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Planetoid Memories and Tetramorphology

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Snaking his way between atoms and quarks, Crowley unleashed himself in the space outside of space, an endless slither of infernal energy. Novas burned through the stretch of him, brightest starlight seeping through his scales, the afterimage of a constellation seared into the celestial arena around him. This was the playground of Creation, the building blocks of the universe in their basest form. He felt the pull of time, a steady thrum like a heartbeat that slowed to a near halt at his beckoning. This would safeguard their corporations, preventing them from being found while uninhabited. Gravity twisted around him, pulling at the fabric of reality. Assorted debris caught in a spiral down the length of his body, millennia of memories frozen in time, billions of subtle shifts and minor miracles and millions of threads that he had deliberately changed to suit him.

A spark like a flint striking steel caught the nebulae of Crowley’s eyes, and he turned his massive body, coiling distantly around it. Bright, sharp repetition steadily pierced the veil between planes, cutting a neat line with a steady and meticulous hand. Crowley reached for the gap, countless memories pulling with the gravity of a black hole, beckoning Aziraphale through. Excitement burned in the latticework of his scales, the anticipation building for this long-awaited moment.

Neither Crowley nor Aziraphale had seen one another like this before. They knew their corporations inside and out, had exchanged them once to save their lives and then a few times more for the novelty of it all. These forms were universes in their own right, their true selves in all their infinite flaws and immortal, endless growth. They were impossible to comprehend in their fullest extent and certainly unable to counterfeit or flatten into something sanitized and safe.

There was no way to hide here, fully exposed, laid bare. If Aziraphale rejected this version of him, it would reject everything Crowley was. He couldn’t help but be terrified and thrilled in equal measure, willing to suffer being seen and known if it meant seeing and knowing Aziraphale.

The tear between planes flexed around Aziraphale, opening just wide enough to let him in and sealing up behind him.

He was a great, bulking thing, an iridescent cloud painted like the pre-dawn sky, surrounded by an endless manifold of white wings. Slowly, they unfurled, separating from one another and floating around Aziraphale like the rings of a strange planet. He moved with a strange grace, billowing forward and out, unapologetically taking up space. He brushed alongside Crowley, wings drawing through the pull of his gravity. A few loose feathers pulled themselves free, swinging around Crowley and slowly turning black as a moonless night.

A shiver ran through them both, an electric surge at the point of connection, where parts of them had joined together and Aziraphale murmured, “Oh my,” in an odd chorus of voices that made Crowley burn with affection.

They’d talked, of course, before deciding to do this, airing out their anxieties and idiosyncrasies over an extraordinary amount of alcohol and an absurd number of drunken (then, later, sober) reassurances that neither of them had heard anything particularly worrying. Crowley’s greatest fear had been the archive of miracles that floated around him, a veritable library of his own wrongdoings, times he’d used his powers to damn and manipulate, to take selfishly for himself and for Aziraphale. He wondered if being confronted with the sheer volume might be off-putting.

Aziraphale’s worry had been his heads.

There were several of them nested like eggs, half-hidden in the bulk of Aziraphale’s celestial body until they began to move. The nearest to Crowley was a neat, nearly-flat oval, ever-so-slightly convex down the middle and split neatly into two vertical halves. An impossible number of eyes roved over Crowley in a vast array of impossible colors. The head pushed out on a thin tendril of a neck, tilting this way and that, trying to get the full picture of him while Crowley tried not to squirm under Aziraphale’s intense observation.

“Angel,” he said finally, craving some sort of relief from his piercing gaze.

“Oh, my apologies,” hummed the series of voices, one so near to his back that the length of Crowley’s body shook with it. “May I?” A whisper of lips brushed over his scales, and Crowley arched back, closing the distance between them. An elongated muzzle nosed along his neck until a cold nose nudged under the corner of his jaw, heaving a deep breath that made the space around them echo with a sense of longing. Crowley turned his head into the second head’s embrace, laughing when thick curls of hair coiled against him, around him, smelling like the first rain on the walls of Eden, dusty but refreshing, new.

Aziraphale was all around him now, at once as cool as a spring breeze and as warm as a heavy blanket. Puffy tendrils were exploring, brushing over Crowley’s belly, flinching from the heat of his starlight before easing gently into it, careful and cautious but determined. He writhed in Aziraphale’s grasp until he could return the favor, wrapping his body around Aziraphale’s, twining together in a deep embrace.

His orbitals shuddered at the sudden sensation of Aziraphale touching, pulling, prising them apart from one another. Another careful slice, as exacting as a surgeon’s scalpel, pulling at a memory until Crowley could practically feel the breath leaving his lungs, blowing fresh blue paint off Aziraphale’s clothes.

He was not proud of the noise he made, a high, wavering cry.

“Did that hurt?” Aziraphale asked hurriedly, already apologetic.

“No, no, s’fine. Jussst.” Another pleasant shudder. “Never done that before.” Then, when Aziraphale continued to contemplate, Crowley gave him the slightest nudge. “Do it again?”

He turned his head in time to see Aziraphale’s third head tip to one side, a long pale beak slipping into the viscera of Crowley’s memories. Crowley wrapped tighter around Aziraphale as he remembered a Grecian bathhouse, the way the water warmed at his will until Aziraphale sighed gratefully and went lax in the bath, utterly at ease in Crowley’s presence.

The head released the memory, long neck sliding lovingly along Crowley’s collection as his beak bumped gently over one and the next, never pulling them closer to the surface but merely embracing them. It was a comforting reassurance given his earlier anxieties. The least he could do was return the favor.

“How many of you are there?” Crowley asked as the second head nudged under his own. There was a bared edge, sharper than a blade at his vulnerable throat, and Crowley bared himself for Aziraphale’s teeth, for a tongue that licked a hot stripe over his burning scales, tasting starlight.

“Who could say? Are we the same as we were a moment ago? A year, a century? Are we born moment to moment and die just the same, infinite generations building the same legacy as the humans built Babel?”

Crowley laughed. “Bad example, innit? The tower fell.”

“Yet they build.”

And,” Crowley said, baring his own fangs in a grin, “you’re avoiding the question.”

A huff, “Oh, very well, since you won’t humor me.”

“I’ve humored you plenty. For nigh on six-thousand years, angel. Can’t a demon ask one question?”

“Beast,” Aziraphale said fondly. “I’ve humored your share of questions for just as long.” His embrace tightened. “There’s four heads, if that’s what you mean.”

Crowley twisted his head, looking for the fourth. “Only see three.”

“One’s at my post.” Aziraphale’s beak rubbed along the ridge between Crowley’s eyes, soothing. “At the Eastern Gate.”

Crowley scoffed, “Eden’s been gone for millennia.”

“It is,” Aziraphale agreed. “It has been. There’s nothing really to guard as such, but nevertheless, I must be there.” His tendrils wrapped tenderly around Crowley where the two larger heads couldn’t touch, the oval mask settled back into Aziraphale’s bulk, defensive. “I discovered early on that I could simply leave one of them there, allowing the rest of me to go where I was needed.”

“Where you wanted,” Crowley amended for him, reading the roll of Aziraphale’s cloud as a shrug. “Shouldn’t have told them about your little loophole. Could’ve been bunking off since 4004.”

“I do think they would’ve figured it out.” Then, in a low tease, “Do you really want to talk about it right now? Hm? If you’re so curious, I suppose I could tell you what’s going on where the wall used to be—”

“No, no.” Crowley rolled them both until he was pressing Aziraphale down. “Rather think about what we could get up to like this.”

Aziraphale laughed, a bit breathless, “Quite.” His two heads closed in on Crowley’s with gentle affection as his wings mantled around them, giving them space to rediscover one another in this new arena again and again until Crowley’s stars began to dim from the strain.