Well, thought Crowley, this is a problem.
Things had been going so well, too. They’d spent the night schooling each other on what to expect from their respective sides and how to ‘pass,’ angel for demon. After six thousand years of close association, they could mimic each other’s mannerisms to perfection (even if Crowley’s hips, and Aziraphale’s wriggle, took a bit of getting used to). By eight in the morning, they felt more than ready to take the show on the road. But that’s when things went a little pear-shaped, as it were.
For one thing, the bookshop had unburnt itself, with a little help from Adam. That was perfectly wonderful news for Aziraphale, but it also meant Crowley had to inhabit it until Heaven and Hell made their respective moves. He liked the bookshop ok—liked it better with Aziraphale in it—but after passing a whole day there he’d run out of things to keep his mind off impending-trial-by-fire-fucking-Gabriel and just wanted to get some sleep.
And that was going to be tricky. Oh, it wasn’t for lack of creature comforts. Crowley let his eyes wander over the upstairs apartment, its quaint little book nook with tartan quilt and lambskin slippers (faux; Crowley checked). There was a bedroom, too, snugged away under the eaves and a gently slanting roofline. And a bed. A nice one: small but serviceable and firm and with plenty of pillows. Crowley was sitting on it, just then, imagining how nice it would be to slide his bare skin into the hollow that usually held his angel. But then he caught sight of himself in the mirror opposite. The shock was slightly embarrassing; his heart fluttered, breath catching in his throat at those clear blue eyes. He’d forgotten for a moment that they were blinking out of his own head, and that he’d not just been caught sneaking into that intimate apartment of his…
Gulp. Crowley let out a long slow breath and spread his fingers on knees that were much more soft and pliant than usual. Curves. All over. He let his hands run up and down the waistcoat, feeling the soft magic of flesh underneath. Aziraphale’s body under there. Naked. The sound that best fitted the situation presently was a combination of hrkle and ngk but those were Crowley throat noises, so it came out “Oh dear me” instead. How was he supposed to undress? What would Aziraphale think? Crowley’s eyes darted to the Bakelite rotary phone next to the bed. Should he ask for… permission?
Back in the Mayfair flat, Aziraphale tried the sofa. It had to be the most uncomfortable piece of furniture he’d ever had the misfortune of sitting upon. And the desk…throne…wasn’t any better. He slid to his feet (was getting pretty good at that, the sliding) and headed for the kitchen. He knew already that Crowley didn’t have a single decent sachet of tea anywhere, but there was plenty of whiskey and frankly, it had been a day. Anyway, Crowley’s body did very well on alcohol, didn’t it?
It took a moment to locate suitable glassware; Crowley thoughtfully kept two of everything—odd as he never really had company. Unless you counted last night. Almost as if he were planning to eventually have Aziraphale over and just hadn’t quite managed. Aziraphale pursed his lips at the thought, and bit his cheek with unexpectedly sharp canines. He teased the place with his tongue. Crowley’s tongue.
Ah. Better not think of that. He poured whiskey over ice and gave the glass a swirl with Crowley’s supple wrist. Better not think of that either, he thought. Just find a nice place to sit and have a read. Crowley surely had books somewhere or other.
Crowley did have books. A surprising variety, too, from astronomy to botany to a rather comprehensive Art of Making Crepes. Wonder what that was doing there? It’s not as though Crowley liked crepes... Aziraphale cleared his throat and moved on rather quickly, only to arrive in a selection of romance novels. He would have those, of course, being a tempter and all that. Aziraphale’s fingertips lingered on the spines; certainly wouldn’t hurt to discover what sort of romance reading? Research into genre and theme? He picked one that had a rather period look to it; Victorian. The cover showed a bright blond heroine with a great number of curves, and a dark brooding hero in high collar and top hat...and goodness didn’t they look oddly familiar? Maybe he’d seen it before somewhere. Now he just needed to locate a reasonable place to sit down.
The trouble was, the only comfortable room in the entire apartment was Crowley’s bedroom. Aziraphale had seen it on his brief tour the night previous, just a glimpse. Now he swept his eyes indulgently along the thick sheepskin rug (faux; Aziraphale checked), the enormous King mattress and its Egyptian-thread sheets, and heavy light-blocking curtains in luminous silver. The walls were a different color here, too. Cool plum, like a summer night, complete with the faintest scent of lavender in the air. Aziraphale breathed deeply; it was just so inviting. He swallowed his whiskey in a gulp and set the book aside. He was being Crowley. He might as well sleep like him, too. And wouldn’t those sheets feel cool and slippery against his thighs…
Hrkle, Aziraphale said. Followed by ngk. He sat upon the very edge of the mattress, felt the way it gave against Crowley’s much lighter weight. All hips and spine. Aziraphale flexed his fingers, watching the way the joints bent—the way skin slipped over knuckle bone. He wasn’t sure if it was a glitch or a feature of Crowley’s anatomy, but he suddenly felt very extra warm all over, and a prickle of electricity in his gut. Should he undress at all? It seemed a complete lapse of decorum to just look without asking. Perhaps he could call Crowley? Whatever had he done with that flat little phone of his...?
The phone was ringing. And it kept ringing. Crowley hung up on his own answering machine twice, and wiped perspiration from where it was dampening the curls of Aziraphale’s forehead. What are you doing, you great foolish git, he thought to himself. But he dialed a third time anyway. And this time Aziraphale picked up on the second ring.
“O! Crowley, so sorry—you know I’ve been chasing the rings to find your phone, and I was afraid you wouldn’t call back!”
“To find...? Where was it?”
“Under the sofa. It’s so tiny, how do you keep track of it all the time?” Aziraphale had switched to speaking in his own voice again—which was oddly discomfiting since Crowley was using it, too. You couldn’t have two Aziraphale’s on one phone conversation, so Crowley miracled his own voice to reply.
“R-right. Um. I was just—” Crowley squeezed the bridge of Aziraphale’s nose. I just want to take your clothes off did not sound right at all. “I’m in your bedroom, see—”
“And I am in yours,” Aziraphale agreed and Crowley dropped the receiver. “Crowley? Are you there?”
“Yes, sorry. You’re where?” he said, untangling the phone cord.
“Well. I am lying on your bed. Which is very nice. Also, I had whiskey.”
Crowley only heard the first part.
“On my bed.”
“Is that all right?”
“Ye-yesss, it’s all right. ‘Course,” Crowley blinked. “You didn’t…eh, did you take my clothes off?”
There was a long pause, and in that pause Crowley felt a sudden rush of sensation from his feet through his shoulder blades. He could hear Aziraphale breathing. Soft. Steady.
“Not without your permission, Crowley,” he said at last. Crowley squeezed his eyes shut and rested the receiver against his own forehead, because he could see it, the soft way Aziraphale would speak something so intimate, so sweet, so—him. He bit his lip; if his angel could be so brave, he could be a little less of a coward himself.
“Aziraphale? I was calling to ask you for yours,” he whispered, knowing it sounded ragged and maybe a little desperate. “For your permission, I mean.”
“To undress me?”
“Yes. I’m sorry—”
“No, don’t—don’t do that, Crowley. Don’t say you’re sorry,” Aziraphale said urgently. “You, you aren’t, are you?” There was a touch of doubt, a touch of something like the fear of rejection.
“I am not sorry for wanting, no. But I can be sorry if you want me to be,” Crowley banged the receiver against his forehead, TALK BETTER! “What I mean is, ah, well the thing is--”
“You have seen me nude before,” Aziraphale tutted. “Rome I think? The baths--”
“I didn’t undress you, then, angel.” Crowley said, his voice hoarse. “And I wasn’t in your bedroom,” --and I wasn’t aching in your skin, wanting you, surrounded by every sinew like an embrace and not being able to do a damn thing about it except--
“I think I’d like that,” Aziraphale said, quiet and breathy, a slight gasp in the throat. “The, um, the undressing part.”
Crowley shivered slightly, though the angel’s body was always always warm. Then he cradled the phone against his chin.
“Do you want to undress together, angel?” he asked.
Aziraphale gulped, a slow swallow that snaked its way down to his abdomen. He did want to. He really did.
“Where should I—we—begin the process?” he asked, aware that his voice kept chirping too high. He heard Crowley’s fond laugh on the other end.
“You have a lot of buttons,” he said. “So I better have a head start.”
Aziraphale felt the electric charge again and wet his lips.
“Can you tell me? What you are doing?” he asked. Crowley went quiet a moment, then his voice hissed soft in Aziraphale’s ear.
“I am sliding out of your coat, angel. And now I’m getting through the waistcoat buttons. Carefully, I promise.”
Carefully. Aziraphale took a shuddering breath. Then he shrugged Crowley’s black hand-stitched jacket over his shoulders, feeling it slide against long arms.
“I’ve removed the waistcoat, Aziraphale. And your tie. And now—now I am unbuttoning your shirt. One by one.” A pause, and Aziraphale imagined Crowley had pulled it free of his waistband, exposing his vest, and the pink stripe of belly above his trousers. “Tell me angel. Tell me what you are doing.”
Aziraphale pressed the ‘speaker’ button and set the phone down on Crowley’s sheets. Then he slipped his fingers just beneath the hem of Crowley’s shirt.
“Your shirt is—thin. And your ribs are so, oh. My.”
“I can feel you under my fingers, Crowley. And I’m sliding your shirt up. Oh, heavens. You are, you are so very lovely.” Aziraphale pushed the shirt over his head and turned to face his reflection in the closet mirror. The beautiful arch of Crowley’s back, the thin angles of shoulder and rib, like steel bands but pliable—and Crowley’s face, peering over one shoulder at wonderful bare flesh. “I see you. Can you see me?”
“Yes, angel,” Crowley’s voice sounded choked. “I see your arms, and your chest. Your white curls. Dimples, at your elbows. God—or—well, God. You’re perfect.”
Aziraphale cast his eyes down at the pale skin, freckled here and there. He had just wanted to be comfortable, just wanted guidance and permission to slide naked under the sheets. But he didn’t want to hide this body just yet. His own, yes, so familiar and uninteresting. He never paid it much mind. Crowley’s though, was new, new like the Garden and so very lovely.
“Crowley? Can I touch you?” he asked in wonder, fingers hovering just over an areola, a ring of pigment circling the nipples, soft and brown.
“Pleasssse,” Crowley hissed through the phone. Aziraphale grazed the nipple with one of Crowley’s fingernails, and sucked a breath as the skin puckered and hardened to an erect peak. He’d never known that to happen before, not in his own skin.
“Oh—oh, dear,” he gulped. What would happen if Crowley did that to his body? Would his own nipples, wider and softer and pale pink, respond the same? “Crowley, will you touch me, too?”
Crowley’s legs had gone to water and he sunk into Aziraphale’s mattress with the phone receiver still tucked beneath his chin. Yes, of course yes, always yes… He flattened his palms greedily to Aziraphale’s sides, then slid them up to the pleasant round of his stomach.
“I’m tracing circles on you,” Crowley breathed into the phone. “With my fingertips.”
“And my nipples?”
“Patience, angel.” Crowley propped himself upon the pillows so he could watch, and then slid his fingers just to the ridge of Aziraphale’s more ample chest. “I’m curling my fingers into your curls. And your creases.” Aziraphale’s breath hitched on the other end, and Crowley moved from between the swellings to rest just at the pale-dark edge of areola. “Now, angel?”
“Yes, oh yes,” Aziraphale gasped, and Crowley pinched them both and moaned. They grew firm, but not like his own, cut-glass sharp. The sensation rolled through his chest.
“It’s good, angel. You are so good,” he said huskily. Crowley gripped the flesh in handfuls, felt the warm way it filled his palm and he wanted more—he wanted beneath the trousers that pressed against an unmistakable erection. Could he ask for that, though? “Angel, can I...”
“Crowley your belt is a snake. How does it come off?” Aziraphale grunted, and Crowley swallowed a laugh because now was not the time to make jokes about who was faster than whom.
“SSsssslide it, there’s a catch under the head,” he said, simultaneously unthreading Aziraphale’s belt and slipping it from the hoops. “Did you get it?”
“Yes, right as rain,” Aziraphale said, and Crowley could hear the whisper of fabric as he maneuvered on the sheets. He could just see Aziraphale there, head tilted back against a bank of feather pillows, legs spread—Azirphale in Crowley’s private spaces. “I have the buttons undone now, too. Do you?”
“Yesss,” Crowley said, though in fact he’d waited on his angel. In another moment, he’d wriggled out of the trousers, harder to do with Aziraphale’s more ample frame, and lay back on the bedspread in only Azriaphale’s shorts. Not plaid, not tartan. Crowley murmured approving surprise at the pale lavender fabric, faintly striped in pinks.
“Oh. My. Crowley,” Aziraphale whispered. “You—weren’t wearing anything underneath.”
“Ah. Yeah. I often don’t.”
“But, I see you. Oh, I would have asked—”
“I want you to see me, angel,” Crowley croaked, his voice on the edge of disintegrating into broken syllables. “And. To touch me.”
“Oh Crowley!” Aziraphale’s fond enthusiasm was almost too much. “Do you want to touch me, too?”
Crowley closed his eyes. He envied Aziraphale a moment; to have gotten it over in a hurry was almost better. For he ached and wanted, and yet felt like a trespasser on hallowed ground all at once. He slid one finger beneath the waistband of Aziraphale’s shorts, felt the warm skin, damp with perspiration and desire.
“Oh, angel, may I hold you?” he asked, and it burned on his tongue. He heard Aziraphale encouraging him, heard him speaking about how he already had one hand on Crowley’s cock. But it sounded like murmurs far away, far from the unspeakable magnitude of everything he was about to do. Slowly, he reached fingers down, finding the aching throb of Aziraphale. It twitched at the touch, eager. Crowley’s warm fingers wrapped tightly round its heavy width, and Crowley wanted to see it. To see himself holding it, knowing he’d been granted the right -- been encouraged -- to do so..
“Are you touching me, Crowley?”
“Yesss.” Hands full of flesh, every squeeze sending a jolt through Crowley’s body—through Aziraphale’s body.
“Oh, Crowley. I’m moving my hand—you are so hard, I can’t help it,” Aziraphale panted. His words set fire to Crowley’s brain, hips rocking, hand squeezing around the head where dampness welled to the surface.
“Tell me, angel,” he gulped, “tell me what I feel like.”
Aziraphale lay with his legs spread wide, cool sheets on hot skin. He had taken all of Crowley’s clothes off, down to bare skin everywhere, bared feet, just bare. It was like hunger for the eyes, as though he could never ever see enough of Crowley like this—like this. He took his hands away from himself, a moment admiring the way Crowley’s cock curved up, dark and red-purple with want. He’d touched his own body before, but never had it responded the way Crowley now whispered over the line: you are shaking, trembling. Your cock is wet and throbbing, I feel it like fire. And now, he had his hands upon Crowley, and he’d never felt himself so undone, so greedy for seeing as well as feeling, so needful—and Crowley’s keening on the other end of the line made him throb hard, made his hips stutter against the bedsheets.
“You feel like liquid heat,” Aziraphale said brokenly thrusting against his hand. “Like electricity. Like—” another thrust, and another, the wet of pre-come making his fingers slick. “Crowley!”
“Not yet, angel,” Crowley panted. “Slow it—stroke it—I’m stroking you long, root to tip.”
Root to tip. Aziraphale felt a well of warmth pooling behind the wall of his abdomen. He’d never spoken of it that way, but the serpent of the garden would, wouldn’t he? Aziraphale did as he was bid, reaching down low, resting his fingers against the flesh just between Crowley’s shaft and anus. His whole body shivered at the touch, at the want. Then he stroked up, slowly, feeling Crowley’s every vein and irregularity, every smooth and rough patch of skin, until his thumb swiped at the head and its pearling liquid.
“Ahh—oh,” he whimpered.
“Again, angel,” Crowley begged through the line. Aziraphale repeated, this time letting his fingers linger against the tight ring of muscle. There was want there, too. A little pressure—“Oh, Crowley, your—your hinterland!”
“My what? Oh. Oh.” Crowley moaned, breathing hard. “You mean there.”
“I’m sorry, I just—it’s so close and—”
“Do you want to?” Crowley asked.
“We have two hands,” Aziraphale said, knowing how filthily un-angelic it sounded and not caring a farthing.
Crowley’s mind may have exploded. He had wrenched off Aziraphale’s remaining clothing, and now lay in a heap against the quilt, one hand wrapped firmly around his cock and the other squeezing and caressing every other bit of Aziraphale he could reach. Now—he was going there. Because Aziraphale had got there first. And he shivered almost to climax at the thought. Steady, steady, he begged himself. Crowely flipped over onto knees and elbows, then he snugged the phone receiver into the pillows next his chin.
“Angel, I am touching you,” he said, slicking his finger and gently palpating the tender ring of skin.
“Yes, yes—please. How are you touching me?” Aziraphale begged. Crowley slowly slid the tip of his finger inside, a guttural moan escaping his throat that sounded more like Aziraphale than himself, and which drove him almost mad with delight.
“I am inside you,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady. “Oh, angel, you feel so wonderful—you feel—”
“Two fingers?” Aziraphale asked, voice breaking. “Oh, because—oh, I have already and—you are so very tight!”
Crowley buried his face in a pillow to keep from crying out. If Aziraphale kept this up he’d go off before his time.
“Yes, angel. I have you. I’m pressing into you,” he stuttered, because he was pressing, in and out, while stroking Aziraphale’s erect cock and thinking about what that would feel like inside. He rocked back against his own fingers, and pulled harder, until his strokes and thrusts synced in time.
“And I have you, oh Crowley—I can’t last like this, I can’t—Oh I wish you were here, I wish—I want—”
I wish you were here.
“AZIRAPHALE!” Crowley cried out first, coming into his hands and stroking himself through every last hitch and jerk of his hips. He heard Aziraphale next, a shattered sound, and it was the most gorgeous thing he’d ever heard.
Crowley lay quiet, eyes closed to the black red pulse of his own heartbeat. He could hear himself breathing, hear Aziraphale breathing back. At last, he looked down over Aziraphale’s sweat-soaked body, round and flushed pink, his softening erection and the paint of his spend on soft, wide thighs.
“You are beautiful, angel. And I love you. You know, don’t you?” he asked, voice grounding out like gravel under tires.
“I do know. And I love you, too, Crowley,” Aziraphale said, just as naturally as if he’d been saying it all along. “You are beautiful. And much too thin, and I am going to feed you properly. And buy you a sofa worth sitting on.”
Crowley snickered into the pillows and raised a dizzy head. He could miracle himself tidy in a moment, but for now he just peered across the room at the distant mirror and smiled.
“Oh, angel,” he said. “I promise to let you.”
“Do you think we might sleep now, dearest?” Aziraphale asked, his voice sliding back into Crowley’s natural drawl. Crowley straightened himself, and schooled his own reply to be as sharply in character.
“Certainly. Tickety boo.” Perhaps in the morning, he’d buy Aziraphale an ice cream in St. James Park. But for now, he simply snapped away the mess he’d made and burrowed into the soft flannel sheets. He was asleep in moments, head clouded with the heavy, safe scent of Aziraphale, everywhere Aziraphale.
And back in his flat, his angel had done the very same.