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They never talked about it.

Not during the Great Flood, when Crowley was horrified at the prospect of letting children drown; not in Rome, when Aziraphale took a disgruntled and out-of-place Crowley to lunch and helped him blend in better with the locals; not even when they saw each other again in Sussex, wearing suits of armor too heavy and clumsy for what they felt they should be doing, working away in damp places just for the sake of cancelling each other out.

They carried on not talking about it through the centuries, before and after coming up with their Arrangement. They studiously avoided addressing small acts, gestures and looks that carried a deeper meaning than words ever could.

Crowley knew all too well why he kept coming back, pushing and prodding and insisting to be by Aziraphale’s side; and he also knew that the angel knew.

They simply avoided ever mentioning it out loud.

Not a word about the 80 or so years they spent apart during the nineteenth century over a stupid fight, nothing to say about Crowley enduring the burn of consecrated ground on the night they got reunited, and definitely not one peep about “You go too fast for me, Crowley”.

In fact, aside from one tartan thermos of Holy Water changing hands, both angel and demon were all too happy to pretend that entire encounter didn’t happen.

Then Apocalypse came knocking.

Eleven years in close quarters, while simultaneously selling their bosses the idea that the other was none the wiser, took a toll on them both, and on their relationship— which they didn’t have.

No sir, no relationship to speak of. They had an Arrangement, and even that was something they’d deny to the face of their peers. It was stressful times all around, culminating with some of the worst things they’d ever said to each other –the fight at the bandstand was something Crowley thought he’d live to regret without Aziraphale, especially after failing to convince the angel to run away with him and then finding the bookshop up in flames.

That was definitely the worst hour in Crowley’s long existence; and it’s saying something, considering he was a creature from Hell.

It took more than a hasty reunion and a confused happy ending of sorts to shake the dreadful feeling of wrongness that had pervaded the demon when he’d rushed head-first into the flames and couldn’t find Aziraphale.

In 6000 years, they’d always been able to find each other, sense the other’s presence in one way or the other, but for those panicked minutes the angel was gone, and when that sunk in, just as Crowley got blown back by a spray of water because why not make his day completely miserable, the demon felt a fear and a despair worse than whatever Hell or Heaven could ever inflict upon him— the prospect of the rest of time without Aziraphale, however short that would turn out to be with Armageddon on the horizon.

He had hidden away in a dark pub, to drink however much he could of his sorrows away and either waste to nothing or wait for the so called ‘War’ to start so he could take as many of those bastards as he could down into oblivion with him, but that didn’t have to happen. Aziraphale came back to him.

Even after all the horrible words they said to each other, his angel came back to find him.

Crowley would have probably needed more time to adjust from the emotional whiplash, but time was the one thing they didn’t have in adverting Armageddon, so he just toughed it out –he would deal. Eventually. The important thing was, first and foremost, to go back to Aziraphale.

“Wherever you are, I’ll come to you!”

It should have been scary how much he meant that, but it wasn’t. It was pure, simple truth.

There was nothing Crowley wouldn’t have done for Aziraphale, and that was it. A statement of fact, proven all the more right when the demon stopped Time itself to give a small reprieve and a precious handful of seconds to the boy who would decide the fate of the world.

Reality still didn’t feel completely back until they were on a bumpy bus ride back towards London, but by that point Crowley was okay with shelving that one particular spell of suffering with all the others and move on –he had been tired, they still had to figure out a way to weasel out of their respective Head Offices’ retribution and, honestly, he had just needed one good night’s sleep.

To top it all off, just as Apocalypse didn’t happen, Heaven and Hell’s punishment was no match for Agnes Nutter’s prophetic gift and their combined smarts, and they ended up dining at the Ritz, still together and finally free.

In stories like the novels and books Aziraphale cherished so much; that would usually be the bit where things change.

They didn’t.

They did finally have free reign to indulge in each other’s company without having to look over their shoulders, without having to pretend not to know each other, and to speak to one another just because they felt like it; but at the end of it all, things weren’t that much different.

They still didn’t talk about it.

Thing that suited Crowley just fine: Aziraphale already did for him more than he was due, what with caring about him as much as the angel did for all creatures, big and small, if not slightly more. The angel had gone as far as finally calling him a friend, his best friend, even– despite Crowley being a demon; so he had resigned himself long ago to taking what he could get, and not be so greedy about it.

It was just a little hard not to be, because demons and Capitals Sins are sort of a thing, but even so, Crowley tried. So he was fine with not talking about it, if Aziraphale wouldn’t.

“It” being all the things that went unsaid between them, the shared looks after promising to make a dull tragedy famous, the breath of relief at being broken out of the Bastille, the silent awe at being handed a thermos of Holy Water after having the worst type of fight about it…

In short, “it” encompassed the height and weight of Crowley’s feelings for Aziraphale, which could not possibly be more embarrassingly obvious than they were, and the angel also maybe feeling some type of way about the demon— just maybe.

Crowley hadn’t let himself hope for a long time, but six millennia is a good long while to know a person; and the demon could recognize the glimmer of affection when Aziraphale clinked glasses with him and they cheered “To the World”.

That being said, the angel did not take things any further, and Crowley was already counting his blessings, pun not intended; so even if nothing ever changed and his feelings went through eternity unnoticed and unrequited, the demon could be okay with that.

What he was most definitely not okay with was seeing angels sniff around a certain street in Soho, one particular, suspiciously deserted evening.

Damn it, had his act not been convincing enough? The two hadn’t noticed him yet and, to be fair, they seemed to be steering clear of the bookshop, as if they were truly and properly afraid of it but still curious to spy on the Angel who was immune to Hellfire.

Well now, that just wouldn’t do.

“Did sssssomeone not get the memo?” he asked, casually slinking up behind the two to surprise them.

Uriel and Sandalphon jumped and turned –and no matter how powerful or tough they both were, Crowley would forever be able to say he scared them, if only for one moment.

“Demon filth.” Sandalphon addressed him with disgust.

Crowley scoffed behind his glasses –he had to be very careful in playing this, lest he got a thorough smiting there and then– hands in his pockets and all.

“Come on, what is this, the Old Testament? Talk like you eat, man.”

“I do not eat.”

“Yeah, I can tell.” Sandalphon could have probably done with ingesting some sweets. Crowley had seen chemical waste less acidic than the angel before him. “Either way…” he drew a breath through his nose, “Aren’t you two chuckleheads a bit… out of your turf?”

“I’d be careful, if I were you.” Uriel rounded up behind him before Crowley could even berate himself for letting it happen –there was no worse place to be than between two pissed off angels who couldn’t take their anger out on their intended target. “We can’t touch Aziraphale, but no one said anything about ridding the Earth of demonic scum.”

Crowley felt his fangs elongate in his mouth.

“Did Michael not tell you of my pleasant little bath show?” he hissed, as dangerously as he could make it while turning his head from one angel to the other, “I thought you lot were stepping off Earth permanently, leave me and my… hereditary enemy to our own devices.”

Uriel and Sandalphon closed in on him.

“You may be immune to Holy Water, but that alone doesn’t make you invincible.”

“Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t…” Crowley puffed up his chest while trying not to overdo it –angels like those could smell fear, and ‘fake it until you make it’ could only take him so far. “Ask yourselves: do you feel lucky?”

Sandalphon struck first.

“If ‘lucky’ is killing you, then I don’t need to be. Hurting you will do just fine.”

The punch knocked Crowley into Uriel, and the other Archangel struck him in the back, making him fall on his hands and knees.

Shit. This was bad.

He had two frustrated angels on him who were perfectly fine with venting out their anger on the first unsuspecting target, still way too close to Aziraphale’s bookshop.

“Who knows…” Uriel whispered, kneeling at his side, “Even if you’re invincible, maybe we can make you wish you weren’t.”

So this was personal.

On some level it was understandable: as far as Heaven and Hell knew, Crowley and Aziraphale had somehow corrupted each other enough to be immune to their respective means of obliteration, so Uriel and Sandalphon were probably not acting entirely on their own accord; the whole Host was bound to be terrified of an angel who defied the Great Plan without Falling and gained some sort of ‘superpower’ on top of it.

That they would try and pry the secret of Aziraphale’s immunity, or at least make sure that the Principality had no intentions of ever returning to Heaven to wage war against it, was… not unlikely.

That they would use Crowley as a rebound for their pent up malice and enjoy knocking him about? Eh, it was less surprising than the demon cared to admit. He had, after all, also been at fault in averting Armageddon, so there were probably more than a few angels wishing they could get their hands on him.

Michael’s absence was telling in and of itself, though –it made the demon wonder exactly how convincing Aziraphale had been in scaring the pants off Hell’s High Command.

A harder hit, this time to his face and knocking his sunglasses off his face, brought Crowley back to the here and now— namely, to the two pissed heavenly warriors seemingly dead-set on seeing him suffer.

The ‘invincibility’ story would only hold up so far against reality, so he needed to get his head in the game and give back as good as he got.

Fire. He needed anything with a spark of fire –Hellfire wasn’t as hard to make as Holy Water, one only needed a flame and enough demonic power to fuel it…

There!

A little demonic miracle blew out the lamp post closest to them, and Crowley shot out his arm to catch the shower of sparks and turn it into a spray of Hellfire to throw at his assailants. It was a desperate maneuver, but it got Uriel and Sandalphon to step back and away, if only to dodge utter obliviation.

Compared to them, Crowley was just a lowly fiend, never made to level entire towns or command legions, but he was a million ways more imaginative than any angel or demon, and if there was one thing he knew how to do, it was playing dirty.

He could do this. He could tough it out enough to make them decide it all was more trouble than it was worth and back off permanently.

He could do this. For Aziraphale, he could.

 

Aziraphale was in the middle of re-cataloguing some new entries in his ever growing book collection when a lamp-post the next street over blew out. He could feel Crowley’s presence close by and shook his head affectionately at whatever mischief the other was up to –not having to put up a disapproving front any longer, the angel could confess a small, private amusement to his demon’s antics.

His demon.

The days following the Apocalypse-that-wasn’t were nothing short of pure bliss— they were finally free of all expectations and able to just be, to exist as two individuals rather than cogs in a machine they hadn’t consented being a part of… and still Aziraphale was too much of a coward to say it.

After all, they never talked about it.

To be completely fair, that was largely his fault. Angels can sense Love, after all, and Crowley never seemed to try too hard to hide his… affections for him. Problem was, Aziraphale never knew exactly how deep said affections went; he had spent so long convinced that the demon wasn’t even capable of them, and thus wasted centuries trying to identify the source of a feeling that was actually right under his nose.

It took blowing up a church for him to finally admit to himself what he already knew.

And then it nearly took the end of the world for the angel to admit to himself that he did not want to spend his life without Crowley anymore.

So why was saying it so bloody hard?

He hadn’t balked when he refused to join the Heavenly Host in battle. He hadn’t balked when they were facing off Satan himself. And yet, his nerves frayed and gave out whenever Crowley would look at him behind his sunglasses, the barest hint of a smile he never let himself fully have ghosting over his lips.

Crowley was so tentative in expressing his fondness— as if he was still scared of not being allowed to feel it, as if he was scared it would be met with punishment or, worse, denial still.

Aziraphale felt rotten every time he thought about it –it was his fault, after all.

Over the centuries, he had often drawn a line between them, with things like “I am an angel, you are a demon, we’re hereditary enemies” or, worse and more recently, “Friends? We’re not friends!” and the worst lie of them all, “I don’t even like you!”

The angel sighed. Clearly, his mind was in no fit condition to reorganize books anymore, so he let the volumes rest where they were and moved over to make himself some hot cocoa.

Crowley’s presence was still close by— he’d probably come over soon. The thought made Aziraphale smile over the rim of his mug. It didn’t matter how far apart they were or what was happening: Crowley would always, eventually, come to him.

He closed his eyes to focus on the demon’s presence, to try and guess where exactly he was…

The smile fell off his mouth just as the cup did from his hand, shattering on the floor and splashing chocolate all over the floorboards.

Something was very wrong. Crowley’s presence was not the only one there.

Aziraphale didn’t even grab his coat before shooting out of the bookshop.

 

 

Shit, he could not do this.

He had narrowly avoided being turned into a pillar of salt —though someone would be very confused about what the fuck happened to their car— but not all his dodges had been so lucky: Uriel and Sandalphon were relentless, and they were not going to stop.

Crowley had to expend energy emptying the whole neighborhood through demonic intervention, because he knew the two angels wouldn’t have cared about any humans caught in the crossfire of their petty assault. He was bleeding from places he didn’t think his corporation could bleed from, running on fumes, and feeling his control slipping by the moment.

He had managed to land a few lucky shots, leaving the two Archangels singed in places; then there had been the one moment when he managed to make them hit each other by placing himself between them and then unfurl his wings to take flight at the last second.

That particular tactic came back to bite him in the arse when Sandalphon took flight after him and managed to grab one of his wings tight enough to get leverage, flicking him right back down towards the London pavement. The only reason he didn’t discorporate on impact was probably because he had seen superhero movies where such a thing happened and was survived by the protagonist, and he imagined himself as such, in that particular moment.

Still… he needed to get away –this went past petty revenge and into outright torture.

“I’d have thought a demon immune to Holy water would put up more of a fight.”

Uriel sneered at him as he picked himself up and leaned against a wall, trying to look less affected by his numerous wounds than he actually was.

“It does make one wonder whether you two abominations are actually as untouchable as you’d like everyone to think.”

That was the line. Crowley didn’t wait for Sandalphon to finish speaking in his irritating little nasal voice: he broke in a wicked chuckle, allowing the blood to wet the sound and ramping up the whole demonic hiss up to the max.

“How… adorable.” He said mockingly, “Think about it. Sure, you two grunts can dish out a beating and I can take it. I’d still much rather take my chances against you winged gits than try and face off whatever Aziraphale would do, if sufficiently pissed off.”

“I thought you two were… how do the humans say it nowadays? ‘Bffs’?”

Crowley didn’t bite.

“Yeah. Sure, of course… But you can be someone’s friend and still be very, very aware that you shouldn’t mess with them. Ever. You know?” he tried not to make it obvious that he was leaning against the brick wall behind him, to swallow down the blood still in his mouth. “So go ahead. Do your worst. I don’t fear you.”

In a moment of weakness, Crowley’s thoughts went out to Aziraphale, hoping the angel would find him before he discorporated, so he could at least confess his feelings before he died.

How curious, he thought he could almost see Aziraphale appear in the alleyway he had crash-landed in, an explosion of light and Righteous Fury, booming at the scene with an unusually authoritative voice:

“What is going on here?!”

But that couldn’t be his Aziraphale: it almost hurt to look at him— them, there were way too many eyes and a halo that was more of a crown than an actual halo, and everything was just light

Sandalphon and Uriel were, suddenly, nowhere to be seen.

Crowley was distantly aware of words having been exchanged for the last few seconds, but couldn’t register them for the life of him because yes, this really was Aziraphale, the blinding light was receding and the angel’s worried face replaced the fluctuating visage that had been there prior, now all but kneeling by his side.

Aziraphale was here. He was fine. He could close his eyes.

There was just one thing he promised himself he’d do, before that.

“Crowley!” his angel was calling him, “Crowley, my dear… what have they done? What in the world happened to you?”

The feeling of drying blood pulled at his lips a little as Crowley smiled at the feeling of Aziraphale touching a careful hand to his forehead; and consciousness started to slip from him while he expended the last of his strength to lean into his angel’s touch.

“Love me or leave me, angel, I’m too tired for anything else.”

His vision faded before he could see Aziraphale’s reaction, but the hands still holding him were a comfort: it was nice not to be refused, as he felt himself let go.

After all, Aziraphale was here, everything would be just fine.

He did close his eyes.

Chapter Text

The streets immediately around the bookshop were empty, unnaturally so for an early night in Soho, but Aziraphale was thankful to any powers, divine or diabolical, that made it happen just so: he could feel his essence bleeding through his corporeal form and shining outwards, desperate to catch up.

The closer he got to Crowley, the more clearly he could tell— he was hurt.

Somebody was hurting his demon.

After thousands of years spent abhorring violence at large, the one reason for Aziraphale to set aside his beliefs came to be. And the Principality was, for lack of a better word, pissed the fuck off.

His voice was both his own and a million other sounds, when he finally reached the scene of the confrontation.

"What is going on here?!"

It was, actually, a rhetorical question -Aziraphale could very well see what it looked like; and what it looked like was Crowley holding his own against two Archangels who had no business being on the face of the Earth.

"Walk away, Aziraphale." Uriel said, their commanding tone slightly betrayed by the barest tremble. "This doesn't concern you."

"On the contrary, angels violating our deal for you to stay away from my home, and interfering with life on Earth, does very much concern me." A sound resembling very sharp claws running through giant harp strings carried the words through. "It is you two who should step away, before I decide to take offense at your behaviour."

It was miles away from the meek little thing that bent under the force of one of Sandalphon's punches -being caught off guard by someone you were supposed to trust had a tendency to exacerbate involuntary reactions. Now, however, Aziraphale was very much expecting the other's violence and reared up to give retribution tenfold.

Sandalphon flapped wings at him in a threatening manner.

"You may be some kind of aberration immune to Hellfire, but you can't take on the both of us."

Aziraphale let his rage burn hotter and his Love for Crowley resonate with the will to protect him and do anything to keep danger away from him.

Had there been any humans in a mile wide radius, they'd have all turned to salt. As it was, the outward woosh of pure celestial energy simply shattered all windows around them and made every car alarm go off.

Through the million sounds his words were made of, Aziraphale's voice still sounded loud and clear:

"You really want to take that chance?"

Judging from how fast the two vacated the area in a flutter of wings and a flash of light, they didn't.

Crowley had clearly done an excellent job of terrorizing Heaven's High Command while wearing his face.

Speaking of the demon— Aziraphale's essence receded back into him as he scrambled by Crowley's side to assess the damage.

He hadn't had the luxury to look away during the brief stand-off with his former brethren, but every part of him was aching to know the demon was alive and well -he wasn't clearly, he was so beaten up it was a miracle he hadn't discorporated yet, but Crowley was still there, still fighting to stay awake.

For once, Aziraphale was the one to come to him, but it was obvious that he always would have.

"Crowley..." he called, heart shattering and rebuilding at once, when he saw the demon react to his voice by toppling himself in his arms, "Crowley, my dear… what have they done? What in the world happened to you?"

He was wary of touching the demon in such a vulnerable state, worried that the celestial energy still coursing restless through him would hurt Crowley, but he didn't need to fear himself: not one fibre of his being could ever even think of hurting his demon, and Crowley relaxed into the tentative touch to his forehead as if it was the only thing still grounding him on Earth.

The words that left his mouth next, exhausted, unfiltered and bare, tore through Aziraphale like a lightning bolt:

"Love me or leave me, angel, I'm too tired for anything else."

Crowley had singlehandedly kept himself living and awake through whatever this sudden attack was about just to deliver this message to Aziraphale, to overcome 6000 years of nerves and words unsaid, on the off-chance that it would be the last time he'd live to bare his feelings.

One human expression for it would have been 'you ballsy motherfucker', but Aziraphale was rather more pressed with keeping Crowley alive -discorporation wouldn't kill him completely, but he didn't think the Lords of Hell would be too well-disposed to give their renegade agent a new body.

In a blink, they were back in the bookshop.

In another, shelves and furniture moved to make space for Crowley's prone form with his black wings still splayed out beneath him. Aziraphale sank to the floor with him, cradling the demon’s head on his lap and holding one hand over his chest as he carefully tried to kick-start the healing process.

"Stay awake, my dear." The angel pleaded, brushing a hand over Crowley's forehead over and over, "I can help you heal, and you will be alright, but you must stay awake for me!"

"Aziraphale... 'm so tired, angel..."

"I know, my dear, I know..." Aziraphale said, growing increasingly frantic, "You've done so well..."

Crowley was practically slipping from his grasp, content with having been able to take the brunt of unwarranted angelic wrath and to have finally confessed his feelings... well, sort of.

That was it. Aziraphale needed to give him something worth holding out for, and that was as good a thing as any.

"You've done so well..." he repeated, carding his fingers through the fiery red hair he had wanted to touch for centuries -it was matted with blood where a cut at Crowley's temple was still fresh, but the experience was not in any way diminished, "I know you're tired, you're very tired, but I need you to stay awake for me. Please... I need you to..."

The demon shuddered minutely at the feeling of angelic energy prodding around his corporation— it was understandable, after such a furious battle with two angelic entities lashing out to hurt him; it took a second for Crowley's body to recognize Aziraphale and let his angel's warmth seep under the worst of the damage.

No demon would let themselves be that vulnerable under an angel's touch, but Crowley was not just any demon, and Aziraphale was far from an ordinary angel.

The feeling of celestial energy filtering through the wounds still stung, due to their inherently opposite nature, but it knitted bones back together where they had been broken all the same.

Aziraphale could see the demon grimace in pain, but he needed to keep going: Crowley was quite literally running on fumes and the only reason he hadn’t discorporated yet was because he firmly believed someone could go through what he just did and live.

Their joined powers were healing him well, but the demon was not out of the woods yet— Aziraphale needed to keep him talking.

“You know, you haven’t properly told me yet.”

“Wha-?”

A blink –something Crowley did not actually need to do. He was trying to focus for Aziraphale. Good.

“You asked me to love you or leave you, but you haven’t said the words…” the angel pointed out, smiling down at Crowley, “As you can see… I haven’t left you. And the choice could only be one of two things.”

“I— angel—” the demon’s words jumbled over a gurgling sound at the back of his throat –this was what Aziraphale was afraid of: the healing was going well, but Crowley needed to take over and start doing it himself, before too much celestial force interfering with his body started bringing in diminishing returns. “Don’t— don’t do this just… just because I’m dying…”

“You’re not dying, my dear.” Aziraphale spoke it as an absolute. His hand in Crowley’s hair stilled, cradling the demon’s head possessively just as the other one on his chest sank down to actually touch. “Not on my watch. Now tell me.”

“Tell you? Tell you what?”

Crowley shifted minutely in place and one of his wings twitched, possibly because of the uncomfortable angle it was resting at –all good signs: his body was regaining feeling, and Aziraphale could sense the demon’s power, as beautifully occult as it ever was, sluggishly manifest itself and wrap around his own.

Catch this idiot ‘heal’ his car from a dented headlight with no hesitation whatsoever but struggle to bring himself back from the brink of death.

Aziraphale would laugh at that thought –later, when things were not so serious still.

“Tell me why you said those words.” The angel insisted, tentatively letting up the miracle that was, admittedly, draining him, “Why would you ask me to love you?”

“Angel, I…”

Oh, if he had the strength to go back on being coy about it then he was definitely going to make it. The relief washing over Aziraphale was like experiencing what would be a crash after an adrenalin rush for humans. His shoulders sagged, he let out a trembling breath, and this time it was his mouth that lost all filter:

“Do you, perhaps, love me back?”

“Are you really going to make me say it while I’m— what?”

Crowley sat up as he processed Aziraphale’s question a split second slower than his mouth was going— it was so instantaneous the angel actually let a nervous giggle escape his lips.

The demon was now looking at him, his eyes still completely yellowed out and narrowed, as if he wasn’t sure he believed what he heard.

“Angel… are you trying to say that—”

“I love you?” Aziraphale finished for him, “Why, yes. I am. And I do.”

The sound that Crowley made could have been anything from a sob to a laugh or something in between, but that was irrelevant in the face of the demon leaning forward to hug Aziraphale at the shoulders.

“Angel— oh fuck, it hurts when I laugh…” ah, a happy sound then.

Aziraphale let his hands come around Crowley’s waist, as gently as he could be.

“And your answer is..?”

“Why do you think you have to ask, you daft angel? Of course I love you too!” Crowley mouthed the words against his neck, even as he struggled to repair his own body out of sheer demonic willpower, “Hell— Heav— Somewhere, I probably loved you first! Where have you been the last 6000 years?!”

“Crowley…” it was true, the demon had more than once given proof of feeling some sort of way about their relationship more than once, over the centuries. Aziraphale felt small under the huge guilt of having denied it for just as long. “My dear, oh…”

“It’s going to be alright, angel…” Crowley whispered, turning his head to dare a chaste kiss to Aziraphale’s cheek –still so guarded, unbelieving that he could actually be allowed his own love, “We’re here now. That’s what matters.”

It was a wonder he waited so long, if at all, but the angel would not throw out such a wondrous gift from the forces of the universe, ethereal or occult that they be. He felt more than saw Crowley tuck away his wings in the space between realities, which allowed him to lightly brush his hands up the demon’s back and tighten their embrace.

“I think we’re supposed to kiss now.”

Crowley pulled away just enough to look at him in the eyes.

“We’re not supposed to…” he almost sounded like he was objecting, and yet he cupped Aziraphale’s face between both hands –barely restraining himself from leaning in. “…but we can. If you like.”

And the demon called him daft. Aziraphale felt so incredibly fond of Crowley, who would question and break every rule and yet always draw the line at free will. He had felt the need to remind Aziraphale that they didn’t have to get physical if that was something the angel didn’t want.

How could Crowley possibly think Aziraphale didn’t want him in every conceivable way was beyond the Principality.

“Just shut up and kiss me, you foolish fiend!”

For a kiss six millennia overdue, it was rather chaste: their lips touched tentatively, as if still uncertain that they were allowed to and only for a very brief moment.

But, like with everything else the angel and demon did together, they went back for more. They kissed a second time, and then again, and again, chasing the feeling until they felt like they wouldn’t explode for trying.

Soon enough, the opposite sensation coursed through them, and they could not bear to break contact, despite their current position, kneeling side by side on the floorboards, twisted to face each other, being quite uncomfortable.

Crowley was the one to remedy that, turning himself fully to face Aziraphale and draping a leg across the angel’s lap— which in turn gave the angel a surge of initiative: Aziraphale opened his mouth to let Crowley deepen the kiss and brought one hand at the demon’s nape, while the other tightened around Crowley’s waist to hold him close and keep him there.

A pained hiss was the only thing to stop them in their tracks. Crowley flinched under the surprisingly strong hands and his shoulders hunched apologetically.

“Ah… sorry, angel.” He mumbled, “I’m tapped out— I think— um, some of these are going to have to heal the hard way, I guess. At least until I get my strength back.”

Considering the demon had already brought himself from the literal brink of death to bruised and battered, but otherwise mostly fine, with just a little bit of assistance; Aziraphale was more than happy to let him.

“Of course, my dear.” He said, moving to stand and helping Crowley do so as well, “Can you walk? I’ll take you to bed.”

“Aren’t you quite forward tonight?”

“I’d say if you’re well enough to be a smartass, then you can tend to your wounds by yourself, but we both know I won’t calm down until I’ve taken proper care of you, so how about we cut the bullshit and you let me?”

Crowley said nothing as Aziraphale looped one of the demon’s arms around his shoulders and marched the both of them into his apartment above the bookshop… for all of five seconds.

“My, my, angel, when did you get such a mouth on you?”

“Not sure, maybe when yours was on it.” Aziraphale did not hesitate to quip back, even as he gently laid Crowley down on the bed and started gingerly taking off layers— he wouldn’t risk using another miracle on the demon, just in case. “You’re the bad influence, after all.”

“Oh yeah. Worst possible influence, me.”

In the meantime, the demon cursed those stupid angels and their obsession with fighting and smiting –here he was, finally being undressed by the love of his entire existence, and he was too hurt and too tired to actually do things about it.

Aziraphale’s voice broke slightly by the time his top was fully off.

“Crowley…”

The worst, life-threatening stuff had been taken care of by their joined powers, of course, but there were still bruises over his shoulders and chest from where Sandalphon flung him off the sky and into the pavement, not to mention the still-bleeding scrapes on his arms and elbows, and a few places here and there over his torso where the skin seemed to have been burned away –a reaction to celestial powers.

Not lethal by a long shot, but very painful by the looks of it, and likely made worse by Aziraphale pouring his healing powers out.

An equally battered hand, scraped at the knuckles and fingernails, reached out to gently caress Aziraphale’s cheek.

“I know what you’re thinking, angel.” He whispered, “Don’t. You saved me.”

Said angel covered the hand touching him with his own and turned his face to kiss it. “I didn’t. I just gave you the time you needed to save yourself.”

While miracles on Crowley were a bad idea right now, miracles in general would make their life much easier, and Aziraphale wasted no time in miracle-ing himself a fully stocked first-aid kit, with specific materials to treat burns and the like.

Crowley gasped at first contact with the ointment, but eventually relaxed as Aziraphale applied it where he could and did his best to dress each scrape and cut.

“Still, angel… I’d be dead without you.”

Aziraphale bit his lower lip briefly, before deciding to actually just say it:

“So would I, my dear.”

He didn’t simply mean only the few times during centuries when Crowley happened to save him from unsavoury situations— and he knew that Crowley knew that.

Aziraphale’s mind went back to a shabby, dimly lit pub he ended up visiting while discorporated: it was the place he found Crowley in, looking by all means like he was in the process of drinking himself into nothingness— he hadn’t connected the dots at first, but between the demon’s state and the way he talked about the bookshop burning down, on top of the fact that he had taken Agnes Nutter’s book, as he proudly showed with a scream of “Souvenir!!”, it became clear that Crowley had been there while it happened.

And he had somehow rushed headfirst into the fire –possibly to look for Aziraphale.

The angel didn’t know what he would have done in Crowley’s place, walking into the manifestation of all his nightmares and leaving with the belief that his demon was well and truly gone; but it probably would have amounted to a very similar tactic of letting himself waste away.

“Get some rest.” He urged eventually, bending down to kiss Crowley’s temple, “I will be here when you wake up.”

Aziraphale found himself tugged back down before he could fully get up: Crowley caught his lips for another quick kiss, and then grinned at him, a perfect halfway between innocent and mischievous.

“One more for the road.” He explained; and the angel knew there was no use in pointing out that Crowley was not technically going anywhere.

It wasn’t like he wasn’t enjoying this too, anyway.

The demon’s eyes closed, and slowly his breathing evened out into sleep, leaving Aziraphale to watch over him.

Now that the worry of losing Crowley had been set aside, a boiling rage began to fill the angel. That Heaven thought they could do something like this and go unpunished was deplorable, and yet entirely unsurprising. The one small comfort was Michael’s absence— Michael was the only one to have witnessed Crowley’s supposed ‘invincibility’ first-hand, and that they were sufficiently spooked to not accompany Uriel and Sandalphon meant that at least someone in Heaven took that threat seriously.

He ached with the desire to go Upstairs and set the matter to rights, to give those holier-than-thou bastards a taste of the Righteous Fury they were so fond of… but he needed to regain his energies himself, after keeping Crowley alive when he wouldn’t do it himself.

More than that, he already disappeared on Crowley once; he wouldn’t do that to him again.

Heaven would most definitely pay for what they thought they could do to them, but if there was retribution to be had, they’d go dish it out together.

That was how they were always at their strongest, anyway. Apocalypse and its averting proved that.

For now, though, at least a few more hours, they could rest.

Chapter Text

"Angel, let's talk about this—"

"Of course, my dear, I wouldn't dream of excluding you from—"

"No I mean let's keep talking about it until it doesn't sound like you want to storm Heaven on war footing."

Aziraphale stopped the pacing he usually got into whenever he worked himself up –though that was a poor descriptor for the state he was in, he was still absolutely livid– and looked at Crowley.

Color had returned to the demon's face, his snake pupils were back under control and all the dried blood had been washed off.

All things Aziraphale was happy about— especially because Crowley was still sitting topless on his bed and that was, quite frankly, an improvement to any situation.

Still, the angel felt restless: if Heaven tried to hurt Crowley this once and thought they could get away with it, there was no telling they wouldn't think to do it again, just to get at Aziraphale –no doubt Uriel and Sandalphon would tattle to Gabriel about his Love rolling off in waves.

And only the Lord knew, Gabriel was nothing if not a petty bitch.

Oh, how refreshing it felt to be able to admit it to his own mind.

On some level, he understood the angels: to spend the better part of millennia following a Great Plan, not knowing any better or any different, and then having these two jackasses put a spanner in everything your existence had ever been about, getting away with it, too... it probably was unpleasant, to say the very least.

Making one doubt their whole reason for existing was pretty bad. Still, surely it couldn't warrant such malice, could it?

Aziraphale and Crowley only wanted to be left alone, after all.

And if Heaven would not comply when asked nicely, then clearly a more... impactful message was in order.

After all, they would catch the Host unprepared, this time, so they wouldn't have Hellfire on demand to try and test any suspicions about Aziraphale... and he would be there to protect Crowley from Holy Water and any other manner of celestial weaponry.

Plus, Archangels and all manners of celestial envoys had always been in the habit of underestimating Aziraphale, and, well... Aziraphale had let them, for 6000 years. Finally, it was going to pay off.

"I don't want to wage war on Heaven, my love, I'm not an idiot..." he said eventually, turning to tuck himself into Crowley's awaiting open arms, "I just want to go there and make sure they know not to come back to hurt us ever again."

My love. Us.

Crowley had already had a soft spot for Aziraphale over millennia, agreeing to anything to please him on one well-placed, doe-eyed look, the endearments just took it to the next level.

"Then I'll go with you." He whispered, breath ghosting over the angel's cheek, "Let's raise a little Hell, shall we?"

At least, he had somewhat of a similar effect on the angel, it seemed, seeing how Aziraphale melted a little more into their embrace when he lowered his voice just so.

They stood like that a few moments longer, neither willing to break contact first, until Aziraphale sighed and let his hands reluctantly slide away from Crowley's shoulders.

His eyes roamed the demon's figure up and down in a very familiar way -and in a distant corner of his mind Crowley could not believe he missed that detail, all those centuries ago in Paris- before he spoke:

"Well, let's get you dressed. As much as I enjoy looking at you, I'd much rather you have at least some degree of protection between Heaven's agents and your skin."

"I love that you had to pause before deciding."

Crowley's 'wicked' grin betrayed a note of careful sweetness, and Aziraphale only pretended to bristle at the cheeky remark.

"Well, I dare you to blame me." It would have made for an almost poetic imagery, Crowley flying up against the Host, chest bared and dark wings shimmering against Heaven's light— almost like something Milton would come up with... but the poor dear had gotten the Serpent's identity wrong, along with a number of other things, bless him. Point was: aesthetics, however pleasing, were not worth a sacrifice in safety.

Crowley was still grinning, but it turned to something more tender when he leaned in again slightly, just to nudge Aziraphale's cheek with his nose.

"You know I'd do it if you asked."

It was meant to be a teasing remark, and yet its implications carried a weight that hit the both of them hard enough to make for an abrupt silence: Crowley would, indubitably, do anything for Aziraphale, and that included marching on Heaven and battling its legions half naked, apparently.

And that was not mentioning the things he had already done for the angel, included but not limited to: stepping on consecrated ground, driving a car through a ring of fire, driving said car across England for hours while it slowly melted around him and, most notably, stopping Time itself.

Aziraphale felt as if he could crumble under the strength of a Love so boundless, and by all means he would have deserved to for denying it so long; the only thing that kept him together was the knowledge that he would do the same for Crowley –and the liberating acceptance of that knowledge, free of the fear of Heaven's opinion.

He managed to smile at that thought.

"That is precisely why I'm asking you not to do it, instead, my dear boy."

Because Crowley would also do that: take care of himself for Aziraphale's sake, if not his own. The demon knew Aziraphale knew that; and he also knew it was the angel's weapon to make him promise not to be too reckless.

They kept eye contact with one another, standing inches apart at the side of Aziraphale's antique bed, until Crowley eventually conceded— it wasn't about storming Heaven while topless, though he would have loved to see those stuck-up pricks' faces at that, it was about expending thoughts and willpower into keeping himself safe.

Willpower that Crowley would otherwise use for Aziraphale.

The angel's message was clear in his eyes: it meant 'I love you, and I am grateful for you loving me back so fervently, but I can protect myself just fine, and I will better be able to do that if I don't have to worry about you throwing yourself in danger on my behalf. You idiot.'

...Aziraphale had very expressive eyes when he wanted to.

"Fine." Crowley half-hissed eventually, snapping his fingers so he only had to adjust the tie and chain 'miraculously' back around his neck. "Better?"

"Smashing." Aziraphale confirmed with a nod and a quick kiss on the very tip of the demon's nose, then turning to the side and offering his arm, "Shall we?"

They boarded the Bentley together and, for once, Aziraphale had no qualms whatsoever with Crowley's driving.

People in the lobby that separated Heaven from Earth reacted to their appearance with varying degrees of surprise, some defaulting to mute, trembling terror and others scrambling to give an alarm.

"Oh, dear. This might actually require some use of force."

Aziraphale still didn't sound all that worried, but he had a displeased frown as he snatched an umbrella from the rack by the door.

Crowley didn't even have the time to ask what the heavens the angel was planning to do with a stupid umbrella before the thing was suddenly engulfed in divine flames, as strong and radiant as those on the sword he had given away twice over.

"Still got it." The angel muttered to himself, pleased, while the demon just stared.

Noticing Crowley's surprised face, evident without the glasses, Aziraphale grinned. His expression was the picture of innocence, contrasting wildly with the threatening crackle of Holy Fire that made all creatures around them leave a wide berth for the two to board the escalator up.

"You don't suppose the sword was, in fact, just a hunk of metal, and the power to set it aflame actually came from within?"

That explained a lot.

Crowley had no such arsenal of raw power, but he was a being of wild creativity, gifted with one of the strongest wills to ever grace –or disgrace, but that was semantics— the face of the Earth. Those two things, combined with just enough demonic power to get by, made him a force to be reckoned with all the same: he had, after all, survived the wall of Infernal Fire that burned a Duke of Hell to discorporation.

No one moved to stop them until they reached Heaven's door.

Well. At least they didn't have to knock.

The place was as stark and clean as it always had been, floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over... well, everywhere at once, bright and luminous but by all means so lifeless in its perfect purity.

Aziraphale wondered silently how he could have ever been so deluded as to call the place his home, once, while Crowley just stepped closer to him and clasped his hand.

He was scared. Terrified even, a lone demon in the belly of Heaven— all it would take was a drop of Holy Water, the swing of one divine weapon... and yet Crowley stayed firmly put at Aziraphale's side.

They were almost instantly surrounded by Sandalphon, Uriel and Gabriel.

Michael was there too, but they were standing off to the side and their sword was very pointedly sheathed.

"Aziraphale!" Gabriel called cheerfully, with a grin so fake it might as well been a £3 coin, "Want to give me one single reason why I shouldn't consider this an act of War and smite you both on the spot? I really hope you don't, though."

"If anyone committed such an act..." the Principality countered, heady with the thrill of not being afraid of Gabriel anymore, "It was your goons, invading Earth and attacking its inhabitants."

The Archangel scoffed at him, pointedly looking in disgust at his and Crowley's joined hands.

"More like attacking your precious little boyfriend."

"With no regards for any human lives that might have been nearby!" Aziraphale insisted, "It was Crowley's miracle that kept them safe!"

The flames lapping at the umbrella-now-promoted-to-celestial-weapon shone brighter with righteousness. Aziraphale couldn't make sense of angels so dim-witted and twisted around their concept of Good that they couldn't see they had strayed so far from the path that a demon was a greater force of Goodness in the world than the lot of them combined.

Then again, when one’s beliefs were spoon-fed and millennia old, it was easier to cling to them rather than question oneself. Especially when the precedent for ‘questioning’ was losing everything.

Michael eyed them with the closest expression to doubt Aziraphale had ever seen on another angel. Their weapon remained sheathed, even though they stepped forward somewhat protectively.

“Aziraphale.” They called in as calm a voice as they could muster, “Walk away. We will deal internally with this… accidental breach of our deal. The situation is unprecedented and as such we don’t have guidelines for it yet. But weren’t you the one so adamant that fighting was unnecessary?”

Deal with it?” at Aziraphale’s side, Crowley scoffed. “Like you dealt with your subordinates terrorizing and bullying their one agent on Earth, when they should have been supporting him, just because they thought they knew and were better than him? You make me laugh.”

His voice was full of contempt, and the words rang true through the pristine, empty walls: a different demon would have taken advantage of the continued pressure Aziraphale had been under over the centuries, and many events on Earth would have gone far, far differently, had that been the case.

Michael opened their mouth, searching for words to deny it, but Aziraphale beat them to it:

“Crowley is right.” He said, “Heaven has a history of holding grudges, and it seems that without a direct order from the Almighty to stand down, one or more angels could decide that our deal doesn’t apply to them. I’m— we’re here to send a message.” His fighting arm raised slightly, “One that will stick, this time.”

Pained, Michael curled a hand around the hilt of their sword, but didn’t draw yet.

They wondered how much of this was the Almighty’s Plan all along. After all, Aziraphale had defied Heaven, but still called himself faithful to God –and he hadn’t Fallen for his actions; his grace was still bright and clear for anyone to see. Could it be that the renegade Principality had successfully ‘cut out the middleman’ and could only be judged by the Almighty Herself? Michael didn’t dare speculate further, and their peers were not even asking that question, opting instead for maintaining Heaven’s secular, inflexible position.

Sandalphon had no problems doing just that:

“Enough of this insult to Heaven, let me at him!”

That was the moment Crowley decided to do more than stand by Aziraphale’s side and look pretty: Sandalphon moved to attack, but was anticipated by a flash of Hellfire that shot out of Crowley’s free hand and described a fast arc left to right, scorching the floor below it.

“I’d like to see you asshats try.”

It disappeared as fast as it came, leaving only the black scorch mark scarring Heaven’s floor, but it served to make Sandalphon stumble back and onto the floor –clearly, he hadn’t been as unimpressed as he tried to look in his earlier fight against Crowley.

The demon was both playing it safe to avoid accidentally destroying Aziraphale and saving his energy— Heaven and Hell believed them ‘invincible’, so they needed to not only look the part but fight the part as well.

In that regard it helped that, in his boundless trust in Crowley, Aziraphale didn’t even flinch as the fire passed him by, close enough to the side of his face that he could feel some of the heat from it seep into his skin. In the cold, sterile light of Heaven, the sensation was welcome, pleasurable even, despite how dangerous it was –or perhaps because of that minute thrill. The Principality could not hold back a small shiver of pleasure.

Oh, dear. That was most definitely not the time for such an epiphany.

He was fast in shaking himself out of ill-timed inappropriate thoughts when Uriel also lunged to attack while Sandalphon recovered.

Under the stunned eyes of Heaven’s ‘finest’, Uriel’s manifested weapon was effortlessly blocked by Aziraphale’s improvised one: the two angels collided with a resounding clang and sparks of Holy Fire flew in-between them. Aziraphale looked the Archangel in the eye and found the surprise and outright disbelief he knew would be there.

Before and during the Armageddon-that-wasn’t, Aziraphale had looked and acted scared— well, he was scared, about many things. He was scared about the Earth being destroyed, scared of losing Crowley, scared of being unable to avoid it all.

Gabriel and his little posse of thugs took it, mistakenly, as Aziraphale also being scared of them.

They were about to learn he wasn’t. Not where it counted –he let them push around, sure, because he preferred, hoped with all of himself, not to have to come to blows, and because he knew they wouldn’t hurt him yet, but it seemed like that particular ship had sailed, now.

“Don’t look so shocked, dear.” He said, gritting the words out as he pushed against Uriel’s considerable strength, “After all, looks can be deceiving but, technically, I. Outrank. You.

He emphasised the last part by pushing the rest of the way out with a grunt, disengaging their weapons and forcing Uriel to stumble back.

If one were to be really technical, Aziraphale didn’t really outrank the Archangel, as he simply did not belong to the same department and thus wasn’t really in the same hierarchy, but he did leave behind a platoon that would have been at his command, while Uriel and Sandalphon responded to Gabriel who was, for all intents and purposes, a glorified messenger.

The only one who would have actually been a problem for the Principality was Michael, and they were seemingly not joining the fight.

As for what was more powerful between a Principality and an Archangel, well… Crowley had proved to Above and Below that it was merely a matter of being sufficiently motivated to prevail.

Uriel reared back for another assault, this time joined by Sandalphon who tried to flank Aziraphale.

Once again, he was stopped by Crowley, who moved in a semi-circle, fast as only a snake could be, and swiped a round kick to the floor, Hellfire sprouting upwards from the tip of his foot and actually catching part of the Archangel’s hand where Sandalphon wasn’t quick enough to draw back.

Sandalphon’s cry as he crumbled to the floor and tried to keep himself together while half his hand and part of his forearm melted off into nonexistence was… less satisfying than Crowley had imagined, though that might have been because of the pang of sadness he caught in Aziraphale’s eyes as it happened.

With one of them definitely out of commission, reduced to a bloodied and burnt mess on the floor that struggled to just keep existing and hold in his whimpers, Uriel lashed out all the more harshly.

Aziraphale parried blow after blow, keeping himself on the defensive purely because he didn’t really want a fight that could cause another Rebellion— such an event would destroy Heaven and toss the balance of the universe into chaos, he suspected.

It was probably the very same fear that fuelled the viciousness his former brethren were attacking him with –they had no way of knowing Aziraphale’s intent was far from that, that he just wanted to be left alone.

He hated them for the way they treated him and hurt Crowley; and he also hated them for thinking they could just browbeat their way through existence simply because they had been placed on the side of Righteousness… but he couldn’t blame them for being scared, he couldn’t blame them for wanting to protect themselves and the only way of existing that they had ever known, not even Gabriel.

He was a right tosser, to borrow the words from Crowley, but he still believed he was the Just hand to dispense God’s Word and Will; and he acted on behalf of what had been Heaven’s only way of doing things since the literal beginning of Time.

It was too bad they just couldn’t seem to come to an understanding.

“This shouldn’t be so hard!” Uriel screamed, frustrated by Aziraphale seemingly being the better fighter out of the two of them, “Die already!!!”

Their fight had been a fast-paced one so far, after the initial standoff: Uriel attacked, Aziraphale dodged or parried and then retaliated in such a way that forced the other to step, stumble or fall back.

Whenever it seemed like Aziraphale’s defences would not be enough, Crowley would fill in at his side, in bursts of Hellfire perfectly timed and perfectly curved to act as shields.

As ‘lowly’ as the demon was in the Archangels’ eyes, he was giving Aziraphale a definite advantage –not to mention displaying an incredibly masterful control over his ‘power bank’, so to speak, and an even greater precision: all of Crowley’s flame bursts went just shy of lapping at Aziraphale’s body, so as long as the Principality kept acting unbothered by it the illusion of their so-called Invincibility would be maintained.

Unfortunately, Gabriel and Uriel also noticed that Crowley –and, more importantly, his Hellfire– was the edge Aziraphale had over them; so when Uriel charged next they aimed specifically for the demon.

Predictably, Aziraphale moved with all the mastery and determination of someone defending a Loved one, effectively placing himself between Uriel and Crowley, but during that same moment Gabriel manifested his own Holy Weapon and lunged.

“Enough!” the Archangel thundered, his voice reaching a volume it never had before, not even when he was Announcing the birth of humanity’s Saviour to the Virgin.

Aziraphale turned so fast to face Gabriel that he brought Uriel with him, spinning their position around using their interlocked weapons as a pivot and keeping a strong grip on Uriel’s forearm with his free hand.

Gabriel had swiped at Crowley’s back –the cut wasn’t too deep, luckily, but it was just enough for the pain to distract Crowley and momentarily stop him from sending out Hellfire; and now the Archangel had him against his chest, one hand trapping the demon’s wrists behind his back and his blade resting dangerously close to Crowley’s neck.

“Enough.” Gabriel repeated, though Aziraphale was already petrified. “Just who do you think you are?! Going against the Great Plan, consorting with a demon… and now taking arms up against the Host. You…. You’re worse than the Fallen! You should already be one of them!!! Why haven’t you Fallen yet?!”

“Why don’t you ask yourself what that means, instead of being mad that things won’t go your way?” the Principality countered, eyes flitting nervously between Gabriel, Uriel and Michael— they were all at a standstill for now, but if Michael decided they had enough and joined the fight… in their current position, he and Crowley were goners.

‘At least we’ll still get to go off together…’

Judging by Crowley’s sudden pained grunt, Gabriel had tightened his grip on the demon and was pushing out Holy Power –it wouldn’t be enough to kill, not in that form, but Aziraphale didn’t even want to think how painful that was for Crowley, especially with him having to seem as unfazed as possible.

“It’s not my place to question!” Gabriel roared, “My job is simple: oversee the Good, vanquish Evil! It used to be your job, too! Why couldn’t you just obey?!”

“Sometimes, disobedience is warranted to do what’s really Good.” Aziraphale felt Uriel’s hands tremble under his, and felt only marginally bad about using that moment of weakness to disarm them and turn them into an almost mirror of how Gabriel held Crowley, though with more distance between them and definitely with less malice.

They now had one hostage each, and the one with the power to tip the scales was not fighting.

“Michael! Come on, you’re not really scared of this worm, are you?—”

Serpent.” Crowley corrected in the Archangel’s grasp, but Gabriel ignored him,

“—come here and finish the job!”

Michael didn’t move. Their hand tightened around the hilt of their sword, but they didn’t step further.

“Perhaps they’re not scared, Gabriel.” Aziraphale said, walking just one step forward and bringing a recalcitrant Uriel with him, “Perhaps they just see that there’s one tiny chance, that Heaven’s strict convictions have made you stray from its original purpose, and that there’s more Good in the Serpent before you than in the choices you’ve made for the last few centuries.”

“That’s… that’s blasphemy!”

Not really, Crowley thought— it was rather just the distraction he needed. Sending one meaningful look to Aziraphale –for once thankful that he hadn’t yet recovered another pair of sunglasses– he then closed his eyes and let a column of fire sprout from his feet and engulf him entirely.

It was just ordinary fire, it wouldn’t hurt any of them, not on this plane of existence, but all of his previous attacks and Sandalphon’s half-melted arm had set a specific precedent during the battle: any flame coming forth from his body was going to be Hellfire in the angels’ minds, and their instincts wouldn’t let them take the risk to verify it.

Gabriel jumped back immediately upon hearing the woosh igniting from the floor, frantically checking himself for burns.

This time, Michael did draw their sword, but stood still, likely trying to gauge whether Crowley tried to actually attack them or not.

The demon didn’t. Free from Gabriel’s clutches, he only walked the few steps separating him from Aziraphale and Uriel.

“Sssssstep. Away.” He didn’t bother to keep his hissing in check, and Uriel didn’t even think to try and attack Aziraphale, not with what was, by all means, a column of burning Hellfire not ten inches from their face. The Principality let go of them, and they took a wide berth to join Gabriel.

Crowley extended his hand, still aflame, to the angel, and Aziraphale took it, solidifying both their bond and the impression that nothing could hurt the Principality.

Not to be outdone in dramatics, Aziraphale got the barest hint of a smile on his face and leaned up to place a chaste kiss onto Crowley’s burning lips— right in full view of Heaven’s High Command.

Crowley let the flames igniting him recede and die down as Aziraphale kissed him –for one, the longer he kept them up the more he risked the angels noticing it wasn’t Hellfire; furthermore… it made Aziraphale appear all the more powerful in the eyes of Heaven, that he could make Crowley calm down with just a simple gesture.

“Perhaps…” Aziraphale continued once they pulled away and stood side by side again, “The reason I didn’t Fall is because everything I did, I did out of Love. And Love, of the True kind, can never be Evil.”

Michael’s grip on their sword was slack and not at all reared up to fight. They looked around – towards Sandalphon’s prone form huddled in one corner, still shaking from the shock of coming so close to utter extinction and possibly traumatized at losing enough of his essence that his physical body was irreparably damaged, towards Uriel’s bloodied clothes from where Aziraphale hadn’t been able to avoid striking, if only to protect himself and the demon… and finally to Gabriel, whose eyes were still full of so much contempt, so much rage at being proven wrong, just because he had only ever known how to be Right.

Eventually, they asked.

“What will it take to end this, Aziraphale?”

It was worded cleverly enough not to sound like a surrender, but that was exactly what it was— and Michael had the authority over Gabriel in this, considering they were the chosen one that would have led Heaven’s army against Lucifer, had Armageddon come to pass. Heaven’s legion would respect Michael’s decision, and the Archangel was putting such a decision in Aziraphale’s hands.

Aziraphale took one long, trembling breath and clasped Crowley’s hand again.

“You were right, Michael. I don’t want this fight. I never did.” He said, letting the Celestial Fire engulfing his stolen umbrella finally extinguish itself. “We just want to be left alone. No more spying, no more mind games… Heaven and Hell wanted a war, but evidently it was not meant to be. Plans, however Great, can change. They do so all the time. Leave us be, leave us to our peace. We want no part in Heaven and Hell’s race to destroy yourselves. We earned it.”

Michael hesitated.

A small part of them wanted to lash out just like Uriel did— they were the Archangel of justice, after all, their instinct demanded retribution for how badly Sandalphon was injured, but… Sandalphon had struck first –or tried to, at any rate.

And even if they managed to succeed in killing the renegade angel and his demon lover, what good would that do? It would likely bring about huge casualties in the process and possibly start a riot within the Host’s fold.

“So be it.” They said, eventually.

“Michael, you can’t possibly—”

“I said, so be it.” Michael enunciated it louder, overruling Gabriel’s meek protest. “Aziraphale, Principality of the Eastern Gate, consider yourself exiled to Earth. You are to leave Heaven and its agents alone. Likewise, any angels leaving Heaven to come after you will be considered as acting directly against orders and held as grounds for Treason, effective immediately.”

A pang of pain coursed through Aziraphale –he was already effectively exiled ever since his and Crowley’s body-swap, but to hear it said to his own face, from the ones he used to look up to for guidance, still stung.

It was for the better, though. For all of them. The Principality was grateful that Michael at least had enough sense to see it. He nodded once at the Archangel, and let his improvised weapon clatter to the floor.

Uriel didn’t look up at him, busying themselves with walking over to Sandalphon to try and assist him in standing back up, as slowly and gently as possible, while Gabriel just stood there gaping, clearly reluctant to accept Michael’s verdict but powerless to change it.

“We will hold you to your words, Archangel Michael.”

Aziraphale’s voice was firm as he spoke, but there was also a clear hint of gratitude in it that made Michael feel the trace of a smile blossom on their face. Heaven had suffered a great loss today, and it definitely wasn’t Sandalphon’s sword arm.

“I will have an official message from the Metatron reach you within a week.” They assured. “You are free to go. Both of you.”

“Aziraphale.” Crowley finally called, so much affection in the one word that it couldn’t possibly be anything other than a plea to a loved one, “Let’s go home.”

Home.

Back to Earth, back to the bookshop… back to any place on Earth, as long as they were together.

“Yes. Rather.” Aziraphale looked back at Crowley and everything else just faded into background noise. He saw Crowley adjust the lapels of his waistcoat with his free hand as they stepped away from the Archangels. “Thank you, my dear.”

He wasn’t thanking the demon for something as mundane as tidying up his clothes. Crowley’s voice, as it often did, grounded him back into reality and away from spiralling thoughts –a small part of Aziraphale was still made to be a soldier, and he had been more than ready to fight Michael, had the verdict been unsatisfactory.

That wasn’t a battle Aziraphale was sure he could win, and so he was thankful for Crowley’s presence, giving him a reason to step away, now that their message had been as loud and shamelessly clear as possible.

They were together.

In all conceivable ways possible.

They made their way back out of the building unbothered and unrestricted, a silence heavy with awe as their only companion on the escalator down and all the way through the revolving doors.

“You know, Crowley…” Aziraphale said, as they boarded the Bentley, “I’m quite tired. I think I might take a page out of your book, so to speak, and give sleeping a try.”

The demon smiled back at him before starting the engine.

“Don’t you worry about a thing, angel.” He assured, “I’ll take care of you. It’s my turn, after all.”

They both knew it was not their Arrangement that dictated such actions between the two of them, it hadn’t been for a long time, but it had become a sort of private joke between them.

And if that gave Aziraphale some leeway in letting himself be pampered a little, well…

…he wasn’t complaining.

They did have a lot to talk about still, but it was exhilarating, to both angel and demon, to finally let the realization sink in that they would be alright, for real this time.

Aziraphale let his eyes close and leaned on Crowley’s shoulder as the other drove— he couldn’t wait to be home.

And this time, it meant their home.

Chapter Text

The bookshop had never been as welcome a sight as it was after such a demanding night.

Well, morning actually.

It was definitely going to be one of those days listed on Aziraphale's opening hours where he would not open until 1pm.

He would not open at all for the day, if Crowley had any say in it.

The angel had actually fallen asleep in the Bentley, which was saying something, considering Crowley's usual driving— though the demon did slow down significantly as soon as he noticed.

All it took to carry Aziraphale into the bookshop and up to his bedroom without waking him up was a very minor miracle; and the angel smiled in his sleep when Crowley kissed his forehead, after laying him down on the bed.

What a day.

The demon could scarcely believe all the things that had happened —Aziraphale loved him back, enough to risk his life to save him, enough to storm the gates of Heaven practically ready for battle, apparently.

Crowley was still in awe.

He would never forget the Archangels' faces as Aziraphale planted a big old smooch on him right in front of them.

As far as acts of defiance went, that was probably the boldest anyone had ever been.

'Love, of the True kind, can never be Evil.'

Such simple, idealistic words, and yet it had to be true: Aziraphale's wings were still as white and pure as anything, and there was only one authority that could have changed that.

It had remained silent.

The relief Crowley felt when Michael told them they were free to go was comparable to very few instances in his long existence –seeing Aziraphale safe and sound on his antique bed, right now, was one of them.

Finally, the demon let himself deflate.

One of the many advantages of black clothing was the relative difficulty to tell whether they were stained with blood or not, especially when angels prone to worrying were involved.

As silently as he could, Crowley stood and stepped away from the bed. He shrugged off his jacket easily enough, while the button down gave him a bit more pain— oh, was he glad that his wings were safely tucked away for that whole confrontation. The gash on his back felt like it went diagonally down from his right shoulder to the middle of his shoulder-blades; had his wings been out Crowley was not sure Gabriel wouldn't have chopped his right wing clean off.

A slight shudder coursed through him at the thought, but a voice startled the demon out of darker musings:

"You know, it's cute that you try to hide your pain from me, but please don't."

Found out and with nowhere to go, Crowley just turned sideways enough to look at Aziraphale.

The angel had been lying on his side, but was now slowly getting up to advance towards him, a fond, knowing smile to his face.

"What have I told you about four letter words, angel?"

Aziraphale just chuckled at that, hugging Crowley from behind once the distance between them was closed.

"Can't recall, but I do remember some of them have the effect of you slamming me against walls— we'll have to… experiment further on that, sometime when you aren't hurt."

An entirely different kind of shiver to the previous one he had ran through Crowley's body.

"Angel..."

"Will you be okay if I heal you?"

It was a stupid question to ask: Crowley would have been okay with Aziraphale taking a hammer to his bones if the angel asked, but the question was simply to offer Crowley the time to brace himself for the burn of the other's Celestial power closing up the wound.

The thing Crowley hadn't counted on was that, while canonically angels did perform their miracles with the imposition of their hands, it wasn't really a restriction.

Aziraphale's hands stayed firmly where they were, resting low on the demon's waist, while Crowley felt the angel's tongue trace a slow line over the cut, bottom to top.

The angel didn't fight the urge to grin against the demon's skin at the disconnected noises the simple gesture ripped out of Crowley— it might have been an attempt at an intelligible protest, but it had died on the demon's lips just as it begun, morphing into a broken word that might have been the first syllable of Aziraphale's name, but it ended up coming out as a gasp, instead.

The slight pain from the clashing of Aziraphale's healing magic with his demonic essence was abundantly offset by the merciless pleasure that radiated outwards from where the angel's mouth had been —it was the sweetest kind of torture.

"Angel—"

"We should talk about this."

Aziraphale couldn't see it, but a smile bearing something akin to pride broke out on Crowley's face.

"You would have made a fine demon." He teased, brushing his hands over the angel's, "You got me half naked and shivering for you and you tell me you want to talk? Bloody mean, angel."

Instead of sputtering indignantly like he would have in the past, Aziraphale joined the demon's chuckle with his own, just shy of brushing his lips on Crowley's shoulder again. It was heavenly, no pun intended, not to have to keep up appearances or pretend his feelings for the demon were anything other than adoration.

"Well. I have recently been told I'm just enough of a bastard to be worth knowing."

Crowley was about to turn and kiss the smug tone off the angel's mouth, but Aziraphale held onto his waist tighter, keeping him in place.

"Don't. Please..." the angel pleaded in a whisper, "If I look at you right now, I'll want to kiss every square inch of you, and I am not sure I'll be able to stop once I start."

How the angel could still sound so pure and sweet while alluding to his darker, deeper desires was beyond Crowley.

"Aziraphale..." Not that the demon was complaining in the slightest, judging by the needy, almost keening tone of that call.

"I know I already told you I love you." The other continued, emboldened by the warmth of their embrace and the demon's enthusiastic responses, "And that you told me you love me as well. But I fear such a base, simple declaration falls short of the magnitude of what's actually between us."

Once more Crowley tried to turn, to properly embrace Aziraphale this time, with no luck. He was firmly pinned in place –a distant corner of his mind noted that he probably was because he didn't really want to be able to escape the hold.

Either that or all those times he had pushed the angel against walls had been because Aziraphale had let him.

The truth was, as with many things, somewhere in the middle.

Warm air ghosted over Crowley's bare skin as Aziraphale sighed softly.

"I fear I've got quite a bit of catching up to do." He said, outright dropping his head to rest his chin on the demon's shoulder. "I have been so unwittingly terrible to you, my dear... all those centuries you kept giving me your friendship and I kept throwing it back into your face, for the sake of pretending to still be your enemy..."

Crowley closed his eyes and leaned his head slightly backwards.

"It's in the past, angel—"

"I suppose it is, but that doesn't mean I haven't hurt you." Aziraphale had thought about it a lot, since averting Armageddon, and he was already astonished that Crowley would at all still want to be in his presence, let alone actually, truly love him. "I could never quite gauge the extent of it, but I could sense that you were... sweet on me."

"Understatement." The demon could practically feel the beginnings of the angel's scowl, so he reined himself in. "Sorry. Continue."

"At first I was trapped in denial, telling myself I was just seeing what I wanted to be there. Then, at about the time of the Blitz –you remember that, surely– it became undeniable... both your love for me and, well, mine for you. Yet still I ran away from both, at every chance." Another reason the angel was holding Crowley like that was that, this way, the demon wouldn't see the tears breaking free from his eyes –not that Crowley needed to. He could hear them in Aziraphale's voice. "And worst of it all... the things I've said to you not even two weeks ago— how do I even begin, to ask for forgiveness? How can you set your eyes upon me and still find me worthy of your Love?"

Through that entire tirade, Crowley's hands had been tightening around Aziraphale's where they were resting at the demon's waist, and for a moment the demon panicked about the tears he could feel escaping his own eyes, but there were no more pretences to keep up. He could cry if he bloody well wanted to.

Truth was, anything Aziraphale did or said was instantly forgiven as far as the demon was concern, but it felt incredibly liberating to hear –his suffering was being acknowledged, and he was being told he deserved better than that.

Funny how things worked out: Crowley could conceive nothing better than being there, in that moment, with several crepes' worth of warm, fluffy angel wrapped around him.

He swallowed to get his voice under control.

"Well." It still came out barely over a mumble, "You could let me turn around, so you can tell me you love me to my face. Just for starters."

"Crowley..."

"No, listen to me." The demon just barely hissed out the words, in a way that brought on fond memories for the both of them –it had been rather lovely, to have almost free agency to be near each other for 11 years, and it had almost felt like they were raising the child together, however incompetent they had been at that. Point was, Crowley wanted to be heard right now, and the angel knew well enough to let him speak. "We've been on this floating space rock for 6000 years. Have all of them been perfect? No. There's entire centuries that could very well bugger off. Have you and I been perfect the whole time? No. And thank G— Somebody, for that! Perfect is boring. Fuck perfect. I don't love perfection. I love you, angel."

If Aziraphale hadn't already been tearing up, that would have done him in.

"It's only ever been you, angel." The demon continued, "And if I had to go back and go through it a million times over, I'd do the whole sodding song and dance again, every time, if it meant I get to end up right here, right now, with you."

Crowley had never had much of a way with words, but that confession was, to Aziraphale's ears, the most magnificent expression of Love to ever be uttered on this 'floating space rock', as the demon put it –so genuine and so undeniably 'Crowley' that the angel knew— he wouldn't have settled for anything different.

“Even the fourteenth century?”

“Every last plague-infested second of it.”

His grip on the demon's waist let up just enough to let Crowley turn around in his arms.

Whatever quip had been about to form on Crowley's mouth was momentarily stalled before passing his lips, in favor of reaching up to caress his angel's face and gently wipe away the tears.

Aziraphale closed his eyes and leaned into the movement.

"So..." the demon called after a while, still cradling Aziraphale's face with both hands, "Are you going to make good on that threat about kissing me and not stopping?"

There. The angel was finally smiling again, fond and happy like only Crowley ever made him.

"You're incorrigible."

Crowley actually winked at him.

"Demon."

Aziraphale just shook his head and pressed his hands on the small of the demon's back, to urge him closer and make their lips meet.

This time, the tentative caution of their very first kiss was nowhere to be found— it was still slow, but it was such because they finally had all the time in the world to enjoy it, no one was in danger of getting discorporated, no one was hurt.

Crowley put his fingers to work on the buttons of Aziraphale's waistcoat, undoing it deftly and sliding his hands under the lapels to push the garment outwards and off the angel's shoulders... Aziraphale winced minutely upon trying to shrug it off and help Crowley in undressing him, which made the demon reconsider his initial assessment on the percentage of hurt.

"You alright?"

"Of course, my dear."

Crowley made a show of narrowing his eyes.

"You've always been rubbish at lying."

Aziraphale let the demon help him out of the blue button down as well, revealing a not inconsequential amount of bruises left on his arms and torso by his quick but relentless fight with Uriel –the Principality had done very well to avoid the sharp end of the Holy Blade, but it had often come at the cost of having the flat side of it smacked against his forearm, or taking an elbow to the chest.

Still, Aziraphale at least pretended to bristle:

"I'll have you know, I've lied to Heaven for millennia."

Crowley did not miss a single beat.

"And yet the moment you start lying to me you look so suspicious it's painful, and the whole universe nearly goes tits up."

In all honesty, the demon was right.

"Anything you say, dearest."

Aziraphale was also inclined to concede that point because Crowley was in his bedroom and slowly divesting him with a sultry grin and that was a moment the angel had had literal dreams about— and he barely ever slept.

"Would you—" Crowley's tone became nervous for a second, confusing the angel momentarily until the rest of the question came out: "Would you let me heal you?"

Oh.

"Please, Crowley."

The demon hesitated, and Aziraphale was already filled with fondness at the mere sight, because he knew what the other was worrying about and it was so impossibly sweet the angel could barely contain himself.

"Are you sure? It might smart a bit."

There it was. Oh, it was so precious of Crowley to always, always worry about him so. Utterly delicious.

For wounds as minor as the ones Aziraphale had endured, not much magic would be needed, so it probably wouldn't even hurt that much— the angel was well and truly tuckered out, sure, but he was nowhere near the mortal danger Crowley had been a few hours prior.

At most, Crowley's demonic essence would 'smart', as his beloved so eloquently put it.

Aziraphale was actually rather looking forward to recreating the thrill he had felt at having Hellfire nearly lapping at his skin while he and Crowley fought side by side.

And oh— hadn't that felt amazing too? Like something out of a fantasy romance novel, the two of them together, battling against those who would see them separated...

The angel was so lost in his daydream he nearly missed the sight of Crowley leaning slightly downwards and, following his example, kissing his wounds better, quite literally.

"Oh..."

The sting of infernal power was faint and largely harmless, but definitely there, a distant reminder that Crowley was indeed capable of sending out a burst of Hellfire powerful enough to melt body parts off him –but he wouldn't, because he loved Aziraphale so very dearly.

The demon could feel the shiver under his lips, and his eyes widened a fraction:

"You're getting off on this."

It wasn't a question.

Crowley moved his lips from Aziraphale's shoulder, grabbing a gentle hold of the angel's arm and mouthing his way down along, breath ghosting over skin and making a point of going really slow, until he reached a particularly nasty bruise on Aziraphale's wrist, left behind by a parry that was more reflexes, luck and timing than anything else.

The demon pressed his mouth against the tender and slightly swollen skin in a deliberately wanton manner, he could feel Aziraphale's eyes on him, tracking the motion with increasing desire, and the magnitude of it nearly made him stop in surprise.

The angel didn't just Love him –with a capital L, no less– he wanted Crowley, too. Really desired him in the most primal and Earthly of ways, on top of everything else they were to each other.

The demon pushed out a tiny bit more power than was strictly required to carry on with his healing, and Aziraphale's shudder of renewed pleasure was only bested by the breathy quality of his broken whispers:

"Crowley... oh..."

"It's alright, angel..." the demon assured, "Let loose a little."

It was all the prompting Aziraphale needed. With a swiftness the demon's serpentine side would have been impressed by, the angel shoots his free hand out to grasp at the back of Crowley's neck and pull him up so their lips could meet in a far more enthusiastic kiss than their previous ones.

Crowley was the one with the snake tongue, but clearly Aziraphale was not one to let himself be outdone just like that.

He succeeded in making the demon moan into his mouth and he distantly thought there had never been a more melodious sound in the history of all music –Hell could keep Mozart and his peers, the angel had a type of melody none of them would ever be able to recreate, all to himself.

Aziraphale's knees started feeling wobbly at the realization that Crowley was openly moaning for him; and he actually crumpled down on the floor when he felt a little pang of demonic essence push through their joined mouths.

His mind went to misguided theories of not too long ago –"Angel, demon... probably explode"– but oh, the fact that it hadn't yet been off the cards but Crowley tried it anyway because he noticed Aziraphale's reaction to it made the angel practically resonate with excitement and pleasure.

To Aziraphale's surprise, the demon just followed him down as he knelt, opting to swing a leg over each side of the angel's thighs and settle himself nicely on Aziraphale's lap.

"Crowley—" the call stopped itself abruptly when he felt the demon grind down –even if they hadn't already been making an Effort, they would have started right then and they both knew it.

“Just picking up where we left off…”

There was no shame, no hiding behind a careful distance of rivalry, it was just bliss. Just them.

Crowley kept kissing him, leaving invisible marks all over the angel's skin in his lips' wake, then Aziraphale felt the demon cling to his biceps with the type of grasp only a constrictor could have and push forward.

It was intoxicating to be able to go willingly.

As Crowley laid him on his back, Aziraphale made at least a token attempt at being a gentleman about it:

"There are more comfortable places to do this..."

To his credit, the demon momentarily stilled his ministrations to ask.

"Are you still hurt anywhere?"

"No, I feel wonderfully, thanks to your—"

"Then right here will do."

Oh. Oh dear.

The very thought of Crowley wanting him with as much fervour as he wanted the demon was already something, but to be so desired that the demon wouldn't spare a few seconds or even a snap of fingers for a change of location, wanting instead to have him right there and then? It was almost enough to make him lose control.

Just like that, Crowley resumed his exploration game all over Aziraphale's body, hands leaving the angel's surprisingly well-toned arms to brush down his chest and leave a trail of fire behind them –a metaphorical one, but it might as well have been physical with the way Aziraphale arched under him.

The demon only stopped when his fingers met the fabric of Aziraphale's trousers.

"May I?"

"Yes, please— oh, don't stop now..."

Crowley could have made a joke about a certain singer and a particular song, but he was far more interested in freeing the angel from his trousers and push his underwear down, at least enough to get his hands on Aziraphale's body and shower him with pleasure until the words 'divine ecstasy' acquired an entire new meaning.

When the angel felt Crowley take him in hand and start stroking he nearly arched clean off the floor -he probably would have, had there not been a lapful of demon eager and willing to drive him crazy with touch, but as things were his hands just flew to Crowley's thighs and squeezed, if only to hold onto something.

In the past, Aziraphale had questioned the design of the male apparatus: while great to make suit trousers fit neatly, it wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing of shapes when naked and had a sort of funny weight to it... but now, with Crowley reaching down to cup at his balls and grip them gently before going back to stroking, Aziraphale thought cocks were the best goddamn part of the male body.

Then again, he probably thought that because it was Crowley he was sharing this experience with; he loved the demon so much that the physicality of it would be secondary regardless, and he made it no secret –sounds of pleasure spilled from his mouth at nearly every single touch.

"Keep going— oh– my dear, it's... I'm..."

Crowley hunched forward with a smile, until his lips could brush against the angel's jawline.

"I know, love." He whispered to the other's flesh, "Me too."

Love. It was the first time that word left Crowley’s mouth without fear of punishment for even thinking it.

"Crowley..."

The demon bit down on his lip until it nearly bled. Aziraphale had called his name many times throughout history, but never like that. It was quickly becoming addictive; it was too much and not enough at the same time.

Crowley needed more, he needed to hear all the sensual sounds Aziraphale could make, needed to be closer until he couldn't tell where he ended and his angel began.

His memory went briefly to the time they exchanged physical appearances, which back then was the most intimate thing they had ever done –he thought Aziraphale was being polite in not mentioning the raging hard-on that moment left Crowley with, but knowing what he knows now... perhaps the angel had simply been similarly preoccupied.

And oh, wasn't that a thought— yearning so long for the same thing. And now they could have it.

Crowley was going to savour every single second of it.

"Angel, I want..."

"Anything, my love. Everything you want, and then some."

Well, that was promising. He gently took his hand away from Aziraphale's cock and was rewarded for his restraint with the sight of the angel bucking wantonly upwards for him.

Clearly, they wanted the same thing.

The demon spared barely a thought to be ready to take Aziraphale in him –there would be other times, slower times, to experiment the human way with fingers, mouths or tongues in the way of preparation, but right now Crowley wanted to get on top of Aziraphale and ride him to Alpha Centauri and back.

They groaned in unison when Crowley lowered himself, slowly at first.

"This is— ah— unexpected..."

"Good or bad unexpected?" Distantly, the demon thought that if they were both coherent enough for four syllable words he needed to step up his game.

"I'd have thought you would want to— oohdo the honours..."

That last part rushed out in a moan as Crowley started moving up and down.

That was more like it.

"Mm? And did you like that thought?" The demon asked, leaning firmly on the angel's shoulders with both hands as he picked up the pace slightly, "Did you like the idea of opening up for me and taking my cock until you can't stand it? I know I do..."

Whether with that final bit Crowley meant he liked the idea of Aziraphale doing that for him or that he liked doing it for the angel, it was irrelevant: the demon would happily enjoy both.

"Fuck, Crowley..." and, if the sudden firm hold Aziraphale had on the demon's hips was any indication, the Principality also very much enjoyed both ideas as well –but, still taking into account the bruising grip with which the angel was guiding his beloved up and down, switching things up was going to have to wait until another time.

"Yes, that's the gist of— ah— of what we're doing, angel..."

"Why, if you still have the presence to sass me— I'm not pulling my weight..."

The angel's voice lowered with desire as he brought back some of the authoritative soldier that faced off Archangels and had them surrender, making Crowley gasp at the palpable change in energy. "How did you— mm—how did you put it? 'Taking cock until you can't stand it'?"

Aziraphale sped up their pace further and also took to meeting the demon on the way down with powerful thrusts each time.

"It might be..." Crowley's voice started breaking between gasps and hisses, he could barely keep it together but he'd be damned –again– if he didn't want this to last as much as possible. "It might be a while for that... I've wanted precious few things like I've wanted you, ached to take you and watch you spill yourself in pleasure for me..."

With or without male genitalia –or any genitalia at all, but that went unsaid for the both of them. The physical expression of their love was definitely pleasant, but their feelings were powerful enough to transcend that.

"The things you say..." Aziraphale rasped out, while they moved in unison, "...give me all sorts of deliciously obscene ideas..."

"Can't wait to try them all, angel..."

Crowley's voice was getting breathier and breathier by the second, and Aziraphale was tremendously weak for it.

He needed more.

"I wish to unravel you, to have you screaming for me until you come apart and then get back together." It seemed so long ago he had been embarrassed to even think that to himself, not to mention terrified that Heaven could somehow see into his mind and chastise him for such thoughts. "I wish to be the one to open up for you as well, to taste you in my mouth and worship every last inch of you with my tongue—"

Blasphemy or not, now Aziraphale almost wished he had done more than simply kiss Crowley in front of the Host, if only to give those pompous jackasses a show of what a Love truly honest and right looked like.

The demon, for one, seemed to be more then amenable, reduced to a writhing, bouncing mess of pleasured hissing.

"Yesssss, angel..."

"Crowley, oh—"

Had Aziraphale had any doubts, they would have crumbled away happily to the rhythm of Crowley's hips snapping against his time and time again: nothing felt more right than the sensation of their bodies reaching out to one another through every pore.

The demon moaned out something that might have been a broken call of Aziraphale's name, but got lost between Crowley's tendency to hiss and the pleasure that rippled through him, robbing him of speech.

"Angel— y— hn... Aziraphale—"

They were both losing control pretty fast.

"I know, Crowley— oh, dearest..."

Aziraphale had never really thought about orgasms and the physicality involved, before.

He didn't even really think about it when it came crashing down onto him, he was rather suddenly overcome by pure, boundless bliss; every inch of his corporeal form tensed up in the most exquisite of raptures, hips stuttering to a stop inside Crowley and a call of the demon's name on his lips.

It was only after, while he caught his breath and his chest still heaved from it all, that a particular thought crossed the angel's mind:

"Goodness... how do humans ever get anything done?!"

The whiteout before Aziraphale's eyes receded and Crowley's figure reappeared over him, looking spent, beautiful and happy. His grin bordered on smug, even, but he was nothing if not tender in pulling himself off Aziraphale and lying down to drape himself down at the angel's side.

"Well, to their defence, it isn't always this good."

Aziraphale chanced a sideways glance at him.

"Did, uh... did you..?"

Crowley chuckled. Leave it to the angel to absolutely wreck him, full cowgirl, and then get shy about asking if he enjoyed it.

"Mm, yesssss..." he sighed softly, letting himself hiss, lazy and content. "Watching you come undone between my thighs tipped me over."

"Really?" It was asked with the same twinkle in the angel's eyes that had been there whenever Crowley let him have his way –and it had no business being that cute, after all the filthy things they said to each other.

"Angel, you have no idea how beautiful you are." The demon insisted, "Seeing you like that fucking unmade me, I never want to look at anything else."

In the past, Aziraphale would have thought it ironic that the creature to most openly show him appreciation would be his Hereditary Enemy. Knowing what he did now, he just felt immensely grateful that Crowley cherished him so.

"Well... the same goes for you, my dearest." He said, shifting in place slightly so he could wrap an arm around the demon's shoulders and also clean the both of them up with a snap of fingers. "And I hope you know I plan on making good on all the things I said to you in the throes of our passion."

"Throes of—" Crowley sputtered himself into gibberish, first at the other's obsolete choice of language and then at the realization of what exactly Aziraphale just said to him. He shook his head and melted more into their warm embrace. "Never change, angel."

"Will you let me take you to bed now, my dear?"

Crowley didn't bother hiding the grin.

"Hungry for seconds, already?"

Aziraphale made a show of tutting at him.

"Why, it was just so we could get some well-deserved rest..." he said petulantly, even as he stood up whilst scooping Crowley in his arms, trousers still undone and all, "...but what a shame would it be, if some kind of wily, cunning creature were to tempt me into a little more indulgence..."

"Consider yourself thoroughly tempted, then."

They ended up falling asleep the second they hit the cushions, corporations strained by the nerves of the night before, the fight and the whole near-death experience... but they did very much indulge in some lazy kisses once they woke up and it was likely going to become a routine occurrence.

They did, after all, have all the time in the world.