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You Light The Fire In Me

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It is seven years to the day since first discovering Crowley’s tattoos that Aziraphale deciphers the secret hidden deep in the tangles of his lower back piece.

He’s spent countless nights staring at it while Crowley sleeps, oblivious to the scrutiny; the swirling loops and draping foliage have fascinated him all these years, teasing at the back of his mind like a long-lost memory. He likes to follow the individual dips and coils, trying to hold the whole picture in his mind while dialed in to the delicate details. It’s a study he generally indulges only when the demon is sleeping, as the sort of intense focus he tends to bring always ends up leading to other, equally intense activities - not that Aziraphale would ever complain, and he’s certainly taken advantage of that particular trend - but there’s something compelling about Crowley’s ink that he can’t resist.

Sometimes, when he’s absolutely certain Crowley is sound asleep, he traces the lines with the barest graze of fingertips. He can’t help it; they beg to be touched.1

All of this is to say that seven years on, with one hand just barely brushing the bottom of the piece while propped up on the other elbow, at exactly seven past three in the morning, Aziraphale has an epiphany.

The secret that had been lurking behind serpentine lines and tangled foliage suddenly resolves itself into an image - no - a word. A name.

Aziraphale’s name.

It’s a clever script, an old one, long since relegated to the dusty annals of Heavenly history. Aziraphale is only able to recognize it with ease (if seven years of study can be called ‘ease’) because he’s a scholar at heart, unable to give up a single written language.2 He might have caught on sooner, but the script is so old…

It hasn’t been used since Before - not even a casualty of the war, already falling into disuse and disinterest before the first peep of dissent. Aziraphale knows it because he spent all his free time reading. As far as he’d known, it hadn’t made the transition Below. Crowley must have…

Crowley must have remembered, somehow, which is a heartbreaking revelation that is swept aside in the face of the much bigger, much more powerful one thundering through him and setting his entire being aflame.

Crowley has tattooed Aziraphale’s name on his skin.

They’ve talked, haltingly, about the nature of tattoos, ink in general and Crowley’s specifically. How while they’re not technically permanent for Crowley in the way they tend to be for humans3, as they’re not miracle-proof, Crowley treats them as such by choice. How every inch of ink was thoughtfully and painstakingly considered for years, sometimes decades - the details, the placement, the style - before being committed to skin.

Except, Crowley had admitted one night, for this lower back piece.

“Bit of a lark, that one.” He’d gestured vaguely with the wine glass, three bottles in and loose with it. “Whole design just sort of…came together one night. Had a great artist in Tonga I knew would get it perfect. Got it done right then. Fastest piece I ever got."4

He’d been inordinately proud at that last, Aziraphale reflected now, compared to the nonchalance he normally adopted when talking about it. “’S just a tangle,” he’d waved off once. “Not all my pieces have a deeper meaning, angel.”

Deeper meaning indeed.

Aziraphale realizes his fingers are trembling on Crowley’s skin, but he can’t quite bring himself to pull away.

There is something…something…words, normally so obedient, are failing him. He can’t articulate even to himself what this feeling in his chest is. Unbidden, his hand flattens out, smooths fully over inked skin.

Crowley makes a contented noise, curls the pillow closer to his face, and murmurs “Angel” as if it’s some sort of heathen prayer.

Aziraphale’s heart swoops.

His fingers press insistently into the pliant, sleep-warm skin of Crowley’s lower back, and this time Crowley groans. It’s not quite protest and not quite pleasure, but that strange middle ground Aziraphale knows is Crowley-code for ‘this better be good, angel.’ Sometimes it makes Aziraphale reconsider, allows the demon to slip back into deep sleep.

Not this time.

He drags his thumb over the spot where the curve of the angelic script’s equivalent of p morphs into a dangle of ivy.

“’Ziraphale?”

Crowley’s voice is low and sleep-roughened, and does incredible things to Aziraphale’s gut, but he still can’t find any words. They tangle behind his teeth, clustering together, clogging the breath he doesn’t need to take but is fighting to complete anyway.

A rustle, the smooth slide of skin over silken pillowcase, and Crowley’s face comes into the edge of his view. He can’t quite wrest his eyes from the - from the declaration, there’s no other word for it - stamped across the bottom third of Crowley’s back, although the flash of yellow when Crowley’s eyes open nearly does it.

“Angel?”

Aziraphale is distantly aware that he’s wetting his lips repeatedly, as different words jockey to the tip of his tongue only to be yanked back and overwhelmed by other, more insistent words. He still cannot speak. His breath is labored.

“Aziraphale,” Crowley insists, enunciating each syllable as if wrestling it into submission, and brings a hand to the angel’s face. The touch is enough to break the spell, let him lift his gaze from where it had fixated and meet Crowley’s eyes; the demon has gone rigid, the muscles under Aziraphale’s hand tight with tension.

Primal. The feeling in his chest is primal.

“Angel, what - no, oh no.”

Crowley tenses further, gathering himself like a snake, not to strike but to flee; Aziraphale can feel the intent under his hand, and he presses down, pinning Crowley to the bed.

“I - I can explain. You weren’t supposed to-”

“Mine,” Aziraphale grinds out. All other words have fled now that one has claimed dominance over his tongue and mind. There simply isn’t room for them, with the enormity of this one.

Crowley is frozen, still, a coiled statue of flesh and bone under his hand. Only his lips move. “Angel-”

“Mine,” he repeats, and reaches over and around to plunge his fingers into the soft hair at the back of Crowley’s skull, dropping his own upper body so they’re level now on the bed. His other hand presses deeper at the base of the demon’s spine.

Crowley’s sharp intake of breath is too much like a surrender; the primal, possessive thing behind Aziraphale’s ribs strikes. He yanks Crowley’s face to his, slams their mouths together, all teeth and tongue and demand. Crowley goes positively pliant under the assault.

He takes, and Crowley gives. Crowley yields in a way he’s only hinted at before, in the depths of their passion; he’s always been the one giving, but actively, continually working to ensure Aziraphale is happy and comfortable and thoroughly satisfied. Now there’s no other choice - Aziraphale demands, and then he takes, twisting Crowley into position so they’re pressed together, lips to toes and every glorious inch in between. He has one hand fisted in the fine hairs at Crowley’s nape and the other splayed possessively over the tattoo that sparked the inferno in his chest.

Crowley’s hands are pinned between them, the very tips of his fingers twisting in the lapels of Aziraphale’s tartan pajamas while he whimpers into the angel’s insistent mouth. It should ease the ache in Aziraphale’s chest, calm the primal urge to possess, but all it does is add fuel to the fire. He wants more. He needs more.

When Aziraphale lifts the crushing kiss to suck burning points along Crowley’s neck, he’s rewarded with an absolutely debauched, helpless gasp.

“Angel,” Crowley begins, and Aziraphale growls against his throat.

“Mine.”

“Your - oh, G-, Sa-, fuck, Aziraphale,” he moans, hips twitching convulsively, seeking friction in the scalding press of their bodies together. Crowley’s legs tangle around Aziraphale’s like the vines in his tattoo cling to the sweep of his name, pressing so close the two can hardly be considered separate entities. “Yours, only - only yours, always yours. But-”

Aziraphale digs his nails into Crowley’s spine and scalp, and the demon keens.

“You weren’t - weren’t supposed to sssee-” Aziraphale sucks a bruise into Crowley’s sternum and delights in the desperate whimper it draws. “Fuck, angel, angel, it wassss - was never - ah, fuck, please let me - oh - let me explain-”

As Aziraphale blazes a burning trail south, Crowley’s hands slide free of their entrapment and come loose to flutter helplessly, lighting briefly on the angel’s shoulders, in his hair, clenching against the sheets. He tugs ineffectually at his arms as if to drag the angel back up, but Aziraphale will not be deterred; he has a mission.

“Seven years,” he growls. He uses his arms and elbows and one free hand to untangle the demon’s legs from around him, keeping the other hand firmly pressed into Crowley’s spine. Crowley whimpers when Aziraphale scrapes his teeth over the jutting edge of one hipbone; for all the frenetic motion of his hands and desperate heaving of his chest, he goes still from the waist down, save the helpless trembling of over-taut muscles. The silken sleep pants have vanished in the face of Aziraphale’s intensity, and he sucks a bruise into the freshly exposed join of hip and thigh.

“Angel I - I’m sorry-”

“Don’t you dare.” Aziraphale lifts his face just long enough to skewer Crowley with a look. It’s more fire and fury than Crowley - than anyone - has ever seen from him, threaded through with such overwhelming love that Crowley can barely stand it. He reaches for Aziraphale’s face, helpless in the onslaught.

Aziraphale relinquishes the pressure on Crowley’s spine so he can pin him flush to the bed, wrists held firmly to either side of his hips. Crowley wriggles once, twice, three times.

“’Ziraphale, please-”

“Mine,” the angel growls, gaze unwavering, and turns his head to take Crowley’s cock into his mouth.

Crowley writhes.

“Angel,” he whines, and Aziraphale sucks, working his mouth along the length of him, stroking his tongue along the sensitive underside in just the right spot. “Angel - I - hng, oh, fuck, ‘Zira - ‘Ziraphale-”

Aziraphale ducks his head, finally, when Crowley’s falls back to push against the pillows, and sets to sucking his cock with the sort of abandon he’s normally on the receiving end of, mouth a tight seal on skin, pushing deeper and further until his nose is nestled in the fiery patch of curls at the base. He works his tongue up and around, a hot, slick slide of muscle on skin, and each time Crowley writhes he rewards - or punishes - the movement with a hard, heavy suck. Crowley is a live wire beneath him, legs twisting in an effort to keep his hips still, wrists gone hot with friction under Aziraphale’s grip as his hands scrabble for purchase in the silk sheets.

He considers, briefly, bringing him off like this - just this, just the wet heat of his mouth on his partner’s cock and the frantic, wordless cries of pleasure, but then Crowley moans his name again and he wants more.

He releases one wrist to bring miracle-slick fingers around and press one against Crowley’s opening, noting absently that the freed hand spends all of half a second buried in his hair before his finger slides home and the hand is gone, borne away on a broken moan. Aziraphale works his finger in deeper, slides until he finds that sweet spot, presses firmly.

Crowley’s trapped hand twists around so that he can grip Aziraphale’s wrist with fever hot fingers. “Angel. Angel, Aziraphale, please-”

Aziraphale moans around Crowley’s cock and slips a second finger alongside the first, rubbing until Crowley’s hips give a helpless jerk. He matches the slide of his mouth to the rhythmic thrusting of his fingers, delights in the desperate keening it draws, scissors his fingers briefly and sucks heavily as a distraction as he slides a third digit next to the others.

Crowley’s moans have gone muffled, and he looks up just enough to register that there is a pillow being pressed firmly over his partner’s face with one grasping hand before the pillow disappears. Crowley’s eyes, gone wide with blown pupils, meet Aziraphale’s from between his splayed fingers.

“Ah - Azira - ‘Ziraphale I - oh G- fuck, please, please angel, you - I- ha-ah, fuck-”

Aziraphale pulls back just enough that Crowley’s cock slips free from his lips with an obscene pop, three fingers pressing and rubbing in all the places he knows Crowley likes best.

“Turn over.”

Crowley blinks in confusion. “Angel, what-”

Now,” he demands, and the look that flashes across his love’s face is gasoline on the wildfire raging through his limbs. Crowley scrambles to obey even as Aziraphale doesn’t move, forcing him to awkwardly swing one leg up and over, interrupted with a breathy moan when Aziraphale twitches his fingers mid-motion.

Once Crowley is settled back beneath him, that tattoo on full display, Aziraphale presses his mouth to the very center of it and sucks hard, right over the spine. Crowley arches, gasps.

“Angel-”

“Mine.” He bites into the skin, crawling up Crowley’s body, presses fierce kisses over each tattoo he encounters along the way. Crowley is trembling again beneath him, cascading into a full-body shudder when he slides his fingers free.

“Aziraphale.” Crowley wriggles, writhes. Aziraphale watches the way his hands flex, seeking a grip more substantial than silk sheets; there had been pillows there, before, but the sight of the demon, his demon, his love, his beloved, his his his, helpless and desperate and grasping beneath him is fast becoming one of Aziraphale’s favorite things, and the pillows have obligingly disappeared.5 So have his pajamas - he’s too far gone to remember doing that, but he must have done, because he can feel the exquisite slide of skin on skin in every place they’re touching.

The primal thing in his chest wants more, more, more.

Aziraphale brings both hands to Crowley’s hips, holding him in place as he lines them up, and pauses. His thumbs brush along the edges of the tattoo. Crowley’s breath hitches, once, and then he goes completely still, waiting.

Worrying. Aziraphale can feel it under his fingertips, that telltale stiffness. They come less and less, now, these moments where Crowley is seized by his anxieties, where he struggles with believing that this is real, that this is happening, that this is allowed and not just some desperate days- or months- or centuries-long fever dream. They happen less, but they still happen, and this-

This is unusual. This is - this is - they should talk about it. They should be talking about it -

Aziraphale’s fingers flex on Crowley’s hips, Crowley gasps, and Aziraphale is lost.

He uses his handhold like a lever, pushing forward while also pulling back, and bites into the flesh of Crowley’s shoulder as he slides home. It feels like - well. The only word that comes to mind is divine.

“Angel,” Crowley moans into the mattress, and the angel’s fingers flex so tightly on Crowley’s hips that it’s a miracle nothing’s broken.

He twitches his hips backwards, just a fraction, barely willing to lose even a single, solitary inch of contact, and thrusts forward immediately after. Pulls back again, further this time - slams forward harder, desperate, fire in his veins, need and want and that aching, primal thing thrumming under his skin, in his bones. He relinquishes the grip of his teeth on Crowley’s shoulder to drag hot, open-mouth kisses along every inch of skin he can reach - up along the column of Crowley’s neck, teeth scraping along taut tendons; across the planes of his shoulderblades, muscles bunching as the demon grips desperately at the bed; down the ridges of his spine, tracing vertebrae with his tongue. Through it all his hips keep working, urgently, furiously, like a thing possessed.

Like a thing possessing, Aziraphale thinks distantly, with the last corner of his brain that is still capable of any sort of rational thought, before that too is overwhelmed with the need for more.

Crowley is writhing again under his hands, attempting to press his hips back or down or somewhere, but Aziraphale holds them in an iron grip and lifts his face enough to scrape his teeth at the edge of the demon’s ear.

“Mine.”

“Yes, fuck, yes, angel - yours, I - fuck, fuck-” Crowley’s voice starts out muffled into the mattress, clears when he turns his head to the side. “But - oh, angel, I - I’m-”

“Not yet,” Aziraphale demands, and Crowley’s eyes fly open.

They've gone yellow from edge to edge, sclera lost under the onslaught, and the sight of his wrecked control drives Aziraphale to new levels of intensity. He’s burning with it, this scorching, aching, needy thing; it’s tangled itself inside his ribcage, sunk itself down into his bones, is lighting him up from everywhere and nowhere all at once. It’s beyond primal and into savage, a flaming, desperate desire, and if he had any mental capacity left at all he’d marvel that he hasn’t yet burned away from the inside and left behind a desperate, smoking shell.

Hellfire, he thinks with the single solitary braincell that still can, can’t possibly be this hot.

“Angel,” Crowley is begging underneath him. “Angel, angel, please-”

“Say it,” he breathes against Crowley’s shoulder, locking eyes, furious blue to ruined, blown-wide amber. “Say it.”

“Say - fuck, fuck, what, I’ll say anything. Anything, please - angel - pleaoh,” as Aziraphale tugs Crowley’s hips back just a fraction, changes the angle, and there’s a muffled pop as Crowley’s grasping fingertips puncture the surface of the bed. “Oh, oh, I - ngk - you - angel please-”

Aziraphale, overcome and shaking with it, thrusts just that little bit harder, and Crowley keens.

“Anything, any-hah, whatever you want, I - oh, hng, yes, yes, yes, please, yes, what - I - yours, I’m yours,” he gasps out. “Yours, always, forever, entirely - fuck, angel, I’ve belonged to you since Eden, I - oh, oh, Aziraph-ah-hale-”

The sound of his name from Crowley’s lips, a broken, helpless, pleading scrap of syllables, flashes through him, seizes him. Crowley must see it in his eyes because his own go impossibly wider.

“I - you - yours, I love you, angel, please, Azira - Aziraphale, I’m yours, only - ah - only ever yours, Aziraphale-”

Aziraphale manages a single, choked “Crowley, yes-” before they’re both breaking, shattering to pieces, coming and coming apart together, Aziraphale’s face pressed into Crowley’s shoulder, Crowley moaning the angel’s name in increasingly broken fragments. The fire that had consumed Aziraphale’s entire being seems to drain from him as he climaxes, leaving behind a patina of warmth and contentment that immediately settles into and soothes his aching bones.

He presses a kiss to Crowley’s shoulder and gently pries his fingers from the demon’s much-abused hips, runs his hands softly along the skin there. “My dear, I-”

A hiccup, a tremble, and Aziraphale’s blood - recently so hot - runs ice-cold.

Aziraphale has moved to the side and is turning Crowley over in a blink, his heart simultaneously racing and leaden in his chest. “Crowley, dearest, love, I’m - I-”

There are tears on Crowley’s cheeks which he is attempting, poorly, to hide in the mattress. Aziraphale’s hands shake as he turns the demon to face him. “I’m so sorry, I-”

“No,” Crowley manages, and buries his face in Aziraphale’s chest.

“-I should have, have asked, have - checked in-”

“No.”

“-I’m so sorry, my love, beloved, I’m - can you ever forgive-”

“No,” from his chest again, and Aziraphale is certain he can feel his heart cracking open as Crowley struggles to his elbows to level him with a look. “Not - not no, not. Just. ‘M not saying no,” Crowley manages, and curls into Aziraphale again, pushing and prodding the suddenly pliant angel until they’re curled together on the ruined mattress, Crowley’s face tucked into Aziraphale’s shoulder. “Just. Don’t.”

Aziraphale’s hands hover for a brief moment before he very deliberately settles them on the bed. “My dear, I-”

“Hold me,” Crowley says into his skin, and so he does, carefully, slowly, wrapping his arms gently around the demon as if his beloved was made of spun glass. They lay like that for a moment, while Crowley’s tears pool on Aziraphale’s chest and Aziraphale tries to hold the broken edges of his heart together. Something is happening, here, something he can’t quite understand, but the chill of Crowley’s tears on his overheated skin feels like - like -

Like he’s broken something. Oh, they should have talked about this - he should have stopped, said something…

“Can feel you thinking,” Crowley murmurs. Aziraphale’s arms tighten reflexively and then spring back to a more neutral hold.

“I should have-”

“No-”

“-talked to you-”

“Angel, wait-”

“-instead of forcing-”

Stop,” Crowley manages, and Aziraphale falls silent, staring up at the ceiling and willing his own traitorous tears not to fall. Crowley wriggles in his arms, mutters something6, and suddenly they’re wrapped in a warm and surprisingly heavy duvet. Aziraphale swallows against the swell of fondness in his throat.

“That was-”

“I’m sorry-”

“Would you ssssstop,” Crowley hisses. Aziraphale bites his lip at the ceiling, blinking back tears, until Crowley’s face swims into view. “You - what -”

“I’m so sorry, that was-”

Amazing,” Crowley interrupts, and Aziraphale is stunned into silence. “That was amazing, fuck, Aziraphale, I didn’t know you had it in you-”

“I-”

“Amazing,” Crowley repeats. His eyes are still full yellow, edge to edge, and the look on his face is something between exasperation and love. “That - that was the sort of thing you’ve always preferred to-”

“I know.” He wishes he could hide his face in something. Where have all the damned pillows gotten off to?7

“You woke me in the middle of the night-”

“I know.”

“-took - took control like some sort of sex-crazed fiend-”

“I know,” Aziraphale wails miserably, hands over his face.

“-laid claim to me-”

“I’m so sorry!”

Crowley’s face, or the bits he can see of it through his fingers, goes from thrilled to concerned. “What - why would you be sorry?”

Aziraphale blinks at him through his hands until Crowley tugs them down. “I didn’t ask-”

“I don’t ask you-”

“Yes but we’ve discussed that-”

“I know the safe word,” Crowley interrupts. Again. Aziraphale is starting to think he’s going to have to apologize in sentence fragments.

“Yes, but that’s mine, and-”

“You would have stopped, if I’d used it.”

It’s said so bluntly, with such overwhelming confidence, that Aziraphale blinks at him for a moment as the world tilts - and not just because the pillows have suddenly returned from their disappearing act.

Crowley smiles at him as if they’ve settled something, drops his head back to Aziraphale’s shoulder. “Can I enjoy the afterglow in peace now?”

“In - Crowley-”

“I trust you.”

Three words slam into him at roughly the same speed as a bullet might, or a bomb, or perhaps some sort of passenger vehicle. The Bentley let loose on the streets of London, one reckless demon at the wheel. They spin his world a little further off the axis he’d thought it was settled on, set his heart spinning in much the same way.

Crowley levers himself up again, concern written across his face. “Angel, you - you knew that. Right?”

“My dear, will you be terribly cross if I just, well, if I explain myself?”

He can feel Crowley closing in on himself, and knows immediately that he’s misstepped.

“Wait, don’t - just, please, Crowley, hear me out.”

Oh, it’d be so much better if Crowley was scowling, was visibly upset, but - his face has gone still and blank, as unreadable as anything. Panic flutters somewhere behind Aziraphale’s sternum as the silence stretches between them.

“Alright, then.”

Now that he’s been given permission, albeit grudgingly, he hardly knows how to start. “I know you trust me. I do know that. But, well, I - dearest. Crowley. I’ve, I’ve never.” His fingers pluck at the edge of the duvet. “Never felt…anything quite like that before.”

Crowley quirks a brow at him, something between a smirk and a scowl tilting at his lips. “Lust?”

“Possesiveness.”

The force of Crowley’s gaze, unguarded and slowly filling with an emotion he isn’t ready to attempt naming, forces his own to the edge of the duvet he’s been worrying. It’s a deep, matte black on the outside, but - he fidgets with it - a shadowy but unmistakable tartan pattern underneath. A tiny, thoughtless, simple gesture, the sort Crowley makes so effortlessly…his heart positively floods with love.

It’s easier to address his confession to this fibrous symbol, somehow.

“Certainly I’ve always been particularly…possessive, of my - well. Of my things. My books, especially, and - not that - not that I think you’re a thing, Crowley, a possession, but-”

“I don’t mind,” Crowley interrupts quietly, and Aziraphale’s eyes dart to his.

“Oh, my love, no, no. There aren’t - these aren’t the right words.” Aziraphale carefully folds the duvet into place and his hands atop it, to stop them from reaching for Crowley. He needs to focus; needs to explain. “You don’t belong to me.”

“I do, though.”

“Crowley-”

“I do. Not like a book,” Crowley admits, reaching a hand out to cup Aziraphale’s cheek. “But - that’s what this was about, yeah?”

“I don’t know if I could have stopped,” he admits in a rush, and Crowley’s fingers still briefly on his face.

“You - what?”

“If you’d - if you’d asked. If you’d used…” Somehow his eyes have landed back on the duvet, and with effort he forces them to meet Crowley’s. “If you’d said no, or stop, or used the safe word, my love, I’m not - I’m not sure-”

He squeezes his eyes shut in a vain attempt to stop the tears, hiccups back the sob rising in his throat. “I’m so sorry.”

“Angel-”

“Crowley, don’t-”

“Angel,” more firmly. Crowley is sliding across him now, the sharp edges of him settling into Aziraphale’s plush curves, slotting together like they were built for this. “Angel, will you look at me?”

Aziraphale, busy swallowing back his misery, shakes his head no. Crowley sighs.

“Alright, then just listen. I did not, and do not, and will not want you to stop. No one gets someone’s name permanently inked into their skin and then-”

“Crowley that’s not healthy-”

“What?”

“Just because you have that tattoo doesn’t give me the right-”

“I should think it does-”

“-to, to use you like that-”

“But I want you to,” Crowley argues, and Aziraphale’s heart quails as the blood that should be there rushes for points south. His visceral reaction to Crowley’s words is horrifying - here they are, not half an hour after Aziraphale has broken all the rules, very nearly broken them and - the thought looms from a corner of his mind he’d hoped to ignore a bit longer - possibly Crowley’s hipbones, and his traitorous body is responding to the warm weight of the demon atop him and the dark, naked want in his voice.

“You shouldn’t,” Aziraphale manages. “Not…Crowley, not like this. Not without boundaries, without - without rules.”

“We don’t need rules-”

“We already have rules,” he points out. “We had whole discussions about what is and is not on the table-”

“But that was for you,” Crowley counters. “I don’t - I don’t need-”

“Oh, dearest. Darling. You do, you do.” He frames Crowley’s face between his hands. “You deserve everything you want in this world, Crowley, and I will do everything in my power to give it to you, but you have to know - have to respect your own boundaries, and I’m so very terrified that I - that I might break one, and hurt you. Even without - especially without knowing it.”

Seven years ago, he thinks distantly, Crowley would have scoffed at him. Well, seven years and one day ago Crowley would have scoffed at admitting he had feelings, much less boundaries that anyone would be capable of breaching without grievous personal harm. Now, though, he’s very clearly turning the situation over in his mind, picking apart Aziraphale’s words, thinking them through. Considering.

“There are things,” he admits slowly. “Things I don’t like.”

A flutter of panic races through Aziraphale; he swallows past it, but Crowley must see it in his face, because the considering look in his eye turns soft.

“Nothing - nothing you’ve done, angel. Just - things I, I know about, that I - I don’t. Want to try. Don’t even want to consider, really. I don’t think even you could change my mind about those sorts of things.”

“I’d never try-”

“I know, angel, that’s - that’s the point. I know you wouldn’t. And I know, without question, that if I asked you to stop, you’d stop.”

When Aziraphale doesn’t reply, Crowley chases blue eyes with his own amber, pins his gaze, and repeats firmly: “If I asked you to stop, you’d stop.”

“How can you be so certain?”

It comes out as a strained, quivering whisper. Crowley presses their foreheads together, whispers his own answer the barest distance from Aziraphale’s mouth. “Because I know you, angel, better than I know myself, better than you know yourself. And if there’s one thing you would never do, it’s hurt me.”

“I’ve never - I felt positively possessed, Crowley, it - it must have been frightening-”

“It was amazing. It was exhilarating. Fuck, Aziraphale, I really, truly hope it happens again. I’ve been waiting for you to do that since - I don’t even know when. Since I first started fantasizing about what getting you into bed might be like, maybe? I wanted - I’ve wanted so badly to.” He bites his lip, pulls back just enough that their eyes can focus again. “To feel like I belonged to you. Did you - did you enjoy it?”

“It doesn’t matter if I-”

“Pretend for a moment that we’d talked it over beforehand and you knew that was not only firmly inside my boundaries but very, very wanted, angel - did. You. Enjoy it?”

“I-” he fidgets for a moment, hands carefully on Crowley’s waist, then relents with a sigh. “Yes.” And then, helplessly, “Very much so.”

The smile that curves Crowley’s mouth is positively wicked. “Excellent. Then we’ll do it again.”

“We - Crowley-”

“Mmm, no, you like it when I take charge.” The demon traces his thumb over Aziraphale’s bottom lip, wriggles slightly, and grins when Aziraphale’s fingers tighten briefly on his waist. “So I’m telling you that I like it, and I want it, and we’ll do it again. We can even,” he drops a tiny kiss on the tip of the angel’s nose, “talk about it first. Agree on the safe word and flesh out the boundaries, what have you, so you don’t worry again.”

“Crowley you were crying,” Aziraphale interrupts, trying desperately to wrench his mind away from where Crowley is oh-so-slowly undulating against him.

“’S what happens when you get something you’ve wanted a really long time. Emotions get - overwhelmed, that’s a good word for it.”

Crowley’s hips hitch just right and Aziraphale has to bite back a moan.

“Also, I came so hard it was cry or discorporate, and discorporating leads to so much paperwork…”

Aziraphale fails to contain the moan this time. “You - you really…?”

Crowley stills. “You - angel, I made a blessed mess. Saw so many stars I could build a whole galaxy behind my eyelids. D’you really think I would have stopped begging if I hadn’t?”

“I - well, one never quite knows-” This time it’s Aziraphale who wriggles, hips seeking friction as if they have a mind of their own, until Crowley tightens his knees to either side of the angel’s thighs and moves.

“’S true, you never did give me permission,” he admits, and Aziraphale’s face flames. Before he can protest, Crowley adds, “You’ll just have to punish me for that later.”

“Punish - oh.”

“Definitely a thing I’m into, by the way.”

“A - which thing?” There are two he can think of, and both are like a jolt of heat to the gut.

When Crowley shifts to whisper “I think they call it ‘orgasm denial’,” directly into his ear, he goes hot all over; not the engulfing fire from before, but a smoldering thing that pools in his belly and spreads through his limbs like flaming molasses. His hands drift down to grip, to press-

Crowley hisses, in pain, and he suddenly remembers that looming thought from before, plastering his hands to the mattress.

“I’m sorry-”

“Don’t be. Going to have the most delicious ache tomorrow.” Crowley rolls his hips, just so, and Aziraphale fights to keep his hands on the bed. “Nothing’s broken, don’t fret. Just a little tender, you know, right this second.”

“I - Crowley, maybe we should-”

“Don’t make me ssstop, angel, please.”

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I can fix that.” He tugs at Aziraphale’s arms until the angel drags them from under the duvet; links his left hand with Aziraphale’s right and pins their locked fingers to the mattress, right over the punctures from before. The other he places at the back of his head, up towards the crown, and abandons it there to prop himself up with his free hand to get a better angle. Aziraphale moans. “Make - a fist, angel, grab-”

Aziraphale’s fingers clench reflexively - when did he become this grasping, clutching thing, white-knuckled and needy?8 - in Crowley’s flaming hair, and the demon moans.

“Yes, angel, like that-”

“Oh, Crowley-”

“Wanted to know what that felt like,” Crowley gasps out, back bending to follow the slight pull. He grinds his hips down at this new and improved angle. “Wanted to feel it since the first - the first time you put your hands in my hair.”

Aziraphale tugs, just enough to force Crowley’s head back, expose the long column of his throat. The sound that Crowley makes is absolutely debauched, and arrows straight to his cock.

“Was hoping - fuck - hoping you’d do it earlier.”

“Earlier tonight?” And wouldn’t that have been a sight? The thought leaves him quite breathless - or maybe that’s the way Crowley’s hips are undulating, his knees tight pressure points against Aziraphale’s thighs, their cocks dragging together just so. “Or in general?”

“Both. Especially tonight.”

Aziraphale surges up just enough to set his mouth on Crowley’s throat and begin sucking a bruise over the pulse point there, a shade to the left of a previously deposited mark. “I want,” he presses the words into Crowley’s skin, between sucks and soft nips of teeth, “to hear. About all of it. Everything. How it feels.”

“Feels so good, angel. So - so good, fuck.”

He can feel the vibrations of Crowley’s moan under his lips when his fingers tighten, and the sound travels through his body like lightning.

“Keep talking, darling.”

“You - oh, angel. D’you have any - any idea? How much I want to just-” his hips stutter, then, a fierce grind paired with a fiercer hiss, and then resume their just-short-of-desperate roll. “You’re making me go slow,” he complains, dropping his head to Aziraphale’s shoulder, breathing hotly against the skin there.

Aziraphale’s hand strokes down to curl around the back of Crowley’s neck. “I’m not making you do anything, dearest.”

“Not on purpose,” Crowley mutters into his shoulder. “Can’t move my hips like that right now, so it’s - it’s torture, isn’t it, that’s me pun-oh- punished already.”

Any guilt he feels about Crowley’s use of can’t is swept away when the demon slides his free hand between them, takes a firm grip on them both, and strokes in exactly the way he knows Aziraphale likes best.

“Oh, Crowley, that’s - oh, please yes. Tell - tell me-”

Fuck, angel, I love it when you - hng - when you get demanding.”

Aziraphale presses his lips to the sigil on Crowley’s face, arches into his touch. “Darling, dearest, I - please, I’m - so close-”

“Yes, angel, yes, so - fuck, so am I-”

“Come with me,” Aziraphale whispers into his ear. Crowley shudders.

“I - I’m trying-”

They’re both writhing, now, the world narrowed down to just the two of them, in this bed, hips hitching, fingers tangled together in a white-knuckled grip. The flush of breath on hot skin, the twist of a wrist, the bright, shining moment building inside and between them, every nerve ending aflame. Staccato moans in the rough shape of words; trembling hands; a rushing from within -

“Crowley-”

“Aziraphale-”

- the searing fire of release, carried on syllables made sacred by the depths of love poured into them, mingled cries, mingled breaths, two mouths meeting as the world comes apart at the edges, as universes quake and galaxies tremble in tandem with the shaking bodies entwined here, in this room, on this bed, together. The broken pieces start to settle back together a little more firmly, a little more solidly, grounding the entities in the bed to the world, to themselves, to each other with every shuddering inhale and slightly calmer exhale until it's just them, breathing together, sated bodies and satisfied hearts.

Hours, months, eons pass.9 The spend between them has started to go cool and sticky, and Aziraphale gestures it away before tucking his only free hand into the valley of Crowley’s spine, the space between where his wings hide. His other hand is still firmly trapped in Crowley’s, and that’s just this side of perfect.

He brushes a thumb across a patch of scales, sweeps his hand down, and settles it gently over the tattoo.

“Love you,” Crowley murmurs into the curve of his neck.

“I love you,” Aziraphale answers.

“’M gonna bask in the afterglow now, angel.”

He can feel Crowley’s grin against his skin, and his heart swells with it. “That sounds perfect, my love.”