Chapter 1: Calling on an Angel
Soho, London: Post-Armagedidn’t
Aziraphale pulled off his reading glasses with a heavy sigh, then set his book aside. The phone had rung, disrupting him from the perils of a thrilling chase with the extraordinarily delightful Sherlock Holmes. He hated being interrupted when it was getting good, when the words seemed to surge the adrenaline through his veins. Even though his store was closed, his customers still appeared eager to try his patience.
The angel cleared his throat and tried to ease the annoyance out of his tone. “We are most definitely closed. You may call back tomorrow during—”
He recognized the voice. “Oh, so sorry, Anathema, my dear. It’s lovely to hear from you. How are you?”
“I’m okay. I was just calling to ask if you received our wedding invitation?” Her words held a hint of uneasiness that the angel couldn’t place.
“Oh, yes. I gave our reply to the post just yesterday. We are both very excited to attend. Well, mostly at least. I told Crowley no temptations, and he’s been sulking ever since. I just hope four months is enough time to improve his mood.”
“Oh, that’s good, I think.”
Again, Aziraphale heard the uneasiness in her voice. “My dear, is something else on your mind?”
“No, nothing really, I guess.”
“Oh, come now,” he cooed. “There must be something.”
“Well, actually. There is something you and your friend could help with if you’re not busy.”
Aziraphale raised an eyebrow at the thought of involving Crowley. Surely, the young woman knew or must have an idea as to what he was, so to ask for the demon’s help seemed odd, but still, he knew they would help however they could. “Of course. Now, what seems to be the trouble?”
The bell to the bookshop dinged, and Aziraphale glanced toward the front door as Crowley sauntered inside. He gave a nod to the angel as he snapped his fingers, closing and relocking the door. Aziraphale pointed at the phone with a small smile, indicating he would be with him in a moment. The demon rolled his eyes, then made his way over and plopped on the couch next to him. Crowley leaned back as though he’d had a long day, despite Aziraphale knowing he’d been planning nothing too nefarious. At least, nothing more than seeing how many mobiles he could get to ring at once within a five-block radius.
“…So, could you help?” Anathema finished, and Aziraphale blinked, realizing he’d watched Crowley walk into the shop without listening to a word the poor girl had said.
“So sorry, could you repeat that? Bad connection here I’m afraid.” He glanced at the demon, who held a small grin.
Crowley rose from his seat and brushed passed him on the way to the dry bar. “So, I’m a bad connection? A bit distracting for you, angel?”
Aziraphale placed a hand over the mouthpiece. “I am on the phone. Will you please restrain yourself until I am done?”
“Can’t make any promises,” Crowley said and glanced over the choices of liquor for the evening.
“I know I’m asking a lot,” Anathema was saying. “But, I can’t think of anyone else who would do this for him. Well, maybe that man from the Witchfinder Army, but I don’t think that would end well for anybody.”
“No, no. I completely understand.”
“So, you don’t mind?” Her words dripped with relief.
He still had no idea what she was talking about, but she did sound a bit better. “Of course.”
“Oh, thank you so much. I was really worried. I mean asking a demon and an angel to throw a bachelor party for your spouse sounds crazy, but less so than any of his other options. Just try to keep it casual, okay?”
“Oh, um…” Had he heard her properly? Aziraphale hadn’t attended a party as such in the last century, but honestly, it couldn’t be that hard to plan. A few friends, a few drinks, and they could talk about the excitement leading up to the end of the world, and that didn’t sound too bad. “Of course, right-o. Leave it to us, my dear.”
“Great. I really appreciate it. Is two weeks enough time to plan? Some of my friends are flying in for my bachelorette party that weekend.”
“That should be enough time. You have enough to fret about with the wedding.”
She thanked him again before hanging up.
Aziraphale puffed out a breath and turned. The demon had a glass of something dark. However, his yellow eyes rested on the angel. His glasses lay forgotten on the side table.
Crowley took a sip from his drink, keeping his gaze fixed on him. “So, what was that? It almost sounded like you’ve signed me up for something…good. You know I don’t like that, angel.”
Aziraphale tsked and joined his demon companion at the small bar. He poured himself a scotch. “Not to worry, my dear. It won’t be the first time you’ve left me to do all the work, though I wish you would reconsider. I have absolutely no idea how to plan a modern-day bachelor party. Though, I suppose I could reserve a private room at the Ritz. Drinks and friends should do the trick, I suppose.” He glanced up and raised an eyebrow.
Crowley had his glass paused halfway to his mouth. His eyes gleamed as his mouth fell open. Then, as though a light had switched on, the demon set down the drink and gave him a dazzling grin. “So, you’re saying, you volunteered us out of the goodness, or something, of our hearts to throw book girl’s boyfriend a bachelor party?” He paced behind the angel in a small calculated circle.
Aziraphale took another sip. “Quit scheming, fiend. They are our friends, and they are planning a wedding, so I offered to help them. I told you already no tempting with any part of their wedding, this part included, dear.”
Crowley held up his hands as though in surrender. “Of course, angel. I said I wouldn’t, but now, I happen to know a great deal more about these modern get-togethers than you. So, this time, let me do the planning. You can relax for once, and I can do all the work, as you so irritatingly put it.”
Aziraphale gave him a dry look. “Don’t you lie to me, you serpent. I know you have something up your sleeve and I will not allow you to hamper the poor boy’s festivities.”
Crowley gave him a small pout, then wound his way behind the angel. He leaned in close. “Oh, really, angel. I promised I wouldn’t do any tempting. I just want to have a little fun. I’ll even promise to keep it to typical entertainment for this occasion. Nothing out of the norm. Nothing evil.” His breath whispered against the angel’s neck.
Aziraphale couldn’t contain the shiver that snaked down his spine. It sent jolts of heat throughout his body. “Oh, I wish you wouldn’t do that.” He bit his lip, hearing the harsh intent in his own words.
Crowley shifted back, losing all the self-assured swagger to his stance, then muttered a small apology under his breath. He thrust his hands in his pockets and slid onto the loveseat. He dangled his legs over one end and propped his head against the other arm.
Aziraphale sighed as he set his drink down. “I, um,” he huffed at himself in annoyance. Heaven and Hell already knew and sort of accepted the fact that they were working together. He needed to stop worrying about what everyone else wanted for once. Aziraphale glided over near the small couch and knelt next to the sprawling demon. He could feel a little heat flush his cheeks as he took Crowley’s hand. “You shouldn’t apologize, dear. I’m the one at fault. What I said, I didn’t mean it like that, or I suppose, I should’ve finished what I was thinking.”
Crowley stared at him with wide yellow eyes. He seemed genuinely baffled by Aziraphale’s confession.
“What I meant to say was that I can’t at all think straight when you, um, well, when you attempt to take my breath away, I believe is the proper phrasing.” His hands trembled as they held one of Crowley’s between them. He rubbed his thumb along the demon’s knuckles and pulled a soft sound from Crowley’s lips. Aziraphale beamed a small smile his way. “I hope you can forgive me, my dear.”
The whites of Crowley’s eyes had vanished behind a veil of gold.
Aziraphale blushed at the sight. It was too much. The heat had crept down his collar as though the demon’s fire wanted to consume him in ways that he wasn’t sure he’d mind.
Aziraphale gave Crowley’s hand a final squeeze before releasing it and stood. “So, um, as a token of my sincerity, I will let you plan the party if you still wish it.”
He needed another drink.
Crowley bounced up from the couch before he’d taken more than a step and wrapped his arms around his waist. He leaned in, nuzzling Aziraphale’s neck.
The angel froze in place as cool skin glided over him, and despite the proximity, he decided to swallow down his words; words that were trained over the millennia to dissuade those actions.
Crowley continued to nuzzle him, then pressed himself against Aziraphale’s back. Hot breath lingered against the angel’s skin as the demon left a trail of kisses down his neck.
“Wait,” Aziraphale breathed. It felt as though the world shifted under his feet. Everything he’d known for the last six thousand years had turned upside down in such a short time. And, despite how good Crowley’s touch made him feel, the last thing he wanted was to ruin what they had so carefully built over the eons.
He didn’t want to lose anything because of impatience. He didn’t want to lose the one consistency in his life that made the colors of the world brighter, the air sweeter, and made him want to throw aside every earthly pleasure just to see that sweet serpentine smile. Aziraphale had never known that demons could smile, much less laugh, yet he had been privileged over the years to know that, even if it didn’t happen often, it was still possible.
Crowley paused and let out a slow hiss that sounded filled with more remorse than annoyance. He backed away, and Aziraphale turned to him. The demon gave him his characteristic look of charming amusement, but after all the years, the angel had learned to read his partner-in-crime quite well. Masked behind the nonchalance, bubbled hurt and perhaps a bit of heartbreak. But, never annoyance, never hate, and it was just that which hurt him the most. Aziraphale knew Crowley wouldn’t blame him for slowing down, but it seemed unwise to rush into things with the end of the world only a few months behind them.
Neither of them had heard from their higher-ups, and yet, he feared even more watchful eyes than before. Perhaps, he’d be willing to gamble with his own odds, but never Crowley’s. However, the agony shifting behind those slitted humorous eyes seemed to burn him more than any Hellfire.
“You know,” Aziraphale said and flicked a wrist at the old gramophone in the corner. A soft tune echoed throughout the room. Chopin, he recognized it immediately, Nocturne. He caught Crowley’s questioning gaze. “Well, I was wondering if we could practice dancing while we went over the details for the party. I mean, we should at least know a few basic steps, don’t you think, dear?” He swallowed down the urge to fidget at his own boldness and held out a hand.
Crowley stared at his hand as though it cradled a dead bird.
He should’ve known. Aziraphale and Crowley had always been at two different speeds, two different mindsets. He couldn’t help as the disappointment spread across his face. Aziraphale really wanted to be at the same pace as the demon, but it wasn’t something he could change with such rapid ferventness. Even if he wanted to.
“Sorry,” he whispered and closed his hand. “I just keep making it worse, don’t I? I really am a bad angel.” Aziraphale turned away, unable to bear the weight of the demon’s eyes on him. He knew Crowley was different from the other demons, but it was more than that, he was different from everyone else, at least he was to Aziraphale.
“Never think that,” Crowley said. His words seemed oddly stern, yet sincere. He didn’t often speak so directly unless the severity of the situation was most dire. “You are the best angel, the brightest angel I know.” He smiled and stepped forward. “You know you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to with me. We have time again, so it’s fine, angel. Just be you.” He placed a soft kiss against Aziraphale’s cheek.
The angel shivered under his cool touch. The light flutter of Crowley’s lips against his skin seemed to burn like ice. As though it were something he thought he could handle, but something that could course the breath from his lungs if he wasn’t careful.
“Tomorrow,” Crowley said as he headed for the door. “I’ll be back then to discuss more of wedding stuff with you. Should we meet for lunch?”
Aziraphale rolled his shoulders, attempting to thaw the ice that tingled through his limbs and down to the core of his being. “Yes, that would be lovely, dear. I know of this delightful new sushi place just down the road.” He adjusted his vest and tartan bowtie.
“See you at eleven, then.” The door dinged and closed behind him.
Aziraphale stood alone with the gramophone still serenading the empty room, save for the angel and his guilt.
The next two weeks passed without much trouble. Crowley took him to lunch almost every day and always asked for his input for the guest list, what drinks to serve, and if there should be food. In the end, Aziraphale let the demon talk him into a more private location: one of the event Victorian-era houses off Greek Street. However, he didn’t know how private it would be with Crowley in charge of the guest list.
The angel did make sure Newt’s family was invited; Anathema had been courteous enough to provide a list of names and numbers for the occasion. As it turned out, the fellow did have some cousins that wanted to attend the party.
Aziraphale glanced at Crowley that evening as they walked. The cold wind sliced through their layers of coats, enough for the angel to start radiating a bit of heat as they still had a few blocks to go. He still wasn’t sure why Crowley had insisted that they walk. It was most definitely the wrong time of year for a stroll, but it was only five blocks away from his bookshop. Perhaps, he worried about someone scratching up the Bentley and didn’t want to explain to Anathema why he’d terrorized one of Newt’s cousins if it turned out to be one of them.
Either way, it had become increasingly hard to tell if Crowley seemed excited or apprehensive about the bachelor party. Aziraphale had no idea why he would be worried. A few friends, a few drinks, and probably—hopefully—food. As long as the young man didn’t touch anything expensive and electronic, there shouldn’t be any reason for the evening to be unpleasant.
Crowley inched closer as they walked, and his shoulder brushed against the angel. Aziraphale glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. He’d hunched more with his hands shoved deep into his pockets. Aziraphale let his warm radiate a bit more and eased an arm around the shivering serpent.
Crowley tensed for a fraction of a second, then slid both of his arms around the angel. “Thanks,” he hissed.
Aziraphale had to keep an eye on the walkway as Crowley buried his head into his shoulder, shielding his face from the chilling breeze. He probably would’ve shifted into his more serpentine form if they weren’t almost there.
The angel stepped them over the curb and paused. The thumping pulse of music echoed out into the night as lights stretched out across the sky almost as though to reach Heaven itself.
Aziraphale slid his tongue across his teeth. “Crowley.”
“When you said a private party, did you mean only the residence of London would be invited?”
Crowley lifted his head from the angel’s shoulder. “Well, I mean, some of his cousins aren’t from London, so no, I guess.”
Aziraphale released his arm from around the demon and sighed at the sight before them. The four-story Victorian dwelling had been consumed by lights and people that poured into the front door.
“Is that a man with a tiger?”
Crowley blinked in that direction, then nodded with a smile of recognition. “Yeah, that’s Jim.”
“Jim?” Aziraphale raised an eyebrow at him. “Jim, the tiger man? How do you even know a man with a tiger?”
Crowley shrugged and thrust his hands in his pockets again. “Well, Jim comes to all my parties. You know, ‘relax,’ ‘live a little,’ ‘ride the tiger.’”
“I don’t think anyone meant that literally, my dear. And I don’t believe that is an actual coin of phrase either.”
“Oh, yeah, well. Would be bloody rude to send him home now.”
“I suppose.” Aziraphale steeled himself for the next few hours of chaos ahead of them. He should’ve expected this, and to some degree he had; however, a bigger part of him worried if this was what they could see on the outside, then what in Heaven’s sake did he have going on inside the party. Aziraphale stepped forward. “There’s Newt. Let’s go be good hosts. What’s done is done, Heaven help us.”
“No need to get those bastards involved. It’d be a complete buzzkill, angel.”
“I suppose with only two weeks to plan this, I’ll admit that I am a little impressed.”
“There’s the spirit—”
“Oh, this is not over, you wily serpent. We shall discuss this at length at the bookshop. For now, let us try to rein in some of this before we find ourselves kicked off the guest list at the wedding.”
“Alright, fine,” Crowley huffed and followed him as they made their way to the terrified Newt, who stood gawking at the sizeable dazzling spectacle in front of him.
The inside of the house wasn’t quite as chaotic as Aziraphale had feared. There was horrible bebop music and equally disturbing dancing happening on the first floor. The second level appeared to be set up as a bar, where Aziraphale was glad to find a refreshing glass of scotch waiting for him. Crowley was introducing Newt to people the entire time, and some were human acquaintances, some were entertainers of sorts with music or card tricks, which had put the angel into a delightful mood upon meeting; then, there were a number of bartenders, waiters, and chefs who greeted Crowley with enthusiastic handshakes and broad smiles.
“Well,” Aziraphale mused to himself. “I can’t be too surprised that no one knows how to pull together last-minute soirée like a demon.” He sipped his drink as they climbed the stairs to the third floor.
Two rows of tables lined the middle of the room with what appeared to be most of Newt’s family and actual friends gathered around talking to one another. Aziraphale spied Sargent Shadwell in a corner, discussing his latest witch hunt with two others, who he presumed was the young man’s relatives. They had similar appearances and gave the Sargent the same vacant, yet slightly terrified expression that Newt himself wore on many occasions. He seemed to be wearing it at that moment, in fact.
Aziraphale sighed and sat in one of the empty seats at the first table. He wished he’d brought along a book or wished it wouldn’t be terribly rude to read. Though, that might not deter him for long. Crowley glanced his direction, then gave him a soft smile. It was one that the angel had seen before. One that was reserved for himself alone.
The demon made his way back to him and sat down. “What’s wrong, angel? It’s a party. You’re supposed to have fun.”
“I know, my dear. It’s just quite noisy and crowded. I don’t even recognize the music or dancing. And it is most certainly not something I could dance to with the gavotte.”
Crowley leaned forward and gave him a peck on the cheek. “I may be a demon, but I didn’t make this party to torture you, my angel.” He snapped his fingers, and a pair of young men sat down at the table with them.
Aziraphale brightened, recognizing them instantly. “Oh, my goodness. I can’t believe…” He whipped his head back at Crowley. “Are they? Are they really?”
Crowley winked and stood from the table. “Flew them all the way from Las Vegas. You’ve got about an hour before their performance tonight, angel. Use it wisely.”
Aziraphale wiggled in his seat and glance back at the pair of men as question after question sprung from his mind. “Oh, dear. This is so exciting. Please could you, I mean, would you teach me one or two of your tricks.”
The quiet one nodded with a showman’s grin and pointed at his partner.
The taller of the two gave the angel a dazzling look before saying, “So, I hear you like coin tricks.”
Aziraphale knew his night had just become one he would never forget, even if the real entertainment had yet to begin.
So, this story was supposed to be just one or two chapters, but apparently it had other ideas. So, it is turning out a bit longer than expected, but not to worry, much more shenanigans to follow soon! I hope you enjoy it!! 😊
Also, any guesses to our mystery magicians? 😁
Chapter 3: The Dance of the Serpent
Everyone at the tables applauded as the magician pulled a rabbit out of one of Newt’s shoes, which he’d grabbed earlier on in the act.
“And that’s why you should always check your shoes for dust bunnies,” the magician, Penn, said with an emphatic wave.
He and his partner, Teller, bowed before their ecstatic audience.
Aziraphale clapped and couldn’t contain the huge smile on his face. Any notion of a boring or abhorrent evening had left his mind ages ago.
A few of the waiters came by and took the emptied plates. The food had been quite delectable, despite his initial concerns of the chaos from before. The starter consisted of a smoky salmon tartar with lemon and capers and had been brought out at the beginning of the magic act, which had been followed by the main dish, filet mignon with sauce bordelaise with duchess potatoes and roasted broccoli. It had all been exquisite in taste, and all-around a pleasantly satisfying meal. He hoped dessert would come soon as he’d been looking forward to it since Crowley had agreed to serve his favorite, Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée.
He glanced at the demon, who had stood to shake hands with the magician pair as they left. It had been hard to believe how nice Crowley had been that evening.
Aziraphale froze with his hands on the table. His mind caught up with his line of reasoning that should’ve been apparent the entire time. He glanced around at the other guests. They were all having a delightful time, even Newt appeared to be smiling as he chatted with one of his relatives. Aziraphale swallowed down a slithering realization. Crowley was not nice. He might get away with it sometimes with Aziraphale or small children. But this span of niceties was far too bizarre to go unnoticed. He licked his lips and kept his eyes on the demon as he circled the room.
Crowley sat down next to him and propped his head with his hand, more relaxed than he’d appeared all evening.
“You foul fiend.” Aziraphale scowled at him.
Crowley snapped his gaze to him, then a wide smile spread across his face. “Figure something out, my angel?”
Aziraphale huffed and tossed the napkin from his lap onto the table. “This was all some elaborate ruse, wasn’t it? You still have something devilish planned for this evening; I know you must. It’s why you’ve been so nice to everyone to counterbalance whatever scheme you have in mind. And if it’s anywhere near as thoughtful as you’ve been thus far, then I should be very, very worried.”
Crowley leaned forward and shifted his glasses to rest on top of his head. His eyes gleamed as the lights in the room dimmed. “Oh, angel, come on now. Would a demon of Hell plan anything diabolical?” He gave the angel a small pouting look.
Aziraphale opened his mouth, but the answer came bursting through the door before he could get out the words.
“Did someone call the police? Because we got a report of a very naughty boy here tonight.” A dark-haired woman, who wore short black shorts and a white top that seemed near bursting as it tried to contain her, um, endowments, stepped through the door and twirled a plastic baton. She sauntered into the room, followed by a handful of women all dressed the same and even a pair of men in trousers that appeared tighter than Crowley’s own slacks if such a thing were possible.
Aziraphale sighed and gave the demon a dry look. “Really, my dear? I thought I told you no temptations.”
Crowley leaned forward as the music in the room grew louder with a rhythmic thumping beat. “I said I would only do what was typical at these kinds of things. Come on, look at the guys.” He gestured at the men, who, for the most part, were cheering; however, Newt himself appeared utterly terrified. “They’re all having fun. I don’t see a problem.”
Aziraphale huffed out an exasperated breath as one of the women tried to coax Newt to dance with them. He turned back to Crowley. “Our guest of honor does not appear to be having fun at all. Fix this now, or I won’t speak to you until the wedding.”
Crowley grabbed a drink off the table and sipped it. “And what if we get uninvited?”
“Then, I hope you enjoy cold silence for eternity, you serpent.”
The demon sighed after taking a swig from the glass. “Oh, alright. I’ll keep him from getting into trouble, at least.” Crowley rose and strolled over to where the group of girls were dancing and trying to get some of the men to join them.
Aziraphale rolled his shoulders, attempting to relieve the tension building along his back. Some of the waiters returned then, carrying small plates of the scrumptious dessert. He wiggled at the sight and picked up his spoon.
“At least I can enjoy something while they prance about,” Aziraphale said as a large—larger than the other portions, he noted—dish of crème brûlée was set in front of him. He smiled, thinking that Crowley had been rather sweet to him tonight, despite his need to cause infinite amounts of chaos. He really was a nice person at heart.
Aziraphale brought the spoon up to his mouth and paused. His eyes caught something near the dancers and somewhere a sort of spotlight had shown across the room. The not-so policewomen and some of the waitresses were cheering someone new, someone, not a part of their original group. Someone who now stood at the center of the light with his back to the crowd.
The spoon slipped from the angel’s grasp and clattered to the table.
Crowley stood bathed in light with his hips rolling in time to the music. He glanced back at his audience, exposing his neck, and bit his lip. His slitted golden eyes were visible, glittering in the light as he scanned the crowd. His arms stretched above his head and twirled as he glided in a small, slow circle.
Aziraphale felt his heart thumping in his chest.
The demon turned with his hips still swaying as his hands roamed across his silk shirt. His fingertips pressed into the fabric, revealing teases of skin, or tightening it across his chest, exposing several hard muscles beneath. Crowley licked his lips and let his fingertips play over his buttons, then began freeing them one at a time, slowly, deliberately taking his time to expose more skin. He leaned his head back, exposing his lean neck and thrust his shoulders back as he worked.
Aziraphale gaped at the sight. What was Crowley doing? He hadn’t meant for him to dance instead to keep the boy from getting into trouble. The angel tried to remember the last time he’d seen Crowley dance and couldn’t recall. However, there was very little he could recall right then. His eyes drifted over the demon’s flowing movements. The way his hips rolled with the song, the possessive way his hands teased away his shirt, and—Aziraphale’s eyes widened—the way Crowley was staring at him.
The demon’s golden gaze had fixed on him as he worked the shirt open. His eyes remained unblinking, unwavering as he eased the fabric from his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. His arms stretched out and mirrored the movements of a dance he’d seen long ago, but he couldn’t quite recall it with such a distraction in front of him. As Crowley rolled his sculpted abs, Aziraphale remembered their time together in Egypt, when dancing had involved many skilled rolls of the belly and chest. The demon then accentuated some of his movements by shimmying his hips, confirming the angel’s suspicions.
Some of the other dancers had started to join in, which most of the men seemed to enjoy; though, they had all been drinking for a few hours by then, so wasn’t too hard to keep their spirits up.
Aziraphale licked his lips and gripped at the tablecloth underneath his fingers. Sure, he had seen Crowley naked before in the baths at Rome or in the bathhouses in Japan, but he’d never been staring at him with such…or was that right?
Now that he thought about it, he had caught Crowley staring at him with such intensity before. However, not while letting his hands roam across his body like that. Usually, he looked that way when they ordered dessert and Crowley would slide his portion over to him, claiming to not be hungry. Aziraphale patted for the napkin he’d placed on the table and wiped at his brow.
Crowley swayed in a small circle before facing the crowd again, and his hands went to his belt. His hips gave tiny vibrations as he undid the buckle.
The angel jumped from his seat as though to stop him, but his feet wouldn’t move. His eyes wouldn’t leave the scene unfolding in front of him, like the richest, most luxurious dessert was being unwrapped and laid bare before him.
The demon dragged his tongue across his lips as he tugged the belt free, dropping it to the ground. His arms stretched upward once more, and he twirled in a small circle, letting his waist shiver in ways that should’ve made Aziraphale Fall then and there.
Aziraphale’s hands trembled, clenching the fabric of the tablecloth as though it were a lifeline back to sanity. Heat had consumed his face and swirled down his neck, down even further to slither into his stomach, hungry to devour every bit of him.
Crowley’s fingers grazed the button to his pants, and Aziraphale began to feel more certain that he was moments from getting discorporated.
He watched as the demon undid the button, then moved on to the zipper, all while writhing to the music. Crowley turned his back to the audience and started sliding down his tight black trousers. His lean muscles arched and swayed as he revealed more and more skin.
Aziraphale couldn’t help but let his eyes glide over the contours of his back, down to the lower dimples of his spine. He eyed the sweat that gleamed across his skin. It clung to him in ways that made the angel want to remove the glittering dew, perhaps with his tongue.
Aziraphale flushed deeply at the ideas springing to mind. And yet, he couldn’t pull his gaze away as Crowley lowered and kicked away the clothing, leaving him standing, spinning in a slow, delicious circle, wearing a bright red undergarment that left very little to the imagination. The demon also appeared to be enjoying himself quite a bit given the strain on the cloth.
Crowley’s hands explored his body, gliding across his shimmering form, and down to the rim of his last remaining bit of clothing. His fingertips trailed up his rolling abs, up to his chest, then grazed across one of his hard nipples. Crowley’s eyes fluttered, and Aziraphale stumbled back into his chair. The idea of his body discorporating did not seem so much of a joke anymore.
Crowley dragged one finger down over his chest once more, then up to his lips and let his tongue glide across its surface.
Aziraphale met his eyes again as the human dancers started gliding closer to him, cheering him on, and even stuck a few bills inside his last bit of clothing.
Aziraphale stood once more as the searing heat that had overtaken his body shifted to a burning frost without warning. His hand covered his chest as though it pained him. He turned, heading for the door. His guilt had returned once again, and to his shame, in the form of a jealous green-eyed serpent.
Chapter 4: You What?
Aziraphale sighed at the packed stairwell leading down to the lower levels. However, to his relief, the stairs leading to the top floor appeared much less crowded. He edged up them, passing a few guests he didn’t recognize. His hand remained plastered to his chest as though it were the only thing keeping his beating heart from bursting out. He needed a quiet place. A calm place to think, and a way to ease the avalanche of emotions that bouldered over him without remorse.
He reached the top landing and miracled himself a free space on a cozy lounge by the window. The couple that had been sitting there passed by him discussing refills for their empty glasses. The angel sat on the fluffy cushion, staring out the window. How had the evening shifted so drastically? Part of him wanted to blame it on demonic influences, but he knew better than that by now. Crowley wouldn’t have done anything he thought would upset him, not really. The dance itself hadn’t sent the waves of uneasiness slithering down him. His own actions had done that.
A shudder coursed down his back as though his own mind and heart had revealed something dark dwelling inside him.
He watched the lights outside beam out into the night, but it seemed to only succeed in bringing his thoughts back to the chaos of Heaven. Aziraphale shivered at the thought. He didn’t know if hearing from them or not felt worse. He just had to have…faith.
A hand brushed his shoulder.
Aziraphale flinched, snapping his gaze up to meet familiar yellow eyes. He huffed out a breath and glanced back at the window. At least Crowley was clothed properly again.
“Shouldn’t you be down entertaining our guest of honor? Or, those human women, perhaps?” He bit his lip. “That, that was…I mean.” He sucked in a breath, then released away the constricting darkness circling his heart. “Sorry, dear.”
He hated that feeling. Aziraphale had always recognized the souring emotions that dwelled in human hearts. Sure, he had felt a few of them brush through him before, but nothing with so much weight. It seemed shackled to him now like some ugly beast that would forever be a part of him. He swallowed down the feeling and attempted to rid himself of it as though it had been something left rotting on his tongue. “Perhaps, it’s best if I retire for the night.” Aziraphale moved to stand, and instead, was pulled into Crowley’s arms.
“Don’t leave, angel,” his words hissed out in a whisper. “I’m the one who should be apologizing. Cause, ngk, I, uh, I broke my promise to you.”
Aziraphale sighed at him but returned the embrace. “Perhaps a bit, dear boy.”
“I,” he let out a bitter laugh. “That all played out a bit differently in my head, you know. I thought you’d glare at me a bit, but, you know, find it funny in the way you usually do, with that smile you give me. I didn’t think, well…okay, yeah. I just didn’t think.”
Despite himself, Aziraphale felt the corners of his mouth quirk up. “Well, funny wasn’t quite the word I was thinking of back there.”
Aziraphale could hear the smile returning to the demon’s lips. He gave Crowley one more squeeze before easing them to sit on the loveseat. “Since we are being honest, I’m not entirely upset about the whole tempting part. I didn’t actually think you were trying to get anyone’s attention.”
Crowley leaned forward and took his hand. He rubbed his thumb over Aziraphale’s knuckles. “Well, now, I didn’t say that, angel.”
Aziraphale flushed and tried to glare at him. “Are you trying to get yourself into trouble? Or, do you do this just to annoy me?”
Crowley leaned forward, planting a soft kiss on his lips. It held no rush, no hurried fervor to lead into more, just a delicate sweetness that filled Aziraphale with warmth. The angel hesitated as though a part of him wanted to complain that he shouldn’t use kisses to end arguments, but he couldn’t really remember what had sparked his frustration in the first place. So, perhaps, just this once, he could let the wily serpent get away with it. The demon gave his lip a final nip before releasing them.
“Oh, angel. How can you be so clever and not see what’s right in front of you?”
Aziraphale gave him a half-hearted pout, then stuck out his tongue for good measure. “I could say the same thing about you, my dear.”
Crowley burst into a hearty laugh, a real one. One filled with mirth and joy. And, for a moment, Aziraphale could almost picture how Crowley must’ve looked in Heaven, radiant and shining brighter than the closest star. It was Heaven. The Heaven Aziraphale had been missing somewhere inside.
“I love you.”
Crowley made a startled choking sound, then stared at him with wide eyes. “You what?”
Aziraphale felt his cheeks flame with heat. “I-I, well…I guess I’ve always known, and really, my dear, is it that much of a surprise?”
Crowley leaned forward and buried his face against the angel’s neck. “Suppose not.”
Aziraphale raised an eyebrow at the sudden gesture but relaxed with a contented sigh and ran his fingers through Crowley’s scarlet strands. “I am sorry though, my dear. I didn’t mean to leave before your, um…performance had finished. I was just overwhelmed.”
The demon chuckled. “Overwhelmed with my promiscuous demonic aura?”
Aziraphale knew he’d meant it as a joke; however, if he were being honest. “Well, I mean…Would, would that be a bad thing?”
Crowley tensed against him, then leaned back to catch his eyes. His brows had shot up far from his bewildered stare. “My angel. Is that what happened in there?” He seemed to be trying to suppress a grin. “Liked the dancing bit, did you? Oh, angel, my love. That’s all for you.” He leaned forward again, and his mouth was on him. His lips glided over Aziraphale’s jaw, then eased down his neck, all while whispering shivering truths. “Angel, that was all for you. You must know by now, everything I do is for you. Let me prove it to you, any way you want, angel. You must know, you must know by now, you are my world, angel.”
Aziraphale had only a vague recollection of succumbing to the demon’s tender kisses, and then, Crowley had shifted closer. He leaned against him, and they slid further down the small couch, slowly guiding Aziraphale to lay against its soft cushion.
He pressed a hand against Crowley’s chest. “My dearest, not here. We are not alone in the slightest. Plus, I believe we are supposed to be playing hosts to our dear friend.”
Crowley gave him a soft nibble against his neck before rising. He beamed at the angel with a coy grin. “Maybe, I just want to ensure you don’t forget this feeling later.”
Aziraphale had just about enough of Crowley’s teasing. “My dear demon.” He twisted Crowley’s collar and tugged him forward, then pressed his lips against the demon’s mouth. His tongue pried his lips apart, releasing a small moan from Crowley’s throat. His free hand laced through the demon’s hair and gave it a playful tug. He could feel the shivers coursing down them. Aziraphale released him. Then, he dragged a fingertip underneath the demon’s chin and met his eyes. “Be careful what you wish for, my demon. It might not go exactly how you may think.”
Crowley’s eyes fluttered, and he seemed to be having trouble concentrating. “Oh, God—Fuck! I, uh, angel. I’ll do anything if you do that again, please, angel.”
Aziraphale stood with a smirk. “Unfortunately, my dear, we have neither the time nor opportunity at present.”
“Angel,” Crowley collapsed against the back of the couch. “What in Heaven has gotten into you?”
He leaned forward. “Oh, my dear, nothing has gotten into me. But perhaps later, we will see what has gotten into you.”
Crowley let his mouth fall open. “Nkh, I, what, angel!”
“Come now, dear. We still have a party to tend to.”
Crowley floundered up from the couch and appeared to forget how to work his legs as he stumbled after him.
Aziraphale offered him a hand once they reached the stairs. Not that Crowley really needed help down them, but it was best to be cautious.
“Wait, angel. Come with me first.”
Aziraphale blinked as Crowley led them down passed the third floor. “Dear, where are we going? Newt will have wondered where his hosts have gone by now.”
“Nah, I told him I was going to drag you away for something naughty anyway. He’s fine.” His fingers laced through Aziraphale’s as he led them to the first floor.
The angel’s eyes widened in horror. “Oh, dear, no. I don’t know how to dance to this at all.”
“Precisely.” Crowley snapped his fingers.
The blasting beat faded into soft piano notes. Many of the dancers seemed puzzled by the switch but appeared amiable enough to shift into a slow sway with their partners. Aziraphale hesitated at the sudden alteration, then he risked glancing at the demon. Crowley held a small smile, then weaved them between the crowd to the dance floor.
“Dear, you know you don’t, I mean, if this isn’t something you want.”
Crowley pulled him close and wrapped his arms around Aziraphale’s waist. “Well, you said you wanted to practice for the wedding. Can’t have you making me look bad, can I?”
The angel blushed, feeling his chest bubble with contented mirth. “I suppose we can’t have that now. But, dearest, I really have no idea what I’m doing. This might be a slower song, but I still don’t recognize it or the dance.”
“Don’t worry about the music. Just relax, angel. Just go with it.”
Aziraphale bit his lip, but soon eased his arms up and laced his hands together behind Crowley’s neck. “Like this?”
“Perfect, angel.” Crowley started to sway them in a lazy circle.
Aziraphale couldn’t help but giggle. It was rather fun, even if he didn’t know the steps. The angel glanced around and saw their moves mimicked those around them; yet, most of the other dancers seemed to be staring at their partners or had embraced closer and leaned against one another. He glanced up, and his breath caught in his throat. Crowley was already staring at him, staring with the same gaze as the others around them. Eyes filled with love and compassion, enthralled in one another as though there was nothing else in the world.
The room had hummed with love since before the song started, but then again, he could always sense it. And if he dared, now that it was more or less safe, he could pinpoint its origin. The angel met Crowley’s soft gaze, and his eyes widened. Aziraphale hadn’t expected so much of it. Nearly everything he felt, the same eons-old sense of being bathed in love that seemed to follow him everywhere, it all originated right there, right in his arms.
He let out a staggering breath.
Crowley raised an eyebrow at him. “You alright?”
Aziraphale swallowed back the flood of warmth inside of him. “Yes, it’s just, I never.” He smiled as a tear slid down his cheek. “I never had the courage to check, you see. I always knew that the world was filled with love, but I mean.”
Crowley flushed almost immediately and glanced away.
“My dear, why didn’t…well, I suppose that one is obvious now, isn’t it? I’m sorry, sorry it took me so long.” Aziraphale buried his face into Crowley’s shoulder.
The demon made a non-committal noise that Aziraphale knew meant he’d embarrassed him quite a bit.
Aziraphale licked his lips as he pondered a thought, then decided to risk it. “Do you think that since your teaching me this dance that I could teach you the gavotte?”
“Oh, angel, I don’t know. I don’t really think it’s my style.”
“I suppose, my dear. But we really should come up with some sort of dance for us both.”
Crowley glanced down, trying to catch his eyes. “Oh? Why’s that?”
“Well, I mean, it’s going to be very awkward if we can’t even dance together well at our own wedding someday.” Aziraphale was fairly certain he felt Crowley’s heart stop. “Dearest, you need that to function, remember?”
Crowley coughed hard and almost tripped over his own feet. Aziraphale held him up and tried not to laugh. “Careful, my dear demon. Should we sit down?”
“Do you need a drink?”
Crowley nodded, appearing to have lost his ability to speak.
Aziraphale guided them back up to the second floor, and only had to hoist Crowley back up twice. They found a miraculously free table for two in the corner. The angel sat him in the chair before getting their drinks. He didn’t want to worry about Crowley toppling over while he ordered.
The demon had his elbows propped on the table and appeared deep in thought.
Aziraphale set both drinks down and joined him. “Are you okay, my dear? I didn’t mean to surprise you so. I suppose I must admit, I’d thought you would have already considered it.”
Crowley snagged his glass and downed it completely, which the angel frowned at with some unease.
“Dear, if it makes you that upset, I mean, I only mentioned it.”
“No,” Crowley sputtered. “No, it’s not that, angel. I…I, well, you know how it is, being a demon and all. I mean, I can lie, right? About, about something not too important.”
Aziraphale raised his brow and had the distinct feeling he was not about to like what he was going to say at all. “What did you do?”
“Well, I mean, I, uh, I kind of already proposed to you, angel.”
And Aziraphale’s mouth fell open.
“I,” Aziraphale tugged at his tartan bowtie. His skin felt flush, much more than it had even while they had been dancing. “I think I need some air.” The angel rose from his chair, drink forgotten, and stumbled toward the stairs.
Crowley appeared beside him and snaked an arm around his, hoisting him up. “Look, I know I should’ve mentioned it sooner, but don’t go off and get yourself bloody discorporated by falling down the stairs.”
The heat quivering through Aziraphale’s skin surged under the demon’s touch. Something sparked inside that wasn’t like his usual forgiving nature. He huffed out an exasperated breath. “My dear, I thought after everything we’d been through, what with the Bastille, and the Nazis, and then Armageddon. I mean, really. I thought you would’ve come clean about things like this.” Aziraphale unhooked his arm from Crowley’s grasp and stomped down the stairs. It wasn’t until they had reached the sidewalk outside that he unclamped his jaw and whirled on him. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
Crowley let out a sigh and adjusted his glasses on his nose. “Come on, angel. It’s not like I didn’t want to tell you. I’m sure there are things you haven’t told me, yet. We’re still, I don’t know, getting used to it, aren’t we? The whole, not having to glance over our shoulder all the time. And I thought you knew, I mean, you know what I meant with the whole runaway to Alpha Centauri together, right?”
The angel hesitated. His hands unclenched, and he took a step back. “Of course, of course I knew what you meant, but I…” His hands snapped together and wrung in his all-too-known nervous way.
Crowley raised an eyebrow.
Aziraphale flung his hands down as though realizing he was giving away his sudden shifting mood. “Look, all right. Mistakes were made. We can continue this conversation at another time. Right now, we need to get back and be good hosts to our dear fellow.” He bolted for the door, but Crowley side-stepped in front of him and lowered the glasses from his eyes. His golden gaze fixed on him, and Aziraphale paled under their comprehension.
“Angel, we’ve known each other for how long?”
“Um, well, a bit over six thousand years, but you know that. Why would you–”
“Then, what did you do? I know that look; I know that look of yours very well.” He tilted his head forward just an inch and stepped in a slow, purposeful circle, gliding around the angel.
Aziraphale knew he was trapped, trapped in the coils of the serpent, and yet; he knew he only had himself to blame. He sighed, letting his shoulders sag. It was time to practice his own words of wisdom, even if Crowley might want to discorporate him afterward. “There,” he said, then steeled his tone best he could. “There might be something, um, well, along this line of thought, that I’ve failed to mention to you as well, my dear.” Aziraphale’s heart drummed in his chest. So much so, that he hoped he could get the words out with the body still intact, yet, he wasn’t entirely sure that it could be done.
Crowley paused his circling, then ambled back in front of him. His shoulders rolled, and he turned, giving Aziraphale a hard stare as though he knew the weight of the angel’s words could knock him off balance, as though the angel’s revelations could send him to his knees like the gales of some unseen storm.
The demon’s silence only added to the gathering weight of his words. Aziraphale swallowed down the lump that seemed to try and keep the words sealed behind his lips. He huffed, letting his resolve take control. “Very well. The truth is, my dear…the truth is that I couldn’t run away with you to Alpha Centauri because, well, like you said, I knew what it meant. It was like that, um, the human word, eloping. And, well, I couldn’t do that with you.” He paused, noticing Crowley’s form grow rigid, then sink as though he had expected the words to hurt, but not like that. Not with so much accusation behind them.
“So, what? Because I’m a demon or something, you can’t run away with me? Because I’m–” Crowley spun away, obviously not wanting to finish his thought or hear the answer.
Aziraphale knew he couldn’t leave it like this. He couldn’t let Crowley bear the weight of his mistake like he had for so many millennia. “Crowley, Crowley, wait!”
The demon waved a hand back as though to say to let him be. His heart had to have broken, despite that it need not.
The angel hadn’t intended to shout the last part, but with Crowley nearing the infernally loud music from the house once again, Aziraphale knew he had little choice. “Oh, for bloody hell. My dear, we are already married!”
Crowley stumbled, righted himself, and stood with his hands out like he’d just smacked into some invisible force preventing his escape. Though, perhaps, that wasn’t far from the case. He rounded on Aziraphale. His eyes glittering, curtained with gold.
Aziraphale glanced down, noticing the usual dark glasses lay strewn on the sidewalk, forgotten with one of the lenses chipped. He was in a lot of trouble, even more so than with the whole Antichrist business. It made facing extinction by Hellfire seem much less daunting.
Crowley grabbed his shirt collar. “What? What do you mean exactly? And I mean, no more games, no more dancing around your words. What do you bloody well mean by ‘we are already married?’ Because that does not sound like you mean it metaphorically or ironically or whatever. Tell me, Aziraphale.”
“Perhaps, perhaps, we should sit down, my dear.” He could feel Crowley’s hands trembling, and the sense of his body pressed against him. Aziraphale seemed to be the only thing keeping him upright. However, he couldn’t blame him.
“No! Just tell me already.”
“Very well.” Aziraphale rested his hands over Crowley’s grip and eased them down. He didn’t release him, even when he had removed the demon’s trembling hold from his collar. “My dear, do you remember the time I invited you to join me in Central America? I believe it was in Yucatán for that delightful cup of cocoa. The Spanish had just discovered the Mayan culture and–”
“Hang on, angel. Are you telling me that for over five hundred years–”
“Please, my dear. Let me finish first; then I’ll happily answer all of your questions.” Aziraphale raised an eyebrow at him. Crowley seemed near vibrating with outraged curiosity. He stood grinding his teeth but kept his hands laced with the angel’s soft grip.
“Now then, ah yes. I sent you a letter, remember? I had invited you to come try a new drink, co-coa. It was utterly delightful, and I couldn’t wait for you to try it.”
“Yes, yes,” Crowley said with a barely suppressed snarl. “And I got there, and you made me the drink, I know that part.”
“Well…it, um, it turns out that when I made you the drink, and I brought it to you, well, do you remember where we were at the time?”
Crowley exhaled and rolled his eyes. “Yes, we were sitting outside, in one of those public lounging area things. Mayans all running about everywhere. They didn’t seem to mind us being there all that much. You were excited that I didn’t hate the blasted drink and all.”
“Yes, of course. Well.” Aziraphale could feel his own hands quivering, possibly a residual effect from the bombarding beat of his heart. “Well, I might have been a bit over-enthusiastic about your reaction, and, you see, well…”
Crowley stiffened as that night seemed to play out behind his eyes. Aziraphale could see the dawning of understanding in his widening stare. “That, those people. They weren’t bloody well cheering because I liked the drink, were they?”
“They, they thought–”
“Yes, they thought you had accepted to be…well, my husband.”
Crowley released his hands, then turned around. His hand shot up to cover his mouth, and he paced in a tight circle. “They had a party that night, and they kept calling me that word, oh, that bloody word, what was it?”
“It meant, well…”
“You said it meant friend.” Crowley turned with an accusing stare and pointed a finger at him.
“I might have toned it down a bit, yes.”
“It-it meant what? Lover? Partner?”
Aziraphale sighed, lacing his hands together in front of him. “Husband. It meant husband, my dear.”
“And what? What about that party that night?”
“And that ridiculous getup they put me in?”
“The old guy shouting and holding our hands?”
“You said that was a WELCOMING ceremony!”
“Yes, yes, I know, I’m a horrible bastard of an angel.”
Crowley returned to snaking around him in a tight ring. “All this time.” He glared at him. “All this time and you never said a word?”
“Well, I didn’t realize it till it was too late. What was I supposed to do? Stop the ceremony? Insult them? We would’ve been discorporated for sure.”
“Aziraphale, you could’ve said something to me,” his words hissed out, losing their hard edge.
The angel surged forward and wrapped his arms around him. “I’m sorry, my dear. I’m so sorry. You’re absolutely right. About everything. Like you said, I really am a bit of a bastard.”
Crowley had tensed under his touch at first, then sagged in his arms, letting his demonic anger sweep out of him. He leaned his head against Aziraphale’s shoulder. “Suppose this means you’re stuck with me then. Till time fades away or some other bollocks. You did this to yourself; you know.”
Aziraphale felt the corners of his mouth quirk up. “I suppose you’re right. I am…I am sorry, though. I had thought that if we tried that particular human adventure that it would be something a bit more grand.”
“A bit more grand? They slaughtered a handful of prisoners for us that night. I’d hate to know what you expected would be more grand than that, angel. Plus, I don’t remember you having any qualms about it all. If I remember correctly, you were the bloody one helping them pick out the food selection that night.”
Aziraphale felt his cheeks flush again and, he knew, if he was already in that deep, then he might as well go all in. “Well, that is, at the time, I didn’t actually think you’d ever agree to marry me, so I, um, just kind of went along with it. It became a bit obvious to me once I realized what they were calling you, so I, um, well, I just kind of played along. My own little fantasy, my own little slice of heaven that I thought would never come to pass.”
Crowley stayed quiet for a long moment, then started laughing. His body shook as more and more laughter burst from him. And Aziraphale couldn’t help it; he began to chuckle too. They really were a pair of idiots.
Well past three in the morning, they walked home, hand in hand, and both were staring ahead, ready to take on whatever came their way. Aziraphale had never dreamed he would get to enjoy the small things that many mortals seemed to take for granted each day. It made his chest swell, even in passing moments such as these.
He glanced at Crowley as a thought came to his mind. “So, you never actually told me.”
“Hm.” Crowley brought the angel’s hand up and kissed the back of it. “Told you what?”
“You said you’d already proposed to me. When did you mean?”
The demon gave him a quite wicked grin, not meeting his eyes. “Do you remember Turkey? That bit with the saint?”
Aziraphale stumbled to a halt, then stood dumbstruck. “Crowley…that was, that was almost two thousand years ago.”
“Yeah, I know. Do you, still have it? The wood carving thingy.”
The angel gave him an insufferable glare before releasing his hand. He retrieved a wooden snake from his vest pocket that matched the tattoo on the side of the demon’s face. It fit neatly in the palm of his hand. “I suppose you mean this.”
Crowley gave him a soft smile, the kind only reserved for the angel and nodded. “Turn it over. Need to see the belly.”
He did. “I would’ve known if you’d written something there. I’ve, well, I mean, I’ve looked at it, every so often.”
Crowley flicked his eyes at the snake belly of the carving, then blew a bit of air over it. Tiny flecks drifted away in the breeze, revealing a phrase carved along the winding serpent.
Aziraphale held the snake closer to his eyes and squinted, reading the words.
To my love, my angel, with all that I am for eternity.
“Oh, oh, Crowley. It’s…it’s beautiful.” His fingers glided over the words. He didn’t know if his heart could handle any more of the overwhelming intensity of the demon’s love, but he was willing to give eternity to find out. “My dear, you really are the kindest, the sweetest–”
“Shut it, angel. Come on now. I’m bloody freezing out here.” Crowley held out his hand for him. And Aziraphale took it with a warm smile as they crossed the street to the bookshop.
They paused as their eyes fell on a small wooden crate sitting just outside the door.
Aziraphale blinked and tilted his head quite perplexed.
“What’s that?” Crowley said, tugging them forward and leaning over the box. “It’s addressed to you, angel.”
Aziraphale snapped his fingers, and the lid popped off, despite the many nails fastening it closed. Thin bits of hay, ancient looking stuff, filled the container, and yet. He reached in, spying the corner of something. As he retrieved the book, his mouth fell open.
Crowley glanced between him and the book. “Angel? Angel, what is it?”
Aziraphale shuddered as his mouth grew dry in an instant, then he licked his lips, attempting to remember how to speak again. He read the cover, “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter: Ye Saga Continues.” The book trembled in his hand. “Oh, good lord.”
Crowley’s eyes widened. “What? What does it mean?”
“It means, my dear, that there is work to be done.”
Despite the fact that Aziraphale now owned a book that he suspected no one else in the world had owned; he also suspected that it showing up on his doorstep was not a good sign of things to come.
There didn’t need to be another war.
More short stories following this plot will be coming soon! I plan to do many more pre and post-canon stories with these two! ^__^
**So, I realized after rereading The Bachelor Party that I still have some loose ends to tie up, more chapters to come!!
Crowley let out a long-suffering sigh before stepping back from the bookshop. They had stood in front of Aziraphale’s building while the angel stared at the leather-bound book. His fingertip scrawled over the curving letters as though the golden ink held the secrets of the universe, which in all cases probably did.
“I’ll see you later, angel.” Crowley shoved his hands into his jacket pockets and started back down the sidewalk.
“Wait. Hang on.” Aziraphale snapped his reverent gaze from the book and back to the sulking figure. “Where are you going?”
Crowley paused, shifting from foot to foot. He didn’t turn back to meet Aziraphale’s puzzled stare. “It’s all right. I know you want to read that book. You probably need a few days to look it over like last time, I suspect.”
Crowley huffed out a breath and turned, but kept his gaze roaming everywhere except on the angel. “Yeah, you know, that time you found book girl’s stuff in the back of the Bentley. You dashed off inside before I could get a word in, so I just thought you needed time again. It’s fine, really.” He turned as though to continue down the path.
“Wait, Crowley, please.” Aziraphale stepped forward. He raised his hand, leaving the smooth touch of the book forgotten. It mattered, of course. The book now loosely grasped in his other hand was important; Aziraphale knew that, but perhaps old habits still remained wound around his bones, not at all eager to let go.
“It’s fine, angel.” Crowley waved a hand back with his casual gesture of ‘see you later,’ but that would not be how they would part if Aziraphale had anything to say about it.
“Anthony J. Crowley, if you don’t turn around and come back here this instant, I promise I will hurl this book at you with enough Heavenly effort for it to smack you a second time of its own accord.”
Crowley stumbled his steps, and turned, removing his glasses. “What? I thought I was being considerate.” He glanced at the book in Aziraphale’s tight grip. “And, really, come on, angel. You’d never hurt a book in your life–”
Aziraphale moved much faster than Crowley had expected. They both should have known by now what the other was capable of, but they seemed to wish to see those efforts tested time and time again.
The leather-bound book whizzed through the air, nearly clipping Crowley’s ear before it skidded across the sidewalk behind him. Aziraphale’s eyes widen. He stared down at his hand, and his entire body began to quiver. The color from his cheeks faded, leaving him ghostly gaunt in the early morning lamplight.
Crowley’s mouth fell open and shut repeatedly as though all manner of thought or words had left him. He turned, staring from the book, then whirled back to the angel. “You…you just threw a book!”
“I can’t believe you…”
Aziraphale snapped his gaze up with an uncomfortable amount of righteous fury. “You! You tempted me to throw a book.”
“Well, I, I mean…” Crowley glanced again between the angel and the book. “I didn’t actually–”
“Out of all the things you’ve made me do, Crowley. I can’t. I just can’t believe you’d,” the indignation in his tone seeped away, and he stared at his hand again. The few lamps above the bookstore gleamed at the edges of Aziraphale’s eyes. “I can’t believe I’d do such a monstrous…”
Crowley swore under his breath and dashed, first grabbing the book, then lunged back and snaked an arm around Aziraphale’s waist. “You’re absolutely right, angel. I’m a horrible demon who tempted you into a highly nefarious act. I’m the bloody bastard.” Under normal circumstances, such words would’ve left Crowley’s mouth dripping with sarcasm; however, under the weight of the tiny glint of light sliding down Aziraphale’s cheeks, his words came out softer than plump marshmallows like the kind the angel enjoyed in his cocoa and just as soothing. “Come on, angel. Let’s get you inside.”
“I can’t believe I threw it.”
Crowley pressed a light finger to Aziraphale’s lips with a tender shush. He opened the door to A.Z. Fell & Co. bookshop with a snap of his fingers and guided them to the couch in the back room. “Let’s just get you settled, darling. I told you, you didn’t do it. I’m the one that did it. The wily serpent strikes again. You’re not to blame.”
“No, of course not, angel. Now, sit here. Yes, doesn’t that feel better? Want some tea? Wine?”
Aziraphale sniffed, then licked his lips. “Cocoa, please, dear.” His trembling words hit Crowley like a holy arrow to the heart. Only his angel could make him feel like he’d committed murder over a blasted book. Though, in all fairness, to Aziraphale hurting books and murder were probably not as far apart as they were for most of the human population.
“Of course, angel. Give me a moment.”
Aziraphale continued to quiver and he didn’t seem to be able to stop looking at his hand. Then, he laughed. It started out as a small chuckle, but it grew until he was near rocking in place.
Crowley grimaced and set the book on the angel’s desk. “Bloody hell, I think I broke him.” He covered his face with a hand.
Aziraphale wiped at the corners of his eyes with a few chuckles still bubbling out. “No, it’s just. It’s true, isn’t it?”
“What is?” He peeked at the angel from under his shielding hand.
“In six-thousand years, the worst thing you’ve tempted me to do is toss a book.” He laughed again and pulled a small handkerchief from his back pocket and dabbed at his forehead. “It’s quite funny, really, given everything, I suppose.”
Crowley let a small smile dance across his lips. “Still want that cocoa?”
“Actually?” He hesitated, pondering over the options. “Would you, instead, come sit with me?”
The demon raised an eyebrow but sauntered back over and sat next to him. He sprawled, resting his neck against the back of the couch and let his feet prop out in front of him. “Wanted me instead of the cocoa, angel?” He gave Aziraphale a devilish grin, then settled back against the couch once more.
“Is that…I mean, would that be a problem? You did just tempt me into something terribly atrocious, so if you want any sort of forgiveness from me, you’d better be willing to deal with the consequences.”
Crowley rolled his eyes, then glanced at him. “If you think–”
Aziraphale shifted on the couch, sitting up straighter, if it were possible, and tugged at the knot in his bowtie. He flicked his gaze at his serpentine friend and watched him as he removed the tartan bow completely and laid it on the arm of the sofa. He removed his jacket next, peeling away the sleeves before draping it over the arm as well. The angel watched as Crowley swallowed; his throat bobbed in a slow swell that made Aziraphale want to reach over and glide his fingers down his slender neck. But, he was a bit of a bastard after all. “You were saying?”
“I was…I was saying words, yes, right. Um.” His hand shot for the end table on his other side, grasping for a drink that was not ever there. “Wine, yes. I need, I mean, I’ll get us some wine.”
“Didn’t we get enough at the party, my dear?” He rolled his shoulders and unbuttoned his cuffs, then proceeded to roll up his sleeves one by one.
Crowley leaped from the couch and darted, pacing around the small room. “Maybe you did.” He snatched a bottle of scotch from a spot on Aziraphale’s desk and popped off the lid.
“Glass, dear,” Aziraphale said, but Crowley had already started downing the contents.
Crowley gasped after a few gulps, then wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve. He glanced back at the couch and almost dropped the bottle. Aziraphale had stood with his sleeves rolled up, shirt untucked, and his top two buttons had mysteriously come undone.
The angel glided over and eased the bottle from his fingers before taking a swig. “I guess we don’t need glasses after all.”
Crowley gaped at him, then snatched up the book, holding it in front of him like it was some holy shield. “Your book, remember? What about your book? Worlds probably coming to an end and all again, so shouldn’t you be fussing over it and waking up book girl?”
“My dear.” Aziraphale placed the bottle back on the desk and slid the glass stopper over the top. “If the world is ending, then shouldn’t I make sure to spend some time with the one who is dearest to me?” His fingers brushed over Crowley’s hand as he removed the book from his grip and placed it on the desk again.
Crowley’s cheeks flushed with heat as his golden eyes widened. He rested a hand on the desk, and Aziraphale guessed it was more to help keep him on his feet than appear relaxed at the situation, no matter how he played it off. “Well, I mean…I just.”
Aziraphale rested a hand on Crowley’s chest. It was a gentle caress, not a forceful or possessive touch. It was a simple gesture of space; of asking if Aziraphale could remain with him, near him, remain within his comfort and behind the mask that Crowley portrayed to the world. The angel wanted to be a part of him and know more than ever the piece of him that he’d only ever dare show more than bare flickers of truth.
He leaned forward with his eyes steady on Crowley’s golden gaze. Their noses brushed against one another, and their breath mingled, sending sparks of shivers across their skin. “Crowley, may I kiss you?”
Crowley swallowed a slow audible lump that left him gasping. His cool composure appeared to crack just beneath the surface. The wrinkles at the corners of his eyes softened, and his brow relaxed before knitting together with a small quiver. “Aziraphale, I, you don’t have to do this because of anything I said, or because the world is possibly ending, or anything.”
Aziraphale closed his eyes and rested his forehead against him. “You’re scared again. I take it?”
“I, uh, well, scared isn’t really a good word, I mean, demons don’t get scared.”
“You’re worried I will Fall.” Aziraphale sensed the tremble that surged down Crowley. He tilted his head and pulled Crowley into a gentle embrace. One hand rested on Crowley’s back with his fingers gripping into the soft fabric of his jacket, while the other reached for the demon’s hair, rubbing his fingers through the auburn strands. “I won’t. And, it’s not a guess either. I’ve known since, well, since Dover.”
Crowley twitched, then leaned back and raised an eyebrow. “You said it then, too. That you knew you wouldn’t Fall. I was so,” he swallowed, seeming unable to let the words or the fear leave him. “But, you never said how.”
“Oh, I thought it was obvious.”
“Obvious?” Crowley’s lips formed a tight line. “Obvious! How is it obvious? I’ve spent the last thousand or so years terrified that I’d hear something or find you all draped in black feathers. I had nightmares about it for weeks after our, um, fight. And it’s not fucking fair, angel, having dreams crashing between my deepest, darkest fantasy and then my greatest, single-most unforgivable fear is almost enough to make me discorporate. Wouldn’t have blasted helped, but still. And now, you say, oh, isn’t it obvious? Like we’re just discussing the bloody weather or a new type of blasted tea!” He wound his arms behind Aziraphale and squeezed against him. “It’s been bloody terrifying is what it’s been, so no, it has not been blasted obvious, and I’d bloody well like it if you’d stop assuming I know what the fuck is obvious or not, so if you are going to kiss me, then get fucking on it–”
Aziraphale’s lips pressed against Crowley’s mouth. Heat sparked between them, sending a rolling shiver coursing down them. It wasn’t their first kiss, but it was something new that wasn’t a greeting or a goodbye. It wasn’t full of knowledge that it might be their last or would get them hunted down. Aziraphale let out a soft groan. It eased from him as though for years, centuries he’d waited, as though it had clamped in the back of his throat, counting down the days until he could feel Crowley’s breath warm his skin. He dared not let go, dared not end the kiss, and dared not end with just one. His deepening kiss transformed into tiny kisses, each pressing against a new spot of skin. He covered Crowley’s lips in them, then glided to the corners of his mouth and caressed across his jaw, eager to taste every piece of him he could find with his mouth.
The demon’s hands tugged at his shirt as short, breathy gasps fell from his lips.
Aziraphale vaguely caught the sweet low mantra of words that poured from Crowley’s tongue. “Angel, mine, mine, oh, angel. No, don’t you, don’t you stop. Oh.” Crowley slid his hands low, then his fingers dug into the angel’s skin, dragging up his back.
Aziraphale surged forward, pressing Crowley against the desk. Part of him wanted to swipe everything on top of it onto the floor, or miracle it away.
Crowley’s hand paused, then he eased his forehead to Aziraphale’s shoulder, pulling them to a halt. “Please tell me, angel. It’s killing me not to know.”
Aziraphale tried very hard not to laugh. He did chuckle but planted a kiss against Crowley’s ear to soothe him. “My dearest, you already answered that question yourself. You never needed me to answer you in the first place.”
Crowley leaned back, meeting his eyes. He searched them, then bit his lip. “Your saying, you knew because of how much the thought of you Falling terrified me? Because of how much I didn’t want you to Fall. But, I’m a demon, that could’ve been all lies.”
Aziraphale huffed out a breath. “We had already known each other for five thousand years. And I know firsthand that you are not a patient person, no matter how good you are at being a demon, if you were ever really going to make me Fall, it would’ve been within the first millennia, maybe two depending on how much you slept. And really, my dear, we both know you had plenty of opportunities. We found ourselves in quite compromising situations on more than one occasion.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Crowley leaned forward and nuzzled his lips against Aziraphale’s throat. “Still could’ve mentioned it sooner.”
“Perhaps,” Aziraphale said, feeling a little breathless. “Well, with dawn being a few hours away, and it remains a highly inappropriate time to call anyone, even about world-ending books, that only leaves one question.”
“Hm.” Crowley dragged his teeth across Aziraphale’s skin up to his ear. He nibbled on his earlobe and wound his arms back around him. “What’s that?” The hiss returned to his words.
Aziraphale gasped and clung to Crowley’s shirt. “Couch or bedroom?”
Pre-warning: Yes, the next chapter will have smut. Yes, I will be working on it ASAP. Yes, it's about damn time! XD
Chapter 7: Freedom
***Notes: Hey all! I wasn't sure where this was going, but now here we are. Please note, this is a smut chapter. If you wish to skip it there will be more chapters after this one. I had originally intended this as a small funny fic, but yeah, I think I've created a monster! XD Enjoy!!
***Also, yes, this is probably my longest chapter yet, and yes it is pretty much entirely smut!
***If you'd like to listen to the song associated with this chapter, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edwsf-8F3sI
Crowley pressed against him, rolling his hips, and pried a shuddering gasp from the angel’s mouth. Aziraphale had dreamed of it. He’d dreamed of the demon doing that exact thing more times than he cared to admit, and no matter how much he’d lost himself in the fantasy before, it couldn’t compare. It electrified his senses, sparking across his skin, and swirled in his belly, awaking a leviathan inside him. He leaned forward, released from the shock, and darted for the demon’s lips again. Aziraphale bit, nibbled, and sucked at his lower lip, all the while tasting Crowley’s eager skin. Every heated breath from his demon shot quivers down his body. Aziraphale’s hands found their way into Crowley’s hair. He tugged at the auburn strands, freeing little gasps from Crowley in return.
Aziraphale didn’t register that Crowley was leading them anywhere until he stumbled back against the couch. The demon pushed him down, winding his way onto his lap. His hands glided over Aziraphale, exploring skin and ripping away a few buttons in the process.
A very small part of the angel’s mind noted that he would need to miracle them back on later.
Crowley’s lips found their way to his neck, caressing Aziraphale’s skin as though it were soft rose petals brushing over his body. It worked on him like a spell, summoning out secrets he had buried so deep inside until that moment.
Aziraphale shuddered, letting his hands lower and grip onto Crowley’s hips with the force of his desire. “I have wanted you for so long, my dear,” he panted. “I always wanted you near me: Rome, Pompeii, Tokyo, even…even Cairo, wishing you would do this to me. I wanted you back then, too. For so long.” He vaguely felt his shirt open, and Crowley worked the sleeves off of him. Aziraphale leaned forward and rubbed his face against Crowley’s shirt. He inhaled the ever-pursuing scent of woodsmoke that mingled with a bittersweetness that reminded him of cinnamon, like the kind he enjoyed on biscuits.
Aziraphale breathed in as his own shirt was tossed away, landing somewhere haphazardly in his backroom. The release from the forgotten garment poured into him a daring freedom, and his fingers surged forward, tugging away Crowley’s coat, then they fell onto the buttons of his shirt. Aziraphale’s mouth seemed to be working again, spilling more truths that had hidden away in his beating heart. “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day? Thou are more lovely and more temperate–”
Crowley’s fingers brushed over his chest, pulling a soft moan from Aziraphale’s lips. His fingertips circled the sensitive skin of the angel’s nipples. The nubs hardening under his gentle touch. Crowley’s words teased out between heated gasps with his eyes locked onto Aziraphale’s shuddering body. “My angel, surely, if we are reciting poetry to one another, then you could pick something not so easy.” He leaned forward, forcing Aziraphale to pause in his act of removing the demon’s shirt. His mouth pressed against the angel, drawing out another gasping beg for more.
Aziraphale shivered as his lips were spread apart by a languid tongue deft at caressing the most responsive places in his mouth. He wrapped his arms around Crowley once more, then hoisted him up, causing him to yelp in surprise as he dropped him onto the sofa. Crowley blinked, glancing around and tried to compose himself from his legs being splayed every which way.
Aziraphale pounced, kneeling over him, and grasped for the confounded buttons once more. “Should I have quoted something from Marcus Valerius Martial instead?” He had always suspected Crowley of influencing that man to create such explicit and vulgar poetry, yet a secret part of him had hoped he’d done just that all while thinking of doing such provocative things with the angel. His half-lidded gaze poured over the demon’s exposed body. Crowley still hadn’t caught his breath from the fervor of kisses. It made his chest rise and fall in a most delectable way.
“Do you think you can do better, my serpent?” He ripped the few remaining buttons away from Crowley’s shirt, revealing lean skin all the way down to the slight trail of fiery-red hair winding below the snakeskin belt. A new sensation had settled behind Aziraphale’s eyes, one he’d never felt before. It was an unyielding determination to protect his most precious possession, not that he’d ever call Crowley precious, or at least in front of him, nor did he possess him. Crowley could do as he pleased. But, if it were up to him, he would see to it that the demon would smile and laugh every day for their next six thousand years or more. So perhaps, he had changed from his years on Earth in a way, as he was perhaps no longer the Guardian of the Eastern Gate, but was instead the Guardian of Serpents, or at least one of them.
The skin below his fingertips beckoned to be touched, to feel the warmth from his tender devotion. Aziraphale bent over him, pressing slow kisses along his neck before trailing lower. He glided along the supple skin of the demon’s chest, nipping at the slight curves of his body. He caught one of Crowley’s hard nipples between his teeth, prying out a shuddering moan from the demon’s lips.
Crowley’s hands snapped to the angel’s hair. He ran his fingers through the blond curls, giving little tugs when Aziraphale happened upon a sensitive spot of skin.
The angel paused, leaving Crowley gasping and arching his body up as though to follow his mouth. “Do I win this round, then, my dear? If I steal the words from your lips, then you yourself cannot combat my lovely poetry.”
His eyes fell on Crowley, who blinked as though he could see for the first time in the last while. “Oh, you bastard. I thought,” he swallowed, catching his breath. “I thought playing dirty was my job.”
Aziraphale lowered his head again, dragging his tongue across his quivering skin. He kissed along the wet spot, letting his breath heat the cooling patches his tongue had left behind.
Crowley bowed up into his touch. He groaned with an impatient whine for more of the angel, more of his silent gifts of longing.
Aziraphale sat up and snapped his fingers. Crowley’s eyes darted to him with one brow raised. The angel held a can of something that he was sure the demon would probably enjoy after it warmed on his skin. “Try not to be too upset, dearest, but you know me well enough to expect a few delectable fantasies by now.”
Crowley yelped as a winding line of whipped cream sprayed down his chest. His eyes widened and snapped to meet Aziraphale’s coy grin. “Too much, my dear?”
He thrust his hips up, and Aziraphale shivered as the tight fabric of Crowley’s pants pressed into his thigh. Crowley leaned his head back and let out a low groan, giving another small jolt of his hips.
“Have your words left you, my dear demon? No matter. I suppose I can understand you regardless.” Aziraphale placed the can on the side table next to them.
His hands curved around the head of the snakeskin belt. Crowley whimpered and arched his back once more. Aziraphale let out a small satisfied sigh, then leaned forward. His tongue lapped up the expensive whipped cream that trailed over his lover’s body. He made extra sure to remove every bit of the frosty white substance that dared hide away the demon’s pink flesh.
Crowley shuddered under him as he worked. Aziraphale’s hands unclasped the belt, and then, he miracled it into the other room for the time, not wanting to worry with yanking it from under the writhing demon beneath him. Crowley’s hand shot for the back of the couch as Aziraphale slid the zipper down.
The angel could hear Crowley’s nails digging into the antique wood frame, but it only urged him onward. He flicked his gaze up to the disheveled demon who lay sprawled beneath him. Aziraphale leaned forward once more and pressed his lips against Crowley’s mouth. The demon moaned into the kiss. His body raised up against him, eager for him to continue.
Aziraphale eased back, forcing Crowley to meet his eyes. His hand came up to rest against his cheek. He eased his thumb down, caressing the side of Crowley’s face. He peered down into the wide golden eyes of his demon. “Crowley, my dear, I hope you know…I–”
Crowley blinked up at him before mimicking Aziraphale’s gesture and brought his hand to the angel’s cheek. “Always.” He licked his lips. “Always, my angel.”
“You know,” he leaned into the demon’s tender touch. “We don’t have to, if you don’t want to, that is. I am happy with you, any of it because it’s with you.”
Crowley tilted his head up, urging their mouths to meet. He brushed against the angel’s quivering lips. “Since when did I ever turn down an opportunity to have some fun with you, angel?”
“As long as it’s what you want, too.”
Crowley gave him his most devilish grin, and it made Aziraphale’s worry ease at the familiar sight. “Angel, I drove a flaming car to the end of the world to get to you, I doubt there’s anything we will do tonight that will even come close to something I wouldn’t enjoy or get me any closer to discorporating.”
“Oh, now see here. I very much hope to put the latter to the test.”
Aziraphale pressed him back against the couch, then leaned over, leaving a trail of kisses down the demon’s chest, properly returning him to his rightful mood of indulgence. He dragged the edges of Crowley’s pants lower on his hips, which only required a small miracle due to their extreme form-fitting.
The angel slid his hand over the remaining tight fabric, barely shielding back the hard cock beneath. The motion released a hiss from Crowley’s lips as though the touch alone would undo him, and Aziraphale hoped that would not be the case as his plans were no were near complete for their evening. Crowley rocked his hips up in a silent beg for more, more touching, more affection, more of Aziraphale’s blatant love heating his skin.
Aziraphale stared as a swell of emotions surged through him. Eons had gone by with that very moment as nothing but an idle fantasy that he’d never experience. Of course, they had met in one of the many bathhouses in Rome or even once in Japan, but it had never been intimate, well perhaps, not with the permission to do something about it at the time, at least. And now, he had freedom; the freedom to love him openly, fully, to do whatever other lovers did with nothing but their own hands to guide them onward.
He slid down the remaining cloth, revealing Crowley’s hard prick. The tip of his eager flushed cock glistened, waiting to be devoured.
Aziraphale remembered their time in Pompeii, so tender, yet leaving them wishing it hadn’t stopped before it had even begun, and glided his hand up, brushing his fingers down the shaft of eager skin. Crowley whined at the feather-soft touch.
So much had been taken from them over the many millennia, and now, he would be damned before any more was taken from them as well.
Aziraphale gripped the base of his cock before leaning down and slid it into his mouth, taking it in as deep as he could manage. His tongue caressed the throbbing skin, drawing out a much louder moan from Crowley.
The demon twitched as Aziraphale moved in a steady rhythm.
The angel shivered with each gasp that escaped his lover’s lips. Each thrust deeper sent a tremble that rippled down Crowley’s body and seemed to continue through his own. Crowley’s hand eased from the couch and found its way into his blond curls. The gesture sparked a quicker pace as his head bobbed faster. The motion became an apparent key to unlocking Crowley’s words once again.
“Oh, angel. Oh, yes, fuck, YES! I dreamed,” he panted. “I dreamed of this sssssoooo many times. It doesn’t compare…you are…my Heaven.”
Aziraphale slowed but decided that continuing on for the moment would be the best. Unraveling that particular part of Crowley’s psyche and past trauma could, and would be, addressed when they were not about to ravish one another.
“Bedroom.” Crowley let out another hiss of breath. “Please, angel! Oh, fuck, yessss.”
Aziraphale was not about to release him so they could meander their way up the stairs. He raised his hand, snapping his fingers.
The antique couch had been replaced by a much more plush, but still antique four-poster bed topped with a large comforter and too many pillows. The room had also shifted from books and a messy desk, into books and a messy dresser with a bit more space around them.
Aziraphale took the opportunity and released Crowley’s cock from his mouth. The demon hissed at the sudden chill from the air but glanced down as the angel removed the rest of the demon’s clothes from his legs, leaving Crowley naked on the bed. Aziraphale eased off the side of the mattress and removed his own trousers and pants before crawling back over him.
They stared at one another. How long had they wanted this? And then, there it was, ready for the taking, so to speak, like an apple tree in the middle of the garden. Not on a mountain or on the moon, just there in front of them, as it had always been.
Aziraphale wouldn’t cry, not now. But he suspected he could only stave off his relief for so long. Their cuddling might turn out as messy as their fun, though for different reasons. He eased himself down, embracing Crowley, just for a moment, wanting to feel his demon’s skin against him. His breath hitched as Crowley wrapped his arms around him. Aziraphale inhaled deeply as though it were the first breath of his life. “I love you,” he whispered against Crowley’s chest. His words were like a vow against his bare skin.
The arms around him tightened, and Crowley eased his hand to Aziraphale’s cheek, then guided his gaze to meet his golden veiled stare. “Angel, for six thousand years, I’ve wanted to say this, and I’d wait for another six thousand just to prove to you how much you mean to me.” He placed a gentle kiss on Aziraphale’s lips. “I love you.”
Aziraphale surged forward, kissing him again. His brows had knitted together as though the words burned him. And, if he had to guess, in some ways, it did. It burned away his eons of loneliness, burned away his deepest fears, and the worries that had etched into his bones. Crowley loved him. Not that he hadn’t suspected, hoped, dreamed, but to hear it for himself, and hear the pure truth carry the words to him, was greater than anything he had ever imagined.
“Wings?” Aziraphale said with a slight pleading in his voice.
Crowley glided his fingertips along the angel’s round cheek. “Anything.” He eased them up and propped himself on his elbows.
Enormous wings of shrouded night fanned out behind him. The scent of woodsmoke puffed out blanketing the room as though they were together under the stars instead of in Aziraphale’s barely used bedroom.
Aziraphale licked his lips, then reached a tentative hand out and brushed his fingers through the shadowed feathers. They shimmered under his touch as though he could heat them or send them glowing like campfire embers. Aziraphale noted their softness; even though he’d always suspected a demon’s wings would prickle under his touch or stick together in places. These were nothing of the sort; however, now that he thought about it, he’d never seen Crowley’s wings more than a handful of times and each time they were immaculate and pristine, almost more than Aziraphale’s own, which was probably true as he couldn’t say the last time he’d preen them.
Crowley’s sharp inhale drew him back from his thoughts, and he realized the demon was riding the edge of complete, blissful euphoria. He had collapsed back against the bed, twitching as shudders rippled down his body. Crowley had one arm covering his eyes, and his cheeks were flushed as he let out several moaning gasps, each in time with Aziraphale’s gliding fingers.
“Does it feel that good, my dear?” Aziraphale had never touched another’s wings before. He honestly had no idea what to expect. It was never something one did in Heaven, so how would he know what sensations it might draw out. His own preening had been relaxing, but nothing anywhere to the state of undone that Crowley seemed to be drifting through.
In response, Crowley’s hand snaked to the angel’s back. His fingertips dug into his shoulder blades, searching for the fluffy white wings.
Aziraphale appeased him, manifesting his own ethereal feathered limbs. As soon as Crowley’s fingers mingled through his misty-white tufts, Aziraphale gasped in understanding. The foreign sensation quaked through his body, shaking him to his bones with overwhelming warmth. He had never experienced such a phenomenon. It soothed through him, comforting his worries, and dissipating his fears. It left only a shuddering bliss in its wake, heating him to the core. If he had to try and put it to words, the closest he could gather at that moment would be love in a raw and blinding form.
Shadows danced around the room, darkening under a building light. Aziraphale realized that Crowley’s wings were emanating swaths of darkness around them, seeping from his shimmering feathers. It was as though Aziraphale’s tender caresses released tendrils of his occult power around them, yet he didn’t feel alarmed by it. His own wings poured out prismatic light in response, which swayed and danced with the darkness. As though one could not exist without the other.
Aziraphale paused in his stroking of Crowley’s soft feathers. He let his euphoria dissipate until he could form words once more. “My dear.” His words came out as a hushed whisper. He pressed his body against him, wings wrapping around one another. “Are you all right?”
Crowley eased his arm away from his eyes. A handful of dark scales now framed the features of his still mostly human face. His eyes had curtained with gold just like they had been on the wall so many years ago. “Yessss,” he hissed. “More than…”
Aziraphale brushed his lips against him, having a rather good idea at what he meant. More than ever, even before the Fall. They hadn’t ever really brought up the subject before. It seemed like an excellent way to bring about uncomfortable, agonizing feelings that would’ve possibly rivaled their own anguished years of longing.
The angel pulled him closer and decided to wash away those feelings best he could. It would take more than one night together, but Aziraphale had always seen the thrill of a challenge. “May I have you? I want us to be together like this.”
Crowley nodded, and his eyes screwed shut. “I want you. I’ve always wanted you, angel.”
Aziraphale pressed his lips against him and parted the demon’s mouth with his tongue. He wanted to taste him again, to feel his heated breath on him, mixing with his own. Crowley’s forked tongue teased into his mouth. It coaxed out a wanton moan from deep in Aziraphale’s throat. The angel released their kiss and pressed his hands into Crowley’s chest as a roaring ache filled his belly, vibrating him with need. “Can you, um?”
The demon fluttered his eyes open and licked his lips. His canines seemed a tad longer than they had been moments ago. He snatched a pillow, and they carefully readjusted him, then he snapped his fingers and groaned, arching his back.
Aziraphale slid his hand down Crowley’s thigh, sensing wetness between his legs. He miracled a bit of lubricant into his palm, that he had perhaps used on himself before, and glided his hand along his own aching cock. The angel lined his tip against him and eased himself inside.
Crowley let out a long hissing gasp. His body tensed as Aziraphale filled him with his throbbing heat. Aziraphale groaned as Crowley’s body swallowed him up. It constricted around him with a warm, wet hunger.
“Breathe,” Aziraphale said, forcing himself to take his time. “You need to relax, dear.”
The angel suddenly realized that they never really talked about past sexual activities, if any, or partners. Sure, they knew about the few encounters they had together, but that particular topic seemed to be listed under their too-taboo-to-ever-speak-about topics. Perhaps their night together would open up many more doors than he’d realized, which he did not consider a bad thing.
Crowley moaned out what sounded like Aziraphale’s name, but he was too busy concentrating on not letting his desire get either of them hurt to register it. The demon let out a ragged breath and leaned his head back. Aziraphale waited, then after a few more deep breaths, Crowley nodded.
Aziraphale started in a slow rhythm, gliding into him, and scanned his face for hints of pain. His heart raced in his chest. It had been almost a thousand years since they had found themselves anywhere near this state of closeness. But it didn’t seem to take away from the intensity. If anything, Aziraphale thought his body had begged for this subconsciously until that moment, eager to feel his demon’s heat once more and never let go.
His own breath grew ragged as they fell into a steady pace. Crowley’s mouth had started spilling forth more mantras of pleasure freed from behind bone-white bars that caged his heart.
“Angelangelangel. Oh! Yes, fuck! IloveyouIloveyouIloveyousomuch.”
Aziraphale leaned over him, and Crowley’s hands found him without hesitation. His grip settled behind the angel’s neck. It loosened and tightened in sync with Aziraphale’s building thrusts. “My dear,” he panted, between gasps. “Your form…you should…be careful.”
Aziraphale hoped he understood. With both of them dancing on the edge of human and not so much so, he didn’t want to risk either of them asking their former respective parties for new bodies, especially explaining why they needed new ones in the first place.
Crowley bucked his hips up, calling forth an eye-fluttering moan from the angel. He wrapped his legs around Aziraphale and used his hands to add leverage to their position. Crowley leaned his head back, exposing his throat and let out a long moan of pleasure.
It seemed to banish any of Aziraphale’s concerns of hurting him and urged him on to a quick pace. He pressed deeper, as though wanting Crowley to see the stars he enjoyed so much. Something jostled their position, but Crowley didn’t seem affected. Aziraphale couldn’t feel anything other than the throbbing heat of their connection. And, his own pulsing core.
“Crowley, I’m…I’m close–”
“Don’t pull out,” he snarled, begging to be filled with him.
Aziraphale quickened again, snapping his hips against him, eager to summon out Crowley’s pleasure, and eager to be the being which brought him such euphoria. The angel cried out as he thrust into him one final time, spilling hot seed into his lover. He squeezed his eyes shut, riding out the overwhelming bliss with his serpentine demon. His wings fanned out behind him as his orgasm tingled through every inch of his body.
When he opened his eyes, he spied Crowley lying as a gasping mess beneath him with a few more scales along his neck. Aziraphale leaned over and kissed them one by one. It drew out little shuddering breaths from Crowley as he worked up to the edge of his face before settling on his lips. Their kiss lingered on as they relaxed against one another.
Aziraphale guided his wings around them, brushing against Crowley’s quivering feathers. He eased himself out and miracled them clean. Despite reveling in the sensation of their wings gliding against one another, Aziraphale retracted his away. Crowley mimicked the gesture, then rolled them to their sides.
Aziraphale gazed into the golden slitted eyes and smiled. “I must say, that was…something.”
Crowley curled closer and rested his head on Aziraphale’s arm. His hand slid up, and he caressed the angel’s cheek. “Suppose it was.”
Aziraphale raised an eyebrow. “Really? After all that, and that’s all you can say.”
Crowley shrugged, but a wide grin had spread across his face.
“Oh, you wily old serpent. Stop teasing me.”
“Never.” Crowley had probably meant for his words to come out playful, but they held so much promise and devotion for such a tiny word. He swallowed down a lump and let his fingertips trace down Aziraphale’s face. “I’ll never go anywhere, you know, I mean, if, uh, if it’s what you want.”
Aziraphale eased a hand up, taking Crowley’s own, and pressed it to his chest over his heart. “My dearest, surely you must know by now that despite how much of a bastard I can be at times, I admit, I never ever want you anywhere but with me. And, even when I am being well, a bit insufferable, I always apologize and make it up to you.”
“You mean get yourself into trouble and take me to lunch after I rescue you?”
Aziraphale let a small smile cross his lips. “Isn’t that the same thing?”
Crowley leaned up, planting kisses along his jaw. “Nowhere near close, but I accept it.”
“Oh, my.” Aziraphale paled, glancing around them.
“What?” Crowley blinked away any hints of sleepiness and followed his gaze. “Oh.”
The bed had collapsed. Aziraphale wasn’t entirely sure when it had happened, but he’d apparently forgotten to reinforce his material belongings when he’d reinforced his corporeal form. Books had clattered to the floor, probably from their wings at some point. The dresser was, oh dear; it was toppled over, some of the drawers lay open on the floor. He didn’t remember hearing such a racket earlier.
“I think we got a bit carried away.” Aziraphale bit his lip.
Crowley let out an amused laugh. “After six thousand years, I’d say this is a rather sad display if you ask me.”
Aziraphale turned back to him and nuzzled against his ear. He breathed out, letting his warm breath tingle the demon’s skin. “Oh, we are not done, quite yet.”
Crowley rolled on top of him, bracketing the angel against the mattress. “Couldn’t agree more, angel.”
Chapter 8: Consequences
Aziraphale blinked as streams of light sliced through the haphazard blinds covering the windows. The massive doom glass window above them illuminated a few of the antique wooden bookshelves that had been there since he’d opened the bookshop in 1800. But in all the years the angel had owned the shop, he’d never seen it in such a state of distress.
He pulled at a massive tartan comforter surrounding him and shivered from the bare wood against his back. Aziraphale eased up to a sitting position, glancing around him, and assessed the damages.
His desk now leaned to one side, while his couch had completely broken in two. At the time, he hadn’t cared, but he groaned at the sight. His eyes trailed around the room. Books littered the floor all about them. If he hadn’t known any better, Aziraphale would’ve guessed they had conjured a sea of literature to crash through the fragile doors of the bookshop. It seemed to swirl around them before cascading up the staircase to the bedroom.
One of the more massive bookshelves had been knocked over, scattering scrolls and leather-bound novels across a desk. Wine bottles glittered in the slivers of light pouring in from the afternoon sun.
Yet, none of that worried Aziraphale as much as the pounding headache that drummed out from inside his skull. His muscles protested any movement, especially his back and thighs. He had never awoken in such a bizarre state in the last millennia, at least. And the small part of his mind that could still process rational thought remembered that he had miracled himself well and sober before falling asleep next to–
A thin form shifted underneath the blanket next to him. Crowley’s head poked out from underneath the monstrous comforter, and he blinked blearily in the light. He yawned, almost unhinging his jaw, then flicked his tongue in the air. His gaze shifted to Aziraphale, and he snuggled closer, nuzzling against his side before wrapping his arms around his waist.
“Angel, I–Ouch–What the Hell?” Crowley winced, then he glanced behind him. “I’m sore? Must have forgotten to miracle that away last night.” He snapped his fingers, then paused. His slitted snake-eyes widened, and he flung himself up with a hiss of pain. He snapped again, and again. “I can’t,” his eyes curtained with golden terror. “Angel, I can’t miracle it away!” He glanced at the piles of books around him and snapped his fingers again. “I can’t, I can’t. Angel! I can’t,” he snarled, then twisted his body around and knelt by Aziraphale. His arms fanned out to his sides like the hood of a very irritated and alarmed cobra. “Something’s wrong. Can you?”
Aziraphale wet his dry lips, then tried to miracle away his aches. Nothing happened. He tried to ease his headache and still nothing. The angel spied the strewn books and snapped his fingers. Again, no noticeable result. “Well, my dear, something is definitely wrong.”
“You too?” Crowley snapped his head around; his eyes darted, seeking out every shadowed corner.
Aziraphale placed a hand on his arm, and Crowley flinched as though his terror level neared an all-time high. “My dear, we are together still. We will figure this out. But, first, you need to calm down. Remember to breath.”
The demon hissed, more in general than at the angel, but he did let out a deep, ragged breath. His arms lowered a fraction. However, he refused to let his gaze slip from the room around them.
Aziraphale did have to admit that it was rather disconcerting to be without their powers. It had only happened to them a handful of times, but never at the same time. His eyes widened. “Oh, dear.” He bit his lip, wishing he’d kept his mouth shut.
“What?” Crowley flicked his gaze at him. “What is it?”
“At a guess, I’d say this is the work of Heaven and Hell working together.”
“Yes, thought of that already.”
Aziraphale pulled the covers up to his chest. “It’s possible I made a miscalculation in assuming we had until morning before we needed to research the book.”
“Well, I sure as hell wasn’t going to say it.”
Aziraphale huffed out a breath. “If you think–”
A tea kettle whistled out from the kitchen at the back of the bookshop. The angel and demon snapped their gaze in the direction of the noise piercing the quiet shop. The sound echoed out for another heartbeat before dying down. A clink of metal dinged as though someone was removing the kettle from the stove.
Aziraphale flicked his gaze to Crowley. The demon swallowed before giving him a single nod. Crowley’s hand groped the air, and the angel took it. Whatever, or more precisely whoever, was there with them, they would face together.
Crowley pulled him to his feet. They were both still naked, save for the plush comforter that Aziraphale had to reluctantly leave behind. So, he thought, no magic, no clothes, no weapons, possibly outnumbered; yes, the odds were not in their favor. Not to mention, Heaven and Hell were not pleased with them at all, and oh yes, the world was possibly ending again, probably sometime soon if their luck had any say in it.
He winced as his aching body. Aziraphale did not need a reminder about how useful his powers were to him and the rest of humanity for that matter. He tried to shove away the distraction and reached down, picking up a hefty tome at his feet.
Crowley raised an eyebrow at him as though to say, what? Are you going to read them to sleep?
Aziraphale pursed his lips at his incredulous stare. “Apparently, I’m rather good at throwing them.”
“Well, I mean, you did miss me earlier.”
“Now, is not the time–”
A small cough came from the kitchen. They sounded a bit annoyed and, even worse, a bit familiar. Aziraphale wet his lips and met Crowley’s eyes. He mouthed: Michael.
Crowley stiffened as understanding dawned in his eyes. Heaven had come for them, after all. Aziraphale stepped forward, pulling the demon behind him in the process. He didn’t know what they knew or why they were there, despite a gnawing guess in the pit of his stomach, but Crowley would be in the most danger, and so, he was not going to let the demon out of his sight.
Crowley hissed in annoyance, but Aziraphale just tutted at him to hush for now. They both knew it made the most sense for the angel to enter first, regardless of Crowley’s protective nature. But that didn’t mean Crowley had to like it.
The shuffled forward. The demon behind him with one hand clutching his and the other digging into his shoulder as though he planned to fling Aziraphale out of the way of any magical blasts aimed their way. Aziraphale held the book at the ready as they inched to the back of the store. The opening between the back room and the kitchen wasn’t much larger than an average doorway and it did not give them much of a view inside.
Aziraphale eyed a pair of wine bottles on the floor that ended from a trail of wine that had miraculously stained the ceiling above them. The angel glanced back, raising an eyebrow at Crowley with a small coy grin. It was a simple: Oh, you wily serpent, you.
Crowley winked at him before returning his gaze to the room. Aziraphale had never thought of having a bit of fun and defy gravity all at once. But it had been an interesting experience, and one he hoped they would get a chance to try again.
Aziraphale inhaled a deep breath, then blew it out. He needed to be calm, steady. The angel had to reengage the part of himself that he wasn’t particularly fond of but had come in handy over his time on Earth. Memories from before his days as the Guardian of the Eastern Gate crashed into him like a wave; a surge of discipline and instinct reasserted itself in his mind.
His back straightened, tugging his shoulders into place, and steadied the terrified tremble quivering down his limbs. It boxed away the nagging doubts and the dreadful worries. And, it brought with it the confidence he needed to protect his demon, but more importantly, their defiance. Because that was what really protected the Earth at the end, their defiance to be simply an angel and a demon. To be what was expected of them. To love when it was illogical, ill-advised, and undeniable. He stared straight ahead, ready for Heaven’s wrath.
Crowley leaned his head closer, whispering in the angel’s ear. “I know this isn’t at all the right time for this, but whatever you’re doing to make yourself look like that, remember it the next time you drag me to the bedroom. I am literally begging you.”
Aziraphale smirked despite himself, then stepped into the kitchen.
It was not, in the least, anything he expected to see.
If he had to guess, he would’ve seen Michael and perhaps Gabriel or Uriel there with them. They would be wielding great flaming weapons or simply smite them on the spot. It would be possible that they would’ve wanted to give a speech first. Angels unaccustomed to Earth thoroughly enjoyed their speeches of wrongdoings as though acknowledging the crimes would somehow justify whatever punishment they saw fit to serve.
Yet, there before Aziraphale and Crowley, at their kitchen table, sat another angel and demon, drinking tea, English Breakfast, judging by the smell.
Michael and Dagon glanced up, meeting the pair’s bewildered stare. Aziraphale noted one of them had placed down the teapot at the center of the table. He absorbed the situation.
The table had four chairs, two were occupied. There were four beautiful golden porcelain cups, two were full. Each cup had a spoon for stirring, two had been used. There was also a sugar bowl and a milk saucer.
Aziraphale glanced between the pair of immortal beings. He wasn’t quite ready to lower the book, not that it would do them any good. Maybe as a distraction, but that would be at best.
“Shall I pour you some tea?” Michael set down their cup and gestured at the steaming pot.
“Probably poisoned,” Crowley hissed in his ear. His grip had not lessened despite the oddity before them.
“Such accusations come easy to traitors.” Dagon glared at him of the rim of their cup. “It took you long enough to get back here. I thought for sure I’d have to rain acid on you to get you to realize you weren’t alone.” They gave him a toothy sneer.
Aziraphale lowered the book. He hoped his assessment of the situation was accurate; however, without their powers, they really didn’t have much of a choice other than diplomacy. “Dear.” He glanced back at Crowley, meeting his eyes. “Why don’t we sit? I gather there are a few things they wish to discuss with us.”
Crowley narrowed his eyes without reply. But, Aziraphale knew the look. He’d been on the receiving end of that questioning stare before. It was the ‘are you sure’ look. The angel nodded and eased forward. Crowley released him, trusting him.
Aziraphale smiled as Crowley sprawled in the chair next to him. His hand clamped over the angel’s again because, well, there wasn’t any point in hiding anymore. However, Aziraphale would’ve liked to at least have been clothed for whatever discussion they had in store for them.
Dagon’s gaze oozed over the sprawling demon. “At least now I understand why you turned me down all those years ago.”
Crowley flinched back at little and scouted his chair closer to the angel. “So, uh, what brings the collective wardens of the occult to our kitchen?”
“I told you, dear, angels are ethereal, not occult.”
Crowley shrugged with a noncommittal noise.
Aziraphale felt his cheeks burn with a slight flush. “And is it? I mean, is it our kitchen now?”
Michael cleared their throat before Crowley could answer. They poured the tea, giving them each a look as they spoke. “As much as we would all love to hear about your blossoming fraternization, we do have a few more pressing matters to discuss.”
Aziraphale added a few cubes of sugar and a splash of milk to his tea. He raised the cup to his lips and took a small sip, hoping it conveyed a willingness to at least hear out whatever insufferable claims they made about them.
Crowley eyed the tea as though he expected it to bite him, though, in honesty, it wasn’t much different from how the demon viewed the hot beverage in general.
Michael took another sip. It seemed odd to Aziraphale that they were actually drinking the beverage. Perhaps they were using it in a motion of peace, which if it was the case, he allowed himself to have a small spark of hope that they would survive the encounter.
“We are both here,” Michael began. “as representatives assigned to your new management. We know there has been…confusion as of late, but given recent developments, it was suggested–”
“Just tell us what you want.” Crowley rolled his eyes in Michael’s direction.
Aziraphale huffed at a breath and raised his eyebrow at the impatient demon.
Dagon set down their cup. “We don’t care how much you fuck as long you keep doing your damn jobs. You are months behind on your reports, so get back to work before I have to reassign you to documentation for a year, you lazy snake.”
Crowley worked his mouth, but no words came out. He glanced at Aziraphale, desperate for help.
“Hang on,” Aziraphale straightened in his chair. “So, you’re…not here to attack us? You are here to simply inform us that you are our new managers?”
Michael huffed out a breath and rolled their shoulders. “I suppose that covers it, mostly. Gabriel was all too willing to hand over the role to anyone after reading over the reports of miracles he received from the last few hours. I will be surprised if he resurfaces from his catatonic state within the next Earth year.”
Aziraphale flushed crimson and leaned back, collapsing against the back of his chair. He had known that Heaven monitored miracles to an extent, but he’d hoped that connection had been cut or at least they wouldn’t review them anymore after their Hellfire and Holy water incident. He had tried a few experimental miracles with no word from Above; however, he seemed mistaken in his assumptions. Memories from the last five hours of fun replayed in his mind, sending his blush crawling down his neck. He may have well sent them a cinematic film of their entertainment from that night.
Crowley burst out laughing. He leaned forward, holding his stomach. “You mean, you mean to tell me,” he couldn’t speak for laughing. “Every time last night?” He giggled, then spied Dagon, who seemed a bit too knowing for his liking. His giggle fits subsided as he appeared to realize the truth applied to him as well. “Damn, you too?”
“Oh, yes,” Dagon purred, leaning at him. “Every. Single. Tiny. Miracle. On file and recorded to be reviewed whenever I like.”
Crowley’s cheeks began to match his hair.
“Which is the reason for your reprimand,” Michael interjected.
“Reprimand?” Aziraphale squeezed Crowley’s hand. He should have better hidden his fear. It would’ve been a lie to say he’d been quite worried of a recall to Heaven, or a reassignment to another department for a few centuries. “What, um? What kind of punishment exactly?”
Dagon took another sip of tea. “Seems like you’ve already guessed part of it.” Their eyes lingered over both of their bare forms.
“Our powers?” Crowley reinforced his grip on Aziraphale’s hand. “For how long?”
Michael sighed, then stood from the table. “There was an initial suggestion for one Earth year.”
Aziraphale paled at the idea. They had just received a book that potentially detailed how the world would end, again, and they would have to do it powerless, miracle-less.
Dagon sighed, raising from the chair as well. “But, the softie angel here decided we would show you a bit of mercy for now, so one day, twenty-four hours from when you woke up.”
“I would suggest,” Michael said with an overly pleasant tone. “That you keep the miracles to a minimum in your…free time.”
Aziraphale nodded and rose with them. He hoped the gesture meant they would be leaving. They had slept in and needed to get to work on the book, on the bookshop, on Crowley’s earlier implication of ‘their’ kitchen.
“Very good. Crowley!” Dagon snapped at him. “I expect your full, detailed report to me by tonight. I’m sure the last few months have been full of demonic deeds that you will be more than willing to recount.”
Crowley stood with his hips leaning as though he didn’t care that Hell had been effectively still spying on his every move. Yet, Aziraphale was sure he would’ve discorporated himself right there if he didn’t have to worry about leaving the angel alone to deal with their new higher-ups. Michael nodded at them in turn, then the pair puffed away with a slight bit of smoke in their wake.
Aziraphale and Crowley stood together, naked, alone, and in very much need of aspirin.