The Arrangement by Ariaste
Summary: In which it is explained how the Arrangement was made, and how it affected them in the end. Also proving once and for all that Zira is not the spineless, innocent pansy some of us see him as.
Categories: Slash Fanfic Characters: Aziraphale
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Word count: 1973 Read: 261
Published: 22 Sep 2005 Updated:22 Sep 2005
It was the fifteenth century. This doesn't really mean a whole lot, except that humanity was finally starting to walk away from that G- H- SOMEBODY-forsaken fourteenth. It also meant that one Anthony J. Crowley decided to wake up, have a look around, and decide whether or not he should go back to bed.
Although he seriously doubted anything could be worse than the fourteenth century.
Aziraphale paused from dusting off a few of the less-imperfectly printed Bibles in the front room of his bookshop. "Hello, Crowley," he said, without turning around.
"This 15th century, then. Any better than the last?"
"What do you want?" the angel asked, returning to the dust.
"And why do you do that? You could just--" Crowley wiggled his fingers at the dust, which disappeared. "Eternity is a long time to spend dusting, you know."
"Eternity is a long time to spend doing anything, so why not dusting?"
"Wouldn't you be better off out doing miracles and good deeds or something?"
"It got boring after the first twenty years you were asleep. No one to keep me on my toes, as it wer-- CROWLEY!"
"You're SITTING on my COUNTER."
"Get off it!" Crowley did so, blessing softly under his breath. The angel paused, until polite instinct made him miracle up a chair.
"You're wel-- What do you WANT?"
"I'm bored. Let's go Out."
"What?" Aziraphale spluttered as Crowley began to drag him to the door.
"Out, angel, Out."
"Er..." Crowley paused, and began ticking off on his fingers. "Opera, no. Theater, no. Coliseum--"
"Not open anymore," Aziraphale supplied helpfully.
Crowley blessed again.
"We could just skip to the part where I smite you after you attempt to discorporate me. Again."
"You only smited--"
"SMITED me twice, I got you at least--"
"Twice. And it's 'smote'."
"I don't care if it's the Queen of Egypt in her knickers--"
"They didn't have knickers, Crowley."
"--IN HER KNICKERS. SMITED."
"I think th' k- kk- kni-- underwear must have been smited, that's why they didn't have 'em." Crowley said loudly, banging his wrist into the wine bottle, which obstinantly refused to tip over.
"I didn't smite 'em!" Aziraphale squeaked.
"Didn' say Y' did, said they WERE smited, tha's why... Tha's... why... uh."
"Why they didn't have knickers."
"YES. That!" Crowley smacked the table triumphantly. "Them queens of England. Them poor boys didn' have no knickers."
"Weren' boys, though. Were girls," Aziraphale protested.
"No. Boys. Had them pointy beards an' everything."
"Then they would have been fff- pha-- pharoia-- kings."
"Nonono. Were queens. And boys."
"Queens aren't boys, though."
"Will be," Crowley said darkly. "One day! One day there'll be boys, an' they'll have pretty dresses an' all, and they'll be queens. 'll be music, too, queens."
"No, that would be awfully odd. Weird. Queer."
"They'll be called that too."
"Why?" Aziraphale asked in bemusement.
"How many times have you seen a boy in a dress lately?!" Aziraphale attempted to think, then gave up.
"If I say none, will you attack me?"
"I don' like it when you attack me. It makes me feel like you hate me." Aziraphale crossed his arms on the table and put his chin on them.
"'M not supposed to like you, Az-- Aziri-- angel." Crowley took a swig of wine, and realized it wasn't there in his glass.
"Why not?" Aziraphale asked, looking awfully young.
"Cause I'm a de-- *hic* --demon." Crowley poured refills of their glasses, managing not to spill the other half the bottle on the table to join it's companion.
"D'you like other demons, then?" Crowley studied the glass intently for a few seconds.
"You don't have any friends?" Aziraphale gasped. "Poor Crowley! Oh, it's okay, I'll be your friend." Crowley looked in drunked confusion at the angelic hand that had suddenly appeared around his own. He took it away so he could have another drink.
"Can't be your friend, 'cause then you wouldn't be allowed to thwart me."
A few drinks later, they were drawing up the (at the top of the page several titles were crossed out) Agreement --Arrangement --Deal --That Which Is Not So Much a Bargain As an Excuse -- Shut Up, Aziraphale, And Just Think Of A Bloody Title For The Thrice-Blessed Thing-- Arrangement. Crowley, having claimed to be an expert at Making Arrangements, was writing down some ground rules.
"First Rule of the Arrangement: Don't talk about the Arrangement.
Second Rule of the Arrangement: Don't talk about the Arrangement." Aziraphale nodded, perfectly trusting in Crowley's capabilities. "Third Rule: No fighting. Fourth Rule: No smiting, discorporating, or otherwise in- inji-- hurting each other." He paused. "Unless someone else tries to."
"Like, iffan demon goes after you, I attack you first, cause then he can't do anything to you. 'No stealing other demon's prey.' Rule 162, paragraph 17, line 22, clause 8."
"So why d'y' put the discorpy thing in, cause once 'ee goes away, you can stop biting me."
"Nonono. Cause if I know anythin', it's that ev'ryone likes seein' their own side win. If th' demon goes 'way, I stop. If he stays, I have to discorpy you. To keep face, y'know? Same if angel tries t' g't m', Rather be sent back by you than by some righteous prick of a bastard with a really pansy name like Michael."
"Michael's quite nice, if you catch him on a good day." Aziraphale said, swirling the wine around his glass.
"No interfering in special projects."
"What's a glassy thingamabob? New type of liquor?"
"It's a town I'm working on!"
"How about we balance special thingies."
"You can't have your own Glasgow!"
"Don't want Glasgow. You can have it. I think I'll call mine... Manchester," Crowley said fondly.
"Tempting and thwartinginging is allowed."
"Keeps life intr'stin'."
"Do we sign and seal it now, then?"
"You said you were good at this, don't we sign it?"
"Oh yes of course I was just testing you." He scribbled his name on the bit of parchment they'd been writing on and passed it over. Aziraphale leaned over, gripping the quill as if he wanted to suffocate it, and, with his tongue between his teeth, carefully tried to keep the pen from running away as he wrote. "Now we have to shake hands on it."
Aziraphale tilted his head.
"Oh, is that how you do it Down There?"
"Your people do it differently?" Crowley demanded.
"Yes, we seal it with a kiss," Aziraphale said solemnly.
"...." said Crowley, and blinked twice for emphasis. "Well, then, er... Business courtesy and all... We better do it your way."
"You're very polite, for a demon." Then everything in his vision was golden eyelashes and warm, rosy skin.
Centuries later, a shining Bentley, one owner from new (and that owner had been Crowley), pulled up in front of Fell's Bookshop in Soho. Humans, had they not been influenced to ignore things like that, would have noticed one very nervous demon entering the shop almost immediately afterwards. Although the hurry and the shaking could have been because of the cold and snow.
"Angel?" Crowley called to the suspiciously angel-less shop.
"Yes, dear?" Aziraphale asked, appearing from the back room with two cups of tea in his hands.
"Possibly a glass of port? Or perhaps brandy? You look like you need something stronger than tea. Something bothering you?"
"Yes. No. Yes. Maybe. No. I--"
"There's a fireworks display tonight. To celebrate the new millenium. I thought we might go."
"Yes, alright," Crowley said gratefully.
"Oh, and I forgot to thank you for the lovely first edition of the Silmarillion* that you gave me for Christmas last week--"
"Yes yes, no problem, was a pleasure, goodness, look at the time, I really must be going, see you later, angel!" Crowley left the bookshop. He had forgotten to put his teacup down.**
If he had been there to see Aziraphale grin and giggle evilly, he might have suspected that the angel had Fallen.
"Mmhmm?" Aziraphale said from somewhere around Crowley's shoulder. They were sitting atop Big Ben, watching the fireworks being set off all over London.
They were snugged together, partially to keep from falling off, partially to keep warm, and partially because they wanted to. (3)
"It's been a hundred years since we last went over the Arrangement."
"Oh, I had completely forgotten!(4)" Aziraphale said, taking his head from where it had been on Crowley's shoulder. "Actually, there's nothing I really want to add, so we'll just renew it and be done."
"Okay," Crowley said, slightly disappointed, and took the Arrangement out of his pocket.. Aziraphale signed his name for the seventh time on it, and gave the pen to Crowley, who did the same with a shaking hand.
"This time we should do it your way. You know, business courtesy and all," Aziraphale said eagerly.(5)
"Oh! No, no, it's alright, I don't mind doing it the way your people to it, up there and --Mmf-- all," he finished, after Aziraphale had let him go again.
They sat in silence for a few hours, until thy heard the chanting countdown from far below. At 'seven', Aziraphale suddenly turned to him.
"I thought of something to add to the Arrangement."
At 'three', Aziraphale was kissing him again. By the time the cheering started, Crowley was giving as good as he got.(6) After twently minutes, the cheering to welcome the new millenium was still going strong, and Crowley was quite ready to keep on kissing his angel -- 600 years of Arrangements not to let anyone else except yourself hurt or discorporate someone tends to spark posessive feelings -- when Aziraphale drew away.
"To follow Rule Seven(7), there should be a Rule Eight," Aziraphale said, as primly as one can with mussed hair and very temptingly kissed lips.
"Oh really?" said Crowley breathily. "What's that?"
"Rule Eight," Aziraphale announced solemnly. "You're allowed to kiss me anytime you want."
"Hmm," said Crowley, nibbling on one angelic neck. "Dunno if you'll be able to get it passed. That voting commitee's bloody tough these days."
"I'm confident they'll agree with my suggestion. All in favor..."
"Say 'aye' and make an effort. To sound sincere, I mean."
"Of course you did, demon mi--" Aziraphale was forced to fall silent.
"Aye," Crowley murmered against Aziraphale's mouth.
"Aye," Aziraphale agreed breathlessly.
1. Aziraphale was quite fond of Tolkien. After all, he HAD taught him English when he went to Oxford. To this day, the angel swears by the child's terrible comma placement and the hours he spent tutoring him.
2. The teacup was one that Aziraphale had tried to give Crowley for Christmas that year. Crowley had refused to take it home, claiming it was tasteless.
3. But if you had asked them about that, Crowley would have denied it and Aziraphale would have blushed.
4. Angels are quite capable of lying, contrary to popular belief.
5. They are also exceptional at acting, when the mood strikes them.
6. Which was really good, considering the weird stuff he can do with his tongue.
7. "Rule Seven: The Arrangement shall be renewed by both parties once every hundred years." Crowley suggested it. He rather liked Heaven's way of sealing contracts.
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