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until you say it out loud

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and i can do what i like
i'll never know what it means
some validation is all that i need

–  nilufer yanya - in your head

 

“To the world” is only the first toast of many, that afternoon at the Ritz. The angel and the demon toast to Shadwell’s magic finger, to that poor Oxford-bound bus driver, to the restored Bentley and the revived bookshop. They toast to Agnes Nutter at least three times; Aziraphale sends Crowley into a fit of wheezing laughter when he recites her famous prophecy for 1972. 

“I wonder what her name was. Witchy book girl, I mean,” Crowley muses, after he’s finally caught his breath. “Hermione? Mildred? Morgana, maybe?” 

“Oh, how rude of us— we never even asked, did we?” Aziraphale frowns. 

“We had more pressing matters to attend to, angel,” Crowley reassures him with a smirk. “Don’t you worry. I’m sure she’ll show up again eventually, and we’ll regret ever wanting to know.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” says Aziraphale, “I think she seemed perfectly lovely. And I do owe her an apology for not returning her book as promptly as I could’ve, although I suppose it was all in everyone’s best interest that I had it on hand in the end, or rather that you had it on hand, regardless I should perhaps send her a letter, or drop by with a gift…” 

Crowley just keeps sipping at his wine, smiling indulgently at Aziraphale as he rambles, and, infuriatingly, not moving. 

Because Aziraphale’s hand, this whole time, has been laid out on the table in between him and Crowley. It had settled there years ago, it seems, waiting expectantly to be met by the touch of Crowley’s fingers against his own. They’ve just done the impossible and shaken Heaven and Hell off their backs; surely now Crowley has realized that he can reach out, that if he does so there will be no fear, no flinch, no reprimand.

But the touch doesn’t come.

After the meal, they say goodbye on the sidewalk outside. Crowley’s off to check on his resurrected car and Aziraphale is headed to evaluate the reported new additions to his bookshop’s inventory. 

“Dinner tomorrow?” proposes Aziraphale, before he can lose his nerve.

A grin from Crowley. “Wouldn’t miss it. See ya, angel.”

As they have ever since parting kisses between friends fell out of fashion some hundreds of years prior, the angel and the demon take their leave with a polite nod, a wave, a smile.

In the chaos and urgency of that morning, solving Agnes’s prophecy and then putting the plan into action, Aziraphale didn’t have much time to dwell on the aftermath, to think about what he wanted, past the priority of simply getting out of this alive.

But now, watching Crowley’s lithe form disappear down the road, his mind easily focuses on the future. There are so many things he wants. A constellation of linked desires: Crowley’s grin in the mornings, his laugh in the afternoons, his hand in Aziraphale’s hand in the evenings, and his mouth against Aziraphale’s skin every night. 

Next time, the angel tells himself. Next time I see him, it’ll happen. He’s probably just thinking up some elaborate display, some fittingly flash declaration. Surely he won’t draw it out. He’s never been one to go slow.

 

***

 

Standing at the curb, appreciatively stroking the Bentley’s fender, Crowley can almost make himself believe that the grateful prayers half-slipping off his tongue are solely in dedication to the return of his precious vehicle, but he’s never quite managed to master the art of self-deception the way a certain angel has. 

So when he whispers you came back to me and never leave again he can’t pretend that he means anything other than Aziraphale, that he’s thinking of anything other than a vision in his sunglasses in the stormy dimness of the pub, the first impossible return. When he leans against the side of the car, pats its door handle happily, he’s not really thinking about the metal underneath his skin, he’s thinking about Aziraphale springing into unexpected re-embodiment at the airfield. And then, always, he’s thinking of the bone-deep relief of seeing the angel bouncing back towards him, wearing Crowley’s own body, having defied Hell just as Crowley had defied Heaven.

Three times, he came back. That’s more than Crowley could have ever asked for, and far more than he could have ever deserved.

 

***

 

Aziraphale is sure he used to be patient. 

He must’ve been, otherwise how else would he have survived those long, lean centuries back in the BC, when writing had barely been invented yet and the first restaurant was yet a millennia off? 

If he’d not been in possession of an infinite store of angelic forbearance, how could he possibly have whiled away those empty desert years spent watching over various dull human families, shepherds and scribes and slightly insane prophets? 

But that was then, and this is now, and in the aftermath of the Apocalypse-that-wasn’t, Aziraphale has been searching for his patience, and coming up absolutely empty-handed.

Honestly, what on Earth does Crowley think he’s playing at? 

Sure, they’re spending more time together. It is wholly natural, a slow and gentle emergence like ivy creeping across a wall, and it is beautiful in the way of all growing things. 

But it is not the tidal wave Aziraphale had hoped would sweep him off the shore and into the welcome whirlpool of some idealized concept of consummation. It is not, he thinks, what one might logically expect to follow after all one’s obstacles to attainment have been sweetly dissolved, like so much sugar in water.

So many times, over the years, Aziraphale has stood standing on the brink, and Crowley had tugged him gently over the edge. It was the deepest comfort, knowing Crowley would be there to act the tempter and give Aziraphale the excuses he needed.

And surely Crowley knows that Aziraphale knows how he feels, does he not? How else to explain, well, everything? They’ve both known, at the very least since the middle of the last century, when the silence between them swelled thick with things unsaid as Crowley ferried Aziraphale home in the middle of an air raid. 

It would follow, then, that as soon as the pressure was off, Crowley would gush forth, uninhibited, all grasping arms and hungry mouth, and Aziraphale would be there to meet him. Perhaps some swooning would be involved. 

Amusing oneself with fantasies is all well and good when you are fully aware of their impossibility. There’s a comfort in the distance, a safeness to it that Aziraphale knows well. But when you have every reason to believe that all you want might really be around the corner, and yet it still does not come, it starts to wear down on you. And that's the new part, the strange part. It's what makes Aziraphale itch with un-angelic impatience, makes him do nothing but wish and yearn and need. 

 

***

 

Crowley is sure he never used to be paranoid.

He couldn’t have been, otherwise how could he have proposed the Arrangement, way back in the Dark Ages, blowing off the possibility of consequences from Above or Below with insouciance?

Without the easy confidence of someone who believes no harm can befall them, how could he have assured Aziraphale over and over that nobody would check up, that they were safe, that they were doing the right thing, that it was the right boy, that it won’t come to that? 

He looks for that bravery, now, and finds only fearfulness. 

It’s not that he’s worried Heaven will come for Aziraphale again. No, he made quite sure of the impossibility of that, with his little fire-breathing trick upstairs. But that’s just the problem, is it not? The angel wasn’t there, up in that terrible citadel, he did not see the bone-deep terror in the faces of his co-workers. 

Without that first-hand knowledge, that visceral understanding of his own rejection, Crowley believes it to be entirely possible that any day now, Aziraphale will turn back to Heaven. Crowley watches for glimpses of wistfulness in the angel’s eyes, and when he catches Aziraphale staring off into the distance, frowning, seemingly bereft of something, he is very nearly sure he knows what it’s leading to, and that's what terrifies him.

When Aziraphale realizes the extent of Crowley’s inadequacy, when he grows tired of the demon’s cloying attachment,  he’ll march straight back to Head Office and beg to be forgiven, to be taken back into the ranks. You don’t just stop being an angel, after all— well, you do, as Crowley knows, but he can’t think about that. 

The worst of it is, Crowley would let him. 

If that’s what he really desires, Crowley would move aside and let him go after it, because Crowley has never been good at much of anything except giving the angel what he wants.

But for now, Aziraphale is here with him, and there is nothing he would do to ruin this impossible gift. No more prodding or pushing. No going too fast. No going at all, really.  He won’t ask for a single thing more than what he’s already been given; how could he possibly dare? 

It’s absurdly easy not to say anything, as they go to gallery openings, concerts, new restaurants. He’s been Not Saying Anything for thousands of years. And it’s not like he’d know what to say, anyway. Crowley is voluble enough on his own, muttering to himself, speechifying to empty rooms, but his voice has a nasty habit of abandoning him at unfortunate times. Though he has a hard time considering any time he’s around the angel as “unfortunate,” because it’s so precious to him, but the fact remains: he’ll keep things as they are. It’s the only way to not lose it all again.

 

***

 

Three months, in another time, would have felt like a blink of an eye to Aziraphale. But time seems to drag on as Crowley circles around him, orbiting endlessly, tantalizing in his presence, confusing in his distance.

The angel jots down ideas in his leather-bound commonplace book, in amongst the lists, calculations, notes, quotes, excerpts, more lists, commentaries, and scraps of translation. One afternoon is spent entirely on writing Crowley in as many alphabets as he can remember, living and dead, a veritable Babel of transliteration. Aziraphale adores the way the name lays itself out in ink, those self-selected syllables speaking for everything Crowley is, everything he’s made himself to be.

Finally, he hits upon it.

He’ll make out like he’s planning a vacation, and then Crowley will slyly hop aboard his plans, invite himself along as he always does, and once they’re sequestered away in some lovely cottage somewhere then Crowley will finally have the proper setting he needs to do whatever it is he needs to do, what Aziraphale needs him to do. 

He finds the right moment one evening when Crowley is scrolling through some food blog, trying to find somewhere to eat. The demon’s glasses are lying on the side table as he squints at his screen; Aziraphale’s in his shirtsleeves, his coat hung over the back of his desk chair.

“We could try this new place in Hackney,” says Crowley, “it’s a sort of… I dunno, Mexican-Mediterranean fusion… thingy. I think. Looks good.” 

“How revolutionary,” mutters Aziraphale dryly. They’ve done every fusion restaurant in London twice over these past weeks; Aziraphale’s hand out on the table every time, Crowley’s remaining still at his side. 

Aziraphale turns around in his chair to face Crowley, putting on a pensive face. “I’ve been thinking,” he says. “I might take some time away. From the city, I mean...” Aziraphale lets himself trail off, waiting for Crowley to nod and smile slyly and press him for details, ask if there’d be room for two. 

But instead the demon’s face clouds over.  “I knew it,” he says. “Yeah. Well, I had a good run.”

“...Excuse me?” Aziraphale is utterly lost, and Crowley is suddenly in a frenzy, throwing himself up off the sofa into frantic paces back and forth across the room.

“It’s fine,” he says, as though Aziraphale has any idea what he’s going on about. “I knew it was coming. I get it, I do. It’s not something you just walk away from. Yeah, no, yeah, s’all— yeah.”

Aziraphale stands up and plants himself in front of Crowley, blocking his desperate movement. “What are you talking about? It’s just a trip—  and, well, I was hoping you might, ah, accompany me—” 

“You don’t have to lie to me, Aziraphale. I know you’re going back up to Heaven.” 

Aziraphale’s jaw drops. “Are you completely mad? I wouldn’t — I would never — our own side, Crowley!”

“Well. Yeah. I mean. But—” 

“But what?  What could possibly lead you to think I’d go back there?” 

“You’ve— well. You’ve been looking kind of sad, like you… like you’re missing something, like you’re waiting for something to happen, and, well, I figured it out, you’re gonna go back, try to get on the payroll again—”

“Lord above, Crowley.” 

“…What.” 

“I have been waiting. But not for that— God forbid, never, ever!” Aziraphale can’t help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of the idea, which is clearly the wrong move, because Crowley’s face hardens into something closed and cold. Aziraphale turns the laugh into a throat-clearing, shakes his head, and looks at Crowley with pleading eyes. “Crowley, I’ve been waiting for you to— for you to—”

“For me? For me to what?!” 

“To— to try again, to ask me, to tell me, to touch me—  anything, Crowley, anything would do. I’ve been waiting for you to say it first.”

Through gritted teeth, Crowley manages: “How. The fuck. Would I have known that.”

This throws Aziraphale off. He steps back, casts his eyes downwards.  “I thought I was making it obvious,” he says, rather stupidly, thinking of hands on tables and meaningful looks.

Crowley says, “I am a demon. I am not a psychic.

“Well, I know th—”

But Crowley barrels ahead, heedless, as though he’s worried if he lets Aziraphale speak he’ll lose his own train of thought forever. “I would do anything for you. Anything. Look, I don’t— I don’t know how it works for angels, but I can assure you that— that devotion does not a mind-reader make!”

Crowley’s tongue seems to nearly trip over devotion, visibly straining against some invisible barrier, but he gets there, making Aziraphale’s heart leap. The angel tries again, wanting desperately to understand: “But how could you have possibly thought—” 

“Did the new body come with a new blessed memory?” snaps Crowley. “The bandstand. I don’t even like you. Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.”

“But that was before everything, I would have thought that you’d— that what came after would have shown you that—”

“Six thousand years, and every inch you ever gave me came with two you’d take back. You’re an angel, and I'm not, you never let me forget it for a single second— what cause would I have to think that would change at all, ever? It would’ve killed me to even try!”

“Oh. Oh, Crowley.” Then Aziraphale swiftly closes the distance between them again, takes a deep breath and puts his hands on Crowley’s shoulders. Crowley seems to shake under his touch for just one hesitant moment, before pressing up and into it, bending towards it like a sunflower in the morning. 

“My dearest,” he says, knowing full well he’s never called Crowley that before, but if there was ever a time to start, it’s now. “I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. I won’t say I didn’t mean what I said, because that would be lying, and I don’t want to lie to you. We cannot keep things from each other anymore. I may have meant it then, but so much has changed. I’ve changed. I’m ready for you— if you’ll have me. If you’ll forgive me. If you can’t, I understand, but...”

Crowley’s eyes are searching, his mouth hanging slightly open in that way it likes to do, the curve of his lower lip quivering ever-so, something deep in Aziraphale resonating in a sympathetic tremble. “You mean you—?”

“Yes. Crowley, I very much do mean that I love you.”

“Oh—”

And that’s it, that’s all it takes. They collapse into each other, swaying upright, as whatever tension has been twisting around them shatters, crystalline, scattering sparks into the warm darkness of the bookshop and revealing the unguarded softness beneath. Aziraphale’s arms are around Crowley, holding him tight, and Crowley’s face is buried in Aziraphale’s neck, breathing hard and fast. 

“Aziraphale...” begins Crowley, speaking into Aziraphale’s skin, and then he can’t go on, but Aziraphale thinks he has a handle on this now, and he picks up where the demon left off: “Shh, it’s alright. That all felt good to get out, did it not?” 

Crowley mhms gently into his skin. And Aziraphale is realizing now, to its fullest, something he’s suspected for nearly as long as he’s known Crowley: the demon is no silver-tongued devil. He is no weaver of words, no smooth talker. It would fit in with his image, certainly— shouldn’t a man-shaped being dressed like an oilslick have speech just as dark and slippery— but there’s very little of either of them that’s as it ought to be, really. 

Instead, Crowley is all quips and quotes and stammering, lapsing into mocking voices and silly accents when his blood runs highest. The set of his jaw, sometimes so tight he has to force the words out from behind his teeth. 

But it’s okay, isn’t it— because Aziraphale can talk for hours, Aziraphale’s words are his tools, he wields them with more finesse and ease than he ever did any sword. He reasoned his way out of the literal end of the world, back at the airbase, did he not? Talking Crowley through this, doing this, together, should be a walk in the park in comparison. It’s a good thing, then, that Aziraphale loves walking in parks. 

Aziraphale straightens up, pulling Crowley’s head off his shoulder so he can look him in the eyes, and they are wide and gold and fearful at the loss of the embrace. 

“Do you want me to kiss you? Because I’d like to, very much.” 

Mute, Crowley nods. Aziraphale leans in swiftly, never more sure of anything in his whole, long, fretful life than he is about this moment. 

The angel, ever the epicure, knows from taste, but nothing could have prepared him for the hot sweetness of Crowley’s mouth against his. He can’t tell if he’s so far gone that he’s hallucinating a fizz where their tongues meet, or if there really is an otherworldly buzz infiltrating his every nerve, originating in a cascade from the warmth of their lips.

It’s something he’s known he’s wanted for a long time, and something he’s desired deep down for far, far longer than that, further back than he ever dared to give it a name, and now that he has it he might fall fully apart— except for that he can’t, because Crowley needs him not to, and isn’t that just something, the idea of Crowley needing him, and not just the other way around? 

As Aziraphale deepens the kiss he senses Crowley’s knees going weak against his own, threatening to buckle. Well, that won’t do, he thinks, and quickly brings his hands to Crowley’s back to steady him, and then lowers them both down onto the sofa as one. They end up sprawled beside each other, attached at the mouth and torso like teenagers necking in the back row of the cinema. 

Aziraphale is no stranger to kissing; he doesn’t know what Crowley got up to in those long stretches of decades when they saw little of each other, but he’s always more or less assumed the ever-curious demon has also done his fair share of, well, fraternizing. But this is different, this is so different. They’re both starting from scratch here. None of that was anything, really. How could it have been? What it is, Aziraphale thinks as Crowley kisses him ( Crowley is kissing him!), is as if he’s graduated from plinking away at a toy piano to suddenly being in command of an entire symphonic orchestra. A six-thousand year overture finally thundering into its first movement.

Crowley’s fingers tremble at Aziraphale’s waist; Aziraphale, on blessed instinct, parses that feather-light touch into a full sentence and obeys it, vaulting himself up and over Crowley’s lap to straddle him without breaking the kiss. In response, Crowley lets loose a disbelieving moan of joy into Aziraphale’s mouth and tightens his grip on the angel’s sides. 

Aziraphale has to admire how Crowley kisses like he wants absolutely nothing more from the night than this. Even someone as single-minded as the demon would be hard-pressed to ignore the swell of his cock, straining against those oh-so-tight jeans, but he makes no move to relieve it, instead just arching up into Aziraphale, mouth to mouth, chest to chest. And there is a heartbeat there, pounding away; Aziraphale doesn’t know if it’s his or Crowley’s at first, but after only a moment he realizes it’s the both of theirs, locked in sync, an impossible and perfect song, one-two, one-two, one-two. Oh, good lord. 

Aziraphale rakes a hand down Crowley’s front, letting it catch on his stupid jewelry before landing down at the zip of his trousers. He moves his mouth away from Crowley’s, presses his forehead against the demon’s, and asks, “May I?” 

A viciously enthusiastic nod from Crowley, and Aziraphale makes quick work of the button and the fly, moves on to the zipper and expects to reveal some black undergarment but instead sucks in a breath as it is brought to his attention that Crowley’s outfit today does not, in fact, include anything beneath his jeans.

So he takes Crowley in hand, and oh, he is magnificent, long and proud and already leaking desperately. Aziraphale is struck speechless, until, conscientious as ever, he recalls he’s supposed to be doing the talking. “You are beautiful,” he says, meaning it. Crowley shudders underneath him as he slides a thumb over his slit, rubbing with slight movements and then wider ones as he spreads the slick. “You are so wonderful. You’ve given me so much, so much, Crowley, you’ve done everything for me, you’ve been so good…”

They’d never really been in the habit of thanking each other; walls (among other things) had ears, after all. So it’s centuries of backlogged gratitude spilling out now from Aziraphale’s lips against Crowley’s cheek, where he feels the skin grow flushed and warm as he speaks the truest words he possibly could. “...Crowley, you’re brilliant, you saved the world, did you know that… oh, you are just gorgeous… you are dear to me, you are perfect...” 

Crowley’s hands fumble at Aziraphale’s tie and collar, revealing the angel’s neck and diving down with a hunger to it, one kiss for every stroke of Aziraphale’s hand, overwhelming Aziraphale with sheer sensation. Aziraphale rather doesn’t want to move away from Crowley’s bites, sucking patterns into the skin below his adam’s apple, but there is something else he wants, calling to him from the wetness at his hand.

“If you’re amenable, Crowley,” Aziraphale says now, “I’d very much like to taste you.”

Crowley hoarsely whispers, “Yes,” so Aziraphale gets to his knees, and draws his tongue up Crowley’s cock in a single, luscious stroke. It wrenches a glorious noise out of somewhere deep in the demon’s throat, which makes Aziraphale’s own cock twitch inside his trousers in eager envy, but he bids it endurance, because he is busy.

There is still a strange restraint to Crowley, like he is afraid to let his hands do what they want to do. Aziraphale is used to Crowley as a restless creature, pacing and moving and throwing himself about; he cannot abide by any of this unnecessary holding back, and he says so, letting a long, ropy line of spit draw, glistening, from Crowley’s cockhead as he moves away to speak. “Go on,” he says, breathless, “put your hands in my hair. If you will.” 

Like a coiled spring released, Crowley moves immediately, and his hands are there now, pulling, tugging at white curls with abandon as Aziraphale returns to working his mouth up and down the demon’s length, tasting the sweet-salt of Crowley, the otherworldly umami that’s everything he’s been craving, and Aziraphale wants more, he is hungry for it. He curls his tongue in that special way he learned, oh, a hundred-fifty years gone, never thinking he’d get the chance to try it out on the only person he ever really wanted to, and at the same time he sends a few fingers to press again at the delicate skin at the base of Crowley’s cock.

“Fuck,” hisses Crowley, “fuck, fuck, angel—”

At this, Aziraphale takes Crowley deeper still, because he can, because he wants to, and swallows luxuriously. Crowley moans, so Aziraphale does it one more time. Then all at once Crowley is shaking, coming in his mouth in deliciously hot spasms, hitting the back of his throat, tasting—  oh! so good — and Crowley’s aching, wordless panting is worth more than any soliloquy or serenade to Aziraphale’s ears.

It is only after Aziraphale drinks down the last of it that he realizes, belatedly, how greedy he might have seemed just now. He looks up at Crowley, about to apologize, but is struck with the fierceness of love in that gaze, focused laser-sharp on him even through the haze of orgasm, and he wonders how he ever let something as uselessly dull as Heaven keep him from soaking up that wonderful feeling, bathing in it. In an instant, it evaporates Aziraphale’s self-consciousness before it has a chance to take root.

So instead of saying sorry, he licks his lips, pats his mouth delicately with the back of his hand, and lifts himself back up onto the sofa and right into Crowley’s lap. “What now?” he asks.

Crowley, who Aziraphale has never known to not have an answer to that question ready and waiting, makes the most incredible expression, and then stutters like an engine revving, “What now?   I— that was— fuck, Aziraphale, this is so much more than I ever even— you don’t understand , what I want is not—” 

“Let’s not make these mistakes anymore, Crowley. I want to be very clear. I do understand. I understand that you love me, and that you want me, and all I hope is that you understand that I feel—” his breath catches, the sign of some abandoned schema of self-preservation programming trying to kick in, to shut him up, but he ignores it with blissful abandon— “that I feel the same, my dearest, oh, my heart, forever the same. So tell me, please. I want to know. What would you like to do next?”

Crowley is just—  breathing, not speaking, somehow still doubtful, just looking at Aziraphale, which Aziraphale absolutely doesn’t mind, especially now that he can just look back, no averting his eyes, no trying to distract himself from desires he can’t outrun— but it does make him wonder if Crowley’s thinking this whole thing is just a dream, and if he makes any further moves the whole thing will just dissolve down to darkness.

(For his part, Aziraphale has never felt more awake.)

“Well, if you can’t think of anything, we could simply lie here, for the rest of the evening,” suggests Aziraphale with a theatrical sigh, leaning his head on Crowley’s shoulder. “It is rather nice…” 

And this has the desired effect on Crowley, who growls in rejection and, in a stunning display of the power of reverse psychology, grabs Aziraphale close again and presses him into service for another immense, earth-shattering kiss.

“I thought not,” laughs Aziraphale around Crowley’s mouth. And after a lovely little while, he can tell again that Crowley would be content to just keep kissing on and on, so in the interest of variety, he takes one of Crowley’s hands and places it purposefully over the hardness of his own linen-swathed cock. 

The effect is immediate. “Oh, fuck me,” Crowley gasps, rutting up nearly involuntarily against Aziraphale as his mouth loses purchase, slip-sliding against Aziraphale’s cheek.

“If you say so,” says Aziraphale, and lifts his fingers, thinking to miracle his clothes away, but Crowley’s fingers are at his almost too quickly to still his motion, as though he saw it coming.

(He had said he couldn’t read Aziraphale’s mind, but perhaps he had mistaken himself, or maybe whatever had been clouding his way disappeared as soon as their lips met.)

“No, ” Crowley says, with force. “I want to—!”

And Aziraphale lets him. Crowley strips Aziraphale’s layers one by one, like he is unwrapping an unbelievably expensive gift. Each new bared inch of Aziraphale’s skin is met with a worshipful kiss, Crowley’s tongue flickering in and out, circling one nipple, then the other, then running up the curve of his belly with such reverence it makes Aziraphale reconsider, right then and there, its ranking of least favorite body part.

Then, it’s Aziraphale’s turn, and he finishes what he started, tugging those tight trousers finally down and away, lifting off the jacket and shirt and accoutrements until they are lost to the mess of the backroom floor and Aziraphale has all of Crowley’s impossible angles and planes all to himself, to gentle and caress and simply admire. If he had hours… well, perhaps he will, later. What a thought.

The sofa was very possibly not this long and wide earlier in the evening but, like most things in the lives of ethereal and occult beings, it has more than willingly shifted itself to accommodate their needs. With that familiar limber grace, that heroic agility, present yet still in the absence of words, Crowley lifts Aziraphale up and over him. 

“I could get you ready,” says Aziraphale, skating a hand down the side of Crowley’s ass, pressing hinting fingers into the wonderfully pale skin there. Crowley shivers under his touch and his beautiful eyes nearly roll back into his head with pleasure at the very idea, making Aziraphale feel glamorously powerful, but then he shakes his head quickly and says, “No— now, please. ” And there’s that slight shift in the air that signals the use of a miracle and Aziraphale can’t find it in himself to feel cheated, because he’s unbelievably, gloriously hard and, after all, he did leave his patience behind somewhere on the road to the end of the world. He lines himself up, lets the tip of his cock drag slowly over Crowley’s invitation, and delights in the resulting shiver.

He’s about to ask Crowley if he’s sure, if he’s really ready, but again his intentions are anticipated. Crowley gets a hand on his shoulder and pulls, his meaning more than clear, so Aziraphale does as he’s bid.

Crowley’s fit around him is unbelievable, slick and close and simply beautiful, and he tells him so, at first in whispers but then, as he brims with pleasure, louder and louder, for Crowley’s benefit but also his own, to remind himself that yes — this is Crowley he has underneath him, the foul fiend himself, making him gasp.

A demon, and an angel: their roles were set into stone, so very long before this world was born. It is a wonder, then, that they’ve managed this much, that their fumbling has found the weaknesses in those monoliths and split them at the seams, tearing away who they were supposed to be in order to reveal who they are.

It is a wonder, and it is a beautiful thing, but do not mistake it for a miracle. It is not spontaneous, it is not effect without cause, it is no finger-snap nor hand-wave. No, it has taken work, and it will take yet more, to undo it all, but you have to start somewhere— and that somewhere just happens to be tonight, here.

Oh, but this absolutely doesn’t seem like work, though, despite the sweat collecting where their bodies meet, the strain of muscle and breath and blood. This is effortless: Aziraphale slipping a soft finger into Crowley’s mouth as he fucks into him, Crowley taking it with his clever tongue, moaning around it. When he sucks faster, Aziraphale matches the rhythms of his thrusts to it, a good call, as it were, because it sends Crowley keening, at first something purely vocal but then, wonderfully, “ Aziraphale—!”

Crowley’s nails are sharper than they look, Aziraphale learns when they rake down his chest in great arcs. He cries out involuntarily, and Crowley’s hands immediately drop. There’s a barely-heard mumble of apology, but the angel is quick with the reassurance: “More of that, yes, yes,” and so those pinpricks of pressure return, bringing Aziraphale nearly to the brink with their  intensity, grounding him even deeper in sensation, in the glorious immediacy of this, oh, this. He’s a fractal of feeling, cresting and spinning, wishing he were able to stop time like Crowley so he could simply catalogue it all, make one of his lovely little lists to remember it by, every moment, every touch. 

His belly brushes against Crowley’s cock, red and stiff as anything again, and as he nears his own peak, white-hot ecstasy building from where they’re joined, he takes hold of it, feeling Crowley’s closeness and bringing him to another stunning finish. As Crowley comes, hot and thick over his stomach, over Aziraphale’s hand, he shudders, rolling tight around Aziraphale, and that’s— oh, that is just— and with a cry, Aziraphale spills into him, pulsing again and again until he’s emptied, and empty-headed too, his mind white and white noise, every color and every sound turned to an impossible glow. 

After what could've been an eternity of slow release, Crowley brings him back down to Earth by surging up off the sofa to kiss him, and Aziraphale sinks into it, shaking. At one point their teeth clack and that gets a giggle out of the both of them; the laughter softens the blow that is their gentle uncoupling, Aziraphale pulling out but keeping close, not wanting to remove another inch of his skin from Crowley’s if he doesn’t have to. 

Crowley’s eyes are closed, breath coming in short, happy pants. Aziraphale can’t resist bringing the hand still covered with Crowley’s come to his mouth, tasting it a finger at a time. Then Crowley cracks an eye open and Aziraphale freezes, feeling rather like a kid caught with the cookie jar. But Crowley just smiles and nods, bidding him continue. “You must know how good you taste,” says Aziraphale, “like nothing else, like nothing else in the world,” and Crowley’s face reddens beautifully in response.

Soon everything is clean, and Aziraphale is combing his fingers through the cropped hair at the side of Crowley’s head. “So lovely,” he’s saying, “so stunning, my darling, I’ve never felt anything like that in my life, and I’ve been around a while, as you know…”

“Aziraphale…” croaks Crowley suddenly, his first word in many minutes.

“Yes?”

“....Are you, er. Whispering sweet nothings to me right now?”

“I suppose I am,” Aziraphale says. “...Do you mind?”

Crowley is reduced once more to inarticulacy. He shakes his head— he doesn’t mind. It’s a good thing, too, because Aziraphale doesn’t really know if he can stop. 

It’s really not that late, all things considered, but Aziraphale can’t imagine leaving after that, and just walking around, pretending that the very shape of the known universe hasn’t just changed completely, so he understands Crowley’s urge, after a while, to curl up right where he is and drift off to the sound of Aziraphale’s voice. Aziraphale’s arms are around Crowley and his hands are safely clasped in the demon’s at his chest; he feels Crowley breathing against him, slower and slower until it’s the steady rhythm of sleep.

The first time he’d ever seen Crowley asleep was that night at his flat, after the airbase. Aziraphale had stood in the doorway, watching Crowley twitch and squirm, tangled in silk sheets, caught in a restless nightmare. Crowley’s lips had moved atop a clenched jaw, but no sound had issued from his mouth, and Aziraphale had wanted desperately to crawl into that bed, to press his hand to Crowley’s forehead, soothe whatever horrors chased him in the dark with a miraculous touch. Crowley had casually mentioned his bad dreams in passing before, but Aziraphale had hardly known the depth of them, the terrible physical reality of how they trapped him. 

Now, as he watches Crowley sleep, he waits for that discomfort to return, because he’s here now and he could banish it with a thought. But it doesn’t come; the demon sleeps steady and calm in his arms, and Aziraphale thinks that maybe as long as he’s holding Crowley, and speaking to him in a slow and easy voice, Crowley might never have another bad dream— no miracles necessary.

It’s a good thing, then, that Aziraphale has plans to not let Crowley sleep alone again, not for a single night. And it’s a good thing too, that Aziraphale’s voice doesn’t tire, that he can speak all night into Crowley’s ear, a steady and soothing stream of nothings and everythings.

Crowley stirs at one point, in between sleep stages, and mumbles, “Were you saying something?”

“Yes,” says Aziraphale, “I was. I was saying, I love you. ” 

“Oh,” says Crowley, drowsy and dream-drunk. “I love you too. Carry on.” And Aziraphale is only too happy to oblige.

 

 

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