Dream A Little Dream - 3
Our next @bingokisses prompt is Tucking Hair Behind the Ear/Palm Kisses! This fic went in...a rather different direction than expected, but I wanted to make full use of the dream concept at least once.
The earlier sections are available on AO3.
Chapter 3: AD 1017 - The Impossible Dream
The knight rode his white stallion easily through the mist, mirror-bright armor resting lightly on his back and limbs. Ahead, a brilliant white stone tower rose, tall enough to pierce the sky, its peak obscured by black storm clouds. Rose bushes thick with thorns surrounded the base, barring all entry except through a single window, nearly a hundred feet high.
He swung himself down from the saddle and strode across the green sward. “Fair maiden!” The warrior lifted the visor of his helm, throwing his voice to echo off the stone. “Tales of your sorrows have spread throughout the kingdom. But fear not, for I, Sir Aziraphale, have come to rescue you from your sordid fate and see you safely hence!”
Far above, a figure leaned from the window. Narrow face pale above a deep black dress, clinging tightly to every curve and angle. Long limbs lost in sweeping crimson sleeves perfectly matched to the figure's main feature: endless waves of dark red hair. A single lock slipped free and tumbled down the side of the tower, nearly long enough to brush the ground below. Long-fingered hands cradled a pert chin as shining eyes took in the knight.
“Really? That’s what you’re going to open with?”
“Crowley!” Aziraphale’s gauntlet struck his hip with an annoyed clank. “I was trying to set a mood here.”
“You certainly set something.” Crowley chuckled, sending another ripple through the ocean of red hair. “I mean, it started well enough, I guess, but sordid fate? See you safely hence? Kind of falls flat if you ask me. Didn’t even mention slaying any wicked beasts.”
“Well. Not really the slaying sort.”
“Don’t let the princesses hear you say that.” Crowley’s fingers drummed on the windowsill. “They all love to see a good slaying. As for what comes next, is safety all you can promise? Might hold out for a better offer.”
“I hardly think you’re in a – a bargaining position up there.”
“Oi, you know how many knights have come by before you? I usually stop counting after twelve, and that was a while back. This tower is prime real estate.” A flash of white teeth behind blood red lips. “Most of them were much better at the speeches, you know. I can give you pointers if you like.”
Aziraphale shifted his cape back over his shoulders, covering his armor. “This isn’t a game, Crowley. Can’t you be serious for once in your life?”
“Everything is a game, Angel.” A flick of Crowley's head sent another river of hair wriggling down the side of the tower. Thick, loose curls, with a strong braid running through the middle. The tips of the hair came to rest twenty feet above the rose bushes. “Oh, will you look at that? Guess I shouldn’t have trimmed it last week, but you know. Split ends. Did you bring a ladder? None of the other knights brought ladders. You’d think, maiden in a tower, that’s the first thing they’d grab.”
“How many knights managed to scale the tower?”
“Jealous?” Crowley braced against the window frame and leaned forward, spilling out the rest of the hair, as well as an ample expanse of bosom. “Don’t worry, the dragon got all of them. They may have talked nice, but they were just shiny armor and fancy words. No substance. Not like you, of course.”
“Flattery won’t win me over.”
“Flattery can do anything, properly applied.”
Aziraphale took a deep breath and adjusted his helmet again. Really, none of this was going remotely to plan. He ought to just drop it and walk away, but not until he was absolutely sure of one thing. “Crowley. Are you alright? The rumors all say that the maiden in the tower is being held against her will. Do…do you need help?”
Crowley’s head tipped this way and that, thinking it over. “Well…yes, I suppose. See, I can’t leave this tower until someone tames the dragon. Why, did you want to try?”
“That was the plan, yes.” He glanced about. The tower was atop a hill, so despite the mist he could see a fair distance. No sign of any monster. “But, if we can get you down before it returns…”
“Nh. Well. About that.” Crowley’s grin grew wider, face grew longer, splitting into a black-scaled, arrow-shaped head with a mouth full of fangs and smoke. “I’m the maiden and the dragon. Ssseemed more efficient that way.”
Delicate, thin hands turned to claws, carving deep cracks into the stone of the wall, and the spill of hair twisted into a long red tail that slashed and darted through the air.
Aziraphale’s horse fled with a terrified scream, but the angel stood his ground, braced and unflinching as the tail wrapped around him, lifted him, pulled him through the air like a fish on a line.
All at once, he was inside the creature’s lair, a deep stone cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites, a pile of shining treasure somewhere just out of sight. One scaled fist clutched the angel from breastplate to greave, while a claw dragged around the edge of his helm, scratching curiously.
“Well? Aren’t you going to sssscream?”
Aziraphale found one golden eye, towering somewhere above him, and held its gaze. “And why should I do that?”
“I’m a monsssster, you idiot.” The fist tightened slightly, enough to make the armor creak and groan. “I could dessstroy you in an insssstant.”
“But you won’t.” Aziraphale wriggled his shoulders, pulling his arms free one at a time. “You won’t hurt me. Ever.”
“How can you be ssssure?” Twin gouts of steam shot from enormous nostrils, volcanically hot. “You should kill me before I tear you apart.”
“You really do need to listen better. I already told you, I’m not the slaying type. I’m here to save you from your fate, no more, no less.”
“You can’t – Angel, there’sss nothing to ressscue me from! You can’t take me away from myself.”
“Well, I certainly didn’t say anything about taking you away.” Aziraphale swept the helmet off his head, dropping it to clatter across the cavern floor. A mass of curly white hair shook free, not as long as Crowley’s had been, but wild and loose, spilling across his shoulders and face. “If you can be both prisoner and dragon…I am both knight and maiden.” His hands rested on the claw that hovered before his face, drawing it close, pressing his cheek to it. “I’m here to rescue you. I’m here to join you.”
“Angel…” The tip of the claw traced across his skin, sharp but gentle, and tucked a lock of hair behind Aziraphale’s ear. “You can’t…you can’t want that.”
“My dear Crowley. What more could I want? You are my friend, my trusted companion. The one being who…who makes me feel…myself. Who makes me feel that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Please, Crowley, let me do the same for you.”
The clawed hand opened, and suddenly Aziraphale stood on Crowley’s palm, every opalescent scale as big as his own hand. Nothing held him back now. He could jump. He could flee.
Instead, Aziraphale knelt down, armor melting into a shining silver gown, and curled up in the cup of Crowley’s hand as if it were the softest down bed in the world. Pressed his lips to the draconian palm. “Whatever form you take, you are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen.”
“Do you mean that?”
Aziraphale glanced up in time to see the dragon’s snout melting again, softening, re-shaping into a narrow face with high cheekbones; neither male nor female, human nor dragon; black scales traced back from a jaw too wide, golden eyes stared unblinking below a sharply sloped brow. The hands that clutched Aziraphale’s elbows were still tipped with sharp claws, and a bright red tongue – splitting into a charcoal-black fork – shot out to taste the air.
He smiled, taking Crowley’s face in his hands. “There you are! My darling…” Aziraphale kissed those thin lips, tasting their desert-dry heat, and felt trembling hands clutch at his hair.
Aziraphale pressed close, hands tracing down Crowley’s sinuous, bare back, feeling the form shift under his touch – scales, soft skin, silky hair, hot, cold, always changing. Crowley’s tongue flicked down his neck, just to the neckline of his gown, questioning.
“Yes,” he whispered into Crowley’s ear. “Oh, yes, Crowley—”
The wagon bounced over a hole in the road, jostling all its contents, including an angel who had been more than a little lost in his thoughts. The rap of his skull against a barrel helped to clear his mind.
Aziraphale quickly tugged his tunic straight and ran his hands through his hair – cut short, as always, regardless of the current fashion – glancing furtively at the other travelers. Two men and an older woman had also hitched a lift to the nearest city. He felt certain they must somehow know what he had imagined, that somehow the intensity of the fantasy had projected itself into the air around them—
But, no, all three sat, arms folded, concerned only with their own thoughts and their own troubles.
Clearing his throat, Aziraphale settled back into the corner of the wagon, tugging up the hood of his undyed wool cloak to hide the flush of his cheeks.
He daydreamed far more often than he used to, particularly while traveling – and more and more often, his fantasies featured one particular being. Though they were rarely so complex. Not to mention so physical. His imagination had simply run away with him, as sometimes happened.
If he concentrated hard enough, he could still feel the grip on his shoulders, drawing him deeper into the embrace—
Oh, no. No, that was dangerous. Crowley would never agree to…oh, whatever that little fantasy had symbolized. A partnership of some kind.
Well, no that wasn’t true. Crowley had suggested a partnership…an Arrangement…once before. Dropped hints every time they met lately. Aziraphale had refused to even consider it, but perhaps…perhaps…the time had come to think again.
Not just yet. Better to consider such things in complete privacy. He took the fantasy and carefully wrapped it in soft cotton, tucking it into the hidden drawer of his mind where he kept his very favorite daydreams, to revisit at a more opportune moment. He would need something simpler to entertain him on the ride.
Aziraphale carefully selected another dream, well-worn from use, and his mind slowly filled with a little stone cottage in a forest glade, the sound of waves echoing from just out of sight, and a dark-robed figure with red hair dancing in the wind, picking blackberries from the bushes…
“There you are!” Aziraphale’s hands cupped Crowley’s face, hideous and twisted though it was, but he only smiled, so warmly, so guilelessly, that it broke Crowley’s heart all over again. “My darling…” The angel rose up on his toes to press full, plump lips to Crowley’s mouth, arms pulling the demon into an embrace so close, so tight, that clawed hands scrambled to reciprocate.
“Angel…” Crowley meant to kiss Aziraphale’s jaw, but the serpent tongue had a mind of its own, exploring his neck down to the opening of his gown, the swells and curves hidden underneath. Surely that would be the last straw; surely now Aziraphale would see Crowley was nothing more than a beast, a monster whose very presence defiled everything pure. Crowley waited for the rejection, for Aziraphale to struggle to get away—
“Yes,” the soft voice curled into Crowley’s ear, even as soft hands clutched at narrow hips. “Oh, yes, Crowley—”
He snapped awake, scrambling to keep his balance on the branch as the wind chilled his flushed skin.
That had…not been the dream he expected. Usually, after an attempted exorcism, he had bad dreams for a week.
Crowley had fallen asleep in a tree, after being driven out of the nearby village by an overzealous priest. It happened more often these days; the humans were becoming more aware, somehow, more able to see him for what he really was. He’d need to improve his disguise, work harder to fit in.
Work harder to be anything other than himself.
The one being who…who makes me feel…myself. Who makes me feel that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“Easy for you,” he grumbled into the darkness. “You’re a blessed angel. You’re as bloody perfect as the day you were made. Why would you ever feel ashamed? And I’m – I’m just…”
Whatever form you take, you are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen.
He closed his eyes again, trying to catch that warmth, that feeling of acceptance, one more time. Not that Aziraphale actually felt that way, he’d rejected Crowley's idea for an Arrangement, cut him off any time he tried to even bring it up. But still…
Crowley drifted off to sleep, hoping he’d dream of Aziraphale again.
Thank you for reading! This one got WILDLY out of hand as I wrote, but in a good way, I suppose. More will be coming shortly, but if you liked it, please drop a comment here or on AO3!
Let me know if you want me to tag you on future chapters.
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