Wingsmut for Nny.

Warning: rank, rank self-indulgence.

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Persuasion
by afrai

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Aziraphale stared at himself worriedly. It wasn't an altogether repulsive sight, but as fun went, it wasn't exactly a rare 15th-century grimoire.

"Crowley, do you really think this is necessary?" he said.

The demon's reflection grinned at him.

"Of course," he said. "Can't have you going off to see the Pope with your feathers looking like this."

"But the Pope won't see them looking like this," Aziraphale objected. "He won't see them looking like anything -- "

Crowley ignored him. He was inspecting Aziraphale's wings, fanned out obediently to either side.

"How you manage to get them in this state when you hardly even take them out I can't imagine," he said critically. "Look at these." He gathered a handful of feathers, frowning. Aziraphale's mouth, opening in protest, shut like a trap, and he went suddenly boneless.

"Call these pinions?" said Crowley. "'Cos I don't."

Aziraphale struggled.

"I -- "

"And here," said Crowley, raking a hand up the inside of a wing, dangerously close to where it attached to Aziraphale's back. Aziraphale watched his pupils dilate in the mirror, as if from very far away. "Your feathers are all over the place. I mean, far be it from me to tell you your job, but you could try to look after the image. It can't help the holiness when you winch out the wings and feathers go flying."

"They don't," said Aziraphale faintly. Crowley was absent-mindedly stroking the wing near where it joined the skin, his fingers brushing the feathers gently, ruffling and smoothing them down with dreamlike slowness. The room had gone hazy.

Aziraphale tried not to think about those fingers digging into the flesh around the base of the wings, and then he stopped thinking because Crowley had plunged in both hands and his fingers were working and Aziraphale went limp all over.

It took him some time to realise Crowley's face was buried in his wings as well. He could feel the jut of nose, the brush of hair and and

"What are you doing with your mouth?" Aziraphale tried to say. "Aaahmmfgh," said his voice, in defiant contravention of orders.

"Mmfurkle," said Crowley, apparently embracing the spirit of the thing. He moved back a little, the warm pressure lightening, and said against Aziraphale's wings,

"You smell like wet pigeon."

"Oh, thanks " said Aziraphale, despite the distracting movement of warm lips against his feathers, but Crowley's fingers were tracing delicate circles on the tender underside of his wings and he had better things to think about than attempting to summon up sufficient irritation with Crowley.

Like, for example, spreading his wings. Just a little. Just so that Crowley could reach a little further . . .

Half an hour later Aziraphale was slumped in his chair, face flushed and eyes half-lidded. Crowley was brushing his wings in long sweeps, base to wing-tip, and grinning like a cat that had eaten the canary, finished off the cream and quietly disposed of the dog's body.

"There's a feather at the side of your mouth," said Aziraphale drowsily. "The right. No, the right. There.

"They don't look any better," he added after a while, squinting at the mirror.

"I got a bit carried away," Crowley admitted. He didn't seem very sorry. "You're right. You can't possibly visit the Pope like this, wouldn't be proper. Better put it off."

"But he won't even see my wings," said Aziraphale. "And he's new. Got to show him the ropes, that sort of thing. Noblesse oblige and all that."

He did not speak with much conviction. Crowley's hands had slowed to a hypnotic rhythm, petting and soothing.

"He'll figure it out," Crowley suggested. "They generally do. Adaptable buggers, humans. They don't need any telling." He pressed down hard to emphasise the point. Aziraphale's wings jerked, then collapsed gently around him.

"You may be right," he said. His voice had gone wavery, heavy with impending sleep.

"It's been known to happen," said Crowley modestly.

"Yes," said Aziraphale, "I think I'll stay home this time. You visit him, Crowley, there's a good fellow. Instructions're on the table."

"Yeah, you should definitely -- what?"

"'Member to give him . . . word of advice . . . contraception not a bad idea," murmured Aziraphale. "Thanks, dear boy."

"Wait, I'm not going to -- "

"Indebted, I'm sure." Aziraphale yawned hugely. "Any time I can oblige . . ."

"But I -- "

"Wake me up when you're done," said Aziraphale, in a dying mumble. "I'll . . . cook dinner."

"Aziraphale -- "

But Aziraphale had fallen asleep, smiling gently, like a man with a secret joke who has just figured out the punch-line.


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