by Emerald Embers
Rated PG-12 for yaoi.
Non-profit fan-fiction. Please don't sue ^_^.
Feedback: Appreciated, but I'd appreciate it even more if you went off and read Carmilla's fics in this fandom instead. *huggles her*
It was a fairly average day by most standards. This is somewhat unsurprising as there are very few who live by demonic or angelic standards while on Earth. The lucky - or unlucky - buggers usually accused of possessing similar standards are generally a lot more graceful or a lot more evil than their divine counterparts.
That established, however, it is also important to make clear that it was a fairly average day by English standards, if not divine standards. Mobile phone reception was standard except in a very poor fifty-foot radius around Hell's representative on Earth, but there was nothing unusual about that. Moreover, it was raining, and therefore rather than mope about getting drunk in the miserable weather, the representatives of Hell and Heaven had decided to meet up in a coffee bar.
Quite a pleasant coffee bar, really, and decidedly classier than the Starbucks just across the road. Apparently the expresso being served had been labelled "The best this side of Milan". Now, due to the rather spherical shape of the world and the universe, which side of Milan you were considering was entirely up to you and therefore the statement should have been equally entirely inaccurate.
However, even spherical objects can't interfere with every claim to brilliance. Outside of Milan, this really was the best expresso one could get. Crowley said so.
Aziraphale, of course, wouldn't have known. He had been introduced to tea before coffee, and he had no intention of switching over to its more caffeinated, and distinctly bitterer cousin.
He stared at his cappuchino, checked that no-one was looking despite the fact that the only person in the coffee bar at that moment in time (unless Him in His omnipresence was to be counted, which would be cheating as one would have to then say there were three beings sat at the table, and everything would get horribly confusing) who would identify his hand-gesture as anything other than camp couldn't care less about what he was doing, and made the cappuchino into a rather decent cup of Assam. Granted, Assam was generally served as a breakfast tea, but he needed something a little stronger to pep him up in the weather.
Aziraphale loved rain. What he didn't like was the way it had an effect on humans akin to that of throwing a rock at a wasps nest; in other words, making everybody agitated, angry, and quite keen to cause pain to anyone in their immediate vicinity.
"I've been thinking," Crowley announced after an appropriate moment's thought, hoping Aziraphale would politely ignore the little pick-pocketing incident he had orchestrated at the shop counter. "That it's about time we got around to sorting out our to-do lists." It had been precisely 1000 days since the damp squib to end all damp squibs, and the unofficial anniversary did tend to get an ethereal - or occult, for that matter - being to feel a tad reflective.
"Really?" Aziraphale mumbled, half-interested as he quietly organised a reduced-price sale of umbrellas in the shop next door, thus bumping up revenue for the rather pleasant shop-owner and making for a flurry of relieved customers. "I think mine's rather complete at the moment."
"Oh." Crowley folded his arms, looking up at the ceiling and trying to spot any spiders. There. A quick change of species, and he placed a little mental wager on which of the arachnophobics in the bar would spot it first. "I thought you were planning to write a best-selling book?"
Crowley debated blinking, and changed his mind. "Really? When?"
The blink came anyway. "Aziraphale, you didn't write that."
The angel nodded, shook his head, then smiled as if his actions had made some sort of logical sense. "No, no, but I helped. And it's the best-selling book in the world. So, ambition achieved. You?"
"Eh. Things." A vague non-magical gesture in the air, as if 'things' were better described through absent-minded body movements. "I've considered singing in one of these... 'nu-metal' bands at some point. Atheist lyrics, angry parents, Daily Mail campaigns, obscene videos. At least it would complement the day job."
"But, ah, my dear..." Aziraphale pressed a finger to his ear, nudging back an awkward curl that had been tickling. "It's a nice idea, but you're a little tone-deaf. Well, completely. You always have been."
"Have you heard nu-metal?"
"If I have, I probably haven't identifed it."
"That explains things, then." Aziraphale tilted his head and Crowley pulled a CD-player out of his jacket-pocket that had probably not been there before and wouldn't actually return there when the demon took it back. "Listen."
Aziraphale stared at the CD-player for a moment as if it might go off, then took it cautiously from Crowley's hands, putting the speakers on and turning the volume down, having learnt from previous experience that Crowley didn't have the same delicate ears as himself. Shouting, some sort of screeching instrument, and a low thumping knocked the thoughts out of his head for a while, but he persisted, waiting until the sound had died down before removing the headphones and handing them back to Crowley. "Well. That was certainly an interesting cacophony. I think you might do quite well in that career, all things now considered."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence," Crowley half-muttered, more distracted by the couple behind Aziraphale who had apparently decided that going pastoral would be too mundane. "They really don't need our influence half the time, do they?" He mumbled, gesturing with a flick of his head for the angel to look back at the canoodling twosome. Surprisingly, Aziraphale didn't react with his usual flustered 'Oh my victorian sensibilities' act, instead merely shaking his head and folding his arms.
"Dear me. Discretion really does seem to be a thing of the past these days." A pause before he looked up. "They really are a little obsessive, aren't they?"
"Well, you know. Animal instincts and a good bit of influence, that's all."
Aziraphale gave Crowley a withering glance. Being an angelic withering glance it would have had trouble doing much damage to a petunia, but it tried its best. "I know perfectly well that you're lying my dear, so cease and desist. Really. If your people had been in charge of the general act it would probably be a whole lot messier and more painful."
"Ah, well, yes." The more familiar flustered look had taken hold. "That would be your people's work, I assume."
"Not my people," Crowley said with a snaky grin and sneaky flick of a demonic tongue. "My friend the Marquis de Sade was rather a handy fellow."
Aziraphale stared at the demon a long moment, eyes wide, before moving his gaze to the safer area of his tea-cup. Ah, still warm. He wondered if Crowley might have had something to do with that. "Indeed. Well. Interesting. But the general act was road-tested by us. Well. By angels, I mean." There was a slight, awkward pause. "Do you remember-"
"That was a long time ago, Aziraphale," Crowley replied in a tone that suggested he really wasn't in the mood for going further into this topic at the moment. Or ever, for that matter.
"Quite, but that's not the question I was going to ask you, dear boy, and I do wish you wouldn't interrupt me. Demon or not, it's still impolite. Do you remember the tests?"
"Of course I bloody well remember," Crowley snapped. "Gabriel's obsession with breasts was pretty bloody memorable. Seemed to set a pattern for the whole human race, there." Crowley stared angrily at his expresso, and a little bubble from the heat popped up in the corner before his glare decreased in intensity, an amused smirk catching the side of his mouth. "I remember you road-testing them."
Aziraphale reddened about as far as his skin could handle without actually bursting open and spraying blood everywhere in a gory display. Crowley probably wouldn't have minded, but the humans in the nearby vicinity might have had something to say. "I thought we agreed not to talk about that."
"You're the one who brought up the topic of breasts." A customer at a nearby table cast the two divine beings a distinctly curious look. "Anyway. It's a good job you got rid of them. They didn't suit you at all."
Aziraphale was back to staring at his tea, moving the swizzle-stick that he had retained from the cappuchino around slowly. "Do you, ah, remember Gabriel's own?"
"Yeah. Figures he'd make the best pair for himself." A pause. "Pity he couldn't keep them, really. He quite suited them. He's a lot girlier than you."
"Hn." There was a long, increasingly awkward pause which Aziraphale chose to interrupt quietly before it went too far. "You're thinking about it, aren't you?"
"You know." Aziraphale's colour had eased to a milder embarassed glow, but the blush was still very visible on his pale skin. "It."
"Oh?" Crowley looked confused, then realisation dawned. "Oh. Well, I am now. Bloody hell. I thought that was more off-limits as a topic than the breasts?" Crowley took a moment's break to glare across at the customer who had been eavesdropping on their conversation, encouraging him to forget about anything he had just heard and to go vandalise a telephone booth instead. "Well, yes. It." There was a painful silence, before Aziraphale scratched the back of his neck and asked quietly,
"Did I ever get around to telling you that you were... ah... pretty good at... it?"
"Seven times," Crowley replied without pause to think. "The first time, anyway."
"Oh." Aziraphale looked out the window, taking a sip of tea as he watched the rain lighten slightly, sensing another dark cloud coming before the rain would prepare to ease up for a few hours. "Good. Mind, it only makes sense. In terms of ineffability."
"Oh please. Are you going to spoil the moment by suggesting my ability in the sack is all His work?"
"Well, really, if you were going to be a demon, it might be useful to be... er... equipped for lust. Um." Aziraphale realised he had not merely taken a shovel to the hole he was in, but had actually grabbed himself a legion of impressively efficient bulldozers.
Crowley's eyes darkened. "I've not lowered myself to touch anyone like that since you. It was a one-off." Aziraphale bit his tongue before he could remind Crowley it had been more than once and that the demon had actually mentioned this before, and instead concentrated on obeying his current feeling that he shouldn't make another move or sound until Crowley looked less homicidal. "Hell is dreadful and Heaven wasn't much better either, but 'It' was something I'm bloody glad I worked on while I was up there." Another awkward pause as Aziraphale took a quiet sip of his tea, miracling away any sound he might accidentally make during the process as Crowley still looked ready to explode. "It's been interesting to work with though, I must say," The demon said after another moment, gathering himself together before forcing a smile at Aziraphale. "Always hated the bloody rain. Can we move on?"
"The park should be quiet," Aziraphale replied carefully, getting up and putting on his coat. "I'll... ah... go on ahead, let you tidy up here," He finished before turning and walking down the small staircase leading to the shop's counter and exit.
Crowley watched Aziraphale leave the shop, and smiled self-depreciatingly. "Definitely keeping the wrong kind of company," he sighed before shaking his head, getting up, and tipping off a young mother to the presence of the rather impressive bird-hunting spider perched on a ledge almost directly above her. A look at the smiling couple who had decided to interrupt their spooning in a coffee shop for actual coffee-drinking purposes made him shrug, deciding not to suggest a break-up just yet, but arranging a convienient fly's suicide into the girl's mug just to make sure they didn't get off scot-free.
A brief look up towards the Heavens, and Crowley smirked, sneered, and shook his head before walking on out after Aziraphale.
It had been worth it, really.
The auburn-haired angel sighed against his paler-haired companion's shoulder, enjoying a little taste of the planet their Lord had been considering making for some time, and wishing secretly that Heaven could have more of this. Purity and Innocence had been enough for eternities of existence before, but with this new creation, Time, living no longer felt... complete. It felt as though things had to be done, had to be finished or organised.
But this had felt different. Aziraphale was not hot or cold - temperature in its literal and metaphorical forms had not been crafted yet - but he was close, close enough to hold and stroke, and though ethereal skin did not have texture in Heaven, it was the knowing that you were touching that mattered. Knowing that he was part of Aziraphale and that Aziraphale was around him in the same way as Heaven was, and yet in a different way altogether, because Aziraphale was around him and him alone. And Aziraphale had volunteered for this. Aziraphale had offered to be home to him, and yet there was an odd feeling inside.
He couldn't understand it yet, and wouldn't understand it for some Time, for how can an angel understand Loneliness before it's been created fully and given a name? Inside of Aziraphale, the ghosts of unknown feeling disappeared, and there had been a brief moment when the auburn-haired angel had suddenly felt both lost and absolutely, terrifyingly afraid because he knew that when Aziraphale moved against him, arms around his neck, in that moment Aziraphale was all he had wanted. More than Heaven, more than serving God, more than the all-encompassing pure love he had been surrounded by for... well, forever.
Aziraphale simply smiled, innocent and pure Aziraphale, not yet infected by any of this forthcoming planet's poisons, and stroked pale fingers through his hair, and Kissed him.
The angel who had watched over their actions frowned, folding his arms. Anyone who had seen that frown would have gasped, wondering how someone so beautiful could look so utterly terrifying when his brow folded like that. Curiosity and Opposition, new inventions for the future world, had been flickering about in Heaven like particularly contagious diseases.
Lucifer had seen the loneliness flickering in the auburn-haired angel's eyes moments before it experienced the first draft of Orgasm, and wondered momentarily - but for such an important, decisive moment - what in Hell God was playing at.