“You go too fast for me, Crowley.”
You go too fast for me, Crowley.
You go too fast for me, Crowley.
You go too fast for me, Crowley.
Those seven words were burning in Crowley’s ears, a non-stop echo in his head. The - his - the angel had closed the Bentley’s door behind him twenty-eight minutes ago now, and Crowley still hadn’t moved. He had initially started to put his keys in the ignition (something he didn’t actually need to do to start his car, but human gestures were something to do with his hands while they were so empty and confused), but he had ended up dropping his hands to his lap and just sat staring straight ahead.
You go too fast for me, Crowley.
Too fast? How could he possibly go slower? He’d been taking his time, giving his - no, the, the , bless it, he really needed to stop self-flagellating with possessives - the angel space; there was barely a flirtation exchanged, and he had certainly not tried tempting the angel in the direction he’d have liked to take things. As much as he wanted Aziraphale, Crowley had been working overtime to keep the feelings he had for his best friend carefully in check.
For almost six thousand years.
Going too fast? If Crowley were to go any slower, he’d end up travelling backward. He’d have to come up with something complicated and clever and miraculous to reverse the passage of time, take them back through the nineteenth century (best sleep he’d ever had), past the Middle Ages, and then land somewhere around the crucifixion and so they could get another go at the last two millennia.
He knew that was beyond his demonic abilities, really, but he found himself wishing he could get a do-over, figure out how to avoid those seven words that had sliced right through him.
You go too fast for me, Crowley.
Logically, Crowley knew that he’d probably been told to simply wait. That Aziraphale wasn’t saying “not ever” so much as “not now.” Which, on its own, was fine. It had to be. Crowley didn’t want Aziraphale a second before he was ready, tempter or not. All the same, “too fast,” like he’d been pushing or baiting him… Centuries of Crowley performing the grandest of grand gestures, and his simple attempt at thanks of Aziraphale’s own gesture had him feeling more alone, more like he was solitary in having these emotions, than he had in a long, long time.
And then there was the uncertainty. What if Aziraphale did mean “not ever?”
Crowley stared at his hands in his lap. “Hhhhhhhh,” he said, letting out something that was halfway between a hiss and a frustrated sigh. He somehow had forgotten how to move, let alone what he had meant to do. He had securely put the tartan flask of holy water away in the glove box, but beyond that, Aziraphale’s rejection had him frozen in place. He clenched and unclenched his fists, wishing he had something to lash out at or that he could sleep past the pain. But this wasn’t the nineteenth century anymore. There was too much change happening, Downstairs was actually reading his reports these days, as though something big was on its way in the next handful of decades. Slacking off for years at a stretch would certainly go noticed this time around.
Forcing his tense hands to the Bentley’s steering wheel, Crowley tried to clear his mind, to push Aziraphale to the side, to focus enough to at least decide where to drive.
You go too -
Crowley was shaken out of his pernicious trance by a sudden rapping at his window.
“Mister Crowley?” he heard, slightly muffled by the closed car window and the thrumming bass of the strip clubs he was parked in front of. He looked up. That strange young man - Witchfinder Some-Rank-Or-Other Shadwell was standing beside his car. Crowley rolled down his window.
“Corporal Shadwell?” he answered.
“Witchfinder Lance Corporal, please. I’m sorry tae bother you again so soon after our meeting. It’s just that the tube is down, and I was on my way back tae the club to phone a pal for a lift, but seein’ as yer still here…” Shadwell drifted off. “Ehm, are yeh all right?” he asked, suddenly noticing Crowley’s stiff, frozen posture.
“Fine, yeah,” he answered. “Go on, get in. I’ll give you a lift.” Crowley hesitated a moment before making the same offer he had less than an hour earlier, ready for someone to accept. “Anywhere you want to go.”
“That’s kind of yeh, Mister Crowley,” said Shadwell, and went around the front of the car to get in the passenger’s side. “Thanks.”
“Right,” said Crowley, brushing over the gratitude and the familiar four-letter word that had only been attributed to him by one other being, one he’d usually sneer at (without any real heat in it) for doing so. “Where to?”
“Well technically, I’m without a personal residence at the moment, but I’m mindin’ the flat of a friend in Dagenham while he’s otherwise indisposed, so yeh can take me there,” said Shadwell.
“Right,” said Crowley, turning on the Bentley and pulling out of his parking space, privately grateful to have something to do and somewhere to go. He didn’t normally like having humans in his car, but right now, he was ready to take any chance to distract himself from the angel’s words.
As he drove, the first several minutes in an awkward silence, Crowley eventually cleared his throat.
“So… the Witchfinder Army…” Crowley started, desperate to break the quiet, “how’d you get into that?”
“Oh, the Witchfinder Army has a proud history going back centuries. It’s not somethin’ yeh ‘get intae’ so much as it is a calling, d’yeh ken what I mean?”
“Uh… sure,” said Crowley, instantly regretting the line of conversation he had chosen.
He was right to regret it. Shadwell spent the next several minutes chronicling the last few generations of Witchfinders, as well as ensuring that each current member of the Army was mentioned by name and accompanied with vague descriptions of their respective duties. Crowley did a lot of humming and nodding in feigned interest, half-listening mainly for an opportunity to change the subject. Listening just enough to keep another voice out of his head.
You go too fast for -
“And how about you, Mister Crowley?” Shadwell finally asked. “Breaking into a church, an’ all that cash tae hire a crack team? What’s yer story?”
Crowley took a hand off the wheel and waved it dismissively. “You don’t want to know about me.”
“‘Course I do,” said Shadwell. “Sure, it’s good to know what you can about the man you’re working for. That an’...” he trailed off.
“And what?” asked Crowley.
“Well,” said Shadwell with a bit of a shrug. “Guess it isnae a great chore tae spend a bit of time learning more about a man such as yersel’.”
Crowley raised an eyebrow and reached out with his mind, nudging at Shadwell’s aura. He could sense… interest, curiosity, desire for knowledge. Hints of greed and lust coming off the man, but not in any volumes out of the ordinary, nothing that wasn’t counter-balanced by some of the Virtues (although those, he was never able to detect with any specificity). Under normal circumstances, he probably wouldn’t have bothered with someone like Shadwell. Nothing productive to be had in any kind of temptation that he could send a report on: too ineffectual to wreak much earthly havoc, too ordinary a soul to interest head office. But as a distraction? He glanced over at his passenger. He was handsome enough, to be sure. Shadwell had sharp features; lean, striking, with none of the softness that normally would be found in that seat. No halo of fluffy white-blonde waves either, no genteel quality to the voice, no fluttering hand gestures…
Crowley exhaled deeply. “Go on, then, what do you want to know?” he asked, in a warmer tone than before.
Shadwell hummed to himself. “I’m guessin’ I can’t ask you tae much about your business, given the, uh, circumstances of our meeting-”
“Got that right,” said Crowley.
“So how about instead you just tell me how yeh keep yersel’ busy? ‘Sides work, that is,” added Shadwell.
Crowley found himself mildly surprised. It had been a long time since a human had attempted to make conversation with him just for the sake of it. This one was already becoming more of a diversion than he’d expected.
“As I said, I can’t go into the details of my work, but let’s say it involves a fair bit of travel,” started Crowley.
“Really? I’ve not been out of Britain mahsel’. Where have yeh been tae?”
“All the kingdoms of the world,” Crowley answered, surprising himself now at the honesty slipping from between his lips.
“What’s the best an’ worst places yeh’ve been, then?” asked Shadwell with a grin.
Smiling back a bit despite himself, Crowley thought for a moment. “I’ll tell you, Rome? Totally overrated.”
“Yup, went once, absolutely hated the nightlife, never went back,” said Crowley. “Good food and passable drink, but that’s about it.”
“Good tae know, I s’pose! If I ever get the chance tae travel, avoid Rome, got it,” said Shadwell. “And the best place?”
Crowley had to stop himself from saying that he couldn’t remember having gone to any place as beautiful as Eden, reminding himself first that he can only reminisce like that with one being.
You go -
Crowley clenched the steering wheel harder and put his foot down on the gas a bit harder. “Erm, well, at the end of the day, I think my favourite place is London. ‘S why I ended up here.”
“London? Really? Out of everywhere in the world?” asked Shadwell.
“Sure,” said Crowley, then a little quieter, “everything I love is here.”
The rest of the drive passed with banter that was mostly effortless. Crowley was still fluctuating between the relief of a light conversation with a mortal who was… well, odd, to say the least, but uncomplicated, and the thudding weight of Aziraphale’s dismissal pounding in his ears, running cold through his veins. Following Shadwell’s directions through the streets of Dagenham, Crowley finally pulled up outside a slightly run-down block of flats.
“That’s me, then. Thanks very much for the lift,” said Shadwell.
Crowley raised an eyebrow at him. “Unless you’d like to invite me up for a drink?”
Shadwell smirked cheekily at Crowley, as though he had just gotten the idea on his own. (From his perspective, he had.) “Unless you’d like to come up for a drink?”
“It’d be my pleasure, Lance Corporal,” drawled Crowley.
“Ehm, what about yer motor?” asked Shadwell, as they left the car. “It’s naw the safest neighbourhood ‘round here.”
“Nobody will touch it,” answered Crowley. “Lead the way.”
Crowley reached out with his mind again, just sort of suggesting that Shadwell be a little bolder in his desires. Not putting any new ideas in his head, merely the hint that acting on existing notions would be… just fine.
“‘Mon then,” said Shadwell, resting his hand on the small of Crowley’s back.
The skipping record in Crowley’s mind that was Aziraphale’s voice had the volume turned down on it, just slightly, with this soft touch. Crowley chased this numbing sensation, refocusing his mind to the palm and five fingers he could feel lightly against him, and he slowed down ever so slightly, leaning further into Shadwell’s hand. He continued to allow this touch, this pressure, all the way up the dank stairwell, feeling a bit bereft when Shadwell removed it to unlock the door.
“Welcome tae my - well, my mate’s - humble abode,” said Shadwell, swinging the door open. He was accurate in his assessment, in that it was extremely humble. Unlike Crowley’s spacious luxury flat, this was a shabby (though clean-ish) bedsit that might be considered cluttered if there had been enough personal items to actually qualify as clutter. Shadwell switched on a small table lamp.
“Have a seat,” he added, gesturing at the single bed. “I’ll see what I’ve got in the icebox.”
Crowley did, sinking down onto the well-used mattress. He tried to focus all his senses on his surroundings, tried to turn the volume down further. It had been a long, long time since he had done something like this just for himself. Not a temptation, no souls involved…
“There’s lager,” Shadwell said, interrupting Crowley’s thoughts, “and I've got about half a bottle of Johnnie Walker, an’ some Buckfast. Nothin’ tae posh, hope that’s all right.”
“Definitely all right,” said Crowley. “How about that whisky, then?”
“Glasses?” asked Shadwell. Crowley just gave him a small, wicked smile, and Shadwell came up with another suggestion entirely on his own. “Nae need for glasses, I think.”
Shadwell joined Crowley on the small bed, sitting just a little bit closer than might have normally seemed natural. He took a good-sized swig from the whisky bottle before proffering it to Crowley. Crowley took it, allowing his fingers to slowly brush Shadwell’s as he did, deliberately ignoring the stutter in Shadwell’s breath. He took a slow pull from the bottle, tilting his head back to emphasize the long line of his neck. He smiled and passed the bottle back, hands brushing again. Crowley then suddenly became aware of a (non-existent) drop of whisky at the corner of his mouth, which he brushed off with the tip of his thumb and slowly licked away. From behind his dark glasses, he watched Shadwell hold his breath, his eyes following Crowley’s every movement.
He smiled, an easy smile, at Shadwell, who was frozen in place and staring.
“Lance Corporal?” he said, in almost a teasing sing-song.
“Mm?” answered Shadwell, nearly slack-jawed.
Crowley gestured at the bottle in Shadwell’s hand.
“Oh, aye, thanks,” said Shadwell, sheepish and starting to turn pink around the ears, and lifted the bottle to his lips.
“So you’ve got a whole army to assist me with any tasks I might need doing,” said Crowley, shuffling a little closer on the bed.
“Aye, I dae,” said Shadwell, passing the bottle back.
“That’s very impressive. Never been offered that before,” said Crowley. He took another gulp before handing it back over.
“I’d be yer, ehm, yer liaison, o’ course.”
Crowley waited for Shadwell to bring the bottle back up to his lips. “Wouldn’t have it any other way. I can tell you’re the sort of man who can handle a really hard job,” he said, dragging a finger along Shadwell’s thigh as punctuation.
Shadwell nearly choked on his whisky.
“Are you all right?” asked Crowley innocently, sidling up right against him, almost hip to hip now, and rubbing Shadwell’s back as he coughed.
“Yep, sure,” said Shadwell, trying to catch his breath.
Crowley stroked his fingers as he took the whisky back from Shadwell. He took another sip before placing the bottle on the side table. His other hand was still on Shadwell’s back, gently drawing circles now. He glanced at him.
“Really, though,” Crowley said, “I think it’ll be a pleasure to work with you.”
Shadwell looked at him, and took a deep breath, tense puffs of whisky-scented carbon dioxide coming from both of them and mingling in the few inches between their faces. He leaned in, nearly imperceptibly.
“Mister Crowley,” said Shadwell, almost at a whisper.
“How about for tonight, you just call me ‘Crowley,’” he replied, equally softly.
“Crowley,” repeated Shadwell obediently, and he closed the distance between them.
It had been a couple hundred years since Crowley had bothered with kissing. As his feelings for Aziraphale continued to grow, he just had stopped seeing the point of engaging with it, not if it couldn’t be with the only one he really wanted to kiss. But kissing not-Aziraphale was exactly the point right now.
Shadwell’s lips pressed against Crowley’s - soft, dry, and gentle, and his hands wrapped around Crowley’s back, fingers gripping Crowley’s sharp shoulder blades, and Crowley had the passing thought, ‘oh, that’s right, kissing is rather good,’ before allowing himself to fall against Shadwell’s chest.
Shadwell’s arms - stronger than they had appeared - wrapped tightly around Crowley’s body, and he tilted his head slightly. Crowley responded in kind and prodded Shadwell’s aura so gently, feeling the outpouring of a white-hot ripple of lust in his direction. From the open window, the sound of an argument in the street could be heard, but within the dingy bedsit, there were only sighs and the soft smacks of lips against each other.
After some minutes of slow, chaste kisses, Crowley opened his mouth just enough for Shadwell to take the hint, to take what they both wanted. Shadwell moaned against his lips, quietly, almost just a squeak, and his tongue slipped in, stroking Crowley’s own. With obvious reluctance, he suddenly broke away, bringing his hand up to stroke Crowley’s cheek with a surprising amount of tenderness.
“Uh,” he started, then paused, seeming to need to regain his focus. “Could I, uh…?” Shadwell lightly touched the arm of Crowley’s sunglasses.
Crowley leaned his head away a little. “Best not,” he said. “Sensitive eyes. Doesn’t interfere with… anything, though.”
Shadwell shrugged. “Long as yer comfortable,” he said, drawing his fingers along Crowley’s jaw to gently grasp his chin, pulling him back toward his mouth.
Their lips meeting again, Shadwell’s hand cupped around Crowley’s face, these kisses were decidedly less controlled than before. Tongue met tongue, teeth clashed slightly before trapping a lower lip and pulling, biting. Crowley let out a groan as Shadwell’s mouth travelled to his neck, sucking, nipping, worrying the skin with his teeth, causing him to heat up from the inside, caressing the skin with his tongue.
“Oh shit,” Crowley breathed, and started tugging at Shadwell’s jacket, trying to pull it down his shoulders. Shadwell took his direction and shrugged the jacket off, tossing it on the floor, then started pulling at Crowley’s. Crowley was beginning to find himself caught breathless by the sheer volume of human want thrumming at him.
Outerwear taken care of, their hands bumped briefly between them as they both grasped for the other’s shirt buttons. Shadwell’s mouth had travelled to Crowley’s collarbone. Crowley would certainly have a bruise there, if he decided that he wanted one. Maybe he would. Maybe Aziraphale would ask him about it. Maybe he’d come to his own conclusions.
You go too fast for me, Crowley.
Crowley growled in frustration at Aziraphale’s voice sneaking back into his mind, but fortunately it was also a natural-sounding reaction to the focus Shadwell’s lips were giving to his right nipple. It became a genuine reaction as the hand that Shadwell didn’t have on Crowley’s arse gently tugged at his left nipple.
“Oh Sa- oh, that feels good,” moaned Crowley. Shadwell’s right hand then slid down along Crowley’s bare, lean stomach, stopping to rest at the effort he had made, hard and straining against his trousers for attention. Crowley thrust into his palm and gasped.
“Oh my g- up, get up here,” said Crowley, intending to sound commanding but really just shy of pleading. Shadwell listened, kissing back up all to Crowley’s lips. Crowley put his hands on Shadwell’s belt buckle, then paused, stopping the kiss.
“Is this, uh… this is not too fast for you, is it?” asked Crowley.
Shadwell grinned and shook his head. “No’ in the slightest.”
“Not in the slightest, not too fast,” he said, gasping. “That’s good, that’s very… very good.”
They both undid each other’s belts, but kicked off their own shoes, socks, and trousers. Hastily returning to physical contact and now both just in their pants, Shadwell lay atop Crowley on the small, too-soft bed, gazing at him and curling a lock of the demon’s copper hair around his finger.
“How ‘bout you, then?” Shadwell asked. “‘M I goin’ tae fast?”
Crowley shook his head vigorously.
“Also good,” said Shadwell, pulling Crowley’s face toward his and continuing where they had left off.
“Mmm,” Crowley sighed happily into Shadwell’s mouth. He allowed his fingers to playfully drift over the man’s firm back, enjoying the skin-on-skin contact - fingers on back, chest on chest, legs nearly tangled up around each other’s. Where skin didn’t directly touch skin, there were only the two thin layers of their cotton pants separating their erections, now almost caressing as Crowley laid under Shadwell. Still kissing him, Shadwell settled on his knees and slid his hips back and forth, slowly grinding his hard cock along Crowley’s own.
“Oh fuuuuck,” Crowley groaned, half into Shadwell’s mouth. He gripped his fingers hard into Shadwell’s lean back, nails clawing at skin. Shadwell only responded by speeding up his movements and sucking at a spot right under Crowley’s ear.
“Crowley,” he said breathlessly, “tell me what yeh want.”
Crowley hissed, let his tongue taste the air, heavy with pheromones. “Open me up,” he said. “I want you inside me.”
Shadwell sat up and ran his hands down Crowley’s torso, hooking his thumbs around the waistband of his boxers. Crowley lifted his hips, and Shadwell slid off his last garment, reverently taking in the view.
As he stood up to remove his own pants, Crowley drank him in. The sturdy frame, attractive, full lips that had gone rosy from kissing, a flush all down his chest, which was also covered in soft, fine hair. Strong stomach leading to a handsome, uncircumcised cock - average in length and perhaps a little more so in girth, Crowley was all the more eager. He almost reflexively miracled Shadwell’s fingers lubricated, but realized in time how difficult that would be to explain away, so he watched impatiently as Shadwell fished a bottle of lubricant out of the bedside table.
Shadwell kissed him again, with a low, filthy growl, before kneeling between Crowley’s legs and slicking up his fingers.
“Tell me… tell me what you like,” he said softly, almost worshipfully, stroking the ring of muscle before sliding one finger inside.
Crowley whimpered with pleasure, getting louder as Shadwell wrapped his other hand around Crowley’s aching prick and started to stroke. The simultaneous stimulation of that and the finger sliding in and out of him already had him panting and leaking precum, but when Shadwell added a second finger and crooked them both, finding his prostate, Crowley began to flat out howl.
“You need - ohhh shit - you need to let go of my cock, I won’t last otherwise,” he pleaded. “Please, you can’t let me, ohhh!”
Shadwell did as he was instructed, and used his now-free hand to give his own swollen cock a quick, desperate tug while he slid a third finger inside Crowley, gently thrusting and curling them. Crowley’s hands fisted into the sheets, made helpless with pleasure. Shadwell’s breathing hitched at the sight of him, at the feeling of him clenching around his fingers.
“Can I… can I…?” rasped Shadwell, unable to form the whole question.
Crowley keened and nodded. “Please, yes, yessss.”
Shadwell slowly withdrew his fingers, slicked up his length with the lube, and lined himself up with Crowley. Carefully sinking into him, Shadwell’s eyes rolled back as he swore. “Fuck, Crowley!” he moaned as he slowly bottomed out.
Crowley, drenched with sweat, suddenly had to slam his eyes shut. It still felt… bloody fantastic, really, but somehow it didn’t feel quite right. Trying to bring back the chemical reactions he was experiencing just moments ago, he pulled himself up slightly and reached for Shadwell, cupping the back of his head and bringing him in for a messy kiss as he thrust in and out of Crowley.
How could something that felt so good also feel so off? He wished he could ignore it, but he knew what it was. Where a flat stomach hovered just above his, he wanted a soft, curved belly gently pressed against him. Where a deep, Scottish brogue was moaning his name, he wanted one that was just on the side of prim, normally a bit uptight, instead unwound and unfettered by the act of feeling Crowley all around him. Where he felt straight, styled hair fisted in his hands, he wanted to feel a coif of fluffy, delicate waves that had barely changed in millennia. And then, all of a sudden, he did.
Snapping his eyes open, Crowley needed to see if the last hour and a half had been some sort of fever dream, if he really had been bedding his angel the whole time, but no. He was still holding Shadwell, who continued to kiss him, thrust into him, but his hair… Crowley had involuntarily miracled Shadwell’s hair into the soft waves he had been imagining. He shut his eyes again, thanking himself for inventing dark glasses and reminding himself to put Shadwell’s hair back right, after. He would allow himself this fantasy for now.
Shadwell started kissing back down to Crowley’s neck, and reaching a well-lubricated hand between them, stroked Crowley’s cock in time with his snapping hips, moaning Crowley’s name again.
The sensations were too much, too conflicting, too overwhelming. The pleasure of Shadwell’s hand and cock were playing in direct contradiction to the ache of hearing the wrong voice calling out his name with benevolent adoration, of knowing that the only way he could feel that soft cloud of hair under his fingers was through demonic intervention.
He didn’t want to stop. The pace Shadwell had set was incredible, Crowley felt pressure building, as though hellfire had been pooling in his abdomen. Grabbing harder onto Shadwell’s now-wavy hair, Crowley did his best to think of Aziraphale’s voice, to drown out the wrong one, to pretend he had what he needed to push himself over the edge. He reached into his own thoughts to grasp at the nearest snatch of memory he had of Aziraphale vocals, not realizing his mistake until it was too late.
You go too fast for me, Crowley. You go too fast for me, Crowley. You go too fast for me, Crowley.
Eyes brimming with tears, Crowley’s orgasm shattered out of him, simultaneous ecstasy and agony. He cried out, biting back Aziraphale’s name as he coated his stomach and Shadwell’s hand with come, pulsing around his prick.
Shadwell thrust only a few more times before spilling inside Crowley with a moan, shuddering with pleasure as he buried himself inside him. With a satisfied hum, Shadwell withdrew from him and crawled atop Crowley to kiss him again. Crowley allowed the kiss only briefly, deflecting it by kissing Shadwell’s face and neck. He’d be damned twice over if a random mortal ended up accidentally tasting the tears that were now starting to run down his face.
Shadwell sighed happily and ran his hands indulgently over Crowley’s slim chest and stomach before saying, “don’ get up, I’ll get yeh somethin’ to clean aff wi’.” As he went over to the kitchenette to dampen a clean flannel, Crowley quickly wiped at his face, then quickly remembered to miracle Shadwell’s hair back to the way it had been before, with perhaps enough mussing to account for his hands in it.
Cleaning himself up with a separate flannel, Shadwell passed one to Crowley, who roughly wiped down his stomach and now-soft dick. The mood hadn’t been killed by his crystal-clear recollection of Aziraphale’s brush-off so much as it had been turned into mulch by a metaphorical wood chipper. He held no resentment toward the human, who had been a more than satisfactory (and surprisingly tender) lover, he just wanted to leave.
Shadwell lay down beside Crowley and nudged him onto his side, snuggling up behind him and kissing his neck. Crowley stiffened slightly at the contact, but his minor influence on Shadwell’s aura was still in effect, such that he wouldn’t have noticed.
“Wan’ tae get under the covers and get some sleep? It gets pure baltic in here at night,” asked Shadwell, between light kisses.
“Actually,” said Crowley, pushing himself up from the bed and starting to look for his clothes and pulling them on as he found them. “I’d better be going. Got an early, uh, meeting tomorrow.”
“Right,” said Shadwell, looking crestfallen. “Well… will I be seeing yeh soon?”
“Oh, no doubt I’ll have a need for the Witchfinder Army’s work soon enough. I’ll contact you when I do,” replied Crowley. Tying his shoes, he kept his head down. Agent of Hell or not, he couldn’t quite bring himself to look Shadwell in the eye.
“Right,” Shadwell said again, quieter. He got up from the bed, and unable to find his pants, pulled on just his trousers. “I’ll… see yeh then.”
“Yep,” said Crowley, and let himself out without looking back.
Crowley held his breath all the way down the stairs, letting out a deep exhale when he hit street level. Getting back into his Bentley - which indeed, no one had touched - he sat back in the driver’s seat. Unlike earlier that night, he was no longer frozen in place, but functioning on autopilot. Keys in the ignition, hands on the wheel, foot on the gas. Driving through the streets of his beloved London, back to his Mayfair flat, all streets as familiar to him as the back of his hand. Or the back of a specific someone else’s hands. Just as well that it was a reflex. Crowley could hardly see for weeping.
The whole way home, he followed the speed limit.
Not going too fast.