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Basking

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Crowley perched moodily on an overpass, his huge wings half-mantled for balance. He wasn’t sulking, he wasn’t lurking, he was brooding, and that was different. Well, he wasn’t brooding like a bird did, there were no eggs, it was more that he was brooding like a teenager, but that wasn’t much more complimentary to imagine actually, so he left off brooding and slid sideways into sulking, which had probably been inevitable anyway. 

He wasn’t… upset… at anyone, but. Well, he had a lot to sort out, and it wasn’t going well.

It wasn’t that things weren’t going well. The reprieve from the terrors of Hell was going just swimmingly. He was free now to live the sort of life that any celestial being too long-accustomed to human ways would want to, if left in perfect freedom, and that was… proving somewhat hard to define.

He hadn’t really understood how reliant he was on the dynamic he and Aziraphale had set up, where he offered things and Aziraphale turned them down, and it was an unceasing agonizing pain on the edge of pleasure, that constant tantalizing torture of what-if, and so on.

Nowadays, everything he offered, Aziraphale generally happily accepted, or accepted with only minor quibbles, and it ought to have been paradise. Well, it had been Paradise, more or less, at first. 

But the problem with being a celestial being was that one had all this brainpower going spare, and also this enormous weight of history, and six thousand years’ habit-- with of course a near-eternal stretch beforehand, before Time began-- of being a tortured demonic soul craving mercy had rather worn some grooves into his psyche. He couldn’t just-- accept that things were all right, and that they’d probably continue to work out, and that he should just trust to things to continue to go well. 

(He was as always perfectly aware that things turning out perfectly well were not in any way affected by how hard he worked for them, but that didn’t mean he could stop working either.)

It was quite a fantastic sulk he’d worked himself up into, trying to work out precisely what it was that was likely to come crashing down into disaster next. It was all focused around one single conversation, but with backup support built on innumerable other factors. 

“Well,” Aziraphale had said cheerily, giving Crowley one of those sidelong up-and-down looks that had always made him feel so funny right in the middle of what in this form was his chest, “it turns out, I’m an expert at all kinds of love.” 

There’d been that curious emphasis, see, on both all  and kinds , and it was giving Crowley a great deal of agitation to puzzle over what, precisely, the angel had meant. All… kinds… of love. He couldn’t mean… could he?

In order to swap bodies before their respective reckonings with their former employers, they’d had to mingle their essences in a way that was generally what those of angelic stock understood to be making love. And it had been wonderful; among the most profound experiences of Crowley’s life. They… understood one another, without impediment of membrane, joint, or limb, yadda yadda (Crowley wasn't sure who had given Milton that information, as it absolutely had not been him and Aziraphale had been cagey about it, but it was reasonably accurate, it turned out) -- it was really fantastic, really profound, really mind-blowing. And Crowley had been looking forward to maybe doing that again, without ulterior motive; it wasn’t the sort of thing celestial beings got up to very much, but it was perfectly respectable, and something he’d personally not done since, well, he didn’t know if he’d ever done it before the Fall, but. At any rate, it had been marvelous and rare and-- well, clearly wasn’t entirely what Aziraphale was referring to, when he said all kinds of love. It certainly was nothing like corporeal sex.

They’d been discussing, in a roundabout way, a bit of… the nature of their relationship, perhaps. Mostly reveling, indirectly and delicately, in the understanding that there was no longer any reason to pretend not to know one another, and what that really meant. They’d been easing their way into that, coming to understand what it meant to no longer have to pretend not to know one another, pretend not to enjoy one another’s company. It had been lovely; Aziraphale had never really spent any time in Crowley’s flat before, had only ever stopped by briefly, but now he could sit on the couch and goggle at the sculptures and make sweet noises at the plants.

(Crowley was mildly insulted that the plants were even lusher for Aziraphale, and very badly did not want to let on what funny things it did in his innerward corporeal parts when Aziraphale spoke in praise to them. It was-- odd-- the way he felt strangely almost-angry when the angel told the houseplants they were beautiful, and it tipped over into real anger when they got even lusher for it, and he had begun to realize there was a lot more going on in that than some plants and he was most eager not to investigate it.)

It was actually because of the plants that he wasn’t doing his sulking safely in his flat, but was rather getting lightly spat on by the rain and causing a lot of unnerving rumors among the humans about some kind of outsized bird of prey crouching on a highway overpass. The plants were judging him, he thought, and rather than growing in fear of him, they were growing out of pity. 

He really couldn’t stand that.

Maybe that was the hardest thing of being able to finally just be in Aziraphale’s presence all the time: the angel ought by rights to be a wreck. He’d only just had the foundations of his faith ripped away, after all. Crowley had been a wreck for, well, time hadn’t really existed at that point, but a very long time. Now, of course, the angel hadn’t really fallen , per se, and so it must have been much less traumatic. But still, surely Aziraphale had been damaged by this? 

And there was no real evidence of it. By all appearances, Aziraphale had accepted the (probable, nothing was particularly official) loss of his rank in the Armies of Heaven with more or less a shrug. He was infuriatingly well-adjusted about it. 

Relative to that, Crowley hadn’t had to suffer at all for this; his experience had been unambiguously something to celebrate. And yet. He was the one who was falling apart over it. 

It was unfair. 

And what did Aziraphale mean by all kinds

 

His mobile phone rang. It was from his own landline phone number, which surely had to be Aziraphale, who had more or less a key to his flat now. He answered it with every intention of being grouchy, but instead all he said was, “Angel?”

Aziraphale laughed, that soft warm chuckle he let out sometimes, and said, “Crowley, dear, where are you? I went by your flat but you’re not there.”

“I’m out ,” Crowley said. 

“Well, I gathered that,” Aziraphale said. “Oh, am I meant to guess? Well, you’re clearly on this plane, if you’re answering your phone.” He sounded amused rather than sarcastic, and sometimes that was too much to take as well, the way the angel sometimes thought everything was just a delightful game for him to play at will. 

It was disgusting how well-adjusted that fucking angel was. 

“Of course I’m on this plane,” Crowley said. “What other plane would I manifest to on no notice for no reason?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Aziraphale said, “I’m quite fond of some of them, just for a visit now and then.”

Crowley heaved a deep sigh, and then dissolved himself through the phone, slung himself around a couple of cellphone towers, and came out the other end of the handset, taking form directly next to a rather startled-looking Aziraphale. Crowley still had his mobile in his hand, paradoxically enough, so he jabbed the touchscreen to make it hang up with a theatrical gesture and tossed his head, sneering, “What, angel?”

Aziraphale’s expression shifted over to delight, which was so bloody infectious Crowley couldn’t keep his sneer in place. With his infuriating delicate precision, Aziraphale hung up the handset and said, “Well, I hope I haven’t interrupted whatever you were doing, I just thought I’d pop by.”

“Finished your book?” Crowley asked, sliding his mobile into his pocket and shaking his wings out to fold them back in to their own little pocket dimension where they usually stayed. 

Aziraphale beamed. “I did,” he said. “Actually it was a series. It was delightful, shall I tell you the good bits?” He slid a look over at Crowley, and added slyly, “Or you could tell me about whatever you were doing with your wings out.”

That was unexpected, and Crowley was caught without a ready sneer to answer with. “Um,” he said, “flying, why do you ask?”

“You answer your mobile when you’re flying? Is that quite safe?” Aziraphale looked scandalized. 

“Well,” Crowley said, defensive, “I wasn’t-- flying at the moment, I was perching just then, I--” and then he caught up with his own defensiveness and said, “What do you mean, is that quite safe, I’m a demon, the laws of gravity don’t apply to me in the slightest if I don’t want them to!”

“Crowley,” Aziraphale said, by all appearances genuinely unhappy, “if you got discorporated, I’m not certain there would be anything I could do about it. I mean-- who is there now, who’d hand out new bodies to either of us?”

“Who’s saying anything about getting discorporated?” Crowley asked, bewildered. “I was lurking on an overpass, if you must know.”

“Oh, is the lurking, kind of, mandatory?” Aziraphale asked. “Like-- for your constitution? I shall have to keep that in mind and make sure you get enough lurking to stay healthy.” 

“For my constitution,” Crowley sneered. “Really.”

“Well,” Aziraphale said, “I mean-- listen, we’re on our own, we need to take care of one another.”

Crowley stared at him. “I-- that’s quite sweet actually, angel, but you don’t think-- has Heaven been taking care of you, all this time? Because I didn’t think--”

“Well, no,” Aziraphale conceded. “Not as such. Still!”

“Are you feeling at loose ends, a bit, angel?” Crowley asked. “Like there’s no safety harness on this tight rope anymore?” He perked up a little. Maybe Aziraphale wasn’t so obnoxiously well-adjusted as he seemed. 

“A bit,” Aziraphale admitted. “It’s-- well, it’s just, it’s liberating not to worry what they think, you know? But it’s also a little-- well, you know,” he said. 

Crowley grinned. “No,” he said honestly, shaking his head a little. “I truly don’t.”

Aziraphale pressed his lips together. “No, I suppose not,” he said. 

“Don’t worry,” Crowley said grandly, warming to the whole situation a little bit. He slung his arm around Aziraphale’s shoulders, greatly daring-- they had never been in the habit of much physical contact, but they’d been working up to it, and it was pleasant. His body was shockingly warm under Crowley’s arm, even through all the insulating layers of clothing. “I’m here for you, angel. I’m an expert on getting by without any help from Heaven, you know.”

Aziraphale gave him a dark look, but there was a glimmer of amusement in it. “That’s true,” he said, and let Crowley escort him over to the couch. They sat, slightly closer together than was their wont, and Aziraphale leaned in a little, Crowley knew he wasn’t imagining that. Almost like he wanted Crowley to put his arm back around his shoulders. 

Crowley hesitated, at that. That was-- that just seemed too intimate, yet. And it was dizzying, all this time spent trying to offer just enough but not too much, and getting slapped back every time, and suddenly the dynamic was changed but Crowley couldn’t trust it. He’d been slapped back too much to throw himself at Aziraphale any more. 

Maybe he could-- lean in, though. He settled himself with his shoulder touching Aziraphale’s, and the angel smiled brilliantly and relaxed against him as if he did this every day. “Oh, Crowley,” he said softly, sort of tenderly-- why was he being tender? It was dizzying; people weren’t tender with Crowley and he wasn’t sure what to do with it but his reflexive instinct to bristle wasn’t going to help him, he was sure. “You’re right, none of this is really new for you. Oh, I’m glad you’re my friend. You don’t know what a relief it is, not to be alone in a time like this.”

The thing about touching Aziraphale was that he was-- well, he was alive, was the thing, and he had both a corporeal body and a celestial selfhood, and so he not only had a pulse and warm blood, but he also had a burning sort of presence , it was impossible not to feel him profoundly even through their clothing. Crowley was suddenly suffused with a deep urge, from the part of his corporeal form that was most often a snake, to drape his snake form all over Aziraphale and be warmed by him. 

He hadn’t used the snake form much lately: England was rather too chilly and damp for it. He did have a wonderful electric blanket he sometimes indulged himself with, but he hadn’t done that in a while. How much more pleasant, though, to warm himself on flesh, blood, and angelic energy, instead of electrons wiggling in some wires. 

It would probably be rude to do without discussing it first, Crowley thought, and swallowed the urge back down. Oh, but with scales, instead of clothes, it would feel-- 

He pulled himself back to the present, to the lull in conversation, mentally rewound, and said, “Yes, it is--  nice. Not to be. Er. Alone.”

In his peripheral vision, Aziraphale smiled knowingly. “You were thinking of something else, for a moment there.”

“I might have been,” Crowley admitted. 

“Hm,” Aziraphale said, with an air of agreement. Crowley enjoyed that for a moment-- clearly, they were on some kind of harmonic wavelength here, that was good-- but then he paused to try to guess what on earth Aziraphale was agreeing with him about. The angel hadn’t had much experience with Crowley’s snake form, and so wasn’t likely to have been imagining being wrapped in fourteen feet or so of black and red scales. Which meant he was imagining something else , and now assumed that was what Crowley was thinking of too, and--

But he was an angel, surely, angels wouldn’t-- 

It’s not that Crowley didn’t know all about carnal sex, you see. Lust was one of his favorite sins, you could get people to do all sorts of things by figuring out what they wanted and a lot of times, what they wanted was sex, and that one was dead easy to manipulate people with. Crowley’d witnessed all kinds of sex acts, and had participated in a few of them, had instigated even more, and while some of it was fun, if you didn’t mind being alarmingly sticky, most of it was-- well, it was really the best way to hurt someone, to tangle them all up in lust. Sure, you could theoretically have sex for love, but Crowley had basically never witnessed that, and had certainly never experienced it. 

So while he was fairly certain that was one of the things Aziraphale had been implying with the eyebrow-waggle about all kinds of love, he couldn’t manage to reconcile it.

Celestial entities didn’t really experience lust that way, did they? Certainly not angels-- and even demons, Crowley rather thought, were sort of… he hesitated to say above that sort of thing, as there was precious little demons really were above, per se, but-- surely, though, an angel wouldn’t actually want to fuck, angels didn’t fuck. 

Crowley didn’t actually particularly want to fuck. He had done so, and he’d occasionally thought he ought to enjoy it more, but it had genuinely never done much for him-- he could do it, he could even get so far as to have corporeal orgasms, which were-- well, he could understand why people liked them but generally they weren’t worth the hassle and the weird hormonal surges and all the excessively corporeal stuff that it all entailed. 

So surely Aziraphale wasn’t--

But was he?

Oh, no, was he?

“Crowley, you’re thinking too hard,” Aziraphale said fondly. “What ever is the matter?”

“I, um,” Crowley said. 

“Don’t be so nervous,” Aziraphale said, and just like that, turned slightly and put his hand on Crowley’s face, and pulled him in and kissed him, on the mouth, with his mouth, their actual bodies’ mouths, which had actual saliva, it was-- it was-- it--

Aziraphale’s face was smooth, his skin soft and hot, his hand gentle but firm in its grip, and his mouth was-- tender but a little hungry, and he wasted no time, pushing his tongue against-- his tongue! against Crowley’s tongue! It was-- it was-- well it wasn’t actually unpleasant, it was actually a little bit exciting, but it was also alarming. He’d fucked before, for work, but he’d never really-- he hadn’t kissed, not like this. 

“It’s all right,” Aziraphale murmured. Close up, he was blurry, a wash of pink and pale gold and clear bluish hazel, a smile more to be felt than seen, and oh, the heat of him, the physical and celestial heat of him, it was dizzying. 

“Is it?” Crowley asked, bewildered. He had-- his mouth tasted like Aziraphale’s mouth, now, and it was-- well it was odd, because Aziraphale’s body’s saliva had a slightly different composition than Crowley’s and so it tasted strange. “I don’t-- that’s--”

Aziraphale pulled away another inch or two, giving him a soft and wondering look. “Crowley,” he said, “have you not-- done this before?”

“I--uhh-- well,” Crowley said, flustered. “Well not with you!”

Aziraphale laughed gently. “I mean, I knew that,” he said. “Have you not-- it’s one of my favorite kinds of love, Crowley, the silly physical nonsense humans get up to with their bodies.”

“Isn’t it a sin?” Crowley asked, feeling stupid. 

“It can be,” Aziraphale answered, “but much less often than humans think. Like anything sacred, it can be profaned, but if done with good intentions, Crowley, it’s really quite holy.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” Crowley said. “Oh fuck, are angel body fluids holy?” He put his hand to his mouth, recoiling slightly; was Aziraphale’s saliva going to melt him? But it would have, already, if it were going to. Still.

“No,” Aziraphale said, “don’t be silly, or we could just have wars by spitting on each other.”

“Or, er, something else,” Crowley said. “Still, if you-- what if you and I fucked and it was holy? Wouldn’t I die?”

“No, dear,” Aziraphale said. He took Crowley’s hands in his, and held them. “Nothing of me could hurt any of you.” He looked up into Crowley’s eyes, and it was almost searing, how earnest he was. “I wouldn’t allow it, Crowley.”

There were some snakes, it was said, that hypnotized their prey with their gaze. Crowley was not that kind of snake, and knew enough about other snakes to recognize that it was just rumor, it was more that the prey would be paralyzed with terror. But he thought, in that moment, that maybe there was some truth after all, in some of it. Maybe angels subdued their prey with hypnosis. Whatever it was, it made him close his eyes and lean in and kiss Aziraphale again, even though that was a corny line and shouldn’t have worked. 

And it wasn’t true; Aziraphale had hurt Crowley before and would hurt him again. Not physically, not corporeally, the days of that sort of hurt were probably past now,  but those sorts of hurts were trivial anyway. No, he could strike far more dangerous blows in other ways. 

Aziraphale pulled on Crowley’s hands, and tugged him to move over, and by the time Crowley really noticed what was going on, he was sitting in Aziraphale’s lap, astride him, facing him, their bodies pressed together-- it was shockingly intimate, and dizzyingly hot. Aziraphale had his arms around Crowley, one hand on his hip and the other between his shoulder blades where his wings weren’t, pulling him close. 

Crowley had his hands on Aziraphale’s shoulders. He’d quite lost his breath, and his shades were gone somewhere, and he was-- his heart was going like mad, and he was all riled up in ways he wasn’t accustomed to. Aziraphale smiled up at him when he pulled back, with an obnoxious mix of wonder and smugness. 

“Look at you,” Aziraphale said, fervent and breathless. “Beautiful.”

Beautiful was not the sort of word people often used on demons, and it made Crowley’s skin prickle up. “I don’t,” he said, flustered. “I don’t--”

“Hush, it’s all right, dear,” Aziraphale said. He sat back against the couch, and let his hands run down from Crowley’s waist to his thighs, resting gently on the tops of his thighs and then, still gently, sliding down them and then back up. His touch was light but it burned, somehow, straight through the fabric, and it didn’t hurt but it burned. “Take your time. Use your words.”

“I only,” Crowley said, “ah, I don’t-- I don’t know, I--”

He’d genuinely thought that celestial beings didn’t really experience carnal desire the way purely corporeal ones did. But Aziraphale’s desire was unmistakable, from the flush of his cheeks to the sparkle of his eyes, the knowing pressure of his hands even though they were gentle and respectful, the way his body was-- it was arguably not the same gross lust Crowley had encountered previously, but it wasn’t a whole lot different either. And his own reaction-- what was he doing? What was this?

“What is it, dear?” Aziraphale said, encouragingly. “Is there something you want?”

Crowley was so flustered he didn’t realize exactly what it was his body was doing until he’d completed the transformation, but in a moment he was in his snake form, curled in Aziraphale’s lap, parts of him twining right around most of Aziraphale in several loops. He realized what he’d done and hissed in dismayed embarrassment, pressing his face between Aziraphale’s chest and arm and the arm of the couch. 

“Sssshit,” he said, “that wassn’t what--”

“Oh my,” Aziraphale said, laughing, but it wasn’t a cruel laugh. “This is-- oh my, there’s a lot of you.”

“Ssssorry,” Crowley said, mortified. 

He’d actually had sex as a snake, a time or two-- there weren’t a lot of snakes his size around, but he’d met several over the millennia, and actually the most fulfilling sexual experience he’d ever had had been with an enormous female anaconda-type serpent who had been a little bit bullying but very reassuring, overall. She’d been disappointed to discover that they weren’t compatible species to actually reproduce, but it hadn’t stopped her from repeating the experience. He’d gone along with it fairly willingly and had, overall, found it pretty enjoyable, if slightly terrifying.

It was reassuring to remember it. See, sex wasn’t all gross and horrible.

Just sex with humans

But, Aziraphale wasn’t a human, so. 

Aziraphale was petting him, now, he realized, coming out of his haze of embarrassment enough to catch up. “Aren’t you lovely,” Aziraphale murmured, running his hands along an expanse of Crowley’s side, above the belly scales. “You know, it’s a long time since I saw you in this form. Have you used it a lot?”

“No,” Crowley said, “not really, but it wasss my firssst, and it’sss very comfortable.”

“You seem embarrassed,” Aziraphale said gently, putting his fingers under the edge of the corner of Crowley’s jaw, where it was protruding from his attempt to bury himself behind Aziraphale’s torso. He pried gently, trying to get Crowley to stop trying to burrow.

“I didn’t-- that wasssn’t what I wass planning to do,” Crowley said. “I jusst. I got flusstered.” He stubbornly kept up his burrowing attempts, and in a moment had managed to wriggle his head between Aziraphale’s back and the soft back of the leather sofa. He kept going, winding himself around, and poked his snout out next to Aziraphale’s other elbow.

He had been right; the angel was hot, and in his human form it had burned but as a serpent it was wonderful.

“Don’t be embarrassed,” Aziraphale said. “I’m sorry, was I being pushy? I didn’t mean to fluster you. I quite lost my head.”

Crowley darted his tongue out and flickered it before he realized what he was doing. He sucked it back in immediately, and deposited it into the organ on the roof of his mouth where he parsed scents. It was all Aziraphale, it smelled of-- well, Aziraphale’s human body, though there was of course a hint of the burnt-metal tang of space and eternity that celestial beings generally had, far more noticeable to this body’s sense of smell than the dull one Crowley’s human form had come equipped with. He also smelled-- well, somewhat of lust, it was unmistakable, and pointed out his sincerity. 

Aziraphale had moved his elbow and was looking down, Crowley could tell from the shift of his weight, and that meant he’d seen Crowley’s tongue. It took an act of willpower to keep from darting his tongue back out to taste whether Aziraphale’s scent had changed in reaction.

When he’d gathered his courage for a moment, and Aziraphale hadn’t done anything but stroke his scales, over and over, soothingly, Crowley said, “I-- got disstracted earlier becausse I wass thinking about-- how warm you are-- how I wanted to touch you-- like thiss.”

When he was wearing his snake body he tended to have a great deal less invested in the concept of seeming cool. Some of it was because snakes are intrinsically much cooler than humans, and so there’s no need to put oneself out so much, but some of it was also that snakes, being cold-blooded, are generally sensible about wasting effort. His snake form was much more direct and to-the-point about most things, and it probably said something about corporeality affecting one’s intellectual function, but Crowley’d never devoted a great deal of thought to it. (He had discovered that thinking things over in snake form never worked out, because the thoughts mostly just wouldn’t stay in his head. The snake thought about comfort, largely, and so it was good when distressed, but not much help for coming up with solutions or plans.)

(“Wily serpent” was probably just about the farthest thing from the truth in the world.)

“Oh, Crowley,” Aziraphale said, low and soft. “Well, if that’s what you want, of course. Come here.”

It took a little bit of arranging, but Crowley had been in his snake form long enough now to forget about embarrassment. They wound up curled together on the sofa with a nice woolly blanket, and Aziraphale had at some point obtained himself  a book and a glass of wine. Crowley basked in the sheer hedonistic pleasure of being entirely wound around Aziraphale’s sturdy, very warm body, bathed in his scent, with Aziraphale’s head propped comfortably against his body like a pillow, and his head lying on the angel’s breast. Aziraphale held his book in one hand and used the other to keep petting Crowley’s brow ridges, only pausing intermittently to pick up his wineglass.

It was very cozy, in a way that Crowley’s flat never was, on a gray afternoon with the rain rattling against the windowpanes, as the afternoon slid away to evening. Crowley snoozed, but never quite fell asleep. Possibly most reassuring was the steady, ongoing vibration of Aziraphale’s body’s coronary circulation, the thump-thump of his heart and the thrumming of his various arteries, all wonderfully palpable to Crowley’s snake body’s sensory organs.

Their bodies weren’t precisely the animals they imitated; Crowley wasn’t a real snake, and Aziraphale wasn’t a real human. But he had a heart, and circulation, and more or less the same organs as a standard human would, and most of the time they worked more or less normally, provided he wasn’t too distracted to maintain them. This meant that, after an interminable and deeply pleasant interlude, Crowley’s attention sharpened as the quality of sound from Aziraphale’s body changed very slightly. 

He refocused his eyes and tilted his head to look up at Aziraphale, who blinked down at his movement. “Yes?”

It took another moment for Crowley to identify the sound. Aziraphale’s stomach, growling. “You’re hungry,” he said.

“Oh,” Aziraphale said, with a self-conscious laugh, “well, this body is somewhat in the habit of-- well--”

Crowley sighed, gathering resignation and resolve, and in a moment squeezed himself back into his human form. He’d only thought it through from the snake’s perspective, however, and so he wound up in his human form wrapped around Aziraphale with one arm cradling his neck and his head pillowed on his shoulder, far far more intimate than they normally were, and it felt entirely different as a human than it had as a snake. 

Oh ,” Aziraphale said, but he sounded pleased, and gently stroked his fingers along the side of Crowley’s face, as he had been doing in his snake form. It had felt different there too, pleasant and uncomplicated. This was… complicated. Crowley didn’t know how he felt about it, but Aziraphale’s fingers lingered along the edge of his cheekbone. “Well. Hello.”

“Uh,” Crowley said, paralyzed with self-consciousness. He’d even manifested himself in pajamas, which was not very on-brand, but was exactly the sort of thing the snake liked. Flannel ones. “Ah. Well. Thiss body’s sssomewhat in the habit of, uh. Napss.” He hadn’t meant to hiss. Embarrassing.

“Sloth and gluttony,” Aziraphale said. “Not the exact hedonism I had been contemplating for this afternoon, but that was really extremely pleasant. Is this reappearance of your human form meant to signal a willingness to go out to dine with me?”

“Yess,” Crowley said, then paused, working his mouth with some distaste as he tried to get his tongue to go back to acting as it should in human form. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Yes.”


Later, after a lovely dinner in a little French-style bistro during which Crowley ate far too much, spurred by having spent so long in his snake form, he went back to his flat and sat on his couch and pondered, slightly uncomfortably, what Aziraphale had meant about hedonism.

The angel absolutely did want to have sex, corporeal sex. That was what he meant. 

It wasn’t that Crowley didn’t want to, exactly, and specifically with the angel. He’d actually given it thought, earlier, decades ago-- centuries ago, even-- but it had been all part of an elaborate self-deceiving ruse that he was somehow going to seduce the angel and thereby defeat Heaven, and it had mostly gone meandering off into the realm of, well, fantasy-- sexual fantasy, to be honest, which was one of the few data points Crowley’d had (along with the snake fucking) that told him that at least in his case it was not true that celestial beings were entirely disinterested in corporeal sex for its own sake. But the vivid sexual fantasies of tempting the angel (whose coy shows of resistance, in the fantasies, had always been entirely unconvincing, which Crowley guiltily liked best of all) seemed to have very little bearing on what he was actually meant to do with his actual corporeal self when presented with the very physical reality of the angel’s corporeal self, very frankly and practically offering actual sex actually right here and now, with no possible veneer of pretense. There was no longer any excuse of needing to please Upstairs (or Downstairs), and so their actions were entirely unconstrained. And Aziraphale was right here, right now, and very willing.

Surely, this was exactly what Crowley had wanted, for so long. 

And yet his body’s ultra-suave response had been to transform itself into a snake.