Title: His Butler, Dreamwalks
Crossover: Kuroshitsuji and Good Omens
Characters: Sebastian Michaelis, Anthony J. Crowley. Talk of Aziraphale, Ciel Phantomhive, and that angel guy—er,…angel whatever.
Pairings: None, gen fic.
Timeline: Mid-season 1 of Kuroshitsuji, pre-canon Good Omens.
Disclaimer: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are my gods, not me.
He dreamed he was seated in a small, poorly lit tavern, one much cheaper and less luxurious than the type he usually frequented while awake. He glanced around automatically for Aziraphale, but realized that he couldn't expect the angel to be in this seedy environment. Crowley's latest fashions of burgundy and lace—the latter of the black and forbidding persuasion—were already attracting the stares of onlookers. Aziraphale's robes, which had to be relics from the Dark Ages no matter what the angel said, would get them laughed out of the establishment. Even if it was a part of Crowley's own dream.
Besides, even if Aziraphale was here, he wouldn't stick around long. "Really, my dear," the angel would say, probably miracling the washerwoman's laundry dry (1). "Where are we going to find a good glass of wine in a place like this?" (2).
He was just about to get up and try his hand at finding one himself when he was interrupted by a smooth, professional voice.
He turned in his chair, and found himself face-to-face—well, more accurately, face-to-polished-gold-waistcoat-buttons, but a demon had his pride, after all—with one Sebastian Michaelis.
"You must be Crawly," the demon continued politely. "I believe I have not had the pleasure of your acquaintance until now."
"It's Crowley, now," he corrected shortly, still blinking back his surprise. "Anthony Crowley. And I believe my reputation proceeds me, for you have me at an advantage." He settled in his seat, which obligingly fitted itself to his frame for maximum comfort, and tried for smooth and confident.
"That may be," Sebastian's eyes glinted, "but let's not play games, Crowley. You know who I am."
Of course he did. While stationed on Earth since The Beginning, Crowley had only encountered a half-dozen soul-eating demons, and none had ever been the one to approach him. They preferred the company of their prey over other demons, which was just fine with him.
They were a rare breed, those that consumed human souls, willing and able to dedicate years to the corruption of one single target. Souls of the damned were a forbidden delicacy to the average demon; those that stole from what belonged to Hell were subjugated to millions of years of torture. (Individually designed torture, as to be impossible to enjoy even by the kinkiest of hellspawn.) Nevertheless, Downstairs allowed these particular demons their prize at the end, largely due to their tendency to corrupt nearly everyone else in their path and thus netting such a huge number of souls as to make the loss of one negligible. They were a self-regulating group, for although he'd heard that the damned soul was delicious, consumption of a pious or even average soul could be lethal to a demon.
He'd never met Sebastian Michaelis before, but he knew him—and all of his previous identities—by reputation, and it was quite a reputation.
He had a feeling this wasn't an ordinary dream (3).
"So where's your latest plaything?" he asked. Smooth and Confident having failed him, he made for his best attempt Self-Assured and Smart-Mouthing. "I'm surprised to see you here without him holding your leash."
Unperturbed by the insult, Sebastian put a hand to his heart in mock horror. "The thought of my precious young master in such a place!" He sniffed delicately. "The filth would taint him." He slipped a finger of his glove into between his teeth, and removed first one and then the other with smooth grace. To protect them from the filth, Crowley thought sourly. Sebastian gestured to the seat beside Crowley. "May I join you?"
'No' wasn't an answer he looked prepared to accept, and Crowley was beginning to get the idea that this wasn't as much his own dream as he'd thought. He nodded.
"Trouble with an angel in these parts, I've heard," Sebastian noted conversationally, and Crowley straightened. "Anther angel, not yours."
"My adverssssssssary," Crowley clarified, a hiss slipping into his voice in his haste.
Sebastian raised a languid eyebrow. "Yes," he agreed. "You needn't interfere. My young master has his sights on the other."
"Jussst be sure no other angel gets caught in the crossssfire," Crowley warned, his fingers flickering to some shape less human, and more twitching, blackened Stuff of Nightmares. "He issss mine, after all." He blinked. "My adversary. Er."
Sebastian acknowledged that with a single nod, his face expressionless.
For they still were adversaries, Crowley told himself, even if they had come to something of an Arrangement. Even if they met for good food and liquor ever few weeks—much better than this stuff, he wrinkled his nose at the thick beer he was downing from the mug, couldn't he dream anything better?—and kept him tapping his foot and waiting every time Aziraphale found an rare book—
"And does your adversary keep you busy?"
Crowley almost choked. "Yes," he recovered. "With the, er, smiting. And thwarting. Um."
"I see." Sebastian cast an eye at the dream-made tavern. "You don't appear to be very busy now."
"Let's call it enjoying the fruits of my labor. Corsets are my work," he explained, not noticing Sebastian's private smirk at the word, "but even I didn't expect how popular they'd be. Crushing your insides for the sake of vanity, ha! That much demonic design so close to the body, so intimate? And if there's a death, it's for vanity, which isn't going to earn them any points from Upstairs." He leaned over the table, clutching his tankard. "I tell you, but none of you folks Downstairs ever listen. All you have to do with these humans is give them a nudge in the right direction. They'll do the rest just fine on their own."
"And there we are in agreement," the other smiled blandly.
"What?" Crowley's eyes flashed gold and reptilian as he lost his concentration in surprise. "You say that your precious little 'young master' would be headed to hell without your help? Isn't he just a child?"
"My young master," Sebastian sighed in dramatic sympathy, "has seen more of the depravity of the world than most adults, and I'm afraid he hasn't escaped unscathed. I am an enabler." His eyes darkened, blood-red to almost black. "But don't think me irrelevant, snake," he hissed. "I shall prepare him to be the finest-tasting soul in all eternity, and he will be all mine." Then the intensity was gone, and he smiled mildly. "Only the best for my young master. Such is expected of a butler of the house of Phantomhive."
Crowley had no response, and Sebastian was on his feet and flipping open a pocket watch. He'd drawn it so quickly even Crowley's eyes hadn't followed his movement. "It's almost dawn," he noted. "The young master's breakfast must be made for him before he awakes. I take my leave, Crowley. Good day to you." He bowed from the waist, and with a swish of coattails, he was gone.
Crowley watched the door for a long time after his exit. He considered waking up and calling on Aziraphale to get spectacularly drunk, but shrugged and decided it wasn't worth the effort. In a moment, he was engaged in a more dream-like dream that somehow included ducks, chattering nuns, a knee-high hell hound, and the disappointing lack of good alcohol.
When he awoke several years later, he'd accumulated a human lifetime's worth of dreams, and didn't remember any of them.
(1) Privately, he was glad the era of witch-hunting was finally over, for he'd had a hel—heav—something of a time going around protecting the villagers that innocently prospered from Aziraphale's influence from the accusations of jealous neighbors. He'd had to alter everyone's memories and plant visions of the accusers as the practitioners of the dark arts. Just to cause chaos and confusion, of course. Because he was a demon, and therefore nefarious, and worked in mysterious ways. (Said nefariousness snatched at the explanation, grinned at him, and gave him extra credit for the blasphemy.)
(2) The corners of Crowley's mouth twitched at the image, and then he promptly consigned both it and his reaction to the (admittedly rather large and well-used) bin Things that Never Happened, labeled in invisible ink.
(3) If demons had such a thing. Most ordinary demons didn't sleep, but if they did, and he'd thought about it, Crowley would have supposed they'd dream of fire, brimstone, and gore. His own "usual" dream included a good bottle of hard liquor, and a whole greenhouse full of trembling plants.