When Aziraphale touches Crowley, he shivers.
To be fair to the poor boy, this whole ‘physical contact’ ordeal didn’t start up until recently-- until the ever-watching eyes of their superiors turned away in disgust and Aziraphale finally, finally felt confident enough in the safety of both himself and his darling to let his mind wander the paths that he had previously kept locked behind tall gates of gleaming silver.
He’s always been able to sense the swirling miasma of denial and little pains that Crowley knits around himself like the world’s cruelest shawl, a protective layer to cover and cradle the true vulnerability of a creature that believes with all certainty that it doesn’t belong anywhere.
Aziraphale knows where Crowley belongs. It feels-- dare he say it-- almost mean when he reaches past all those defenses and lays a heavy hand over Crowley’s heart, watches him shiver, bite his lip, squint until his golden eyes are just two horizontal slits.
If he stays there instead of drawing away (sometimes he still can’t help being a proper coward, even in such peaceful times as this), Crowley will slowly raise his own hands, trembling, to cup over Aziraphale’s with an aching tenderness.
His thumbs will brush over Aziraphale’s knuckles with such delicacy, and his head will tilt down of its own accord, gravity bringing that soft red hair to shift down and hide his peaceful face. Aziraphale struggles not to compare these sweet moments to prayer or worship, and fails every time.
Aziraphale has caught Crowley in many compromising and/or ridiculous situations over their millennia of association, but never before has he seen embarrassment so completely flood that demonic aura as when he walks in on the boy hugging a ficus.
Crowley leaps back as though burned, running a hand through his hair quickly. “Ssssstrangling the damn thing for daring to wilt in my presence! You sssshould have seen it, Aziraphale, wilting like nothing else!”
Aziraphale giggles, and Crowley’s own lips twitch upward at the sight, despite his humiliation. “Taking my advice to heart, dear? Have I been replaced? Should I grow leaves instead of hair to recapture your affections?”
He strides over and sweeps the demon into his arms, eliciting a squeak. He spins them around, laughing and so full of love he feels he might burst. “Shall I ever let you go?”
“Aziraphale!” Crowley protests, tone recalcitrant despite the way he clutches at Aziraphale’s shoulders.
“I’ve captured you, creature of leather and darkness and shiny shoes!” At this, Crowley snickers and wiggles his feet-- slides his hands inward to curl at Aziraphale’s lapels like pale spiders. “What say you in your defense?”
“I love you!” Crowley cackles, and suddenly Aziraphale is struggling to stand beneath the weight of a seemingly endless python, black and red and glimmering in the sunlight. It wraps around him again and again and squeezes.
Aziraphale stumbles across the room, trying to breathe without much success (though he hardly needs to). He trips over something (he suspects a serpent’s tail, based on the pained hiss) and lands fully on his back, skull slamming against the hardwood floor.
When his vision stops swimming with stars, he sees Crowley sitting atop his chest, back in human form, looking far too worried and ashamed for such a nice moment.
“You’ve hurt yourself, you bastard!” he cries, and Aziraphale chokes out a laugh.
“I’ve hurt myself? Come here--”
He places a hand on Crowley’s chest, over his rapidly beating heart, and watches as he shivers right on cue.
“Stop that!” Crowley hisses, indignant, but presses close, always so contradictory. “Six thousand years of never touching and now it’s like all you want to do is embarrass me!”
“Am I going too fast for you, Crowley?” purrs Aziraphale, but his eyes are kind and his touch is still soft.
“Maybe!” shouts his demon, flushing. “I don’t know-- it feels weird to finally have all of this.”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Aziraphale is fully aware of how hypocritical this reassurance is, coming from him, but it needs to be said. “Isn’t it nice?”
“Yes,” Crowley admits quietly, and slowly brings Aziraphale’s hand up to cup his cheek, ever so gently. The angel is momentarily struck dumb by the softness of the skin there, and the look of bewildered rapture that slides over Crowley’s features. “My angel.”
“‘To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance’.” Crowley groans at the Wilde, and Aziraphale gleefully rolls them over with a surge of strength, pausing to admire the spread of red hair over the the dark floor. “‘I can resist everything except temptation’.”
“‘There is no sin except stupidity’,” Crowley counters nonsensically, then shudders when Aziraphale runs his hands over his shirt, across those too-present ribs; not sexual with his intent but most certainly, overwhelmingly sensual.
Without looking-- gaze cast to the side, like he’s taken a sudden interest in a particular potted spider plant-- one of Crowley’s hands lifts up like it’s moving of its own free will, and those thin fingers trail down Aziraphale’s nose, the touch so barely there that it sort of tickles.
With his face still turned the furthest away the floor will allow, his pupil shifts to the periphery of the upturned eye, letting himself see his own hand on Aziraphale’s face.
His touch moves to the space under Aziraphale’s right eye, pressing lightly at that delicate bone structure. The angel smiles and, emboldened, Crowley’s hand drifts up to thread his fingers in those pale curls as he’s always longed to do.
Aziraphale’s hands, which never stopped drifting, suddenly settle on Crowley’s hips, and he marvels at the sudden flush to pale skin and Crowley's scandalized expression, hot cheek pressed down onto the cool hardwood floor-- a hint of fear in that one visible demonic eye.
“I will never hurt you, my dear boy,” Aziraphale promises with conviction, and while his position with heaven is somewhat compromised, his faith in this is unshakeable. God Herself would commend him for it, he’s sure, if he ever got the chance to ask.