It was a Tuesday when the book found its way to Aziraphale’s bookshop, delivered by the International Express. A sharp rap on the door let Aziraphale know someone was outside.
“Delivery for you, Sir!” the Delivery Man chimed when Aziraphale opened the door. “You’ll have to sign for it!” He offered a pen to the angel.
Aziraphale took the pen and signed for the package, which was a small, brown parcel, held under the Delivery Man’s arm. After inscribing his name, the Delivery Man handed him the book, and turned to leave.
“Goodnight, Sir!” and then he was gone.
Aziraphale stared at the package - it felt like a book, but he hadn’t ordered any books recently. He was still getting over the recent addition of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies to his collection; even though all of her prophecies had passed, he still enjoyed reading through it with a nice mug of cocoa. Maybe Crowley had ordered him a book as a surprise? No, Crowley would never do something like that; not because he wouldn’t get a gift for the angel, but because he wanted nothing to do with books.
Shrugging, Aziraphale unwrapped the parcel, snapping the wrapping paper out of existence.
The book in his hand was untitled, but there was a handwritten note inside the cover, which read:
This book relates events of your creation to events happening now; it is intended for your eyes only. If you have any questions, please, hesitate before asking and instead think over your questions carefully.
P.S. If you still cannot determine the answers to your questions even after personal reflection, contact Crowley.
Aziraphale nearly dropped the book. He certainly dropped the letter, which promptly burst into flames. “What…?” he whispered aloud. This had to be a joke. Crowley’s name was written on the damned letter, for Heaven’s sake.
He rushed to the phone and called the demon, who picked up on the second ring. “Hello, angel” he drawled in his typical Crowley fashion.
“Crowley!” Aziraphale tried to keep himself from shouting, but failed miserably. “Do you know about this?”
“About what, angel?” Crowley said, unperturbed.
“This book ,” Aziraphale hissed into the phone.
The line went silent on the other end. “Crowley?” Aziraphale asked after a few moments.
“I’ll be there in 10,” Crowley responded.
The shop was closed up when Crowley arrived, but he barged in anyway. Aziraphale was sitting in his favorite chair, book in one hand and mug of cocoa in the other. He looked up when Crowley came in.
“Did you do this?” he asked, getting right to the point, holding the unremarkable book out to Crowley.
The demon took the book gingerly, and leafed through a few pages. “I didn’t think She’d actually do it,” he murmured to himself.
Aziraphale was stunned. “This is… this is actually from… Her? God? ” Suddenly, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies was no longer his most valuable book.
The angel searched his friend’s face for any sign of a joke, anything at all to indicate that this was a prank he was pulling on the angel. Crowley looked entirely angelic, though slightly apologetic.
Aziraphale sunk even further into his chair, and took a long drink of his cocoa (which he had fortified with a chocolate liquor). Crowley dropped into his chair next to the angel, began to reach out a hand to provide comfort, then thought better of it.
“Have you opened it?” Crowley eventually asked. Aziraphale shook his head. “Don’t you think you should?” Crowley asked again. Aziraphale shook his head for a second time. “Fine,” Crowley snatched the book from the angel. “I’ll read it for you!” He’d suspected the angel would be too floored to handle reading a book about himself, and so he’d spent the last few weeks practicing reading aloud.
Aziraphale made a strangled noise. “No, Crowley, what if I don’t want to know?”
This gave Crowley pause. “You don’t want to know?” He’d figured that this would entice the angel - besides food, a book was the best gift to get his friend, and he couldn’t very well explain everything he needed to explain through a croissant .
Aziraphale shook his head for a third time. “I mean, what if it changes things?” His voice was barely over a whisper, as he looked at the demon, straining.
“Aziraphale,” Crowley said softly, finally putting his hand on the angel’s, ignoring the pleasurable shock it sent up his hand. “Books always change things. Besides, aren’t you just a little curious as to why you got a book from God?” Crowley figured a mix of rational logic and a bit of tempting would be enough to get Aziraphale to read the book.
The angel thought about it for a second, decided not to ask the thousands of questions that were running through his head, and gave in to Crowley. “Fine,” he said. “Read it to me.” He did not, however, remove his hand from the demon’s.
Crowley nodded. He flipped open the book to the title page, which read “Aziraphale, Principality of Heaven: a Recounting of His Existence. By: The Almighty.” Crowley read this aloud, and Aziraphale groaned. Based on this, Crowley skipped over the dedication page, which read “For Crowley and Aziraphale - you are truly ineffable.” Instead, he moved to the first page, cleared his throat, and began to read Aziraphale’s story to Aziraphale.