“Angel, your wings,” Crowley said.
Aziraphale had rung him earlier saying that it was such a lovely day, and wouldn’t he fancy a walk in St. James Park? Crowley had arrived at the bookshop to see Aziraphale… spread out in front of him for lack of a better term.
“Oh, it’s a dreadful thing, really. My feathers are all tangled and out of place.” Aziraphale wrung his hands and gave Crowley a hopeful look over his shoulder.
There was a hectic blush on his face that Crowley hadn’t seen outside of a few times that they’d gotten a bit drunker than was good for them. And was his throat suddenly dry? He swallowed hard and it clicked, so he desperately swallowed again before he focused on Aziraphale in front of him.
He sounded normal and perfectly relaxed as if him trying to tease Crowley into grooming his wings was a normal every day thing that they did. Crowley took a deep breath even though he didn’t technically need it because he felt like he was suffocating on what was unsaid between them. Aziraphale wanted to pretend that this was a normal thing that they do? Well two can play at that game.
He circled Aziraphale to examine them. They were a disaster in Crowley’s humble opinion. He knew that angels had a reputation of being a little more laissez-faire when it came to grooming, but this was ridiculous. Crowley leaned forward to inspect Aziraphale’s wings more closely and the angel actually turned to give him better access.
“I just never seem to be able to get them to lay flat.”
He spread them a little wider as if to say ‘see? See the situation I have gotten myself into? Won’t you help me out?’ Not that he needed to. The only way Crowley would have passed up the opportunity to groom Aziraphale's wings would have been if Armageddon itself tried to start up again.
Crowley gently pushed an errant feather back into place. It was soft and white and just like that, Aziraphale blushed again.
“Did you fly through a hurricane?”
“Are they really so dreadful?”
“Where do you want to do it?”
“Here is fine.”
“Oh, come on angel, where everyone can see?”
“They won’t notice,” Aziraphale said primly.
Aziraphale miracled up a comfortable chair and straddled it. His wings knocked hard against a shelf, but he paid it no mind. He crossed his arms over the back of it and then faced forward with a determined air. Crowley’s ached to get his fingers into Aziraphale’s feathers. He took a deep breath. Maybe he was reading the situation wrong. Aziraphale clearly needed the help here. Yes. He was just helping out a friend. There was no deeper meaning to this at all as Aziraphale had made clear on more than one occasion. He wasn’t ready and at this point, Crowley wasn’t sure if he ever would be. He’d come to terms with it despite what his fool heart wanted.
Still, the sigh that Aziraphale let out when he gently began to touch them made a small part of Crowley shake.
He settled a few of the more errant feathers in place before his fingers caught on something.
“Yes, my dear?”
“This is going to pinch a bit.”
Aziraphale took a deep breath and forced himself to relax. “Go ahead.”
Crowley wrapped his fingers around the edge of the broken feather.
“Want to dine at the Ritz tonight?”
“That sounds deligh-ow!”
Aziraphale gave him a dirty look over his shoulder. He simply smirked a little and dropped the broken quill on the ground.
“Hurts less if it’s a surprise.”
He ran his fingers through the feathers that he had already preened to placate Aziraphale before continuing.
Halfway through the second wing, the angel let out a little groan as if he couldn’t help himself any longer and squirmed a little. Crowley did his best to stop his hands from shaking as Aziraphale relaxed against the chair.
“Alright there, Angel?”
“Yes, my dear,” Aziraphale replied, a little breathless.
“You’re really quite good at this. I should have asked for your help sooner.”
“You’re killing me here, Angel,” Crowley muttered under his breath.
“What was that dear boy?”
“I said I'm almost done.”
Aziraphale gave him a look over his shoulder but let it go. Crowley relaxed.
Aziraphale stood up and stretched, his wings spreading out to all the corners of the room. Without really thinking of it, Crowley looked at them and then through them into the celestial plane and his breath caught in his throat. He thought that Aziraphale’s wings were lovely on the earthly plane when properly groomed. It didn’t compare to the celestial one. The divine light would have made Crowley’s eyes water if they were capable of it. They gleamed gold with dozens gleaming blue eyes scattered across the feathers.
“My dear doesn’t that hurt?”
He snapped back to reality and then shook his head. “It’s fine, angel.”
“If you’re sure.”
Aziraphale reached out and brushed his hand across Crowley’s cheek. He folded his wings away, a process that gave rise to local angular distortions in reality which then folded in on themselves as well.
“I think it’s only fair that I do yours too.”
“Well, I wouldn’t want to get in the middle of the interests of fairness,” Crowley rasped.
He straddled the chair at Aziraphale's gesture and crossed his arms over its back. This was going to be either one of the most amazing experiences in his blessed life or one of the worst. Or, both. No accounting for both.
“We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
“Why would you think I didn’t want to?”
“You haven’t put out your wings.”
“Oh my mistake,” he croaked and concentrated.
They felt cramped now that his attention was on them, as they always did when they were folded away. His metaphysical body relaxed as they sprung into existence on the corporeal plane.
“Always hard keeping them away all of the time,” he croaked.
Crowley’s wings didn’t need tending to not really. He was fastidious when it came to grooming and it showed. That didn’t stop Aziraphale, who Crowley fancied was looking appreciatively at the view in front of him. Tendrils of warmth ran down Crowley’s back as Aziraphale ran his fingers through his feathers.
“They’re beautiful,” Aziraphale murmured as he massaged Crowley’s wing joint.
“Ngk!” Crowley shuddered and then melted into his chair. To have Aziraphale’s hands on home like this was more intense than he'd expected.
Aziraphale carefully inspected all of the feathers on both of Crowley’s wings. He stroked the top of Crowley’s left wing, pausing as if to smooth an errant feather back into place. He’d roll his eyes if what Aziraphale was doing didn’t feel so good. After all, his wings wouldn’t dare to be so messy as to have feathers out of place. In fact, Aziraphale could have miracled his feathers back in place too instead of eliciting Crowley’s help with this personal matter.
He dared a glance back at Aziraphale, who had an expression of utter concentration on his face as he worked and turned away. He took a deep breath. It was official. This was absolute unbearable torture. He moaned softly and closed his eyes as Aziraphale passed over a particularly sensitive spot before his mind fogged over in a pleasure filled haze.
“There, all done,” Aziraphale said some time later. “Your wings are much nicer now.”
Crowley turned around and looked up into Aziraphale’s smiling face and suddenly he’d had it. He couldn’t wait any longer. His knees were still weak from the impromptu grooming and he almost stumbled into Aziraphale in his rush to stand. The angel steadied him by wrapping his hands firmly around his elbows.
“Are you alright?” Aziraphlale asked.
“Oh, screw this,” Crowley said.
“I beg your-mmmph!”
Aziraphale melted into the kiss like he’d melted into the chair when Crowley had put his hands on him. Except this time, it was far better because they were kissing and Aziraphale was holding Crowley close. Crowley shuddered and gasped as their essences, one ethereal and one occult brushed against each other on another plane.
He pulled back to see Aziraphale gazing at him tenderly. He cupped his hand against Crowley’s cheek, and Crowley leaned against it despite himself.
“We’re on the same page then?” Crowley said. “You’re ready?”
“Yes, my dear. I’m ready.”
They kissed again for good measure.