It was a beautiful summer evening, Aziraphale thought. Warm and sunny, and exactly the kind of day people liked to be out and about in the open air. No one had tried to enter his shop all day, and his precious books were still safely his. He'd spent the day meandering around, reading a page here and there, half listening to the radio in the background, which was telling him about the massive anti-globalisation protests. He rather felt he approved. He didn't think much of most human political systems, and thought that capitalism was pretty much another name for gouging thy neighbour. Admittedly he owned a shop, but it wasn't as if he was making any money out of it. He hoped the protestors had had a nice day, and hadn't been baton charged too many times. The radio informed him that some protestors had defaced public monuments, pouring paint over them, and generally not being respectful of Britain's great imperial past.
"Good. They're dreadful things," he muttered.
He peered out the window fretfully. Crowley had phoned him to say he was coming right over, there was something really urgent. There always was with Crowley. Some girls dressed in fairy costumes and carrying battered placards twirled past the window, one of them blowing him a kiss. He smiled. He liked protestors. Well, not all of them. He wasn't at all sorry he'd made those BNF people trip up in front of the cameras. More people were going past the shop now, singing rude songs about the government and larking around. Just then, a loud car horn blew and Crowley shot down the street narrowly missing a small child, and screeched to a halt in front of the shop. Aziraphale watched in horrified fascination as Crowley hopped out of the car in front of a surprised group. The protestors stared at Crowley's expensive suit, at the pinging vintage car, and at the emphatic and graphic hand gesture Crowley was using to make clear his feelings on people who blocked his way. There was a moment of stillness, and then one of the protestors flung the gloopy black contents of the bucket he'd been holding over Crowley and the Bentley. The fairy-girl who'd blown Aziraphale a kiss twirled back into view, upending a box over Crowley's head. Glittery silver stars settled all over him.
There was silence. Crowley looked down at himself. Crowley looked at his car. Aziraphale realized he had less than three seconds before body parts started flying, and rushed out the door.
"Excuse me! Excuse me!" he cried, pushing rudely between the onlookers as Crowley made a sound that would have been more at home coming from a really large and angry sabre-toothed tiger's throat. Aziraphale grabbed his arm and towed him through the laughing crowd and into the shop, slamming the door behind them.
"If you damage my shop I'll be really annoyed!" he said, as things around Crowley began to shake.
Crowley glared at him. His hair was plastered down with shiny black paint, his suit was ruined, and the glittery stars were everywhere. Aziraphale wondered how he could see through the sunglasses. Carefully and deliberately Crowley took a breath.
"I'm covered in paint," he said.
"I'm covered in black gloss paint and sparkles."
"So I see."
"My car is covered in black gloss paint, and no doubt is not entirely sparkle free. Why am I not outside killing people, Aziraphale?"
"Behave. I'll put the kettle on and you can calm down. Don't touch anything."
He was back as quick as he could, mugs of tea steaming. Crowley made a gesture. He was still covered in paint. His shoulders sagged.
"Are you trying to tidy yourself up?" Aziraphale asked. "Maybe it's holy paint."
Crowley gave him one of Crowley's patented looks.
"My fingers are stuck together," he said venomously, making a larger, angrier gesture. The paint vanished, although a few sparkles still lurked in his hair. Outside, the Bentley gleamed again.
"Hmm," Aziraphale said mischievously, "Pity. It suited you."
Aziraphale gave him a smile and passed the tea over. Crowley looked at the mug, which had suddenly become black and was decorated with silver stars.
Aziraphale smiled. Yes, he thought, a beautiful summer evening.