The bookshop was dim, the lights low, the blinds closed. Outside Soho proceeded to get on with the evening. People thronged the pavement, the cars slipped by, and all around London hummed with life. Inside, the little back room hummed with another sort of life entirely.
Crowley, louche and libertine, sprawled lazily on Aziraphale’s sofa, a brandy snifter in one hand, body utterly relaxed. He and Aziraphale were celebrating.
“F…f…forgotten,” Aziraphale said, sounding as shaken as he was relieved. “They forgot us.”
“Mind-wipe. Clean as a…a…a whatever’s clean. Cleaner ‘n clean. Sterile. Like someone took their brains and blip-bloop, dropped ‘em in that thing that scalpels go in.”
“They throw them away.”
“Din’t used to.”
Aziraphale frowned. “Do now,” he said, ponderously. “Things change.” He thought about it, and said a bit forlornly, “Din’t used to like things changing. Too fasssss for me. How come I keep liking it now?” He sat up straighter, and shook his head, then touched his face. “My nose is gone.”
“No it’s not,” Crowley scoffed, as drunk as the angel. “’S right there, plain as the,” he scowled, sure this was somehow not the right thing to say, but no longer able to evaluate why. “Plain as the nose on your face.”
“But it’s gone. My nose. Can’t feel it. All empty where it’s supposed to be.”
“I can see your fingers right on it, angel…”
“Oh, my fingers can find it just fine,” Aziraphale assured him, sober in mode if not in actual, well, sobriety. “My fingers can feel my nose. It’s just my nose that can’t feel my fingers.”
“Then maybe your fingers are gone?” Aziraphale fanned them wide and held them toward Crowley. “Whoops. No. There they are. Mystery, angel. Complete mystery.”
“No. Miracle. Only a miracle would make Heaven and Hell forget.” He looked at the demon, and said in ponderous awe. “One of Her miracles.”
They both stared at each other—but as they forgot the initial impulse in seconds, it quickly turned into first blank staring—and then gazing—and then, with a hissing rush of energy, into passionate eye-sex.
“Fuck.” Crowley sat up fast. He thought he had it all tied down better than that… “Drunk.”
“Too drunk,” Aziraphale said, and, first as always, added, “I’m going to sober up.”
The grunts and moans didn’t actually help as much as they might have. Where Aziraphale in particular had always thought the sound of an angel and a demon detoxifying themselves rather like being seated too near the restrooms of a vegetarian restaurant with a specialization in bean dishes, tonight the same sounds conjured other things. Less…intestinal things.
He sat up abruptly. “Well. My goodness me!” He grimaced, tasting the residue of drink and detoxification on his teeth. “Rather horrible.”
Crowley, fingers braced against his brow, moaned. “Worst damned miracle I know.”
“Rather. Sober—but still hung over.” Aziraphale miracled them both clean mouths, pain killers, and a glass of water. “That will help,” he murmured.
They were silent, then, for a while…until Crowley said, “Hair of the dog helps, too. Want me to pour you one?”
“Not unless you go down into the cellar and fetch us new,” Aziraphale said. “Nothing more ghastly than re-drinking your own former drunk.”
Crowley shuddered dramatically. “Aaaaangel! Shame!”
“I don’t have to be ashamed. I am an angel.” A state Aziraphale did enjoy. Then he considered. “Am I?”
“An angel? If Heaven doesn’t remember me?”
Crowley considered. “Did you Fall?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Stick out your wings.”
“That’s rather intimate, isn’t it?”
“Nothing I haven’t know was there since Eden.”
“There is that.” Aziraphale drew his wings forth from their hidden space. “Still have wings.” He switched on his halo. “That, too.”
“Oi—turn that down. Can’t a demon enjoy a bit of dark once in a while? At least until the paracetamol cuts in?” Crowley threw his arm up, blocking the light that seemed to lance past his sunglasses and stab is brain. He stood and wobbled on long legs. “Prob’ly ought to go home.”
“Why bother? Not like we have to maintain appearances,” Aziraphale said, standing himself and brushing lint from his jacket. “You could stay over.”
“Angel. I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you!” Crowley was, actually.
“Oh, for Her sake,” Aziraphale snapped. “If they’re not watching—why bother? It’s not like…” He tailed off, and looked sharply away. “I’ll let you use my bed. I only use it to read on usually anyway. Though I have been learning to nap this past century on your advice.”
Crowley might have missed the topic change an hour earlier. Now, sober, he said, “Not like what?”
Aziraphale shrugged. “Well. I mean. With Heaven and Hell both watching. I mean. I might have been all right. The worst I really feared was to Fall—and while I’d have quite hated it, it would have been survivable. But you—I worried about you, my dear boy. After you’ve Fallen it only gets worse. “
Crowley jutted his chin. A demon had his pride. “No need to be protecting me, Angel. That’s my job—protect you.”
Aziraphale turned, and looked meltingly on the demon. “I know, dear boy, and you do it so very well. It’s just…” Something shifted in the angel’s manner.
Crowley frowned, trying to place it. Same Angel. Same clothes. Same silly tartan tie. Same blue eyes. Same cupid’s bow mouth.
But—no. Blue eyes gone dark, somehow. Cupid’s bow firm and taut.
“It was better for you to leave,” Aziraphale said. Then, reluctantly, “It may still be.” But his eyes remained dark and…
Even sober, it took the demon too long. Then it tripped. Dark—dark eyes, pupils blown.
Aziraphale changed. Not at that moment sweet, muddled, teddy-bear Aziraphale. Not a toddling cartoon of an angel.
He had crossed some inner river, and the fussy, worried, fretful silliness had fallen away, leaving longing, and dignity, and need, all in one condensed, concentrated form and moment.
The demon wanted to ask. It would have felt safer, asking. Saying something clever and foolish of his own, maybe a bit witty. Maybe sarky. But he couldn’t. Not with Angel there, so raw and fierce and still. Not with his blue eyes turned black as the centers flared wide with desire.
Angel might be the silliest little bonbon of an Angel She had ever Created—but Angel in desire was no sillier than anyone trapped in hunger and desire.
“Um….” Not that Crowley hadn’t wanted back. But his Angel had never stood like this before him. He’d turned away, blushed, deflected, found ways to refuse without hurting Crowley too much.
Or at least, not too often.
Crowley had never been in danger of more. Aziraphale had carefully (Protectively?) chosen not to offer more.
“They forgot us,” Crowley croaked out. “They’re not watching anymore.”
“They may never again,” Aziraphale agreed, eyes darker still. “You’re safe. Now. If you…do you…”
The angel paced closer. Closer still. One of his hands traced Crowley’s throat, tracking the slim tendons past the solid Adam’s apple. The tips of his fingers stroked idly in the dimple between his clavicles…then traced back up, and up, finding Crowley’s jaw. He stepped closer, lashes fluttering over his eyes, not quite closed, but thinking about it. “Do you want to, my dear?”
“Angel? Want what?” Crowley was, to his own hysterical confusion, afraid. He was afraid of Heaven and Hell—six millennia of accumulated, undischarged fear. He was afraid She Herself might object. Most of all, though, he was afraid he had misunderstood. That his angel could not want this—could not be stalking him across the carpets, mouth seeming more plush and sultry by the second, eyes roaring out his own needs… “Angel, you don’t want…”
Crowley felt it, then, the knife in the gut—the grief that chased him and kept him chattering from millennia to millennia, unable to shut up when he was around his angel. His throat closed, his eyes watered. He could barely say it. “Want this. Want me.”
“Wrong,” the angel—his Angel—said, and angelic fingers slid up his neck and into his hair, and Angel’s mouth was on his.
It was terror incarnate. Aziraphale, not fluff and bunnies and magic tricks, but Aziraphale, commanding Principality, claiming his mate. Aziraphale, the veils of cute kawaii swept away, revealing hunger as raw as anyone’s hunger. Need as serious and profound.
“Kiss me, Crowley,” he said, brushing his lips over the demon’s again. His mouth opened…and Crowley, dazed, ventured in, his flickering tongue in partial snake mode—forked and pink and plump and agile, the serpent’s sensors strong. He moaned, tasting his seducer.
“You’re hot,” he whispered in Aziraphale’s ear.
“Yes.” Calm, clear, not denying or evading. His fingers ran cleverly up Crowley’s flanks, setting of tickly-prickly thrills even his snake self had never sensed. He pressed close, erection firm against Crowley’s own. “Come upstairs, Crowley.”
“You don’t mean it.”
“Oh, I do.” His voice purred, merriment and desire giving way to a lordly authority that fit him well. “Come to bed, Crowley.” He pushed with the tip of a hip, nudged with his chest, edging the demon toward the door to the upstairs suite, where the bedroom lay.
Crowley, to his abiding embarrassment, squeaked.
“Shhhhh,” Aziraphale rumbled, his tenor dropping rapidly toward basso, as his hands flickered over Crowley’s body. He found the back seam of Crowley’s tight leather trousers, and traced the line, slowly. So slowly Crowley squeaked again, needy and shattered.
“Too fast for you, my love?” he asked.
That turned the tide. Fear ebbed—longing surged. “Not fast enough,” Crowley growled, bamfing their clothes away and themselves up to the bed. But if he’d hoped to gain the upper hand, he was out of luck. His angel toppled him in a single miraculous move, magicked his cock slick with gel—and in a single mounting move he straddled Crowley, impaling himself without effort or delay.
Good. He felt so good.
“Don’t let me hurt you.”
Of all the things he had never thought to hear from Aziraphale….
“Angel… Love you.” Of all the things he had never thought to hear from himself. His hands wandered, finding Aziraphale’s cock at last.
He knew what to do with that.
Moisture, heat, slip, slide. All in a single mindful miracle of palms and fingers. A tight grip, forcing his fist down Aziraphale’s rod. Playing delicately with flesh created already circumcised, sworn to Herself.
Aziraphale leaned over, one hand gripping Crowley’s own tight, holding it in place on his own cock. He stretched his spine, reaching his head up, seeking Crowley’s lips. “You’re just what I hoped,” he growled, and deep kissed the gasping demon. “Come for me.”
It wasn’t so fast for either of them. Instead they undulated, pulsed, sought each other, kissed, touched, tweaked, teased. Moaned.
Crowley was lost in it—the fear flickering back over and over, adding thrill, removing courage, shaking him from his focus. This was his angel as he had never dared imagine his angel—as he had fought for thousands of years not to imagine his angel. And his angel, it appeared, had fought to avoid imagining it back in turn—to protect Crowley! To save him from worse pains beyond death. From so much. From destruction, whether at the hand of Herself, or Satan, or Heaven, or Hell, or holy water, or any watching thing that might harm the demon. His demon…
And those words—that thought—that certainty felt with Aziraphale’s arms holding him tight, his thrusts driving him mad, his need writ clear…
He came, knowing his angel was watching, dark eyed, desiring, memorizing every gasp, recording every grimace, keeping this messy, helpless, wailing moment as a treasure to hold like a flaming sword against infinity and all it threatened.
Above him black-in-blue eyes closed, and Aziraphale shattered.
Down. Down. Down. The thrust continued. Down. Then a forced stop.
“Don’t want to break it,” Aziraphale said, and with a grin so wicked it should have been Crowley’s, he tickled Crowley’s perineum, and said, in a voice too sultry for the demon to believe, “After all—I intend to use it again.”
“Oh,” Crowley managed to croak out. Then, “Angel!” And then he’d hugged Aziraphale tight, and rolled them onto their sides, and he gripped tight and waited till the terror and the joy both set him free.