Title: A Gentleman’s Requirements
Summary: Crowley drags Aziraphale somewhere he doesn’t want to go
Author's Notes: Fluffy A/C Love
“I don’t see why you have your knickers in a twist, angel. It’s not like you haven’t been to one before. I know where you learned to gavotte, remember?”
Aziraphale blushed to the roots of his blond hair. “Dear boy, I asked you never to bring that up again. You know I didn’t know it was that kind of place,” he said, lowering his voice. “…I only ever went into the parlor, anyway.”
Crowley smirked. Oh, he loved giving the angel grief. It was on his top-two list of things to do. (The other thing was ‘get drunk with the angel,’ which he indulged just as regularly.) “All I’m saying, angel, is that you didn’t get smitten?” No, that wasn’t right “... smoted?” Not quite “… smited for it when you went before, so it’s hardly going to do anything this time, right? And it is my turn to pick. I didn’t complain about that snuff-box convention, did I?”
Aziraphale was shocked. “You didn’t quit whining the entire weekend. I missed out on the lecture of proper snuff-box care, and the other one where the hotel security tried to forcibly eject you, and you turned into an as…”
Crowley looked over his sunglasses at the angel with annoyed-reptile eyes (not a good sight, just ask the Crocodile Hunter), and Aziraphale wrinkled his nose in a pout. And while the angel’s pout was usually enough to hush the demon up, he continued this time.
“Angel. That was the most bloody boring thing that ever took place in the history of… well, History. How was I supposed to sit quietly by while you and a bunch of poofs rambled on and on… and on… about snuff boxes? Him Below could convert one of the circles of Down Below into a snuff-box convention. But I think even He might think that’s too harsh a punishment for human souls.”
Aziraphale couldn’t help but smile angelically. “Crowley, it wasn’t that bad. And it didn’t go against your very nature. This little outing would.”
Crowley spread his arms in a “do-you-see-this-handsome-stud-before-yo
As they drove, Aziraphale briefly held the hope that they would never make it to their destination. With the kamikaze way that Crowley drove, he figured there was about a 75/25 percent chance that they would both get discorporated.
He prayed for a head-on collision.
Not for the first time, his prayers weren’t answered. He sunk into his seat. Ineffable.
When Crowley parked the Bentley, Aziraphale didn’t budge, resolutely staring straight out the windscreen. “I’m not going in, Crowley.”
Crowley sighed in the world-weary way he’d been working on since the Near-Apocalypse. “Come on, angel. How old are you? Five-hundred? You’re acting like a cherub. Just get out of the car.”
Aziraphale just shook his head. “No. I don’t think I will. I think I’ll just sit here until you decide to take me home.”
“What are you afraid of? Are you more afraid that one of the dancers might take a liking to you, or that you might take a liking to them?” Crowley got out of the car, snickering, and went over to open the passenger’s side door, bowing low as he opened it. “Come, sssir, be true to your word. You said I could choose where we go tonight.”
Aziraphale’s lips disappeared squeezed into a little line. He shook his head. “No.”
The pedestrians on the street slowed down as they walked past, smiling and laughing. “Can’t get your boy to look at the other boys?” A youth decked in chains yelled at Crowley. Crowley took off his glasses and glared at him, but the boy just laughed. “My pair looks more realistic,” he said as he continued to laugh.
“OK, angel. That’s it.” Crowley looked at Aziraphale and suddenly they were standing in a dark hallway.
“My dear. We agreed never to manipulate the other’s corporation using miracles or devilry. Give me one good reason I shouldn’t smite you, you old serpent.”
Crowley smiled, knowing the angel could feel it even in the complete darkness. “Surely, angel, you wouldn’t smite me in FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE,” Crowley yelled the last bit as the lamps suddenly went up, flooding the large room with light.
“Surprise!” yelled a small army of people at the startled angel. Everyone was there; Anathema and Newt, Shadwell and Madame Tracy, the ‘adult’ storeowner from next door, Minerva from the nail salon, the Them. Adam had even brought Dog. He turned to Crowley as he was swarmed with hugs and wishes of a happy birthday and ‘many happy returns.’
“Crowley,” he whispered too quietly for human ears to hear, “what is going on?”
Crowley smiled and whispered back. “Can’t a friend throw a surprise birthday party for his best pal?”
“My dear, we don’t have birthdays.”
Crowley shrugged. “Technicality,” he whispered then handed the angel a glass of champagne.
Aziraphale had to admit that he was having a wonderful time, even when the Horsepeople of the Apocalypse crashed the party. He was even getting to like the bebop the demon kept playing. And it wasn’t just because said demon was along in his cups and looked wonderful trying to gavotte to a group he insisted were called the ‘Beatles,’ (Aziraphale didn’t believe for a minute that they were actually named that. Crowley was just pulling his leg).
As all of his friends attacked the large birthday cake, Aziraphale sat back into his chair and enjoyed the frosting. Crowley had insisted that he get the first piece, the one with the frosting rose, and he hadn’t argued. He was on his third piece by the time Crowley had finished cutting the cake and came to sit beside him. The demon looked harried, and Aziraphale couldn’t help but be smug.
“This birthday thing is wonderful. I think I might have one every year,” he said.
Crowley looked at him out of the corner of his sunglasses. “I’m glad you like it, angel.”
Aziraphale put down his plate and took off Crowley’s sunglasses. “But really, dear. What is all this about?”
Crowley squinted his eyes from the dim lights, but didn’t move to put the shades back on. “Well, you know me. I always like a good party.”
“You always like intruding on other people’s good parties. Not throwing your own. Not for the Enemy.”
Crowley shot him a glance. “You haven’t been the Enemy for a long time, angel. In fact, not since a millennia and a half ago.” He paused. “To the day, actually.”
Aziraphale stopped mid champagne-sip. “You mean…?”
Crowley reached into his pocket and withdrew a box covered in ducky wrapping paper. “Happy Anniversary, Aziraphale.”
The angel took the box slowly. He carefully began to untie the bow and untape the sides.
“Just rip it, angel.”
Aziraphale ignored the demon, continuing to treat the paper as though it were a rare manuscript. When he finally had the box opened he gasped. “Crowley, this is a Brittania shell-shaped snuffbox. Circa 1716,” he turned it over in his hands reverently. “Fully marked. The etching is in amazing shape.” He looked at Crowley. “My dear…”
Crowley looked down at his boots, faint pink tingeing his cheeks. “Open it.”
Aziraphale opened the little lid delicately, unsure as to what he might find inside. A little piece of paper tumbled out onto the floor. Both he and Crowley bent over quickly to grab it, their hands connecting for a moment, which caused them both to pause.
“Here, let me,” Crowley finally said, taking both the paper and Aziraphale’s hand in his. He unfolded the little paper and placed it in Aziraphale’s palm.
“Happy Birthday, angel,” Crowley’s eyes didn’t meet his, so he had to pull the demon’s chin up to face him. He couldn’t say anything, just studied the demon’s eyes, attempting to communicate what he was feeling without words. The demon plucked the paper from his hand and placed it back in the box, folding the well-manicured fingers around it, and holding the angel’s hand in his.
No one in the party noticed the exchange. No one except a young man with blond hair and scuffed trainers. He smiled and petted his Dog.
The world had just gotten a little more ineffable.
And just a bit more perfect.