The shopkeeper who kept the adult store was, surprisingly, on good terms with his neighbour who ran a rare book bookshop and had the strangest of names, A.Z. Fell. Also, he was aware of Fell’s companion, the bloke with the black velvet coat who always wore sunglasses and seemed just a bit shady. It wasn’t a relationship he quite understood. In fact, nobody in the neighborhood quite could – were they just close friends or was there something more going on there?
So when there was talk in his shop among some of the seedier customers to grace his store concerning Fell’s mate, he naturally paid attention. Then he accosted the bookseller the next time he saw him out on the street.
“Yes?” The blond-haired, frumpily-dressed man turned around. “Oh, Mr. Green. It’s been a while.”
“Word has it that your friend Crowley is planning something of a heist. Nobody knows details, but that’s the rumor.” Green said. “They say he’s been asking around for those with special skills.”
“Well, I’m sure it’s just rumors.” Aziraphale dismissed it with a wave of his hand. “But I will check it out. Thank you.”
“No problem. Talk to you later.” Green headed back to his own shop.
Meanwhile the angel stood there seething as he unlocked the bookshop then entered its comfortable interior. There was only one thing Crowley would be after, he knew. Over one hundred years later and the demon still couldn’t get holy water off his mind. He was going to get himself permanently killed.
The angel laid down on the counter the pastries he purchased. He no longer had an interest in eating them anymore. Sarcastically Aziraphale thanked Crowley for upsetting him so much he lost his appetite. If he was mortal, he’d swear that demon would be the death of him.
Feeling exasperated, he picked up the phone and dialed Crowley’s number, hoping he’d actually be home.
“What?” said the voice on the other end of the line. He sounded a bit irritated.
“Hello, Crowley. It’s Aziraphale. I was wondering if you were free to do lunch today. It’s been quite a while.”
“No. Sorry. Very busy. I have assignments and all kinds of stuff. Maybe next week, ok? I’ll speak to you later. Gotta go.”
And Crowley hung up on him.
That sure sounded like he was in the middle of planning some heist. There was nothing in the world Crowley coveted as much as holy water, so that had to be it. Aziraphale was almost one hundred percent sure it was.
Now what? Crowley was putting himself in serious amounts of danger, which worried Aziraphale something terrible. Any number of things could go wrong which would result in even the smallest drop of holy water ending up on Crowley. This wasn’t discorporation. This was permanent death. He would simply cease to exist.
Much to his own embarrassment, Aziraphale took to hanging around Green’s establishment, invisible of course, eavesdropping on the customers there. A certain Lance-Corporal Shadwell, who showed up once in a while to inquire about jobs and witches, oddly enough, seemed to have some information on Crowley’s doings.
He accosted the young man outside the store one day, trapping him inside an alleyway so they could talk.
“What do you know about the heist being planned at a church?” Aziraphale used his most commanding angelic voice.
The lad seemed surprised to hear such a tone come out of the likes of Aziraphale, but answered him anyway. “My old cellmate was going to be the lock man on that job, but he got beat up pretty badly the other day. Saw him in the hospital before he passed on to his reward. I’m taking over for him.”
“Ok, so you’re in on it,” said Aziraphale impatiently. “When is it happening? Is there someone named Crowley involved with it?”
“All I know is that it’s been headed by some red haired bloke who always wears dark glasses. He’s meeting with the gang Saturday night at the Dirty Donkey around midnight. That’s it.” Shadwell narrowed his eyes, giving him a suspicious look. “How do you know anything about it? Are you a witch? This was supposed to be on the sly.”
“Far from it, my dear fellow. I’m just trying to keep a friend out of trouble. Thank you for your time.” He politely gestured to Shadwell he could go before heading back to his bookshop, modifying Shadwell’s memory as he walked off so Crowley would not be tipped off to Aziraphale knowing.
Concerned, he headed over to Mayfair where Crowley resided. The demon seemed shocked to find Aziraphale at his door.
“Hello, Crowley. It’s been a while. I was just wondering how things are going and if you were available for lunch. I thought we could exchange information. I know what Michael’s been doing lately.”
“I can’t talk about now, Aziraphale. I really do have work to do. We’ll do lunch next week, I promise.” Then the door was shut in his face.
Aziraphale spent the next few days attempting to contact Crowley, but the demon did not pick up the phone.
He couldn’t let Crowley do something dangerous that might end in his destruction, no matter what his personal views on his demonic friend owning holy water were.
Feeling defeated, he took a tartan-patterned thermos flask out of his kitchenette cabinet. The stopper would be good protection against possible leaks. First he purified the water he filled it with using a miracle. Hesitating a moment, he blessed it. Securing everything in place tightly, he dried it carefully just in case.
Torn, Aziraphale stared at the flask in his hand. He couldn’t let Crowley go through with that caper. Transporting to where he knew the meeting was, he stood on the sidewalk across from the Bentley to wait.
Finally, Crowley appeared. Aziraphale popped into the Bentley with a hand wave, tartan flask in his lap, smiling slightly nervously at the demon as he got in.