When Crowley first came around to visit, he hadn’t even gotten out of the Bentley when he sensed angelic power, far stronger than Aziraphale’s, coming from his shop. He peeled away from the curb before he could be sensed and circled around London, changing lights with a snap of his fingers and making a game out of how many pedestrians he could get to make rude gestures at him.
After sowing discord among London’s pedestrians and motorists for several hours, he drove back into Soho and pulled up next to the bookshop in the parking space near the door that was, as always, miraculously unoccupied. He didn’t sense any other angels but he still paused as he sauntered up, a package in hand, and knocked instead of pushing the door open as he normally would.
When Aziraphale answered his face was schooled into the polite but tense expression that Crowley most often saw when a customer actually made it into the shop and was attempting to purchase one of his books. The expression dropped and brightened the moment he saw the demon. “Crowley!”
“Hey angel.” He grinned and slid past him into the shop, promptly dropping himself down onto one of the overstuffed couches. “Visit from the boss I take it?”
“Yes,” Aziraphale sighed as he locked the door behind him. “Gabriel was here earlier. Fortunately Sandalphon wasn’t with him and I managed to get rid of him quickly enough.”
“Well this should cheer you up.” He held the package aloft. “New patisserie just opened up near my place. I know it’s not Paris, but in case you don’t want to get discorporated or get any more letters about frivolous miracles, it might do well enough.” He held it out towards Aziraphale. “No crepes, I’m afraid but I got some madeleines, profiteroles, a a macarons in four different flavors. And don’t worry, I made sure to pay,” he said proudly. He knew that paying instead of simply making shopkeepers forget that he hadn't was important to the angel.
Aziraphale’s eyes lit up and he reached for the box, but then backed away. “I shouldn’t,” he demurred. “Though if you would like some tea I can put on a pot.”
A brow arched above Crowley’s sunglasses. “Something wrong, angel? And forget tea, I was thinking wine. French. To keep with the pastries being French.” The angel hesitated again and Crowley leaned over towards him, miracling up a bottle of Bordeaux. “Come on, let me tempt you.”
“Oh, very well. I shall give into your wiles this once,” he huffed. “But only one glass. And none of the sweets.”
“Angel, I made a special trip to get them for you. And you love pastry. What’s all this about? You’re not sick are you? Can you even get sick?” He couldn’t remember either of them ever being sick, but wasn’t sure what else could cause Aziraphale to turn down French pastry, even if it had been made in England. “I swear, it’s as authentic as you’ll get in the city. The lady at the counter had an accent and everything.”
“It’s not that. I do want to try them. It’s just…” He squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. “Gabriel pointed out that I haven’t been taking the best care of my corporation. Pointed out that I was getting a bit soft around the midsection. So I’m trying to mind what I consume.”
“You’re not going to listen to that wanker are you? It’s just a corporation! And you love sweets. Come on.” He ripped the paper off of the box and opened it up so that Aziraphale could see the treats inside. “Look at those profiteroles, covered in chocolate, just beginning to be eaten.”
Eying the assortment, Aziraphale reached over. “Well. How much harm could one do, I suppose. But no more after that!” He said sternly before popping the choux pastry into his mouth.
An hour later, the box was empty and the bottle of wine, along with two others, was on the floor. Crowley had a fourth bottle by the neck and was drinking straight from it.
“…so I don’t even see what the big deal is, it was just a missed penalty kick, but you should have seen how many angry people there were, angel.”
“Crowley,” he scolded in a half-hearted tone before stifling a belch with his mouth.
“See? Wasn’t this fun.” Crowley smiled. “Fuck Gabriel. Your corporation is wonderful.”
Aziraphale’s cheeks flushed. “Stop it, you old serpent.”
“I mean it!” He protested. “Perfect just as you are!”
“It’s sweet of you to say so, but I know it’s not true.” He sighed. “Gabriel is the ideal, I suppose. And I’m nothing like him. I don’t think I’d want to be, but still.” He rubbed his stomach which was a bit distended from all they’d eaten. “I shouldn’t have indulged so much.”
Crowley watched from behind his glasses as Aziraphale’s hands traced the soft curve of his stomach. He wanted to go over and rub it himself, to show the angel how much he did love his form. But as he saw Aziraphale’s disheartened expression, another feeling joined his affection.
How dare Gabriel, he thought. Shitty, pompous prick, walking around like he was better than the rest of the angels, talking down to Aziraphale like that. Someone ought to take him to task. Crowley drained more of the wine. Someone really should. And as he followed down where that train of thought lead, another idea began forming.
Gabriel was so holier-than-thou, eh? Well. Anybody could fall into temptation. Even an archangel. Would serve him right for criticizing Aziraphale, if he fell prey to the same pleasures. Got a bit soggy about the middle himself.
Of course, he couldn’t tempt the angel directly right away. He'd know what he was up to, probably get smited or discorporated himself. And Aziraphale wouldn’t take kindly to a direct suggestion to taint an angel with something like gluttony. He'd probably be worried about the wanker actually Falling. But if he phrased it just the right way, perhaps he could help along a milder temptation and let things develop from there. Just enough to make the archangel realize what it was like to be uncomfortable in his own skin.
“You know, you should get him to try something,” Crowley urged.
“Hmmmm?” Aziraphale looked up from the glass of wine he was sipping. “Get who to try what?”
“Gabriel. You’ve talked before how he’s always going on about not sullying his celestial body - you should get him to try food. Show him how much there is to love about earthly cuisine. Aren’t angels supposed to be all about love?”
“I don’t think he’d go for that at all,” Aziraphale said glumly. “He’s been very clear on that point.”
“You underestimate yourself. You’ve done plenty of temptations for me. You got me to try oysters back in Rome and those things are terrible. Don’t even look edible. Compared to that, it it shouldn’t be too hard to get him to try some chocolate or some wine.”
“Well. I suppose if it was encouraging affection it wouldn’t be so bad.”
“That’s right! Broaden his horizons. And if he loves it, then you’d have done him a favor, wouldn’t you have?”
For a few moments Aziraphale pondered, then broke out into the bright smile that made his cheeks dimple. “It couldn’t hurt to try, I guess. Very well. I’ll see if I can tempt him next time,” he said with a smile and a wiggle of his eyebrows.
Crowley leaned on the arm of the couch, stretching languidly over It as he watched the angel, smirking to himself as Aziraphale leaned back into his chair and finished his own wine with a contented sigh.
A small in was all he needed. The slightest misstep to start urging him towards full-blown gluttony. Then they would see who was sullying and failing to maintain their corporation.