Neutral Ground



Heaven and Hell send back their most inconvenient assets incorporeal. They reclaim their own bodies, and each others'.

Another interpretation of that moment. In which Crowley really was tried in Hell, and Aziraphale in Heaven.

Neutral Ground

It started as an accident, actually.

Turns out when one’s supernatural, eternal essence is sent hastily either down from Heaven or up from Hell, and one is hastily re-issued one’s own used beaten-up corporeal form in the same moment by a bureaucrat who really isn’t invested in doing their best work-- well. They don’t necessarily send the two together. The eternal essence and the corporeal form, that is.

They did, however, send both Aziraphale and Crowley back to exactly the place they were picked up. Meaning that, for a moment that would have been disorienting for any casual observers, the angel and the demon found themselves staring at their own sacks of humanoid meat from just outside of them.

Fortunately, there were no casual observers in St. James’ park; only professional observers, all of whom had already decided that neither the Aziraphale-body nor the Crowley-body were really candidates to be recruited to MI6, and thus were all too happy to ignore them.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale managed to think at him first. “You’re all right! Or at least-- I say, you feel-- even holier than usual.”

Crowley initiated an intention which, if corporealized, would have manifested as opening his mouth, then thinking better of it and closing it again. After all, the stench of goodness that Aziraphale insisted on needling him about was the only reason that he wasn’t currently a wisp of steam floating on top of an infernal bathtub.

Instead he just reached out towards Aziraphale, prodding at the glowing aura of the angel with the edges of his mind. “And you’re… just as virtuously vicious as you’ve always been,” he notes. “If perhaps a little-- hey!”

Because Aziraphale’s essence was moving, and not towards his own body.

“Oh, I did so always want to--” Crowley heard in Aziraphale’s voice in his head, and then his own lips moved and his own vocal chords enunciated “--try this!”

There was nothing to do but retaliate, so Crowley slithered forwards-- he always did feel a little more slithery after a stint Downstairs-- and settled into Aziraphale’s body. He opened the eyes first and winced, surprised by the brightness of the sun. Then he blinked several times, an action which his own body, afflicted by some sort of vestigial herpetological stubbornness, always seemed reluctant to do. It helped.

“Huh,” he said. “Nice place you’ve got here, actually. Comfortable.”

And it was: Aziraphale’s body felt cozy, blanketing Crowley’s essence with a sense of utterly wrong rightness, just the way it felt to sit next to the angel in Crowley’s own body. He relaxed against the back of the bench, splaying out and savouring the feeling of tight muscles unfurling, the slight cushioning of flesh where he wasn’t used to it being. He tilted his head, watching Aziraphale, wearing Crowley’s own face, peering down at the rest of him with a bemused but undeniably pleased expression.

“Like what you feel?”

“It’s very nice,” returned Aziraphale primly.

Crowley guffawed. “Oh, sure. Tell me that again when--”

He paused. There had been other aspects of the Arrangement, which had somewhat fallen by the wayside of late. What with the apocalypse, and all.

He gave Aziraphale one of his own smiles, just a slight tug at the muscles of the cheek, so cherubic as to be actually indecent, because the angel deserved to know how it felt to be on the receiving end of that.

“Do you think they’ll leave us alone, then?” he said instead.


They went to the Ritz in their own bodies. Inconvenient, trying to digest with an unfamiliar set of equipment. And when Aziraphale held up a finger and left the restaurant for a few moments, Crowley simply shrugged and kept drinking, until he returned and dropped a room key on the table.

“Neutral ground,” he said demurely.

Crowley raised his final glass and drained it. “To neutral ground.”

Bodies, of course, are never neutral ground. They’re issued like chattel from Head Office, but one does tend to get attached to them, Crowley reflected as he flopped down on the luxurious bed. His hair was still slightly damp, and he could feel it sticking to the pillowcase.

“Alright,” he sighed. “Go ahead.”

In answer, Aziraphale just reached out and ran his fingers over Crowley’s scalp, raising his eyebrows in a question as they came away wet with what was unmistakably holy water.

“Just say it,” Crowley sighed.

A smile started tugging at Aziraphale’s face, and Crowley watched it slowly take over with something like longing. “They tried to burn you out of existence,” he said.


“But you--” positively quivering with delight-- “You were too good.

“There it is. Go ahead, rub it in.”

“Oh, I will,” said Aziraphale, and kissed him.

Crowley shouldn’t have been surprised. Getting a hotel key after a meal involving a goodly amount of alcohol isn’t exactly a subtle seduction. He was, though; by how much he suddenly needed to touch Aziraphale, run his tongue over his wine-stained angelic human tongue and his hands over his soft expressive precious face. “Did they try to burn you?” he managed to ask, pulling away enough to let them both breathe and speak but tightening his grip on Aziraphale’s face, pulling him close.

“Yes,” Aziraphale gasped. “Yes, they-- but you know what, Crowley?” He leaned down, rolling overtop of Crowley’s body, pinning him. “You know what I thought? I heard you-- I heard you saying, come on, angel, you’ve worse hellfire than that in you.

“Sounds like something I’d ssssay.” The edges of Crowley’s body felt like they were blurring slightly, and he flicked his tongue out to taste the smell of smoke and ash wafting off of Aziraphale’s skin.

“And you’d be right,” Aziraphale sighed, lowering his head and allowing Crowley’s tongue to brush up against his neck. “I do-- oh, I am so glad you’re alright. I don’t know what I would have…”

“If only one of us had survived. I know.” He reached up, tracing the line of Aziraphale’s ear, and asked, “Can I-- can we do it again? I want to be… closer… inside you...”

Aziraphale blinked, surprised, like he always seemed to be when Crowley expressed appreciation for his corporeal form. The next time I see the Archangel Gabriel… Crowley thought grimly. Then Aziraphale stammered “Oh-- of course, yes, I’d like--” and placed a palm flat on Crowley’s chest just where his shirt dipped down to expose a patch of skin.

They switched into each other’s bodies easily, like two liquids mingling and then whooshing past each other.

“Don’t know why we never thought to try this before,” Aziraphale panted, now squirming deliciously under the weight of the body Crowley was grinding on top of him.

“Oh, I did.” Crowley groans at the sensation of his hardness pressing down on Aziraphale’s, both familiar and completely alien. “Didn’t think you’d go in for it, allowing a demon to take possession of this gorgeous thing.”

The sight of his own sharp cheekbones stained with Aziraphale’s charming blush was one of the most extraordinary things that Crowley had ever seen. “Well,” said Aziraphale quietly, “I suppose maybe I did keep a little bit more of the hellfire than I had before.”

“Works for me.” Crowley raised himself up just enough to start pulling off clothes, the jacket and bow tie and vest which should look absolutely ridiculous, but-- well, okay, they did look ridiculous, but Crowley just liked it, he admitted to himself as they hit the floor. “Come on,” he urged, and Aziraphale had shucked the shirt and was squirming out of Crowley’s trousers in a matter of seconds, seeming to delight in the very un-angelic shimmying movement of his hips as he kicked them off. Crowley grinned. “I’m hot,” he commented, reaching a fingertip down to brush over a nipple.

Aziraphale shuddered. “And vain,” he added, and rolled over onto his side, pulling Crowley down across from him.

Crowley looked unabashedly up and down the body he usually wore, finally staring into the wide orange irises, slitted neatly down the centre in the dim light, with Aziraphale’s sparkling light dancing behind them.

“I’m so glad…” Crowley started, and then stopped just before he said something truly mortifying.

Aziraphale glowed, an expression that had never graced Crowley’s face before and probably never would again. “Alright,” he said, hand trailing down from shoulder to sternum to belly and making Crowley shudder, “It’s alright. Let me take care of you, angel.”

I’ll get you back for that, thought Crowley faintly as Aziraphale’s hand finally reached his cock. I’ll… sometime. Some… other time. He reached out, greedily, grasping for his own well-known organ.

“Do you do this to yourself?” He panted as they stroked each other. “Are angels allowed to wank themselves to rapture? Or do you have to wait for a big bad demon to come along and do it for you?”

“Well,” groaned Aziraphale, eyes darting away momentarily, “We’re not supposed to.” Then he bit his lip and batted his-- Crowley’s-- eyelashes at him like a born tart, and Crowley’s eyes nearly rolled back in hs head as he was caught between the desire to bury his face in the shoulder Aziraphale wore, and the desire to curl into the Aziraphale-ness that surrounded him and was him, enveloping and caressing his soul-- his lack of soul-- whatever-- as he shuddered and spent into Aziraphale’s hands and over the covers.

Aziraphale followed him, back arching farther than human spines are really supposed to, and Crowley realized with a shock of further pleasure that the angel was leaning into it, accessing as much snake as he could, eyes wide and unblinking and tongue sneaking out of his mouth with just a hint of a fork.

They lay together, satisfied in only the way this very human activity could ever produce. There wasn’t a conscious moment of deciding to return to their bodies; instead they simply seemed to diffuse into one another until they were back where they belonged, Aziraphale blinking the eyes that Crowley hadn’t remembered to close enough and Crowley enjoying the return to his own lithe spine and joints.

Crowley sighed. “Come here, my gorgeous perfect demon,” he murmured when they were settled, and Aziraphale didn’t even flinch at the endearment as he pulled close. “Let’s enjoy this world while it lasts.”


End Notes

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