Hello! This is my first foray into this fandom (or any fandom other than Harry Potter, really), so if anyone wants to tell me how I'm doing, I'd appreciate it (something like "Oh god, go back and play with your little wizards," is completely acceptable, but I'd love a little specification).
There are certain Moments at which even an angel must question exactly how ineffable the Ineffable Plan could possibly be. Not that He has a habit of throwing things together on a lark, except for, possibly, Rwanda (which, even taking into account a certain celestial fondness for whimsy, positively wreaks of haphazardness), but occasionally a situation arises which it is hard to tell whether or not He could possibly have foreseen. By nature, angels cannot help but Do Good (in capital letters). This is to say that an angel could quite possibly be attempting to hail a taxi and inadvertently stabilize the geopolitical climate of Rwanda, and in fact, that this has yet to happen confirms for many that the country as a whole was a bit of a bugger-up (when questioned on this matter, He has an odd habit of slipping into Cantonese and muttering vaguely about time-crunches and faulty sheep-herding practices. Or pretending to be asleep.)
The angel in question, or the angel who is questioning, as the case may be, happens to be named Aziraphale. The certain Moment happens to be named Crowley. Also, he is not so much a Moment as several millennia of Moments strung together, outfitted with sunglasses, and seated next to Aziraphale on a clean, white sofa.
"All I'm saying is that you can't tell me that wanting to disobey orders is better that actually disobeying orders. I mean, by your thinking, I should never have been Felled in the first place," the Moment, hence forth referred to as Crowley, says idly.
"Now dear, I believe you did a bit more than think about disobedience. A certain hand-gesture springs to mind," Aziraphale replies as kindly as possible. The fact is, the conversation has taken a rather weird turn from light discussion of televised at-home shopping, a horror which hell took no credit for (but merely sat in awe of while taking the occasional note), to the well-worn, but always disconcerting, territory of the nature of Good and Evil. Light and Dark. Heaven and Hell. Angels and Demons.
"Well, what about the gray area, eh? There's all manner of things that rely on intent. Like, giving a toddler a smack. If it's to teach them that licking a light socket is not a positive life choice, then it's not really evil, is it? But if it's just 'cause you don't like the look of them, then that's pretty low, innit?"
"Hitting children? This is your gray area? My heavens," Aziraphale sighs.
"Exactly: your heavens. Your heavens are what's mucked everything up in the first place. If He'd been a little clearer about things from the offset—"
"Now, dear, that's a bit unfair, don't you think? Your end of things has done it's part. And really, besides child abuse, I don't see where this ambiguity is really a problem for—"
"Sex," Crowley cuts in.
Aziraphale swallows dramatically. Every century or so, Crowley seems to get bored or annoyed and bring that into it. Has it been a hundred years already?
"Human sexuality is a beautiful—" Aziraphale starts, doing a remarkable impression of a high school gym teacher, especially for someone who only attended high school for three days once, in the nineteenth century, before declaring the whole institution to be an invention of the underworld.
"Yeah yeah, beautiful, lovely, really really awesome—I know. I've seen it. First hand. But I've also seen humans do some things with their clothes off that would make Him blush. And probably make your head fall off. You can't tell me it's all clouds and sunshine. Of course, sometimes it is, usually it's more dubious contraception and dingy stalls in the men's."
"It is whatever the participants make of it," Aziraphale says with the firmness of someone desperate to bluff his way out of further argument.
"Then why have you never tried it?"
Aziraphale has always felt that blushing was a rather sadistic idea. If one is already embarrassed, having one's face turn the color of a tomato is hardly going to improve the situation.
"Because, demon, the thing that matters is the context. When two—ahem—entities are in love, then ah... sex... is an expression of... that. And when they are not, then it is... not. An expression. Of that."
Crowley shifts almost imperceptibly closer and leans in. Aziraphale can smell cologne mixed with the permanent scent of earth that has always associated itself with Crowley, regardless of form.
"But you, angel, you love everyone, don't you? In some way? Your kind has to," he says, quieter than before.
There are times when Aziraphale feels so utterly connected to his human form that he is struck with a sense of breathtaking awe and sympathy for mankind. The thunder of blood in his ears, the dizzying pace of his heart, the white-hot burn of nervousness in his cheeks. It's startling how intense and distracting these sensations are, particularly when he doesn't want them to be.
"I do. In a way," Aziraphale chokes out. His throat feels tighter than usual, and his lungs can't seem to get enough air. It's all very strange and foreign.
The demon moves again, his hip coming to rest against Aziraphale's own, softly, the heavy heat making the angel's skin tingle.
"Do you love me, then?" he breathes.
"I love... I love all of His creations. But you are... not His. I do not have to love you, demon," Aziraphale says, carefully, like walking a ledge.
"No. You don't. Have to, of course," Crowley hisses. His voice is like a slow, sweet poison, heating and slithering through Aziraphale's veins. It feels nice, but the angel knows this is part of the danger. "But."
"But?" Aziraphale says impatiently, like a condemned man begging for the fatal blow to be swift.
"But do you?" the demon says, and smirks.
Aziraphale is suddenly aware of how close they are sitting. Their thighs aligned, their faces a foot apart. Even Crowley's hand has slid along the sofa back and come to rest just behind Aziraphale's neck, like a predator awaiting a moment of weakness. And he stutters, "Ye—yes. But."
"But that is not enough."
"What more do you need?"
"It is not enough that I... love you. Humans have the capacity to love many people at once. It... it only matters if it's... you know, mutual."
Crowley's smirk fails to conceal a flash of teeth, white and sharp against red lips. "And what if it isssss mutual?"
Aziraphale feels his very human body shiver with fear and some unnamed heat that unfurls in his chest and stomach. "You're a demon. Your natural inclination is to tempt. I can never completely trust you."
Crowley's eyebrows dart briefly upwards, arching indignantly above his dark, impermeable glasses. "You're an angel. Your natural inclination is to trust. To give the benefit of the doubt to those who need it, yeah?"
"...Yes," he replies cautiously. He can almost feel himself being cornered, but is somehow helpless to prevent it.
"Well then, who could need it more than a demon?"
Aziraphale breathes in slowly. He imagines for a moment that he can see the predatory gaze aimed at him from behind those glasses. The thick, black lenses hide Crowley's greatest weakness: his lust for conquest. With a shaking voice Aziraphale mutters, "Take them off."
Crowley doesn't ask for clarification, but his mouth does fall open wordlessly for a moment, and his eyebrows shoot upward once again.
"Are you sure?" He asks, after some hesitation.
With a gesture like a lightning strike, Crowley slides the black frames from his face and tosses them casually on the table beside him. And yes, there it is, the lion-in-the-grass glare in his golden eyes. The widened slits of pupil, eagerly taking in his prey.
But there is something else. Something hesitant that Aziraphale is sure he has never seen before. It's shaped like doubt and nervousness, and it hides in the creases at the corners of Crowley's eyes, and, come to mention it, in the twitch at the corner of Crowley's mouth, and in the anxious curl of Crowley's fingers. It is possibility, if not for redemption then for atonement.
And it is the reason that Aziraphale does not turn away when Crowley leans in closer, places his skulking hand on the place where the angel's jaw and neck meet. It is the rationalization for allowing the possibility that this is not Falling, but a different fall. The fall about which humans write sonnets. The fall that is immortalized on cave walls and in the eyes of all those who have experienced it. It is this reason that makes Aziraphale step off the ledge.
When their lips meet it is like holding ice beneath warm water—a stinging, conflicted feeling. The soft pressure against his mouth makes Aziraphale want to feel it against the rest of him, all the time, forever. These are dizzy thoughts, and the slow-and-now-faster movement of the demon's lips against Aziraphale's own is banishing them, one by one.
Just as he has acclimated to the movement and hot, sudden reality against his mouth, long, nimble fingers are at the buttons on his shirt, peeling away the crisp, white fabric. Crowley raises himself and climbs gracefully into Aziraphale's lap, so that he is straddling the angel, their hips aligned just so. Aziraphale can feel a hard pressure at his groin, and it matches his own growing want. The push and sway of their hips together feels like fire, and it's wonderful. It's creation and destruction and a the whole spectrum of sensation that dwells between the two.
It is temptation. And that is what makes Aziraphale pull away.
"Wait, Crowley," the angel whispers, sounding let down and hollow.
Crowley leans back and stares down at the shaking, flushed being beneath him. And he knows what will happen next. What always happens next.
"This is not... Good," he says simply, mustering firmness Crowley did not think him capable of.
"But if you're doing it, it can't be bad. You're an angel," he offers in return. It is half-hearted, but it's his line, and the show can't continue unless he recites it.
"Really?" Crowley murmurs, cocking his head to the side. His eyes flash with bitter amusement.
"I don't want to Fall, demon, I really don't," Aziraphale says, so very quietly. It is the quietness that makes Crowley let go.
And it is the pleading look in Aziraphale's eyes that makes Crowley stand up. The wordless movement of Aziraphale's lips, forming explanations they both know will explain nothing, that makes Crowley smile coolly and turn to leave.