A Hell of a Butler
Crowley isn't the only Agent of Hell on Earth, which occasionally meant he encountered other members of the Home Team.
Sitting in a bar in England, he notes the presence of one of his more esteemed peers, a fellow who's been going by the name Sebastian for the last century or so. Crowley remembers the other demon's original name, but it's not good manners to go throwing such treasures around.
The demon wears a pleasant smile as he orders a gin and tonic, but Crowley knows better than most how particularly evil Sebastian is. He is suave and sophisticated, but still merrily leads his particular targets down the path to their own damnation. And they always go smiling, because Sebastian is just so blasted perfect at convincing them it's their own decision.
Sebastian waits for the bartender to serve his drink before claiming the stool next to Crowley. "Interesting Not-Apocalypse you had there," Sebastian volleys as an opening.
It's been a long time since Crowley's been able to engage in shop talk, though Sebastian isn't his choice companion for that. Sebastian, while not one of those demons who really wanted to destroy the world, has a most definite negative impression of angels.
Crowley's not sure on the details, but he suspects Sebastian's had an encounter or two with Old Testament angels (the ones that like raining the fury of God down; Aziraphale claims these are throwbacks who are clearly out of sync with the ineffable plan). If Sebastian gains any clue about the Arrangement, Crowley will be firmly counted as an enemy. And Sebastian's cruelty toward his enemies is nothing to be trifled with; his creativity made Listur's torments look like a stroll in the park in comparison.
"I think this planet still has plenty of possibilities left in it," Crowley returns. "Why end the game so soon?"
Sebastian takes a discerning taste of his gin, a slight smile curving his perfect lips. "I didn't say I didn't approve."
Thank Hell for that, Crowley thinks. The last thing he needs is another adversary on his side. "Are you still working on the Phantomhive family?"
"That's my master over there. He's holding a private conversation with a supplier." Sebastian nods to a young-looking boy sitting in the corner of the room. The boy is far too young to be legally allowed in the bar, but no one is going to question a Phantomhive. This one looks much like the boy that Crowley had met before the turn of the twentieth century, but rumor has it they all do.
"I don't see why you're still involved with that family," Crowley grumbles. He had a relatively short attention span, and thought a century was far too long to waste on one project.
"In society, it's all about the connections you make," Sebastian points out. "And the Phantomhive controls the underworld while having the ear of the queen."
"Thanks to your continued 'devotion,'" Crowley says sarcastically, tempted to indulge in air quotes.
"I'm just a hell of a butler," Sebastian says pleasantly. "My masters are the ones who have the power."
"The pun doesn't work in English," Crowley replies, rolling his eyes behind his sunglasses. "And save the bullshit for someone who might swallow it."
Sebastian's red eyes flash, but his pleasant expression remains. "I've yet to meet a human who hasn't wanted to swallow it," he replies. "They'll do anything to have me."
Crowley shudders at the thought. While demons are inherently sexless unless they intend so, he knows Sebastian "makes an effort" more than most. "More fools, them."
"But that's what makes them so enjoyable. Working with a particular family is like breeding a pedigree pet. If you handle them right, you can train them right to your hand and get them to do whatever you want," Sebastian explains. "And there's nothing like having humans torment their own kind, don't you think? It does the most delicious things to their souls."
Crowley could only respond by raising his glass in respect of Sebastian's machinations. No matter what else he thought of Sebastian, Crowley had to admit the other demon had style.