“Are you… sure this is a good idea?” Newt asked.
“We did save the world together. I’m just going to ask him a little favor,” Anathema replied. She was barely paying Newt any mind. Newt knew better than to get in the way when she got like this. All... witchy. She had chalk in one hand and a heavy tome propped up in the crook of her elbow. Her eyes went all funny at times like this, and Newt swore he could see her hair curl on end.
“Um. Right.” This would all be fine, Newt reassured himself. Just his perfectly normal witch girlfriend summoning their perfectly normal demon acquaintance. Normal Saturday afternoon. “I’m going to go make some tea.”
Anathema didn’t hear him. Her lips moved silently as she dictated the runes from the book through her hand. There were many kinds of summoning circles in countless books she had acquired over the years, but Anathema trusted this book implicitly. Every practical magic she had pulled from this book had gone off without a hitch--and with her careful precision, of course.
This particular summoning circle was meant for demons, so Anathema was sure it would be no more inconvenient than a Skype call. Especially because she had noticed, eagle-eye that she was, that one of the runes was for binding. She didn’t want to bind Crowley--just ask a little favor. After some excitable double-checking, she’d fixed it. If she used mu instead of set, it would just be a temporary summoning. No binding, no problem.
Anathema let out a slow breath, eyes wide behind her glasses as she stepped back to observe the large, intricate circle she had chalked onto the wooden floor of the living room. With a satisfied smile, she snapped the book closed and put it aside. Now, all there was to do was the summoning.
As Anathema took slow, deep, cleansing breaths, she held her arms out, fingers spread. Newt slowly crept into the doorway, cradling a steaming cup in his hands. He watched, wary as he blew at his tea pensively. His eyes widened, mouth stuck in a puckered ‘oh,’ as the chalk began to glow with a light all its own. A breeze picked up in the room, rustling the post on the end table. Even after all he’d seen, Newt still couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Anathema do proper magic.
Anathema spoke an incantation, and her voice changed and twinned with the voices of her ancestors, all the way back to Agnes. Gave Newt the willies. The breeze swirled around the room, slow at first, and then focused on a point at the center of the summoning circle.
An enormous crack sounded before a yell as if from a great height. With a sizzle and hiss, there was suddenly a demon staggering in the circle.
Crowley clutched his head and staggered, then stopped short on some invisible barrier. “Holy… fuck! What in-” He blinked owlishly behind his glasses and whipped his head around. This was not his cottage. This was not the village green. That was not Aziraphale. His head was swimming and his vision blurry. He rubbed at his eyes under his glasses. “What the fuck,” he hissed.
“Oh. Hello, Crowley.” Anathema said pleasantly, putting on that sweet smile that always got her out of trouble. Newt had edged further back from the doorframe. “How’s your Saturday?”
“Well! It was bloody well wonderful--just popped out to the village green for a picnic.” Crowley’s voice was terse, pleasant in the most unpleasant way. “What the fuck am I doing here, then?” He was still rubbing his eyes.
“I… didn’t mean to bother you. Only I have a favor to ask.” Anathema got straight to the point. “Newt and I just started our garden. It’s actually quite nice. But it’s the tomato plants--”
“You… summoned me. To ask. About your tomato plants.” Crowley said slowly, just to make sure he got that all right.
“Yes.” Anathema’s smile grew tight. Crowley didn’t sound as willing to help as she had imagined…
“Anathema.” Crowley could see her now, though his vision was still a little blurry. “I have. A PHONE. YOU COULD HAVE CALLED ME.”
“I, uh… I d-didn’t know if you’d be on the mortal plane, and… well, I don’t have your number.” Her smile pinched sweet and apologetic.
Newt had made himself very busy in the kitchen with nothing at all.
Crowley took a long stride toward Anathema, and again was stopped short by some kind of invisible barrier. Probably for the best. He was going to strangle her.
Anathema jumped back. “Oh, uh. Um, yes. You can leave the circle, demon Crowley,” she said formally and made a gesture of compliance.
Crowley straightened his jacket and then made a bee-line for Anathema, passing over the chalk lines with ease now, until he was inches from Anathema’s face. “I will have you… growing the best damned tomatoes this side of Dorset… so that you will never summon me again like that. You understand?”
Anathema gulped, her eyes almost as wide as her glasses as she nodded. “Th-thank you, Crowley.”
“Right,” Crowley breathed. Sooner he got this sorted, sooner he could be back on his picnic with Aziraphale. He felt hot and he didn’t like it. Hotter than usual. What kind of devil black witch magic had Anathema used to summon him? Weird witchy magic. He shivered and shook out his coat, then swung his arm wide to invite Anathema to get on with it.
They passed through the kitchen, and Newt jumped at the sound of Crowley’s bootfalls. “Oh, hello, Crowley. Lovely day, isn’t it? So glad you could drop by. Would you like a cup of tea?” He said it all so fast, it sounded like one big, long rambling sentence of nervous energy.
Crowley didn’t even look at Newt. “Hello, Pulsifer. Yeah, lovely day,” he said dispassionately.
“We’re really so grateful for your help. So nice of you. Really, m-model of generosity. Oh, Anathema’s going to show you to the garden? Brilliant. Yes, just the--” Crowley slammed the door and saved Newt from having to fill up the air. He took a deep breath and practically collapsed into the sink. Only after a moment did he dare lift his head a few inches to peek through the window at Anathema and Crowley. Anathema, unfluttered as always, was explaining very pointedly the problem with the tomatoes while Crowley scowled at the offending plants.
Then there was shouting. Quite a lot of it. Newt worried about the neighbors. Then Anathema was shouting, too. Good lord, what were they doing out there? It didn’t look like they were shouting at each other. It looked like they were shouting at… the plants?
Newt really needed to learn how to talk to Anathema about these… magic things before she just ran off and did them. This was madness.
“There you go, Anathema! Just put the fear of God--er… the fear of You in them!” Crowley growled and patted Anathema on the shoulder. She was a natural. He could practically see the little leaves atremble, stems pumping double-time to flourish.
Anathema let out a little sigh of relief. It really did feel good to get all that frustration out by shouting at the plants she had been struggling with for weeks. “That really works?” she asked.
“I’ve got plants centuries old, darling. It works,” Crowley assured her with utmost confidence. “Now… if you don’t mind, I have a picnic to get back to..?” he asked. Was the sun hotter out here in Tadfield? He normally basked in the sun, thrived in the summer, but he was sweating under his coat.