Trust Meby Taryn
Crowley turned slowly away from the door, his dark mirrored sunglasses doing very little to hide the utter disbelief skimming across his features. It had been a hard two months since the putative End of the World. He'd spent nearly a week with all the electronic equipment in his flat locked in a closet in the hopes that this would confuse the lesser demons who were surely even now planning out an eternity of punishments with his name on them. In bold flashing neon letters. One can only take so much time waiting for the other shoe to drop, however, so it was with a bit of relief that Crowley accepted Aziraphale's offer to vacation (1) in America. Who in the name of the Darkness would ever think to look for him there?
Things had been going remarkably well. Every soul in America was already so bruised from daily life that it hardly took a passing comment to start a spiral of corruption, and now the miraculously still-turning seasons had delivered one of his favorite times of year more or less intact. He'd just been about to nip off to the pub down the street in the hopes of evading any minions who might still be sober enough to be on the lookout for him when this…this… this ANGEL had floored him.
Demons didn't do trust. Under any circumstances. Crowley was relatively sure that was part of the bylaws somewhere. (2)
"Aziraphale," he began, in a voice that suggested the angel already knew all this and was just wasting his time.
"Oh come off it, Crowley. After all, this is one of yours, isn't it? Should be a big moment for you, I should think."
Crowley eyed Aziraphale suspiciously. He was nearly positive there was a hint of laughter in the angel's voice. "Maybe in the beginning, yes. But have you seen what they've done to it?" His voice was nearly vibrant with a wounded artist's pride. "Now days it's all dressing up like cute little action figures. I had in mind something involving a bit more tricking than treating, and the occasional sacrifice was always a nice touch."
Aziraphale turned away, picking up the candy bowl on the hall table in the small front hall of the rental house and examining the contents with suddenly intense interest. It took Crowley another minute to realize that his shoulders were shaking with silent laughter. At HIM. Crowley had seen many reactions to his projects in his time- horror, exasperation, pride, even confusion on the part of certain Dukes of Hell who shall remain nameless- but laughter was a relatively new concept. Reaching up and removing his sunglasses, Crowley fixed Aziraphale with his serpentine glare. "Now look Aziraphale-"
"Do you think we have enough chocolate?"
Crowley's voice died as his brain did a double take. "What?"
"Chocolate." Aziraphale held the bowl forward, tilting his face so his hair hid his usually guileless expression. He gave the candy a shake for emphasis. "Do you think we have enough?"
Crowley ran his hands through his hair in disgust. "How should I know? It's your problem anyway. I’m going out." To emphasize his words, he pushed his glasses back on, strode across the hall, and yanked open the front door.
The child on the step, dressed up in a black ninja costume, froze with one finger halfway to the doorbell. Crowley glared down at him. "And what do you want?"
The child stared up at him expectantly, only the tiniest hint of hesitation entering his piping voice under the heat of Crowley's glare. (3) "Trick or treat?"
Crowley smiled slowly. "And what if I say 'trick'?"
The child's smile wilted a bit, suddenly concerned about the immediate lack of chocolate. This wasn't the way things were supposed to work. It reappeared with nearly blinding force when Aziraphale suddenly appeared in the doorway, elbowing Crowley out of the way with a slightly exasperated look and, more importantly to the child's point of view, carrying the requisite bowl of candy.
Aziraphale beamed down at him. "Oh, my. Aren't you scary?"
The child grinned thankfully, grabbed a handful of candy, and was immediately jostled out of the way by a second group of children hurrying up the walk. Aziraphale handed out more candy, beaming and making pointless comments that the children ignored as they ran on towards the next house. Aziraphale turned towards the demon, smile still firmly in place. "See? It's not so bad, is it? You could almost categorize it as idolatry, if you look sideways hard enough."
"Right. I'm gone." Crowley stepped off the porch. Actually, what he did was try to step off the porch. Aziraphale's fingers suddenly locking on his arm in a vice grip that was surprising given his appearance put a bit of a damper on the anticipated movement.
"No, dear, you're not," Aziraphale told him in a no-nonsense tone of voice.
"Look," Aziraphale began, pulling Crowley back towards the shadows of the open door, "it's like this. You go wandering out alone at this time of night, without a costume, and people see you. If people see you, there's a good chance some of your people will see you. Then they'll come looking for you. Is that what you want?"
Crowley blinked. "No, of course not."
"Right. Then just trust me for once."
"There you go with that word again! Look, you're right. I can't go out like this, not tonight of all nights. My people will be everywhere. I'll just…"
Crowley's look of indecision began to spiral downward into a very suggestive leer as a new group of kids, most of them dressed like some kind of rock band, started up the walk. "Now there's a plan with merit."
"All right, if you really feel you should. Just remember to turn off the porch light when all the candy's gone, and I'll be home later." Aziraphale stuck the bowl of candy in Crowley's hands and stepped over the threshold back into the house. Crowley tried to glare down at the kids jockeying for position in front of the candy bowl with peals of malicious laughter that would do a demon proud, but the glare was taking on a tinge of desperation. "Aziraphale?"
Aziraphale poked his head back through the door and nodded at the departing kids, one hand straying away from the package he was clutching to brush Crowley's mussed hair back into place. "Yes?"
"What do you mean, 'I'll be home later'? You just said we could stay in."
"No," Aziraphale corrected him, looking apologetic as no one but an angel can, "I said you could stay in. The nice young lady down the street did invite us to her party, and it would be horribly rude if at least one of us didn't put in appearance. I just couldn't live with myself."
Crowley turned one eye back towards the street, where hundreds of children appeared to be approaching in a very large pack. "You can't just leave me like this. It's…it's…not very angelic," he finished lamely, which only added to his annoyance.
Aziraphale smiled that smile again, the one that hinted at just the slightest bit of enjoyment at the demon's discomfort. For reasons he refused to acknowledge, it was also the same smile that tended to do odd things to Crowley's thought processes. "So come with me."
Crowley took a deep breath and tried to hold off the inevitable. "I am NOT going out anywhere dressed as a Power Ranger, Aziraphale!"
Aziraphale's smile faded slightly. "The invitation said costumes only, and the saleslady assured me that these costumes were perfectly acceptable."
Crowley snorted. "Yeah, sure. Like ten years ago. I mean, how am I supposed to tempt young maidens with lust dressed as a Power Ranger?" Horror started to give way to natural suspicion. "Wait a minute. You're already thwarting wiles, aren't you? You're not allowed to do that in advance! You're at least supposed to give me a chance to tempt someone before you save them! That's not fair!"
"Whatever." Aziraphale sighed and gestured towards the pack of approaching children, all screaming at the top of their lungs. "Look, are you coming or not?"
"It depends. Will you make it worth my while later?"
A hint of a smile crossed Aziraphale's face before he could stop it. "I'll see what I can do."
Crowley sighed in relief. This was more like it. "Wonderful. Let's go, then. What are you waiting for?" Shoving his way back inside, he slammed the door, turned off the porch light, and grabbed the package from Aziraphale's fingers before the howls of protest even began. A quick thought had him clad in the very surprised black silk uniform that had formerly been scratchy blue plastic. The helmet had the good sense to disappear, leaving the demon with only his normal shades. Aziraphale eyed him for a moment, but decided to let it go. Moments later he stood next to Crowley clad in a blue silk uniform that matched Crowley's black, with a pair of matching sunglasses. Crowley raised an eyebrow in surprise, but Aziraphale only smiled back.
"As I'll ever be. Can we just go and get this over with so we can get back here for the good part?"
Aziraphale rolled his eyes as they walked out the door. "You're incorrigible."
Crowley readjusted his sunglasses and leered at him. "Of course I am. I'm a demon, after all. Some things never change."
Aziraphale smiled at him fondly and shoved on the sunglasses.
Oh, yes, it was definitely looking like a promising evening, and he had all night to plan its spectacular close. Not even the sight of four teenagers dressed as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse could spoil it. They did have several cartons of eggs tucked under their robes and it wouldn't take more than the smallest push to make sure they were used properly. Things were definitely looking up, and it was still early.
Trick or treat indeed. Maybe, if his luck held, he could even have both.
1- Not, of course, to be confused with "escape".
2- Article 72, section XXXII. Thou shall not lend thy trust to any being, including thyself, lest thou be tricked.
3- Angry demons are, after all, nothing when compared to chocolate.