“I hope I didn’t go too slowly for you, angel,” Crowley says wryly, as he catches up with Aziraphale at the bandstand in Battersea Park.
“You… foul fiend,” says Aziraphale, with no malice and the smile that Crowley has been waiting for.
They’ve gone for periods of time without seeing each other before, periods of time much longer than the few months in which Crowley has napped. But, somehow, this seems different…
“Were your plants all right?” Aziraphale blurts out.
“Sorry?” Crowley replies, distracted by Aziraphale’s rather uncharacteristic fidgeting.
“Your plants. I took care of them for you…” Aziraphale trails off.
Well, if this is what passes for normal conversation in Pandemic Times, I’ll have to take it, thinks Crowley.
“They looked… splendid,” Crowley does his best Aziraphale impersonation, trying to get the angel to crack that smile again.
“You know, if you had a garden… No, bear with me, this is coming out all wrong. How are you, Crowley? Did you sleep well? I’ve missed all of the… Shall we start again?”
Aziraphale looks bereft. Crowley is bewildered.
Crowley lets out a puff of air. “If you like, angel, although I thought we’d done enough of that?” He nudges Aziraphale’s shoulder, trying to get him to remember that he’s the same Crowley of the past 6,000 years, just currently better rested.
“Congratulations, Crowley, you have solved the treasure hunt!” Aziraphale suddenly comes to life, making Crowley worry he might be about to perform magic.
He continued, “I tried to give you a hint about your prize through the plants because… well, I know what your attention span is like… but it seems I missed the mark!” He laughs, self-deprecatingly.
“You mentioned a garden…?” Crowley prompts. A prize was mentioned. He has to know what it is – you can take the demon out of Hell, et cetera… “Did you get me a new plant? One of the hanging baskets you’ve added to the bookshop? An ALLOTMENT?”
Crowley, previously happy with a smile from Aziraphale, will now not settle for anything less than a vegetable plot, it seems.
Aziraphale pulls out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, doing his best to smooth it out. “I’ve been carrying it around for weeks because I wasn’t sure exactly when you would wake. I’ve used my time, and some of the money I’ve saved from the Ritz Club being closed, you know, to make a small investment for… for us. I hope you’ll join me… there’s a garden, we can have vegetables, whatever you’d…”
Aziraphale tails off as Crowley opens the page reverentially.
Crowley, the ‘dust’ resolutely lodged in his eyes this time, smiles. “We’re on our side… of course we can go off together.”