Crowley went to his closet and pulled out his usual pair of black silk pyjamas – he was honestly just as likely to sleep in the nude, but sometimes in the winter he liked to be covered and silk was his favorite way of keeping warm. He hardly had to look to find them – he owned three identical pairs after all, neatly folded on the top shelf of his black lacquer armoire. He reached in in the darkened room, pulled out the top set off the pile, and … froze.
These were not his pyjamas, or at least not as he had last seen them.
“Aziraphale!” he shouted. “Angel! Get up here!”
The angel appeared a few minutes later, having finished up his tasks in the kitchen, with a wide, pleasant, perfectly innocent smile on his face.
Crowley held the pyjamas up to him. “Are you responsible for this?”
Aziraphale looked at him placidly. “I washed and folded them, yes.”
Crowley rolled his eyes. There was absolutely no reason for either of them to do laundry, but the angel insisted. That, however, was a matter for another time. He shook them again.
“No,” he said, “I mean this.” He stabbed a finger at the pocket on the front of the top.
The pocket which was now lined in tartan.
Aziraphale made a show of leaning in and examining it. “Oh, would you look at that?” he said, pleasantly. “Your pyjamas have clearly made a dashing new choice to spiff themselves up a bit! I don’t know what you’re fussing about, I think it’s rather charming.”
Crowley raised an eyebrow, flabbergasted at the angel’s capacity for being a little bastard, and found himself unable to make a rejoinder as the angel patted him consolingly on the shoulder and left the room.
He decided the pocket could stay.
His boxers, apparently, decided to follow suit a week later. All of them. They may have been that way for a while, to be honest – he rarely opened that particular drawer, preferring instead to just miracle a fresh pair on whenever he needed to. But this day, for some reason, he was looking through the wardrobe trying to find a scarf he hadn’t worn in a few years, and he pulled open his unmentionable drawer and stuttered to a stop.
He took a pile of them and sauntered out into the shop to find the angel, who was at the cash register processing a sale. Crowley smiled tightly at the customer and slammed the pile of pants down right on top of the man’s book.
“Tartan,” he said. “They’re tartan.”
Aziraphale looked askance at him, and then huffed as he lifted the pile of underwear off of the book.
“I’m so sorry,” he said to his customer. “He’s a little… dramatic.” He gave the demon a quelling look. Crowley watched in studied impatience as the angel slowly and deliberately completed the transaction. It was only after he carefully wrapped the book in brown paper and sent the man on his way that Aziraphale turned to him and made a ‘please go ahead’ gesture.
“My pants,” Crowley said, “have turned tartan.”
Aziraphale laughed. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, all this fuss is about a few pairs of pants?” Crowley frowned ferociously at him, and in apology he leaned over to examine the garments. He thumbed through the pile, examining them closely.
“Well,” the angel said, straightening up and giving him a look, “I think they look quite fetching. Perhaps you could model a pair for me later?”
Crowley smiled in spite of himself, then shook his head and frowned. “Don’t change the subject. Why are you messing with my wardrobe?”
Aziraphale held out both hands in a gesture of absolute openness. “I’m not! I swear!”
“So you’re saying my clothing is just changing itself?”
Aziraphale shrugged helplessly. “I honestly have no idea, my dear,” he said. “Perhaps they’re becoming sentient from spending too much time around ethereal entities?”
Crowley eyed him suspiciously. “I highly doubt that.”
“You’re just concerned,” the angel said, loftily, “that your clothes are showing better fashion sense than you are, love.”
Crowley waved a hand over his boxers and changed them back to plain black, and stalked back to put them away. He didn’t notice that the bottom two pairs switched back to tartan before he even left the room.
Peace reigned for a few weeks without any further modifications to his wardrobe, and Crowley began to relax his vigilance. Perhaps the angel really had been telling the truth about not having a hand in it – or if he had, he had wisely decided to give it up.
“I’m going out to get wine, angel,” Crowley called as he came down the stairs and out of the back room. “Any requests?”
Aziraphale smiled and reached up to pull his head down for a kiss. “I know whatever you get will be lovely, dearest,” he said. “Hurry back to me!”
Crowley swung out of the shop and patted the Bentley’s hood affectionately as he let himself into the driver’s seat. Since there was no angel to urge him towards caution, he gave himself free reign over the gas pedal and indulged in speeds of upwards of 95 as he sped into northern London to his favorite wine purveyor. He grabbed an empty crate out of the boot for his eventual purchases and then patted the Bentley goodbye as he headed in.
As was his wont, Crowley had a long, leisurely conversation with the owner, tasted several of his recent acquisitions, and then purchased an assortment of six high quality bottles he thought the angel would enjoy. Then, bidding his friend goodbye, he went back outside to tuck his purchases away in the boot – and stopped.
“Oh Aziraphale,” he breathed. “You are a dead man.”
Aziraphale looked up from the book he was reading as the shop bell tinkled loudly. The smile and greeting he’d been about to offer died on his lips as he took in the demon’s demeanor. His posture was stiff and forbidding, his eyes were snapping, and he looked like he’d just come from a fight.
“Are – are you all right, my dear?” he asked.
Crowley looked at him impassively. “Come with me,” he snapped, before turning and walking back out the door without looking to see if the angel was following him.
Aziraphale blinked after him for a moment, then scrambled to his feet and followed him out onto the pavement. Crowley was waiting impatiently next to the Bentley, which was parked in its usual haphazard fashion in the tow zone at the corner. Crowley snapped the trunk open and bid the angel to take a look.
Aziraphale gestured up the tiniest amount of heavenly glow – it was dark out, after all – and bent in to take a good look. He gasped.
The whole interior of the boot was lined with tartan. It was subtle, replacing what had previously been a tan fabric lining with a gorgeous version of his own heaven-inspired tartan in soft shades of tan, cream, and sky blue. Aziraphale took a moment to admire it, even wiggling a little in approval, before he remembered that an angry demon was watching him and that this was most decidedly Not A Good Thing.
He looked up and was met with just about as much of a death glare as he had expected.
“Now, Crowley,” he began, nervously. “You can’t seriously think that I’d be foolish enough to mess with your Bentley. You must know that I am fully aware that this would be a rather serious transgression!”
Crowley did not look impressed. “You want me to believe that someone else – some other person in the whole bloody universe – has a vested interest in taking little bits of my belongings and covering them with your official tartan?” He snorted. “I’m sorry but that’s just implausible.”
“Well, I have to agree with you that it looks bad,” Aziraphale said, trying to think of a possible explanation. “But I promise you, I’m not doing it.”
“Swear it, angel. Swear it on something important to you.”
Aziraphale screwed up his face in thought for a moment, then smiled. “I swear it on the Ritz,” he said. “May we never go there again if I’m lying.”
Crowley stared at him intently, looking for shiftiness or a glint of humor, looking for his usual tells when he was fibbing, which the demon had come to know intimately after the last six millennia – and found absolutely nothing.
“All right,” he said gruffly. “I believe you that you’re not doing it. Or at least I believe that you’re not doing it on purpose.”
“What does that mean? How could I possibly be doing it by accident?”
Crowley rolled his eyes. “This from the being that accidentally makes flowers grow and butterflies appear whenever he’s very happy.”
“Oh.” Aziraphale’s eyes widened. “Oh! You mean you think I’m doing this with my – with my emotions?”
“That,” the demon said, “is my only working theory in the moment.”
“Can we talk about this inside?” Aziraphale said miserably. “It’s chilly.”
Crowley softened and led them back inside, where he conjured up a cup of cocoa and a glass of wine and sat them both down on the couch.
“Ok, so what were you doing while I was out?” Crowley asked. “Specifically about an hour ago when I was in the shop? Because it changed from tan to tartan while I was buying the wine.”
Aziraphale thought. “I had just closed the shop, and I was having a little tea, and I was thinking back over the events of the day, and a bit about earlier in the week.”
Aziraphale blushed. “Oh, just, you know – I was thinking about you, and how much I like having you here, and about what kind of wine you were getting.”
“Were you feeling any particularly strong emotions?” Crowley asked.
“For a moment, perhaps,” the angel admitted. “I was thinking about the flea market last Sunday, and how that ridiculously cheeky young man was hanging all over you while I was bargaining for that second book I picked up, and how flustered you looked when I turned around and found him with his hands on your –"
“Angel,” Crowley cut in. “Look.”
He held up his wine glass. It now had a tartan rim.
Aziraphale gasped. “That happened just now?”
“So, you mean, every time I feel a little bit –”
“Possessive? Jealous?” Crowley smirked. “Looks like.”
Aziraphale moaned and picked up a throw pillow to bury his face in. “I’m such an idiot.”
“And a few weeks ago when you turned my boxers tartan? What was going on then?”
Crowley sounded, the angel thought, like he was enjoying having the moral high ground just a little.
“I haven’t the faintest idea!” he protested.
“Let’s see, that was right after we had the talk about my past temptations, wasn’t it, where I revealed that I had once tempted Queen Elizabeth the first to partake in a little debauchery behind the scenes?”
“Yes, yes, that sounds correct, there’s no need to –”
“And the week before that, with the pajamas? I can’t seem to recall anyone hitting on me around then,” Crowley said, puzzled. “What had you in a tizzy right then?”
Aziraphale sighed and surrendered utterly. “You talked in your sleep the night before.”
“I – I WHOT?” Crowley screeched. “What did I say?”
“Something about someone named Franklin,” Aziraphale sniffed, and patted down his clothing in an ostentatious manner. “Really, my dear. Franklin? Why not just go out and date someone named Melvin, or Roy?”
Crowley eyed him. “You were jealous because I said a random name in my dream? And by the way, I’ve never dated anyone by any of those names, and you know it. I’ve told you about everyone I was ever involved with, and you know they were a very small crew.”
Aziraphale looked utterly dejected. “I suppose that’s the truth. I’m sorry my dear.”
Crowley was silent for a moment, and the angel wondered what he was thinking but was too afraid to look up. The demon solved that problem for him by sliding over next to him a minute later and placing a hand on his knee.
“As far as crimes go, angel, this is a pretty minor one,” he said softly. “No need to look so downtrodden over the whole thing.”
Aziraphale sighed. “I’ve been getting jealous over ridiculous things and then MARKING you, my dear. It’s so… so unbecoming. I’m supposed to be an angel, not a territorial human!”
Crowley tipped the angel’s head to the side and leaned in for a kiss. “It’s kind of sweet when you put it that way. When you get worried about whether someone else is after me, you put your tartan on me so the whole world can see that I’m yours.”
Aziraphale fluttered his lashes.
The demon kissed him again. “Can’t say that I really mind that, honestly. It’s almost a little bit sexy.”
“Oh, come now, you,” the angel admonished, but the hint of a smile was playing around the sides of his lips. “You’re incorrigible.”
“Plus, now I’ll know if I’ve ever really done something wrong,” Crowley continued, peppering small kisses along the angel’s hairline. “Because I assume my entire outfit will suddenly turn plaid. That should scare any other potential suitor away.”
Aziraphale laughed unwillingly. “Stop!” he begged. “Please, I’m so embarrassed. Can we just get back to the kissing and less talking?”
Crowley leaned back and smiled. “Soon as you put my car back to rights, sure.”
The angel waved a hand in the air in a rapid fashion and Crowley felt a strong sense that all was once again back to normal with his car.
“Shall I do the boxers and the pyjamas too?” he asked.
“Nah,” the demon said. “I kind of like it. It will be our little secret.”
Aziraphale rolled his eyes. He knew this conversation was going to come back to haunt him. He had unwilling provided the demon with the ammunition of a lifetime for endless rounds of teasing. He would consider how best to wriggle out of this later. But for now, he leaned forward and pulled the demon close, determined to bring this round of conversation to a firm and decided close.
No one could withstand the full power of a love-besotten angel, after all. Not even a demon.