24 September, 1989
Aziraphale digs haphazardly through Crowley’s collection of tapes, beginning to get quite fed up. He pulls another one out, squints at it, and then pushes it back into the collection with a roll of his eyes.
“Really, my dear, that’s your third Tchaikovsky tape. How many do you need?” he chastised.
“Really, angel, you have three first editions of A Woman of No Importance, how many do you need?” Crowley shoots back, mocking his tone. Aziraphale throws him a dirty glare, but doesn’t respond. Crowley defends himself anyways. “None of ‘em are Tchaikovsky anymore. S’all Best of Queen.”
“Well, you might consider getting rid of some of them,” Aziraphale suggests. “Or taking them out of the car so your Queen collection doesn’t amass.”
“What are you looking for, anyways?” Crowley asks, looking at him curiously.
“Something other than your be-bop,” Aziraphale mutters, and Crowley rolls his eyes. The angel pulls a tape out of the collection, scans it, then asks, “How long has then one been in here, then?”
“Dunno,” Crowley says, not looking at it. “Fortnight?”
Aziraphale slides the tape into the deck, and they both wait expectantly. Aziraphale rolls his eyes and sits back in his seat when a heavy bass begins pouring out of the speakers. “I give up.”
“Could bring your own tapes,” Crowley suggests, thumping his fingers against the steering wheel to the beat.
“I don’t keep tapes,” Aziraphale insists. “And even if I did, I wouldn’t let them anywhere near your car.”
“Aw, why d’you say that?” Crowley asks, grinning innocently. “You’re in here often enough. You could switch them out.”
“You’d get too attached,” Aziraphale sighs. “Why don’t you get rid of all these? They’re all the same thing.”
“Nah,” Crowley says. “Some of ‘em have bonus tracks.”
Aziraphale shuts the glove box with a little more force than necessary. “Greedy little thing, you are.”
“That is my job, yes,” Crowley says dryly. “Although you have to admit, a collection of tapes certainly looks nice in one’s glove box.”
“I could think of better things to store in a glove box.”
“Oh, yeah? Like what?”
“And isn’t this where you’d normally keep a manual?” Aziraphale continues. “Or, license and registration, that sort of thing?”
“I don’t have a license,” Crowley reminds him.
“I can’t imagine why you would, you’d never pass the test.”
“Hey. I know how to drive.”
“I don’t need a license and registration,” Crowley insists. “I never get pulled over.”
“And that, dear boy, is a miracle in and of itself.”
“Ooh, blasphemous,” Crowley teases. “I love it when you talk dirty, angel, please do some more.”
Aziraphale tuts. “Your ‘collection’ is hardly impressive. It’s all the same thing and they’re all jumbled up.”
“They’re all jumbled up because you just rummaged through them!” Crowley complains.
“No, I distinctly remember finding them like that.”
Crowley throws him a slide long glance, his yellow eyes visible from the sides, and Aziraphale can tell he isn’t really mad. He relaxes in his seat a little more. “You might consider investing in CD’s.”
“Don’t have a CD player,” Crowley says simply.
“Well, you might consider investing in one of those, too,” Aziraphale points out. “I could—”
“You alter my car, I alter you out of it,” Crowley snaps protectively, and Aziraphale frowns but let’s the subject drop.
“I don’t understand it,” he says finally. “You and your tapes. Serves no purpose.”
“Angel, s’my job to be greedy,” Crowley says. “It serves quite a purpose. It’s one glove box of clutter. I’ve a quota to fill.”
“Do you?” Aziraphale asks.
“Got to write up a bloody memo for every deadly sin committed,” Crowley explains, thinking up the one he was going to have to write up for this particular instance. “After a while, committing ‘em almost becomes a chore, so I don’t like to go out of my way. Just the usuals.”
“Which would be?” Aziraphale asks curiously.
“You know what the sins are, angel,” Crowley reminds him.
“Yes, but I’m hard pressed to remember your favorites. If you don’t go around committing greed, what else do you abstain from?”
“I don’t abstain,” Crowley says hurriedly.
“Ah, of course,” Aziraphale agrees. “That would be too virtuous of you.”
“S’more like,” Crowley thinks for a moment. “I don’t want to go out of my way. Takes too much time, writing up memos, and I can’t bullshit them all when my report is due, because they have to have dates, you see? So it’s more, like, I commit on the regular, and then I look back over the report and think, eh, I’m a little low on greed, so I’ll say I added to my tape collection—which is all and will all be the same blessed tape—this date, this date, and this date.”
“And you do this for all the sins?” Aziraphale asks.
“Not at all, just the ones I’m not as big on,” Crowley says. “Others are easier. Sloth—sleep every day. Pride—well, you’ve met me. Gluttony—I just pen down every Ritz date. Others don’t happen quite as naturally, so I just tend to sprinkle them in.”
Aziraphale ponders this for a moment, then looks at him curiously. “Others don’t happen as naturally?”
Crowley makes an exasperated face. “Have we honestly never discussed this? Don’t you have one of these reports due, too?”
“Sure,” Aziraphale says. “Biannually.”
“Biannually,” Crowley mutters. “I hate that time table. Am I supposed to turn them in twice a year or once every two years?”
“Have you considered asking?”
“No, I’m an idiot.”
“Sloth, pride, gluttony, those are your top three? Really?”
Crowley sniffs. “Others don’t even come close. I’m not particularly greedy, angel, you’ve seen my apartment. Don’t tend to get envious. I get short with you, sure, but I wouldn’t consider myself wrathful. And—”
“Lust,” Aziraphale finishes for him, a bit smugly. “Don’t commit that one often, do you?”
Crowley blushes deeply, and although he keeps his head still, staring ahead, his yellow eyes flicker over to glance at him. “Er… course I do.”
Aziraphale gives him a knowing look, and Crowley looks back to the road. “Course I do,” he says again.
“Not enough for it to be your top three,” Aziraphale points out.
“My top three are common!” Crowley argues. “I sleep every day. I’m committing pride as we speak. We do the Ritz—what—er—”
“Not often enough for it to be in the top three,” Aziraphale interrupts.
“Lust is easily fourth,” Crowley says quickly.
“Oh, but the other three don’t even come close,” Aziraphale reminds him. “Your words.”
“Can you go back to grilling me about my tape collection?” Crowley asks nervously. He thinks vaguely about how when he pens down this memo, this conversation will need to be redacted.
26 August, 1990
Crowley pauses in the middle of writing the date down, and sits at his desk for a long moment pondering, his fork still in his mouth. Should he even be penning this? Does he need to? Is Hell going to start requesting his reports again now that he’s helped avert the apocalypse? They haven’t reached out to him as of yet, either to drag him down into eternal torture or just to slide him a memo letting him know to proceed business as usual.
He hesitates, then takes another bites of cake and finishes the memo halfheartedly. He might as well write it down, although he doubts he’s ever going to forget the date. It’s a date that really shouldn’t be. This is a memo that shouldn’t be. The devil’s food cake he’s working his way through slowly but surly is a cake that most definitely shouldn’t be.
Thinking of the name, again, makes him exhale a little through his nose. Not quite a laugh, but it is amusing nonetheless. Devil’s food cake. Yeah, he thinks, as he takes another bite, it really is.
He already went to the Ritz with Aziraphale earlier. He should have penned gluttony just for that, but he wasn’t really thinking straight. He was a bit preoccupied with feeling the weight of the angel’s hand in his under the table. It had been the only thing on his mind all day, and it wasn’t until he’d been left alone in his apartment with his thoughts did he allow them to wander down more sinful avenues.
Hey, he’d thought, realizing he had spent more time at dinner staring at the angel and nursing his wine than he had eating, you know what I’m craving…
Aside from wine, this confection is, truly, his favorite food humans had ever come up with. He can’t believe it’s only existed for a little under a century. He vaguely wonders how he ever managed to live without it, though then he finds himself wondering how he ever managed to live without pressing chaste kisses to an angel’s lips, and he shoves another bite of the cake in his mouth to distract himself.
Crowley is going to eat this whole cake himself, in one sitting, mark his words. He can count the times he’s indulged in such a delicacy, and he hates himself for it. The world was ending yesterday, and in his six thousand years he’d eaten nine slices of devil’s food cake. That wasn’t even a whole cake. How abhorrent of him.
It wasn’t that he abstained from the dessert. No, abstinence was a virtue, therefor a sin to him, and he was supposed to indulge sinful whims. It just so happened that he felt the need to indulge this specific whim very sparsely. He only wanted to eat this particular confection every now and again, since the first time he’d had it somewhere around, oh when had it been, 1906? He didn’t want to indulge in it if he wasn’t craving it, because then it just didn’t feel right.
No, he’d much rather… well, it was a convoluted thing, really. But normally he’d take a slice of angel’s food cake, knowing full well he never intended to eat it (he wasn’t a fan of the texture), under the guise of being a general menace and wasting food. And, well, if a certain angel always happened to steal it from him, under the guise of preventing him from wasting food, well. That was just how things tended to play out. Thwarting and wiles and whatnot.
Crowley pushes the memo to the other side of the counter, along with the pen, and focuses on his cake. He’ll consider it his reward. You know, for saving the world and all that.
14 February, 1895
Crowley is gripping the steering wheel so tightly, he’s starting to dent it. It’s burning hot under his hands, but neither of the passengers in the back seat have noticed.
“Oh, you’ve learned to drive?” Aziraphale had asked not a fortnight ago. “Really? So soon after waking up?”
Crowley had shrugged lamely, still embarrassed over having slept so long and having missed so much, still struggling to catch up. “Seems to be with the times.”
“Oh, very!” Aziraphale had agreed cheerfully. “These horseless carriages really are something. Very fancy.”
Then, “Crowley—I don’t suppose you’d be willing to do me a favor?”
Crowley had grunted. “Depends the favor.”
“Well, I’m going to see a play—”
A noise of disapproval from Crowley.
“—and I’m attending with an… esteemed friend. And I wonder if it would be possible for you to drive us to the premier?”
Crowley made a face that perfectly spelled out his distain, but he had been asleep for a long time, and he did sort of feel as though he’d missed a lot of opportunities to be around the angel, so he reluctantly agreed.
He loathes that decision now, as he turns the corner, trying and failing to block out the conversation taking place in the backseat. His grip tightens on the steering wheel, somehow, and he vaguely thinks he’s probably going to have to fix it later. He’s not quite a fan of this car; he likes the idea of cars in general, but this one is… not quite him. He needs to wait a bit and see what’s coming, but he doesn’t want to go back to riding horses.
Aziraphale laughs loudly at something, and Crowley grits his teeth and interrupts the conversation. “Remind me the address again, angel.”
It’s a useless question; you’d have to be blind to miss the crowd of eager people gathered outside the theater. Aziraphale reminds him anyways while his companion sits, with a pondering expression.
“Angel,” he muses. “Where’d you get that?”
“Inside joke,” Crowley growls.
“He’s always joking, this one,” Aziraphale says, and Crowley doesn’t turn to look at him, but he can feel the warning glance.
Crowley doesn’t take his hands off the steering wheel when he pulls up alongside the curb, lest Aziraphale’s companion notice how it’s been deformed by the heat of Crowley’s anger. Aziraphale reaches forward and lays a kind hand on his shoulder, then quickly withdraws it when he senses the wrath.
“Thank you, dear boy,” he says politely. Crowley grunts in response, not looking at him, thankful for his sunglasses which aren’t really sunglasses, more just unfashionable colored glass hiding his yellow eyes. One of the few things he was pleased to discover after waking up.
Aziraphale climbs out of the car, and his companion makes to follow him, as people on the sidewalk begin to gather as the recognize him. “Thanks ever so, Mr. Crowley,” he says, flashing him a smile. Crowley grinds his teeth together and ignores him.
He takes Aziraphale’s hand as he steps out of the car. “Thank you, angel.”
Crowley seethes, very nearly breaking the steering wheel with his grip and very nearly breaking his own teeth with how tightly he grinds them together. He restrains himself by a frayed thread from lighting the man’s entire suit on fire, put off only because there are so many other people standing around, who didn’t really do anything wrong.
Crowley shifts gears and pulls away from the curb, shaking with rage and fury and wrath, and he can’t even remember the last time he was inspired to feel this way. He can’t even think clearly enough to form the words into the memo he’s going to have to put together; he can barely think clearly enough to make sure nobody notices him racing down the streets of London, away from the St. James Theater father than any car has ever driven before.
“The Importance of Being Earnest,” Crowley growls to himself. “What the fuck does that even mean?”
3 December, 1832
Crowley groans and stretches and rolls over in his bed, grumbling over being disturbed. He wonders vaguely what it was that woke up, but then he shifts and his attention is suddenly dragged to his bladder, and he opens his eyes, blinking blearily.
He sighs, rolling out of the comfort of his bed, out of the warmth of his blankets, and he’s immediately chilled to the bone. He wouldn’t consider this odd, considering that he was sleeping naked, except for the fact that it is only early August.
He does his business, and he’s on his way back to bed when he notices something extremely odd that catches his attention. At his front door is a mountain of mail, spilling into the entry hall, and Crowley squints at it. He stands, naked and staring at the piles of paper, and then snaps out of it and walks closer.
He plucks an envelope off the top. Checks the return address. It’s not one he recognizes. He peels it open and checks the date.
14 November, 1832.
He hand’t meant to sleep for twenty-nine years, he really hadn’t. He’s a little startled he did. When he’d settle in for a nap, he’d really just meant to spend an afternoon in bed, not three decades. He regards the letter with halfhearted interests, then looks at the rest of the enormous pile. Twenty nine years worth of memos, correspondence from human acquaintances, and probably inquiries from Aziraphale about where he’s gotten off to.
Crowley sighs. Any humans he knew definitely think he’s dead by now. He thinks a little harder, and winces. That’s twenty-nine years of missed reports. That’s fifty-eight reports. Or fourteen, depending on what ‘biannually’ was supposed to mean. Crowley sifts half heartedly through the pile until he finds a letter from his employer, ripping it open and scanning it.
WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? WE’LL ASSUME YOU HAVE MOVED RESIDENCE, BUT THERE’S GOING TO BE HELL TO PAY FOR NOT PUTTING IN A NOTICE. JUST A LITTLE JOKE FOR YOU. WE’RE STILL AWAITING YOUR OVERDUE REPORTS. YOU WON’T GO UNPUNISHED FOR NEGLECTING YOUR DUTIES.
Crowley swallows, then folds the letter and slides it back into the envelope, dropping it onto the pile. Well, he thinks, I was asleep. They can’t blame me for being asleep. Sloth is a sin, after all, and he’s supposed to indulge.
He blinks at the pile of mail. He should really sort that. The idea of sitting down and sifting through it immediately gives him a headache, though, and even just the effort to put on a pair of trousers sounds like too much work right now.
He looks back at his room; he probably shouldn’t. But then, isn’t he supposed to indulge things like this? The excuse sounds weak, even in his head, but before he can stop himself he’s slithering back towards his bed anyways. Before he climbs back under the covers, he makes a note to himself of the date. Well, he doesn’t know the exact date, but he takes into consideration the snow outside and takes a guess.
He slips back under the covers and hopes Dagon will understand. He knows he won’t, but that’s a problem for another decade.
19 January, 1999
Crowley has many ways he likes to spend a Sunday morning, his favorite of which is sitting curled up in a certain angel’s lap. Aziraphale didn’t have any issues with this arrangement, especially as long as Crowley just wanted to doze against him, which was usually all he wanted to do. There was nothing particularly mischievous about his presence, just the fact that Crowley happened to be cold-blooded, and Aziraphale happened to be very warm.
Neither of them really liked to talk about why Aziraphale was so warm. Crowley refused to talk about it; Aziraphale had never actually tried to talk to him about it, but even when the subject was hinted at, Crowley got irritable, so it was better to just avoid it.
Aziraphale chuckles, stirring Crowley, who’s head is resting on his shoulder. He frowns, opening his eyes, dragging them to look at the book he’s holding. It’s something more philosophy oriented, which means it’s not what Aziraphale finds amusing, and there’s only one other person in the room he could be paying attention to.
“What?” he asks, weary, and Aziraphale shakes his head, still grinning.
“Well, it’s just—” Aziraphale pauses, still amused. “You’re purring, is all.”
Crowley’s frown deepens. “I don’t purr.”
“You were purring,” Aziraphale assures him.
“I was not,” Crowley insists. “I’m not a cat.”
“This is true,” Aziraphale says, his gaze flickering back to his book, but he’s lost his focus, “you old serpent.”
Crowley sniffs indignantly. “Snakes don’t purr.”
“This is true,” Aziraphale says again.
There’s a lapse of silence, during which Aziraphale honestly attempts to resume reading, and Crowley crosses his ankles where they’re propped against the arm of the sofa.
“Hm?” Aziraphale asks, not looking up.
“Snakes,” Crowley elaborates. “They trill. Er—I do, anyways. I don’t purr. I trill.”
Aziraphale looks up from his book, staring at the wall for a moment, considering this, and then he laughs loudly. Crowley frowns, blushing, and hits his shoulder, not hard enough to hurt, but enough to get his point across.
“Shut up, you brought it up,” he says.
“Yes, but—” Aziraphale breaks off, shutting his book and tossing it on the couch next to him, giggling. “I didn’t think you would actually admit to—to trilling.”
“Well, I certainly wasn’t going to admit to purring,” Crowley quips, shifting as Aziraphale wraps his arms around him. Crowley hums, sinking into him, shutting his eyes. “S’not that funny. Can’t be helped really. It’s the cold-blooded thing.”
“Yes, how silly of me to forget,” Aziraphale says, pressing a kiss to his jaw. Crowley trills, and he chuckles again.
“Yeah, okay,” Crowley waves him off. “Make fun of me. If this was flipped, you’d feel the same way.”
Aziraphale hums. “I think only one of us craves divine warmth, dear boy, and it’s not me.”
Crowley stiffens, opening his eyes, shocked. He stares at Aziraphale for a moment, and then he scowls, crawling out of his lap. “You’re a bastard, sometimes, you know that?”
“Crowley,” Aziraphale says, sitting up. “You know I didn’t mean that to be a bad thing—”
“Oh, didn’t you?” Crowley snaps. “Certain that wasn’t your heavenly entitlement shining through?”
“Crowley,” Aziraphale says, more sternly this time. “You know I love you as you are.”
“You sure?” Crowley asks. “What, with me going around craving divine warmth, and all, must get bloody annoying.”
“You know, being damned isn’t the worst thing in the world,” he says, even though that’s almost the definition of being damned. “I would much rather have Fallen than have stayed up there with all the—with—with Gabriel’s insufferable ass and with—”
“I didn’t say—”
“You’re implying,” Crowley presses, “that I crave divinity. That I crave the—the warmth of heaven, or something ridiculous like that, which isn’t true.”*
*It was, in fact, a little true.
“I do not crave anything,” Crowley says. “I’m cold-blooded and human bodies aren’t meant to be cold-blooded so it’s nice to sit with someone who’s warm.”
Aziraphale sighs. “You do know why I’m so warm—?”
“Oh, you’re insufferable,” Crowley snaps, turning away from him. “I’m going for a walk.”
“It’s cold,” Aziraphale reminds him testily.
“I’m sure I can manage,” Crowley insists, grabbing his coat. “Unless you assume I’m going to whither away without your divine warmth.”
He doesn’t hear all of Aziraphale’s reply as he exists the cottage; he’s more focused on how it really is cold, and how it makes his bones ache. Still, though, he doesn’t want to go back inside right away; that would just prove Aziraphale’s point. He wraps his coat tight around himself, thinking vaguely about how they’ll probably talk about it. Their fights never tend to last long, once Crowley gets past his initial bursts of pride.
Ah, he thinks bitterly. He’s going to have to report this.
25 October, 1991
It would be fairly accurate to say lust is Crowley’s fourth most frequently visited sin, although after certain events that took place in the summer of 1990, it did manage to surpass gluttony. Either way, Crowley has never been particularly fond of providing any details beyond a date when he submitted these reports, if only because prior to the summer of 1990, they would consist entirely of a description of him with his hand down his pants, and subsequent to the summer of 1990, they would consist entirely of relations with a certain angel.
3 April, 2006
“You know, angel, you’d think after all these years, you’d have taken the hint and learned to do this yourself,” Crowley says flatly, smoothing out a particularly rough patch of feathers.
Aziraphale shrugs. “I think you get more enjoyment out of it than I do.”
Crowley plucks a feather that might not have necessarily needed to be plucked, immediately soothing the spot when Aziraphale winces. “I think you get more enjoyment out of annoying me than you get out of stretching your wings every now and then.”
“Oh, when can I ever stretch them, really?” Aziraphale asks. “I always worry about knocking things over. Disturbing your plants.”
Crowley blushes. “Stretch mine on the beach all the time.”
Aziraphale hums. “And if someone sees you?”
“No one sees me.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I don’t want anyone to see me.”
Crowley starts work on another rough patch. “You’d do well to stretch them out. They get all shabby because you keep them tucked away all the time. Doesn’t that start to ache?”
“Do yours ache?” Aziraphale asks.
“Well, yeah,” Crowley says. “I have to stretch them or it starts getting uncomfortable. Kinda like how, er…”
He trails off. He doesn’t really want to discuss the mechanics of needing to shed.
He finishes up the right wing, then lingers, running his fingers deftly over the feathers. They’re beautiful, pearly white and luminous and neat, now that Crowley has gotten his hands on them. They always look gorgeous after Crowley finishes with them, and he always hates them more when Aziraphale tucks them away than he does when he lets them out.
Crowley bites the inside of his cheek; he really shouldn’t think that way, but Aziraphale’s wings are beautiful. Beautiful enough to be coveted, but it’s not like there’s anything Crowley can do but sit and fester about it.
“I stretch them,” Aziraphale chimes suddenly, yanking Crowley out of his train of thought.
“Oh, yeah?” Crowley asks, when his mind catches up with Aziraphale’s statement. “When?”
“Er, you know,” Aziraphale says. “Every now and then. In the bedroom.”
Crowley snorts. “Hardly counts.”
“How does that hardly count?” Aziraphale asks as Crowley moves to the left wing. “They’re out, aren’t they?”
“Hardly counts if they’re crushed underneath you.”
“Well, lucky for me, I’m never in that position.”
Crowley huffs. It’s a fair point, but he doesn’t want to say such. “Well, even so, you’re not doing yourself any favors, then.”
“You mess them all up,” Crowley explains. “I mean, look at this—” he bends the wing gently and forces Aziraphale to look at a particularly nasty little patch. “—I’m going to have to pluck half of these.”
Aziraphale bristles. “It doesn’t hurt that ba—ah!”
He jumps when Crowley plucks the worst offender, but doesn’t comment any further as he immediately sets to work soothing the irritation. Crowley observes the feather between his fingers; roughed up as it is, it still looks prettier than most of his. He vanishes it bitterly.
“You ought to let me do yours after this,” Aziraphale says casually.
“Nah,” Crowley says, a little too quickly. “Mine are always groomed. No need.”
Even though his wings are always neatly groomed, they never look quite as nice as Aziraphale’s when Crowley gets done with them. There’s always something keeping them from looking quite as pristine. They’re shabbier, always a little ruffled, never accepting of Crowley’s incessant attempts to smooth them out.
“Yes, I know, but I’d like to just return to favor,” Aziraphale insists. “Besides, it can be a bit hard to reach the back.”
Crowley plucks another feather, and thankfully Aziraphale takes the hint and doesn’t push the subject.
“Like grooming your wings,” Crowley mutters, soothing the irritation. “S’pretty.”
Aziraphale hums. “You are a sweet little thing.”
“Oh, tell the whole blessed world,” Crowley retorts, but he’s smiling. Vaguely he wonders if he even has to report this, but he doesn’t pencil down envy often enough, as is.