Okay, so I probably shouldn't have gone there.

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Mysterious Ways
by afrai

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"Crowley," said Aziraphale, "haven't you noticed anything -- well, different about me?"

Crowley had decided that the owner of the cafe deserved hives, and was going to get it if he had anything to say about it. He briefly contemplated finishing his cream bun, but while Crowley was theoretically in favour of torture in general, he got rather squeamish when it involved him in specific.

"Hmm? No," said Crowley.

"Nothing at all?" said Aziraphale, his voice tinged with desperation.

"Well, your taste in restaurants seems to have fallen off somewhat," said Crowley. He tasted his coffee to see if it had improved in the last five seconds, and was displeased to find that it had not. "Do you think bunions would be more irritating, or hives?"


"Bunions, or hives?" Crowley said. "Whoever runs this blasted cafe deserves it for the mocha alone."

Aziraphale sighed.

"I do wish you would listen instead of fooling around," he said sharply. "This is important."

"What's important?" said Crowley.

"This," said Aziraphale, but his sharpness was replaced with embarrassment now.

"Yes?" said Crowley.

"Well," said Aziraphale.

He said nothing more.

"Aziraphale," said Crowley, with exaggerated patience, "you asked me to come here to this pathetic excuse for a cafe, to suffer bad coffee and buns, because you said you had something very important to tell me. For the last five minutes you've played with your napkin and talked about the weather, and I have yet to learn anything important, except to confirm that it really does take very little time for me to want to strangle you. I've been patient, but if you don't start talking now . . . ."

"It's just -- it's complicated," said Aziraphale.

"I'll try my best to understand it," said Crowley, with ominous calm.

Aziraphale fiddled with his fork. Crowley ground his teeth, but then --

"I'm expecting," said Aziraphale.

Crowley waited.

"Yes?" he said again.


"Well, what?"


"Wha -- stop." Crowley shook his head, trying to clear it. "Okay, let's try this again. What are you expecting?"

Aziraphale blinked, then enlightenment swept over his face, embarrassment trailing in its wake.

"Oh, I see," he said. "Oh, dear. That's not what I meant. You see -- well, it's really -- well, it's rather--"

He rubbed his forehead. A wash of pink was slowly creeping up his neck, Crowley noticed.

"I'm pregnant," Aziraphale announced.

He paused. He evidently expected a reaction. Crowley searched himself for one.

"Yes?" he said.

"I'm sorry?" said Aziraphale. He was going an even darker pink, but not just from embarrassment this time.

"I meant, with what?" Crowley said hastily.

Aziraphale stared at him for a long time. Then he said, very slowly and clearly,

"I am going to have a baby."

"Oh," said Crowley.



"Clear enough for you?" said Aziraphale poisonously.

"I thought you meant you were pregnant with fear or something," said Crowley weakly. "You know, 'the atmosphere was pregnant with unspoken warning.'"

"No," said Aziraphale.

"Well, yes, I see," said Crowley.

He stared at his coffee. Suddenly it didn't look so bad.

"So. A baby," he said.

"Yes," said Aziraphale.

"Forgive me for asking, probably a stupid question, but--" Crowley hesitated. "Isn't that . . . sort of impossible? Maybe they've started running things differently up there since I left, but if I recollect aright, the bodies they give out to field agents are generally, well, how can I put this -- normal."

"They are," Aziraphale said. "Well, they were. This one's a prototype."

"A prototype."

"It was God's idea, apparently," said Aziraphale. "He thought, well, what with the battle of the sexes and what a lot of trouble it's been causing humanity, it might be a better idea to do away with them all together."

"By -- combining both sexes into one," said Crowley.

"Something like that." Aziraphale looked extraordinarily awkward, but Crowley supposed that was only to be expected. "I'm afraid I don't know very much about the matter. They just told me, 'Here, take this body and don't let any book-shelves fall on you over the next nine months.'"

"I see," said Crowley. There didn't seem to be anything else to say.

He thought of something.

"How does it -- well, where does -- how does it work, if you don't mind my asking?"

"I don't quite understand the mechanics of it," Aziraphale said carefully, "but apparently the child is in my colon."

"Your colon."


"That's -- possible, is it?" said Crowley.

"All things are possible through God," said Aziraphale.

Crowley thought about this.

"That would explain it, yes," he said.

Aziraphale looked down shyly.

"I was hoping you'd agree to be the child's godfather," he said.

"Er," said Crowley.

He looked at Aziraphale, at the mixed embarrassment and hope in his face, and the slight but noticeable bulge Crowley had at first taken for just an ordinary part of Aziraphale's never svelte physique.

"What the Hell," said Crowley. He tossed off his coffee. "All right. Why not?"

There was a lot Aziraphale hadn't told him, he knew, but he could guess at most of it on his own. It didn't matter. Aziraphale's beam was almost reward enough for any imagined dangers he might face in agreeing to this.

After all, it couldn't turn out worse than the last immaculate conception, right?

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