Date Rape?

Somewhere between the third bottle of port and Calcutta, Crowley decided that Aziraphale was very, very drunk. The way he could tell—aside from the slurring and the listing very slightly to the left—was that the conversation, while never particularly effervescent, had returned to the closest thing to a pissing contest the angel would let himself participate in.

"—ours. So very, very ours," Aziraphale pointed forcefully, brow knit with consternation, "and I won't hear any different from you."

"No, you can keep Mill," Crowley agreed, swishing the cabernet as if it were a glass he'd been sipping from, rather than a bottle he'd been swilling. "He's boring and perfectly awful, and even if he were ours, we'd lie and say he was yours. We want the poets and the playwrights, anyway—who cares about the rights of man when you can write a sonnet about catching VD from your bottom-boy?"

Even drunk, it took the angel less time to catch the reference than Crowley expected. Aziraphale looked as though Crowley had admitted to stomping on orphans—untrue, of course, as it would scuff the shiny shoes Crowley was so in love with—and Crowley scoffed.

"He did…he did not!" Aziraphale sputtered, gesturing widely with his glass. Crowley bit back a childish, "Did so!"

"Will was a great writer, yes, but in the way that…Dan Brown is a great writer," he offered instead, trying to level with the angel on a field with which he was more comfortable. It didn't work.

"Dan Brown! That…that…he's a complete and utter hack!" Aziraphale splashed more wine, this time shaking a disapproving finger at Crowley's nose. "He's definitely one of yours!"

"No, no, listen—I think you're right, actually—no, listen: see, they're really similar because they both take subjects people like reading about—sex, murder, foreigners with weird magical powers—and they write up a story that the average man can appreciate, without any need for things like knowledge or facts. And they sell a millions copies and use the money to buy prostitutes…well, that last bit's conjecture; I've never seen Dan Brown, prostitute or no."

"You're awful." Aziraphale's eyes were wide with newfound disgust, and Crowley had to remind himself again that the angel was very, very drunk, even if the assurance didn't quite cover the twinge he felt. "No, I…you're awful."

"No, really," Crowley cut in, leaning forward to pour more wine into the other's glass, "All I mean is that having talent doesn't make someone one of yours. We've got a lot of talented ones on our side, too. We're allowed."

"You know I don't mean that," Aziraphale retorted. "It's just, the beauty and sweep of the tragedies, the majesty of the histories, the—"

"—dirty jokes of the comedies?"

"No!"

"Oh, come on!" Crowley cried finally, slamming the bottle on the table. "All of those so-called love stories are just dirty letters to Penthouse that ended poorly! 'Dear Penthouse: let me tell you about this wild girl I met at a party last night. She may be only fourteen and the daughter of mine enemy, but—'"

"Crowley!"

"You know it's true!"

"Crowley, Romeo and Juliet is one of the best-loved romances of all time. I think there's a little more to it than…."

"And Much Ado About Nothing, I know you know what he really meant by that; you weren't so far above the common man."

"Really…."

"More like Vaginas are Really Great, am I right?"

"I wouldn't know, really!"

"And don't let me get started on Twelfth Night—wait, what? I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."

"What about Twelfth Night?" Aziraphale asked in a rush, gulping more wine.

"Really? That one was all about drag kings and manly, manly love for men—"

"But everything comes clean at the end and the man marries the girl while the woman marries the boy."

"…and the gay boy is shuttled off into the sunset in chains. 'And for a woman wert thou first created;/Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,/And by addition me of thee defeated,/By adding one thing to my purpose nothing./But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,/Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.'" he quoted, waggling his eyebrows at the dirty parts.

"Oh, really now…."

"And Midsummer!"

"Midsummer? What about it?"

"It's the worst of the lot! All about free love in the forest and bestiality!"

"Crowley!"

"It's true!"

"No, no! Midsummer is about the fickleness of choosing a loved one based on their appearance and the foolishness of pride."

"…and about drugging the one you love so you can molest them in the forest."

"No!" Aziraphale glared at Crowley balefully. "I quite think you're missing the point on purpose."

"You may be right," Crowley admitted, lifting the bottle in a toast, only to scowl at it when it proved empty. "Still, that potion was something inspired. To think the date-rape pill wouldn't come into more common use for another three hundred years…Shakespeare really was ahead of his time!"

"Honestly! It wasn't a…a date-rape pill, it was a love potion!"

"Aren't they the same thing?" Crowley's voice was skeptical.

"Not at all! One's tawdry and cheap, and the other's—"

"—a date-rape pill?" Crowley suggested helpfully.

"You know, I shan't continue this conversation with you if you keep—" Aziraphale warned.

"Sorry. Your point. Continue."

"Thank you," Aziraphale's tone was crisp, if his consonants weren't. "With a 'date-rape pill', as you're so fond of calling it, the goal of using it is physical. Someone who uses one is doing so with the intention of sexually assaulting another person—it's all very clinical: 'If I use this, then this person will sleep with me.' But with a love potion, it's passionate. The goal isn't sex, it's just to have the other, heart and soul."

"I find that creepy."

"Ironic. Anyway, the point of a love potion isn't just physical—it would take great emotional desperation to rely on a love potion, I think, which makes them fascinating."

"I see your point: with the pill, the user is just malevolent, but with the potion, he's sad, pathetic, and malevolent?"

"You're impossible." Aziraphale was clearly trying to look annoyed, but affection was creeping in. "I wouldn't expect you to understand the need to connect with someone on a deeper level than shoving your boy parts into someone else's girl parts—or boy parts—when it's convenient for you."

"Now that's not fair," Crowley protested. "I do understand…all of that stuff you just said. I just don't see being sad and lonely enough to make the person I care about care about me against his will!"

"It's not being sad and lone—wait, what? I'm going to pretend you didn't say that—it's not being sad and lonely—well, maybe lonely—as much as it is being so certain that despite his penchant for mentioning his sex life in polite conversation and that period he spent in Rome living every day as though it were Saturnalia, he will never, ever think of you in any way other than vague camaraderie."

"What?" Crowley suddenly felt very, very sober. Aziraphale didn't seem to notice.

"—sometimes it seems like the only way to get his attention—Crowley?" Crowley blinked, still processing. "Are you alright, dear?"

"Quite," Crowley replied absently. "I don't talk about my sex life all that often, do I?"

"Not so much anymore," Aziraphale responded evenly, "but you were dreadful for most of the sixteenth century."

"I made you feel left out?"

"Mmm, a bit," the angel hummed. "The monks were more interesting during those years, too, but they were still monks. You're much more fun to live through vicariously, especially since I don't get to experience the venereal diseases."

"Well."

"Are you sure you're alright?"

"A little poleaxed."

"That's understandable."

"You'd use a love-potion on me?" Crowley stared. Aziraphale blinked and pulled the empty wine bottle from his hand, cupping it in his own.