Furiously, Crowley ripped his dark glasses from his face, throwing them carelessly on the angel’s cluttered desk. With a threatening expression he glowered down at Aziraphale who was sitting in his chair, looking back at Crowley as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

On the one hand Crowley really loved the post-apocalyptic – more relaxed – version of his angel. But since Aziraphale felt more comfortable in the demon’s presence now, the arrogant bastard he deep down was showed more often than in the past[1]. He had acquired a liking for teasing his old friend and while Crowley of all people had no business being annoyed about friendly bickering, this time he really was miffed.

“You are insulting my intelligence, angel!” he growled.

“I most certainly am not!” Aziraphale insisted sincerely. “I know how smart you are!”

“You said I sucked at chess!”

“I said I am better at it,” Aziraphale corrected.

“So you are more intelligent than me?” Crowley crossed his arms and glared.

“Nonsense. There is more to chess than intelligence and while you do have some of the critical skills, some…,” Aziraphale hesitated. “Are less developed in your… personal arsenal.”

Crowley stared at him for a moment. For a second, his annoyance faded to make room for his surprise, only to come rushing back when the surprise wore off.

“So I am less developed than you?” Putting all his demonic menace in his face, Crowley leaned down until his nose was almost touching the angel’s. A mistake. The proximity made him smell the seductive combination of tasteful cologne, old books, good tea and Heaven that was so unmistakably Aziraphale that it caused Crowley to gulp involuntary, leaving not so small fissures in his intimidating façade. Another two-sided blade of their new situation after the Armaggedon’t: He could be closer to Aziraphale on the one hand, on the other hand it made it harder not to touch.[2]

If Aziraphale noticed his predicament, he did not let it show. He just put his hand flat against Crowley’s chest to make room for himself to get to his feet.

“Now you’re just deliberately misunderstanding me!” Aziraphale really had the nerve to be the one pouting. “All I am saying is that we both have strengths and weaknesses and my strengths are more suited for a successful chess player.”

Infuriatingly calm, Aziraphale inspected the collection of wine Crowley had brought before choosing one and opening it. Carefully he filled a tad into a glass, let the crimson liquid swirl around a bit and took a sip. Obviously content with the taste, he refilled his wine glass and poured another for Crowley. Smiling he offered it to Crowley, but his face fell when he saw his companion’s sour expression.

“Oh, for Heaven’s sake, Crowley!” He rolled his eyes dramatically. “You cannot really be upset about me pointing out a simple fact that has absolutely nothing to do with my respect for your skills – intellectually or otherwise.”

“A simple fact, huh?” Crowley still stood cross-armed near Aziraphale’s desk and snarled.

“You and I played 42 games of chess and you lost every single one of it!”

“Well,… maybe,…yes…,” Crowley sputtered. “But I gave you a run for your money.”

Aziraphale rose an eyebrow at that and remained silent for almost a minute, his face inscrutable. Not really known for his patience[3] Crowley finally snapped: “What?”

“Oh, you know,” Aziraphale answered, making an almost perfect job of sounding not teasing. “I am just contemplating whether or not it would be a sin to lie blatantly to your face if it was to spare your feelings.”

His tone would to most people suggest that he was absolutely serious. But for someone who knew him since the dawn of humanity, the smugness lying beneath his seemingly neutral attitude was clear as day. Especially when he pursed his sweet pink lips to hide the twitching of his mouth’s corner.

He was just bringing the glass to his lips, but before he could take another sip of wine, Crowley was in front of him, yanking the glass out of his hand, miraculously without spilling any of its dark red content.

“Really, my dear!” Aziraphale exclaimed with righteous indignation. “I poured you your own…”

“Shut it, angel!” Crowley growled. “No more wine now! It’s on!”

“What exactly is?” Aziraphale asked but got no answer. Instead his friend dragged him to the kitchen, the only room with an unoccupied table. All other tables, desks or surfaces of any kind were cluttered with books, parchments or sheets of paper.

Crowley manhandled Aziraphale towards one of the chairs and made him sit before taking a seat on the opposite side. With a snap of his fingers the garish kitchen light went off and some candles bathed the room in their warm glow. After another snap a chess board, including all the needed pieces, appeared.[4]

“Oh, little angels and demons!” Aziraphale cooed while examining the black and white pieces. “The white queen is holding a book, isn’t she? Wait, are those glasses on the black king’s f…”

“No stalling!” Crowley interrupted. “White or black?”

“I don’t think we should play, my dear,” Aziraphale said softly but condescending. “You are in a horrible mood as is. When I beat you now, it will only get worse.”

“’When’, angel? Don’t you mean ‘if’?” Crowley narrowed his eyes.

“I actually don’t, no.” Again a barely visible smiled played along Aziraphale’s lips and Crowley only managed to stay in his chair because he could not decide whether to strangle or kiss Aziraphale.

“You’re not helping to improve my mood, Aziraphale!” The dark tone and the use of Aziraphale’s full name spoke volumes of Crowley’s seriousness and the celestial creature sighed.

“Fine!” he said. “I apologize! I am sure we are evenly matched in chess and my 42 victories were a mere coincidence just as your zero victories. Can we return to our wine now, please?”

“Oh no!” Crowley insisted. “We play.”

“Why?” whined the angel.

“Oh, you want a reason? How about a wager?”

“A wager?” Aziraphale smiled. “What do I get, when I win?”

“Whatever you want, angel!” The words tumbled out of Crowley’s mouth before he could stop them.[5]If you win that is.”

Knowing Aziraphale well, Crowley saw his old friend slowly crack.

“Well,” said Aziraphale. “There is this lovely little theatre. A friend of mine recently became the creative head. Soon they will be playing ‘The Tempest‘. I know it’s not your favourite…”

Deep blue eyes surrounded by long lashes met Crowley’s gaze. Crowley would not tell his counterpart that he would have gone there with him anyway if Aziraphale wanted. That he would go anywhere with him if Aziraphale wanted. And that it never was a burden as long as they were together.

“Fine!” he said instead, annoyed timbre in his voice. “Should I lose, I will go there with you.”

“Oh, really?” Aziraphale beamed at him.

“Yeah, yeah!” Crowley nodded. “Now what do I get, if I win?”

“We could go ice-skating in Hell then, I suppose…,” Aziraphale answered with a straight face.

Crowley felt his eyes turn completely yellow and some scales ripple along his spine. No! Focus! Aziraphale was trying to throw him off before the game had even started. Clever! An angry opponent was an irrational opponent.

“I pass,” Crowley pressed out.

“Hmm," Aziraphale hummed. “I suppose fair is fair. I got to choose freely so you should, too.”


“What do you want if you win?” Aziraphale shrugged. “Anything you wish for.”

Maybe it was the way Aziraphale’s eyes reflected the soft light of the candles, maybe there was something in the way he spoke those words or that he had been a loveable bastard the whole evening. Whatever it was, for a fateful second Crowley’s stupid stupid heart took the lead and chose to voice a wish.

“A kiss!” He blurted out, wishing to take it back immediately.

Aziraphale’s mouth opened slightly and his eyes widened in surprise. Crowley for his part could have put on his trademark grin, played it off as a jest. But his control of his mimics was lost in the shock over his own boldness – or better: stupidity. Instead of a suave look, saying “Hey, just a joke!”, he wore a pleading expression, begging “Don’t hate me!”.

But the angel did not look angry or disdainful. His subtle smugness was gone and a light pink tinted his cheeks, but he held the demon’s gaze.

“Well, then…,” he finally spoke, calm and collected. “I am rather fond of the little demon figures. I choose black. You begin.”

Crowley gulped. Whatever he had expected, Aziraphale just going back to business was not it. For a moment he wondered whether he was really playing for a kiss now. But then he remembered that it did not matter because there was no way he would win. What was left of his rational thinking after Aziraphale’s provocations, was now smashed beneath his embarrassment. Not even to speak of the fact that Aziraphale always beat him at chess. What had he been thinking? He could not win a game of chess against Aziraphale!

“Crowley?” Aziraphale’s soft voice reminded him of his whereabouts. “You need to make a move.”

“Right!” Nervously, Crowley ran his hand through his ebony hair and just moved one of the winged horse figures he had miracled.

“A ‘Knight’s opening’,” Aziraphale muttered. “Interesting…”

Aziraphale’s hand went to his jaw. Deep in thought he took his chin between his thumb and his index finger.

Crowley busied himself with planning his theatre evening with his angel. He would pick him up an hour early to treat him to some champagne, after the play they could dine at the Ritz or pick up Sushi and eat at the bookshop. Yes, the latter option was better. Aziraphale would want to compare this interpretation of ‘The Tempest’ to all others he has seen and lost in his passion for the art of theatre, Aziraphale sometimes forgot to lower his voice. And who knew how the other people in the Ritz would react to a man talking about his theatre visits in long past centuries.

After Crowley had planned the whole evening out in his mind, he focused on the board again, noticing that Aziraphale still had not made a move. Of course it happened that players thought long and carefully about their strategy, but Aziraphale never hesitated so early in the game. Just as Crowley was about to ask if he was alright, a sigh escaped the angel.

“Oh dear!” he exclaimed. “You left me in a tight spot there, Crowley…”

“Ehm…what?” Crowley scratched his head in confusion. “I did?”

“Absolutely! I see only one reasonable course of action,” Aziraphale sighed, blue eyes fixed on Crowley’s golden ones.

“O…okay…,” Crowley stuttered.

Aziraphale’s hand moved towards the board. Without taking his eyes off of the demon’s face, he flicked one well-manicured finger against the black king. The small piece was knocked over, rolled around a bit, shoving some other pieces along the board until it finally came to a halt and laid in defeat.

“I forfeit,” Aziraphale stated softly, still fixating the other’s eyes.

Frantically, Crowley’s mind tried to process what had just happened and to grasp the implications. On the other side of the table Aziraphale got up.

“Don’t you want to collect?” he asked calmly but now giving away his nervousness by wringing his hands. When Crowley just stared at him, he finally lowered his gaze and whispered, “Unless of course you were just kidd…”

“No!” Within the blink of an eye Crowley stood before him. Gently, he put his fingers under Aziraphale’s chin to carefully lift his head back up. “That’s what I wanted. What I still want.”

Standing so close, he found his own apprehension reflected in Aziraphale’s beautiful eyes. Smiling, he cupped Aziraphale’s face and leaned down. The kiss was chaste at first. Just a soft brush of lips. But then his less optimistic part reminded Crowley that this might very well be the first and the last time he got to kiss his angel. That made him grow bolder. He pressed his lips on Aziraphale’s a bit firmer and slowly started to move them. When Aziraphale responded in kind, Crowley carefully but with unambiguous intention flicked his tongue across the other’s bottom lip. It was a daring move, but his courage was rewarded with a soft moan that definitely was not one of discomfort. Aziraphale stepped even closer so that his chest was now flush against his counterpart’s who felt emboldened enough to circle his arms around him.

As soon as Aziraphale was in Crowley’s embrace, the angel’s body went pliant and his lips parted, granting entrance and allowing the demon to dominate the kiss.

“I forfeit.”

Those two words held so much more meaning all of a sudden and Crowley could not help but moan at the implications. He kissed Aziraphale even fiercer and tightened his embrace, fueled by a flare of possessiveness. For a while their lips and tongues moved with each other in a harmonic and tender rhythm before they broke apart, not for breath as that was not necessary but to meet the need to look at each other.

“Well, my dear,” smiled Aziraphale. “I will admit that it is impressive how your chess skills improve when the stakes are higher.”

“I was very surprised myself,” Crowley smirked.

An adorable blush spread across Aziraphale’s cheeks. Coyly, he bit his bottom lip before he sheepishly asked: “Would you… like to raise the stakes a little more?”

Tenderly, Crowley grabbed Aziraphale’s fidgeting hands. He brought them to his lips and kissed them softly.

“Oh, angel! I’d love to.”

When Crowley leaned down once more to kiss Aziraphale again, the angel met him half-way.

The End

[1] And he had not shown up in the past rarely to begin with.

[2] To be precise it made not kissing, not pushing against the wall and not fucking senseless harder as well, but technically these were forms of touching, right?

[3] Ironically a very valueable skill for a chess player, but Crowley was absolutely capable of ignoring irony if it rooted in his own behavior.

[4] Crowley may or may not have had the design for it in his head for several weeks now to miracle it as a present for Aziraphale someday.

[5] Not that it made a difference: He spoke those words quite often in Aziraphale’s presence.

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