Chapter 1: The Challenge Begins
They’d stood at the brink of it all, alongside the Antichrist, facing Heaven, Hell and Satan himself, to preserve the big blue marble they’d come to love so dearly. They’d been put on trial by their own kind. Death had seemed like a certainty. But somehow, against all odds, they’d survived. And this was their reward. Peace.
The first week was awkward. Both Crowley and Aziraphale were paranoid, expecting recompense from their former comrades, but when it became clear they were going to be left to their own devices, they relaxed a little. Although there was no harm in being cautious.
Crowley had adapted to this new free lifestyle with relative ease, but Aziraphale took a little longer. Sometimes he still took offence at something Crowley said about “their side” or panicked if he saw a human passer-by who resembled Michael or Gabriel’s corporations. He’d mostly stopped the “holier-than-thou” act and hadn’t called Crowley “infernal”, a “fiend” or his “enemy” for a few months now. The times he had slipped up, okay, they’d hurt. Not that Crowley would ever dream of telling him that. No, no, it wasn’t like Crowley thought that they’d be skipping through fields together or holidaying in Hawaii when they were shunned by their former associates, but he’d thought something would change. He knew Aziraphale was his best friend and although the angel had never verbally confirmed it, Crowley knew he was Aziraphale’s as well. But he’d be lying if he said his feelings were strictly platonic. It was Crowley’s fault, it had to be. Demonic urges and all that. Lust, coveting. The urge to rip off Aziraphale’s clothes and make sweet, passionate love to him. Yup, had to be a demon thing. Perhaps they felt more humanly urges than angels. Angels don’t even dance. How weird is that? Oh, but Aziraphale was so clever. And designed to sense love, inspire love. How could he not sense the love rolling off Crowley in waves? Feel Crowley’s cold, dead heart leap when Aziraphale flashed that beautiful little smile.
Even such a smile was so reserved. Closed-lipped, very correct. But Crowley’s dirty mind had to make it into something more. Poor Aziraphale - he couldn’t win. If he smiled with those perfect pink lips closed, Crowley would imagine them, wrapped around something that...hadn’t been wrapped for a while. And if Aziraphale smiled with those sparkling white teeth, Crowley would picture them nibbling at his ear, or his neck, or raking down Crowley’s chest. Love is a great nuisance, an infection, more potent and debilitating than anything that Pestilence had unleashed on the world. He was sick and the longer he spent in Aziraphale’s company, the sicker he got. He could hardly begrudge Aziraphale that, though.
They sat, now, in Aziraphale’s bookshop, and Aziraphale was telling him about when Seargent Shadwell stormed into that very shop, labouring under the impression that Aziraphale was a witch. Crowley laughed until he cried, and then sobered up as it brought back memories of walking through the burning bookshop, seeing only charred pages and leaping flames and no sign of the only being that mattered to him. He knew Aziraphale was getting to the part about how he’d come to be discorporated; Crowley was anxious to hear it. In the months they’d been adjusting to this new normal, Aziraphale had avoided talking about it, but sitting in his new and improved bookshop, he seemed ready now.
“And I was trying to usher him out of the shop, but then he pointed and I felt the energy charge around me, and I swore as I realised I was standing i n the portal and I could feel myself disintegrate-”
Normally, Crowley would listen, rapt, as Aziraphale spoke, especially when he was recounting events where Crowley had not been present. He would commit every word to memory and savour it later. But this insignificant little footnote struck him as odd. Nothing to worry about. Just new. “When you say you swore, do you mean you said Oh heavens or something?”
Aziraphale blushed. “Actually, I said an actual swear word. One the humans are very fond of. The, the F word.”
“What!?” Crowley said, roaring with laughter. “You did not!”
“It’s not funny! I was stressed and upset, I thought it was all over. I think the Lord can forgive me for having colourful language at such a troubling time. Everyone knows it’s excusable to swear if the world is going to end.”
Crowley smirked, shaking his head in disbelief and tried to picture it. That silly, prissy little voice barking out a hard word, those lovely big lips that bloomed like petals, thinned with annoyance. Crowley had always had an excellent imagination but this was something difficult to conceptualise. He had no frame of reference. In all the time he’d known him, the angel had never sworn in his company. He wanted to see it, he realised. Wanted to hear it. Didn’t matter which word it was, so long as it was filthy. The problem was, Aziraphale seemed unwilling to slip up again, and Crowley didn’t feel like causing Armageddon anytime soon. Oh well, no matter. One last temptation, then. Tempting the Principality Aziraphale of the Eastern Gate to swear. Should be simple enough.
Chapter 2: Get Out Of My Dreams And Into My Car
Crowley tries his hand at making Aziraphale swear, using a rental car and some modern music. It goes about as well as could be expected.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Crowley pulled up outside Aziraphale’s shop, the next day, at noon in a car that made the angel raise his eyebrows.
“Get in, angel, we’re going for a drive,” Crowley said. He tried to say it with what the humans call “big dick energy” because the car was very small and very yellow. He was told it was called a hybrid, a hybrid of what, he wasn’t sure. A banana and a children’s toy, possibly. It looked too small to drive, but he couldn’t use his own vehicle for this.
Aziraphale furrowed his brow. “What happened to the Bentley?”
“This is a rental, I thought we could go to Brighton,” Crowley said, evading the question and pushed the passenger door open. Aziraphale hopped in.
Crowley could be patient when he wanted, so he let them drive in amicable silence for half an hour. Amicable enough but not comfortable. For him, anyway. In this dull human car, the hideous grey upholstery and the obnoxious tiny tree air freshener dangling in his view, he was more aware of Aziraphale then ever. It was easy in the Bentley to blast the radio, sink back into the seats and blaze his way through London, but the Bentley was his, it was special, it didn’t know what an MOT was and it could handle a lot of abuse. This car was a silly human design, one of those ugly modern machines that look rather like clown cars, and he was afraid to be too reckless with it, so he was forced to drive at what (to him) was a snail’s pace. And the bloody car was so small, Aziraphale seemed to be fine but Crowley’s legs were uncomfortably cramped. He wished he could revert to his natural form, but a devastatingly handsome snake driving a yellow Toyota along the A23 might catch unwanted attention. Besides, what would he steer with?
But this, sat by the only being he’d ever truly loved, so aware of him, horribly aware. The sound of Aziraphale shifting in his seat, the little whisper of slippery polyester as Aziraphale fidgeted with his seatbelt. At some point, Aziraphale brought out a little white bag of hard-boiled sweets, sherbert lemons they looked like, and offered Crowley one, but he declined. He didn’t have a problem with Aziraphale eating in the car (although the Bentley wouldn’t stand for that sort of nonsense) but the wet sound of the sweet clinking against Aziraphale’s teeth was enough to make his fingers grip the steering wheel. He didn’t hate the sound, the opposite, in fact. He’d always got a strange pleasure in seeing and hearing Aziraphale eat, the wetter the food, the better. So when Aziraphale pushed the sweet around with his tongue and gave it a particularly powerful suck, the sound filling the car, Crowley was ready to go ahead with the next stage of his plan. Anything to smother the sound of that skilful mouth.
“Should I...put on some music?” Crowley finally said, mentally applauding himself for the casual ease in which he spoke. Keep it cool Crowley, don’t slip up.
“Please, feel free. Are we going to listen to Queen again?”
“Uh...no.” This was the whole reason he wasn’t using the Bentley, he didn’t think it would allow him to play the music he had in mind for today’s trip. He flicked the CD player on and inserted the CD he’d brought.
As they drove from SoHo to Brighton (a good two to three hour ride, depending on traffic, filler, they were treated to a playlist rattling out of the tinny CDplayer that consisted of:
Bitches Ain’t Shit - Dr. Dre
Smack My Bitch Up - The Prodigy
Territorial Pissings - Nirvana
and many more
Aziraphale was such a gentleman (gentleangel?) that it was only when they reached Fuck Machine by Mindless Self Indulgence, that he rather timidly spoke. Perhaps he’d finally drawn the line because the lyrics were so sexual and Crowley had taken to singing them aloud.
“Crowley, this selection of songs are very...colourful. Do you perhaps think we could listen to something else?”
“Uh, yeah, would you mind grabbing the CD case out of the glove box?”
Crowley waited until he could (from the corner of his eye), Aziraphale holding the case. Even his blurred peripheral vision clearly showed Aziraphale’s distaste, holding the CD case like it was something diseased.
“Before I change the music, what song are we on at the moment? I want to listen to this later so I need to make a note of where I got up to.” He had him by the wings now, didn’t he?
“You appear to be at number 33.”
“Hmm, what was the title?” he glanced over at his friend, trying not to make it obvious.
Aziraphale pursed his lips, disapprovingly. “I believe it was...coitus machine.”
Crowley let out a loud laugh, and laughed even harder at Aziraphale’s little harrumph of irritation. “Coitus machine? Okay, if you say so!”
Aziraphale didn’t reply to that, he simply reached over and began pressing buttons. Never one who was comfortable behind the wheel, he succeeded only in turning on the windscreen wipers on and activating the right indicator, when Crowley was heading left, earning them a disgruntled honk from the car behind them. Crowley took pity on him and killed the music, to Aziraphale’s visible relief.
Perhaps somebody less morally grey than Crowley would feel some sting of guilt for annoying him like this, but then, it was only music, human music, and it was for the greater good. Swearing is great, allowing yourself to swear widens your vocabulary, helps you bond with other people and there’s nothing quite so satisfying as shouting out an emphatic “FUCK!” after you’ve been mildly inconvenienced. When Crowley had been running about like a headless chicken, fearing the world was going to end, he’d sworn a fair bit. He truly thought when Aziraphale divested himself of this last taboo, he’d feel much better.
He wondered what would be the first swear word he’d hear Aziraphale say. Probably nothing too violent or crude, so that was a few out. The only one that he knew Aziraphale had said before, was fuck. So it wasn’t unreasonable to think that this would be the one he’d say when he finally gave in. Fuck was a good word. It means a lot of things and has a different tone, depending on the context. It could be angry, could be amazed, could be...sexy.
The thought of Aziraphale swearing, that pretty mouth and beautifully measured voice spilling out absolute filth, should have been comical but somehow, it wasn’t. It was powerful, in a way that gripped Crowley’s guts, heated him from the inside out, made the car suddenly feel far too small and far too hot. Sitting in a tiny metal box with the object of his desire, what was he thinking? At least Aziraphale was an angel and therefore couldn’t sense Crowley’s desire. He felt like the car was stuffed with lust, wet with it, it was a surprise the windows weren’t steamed up from the fire burning within him. He pictured Aziraphale standing in his bookshop, an Aziraphale that was very much the sweet, chubby, apple-cheeked angel, but an Aziraphale who somehow felt the need to remove all his clothing and drape himself over Crowley’s back, like a living coat. An Aziraphale who whispered the most depraved things Crowley could think of, which were a lot. Muttering aggressively sexual things, pleas and orders, ideas for activities that probably weren’t biologically possible, and oh, how Crowley would indulge him if he asked. Not that he’d ever been able to deny him anything. And the Crowley in that fantasy, who also somehow was wearing very little, would turn in that embrace and grab a handful of Aziraphale’s flesh, possibly his hips or his soft waist.
And Aziraphale would smile, that sweet, little smile that could damn a more innocent soul than his, and grab Crowley’s hands and bring them lower -
“CROWLEY! SLOW DOWN, WATCH THE ROAD YOU- YOU STUPID, YOU - CROWLEY!”
The indignant squawking tore him from his fantasy and Crowley hurriedly took his foot off the accelerator, letting the car drop down to a more acceptable speed. Whoops. The car was clanking, gasping for life, it wasn’t made to be pushed to its limits like this. Aziraphale was ranting still, going on about “If we die, we’ll have to get Heaven and Hell to give us new corporations and oh, won’t that be an awkward conversation!” and “-completely careless, you could have hit someone” and “Whatever you were thinking about must have been good, you were grinning like a loon! Hope it was worth it!”
Aziraphale was never one quick to anger, but then, he must have been frightened. Crowley watched the speedometer guiltily and behaved himself for the rest of the journey. They reached Brighton and had a nice afternoon, watching the waves and then having a fish dinner in seaside restaurant and drove back without any more excitement. The speeding incident wasn’t spoken of again, although, before he’d started the drive back, Crowley had inspected the car and the tyres were looking a bit worse for wear. He still chalked it up to a success though. When Aziraphale had been stressed, he’d been closer to swearing than ever. So all Crowley had to do was find something else that would make him stressed, only, without the danger element this time. Easy, right?
If you enjoyed it, leave a kudos or comment! The next chapter will be called The Goose Is Loose, so watch this space!