Actions

Work Header

Human Things We Should Do

Work Text:

“Alright, item number one,” Crowley’s bright voice rang through the shop. “You’ve said, ‘Mistletoe’.”

“Oh, that’s easy.” Aziraphale walked up to Crowley, reaching up to wrap a hand around the back of his head, pulling it down to make their lips brush gently. Aziraphale smiled, and Crowley smirked a small thing of his own, pressing forward to deepen the kiss, if only for a moment. Their breaths were warm between them, and their lips slid against each other’s deliciously. If they had looked up, they would have seen a magically hovering sprig of mistletoe over their heads. They each thought the other had put it there.

Crowley pulled back. “Right, item number two.”

They had started this list a long time ago. It was a post-Apocalypse thing. It had started as a very deep, sentimental thing. Realizing that they were no longer mortal enemies, eternal rivals, ethereal and occult. They didn’t have to fight or pretend or sneak around anymore. In fact, they weren’t really an angel and a demon anymore, not to their respective sides. As far as they knew, they were something else altogether now, and had since decided to leave them alone; out of respect or disgust, it didn’t matter.

They realized, for once, they were all alone.

And yet, never less so. They had each other. And as it turns out, they were both much more human than they’d like to admit.

It took awhile for it to sink, really, and then they grieved, and then they celebrated, and now they just were.

So they made the list. ‘Human Things We Should Do’. They had one for everyday activities, which included items like ‘grocery shopping’ and ‘visiting IKEA’. They had a list for entertainment purposes, such as ‘binge-watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe’. Crowley ended up liking that one much more than he thought he might. Aziraphale knew this, and said nothing, knowing Crowley would never admit it. And today was their first time on the Christmas list of Human Things They Should Do. They’d Googled some of the ideas, they’d read some books. They’d even pestered Book Girl and the Human Technological Disaster for that one, and gotten some interesting responses, some of which they couldn’t be sure if they were real or made up. But, they’re all made up in the end, aren’t they?

“‘Christmas Tree’. Also easy.” Crowley snapped his fingers, and suddenly three of the overflowing bookcases in the middle of the shop had vanished with a little pop, and in their place was a huge pine tree, still covered in snow, and Aziraphale could just hear a small tentative, “Coo?” of a confused pigeon, suddenly finding itself in an entirely different climate.

Crowley,” Aziraphale chided.

“What?”

“The books!”

“Ah, they’re in a safe place, angel, relax.”

“No, the ones in here now, they’ll get all soaked in snow.”

“Ah,” Crowley responded, snapping once again, and leaving the tree pristine and shiny, cleared of snow. “Weren’t we meant to trim it too?”

Aziraphale wrung his hands nervously. “I mean...I’d feel awful. Wouldn’t you?”

“Doing what?”

“Trimming it?” Crowley watched Aziraphale as his face turned hesitant and sad, making a careful snipping motion with his fingers. “I’ve read that plants can feel things. Like, if we trim it I think it would feel pain.”

Crowley hesitated. “You think so? They feel pain?”

“That’s what I read.”

Crowley stopped to think for a moment, thinking back to all the plants he’d shredded (*pretended to shred) to bits in his garbage disposal at home (*he hadn’t, really, but his remaining plants didn’t need to know that). He smirked devilishly, and said, “Good.”

He turned to look at Aziraphale and noted the cautious expression. “But we don’t have to trim it if you don’t want to.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale breathed out a relieved sigh. “Oh, that’s much better, I think. Plus, I think it looks just fine this length and width, doesn’t it? No need to trim it. You picked a lovely one, darling.”

Crowley preened. “Of course I did. Perfect tree for a little perfect angel.” He paused. “Bit of a weird tradition, though, innit?”

“Yes. Do you think I’ll have to sit on top of it as well? Angel on top of the tree and all.”

“Eh,” Crowley took a deep breath. “I don’t think so. Apparently some people put a fairy up there, too. Don’t know where we’ll find one of those around anymore, but we’ll see.”

“Alright. Item three, then. What’s next?”

“Erm,” Crowley picked the list back up from where it had slipped from his fingers before, and scanned the page with his finger. “Play in the snow?”

“Alright, darling. Lead the way.” They walked out of the bookshop in companionable silence, Aziraphale slipping his hand under Crowley’s elbow, holding him close for warmth in the frigid London climate. They arrived at their bench in less than five minutes.

“So, uh. What do we do?”

“Well,” Aziraphale started, his face twisting adorably into an expression of deep concentration and academic seriousness. “I believe we can start with ‘snowmen’. Maybe we should each make one, and then vote on their respective quality?”

“Agreed. Bet mine’ll beat the crap out of yours.” Crowley smiled, and kissed Aziraphale’s nose quickly at the offended expression on Aziraphale’s face.

“Is that so? Oh, you’ve done it now, Crowley.”

Twenty minutes later, they’d gathered a small crowd around them.

“I think they’re not bad,” Aziraphale stepped back carefully, analyzing the two sculptures with a discerning eye. “It’s a bit hard to work with such a fickle material.”

“Slushy.”

“Mm,” Aziraphale agreed, and delighted in the ooh’s and ahh’s of the crowd. “Not bad, though. Your ‘David’ is very evocative, dear.”

“Thanks, Aziraphale.” Crowley accepted the compliment, but could see that he’d maybe fibbed on the hair a little bit. It had ended up looking too much like Aziraphale’s hair than that of the original ‘David’, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. “Your Bernini isn’t too bad, either.”

“Oh, thank you, dear!” Aziraphale lit up exaggeratedly, and his cheeks flushed a beautiful dusted pink. “I almost did a nativity scene, but I think those are a bit overdone around the holidays. Plus, most nativity scenes aren’t ever quite right, are they?”

“Nah, they forget to add all the---” Crowley stopped when he felt a sharp jab at his ribs, and looked down to see Aziraphale’s panicked expression, following his gaze to a nearby small boy standing at Crowley’s knees.

“What do they forget?” The boy stage-whispered, and Crowley took in the image of the small child, all bundled up ridiculously in layers upon layers of warm wool, until he resembled a small round ball of tartan scarves. Crowley crouched down to his level, and whispered something at length in his ears, and with every word, his eyes would widen comically, until Aziraphale thought they might pop out of their sockets.

When he was done, the boy stood there for a solid ten seconds, staring back and forth between the two beings, and then began srinting in the opposite direction, his mother chasing after him in confusion.

Aziraphale watched it all, and asked, “Crowley, dear, what did you say to him?”

“Eh, he’ll be fine.” Which was not a very comforting answer for Aziraphale, but one he could trust. He forgot about it, and sent a quiet blessing upon the poor mother, whatever she may have to deal with now, thanks to Crowley.

“Ah, well. Next item.” Aziraphale said, pulling Crowley away and leaving their sculptures to the astounded crowd.

“Ice skating.”

“Great! That’s always looked fun on the telly,” Aziraphale asked, and wondered how the humans made sure there were no ducks in the pond before they froze it over.

Ten minutes later, they’d found a miraculously perfect frozen pond, just for them, in the confines of the park.

“And look, no ducks in there!” Aziraphale exclaimed, and Crowley glanced over at him in confusion.

“Well, I can miracle a duck to get stuck under the ice there, if you like?”

“No! Oh, no, don’t do that, it’s Christmas, darling, you can’t do that. That’s mean,” Aziraphale exclaimed.

Crowley sighed dramatically. “Ughhhhh, yes, alright. Shall we, then?”

In just seconds, they had glistening ice skates wrapped around their feet. Aziraphale’s were bright white, whiter than the snow, and had beautiful golden lacing decoration all over them, giving a bright and beautiful ethereal appearance to them. Crowley’s were a sleek, velvet-y black, with a dark red ribbon swirling through the eyelets in place of shoelaces, and if one looked closely, they might have seen that they weren’t stings of ribbon at all, but instead tiny thin snakes, obediently holding together the skates because that was their job, after all.

The two skated in circles for a while, Crowley holding Aziraphale close for much of it, holding his hand, spinning him in elegant twirls.

“I must say, they make this look much harder in the movies, wouldn’t you say, love?” Aziraphale said, in the middle of a pirouette worthy of Michelle Kwan.

“Yeah, I don’t know, angel. Should we try it with no magic?”

“Ah, yes!” Aziraphale said excitedly. “Like humans! Let’s. Alright, one, two, thr----”

The ice cracked and a resounding series of thumps succeeded in shattering the ice in some places as the two beings came crashing down onto the ice. Aziraphale landed in a heap, but was thankfully cushioned by his warm belly and the extra coat he’d thrown on. Crowley, however, always the fashion icon, had only been wearing the thinnest, tightest black coat he could have found.

“I’ve been shot, Aziraphale,” he wailed from his place on the floor. “I’ve been murdered, Azirpahale, this is goodbye!”

Aziraphale broke into a fit of giggles. “Crowley, you’re fine, come off it.”

“I’m dying, my ankle. It’s twisted. Shattered into bits.” The ice crunched dangerously under his body for a half-second, and in the resulting silence, Crowley and Aziraphale made eye contact, just before the ice gave one last groan, and it split.

“Crowley!” Aziraphale’s smile wiped clean off as he dove for Crowley’s hand, and he quickly sunk under the surface of the ice cold water, his hands shooting up wildly.

Aziraphale grabbed Crowley’s arm, and gripped tight under his upper arm, pulling up with one big heave. Crowley’s head finally resurfaced, and he drew in a stuttering, loud gasp.

“This is how I die, Aziraphale, this is the end, I’m sorry, I wish we’d had more time----”

“Crowley.” Before Crowley could be angry that Aziraphale had interrupted his goodbye speech, he blinked, and realized he was sitting warm and dry, tartan blanket around his shoulders, on the couch in the bookshop.

He grumbled. “You could've at least let me finish the speech, it was going to be so romantic.”

“Ah, maybe another day, dear. Cocoa?”

“Coffee.”

“You drink too much coffee, dear.”

“So?”

“I’m bringing you cocoa.” Crowley grumbled uselessy, and was promptly handed a miraculously perfectly-warm mug of cocoa, and little marshmallows floated at its surface.

“Is cocoa on the list?”

“It should be,” Aziraphale said firmly. “We’ll add it.”

“Anyway, anything else on the list?”

Aziraphale thought for a moment. “You know, I think it’s been a long day, dear. Maybe we should skip to the end. There will be many more Christmases to come, we don’t have to do everything on the list, you know.”

“True,” Crowley sneaked a quick peck on Aziraphale’s lips before he could think twice of it, and felt a warm rush of heat flood his cheeks. “There will be many. Together. So.”

Aziraphale reached forward to press another firm kiss to Crowley’s temple, and then linked their hands together. “Although, I must say, I was very much looking forward to making a ‘Snow Angel’ with you.”

“It’d be a snow demon, technically, if I did one.”

“I mean, still an angel, though, technically?”

“Hmm. We’d have to get creative, I think.”

“Yes, well. Plenty of time.” Aziraphale finished with a smile, letting his eyes roam over Crowley’s face in adoration, and Crowley’s cheeks heated up even more. “So, uh...gifts?”

“Yes, gifts!”

“Traditionally, I guess it’s meant to be toys.”

“Yes. I got you something I think you’ll really like. Apparently it makes quite a mess, just your thing.” Crowley smiled as Aziraphale dug a carefully wrapped box out from underneath the couch, a beautiful brown and green thing, decorated with small little snakes on the design of it all, and with a bouncing ribbon on top.The ribbon was tartan, obviously. As Crowley opened it, his brows furrowed. “A puzzle?”

“Yes!”

“It doesn’t make a mess, though.”

“Well...it does if you do it wrong enough.” Aziraphale answered, and Crowley let out a surprised laugh.

“That’s wonderful. Thank you, Aziraphale.”

“It’s a Hieronymus Bosch.”

“Wonderful.”

“Next year, I can get you Dante’s Seven Levels.”

Crowley chuckled and reached over to place another soft kiss on Aziraphale’s cheek. “You really know me, angel. Alright, your turn.”

Crowley snapped a wrapped object into existence right in his hands, which looked like a badly wrapped...sword?

“That doesn’t look like a toy.”

“Of course it does.”

“Weapons aren’t toys, Crowley.”

“Aren’t they?” He said with a mischievous smile. “Whoops.”

As Aziraphale unwrapped it, he saw instead that the wrapping morphed into something more box-like, and underneath all the paper (and duct tape, and ribbons, and more tape, and really, Crowley, I would like to open this gift some time soon, do you mind?) “A train set!”

“Yeah! You like all that...stuff.”

“What stuff?”

“The...stuff. Little...actually, I’m not even sure, it just looked like a You thing.”

Aziraphale laughed. “I love it, dear. I do love it. It reminds me of you.”

“Does it?” Crowley pressed his lips together in careful anticipation, his heart feeling a little tight in his chest.

“You’d do anything to avoid riding horses, would you? Even trains, dastard things. You always hated them. Took too long.”

Crowley sighed, and felt a tough tug on his heartstrings, thinking back at the years, the years and years and years they’d lived together, the history there. The years and years and years they had to go.

“Glad you like it,” Crowley said sincerely. “Next year, I’ll buy you a horse.”

“Good Lord, don’t you dare, Crowley.”

“A horse loose in the bookshop, imagine!”

“Crowley, if you so much as think of putting any sort of animal within one hundred feet of my books, I’ll----”

“Yes, yes, yes, alright, dear.” Crowley laughed once more, before falling forward into Aziraphale’s space, letting his head fall into the crook between Aziraphale’s collarbone and his shoulder. “Love you, angel.”

“I love you, too, you fiend.” Aziraphale reached a hand up to run a careful hand through the flame-red hair. “Shall we watch a Christmas film?”

“No one calls them ‘films’ anymore.”

“I bought one for you the other day, I was told by Adam this one is a treasured classic,” Aziraphale said, ignoring Crowley’s comment.

“Which one is it?”

“‘Die Hard’. Doesn’t sound quite like a Christmas film, but I was much assured we’d like this one.”

Crowley smirked mischievously, face still hidden in the folds of Aziraphale’s warm skin. “Oh, I think you’ll really like it.” He sent a quiet miracle to the Them off somewhere in Tadfield, and made sure each of the gang members received something truly wonderful under their trees. Their parents might object to the gifts, but the kids, oh, they would love them.

“Race you to the bed,” Crowley said before taking off from Aziraphale’s embrace, and they fought each other up the stairs, both momentarily forgetting that they could just miracle themselves up there effortlessly.

They forgot to blow out one of the candles downstairs, and a draft sent the flame just a tad too close to one of the books, but something, someone, somewhere, blew it out for them, and no one was any the wiser.

The sound of a vintage TV flickering on echoes through the bookshop, quiet and still.

The pigeon in their Christmas tree was grateful to have found itself in a warm place for the night, and settled in for a nap.