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New Good Omens Fic: "Creature Comforts" - Aziraphale/Crowley, Others - R - if there's a place for [us] that love has kept protected [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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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
Rating: R
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

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[User Picture]From: speak_me_fair
2011-03-03 07:57 pm (UTC)
This is just utterly gorgeous -- little caught moments of beautiful time that are just ideal for imagining around and within.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 10:11 am (UTC)
I'm in headspace right now where I could just keep spinning these out, I think; everything's so stressful, and this little world's one of the only calm places I know at the moment.

Thank you ♥
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[User Picture]From: claret_stars
2011-03-03 08:14 pm (UTC)
Wonderfully peaceful. ♥ I love reading of those two being casual. The mood you create with your writing style is indescribable, it underlines all the simple actions and moments between them so well.

Pippa has to come over for watching movies more often.*snicker*
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 10:09 am (UTC)
I can imagine that the Movie Nights With Pippa trope could turn up some silly drabbles, if I gave it some thought. Pan's Labyrinth was not the nicest film I could've inflicted on Crowley. I won't use Hot Fuzz, because I'm kind of operating in a fictional reality where they exist too, and thus there's no film. Same goes for Sherlock. My imaginary England is getting awfully crowded.

♥ ♥ ♥

Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: twiyah
2011-03-03 08:24 pm (UTC)
I love this: it's wonderful. Full of quiet but powerful moments and clarity. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 10:05 am (UTC)
I'm very pleased to hear you enjoyed it! Thank you :)
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[User Picture]From: random_nexus
2011-03-03 08:44 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhhhhh! *cuddles them all with a big, big grin* Lovely idea! I saw mine in there *squee* and the others are wonderful, too, of course. Excellent notion of yours!


EDIT: Icon nonsensery

Edited at 2011-03-03 08:44 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 10:04 am (UTC)
One of them isn't even a request, as such; it's based on a remark that ebony_steinbach made about imagining Crowley sitting alongside a tide-pool with his trousers rolled up to his knees. I'd pictured that so many times myself that it seemed high time to set it down, and then, I wondered, What do other people see and want to see?

Thank you <3
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[User Picture]From: woman_of_
2011-03-03 08:51 pm (UTC)
I loved them in the wine shop. Having bought, at a time I was at University and working two jobs over the summer holidays, the full Sautern, I can appreciate the prices (£15 for a half bottle in 1993).
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-03 08:57 pm (UTC)
1998 Chateau d'Yquem goes for 200 pounds per half-bottle ;)

Thank you so much. Vinopolis is amazing; next time you're in London, go.
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[User Picture]From: mysterypoet66
2011-03-03 10:28 pm (UTC)
I'm shivering. That lovely frisson that happens when the extraordinary and the sublimely ordinary collide.

Precious, lovely, and deliciously gentle.
I love how protective they are, of each other. Even if they're both fairly daft in looking after themselves.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 10:02 am (UTC)
I love how protective they are, of each other. Even if they're both fairly daft in looking after themselves.

Oh, lord, you've hit the nail on the head! They are fairly daft, aren't they? The thing that's got me stuck on this 'verse at the minute is the sheer amazing ridiculousness of watching them try to figure out this whole having-a-normal-human-existence thing in the wake of three thousand years of waiting with bated breath, and then piff, oops, well, that happened. Quite normally, in previous 'verses I've set up for these two, I tended to see them as getting together almost immediately in the wake of the novel, but here there's 15 years between the Apocalypse going belly-up and their finally getting started, as it were. Somehow, it seems to work better.

/stops wasting your time with an unexpected epiphany

Thank you, my love *hugs*
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[User Picture]From: f_m_r_l
2011-03-04 01:09 am (UTC)
That is incredibly sweet. I enjoyed it a lot.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 09:53 am (UTC)
Thank you very much - glad you did! :)
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[User Picture]From: linda3m
2011-03-04 01:24 am (UTC)
I was scanning Twitter at work when I saw you had posted this. I swear I tried to restrain myself until I got home, but I had to take a break and read it at my desk.

Do you know how hard it is to get anything done when you have a completely melted heart?

I love how you've developed the characters through-out this series. It takes a subtle touch to evolve creatures that are eternal.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 09:53 am (UTC)
You're fortunate to have 'net access at work; any time I've been in an office job, access has been very tightly restricted to email and Royal Mail's website. Hey, work gets dull, doesn't it, so if this helped you get through the day, I won't blame you for caving!

(I know how hard it is to get anything done with these two always haunting me.)

It's that very paradox I love: they're eternal, but the life they're leading now is so very ordinary. But the fact that they're immortal beings leading such an ordinary life is extraordinary. Thank you. There's something in the way you talk about them that really gets to me in the best way possible; it's familiar. It's seeing the love I can't help but bear them in somebody else, and it makes me smile uncontrollably.

(Yes, all right, I do know about the hazards of a melted heart.)
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From: hsavinien
2011-03-04 07:19 am (UTC)
Mmmm, so nice. Lovely fragile moments. Very domestic. <3
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 09:45 am (UTC)
Thank you <3 It's ridiculous how much I've come to love them in this domestic set-up, really. When you get rid of worrying about the Apocalypse, there's just day-to-day life, and somehow, it's brilliant.
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[User Picture]From: mushroom18
2011-03-04 04:43 pm (UTC)
2. Ah, Pan's Labyrinth. That movie was breathtaking. I love how Crowley fills in the torture scenes in his head!

6. Crowley shivered, thinking of windswept beaches and long, hot baths. What a wonderful thought to end this collection of drabbles. The idea of coffee is just so domestic, it's such a warm feeling. :)

It's wonderful to read that Crowley and Aziraphale are enjoying their sort-of 'retirement'.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 04:59 pm (UTC)
PL is breathtaking. And re: torture, Crowley has seen so much of the real thing (i.e. the Inquisition - the description in the book of how he just got trashed for a week or so to try and forget about it all is incredibly telling) that he probably can't help but fill it in.

Coffee, tea, and warm mugs being passed from hand to hand, hands to lips, kisses, warmth and cold contrasted - these are all things I hoped to make central in stringing these together. So pleased you find it cozy; thank you <3
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[User Picture]From: ladymakbeth
2011-03-04 05:44 pm (UTC)
You've made it so lovely. I could spend hours only reading about our poor Crowley, he's so enjoyable character, well both he and Aziraphale are.
I couldn't help but felt in love with the third one. There's just something in that "relationship" Crowley has with the plants, it's charming.
Still, I like all parts and the last one was everything I could hoped for. Thank you so much :)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 05:54 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome - and thank you for responding to my call for requests! This was so fun to write. Thank you for reading, too :)
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[User Picture]From: mauvais_pli
2011-03-04 08:28 pm (UTC)
Happy endings of a sort, gardening, Crowley frustrated at making elegant hot beverages, Aziraphale's subtle and unsubtle cheating all the time. So much love.

Just-- thanks for writing this (still). It's a real treat.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-04 11:12 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome *hugs* Thank you for reading. I'm loving this 'verse so much right now, and it's great that other people are enjoying it, too <3
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From: ladymouse2
2011-03-05 12:50 am (UTC)
Ahhhh...what a lovely coast down for this set.

>love cigarettes Anathema had given him....Aziraphale enjoyed a nice, solitary pipe now and again.<

I know it's not PC, but I rather enjoy the image of them smoking, Crowley like George Raft and Aziraphale with a pipe (and leather elbows on his tweed jacket)

>He suspected that the houseplants had grown jealous<


>Crowley almost never realized he was being watched, his quiet, exposed gaze trained on the waves.<

I love the subtle, strange innocence you give a demon...

Oh dear, Pan's Labyrinth...yes, Crowley's imagination would have far too much reality to work with. The violence is fairly stylized but the cruelty isn't and yes, that "happy ending" is not a little ambiguous.

>"That only works on houseplants," Crowley replied. "Outdoor ones—they know better."<

Out of so many evocative lines unfolding their dear domesticity, this may be a favorite.

>"A booze theme-park," said Crowley<

And this the second favorite.

Scene-wise, I loved the backchat over the plumbers as they eased into the hot tub (and each other).

But the one I may love best is contrasting chill windswept beaches with coming back to a beachside cottage and having steaming hot mugs of coffee as you watch the pewter sea. Such moments are almost a signature for freedom and coziness combined. Do you remember a Maxwell House commercial of years past?

and especially, I love that Crowley lifts the cup to the ANGEL'S lips.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-05 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: smoking not being PC, it's something I indulge in myself from time to time, and therefore am no one to point fingers! It's something I imagine both of them do every once in a while, but not really often enough for me to have ever shown onscreen before. I don't subscribe to the theory of Crowley as a constant smoker, but I do imagine he may indulge in such smoke-ables as he likes the taste/smell of. Same with Aziraphale, hence the pipe, and also hence the smell of tobacco on him that sometimes mysteriously makes its way into my other fics.

The cruelty in Pan's Labyrinth is rather stunningly realistic, isn't it? For all of the cut-aways at crucial moments, it left me feeling rather wrung-out. Crowley with the horrors he'd witnessed during the Inquisition and elsewhere? Yowch.

*tries to remember the commercial you're talking about* I think I may do. I was a rather young girl at the time, though! It aired during the late 80s/early 90s, didn't it?

Mugs of tea and coffee, contrasting warmth against chill - these seemed to be a consistent thread amongst the glimpses, if I looked close enough, so I drew them to the forefront. Thank you once again. I sometimes fear I'll run out of ways to thank you for your generous responses!
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[User Picture]From: ebony_steinbach
2011-03-05 08:10 am (UTC)
Eeeeee!!! I'm so excited over beachcomber!Crowley. Obviously the first vignette's my favourite, and I'm stoked that such a throwaway line about Crowley being up to his knees in tidepool led to all these beautiful stories. One day, when I feel brave enough, I'll attempt to actually draw this (even though my head- image of Crowley looks exactly like linnpuzzle's).

I also have a soft spot for greenthumb!Crowley and was deeply amused with the outdoor plants ''knowing better". A long time ago, I read a fic where it turns out that, when Crowley takes a less-than-perfect indoor plant away to "dispose" of it, he really took it up to his even more verdant rooftop garden to recuperate. This has since become my head-canon, so the outdoor plants knowing better makes it seem like the "rejected" plants have been gossiping and word's gotten about that Crowley's really a big old softie.

And Pan's Labyrinth is a great movie with beautiful atmosphere and visually stunning, but I don't think I could watch it again. I remember my friend and I watched it and then had a small debate about whether it could constitute as a happy ending and whether the imaginary world was real or not. I don't quite remember what was said (or even which side I took) but it got a bit philosophical.

Finally, my favourite line was "leaving a snake's trail at a snail's pace".
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-05 10:11 am (UTC)
I'd pictured him like that myself plenty of times before, but the way you phrased it rather drove home what a truly evocative image it is :) And yes, I agree, Linn's Crowley is what I see when I picture Crowley, too. What's interesting is, if you look at the woodcuts of him from the first edition (see my icon), you can tell Linn may have been basing her drawing on those. I find a striking resemblance between the two.

In some of my past stories, my theory about what Crowley does with the plants he's "throwing out" is that he leaves them on other people's doorsteps! I'd love to know who came up with that rooftop garden theory; it's genius. I think what we all seem to agree on is that he doesn't actually throw them out, and yes, he really is a big softie.

I've had that discussion about Pan's Labyrinth with several people. and my conclusion is very firmly that it doesn't matter whether the imaginary world is real or not. What matters is that, in her mind, she's going home to a place where she belongs. And, for me, that actually does make it a happy ending (of sorts).

Thank you for both inspiring one of the segments of this and for reading <3
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[User Picture]From: enchantersnight
2011-03-05 09:17 am (UTC)
Such a lovely way to wake up on a weekend :) Very amused by Crowley fighting with the coffee machine they do seem rather diabolic sometimes!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-03-05 10:12 am (UTC)
Until you learn how to control the steam pipe, oh my god, they are terrifying. I spent a year working for Starbucks, and getting that thing under control was pretty trying.

Thank you very much <3
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