Gift Recipient: fleur_de_liz
Summary: When Aziraphale tries his hand at seduction, Crowley really doesn’t get it. (A/C)
Author’s Notes: I wish you a very happy holiday and hope you enjoy this, fleur_de_liz! Thank you also to my beta; this would have been a whole lot more incoherent if it weren’t for you. Any remaining mistakes are my own, due to some last minute editing.
The issue of the Arrangement had grown steadily worst in the weeks that followed the almost-Apocalypse. To be blunt, it had become less of a working relationship and more of a friendship, though Crowley seldom thought of it in those terms (he had a reputation to maintain, after all). Excuses to be in each others company were made frequently and, in the beginning, they had even been quite creative in their reasons (though neither being could even claim that anymore). So being invited for dinner by Aziraphale was no big thing. Or it shouldn’t have been.
However, in Crowley’s opinion, the angel had been acting decidedly strange those past days, what with the cursory glances that Aziraphale cast when he thought the demon wasn’t looking and the fond look he got in his eyes sometimes, which a bit scary, Crowley thought; it was the same look Aziraphale wore when presented with Regency silver snuffboxes, Wilde first editions and good tea. Now it seemed Crowley was also part of the gang. It was madness.
Yet, no matter how strange the angel had been acting, there was really no reason for Crowley to expect any suspicious activity from the angel.
However, that did not stop Crowley from feeling a certain strangeness in the air of the bookshop when he entered on Monday night. There was something different about the atmosphere of the shop. Something Crowley couldn’t put his finger on and it wasn’t just lack of dust, either (absence of dust in the air wouldn’t have made much of an impact of Crowley; after all, he rarely partook in breathing unless he was required to). The only thing he could find that was out of the ordinary was a vase of flowers on the counter: fresh, white gardenias, and that certainly wasn’t the reason. He followed the sounds coming from the back room as he manoeuvred around the crammed bookshelves, that were deliberately placed to be inconvenient for customers, and pushed open the familiar door.
Again, there was something different about this room as well. Most notably, the books that usually resided on the floor had been shifted to what must have been another space. This, Crowley discovered, did wonders for the usually suffocating musty reading material smell that permeated Aziraphale’s dingy back room. Faintly, he thought he could hear the quiet murmurings of a song. He strained his ears to make out the words, but he only caught a few under the sounds that came from the kitchen.
“…play among…stars…spring…on Jupiter and Mars…”
Crowley followed the sound of Aziraphale’s humming to the kitchen. Only, his sense of timing was against him; he moved to the door just in time to be hit quite severely by it. “Crowley!” Aziraphale exclaimed, rushing over to his recoiled form, “I wasn’t expecting you here this early.”
Crowley felt the cartilage of his nose shift back into place and winced. He sniffed experimentally. “I see my timing was excellent, though,” he noted dryly. The angel ignored this and was quick to usher him to the table.
“Have a seat. I’ll bring the dinner in a moment, my dear.” Crowley sat as Aziraphale padded back into the kitchen, and occupied himself with examining the wine bottle that sat with him. He raised an eyebrow at the year and wondered where the angel had been hiding the bottle for so long; he had either been saving it or it had cost him, what must have been a small fortune, to buy. Either way, Crowley took the liberty of pouring the glasses.
As he drank, he examined the table critically, still intent on working out what was different about the shop; it was definitely cleaner than the other times it had been in use (though that may have been because Crowley was significantly more sober now than those other times). All clean except for the candles which were dripping hot wax onto the wood grain. He materialised dishes for the candles just as the angel returned.
“Candles, angel? Haven’t you learnt from the last time?” he asked, frowning at the marks on the tabletop. He glared at them until they retreated hastily to a part of the wood where they would not been seen. Aziraphale set down the plates.
“Oh, stop it. That wasn’t my fault. Had I been here, I would have been able to stop the fire.” Crowley rolled his eyes and Aziraphale sat opposite, giving Crowley an opportunity to scrutinize Aziraphale’s attire. He raised an eyebrow; there was a rose in his buttonhole. Though the concept was far from modern (a contrast with his own suit, which was at the height of fashion), Crowley found the idea strangely endearing. He looked down at his plate.
“You made this yourself?” he asked, faintly surprised. He eyed the imposing pasta dish set before him. “Seems a bit extravagant for home cooking.”
“Well, I wanted it to be special,” Aziraphale replied, simply, as Crowley sampled the linguini. A few moments later, he coughed it out discreetly into his napkin, secretly marvelling at the angel’s ability to botch even pasta. The angel seemed to have noticed the taste, too; he hadn’t touched his again after the first bite. He was now staring worriedly at his plate.
“Maybe we should skip to dessert?” suggested Crowley. He had tried for gentle, but he realised it mustn’t have worked very well when he saw the glare he received for his troubles. Despite that, Aziraphale disappeared yet again into the kitchen, reappearing only moments later with a plate of cheesecake in each hand. In Crowley’s opinion, it looked much safer.
He sat with it for perhaps a minute before he noticed that Aziraphale was watching him intently for a reaction. He chewed thoughtfully and swallowed.
“It’s good, angel,” he said as truthfully as he could (It was a little too soft and the base was much too crumbly, but what the angel didn’t know, couldn’t hurt him). Aziraphale’s anxious look disappeared and he beamed. Crowley found this slightly unnerving. He wondered vaguely whether Aziraphale was letting his angelic side leak through a touch tonight; that one smile had been more than a little disarming.
Crowley took a long drink. “You still haven’t told me what the occasion is.”
“Oh, there’s no occasion. Er. Not really.” There was a guilty look on Aziraphale’s face.
“Honestly, angel. Candles, music and home cooking? Really, what is all this for?”
“You don’t know?” Aziraphale asked, worriedly. His anxious look was back again.
“No, I really don’t.” Crowley replied, with forced cheer. Aziraphale touched his napkin to his mouth before putting it down and fiddling with it, nervously. He looked like he was deliberating something quite seriously.
“All right. I’ll, um, explain it to you.” Aziraphale paused and drew a breath. “I like you, Crowley. Actually, I think I’m a little in love with you. And all this--” he waved a hand expansively to indicate the room at large “--is my way of telling you that. Er.”
Crowley felt the world stop as the words sunk in, little by little. “Y-you like me? As in, er. Um. Like like.” He paused. “…Is that even possible? For an angel, I mean. Towards a demon…” Crowley continued to babble while his mind tried to process the new information. Somewhere, consciously, he knew he was babbling but his body was having a bit of trouble doing something about it, seeing as his mouth seemed to have developed a mind of its own. However, he had to admit to himself that he needed to keep his mouth occupied with speaking or else he might just do something drastic. Like kiss Aziraphale. Which would do nothing to clear his head in the current situation, but some part of Crowley was sure that it would feel really nice.
“Crowley,” interrupted Aziraphale. “I think you should—“ He didn’t really hear what he should do because for Crowley, many things were falling into place very quickly, like the act of having turned a key in a lock and having all the tumblers falling into place, and of things to be concentrating on at the moment, listening was not one of them.
It would be like jumping off a cliff, Crowley decided. Like sky diving, or swimming with sharks, or any other manner of things that are considered thrilling, dangerous and wonderful all at once. And what was he, if not a risk taker? There was only one thing for it. With thoughts still buzzing in his mind like panicked bees, Crowley crossed to Aziraphale’s side and kissed him.
At the touch of his mouth, the angel went shock still. However, fortunately for Crowley, Aziraphale did not stay startled for long. He kissed back. If Crowley had had trouble thinking before, there was no way in Hea- He- London that coherent thought would pull through now.
The desire for touch was unfurling in his chest and it was swamping him, overwhelming him. Crowley lay a hand to the angel’s nape and felt a pulse hammering in staccato beats under his fingertips. The taste of Aziraphale’s mouth was sweet with dessert and it made him moan to think about it. Crowley could taste him.
He surprised himself on how easy it was to be thinking of the angel, to be kissing him, to be touching him. Dimly, Crowley wondered why he didn’t feel changed, why he didn’t feel any different than usual. There was just his heart, beating as it never had, and the knowledge in his mind that the Arrangement would need some careful revising afterwards. Which would be much later, if Crowley had any say in the matter.
Feeling the strain in bowing his body over the angel, Crowley straightened and pulled Aziraphale up to stand with him, curling an arm around him and loathing to lose contact. Crowley’s legs were shaky, watery and he feared they had little strength left to hold him up; he shifted his weight to rest a hip on the edge of the table and managed to knock the wine bottle to the floor as he did so. The sound of it hitting echoed loudly in the back room and they pulled apart, shock written plainly on their faces.
He hadn’t realised he had started breathing until he heard his own short, panting breaths.
“So,” breathed Aziraphale, and Crowley was glad to hear that the angel was as out of breath as he was, “You, ah, like me then?” The angel’s eyes were wide and his mouth swollen red; Crowley had to stop himself from trying to kiss him again.
“If you tell a soul, I’ll have you inconveniently discorporated before you can even say ‘ineffable’,” whispered Crowley fiercely.
Aziraphale’s lips curled into a slow smile, one that was perhaps a trifle smug, and leaned closer.
“I wouldn’t dream of it, my dear.”