|New Good Omens Fic: "Creature Comforts" - Aziraphale/Crowley, Others - R
||[Mar. 3rd, 2011|07:33 pm]
(lives between pages)
Title: Creature Comforts
Fandom: Good Omens
Pairing/Characters: Aziraphale/Crowley, Others
Notes: I asked for requests in and around the sequence so far consisting of A Better Place, The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse, and What to Do When the Clock Just Stops, so you can consider this piece next in the series, or maybe a kind of addendum. I strung together all of the requests to form one long piece made up of vignettes, as what they all had in common, basically, was the desire to see Crowley doing more of what he does best: beach-combing, gardening, fondly tolerating Pippa (or utterly failing to do so), taking a trip to London with Adam and Sophia, etc.
Summary: The devil's in the details, and it's the little things that count.
Inasmuch as it was a rare occurrence, this was not the first time that Aziraphale had awakened to find Crowley's side of the bed empty. Only once, a few weeks ago, had it ever given him cause for concern. Crowley had been sufficiently (if unnecessarily) penitent. He'd taken to rising with Aziraphale, no matter the hour: an impressive feat for someone so attached to sleep. When nightmares set in, he slept lightly.
Aziraphale ran his fingers across Crowley's pillow-slip, finding a few soft, dark hairs caught in the weave. The worn cotton smelled faintly of the clove cigarettes Anathema had given him. She'd confiscated them from the twins. Crowley hadn't quite known what to do with them, but it was clear he'd decided otherwise on the sly. Which was fair enough, given Aziraphale enjoyed a nice, solitary pipe now and again.
There was time enough to rise and dress and have a cup of tea, as Crowley couldn't have got far. He tended to follow the tide-line with willful deliberation: zig-zagging barefoot across the wet, freshly exposed sand, leaving a snake's trail at a snail's pace.
Crowley was choosy about what he picked up. Shells needed to be intact, unbroken and unmarked. Limpets were too common to consider unless the color of a specimen proved exceptional. The shells he most wanted washed up in warmer climes, but that hadn't prevented Aziraphale from indulging him. The treasures on their mantelpiece were Crowley's pride and joy. He suspected that the houseplants had grown jealous.
Aziraphale washed out his mug and left it in the drying rack. He checked the closet and found his suspicions confirmed; Crowley had forgot his pail again and was likely getting sand all through his pockets. Aziraphale slipped it over his arm and left the house, not bothering with shoes. It was cold, and inasmuch as Crowley disliked winter, springtime and the sea were near enough to lure him out-of-doors.
The breakers were beginning to come in, but they hadn't yet made a wreck of Crowley's footprints. Aziraphale followed the trail for a good half-mile, found Crowley at the third tide-pool down (precisely where he'd thought to look before).
The sight never failed to make Aziraphale's heart clench, make him remember he had a human heart. Crowley almost never realized he was being watched, his quiet, exposed gaze trained on the waves. He looked a fright, what with his windblown hair and the t-shirt he'd slept in rumpled and sand-flecked. The pair of faded jeans that normally languished in the wardrobe's bottom drawer were rolled up to his knees. Doubtless his backside was damp from being sat on that seaweed-strewn rock for heaven knew how long. Crowley shifted and straightened up, suddenly wary.
Aziraphale paused and, over the short distance between them, smiled.
"Bring it over," Crowley said, rummaging in his pockets. "I've got..."
By the time Aziraphale reached him, proffering the pail, Crowley sat with both hands outstretched. In his right palm, a cache of worn china fragments, blue and white and rose-tinted burgundy. In his left, a perfect scallop shell. One by one, Aziraphale placed them at the bottom of the pail. He set it aside and took Crowley's hands.
"Breakfast, my dear," he said. "The sea can wait."
Crowley went warm and pliant, shivered effortlessly into a kiss.
"Yeah," Crowley murmured. "But I can't."
And so, side by side, they walked on, racing the tide.
If I'm lucky, Crowley thought, the sofa cushions will have mercy and swallow me.
"Gracious," said Pippa, reaching for another handful of popcorn. "That looks painful."
"It's quite stylized," Aziraphale replied. "Hardly convincing, I find."
Crowley slouched a little bit closer to Aziraphale's side, averting his gaze. He'd never liked watching torture scenes, especially where more was implied than shown. His mind could fill in the details. Unfortunately, the details he had to work with were real.
That the film was set in Spain was just an added bonus.
"Dying for a cup of tea," Crowley said, rising, his back to the screen. "Anyone else?"
"I'd love one," said Pippa, her eyes still fixed on the carnage.
"Shall I pause it, my dear?" asked Aziraphale.
"No," Crowley said, already halfway to the kitchen. "Don't." With any luck, by the time he got back, they'd be on a scene free of razor blades and creatures more nightmarish than Hell could ever conceive of. Guillermo del Toro had a fascinatingly sick and gifted mind, Crowley would give him that. Right up there with Hieronymus Bosch.
Crowley was busy fishing bags of Lady Grey out of three neatly lined up mugs when a hand gently squeezed his shoulder. He jumped, dropping the third and final tea bag back into the mug with a splash. He cursed under his breath.
"I'm so sorry," Pippa said, giving him a brief, bracing hug. "I'd have brought a different film if I'd known this one would bother you."
"I'm enjoying it," Crowley said, which was true. He liked the brooding atmosphere and the sense of wonder, even if the girl was an unreliable narrator. He stepped aside to let Pippa mop up the spilled tea with a dish cloth. "It has a happy ending, doesn't it? Even the darkest fairytales these days tend to have happy endings of a sort."
"Of a sort," said Pippa, with a contrite grin. "Two lumps or three?"
"Are you certain you ought to be prodding it like that?" Aziraphale asked.
Crowley continued in his task of carefully uncurling wayward, leafy tendrils and guiding them to unoccupied sections of the trellis. Of all the seeds he'd planted in late spring, the pea vines had proved most contrary. Already they had rocket and mint and a handful of other herbs, and the heirloom tomato plants seemed to be doing nicely, but the peas, in spite of flowering early, had yet to bear anything edible.
"It needs to spread," Crowley said, "but isn't bright enough to figure that out."
"Crowley, it's a vine. I'm sure it knows what's what."
"You don't know what plants are like," Crowley said, poking at the soil with a frown.
"No threats?" Aziraphale asked. "No showing it who's boss?"
"That only works on houseplants," Crowley replied. "Outdoor ones—they know better."
"That would explain why the nettles don't back down," Aziraphale muttered.
"That's what the gloves are for," Crowley said, handing him a pair. "Check on the carrots, would you? They're nice when they're young. Tender."
"You find fish and plants endearing, but you'll quite happily eat them."
"Shhh," Crowley hissed. He reached for the mister and spritzed the peas.
Aziraphale pulled up one small carrot: pale orange and perfect.
If not for Aziraphale taking hold of his hand, Crowley would have slipped climbing over the side. There was somehow enough room in the tub for both of them and all of the water, but Aziraphale insisted on pulling him in close, curling them both against the far end, the cool porcelain warming at his back and hard against Crowley's knees as he settled. The water was almost scalding, a preference they had in common.
"A week of plumbers trailing in and out for this," Crowley said, allowing himself to be manhandled so that he sat between Aziraphale's thighs, his back to Aziraphale's chest. "They demanded tea and biscuits. As if that were part of the contract."
"It's only polite," Aziraphale said, one hand sliding from Crowley's upper arm to cup his elbow underwater. "It would've been less time if the younger chap hadn't got part of the installation wrong." His other hand splayed across Crowley's belly, teasing.
"That's not," Crowley sighed, letting his head fall back against Aziraphale's shoulder. "Now that you've got me here, what did you have in mind?"
Aziraphale pressed his mouth to the side of Crowley's neck and parted his lips, letting both hands glide lower to find Crowley's wrist, his thigh, his palm, his cock. Crowley shivered and closed his eyes, sank lower in the water and waited.
"Everything," said the angel.
"Oh my," Aziraphale murmured as they followed Sophia through the front doors.
"I'll say," Adam agreed. "Vinopolis. It's like a theme-park. You can take tasting tours and everything. Soph and her friends did this custom one, all Chardonnays—"
"Rieslings," she corrected him, studying a bin-end half bottle of 2005 Crianza.
"A booze theme-park," said Crowley, as if he wished he'd thought of it. Which answered that question. Besides, he'd never have hidden it down an alley in Borough Market. He'd have put it on a main thoroughfare and stood back to watch.
"My dear, look at this," said Aziraphale, setting a reverent hand on the security-capped bottle. "It's the '98. It's been years since we've had—"
"Until you find an '01, we're not discussing this," Crowley said cheerfully, holding a bottle of Chianti up to the light. He hummed and shook it a little. "Nice sediment. Has the d'Yquem got sediment? I like my wine with a bit of character."
"Not that I'm aware," Aziraphale sighed. "It's the '98, not the '99. You're confusing—"
"I am not," Crowley said, clutching the Chianti to his chest. "We had the '99, which was all well and good, but one year back isn't likely to make much difference."
"And three years forward is?" asked Aziraphale, somewhat defensively.
"The reviewer at Berry Brothers & Rudd calls it ethereal," Crowley murmured.
"What've you guys got there?" Adam asked, cutting in. He was carrying the Crianza.
"Swill," lamented Aziraphale, glaring at Crowley's Chianti.
"Second-rate Sauternes," Crowley countered bitterly.
"The '98 is pretty sought-after," Sophia said, picking up the bottle. She whistled when she saw the security cap and the price-tag. "Hey, big spender. He'll love you for that."
"He won't," Adam said. "Haven't you been listening? He wants the '01."
Sophia inspected the label. "Well, you've misread it. This is the '01."
Aziraphale pursed his lips smugly, and Crowley's face lit up like Christmas.
Crowley managed to keep himself from flinching until the third time the machine gave him a faceful of steam and foam. He set the sticky mug down and thumped the bloody thing just hard enough to get some satisfaction out of the gesture.
Aziraphale would never forgive him if he were to break it. He tried again, but to no avail. If he lost any more foam, there'd be nothing left in the mug.
Just then, Aziraphale wandered in.
"My dear, are you getting on all right?"
"Yes," said Crowley, peevishly, picking up the mug and inspecting the bottom.
"I don't expect anything fancy, you know."
"Says Mr. Cinnamon-and-Cocoa-Hearts," Crowley muttered. In his frustration, he almost dumped in half the sugar bowl. He stirred the mug's contents surreptitiously, but it was no use hiding; Aziraphale was already looming over his shoulder.
"Café au lait will do nicely," said Aziraphale, pressing a kiss against Crowley's nape.
Crowley shivered, thinking of windswept beaches and long, hot baths.
"Good," he said, turning, and raised the mug to Aziraphale's lips.
—Extra: Delayed Reaction—