At the Ritz

It was raining outside, but no one really noticed or cared. It was strange, how an entire restaurant of people could go from feeling however it was they had when entering to all deciding that everything was a lovely time. Even obligations that awaited them outside of their dinner. Everyone, customers and staff, couldn’t have imagined going anywhere else.

Normally Crowley would have asked the angel why he was going so overboard, but not even Crowley could care right now. Plus, he could always catch some of them with something terrible when they left the Ritz. If he felt like it.* He had felt like it extraordinarily before their little dinner date, but after the concert and now the Ritz Crowley had long since put those dour moods behind himself. Until right now.

“If you were like this before, I would have understood,” Crowley said, “but I can’t understand why you’re in such a good mood.”

Aziraphale swallowed. “Oh? Should I not?”

“That’s not what I was saying. What I was saying is that you seem in a better mood than… I dunno, the last time. Almost blindingly so.”

His partner shrugged it off and went back to his Tres Leches cake, which he tried to offer to Crowley more than once. Crowley had almost said yes at the last temptation, before he wondered why he would actually want to take a bite right now. The angel’s mood was intoxicating.

Which is when he realized that it was exactly that. It radiated off Aziraphale and was absorbed by the surroundings. Crowley was first struck by the fact that it should have been hurting him (it was not) and second that he didn’t ever recall this happening before (it hadn’t).

Aziraphale hadn’t noticed. Crowley looked from him to the food, wondering if there was something in one of the dishes. Not that he could imagine what it would be. Some of the dishes were so familiar, but others could have or could have not been and Crowley dug in his mind to see if he could figure it out. He couldn’t, because his brain simply provided him Aziraphale eating something, as that was the most common image.

Not that he minded, usually, but it didn’t help right now.

“Erm, how’s the… the that?” He gestured at the cake.

“I told you you should try it,” Aziraphale said, not answering his question.

“I don’t want to try it,” Crowley retorted, “I just want you to tell me how it is?”

Aziraphale’s lips quirked upwards. “Divine~”

That wasn’t really an answer, but Crowley shouldn’t have been surprised. A part of him wanted to give up on searching for what was going on, but he was a demon. Trying to think of the bad side was in his blood. Or being, when he wasn’t currently inhabiting something with blood. So he managed to keep his suspicions right where he wanted them.**

“Crowley, dear, you look like you’re sitting on pins. What is it?”

“At least you notice that.” Crowley wasn’t happy that Aziraphale noticed that. He’d rather Aziraphale had noticed the rest of the weird atmosphere.

“Really now. What’s wrong?”

Crowley swirled the wine in his glass, debated if he should try to explain it or not. Then he decided the time for playing games about such things ended when the world didn’t, so he tried the honesty route. Just because it was Aziraphale. “Everyone is far too happy.”

“Oh, come now.”

“Not like that,” Crowley hissed. “Everyone is as happy as you are happy. I don’t know how you’re doing that.”

Aziraphale blinked, surprised. Then the entire thing went away. That intoxicating feeling, not the general good mood of the people in the Ritz. Crowley noticed that had stayed the same. “Oh. Oh dear. I hadn’t realized…”

“Hadn’t realized what?”

“That it extended that far.” Aziraphale bit his lower lip, looking away at the other tables. Crowley reached forward and rapped his knuckles on the table in front of him, keeping Aziraphale from getting everyone’s attention with how he was scrutinizing them.

“What extended that far?”

Aziraphale sighed, finally focusing back on him. “I… you seemed in such a state earlier, my dear. I was just trying to help.”

Crowley’s mouth worked over the word ‘help’, not wanting to voice it. “Wait, so you can do that? What was that?”

“I don’t think that matters.” Aziraphale’s voice had gotten a bit higher, as he obviously knew and didn’t want to discuss something. How come Crowley was the truth type and Aziraphale was the ‘oops, did you see the price of that paperback, that’s outrageous that person shouldn’t have a bookstore’ type? He didn’t care that they were on their own side, that still just seemed not right.

The second part of Aziraphale’s “explanation” kicked in. “You… did that for me?”

Aziraphale gave him a knowing look. “Of course I did. Silly serpent.”

“Doesn’t tire you out or anything?”

“Not in the slightest. Not… not like that, anyway. Never used to do it before, I’d get such a scolding. Still, I really hadn’t noticed I was projecting so much.”

Crowley blinked. Took a sip. “Do what you want then, angel.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, sure. Don’t let me ruin the evening just because I noticed something that… do you do that often?” Nowadays, anyway, that Heaven and Hell were leaving them alone.

Aziraphale didn’t deign to respond, but he did deign to start it up again. And when the feeling of pure contentment washed over him (and the rest of the establishment), Crowley decided not to fight it.

There would likely be fighting later in time, so there was no point in making some up right now.


*The customers, not the waitstaff. They had to really make him want to do something, because otherwise he wasn’t going to wreck the experience of being at the Ritz.

**Which was: active. For an angel, Aziraphale was also good with active suspicion. He just wasn’t practicing it right now.

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