It starts, technically, in the Garden. The first rain is falling: Crowley is sheltered by the angel’s wing, a fact he will not stop turning over and over in his mind for the next few millennia. But he’s compartmentalized it, and is beginning to fret instead over how to make a satisfactorily cool exit from this sort of emotionally uncomfortable situation.
He looks over, about to say something awful that hasn’t been invented yet, like “Better mosey along,” or “Catch you on the flipside.” And the angel is - hmm. Eyes closed, face tilted up to the sky. His hair gone wet and dark. Skin glistening, droplets rolling carelessly down. Like he’s enjoying himself, somehow. Feeling like he shouldn’t be witnessing this, he casts his gaze to the ground. He’s greeted by the sight of the angel’s toes wriggling, what, delightedly?
in the dust as it turns into mud on the stone.
On some level Crowley will never fully unpack this. What he knows at this particular moment is that he is intrigued; that there is something about this specific angel, an unrelenting strangeness, an absolute fuck-wild streak that compelled him to give his flaming sword away, and shelter a demon, and do…That, in the rain. What he knows right now is Aziraphale is, at the very least, worth keeping an eye on.
The first time Crowley admits to himself that something might be afoot, they’re in Rome. It’s Aziraphale who approaches him, this time. He looks at Crowley like he’s ever so grateful to see a familiar face. And he also looks at him like, well,
No, can’t be, surely
Crowley is tired and cranky and terribly sober and inclined to be surly, churlish, but this angel is looking at him like he’s almost embarrassed to be looking at him in the, the whatever way he’s looking at him.
And then he tries tempting Crowley and, oh, Satan, has he been tempting himself this whole time?
It’s a lot to work through, is all. Crowley likes beer and wine and scotch and mead because they all do the thing where you don’t have to deal so much with the world if you have enough of them. Beyond that, the physicality of consumption hadn’t quite caught him. He’d licked honey off the taut stomach of a Polybian soldier, tongue in the valley of his hips; it’d been alright. A piece of coarse brown bread, once, since it had been offered.
But this is Aziraphale, and this is oysters. Crowley nurses a tankard of ale, and he watches. On the half-shell, shimmering iridescent, the briny wetness.
“They look like camel snot,” he says.
Aziraphale frowns, but oh, there’s something there, something teasing, something daring. “Hush,” he says. “They’re lovely. And there’s a special sauce. Not that they need it, particularly, but it is nice.” He leans in towards his plate and inhales, his eyes drifting shut.
Crowley shifts in his seat. This is. Well, it is - something, certainly. And he’s fixated, on the angel’s plump fingers delicately picking up a shell, and holding it up to his lips; fixated on the line of his neck as he tilts his head back, and sucks the flesh into his mouth; as he swallows; as he moans, almost, a pleased little noise. As he puts the shell down, and nestles each successive shell atop it, on and on until it’s over and he has a hand cradling his belly and a beatific expression on his face.
“I told you,” he says. “Simply exquisite.”
Crowley has not partaken, but he nods anyway. They move on to safer subjects (as if any of this is safe, as if a demon should say anything to an angel that wasn’t warlike and mean), and they drink, and once time and the room have gone wobbly, Crowley invents the Irish Goodbye.
They’re in a garden, again, and the sun is setting. They’re on a bench, with a respectable amount of distance between them. Room for Jesus, as the humans sometimes say.
“Summer’s waning,” Aziraphale says softly.
Crowley risks a glance over. The angel is still sitting primly, but with his head quirked, tilted just so towards the sky.
“Mmm,” Crowley hmm’s.
“I love this time of year. As the air cools. Still damp, of course, but there’s something in the air that changes, something…and it’s so easy to be comfortable, this weather. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. Perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. Perhaps in front of a fire, perhaps not.”
Crowley immediately, directly, and in a somewhat thunderstruck way realizes he wants nothing more than to curl up next to fucking Goldilocks over here, with a book and some tea and the threat of a lovely warming hearth. So he does the obvious thing, which is to garble out a shambles of a farewell and high-tail it back to his rented room.
They’re in a restaurant. Crowley is drinking cement-sludge Turkish coffee and watching as Aziraphale quite literally bites off more than he can chew. It’d all sounded so good, is the thing. He’d just gotten carried away, when ordering.
There’s twin thrills, wrapping around each other: firstly, and as always, the wonderment of a creature of love actually loving, headfirst and come-what-may. And then there’s the darker, more familiar, and by this point slightly more uncomfortable pull of an angel, of all things, an actual Angel doing a Sin. The decadence of this.
Because this is gluttony, isn’t it, just a touch. You don’t pull a minor miracle to make room for more dolmas just because you’re so full of love. You do it out of want.
And, oh, does Aziraphale want. Wants it all, and then some. Worst of all, he keeps looking at Crowley furtively, like this means something, like this is somehow shamefully important -
Which it is, of course. When is it ever reasonable for an angel and a demon to share a meal?
Crowley leaves, this time, in a way approaching cool. He saunters back to the Bentley, and then he drives very fast and flings himself first into his flat and then onto his bed, where he screams for an hour.
It’s the image, isn’t it: Aziraphale leaning back in his chair. Skin flushed and belly full, his eyes closed, the pleased hum he’s making under his breath. It’s a lot, it’s a lot, it’s a lot -
(Get yourself together)
(He could, and he does, punch a wall about it, feels his knuckles crunch against drywall and the drywall crack before him. He shouts something that might make sense and he cradles his hand in his other hand; he waits, just a tick, waits to heal himself and miracle the wall repaired. It’s nice, is all, is somehow needed, is the only thing that fits, sometimes, to be. Just - Angry, like this. He breathes in and out, and flexes his rapidly bruising fingers.)
The century is pressing onwards and for some reason everything is going faster. Technology, people, politics, them. He buys Aziraphale a churro from a street vendor, and he watches him eat it, and Aziraphale makes
And suddenly he’s pulling an angel into an alleyway by the shirt collar. He is politely waiting as Aziraphale finishes swallowing the last bite of pastry, and then he’s chasing his tongue back into his mouth, the sugar and grease on his lips, a stray crumb; his hips pushing in as he presses Aziraphale against the wall, as the awkward hard lines of him scramble into, are in awe of, the warm soft comfort of this creature
which he never deserved, did he, comfort, of all things, heaven forfend -
Aziraphale looks at him like he wants to eat him, like he wants this so very much and so much else besides; there is a second where Crowley thinks maybe, maybe, maybe now
And the moment ends, and Aziraphale is wearing an expression like he might throw up, and Crowley apologies both profusely and incomprehensibly, and they both run away.
Aziraphale is in a bar, and Crowley is in the same bar, but they are not there together. Crowley blends in, ish, passing well enough for gothy twink. Aquanet holding his hair aloft, a hint of mesh and leather about his outfit. Aziraphale stands out, and it’s awful, because Crowley is cringing in equal parts due to how completely the angel is misreading the room, and how he isn’t -
(This beautiful aristocrat. With his clothes and his canapes and his crepes and his boys, and his other assorted luxuries - a far cry from asceticism, and inching further from God’s grace by the day. Crowley is torn between being somewhat concerned, vis a vis Falling, and wanting to swallow this idiot whole.)
He’s holding court, and he’s being ridiculous, and he’s recounting anecdotes about Oscar Fucking Wilde, and there’s an air of, you know. Ha ha, the middle-aged fag, the stately old homo of England so obliviously out of touch in this dim, dank club that has little room for that sort of delicate, prissy expression of queerness. Crowley, at least, has made an attempt, the thin leather straps of his harness pressing into his chest under his blouse. The moustache, the femme nods, the leather cap. Tom of Finland eat your heart out.
The music is too loud and there’s a young man catching Aziraphale’s gaze and Crowley’s heart is in his throat. He could say something. He could sidle up, like he always does, with a sway of the hips and some pithy remark and an insinuation, but
Well, insinuating here, of all places. A touch on the nose. It’d be a sort of admission, wouldn’t it. A confession, if you’ll pardon the phrase.
So the angel and the boy go to the bathroom. So Crowley follows. He falls back into a snake and hides in a hastily-miracled vent above the adjacent stall, and he listens. Aziraphale is loud, apparently. Vocal and excited and shameless and so, so full of love (and so much else besides), and the boy is so eager. The rustle-slide of trousers undone and shucked down, the gasp at something, the implication of a head of hair clenched in the angel’s greedy hands - Crowley screams internally and then slithers towards the nearest exit as quickly as his tiny shitty snake body will allow.
Aziraphale has a barber. He’s never liked attending to himself - the end result, yes, but the effort? Perish the thought. He has (had? it’s been some time) a tailor, and occasionally a butler, and throughout most of it, a barber.
It’s one of the things Crowley likes about him. How clearly his face wants a beard, how desperately he does not want a beard to be atop his face. And he could shave himself, could even sort his body out to not grow hair at all, but. Well. It’s a thing, isn’t it.
Crowley comes with, sometimes. The angel always likes company and a willing ear, and Crowley likes, oh. What. The physicality of it. The dusting of the badger brush over his skin, the foam spread about his face. Upper lip, double chin, where the hair ends below his Adam’s apple. The scrape of the blade over his soft, yielding face
And the threat, of course, the possibility of violence
The hot towel on his neck. Hair trimmed, smoothed, oiled and annointed, put back into place. The razor stropped on leather, the cologne, the performative humanity -
Crowley likes how Aziraphale smells after he’s been to the barber. That fresh, soapy something; something particularly masculine, softened as always by an equally particular otherness. Crowley wants to breathe him in, like this, the sharp clean luxury of him as he goes about his otherwise humdrum, mildewy life.
(Aziraphale had been a soldier, is the thing. With a flaming sword and ethereal helmet and a pressed white uniform, brass buttons shining. Aziraphale looks at him, sometimes, with such guilt and regret that it sends him reeling. The golden trumpet had sounded, and presumably Aziraphale had charged -
But they don’t talk about that, do they. Bygones being bygones, and all. They’ve agreed to move on.)
They’re in Crowley’s flat. This is giving Crowley a certain amount of unearned confidence. Home pitch advantage. He’s provided snacks and libations
He’s been all the fuck over town and used more miracles than he probably should, assembling this Unassuming buffet and bar. He bought a cocktail strainer for this, four types of pie. Wine, more wine, some champagne, a dusty bottle of scotch. Cheese and things. Oysters, of course, because fuck his gay life. Hand-shucked and all, with a flat head screwdriver, because he’ll be damned again before he buys a fucking oyster shucking fucking knife specifically for the purpose. Anyway. So.
So. So. They’re in Crowley’s flat. Aziraphale is humming, pleased, trailing his hand over the veritable bounty of food and booze. And Crowley is whining, internally, hoping against hope that he’s somehow managed to do this right.
“What sort of cheese is this?” Aziraphale says, at the exact same moment as Crowley blurts out “So d'you do the other Earthly Pleasures or is it just food'n'drink?”
Aziraphale frowns, in a blank sort of way; Crowley folds his body and soul up into a pretzel and addresses his corpse C/O Hell.
But he’s considering, isn’t he.
“How do you mean,” Aziraphale says slowly. Voice about as husky as it ever gets, still high and camp but with an edge to it.
“Do you,” Crowley says,
Do you, yanno, do you ever just... Do you ever find yourself, right, in a place, and you feel a way, so you, right, Touch yourself about it
Do you ever
“Hgn,” he finishes, finally.
Aziraphale eyes him up and down, and it’s the single thirstiest, most hungry and sultry thing he’s ever seen. Not that he’d know, really, he’s more in the business of Wrath, so he’s not super experienced here, but
“The sins of the flesh?” Aziraphale replies, half-finishing the thought. He’s holding Crowley’s gaze, glancing away just long enough to seem coquettish.
“Nnngghk,” Crowley says.
“I have. You know that.” Aziraphale stares him down: not silly and old-fashioned, so much, anymore, not prissy and odd and camp but so, so incredibly direct. Because he wants, and the angel always goes for what he wants.
“Many times,” he continues. “Perhaps not as many times as you, but,”
Crowley tries to look cool, worldly, and well-fucked. He’s…more theoretical than practical, here, but it’s important to his self-image.
The angel steps forward; Crowley stands, stuck to the floor and waving like the leaves of a quaking aspen.
He can live through this. He will. He asks for strength from a higher power. Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia - Bob ROSS -
(Did he ever tell the story about falling?
It happened in increments. Every question, every doubt, every mistimed joke, he drifted farther and farther from God’s grace. One minute he’s in front of the archangels trying to explain how little sense it made that knowledge should be a sin, and the next, boom, he was on the other side of the door, and Heaven had changed the locks.
And the gate to Hell was, of course, open. Latch broken, as if to say, go on then, you know you want to. So he went.
Nothing happened, is the fuck of it. Nothing changed. It didn’t even hurt. He was his old regular self, only with no name and a carefully edited set of memories. The snake thing, that came later, after God started inventing and populating Earth. He was him, just…stripped, basically, of all his paperwork.
And it almost felt good, finally falling the rest of the way. Opening the door and sauntering down the rickety steps. It was dark and dank down there but that was really more for aesthetic, it wasn’t like he needed to breathe in the air. No one had bothered to really decorate yet, it was just sort of a cellar with an odd, musty smell. Folks scattered about, kind of milling, not so much of a heirarchy as it was, a, what. Commune? Had that been invented yet?
Beezlebub xirself lead him through the orientation, and xe was decent enough, if humourless.
“What do you feel?” xe asked him.
It wasn’t a question he’d reckoned with before. Not anything an angel would ask him. What did he feel. He closed his eyes, considered, turning the inside of him over and over like a rock tumbler until:
“I’m angry,” he said.
“Guess so, yeah.”
Beezelbub grinned; it was disconcerting. “We encourage cross-training of course, but it’s excellent to have another team member with your…tastes.”
He settled into it like a snake slipping back into the grass. How fine a feeling, to push people to their limits in the smallest of ways, to be the straw on a camel’s back. And to then offer them a choice: to be cruel, or to be kind? To be better, to be Just, or to indulge in a raised voice, a raised fist? They fell like dominoes at the slightest provocation. And who wouldn’t, really, living in such an unjust world. It’s not like God was listening.)
“I have, you know that,” Aziraphale is saying, and he’s stepping closer. Him and all his fucking heavenly glow. “And this - why not? We do so much else, together. Besides, I know how you like to play at tempting me, when I’ve already done a fairly good job of tempting myself.”
It’s dangerously close to honesty. Crowley squinches his eyes shut and counts to ten. Aziraphale is still there when he opens them, looking beautiful and Good and so pointedly angelic. The bastard.
“Go on, then,” Aziraphale says, giving him that look. The queer, loaded one. The one where he can’t say it out loud, neither of them can, where this can’t exist and if it somehow does, it should never, ever be acknowledged -
Crowley swallows, for dramatic and erotic effect. “What do you feel?” he asks.
Aziraphale considers, also for dramatic and erotic effect. “Hungry, mainly.”
For, what. Food? Crowley? To be delicately coddled and diligently attended-to?
“Right,” Crowley says vaguely. Aziraphale grins and steps back, attention now wholely on the oyster which he is obscenely slurping through his lips.
(He was only ever the Serpent because he was new. All the other demons had been down long enough that the stench of Hell was obvious on them, emanated from them. Crowley still had a whiff of heaven about him, just enough to be convincing.
“It’ll be fun,” Beezelbub insisted, and slapped him on the back so hard he turned into a snake.)
“How do you feel?” Crowley asks again.
Aziraphale considers. He’s done a number on dinner, and the wine as well; tilted back in his chair, face happily flushed, hands clasped around his well-fed belly, he’s the very picture of sated desire.
Crowley’s banking on it still not being enough.
“Full,” Aziraphale settles on. “Good. Hmm.”
He’s made himself a fucking stomach, what else is in there? A prostate? A cock? A cunt and G-spot? How many mechanisms of pleasure has he miracled himself?
“And what else,” Crowley finds himself saying. It’s almost in a cool, suave way.
“I’d like - well. It’s tricky, isn’t it. So easy to get the wires crossed.”
Crowley, who is nothing but a pile of crossed wires, represses the need to scream at the top of his lungs and/or punch a hole in the wall. “Go on,” he ekes out.
Aziraphale just looks at him. Holds his gaze long enough, and then nods.
He doesn’t undress, he never undresses. There might not even be a body under all those layers. What he does, is he moves one hand from where it rests on the crest of his belly, slides it down to his waistband, where the button is just slightly overtaxed from the evening’s efforts. He breathes in, for effect, and slips the button free, pulls the zipper down. Settles his hand between his legs.
Crowley wants, he wants, he -
“Wanna see,” he blurts out.
And Aziraphale smiles, that knowing self-satisfied quirk of the lips,
and he spreads his legs. His hand delving inside his well-worn trousers, pulling out a plump, pink, small but perfectly-formed cock.
“I like it when we share,” he says, casually.
Crowley narrowly avoids dissolving into the nearby refridgerator. (You can order groceries and play Doom on the thing, it’s awful but he’s got respect for whatever demon came up with “smart” as an adjective for home appliances.)
“You’ll have a cup of espresso, usually,” Aziraphale continues. He’s fondling the skin of his balls, conversationally.
Are they really doing this? How drunk are they, really?
“Or a biscotti,” Crowley chokes out. His hands are shaking but they are, they are en route to his nice snake belt, adorning his nice black trou, because fuck it he’s got a brand.
“Yes,” Aziraphale breathes - such kindness, such awe, such selfish want and love -
Crowley whines and positions his hand over his cunt. If he touches himself it’s all over, he’ll come and that’ll be that and they’ll never speak of this again, and all he wants, really, is to watch, to know, to be present -
Aziraphale closes his plump fist over his plump cock and goes hmmm with his stupid plump face and Crowley kicks the leg of his armchair so hard he breaks a toe.
He comes early, and then comes again after the angel does, after seeing him just Twiddle himself in such an absolutely fucking ridiculous and transcendental way. Just comes twice amidst a pile of oyster shells and wanton angel. As you do, of an evening. He snaps a finger, and it at least doesn’t smell like seafood anymore.
“I’m a - gotta,” he explains, then crashes headfirst into a nap that lasts for two years.
(He wakes up alone, but in bed and with a note tucked under his telephone. Til we meet again, xx. He clutches the note to his chest, and sneezes, and goes back to sleep for another year.)
That old classic “end of the fucking world” anxiety: it happens, it happens a lot and so much - Crowley gets used to the sensation of his heart in his throat. It all threatens to burst loose. Aziraphale is finally falling, or cracking apart in his, their, this personal way - would it be wrong to admit that he’s beautiful, like this? So vulnerable, so full of doubt. The struggle to put a name to the faith that has always carried him forward. So very, very close to becoming something else. And then he almost loses him -
A significant part of him wants to give up, wants to lie down on the tarmac and go to sleep as the world burns. He’s tired, he’s had a very long day. But, fuck it, he’d asked Aziraphale to help save this stupid fucking world and now Aziraphale is asking him, and, better late than never - besides, he’s got spite and directionless rage on his side, so
can he get a “wahoo”;
It’s after Armageddidn’t - Crowley feels raw, flayed alive, and sort of giddily willing to say anything, any stupid thing. Aziraphale, for this round, is playing the part of the idiot who runs away. Winds up in some fuck-off corner of Sussex, for whatever reason.
Crowley, obviously, follows.
So they’re in a coastal village. Orbiting a cottage, even, a small space. There’s a lot, it’s a lot - books and teacups and things - there’s just so much of this, of them, in such a constrained area. Aziraphale has already nested and Crowley feels, right, just a little like an invasive species, here
But he wants to be here, so much, and that counts, right?
“Hey,” he says, softly. Outside the local newsagent’s. He’s holding a bag of pickled onion Monster Munch. He pushes his glasses off, nestles them in his hair. Aziraphale draws the single most labored breath history has ever recorded. Looks him up and down. Steps forward.
It could happen here, of course. Aziraphale could fall to his knees and confess his undying love, or vice versa, this could all - it could work out, and work out neatly
But what happens is,
He hands Aziraphale the Monster Munch, and their fingers brush; storm clouds gather above.
Aziraphale bites his lip and steps in close, their coats touching, the warmth beneath. What happens is the angel slides his hand behind the demon’s neck, and draws him in, drinking deep. What happens is he kisses Crowley to within an inch of his life before stepping back -
“Home, I think,” he says. Crowley nods.
Whatever, wherever home is. In this case, the cottage. The door closes behind them, and immediately locks. Crowley holds Aziraphale’s hands as he heads deliberately towards, something, something, what is he doing here again?
The bedroom, you idiot
Aziraphale kisses him again, pulling him tightly against himself, enveloping him, before flipping him around, pushing him on and pressing him down into the bed with something approaching kindness. A hand at the junction between hips and arse, and another hand cautiously questioning, undoing his belt -
it’s a lot it’s a lot it’s a lot he takes it all back he’s not the one who goes too fast
“Alright?” Aziraphale asks, high pitched and breathy. His miracle-slick finger probing inside the eager but tight ring of his arsehole.
It’s alright, it’s alright, of course it’s all fucking right
What happens is,
The sky cracks free, and the humidity breaks, the rain sheeting down, white noise on the roof, and,
Aziraphale fucks him, and this berk who only ever learned one dance, he’s almost got rhythm, somehow. And a cock fit to purpose, this time, long and thick. He fucks Crowley like it’s his job, and he’s good at his job, fucks him like he’s proud of being good at his job. Leans in, his belly against Crowley’s back, maybe gasps once or twice.
If he were feeling more charitable, he’d note the vulnerability in Aziraphale, the watery desperate look in his eyes; but he’s not and he’s mad for some inexplicable reason (they don’t talk, they never say it, they never fucking say it) and, right, fuck him -
Crowley comes in a small, shitty way and Aziraphale follows soon after and it’s -
It’s not much good, really, but it’s nice. And shouldn’t that be enough? It’s something, it’s more than nothing. Maybe marks left in the skin of his back from where his shirt had rucked up and the buttons of Aziraphale’s waistcoat had dug in. They don’t say anything. They never say anything. It’s just how they are, how this always is. Can’t draw too much attention, even if no one’s watching.
What happens is;
“We can sleep here,” Crowley coughs out.
“Obviously,” Aziraphale smarms.
Agreed, then. They sleep there, in the one bed.
It’s a lot, okay? Calm down. It’s eternity. The entirety of everything. Don’t - Don’t look at him like that. He’s just taking a nap -
Crowley wakes up an undetermined period of time later, and he’s disoriented, and it’s still raining, and Aziraphale isn’t there. Not in the bed, not in the cottage, not - oh, fuck, and the panic rises.
“Angel?” He calls out, casually, tripping over his own feet. What if it had been too much, what if he’d stepped over the line, what if Aziraphale had left, again - what if it wasn’t any different, now?
But, he finds him. He’s standing outside in the rain, like an idiot. Fully dressed and utterly drenched.
Crowley sighs, pinches the bridge of his nose. “Angel?”
Aziraphale turns to look at him, a far too complicated expression on his face. He opens his mouth like he wants to say something, only nothing’s coming out.
“Would you like an umbrella?”
Aziraphale shakes his head.
“Would you like to come inside?”
Aziraphale purses his lips and stares at him wildly, chin wobbling.
Fine, fine. Fine.
Crowley grabs an umbrella and manifests a pair of flip flops and squelches out onto the lawn. “Cmere,” he says, taking the angel’s hand, and he leads him back inside.
“I’m wet,” Aziraphale says mournfully. And hopefully, with an expectant look on his face.
Fine, okay. Okay. “Shoes off,” Crowley grumbles, and goes to fetch a towel. Aziraphale pouts. He’d been expecting a miracle, probably.
Crowley dries his hair, fluffing it back up. Neither of them attempt to make eye contact. Crowley drops the towel, and then lets his hands settle on Aziraphale’s shoulders. Gently, gently, he pulls the heavy, sodden wool off, carefully hanging it up on the coat rack.
“Oh,” Aziraphale says softly, inhaling sharply.
“Alright?” Crowley asks. His hands are hovering over the top button of Aziraphale’s waistcoat.
Aziraphale nods quickly, like he’s trying to stay ahead of himself, like he doesn’t trust himself to speak. Eyes too wide and his mouth screwed up tight.
So. Crowley continues undressing him. Methodically, precisely, hands not dwelling, gaze not lingering. Aziraphale’s, what,
under his breath, and something is stretching taut as a bowstring inside Crowley.
He pauses at the last bit of kit, the prim pair of briefs. He’s not touching. Or not touching, touching - you know.
Aziraphale looks up bashfully. “I don’t - that is to say. Well. What would you like?”
That hadn’t been the question, but it answers it anyway. Crowley swallows. “Doesn’t matter,” he squeaks out. “Don’t overthink it.”
Back on the edge of a complete breakdown: “I have to overthink it! I don’t know how else to-”
His anxiety is flaring alongside Aziraphale’s - the sympathetic vibrations they’ve always had. Peas in a nervous pod.
“Whatever is fine. Just - exhale. Metaphorically. Or something. It’s okay. No one’s watching. It’s just us.” Crowley gives him what he hopes is a reassuring smile, and pulls his briefs down. Aziraphale scrunches his eyes shut, looking constipated.
When he’s worked up the courage to look, he’s greeted with. Ah. Nothing, in fact. Aziraphale is as smooth and bare as a Ken doll.
“I’m sorry,” Aziraphale wails melodramatically. “I can’t.”
Aaaaaaaaaaaaa, says Crowley’s inner monologue. “Angel, please, just - it’s fine, shut up, it’s fine, you know you don’t have to - I’m getting your pajamas.”
“I don’t have any pajamas,” Aziraphale sobs.
The angel stops wringing his hands long enough to give him a look of disgust. “No.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake. Crowley snaps his fingers.
“Thank you,” Aziraphale murmurs. And then he’s quiet again, standing awkward in a soft set of plaid flannel pajamas. He’s quiet as Crowley leads him to the couch and sits him down; quiet as Crowley brews a pot of tea, hands him a tea-cup, sits down next to him a carefully-measured distance away.
He preferred the histrionics, on the whole. That at least he knew what to do with. Time probably passes. The clock on the mantlepiece is ticking, anyway.
“I don’t know what I want,” Aziraphale says finally, in a very small voice. “It’s disconcerting.” He looks like he feels dreadfully vulnerable.
“That’s…Fine,” Crowley says. He gives Aziraphale’s hand a brief pat. On the angel’s schedule, as always. He’ll wait.
Ten, twenty minutes, a half hour, it’s not much, but it’s long in this context, sitting in silence, breaths performatively held, the livewire of this; please, angel, please
Aziraphale breathes in and straightens his shoulders. Crowley doesn’t look, or at least more than he has to.
“It’s. Well. Heaven,” Aziraphale says, exhaling.
“I know I didn’t belong there. I know none of them liked me. I know…who I am, what I want to be, is. Fundamentally incompatible, with Heaven. I’m better off without it.” And.“ He pauses, staring straight ahead. "And the knowledge that I will never, ever go back, it. It hurts. And I don’t know what to do with that.”
Snakes don’t have tear ducts but Crowley half wishes he’d bothered to slap some on this morning, if only to do something with the thickness in his throat.
He glances to the side, just long enough to catch Crowley’s eye. “I’m glad you’re here,” he says. “Thank you, again. I know I take advantage of your - you, sometimes.”
“I know how to say no,” Crowley replies. He doesn’t know quite how to steer this conversation out of dangerous waters.
“Yes, of course, dear.” Aziraphale looks at him, then, or looks slightly past, something aching and awful in his eyes, something utterly bereft. Familiar enough.
It’s okay, it’s okay. It’ll be okay. It has to be, anyway.
Crowley, who is, on second thought, definitively not in the vincinity of wanting to cry, tugs Aziraphale close. Lines his soft edges against all his angles, his head and hair under his hand. Doesn’t comment on the raspy little noise Aziraphale makes as he slots home.
“Good trip,” he says. “Should come here next fall.”
Aziraphale snorts, and digs his way closer into Crowley’s arms. “Puns. Hell’s work?”
“Collaboration with heaven, I should think. We both brought this upon ourselves.” He hums, and tangles his fingers in Aziraphale’s hair, and once again just relishes in being here, alive, and together.
They both avoid drawing attention to how loaded that sentence is. And, as the morning draws on, they both find themselves casually, peacefully, falling back asleep.
They’re trying again: it’s still not quite working, but at least this time they’re a touch more honest. In the cottage by the sea, with the fresh air and the snacks from the newsagents and the tentative, whatever, and the outright fucking want -
“I could, you know, the other one,” Crowley mumbles. Arse in the air and his face in a paisley pillowcase.
“Ah, no. Thank you. I quite like this. Working you open. The reward for my effort. Like a pistachio.”
“Like a what?” Crowley spits out a bit of down and turns around, spine doing something somewhat inhuman.
Aziraphale looks down, lips pursed. Eyes set in that knowing, slightly naughty cant. “Oh! I have just the thing -”
He adjourns, he returns with a tangle of leather straps, and an - and a strap.
Crowley swallows thickly. “You know you could just do both. Even the humans can do both.”
“Yes, but this is fun. There’s all sorts, you know. Different colors and shapes. So much better than it was. Do you remember? The bread? I felt positively spoiled for choice at the shop.” He slips the cock into the ring and steps into the harness, sliding it up and loosening it a touch as it catches around his thighs. Of course Aziraphale owns this. Of course this is a thing.
“This is alright?” He asks brightly, cock jutting out, proud and vibrantly hot pink. “The, well, you know. And the nudity.”
Crowley blanks into a haze of static. “Nudity is good when fucking, angel,” he slurs out.
“I was under the impression you preferred me clothed.” Aziraphale plops onto the bed, dick bouncing, his body soft and plush and unafraid. The leather pressing in just so.
“It - no. That’s just all I’ve had, you clothed. Seen. All I’ve seen.” He wriggles. “Always thought it would be nice, though. Undress you. Unwrap you like a present.”
Aziraphale huffs out a low, indulgent chuckle. “Presents and pistachios. What a pair we make, hmm?” He slides inside Crowley, hard and slick.
Like peas in a - oh, fuck, yep, that’s what a prostate does - Crowley accidentally slaps Aziraphale in the face. It’s fine. This is - it’s good. He whines just enough as the angel enters him, hips coming flush to arse. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s
It’s just eternity, innit. So what. Crowley grins, and grabs fistfuls of the bedding, and -
“This is - don’t tell me.” Gabriel flips through the envelope of photographs. “Parcheesi?”
“Pornography,” Sandalphon corrects gently.
“Yes! Yes. Pornography. And we have this. Pornography. Because?”
There’s a heavy pause. “We’re keeping an eye on the renegade angel,” Uriel reminds him.
Ah. “Do we need to?” Gabriel asks, flipping the last photo face-down. “Is there a point? This is extremely distasteful. I’d prefer if we did not, in general, look at these things. Specifically me, I am not interested. But it’s fine if you are!” He glances around the room. Blank expressions abound.
“No? Right. Let’s drop the threat level down and, uh, hopefully never think about this -” He taps the envelope, now re-filled with photographs - “Again. Okay?”
Everyone nods, and itches to disperse. Gabriel ceremoniously tosses the envelope into the express chute to Hells’ furnaces, claps his hands, and gives his team a generous thumbs-up. Meeting adjourned.