kisses up Crowley's chest, moves to kneel on the bed, and immediately starts to lick at one of Crowley's nipples. They've always been sensitive and now is no different. Crowley's squirming and trying very hard to maintain any air of experience he has while is brain is busy dripping out of his damn ears.
He pulls Aziraphale up to kiss him deeply. He runs his tongue along the pillow of his lower lip and places a light bite onto it and getting a sharp intake of breath for his trouble. Crowley soothes it again, and licks into Aziraphale's mouth, tracing his soft palate, mapping his teeth and tangling with Aziraphale's own. He could do this for hours, but there's a tightness right below his belly button and he's been hard for what feels like hours.
He easily flips their positions and pulls climbs over Aziraphale. He takes a page from Aziraphale's book, and starts to lick and suck at his neck and chest. He leaves a mark, just high enough that it'll be visible above Aziraphale's collar but just slightly. What can he say? He is who he is.
Aziraphale nearly convulses when Crowley sucks a pert, pink nipple into his mouth and lightly scrapes over it with his teeth. Two can play this game, he thinks to himself.
"Fuck me." Aziraphale says on the rush of a breath. Crowley's heart stops, then kickstarts and his cock throbs at the thought.
"Are you sure? You don't have to if you aren't ready. There are many other things we can do." He makes sure to emphasize how good those other things could be.
"No, I want to. I can't stop thinking about it. It's all I can think about." Aziraphale pants out and if he keeps saying things like he's done for.
He reaches into his night stand to grab lube and a condom. He rolls the condom on while he still has the mental wherewithal to do it right (and has to bite his cheek to keep from coming just from that brief stroke), and then pours a generous amount of lube into his palm. Aziraphale's cock has sprung back to life during the proceedings and Crowley runs his nose along it to pull a breathy sound from Aziraphale.
He looks up and Aziraphale gives him a nod to continue. While he noses as Aziraphale's balls, he brings his fingers back to circle around his entrance. Aziraphale immediately sucks in a breath and spreads his legs indecently wide to give Crowley as much access as he needs. He slowly traces the rim of muscle and, just as he pushes a finger in, licks up Aziraphale's cock. He groans, deep and full and grabs Crowley's hair with one hand and his black sheet with the other. As he slowly opens him up, Crowley lazily sucks his cock. By the time he has three fingers lodged deep in Aziraphale's arse he's tossing his head back and forth on the pillows and arching his back. Crowley crooks his fingers and Aziraphale's whole body convulses for a second and his cock dribbles out another drop of pre-cum.
"Please, Anthony. Please, I'm so close and I want to come with you inside me." Aziraphale begs, barely breathing.
Crowley's done waiting. "It'll be easier if you're on your hands and knees," Crowley says and Aziraphale quickly moves himself into position. Crowley grabs two lush handfuls of Aziraphale's arse and leans down to place a bite on the left cheek. Aziraphale yelps and Crowley chuckles. It's cute. He's a goner.
He lines up and slowly, so slowly, he eases in. Aziraphale is shaking and Crowley is placing loving kisses up his spine. It's a welcome distraction for a second from just how hot and virgin tight Aziraphale is.
"There you go. You're doing so well Angel." He says. "Look at you. You're so beautiful. I fucking love your arse, I saw you bend over to tie your shoe and almost came in my pants like a bloody teenager, I swear." He rambles into Aziraphale's ear while he breathes through the stretch.
Eventually he starts to push back on Crowley, a clear indication to move things along. Cognizant that if he goes too quickly this'll be over extremely quickly, Crowley pulls out slowly and eases himself back in with a hitch in his hips at the end to be sure that his cock drags over Aziraphale's prostate. Aziraphale cries out and drops down to his elbows, allowing Crowley's cock to nail his prostate on almost every thrust.
The room is redolent with the smell of sex and the entire block must be aware of what's happening because Aziraphale cannot stop moaning. It's hurtling Crowley towards the edge and he needs to make sure Aziraphale comes first. He wants him to know what it's like to come on your lover's cock and, selfishly, he wants to feel Aziraphale shake apart beneath him.
He reaches down to stroke Aziraphale's cock and, with only one light stroke, Aziraphale is yelling his climax and spurting over Crowley's hand onto the bed sheets. He clenches so hard Crowley thinks he's going to black out, and it only takes another two strokes of his hips before he's coming hard into the condom, bent over Aziraphale's back and panting absolute nonsense into his ear. He has enough of his mind in order to pull out slowly, tie off the condom and throw it somewhere, and crash down on the bed next to Aziraphale.
Crowley's mind is swirling and he's smiling like a maniac he's sure of it. Aziraphale turns his face towards Crowley and gifts him with a warm, fucked out expression that makes Crowley want to fold him up in his arms and never let him go. Or maybe coax him into round two. He's not sure.
After laying a quick, affectionate, peck on Aziraphale's lips, he gets up to get a warm washcloth and cleans them both up. He coaxes Aziraphale up and into the desk chair while he quickly places new sheets on the bed. He hears Aziraphale laugh and he looks at him dumbfounded for a moment.
"I've never been the subject of someone's laughter while I took care of them." He snarks.
Aziraphale looks at him besottedly and says, "I'm sorry, dear, I just. Of course you'd only have black sheets. It's so very you." Crowley wants to kiss him, or fuck him, or maybe just cuddle forever. He's a sap.
They get back into bed and Crowley pillows his head on Aziraphale's soft chest. As he's falling into sleep he feels Aziraphale press a kiss to his head.
"I love you too, you know." He says. "I'm not sure if I said it, but I do. For whatever it's worth."
Aziraphale tightens his arm around Crowley's shoulder and he can hear the uptick in Aziraphale's heartbeat. He just knows that he's wearing that megawatt smile. He glances up and finds he's right.
"I think it's worth rather a lot." Aziraphale says quietly.
They fall asleep tangled and content.
Crowley wakes up because something smells divine. When he opens his eyes he sees Aziraphale place a plate on his laptop desk. He sits up and stares at a plate of heart shaped pancakes. He realizes he said it aloud when Aziraphale responds, "They're crepes actually. A tried and true family recipe." He meets Aziraphale's adorably nervous expression.
The crepes don't get eaten until much later. Much, much later.
Crowley thinks, later, once they're full and comfortable, that he just may be ready to put down some roots. "Maybe I'll even get a houseplant." He says out loud. When Aziraphale fixes him with a confused look he says,
"Stay. Stay with me next year. For as many years as you can stand me.
"You won't be rid of me that easy." Aziraphale responds running a hand through his extremely tousled red hair. "And I like the idea of a houseplant. I read an article, once, that plants like being talked to."
He rambles for a few minutes about some study from the 1970's about plants growing more verdant if they were interacted with. Crowley rolls over and buries his face in the downy hair of Aziraphale's chest. Now that he has this, he thinks that he can be good and even have good. And maybe he'll settle down. Maybe they'll buy an apartment, or a house, or a cottage in South Downs and they'll spend their days doing whatever it is that they'll do and they'll come home and cook and fuck and-
It's a good life, he thinks.