title: Winter Burn
gift recipient: andremeese
Author and Artist: refche
summary: Anyone can create a pair and start fondling them, but to touch one's core only with your fingers takes dedication.
When Crowley sleeps and dreams, (if he dreams at all) he doesn't conjure up images of flesh, life, or anything that can be corrupted. No dreams of beings with a will of their own. Instead, there's unnatural light coming at odd angles, flying and falling at amazing speeds. The sound of air and something more, whooshing past his ears. It's upon waking, -- when he's too busy remembering he doesn't have to breathe -- that he forgets what the difference between the two is.
When he's awake, panting unnecessarily, his wings are always out and aching.
He saw a photograph once, of a mortal with false wings attached, loitering on a rooftop. It was badly done, and the meaning was gallingly shallow. The lighting was all wrong. It was too bright, the model too happy to be there, and it wasn't noisy enough. Not even close to the gloomy effect the photographer was aiming for. But something about it struck Crowley as a good idea. It had a very optimistic feel to it.
That day, without much thought, access to the roof from Crowley's flat arranged itself.
When left alone, the roof was flat, gray and dreary for most of the day. But mornings, (which Crowley preferred for stretching his wings) especially winter mornings, had the tendency to light up the place in the most contrasting ways. It challenged the city when it could, snatching sunlight in cloudy weather and clouds when it was surprisingly warm. Climate didn't matter much to Crowley, but he sometimes forgot himself and would shiver or, Somebody forbid, sweat. Those occurrences were quickly rectified.
|Wishing away his trousers, Crowley shook himself and yawned. A few feathers choreographically landed on the ground. He beat his wings once, twice and they scattered, being replaced by new ones that fell. The wind wasn't particularly strong, and the little sunshine was dutifully absorbed on his back. One doesn't argue with physics on some points. |
He raked a hand through his hair, sliding it down till it lands on his neck, a soothing lingering pressure on his skin. There were always muscles intent on protesting no matter how expensive a mattress Crowley bought. Only at this hour was it possible for his body to have a mind of its own and, and it usually used that time to complain.
He could miracle away the aches and just beat his wings a few times. An effective morning routine for Crowley to go about his day. He might have things to do, paperwork to finish. Who knows how long he's been asleep this time?
It wasn't a very effective argument. The wind blew stronger, tickling his wings and his hand automatically smoothed them over. Long, soft strokes from root to wingtip, touching only the surface. After a few minutes he paused and twisted an arm to rest at the cleft between.
There were times where human anatomy had to be ignored and, Crowley was very flexible.
This sort of thing has to be done properly. A balance had to be established between the human body and demon parts. Both are imperfect and ill-suited for certain activities. Anyone can create a pair and start fondling them, but to touch one's core only with your fingers takes dedication.
Aziraphale called it grooming.
He would have laughed, but his hand had moved just a fraction and fingers danced firmly over the roots, massaging them. Light scratches that soothe and make him moan without noticing. The silence that follows stretches, engulfing the city and cloaking Crowley's existence to it. It numbs everything so that only sensations remain.
Crowley takes a deep breath and doesn't exhale.
There's a patch of thin, dark hair curving bellow his navel. An unnecessary product of his human body contrasting the smooth skin between his legs. Short nails gently scrape the hair and reach lower, hungering four a touch. It's never quite enough. A physical touch is too superficial for translation, and led by instinct, not need. Still, Crowley grasps.
It is easy to think of it as indescribable, but Crowley's been among humans too long. He's learned to rationalize, file away, and explain things in simple terms for his reports. His mind is alight with thoughts and ideas. He tries to think of his dreams and fails, sees flesh instead. He smells dust and chocolate, feels old paper on his tongue. Flashes of things he knows to be real and things he can only dare imagine.
Crowley inaudibly sucks in a breath as his hand tugs at the lower layer of feathers. It's a gentle tug, a slow preview before his wings start to flutter and he can reach beneath the softness. There are scars beneath, memories of days before the Arrangement. Of wrath and mistakes. Burnt skin he cannot renew. He fingers each scar and doesn't bother to remember, just touches and forgets himself in the feel.
Time is heavy, and 'linear' isn't a word he'd use for it. He touches his wings and recalls every detail of every day with amazing clarity. Crowley isn't the sort of demon to have regrets, so he doesn't. But he can close his eyes and see a chain reaction of events happening if just one little thing is changed. In those few seconds, that reality is real and Crowley moans at the freedom of it.
The world around him skews, and he is brought back with a jolt as he circles that spot, between two joints on his left wing. It bares no scars or any particular common sensitivity among creatures of angel stock (or demon breed), but it always makes him wish he had something... someone to push against. Instead he rubs his hand on his groin, getting nothing beside the satisfaction of his body urging him to. The hand on his left wing almost cramps.
He wants to stop, whispers that it's too soon, not even night yet, but he can't because his fingers are suddenly there, pushing against it, and bones seem to melt and freeze at the same time.
G -- An -- Som -- fuck.
It's not divine ecstasy, not the way a human would experience it. It's a pause, a loud hiss abruptly stopped. The echo of a note hovering in the air.
Time passes and Crowley still hasn't regained the ability or desire to sit down. He is in no particular rush. There's a certain quality to winter air attempting to burn very stubborn skin.
The door behind him opens. A few steps and an intake of breath.
"Aziraphale, I was just thinking about you," he says.
The angel makes a disapproving sound and comes closer. It takes a lot of concentration, but Crowley makes sure he has privates hanging happily when he turns towards him. It's well worth the effort just to see Aziraphale's eyes wider for a second and then slightly roll back for emphasis. "Crowley, really."
"Just enjoying the sun."
He gets another disapproving look for that. Well deserved because the sun was nowhere in sight.
"A little bit too much, it would seem," Aziraphale says.
Crowley just grins in reply.
"I heard that playing with your wings can make you blind."
The world certainly seemed a bit blurry around the edges. "I'm not drunk enough for the self-gratification discussion, angel. What are you doing here, anyway?"
"We were supposed to meet downstairs. Going on a trip, remember?" Aziraphale said nervously.
Information started fitting into place and Crowley calculates being asleep for a week.
"Ah, well Rome can wait a few hours," Crowley says and gestures for a blanket, wine and two glasses to appear.
He watches Aziraphale as his throat works at swallowing his first sip of wine. Crowley's back throbs just once.
Happy Holidays, andremeese, from your Secret Writer/Artist!