Aziraphale didn’t think much about it at first. Crowley had left one of his coats on his settee. The angel made a note to himself to remind Crowley about it as he hung it up on the coat rack with the other objects which had been accidentally left within the bookshop.

A pair of shoes was much stranger. Aziraphale had forgotten to mention the coat. Crowley had picked it up without him saying anything, but had left another one in its place a few days later. As long as he knew, Aziraphale decided, that was what mattered. But shoes? Those couldn’t be just left out. Aziraphale put them away and later phoned Crowley asking how he could have possibly left a pair of shoes there.* Crowley said he took them off and forgot to put them back on. Aziraphale stared out at the gloomy weather and rain and was appalled. But the next time the demon arrived, he wore shoes, so Aziraphale put that aside.

When Crowley started leaving his music around, that was another thing entirely. Aziraphale didn’t want it on** but at the same time he didn’t want to touch them and mess them up in some way. He had done that before and had felt awfully guilty about the entire mess. So he didn’t. He let Crowley show up and turn it on and off as he so wished. Just as long as Aziraphale could get his records on as often as he wished, it was fine.

It all came to a head when Crowley had left an entire room in the back of the bookshop.

“Crowley,” Aziraphale said lowly, “what is this?”

“It’s what you told me to do.” The demon shrugged it off. “You said you had a particular order to things and you didn’t really mind, but I see it bothering you. I’ll just leave it all in here then.”

Aziraphale mouthed wordlessly as Crowley threw his coat on the bed. “I… suppose that is well enough,” he ended up saying lamely, though he didn’t actually feel that way.

Crowley looked at him, almost over the top of his sunglasses. “You keep telling me not to worry about it-”

“-well I don’t want you to worry about it-”

“-and you keep setting my things aside-”

“-because you forget them-”

“-because you tell me to put them down.”

“Ah,” said Aziraphale.***

Crowley paused, craning his neck around before looking back at Aziraphale. “You… mind?”

“Not in the slightest!” Aziraphale said before even thinking about it. “I just was caught off guard.”

Sticking his hands in his pockets, Crowley sighed. “Oh, here we go. What about your room at my place?”

“What about it?” Now Aziraphale was completely confused, not just slightly. “What does that have to do with this?” He thought about it. “You had that room to start with!”

“Yeah, but it’s just… you know… the- the thing of the matter.”

Crowley had utterly failed to explain himself. Yet, perhaps because of that utter failure, Aziraphale understood completely.

“I see.” He smiled at his friend. “You know, dear, you should have just said so.”

“Said what?” Crowley asked, feigning confusion.*****

Aziraphale strode over, placing a hand on Crowley’s arm. “Never mind that. I believe it’s about time for lunch.”

The other stared at him for a bit, before relaxing with a shrug. “Where would you like to go, angel?”

And if the extra room didn’t actually keep all of Crowley’s things from showing up all over the bookshop, well! Fair was only fair. Aziraphale had taken over Crowley’s place too.

*Aziraphale had never seen Crowley without some sort of shoes. Or socks, or something. They usually looked scaled in some way, which Aziraphale thought looked tacky on anyone else but suited Crowley immensely.

**Well, some of it was fine, but he was very adamant about some of it. You know the ones.

***Ah, in this circumstance, meant that the narrator was showing a very one sided perspective of the beginning of the story, and Aziraphale had indeed been the reason why Crowley had left those things behind. But he was just being nice, so he had thought, though in one particular instance he remembered being very demanding about Crowley leaving one of his records behind.****

****“For fuck’s sake, angel, it’s a CD. One step even above tapes. Come on, now.”

*****Dear reader, he wasn’t feigning anything. Aziraphale simply believed he had to be, so that is how it is written.

A House, A Home (pt11)

The next time she walked by the shelf, two of the volumes had been pushed forward to stick out. She pulled them out to look them over later.

The dancer figurines had openings in the bottom, where small curls of yellowed paper were stashed. She carefully pried each of them out with her fingernails, slowly flattening them to see what they were. Autographs, she decided, seeing only a single signature on each. Studying the figurines once more, Salma was struck by the fact these were models of real dancers, not simply renditions of anything generic. Every single one had an autograph inside. Salma didn’t recognize any of the names, any of the faces.

But she did remember these figures, up on a shelf higher than her eyes when she was little. Reaching up in order to play with them, her mother would scold her and bat her hands away. Later in the day, her grandfather brought one down for her to look at. He didn’t let her hold it, though he let her put her tiny hands all over it. Her hands were clean, she remembered, someone had made her wash up before. Her small fingers reached into each crevasse, taking delight in the texture and the colours more than anything about what those two things had come together to create.

A House, A Home (pt10)

Eventually Salma found the answer in a closet. Plane models, wound up to propel themselves along the track built into the ceiling. One of them came with a similar magnet, where she could push it along the ceiling with the repulsion. Salma set all of them up above, finding where each of them fit and staring in wonder.

Then, without her having to do anything, the planes began to move. The cottage pushed them along. Salma watched, enthralled in the mini display.

He must have liked aeroplanes, her grandfather. No one had told her. It was amazing and such a shame she had never known.

There was a collection by Bulawaye on the smaller shelf, the books all a part of the same collection, completely level to each other. They were in various level of wear, obviously not all bought at the same time. Similar covers, but spines so varied she wondered if they were really bought at such different times or if her grandfather liked some more than others.

A House, A Home (pt9)

The sentence came to her eventually – her grandfather wrote about how he fed the birds every morning. He left the food out on the windowsill in the kitchen. They hopped inside, every morning. Things she had never considered… such as her grandfather’s interest in birds.

Salma hadn’t paid too much attention to everything on the shelves of the few bookshelves in the house. There were only three of them, two in the main room that reached from the floor near the top and a shorter one in a different room that only reached her hip, with figurines of dancers, a grass green twisted vase and an oil lantern on the top of it. Salma had removed the oil lantern very quickly when she saw it there – the danger to her apparent. She found the lantern returned to where it had been set after waking up the next day. It had taken her removing it to the shed to make sure that nothing would happen.

Her grandfather had a lot of books about aviation. She had never heard anything about him being an aviator, or of him having any interest in such things. She looked up at the tracks on the ceiling, trying to remember what had once been there.