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“Crowley, I’m trying to work, and there’s a customer out there. Do have some decorum.”

“You don’t even like customers. ‘f’I embarrass her she’ll go away. Then you can close up.” Crowley tilted his head in the general direction of the upstairs flat, raising an eyebrow.

And  Anathema's planning to drop by. I offered to lend her the Grimoirium Imperium, I can't exactly receive her in the bedroom.”

"Californians're broadminded.”

“Just be a dear and pass me that… stop that!!”

“You loved it last night.”

“Last night I was not trying to catch up with weeks of neglected cataloguing. I can’t think when you left me time to buy so many new books… now look, Crowley, I think she saw that.”

“You weren’t going to sell her anything anyway.”

Even the door chime sounded offended.

Crowley hopped onto the end of the desk, dropped his dark glasses an inch, and looked coyly (and snakily) over his shoulder at the angel bent to his array of papers, ledgers, and file cards in tidy boxes, all bearing his graceful copperplate script. He had removed his morning coat and rolled up his shirtsleeves to avoid inkstains, which Crowley found particularly fetching. Mirroring Crowley's gesture, he looked up unsmiling over the tops of his half-moon spectacles.

“You evidently intend to bedevil me – “

“Job description,” said Crowley with his most winning smile.

“ – until you get what you want,” finished the angel with some asperity. He scratched a note on a last file card, tucked it into the box, and rose to round the corner of the desk. “So – “

Crowley suddenly found himself looking at ceiling and a slice of the view through the bookshop’s skylight, which seemed especially skyey at the moment because his glasses had abruptly taken French leave. His head had landed soft on the well-thumbed open pages of a two-inch-thick British Library catalogue and his wrist was pinned to the desk by Aziraphale’s quite unyielding hand.

With the other hand the angel was already fiddling open the buckle of his belt and working loose the first two buttons of his jeans before apparently deciding even miracles were too distracting and popping the last three loose with a decisive yank. One of the buttons hit the floor with a tiddlywink clatter. There was a luscious waft of cocoa aroma and a slow dripping sound.

“You will fidget me to distraction, Crowley.”

The manicured nails drew a music stave down his belly.

“So tell me what it is you want. You’re not going to get it if you don’t tell me.”

“I want you to – oh!”

The other wrist was pinned now, and Aziraphale’s sturdy thighs were between his, pressed up against the rolled desk edge. For him, the absence of the morning coat practically amounted to a state of undress, so he looked extraordinarily indecent.

“I want you,” said Crowley, smiling dreamily and closing his eyes, “to treat me like you did that raspberry flan last night.”

“Lick you off a spoon? As you see, my hands are occupied.”

“Just lap me right off the dish.”

“This sort of thing?”


“I do believe the shirt has to go.”

It went. Not far, and not neatly. Removing inconvenient clothing counts as a frivolous miracle, but even those require some concentration.

“If I remember, you’re very fond of this.” A wordless moment. “Should I continue?”

“”Oh Satan, go ahead, leave a mark –”

“Perhaps squeeze a little less tightly, dear? You’re pulling at the vest buttons.”

“Haven’t even started.”

“Shh.” Aziraphale always knew one good way to shut him up when he teased, which is probably a bad strategy for a demon being held down to a pearwood surface by a stout, very solid angel. The vest went roughly the same way as Crowley’s shirt had a few minutes ago. “What else do you want?”

“I want you to hold me down harder – “

“Like this?”

The surprisingly strong hands slid to just below his elbows, spread-eagling him.

“And I want to be filled up with angel.”

“Right here where anyone could walk in?” The angel's voice dropped to a perfectly obscene purr. He dipped his head again.

“Sod  ‘em if they – ahhh!”

The black jeans went in the general direction of the vest, Crowley’s shirt and Aziraphale’s trousers.

“No, just you, dear. If you insist on coarse language. Legs up on my shoulders, if you please, then.”

“Ohhhh, fuck – “

“Ask and ye shall receive, “ said Aziraphale.

*  *  *

”I think that was the whole file box.”

“Yes, dear. I’m going to have to put the entire Philosophy catalogue back in order.”

“Demonic mischief. Can’t help myself.”

“I’m sure my green Waterman was on the blotter somewhere…”

“I think it’s under here.”

“And oh dear, the carpet – “

A rapping sound intruded. Crowley lunged for his jeans.

Mr. Fell???”

“Oh my goodness, Anathema. I’ll be right there, dear!!! I thought the door was unlocked – “

“Ah -- took care of that, actually. Didn’t really want anyone spoiling the mood.”

“You let me think – “

“Wanted to see if you’d do it.”

“Crowley, you are the most – “


“ – exasperating – I’m coming!”

“Again so soon?”

“ – and rude –

“Your tie’s crooked.”

The angel’s expression softened.

“ – dear boy.”

*  *  *

“Oh, Mr. Crowley. It’s good to see you again – oh! I hope I didn’t make you do that.”

Crowley was showcasing his talents as a dutiful housedemon, diligently clearing up the pool of spilled cocoa at the corner of the desk. The file cards from the overturned box were mostly gathered into an untidy stack.

“Ah, I’m such a duffer. Tripped over my own feet. Nothing broken. Tickety-boo.”

“Crowley’s a one-demon wrecking crew, I’m afraid. – I’ve got the book here, dear. Will you stay? I could make some fresh cocoa.”

“Oh, you’re sweet, Mr. Fell, but I’m late meeting Newt. How about catching up when I bring it back?”

The door chimed as she left.

“She seemed to – ah – sense something,” said Aziraphale.

“Well, your collar’s up in back, and your shoes are uh, here …. and here.”

“And your hair is sticking up, and you haven’t even thought to put your glasses back on.”

“She didn’t seem to mind.”

“She’s a witch, dear, they’re made of stern stuff.”

“So – dinner tonight still on?”

“Eight at the Dorchester, you said?”

“I was thinking of that little place we tried last month near the Strand… larger tables.” The demon ran his tongue thoughtfully around inside his cheek.

“I’m expecting you to keep control of yourself for the rest of the day, Crowley.”

“Like it better when you do that. Mmmhm.”

Do let me get some work done now.”

“Righty then. Glad y’could make time for me.”

“Well, dear… one does have one’s priorities.”