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“Well, well, well,” the demon said, with a smile like molten honey. “What a predicament you’ve gotten yourself into, angel.” 

 

“So, wait — am I still me, in this scenario of yours, or…?” Crowley had asked, looking slightly confused but not disinclined. 

“Oh.” Aziraphale had mulled it over. “Not quite? We wouldn’t know each other as well as we actually did by the eighteenth century, anyway. Perhaps we could pretend we’ve never met before and you are simply some roguishly handsome demon who just so happens to be passing by?”

Crowley nodded thoughtfully. “Just a run of the mill demon in the street admiring the horrors of the French Revolution. Okay. Makes sense. But you’re still in the Bastille?”

“Or somewhere similar. It’s the threat of imminent discorporation and the, ah, the chains that would be the crucial elements.”

“Oooh, kinky,” Crowley said, wiggling his eyebrows, and Aziraphale would have at least pretended to roll his eyes at him if not for the genuine spark of interest and willingness to please in Crowley’s face.   

                      

Aziraphale rolled his eyes where he was sitting on the edge of a sturdy table, his legs dangling disconsolately. (“Angel, we are not doing it on that little stool you were perched on, I am putting my foot down on this one. Do I look like a bloody circus acrobat to you? Don’t worry, we’ll come up with something else.”) “Yes, yes. Gloat away, I know you want to.”

“Always fun to see one of you sanctimonious pricks brought down a peg,” Crow — the demon agreed amicably. His voice echoed between the stone walls of the cell. “When’s the execution?”

“Tomorrow morning. If you must know. Why, do you want to secure yourself a good seat?”

The demon tilted his head to one side in that way that always made him look more like an inquisitive corvid of some sort than a snake. “Touchy, aren’t you. Sorry if this is a daft question, but why don’t you just, I don’t know… miracle yourself out of this sorry situation? I mean, you could, right?”

The chains jangled cheerily as Aziraphale heaved a big sigh. “Got a rather sharp note from head office last month. Apparently I’d committed ‘too many frivolous miracles’.”

Another wide grin spread over the demon’s — oh, very well, Crowley’s face, Aziraphale’s acting abilities did not extend far enough for him to pretend in the privacy of his own mind that he would not know Crowley anywhere. Still grinning Crowley said, with faux-reproof: “Oh, for shame, uh…” 

“Aziraphale,” Aziraphale mumbled, glancing down at the manacles around his wrists with a frown.

“Aziraphale. For shame. Look at it like this, though: is it going to be more of a hassle to miracle first and apologize to your bosses later than to get discorporated? If your lot is anything like mine, there’s bound to be paperwork about that sort of thing, especially if you’d ever like to requisition a new body.” 

“Oh yes, rest assured, there will be paperwork either way,” Aziraphale said glumly. This was a subject on which practically no acting was required of him. “I’ve been trying to put it out of my mind, to be honest. What is any of this to you, anyway?” he added, glowering.

Crowley shrugged and stuck his hands in his pockets, sauntering aimlessly over the floor with all the nonchalance of a predator biding its time. “It’s just that I figure we could help each other out here.” 

“I — what?” Aziraphale managed, distracted by the lean, exquisite lines of him all wrapped up in dark fabric. His hair was long and drawn back in a loose braid, falling jauntily over his shoulder when he turned his head.

 

“Could you wear what you were wearing that day?” 

Crowley pursed his lips pensively “Sure, if you help jog my memory a bit. Not the hair, though. Good grief, that whole century was high maintenance, coiffure-wise. Not touching that again with a ten foot pole.”

“Yes, well. Most people did actually wear wigs at that time, you know.” 

“And I was supposed to know that how, exactly?” Crowley demanded, with some justification. Aziraphale never understood how he found the energy to keep up with what humans considered fashionable at any given point in time; personally he always found something that was comfortable and distractedly checked in every century or so to make sure he didn’t stick out too egregiously and left it at that. “No one bothered to tell me that people were buying fake hair for enough money to buy a bloody house with, how the heaven could any sensible person have predicted that?”

“You have a point. Didn’t you get a minor award for that trend, though?”

“People were getting mice infestations in their hair left and right; it was an easy sell on my part,” Crowley murmured. “Nobody down there had the imagination to think they’d willingly done it to themselves. Story of my life.”

 

“I’m saying I could help you. Get you out of here safe and sound before the humans even warm up their disconcertingly well thought out head cutting machines tomorrow morning. But I’d like something in return.” 

Aziraphale gestured resignedly with his bound wrists, the chains clinking. “Of course you do. You’re a demon, after all, simple altruism would be beyond you. What will it be, then? Should I turn a blind eye for a couple of days while you, I don’t know, seduce a cardinal? Let you start another dancing plague, we haven’t had one of those in a while?”

Crowley, who Aziraphale knew for a fact hadn’t been actively dabbling with sexuality any more than he himself had before the two of them started experimenting together, gave an abortive sound of laughter at ‘seduce a cardinal’ and hurriedly disguised it as a cough. He wasn’t wearing his sunglasses — Aziraphale had wanted to be able to see his eyes, since they were entering some trickier waters than they usually frequented and he would like to be able to gauge Crowley’s reactions as clearly as possible, and Crowley had shrugged gamely and left them out of the costume — and so the amusement was plain to see. Aziraphale fought back a smile of his own, fondness pooling radiantly under his breastbone. 

“There’s only one thing I want from you,” Crowley said, visibly pulling himself together and sauntering over until he stood between Aziraphale’s thighs, close enough that it probably would have been uncomfortable if this had been real. Aziraphale swallowed and leaned away as much as he could while still remaining reasonably polite — standards, after all, civility costs nothing. To his surprise his mouth felt dry.

“Well, then. Name your price and we’ll see.”

Crowley casually put a hand on the table and leaned over him until the chains stopped Aziraphale from moving back any further, giving a very final-sounding clink as they went taut. 

“I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to have an angel yield to you,” Crowley said in a husky voice, his hips pressing close against Aziraphale’s and leaving no room for misunderstanding — in truth, no room for room. “Seems to me this is the best chance to find out I’m likely to get.”

 

“So… you want to be ravished against your will,” Crowley had said, sounding rather dubious at the prospect. 

“Perhaps… not entirely against my will,” Aziraphale admitted, wretchedly. “I would prefer it if the, um, the subtext of the situation was more along the lines that… that I might enjoy being persuaded.” 

Crowley gave one of his extremely rare, extremely slow blinks — he did have human eyelids in this body, he just tended to forget about them — and studied him for a long time before saying: “You want me to understand what you actually want so you don’t have to admit it out loud.”

“And maybe throw in some tempting?” Aziraphale said, relieved and grateful that Crowley got it so easily. He really was a wonder. “So I can have some plausible deniability about the whole thing afterwards? Within this, this fantasy, of course,” he added, conscientiously. “In real life I doubt there’s enough plausible deniability in the known universe to serve the purpose, and it’s not like I would have any use for it anyway.” 

After another long quiet moment Crowley smiled. “Do you know, angel,” he said, his eyes bright, “I believe tempting is considered my speciality.”

 

Aziraphale let his eyes go wide and stiffened, Crowley’s breath warm against his ear. “You — you can’t be serious.” 

“Deadly,” Crowley assured him, reaching to touch the manacles around Aziraphale’s wrists with his long clever fingers, almost tenderly.

“How do you even propose… I’m not even sure we could,” Aziraphale said faintly. “An angel and a demon trying to merge souls, it would be — we’d probably both explode.”

(Of course, as they had discovered after some cautious experimentation, they absolutely could. It was a wonderful thing, save the few moments of intense disorientation when they returned to their earthly bodies and three days had gone by while they’d been, as it were, frolicking entwined amongst the radiance of celestial harmonies. Or something of that sort. It was a hard concept to contain in human words.) 

Crowley slipped his fingers under the manacles and a bit of sleeve to touch the soft skin of Aziraphale’s wrist and forearm and then slid them up to the centre of his palm and lingered there, rubbing small circles, which somehow felt more indecent than if he’d started groping him on the spot. Oh, that was interesting. “Didn’t mean like that. It might take too long, apart from anything else, hard to keep track of time like that. I meant like the humans do it.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale stammered, “I have never actually tried — I mean, I don’t exactly know how that is supposed to, um…” 

(Human style sex had been an acquired taste for Aziraphale — he’d never felt any particular revulsion at the prospect, merely some initial puzzlement, a bit of incredulity when the process was properly explained to him and, as the Arrangement had grown more intimate and familiar with time, mild intrigue at the possibilities. But as with blue cheese, chilli peppers and raw fish, and perhaps more apropos still, dancing, it had been an acquired taste that had served him excellently. If there had only ever been the choice of human partners he would in all likelihood never have made the effort: it seemed like a lot of investment for something that would inevitably last for less than a century, and the unavoidable imbalance in age and experience involved had seemed inherently dubious to him…

And yet there had always been Crowley, and things were different with him almost right from the beginning. Whenever Aziraphale had thought he had it all figured out, Crowley had thrown it out of order again by turning up like a lesson in how many different ways you can want someone; he discovered new ones every time.   

Aziraphale would like to share everything pleasurable in the world with Crowley at least once, wanted to find every possible way to make him happy and try them out one by one, no stone left unturned. He had lost millennia to make up for and a natural inclination towards thoroughness. 

This was one turned stone they had both enjoyed immensely and thus made something of a habit of, much like good alcohol and the few genres of music they agreed on. It all worked out rather nicely.)   

Crowley shrugged one shoulder, casual but for the undisguised hunger in his eyes. “You wouldn’t have to do anything but lay back and let me do anything I want to you. It’s hardly rocket sci — uh…” 

He trailed off, brow wrinkling in thought, and Aziraphale was drawn between arousal at ‘do anything I want to you’, being wildly charmed by Crowley’s attempt at staying in character, and trying to help him come up with a suitable, non-anachronistic replacement. Occasionally the sheer enormity of how much he loved Crowley still made him feel a little shaky to consider. 

“Siege engineering?” Aziraphale suggested eventually.

Crowley snapped his fingers in appreciation and said: “It’s hardly siege engineering, angel,” with some triumph. “Humans do it all the time with no special education whatsoever.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale said, getting back in character himself and biting nervously at his lip as he glanced around the room, “I — I really don’t know about this. I mean, I probably shouldn’t…” 

“Probably shouldn’t go get your head chopped off for no good reason either,” Crowley pointed out reasonably. “If you’re stuck choosing between two evils anyway…”

“I am almost certain that you would never count as the lesser of any evils,” Aziraphale said severely, ruining the effect only slightly by giving Crowley a hard-to-mistake onceover.

“Yes, okay, you’ve got me there. But I can guarantee that I’ll be so much more fun than some French bastard giving you a fatally overeager haircut. And let’s not forget about the paperwork.”

Aziraphale grimaced at the reminder, dimly aware from the centuries of literature he had consumed that this was probably not what most humans would consider a grand seduction, but then it had been a long, long time since Crowley had needed to do anything more than just stand somewhere reasonably close by to captivate all of Aziraphale’s attention. Perhaps you had to go about these things a bit more dramatically if you only had a century or so to build interest. 

“Then… do you promise that if I do this, if I let you,” Aziraphale endeavoured to look flustered and found it pretty easy, “well, if I let you do this, then… you promise you’ll help me get out of here?” 

“By anything you want me to swear it on,” Crowley said, gesturing expansively. “Before anyone could even think about harming a hair on your head. It’s a very nice head, it’d be a shame if it got unceremoniously chopped off tomorrow morning,” he added, rather chivalrously, Aziraphale thought. 

Pretending to hold out for a few moments more while his pulse started to pick up in anticipation, Aziraphale eventually blurted: “Ah, for Heaven’s — very well, then. Go ahead.” 

“Is that a yes?” Crowley asked, a strange intensity in his gaze Aziraphale couldn’t help but test. 

“It’s not a no,” he said cagily. 

The look in Crowley’s eyes didn’t shift one bit, he was still watching Aziraphale like — like that. 

“…yes,” Aziraphale said finally, the word leaving him on a breath, and Crowley smiled in something like triumph and moved his hand to rest on Aziraphale’s thigh, pleasingly proprietary. Or insultingly presumptuous and invasive within the premise they had set up, of course, Aziraphale reminded himself. “Just tell me… tell me how you would have me and get on with it.”

Crowley tutted at him, resting his fingers under Aziraphale’s chin to tilt his face up. “In such a hurry already. That’s the problem with your lot upstairs, they never figured out how to kick back and just have some blessed fun.”

Aziraphale scoffed nervously, unable to look away from Crowley’s eyes. He could no longer remember how it might be to find the slitted snake’s pupils threatening instead of unbelievably dear, but he tried to imagine feeling unsettled by the unblinking predator’s focus of them. “And you’re looking to try to teach me, is that it? You do think highly of yourself.”

“Oh, angel, there will be no ‘trying’ about it,” Crowley practically purred, and now Aziraphale could look away from his eyes because his mouth was curved in a smile and slightly open and so close and…

Crowley kissed him, surprisingly chastely at first, gently parting Aziraphale’s lips with his own and making a satisfied sound in his nose when Aziraphale’s eyes fluttered closed and his head seemed to tilt into the touch as if by its own accord. It was warm and soft and slow, small tantalizing tastes of Crowley’s mouth being offered and then almost coyly withdrawn again before he could have his fill. Forgetting his own resolution to remain wary Aziraphale moaned when Crowley broke the innocence of the gesture by swiping his tongue along Aziraphale’s bottom lip, licking into his mouth with dirty-minded deftness that would have made his knees grow weak if he’d been standing upright — and then Crowley chuckled at Aziraphale’s blurted protest when he broke away again abruptly.

Aziraphale gulped and tried to catch his breath while Crowley contemplated him smugly.

“See?” Crowley said. “We’re making great progress already. I’m surprised you haven’t used the ‘but it’s a sin’ line yet, by the way. Seems like something we should get out of the way early on.” 

“It is only a sin if it’s performed with the wrong motivations,” Aziraphale declared stiffly. “Real love is never sinful, whether its expression is purely spiritual or, or more, ah, directly physical.” 

Crowley nodded sagely. “Yeah, I see your point. Only a sin if you do it with some kind of ulterior motive in mind. Selfishly. Like entering into it only to get something for yourself.” 

Aziraphale gave him a flat, unimpressed look that only made Crowley’s grin grow wider.

“Fair enough, whatever helps you sleep at night. I want this,” Crowley said, tugging on the lapel of Aziraphale’s coat, “off. All of it.”

It took Aziraphale’s wildly spinning mind a moment to catch on — it had been a good kiss. “The clothes? All of it? Is that strictly necessary, I mean — I don’t believe all of it needs to go for the required, um, access — ”

“Well, you need my help, and I want you naked,” Crowley said evenly, his other hand still resting on Aziraphale’s thigh, heavy and seemingly hot as a brand even through the fabric. “Or did you change your mind about all that celestial paperwork? I know I can hear it piling up on your desk from here,” he added with an exaggerated shudder, running his fingers teasingly up Aziraphale’s side in small tickling jumps. 

Aziraphale remembered Gabriel’s long-standing insistence on getting all paperwork in triplicate and gave a completely genuine groan. “You — no.” 

Crowley lifted his eyebrows in blithe anticipation. 

“Fine, fine, if you must,” Aziraphale said, then jerked as he felt the brief spark of a demonic miracle and the surface of the table was suddenly very cold against the bare skin of his backside. He spluttered and meant to steady himself but the chains didn’t have enough give; he had to let Crowley wrap a steadying arm around his waist to keep him from toppling inelegantly to the side.

They’d been making love for nearly a decade now and Aziraphale had never felt bashful about being naked with Crowley even the first time — it was one of the stranger taboos of humankind that Aziraphale had never seen the need to adopt beyond what was necessary to avoid committing some unforgivable faux pas in whatever was considered polite society at any given time, it was never rooted in shame — but it was somehow something else like this, laid bare and sprawled on the table, powerless to hide while Crowley loomed over him still wearing all his questionable if undeniably rakish clothes. 

 

“Wait, wait — that was what that whole look was about back then? I thought you were just being unwarrantedly snippy about my fashion choices, considering yours had just landed you smack dab in the middle of a death sentence!”

“Well,” Aziraphale said, mock-primly in the face of Crowley’s glee. “There was nothing stopping me from doing both. I can multitask, my dear.”

He pursed his lips against a smile as Crowley gave a bark of laughter and pressed his face into the curve of Aziraphale’s neck, then gave it up and merely turned his head to nose at Crowley’s hair as he grinned. 

 

Aziraphale furtively tried to close his legs a little and Crowley only smirked, laying one hand on his knee and effortlessly pulling them more open than they had been in the first place. His touch lingered there, then slid all the way up Aziraphale’s thigh in an appreciative caress, squeezing at the end and making him jump. 

“Nice,” Crowley said approvingly, looking Aziraphale up and down. It felt oddly exhilarating, pretending that this was the first time Crowley regarded him like this, watching his eyes as they swept across his body and seemed to like what they found.

Crowley ran his hands up and down his naked sides, his thumb seeking out a nipple and rubbing circles over and around it. Aziraphale shuddered and tried to imagine what it might feel like to not know for certain that he wanted the touch, that it would be good, as it always was with Crowley. He edged away as if in hesitation, but Crowley only followed him, not breaking contact and oh, that was a bit of a thrill. 

“So nice,” Crowley murmured, wrapping an arm around Aziraphale’s body so he could fondle him to his heart’s content while pressing open-mouthed kisses to Aziraphale’s neck and shoulders. His clothes felt rough and strange against Aziraphale’s naked skin, inexplicably exciting in a way that made his dick, already half-hard simply from Crowley’s lingering gaze, grow harder still. 

Aziraphale grabbed the edge of Crowley’s coat and turned wide, hopefully convincingly guileless eyes on him as he pulled. “I’m sorry, I don’t know the usual protocol for this — will you also be…”

Crowley made a thoughtful sound and tilted his head to one side as if considering, then said: “No, I don’t think so.”   

Instead he let his hand drift down to the fastenings of his own trousers and leisurely, like he was putting on a show, undid them. 

“Oh, honestly,” Aziraphale muttered and refused to look, as if on principle and also as if he hadn’t seen Crowley in pretty much every state of dress or undress imaginable at this point. (On a few special occasions there had even been lingerie involved that could conceivably be argued to count as both, either and neither, possibly all at once.) 

When he was no longer able to resist Aziraphale let his eyes wander to Crowley’s crotch and then earnestly pretended to blush as he glanced away again. “I see someone didn’t bother with — with modesty when they picked out a body today.”

“One of the perks of being on the bad guy side, angel,” Crowley said cheerfully, lazily stroking his, in all fairness, quite spectacular cock — Aziraphale felt a curl of expectant excitement deep in his chest. “I’ve never been bothered with modesty in my entire life.”

Aziraphale could feel himself already prepared, a certain telltale sensation of slick openness between his thighs, the weight of arousal heavy there. 

They would forgo the part where Crowley opened him up with his fingers, then. Aziraphale felt a distant flash of disappointment; Crowley had such beautiful hands, and he would have enjoyed the feeling of being breached a little at a time, forced open in increments. He had always appreciated the leisurely deliberateness of the act, as an end in itself as much as when it was a step towards something more elaborate. Perhaps if they did something like this again he would make a point of asking Crowley to dwell on that part in particular — and there was something undeniably irresistible about the idea of Crowley entering him all at once, without preamble or preparation, especially within the pretence that he was doing so for the first time. 

Positioning himself between Aziraphale’s legs and guiding his hips to the right angle Crowley let his cock press against Aziraphale’s opening, waiting there until Aziraphale glanced up to meet his eyes.

“Are you ready for it?”

After a moment Aziraphale gave a jerk of his head that could be construed as a nod. 

Crowley smiled with silky menace and tightened his fingers on Aziraphale’s thigh; Aziraphale could feel the head of his dick slide against him, hot and slick at the tip, so close to where he needed it. His own erection was now nearly painful. “I want to hear you say it. Just tell me ‘yes’, angel.” 

Aziraphale swallowed heavily, fighting the urge to spread his thighs wider or wind his legs around Crowley’s hips to draw him in without further words. Of course he would never have done something like that back then, when the thoughts of how gentle Crowley’s hands might be on his hips had been only the occasional wistful wondering daydream rather than a hoard of treasured memories. 

“I — yes. Do it,” he said, gaze fixed on the wall over Crowley’s shoulder, and then his eyes fell shut and he let out a soft gasp of “Ah!” as Crowley wrapped a strong arm around his back to keep him steady and pushed inside.

“Yesss,” Crowley hissed as he leaned his forehead against Aziraphale’s shoulder, and Aziraphale gave another gasp at the way he shifted minutely inside him, sinking deeper with a moan. 

“Wait,” Aziraphale whimpered, playing at wincing away. “Wait, stop, it’s too big, I can’t — ” 

Crowley actually gave a snort at that, breaking character to look at Aziraphale with fond warmth crinkling his eyes, and Aziraphale shrugged because yes, very well, that might be laying it on a little thick, but he was enjoying himself tremendously.

“Really?” Crowley said, laughter barely suppressed in his voice as he absentmindedly stroked Aziraphale’s hip with his hand.

“It would be overwhelming the first time, out of the blue like that,” Aziraphale argued, laughing a bit himself and squeezing Crowley’s hips with his knees. “Come on, play along a little.” 

He rolled his hips and lifted his eyebrows invitingly, and Crowley cleared his throat and got into it again.

“I bet you say that to all the demons,” he said, pushing in further as the hand on Aziraphale’s hip tightened. “Flatterer. You already know you can take it.” 

Aziraphale shook his head frantically and made a broken sound as Crowley bottomed out. Oh, he felt so good. “I’ve never — never — I wouldn’t…”

“Could have fooled me,” Crowley drawled, grinding his hips against him. “It didn’t feel like I had to do an awful lot of convincing here, to be honest with you.”  

“You told me — you told me you’d only help me if — o-oh…

Crowley had cupped Aziraphale’s face in his free hand and kissed him; the taste of his mouth was so cherished and familiar that Aziraphale’s eyes slid shut of their own accord, his lips parting eagerly for a brief touch of tongue. An urgent, hungry sound emerged from his throat as he tilted his head to get more, closer.  

Without thinking Aziraphale lifted his arms to wrap around Crowley’s shoulders, letting out a gasp of surprise when the chains jerked his hands to a stop well before they could get there. They both paused. 

Crowley pulled back just enough so that their mouths weren’t touching anymore, his breath against Aziraphale’s lips. “Mhm,” he said, with an impressive depth of sarcastic sympathy that still held something tender beneath it. “Really twisted your arm, didn’t I. No one could blame you for giving in so quickly. Or so deliciously.” 

Aziraphale looked away from the sardonic knowing in his eyes even as Crowley rained small half-mocking kisses over his cheek and jaw and the corner of his mouth as if in a parody of his usual tenderness, out of breath and surely flushing all over. Crowley felt thick and hot and wonderful inside him, keeping him open and aching with wanting more.

“You feel just as good as I knew you would,” Crowley said against his cheek, low and rough, giving a shallow thrust and humming in approval while Aziraphale yelped. “Tight and soft and perfect, like you were made only for me. You know what, I believe you. Bet no one else has ever had you like this before. Bet I really am the first to know what you sound like with a cock in y — ”

Aziraphale whimpered and tilted his hips up for more, forgetting to play at inexperience for a moment in the blinding thrill of how good it felt.

Crowley laughed. “Eager. Oh, I like that.”

“No!” Aziraphale protested immediately, pretending to try to pull back and grunting in satisfaction when Crowley put more weight on him to pin him to the table.

(There had been considerable trial and error involved in figuring out the ideal height of the table and length of the chains, and Aziraphale couldn’t help but be grateful to their past selves for making this as comfortable and practical as being thoroughly debauched on a piece of furniture not strictly intended for the purpose ever could be. As research went it had been quite rewarding, if hard on the buttocks and Crowley’s knees.)

“Hush now,” Crowley said, but he slipped out of his teasing tone into something rawer and more honest. “You don’t have to pretend to fight it, you’re safe, no one’s going to know. There’s just the two of us here. It’ll be our little secret. I won’t tell anyone.”   

Aziraphale whimpered, the words hitting him harder than he would have expected. Crowley seemed to pick up on it and started thrusting into him more roughly, taking him harder and more insistently against the table, like a quiet demand that Aziraphale should feel everything Crowley was doing to him. It was spine-meltingly good, just lying back and taking whatever Crowley would give him, having to trust him to keep them steady and balanced. Aziraphale bit his own lip to stop at least some of the embarrassing sounds spilling from his mouth and gazed up at Crowley through half-lidded eyes, briefly wishing his hands were free and that Crowley was naked too so he could trail his fingers over his bare chest and touch his face, but on the other hand Crowley’s clothes felt satisfyingly coarse rubbing against the inside of his thighs and brushing against his front, leaving pinkened patches of skin wherever they pressed together. 

It was better than it ever could have been if it really had been the first time, of course — Crowley knew every inch of Aziraphale’s human shape by now, had spent years exploring and pressing reverent kisses to every part of it, could take him apart so very easily with only his touch and his voice and his care. He knew exactly what angles to take to make him shout, where to pull away to draw it out. There was the patience and careful consideration of love in every movement under the harshness. You didn’t need to be an angel to feel it. 

“Oh,” Aziraphale said as Crowley changed the position of their hips with keen-eyed deliberateness until he hit the right spot, “oh, what, how, that feels — ”

Crowley bit down on a grin and drove into him again and again at that sublime angle, watching Aziraphale’s face hungrily as he sobbed out loud and let his thighs fall all the way open, pleasure radiating through him in devastating waves every time Crowley brushed against the right spot inside. 

“I hate to bring it up, but you seem to be enjoying this a little more than what would be considered strictly angelic, my friend,” Crowley husked, touching Aziraphale’s painfully hard erection with infuriating lightness — the wonderful bastard had barely even allowed himself to break a sweat yet. Aziraphale gave a sound as if in mortification and turned his face away, but there was nowhere to truly hide. Crowley wrapped his hand around the shaft properly and stroked up and down a couple of times. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. What would the rest of the heavenly horde say if they knew.” 

“Oh God,” Aziraphale said thinly, and Crowley chuckled and gave a twist of his wrist. 

“Taking the Name in vain as well, are we? What if the Almighty answers the call for once? Is this really a position you’d like to be found in?” 

He punctuated the question with a sharp shove of his hips, making Aziraphale’s head fall back as he moaned.

“Not that the view is anything to complain about. There you go, just like that,” Crowley muttered, leaning down to suck a kiss into the bared line of his throat, lips dwelling on sweat-slicked skin. “Just let it be good.”

Aziraphale clenched down involuntarily around him; Crowley’s voice had drifted into the softer, warmer timbre it took on when they were making love normally, and it pulled on Aziraphale’s heart as inescapably as a magnetic pole, sending a desperate yearning to be even closer through his body. “I — ” 

“Do you like this?” Crowley whispered, touching him and fucking him in a rhythm that had changed from the rough insistence of before into something deep and slow and beautifully inescapable. “Tell me how you want it. Tell me how to make you feel good. I want you to remember this forever, to feel empty without me inside you from now on.”

Crowley,” Aziraphale whimpered before he could stop himself, arching his back with reckless abandon. 

“Maybe when I’m done with you here I’ll whisk you away to some nice quiet field somewhere and spread you out on the grass and have you all over again,” Crowley said, voice shifting again into a smooth slithering hiss against Aziraphale’s skin. “Just push your plump thighs open and sink back into you, fuck you deep until you’re hoarse from begging for more. Maybe from behind this time, I’d like to see you on your knees, offering yourself up for me.”

Aziraphale gave a gasp he played off as in shock and horror, to no great effect since he also drove himself down on Crowley as hard as his limited leverage would allow him. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts. “You — you wouldn’t! You promised that if I did this…” 

Crowley grinned a sharp hot grin and leaned down to bite — carefully, through the haze Aziraphale was vaguely disappointed it wouldn’t even leave a mark — at the spot where his neck met his shoulder. “Did I ever promise to let you go afterwards? I only said I’d get you safely out of here. Anyway, like you said, I’m a demon. Why would you expect me to keep my word in the first place?” 

“But — but I trusted…” Aziraphale broke himself off, biting his lip and feeling a true flush rise in his cheeks this time because he could hear the larger truth breaking in his own voice. He had trusted Crowley, even back then, if only in the secret spaces safely hidden in the quiet back rooms of his mind, where he kept the things no one should ever see. Admitting it out loud seemed somehow more private than anything else they’d done tonight.

A moment’s hesitation after that, Crowley pausing. His hair had started to come undone from the braid, tangling freely around his face, and Aziraphale desperately wished his hands were free so he could brush it behind his ears.

Crowley touched the corner of Aziraphale’s mouth with his thumb, swallowing when Aziraphale let it slip between his lips and sucked lightly on it. 

“Everything alright?” he asked when Crowley pulled his hand back so he could cup Aziraphale’s cheek instead. “You can keep going, if you’d like. You’re doing brilliantly.”

“I — yeah,” Crowley said, looking dazed, then leaned to press his mouth to Aziraphale’s again, a warm sweet slide of lips against lips. Aziraphale’s hands drifted to rest on Crowley’s chest, right over the heart, the chains having exactly enough give for that, at least. “Yeah, I want to. Just let me… mmm.”  

 

“I don’t actually want to hurt you, though,” Crowley said finally, showing real hesitation for the first time. “Not — not even if it’s just pretending.” 

Aziraphale blinked, then cradled Crowley’s face between his palms, gently stroking his cheekbone with his thumb when Crowley’s mouth pulled down on one side in his particular expression of mingled vulnerability, light embarrassment and pleasure at the caress. “Of course not,” he said. “I wouldn’t want that, and more importantly I wouldn’t ask it of you. Feel free to tell me no at any point if this is too — ” 

“No, no,” Crowley hurried to say, putting his hand over Aziraphale’s on his face as if to stop him from moving away. “No, I’d like to try it, don’t get me wrong. Sounds interesting. Just… so we have some ground rules, right? I don’t want to hurt you, I don’t want to feel like I’m making you do something truly against your will, and I don’t want to feel like you really don’t actually want m… um.” 

He trailed off, looking unsure. 

“Done, done and done,” Aziraphale said immediately, and Crowley shoulders relaxed again at once. “We’ll talk everything over beforehand, and we could stop at any time if something feels wrong. Or change it up, if you prefer,” he added. “We usually manage to figure things out between us eventually, with a few stumbles allowed for; I’m sure this is no different.”

Crowley huffed a laugh and leaned in to kiss him, smiling against his mouth. “Well. When you put it like that.” 

 

When Aziraphale’s mouth felt full and faintly stinging with kisses Crowley pulled away again, his eyes unfocused in the half-light of the cell.

“Okay, uh, where was I,” Crowley said, shifting his grip on Aziraphale’s hip and giving a wicked, unexpected roll of his hips that made Aziraphale shiver.

“You — you were promising to spirit away with me afterwards?” he said hopefully.

“Right,” Crowley said, brightening and then sliding back into character. “Oh, don’t look so worried, I’ll make it nice for you.”

Aziraphale’s breath caught in his throat as Crowley started thrusting into him again, almost willing his hands free so he could reach down and feel where they were joined, where Crowley moved inside of him. The Almighty must have had a very strange but inspired afternoon when She came up with this, he mused, not for the first time.

Crowley continued: “I’ll get some good food, a nice soft bed, bring you whatever books you want. Suck you off as often as you want and lick you hard again afterwards, let you fuck my mouth, let you have a go at doing me like this, if you’d like — keep you so slick and open with my cock that I could just slide into you any time you asked for it and make you scream my name into the pillow while I take you.”

In real life Crowley had a slight preference for being on the receiving end when they engaged in this specific sort of, hm, congress, and Aziraphale enjoyed it so much partly because it was one of the few ways Crowley would let him take care of him without as much as a token protest, but as he clenched down on Crowley’s hard length inside him and whimpered he had to admit that the thoroughly indecent picture Crowley was currently painting for him held a very great appeal as well. 

“I’d make it so good, I promise,” Crowley whispered, close against his ear, entreating now, breathtakingly gentle, fingers running through his hair, “good enough that you wouldn’t even want to go back to Heaven, you’d just — you’d stay with me.” 

Aziraphale tried to blink the hot feverish lust away for a moment, surprised rather than displeased at the definite change in tone of the proceedings. “I… stay? In — in Hell?”

Crowley’s hips faltered, a stutter in rhythm and depth that made Aziraphale groan out loud. 

“No,” Crowley said finally, quiet, soft. “No, not in Hell.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale breathed, stunned by the strange and tender alchemy of a moment shared, changing between them into something entirely different than what he had imagined at the outset. Something better, because there was an answering truth in Crowley’s eyes to what Aziraphale had revealed before; if Aziraphale had been in a place where he could answer Crowley would have asked him in a heartbeat, even back then.

Well, Aziraphale could answer now. 

 “I — certainly, then. Of course.”

Crowley pulled back to stare at him with wide eyes, looking — open, vulnerable, hopeful, his hair in disarray and the gold of his irises filling his entire eyes, so perfectly himself that Aziraphale almost went over the edge right then and there.

“Crowley,” he said, wrapping his hand a couple of times around the chain so he could use it to pull himself up far enough to slide their lips together, suddenly sure he would expire — or at least inconveniently take leave of this earthly form — on the spot if he couldn’t taste the small helpless sounds coming out of Crowley’s mouth right this instant. “Crowley, yes. Of course. Always.”

With a breathless sigh that Aziraphale hungrily swallowed Crowley wound both his arms around him and held him close against him, a shudder moving through him — his thrusts were necessarily shallower at this angle but still so perfect, and… 

“I — I think I’m about to — please, don’t stop,” Aziraphale pleaded, the familiar wave of pleasure building in his stomach, aching for the moment it could crest and break and roll through the rest of his body. Crowley gave a sharp inhale and pushed into him with more force, groaning like he was dying when Aziraphale finally cried his name and came around him. 

When he could open his eyes again afterwards he was aware that he was smiling, and that Crowley was carefully lowering him to lie back down on the table, one hand protectively cupped at the back of his head as he did. He beatifically tried to reach up to touch Crowley’s face, then frowned in puzzlement as his hand stopped half-way. Crowley gave a little laugh that verged on the hysterical and leaned their foreheads together, hands braced on the table to keep his balance. 

“Can I… is it okay if I, uh,” Crowley asked, sounding shaken, and once Aziraphale stopped squinting uncomprehendingly down at the manacles and remembered where he was he exclaimed: “Oh, yes! I’m sorry, of course, please, go ahead,” letting his thighs come up to bracket Crowley’s hips and managing to fist his hands into his coat to pull him in. 

With a sound that somehow combined relief, blind affection and true agony Crowley ran his hand reverently down Aziraphale’s side and started moving again, nothing at all sharp about his movements anymore, only a soft needy rocking of his hips deep inside him as he sighed and gasped and whispered breathless half-formed endearments into Aziraphale’s hair.

“Angel,” Crowley murmured, entirely unguarded now as he hid his face in the curve of Aziraphale’s neck and pressed desperate kisses into the skin there, “angel, Aziraphale — ” 

Yes,” Aziraphale said, giving up on the pretence and letting the chains fall away so he could gather Crowley up in his arms, winding his legs tightly around his hips to draw him even closer, “come on, please, you’re so wonderful, I love you — ”

Crowley gave an almost hurt sound and thrust deep, deep, sobbing out his pleasure against Aziraphale’s shoulder as he came. 

For a while the only sound was their harsh breathing between the stone walls; then Aziraphale kissed the top of Crowley’s head and grunted as he made a small gesture with his hand and miracled the illusion of the prison cell back into their bedroom, both of them landing softly and safely among the unruly sheets of their bed but rolling apart with the impact. 

“Ooof,” Crowley said eventually, as if in afterthought, rubbing his face against the covers.

With another gesture Aziraphale got them both cleaned up and banished Crowley’s clothes in one fell swoop.  

Then he just lay on his back a while, smiling dreamily up at the ceiling and basking in, in no particular order, contentment, the sound of Crowley’s breath settling down, and the late afternoon sunlight streaming in through the windows. Finally he chuckled and glanced over at Crowley, who was still lying face down on the bed next to him with reckless lackadaisical abandon, or perhaps just exhaustion. Aziraphale reached out to stroke one bony shoulder blade. “you really are the sweetest thing in the world, my dear.” 

“Yeah, yeah, rub it in,” Crowley muttered, moving minutely into the touch with a happy sound. “Mmm. That’s nice.” 

“It is only the truth. Are you okay?” 

“Yeah. It was good. Sorry,” Crowley said, feebly patting the sheets until his hand landed on the soft swell of Aziraphale’s stomach and could rest there. “Sorry I went a bit off script towards the end there. Got carried away.” 

“Sssh, you have nothing to apologize for,” Aziraphale assured him, gathering him up in his arms again and nuzzling at the top of his head when he slithered closer and burrowed in against him. “That was delightful.”

“Even though…?” 

Because of it. It was better than anything I could have imagined on my own, thank you.” 

Crowley made an almost bashful sound and turned his head to the side so that Aziraphale could see the tattoo at his temple and the flush of pink on his cheek. He looked dangerously lovely like this, lanky and unprotected and seeking out contact anywhere he could get it. Aziraphale protectively cupped the back of his head in his hand, stroking his hair, untangling what remained of the braid with careful fingers.

“I’ve missed you keeping your hair long,” Aziraphale said absently, combing away the last of the tangles and brushing a few stray strands away from Crowley’s face. “It’s always so fetching.”

“Mmnhmg,” Crowley said, his lips twitching.

They lay for a while in companionable silence. Through an open window somewhere came the sounds of birds chirping in the garden outside the cottage. 

“It was an impressive pitch at the end, by the way,” Aziraphale said finally, still playing with Crowley’s hair. “I almost wish you’d made it back then.” 

Crowley didn’t open his eyes. “It wouldn’t have worked.” 

“No,” Aziraphale agreed, kissing his temple in apology. “No, I suppose not. It really ought to have, though, if I’d had even an ounce of sense.”

He thought he saw the flush in Crowley’s cheek grow even deeper and smiled, nosing at his hair. 

“If either of us ever had any goddamn sense we wouldn’t be here,” Crowley muttered, tightening the arm he had slung over Aziraphale’s waist. 

“Probably true,” Aziraphale admitted. “Thank goodness we have always steadfastly remained completely useless, hm?”

 He felt Crowley’s smile against his skin.

“That really was wonderful, though. Thank you for humouring me.”

“Oh yes, it was a real ordeal,” Crowley drawled. “I was just… lying back thinking of Gehenna the whole ti — hey!”

Aziraphale, who had just unabashedly pinched his buttock, looked innocent in the way only an angel can aspire to as he brushed his fingers over that same spot. “Hm? Something on your mind?”

“My revenge will be swift and merciless,” Crowley warned him genially and threw one leg over his hip, snuggling in. “After you’ve let down your guard, when you least expect it.” 

“Dear Lord. I’ll have to look forward to it,” Aziraphale said, feeling the telltale relaxation of Crowley’s limbs that meant he was about to fall asleep. Aziraphale still couldn’t quite see the attraction of the concept himself — and if he couldn’t grasp it with Crowley, indisputably a master of the art, as his guru, there was likely no hope for him in that particular quarter — but he rather treasured the sensation of Crowley growing heavy and warm and thoughtlessly, heartwarmingly trusting in his arms, so he tended to lie there with him for a good long while before briefly going away to fetch a snack or something to read for the duration. It was a reassuring, homely sort of ritual.

When he was sure Crowley was far enough gone that it wouldn’t wake him Aziraphale pressed a soft, lingering kiss to the black snaking lines of the tattoo and let wonder overtake him as he watched Crowley’s face grown open and untroubled with sleep. 

 

“I did it because I missed you,” Aziraphale said suddenly in the silence of the bedroom, a fragile confession in the morning light. It felt dishonest, offering up only the fantasy he’d constructed and not the truth that went along with it. Crowley made an inquisitive sound next to him on the bed, glancing up from where he lay slumped among the pillows. “Going to Paris that time, it was because I missed you. I wanted to see you, and I didn’t know how else to ask. You always seemed to turn up when I needed you, so I thought that if I arranged things so that…”

Crowley’s fingers stopped for a second where they were stroking idly back and forth over his bare shoulder, then continued. He turned his face to brush a kiss to Aziraphale’s temple. “I know. I know. I knew. Don’t worry about it.”

“But how could you know?” Aziraphale said miserably, sitting up properly to look at him. “I — I always made sure I could safely pull away and deny it was ever true and… and so leave you alone with it all once again. I love you, I loved you; I should never have made you feel unwanted only for the sake of my own comfort and cowardi — ”

“Hey, hey, hey,” Crowley broke him off, sitting up too to stroke the edge of his jaw with a thumb and using the touch to turn his face towards him. “There’s nothing cowardly about being careful with important things. Never figured out how to do caution myself, thank G — goodness you bring some to the table or we’d probably both be dead by now. Properly dead, I mean, not just inconveniently out of a body for a time.”

Aziraphale remembered the hundreds, thousands of individual stabs of realizing as if anew how precarious their situation truly was, the things Hell might do to Crowley if they ever found out — the things Heaven would do, and that they’d be worse.

That note in the park, all his worst fears gathering at once inside him like a terrible army, this haunting idea that Heaven and Hell might not even be the totality of reasons to be afraid for him. It had seemed so much more bearable back then to only ever be allowed to have a little of him, to be contented with the small glimpses he could steal without putting them both at undue risk, if the alternative was that some day there might be nothing at all. 

He reached out and stroked Crowley’s eyebrow with a thumb, sighing as he pulled himself away from the past and the fear.

“Hopefully we’ll learn how to meet in the middle at some point. I’m sorry it was slow going there, for a long while.” 

“Worth the wait, every second of it,” Crowley said, so easily and so certain that Aziraphale had to lean his forehead against his shoulder and close his eyes for a few moments.   

Eventually he said: “You knew,” half an unasked question and half to remind himself to trust it. Crowley wouldn’t lie to him.

“You had just gone to some truly elaborate lengths just to ask me to lunch,” Crowley pointed out. “Give me a little credit here. ‘Too many frivolous miracles’? It was kind of flattering, in a roundabout sort of way. I bet you don’t go around almost getting your mortal vessel beheaded for just any passing paramour.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Aziraphale said, putting his hand over Crowley’s heart, this curious organic machinery that anchored him to Earth, singing out its steady rhythm under Aziraphale’s palm. “There has only ever been you. It was always you.”

Crowley, because he really was adorable sometimes, blushed at that right up to his hairline. When his brain seemed to have been restored to an order that allowed for speech he licked his lip, the corner of his mouth lifting. “So… I’m supposed to believe the crepes never actually factored into it at all, then?”

“Well,” Aziraphale said, briefly affecting evasiveness. “As I said, I can multitask.” Crowley laughed, his nose wrinkling, and Aziraphale went back to being honest. “But I admit seeing you came first. The food was merely a welcome bonus and an excuse. Even the crepes.” 

“Be still, my beating heart,” Crowley said, the sarcasm not touching the happy light in his eyes. “Relegating confectioneries to second place — that might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, angel.”

“I will have to work on that, then,” Aziraphale said, brushing his thumb over his chest. “I am thinking nicer things about you than that at any given moment.”

Crowley made a strangled sound of half-protest in his nose and slumped against Aziraphale like a marionette with its strings cut. He let Aziraphale wrap him up in his arms and kiss his hair, settling against him with touching immediacy.

“When do you want to do this thing, by the way?” Crowley asked eventually. “I’m game pretty much any time. Just give me a heads up so we can figure out the clothes, I can’t quite remember the cut of the coat.”

“There’s no haste. We should probably iron out some, hm, likely logistical challenges first. I foresee some awkwardness with the chains, unless we take steps to avoid it.”

“I get to tie you up more than once? Count me in, angel.”  

Aziraphale chuckled, sliding his foot along Crowley’s shin. “I’m glad to hear it. Is there anything you would like to try, my dear? I would hate to monopolize all our creative efforts.”

“Hey, I’m not complaining about what we are doing,” Crowley said, gesturing airily. “Consider me a happy demon.”

“Those are not the same thing,” Aziraphale pointed out gently. “You can be happy with what we have and still want more.”

“Oh.” After a long moment of silence Crowley ventured: “I guess I’ve been thinking… maybe out in the garden, at night? When the stars are out? And — making it last. Like that time last month when you did me for hours.”

He sounded slightly embarrassed and yet dogged, like he was determined to get it out.

“That was nice, wasn’t it,” Aziraphale agreed, remembering the sound Crowley had made when he’d slowly and deliberately pulled his hair and kissed his neck while he fucked him. It never stopped making him giddy, the way Crowley would respond to his touch by letting go into it, giving himself over like he expected to be caught before he fell.     

Crowley pulled in a slightly shaky breath. He was always brave in a way Aziraphale couldn’t quite fathom but admired deeply anyway. “Yeah. I like it when you. When you make it feel like you’d go on forever if I asked.” 

Aziraphale hummed in acknowledgement. He thought about the way Crowley would go pliant under him, soft-mouthed and clinging and sweetly needy, every line of him tentatively begging to be loved as if he still didn’t know on some level if he was allowed to ask. “I very possibly might, given half a chance.”

“Hng,” Crowley said, clearly reaching the end of his rope, but he sounded happy.   

“Anything you want and however long you need,” Aziraphale promised him, stunned, still, that he was free to do so, that he could finally give all of himself without reservation, without compromise. He smiled, finding Crowley’s hand with his own and letting him twine their fingers together.