Earthly pleasures and creations are not and cannot be holy. That’s what the other angels have reminded Aziraphale of time and time again. Michael said it first when Aziraphale was making a report in 600 B.C. and referred to date honey as “heavenly.”
“Human food cannot be Heavenly,” Michael had snapped. “Do you see any date honey here, in Heaven?” The angels had laughed, and Aziraphale had chuckled nervously along with them.
But God created humans, Aziraphale thought then, not for the first time and certainly not for the last. And God created dates. And are not all God’s creations holy?
From then on, he tried to keep his thoughts on the holiness of various tastes and experiences found on Earth to himself. Cassoulet eaten during a cold, rainy winter day. A cup of rich cocoa sipped with an ancient book by a fire. Strong wine and savory flamiche enjoyed by the water while a summer breeze carries the scent of honeysuckle and roses. Aziraphale has felt God’s grace in all of these things, and now he has a new one to add.
The taste of Crowley’s lips. One might have expected it to be sinful, but it is positively divine. Crowley tastes like whiskey and water, like a long drink at the edge of an endless desert.
Aziraphale didn’t mean to kiss him. He was simply trying to comfort the demon, who was working himself into a fit over the mistakes Aziraphale had made the past several days. It felt natural to touch his arms, and then his face, and then his lips.
Crowley doesn’t kiss him back, at first. He stands there with his lips slightly parted and his hands on Aziraphale’s hands and he doesn’t kiss back. But he doesn’t move away. Aziraphale closes his lips over Crowley’s once, twice, before pulling back. He doesn’t go far.
Crowley stares. His pupils are blown so wide his eyes almost look black.
“Is this alright?” Aziraphale asks. The question is just for Crowley and no one else. Aziraphale won’t ask for permission from the universe, or from God. He didn’t ask permission when he gave away his flaming sword, he didn’t ask for permission the first time he made a deal with Crowley, he didn’t ask for permission to stop the apocalypse, and he won’t ask for permission for this. The words we’re on our side echo in his head.
Crowley doesn’t answer Aziraphale’s question. He drops his hands to Aziraphale’s arms, twisting fingers in his coat sleeves like it’s the only thing keep him upright. Aziraphale puts his hands on Crowley’s slim waist, to steady him, to anchor him, to pull him closer.
You’re here, he wants Crowley to feel in his touch. You’re right here. Not in Hell. Not in Heaven. Just here.
“I—“ Crowley is trying to find his words, and they aren’t the word ‘yes.’ A cold, deep fear settles in Aziraphale’s stomach. Every instinct in his human body and his angel’s soul told him to kiss Crowley in that moment, but perhaps he was wrong. God knows he’s been wrong so many times before.
Perhaps Crowley doesn’t want this. Perhaps the sight of Heaven didn’t pierce Crowley’s being the same way the sight of Hell pierced Aziraphale’s. Perhaps his body and his heart are not aching with desire.
Aziraphale has pushed him away so many times before. Told him they weren’t friends. That he wouldn’t help him. He wouldn’t run away with him. He wouldn’t stay by his side.
Aziraphale was told time and again love and devotion were holy things. They were only available in holy spaces. They could be measured in piety and restraint and bloodless miracles.
But he’s felt love and devotion here on Earth. In humans, in nature, in the books in his shop, and in this trembling, tangled creature in front of him. Aziraphale can recognize it now. It took the end of the world and the depths of Hell for him to put a name to what he has felt for nearly six thousand years.
Crowley’s body shifts beneath Aziraphale’s hands, and he braces himself to feel him pull away, tells himself it will be alright if he does.
But this is Crowley, who took the first steps towards Aziraphale at the beginning of the world, and who hasn’t stopped pushing closer ever since. He steps into Aziraphale, pushes those knife-sharp hips into Aziraphale’s thighs.
Crowley is shaking, leaning in, but he stops himself at the last minute. Crowley’s greatest weapon is his ability to doubt, and he so often turns it on himself.
“Consequences,” Crowley whispers. It’s not quite a warning, not quite a question.
It reminds Aziraphale of that sunny day in Paris when he first touched Crowley’s skin and worried he’d hurt him, and then Crowley had offered Aziraphale his arm. It tells him everything he needs to know.
“Consequences be damned,” Aziraphale says with a smile.
This time, Crowley kisses Aziraphale.
And he doesn’t just kiss him. He devours him. Crowley’s hands are suddenly everywhere, clenching in Aziraphale’s hair and skating down his back and tugging at his arms. Crowley is frantic, desperate, a drowning man clinging to a sinking raft.
For his part, Aziraphale isn’t much calmer. He’s never felt anything like this before. Holding the demon in his arms and tasting him beneath his mouth is like touching a live wire during a hurricane.
Aziraphale has dabbled in physical intimacy before, of course. It was something so exquisitely human he had to try it, in the same way he had to try gâteau St-Honoré, and complaining about traffic, and the gavotte. He knows Crowley has done the same, driven by an identical impulse to experience this human world and all its funny little quirks.
This is different. Aziraphale isn’t merely trying this the same way he might try a modern twist on the classic cacciucco, with curiosity and an academic's interest. Aziraphale is experiencing this with every fiber of his body and his heart and his soul. This feels more than ineffable. This feels inevitable, it feels indescribable, it feels…
It feels bloody fantastic, is what.
Crowley crowds his body so close to Aziraphale’s as his ravages his mouth that Aziraphale ends up stumbling backwards. His thighs hit the edge of his armchair and he sinks into it, pulling Crowley in a tangle of leather-clad limbs on top of him.
“Wait,” Crowley says, wrenching his mouth away. “Should we— I don’t want to damage your chair…”
“Sod the chair,” Aziraphale says, and for a moment he means it. He drags Crowley back down, kissing his mouth, his jaw, his neck. Crowley groans, bucking against him. One leg is braced on the floor and the other is crooked over the arm of the chair and it can’t be comfortable for him, but the angle it’s giving him to grind against Aziraphale is almost too good to be ignored.
Almost. There’s an alarming creak from beneath them that briefly restores a flicker of Aziraphale’s senses.
“Actually, my dear, this is an antique, from the fifteen century no less, perhaps we shouldn't—“
Crowley laughs, breathless, and slides off Aziraphale’s lap like silk. Aziraphale stands, adjust his waistcoat and fixes his bowtie. Crowley looks away, running a hand nervously through his hair. His lips are swollen and pink, his skin flushed. He’s never looked more beautiful.
“Uh,” Crowley says. “Maybe I'll just—”
“I want to make love to you,” Aziraphale states, matter-of-fact. Crowley’s eyes snap to his face, wide as saucers. “Please,” Aziraphale adds.
Crowley is back on him in an instant, wound around him like the snake he once was, mouth and hips desperate for Aziraphale. It’s intoxicating, and in another second Aziraphale knows it will become irresistible, but he has his own plan now— a plan he’s possibly had somewhere in the back of his mind for several hundred years— and he needs to set it in motion. He puts his hands on Crowley’s hips, pushes him back so there’s an inch of space between them.
“I want to make love to you,” Aziraphale repeats, partially because he loves the full-body shiver it sends through Crowley when it says it, and partially to remind himself of his plan. “But not here. In your bed.”
“Aziraphale.” Crowley’s voice is rough with lust, but the undercurrent of petulance is unmistakable. “I don’t give a damn where we are. The couch, the bloody floor—”
“I know.” Aziraphale catches Crowley’s wildly gesturing hand and presses a gentle kiss to his palm. Crowley grabs his shoulder with his other hand. Aziraphale will never, in all eternity, tire of this. “But this time, I want it to be your bed. Alright?”
He presses another kiss to Crowley’s hand. Crowley whimpers. He looks at Aziraphale with a petulant, almost pained expression, then sighs.
“Alright. Fine, angel.”
Aziraphale smiles, and tugs Crowley in for a proper kiss. Crowley immediately deepens it, kissing wanton and audacious in a clear attempt to distract Aziraphale, but Aziraphale pulls away before it can work.
“Come, my dear,” Aziraphale says, and takes Crowley’s hand, leading him back out into the night.