A/N: Written for the Paradisa Good Omens cast, inspired by Kiku, all of whom are lovely. Footnotes are denoted with parenthesis, as doesn't allow raised numbers. Sorry. Also, for some reason I thought barbecue was spelt barbeque - oh spellchecker, the things you teach me.
It was the middle of July, where temperatures had been in the high nineties(1) for almost two weeks of blue skies, melting ice lollies and peeling sunburn; and a brand new state of the art barbecue system had been installed into the roof garden of a high-end Mayfair flat. It was that sort of barbecue that had been built with sections to cook nine different kinds of meat, the capability to prepare the exact right limp accompanying salad, and the ability to accurately critique you on your patio furniture. It was sleek, black, and solely designed for the purpose of showing off to your friends with. Crowley didn't have friends, it wasn't in a demon's nature, but what he did have was a rather plump bibliophile on speed-dial three.(2)
The agreed date had been as carefully negotiated as an international peace treaty; navigating the pitfalls of scheduled business, and the potential landmines of clashes with the scheduling of the new season of Antiques Roadshow.(3) But finally the angel was arriving, bearing a bottle of wine and smelling strongly of SPF 40.
Naturally, it was raining.
The weather, Crowley decided, was a vindictive bastard. It wasn't even proper rain, he mused churlishly, more a dingy drizzle that wouldn't even clear the lingering humidity. Glaring through designer sunglasses, he tried his hardest to ignore the way the angel was hovering by the uncooked shrimp hungrily.
"Bugger this for a lark."
Aziraphale turned his head when Crowley spoke, and stepped forwards to join his friend at the rain-spattered window. Wafting his hand to part the cloud of midges, who had also decided to take refuge inside the glass patio doors.
"We could still do something." He suggested helpfully. "Don't look so disappointed, my dear."
Crowley pondered this for a moment; and then, just for good measure, he pondered it for another moment.
The silence that fell between them was total and weighted. Now that the question had been thrown out there, both felt honour bound to come up with a suggestion to save face, and keep up the pretence they both had hugely interesting lives where there could never be Nothing To Do.
"Do you have any board games?" Aziraphale finally blurted out, relieved to have found a viable suggestion before the silence became too uncomfortable.
"Unlike you, I have a highly fashionable life. I'm on the cutting edge of the metropolitan socialite scene and, more importantly, I'm cool." He paused to let the gravity of this sink in, before continuing with a shrug. "There's some in the cupboard."(4)
Pleased to have a concrete plan of action, Aziraphale leapt into action with all the enthusiasm and energy of an investment banker called Derek. Rummaging around among the odds and ends that invariably collected in a cupboard under the stairs, he finally emerged triumphant with a battered Monopoly box and a smudge of dirt on his nose.
Life, Crowley mused as he poured wine into two glasses, just wasn't fair. He was an immortal demon, with incalculable wealth and the ability to tempt even the strongest souls. He should be living the high life, not be stuck playing Monopoly with a man who still thought that the Power Rangers were a type of nutritious energy bar. Well, the least he could do was make sure the angel didn't win, or else he might really get depressed.
Aziraphale settled on the nice traditional top hat, setting the piece precisely on the 'start' square while Crowley was still searching in the box.
"Do hurry up, dear boy."
"It's bloody gone."
Aziraphale frowned in mild consternation, taking the box from the demon and searching the contents before concluding the small metal car playing piece was, indeed, missing.
"Well, you'll just have to use another one."
"I'm alwaysssss the car." Hissed Crowley petulantly, forgetting to curb his serpentine speech pattern in his irritation. A few more helpless shrugs and protestations later, the reluctant choice of the small dog was made the the game finally began.
Things passed relatively peacefully for a while; properties were bought and sold, and a rather large quantity of alcohol was consumed. That was until midnight, when both angel and demon were Nicely Sloshed(5) and a dispute was escalating into an outright heated debate.
"It's just not on." Aziraphale was slurring in indignant righteousness, jabbing a finger into his fastidiously arranged piles of fake money. "You can't do that."
Aziraphale was stumped. He was sure there had to be some reason that tempting one's opponent to buy the railroads shouldn't be allowed.
"No, it isn't." Crowley's smile was smug. "There's nothing in the rules about it."
Aziraphale felt his argument weakening against the awesome power of the rules opposing him. In a world where even a handkerchief with stains in the shape of Jesus could become ratified as sacred, there were still very few things Aziraphale gave credence to, as truly deserving of the title. Board game rules were one such thing.(6) Yet even though this wasn't specifically against the rules, the angel couldn't help feeling deeply and personally offended by how Crowley had trampled effectively over the spirit of them.
"S'not... the point."
"S'not... You've got to... It's all about fair play, isn't it? A... sharing experience of fun and no backhanded cheating tempta- temp- making people want things that they don't."
Crowley shuddered. All this talk of fair play and fun in his flat, it was enough to make a demon sick.
"If you don't like it..." He paused grandly for effect, which was somewhat spoilt by the fact he was pouring wine into the pot of a plant instead of his glass. "If you... Yeah, if you don't like it, then go. Jus'... just go."
Getting to his feet took rather too much effort, so Aziraphale just weakly rolled onto one of the couch cushions instead. Frowning slightly at the rift such a simple game was causing between them, aware it was raising a foggy memory or two through the haze of wine. Something about a game of discus in 304, and poker in 1433, and then croquet in 1843. Something about disagreements and long periods of cold shouldering and not talking.
Soberly, he began to pack the game back into the box, mentally adding another game to the list in his head and seeing the far-off look in Crowley's expression meaning he was doing the exact same thing.
Apparently natural enemies shouldn't play competitive games.
1. 37 in Celsius to the rest of the British population, but Fahrenheit was were the trend was going and Crowley was nothing if not trendy.
2. He didn't actually have anyone on speed-dials one and two, but he liked to pretend that the angel wasn't important enough to be higher on his list than three.
3. It was actually Crowley, believe it or not, who had a penchant for Antiques Roadshow. He had a small side-hobby placing worthless but old-looking things in people's attics, and then revelling in the disappointed looks when they brought them to be valued. It was a small grade evil, just like the show itself.
4. Much like the law that said all cassettes left in a car for over a fortnight mutated into Best of Queen albums, there was a law stating all cupboards under the stairs must contain at least three board games and a deflated football.
5. Nicely Sloshed was located just between Happily Tipsy and Raging Pissed. There was an official scale somewhere.
6. The others were a nice cup of tea and the right to complain about the queues at the Post Office.