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Valentine's Day Strudel

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"Hi, Angel," Crowley says. He's pressing the phone to his ear with his shoulder because his hands are cowered in flower. There's a cigarette sticking from the corner of his mouth, which makes him sound - and feel - like a person who really isn't cut out for baking. Which is true, except for the 'person' part. "Yes. Listen, what are you doing this Tuesday?"

"Oh, you know, feeding the hungry, blessing the damned, making people happy - the usual," Aziraphale says, obviously distracted, probably still having most of his attention on the book he's undeniably reading. Crowley smiles.

"You mean scare people away and read," he says with a sly grin.

"You know me so well," the angel says, and Crowley can hear the eyeroll in his tone. He chuckles, wiping his palms on the apron (he wouldn't risk ruining his shirt for this) and taking the phone in his hand.

"Good." He leans back on the counter, crossing his legs, and takes the cigarette from his mouth. "D'you mind if I pop by at, say, 6? I have something for you."

"Feel free," Aziraphale says. "Do you want something in exchange for whatever you've got there?"

"A bottle of wine would be great. Crowley looks at the abomination behind him, considering what would go well with that. It's pretty hard to tell - he hasn't tried it yet, but it looks like it's going to be one of those things that are awful on the eyes but taste surprisingly decent. He decides to take a chance: "Your choice, I'm not picky this week."

"Splendid," the angel says, his tone perfectly British - he says a good thing, but it sounds like he's just witnessed a cockroach fall into his cup of tea. He doesn't really like to pick things for both of them, because Crowley is usually unimpressed and bitter about his choice. The demon honestly has no idea how Aziraphale still hasn't figured out that he does it just for show.

"Great," he extinguishes the cigarette on the counter and flicks it into the bin. "See you then."

"Have a nice day," Aziraphale smiles. It sounds a lot more genuine now.

"Have an awful one," Crowley smiles back. He doesn't sound nearly menasing enough for it to actually mean anything. "Bye."

He hangs up and puts the phone in the back pocket of his jeans that he's been wearing at home only for about four decades now. He then turns back to the counter with an uncooked strudel lying there. It looks judgmental.

"Don't," Crowley huffs. "You may not turn out pretty, but you'll have a lot of inner beauty to you."

He then resumes his attempts to make it look a bit more edible still.

 

____

 

"Hi, Angel," Crowley says. There's a box in his hand, a bouquet of yellow roses behind his back and a genuine smile on his face that Aziraphale is trying to match, but doesn't quite succeed. He looks more disoriented and surprised than happy to see a friend, so Crowley sighs. "It's Tuesday. You said I could pop by."

"Oh. Oh, bother. Is it already?" The angel mutters, stepping aside to let the guest in. "I thought it's Friday today."

"I don't suppose you have wine then," - Crowley says, loud enough to be heard while heading straight to the back room of the bookshop. It's not like he's annoyed - this isn't the first time things don't go as planned with the angel, and he's long decided to just go with the flow in these cases, so he just puts the box and the flowers on the table and puts the kettle on.

"I'm sorry, dear," Aziraphale says, stopping in the doorway, his whole being looking apologetic. His eyes widen a little when he sees the flowers. "Did you have something special in mind?"

"Nothing too special," the demon shrugs. He picks the bouquet up and unties the string holding the roses together. "Do you have a vase or something?"

The angel blinks at him.

"I'll see what I can find," he says, his tone unsure, and walks out the room and towards the stairs that lead to the small apartment on top of the shop.

"Bring the glasses too," Crowley says loudly in a minute.

He busies himself by cutting the rose stalks in order to make the process of absorbing water easier for them.

Aziraphale comes back in a minute, holding five empty bottles of wine in his hands.

"I don't have anything better," he says apologetically, "but you can put three to four roses in each, if you cut the... oh, you've already done it, good. Should I miracle a vase, or..?"

"Nah, it's good, thanks," Crowley takes the bottles. "Miracle some wine instead, will you? And some ice cream, I forgot to buy it on the way here."

"Nothing special you say," Aziraphale smiles cheekily, but does as he's told anyway. "I can't even remember when was the last time you've had ice cream in my presence, dearest, what's changed?"

"You became interested in my personal food tastes, among other things, apparently," Crowley replies, eyes fixed on his fingers trying to shove the third rose stalk into the bottle. "It's also the Valentine's today, so I decided to try new things."

"Oh, is it fourteenth today?" Aziraphale's eyebrows shoot up in surprise. "I'm so lost in time these days, honestly, it's alarming." He goes to the cupboard and takes out some plates and spoons to busy himself while Crowley is trying to find aesthetically pleasing spots to put the rose bottles in. "You remember Valentine, right? The old bugger was never one for trying new things."

"It's as good a reason as any," Crowley shrugs, placing the last bottle on a pile of books in the corner.

He turns to face Aziraphale, who's already sat at the table. The wine is already in the glasses, the ice cream's on the plates, the box is sitting in the center of the table, and the angel is looking at him expectantly.

Crowley takes a deep breath (not too deep so he's not suspicious) and comes closer. He opens the box.

"Oh," Aziraphale says. It's a very special kind of 'oh' - he stares at the thing in front of him first, for about a second or so, and then there's an 'oh'. If the "what would grandma find disturbing yet oddly charming" card in the Cards Against Humanity had a sound, that would be it.

Crowley fights down the smile that's creeping up his face.

"Is something wrong?"

"No," Aziraphale says, blinking rapidly, "no, of course not, it's just..."

"Beautiful," Crowley supplies.

"...Yes," the angel says, again slowly. "You didn't miracle it, did you."

It's not even a question, but Crowley still tries to look offended.

"Nor did you buy it," the angel says. He's looking at the demon like he's a time bomb waiting to explode the moment he says something wrong. It's priceless.

"Of course not." Crowley says, looking even more offended. "Where would I find such a masterpiece?"

Aziraphale looks back at the strudel in front of him.

"It's special," he says.

Crowley decides that it's enough and bursts out laughing. He sits down and miracles a knife into existence.

"Oh thank Heavens," Aziraphale exhales. "I thought you went completely insane for a moment."

"Wouldn't want to have the only other immortal being on this planet holding a grudge against you over a strudel, ey," Crowley chuckles, cutting down the said thing and placing the respective halves on their plates.

"Oh, so that's what it is!"

"Shut up," Crowley huffs.

They both try it, and while they do, the demon makes the lighting slightly dimmer. The angel doesn't notice.

"Crowley," Aziraphale says after a couple of seconds of chewing and looking puzzled. "Did you make this?"

The demon shrugs, spooning the ice cream absentmindedly.

"Had a couple of hours free."

Aziraphale's eyes shoot up, his gaze intense. There's a really weird look on his face that Crowley doesn't recognize and therefore doesn't like.

"What?" He asks sharply, anger being his natural response to fear.

"This is made with a great deal of love," Aziraphale says. "Are you feeling alright?" He's worried. Crowley relaxes a little - that's not new, he can deal with that.

"Yes, about that," he clears his throat. "We may have a problem. I have no idea how to tell you this, but Valentine, the old bugger, would be happy if I did it in a romantic fashion, and considering it's his day today, here I go." He takes in a breath, looks up like he can actually ask God for some strength, and makes himself speak as smoothly as he can: "I may feel... different about you. Since the Apocalypse thing."

There's a pause. The angel stares at him.

"You mean you love me," Aziraphale's tone is blank.

"I mean I hate you," Crowley sighs and leans back in his chair, looking slightly exasperated and tired at the same time. "I hate you very much because yes, I fell for you, and that may be the stupidest thing I've ever done that includes falling, which says a lot. You frustrate me. You make me feel dependent, and afraid, and I have no idea what to do with this, but I don't like it. Still, we have to be in touch, because I don't befriend humans and you'll be buried under a pile of dust if I don't make you go out once in a while, so. We have a problem. Now help me, or I'll have to stop talking to you until it goes away on its own."

Crowley takes his glass and drinks his wine in one gulp. Then he refills it and drinks that too. All the while Aziraphale stares at the strudel, stunned.

"Thank you for telling me," he says after a minute. "We'll figure something out."

"I do trust you, Angel, this love thing doesn't work otherwise," Crowley huffs. "So. Any ideas?"

Aziraphale thinks, poking at his melting ice-cream with a fork.

"What if it doesn't have to go away?" he says after a pause. Crowley looks up at him, suspicious. "Everything you've just listed - those are the symptoms of you trying to hold back. What if- what if you'd just let yourself do what you want?"

Crowley looks away. He tries to imagine what exactly it is that he wants to do - and shakes his head.

"No, angel, you wouldn't like that," he says, careful to keep the sadness from his voice.

"Since when are you an expert in my wishes, my dear?"

Crowley chuckles and looks up. What he sees makes his smile drop.

Aziraphale is sitting very still, looking down at his plate. He doesn't look amused, or flirty, he looks... Crowley squints. His cheeks are a lot pinker than usual, so it's not just thoughtfulness, he looks... flustered.

"Oh," the demon says. It's a very different kind of 'oh'.

In the past couple of months he hasn't even thought about this being a two-way thing. It's not angelic in the slightest of Aziraphale to want this - but then again, it's not exactly demonic to love somebody either. If they ended up together, it would be so wrong, by all means, yet so very right by slightly higher, ineffable standards, that it makes perfect sense. Good and Evil together, so Wrong yet so Right.

Crowley chuckles, because it's so simple that it's somehow funny - they could be in very deep trouble, yet it could be the best thing that's ever happened to them.

"What?" Aziraphale asks, and the demon just waves him off.

"It's nothing. I just feel a lot lighter is all." He stands up and steps around the table to approach the angel. "We're going to talk about this more, but for now - are you sure about this?"

"Only one way to find out," Aziraphale shrugs. He takes a sip of his wine and stands up as well.

And then they're kissing, Crowley somehow ending up with his butt on the table and his ankles crossed behind the angels' thighs. Apparently the angel isn't just sure - he's very much eager.

It feels hellishly divine. It's perfect.

--

From that night Crowley remembers very little. He remembers feeling like he's floating and like there's a literal torch blazing near his heart, making it impossibly warm and comfortable. He remembers feeling surprised that he couldn't control his moans when Aziraphale positioned his thigh between his legs just right and pushed. He remembers the angel whispering something that closely resembled the phrase "I've loved you since the forties, it's about time you caught up", which made him laugh into Aziraphale's shoulder while the angel nipped at his neck and opened his shirt. He remembers asking for more. And more. And more. He might have begged once. He vaguely recalls trying to go up the stairs to Aziraphale's apartment and stumbling over his own feet and laughing again. And from there it's just a constant stream of hotness, kisses, wetness, making love - Crowley couldn't have possibly called it anything else, since an very loving angel was involved - and also falling apart just to be held and put back together piece by piece.

__

 

The next morning they're both enjoying the afterglow - the sixth, if you don't count the first one, which was ruined by Crowley finding out that his jacket was stained by the wine from the bottle they knocked over in the process.

"I suppose we owe Valentine a chocolate cake or something," Crowley says absentmindedly, while the angel gently strokes his hair.

"Funnily enough, he didn't really like sweet things, I don't think," Aziraphale replies in the same, peacefully blank, tone. "Or was it St. Nickolas?"

"Would be much funnier if both of them didn't like presents," the demon chuckles quietly. He turns his head and looks at Aziraphale. "So... can I do this anytime I want now?"

"Well not in public you can't," the angel huffs out, looking a bit scandalized. "But other than that - you can do this anytime we both want to, yes."

"Sounds great," Crowley smiles. He leans in and places a gentle kiss to the angel's lips. "Any chance you'd reconsider the public thing?"

Aziraphale groans and rolls away from him. Crowley's still chuckling when the angel gets out of the bed and goes to the bathroom.

When Aziraphale comes out of the shower ten minutes later, Crowley steals a kiss from him, already dressed and with hands full of flour.

"Hi, angel," he says. "I'm making you breakfast."

Aziraphale tries to look frightened at the prospect.

Crowley kisses him again.