gift for: lovessacrifice
summary:(Crowley/Aziraphale) Heaven assigns Aziraphale to live, for the most part, as a mortal for a week. He and Crowley make a wager as to whether or not he'll break down and use his powers for his own needs. Madness ensues.
author's notes: I do hope you enjoy this, it ended up being far longer than I'd originally anticipated. Thank you "J" for the last-minute beta job.
Aziraphale shouldn’t have allowed himself to sink into complacency. Receiving no missives from the Offices of Father, Son and Holy Spirit Incorporated should have made him more alert, rather than less, especially after the near-Apocalypse. But the folks from Above had been relatively quiet, and so Aziraphale sank into an easy routine. He had the bookstore to tend to, and the perpetual enjoyment of meeting Crowley in St. James’ Park and choosing which lavishly expensive restaurant to grace with their presence. Nothing entirely divine, unless one counted thwarting Crowley at his attempts to confound the waitstaff at the Ritz into simultaneously spilling every single glass of wine on the premises by merely saying “bouillabaisse.”
So when the memo came through the mail-slot, on cream and sky-blue paper with silver edges sharp enough to draw blood, Words in crisp black text, Aziraphale did what any Principality not expecting a letter from their superiors did. He made tea. Then he panicked. Then he called Crowley (and got into a fight with his ansaphone, which calmed his nerves immensely). And finally, he resigned himself to ineffability and inevitability and opened the letter.
Peace be with you, Principality of the Eastern Gate, and the Island He has called Land of Angels, here Aziraphale paused and squinted at the letter until the typo corrected itself, Angles, Aziraphael of the Lord’s Most High. And here he sighed, hating when they used his proper name with the proper spelling and everything.
The letter continued in extravagant and flowery language, and somehow he managed to condense it down into a simple-to-follow charge. Compile a report based on the everyday activities of a mortal, so that we may better judge them. Perform miracles at your discretion. Keep up the satisfactory work thwarting the Fell Serpent Crowley. See you at the office Christmas party?
“Everyday activities of a mortal?” Aziraphale repeated out loud. “Don’t you lot have someone Up There whose job it is to report on that? I mean, I’m not questioning the Will of the Lord, but isn’t there someone better suited to this than me?”
“Oh. Well then. I suppose I should get started immediately, then,” he sighed, putting the letter on the shelf under the till-counter.
The bell on the shop door jangled, even though Aziraphale distinctly remembered locking the door, the “Closed, Please Come Again” half of the sign still facing out as far as he could see. Then again, nothing could deter Anthony J. Crowley from doing what he wanted (unless that nothing was sanctified by a recognized church of God, then he might consider being deterred). He nudged his glasses lower on the bridge of his nose, snake-yellow eyes glinting mischievously in the midmorning light.
“Hullo angel, feel like taking a brief jaunt to New York? I’ve got a craving for breakfast at Tiffany’s,” he said conversationally, the faintest trace of a hiss coloring his words.
“Terribly sorry, Crowley my dear, I can’t,” Aziraphale sighed, slumping against the counter. “I’m on assignment.”
“Bloody Hea- He- Outer Mongolia. How did that happen? And what do you have to do?”
The angel waved a well-manicured hand dismissively. “I don’t rightly know on both accounts. Though I highly doubt my supervisors would appreciate me telling the ‘Fell Serpent Crowley’ what I’m doing. Word might get back to Your People, you know.”
Crowley laughed. “Is that what your lot calls me? That’s cute. Well, I don’t know about your supervisors, but I seem to recall a certain Arrangement of ours that clearly states that the party of the first part is to update the party of the second part on his official Eternal or Infernal assignments, whichever the case may be.”
“It’s nothing special, my dear, really. They’re asking me to spend a week living as mortally as I can. Doing…everyday mortal things…I suppose.”
“Like breathing? You can’t even do that,” Crowley asked, arching an eyebrow.
Aziraphale glared at him indignantly. If he had his wings out, they would’ve bristled and puffed up like a fat pigeon’s. “I can breathe if I want to!”
“Sure, whatever helps your halo shine, angel. I just don’t think you’re being realistic about all this. You have to be legitimately willing to do things like cooking, cleaning, laundry…paying with real, legitimate money…you won’t be able to afford lunch at the Ritz. I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t even afford bread to feed the ducks with.”
“I’m very willing, in fact, I’m willing to make a wager with you, Anthony,” Aziraphale said sternly, immortally blue eyes flashing with a bit of the old vindictive ‘speak softly and carry a flaming sword’ spark. “I’ll wager that I can last the full week, Sunday to Sunday, existing as a mortal and only performing miracles when the Heavenly Spirit wills me to. If I lose this wager, I’ll…um…I’ll wash your Bentley for a week. By hand. Without any powers.”
Crowley grinned. The thought of Aziraphale…a Principality!…willingly humbling himself was too enticing. Especially if he could get blackmail photos that could easily find their way to the Fax Machine of the Damned and the memo boxes of all Pandemonium. “Deal. And if you do, by the grace of Go- Sa- Charles Dickens, manage to succeed, I’ll…work here for a week. Or some sort of equivalent.”
Aziraphale held out a well-manicured, plump hand. Crowley smirked and shook it, then turned the angel’s wrist and kissed his knuckles. “You’ve got yourself a wager, angel. I’m going to enjoy this week so bloody much.”
First thing Aziraphale did was open up the till and take out money for groceries. There wasn’t much in there, since he rarely ever actually made sales. At least he didn’t have to pay the rent on the bookshop and the flat. Aziraphale found a battered old wallet in the back of the till drawer, stuffed his money in that, and walked down towards the greengrocer’s on the corner of the street. He hadn’t even gotten through the door when he heard the familiar roar of a Bentley engine screaming down the road. It illegally parked along the curb, pumping Queen from its antique speakers, Crowley looking every bit a flash bastard. Aziraphale groaned and tried to hide himself behind a display cart of rutabagas.
“Hullo, Mr. Ziraphale, fancy running into you here,” Crowley said cheerfully, giving him a perfectly evil grin as he picked up a basket from the stack inside the door.
“Anthony, what a…surprise…” Aziraphale replied through his teeth. “What’re you doing here?”
“Buying some groceries, obviously. Well, not so much buying, since I don’t have to be mortal for a week, but, you know… Plus I figured I’d check up on you, make sure my good friend A. Ziraphale didn’t get into any trouble. By the way, what’s that initial stand for, anyways?”
“I hardly think that’s a fair question, since you’ve never explained where you got your middle initial, Mr. A.J. Crowley,” Aziraphale countered, putting a bag of potatoes into his basket.
Crowley flushed slightly. “…It’s Jezebel…”
“You’re not serious,” Aziraphale gasped. “You mean, that was you? You were…”
“It was a one-time thing and I was completely drunk, all right? And if anyone Up There finds out, I’ll pluck you and use your pinions for writing quills,” he snapped, yellow eyes flashing behind his glasses.
“Your secret’s safe with me…Jezebel…” Aziraphale snickered. “And if you must know, it’s Alain. Or at least, that’s what I put on my papers. Alain Ziraphale. Thought it had a nice ring to it.”
“I prefer Abby, if you ask me.”
Aziraphale made a face. “Well, I didn’t.”
Crowley dropped several bags of instant salad into Aziraphale’s basket and rounded the corner for the bread products. “Don’t be cross with me, I’m not here to mock you, as tempting as it might be.”
“So what are you doing here, Crowley?”
He threw a loaf of whole wheat at the angel. “Keeping an eye on you. I’ve gotten orders myself. Downstairs figures that if you screw up, humanity will feel the punishment. I personally don’t care either way. But, as stated in our Arrangement, if Heaven gives you orders, and Hell gives me orders, we have to reach some sort of equilibrium. Wile and thwart, you know.”
“You have orders,” Aziraphale deadpanned. “You’re keeping an eye on me. Fantastic.”
Crowley smiled. “Oh, come now, it’s not like we don’t spend an inordinate amount of time together as it is. And I won’t be around all the time. Just most of it.”
“Splendid, that’s just marvelous, Crowley. Now if you’ll excuse me…”
The demon merely took his elbow and continued walking through the store with him, occasionally plucking foodstuffs off the shelves and depositing them in one of their two baskets (though more often than not it was Aziraphale’s). His companion was still put out about the whole concept of spending the week as more or less mortal, only now with the added discomfort of having Crowley following him about as though he were under house arrest. But Aziraphale, in spite of his protests, enjoyed being in Crowley’s presence (generally), and was secretly enjoying the attention.
In the checkouts, the woman in front of Aziraphale and Crowley suddenly and mysteriously misplaced her purse, rendering her unable to pay her hefty grocery bill. Aziraphale elbowed his compatriot in the ribs and made a small gesture. The boy standing at the till beamed and informed the woman that it was all right, she had just won the Customer of the Month sweepstakes and would be getting free groceries for the next four months, starting with today’s parcels.
“Thought you had to lay off the miracles this week,” Crowley muttered, watching Aziraphale place his items on the belt.
“Miracles at my discretion, my dear. Besides, I’m not about to let you pull stunts like that.”
Aziraphale haggled over prices and double-coupons like any mortal would, trying to squeeze out every bit of savings. Crowley merely waved his hand and got away with not paying. He was rewarded with a slightly perturbed “really, my dear.”
“Put your bags in the boot, angel, I’ll run you back to your place,” Crowley offered, waving the boot of the Bentley open. Aziraphale frowned.
“I don’t need a ride, Crowley, I can walk. My legs, believe it or not, do work and have been working for the past few millennia,” he said tartly.
Crowley shook his head, took the bags out of the angel’s hands and put them in the boot anyways, and shoved him towards the passenger side. “You’re getting in, I’m driving you back to your flat, you’re not arguing. End of discussion.”
“Well, if you put it that way,” Aziraphale replied, climbing into the Bentley.
There wasn’t much of a drive, the Soho bookshop was just around the corner, and Crowley had taken that corner on two wheels as it was. He climbed out and took his own groceries out of the boot, following Aziraphale up to his flat.
“What are you doing?”
“Putting your groceries in that poky little pantry of yours,” Crowley answered, holding a corner of the door open with the side of a snakeskin shoe.
“But Crowley, dear, those are yours,,” Aziraphale pointed out, carefully unpacking everything and putting it away categorically. Crowley shook his head, tendrils of carefully styled dark hair falling across his face.
“Aziraphale, I don’t cook. I ‘bought’ all this so you’d have more to eat, considering you eat enough for the both of us. Besides, it gives me the excuse to invite myself over for supper tonight.”
“If you’re calling me fat, Anthony Jezebel Crowley, I’ll bless you now and…and did you just invite yourself over?”
He nodded, trying to stuff several more bags of instant salad into the icebox. “Six o’clock?”
Aziraphale swatted him with a dishtowel. “You’re not allowed to do that anymore…six-thirty…bring a bottle of wine or two.”
Crowley grinned, pinching Aziraphale’s arse as he walked out. “See you then, Alain. Happy cooking.”
“I hate you,” Aziraphale called after him.
Crowley just kept laughing.
At precisely six-thirty, just as approximately three separate egg timers were going off, the door buzzer sounded. The angel, in the middle of his small disaster, covered in flour and gobs of some unidentifiable substance, stopped and blinked. Crowley hardly ever stood for formalities. He quickly took everything out of the oven and off the burners (scalding his soft, sensitive mortal hands in the process, forgetting about potholders).
“Sorry, couldn’t get the door open on my own, full hands and whatnot,” Crowley said, presenting Aziraphale with two bottles of wine from his personal stock of rare and expensive vintages and a bouquet of flowers (because demon or no, Crowley was an old-fashioned gentleman).
“Oh…thank you, Crowley dear. Do come in, it’s a bit cold out there, isn’t it?” Aziraphale said, bustling about like a pudgy matriarch.
“Yeah.” Crowley took off his overcoat and threw it over the back of a chair. “You’re awfully cheerful. Something happen? They reassign you or something?”
“Nothing that good,” the angel replied, brushing a stray lock of curling blond hair away from his forehead with two floury and burnt fingers. “It’s the music. It always cheers me up. Sit down, Crowley. Supper’s almost done.”
He obeyed, mostly out of fear of being hen-pecked to death by Mama Aziraphale, and listened carefully to the music Aziraphale had playing in the background. “Is this that album I bought you last Arrangement-versary?”
“It is indeed. It’s my favorite, I play it all the time,” Aziraphale said from the kitchen.
Crowley arched a jet-black eyebrow, carefully taking his sunglasses off. One of the perks of dining in was not having to worry about yellow demon eyes making some family two tables over uncomfortable. “I didn’t think you even knew how to operate a CD player.”
“I prefer the gramophone, personally, but it’s not bad,” he admitted, carrying in a hot casserole dish. “Sorry I don’t have anything fancier to serve this in. Pasta Bolognese all right?”
For several long moments, Anthony Crowley was rendered speechless. He’d been expecting something charred beyond recognition and utterly inedible, even for creatures that didn’t actually need sustenance. But Aziraphale’s dish full of pasta looked cookbook-perfect, down to the decorative sprinkle of cheese and the sprig of…well, Crowley wasn’t sure which herb that was specifically, but he was sure it was supposed to be there.
Aziraphale rolled his eyes. “Well don’t just look at it, Anthony.”
He was overly cautious about taking his share of supper, hiding behind his wineglass as he put a forkful in his mouth. “It doesn’t suck, Aziraphale.”
“Quite the compliment, Crowley.”
Yellow eyes narrowed at the plate. “It tastes professional, actually. You didn’t cheat, did you?”
Aziraphale blushed. “No, of course not. I did take some lessons, though. A couple of decades ago. Julia was awfully kind about it.”
Crowley’s fork clattered as it (and his jaw) dropped to the table. “Aziraphale, you didn’t.”
“She owed me a favor,” the angel said primly, sticking his own fork in his mouth.
Nonplussed, Crowley started going over everything Aziraphale could’ve done to have garnered such a favor. His eyes widened. “No…you aren’t…I can’t bloody believe it. You’re the guardian angel of PBS?”
“I always thought the Colonies did an excellent job with it. It’s very rare that you find such quality educational programming these days. Besides, my continued support got me the stereo I’ve been using to play the album you bought me.”
Crowley practically fell face-first into his supper. “I can’t believe it.”
“Oh, dear, don’t be upset. Just because you never got any rewards for inventing the infomercial doesn’t mean you can go all maudlin,” Aziraphale chided, patting his arm from across the table.
“Shouldn’t that be the American Principality’s job, though? Shouldn’t you be patron of the BBC?”
Aziraphale shook his head, blond curls bobbing slightly. “She’s more interested in reality television. Those ‘eat worms for cash prizes’ sort of things. Can’t blame her, though, she’s a fair deal younger than we are, and never really understood the need for quality educational programming.”
Crowley nodded. They finished supper proper chatting idly about all the usual things they generally discussed over supper, the whereabouts of the three slightly more corporeal Horsepeople, how grown-up the Antichrist was getting, the steady decline of society and the steady incline of English cuisine.
He watched Aziraphale leave the table, taking their dishes. Everything was a bit hazy from the alcohol; he’d drunk a lot more than the angel had. After all, he had the luxury of being able to sober up. Aziraphale was playing it safe and not allowing himself to use his powers that way. “What is it?”
Crowley watched with vague apprehension as Aziraphale pulled out a lighter to ignite the alcohol in the dessert. After all, the only proper way to serve Bananas Foster is en flambé. Unfortunately, and in spite of his cooking lessons, Aziraphale had misjudged the amount of alcohol required for the dessert, and touching the flame to the alcohol caused an enormous fireball to spring out of the pan.
Aziraphale let out a horrified yelp, the flames leaping up, threatening to burn his mortal arm off. He dropped the pan onto the table just as Crowley was jumping back. Aziraphale’s mostly-full wineglass went flying, splashing the angel with red wine. The flaming bananas ignited the linen tablecloth and napkins.
“Oh! The table, it’s an antique! Oh, don’t burn, please don’t burn!” Aziraphale wailed, skidding into the kitchen for the fire extinguisher. He’d never seen the need for it, being an angel, but it had come with the flat and he would’ve felt funny trying to get rid of it.
Crowley, in the meantime, merely willed the disaster away, leaving the table perfectly intact and unmarred. However, just as he was righting the chairs and conjuring up another glass of wine, Aziraphale came charging back in. He hadn’t realized the crisis had been taken care of, pulled the pin on the fire extinguisher, and doused both demon and table in carbon dioxide foam. It wasn’t until the extinguisher had emptied that he realized his error.
“I’m so sorry, Crowley, your suit…I’m terribly sorry…”
He shrugged, waving his hands. The suit was as good as new, if not better. “It’s nothing, angel, relax. Do you want me to rescue your poor shirt as well?”
Aziraphale looked down at the sorry state of his slightly singed and wine-stained oxford. “Oh…no, I’ll just soak it in cold water and dish soap and take it to the Laundromat. I can’t cheat, Crowley, it would be bad for my report. But thank you for the offer.”
He carefully unbuttoned the shirt and disappeared into the kitchen again to soak it. Crowley watched him trudge back, dressed in his rumpled slacks and a surprisingly crisp, white undershirt. “Aziraphale, let me see your hands.”
Crowley got up and walked over to him, taking Aziraphale’s plump hands in his own and examining them carefully. “They’re not burnt, are they?”
“A little, maybe. It scared me more than anything, though. I’ve never seen bananas do that before.”
Aziraphale looked up, suddenly realizing just how close Crowley was to him. They were almost nose-to-nose, the demon’s yellow eyes burning into his (with a fire not unlike his bananas five minutes previous). He smelled like expensive cologne and a smoky scent Aziraphale had come to recognize as Hell. Crowley shifted him even closer, lips only a figurative breath or two apart.
“I’m glad you’re not hurt, angel,” he murmured.
Aziraphale swallowed, unable to dislodge the lump forming in his throat. “Crowley…”
“I…should get going…”
“You could stay for coffee. I’ll put some on. Or tea,” Aziraphale offered weakly. “It’s not like you really have to be anywhere, do you?”
“I…we…no.” Crowley pulled away, almost grudgingly. “I really ought to go. I’ll see you later, angel. Thanks for supper. It was…entertaining.”
Aziraphale nodded, rather unsure of what had just happened. Either Crowley was trying to tempt him and was being very sneaky about it, or they’d just had a moment of mutual attraction. He sank into the nearest chair, trying to figure things out as Crowley headed for the door. “Sunglasses, Anthony.”
Crowley turned and walked back, grabbing them off the table. He leaned over and pecked Aziraphale on the cheek. “Ta.”
Definitely not temptation.
Things were interesting for the next few days, to say the least. Crowley was avoiding Aziraphale like the plague (or rather, like the two of them during the plague…Aziraphale was rather cross with Crowley back then and was giving him the divine silent treatment). Not willing to miss the opportunity to get work done, Aziraphale spent the time working the till in the bookstore. He’d realized Monday morning that he didn’t have enough to cover laundering expenses, so he’d left the stained shirt in the sink and vowed to get it into a proper washing machine by the end of the week. If it was still ruined, well, he’d just have to miracle another one once the week was out.
He performed a few more small miracles for the legitimate mortals in that span of days as well, little things that he honestly thought angels of a lower class could’ve easily done. But that would be questioning the ineffable, and Aziraphale was loath to do that.
It was some time late Thursday when Crowley finally turned up, ambling into the bookstore as if he hadn’t gone completely off the radar for four days. Aziraphale was just closing up, counting out the money in the till and taking enough to cover his expenses for laundry (and he was entertaining the idea of taking Crowley out for Japanese).
“Hullo, haven’t seen you about. I can’t even imagine what you’ve been up to,” he said, passing around Crowley to lock up for the evening.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” the demon sighed, toying with the change Aziraphale had left on the counter. “Though I did cause an absolutely splendid traffic jam during the lunch-hour rush. Cars backed up as far as the eye could see.”
“Oh dear. Nobody was hurt, I hope,” Aziraphale murmured, darting upstairs quickly to grab the basket of laundry and the bottle of detergent.
“No,” Crowley called up after him. “A few broken traffic lights, some errors with the detour signs, that sort of thing. Though one fellow tried to throw his mobile phone at another bloke who got himself stuck across two lanes in the roundabout. It was poetry.”
Aziraphale plucked his change out of Crowley’s hand. “John Donne is poetry, my dear, a traffic jam is not.”
“You want company?” Crowley asked, jerking his thumb towards the Bentley. “A lift to the Laundromat?”
“As long as you don’t mock me if I totally bugger this up,” he replied, hefting the basket. “Then you’re welcome to come, Anthony.”
They drove along in mostly companionable silence, though somewhere along the way Crowley had slipped a tape of Vivaldi into the Blaupunkt, turning the volume down until the orchestra was quietly murmuring, “will you do the fandango?”
It came to no surprise that the Laundromat they found was very small, sort of dingy, lit with dim, buzzing halogen lamps and reeking of dirty socks and fabric softener. Aziraphale gagged slightly, shoulders heaving as he tried to suppress the mortal urge to retch. Crowley merely shrugged and dragged the laundry hamper to the nearest unoccupied, unbroken machine.
“You’re such a creampuff, angel,” he teased. “This is nothing compared to some of the foul stenches I’ve been exposed to. Think of my coworkers, won’t you?”
Aziraphale wiped his watering eyes and started turning the dials on the machine, mumbling to himself. “There’re so many settings…oh dear…”
“I believe I have every right to mock you if all your laundry turns out pink,” Crowley declared, holding a tartan shirt out at arm’s length. “I really don’t understand why you wear this. It’s the sort of thing lumberjacks and lesbians wear.”
“Now that’s just being stereotypical,” Aziraphale chided, discreetly waving his hand at the change machine to miracle it fixed. Not three seconds later, a college student with an overflowing laundry hamper came in and fed a few quid into it, the machine spitting out more coins than she really needed. Aziraphale smiled triumphantly.
Crowley held up a pair of briefs. “From the size of these, it’s obvious you’ve been cheating on your diet, Alain.”
The angel blushed and furiously snatched the pants in question out of Crowley’s hands. “Give me those! You said you weren’t going to mock me!”
“I only said I wasn’t going to mock you if you totally buggered this up. I said nothing about mocking your horrible fashion sense.”
Aziraphale threw his underwear into the washer and slammed the lid shut, the two poor machines he’d put his laundry in (one for whites, one for colors), making horrendous gurgling noises and rattling on their feet. Crowley leaned up against one of them, pressing his sunglasses higher up the bridge of his nose.
“So you never quite explained where you’ve been this week. I thought it was your assignment to keep an eye on me or some such nonsense,” Aziraphale said, leaning against the other machine, hoping he could make it sound more like a washing machine and less like the great whirlpool Charybdis.
“Oh, I was watching,” Crowley answered airily. “Drove past the store a few times, saw you were sitting behind the counter, not doing anything remotely divine, just working like some sad little nine-to-five mortal. I wasn’t about to waste perfectly good wiling time to come in and baby-sit you while you merely sat at your till.”
“Well fine, I didn’t miss you either,” Aziraphale retorted.
Crowley smirked and reached into the inside pocket of his jacket. “Did get you a present, though.”
“Anthony, you didn’t have…” Aziraphale looked down at it. It was a copy of The Joy of Cooking. With a bookmark tucked in the page for Bananas Foster. “Sometimes I really do hate you.”
While they waited for Aziraphale’s clothing to finish going through the spin cycle, Crowley walked up and down the rows of machines and systematically willed individual socks to disappear from dryer tumblers, mixed a few thongs into men’s laundry, altogether broke one washing machine, and waited to see if Aziraphale was going to do anything about it. The angel was engrossed in the cookbook.
“It figures,” Crowley muttered.
“Will you help me transfer these into the dryer, dear?” Aziraphale asked, trying to carry an armload of wet clothing over to the row of dryers.
Crowley nodded and shuffled over, contemplating whether or not he should set the dryer containing the whites to an infernally hot setting, shrink all of Aziraphale’s undergarments, and then tease him about being too fat. He decided against it.
Aziraphale literally kick-started one of the dryers, shaking his head in disappointment as it wheezed to life, and casually miracled it to run better. He hopped up onto one of them, crossing his legs at the ankles.
“Sure that’s going to hold your weight, Aziraphale-aphant?” Crowley asked, smirking.
Aziraphale gave him the most piercing blue-eyed glare any member of the Heavenly Host had ever deigned to give him. “One more and I’ll discorporate you, I swear it.”
Crowley leaned close, hands splayed on the dryer, one on either side of Aziraphale’s thighs. “You know I’m only teasing.”
“What’re you doing?” Aziraphale murmured, backing up slightly.
Crowley glanced around the Laundromat. The college student was sitting in a chair next to the washers, headphones on and a copy of Lolita in her hands. “What does it look like I’m doing?”
Aziraphale gulped. “It looks like you’re trying to do the same thing you tried to do the other night. And just what was that all about anyways, Crowley?”
He reached up and carefully slid his sunglasses away from his eyes, resting them on the top of his head. Aziraphale felt a breath snag in his throat and it startled him, mostly because he hadn’t realized he’d been breathing in the first place. Crowley leaned over, one hand on Aziraphale’s thigh, and gently kissed the angel.
“I’ve sort of grown…fond…of you, Aziraphale. Even if you’ve got horrible taste in clothing, can’t flambé worth a bless, and you’re soggy around the middle.”
“That’s it?” Aziraphale asked. “You kiss me and then all you tell me is that you’re fond of me? Honestly, Crowley, that’s nowhere near your standard. I’m quite disappointed.”
“I beg your pardon?” Crowley asked, staring confusedly at the blond sitting on the dryer.
Aziraphale smiled, curling a hand into Crowley’s dark hair. “Surely you’ve got something better to say. Or did you use up all your wit trying to mock me?”
“Me? Use up all my wit? Perish the thought,” Crowley replied. “You should consider yourself lucky, angel. After all, you’ve got me.”
“You know, a simple ‘I love you’ would suffice, Crowley,” Aziraphale retorted.
The demon shook his head, leaning in for another kiss. “Where’s the fun in that? I think we’ve surpassed ‘I love you,’ old boy. You already know I do.”
Crowley kissed him again, and this time Aziraphale didn’t sit there stiffly (or as stiffly as one could while sitting on top of a washing machine). He pulled Crowley closer and opened his mouth to him, tasting fire. After all, as much as they were loath to admit it, both of them had wanted this for two or three millennia. Delicate, plump fingers raked through Crowley’s hair, and Aziraphale gasped as he felt claws carefully walk over his skin, Crowley’s hands sliding under the hem of the oversized jumper he’d thrown on to do laundry.
“Angel…” Crowley muttered against his mouth, nipping at his lip.
“Hm…watch the fangs, dear,” Aziraphale replied.
Crowley let out a soft hiss of laughter, kissing the corner of Aziraphale’s mouth. “You can’t even defend yourself, Principality. No powers.”
“I’ll thwart you yet, Serpent,” Aziraphale murmured, thrusting his tongue into the demon’s mouth.
Crowley hissed again, tasting tea and paradise, the smell of mornings in Eden still lingering on Aziraphale’s soft skin. Tongues slashed and stabbed the way the two of them had back before the Arrangement, brightening the sky with holy and unholy flashes of fire. Crowley could almost hear the clanging of swords, but realized that was probably just Aziraphale’s laundry in the tumbler.
In the corner, the college student glanced up from her book, stared over at the two men madly snogging, shrugged, and went back to reading.
Crowley slid his hands out from under Aziraphale’s jumper and placed one on his ‘soggy middle’ as he turned down the collar of his jumper. The angel nearly fell off the dryer when Crowley’s fangs grazed his throat.
“A-Anthony,” he whispered, hands sliding out of his hair to reposition.
He laughed darkly and reached for Aziraphale’s trousers. Those chubby angel hands slapped the backs of his own hands, fingers locking around his wrists.
“We can’t do that here,” Aziraphale murmured. “We’re in a public Laundromat. Honestly, you can be so irresponsible.
“I’m a demon, I’m allowed to be,” Crowley retorted. “Come on, follow me.”
Aziraphale straightened himself out, smoothed out his hair, adjusted his jumper, climbed down off the dryer and followed Crowley as he stalked out of the Laundromat, the demon moving slightly stiffly. He suppressed a chuckle. Sexless indeed.
“I’m not making love with you in a back alley, Crowley, especially not for our first go. That’s horribly distasteful,” Aziraphale said, folding his arms across his chest.
“It’s either here or the backseat of the Bentley, and that’s parked right out on the street where anyone can see us. At least this is a little more private.”
Aziraphale glowered, looking around at the dim and dirty alley behind the Laundromat. “We could just wait.”
Crowley grabbed him by the shoulders and pinned him against the wall. “I’m not waiting,” he growled, pressing a fierce kiss to his mouth.
Not about to be shown up, Aziraphale kissed back just as forcefully, running his tongue over the points of Crowley’s fangs. His arms wrapped tightly around that tall, lanky form, shoulder blades scraping against the brick behind him. Crowley snaked a leg between Aziraphale’s, shuddering slightly. They snarled and snapped and kissed violently, centuries of repressed emotions spilling out in a sloshing tumble. And when they ground their hips together, it seemed as though the whole alley exploded in a flash of sparks.
Crowley’s hands went to Aziraphale’s trousers again, and this time the angel didn’t stop him, instead reaching for Crowley’s belt. They both had their trousers and pants halfway to their ankles when Crowley stopped, his bruised lips curling into a frown. Aziraphale, panting, gazed at him inquisitively with hazy blue eyes.
The demon shook his head. “We can’t do this, angel.”
“Says who? Well, other than my superiors, but technically they have to approve because it does say in Scripture to ‘love thy enemies,’ and I most certainly do…well, in your case at the very least and…”
“Would you stop babbling for a moment?” Crowley hissed. “I meant that you’re still under assignment and therefore can’t use your powers to make this hurt less. And mark my words, Aziraphale, it’s going to hurt.”
“Then why can’t you be the one pressed up against the wall?”
“Can you honestly tell me you’ve had sex with another man or man-shaped-being before?” Crowley asked dryly. “I was under the impression your lot was against that sort of thing.”
Aziraphale blushed. “Well, they are. And I haven’t. But it was worth suggesting.”
“I mean, there’s always…” Crowley started to go down on his knees. Aziraphale rested a hand on his shoulder.
“Not in a dirty alley, dear, that’s even worse. Just…just go ahead. If I’m really bad off, I’ll cheat,” he said quietly, touching Crowley’s face with his fingertips.
Crowley stood again, smirking. “You’ll lose our wager.”
“Bugger the wager,” Aziraphale retorted.
Crowley laughed and kissed the corner of his mouth. “I think I’d rather bugger you, old boy.”
He turned Aziraphale about, pressing his front against the wall, the angel adjusting himself so the bricks didn’t scrape quite so much. Crowley pressed close, skin on skin and fine Italian suit on frumpy old jumper. His breath was hot against the back of Aziraphale’s neck and he shivered as he felt Crowley lace his fingers between his own.
“I’ll stop if you need me to, promise,” he murmured, arousal pressed up against him. Aziraphale nodded, turning his head back for a kiss. Crowley obliged him, then stuck two fingers in his own mouth, slicking them as best as he could.
Aziraphale whimpered and moaned as Crowley slid his fingers up inside him. It did hurt, but he could feel that Crowley was trying to will his pain away, and smiled at the effort. Crowley’s grip on Aziraphale’s hand tightened as he withdrew his fingers.
“I’m fine, Anthony, don’t worry.”
Crowley kissed the back of his neck and slowly thrust in, holding Aziraphale close. The angel was shaking slightly, breath leaving a wet patch of condensation on the cold brick. Crowley bit back a groan.
“Still all right, angel?” he hissed, silently damning Heaven for putting Aziraphale on such a stupid assignment. He would’ve loved the opportunity to run his hands over perfect white wings, bury his fingers in soft feathers as they made love in his bed. That would have to wait until the week was fully out.
“Yes,” Aziraphale ground out. “It’s not the most pleasant thing I’ve experienced, though. I don’t know why mortals enjoy it so much.”
Crowley chuckled. “It’s always the worst the first time, it gets better. Just relax, I’ve got you.”
“Somehow I don’t find that as comforting as I probably ought to.”
The demon thrust shallowly, whispering to his companion in a language no mortal had ever heard uttered (and probably would spontaneously combust on hearing). Aziraphale groaned and pressed back against him, teeth clenched against the pain that sliced through him like infernal knives. Crowley’s soft litany included a good couple of apologies for hurting him, but the better apology was when he thrust at just the right angle to make Aziraphale see stars.
“Crowley…” he gasped, arching back against him, fingers scrabbling against the brick. Crowley hissed something back at him and pried their hands off the wall, circling them around Aziraphale’s stomach and curling them around his neglected cock, stroking it in time with the demon. Aziraphale let out a low whine like the twang of a harp string.
Crowley’s movements became erratic, his words stilted as he drew close to climax. He leaned close, whispering Aziraphale’s name in his ear, hissing out each syllable until it became something dangerous. The angel gasped out Crowley’s name, coming with a shudder. Crowley came moments later, expelling a sharp breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
They stood in the alley for what could’ve been decades, pressed up against one another, Crowley’s arms wrapped around Aziraphale’s waist, the angel’s blond head on his shoulder. Eventually they separated, pulled up their trousers, and made themselves look respectable again. Aziraphale collected his belongings from the dryer, threw them in the boot of the Bentley, climbed into the backseat (so he could stretch out) and promptly fell asleep.
Three days, two dinner outings, a walk in St. James’ Park and one heated snogging behind the shelves in the bookstore later, it was Sunday and Aziraphale was officially finished with his assignment. He made tea and toast, wrote up a hasty report, and rung Crowley. It seemed as though the demon had been waiting by the phone, since he picked it up almost immediately (which was somewhat of a disappointment because Aziraphale had really grown fond of quarrelling with the ansaphone).
Lying in Crowley’s bed, wings splayed, a neat half-dozen empty wine bottles lined up on the nightstand, Aziraphale smiled lazily at his companion. “I won.”
“You won what?” Crowley asked, arching a dark eyebrow.
“Our wager,” he replied smugly. “No powers outside of performing miracles from Sunday to Sunday. I beat you, and now you have to do as I say for a whole week.”
“Bugger,” Crowley muttered, having hoped that Aziraphale had forgotten about that. “So, what’ll you have me do?”
Aziraphale grinned. “Oh, I’ll think of something…”