“Ooh, look at that!” Aziraphale has opened the drawers in one of the old dressers in his back room, in his ongoing attempt to verify and reorganise the contents of his bookshop since its restoration from ashes. “Doesn’t that bring back memories?”
“What does?” Crowley is lounging around simply for the sake of lounging in Aziraphale’s vicinity, from what Aziraphale has gathered. He certainly isn’t helping .
“These. I only went a few times, but I kept these as dear little souvenirs.” It was mostly a rhetorical question, but since he did ask, Aziraphale pulls out a glove and a couple of small objects, beaming. There’s a little hood and some strips of leather.
Crowley squints at him.
“Angel, when the blazes were you doing falconry?” He’s not wearing his sunglasses, so his consternation is visible. “I don’t remember you ever mentioning it.”
Aziraphale chuckles and puts his free hand to his chest.
“Well, you wouldn’t, dear. It was when my old club was still running in Portland Place. You were sleeping at the time, as you said, after we had that dreadful argument. Once we made up again I didn’t want to go telling you all about it in case it upset you, missing out on all the merriment.”
“All the merriment,” Crowley echoes blandly. It’s hard to tell what exactly is the matter, so Aziraphale rushes onward before Crowley can get into a mood.
“Yes. The merriment. I had to keep myself occupied somehow, didn’t I? No wiles to thwart, so it would have gotten terribly boring otherwise.” Crowley softens at that, and Aziraphale beams at him, sitting down very close to him on the settee because he can. He’s free to do so. “One of the fellows there was a member of the Old Hawking Club and managed to convince a group of us to come along to Wiltshire a few times to go hawking.”
“Mm.” Crowley has lain down horizontal across Aziraphale’s lap, because he’s free to as well and because both of them enjoy when he does. It’s amazing what not having Heaven and Hell breathing over their shoulders will do for a relationship. “So you’d say you’re a fan?”
“Not per se… It was a bit excessive, the number of creatures that were brought down, most of them not even for eating. Trying to break the club scores and whatnot. The outings were good entertainment, though, and such handsome birds.”
“Huh.” Crowley looks thoughtful. “And you kept the gear as a souvenir?”
“Don’t be jealous of the falcons, darling.”
“‘M not jealous of the falcons.”
Aziraphale has newly discovered that Crowley has delightful reactions to being teased. Getting him a little worked up only to soothe him back down leaves him pliant enough to accept praise. It’s a loophole that Aziraphale’s been making great use of to get around Crowley’s self-doubt.
“You’re more handsome than any falcon, my love.” Aziraphale tugs him up and into a chaste kiss, and feels Crowley smile against his lips. Perhaps that’s why the next few compliments slip out past his mental filter, with Aziraphale murmuring them against Crowley’s cheek without checking they don’t seem condescending or plain odd. “Such magnificent plumage. My pretty bird.”
Crowley lets out a great whoosh of breath along with a squeaky noise like he’s been squeezed. Aziraphale stops kissing him to check he’s alright. He finds Crowley gone very pink, his pupils like great round disks.
“Um.” He seems to be having trouble forming words. Aziraphale rubs a thumb gently across his cheek and waits. “Uh. That’ssssss, uh. Ssssomething.” Crowley stops and swallows, making his tongue behave and take a shape less serpentine. “Not a bad something, but I have no idea, why? I reacted like that?”
“But not a bad something,” Aziraphale says, considering. He keeps up his stroking of Crowley’s cheek. “We could explore it in greater detail, if you like.”
“Maybe? Let me think about it.” Aziraphale sees him mouth something to himself that looks like ‘what the fuck’, and has to smile.
They’re both discovering plenty new about themselves and each other, especially now, and it can be confusing, but they have all the time in the world. Aziraphale presses a kiss to the cheek he isn’t stroking, and then a kiss to Crowley’s lips, and doesn’t miss the look of adoration in his eyes.
It’s long enough before Crowley mentions it again that Aziraphale thinks he must have considered and dismissed it by then; Crowley usually decides swiftly if he likes something or not, then acts on it.
“So, uh, I’ve been thinking,” the demon says, tapping his foot under the coffee table in morse code that translates to Aziraphale I’m so fucking nervous but let me act cool about it.
“That’s a surprise,” the angel replies, smirking ever so slightly around the lip of his teacup.
“Oh, stuff it, angel, I’m trying to tell you something.”
Aziraphale mimes zipping his mouth shut and sits primly in place waiting for Crowley to speak.
“Thankssssss.” Crowley leans back in his chair ultra-casually and tips his head back, a studied yet completely counterfeit picture of nonchalance. “Ugh, this is fucking embarrassing, I’ve been around for 6000 years and this is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever said, forget everything else.”
Crowley seems in need of some kind of support, so Aziraphale reaches over to place a hand atop Crowley’s. The demon immediately snaps his head back down to look at their joined hands. They’re at a café, so he’s wearing sunglasses, but Aziraphale can tell anyway. He always can.
“Pet. Play.” Crowley grinds the words out. “I think. I might like it.”
“Ooooooh,” Aziraphale coos, unable to help himself. It takes a Herculean force of effort not to gush about how utterly sweet that is, and how pleased he’d be to explore that with Crowley. He beams at Crowley in a way he hopes conveys his delight instead. It succeeds in making Crowley go red all the way to the tips of his ears.
“I’m a demon!” He bares his fangs. “I’m not a… A… Pretty bird…” Crowley glances around and leans in, tone bordering on conspiratorial. “When you said that to me, it was, it was nice.”
“Here I thought nice was a four letter word.”
Crowley glowers at him, so Aziraphale sighs airily and lays off the teasing.
“Thank you for confiding in me, my dearest.” He squeezes Crowley’s hand encouragingly. “I think we ought to continue this conversation someplace more private, don't you?”
Crowley knocks back his coffee and stands up.
“Right, right, let's go.”
“Someone's eager. I’ll settle the bill and we’ll be off.”
When Aziraphale gets back from paying the bill, Crowley is standing there tapping his foot, nervous energy visible in every movement. He only settles down when Aziraphale loops their arms together, and by the time they finish their stroll and arrive back at the bookshop, he looks only half as likely to jitter right out of his skin. Aziraphale sits him firmly down on the settee, fixes them drinks, and then settles in to stroke Crowley’s hair and snuggle before they continue the conversation. It helps Crowley relax, and when Aziraphale judges him comfortable enough, which is when Crowley is curled up against his side with his head half wedged under the angel’s chin, he asks Crowley what he wants to do.
“‘M not pretending to be a cat or a dog, that’s way too saccharine. I’d probably discorporate on the spot. And...”
"You can't do pet play with a snake," Crowley says decisively. "Just wouldn't work."
“That brings us back to falconry, then. That’s what originally gave you the idea, after all.” Aziraphale gently digs his fingers into Crowley’s hair, massaging at the demon’s scalp until he makes a low “mmmmmmmmnnnnn” sound and melts into the touch. From the unfocused look of lazy enjoyment on Crowley’s face, it’s more hindering than helping the flow of conversation, but Aziraphale can’t help himself. It’s only when Crowley’s eyes start to close that Aziraphale stops.
Crowley blinks slowly, and pouts - he wouldn’t like it to be described as a pout but it definitely is - and seems to reboot in steps, like the old computer Aziraphale uses to file his taxes, before he rediscovers the power of speech.
“I’m not going to go hunting down rabbits for you bare-arse naked, angel.” He hunches up his shoulders a bit defensively.
“Nor would I ask you to, as amusing as the mental image is.” Aziraphale laughs at the thought of that being the reason they'd finally get banned from London's parks after hundreds of years. “From what I can gather, it’s more so the look of it and a way to show who’s in charge, rather than aiming for verisimilitude. I’m relatively certain no human is out there doing behaviourally accurate pet play. If there is, I’d rather not know about it.”
Crowley snorts at that.
“I’d rather know what you want to ask for out of the experience. Besides, we can make up our own rules for things! So long as we follow a sensible safety guideline.”
“That's so like you.”
“I don't want you to get hurt, Crowley. Especially not by accident. Especially not by me.” Aziraphale pulls Crowley closer, arms around his waist, so that his back is flush against Aziraphale’s chest. They’d almost lost everything, lost each other, and he had pushed Crowley away so many times. Now he has the chance, he wants to keep Crowley close, close and happy.
“Treating me like I'm, uh,” Crowley swallows and his voice gets very small, “like I’m your pet for an hour,” here he interrupts himself to make a sort of tea-kettle noise, “isn't going to hurt me, Angel.”
“If you're sure. You do seem terribly embarrassed about it.” Aziraphale frowns and hugs Crowley tightly. “There’s no call to force yourself into anything.”
“‘Course I'm embarrassed, it's fucking embarrassing. But I want to see if I like it.” There’s a rasp to Crowley’s voice that speaks of desire.
“Then I would be perfectly content to help you try it. See if it’s to your tastes. However,” and here Aziraphale tweaks Crowley’s nose, “you’ll have to let me set the pace, Crowley.”
“Urghhh, alright. If that makes you happy. So fussy, I swear...” Crowley leans to catch Aziraphale’s finger in his mouth, nibbling on it with his eyeteeth, not hard enough to break the skin but enough to make Aziraphale shiver. He did put it in biting range…
“You like that about me.” Aziraphale sucks in a breath as Crowley laves his tongue against the little indentations his bites have left on the angel’s finger. Aziraphale is considering slipping another finger or two into Crowley’s mouth, but before he can, Crowley pulls away.
“I do, angel. I love everything about you, fussiness included.” In a breath Crowley turns around so they’re face to face, Crowley straddling Aziraphale with eyes blazing. The intensity and sincerity of it makes him feel like he’s in flight, a swooping and diving feeling that’s dizzying. “Everything. Let me show you. Let’s go upstairs to bed. We’ll finish talking about that other thing later…”
It takes a few more conversations to chisel through enough of his lingering embarrassment to get at exactly what Crowley wants and exactly what Aziraphale is willing to do. Aziraphale cajoles Crowley into agreeing to leave sex out of their first scene, and Crowley grumbles about it but agrees.
“I don’t see why we ought to rush into it,” Aziraphale says, looking around the back room to assess its suitability for the scene he’s planning. “I want to make sure you don’t have an unpleasant experience.”
“Angel, how many times have we fucked so far? No, don’t answer that literally.”
“Oh, but I was excited to tell you how many times we’ve made love.” Aziraphale pouts. He has an itemised list because every time is precious to him. He hasn’t written it down, though, that would be excessive.
“Nnng,” Crowley says, spluttering and going red. Aziraphale has to laugh; the demon always gets shy when the words ‘making love’ are mentioned.
He crosses the room to where Crowley is leaning unhelpfully against the door frame, and gives him a kiss on the cheek, taking his hand and leading him into the room. He closes the door behind Crowley.
“There. Now it will be easier to raise the room temperature without the heat escaping.”
“Why are you raising the temperature?” Crowley cocks his head.
“Because you’re going to be naked, darling, and I don’t want you to catch a chill.”
“Ohhhhh.” His lips curve in a grin, showing sharp teeth. “Now that’s more my speed.”
“Crowley, I’m telling you now, as your dominant, that you are not going to convince me to fuck you today.” Aziraphale puts on the sternest voice he can muster. It’s a funny thing, calling himself that. Not unpleasant.
“But Angeeeeeeeelllll, you can’t just say fuck and leave me hanging like this.”
“I can and I will.” Aziraphale crosses his arms and wills himself not to feel sorry for Crowley. He’s insisting for Crowley’s benefit after all. “I think I’ll put a cushion here…” He points next to the comfortable settee. “For your knees. Kneeling for so long will get uncomfortable otherwise.”
Crowley has drifted into Aziraphale’s orbit and is looking at the spot he indicated with wide eyes, obviously imagining himself there. They may have thoroughly discussed matters, but Aziraphale still has enough creative leeway to surprise. It’s a giddy feeling. He drops one of the overstuffed cushions onto the hardwood floor in front of where Crowley stands.
“I’ve done some reading,” Aziraphale says, “and I believe we should use the stoplight system. Do you know what that is?”
“Good. Don't hesitate to say if your colour is Yellow or Red, and don't downplay things. I wouldn't want you struggling through because you think you ought to like it even when you don't.”
“Okay.” Crowley is smiling faintly with a bit of a sardonic curve to his lips. He's not questioning or protesting or complaining, however, and Aziraphale is delighted by the realisation because Crowley has never received an order from anyone without some sort of questions or grumbling. Even if most of the grumbling he’d usually do in private, while having a tipple with Aziraphale.
“What? What are you beaming about, Angel? You're literally glowing.”
Aziraphale looks down at himself. So he is. He stops it with a thought, for the sake of Crowley’s eyes.
“Oops! Nothing, dearest.” Aziraphale smiles indulgently at Crowley and leans over to kiss him on the lips, close mouthed and deliberately chaste. “Now, if you would be so kind as to undress and kneel down on the pillow.”
To his surprise, Crowley whimpers faintly and drops right to his knees, using a miracle to vanish his clothes right away. He must be more affected by Aziraphale ordering him around than the angel thought. Aziraphale smoothes down and strokes his hair, and Crowley leans in slightly to the touch.
“Right,” he mumbles, “what next?”
“How about the accessories?” Aziraphale sits himself down on the settee in front of Crowley, close enough to keep patting the demon’s hair. With a snap he has a perfectly-sized hood and two strips of soft leather in his lap. How terribly convenient it is to be able to imagine them into existence, otherwise he’d have to have the hood custom-made, and the sort of questions he might get from a leatherworker… Oh, how mortifying.
“Wrists first, my love.”
Crowley holds out his wrists and watches him fold the long strips of leather back on themselves, then one around his left wrist, and back through the loop to tie it off like a Parisian knot. He repeats it with the right wrist and sets the trailing ends on his lap so he can easily hold onto them as if holding the end of a hawk’s jesses. It's more an approximation than strictly accurate, but should be comfortable.
“How are those?”
“They’re fine,” Crowley shrugs. “Not too tight or anything.”
“Good.” He pats Crowley on the head and gets to see him go red all the way down to his neck. “Hood next.”
“Now we’re talking.” Crowley arches an eyebrow and smirks. Aziraphale tuts back at him. So impatient!
“It will be a shame not to see your lovely eyes while you have this on. Or that burning crimson hair of yours. At least it won’t be long until I get to see both again.” Aziraphale smooths down Crowley’s hair while Crowley rolls his eyes. Aziraphale beams at him before slipping the hood down over his eyes. He wants the last thing Crowley sees before it goes on him and the first thing he sees when it comes back off to be the face of the one who loves him the most.
He doesn’t lace up the back of the hood yet, waiting to gauge Crowley’s level of comfort. He keeps a hand on Crowley’s shoulder as Crowley swivels his head right and left. Aziraphale has to catch Crowley as he tries to turn around to look behind him and unbalances, nearly falling off to the side before Aziraphale rights him. Aziraphale notes that Crowley has started to breathe a bit quickly, which isn’t a terribly good sign considering he’s at rest and usually doesn’t have to breathe unless he wants to, being a demon and all.
“How are you feeling, darling?”
“I can’t ssssee.”
“Hm. Right.” Rather than make a sly comment about that being the point, which he might in other circumstances, he hooks his fingers under the edge of the hood. “This is coming off now.”
Aziraphale gently tilts Crowley’s head back towards him and then pulls off the hood. It’s good that he is angled to look at Aziraphale as soon as the hood comes off, because Aziraphale can see both the wide-eyed, panicky look in his eyes, and the way he relaxes fractionally as he sees Aziraphale. Crowley’s eyes are really very expressive.
Aziraphale strokes his cheek and makes comforting noises until Crowley has calmed enough to lay his head in the angel’s lap.
“What’s the matter, love?”
“I feel fucking stupid. I dunno, Angel, I couldn’t see and I freaked out a bit,” Crowley hisses down at Aziraphale’s thigh.
“You’re not stupid at all, my dearest.” Aziraphale pets Crowley’s head and runs his fingers gently and rhythmically through the demon’s hair. “It’s not something you’re used to, so I expect it caught you by surprise.”
Crowley huffs out a frustrated breath.
“I guess. I can see in the dark, did I tell you that? One of the few perks of being a demon.”
“I don’t believe you did. No wonder the hood startled you, even if there was light you wouldn’t have been able to see anything.”
“Yeah… I cocked this one right up.”
He sounds very frustrated with himself still. Aziraphale frowns at that.
“Come here to me darling, let me hold you. We’ll do something else. Not everything we try has to work out.”
Crowley looks up at Aziraphale gratefully and crawls onto his lap without any further encouragement.
“Now what-ever shall I do with such an attractive, naked demon in my lap?”
Crowley laughs, and that’s the mood restored.
To Aziraphale’s great surprise, Crowley brings the idea up again about a week later.
“Alright, I know it didn’t work out so well last time, but I think if I’m prepared to not be able to see, which I will be, I’ll be fine.”
“Are you quite sure? There are plenty other kinks we have yet to try. I wouldn’t want you to think that you must go back to one that caused undue distress the last time.”
“Firstly, I am never ever going to get used to hearing you say the word ‘kink’, and I mean that in a good way. Secondly, I’m pretty confident it’s going to go better this time.”
“Oh, fine. I’ve let you get too good at talking me into things, I swear.”
“It’s you who’s gotten eassssy. I love it, Angel.”
“I suppose when you put it like that… But I still shan’t fuck you during a scene! Not until I’m certain you’re happy and comfortable.”
“Fiiiine. Fuck me now instead. You’ve no idea what it does to me hearing you talk about kinks and fucking. You really don’t.”
“Honestly! I shouldn’t be surprised you have a taste for dirty talk. Let me pin you down and take you against the table then, dearest, and see how long you can last for me.”
Here they are again in the back room. Aziraphale could choose a different venue, he supposes - Crowley’s flat, his room - but he wants somewhere both cosy and with sufficient space for Crowley to spread his wings. If this goes well, he’ll have Crowley lie down on the (only slightly threadbare, really very well preserved) Persian carpet so that Aziraphale can groom his wings. Either way, Aziraphale fully intends to show in words and actions how very much he cherishes Crowley.
Like last time, Crowley obediently drops to his knees on the cushion Aziraphale has provided him. Unlike last time, he has already divested Crowley of his clothes.
“There’s a love. How good you are for me.”
Crowley flushes red all the way down to his shoulders and opens his mouth, as if to protest the remark, but closes it again.
“If you objected, I would have to double down and compliment you more.” Aziraphale can feel the mischievous smile dancing on his lips as he looks down at Crowley, who is managing to come across as both sullen and pleased. It’s in the downturn of his golden eyes, but the roundness of his pupils, and how he digs his teeth into his lower lip to stop a smile.
“As a reminder, I will be your Master for the duration of this scene, and I want you to tell me if you are the slightest bit uncomfortable. You may use the words we’ve agreed on at any time if you feel the need to. In fact, I order you to. Understood?”
Crowley nods sharply.
“Bit hard to forget.”
“Ah, ah! No back talk, pet.” Aziraphale steps close and tips Crowley’s chin up so he’s looking the angel in the eye as he’s delivering his sternest look. He sees the shiver run through Crowley, and knows it has nothing to do with cold. The thermostat has been turned up to be suitable for a mostly ectothermic and entirely naked demon. Aziraphale is sweating a little under his collar.
“That wasn’t words. If you need to tell me something, try again, dearest.”
Crowley shakes his head.
Aziraphale sits primly down on the settee in front of Crowley. He’s perfectly positioned to place his hand atop Crowley’s head and stroke his hair. He does that a few minutes, interspersing the soft strokes with running his short, manicured nails across Crowley’s scalp, and watches intently as Crowley’s eyelids droop to half-mast.
“That’s it, relax for me. I’m here with you. Close your eyes for me. Focus on my voice and my touch, all you can feel and hear and smell.”
“Mmm.” Crowley doesn't try to speak, just humming and leaning into the touches to his hair.
Seeing Crowley close his eyes and relax more as the minutes pass, Aziraphale smiles fondly and moves his hand to pet and stroke the base of Crowley’s neck.
"I’m going to put the hood on you in a moment. I’m here, you’re safe, you can relax. I will never let any harm come to you.”
“Trust you,” Crowley manages in a lazy sort of mumble, and Aziraphale's heart fairly sings with those two simple words, a perfect ringing note of wonder at how privileged he is to be trusted with the demon’s care, mind and body and soul.
“I’m very lucky to be trusted by you, dearest.” Aziraphale leans down to press a kiss to the crown of Crowley’s head, smoothing his hair down one more time. “Eyes closed, now.”
Aziraphale picks up the hood from beside himself on the settee and eases it on over Crowley’s head. Crowley sucks in a sharp breath as it comes to rest over his ears and all the way down to his chin, only his mouth and nose left uncovered by a v-shaped opening in the leather. Aziraphale doesn’t make any move to lace up the back of the hood yet. Best not to be too hasty.
Crowley’s hands are laid limply in his lap, and Aziraphale takes one to hold, running his fingers over the palm and back, intending it to be a grounding touch. With his other hand he strokes and pets the back of Crowley’s neck.
“You’re doing so well for me, darling. Entrusting yourself to me like this. What’s your colour?”
Crowley licks his lips, takes a breath, as if considering.
“Very good. Tell me if that changes.” Aziraphale nearly sags back into the settee in relief. He hadn’t realised how tense he had been, waiting to ensure that Crowley wasn’t in any distress. He was right to think the constant skin-to-skin contact and speaking would put Crowley more at ease, and Crowley so deserves to be at ease.
Indulging himself a smidge, he takes Crowley’s chin in hand to tilt his face this way and that, admiring how he looks, how pliant Crowley is in his hands, how he lets himself be moved and positioned to Aziraphale’s liking.
“I’m going to lace up the back of the hood. Keep your eyes closed. My handsome bird has such keen, golden eyes, but he can let them rest now.”
That gets a delightful shiver out of Crowley, and a deep, wordless ‘mmm’ of agreement. It’s eons away from the panic of last time. Aziraphale lets go of Crowley’s hand, listens for his breathing, and when Crowley’s breathing remains slow and even, Aziraphale has a pleased wiggle for himself. He sets his left hand firmly on Crowley’s left shoulder, stands up, and circles Crowley the way Crowley has circled him so many times. He settles himself down behind Crowley, the demon’s lithe back bare against his clothing, and presses kisses across Crowley’s shoulder blades while lacing up the hood.
“There we are. Very good.” Aziraphale emphasises the ‘good’ bit with a kiss to the nape of Crowley’s neck, where the hood ends, and Crowley leans back against him with a long sigh. This has the angel delaying his plans to stand back up again in favour of more kisses and a good long embrace, arms around Crowley’s torso in a firm and gentle hug. Eventually he pulls himself away. He could very well stay that way the whole night, but he does have plans.
As he stands and circles back around, he keeps one hand on Crowley’s shoulder, then his neck, then his chin, and a quick brush of his thumb over Crowley’s lips, soft where they haven’t been bitten and worried at by his eyeteeth. How convenient that touch is what Crowley seems to need, because Aziraphale adores touching him. He puts the flat of his hand under Crowley’s chin and tilts the demon’s head up. Of course Crowley cannot see him, but it serves to reinforce their relative positions nonetheless.
“You can’t know how good you look, not only because of how terribly attractive you are, but because the hood you are wearing shows me how fully you have submitted to me, pet of mine.”
Crowley whimpers, and swallows hard, and the way his mouth hangs slightly open, a flash of pink and forked tongue visible, makes Aziraphale want very badly to use it for his pleasure. He did promise, however, and his pride and self-control would never recover from Crowley’s teasing if he were to go back on his promise now. Not to mention he would need to break the scene, since he didn’t tell Crowley he would do anything beyond simple kissing. It’s just as well Aziraphale chose not to manifest any genitalia before slipping into the role of dominant, or he wouldn’t be able to think through it at all.
“Give me your hands, pretty bird. I want to keep you on short jesses tonight, that way you will have no doubts about who is taking care of you.”
Crowley complies oh-so-quickly, lifting his hands into Aziraphale’s lap and waiting quietly for him to loop smooth leather around one wrist and then another. It’s hard to remember another time when Crowley has been either this quiet or this still. Whatever is going on in Crowley’s head, Aziraphale has the pleasure of watching a flush spread down his neck and shoulders as he tugs experimentally on the leather. Crowley’s face must be almost as red as his hair under that hood.
“Now I have my handsome hawk firmly in hand without any fear of him flying away, I would like him to spread his wings for me.”
Crowley tilts his head, a motion both startlingly bird-like and wonderful for showing off the smooth column of his throat, and there’s a silken rustle as his wings slide into existence, great and dark in the soft light of the back room. Aziraphale is seized again by a flood of tender feeling over how intimate, how trusting an act that is, how intimate all of it is. He coos over the slick black feathers in front of him.
“With ah! Dark wings.” Aziraphale smiles to himself, a private little smile since he has no idea if Crowley would have read the poem he’s thinking of, and stands again, keeping the ends of the ‘jesses’ in one hand. He reaches out the other to stroke along trembling feathers, letting his most sentimental thoughts flow out in words for Crowley to hear. “How beautiful, how striking! There is no lovelier creature than you in Heaven, Hell, or here in between, my dearest. No passerine or otherwise could hope to rival you, neither real nor mythical, nor even the lofty fenghuang.”
Usually, such a level of extravagant praise would have Crowley spluttering and rebuffing it, or at the very least make a snarky comment aimed at deflating it enough for Crowley to bear. He’s quiet now, as he has been for the last while, only signs of his listening being a shiver, a hitch of his breath, and him turning his head to follow Aziraphale’s voice. It’s hard to tell if this is a good or bad development, both of their lack of experience in this area being what it is.
“Colour, darling?” Aziraphale says, laying his palm atop Crowley’s wing. There’s a pause while he waits, which concerns him. He decides to rephrase the question. “Tell me your colour, pet.”
“Green.” There’s a breathless tenour to Crowley’s answer that has Aziraphale shivering. Crowley paws at thin air until he finds Aziraphale’s leg, then he’s holding onto it and rubbing his nose and chin against the trouser fabric. Aziraphale lets the hand holding the jesses hang idly while shivers run right down his spine and his mind tries to catch up with how absolutely intoxicating it is to have Crowley happily sitting at his feet, for all intents and purposes utterly pliant and obedient and accepting of whatever it is that Aziraphale might say or do. Crowley is never obedient for anyone , he thinks again. Except, apparently, for one being in particular, in very particular circumstances.
Then Crowley starts to nuzzle and kiss his hand. This brings Aziraphale out of the silent awe he had been experiencing - really, he feels almost too powerful - and he blinks and contemplates what to do next. As he does, he strokes Crowley’s chin and neck.
“Very good. My handsome bird is very good indeed.”
Crowley makes a plaintive, needy noise, which comes back again when Aziraphale starts stroking his wings. He must be trying to please Aziraphale by being more vocal. If directionless ardour is clouding Aziraphale’s thoughts now, their next scene, and presumably there will be one, when he actually has some sort of genitalia to speak of, is going to have him trying to navigate through a thick fog of lust from which he might never emerge. But enough of him. He is doing all this for Crowley’s satisfaction.
“Stand up for me. I am going to lead you along slowly, and I need you to trust me. Can you do that for me?”
Crowley nods sharply, and stands just as sharply. He has his lips parted subtly again, and Aziraphale wants to kiss him very badly. He takes his hand, places it on the back of Crowley’s neck, and holds him in place while he scatters first gentle and then fierce kisses on the demon’s lips, his dearest accepting eagerly and pressing back, mouth open. Their kisses go on for as long as Aziraphale wants, which is very long indeed, and he knows Crowley wants the same from how he melts into every brush of tongues together.
“Very good… Wonderful,” Aziraphale gasps at last, speaking right against Crowley’s lips. “You are so sinfully skilled at that.” He laughs softly to himself. “Oh, but I am wrong. Nothing could be a sin when we are together.” He feels Crowley smile against his cheek.
“Now, my handsome hawk, follow me.” He tugs on the ‘jesses’ and Crowley nods, a faint smile on his face.
Aziraphale takes slow steps, halting after each to let Crowley follow the tug on his wrists, until they are stood atop the persian carpet. The cherry atop the layer cake he’s built of praise and fussing and touches - Crowley’s wings getting a proper grooming while he is limp and pliant and capable of nothing save relaxing and enjoying the care Aziraphale can show him.
“Spread your wings as wide as is comfortable and lie down on your back for me, pet. I am going to groom your wings for you. All you must do for me is lie back and relax. Doesn’t that sound nice? Yes, it does.”
Crowley smiles and ‘mmhm’s and radiates a combination of eagerness and satisfaction as he lays down. It must be the angle of his chin and quirk of his lips that telegraphs the precise mixture of emotions - Aziraphale has ample experience of reading Crowley’s face without being able to see his eyes, even if he is looking forward to seeing them uncovered again soon.
Aziraphale picks up Crowley’s hands and after a moment of consideration arranges his arms in such a way that his hands are resting palms-down on his thighs, not straining and not getting in the way of his wings. In all honesty, Crowley’s wings don’t need much work at all, since grooming each other has become part of their routines together, but Aziraphale loves having the chance to fuss over him and properly demonstrate exactly how grateful he is for all the times Crowley has treated and fussed over him, year after year.
“I’m going to start with your left scapular feathers, darling.” He traces the line of Crowley’s chin as he speaks. How nice it is to touch so freely.
It’s still terribly novel getting to touch Crowley’s feathers. Aziraphale carefully digs his fingers into the unparallelled softness of the downy insulation underneath and savours it for a moment with a contented sigh. Then he’s inspecting each feather with a thoroughness he has hitherto only shown to restoring antique, misprinted bibles. He even miracles his nifty little spectacles right onto his nose so he can get a better look at the barbs that need realigning. He describes the whole process aloud for Crowley. Of course Crowley knows how to groom his wings, but it’s for the sake of giving the supine demon auditory stimulus to concentrate on in case he gets fidgety or anxious in the relative silence.
Diligently working on his secondary feathers, Aziraphale doesn’t notice the effect this treatment is having on Crowley until he hears a throaty noise. Oh. Oh.
So, Crowley enjoys the grooming that much, does he? Aziraphale will remember that. In the meantime he praises Crowley.
“How good and obedient you are, keeping your hands from touching yourself. I’ll have to reward my good pet later.” That gets him a choked whimper out of the demon. “For now, however, I expect you to lie precisely where you are and allow me to look after you, as long as you are content for me to do so.”
Such an indirect order doesn’t preclude Crowley from arching and panting and making all sorts of noises while Aziraphale works on the rest of his wings. The descriptors ‘animalistic’ or ‘unearthly’ come to mind, but as long as they’re noises of blissed-out pleasure, Aziraphale pays it no attention. It’s only when Crowley shivers continuously while Aziraphale’s tending to his right alula that he stops, and shuffles over to kneel on either side of his hips, to place one hand over his racing heart and with the other one cradle his chin.
“How are you, dearest?”
“Please,” Crowley rasps. “Please.”
“Do you need me to stop? Only say the words.”
“Need to - to touch.” The wrecked way Crowley sounds makes it abundantly clear what he means by touch .
“Not while the scene is ongoing, dearest. If you don’t tell me red,” Crowley shakes his head at the word, “Or yellow,” another shake, “then I will continue setting your wings to rights, and you will continue lying here being my good pet and obeying my commands.”
Crowley whimpers and weakly curls his fingers into the fabric of Aziraphale’s waistcoat.
“You can end the scene when you want to, whenever you want. Merely say the word.” But Aziraphale watches Crowley shake his head. “Then put your hands back down by your sides and be good.”
Watching Crowley drop his hands back down immediately is like taking a shot of whiskey or liquid fire, filling his whole corporation with some warm unnameable substance that has him wanting more of the same. He has to shake himself and blink before he can decide to see if he gets the same erotic thrill from ordering Crowley to pat his own head and rub his own belly at the same time. It’s embarrassing to admit to himself that he probably would find it unreasonably thrilling. He’ll tell Crowley later for the sake of hearing his cackling, for he doesn't doubt that would earn unbridled laughter from the demon.
Satisfied again that Crowley is safe and comfortable for the moment, Aziraphale kisses him briefly and whispers more praise before announcing that he is going to finish the remainder of the grooming. It doesn’t take very long, seeing as he had almost been finished anyway when he’d stopped to check in on Crowley. He gets Crowley to stand up, and holds his hands tenderly.
“You’ve done so very well for me today, pet. Not only a pretty bird but an obedient one, too, and so beautifully vocal. I love to hear those cries of yours, it is music to my ears. I hope I will hear even more of them next time around.” He kisses Crowley, light and brief. “Now I’m going to remove the hood and jesses and the scene will be over, but I want you to remember that you did such a good job for me.”
He unties the laces on the back of the hood - oh, he could vanish it with a miracle, but the ritual of it feels important - and takes off the leather around Crowley’s wrists, and finally lifts the hood away. Before Crowley can blink and open his eyes, Aziraphale presses a kiss to each eyelid. He has the pleasure of watching Crowley blush first and then blink, slowly, pupils wide and dazed-looking even as his gaze comes to rest on the angel’s smiling face. Then Crowley is really blushing, a fiery, crimson, tomato red, but he has a lazy grin on his face all the same.
“That’s my handsome love,” Aziraphale says, beaming, and wraps his arms firmly around Crowley. He brings his wings out to circle around in a second embrace, surrounding Crowley and his folded up and now very well groomed wings in a warm blanket of white feathers. “How are you feeling?”
“Uh. Floaty. Good? Tired, I think.” Crowley’s grin is split by a massive yawn. “Don’t see why’m tired, though, ‘s not like I did anything.”
“Except listen to me very closely for a long time.”
“Mm. Except that.” He rests his head on Aziraphale’s shoulder, nuzzling into the fabric of his waistcoat and taking deep breaths. Smelling him, Aziraphale presumes. “Thanks, Angel. That was a lot, but a good lot. If that makes sense.”
“I think I know what you need. A glass of water and a good cuddle and for me to stroke your hair some more.” That soft hair is in his grasp again, and Aziraphale strokes it while Crowley leans heavily upon him.
“Oh no, whatever will I do. I’m sssso tired I’ll have to lay there and enjoy it and then use you as a living pillow.”
They kiss long and passionately, Aziraphale’s soul lit up with the grateful, adoring gaze Crowley directs his way when they finally part. It stirs up a bit of the heat he had felt earlier, too, and Aziraphale puts on an expression he hopes comes across as both sly and fond.
“Yes, we’ll rest up and cuddle, and then tomorrow I’ll bugger you right into the mattress as I think you were trying to beg me for earlier.”
“Aw fuck. Just - please. How can you be this hot and talk the way you did all night and then ruin it by saying you’ll bugger me? Next time just say fuck, I’ll survive. And speaking of next times, next time you gotta let me go down on you while I’m subbing, it’ll be good, now you know I’ll be ok, nothing to worry about. I'll make it good for you, too."
“Next time, dearest. Now, let me look after you a bit more.”