[identity profile] goe-mod.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] go_exchange
Title: Sweet dreams, angel!
Gift for: Cursiella
From: Your secret author
Rating: Gen.
Characters: Crowley / Aziraphale
Word Count: 2263
Summary: Aziraphale’s never been able to sleep. Crowley takes up the challenge.
Prompt: Crowley introducing Aziraphale to sleeping habits, Aziraphale not being completely convinced at first but ending up having a nice first nap, maybe after some funny things like Crowley reading a book to him or counting sheep (?) AND FLUFFY CUDDLING.
Author’s Note: Thanks for your nice prompt, Cursiella. I hope you enjoy this and I wish you a merry Christmas! And many thanks to my precious betareader, Lunasong365!

#####



You could hardly imagine a more adorable picture than when Crowley finally opened the door to his flat.

All sleepy eyes and messy hair, the demon was miles away from his usual dressed to the nines look. His bare feet and misbuttoned shirt demonstrated he must have dressed hastily when he’d heard banging at the door.

He ran a hand through his tousled hair, yawned and mumbled, "Nnnnngk. Whadda you wan’?"

The question distracted Aziraphale from dwelling on the pleasant warmth that had just settled in the pit of his stomach. With more time to deliberate, he undoubtedly would have found it very similar to the way he’d felt every time he’d thought about Crowley since their last dinner at the Ritz. He pulled himself together and answered, "I was coming to check if your superiors have still not been in touch with you."

"You could have just phoned," pointed out Crowley with (and this amazed himself) an exceptionally low level of bitterness towards someone who’d the audacity to wake him up. He stepped aside to let the angel enter the flat.
"Ah. Well, you’re right," agreed Aziraphale, absently.

"To answer your question : nothing new since Sunday. Still radio silence. What about you?"

"The same."

"No news is good news!" said Crowley cheerfully. "Do you want a drink?"

"Thank you, but I’m not going to take any more of your time. I’m sorry. If I had known you were asleep, I wouldn’t have insisted. I didn’t think that in the middle of the afternoon you’d…"

"For the record, it’s called a nap, and since it’s been around for far more than fifty years, even you must have heard of it," taunted the demon.

"Well, excuse me if it didn’t occur to me that I could add ‘sleeping’ to the list of ways you waste your days," retorted Aziraphale, a little offended. "I assumed you had lost this deplorable habit after the 19th century."

"If you tried it, you would show more respect for this wonderful human institution," stated Crowley, crossing his arms. "It’s one of the pleasures of the world."

"It’s a waste of time."

"You have it in spades. Why not just say you’re afraid you’ll have to admit I’m right!"

"Absolutely not. Virtue must remain ever…"

"Vigilant, I know, I know. May I remind you we’re now unemployed? You have no excuse anymore not to try."

Aziraphale’s embarrassment provoked an inquisitive look from the demon.

"Actually…" explained the angel reluctantly, "it’s not that I haven’t wanted to experience it. But I’ve never been able to fall asleep."

"You have at hand an expert and first-rate bedding…" mentioned Crowley casually.

"I doubt you could help me. And I know what you’re doing : you’re no longer allowed to tempt humans, so now you fall back on me, thinking it’ll be fun to incite an angel to sloth."

"Incite?" laughed Crowley. "Like you needed me! What did you call it when you asked me to help you do your job so you could keep your nose in your books and your ass on your sofa longer?"

Leaving the indignant angel no chance to reply, Crowley pushed him towards the bedroom, adding, "Don’t you realize the Earth was nearly destroyed and you’d never taken a nap? You must use this opportunity to fill this gap."

"Fine, fine! I guess it can’t hurt to try again," surrendered Aziraphale, taking a curious look in the bedroom, immersed in shadow by the closed curtains. The room had the same minimal chic design as the others. "It’s almost disappointing." He smiled at the sight of the sage green cotton sheets. "I was expecting something more… decadent."
Crowley raised an eyebrow.

"Define ‘decadent’. What were you thinking? That I sleep in a coffin or something?"

"No need to exaggerate. I was expecting black silk sheets. Or blood red, maybe. And possibly a mirror on the ceiling…"

"Silk is cold and slippery," cut off the demon. He’d rather not ask how long Aziraphale had been making assumptions about his bedroom or where he’d gotten that idea about the mirror.

Aziraphale took off his shoes and his tie, then sat on the bed.

"Tsk tsk. Pyjamas, angel," commanded Crowley.

"Are they absolutely necessary?"

"It’ll be your first nap and we’re going to do this the right way," proclaimed the inflexible demon. "Oh, and Aziraphale, no tartan in my b…"

Too late. With a gesture, the angel had turned his clothes into blue tartan flannel pyjamas. Of course. Crowley resigned himself. His guest slipped under the sheets, then pulled a corner of the small mountain of blankets piled at the foot of the bed.

"Do you really need three covers in summer?"

"Ssssnake," Cowley merely hissed by way of explanation.

"I think one’s enough for me," said the angel, pushing away the others.

He settled in as comfortably as possible.

"Are you comfy? Great. Now, close your eyes and don’t think about anything," advised Crowley, while tucking in Aziraphale and resisting the ridiculous urge to kiss him on the forehead. He went out and closed the door, saying happily :
"Beddy bye, angel!"

***

The demon had just noticed his shirt buttons and set them right with a frown, when he heard a call from the bedroom. He opened the door and poked his head through the doorway.

"Crowley, it’s too dark with the door shut."

"Don’t tell me you’re afraid of the dark," said the amused demon.

"Of course I’m not ! But… I heard a strange noise."

"Relax. You’re safe. I’m right next door. But if you prefer, I’ll leave the door ajar."

"And erm… could you turn on the light in the hallway?"

Crowley complied.

"Thank you, dear."

***

Three minutes later, a second plaintive call was heard.
"Crowley!"

He dropped his gardening magazine (not that it’s useful when your terrified plants are at your beck and call, but it was relaxing reading) and got up from the pristine couch.

Sitting up in bed, Aziraphale asked, "How do you not think about anything? It’s impossible!"

"Try to count sheep."

"Why sheep?"
"I don’t know. That’s what humans do."
"May I count something else?"

"Count rare editions if you want ; I suppose it amounts to the same thing."
Aziraphale seemed reassured and lay down again. A brief moment passed before he sat up straight once more.

"Count with me."

Crowley rolled his eyes but sat on the edge of the bed, his back against the headboard, and started a slow litany.

"One old dusty book… Two old dusty books… Three old…"

When his eyes opened with a start, he saw Aziraphale, leaning on his elbow and staring at him with a strange expression on his face. The kind of expression humans have when they’re looking at kittens. Both blushed and promptly looked the other way.
The angel cleared his throat.

"It didn’t work. On me, I mean."

"I wasn’t sleeping! I was… er… pretending, to demonstrate for you."

"You were very convincing," assured Aziraphale with the virtuous tone he assumed quite often.

As Crowley gave him a suspicious look, Aziraphale added, "I think some warm milk could help me."

The demon sighed.

"Only because it’s for you."

"Thank you. Oh, Crowley?"

"Mmmh?"

"Could you put some honey in it?" asked Aziraphale with his most angelic smile.

***

For ten minutes, no sound came from the bedroom. Crowley was about to think Aziraphale had finally fallen asleep, when the angel burst in the living room.

"I still can’t sleep. Maybe, if you read me a story…?"

"Aziraphale, you’re going too far."

"See! I knew it! I’m totally unable to fall asleep, and you’re not able to help me."

"Oh, fine! I accept the challenge! I swear you’ll sleep. Now it’s personal," solemnly declared Crowley, leading the angel back to the bed.
Aziraphale pulled the covers up to his chin and Crowley sat by his side, his legs outstretched on the blanket. A book popped up in his hands.

"’Sleeping Beauty’ is kind of fitting, don’t you think? Once upon a time there lived a king and queen… »

Aziraphale snuggled up next to Crowley and gazed up at him. Crowley ignored him as he continued.

"The youngest fairy ordained that she should be the most beautiful person in the world; the next, that she should have the temperament of an angel… Geez, not like yours, I do hope!"

"Very humorous, dear," snapped Aziraphale.
Crowley grinned.

"… the third, that she should do everything with wonderful grace; the fourth, that she should dance to perfection…"

"Just like me, indeed!" Aziraphale proudly exclaimed. They both chuckled.

"…the fifth, that she should sing like a nighthawk…"

"A nightingale, not a nighthawk," Aziraphale corrected mechanically.

Crowley took a closer look at the text, then muttered, "Who cares? It’s the same. She’ll sing like a bird."
"I care. Of course it matters that it’s a nightingale."

Crowley let out a suppressed sigh and resumed reading.

"Take comfort, your Majes…"

A giggle interrupted him.

"What’s so funny?"

"The fairy voice you’re doing," explained the angel, trying to suppress his hilarity. "I’m sorry. Carry on, carry on."

Crowley grumbled and picked up the thread of the story.

"Dear boy," quietly said Aziraphale, "I’m well aware you just skipped a paragraph to be done with this faster, you know."

The demon sharply closed the book.

"Let’s drop the books! I bet you know them all by heart."

Aziraphale suggested contritely, "You could make up a story…"

"Okay. Um. This is the story of… er…"

"Of an angel."

"If you like."

"And a snake."

Crowley smiled.

"Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, an angel was guarding the gate of a lush garden. For a cherubim, he was quite nice, but obviously it was best not to pick a quarrel with him if one didn’t want a taste of his flaming sword. One fine day, a gorgeous snake happened to pass by…"

As the tale concluded, Aziraphale seemed to be peacefully asleep, a slight smile on his face. Yet when Crowley was on the verge of standing up (trying to ignore his melted marshmallow of a heart), the angel whispered, his eyes still closed, "And that’s the way they became friends?"

"I guess it was a little early to use that word," replied Crowley in the same tone.

"I’m sure the angel already liked the snake very much." After a pause, Aziraphale added, "Do you think it was mutual?"

"No doubt about it, even if the snake would rather be tortured than admit it."

"It’s a beautiful story."

"Yeah."

"One more? A tiny little one?"

"No. Sleep, now."

"All right."

***

"No way. It is absolutely out of the question that I will sing you a lullaby! And calling me every five minutes won’t help you to nod off!"
"But…"

"There are no ‘buts’. That’s enough, Aziraphale. Stop acting like a child!"

"I can’t help it if, like a child, the thought of falling asleep frightens me." Aziraphale’s face lit up. "Here’s the solution : I need a lovey!"

"There will be no teddy bear in my bed!" warned Crowley, categorically.

"I wasn’t thinking of a teddy bear…" clarified Aziraphale with a meaningful look that startled the demon.

"No! Nonono."
Imagining him and Aziraphale in the same bed was totally… bizarre.

"Oh, I see. I thought you made this personal. But now you’re throwing in the towel. The expert admits defeat."

Ah! No one could say the angel had gotten the last word! If Crowley was going to join him under the blanket, it was only to avoid surrender. Obviously, it had nothing to do with the fact that this undoubtedly ridiculous idea was also oddly tempting.
Aziraphale stopped him with a gesture.

"Tsk tsk. Pyjamas, dear."

"I don’t…"

"Let me take care of that for you."

Crowley didn’t even have time to be alarmed by this highly worrying proposition : he found himself in light blue pyjamas, printed with cute yellow ducklings. He glared at Aziraphale, who displayed an innocent look.

"What? It’s not tartan."

It was hardly the time for quibbling, so Crowley made a mental note to plot revenge for this treachery later, and somewhat tentatively lay down.

After the first awkward moments ("Not like that, turn over." "Don’t put your hand there, it tickles!" "Your feet are cold!" "Oh no, not the legs!"), they found an agreeable position.

Aziraphale’s belly was a soft, warm, and comfortable cushion against Crowley’s back. The angel pulled him closer and, placing his hand on Crowley’s stomach, marvelled at the soothing rhythm of his breath. Without thinking, he synchronised his own.
It wasn’t so strange, after all. It was actually the most natural thing in the world. So natural that, when Aziraphale’s hand left its cozy spot to seek out Crowley’s, their fingers instinctively intertwined as if they had been anticipating this for six millennia.

Crowley snuggled with delight into Aziraphale’s comforting scent as if into the fluffiest duvet. If he’d enjoyed nearly a century of sleeping alone, how could he ever want to leave a bed in which he was sleeping with Aziraphale?

In likely response to this thought, the angel inhaled deeply, nuzzling Crowley’s hair, and sighed contentedly.

"Why do I distinctly get the feeling that this is what you were working toward since the beginning?" asked Crowley, failing to hide the amused fondness in his voice.

He sensed Aziraphale’s smile against his skin, on the nape of his neck.

"Sweet dreams, my dear."

"You too, angel."

Aziraphale yawned.

"Want to help me with that?"


**



Happy Holidays, Cursiella, from your Secret Writer!
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