harvester of eyes, that's me (vulgarweed) wrote in go_exchange,
harvester of eyes, that's me
vulgarweed
go_exchange

Happy Holidays, Caitirin!

Title: 100 Things Crowley Would Do Before the World Ended
Recipient: caitirin
Author: googlebrat
Rating: Unrated (general audiences)
Summary: Other people plan 100 things to do before they die. Crowley planned 100 things before EVERYBODY died.
Author's Notes: Characters in this belong to Pratchett and Gaiman obviously. Lines are also taken from various songs, and also "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." (This started as a joke, and I think it ended up being on me. It was funny when "If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body" was on my radio. By the time I was putting final touches to "Strictly Come Dancing" and they were playing "In The Arms Of The Angel" it was a bit creepy). Some events on this are taken from Real Life, but not, as you will notice, in Real Life order. Blame Crowley for altering reality to the order he preferred. I hope I gave you the plot you asked for :-)



1. Cause financial devastation


"What are you up to?" It had been the feelings of anxiety, fear and despair emanating from those waiting to go into the bank that attracted Azriaphale's attention more than the queue itself. He eyed Crowley with suspicion borne of knowing him far too well for far too long.


"Queuing," Crowley said brightly, as though it weren't obvious. "To get money out."


"You're a demon. You don't need money."


"I know. This part is just for fun." He grinned as he stepped up to the counter, speaking quietly to the cashier for a moment and showing - well, she might have thought it was a bankbook, but in actual fact it was a blank sheet of paper, before walking away with a handful of notes.


Aziraphale stared at him as he tucked them safely away. "Crowley..." he said warningly.


"Hey, they started this one on their own. I'm just helping it along a bit," Crowley said cheerfully. "It would be a shame if the world ended before I got to see the full effects. I've been waiting for it for ages. Besides, it's on the list." He waved the paper he'd shown the cashier at the angel, moving already to rejoin the back of the queue.


"List?" Aziraphale snatched it away, scanning it quickly. "Crowley, what is this?"


"A hundred things to do before I die," Crowley said patiently. "Well, more before everybody dies, really. Here, have a chocolate. They were handing them out earlier to stop people rioting."


"Did it work?" Aziraphale asked absently, reaching for one.


"Well, no-one got lynched, so possibly they can count it as a success," Crowley conceded, a little disappointedly, moving forwards with the queue. "Your guys should take note. Hand out chocolate to prevent sin."


Aziraphale made a vague assenting noise before looking up. "Crowley, you're not seriously attempting to do all these? How many times have you queued here already?"


"So far I've closed accounts in the names of Crawlee, Crowley and Crowlie." Crowley ticked them off his fingers. "Got about ten more to go. And yes, I am. If we're going to have another Apocalypse in the near future I want to try things at least once before I can't."


"Mmhm." A red pen appeared in Aziraphale's hand and he started to move down the list, crossing things out as he went. "Well, you're not doing that. Or that. And if you actually did try telling Gabriel exactly what you thought of him, I assure you, my dear, everyone would die a lot more quickly than you otherwise would."


"That was why I put it last," Crowley protested, making a grab at his list and the level of anxiety in the bank escalated with each person that joined the queue.


Aziraphale moved hastily out of reach. “No,” he said firmly. “I’m thwarting you. For your own good.” He glanced down the list again. “Some of these you can do. I don’t see how flying around the world could hurt, and you could manage to go on a visit back to the Garden without managing to get yourself inconveniently discorporated I suppose. But really, my dear, glad as I am to see a Cathedral visit on there, what exactly were you planning to do on a visit to Bath and Wells Cathedral?”


Crowley didn’t answer, but something in the way he grinned made Aziraphale frown anxiously. “Maybe I’d better come with you,” he decided. “If you’re starting with this, Heaven knows what you’ll try next.”

That was enough to make the demon laugh. “No, it doesn’t,” he contradicted. “And I hope Hell doesn’t either for that matter. Anyway, it’s only one run, on a very small bank.”


“True,” Aziraphale conceded, relieved that at least the fall of one small Northern bank was unlikely to rock the world’s foundations. “Still, I’d better stick around. It looks very much like a wile I should have thwarted. I’d hate for you to get away with anything else.”


Crowley grinned, and didn’t argue with that, instead stepping into the bank to empty his fourth account that day. It seemed silly to protest -- after all, it was far easier to convince Aziraphale to come along in case he needed stopping than to persuade him to come along for the sheer fun of the ride.



2. Visit space shuttle.


Some people thought that living up in a space shuttle an unimaginable distance from the earth’s surface would be lonely. Charles just found it peaceful. No television, no phone, no worry about being disturbed at all by anything other than his fellow astronaut’s and the occasional crackling instruction from earth. A man could get used to that.


What a man didn’t expect at such a time was a knock on the shuttle door.


“John,” he said suspiciously, knowing the other man had a bad tendency towards playing the occasional practical joke, “was that you?”


It took time for the startled John to deny that it hadn’t been him who knocked, and to establish that yes, unlike the time he covered his face in blue ink dots and claimed to have caught an alien plague he was telling the truth this time. It took more time to get a message back home and receive the order to scramble into their suits and investigate. Cameras were switched on, and the entire world watched, fascinated, as the astronauts stepped slowly out of the cover and retrieved what looked like a catalogue from where it had been jammed and a parcel with “Return to Sender” stamped on it.


By the time the world’s top scientists were studying what seemed, much to their confusion, to be an advert for various types of ëprobes’ and a long lost Space station toolbox, Aziraphale and Crowley were almost back to earth, the former trying very hard not to laugh.



3. Eat lunch in a small picturesque cafÈ in Paris


“It’s not that I mind,“ Aziraphale said again. “I ëm just not sure why it’s on the list. It’s hardly as though it’s something we haven’t done before.”


“It didn’t count before because it wasn’t on the list,” Crowley explained serenely, topping up his wineglass. “It only counts if you’re doing it specifically before the world ends and everybody dies.”


“If you say so, dear.” Aziraphale surrendered with a shrug. It was certainly much easier than many other things Crowley might have suggested.


“Besides,” Crowley added, “I need it for item four.”


“Oh?” That made the angel raise his eyebrows. “What’s item four?”



4. Have hangover.


“Are you quite all right, my dear?” The pale interesting look certainly suited Crowley, but Aziraphale still squinted at him with some concern.


“No,” Crowley growled, slumping into a chair, glad that his customary sunglasses afforded him at least some protection against the light which seemed to be trying to drill through his eyeballs. “I certainly am not all right.”


A sympathetic cup of coffee was placed in front of him. “Remind me why you’re doing this again?” Aziraphale asked, slightly bemused.


“I wanted to see what it was like. Figured it couldn’t possibly be that bad if humans kept on having them and yet didn’t stop drinking.”


“And?” Aziraphale prompted, closing the blinds with a gesture and leaving them in a comfortingly dim light.


“They’re all completely insane,” Crowley informed him hoarsely. “It’s like going through Hell and coming back and asking for another go.”


“Mmhmm,” Aziraphale agreed and then said in his most reasonable and coincidentally annoying tone, “So... why are you still choosing to go through it?”


It took a moment for that question to penetrate through the hangover, then Crowley sat up and blinked, wiping the alcohol from his system with a shake of his head.


“Blow that for a game of soldiers,” he said in a much stronger voice. “Right, cross number four out. What’s number five?”



5. Listen to the happy laughter of children.


“I’m sure this wasn’t on my list,” Crowley said suspiciously. “Have you been adding things to my list?”


“Me?” Aziraphale looked as innocent as only an angel could. It was a wonder his halo didn’t manifest with a gratuitous ëting!’ to emphasize that innocence.


“Yes, you.” Crowley examined the paper more closely. “The ink is even a slightly different shade. I’m impressed, angel, that’s almost devious.”


Aziraphale just smiled and leaned back on the bench, closing his eyes. “Just hush, and listen to the children laughing, there’s a good man.”


“I hate to tell you this, Aziraphale, but good men very rarely hang around children’s shows just to watch children,” Crowley informed him. “Slightly creepy men, maybe. Anyway, they aren’t laughing.


“They will in a minute,” Aziraphale said firmly. “It’s because the show’s just warming up.”


“No, it’s because they’re watching a clown, and they’re just too terrified to have figured out how to run away yet. Clowns aren’t funny. Hold on, I’ll make them laugh.”


It was a sentence that Aziraphale should perhaps have known to react more quickly to or at least more swiftly than he did. The next few minutes passed very rapidly, and by the time the screaming had stopped the pair were walking away very quickly from what had once been a children’s show.


“I can’t believe you did that,” Aziraphale hissed under his breath.


“What?” Crowley asked affably. “I made them laugh. I listened to them laugh.”


“You set him on fire, Crowley. You set the clown on fire!


“He’ll only have minor burns. Anyway, you have to admit, it was funny.”



6. Appear in a pop video


“I never knew you were into all this...” Aziraphale waved a hand, obviously trying to summon the right words. “...bopping.”


Crowley tried not to laugh. “I’m very tempted to make item seven watching you tell Billy Joel that you consider this bopping.”


“Well, really, my dear, it’s hardly one of the classics, is it?” Aziraphale sniffed a little disapprovingly.


“I never got credit for inspiring this the first time. I’m blessed if I won’t get to appear in the re-release before it all starts going wrong again.” Crowley adjusted his sunglasses, flashing Aziraphale a brilliant smile.


“And sitting around playing with a drum is things going right?” Aziraphale asked, still looking rather disdainful of the whole thing. “Don’t tell me annoying people with this song was part of your demonic duties.”


“Actually, no. He noticed me watching someone and decided to steal my look.” Crowley grimaced. “Or as much of it as he could steal while also looking considerably older and nowhere near as good-looking. Which, let me tell you, was very annoying for a while. People kept coming up and assuming I was a fan. As though I would need to copy anyone else.”


Aziraphale smiled and nodded at that, and carefully didn’t mention the James Bond fake bullethole sticker which he was fairly certain was still attached to the window of Crowley’s Bentley.” “Indeed,” he agreed instead, politely.


“This way at least they get to see how it should look before everything’s over.” Crowley tugged at his cuffs, making sure they were straight before the opening bars of the song began to play.


ëWe didn’t light the fire! Oh, we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it...’ Even to Aziraphale the song was familiar.


“Ironic really,” the angel murmured to himself even as Crowley loitered at the back of the music video looking cool and demon-like. “Seeing as we did.”



7. Making Jesus appear on a lunch box.


“Mum?” Patrick called anxiously. “Mum, I think you better come look at this.”


“Did you set fire to the microwave again?” His mother’s voice floated through from the next room, sounding slightly suspicious. “Because I swear, Pat, if you don’t stop sticking things in there to see what happens, you can just live on cold tuna and see how you like that!”


The boy stared at the lunchbox in front of him. Between brightly coloured pictures of robots, a small figure danced and spun. “No,” he said quietly. “No, it’s not that.”


“Well, what is it then?” His mother appeared finally at his shoulder, still stuffing plimsolls into his schoolbag. “You’re going to be late if you don’t hurry.”


Patrick handed the lunchbox over, which managed to be surrounded in an aura of holy light and the faintest hint of the echo of vast angelic choirs. “Jesus appeared on my lunchbox,” he explained. “And he keeps doing handstands.”


Unfortunately for the pair of them, by the time Patrick’s mother got off the phone to the News of the World Jesus was long-gone -- and so were the angel and demon who had been watching and, in one case, sniggering quite loudly.



8. Have lunch in a small picturesque cafÈ in Nepal


“I certainly don’t object, my dear,” Aziraphale insisted, licking cream carefully from elegantly manicured fingers. “It’s just, well. This does seem to be a little close to number three, doesn’t it?”

Criwley shrugged. “I like this cafe,” he said stubbornly. “If everything’s going to end, I want to have lunch in it just one more time. Just to remember it by.” The truth was, it seemed that one hundred things to do did seem rather a long list now he came to try and do them. You needed an imagination like a human’s to come up with so many things that were completely different. Besides, not that he was going to tell Aziraphale, but he was reliving some of his happiest memories. For some reason a lot of them were in small picturesque cafÈs or restaurants, and even more bizarrely involved the angel.


Aziraphale shrugged, and reached for another cream cake. “In that case, while you’re here you can do number nine.”



9. Actually pay for lunch.


“You’ve been adding things to my list again,” Crowley complained.


“I have,” Aziraphale agreed sunnily. “I feel you should do it at least once. I’ve been doing it for centuries now. It’s more than your turn.”


“That’s not true!” Crowley protested. “I pay for lunch. I have no problem paying for lunch.”


“Ah!” Aziraphale raised a finger. “Check the footnotes please.”


“You added footnotes to my list?” Crowley asked incredulously, peering at the bottom of his piece of paper. “With real money that doesn’t dissolve the next morning or turn into leaves, and isn’t actually a piece of paper that the waitress only believes is money?”


“And the rest.” There was just a hint of smugness in Aziraphale’s tone.


Crowley looked again, further down the page. “And leave a tip?”


“And?”


“A piece of paper saying “get a better job” doesn’t count.” Crowley looked a little sulky. “I’d almost think you’re getting to know me too well, angel.”


“Well, after a few thousand years, you do start anticipating certain tricks...”



10. Teach Aziraphale how to use a computer


“I really can’t see why this is important,” Aziraphale protested, voice muffled as he crouched to fiddle with wires behind the monitor.


“Because you’re going to properly appreciate the strides humans have made before you lose the chance to do so.” Crowley said sternly. “Besides, after that last trick with the waitress, you deserve it. No, that’s a mouse, not a footpedal.”


Aziraphale peered at the machine, expression still baffled. “Where do I feed the little pieces of paper to have holes stamped into them?”


Crowley sighed. This item might take longer than he had previously planned.


A day and a half later, the computer was hooked up, and running on the wireless internet from Aziraphale’s closest neighbour (Crowley enjoyed the idea of the angel stealing anything too much to explain that the internet was not in fact landing in the computer through some type of strange human magic). An instructive lesson on How To Use Google was in progress.


“So, it’s like a very large library?” Aziraphale asked finally, having managed to digest that much. “Although,” he added, blushing, “one with some very strange indexing procedures.”


Crowley grinned, a little wickedly. It had been a very instructive lesson. One day, perhaps, he would tell Aziraphale about the Adult Content filter. Somewhere around list item number ninety-five perhaps.



11. Go back to where it all began


“We shouldn’t be here.” Aziraphale sounded nervous, glancing back over his shoulder.


“Relax,” Crowley soothed. “We’re not doing anything wrong. It’s not as though we were thrown out. Just the humans.”


“Just because it hasn’t been explicitly forbidden doesn’t mean that someone isn’t going to be very annoyed when they find out,” Aziraphale reminded him.


“And by the time they do, we might well be in a war and it’ll hardly matter anyway.” Crowley seemed oblivious to the warnings, utterly relaxed as he looked around him at the most beautiful scenery in the world, closed to human entrance for eternity. “I just wanted to see the place again. Do you remember? The tree, the fruit. You had a sword...”


“You were a snake...” Aziraphale agreed, reluctantly going along with the trip down memory lane as if he was going to be mugged in some dim alleyway of recollection.


“Yessss...” The word came out as a hiss, as though merely being here was sending Crowley back into old habits.


“It was lovely then,” Aziraphale said wistfully. “Peaceful.”


“Pfft.” That made the demon snort. “It was boring then!”


“Oh, come now. Even you can’t criticise the perfect garden!” Aziraphale objected as a myriad butterflies, glittering and shimmering in the perfect light swept past them both. They watched as they arced towards the most beautiful cascades in the world, awe inspiring in their majesty with a permanent triple rainbow ghosting over them all. “Don’t you remember how it was? The sunlight, the two of them together...”


“The predictability,” Crowley said firmly. “They were pets, goldfish kept nicely in their goldfish bowl, swimming nicely round and round so you could all watch them and enjoy them. Then I offered them something a bit different, and things were never predictable again.” He reached towards the Tree to pull one of the ripe fruit down, and looked at it reflectively. It looked disturbingly prosaic to have caused the Fall of Man “You know, I always wondered what they actually tasted like. Never did get to try them myself.”


Aziraphale shrank back. “Don’t you even think about it.” Some things went beyond the mischief he was prepared to go through for Crowley’s sake. “Those things go beyond trouble.”


“Surely you’ve wondered?” Crowley tossed the fruit from one hand to another. “I always did. Fancy, all that time convincing her it was the most delicious thing in the world, and I never even knew if I was right."


“Crowley...” the angel warned. “Don’t do this.”


I haven’t been forbidden,” Crowley pointed out. “Neither have you. Only the humans. And I only wanted to try... to see what it changed.”


A note of desperation entered Aziraphale’s voice. “It isn’t on the list,” he tried. If it had been he’d certainly have carefully have removed it, hidden it away before Crowley could return to be tempted. If he’d had any idea what Crowley intended...


It didn’t work. “So I’ll add it,” Crowley said decisively, bringing the fruit to his mouth.



12. Eat the forbidden fruit


“Well?” Aziraphale watched him as one might watch a man with a bomb strapped to his chest, waiting for the inevitable explosion.


“Tastes like apple.” Crowley sounded a touch disappointed. He chewed, swallowed, and took another mouthful.


“Do you feel different?” Aziraphale prompted. “More knowledgeable?” He paused. “Guilty at all?”


“Really, Aziraphale, you should know by now that demons can’t feel guilt. It’s just not in us.” Still, Crowley seemed a little confused, eying the core he was still holding. After centuries wondering, it seemed too much of an anti-climax. “Maybe I got a dud.”


“Well, thank Heaven for that.” Aziraphale sighed in relief. “Come on, let’s go. Quick, before anyone notices.” Even without eating the fruit, he seemed to have enough guilt for the pair of them.


“You want to try a fruit?” Crowley offered teasingly, tugging another from the tree and holding it out in offering. “It’s not as though it could be wrong for you. You’re an angel after all.”


Aziraphale shuddered and looked away. “Not a chance. I’ve known you too long to let myself be tempted now.”



13. Have lunch in small picturesque cafÈ in Reykjavik


“You’re running out of ideas,” Aziraphale accused. “I knew you would.” Secretly he was just a little relieved by this. Eating their way around various cities had plenty to recommend in compared with what Crowley might otherwise have suggested.


“I just don’t see any reason to rush through things,” Crowley said comfortably, lounging back in his chair. “Besides, I like Iceland. It’s very...” he sought for a description Aziraphale might be find believable. “Very pretty. Glacial. And has good wine. Besides, I’ve got some business I can get done while we’re here”


“It’s very cold,“ Aziraphale complained, and glanced at Crowley suspiciously. “And what business? What are you planning now?”


The demon’s shrug was deliberately casual. “Just this and that. A little work here and there. You know how it is. Do you like your skyr?”


Aziraphale finished the cream-filled confection, still eying Crowley with some wariness. There was something about that smile...



14. Allow the angel to think he’s been a good influence. Just for a short time.


He could feel Aziraphale beaming without looking at him. It was as though a new sun had appeared -- you didn’t have to look at it to sense the sudden increase in light and warmth. Crowley grinned to himself, and stuck his hands in his pockets. “What?” he asked innocently, as though he had no clue what might have brought about the angel’s good mood.


“You tipped!“ Aziraphale’s tone was filled with surprised delight. “I saw you! Twenty-five per cent -- and in real money as well!”


“Isn’t that you wanted me to do?” Crowley injected surprise into his tone with practised ease.


“Well, yes, but I never thought that you’d do it without me making you.” Aziraphale patted his arm happily. “I always knew you wanted to do the right thing deep-down, my dear. You’re becoming quite a reformed character.”


“Uh-huh.” Crowley somehow managed to refrain from smirking, and instead accepted this demurely.


It wasn’t as though a tip was going to make any difference one way or another in a few days after all.



15. Sleep.


“Don’t need you for this one,” Crowley said cheerfully. “This I think I can manage quite well on my own.”


Aziraphale looked worried. “You’re just planning on sleeping for a few days? That’s all?”


“Believe me, there’s few things more enjoyable in the world,” Crowley assured him seriously, and then reconsidered. “At least few that you can do on your own. Or that don’t cause international warfare. You should give it a try sometime.”


“Well, if you’re sure...” Aziraphale said, still sounding doubtful. If he was honest, he’d begun to enjoy the experience of wondering what idea Crowley would pull out next. Still, a few days peace and quiet might not be a bad thing. He could reorganize the bookshop, give out a few blessings, work without any concern that Crowley might be about to cause a massive disaster because it looked fun.


“I’m sure,” Crowley said confidently. “Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a wonderfully big bed with goose-feather pillows waiting for me. I’ll see you in a few days.”



16. Cause financial devastation. (Again).


The phone was ringing. Crowley struggled out of deep sleep at the noise, made a cursory attempt to sit up, and then flopped back against the pillows. Getting out of bed felt like far too much effort to be worth it.


Another ring, and then the answering machine clicked on. Crowley listened hazily to his own voice. “Hi, this is Anthony Crowley. Uh, I’m probably not in right now or asleep-”


Wonderful things, answer-phones. One of the things that made you grateful humans were around really; inventing things like answer phones, and beds, and wonderfully soft goose-feather pillows.


“Crowley, I’ve just seen the news. Did you just destroy the Icelandic economy?” Of course, Aziraphale never had liked them quite so much. Crowley opened one eye, staring at the ceiling as the angel’s voice went on. It must have been a success. Aziraphale sounded actually annoyed.


“-and thanks to you I think the UK is only about two and a half steps from declaring war on them. You can’t just do that and-”


Running out of space after ten minutes of Aziraphale’s flustered complaints the machine clicked off, cutting him off mid-sentence. Crowley stayed awake for a few more minutes, a smile lingering on his lips.


Years of gentle temptation, nudging bankers to accept loans when they knew they really shouldn’t, and coaxing people to overlook their common sense finally coming to fruit. It could all be such fun.


Still smiling, he drifted happily back to sleep.



17. (written where Aziraphale will not see) Persuade Aziraphale to eat forbidden fruit.


“I’m very angry with you,” Aziraphale stated as soon as Crowley stepped into the bookshop. The angel glared at him, arms folded across his chest.


“Ah, Aziraphale...” Crowley made his voice as coaxing as he knew how. “You know I was only doing my job.”


“You don’t have to do it quite so well,” Aziraphale said coldly. “Do you know the work I’ve had to do over the last few days to make sure the country only applied economic sanctions? They very nearly declared war on a country whose entire military force consists of a few lifeboats.”


Crowley tried not to smirk. “Iceland would have got its own back somehow,” he offered vaguely. “Over fishing cod again or something.”


“That’s not really the point, Crowley, is it?” Aziraphale could have an incredibly forbidding frown when he chose to use it.


As far as Crowley was concerned, it was exactly the point. He’d almost been able to feel the air crackling with nervous tension as soon as he’d stepped out of the house. In one fell swoop, he’d managed to annoy rich people worried about their savings, council workers worried about their jobs, poor people worried about their council tax going up, Icelandic people worried that no-one understood that they simply didn’t have the money their country had taken...


As far as Crowley was concerned, it all came under the heading of “a good day’s work”.


Better not to say that out loud around Aziraphale though. Instead he summoned up his most cajoling tone. “I brought a peace offering?” He waved the paper bag temptingly in front of Aziraphale.


The angel hesitated. Crowley sighed. “Come on. You know you want to forgive me.” It wasn’t as though Aziraphale had ever been much good at holding a grudge for more than five seconds. All that angelic practice at forgiving humans tended to take root.


Grudgingly, Aziraphale took the bag, peering inside. “What is it?”


“It’s a cake. Can’t you tell?” Admittedly, it was a little hard to tell. For all that his apartment had a beautifully shiny chrome oven, he’d never actually bothered using it before. Convincing it to work at exactly the right heat hadn’t seemed to prevent the pastry in question coming out looking strangely blackened and rather soggy in the middle. “I made it myself,” he added, feeling this should earn him points somewhere.


“Hn.” But, just as Crowley had known would be the case, Aziraphale didn’t have the heart to turn down a home-made gift, however strange it might look. He took it out of the bag, eying it a little uncertainly. “Thank you, Crowley.”


“Well, try it then!” Crowley sounded perhaps a little too eager as he watched the angel take a bite. “What do you think?”


“”Mmmph.” Aziraphale swallowed with what good really be considered a brave effort. If anything the cake looked even less appetising out of the bag than it had coming out of the oven. “Tastes... appley.”


And that was apparently that. Perhaps angels and demons really couldn’t be affected by it.



18. Set his plants free.


“Why are we doing this?” Crowley complained. “I don’t remember why I agreed to this.”


“You agreed to it because you’re still making up for the Iceland thing. And because it’s the right thing to do.“ Aziraphale said primly. “Let the poor things taste freedom for the time they have left.”


They landed lightly in the rainforest, each folding away large white wings before they looked around.


“I don’t see why.” Crowley clutched the plant-pots in his arms to his chest possessively. “They’re happier in captivity anyway.”


“Crowley,” Aziraphale said patiently. “Last time I bought a cactus for you for Christmas, I found it lying amidst shards on the floor after I left the room for a minute. The poor thing committed suicide rather than go to your apartment.”


“Really?” It was hard to help looking a little smug. “Must have been a weakling.”


“Crowley!” This time Aziraphale’s tone was warning.


“Fine, fine.” Crowley set the pots down, giving in with a theatrical sigh. “If you think it’ll be for the best for them.”


“I do.” Pleased, Aziraphale crouched down to begin replanting the ëlucky’ plants into the rich soil.


The plants, considering that they knew Crowley rather better than Aziraphale did, trembled.


Half an hour later they were on their way again, Aziraphale smiling at the thought of a good deed well done.


Crowley didn’t bother to tell him about the hungry wildebeest, already heading in the direction of their planting. Some small victories didn’t need to be pointed out.



19. Tell Gabriel what you really think of him.


“Don’t even think about it,” Aziraphale said forcefully. “Not if you want to ever get to the other eighty-one items.”


“But-” Crowley protested, several millennia of simmering resentment badly needing a voice. The bastard had looked so damn smug wielding that sword back in the day.


This time, however, it seemed Aziraphale wasn’t going to budge. “I said no, Crowley. What’s the next item on the list?”



20. Teach Aziraphale to use eBay.


“But you already taught me to use a computer!” Aziraphale protested.


“If you won’t let me do any of the really fun things, we have to do this instead.” It was Crowley’s turn to be firm now. “Observe, angel, more books than even you have ever dreamed of.”


A few clicks and the search-list came up. Crowley knew his audience well, and had been careful to tailor his search to the rarest of the rare, things guaranteed to make the angel salivate with pure delight.


Aziraphale mouth fell open. “And these are available... just to buy?” he asked, already reaching to take the mouse from Crowley.


“Just that,” Crowley confirmed, deciding he would wait for the angel to discover for himself the joys of bidding wars. It might be good for Aziraphale to feel a touch of unangelic irritation at bidders who waited until the last millisecond to place their bid.


Aziraphale looked a little stunned, still scrolling down the list of book. “This is really nice of you, Crowley. Thank you.”


It was the wrong thing to say, perhaps. Crowley bristled a little. “Of course,” he added slyly. “You can sell books on there as well.”


Aziraphale froze, hand going suddenly going still on the mouse.


“You could modernize the bookshop perhaps, use the internet to find yourself a few more customers,” Crowley suggested, eyes alight with mischief. “Get rid of some of the old ones you’ve had about for ages.”


Aziraphale made a neutral noise, staring fixedly at the screen. Crowley tried not to laugh.


He was not entirely surprised when he visited a few days later to find that the machine had been packed back into its box.



21. Take the Bentley on a hot date.


“You know,” Aziraphale said, “I thought you actually meant to say you intended on taking a hot date in the Bentley. Because that is what most normal people -- and demons -- would mean.”


Crowley shrugged. “The plants got a happy ending,” he pointed out reasonable. “Why shouldn’t the car? And really, dates don’t come much hotter than that, do they?”


They both glanced towards where the Bentley was -- for lack of a better word -- snuggling against the silver-grey Aston Martin. The motors were running, making a noise Aziraphale could only think of as purring.


“If they get carried away,” he warned Crowley quietly, “you’re going to have to pay the Bond people for the scratches.”



22. Buy a Best of Queen album


“But I thought you had a Best of Queen album,” Aziraphale said, confused. “I thought you had several copies actually. Your car is full of them.”


“No,” Crowley said patiently. “My car is full of other albums I left in there too long which turned into Best of Queen albums. I have never actually been into a shop and bought one before.”


“And you want one because-?”


“Because logic dictates that if I leave a Best of Queen album in my car for a while it will then turn into something else. Anything else would be better, frankly. I’m not enduring another Apocalypse with a catchy tune to remind me that there’s a devil put aside for me. Frankly, going through that once was bad enough.”


Aziraphale glanced at him sideways. This had all seemed harmless enough so far, but there were a few tense lines at the edge of Crowley’s eyes now, a set to his mouth that suggested that this wasn’t quite the excuse to just enjoy himself and cause chaos a hundred times over that it seemed at first glance.


“Crowley,” he said gently.


The demon glanced back at him. “What?”


But the words of comfort wouldn’t come somehow. There was no promise that everything was going to be all right to give, because if they were right, it really really wouldn’t. Aziraphale shook his head, trying to shake that thought off. “Why don’t we check what’s next on your list?”



23. Take dancing lessons.


Not the garotte, Aziraphale.”


“Gavotte,” the angel corrected mildly. “Garrotting is when you cut someone’s head off.”


“Yes, well, not that either.” Crowley scowled. “I had in mind something more... up to date. No-one dances the gavotte now.”


“You don’t dance anything now,” Aziraphale pointed out. “I’ve seen you. You just stand in clubs in your sunglasses and lean against the wall trying to look cool.”


“There’s no ëtry’ about it, thank you very much,” Crowley said, offended. “Anyway, I can dance. I just choose not to.”


“So can I. As long as it’s the gavotte.”


The receptionist looked from one to the other as they squabbled, and tried not to sigh. “A lot of gentlemen now find they much enjoy our riverdance lessons?” she suggested. “It certainly can be very effective.”


“Riverdance?” Aziraphale brightened a little. “That might just work, you know.”


Crowley considered it. “Not much moving around with that, is there?”


“So it would be a lot harder to fall between the electrons,” Aziraphale agreed, and beamed at the confused receptionist. “We’ll take lessons for two, please.”



24. Take up cookery.


It was the cake he’d make Aziraphale which had put the idea into Crowley’s head. He didn’t like things which wouldn’t obey him by working -- not plants, and certainly not cake mix. If things went wrong, they needed to be persuaded to stop going wrong, that was all.


It meant that when Aziraphale called by one evening, he found the apartment filled with surprisingly delicious smells, and plates full of cakes and biscuits lying about the place. A few well-placed words to the oven about what Mr Muscle could really start doing with those muscles, and it had soon seen the error of its ways.


“Crowley!” he said, looking around at the assembled foodstuffs. “What a lovely surprise.”


Crowley looked smug. “Try some,” he suggested. “Here.” He pro-offered a bowl full of suspiciously pink looking goo.


Aziraphale obligingly took a spoonful. “What is it?”


“Angel delight,” Crowley said cheerfully. “Made with real angels!”


Aziraphale put the spoon down quickly.


“That’s how it gets its colour,” Crowley went on. “Quite ingenious, really, these humans. It comes in this little packet of powder after they’ve ground the angels down and-” He broke off, starting to laugh. Enjoyable though it might have been to keep the joke going, it was difficult to keep a straight face when Aziraphale looked so appalled.


“You’re joking?” Aziraphale visibly relaxed.


“Maybe just a bit,” Crowley admitted. “It actually involves a weird and wonderful mix of chemicals. No food -- or angels -- whatsoever.”


It might, however, be best not to mention the ingredients of the Angel’s Food Cake.




25. Investigate Super Collider


“So it’s a machine that could create vacuums?”


“Yes.”


“And those vacuums could then suck in the world, and in fact the whole of the universe?”


“Yes.”


“Why?”


“Because they’re humans,” Crowley said glumly. “And humans would end the Universe just to see if it was actually possible. And be really excited, in the last second before they all died, that it actually was.”


The pair stared at the Large Hadron Collider while scientists busied around them, not invisible as such, just... not noticeable right now. It was impossibly big considering it was going to study things that were so tiny.


“They’d cause an apocalypse just to see if it was possible?” Aziraphale asked unbelievingly.


“That about sums it up, yes,” Crowley agreed. He sighed. “I liked the old days. They might have committed awful acts of mass genocide then, but at least they did it on purpose. Whereas now they just do it to show off -- I mean, they didn’t even try very hard to hide it did they? Just look at the name!


“What about the name?”


“Try anagramming Hadron. It makes it much easier to understand their intent. World’s most dangerous penis extension”



26. Break Super Collider


It was a couple of seconds before the machine’s hum changed to a worryingly high-pitched tone. One of the scientists hurried to peer at it, then glanced back at his colleagues. “Hey, Bob. Bob!


The room was suddenly abuzz with anxious looking men with white coats, none of whom took any notice at all of Crowley or Aziraphale.


“What did you do to it?” the angel asked in a quiet aside.


Crowley grinned. “Helium leak,” he said happily. “They need it for cooling.”


“Huh.” Aziraphale watched as the white-coats buzzed around the machine, most of them looking decidedly upset. “They’ll fix it, you know,” he warned. “They’re persistent like that.”


It was news that didn’t seem to disturb the demon. “Not quickly,” he said firmly. “Which means we should still have enough time.”


“Enough time for?” Aziraphale hazarded, as the whine died off altogether and the machine lay still and silent.


“For the other seventy four items, of course! You don’t think I would stop now?”




27. Absolutely do not pay back any money you owe anyone. In fact, borrow more.


Crowley didn't tell Aziraphale about the loans he was taking out. It was just hard to miss as he was visiting when the postman arrived one morning. There were enough credit card statements, bills, and loan agreements there to almost fill the man's sack on their own. They wouldn't fit through the letter-box, and Aziraphale answered the knock to find himself being handed a huge bundle, rubber-banded together.


"Crowley," he said, carrying it through to the kitchen. "Is there anything you want to tell me?"


"Hmm?" Crowley glanced at him enquiringly.


"These bills, Crowley," Aziraphale said patiently. "Are you in trouble of any sort? Money worries?" He paused, thinking that over. "Wait, you can't have money worries. You never actually pay for anything anyway!"


"That's true," Crowley agreed. "Just add them to the pile over there." He waved to where a small mountain of letters was beginning to form.


Aziraphale set it down, then turned to stare at him suspiciously. "Just what are you up to this time? Why do you need all this money?"


"I don't." Crowley shrugged. "They kept sending me letters offering to loan me as much as I wanted. So I said yes." He smiled; the sharp, amused smile that never failed to remind Aziraphale that however entertaining his friend could be, there was still a demon under there. "It seemed to make them happy."


"But you're not planning to pay it back," Aziraphale said slowly.


"No." Still the smile, the look that meant Crowley considered something a job well done. "But, don't worry. Neither is anyone else."



28. Have lunch in picturesque small cafe in Berlin


"What are you planning this time?" Aziraphale demanded, sitting down.


"What?" Crowley looked up from his book, widening his eyes innocently.


"Are you going to crash the economy here too?"


"Already have," Crowley said cheerfully. "Look at the bright side. Your Apfelstrudel is stimulating the economy. You're doing your proper angelic duty already, just by being here."


Aziraphale sighed. Nice although it sounded in theory, he wasn't certain his superiors were likely to view eating cake with a demon as doing his job. "So, what are you planning?" he asked again. "If we're here, we're here because you're planning to pull some misdeed out of your sleeve in two days time, and then laugh about how you got away with it while I wasn't paying attention."


"So suspicious, angel." Crowley looked wounded. "I simply thought you would enjoy lunch here one last time before..."


"Before the world ended. Yes, I get the idea." Aziraphale sighed. That phrase was starting to wear just a little thin by now. He focused on Crowley's book for the first time. "What's that you're reading?"


For the first time the demon looked a little sheepish. "Well. It turns out that a hundred things to do is quite a lot after all."


"And?" Aziraphale prompted.


"And I'm a demon. So I cheat and copy someone else," he said cheerfully. "How do you feel about karaoke?"



29. Find out how you feel about karaoke.


"That," Crowley said still horrified, "was the single most embarrassing thing I have ever endured. And that includes watching you doing magic tricks."


He got little comfort from Aziraphale. The angel was still red-faced, hurrying ahead as though to get away from the bar as quickly as possible. "You suggested it," he said, a little accusingly.


"I thought you'd be better at it! What happened to all the angelic choir practice?"


Aziraphale looked guilty. Given the option of standing in a host for hours practicing hallelujahs, and doing something else, he'd always picked the "something else". "I was busy," he defended himself.


"And the song!" Crowley continued, bitterly.


"Ah, now, you can't blame me for that," Aziraphale said quickly. "You chose that."


Crowley spluttered for a minute. "I can assure you I most certainly did not."


"Well, it wasn't me," Aziraphale said so firmly that Crowley knew that there was little point accusing him of lying. Angels just didn't.


"Then whose fault was it," he asked sullenly, "that I ended up in front of a pub full of people, singing that I was loving angels instead of all things!"


Aziraphale beamed. "I don't know, Crowley. I never thought you cared!"



30. Piss off the fundamentalists. And the atheists.


"You've done something, haven't you?" Aziraphale stated, more than asked. Crowley showing up at his door in this good a mood couldn't bode well, not when he'd been sulking since the karaoke incident.


Crowley just grinned. "Come and watch the news. You'll like this."


"What have you done?" Aziraphale persisted, following him inside.


"You'll see." A snap of Crowley's fingers convinced Aziraphale's television to suddenly grow several inches and start showing its picture in colour rather than black and white.


"Crowley!" Aziraphale protested. "I might have liked it the way it was before."


"You liked it the way it was before sound. Someone has to move you into the future," Crowley said calmly, sitting down without being invited. "Look, it's starting."


Aziraphale frowned, watching the screen. "An archaeological dig - oh, Crowley! You didn't bury a dinosaur, did you?"


"It's a thought," Crowley admitted. "Not this time though. Keep watching."


The tiny figures on the screen were positively bouncing with excitement now. Aziraphale watched as they led the cameras through the dig and to a room where the screen zoomed in on...


"Blueprints," Aziraphale said out loud. "For half an eye?"


"Thus disproving the fundamentalists argument that evolution isn't possible and forcing the atheists to acknowledge that something must have designed it in the first place," Crowley said happily. "Isn't it great? Annoys everyone at once."


Aziraphale blinked, trying to absorb that. "Don't you think you're going a little far?" he said eventually.


"In what way?" Crowley seemed oblivious to his concern.


"In every way. Crowley, it's one thing you playing around with this list of yours, but this is going to attract attention. You know that."


"I've got it under control." Crowley waved the worry away. "One last blowout, hey? Might as well enjoy it while I can."


Aziraphale kept watching, pressing his lips together tightly as the news station brought out an expert theologist to comment on the matter. "Don't say I didn't warn you."



31. Add some seasoning to life (and mess around with folklore)


“My eyes! My eyes!


“What did you do?” the head chef hissed at the unhappy waiter as the entire kitchen turned around to stare at the writhing figure that appeared to be steaming on the floor behind them.


“I just threw some salt over my shoulder!” The waiter stared in horror at what he had apparently caused.


“Well, why?“ the chef demanded. “Can we get a first-aider over here please? And has anyone called an ambulance? There’s...oozing. That can’t be good!”


“It’s just what my granny taught me to do!” the waiter burbled miserably. “If you spill salt, you have to throw some over your shoulder to... blind... the devil...”


They both turned to stare at the figure on the floor, still clutching at his eyes.


“That’s not real,” the head chef said uncomfortably. “It’s just a silly old superstition. The sort of things that grannies do tell you.”


The waiter took a step back, hastily crossing himself. “My granny knew an awful lot of stuff, Chef,” he said stubbornly. “Anyway, how else do you explain it?”


“It’s just a... well, maybe he got something in his eyes,” the other man suggested. “Anyway, there’s no such thing as the devil.” He looked around, a little desperately. “I said can someone bring that first aid kit over here now? Who’s our first aider?”


Reluctantly the pastry chef brought it over, moving slowly and reluctantly. Of course it was all silly superstition, but, well... you never knew for sure, did you?


He knelt down by the afflicted ma- perso- figure, engineering to do so while still staying as far away as possible. “Can you open your eyes please?” he croaked, proud of the fact that his voice was barely shaking at all really. “I... I’ve got some eyedrops here...”


The eyes opened slowly. The man pulled back as he caught a glimpse of yellow slit pupils that glowed malevolently and then... the figure winked and vanished as though he had never been there.


“Okay,” the Head Chef said slowly. “If anyone asks -- especially the Health and Safety people -- that did not just happen, do you understand?”


No-one was listening. They all seemed to be paying attention instead to the brown powder slowly falling from the ceiling.


“And furthermore, we... what’s that?” There was a faint note of stressed hysteria in his voice now, the sound of a man who knows that what he’s seeing cannot possibly be real. “What’s that?”


One of the waiters licked a finger, dabbed it in one of the rapidly growing piles, and tasted it gingerly and then sneezed. “Tastes like pepper, Chef...”



32. Swim with dolphins


“This is over-rated,” Crowley decided. “Can’t think what humans see in it.”


“I think they don’t usually become dolphins when they swim with them,” Aziraphale volunteered, taking a rather careful leap out of the azure water and splashing back beneath the waves with sleek grace.


“Makes it even more boring then. Why do they want to swim with an animal whose only thought in life is how to convince someone to give it another fish?” Crowley demanded. “And the smiling is starting to creep me out. I can’t do this smiling all the time.” He followed Aziraphale out of the water, executing a particularly stunning somersault in midair before slicing back into the water with a clean dive. “And this body seems to demand I do acrobatics whether I like it or not.”


“You smile as a human,” Aziraphale said mildly.


“No, I smirk,” Crowley said firmly. “Or I look smug, maybe. Demons do not do happy-friendly-smiling, except when we’re trying to convince someone to do something they shouldn’t.”


Aziraphale didn’t correct him, but the fixed smile on his dolphin’s face seemed to beg to differ. Or maybe it was just made that way. Hard to tell with dolphins.


“Sharks, maybe,” Crowley said thoughtfully. “Swimming with sharks might be more appropriate. At least they have proper predator smiles.”



33. Swim with sharks


"Now this is more like it," Crowley said, smiling a toothy dangerous sort of smile, full of razor teeth, his ebony shark eyes rippling with glowing gold as he cut through the water with the sharpness of hunger in every motion.


"What exactly is the difference between focusing solely on finding the next fish as a dolphin, and focusing solely on finding the next fish as a shark?" Aziraphale queried.


Crowley didn't even have to think twice about it. "Sharks do it with style."



34. Play something that has been in car for over two weeks and is not a Best of Queen album.


"And now we will see." Crowley held the tape in the air dramatically for a moment before sliding it into the player. Loud music filled the car.


"Two outta three ain't bad. Not Queen!" He grinned triumphantly, and glanced over at Aziraphale who nodded tolerantly. Sometimes, when dealing with Crowley, that was the easiest thing to do.


They were halfway to Item Number Thirty Five (Have lunch in a picturesque little cafe in Cornwall) when the music changed suddenly.


YOU HAVE BEEN BUSY, CROWLEY, Meatloaf commented midsong.


It took that little somehow to spoil what should have been a perfectly nice day with tea and scones. Crowley blessed softly, and braked in a way that, had he been anyone else, should have caused a pile-up of at least five or six cars. As it was, the drivers behind him simply all decided spontaneously that they would like to move lanes.


Beside him, he was horribly aware, Aziraphale had gone very still.


They were communicating by sound, so they would only use sound. They wouldn't look. They wouldn't see the angel next to him. At least... he hoped they wouldn't.


"Yes, lord," he agreed meekly, wondering what they would want now. Not another baby, please not another baby that they hoped would grow up to fight Adam. That had been hard enough the first time.


WHAT PRECISELY WERE YOU DOING WITH THE PLANS FOR HALF AN EYE, CROWLEY?


Crowley swallowed hard. Aziraphale had warned him, Aziraphale had warned him, but he hadn't bothered to listen, because really, the world was going to end in another blessed apocalypse even if the sides might be different this time around and what could possibly be worse than that?


Well, obviously, the things that happened immediately before the world ended could be. But he hadn't thought about that at the time.


"It was... demonic business, lord," he managed, his voice sounding slightly strangled. "To... tempt the fundamentalists, and make them doubt their faith." There we go. That was proper demonic justification if ever there was one.


There was a silence for a moment, as though that needed to be digested, and Crowley watched his own knuckles whiten on the steering wheel as he waited.


AND IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN? the question came finally.


Crowley bit his lip hard, trying to think, trying to justify. You couldn't just say that you'd visited because you felt like seeing the old place again, and while you were there got a bit peckish. That was the kind of explanation that would get you hauled back down to hell right quick. You had to have a reason.


And he did, didn't he? Well, at least, one that they were more likely to take than any other. "I was tempting the angel, lord," he lied glibly, careful not to even turn his head for a glance at Aziraphale.


Even so, he could hear the angel's quiet intake of breath.


WITH WHAT, PRECISELY?


Was it his imagination, or did Meatloaf sound a little approving? Crowley took the chance. "With forbidden fruit, lord," he said without hesitation.


AND DID YOU SUCCEED?


Crowley didn't have to look at Aziraphale now to guess the angel's expression. Well, he could make it up to him later. It wasn't as though it was usually hard to coax forgiveness out of him. Needs must when the devil drives, as the humans put it. "Yes lord, I did."


VERY GOOD. And now Meatloaf definitely sounded pleased, if not entirely convinced. YOU WILL BE NEEDED SHORTLY, CROWLEY.


"Yes, lord." Don't look at Aziraphale, don't look at Aziraphale, just focus on surviving this conversation. "I'll be ready."


MAKE SURE YOU ARE, CROWLEY. WE DON'T WANT A REPEAT OF THE LAST LITTLE INCIDENT.... Like a bat out of hell, I'll be gone, gone, gone...


It was over. Crowley let himself relax, taking a deep breath, before he let himself glance over at Aziraphale.


The angel was jiggling at the Bentley door, struggling to open it.


"Hey, hey!" That was a little alarming, and more angry than he had considered Aziraphale being. "Where are you going?"


"Out!" That single word was furious, and Aziraphale finally managed to jerk the door open. "I don't know what's wrong with you lately, Crowley. Do you want me to have to end up smiting you?"


"Look, you know I have to tell them what they want to hear," Crowley protested.


"Just like you tell me what you think I want to hear? Or at least what you think will make me let you get away with whatever you feel like doing," Aziraphale said coldly.


"It isn't like that!" Or maybe it was, sometimes, but what else did Aziraphale expect of a demon? "You know that isn't really why I took you there."


"Do I?" But Aziraphale hesitated, hand on the door-handle. "Answer me this," he said finally, eyes seeking Crowley's behind the sunglasses. "Have I eaten the forbidden fruit?"


It should have been easy to lie - Crowley did it every day without problem. But there was something about those angelic eyes boring into his that made him feel curiously exposed, even with the sunglasses to shield him. "Yes," he admitted finally.


"Oh, Crowley." It sounded as though it was said more in sadness than anger, with a disappointment that pricked a conscience Crowley hadn't realised he had any more. It was oddly like a numbed limb coming back to life with the unsettling sensation of pins and needles.


"But-" Crowley started to add quickly, but it was already too late. The car door slammed, and the angel walked off down the motorway, walking around cars which swerved around him of their own accord, much to the astonishment of the drivers.


"But I only wanted to see what would happen," Crowley finished quietly to an empty car. Well, damn him if he didn't want to listen. It wasn't as though he needed the angel to have a good time. He could drive on to Cornwall and have lunch there without him.


Suddenly angry, he reached to turn the music up to its highest volume, blaring it out of the speakers.


"-and I know that I'm damned if I never get out, and maybe I'm damned if I do. But if I'm gonna be damned, you know I wanna be damned, you know I wanna be damned with you."


Crowley stared out of the window for a second, then reached back to the volume knob. Maybe this drive would be better without music after all.



***

Part 2



Happy Holidays, caitirin, from your Secret Writer!

Tags: 2008 exchange, adam, anathema, aziraphale and crowley, fic, newt, rating:g
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