Author: Rhodastra Ravencroft
Disclaimer: Obviously, this is a work of fiction and is to be taken as such. I don't claim the right to the book, its plot, or the characters. If I owned Crowley and Aziraphale, only a few of my friends and I would actually want to read the book.
Note: this was written as a present for my BFF. I started writing it on the bus, on my way to school on a rainy day. I finished it on Christmas. I've been trying to write for this fandom for a while now, and I thought this idea.. was a good idea. Merry Christmas~!
Crowley wore sunglasses. It was a given, one of those universal facts of nature that even Nature could rely on if Nature so wished: Crowley would be wearing his sunglasses even at the end of the world – and as a matter of fact he had, even though the world hadn't ended (Crowley was so reliable, he was wearing the sunglasses even after the Apocalypse). Said sunglasses were, in Aziraphale's opinion, most likely fused to his demonic counterpart's face, and he almost couldn't remember what Crowley's face looked like without them (but he was sure he hadn't seen the other wear any before the 20th century and that hadn't been quite that long ago, had it?).
It wasn't a fashion thing, not really. For a lack of better wording, the style had gone out of style two seasons ago (Crowley had gone through various styles before sticking to one), so that point was moot. It wasn't so much about his eyes, either; there were only so many strange glances he received before someone broke and asked where he'd gotten the awesome contacts from (the way they put it differed vastly, from 'cool' and 'interesting', to 'they're frightening my children').
When asked why he wore them all the time, the reply was invariably
"Because I hate the light, I thought that should've been obvious. Now shut up and finish your meal, angel. I think it's started to rain."
That was a lie. Crowley wasn't known for habitually telling the truth.
In this case, the truth that he would probably never be ready to admit (much less to Aziraphale, of all the humans and non-humans in the world) was that rather than passionately hating the light and all the things it stood for, he still rather liked—no, loved it with a secret (perhaps subconscious) fervour that would disgust and anger all his superiors Down Below. And there were plenty of superiors to be angered, and he didn't really want to anger any of them.
He'd always told himself that maybe it was just a strange sort of misplaced envy that he felt whenever he looked up at the sun and could see its shape so clearly. It most definitely wasn't any kind of regret, what are you talking about, demons didn't have regrets about Falling and then missing all the fun and joy and beauty…okay, so maybe there was some regret, but a good question would be 'would Crowley ever admit this consciously?', and the answer was 'never'.
He would've much rather cut his own tongue out than admit that he admired the light for the way it could turn even the deepest, thickest, creepiest night into a much more bearable shade of grey that never quite got to be black; and he did quite like his tongue and the things he could do with it, so cutting it wasn't even an option.
"You've been quite silent. Something wrong?"
"I think we're done here. Shall we go?"
In the late afternoon, he even made the mistake of looking at Aziraphale – the angel provided quite the humbling experience; he had never seen anything brighter and nothing had burned itself so deeply in his mind, not even the light at the beginning of the world. For such heretic worship, he knew he'd received his punishment: he would never really be able to redeem himself and be an angel again (not that he wanted to, alright?). He still remembered where he came from, but he'd come to cherish the beauty of this unique light more than he had ever adored God or anything else and as soon as he got home, he was going to drink himself stupid for even thinking that. He was going to drink, and punish his plants, and ruin someone else's evening along with that.
Out in the streets, things weren't better for him. Behind heavy, ink-stained clouds, almighty light waited. He couldn't see it, but he could almost feel it tingling along his skin as rain began to fall heavier ('is this how you take revenge, Big Guy?').
The jagged edged of distant clouds were silver-bright, but somewhere, at that very moment, a mother was telling her son that the rain came when God (or angels) cried.
Over London, the sky (or God; or some angel) shed its tears and if Pollution would've been in town, the city would've been drowned with foul-smelling fog and raindrops would've killed plants and small animals. Everything would've been much darker. As it were though, Crowley was still forced to see Aziraphale as clearly as ever (did it count as being forced if he enjoyed it?), blond hair damp from the rain he allowed to fall on him.
It was a wet Thursday and they sat down on the steps of the angel's bookshop, only slightly sheltered from the rain. It was quiet, if one ignored the occasional sounds of angry traffic, which Crowley did (since he was often the cause of said sounds).
"Do you really dislike me that much?"
"D'you think I'd be here if I disliked you at all?" Crowley replied, sounding rougher than he meant to be.
"You never take off the sunglasses."
"I told you, I..."
"Hate the Light, yes," 'Zira snapped (or, well, sounded about as snappy as an angel like him could).
Thinking it strange that the word 'light' had sounded capitalised between Aziraphale's lips, it dawned on Crowley that the angel had taken it personally – that the sunglasses stayed on because he was, well, a demon that hated angels (as demons were probably supposed to; Crowley figured it might've been in the Demon's Handbook).
"Just so you know. It's not because you're an angel, or the representative of Holy Light or the Divine or anything like that," he said, even though it was (at least partially), but there was no way he was going to tell 'Zira that.
"You don't take them off at all when we're together." There was a short pause there, enough for a quick breath or maybe just enough to consider if he should say anything else. "I can't even tell when you're looking at me. I can feel you look, I suppose, but feeling isn't knowing."
This was completely the wrong moment to get cocky, but Crowley couldn't help it (he never could, really, and who could blame him?).
"And you want me to look at you?"
"I never take them off, and we're together a lot. What do you expect..."
If the angel hadn't interrupted him, he would've gone on to say that Aziraphale wasn't special as he thought he was (that was also a lie, he was on a roll with this stuff) and that wanting Crowley to look at him was Pride and Vanity and he had better be taking good care of his immortal soul, lest he should get the chance to start a new job with Crowley himself (and it wasn't a fate he wished on anyone).
"I meant, when we're together together."
Oh, that. He really had no reply for that, except a sort of grin that he'd meant to have taken as lewd and light-hearted; it somehow ended up looking like a frown.
Aziraphale frowned as well, staring down at his hands, and Crowley instantly knew it wasn't a look he wanted to see on the angel, and he couldn't come up with anything to say to make this better – nothing that wouldn't give what he really thought away.
The rain slowed down and turned into a lazy drizzle, the sky beginning to lighten towards a sunset.
"No, forget about it," Aziraphale started, and stood up. Rifling through his pockets in search for his keys, he pulled a face then settled for a wistful smile, "It was a stupid question, and a silly idea to begin with."
It wasn't stupid, and they both knew it. But Aziraphale simply didn't want to press Crowley any further ('This is the set-up for one of those "I'll let you figure it out on your own" comments..'); and Crowley refused to admit certain things to himself (things that would undoubtedly ruin his inner peace – he'd become so dark and twisted, he'd basically reached reverse Zen).
"Besides, I've already admitted to Pride and Vanity," (Hah, so Crowley had been right!). "I don't think I'd like to add Apathy to that list too."
Zira pushed the door open, and turned to Crowley. Light broke through the clouds right then, and Aziraphale seemed to show his halo for a moment, blue eyes sharp, yet dark with something unspoken (and perhaps, unspeakable). It was the closest Crowley had ever come to hearing the Divine call since his Fall and for that one moment, he could feel his demon self struggling against his natural instinct to sing his praise to the Lord. This was why he wore the sunglasses. Instead of giving in, he bit down on his tongue.
The clouds closed over the city as quick as they'd opened up.
A tilt of his head and that quirk of a smile still in the corner of his mouth: "Are you coming in?"
The taste in Crowley's mouth was bitter as he nodded and followed Aziraphale.
While the wind and the rain picked up again outside, the air inside was dusty and smelled of the angel (books, tea, and something very specific to him).
In the early evening that bathed everything in diffuse light, Aziraphale took his jacket off and arranged it on the back of a chair. His eyes on Crowley, he undid his tie and the top buttons of his shirt, as well as his sleeves. There was only the sound of rain and the creaking of the settling bookstore as the angel also helped Crowley out of his own suit jacket before unceremoniously dropping it on the floor.
There were no words exchanged, nothing but small gestures – lingering touches here, chaste kisses there – that caused great ripples in Crowley's already shaken world (and perhaps the angel's too, but he didn't think this was the right time to ask).
This was entirely new to him, this change of pace – not being in charge and always demanding. This slowdown, the cause of something not unlike flutters in an area that might or might not be Crowley's heart (as black and as tiny as it was).
This wasn't him, and Aziraphale knew it, and did this on purpose. It wasn't long before he was taken by the hand and led to the bedroom, where there would be more of Aziraphale's scent and more of Aziraphale himself. 'Finally, a territory the Great Hunter knows well, to his great pride and joy,' he thought, ready to get things going at a pace he didn't feel completely new to.
Of course, Aziraphale had different plans. Once he relinquished control back to Crowley, the demon found he had no will to actually change the pace.
For once, he was content with settling for whatever Zira had started.
The loud noise he heard was heartbeat, and he had more than one heart. There was one, thundering furiously in his chest; a second one in his kiss-swollen lips, still tasting so sweetly of the angel; he counted a third in his shoulder where teeth still pressed; and a fourth and a fifth in the wrists he held down. The angel's legs tightened around his waist and he was pulled in as deep as he could possibly go without becoming one with the other (which didn't seem like such an impossible or detestable thought). He let go of the angel's arms to regain his balance, and that proved to be a great mistake.
The other's hands immediately shot up to his shoulders and stayed there for a few minutes while the both of them tried to regain their breaths. The look of bliss and the smile on the angel's face made it even easier for him to be distracted when a single slender hand snaked its way upwards, until it reached its destination: his sunglasses. As he slowly realised what was being taken away from him, he felt a sharp stab of betrayal.
This had to be the cruellest joke ever made at his expense, but looking down at the angel, he was almost immediately blinded by the bright Light surrounding him – the bright Light that he was. The sound of the rain against the roof and his heartbeat disappeared in the Light, where he saw everything that he (cold and broken as he was) had seen so long ago and had missed ever since. His soul overflowed with the Divine, so long after he'd been cut off from everything he'd once loved, but he only cared about one thing: at the core of everything was still Aziraphale, pale skin and luminous eyes. It was still Aziraphale, full to the brim with that bittersweet love.
His hands found the angel's hands and his heart (as black and as tiny as it was) beat all the more strongly for it.
Their bodies, hearts and souls sang their joys and their sorrows and their praise to God together and the world was drowned in White.