|GO Summer Prompt Fill #8: Tutorial
||[Jul. 8th, 2012|11:57 pm]
(she lives between pages)
Pairing/Characters: Aziraphale/Crowley, Anathema and the twins
Rating: PG-13 / R
Notes: Since sovay 's request had the next highest number of votes in the poll, the premise of this one is: It is extremely entertaining to watch an angel be embarrassed, especially when it's by a request to translate a medieval sex manual from the Latin. I had hoped to be able to quote the manual I chose to work with, but none of the libraries around here seem to have the only accessible modern edition (which is in Spanish); with the aid of an English-language review of said edition, therefore, I've cobbled this together. Once again, this can be read as a stand-alone, but fits in here.
Notes: Crowley's first warning should've been the giggling.
Crowley's first warning should've been the giggling. He'd scarcely dropped one sand-and-soil encrusted flip-flop on the kitchen tile when the sound started right back up where it had left off, a terrible chorus of just-post-pubescent female glee.
And Aziraphale, which about put the icing on the proverbial cream cake.
Anathema sat at the kitchen table, calm as you please, surrounded by legal tomes.
"Hi," she said, briefly looking up from her laptop, fledgling crows' feet crinkling at the corners of her eyes. "Aziraphale's put the twins to work on that shipment you two just got from London. I've had a look through myself. Rather amazing stuff."
Crowley wiggled his other foot free of the remaining flip-flop, attempting a smile.
"You're here to use the library, then, as it were?"
"No, it's for one of the twins' courses. They're taking a medieval literature seminar. I mentioned it to Aziraphale on the phone the other day, and he said they might enjoy helping him pick apart what was coming in from his last safety deposit box."
Autumn-term freshers' whimsy, Crowley thought grimly, dusting his hands off on his jeans. It ought not to be allowed. "Didn't know they were both reading English at uni," he said casually. Or anything other than Twilight, for that matter.
"Much to the department's chagrin, they are," said Anathema. "How's the garden?"
"Putting on airs," said Crowley, distractedly, searching for the bottle of red wine he'd only half drunk the night before. "You'd better take those potted tomato starters I've left at the foot of the drive. I can't let them stay. It'd be too good for morale."
"Your crazy is incomprehensible," Anathema said, typing away, "but it's cute."
Crowley yanked the cork free of the bottle and answered her with a silent toast before following the sound of teenage wittering through the kitchen and down the hall.
Eighteen year-old hellions in the office meant eighteen year-old hellions in the bedroom. He wondered if he and Aziraphale were going to have to negotiate a surreptitiously miracled addition, or, perish the thought, hire actual builders. He nudged the cracked door wide, only to discover a scene far worse than he'd been expecting.
The twins' dark heads, previously bent over the fragile-looking manuscript Aziraphale had just opened before them on the duvet, shot up in tandem. They were sitting on the bed, all three of them sitting on the bed with a thing that might have bookworms.
"Off," Crowley said, taking another very long drink. "Now."
"My dear, what have I told you about open wine bottles and fragile stock—"
"You don't have a shop anymore; ergo, it's no longer stock, and your argument is invalid." Crowley pointed the bottle at the one he thought was Janet, impatiently snapping his fingers. "Oi! Feet off the pillows. Those linens cost more than your life."
"Told you, Nat," said the one who was actually Janet. "He's proper fussy."
Natalie curled her legs tightly under herself with a muttered sorry.
Aziraphale had fixed Crowley with the sort of look that strongly suggested he'd be in for several days' worth of semi-silent treatment in favor of the newly arrived vermin with crumbling pages. Far worse than mice, in Crowley's estimation.
Crowley sighed in defeat and sat down on the edge of the bed opposite them, setting the wine bottle on the floor. "Now that I'm here, you might as well share with the class," he said, leaning over to squint at the vellum beneath the angel's fingers.
"Your Latin's as good as mine at least," Aziraphale demurred. "Why don't you translate? The girls are ever so keen on a firsthand lesson. Lecturers are so very out of touch with the young people of today. It's dreadfully unfortunate."
Crowley gave him a stupefied blink. Wasn't he the one who'd been drinking?
"But you're, er, you know, more the literary, ah, type." The letter-forms were actually starting to make sense even through the protective barrier of his sunglasses.
As if she'd been reading his mind, Janet leaned forward and yanked them off his face.
"There, that's better," she said smugly.
Crowley caught Aziraphale's approving nod out of the corner of his eye.
Right. He'd not be shown up by his complete git of a lover and two witch-brats.
"Incipit liber de Coytu," Crowley read aloud. "Creator volens animalium genus firmiter—wait, hold on." The part of his brain that translated everything automatically had been thrown by the fourteenth-century spelling, but as soon as Coytu resolved itself into Coitu, he wondered if Anathema would come after him with one of those impressively heavy volumes because he'd exposed her youngest daughters to...
"You were doing just fine," said Aziraphale, sweetly. "Continue."
Janet looked fiercely puzzled, but Natalie had one hand over her mouth and was trying desperately not to laugh. Somebody had paid attention during sixth-form Latin.
"What?" asked Janet, irritably. "What's so funny? What's it say?"
Crowley cleared his throat and picked the book up, relocating it to his lap.
"Liber de Coytu—Coitu, if you like—means Book of Coitus. Have you got that?"
Janet opened her mouth and then shut it again; Natalie punched her arm.
"It's a book about sex, you numpty. The title means Book of Sex, in fact."
"Cor! What kind of sex? Is it all that Kama Sutra stuff?"
Aziraphale gave Crowley another cheerfully expectant look, which was completely unfair, because by then his face was probably ten shades of red and, yes, Anathema was going to squash him like an insect when word of this got out.
Bugger this for a game of soldiers, thought Crowley, and picked up the bottle.
"Let's see," he said, idly flipping forward a few folios. "What have we got? This first bit here is all about how God wants you to enjoy sex—no, really—as long as you're down with making babies, and, oh, this here's really ace—you could horrify your father with the delightfully poor grasp medieval minds had of male anatomy, and then—"
Janet looked kind of traumatized, and Natalie, who had edged forward so she could read along as Crowley flipped through and took a drink every few pages, was laughing so hard that her tears were in more danger of damaging the pages than the wine.
Aziraphale tried to insinuate himself between Natalie and Crowley, but it was no use.
"There are, well, complications," Crowley said, tapping the page on which he'd come to rest. "Lack of...vigor, you understand. Maybe you know all about that; kids and self-temptation these days, eh? Look, natural aphrodisiacs! Also, there's more on the benefits," he added, flipping forward to the next quire at a speed that caused Aziraphale to turn slightly purple. "Has a calming effect on the high-strung."
"What does?" croaked Janet, just as her sister's hysterics started afresh.
"Orgasm, of course," said Aziraphale, tartly, finally working a determined arm in, and snapped the book shut one-handed. "That will be quite enough for today."
Natalie flopped onto her back and wiped her eyes, grinning. Her head was almost in Crowley's lap. "You should come do our next seminar," she told him.
Janet gave Aziraphale an imploring look, touching the manuscript's delicate binding.
"Can I borrow that?" she asked shyly.
"That's it, off you go," said Aziraphale. "Here endeth the lesson."
The twins disappeared in a scuffle of bare, painted toenails and hastily snatched-up bags. Crowley drank the last of the wine, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.
"I hope you realize that was cruel and unusual in the extremest sense of both words."
Aziraphale grimaced and set the book gingerly down on his desk.
"They'll be grateful of it one day, I have no doubt."
"Natalie already knows which way's up and what goes where," said Crowley, grimly.
Aziraphale sat down beside him on the mattress, sighing heavily.
"They grow up so fast," he lamented. "Sophia and Adam—"
"Wedding's not till spring," Crowley reminded him, leaning into Aziraphale's shoulder.
Just then, Anathema peeked in the door and gave them a double thumbs-up.
"Gotta go," she said. "Thanks, you've sorted Janet out for a week at least."
Once she'd gone, with girls and tomatoes in tow, Crowley flopped onto the duvet.
Aziraphale returned from the window, where he'd been waving, and joined him.
"Calms one right down, does it?" Crowley ventured, sobering up slightly.
"I should know," Aziraphale replied, brushing back Crowley's hair. "It works on you."
—Continue: Rip Tide—