Chapter Seven: Grievances & Guillotines

Crowley had silk sheets.

They were very soft against his back, a dark, rich crimson color that pooled around his skin, cooling his body, which seemed to suddenly be so, so warm.

"Oh," Aziraphale said, gasping out, his breath catching in his throat, "oh..."

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was both, it was neither, it was everything and it was nothing all at once.

Times such as these blurred the edges and confused the rules and mixed the definitions, wrought change as easily as if it were hot iron on the anvil. Times such as these made rights wrong and wrongs right. You were true to your instincts, but perhaps not to your self.

Beneath Crowley, Aziraphale's naked body was flushed yet pale, cold as ice but flooded with sudden warmth. The angel trembled and Crowley found it intoxicating.

"I was going to take a bath," Aziraphale whispered, attempting to delineate up to Crowley's unreadable face above him the explanation, the perfectly reasonable explanation, for his own nudity.

"Don't ssssay anything, angel," Crowley interrupted, pressing his palm against Aziraphale's lips, "jusssst let me look at you..."

Golden hair splayed out over the sheets, shimmering, gold on ruby, silk on silk.

Blue eyes wide, lashes shivering around them, a look of delicious confusion in their crystalline depths.

Beneath Crowley's hand, lips parted, very, very soft, breath escaping hotly from them.

Crowley's jacket hung open to reveal he was not wearing a waistcoat, his wide-sleeved shirt all he had cared to put on beneath before he went out earlier that morning. He had planned on restoring Aziraphale's health and spirits with a little good wine, and had also wanted to see the very beginnings of destruction coil through the city streets. Instead he had met with Belphegor, had been tainted with his lust, and had returned to find Aziraphale naked and irresistible before his mirror. A temptation Crowley truly could not resist.

The angel's hips were slender and slim, his legs long and easy to straddle, and his confusion, his pounding human heart, were both delicacies Crowley allowed himself to indulge in, for he enjoyed indulgences. It was enjoyment true to his nature.

"Crowely?" Silence had reigned between them for a while. Aziraphale was unsure, thinking he knew what this was and what it meant but not knowing how to respond, not knowing at all what it was he wanted to do. He harbored for a moment the silly idea of slapping Crowley in the face, for he heard that was what some people did when they were compromised in such a fashion. But he didn't want to, particularly. It was easier to know what he didn't want than what he did, and slapping Crowley was one of those things he did know he did not want to do.

"Your lipssss, "Crowley whispered, "are very ssssoft, angel." Aziraphale felt two separate things inside him melt and fuse afterwards into one.

"Oh," Aziraphale managed, speaking against the palm of Crowley's hand, which was steady, yet almost tickled him as it trapped his words, "thank you."

Crowley kissed him.

"Ssssoft and ssssweet," he breathed against them, head bowed. Aziraphale held tight to his shoulders as if he were drowning. Crowley ran a hand down the center of Aziraphale's chest, fingertips prickling against his skin. It felt just as soft, just as sweet, as he knew it would.

"Perhaps I'd better get dressed," Aziraphale murmured, shifting against the touch, not uncomfortably.

"Perhapssss you'd better sssstay jusssst assss you are."

"...all right."

Crowley turned his face and kissed Aziraphale's knuckles, eyes falling shut to savor the taste properly. Aziraphale trembled.

"Why?" he asked shakily, wanting an answer that would tell him just how to feel, just how to respond, just what to do next.

"Becausssse," Crowley murmured, almost tenderly, "it wassss a long time coming, wassssn't it?"

An age old grievance, Capulets and Montagues, Heav'n and Hell, two houses both alike in dignity, perhaps meant to join, perhaps destined for tragedy, surged up inside the two of them and burned upon their lips. But their bodies blindly moved closer, knowing nothing of feuds or enemies, caring of nothing besides the warmth and familiarity of this never-before-felt embrace.

This time, Aziraphale kissed Crowley, leaning up to search out his lips, and find them, and wonder over them. The demon let his eyes fall shut again, let that inhumanity fade away, let his body press close and enjoy it. An angel was kissing him.

It was as close to Heav'n as he would ever get again, only this sort of Heav'n was different, a pleasure that was your own, what Crowley had been searching for before the Fall, what all angels wanted, whether they knew it or not.

They touched each other.

They moved slowly against each other, touching always, always touching.

Their kisses were soft on the hard air, sweet on the bitter air, strong on the trembling air.

For a long time they had longed for this, ached for it, but the times had not brought about a means of discovery. They touched now for a thousand, two thousand, three thousand, endless thousands of missed years of touching. Like vintage wine, their feelings, unnamed and uncertain, had aged, grown rich and wise in that aging.

Their bodies twined together, around, tight, but they simply touched.

There were no words, only their breaths mingling, no sight for their eyes were closed, no sounds save for their breaths mingling, no light and no darkness, only the visions of each other that played endlessly over the backs of their eyelids. They took each other's hands not shakily, fingers weaving together like the threads of time, and they held each other tight, Crowley pulling Aziraphale up into his lap, Aziraphale knowing suddenly how to wrap his long legs around the demon's waist. Without seeing each other they found each other's lips easily and tasted them, each remembering apple orchards long past.

Aziraphale's cheek was as soft as a rose petal. Crowley had not known that. He did now.

Crowley's fingers were as graceful as a musician's. Aziraphale had not known that. He did now.

In the dim, early morning light they did not have names for each other, only touches and kisses, which grew more familiar, more friendly, as the time passed. On the air there was the faint memory of passion but it, the cardinal sin, the crimson mark, was fat and pregnant with the passion of the people.

Soon, discovery and knowledge would lead to lust, as it always did.

Outside, Belphegor danced.

Outside, Israfel watched him.

Inside, the angel bared himself as he had never before to his God, to his Father, to the Hallowed Holy One, revealing his neck to Crowley's slow kisses, feeding the fire that he had always had, undiscovered and dormant, inside of him.

Outside, the people waited in the rain, sharpening metal for a perfect blade to suit the whims of that which they called Justice.