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there's no better love

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Crowley loves Aziraphale’s body. That’s no secret. The plump roundness of his thighs, the soft curve of his belly, the lovely squish of his hips. Crowley loves it all. But the thing he loves most is how well all that softness fits against his own bony frame. All Aziraphale has to do is wrap him in a warm embrace, pull him tight against the angel’s lush chest, and Crowley turns to putty in his arms.

Usually, Aziraphale is happy to curl up with Crowley wrapped around him like the snake he is and read a book while his love naps. Tonight, however, is a bit different.

Soft hands stroke down Crowley’s sides and thick thighs press against his sharp hips while Aziraphale’s plush belly squishes him into the mattress. He keens and tightens his own hold on the angel, nuzzling into the warmth of his neck.

Aziraphale presses a line of gentle kisses along Crowley’s jaw, flicking his tongue over the snake tattoo only briefly before he buries his nose into auburn curls. “Are you comfortable, my dear?”

Crowley hums happily, melting further into the mattress and tightening his arms around Aziraphale’s waist.

It had taken them months after Armageddon’tthinkso to get to this point. Six millennia of dancing around each other, refusing to get close, settling for a handshake when they really wanted a hug tends to stick long past its welcome. It took them a while to figure out how to work around their insecurities and push past their eons worth of fears. But it was worth it, if it meant that they could lie like this whenever they wanted too. The idea of laying here with his angel on top of him for the rest of eternity sends a thrill of joy through Crowley and he snuggles deeper into Aziraphale’s shoulder, letting a rare, relaxed sigh escape him.

Aziraphale smiles and settles a little heavier on him, sliding one arm under the small of Crowley’s back and the other under his head, burying his fingers into the soft curls of his hair. He twines their legs together, shoving his toes into the crook of Crowley’s knees. Crowley squeaks in delight at the feeling of being properly smashed into the bed, squirming to avoid jabbing Aziraphale with his sharp joints.

Immediately, Aziraphale eases off him, panic etched across his features. “Are you alright, dear? I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Crowley pouts up at him and stretches to keep his arms wrapped around Aziraphale’s waist, pressing his hands flat against the angel’s back and applying minor pressure, trying to urge the angel to lie back down. “No,” he whines, “Come back here. I was comfy.”

Aziraphale, ever the worrier, doesn’t believe him. He shifts until he is able to lean on his elbows over Crowley. “Don’t just say that because you think it is what I want to hear, darling, please. I have hurt you enough over the centuries. I could not bear it if I hurt you more.”

“Angel, I wouldn’t do that. When have I ever-“

“Last week, when we made love with your other equipment,” Crowley is still amazed those words don’t make the angel blush, “and you failed to inform me that it is, in fact, not normal for vaginas to bleed upon being penetrated until after we were done.” Aziraphale interrupts, staring him down unhappily, “And that is only the latest of many times you have lied to me about your discomfort.”

Crowley rolls his eyes and throws an arm over his face, chest heaving with an exasperated sigh. “If I had told you, you would have stopped.”

“Yes,” Aziraphale cries, “because you were in a considerable amount of pain! You couldn’t walk right for two days, my dear.”

He pretends not to hear Crowley’s mumbled, “I can’t walk right normally,” and leans back on his heels, ignoring the slight discomfort of Crowley’s knees jabbing into his ample rump. He wraps a gentle hand around the demon’s wrist and pulls his arm from his face, stroking his cheek tenderly with the other hand. “I want to cherish you, Crowley, and for you to feel cherished. That cannot happen if you are in pain every time I try to show you how much you mean to me. So please, darling, don’t lie to me, not about this.”

Crowley stares up at him, his eyes wide and completely yellow, the white sclera drowned in gold. “Angel,” he mutters, lost for anything else to say. He is still not used to the full force of Aziraphale’s love. It cascades off the angel in waves, enveloping Crowley in its warmth and making him feel safer than he has in eons. It overwhelms him in the best of ways, leaving him unable to form even the most basic of thoughts other than Aziraphale loves me.

So instead of trying to match the angel’s elegantly worded confession, Crowley surges from the bed and captures Aziraphale’s lips in a desperate kiss that conveys everything he cannot say. Aziraphale hums against him and kisses back just as urgently, pushing Crowley back down into the mattress.

He doesn’t rest his whole wait on the demon, not yet. He lets his hands roam over silk pajamas, fingers peeking under the dark fabric to stroke soft, pale skin. Crowley whines into his mouth and he swallows the noise greedily, snaking his tongue around it and tasting Crowley’s desperation.

He pulls Crowley’s arms above his head and intertwines their fingers, easing himself down until they are pressed so close together, he can hardly tell where one begins and the other ends. The only thing stopping them from melding completely is the stark contrast of his tartan sleep clothes against Crowley’s sleet gray pajamas.

The kiss slows into something tender, and soft, and lovely. They lay like that for minutes, or maybe hours, or possibly even days and explore each other’s mouths lazily, taking their time to enjoy the whispered moans and content sighs of the other.

Eventually, Aziraphale pulls away, cautiously putting more weight into his hips as leverage to rise high enough to look at Crowley properly. He is gorgeous. His normally perfect hair is ruffled and mussed from Aziraphale’s hands; his cheeks are tinted red and his lips are slightly swollen; his eyes, half-lidded and the color of sunflowers in fall, are full of love, the type that leaves Aziraphale breathless. He cups Crowley’s cheek and strokes his thumb over a sharp cheekbone, “You are so beautiful, love.”

Crowley only smiles at him slowly, peacefully, and wraps his arms around Aziraphale’s neck, urging the angel back into a soft kiss. Aziraphale lets Crowley guide him, allowing himself to relax and press entirely against the demon. Crowley giggles and hugs Aziraphale’s shoulders, keeping Aziraphale right where he is. He lays his head on the demon’s chest with a soft hum and waits a moment for their hearts, unnecessary for two immortal beings but nice to have anyway, to begin beating in sync.

“I love you, angel.” Crowley whispers into the calm air.

Aziraphale smiles and murmurs a soft reply. “I love you too, darling.” He waits for Crowley’s breathing to slow into the familiar rhythm of sleep and lifts his head when it never does.

He meets Crowley’s golden eyes, filled with a hesitation that makes Aziraphale’s heart twist knowing he is the one who put it there. “Go to sleep, sweetheart. I’ll be here in the morning.”

The hesitation does not leave Crowley’s eyes. “You promise?”

“I give you my word as an angel.”

Only then does Crowley’s smile return to his face. He snuggles closer to Aziraphale’s warmth and closes his eyes. Almost immediately, his breathing evens and he begins to snore lightly.

Aziraphale smooths a hand through his hair, the love he has for his dorky demon too much to contain. Then he curls around Crowley and follows him into sleep.

---

Aziraphale is not there when Crowley wakes up. For a moment, panic sets in. Tears well in his eyes and memories of fire and smoke and not being able to find Aziraphale send him spiraling into panic. He scrambles to the floor, dragging half the bedding with him in his hurry. He doesn’t have time to worry about that though. He has to find Aziraphale.

He’s halfway to the door, heart beating in his ears, chest aching with shallow breaths, when something in the tangled pile of blankets on the floor catches his eye. He turns on a heel and snatches the tartan pajama shirt from the pile, glaring at it for any signs of damage: singed edges or torn buttons or ichor stains. The only thing out of place is the fraying seam of a sleeve.

Relief slowly filters through him, eroding the panic and settling his frantic heart. He realizes that he’s trembling, his fingers gripping the shirt too tightly, his knuckles turned white with the pressure. He breathes out slowly, forcing himself to relax. His heart no longer screaming in his ears, he takes a moment to listen. The sounds of glasses clinking in the kitchen float into the room and, very faintly, Aziraphale’s quiet muttering follows.

He stands there for a moment, tears leaking from his eyes and Aziraphale’s shirt gripped in his fist, just listening to the soft sounds of a quiet morning. This is his. He is allowed to have this. Aziraphale wants to be here, with him. Nobody, neither Heaven or Hell is coming to take this away from him. The self-assurances draw more tears to his eyes and he quickly wipes them away. It won’t do to be upsetting his angel this early.

He takes a couple deep breaths to fully ground himself and moves to lay the shirt back on the bed. He begins trembling again as soon as the soft fabric leaves his fingers.

Aziraphale promised him last night. It wasn’t like him to break a promise, especially not one he made to Crowley. Did he do something to upset his angel? Memories of last night flit through his brain like restless hummingbirds and he realizes. He had been too clingy. Too needy. He had asked for more than Aziraphale wanted to give and now the angel was mad at him.

He shakes the thoughts from his head. He knows he’s being ridiculous. Aziraphale probably just got hungry and went to get a quick snack.

But paranoia has always been Crowley’s best friend. It has kept him safe more often than he likes to admit. Unfortunately, it’s one of the things that Hell didn’t take with it when they promised to leave him alone. The thoughts continue to float through his mind, creating a chasm of doubt in his chest that slowly begins to consume him.

He huffs in annoyance and quickly shucks off his own silk shirt, replacing it with Aziraphale’s before he can talk himself out of it. He glances in the mirror as he does up the buttons, a slight blush covering his cheeks when he sees how he looks in the oversized shirt. It was made special for Aziraphale so it hangs off of Crowley’s thin frame, completely covering his hands and falling just past midthigh. The tartan clashes horribly with his dark bottoms but he really can’t bring himself to care.

It’s soft, and warm, and all he can smell is Aziraphale. If he didn’t know better, he would almost think the angel was there giving him a hug. He lets out a sigh when the familiar feeling chases away his pesky paranoia.

The sounds in the kitchen stop and the quiet patter of bare feet on hardwood grows louder. Crowley’s stomach drops. He fumbles with the buttons, fingers quaking, breath quickening. He’s not sure why he’s panicking now. But that doesn’t stop it from happening.

He gets one button undone before Aziraphale walks into the room, a cup of hot cocoa steaming in one hand and a dusty, old book held in the other. Shame fills Crowley. He’s a demon for Sat- Someone’s sake. He shouldn’t be stealing his partner’s clothes like some kind of lovesick teenager, no matter how emotionally distraught he is.

He stares at Aziraphale, taking note of the surprised twitch of his eyebrows, the curious pucker of his lips, the stiffness of his shoulders. Surely, he understands, now, what Crowley is. How pathetic he is. The panic grows worse and his fingers mindlessly twist around the next button, tangling around each other before the blasted thing finally pops out of place. The shirt gapes open, his bare chest completely exposed under the soft tartan. He shivers as the morning chill seeps into his skin and Aziraphale’s surprised gaze does nothing to warm him.

“Is that…?” Aziraphale doesn’t finish his question. The answer is obvious. It would take nothing less than a demonic miracle to convince the angel that the oversized, tartan shirt belongs to Crowley.

Crowley can’t bring himself to respond. His shame rises, turning his stomach to jelly and his lungs to stone. His heart, the poor thing pittering and pattering against his ribs, decides enough is enough and stops beating entirely. The snake in him hisses that if he doesn’t move, Aziraphale won’t see him, so he freezes.

This, of course, is not how it actually works.

Aziraphale steps toward him, slowly, his confusion melting into concern. He glances at the pile of blankets by the bed, then back to his night shirt draped on Crowley’s frame. His eyebrows crinkle together in that way that means he’s puzzling out a problem. He miracles his cup and book to the nightstand, taking another slow step, spreading his arms wide, an invitation for Crowley to fall into him, or a calming motion to keep him from running away. “Dearest, what’s wrong?”

Crowley can’t stop the tears then. He tries, blinks them away several times but they ignore his efforts, refuse to let him control them. He wishes he could, wishes he could sweep them from his cheeks and jamb them back into his eyes, plug his tear ducts with them, never have to see Aziraphale’s heartbroken expression when they leak from his traitorous eyes.

“Oh, my darling.” Aziraphale moves and before Crowley can even think of getting away from him, he is wrapped in angelic warmth. His nose scrunches against Aziraphale’s solid shoulder; his long, fidgeting fingers squish into Aziraphale’s belly; his quivering knees give out and shove the rest of him completely into the angel’s arms. He doesn’t struggle once he’s there. He doesn’t relax either. He just lets Aziraphale hold him. He can’t think of anything else to do.

“You don’t have to tell me, dear, but I’m here if you want to talk about it.” Aziraphale’s chin moves against his shoulder as he talks. He can feel the vibrations of Aziraphale’s voice travel through his gut and spread into his fingers and toes.

Manicured hands rub circles into his back, massaging the muscles around his shoulder blades where his wings attach. He’s crying harder now, his whole body shivering with repressed sobs. Aziraphale’s ironed shirt is soaking up his tears and Crowley is sure that it will stain, but the angel doesn’t seem to mind. He just continues to soothe, running a hand through the shoulder length curls and down Crowley’s spine, again and again, all while muttering soft affirmations against his skin.

Eventually, the tears stop, the panic subsides, and all Crowley has left is the aching numbness of his embarrassment and shame. He pulls away from Aziraphale, keeps his head down, continues unbuttoning the tartan shirt with surprisingly stable fingers.

Neither of them says anything.

Aziraphale reaches out and lays a gentle hand on Crowley’s. He stops fumbling over the buttons but doesn’t look at the angel. “Crowley-“

“I didn’t know where you were.” Crowley interrupts, spitting the words like saying them physically hurts. “You weren’t in bed and-“ he takes a deep breath, focuses on Aziraphale’s warm fingers, the light weight of his hands over Crowley’s own to stabilize himself, then pushes on. “You weren’t there and I panicked. I saw the shirt and I thought it would help.” He clenches his fingers into the soft fabric, hard enough that his hands begin to shake again. “I didn’t want to upset you.”

Aziraphale lets out a little noise, something halfway between a sob and a sigh. He moves his hand from Crowley’s trembling fingers and cups his cheek, forces the demon to look at him. “My dear, you are the most important thing to me. You could never upset me, especially if you are simply searching for ways to make yourself happy.” He strokes a thumb over a sharp cheekbone, a small, reassuring smile gracing his lips. “I’m sorry I broke my promise. I thought I would have time to grab my cocoa and a book. I see now that I should have stayed until you woke. Will you let me make it up to you?”

Crowley leans into his warm hand and nods, turning his head just enough to press his lips against the angel’s palm.

Aziraphale beams and steps away from him, looking more than a little pleased. “Wonderful. Let me clean this up and change into something more suiting.” He snaps his fingers and the bed remakes itself. Apparently satisfied with the newly tucked sheets and duvet, he snaps again and his normal slacks and waistcoat turn into a white undershirt and angel wing patterned pants.

Crowley can’t help his blush when he sees all that pale skin the angel usually keeps hidden under multiple layers. He fidgets with the buttons of Aziraphale’s shirt again, feeling suddenly overdressed, and getting the second to last one undone before Aziraphale tuts at him and stays his fingers, rebuttoning the shirt with practiced ease. “Keep the shirt on, my dear. It’ll keep you warm.” He kisses Crowley on the forehead before gently leading him to the bed, coaxing him under the blankets and quickly crawling in beside him.

He doesn’t curl up next to Crowley, like the demon secretly hopes he will. Instead, he leans against the headboard and grabs the discarded book and cocoa, which hasn’t dared to cool past the perfect drinking temperature. With a happy little wiggle, he begins to read.

Crowley watches him for a moment, realizing for probably the millionth time that he will never stop falling in love with Aziraphale.

“Well, what are you waiting for, dear boy? Off to sleep you go. I’ll be here when you wake up, and I mean it this time.” Aziraphale tuts, threading his fingers through Crowley’s hair and gently massaging his scalp.

Crowley melts under the touch and curls tighter against Aziraphale’s thigh, bumping his forehead against the angel’s hip with a content sigh.

“Sleep well, my darling boy.” Aziraphale murmurs.

Pressed against Aziraphale’s warmth, with Aziraphale’s fingers carding through his hair, Crowley sleeps better than he ever has before.