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More GO Fic: Modest, Yet Refined (Part 2) [Aug. 18th, 2012|10:12 pm]
(lives between pages)

Title: Modest, Yet Refined (Part 2 / 2; Part 1 is here.)
Pairing/Characters: Aziraphale/Crowley, Sophia, Anathema (first part contains Pippa, Uriel, and Madame Tracy)
Rating: R
Notes: This constitutes CoT 'Verse #14. From now on, if you want to see where a piece falls in the overall order, default to checking the directory. mizstorge and write_rewrite are incredibly persistent; it's Crowley's turn to make a big decision.
Summary: In search of the unattainable, it's wise to bring along some friends.

3. Excavation

"I won't need it," Crowley insisted. "We're meeting at Caffè Nero."

"It's a two and a quarter hours' drive," Aziraphale replied, handing him the thermos.

"An hour and forty-five when I drive it," Crowley said, but he didn't hand the tea back.

Aziraphale kissed him, and they stumbled back against the door-frame.

"You'll be back late?" he asked, straightening Crowley's sunglasses.

"Possibly," Crowley said. "I promised I'd drive her to her parents' place this evening."

"That takes you an hour and a half out of your way," Aziraphale sighed. "Very well."

Crowley opened the door, thermos clutched to his chest, and paused for a moment.



"I'll come back," he said, stepping out into the sun. "I'll always come back."

They stood palm to palm through the glass for a moment, and then Crowley left.

The drive seemed less ominous than the last time Crowley had made it (although the primary difference may have been Aziraphale's tea). It took him a while to find parking, however, which necessitated profuse apologies on sighting Sophia in the coffee shop. She'd situated herself in the back right-hand corner, the exact spot where they'd first met. She snapped her book shut and rose to hug him. Her black hair was impossibly soft against his jaw, several airy wisps escaping her tight fishtail braid.

He held onto her like a lifeline; why she comforted him so, he couldn't say.

"I got your email," Sophia murmured. "You're having a rough time, aren't you?"

Crowley let go of her and stepped back, adjusting his jacket.

"Now I know what hu—you mean when you say someone's tough to shop for."

Sophia narrowed her eyes at him, unblinking, and earnestly studied his face.

"I'm nearly there. I can't get Mum to talk straight about you two, no matter what. I accept impossible things; I've grown up with quite a number of them as just a matter of course. You're one of those things, aren't you? You and Aziraphale, I mean."

Crowley smiled nervously, took her offered hand, and gestured toward the door.

"It's almost eleven," he said. "Even the most cantankerous of the lot will be open."

"I'm sorry," she said, leading him out into daylight. "I shouldn't pry."

"I'd rather she told you," Crowley admitted, following her past an open-air fruit stand. "Or let you work it out for yourself," he said, watching her trail delicate fingertips over cherries, pomegranates, and apples. She handed the vendor fifty pence and took one.

She gave him a dazzling grin over her shoulder as she walked, and time stopped.

(The resemblance was there to torment him, he imagined: black-haired, headstrong, and brave. If any gene pool had a chance at holding the memory of her likeness fast, he didn't doubt the Device family tree one whit. And she'd gone and married Adam.)

"The first one's just up here," she told him. "Had a look in the window yesterday."

You're proof something went right in spite of it all, he thought, following her inside.

The establishment reminded Crowley of every other antique-dealer's shop he'd ever run across, Aziraphale's included. Dim lighting, dust, and a certain hush: you'd sooner talk in a bloody library. Sophia trailed along the first glass case, carefully concealing the apple in her pocket. It was unusually early in the season to see russets.

She'd already taken a bite, telltale sheen of juice on her upturned hand.

"Can I help you?" asked the proprietress brusquely, looking up from her magazine.

"No," Sophia reassured her before Crowley could open his mouth. "We're just looking."

The woman's features softened. She nodded and went back to reading.

Crowley paused over a display of Victorian pocket-watches. He remembered a time when Aziraphale carried one, although he couldn't say when that had stopped. Nineteen thirty, perhaps, or nineteen forty? He wouldn't have minded if that feature had stuck around, because pocket-watches had never really fallen out of fashion.

"Hey," said Sophia, quietly. "There are some gents' rings over here. Come and see."

They were, as Crowley had feared, nearly all masonic pieces. The ones that weren't masonic were signets engraved with cryptic initials, all of them wrong. There was a shield-shaped one set with coral, and even a split-setting with opal and lapis, but he'd seen any number of pieces similar to those on eBay.

"Not quite right," Crowley said. "They're all too clunky and impersonal."

Sophia frowned. "Now I know what you mean by hard to shop for."

They tried three more shops before deciding it was time to get lunch, and none of them proved more helpful than the first. Sophia suggested Rainbow Café; although it was a popular student hang-out, she assured him the food was worth any ambient undergraduate chatter they might have to endure. She managed to tempt him in on the merits of its organic wine list alone. Crowley wasn't sure the Can Vandrell Tinto was going to pair well with his tagine l'algerienne, but what the hell. Fifteen quid for a bottle of quality Spanish red was difficult to pass up under any circumstances.

Sophia learned the hard way that spinach lasagna didn't pair well, either.

"Mum said you guys took her out the other day," she said, on her second glass.

"That's right," Crowley said, pushing couscous and sultanas around on his plate.

"She and Aziraphale get on," Sophia continued. "Does it ever bug you, his social life?"

Crowley shrugged and emptied the dregs of the wine into his glass.

"Most of them are friends of mine, too. I'm more of a homebody these days, is all."

"You're not as good with crowds. There's nothing wrong with preferring one-on-one."

Guess I've always been like that, he thought. Where one equals Aziraphale.

Sophia almost dropped her fork. "Did you...did you just let me..."

Crowley gave her an innocent look. "How did you put it? Just one of those things?"

"It's not funny when you grow up with a mum who can do that," she said. "It's even less funny when you realize you're reading your younger sisters all the damn time unless you make a real effort to shut it out. So, kindly don't take the piss."

"Your birthright," Crowley told her, "is complicated. You'd better get used to it."

"Adam's part of it," she said, emptying her glass. "He must be, the wanker."

"Finish your lasagna," Crowley said. "I want to see if they'll sell me another bottle of this stuff on the way out." Much like with her mother, even mild drunkenness gave way to bluntness and cursing. He paid the tab, and they left with more of the wine.

They meandered their way through four more antique shops before Crowley announced that he'd had it up to here with the nonstop, multi-stone setting sapphire and ruby nonsense. Still slightly tipsy, Sophia agreed. They made their way to the riverside green behind King's College Chapel and opened the second bottle.

"I think," Sophia said, passing the wine, "you've got to consider later pieces."

Crowley took a long swig and gave her a bleary stare, wiping his chin on his sleeve.

"Later than what?"

"Later than Regency and Victorian. Have you tried searching for Art Deco stuff?"

Crowley cringed and passed her the bottle.

"No thanksss. The architecture was bad enough."

"My friend's dad's a jeweler," Sophia said. "He sells estate pieces. Anyway, he gave Marjorie this gorgeous platinum ring from around nineteen twenty for Christmas. My point is mostly that platinum would suit Aziraphale better than any shade of gold."

Crowley lay back in the grass and considered this, watching some clouds drift by.

"Maybe," he said. "Expensssive, though. I mean, guess this once wouldn't hurt."

Sophia leaned over him, braid dangling, and plucked off his sunglasses.

"You hiss when you're drunk," she said. "Or you hiss when I'm drunk. Either way."

Crowley put his arms behind his head and shrugged.

"It can't be helped. Ssso, platinum? Really?"

"Yeah," she said, setting the sunglasses on his chest, and flopped down beside him.

He must have drifted off, because the sun was low in the sky when Sophia shook him awake. She must have done, too, because there were grass-imprints on her chin.

"Crowley," she whispered, lightly patting his cheek. "I've thought of something."

"What?" he asked, replacing his sunglasses. "Surely it's too late, though."

"Too late for the shops," she said. "But not for what I'm thinking of. Take me home."

Crowley knew better than to ignore that kind of quiet urgency. He helped Sophia to her feet and they walked arm-in-arm to where he'd left the Bentley, both of them more or less sober by the time they got there. He'd surreptitiously seen to it.

"This is still warm," Sophia said, examining the thermos once she'd buckled herself in.

"And it'll never cool," Crowley said, jamming the Bentley into reverse. "Have some."

Aziraphale's estimate of an hour and a half from Cambridge to West Drayton wasn't too far off, although Crowley managed to cut it by about twenty minutes. By the time they pulled up in the Device-Pulsifer driveway, Crowley had heard Sophia sing along with all of the words to his favorite Velvet Underground album. She clearly hadn't got her taste in music from either of her parents. He followed her up the front stairs.

"Eight o'clock," said Anathema, answering the door. "Better than Adam ever did."

"Mum, shut it," Sophia said. "I've got to ask you something. It's important."

Before Crowley could so much as say hello, she'd stepped up close and begun to whisper something quick and complicated in Anathema's ear. Her mother stepped back and made a face, as if trying to remember something she had forgot on purpose.

"We must have it somewhere," she told Sophia, "but if you think I'm digging around in that attic with you, forget it. Why don't you two go up and have a rummage?"

Sophia hugged Anathema hard, and then beckoned Crowley into the house.

The way to the attic was up a rickety pull-down ladder that narrowly missed hitting Sophia on the head. Crowley soldered the connecting joints solid with a glare as he climbed up after her. He'd worry about reversing the process later; the last thing he needed was for Adam Young's new bride to break her neck on his watch.

"Gah, it's stuffy up here," Sophia wheezed, crawling on all fours to reach a dangling chain. She yanked on it once, and harsh orange light filled the cramped space. "Mum said she thinks that what we're looking for is in the Device Trunk."

Crowley disguised his snicker as a violent sneeze.

"What are we looking for?" he asked.

"Treasure," said Sophia, gravely.

They had to move five or six boxes in order to get at the trunk, which was large, unfriendly, and sported an ancient padlock. Sophia swore under her breath and muttered something about a key, but Crowley touched the lock and it instantly clicked open in his hand. With a wordless nod, they each took a corner of the lid and lifted.

"Ages ago," Sophia said, leaning to feel around inside while Crowley held the massive thing open, "when Mum was on one of her reciting-family-history kicks, she said something about her paternal great-grandfather being a metalsmith. We have a silver tea service that he made, plus some brass and copper vessels from when he was young and learning the ropes." She drew out a thick sheaf of papers wrapped in a leather wallet that didn't quite contain them and set them aside. "He didn't just make housewares; he'd sometimes try his hand at jewelry, too. He only ever made that for family, given the cost of precious metals. Mum has a pair of elaborate gold earrings that she made. In fact, I think she wore them to the wedding."

Crowley shifted from crouching to kneeling, still bracing the lid up with both hands.

Hesitantly, he said, "Are you telling me..."

"He was making jewelry around the right time," Sophia said, followed by a triumphant exclamation that made Crowley jump. She sat back on her heels and presented a jewelry box covered in moth-eaten dark blue velvet. "You can close the trunk."

Crowley did as he was told and settled down cross-legged beside her.

Sophia brushed a fine layer of dust off of the box and opened it.

To say that the contents of the box would fetch a small fortune was, in Crowley's estimation, grossly short of the mark. The bottom was strewn with bright, winking artifacts in the artificial light. Sophia picked up a few gold rings to study them more closely, rejecting them on the basis of both make and material (most seemed to be bands etched with abstract floral patterns or signets engraved with initials). She picked aside tangled chains and filigree earrings set with emeralds, revealing another cluster of rings. Diamond and sapphire solitaires. She picked up one piece in polished white metal and eyed the inside of the band. It was thicker than most of the others, and Crowley couldn't see the stone because she was holding it upside-down.

"Birmingham," Sophia said. "There's the anchor. Next to it, nine-five-zero. Platinum."

"Do you all go around with a catalogue of family possessions fresh in your minds?"

Rather than answer, she turned the ring around to study the setting.

There. There it was, out of nothing, as if she'd known his mind and wished it so.

"What is that?" Crowley whispered. "Between the diamonds, what—"

Sophia tapped the central stone with her fingernail, held it up to the light.

"Damned if I know," she said. "There's a tiny bit of translucency. Smoky quartz?"

Crowley closed his eyes. Five hundred dollars he'd won from Uriel. Would it even...

"Jesus, that old thing," Anathema said, poking her head up through the trapdoor.

"It's heavy," Sophia said, putting it in Crowley's hand. "Whose was it, Mum?"

"Your great-great grandfather made that for himself, the old miser," Anathema said. "In his memoirs, he swears he'll never work with that blasted metal again—I mean, look at how he grooved the band, carving the mold can't have been easy."

Crowley just stared at the ring where it sat in his palm. He didn't dare look up.

"Mum," said Sophia, very softly. "We searched all day. There was nothing."

"He made that in nineteen eighteen," Anathema said. "Mad project in madder times."

Crowley held the ring out to her. "Your husband should wear it."

Anathema didn't take the ring. She fixed Crowley with an ironic look.

"I offered it to Newt once upon a time," she said. "We came across the jewelry box when we relocated from Jasmine Cottage to here. Every time I turned around, I found it sitting on the bathroom sink or the shower ledge. He said it felt strange, just wasn't him, so I put it away again. It looked modest, yet refined, I told him. His loss."

Stop it, Crowley thought. He held the ring out to Sophia instead.

"Adam, then," he said. "Surely. It's a bit large and all, but I don't doubt—"

Sophia took Crowley's hand in both of her own, folding the ring into it.

"Whatever you did all those years ago," she said, "I can't even begin to guess. Mum said once that she owed you a debt so great she'd never even begin to pay it back. Presumptuous of me, maybe, but she's standing right there and has no objections."

"I can't," Crowley said, realizing he hadn't blinked in several minutes. "I really can't."

"Would a token payment make you feel better?" asked Anathema. "Go on, make me an offer. Have you got a fiver in your pocket? I'm sure Sophia would lend you one."

"I won a bet," said Crowley, weakly, "but I don't think it's enough."

"Your bet winnings for my great-grandfather's dead-end project of a ring. Sold!"

"Aren't you even going to ask how much you've made?" Sophia asked her mother.

"Five hundred dollars, as it happens," said Crowley. "At a terrible exchange rate."

"Come on," Anathema said. "Stop staring and put it in your pocket. I've made tea."

Crowley followed them down the ladder in a daze, fizzling the solder as he went.

4. Illumination

Crowley glanced at the clock as he drove, cursing under his breath.

Ten minutes till midnight. He hadn't meant to stay out that late, but how on earth could he have refused the offer of tea after he'd all but been given a Device family heirloom that could easily have fetched two thousand quid or more at auction?

Crowley flew past Pippa's cottage at seventy miles per hour, noting nonetheless that every light appeared to be on. He wondered if Aziraphale had rung her up for a long chat, or if he'd arrive home to find that Aziraphale had gone to see her.

Nearly there, he thought, pressing one palm flat to his pocket. Nearly.

Two minutes later, he pulled into his own drive. The kitchen windows glowed softly, and even after Crowley had killed the ignition, he couldn't bring himself to vacate the Bentley. He was safe there. Safe from the discovery that he hadn't quite got it right after all, or, worse yet, that Aziraphale would turn out to have no need—

The porch light went on as Aziraphale opened the door.

In for a penny, in for a pound, Crowley thought, and got out of the car.

"No wine after all," said Aziraphale as he approached, with slight disappointment.

"There were two bottles," Crowley admitted, climbing the stairs, "but we drank them."

"She'll have needed a day off," Aziraphale said. "My dear, come in. It's chilly."

Crowley held the door open, frozen there on the threshold.

Aziraphale took another step backward onto the kitchen tile, expectant.

I couldn't have planned this, thought Crowley, and swallowed hard. He let go of the door and took off his sunglasses, sticking them in his pocket one-handed. He snagged the ring unseen with his pinkie, to make sure it wouldn't get away.

"Crowley, is something the matter?" Aziraphale asked.

He thought about the last time he'd been in this position. It had been over the matter of a sodding plaque, which hung above his head even as they spoke. He'd never had a knack for surprises, but they were worth it if Aziraphale was on the receiving end.

"I hope not," Crowley said, withdrawing his hand from his pocket. He fisted the ring against the hem of his jacket and reached for Aziraphale's left hand with terrified determination. It was a bit far, so he stepped forward. And tripped.

How he'd managed to keep hold of the ring, he wasn't certain, especially not with Aziraphale, grave and concerned, bent over to help him up on his knees.

"You're not hurt," Aziraphale murmured, touching his cheek.

Not a question, it was never a question.

"I will be if I've got this wrong," Crowley said, taking hold of Aziraphale's left hand again and sliding the ring into place. Sizing on the spot was easy; it would burn about as much as Aziraphale materializing his own ring into place had done.

Instead of flinching, Aziraphale lifted his hand up to the porch light and stared.

"Carré cut diamonds," he said, slowly, his voice clipped. "These are...rare. Crowley—"

"I didn't do anything stupid," Crowley babbled, using Aziraphale's dangling right hand to haul himself to his feet. "Don't ask me where it came from; that'll spoil the moment. Oh, what do I know; maybe you've guessed. All you need to know is that I've been to hell and back again in order to find it, metaphorically of course, and I—"

Aziraphale drew him inside with a crushing kiss, slammed the door behind them with a thought. "You didn't need to," he said against Crowley's mouth. "You're enough."

"Nonsense," managed Crowley, giddy enough to feel lightheaded. "It's tradition."

Aziraphale kissed him again. "We'll not hear the end of it."

"We weren't going to anyway," Crowley said, grinning helplessly.

He'd email Anathema's bank details to Uriel, but definitely not tonight.

—Continue: Until Death

[User Picture]From: sejitsu
2012-08-19 02:40 am (UTC)

My feels are getting in the way of coherency!


Okay wow, how you managed to find such a perfect ring just blows me away! Perfection.

Also so much love for Sophia. <33

Crowley tripping should probably not make him so endearing to me, but good grief, it does. Adorably nervous Crowley is one of my favorite things, I just cannot even.

Cannot wait to illustrate this fic, seriously. <3

*shrieks some more* *goes to re-read*

My heart!

Just, lovely. Perfect and wonderful and lovely. I am permanently besotted with you and your writing and just everything.

Edited at 2012-08-19 02:41 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 10:53 pm (UTC)
The ring in question is actually for sale here; as you can see, in addition to changing the ring's provenance, I've also changed the stone from onyx to smoky quartz (although, even in the image, it looks very smoky-quartz-like). As you can see, Adin's brilliant catalogue entry is also responsible for this story's title!

Thank you so much for reading, my dear, as always ♥

Edited at 2012-08-23 10:54 pm (UTC)
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From: katarzi
2012-08-19 02:50 am (UTC)
Oh lordy, Crowley is precious. I could just about feel his nervous shakes at the end there!

Also, Crowley and Sophia are unexpectedly really lovely to watch together. He cares about her so much, but with this sort of careful wonder that is ughhh adorbs forever. Sorry, this comment is devolving into incoherent mutterings of glee yessssssss aehdusrbkyrbfyksrf
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 10:57 pm (UTC)
Having someone around who reminds him that much of Eve must be quite disconcerting indeed, but he finds her far more likeable (and, well, she's Anathema's daughter). They're unlikely but delightful drinking buddies! I'm hoping I'll get to see them do that again soon.

Thank you so much for reading!
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[User Picture]From: sabrinaphynn
2012-08-19 03:33 am (UTC)

A story for a story...

There is a ring, platinum, with three diamonds, designed in the same era of at the same time as Crowley's pledge to Aziraphale, that awaits to be offered to some person when either one of my boys is ready to merge his life with another.
There was a time, years and years ago, when that ring would have fit me, my grandmother having large and strong hands. And I admit my younger self coveted it, with its unique basket design and detail. But practicality reigned and my mother had it sized to her slender fingers, so it awaits the right person and the right time.
I can only hope that the story leading up to the passing of my heirloom be half as heartfelt, gorgeous and as earnest as this one you have spun for us., and twice as human. Our dear duo of shadows and light set a veryhigh standard.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 10:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, that sounds breathtaking. My mother has a ring from right around the same time that belonged to my great-grandmother; it's an ornate platinum setting with two diamonds, and it's strangely beautiful (I'm so hit and miss with Art Deco stuff to begin with). Thank you for reading and for sharing this story; I hope your family ring finds someone as special as it is!

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[User Picture]From: mauvais_pli
2012-08-19 08:36 am (UTC)
I think I felt as dizzy and nervous as Crowley all the way through this. Incredible, and so heart-tugging. Sophia is a gem, as are you <3
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:03 pm (UTC)
I'd fall in love with Sophia if I met her, I think; she and Crowley get on so well, and, I have to say, they were unexpectedly great as drinking buddies, and I hope they do that again sometime ;) For the especially curious, the ring actually exists and is very expensive; I modified its provenance, obviously, as well as what the stone is. It's here.

Thank you!
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From: mazaher
2012-08-19 10:24 am (UTC)
1918, made with the last of the clean thin strong lines of an era coming to a close. What a beautiful ring, what a wonderful story. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:07 pm (UTC)
Aside from the fact that I modified the ring's provenance and what the stone actually is, it's for sale here. As you can see, Adin's catalogue description is even responsible for the story title. I have to wonder how it is that both of these rings actually exist. An artist friend of mine actually bought the Roman glass piece off eBay when I linked it to her, and she's going to set it in gold. I hope she'll send lots and lots of pictures!

Thank you so much for reading *hugs*
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[User Picture]From: hekateras
2012-08-19 11:20 am (UTC)
I am legit about to dissolve from the fuzzies and feels here.

Everything just felt so... them, down to the last word of it. I loved that moment when Crowley found It, his disbelief at the perfection of it even while he was telling himself that he couldn't possibly take it, and trying to convince the Devices of that, as well... That sort of 'trying to do the right thing through clenched teeth and a leaden stomach' is just so him.

And at the end, Crowley being so anxious, those last-minute doubts out of nowhere...

Oh, this was perfect, just perfect. *melts*

(Though now I really want to see the next installment of the series, with every juicy detail of Pippa & Co. and them "not hearing the end of it", hah.)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:11 pm (UTC)
(That'll come, believe me. I kind of want to get Mandy's reaction on camera, as it were, too.)

Aside from having modified the ring's provenance and what the stone is, it's a real piece; it's for sale here, and quite expensive. The catalogue description gave rise to the title of the story, even. I spent almost two weeks researching ring designs before I found this one; I was determined not to start until I'd nailed down what it looked like and where it was coming from. I must credit Crowley a great deal for getting through that exchange with such grace...

Thank you very much!
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[User Picture]From: peach_megumi
2012-08-19 05:11 pm (UTC)
They are just so achingly sweet and lovely. I love everything about this.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, my dear *hugs* And I know I've linked it several times above, but so many people are curious about where the actual ring is: it's here. As you can see, the catalogue description is responsible for the story title, but I obviously altered the ring's provenance and switched the stone from onyx to a very dark smoky quartz (the image looks very smoky-quartz-like to me, and in much the same way that the profile in the Roman glass makes Crowley think of Aziraphale, smoky quartz is a stone that reminds Aziraphale of Crowley).

Edited at 2012-08-23 11:14 pm (UTC)
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From: mizstorge
2012-08-19 09:26 pm (UTC)


"What is that?" Crowley whispered. "Between the diamonds, what—"

"Damned if I know," she said.

The ring is beautiful, darling. You found the perfect one!

This is perfect, too:

The resemblance was there to torment him, he imagined: black-haired, headstrong, and brave. If any gene pool had a chance at holding the memory of her likeness fast, he didn't doubt the Device family tree one whit. And she'd gone and married Adam.

I love Sophia being the new anti-Eve. Her inclination to like him and struggle to know him is sweet and reminiscent of Adam's way of knowing the world.

I love this as well:

...the last thing he needed was for Adam Young's new bride to break her neck on his watch.

Typical Crowely! He's so very conscientious.

"All you need to know is that I've been to hell and back again in order to find it, metaphorically of course, and I—"

I sort of felt that Crowley's search needed to be a quest, a test of committment to his choice, an Achievement - but this is after all your fic and it wasn't my place to articulate anything like that so I concentrated on the form of the actual object. I wondered, though, if the manner in which he acquired the ring would be as important as the ring he acquired - perhaps buying it from someone who really needed the money or obtaining it from a person through whom there was a special connection.

I never dreamed that you had that sense of things as well. I suppose I shouldn't be amazed but I am so delighted that we're on the same wavelength.

Oh, Anthony is going to get shagged so hard tonight he's going to lose scales...

Edited at 2012-08-20 10:29 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:19 pm (UTC)
I think I said this somewhere above, but: if I were to meet Sophia, I think I'd fall in love with her. She has a curiosity to match her husband's, if not exceed it, which is part of why she reminds Crowley so strongly of Eve, no doubt. I love your designation of anti-Eve; that's absolutely perfect. Crowley doesn't have to worry about anything catastrophic being set in motion this time!

Re: Crowley's search being a quest, yes. It was always going to be. I wanted a load of searching to essentially bring him back to his own doorstep, in a sense (or, rather, the doorstep of someone important to him and Aziraphale, someone with whom they have history; Anathema got her Book back in the end, and she and Newt didn't die horribly, the world didn't die horribly, so the ring is symbolic recompense at its finest, and, also, she did take them for a romantic couple for the first time she met them as it is...)

Thank you for knocking ideas back and forth with me behind the scenes. I know that what I found and adapted in the end had nothing to do with any of the things we actually discussed. Although I modified the provenance and primary stone in the ring, it's for sale here. The catalogue description is to blame for the story's title, even! Adin has provided me with so much eye candy...

Edited at 2012-08-23 11:20 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ida_pea
2012-08-20 03:28 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this so much. I liked the first part, but to me this story had a definite stand-alone feel to it. I loved the interaction between Sophia and Crowley--it was very touching that she wanted to help him find what he was looking for and wholehearted threw herself into the search. His association of Sophia with Eve gave me chills. I imagine that's not a memory that has reason to surface very often!

How long did it take you to find the perfect ring for Aziraphale? It is perfect, as far as I'm concerned-everything about it, just as Crowley's is perfect for him.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:25 pm (UTC)
Fortunately for Crowley, Sophia's much more likeable than Eve, and, also, nothing catastrophic's going to be set in motion by the simple act of associating with her ;) I have to tell you, all through the two of them sharing that bottle of wine, I realized how dangerously hilarious a drinking game could turn if you had her and Adam and the Archangels also involved (although there's far more danger in a drinking game with just the Archangels and Aziraphale and Crowley; I know Raphael's going to try talking them into it sometime).

How long did it take me to find this? Almost two weeks. Two sodding weeks of running web searches and tearing my hair out. And even when I found something that setting-material-wise and design-wise was perfect, I still had to alter its provenance and change the stone from onyx to smoky quartz.
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[User Picture]From: write_rewrite
2012-08-22 11:30 pm (UTC)
I should just go ahead and copy-paste your entire fic here under the definition of 'THIS IS WHAT I LIKED THE BEST', but that would lead to an extra long comment. SO. I will make this as succinct as possible.

Crowley and Aziraphale's dynamic is brilliant. It's something that you manage to do with a grace and a meaning that goes beyond just putting words together, it's somehow more than that. And even when they're talking about their feelings, it sounds like actual dialogue in your head, at least for me. I loved this part:

Crowley opened the door, thermos clutched to his chest, and paused for a moment.



"I'll come back," he said, stepping out into the sun. "I'll always come back."

Mostly because it has probably definitely been an issue at some point, where Crowley just went into a snit and didn't wake up for a few decades, or he went missing, or they didn't see each other, and then they do and it's okay. And you get that sense, you get the feeling that it's actually happened, and I have no earthly clue how you do it, but it's powerful and emotional and strong.

The choice of the ring was brilliant. Pattern wise, and because it kind of cements that bond that they now have with that new family, and actually makes them into this crazy sort of hodge-podge 'YOU ARE ALL INVITED TO THE WEDDING' group, which is pretty sweet to see considering that they have spent the better part of six thousand years with just the two of them for company. Plus, it just makes sense that Crowley's the sentimental type, and he would pick something that used to belong to someone closed to him, and he would know it when he felt it. I think your handling of Crowley in particular deserves a whole 'nother paragraph of general squeeing, but suffice it to say, it was sublime. Your Crowley is just the right part of human, and that always comes out so well in your writing.

And Sophia. I loved Sophia. And Anathema. And everything. I'll just leave it as 'everything'.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:35 pm (UTC)
You know, I should have fully expected you'd be the one to pull out that one small, loaded exchange and understand exactly what was between the lines. Crowley has vanished on Aziraphale enough times over the centuries, usually because Aziraphale has done something to make him angry and send him into a snit, that I think Aziraphale is still afraid on some level (and he genuinely fears so very few things, it seems) that he'll somehow fuck up significantly enough to drive Crowley off. I think he fears that less now than when they first moved in together, though. Rambling confirmation is rambling!

The ring is real, and it's for sale here. If I could afford it, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I changed the provenance, obviously, and also have the center stone as smoky quartz rather than onyx for purposes of the story. The fact that both of these rings are real objects is thrilling and strange; an artist friend of mine bought the Roman glass piece off eBay when I linked it on Tumblr, and she's going to be setting it in gold as a ring for herself. So, the abandoned glass collectible item gets to be exactly what I fashioned it into for the story. Happy endings all around, except for the fact that I just don't know who will end up with Aziraphale's ring. I don't think I know anybody with that much cash to spare at the moment, much less have it myself! Thank you so much for reading, my dear ♥

Edited at 2012-08-23 11:36 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ciaranbochna
2012-08-23 02:07 am (UTC)
Having trouble breathing and not cracking apart. I share Aziraphale's fear that those he loves will not return. Everything about this is gorgeous, funny, and true. Your work has such pathos, which I never want to end. Thank you for reminding me there is more to existence than the struggle.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 11:26 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Granted, I'm wrapped up in the struggle, too. This is one of my only means of escape. Hold together if you can. I know it's hard; I'm still finding it hard. Thank you so much for reading. They will always come back. I will always come back to them. I never actually left. And I will PM you my address now!

Edited at 2012-08-23 11:27 pm (UTC)
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From: ladymouse2
2012-08-25 03:49 am (UTC)
Forgive the delay and far less adequate comment than this story (both parts) deserves. Very close family death and worn out in every way. But I can't let your GO fiction go unremarked and thanked. Especially with all the uncertainty and downright cruel circumstances in your life now. I marvel at the tenderness and certain undefinable sweetness you are able to invest in these entries, given what you are enduring.

I look forward to all of them but none more so than the COT alternate universe(forgive me, the original is just too bittersweet for me to reread no matter how good) universe.

The careful attention I can't presently give it in a post is no reflection on the very deep satisfaction I derived from the reading. Another one for the binder...

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-25 05:45 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I'm so very sorry to hear of your loss, and I hope you'll take all the time you need to recover. You certainly didn't have to take the time to do this, although I hope that both reading and touching base may at least have given you a bit of distraction/respite. I know that's what they're providing for me right now, at least. Thank you. And please take care of yourself right now!
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[User Picture]From: wolf_were
2012-08-26 02:31 pm (UTC)
Everyone else here has written some really awesome comments, so I kinda feel bad that all I can say is how completely lovely this 'verse is. I love the OCs--they're nicely in-depth and realistic without overshadowing the main characters, and the love that Aziraphale and Crowley have for each other feels real.

And I agree with Hekateras there--I want them to see them never here the end of it, too.

I didn't get the Sophia/Eve connection until now.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-26 03:11 pm (UTC)
Never feel bad about what you have to say, and don't feel obliged to compare it to what others say, either :) First and foremost, thank you so much for reading; I always appreciate comments from new faces (avatars?), as it were, and your commentary on the OCs is especially appreciated. I love creating OCs to fit within the frameworks of existing canons; my goal is always for them to feel as if they've always been there, or at least for them to feel as if they truly belong!

Thank you very much, and it's nice to meet you.
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