|Good Omens Summer Prompt Fill #1
||[May. 8th, 2012|03:55 pm]
(lives between pages)
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
It's not the first time Aziraphale has grudgingly emerged from the back room in response to a customer's startled shout. A young man, this time, from the sound of things. He sighs and puts down his crossword. Such flighty creatures, humans.
"Where is it?" asks Aziraphale, wearily.
The poor lad stands with his back against the shelves lining the far wall, trembling in his trendy canvas flats. "There," he says, pointing at the low, sunny window ledge, which offers a fine view of the alley. "Behind the stack of record catalogues."
Aziraphale bends with a huff, shifting the hefty stack (Bloody be-bop, he thinks, thanks to bloody Adam Young). The offending party lies curled up and content in the late afternoon glow, tongue flicking lazily at its reflection in the glass.
"It's an adder," insists the traumatized customer. "Don't get too close!"
"It's no such thing," Aziraphale sighs, sliding his fingers beneath the coils he knows to be most ticklish. "Natrix natrix helvetica," he says, rising, holding out his captive for the young man to inspect. "Common grass snake. Note the yellow markings on the neck. They don't even bite, dear boy. Mock-strike, yes, but never bite."
Just as the customer edges forward to peer wonderingly into Aziraphale's palms, the snake sinks its rather unimpressive fangs into Aziraphale's thumb. Aziraphale doesn't flinch, but the young man flings himself back against the bookshelves.
"Not poisonous, either," adds Aziraphale, and brushes the snake's belly with his pinkie.
It writhes, gnawing ineffectually at Aziraphale's thumb before reluctantly letting go.
"Is it your pet?" asks the young man, his voice tinged with relieved amusement.
"They're better suited to captivity than most, but difficult to feed," Aziraphale explains, unbuttoning his cuff in irritation as the snake glides head-first up the sleeve of his shirt. "And no, he's not, but he comes and goes as he pleases."
"How do you know it's a he?" asks the customer, grinning a little as Aziraphale hauls the snake out of its hiding place by the tip of its tail. "The markings?"
"Males are smaller than females by eight inches or more when fully grown," says Aziraphale, coaxing the snake back onto the window ledge. It uncurls from his wrist leisurely, nosing its way back towards the warm, dusty glass.
"Neat," says the young man, and proceeds to leave the shop in a hurry.
Aziraphale turns to find Crowley, perched naked on the ledge, idly flipping through a catalogue. He's the very picture of disheveled grace, and entirely too endearing.
"You're a menace, my dear," Aziraphale tells him, tilting Crowley's chin up with his much-abused thumb. "Although you may be right about that hole in the wall."
"Smaller?" Crowley asks with an air of mock offense, raising his eyebrows.
"Hush," says Aziraphale, fondly, and tugs him away from the window.