When the rain got worse, the two of them returned within the walls. Aziraphale had to report back and he was certain Crawly had somewhere else to be as well, but neither of them wanted to make the trip in such weather, so they waited it out in the garden.
Aziraphale was slightly aware that he should have gone anyway. To tell people about Crawly being here and being the tempting one and all, but the rest of him decided that the truth of the matter wouldn’t change no matter how far out the report was, so he might as well make sure he looked the part for when he did tell the others exactly what it was that went down.
“Shouldn’t you be…?” Aziraphale gestured toward the ground.
Crawly made a face. “The ground’s a mess right now!” he said.*
Aziraphale hadn’t followed the meaning, as dirt was dirt to him no matter what. At least, at this time. He hadn’t noticed that his robes might have gotten filthy if he had considered they would. Crawly had considered his would, so they had. Mind over matter indeed.
Crawly looked him over, seeming conflicted. Aziraphale had to agree, that they were still inhabiting the same area was rather disconcerting. He didn’t think that was something they should be doing. Or that it would at least be frowned upon by others if they found out.
“Not sure you’d know what a mess is, if this whole apple thing hadn’t come up.”
Aziraphale decided to ignore that comment. “Goodness, it’s getting bad. You think this is as bad as storms are likely to get?”
“Well, we aren’t getting drowned out yet. I hope so.”
Aziraphale scoffed. “Why would one drown the earth?”
Crawly shrugged. “Why would someone grow an apple tree and give the fruit the ability to help someone decide the difference between Good and Evil?”
“Oh no,” Aziraphale replied, “No, that one makes perfect sense.”
It didn’t, but Aziraphale didn’t think he really had to be the one to understand it for it to make perfect sense. God did it, so it must have.
“Right,” said Crawly, turning his attention away. Aziraphale’s gaze turned in the same direction, right back out at those dark clouds.
“It’s beautiful, in its own way,” Aziraphale had to admit.
“It’s one of God’s creations, of course it is.”
Crawly sounded sarcastic, but Aziraphale didn’t take any offense by it. He had the feeling that it was just how Crawly was meant to be. Being a demon and all. For a demon though, he was rather pleasant. Aziraphale reminded himself that was probably a part of whatever evil schemes he was a part of. Yet coming so hot off the heels of the last one** perhaps even evil needed to rest.***
The wind blew the rain past the branches and into Aziraphale’s wings again. He had nearly folded them down, but instinct had him bring them back up to shield them both from the onslaught. It was more successful on the account of the demon than himself, but Aziraphale didn’t mind. Should he have minded?
He wouldn’t likely see him again. Aziraphale looked toward the walls around them. Out there were the first humans.
“All of God’s creations are beautiful,” Aziraphale repeated. “In their own way.”
“Tell that to sulfur,” Crawly sniffed.
Aziraphale didn’t have anything he could say to that. Instead, he smiled at the demon. It caught him off guard. “Are you all right?” Aziraphale asked.
“Yep, fine,” Crawly retorted, looking away.
They didn’t say goodbye, when they parted. They simply did. Aziraphale thought it a shame in a way, though tried not to think about it too much. There were too many other things he was trying not to think about too much.
At least, until they met once again.****
*Little knowing that until escalators were invented, until stairs were more common, until anything else happened he was going to have to get used to travelling through some mud. And even after those things too.
**Tempting with an apple was a very large evil scheme, after all.
***”Evil never sleeps” wasn’t exactly the phrase yet. It was “the wicked cannot sleep until having done evil”, and the evil had been done. Aziraphale knew what sleeping was by proxy and still couldn’t fathom why someone who didn’t have to would want to, but he supposed Crawly could just be lazy after having done evil and that would be okay.
****And again. And again. Until neither of them wondered about it anymore, because it just was and neither would have had it any other way.