“Come to bed with me,” said Aziraphale. “Will you?”
Crowley gazed at him, not processing the request for a moment. He’d only had a small amount of wine, but already he felt vaguely fuzzy around the edges, noticeably more relaxed than he could remember being for a long time; that might, however, have more to do with the fact that they’d just saved each other from Heaven and Hell, and a little earlier nearly witnessed the end of the world. It might also have to do with the fact that Aziraphale, who had almost disappeared from his life forever not two days ago, was sitting in his armchair looking clean and well and happy. White curls winking in the bookshop’s soft light. Dimples showing as he smiled at Crowley.
The request finally came through. Crowley blinked.
“To bed?” he asked.
Aziraphale stood and crossed to Crowley, then knelt, placing a chaste hand over the one Crowley had on the arm of his chair. It was a simple touch, quiet, but it made Crowley’s breath catch all the same. It was the most conscious touch in six thousand years.
Six thousand years and they’d been terrified to really touch, because their separate worlds were pressing down so hard on their shoulders, weighing them down, and the danger they put themselves in - and the danger they put each other in - was so palpably close. Never had Aziraphale so calmly crossed the bookshop to caress Crowley’s hand. Never had Crowley mustered the courage to ask that of him.
“I rather thought,” said Aziraphale, “that I might hold you all night long, tonight.”
Crowley’s heart thudded in his chest. The last time time Aziraphale had been this close Crowley had been holding him up against a wall. Now Crowley felt held fast himself, pinned by Aziraphale’s eyes, the long, yearning love in them. Slowly Crowley turned his covered palm up, twining his fingers self-indulgently through Aziraphale’s. He didn’t take his eyes from Aziraphale’s face.
Hold you all night long. Crowley stared at Aziraphale’s plush, rounded cheeks, his double chin, folded softly like a cloud. He stared at Aziraphale’s full, pale lips.
They were free. Could it be this was the beginning of something new?
“Yes,” he breathed. “I’d like that, very much.”
Aziraphale tugged him gently to his feet, and Crowley followed, his steps somewhat clumsy. Still feeling fuzzy. Can you be drunk on relief? On happiness? Can you be drunk on the love of your life? He stumbled up the stairs behind Aziraphale, relishing the warmth of these close-built walls, somehow so intangibly different from the cramped walls of Hell. These walls didn’t feel like they were closing in on Crowley. They felt like they were wrapping around him, cradling him. A soothing counterpart to the soft hand still gripping his own.
They reached Aziraphale’s bedroom. It was even more dimly lit than the bookshop below, and Crowley could hardly see anything but his angel as Aziraphale led him over to the bed.
“My darling,” Aziraphale breathed, and then his hands were caressing Crowley’s cheeks, and then his mouth was on Crowley’s.
Crowley stopped breathing for a moment. Oh, Aziraphale’s lips were soft, so much softer even than he’d imagined - and they were gentle, so gentle on his, as though he was some hallowed artifact, precious, breakable. Crowley melted into the kiss without restraint, without condition.
“I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long,” Aziraphale murmured.
Crowley laughed breathlessly and nuzzled his forehead into Aziraphale’s shoulder. His warm, round shoulder, covered now with fabric but promising velvet-soft skin beneath it, if Aziraphale would - if he would…
“You’re so sweet.” One of Aziraphale’s hands was on the back of Crowley’s neck, not pulling him closer, but keeping him steady. The other one curled slowly, gently around Crowley’s back.
“Sweet?” Crowley laughed again.
Aziraphale pressed kisses to Crowley’s eyelids, to his temples, to his hair. “Yes, dearest. Yes. So sweet.”
Crowley could think of no response to this, except to wrap his arms tight around Aziraphale’s waist - his great wonderful round waist, which gave under Crowley’s touch, which sank beneath his hands like an embrace all its own - and let himself be kissed again and again and again. Six thousand years and they’d never - not even once - too afraid, too stupidly afraid to give in to what they so desperately wanted -
“Aziraphale,” Crowley breathed. “Aziraphale. I love you.”
The first time he’d said the words, at least out loud. At least explicitly. He’d been saying them with his eyes and his gestures and his actions since time began, but that was another story.
“I love you too,” said Aziraphale, freely, and as though he’d been waiting for just as long an eternity.
Crowley pulled back. His heart was going faster and faster, and Aziraphale’s chest was soft as he pressed into it, and he couldn’t help himself. The aching for closeness came close to overwhelming him. He fiddled with the first button of Aziraphale’s waistcoat. “D’you mind if…”
Aziraphale looked down, then back up at Crowley - and his dimples were on full display again around his radiant smile.
“Oh,” he said, “I thought you wouldn’t ask.”
He reached up to tug apart his bowtie, but Crowley caught his hand gently before it reached his neck. He pressed a slow kiss to Aziraphale’s palm. “Could I do it? Would you let me…”
Aziraphale used the hand Crowley had kissed to stroke Crowley’s cheek. “Go ahead, darling.”
Crowley’s eyes turned down from Aziraphale’s, at last. His focus fixed on the bowtie, and he undid it with slightly-trembling fingers. He unhooked the top button from Aziraphale’s button-down shirt, and - ah, yes - there was the start of Aziraphale’s soft chest, a bit of white hair peeking out. For a moment Crowley simply stared, thinking he’d be content to look at Aziraphale’s throat for the rest of time, not even touching it.
He was brought back to himself when Aziraphale ran a hand through his hair again.
“Feeling all right, my dear boy?”
Crowley kissed Aziraphale, just as softly, just as gently as Aziraphale had kissed him. Cupping his face for a moment, relishing the feeling, before he returned to work. He opened the other buttons one by one, slowly unwrapping Aziraphale’s waistcoat to get at the soft cotton beneath, peeling away the shirt.
Oh, there was Aziraphale’s belly - wide and round and deliciously inviting, all that pleasant softness, the placid, warm skin of him. Crowley breathed out all at once. His exhale held.
“Crowley?” Aziraphale bit his lip. Crowley pushed his sleeves down his arms, and now Aziraphale was naked from the waist up; Crowley wanted nothing more than to wrap himself in Aziraphale, to snuggle deep into that belly and never emerge.
“Angel,” Crowley said hoarsely. “You’re - God. You’re so beautiful.”
Aziraphale’s mouth pulled a little farther into a frown. Crowley put his hands gently around Aziraphale’s waist again, and, kneeling just as Aziraphale had downstairs, kissed Aziraphale’s belly, a loving, lingering kiss.
“Oh, dear.” Aziraphale giggled. “That tickles.”
Crowley kissed him again, a little farther up, then again more to the side. Oh, it was glorious, his face buried in the world’s softest, sweetest pillow, angelic warm skin against his mouth, his cheeks as he laid his head down on it. The little shakes of Aziraphale’s laughter only made his belly warmer.
“So beautiful,” Crowley murmured again. “So beautiful.”
“So kind,” Aziraphale mused.
Crowley brought Aziraphale’s hands in and kissed his palms. The palms were just smaller versions of his stomach, nearly as soft and yielding, nearly as intoxicating, when offered to Crowley. He kissed them, and kissed them, and then finally buried his forehead in Aziraphale and squeezed his eyes shut, hardly feeling able to take more.
Then Aziraphale’s round, clever fingers were suddenly at his throat, on his chest, unwrapping him from his own shirt, jacket already discarded.
“Nngh,” said Crowley, against his will.
“Is this all right?” Aziraphale’s fingers explored Crowley’s bare chest, warm and tender, feeling for his heartbeat, hand gently pressing it when it was found. As though he wanted to feel Crowley’s heart pumping through his fingers.
“Yeah,” Crowley said. “Yeah, that’s - that’s nice, angel.”
Aziraphale removed his shirt the rest of the way, continuing his touching, still caressing his cheek and pressing kisses to his cheekbones. Crowley kept his hands, as they were, around Aziraphale’s waist.
“Oh, Crowley,” Aziraphale said, and his voice was nearly mournful.
Crowley looked up. “What?”
“I love you so.” Aziraphale kissed his forehead, and from the contact spread webs of ever-increasing warmth through his body. “We could have had so much time, if we hadn’t wasted it, if we hadn’t been so afraid.”
“Doesn’t matter.” Crowley hugged Aziraphale close again, forehead on Aziraphale’s belly. “We have eternity ahead of us too.”
Crowley would never know how it had taken them this long, how he could have gone six thousand years without this, but it had been worth it. He’d have taken six thousand more years of waiting just for this.
They stayed there for a long time, Crowley breathing in the smell of Aziraphale - dust and old books and tea, somehow the most wonderful combination he’d ever known, every breath of him telling his mind you’re safe now, you’re free, this is yours. All this beauty is yours. An overwhelming thing.
Finally he stood, still slightly dazed. Aziraphale helped him into bed, and they burrowed under the sheets together. Aziraphale pulled Crowley’s back against his chest - oh, that blissfully soft chest, which smoothed out the angles of him, which enveloped him in tender warmth. Aziraphale’s hands were still twined through with his. His round soft fingers. How long had Crowley wanted them? How long had he desired only this?
“Thank you,” Crowley breathed, pressing a final kiss to Aziraphale’s knuckles. He was drifting toward sleep now.
“My dearest Crowley.” Aziraphale squeezed him. “I’d like to do this with you every night.”
This time they both laughed together. It was impossible to tell who began it; they were pressed so close that their laughters echoed through each other’s chests. Here in this moment they were one.