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Chaotic Good

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Crowley appeared suddenly on the couch in the living room of the South Downs cottage. Aziraphale looked up from his book. Outside, there was the sound of someone approaching the front door.

“I’ve been here all morning!” Crowley said hastily, as the doorbell rang. 

Aziraphale quirked an eyebrow first at Crowley, and then at the front door, before going to answer it. Crowley couldn’t quite hear the whole conversation, but he did catch Aziraphale saying No, he’s been sleeping here on the couch. Very lazy today, I’m afraid.

When Aziraphale came back into the living room, Crowley gave him what he hoped was a cool, collected look. Aziraphale sighed, sitting down on the couch beside his husband. In the early afternoon light, his pale curls seemed to glow, making him appear quite rightfully angelic. 

The look he gave Crowley was decidedly not. “Whatever did you do to Mrs. Huxley’s flowers?” he inquired.

Crowley fidgeted a little. “Might’ve...encouraged them to give up the ghost. Hot today, you know. Couldn’t be blamed for wilting.”

“I see.”

“Well, look,” Crowley protested, “she started it. Yesterday in the grocery store she yelled at Josh when he dropped her strawberries. It’s his first ever job, and she almost made him cry. She’s a right witch.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed.” Aziraphale reached over and smoothed a lock of Crowley’s scarlet hair back into place. “But you didn’t think she’d suspect you of the sabotage, when you two are always arguing about who has the better garden?”

Crowley made some sort of noise. “I… may not have thought it through that far. Anyway, better she’s mad at me than at Josh. He’s all of sixteen.”

Aziraphale appeared to see the logic in that one. “She’s always mad at someone,” he said disapprovingly.

All Crowley said was, “Yeah,” but for some reason it got him the eyebrow raise again. “Well,” Crowley said, waving a hand about, “I was just thinking— maybe someone ought to really teach her a lesson.”

Aziraphale gave him a skeptical look. “So you’re saying that you think that making her mad might teach her… not to be mad?”

Crowley scowled at him. “Angel, you don’t understand these things. Let me handle it.” A quick snap of his fingers brought his official fuck-shit-up jacket out of the closet. 

It wasn't Crowley’s first fuck-shit-up jacket, of course. The first few hadn’t even been jackets, because the humans hadn’t invented those yet. But Crowley had always managed to keep handy a garment or two— a shendyt, or himation, or tunic— that served this basic demonic need. (For a few years it had been a fantastic red lace petticoat.) 

The function of the fuck-shit-up item of clothing was to help put Crowley into the right mood, to get his creative energy flowing, to focus his mind on the goal of unleashing chaos. Crowley was very good at chaos. And, of course, he liked to look his best while doing it.

Crowley slipped his current hi-vis fuck-shit-up jacket on, fastening the buttons. Aziraphale just sighed again.

The following morning, at sunrise, Crowley appeared in the kitchen beside Aziraphale, who was drinking a cup of tea and reading a newspaper in what looked like Greek. Crowley’s fuck-shit-up jacket had been, the night before, black with orange patches and a couple of white stripes. Today it was mostly purple with a few green patches and a couple of pink stripes. 

“Might’ve painted her front fence to look like a herd of neon zebras,” Crowley confessed. “Look, yesterday she insulted Belinda for being engaged to a woman.”

It was at that moment that the doorbell rang. Aziraphale looked toward the front door. “Did she now?” he asked quietly, removing his little round glasses.

This time, Crowley could hear Aziraphale a lot better. 

Oh, Mrs. Huxley, I’m afraid you have the wrong house. Crowley would never do such a thing. He really is a very kind person. An angel, to be honest. Oh, yes, he really was here all night. Believe me, I was awake the whole time. Didn’t get a wink of sleep. Keep this to yourself, my dear, but between the sheets, that cherub becomes a demon!

Mrs. Huxley made a few unattractive sounds and stomped loudly away. Aziraphale returned to the kitchen, looking pleased with himself.

Crowley gaped at him. “You bastard.”

Aziraphale just sat down and took another sip of his tea. “Her face,” he said quietly, “was as purple as your jacket.” Crowley hoped that Mrs. Huxley was still near enough to hear the raucous laughter at her own expense.

Crowley decided to let things cool down a bit after that. Mrs. Huxley took to glaring at him in public, but she did seem to have mellowed some, not being quite so grouchy. 

It lasted a few weeks, until one night Crowley and Aziraphale ran into Mrs. Huxley in one of the local cafes. Aziraphale especially liked this cafe’s selection of pies, and Crowley especially liked watching Aziraphale eat a selection of pies, so it was a rather common thing for them to visit. 

Just as Aziraphale and Crowley were getting up to leave, they heard Mrs. Huxley’s harsh voice start in again. This time her target was the server on duty, an older woman named Jasmine, who, incidentally, was the one who made the pies.

Later that night, Aziraphale said, “My dear, I wonder if you would mind if I took a turn with Mrs. Huxley.”

Crowley grinned at him. “I’ll get you the jacket. I know it’s not your usual fare, but it really does help. I got it all cleaned up, don’t worry.”

“Oh, there’s no need,” Aziraphale said. “I’ve got my own, of course.”

Crowley stared at him. “You do not have a fuck-shit-up jacket.”

“Well, I suppose it’s not a jacket, exactly,” Aziraphale mused. He snapped his fingers and his usual outdated suit was replaced by the first clothes Crowley had ever seen him in.

Crowley pointed at him. “That’s just your robe from Eden.”

“Well, yes, because that’s when I first started fucking shit up.”

Crowley made a choking noise. “Uh… first, don’t swear, it’s weird, and second, what the fuck, angel?”

Aziraphale gave him a rather patronizing look. “Crowley, as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been causing trouble. You did a fine job of it in Eden, but you were just following your orders. Meanwhile, I armed two guilty prisoners, broke a hole in the wall I was supposed to be guarding to let them escape, and then lied to God about it. You may be very good at causing chaos, dear, but you didn’t actually get to the level of throwing out your own side’s rule book until we started the Arrangement.” Blue eyes fixed on him. “I do know what I’m about.”

Crowley was just staring at him. “That’s...a fair point.”

The next morning, Aziraphale appeared in the kitchen, with his robe covered in what looked like honey and chocolate sauce. “I was here all night,” he said hastily.

When the doorbell rang, Crowley ignored it, because he was quite occupied in snogging a very messy angel.