Crowley loved thunderstorms, especially at sea, when Mother Nature would show off her real strength and the real threat she posed for little silly humans. On the roof, the dark, heavy clouds looked like an enraged ocean. He spread his wings, letting them feel the onslaught of the rain in all its glory, the long waves of his hair down his naked back almost straight and black, heavy with water. He howled at the hidden moon to overrule the frayed rumble of his soul. There were times during which he would like to beg God (Mother dearest, would you listen to me one last time?) to make him a snake for good just to get rid of his soul, that ugly, rotten weight between his lungs, the punishment he was inflicting on Aziraphale's shoulders, chipping his knees every day a bit more – he would collect the shreds in the morning and crush them under his teeth, as to beg for forgiveness.
“Here you are, my love. I looked for you everywhere.”
Aziraphale's voice came from eight thousand miles away, and Crowley turned around to meet his smile. Not even the thunders dared explode in front of him. “Here I am, my angel. Did you miss me?”
“As always, my own. Do come back inside, now, it can't be very comfortable.”
That usual welcoming, fond smile of his, inside of which Crowley wanted to drown. Aziraphale unfurled his wings and offered him shelter as he kissed him on the forehead. (again and again and again Aziraphale had been the only church he would not burn in. As many times as Crowley had saved him, Aziraphale had blessed him by just being the same throughout the millennia, the only fixed feature Crowley had had on Earth; you can look away, my love, I will change just when you're around) As much as I'd like to possess you on this roof this very moment, he said, a kiss away from his mouth as he caressed the sharp line of his hip bones, as your husband I have the responsibility to remind you that your human body is not made to be soaking wet. Nor your wings. “Speaking of which…” Aziraphale stroked his feathers, and Crowley shivered for the first time since he had climbed up to the roof, “it's been long since the last time, darling,” he said with the calm smile of a brand new dagger.
“I wasn't planning to fly away,” Crowley too smiled, kissing his wrist. “I could never.”
“Indeed you could not, my beauty, not without me.”
Crowley's body was warm and as soft as butter under the gentle afternoon sun. “I need you to remind me, angel,” he softly begged, his soul trembling, “Remind me I could not even breathe without you.”
“Have you forgotten, by any chance?”
A cunning curve of his lips against Aziraphale's pulse, his favourite music in the world. “Would you remind me if I did?”
“I think it would be my duty as your doting husband.”
“Remind me, then.”
Aziraphale took him in his arms, cocooned him with his wings as he miracled them inside. Their home was warm, green and cream and brown, an ad from one of those vintage magazines that pictured houses too perfect to be real - but it was, and it was theirs and only theirs. Aziraphale had chosen it for them and Crowley had fallen in love immediately, making it a comfortable nest for the both of them with pillows and blankets and framed art and pictures and well-behaved plants and flowers. Their home was a summer poem.
“Here we are, my heart, let's dry your poor feathers up,” Aziraphale said with a kiss on the cheek. “What a sweet little duckling you are.”
Crowley knelt in front of the fireplace, rest his head on Aziraphale's thighs, as his wonderful angel (lover, husband, master, owner) carded his finger through his sopping wet hair, drying it up strand by strand curling a fingertip around one at a time. Crowley happily purred, satisfied and content by simply existing near Aziraphale.
“Such a remarkable mane my darling has, so brilliant and fierce like he is,” he whispered. Crowley shivered again, the words so delicate they landed on his skin with the softest, tiniest sound; during storms, he would close his eyes to hear them, golden and silver echo vibrating around his head.
“Do you love me, angel? he asked, his voice melting on his legs, sure about his reply, but he liked to question him anyway. Aziraphale never got tired of telling him how much he loved him, and Crowley never got tired of hearing it.
“The Earth is not enough to contain all the love that has your name on it.”
“Do you own me?” he asked, purring as Aziraphale scratched his neck. Crowley arched his back, wiggling and humming. “Whom I belong to?”
“I own you from the finest of your hair to the tiniest of your bones,” Aziraphale smiled, little kisses on his head, “and I've owned you since our first meeting, maybe even before that.”
“I was born with your name inside my mouth, written all over my tongue, hidden until I would learn how to speak your language,” said Crowley in a dreamlike tone, fuzzy and cloudy and glittery pink, “until I would meet you. You're the master I had always ached for.”
He only called him master during days like the one he was living, heavy and sticky, drooling down his spine. He liked the weight of the title, but he liked owner most.
“I own you more than you own yourself.”
Crowley shivered, parched, as every word pushed him more into that beloved, hazy space n his head.
“I've owned myself just because I was waiting for you to seize my control, my ownership. I never wanted it.”
“I could carve my name all over your skin,” Aziraphale said, as sweet as cherries, as he caressed the black feathers of Crowley's wings, shiny and captivating, asking for it, “and you would thank me.”
“You could eat me whole, my angel, and I would weep with gratitude.”
The fire crinkled in the fireplace, nice and happy. He still did not like fire very much but, if Aziraphale was near him, he could hear its song. The rain was pounding against the windows, and he felt being lulled to sleep; but he did not want to sleep, he wanted to breathe Aziraphale until his lungs were choke-full of him.
When he wasn't naked, Crowley would walk around the house with a collar around his neck, a metal ring for the leash stored in the pocket of his jeans should Aziraphale want to take the reins of the day, and butter-soft leather straps around his calves. He needed not to shield himself from his husband.
“Were you on the roof to talk to the moon, love? I thought I heard your voice.”
“ I like her,” purred Crowley, his angel's hands delicately scratching behind his ears, “I think she's the best of Mother's creations.” He felt soft enough, safe enough to be calling God mother , something he would usually do only in the privacy of his own head; but he could show his sides now, he could be weak, even praised for that. Aziraphale loved him pliant, boneless, a being he could bend and shape to his satisfaction; Crowley consented to that every single minute.
“What were you telling her, pet?”
“That I love you. What else should I scream for the world to hear?”
“And?”, Aziraphale nudged him, drawing rose circles on his shoulder blades. “There was blood in your voice, not just your undying love. I could smell it”
Crowley waited. He liked the sound Aziraphale's nails made on his skin, and he focused on that. Aziraphale kissed his head, his scent as still as a statue, and just as heavy and beautiful. “I love you,” he said a few times with a voice of diamonds. The storm inside and outside fused into the same one.
“There's something trapped in my ribcage, its wings fluttering hysterically. My throat itches. I've been without you for too long.”
Crowley didn't look up - he was not sure he had permission to look at his master, plus he did not really want to, his lap more comfortable than his eyes.
“I went away for just one afternoon, my love,” Aziraphale said, sweet and understanding.
“Don't be cruel, angel,” Crowley pouted, “you know time stretches around me until it tries to snap my wrists. I have to protect myself against it, and my shield magnifies every loss I suffer.”
Aziraphale kissed the palm of his hand, lips trailing to his elbow. “My poor darling, my poor, poor darling,” he said, contrite, as he delicately took Crowley's chin in hand, sweetly forcing him to look up. “I should have taken you with me, I'm so sorry.”
“I have a leash for that specific purpose, angel.”
“I know, I gave it to you. I should put you in my pocket as a little snake.”
He brushed Crowley's lips with his thumb, and Crowley kissed it; Aziraphale pushed a bit, rest it on his tongue. Crowley's eyes, open wide, were fixed on him. Motionless in time and space, they listened to the storm subsiding, quieter.
“I wanted to go find you, this evening,” he said eventually when Aziraphale let his tongue go, “I wanted to spread my wings and look for you under bridges, between teacups. I itched to. Remind me I can't, remind me I can't fly alone, that I don't really want to. Please, master, please,” begged Crowley, his throat tightening. As the storm outside shrunk on itself, he felt his own roaring again, growing every fraction of second his master let pass. He gulped.
Aziraphale nodded and kissed his forehead. “Go get your scissors, my heart.”
Glad, euphoric, Crowley quickly obeyed, as happy as he always was during their ceremonies; he took the scissors from the little velvet box in his night-stand and scrambled back in the living room. He knelt as he offered them to his owner, head buzzing with giddiness. Aziraphale took the golden scissors with the grace of an emperor, and Crowley kissed his feet. Aziraphale had accepted him once again, his weeping, disgusting excuse for a soul resting safely in his hands.
“Present your wings, Crowley.”
Black as ancient ink, Crowley unfurled his wings around Aziraphale, back stretched and straight, his heart beating all around the room. Aziraphale stroked his feathers with careful, devoted fingers; he plucked one without a word, and Crowley did not even flinch.
“What a beauty,” Aziraphale sighed, and Crowley was not sure if he was talking about him or the feather. “Rest your head on my lap, love. Relax, or it will hurt.”
“Yes, angel,” Crowley said and complied, arms crossed under his cheek. He closed his eyes as Aziraphale started clipping his wings after a quick kiss on the head.
“Stubborn primaries,” Aziraphale scoffed, “always growing back. Your body is not nearly as obedient as you.”
The scissors were precise, clean, kind. They snipped his feathers with touching care, as Aziraphale had spent hours on books about wing clipping when Crowley asked for the first time to have something more memorable and permanent than just his collar – something like his snake tattoo, but just for them to see when Aziraphale would ask.
“I'm sorry, angel,” Crowley murmured, blissed-out, full of lukewarm honey, “I'll make it behave.”
“I don't really mind, my love. They grow back so I can own you again and again.”
Snip, snip, snip. The wings were still in the air, unlike the first times they would do this. (it had been hard for Crowley, the very first time; as much as he wanted to, being the one who had proposed it, he was afraid it would hurt too much, or it would be too much of a leap of faith. He did not have faith in anything but Aziraphale and still, he wanted to cry. It did hurt a lot, but when he cried it was not about the pain, but for the incomprehensible blessing roaring in his ears.) Now-useless feathers danced around them and Crowley closed his eyes. “I love you, angel.”
“I love you too, my perfect darling.”
His wings itched just a bit but in a good way. He could not use them for a long time, and he would not want to. The rain was sweet against the windows, finally calm after an afternoon of rage. Crowley felt underwater, his breath in little whimsical bubbles.
“I'd like to go for a little holiday to Dublin, love. How do you feel about it?”, asked Aziraphale softly. He always proposed a vacation after the ceremony, Crowley safe and sound in his arms as they flew over trees and parks and silly human worries.
“Dublin's fine, master. I'd love to.”
Crowley sighed, lost in the dream that was his life now, sated, his heart motionless and waiting for permission to beat again. He was at home, and he did not need anything else.