Actions

Work Header

every winding road i take leads me back to you

Work Text:

“I think we should go on a road trip.”

Crowley’s lounging on the settee in Aziraphale’s backroom when the angel pipes up, the statement said nonchalantly as if he were talking about the weather. Aziraphale’s pouring them both a glass of wine, as the day is nearing its end and the bookshop is closed. Crowley rolls his neck, lolling his head and stares at the angel from across the room, his skeptical look hidden behind his shades.

“A road trip,” the demon says flatly, opening his hand to grasp the wine glass Aziraphale gives to him. “I don’t see you being able to sit in a car for hours on end, angel.” Especially when Aziraphale is so critical of Crowley’s driving, but Crowley chooses not to mention that.

“I believe I could do it,” Aziraphale protests after a sip of wine. “Could always bring a book or two. Or admire the scenery.” The angel stares into his wine glass, pursing his lips. “But I suppose it’s just a silly idea. Couldn’t just leave the shop and all.”

“Now, now, I don’t think it’s a silly idea,” Crowley says, albeit a bit too quickly. “I just think it’s…random, is all. Why so sudden?”

Aziraphale hums, mulling over a possible statement. He swishes the wine in his glass thoughtfully before replying, “I just think there’s still so many things in this world we’ve yet to see. And…and I know that we’re still ‘in the clear’, as one would put it, with our respective sides—well I suppose they’re not our sides, anymore—I’m still afraid of retribution. So, if that were to be the case…I would at least like to see more of the world before it would happen.”

A heavy silence follows Aziraphale’s explanation and Crowley feels it weighing on his bones. Something in his heart wrenches; the thought that Aziraphale is still worried about heavenly vengeance (but, what the angel is likely more worried about is Hell rearing its ugly head and dragging Crowley back down into its depths, into a pool of holy water rather than boiling sulfur. Crowley wants to shake his head at the thought) settles deep in the demon’s chest uncomfortably, reminding him of certain…feelings he’s harbored for Aziraphale for, let’s just say, six millennia. But who’s counting, really? Definitely not a certain occult entity.

The feelings seemed to have deepened after the thwarted Apocalypse, much to Crowley’s chagrin. He supposes it’s because of the rush of possibly losing Aziraphale shifting to the joy of staying alive, of Aziraphale staying alive, and their stints in Heaven and Hell proving successful. We’re on our own side buzzes in Crowley’s brain like a bee trapped in a glass box, and the fact that Aziraphale actually accepts it now with a bright smile on his face makes Crowley’s heart clench dramatically.

Someone, he’s fucked. He’s completely fucked.

So the conversation is dropped for other topics and they leave it at that. At least, for awhile. When the night reaches its peak and the wine bottle is drained, Crowley sobers himself up and excuses himself. With a departing wave, the demon ducks out of the bookshop and back into the Bentley, motoring on back to his Mayfair flat.

When he arrives Crowley locks the door behind him and immediately goes to his laptop. He’s got some homework to do.

 

***

 

Crowley learns that road trips are a sort of American thing. He’s not surprised, given how big the bloody country is. He estimates it would take about a week of eight-hour long driving sessions to get from the east coast to the west. He wonders idly if he could cut down on that time by driving his usual speeds.

The demon shakes his head. Too fast, he reminds himself sternly.  

So he spends a week pouring over websites with useful information about popular tourist destinations in America. The Pacific Coast Highway in California, Glacier National park in Montana, the Olympic Peninsula, Cape Cod—Aziraphale wants to see the sights. He figures the angel is tired of bustling cities and would appreciate the change of scenery. The websites even suggest what sort of cars should be brought along, and Crowley scoffs. Nothing could top his Bentley.

He takes notes, jotting down potential destinations. He even rings Aziraphale once and nonchalantly asks him, if he were to go to America, if there was a particular place he wanted to visit. The angel pondered for a tick before responding, “I’ve always thought the Grand Canyon was fascinating. I do believe I had a hand in making it, but I can’t be too sure. Such a long time ago, you see.”

And of course Crowley has to add it to the list, not even of possible destinations, but of yes, of course we’re going to this one, why wouldn’t we sights, because Aziraphale wants to see it and Crowley likes seeing Aziraphale happy. And he realizes what he’s thinking, and suddenly the pencil in his hand snaps in half.

What’s that term humans use for his current predicament? It’s on the tip of his forked tongue. Ah, yes. He recalls it perfectly now.

Crowley is whipped.

And it’s sad, it’s so sad, because they’re not even like that and Crowley knows they never will be. But, the demon thinks, it’s kind of okay. What they have now, this sort of unbreakable friendship, is enough to sustain him. He’ll take it for the next six thousand years over possibly ruining it and never seeing Aziraphale again. The thought makes his stomach twist.

And so, a week after extensive research Crowley swaggers into the bookshop with the list and a map in his hand, slapping them down on Aziraphale’s desk. The angel was completely lost in a book and the sound startles him, and he looks up, glasses perched on the bridge of his nose. For some reason Aziraphale’s face lights up at the sight of Crowley, having not had contact with the other for a week besides a ten second phone call, and the demon is glad he’s wearing his glasses.

“Crowley! How are you doing?” Aziraphale’s eyes drop down to the papers smushed under Crowley’s palm. “What’s all this about?”

“Road trip, angel,” Crowley reminds him, and the other entity blinks. A smile slowly splits his face in two and his eyes come to light and Crowley is still very, very glad he’s wearing his shades.

“Oh, Crowley, are you quite sure?” Aziraphale says as he gingerly picks up the papers Crowley slammed onto his desk. His eyes scan over the list and the map, grinning like a madman. “The Pacific Northwest, Cape Cod—oh! The Grand Canyon!” The angel’s eyelashes actually flutter up at Crowley and the demon feels like he’s going to drop onto the floor and slither away. “This is so thoughtful of you, dear boy. I really appreciate it.”

“’S nothin’,” is all Crowley can croak out, shoving his hands in his pockets; faking an air of nonchalance is what he does best. “Thought about what you said and I figured it’d be nice to. Um. Take a break from London n’ all.” With you, he wants to add, but luckily he clamps his mouth shut before it can slip out.

“Oh, this is so exciting!” says Aziraphale, shutting his book and putting his glasses to the side. He stands up from his chair and starts to putter around the bookshop, as if his energy has been renewed. “I’ve always wanted to go to America. So many beautiful sights, and restaurants too! I bet they do remarkable things with oysters in Cape Cod.”

Crowley’s mind travels back to Rome, to Patronius’s new restaurant, to Aziraphale slurping oysters down with fervor, a content expression on his face and juice dripping a thin line down his chin. The demon is suddenly very parched despite not needing water.

“What to bring, what to bring, what to bring,” Aziraphale murmurs to himself. “I wonder how many books I can fit into one suitcase—oh, and bowties, definitely will need bowties—”

Crowley crosses his arms, learning a hip against the desk, and he can’t help but let a smile spread across his lips. He watches Aziraphale scan over his books, picking out ones to bring with him on the trip, fretting about which bowties to bring, and the demon’s heart—which he once thought was blackened, incapable of doing so—is filled to the brim with love.

 

***

 

Getting a car across an ocean without the use of a huge miracle was a lot harder than Crowley thought it would be. Well, he did conjure up some necessary paperwork, like a license, proof of insurance, a registration for the Bentley, all human nonsense. He then had to find a shipper, one that would the Bentley to a port in New England to drop it off. The whole process was very boring and Crowley had started to get antsy, but Aziraphale didn’t seem to mind the wait—the demon supposes it’s because he chose to do it the human way—so he calmed down.

However, it would take a few weeks for the Bentley to arrive at the port, but with a little suggestion from Crowley, it would arrive just in time for them to get off their flight.

“Isn’t this exciting?” Aziraphale says, wiggling in his seat next to Crowley. They’re waiting for their plane to take off, Aziraphale’s voice a beacon in the dull murmur of the other passengers. “I can’t believe we’re actually going through with it!”

“It’ll be a nice change,” Crowley murmurs, feeling the heat radiating off the angel, their shoulders brushing. If Crowley didn’t have his jacket on he might have been burned.

“I do hope so,” Aziraphale says. “Ah, I almost forgot to show you!”

Crowley blinks as Aziraphale rummages around in his personal bag. What he pulls out, is a vintage Polaroid camera, and Crowley can see there’s a few boxes of film in the angel’s bag, along with a few novels, spines cracked from use.

“You know I’m not that good with technology these days, especially with smartphones, but,” Aziraphale says, pointing the camera at Crowley, “I do have a soft spot for some, how you say, vintage technology. I figured we could document our adventures, maybe even make a scrapbook of some sort?”

Crowley can’t duck and hide his smile fast enough before the camera clicks, capturing him on film. He makes a disgruntled sound, but his heart is still swelling at Aziraphale’s excitement and enthusiasm. The camera spits out the photo and Aziraphale plucks it out, waving it like a paper fan.

“I do so love the look of Polaroid pictures,” the angel remarks, and, once the photo is done developing, he gives it a once over and smiles. “A first entry for the scrapbook, perhaps?”

“Lemme see,” Crowley grumbles, reaching for the picture. Aziraphale puts it out of his reach. “Hey!”

“You can see it when it’s in the scrapbook,” Aziraphale says matter-of-factly, tucking it into his bag. Overhead, the pilot chimes in, announcing their departure. The angel gives another ecstatic wiggle and pulls a book out of his bag, cracking it open. “This is so exciting, I’ve never been on a plane before…”

The plane takes off, and Crowley’s ears pop. He doesn’t pay it any mind; he just focuses on the angel next to him, reading his book, humming a soft yet pleasant tune.

 

***

 

The plane lands in Boston a few hours later, the closest airport to Cape Cod. They’re on the other side of the world, flying into the night from day. Crowley fell asleep somewhere in the middle, dreaming of blue skies and sunlight filtering through white wings. He wakes up to Aziraphale jostling him slightly, and he realizes he’d fallen asleep on the angel’s shoulder.

Crowley jerks back as if he’s been stung, looking around wildly, not meeting Aziraphale’s eyes. “Huh?”

“I said, we’ve landed, dear boy,” Aziraphale says, and Crowley aches when he notices the angel seems a bit put off. “Time to gather our things.”

And they do just that, shuffling off the plane with their carry-on bags in tow. Truthfully, they don’t really need luggage, since they can just miracle things out of thin air at will, but Aziraphale insisted, as he wanted the “full traveling experience”, and as we’ve already discussed, Crowley would be loathe to deny the angel what he wanted. Crowley wonders, briefly, if Aziraphale is aware of this, and is using it to his full advantage.

Crowley doesn’t think Aziraphale would use him like that, though. But it doesn’t mean the angel isn’t any less of a bastard at times.

“Humans discover how to make a giant hunk of metal fly through the air and they have to make it such a miserable experience,” Crowley remarks, cracking his neck as they wait at the baggage claim.

“Oh, I don’t think it’s so bad,” Aziraphale says, clasping his hands behind his back. Crowley notices the angel’s attracting some attention from the humans surrounding them, waiting for their luggage. Crowley’s positive it’s because of Aziraphale’s outdated garb. “Safety precautions and all that. People taking advantage of the miracle of flight and using it for evil purposes.”

“S’pose that’s true,” Crowley murmurs, glancing up just in time to see his and Aziraphale’s luggage trailing along the conveyor belt. He makes to pick up both suitcases and lets out a strangled noise when the weight of Aziraphale’s nearly dislocates his shoulder. “For Heaven’s sake, angel, what’ve you got in here?”

“Can’t have too many books, dear boy,” Aziraphale says matter-of-factly. He reaches to liberate Crowley of the weight and pulls out the handle, tilting it on its wheels. He flashes Crowley a grin.

“Thought you wanted to see the sights, not have your nose shoved into a book.” There’s no venom in Crowley’s words, of course; he’s still unsure of why Aziraphale damn near packed his entire bookshop with him.

“Well, yes, of course I’m going to see everything we planned on, but I know how fond you are of sleep, so I’ve taken into account any places we’ll be staying at. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and—what’s it called again? Ah, an AirBNB?”

Crowley nearly trips over his own boots as they’re walking through the terminal, weaving through lines of humans and swimming through their monotonous conversations. The thought of staying in a hotel room with Aziraphale rolls around in his head like a film reel stuck on repeat. Surely the angel wouldn’t share a room with Crowley, would he? With Crowley asleep on a lumpy mattress while Aziraphale is perched in a gaudy-looking chair, deeply engrossed in a book? The demon’s heart manages to do nearly impossible flips in his chest that a gold medal gymnast would be envious of.

They’re nearing the exit when Aziraphale stops, eyes locked on a small Starbucks nestled in a corner of the airport. He turns to Crowley, a hopeful look on his face.

“Perhaps we could have a quick snack before we head to the port?”

 

***

 

Crowley hails a cab after their Starbucks excursion, a cup of scalding hot black coffee in free hand as he hauls the luggage into the cab’s trunk as Aziraphale sidles into the backseat, cheese danish in tow. The demon slides in after him, careful to keep his distance, because he fears even the brush of Aziraphale’s skin against his might make him discorporate.

Maybe this whole jaunt was a bad idea, Crowley thinks to himself, taking a gulp of coffee and ignoring it scalding his insides as it slides down his throat. Crowley had considered how Aziraphale might feel stuck in the Bentley with him for hours at a time, but he didn’t even think about how it would affect him. Aziraphale within touching distance, close enough his scent would make a home in Crowley’s nostrils, possibly in the Bentley for the rest of time—and Someone knows the car will tease the demon about it, playing love songs and all that. Would it affect Aziraphale? Would the angel even notice, or would he be too enthralled by the scenery passing by them, trees and leaves blending into blurs like a watercolor painting?

Crowley reminds himself not to crush the cup in his hands lest he pay a cleaning fee.

He tells the cabbie where to go and makes a simple suggestion not to worry about the long distance, as the driver will be compensated heavily. Aziraphale offers to pay this time, as Crowley had covered their food and drink, but the demon simply shakes his head and brandishes a sleek credit card.

“You really are a stubborn demon, you know,” Aziraphale says quietly, so the driver doesn’t hear. “One day you’ll have to at least let me pay for something.”

“I’ll think about it over the next millennia or so,” Crowley answers simply, a grin dragging across his lips. He would never let it be known, but buying things—for Aziraphale, mind you—gives him a sort of rush that no drug could even compare to. Not that he’s ever dabbled in anything like that, but he’s positive it wouldn’t even be a close comparison.

The rest of the ride continues in silence, save for Aziraphale humming a tune Crowley can’t name in lulls. The demon leans back into the seat, a feeling of content spreading through his body, warming him like he’s laying on rocks under the blazing sun. His head lolls, allowing him to glance at the angel, who’s staring out the window. Even with his head turned, Crowley can see how the apples of Aziraphale’s cheeks are lifted, indicating a content smile. Crowley’s eyes, hidden by his shades, slide down to the angel’s hand, spread out next to his thigh, within reaching distance.

Immediately, Crowley flashes back to the bus heading to London, to Aziraphale sitting next to him and draping a shaking hand over his own. The vulnerability exhibited by the angel had twisted Crowley’s heart. He remembers the distant look on the angel’s face, his glassed over eyes and slightly parted lips, as if he was lost in thought. Thoughts that they had avoided the actual End of the World, and the consequences tagging along thereafter. Crowley saw the cogs moving in Aziraphale’s head, mulling over Agnes Nutter’s prophecy, until they reached the demon’s flat and Aziraphale ran the idea past Crowley.

Crowley had once again been blown away by the angel’s brilliance.

He wants so badly to cover Aziraphale’s hands with his own, in this taxi, as their journey through the unknown begins. But he reminds himself that sometimes he goes too fast. He’ll go as slow as Aziraphale wants now, even if it takes another six thousand years.

They reach the port in Boston after weaving their way through the city. Crowley pays the fare, with a hundred percent gratuity, leaving the driver a tad dazed and confused, but grateful nonetheless. After doing the dance of paperwork to get his car back, the two occult and ethereal entities are finally face to face with the Bentley. Crowley’s grinning as he pats the bonnet before opening the back doors and setting the luggage inside.

“Ready to go, angel?” Crowley asks, swinging to the passenger side and opening the door for Aziraphale. “Got an hour drive or so until we reach our destination.”

“Definitely, my dear boy,” the angel answers, ducking down to seat himself inside the Bentley. “But I do believe the trip will be over in a flash.”

Crowley considers Aziraphale’s words as he gingerly shuts the car door and saunters over to the driver’s side. The demon knows he’s quite right—an hour in the lives of entities like themselves goes by in a blink of an eye, an hour a second, a day a minute, and a year an hour. A part of him wants the drive to last for as long as it can, just to have Aziraphale by his side for as long as possible. But, Crowley remembers, that they’re about to embark on a journey across one of the largest countries in the world in his Bentley, hours of driving with the angel close by, so Crowley will make sure to appreciate every second of every hour.

 

***

 

Crowley’s speed driving to Cape Cod is vastly different compared to his usual ninety miles per hour screaming through central London. For once, the demon appreciates the change in pace, however sluggish it might be. To be fair, there isn’t much to be seen as it’s stillnight, but he knows dawn is just around the corner. Aziraphale does seem content, however, staring out the window as the highway stretches before them. He’s lapsed into a moment of silence after chattering animatedly about the trip and what he wants to see.

“I do hope to see one of the coasts, one of the beaches,” the angel had said, giving a little wiggle in his seat. “And lighthouses. I want to get pictures of them. Ooh, I wonder if they still light them up at night?”

Crowley listens to Aziraphale’s ramblings and questions, giving his input when he thinks it’s due. He’s mainly focused on getting adjusted to driving on the right side of the road. Aziraphale does point out how peculiar it is that Americans drive this way, wondering the reason why.

Night begins to bleed into dawn, the sun peaking up from the eastern sky, yellow light shrouded briefly by the trees. Crowley manages to spare a glance at Aziraphale and feels his breath catch in his throat; the sun is catching just right on the angel’s hair, as if the beginnings of his halo have begun to peak out. He’s fumbling with his camera, pointing it through the window at the blur of sunlight and trees passing by as Crowley speeds down the highway.

“It’s not going to be a clear picture, angel,” says the demon, averting his eyes lest they be burned. He pushes his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Oh, I think it will be quite all right,” Aziraphale replies, snapping the photo. “Maybe it will look like a painting, a Monet of some kind.” The photo rolls out and he plucks it up, waving it around to let it develop.

“Ngk,” is the intelligent response that comes out of Crowley’s mouth before the two lapse back into comfortable silence, the sun crawling its way up the sky, turning black to peach pink to blue.

 

***

 

They reach one of the coasts of Cape Cod with some clever maneuvering and a little demonic miracle on Crowley’s part. The Bentley is perched on the lip of a cliff leading down to a white sandy beach, soft waves of the Atlantic licking slowly upon the shore.

“Oh, Crowley,” Aziraphale says, voice just a whisper of awe. He’s standing close to the edge and Crowley’s leaning against the Bentley’s bonnet, taking in the salt-smell of the sea and the wind carding through russet locks. “Have you ever seen something so breathtaking?”

Crowley has a definite answer for the question that’s so obvious even an outsider could see it. He takes it all in, the angel in front of him, his tan colored coat fluttering in the sea breeze, cotton-tuft hair fluffing in the wind. He is speechless—not for the vast ocean stretching before him, but for the being standing between it and him—a being of tan and tartan and cream, of light and love for this world and humanity, and Crowley can feel it rolling off him in waves, much like the ones crashing against the sandy shore.

It’s so funny, Crowley thinks, that this being of love can probably sense the excess of it in the demon’s heart, threatening to boil over and spill.

Even if he does, Aziraphale will choose not to acknowledge it.

Crowley shakes the thoughts out of his head. Now is not the time to be wallowing in self pity, pining after someone who would never return the feelings. He pushes himself from the Bentley and saunters up beside Aziraphale, the shining sun warming his bones, chasing the chill of early autumn away. Aziraphale’s pulling out the Polaroid and snapping a picture of the shore, capturing the sandy beach and the stretch of blue-grey beyond. After he flutters it around to develop, Aziraphale hands the camera to Crowley with a hopeful smile. “Care to take a selfie of me?”

At the misuse of the term Crowley rolls his eyes, tamping down the fondness bubbling in his chest and putting in place an air of mock exasperation. “It’s not a selfie, angel, it’s just a picture. A selfie is a picture you’ve taken of yourself. With a phone.”

“Oh, you know what I meant, Crowley,” Aziraphale huffs, situating himself so his back is facing the coast. “How do I look?”

Crowley could answer that honestly but he fears he might say too much, so as always he aims for a mask of indifference. “Like you always do,” he says, snapping the picture as soon as Aziraphale gets situated and flashes him a smile.

“I’ll take that, thank you.” Aziraphale snatches the photo up almost as quickly as it was spit out.

“Why won’t you let me see anything?” Crowley asks, trying not to let hurt seep into his tone.

“Oh, dear boy, don’t be upset. I want them to be a surprise! I am going to make that scrapbook, after all.” With another grin, Aziraphale turns back to the sea, inhaling deeply. “Let’s get closer to the shore, hm?”

They manage to maneuver their way down the craggy hill, and Crowley’s on high alert just in case Aziraphale loses his balance, ready to swoop in and save him from tumbling down, as if he were the angel’s knight in shining armor, so to speak. They make it down safely, Aziraphale humming a jolly tune as he slips off his brogues and rolls up his trousers. Crowley has to look the other way, because God forbid he sees any part of the angel that’s been covered up for millennia. He does catch the sight of Aziraphale’s calves and they look as if they’ve been carved from marble.

“Are you going to step into the water, Crowley?” Aziraphale inquires, already approaching the shore, throwing a glance at the demon behind him.

Crowley purses his lips, shoving his hands into the too-small pockets in his too-tight jeans, meeting anything but the angel’s eyes. “’S too cold for me. I’m just gonna stay here.” Maybe he’ll miracle up a blanket or something to sit on so he can bask in the rays of the sun.

If the demon’s serpentine eyes aren’t playing tricks on him he thinks he sees Aziraphale’s expression drop a bit. He could be wrong though.

“Ah. Suit yourself, I suppose,” Aziraphale says, before turning his back on Crowley and trudging through the sand to the shore.

Crowley does what he wanted to do, conjuring up a blanket (part of him wanted to make it tartan but the suave side of him won the internal fight) and situates himself on it, willing specks of sand away. He watches as Aziraphale approaches the sea, hears an audible yelp as the cold water splashes his feet, and the demon can’t help but smile fondly. He can hear Aziraphale murmuring greetings to small minnows as they swim past him in the waves, and the splish-splash of the water against the angel’s bare legs.

And suddenly, the angel stops, sea water up to his knees. He clasps his hands behind his back and stares out at the expanse of the ocean, shoulders relaxed, and Crowley feels like he’s never witnessed Aziraphale like this before, besides when he’s enjoying a nice meal—relaxed and content.

Crowley cranes his neck to the side and looks at the Polaroid camera that Aziraphale entrusted with him during his jaunt in the sea, and the demon picks it up, fondling with it before watching through the viewfinder at the angel. He looks like a formless silhouette in front of the sea, but with a little suggestion the camera pans in closer, so Crowley can at least make out tufts of cotton hair. His finger lingers over the capture button, and before he can press it, Aziraphale is turning back to him. When the angel sees the camera pointing straight at him, a content smile spreads across his face, and the camera’s shutter clicks open and closes in a flash.

When the photo develops Crowley stares at it for a long time, letting the image burn into his mind. He’s not really a souvenir person, but this one moment, captured in film, is better than any overpriced knick-knack in any gift shop. He slides it into his jacket and continues to gaze upon the ocean and the angel inside of it.

 

***

 

The two beings eventually retire from their escapade at the ocean to scour for a restaurant, one that has Aziraphale’s oysters, as the angel insisted. Evening has fallen, and before they left Aziraphale managed to get a snapshot of the sun setting behind the horizon, painting the blue-grey sea with yellows and pinks. On their way to the restaurant they stop by a few lighthouses so Aziraphale can snap more photos. Once they’ve decide on a restaurant they head out. Aziraphale’s  smiling nonstop, cheeks rosy from the sea breeze, wild hair windblown. He’s drumming a tune on his knees.

“I haven’t had oysters in years,” Aziraphale says after a lull of comfortable silence. “I wonder if they taste different on this side of the world?”

Crowley makes a noncommittal noise, focused on the winding road. “Probably the same. Salty. Slimy.” He shivers.

“Oh, they’re not that bad, dear boy,” Aziraphale says. “They taste phenomenal with a splash of lemon juice.”

Crowley makes another vague noise, and at this Aziraphale actually turns to gaze at him. Crowley can feel the concern in his stare and the demon wants to shrink away.

“Are you all right, Crowley? You’ve seemed rather distant lately.”

I have to keep distant. I have to keep a space between us because if I don’t I’ll end up closing the gap and I’ll end up going too fast.

“I’m fine, angel,” Crowley says simply, an emptiness in his chest. “Just tired, is all.”

And Aziraphale, Someone bless him, reaches up to touch Crowley’s shoulder, and the demon wants to reel back as if he had been burned, but he stays in place, afraid to hurt Aziraphale’s feelings. The angel has a mask of concern over his features as the corner of his eyes crinkle with a smile.

“Perhaps after we eat we can find somewhere to stay for the night. How does that sound?”

I would stay anywhere as long as you were there with me. “Sounds good, angel.”

 

***

 

They settle on a restaurant near the craggy coast. The dinner rush has just ended as late evening approaches so there’s fewer people (Crowley would not admit to a small demonic miracle on his part) and the dining room is full of a soft lull of conversations. Aziraphale gets his oysters and once again Crowley gets a black coffee, because he doesn’t really need to eat, and the caffeine will help him stay awake long enough until they find somewhere to crash.

Aziraphale is currently pouring over a plate of oysters perched on ice, eyes shining. He clasps his hands together, eyes searching for a place to start. Crowley watches as he eagerly picks up a shell and brings it to his lips, savoring the moment before he tips it into his mouth. The angel moans, throwing his head back, and Crowley must cross his legs to avoid making a fool of himself.

“Crowley, you simply must try at least one,” Aziraphale insists, dabbing a line of juice off his chin. And oh, how Crowley wants to reach over and swipe it away with his thumb. His hand twitches.

“Nah,” Crowley says, leaning back in his chair. Their waiter comes back to refill Aziraphale’s glass of wine and Crowley makes a mental note to tip a hundred percent gratuity. Something in him is feeling generous. “Not a fan of eating.”

“One day you should really let yourself indulge,” Aziraphale tells him, plucking up another oyster. “It can’t hurt. And you never know—perhaps you’ll find something you really like.”

Crowley lets the words roll around in his brain for a bit. It’s not like Crowley doesn’t indulge in things—his designer clothes, his Bentley, his sleek flat, his plants—and other indulgences as well, mainly revolving around Aziraphale. Looking at Aziraphale, talking to Aziraphale, being next to Aziraphale in the enclosed space of the Bentley; well, he thinks he indulges in things quite a lot.

And, well, we all know that Crowley has already found something he really likes.

So the demon sits, and sips his coffee which will remain hot during the duration of their dinner, watching Aziraphale eat, as he always does. It’s not different than their escapades to the Ritz, or to little fusion places in London and hole-in-the-wall diners. He observes Aziraphale eating, because food brings the angel joy, and buying it for him is the least Crowley can do. He commits these acts of service because deep inside he knows it’s the only possible way to make Aziraphale happy—just with service, not Crowley himself.

Crowley feels like someone’s lanced him through the heart. In his long life he thinks he’s only fucked up completely twice: the first time when he did a headfirst dive into a pool of boiling sulfur, and the second being when he fell completely head-over-heels for an angel who couldn’t possibly reciprocate.

The Almighty is a comedian, he thinks, and his life is one long-running joke.

 

***

 

They settle on a hotel in Provincetown after they eat, an open suite just becoming available. It’s a quaint little hostel perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, and the window of their room is overlooking the ocean. Aziraphale is very pleased with this detail. They drag their luggage out of the Bentley’s backseat and check in before they take the elevator up to their floor. Crowley will still never get used to being in a small space with the angel next to him, and the demon’s pretty sure Aziraphale’s cologne has begun to mark Crowley, and he really despises himself for taking pleasure into the fact.

“Thank whoever,” Crowley mutters as they enter their suite. It’s pleasantly warm, an escape from the night’s chill, seeping through his skin into his bones. He drops his suitcase next to the atrociously upholstered sofa before sagging onto the cushions in relief. He’s never been so tired in his life—well, save for the night he stopped time. He doesn’t know how he’s going to last a cross-country trip if one town wore him out like this.

“It’s rather nice to have a place to rest your head after a tiring day, isn’t it?” Aziraphale remarks, puttering around the suite. It’s almost like a small flat, with a living room, a bathroom, a large sink, a small refrigerator, and a bedroom. Crowley doesn’t actually know how many beds there are. Maybe that’s something he should have found out before he rented the place.

Whatever. It’s not like Aziraphale sleeps, anyway.

The angel flicks on some lights to illuminate the place, taking a small tour. When he reaches the bedroom he lets out an audible gasp. “Crowley, come look!”

“’M not leavin’ this sofa,” the demon drawls petulantly, even though it’s quite lumpy. Part of him longs for the couch back at the bookshop, overstuffed, familiar, and comfortable.

Aziraphale strolls back into the living room and puts his hands on his hips. “You can’t just sit there forever, you know. Come look out the window! The sea is beautiful.”

Crowley rolls his eyes, craning his neck to gaze up at the angel. “We’ve looked at the sea all day, Aziraphale.”

“Yes, but this is different. The moon is out!” And by God, by Satan, by Somebody, Aziraphale actually approaches Crowley and grabs him by his sleeve, hoists him up like he’s lighter than a feather, and pulls him into the bedroom. Crowley’s brain immediately goes on the fritz, both radio silence and a dial-up tone ringing in his ears at once. He hobbles along with the fussy angel until they reach the bedroom window, wherein Crowley is met by dark waves painting in the soft light of the full moon.

“Oh,” is all he can say, because really, he’s at a loss for words at this point, because Aziraphale’s still gripping his sleeve and they’re so close and Crowley’s still reeling from pretty much being manhandled by the angel. Has Aziraphale always been strong? Of course he has, he’s the Guardian of the bloody Eastern Gate of the bloody Garden of Eden.

“See? Isn’t it breathtaking?” Aziraphale says, smiling softly. It seems he notices he’s still grasping Crowley’s sleeve and he immediately drops it. Emptiness burrows into Crowley’s stomach.

“I guess so,” Crowley mutters, eyes sliding from the ocean to the taupe-colored wall, then to the garish carpet, and then to the single king sized bed resting in the middle of the room that he hadn’t noticed before, too preoccupied with an angel dragging him along as if he weighed ninety pounds soaking wet.

Ah. Things couldn’t be any better.

“There’s only one bed,” the demon remarks, voice a thousand miles away. Aziraphale breaks his gaze away from the outstretch of ocean outside and stares at Crowley as if he’d started speaking in tongues.

“Is there a problem?” the angel asks.

“Ngk—I mean, no—but—don’t you want to sleep? We’ve had a long day, you must be exhausted, too,” Crowley manages to eek out, his hands clenching and unclenching at his sides.

Aziraphale considers this statement with a hum, cocking his head to the side. “I’m not particularly tired, no. You know I never really sleep. I was just planning on letting you have the bed and taking the living room so I can read. But if you want another arrangement—”

“No!” And why does Crowley’s voice rise and crack like that of a teenage boy? He wants to be back in London so he can lay in the middle of a busy intersection. “No, um. That’s fine. Brilliant idea. Yeah.”

Something flickers by on Aziraphale’s face, too quick for Crowley to really catch, but the demon feels as if the angel is almost let down. Why on Earth would he be disappointed? It must not be that. Crowley shakes his head, scrubbing his hands down his face.

“Ah. Well. Jolly good, then.” Aziraphale pushes himself away from the window and gives Crowley a sheepish smile. “See you tomorrow, then?”

“Of course,” Crowley says, watching Aziraphale approach the bedroom door. The angel turns, and this time he flashes a genuine smile at the demon, the one that always makes Crowley’s ribs feel like they’re going to crack.

“Right then. Goodnight, dear boy,” Aziraphale says, sliding the door shut behind him, yet another wall forged between the angel and demon.

Crowley’s shoulders sink like a ship in the sea and he drags his glasses off and flings them somewhere in the room, hearing the muted clink of them dropping onto the gaudy carpet. He digs the meat of his palms into his eyes, rubbing until he sees galaxies that were vapid in comparison to the ones he so lovingly borne all those millennia ago. Part of him wishes to go back to Then, when things were New and so was he, back to when his only worries were what stars to craft next and what the Almighty’s next moves were going to be. That was what he wondered about the most.

Worrying about it too much was what caused his downfall.

But, as he looks back on it, would he really have it any other way? Being forced into a box and ordered to conform, to follow with blind faith in a deity whose motives are highly questionably at best? He’d never go back, not even with the promise of the highest promotion and honors. Crowley is all sharp lines, points, and angles—he never truly fit into Heaven’s plan, did he.

He snorts, before flinging himself onto the bed, still dressed in day clothes, the scent of the sea and sunshine clinging to the fabric, along with the cologne of a certain fussy angel.

Crowley hadn’t been a good angel.

He’s not exactly a good demon, either.

 

***

And so, their excursions continued.

They made their way down the east coast, driving along highways and interstates, the trails of concrete and asphalt never-ending. And oh, the sights they see, from the stretch of coasts to the rising mountains scraping across the sky, climbing through the clouds. Aziraphale makes sure to document everything they see with a snap of his camera, much like an annoying tourist, but to Crowley, he’s just a curious angel eager to see everything his favorite planet has to offer him. Sometimes they stop at little tourist traps and get tours and either sleep in resorts or cheap little motels and it doesn’t really matter to Crowley because Aziraphale is there, and Crowley would sleep in a roach-infested hotel in a bed crawling in bugs in a room with mice sneaking around if Aziraphale is there with him, perched in the complimentary hotel chair and table with his nose pushed into a book.

Their journey takes them from the coast through forests and hills, through mountains, through days and nights and weeks. They hike through the Smokies in Tennessee, drive through roads paved through bluegrass in Kentucky, and have a picnic on rocks at the Garden of the Gods in Illinois, and Crowley feels like he’s never inhaled cleaner air in his life, never seen so much foliage in his life besides the Garden and his own personal greenhouse, and it’s a welcome change from the greys of London. Early autumn air filled his lungs, and though he would loathe to admit it, he’s actually having a good time.

They go through the South and to the Great Plains, from hills and mountains to flat plains and corn fields.

Mainly corn fields. For miles and miles.

“Humans really use their remarkable discovery of farming to their full advantage, don’t they,” Aziraphale ponders aloud, taking a blurred picture of cornstalks as the Bentley whizzes by.

“Got lots of mouths to feed here,” Crowley says, wondering if he made a wrong turn somewhere. Why is there so much corn? And where the Heaven is anyone? “Dunno how they harvest it all when there’s no one around.”

“Oh, they’ve got these clever machines that do it for them,” Aziraphale explains. “Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze me!”

Once they make it through the never ending field of crops they’re met with the snowy mountains of Colorado and Crowley actually has to pay attention while driving lest he and Aziraphale slide off the trail and crash. The roads are winding through snowcapped trees, and at the request of Aziraphale they pull over to the side so the angel can get a photo of the trees. Their limbs are encrusted with ice and snow, limp under the weight.

Crowley hisses, drawing his jacket impossibly tight around himself, seeking any form of warmth he can get. “Bugger this for a lark, angel, hurry up! It’s freezing!”

“Just a moment, dear boy, I’m trying to get a picture!” Aziraphale calls from where he’s standing, pointing the Polaroid up at a rather impressive snow-covered pine. Snowflakes are fluttering to the wind, invisible as they stick to the angel’s white hair, flecking on his tan coat. With a satisfied expression, he hobbles through the snow back towards Crowley and the Bentley, tucking the developed photograph into his jacket.

“Perhaps we should take one of those ‘selfies’ together?” the angel suggests, shuffling next to Crowley with an almost sheepish expression on his face, as if he were embarrassed at suggesting it.

Crowley’s eyes widen behind his sunglasses. “I mean, if you want.” Remembering he’s a demon and all, he mutters, “Better make it quick, it’s too bloody cold.”

Aziraphale smiles fondly, sidling up next to Crowley and holding the camera out, pointing it at them. The angle looks awkward but Crowley feels a shift in the air and knows Aziraphale’s done something so the picture doesn’t have a choice to come out nothing short of perfect. Crowley breathes in deeply, the sharp-cold air burning his lungs.

“Smile, dear boy, and—do take off those glasses, please?”

Crowley’s glasses. His shield, his comfort item, the one thing he can hide behind so that no one can truly see who he is. But at Aziraphale’s request, he reaches up with a shaky hand to slide his shades off, and it feels like he’s peeling away a layer of his skin. He narrows his eyes, allowing them to adjust to the bright white light of the snow, pupils mere slits. He turns his head to Aziraphale and gives the angel a pointed look, but the other entity merely smiles at the demon like he’s seen the sun for the first time and Crowley wants to sink into the snow until he freezes into discorporation.

“There we go, there’s a lad,” Aziraphale says softly, but his voice sounds like a boom amongst the silence of falling snow. He leans closer to Crowley, shoulder to shoulder, grinning up at the camera.

When the camera clicks, Crowley finds he’s not staring at the lens, but rather fondly at the angel next to him, with a small, yet genuine smile playing on his lips.

 

***

 

After exploring the sandstone red cliffs of Zion National Park in Utah, a prelude to what’s to come, they finally reach the promised land of Arizona, the state harboring the sight Aziraphale had been excited to see the most. Aziraphale’s got an impressive selection of photographs now, all neatly tucked into a folder, and Crowley wonders how he’ll fit them all in one scrapbook. He hasn’t even seen most of them and part of him doubts if Aziraphale will let him see said scrapbook at all. The picture he snapped of Aziraphale at the beach in Cape Cod still rests in his inner jacket pocket and he might honestly keep it there until age crumbles it to dust.

“Dunno what you’re so excited about,” Crowley drawls, most of his attention focused on finding the right spot for Aziraphale to sight-see, away from tourists and somewhere private and most definitely off limits. “It’s just cliffs.”

“I think they’re beautiful cliffs,” Aziraphale huffs. “Can’t see any in Soho. And I just think it’s neat that a simple river could cut through solid rock so effectively.”

“That’s erosion for you,” the demon mutters. “Always eating away at sediment and such.”

Part of Crowley is surprised that Aziraphale has made no mention of the Almighty’s Creations and such, and he does make a comment about this. Aziraphale purses his lips and hums, staring out the window, and Crowley wonders if he’s brought up a sore subject, but the angel speaks and reassures him that is question was not in vain.

“After everything that’s happened, I’ve realized that I’ve…put too much faith into God, so to speak. Yes, I know She is responsible for all of creation, but…it’s not like She did it all her own. Angels did a fair bit of work too and never get any of the credit.”

Crowley can’t help the wicked grin that splits his face in two. “Defying God, are we?”

“Oh, hush, you serpent,” Aziraphale grumbles, crossing his arms. “We both have a right to be cross with the Almighty and you know it.”

“Yeah, s’pose that’s true,” Crowley agrees, and they both lapse into a comfortable silence, the arid Arizona desert crawling through the windows as the demon drives on.

It takes a few more miracles to climb steep slopes, enough that it could possibly draw attention from Downstairs if Crowley were still employed, but no one could give a rat’s ass about him anymore, and the thought makes him feel very content. So, with his might, he manages to find a large craggy cliff for Aziraphale to perch upon and snap as many photos as he wants.

“Oh, Crowley, look!” Aziraphale exclaims as they climb out of the Bentley, the angel’s face as bright as the morning sun.

And for once, Crowley does, allowing his eyes to take in the vast landscape of cliffs jutting out over the canyon, a steep fall to the Colorado river. The setting sun is catching on the sandstone just right to give it a bloodred glow, the sky tinted with peach pinks and reds as the sun starts its slow crawl downwards. Crowley pays a glance at Aziraphale and the angel’s face is awe-struck, the sunset reflected in blue-grey eyes. Aziraphale totters a bit forward before grabbing a snapshot of the sunset before it disappears.

“Dear boy, I do believe a picnic basket has just appeared in the backseat, do you mind fetching it for me?” says the angel, eyes still locked on the scenery spread before him.

Crowley rolls his eyes. “Of course, angel.”

They set up the picnic on the edge of the cliff and enjoy a selection of cheeses, meats, and crackers, along with a bottle of champagne, soaking in the rays of the setting sun and telling tales of their journey across America. Aziraphale’s fretting about his bookshop, but Crowley reassures him, telling him that no one in their right minds would break into a bookshop to steal a few first editions.

“What I’m mainly worried about is my plants,” Crowley says, as they’re packing up and about to head out to find a place to stay the night. “Paid my neighbor to watch over them, hope they don’t overwater them.” There’ll be hell to pay if Crowley comes home and their leaves are drooping.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine, Crowley,” Aziraphale assures him as the demon shoves the picnic basket into the backseat of the Bentley. “Oh, before we leave, I did want to try to get a picture of the river.”

At this, Crowley freezes. He stares up at the angel incredulously. “You sure about that?”

“Of course I am, why wouldn’t I be?” Aziraphale says simply, already puttering over to the cliff’s edge, Polaroid in hand. “Just a quick shot and I’ll be done, I promise.”

Deep in his gut, Crowley knows this is a bad idea. He trails behind the angel, keeping a distance but not too much. He watches as Aziraphale really perches on the edge, crouching down, trying to get his best shot. Sweat starts to bead on Crowley’s brow and his voice shakes when he speaks. “Aziraphale.”

“I’m almost done, Crowley, no need to be so impatient,” the angel says. Snap.

Silence.

Then, Aziraphale stands up and turns to Crowley with a smile. “See, it didn’t take that long. Now we can—”

The angel is abruptly cut off when the edge of the cliff beneath his feet crumbles away, and with that, he falls.

Crowley has never snapped into action so fast in his entire existence.

Aziraphale!” he yells, bolting towards the edge of the cliff and flinging himself off it.

Blood is roaring in his ears and adrenaline is screaming through his veins as he dives headfirst for the angel. He watches as Aziraphale scrapes and hits jutting rocks during his fall and he winces because he hears the angel crying out in pain and desperation and Crowley’s heart lurches but this only eggs him on further. With a deep, concentrated breath, he pulls his wings out of another dimension and beats them, hard, speeding him up so he can catch up to stupid, bloody foolish Aziraphale.

It’s almost not enough, and the fall seems to drag on for ages and spacetime and galaxies flash before Crowley’s eyes and the smell of brimstone and fire burns his nostrils and he’s Falling again and tears are welling in his eyes, from the wind or from the flashbacks, he doesn’t know. All he knows is that he’ll be damned to Hell again if he lets Aziraphale go again. It happened once. It will not happen again.

And miraculously, it doesn’t, because Crowley manages to grasp under Aziraphale’s arms, and with his wings flapping at a crazed pace, the two entities screech to a halt right as the tip of one of Aziraphale’s brogues scrapes across the bottom of the canyon, the river just a stream carving through the rock.

Crowley is mostly speechless until he manages to croak out, “Oh my fucking God.”

Gently, Crowley hovers until his feet touch the ground, but he’s almost knocked over as Aziraphale collapses against him. The demon stumbles a bit before he regains his balance, and in the shadows of the cliffs he can make out that the angel is very, very injured, blood pouring in streams down his face and matting his corn silk hair. Crowley can only wonder what other injuries he could have sustained, those on the surface covered by cloth and those on the inside.

“Aziraphale, can you hear me?” he asks, voice wavering as the extra adrenaline starts to drain from him.

All Crowley gets is a wretched moan, the angel’s head lolling against Crowley’s shoulder, dripping blood onto his jacket, but he really can’t give a damn about that now. Aziraphale’s breathing is coming in weak rasps and the demon hopes, prays, that he hasn’t broken a rib or punctured a lung.

With a grunt, Crowley hoists the unconscious Aziraphale into his arms, careful not to jostle him too much. “You stupid, stupid angel,” he hisses, before spreading his wings and taking off into the sky.

 

***

 

Crowley manages to score a cheap hotel room without concerning the staff about the bleeding angel he’s cradling in his arms with a nice demonic suggestion.

The demon bursts into the room and slams the door behind him with his foot, immediately depositing Aziraphale onto the single bed (again, he’s got the best luck) gently, but it’s not gentle enough when the angel lets out a choked gasp.

“Are you awake now, angel?” Crowley rasps while summoning a first-aid kit. The least he can do is treat Aziraphale’s outer injuries; it’ll give him a distraction from the possibility of internal ones.

“Oh, God, Crowley, it hurts,” Aziraphale wails, and Crowley shushes him, cleaning away the drying blood from the angel’s forehead. “I think I might have dislocated my shoulder—”

“Okay, okay, we’ll deal with that first,” Crowley attempts to soothe, coaxing the angel to sit up. He moves in front of Aziraphale and grasps the wrist of the offending appendage, ignoring the tingle of skin against skin. “I need you to relax for me, okay?”

“Do you even know how to do this?” Aziraphale wheezes, flinching as Crowley lifts up his arm.

“Seen it enough in shitty movies,” the demon answers simply, gingerly grasping Aziraphale’s shoulder. “We’re gonna do it on three.” Crowley feels like he’s going to have to brace himself more than Aziraphale, because even though he’s doing it to remedy the injury, he’s still going to cause pain to the angel, and that’s the absolute last thing Crowley wants to do. “One…two…”

And Crowley yanks, and over Aziraphale’s near-scream he hears a pop as Aziraphale’s shoulder is moved back into place. He immediately drops Aziraphale’s hand and the entity hunches over, gasping in almost-agony. Crowley feels wretched as he sits next to the angel on the bed, digging through the first-aid kit to find alcohol pads to disinfect the cuts to Aziraphale’s forehead. The angel hisses at the sting.

“Don’t know how someone so clever can be so stupid,” Crowley grumbles, mostly to himself, but Aziraphale can still hear him.

“I did rather make a mess of things, didn’t I,” Aziraphale says, devoid of his usual chipper tone.

“Yeah, you did.” Crowley pulls away to give Aziraphale a once over, looking for any bloodstains on his clothing that could indicate other external injuries.

“Why did you do it?”

“What?”

“Why did you save me?”

Crowley slams the brakes to a screeching halt in his mind, gawking at Aziraphale as if he had just sprouted two heads.

“What the Heaven do you mean, why did I do it?” Crowley snaps, standing up and turning his back towards the angel, lest he show an ounce of vulnerability. “Couldn’t very well let you shatter every bone in your body and turn into mush, could I?”

“You don’t have to be so crude,” Aziraphale says sharply, hoisting himself up off the bed. Crowley doesn’t see him falter slightly. “I could have saved myself, you know.”

At this Crowley barks out a laugh of disbelief, whipping around on his heel to glare down the angel. “Right, like you could have performed a miracle when you almost split your head in two. Shouldn’t have even been near the damn cliff in the first place.”

“And what about you, hm? You just threw yourself off the cliff immediately for me, you could have gotten killed too!” Aziraphale points out, a touch of venom in his voice.

“Yeah, but I chossse to do it, to save your sorry arse,” Crowley hisses, sibilant lisp rearing its ugly head, reminding him that at the end of the day Aziraphale is holier than a lowly serpent.

“But you don’t have to!” Aziraphale insists, hands clenching into fists at his sides. “Why do you do so many things for me when you don’t have to? The Bastille, the Blitz, this whole adventure of ours—why do you go out of your way to do such selfless things for me?”

And that’s the question, isn’t it, the one that everyone knows the response to that Crowley is too afraid to answer. But yet, it sits, on the tip of his forked tongue, just begging to be spoken into existence, to escape the cage of his ribs and be known. It hurts, to keep something so deep inside you just for the fear of letting it be known; for the fear of rejection.

Really, what could it hurt? Crowley’s already emotionally charged up by having almost lost Aziraphale twice within the same year; he’s feeling adventurous, risky even.

The demon grits his teeth, puffs out his chest and slides his sunglasses off, tossing them against the wall, the shattering of glass breaking the silence of the room. Aziraphale is staring at him, and Crowley does not doubt that the yellow of his eyes has swallowed the whites whole.

In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.

“The reason I do nice things for you, the reason I save you from all the bloody trouble you get yourself into, angel”—and he’s really in for it now, he thinks, no going back—“is because I love you, you idiot.”

Ah.

The silence that follows Crowley’s confession is deafening, and he immediately takes it as a rejection. He gazes upon Aziraphale, whose eyes have widened almost comedically and whose mouth resembles that of a fish. He looks completely stupefied.

“I’m leaving now,” Crowley says, voice flat, whipping around and grabbing the Bentley’s key fob.

Aziraphale finally unfreezes. “Crowley, wait—”

But it’s too late, as Crowley is already out the room, the door slamming shut behind him.

 

***

 

It should be near impossible for a vintage Bentley to go ninety miles an hour on the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, but anyone who thinks this has never met Crowley before in their life.

He speeds, like the demon he his, his foot like a cinderblock on the gas pedal, the roar of the Bentley’s engine cutting through the silent night. He runs, like he always does, because he’s a coward, and the moment he faces the truth he can’t bear it. The look on the angel’s face was enough.

Crowley’s ruined many good things in his life, but this one really takes the whole cake and then some.

He really doesn’t know why he’s back at the same spot where Aziraphale almost got brutally discorporated but he’s here anyway, shutting off the Bentley and slithering out of it, slamming the door behind him. Night has fallen and the only way he can see his by the full moon hanging in the sky, casting white light on the cliffs and slopes of the canyon. He stands in the middle of the ledge, staring out into space, before he grits his teeth, face twisting into a pained expression, as he threads his fingers through his hair and yanks, sliding down onto his knees.

“You idiot. You absolute fucking moron. Why do you have to go and ruin everything you touch?” Crowley hisses to himself, nearly tearing his hair out. “You had it good. You had it so good. You just got him back. Why did I fuck it up? Why do I ever open my mouth?”

He falls, to his side, and lays in a fetal position. So pathetic, he tells himself, that he can’t even accept rejection. He’s been doing it for six thousand years; it should come naturally to him now.

Crowley lay, curled up into a ball, for hours, for days, it feels like. He floats between conscious states like the phases of the moon, and like the sun, the moon also sets, bringing the promise of daylight with it. Yet, he is unmoving, a snake ready to strike but with no prey to capture.

Part of his brain, a very dark and dangerous part, wants to see what would happen if he were to step off the cliff, while keeping his wings tucked away.

“Oh, now that’s too far,” Crowley says aloud, shocked that his mind would even come to that startling conclusion. Not only would that be too much paperwork to deal with, Hell probably wouldn’t even issue him a new body, and Someone, what would Aziraphale think? He couldn’t very well leave the angel in some cheap hotel in the desert with no idea of where he went.

“That’s exactly what I’ve done, though,” Crowley says. But it’s not like Aziraphale is a child. It’s not like he can’t organize a way to get back to Soho and leave Crowley to wallow in his own sorrows until the world turns to ash and dust.

And maybe Aziraphale had a point or two, that Crowley didn’t exactly have to be his knight in shining armor, so to speak. Crowley doesn’t consider his actions knightly, anyway. Isn’t it enough, wanting to make sure a friend doesn’t discorporate in painful ways?

He doesn’t have an answer for that. All Crowley knows is that it’s night again and the moon is hanging high in the sky and he’s kind of cold. With a huff, he pushes himself into a sitting position, wincing at how his muscles ache and bones creak. How long has he been laying here?

Crowley stares straight ahead, making out the Bentley’s form against the dark night, illuminated only by the moonlight. In the silence of the desert night, through the only sound he hears the insistent ringing in his ears, he can make out something else—the muted tap of brogues against sandstone.

“Aziraphale?” Even though Crowley’s been muttering to himself the entire time he’s been out here his voice sounds hoarse and foreign.

The footsteps falter, briefly. Then, a snap of fingers, a whispered, “Let there be light,” and streams of buttery heavenly light begin to cascade from the heavens, illuminating the two entities occupying the cliff.

Crowley stares, completely stupefied, as Aziraphale saunters into the light, the angel’s expression wretched. His face resembles that of the night on the bus, weary and tight, and if his hands were free, they would likely be fiddling with themselves. Aziraphale is holding a white binder against his chest as if it were a lifeline. The demons scrambles up to his feet, wavering slightly, but stays in place.

“Aziraphale, how the hell did you get out here?” the demon croaks, clearing his throat. “How did you even find me?”

“Well, Crowley, I do have legs,” Aziraphale answers, and Crowley can’t help but let the corner of his lips curl up in amusement. “And I can follow my senses. You’ve been gone for two days, I very well couldn’t just sit around and dawdle, waiting for you to return.”

“H-How long have you been out looking for me?” the demon stammers, flustered.

“Oh, not that long. A day or so. It took me a tad bit longer to pinpoint your exact location, but I assumed this is the place you would be.” Aziraphale shuffles his weight between one foot and the other. “I do have to admit, these shoes are not the best for travelling by foot…”

“You walked to find me?”

“You know I don’t like to drive, dear boy, and any taxi wouldn’t venture out this far,” the angel answers curtly. “Even if I did drive, you took our only means of transportation with you.” He spares a pointed glance at the Bentley.

“I—ngk—sorry,” Crowley manages to garble out, at an absolute loss for words. “I’m—I’m sorry, angel.”

“What exactly are you sorry for, Crowley?” It’s not much of a question but more like a prompt for Crowley to hang on to.

The dam of Crowley’s resolve is about to collapse. “I—I ruined it. This. This trip. And—and us.”

Aziraphale looks completely nonplussed. “What on Earth do you mean, Crowley?”

Crowley knows Aziraphale is just leading him on at this point. “You know what I mean! I, I said things, things I shouldn’t have—”

“And why shouldn’t you have said them? What did you say?” Aziraphale counters, and the distance between the two has begun to close.

Crowley feels like the proverbial deer in headlights. “I shouldn’t have said them because I should be happy with what I have and I—I shouldn’t ruin good things because I want more.” But oh, he’s a demon, and demons are known for ruining good things. He is no different.

Aziraphale tilts his head to the side, steely blue eyes boring into Crowley’s very soul. The demon feels flayed, stripped down to the very atoms of his being, completely bare for the angel in front of him. Aziraphale could put his hands inside and rearrange Crowley’s mere existence if he so felt it.

“And what if I told you,” Aziraphale says softly, “that it’s okay for you to want more?”

“I would tell you that you’re bloody stupid,” Crowley blurts out, and despite it all Aziraphale actually laughs, a genuine laugh coming from deep in his belly, and tingles shoot down Crowley’s spine and down his fingers—he made Aziraphale laugh.

“And what if I told you,” Aziraphale says, once the laughter dies down. He’s gazing up at Crowley with an expression that’s even softer under the heavenly light, “that I also want more?”

Crowley opens his mouth to wildly protest but Aziraphale actually puts a finger over his lips to silence him. The finger isn’t really necessary at this point as he’s really too stunned to speak actual words.

“Allow me to elaborate, dear,” the angel says, and Crowley shivers at the pet name.

“I realize that over the course of our friendship there have been instances where I have been incredibly cruel and unfair to you.” Aziraphale is frowning, brows creasing. “I realize that then, I was very much under Heaven’s influence, and was still too concerned with disappointing them. But, what I feared most, if our camaraderie was discovered, was not what they would do to me.” The angel meets his eyes, steel against gold, and they look almost wet. “It’s what they would have done to you.”

“Angel—”

“So that’s why I attempted to keep my distance. Popping in only when needed. And that’s why I kept my attitude so if anything had happened it would not have hurt as much.” A poignant smile spread across the angel’s lips. “But it didn’t really make much of a difference, I suppose.”

The words hang in the air between them like forbidden apples in trees and Crowley mulls over them like fine wine, swishes them around in his brain before swallowing them whole. He’s at a loss for words, so it’s a godsend that Aziraphale speaks up again.

“Because I treated you so poorly all these years, Crowley, I always did wonder why you would always swoop in at the right times to save me, when it was obvious to anyone that I would not do the same for you. I asked myself this, and I allowed the walls I had built up to come down.” Aziraphake takes a deep breath, centering himself. “I can sense love. It’s apart of the job description, I know, but—nothing could compare to the love I sensed rolling off you in waves, when I finally allowed myself to do it.”

Crowley feels like his entire world had just taken a baseball bat to it, shattering completely. “You…you—”

“And I do hope you’ll one day forgive me, dear, because I might have had an ulterior motive for this trip,” Aziraphale continues. “Well, nearly killing myself wasn’t on the itinerary, but—I had planned on talking to you about it.” The angel straightens his back, staring Crowley directly into his eyes. The hairs on the back of Crowley’s neck begin to prick up. “I just wanted to hear you say it for myself.”

“Hgk,” is the only intelligent thing Crowley can come up with.

“Oh, I hope you aren’t too cross with me,” Aziraphale frets, tapping his fingers on the binder in his arms. At the tactile reminder of its existence, the angel gasps. “And, erm, I started on the scrapbook while you were gone. I’d like it if you’d take a look at it.”

And what else can Crowley do, when Aziraphale presses the binder into his hands, then crack it open and take a peek inside? He flips between the plastic pages, gazing upon snapshots of their American voyage, seeing photos Aziraphale had taken and hadn’t shown the demon. The angel was right; the photos were a nice surprise, showing all the sights Crowley saw but had forgotten momentarily. He reaches one page with the selfie the two had taken in Colorado, the absolute lovestruck look on the demon’s face strikingly apparent in the picture. Crowley purses his lips and turns to the final page.

There’s only one photo on the last page, smack dab in the middle, with a paragraph scrawled below it in Aziraphale’s neat script. He focuses on the picture first, and he realizes it’s the first one Aziraphale took during their excursion—when they were on the plane. Crowley’s smiling in it, just a small, genuine grin, and he hadn’t been fast enough to hide his face. His eyes fall to the white space that all Polaroid pictures have, and written in black marker was Crowley’s name, with a smiley face next to it.

“I do know what an emoji is,” Aziraphale huffs when Crowley flashes him a look in disbelief.

The demon rolls his eyes but continues on, until he reaches the words written below the photo. Clearing his throat, he starts on the paragraph.

My dearest Crowley,” he reads, trying not to choke at the endearment. “I cannot thank you enough for all of the sights you have shown to me, and all the kindness you have displayed—well, I know how you feel about being called kind, don’t I, dear boy? But I digress. This is the happiest I have ever felt, because I have seen so many beautiful sights, and all of them I have been with you. I am so overjoyed that you have finally let your feelings be known, because it’s high time that I let mine be known, as well.”

Crowley’s head slowly lifts up from the scrapbook, eyes rising from the page to lock with the angel’s in front of him. The demon swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing, before he rasps, “Aziraphale…you—you really—”

“Yes, dearest. I do.” And the heavenly light that was pouring through the sky fades as the sun is starting to rise, casting its glow upon the crags and cliffs and the two celestial beings perched on top of them.

“Anthony J. Crowley,” Aziraphale says. “I love you, too.”

The scrapbook falls from Crowley’s hands and clatters on the ground.

Immediately Crowley rushes in and gathers the angel in a back-breaking hug, burying his face into the crook of Aziraphale’s neck. Aziraphale immediately reciprocates the hug, wrapping his arms around Crowley’s torso and squeezing. Emotions rise in Crowley’s chest and bubble in his throat and he can’t help the sob that’s punched out of him and the tears welling in his eyes.

“I thought I fucked up everything,” Crowley hiccups, drawing his arms around the angel impossibly tighter. “I had it so good, and I thought I fucked it all up, but now—”

“You have it better now, my dear,” Aziraphale soothes, rubbing circles onto Crowley’s back. “I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been, keeping these feelings inside you for however long—”

“The Garden,” the demon croaks. “The Garden when you gave away that bloody sword to the humans.”

“Oh, dear,” Aziraphale says. “I…I have to admit my realization was more recent. During the Blitz, I believe. When you saved my books.” Aziraphale squeezes Crowley tighter. “You’ve done so many wonderful things for me, Crowley. I can never thank you enough.”

“Don’t need to,” the demon mumbles, and he’s sure his tears have soaked through Aziraphale’s jacket.

“What if I want to, though?” the angel prompts, and the implications behind his words send a thrill up Crowley’s spine. “Darling?”

“Mm,” Crowley says, muffled by Aziraphale’s shoulder.

“I’d very much like to kiss you now, if that’s all right with you.”

Why wouldn’t it be all right, Crowley thinks to himself. He pulls back from Aziraphale’s shoulder slowly, meeting the angel’s eyes. He could get lost in them, in the sea of steely blue. They both lean it, eyelids fluttering close, their lips brushing against each other tentatively, unsure, before pressing against each other assuredly.

It’s not like fireworks in the cheesy romance movies Crowley’s sat through before. Sparks don’t necessarily fly. It’s like finding a missing puzzle piece that completes the picture. Two halves of the same whole, coming together and merging as one; like being welcomed home after a long day, weariness replaced with comfort. For once, Crowley feels complete and whole, like he never has before, not even before he Fell.

They kiss for what feels like hours, days, as the sun crawls up the sky. Aziraphale’s hands, once uncertain, now find their way up Crowley’s neck, threading through russet hair. Crowley can’t help moaning against Aziraphale’s lips, cradling the angel’s head in his hands like he’s the finest China around. Crowley feels safe. Crowley feels loved.

Eventually, Aziraphale pulls away, Crowley following him with a whine. The angel smiles at him, face so full of love that Crowley’s heart might burst. He raises a hand to cup Crowley’s cheek, rubbing his thumb against the demon’s cheekbone.

All Crowley can really say is, “Whoo-ee.”

“My dearest, darling demon,” Aziraphale says reverently, smiling. “Perhaps we should head back to our room, shall we?”

Crowley’s never driven faster in his life. For once, Aziraphale makes no complaints, his fingers intertwined with the demon’s.

 

***

 

When the door to the hotel room clicks shut Crowley finds his back against the wall.

Aziraphale is on him, kissing him like he’ll die if he doesn’t, and Crowley doesn’t mind in the slightest. The angel’s hands roam Crowley’s body, running down his arms and his torso, down his lower back to his ass, squeezing it slightly. Crowley gasps into Aziraphale’s mouth, dragging his fingers through the cotton tufts of Aziraphale’s hair.

“I’m not going too fast for you, am I?” Aziraphale breathes against Crowley’s kiss-bruised lips.

Never,” Crowley growls, gripping the angel’s hair and tugging him back towards him. Aziraphale lets out a wanton whine against Crowley’s mouth and the demon drinks it all in, converting it to memory.

Aziraphale’s mouth makes a trail from Crowley’s lips to his jawline, peppering kisses down the expanse of throat that’s available, giving a quick nip to his pulse point. Crowley squeaks, and Aziraphale gives a quick kiss to the spot, already bruising.

“Angel,” Crowley whines, already desperate.

Aziraphale hums, dotting Crowley’s face with kisses, the final one on the tip of his nose. The angel smiles up at him, eyes dark, pupils wide. His lips are red from bruising kisses, his hair a mussed mess.

“I’d very much like to make love to you, my dear,” Aziraphale says.

Crowley nearly flatlines. “I—ngk—you—yes. P-Please.”

Aziraphale grins, a hint of mischievousness on his face, as he places another kiss on Crowley’s lips. He bends down, crooks his arms under Crowley’s knees, and hoists him up, holding him bridal-style.

“Hng!” is all Crowley can force out, face flooding with heat. Aziraphale chuckles, leading them from the hallway to the bed. The angel deposits Crowley onto the mattress carefully, as if he were a fragile piece of glass. “You can’t just spring stuff like that on me!”

“Why ever not?” Aziraphale questions, crawling up the length of Crowley’s body. “You’ve done so many kind things for me over the millennia, and now it’s my turn to reciprocate.”

“’M not kind,” Crowley starts, but Aziraphale shushes him.

“None of that, my love,” says the angel, touching Crowley’s face with his fingers. “Tonight I’m going to show you how kind you are. How lovely, how wonderful—”

Crowley groans, wiggling as white-hot heat shoots through his veins southward. “Flatterer.”

“It’s not flattery if it’s the truth, sweetheart,” Aziraphale says, leaning down for another heated kiss. When he breaks away, he murmurs, “You’re wearing far too much clothing.”

Crowley raises his hand to snap them away, but Aziraphale reaches and grasps his wrist. “No miracles,” he says. “I want to undress you myself.”

Crowley lets out a moan, a means for consent, and Aziraphale gets to work, starting with the damned tie-scarf that the demon insists on wearing around his neck. It ends up tossed somewhere onto the carpet, and Crowley feels like he’s never seen Aziraphale like this in his life. He helps Aziraphale get him out of his jacket, letting it join the scarf on the floor. He feels Aziraphale eyeing his exposes skin and goosebumps rise on his arms. Soon his shirt is off, and so are his ridiculously tight trousers (albeit with a minor miracle) and the only thing left covering him is his boxers. Aziraphale’s eyeing him like he’s a wolf and Crowley is a very enticing piece of meat.

“Angel,” Crowley murmurs.

“Yes, my dearest?”

“Please kiss me.”

And so Aziraphale does, leaning over on his hands and knees, pressing his lips against Crowley’s. The kiss starts off soft, tender, but like anything involving Crowley it escalates into something deeper, hotter and more passionate, and Aziraphale is drinking up the moans that are pouring from Crowley’s mouth. His lips move from Crowley’s down his neck, sucking bruises against his throat, to nibbling on prominent collarbones. His teeth sink into Crowley’s pecs and his lips wrap around one of Crowley’s nipples, one of Aziraphale’s hands coming up to tweak the other one.

Crowley keens, back arching at the contact. “S-Sensitive.”

Aziraphale hums against his skin before pressing a kiss against Crowley’s sternum. “I see. I’ll have to remember that.”

“Y-You’re gonna kill me, angel,” the demon rasps, reaching toward Aziraphale with an outstretched hand. Aziraphale wraps his hand around Crowley’s wrist, pressing a kiss to his pulse point. “I wanna see you.”

“And you shall,” says the angel, smiling against the thin skin of Crowley’s wrist. “Later. I’m not done with you.”

Crowley whines but Aziraphale presses a kiss to hips lips to silence him, letting his hands map out the expanse of Crowley’s body, every crease and every freckle. His fingers dance down Crowley’s stomach, feeling the muscles fluttering under flesh, and his hands rest on Crowley’s hips, between them resting Crowley’s clothed erection, already causing a wet spot on his black boxers. Crowley wriggles, trying to get the angel to touch him where he needs it most.

Aziraphale glances up at Crowley for permission and the other entity nods his head, and with the permission granted the angel hooks his thumbs in Crowley’s boxers, tugging them down at an agonizingly slow pace. He tosses them aside and is finally met with Crowley in all his glory, pale skin and galaxies of freckles, sharp angles and slopes, a trail of auburn hair leading down from his navel to the apex of his legs, where his hardened cock lays, heavy with blood.

Aziraphale swallows.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” Crowley grumbles, face and chest flushed.

“Forgive me, dearest. I’m just marveling at how beautiful you are.” Aziraphale shimmies down Crowley’s body until he’s laying on his stomach between Crowley’s thighs, and he throws Crowley’s legs over his shoulders. The demon squeaks, feeling utterly exposed under Aziraphale’s longing gaze.

“I’d very much like to put my mouth on you, if that’s all right,” Aziraphale says.

Crowley’s teeth sink so hard into his bottom lip he fears he’s broken skin. “Hng, yes, please.”

That’s all the permission Aziraphale needs. He takes Crowley’s cock in his hand, giving it a few experimental strokes before leaning in and pressing a kiss to the head, before flattening his tongue and dragging it from root to tip. Crowley keens, a broken sound, and his cock twitches in Aziraphale’s hand. The angel presses another kiss to the crown before he takes the demon in his mouth, as deep as he can go.

“Angel,” Crowley gasps, his hips involuntarily thrusting up into the heat of Aziraphale’s mouth. The angel chokes but regains his composure, swallowing Crowley down with ease. “Sorry, I—”

“No need to be sorry, my love,” Aziraphale says, pulling off Crowley’s cock to speak. “I am yours and yours alone tonight, and for as long as you want. Feel free to do with me as you please.”

“I want you foreve—ah,” Crowley gasps, cut off when Aziraphale swallows him again. “Aziraphale, fuck—”

Crowley doesn’t know where Aziraphale learned to suck cock, and part of him doesn’t want to know, but by Someone he’s doing an amazing job. He has Crowley gasping and whining, arching his back with an occasional thrust of his hips upward. His hands are hovering over Aziraphale’s head, unsure, until the angel reaches up and drags them onto his head, threading through cotton puff hair. Crowley groans as Aziraphale gives a particularly hard suck and fists his hands into the other being’s hair, tugging it as he did so. Aziraphale moans around Crowley’s cock, and the demon can see he’s started to rut against the bed.

“Angel, ’m close,” he warns, tightening his grip in Aziraphale’s hair. “Don’t wanna come yet—”

At his wish, Aziraphale removes his mouth from Crowley’s cock with an audible pop, kissing the tip before crawling his way up Crowley’s body and kissing him with fervor. Crowley can taste the tang of his precum on Aziraphale’s mouth and the angel swallows his moans down like a parched man searching for water.

“What do you need, love? I’ll give you anything you need,” Aziraphale whispers, lips brushing against Crowley’s once more. He’s cupping the demon’s head in his hands, thumbs rubbing a soothing circle on Crowley’s sharp cheekbones.

“Want you inside me,” Crowley chokes out. “Wanna feel you, I need you, please, angel—”

“Of course, Crowley, of course,” Aziraphale soothes, hands falling to Crowley’s boney hips. “Anything for you, my dearest, beautiful boy.”

Aziraphale spreads Crowley’s legs again and the demon wraps them around the angel’s waist as they get situated, and Aziraphale calls up a minor miracle to lube up his first digit and he circles it around Crowley’s entrance, garnering a keen from the demon below him. Slowly, he allows his finger to breach Crowley’s hole, sliding in slowly, because he’ll be damned if he hurts his demon.

“Need more,” Crowley pants, wiggling against the scratchy comforter.

“I know, Crowley, but I don’t want to rush this. I don’t want to hurt you.” Aziraphale gingerly adds another finger, crooking them just right, causing Crowley’s back to shoot off the mattress and a howl to be ripped from his throat. “Ah. Found it.”

“Are you sure you’re not a demon?” Crowley manages to croak, cock twitching against his stomach, a strand of precum leaking from the slit.

“Not that I know of, my love,” Aziraphale answers, adding a third finger once he’s sure Crowley’s ready. “Just an angel wanting to pleasure his demon.”

“Ngk,” is Crowley’s response. He manages to tack on, “Please, Aziraphale, I need you.”

 “I know you do, my darling demon,” Aziraphale replies softly, and with a final thrust of his fingers directly against Crowley’s prostate, causing the demon to cry out, he gently removes the digits. “I’m going to give you everything you deserve.”

With a wave of his hand Aziraphale’s clothes are folded neatly on the floor and Crowley grumbles. “Why couldn’t I take them off?”

“Because it’s about you right now,” the angel answers simply, hoisting Crowley’s legs around his waist. “And I’m going to show you exactly how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.”

Aziraphale’s cock is hard, bobbing against his soft stomach, as he grabs it and begins to guide himself into the demon below him. At the initial breach Crowley hisses, and the angel falters worriedly, but with a strained, “Keep going, I can take it” he pushes farther in, until his hips are pressed flush against Crowley’s ass. The two stay supernaturally still for a moment, the only sound in the room being the two’s panting breaths.

“So big,” the demon says, voice absolutely wrecked even though they’ve just started. “Fuck, angel, you’re so big—”

“You’re so tight for me, Crowley,” Aziraphale grits out, digging his fingers into the meat of Crowley’s thighs.

“Please move,” the redhead pleads. “Please.”

Aziraphale starts out with slow, shallow thrusts, allowing Crowley to accustom to the intrusion of his cock. The angel leans over Crowley, propping himself up with one hand while he lifts Crowley’s chin up with the other, staring into blown-wide yellow eyes, taking in flushed skin. He can’t help but smile, leaning down to press a chaste kiss to the demon’s lips.

“Beautiful,” the angel remarks, kissing Crowley’s eyelids, cheekbones, nose, brows. “My beautiful, darling demon. Why did I wait this long to have you?”

“N-Not beautiful,” Crowley protests weakly, too preoccupied while Aziraphale is thrusting into him, hard and deep, but too slow for it to actually mean anything.

“Very beautiful. Gorgeous and wonderful. I’m so glad you’re mine now, my love.” Aziraphale’s nuzzling into Crowley’s neck, kissing the blossoming bruises there. “I want to have you like this forever.”

“I’m yours,” Crowley gasps out, as Aziraphale picks up speed. Crowley reaches for the angel and once again Aziraphale takes Crowley’s hand in his and kisses his wrist before twining their fingers together. “Yours forever, angel, please—”

“My demon,” Aziraphale breathes against the juncture of Crowley’s neck and shoulder, before sinking his teeth down into it. Crowley cries out, his free hand coming to drag down Aziraphale’s back, nails leaving red welts in their wake. “So good for me, so perfect—”

Aziraphale’s thrusts are becoming sloppy and uncoordinated, and his breaths are coming out in ragged pants. Crowley is so overwhelmed by every sensation and the love pouring off both of them that tears have begun to spring in his eyes, spilling over sharp cheekbones. Aziraphale sees this and immediately stops, cupping Crowley’s face in his hands.

“My dear, are you okay? I haven’t hurt you, have I?” the angel asks frantically, and Crowley shakes his head.

“No, never, it’s just—ngh—it feels ssso good, you’re so good, and I love you, and—” Crowley is cut off with a cry when Aziraphale snaps his hips, hitting the spot in Crowley that makes him see stars. The demon has to release Aziraphale’s hand to cover his face, and well, that simply won’t do. Aziraphale grasps Crowley’s wrist and pins it next to his head, taking in his flustered demon.

“I want to see you,” Aziraphale says, out of breath. “I want to see you come for me, I want to see your face twist in pleasure as you come apart, I want you to feel all the love I have for you, I love you so much, Crowley—”

“I love you too, I love you, I love you, I love you, I lo—Aziraphale,” Crowley wails, back arching off the bed as his pleasure crests, his orgasm hitting him with the force of a tidal wave. Streaks of white cover his stomach and tears flow down his face, his breathing coming in harsh gasps, as he comes down. His ears are ringing and he feels himself fading, but realizes Aziraphale is about to pull out. He reaches and grasps Aziraphale’s hip, halting the motion.

“Don’t,” he groans. “Inside me, please, I need it inside me.”

Obliging his demon, Aziraphale grasps Crowley’s hips and thrusts inside him again, once, twice, three times, before he comes apart too, with a drawn out whine of Crowley’s name, and the demon sighs when he feels the warmth of Aziraphale’s love spreading through him. The angel slowly pulls out and collapses next to Crowley, gathering the demon in his arms and pressing kisses to any part of his skin that he could reach.

“My wonderful boy, you were so good,” Aziraphale praises, Crowley nuzzling into the crook of his neck. “How are you feeling?”

“Ngk,” Crowley grunts. “Like I’ve been fucked within an inch of my life.” Loved.

“I suppose that’s a good thing?”

“Yes, angel.” Crowley lifts his head to press a kiss to the angel’s jaw. “I…love you.”

“I never could have guessed,” Aziraphale teases, and Crowley grimaces. “I’m kidding, dearheart. I love you too.”

Crowley shifts a bit, and cringes. “I feel so sticky.”

Aziraphale looks down at his demon, auburn hair mussed and cheeks flushed. He presses a kiss to his hair and says, “Perhaps we can take a shower and get cleaned up, hm?”

 

***

 

The shower was a tad awkward, considering it was a cheap hotel, so it was small and cramped, but they managed to deal with it by snogging most of the time.

Now they’re back in bed, under a miracled-up blanket because, honestly, who wants to cuddle under a hotel duvet? Aziraphale is propped up on the pillows and Crowley’s head is resting on his bare chest, hearing his heartbeat. He almost lost this opportunity but he forces this thought to the side.

They’re flipping through the scrapbook, pointing out the places they enjoyed the most, chuckling at awkward photos, Crowley ‘hmming’ and ‘ah-ing’ at every picture he missed. Occasionally Aziraphale will kiss Crowley’s temple, and the demon will nuzzle against him, like a heat-seeking snake.

“I say this trip has been a success thus far,” Aziraphale remarks, snapping the scrapbook shut and depositing it on the nightstand before turning his attention back to the demon clinging to him.

“Mm-hm,” Crowley agrees, a bit too worn out for English. He’s tracing symbols in a long dead language on Aziraphale’s sternum. “Did you enjoy it?”

The angel gazes upon Crowley, a tender smile playing across his face. “I enjoyed it immensely, my love. It couldn’t have happened without you.”

“We still have a little bit left to see,” Crowley says, “if you want. California and all that.”

“Oh, I think it would be quite lovely to see San Francisco and the West Coast,” Aziraphale says. “Is there anywhere you’d like to go, Crowley?”

Crowley hums in contemplation. Nothing really comes to mind, but it’s likely because he’s too blissed out to come up with anything substantial. Instead, he gazes up at the angel next to him, a grin of content spreading his lips.

“I’ll go anywhere as long as you’re there with me, angel.”