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The Misadventures of Reginald the Plant

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So... it was not exactly customary for them to get each other gifts. Neither of them had birthdays, and the one time that Aziraphale had suggested that Crowley celebrate Christmas, the demon had given him such a dire look that he did not dare to mention it again. But August rolled right on around again, and Aziraphale realized that they did have something to celebrate after all. It was the one year anniversary of the day that the world did not end, and surely that deserved some sort of observance. It hadn't been the easiest thing to deal with at the time, not to mention that the fact that it was momentous. 

Aziraphale went out to the shops and had a look around. He did not want to buy wine. That was simply too everyday. He wanted something more... unique. He also did not quite understand most electronics, and he figured that Crowley had one of everything available in any case. Aziraphale ended up finding himself in a nursery, full of large green leafy things of all sorts. The kind older woman watering the greenery was rather helpful in suggesting different types of plants to him. He was delighted when he saw a small tree type thing growing in a little red pot. 

"What is that one?" Aziraphale asked. He pointed to it. 

"That one?" the woman, Cassandra, said. She walked over to see which one he was referring to. "Oh, that's a crape myrtle tree. A dwarf one if I'm not mistaken. Much more manageable and can be kept inside if you wanted to. It'll only get about eight to ten feet tall at most." 

"A crepe tree?" Aziraphale asked. What an odd name. 

"Crape myrtle tree," Cassandra corrected with a smile. "They can live up to fifty years if they are properly taken care of." 

"My... friend has quite a lot of plants in his indoor nursery. Do you suppose that this tree will get along well with his other plants?" Aziraphale asked. The woman gave him a quizzical look. 

"I think so. I mean, it is a plant... so it should behave," Cassandra said, seeming confused with his wording. "I can't imagine why it wouldn't..." 

"Excellent. Thank you so much. How much would this crape myrtle tree cost?" Aziraphale asked. 

"Just thirty nine fifty nine," Cassandra told him. "Come around to the register, and I'll ring you up." 

Aziraphale picked up the little potted tree, and he made his way over to the register. He set it down on the counter, and he paid her the appropriate amount of pounds. 

"You have a blessed day now, sir," Cassandra said. Aziraphale smiled at her, carefully holding the plant to his chest. 

"And you as well, madam," the angel replied. Aziraphale walked out of the nursery, heading back to his flat. 

 

It was Sunday. Today was the day, and Aziraphale was a bit nervous. Seeing as how this would be the first gift he would give Crowley, he did so hope that he liked it. The angel waited until they had finished their weekly lunch before he brought out the little potted tree. Though it was covered with a thin sheet so as to make it less distinguishable. The demon peered at it like he expected it to bite him or possibly explode. He could all but see his golden eyes narrowing behind his dark sunglasses. 

"What is this?" Crowley asked. 

"It is a present," Aziraphale told him, feeling rather proud of himself. He adjusted the sheet again, so it did not slide off prematurely. The demon sighed. 

"Yes, I can see that, angel. But why are you giving me a present?" Crowley asked. 

"Do you know what day it is?" Aziraphale asked in response. Crowley gave him a slow blink. 

"...Sunday," the demon said. 

"Do you recall what we were doing last year on this date?" Aziraphale asked. 

"Angel, that was quite possibly one of the worst days of my life, including the fourteenth century," Crowley told him. "And now, you want to celebrate it?" 

"Well, the world's still here, isn't it? That's something to be happy about," Aziraphale said. Crowley let out a sigh and uncrossed his arms. The angel took that as an encouraging sign and pushed the potted tree toward him with his arms. "Here you are, my dear." 

Crowley tore the sheet off of the plant, and he stared down at the small tree. The sheet dropped to the ground in a pool of pale linen at his feet. He looked back to Aziraphale. His expression was impeccably neutral.  

"You got me a plant," Crowley said. 

"Well... yes." Aziraphale wrung his hands uncertainly. He was unsure what was going on in the demon's head. "Do you like it?" the angel asked. "It's a dwarf crape myrtle tree. I thought you might like it... do you?" The demon was silent still. "If not, I can take it back. I am certain that the nursery would let me exchange it for something else-" 

"It's fine, angel," Crowley interjected. 

"Oh, really?" Aziraphale said. He smiled in relief. 

"Bloody ridiculous idea... celebrating the Apocalypse," Crowley muttered. He shook his head and lifted up the little tree to peer at it. "Don't expect me to go easy on you just because the angel bought you first." 

"Oh, dear. You're already threatening it?" Aziraphale asked. 

"If it is going to live with my plants, it needs to be toughened up," Crowley replied. He eyed the small tree, shifting his grip on the pot. He was holding it almost like a baby, very gingerly and careful, which was honestly just a bit adorable. "You hear that, plant?" 

The dwarf crape myrtle tree's leaves did not quite move at the sound of his voice like Aziraphale had seen some of his other plants do. The demon narrowed his eyes at it. Crowley sighed and began to walk back toward his flat. 

"Don't expect any reciprocation on my part. Demons do not give gifts," he called back. 

Nevertheless, by the time Aziraphale entered his own flat later that evening, he found a new book - well, not new exactly, but new for him - laying atop his desk. The angel smiled.