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Beach Botanist's Coda: Moonlighting / Think of England - if there's a place for [us] that love has kept protected [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Beach Botanist's Coda: Moonlighting / Think of England [Jun. 18th, 2012|11:32 pm]
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Title: Coda: Moonlighting / Think of England
Fandom: Good Omens
Rating: NC-17
Notes: I suppose this is kind of like a shawarma scene for The Beach Botanist's Survival Guide, which of course is the latest in the A Better Place/The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse 'verse (see the Survival Guide header for links to everything preceding). I didn't cover much of the five-day Cape vacation, to be honest, and I do love travel stories. It's because I so seldom get to go on vacations that are truly relaxing; you might say cruises and seaside weekends are all well and good, but I've never been on any such trip in my life without my in-laws or at least one of my parents present. That's not romantic, okay? Therefore, I like to give the characters (yes, John and Sherlock included) what I never get.
Summary: Another question more interesting than the angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin one would be, Do angels have to worry about sand in awkward places?


Uriel fished in the packet between them, careful not to up-end it in the sand, and delicately extracted another cigarette. She lit it, shivering, sheltering the flame she'd produced with a snap of her fingers. Raphael's blue eyes—So like Aziraphale's, she thought—flickered with amusement. She couldn't tell whether he was laughing at her or at the action going on twenty yards off to her left.

“Always thought it'd be the other way around, didn't you?” Uriel asked, flicking a shower of ash at the stars. She missed Orion in summer; she didn't know why.

“Not so loud,” Raphael murmured, reaching for the cigarette. “They'll hear.”

“Get your own, dude,” she said, taking a long, dizzying drag. “We have five left.”

“Uneven numbers never bode well,” he said, producing a lit Cuban from nowhere.

“I mean it,” Uriel said, squinting through the shadows produced by the artificial light filtering dimly down from the street far behind them. “I'd have sooner thought...”

The mess of tartan blankets was overkill, because there'd be sand everywhere by the time they got around to a walk of shame back to #18 in the early hours of morning, but the couple under it seemed genuinely oblivious. She hadn't heard them pause breathe or even to speak, but then, they didn't need to breathe, no more than she needed to smoke, and, if she listened closely, the only audio more obvious than the bass-line of deep, constant kissing was Crowley's complete inability to stifle the broken sounds he made when Aziraphale moved under him.

Or at least she thought that's the order they were in; Crowley's tumble of black hair, waving profusely in the humidity, was about the only thing not covered by those awful blankets. She didn't think they were foolish enough to risk total undress, but you didn't pile on the cover if you weren't reasonably exposed. She imagined them both naked from the waist down, their skin prickling with sweat at all that swaddling wool, and her own skin prickled with a flash of heat and faint want.

Raphael picked the burnt-out cigarette stub from between her fingers. He scooted up behind her, legs spread, and drew her back tight against his chest, raising the Cuban to her lips. She pulled deeply and coughed, turning her head to muffle the sound in Raphael's bare shoulder. The shirtless thing was sexy as hell, and she groped at his thigh, only to be thwarted by swim-trunks. They'd spent the entire evening on the water, and she wondered if Aziraphale and Crowley had realized the stretch of beach they'd cautiously approached at dusk was already occupied. She and Raphael had discovered them on strolling back up from the tide pools and kept a quiet distance.

We'd have done it because we're thrill-seekers, but I doubt that's what we're seeing here," he said. "They must do this at home, on that secluded beach of theirs.”

“So, about this mess...” Uriel blew smoke against the light breeze. “What do we do?”

Raphael stuck the Cuban between his teeth and was silent for a long time. They both watched the pile of blankets, which was talking now, in Aziraphale's low soothing murmur, and Crowley's pale hands had snaked their way out from between voluminous folds to clutch at something, anything, but found only the frayed edge of the blanket they were lying on and a mess of forgiving sand.

“I don't know,” he said, pointing with the cigar, “but we could always do that.”

“No way,” Uriel countered, stealing it back. “This is too interesting. Are they fucking?”

“Wrong angle,” Raphael said. He slid his free hand inside the lower half of Uriel's two-piece, deftly thumbing his way home. “The snake's clingy, needs lots of skin contact—heat-loss thing, biology—and he loves it when good old Az uses his hands.”

Uriel shifted her hips, trying to squirm him off-task, but it felt too unbelievably good, and with her skin and her head and her body buzzing as it was...

“Would you please stop calling him that?”

“Calling which one of them what, darling? Mmm, so wet, if you'd just turn around—”

“Won't do another damned thing until you stop calling him that, it's not so hard, ahaaaah, you did it in the cafe this morning, I heard you...”

“Crowley,” Raphael whispered, slipping two fingers inside her. “Do you suppose he hates being called Anthony as much as I hate being called Rafe? If that's the case—”

“You've still got a mean-streak a fathom wide,” Uriel gasped. “Another.”

Raphael's breath sped up at her ear; she tossed the cigar into oblivion. He was thrusting against the small of her back, and, oh, if she turned, it would be so easy to palm him through those designer swim-trunks, wipe that smug look off his face. He kissed her neck and complied, knowing that was all she preferred to take. His wrist must have been aching, unless he wasn't too distracted to control his nerves.

“He saw you this morning,” Raphael said. “On the balcony. You spoke to him. Asked him scandalous things, didn't you? Perhaps made him an offer?”

“I value my own skin too highly for that,” laughed Uriel, breathless. She braced herself, arms hooked around Raphael's knees, kneading his calves. She could move as much as she wanted, perhaps even take away some of his leverage.

Raphael sighed and stilled his hips, withdrawing his fingers.

“It was a near thing, you know,” he said. “Earlier today. I saw you reach for an arrow before you decided to tug dear Crowley out of harm's way. Does he remind you so much of her, my love; is that why you're so fond? That same spark in both of them, questioning mischief and insatiable wonder, which led to the Fall for so many?”

Uriel twisted around with a hiss of pent-up lust; she knocked him flat on his back, and they were naked inside a heartbeat, sand sticking to their damp skin.

“Maybe it started out like that, okay? But what if it's different now? What if I like him for him? What if I'd ever decided you were a massive dickhead, which, by the way, was a pretty near thing? I'd have needed somebody to keep me company, wouldn't I? What if 'good old Az' ever had been stupid enough to let him go? Do you understand why I think like this, plans within plans?”

Raphael nodded mutely, reaching up to frame her face as she covered all of him easily with her fist, working the loose skin over his shaft to perfection. Large clit, small dick, she didn't care; if Crowley had anything half as responsive as this between his legs, then Aziraphale was one lucky bastard. She let her thumb find the slick cleft just below, so very like her own. Raphael was trembling.

“Did he like what he saw, the old serpent?” he gasped.

“Hard to tell,” Uriel said gently, curling over to kiss him. “He's so far gone, Rafe. Beloved Enemy, His Only Holy One. Call it whatever you like in any mythology or in any tongue. He'll never stray from his place, not as long as there's a place for us here in the Garden. And not even after that.”

“Pity.” Raphael swatted her hand and pulled her down. “We could've shared him.”

“You'd leave Aziraphale out?” Uriel asked, smiling; she pressed their damp foreheads together and made short work of taking him inside herself, safe out of sand's way. She knew the answer, as it was the same for both of them, but making him say it—

“It'd be like incest, only worse,” Raphael groaned. “Please, please will you stay, will you look at me the way Aziraphale looks at him, the complete idiot, will you let me—”

The pile of tartan blankets had gone very, very quiet and very, very still.

Uriel covered her mouth and shook with laughter, didn't stop riding him till the tension broke. She felt grit between her teeth, beneath her eyelids. She knew Raphael was close to coming because he'd levered them back up to sitting, folded together as they were; even if he happened to slip free, which he might, as fast as they were moving, he'd hopefully still find enough friction—oh, there.

He was so quiet it hurt her heart; she shielded them with sudden, sand-strewn wings.

“You'd risk it all,” he whispered, slumping under her, spent. He raked his fingers through her pin-feathers, gathered them in at the small of her back. “Come for me.”

Nothing spectacular this time, not with as much effort as she'd burnt in those last moments, but: with what little breath she had, she told him yes.


Think of England

Aziraphale swore testily, hauling the blankets up over their heads.

“Let there be light,” he murmured, and then kissed Crowley to calm him as the muted blue glow formed a halo around them. He'd gone so tense and still, fight or flight kicking in, never mind that human eyes wouldn't find them an easy spectacle.

The problem was, ethereal ones already had.

Crowley's breath was still coming in short, ragged bursts, but he'd softened against Aziraphale's belly. He bit the kiss short, moaning in abject frustration.

“Didn't think they'd be so reckless? Or voyeuristic, in the event of a happy accident?”

“She's cloaked them now,” Aziraphale said, working his hand back in between them. “They'd like disturbing even less than we would, at this point, I should think. Lift up a bit, my dear, and you'll—yes, mmm, better. Shhh,” he whispered, mouthing Crowley's earlobe. The demon shuddered and clamped down again, canting his hips in tight, controlled thrusts. Aziraphale fumbled gracelessly till he had them both in hand, sighing. Even in spite of the interruption, still it was bliss.

“Wouldn't have had this problem at home,” Crowley was muttering against Aziraphale's shoulder. “Think of it. No prying eyes, no light pollution.” He made a fretful sound, his thighs tensing with effort. He was hardening again, but not enough.

Aziraphale hated to see him driven to distraction; much though Crowley enjoyed taking their leisure out-of-doors, they shouldn't have risked...

“Now who's drifting?” he asked, covering Aziraphale's hand with his own. Fond, measured, undemanding. They breathed harshly in the cocoon they'd constructed.

“Not any longer,” Aziraphale said, batting the covers back with his free hand, which until then had been concerned with tracing the curve of Crowley's arse. The room was as dark as they'd left it, and the curtains stirred with the breeze of their unexpected entry. They'd manifested more or less neatly on the bed, as had the blankets, but the sheets were now scratchy with traces of sand.

Aziraphale's skin prickled with the sudden electricity of Crowley banishing the remainder of their clothing, the woollen blankets, the sand, all of it. He rolled off of Aziraphale and onto the pile of crisp, clean pillows with an exhalation of profound relief, stretching against the fine thread-count. He'd improved that, too, as hotel-grade was never to his liking. Aziraphale leaned close and kissed Crowley's forehead, stroked his belly, his thighs, his flagging erection.

Crowley shivered, let Aziraphale set the pace again, but he lay reserved and quiet.

“My dear, if you've had quite enough...”

He paused, pressed a hand to Crowley's racing heart.

Crowley's eyes seemed to glow brighter as Aziraphale spoke. Had they always done, he wondered, or did they truly so seldom make love in the dark?

“Listen, all this heartsss and flowers stuff,” whispered the demon. “How...”

Aziraphale was quickly losing patience, but not with Crowley.

“Don't ask me the same daft question, please,” said the angel, wearily, and gathered him close, hesitantly manifested wings and all. He sat up, precariously balancing Crowley in his lap, and closed the circle with his own unkempt feathers.

It felt wonderful to stretch them.

“What question would that be?” asked Crowley. “There are two of them, remember.”

“Raphael's and yours, yes,” Aziraphale sighed, running wistful fingers through the fine white fluff at the base of Crowley's wings. “But they're essentially one and the same.”

Crowley leaned forward, sagging more heavily into Aziraphale's embrace. He squirmed, increasingly restless, as Aziraphale absently groomed him. The wrecked, helpless sound stuck in his throat was more than enough warning.

“You have the answer to his—that is, my dear, I do, the rest of Creation be damned—but it's the answer to Uriel's and yours that you're seeking, the matter of what I see in you, never mind that I'll readily enough say I love you beyond reason?”

Crowley flinched; he muffled his cry against Aziraphale's neck, shaking hard as he took his pleasure. “Yes,” he gasped as Aziraphale coaxed the last tremors from him.

Aziraphale wasn't terribly fussed about whether he got off, not with Crowley warm and pliant and sated now in his arms, but once Crowley recovered, he probably would be.

“It's not just your spark of goodness, you see. It's that you are, simply put, yourself, dear boy, and this world, our world, is much better for it.”

Crowley winched in his wings and ruffled every inch of Aziraphale's he could reach.

“Is that your way of saying you're better for it, angel?”

“As are you,” said Aziraphale, but he was pitched up to the edge, already falling.

“I'd say you really have no idea,” said Crowley, softly, “but I know you do.”

—Extra: One Good Turn

[User Picture]From: sejitsu
2012-06-19 05:59 am (UTC)
All of the hearts in my eyes for this. *w* I never got around to commenting on TBBSG, but I still have so many feelings for it and how you write them and just ~everything~ My feels are overflowing.

I happened to read TBBSG when I was really feeling down, but it improved my mood considerably. All of the adoration for your writing and this particular universe; I can't stop grinning. <3
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-20 09:14 pm (UTC)
(First things first: your icon, the one you're using in the first comment in this thread, who drew it, and where's the full piece of art it comes from? It's lovely.)

I'm frankly amazed it improved your mood to read this whole sequence, because the emotional shell-shock I walked away with was...not inconsiderable. I mean, yes, it's on the whole hopeful and uplifting, I think, but, good lord, I didn't really want to face what a jerk Raphael could be and have to hash my way through that on so little sleep. But, whatever; it's done now, and I'm pleased it's no longer hanging over my head.

Thank you so much *hugs*
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From: mizstorge
2012-06-19 02:35 pm (UTC)

Better Angels of Their Nature

Lovely finale! The last three lines are perfect!

Couldn't sleep last night and this caught my eye while thumbing through Paradise Lost (From Book VIII;Adam is asking Raphael whether - ahem - angels 'do it'):

Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask;
Love not the heav'nly Spirits, and how their Love [ 615 ]
Express they, by looks only, or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?

To whom the Angel with a smile that glow'd
Celestial rosie red, Loves proper hue,
Answer'd. Let it suffice thee that thou know'st [ 620 ]
Us happy, and without Love no happiness.
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
In eminence, and obstacle find none
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars: [ 625 ]
Easier then Air with Air, if Spirits embrace,
Total they mix, Union of Pure with Pure
Desiring; nor restrain'd conveyance need
As Flesh to mix with Flesh, or Soul with Soul.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-20 09:16 pm (UTC)
You know, I've read the Inferno, but not the Paradiso, so this quote is just...wow, there's no way I can express to you my sheer unadulterated glee at the fact that Raphael is the one answering that question, and, furthermore, the manner in which he's answering it. I feel like they all (i.e. the great poets of old and all that, blah blah blah) knew before I did what a saucy thing he could be. At least I caught up with them eventually!

Thank you so much for reading :)
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[User Picture]From: enchantersnight
2012-06-19 05:32 pm (UTC)
mmmmm so lovely,

I admit I might prefer high thread count sheets to sand! (although when I was little I used to eat the sand when we went to the beach!)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-20 09:17 pm (UTC)
I love a high thread-count, too, but the times I actually get it are so rare.

Thank you very much!
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[User Picture]From: mauvais_pli
2012-06-19 09:02 pm (UTC)
I am tickled pink by your message, but rest assured I have been following the updates, just got a bit lax on commenting ♥

Perhaps also that I am nostalgic in my own way, for my US travels - now over a year ago - both through New England and to the seaside in North Carolina, the impressions of which mix together as I read.

And finally, because it's so achingly good, and I expect I would be in over my head should I plunge into it; another reread in a less frantic state of mind would maybe rectify that, and maybe not even then. Uriel and Raphael's relationship is such a contrast to A/C and by virtue of being observers as well as observed is a bit of a puzzle to me still, a bit of a scary one.

The stories are however beautifully woven, as always; and your loving attention to detail is a joy to have on the page (or screen).

Thank you so much for the nod via PM and for remembering my mix - I must admit, it's been a rock for me through the year, I did manage to make it happier (and, steadier) than anything else I've put together. And of course your writing, unfailingly beautiful despite everything you're going through, is a source of inspiration and hope - feelings I trust would return to you, if not through me and in any straightforward way, then through somebody, something else.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-20 09:19 pm (UTC)
Raphael and Uriel are scary, and, although I'd known that for a long time because I've been writing them (well, my version of them, at least) for some years now, I didn't know just how far that fucking scary aspect went. Now, I do. Haaaaah, yes. I walked around in a bit of a semi-responsive coma for the handful of days I was working on all these parts; I kept thinking, God, this is messed up; how did I not know how messed up they really were and how many fucking issues @$!#%@^$&# Or something like that. Closest approximation I can manage!

Your mix for this 'verse is still something I listen to often and treasure.

Thank you so much *hugs*
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[User Picture]From: ida_pea
2012-06-20 01:05 am (UTC)
Well, your shawarma scene is hot to the nth degree! I love that you wrote it, and how Uriel and Raphael are learning to trust each other, now that they've gotten the being in love part out in the open.

What if I like him for him? What if I'd ever decided you were a massive dickhead, which, by the way, was a pretty near thing? I'd have needed somebody to keep me company, wouldn't I? What if 'good old Az' ever had been stupid enough to let him go? Do you understand why I think like this, plans within plans?” God, she is smart. She also clearly wants to be devoted to someone, and be given devotion in return.Good on her for considering her options!

“Please, please will you stay, will you look at me the way Aziraphale looks at him, the complete idiot, will you let me—” Oh man. It's like an arrow through the heart, the pain and the desperation in him. And you put wing stuff in there that was way hotter than I expected to find it. Bonus!

I really love them so much, A. They're real and complicated and beautiful. I've got to do something in homage to them (and you) in the form of a little mix of some sort.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-20 09:24 pm (UTC)
Let me tell you one thing: when their first proper lovers' spat kicks in, I don't want to be standing in the way. However, as these things work, their first lovers' spat won't exist, as such, unless I write it. And anything that's meant to happen, I'll be standing there with my jaw on the floor, of course, and then write it down. Because that's how these ridiculous things tend to work. Still, would prefer not to be standing in the crossfire.

Bonus on the wing stuff? Yes. I didn't set out for this to be wing!smut in either case, but, hey, you know, have some! I'm so far beyond this stretch of work turning out far more vivid and far more painful than I'd initially estimated it would be that...hell, I shouldn't try to explain it away. Shut me up on a train for 22 consecutive hours and they're all bound to know I'm cornered and that keeping me trapped inside my head till they get what they want and/or need is as good an approach as any.

I'll look forward to your mix, then, and so will the rest of the fandom, I'm sure - or at least the tiny (?) corner of it that pays attention to this particular stream of events *hugs*
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[User Picture]From: thewritingblog
2012-06-26 06:46 pm (UTC)
... well, bloody hell.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-26 06:48 pm (UTC)
(I hope you caught the three posts that come before this one, and also the directory of the broader 'verse of stories framing this; otherwise, you might've been a bit lost...)

That was kind of my feeling on finishing this five-parter, really.

Thanks <3
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[User Picture]From: meganbobness
2013-02-11 01:24 am (UTC)
My brother is FtM (pre-op and pre-T) so the idea of gender fluidity and comfort with different kinds of bodies is very near and dear to my heart. I find Raphael really unsettling and feel like he's holding in a lot of anger or other feelings. However, the interesting non-binary gender he's got going and Uriel's delight in that is absolutely fantastic. I love the ability of fantasy/scifi, and of course fanfic, to explore how arbitrary maleness and femaleness really are.

Even more lovely is how dedicated Aziraphale has made himself to loving and protecting Crowley from his own self doubt and fear. Aziraphale's not great at it, but it matters to him very much and it shows. I love that they are both flawed and full of idiosyncrasies that make them difficult to love %100 of the time. It makes this 'verse so rich and immersive!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2013-02-11 01:57 am (UTC)
I have two very dear friends who are FtM, and I have a relatively mild-on-the-spectrum intersex variant myself, so gender fluidity is an issue rather near and dear to my heart. Raphael does have quite a number of issues he's working through, and you'll see some significant shift in him by the time you reach, say, "Some Assembly Required" and then later "As Above, So Below." One of my favorite pieces of fanfiction period, in any fandom, is this piece by an anonymous writer in Sherlock. Please read it; it's absolutely remarkable.

If I found the characters I work with on a regular basis 100% of the time, I doubt I'd be so drawn to them. The real joy of them is in the journey, absolutely. Thanks again; I hope you're still enjoying these <3
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